Hello Everyone and welcome to a special THD Challenge for July!
We just celebrated Toni’s birthday and the 4th of July, and now we’re celebrating the first anniversary ofThe Heart Desires Store with a sale and a new THD Challengethis month with a hop where you could be a winner!
Here’s our current inspiration!
This month’s Hop Rules
There are up to 3 opportunities to win a $20 gift certificate to the store.
Leave a comment on the challenge post on the blog, on IG, and/or FB. You must be a follower of each platform you comment on for your vote to count.
Enter the July challenge for an additional chance to win a $10 gift certificate. Don’t forget to link back to the challenge in your personal post.
Winners will be randomly selected from the eligible entries and announced August 2 so you have plenty of time to comment and enter.
NEW: A randomly selected participant each month will receive a $10 gift certificate to the store. Who doesn’t like an excuse to shop?!
NEW: If you would like to be a guest designer on the blog, please add GD next to your name when you enter.
Don’t worry. We’ll still be choosing our favorites and offering the opportunity for the winner to guest design for the challenge.
Challenges will run from the first Wednesday to the last day of each month.
Enter up to 3 times and combine with no more than 5 challenges, including ours.
Include the challenge inspiration pic or link in your post.
The challenge winner will be invited to be a future guest designer.
Most importantly, have fun!!!!
When you post your entries, feel free to tag us on social media!
Oh, and did we mention a sale?
And now for how I was inspired by our challenge graphic!
I pulled together some things old, some things new for this one! I had a few leftover Waffle Flower floral die cuts that had been colored with Brushos from my card in the April challenge. While I was playing around with them, I realized they could double as both fireworks and anemones! Here they are playing the role of the latter!
I love how they look with the Memory Box underwater collage dies. The inner panel was cut from hand-colored alcohol inked glossy paper; the outer from the Gina Marie cross-stitch die. The top one is adhered with a cute clip from Michael’s mermaid line!
The inner panel was colored with Distress inks and then sprayed with Heidi Swap Color Shine. I then stamped a sentiment from Waffle Flower’s Flora Cat Play.
Finally, I added one of my sequin strands that uses a variety of sequins, including Hero Arts Ombre sequins and some anchor washi from Target on the inside! The base paper is from an old collection from Glitz Design.
Thanks for celebrating with us! I look forward to seeing what you create this month! Click on any of the links below to purchase items used in my card for 20% off!
Well, there are no llamas in this month’s inspiration photo, but there are some pretty fantastic images, and to say nothing of the color scheme. I love the citron, red and grey combo– so unexpected and not a combo I would usually work with, which makes creating even more exciting. I hope you’ll feel the same way because we want you to help us celebrate a whole year of The Heart Desires’ challenges!
Here’s some more inspiration to get you started~
First up, No Drama Llama!
Flora and Fauna’s newly launched products are fabulous and Tonya has most of them in the store!
I created another card using the grey, black, citron and red scheme.
First I stamped a Concord & 9th Tree Ring in Unicorn White ink, heat set, and water colored with Twisted Citron, Mowed Lawn, and Shabby Shutters Distress Inks. Tonya has many of the Distress Inks and new Oxide Distress Inks in store!
Laura, I am sorry that the sun is not shining for you in the PNW (what else is new), I am sorry that Mercury is in retrograde (thus all my uploading woes), and thus I do apologize for being so unfashionably late. All that being said, I sure hope you have had a wonderful birthday weekend, and caught some sunny spring splendor Friday or late yesterday! What a wonderful time of the year for a birthday when everything is bursting to life!
This card was inspired by the season and earth day! I can’t wait to get digging in the dirt and my containers, as the front of the house is looking like a wasteland after the winter!
I’ve had this printed acetate from Studio Calico for awhile now and kept wanting to use it, but not really feeling inspired to. Sometimes just spending time with your stash, organizing, reminding yourself of forgotten dies, and sifting through the bits and bobs leads to inspiration. This is a a combo of new and old, and features a few different techniques.
For example, the hummingbird set from Hero Arts is brand new; I love these dies so much–you’ll be seeing more of this and the other bird soon. I adhered some washi from a great Michael’s collection to some cardstock and then die cut. I like this technique and it is a great way to create unique papers and use up washi, especially that which is getting older and losing its stick.
The sentiment from Papertrey Ink is adhered below the acetate. Because anything will show under the acetate, adhering it itself is tricky, so glue dots were used under the die cuts.
The little Wellie is from an older My Creative Time die set. The top layer of the boot is cut from hand-colored Ranger glossy paper using a combo of orange, pink and yellow alcohol inks.
