Monday, November 30, 2015

Special blessings...

It seems that the entire world does the "I'm thankful for..." in the lead up to Thanksgiving but for me the time to reflect & count my blessings is Advent. This week, my husband is going to see some friends of ours & I wanted to make a card to tell them how special they are since I can't be there myself.

I love this stamp set, I was able to buy it during Simon Says Stamp Stamptember event this year & have already used it several times!  Our friends, my husband & myself are all band geeks so this set couldn't have been more perfect for them.  I blended Worn Lipstick, Spun Sugar & Antique Linen Distress Ink through a damask stencil (Hero Arts I think) on watercolor paper & then lightly sprayed Perfect Pearl for a soft look.  The marchers are stamped in Jet Black Archival Ink on specialty stamping paper, cut out with Cameo, then colored in with Copic & Distress Markers & embellished with Stickles on the instruments & hats.  The ribbon is Tim Holtz crinkle ribbon colored with Distress Markers (as shown by Tammy Tutterow here) & topped off with a gemstone colored with Butterscotch & Gold alcohol ink.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Back in saddle's been a rough Autumn with health issues & complications but I think have finally settled out & get back to the serious play of crafting ;-)...  First up have a set of thank-you cards for the nurses & medics that have treated me in the past few months.  I did all 3 in the same simple design with Distress inks & a few embellishments:

I think my favorite part is the clear embossing of the leaves on the card base which was a happy accident.  I sponged Distress Embossing Ink through a leaf stencil (by Echo Park) and then intended to coat with Sticky Embossing Powder (in order to use foil leafing) but on the first one grabbed the clear powder instead.  I decided I liked the clear/ faux resist look better because it allowed the watercoloring to stand out so I used clear powder on the other two as well!

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

A quick album

I love my Silhouette because it makes creating quick gifts easy ;-).   My sister-in-law's birthday was today & I wanted to make sure she had something so she knew we were thinking about her today.  She recently returned from vacation & I had recently downloaded a Lori Whitlock cut file for a mini-album - a match made in heaven!

I cut the base album out of paper from  Teresa Collin's "Tell Your Story" line, made a few simple embellishments, inked the edges & viola! a gift ready to mail!

** Coming in under the wire, entered into Simon Says Stamp Wednesday "Make it Colorful" Challenge (wanted to make sure she received it before I posted about it ;-) )**

Monday, September 7, 2015

Ahoy Mateys!

Dills PK teacher happens to be the same teacher that Erin had for PK (which is fantastic for him & us!).  So I was talking with her before school started and she mentioned that her treasure chest came up missing when she switched buildings & of course I thought perfect excuse to make one!  I found a plain, unfinished chest at Hobby Lobby and set out to convert it to a treasure chest fit for a bunch of pirates - Our local area has a rich pirate history, we even have a week long festival in honor of  Capt Billy Bowlegs every year ;-). 

Almost 3 weeks later it's finally complete - took a lot longer then I had planned because the stain & then polyurethane took forever to dry in 90%+ humidity but it was worth it for the look ;-).  I added some metal brackets on the side & a latch on the front to add the antique look.  For the netting I took apart a crab net & stained it with Hickory Smoke, Wild Honey, Vintage Photo & a little bit of Cracked Pistachio to make it look like it had been in the Gulf for ages.  Originally I had planned for (& cut) more sealife to embellish around the chest but I felt it took away from the chest itself so I kept it simpler.  On the front is a pirate octopus & parrot slightly altered from Echo Park cut files & on the sides are seahorses & sand dollars from Tim Holtz's movers & shapers line.

I really love how the seahorses & sand dollars turned out.  I die-cut both shapes from manila & the the sand dollars I inked with Scattered Straw & Antique Linen, then put some pop dots behind the star to bump it out from the base shape & chalked the edges of it, finally coated them with a light layer of Glossy Accents & dusted with clear Rock Candy glitter.

