Winner–Giveaway #16: Pack Your Bags

I’ll be the first to admit, I think this was definitely the most challenging puzzle giveaway I’ve had to date. That’s not to say it was impossible to solve–and many of you made great progress. But, choosing a winner was super simple as there was only one entry that managed to get all of the correct answers! So who’s the very savvy girl? Hmmm…before I get to that, let’s take a look at the answers.

01. I am museum which holds the world famous painting ‘Las Meninas’ among its collection, as well as the largest collection of Spanish paintings in the World. Where am I?
Madrid, Spain

02. I’m located on the North Island and known as the City of Sails. Where am I?
Auckland, New Zealand

03. I was designed by Daniel Hudson Burnham and became an icon in my city. Some say I am also responsible for the phrase “23 Skidoo”. Where am I?
New York City, USA

04. I’m located on the Burrard Peninsula and contain the landmark Robson Square. Where am I?
Vancouver (British Columbia), Canada

05. Unscramble me: LARVA ACE SAUCE ZEN. Where am I?
Caracas, Venezuela

06. I was established as a trading town by King Gustav I of Sweden and originally named Hellssingeforss. My official languages are Finnish and Swedish. Where am I?
Helsinki, Finland

07. I am a fictional French speaking Belgian detective appearing in 33 novels. My creator and Guiness Book of World Records title holder was born here. Where am I?
Torquay (Devon), England

08. I am a symbol of eternal love and a mausoleum. I am also the World’s finest example of Mughal architecture. Where am I?
Agra, India (the building in question is the Taj Mahal)

09. Unscramble me: OBSIDIAN ALIEN. Where am I?
Bali, Indonesia

10. I am the capital city of this country that shares borders with the Atlantic Ocean, Angola and Botswana. Where am I?
Windhoek, Namibia

Thank you to all of those who took the time and effort to play along. As always, I really enjoy coming up with ways to torture entertain you. Be on the lookout for Giveaway #17 shortly.

So, who is the Mistress of Maps? The winner of a brand new Cricut “Pack Your Bags” cartridge, a selection of Imaginisce “Scooter’s Vacation” paraphernalia, a LaBlanche “Dogwood” silicone stamp, and some secret surprises is….Ms. Kristie Maynard. Congratulations on your mastery of geography Kristie! If you would please forward your contact information, I will get your prize package on its way to you. Again, thanks to all who participated.

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It’s The Little Things…

I have a confession–which will not be all that surprising to those of you who love paper crafting as much as I do. There’s something uniquely satisfying and fulfilling in getting all the “small” details in project just right. Beyond the self-satisfaction you get from producing and giving a handmade project to a family member or friend, let’s be honest: many times the recipient will not realize or truly appreciate the amount of work and thought you put into said project. That’s not to say they don’t appreciate or enjoy it–it’s simply that they don’t understand the time consuming and minute details (and heaps of creativity and love) that went into their gift.

That’s where the real satisfaction and pay-off comes in: the knowing and joy we get from all the the little things that go into a project. It is this intrinsic value in our work and ideas that no one can ever really understand or share in that feeds our creativity and fires our giving souls. I may produce a card that took hours of planning and detail work–and no one may ever quite “get it”. But, I do. I always take pictures of all my projects, so that when they are gone to their new homes, I still have a way to celebrate and remember that particular work. Every now and again, I love to flip through my pictures and look at what I’ve done and how far I’ve come. New ideas, new techniques, new accomplishments…they simply fuel my desire to do something even better and more unique. I really urge you to keep a record of your works–whether they be digital files, printed photos or written journal entries. Every so often, remind yourself of your work–good and not-so-successful–to feed your fire of creativity and stoke new ambition and drive.

The reason I touched on all of this today, is that I was extremely happy with one of my latest projects. It’s full of small details that perhaps only I will ever truly appreciate. The card literally represents hours of work–a project I returned to over the course of several days. It was a truly fulfilling creative moment for me. I only hope that whomever ends up with it, will enjoy it half as much as I did putting it together.

