Thursday, October 14, 2021

SSS Peace on Earth, Magical Days Ahead

Hi all!  I'm flip flopping between my fall and Christmas themed cards, and today I've got an EASY Halloween card to share featuring the new Tangled Web embossing folder.

I started by inking up a panel of watercolor paper with Distress Inks.  I used Mustard Seed, Chipped Sapphire, Dusty Concord, and Hickory Smoke.

Once that was done, I placed the panel into the embossing folder, spritzed the front of the folder with water, and ran it through my die cutting machine.

The panel was trimmed down and then popped up over my card base.

I used the Magical word die and Magical to Me stamp set to create my sentiment, using the new Silver Matte cardstock for the magical sentiment as well as a few die cut stars to finish things off.

Super fun and easy!

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

SSS Peace on Earth, Joyous Christmas

*This post contains affiliate links to Simon Says Stamp

Hi folks!  I've got your daily dose of Simons Says Stamp Peace on Earth release inspiration.

Today's card features some of my very favorite dies from this releasee.  The Laurel Leaves Background Plate is so pretty and I love the detail in the leaves.  It's a little hard to see in the photos, but I started by taking a green piece of cardstock as well as a dark blue, and inked the outsides of those panels so it has almost a glow in the centers.

Once that was done, I die cut each of the panels.  And actually, I die cut the panel twice from green cardstock.

I added some gold splatter to the blue panel, and once that was dry, inlaid it into the uninked green die cut piece.  Then I adhered the inked piece over top, but didn't fully adhere it.  I wanted some of the leaves to be free, giving it some more dimension.

Then I pulled out the Joyous Christmas die set.  I cut the base from blue (inking the cardstock with that same dark blue ink before I die cut it), and the detail sentiment from that fantastic new Gold Matte cardstock.

The finished piece was then popped up over the background.

Just loving the brightness and contrast in this card, and it was really a pretty simply card that can easily be mass produced, especially if you simplify it a little.  For example, if you remove the inking step it's really just a matter of die cutting/assembly.

See you back here tomorrow for some more Peace on Earth goodness!

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

SSS Peace on Earth, Oh My Gourd

*This post contains affiliate links to Simon Says Stamp

Hi all!  Hope you all had a great holiday weekend.  Today I'm sharing another fall card I created for the Simon Says Stamp Peace on Earth release.

I started by using the Build a Plaid set of cling stamps.  This is a rubber cling set where there are different widths of solid stamps which you can tear apart.  As the names suggests, the stamps are designed so you can create your own unique plaid backgrounds, but, used together as they are packaged, you get a great gradient look.  I stamped the background using the three darkest colors from Altenew's Shades of Purple ink family - Midnight Violet, Deep Iris, and Lavender Fields - to really play up that gradient feel.

The pumpkins are from the new Let the Gourd Times Roll stamp set.  They were colored with Copics and then die cut with the coordinating dies.  I used E18, E09, YR09, YR68, YR16, Y38, and Y35 for the majority of the pumpkins.  There were a couple that were shaped differently, so for those I used E18, E09, YR27, YR24, and Y35.  The stems were colored with E29, E25, and E23.  

The Oh My Gourd sentiment die definitely got me chuckling.  I cut it three times from white cardstock and once from orange adhering them together with the orange slightly offset.  This was then adhered directly to my gradient base, and the pumpkins were popped up with foam tape.

I love how the orange and purple play against one another.

I'll be back tomorrow with more Peace on Earth inspiration, see you then!

Friday, October 8, 2021

SSS Peace on Earth Release, Hello Sweater Weather

Hi all!  Today I thought I would share a card featuring some of the fall items from the Peace on Earth release.

I started by head embossing the new Leafy Leaves background in white on a panel of watercolor paper.  Then I watercolored each of the sections with my Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolors.

I tried to keep the colors relatively light, so that where they overlap with other leaves you could really see the combination of colors.  For the background/negative space areas I went with a very dark blue to really make the leaves pop.

I finished off the cad with the new Hello Sweater Weather sentiment die from this release.

That's all for me today, have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2021

SSS Peace on Earth Release

*This post contains affiliate links to Simon Says Stamp

Happy Thursday!  Simon Says Stamp has a new release out today called Peace on Earth, and as the name suggests, there is lots of holiday in this release (also some fall stuff too).  

Today I wanted to feature one of my favorite stencils from the release, the Berries & Leaves stencil.

