Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Neat & Tangled / Benzie Collaboration



Hey everyone!  I'm up over on the Neat & Tangled blog today as part of a collaboration we're doing with Benzie Design.  They make really high quality felt in beautiful colors as well as pom poms, die cut felt pieces, all sorts of good stuff.

I had a lot of fun creating with the felt.  For my first card, I selectively cut the large flower from the Succulent Cover Plate from three shades of green.  Before I die cut the pieces, I backed them with white cardstock.  This adds reinforcement and allows you to adhere the pieces easily to your card.

I also cut the flower from cardstock and used the webbing as a guide to get my pattern started.  Once I had the first few pieces in though, I just eyeballed the space between the pieces.



Even though the cardstock does add a lot of reinforcement, the tiny pieces can still be a bit tricky, so you need a die that has large enough pieces, the petals for the succulent were a perfect size.  The only tricky bits were those teeny tiny pieces in the center.  I just needed to be very careful with those and used craft tweezers to adhere them.

The sentiment is from the Gardenia Blooms Journaling Card set and it was stamped on one of the banners from the Scalloped Dies set.



My next card features the Maple Thanks and Oak Leaf Dies.  I cut the solid shapes from felt and the webbing/detail dies from cardstock and woodgrain paper.

The solid felt shapes were stitched to the card itself along the center line.  Then I used spray adhesive to attach the webbed pieces.



The sentiment, also from the Gardenia Blooms set was stamped on one of the skinny tags from the Classic Tag 2 die set and was then trimmed down and stitched on as well.

I thought it would be fun to dress these cards up a bit, so I cut a Doily Envelope wrap from felt for each of them.



Caveat, this is beautiful, but these doily pieces are very delicate in some sections and so you have to be very careful with them or you'll get some tears.  The felt cuts well, but I think because of static cling the pieces need a little help coming out.  I used a largish needle to just poke the pieces out and that worked pretty well.



I love how pretty the details look in felt!



OK, you'll want to head over to both the Neat & Tangled blog, there's a giveaway of some beautiful Benzie products over there, and the Benzie blog, where you can leave a comment to be entered to win a $25 store credit to Neat & Tangled.  Good luck!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Heads up Stamp Sale



Hey everyone!  In case you haven't heard, there's a sale on all stamps over at Ellen Hutson this weekend (affiliate link).

20% off everything with code SAVEONSTAMPS17.

The good news is that the latest Neat & Tangled release hit their store this week, and I know some of the items are sold out elsewhere so this is a win-win.

I linked up the N&T September release stamps in case you wanted to pick them up as well as my latest stamp purchase.  I think I need to go do some perusing though....

Hope you have a great weekend!

Affiliate Links Below:



Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Birthday Party craft featuring Simple Stories Emoji Love



Hi folks!  My eldest, Ellie, turned 10 a couple weeks ago.  Yikes!  It really does go by quickly!  Anyway, this was a big one, and I'm kind of tired of throwing birthday parties, so I told Ellie that this was going to be her last 'big' party and we'd do something special.

She desperately wanted to have a sleepover party.  We desperately did not want to have a sleepover party because we have a smallish house and we are old and lazy.

The compromise was that I was able to find a really good rate on a hotel suite nearby.  There were two bedrooms (one for me) one for the girls and the main area where the girls could sleep as well.  The plan was to have dinner, swim in the pool, do a craft, watch a movie, go to bed (ha!), eat the free hotel breakfast, and then I would shut the door to the hotel room and we would all go home.

I did want one crafty activity for the girls to do.  Ellie is very into emojis right now and so her party was loosely emoji themed, meaning there were emojis on the evite and the party favors were emoji themed.

Simple Stories has the cutest paper line called Emoji Love, so I thought it would be perfect if I could work those papers in.  I decided we would decorate composition books.  Because of all the back to school sales, I was able to pick them all up at Staples for 50 cents a piece, score!

I ordered a bunch of the Emoji Love papers, regular prints as well as the elements sheets which are basically journaling cards printed on 12x12 paper that you cut down to 4x4, 3x4, and 4x6 journaling cards.  I also got the Snap Pack which contains journaling cards of various sizes as well as some bits and pieces/ephemera.

