Sunday, March 31, 2013

anyone have a forklift i can borrow??!

because, you see, we are moving... 
on tuesday... 
to our lovely ♥NEW HOME♥!!!!!

welcome home, lauren and jeff!
you may have noticed i haven't been around as much, for which i apologize, but as you can imagine, there has been quiiiiiiiite a lot to do between settlement and moving day! 

of course the very first thing most new homeowners do is paint the inside of their closets a very very VIVID shade of pink! :) :) :)

behold: CLOSET-TOPIA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
ok, yeah, it's a little silly, but i ♥♥♥LOVE♥♥♥ it!

we've done a few serious things, too. the master bedroom, which has many cool and interesting angles, was a very pretty shade of pale yellow, that just wasn't to our taste. also, having extensively (possibly obsessively!) cruised photos of sloped-ceilinged bedrooms on, i discovered that having the ceiling and walls the same color minimizes the look. and since i knew lovely husband jeff would have to spend most of the last two weeks away on a pre-scheduled work trip, and all the pre-move-painting would be done by *ME*... (though, as it turns out, my mom has been pitching in like a TROOPER!) ...i thought we'd leave the ceiling white and paint the walls to match. holy WOW does it ever make the room look biiiiiiiiiiiig!!! 

since i refuse to go above step #2 on the ladder, i am "reverse cutting in" at the tops of the very high walls. by which i mean "leaving them for jeff" lol!
before he went away, lhj did one awesome "handyman" chore in the kitchen, which was to replace the very dark brown grout lines on the kitchen tile backsplash with this soft white. we like this look better because again, the lack of contrast makes the whole plane "read" as one fairly neutral surface. (for the record, the kitchen is the first thing we'll change when we're ready to do a "big project"; but we're emphatically NOT ready to do it NOW!)

our cabinets long to meet those of president obama!
my first decor purchase was curtains for my favorite room in the house! the one on the door needs to be hemmed, obviously; and the rods for the big window need to be both raised and also widened a bit, but i love the effect already!

say, "hubba hubba" to (restored) 1930's woodwork and flooring!!!)
one thing that did not need even a little bit of help from me was the flower bed at the side of the house, where these lovely daffodils popped up, budded and blossomed over the course of the last week, all on their own!

"happy spring" the daffodils seemed to say!
 if the neighbors have been watching, they are no doubt amused as heck to see a crazy lady walk round to the side of the house each day to see, exclaim over, and photograph these lovely flowers... but then...we've never owned a garden before, and it's hard to disguise how exciting it is!!!

so when are you all coming to visit? 
i'll go put the kettle on, just in case it's today!

Friday, March 29, 2013

jingle belles are ♥BLING♥-ing!

if you've been here even once before you'll have already twigged to how much i loooooooooooooove (and love to use!) all things shiny and sparkly. so when our lovely and uber-talented fellow belle lisa hausmann wrote in to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to suggest we embark on a bling-based christmas card prompt, it did not take me long to say, "yes, please!" in the official guidelines we're requesting our fellow cardmakers to incorporate rhinestones, jewels, gems, glitter, glimmer or something sparkly on their cards. but you know me, i like to cover all the bases, so i've got a little bit of ALL of those:

(patterned paper: my mind's eye, reminisce, echo park; candy cane and ribbon: from the lovely ros; florals: prima, making memories, imaginisce, petaloo; brads: doodlebug; stick pins and velvet holly leaves: making memories; rhinestone flourish (colored red with copic marker): want2scrap; heart bling self-adhesive border: recollections; heart die: cuttlebug; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, gluedots, hot glue, sewing machine)
yeah. pretty much every county of bling has been heard from, here. rhinestone flourish? check! glitter brads? got 'em. heart shaped bling border? uh-huh. glitter-encrusted patterned paper? oh yeah! contrary to my expectation, there are no stickles used on this card; and there's no sparkly embossing powder, either, but only because i ran outta room. maybe i'll use those next week, eh?

