Friday, 23 April 2010

Rustic Rooster

When I saw this hostess set in the Stampin' Up catalogue (Country Morning), I fell in love with it. Now that I don't need to save sets for give-aways anymore, I could very selfishly ink this up for myself! The inspiration for this card came from the yellow polka dot panel - I was half-heartedly trying to tidy things up and I found this scrap at the top of the pile. I thought that I would turn it into a card rather than put it away, so I rummaged through the rest of the trimmings and found the veggie strip (with red gingham on reverse), brown and olive bits. With all these treasures in hand, it would have been wrong to keep tidying so I turned them into a card. All these rustic papers called for this rooster image, which is stamped on vanilla and coloured with pencil crayon. I wanted to keep the lines showing so I didn't blend it. Roosters have lovely glossy plumage (at least they do in my imagination), so I added some scattered straw distress stickles to his tail for some sparkle without glitter. The buttons are PTI coconut shell rustic buttons, with some linen or jute twine in them. The sentiment at the bottom was bolder looking in my mind's eye, but once it was down (after whole card finished), it was too late to do anything about it. I'm a bit of a kamikaze stamper that way. (However, this trait has honed my skills at peeling apart layers and hiding mistakes!) Anyway, the olive piece is the only other bit with stamping, where I used the scratchy stamp by Tim Holtz (Stampers Anonymous) in Forest Moss and rubbed in some more Forest Moss to deepen it a bit. I'm quite pleased with how this turned out. It doesn't show in the scan, but the front of the card is actually half an inch narrower than the back panel, and the red gingham is mounted on the back panel for an accent. I don't usually plan far enough in advance for this sort of thing, so I was feeling quite pleased that I thought of it in time to do it. Upon reflection, to be totally truthful, the yellow piece was a smidgen too short, so I was trying to solve that dilemma and stumbled on this as a solution, and it actually worked out quite well!
Stamps: Stampin' Up (Country Morning set), ink: India Ink (Memories), Forest Moss (Distress), Patterned Paper: Farm Fresh (October Afternoon), Cardstock: old olive, very vanilla, chocolate chip (Stampin' Up)

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Ecoline Collage or Trowellling Makeup on a Warthog

Well, I hemmed and hawed and debated about whether to post this. I haven't decided if I love it or hate it. I have been browsing around looking at collage-type cards lately and thought I would try it out. I started with one of my ecoline sheets that I made using red and blue and pickling salt crystals. On its own it looked fairly revolting. I stamped on some collage-y type stamps (Tim Holtz - Stampers Anonymous) in black and lagoon versafine ink, and the scroll is in distress (tumbled glass and worn lipstick). The sentiment is embossed in black, and the corner stamp is stamped in India ink and pink grapefruit chalk. It needed some more something, so I flung on some twinkling H20s (rubilite, wild blueberry and pewter) using a big paintbrush. (The wall behind the freezer is getting quite colourful!) I felt the sentiment needed to stand out a bit more, so I dabbed it with Snow Cap white paint and rubbed it off the letters with a rag. I scuffed on some more paint here and there too. Collage-y cards seem to have some metal on them somewhere, so I added some brads. I fiddled with some ribbon, but took it off - wasn't working. So there you have it - an early effort at collage. I am sure that I will look back on this in horror at some point, either having gotten good at collage or having abandoned it in failure. I am trying to tell myself this would be a good masculine card, but maybe only for someone with very poor vision or deeply kind heart. DH wasn't at all fond of it and made no bones about saying so, but he's washing up, so I will forgive him. Possibly the moral of this whole card is that adding numerous blotchy layers to an ugly background will not make it beautiful. But I guess I wasn't really going for beautiful, I was going for grunge, which was certainly achieved. I'm still not decided whether this is hip-grunge, or swamp-grunge. I'll keep at the collage efforts if for no other reason than they are a lot of fun to do.

