Wednesday, July 31, 2013

guess what i made over the weekend?

just one of my all-time favorite minibooks, that's all! and i'm glad it came out so well because it's the covers for my ICAD index cards... a project which wraps up today, and with which i have been (as you know!) in love all summer long. so i wanted my cards to have a really special home and now they do. yay! ♥

(book boards built from several layers of cereal box xyroned together and then covered in a printed book page; collages made of various vintage papers, a bit of sewing pattern, some doilies, etc; pink ghost letters: heidi swapp for advantus, bordeaux font; flourish: recollections; flower: prima; brad: crate paper; teeny tiny alpha stickers: kaiser; washi tape: october afternoon; xl book ring from staples; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, sewing machine)
i suspect even heidi swapp herself was not as excited as i was to hear recently that she was making a new version of her utterly divine, colorful-but-see-through acrylic letters. these are not those, however... these are the original ones!!! yes, i still have some. i still have a few different ones, as a matter of fact; i ♥LOVED♥ them in the olden days and i still love them now! these larger ones, especially, are perfect when you'd like a fairly prominent title without covering up too much background. because i'm really happy with my uber-layered background, too, actually. so much so, i made another for the back of the book:

yep, the front and back covers are kissin' cousins. i used bits of several different book papers, a few older illustrations, part of an income tax form, some doilies... if it was cream or white or soft grey and made of paper, i probably ripped a little bit of it off and glued it onto one of my 4x6 covers!

and yes, of course, i'm including a gratuitous sprawly picture of the (almost) completed book:

i mean, really, it wouldn't be an official minibook-braggin' post if it didn't include one of those, now would it?! :) that's fifty eight days of ICAD goodness you see right here... tune in tomorrow for days 59-61, darlings! ♥

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

SOS112: use your oldest punch

for this week's challenge at shopping our stash, the title pretty much explains it all, doesn't it? we want to see your oldest punch, in use again! here's what i made:

(patterned paper: prima, creative imaginations, webster's pages + a scrap of papaya art glitter giftwrap which was much too small to wrap anything in, but far too pretty to toss away; florals: prima, petaloo; rosette and strawberry brad: dear lizzy/american crafts; large decorative rhinestone: glitz design; chipboard border and heart: my mind's eye; stickers: amy tangerine/american crafts; circle punch: marvy; border punches: ek success, recollections; adhesives: recollections brand gluetape runner, glue dots, hot glue, sewing machine)
in this case, the punch in question is slightly boring... it's just one of those mega sized (3") circles... but on the plus side i still use it ALL the time! to offset the yawn factor, i've added in my oldest border punch, as well; ok, two border punches, actually, because i honestly don't remember whether i bought the tiny scalloped edge or the larger swag-like one first. again, i do still love them both and they see plenty of employment to this day. so do my decorative scalloped edge scissors, for that matter, but that's a story for another week, lol! :)

i used retrosketch #72, from a few weeks ago, for my layout. the best thing about really great sketches is that whereas the challenge deadline might have long since expired, the awesomeness never, ever, does!
and now won't you mosey on over to SOS and see the amazing things my fellow design team members have rustled up for your enjoyment? whilst you're there, why not try to remember what your first punchy purchase was, and start thinking how cool it would look on a brand new project! ♥

Sunday, July 28, 2013

the ICAD-ing continues

and if you think my title is awkward, you should know that i considered and rejected "ICAD-ery" and yes, even "ICAD-ification"; so there! ICAD-ing it is!!! :) despite the fact that i'm already scraping the bottom of the cool title barrel with half a week left to go on the index card a day project, my joy in creating and sharing these little random pieces of art remains undiminished. ♥

053: indian elements
i never get tired of india. i like indian food, i like bollywood movies, i like bhangra, i like mehndi. and i really, realllllllly like little bits of indian-inspired art. with bling on them!!! :) 

054: clouds
cloud punch + vintage italian book page + ship illustration + sewing machine = ♥

055: doodles and tapes
this was inspired by the many gorgeous zentangle and doodle-filled ICADs my fellow participants have been uploading to the flickr group, and not something i invented on the spot to immediately use/justify the awesome roll of bicycle-printed tape i impulse-bought at staples that day. so i don't know *where* you even got that idea. ;)

056: concentric circles
inspired by the week nine prompt list. hand-cut shapes and wonky stitching... a lauren speciality!

