Saturday, May 30, 2015

Thanks, Teacher!

 Summer vacation is slowly creeping up on me. There's less than 2 weeks of school left!!! And that means it's time to create a card (or two) for the teachers my kids have had throughout the year.

I like making end-of-the year cards for the teachers for two reasons:
1) It's an extra way to show how much we appreciate the hard work and effort they've put into educating and helping children grow.
2) It's a great exercise for my children, as they get to reflect on what they enjoyed best throughout the year. Their answers often surprise me, as I'm sure they'll surprise (and delight) the teacher.

Also, I always include a personalized thank you note tucked inside the card that mentions some specific details we enjoyed throughout the year that weren't necessarily a part of the study curriculum. For example, this year we'll be thanking the teachers for encouraging children's curiosity and finding tools and programs that help them work on building more concentration and having better listening skills.

I've collected a few school-themed stamps throughout the year, but my favorites still remain digis from Some Odd Girl - like Teacher's Pet Tia that you see in today's card. Some Odd Girl has a pretty large variety of school-related stamps - including a teacher photopolymer stamp, which is just plain awesome. Lots of choices means lots of opportunities to really personalize the stamp and make it look like the student (or the teacher!).

For today's card, I colored Tia to look like my daughter. She helped me pick out the colors for the outfit and the card itself. I worked to incorporate her favorite color (pink) with a more neutral color that fits her teacher (kraft). I also added in some stars and enamel dots as a fun embellishment. As cards go, it's probably a very simple card. But it's filled with tons of personal little details - something you won't find in store-bought cards.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 29, 2015


Ok, I can finally share it!!!!

Ta-DA!!!!!!!!! :D

I'm super excited, and you'll get to see bunches of amazing projects from me in the months to come.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Hush Little Bunny

If you've read my blog for a while, you might have seen a few Gorjuss cards here and there. I've tried using Copics, watercolor and Prismacolor pencils. I've done simple background, complicated layers and a ton of different embellishments. And I was not too happy with any of them. I actually only shared a very small portion of the Gorjuss cards I've created because the rest of them just fell short of decent, even.

But I have a pretty hefty collection of Gorjuss stamps now (including a couple from the newest release), and I really want to use them. They've got a lovely style and the stamp quality and price is awesome. So, I just had to find a way to make the stamps work with my existing supplies and my current style.

And I think this card is it. It's the first card that I'm completely happy with -- from the coloring on the girl, to the background and the embellishments. I'm happy, and that makes me feel even more motivated to keep going with other Gorjuss stamps (yes, expect to see a few more cards!).

For this card, I used Hush Little Bunny, which is one of the newest Gorjuss releases. I colored her in with Copics, going for lighter and more desaturated colors (RV00, V91, V95 for the dress, for example), then I added a darker hair and bright red accessories. After I finished coloring her in, I carefully fussy-cut her with a pair of scissors and set her aside.

For my background, I wanted to go completely neutral, so I went with a gray patterned paper. This paper had a very subtle texture to it, which gave it a slightly distressed look. I stamped a few lines for some extra interest in light gray, then created a ground for the girl to stand on. I adhered the girl with my standard adhesive.

I kept the sentiment simple, stamping it in black onto a small ribbon-shaped strip. I used my Copcis to color in the strip a little, so it would better match the texture on the patterned paper.

I added lots of embellishments - some sequins, enamel dots and 3 resin roses I recently purchased.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Birdie Brown -- Red Farm

Today's card features two sets from Birdie Brown -- Green Pastures and The Whole Herd. I had bought these two sets earlier in the month, and I immediately stamped them out and colored them. And then...

And then I just could not figure out how to turn them into a card. I had this strange idea in my head that was both vague and specific at the same time. I know I wanted to do a scene card, for example, but not what kind of scene I wanted.

This led to several failed attempts where things just didn't feel right. I tried using fun paper, curvy dies (like the rolling hills die) and even a messy watercolor (that turned out awful, by the way, as I was impatient and didn't let my colors dry properly), but none of them were right. So, I set the stamps aside for a few days and worked on something else.

Then last night, my mind finally clicked and I realized that I wanted to have a red barn/farmhouse/building in my scene. MFT does have a barn die set, but I haven't bought it. And I don't own any building stamps that could pass as a barn. So, I decided to illustrate my own.

And since I was in a super-creative mood, I decided to jump right into it with just my Copics. That's right, I didn't use any pencil lines, didn't plan anything out other than leave a bit of room for the girl and the pig on the left side, and I had fun!

I used reds and greys for the building (E08, R59, R89, W6, E79, BV13), browns for the ground (E33, E35, E37) and greens for the grass (YG13, YG23, YG67). I had originally colored the entire sky blue (B00, BG01), but I realized that I wanted to break it up with some clouds. I colored the cloud bottom with grays (W4, W2, C2), then grabbed some white acrylic paint. I used a dry brush to add spots of white in the clouds, which created a great texture. I then added a couple of details on the handle and the hinges with a white gel pen.