I watercolored with brushos, available at The Heart Desires, and cut that paper with the new Waffle Flower leafy dies. The new Waffle Flower collection looks so good with Savvy dies, and so I united the Savvy floral set here.
The inside is finished with the Michael’s washi set.
I’m the last stop on the hop, so make sure to head over to Laura’s blog and check out her recent work and wish her a happy birthday!
If you want to start at the beginning, head over to Tonya’s blog, our hostess for the event!
Just screams sweetness, doesn’t it? (A little oxymoron for you… I’ve been teaching Shakespeare for the last couple of weeks, and it is National Poetry Month, after all!)
For my offering, I honed in on the chalkboard (possibly passe as far as trends go, but I really wanted some contrasting black with the pastels), and the florals. I didn’t have a lamb, so you’ll note I’ve substituted a hedgehog. Nothing says spring like a hedgie, right?
My sentiment is deliberately mottled, imperfect and smudged, and that being said, it’s killing me! But you know, chalkboard! I achieved the smudged, off-set effect by stamping once in Unicorn White ink, then heat-embossing with Detail White powder.
Once cool, I stamped again over it, just a bit off to the side, then rubbed the wet ink from the embossed letters. The little dancing white specks of embossing powder really goad me, but it’s hard to get a clean finish even after prepping with the Embossing Magic buddy.
So this is how my card began; it is a tri-fold construction, created from just an 8.5×11″ piece of cardstock. I cut a diagonal and adhered the coverplate die (thanks Kimberly!). I wanted you to be able to see the patterned paper peeking through, thus the diagonal cut.
The inside paper is from Maggie Holmes’ Bloom collection, available in the THD store.
After getting those pieces adhered, I assembled my centerpiece. The chalkboard is cut from Gina Marie Cross-stitched rectangle die. The amazing new collection from Waffle Flower Crafts includes this Floral Border Die, which was cut from Ranger Watercolor paper and then colored with Brushos (Emerald and Marine Blue) and Distress Inks.
Here’s a bit of a close-up of the coloring. And that HEDGEHOG!! Love that little guy. He fits perfectly in the scene. Tonya has many dies from Gina Marie, not to be found many other places, and I couldn’t resist this little critter.
The inside is finished with some washi, of course!
Finally, I bound the card together with my favorite wax string.
Here’s the back view:
Okay, hop to it and submit your creations by 4/30! I can’t wait to see how you are inspired!
I am so excited for Tonya as she embarks on this journey and I hope you will share in the excitement as well by hopping along with the design team and then hopping over to her store to find some sweet products for your planners and paper-crafting! Tonya will be curating high-quality products that she recommends in a boutique-style shop. For our hop, we are featuring some of her current products and/or Hero Arts company products.
For all you coffee lovers, she has some fabulous finds for your next coffee inspired project–stamps, stencils, inks, and great embellishments! Here are few of my favorites. Click any image My links aren’t working, so click here to be taken to Tonya’s shop to purchase:
So here is a lovely picture of a coffee plant. In my modern twist, neon colors and bold black take center stage. The flower and berry stem is from Julie Ebersole’s Wild Garden set.
The leafy stem has been cut from one of the most beautiful coffee bags I have ever seen (the coffee was pretty fine, too!). I love single origin coffees and exploring small roasters. We are pretty lucky here in the PNW to have some amazing roasters–Heart, Coava, Courier, Case Study, Seattle Coffee Works, Elm Roasters, and Slate to name a few. In Seattle, we are also finally catching up with other progressive cities and our coffee shops are offering some wonderful roasters from all over the US. Here is a photo of the actual bag:
Isn’t that lovely? I have cut out the entire bag and have a few other up-cycled projects in the works!
For the flower, I embossed a Hero Arts background stamp onto cardstock with clear Versafine embossing ink and covered it with clear embossing powder.
Then I sponged Hero Arts Neon pink ink over the embossing. You can see some of the sheen of the clear embossing on top of the flower.
The sentiment is from an older Kelly Purkey collection. She has partnered with Hero Arts and has some fantastic product for planners, scrapbooking, and card making which Tonya is featuring in her store. Below are a few of the featured Hero Arts products (the whimsical leaf is actually from Penny Black, but I’ve had it so long, I thought it was a Hero Arts die! Hence, its appearance alongside the other products!)
You can view more of my coffee-inspired projects here!
Next Up: Terrarium Love
Hero Arts offers up the best of the papercrafting trends like succulents and pineapples as of late! My next card features HA succulent garden stamps, their terrarium die cut from Jen Hadfield gold paper and birch wood paper, Distress Ink watercoloring on Ranger watercolor paper, Studio Calico sentiment, and all digital papers from The Lilypad and The Digital Press.
