Life In The Funny Pages…






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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.

Joy

Today’s card project came together after playing with some of my Sizzix dies from Tim Holtz’s Alterations line. For those of you not familiar with the line, you can find some information here. I particularly love the Movers & Shapers dies, as you have more control and creativity over where your designs are situated on the materials you are working with.

The basic layer for this layered card is a die-cut note shape called Baroque. I’ve had the Bigz Baroque die for a while now and recently added the miniature version of the die (Mini Baroque) to my collection. Using both dies together allows you to create some custom frames and designs. I also used the new Hope Movers & Shapers die from Mr. Holtz’s latest Sizzix release. I should also add that you can use this dies with most die-cutting systems out there (and not exclusively Sizzix machines). I prefer to use my trusty and reliable Cuttlebug (as opposed to the Big Shot) to cut my shapes out. (The dies simply sandwich between two “B” plates.)

Here are the basic pieces for putting this card together: the cardstock base is Papertrey Ink in Pinefeather (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, scored at 4 1/4″), the solid Baroque die cut in American Crafts glitter cardstock in Evergreen, the Baroque frame from the same cardstock (created with both the large and mini Baroque dies), and another Baroque die cut with the “Joy” cut-out done with decorative cardstock from Joann’s “Peppermint Forest” collection (from last year).



The main objective was to create a window look using the Baroque cut layers. Using the solid glittered cut as the base and layering the decorative “joy” cute between it and the glittered frame.

After I adhered the layers of my window frame together, I decided that I wanted to use another piece of tree print decorative cardstock to create a mat on my cardfront for continuity of design and theme. So I used some left over from my die-cutting and cut a 4″ x 5″ piece for matting.

Now it was just a matter of choosing the right finishing touches and embellishments for my card. In the end, I chose to continue the Christmas tree theme out with a small layered tree decorated with a bit of flocking and various gems. For the inside of the card, I used another scrap piece of the tree cardstock as a backdrop for my sentiment block. I also used some Tim Holtz tissue tape from the Tidings collection. All in all, I was really pleased with the way my “playing” turned out.







It’s hard to believe that we’re in the final stretch leading up to Christmas festivities. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas has literally seemed to fly by. I hope you are all well, warm, and close to “wrapping” up your holiday plans. I’m waiting on one more straggling package from my on-line shopping and then my Christmas list will be completed. I have to say that in addition to allowing us to share ideas and projects, the Internet has revolutionized my shopping modus operandi. Each year, I’ve relied more and more on on-line shopping to complete my gift list. With the exception of a couple of items, I think this year 95% of my retail therapy was done on-line. This cyber thing is an amazing place.

Let It Snow (?)

Yesterday, I was goofing around trying to decide on which project to tackle. Meanwhile, I realized that there was a chill in the air nipping at the back of my neck. I looked out the window (*distraction*) and realized it was one of those days. The ones where the sky is a frozen ice blue in color with little cloudiness. Where the wind seems to be missing, but blusters here and again. The kind where time seems to have just suspended itself and Mother Nature has let out a quiet, but definite, B-r-r-r-r.

When I got back to my workspace, I knew I wanted to make a card to capture that feeling. It’s funny because the piece of decorative paper I decided to use (from SEI) really isn’t winter or snowflake related per se, but yet it works. Some ribbon, a stamp, and my I-Rock and this icy blue card appeared. Can you feel it?





Tonality

I know recently I’ve been obsessed with Halloween and related projects. I’m actually kind of sad that after this weekend, it’s really time to move on to other holidays and projects.

For today’s card, I played with one of my favorite areas of exploration in card layout and construction: tonality. While I love bold, vivid color as much as the next person–I’ve always been fascinated with working with similar tones and tints of one color. Of course, green being my favorite color–tints and tones of greens are particular favorites for me. For this card, I wanted to explore the color family as well creating the actual and illusory use of texture. I was really happy with the way this project turned out.

The base cardstock and color is Wild Wasabi from Stampin’ Up!. The base decorative foiled cardstock mat was cut at 4″ x 5″ and is from American Craft’s “Botanique” collection. I used my SU! ticket corner punch to shape all four corners. The next two layers of the card were achieved with the use of my Cuttlebug and two of Tim Holtz’s Alterations dies from Sizzix.

The next layer (striped) was cut using the Baroque Alterations die and another piece of decorative cardstock from the “Botanique” collection. I love the multistriped tonal look with the light smattering of glitter. The final layer was a piece of SU! Whisper White cardstock that was cut with Tim Holtz’s Styled Label Alterations die. I then used a Papertrey Ink background text stamp to create the handwritten background with their Ripe Avocado ink. These two layers were adhered together with my ATG714 adhesive gun and then applied to the base layer with Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Dimensionals.

The finishing touch was an Imaginisce paper flower in a light celery color. I capped off the petal with a floral center flatback button in celadon from Webster’s Pages. (Love these!) The card is perfect for almost any use or correspondence. Too often, I trap myself into making cards for a specific theme or event. Sometimes, it’s great to have some cards on hand that will work for almost anything.






Bones

Here’s a cute and quick Halloween card. I fell in love with this particular skeleton stamp from Tim Holtz’s Stampers Anonymous collection. I just picture this line of dancing skeletons getting ready for the big chorus line number as the witching hour approaches. (Yes, I have issues…)

The base cardstock is from the ‘Midnight Spell’ paper stack from Die Cuts With A View (DCWV). I used a 4″ x 5″ piece of Stampin’ Up! Whisper White cardstock to stamp my images on. The blood splatter, barbed wire, skeleton, skull and sentiment are all Tim Holtz red rubber cling stamps. The inks I used are Tsukineko Memento in Tuxedo Black and Papertrey Ink in Scarlet Jewel. The tissue tape embellishment is also from Tim Holtz and his Ideology “Hobgoblin” collection. ( I adore all of the tissue tape lines and highly recommend them.)