Monday, August 31, 2009

Summer Harvest Weath

Have you noticed how the days are getting shorter? And at least here in Virginia, I'm starting to notice the breeze is a bit cooler in the evenings, too. That can only mean that summer is winding down, but I really don't mind much. I love the end of summer harvest; there are so many yummies at the farmer's market this time of year, don't you think? I remembered this image from Karen Lockhart when I was walking back from the market last week. I had to color it right up as it seemed so timely! Here, I made quick work of it with Copics, but it is equally beautiful when colored with Prismacolor pencils. However you decide to color it, it is perfect for this time of year! I must have been in a very 'green' state of mind, walking home, carrying my tote bag filled with local produce, because I paired it up with some green gingham paper (A Muse) and green cardstock and ribbon (PTI). The stamp is full of such beautiful detail that I really wanted it to stand out, so the rest of the card is very simple. I don't want anything competing with my Lockhart image!

This has me already thinking about what goodies I will find at the farmer's market this week! YUM! Have a great Monday. Be well,

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wee & Whimsical Wednesday

I feel like I've been letting you know little things about me this week, so I thought I would incorporate one of my favorite hobbies with Wee & Whimsical Wednesday today. I read like crazy in my spare time and since we moved to our home here in the DC area, I live close enough to walk to the library in about 5 minutes, so I find myself reading even more. So when I was thinking about what I wanted to do this week with my Inchie Squares, I decided to go with bookmarks. I have done a fun bookmark in the past, but I wanted to take this one is a different direction. And rather than just create one from cardstock, I opted to use a wood picket stake that I picked up in the local craft supply store (in the wood crafts aisle).

Now, normally going into a project, I have a fair idea of how much time something's going to take; I'm sure you're the same way, right? This fun bookmark went together so much quicker than I anticipated! It was economical and would make a great project for a Girl Scout project or any occasion where you might need to create several (I was actually thinking it might make a great addition to a teacher's card; since both Wally and the Beav are in middle school this year, we have - oh, 12 teachers or so?!).

I started out by stamping the White Inchie Square (from Inchie Arts) with the Itty Bitty Jar of Berries (from Lockhart Stamp Company and Memento ink. Then I painted the Inchie Square and the picket stake with Shimmerz paint. Once that was dry, I added white dots as a trim on both pieces, then proceeded to color the image. I die cut a cardstock mat for the White Inchie Square and adhered it all together. So simple! Take a look at how the Shimmerz makes it shine:

And here's a quick look at the supplies - completely easy, don't you think?!

When it comes to my reading picks, I always try to avoid a movie until I've read the book. All my friends have been saying how fun Julie & Julia is, so I had to give it a quick read before seeing it. It definitely influenced my stamp choice for this project, so I thought it was only appropriate that I showed it to you in the book! ;)

I hope this gives you some fun ideas for using your Inchie Squares! I would love to see yours if you give this a try! Be well,

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Papertrey Tuesday

Thank you for all the GREAT comments on my post yesterday - they completely made me SMILE! (I'm glad my quirky little comments about my chair and my love of all things Firth didn't fall on deaf ears...)

It dawned on me recently that I haven't been sharing a whole lot of my Papertrey cards with you, which is really crazy because I make them like ALL the time. :) I'm going to try to start posting them on Tuesdays and hopefully I can make it a regular thing. So this card ended up being 5 x 7 (I had a lot to write on the inside, lol) and uses the new PTI set Autumn Abundance. I just adore this set - it is full of beautiful details and is so much fun to color. Here I used Prismacolor pencils. I then colored some extra flowers and cut them out; they're popped up on foam tape on the focal image to give some additional depth, and then placed on the top & bottom panels to create a strong visual line. The colors are Summer Sunrise and Dark Chocolate, just in case you were curious. LMK if you have any questions!

PS - Kimberly asked yesterday about my creations - yes, I do kind of file them away! They're pretty much stuffed into lots of nooks and crannies. They should probably be more organized than they are, but I'm working on that. It's sort of a work in progress, lol.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Up for a little tour?

Hi - felt like deviating from the norm today, so I thought I would finally do the post that I've been putting off for months now! I hope you don't mind, but I thought I would put up a little peek into my creative space.

