Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Happy Holidays to all!

MFT - Birdie Brown Cool Day, Mama Elephant - Femme Frames, Waffle Flower - A Homemade Christmas

It's crunch-time, folks! We're entering the holiday zone that's filled with frenzy of baking, wrapping and arranging the gifts, along with Christmas parties, dinners and all kinds of wonderful (but busy!) times.

Since I'd really like to enjoy the holidays and have fun with my family, I'm probably not going to post anything in the next week or so. But, I wish you all a very happy holiday season and a fantastic new year!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Santa Gift

Holiday baking is in full swing, so today's post is just a picture of another Christmas card. This time, it features Birdie Brown's Jingle All The Way.

Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Cup of Cheer

Today's card is a masculine holiday card, featuring the cup from Birdie Brown's Merry Christmoose stamp set. Although none of the elements I used were specifically masculine, using cool colors and a simple and clean design gave this card a masculine touch.

I added a touch of sparkle with a silver cardstock snowflake, and finished the card with some enamel dots.

Thanks for reading!

My Favorite Things - Birdie Brown: Merry Christmoose
My Favorite Things - Blueprints 24 die
My Favorite Things - Blueprints 25 die
My Favorite Things - Green-Eyed Monster cardstock
My Favorite Things - Winter Wonderland (sentiment)
My Favorite Things - Calm & Cozy Chevron 6x6 paper pad
My Favorite Things - Silver Glitter Cardstock
Simon Says Stamp - Eliza Snowflake die
Enamel Dots

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Owl Christmas

Another sparkly Christmas card today, this time featuring Lawn Fawn's Winter Owl. This cute stamp set is another adorable mini that's very affordable and fun. I kept this card pretty simple, focusing on the owl and the shimmery gold.

After stamping and coloring the owl with Copics, I die-cut it out and set it aside. I created a front panel out of white cardstock and die-cut the right edge with the Puffy Cloud Borders die. I used distress ink to add some bright blue background for the owl, then adhered it to the card with foam squares.

I put a strip of glittery gold cardstock on the right side of my card base, then adhered the white panel on top. I stamped the Christmas sentiment from Cozy Christmas onto a stitched banner die and adhered it to the card.

As a last touch, I added a few enamel dots.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, December 14, 2015

Merry And Bright Bear

Today's card features the lovely bear from Birdie Brown's Cool Day. The stamp set was one of my favorite purchases last year, and I still absolutely adore it. It features two bears (pst, card with the other bear is coming soon!), as well as an ice floe, a North pole sign, pair of mittens and a nice mug for hot cocoa. The sentiments fit the images great, so if you haven't gotten your hands on this set, I strongly recommend it.

One of my other favorite things is a striped sweater. So, I used my Copics to color in the bear and free-hand colored in some stripes. I did not try to make the stripes be absolutely perfect, because I think it adds a more whimsical touch that way. I added a couple of other pops of color on the hat and the mug, then carefully cut the image out, leaving a small white border.

The rest of my card design was a bit more experimental. I wanted to play with circles, so I die-cut a piece of birch patterned paper. I adhered a sparkly strip of silver cardstock across it and added the bear on foam squares. I stamped the sentiment onto a small banner and adhered it above the circle.

I let the rest of the embellishment carry the circle theme by scattering a few sparkly clear sequins, enamel dots and a piece of flair. The card is simple, fun and merry.

Thanks for reading!

My Favorite Things- Birdie Brown "Cool Day" stamp
My Favorite Things Blueprints 25 (banner die)
My Favorite Things Circle STAX die
My Favorite Things Silver Sparkle cardstock
WPlus9 Christmas Sentiments stamp (retired)
Pretty Pink Posh Sparkling Clear sequins in 4mm and 6mm
Lawn Fawn Snow Day flair (retiring)
Copics (W2, R11, R22, 0 colorless blender, G14, YG67, V12, V06, V17, B00, B45, B18)

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Chatty Sunday: Plans for 2016

In my last post, I mentioned that I wanted to make a chatty post about my plans for the new year, and I figured today was the best time to do so. The rest of December is jam-packed with holiday prep and events, work and trying to make sure I haven't forgotten anything major. I'm also looking forward to spending some quiet moments with the family, once the holiday celebrations are out of the way.

You may recall my super excited post last year, where I talked about my One Hundred Cards challenge... Sadly, I did not complete that challenge (boo). After some thought, I'd come to the conclusion that it's because it was just too ambitious. 100 cards is a lot - even in a year. While I definitely want to take up this challenge again, I don't think I can make it into a yearly resolution. Instead, it will be an ongoing project - maybe one I can finish in 3 years or 10!

So... For the upcoming year, I decided to scale back quite a bit and make a more reasonable goal. It might sound like a bit of a boring goal, but I'm personally really excited and inspired by it.

In 2016, my goal is to spend the first half of the year just using up my existing supplies. I'm planning on keeping close track of how often I use up my consumables such as adhesives, patterned paper, cardstock and embellishments. At the same time, I plan to also make use of all the stamps and dies I own -- especially those that I've owned for a while. In doing so, I'd like to see if I have any stamp/die themes where I need more variety or areas that are getting too large to use effectively. I'm also thinking about posting my reviews of the products I used up. I know I love reading reviews, as they help me make a better decision about what to buy (or not to buy!), so hopefully all of you out there enjoy them too.

One of my recent big challenges has been finding room for all the supplies I own. A big part of that is my tendency to be prepared, so I stock up on things like extra adhesive, extra cardstock, extra embellishments, ink refills etc etc. However, without a clear idea of how many materials I use up on a regular basis, this can quickly (and easily!) lead to being overstocked. I think I probably have enough re-inkers for my hybrid inks to last me for years, for example. Since all of those things take up valuable stash space, I definitely want to make sure they're being used up. This is especially important because newer and better supplies continue to come out, and I don't want to end up throwing out hundreds of dollars worth of things years from now because they're just not useful.

