Tuesday, November 29, 2016

did you say "bargello"?!

yes, in fact, we did say bargello. because this week's challenge at shopping our stash is called "paper strip art" and we'd like to see projects that make use of the bargello technique! if, like a-week-ago me, you have no idea what that means, please click the link, which takes you to an awesome step-by-step tutorial by joan ervin on splitcoast stampers. it is actually very easy and a lot of fun to do, which is evidenced by the fact that a technique-free-zone such as myself was able to make not one, but TWO cards, pdq! see?

patterned paper scraps (i'm honestly not sure whence all of these came, but really... you can use ANY scraps you have on hand!!!): doodlebug, studio calico, elle's studio, crate paper, my mind's eye, october afternoon, we r memory keepers, prima, echo park... ok, i THINK that's it...);  florals: we r memory keepers, making memories; brad: october afternoon; ribbons: doodlebug + some white grosgrain that i think i may have accidentally stolen from my mom's sewing room :),,, cardstock stickers: reminisce and creative imaginations; kromekote cardstock: the paper cut; adhesives: xyron, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i made the panel for the snowman one first, which is how i discovered that you really shouldn't use a text paper as one of your patterned papers, because in addition to being cut into chunks too small to read, it will likely wound up oriented the wrong way around and just look really weird. also, while i like the red-on-red color palette, and the uniform size, the lack of contrast made the bargello pattern itself kind of fade into the background a bit too much for my taste.

so when it came to card two, i chose patterns without a "right side up", added more colors and varied the width of the strips. so the bargello pattern is much more the star of the show! i think it's definitely handy to be able to play the pattern up or down, though, and however you do it, the bargello technique* is an AWESOME way to use up offcuts of patterned paper, right?!

i'm linking my cards up to the "poinsettias OR snow is falling" challenge at winter wonderland, since i have one of each, lol! :)

jump on over to SOS to see what my design team darlings have done with this clever idea! ♥

*one other technique-based insight gleaned between cards 1 and  2: after you've shuffled your strips around a bit to get a pattern you like, apply adhesive all over a panel of plain white cardstock slightly larger than you'd like your card to be, and stick your paper strips to it, rather than applying adhesive to the strips themselves. i used my 9" xyron machine and it worked BRILLIANTLY, but you could easily use an ATG or even a glue stick! i also found that a bit of machine stitching around all the panels, enhanced the quilt-like vibe of these pieces, whilst also ensuring that even the tiniest bits of paper, stuck right to the edge, would remain securely attached! 

Monday, November 28, 2016

aloha... monday?

isn't it weird how a holiday weekend totally disorients one's sense of time? i've honestly woken up four days in a row thinking it was sunday! mind you *yesterday* i was actually correct, so there's that! meanwhile, i'm fairly certain today is monday, and i thought it'd brighten things up a bit if we all had a nice little daydream about hawaii, k?

white kromekote cardstock: the paper cut; dies: echo park (hibiscus) and spellbinders (foliage); vellum letter stickers: amy tangerine/american crafts; patterned paper: doodlebug; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

in keeping with my self-imposed mandate to try making more CAS cards, i'm jumping in on challenge #201 at CAS colours and sketches, it's a sketch this week, and apart from rotating it 90 degrees, i've been pretty literal with it. i do  have a teeny bit of pattern in my mat, which i hope doesn't disqualify me, but as anyone who knows *ME* will tell you, this is uber-CAS in the laurniverse, lol, and i'm fairly pleased with my take! :)

i'm also jumping in with the crafty friends challenge #45: blossoms, since i have this rather nice hibiscus!

have a good day and a great week! aloha, darlings! ♥

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Keep Calm and Knit On

Long holiday weekends spent with friends and family are one of the best things in life, but they can also be one of the most hectic, don't you think? Luckily I have a no-fail action plan for any eventuality:

Luckily I also had some Eyelet Outlet Knitting Brads to bring it to life in card form. I love that the packets include knitting needles and balls of yarn, and that the yarn comes in a few different colors, because let's face it, there are very few knitters who will content themselves with just ONE color of yarn! I made my own knitted background paper by painting little V's in coordinated shades of Color Burst pigment powders, as well as a solid panel to hold my stamped sentiment. A few tiny gems from a Jewel Bling Strip and a bit of machine stitching complete the design.