This is the entrance to my room. We have a large center hallway on our first floor, and my office is just off of it. It's perfectly located in my house - just across the hall from the kitchen and within hearing range of the family room. It's also nearly directly under my laundry room, so I can usually hear when the laundry ends. See? Perfect location! When we chose this house, my husband's only request for me having this room was keeping it relatively neat, so I initially thought I would put up sheers on the french doors, but I'm finding it keeps me honest to have them open! ;)

Entering the room, you can see that I've left it off-white. I am kind of picky about color in here because I see colors a bit funky if the walls are too full of color. I get a lot of different light in here (my windows face west, so I get afternoon sunlight, but I also get morning light reflected off of my neighbors' house.). The wall colors help me see color a bit more true, I find. I'm really happy to have hard wood floors in here - it makes clean up a lot easier for me! (Plus, as my mom figured out the first time she came here, I can scoot around in my chair at hilarious speeds. What can I say? The woman knows me...)

That's the left side of the room. It has a closet on the left that is small and disasterous, so I will leave it at that. I love the little alcove there - some day I hope to have a beautiful white day bed or floral love seat there, but for now the old wicker sofa adds a touch of charm. I've recovered the cushion since I took this picture, but let's face it, I'm just way too lazy to change out the pic at this point! ;)

This is the left corner of my room. I'm not entirely happy with it, but it works for the time being. I keep most of my paper here, various cardstocks and almost all of my patterned paper (in that large bin in the corner). The smaller bin is full of wonderful matboard scraps that my friend Eileen Hull gave me. (Thanks, Eileen! I LOVE them - such cool material!) The drawers hold various things, loose ribbon, chipboard, envelopes, etc. The big machine on top is my Accucut machine. I love it but I don't use it as much as I should.

Hmm, what can I say about the right side of my room? I have a little tv/dvd player there for when I need a little feminine respite (Pride & Prejudice pretty much resides permanently in there; the Colin Firth/BBC version, just for the record. Don't know who the guy is who plays Mr. Darcy in the Keira Knightly version - don't care to - he's not Colin Firth. There. It's on the record.)

Here's my main desk area. (That's where I am right now.) As you can see, I like having things within reach, so there are lots of neat little storage options. It all appears to go together, but in reality, it doesn't! ;) I just keep my eyes peeled for good storage pieces, preferably those that go vertical with a small footprint so as not to take up too much space on the surface. If it isn't the right color, I usually just paint it!

Here's my second work surface. As you can see, I keep my sewing machine out to use (I found early on that I don't use it if I have to lug it out). Also here, I keep my Copics, my die cuts - basically anything that takes a little extra room but that I use on a regular basis.

In the right-corner shot above, in the corner itself is a set of drawers that I adore. It's from IKEA, and my parents got it for me years ago. It was actually discontinued shortly thereafter (which I know because I had grand visions of a wall of these, only to go and not be able to get them). I use it for wood-mount stamps and it is just perfect. I keep checking IKEA to see if they have decided to come to their senses and put this perfect storage piece back into rotation, but so far, no luck.

Since I color so much, I thought I would show you my Copics and pencils solutions. I've since added another one of these caddies for my Copics, but it gives you an indication of how I use them. I store them ROYGBIV and I keep my color swatch chart right there (under a desk protector) so that I can find the right color a bit faster. As for the caddies, I wish I could give you a source for them. That was one of my SCORE! moments in life; when Ward worked at a retail clothing HQ, they would have these fabulous warehouse sales of fixtures that they no longer used. These caddies were a lot of 10 or 12 that I got for $10. Ward thought I was certifiable at the time, but I've had two published (that I altered with patterned paper, etc.), I've given a few a gifts and I've sent a couple off to people who inquired about them at the magazines. Sadly, I'm at the end of my supply...

This was another SCORE moment - this is a pen display that I now use for my pencils (again, stored in ROYGBIV for ease of use). Our local Aaron Bros. went out of business last year, and they were selling their fixtures and displays. When I asked about the pen display, they asked if I would be willing to pay $1 for it. Hmmm, let me do I contain myself?! While I'm usually not crazy about plastic storage, this cleaned up pretty well once I covered it with some pretty paper!