The seahorses I inked with a trio of colors ea; Tumbled Glass/ Salty Ocean/ Mermaid Lagoon, Spiced Marmalade/ Picked Raspberry/ Abandoned Coral, Cracked Pistachio/ Evergreen Bough/ Iced Spruce.  To achieve the texture I coated each one with clear Crackle Paint & very lightly sponged over the cracks with Hickory Smoke.

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Five for Friday: Back to School

...Yes I realize it is now Tuesday but I had originally written this Friday & it just didn't get 'published' for some reason...

1. Erin FINALLY allowed her hair to be cut!  This has been an almost 2 year battle but all it took was comparing her hair to that of Disney Channel stars (Dove Cameron "Liv & Maddie" specifically)  lol!

2. After years of fighting the tourists for clothes (why does everyone seem to do back-to-school shopping on vacation?), I made the crazy trip up Birmingham's Galleria for new clothes.

3. Suspicion confirmed ;-) - genetics has won yet again & the girl received her first pair of glasses this August. She picked pretty much the exact opposite style I expected her to choose but no matter she's happy(ish) :-P

4. Seems the school supply list grows every year - this is for two kids (PK, 2nd) but still INSANE!

5. Last day of summer vacation...I think the Lego "table" exploded....

Friday, August 7, 2015

Five for Friday

1. My always crafty eldest has gotten bit hard by the sewing bug (so it must skip a generation :-P), she can't quite control my machine yet but she loves to hand-sew & she adores owls.  So when I found a stuffed owl sewing kit at Hobby Lobby I knew it was meant for her ;-).  She is so diligent in making sure every stitch is just right that it took 2 hours just to complete the front face & then somehow she broke the needle (?!) so she couldn't complete the full project le sigh

2. Of course since Erin was in our study (at daddy's desk), Dillon just had to be in here as well.  Thankfully he had a new Lego set to keep him occupied as well ;-).  After he built the set I expected him to start tearing through the house like the crazy pre-schooler that is him.  But he surprised me & played for hours quietly with the new set at my feet - reminded me of when he was a young toddler & wouldn't leave my side for anything <3.
By the way, that mess behind him isn't mine (or John's), it's Erin's -- quite a while ago I read on May Flaum's blog  that she has an art bin just for her girls to make their own scrapbook layouts & cards.  At about the same time I was purging & reorganizing my own stash, I was just going to throw all the "rejects" in a yard sale grab bag box but made it hers instead.  The deal was she could have anything in it as long as she kept it neat - which worked for all of a week, le sigh redux :-P

3.  While the kids were happily occupied I was able to complete two more layouts for our Disney 2013 album - I'd really love to be "caught up on" Disney albums by the next time we go back but we shall see! .... When I have pictures that have a very similar theme but don't exactly go together or tell the same story, I like to use the same paper collection so the layouts coordinate (but don't match) & store them face-to-face in the album.  In this case I used My Mind's Eye Collectible collection with the addition of a few Idea-ology pieces & both layouts are based off Mid-Week Mojo sketches.

4. Mr. Duncan was being a goofy pup this morning & tunneled under my quilt to sleep,  staying there for hours.  How he didn't overheat with that much fur under a quilt in the middle of a FL summer I don't know....

5. It's back-to-school in just over a week & I'm far from ready, this year I need two sets of supplies (pre-K & 2nd) and needs shoes, clothes, haircut, new glasses oy!  The most frustrating thing about back-to-school shopping is the more Erin grows into "school-age" sizes the less I can find near home because most tourists do their shopping while down here on vacation.  And yes I know the obvious answer is "order online" but Erin is the world's pickiest dresser & even if she helped pick it out (off the screen) more then half would still be returned guaranteed :-/.  So this year I've come up with a new radical & quite possibly insane plan - we're going to drive all the way up to north AL (4-5 hrs away) and spend the whole day shopping in one of largest malls in the south and then spend the night in hotel before driving all the way back down.  Crazy? Yeah I think so... but I'm hoping it'll be some good mother-daughter time as well since I'm not crazy enough to drag husband & son up as well!  They're going to spend the day driving go-karts & eating wings ;-)..  Wish us luck! 

