Friday, 29 April 2011

Inkurable Stampers April Challenge

Here's my card at literally the eleventh hour for the April challenge at Inkurable Stampers. This was a tough challenge: 3 stamps, 3 colours (including neutrals), and the number 3 somewhere on the card. I thought I would go with a vintage typewriter theme, since I have a Stampers Anonymous stamp (Going Somewhere set) with letters and numerals on it, satisfying that condition. I stamped the typewriter (Cornish Heritage Farms) on vanilla paper and embossed in a lovely green (Topiary) and trimmed out. The "missing you" is from the same Cornish Heritage Farms set (On the Desk), and embossed in white, tinted with Copics, which was probably a mistake since it seemed like it rubbed off a bit on the tip. I just don't have vanilla embossing powder (must be the one colour I'm missing!). These bits and pieces were layered up and matted on black and put on a dark green card base (Pinefeather, by PTI), on which I stamped the same letters/numerals in Memories Pine Tree ink. The typewriter is popped up on dimensional tape. This was a tricky challenge and took all month to percolate in my mind. I like how this turned out, crisp and clean and beautiful colours. Tricky challenges are always the most fun!

NSR (RWR): Not Stamping Related (Royal Wedding Related)

How about that wedding!!!! I got up at 5:15 to see the arrivals at the Abbey, and got the girls up at 5:30 to see the families arriving. It was so exciting. What a beautiful service. I found it very moving. You will get all the fashion commentary elsewhere, but I will say that I agree with millions of others that the Duchess of Cambridge looked incredibly beautiful. I will also note that someone at work observed that a certain royal cousin looked like she was wearing moose antlers. Probably her head gear was intended to be appreciated on a different level, perhaps like jazz music or Booker Prize novels. The girls and I had a great time watching the ceremony and processions, etc., and breakfasted on English muffins, crumpets and tea. I thought the Bishop of London's address was very inspirational, and the music was incredible. That said, I do love to hear bagpipes and I did miss them today. The trumpet fanfare was lovely, and the orchestra was too, but still, it doesn't seem like a proper "big do" without bagpipes. But I would hate to criticize an otherwise spectacular celebration of marriage.

Monday, 25 April 2011

Challenge Tag

Hello! Wow - two posts in one day. It's been a good day for stamping, other than refereeing two girls who are somewhat overwrought with an excess of excitement and sugar.

The current challenge at Stampotique is to use newsprint/old books on the project. It's an any-stamp-goes challenge, so I went with this nice quote from a Darkroom Door floral set. I had the tag on hand, used to mop up extra ink off the craft sheet from another project. I can't say what the colours are, probably denim and eggplant color wash spray, with some Memories silver in there too. Just guessing though! I stamped the twiggy branch (Sunshine Designs) using chipped sapphire and broken china, then the sentiment embossed in metallic purple. I did a bit of a frame in black pen, and brought in the old paper by die cutting some butterflies with a page from an old book of French poetry. Which I then coloured with Tombows and covered in stickles. But the old book paper is there, I promise. You can kind of make out the print on the two larger butterflies. I decided it was too hard to see the embossing, so I took a waterbrush filled with bleach and went over the words to highlight them.

Thanks for stopping by!

Square challenge

Here's my card for the April challenge at Crafty Individuals, which is to use squares. I found an interesting scrap of paper, but I don't remember how I coloured it. It might well have been distress inks on a craft sheet, spritzed with water, then I used my 130 lb cardstock to soak up the colour. I stamped the squares from one of the tiled bird stamps (Crafty Individuals - CI-265) in black (versafine onyx) and heat embossed with black and cut out. I mounted them on a scrap of Japanese paper, torn at the bottom. This was layered onto an ice blue card base (3x6"), with a scrap of textured blue, and a scrap of black. The sentiment (A Muse) is stamped in black India ink. Back to the stamp desk - it's a day off and the girls are happy playing. Yesterday's table cloth is drying on the line so I can feel like I'm doing housework and stamp guilt-free!

