Thursday, January 30, 2020

Altenew Arabesque Medallion

I've really been trying to keep my crafty spending to a minimum in the new year as we're saving up for a big vacation this summer.  So, in addition to using things I've gotten but not inked up yet, I"m also trying to revisit some old favorites, enter Altenew's Arabesque Medallion set.

I really love this image.  It's large and bold, but not overly complicated, so it lends itself to lots of different techniques, but today I decided to simply color it.

I stamped the image on an A2 sized piece of Neenah Solar White cardstock that had not yet been folded, and colored it with Copics.  Then I decided that I could get two cards for the price of one, so I cut the panel right down the center of the image.

For this first card, I simply trimmed the half down to 5 1/2" x 4", added a sentiment from Neat & Tangled's Have Courage stamp set, and then popped the panel up over a dark gray card base.

For my second card, I fussy cut the second half of the medallion, and after adding a sentiment to my panel, from Papertrey's Choose Joy set, adhered the medallion with foam tape.

I added a wine colored mat to finish things off.

This is such a great image, and it was fun to get it out again.  I also love that I was able to get two cards out of the main image.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

WPlus9 Ironworks Background Two Ways

Hi friends!  I picked up this Ironworks Background die from WPlus9 a while ago and thought it was time I gave it a whirl.

Today I'm showing off two very different ways to use it.  First, a card with no stamping!

I have had this 1canoe2 Twilight pad for a while as well as some of the ephemera from the collection.  I picked two prints from the pad, diecutting the navy print and then layering it over the white and gray polka pattern.

I used several ephemera pieces from the collection to finish things off, including the large gold foil sentiment, and I added some stitching on the pieces for some extra texture/dimension.

The secondary sentiment was created using my typewriter (I'm thinking I definitely need a new ribbon).  Both that piece and the large sentiment were popped up with foam tape.

Next, a much bolder look at the die.  When you turn the die so that the focal point is closer to the bottom of the card, the die reminds me a bit of a stage curtain.

For this technique, I cut the die once from black cardstock and once from red.  The black piece was set aside.  The red I left intact on my cutting plate, and then used Copics to add some shading to the individual pieces.  

Then I added adhesive to my card base, adhered the black die cut/webbing piece, and inlaid the red pieces.

I finished the card off with a bold sentiment from an old Ali Edwards stamp set which was heat embossed in gold.

I really like how different these cards turned out.  Would love to know which is your favorite.

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Thursday, January 23, 2020

One for the Books

I colored a couple more of my Purple Onion Designs images this week.  I've had these for a while, but am only now getting around to inking them up.

These are Zoey and Mia from Stacey Yacula's Once Upon A Time release.

Once I had them stamped and colored, I decided that this journaling card and stamp set from Feed Your Craft's Mark Your Place Kit, which was released a couple years ago, were the perfect complement for my images.

I wanted the bookcase to be a bit more muted, so I inked it with Versafine and stamped it on a scrap piece of cardstock first, so this was second generation stamping.

The sentiment was made up from two of the sentiments from the set, stamped in first generation.

I added a patterned paper background and a black mat, and then adhered my little critters, popping up the bunny for some extra dimension.

That's all for today.  Thanks for visiting!

Wednesday, January 15, 2020


Hi friends!  It's been quiet here on the blog lately.  We've got a lot going on at home in terms of the kids school/sports schedules, so crafting time has been hard to find, but I managed to get a little bit of coloring done over the weekend.

This cute little pair, Rory & Noelle, is from Stacey Yakula's most recent Purple Onion Designs release.

They were stamped on Neenah Solar White with Gina K Black Amalgam ink, colored with Copics, and then fussy cut.

I added them to a journaling card from Studio Calico.  I really enjoy using journaling cards on my actual cards because it often saves me a bit of type in composing/laying out my card.  For this card, I added just a hint of inking to the journaling card using Tumbled Glass Distress Ink to create a ground line.

The sentiment is one of my favorites from the Typed Sentiments set I designed for Neat & Tangled.

I added a panel of white cardstock that I rounded the corners on, but it was a little too stark, so using the same ground line I created on the journaling card, I added some inking to the white panel.

Hope 2020 is treating you well!

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Simon Says Stamp Hey Bestie Release

Hi everyone!  Hope that the new year is treating you well.  Today I have a couple cards to share using a stencil from the new Simon Says Stamp Hey Bestie release.

This Bursting Hearts stencil is big - 9" x 12"!  

It's got a great spray of hearts that spreads across the stencil which means that you can get very different looks using different parts of the stencil.

For this first card, I used the top portion of the stencil where the hearts kind of fade off into the distance.

I started by stamping the You Are cling background on a piece of watercolor cardstock with Smokey Gray Versafine ink.  Then I lightly inked the panel with Worn Lipstick Distress Ink.

The stencil was then placed over the panel, and heavily inked with Worn Lipstick and just a touch of Festive Berries.  I then spread Tonic Glimmer Paste over top for some sparkle and texture.

This sweet little girl and her new puppy from MFT were the perfect fit, matching the line of the hearts.  She was stamped with Gina K Amalgam ink and colored with Copics.

The sentiment is also from that set and was stamped on a strip of cardstock that I lightly softened with some very faint inking so that the contrast with the background was not so stark.

My next card uses a portion of the stencil closer to the bottom of the stencil.

I taped the stencil down, and then inked each of the hearts, masking as needed, in a roughly rainbow color progression.

