Believe It or Not, Look Who’s Back (and feeling magical)!

We lead such fragmentary lives, occupying a multiplicity of physical and virtual spaces at any one time.  We touch down here, flit there, ever attempting simultaneity.  Yesterday, I sat down to my sewing machine and really focused on the motions of threading my machine, paying attention to the tiny eye of the needle, the bobbin spinning, the thread through my finger tips; it was so refreshing to be present, performing such a simple, physical task without any thought to the work I would do later, the emails I needed to return, the photographs I needed to take and edit for this post!  I was in what Mihalyi Csikszentmihalyi theorized as “flow”–an optimal state of concentrated energy whereby you are intrinsically motivated by the process of the activity with no competing thoughts about outside events or the end product.  Artistic endeavors can provide this experience, but if we are so focused on the end result or the audience or the applause, then we are apt to lose our footing– flow gives way to something frantic, fractured and frustrating.

It’s really hard to be present, to achieve flow, even in the activities or with the people we most enjoy.  And so, given the pressures of my career and the necessities of my physical being, as well as the desire to focus more on my sewing skills, I needed to step away from blogging, and all that goes into the development of a post, for the last two months, so I could make time and space for other experiences.  The reality is you can’t do it all and you can’t have it all, no matter what the ad-men try to tell you. And that’s okay. Slowing down, focusing, being present, working on one aspect of your life or yourself or a project, to the exclusion of other parts is more than okay; it’s vital.  Especially in creative endeavors.  It’s good to just be an observer of words or images, letting it all sink in for a bit as you stay silent and still.

And it’s good to step back now into this little corner of my world where I’ve made such great connections and see that as I’ve been percolating behind the scenes, my little virtual home hasn’t been completely devoid of visitors! I sure appreciate your stopping by.  I have four posts lined up for this week to celebrate birthdays, national poetry month, and some fun challenges, like this one:

Banner-PIN-sights

I am sure many of you are familiar with the fabulous Ellen Hutson, LLC, one of the best online spots for papercrafting supplies. When I need something quickly and can’t make it to a store, Ellen’s my woman because she’s practically in my backyard and the shipping is lightning fast!  Plus she has a great new line of products designed by Julie Ebersole, another Washingtonian.  Lots of good papercrafting energy in the PNW!

So she’s developed two new challenges, which you can read about here and here.

I absolutely loved the holiday release of sentiment stamps and dies from Julie, and the winter release was fabulous as well.  The Pin-Sights challenge asks you to use the products and the mood board to create a paper project.  The current inspiration board had me swooning so I knew I just had to play along!

F266caab27787a3e6cad086a2041b5ba

Magical, right? I’ve been known to believe in magic every so often, especially when it comes to inspiration and art!

MAGIC MAYBE2

I tried to weave in a  variety of the elements from the mood board, most obviously the colors and the brushstroke font.  I’d been wanting to create one of these sentiment backgrounds for awhile so this challenge gave me the push to finally do so using Julie’s Brushstroke Christmas set . Since the color scheme mentions charcoal, I used Versacolor Ultimate Pigment ink in Charcoal rather than black and stamped on Ellen’s 110lb Linen cardstock, my favorite paper!  I echoed the dots from the photograph with the MFT Polka Dot Coverup die background, which I cut down to create a more interesting layer.

ON EASEL MAGIC2

The challenge is open to any kind of paper project, not just cards, and in creating this, I was not sure if it would be a card–I actually think it would make a great framed piece or album cover for a mini-album, so I intentionally did not adhere it to a card base.

MAGIC 1

The Magic die from Studio Calico was doubly cut from Paper Source’s Bronze paper and adhered so it would pop up a bit for more curved dimension.  The hot pink brick wall journaling card is a digital file from Studio Calico’s Lisse Street collection.  I love my new HP printer which is allowing me to actually print quality photographs and digital images for the first time in years, so I can add a new element to my paper crafting beyond stamping.

closeupbottom flat magic

Open Book from Crate Paper provided the flower and vellum embellishments.  That Art Deco green and gold panel was just what I needed to bring those layers together. I spent awhile riffling through my hundreds of paper embellishments.  I really like working in this way with my products as it is like creating with found art– I am confined by just the paper pieces I have and must assemble them without being able to create by hand the perfect image or embellishment to complete the piece.  It’s challenging in that way–sadly I cannot find any of these vellum packs from the Open Book line anywhere– so it is really a one of a kind piece.