And a look into my room would not be complete without a look at Bedo. Bedo is my Cardigan Welsh Corgi (who, if you're talking to me on the phone, you will undoubtedly hear at some point). He's my loyal companion, especially when the boys are in school. We hang out together in my room (notice his super cute bed placed under the windows). If you're a fan of Alicia Paulson's , you'll recognize the breed; her sweet corgi hangs out with her a lot, too. Bedo barks, he sheds, but somehow he still manages to be just the sweetest dog ever. When he isn't hanging out on his bed, he's guarding my doorway, never far from the hugs or food:

Thanks for taking the tour with me today - I hope you enjoy the little peek! I'll be back tomorrow with more cards. Be well!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Cute stuff!

Have you seen this cute set from My Favorite Things? Love that bunny! I colored it up with Prismacolors (in the technique that I learned with Dave Brethauer a couple of weeks ago). Of course, I had to paper piece in the recliner - it was a no-brainer! I based the layout on a sketch that MFT posted in their section over on SplitCoast - they have a great range of sketches (and have even put a bunch of them together into a .doc available for download. It's so convenient!). Here's a closer look at the cute bunny!

I finally inked up the Grillin' Guy that I picked up during the GASC. I like to have cute lil' love notes on hand to give to my honey sometimes. ;) And yes, it's another one of those puns! And yes, it's another paper pieced item! I guess I'm in a rut...

I hope you have a fun weekend & manage to squeeze in some stamping time. Be well.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

On My Couch

When I first saw Lisa Johnson's On My Couch set, I fell in love. I definitely was missing something like this in my collection. Isn't just adorable? And as Wally will tell you, I'm a sucker from a cute pun (much to his dismay) - "chair-ish your friendship" was right up my alley. I used my Prismacolor pencils to add some shadows on the cushions; I wasn't sure how it was going turn out, but I ended up liking it. Here's the full view:

OK, that's all for today, short and sweet. Guess I'm just not that chatty this morning (pass the coffee...). Have a great day - be well.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pretty In Pink

I completely deviated from my Prismacolor norm with this one and pulled out my Copics. The layout is simple, but the result is full of impact! That's the great thing about Lockhart stamps - the fun illustrations that Karen does can be colored in such a wide array of mediums. The Patio Pots are so fun, aren't they? This one, the petunias, has the most darling details in the center that really let you add depth with your marker. The others, Lavendar and English Daisy are just as beautiful!

In my typical style, I added a little machine stitching. I think it adds so much charm and texture that I tend to use it on most of my cards - especially the Lockhart ones! It just goes, know what I mean? The crocheted flowers were in my stash and seemed like a great addition, repeating the flowers from the stamped image.

Have a great day! Be well,

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Hmm, what to show?

I've been creating a bunch of fun cards the last few days, so I have a bunch to show you over the next little while! I guess I will show you a fun Papertrey card using Everyday Button Bits. This set is so much fun, and I just love it to pieces!

I did something fun for the focal image space, a trick that I picked up from Nichole - I covered a piece of cardstock with muslin (adhered with fusible web), then die cut it using Labels 1 from Spellbinders. Palette inks stamp beautifully on the muslin and create a nice, different look from the normal paper.

I probably don't even have to mention that the buttons are from PTI, too. I love the little surprises that you get in the packages of them - just look at that super one in the middle! Very cool! The other details? A little machine stitching, a little kraft cardstock and some Bitty Box Basics. Don't you just love the way PTI makes everything work together effortlessly?!

I hope you have a fantastic day! Be well.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Wee & Whimsical Wednesday

It's time for another Wee & Whimsical Wednesday where I show you something fun with Inchie Squares from Inchie Arts! It's been a while since I've done something fun with my Black Inchie Squares, so I thought I would show you how well they make sparkly goodness POP!

To start creating this card, I stamped the new Lockhart Star Butterfly onto four Black Inchie Squares with white pigment ink. I centered the image on the four squares to create a create 'puzzle' look. Once my ink was dry, I started painting it with Shimmerz and Blingz. The patterned paper (Basic Grey) was my color inspiration. To finish it off, I rounded the corners (a Round It All from Zutter cuts through the Inchie Squares like butter!) and inked the edges. Here's a closer look at the way the paint just POPS off of the Black Inchie Squares:

If your local store doesn't carry Inchie Arts products, you can find them in online stores, such as the ones listed HERE. I'd love to see your interpretation of this technique, so send me a link if you try it!

