Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Altenew Fine Bouquet Die

Hi everyone!  Popping in to share a card using this gorgeous Altenew Fine Bouquet die.  This is such a pretty die. 

I didn't have any particular plan when I started.  I just wanted to try the die out, so I was kind of winging it.

I started by cutting the die from PTI Weathervane cardstock.  Originally I was going to inlay some patterned paper, but I wasn't crazy about how that looked, so instead I chose a patterned paper (from Pinkfresh Indigo Hills 2) to use for the background.  Then I cut the die from white and inlaid those pieces for the flower itself, leaving gray in the leaves/berries.

The die actually only has foliage on two sides of the flower, but I wanted a bit more in the corner of this card for balance, so I die cut the piece one more time, and used a couple of the sprigs in the corner.

I finished the panel off with an old sentiment from Papertrey Ink.  The entire panel was then popped up over my gray card base.

Thanks so much for visiting and hope your day is going well!

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Coloring Stencils Two Ways with SSS Rest and Refresh Release

Hi everyone!  Have you seen the new Rest & Refresh release from Simon Says Stamp?  It was just released today, and if you love nautical, this is the release for you.  The folks at Simon sent me the new Buoys stencil to play with.  Today I'm going to show you two ways to color with stencils.

For this first look, I cut a panel of watercolor cardstock and then used regular embossing paste over the stencil.  Once the paste was dry, I carefully painted the paste with watercolors.  The nice thing about watercoloring embossing paste is that it behaves a lot like watercolor paper, so if you use a color you don't like, or make something too dark, you can easily dab paint away/remove paint.

I finished the panel off with a punny sentiment created using Neat & Tangled's Journaling Alpha Dies and a sentiment from the N&T's Celebrate stamp set.  The Alpha dies were cut twice and adhered together so that they had a little bit more substance to them, and then I cut the tiniest slivers of foam tape so they could be popped up over the card.

For this next card, I colored the stencil using a no-line coloring technique.  I've colored with stencils before where I traced the stencil spaces like in this card (and before you go over to that post, let me just say that sometimes I cringe at my old photos because they are so dark).  But for this card, I figured out a much easier way to trace the stencil, and that is to ink it with a very very light color.  I took a quick snapshot with my phone so you can see what this looked like (forgive the very dim photo).

I used a ton of Copics on this card, but basically I had several different color trios that I then used randomly to color the different buoys.  This took A LOT of time to color, but I think that the results are definitely worth it.

For the sentiment, I again used the Journaling Alpha dies and then a sentiment from N&T's Typed Sentiments set on one of the Skinny Strips dies.

So there you have two very different ways to color with stencils.  I hope you'll give these techniques a try!  

And be sure to stop by Simon Says Stamp to check out the new release!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Spellbinders Artomology Collection from Jane Davenport

Hi all!  I'm sharing a couple cards today using the new Artomology Collection by Jane Davenport for Spellbinders. 

This first card features the fantastic Tousled die.  I really love the lines of her hair don't you?  I kept this card very clean and simple.  The face was die cut from black.  I added just a bit of color to her eyes, cheeks, and lips using the Chilled Palatte Pastel set.  Nothing fancy here, I just used my finger to smudge a bit of color in those areas.

The face was then die cut again using a terracotta cardstock, and I selectively inlaid some of those pieces.  A simple sentiment from Concord and 9th finished the panel off.  She is so striking isn't she?

This next card features the Floating Feathers stamp set. 

I wanted to play a bit more with the Chilled pastels, so I added a 'wash' to my panel, again just using my finger and variety of the blue colors.

Then I stamped the images on that background with Versamark.  The pastels 'stick' to the Versamark, so I smudged some blues, greens, and purples over the stamped images and you get this really lovely multi-colored stamping look. 

I added a bit of dark gray splatter and a simple sentiment from Neat & Tangled. 

There are some really great pieces in this new collection from Spellbinders.  To see it all, click here.  If you're interested in the pastel set as well as the rest of Jane's new mixed media coloring items, you can see them all here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 1, 2019

May 2019 in Books

Hey all!  Popping in to share my May reads.  There were a few duds in the batch, but also some REALLY good ones.  Here's the recap:

A Mango-Shaped Space - Wendy Mass - juvenile fiction - three stars - This was one Ellie had me read, and I wasn't a huge fan.  It's about a girl named Mia who has a form of synesthia.  In her case when she sees/hears words, sounds, and numbers they have colors associated with them.  It's about how she is diagnosed and comes to terms with this gift.  It was an interesting concept for a kids book, but I just didn't like the girl.  She was pretty self-focused, which resulted in her not being a great friend and often getting into trouble with her parents and teachers.  Just meh, I wouldn't recommend it.