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, 24 April 2011

Happy Easter, Again! Plus Twinkling Eggs

Hello! Happy Easter! What a wonderful day. By popular demand (100% of blog comments yesterday - 2 of 2 - requested a photo of the twinkling eggs), here's the photo, thanks to a very fancy camera-phone-Angry Bird player.

That's it for the artsy chat, so click on to your next blog unless you're interested in our day today. We got up really early to go to the sunrise service at 6 am, which was so lovely. All four of us went and it was very special. DD1 said when we woke her at 5:30, "My eyes are open, but I'm still asleep." DD2 required the slight incentive of an Easter egg hunt when we got home from church and then she was all right. After the service, there was a delicious breakfast at the church, which was so nice to share with our friends there. Then home for an Easter egg hunt and checking out the goodies in the Easter baskets. That dear little Easter bunny brought some more Playmobil mermaids to round out the set, much to the girls' delight. And he brought hubby some fancy Belgian chocolates, and he brought me some Caran d'Ache watersoluble pastel crayons. Yay! Many chocolate eggs later, it was time to go to church again (hubby and DD1 are in the choir) and it was the full-on pageantry, complete with trumpeters and flowers everywhere and favourite hymns all around. It was a wonderful service, with the church packed to the rafters. Then home again for some quiet time and a well-earned nap, some playtime outside in the gorgeous sunshine, and hubby even got the parkas and snowpants dried on the line, a sure sign of spring! The birds are really active now, even saw a pileated woodpecker in the woods behind the house yesterday! There are cardinals nesting in the cedars beside the driveway and the chickadees are everywhere. I love it!

Around 4 my brother and his family arrived for the Easter feast and we had a lovely visit, and my sister-in-law saved the green bean casserole with a quick dart home for sour cream, which I'd forgotten in the big grocery run yesterday. Good thing too, because the only alternative was a mushroom-laden recipe, which would have strained the good will of at least half those around the table. As it was, the beans were only a hit with the grown-ups. Still, I shamelessly played to the crowd and received accolades from the under 9 set for my Kraft Dinner à la boîte. There were actual cheers and dancing when it was revealed that we were having it. My only fear is that I've set a dangerous precedent..... Nigella's ham in coca cola was unbelievably easy and marvellously delicious. Our hams here don't have that nice layer of fat on the outside so it didn't look like the picture, but it was still really good. It did get nice and burnished on the outside nonetheless. And the Joy of Cooking scalloped potatoes (with a tweak in preparation thanks to Jean Paré, who suggests making a white sauce instead of dredging potatoes in flour - definitely an improvement as it would quickly have become drudging with that many potatoes very thinly sliced....) were perfection - silky and delectable. I also sautéed the onions before adding them, which made them much nicer in the final dish I think, and not much effort for the payoff. The green beans had fresh lemon in them, which was very nice, and the coleslaw was the perfect zingy crunch in contrast to the other things. I also had a delicious beet chow chow out, which was quite vinegary and crunchy, and very nice with the ham. The chocolate lime cheesecake for dessert was wonderful too - and quite tart with all those fresh limes, but with the sublimely velvety texture of really good cheesecake. My sister-in-law brought a raffle cake she made (and won!) for the school bake sale, very cute in the shape of an Easter egg, all decorated with candy. The kids were so excited about that. A wonderful day all around. So much to be grateful for, so much abundance, not merely on the table, but all around it, and those dear ones absent from the table are missed and ever in our hearts.

Saturday, 23 April 2011

Happy Easter!

Hello! I really shouldn't be blogging as there are still a million things to do before bed, but I've been bustling all day and I'm ready for a break. I thought I'd post another Bellarific Friday challenge card, even though I missed the challenge. It was an anything-goes challenge and I used the circus tent and sentiment (Stamping Bella) with June Bug paper (Basic Grey). The image is coloured with Tombows and has some stickles added too. I was sure I had the new Paprika stickles, but perhaps not. They would have been perfect here.... I used the new dark blue stickles though, and I love them! I sponged a bit of mustard seed and wild honey distress ink onto the sentiment, forgetting I'd stamped with markers so it smudged a bit. Final accent was some buttons. Naked buttons. Deliberately naked buttons. If Blogger doesn't shut me down for the word "naked", the button vigilantes will. But they will have to drag me down, kicking and screaming, because I really felt like those naked buttonholes echoed the polkadots of the two papers and the main image. Tying string or paper through would have insulted the whole endeavour. So, button vigilantes, lynch me with crochet cotton if you will, but I will defend my design choice to my last breath!

