Happy Accidents

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I was just rereading a post from last year because it was recently viewed by a visitor, and in it I discussed the creative process, taking chances (or not!) with art, and happy accidents.  While I cringed a bit at the card featured in the post, I enjoyed reconnecting with my ideas and considering where I am almost one year later.  And it was a timely read since I will be sharing with you today two cards that were happy accidents!

Happy Accident #1

In the midst of making Christmas cards I had negatives of die cuts and scraps of paper gathered about, and in one of my clean sweeps, I collected some of my specialty papers–gold foil and gilded vellums– and just filed them in a plastic sleeve.  I wasn’t paying attention at the time, but about a week later I happened to glance over at the plastic sleeve and noticed the negative die cut of my deer head in the gold foil sitting behind a gold star vellum.  I don’t waste a bit of my gold foil cardstock, so I had just kept what remained for smaller die cuts without even thinking about using the negative!  It was a happy surprise indeed, and this is the card that manifested!

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As you can see in the photo below, the die leaves a squared outline when it cuts into thick paper, which does not make for a great negative, unless you were to frame around the deer head and hide the outline.  In this case, the cover of vellum did just the trick.  I love the shadow of his head beneath the stars!

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One of my favorite and most used dies of the season was my “Sparkle and Shine” set from WPlus9.  I love the font and the size.  I cut it from mint Paper Source CS and used a bit of ice Stickles to embellish.

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And here is the inside where I changed it up a bit from the front, featuring a gold sentiment and mint & gold washi.

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UPDATE: ENVELOPES!

I almost forgot that this little card has a matching envelope I made with my Martha Stewart Scoreboard!  I made a few custom-size envelopes for holiday cards, as I found some great deals on 12×12 paper at Michaels and Joann.  Since I made oddly sized cards, I need custom envelopes, and they add to the whole card!  I will do a post soon on making envelopes and labels!

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Happy Accident #2

Another inspiration came as well from the leftover of a die cut.  I had cut one of my large Avery Elle flags and a Mama Elephant tag from some grey cardstock, and the paper that remained was a triangular piece with a bit of a long rectangular edge.  When I looked at it, I saw a roof and a chimney!  Considering the amazing We R Memory Keepers “Love Notes” collection (I have now purchased two 12×12 pads, two 6×6 pads, and extra 12×12 sheets of the prints I love. Yes, I am hording–the texture and designs were just too awesome to resist!) and the specific print, French Doors, I knew I had a little holiday house card in the making!

Here is what resulted!

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Now you can see the “roof” and “chimney” that sparked my creation!  In order to create the house, I used the flip side of the French Doors paper, measured and cut it in a similar way so it would fit on the grey background.

The grey chimney looked a bit too flat, though, so I embossed with my Tim Holtz brick folder another piece of grey paper, cut to fit, and adhered to the chimney.

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Once I decided what door to use, I fussy cut that and then set to embellishing the rest of the house with a wreath, gingerbread icing scallops from the Avery Elle set, my Poppystamps snowman, and that adorable Mama Elephant bow.  The left corner looked a bit empty upon finishing, so I decided to add the snowflake.

I considered cutting the card base so it was a triangle, but since that was my only sheet of MFT’s Pink Lemonade, which was the perfect color for the base, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it.  It felt like too big of a risk– which echoes my sentiments in that post from a year ago.  If I only have one piece of a cardstock or patterned paper, or embellishment, I am far less likely to take a chance.  Silly, perhaps, but these papers and goods are expensive, so the fear of waste and ruin keeps me on the conservative side!  Do you experience the same feeling in your creative process?

Since this is going to a friend who just moved into a new house, I figured it would be the perfect card and sentiment!

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I hope you found some inspiration in these happy accident cards!  Give pause when you toss aside a scrap; it may just hold the key to a beautiful creation!

May your week be full of happy!

Selected Supplies–Click image to purchase:

We R Memory Keepers - Love Notes Collection - 12 x 12 Double Sided Paper - French Doors

Craft Worthy Redux and Creative Challenges

This evening as we walked into the deserted streets of a quaint Seattle neighborhood, the sky lit up with fireworks and exploded with cheers from every bright highrise, home, and bar.  I imagined for a moment that they were all celebrating my entry into a new decade, and it made for a rousing end to a lovely day.  Of course, in reality, the swell of voices and flashes of fire followed the final moments of a Superbowl that seemed to rally an entire city, even the least likely of fans.

While it was frustrating to find store after store closed or closing early, and a favorite restaurant where we’d planned to have my birthday dinner shuttered for the game, it was hard not to get just a little caught up in the momentary excitement.  Perhaps it was the  energy of the 12th man (and woman and child) that emboldened the Seahawks.  It certainly seemed the Broncos never had a chance.  So the sun smiled on Seattle today, a good omen for the game, and more importantly, a good omen for my new year, I hope!

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On Alki Beach
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Low tide facing west; the kind of blue you want to dive into!

So in my previous post about the creative journey, I discussed the concept of letting a piece “get cold”. I really need to do this more with my work.  There is an urgency in the virtual world, or more so an urgency prompted in one’s self by the virtual world, that can get in the way of the creative process.

After I created this card, I kept looking at it and thinking something was missing…

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I decided the embroidery hoop was just too empty; it didn’t look or feel right.  So I took a deep breath and filled the circle!