In terms of prep, I cut the papers down to the size of the composition book covers, and also cut out all the journaling cards from the 12x12 papers.

At the party I let them pick their front/back cover papers and then we used spray adhesive to attach them.  Then we spread out all journaling cards and bits and they were able to pick out pieces they wanted to decorate their books with.



In addition to the Simple Stories stuff, I had a whole stack of old Creative Memories alphas for them to use, a bunch of scissors and tape runners and a corner rounder for the covers.



It was really fun to see them go at it.  If you do this my one piece of advice is bring a lot of adhesive...kids are heavy adhesive users, but we luckily made it through without running out.

Most of the girls ended up decorating not only the front and back, but also the insides.  Here are some shots of Ellie's:







I had a bunch of paper scraps from cutting down the covers, and I thought it would be fun to use those for the thank you cards.



I used basically the same design for each of the cards, but varied the papers.  The alphas were die cut using Altenew's Bold Alpha Dies, and the pennants were cut using My Favorite Things Fishtail Banner Stax.  I used my round paper punches to cut out all the little emjois from the patterned papers and also did a bit of fussy cutting.



In case you're in the market for a similar birthday party or just enjoy reading about my party escapades, here are some more details for you:

Ellie was having a really hard time narrowing down the number of girls to invite, but it was a holiday weekend (Labor Day), so I ended up lettering invite nine girls because I figured a bunch of them wouldn't be able to make it.  WRONG.  Only one girl couldn't come....

Also along the lines of best laid plans, the pool was outdoors and we've had an unseasonably cool August, so the temperature that evening was supposed to be 65 and rain was possible.  I ended up just sending out a note that we were cancelling the swimming portion of the night, which turned out to be OK because one of Ellie's best friends managed to break her leg and was in a full cast for the party.

Still, I now needed some entertainment options.  The two things I picked up and highly recommend are:

Watch Ya' Mouth or Speak Out and small dental retractors.  You definitely want the small if kids are playing them or they'll be really uncomfortable.  If I had to do it again, I'd probably order Watch Ya' Mouth as it's recommended for ages 8 and up.  Speak Out I borrowed from a friend and it says 13 and up.  I went through all the cards and they were fine, but I think some of the phrases and words were ones that 10 year olds might not be familiar with (just longer or more esoteric not bad), I'm guessing the other one has smaller more normal words.

The Sleepover Party Game - This one was a huge hit and I HIGHLY recommend it.  We ended playing this Saturday morning in the breakfast area and it was just funny to watch.  They had a great time with it.  In fact an older lady staying at the hotel came up to me and said she had so much fun watching them play, that it brought back a lot of memories, which was nice because I was worried they might be disturbing other people.  

We also watched Boss Baby, the nice thing about the hotel was that a lot of folks use it as a residential/short stay hotel, so there was a DVD player we could use, and a full kitchen which we took advantage of as well (Ellie chose Magnum bars instead of cake), and we had popcorn and M&Ms for the movie.

Because there were so many girls, they couldn't all fit in the same room which wasn't ideal, but it turned out that the earlier sleepers ended up in the living are on air mattresses and the chatty folks were in the bedroom.  And chatty they were....they were up until after 2 and then again around 6.  We were definitely tired the next day!

Apparently they had fun though, because I saw one of the mom's at church this past weekend and she said the girls were still talking about it.

Happily this is the end of our birthday parties for the year.  Carina decided she did not want a party this year, she wanted to go to Hershey Park, so we're actually headed up there Saturday night.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Neat & Tangled Stamptember Set



Hey everyone!  Have you seen the adorable Neat & Tangled exclusive set for Stamptember that Elena illustrated?



I wasn't able to get a card together for the debut over the weekend, but I had to make something because it is such a fun set.

I think the mice are my favorite part of this set, and they look like they could be trying to catch some leaves.  I really wanted my focus to be on the mouse and the one leaf he's fixated on, so I stamped all the leaves with Fairy Dust ink from WPlus9.  This is a VERY light subtle ink, so I used my MISTI and inked it several times to make sure they were dark enough.

I added some very light Copic highlights to the pile and two of the floating leaves with light gray Copics.

