Saturday, May 31, 2008

Sing a happy working song!

Today's inspiration challenge over at SCS really made me think. I started thinking on it late last night and I didn't finish until after lunch today! We were supposed to make a card inspired by a movie dress. I looked at a whole bunch - a lot of the ones that I thought of, I couldn't find a good photo of them, or they just didn't inspire me.

I really wanted to play so I posed the question to some friends. They gave me great suggestions, but one just jumped out at me, and I couldn't believe I didn't think of it myself. I think I must have mentioned back at Christmastime how much I loved the movie Enchanted. It just swept me away into such a fun fantasy world. In one scene Giselle makes a beautiful dress out of curtains, and that's the dress I chose. It really made a wonderful inspiration piece!

I picked the colors tempting turquoise, pretty in pink, old olive, and very vanilla. For my layout I used Jen's Sketch for You to Try from today - a fun one!

First I stamped the flowers from Live Your Dream on turquoise cardstock. I colored the leaves and stems with an olive marker and pretty in pink on the petals; even though the pink wouldn't show, it helped me align my cutouts. I stamped the flower again on vanilla cardstock in pretty in pink, and then cut out all those petals. Worth the effort, I think! I glued them on with two-way glue and then layered the panel onto olive cardstock.

I didn't stamp on any of the other layers, which is unusual for me. Behind the flower I put a panel of pink and olive, and then on the left side I took a strip of olive cardstock and mounted it to a scalloped-edge turquoise piece. That gave me a place to add the vanilla taffeta ribbon - Giselle's dress has such a beautiful bow and this is nowhere close, but still pretty. Jen's two dots on the sketch gave me pause, but I ended up stamping three butterflies from Live Your Dream, cutting them out, and mounting them - two about where the dots are, and one over the flowers. The card base is vanilla stamped with the Stitched background in turquoise.

When I laid all this out, I suddenly realized - I had no sentiment. I rarely make a card without one - why is that? One of those things that I'm particular about, I guess. I took a gamble and I think it paid off. I inked the "love" stamp from Wonderful Words in olive and with a deep breath and fingers crossed, stamped it over the flower stems. Thankfully, this was one of those times where everything worked out OK!

I am in such a good mood now... Stamping and making this card make me want to sing a happy working song, and I think I'm going to have a hard time going to sleep!

Friday, May 30, 2008

Challenge overload!

I went to bed last night thinking, I haven't done a card yet for my Christmas card challenge for the week. And I might not get to stamp on Saturday. So I'd better make sure I do a Christmas card tomorrow.

When I got online this morning, the first thing I saw was Sharon's Stamp Simply challenge: to use black and white plus one color. That could be Christmasy, I thought.

Then I went to check out the limited supply challenge on SCS. And guest hostess Angel offered us a doozy: make three cards with the same stamps, papers, inks, hardware, and ribbon. Well... it seemed natural to me to combine these two challenges since I was already going to be limited on supplies anyway. So I chose to use real red with my black and white for my three Christmas cards. My stamps are an Inkadinkado poinsettia and a sentiment from Perfect Presentation. I used dotted red paper from the hostess prints pack, along with black and white cardstock. The crystal brads are from Making Memories, and I used white organdy ribbon - although I goofed and didn't have enough of the wide ribbon I used on one card so I had to sub narrow ribbon instead. Oops! On each card I used my Sakura clear glitter pen to accent the main poinsettia(s) and mounted them with foam tape.

My first card here uses yet one more challenge: Beate's sketch for this weekend. I fiddled with it a little because I thought it looked better with the larger panels moved slightly. The large poinsettia panel was done with generation stamping (first, second, and third) until the panel was covered. I edged these panels in black to make them stand out more - I don't think I've ever used white as a layer before, but I like it!

The next card was actually the first one I made (hence the ribbon snafu). I punched the poinsettias with a Marvy square punch and then layered onto black squares. The corners were punched with the ticket corner punch to make a place for the brads.