Be well,

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Challenging myself

Prismacolor pencils are really amazing art/craft tools. They're incredibly versatile and worthy of an investment (not only because of their inherent versatility, but also because of their quality and longevity). My parents gave me my first set when I was in college (a set of 72, if I remember correctly), and while I've added on to complete my set, I still have those original 72. (And let's just say my kids are closer to college than I am!) ;) Anyways, the reason I wanted to mention that is because I've seen a lot of talk on message boards lately about Prismacolors and how and why you should start with them. My advice is that you should start with what you can afford; use a coupon in your craft store to get a large set. If you go to Prismacolor's website, you will find several things of use. The first is a store locator of sorts; check and see if any of the chains are in your area. Most art supply (notice I didn't say CRAFT supply) stores carry all the colors individually, making it easy to add to your collection as you are ready. The second thing that you will find on their website is a REBATE! Between now and October 15, if you purchase $50 of Prismacolor products, you receive $10 back. If you are on the fence about this type of purchase, now is a great time to take the plunge.

OK, so why this little Prismacolor dissertation? I have no affiliation with them, I just really believe in this product (as you know from previous posts with them). This is one of those things in life that if you invest in the quality product from the onset, you're set for life. (And conversely, if you go a less expensive route, you're likely going to be disappointed.)

Lately, I've been really experimenting with my pencils - pushing myself to use them in new-to-me ways. It's been really fun. Here's a card that I whipped up yesterday with a new stamp set I ordered from My Favorite Things.

With the exception of the water and the sky, all of this piece is just two analogous colors blended together with baby oil and a stump. (For example, the dog is Henna and Yellow Ochre.) I'm a big fan of my blending pencil, but like the look of solvent blending in larger areas - the way it goes lighter in the middle really appeals to me. I need to practice it a bit more, but I like to think I'm starting to get the hang of it. Here's a closer look (and as always, you can click on the picture for a bigger image).

Feel free to contact me with your pencil questions - I will get back to you in the next couple days. (It's Papertrey Ink release time, so things are a little crazy!)

Be well.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pencils, pencils everywhere!

I was playing around a lot with my colored pencils this weekend, so this seemed like an appropriate card to post today. This Lockhart Pencils image is an oldie but a goodie! I love the challenge that the glass jar gives you when coloring! (Don't forget to allow for highlights on the little cherries, too!)

One of the reasons I was using my pencils so much this weekend was because I was able to take a couple of classes with Dave Brethauer, owner of Memory Box. I've always admired his coloring style, so it was a real treat to be able to take a class with him. I was so pleased with the results! I was able to talk to him in between the colored pencil class and the watercolors class and commented on how different his technique was from Karen Lockhart's - and with the same simple colored pencils! I'm really glad that I was able to do this. (I am SO lucky to have Angela's Happy Stamper nearby - she is such a great store owner, bringing in people like this!) I will show you some of what we did soon!

In the meantime, grab your pencils and your Lockhart stamps and start coloring! Be well.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Mmmm, pie!

Good morning! A happy summer TGIF to you today! If you're coming here for the first time from Angela's Happy Stamper's update, I wanted to extend a special welcome to you. It means a lot to me that you stopped by. Now that it's 'official', I just wanted to say how happy I am to be the latest Happy Stamper. I'll be teaching classes at Angela's as well as trying to fill the very big spot Jean will be leaving to me with the Tuesday Demos. You know what I'm most looking forward to, though? Getting the opportunity to meet all of you! I was just explaining in my class last week that even though I moved here a year ago, since I work from home (on the computer), I still feel new to the area and am looking forward to making new stampy friends. As far as the blog, feel free to contact me if you have questions (if I don't explain something clearly, etc.) or if you have an idea for a class that you might be interested in!

So speaking of stampiness, let's great right to it!

Aren't these new window stamps from Karen Lockhart just full of comfort and joy? The detail is just amazing on these and a lot of fun to sit and color - it takes me back to the days of being a little girl and just unwinding with my coloring book. This one was done with lots of layering of Prismacolor pencils (the only solvent blending was with a dab of baby oil for the window background to smooth it out a little.)

Here's a closer look:

If you have a chance to pick up one (or both!) of these new Lockhart stamps, I would highly recommend it - they're just so unique and will make a great addition to your collection.

I hope you have a great weekend - make sure to carve a little time out to create something fun. Be well.