Saturday, October 30, 2010

Holiday Tag Swap

I am SO excited about this! My first swap! And what a great way to start... My LSS, {Colorful Creations} in Hyannis, MA, is sponsoring this Holiday Tag Swap. I wish it was the type of swap where everybody got together and made the tags, but it's still going to be super fun. I signed up for two "groups," which means I made two sets of 5 identical tags and I get two sets of 5 unique, handmade tags in return.

My first tag is inspired by an amazing card that Maile Belles made for the Lawn Fawn October release countdown. I just fell in love with the simplicity of it. I used the mistletoe stamp from Lawn Fawn's Bows and Holly set. Also, I decided to make 3x3" folded "gift enclosure" cards instead of using the traditional tag shape.

My second tag design uses another technique from the Thinking Inking class - the same technique that I used in my card for the Caring Hearts Blog Hop. This is the acrylic block stamping technique, and I am obsessed with it ... especially in this Tumbled Glass/Milled Lavender/Pumice Stone combination with snowflakes!

And just to show you how much I love this technique and Distress Ink color combo... Here are the two cards I originally made that inspired these tags! :)

Have a great weekend! :)

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Happy Birthday to Me! :)

So, today is my birthday. I'm 26 on the 26th! :) But I actually purchased this little treat for myself a while back, and have been meaning to share it since it arrived.

I love this thing already! Amazing! I don't have a ton of surfaces to store things on top of, but this is such a great use of a very small footprint. I picked up the Base Unit and the Upper Tier Add-On. You get a TON of clips and dividers too. More than enough to get started... unless you're lucky enough to have a ginormous stamp collection - haha! :)

Monday, October 25, 2010

a Distress Ink experiment

I was so inspired by a card that Ms. Papertrey Ink herself, Nichole Heady, made for the most recent PTI release. She embossed flowers on vellum and rubbed ink on their centers using a sponge. Then she flipped the vellum over and adhered it, wrong side out, to her card.

Here's a photo of her card (and you can see the original post on the PTI blog)...

Is this not the prettiest thing you've ever seen? My immediate thought when I saw this: How gorgeous would this be with snowflakes! :) So I grabbed my then-brand-new Lawn Fawn Frosties stamp set and...

Epic Fail. No matter what I did, I could not get that amazing, vibrant, gradient color with my Distress Inks! And wherever I tried to add a new color and blend, the new color just wiped off the old color. I used makeup sponges, sponge daubers, Inkssentials foam blenders, my fingers... I just couldn't get that pretty gradient color concentrated behind my snowflakes!

Ok, Ok, so maybe calling this card an 'epic fail' is going a little too hard on myself. I like the end effect, and I like how sweet and simple the finished card turned out. But I'm not pleased that I couldn't get the look I wanted. I wonder if it might work with a different type of ink? Hmm...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Caring Hearts Blog Hop

Wow! This is amazing! I can't believe I'm here, hopping with the best of them! What a testament to this amazing cause to have so many fantastic crafters involved. Major kudos to Vera Yates for organizing all this!

So if you're here from Amy's blog - Welcome! I hope you're having fun! If you've come here by another route, I hope you'll head over to Vera's blog to make sure you don't miss any of the goodness!

We live in a country where the wisest and most experienced members of our society don't always receive the respect they deserve. We've all banded together today to celebrate and bring joy to some elderly people who may not be lucky enough have friends and family nearby during the holiday season. I encourage you to join the CARING HEARTS CARD DRIVE and make a card to send! All the information can be found by clicking the badge in the upper right corner of my blog. You have until November 15th to get your card to Vera.

I wanted to show you something I've never shared before, but since I don't have a TON of supply stash, that was kinda hard. I was hoping my new Papertrey Ink stamps would arrive in time, but alas, they did not :( So I decided to employ a bunch of Thinking Inking techniques for this card. I used acrylic block stamping for the background (you'll see more of this technique here soon!), generation stamping for the trees (with the same stamp that Jennifer used nonetheless), watercoloring with Distress Inks for the trunks, snowflake centers, and garlands (except I used my blender pen instead of mixing the ink with water), and inking with a foam blender for the edges of the card base.

Thank you so very much for visiting! The next stop on the hop is Ayana's Creations. I can't wait to see what she made! :) I hope you will be inspired to participate in the Caring Hearts Card Drive!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

I have a confession...

If you were to make a list of Anna's Top Ten Rules to Live By, number one on that list would be "Christmas music may only be listened to from December 1st until December 25th." Well, yesterday I sat down to work on some more Christmas cards, and I just couldn't resist the urge to break my own Number One Rule :) So, for two evenings now, I've been crafting along to some of my favorite Christmas tunes on my ipod! And I'm having a blast... I just hope now I can stop and wait until December! :-D

Most of the projects I've made are things I'm not quite ready to share, but I do have some Basic Grey Jovial collection and Lawn Fawn Bows and Holly for you today.

