Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Gothic Arch #14 Numbers

This is Arch #14 for the Inkurable Stampers Gothic Arch Challenge. The theme is numbers. I hemmed and hawed, and then I got that lovely zing of an idea, that flash of inspiration that is so addictive, and what I really love best about all this. The tricky part is always in the execution. I'm moderately satisfied with the execution here, and like it well enough not to do over.

I started with the germ of an idea, "The four chambers of the heart", with the four members of my family in filmstrip form. I printed off the pictures (resized and b/w'd and all! Look who's driving now, Paint Shop Pro!) and tucked them under some filmstrip I had stamped another time on some acetate. I used a bit of glue pen to hold them in place before I glued the whole thing down with double sided tape. But first, I stamped the background, the harlequin and hearts (Stampin' Up) and my current favourite scroll stamp by Tim Holtz (Stampers Anonymous). The inks I used were Stormy Sky and Pumice Stone. The 4 and heart are grungeboard, the former was treated to distress ink, but I settled on black paint. The heart I painted pearly white, didn't like it, embossed in red tinsel, but white showed through, so re-embossed with red ink and red tinsel powder (lest you think these things come together in one seamless flow!). The words are printed off on the computer and I don't really like the paper. Note to self, don't cheap out - use Whisper White! The difference shows! I felt it needed more red accent so I blobbed on some dimensional pearls in little heart shapes and called it a day! (Well, called it a late night actually.) So there you have it. Numbers. The next arch is "keys" and I am struggling with a recalcitrant escutcheon..... It has been painted, distress embossed, painted again, glared at and sent to bed to think about what it's done. It will be allowed out when it is ready to cooperate with the other embellishments.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Gothic Arch #13 Christmas

This is my Christmas arch, another watercolour with Adirondack colour wash treatment. I didn't have the Red Pepper and found the Cranberry a bit purple, so I mixed some Ruby Red reinker with water in a mini mister and made my own red colour wash. The other colour used here is Lettuce. I also had a bottle of something (Weathered Wood reinker I believe) mixed with some Perfect Pearls, so that got sprayed on top and gives a lovely sheen.

The Santa image is a Tim Holtz stamp, and it's stamped in Versafine, as is the holly border (Heather's Stamping Haven) and the words (Stampin' Up). I bleach "painted" again to highlight the santa, snowflakes, etc. The holly is coloured with Tombows and I made the accent holly from green velvet paper scraps, dew drops, and a charm from the stash. Not my favourite arch, but I'm a woman with a mission. I am also Christmas-arched out after doing more versions than I care to count to develop a class sample.
Thanks for stopping by!

Gothic Arch #1 Butterflies

This was the first Inkurable Stampers Gothic Arch Challenge theme - Butterflies. I joined the challenge several themes in, and have been working my way back. Now I'm caught up in that direction, and will resume at #13, Christmas, but that will be another post.
For this arch, I took some watercolour paper and sprayed it with Butterscotch and Lettuce Adirondack sprays, heat setting and spraying to get the intensity I wanted. (I used some water too, to move the colour around.) Then, I stamped the sprig (Stampin' Up) in India Ink and 'painted' the flowers with bleach. The word stamp Papillon (Quietfire Designs) is stamped in Wild Honey. THe other word stamp is a Tim Holtz - Stampers Anonymous image. The butterflies are punched out of a glossy black scrap that I had been experimenting with a Hero Arts stamp and some mica gloss. That experiment didn't work, but they look nice punched out here. Lastly, I doodled a border around the edge with a fine point pen. Quick and easy! I am really enjoying those spray colour washes. They are fun to do. I did another one, that I'll be using for one of the other arches. I'm going to binge out on arches tonight since work is about to get totally crazy. I want to stockpile some good stamping vibes before I go under. It's going to be emergency stamping rations only for the foreseeable future. It's a vicious circle though, since the crazier it gets at work, the more stamping I need as antidote, but the less time I have for stamping but the more I need it. So, raise your ink pad to toast an evening of stamping. How many arches can I get done?
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 27 September 2010

Gothic Arch #2 - Lace

This is Arch #2 - Lace from the Inkurable Stampers Gothic Arch Challenge. I wanted something soft and vintage looking to go with one of the few bits of lace I have around. I found this wonderful (repro) vintage French soap label in my stash and immediately fell in love with it. I picked up on the reds in the clover with the background arch (Cherry Cobbler) and added some clover stamps (Sunshine Designs - The Stamp Barn) embossed in Garnet. This embossing powder has reds, gold and dark purples in it - gorgeous. The dark colour is a very dark green, to pick up the leaves, and I also punched a corner scroll and trimmed it to fit the top of the arch, which needed a little something. The bee (Anna Griffith) is stamped in versafine and sponged with Antique Linen. This might be one of my favourite arches so far, with the reds and the pretty clovers. And I learned a new French word!
Thanks for stopping by.
PS. We watched the Simpsons season premiere last night. I don't know what made me tape it since we haven't watched the show in three or four years, but I did. And guess who the guest stars were - Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, of Flight of the Conchords. A little bit freaky! It was really funny - they were art camp counsellors, with lots of their trademark guitar & comedy.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Gothic Arch #3 - Crowns