The only thing I did not stock up for is Copic refills. I'm sure there are a few of them I could really use refills for, but I'm going to try to hold out and either use the palette that still works or switch around to other methods of coloring (pencils, watercolor, etc). I've been meaning to branch out and use all kinds of coloring techniques, so that works out very nicely for me.

For the second half of the year, I'm going to continue using up supplies while making a few small purchases to replenish my consumables and grab those can't-live-without supplies (spoiler: it will be a lot of new Lawn Fawn and Birdie Brown stamps). I'm hoping that those first 6 months will help me make much more informed purchases and help me focus on getting things I really truly need instead of things I'm afraid of running out.

In preparation for this, I've been working on some extra organization in between finishing up my holiday projects/prep. I've made some mini-kits for papers and embellishments, as well as pulled out a few stamps I feel especially inspired to use. As geeky as it might seem, I've really enjoyed planning this out and I'm looking forward to what the new year will bring!

Thanks for reading through my rambly chat.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Mice Christmas

Today's card features Mama Elephant's Festive Mice stamp set. When this stamp set was released, I was immediately drawn to the cute and whimsical style. But I hesitated buying it. It actually made it in and out of my cart quite a few times over a couple of weeks, and then I finally bought it. What made up my mind was that I still felt inspired each time I saw it over a period of a few weeks. A stamp set like that definitely ought to have a spot in my collection.

I kept this card very clean and simple, using some bright red patterned paper and a couple of strips of glitter gold cardstock to highlight the mice and the sentiment. I kept my coloring on the mice relatively monochromatic, with warm grays, red and a touch of pink.

As embellishment, I scattered a few sequins above the sentiment.

Join me this weekend for a chatty post about my plans for the new year!
Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Pink Bunny Christmas

Today's card is a holiday card featuring the adorable bunny from Lawn Fawn's Winter Bunny. The stamp set in question is small, affordable and really fun to use. I used it for a couple of cards last year, and I just could not resist using it again this year -- especially since I also got its coordinating die.

After stamping, coloring and die-cutting the bunny, I decided to go with a layered look and used Lawn Fawn's Stitched Party Banners die, along with Mama Elephant's Femme Frames die. I used a couple of non-traditional colors, as well as silver glitter cardstock. I tied a pink ribbon around the banner frame and adhered everything together with a combination of foam tape and regular adhesive.

I wanted a bold sentiment, so I die-cut Christmas from Simon Says Stamp's Merry Christmas die out of bright red cardstock. I added "Merry" with alphabet stickers (Webster's Pages Nest collection), and the card was finished!

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Eskimo Christmas.

And onward with another Christmas card!

This card uses the Polar Pals stamp set from Avery Elle. While this cute set has a boatload of winter images, what really drew me in were the snow-geared Eskimo boy and girl. I love that their outfits are similar and that they're looking at each other -- and I can already see myself using this set for a Valentine's card, too!

I used bright tones to color in the boy and the girl, as I wanted to make them pop. I also popped them on foam squares, just so they'd sit up a bit from the background. Although this stamp set has coordinating dies, I just used my trusty scissors to cut the pair out, leaving a small white border.

I wanted to keep the rest of the card very simple. I die-cut a couple of curved rectangles (retired die) out of patterned paper and silver sparkle cardstock. I set the panel against a neutral-colored Nordic Sweater pattern and scattered a few enamel dots around the top.

I really like how this card turned out.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Holiday Hugs

As you may have noticed, I did not post anything last week. I was away on vacation, visiting family for Thanksgiving and I spent all of my time thoroughly enjoying family activities and being away from my computer. I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving (if you celebrate) or a lovely week (if you don't)!

Today's card is another one in my series of Christmas cards for the year. This time, I'm featuring a super cute stamp set from WPlus9 called Holiday Hugs. The image in this set is so sweet with a fabulous style, and the sentiment matches just perfectly.

I decided to go for a combination of geometric (stripes) and random (splatters) for my background. I knocked things up a notch by adding some gold glitter cardstock and a few enamel dots.

For the main image, I colored the girl in shades of blue-green and black, keeping her hat and gloves white. In contrast, I used dusty pinks to shade the bear, which brought a lot of diversity to the colors and tied in with the bright red scarf.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Merry Fox-Mas

Today's card features the super cute stamp from Lawn Fawn's Winter Fox. This small stamp set is very affordable and versatile enough to fit any winter and Christmas card.

I decided to go with a not-so-traditional palette for this card, working with purple, grey, blue and a touch of silver. I think it really illustrates the winter feel, and the scalloped border brings a bit of softness to the design.

Since my tones were cool, I chose silver to add some sparkle and festive flair.

Thanks for reading!

Lawn Fawn - Winter Fox stamp
Copics (B41, B45, R20, V12, V06, V17, BG10, BG32, BG49)
Ranger Distress Ink - Dusty Concord
My Favorite Things - LLD Hug in a Mug
My Favorite Things - Silver Sparkle Cardstock
Simon Says Stamp - Wavy Scallop Stitches die

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

MFT- Warmest Wishes

Have you ever looked at your cards and thought "I can do better"? This is the state of mind I found myself in as I was looking over the pile of Christmas cards I'd made so far. I don't know whether it was being tired or just trying to rush and get Christmas things done, but I looked at my finished cards and I just wasn't feeling it. While there was nothing obviously wrong with them, they just didn't feel like "me". And I thought to myself that I can do better.

So, I went back to the drawing board and sat down to create some new cards. I didn't fret about the old cards, because they're getting wrapped up in pretty paper and are being sent off to a dear friend who needs a few holiday cards. But I wanted to do something special with the new cards.

This card is a bit more complex than my other ones, and it features some fun die-cutting. I used a very large bunch of supplies from My Favorite Things, and had a lot of fun die-cutting the perfect panels. I also added some embellishments and a bit of sparkle - and it made the card extra festive.