Then for some color!  I no line colored the leaf and then colored in the mouse that I had stamped with black ink.



The sentiments in the set are really happy fall sentiments, but this card has more of a poignant feel, so I used a sentiment from my Scandinavian Prints set.

I added a vellum mat when mounting my panel for a little subtle definition.

If you like this card/set, I encourage you to pick it up.  Not only is it only available while supplies last, but the very generous folks at Simon are donating all proceeds from this set to support medical care for Danielle's (the owner of Neat & Tangled) father.  He's been suffering from something call Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome and is undergoing treatment.

That's all for me today.  Hope that your week is going well!

Friday, September 8, 2017

Neat & Tangled September Release Recap and Giveaway Winners

Hi everyone!  The release is now available in the Neat & Tangled store!  Here's a recap of my projects this week:








I also have some winners to announce:

vonmariedesign wins he Landscape Duo stencil set

@nlr1010 (from IG) wins the Landscape Textures stamp set

Rebecca Yahrling wins the Oak Leaf stamp set

@westie1702 wins the Oak Leaf dies

Congratulations winners!  Please shoot me an email with your mailing addresses and I'll get these sent right out.

As always, thanks so much for your kinds words, they are truly appreciated.  I wish you guys could all win something, but there are two more releases coming this year, so plenty more opportunities.

If there was something in the release you have to have, it's available now in the store.  Have a great weekend all!

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Neat & Tangled September Release Week Day 4 - Giveaways



It's the last day of our release reveals.  Everything will be available in the store tomorrow at 8 AM EST.  Today I'm showing off my new Oak Leaf die and stamp set.

It's no secret that I have a little thing for leaves.  I've designed a bunch of leaf themed products including the Maple Thanks stamp and dies.  This set coordinates perfectly with that set.

I focused mostly on the dies today.  For the first card, I painted a watercolor panel in an ombre to use as a background for my leaves.  The leaves were also die cut from black cardstock.  I discarded all the inside pieces keeping just the webbing, and then die cut three leaves from another piece of watercolor cardstock.

The watercolor panel with the negative cuts was adhered to the ombre painted panel, and then I inlaid the black webbing pieces.



The sentiment is from the coordinating stamp set and the entire panel was popped up over a black card base.



I had those three leaves that were cut from the watercolor panel left, and I love the tone on tone look, so I cut several more and adhered them to a panel to create a background.

Then I embossed the sentiments on some black cardstock and popped those up over the background.



That's all for me today.  Be sure to head on over to the Neat & Tangled blog and leave a comment to enter to win today's featured products.

I'm also giving away some of my new release products.  To be entered, be a follower and leave a comment.  For extra entries, head over to my Instagram (@mprantner) and follow the directions there.  I'll announce winners tomorrow morning.  Good luck!

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Neat & Tangled September Release Day 3 - Giveaways



Hey everyone!  I'm so excited to finally be sharing some of my new products for this release with you!  Today we're showing off my new stencil set, Landscape Duo, as well as a new stamp set called Landscape Textures.  While I designed these products to work together, they also stand alone beautifully.

The two stencils in the Landscape Duo stencil set (which I used for the background of my card on Monday) have the same design, but the negative/positive space is reversed between them.  This allows you to create some beautiful full color backgrounds.

The stamp set is one that you'll be able to use in conjunction with the stencils but for so much more as well, it's great for backgrounds, to add graphic accents, and is perfect for art journaling, Bible journaling, and mixed media.

Dor my cards today, I knew I wanted to use my Gelli plate.  I haven't had it out in a while, but I thought it would be perfect for these stencils.  The thing about the Gelli plate is that you never know what you're going to get.



For the first card the results of my print were not as distinct as I wanted, but because it's a stencil duo and you have both the positive and negative versions, I was able to use the stencil to add some inking to sharpen up the division between the design.  I actually offset the stencil a bit vertically when I did this to get another level of depth.

Next I added the stamping.  This was done with the help of one the stencils.  Basically, I held the stencil in place as a mask, and then stamped through/over the stencil.  So easy!

The sentiment is from my Topography set.




My second card was actually created by placing my paper over the stencil after I had removed it from the Gelli plate, so there is much less paint on it, and it's much more subtle.