Finally, my last card. By this time I was really feeling challenged since I felt like I used up most of my good ideas on the first two cards. But I do like the idea of putting the brad in the center of the poinsettia - they didn't look right to me anywhere else. I stamped the poinsettia border on the bottom in third generation and did the sentiment with my Stamp-a-ma-Jig. The main poinsettia was punched with Marvy punches.

Whew, I'm exhausted now! (But in a good way.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

We've been to the farm

Yesterday Ben kept saying, "Tomorrow after lunch we're going to go to the farm and I'm going to ride a horse." Um, news to me! He didn't even know about any specific farm where we could do such a thing. But I thought, it's a rough week with Todd away at a conference, and if the weather is nice and I can find a place, maybe that would be a fun excursion. So after school, lunch, and a little nap for Sarah, on a really gorgeous day, we went to Davis Farmland, which is not that far from us. I didn't think there was going to be any horse-riding, but in fact, they do have pony rides!

It's really a wonderful place. They have a whole bunch of animals, which kids can sometimes get up close and personal with - and some were just roaming free within the animal showcase area and were following us around, bleating or clucking or whatever else farm animals do! They had a lot of babies, seeing as how spring is not that far in the past, and they were all so cute. I especially loved the baby goats (OK, and the 8-week-old kittens they have available for adoption - swoon - but I didn't really think of them as part of the farm).

Here are the kids brushing the baby cows...

...and looking for geese and ducks...

...and petting various baby goats that were milling around...

It was a lot of fun. And Ben was really worn out when we got home, so I think he had a good time!

I guess I'm not getting to any stamping projects today - but tomorrow our sitter is coming to help out in the afternoon so I should get some time in then!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Inspiration Challenge #23: Filled Bouquet artwork

For today's challenge I chose this gorgeous Filled Bouquet artwork from Grandin Road. Sorry that my picture here is small; if you click the link you can zoom in for a better view.

For my colors I chose basic gray, river rock, vanilla, and bravo burgundy. I also used today's sketch challenge for the layout. I took a few liberties with the sketch, and some were unintentional... but I hope it's still close enough! Not sure why my photo came out so shadowed today - sorry about that as well.

I liked the grid format of the art, so I decided to try out the grid technique from SCS. I cut a 3.5" x 4 3/8" panel and scored it every 7/8" (yes, I had to use some math skills for this one) to make the squared grid. I used the Watercolor Vine jumbo wheel inked up with river rock for the leaves. The wheel seemed unaffected by the grid lines, so to make it show up more I inked the canvas background stamp in river rock, stamped off once, and then placed the stamp rubber side up on the table and put the cardstock face down on top, walking my fingers over the paper so the background would be uneven.

The outer matting on the artwork has some kind of pattern to it, so I took the small scroll stamp from Carte Postale and stamped second generation in river rock on the outside edge of a river rock card base. I used the same technique with bravo burgundy for the small strip that's below the grid. I covered the seam of the two panels with a strip of basic gray taffeta ribbon.

I colored the flowers from Close as a Memory with bravo burgundy and river rock (using the ink pad/reinker and blender pen). Then I punched out two scalloped squares with my Marvy punches and attached to the panels with foam tape. To make the corners match the scallops, I used a Marvy corner punch and then matted to a layer of basic gray cardstock with vintage brads in the corners. I finished off with a sentiment from Lots of Thoughts stamped in basic gray.

I'd love to see what you do with today's challenge, so come play along! The keyword for SCS upload this week is DSIC23. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Weddings on the brain?

We are getting ready for a pretty significant wedding in our family. Five years ago this June, my mother-in-law passed away suddenly at the age of 62. I was pregnant with Ben at the time and it really shook all of us. This summer my father-in-law is getting remarried - I am thrilled for him and we are making plans to attend the wedding, so maybe that led me to make a wedding card today.

When I saw the color challenge for today (sage shadow, chocolate chip, and very vanilla) I thought I might try it for this week's Christmas card, but nothing really seemed right. Then I remembered that the Tie the Knot Simply Scrappin' kit uses chocolate chip and vanilla, and there is a beautiful floral print there that I thought would make a lovely wedding card. Of course I reached for To Have and To Hold - my most favorite wedding set.