This arch is for the Inkurable Stampers Gothic Arch Challenge #3 - Crowns. This arch started the background, where I began with some watercolour paper and the crown (Stampin' Up) stamped in white paint. I sprayed on some water and colour (Eggplant, Cranberry, Butterscotch Adirondack Colour Wash) and heat set. I had to rub the colour off the crowns a bit - the paint doesn't do the same level of resist as clear embossing. Then I stamped on the flourish (Stampers Anonymous) in Dusty Concord and the crown in Encore Gold. This background was so colourful that it needed something bold to go on top, and I remembered this frog princess stamp, which seemed to suit the occasion well. She's stamped on Heather's 180 lb paper in Graphite Black Brilliance ink (heat set) and coloured with Copics. The crown is adorned with tiny crystals and she is embellished with some stickles as well (Magenta on the lips, possibly a bit tarty for a real princess, but this one's in a mood for celebrating). I also added some clear glaze to her eyes to make them nice and glassy, which I guess is the froggy equivalent to false eyelashes. She needed a "ground" and velvet seemed a regal choice, so I embossed a piece of green velvet paper for her to sit on. The words say "celebrate your inner princess" (A Muse) and they are embossed in white gold embossing powder, for a very disco glitzy effect. (Not so much for this effect exactly, but because my gold powder, located only days ago in a big tidy, is currently hiding.) The brads at the top (Stampin' Up) started out silver, but I coloured it with my gold leaf pen (Ranger) to match the gold elsewhere. [I have been less than thrilled with this pen. Has anyone else had trouble with it? The paint just blobs out the side and won't flow into the nib. Any tips/suggestions?]
Well, better go make lunch for the kidlets. They are getting grumpy and squabbling upstairs. They were really good in church this morning, so I suppose I should feed them before things escalate.
Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Gothic Arch #4 - Hands

This arch is for the Inkurable Stampers Gothic Arch Challenge #4 - Hands. I am on a bit of an arch binge this weekend! I am trying to get a little less behind. I don't think getting caught up is a realistic goal in one weekend, but less behind is definitely within reach.

My first hand arch was completely revolting. I don't have a lot (any?) hand stamps so I found some mitten stickers and it went downhill from there. Suffice it to say that the Apricot Appeal base did the arch no favours either. However, it will be just the perfect thing to cheer up a little girl's lunchbox though, in the fullness of time.

Anyway, on-line I went to find a nice hand image, and the Graphics Fairy didn't let me down. This image made me think of love letters, so that's the theme I went with. The arch is made of Certainly Celery cardstock, stamped with a lovely handwritten letter background stamp (Heather's Stamping Haven) in Weathered Wood, then stamped down the side with a Tim Holtz image (Stampers Anonymous) in Aged Mahogany. I fell in love with this image - it nests on itself, looks great alone, it's a little vintage, a little bit hip, a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll. It's going to be on my desk all the time I think, right next to my sequin waste. I added a bit of decorative tape (there are actually more pieces underneath the panel, victims of the "planning? what planning?" approach). I trimmed out the image, and glued it to a piece of Bravo Burgundy, which I sponged with Aged Mahogany distress ink and stamped with that newly beloved image. In keeping with the love letters theme, I stamped "Amour" (Stampin' Up) in white paint, stamping several times without reloading. That got put on and I remembered I got out my nib stamp, for the letter theme, and added that stamped in Shabby Shutters. I thought about what words to add, and didn't have a "love letters" stamp, and dymo labeller didn't seem called for here. I went to my lone vintage novel, and despite its dreary content, it did have some letters in it so I clipped out the closing salutation and glued it down, feeling quite pleased with myself. Lastly, I added some pencil crayon to deepen the rose and some rock candy stickles to accent it. Then once again lastly, I added the gingham bow, Tim Holtz safety pin, and smudged the stickles (aforementioned feeling dissipated somewhat). Then finally lastly, I added the round brad at the top. I scanned it in, so it must be done!

Thanks for looking!

Gothic Arch #5 - Hats

This arch is for the Inkurable Stampers Gothic Arch Challenge #5 - Hats. I found a great bit of vintage clip art in my stash, this one is for a record I think. I trimmed out the woman (note hat!) and the title, and credits. I love the words, so sprinkled them all over. (Nobody turn on a fan!) According to the picture, this song is a "Sentimental Waltz Ballad", and then the fine print adds, "with ukulele accompaniment". Isn't that great! I loved that. It had to stay.

