Thursday, February 27, 2020

You Got This

I wanted to do some coloring the other night, so I pulled out this gorgeous Botan Peony image from Picket Fence Studios.  I love how big and bold this flower is.  The last time I used it, I watercolored the image, so this time I thought I would use Copics.  Oddly enough, I just realized that apparently this is the color I think this flower should be because I basically colored it the exact same color I watercolored it.

I stamped the image on some Neenah Solar White cardstock.  Usually I use three colors for blending, but because the flower is so big, I used four pinks:  RV32, RV34, RV66, and RV69.  I used Y35, Y38, and YR04 for the center of the flower, and YG13, YG17, and YG25 for the stem.

Once the coloring was done, I fussy cut the image.  After determining exactly how I wanted to place the flower (which took way more time than it should have), I trimmed off the excess, although I did leave a bit of the flower hanging off the edge on the right side.  This was then popped up over a piece of patterned paper from The Stamp Market.

The sentiment is from one of my favorite sentiment sets from Janes Doodles, You Got This.

Just one more day until the weekend!  Thanks for visiting!

*Affiliate Links Below

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

Your Kindness

Hi everyone!  I'm still in the throes of my crafty spending freeze, but I'm actually enjoying the opportunity to pull out some old favorites and work with my unused stash too.

Today I'm sharing a card featuring the Dainty Bouquet set from Altenew.  I am so not good at layering stamps, but I can use them now because of the MISTI, and although this set looks complicated, it is not too difficult to line up.

I started by cutting an A2 sized panel of Neenah Solar White cardstock.  This was placed in my MISTI, and then I arranged the main image/base layer of the floral cluster over top.  I knew I wanted to create a mirrored image, so I placed the image so that when I turned the panel 180 degrees there would be no overlap.

The base layer was stamped with Altenew Silver Stone ink, and I used Forest Glades, Evergreen, Midnight Violet, and Andromeda for the additional layers.

The panel was really easy to create.  Each time I placed a layer and stamped it, I simple rotated the panel 180 degrees and stamped again.  

The sentiment is from Concord and 9th's Thankful Leaves Turnabout and was stamped with Industrial Diamond ink, also from Altenew.

I was really close to  just placing the panel on my card base, but I decided to trim just a bit off the top and bottom of the panel so that you can see a bit of the card base, and popped it up with foam tape.

Because I used the MISTI and mirror image technique, this really was a quick card to make.  Hope you are having a great week!

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

Sunday, February 16, 2020

Technique Tuesday Friendly February

Hey everyone!

I'm here today helping Technique Tuesday celebrate Friendly February.  From now through February 20th, you can get 25% off all items in the Friendship & Inspiration category in the Technique Tuesday store using code TTFriend.  AND, as a bonus, any orders over $25 ship free in the U.S.

I'm sharing a couple cards created using the A Little Prickly Stamp Set and Dies.

These are basically the same card/layout, but created using very different techniques.

For my first card, I wanted to go back to a technique that I used to do a lot, and haven't in a while - paper piecing.

I placed my stamps in my MISTI, and then stamped a whole bunch of times using a bunch of different patterned papers - mostly greens for the cacti, but also that yellow for the base, and some other colors for the planters/flower.  This is a perfect technique for using up your patterned paper scraps.

Once the stamping was done, I fussy cut the different elements.  The emphasis was on the fussy as some of the pieces were very thin, but I think it's well worth the effort.

Once the pieces were cut, I went around the edges with a black foam tipped marker so that I couldn't seen any of the white core of the patterned paper.  This is definitely not required, but I think it gives the images a more polished/finished look.

Then it was a matter or adhering the pieces to my base patterned piece.  I used a Quickie Glue Pen for this step.

Originally I was going to just adhere that second piece of background paper for the ground line directly under the pots, but then I realized that because there was a bit of a curve to the bottom of the pots, it would look funny.  Instead, I trimmed that piece down so that it fell slightly above the bottom of the pot, stamped it with my MISTI (the cactic were all still in place), fussy cut the bottoms of the pots, and then adhered it to my background piece.

The sentiment was stamped directly onto that bottom piece, and I colored in the larger letters with a Copic marker.

For my second, card, I stamped a white panel of Neenah cardstock with my images (remember, they were all still in my MISTI).

Then I used the coordinating dies to partially die cut them, so just the bottoms were still attached, and used my paper trimmer to cut off the excess part of the panel.

I stamped the sentiment, and then the images and large letters were colored with Copics.

I normally don't use super bright/loud prints, but I thought that this print from an old BasicGrey collection was perfect for the images since the white in the panel provides a place for your eye to rest.

That's all for me today.  Would love to know which version of these is your favorite.

Be sure to stop by the Technique Tuesday blog to check out what the other designers created as well as peruse the Friendship & Inspiration section to see what's on sale.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Floral Background from The Stamp Market

I have a thing for background stamps.  I just love them, I think that they are so versatile and there are so many things that you can do with them.  Today I'm sharing a card using the Floral Background Stamp from The Stamp Market.

I wanted to create a soft, watercolored look with the background.  I started by stamping the background with Fairy Dust Ink from WPlus9 just to get a bit of a base layer.