Thursday, August 6, 2015

To plan or not to plan, that is the question...

Simon Says make a plan which for me is quite easy because by nature I am a planner, I not take comfort in methodical research & planning out of anything in my life.  I find it very difficult to just "let loose" and allow things to fall as they may - this applies as much to crafting as it does to other areas of life, I just can't throw paint/ ink/ paper down & "see what happens".  From the time I started scrapbooking up until my eldest was a young toddler I carefully sketched out every layout on graph paper.  I selected the pictures I wanted to use & printed them out on basic printer paper to refer to as I was designing.  I bought specific paper & embellishments for each layout and printed out pictures in the specific size I had drawn out on the sketch.
Sketch & photo selection circa 2008

Then only after I had everything planned out, I would create the actual layout. I say "create" but really it was more assembly since I never-ever deviated from my carefully constructed sketch.

Completed layout circa 2008 (title is only different because my mom found the pre-made die-cut somewhere)

By the time my son was born in 2010, this much planning had become very tedious and quite frankly boring.  I had such limited free time with a toddler & newborn (with health issues) that I just couldn't bring myself to spend so much time sketching every layout.  I tried to craft in a more free-form fashion allowing the pictures to dictate the layout & paper on the fly but the lack of a plan/ direction drove me crazy.  And so I hit a slump that lasted well over a year until I discovered pre-made sketches & the radical (to me) notion that you could alter said sketches for several different layouts. By using pre-made sketches I cut out the time-consuming part (for me) of scrapbooking and could focus on the actual creation of art & preserving of memories.

These days I order standard size 4 x 6 pictures in 100+ batches and cut them down as the layout and/ or story to be told dictates.  And I buy paper & embellishments just because I like them without a specific layout in mind.  After selecting pictures, I often start with Mid-Week Mojo sketches because they're convenient (& who doesn't love the chance to wing goodies? ;-) ) and then pull out paper & push it around until it looks right.  Since I very rarely stick to the provided sketch exactly, this is about as close to open-ended creative play as I get ;-).

Since I made a layout about Crystal Palace for my son's album, I of course had to make one for my his elder sister as well ;-).  The pictures are very similar but I wanted a more feminine look & to play up the classic architecture of the restaurant.  My first thought was Teresa Collins's 'Family Stories' line, but the black paper was way too dark for the colorful pictures & dominated the visual space.
After I switched it out for a cream-colored floral paper from Teresa Collin's 'Tell Your Story' line, the rest of the layout came together easily.  Taking cues from Mid-Week Mojo Lilac sketch #4, I inked & layered more paper & embellishments from 'Family Stories' and stamped the floral design in the upper right hand corner.
The journaling is hidden in the envelope down at the bottom.  The envelope came with a plain white card so I stamped it for interest & embossed the sides.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

And still more birthday cards...

For this card I started with coloring through the Wildflower stencil on watercolor paper then covered the stenciled image with Microglaze.  Using a broad water brush, covered the whole piece with Mermaid Lagoon & Salty Ocean on top & Shabby Shutters on bottom.  Then cut out some Echo Park flowers out of plastic packaging (on Cameo), used my heat gun to soften the plastic to curl the petals up, painted them with Liquid Pearls & adhered them on top of the stenciled image with Glossy Accents.  Finally took a Starbucks cardboard sleeve & sealed the bottom, then painted it mostly with Rusty Hinge with some Fired Brick & Vintage Photo blended in and adhered it to the bottom with wonder tape.  A gift card fits snugly inside the "flower pot" :-).  
Entered in to Simon Says Stamp Monday "No Ordinary Paper" Challenge.