I'm showing it off two ways.  For my first card, I started by applying embossing paste to a panel of watercolor paper.  

Once that was dry, I watercolored the paste portions.  For this step, I tried to stay just on the paste portions, but didn't sweat it too much if a little got onto the paper itself because I was planning to add some color to that area as well.

Next, I went back and added a very light wash of color to the panel itself.  I didn't wait for the watercolor on the paste to dry because I think that you get a softer more organic look if you get a little bleed of that color into the background - that's why I wasn't too worried about those accidental areas where I colored a bit outside the lines on the paste portions.

After the panel was dry, I added a bit of white and dark brown splatter to finish off the panel.

The sentiments are from the XL Christmas Greetings stamp/die set.  The Merry was stamped on watercolor paper and popped up over the panel.

For this next card I went with a very different look.

I started with a panel of green cardstock, and then inked the stencil with Mowed Lawn Distress Ink.

Next, I used a very fine brush to add gold accents using watercolor.  I used the Blue Gold 901 color from the Gansai Tambi Starry Colors set.

I also added just a bit of splatter with the same gold watercolor.

The card was finished off with the Merry & Bright die which was cut from the new Matte Gold Cardstock (I absolutely love this cardstock, I don't think I will ever use that mirror cardstock again!).  I cut the die once from the gold and twice from the same green as the base, stacking them together for a bit of height.

Which card is your favorite?

Be sure to head over to Simon to check out the rest of the release.  I have lots more inspiration to share from this release over the next couple weeks too, so stay tuned! 

Friday, October 1, 2021

September 2021 in Books

This month's reading was OK.  In general I feel like the kids' books outshone the grown up books.  I ended up reading a fair amount of non-fiction this month, mostly memoir/biography and those are often hit or miss for me.  Favorites this month were Mary Jane and Ariadne.  Here are the recaps:

Framed (Swindle, #3) - Gordon Korman - juvenile fiction - four stars - Carina is determined that I need read this entire series (we have all the remaining books checked out of the library right now).  It is a cute series and the books are easy reads, so I don't mind.  In this book there is a new principal at school and he does not like Griffin.  When a Super Bowl ring (left to the school from a famous alum) goes missing, the principal automatically assumes Griffin is to blame.  He ends up getting sent to a remedial school and being put under house arrest.  But he is suer that he's being framed, so he and the team set out to prove his innocence.  I really love the characters in this series, but this one gets four starts just because I thought both the premise as well as the final reveal were kind of silly.

Winged Bull: The Extraordinary Life of Henry Layard, the Adventurer Who Discovered the Lost City of Nineveh - Jeff Pearce - nonfiction - four stars - This was not a page turner, but a fascinating look at the life of Layard, who discovered, or at least excavated Nimrud and Nineveh.  Layard was basically a guy who was supposed to become a lawyer and didn't want to and ended up traveling and kind of stumbling into the life of an archeologist in his travels.  Layard lived between 1817-1894, and his explorations put him in areas where Europeans rarely, if ever, ventured.  I thought it was really interesting, given recent events, that he came into contact with the Yazidis, and commented then about how unfairly they were treated, they were persecuted back then as well.  It is also so sad that many of the sites he excavated and visited have been destroyed by ISIS.  While one can argue that the British (and others) should not have removed so many artifacts/treasures, if they had remained, they too would have been destroyed.  Layard was different from other Europeans that came into contact with the locals, he really sought to understand them, dressed like them, worked closely with them.  His work in the middle east made him an expert in the region and he went on to work in politics later in life.  A really interesting read.

Hattie Big Sky (Hattie, #1) - Kirby Larson - juvenile historical fiction - five stars - Ellie loved this one and so did I.  Hattie is an orphan who has been passed along from family member to family member.  She has spent the last several years with distant relatives in Iowa when she receives a letter from Montana.  Her uncle there has died and has left her his claim.  She must fulfill all the homesteading requirements within the year, this involves cultivating much of the land as well as putting up fencing, but she decides to try it, and heads for Montana where she meets new friends/neighbors.  The book is set during WWI which presents it's own set of challenges.  Hattie is so likable as are many of the other characters in the book.  I loved that while the story and circumstances were unusual, the story itself wasn't sugar coated.  There was plenty of bad and tragedy, but also much good.  Highly recommend.