I'm just a little bummed that the coloring on the moose's sweater didn't come across as well as it does in person, but all in all, this is a card I'm happy with.

Since it fits the theme, I'm entering it in the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge.

My Favorite Things - (Birdie Brown) Christmoose stamp set
My Favorite Things - Blueprints 13 die
My Favorite Things - Blueprints 25 die
My Favorite Things - Somespun Stitch Lines die
My Favorite Things - Circle STAX die
My Favorite Things - (Birdie Brown) Warmest Wishes stamp (sentiment)
My Favorite Things - Homespun Gingham 6x6 paper pad
My Favorite Things - Silver Sparkle cardstock
Pretty Pink Posh - Borders I die (scallop)
Woodgrain Cardstock
Oatmeal Cardstock
Enamel Dots
Copics (E53, E33, E35, E37, E81, E84, E44, B41, B45, C6, C8, R20, R22, BG11, BG32, BG49, E25, E27R08, R46, R59)
White Gel Pen

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Delicious Birthday

Today's card is a simple little birthday card. A little bit feminine, I think it would be perfect for a young girl and an older woman alike. And switching up the palette to cool blue tones would make it into a great masculine card, too! Don't you love when you come across designs like that?

This card uses two stamp sets: Mama Elephant's Carnival Cupcakes and My Favorite Things'  Delicious Birthday. I think they go together marvelously.

I kept this card relatively clean and simple, scattering just a few clear sparkling sequins across it.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Merry Chris Mouse

Today's card features one of my first Some Odd Girl Stamps - Chris Mouse. I really love this adorable little set, both because it's incredibly cute and because it's small enough to fit on tiny cards - while still looking perfect on an A2-sized card.

I kept this card relatively simple, going with a candy-cane stripe for the background, along with a black rectangle in the middle to punch up some interest. I dug into my wood veneer stash and found a few snowflakes, which I adhered to the card along with a few enamel dots.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Classic Christmas

Looking through my small (but growing!) Christmas card stash, I noticed that I barely ever used the traditional red and green palette. Some of it just has to do with the card design, as I favor coloring critters and people to add to the card. And the rest is, really, that all of my gift-wrap, cookie boxes and decorations seem to be not-so-traditional in color. It seems a bit weird to make traditional red and green Christmas cards when the rest of the gifts are anything but.

I did want to challenge myself, however, to not stray from tradition entirely. There's friends and family members who adore the classics, and it's a really great practice for a color combination I seem to never use.

For this card, I used a stamp set from Clearly Besotted called Christmas Sparkle. This is a smaller and cheaper set, but it features a lovely and bold greeting that I wanted to use. I also used a die from Pretty Pink Posh, as well as an old embossing folder from Sizzix that's been retired. To embellish the card, I  tied a piece of red satin ribbon around my tag and added a few dark red enamel dots.

The green in this card is subtle and dark cardstock I used to mat the front panel. The flourish is in the lovely greeting and that silky satin ribbon.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

AE- Merriest Wishes

Today's card is a fun and cute Christmas card, featuring Avery Elle's Be Jolly stamp set. I grabbed this adorable stamp when it released last year, but I didn't use it as much as I wanted to. Now that the winter season is fast approaching again, it was just perfect for my card!

I stamped the snowman and the snowbank onto some white cardstock with black ink, then colored him in with Copics. I kept the coloring very simple, adding just a touch of shading. For my colors, I used blue and purple shades.

I found a scrap of patterned paper in my paper stash and I loved how it looked. The colors complemented the way I colored the stamp. I adhered the patterned paper to the left side of a top-folding A2 card (4¼x5½").

For the sentiment, I wanted something a little whimsical, and Waffle Flowers' A Homemade Christmas had the cutest sketchy sentiment. I stamped it at the bottom of the panel and adhered the panel to the card base.

As a last touch, I added a scattering of sequins to the card. Though it's tough to tell, the sequins are iridescent and shimmer in clear, purple and blue tones. It's very pretty when you turn the card toward the light.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

SSS- Masculine Christmas

 Today, I'm sharing a quick Christmas card I created. This card is a more masculine card, but it still has that rustic Christmas feel.

I started by cutting a piece of plaid patterned paper to 4x5¼" and adhering it to a top-folding A2 card base. I used my Bigshot to cut out the large Eliza snowflake out of cardstock. I also cut out two smaller snowflakes out of Lawn Fawn's Stitched Snowflakes dies. I adhered them in the bottom-right corner of the panel, making sure the largest die was off-page.

I die-cut the sentiment panel out of the Apothecary Labels 2 die-set. I used the Holiday Labels stamp to stamp the sentiment and the frame. The frame was stamped in Versamark ink, then embossed with liquid platinum embossing powder. The sentiment was stamped in black ink.

I added a couple of small silver brads to the frame and adhered it to the card with foam squares. As a last touch, I added several enamel dots - some in colors similar to the patterned paper, others in a silver shimmer. I think it added just the right amount of sparkle without being too over the top.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, November 2, 2015

Autumn Birch Tree

Before I jump into all the winter holiday cards, I thought I'd share a watercolor piece I painted recently. It's far from perfect, but it was a great practice for getting used to working with watercolor. I still feel like I have a long way to go before I'm anywhere near good with it, but it's a start. I watched a good dozen YT videos on painting before jumping into this piece (that helped!). There were some great tips on mixing color and just how much water needs to be on the brush. With a little more practice, I think I could really get into it.

For this piece, I used some new materials. I bought some of the Arches hot-press watercolor paper because it came highly recommended by several crafters and painters. It is on the expensive side, definitely, but it's a really nice paper and it makes a tremendous difference in how the colors behave on it. For the colors, I used the Koi Watercolor Sketch set and I used a new brush set I got from my local craft store.

I love the way the birch trunk turned out, and the topiary at the top is pretty fun. I used a sponge to give it extra texture and layered a few different colors. The grass at the bottom needs some major work (and a different color), and I need to work a little more on the contrast on the clouds.