I first stamped the couple and the flower border with chocolate chip ink on vanilla cardstock. Then I took my only the very slightest bit wet Aqua Painter and my sage ink pad and did some shading and coloring. I did the same with the hair and my chocolate chip ink pad. Just goes to show, if you're careful you can do a tiny bit of watercoloring on regular ink without a lot of blurring on the image. It's a fine line, though! For accents I used my Sakura clear glitter pen.

I layered the floral paper onto a sage panel, leaving enough of a border to add the piercing. All of the panels are edged with chocolate chip. The couple was punched with my largest Marvy circle punches, and then I added piercing and a little glitter pen to the scalloped circle.

I stamped the sentiment, colored it as before, and cut it out, then attached it to chocolate chip cardstock and cut out a little border around it. Once I had all the elements done, I played around for a good while with how to lay out the card. I had to get the vanilla taffeta ribbon on there somewhere! I like what I ended up with, and I really like these colors together - even though I was unsure about the combo at first. But then, I think just about any color would look good with chocolate chip, LOL!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Virtual craft fair

Since this is the time of year when people are needing teacher gifts, or any other kind of gifts, I'm offering my craft fair stash for sale here. If you see anything you want, just let me know. Everything is labeled so you can order with the letter-number combination that's on the photo ("I'd like post-it holder 1B"). I can also do a limited number of custom orders, so feel free to ask.

You can click the photos to view them larger. If you want better photos or more information... yep, just ask! :)

Coaster Photo Holders: These have a clothespin on the inside to hold a photo and they stand up on a table or desk. You can click here to see one in action. $3

My latest incarnation of post-it holders. Comes with mini gel pen. $3; if you'd like it to be magnetic, I can add a magnet strip to the back for another 50 cents. Most of these, I have at least two available.

Domino magnets $2.50

Magnet sets $2

Domino necklaces $3

Not pictured are my individual cards or emergency card kits. Individual cards you can pretty much see by scrolling my blog; they are $3 each or 4/$10. The kits come in versions for husbands, working moms, grandmas, friendship, holiday, and occasion, and they are 6 cards for $12. The cards in the kits are simpler than the individual cards I make. If you want more info on those, ask away!

Kid shots

Just some fun photos of the kids this weekend!

Sarah showing off her new sunglasses (purple, with fish - perfect for Sarah!) along with dandelions, everyone's favorite "flower"

Ben's favorite outdoor toy - the pool noodle - never mind that we do not actually have a pool

Cool chick on tricycle

Look what we now have in our family room...

Sarah is constantly jumping on the couches so this is our next attempt at deterrence! So far they absolutely love having a "bouncy house" at home.

Karma wasn't with me today

I was almost done with my featured stamper challenge card this morning when one of the panels disappeared - I looked everywhere and I still don't know what happened to it. And I was attempting to recreate it when I realized that one of the stamps was also waylaid. Grr. I desperately need to clean my stamping space, but I guess I must feel less desperate about it than about other things since it never seems to get done. But anyway... I do like what I ended up with, but I was going for a less straightforward CASE than this is.

The featured stamper for the day is Denise (peanutbee) - I don't know if I've ever noticed her work before but I don't know how I missed it. It's just gorgeous! Check out her blog here for more on her work. When I looked at her gallery, my eye went right to this card and I knew that was the one. I kept the layout with all the same elements, but I made it a standard size card rather than square and I changed the stamped image. I used Denise's colors of very vanilla, so saffron and old olive but also added chocolate chip. That allowed me to swap some of the elements' colors.

Hm, what else do you need to know? The paper is from the Olive Press pack. This is the first I've used it - does anyone else find this paper difficult to work with? The flowers from Live Your Dream were colored with saffron, olive and chocolate chip markers, and to outline the petals I ran the side of the marker brush tip across the very edge before stamping. This really helps define the image because saffron on vanilla can be hard to see. The sentiment comes from Many Happy Returns.