I'm happy with how the background turned out. It's got its wonky kind of charm.

I finished off the card by adding the girl and the pig on foam squares and matting it onto some yellow gingham paper before adhering it to a white card base.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 25, 2015

Color Monday - Navy Thank You

 It's time for another color Monday! Today's card is another simple "Thank You" card, partly inspired by a sketch I found in my idea notebook.

Before I started this card, I had a color combination in mind -- navy and mint. I grabbed a navy note-card as my base, and found a great mint striped patterned paper. I also found a floral paper that had navy, mint, cream and pink. I loved the addition of pink and cream, as it gave a modern nod to a shabby chic summer palette. I die-cut the papers, then adhered them to the card base.

For the sentiment, I die-cut a doily out of white cardstock and stamped the sentiment in navy ink. I finished off the card with some enamel dots, as well as some Wink of Stella on the pink flowers.

None of the supplies I used came from the same line, but I think they fit together great. I used similar tones for the different elements on the card, while at the same time not trying to match things exactly. In a lot of ways, this was a liberating and fun exercise. It's opened the door to using my supplies a lot more creatively and without worry that I'll run out of a supply that has since been retired.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Nuts About You

Today's card is a super simple card, featuring the Cute Critters stamp set from My Favorite Things. This set has some adorable critters, but what really pushed me into buying it is that "nuts" sentiment. Big, bold, funky - what's not to love?!

So, I wanted to build a card around that, and really let the sentiment shine -- which meant something clean-and-simple.

I started by stamping out the acorn in brown ink and coloring it with my Copics. I kept the coloring very simple. Once I was finished, I carefully cut around it, leaving a small white border. I set it aside to work on the rest of the card.

I die-cut a piece of striped patterned paper with the stitched rectangle die. While I had my Bigshot out, I also die-cut a scallop rectangle from black Doodlebug Sprinkles vellum. I'm not sure if this vellum is available anymore, but I bought a whole bunch of it a few months ago, and I want to make sure I use it all up.

I stamped the sentiment straight onto the colored panel. This was a bit nerve-wracking, as it's a big stamp and it wouldn't be easy to fix a mistake. Luckily, it stamped just right (phew!). I adhered the vellum to a standard top-folding A2 card base (4¼ x 5½"), then adhered the patterned paper panel on top.

I added the acorn with foam squares for a bit of dimension, then added 3 sequins as embellishment.

Have a creative day!

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Crafty Chat and Goals (updated)

It's been just ages since I last put up a post, so I thought I'd have a quick chat about what I've been up to lately, and what some of my new crafty goals are for the upcoming months.

I've been quite busy with work, and it's unfortunately going to continue for some time. I'm hoping to still be able to squeeze in a few hours here and there to get crafty. But it might be another couple of weeks before I can resume any consistent anything.  It's also not helping that summer is slowly creeping up on us - which means a ton more time spent outside. Hopefully I'll be able to balance out the work and the fun!

I've also been busy working on a few super secret projects that I cannot share just yet! They're wonderfully exciting, though, and I'm quite eager to reveal them when the time is right. But I can say they're wonderfully creative projects and I'm enjoying myself immensely.

One thing you might have noticed about my last few posts is some new titles and tags - like Color Monday or Retro Thursday. This is a new system I'm trying out to help me stay focused and sharing the way-too-many-ideas I have. And I'm mainly hoping it will make interesting posts easier to find.

Here is a breakdown of what I have planned:
- Color Monday: It's where I focus on coloring, interesting palettes, or colorful patterned paper.
- Challenge Tuesday: This is where I post a challenge card - whether it's a challenge I created or a challenge I'm participating in.
- Budget Wednesday: This is where I share cards using budget-friendly supplies, techniques or share other penny-saving tips. (haven't shared anything for this yet, but I am planning to!)
- Retro Thursday: It's where I share cards created in a retro/vintage/oldie style, or cards created with retired supplies.
- Friday Illustrations: This is where I share cards I illustrated myself. I'm hoping to grow more and more comfortable with illustration as time goes on.
- Saturday: My day off, as I spend it with family or catching up on work.
- Recap Sunday: This is where I just have a quick chat, go over some goals or just share interesting anecdotes.

I'm still slowly easing into this plan, so I'm not following it 100% to the letter and only sharing projects that fit that day's theme. But I am hoping to eventually implement it as a consistent schedule and get ahead on the projects I share. I'll be trying scheduled posts sometime soon, too, as I think they could help me quite a bit when life gets busy.

