Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Wanted: Stamping Mojo

Hello! My mojo has disappeared. Has anyone seen it? I have picked up my stamps, but to no avail. Luckily Krista's classes are this weekend at Heather's, so those should inspire me. If you are hoping for something stampy, please click away from this blog. May I recommend one of the selections to the lower left? They're really quite marvellous.

A few notes from the home front:

DD2 turned 5 a while ago and we gave her a Playmobil school. She loves it, well they both do, and are getting up really early to play with it before school. I am in love with Playmobil - the quality is amazing and it provides endless hours of entertainment and imagination play. And they've thought of everything: the globe spins, the backpacks open and a book fits inside, there are even bathrooms (a boys' and a girls'!). It's the most amazing set.

There's been a bear in the neighbourhood for about a week. Our neighbours across the road saw it in their backyard and there have been other sightings too. I know that sounds like a Canadian cliche, but I would like to point out that I live in a city of almost a million people. Yes, my part of the city is bound by greenbelt, but still. It's a busy place, lots of cars, etc. Not a place you would normally see a bear. That said, the Ministry of Natural Resources handed out flyers that assure us that it can happen, it's likely "passing through" and we should avoid leaving out birdseed and garbage to attract it. How about the tempting appetizers on the swings? Yikes. So there you go. Everything you heard about Canada is true, eh.

I have a birthday on the horizon and I was trying to figure out how to celebrate it. I thought maybe a stamping road trip but hubby didn't like me trying to flee the scene in order to celebrate. He didn't have any other suggestions though, so I thought he should be more creative, so I said, "You should channel your inner Victor Newman" and he said, "What, you mean find another wife?". After I stopped laughing, I realized that I would have to plan my own party. [Victor Newman is a central character on a soap opera - the wealthy magnate of some big conglomerate of unspecified nature. He's been married to all the ladies on the show at least once, if not several times, and he's famous for his grand romantic gestures where he sweeps the current love interest off somewhere exotic and showers her with cliches and lavish gifts.]

So there you have it - no stamping, but 3 things that are going on in my neck of the woods.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Crafty Individuals Challenge May 2011

Here's my entry for the Crafty Individuals May challenge, "Free as a Bird". I used this wonderful bird stamp from Crafty Individuals. It's so striking! I stamped it twice on two sheets of sprayed watercolour paper from my stash and embossed in black. I cut out some of the pieces from the blue version and adhered them to the orange piece. It's not technically orange, since I used terracotta and butterscotch to make it, with a bit of spiced marmalade/copper concoction. So while it turned out orange, it's really shades of rust and honey gold that combine to look orange. I prefer to think of it as sunset glow. And just like a sunset, this card requires heavy-duty sunglasses to gaze at it. Ha ha ha. I used my bleach brush to highlight the birds, and coloured back in using the opposite crayon (blue on gold, marmalade on blue). Ok, so this isn't the most stylish of all colour combinations, but sometimes you just need to go where the design takes you, and this is one of those times. I had a scrap of embossed paper handy, so that became the accent strip, and the background got stamped with a Crafty Individuals script stamp. The card base is a mustard fleck, which is in keeping with the colour scheme, but not an exact match. (An exact match would require a warning and a welder's mask for viewing.) The last few highlights were in the way of white and black enamel accents (Ranger). And with that, the challenge is finished, with moments to spare. The design team will pick their favourite, and the winner gets a CI stamp of their choice. In the likely event that this isn't chosen, I may award myself an equivalent consolation prize.

Thanks for stopping by!

