Friday, 31 December 2010

Starry Lady

I made this card for the challenge at the Stampotique Design Challenge blog, where the challenge was to use one punch and one diecut in your design. It's the challenge where you can use stamps other than just Stampotique images.

I started off with Ms Starry (Stampotique), embossed in gold on watercolour paper, and added in a bunch of stars (Papertrey Ink), also gold embossed. Then I punched out some stars using a Fiskars hand punch and coloured the image using Tombow markers and a paintbrush. I embellished with some stickles (see second image for more sparkle than the scanner could pick up) and added smaller stars with stickles, a gold leaf pen, and a glitter pen. I had left a gap for the sentiment (see third picture), but it was too big, so I put it on the inside. This left a large gap, and DH suggested that the card needed the Milky Way. He was absolutely right and I forgive him for all his comments about crooked stamping, excessive (i.e., any) ribbon, and corny content. The Milky Way was a stroke of genius, and I boldly and bravely set to with my gold and glitter pens to create a starry path for my lady here.

The die cut portion of the card is at the bottom, and it's more of the card base (dark purple), die cut with a Tim Holtz edger and sponged with Champagne shimmer paint. The panel behind it is amethyst stamped with the Gemstone cube (Stampendous) in amethyst and gold ink. The card base itself is stamped in Versamark dazzle using the Star map scrapblock by Cornish Heritage Farms. I also gave the card base a light spritz with gold Smooch spray. The focal image is mounted on foam tape over a gold mat, so that the punched stars have some dimension over the gold behind.

I've had this sentiment for a long time - I really like it. So when I saw this image of Ms Starry on the Stampotique website, I thought it would be the perfect complement to this sentiment. The words are embossed in eggplant on ice blue linen paper, matted on more dark purple and edged with gold leaf pen. The tiny stars are accented with gold stickles.
Now that I'm done, I have only one problem - choosing who to send it to since there are so many wonderful people in my life that make me smile like that. Not a bad kind of problem to have!
Thanks for looking.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

Adoration of the Magi

Here's my entry for the December challenge at Inkurable Stampers. I was very fortunate to be chosen as last month's winner of the international entries (thank you!) and a lovely stamp set from Tarisota Stamps will be on it's way to me all the way from Australia. I will be sure to post something when I get it. Thank you Sarah and Tarisota!!!
The theme this month is one-layer cards, with minimal embellishments. We were allowed to mount our layer onto a base, so I did that, since I like the framing effect. I wanted to use the Fred Mullet fish stamp (Pompano) that my mother brought me, and I was fooling around with it, colouring with markers direct to rubber, and one thing led to another and the next thing I knew, I had 3 Wise Fish , and they had to be following a star. So one emergency run to my local stamp store for a star fish later (and Heather didn't let me down!), I had my pisciform magi following the star. I must give apologies to Jo Capper-Sandon, as I'm sure I was led down this creative path by this wonderful Three Bee Kings card.
A few more notes about this card: the starfish is a Michael Strong stamp, stamped in Wild Honey, and coloured in with the same using a blender pen. The fish were coloured with Tombow markers, and the coral is actually from a gemstone cube (Stampendous), as is the "water", just a different side of the cube. There is a fan coral stamp too (Coronado Island). The crowns are by Tim Holtz - Stampers Anonymous and Stampin' Up and the sentiment is from Cornish Heritage Farms. I'm irked that it's crooked - my pilot test was straight, but this wound up crooked. I hoped it wasn't too bad, but my mother noticed right away, which goes to show you that no matter how old you get, you still can't sneak things past your mother. As for embellishments, there are platinum liquid pearl bubbles, distress stickles on the star and sand, and glossy accents on the eyes. If I were to do this card again (and this was effort number 3 or 4, so I was quite tired of colouring the fish with the 5 markers I felt it needed), I would mask the crowns. And get the words straight.
I'm not sure if I'll send this out. I don't usually send Epiphany cards, but this one might have to get used, if I could bear to part with it. I do have a soft spot for it. I showed it to DH, who said it was corny. (Corny?! Harumph. Try post-modern ironic or humorous allegory, but definitely not corny. Double-harumph.)
Thanks for stopping by! Happy Fifth Day of Christmas! Fiiiiiiive golden riiiiiiiings!

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Stampotique Design Team Call

Hello! Stampotique has a design team call. Click here to check it out. Spread the word, especially to any stamperissimos (those are the stampers who stand up to ...stamp...).

