Thursday, February 23, 2012

Growing In Spades.

It is with great excitement that I write this post.  No, I haven't been asked to join a DT, been published, or had a win on the lottery.  Nope, I am excited for far better reasons than those, and that's because today's post is my first ever  papery contribution to this Mini Blog Hop with some of the most stellar and innovative papercrafters I know.  I bet you can imagine how chuffed (not to mention nervous) I was to be asked.   The challenge for this wee Blog Hop was to use Papertrey Ink's Garden Variety stamp set and Year Of The Flower Collection, both released last year.  Prior to creating my three cards for the Hop, my YOF Collection hadn't ever seen ink (Oh, the shame) and Garden Variety has so infrequently been used and not in its entirety either, that it could almost reclaim its Never Been Inked status.   The rules were really only two:  1) No opium smoking in the elevator and 2) that there were no real rules.  My kind of Blog Hop, that's for sure.

After getting over my initial anxiety about nothing springing to mind when it came to these sets, I just pulled out these sets, dusted them off, scratched my head a few times, rubbed salve into the cat's boils, finished my 20 year old's baby photo album, cleaned the gutters, thought about clearing out the garage, had a nap, watched the Simpsons' entire 55th season (and I hate the Simpsons!), flicked over to Antiques Roadshow (nope, not much better), made a cup of tea, then another cup of tea and still had nothing.  Sigh.

But after repeating the above cycle of procrastinating non-productivity with a few other variations on the same theme thrown in a couple more times, I finally managed to crank something out.  Phew!  I never actually thought I would get there, but I am so pleased I eventually did.  The following cards are, for the most part, a combination of both sets, save the last, where I, well and truly, ran out of puff.  In the case of my last card, I just went to my old trusty Spellbinders Rose Creations die and the Rose stamp from the YOF Collection.  How dolove thee, Rose Creations die? Let me count the ways. 

So without further ado, three cards for my inaugural participation in the Mini Blog Hop:

Thanks gals for letting me join in the fun and for motivating me to get out of my comfort zone and to have a bit of fun.  I do, indeed, feel I've grown thanks to you ladies and for that I am so grateful.

Here's the list of the other lovely and ever so talented lasses:

I am off to have a look and be amazed and beyond inspired, no doubt.  See ya there! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

On Your Engagement.

This is a quick little number I whipped up more to try out a couple of the new inks most recently acquired and for submission into this fortnight's CR84FN Color Challenge showcasing Chartreuse, Gray, and Lavender.   The Hero Arts Cling stamp in Wallpaper (can you see that cool dragon?) was stamped with one of their new Mid-Tone Shadow Inks called Wet Cement and then lightly edged in Old Paper Distress Ink by Tim Holtz.  The Hero Arts Mid-Tone Shadow ink in Wet Cement, as with all of the Mid-Tone Shadow Inks I recently purchased, is most curious.  Curious in the fact that this warm gray ink at first looked slightly sudsy (on the stamp) and a wee bit blotchy on first stamping, but once dry (which really is within minutes) it is smooth and semi-velvety.  Most of the blotchiness is gone.  The Mid-Tone Shadow ink is by no means blotch-free as some might expect or as perhaps advertised, but very nearly so and the bits that remain are somewhat endearing if you ask me and add character and charm.  I  kind of dig the effect actually.  They also can handle a liberal spritzing with Glimmer Mists or the like too, which is very cool.  Nothing worse than having your once crisp stampings blur into oblivion, right? My stamped Papertrey Ink card base in Soft Stone got a sogging with Pearl Glimmer Mist on this occasion and certainly stood up most formidably to the onslaught.