In addition to Ellen’s challenge, I am also going to submit this to Virginia’s View current challenge which is all about dimensions and layers.   You can find my work among the hundreds of entrants!  Virginia gets the prize for challenge participation, although the Coffee Loving Paper Crafters are gaining steadily!!

Check out all three for some great inspiration and maybe a bit of magic!

And make sure to stop by here tomorrow for a special birthday card and blog hop with prizes!!

Boho Bright

“I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze….
 
 
For oft, when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.”
 

 


As I sat down to write this post, the Wordsworth poem above floated through my mind.  I suppose it might be because Pinned & Penned has been a bit lonely this past month, and I have felt too much the sting that solitary work can bring, or it may be the subject of today’s post, which is a bit of brightness, like a crowd of daffodils, in the midst of a darkening season.

&nbsp

In any case, the poem seems to fit with the whimsy of Curtain Call’s current challenge (notice the daffodils in the painting?).  The previous week found me wanting so badly to play with the color inspiration–I absolutely love the combination, particularly that yellow.  I’d just received some Lemonlush papers from Studio Calico which were a perfect match.  So I set about to pull something together–a very simple piece that I finally completed today.
boho bright
2014-11-09 11.28.47
Super simple.  I let the paper really do the work for me.  The PTI Happy die is inlaid, that gorgeous deep blue playing off the turquoise below and surrounding purple.
2014-11-09 11.30.39
I cut a flag and stamped the sentiment in Island Fresh Ink.  Cut a few scraps from the Lemonlush papers adhered and stitched.  All was assembled upon a spring green Bazzill base.
2014-11-09 11.30.05
I love the watercolor and mottled effect of the front and underlying panels.
The inside is finished with some navy washi to echo that on the front.
2014-11-09 11.31.59
This may be the most simple card I’ve constructed in awhile.  I should note I was also inspired a bit by a CAS(E) this Sketch design, but missed the deadline.
CTS_98
Aside from today, the weather has been unseasonably summery this fall in the PNW.  We’ve had a few blustery intimations of winter, but it may be the warmest and sunniest autumn I can recall.  I will leave you with a photo of last night’s sunset.  It was far more fuchsia than the photo represents, and the water was downright pink, but it’s pretty spectacular nonetheless. It echoes the card, too– though it is far more magnificent.
2014-11-08 16.50.43
I am heading into another extremely busy work-week, and if the past few weeks have been any indication who knows what surprises await.  That being said, it may remain a bit quiet here over the next few days.  If you follow me at all on Facebook, you may recall I promised a particular post a few week’s back.  It’s in queue along with some autumnal delights from the Persimmon collection I’ve been hinting at.  So I hope you will stop back soon.

&nbsp

On my way out, I want to thank all the new followers and visitors to my site and Facebook page!  I appreciate your interest in my work
It’s likely too late for you to play along at Curtain Call, but head over and check out some of the gorgeous creations, especially Shirley Bee’s funky card– I just love her background!
May your week be as delightful as a crowd of daffodils and just as bright.

Neon Birthday

Today I am going back, but it’s not to school (not yet anyway!).  Maybe it’s my reluctance to let go of this succulent summer that sped by, but I am craving bright color and design that pops off the page.  What better than neon, bold black and crisp white to fulfill that desire?

I set out to create a simple birthday card and it morphed into an hours-long affair playing with patterns, layering, and embellishing.  Since I will be back to a six-day work week and very busy school year in a little over a week, I’ve been giving myself permission to intersperse some paper play with the mountain of administrative work I am attempting to summit!  Unfortunately, I think I used up my quota of creative time today, because the mountain is looming and its shadow is making me not just a little anxious!

So let’s turn toward the bright!