Inkurable Stampers May Challenge

Here's my entry for the May challenge at Inkurable Stampers, theme of "Food". I debated for a while about which stamp to use: artichoke, radish/beet, cutlery, dessert, chocolate bunny, Fred B Mullett fish. Then I opened my drawer of pear stamps (should I feel abashed to type that?) and selected several favourites. This was the one that ultimately got picked (Sunshine Designs) and I spent ages colouring and blending and blending and colouring (Tombow technique -take Krista's class at Heather's in June!). Then I pried the top off my Liquid Crackle Accents (no patience whatsoever to apply tiny drop by tiny drop to large area), and applied liberally to all three pears, envisioning a lovely porcelain effect. I did NOT envision a horrific mess as the Liquid Accents caused all red ink to run into the yellow. Hideous and unsalvageable (and I will salvage almost anything). Grr. Luckily I remembered which 47 markers I used (which comforts me when I wonder the rest of the time if I have early-onset dementia) and coloured it up quickly. Next came the laborious steps of turning into a card. I must have matted and layered this thing 50 times. I discovered that the wrinkly piece of Japanese paper will release anything without too much trouble, as will gold metallic. Eventually I settled on this. It's a warm khaki linen card base with pear words (A Stamp in the Hand) and edged it with Memories Art Print Brown. A little scrap of Bazzil in burgundy anchored it, and I also edged the Japanese paper, which has lovely metallic flecks in it mostly hidden. But I know they're there! Then a piece of ivory tsumugi, and then gold metallic and then black and then the image. One version of the card had patterned paper in there (matted to boot!), but that was definitely two layers too many. It looked ok up close, colours were fine, everything worked, but at arm's length the design was definitely off. I'm not sure about the final result, but I had pried and re-taped and tested every piece of paper I own. This is as good as it gets. I may yet try my crazed porcelain technique with Copics, but I am sufficiently crazed at the moment without the addition of crackle accents. Thanks for stopping by!

Stampotique challenge - Recycle

Here's my submission for this week's Stampotique challenge, which is to recycle something. I started off using a few different things, but they didn't work, so I raided the recycling bin. No joy there, but next to it is our box of things to go back to the bottle depot. I nobly sacrificed the 10 cents we'd get for the Stella can and cut out the label with my Kai shears and gently molded it flat against my brayer. I was careful not to cut myself on the sharp edges. Then I used some cereal box to cut into the fleur-de-lis border (Tim Holtz - Sizzix) and sprayed that with Riptide glimmer mist and some other mist concoction of vaguely orange/copper nature. This got piece got stamped with one of my Stampendous rock cubes using black ink. The crown (Stampotique) was stamped on a red scrap and cut out. That same scrap got used for the sentiment (Inkadinkado), which reads, "It's not just for breakfast." I only inked a portion of the stamp, which starts off with "Chocolate:" but I figured since this is likely going to finish up as a Father's Day card, I'd make it about the beer instead of chocolate. The red scrap also did duty behind the border. The card base is kraft cardstock. I like this and I hope hubby does too. I did wash the piece of can, but there is still the faintest aroma of beer about the project. Also my hands. This brings me to the end of my post and near the end of the long weekend. It's been a good three days, and I am trying not to think about the mountain of things waiting for me back at the office. No, I will banish those thoughts and go back to stamping!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

Penny Black challenge

This week's challenge at the Penny Black blog is to make a decorated envelope. I thought the brushstroke stamps would be perfect for this, so I made a few different ones until I got one I liked. (Note to self, don't start with Fabriano cards until you have a good system down!) I painted the stamps with twinkling h20s and misted and stamped, repeating a few times withing re-applying colour. I thought it would be nice to make a card while I was at it, so here's what I came up with.

I really, really love those brushstroke images. They are some of my favourite stamps and it's a pity they're so hard to find here in Canada. Whenever I see one, I snap it up.

I was inspired by the work of Rachel Jackson, whose work often appears in Craft Stamper magazine. Her work is characterized by lots of white space, interesting texture, bright colour, and a certain element of splatter or paint. I was going to go simple on this, but then I thought of the article I just read by her that had interesting text blocks stamped in unusual places so I thought I would give it a whirl. I'm not sure if I like how it turned out, but I like it well enough to use it. I think I will keep experimenting with her approach, which is sort of clean-and-simple meets mixed media. Craft Stamper is a great magazine, but it's also hard to find here. Again, whenever I see it, I snap it up. I'm debating about subscribing, but it's from the UK and quite expensive.

Anyway, back to the card. I added a frame with my Micron, matted the whole thing onto some grey cardstock, and then on a moss green tsumugi card base.

