Thursday, November 14, 2019

You Slay Me

Hi everyone!  I'm still in the mood to color, and I hadn't used this adorable set Magical Dragons set by Birdie Brown for MFT yet.

The dragon was stamped on Neenah Solar White cardstock with Gina K Amalgam ink and colored with Copics.  

Then it ended up being a bit of a scramble.  I wanted to add a bit of shading/ground line, so I used some post it tape to mask off the bottom of the card, as well as the bottom of the dragon, and added some inking with a blending brush and Black Soot Distress Ink.

Unfortunately, I didn't fully make off the bottom of the card, so when I pulled the post it tape up, I realized that I had accidentally inked the bottom of the card below the tape.

So, I placed the tape back on the card, and fully inked the bottom of the card to create a white space below the dragon.

The sentiment, also from this set, was stamped with Versafine, but then it looked kind of lonely in all that white space, so I added black line using a straight edge and a black journaling pen.  This ended up turning into two lines that I filled in because I didn't do a great job drawing the lines to begin with.

It's not quite what I imagined when I set out to create the card, but I really like how it turned out....I might even try this again, it makes for a great clean and simple masculine card.

Also, just in case you haven't heard, there's an anniversary sale happening at Ellen Hutson - 20% off the whole store with code LUCKY13.

Thanks for visiting!

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Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Jane's Doodles - My Favorite Santa

We're in the middle of Kathy Racoosin's current 30 Day Coloring Challenge, and I thought I should get my butt in gear and get some coloring done.

I decided to pull out my very favorite Santa image from Jane's Doodles.  I color this guy at least once every year, and expect that I will do so until the end of time.  I just love this image.  This is actually a retired set, but there are a couple new sets featuring this Santa in a couple different poses, that I am going to need to add to my collection soon.

Anyway, I kept things pretty simple.  Santa was colored with Copics, and then I added a sentient from the Peace on Earth set from Altenew.

Short and sweet today.  I'm planning to do some more coloring this week...I've got a bunch of sets that I haven't inked up yet, and the 30 Day challenge is the perfect excuse to do it!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Spellbinders Scenic Snapshots Collection

Hi all!  Hope that your week is off to a good start.  

Today I'm sharing a couple cards created using two sets from Spellbinders' Scenic Snapshots Collection.  This is a really fun collection that coordinates with the Santa's Workshop Dies (a cloche with a wintry scene inside), but each set can be used on their own as I'm showing here.

I'm sometimes intimidated by scene building with dies, but these make it very easy since they are on a small scale, and it's a great way to use some of those cardstock scraps you've been collecting.

My first card features the Harvestime Snapshot set.  

I started by die cutting all the pieces and 'pre assembling' the barn and the last three layers of landscape.

I used the sun rays as a guide to create a mask for my inking, placing the die cut on a scrap piece of cardstock and tracing around the curvature and down a bit, and then cutting that opening out.

The sky was created using a blending brush and some Tumbled Glass Distress Ink.

I then assembled the majority of the panel, adhering the sun, the last three layers of background and the barn.  After stamping the sentiment (from Simon Says Stamp's Healing Hugs set), the first layer of landscape was adhered with some foam adhesive for a bit of dimension.

My second card features the Adventure Time Snapshots set, and I went in a whole different direction colorwise with this card.

I really love the black and white monochromatic look, and, again using scraps, cut all the pieces for my scene from gray, black, and white cardstock.

I used the same mask I created for the last card, this time inking with Black Soot Distress Ink.

The assembly process was similar to the last card, but this time I popped up both layers of 'ground' as well as the tent.  The sentiment is actually from a Christmas set, Hello Bluebird's Typed Christmas set. 

That's all for me today.  Would love to know which you prefer, color or black and white?

Sunday, November 10, 2019

Essentials by Ellen November Release

Have you guys seen the new release from Ellen Hutson?  It just released today, and in addition to some great new image sets, there are some gifting products.

Today I'm working with the new Bon Bon Box Die, Mini Tags Dies, and Small Sayings set.