I'm going to be scratching my head all day as to where that other panel went. Someday I'm sure to find it, and when I do I'll use it on a card!

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Somebody stop me

I guess I'm going to have to quit making cards now, LOL! This is my monochromatic red card for the inspiration challenge, and that's going to have to be it.

I started with the embossed border - the stamp is by Impression Obsession, and it's on ruby red cardstock. I stamped the image four times to make a square border and embossed with clear EP. I cut layers of a darker Bazzill red cardstock and blush blossom, then used my EK Success scalloped corner punch on each panel.

To add flowers to the borders I used those sweet Michael's bridal shimmery flowers, colored with blush blossom marker and accented with Making Memories copper brads.

The center features a Savvy Stamps sentiment and three flowers: one more of the Michael's flowers and two flowers from Delight in Life, embossed on ruby red and cut out, then mounted on dimensionals.

Fastest post ever?

Todd just got home with the kids - can I get this card posted before they come find me? LOL!

Here's the second card I made for the IC. I guess I kinda strayed... but I really was inspired by the red fabrics when I made my burgundy embossed background with the paisley stamp.

Apart from the embossing - this is a really simple card. One bashful blue die-cut bloom. One Stitched Exotics flower stamped in bravo burgundy on apricot appeal cardstock. I cut a square from apricot paper and added a Short & Sweet sentiment, a little piercing, blue taffeta ribbon, dimensionals, and done!

OK, kids are here so it's lunchtime. I should try again for a monochromatic red card... we'll see!

My 2008 Christmas card challenge

What is it about Christmas? I think I could never, ever have too many Christmas stamps and papers. When the new holiday stuff starts coming out, that's a really dangerous time for me to go into a stamp or scrapbook store because I never come out empty-handed.

This morning, when I saw the SCS inspiration challenge, I decided to make some Christmas cards - my first for 2008. And as I was digging through my huge stash of Christmas papers, I came up with a challenge for myself. This will be an ongoing challenge, and if you'd like to join in, feel free to play at any time!

This challenge will have two parts. The first part is that I'm going to challenge myself to make at least one Christmas card each week (I'm not going to try to hold myself to a particular day, though). The second part is to see how long I can hold out without buying anything new that's Christmas-related. So let's see how many Christmas cards I can come up with before I cave - and that way I'll have a good stash of cards ready for the holidays, and I'll also have used up some of my stash of paper and inked up my many - MANY - holiday stamps.

I have two cards to kick off my challenge today. Both use Beate's current weekend sketch challenge and also the same wreath stamp from A Muse.

The first card is really quick and easy - I could see coming back to this one for a holiday make & take card. I colored the wreath with my always artichoke and ruby red markers, then stamped on vanilla cardstock and punched out. I layered it onto an artichoke large scalloped circle. I paired it with two printed paper panels: a dot panel from the artichoke paper pack and a scrap of Christmas paper - sorry, no clue what it was - that matches the ruby red. I wanted another layer underneath, so I used the same artichoke and ruby red cardstocks and put them behind the opposite color paper. The sentiment is by Stampendous and is stamped in artichoke. I added some wide ivory organdy ribbon, mounted the wreath on dimensionals, and put everything on a 5 1/4" square vanilla card.

The second card is actually the one I made first, for the inspiration challenge. Stephanie picked the most gorgeous fabrics from an advertisement for Schumacher. If you click the link, you'll see several fabric collections, and I started out with the green ones. (I also love the red collection, but that card isn't done yet and won't be a Christmas card, so I'll post that one later.) I wanted to do some embossing and chose the CHF Pretty Pattern background. I stamped with Versamark on artichoke cardstock and embossed with clear EP.

For the layers I chose a sheet of Bazzill capers cardstock since I wanted an even darker green. I cut the embossed image into a 4" square then layered onto a square with one edge scalloped with my corner rounder punch. That was mounted onto a 5" square vanilla card.