2014-09-02 17.26.20

2014-09-02 17.22.03

I started by strategically positioning WPlus9’s Ink Splats in Hero Arts Lemon Yellow ink so they would work with the flow of the sentiment.  Then I overlaid Winnie and Walter’s sentiment in Hero Arts Neon Pink and Versafine Black Onyx.  I added the final large splat above the sentiment to create a visual line.

And I thought that might be it, as I had just planned to layer the stamped piece over a white card base for a super CAS design.  But it just didn’t feel quite right.

Enter some Maggie Holmes paper and Lemon Lush from Studio Calico.  As I was layering, I realized I was replicating the sketch over at Winnie and Walter’s Share the Love week that I’d stumbled upon a few days ago.

share-the-love---SSS---sketch-challenge

And since I was using the sentiments I so love from that company, I figured I’d see the design through and share some love with them by joining the challenge!   It is open until September 7th, and there are some fabulous inspiration pieces from their design team, like this little number from Kelly Griglione.

kelly_SSS_sketch_web

I was equally inspired by her card specifically because one of her trademarks is using patterned paper inside her cards. I just love this.

A hallmark of my cards is the use of washi as a bottom and back layer, but this time I wanted to line my card’s interior like Kelly’s.

The Lemon Lush paper proved perfect for this purpose.

2014-09-02 17.03.50

You can lift the white layer of white paper to read the bottom layer of “Wordsmith” pattern paper.

Lemon Lush Wordsmith Paper 12x12

I thought I would stitch a bit onto the scrap pieces I added for some visual interest, but after I did, the stitching just didn’t feel right.  Out it came and I really liked the pierced holes it left behind!

2014-09-02 17.09.51

2014-09-02 17.22.27

I added some sequins, but rather than leaving them flat, I propped each of them up.  I really like dimension in my cards, though it doesn’t make them easy to mail!

2014-09-02 17.11.12

Lovely layers.

2014-09-02 17.00.21 2014-09-02 16.59.43

Once all was positioned and adhered, I decided to add a PTI wreath cut from 100# SSS Black Cardstock (I really can’t emphasize enough how much I love this multi-purpose wreath!).

2014-09-02 17.27.38

Are you feeling a bit brighter?

Now that I’ve come to the end of this post, the skies have darkened to a purple-grey over the Sound and the window behind my head is being pelted by some serious rain brought in on the whipping wind.  Intimations of fall indeed.

So stop by tomorrow if you’re in need of a more summery scene.  I will have another bright card inspired by one of my favorite card makers to share with you!

Until then, I bid you a good evening, and wonderful week back to school, if your family is headed that way!

Three Cool Cats

Are you ready for retro?  How about a few cool cats?

CAS(E) this Sketch has some great inspiration this week, including Ms. Kimberly Anne Wiener of Wienerhoneymooners as their guest.

I took my cue from not only the sketch, but also Chrissy Larson’s card because both rock and, as anyone knows, I love cats!

CTS_90

 Card #1

2014-08-30 13.27.22

This is the first card I made which features some sweet Maggie Holmes paper from a bonus pack Michael’s was selling in the spring.

The background stripe is from Heidi Swapp’s collection, which was a major find at Marshalls of all places.  If you look carefully, you can often find some paper crafting treasures there.

2014-08-30 13.26.21

What is really notable about both of the cards, though, is the cat.  I have had these stickers since 1984.  That’s right.  30 years.  I dug them up from the recesses of a childhood treasure chest when visiting my family this past May.

They are from the Current Catalog.  Anyone remember that?  Evidently, the company has remained current, as they have a website, along with a catalog!  Their designs, however, seem a bit dated, (not in a good way) and not nearly as cool as these cat stickers!

2014-08-30 13.28.13

My assortment of cat toys include a deconstructed vellum Scribbled Circle die from PTI, Studio Calico wood heart, delicious enamel dot, and gold die cut word from a Spellbinders Donna Salazar camera set that says “Fave.”  I scored this set for about five dollars at a blow-out sale at Joann’s thanks to my mom!

Totally rad, right?

The notebook paper die cut is also PTI.

2014-08-30 13.30.40

I added some mustard yellow wax twine and echoed the color with some corresponding washi inside and on the back of the card.

I love wax twine for the ability to manipulate its shape.