I started with a grey arch, stamped in pearl paint using a Hero Arts damask stamp. I found a nice piece of turquoise tsumugi that fit perfectly. Then, I had some sheet music clip art that I tore into strips, and inked the edges (Nick Bantock, Deep Turquoise). Those got glued down and gessoed on the edges. Next on top was some more of that black linen that I sponged white paint on through sequin waste. (This scrap has been serving me well and I still have some more left!). The lady got glued on next (with a bit of colour added to her cheek with pencil crayon), then the words, ransom-note style. I felt it needed something else, so I stamped that border (Tim Holtz, Stampers Anonymous) along the bottom and embossed it with Lapis Lazuli. I like that stamp, vaguely reminiscent of German scrap (of which I have none). Last was some rock candy distress stickles on the words and hat and blue flower on her waist. It doesn't show up well in the scan, but it has a nice sheen without being overly glittery. The embossing powder and pearl paint also add a nice lustre to the arch. Last one was some turquoise sponging around the edges. And that's that! A nice sentimental arch, requiring some ukulele accompaniment. (As it was, it was accompanied by Dee Snyder's House of Hair on the radio - Not even remotely sentimental, waltzy or ballad-y! And not a hint of ukulele either.)
NSR: We went out to Carp Fair today and had a lovely time. We got to see some great horse and carriage competitions, the ponies, some riding, some 4-H cattle shows, and of course the midway and vegetable/handicraft exhibits. The exhibition hall smelled fantastic in the hay booths. I could have drunk in that perfume all day. I love the smell of hay. Carp Fair is a big one and it was their 147th, so older even than Canada! Some things like the old exhibition hall and the vintage carriages and tractors really evoked a past era. We had lunch from the kiosk belonging to the local United Church, with some wonderful, kind volunteers running the place. It made me think that probably 147 years ago, that was where you could buy lunch, also homemade by parishioners. The girls enjoyed the midway and I tried to be a brave mummy on the ferris wheel (or Ferrist (fairest?) Wheel as DD2 calls it) but I suspect relief was naked on my face when the ride was over. After the fair, we went for a scenic drive home, taking the Quyon ferry across the river and going to the foot of the Gatineau hills for a nice walk in the woods. Then more scenic drive home, back across the river, and the girls and their dad played (and raked) leaves in the yard while mummy recovered her senses in the stamp room. Much as I love the Fair and the nostalgia for the past I never knew, I am not a huge fan of crowds and noise.
It was funny - our DD2 (age 4) is really into reading road signs at the moment. We were rolling along the main road on the Quebec side, on our way home, when she piped up, "This way back to Canada." We were somewhat taken aback, not realizing she was so au fait with separatist politics. DH dutifully explained that Quebec was part of Canada and so was Ontario, and we never left Canada, and so on, when we spied the maple leaf icon on a sign. This was what she saw, as they are sprinkled here and there on main routes pointing people towards Parliament Hill. We realized that she is still beautifully innocent of politics and merely fascinated by road signs and becoming part of the group of people that can read things and know what they mean.

Friday, 24 September 2010

Gothic Arch #6 - Men

Here's my arch for the Inkurable Stampers Gothic Arch Challenge #6 - Men. I showed this to hubby and he said, "Nice work, Mel."

Now for those of you who are Flight of the Conchords fans, you will know what I'm talking about. For those who don't, Flight of the Conchords is a New Zealand folk comedy duo, who had a series on HBO a while ago. Their fan, Mel, was completely in love with them, and had made a lot of fan art for them. I'm not sure whether this is fan art or not, and it's definitely not in Mel's league.

My brother and his wife tipped us off to this show and we found it completely hilarious and we watched the episodes again this summer at the cottage. I thought it might be fun to use their picture for the "Men" theme, since my "men' stamps are pretty limited. I found this picture of them on-line and printed it off since it looked so perfect for a collage. I also printed off a map of New Zealand and kiwi bird, as well as some sheet music from a free digi download. There is some stamping on here: crowns (left - Stampin' Up, right Tim Holtz /Stampers Anonymous), print (TH/Stampers Anon) and the birds (TH/Stampers Anonymous). I look at this and think maybe I could use this for my collage class on shapes. It was completely unintentional, or maybe just gut instinct, but there are similar shapes here: the arch, the shape of the people, the crowns, even the islands. Hmm. When I tried to do this for the class, I wound up with the ugliest thing I have ever made. For a lesson on shapes, I wound up using every different shape going, with the result warned about in the lesson (ie avoid too many competing shapes yield an ugly project). Anyway, maybe this is why this collage seems to work - the shapes are somewhat harmonious. The kiwi was going to be a parrot on Bret's shoulder, since the space seemed empty, but I couldn't quickly find a free download of parrot so I thought of a kiwi bird instead. It looked better on Jemaine's crown, so there he perches, delicately pecking at the South Island. So there we have it - three icons of the Southern Hemisphere.

This card was so quick and easy! I feel like I must have seen this design somewhere else, but I can't remember at all where. If it's yours, please let me know. I stamped the image from Darkroom Door (Prague, Vol 2) in Versafine onyx black on super smooth white. Then I sponged on some distress inks in soft shades of pink and blue and purple. Mounted it on black, then plum, which was stamped with some words from that same set. The street lantern is also from that set, and is stamped in Dusty Concord and trimmed closely and popped up on dimensional tape. The sentiment is a white rub-on. Easy peasy! I think I'll make a few of these in different colour combinations. That would be fun!
NSR: We were watching a movie for Family Fun Night and I brought down a bit of candy for the girls that had been kicking around the cupboard for too long. DD2 (age 4) spied it and said "That's the candy from the pinchilada from Vacation Bible School!" I guess they must have had a pinata at VBS, but I really liked the mental image that "pinchilada" conjured up.
We're hoping to get out to the Carp Fair this weekend. I always enjoy seeing the animals and produce displays and the quilts etc.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Something fishy