This project started with a piece of 4″ x 5″ kraft cardstock from Papertrey Ink. I used a VersaMark watermark stamp pad and a rubber stamp from Samantha Walker’s “Butterfly Garden” (Unity Stamp Co.) set to stamp the corner floral and butterfly image. I used some American Crafts Zing! embossing powder in Bronze and my heat tool to raise the image. After my image was completely set, I wasn’t sure where to go next with this project. One thing that “bothered” me a bit, was the stark contrast with the embossed image and the kraft background. After setting it aside for a while, I returned to it and made a few changes. I used my Stampin’ Up! ticket corner punch to take the corners off. I then used some Tsukineko Memento ink in Rich Cocoa and a sponge dauber to darken the edges of the kraft cardstock. Finally, I used some Ranger Perfect Pearls Mist in Perfect Pearl to soften the effect. I sprayed the entire cardstock with a heavy coat and waited a few seconds. Then I used a paper towel and came back over the embossed image to remove the excess spray. The mist worked perfectly to soften the image–not detracting from the embossing, but filling in the starkness of the kraft background.

This was a very feminine feeling card from the get go–and I decided to go for maximum effect in that sense. I mounted the craft cardstock embossed piece on a card base made of Papertrey Ink’s Pinefeather cardstock. I used a piece of chipboard and covered it with more Pinefeather cardstock to create the base of the cameo piece. The actual plastic cameo is one the remarkable pieces done by Webster’s Pages. (If you have not checked out their fabulous embellishments, please do so. One of my personal favorites are these cameo pieces featuring ballerinas, birds, horses, butterflies, and highly sculpted female profiles.) Once I had created the base for the cameo to sit on, I knew I wanted to do pearls. Figuring out the sizes and exactly how to lay them out was a trick in itself. I ended up using Moss Green flatback pearls from Queen & Co. in three different sizes to create the frame and hand apply them one at a time.

Feeling the need to counterbalance the weight of the heavy pearl frame, I decided to use various sizes of blackened crystals from Basic Grey to highlight the centers of each of the floral elements in my embossed corner piece. The sentiment was created using Stampin’ Up!’s modern label punch and “Fabulous Phrases” stamp set. The inside watercolored journaling block is from KaiserCraft.

There’s just something about this one that makes me very happy and very creatively fulfilled.

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RANDOMONIUM:

–Don’t forget there are only nine more days to enter Giveaway #16. (See sidebar link for all the details.)
–Is anyone loving AMC’s “The Killing” as much as I am? I am in love with this show’s creative beauty and brilliant acting.
–I cannot stop listening to Adele’s brilliant “21”. It’s my pick for Album of The Year thus far.

Je Vous Adore

I must apologize for the delay in getting this entry posted. Unfortunately, Mother Nature was apparently upset with the Southwest desert U.S. After having a few days of temperature readings below zero (and incredibly, -21 with the wind chill factored in), the aftermath was nearly as cold as the event. I had three separate broken water lines (…and only two thumbs to plug the holes with, lol). It’s been an icy floody mess around here. But, like all things, this too shall pass.

The good news is that today’s card project is so pretty, it made me forget the bone-chilling cold–for a bit at least. This card is also one of those happy accidents where a combination of not-so-likely Cricut cartridges provided an interesting collision. In the end–and pardon my frankness–this card is beautiful.

I used one of the Spring 2011 seasonal mini-cartridge releases, “Mother’s Day Boquet”, to create a layered flower piece that serves as the focal point of this card. The image I used was the flower on Row 1, Key 5. I cut four layers: 4″, 3.5″, 3″, and 2.5″. I used my Cricut Imagine to do the cutting and one big advantage to doing so is the ability to create custom colors and/or patterns on designs from the regular Cricut cartridge line. Earlier, I had been working on an Imagine project using the Cricut Imagine “Country Carnival” art cartridge. While I was debating what solid color I wanted to print my flower layers with, I had the idea to experiment with pattern using the “Country Carnival” cartridge. One of the patterned paper images I love on this cartridge is a vintage newspaper layout that is dotted with spots of bright color in the form of trailing rose bushes. It provides for vivid pops of color, while keeping with a chic vintage look. Using some white Bazzill cardstock (corduroy textured), I cut my flower layers using the “Mother’s Day Bouquet cartridge and the pattern from “Country Carnival”.