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Bellarific Zombie

It's not too often you need a zombie Christmas card, but I thought this Penelope with her prezzies (Stamping Bella) would do just nicely. I "enhanced" her with some stink lines, bugs, beetles, worms, and patches and coloured her up in grungy reds, golds and greens for a seasonal colour palette. The layout was for a Bellarific Friday sketch challenge, so that took care of that. The background paper is from last year's BasicGrey Christmas line (Wassail) and distress stickles finished off "the look". She's stamped in memento black and coloured with Copics.

Now wouldn't this look nice on Miss Havisham's mantlepiece this Christmas????

By the way, I do realize it's after Christmas, but technically, we are now in the season of Christmas, it being the third day of Christmas today. So I am uncharacteristically timely. Happy stamping!

Arch #23 Signs of the Zodiac

This is Arch #23 for the Inkurable Stampers Gothic Arch challenge, theme "Signs of the Zodiac". I have had this image of the woman with the bowl of stars (Ms Starry, Stampotique) for a while and have been itching to use it. I stamped her on watercolour paper and coloured her with Tombows and cut her out. I stamped the arch with the star map (Cornish Heritage Farms), which has signs of the zodiac constellations on it, also embossed in gold, and also coloured with Tombows. I added a few other stars (Papertrey Ink). The stars are stickled and some are popped up, like the lady.

I like this lady who is flinging stars into the sky, and she is a much more satisfactory theory for the origin of stars than some sort of cosmic collision of gases or whatever it is now that the physicists think stars come from.

Gothic Arch #22 Mythical Creatures

Here's Arch #22 - mythical creatures for the Inkurable Stampers Gothic Arch challenge. The main image is clip art, and is of an aquatic fairy on a shell, with a squid. She looks a bit glum, but then again, wouldn't you? All the other clip art fairies got to be doing interesting things like flying around on butterflies and lounging on flowers. She got the squid. So it seemed only right to use her on an arch and give her more of a reason to live, not that she shows any gratitude. That's squid fairies for you.
There is some stamping on here, the words (Stampin' Up) and the shells (Stampin' Up) on the dangly bit with the beads and pearls. I stamped those on shrink plastic and coloured with alcohol ink before shrinking. The navy paper is mulberry and already had the stars on it. The medallion at the top is metallic paper that I had on my desk so I clipped it to fit. I think it was from a spellbinders die originally and I embossed it and clipped to fit, and put a pearl on it.
I'm feeling a bit squid-fairyish about this arch, but not inclined to do a do-over at this point. These arches are what they are and there is more stamping ahead to waste time on do-overs. So onwards and upwards and off to use the new stamps I got for Christmas. Yay! I hope you had a good Christmas. We are having a great time and were even out swimming today with the kids.

Monday, 20 December 2010

Christmas Rocker

My apologies if my blog post led you to believe this would be a card depicting a kitten snoozing in a rocking chair in front of a fireplace bedecked with fir and holly. Instead, we have extreme guitarist (Stampin' Up), rocking to some psychedelic red and green. I think I can actually hear the electric guitar on this card! I didn't think I could get that effect with paper, but it turns out you can. I used glossy paper, with alcohol inks (watermelon, cranberry, citrus, sunshine yellow, willow) and a spray can of air. Tim Holtz does an awesome video on this - it's an easy technique and way more fun than cleaning your keyboard, which is the only other thing I know of to do with a can of spray air. I also embossed the rocker in black, and the grunge flourish is by Stamp-It in Australia. You can tell he's rockin' for Christmas by his hat, which is by yours truly, freehand (only four tries to get the right size!), with some liquid applique for trim. It sort of disappeared against the red (my planning skills, or lack thereof, let me down here) so I covered it with glossy accents to make it stand out. The message panel is sort of a terra cotta, but might be the new cajun craze by SU, I don't remember. It was just a scrap near my hand that really just begged to be included on this card. The "Merry Christmas" is from a wonderful Cornish Heritage Farms collection of Christmas greetings. I'm so glad I snapped that set up before they closed (a moment of silence in their memory....). The scratchy background is a Tim Holtz/Stampers Anonymous stamp, in crushed olive. The card base is Kiwi Kiss from my treasured stash. I love this green. It's the perfect shade of citrusy yellowy green, and I would go through my hoard in a flash. But I am trying to strike the right balance between using and enjoying it and tearing through my stash and not being able to get more. Right now I am erring on the side of never using, which is a pity. I'm glad I used it here - it's just right. This card is for a friend of mine from high school, and we used to go to rock concerts together and he is still a big fan of hard rock music. Because of this, I just had to make a non-traditional card for him and his family and I think this fits the bill. You won't find something like this at the mall! Nope. This is a one-of-a-kind!
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, 18 December 2010

More Christmas Cards

Hello again!