I hope that your weekend is full of food, fun, family... and a little creativity, too! ♥

Friday, November 25, 2016

doily & poinsettia card

we're still totally inspired by this cozy, christmassy room at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥, and you still have plenty of time (til wednesday night!) to join us... so we hope you will!

here's my card and then i'll essplain:

not a lot of "product" on this one, plain white & kraft cardstock plus some white vellum, all of which came from paper anthology; i used a white posca paint pen for the outlines of the poinsettias and filled in the leaf veins with a sakura gelly roll pen... which i also used for the doily. beautiful pearl heart brads and white glitter enamel dots are from eyelet outlet; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i saved a photo of this gorgeous card by debby hughes to my "i want to make this" file a while ago. when i saw it again the other day, i thought it would work really well for our current inspiration challenge. i mean, it's got white + kraft, a sort of rustic vibe with intricate decorations, and a little bit of sparkle on top! then i realized it uses two very beautiful (but alas no longer available) clearly besotted stamp sets, neither of which i happen to own. then i realized that i've drawn poinsettias before, so i could probably swing that, and i could always use an actual doily instead of a stamped one. eventually, it occurred to me that when you really look at a doily, it's a circular design, with repeated scalloppy motifs... and what does THAT sound like? yep. a mandala!!! :)

i'm not sure how i always manage to wind up in these art scenarios where telling the story is almost more complicated than making the actual card, but i really like how it came out!

i'm joining the "clean and simple christmas" challenge at the paper players:

and i hope you will join stephanie and me for this last ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ challenge of 2016!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

SOS279: warm and fuzzy

there are a few ways to go with this week's challenge at shopping our stash. when we say "warm and fuzzy" you could pretty much incorporate anything from a fireplace, to a cosy sweater (ugly or not, lol), a cup of hot chocolate, even warm hats, scarves or mittens. like these:
plaid pattern painted with chartreuse, terre vert and olive green color burst on strathmore watercolor paper, outlined with a faber-castell pitt artist pen (XS nib); mitten shape achieved by printing out a piece of mitten clipart sized for a 4x6" photo and using it to cut out the 2 mittens, back to back; traditional patterned paper: studio calico, crate paper, my mind's eye, american crafts; sentiment strip (trimmed from a journal card): lawn fawn; old skool, out of print letter stickers that are still my ALL TIME favorite alphabet: basic grey; ink: colorbox; felt and vintage buttons from my stash; adhesives: elmers brand tape runner, 3m foam tape, gluedots, needle and thread (for the tiny buttons) sewing machine

if you're on instagram, you might've seen this photo last week, i was painting plaid patterns using all my favorite shades of green and blue colorburst:

i'd been thinking they'd be good backgrounds for xmas cards, but then i had the mitten idea, so i printed out a piece of clip art and used it as a template. then i added a little bit of felt trim, a connecting string* made of yarn, and a couple of tiny vintage buttons.

then i looked for an AWESOME sketch, and found one at fusion card challenge. btw, i thank the lovely fusion ladies for the shout-out on my tiny stickers card from last week!

check out the warm, fuzzy creations from my amazing DT colleagues at SOS, it's totally worth the trip, i assure you! :)

*neatly gluing down that 6" piece of yarn was by far the most difficult and time-consuming part of the entire card. true story. :0

Monday, November 21, 2016

strive for five...

today's mandala monday offering has a full day's serving of vitamin c, and enough BRIGHT COLOR to wake up even the most dedicated sleepy heads. see:

fruit salad
most of the time i cannot tell you where my ideas come from, but in this case i do actually know; my facebook friend lenna andrews drew some lemons and blueberries in her sketchbook last week, and my first thought was, "i should draw a fruit mandala!" which i doodled on an envelope while i was on the phone, and later drew a "real" one in my sketchbook that i colored with tombows.

(i'm telling you, i could not possibly make these things up, lol!)

square mandala 1
i have no idea what inspired me, earlier in the week, to try to draw a SQUARE mandala...
(which kind of looks like a castle, with battlements!)

square mandala 2
...the same mysterious force prompted me to have another go the next night. using white, gold and copper gel pens, on a kraft background.
(this one looks a bit like an aerial view of machu picchu!)

white on black
even earlier in the week, i had drawn a fairly ordinary mandala, using a white gel pen, in my black sketchbook. in retrospect, it's by far the most sensible thing i drew last week, lol! ♥

Friday, November 18, 2016

Give Thanks

Next Thursday we'll celebrate Thanksgiving here in the United States. Some of the things for which I am particularly grateful for this year are good health, a happy family, and being part of a wonderful creative team on the Eyelet Outlet blog! Today's my day over there, and I'm sharing a seasonal card I had a lot of fun making, inspired by these gorgeous Eyelet Outlet Leaf Brads:

To create the background, I used my newest favorite technique, in which you apply drops of water to your paper, add a tiny bit of color to each one, (I've used some of the gorgeous new Rich Moroccan Color Burst shades, but regular watercolor paint or ink would also work) then *SMOOSH* the dots of color and let them appear as random splotches on your paper. For best results, you'll definitely want to use colors that look well if they blend together a bit; and using a clear sandwich bag or some deli paper is helpful if you'd like to see the shapes you're making as you smoosh the droplets. For a less blended effect, apply the colors one by one, letting them dry in between.