This wreath is stamped in artichoke on vanilla, with the berries colored with my Sakura clear glitter pen. I stamped the sentiment from Many Merry Messages in artichoke on vanilla, and then I thought that looked too stark so I used the dot stamp from Itty Bitty Backgrounds in 2nd generation artichoke to fill in that space and then sponged the edges with artichoke.

For assembly I put the sentiment onto another panel of capers cardstock with the bottom edge scalloped. I left room at the top to tie the vanilla taffeta ribbon. That panel is mounted on foam tape. I mounted the wreath with dimensionals, using two layers at the top so that would lie evenly.

I forgot how much I love making Christmas cards - I think my challenge is going to be great fun, and I'd love to see your Christmas cards if you decide to join in!

Friday, May 23, 2008

No stamping today

Well, I didn't make it to the stamping table today. It was a kid-focused day, which included some time at the park on what was a pretty nice morning. Sarah just loves the swings. She would do that all day, and I was constantly amazed at how she would let me push her higher and higher, and she loved every second of it. Ben won't go near the swings, so I think I know which kid inherited Daddy's fear of heights!

I haven't posted a personal or family update in a while. There is not a whole lot to tell. I really did enjoy my trip to Tallahassee last weekend. What a joy to reconnect with people I hadn't seen in a very long time, and actually do some singing. I was stunned to find that during the concert I was able to sing with no jaw pain at all. Really, none. It made the performance an even more incredible experience - and gratifying in that I was given a solo at the Saturday rehearsal, with no warning that this was going to happen, and everyone seemed to think it went very well. So my resolve is that I need to figure out how to manage my TMJ issues so I can get back to singing. It was a blast to do early music again after a very long time away - at least I live in the right city to investigate if there are the right opportunities for someone like me.

The TMJ problem is not solved, though. A couple weeks ago my doctor said basically there is nothing more he can do for me. My problem seems to be stress-related. And the weekend away proved it, because as soon as I was on my way home, and even worse when I arrived home, my jaw was much more sore and tight. I noticed the difference immediately. So... I'm renewing my resolve to exercise, get enough sleep, practice my meditation, check out some yoga classes, and try to find out if there is any way to get my insurance to cover something like acupuncture, which is the alternative treatment that I have had recommended to me most often. Wish me luck... it feels like a long and winding road through a dark valley ahead, and right now I can't see the light at the end.

The kids are great - Ben is unbelievably only a couple weeks away from the end of his first year of preschool. I'm still not sure what we'll be doing all summer, but he'll be in pre-K in the fall for 3 mornings and Sarah will most likely be at a 2-year-old program those same mornings.

Sarah is just talking up a storm. She is starting to do more interactive communicating as opposed to just narrating the events around her. And she has some of the cutest Sarah-isms right now. My favorites:

"up-is-down" (upside-down) - which is something she loves to be, and she will even turn her stuffed animals upside-down when she's playing

"gooberries" (blueberries)

"rainbrella" (self-explanatory, right?)

And most recently she's been saying "I have the wake-ups" - for hiccups!

She definitely keeps a smile on our faces, and sometimes that's a really necessary thing. There is a lot going on the next few days for both Todd and me, so a little prayer or two for our sanity wouldn't hurt... but I'll be plugging away at my freelance work, and hopefully popping in with some stamping in the next few days as well!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Bonjour, Inque Boutique! (a card and a review)

As I've been browsing blogs lately, I've been noticing some of the "other" stamp companies out there... I will say that as a demo I am completely loyal to SU, but as a cardmaker, sometimes I just gotta have something that SU doesn't offer. When I saw the French Fancy stamp set by Inque Boutique, I knew immediately that it had to be mine. I purchased it from Stamper's Dream, and I highly recommend them - they shipped the same day I ordered, shipping was incredibly cheap, and I got the stamps in three days. I'm sure I'll be back for more from them!

I used this set for the inspiration challenge that was posted on SCS last Saturday, which was these pretty candles from Papyrus. I haven't played one of the SCS ICs in a while for various reasons, but I liked this one and really wanted to participate even though I'm way late. Anything French always appeals to me!