I further enhanced the vintage look of the layers by using some Ranger Perfect Pearls Mist in Heirloom Gold. I really love the formulation of these Perfect Pearl mists. I’ve tried other color spritzes, washes and sprays–and usually the results are messy and not aesthetically pleasing. But, I have had tremendous success with the Perfect Pearls. I anchored my floral layers with a giant faceted jeweled brad from Creative Charms. I used a Martha Stewart bone folder to curl my petals to provide dimensionality and visual interest.

The decorative paper for the card mat and the inside of the card is from Graphic 45’s “Le Romantique” collection. The card base and ribbon are from Papertrey Ink in Pine Feather. A little dimension and a strategically placed stick pin provide just the right finishing touches on the front. On the inside, I used a kraft journaling tag from Maya Road to provide an area for personalization.


Overall, I was really jazzed by the modern meets vintage look of the overall card. The bloom looks like it is growing right off the card front–and in these frigid temperatures it is certainly a most welcome sight.




Giveaway #15: Freshly Picked

Once again, it was a year without snow in my part of the desert. Though, I have to say there have been many a morning where the temperature has dipped low enough to put a major chill in the air. I realize many of you have been frozen under layers of snow for more days than you care to recall. In that spirit, I thought the next giveaway should remind us that Spring is somewhere on the horizon. The cycle will start anew and gardens will be begging for new seed and tender love and care.

So to get us in that mindset, I am giving away a brand new Cricut cartridge, “Freshly Picked”, that celebrates new harvests and life’s never ending cycle. Along with the cartridge, the winner will receive a set of hand-picked embellishments and goodies to help inspire your creativity.

Now, as many of you know, most giveaways on my weblog involve nothing more than answering a random question and a bit of luck. A few giveaways ago, I tried a little word scramble contest and it really seemed to go over very well. Not only did more people participate, but I think the challenge was fun. So, I’m going to do it again. The theme for this contest is “Herbs & Spices” as a nod to “Freshly Picked”.

Below, you’ll find a list of the names of ten (10) herbs and/or spices that have been dropped off the produce shelves and are a bit worse for the wear. Each one has been scrambled up and it’s your job to help put things back in order. For instance, say you were given the following string of letters: be a flay. With a little re-arranging, “be a flay” becomes “bay leaf”.

The person with the most correct responses will be declared the winner. If more than one person solves them all, then the winner will be determined by a random draw of the names of all those who solved the puzzle. To submit your entry, send your list of answers via the e-mail link (“contact me”) on the sidebar by the contest deadline of Monday, February 7, 2011 at 12:00 a.m. MST. One entry per person please (and no sharing of answers, lol).

01. my sorer a
02. red navel
03. cedar iron
04. died well
05. karma clad comb
06. lamer songs
07. no rag rat
08. legal in
09. love me banner
10. orders his ah

*Super Bonus*
11. cheaper pinups

It’s In The Box…

Today’s project is a bit different. What originally started as a plain aluminum tin box that was supposed to hold a card–i.e, a metal envelope–morphed into a project of its own. As I finished up the card that was going to go inside of it, I decided to take a different approach. My plan was to put the card I made and a gift card inside of the tin and ribbon on the outside of the tin for a bit more presentation value. But, then I wondered why I didn’t just make the tin the card itself.

This was an easy project in that most of the artwork for it (besides a few paper elements) came in the form of rub-on art. I used a package of Fancy Pants rub-ons that I’ve had sitting around forever. I particularly liked that the artwork I used in the corners of the front of the tin were already distressed–adding that vintage, worn look. I used a bit of Stampin’ Up! designer series paper on the inside and a heart shaped journaling tag. I like that the inside echoes the elements of the cover. The inside cover was another rub-on piece from Creative Imaginations. Half the fun with a piece like this is deciding what goes where in the layout of your designs. It’s akin to putting together a jigsaw puzzle–and a fun way to use up some of the rub-on artwork you may have lying around your workspace.






