Friday, February 27, 2015

inspiration, please! :)

we've got a photo inspiration this fortnight at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and we're basing our cards on some aspect of this gorgeous, vibrant, non-traditional, glittery, fabulous holiday table:

image source is this page at lushome which has LOTS of other gorgeous xmas tablescapes and decor inspiration for that matter!

you can use as many aspects as appeal to you in the photo, whether it's the neon colors; the shapes of the tree, the reindeer or the baubles; the fancy flourishy patterns on the placemats; the glitter, the snowflakes... or all of the above! i went with the colors and the ornaments:

only NON-xmas patterned paper was used on this card-- most of it scraps!-- and manufacturers include: creative imaginations, kay and co, cosmo cricket, doodlebug, best creation and sei; white glossy cardstock: paper accents; white glitter snowflake stickers: martha stewart; snowflake brads: doodlebug; tiny brads: queen and co; silver ball-bearing-esque bling lines: recollections; decorative scallop scissors: michaels; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

i have to confess when i first saw this photo, as much as i liked it, i came *VERY* close to psyching myself out of making a card. because honestly, my first panicky thought was, "i don't have ANY christmas papers in those colors!!!" a search of my stash soon revealed that in fact, i *DON'T* have any christmas papers in those colors, but it turned out i didn't need them, since i had quite a few ordinary papers in those colors, which i used in conjunction with clipart to fussy-cut the bauble shapes. then i added snowflake stickers and bling and some fun shiny silver pearl borders to act as hangers and called it good. for the record, the blue text paper is upside down; a decision i stand by since the position of the flourishes kind of looks a bit like the branches of an abstract christmas tree. i shall send this card to someone my age, and feel confident that without their reading glasses they'll have NO IDEA that tiny text is facing the wrong direction! :)

need a bit more inspiration? be sure check out miss stephanie's gorgeous card at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ before you start planning what *you* will make! ♥

Thursday, February 26, 2015

are you tired of watercolors?

if so, i apologize, and promise not to be upset if you'd rather click over to the lolcats, instead! because yeah, it's another painting today:

this one is for lovely husband jeff's lovely parents, who'll be celebrating their 61st (!) wedding anniversary in march. i've mentioned before that i basically hit the lottery in terms of in-laws, but it bears repeating; not every girl is as lucky as i am! jeff specifically asked if i would paint something for the occasion, and he helped me decide on the details as i went along. i was inspired by two very different tree paintings i saw on pinterest: this one had hearts instead of leaves, while this one had the cool swirly bark. this is the first painting i've done without a detailed sketch; before i began i only drew in the shape of the tree trunk and the banner, and sketched some very thin pencil lines to give a sense of branches, then went right in with watercolors. i was worried about being able to work neatly enough, but it turned out not to be a problem. unexpectedly, the lettering was the most nerve-racking part of this, since i saved it till the end and then went a bit too heavy on the outlining, but i think it looks ok. i'm still deciding if it needs anything else before it becomes a card, but i'm pretty sure it's done and that i'll most likely just add a mat or two, similar to the friendship quote from the other day.

tomorrow i promise to post a regular (christmas) card with lots of product and plenty of embellishments! :) :) :)

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

palm trees optional

many challenge sites invite you to think outside the box, but this week at shopping our stash we're thinking "out of the jar!" what does that mean? let's consult the official SOS blurbage for clarification, shall we?

Challenge 190: Out of the Jar 

Use any product that came in a jar 
(flower soft, glitter, perfect pearls, embossing powder, etc) 
Use a jar image 
(stamped, drawn, cut from patterned paper, etc)  
Decorate an actual jar

there's a lot of scope here, right? yeah, you can definitely come up with something fab and i can't wait to see it! meanwhile, having withstood an especially wintery week here in the northeastern united states, this is what i made:

aloha jar painted on strathmore paper with artist loft watercolors, outline in black XS faber castell pitt pen; sunglasses constructed by printing out a clipart image, stapling it to several layers of patterned paper and handcutting the parts; patterned papers: basic grey, american crafts, my mind's eye, echo park; glossy white and black cardstock: paper accents; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

when i saw this week's theme, my first idea was to use one of the uber-cute mason jars from american crafts' dear lizzy neapolitan line, which i still totally love. unfortunately, none of the ones i had left were quite right for the card i wanted to make for my father-in-law's birthday. eventually, looking at the shape and style of the jars, with their sort of naive watercolor goodness, i started wondering if i could possibly draw or paint something that might work? i fiddled around in my sketchbook, drawing mason jar shapes and potential contents for them, and actually managed to come up with two ideas* i liked enough to make a "real" version of:

the thing that bothered me about the first few jars i drew was the fact that they weren't symmetrical enough; because whereas i think you can get away with the contents being a bit wonky and cute, the jar kinda needs to look right. so here's a shocking true confession for you: to get a good solid foundation for the rest of the drawing, i cut out one of the jars from the dear lizzy paper and traced around it in pencil on my watercolor paper. cheating?? sure! but then, so is using a compass to make the center of the sun a perfect circle, and printing out a clipart image to use as a template for the sunglasses. why not use the right tools to make a job easier and more fun? then you can move more quickly to the "good parts"... like painting palm trees and choosing papers! :)

speaking of fun, i happen to know there are some awesome "out of the jar" cards awaiting you at SOS... why not hop on over and check those out right now?!

*yes, the other finished jar, containing "lots of love" will definitely get used on something in future, not to worry, you'll be seeing that again for sure! :)

Sunday, February 22, 2015

dreaming of spring!

we've had a cold, snowy, frosty week here in the northeastern united states. ok yeah, i realize we've got NOTHING to complain about compared to, say, new england or canada; but i am a serious weather wimp and it's the end of february and i'm really reallllllllllllly looking forward to temps in... oh i dunno... maybe the high 40's? is that too much to ask? meanwhile, as i waited, i decided to paint myself a little spring:

being a hard-core lover of papercrafting products, it feels really weird to make something from the ground up, so to speak; but in fact the only "supplies" i used on this were the mats, which consist of some elderly navy blue velvet paper and some cerise cardstock. the central panel started off as plain white watercolor paper, on which i drew some very faint pencil lines to keep my words from leaning upwards and to the left, which for some reason is generally what they want to do on a blank page. i sketched and inked the c.s. lewis quotation first, then worked on the flowers around the outside. i've been practicing blending paints, especially working "wet into wet" which is tricky, but looks awesome when it comes out right. having said that, i'm not above going in at the end and touching up a wonky line or adding a little extra depth with a copic. there are no rules in art, darlings! :)

meanwhile i hope you are having a particularly nice sunday, and that you'll get to sneak in a little creative time to make something fun! ♥♥♥

Friday, February 20, 2015

warm washi wishes

we're still rockin' the tape-centric holiday cards at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and you still have lots of time to join us-- which i hope you will. here's what i made this week:

washi and other decorative tapes by: martha stewart, october afternoon, my mind's eye, love my tapes, bazzill, freckled fawn; florals: we r memory keepers + michaels; velvet leaf: making memories; brad: we r memory keepers; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; adhesives: 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

i'm one of the few women in my family who doesn't make quilts, mostly because i just don't enjoy sewing on fabric, lol. but i definitely love the cool effects you can get by combining different patterns and shapes, so i tend to make quilt-inspired cards pretty often. this card is one of the easiest versions of a "paper quilt", even when you glue together strips of scrap paper; using washi tape, it's about the fastest card alive! don't believe me? i'll prove it:

step 1:
cut a square out of white index stock approximately half an inch smaller than you'd like your finished card to be; cover it with strips of tape. try to vary the widths of your tapes, and leave a tiny bit of white between them.

step 2:
cut the finished square into quarters.

step 3:
cut the four quarters in half, so that your cuts go "against the grain" --or perpendicular to-- the strips. sew around the perimeter of the eight triangular pieces if desired. (this is especially useful if you're using paper strips instead of tape; it ensures none of the little ones try to peel back up!)

step 4:
re arrange the eight triangles to make a nice pattern. add a flower or other "focal point" if desired. mount to a folded card using foam tape. et voila:

my favorite part is that because you can vary the colors, patterns, combination and arrangement of tapes, every card is different... the perfect compromise for those of us who hate to "mass produce" but sometimes need some extra holiday cards in a hurry! :)

meanwhile, there's abundant goodness awaiting you at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ in the form of an amazing readers' gallery and a new washi-licious card by stephanie ... why not check those out right now?!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

la carte fabuleuse d'amelie poulain

i've gone a bit of french in honor of this week's challenge at shopping our stash, which is called "inspired by a movie". one of my all-time favorite films, and the first one that came to mind when i thought about the challenge, is the jean-pierre jeunet film whose full title is, "le fabuleux destin d'amelie poulain" but is better known as "amelie". here's my card and then i'll explain:

page from an old dictionary; eiffel tower image from anna aspnes' "french kiss" brush set printed on an inkjet transparency; plain (ancient!) basic grey chipboard letters... painted with acrylic craft paint and stamped with glitz design's damask pattern in ranger archival black ink; florals: prima, recollections, petaloo; brads: mme, queen and co; pearl flourish and gem embellishment: prima; stencils: tim holtz, glitz design, heidi swapp; red and purple inks: colorbox; pens for outlining: faber-castell pitt xs in black; sharpie poster paint fine tip in white; adheisves: xyron, elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots

i was inspired by the current cardabilities sketch (#117) though admittedly my rendition is a bit loosey-goosey:

for that matter my card doesn't make ANY direct reference to amelie, but if you've seen the film you'll probably notice some of the ways i was inspired: the eiffel tower is pretty obvious, it swaps our for the "A" in paris (and in amelie!); the rich red and purple shades are taken from the colorful, slightly vintage decor of amelie's flat; the pearl flourish represents the box of marbles amelie finds at the beginning of the story; the text paper refers to the letters that "cher mado" has saved from her long lost husband; there are flowers from the garden amelie's father tends... but really... i was going more for a vibe than any direct image from the movie, and i feel pretty happy with the result!

and now, why not head on over to SOS to see additional movie-inspired fabulousness, and start planning your own bid for cinematic card domination?! au revoir, darlings! ♥

Sunday, February 15, 2015

valentine birthday bag

two things happened this week that are making me feel a bit old: jeff and i became (delightedly!) the great uncle and aunt of a sweeeeeeet little bunny called maddy* when our eldest nephew on the bergold side of the family became a dad; and on the gallagher side, our eldest niece, riley elizabeth, officially became a teenager. obviously both of these events were AWESOME, and much celebration ensued. in the case of the latter, there was a bit of a gift bag. see?

plain white giftbag from michaels; patterned paper: autumn leaves, creative imaginations, the paper co, doodlebug, american crafts, recollections, studio calico; extra-large, extra-old letter stickers: making memories; rhinestone flourish (taken apart and reassembled to fit): recollections; florals: prima; brad: american crafts; ink: colorbox; black pen for outlining: faber-castell pitt in xs; adhesives:  elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

yes, miss riley is 13 now, but if she is tired of having her valentine's day birthday commemorated each year with heart-festooned presents, she is admirably restrained and never mentions it, lol. :) so what's in the bag? well, there are a few cardmaking goodies, obviously, and some fun nail art stuff, and OF COURSE she needed a rainbow purse like lindsay and maddie have. this version is topped off with a fun flower pin i found at michaels:

i hope that whatever you're doing today you are NOT being menaced by nasty winter weather, or at least you're able to out-craft any such shenanigans whilst remaining comfortable in your favorite art-making enviroment! 

is it spring yet, darlings??! 

*yes, we also have a 10-year-old niece called maddie; but luckily this is on the other side of the family! :)

Friday, February 13, 2015

here we come a-WASHI-ing!

happy friday the thirteenth everyone! we're feeling pretty lucky at JINGLE BELLES since we have a fabulous new prompt; which, as you may guess, involves making a holiday card that includes some washi or other decorative tape. this great idea came from our lovely friend and fellow belle lela meinke (aka serenity stamper) who'll be hanging out with us this fortnight, so be sure to come along and leave her some love! we've also got a bit of a prize, which miiiiiiight just include a few rolls of washi tape, as well! so what's not to love, right? i'm pretty happy with my card this time, as well:

washi and deco tapes: october afternoon, glitz design, my mind's eye, recollections, martha stewart; patterned paper: pebbles; journal card: october afternoon; flowers: prima; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine  

i'm excited to be joining in with miss leslie's very first crooked stamper sketch challenge, which looks a bit like this:

i couldn't decide which tape i wanted to use on my card, so i chose to use lots of different ones and make them into a cool woven-look panel to place in the center of the sketch's layout. i did this by starting in the middle and adding one strip at a time, at right angles, so that each addition is over the last tape but under the next. since many of my tapes are somewhat sheer, you can also see a bit of the design on the lower tapes through the ones on top, which gives even more variety.

after i filled up the whole panel, i chose a pre-made journal card to be my focal point, a bold red print for the background, and added in some skinny skinny white mats to set everything off. this is a *VERY* pared down card for me-- as befits a crooked stamper challenge-- but since i got to use 10+ different patterns of tape and a few sparkly flowers, i don't feel too deprived! :)

be sure to hop over to JINGLE BELLES to see stephanie's and lela's gorgeous cards and link up your own washi masterpiece!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

SOS188: tp or not tp...