The candle comes in a yellow and green version - no shocker that I picked the green for my card. I stamped the bouquet in black on three graduated green cardstocks by Bazzill. Don't ask me which ones - I have a huge stash with no idea what the color names are! I used my rectangle Marvy punch to get the panels, and I changed the position of the punch each time to get the left, center, and right of the bouquet, then layered them onto black cardstock.

For the background I selected the medium shade of the three greens. I first stamped the script image until the layer was covered, then added the scroll stamp over top of the writing. That panel was layered to another black panel and then onto a white card.

For the ribbon I layered wide white organdy and black grosgrain ribbons. The sentiment is two stamps, the frame and the word. I stamped both on white cardstock, cut out, and placed over the ribbon with foam tape.

These are my first stamps from this company, so I thought I would offer a brief review.

Things I liked:

* They are unmounted rubber cling stamps that you use on acrylic blocks, so they definitely offer an advantage in the amount of storage space needed. They are also die-cut.

* The images are gorgeous with incredible detail, and they stamp well if you use the stamping pad that comes with the stamps. You put the pad under your paper and then stamp - trust me, it won't work if you forget that step!

* On the back of the rubber they've printed the image of the stamp, so you can see where you're stamping. We all know that this is an advantage of clear stamps, but here you get the same thing with rubber stamps. Tres cool.

Things I didn't like:

* I had trouble inking the stamps with SU pads because the rubber is super thin. If I end up getting more of their stamps I will have to try some different inks with them - something with more of a raised pad would work better, I think. Inque Boutique has their own line of inks, but I'd be curious to try the new Tsukineko Memento inks, which are supposed to be great for fine detail.

* It may be the level of detail, but I found that the images took longer to dry than I would have expected.

* I'm still figuring out the best way to clean them - maybe it was the black ink, but the stamps I used are now stained. I know it doesn't affect the stamped image, but somehow I just like my stuff to stay like new if at all possible.

Those are my initial thoughts - if you have any questions I'm happy to answer them, and I'd love to hear what you think of Inque Boutique's stamps. I know I'll be playing with this set again, and probably giving Todd a wish list for other sets to try down the road!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Inspiration Challenge #22: Green with Envy

I went digging online again for this week's inspiration piece. After seeing an ad for a local furniture chain in the newspaper, I went to their web site and found this fun room that seems to have lots of possibilities. You can view the original here. I also want to say that I've realized how often I choose inspiration pieces with flowers - and it's really hard to find something without them that speaks to me. I guess we all love our flower stamps, so maybe it's not a bad thing, but I just wanted to add that I'm always on the lookout for different sources of inspiration to get you thinking in new ways. And yes, I know there are flowers on the table, LOL! But at least they are not the focal point... although they did make it onto my card!

The colors I chose for my card are ruby red, river rock, so saffron, and blue bayou, with a little bit of chocolate chip. I liked the arch shape on the hutch and the dots on the picture frame and green cups. I also tried to match the feel of the room with my card. The layout uses today's SCS sketch challenge - it coordinated really well with the inspiration piece, I thought. I didn't intentionally turn the sketch - I was remembering it horizontal and by the time I realized, it didn't work vertically, so I kept it this way.

The arched window was kind of tricky to achieve - I traced around my desk tape dispenser and then cut the straight sides with my trimmer, and then used scissors to even everything out until I liked how it looked. Then I added a strip across the bottom to make a frame, traced the window onto river rock cardstock and cut it out with a craft knife. To make it look like a distressed window frame, I stamped the speckles from Itty Bitty Backgrounds in chocolate chip (stamped off once first) and then sponged the edges.

I stamped the flower image (Lockhart) with jet black Stazon on watercolor paper, then colored in with ruby red, chocolate chip and saffron watercolor crayons and river rock and blue bayou reinkers. To color the image I decided to use tiny paintbrushes so that I could capture all the detail. The watering can and leaves are all river rock, but to make the watering can lighter I used a very wet brush. For the background I dabbed the Aqua Painter onto the chocolate chip crayon with the brush quite dry and tapped against my finger to get the dots. Then I got the brush fairly wet and smoothed over the dots to lighten them, and also putting some shading under the watering can. This may be hard to see in the photo!