All in all, I'm pleased with my attempt. It makes a fun fall-themed card.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Happy Halloween!

My Favorite Things: Witch Way Is The Candy? (Birdie Brown), Lawn Fawn Let's Polka in the Dark 6x6,  Copics

Halloween was yesterday, and I had a lovely time handing out candy and looking at all the fun costumes. There were quite a few really creative ones, and several can't-go-wrong-with-them classics. I made little treat bags for all the trick-or-treaters - which went over super well. Lots of compliments and lots of curious kids wanting to peek in their bags right away.

In between the doorbell ringing, I was busy getting crafty and making a fun Halloween card.

I started by stamping the adorable witch and kitty from Birdie Brown's Witch Way Is The Candy? stamp set. I colored the images with my Copics, using a few of the traditional Halloween colors. Instead of black, I used some of the darker Blue-Violet shades, which gave me more contrast and shading. I colored the kitty in warm grays, adding a touch of yellow to the eyes. I also stamped and colored a couple of pumpkins.

Once my coloring was done, I carefully cut everything out with a pair of sharp scissors.

For the background, I grabbed an orange piece of patterned paper and matted it onto a standard A2 card (4¼x5½"). I cut a smaller rectangular panel out of gray cardstock and adhered it to the front. I wanted to bring in more of that striped pattern, so I grabbed a gray scrap and added it to the panel.

I adhered the stamped images to the center panel, then scattered a few sequins and enamel dots, and voila! Finished card. :)

Thanks so much for reading!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Docrafts Gorjuss - I Gave You My Heart, Pink Paislee- Switchboard Chipboard stickers, Copics, enamel dots, patterned paper

 I'm hitting another busy patch at work (and life in general!), so I thought I would pop in with a quick update and a card share. I've actually got a whole pile of finished cards to share, but I haven't had a chance to take any pictures yet. I'm hoping to snag a minute a bit later this week to do so.

I hope you're all having a great week!
Thanks for reading,

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Warm-up Holiday

Though I'm still enjoying fall, I'm also trying to get going on my Christmas cards. These past two years, I really underestimated just how much time it takes to create some 30+ cards - which resulted in a rather stressful marathon crafting session or two. This year, I want to enjoy the process more, so I decided to start making cards much earlier.

My first card is a warm-up card, created with The Greeting Farm's Hoppy Hello stamp set. Aside from adorable images, this is a smaller (and cheaper) set that has a few cute punny sentiments. Since the two bunnies are wearing scarves, I figured they'd be right at home on a Christmas card.

I started by stamping out the bunnies and coloring them in with Copics. I wanted both bunnies to be white, so I used a couple of blue markers to add in some shadows. This adds depth to the image and makes the white really pop up. I colored their scarves in red and green, then added some details with a white gel pen. I fussy-cut them and set them aside while I worked on the rest of the card.

I used a retired MFT STAX die to cut a couple of rounded rectangles out of patterned paper and white cardstock. The white cardstock was my background scene. I stamped some snowflakes and hills with soft blue ink (tough to see in the image, but it does show in person), then adhered the bunnies to the card. There was a bit of room left between them, so I stamped and colored a little present. I added it to the card with foam squares.

For the sentiment, I decided to combine a stamp and a die. I cut the Merry out of red cardstock, and stamped "Christmas" in brown ink. I adhered the die to the front panel. I matted the front panel to the patterned paper panel and adhered both to a Spruce notecard from Lawn Fawn.

And that's it! A simple and easy Christmas card to get me going.
Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Chatty Sunday: Impulse buys and pacing

Today, I'm combining a chatty Sunday post with a card - mainly because my chat has to do with one of the stamps I used on the card. The card itself is nothing really special. It's very simple and it doesn't feel completely finished, but I really wanted to share it because it's a great way to illustrate my ramble-y chat.

The drinking mice on the card are from Penny Black's Homemade stamp set, which features several absolutely adorable images of mice and making/eating home-made goodies. I first saw this stamp set a couple of years ago, when I got into card-making. I immediately fell in-love with it, but it happened to be out of stock in the store I was shopping at, so I never got it.

Over the next few shopping tricks, it never ended up making it into an order. Sometimes I'd put it in the cart, but then take it out because I needed another stamp more. Other times, I'd just write myself a wish-list reminder that I should get it when I had a budget to spare. Whatever the reason, I didn't get the stamp set right away, and then forgot about it in a flurry of brand new releases.

Recently, I came across the Homemade stamp again and -  to my surprise - found it just as interesting and as inspiring as it was two years ago. I was amazed that a stamp with an image I'd seen at least a hundred times was still something I wanted in my stamp collection. So, I bought it! And I'm incredibly pleased with my purchase. I've already thought of/planned out several cards featuring the stamp set, and I'm really looking forward to making them happen.

Inspired by this, I immediately ran to browse other Penny Black stamps and see if there was another set or two I just had to have. Of course, I found about a hundred and even went to fill my cart to the brim with awesome stamps. But I didn't complete my purchase.

You see, a little while ago I'd narrowed down one of the biggest behaviors that make me overspend and go way beyond my budget -- impulse buys. If there's a new release or a new sale going on, I find myself mighty tempted to go overboard. And then one purchase leads to the next, as I discover that I missed getting something or something that was out of stock is now available. It's a bit of a vicious circle - one that's just terrible for my budget.