I chose my shades of Color Burst based on the gorgeous autumn shades of those fabulous Leaf Brads. I also painted a few small leaves diecut from vintage text paper and sheet music. To add even more texture to my card, I only applied adhesive to the centers of my diecut leaves, and I curled the loose edges so they'd look more like real leaves.

Since wet media often warps one's paper a bit, my favorite way to attach a watercolor panel is with my sewing machine. Finally I added my sentiment using a combination of stamps and some of the Vintage Music Chipboard Letters I sell in my Etsy Shop, Just Enough Stuff.

Something else for which I am thankful is the amazing community of artists I've met online! I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving, and hope you will spend the day surrounded by your friends and family! ♥

white christmas inspiration challenge

we've got a photo inspiration challenge at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ this fortnight, so we'd love to see which parts of this cozy, christmassy room appeal to the holiday card designer in you. combine as many elements as you'd like, whether it's the color palette, the white tree, the fireplace, the wooden accents... there's loads of ways to take this, and we're excited to see what you will do!

i especially loved the "neutrals + naturals" color palette, so that was my main focus, but i've also got some of the florals and greens from the mantel. with regard to supplies, i was definitely in full-on "vintage goodies" mode as you can see:

i think i've ticked all the categories of vintage with this one: sheet music... (yep!); old postcard... (got it!); cancelled postage... (uh-huh!); text paper and doilies... (check!); there's a little bit of everything i love, all topped off with some plain white flowers that i bought intending to customize with inks and watercolor. and i'm sure i'll do that with most of them, but these particular ones looked pretty good as is, so i just left them natural.

stephanie has a gorgeous card as well, why not hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ for an eyeful of inspiration before you link up your own masterpiece?

Thursday, November 17, 2016

i'm a make-and-take maker! :)

we are coming up on one of the best weekends of the whole entire year at paper anthology in kenvil, nj, it's the anniversary party celebrating FIVE WHOLE YEARS of the happiest place in new jersey! the festivities will take place from 10-5 on saturday and 11-4 on sunday. there will be food, fun, prizes, and FOUR make-and-takes, of which one was designed by me. see:

patterned paper: photo play (plaid) + graphic 45 + vintage text and sheet music painted with color burst and diecut with tim holtz's "tattered leaves" and cuttlebug leaf dies; twine: may arts; cardstock: bazzill; ink: prima "dark bark"; glitter accent: cinnamon stickles

i'll be in the house from 10-2 on saturday, so if you're nearby, stop and say hi!!! ♥♥♥

*the official address, if you want to map it, is 717 us highway 46, kenvil, nj, 07847 :)

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

SOS278: front and center

bit of a change of pace at shopping our stash this week, we'd like to see you make a card or project using something that's already out on your desk or worktable. sound like fun? we thought so; it sure beats cleaning up, anyway! here's my card and then i'll essplain:

white kromekote cardstock: the paper cut; leaf die: sizzix/tim holtz; patterned paper and flower layers: basic grey; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

ok, so, something that could only happen to me: for my last round of classes at paper anthology, i made leaf stencils for all the students, using offcuts of glossy kromekote cardstock and my tim holtz tattered foliage leaf die. the die has three different leaf shapes, and i wound up running it through about a dozen times. which meant that i had about 36 white glossy leaves. that sort of thing kills me, because kromekote isn't cheap; and also, they were pretty cool looking. but what on earth was i going to do with that many glossy *WHITE* leaves??! then i saw a great card that used stacked diecuts to make a really chunky sentiment and i thought, "i wonder if i could do that for a background?" so i did. and it turned out i could. and i really like how it looks! i had experimented a bit before i attached the leaves; i tried adding a little color via outlined or inked edges, but ultimately decided the chunky white-on-white was my favorite. of course a little machine stitching couldn't hurt, lol...

i bet there's something sitting on your desk, too, that you've been wanting to use, but didn't quite know what to do with. here's your chance to think up something fun or funky and link it up with us! if you need a little more inspiration, check out my SOS dt sisters, they have rocked it as per usual!