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Better?  I think so.  And while I am being a bit hyperbolic about taking a deep breath (it’s not like I couldn’t distress ink another panel and re-stamp!), this is one aspect of working with visual media that has always scared me–the lack of control one has over a piece.  Painting, creating mixed media, there is always that possibility of going one step too far, setting down the ink or paint, or adding some element to a nearly finished product that could “ruin” the whole thing.  When I think back to art classes in my youth, I felt the same way–unsure about the next step, over-thinking or under-trusting my decisions.  And certainly there are those opposite moments where the happy accident occurs.

But it’s not the same with writing.  There is so much more control.  Put down a word, delete, leave it, write on, come back–no matter.  The written work is malleable.  And it is certainly much more comfortable if not necessarily easier for me to execute.  I will likely be back to tinker with this entry at some point…

So the discomfort and moments of wonderment (Oh, I could have done it that way?!) will continue to accompany me on this journey as a paper crafter.  And in all honesty, I am enjoying the challenge.

Speaking of challenges, I finalized one more card for the Purple challenge over at CASology.  I used the window screen technique a la Make-it-Monday for this card as well.  It is my homage to the month of May, lilacs, and Mother’s Day!

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The cover plate is from Lil’ Inkers.  I love this die.  The vine flourish is Spellbinders.  Lilacs and sentiment are from WPlus9 Fresh Florals, stamped with pigment inks.  The banner is from a great Spellbinders set of 4 ribbon banners.

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The back was finished off with some washi– it looks more yellowed in the photograph, but it is closer in color to the green paper on the card’s front.

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And speaking of florals, I dropped into the exquisite Drygoods Design in Ballard today.  I adore this store; they have a wonderful selection of fabrics, cards, notions and the owner is just as nice as can be.  Look at these Liberty of London fabrics–I am still drooling over the red in the floral pattern on the right.

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The store is attached to Anchored Ship Coffee, a darling bright spot to sip in the western sun and think about fabric…

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Photo by Leona Lane
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Storefront. Photo by Yelp.
Facing upstairs to Drygood Designs.
Facing upstairs to Drygood Designs. Photo by Leona Lane

I couldn’t leave empty handed, of course!  So I bought this delightful fabric:

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It’s called “Cat’s Dream” by Andover Fabrics–notice the balloons?  Purrfect birthday fabric for a crazy cat lady, no?

Oh, and Andover Fabrics is the company responsible for the new line of Downton Abbey fabrics inspired by Lady Mary, Edith, Sybil, and the Dowager Countess!  Read all about it here!

Speaking of Downton, I am off to see if the latest episode is ready to watch online.

Keep calm and craft on you crazy cats…

Thanksgiving Table Setting Pieces

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Hello everyone!  It’s black Friday here, but you’ll find me nowhere near a store today!  I am happily home, updating my website, soon to be crafting and later teaching, as I digest the lovely dinner we had at Seattle’s Sorrento Hotel last night!  They had WWI and Roaring 20’s era menus displayed along the walls, and I captured the image of one of them below.

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I haven’t been online much in the past week as I worked furiously to complete the following sewing and paper craft projects to send to my family in New York for their Thanksgiving table.

First up, the coasters with a guest appearance by my new Douglas squirrel ornament!  Fabric backdrop is organic Birch Fabrics purchased at Purl Soho when we were in NYC in May.  Pattern is from one of my favorite books, Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts.  The acorn fabric was purchased at West Seattle Fabric Co.

Coasters
Coasters
Coasters & Douglas Squirrel!
Coasters & Douglas Squirrel!
Quilted Coasters--2013
Quilted Coasters–2013

Next up, my napkins!  The fabric is from Timeless Treasures, also purchased at West Seattle Fabric Co.

Napkin--Timeless Treasures Fabric
Napkin–Timeless Treasures Fabric

Check out my mitered corners!

Mitered Corners!
Mitered Corners!

No Big Dill’s gorgeous website provided the tutorial for getting these just right.  Check out Katy’s website and you won’t be sorry!  It’s a feast for the eyes.

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Here are all the napkins rolled up and presented in their lovely wrapping!  For these tags, I used My Favorite Things wine tag die, Impression Obsession leaf dies, “Thanks” die from Paper Smootches, Gina K. Cocoa paper, and corrugated card stock for the base.  Some burlap ribbon and sequins provide finishing touches.

I also used this wonderful negative die cut for my World Cardmaking Day card, here.

You can see in this photo the 3-D effect I created on the tags with sentiment and leaf.

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Next up, are the chocolate gift wrappers!

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For these, I used Papertrey Ink’s Lunchbox notes die, Boutique Borders die, and coordinating stamp.  The sentiment is from WPlus9 Fresh Cut Florals set.

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All of the chocolate gift wraps have different paper inside—for this one above, I used the birch embossed paper from Ellen Hutson and colored it with Distress Inks “Walnut” to match the stamp.

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My mom received the special one, originally featured here, since it was just her birthday!  I packaged up some leaf confetti as well to spread on the table!

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Finally, I gave them some felted acorns (which I did not make), packaged in a kraft pillow box that I embellished with the Neat & Tangled Simple Christmas stamp set.  I was a bit heavy-handed with the pine cone and bough!  It is a bit hard to see, but the white winter berries are embellished with some glittery embossing powder.

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My little leaf-jumping squirrel sketch (originally posted here) found a home on this card that accompanied the gift.  The bottom is adorned with an EK punch.

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I am so thankful you stopped by to view my creations!  Your comments and questions are much appreciated!

I hope your Thanksgiving, if you are in the States, was fulfilling and that you are carving some time (and maybe some left-over turkey!) to create today!