Hero Arts Poppy

I was recently experimenting with the Ecoline inks I got for my birthday. I'd read about them on Stamping Mathilda, a very inspirational blog. I won't go into detail here, since Godlieve does a much better job. I followed her instructions for making a background, and used a red that I have. (Ecoline inks are available in Canada from Quietfire Designs in British Columbia.) I brushed the paper with water (I tried it with Bella's Bestest paper and SU Whisper White, with similar results). When the paper was wet, I dabbed on colour with a wide brush and sort of pushed it around. Not very high tech. In fact, the whole operation was conducted in the furnace room using the deep freeze as a desk. These ink bottles didn't seem like something I should be tinkering with on my light coloured carpet under my stamping desk, being somewhat prone to sudden surges of gravity... When the paper is all inky, set aside to dry, and when dry, iron it flat. I did a half sheet per colour experiment and got two of these gorgeous poppy images (Hero Arts) out of the one sheet, plus some scraps. I decided to go for two different looks. This one is backed on black, then SU Haiku paper (yay clearance rack!) and Kiwi Kiss. The sentiment is A Muse and is punched out with an SU punch. A tab of Kiwi ribbon and some dew drops seemed to balance things out quite nicely. I also accented the centres with nearly-black marker and black stickles. I enhanced some of the petals with pencil crayon, but didn't blend it (just used the pencils to blend each other - Bruynzeels blend easily that way). It's a 5 1/4" square card.

For my second effort, I decided to chop up the image and layered each panel on a bit of black. The next layer down is Real Red, on a black card base. The accent is a black flower (new Tim Holtz die, run through script embossing folder and dabbed with Versamark Dazzle), with a button (PTI) layer, topped with a stamped "hello" (Hero Arts). I forget where I got the ribbon, but it seemed to be my only black ribbon. I was hoping I would find a nice black and white polka dot in my stash, but no luck. I am forcing myself to leave ribbon on cards now and I am getting quite used to it. This one has ribbon and a button and a die cut. Aren't I just the little stylish stamper! (Not literally - I am actually in pyjamas, ratty velour jacket and sheepskin slippers because the basement is freezing!!! This time of year the furnace cuts out and the basement is quite nippy even though it's warm upstairs. We're grateful in the heat of summer, but right now the laws of thermodynamics do the basement no favours...)
I am quite tickled with this technique. It's quite easy to do - the hardest part is being patient while the paper dries. If you're having a hard time waiting, I suggest you while away some time browsing through Godlieve's blog - she has some lovely projects there!

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Doesn't this stamp just make you want to don a wide-brimmed hat and retreat to the hammock with an extremely girly drink? I needed a beverage-related thank you card, so this stamp seemed to fit the bill perfectly. I coloured it using my coloured pencils (Prismacolor, Derwent and Bruynzeel) and blended with odorless mineral spirits. It is heavily embellished with stickles as well. This card was begging for glitter! I stamped the butterfly wings so I could pop up the wings. I chose my colour scheme to coordinate with this fresh paper from BasicGrey (Euphoria, a state not unrelated to stamping/exotic bevvies!). The ribbon and circle punches are Stampin' Up, and the TY stamp is Sylvia Wu for Rubber Soul. I pinked the edges of one of the strips using edged scissors for a bit of an accent. I feel like I should have sewn on this too, oh well. The recipient will never know. I was able to add ribbon and forced myself to leave it on ;-) I am really bad for fiddling with ribbon endlessly, only to take it off in the end. The card base is an old one I had in my paper scraps, with some really ugly stamping on the front and edged in purple. Needless to say, it has been a bit neglected, since I seldom require a 5 1/4" square Cool Caribbean card edged in purple. However, this situation did call for it, so my tendency to hoard even the most unlikely paper scraps has been positively reinforced. (See also yesterday's post with the scrap-punched flowers!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunny thank you

I wanted to send thank you notes to my friends who helped make dinner for the women's shelter yesterday. I have used this layout/technique before and it is so quick and easy, but very striking. It's what Julie HRR likes to call a 5MQ (five minute quickie, which always makes me laugh). I used a flower punch I got recently at my LSS. It has two pieces, one is a punch, the other is an embosser. So you punch your flower then put it in the the embosser and it gently curls the petals and gives them gentle ridges. Now you can have flowers in any colour, any time! I had a scrap of glossy alcohol-inked paper that was waiting to be used so that seemed just the ticket. I punched the whole piece and it gave me twelve little flowers, just enough for my four cards. A quick trip through my paper stash yielded just the right cardstock - Dandelion from Memory Box (duplex, so it's white inside). The stamp is from Impress Rubber Stamps, and it's stamped in Forest Moss (Distress Ink). The perfect finishing touch was some lemon yellow self-adhesive pearls (Kaiser) in the flower centres. In real life it is so soft and pretty, and the flowers have a slight silver sheen from the silver mixative and of course the glossy is reflective. The pearls have a lovely lustre and the lemon yellow cardstock (not at all dandelion yellow) is so sunny. I didn't have the patience to tinker with Paintshop Pro to get just the right yellow. I am still learning that software, so please bear with me.
No funny jokes tonight - I am under the weather with a cold. My voice is gone and I can't be more than arm's length from the tissues, so I am all out of spontaneous hilarity. I would recommend the show Dan for Mayor, if you want a laugh, featuring Fred Ewaniuk from Corner Gas (Hank). There have been some pretty funny moments. It's not Corner Gas funny, but it's still good. You have to like a show that has the Looneyspoon ladies for cameos. How funny is that!
Thanks for stopping by! Hope you get some stamping time in your little corner of the world. I'm off to actually write and send some cards! This is a sadly neglected aspect to my card-making endeavours.....