The other newy to my ink arsenal stamped with on this card was the Amuse Ink in Heather, which was used on that lovely Waltzingmouse Stamps frame from the Very Vintage Labels 10 set.  I have enjoyed these pigment rich inks and their luxe coverage.  They do seem to dry down a fair bit and get softer once completely dry which can take some time.  For the type of stamper I am, use of Amuse inks does take some forward planning.  I have found that I cannot be as cavalier as I habitually am when stamping with this brand of lush pigment inks.   For instance, if I am going to stamp like I always stamp, and get down and dirty, I need to distress ink first then stamp with the Amuse inks.  In fact, this is the opposite of what I normally do, which is stamp first then dingy up my card to my heart's content.  Perhaps no biggie for some, but I have had more than a few Doh! moments while getting used to this new ink.  Lucky for me though, I adore their colors and the pigment rich coverage.    So, I just have to slow my roll when using these I gather.

Well, that's this card done.  Thanks so much for stopping by and allowing to me to share with you some of my crafty musings.  I appreciate it tremendously.  Here's to an inspired day for us all!  

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Bananas In Pajamas Are Coming Down The Stairs!

I decided to do a bit more than just appreciate this "lively" color combination from afar as showcased in this week's The Play Date Cafe Color Challenge.  The colors, as interpreted by me in my card, instantly gave me the giggles because I had no idea that I was channelling the Bananas In Pajamas so. I just can't decide which Banana In Pajamas is my card.  Would it be B1 or B2?  Silly, I know.  Regardless of which 'Nana I choose, I can't stop singing this kooky kid's show theme song.   I don't ever remember having used this combination of blues and yellow before, but as far out of my comfort zone crafting this card took me, I rather enjoyed it as quiet as it is kept.  Cool.  Thanks for popping by to take a peek.

Now, to get that darn theme song out of my head.  Ugggggh!

Friday, February 10, 2012

With Love.

I had a real thing (and not a good thing either) about shaped cards some time ago, but now my right eye hardly ever twitches nor my brow start to bead when I attempt to make them.  I kid you not, shaped cards really used to give me the heebies...circular ones especially.  I am not sure what snapped me out of my phobia of all cards not rectangular. Maybe it was one too many late night cranks of my Cuttlebug (aka my Scooby Doo van as called by my 5 year old) that did it?  Dunno?   ...But I sure love 'em now.

Needless to say that when I saw this week's sketch by the crazy talented Jen Cuthbertson for Waltzingmouse Sketch Challenge, I knew I was all over it like a cheap suit.  Plus, I couldn't pass up an opportunity to get my "Mad Plaid" groove on either.  The inner circle layer was made completely with the plaid building strips between the Waltzingmouse Stamps Pic-Nic Patterns and Off Beat Backgrounds sets.  I am fairly certain that there are other natty stamp strips in these sets, but I can't be sure as I really only have eyes for the plaid.  *wink*  The other stamps used in the making of this card are also from Waltzingmouse stamps, and they were from the Seasons of Love Tags (heart), Cameo To Go (sentiment), and Cameo Maker (oval sentiment frame).  Bliss.

Thanks so much for cruising over to check it out.  It's always a pleasure knowing you've stopped by.  Here's to a fabulous, craft-filled day for us all!  

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

I have made a few Valentine's Day cards this week and what a relief.  Like last year, I decided to stick with the more generic love-type cards and shy away from crafting specifically for this Red Letter day, quite simply because I can have them on offer for purchase a lot longer than up to the eleventh hour on Valentine's Day should they not sell prior.  But when I dug out this Inkadinkado stamp, I just couldn't help myself.  This focal stamp just speaks to my retro predilections in a major way. I just adore the rose (surprise, surprise) and the mixed fonts.

My favorite way to stamp this and other similar block images is to use Memento Ink (Lady Bug on this occasion) and ink it rather unevenly.  I feel this gives the stamped image a marginally more worn look which I love.  The Inkadinkado image was then cut out using Tim Holtz's ATC die from Sizzix (talk about a nifty die).  I also took the opportunity to heavily ice the edges of the ATC cut image with iridescent gold paint.  Yum.  I then fished out a handy dandy red love heart shaped paper doily from my stash, stamped my Papertrey Ink Rustic Cream card base with the fun Hero Arts Canvas Stripe Designer Woodblock stamp, lassoed that bad boy with a bit of jute, and (as without much conscious direction) dingied up all the edges and that was this card done.  Love that!  Cheap and cheerful.