Then I used sponge daubers to apply color to the background using Altenew inks.  All stamping was done using my MISTI.  I started by working on the leaves, using Sweet Leaf ink.  Then I moved onto the flowers, using Dusk ink. 

Then I went back, adding first Desert Night ink towards the centers of my flowers, and then later Andromeda.  I also added some Frayed Leaf to the leaves to add dimension.

This process involved multiple inkings/daubings until I was happy with the results.  I also went back at the end, and stamped another layer of Fairy Dust Ink over the whole image.  Doing this I think helps to soften and blend some of the color together.

The sentiments are from the Have Courage set that I designed for Neat & Tangled.  I stamped with Versafine and then embossed with Frosted Crystal Antiquities embossing powder from Ranger.  I love using that powder with Versafine because it gives it a bit of texture and emphasis, but without the shiny finish.  The courage was stamped on a piece of scrap, fussy cut and popped up for some extra emphasis and dimension.

This is such a beautiful stamp and I love how easy it is to create the look of patterned paper with it.

Friday, February 7, 2020

Fun with Dies

Sometimes it's just fun to pull out a product with no real plan in mind.  Today I'm sharing a few cards created using this older die set from Papertrey Ink (I actually can't even remember what it's called).  I had been wanting it for a while, and picked it up second hand (who knows how long ago), and then promptly lost it in the morass we call my craft room.

It was recently unearthed, and I figured I should use them before I lose them again....

This is one of those dies that is right up my alley because there are so many interesting combinations and ways to put the pieces together.  I love the clean, modern, graphic look that it yields.

I selected five different shades of color from yellow to dark orange (Lemon Drop and Persimmon from MFT and Summer Sunrise, Orange Zest, and Terracotta Tile from PTI), and die cut 2-3 of each color.

This die ended up being a little different than I though, the ends don't cut fully, so I had to snip off the pieces at each end, but no big deal.

Then, I just played with them for a bit, assembling them in different combinations and shapes.

Once I settled on my three combinations, I adhered them to white card bases, and then added some simple sentiments from sets that I previously designed for Neat & Tangled (So Many Sentiments and Typed Sentiments).

For this one, I use two sets of the dies, varying the order of the colors.  I used the sentiment strip to hide where the two sets of dies came together.

For this next card, I started by placing the angled end of the largest strip/curve right in the corner of my panel, and then placed the remaining pieces, trimming the die cut pieces where they went over the edge of the panel.

I also die cut two pieces of black cardstock, to get the pieces for the centers of the curves.  

Finally, the simplest of the cards.

I thought this sentiment fit perfectly with the simple upturned curve.

This was such a fun and relaxing way to spend an evening!  Which do you like best?

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Mama Elephant Rowdy Raccoons

Sometimes you just want to make an easy cute card because you don't have a ton of time, but you need to create.  I seem to find myself in that position a lot these days.  Sometimes I give into my bad angel who tells me to just veg in front of the TV, but the other night I was bound and determined to make something before bed.

I pulled out this older set from Mama Elephant called Rowdy Raccoons.  I just love the images in the set, they are adorable, and I often use them for boy cards.

This time I chose a great encouraging sentiment from the set.

I colored the raccoon with my cool grays, added a bit of ground line, the sentiment, and the thinnest mat, and voila.

Super quick and easy!

Hope you're maintaining that balance!

Saturday, February 1, 2020

January 2020 in Books

Hi all, here with my monthly reading recap.  Overall a really good month of books with a nice mix of fiction and non-fiction, history and biography.  Favorites this month were This Tender Land and The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell, closely followed by The Shadow King.  Here are all the details:

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls - Anissa Gray - fiction - four stars - The story of a family rocked by a scandal.  Althea and Proctor are arrested for embezzlement/fraud, and their family is rocked to the core.  How did they get there?  What about their past affected their choices.  And what about their two daughters?  With whom should they live.  Althea's sisters struggle with the charges and the verdict and have to themselves deal with their pasts as well as their presents.  It was a really good story with complex characters and I enjoyed it.  I will say that I was pretty annoyed in general by Althea, she was my least favorite character.  Definitely worth the read though.

Wallis in Love: The Untold Life of the Duchess of Windsor, the Woman Who Changed the Monarchy- Andrew Morton - biography - two stars - Ugh, this one was such a drag.  I kept thinking it would get better.  I've always been kind of fascinating by the story of Edward abdicating, and I thought it would be a great read and a true life love story.  Basically these Wallis and Edward were two totally unlikeable and irredeemable individuals.  There was nothing to like about Wallis, and it's ironic that by the end of her life she didn't even care for or really like Edward.  And he was so weak and ineffective.  I was struck by an opinion at the beginning of the book that Wallis Simpson should in some ways be honored in Trafalgar Square because by causing Edward, an outspoken Nazi sympathizer, to abdicate, she actually saved the country and the free world.  Don't bother with this one.