The die creates a box that is about 1 3/4" square.  I thought I would pull out some of my older sets to decorate the outside of the box.

This first box features one of the backgrounds from the Wonky Backdrops which was stamped with Altenew Sea Glass ink.  

I finished the box off with a one of the tags and a bit of Lawn Trimmings twine.

For the next box, I used the Abstract Paint Strokes set and Sea Glass, Pink Diamond, and Limestone Altenew ink as well as black Versafine.

I used one of the Mini Tags, coloring it to match the box by simply pressing the Pink Diamond ink pad onto it.  A sentiment from Small Sayings as well as the tiny dots stamp from Abstract Paint strokes finished the tag.  It was attached with some more Lawn Trimmings Twine.

I also wanted to create a couple simple cards.  This first card came together so quickly.

I cut a rectangle from kraft cardstock, 'wrapped' it with some twine, and added one of the Mini Tags stamped with a Small Saying, and then finished the card with a sentiment from the Warm Fuzzies set.

For this next card, I cut a bunch of tags from different colored cardstock scraps, embossed a variety of the Small Sayings on them in gold, and then added gold thread for the trim.

I cut a panel of cream cardstock, and embossed just the edge of the triangle background from the Wonky Backdrops set along one edge in gold.

The tags were then arranged on the panel, some were adhered directly to the panel, and some were popped up with foam tape.

A few gold sequins added some extra sparkle and texture, and then the entire panel was popped up over the card base with foam tape.

That's all for me today, but be sure to check out the entire release over at Ellen Hutson, there are some really great stamp designs this month too.  I'm loving the blimp set!

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Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Spellbinders November Large Die of the Month

Hi all!  I'm a little late posting this.  I was hoping to get this up sooner, but this weekend was crazy busy.  Isn't this month's Large Die of the Month Kit from Spellbinders so much fun?

You can use this die to create multiple characters - Santa, a girl and boy elf, I've also seen someone create Mrs. Claus.  There's also an add on that allows you to create a reindeer.

What I really love about these dies is that they are interactive.  The body can serve as a stand if you wanted to use these for place settings, or, as I've done, as a tag where the message is hidden.

For the Santa, I kept things simple, cutting each of the pieces from cardstock.  This is a great way to use up some of your smaller scrap pieces of paper.  I added some color to his cheeks with a my Copics and some gel pen accents.

For the elf, I use some blending brushes to add some subtle inking to the pieces for a little depth.  I used the brushes to add color to his cheeks too, and finished things off with some more gel pen accents.

This really is the cutest kit!  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Thursday, October 31, 2019

October 2019 in Books

A lot of books to share this month, but three of these are kids books.  Still, some really good books this month and a good mix of genres.  Here's the rundown:

Small Fry - by Lisa Brennan-Jobs - autobiography - four stars - The story of Steve Jobs' first child, who he claimed was not his for the early years of her life.  This was pretty fascinating to me because she grew up so differently than I did.  Her mom was basically a hippie who raised her in an unconventional way, moving around a lot, until she grew a bit older and Jobs acknowledged her existence and began supporting them. It was definitely a tricky situation to grow up in.  I imagine it is always hard to balance life when your parents are not together, but when one is a brilliant, but volatile and often socially awkward billionaire and the other can barely make ends meet it becomes a study in contrasts.  Really interesting read.

The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden (The Vanderbeekers #2) - by Karina Yan Glaser - juvenile fiction - four stars - This is the second book in the Vanderbeekers, the first of which I read last month.  I'm once again trying to keep up with Ellie which is a losing battle!  In this book, the Vanderbeekers are on a secret mission to restore a garden located by the neighborhood church.  This is a labor of love that they hope will bring healing to Mr. Jeet, their upstairs neighbor who has just suffered a stroke.  They are up against some land developers and a tight timeline.  It's another sweet and funny story, and a quick read.  