The sentiment is also from the Topography set, I stamped it with Versafine and then clear embossed it.



Ok, be sure to head over to the Neat & Tangled blog.  Danielle is giving away a set of products to one lucky commenter.

As I've mentioned this week, I'm also going to be giving away some of my new products.  To be entered to win, be a blog follower and leave a comment.  For another chance to win, head on over to my Instagram (@mprantner) and follow the directions there.  I'll announce the winners on Friday!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Neat & Tangled September Release Day 2 - Giveaways



Welcome back for Day 2 of the Neat & Tangled September Release.  Today we're showing off a new set from Elena called Holiday Baking.  There are so many cute images in this set, and I decided to create a tag.  This would be the perfect touch for a holiday gift of baked goodies.

I used the Classic Tag 2 dies for my tag base and accents at the top.

There are lots of images in the set, but I didn't want the tag to be too busy, so I picked the big bear and gave him a little sidekick in the mouse who really wants to dip his spatula in the bowl for a taste.
The images were colored with Copics and die cut.  I added some bits of patterned paper to the bottom of the tag to ground it as well as some machine stitching as an accent.



I bet you'd love to win this set, wouldn't you?  Well head over to the Neat & Tangled blog as Danielle is giving away a set to a lucky someone.

I have some fun new products in this release, some of which you'll see tomorrow, and I'm going to be drawing some winners also.  To be in the running, be a follower and leave me a comment.  If you follow me on IG (@mprantner) leave a second comment for another chance.

See you back here tomorrow!

Monday, September 4, 2017

Neat & Tangled September Release Day 1 - Giveaways



Hey everyone!  Today is the first day of our September release reveals and I'm really excited about this set.

It's another wonderful lettered set from Danielle with some really great secondary sentiments that are unique and uplifting.

For my card I kept things very simple.  I created the background with my new stencils that we'll be featuring later this week.  I loved the soft ribbony feel to the background.  Pink ribbons always remind me of those who are fighting cancer and I thought the 'pretty brave' secondary sentiment would be perfect to use for someone who is dealing with the disease.



I thought about adding some sequins/embellishment to the card, but after a bit of hemming and hawing I decided understated was best.

OK, be sure to swing by the Neat & Tangled blog.  Danielle is giving a set along with coordinating dies away.

I have a number of items in this release, and I'll be drawing some winners at the end of the week.  To be entered, be a follower and leave a comment.  For an extra entry, follow me on Instagram (@mprantner) and leave a second comment.

See you right back here tomorrow!

Thursday, August 31, 2017

August 2017 in Books


Hi everyone!  Here's the rundown of what I read this month.  Much more balance between the serious and not so serious.  On deck for next mont is a lot more juvenile lit.  Ellie just celebrated her birthday yesterday and has a whole new stack of books which I'l be expected to read (along with a bunch that she had already assigned).  Right now I'm finishing up Salt Houses which is SO good and I also just finally picked up Hillbilly Elegy which I'm way overdue for.  What are you reading?

Wonder - R.J. Palacio - Juvenile Fiction - five stars - This has been on my list to read for a while, and with the movie coming out I really thought I needed to get it read. Ellie and I both read and loved this one. It's about a boy named Auggie who was born with a serious facial deformity. The story is told from a variety of perspectives of those surrounding him. I really like how you get to see a little more about each of the different narrators and the particular struggles they face, it's a great book to use as a jumping off point when discussing bullying.

Chupacabra (Marty and Grace #3)
- Roland Smith - Juvenile Fiction - five stars - The third book in this series, Grace has been kidnapped by her Grandfather and is working on the inside at figuring out what he is up, at the same time Marty is trying to rescue her. We really love this series and really everything we've read from Roland Smith.

Oliver and the Sea Monkeys - Philip Reeve - Juvenile Fiction - Three Stars - One of Ellie's current battle books. This one was kind of meh for me. I think this one is geared towards the younger readers, to me it's kind of like a Captain Underpants style book for holder readers a little more meat/plot, but still pretty corny and kitschy.