here's a closer-up photo of  my favorite part... the collage:

my lovely friend ros sent me some of these gorgeous glass-look-alike candy canes (they are actually some sort of very shiny but lighter weight type of plastic!) last christmas, when i admired some that she had; and you can see i built the rest of the cluster around that. are you wondering how to attach something of that sort to a card? it's not difficult, just a little fiddly, so i do it in two parts: first i get everything in place and ON THERE using gluedots, i like the mini size because they're easy to hide, but i am generous with them since they are quite small. there are probably 2 or 3 under each dimensional flower, 5-6 under the candy cane, and a couple more anchoring the bow to the cane, plus i use one under each tail of the bow to keep those ends from flipping over. then, when the card is completely "finished" i plug in my trusty low-temp hot glue gun and add a little EXTRA HOLD at strategic points, particularly around and under the candy cane, but there's a bit under the bigger florals, too. how will i mail this sucker? most likely i will put it in with a gift, so the bulkiness will not even become a factor, but i've been known to use padded jiffy mailers with the card either sandwiched between corrugated cardboard, or padded with the stiffer kind of bubblewrap. yeah, they definitely cost a bit more to mail, but i like to think of them as being tiny little pieces of art, and i know people enjoy receiving them, so i just sort of count that in as part of the cost of making things i love!

speaking of love, both lisa and stephanie have made cards which take my breath away, and i think you'll enjoy them, too, so why not check out ♥JINGLE BELLES♥? then stop over and visit miss patrice's 52-card-pick up, because i'm positive she'll have something lovely to show you as well!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

tutti frutti summer loooooooooooooooooove!*

this week, at shopping our stash the challenge is "fruity fun" for which we are using fruit themed stamps, images, paper, embellies, etc! apples, pears, bananas oh my! i had my card more than halfway completed when i hit a creative quandary: i LOVED the pears, the sentiment, the big purple heart, and some of the collagey cluster but somehow the whole thing just didn't "gel" until i stole (AHEM!) payed tribute to (that's better!) m'colleague deena's awesome card from last week's easter-related challenge by placing my focal point in a polaroid frame! (thanks, d!!!) deena's card utilizes a verrrrrry cool stamp set which i don't happen to have, so i just winged it and trimmed some white cardstock to the right shape! ;) and here it is now!

(pears are cut from TOTALLY ANCIENT sei "fruit stand" paper which, for the record, i still totally adore! other patterned paper: glitz design, mme, scenic route, basic grey, pink paislee (dyed w/purple chalkboard glimmer mist), amy tangerine; border stickers: crate paper + fancy pants: other stickers: echo park, amy tangerine; journal cards/tags: american crafts, basic grey, jenni bowlin; ink: colorbox; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape) 
i hope you'll go and check out ALL the cards at SOS and then link up your own fruity masterpiece!!! ♥

*this is a very silly video, which does also happen to have a teeny tiny bit of (brief yet hilarious) nudity in it, so best not to click over if kids, bosses, or ppl who don't like silly things are nearby! just sayin'...

Friday, March 22, 2013

leave it in neutral!

we're headed into our second week of the awesome and challenging "neutral noel" prompt at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ suggested by our lovely guest star noelle mcadams. so we're still eschewing color in favor of the neutral shades of the palette, such as white, cream, beige, brown, charcoal, grey, black, gold, silver and copper! (for the record, we consider those metallics to just be "blingy" neutrals!) there are lots of ways to go with this, but an approach that almost always works for me, when i'm either deprived of color or need to use hues outside my comfort zone, is to go monochrome and load up on texture; so that's what i've done this week. i chose all white, since making such a card for my aunt judie has become an annual event!

(patterned paper: pink paislee; transparency: hambly; flowers: prima; border punch:  easy cut; other: vintage eyelet lace; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine. quick note about how i attach lace/ribbon: i don't like the way many trims unravel when cut to fit, but sometimes i'd prefer not to see them INSIDE my card... so whenever possible i will wrap lace around a panel before attaching the panel to my card; to do so i use a tape runner to lightly secure the trim on front and back of the panel, stick the panel to the card, and then machine stitch around the perimeter.)
it never fails to amaze me to realize just how many shades of white there actually are! (move over grey... there are WAY MORE than 50, lol!!!) this was borne home to me when we decided to repaint the master bedroom in the new house, and cruised into home depot's paint chip area... holy *WOW*!!!  even being fairly certain of what i needed to match the existing ceiling color, i still walked out of there with like 25 swatches! on the other hand, when it comes to card-making, and particularly monochrome card-making, i'd actually prefer NOT to have all my white tones match, since to me it's the variations that make it interesting! you can see i've got some bright white, some off-white, a couple of vaguely greyish whites, some pearl white, some sparkly white, etc. added to the mix, several of my papers have a sort of glossy "resist" pattern on them, because they are papers which can be misted to match one's projects; but more than half the time i use them unaltered, just for the cool variation they give when left white-on-white!

today being friday, i am linking up with patrice's 52-card-pickup, and then headed over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to see what noelle and stephanie have whipped up for us. won't you join me, darlings?! ♥

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

a card that looks *JUST LIKE* the picture in my head!!!