The green seemed very prominent in the room, so for the main background panel I chose river rock striped paper and layered it onto ruby red cardstock. The ruby red paper with river rock dots comes from the Ginger Blossom pack - how perfect is that for this card? I layered the side panels and the window with blue bayou cardstock. The card base is saffron, and I don't think I've ever made a card that opens this way - the fold is on the short side, if you can't tell from the photo - but the only piece of saffron cardstock I could find didn't have enough left to cut it the traditional way.

To finish off I added blue bayou ribbon, weaving it under the left red panel and the window but over the right red panel. I positioned the ribbon and then attached all three panels with foam tape. The sentiment from Short & Sweet is also mounted on foam tape.

I'd love to see what you do with today's challenge! If you play along don't forget to leave a comment here with a link to your card so everyone can see, and the SCS keyword for this week's challenge is DSIC22. Have a great day!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

I just can't help it

I keep reaching for my Wonderful You stamp set - especially if I need a masculine card. It's really been one of my go-tos lately.

I needed a thank you card for my lovely friends who put me up in Tallahassee this weekend - and I found the perfect card to CASE in the gallery of the most recent featured stamper, Dawn McVey. I've been known to browse Dawn's blog from time to time, so I was pleased to see her in the spotlight.

For my card I used mellow moss, always artichoke, and very vanilla. I made the main panel featuring the leaf stamps, then added a sentiment from Sincere Salutations. One thing I added was the linen background on the card base and the large artichoke panel - I'm not good at leaving things blank! The finishing touches were two vintage brads and vanilla taffeta ribbon. Since I'm putting this card in with a gift, I gave it lots of dimension - everything is up on dimensionals. I like this card a whole lot better than the one I made earlier today - now I can go to bed feeling like I redeemed myself, LOL!

How will I ever catch up?

Well, I'm home, and I had a great time at FSU. The singing was wonderful, and so was reconnecting with a lot of old friends, professors, and colleagues. I stayed up too late, ate great food, and just relaxed and enjoyed every minute. Sorry, no photos to share, though!

I made a list this morning and ended up with eight challenges that I'd like to do. Eight!?! I don't know that I can actually do that many and still keep up with the new ones that come along every day. Not to mention I have no idea what tomorrow's inspiration piece is for my own blog challenge. And I am of course still trying to catch up on my freelance work as well.

You can bet that if I'm going to do all eight challenges, there's going to have to be some multitasking going on. Here's today's effort - I'm not thrilled with the result, but I'm all out of time. This card uses three challenges: today's color challenge of soft sky, certainly celery, and blue bayou; last Friday's limited supply challenge, which was to make a sentiment with alphabet stamps; and Sharon's Stamp Simply challenge to use a trio of panels.

When I thought about these three colors together, I thought of a baby boy card. I haven't made a baby card in ages! For my three panels I used the same dot print from the designer paper packs of each color. I really love having these on hand; I have all the colors that I use frequently and it makes for quick cards when you need them.

The baby carriage from Fun & Fast Notes was stamped in blue bayou and then colored with celery marker and a blender pen and soft sky reinker. I cut it out and mounted to a celery panel. I made the sentiment with my Typeset Alphabet Lower set, using some generation stamping to vary the color of the blue bayou ink. I stamped the letters close together so that I could cut the words out. I glued the words to the celery panel as well.

All the panels are sponged with blue bayou ink. I finished off the layers with blue bayou cardstock, my ticket corner punch, and some vintage brads. The soft sky card base is a 5 1/4" square, and the center panel is mounted on dimensionals.

Sigh... I feel like this card isn't done somehow, but I don't know what I would add... suggestions? I need to move on with my day, though. Sometimes you just don't get into the groove, you know? Hopefully tomorrow!

Friday, May 16, 2008

I made it to Florida!

And I even found a computer to get online with. Of course I had to check up on all the Friday challenges, and of course I want to play every single one of them... I'll have some catching up to do when I get home!