The inside washi is from Stampin’ Up, which Tonya also sells! I love the play of coral against the blues and ripe green.
Okay, now it’s time for you to hop along to the rest of the design team’s pages for some more inspiration!
“Hello, yeah, it’s been a while.
Not much, how ’bout you?
I’m not sure why I called,
I guess I really just wanted to talk to you.
And I was thinking maybe later on,
We could get together for a while.
It’s been such a long time,
And I really do miss your smile.”
–England Dan and John Ford Coley, 1976
“Oh – stop
With your feet on the air and your head on the ground
Try this trick and spin it, yeah
Your head will collapse
But there’s nothing in it
And you’ll ask yourself
Where is my mind?
Way out in the water
See it swimmin’ ”
–The Pixies, 1988
Ever feel like you’ve been existing in a time-warp, floating between dimensions, touching down lightly into reality and then off again? That’s what the last ten days have been like for me!
Over the last two decades, as a migraineur, I have had to adapt to an uncooperative brain, which is not easy for someone who could be working, creating, reading, and writing 24/7! Last week, I was hit with a three day migraine, the effects of which lasted for the remainder of the week–what migraineurs not-so-affectionately call “a migraine hangover.” So all creative and professional work was curtailed, and I’ve been playing catch-up, and taking life a little more slowly the last five days.
With a reduced teaching load due to spring break, I’ve had a bit more time to get back into my craft room and resume work on a few projects. It has been so good to just play with colors and patterns and experiment with some new styles. I will showcase some of those very soon!
Today, though I want to share a project I had completed right before I was derailed. I took my inspiration from an art piece I found on Pinterest. It is called “The unending amends we’ve made (imperishable wreath) 2010,” (acrylic on cut paper, papier-mâché, wire, wood) by Brooklyn-based artist Lauren Clay. Her work is delicious in terms of color, and at times unsettling in terms of contrasting hard geometric elements with the soft colors.
Here is my card:
As I mentioned in a previous post, I have been compelled to create paper nests. I have also been gravitating to varying hues of turquoise, coral, and pink, as you may have noted in my last few cards. So when I saw Lauren’s work, I knew I wanted to try and replicate its form and color with my Memory Box branches.
I first colored separate panels of watercolor paper with a water-color brush and Distress Inks and Stains. I saturated some areas for deep color and lightened others with water. I also flicked water onto parts of the panel for spotting. I wanted to create an ombre effect, which you can see more clearly in the close-ups.
After creating my pink, blue, purple, and yellow panels, I strategically cut many branches! I’ve been quite the die cutting machine lately with my recent cards! Flowers, circle, branches, oh my!
I then altered branches to get the desired shapes and sizes. Finally, I worked on placement, which took some time!
TIP: Take pictures of your stages, especially when working with a lot of large and small paper elements. This will aid your memory greatly and allow you to compare different arrangements.
I was then ready to add that gorgeous sentiment from Winnie and Walter’s set The Big, Bold, and You. I absolutely cannot get enough of these fonts and the quality of the stamps is awesome. I just ordered their other set, The Big, Bold and Happy. I used Versafine Onyx Black, which is just as bold as the sentiment!
TIP: When working on placement of your font, use the Stamp-a-ma-jig and corresponding plastic sheet or stamp your sentiment on a scrap paper and position.
I absolutely love how the flow of the “you” follows that of the branches.
The inside and back are finished off with a simple strip of turquoise washi.
As some of you may know, CASE Study, run by the ever-inspirational artist, Chupa, is looking to expand its design team. I had the honor of guest designing in March and would love to continue creating alongside all of the talented ladies on the team.
Chupa asked applicants to create a project based on the work of a personal muse in the crafting industry and a style that would challenge us artistically. I have many muses in the crafting world to whom I turn time and again for inspiration– and they vary greatly in their styles. I will be featuring some of these individuals and the cards I created based on their inspiration in upcoming posts.
However, as a writer and paper crafter, I have always looked to the art world and popular culture for inspiration. So in this instance, while I am not CASE-ing any particular card artist, I was drawn to a compelling visual artist that inspired me to create a bold, modern, CAS-style card. I hope this will count!
Happy weekend, once again! I had hoped to be back bit sooner this week, but the design I was working on just wasn’t ready to be birthed! Some pieces are like that, especially when you are trying on a new style for the first time.
I’ve got a card to see, a poem to read, and a song to hear, as well as some great resources to follow, so settle in and read on!