Leaving the stencil in place, I then stamped the You Are background over the panel with Versafine Black Onyx ink.  

I finished things off with the Simon's I Love You Shadow die.  

I really love the versatility of this die, and because of the size it's also perfect for layouts and home decor items. 

Be sure to take a look at the rest of the new release, some really good stuff in there!

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

December 2019 in Books

Happy New Year!  I've got my final book recap for 2019 to share today.  It's a bit of a smaller list this month as we had a lot going on with some work around the house (some doors put in in the sunroom, and new siding on the outside of the house) and Christmas in general, but some really good books this month as well as a couple real duds.  It's actually really hard to pick a favorite this month as most of the non-duds were all really excellent.  Here's what I read:

Nothing More Dangerous - Allen Eskens - fiction - five stars - I am a huge Eskens fan.  His books are all tangentially related, but aren't part of an overlying story arc.  This book is the story of Boady Sanden, who later becomes the professor of Joe Talbert in Eskens's first novel The Life We Bury.  Boady is in high school and struggling, his whole goal is to save enough money so he can leave town.  Then a new family moves in next door which changes his life, giving both him and his mother friends that they desperately need, while changing the dynamic of the small town.  Throw in the mysterious disappearance of Lida Poe, who worked at the local factory and might have embezzled money from the company, and you get a trademark Eskens book.  Just as good as the rest of his books, if you've never read any of these you need to.

Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother's Will to Survive - Stephanie Land - memoir - five stars - This was a very readable and eye-opening book about a woman's struggle to provide for herself and her daughter.  Land comes from a family that also struggled to stay afloat, and seemed to have been on track to break out of that cycle and go to college when she became pregnant.  She decided to keep the child, but with little support from the abusive father, left with basically no resources.  From a shelter where she escaped to, she had to learn the system, figuring out how to obtain services and also find jobs and housing.  It was an education on how one has to function in order to get, and keep, government assistance.  Land's story is one of perseverance, hard work, and some luck.  It gives you an understanding of how very little margin there is for those who are on the margin, how just a couple unexpected bills can put you in a tailspin that will require years to recover from.  A must read.

Out of Darkness, Shining Light
 - Petina Gappah - historical fiction - two stars - This one was a slog for me.  I thought it would be really interesting, and was very disappointed.  It's about David Livingstone, kind of.  Livingstone was a Scottish explorer/missionary who was obsessed with finding the source of the Nile.  He traveled extensively in Africa searching for it and trying to convert those he came into contact with.  By all accounts he was not great at either of those things.  This book tells the story of his African companions who, after his death, carried his body and papers back to the coast so they could be sent back to England.  It's told from the perspective of two in the party and is really just so meandering.  You don't come away particularly caring for any of the characters in the books.  There were some interesting parts, but they just didn't outweigh the good.  Skip it.

Ellie and the Harpmaker - Hazel Prior - fiction - two stars - I thought his would be a fun, quick, light palette cleanser.  It was a quick read, but it was a throwaway book.  I didn't find any of the characters likable.  Ellie, the main character is just such a doormat and the whole premise of the book the scenarios, etc. were ridiculous.  There was a 'happy ending', but even that seemed contrived and forced.  Not a fan. 

The Dutch House - Ann Patchett - fiction - five stars - This one was so good!  Danny and Maeve grow up in an amazing house that defines their childhood.  Their mother leaves when Danny is just a child, so Maeve ends up doing much of his raising.  Their father eventually remarries a woman named Andrea who brings with her two small girls.  This blended family never quite clicks, and when Danny and Maeve's father suddenly dies, they find themselves banned from the home, and with nothing as the home and his father's very successful business were both put in Andrea and her father's names.  As Danny and Maeve grow, get jobs and families, the house remains this almost mythical element in their lives drawing them back over and over.  I loved this story, how the characters were developed, and how she tied the story up in the end.  So good.

The Giver of Stars
 - Jojo Moyes - historical fiction - five stars - I really loved this one.  It's the story of a group of women who form a branch of the Packhorse Library in Kentucky.  The Packhorse Library was an effort championed by Eleanor Roosevelt to bring books/reading to rural areas.  When the library is pitched to the citizens of Baileyville, they are not particularly interested and enthusiastic, but a few brave women sign up to be part of the library.  It's a wonderful story about the library itself, but even more about the women who volunteered to be part of it, and the friendships they developed as a result, especially during a time when society was very much male dominated.  Loved this one!

Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation - Stuart Gibbs - juvenile fiction - five stars - Ellie and I are big Stuart Gibbs fans, so we were excited to see him coming out with a new series.  Charlie Thorne is a twelve year old genius who is currently coasting through college.  The CIA recruits her to help them locate a secret equation that Einstein developed which they have been searching for since his death.  They're not quite sure what this equation is for, except that it could mean either the salvation or destruction of the world.  Fast paced and clever, I really enjoyed the characters of Charlie and her half brother Dante (who is the one who recommended her to the CIA).  If you're a Gibbs fan you'll definitely enjoy this, and it's a good introduction to Gibbs for those who aren't.  We're excited that the second book in the series will be out this year!

I'm currently reading The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls as well as a biography on Wallis Simpson (which is something I've been kind of slogging through on the side for several weeks).  Next up are This Tender Land and The Confession Club both of which I am very excited to read.  Would love to hear what you guys have been reading!