Architecturally Speaking

I’ve long been fascinated with geometric shapes. I suppose that fact–along with my love of numbers–is what led to my pursuing degrees in mathematics and economics. Beyond the intrinsic beauty of patterns and shapes that exist because of numbers, the use of those shapes and patterns in architecture, art and nature completely bowl me over. I love observing and studying the intricacy of architectural elements like columns, scrollwork, arches, porte-cochères, et al. I also have a great fondness for mosaics and tessellations.

The reason I share all of this is that the card project I’m sharing today was inspired by architecture and one geometric design in particular–the quatrefoil. The term quatrefoil literally means “four leaves”. In architecture and Christian symbolism, a quatrefoil is a symmetrical shape created by four overlapping circles of the same diameter. In more common terms, a quatrefoil is often referred to as a flower with four petals or a “four-leaf clover”. The shape was most prominent architecturally during the Gothic Revival and Renaissance. But, you can find examples in churches and cathedrals around the world today.

A while back, Stampin’ Up! introduced a stamp set, button set, and a corresponding set of three mini-punches called “Itty Bitty Shapes” (The punch set is item #118309 and sells for $16.95) . It so happened that one of the shapes (and a coordinating punch) were of the quatrefoil shape. Needless to say, I became obsessed with this punch and have explored numerous ways of creating with it. This may be the craziest in terms of sheer scope and the time involved–but I had to try it. My goal was to create a mosaic background pattern based on the quatrefoil shape. There are over 200 individual punched shapes used to create this card mat–and each one was applied and adhered by hand–one at a time. The papers used to punch out the quatrefoils were bits of scraps from Graphic 45. I didn’t want the pattern to be obvious, yet I hoped when finished it would convey a feeling of a field of flowers viewed from afar. I’m not sure I was completely successful–yet, I do love the results. I only wish you could see and feel this in person, as the photographs are truly a poor substitute.

The card mat was created by using a Zig Two-Way glue pen to mount the punched out shapes on a piece of 4″ x 5″ cardstock from Papertrey Ink in Simply Chartreuse. The mat is the obvious showpiece, so I tried to keep the embellishment to a minimum. An appropriate sentiment, sequin flower, piece of ribbon and hangtag complete the mood. I hope you like it…












Cullen

Today’s post is different in several aspects. One, it’s the first 12″ x 12″ layout I’ve done in what seems like ages. If you have been a reader for any length of time, you’ll know that my first love is cardmaking. Secondly, this layout isn’t of family or friends–or even about a specific event. In fact, it’s the first page in a new book I’m doing called “Future Ex-Husbands”. (I’ll wait.)

In all sincerity, I had a blast with this one. I had a lovely 4″ x 6″ photograph of the talented and handsome Mr. Robert Pattinson that called out to me. Ever since I added the “Happy Hauntings” Cricut cartridge to my collection, I fell instantly in love with the fonts. I could just visualize the Cullen name in my head since I opened the cartridge. So this morning, I set out to make it a reality.

The background paper is a die-cut 12″ x 12″ glazed and glittered sheet from BoBunny’s “Jazmyne” Collection. I used Bazzill textured cardstock for the font and shadow cuts, as well as the frame. (The font and frame are from “Happy Hauntings”.) I used Papertrey Ink Scarlet Jewel ink (and a secret technique) to create the blood splatter effect on the title and the bloody fingerprints on the photo. (I cannot even begin to tell you how much I am in love with the title lettering on this page!). The epoxy embellishments are from Creative Imaginations and the super-talented Marah Johnson. The paper tape handwriting strip is from 7 Gypsies. I grabbed my Gypsy, my papers and adhesive and went to town. (Note: The letters and shadows were cut at 2″; The frame and its pieces were cut at 7″.)







Have a Super Friday Crafties! May you find some “Future Ex-Husbands” in your weekend ahead! 🙂