Monday, November 14, 2016

mandala mania?

yes, i do draw, paint, and use stickers for OTHER THINGS! but i always come back to mandalas, they are definitely a "go to", especially in my sketchbook. here are a few that somehow never got blogged yet:

it's been a while since i drew a mandala with no plans to color it; kind of makes me focus more on the lines...

on the other hand, color burst and mandalas go really well together!

on the other other hand, paint pens on black paper are quel dramatique, non??

but then, colored markers are also fun!

before i made the sticker mandalas for my eyelet outlet post last week, i had a bit of a practice go...

and while i was thinking about my SOS card, i couldn't resist playing with some of my other teeny tiny stickers... in this case adorable kokeshi dolls!

should you feel the need to see EVEN MORE mandalas, some of which were not even made by me (!!!) i've updated my "many mandalas" board at pinterest.* so what's *YOUR* favorite "go to" subject? the thing that you just can't seem to resist doing one more time?

*my pinterest boards would easily have two or three times as many pins and would be updated infinitely more often if every photo i liked on pinterest was linked to the original art or post it references. but the sad fact is, an awful lot of good, kind, responsible people re-pin uncredited photos. pleeeeeeeeeease don't do that, at least not to your public boards. thank you, i appreciate it! ♥

Sunday, November 13, 2016

November/December Classes!

Somehow I forgot to post these, it seems I was *VERY* distracted the first two weeks of November, I cannot imagine why...?! Anyway, I've got two brand new classes coming up (three times, each!) at Paper Anthology, in Kenvil, NJ. Full details are on the class page of the PA website!

It's Christmas, My Deer

We’ll use the same two Impression Obsession die sets (“Birch Trees” and “Deer Trio”) to make three very different –but equally pretty– cards that work for Christmas, Hanukkah, or any winter occasion. Since this is a Lauren class, there will OF COURSE be sheet music, doilies, glitter cardstock and Color Burst involved!

Envelope Envy: Gift Card Holder Edition

Join Lauren to create six unique and fun gift card holders from sheet music, book paper and other fun ingredients, using the Envelope Punch Board by We R Memory Keepers. Then hit the “embellishment buffet” to decorate them with tape, scraps, die cuts and more!  Don’t give many G/C’s? These could also hold tiny cards, ATC’s, school photos, concert tickets or recipes. Hang them on the tree, tie them to a present or dangle them from a gift bag… there are lots of ways to use these, which is great, because we predict you’ll want to keep on making them!

Friday, November 11, 2016

joyful flowers

we're still wishing everyone "mele kalikimaka" at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ this fortnight, and we'd still love to see your flower-bedecked holiday cards, whether they're tropical or otherwise. mine is the latter this week, with the emphasis on more traditionally "christmassy" colors and patterns:

patterned papers: my mind's eye, basic grey; cardstock sentiment and brads: my mind's eye; cardstock embellies: pebbles; florals and leaves: prima; cardstock: core'dinations; seam binding: paper anthology; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i used this week's beautiful layout from atlantic hearts sketch challenge:

stephanie has a gorgeous floral card as well, why not hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ for an eyeful of inspiration before you link up your own masterpiece?

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Stick To it!

I love to make mandalas! (I may have mentioned that, once or twice, lol!) Usually I draw or paint them, but it's also realllllly fun --and easy-- to make them out of stickers. For the cards in this post I've used Eyelet Outlet Enamel Dots and Shapes, which I love because they're self-adhesive, come in many different styles and colors and are a really good value!

I've used Multi Size Enamel Dots in several shades, as well as some larger (12mm) Flat Top Enamel Dots and a few Multi Color Heart Enamels and Star Enamels as accents. There are many ways to build a mandala, and no real rules, as such, so it's definitely fun to play around and experiment. I chose a black background to really make the colors pop. At the end I added a little bit of doodling with a white gel pen, just to frame the design.

My mandala cards were composed by arranging the enamels in a circular design, working out from the center. Often I just wing it, but when my design calls for precision, I like to start with a perfect circle--I usually trace around a cup, or a roll of tape! I mark the center point of the circle, as well as the center points of each side of my paper. Ordinarily I do this verrrrrry lightly in pencil, but in this case I've darkened it up so you could see what I mean. Once I've got a basic framework in place it's on to the FUN PART! :)

For my second card, I added a few colorful reinforcement stickers from the office supply store into the mix, as well as the round centers of the stickers that would ordinarily be discarded. I liked them, though, because they added another size of circle to fill in between the enamels. Plus the white centers added even more contrast to the design. When I was done, I neatly trimmed around my mandala with scissors, so that I could add even more color in the background.