Where I End: A Story of Tragedy, Truth, and Rebellious Hope - Katherine Elizabeth Clark - memoir - five stars - I loved this book.  It met me right where I am, and was hugely encouraging and inspiring.  I'm not quite sure how to classify it as it is a memoir, but also an inspirational/encouraging book.  It is written for a Christian audience, but I think her story would resonate with so many who are going through a difficult time.  This has been a challenging year for me on a number of fronts, and when you're in it, you kind of just have to power through, especially when you have a husband and kids and five thousand activities.  This book helped me to think through some of those things I've been struggling with and pondering, but just haven't had a chance to (or wanted to dwell on).  Clark was the victim of a freak accident - while volunteering at her child's school, she broke her neck (and the fall of a small child) on the playground.  This left her a quadriplegic, although she does have some range of motion and ability.  She talks about her recovery, miraculous in many ways, both physically, mentally, and spiritually.  This is one that I loved so much, I have purchased several of so that I have one for myself, but also to give as gifts.  Highly recommended.

Indian Horse - Richard Wagamese - historical fiction - five stars - This book has been on my TBR list for a while, I think I actually found it doing a search for hockey books (our family as a whole might be totally hockey obsessed), and it sounded interesting.  I really wasn't sure what to expect, but wow.  What an amazing book.  The writer was one of Canada's most famous Native authors, and you can definitely see why.  This book is fascinating and heartbreaking.  It's about a young Ojibwa boy who is taken to be raised in a residential school run by the church.  The goal seemed to eradicate the native culture and provide basic skills so that the children could find work as laborers.  The stories of the children he encounters are heartbreaking, many die under suspicious circumstances, commit suicide, and molested.  He is able to survive and leave the school because of his hockey skills.  He goes to live with a family and play on a team in a native community.  As he grows he continues to struggle with racism, anger, and later substance abuse.  It's an amazing story that is so full of bad, but has good in it too.  What shocked me most about the story is that you would think this is something that happened in the 1800's, but it actually occurred in the 1960's.  Highly recommend, and I'm looking forward to reading more from this author.

Between Earth and Sky - by Amanda Skenandore - historical fiction - five stars - It's always a little weird how/when your library holds show up, so it was interesting that right on the heels of Indian Horse, this book came in for me.  In some ways it's very similar to Indian Horse, about children taken from their families (although this time the families agreed to send them) to be schooled during the year (they went home in the summers).  This takes place in the late 1800's in the US.  Years later, the daughter of the school headmaster (who went to school with the Indian children), reads that her best friend from school (who was also the best student and had gone on to study at Brown University), is on trial for murder.  She knows he could not have done this, and convinces her husband, who is a lawyer to defend him.  They journey back to the school, and to the reservation, and she has to deal with the past and the friendships she had then.  

Ecstasy - by Mary Sharratt - historical fiction - three stars - A couple months ago I read The Flight Portfolio which introduced me to Alma Schindler.  She was married at the time to Franz Werfel and they had to flee Austria by foot over the Pyrenees.  What really struck me about her was that she had previously been married to Gustav Mahler the composer and Walter Gropius the architect.  I thought it was interesting that someone was so connected to different artists of varying genres, so I wanted to find out more about her.  This book was not quite what I was hoping for.  It focuses mostly on her relationship and marriage to Mahler, although Gropius figures into it towards the end, and I found that It didn't make me care about her that much.  There was a lot of inner conflict and she seemed very beholden to Mahler.  She wasn't the strong character that I read about in The Flight Portfolio.  I'd like to read an actual biography about her to get a better sense of her, I wasn't crazy about her as a person after this book.

Room - by Emma Donoghue - fiction - five stars - This was a recommendation from my friend Chrissy, and it was a really good, if somewhat disturbing, read.  I didn't realize until I borrowed it that it had been made into a movie a while back because I apparently live under a rock.  Anyway, it's the story of a woman who has been abducted and held in a garden shed for seven years.  During this time, she gives birth to Jack, who is now five.  The story is told from his perspective, of 'room' which is his whole world.  He describes in detail all the different parts of room, their routines and activities.  I found myself being so impressed by his mother who was able to make the monotony of living in one room fun for Jack, and for teaching him so much in that room.  His mother knows that they can't stay there forever, so she enlists Jack's help in escaping, and then they need to adjust to the world.  For Jack who has lived in such a small, confined space for so long it is overwhelming.  His perspective of what the world is like, all the new things, his fears, were fascinating.  A really good book, and highly recommended.