Hello! Well, I found my Position-It. It was under quite a few things in a cupboard. I'm glad to have found it - it's just the ticket for positioning stamps quickly and easily.
Well, this card didn't involve any Position-Its, or alignment tools of any kind (as you may be able to tell....). This card started out with me wanting to try my new Lapis Lazuli embossing powder. It's so gorgeous. Soo, soooo gorgeous. It's got blues and coppers in it and it's so beautiful stamped on. Luscious. I think it benefits from a nice solid image so I thought I would do this fish (Fred B. Mullet). I did a bit of a chalk ink background for it, nice soft hues. (I've been working up a Christmas sample so I needed a break from the reds and greens.) I used a variety of colorbox fluid chalks and my mini brayer. I also sponged through some sequin waste and stamped on some crowns. Not sure why the crowns. They were a last-minute addition. I think it was because of the sentiment, which made me start singing "The King of Love, my Shepherd Is" and so crowns just had to go on. Anyway, after I stamped and embossed the fish, I added some colour with Twinkling H20s (Ocean Wave and Indian Copper), and while they were on the go, I coloured up some scrap paper for a sentiment, in a rare flash of forward planning. I also flicked on some drops of Indian Copper onto the card base. The sentiment stamp is from a new Stampin' Up set, as are the crowns. Just before I went to bed last night, I put on the copper dots (Terra Cotta dimensional pearls, Ranger). Not sure about those. On the one hand they are shiny, but on the other hand they are crooked, and on another hand, they frame the picture. 2/3 ain't bad, plus you can't chisel them off. They stay. Not sure when I'll next need an "amour" card with a fish on it, but if such an occasion does arise, I'm certain I wouldn't be able to find one in a store!
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Has anybody seen...

My Position-It? One would think you couldn't misplace 12x12 board with L-shaped corner bits, etc. One would think.....
Must be time to take a stamping break (have been feverishly wanding and embossing and resisting and sponging and getting generally filthy) and see what all the fuss is over Glee. I really don't enjoy musicals, or at least non-Julie Andrews musicals (except Mamma Mia), so not sure if this will be the show for me. But I love that comedian - she was so fabulous in Best in Show. Stay tuned to this blog for the latest in last year's trends! ha ha ha.
Let me know if you see my Position-It. I need it for a project.

Monday, 20 September 2010

Inkurable Stampers - September Challenge

Here's my card for the September challenge, "Shoes", over at Inkurable Stampers. I had a few ideas floating around in my head for this challenge, but when it came down to it, I needed some comfort-colouring time. I chose this stamp, a favourite from Sunshine Designs (through The Stamp Barn), and went with shades of brown except for the one green shoe. I briefly dallied with blue, but after I realized my mistake, I left it alone. Possibly will do another flower to hide it, but I have had to do that before and that little flower is a pain in the neck to cut out. I may live with the blue. I cunningly chose a piece of patterned paper with a bit of blue on it, which I see I have obscured with the flower. Sigh. What can I say? I told you I needed some tlc :-) Anyway, these shoes were stamped in gold, embossed with Bavarian Bronze, and coloured with Tombow markers. I also added a red crystal to the red flower. The sentiment is a rub-on. I wanted a stamp that said "one of a kind", but mine was too big and wrong shape. So handy-sized rub-on it was. The patterned paper is Stella Ruby (BasicGrey). I felt the bottom needed some balance, so I rootled around in the flower stash and found this one. It looked too flat, so I thought I would stamp it. Surely there would be a nice text-y stamp on my desk? No. All put away. (how odd!). I did find a slightly black speckled Tim Holtz border, and thought that might do. While it was getting buttoned and assembled it looked fine. After glued down, realized it looks like tire tracks. At least now I know that if I need tire tracks for a project, I can use that stamp!
Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Scrap Stash Sunday 6

Hello! Happy Scrap Stash Sunday! There are a couple of scraps on this card - the card base (old olive) was in my folder, discarded from another project, the orange (oops) "flame" panel (for a certain someone averse to orange) was in my pile of scraps that are too nice to throw out. The curry tsumugi was a scrap on my desk. The focal image was purpose-stamped, and matted. No handy scraps of Early Espresso since I use every bit of every sheet. Love that stuff!
So about the card: the flower is Penny Black, inked with various colours of marker (I used Earth Elements by SU). I misted it with water and stamped it on watercolour paper. I might have misted that too, but maybe not. It was last week so can't remember. (This may be a hint that my plan to morph to sleek, efficient, organized supermom is running behind schedule.)
Anyway, I had stamped off a bunch of these flowers (lilies? anyone? sleek morph lady would know, but I don't) all at once since I don't really like colouring on stamps like that and misting and stamping but I really like the results. So I tend to do off a batch when I have everything out. (Am chortling to myself as that last sentence implies that there are times when everything is not out. hehehehe.) So as I was pondering how best to show this nice fall flower, my eye lit upon that scrap in my scrap box and it turned out to be perfect! I think I made it one time with wrinkle-free distress techniques, as a backdrop for some peel-offs. That plan went bust but I couldn't bear to throw out that nice autumn-hued scrap. I'm glad it found a home here. The buttons are coconut shell buttons from PTI, or at least the big one is. The little ones are regular I think. The sentiment stamp is SU from a new set, Just Believe I think. I like that one. It's so true. (This is why I'm not sleek morph lady, I spend time stamping and pondering all the things that I see because I believe. I think I'm happier that way, except for when I can't find school supply lists and receipts.)
Well, I should sign off - I have some work to do that's due tomorrow. SML would have it done by now, but she's not a stamper. The sooner I get my work done, the sooner I can hit the stamp room. I'm midway through my November class sample and it's looking good. I have the prototype done and I know what changes I want to make. Stay tuned :-)
Happy stamping!