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Getting Inky with my Spade Fish

What a great day today! I got my hair cut and popped in to the art store on my way home to get some paper to try something I read about on Fred B Mullett's website. While I was there, I found some lovely Japanese paper, which I used on this card (the line-y one in the background). This afternoon, my girlfriends and I were at the church making dinner for a women's shelter. The shelter had a big fire in December and their kitchen has been out of commission so various parishes in the city have been providing meals. Our parish has Saturdays. Today we made Nigella's mini meatloaves (totally delicious), Nigella's New Orleans coleslaw (ditto), buttermilk mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. For dessert we cut up fresh fruit and made Grizzly bars (a family recipe that roughly translates chocolate chip cookies into a square or bar, or slice if you happen to be reading this in the UK, and- wouldn't that be a thrill for me!) Talk about the perfect comfort food meal, just right for this cold, grey, wet day. My family just loves those mini meatloaves, I think it's because they get a nice crunchy outside and are not too mushy in the middle. Also, my regular meatloaf frequently conceals grated zucchini, hmmm perhaps the mushiness culprit..... They also freeze beautifully if you are the sort that likes to know you have an emergency dinner in the freezer that everyone will eat.
Anyway, back to the card! I had been experimenting with this fish (Spade Fish, Fred B Mullett) and some different things, and found a line of experimentation worth pursuing. I stamped the fish in versamark on irridescent gold shimmer paper (the paper is white, but has a gold irridescent shimmer - it's the one we used at Heather's on the Hothouse Hibiscus class). I embossed the fish in Psychedelic embossing powder, heating different portions differently to get the different colours to show up. (If you try at home, stop when you get to red - this is the last colour before it goes flat.) After it was embossed, I applied shades of blue and green distress ink with my blending tool and then spritzed with water, flinging on some larger droplets and let it dry. I added some definition to the eye with a navy marker. The card base is Handsome Hunter stamped with a wonderful swirly dot background (Fluff- Impression Obsession). The fish and the Japanese paper are mounted on Night of Navy. There is a nice blue-gray piece of tsumugi paper in there too. I spied an interesting accent on my ribbon hanger and trimmed it to fit, rearranging some of the pieces to suit the layout. It's a Fancy Pants glitter embellishment in green. I didn't find a way to get it off the backing, so I don't think it can come off. If you do know a way to get it off, let me know because I have another one. I left this sentiment-free, suitable for multiple occasions (Congratulations Fishmongery Graduate, Condolences for the One that Got Away, etc.).
In other news, DH returned our monitor and got a different one that is much better at showing colours and doesn't blind me with it's brightness. I can now enjoy blogging and emailing again. Yay!!! Thank you DH!!!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Funky Dandelions