...that is the question, or rather, that is the challenge this week at shopping our stash. so what do we mean? let's check out the official SOS description:

Challenge 188: TP or not TP  
use the patterns from your paper towels or your toilet paper as inspiration 
OR use paper towels or TP to add texture, 
OR actually use one of them on your project.

ok, so, first i'll show you my card and then i'll essplain it:

inspiration towel: wegman's brand select-a-size paper towels; patterned paper scraps: crate paper, basic grey + part of an old sparkly storebought greeting card; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; textured white cardstock: bazzill; white glitter paper: best creation; heart dies: cuttlebug; border punches: recollections; velvet flower: maya road; leaf: recollections; doily from my stash; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine 

i had to really think about this one because all of our paper products are plain and white, which at first glance doesn't seem to offer much inspiration. but when i really looked at our wegman's brand paper towels (there's one behind my card in the photo above) i realized they had a kind of quilted geometric pattern that was pretty cool, so i decided to make a version of that to be my background. but how? i tried out a few different ideas, including free-form stitching, making a hand-cut template, using diecut leaves as appliques, etc...

...and some of those looked interesting, but none of them were quiiiiiiiite right. then it came to me, i could use my favorite border punch on both sides of some thin strips of white cardstock, tack them loosely to a glossy white cardstock panel, and sew along the edges. here's how that came out:

pretty nice, right? so then i just needed to make the background panel into a pretty card. luckily i had the current cardabilities sketch (#116) to help:

i used lots of stash to make the heart collage in the center, including paper scraps, a sparkly flowery store-bought greeting card, a velvety flower and a lacy heart-shaped doily backed with pink paper so it would stand out from the all-white background.

now why not hop on over to SOS where there are lots more clever crafty ideas from my awesome DT sisters, which ask the musical question, "tp or not tp"! :)

Friday, February 6, 2015

shape up with gingerbread!

ok, yes, that isn't a phrase you've probably ever heard before, and it doesn't make much sense until you realize that "shape up" is our current prompt at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and it refers to our attempts at making holiday cards which aren't rectangular or square. i've always wanted to make a card in the shape of a gingerbread house. so this week, i did:

kraft-colored cardstock: core'dinations; white glitter paper/icing: best creation; glossy white cardstock: paper accents; patterned paper scraps: recollections, dcwv, doodlebug, pebbles; candy cane stickers: pebbles; heart brad: joann essentials; round brads: my mind's eye; outlining pen: faber castell pitt in extra superfine point; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i had planned to use a gingerbread house image from one of my christmassy digital paper-crafting kits as a template, much as i did last week for my reindeer snowglobe. but unfortunately it turned out that NONE of my xmas kits contained such an image. how is that even possible??! well, somehow, it is possible, so i had to wing it a bit. i did a google search and a bit of cruising on pinterest and took a whole bunch of different ideas i saw and combined them into the card you see above. oh and for the record, this one is a *REAL* card, with an inside and everything! the hinge is at the top of the chimney. because every once in a while i feel like i need to do a little bit of gratuitous engineering, just to prove i can, lol.

there's still nearly a whole week to get in on our "shape up" theme at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥... why not cruise over to see stephanie's lovely card and link up one of your own?!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

gettin' inky?! as you know, i tend to be pretty lazy about stamping. i'm not sure why that's the case, because as soon as i get pushed into it i remember that i actually do like to stamp, but i generally need to be pushed. fortunately this week's challenge (#187) at shopping our stash is called "gettin' inky" and we want to see you use your oldest ink. you don't necessarily have to stamp with it, but since my oldest ink is embossing ink, i did have to stamp... and emboss!!! which actually turned out pretty cool, if i do say so myself. i really should stamp more! :) :) :)

mandala stamp: crafter's companion "taste of india"; clear embossing ink and white embossing powder: psx; distress inks and blender tool + sponges: tim holtz; patterned paper: basic grey; vinyl thickers: american crafts; black glossy cardstock: paper accents; black chalk ink: colorbox; superfine point black permanent pen for outlining: faber castell pitt; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, sewing machine

i stamped the gorgeous crafter's companion mandala a bunch of times in embossing ink on glossy white cardstock, then embossed with white powder. i blended a few different shades of distress ink on top until i had a fun colorful background. i wanted the shape of the stamp to stand out a little more, though, so i did a bit of outlining with a fine point permanent pen. i tried to make one of my usual lumpy bumpy blingy layery creations, but somehow the mandala panel resisted all my efforts, so eventually i succumbed to its wish to become a fairly flat card which could be mailed with just one stamp! (this is not something that happens to me very often, so i like to savor the moment, lol!)

speaking of savoring, there are some fairly luscious inky creations over at SOS, made by my design team sisters... why not hop over and check them out? you can thank me later! ♥