don't you ♥LOVE♥ it when that happens?! i do! :) the card in question was made as part of this week's challenge at shopping our stash, for which we are making easter- and/or spring-themed projects... though of course you know at SOS what we really looooooove is to see you dusting off your older, more neglected supplies and using them up. so if you pull off a feat of daring stash-usage, be sure to tell us about it when you post your link! i think i've done pretty well on that score, since my whole card revolves around finding a little baggie with half-a-dozen absolutely ancient doodlebug easter stickers in it, and i made them into this:

(patterned paper: mambi; easter stickers: doodlebug; clear "happy" sticker: SRM; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape)
when i found the stickers and then this paper, leftover from an 8x8 scrapbooking page kit i was given some time ago, i thought, "wouldn't it be cool if i could make the word seem to be growing up, out of the ground, like it was part of an easter egg hunt?"... and i think i sort of maybe pulled it off!

one thing of which i am entirely certain is that my lovely SOS team-mates will have made astonishing things, especially to delight ♥YOU♥... why not pop over and confirm this for yourself!

Friday, March 15, 2013

neutral noelle?!

ok, sorry, that's my little joke, and probably i'm the only one who finds it funny, but this week, for the very first time in ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ history, we have a lovely guest star, whose actual given name is *christmassy*!!! and for a punny xmas-card-makin' person such as myself, this is almost overwhelmingly awesome, as you can imagine, lol! that's right, we've got the lovely noelle mcadams in the JB house, and she has proposed a most wonderful and challenging prompt for us, which we're calling "neutral noel"! what does that mean? we're asking you to leave out the COLOR, and create a holiday card which focuses on the NEUTRAL tones, such as: white, cream, ivory, ecru, beige, tan, kraft, brown, sepia, black, charcoal, grey... and yes, even though they are "blingy" we do consider silver, gold, and copper to be neutrals, as well, so use them all you like! one could even... if one were, oh, i don't know... *ME*... use ALL of them, together, in a super-layery combination of lots and lots of neutral tones. a bit like this, actually:

(transparencies: hambly, best creation, creative imaginations; vellum: the paper co; patterned paper: hambly; snowflake cut from ki lace paper; floral: prima; bling: want2scrap; snowflake sticker (inside card): martha stewart; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner... to tack papers + transparencies together, then machine stitching to secure; also 3m foam tape and gluedots to attach floral + snowflake)
ok, i know what you're thinking, you're thinking, "hey lauren! for once your card looks very nearly FLAT! so how can you call it 'super-layery'?!" well-spotted, darlings! this card actually is quite flat, but it has SIX layers!!! however, almost all of them are transparent, or nearly so, which makes it harder to tell. on the plus-side, to me, that makes it all a bit more elegant, because i'd actually prefer people to see one seamless card than six individual layers! here's a shot of the ingredients, which gives you a better idea of what i've done:

gold transparency cardbase... silver transparency snowflakes, white transparency frame, swirly ivory vellum, and dark grey/silver patterned paper. plus the flower, snowflake and bling. oh, and completely unexpectedly, when i had scored and folded the gold transparency layer which is my cardbase, i realized that the REVERSE side of that gold printing is more of a dark copper color, and of course you can SEE IT on the inside of the card. bonus layer!!! here's another shot, of the inside, complete with glamorous hand model! :)

remember, you don't need to use six layers on your own card, nor incorporate ANYTHING transparent, unless you wish to. you don't even have to have "noel" on your card (or "noelle" on your driver's license!!!) to play! just make a card that uses ANY combination of neutral colors, or pick ONE neutral tone and go monochrome! if you need additional inspiration, there's plenty to be had from both noelle and stephanie over at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ plus a bunch more ideas listed for you to try!

ps: i'm linking my card with 52-pick-up over at patrice's blog, won't you join me there?!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

monstas... they're not JUST for xmas anymore! :)

i know, i know, i'm THE ONLY PERSON in the world who thinks that monstas and christmas go together. well, ok, tim burton does, too. but he tends to make more movies than cards. i make cards, and as you know, i especially like making 'em for the shopping our stash challenge. this week, the brief is to make a funny, sassy, snarky, or in some way LOL-worthy card. for someone who spends as much time being silly as i do, my humorous card repertoire is sadly lacking. i only have about three card jokes, and i rotate them seasonally whilst trying to devise different ways to make them visual. i should think up some new material, but at the moment i am knee-deep in lawyers, real estate agents, and mortgage guys. so not only did i re-use a joke, i re-used a whole entire design, and i am PROUD of the fact! it saved me (non-existent) time AND i think i made this one different enough to be unique. but you tell me:

(monstas cut from (sadly retired) paperchase giftwrap; patterned paper: sassafras, basic grey; foam thickers: american crafts; labels: dymo; ink: colorbox; adhesives: scotch brand gluestick; 3m foam tape; plus one magnetic closure--so that the cupcake stays together-- by basic grey)
the "original" card was made with some gorgeous EAD stickers, last year, for my honorary nephew carlos. this one is for my young neighbor, john. (only the monstas have been changed, to protect the innocent, as jack webb so cleverly never said!) in any case, i always think kids like stuff to be interactive, so i made sure the inside was fun, too:

but wait, there's an inside INSIDE the inside, as well!!! :)

yeah. ok. this may only be funny to me and a six-year-old. and hopefully his mom. but maybe you, too?  in the meantime, why not hop over to SOS where i am POSITIVE that my fellow DT members will make you, in the words of mr. monk, "LOL... out loud!!!" :) :) :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

stick with me, kid!

does this ever happen to you? you have a complete card-making plan in your head, you know EXACTLY what supplies you're going to use and all you need to do is sit down and assemble the fully-planned out, perfect card. so you do sit down, and the next thing you know a COMPLETELY DIFFERENT card, one that does not even use a single thing you've chosen, starts to emerge. i can never decide if this is awesome or inconvenient. it definitely takes longer, i can tell you that! on the other hand, i nearly always "go with" the new, spontaneous, idea... so clearly on some level i must kind of like the phenomenon. :)

this week, the original card had bright primary colors, lots of distressed edges, a zillion basic grey patterned papers, and the big giant "merry" from SRM's awesome We've Got Your Stick-Merry sheet. so obviously the card i'm going to show you looks like this, lol:

(awesome SRM products: Labels By the DozenWe've Got Your Border stickers (as hangers) and We've Got Your Stickers-Merry sentiment; patterned paper: basic grey, crate, glitz; brads: mme; ribbon: michaels; other: square doily (pieced to fit); adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine)
ok, admittedly, there *IS* some basic grey paper in there! so, what happened was, when i sat down to work on the original "merry" card, i kept seeing, out of the corner of my eye, the sheets of SRM Labels By the Dozen sitting on my work table, and they kept screaming, "ORNAMENTS! make us into ORNAMENTS!" so eventually i did, and i think they look pretty fab, actually. i loaded the three pink scalloppy circle shapes with snowflake diecuts, punches, and brads to fancy them up, cut little "necks" out of scrap paper for the tops, and then placed a couple of "We've Got Your Border" stickers on the background paper to act as hangers. some gorgeous square doily as a mat, a little scrap-paper pennant + sticker sentiment, and a teeny bit of machine stitching later... shabby chic xmas card... in pink, obviously!!! 

i've been remiss, so far this year, in joining MANY of my favorite challenges, mostly because of the serious time-crunch involved in buying a home and getting ready to move! but luckily miss patrice has reminded me that one can link up ANY card with her 52-pick-up feature, so i'm planning to get back into that habit on fridays!

no matter what you might have planned for today, it couldn't help but be even better if you started out with a stop over at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ for a little holiday inspiration. for one thing, miss stephanie is also rockin' the stickers with her fab card, for another the fine folks from SRM have provided a lovely and generous prize packet for one lucky cardmaker who links up a holiday card made with at least one sticker this week. and you KNOW you want a shot at that! ♥♥♥

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

SOS92: let's get punchy!

specifically, at shopping our stash this week, we're challenging you to use your *BORDER* punches. because i bet you have at least a few; and maybe even a couple you haven't used in a bit? you miiiiiiiight even have one that's still in the box. well, why not go and get those babies out, dust 'em off, and use one or more on a card, a layout, a tag, a journal page or... well... whatever you feel like making today. i made a card. because that's what i do! :)

(bird, frame and speech bubble: bam pop; patterned paper: creative imaginations, glitz designs, crate paper, american crafts, dcwv, basic grey; chipboard alphas: american crafts; alphabet rub-ons: scrapworks; border punches: ek success, fiskars, recollections, martha stewart; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine)
you can see i chose the "OR MORE" part of the "one or more" option. that's because i have lots of lovely border punches, they are actually one of my favorite tools! since i was making a card for my uncle, i eschewed all the flowery and lacey ones, but i still had enough to make a super-stacked border, using up loads of scraps! something else i had sort of forgotten about was my beloved bam pop birdie paper, a sheet of which i found while looking for something else, so i decided to put those feathered friends to good use. since just ONE birdie might get lonely, i brought along a couple of friends for him, they live on the INSIDE of the card!