I made this card for Bellarific Friday and for a friend of mine who is anything but beige. She could use a little TLC right now, so this should be just the ticket.
I got the idea for this technique from a class I took from the amazing, one and only Krista Schneider last summer. You basically just stamp a solid botanical silhouette repeatedly in different colours. Fun and easy!
I'm not sure if I could list all the colours, but here are most: Blue Lagoon, Azurite, Blackberry (my new favourite chalk ink!), Red Lipstick, Lime pastel Colorbox Fluid Chalk, SU Crushed Curry, Memories Mango. The sentiment, also Stamping Bella is embossed in black and matted on some crushed curry paper. The brads are Stampin' Up from the bold brights and earth elements collections (old olive, tempting turquoise and real red). I did a panel to match inside using just the curry and mango (ooh -that sounds yummy!) and also the envelope.
I made another card for Bellarific Friday using Wasabi Ketto in soothing shades of celadon. I'll post that another day. I had finished that one and came out to post it but DH was using the computer typing up "urgent" minutes (as in if I don't type them now I will forget everything)from a church meeting he was at. So, I was "forced" to go back and do some more stamping. I really like how this turned out. I tinkered a bit with Paintshop Pro to spruce up the colours on my monitor. Hopefully this won't blow out your retinas on a normal monitor. DH is going to tinker a bit more with our settings as he now realizes that I care that Real Red card stock displays as Pukey in Pink.
NSR: A funny daycare story. Apparently my 3-year-old daughter (4 next month yikes!) got into a singing duel with the 3-year-old boy the other day. He was singing Mighty Machines, and so she decided that the way to get him to stop was to drown him out with the Easter anthem that DH and DD1 sang on Easter Sunday. So there she was belting out "Halleluiah! Sing praise to the Lord/His kingdom shall endure forever" while he was bellowing the Mighty Machine theme song. Hilarious. This is also the girl who was singing the Alleluia chorus in the grocery store today.
PS Has anyone seen my linen twine? It vanished between now and last week. I also had a bit of a panic since I couldn't find any of my Stamping Bella stamps. I have a few and I remembered watching Midsomer Murder while I trimmed and EZ-mounted them and organized them into some new wonderful storage system. However, I totally blanked out on the new system. I found the stash of empty ziplock baggies where they used to be. I was totally stumped for (I was about to say how long, but it's too embarrassing) ******** when I remembered! I got some empty stamp cases from Stampin' Up and they are perfect for cling mounted stamps. They are the size of DVD cases and I wrote on the spines what they are. Must have been a good episode of Midsomer Murder. Actually, it was really great - the whole theme was old-fashioned photography versus digital. It was bordering on comedy, right down to this sequence of photographer 'thugs' walking in a mob, swinging their little pocket diggies in a very 'menacing' fashion. The camera duel was won by the real camera guy since the diggie-camera guy's batteries ran out and he had to leave the gala exhibit in shame.

Tuesday, 13 April 2010

Groovy bus

I'm back, well sort of. I'm trying out our new set up. We have a new monitor and DH has not been able to adjust the settings so the colour looks anything like real life on the screen. I'm hoping that once this goes out through cyberspace and appears on your screen, it will look right. (Our old monitor died and DH said it couldn't be fixed.) Now we are stuck with a new one that he claims works fine. It is driving me crazy, however, and the only thing I like to do on the computer is a big drag now. So, the down side is less blog surfing and blog posting for me because it's a big pain. The upside is more stamping.
Enough moaning! In real life this is very bright and cheerful. The hearts are bright pink, the bus is bright purple, and the flowers are turquoise. The card base is a nice bright pinky purple, a bit brighter than SU's Orchid Opulence.
I couldn't resist this cute little bus from A Muse and I coloured it up in a yellow and orange scheme using crayons and odourless mineral spirits. I thought this bead garland background (Judikins) would be the perfect thing for it, and I was busy stamping it with my bright Big & Juicy pad, when I dropped the bus on the inky stamp. So much for my yellow and orange bus. It has a happy ending, though, since I really like this colour scheme much better.
The message stamp is by Stamp Barn and the hearts are A Muse too. The bus is festooned with stickles in a whole bunch of colours to match the colours on the bus. Very twinkly. It's popped up too. This will be a great card to cheer up someone who is already quite cheerful. I think if I gave it to someone who was a bit down, it would be a bit too overpowering. I'm thinking about adding some stickles to the background. Too much???? Maybe just Stardust (see through).
Well, I will try to overcome my aversion to the new monitor and post every so often, but it's this awful big flat screen contraption that's too bright and the colours are all washed out. I hate it. Oops, I was supposed to stop moaning!
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Stampin' Up Colour Renovation


I have two important things to pass on:
1. When our computer had its near-death experience, it suffered partial amnesia, including all email and email addresses. So, if you are anyone with whom I have corresponded by email, I no longer have your email address. If you would like to continue our virtual correspondence, please email me :-)

2. I know I said I was retiring from my Stampin' Up demonstratorship, but I wanted to pass on some important information about the colour collection. Stampin' Up will be renovating their colour collection. I am very excited about this because it means they will be introducing 5 new colours (including a fabulous dark brown that I have been wanting for a long time, and a lovely yellow that's not too bright and not too dull). They will also be bringing in 5 new In Colours and they will last 2 years! Next year another 5 will be added, and so on. Yay! I'm a bit sad to see some of my favourites retiring (I will be stocking up on Bordering Blue for sure, and also Mellow Moss and Going Gray), but I am much more excited about the new palette. Also, some great In Colours are coming back - I can stop hoarding Pink Pirouette and Wild Wasabi :-) You will note a 'new' brown called Crumb Cake. They've renamed kraft paper and will add ink, etc. to the lineup.

