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!