For my brother's card, I had to use my new Tim Holtz Fresh Brewed die & embossing folder ;-).  The background is green Core'dinations lightly sanded & inked with Gathered Twigs.  The main cup & circle are cut from basic white cardstock & inked & the sleeve is cut from Silhouette adhesive corrugated paper.  Finally the sentiment is Potting Soil Archival Ink on vellum.  I put a Starbucks gift card inside for him & I'm not sure if he liked that or the card better but kept asking if I made the card - well yeah little bro! LOL!  
Entered to Simon Says Stamp Wednesday "Anything Goes" Challenge.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Dillon's 3rd Birthday

Back again to share a layout made for Dillon's 3rd birthday (ya know since he's almost 5 lol).  The lucky boy got to have his birthday meal a few days early @ The Crystal Palace in Walt Disney World with the entire 100 Hundred Acre Gang.  I documented the character greets in our (as yet unfinished) WDW 2013 album but saved these photos for his own album.  These beautiful topiaries of the gang were just begging to be photographed so of course I had to oblige ;-).

Unfortunately it's been storming most of the day so my usual natural light photo spot is dark so I had to settle for a desk shot :-/.

For me at least, The Crystal Palace - especially with these flowers - would usually call for soft, almost feminine paper & embellishments but because this layout is for his own album I decided to go for a bolder design.  My Mind's Eye Boy Crazy is one of my all-time favorite collections, especially for my robot-loving boy :-).  Since I horde every scrap of this collection, this sketch was perfect because I didn't have to use any full 12 x 12 sheets.  Instead I pieced together smaller pieces to make my 12 x 12 layout.  All the sides of each piece are lightly edged with Hickory Smoke  Distress Ink for that more rough-n-tumble boy look.  I also sanded the yellow "h" & colored the sides with Hickory Smoke Distress Marker to help it stand out better on the yellow background.

This layout uses ScrapbookSteal's Mid-Week Mojo Lilac #5 sketch & also entered to Simon Says Stamp Wednesday "Anything Goes" Challenge.

When is a stamp not a stamp?

I've been experimenting with using tools or other things lying around differently then how they were designed.  Most recently I've realized that the mini blending tool makes the perfect polka dot stamp!  So I utilized this to make (yet another) birthday card ready to send out this fall.

Super-saturated my blending foam(s) with distress ink (Abandoned Coral, Cracked Pistachio, Mermaid Lagoon & Squeezed Lemonade and stamped them on smooth watercolor paper & sprinkled with water for a softer effect.  Layered that on top of a piece of vellum & attached it to a cardstock card base.  For the cupcake, I stamped & die-cut it from specialty stamping paper and then embellished the icing with clear glitter & the candle with texture gems.  The sentiment is stamped on a scrap piece of watercolor paper cut into a banner.

Entered into Simon Says Stamp Monday "No Ordinary Paper" Challenge :-)

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Sparkle and Shine

As a kid, I wasn't much of a glitter or sparkle kind of girl but I've come to enjoy using both in my crafts after having my glitter loving daughter ;-).   So I decided to embrace this week's Wednesday Challenge over on Simon Says Stamp to use "sparkle & shine" on what else - more cards for the autumn!

I was playing with watered-down Gelatos on watercolor paper and really liked the sploshy look, so built the rest of this card around it.  Die-cut the butterflies out of Tim Holtz's Melange tissue paper, sprayed them with Perfect Pearls & some leftover watery Gelato and then made the thoraxs with gold Faber-Castell Texture Gems.  Attached the butterflies with a spot of glossy accents on the thorax so it looks like they're flying off the card.  Finished it off with a stamped Hero Arts sentiment in Jet Black Archival Ink.

Making cards for all the autumn birthdays in our family made me realize that Halloween is just around the corner as well!  On the first card I started with the zig-zag paer from My Mind's Eye Halloween Basics collection, then distressed & inked the edges to make the card base.  Then inked up a piece of kraft paper from MME Haunted with multiple orange & purple distress inks.  With my Cameo cut out the pumpkin, made the faux-stitched borders and cut out the bat (then coated it with Distress Stickles).  Outlined the pumpkin with foam tape & filled it with American Crafts sequins.  Finished it off with a second generation stamping of Tim Holtz's Halloween stamp.