 One of my favorite things about the Jovial collection is the really unique color combination. I used Broken China Distress Ink to stamp the label on this card... Now, I mean, how often do you see turquoise for Christmas? :) I muted it a little with some Antique Linen, because the turquoise in the paper is a little bit greener and somewhat distressed.

I apologize for the supreme crumminess of this photo... I'll try to take a new one tomorrow! 
This card was totally inspired by Brit Swiderski. She had the amazing idea to use the Distress Ink Bleeding technique that I used on my fall placecards with this adorable wreath stamp from Lawn Fawn's Bows and Holly. Genius. I love how it turned out... even though when I re-stamped over the image with bleeding I kind of, well, missed :) So there's the bleeding and also a little bit of a shadow effect. I used a Sakura Stardust pen on the ribbon that's wrapped around the wreath. The bow was painted with Fired Brick Distress Ink mixed with water and gold Perfect Pearls. (This is Technique 3 from Week 1 of the Holiday Thinking Inking series.) I also added a little Glossy Accents (I *finally* bought some!) to the berries.

Here's a closeup of the wreath so you can see all the special treatments.

Wish me luck in turning off the Christmas music! :) Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 18, 2010

StampTV Thursday Sketch 10/14

This was another tough one for me... so different from what I usually do! I really wanted to change it up somehow, but I challenged myself to stick to the sketch! Except I flipped it. Oh, and forgot it was supposed to be square. Oops! :)

This was also my first time using the new Gina K. Designs set Buds and Vases, illustrated by Melanie Muenchinger. I've never Copic colored glass before, and I wasn't exactly sure what I was doing!

Here's the sketch...

And here's my card...

Hope your week's gotten off to a great start!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Holiday Thinking Inking - Ink Bleeding Technique

Like pretty much everybody else in the online crafting community, I am so excited about the return of the fabulous Jennifer McGuire's fabulous Thinking Inking class over at Two Peas in a Bucket. It's back and better than ever - this time with a holiday theme! :)

I finally got around to making my first project playing along with the techniques Jennifer's sharing with us. This is the second technique from her Week Two video - she calls it Ink Bleeding. I used her card project as inspiration and decided to make place cards.

(A little back story here... My family has used the exact same place cards at every gathering for years. Decades. Seriously. They're made from folded index cards that either my brother or I colored pictures or patterns on. And my mother is in love with them. So I have no doubt she won't be at all interested in actually using these new ones I made, but I had fun with them nonetheless!)

And here are some close-ups... I used water mixed with a little bit of gold Perfect Pearls when I spritzed the stamped images. It's more prominent on some of the leaves, but they all have a subtle, pretty sheen to them.

Supplies for this project: Distress Inks - Walnut Stain, Spiced Marmalade, Fired Brick, Peeled Paint, Scattered Straw; Stamp - Autumn Splendor by Gina K. Designs; Cardstock - Pure Luxury by Gina K. Designs (Sweet Corn, Pumpkin Spice), Stampin' Up (Crumb Cake); Patterned Paper - Flannel Sheets (Lily Bee Designs' Catching Fall collection); Misc. - Memento Marker (Rich Cocoa), foam ink blending tool, Perfect Pearls, Ranger Mini Mister

Thanks for stopping by! Now go check out Jennifer's video and play along too! :)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

World's Best Applesauce

Hubby and I went apple picking last weekend, and last night I decided to make one of my all-time faves: Ina Garten's (aka the Barefoot Contessa) Homemade Applesauce. This is really a spectacular recipe. It's a little bit prep-heavy, but then you literally don't do anything else. You barely even have to stir!

It starts out looking like this (which already looks completely yummy if you ask me!)...

And after an hour of ignoring it and doing whatever else your little heart pleases, it looks like this...

And then you just stir it up to whatever consistency you prefer, and you get to eat this...

... and it's so yummy and cozy and comforting!

Here's the recipe - with a couple of adaptations I made.

Homemade Dutch Oven Applesauce

- 8 large apples, peeled, cored, and quartered
- zest and juice of 1 orange
- zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/4 cup brown sugar (or a little more depending on what kind of sweet/tart balance you want)
- 2 Tbsp. butter
- 1 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. allspice

Combine all ingredients in a large dutch oven. Cover and cook at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Mix with a spoon or a whisk until the sauce reaches your desired consistency.

Oh, and did I mention it goes great with gingerbread?


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Echo Park Christmas Collections

Yesterday was a kind of tough day at work. So what better way to brighten a day than with some awesome mail! Sitting waiting for me when I got home: new *Lawn Fawn* stamps, and both of the *Echo Park Paper* Christmas collections! :) You're going to be seeing a lot of the stamps coming up very soon, but for today's post I decided to focus on the Echo Park collections.