In other news, we had a fabulous time today decorating Easter eggs. I'm sure I'm not the first person to try it, but Twinkling H20s make absolutely gorgeous eggs. I bought flowers in green and purple, so I got out shades of green and purple twinks and my daughters and I had a great time painting them. My youngest (almost 5) had to wash her hands a lot ("They're a DISASTER!") because she's very fastidious and can't abide dirty or sticky hands. Three rounds of dishwashing later and my hands are almost presentable for church tomorrow. But the eggs are gorgeous. The lustre of the twinks and the perfect curve of the egg are matchless. I tried stamping and embossing on them first, and early trials showed it would be possible, but it would have drained my reservoir of patience and made a significant dent in the back up tank. I felt it unwise to face the next few days with patience on "E", so I abandoned that particular effort. If you're not facing 2.5 days of chocolate-fuelled youngsters, it would be worth a try.

NSR: Speaking of circuses, excitement is climbing to a fever pitch around here. We have made it through Lent and the girls did really well. They are really looking forward to chocolate tomorrow! We are having Easter dinner here, and I am going to try Nigella's ham in coca-cola. It's in all her cookbooks in one form or another, so I figure that if she's going to urge us that zealously to try the recipe, I should go ahead and try it. I'm also trying her chocolate lime cheesecake. I just took it out of the oven and it is the most gorgeous colour and texture. Can't wait to take a bite of that! Hubby really wanted a turkey, but I'm still turkeyed out from Christmas. That and I roasted a turkey breast the other day for a cold salad to take to a potluck so I am feeling done with roasting fowl this week. I am even going to make Kraft Dinner for a side dish, so the kids will have something they like. I must be going soft in my old age. Actually, both the ham and dessert recipe are from Nigella's "Trashy" chapter in her "Bites" cookbook, so it does seem somewhat fitting to add KD to the mix. It doesn't get much trashier than KD, unless it's KD with ketchup. We are also having green bean casserole from my Harrowsmith cookbook, and homemade coleslaw. Those two don't count as trashy since they don't start with a brand name ingredient and both are made from primarly fresh ingredients. Story, sticking to it, yada yada yada.

If you've made it this far, you are likely related to me, so this little story might make you laugh. As I happened through the dining room just now, I saw two letters left out for the Easter bunny. I don't know when the kiddies wrote them, but clearly my 8-year-old took dictation from the younger one:

To: The Easter Bunny,

Can you please get me a My Little Pony big unicorn that can go with my baby unicorn and if you cannot get me that can you please get me a Barbie like [my sister's] Barbie that has tuquois [printed in turquoise crayon] higheel boots and if you have no turquoise bootes another colere is fine. From [elaborate signature of DD2, age 4]

To: The Easter Bunny,

This year can you please get me the pet of the month webkinz and a photo of you and your little helpers. Thank you. Love, [signature of DD1, age 8]

I have it on good authority that the Easter bunny will not be bringing Webkinz or Barbies this year, turquoise-booted or otherwise. Also, yesterday DD1 asked me if there were any stamps I wanted. I hemmed and hawed, trying, and failing, to narrow it down. I eventually gave a couple of options and she said, "Just ask the Easter Bunny and you could get them for free!" There aren't usually a big number of presents from the Easter Bunny, but clearly it's worth me writing a letter....

To: The Easter Bunny,

I hope you are having a good Easter and not getting too cold and wet delivering eggs. Please enjoy the carrots we left out for you. If it's not too much trouble, I would like a set of Caran d'Ache watercolour crayons. I have seen them used to great effect. If possible, please include a turquoise one since I know some people whose favourite colour is turquoise. Thank you and Happy Easter!