2014-08-30 13.26.44

Card #2

2014-08-30 13.13.43

Keeping with the 80’s theme, this one features a puffy gold heart and black denim-like feather, as well as turquoise,hot pink, and that black grid paper!

2014-08-30 13.24.20

Cats do love their feathers and string!  This feather is from Studio Calico and designed to be used with their misting sprays.  I used the bronze from Heidi Swapp, which is really black with some bronze glitz in it.  Apologies for the blurry photo.  I wanted to make the bronze of the feather a bit more noticeable.

Make you think of your tight black jeans, or maybe a jean jacket (filled with pins of course!)?

2014-08-30 13.21.26

I finished off the inside with some gold stripe washi to echo the heart of gold.

2014-08-30 13.23.26

On both cards I used a Spellbinders banner and MFT sentiment.  The font and size of the “you” were perfect!  Card #1 features Soft Stone from PTI for the base and flag; Card #2 features Neenah Solar White and White Linen papers.

2014-08-30 13.37.02

An assortment of goods used, and proof of the vintage quality of these stickers!

2014-08-30 13.44.20

I thought these cards would be great to sell to raise money for feline rescue.  What do you think?

I had this song bopping around my head as I was writing this post.  I warn you, though, if you listen it may be infectious!

Keep cool everyone!

Inspiring Sketches: Updated Photos and Design Tips!

I am sure you’ve come across sketches that have you looking at your papers and stamps in myriad ways, sketches that stretch your imagination and keep you coming back for more.

The current composition over at CAS(E) this Sketch has proved to be that way for me.  I am only too sad I stumbled across it so late in the challenge as I didn’t have the time to play with my stamping ideas. And I’ve only just realized that the challenge will close at 6AM PST, not 6PM!

Here’s Gayatri’s sketch:

The aim was to create a card that includes tags or make a tag itself based on the sketch.

I had a few more literal interpretations of the sketch on the drawing board, but for the tag I did finish, I manipulated the design a bit, tipping the sentiment on it’s side and emphasized prominent circular patterns rather than stripes, although I have worked those into the top of the tag.

Here’s what I came up with:

2014-08-14 14.15.07

2014-08-14 14.24.01

2014-08-14 14.22.38

 

I wanted a crisp, modern feel in terms of color and pattern similar to what I created on my recent Love Nest card. My tag features Kraft, Amuse Studio Wasabi for “Congrats” and Habanero for the hearts.  I just cannot get enough of this color combo!

I have also used Bazzill Swiss dot, and PTI Vellum, as well as Studio Calico patterned papers on the front, and Maggie Holmes heart paper on the back.

2014-08-14 14.23.30

TIP: When using the MFT wine tag die and layer papers, cut the top piece away from the bottom for easier folding.  As you can see here, I used the whole panel when adhering to the base, and the paper puckered a bit.  I have made a ton of these tags before, so I should have known better!  Consequences of hurrying!

I also decided I wanted to tuck my wreath in-between the layers, but decided that after I had already adhered to the back!  Lesson learned for next time!

DESIGN QUESTION POSED TO AUDIENCE!

So I toyed with the idea of putting three hearts on the label, instead of the two.  I was trying to work with design principles of odd numbers and triangular design.  I think, however, that the two hearts work better… what are your thoughts?  Too cluttered?  Want more of the white space?  Or does it add movement, draw eye?

TIP: have used the ever helpful Scotch Restickable mini tabs— they are so great for playing around with placement of embellishments.  They don’t tear paper and really work for long term mounting as well!

2014-08-14 14.18.41 2014-08-14 14.19.35 2014-08-14 14.19.02

Dies used include PTI Wreath, Mama Elephant Dainty Bow, MFT tag and wine glasses “Let’s Toast” dies (no longer available from MFT), and Paper Smooches “Congrats.”

NEXT UP: THE BOLD AND THE BEAUTIFUL FROM GRAND BAZAAR!

If eyes aren’t too full yet, below are some other sketch-inspired cards completed last weekend, so please read on!

Another sketch I found myself coming back to was Chupa’s Sketchbook Saturday design.  I missed the deadline, but came up with some cards featuring Basic Grey’s Grand Bazaar papers and embellishments, along with a host of other manufacturer’s goodies.