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Scrap Stash Sunday 5

Here's a card I made with a piece of Ecoline paper, a scrap card base, and a scrap of patterned paper. I had made the Ecoline sheet a while ago, but hadn't used it yet. In real life it has some lovely gold bits on it.

I stamped this bare tree (Artful Stamper) in black archival and tried to emboss, but the ep didn't really stick. So I have patchy embossing that I am telling myself is "weathered". Possibly could consider it a new technique, but that's a bit iffy. Still, for this card it looks all right. I accented the image with a bit of pencil crayon on the trees, some white gel pen on the swirls, and some rust marker on the leaves. The card base is stamped with a Sunshine Designs hydrangea flower, which I find makes a good background stamp because it sort of loses its flowery look stamped en masse, but has a nice loose feel to it. The patterned paper is from the Granola pack (BasicGrey) and it's a SU rub on. I thought this might be a good sympathy or thinking of you card for the stash.

Well, school is well and truly underway. DD1 goes everyday and DD2 starts later this week. This is my opportunity to morph into unflappable organized mom, who maintains a well-oiled household machine, where meals are homemade (from preplanned menu and ingredients shopped for), laundry makes it from clothesline to drawers, library books are never overdue, exercise is effortlessly added to routine, and clutter is whisked away each evening before bed. All this with a pleasant demeanour, cheerful outlook, and sleekly smooth hair. Clearly I am meant to write fiction. Nanny McPhee, I need you!

A special baby card

Here's a special card for a special mother-to-be. I was at a shower today for a stamping friend of mine so the pressure was on to make a lovely card. We don't know if it's a boy or girl, so the colours are neutral. (I asked DH if the card was too boyish and he said "It's just boyish enough." Nrnrnrnrn - wrong answer! Must remember not to ask him for feedback.)

I started with making the background, which I wanted to look like a quilt, since my friend likes sewing and I think she's even done quilts. I punched out a bunch of squares with a 3/4" square punch and PTI patterned paper. I stuck with paper from the same line so it would coordinate and make my life easier. I glued down the squares with a glue stick (you can wiggle them a bit after they're stuck - handy for lining them up) onto a square of Whisper White, but any cardstock will do. Once all was stuck down and trimmed neatly, I pierced holes using my piercing guide (SU) and embroidered the little x's with embroidery floss. I thought it needed a bit more oomph, so I did the edge too. That was a bit of a minor undertaking because once you've started, you can't really stop. Still, when it was finished, it really was worth it, and pre-piercing meant it didn't take that long to do. And quilts do need a binding, don't they. At this point the trick was to find something that wouldn't totally cover up all the x's, so I went with a small focal point, image and sentiment. The image is a Sunshine Designs stamp, coloured with Tombows and blended, accented with stickles. The sentiment is Stampin' Up, inked with markers to get the two different colours. This is easy - just use the brush tip of a marker and colour the portions of the rubber in the colour you want. Huff on it before you stamp to reactivate the ink. I felt this card needed a ribbon, so I added a nice taffeta bow (Stampin' Up), as well as some stick-on half-back pearls (Hero Arts). The card base is the light green from PTI, and the mat for the sentiment is Baja Breeze. I see that the scanner didn't catch the bottom of the card. This is actually a 5 1/4" square card.

The shower, by the way, was lovely. The hostess made us all feel so welcomed and taken care of. There were really fun games, including baby present bingo and "what's in your purse" (You got points for having things on the list in your purse. Clearly the list was not developed with my purse in mind, as I tend to have peculiar things in my purse. I have had on occasion, though not all at the same time, and as recently as today: a plate, a can of evaporated milk, rubber stamps (obviously), diapers, a multitude of crayons, a stainless steel water bottle, and an underwire wire. Right now my purse weighs a ton since I found about $8.75 in change in my desk, mostly nickels, packing for the move. I defy any mugger to make off with my purse without needing to file a workers' comp claim for back injury. I feel like I should be McGyver's wife - I could help him escape from any sticky situation with only the contents of my purse.) There were lots of stampers at the shower, so the baby cards were incredible. So creative and lovely. And the food - the table groaned with the feast. (There was a brunch with the shower.) Our hostess is an incredible cook, and everything from scratch, beautifully presented, with flowers from her garden artfully arranged here and there. Amazing in every way.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Baby cards

Here are a couple of baby cards for the bazaar stash. Once again, I borrowed one of Krista Schneider's layouts for this cute little Sunshine Designs baby. It's coloured with Tombows and accented with Stickles. This Kioshi paper makes great baby card patterned paper. It's sort of soft and pastel, without being cloyingly sweet. This palette of PTI light yellow and SU Marigold Morning makes a nice gender-neutral baby card. I like how these turned out! The light yellow panel is embossed through the cuttlebug (bird and vine folder) and the dark yellow panel is stamped with the moon stamp from the same cube. Well, mine is the cling version, so 4 stamps, but originally they were sold on cubes. I finally caved and bought it. For ages I've loved it and used my mother's, but it and she live far away so it was time to get my own. It's a baby set that really appeals to me - cute, but not too cute, and gender neutral, with this image, the moon, a pram, and a onesie.