057: ogee pattern
another one from the prompt list. i'm starting to feel like i'm getting the hang of water-soluble wax crayons a tiny bit. yay!

next on my agenda is making and decorating a pair of cardboard covers so the collection of cards currently hanging on an extra large ring will start to actually look like a book!

Friday, July 26, 2013

sleigh belles (continue to) ring

i love that we started posting fortnightly last year at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥; i know that some people would prefer to have a different prompt every single week, but i really enjoy having two chances at each idea! especially when we've got a fabulous guest star like jessi fogan joining us; and even more so when there's a multiple choice type option, like sleigh belles ring; for which you can:

Make a card with a sleigh on it 
Make a card with bells on it
or possibly
Make a card using sheet music
or even
combine more than one of those ideas!

i went with options one and three. see?

(patterned paper: making memories, basic grey, echo park; xl journaling card: making memories; sleigh sticker: anna griffin; poinsettias: girls paperie; sentiment die-cut: october afternoon; music twill: from miss leslie, ta v much! ink: colorbox; adhesives: recollections brand gluetape runner, sewing machine)
i'm pretty happy that i have a prominent sentiment on the front of my card, so i can link up with sentimental sundays, who are having christmas in july this week! merry monday's anything goes xmas is running for the entire month, and patrice's 52 card pickup goes all year long, so i'm good to go!

and now won't ♥YOU♥ go to jingle belles and see the fabulous cards that jessi and stephanie have made? you'll be glad you did, i promise; and not just because there is an awesome prize on offer, though there is actually! :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

and with those two words *EVERYTHING* changed!

the two words being "stapled collage" which i read on the week eight prompt list for the ICAD project. of course to say that everything changed is a massive exaggeration, but it makes for an excellent title, dontcha think? and truly, it did feel like a firecracker of inspiration going off inside my head! thus i'm showing these out of order, so i can make my favorite be on top:

048: stapled collage
it's got about 12 layers, mostly vintage, and yes, they are all attached with that one staple! this took an embarrassingly long time to make, most of which was spent figuring out how to position everything so it was spread out enough to be seen, but compact enough to stay on there. 

047: aloha, hibiscus
yes, it's yet another hawaii collage, this one inspired by the gorgeous hibiscus stamp that gina carved for me, which i ♥LOVE♥! she carved the smaller flower, too, and the base is a photo i took on waikiki beach. 

049: namaste collage
aesthetically, this might be my least favorite ICAD of the year, a fact of which i am actually rather proud! see, there was a point at which this looked really beautiful, but it was totally safe and a little dull; so i made myself keep going and "wreck" it. because the most important part of art journaling (for me!) is to emphatically place more emphasis on PROCESS than OUTCOME.

050: disco
surprise! it's another stapled collage! i should probably apologize in advance because i am pretty sure i'll be making waaaay too many of these over the next few weeks.

051: sewn stack of layers
NOT another stacked and stapled collage. no siree bob. this one is SEWN. totally different. totally. :)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

best SOS challenge ever?

this week at shopping our stash, instead of hiding away our crafty addictions, we're ♥CELEBRATING♥ them! sound fun? come and join us! here's the brief:

I Do Not Need Another One 
(...or Maybe I Do!)
Make a card or project featuring something you buy a lot of, like every butterfly stamp, or every Magnolia stamp, every pad of paper by a certain company, or every color of washi tape ... be sure to tell us what you've chosen in your post, we just love that sort of thing! :)

i confess i could've gone a few ways with this one: vintage paper, prima flowers, bling; there are several areas where i find it hard to resist having just one more! but lately it's tape. so i made this, which miiiiiiiiiiight look a little bit familiar to you:

patterned paper: bo bunny, dcwv, studio calico, love elsie, basic grey; decorative tapes: love my tapes, bazzill, recollections, october afternoon, my mind's eye, 7 gypsies; cloud punch: fiskars; ink: colorbox; adhesives: recollections brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine)
one of the many things i love about the index card a day project in which i've been participating this summer, is that it's a great place to "test drive" new ideas. i can't say that i've often come up with something that translates as directly into a card as the ICAD at the very bottom of this post; usually it's more subtle an influence than that... but hey... i'll take it!

why not stop over at SOS to see the awesome projects my teammates have created? you'll be glad you did, i promise! ♥

Monday, July 22, 2013

two non-paper projects in one week?

inconceivable!!!* except when you realize i still have a guy intermittently working on my floors, since new jersey's even more than usually high humidity at the moment means it's taking 3-4 days for each coat of stain and poly to dry properly. they are looking *AWESOME* though, and i cannot wait to show you the finished product! in the meantime, i'm trying to make a positive factor out of not having full access to my art lair, by finishing up some other projects. like this little sweater for my lovely new friend tegan, who is two months old this week!

"taking a ribbing" pattern by celeste pinheiro; i used just over 2.5 skeins of knit picks sock memories yarn... (the colorway is called "flower power"!) ...and shortened the length a bit, because it's knit from the bottom up, and i feared my three skeins might not be enough. 
doesn't it look TINY?! but the ribbing means it's verrrrrry stretchy, and since i made it in the nine-month size, and miss tegan is quite a little peanut, i hope she'll be able to wear it all through the fall and winter. i love the way it's got one row of reverse single crochet around the entire perimeter of the sweater, which makes the edges just a tiny bit ruffly.

i'm pretty pleased with my finishing on this: instead of binding off the shoulders and sleeves and sewing them in the traditional manner, i bound off both shoulders together to get a nice flat seam; and i grafted the live stitches at the top of the sleeves right into the body of the sweater.

the pattern specified five small buttons down the front, and i had some pretty yellow ones all ready to go, but this carved ivory hibiscus just called to me! i realize it's EXACTLY the right size for a baby to choke on, so i'll warn the parents, and if they want to remove it, they can snip right through the embroidery floss i used to secure it. now we just need the weather to lighten up a little, so my tiny super-model friend can show this thing off in baby vogue!

now here's a bit of handmade clothing that's PERFECT for right now, courtesy of miss gina:

have you ever seen two cooler pairs of shoes? because i haven't! the hibiscus ones are from january, though g had painted them earlier, but she gave them to me when i was visiting the gulf coast on vacation. they're size 10's... or at least... the shoe company claim they are size 10's, but they run very small, and while i adore them, they are sadly not the most comfortable things to actually wear. but i ♥LOVE♥ them, and have had them on the top of my shoe rack since we moved into the new house, so i can see them every day. flash forward to last week, when a fabulous birthday box arrived and what awesome surprise should be inside but ANOTHER pair of amazing shoes hand-painted by my favorite floridian artist. and they have flamingos on them!!!  ♥SWOON♥!!! thank you, missus, you made my day!!!!! ♥

*you kip using that word; i do not think it mins what you think it mins! :) 

Saturday, July 20, 2013

more, more, more!

ICADs, that is. some (but not all) utilize the week seven prompt list miss tammy generously provided on the daisy yellow art blog. i've been winging it a lot more this year, though. i find that i have quite a backlog of my own ideas i want to try out; i suspect mostly because during the whole home-buying and moving process i was really only making stuff for specific deadlines and challenges. which is great, but does not (for me) generate playfulness and experimentation in the same way that working in an art journal does. specifically, i am hooked on layered backgrounds made of many different scraps of paper. as addictions go, this one seems pretty innocuous, and i'm making quite a few things i like, so i'm goin' with it! :)

043: ocean
layers of vintage paper (told ya!), a blue spattery trasparency, machine stitching, layers of rub-ons... i like this one even better IRL

044: washi plaid
i accidentally (!) bought a set of 1/8" wide washi tape at michaels last weekend. so i had to try them out. obviously.