Deep Dish
- Mary Kay Andrews - Fiction - four stars - One of the books I took on vacation with me, Mary Kay Andrews is always a great vacation read. This one is the story of Gina Foxton who is competing with Tate Moody for a show on the Cooking Channel. To win they are participating in a head to head competition (also a cooking show). The thing I love about Mary Kay Andrews books are that her characters are so likable and they make you laugh. This is another fun and easy read.

The Illusion of Separateness
- Simon Van Booy - Historical Fiction - four stars - A really quick read, this is told as a series of vignettes, from WWII through the present day that follow several characters that whose stories intersect. It was a little more fragmented for my liking, but I did find the overall story compelling.

The Lake House
- Kate Morton - Fiction - five stars - I really love Kate Morton books. They follow a certain formula, someone from present day is drawn into a mystery from years ago, and the story bounces between the present and prior time period. There is generally a twist that sometimes you see and sometimes you don't see coming. This was one of my favorites. Sometimes her books start a bit slowly, but I was drawn in immediately and there were several things that ended up being a surprise to me.

The Last Anniversary
- Liane Moriary - Fiction - five stars - Liane is another of my favorite authors.  Her books tend to have some amount of unbelievability in the story lines, but it adds to the humor and the characters are just so likable that you kind of don't care.  In this story, Sophie inherits the home of the aunt of an ex boyfriend (now happily married).  She becomes involved in the zaniness of his family as well as an ongoing mystery.

The Girl on the Cliff
- Lucinda Riley - Fiction - four stars - This is another of those books where someone from present-day becomes involved in a mystery from the past.  In this case, Grania Ryan comes home to Ireland after a miscarriage and is trying to sort out her life when she becomes involved with local noble family, which her family shares a past with.  I enjoyed the overall plot, but the book used an unnecessary literary device (where the narrator interjects commentary occasionally) which was kind of annoying.  I also thought some of the plot lines were pretty see-through/soap opera-ey, i.e. this baby is not really your baby.

The Sound of Gravel - Ruth Wariner - Autobiography - five stars - The autobiography of a woman raised in a breakaway polygamous Mormon sect in Mexico.  It was sad and scary and slightly fascinating.  The woman and her family regularly traveled back to the U.S. to get welfare disbursements and also lived for periods of time with family who were not practicing.  It tells about the struggles, but also the bonds between her and her siblings and how they were able to escape that life.

Mutation (Marty and Grace #4)
- Roland Smith - Juvenile Fiction - five stars - The final book in this series and just as good as the rest of them.  The book ties up all the loose ends, adds a bit of origin story and was a satisfactory end to it all.  As I've mentioned before, if you're looking for good reading for tweens, particularly boys, Roland Smith's books are great.  It's all action/adventure, not a lot of drama/angst.  Highly recommend.

The Ministry of Utmost Happiness - Arundhati Roy - Fiction - three stars - I really thought I was going to like this book, but I didn't.  It was kind of boring and a slog, mostly because I just never really identified with or liked any of the characters.  The one thing I will say is that I did learn a lot about the ongoing conflict in Kashmir, which I guess I never really knew existed until now.  

Monday, August 28, 2017

Celebrate Getting Through It




Hey everyone!  I'm sharing this card over on the Neat & Tangled blog today.

As you guys know, I've been having all sorts of fun with my new Open Box die.  Today I thought I would showcase another way to use/close it.

To assemble the box die, I use micro or mini dots.  If I keep the box open, I'll attach the little tabs on the outside of the box since they are kind of hidden, like  this:



If I am going to have the box closed, like in this card, I want a neater look on the outside, so I adhere the little flaps on the inside of the box.

In a previous card I tied the box closed, but tying perfect bows can be tricky, especially when it's a little box.



So for this card, I closed the box the easy way, kind of like when you're packing real boxes, by overlapping the flaps and tucking one side of the last flap under the first flap.

It's super easy and quick!

I wanted to make a more masculine card, and I thought about tucking some money in there like Heather Hoffman did on this card, but I ended up using a bit of flair that I had in my stash from BossyJoscie instead.



The sentiments are form the Celebrate stamp set.




Really simple, but a fun way to send some encouragement.  Thanks for visiting!

*Affiliate Links to Neat & Tangled store in text and to Ellen Hutson below