On the second card I wanted to play with texture & dimension, so I cut out several different pumpkins (on Cameo) from various MME orange patterned papers.  Some of the papers had pre-embossed designs so to help the other ones stand out I coated them Distress Stickles.  Stacked & layered them on a piece of green cardstock and adhered it to the card base.  The card base is the same kraft paper from the other card, inked with brown & green Distress inks.  To keep with the rustic feel, I cut down a piece of burlap & stamped it with the same Halloween stamp - but the ink barely showed up on the burlap.  So I coated the stamp with Distress Paint (Black Soot) and stamped it over the inked image which worked much better (except for the spiderweb for some reason).  Finished it off with a piece of twine.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

You scream, I scream for...

Autumn is crazy in our family for birthdays (10 in 4 months!) so I've been trying to get a jump on the long list of birthday cards I need to send out.  When I saw the Monday Challenge "I scream for..." on Simon Says Stamp this week, I couldn't help but think of the obvious answer ICE CREAM! and that gave me the perfect idea for a card.  I kept this one very simple starting with striped paper from Pink Paislee and then made an ice cream cone embellishment on my Cameo, finished it off with a stamped sentiment & it's finished :-).

Friday, March 13, 2015

Best laid plans of mice & men....

So for what it matters I have lots to talk about & share but the days keep slipping by & all of a sudden I find myself at Friday yet again - at least I knew it was Friday this week ;-).  At the minimum I want to keep "five for Friday" going but not at my computer tonight so I bring you 5 of my favorite pictures off John's tablet ...

Erin 4 years old displaying her best "Disney" face

Tori is just a strange cat ;-)

Erin 6 years old with her beloved Papa, I tell you these two have a relationship that is unequaled

Dillon 3 years old helping Dad clean up the soccer fields after game :-)

When John took over his promotion/new office he complained his walls were too Gare so like any good scrapper I made him a new photo display (with Teresa Collins Family Stories line & a 7 Gypsies tray)

Have a good Friday night!

Friday, March 6, 2015

5 favorite crafty items EVER!!!

So I totally forgot it was Friday -nevermind what day I thought it was *sheepish* - because I've been caught in a crafty whirlwind this week, started with the study re-org and wow it just blow it up from there... So in honor of this I present my 5 favorite craft items of all time:

1. Faber- Castell Artist Pens:
These are my most recent additions (and are fantastic!) but I've been using these since high school when my mom brought [a black one] and some Faber-Castell colored pencils back from a business trip to Germany,  I've tried many different pens since then but I always come back to Faber-Castell because the colors is rich & true and they write on practically anything even paint!

2. Foam Dot Adhesive:
Since our stores around here are not particularly good at keeping things in stock I don't always buy the same brand of foam dots but when I can find them American Crafts makes the best version.  These little beauties are perfect for adding dimension to a card or layout without being overly bulky & since they're made of foam it doesn't matter if they get a little squished in a overstuffed album (not that I'd ever do that - oh no ;-) ).

3. Distress Products by Tim Holtz
Ok so I'm cheating a bit here but I couldn't possibly choose just one medium in the Distress Collection!  I became hooked by the markers years ago because with a wee wild one running around they were a simpler answer to watercolors but I soon discovered they were so much more then that [well that & real watercolors have there place too].  Beside being incredibly easy & non-intimidating to use and beside the fact that they react to water to create really cool effects & that all the mediums coordinate & work really well together...what's really important [to me at least] is the COLORS!!!!  And this year there's a new color every month & it's really hurting my budget but how could you resist this?!

4. My Mind's Eye Paper
Sure the buttons, brads, chipboard, ribbon etc are great too but the paper is always beautifully designed & a good weight to stand up to inking/ painting/ sanding.  MME was some of the first paper I picked up when I started "modern" scrapbooking and has remained a staple in my stash - I think I currently have 8 different collections, although Boy Crazy  is still my #1 pick especially for anything to do with a certain boy I'm crazy about (who in turn is crazy about robots ;-) )

5.  Silhouette Cameo
Mr. Cameo & I have our disagreements from time to time but that doesn't change what an absolute powerhouse it is, doesn't matter what idea pops into my head the cameo can help make it reality.  The only task I haven't had great success with it is designing/ making stanps but other then that it's absolutely amazing what it can do ( and so much better then my original Cricut 8 years ago!).  Seriously who would've all this could be done with one home-use, non- professional machine?!