045: raindrops
(more!) layers of vintage paper, with a julie balzer stencil on top and an umbrella from the "already cut out" file. niiiiice.

046: geisha collage
geisha transparency (printed a while ago from an older digital kit i cannot find the name of, sorry!) plus lots and lots and lots of rub-ons, on top of... wait for itttttttttttt... layers of vintage paper!

047: bicycle
i cut out these guys before bed one night... the next day, seemingly on their own... they evolved into this completely unplanned collage that totally makes me laugh. i ♥LOVE IT♥ when that happens!!! 

(and right there is what i love most about the ICAD experience!!!!)

Friday, July 19, 2013

sleigh belles ring

today at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ we're thrilled to have my amazing colleague from shopping our stash, jessi fogan, as our lovely guest star. for this fortnight's prompt she came up with, "sleigh belles ring" and of course, always mad for a fab title, we jumped on it! we debated for a bit whether the brief should be, "make a card with a sleigh on it" or, "make a card with bells on"...  the latter encompassing either the real jingly kind, or just the image of a bell. finally we decided we'd allow *either* (or both?!) of these ideas... and for anyone who finds those too challenging, we threw a further possibility, "make a card using sheet music". so basically, if you cannot find SOMETHING you like in this one, you're just not trying! :)

being ever the show-off, i used two of the three elements. ta-daaaaaaa:

(digital sheet music: christmas shopping kit by polka dot pixels; patterned paper: autum leaves; golden vellum layered poinsettia: prima; velvetty leaves: making memories; gem flourish: want2scrap; deco tape: martha stewart; jingle bell die: memory box (cut from doodlebug glitter paper); lace from my stash; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, hot glue, sewing machine)
so you can see the sheet music, obviously. i had planned on using some softly patina-ed vintage music, but when i was looking through my leftovers file, i found this digital copy, and the green and white sort of caught my eye. because of the layering, it might be a little hard to see my (glittery, diecut) jingle bells, so here's a closer shot of those, they are nestled in the border that stretches across the card; and yes, they are slightly less prominent than i had originally envisaged, but i think i'm starting to kind of like the subtlety of that:

something i think *you* will like, is hopping over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to see both jessi's and stephanie's cards. be sure to leave them a little love while you're there, won't you? oh yes, and i seem to recall something about there being a prize on offer... hmmmmm... well, i suppose while you're there you might as well check that out, too, eh, darlings?! :) :) :)

ps: i'm linking up with 52-card-pick-up, and the merry monday "anything goes xmas" challenge ...which lasts throughout july!

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

what has 4 folds and won't fit in an envelope?

if you said, "that sounds like many of your larger cards, lauren!" of course you're quite right, but that's not what i meant. in this case, the answer is the room divider i just finished macguyvering to hide the exercise equipment which resides in our guest bedroom:

i was hoping to find one item, pay for it, and be done. but that never happens, does it? at least, it never seems to happen to me, lol. i saw lots of folding screen/room dividers, both online and in stores, but none of them were quite right. finally i found a pretty three-paneled one at home goods, which was everything i wanted, except opaque; but i had A PLAN for that.

as it turned out, it was also only about half the size we needed, so i after a lot of calling around to track down a second one, i got to work on THE PLAN, which was to back the panels with some pretty but neutral fabric.

i ironed, trimmed, ironed, hemmed, and ironed a piece of fabric to fit quite precisely behind one of the panels, and lovely husband jeff tacked it into place with his heavy-duty staple gun.

then i went back and did all of that five more times. :)

do you like the paisleys? i love them. they're a ralph lauren fabric... ok technically... they are a set of ralph lauren sheets, found on sale, at home goods:

i am certainly not the world's best seamstress, as you can see from the back of the panels. (the really professional-looking top edge is the actually-professional hem of the sheets; i also used their two side seams; this gave us one set of nice straight lines to work with and helped make the orientation of the pattern consistent.)

on the other hand, since these are only going to be used to keep our overnight guests from feeling as if they're sleeping at the gym, i think my "measure, cut, sew" method is adequate; and since we kept the panels nice and flat, the screens can still be folded up...