So, I took a step back and decided to apply my new buying tips:
- I wait a few weeks between placing things in my cart and actually buying them.
This seems like a small step, but it's a HUGE help. Those few weeks give me a chance to really think about what I'm buying and decide if it's worth investing in. There have already been several stamps that I felt like I absolutely HAD to have at release, but then I changed my mind a couple of weeks later. Likewise, there were a few stamp sets that didn't seem like a big deal, but I continued to feel inspired by enough to buy.
- I don't shop sales.
I appreciate a good deal just as much as any crafter does, but every sale ends up with me filling up my cart with piles and piles of supplies. Sometimes I luck out and get awesome deals on things I adore. But most of the time, I end up with just way too many supplies that get looked over or forgotten. Paying full price (or close to full price) gives me less supplies, but it makes me value them more - not to mention stops me from getting overwhelmed by new goodies.
If there's a sale or discount code when I'm placing my order, I make use of it. Otherwise, I don't worry about it.
- I make only one order per month.
I find it easier to stay on budget if I limit myself to making just one order. Having to get everything in one trip really makes me re-examine just how much I need the things I'm adding to the cart. Some months, I find myself getting new stamps, dies and embellishments. Other months, I'm stocking up on staples like adhesive, cardstock and ink. I'm able to balance things better and find myself making much better use of my supplies.

So! My next Penny Black haul will have to wait a little. But, I'm sure I'll discover many must-have sets to fall in-love with while I wait. In the meantime, I'll be making good use of Homemade and creating several projects I've got bouncing around my creative brain.

Happy Sunday to you all, and thanks for reading!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Merry & Bright

 Lawn Fawn - Party Animal, Lawn Fawn - Cozy Christmas (sentiment), Lawn Fawn - Let's Polka 12x12, Lawn Fawn - Stitched Journaling Card die, Lawn Fawn - Puffy Cloud Borders die

Just a quick update today!

I'm getting started on some of my Christmas cards and I just had to share this card, using some Lawn Fawn goodies. I chose a palette that's not traditional, but still looks festive and fun.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

MFT- Masculine Congrats

Looking over my card stash, I noticed that I did not have a whole lot of masculine cards - which is a shame because I happen to have a lot of males in my circle of friends and family! Sure, a good majority of my cards are gender-neutral and could be used for anyone. But sometimes it's nice to have a purely masculine card to give away to a loved one.

I thought I would start with a congrats card, as I had very few cards in this category.

I grabbed a piece of plaid patterned paper and trimmed it to 4x5¼", then matted it with a piece of brown cardstock that was just a bit larger than the paper. I adhered it to a standard top-folding A2 card base (4¼x5½").

I wanted to keep things really simple, so I die-cut a little tag with Tag Builder Blueprints 2 die. I also die-cut a little circle fastener out of the same brown cardstock as I matted the patterned paper with. I adhered the two together, then stamped my sentiment and bow-tie using Terrific Ties stamp.

I decided to embellish the card with some cork stars, so I die-cut a few stars with dies from various blueprints dies. I adhered the stars to the card with foam squares and added a few enamel dots.

A very simple card, but a fun one nonetheless.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Chatty Sunday: Old/retired stamps

Last year, I really underestimated how long it takes to make Christmas cards for the whole family - which lead to a week of marathon card-making, lots of frazzled nerves and forgetting what my cards even looked like a week later. So, I decided to be better organized this year and start my card-making early -- as in this weekend early.

Going through my supplies, I noticed two things:
1) My collection of Christmas/Winter stamps is MASSIVE, second only to my "sentiments" section, which has a rather large variety of actual themes. I've got enough Christmas stamps to make a card for all of my friends/family for the next couple of years and not use the same stamp twice...
2) Several of the stamps in my collection are now retired. I expected a few of those, as they come from companies that retire their stamps very frequently. But a few were a surprise, and left me thinking.

If you've read my blog, you know that using old/retired supplies has been a challenge for me. On one hand, I really want to use my old supplies - I didn't get them so they can sit pretty in my crafty stash. On the other hand, I worried that seeing projects with unavailable materials will leave readers and fellow card-makers frustrated. Or (worse yet!) they will turn into uninspiring projects that everyone has seen and done a million times already.

But as I looked over my Christmas stamps/supplies, I found those worries faded and got quieter. Instead, I was excited by all the possibilities and couldn't wait to jump into creating. What changed? Well, some of it has to do with my new mentality of focusing on doing (read about it briefly here) and making use of things that inspire me. And the rest is the fact that I was making cards for friends and family - people who won't know which stamp set I used or whether it was retired. They'll just care that the card was made with them in mind.

I wondered if this feeling of excitement and inspiration would carry over to my other supplies and I found - much to my delight - that it did! I saw my old/retired stamps in a brand new light. Some of them I couldn't wait to use and I already have a million ideas for. Others would take a little extra thinking and planning.

So, I developed a little list of questions I ask myself about each retired stamp:
- Does it still inspire me?
If I can think of a card (or 3) just by looking at the stamp, it's a keeper. I took the time to jot down a few of the most promising ideas in my notebook, and grabbed a few stamps to highlight in the upcoming weeks.
- Is it a staple?
Some of my stamps aren't necessarily things I would use all the time, but they're very necessary. A good example are sympathy stamps or pattern stamps. I don't make a whole lot of sympathy cards, but it's useful to have a few sets dedicated to the occasion. Likewise, I tend to use patterned paper over making my own patterns, but I may use that long stripe stamp in the future.
- Can it challenge me?
I've got a few stamp sets that are not in the same style as the majority of my cards. Some are vintage, others are a more modern/graphic style - neither of which necessarily mesh with my cute/bright/cartoony card style. But I would like to challenge myself to use them in a card or art journal layout.

The majority of my old stamps fit into one of those 3 categories. And the few that don't are things purchased during massive sales or things I received as a random gift. I've set them aside for now. I will look at them again next year, and if they don't inspire me, I will give them away.

All in all, this left me with a very positive feeling about those old/retired stamps. I'm inspired to use them and looking forward to sharing bits and pieces in my blog.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, October 9, 2015

MFT- Fall Doodle

It's another lovely autumn day here, with changing leaves and a sprinkling of rain. I wanted to share another autumn-inspired card, this time using a very simple design and some retired supplies.