The Song of Achilles - Madeline Miller - fiction - four stars - I loved Miller's book Circe (which I read last month) so much that I ran out and borrowed this one.  This one was not as compelling for me.  Part of that was because I thought the book would be about Achilles, but it was really more about his companion Patroclus.  It deals with Patroclus' upbringing and how that leads him to be exiled in the court of Achilles' father.  Achilles and Patroclus grow up together and eventually become romantically involved.  Overall I connected more with the story of Circe.  Whereas Circe was the story of strong woman finding herself, Achilles/Patroclus just seemed less likable and more flawed.

Song of a Captive Bird - Jasmin Darznik - historical fiction - five stars - I really loved this one.  I actually didn't realize until I got to the end that it is a fictionalized account of a real person, Forugh Farrokhzad.  Forugh was a female Iranian poet from the 1950s/60s.  She broke all the rules in that very traditional society, writing about (and having) affairs and, living unconventionally.  She was at one point committed by her family, and at another point jailed.  A fascinating character who died very young (at only 32).  I highly recommend this one.

Save Me the Plums: My Gourmet Memoir - Ruth Reichl - memoir - five stars - I am a huge fan of Reichl's books ever since I read Garlic and Sapphires which is a must read if you love books and food.  Garlic and Sapphires was about her time as the food editor for the New York Times.  Since then she's published several additional memoirs dealing with different parts of her life as well as a book of fiction - all worth reading.  When I saw that she had a new book out, I was thrilled.  This one deals with her time as editor of Gourmet magazine.  It's a fascinating look at the behind the scenes of the magazine while it was in it's heyday, as well as it's eventual demise and the overall collapse of much of the print industry.  What I love about Reichl is how effortlessly the stories flow together from anecdotes about specific individuals, to descriptions of specific meals and dishes, to how her personal life ties into the events.  I'm often frustrated by memoirs that seem disjointed, which jump around too much and seem to lack focus.  Reichl's books never have that problem.  A must read.

The Colors of All the Cattle (No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency #19) - Alexander McCall Smith - Detective - four stars - I was browsing the new book shelves at the library and was happy to see that there was a new No. 1 Ladies' Detective agency book out.  I really enjoyed this one.  There are two main threads, one in which Mwa Ramotswe, rather unwillingly, is running for a seat on the Gaborone City Council, and the second a case the agency takes on involving a hit and run.  There have been a couple of these books where I thought there were too many threads going on, but this was not one of them.  I really liked the pacing and how the story carried through, and I really liked that we got to see more of/got to know Charlie.  He's growing up!  If you are fan of these stories, you'll definitely like this one.

The Lost Girls of Paris - Pan Jenoff - historical fiction - five stars - I really enjoyed this one.  It begins with a young war widow finding a suitcase in NYC's Grand Central Station which contains photographs of a dozen women.  She then begins to unravel the story/mystery behind them.  The book bounces between her search and events in the past that explain who those women were - members of the women's branch of Britain's Special Operations Executive who worked behind enemy lines during WWII - and what happened to them.  The women were very effective and in many ways less conspicuous than male agents as most men should have been off fighting.  If you love WWII historical fiction, this is a good one.

Like Water on Stone - Dana Walrath - young adult - five stars - I've read a few books on this topic - the Armenian genocide of 1914, but this was unique.  It's classified as young adult.  I was hoping to have Ellie read it first, but decided to hold off on that because it does get a bit gruesome and deals with rape.  It's also unique because it's written in verse.  The poems don't follow the same format, they vary, and they are told in multiple voices from the different characters in the book.  It is a fast,  but moving read and the poetry really lends itself to the movement and action in the book. These events continue to be heartbreaking, but there is hope, and in a few years I will definitely be sharing this one with Ellie.

The Long-Lost Home (The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place, #6) - Maryrose Wood - juvenile fiction - two stars - So this was a series I started long ago. The first couple books were OK, but after a while it was kind of boring and predictable. Still, I kind of wanted to see what happened, so I kept reading them. This was the last book in the series, just meh. I thought they way they ended things was pretty lame. It's not a series I would recommend, but they are quick reads and I just wanted to get the full story.

The Girl from Human Street: Ghosts of Memory in a Jewish Family - Roger Cohen - history - two stars - I was not quite sure how to classify this book, so I just went with history. It's the story of the author's family which he traces back to pre-WWI, and follows through to present day. Based on the description, I thought this was more of a Jewish diaspora story tracing the movement of his family from Russian/Slavic countries, to Britain, Israel, the US, etc. It was just a big disappointment. It's all over the place, so it's really hard to follow a common thread, and is also very focused on the history of mental illness in his family. I was frustrated by how schizophrenic it was, there were definitely some interesting bits, but these tended to be about people only tangentially related to his family, so again, the thread of the story kept getting tangled up. If I had it to do over, I would skip this one.