...but at the moment i'm kind of enjoying gazing upon my handy-work, so i've got them in the corner of the room. if you're planning an overnight trip to central new jersey darlings, let me know; we could really use some guest room testers!!! ♥♥♥

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

have *I* got weird stuff??! you betcha!!! :)

in the shape of unusual crafting supplies, i mean. ok, yeah, admittedly, i also have weirdness across the board, in all sorts of areas. but for the purposes of this post, let's stick to crafting, k? thanks. you might be wondering why i brought the subject up at all, so maybe i should essplain. it involves this week's challenge at shopping our stash, which is one of my favorites to date, so i will reprint the wording just as it is on our esteemed crew blog:

Challenge 110: Weirdest Card Supply Purchase 
Something you bought that you just knew you needed and would be oh so very cool on a card, but you haven't used it yet. Did you buy a mile of raffia? Some mini cupcake liners? A bamboo mat? Cork coasters? Sock monkey brads? (*ahem*)

everyone on the design team had to really think about this one, but you know, we quite ENJOY that. it's sort of the point of doing challenges, in a way... it pushes us to go in a direction we might otherwise not have considered! more than one crew member felt they didn't really have anything weird enough to count. that was not my problem. au contraire. my problem was that i'd already used most of my weirdest acquisitions: everything from rummage sale junk jewelry, to beach sand and tiny shells, to every conceivable type of vintage paper, fabric, tissue, playing cards, game pieces... you name it, and if i've been able to devise a way to attach it, i've probably put it on a card at some point, lol! but being a person who enjoys seeking out cool stuff, eventually i found a few hitherto unused bits and bobs and i used them to make this:

there are not many official scrapbooking products on this card, but there is a gorgeous EAD rub-on, a lovely dear lizzie brad, and some pretty teresa collins pink cardstock. the flower layers were made with my cuttlebug and the following sizzix steel rule dies: flower #2, flower layers, flower layers #3, and tim holtz's tattered florals; in terms of adhesives i've used staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, hot glue, and my grandmother's gorgeous avocado green c.1970 sewing machine.
ok, so i know what you're thinking, you're thinking, "hey lauren, that doesn't really look very weird, does it?!" well, ok, maybe not. should i show you what i started out with?

now that's better, isn't it? i've got some fabulously irresistible oilcloth from a funky fabric shop, an old accounting ledger from a garage sale, and lucite rosette thingies from the late lamented industrial plastics on canal street, in new york city. i used the ledger paper as my background; i xyroned the oilcloth to some sturdy cardstock and cuttlebugged it using various flower dies; then, having forced one prong of a brad thru the tiny center opening in the rosette, i hot-glued it to the center of my majestic flower. as a bonus, i've used my all-time favorite cardmaking purchase, my beloved manual typewriter.

i have to tell you that amongst civilians, it's the latter which provokes the most puzzlement, when spotted in my home. "what on earth do you use a typewriter for?" and being told i just happen to love the look of the slightly wonky characters, the well-meaning friend will follow up with, "they make fonts that look just like that, you know." well, yeah. sorta. but i like doing it this way.

something else i like is bragging about how cool the cards and projects made by my SOS teammates are. which is why i urge you to go and check them out whilst you mull over what interesting acquisition *YOU* could wow us with this week, darlings! ♥♥♥

Sunday, July 14, 2013

it's not even a week!

since i posted the last batch of index card a day goodness... go, me!