I started by stamping the cute girl from MFT's Doodle Garden - Happy Harverst stamp set. Now, this set is retired, but it features a super cute stamp that I didn't get a chance to ink up yet. So, I stamped her out in brown ink and colored her in with Copics. I went for a slightly brighter palette, adding some contrast to make my shading look a little more dimensional. When I was done, I carefully cut out the image, leaving a small white border.

Since I was using a retired stamp, I decided to go all out and use a few of my other retired supplies. I die-cut a scalloped rectangle out of Lawn Fawn's Into the Woods paper (retired) and a corresponding flair (also retired).

I wanted to keep the card pretty simple, so I adhered the patterned paper to a kraft A2 card base (4¼x5½") with foam tape. I grabbed a small white rectangle (tip: this is one half of an A2 card panel cut in half - I use it to line my darker card bases for easy writing). and stamped a sentiment from the stamp set. I adhered it to the patterned paper, adhered the girl on top and added the flair. Lastly, I scattered a few warm-toned enamel dots.

Thanks for reading, and happy autumn!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

CC Designs - Fall Thanks

Continuing on with my ode to autumn, I'm sharing another fall-inspired card today. This card uses a stamp set from C.C. Designs' Roberto's Rascals line called Latte Sue. Aside from a fab outfit (really! I would wear it all the time), this stamp features a fun stone bench and some falling leaves.

I started by stamping out Sue onto some marker paper with brown ink and coloring her in with my Copics. I went for one of my favorite combinations - blue + cream/tan. After I was done, I trimmed the paper down to a rectangle. Since the paper was a very bright white, I wanted to soften it a little with some creamy color. Originally, I was going to just use my distress ink and a blending tool, but I wanted to make sure I didn't get ink all over the image and creating a mask was going to be too much work.

Since the image had a lot of small and intricate parts, I decided to instead use my Copics to color in a background. I used a few E markers to create a semi-distressed and dotty frame. I really like how it turned out! After that was done, I matted the image onto some navy cardstock.

I found a great patterned paper that had the same creamy warm tones as my image. I cut it down to 4 by 5¼" and matted it with a piece of navy cardstock that was just slightly larger than the paper. I adhered the matted panel to a white card base (top-folding A2 - 4¼x5½"). I added the stamped panel with some foam tape.

For my sentiment, I used the Many Thanks stamp set from Simon Says Stamp on a strip of white cardstock I colored with my Copics (so it would match the panel). I cut it into a flag shape, then matted it with some of that navy cardstock and adhered it to the card with foam tape.

Lastly, I scattered a few fall-themed and sparkly clear sequins across the card.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 5, 2015

MFT- Harvest

Autumn is my favorite season. I love the cool air, the rainy days and the gorgeous changing colors of leaves. It's like spring, but without any pollen or bugs. So, I make it a point to thoroughly enjoy every second of fall for as long as it lasts.

I thought I would celebrate fall this week by sharing a few season-inspired cards. Aside from celebrating the wonderful season, it's also a great segue into Christmas cards -- something I've really ought to get started on.

Today's card features a Birdie Brown stamp set called Harvest Mouse. I just love this set! It features several adorable mice in fall-related activities. Quite a few of the images could be easily modified to become winter-themed. Jennifer McGuire has a video that showcases how to alter this stamp set - the mouse carrying a present would be perfect for Christmas!

For my card, I kept things relatively simple. I die-cut a rectangular panel from white marker paper and a stitched rectangle out of patterned paper. I stamped the mouse with leaves in the bottom right corner of the white panel. I used brown ink to soften the image and add a bit of warmth. I stamped the sentiment above it.

To color the image, I used my Copics. I kept the palette warm and added a dotty background using a few of the same colors I used for the image. I adhered the patterned paper to a white A2 top-folding card base (4¼x5½") and added the white panel on top with foam squares. As a last touch, I added a few fall sequins.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Happy World Card-Making Day!

Happy World Card-Making day, everyone! I hope you all got a chance to get creative today and make some awesome cards.

My card today features the super cute Happy Pandas set from My Favorite Things, Stitched Duo 1 die from Pretty Pink Posh and a cute heart from one of MFT many Blueprints dies.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Sunday Chat: Motivation and Pressure

I've been in this weird slump lately, feeling both extra creative/inspired and unmotivated to actually make something. A part of it is that I've been putting in extra hours at work, and between that and getting sick, I'm absolutely exhausted. But a much bigger part of it is that I've got this feeling of being completely overwhelmed by the million ideas I've got and struggling with how to make them happen.

I've got a notebook full of ideas - ideas for cards, ideas for features and challenges for my blog, and ideas for new techniques (hello art journaling!) to try out. I want to make each idea happen, and I've always felt invigorated and inspired looking through them. Even in this weird mood, I still wanted to make all of those ideas happen - but there was this unexplained block.

So, I spent what little free time I've had lately on organizing my supplies and lurking on various card-making blogs, hoping to get just the right push to jump back into creativity. And then this morning, in a moment of synchronicity, Sandy Allnock posted this video on her YT channel. The mistake #3 is what got to me.

While I want to say there was a big moment of epiphany, with an angelic choir and beams of light shining down, it really was just a quiet moment of making a few things click. Somehow, over a long time, I've managed to slowly build up pressure and make my card-making (and art) really complicated.

I've gone back and forth (and still do!) about what to do with old/retired supplies. I've gone back and forth between finding personal challenges fun and finding them to be a chore. And I've struggled with finding that happy medium in blogging where posts are a combination of inspiring, educational and fun to read.

On some level, I've been emulating the many amazing card-making blogs I read. Yet I've done so without taking into account that a lot of those bloggers are professionals. Card-making, videos and blogging is their job, and they pour as much effort into it as I do with my day job. But I don't have the time (or the drive, really) to make crafting a second job. It's my bliss and what I do to relax - which is really hard if it starts to become another chore.