I wanted to let you know about this in case you need to get more of your favourites while they are around. They will meet all orders until the end of May, after that it will be while supplies last. They are also discontinuing the large pads of craft ink except black and white (and vanilla?) so if you are a large craft pad stamper, you may want to get your favourites.

Lots of information, but exciting news. If you have any questions, drop me a comment at the bottom of this post.

I can't seem to upload any of the images showing the new colour lineup, so I'll refer you to this blog to see them. There's also a great signing bonus to get the new colours, so if you've been considering that, now is the time!

Friday, 2 April 2010

Blogging update

Hello! I have some good news and some bad news. The bad news is that my computer recently suffered a near-death experience. Did you know that your computer will suddenly start shouting "CPU FAILURE! CPU FAILURE!"? I didn't either. I was much happier that way. Part of me thinks it's a bit funny (the part that loved the movie "The Russians are Coming!"). I mean what on earth was that programmer thinking to get a computer to do this? I guess it is slightly less sadistic than the dialogue box that says "Your computer has executed a fatal error and all your work is about to be lost. Forever. Beyond the retrieval of mortal men and tech support. Click "Ok" to continue." WTF? This is soooo not "ok". Anyway the shouts from the brink were similarly panic inducing.

The good news is that my resident IT guy (aka DH) was able to bring our computer out of its coma and we now have email and internet and my little Webkinz addict can spin her wheel of wow. (You will either understand this, my sympathies, or you won't, so enjoy your blissful ignorance.)

The bad news is that our computer suffered some permanent amnesia as a result of this experience, and we have no address book, I can't scan in pictures, and I am trying not to panic about all the other missing data files, which DH claims weren't lost, and they are only hiding. (Note to self, try to trust DH, even though this is clearly about a Computer Situation and therefore not to be trusted at all under any circumstance.) The monitor also seems to be on the blink (and taking it literally) as it flashes on and off, periodically contracting in from the sides. Now I'm no computer expert, but this doesn't seem like a good sign. At least it hasn't started shouting at me yet!

So there you have it. I am somewhat on-line, though unable to blog my creations. This is really bad news since in the last several days I have stamped my way through heights of heretofore unachieved brilliance. You will just have to take my word for it ;-)

Actually, the last few days have involved working overtime (totally NSR [not stamping related] so not fun at all) and two barfing children. For example, Wednesday night involved baking 3 batches of muffins for a meeting at work that my team couldn't even go to (and they didn't save us any! the leftovers went to the kitchen and were snaffled up instantly), 1 laundering of duvet, 2 changes of blankets, 2 changes of pillow, 3 changes of sheets, 4 changes of pyjamas, one change of my clothes, and 2 baths of DD2. Needless to say, our front loader was humming and we were grateful for a wonderful clothesline day on Thursday.... DD1 came down with similar last night, so it was another fun night, but she's older so it wasn't nearly so exciting. So it hasn't exactly been a lot of glamour-stamping around here, which is too bad because it would have been a lot more fun. On the upside, I'm doing a class at Heather's tomorrow morning and am looking forward to spending a great morning with some really great ladies. We're doing the Hothouse Hibiscus Times Three, with a great Hero Arts image done three ways (it's called "Large Flower" - sounded too dull so I called it Hothouse Hibiscus, hope I don't get sued....). Anyway, it will be a great class! I will also be doing a class next Saturday at Heather's using my new Tim Holtz stamps.

Well, DH has told me he is finished watching his program about why Pluto should still be a planet. (Why he bothers when there are countless episodes of Midsomer Murder and Nigella taped, I don't know, but I guess there needs to be some perq for him when I'm out at work for the evening....I guess I should be grateful he cozies up with some astronomical debate or his favourite show about digging holes instead of who knows what else is on cable tv on a Friday night....)