Apologies for the big rant on the last post. The bees in my bonnet were a-buzzing! To get out of my grump, I reflected on my many blessings for which I am deeply grateful. Here are the ones that relate to my grumblings yesterday.

- a job in a time of economic uncertainty, even if my new cubicle isn't as nice as my old one

- a husband who is willing to sort out all the television-related problems (even if it's his new system that's causing them to begin with but I digress)

- a place to park that's close to work that's not a small fortune

- happy memories of a fresh new pack of Laurentian pencil crayons every fall, especially Cherry Red and Peacock Blue

- Rogers: their logo is red. I like red.

Thanks for stopping by!


Same layout, same stamp cube, different colour palette, different looks! These were fun little images to colour, and so easy using the colour guide I got to go with them. I also borrowed the layout from a Christmas class I took with Krista Schneider. These images are from Sunshine Designs, available at Heather's Stamping Haven or through The Stamp Barn. If you're interested in some great colouring classes, Krista will be back at Heather's at the end of October. I'm signed up and I can't wait! The projects are always wonderful and Krista is an excellent teacher.

The top card is in a spring palette, and with the colour of the flower, I went with background papers from the Kioshi pack (BasicGrey), and sentiment is a rub on.

The bottom card is more fall-inspired uses the Indian Summer pack (BasicGrey), with another rub on. Fortunately I noticed that I had stamped "may every part of your birthday have happy in it" on the inside of the card that says "thank you" on the outside and was able to cover it up with a liner.
I would really be a force to be reckoned with if I had come with both halves of the wit....

NSR: we had our intake interview with the Kindergarten teacher today. She seems really great and DD2 had a good time checking out her classroom. The province's intake form is about 8 pages long and requires you to remember things like your child's first word (and date), first two-word phrase (and date), and first sentence (and date). I put "good grief, child #2, have no idea". It turns out these are official Ministry forms that get put on the child's official record. Lovely. I hope they file it under "Parent with sense of proportion" not under "Potential dissident with little respect for authority manifested in disregard for official forms".
Speaking of dissidents, I have several bees in my bonnet at the moment. In no particular order:
- am boycotting Newell-Rubbermaid and their legion subsidiaries for discontinuing Laurentian pencil crayons
- am livid with Rogers for their abysmal cable service. They claim that our broken PVR is just a bad signal. We had the cable guy a while ago tell us that our signal was the best he's ever seen. Who do I believe - the guy with the tools or the tool at the call centre? Hmm. Now we have to be home on Sunday afternoon to wait for cable guy.
- They are assigning parking spots in the garage at work, in order of who pays for their monthly pass. I like parking to the right, away from the pillars, on the end near my work, not near the other office building and not in the basement and not at the top. The odds of me getting that spot by chance seem slim. They have given no reason for this change, so this sort of arbitrary upheaval really gets on my nerves. Luckily the guy who owns the garage is some sort of real estate magnate so he is likely to be quite sympathetic to our pleas for the status quo.
- PVR/Rogers woes mean I will lose those new episodes of Hustle I never got to see, the episodes from the new season of Spooks and a couple of Inspector Lewises. I know it's only TV, but I don't watch it all the time and I like to have some guaranteed good shows to watch of an evening to unwind. Yes, there are a few shows I can watch On Demand, assuming the On Demand is working, which it frequently isn't, and demand as I might, not all the shows I want are available on demand. (One of the deceptions of advertising. I guess "On Occasion" didn't test well in the focus groups.)
Well there you have it. Good thing I have stamping or I would be a total basket case!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

My perfect stamp

Once in a while, you come across the stamp that was made for you. This one has me written all over it.