Watching Sandy's video this morning was a great reminder that I should just do. Just make cards, practice new skills and enjoy the process. So, I decided to drop the million plans/challenges/blog tweaks (for now, anyway) and focus on having fun. The moment I decided that, a huge weight just fell off my shoulders and I could feel that elusive mojo trickling back in.

Thanks for reading.

Friday, September 25, 2015

BB- You're the Coolest

It was the first day of fall on September 23rd, but I think someone forgot to tell the weather, because we're still seeing high temperatures and not a wink of gold or red in the leaves. Since Nature herself is slow to welcome autumn, I figured I could get away with one more summer card, myself.

Today's card is using Birdie Brown's Penguins in Paradise stamp set. I love both the images and the sentiments in this set, so I'll definitely be making good use of it. And even though the set is summery in nature, a lot of the sentiments will be perfect for my winter cards, too.

For the rest of the elements on my card, I used a piece of watercolored patterned paper I've had in my stash for ages. I think it came from a card kit at some point, and I've been meaning to use it forever. I paired it with some white cardstock that was die-cut with a stitched circle die, as well as an aqua-colored doily.

To tie in the colors a little more, I sprinkled on some white enamel dots, white sequins and green liquid pearls. I'm still trying to master liquid pearls. I love them in theory, but in practice, they turn out a bit wonky...

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Nurse Anya

The Greeting Farm - Nurse Anya, Clearly Besotted - Sweet Little Sentiments, Copics

Being sick is never fun, and it's even worse when it leaves you completely exhausted. I've had so many idea sparks this week for a card (or 20), but just lacked even an ounce of energy to make them.

So, I'm sharing this card.. which has been sitting in my "to post" folder for a while now.

I'm hoping to be back to being creative very soon.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

LF- Thanks Bear

  Lawn Fawn - Party Animal stamp, Lawn Fawn - Scripty Thanks die, Ellen Hutson LLC - Fancy Thanks by Jule Ebersole stamp, My Favorite Things - Stitched Circle STAX die, Mama Elephant - Femme Frames die, Avery Elle - The Everyday Collection 6x6 paper, Simon Says Stamp - Moonshine sequins

I'm feeling really sick today, so my card share is super quick... Just showing a quick thank-you card with Lawn Fawn goodies.

I hope you're all having a great week.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Guest DT: Inspiration

Hey, everyone!

I've got another fun inspirational card over at Some Odd Girl blog. I'm chatting a bit about inspiration and using a slightly different coloring medium.

Let me know what you think.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

OHC Round-Up

It's time for another round-up of cards for my One Hundred Cards challenge (if you're not familiar with the challenge, read about it here). I'm happy to say that I have completed over half of the quota so far (42 themes left!), and I'm hoping to finish everything by the time November rolls around.

For today's round-up, I've got a few cards featuring some retired stamps. I apologize in advance if this frustrates you, but I really want to go through my crafty stash and make use of everything I've bought.

OHC 26 - Chocolate
Lawn Fawn - Here's The Scoop stamp, October Afternoon - Summertime Pillow Stickers, Doodlebug - Mini Doily in white

Although chocolate seems like an easy theme, I admit that I struggled with it. I think a part of it was that while I had several chocolate-themed papers, stickers and stamps, none of them were quite in the same style. So, I opted for a less literal route and went with an inspiration based on hot-fudge sundaes (with yummy chocolate!).

OHC 44 - Baby

Hero Arts - Sun Showers (CL869), Lawn Fawn - Hello Sunshine Petite 6x6 (retired)

For this card, I decided to use a fun and whimsical stamp set that I could use soft colors with. This set also happened to have a slightly different sentiment - not the usual "happy baby/happy shower", which I thought would be sweet coupled with sweet wishes on the inside of the card.

OHC 47: Winter
My Favorite Things- Doodle Garden: You're The Coolest stamp (retired), Lawn Fawn flair (retired), Snowflake Wood Veneer

Winter is one of the themes you will be seeing a lot of in the upcoming months as we transition into the holiday season. Since it will be featured so heavily, I decided to keep this card very simple and use a retired stamp. I also skipped the sentiment and used a piece of flair instead.

OHC 56 - Peach
WPlus9- Punny Produce: Peaches

I've had this little stamp set for ages, but just had not gotten around to making a card with it. I love both the font in the set and the watercolor-like look of the peaches. I also added some fun bold-striped pattern paper and some sequins.

OHC 66 - Strawberry
Clearly Besotted - Let's Roll stamp

I came very close to not counting this card because I went to photograph it and noticed the little hedgehog was not lined up in the middle of the circle. The perfectionist in me went a little batty over it! But if I remake every card I'm not completely happy with, I'll never be done. So, into the "finished" pile it goes.

OHC 78 - Silver
WPlus9 - Doodle Buds stamp, Ellen Hutson LLC - Fancy Thanks stamp

I found this glossy silver journaling card and thought it was just perfect to use with the theme. I added some doodled flowers and a simple sentiment, then set everything against a diagonal stripe. I think it really works!

OHC 79 - Wind
My Favorite Things - A La Mode: You Anchor Me (retired)

When I think of wind, the first thing that always pops into my head is sailing -- which, of course, leads to anything nautical. So, this simple card is a nautical one, but with bright summer colors. Fun, yea?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, September 11, 2015

I Dig You

MFT's Superstar Contest is still going on, so I thought I would contribute another card. This time, I'm using Birdie Brown's You Gnome Me stamp set. If you've poked through my blog a bit, you'll see that I'm a BIG fan of Torico's designs, and this set is no exception. Aside from having lovely illustrations, the set also features some punny sentiments - and I can never resist a good pun.

I started the card by stamping the flower boot and the gnome onto some marker paper. I colored them both in with Copics, going with warmer colors. This stamp set does have a matching die set available, but I did not not get it yet. So, I fussy-cut around the images with my trusty scissors.

I wanted to keep the background pretty simple. I found a cute heart paper that matched the warm tones of my colored images. I trimmed it to size with my trimmer and matted it with some black cardstock for a punch of contrast.