Other than that, there are a few long-term projects I'd like to do:
- Updated list of beginner essentials - I think this is definitely something that I should do on a yearly basis, rather than a one-time thing. This is both because my preferences change over time and because products I linked originally may have retired. I'd like to maybe update the list once per year, but we'll see what time will allow for.
- Art Journal - I've been slowly building up a collection of mixed-media and art supplies, as I think I would really enjoy journaling. It would also allow me to use all those awesome techniques that just don't translate into cards as well as I'd like them to.
- Tutorials - Especially on things that might seem a little scary to new crafters - like Copic coloring. I'm slowly getting over feeling like a total card-making newbie, so I think I'd like to jump into tutorials when I've got time for it.

Thank you for reading that wall of text!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Retro Thursday - Tiddly Inks

Today's card is using a stamp set from Tiddly Inks called Ellie Says Hi. I have had this stamp for over a year now, and just did not get around to making anything with it. It's a super sweet stamp, though, and it definitely deserved to be used. So, I decided to make a cute card with it.

I started by stamping Ellie in brown ink, then coloring her in with my Copics. I wanted to go with a palette I seldom use, so I chose green and yellow. After she was colored in, I carefully cut her out, leaving a small white border. The stamp set comes with a cute sentiment, so I stamped out the speech bubble and the "Hi" in brown ink. Then I used a pink ink to stamp the little hearts in the background. I also cut out the speech bubble with a small white border.

The rest of the card came together really quickly. I grabbed a few pieces of patterned paper from my scraps stash and layered them together on a neutral card base. I added some liquid pearls and two pieces of wood veneer that I colored in with Copics.

And that's all there was to it! I really like how the card turned out, and I'm definitely going to use this stamp again. I have another idea on how to color her cute dress, and some other cute patterned paper I've been meaning to use with cards.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Think Pretty Thoughts

Today's card features a super cute stamp set from Sweet Stamp Shop called Unicorn.

I started by stamping the unicorn, cloud and sentiment with brown ink onto some Copic marker paper. I then used Tag Builder 3 die from My Favorite Things to cut out a cute scalloped panel out of the stamped image. I colored it in with Copics, going with purples, pinks and a touch of blue. I also sketched in some hearts with a pink pen.

I cut a rectangular panel out of a piece of pink patterned paper I found in my scraps stash. I adhered it to a purple note-card, then drew a little scallop around it with a white gel pen. I adhered the center panel at an angle with foam tape.

Lastly, I added in some sequins all over the image. I think they bring in just the right amount of sparkle and shine.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Color Monday - Nightly Mushrooms

It is Monday, and that means it's time for another color card! Today's card features Lawn Fawn's Gleeful Gardens as well as my usual Copic coloring. This card has a few more layers than I usually do, so I kept it very simple and free of embellishments and clutter.

I started by die-cutting a stitched circle out of some Copic marker paper. I stamped a scene with two nested mushrooms and a cute curvy hill-line. I started by coloring the mushrooms, and I went with my favorite redcap combo (R05, R46, R89, E50, E53, E33). Then I got to the sky and thought to myself that it would be really fun if I made this a nighttime scene. I used my BV markers (BV11, BV13, BV17) to sketch in the sky and a few fun clouds.

Since the scene was now at night, I didn't want to go with my usual bright greens for the grass. Instead, I used BG72 and BG75 along with G29. This created a cool-colored grass that works for nighttime. As a last touch, I used my white gel pen to draw a line around the mushrooms (this makes them stand out a lot better) and a few dots here and there on the image.

Once I had my colored image, I used it as inspiration for the rest of the card.

I die-cut a scalloped circle out of yellow polkadot paper. Even though there's no bright yellow anywhere in the colored section, purple and yellow are contrasting colors. I had a lot of contrast between the bright red of the mushroom and the other colors, so I wanted to balance that out by introducing another contrast -- yellow and purple.

I die cut a panel out of teal paper with tiny stars on it. This paper was just perfect because it both had stars and it was the same tone as the grass. Note that the color I used on the grass does not match the paper perfectly. But they're in the same color family, which really helps tie them together.

Since polka-dots were a recurring element, I also added a panel of white polka-dot vellum paper. And I set everything against a neutral kraft base. I used a combination of my standard adhesive and foam tape to stick everything together.

 Thanks for reading!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

OHC 43 - Coffee

Today's card is another card for my One Hundred Cards challenge(read about it here). When I pulled out the theme "coffee", I was stumped - not because I have nothing coffee-inspired, but because I have so many awesome coffee-themed supplies that I couldn't possibly narrow it down to one or two to use! So, I took a slightly different approach and pulled a bunch of colors and patterns.