No. 1: Merry Christmas

My card:
Supplies: Stamps - Gina K. Designs (Lovely Labels 2), Lawn Fawn (Bows and Holly) a muse art stamps (very merry christmas); Inks - Distress Ink (Peeled Paint, Fired Brick), Colorbox Chalk (Chestnut Roan); Cardstock - Pure Luxury by Gina K. Designs, watercolor paper

My favorite things about this collection:
- metallic silver accents!
- music and text prints
- mix of red and burgundy
- awesome everyday-appropriate prints... houndstooth! argyle! polka dots! distressed solids (à la Basic Grey)! Oh yeah, and the music prints don't have words on them so they're year-round ready too!

No. 2: Everybody Loves Christmas

My card:
Supplies: Stamps - Gina K. Designs (Teatime), Lawn Fawn (Cozy Christmas); Ink - Memento (Tuxedo Black); Cardstock - Neenah; Misc. - Hero Arts Blush Mixed Accents, Copics, Nesties 

(A note about this card... I colored the teacups thinking I'd use the image with Dear Lizzy Christmas items - like this and this and this! - but I just couldn't wait for to ship my order. But the combo of pink/red and chartreuse/pine is perfect with this collection too. A super chic take on Christmas!)

My favorite things about this collection:
- non-traditional color palette - I love pink for Christmas!
- penguins!!! :)
- adorable and oh-so-versatile stickers
- more everyday patterns including polka dots, stripes, swirls, and things that could be snowflakes or could just be a cool medallion-type pattern

The bottom line:
Go out and get these collections. You will be having fun with them all year! :)

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Penny Black + Get Sketchy + a review

Today I want to share with you my thoughts about a new product that may interest any Copic colorers out there: X-Press It Blending Card. But I wanted to share my cards first in case you don't feel like reading today. :)

I've already shared one card I made with my very first Penny Black stamp set, Jolly Friends. I fell in love with their precious hedgehogs... but I have no idea how to color them! So I started with the mice and the snowman. Here are the other 2 cards I made with this adorable set.

(You can't really see in this photo, but I created an embossed frame by scoring at 1/4" all around the perimeter of the white mat.)

The next card is one I made for the Get Sketchy Challenge #59.

Now, Nichol Magouirk recently mentioned on her blog that she'd found a cardstock specifically designed for Copic coloring, called X-Press It Blending Card. I've been having a lot of issues with my coloring on Neenah Solar White cardstock, so I really wanted to try this new product out. I'd previously used Gina K. Designs Pure Luxury Heavy Baseweight cardstock and really liked how the Copics behaved with it; however, if you colored too many layers it would sort of bead up and not blend properly. I found a 10-pack of the Blending Card on ebay for a good price, and decided to give it a go. My first 3 cards using Penny Black stamps were all colored on it. Let me tell you, if you do any Copic coloring, you must try this product! It is so smooth and just really enjoyable to color on. Nothing bled or smudged or "overflowed the dam" as my Copic guru Jenn said. Nothing, no matter how many layers of shading and blending I added. Not even the dark red. That's a big deal. I did a lot of coloring with my Colorless Blender to get a subtle gradient of color on the mice and to shade the snowman. Eventually, the paper where I was coloring the brown mouse's face did start to tear and pill just a little bit, but I'd already said to myself probably five times that he was done and I should just have left well enough alone. :) So that's just something to be aware of. Another thing I found is that this cardstock smudges and shows little bits of dirt and schmutz really easily. So just make sure your desk and your fingers are clean and be careful if you're doing any ink sponging.

If you're lucky enough to have had a three-day weekend for Columbus Day, I hope you had lots of fun! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

StampTV Center Stage Blog Hop

Over at StampTV, the Center Stage Spotlight designer alumni have coordinated a blog hop using a sketch. I decided to play along.

Here's the sketch:

And here's my card:
Supplies: Cardstock - Neenah; Patterned Paper - My Mind's Eye (Alphabet Soup collection); Stamps - Gina K. Designs (Teatime); Misc. - Sakura Stardust pen (for the "gold leaf" on the teacups), Copic markers, buttons (pink - Papertrey Ink, blue - Basic Grey, yellow - Cosmo Cricket), American Crafts patterned masking tape

OK, OK, so I modified the sketch a little. But it's still inspired by the sketch and all the awesome CSS Alumni creations! I meant to put the teacups closer to the top and the horizontal strips closer to the bottom. So sue me. :)

StampTV Thursday Sketch Challenge 10/07

This sketch is very different from my usual style. But that's the point of a challenge, right? :)

The hostess of the weekly sketch challenge is taking inspiration from her favorite cards in the StampTV gallery. So this week we just have one sketch, rather than the CAS/Beginner and the Layered/Intermediate sketches we've had for the past several weeks.