This envelope was stamped in the same way, but with the dragonfly too. He's stamped in Black Emerald twinks, and the same purples and blues for his wings, but without the pomegranate. Black Emerald is THE colour for dragonflies. It's black, but dark green when the light catches.

I don't know what it was about yesterday, but it was a day for paint in our house. The girls spent a long time painting, and got themselves completely covered in paint. And the table, and the floor, and the bathroom when they tried to clean up. It was a monumental mess and they got into a monumental heap of trouble for the series of poor judgment calls that led to the mess. Fast forward to 9 pm when I am stamping away, and dip the hem of my t-shirt into a pot of Rainforest green twinkling h20.... I sigh (it won't wash out) and note the irony. Fast forward to 9:10 pm, when I knock that same pot off my desk and it bounces on the floor, upside down and makes two big spots of dark green on our light coloured carpet under my stamp desk. An interval of intense scrubbing and muttering followed and I got it pretty much out. Luckily our carpet is made of some frightening fibre that repels twinks. I guess the previous owners didn't splash out on wool carpet. Anyway, the irony of the situation wasn't lost on me..... Here's hoping our house isn't in the grip of a similar force today.

I will leave you with the best rapture comment hubby found on-line: "People are making rapture jokes like there's no tomorrow."

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Floral Wedding Card - YES!

Blogger's out of its bad mood and let me upload the card today. Thanks for the tips. I don't know what was wrong, maybe just general flakiness. I would click on "Browse" to access the file directory and it would just blink at me, with a dull-witted, vacant look. Now it's working again, see Exhibit A (at left).

A colleague at work asked for a wedding card, in the couple's wedding colours (baby blue and purple). I mulled it over, custom cards are always a little anxiety-inducing as they need to be "just right", without any definition as to what "just right" actually is. I started with some white linen paper and stamped various botanical silhouettes on it (Darkroom Door, Cornish Heritage Farms) in shades of blue (Palette) and purple (Nick Bantock, Damson Plum). I tried all sorts of ghastly things, embossing, paint, this and that. Eventually decided that less is more (yes, you heard me say that) and went with plain ink. I did trace over the word (Stampin' Up) with glitter pen and dot the purple flowers with stardust stickles. I matted it on some purple metallic cardstock, and then that went on a light blue card base. I remembered to add some ribbon before it was stuck down. I was hoping to use my prestamped blue card base that's in my scrapbox, but it really didn't work on this one. The stamping on the card base took away from the clean lines I felt. I did a matching inside and envelope and called 'er done!

NSR: Thank you for the well wishes about the birthday party. It went really well and the kiddies had a great time. We played games and sang songs and generally had a good old-fashioned birthday party. I'll see if there are any good pictures on the camera and try to post them.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Floral wedding card - NOT!

Grr. Grrr. Am trying to upload a picture so I can blog about it, but blogger won't let me. Is it some recent 'upgrade' that won't let me? Or is blogger on the blink again? Grrr.. Have no patience to try to figure this out, so will go and stamp instead. Only that ticks me off too, since they've cancelled Studio 93 at 9 pm and moved it to Saturday nights instead. Which is fine, except I don't listen to the radio on Saturday night. Usually we watch a movie or something. Weekday evenings is when I listen to the radio while I stamp. It was a wonderful system. There was no need to change it. I must quickly become a billionaire so I can take over the radio station in a bloodless coup and reinstate the program. In the meantime, this may be the incentive I need to figure out how to work my MP3 player. Nevermind, that ranks right up there with trying to figure out how to fix blogger and/or computer settings.

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Happy Birthday!

Quick post today, and nothing stampy. It's DD2's birthday party today and I am madly flapping around trying to get ready. (As you can see by me procrastinating, posting to my blog.) So this is mainly why no stamping is happening this week. Only cleaning and tidying and party preparations.