More cards for the stash

I've been busy colouring up a storm. We've been trying to clear off our PVR so we can get it replaced. We have a lot of shows taped off, but they are all corrupted and won't play back without being all pixellated and pause-y and stammery. It's really annoying and we have deleted everything except the shows we really want to watch. So, we have been watching the last season of Spooks, or MI-5 as it was called on American broadcasts. It doesn't broadcast very often, so we are putting up with the poor quality of viewing and are able to piece together most of the plot. Anyway, colouring while I watch helps me get through the worst of the poor recording as well as the scary scenes.
Once I had a tidy pile of little coloured images (Sunshine Designs by the Stamp Barn), I mounted them on some Early Espresso mats and turned them into cards. These ones are for the bazaar stash. The top one has a blue and orange colour scheme, with patterned paper picking up the colours (this is how I tell myself it's a good thing to have so many Basic Grey 6x6 packs - I can match any colour scheme...and now two more are out there that are wooing me with their siren song). The card base is a new SU colour, Pear Pizzazz and the sooner I can use it up the better. I'm not falling in love with this green - I like a yellower green and I find this one a bit flat.
The bottom card is another birdhouse from the same cube, this time blue, yellow and green. The card base is a mis-stamped scrap, with the worst of the slippage covered up. I didn't have a green mat to match, so I made one with distress inks (a handy tip to get a good colour match). I was doing all right with my Dimensional Pearl (mushroom - a lovely pearly colour, way nicer than it seems like it's going to be, burdened with a name like "Mushroom") embellishments, but I see that by the all-seeing eye of Sauron the Scanner, they seem to be in ascending order of size, matryoshka doll-style. I'll pretend it was meant to be that way. Besides, the lighting at the church bazaar isn't very good and these will be in plastic sleeves. I did dither about the American spelling of neighbour, but wasn't willing to go to extremes in rub-on reconfiguration for a card that will be sold on the cheap. Again, will rely on dim lighting and plastic glare to disguise my slightly anti-Canadian sentiment. (Let the record show that I love my country deeply and pepper my written communication with u's at every oppourtunity. And I always say "zed" and "about" the right way.) Also, there are quite a few snowbirds in the parish, so possibly one of them will have a new American neighbour requiring a welcoming card. Or am I overthinking things????

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Scrap Sunday 4

Well, this is the last of that piece of Ecoline paper, and I have the itch to make some more. It's been fun to figure out different ways to use it.

I had some odd-sized bits and scraps left, so I stamped them with this flower (Innovative Stamp Creations, freebie with Craft Stamper magazine) and cut them out. Once again hemmed and hawed with the layout. I think this is all right, but the white paint in the background is a bit too bright. I should have used chalk ink, but c'est la vie. The background is a Tim Holtz (Stampers Anonymous) scroll, stamped in Citrus ink and Snow Cap paint on a buckaroo blue background. The card base is a lovely rich cherry red from Heather's Stamping Haven. It's one of my favourite reds. Once again, I felt that a little Micron pen framing was in order, just to keep the eye from winging wildly off the card in all directions. I just did the two big corners though, mostly because the gold stickles on the flower centres was still wet and I didn't want to get too crazy with the ruler. I have a very bad habit of putting stickles on then deciding I need to do something else to the card, forgetting I have wet stickles, then smearing.

NSR: We had a fantastic day today. Church in the a.m., and one of my favourite hymns, always a nice surprise to get a favourite in. Then off to Storyland with the cousins. I love Storyland. It's about an hour outside Ottawa, in the hills near the Ottawa River. About 40 years ago, a lovely couple, Dutch immigrants, built it up in the woods, with all kinds of storybook characters. Slowly over the years, they added various things to it. Now there are wonderful play structures here and there, proper ones with high slides and fun bouncy things and swings. All the things kids love to play on, not the pre-digested things you get in parks nowadays. There was the Mad Hatter's Tea Party, and mini golf, and a bouncy castle, and paddle boats. (I was on a bit of a rant, saying how it should be pedal boats, since they have pedals, but DH advised me that the inner workings are actually paddles, like the old paddlewheelers, so it's not an incorrect sign. High dudgeon more or less averted at that point.) The paddle boat area is a natural pond, or maybe even dammed river (DH got more than his share of puns off that, let me tell you) with paddle boats. The floating shark had been brought in for the fall, but we could still go see the beaver lodge and "Baby Bon Echo". (Bon Echo is a park we've camped at that has an enormous rock cliff. This pond had a tiny rock face on the side so we called it Baby Bon Echo.) There was also an enormous snapping turtle at the pond's edge, called Tom. The guy said he's about 80 years old, judging by the size. The lovely walking trail in the woods brings you up to a lookout over the Ottawa River valley and the Gatineau hills in the distance. Gorgeous. Next time we'll have our picnic up there I think. We had such a lovely time and it was a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. Storyland has one more weekend open I think, coinciding with Renfrew Days or similar, but we'll try to get back next summer. It's not very commercial - you pay a reasonable entrance fee, then everything is included. You aren't bombarded with opportunities to part with your money, though there is a small canteen and gift shop. Lots and lots of places to picnic and clean washrooms conveniently throughout. (Some are more "rustic" than others, and we even discovered a two-holer! You don't see those much anymore. You'll be smiling if you know what I mean!) We took the scenic highway home because I love looking out for log barns and other ramshackle outbuildings of a bygone era, speaking of two-holers....

Well, now that I've demonstrated, yet again, that you just never know what your going to get yourself into on one of my posts, I will wish you a happy Labour Day Eve and/or Happy Australian Father's Day. Thanks for stopping by.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Ecoline pear

Here's another card I made with that Ecoline background. This part was a bit more yellow and brown so I thought this lovely pear image would be a good choice. There are also some lovely gold blobs, which don't show up too well in the scan (they're near the little pears and the leaf). The colours seemed a little flat, so I sponged on some red (Aged Mahogany) in some blue (Broken China) through sequin waste (I get such a charge out of using that - must be some sort of "geeks are cool" thrill or something, since I tend to lump sequin waste in with plastic canvas in terms of its crafty desirability [hope I don't get waves of subscription cancellations and an inbox full of flames now...] ;time to end the punctuation madness I think: when in doubt, stop.)