Birds and Bees
For the past two weeks, I have been working on building nests just like my sparrow, wren and crow neighbors! We have an adorable house wren couple that covets an evergreen bush and Camellia tree in the front yard. The cats and I have enjoyed watching the little love birds pecking about the ground and in the branches that brush right up against our window!
Likewise, the crows have been foraging for nesting materials in my yard, and the other day I watched one fashion a stick from our backyard tree to his liking. I’ve spied one of the local crow family’s new nests perched high in a birch overlooking the beach and within viewing range from my studio window! And just this morning, a baby bee was buzzing about my screen door giving the cats quite a time before I was able to shoo him to freedom. The winged creatures have certainly sprung into action here on Alki!
And so, I attempted to follow their lead and get this shabby chic creation, inspired by the wrens and trees and colors in my yard, completed at last!
This is not a style that I typically gravitate to, though I have been making more clean and layered cards with frames and clustering and am thoroughly enjoying the clustering style.
Because the layout of this card shifted quite a bit, I decided to photograph the different ideas for comparison, and frankly to aid my visual memory!
An initial layout with full newspaper panel
Adding the red “wallpaper” for some contrast
This PTI stamp has been living with my sparrow stamp since I got it. A perfect pair, don’t you think?
Initial construction with off-set newspaper panels that proved too long and off-balance.
I consulted some gorgeous paper artists who work exclusively in this style to learn more about how they layer panels and embellish. Check out the work of Andrea Ewen (more elegant-less-shabby at times, always chic master), Dorota_mk (jaw-dropping work), Frau Muller (edgier approach to this style, which I love!), Scrapperia (vintage, shabby style with a hip twist in cards and scrapbook layouts). You can find representative work from each on my Pinterest as well.
This style is quite labor intensive!
I initially began stamping my Sparrow from Deep Red Stamps onto watercolor paper with Walnut Stain distress ink. I then watercolored him with various Distress inks and a fine watercolor brush.
Reinforce paper for distressing
To reinforce thin paper, I Mod-podged my newspaper from the 7 Gypsies Conservatory pack onto heavy cardstock, and did the same with my wood background panel to enable distressing as the thinness of the papers would not hold up to the edging tool. The frame’s paper, cut with Spellbinders Fancy Ovals, is also from the Conservatory pack.
I Distress inked most papers with Antique Linen and/or Tattered Rose.
Sewing on Paper
Before sewing my two paper panels, I made sure to adhere them in the center so they would not slip.
One thing I should have done was reinforce with heavy cardstock, as it would have made the sewing easier. These papers are very thin as well, and despite using a grippier quilting foot, they tended to slip around a bit making straight-lining tricky! I sew fabric much better, folks. We’re going for shabby here! 🙂
I die-cut dozens of branches from a variety of papers for texture. I then cut or ripped them to get the sizes or shapes I wanted. I featured these delicious little pins in my Enticing Embellishments post and I was excited to find a use for them! I also love Fancy Pants resin flowers. They are the best ones out there in my opinion. Gorgeous shapes and colors.
When playing around with placement of my completed panel on the card, it felt a bit empty, ironically! So I dug into one of my favorite paper sets, DIY Shop, and the Joyful Morning Anthem sentiment fit perfectly length-wise. After trying it atop the card horizontally, I decided on a vertical placement.
I finished off the back and inside with my woodgrain washi– a favorite I reach for time and again!
And speaking of nests– you have likely seen circles of twine or nests of gold and silver thread adorning people’s cards lately. It’s definitely a trend. But how to do that easily so it looks like a controlled chaos rather than just a mess?
I love this adhesive for my cards as it is strong, but removable (won’t rip most of your papers), can be cut to desired size and gives a little dimension (if that is what you want) but not as much as a foam square.
This is perfect to lay down on your surface and encircle or twist and turn your thread into the desired shape as I did here:
I have one adhesive square down on the card, curled my thread in a design I wanted and then put another square atop to adhere the die cut.
My Sparrow card is headed over to Catered Crop for their current challenge: Put a Bird on It and to Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge that features more vintage work! There are many challenges featuring our fine winged friends going on and I will be swooping back in with more bids and some butterflies soon, so check back!
April is National Poetry Month!
On my way out, I thought I would leave you with a poem to celebrate the month of poetry here in the States as well as a song! I listened to this album while I was working on the card above and the first track is quite appropriate for spring!
Eight deer on the slope
in the summer morning mist.
The night sky blue.
Me like a mare let out to pasture.
The Tao does not console me.
I was given the Way
in the milk of childhood.
Breathing it waking and sleeping.
But now there is no amazing smell
of sperm on my thighs,
no spreading it on my stomach
to show pleasure.
I will never give up longing.