We are doing a Ladybug Picnic, but it's raining (that was sooo not in my plans) so everything is indoors. I love nothing better than large groups of children in a bungalow for two hours.... I have orchestrated the schedule so that the sugary treats will be plied shortly before they go home. I made a very cute ladybug cake, quite easy if the look you are going for is amateur-chic. I just used a 9x13" pan and lopped off some corners to make a ladybug shape and iced with black and red icing. I got the no-taste red, so it's not completely vile. And we'll do some games (the classics) and songs and a craft. Egg carton ladybugs involving paint. Hubby was a bit dismayed by that plan until I told him paint was better than buying 8 red and 8 black markers for the kids at $5 each. He wisely avoided mentioning I could have chosen another craft that didn't need markers. I think he was still reeling from my reaction to his suggestion that I not make the cake "disgusting". Anyway, another few hours and this will all be a distant memory. In the meantime, we will joyfully celebrate that happy day when my dear little girl was born. And then collapse in a heap.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Stampotique Designer Challenge

Hello! Quick post before I dash off to work. Here's my project for this Stampotique Designer Challenge - sketch.

I had a scrap of coloured paper I'd made so I stamped Gog Lin on it and coloured with Bruynzeel pencils. Then added some stones. Both stamps are Stampotique. Then I found some coordinating BasicGrey papers (Recess line) and finished off the sketch. I don't have any Stampotique sentiments (yet) so I used a rub on from my stash for the "celebrate".

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Bellarific Friday

Hello! Here's my card for Bellarific Friday this week at Stamping Bella. I used this wavy flower border, stamped on white linen, intending to mat on a blue piece then white card. I flubbed that up, so cut out the flowers and started over. I like this better, so that was a serendipitous mistake. I've stamped and embossed in blue metallic (Zing). The words are stamped in Faded Jeans, which was too pale, so I went over them with a glaze pen. I couldn't find my crystals, so I went with these A Muse sticker rhinestones coloured with copics to make them a little green to go with this Key Lime card (Memory Box), which is white on the inside. This was very quick and easy, and I'm quite pleased with it. Now there's time to go watch a bit of TV with hubby before bedtime. Nothing funny tonight - I'm worn out. This little bit of stamping therapy has really helped, plus just heard The Ramones on Studio 93, which is always fun. Off to watch The Office - nighty night!

Thanks for stopping by!

PS All stamps are Stamping Bella.

Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Baby Card or BasicGrey's New Flag

Hello! Here's a baby card I made last night. When I saw this stamp, I fell head over heels in love. First, I love my clothesline. I love hanging out clothes, being outside listening to the birds, pinning things out, seeing them blowing in the breeze, and when they come in they are so fresh and sweet-smelling. And I just loved seeing a line full of diapers, all marching like an orderly little row of soldiers, so pleasing in their symmetry. Second, my littlest girl has a bear just like that one, and just this weekend, Bear had a trip through the washing machine and a day on the line in the sun. Bear got lovingly soaped down with lavender soap, then DD2 watched her get all sudsy and spinning round and and round through the washer window. Then she checked up on her on the line, a few times during the day. It was very dear. She wasn't upset that Bear was getting washed, but she was definitely keeping an eye on the process. And now Bear is lovely and clean, "all sweet and clean and smelly" as our family saying goes.

I stamped the image in versamark and embossed in chocolate brown, then coloured with Tombows and blended with a paintbrush. When I'm trying to match paper, I experiment with colours first on a scrap, and then when I get a combination I like, I jot it down on the back of the paper pack. Here, I'm using BasicGrey's Offbeat, and discovered (again) that Tombow needs a better light blue. I must write a letter to Tombow to suggest it. Many of their blues are quite bright and are either purple or green in tone. They really need one that's more like faded denim. Anyway..... Coloured with Tombows, accented with stickles (waterfall, crystal, candy cane, diamond, patina) and dimensional pearls (espresso), and a doodly frame. I like how the layout turned out, more by accident than design. I had already pulled my papers that I wanted to use, and they didn't quite fit across my 5x7 card, so I fiddled a bit and came up with this. I now see that this isn't at all original, it's the layout of half the flags in the world. I present to you, drum roll please, BasicGrey's new flag! [insert trumpet fanfare, and ideally some bagpipes too]

Thanks for stopping by!