2014-08-10 19.45.50

2014-08-10 19.40.03

thanks bazaar

2014-08-10 19.44.22

I’ve not stamped the inside of the other card below, so it may end up being a birthday or anniversary card.

 

2014-08-09 19.09.54

2014-08-09 19.05.49

2014-08-09 19.09.23

Be sure to head over to CAS(E) for over 100 inspiring interpretations of the sketch!

Thanks for viewing!

 

 

Love Nest

Good evening!

Two posts in 24 hours?  Another card completed today?  And a fabulous sunny Sunday spent checking out a new coffee/wine shop for brunch (Vif), flea-marketing in Fremont (and scoring, at long last, a gorgeous refurbished dresser along with a vintage Indian tunic– pictures forthcoming), cooling off with some favorite Bluebird ice cream, followed by a Fremont Brewery stop and finally one more coffee for the road at Milstead?!

Yes, indeed, it’s been a good weekend!

And to celebrate that as well as CASE Study’s 4th anniversary here is my card–with love to Chupa and the gang!

2014-08-09 19.12.14

I have been working with so many patterns, layers, and embellishments, that this card felt so good to make.  I love the crisp, clean nature of it, as well as the modern palette.

2014-08-09 19.12.43

My card features PTI dies and vellum, MFT Fuse Green cardstock for the base (and matching enamel dots!), as well as that gorgeous paper from Studio Calico, “Encircled”.

2014-08-09 19.15.24

I had to include the additional picture above because I just love the Basic Grey Grand Bazaar paper in the background, and was thinking of perhaps including it on the inside of the card in lieu of my usual washi tape border.

2014-08-09 19.14.43

Is this washi to die for or what??

I was inspired by two of the amazing cardmakers in the CASE anniversary blog-hop, the MFT queen Ms. Keisha Campbell–who rocks their papers (especially Fuse Green) and dies like nobody’s business–and the lovely Anna of Creativity Mango who nails trendy, crisp, and colorful in her layouts and cards every time!

Here’s Anna’s inspiration card–

IMG_0266

And Keisha’s–

fe249642d1fdd67b6857252c15a1e08f

I was thinking my card would be good for either a wedding or anniversary card–I’ve not yet stamped an inside sentiment.  The pink Scribbled Circles die reminds me a bit of a heart and the vellum wreath around it, an airy bridal veil.  What do you think?

The anniversary celebration is going on all month, so head over to CASE Study for some great work and fun prizes!

 

CASE Study 4th Anniversary

xo

Kate

Enticing Embellishments

Just wanted to pop in with a quick post to share some eye-popping embellishments for your spring and summer cards!  I hope you headed over to Curtain Call to look at the amazing peach inspired cards.  If you missed my post and entry, check it out here.

I just spent a little more time over there this morning, and am blown away by what I see!  There’s some seriously solid work adorning that page, and I am excited to find some new-to-me card makers.

Like Joanne of A Little Something:

And Amy of Pickled Paper Designs

These are just two of the entries that popped off the page for me!

Now for some supplies!

First, these delectable faceted gems in such awesome colors.  They are part of the Darling Dear series from 2013, so are in limited quantity!  Oldies but goodies indeed.

Studio Calico Darling Dear Opaque Gems, , hi-resStudio Calico Darling Dear Opaque Gems, , hi-res

I used these chipboard frames from Crate Paper for my News of Spring card.  And I fell in love with the aqua, orange and green of the MME pins.  If you can’t tell, I am trending toward the spectrum of aqua and orange, as you will see in some upcoming cards!

Crate Paper The Pier Chipboard Slide Frames Assorted Sizes, , hi-resMy Mind's Eye Remarkable Decorative Pins Beautiful, , hi-res

Ready for April showers?  These little Twinkle Raindrops are a perfect addition to your umbrella cards!  I have them in turquoise!  I wish I had purchased two of each of the Dear Lizzy chipboard shapes packs–so many good choices in each!

Twinkle Raindrops

What new or old embellishments have you discovered lately?  Let me know some your favorites!

Happy crafting!