Here are a couple of Christmas cards I made recently. I made quite a number with this image (Stamping Bella), coloured similarly to go with my pack of paper (Jovial line by BasicGrey). I used Copic markers, and then sponged on Antique Linen distress ink to tone the paper from bright white to off white to go with the paper. I also used stickles (Candy cane on birds, patina on dots) and crackle accents (Ranger) on the "boards". I love this image, and it is quite quick to colour up. These were fun cards to make, and good for using scraps of the paper. I edged all the paper with Memories Art Print Brown as well. Well, that's almost it for my Christmas cards this year. They are all (but one, which needs a letter which is only part-way done) in the mail. Now on to the Christmas cleaning and baking. I also want to make some cashew brittle and peppermint bark this year. We'll see how that goes. I also need to wrap presents, but hope to do that while watching National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. I love that movie! Speaking of Christmas shows, I have been watching the Jamie Oliver Family Christmas shows and they are so wonderful! The food looks delicious, and he is such an engaging presenter. I've also really been enjoying watching his series called Jamie's American Road Trip, which is very interesting. Well, time to throw another load of Christmas laundry (not really holiday laundry, but calling it that makes it feel more special).

Thanks for stopping by!

Christmas Cards

Hello! My apologies for being such a delinquent blogger. I don't know how people blog every day. Maybe if I didn't read other blogs, I could work on my own. But there are so many wonderful other blogs out there, how could I not!?!

Here's a card that I recently made (as in last night). It was quite quick to put together so I think this might be a candidate for some batch cards next year. It's for someone who loves glitter and shimmer paper, so I used both. I started with some navy shimmer paper and stamped the image (Snow Dust by Penny Black) and sentiment (Cornish Heritage Farms) with white pigment ink and embossed with a mixture of white embossing powder and warm highlight Glitter Ritz. Then I matted it on some white, and popped it up over a navy shimmer card base. I thought it would be nice to extend the dots, so I used a fanatstix stick to daub on some dots of white ink again and embossed those. I added some Star Dust stickles to the snow dots and the trees, and a rhinestone star to the "i" in Christmas. I like how the "t" in Christmas sticks down like a tree trunk (and a cross for that matter, but I am speaking for a design perspective here). This card is quite wonderful in real life (is that terribly immodest?) and the scanner can't really pick up all the shimmer. You'll just have to try one yourself and see!

I love this stamp. I see so many possibilities for spring (cherry blossoms), summer (leaves) and of course, autumn. And it's so perfectly laid out for wham-bam-image and whamitty-bam-bam sentiment, bob's your uncle, done. Gorgeous and quick and easy. Love it!

I hope you are well, and not getting too crazy. Remember to keep stamping on your to-do list at all times! Then you get to stamp and not feel guilty about it!

Thanks for stopping by!

PS A huge thank you to that very nice lady who gave me the coupon a couple of weeks ago. I got some great new colours of Adirondack paint dabbers, which I can't wait to use. Thank you!!! :-)

Friday, 3 December 2010

Bling it on!

The challenge this week at Stampotique is Bling, and all stamps are Stampotique. This is an easy one for me, since I have a drawer full of stickles, another one with Twinklings and lots of sparkly embossing powder. I also needed a birthday card for a 4-year-old girl and that task just begs for sparkle! I happened to have a piece of colourwashed and splattered paper big enough for a card leftover from a gothic arch. It's in gorgeous shades of pink and purple and yellow. Perfect for a little girl! I dithered for a bit how to stamp the fairy, and I settled on using Dusty Concord and embossing with iridescent ice embossing powder. She's stamped on watercolour paper, so I could paint her and so it would match with the base, which is watercolour too. I painted her with distress inks, shading a bit since things always look better painted with at least two colours. See that little heart on her chest? Painted with worn lipstick and spiced marmalade. Her face has tattered rose, worn lipstick and pumice stone. Honest! The wings have shabby shutters, tumbled glass, broken china, and pumice stone and the crown is wild honey + pumice stone. I also painted the mushroom with pumice stone and accented with enamel accents in white. When I had it all put together and mounted on the card (marigold morning - Stampin' Up), I felt that it needed something, so I drew in some swirls with diamond stickles, which I had also used to accent her wings. This was a gamble, and I'm 70% glad I did it. It really needed some words or other stamps, but I wanted to use this for the challenge, and I didn't really have any other stamps that would suit and the card has to be all Stampotique. Still and all, I like the swirls and really, this is for a 4-year-old girl who will likely not even notice in her haste to open the present. So really, it's for me and I like it. So there. I love the richness of the colours in the colour wash. I spend a lot of time with stained fingers thanks to my love of that technique. I might try that craft scrubby to see if I can clean them off. It doesn't really bother me, but I do work in an office, so I'd rather not have hands that look like I've recently been fingerprinted....