Any....way..... I stamped the pear with Ranger black archival ink and coloured the leaf a little with a pencil crayon. I really loved the image at this point. However, I was stumped as to what to do with it. I hemmed and hawed and dithered for quite some time. I didn't want to wreck it or overwork it (see last post). Finally I realized it needed corner punches. So punched the corners, and belatedly realized it didn't need those corners at all. Still, I look beyond the offending notches to the inner beauty of the image, which I help the eye to do with the little sketchy frame lines. These are easy to do: just tilt the ruler a bit so the lines cross. It's way easier to do a frame like this than one that is all measured and even. Actually, this may not be true if you are a neat and tidy precision stamper. I know a few of them and they are probably having heart palpitations at the thought of making crooked frames. I will hazard a guess, though, that they are not lining up to make fling-and-blob backgrounds such as this though! :-)

I matted the image on some Early Espresso (SU) and curry tsumugi. This panel is popped up on foam tape and the piece behind it is a lovey dark brown and vanilla pattern from the Granola 6x6 pack (BasicGrey). The card base is 5x5" vanilla (PTI).

That's it! I have one more project from this piece of Ecoline to post. I'll try to get to that tomorrow.

NSR: Kidlets had a sleepover at the cousins' last night, so DH and I went out and played pool with my brother and his wife. It was great. We haven't been out as couples since before the kids were born. It was a blast. Hubby and I went out for a wonderful brunch at Stoneface Dolly's on Preston this morning. They have the best brunches. Yum yum! Homemade lemonade, homemade molasses bread, amazing omelet, yum yum yum. I wasn't hungry again till dinner! If you're in Ottawa, I highly recommend Stoneface Dolly's, especially for brunch. (Go early, I'm not the only one who feels this way - it was hopping!)

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Trying something a little different

I've been a big fan of Godelieve Tijskens for a long time and really enjoy her blog, Stamping Mathilda. I wouldn't presume to stamp like her, but I would say this card is definitely inspired by her style. I don't think I'm there - what I like about hers is the open space and interesting colours. I think I've over worked this one. Still, I like the overall effect and it will be going in The Stash.

The sentiment is from Quietfire Designs, and I really love their calligraphy stamps. And it's a Canadian company! The flower is Darkroom Door. The dots are sequin waste - fun! The card base is River Rock, run through a Tim Holtz woodgrain folder and inked up with some frayed burlap and crushed olive. The focal panel is from a sheet of watercolour that I blobbed and spattered and swirled with Ecoline one rainy afternoon. I cut it to ATC size, stamped it with the flower in Aged Mahogany and Crushed Olive and then embossed the sentiment. Some nice gingham ribbon and a button, and I'm done! I have more of that Ecoline paper so I might have another go at something like this. I got the Ecoline from Quietfire Designs for my birthday last year, and sneaked in a few more colours this year. It's fun stuff and I have a great time playing "artist" and flinging paint around in my furnace room.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Sunny sunflower

Hello! Here's another card for my bazaar stash. I made it using a piece I rejected when developing a stamping class. I stamped the sunflower (Sunshine Designs) on some red sparkle paper and heat embossed it in black. That got rejected for class purposes. Fast forward several months and I grabbed the piece to see what I could do with it. I coloured it with Bruynzeel pencil crayons (a base coat of white seemed to work best) and accented with Distress stickles. I went a bit funky with the background. I must have been inspired by our Mexican-themed cottage this summer and all its brightly coloured accessories. (Cottage was fantastic BTW, had a wonderful time. Would go back in a flash.)

The colour looks a bit off on my scan - the blue panel is Pacific Point and the card base is Crushed Curry. Picture the colour amped up about 50 watts. (Hubby is telling me that nothing can be "amped up". I should say "amplified". Now he's grilling me on the difference on colour intensity and brightness. Something about something being exactly the same red only blinding and something being different red and not blinding. I lost track somewhere in the middle. And now he is refusing to replay his conversation "if this is going to be fodder, that's f-o-d-d-e-r." I'm busted! In his defence he thought I was working on presentation for work so he was trying to spare me shame and humiliation in front of audience of experts. Kindly meant, but futile - shame and humiliation will be inevitable, hence me working on blog post instead of presentation.) Anyway, picture the card amped up 300 volts per metre squared. That's how bright it is. Or in Spinal Tap terms, this card goes all the way up to 11. tee hee hee!

Other various touches: things edged in Artprint Brown (a la Krista Schneider), background stamped in Sunflower from one of the Sunshine Designs flower cubes, and little Terra Cotta dots (Adirondack dimensional pearls, again a la Krista). Yummy, yummy, yummy. I like this one. It's totally outside my normal comfort zone (ie blinding colour scheme) but I thought it would be good to have a variety for the bazaar and sometimes it's fun to just throw caution and good sense (taste?) to the wind and see what happens.

Thanks for looking!

PS Date set for zombie class at Heather's! Afternoon Sat Oct 2. If you don't want to do zombies, you can do ordinary colouring, but make sure you keep your cards away from the zombie ones so they don't "turn". tee hee hee.