039: aloha
it's been 18 months since we went to hawaii, but we still talk about it all the time, and some of us (ok, mostly ME, lol) make little random bits of art. the palm tree stamp is hawaiian, given to me by my friend barb, years ago. the base of the card was this mega-photoshopped pic i took of orchids at the foster botanical garden in honolulu. i thought it looked kind of sunset-y!

since it was pretty large (printed for something else, then not used) i had a leftover chunk of photo, which i used as base for the next card, the following night. but i wound up with so many layers on that one, you really don't see what it is. which is ok.

040: bhangra babe
again the combination of postage and rubber stamps, which for some reason i really like right now. the bird is from a digital kit, which i had also printed out ages ago, and i'd even fussy cut it, too.

which brings me to a question: am i the only one who has MASSES of leftover bits and pieces?! i mean, specifically... patterned paper scraps, off-cuts of vintage book pages, digi-files printed (on photo paper or sticker paper or a transparency) but not used, illustrations or stamped images i've cut out but abandoned, etc etc. i'm not complaining, mind you; i consider all the "extra" stuff a head start for the next project, and i just file them away, like with like. in fact, said files were the first thing i grabbed when i knew i was going to be locked out of my art lair during the great floor-refinishing caper. i limited myself to ONE packing box of paper, and this is it:

at the front are patterned paper scraps, sorted by color. further back is "the good stuff"; ok, heck, it's ALL good stuff, actually, i never met a piece of paper i didn't love, and that's the truth! :) but at the back of this box are more obscure things, like vintage paper and tags and magazine pages and... well EVERYTHING! these i group thematically, so that if i want some foreign text, or a bit of map, they're all together and i can just flip through them:

i also have a big file of "ready to use" stuff; mostly things that have been fussy-cut in advance. sometimes because i thought they might be right for a project, but then changed my mind... (i do A LOT of experimentation in the "lay out phase"; i dry fit everything and move it around for ages until something starts to gel) ...or sometimes, at the end of the night, when i'm too tired to be creative, but not tired enough to go to sleep, i'll just pick an image or two and trim them. they used to be in files, as well, but the tiny bits would fall out or tear, so now they're in envelopes:

back to ICAD, but this next card does illustrate how my storage method works for me. i wanted to make an all-pink collage, so i grabbed the pink scraps folder and rummaged a bit:

041: magenta
being spoilt for choice in terms of pink scraps, i narrowed down to ones that were inky essperiments, or offcuts. then i played with them a bit, but part of the ICAD exercise for me is not-- as is my usual tendency-- to over, over, OVER-think everything. so i tend to glue a lot faster, and dry-fit less. which i did. and yeah, the diecut heart was just there in the folder, too. no idea why, but i used it.

042: washi rainbow
one of the suggested ICAD weekly themes (in the first week i think?) was rainbows. i haven't been following the themes very vigorously this year, but that one stuck in my head and i keep coming back to it. when i was thinking about something new and fun i could do with my somewhat (AHEM) "plentiful" collection of tape, it came back yet again. i would not rule out seeing another version of this, for that matter.

wow, for a post with only four index cards in it, this thing is LONG! sorry about that, i guess the extra time being locked in the guestroom is sort of a mixed blessing, eh? not to worry, the floors will be finished eventually and i'll be back to neglecting you again soon, darlings! :) :) :)

Saturday, July 13, 2013

i make a lot of cards avec le tour eiffel...

...which is weird when you consider i've never been to paris! but then, i've always longed to go, so maybe it's not that weird, afterall. whatever the reason, i've made another one, as a slightly abstract version of this week'd travel-inspired challenge #152 at papercraft star:

at the risk of being immodest, i have to tell you that the base collage of this card is one of my all time favorite things i've ever made. i was inspired by a gorgeous layery page of tara anderson's that's part way down this post (it's the one with the tiny bulldog clip at the top left); but, as usual, i went off in my own direction. towards france, apparently, lol! :) i liked it so much i did something i hardly ever do... scanned and saved it to play with digitally. you can, too, if you like; just leave me a link to your own creation!

then hop on over to papercraft star and see the gorgeous dt creations, especially my lovely friend ros' because she has really outdone herself this time. ciao, darlings! ♥