The first paper I reached for was Lawn Fawn's Milk Chocolate Line Dance (from the Let's Polka Mon Amie collection). It has a lovely brown tone that reminded me of iced mochas I used to drink with friends. I also grabbed a pale aqua paper from Pint-sized Patterns: Beachside petite pack. I also added in some embossed vellum from Doodlebug that I had laying around. A bit of yellow and pink, and I was ready for stamping!

I used Lawn Fawn's Love You a Latte stamp set to stamp a couple of cute cups. I colored them in with my Copics, then die-cut them into a circle. I colored in a quick background and added some hearts with a white gel pen.

I adhered everything together with a combination of regular adhesive and foam tape. Lastly, I adhered some white alpha stickers to spell out "coffee".

Thanks for reading!

Friday, May 8, 2015

CS-Thanks Tag

I think I mentioned before that I keep a notebook where I jot down ideas I randomly get for cards. Sometimes it's color combinations, other times it's concepts. And - very rarely - I make a quick card sketch.

Card sketches are interesting. On one hand, I love the idea of planning out my card and getting away from the same old design I keep using over and over again. On the other hand, my card process is usually so intuitive and organic that having a definite plan can feel like a big constraint (and creative block!).

 I started this card by picking out some patterned papers. I liked the look of polka-dots layered with woodgrain, but I just could not settle on how to use them together. After browsing through my idea notebook, I found a quick sketch I'd made a while ago. It featured a circle, a tag and a wonky cut of patterned paper. It looked like a fun layout to try, so I decided to follow it.

For the tag, I used Simon Says Stamp's Medium Tags die. I also used a thanks stamp from Mama Elephant's Many Thanks stamp set. To add a whimsical touch, I used a white gel pen to add in some scallops and dots.

Since dots were a recurring theme on the cards, I used circular embellishments- enamel dots and a piece of flair.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 7, 2015

It's been Oolong

It's a very rainy day here today, and the sky is so overcast that it almost looks like night-time (it certainly does look like night-time inside!). I really adore this kind of weather. Rainy, cool and perfect to stay inside and get crafty. So, I will try to sneak in some creative time today in between work and family.

The card I'm sharing today features a super cute little stamp from the Sweet Stamp Shop called "Oolong". This set has a few things I really love - cute faces on inanimate objects, a punny sentiment and tea. So, I just had to make a card with it.

I stamped the image and sentiment onto some Copic marker paper, then colored them in with my Copics. I was aiming for really quick and minimal coloring -- just a punch of brightness. I trimmed the paper a bit, then matted with a striped paper scrap I had laying about. I used a scallop die to cut a piece of red striped paper and adhered everything together.

A ribbon and some cute enamel dots finished the card off perfectly.

Thanks for reading and happy paper-crafting!~

Monday, May 4, 2015

OHC 36 - Blue

Today's card features another stamp from The Greeting Farm's Super Secret Stamp Club - cute little stamp called Love Peppermint. This stamp is in the style of their Beans collection. I don't have any stamps from that collection, so I was super happy to get this set to play with.

Today's card is a double-duty card. First, it's a color Monday - and I'm using a color combo I've been itching to try:
In particular, I love the idea of combining blue, mint and yellow/orange. Blue and orange are contrasting colors, so they really make the combination pop.

Secondly, it's another entry for my One Hundred Card challenge (read about it here).

I kept the card itself very simple. Since I wanted the peppermint girl to really pop, I kept the card base and patterned papers in the blue and mint tones. I layered all the elements together, then adhered them to a square 4¼ by 4¼" card. Lastly, a few enamel dots and the card was done!

Thanks so much for reading.

P.S. Busy times at work continue. I apologize in advance if I'm a bit slow to respond or if I miss a day or two posting cards.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

OHC 28 - Pastel

 It's time for another entry in my One Hundred Cards challenge (read about it here). When I pulled out the "pastel" theme, I wasn't sure what I wanted to do. My first thought was to make a baby card, but that felt kind of predictable. So, instead, I decided to pull out Sunflower Sweetheart from Birdie Brown.

I've always admired the lovely soft style Torico (the artist behind Birdie Brown line) brings to so many of her cards, and I wanted to try to do the same with my Copics. My Copic coloring tends to be very bright and vibrant. In fact, it's not until fairly recently that I even started getting some of the lighter colors. I've still got to fill out my collection of lighter colors, but I did manage to find a softer palette I could work with - I got the right amount of color and good shading contrast, which is awesome. I definitely need to try this lighter palette again.

After stamping and coloring the flower girl, I die-cut her with matching dies and set her aside. I chose to go with a square card measuring 4¼x4¼". I cut a piece of patterned paper to 4x4" and matted it to the card. I added the girl on foam squares and stamped the sentiment in brown ink.

Lastly, I grabbed the lightest sequins I could find and adhered them to the left side of the card.

Thanks for reading!