Hattie Ever After (Hattie, #2) - Kirby Larson - juvenile historical fiction - four stars - This is the sequel to Hattie Big Sky.  It wasn't originally planned and was written six years after the first book.  Larson indicates in the notes that she received so many questions about what happened with Hattie that she was convinced to write a follow-up.  I found this story much less reasonable than the last in terms of plot.  Hattie ends up in San Francisco, the reason why and how she gets there I thought were just not believable, but she gets there and sets out to find work as a journalist.  It's definitely an uphill climb, in that day and age, but I found the San Francisco portion of the story much more believable and enjoyable.  The book also answers the question about what happens with her friend Charlie when he returns from the war.  Not as good as the first book, but still pretty good.

Florence Adler Swims Forever - Rachel Beanland - fiction - three stars - Ugh.  This is another that is closer to a two and a half.  I thought this book was going to be really good and it was just so disappointing.  Florence Adler has plans to swim the English channel and has been training.  Things go wrong and she dies on a training swim.  Her mother decides they need to keep the news from her sister Fannie who has just been put on bedrest at the hospital awaiting the birth of her second child.  Fannie lost a baby the previous year and they are concerned that the news might result in an early labor.  The whole premise of the story is bizarre and there are so many characters in the book that are either not likable or are just uninspiring.  I would skip this one.

About Your Father and Other Celebrities I Have Known: Ruminations and Revelations from a Desperate Mother to Her Dirty Son - Peggy Rowe - memoir - four stars - This is a book about stories/essays that Rowe has written.  She is of course best known for being the mother of Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs.  The stories are cute and fun and I definitely found myself laughing out loud from time to time.  In a book like this there are a few that I might have left out, there are a a couple that seemed duplicative/repetitive, but it was overall very enjoyable.

Your Blue Is Not My Blue: A Missing Person Memoir - Aspen Matis - memoir - two stars - I did not like this book at all.  I'd never heard of the author, but apparently her first book (Girl in the Woods) was very popular.  That book told about her hike along the Pacific Crest Trail from Mexico to Canada when she was 19 taking a break from college.  This books tells what happened after that, about her life/marriage to Justin, the man she met on the trail, how she got into writing, etc.  The problem is she is so totally unlikable and narcissistic.  Granted she did experience a very traumatic event, but her responses are colored by how she wrongly she feels she was treated growing up.  She treats her family horribly.  I felt like she was basically the personification of why people complain about millennials.  Do not read.

Showoff (Swindle, #4) - Gordon Korman - juvenile fiction - four stars - Another Swindle book.  In this book, Luthor goes nuts at a dog show injuring the dog projected to win it all.  As a result Savannah's family is being sued, and they have to give up Luthor.  The team steps in.  Griffin 'adopts' Luthor and his plan is to train Luthor to compete in the upcoming dog show, win the prize, and then give it to the injured dog owners to settle the suit.  Of course not much goes to plan.  This was another somewhat silly plot, but enjoyable nonetheless.  

Otto Tattercoat and the Forest of Lost Things - Matilda Woods - juvenile fiction.- five stars - Really enjoyed this book by a new to me kid's author.  The tattercoats are a group of orphans who live in the city of Hodorf, which is cold and getting progressively colder.  Otto comes to the city with his mother, but she leaves one day and doesn't return.  Otto is then pressed into service in the boot polish factory in town.  He manages to escape and joins the ranks of the tattercoats.  He works with them to free the rest of the kids in the factory, find his mother, and solve the question of why it is so cold in Hodorf.  Really cute book and definitely going to borrow some others from this author.

Mary Jane - Jessica Anya Blau - fiction - five stars - Mary Jane lives in Baltimore in the 1970s.  She has lived a very sheltered life, but this summer she has a job babysitting for a neighbor, a doctor and his wife.  If Mary Jane's mother knew that the doctor was actually a psychiatrist, and that their home was such a mess, and that the family was so permissive, her mother would never have allowed her to babysit.  Things become even less suitable when a rock star and his wife move in for the summer because the doctor is helping him with addiction issues.  Into this craziness steps Mary Jane who quickly becomes a vital part of the family.  Her eyes are opened to a whole different world.  The whole scenario is kind of crazy, but I really loved the characters in the book  They were so flawed, but also so likable.  Definitely recommend.