speaking of friends, i hope you will go and see the amazing work of my fellow DT-mates over at shopping our stash! off you go, darlings, and be sure to tell them all how AWESOME they are! ♥

Sunday, March 3, 2013

so what have you been up to, lauren?

very briefly and rapidly, in and out of new york city last sunday, for (amongst other things) the gutai: splendid playground exhibit at the guggenheim. (also loved "no country" and "paper like skin")

the shuji mukai-decorated bathroom at the guggenheim, complete with impressively color-coordinated model!
...and copying and faxing and signing and amending and emailing and delivering and comparing and negotiating and reviewing and rewriting and having notarized... more paperwork than i have ever encountered in my entire life!!! as part of the on-going, very exciting, all-consuming, totally tiring, home-buying process! (and yes, we do have a tentative settlement date now; if all goes well, i will be posting photos and blogging from OUR NEW HOME within the next month or so!) :) :) :)

pretty much every night of february-- a james bond film on reelz; as well as the excellent bond documentary everything or nothing (via streaming netflix).

this gorgeous sweater for my honorary niece's baby-to-be, who is due in june. (it's very slightly freaking me out, however, since it seems like allison herself was a baby, like... fifteen minutes ago! seriously. how can this be?)

don't worry, babies LOVE bright colors! or they're color-blind. i'm not sure which. either way, this totally works!

how it can actually be MORE work to assemble all of the documents needed for an accountant to do one's taxes (which, b/c of an odd real estate situation, we have to do this year) than to just do the taxes oneself??!?!

denise gigante's fascinating biography of the keats brothers (did you know that george emigrated to america in the early 19th century? no, nor did i!) 

over home decor in a big, biiiiiiiiig way. mostly via this highly addictive website.

don't judge me.
red velvet pop tarts. ok yeah. not proud of this, but my bff bought me a box and holy wow, they are yummy, in a totally junk food sort of way! luckily they are limited edition, and as with last summer's tastycakes, there is a strict "one box per household" policy. (well, there is in THIS household, anyway, lol!)

lovely husband jeff home, after a very long and very lonely two-week work absence. hooooooraaay!

so what have ♥YOU♥ been up to, darlings?! 
i do hope the month of march is treating you well so far! 

Friday, March 1, 2013

let's *STICK* together!

friday is always my favorite day of the week, especially when we have a new ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ prompt, and even more especially when we have an awesome sponsor; since both of those happen to be true today, i'm one happy card-makin' girl! the sponsor in question is SRM stickers, so i bet you can guess the prompt, can't you? (hint: if you think it might just be to make a holiday card which includes one or more stickers, you're red hot!) :) :) :) of course, the stickers *you* use do not need to be made by SRM; but on the other hand, they make such lovely, useful, clear designs, i bet you have a couple laying around! since that fine company gave stephanie and myself a most generous packet of their latest products, i had lots to choose from... and thus i may have gone slightly into "sticker shock"... but in a GOOD way... see?!

yeah! once i got going, i just could not seem to stop, so i made a whole gift set! for one thing, SRM makes these totally awesome glassine bags, in a variety of sizes (this is the largest); i love the way i can put the card and pillow box inside and you can sort of see them... but it's still a little mysterious:

(glassine bag, labels by the dozen, sticker stitches, and we've got your border stickers all by SRM;  deco tape: freckled fawn; xmas tree die: sizzix)
the pillow boxes (this is a medium one) are rather fab, as well, and since SRM stickers really are totally and completely *CLEAR*, you can get away with layering them to your heart's content!

(pillow box, we've got your sticker-xmas, we've got your border stickers and sticker stitches all by SRM; deco tape: freckled fawn; ribbon:making memories; patterned paper: crate paper; twine: doodlebug; tissue: michaels)
finally, here's my card, which i think you'll agree is merry and BRIGHT... by anyone's standards!

(we've got your sticker-xmas, we've got your border stickers, labels by the dozen and sticker stitches all by SRMpatterned paper: crate paper; ribbon:making memories; glossy white cardstock: ranger; ink: colorbox; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine)
i owe the very cool layout of the card to the nice folks at unscripted sketches, who, as usual, are full of inspiration!

speaking of inspiration, we have melanie, one of the lovely designers from the SRM blog along with us at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ this week, and of course miss stephanie has rocked the sticker-usage too, for that matter. if none of that interests you... did i happen to mention... the *PRIZE*??!?! check it out, darlings! ♥