Zorgamazoo - Robert Paul Weston - juvenile fiction - fives tars - Carina and I read this together, and we LOVED it!  I'm always looking for non-graphic novels to read with Carina, and this one was so good.  Often when we read together she's willing to listen to a chapter and then she's on to do other things, but this book she wanted to keep reading...'just one more chapter!'  It's like a big kids version of Dr. Seuss and it's written in rhyme, and there are fantastical creatures with silly names, but it's a great story.  About a girl named Katrina Katrell and Morty the Zorgle who team up for a grand adventure.  Weston has written a number of other books too, so I am thinking we're going to have to get those out from the library also!

Next Year in Havana - by Chanel Cleeton - historical fiction - three stars - So this was a disappointment for me.  I actually wanted to read When We Left Cuba by the same author, but found out that it was a prequel to this book and figured I should read this one first.  I still want to read it, but I'm less excited about it.  I actually liked the plot of the story a lot, but the writing was not my favorite.  It was a little too romancey for me, and also there was so much inner monologue from the main character I often had to do a double take to see if she was actually saying something or thinking it.  I really liked learning more about Cuban history, and the biases that those who left and those who stayed have.  I just wish I liked the writing more.

The Yellow Envelope: One Gift, Three Rules, and a Life-Changing Journey Around the World - by Kim Dinan - memoir - three stars - Kim and her husband sell their homes, and quit their jobs to travel the world.  Before they go, friends gift them $1000 to share/spread/distribute while on their travels.  This book chronicles their journey as well as who they share the funds with.  The premise was really good, but I was highly annoyed for most of this book.  Dinan basically badgers her husband into this huge life change, and then can't decide for the majority of the trip if she actually wants to be married to him.  For a long stretch they actually separate so she can try and think things through.  It turns out OK, she decides she wants to be married, they stay together, have a child, etc.  But I was so non-plussed by her, that I didn't enjoy the book as much as I could have.

The Vanderbeekers to the Rescue (The Vanderbeekers #3) - by Karina Yan Glaser - juvenile fiction - four stars - This third book in the Vanderbeekers series was just released and I surprised Ellie with it as she's enjoyed the series so much.  In this book, the kids are out to save their mother's baking business after a disastrous visit from the inspector.  It's another really cute story with all sorts of pitfalls and pratfalls.  

My favorites this month were This is Where I End, and Indian Horse.  Right now I'm finishing up The Russian Five.  On tap I have several kids books (including a new book in the Mysterious Benedict Society Series!) and The Lager Queen of Minnesota.  Would love to hear what you've been reading!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Simple One Layer Christmas Cards

Hi all!  I'm sharing a few simple Christmas cards today created using images from the Stamp Market's So Mini Hellos set.  For each of these cards, I watercolored the images with Kuretake Gansai watercolors.

This first card uses the front facing car.  The top was masked, and the gift was stamped on top of the car.  I added one of the bows from the set.  It looked a little lonely at the top of the gift, so I drew in a couple lines on the gift to extend the ribbon down around the gift.

The sentiment is from Concord and 9th's O Christmas Tree set.

For this next card, I first stamped the sentiment, from Simon Says Stamp's Holiday Greetings Mix 1 set.  Then I random stamped the different trees from the So Mini Hellos set across the panel and watercolored them.

To finish things off, I splattered some Hero Arts Gold Glimmer Metallic Ink over the entire panel.

For this last card, I stamped a cluster of trees, and watercolored them, also adding a soft blue wash around the cluster.

The sentiments, also from the Holiday Greeting Mix set were then stamped on the panel.

Finally, I added a bit of splatter, this time using Hero Arts White Gimmer Metallic Ink.

Three quick and easy cards done and added to my Christmas card pile!

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