I will let my hair stay long.
The rain proclaims these trees,
the trees tell of the sun.
Let birds, let birds.
Let leaf be passion.
Let jaw, let teeth, let tongue be
between us. Let joy.
Let entering. Let rage and calm join.
Let quail come.
Let winter impress you. Let spring.
Allow the ocean to wake in you.
Let the mare in the field
in the summer morning mist
make you whinny. Make you come
to the fence and whinny. Let birds.
Well, hello there partners! It’s been a bit quiet around these here virtual parts. The noise has all been happening my “real” world of work, personal, and exciting creative commitments the past 2 weeks, so the site has lain silent a bit longer than planned. I wish it were still March 4th, so I could say, “Now it is time to March forth…” and have the pun be relevant! Pretty good, don’t you think? I love a double entendre, and if you haven’t noticed, anything witty and wordsmithy!
So tomorrow I will be happy to reveal some thrilling news and corresponding work that I hope will be inspiring to you!
In the meantime, I will share some recent watercolor work that was prompted by play and, unfortunately, necessity.
Recently several clients have lost human and animal family members, so I have been working on some sympathy cards for them this week. Completed is a card for a family who lost their beloved dog of 18 years last Saturday– 18 years! While losing an animal companion is certainly different than losing a human one, it is nonetheless a traumatic event that significantly alters one’s life. And anyone who has nurtured an animal from infancy, or a young age, to adulthood knows the incredible bond forged between two species that transcends verbal communication. It is a relationship that teaches selflessness, incredible patience, and commitment if one really takes the time to listen and understand the ways of a creature, who in many aspects may not be entirely different from you. I often feel like a little zoologist in my humble habitat as I observe daily the intricacies of my cats’ behaviors and moods, and their shifts and development over time. For example, just as we grieve our humans and animals, our animals also grieve, and witnessing this in my cat, Atticus, was a complete paradigm shift for me as I watched his attitude and behavior drastically change upon the loss of his best friend, Claude. It took about 8 months for us to have our Attie back to “normal”, though since Claude’s untimely death, Atticus has retained a level of clinginess we’d not experienced before.
So I find it appropriate to honor the life and passing of our animals just as we honor the life and passing of our fellow humans. I hope my little card here does just that for it’s recipient.
Watercolor has been taking the paper crafting world by storm; therefore, I decided to dabble a bit. It seemed an appropriate choice for the content of the card. I initially began playing with Distress inks and my Paper Smooches Paws for a Cause dog stamp (partial proceeds from this stamp set will go to Home for Good, so buy this set for you or the animal loving stamper in your life); then I moved on to the paws! I have a series of these “dripping” paws which I will showcase later.
The watercoloring/stamping technique pulled me in so much once I started, I couldn’t stop!
Below is a series of my dogs that I created. Click on any image to enlarge or watch a slideshow.
So the technique… I initially inked my craft mat with Distress in Stormy Sky, Faded Jeans, Crushed Sapphire, Peacock, and Tumbled Glass. For some of the stampings, I directly inked the stamp, stamped on watercolor paper, and then stamped again with another color, adding water either to the stamp or to the paper with my brush.
For other applications, I added multiple ink colors to the stamp, sprayed with water, stamped, and then re-stamped partially with a particular blue or blues. I then went in with my paintbrush and added color here and there to the image, moved color around, altered perspective in the dog’s head with the addition of color (in images some it looks like his head is turned, in others it looks like we are seeing the back of him).
Overall, I really just played around with the ink and water both on the stamp and on the paper, sometimes intentionally manipulating the color or flow, other times working more spontaneously.
I worked the same way with the paws, though in this card, the paws were just stamped once, the dripping was stamped once then manipulated with a brush.
The dripping is from Fresh Squeezed Stamps’ set “On Trend.” Sadly, if you didn’t already know, the paper crafting community is mourning the loss of that stamp company. Their “On Trend” set is one of my favorites of all stamps from any company. I will be sad to see them go. They produced quality stamps that were quirky, fun and definitely on trend! Right now they are offering 30% off all merchandise until March 31st, so check them out before they close for good.
And speaking of closing (but not for good!), I will bring this little entry to it’s end, as I need to prepare tomorrow’s post, and check out what some of my crafty friends have been up to! I am feeling pretty out of the loops, so it’s time to do a few around the blogosphere, dropping some love and picking up some inspiration along the way.
And if you have the time, drop me a line! It would be great to hear from you!
Like Bob Barker used to say at the end of the Price is Right, “Help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered!” and, I will add, consider adoption first, as well donating to your local rescue group! Every little bit helps a furry friend in need.