Tuesday, 19 April 2011

His and Hers Monogram Cards

Hello! Here are the cards I'm doing for my next class, "His and Hers Monograms" at Heather's Stamping Haven. It's on Saturday, May 7 from 10-1. I'm also doing the Distress Ink book that afternoon from 2-5. Give Heather a call at the store if you're interested in signing up. I'm showing samples here in "E" and "K" (wonder why????), but you choose your own monograms for each card. We're using the gorgeous alphabet from Ten Seconds Studios.

Hope to see you there!

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Scrap Sunday 11

I noticed on the Darkroom Door blog that they had a challenge on their Flickr group was getting close to 1000 entries. I uploaded this one and depending on how I access it (through my Flickr login or via the Darkroom Door link), I'm either the 1039th post or the 983rd. Either way, it was fun to pull together a quick card with some of my new Darkroom Door stamps that arrived recently in a grab-box of wonderful goodies. I also used a scrap of blue paper I'd made at Christmas time (I think this was one of the sprayed jobbies with Adirondack colour wash spray and Memories silver mist). I started by stamping the text with chipped sapphire distress ink, and then adding the floral silhouette in white pigment ink, embossing it with a mixture of white embossing powder and warm highlights glitter ritz. Then I felt it needed something else, so I stamped the scroll down the side in black India ink. The clipped words are also from my grab box, from the baby word strip. I mounted it on a navy card base and the final card is 3x6". Thin and flat for mailing, though I may break down and add a button. I'll see. I kind of like it flat and I think non-stampers don't really understand why a button would be on a card. (I even know some stampers who feel that way, though I won't mention names in case they're mobbed by an angry bunch of paper-piercer wielding, button hurling embellishers.)

I'm having a lovely Sunday afternoon of stamping. (Hubby's out, kiddies are at their cousins', house to myself - bliss!) It's cold and windy outside, so I am tucked away in my stamp room, having a lovely colourful time. I've been doing chalk ink and resist for a class project, then took a break to do this one. Now I'm heading back to work up a "masculine" card for the class. I thought I would do his/hers monograms for birthdays or other occasions. My other line of class samples was only filling up my recycle bin and undermining my confidence. But I'm back in my element now, with my Colorbox stylus and chalk inks, iron at the ready and white paper waiting to be altered. Definitely my just reward for being up 'n at 'em bright and early this morning with a really big Sunday school lesson to teach (Palm Sunday).

Hope you're getting some stamping in this weekend too. Thanks for stopping by!

PS All stamps are by Darkroom Door.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Radish Delight and other recipes

Hello! Radish Delight sounds like something Letitia Cropley on Vicar of Dibley might have made. I hate to disappoint you, but the recipe will be for a card. If you have a delightful radish recipe, please do let me know.

I stamped the radish (Stampin' Up) in India ink and watercoloured with shades of distress ink, including some mustard seed on the leaves to tie in with the yellow coloured paper. I made this a radish, though it could be a beet or a turnip/swede as well. I'm out of touch with what the leaves are like on all those veggies. I think this could likely be a beet. Radish leaves I think are smaller and smooth. Any botanists and or rabid vegetable enthusiasts, please forgive my artistic license, expressed in the desire for a hit of red. The paper is from the Farm Fresh line by October afternoon. The "Homegrown" oval is from the same SU set and is also stamped in black. The card base is Summer Sunrise, which is a great match in real life to the paper. Not as much on the scanner. I used this card to send in payment for our summer veggie box. We've signed up with a local Community Supported Agriculture farm and we will get a box of farm-fresh veggies every week all summer and into the fall. I am very excited. One of the farmers is a stamping friend of mine, so a veggie-stamped card seemed very fitting for sending in my payment. I'm looking forward to the challenge of some surprising vegetables, but we generally like veggies in our house, and my pickiest daughter likes veggies best. I can't wait for green bean season to start!

Well, I should dash and get ready for work. I woke up to the first thunderstorm of the season today. It's quite the doozy. Hope the Little Blue Jellybean doesn't blow off the road on my way in! (That's what I affectionately call our Prius, blue. As the Top Gear boys would say, "Naught to 60 in 320 seconds." Not a traditional super car, but it's our supercar - great on gas, fits all our gear on camping trips. Though as the girls get bigger, we'll need to take less stuff or get a pod for the roof.)

