Friday, February 27, 2015

Paper Smooches February 2015 Sketch Challenge - I feel better now!

If you read my previous blog post which was just earlier today, you already know that I was a little discouraged at how difficult it was for me to bring that last card together. When I got done posting it, I really felt like I needed a pick me up, so I decided to make a card for no good reason at all, one that would be fun and not frustrating. I clicked around the web looking for inspiration, and I realized that the Paper Smooches February Designer Drafts challenge ends tomorrow. I *loved* the sketch at first sight, and I knew I wanted to use it for my card. In reality, I should have been working on the set of notecards I need to make for a 'Scottie exchange' pal, but that didn't inspire me much so I went with FUN!
Earlier this week I was playing with distress ink, for no good reason. I splooshed together (yes that's a word) some Scattered Straw, Wild Honey, and Ripe Persimmon. It was very bright, and I had no idea what to do with it, so I set it aside. Well, it was the perfect pick-me-up color combo for today!
The stamps are from Papertrey Ink Round & Round set. I clear embossed some flowers and butterflies on the distressed area, and then I added a bit of Worn Lipstick to make them pop. The border is actually a Hero Arts stamp that I was brave enough to try to make a sorta-square out of! The stamp was designed to look like ribbon or trim, but I thought that using black would give it the look of a picture or film strip. And of course it wouldn't be a Paper Smooches challenge without using something Paper Smooches, right? I chopped some letters out of the Paper Smooches 'Congratulations' die and attached the 's' to the end. I thought it was appropriate for such a fun and informal card. I can see myself giving this to a friend to congratulate them on a job promotion, happy and not too serious. One thing I took away from making this card is that I really need to get me a little Xyron sticker maker thinger! I clear embossed the 'Congrats' and then glued it on using some Aleene's Tacky Glue. I don't mind getting glue on my fingers, but I'm not the best at getting things straight, and since the die cut was in three pieces it added to the challenge. That's okay, I think it ended up looking just fine.

I usually crop more off the bottom of my pictures, but I thought the reflection in the faux marble added to the fun factor. So there you have it, my fun card that cheered up my day. Thanks for reading!

Spring flowers brings lots of tear showers!

Okay so I didn't really cry over this card, but I did agonize a bit. This one was specifically for The Cats Pajamas challenge TCPTUES284. It was a color challenge, and while the colors were quite pretty together, I just didn't have anything in those colors!!!
To make matters worse, the Cat Pack did such lovely, dainty cards that I didn't want to make anything substandard. I am my own worse enemy!

Conveniently, the theme for Splitcoaststampers CAS313 challenge was 'Spring' so that fit in nicely as well. I decided this week that I was going to take a look at Simon Says Stamp's Monday Challenge, and fortuitously the theme was Anything Goes! At least I didn't have to add to my stress level over the color challenge.

I wanted to step up the difficulty level (for me) of my cards. I was inspired by Kristina Werner's distress watercoloring. She only stamped a very faint outline to make it look as though there were no lines. I'm sure somebody has done this before, but I came up with this on my own, lol: I dry embossed some flowers, and distress watercolored both the flowers and the background. This was my first time painting in any shape or form, and it took me SIX tries before I was finally happy with it. :) That's okay, because I actually really enjoyed the painting part. Part of the difficulty was not having watercolor paper. I learned a lot, and I got to practice some basic shading. I definitely want to do more of this, I just need proper supplies! Sooner or later I will also get my hands on some watercolor paints, muahaha.

I was also encouraged by some of Sandy Allnock's Operation Write Home videos. One was about 'Card Sneeze', and another was all about using matting to elevate it out of card sneeze territory.

There are two incarnations of my card. I need some serious feedback. I was pleased when I was first done. I took a ton of pictures, edited them on my computer, and then I felt like it was just so plain. So I went back to my craft room, and tried to figure out how I could 'gussy' it up. Here's the first version:

Now looking back at it, I think it was just fine and I'm worried that I shouldn't have touched it further! Here is version number two:
I need some SERIOUS feedback please! No "oh they're both nice'. I need some pros and cons about both. Also, I'd love specific feedback about the watercoloring, particularly the shadowing.

All this brought me to thinking that I should have just skipped this challenge. I was so stressed about 'getting it right', it kinda took the joy out of it. I think I need to just make cards, and not pay too much attention to challenges for awhile. I literally had nothing in aqua. I ended up using Tim Holtz Tumbled Glass distress ink to make some paper. I splattered away at it with water, and then I mixed in some Perfect Pearls and splattered some more. I think that part turned out alright. The sentiment is from The Cat's Pajamas's Spring Fling set. I thought the black was too harsh, so I tried Versafine Smokey Grey but that looked too washed out, so I stuck with Onyx Black. You can't tell but I clear embossed it as well.

Believe it or not, I started out with something entirely different. I rummaged through the die cuts that Jan sent me till I found some that were lime and purple. I was just going to use those with some butterflies that I 'self-glittered' using Ranger Sticky embossing powder. I still have all the pieces, I may just assemble that card and post it for further feedback, i.e. why did I feel it wasn't good enough?