The Flying Circus - Susan Crandall - historical fiction - five stars - I really enjoyed Crandall's book Whistling Past the Graveyard, so thought I would give her another try. This is the story of Henry, an orphan who is running from a crime he didn't commit. He meets Cora Rose who is running from an arranged engagement and they take up with Gil a barnstormer with a past he is running from also. Together they form an act and travel across the country.  I really enjoyed the characters and how their backstories unravelled and how they became a family.  Definitely planning to read some more from Crandall.

Sold on a Monday - Kristina McMorris - historical fiction - five stars - The story of an aspiring photographer/reporter from the 1930's whose chance encounter/photo of a couple of boys leads to his big break. But, his newfound position comes at a cost.  As he tries to undo the damage that his story has brought, he also rebuilds his relationship with his father.  I found the story compelling and there was definitely some mystery and action/suspense. McMorris took the idea from a photo she saw from the time period as she wondered about the background and the story behind the photo.  I really love that that is what generated the story, and it is a good one.  Definitely recommend.

How about you guys?  Would love to hear what you loved and what I should stay away from.  next up for me, the first in a new series from Alexander McCall Smith - The Department of Sensitive Crimes, and then the new Spy School book (which I let Ellie read first), and Daughter of Moloka'i which is the sequel to a book I read last year....I have four holds at the library that I need to go pick up too....

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Altenew Dainty Bouquet Set

Hey all!  Hope you had a nice weekend.  I was able to get some time in the craft room and inked up one of my newest Altenew acquisitions, the Dainty Bouquet set.

This is one of those sets I would have avoided like the plague before I had a MISTI, but a stamp positioner makes all the difference here.

From a color standpoint I was actually inspired by the stamping guide that comes with the set.  They show the solid images in gray with a line that shows you were to line up the stamp.  I like the contrast of that gray with the color, and thought I would see how it looks in real life.

I used Altenew inks for the stamping.  The gray was Evening Gray, and then I used Crimson and Velvet for the flowers and Volcano Lake and Emerald for the leaves.

Once the stamping was done, I trimmed the panel down and used Altenew's Thinking of You die for the sentiment.  It was die cut three times from a dark gray cardstock and adhered together to add some dimension.

This is such a pretty floral set.  I'm looking forward to experimenting with some more color combinations!

*Affiliate Links below to Ellen Hutson and in text to Altenew

Friday, May 17, 2019

Neat & Tangled May Release Recap and Winners

Happy Friday!  The May release is now available in the Neat & Tangled store.  Here's a look back at my projects for this week:

I also have a couple of winners to announce.  Congratulations to:

lynda who wins the Quilted Background
@pixlnauts from IG who wins the Foliage Frame set

I loved working with this months products, it was a great way to end my time with Neat & Tangled.  Thank you all for your sweet comment this week.  Have a great weekend, and if there's anything from the release you need, it's available now in the N&T store!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Neat & Tangled May Release & Giveaways - Day 4

It's the last day of release reveals at Neat & Tangled and today we're showing off my new Foliage Frame set.  I love all my designs, but I have been anxiously awaiting the release of this one.  

It's always nice to have sets in your collection that allow you to create lovely elegant looks quickly and easily.  This one fits that bill.  There is a die set that coordinates with the set with an opening that you can cut in the center as well as coordinating dies for the individual leaf images, but I wanted to create some simple one layer cards today.

For this first card I cut watercolored a panel of watercolor paper using a single shade of of blue and instead of an ombre wash that continues across the whole panel, I created essentially two washes that faded towards the center of the panel.

Once that was dry, I heat embossed the background using Hero Arts Sand embossing powder which adds both some texture and sparkle.

I used my MISTI to stamp the sentiment so that I could stamp ifirst n color, and then directly over top again with Versamark so the sentiment could be clear embossed.

I have been plotting this second card since I designed this set.  I started by stamping the background with white pigment ink on kraft paper.

Then using Altenew inks, I stamped the individual branches on top of the white pigment ink.  I wasn't looking to be particularly precise here.  I love the look of colored ink over pigment on kraft.  When you don't stamp exactly it actually gives you some extra dimension and gives it a more rustic/vintage feel.

Once I was done with the leaves, I added some berries in red, just randomly stamping them about the panel, and finished off with the sentiment in the center.

You definitely want to stop by the Neat & Tangled blog to check out what the rest of the team has created, there are such pretty samples today!  While you're there leave a comment to be entered to win a set.

I have a set to give away too.  To be entered, just leave me a comment.  There are extra chances to win on my Instagram account too (@mprantner).  I'll be back tomorrow with a recap and winners!