Friday, February 20, 2015

5 for Friday: Exploreum

Once upon a time there was a 3 day weekend thanks to Presidents' Day but it was WAY too windy to enjoy our regular activities & besides I desperately needed to do and go.  I was not made for this 9 yrs in one small (tourist) town gig!  We really wanted to go to Atlanta but had to use our Hilton Honors points for a hotel in March (long story) and my cousin wasn't going to be around anyways thanks to it also being Valentine's Day weekend.  So what to do? ...

Then I remembered we have a membership to our local science center entirely for this reason.  See it is the worst excuse for a "science" center I have ever seen in my life, a grade school science fair is far more interesting & informative, BUT you get reciprocal membership to hundreds of other (better) science centers!  So we packed up the kids and headed to the Gulf Coast Exploreum Science Center

The only problem was we forgot to take into account it was also Mardi Gras Mobile the birthplace of Mardi maybe not our smartest move travel wise but totally worth it for the "It's a science center, YAY!!!!" exclamations upon arrival.  Yes my kids are geeks and yes I'm very proud :-D

Dillon: "Is this like Figment's [Journey to Imagination] lab?"
Erin: "Let's "ride" the coaster to get in & see!"

"Mom I can make the light bend around!"

She worked so hard on this set-up, determined to make that funnel connect to the other pipes ;-)

"Mom how long do I have to hang here like a monkey?"

This day trip was also a great break from my massive dig-out-the-study & (re)organize my supplies that I'm still in the middle of but hopefully I'll be done soon & back to crafty fun.  Have a good weekend!

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Five for Friday...make that Saturday ;-)

A lovely friend of mine, Emily, came up with the concept of "Five for Friday" 5 pictures (or any quintet really) that sums you right now.  Easy enough correct? - Well I keep seeing it & making a mental to do it but never seem to come back to it (haven't even commented on hers - fail!).  But I'm determined to do something productive today so here goes (all off my phone so quality isn't there at all):

#1 This is the first entry in a new project of mine which deserves a full post but I;ll just say that this is EXCITING because is the first thing I've done just for ME in YEARS

#2 My sweet, loyal pup :-D ... why does he look so exasperated? See #3

#3 Dillon has outgrown his Fisher-Price Wheelies & Hexbugs aren't quite exciting enough (he still loves them though) so John decided to get him a Hot Wheels track set.  Which is awesome & he LOVES it but it is LOUD.  Thankfully he loves it just as much without the "super charger" so we can disconnect that 95% of the time for quiet play.  (oh & I promise my son isn't naked here, he has shorts on & refused to put a shirt on if we were not going anywhere!)

#4 Recently while going through the Youtube videos covering CHA 2015 I saw a video of Wendy Vecchi (designer for Ranger) embossing metal which is a thought I've often had but could never get it to stick smoothly.  A few years I did custom metal mailboxes for Erin's pre-school valentines party but they were very difficult & amateur-ish (yes I realize by definition I am an amateur but still...).  So I abandoned the idea for awhile until now - 

This view is the answer to the equation: (Cold, windy, wet weather + asthmatic, pneumonia prone son) + post book fair exhaustion + Crohn's flare (that almost has me willing to go back to Dr) + sinus/ear infection - yeah fun times.  But at least my wonderful hubby gave me $50 to one of my favorite (online) craft stores for my birthday so I have lots of new things to play with.  Mostly it has just been play without any real product produced but I've found that it's just as fun (if not more) to have no end goal other then what will happen if__?  So hopefully I'll be more productive (& able to eat regularly)) soon but until then I'll just keep playing ;-)