I used the Circle STAX 2 dies to cut out a couple of circles - one from a mint patterned paper and another from a scrap of black cardstock. I adhered the two circles together, which gave me a focal point to add to my card. I adhered the gnome and the shoe to the circle, making sure that parts of the image stuck out a bit. I think this creates a more interesting scene.

I grounded my image by adding a bit of warm gray Copic color underneath them. Then, I adhered everything together onto a standard top-folding A2 card base (4¼x5½"). I stamped the matching sentiment onto a piece of cream cardstock and adhered it just above my image.

Lastly, I added a few glittery gold enamel dots.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Fly Away

 I love rediscovering treasures in my crafty stash. Sometimes it's a supply that I bought a while ago and forgot about. Other times it's an old card that I saved. But last week I found a stack of notes I'd taken when I first started making cards.

For some unexplained reason, I had initially tackled card-making with a kind of rigorous academic approach. I'd written down "things to never do" and "things to always do" and pages-worth of supplies I just had to have... I think I stopped taking notes when I branched into looking up different card-making styles and the advice got conflicting.

Reading those notes now was such fun. There were a few good tidbits in there, of course, but the majority of advice were rules I was just itching to break. And, thus inspired by my rebellious streak, I decided to make a card.

I chose Tiddly Inks' Chloe and Peeps stamp set. Now, Chloe the black-winged fairy has a sweet story, but I always see her as a rebellious mischief-maker -- and that seemed just perfect for this card. I stamped her out onto some cardstock with black ink and then colored her in with my Prismacolor pencils. That broke rule #1 - do not use colored pencils to color the stamp (don't ask why this was a rule, but it was in there!).

I trimmed the panel a bit and matted it with a piece of warm grey cardstock. Then I broke another rule and used a background color that wasn't in the image -- I grabbed a striped patterned paper. I adhered it to a top-folding card base. I added Chloe's panel with foam squares (dimension was another rule-breaker!).

Lastly, I skipped stamping a sentiment (yep, another big no-no) and added a piece of flair. A scattering of sequins later, the card was done. And I must say, not bad for a card that broke every rule. ;)

Thanks for reading

P.S. This fits OHC theme 81 - Birds.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Little Red

I'm over at Some Odd Girl blog again with a fun fairytale card!

Check it out.


Level Up!

Today's card features a really fun stamp set and die set from My Favorite Things. Game Controller die comes with two controller dies and all the buttons you can customize. It's great for both masculine cards and cards for any gamer in your life. Level Up stamp set is the perfect stamp companion as it features fun and unique sentiments.

I have used this stamp and die set for masculine birthday cards twice already, and I can really see myself using them even more. My favorite part about the die is that it's easy to change out and customize colors. In the card I'm sharing today, for example, I used black for the base and pulled a couple of extra colors from the patterned paper I was using. This created a fun contrast that really makes the card pop.

I kept this card really simple and embellishment-free. I also hand-drew the little twirly cord leading to the controller - just to ground it a bit.

Since I really like how this turned out, I'm going to enter it in the MFT Superstar contest.

Thanks for reading!

P.S. This fits OHC theme 24 - Playful.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Some Odd Girl - Bird Duo

 It's time for another fabulous release from Some Odd Girl! This week, we've got 2 fantastic bird digis - Nerd Bird and Tired Owl. Aside from being absolutely adorable, these birds are also incredibly fun to color! So, if you're a fan of coloring (like me), these two awesome birds are a must-have.

I just loved how smart Nerd Bird looked with his glasses, so I knew right away I had to use a smartie pants sentiment. I paired it with some fall-inspired paper and a few fun sequins. To make things just a bit more interesting, I made a square 4¼x4¼" card and used some foam squares to add a bit of dimension.
Tired Owl reminded me of a college student studying for his finals, so that's the direction I took with the second card! I used some hand-written patterned paper and cut out a tea-cup from another piece of paper. I layered everything together and found the perfect school-like sentiment in my stash. A few enamel dots, and voila!

Please be sure to check out what the rest of the Design Team ladies did with today's fab release.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Make Your Own Card Kit -- Kit 1 review

Alright, so I finally found the slightest bit of time to create this post - even though it feels like the cards have been sitting on my desk for ages! To see how I made my kit, click here.

So, let me start with all the cards I created with this kit:

I ended up with 5 cards, which is pretty awesome. But I'm not a huge fan of all of them (which makes me feel a little underwhelmed). Some of the cards were very experimental and completely different from my usual style, so they're lacking my usual confidence. I did, however, learn quite a bit about both my own process and the way I should make my kits in the future.

So, let's get down to what I learned:
- I had too much patterned paper. At most, 5 cards should need 6 papers, so my 12 choices were just too much.
- I had too many embellishments. Not only did I use only a few of them, but I ended up mainly sticking with enamel dots because they fit most everything.
- I had too many stamp sets. I struggled to use as many of them as possible, and didn't feel like I did any single set justice. 
 - It was a good idea to have one focal piece. I made a real dent in the chipboard sticker set, though I did not use all of it yet. I'm going to try using it up in the future cards, too.
- Outside adhesive and a couple of inkpads, I didn't need to go outside the kit at all. It was very well-rounded in terms of giving me everything I needed. I definitely feel like I should continue to include all the different elements I included (but with less quantities).
-  Having the card bases cut and scored in advance saved a bit of time, but I need to start adding extra cardstock I can use for layering and die-cutting. Especially white cardstock - it's a staple!

Overall, I had a positive experience with the kit, even if it was a bit challenging to use. I did like that a lot of the material from the kit got used up, but I'm going to assemble the next kit better - just so I can have less left-overs. I'd also like to add some dies to the kit, as I've got to make a dent in those, too. And I think I want to add some inkpads into the mix, as well. I've got some inky colors I just love, but haven't used to their potential yet.

Lastly, I plan on making another kit soon and sharing what I picked out.

Thanks for reading!