I apologize for my verbosity. If you made it this far, thank you for reading. :)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

For my Valentine

Yes, two blog posts within little more than 24 hours. Sometimes it rains, sometimes it pours. :)

I'm still not finished working on my brooches, I started making more so that when I get the epoxy out I can do several at a time. I will get around to finishing them soon, especially since two are for long overdue gifts.

It struck me that I hadn't made a card for my husband. Woe is me, I was so caught up with the thought that I couldn't afford to buy him anything, that I completely overlooked the fact that I can MAKE him something. Yup, this whole cardmaking thing is still new to me, lol. So here is a quick post with what I made.
Materials used:
Recollection white A2 card blank
Recollection cardstock
Neenah 110 lb brilliant white for the hearts
An old SU heart stamp, don't know what the set is called
An old Sizzix embossing folder that was given to me, don't know what it's called
Martha Stewart embossing powder in ladybug and carnation
All Night Media embossing powder in silver
Graphic 45 Time to Flourish paper

Friday, February 13, 2015

Mad Loves For Kiki - fundraising auction for a Scottie with cancer

Please indulge me while I talk about something other than crafting for a moment. 

My Scotties are my babies. I love them more than life itself. Last May we lost our little girl Jenna to cancer. It was fast and furious, only a week from the time we noticed her appetite had decreased till she passed. She had just turned 6 years old. Six years, what is that? It's nothing, it's the blink of an eye. I still can't talk about it, or even write about it without crying. That's Jenna in my profile picture. My beautiful baby.

In my grief, I turned to the online Scottie community on Facebook. Everybody says their dog breed is the best, but Scottish Terriers are one-of-a-kind, very special creatures. They are stubborn and independent. They only do things if it makes sense to them, but they are fiercely loyal to their family. And it takes very special people to love and understand them.

Scotties are 10x more prone to cancer than other dog breeds. Every breed has it's medical issues, and as I sadly learned, the big C is a big problem for Scotties. In my worldwide online Scottie community, it seems that a week doesn't go by without somebody losing their baby, or having him/her diagnosed with cancer. Even with pet insurance, the costs are astronomical. Dogs respond surprisingly well to chemotherapy if it is caught soon enough, but the problem is money. Who has $10,000 to drop just like that on cancer treatment for a dog? And the costs can go far beyond that.

If you're not a dog lover, you probably won't understand why anybody would spend that kind of money on an animal that will only live naturally between 10 to 15 years. And that's okay, I don't expect people to understand, just to be respectful of those who would give their lives for their fur babies. I'm one of those people. I would have traded my life in an instant for Jenna to live.

Anyhow, there are many dear dear people I have met online and come to cherish through our mutual love. Scottie owners are very giving and generous, especially when it comes to taking care of their big Scottie family. At least once a month, there is an auction or fundraiser for a particular Scottie with cancer. This month it is Kiki's turn. Her momma is one of the sweetest ladies ever. She is a very talented sewer, and she frequently donates her handcrafted cushions to any fundraiser that is going on, or sends one to a Scottie parent in need of moral support. Kiki has a rare form of mouth lymphoma, and if I recall correctly she was diagnosed perhaps a year ago and has been receiving treatment ever since.

So this project is for beautiful Kiki and her momma Teresa. I made a set of 8 tags that I am donating to the Mad Loves for Kiki auction.
You may recognize the primary colors from the last card I made. I guess I'm on a 'primary color kick', lol. I ran the Sizzix Originals Tags (Scallop Combo #2) die through my Fiskars Fuse and used the largest tag, which is about 4" tall.

I stamped Poochie from The Cat's Pajamas Official Grinch set, and the sentiment is from the Reindeer Kisses set onto each tag. It made me realize that I really should have bought a MISTI when I had Christmas money in January!!!

I then stamped the middle (sweater) section of the Poochie stamp on the argyle patterned paper from a retired Stampin Up! Prints pack. Then I had the joy of fussy cutting eight sweaters (did I mention I hate fussy cutting?). To be fair, I stole this idea from The Cat Pack during Sneaky Peek Week of their winter release. :) Lacking a better implement, I ran a sharpie along the edge of each sweater so that it is black when looking at it from the side. This is a tip I learned from Kristina Werner (she uses a better marker than a sharpie though!)

As you can see, I put a couple of pearl embellishments in the corner, dabbed some Glossy Effects on Poochie's nose, and tied up a bunch of bows out of grosgrain ribbon. I'm pleased with how they turned out, even though I admit I always struggle with 'taking it to the next level'. I'm a very plain and simple kind of gal, and I have to learn how and what to add to give it that extra bit of oomph without it being over the top. If you've endured with me this far, I welcome any comments or suggestions as to what I could have done differently. Bearing in mind that as a beginner I still have limited supplies, and have to make do with what I have on hand. :) I thought of distressing the edges of the tags, but I didn't quite have the right colors. If I'd had some black embossing powder, I might have embossed the sentiment. Shoulda, coulda, woulda right? Still, suggestions are good because it also gives me an idea of what is missing in my arsenal.