The Confession Club (Mason, #3) - Elizabeth Berg - fiction - four stars - This is the third in Berg's series that started with The Story of Arthur Truluv.  It's about a group of ladies who meet each week to confess to one another.  The confessions range from silly to serious.  During the course of the story, Iris Winters and Maddy Harris (characters from previous books) are invited to join, and the group helps them work through the relationship issues they are dealing with.  It's another cute and sweet story.  Not as good as the previous two books, but still very enjoyable.

Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service - Gary Sinise - autobiography - five stars - I've always admired Gary Sinise, he's a great advocate for the military, and so when I saw this book at the library, I was excited to hear more about him and his life.  It details his younger wilder years and how acting really saved him from the path he was going down and gave him focus and purpose.  It also talks about how/why the military and veterans are so important to him.  It was really inspiring to me to see how he has used his celebrity and connections to make a difference for our military as well as for communities around the world.  His question of "Can I do more?" is a challenge for us all.

This Tender Land - William Kent Krueger - historical fiction - five stars - Krueger's book Ordinary Grace was my very favorite book a couple years ago, so I was really excited to see that he came out with another standalone book.  He's written a ton, but most are part of a detective series, and I'm always wary of committing myself to a huge series, plus while I like a good detective novel from time to time, I like them in moderation.  Anyway, this was another fantastic book.  It's a bit of a play on Tom Sawyer/Huckleberry Finn story.  Four orphans run away from the home in which they lived - a school where Native American children were forcibly removed to to learn.  They travel down the Mississippi in a canoe, trying to find an aunt.  They are on a true odyssey in which each of them grows into their own person and where they confront their pasts.  Such a good book.

A Double Life - Flynn Berry - fiction - three stars - This one was a disappointment.  It's loosely based on the life of Lord Luxon, a British aristocrat who was believed to have killed his children's nanny and attempted to kill his wife.  He escaped from England and disappeared.  Over time there were many sightings of him, but he was never found.  In this story, the main character is the man's daughter, Claire.  Following her father's disappearance, her mother moved her and her brother away, they changed their names, forsook the family money, and live ordinary lives.  However, the whereabouts of her father are always a mystery.  When there is once again a sighting, it raises all the old feelings, and Claire decides she needs to know once and for all what became of her father.  She is eventually able to find him and confront him.  I just never connected with Claire, who was frustratingly weak and annoying, and I thought the end was just not believable, almost like the author just didn't know how to end the book.  I would pass on this one.

The Extraordinary Life of Sam Hell - Robert Dugoni - fiction - five stars - This was another great one.  It's about Sam Hill, born with ocular albinism, a condition where you have red eyes.  This of course leads to social ostracism/bullying as he grows up, but he is blessed with amazing parents who support him and advocate for him and grow him into a kind and generous human being.  He is also blessed to have two really wonderful friends who help him through those growing up years.  The story is balanced between past and present when a bully from Sam's past shows up.  I thought the first part of the book (the longer part) was the best, just what Sam had to overcome and the faith and support that his parents provided was inspiring.  The present day/second part of the book was not as strong, especially the very end, it seemed a little rushed and some of the loose ends were wrapped up in a too pat way it felt like, but still so worth the read.

When Life Gives You Pears: The Healing Power of Family, Faith, and Funny People - Jeannie Gaffigan - memoir - five stars - Jeannie is the wife of comedian Jim Gaffigan.  Jeannie is also Jim's collaborative partner, she directed his show, and also writes much of his material.  They have five kids, and several years ago, after ignoring many of the signs because she was busy with business of living and raising kids, and working, she went to the doctor and after an MRI was told that she had a tumor the size and shape of a pear in her head.  The book tells about her diagnosis, surgery, and recovery.  Despite the difficulty, there was lots of humor and just down to earth-ness in her writing which I really enjoyed.  And, of course, it's a good news story which was great to read.  I have a very good friend who is dealing with cancer right now and it was encouraging to read a book with a good outcome.

Recursion - Blake Crouch - fiction - five stars - I don't read a lot of science fiction, in fact the last science fiction book I read might have been Crouch's Dark Matter which was also excellent.  This book tells the story of a brilliant scientist, Helena, who invents and time traveling machine/chair.  Unfortunately, there are people who want to use the chair for their own purposes.  The chair is one storyline, the other is about the emergence of people with False Memory Syndrome (FMS) where people all of sudden have a full set of memories from a previous life.  Barry, a New York City cop who starts to investigate FMS.  These two storylines eventually collide and become one.  I was hooked by this and read it in a day.  My only criticism is that it kind of got into this loop at the end which reminded me a lot of Dark Matter.  But, if I hadn't read that book I wouldn't have that criticism.  Highly recommend.

The Shadow King - Maaza Mengiste - historical fiction - five stars - Another must read.  It's the story of the Ethiopian resistance fighters who fought against Italy when they invaded in the run up to WWII.  So well done, with great character development.  Characters that were very flawed, but still likable.  This is part of history that I really had no knowledge of, and it made me curious and want to know more about the conflict.  Any book that makes me do internet searches to learn more is a good book.  Really loved this one.

I'm currently reading The Escape Artists, an account of POW British pilots in Germany during WWI who escaped from their camps, and I have All the Lives We Ever Lived on tap next.  Would love to know what you have been reading and if there's anything I need to add to my list.