Hideout (Swindle, #5) - Gordon Korman - juvenile fiction - five stars - So far this is one of my favorite Swindle books.  The premise is that the villain from the first book come back after hearing about Luthor's success as a show dog and wants him back.  When the court orders that he be surrendered, Savannah and the team jump into action to save him.  Because it's summer vacation, they are all headed to camp.  Luthor bounces around between camps and hilarity ensues.  I thought this book was so clever and loved how the kids moved Luthor back and forth.  Only a few more in this series to read!

How to Save a Queendom - Jessica Lawson - juvenile fiction - five stars - Another new kids author to me and I really loved this book.  Stub, an orphan who was abandoned long ago and has been living in servitude since.   One fateful day he finds a miniature wizard in his pocket.  It's Orlen, the wizard to the queen whose spell has gone horribly awry.  Stub and Orlen are now bound to one another and he needs to get Orlen back to the castle in order to save the queendom.  I like how the story was unique and unexpected and I really liked the characters too.  A fun book, will definitely try more from this author.

I'll Be Seeing You: A Memoir - Elizabeth Berg - memoir - five stars - I loved Berg's Arthur Truluv series, so I perk up when I hear she has a new book out.  This one is a departure from her norm as it's a memoir.  It's a hard book to read because I feel like I'm not too far away from this stage.  The book covers about the period of time when her parents were in decline.  Her father was starting to suffer from dementia and they were getting to the point where they couldn't stay in their house.  It talks about the difficulty in getting them to agree to move out to a retirement home, the difficult transition to the home, and the continued decline in her father's health.  It's hard to read because it's a very honest and often unflattering look at their interactions and frustrations.  If you're in that stage with aging or ailing parents, well worth the read.

Jackpot (Swindle, #6) - Gordon Korma - juvenile fiction - four stars - My third Swindle book of the month.  This one was definitely not my favorite plot.  Griffin finds himself at odds with the team when a new kid comes to town and becomes the new 'man with a plan'.  In the meantime a $30M lottery ticket was sold in town, but the winner has not yet claimed the prize money.  Griffin, working on his own, and the rest of the team working with the new guy, are all trying to find the lottery ticket before time expires.  I think the other reason I didn't care as much for this book is that the gang wasn't working together.  Still a good book, just not my favorite in the series.

Kin: A Memoir - Shawna Kay Rodenberg - memoir - three stars - This book was kind of annoying.  It's probably closer to two and a half stars rounded up.  I thought the description was kind of misleading.  It all seemed kind of scattered to me.  While the book purports to be about the author growing up in a fundamentalist religious community in Minnesota before moving back home to Kentucky, it's really more about her whole extended family.  There are chapters that focus on this particular aunt or uncle, that focus on each of her parents and their growing up years, there's a whole chapter that consists of the letters her father wrote to his parents while in Vietnam.  Some of the stories were really interesting, some depressing, some disturbing.  My main issue I guess is that I just didn't like Rodenberg.  She just seemed generally self-destructive and selfish.  I would skip this one.

Ariadne - Jennifer Saint - fiction - five stars - I have always been a huge fan of Greek/Roman mythology and am loving all the retellings that have been published of late.  Ariadne is the sister of the Minotaur, the one who helps Theseus defeat the Minotaur, but is then abandoned by him on the island of Naxos.  Naxos belongs to Dionysus who becomes her husband.  It is a tragic story, and the book foreshadows the ending as Ariadne often dwells on the injustice of humans, and in particular, women, who gain the interest of the gods.  I really wasn't that familiar with the story of Ariadne, at least the portion of her life after the Minotaur, and was definitely engrossed in the story.  Highly recommend.

Would love to know what you have been reading.  I'm currently in the middle of Imposter Syndrome.  Next up are Apple Never Fall and The Big Finish.  Happy October and Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 23, 2021

More Hexagon Background

*This post contains affiliate links to Simon Says Stamp

I wanted to color this Hexagon Background again.  The last time I used Copics, but this time I thought I would watercolor it.

First, I heat embossed the background on a panel of watercolor paper using white embossing powder.

Then I started by painting the large sections alternating between a teal green and a blue.  When watercoloring, I first saturated the sections with water, and then dropped the color in.  For these larger sections, I kept the color more watered down, and let the paint kind move about on it's own so there are greater variations of color within the sections.

For the smaller areas, I used the same paint colors, and the same technique of adding water first, but added really saturated color.  I also moved the color around so that it was more even within those spaces.

I love how the background turned out and of course wanted to cover up as little of it as possible, so I chose a sentiment from the All About You set, added a simple mat, a few sequins, and that was it.

Hope you like it!