And here's my card:

Supplies: Cardstock - Pure Luxury by Gina K. Designs (Rocket Red, White), X-Press It Blending Card; Patterned Paper - Cosmo Cricket (Mitten Weather); Stamps - Penny Black (Jolly Friends), Lawn Fawn (Cozy Christmas); Ink - Vivid (Brick), Memento (Tuxedo Black, London Fog, Desert Sand); Misc. - Nestabilities Standard Circles Small and Large, Tsukineko Jumbo Sponge Daubers, Frosted Lace Stickles, Copics

This one was hard. I was thinking about it for a couple days before I attacked it. I kept thinking to myself, over and over, "I don't have a big enough stamp!" Then I remembered this adorable Penny Black mouse I'd recently colored and decided to channel my inner Tim Gunn and "make it work" no matter what... still thinking it'd be too small. Boy was I wrong! It's totally too big! :) But I still used the same layout, and I have to say the more I look at it, the more it's growing on me.

I'm considering giving this sketch another go. Maybe flipping it and making it a portrait card. We'll see. When all I have to work with are 6x6 paper pads, that's a lot of patterned paper to use up. But then again, in this sketch, more of the patterned paper is showing than if I used the same size piece as a mat to create a 1/8" border... Hmm... I guess I better put my thinking cap on again! :)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

StampTV Color Challenge - October 4th

(or 7th, as the case may be)

This is my first time participating in one of StampTV's weekly color challenges. This one really struck me because of it's lushness and elegance. The challenge hostess gave us a really beautiful inspiration photo.

Don't you just love the softness and the rich colors? The card challenge is to use at least three of the colors in the photo - brown, navy blue, orange, ivory, and gray. I was imagining something really lovely and elegant with rich, deep, saturated colors. I was picturing it in my head all day, but the only thing missing in my imagination was the stamp. I just couldn't figure out what to use as a focal image. And when I came home, my card took a whole different turn! :)

Today was the day my Studio Calico kit was delivered. Check out that patterned paper panel. That's actually the back of a coupon that came with my Studio Calico kit! Can you believe it?! They seriously amaze me with the care and thought they put into everything that has their name on it. So this absolutely perfect pattern landed in my lap and I decided to brighten up the color combo a little bit.

Supplies: Cardstock - Bazzill (orange, gray), Paper Source (navy), Neenah (ivory); Ribbon - My Favorite Things (Baby Bump ribbon assortment); Stamp - Gina K. Designs (Autumn Splendor); Ink - Memento (Desert Sand)

Hope you had a great week! Happy Friday tomorrow! :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


(LOL I know, I know, that's a wicked lame title.)

In honor of the previews beginning for Lawn Fawn's October release (it looks amazing - check it out!), I finally busted out the second stamp set I bought from their September release, Cozy Christmas. Also, after everybody else is totally over it, I finally *finally* received the Cosmo Cricket Mitten Weather items that I ordered a billion years ago! So I decided to combine them. Word to the wise: Don't try to paper piece the stockings in this stamp set. They're teeny-tiny! There's a third stocking that I didn't end up using - an adorable striped on that I got halfway through before I gave up because I was going crazy and blind! :)

This is an über-simple card I made using Hero Art's So Thankful set and Lily Bee Designs' new Catching Fall collection. I got all three of the new paper collections - plus they have cardstock stickers, chipboard buttons, and a 12x12 sheet of rub-ons. (I was actually somewhat disappointed that the rub-ons are so big, because many of my fave sentiments are too big to use on a card). The designs of the papers are so beautiful and the details are really nice. My favorite are the two (count 'em, two!) text print snowflakes in the Christmas Town collection.

Here's a close-up of the turkey. I ended up embossing the outline using a Ranger Embossing Pen and black embossing powder, because it was hard to see the black ink on the dark brown cardstock.

Monday, October 4, 2010

It should really be renamed World Cardmaking WEEKEND!

All of a sudden, after literally a lifetime of never winning anything, I've been on a winning streak lately! :)  Gina K. Designs just released their October stamp sets, and I was lucky enough to win a set of Lovely Labels 2, illustrated by Nina Brackett. These stamps are gorgeous! And they're designed to coordinate with the new Spellbinders Nestabilities Labels 14, 15, and 16! However, if you're like me and can't afford three sets of Nesties, the labels are very easy to cut out freehand, which is what I did on my card.

When I first saw the projects that the GKD Design Team made with these stamps, I immediately thought of letterpress. I stamped the label with Distress Ink on watercolor paper to achieve a similar look. It's a pretty cool effect in real life.

Hope you had a happy Monday!