Thanks for stopping by. Here's to a brilliant day!

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Adore Jane?

Just received my latest order from Papertrey Ink, and amongst my small bounty was one of the newest stamp sets called Simply Jane.  It is a novel set (pun possibly intended) created around some of the more memorable quotations and images inspired by Jane Austen.  Although I am not a complete philistine, I do know of Jane Austen and am most certainly aware of the impact this famed British novelist has had on early romantic fiction, but I cannot say that I am a fan of hers specifically.  However, I do adore quality period dramas of both the literary and cinematic kind, absolutely, giving this set further appeal.  I think perhaps Jane Austen may have just eluded my quasi-philistine sensibility (I did admit that I wasn't a complete philistine which lays claim to being at least part) in terms of making me a devotee.   When I saw that Papertrey Ink was releasing this set, I was attracted to the romanticized images almost straight away despite my low brow roots.

After readying my Simply Jane set for action, I set out to create a card for this week's The Play Date Cafe.  This week brings the most delightfully romantic collection of colors:  Robin Egg Blue, Lilac, and Bisque.  I couldn't think of a better stamp set to use, in fact, with such an idyllic trio of colors.

Along with a couple of dies from the Simply Jane Set, I used the largest Spellbinder's Lattice Rectangle from the set of the same name.  The lattice rectangle die cut's outer edges were only distressed inked a bit and upturned, then stamped on the inner corners with my favorite Hero Arts Cling Stamp called Old Letter.  This stamp has the most ideal sized script writing (some text sets I find to have such microscopic writing) coupled with a few fun postmarks thrown in for good measure.  This stamp may be the first that I have ever risked using to death, as I feel it soon may give up the Ghost. Perhaps I should order another?  The other notable inclusion on this card was the Amuse ink in Wheat for the cameo.   In person, when stamped, it is the most perfect antique ivory in color, but unfortunately though, natural daylight wasn't playing very nicely with me, but still playing nonetheless, when I photographed my card.  I dare say, the subtle beauty of this fine pigment ink may be missed.  Pity.

Oh well, I must dash.  I am off to a new (well, new to me that is) craft fair tomorrow and need to gather a few things more in order to put my best foot forward.  I wonder if this card will sell?  

Looking forward to seeing you anon.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Carte D'Amour!

Eek! Valentine's Day is just under a fortnight away (that's two weeks in old money). So best get a wriggle on my Valentine's Day crafting.  You know me...always a day late and a dollar short.  It also happens to be my wedding anniversary too on that day.  The way I look at it, I have at least until the 13th nearing to midnight to get The Man, The Myth, The Legend's card done.  That's heaps of time, right?  So might procrastinate with other projects until then.  *wink*

It's been a while since I tossed a card into The Shabby Tea Room for consideration, and I thought, why not? This week's theme is based on the inspiration photo below with a mail or a postage theme.  How happy was I when I read that?  Like the proverbial pig in poop I was.  So no excuse needed to get crafting.  Off I trotted.

Out came one of my favorite stamps from Unity's Provincial Collection called Carte Postal.  Love.  I also relished the opportunity to use my favorite flourish of all time:  Hero Art's Fabulous Flourish.  Bliss.  Then I set it all on my most beloved colored cardstock from Papertrey Ink called Sweet Blush.  Talk about a dream walking. Then, just for good measure, I dressed the card with the stamps and die cuts from Papertrey Ink's Larger Than Life Set, Tiny Tags I (the Love sentiment on the wee Tim Holtz tag), and the fun stamp from the delightful Postmarks set also from Papertrey Ink.  Heaven.

Well that's this card done and dusted.  Thanks so much for stopping by.  It's always such a thrill when you do.  Here's to a lovely day full of happy mail for us all!