I have some other colourwash projects to post when I get a chance. Right now they're trapped inside my camera and I haven't had a moment to extract them since I have been off sick with a bad cold. It hit me like a ton of bricks on Saturday afternoon and it was only yesterday morning that I turned the corner and felt halfway human. Nothing serious, and I do get sick leave off work (just not off being a mommy).

On an unrelated topic, we watched the new Sherlock Holmes, the modern day one, with Tim from The Office as Dr Watson. It was fantastic! I was hooked right away. I thought they did a marvellous job. We've been enjoying Wallander too. And when I was off sick, I got caught up on my Midsomer Murder episodes. I sometimes wonder why English villagers don't move to the inner city to get away from all the crime. I mean they are bumped off left and right out there. Which reminds me of another show we enjoyed but haven't seen on lately was about the housewife mafia of Little Stempington and we can't remember what it was called. It had its funny moments for sure. I just liked the premise - too funny. All ladies-who-lunch on the outside and cold-blooded villains on the inside, cornering the local drug market on high-test hormone replacement therapy pills. Who knew rural England was this seething hotbed of crime??? (Other than Miss Marple, I mean, who was certainly well aware.)

On another unrelated topic, this weekend we are hosting our second annual gingerbread house building afternoon with the cousins. We have a cast iron mold (from Lee Valley Tools) that you bake the pieces in - one side is a log cabin and the other is a brick house. It's fun, but largely because DH does most of the baking and building. When I was a teenager I used to enjoy designing and making gingerbread houses at Christmas time. I remember making a few. I can hear rasping sounds from upstairs, which means DH is filing down more walls and roof panels so they make a better join. That is where we differ. He likes them to fit neatly together, straight line to straight line. I realize it is a cookie house, shortly to be encased in candy, so I just stick them together with gobs of icing to fill the major gaps. Actually, to be fair, it is nice to have someone like that in the house because it means that pictures get hung straight and the Christmas tree doesn't lean to one side.

Well, I should get back to it and not sit around blogging all night. I have things to do to get ready for Christmas, as well as Gothic arches to get caught up on, and the 12 Tags of Christmas have started already. Yikes! So much stamping to do, competing with other necessary tasks. How to choose??? People at work keep asking me if I'm ready for Christmas (and I do have to say that I resent bitterly this particular conversational gambit). I always respond with a chipper, "Another six weeks should do it!" and wish they would stick to the more traditional Canadian opening line, "Can you believe the weather we've been having, eh?" I guess I should be grateful that people still openly talk about Christmas, but I do dislike having to constantly defend my state of planning. My normal life gets planned on an as-needed basis, which is to say, whatever is happening in the next two hours. Long range planning gets done as-needed as well, which takes care of tomorrow, and possibly the next day if DH and I have had time to work in a strategic planning meeting. Any extras, like birthdays, holidays, church bazaar, throw a spanner in the works and seriously jeopardize things like laundry and groceries. I suppose if I gave up stamping, I could become some manically organized dervish, whirling the laundry from dryer to drawer on my way to menu planning and dropping the kids at gymnastics. In my new spare time I could host delightful candlelight suppers and stylish cocktail parties, but I would be so stressed from lack of stamping that I would likely become as murderous as a villager. Also, it would be a shame to lose the value of the investment on my stamps. By my calculations, if I stamp for seven hours a day for the next three hundred years, I will see a 10% return on investment. 10% is excellent, since our savings account only gets less than 1%. Now that I see the numbers in black and white, and realize what a great investment stamps are, I should get some more, and increase my returns by 9%, which translates (rounding up, carry the one) to investing in 9 times the stamps as I had been getting. I love it when the math checks out. I guess having an engineer husband is rubbing off on me.