On my third card, I switched to a white background, but stayed with the Enamel Dots and Shapes, page-reinforcements, and centers. This time I added quite a bit more doodling with a fine black pen, which allowed me to work in other shapes, like scallops, diamonds and petals.

There's really no limit to what you can create with just some basic shapes and a little imagination. I hope you'll be inspired to make mandalas or other geometric designs to use in your cards and projects! If you'd like to see other types of mandalas on my blog just click that link. I've also made a fun Mandala Pin Board to give you even more ideas. ♥

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

SOS277: gobble til ya wobble

if you've guessed that we'd like to see thanksgiving cards at shopping our stash this week, then you're absolutely right. "but what if,(...you might be thinking...) "i don't send thanksgiving cards, or i do send them, but i'm canadian so i sent them two weeks ago when it was actually thanksgiving for me?" well then, a general thank-you card will be absolutely awesome. in fact, that's what i've made. see?

tiny stickers: funny sticker world and my little friends; patterned paper: prima, basic grey, my mind's eye, echo park; large and small journal cards: simple stories; brads: october afternoon; brackers: oriental trading; fabric flower sticker: american crafts; washi: freckled fawn, love my tapes; alphabet stamps: freckled fawn (colored with prismacolour pencils); ink: ranger archival and colorbox chalk; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

i'm kind of pleased with this one (she said, modestly) because not only have i used up loads of older stash, i've actually solved a problem that's been bugging me for a while. i love stickers, especially teeny kawaii cute stickers, but i never quite know what to do with them. so they accumulate. but this time i not only used the bear, the bunny and the cloud, i think i sort of figured out how to make them the stars of the card. so you'll definitely be seeing more little "sticker scenes" i think. (woohoo, eh?!)

i used both halves of the fusion challenge, or at least, i was inspired by both halves. i've clearly used the sketch, and in quite a straightforward way. as for the primary colors, i started out with the intention of using yellow, red and blue... but somehow i wound up with mustard, fuchsia and aqua. so there you go. i've used one-and-a-half halves of the fusion challenge. kinda. 

do pop over to SOS to see what the dt have done... it's worth the trip, i promise! ♥

Saturday, November 5, 2016

color-FULL! :)

one of the many, many things for which i am grateful to tammy garcia and the annual index card a day project is the fact that last summer (2015) i discovered i realllllly like watercolor. and then about a month later i got my first set of colorburst pigment powders, and fell in love with their clarity, their mix-ability, and of course the amazing range of shades. the new rich moroccan shades have just come out, and they are (of course) incredible. the love affair continues...

moroccan lanterns
because i've just listened to two books about morocco, and i'm a tiny bit obsessed.

a few weeks ago i saw this video by mhelanie hernandez on instagram, and i could not wait to try the technique. she places drops of clear water on her paper, then adds a tiny bit of ink to each one (i used colorburst powders), then smooshes the drops with a piece of deli paper to get this amazing, random, colorful, not-quite-mixed-together background. i went one step further and looked for leaf shapes within my blobs of color. and i found them! ♥

diecut leaves
i needed a lot colorful leaves for a make-and-take i'm doing at the paper anthology fifth anniversary party later this month, so i misted a few sheets of vintage paper with water, sprinkled each with various autumnal shades of color burst and cut them with tim holtz's "tattered leaves" die. (and cut... and cut, lol!)
compass rose
i just finished listening to mr. selden's map of china (by timothy brook) and one of the many fascinating things within was the explanation of the various markings on a compass, such as the cardinal and ordinal directions; the italianate names of the "eight winds"; the traditional colors for the intermediate directions and... ok, yes, i'm the only person in the world who can become fascinated with something like this and have to draw her own version.

dia de los muertos
my first attempt at drawing a sugar skull. the proportions are trickier than i thought, but the opportunity for floral doodles is outstanding! 

moroccan tiles
i really really thought this was going to be a quick make, lol. i'd paint a few sheets of watercolor paper with the new moroccan colors, diecut them with some fairly geometric snowflake dies and build some funky fab patterned tiles. as a matter of fact, it took agggggggggggggges. but they look exactly like the picture that was in my head!!!

i painted the blooms a couple of weeks ago, and then for some reason never finished them. when i came back to it, i decided to outline with the sewing machine rather than a pen. ohhhhhh the texture! ♥♥♥

i hope that your first weekend of november will be full of fun and creativity... and maybe a teeny bit of chocolate, if you like that sort of thing? :)