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

PS If you type in, you can get different view options for my blog. So you can see more pictures and less text and not have to hunt through the archives or my peculiarly categorized key words if there is something you're looking for but don't know what it is.

Sunday, 10 April 2011

Colouring with Copics

Hello! Here's a card I made out of a piece I coloured up with Copics one evening. I couldn't get it to scan well - in real life it'q quite soft and pretty. On my monitor it looks a bit garish. For a reference, the cardstock is PTI's lavender moon, and the background paper is from the Kioshi line (BasicGrey). The stamp is by Penny Black (gossamer?) and I stamped it in either Memento tuxedo black or Brilliance graphite black (heat set). I did up a batch of different images and used one or the other ink since my little Memento was drying up. (I have a reinker now! Yay.) Anyway, I played with the Copics trying to go for a soft purpley pinky orange look to the petals, which was somewhat achieved in real life. I am less happy with my choice of stickles, but that's ok. Another doodled frame, which I seem to be doing quite often. This is one of my favourite images from Penny Black, but I think I say that about all of them.

I have a few different projects on the go at the moment. I picked up some Shimmer Sheetz and am playing with those at the moment - lots of fun and lots of possibilities. I am also working on my May class sample, a few ideas there and some of the ideas even seem to be going somewhere. I have no trouble stamping when I can just sit down and play. When I have to use a certain thing, I often get a creative block. It's weird.

****One last thing, if you're in the area and want to take my class on Saturday morning (April 16th, 10-12), please call Heather to sign up. I'll be showing how to do quick and easy collages by turning ATC-sized stamps into cards. There are a few little special touches for adding texture and dimension that may surprise you. Give Heather a call by Thursday to register.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 7 April 2011

Bellarific Friday

Here's my card for this week's Bellarific Friday challenge at Stamping Bella. The challenge was to do a monochromatic card, so I went with blues. I know, I know, not exactly out of my comfort zone. Never mind that, comfort was what I wanted tonight, so comfort zone to the rescue.

I started out with the acrylic block+Distress ink + water I learned on Jennifer McGuire's fabulous blog using Stormy Sky, Faded Jeans, Chipped Sapphire, Milled Lavender and Victorian Velvet (sssh! don't tell Bella that I used those last two - but really I think they make the rest of it look bluer. That's my story and I'm sticking to it). It turned out a bit crooked and spotty, but oh well, it's a different look every time. And after spending all day fiddling with nightmare fiddly detail horrible detail nightmare fiddly horrible things, I was not about to get all picky with my spray and smoosh therapy. The next step was to wait for it to dry (I skipped this step, just blew on it a bit and by the time I rootled out the stamps and long block, it was dry) and I stamped the branch and bird. This was the very exciting part because I got to use two new embossing powders: Cobalt (branch) and Holiday Blue (bird). A dear friend gave me the Holiday Blue (Sparkle and Sprinkle) and it is so gorgeous in real life. Very sparkly and wonderful. I am feverish for embossing powders lately, not sure why. I think it's that magic that they have when you heat them and they go all shiny. It's still magical after all these years. [soft sigh and quick stare into middle distance....] Next I stamped the sentiment in black, and then some swirly circles in Stormy Sky. They're a little dark for my taste. Stormy Sky is one of those colours that's too light when you want it dark and too dark when you want it light. It's an interesting phenomenon. Then I doodled a border, and regretted it a bit. Fiddled around a while with the card base but settled on this ice blue linen with a scrap of blue-gold metallic paper that was embossed and lying handily on my table. I added a dot of black liquid accents for an eye, drew around the bird for emphasis, and added those three little black dots and called 'er done. I feel marginally better, and may try another one to see if I can get a version that I like better. Or maybe I'll leave it till tomorrow and see how I feel about it then. Top Gear is about to start - who knows what those crazy guys will be up to next. Yesterday they were making police cars out of a Vitara, a coupe and a Lexus. Or maybe I'll go back to my book. I'm re-reading my Susan Howatch Starbridge books, which are my go-to books when I need something really good to read. Anyway, time to get off the computer! Thanks for stopping by!

PS. All stamps on project are by Stamping Bella.