Thankfully, the travel (all 8 hours of it) was uneventful. It is rainy, sticky, humid, etc., here in Tallahassee. Nothing much has changed, I guess! It feels so strange to be back here after so many years gone. The first person I ran into was my dissertation advisor - I actually came looking for him, so that wasn't a total surprise, and soon I will be going to see my dear friend Joanna and her adorable 8-month-old (or so) triplets! Can't wait for that.

I'm not sure how much I'll be around online - rehearsal tomorrow and concert on Sunday, followed by a party... and lots of catching up with old friends. If I have anything to report and time in which to do it, I will!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

One last card

I'm heading out tomorrow for a little trip by myself - one of my former Florida State professors is retiring, so there is going to be a little celebration in his honor and I am joining in. There will be a couple parties and on Sunday a recital in his honor. This will be the first singing I've done since last summer, and I'm not under the illusion that I won't be in pain, but I'm going to sing anyway. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to revisit something in my life that was really wonderful.

I made this quick card for my professor and his wife. I thought a Renaissance professor deserved a classy card - I hope he'd forgive me for using Baroque stamps! Until we get a set called Renaissance Motifs, this will have to do. The jumping-off point was a leftover from my inspiration challenge card. I had first wheeled the Baroque Border in black ink on white cardstock before I decided to reverse it for the card. The two borders I'd wheeled were perfectly spaced to make a card panel, so I used it for this card.

I didn't have much time for this one. I quickly stamped three of the medallions and cut them out, then the sentiment from Sincere Salutations surrounded by the small flower image. I added some black layers, vintage brads, dimensionals, and voila. I hope that he likes it - I really wish him all the best in his retirement!

I'll be home on Monday, and I'll see if I get any good photos from the weekend to share. Do some stamping for me while I'm gone, will ya?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Inspiration Challenge #21: Floragraphix

My mailbox has been letting me down lately. Where are all the catalogs with the wonderful inspiration pieces? Hrmph. I decided to go browsing online and I ended up at Yes, in a former life, I was trying to learn to quilt. I was blessed with two Mennonite grandmas who were both amazing quilters, and I thought that would be a good thing for me to carry on. Well, it wasn't to be. It turns out that my favorite part was choosing the fabrics and patterns, and I liked the piecing OK, but I never, ever finished a single project. The quilting did me in. I like to think that I'm channeling my grandmas in my cardmaking, since I feel much the same process going on when I'm choosing what goes on my cards. The nice thing about making cards, though - they're easier to finish than quilts!

Anyway. So I was browsing fabrics and this one took my breath away. I thought, I'm not sure what I'm going to do with this, but I have to use it! The fabric is called Floragraphix and it's from the Jason Yenter Bohemian Brights collection. Feel free to take your inspiration from anything you see that grabs you - just be sure to show us! This week's keyword for uploading to SCS is DSIC21.

The collection has lots of butterflies - I'm not much of a butterfly person when it comes to stamping, so instead I focused on the swirls and medallions, the silhouette and scroll at the bottom, and the beautiful colors. I went with certainly celery, tempting turquoise, basic black, and whisper white. For the layout I used today's sketch challenge on SCS.

The focal image I chose is by Stampers Anonymous. Inspired by the look of the fabric, I used my Carte Postale stamps along with it. I did the upper right panel first by stamping the flourish medallion (is that what you call it? I don't know) in black, the flowers in turquoise, and the scroll in white craft ink on a scrap of celery patterned paper. Then I took a turquoise cardstock sheet and stamped the scroll and medallion in turquoise and the flowers in white. Once it was dry, I stamped the silhouette in black over top.

I used my Baroque Border wheel to reproduce the scroll at the bottom of the fabric. I inked the wheel in white craft ink and rolled onto black cardstock. Then, because I wanted it really really white, I colored over the wheeled border with a white gel pen. Crazy, right? But it stands out much better this way.

For all the corners I used my EK Success scalloped corner rounder punch, then inked the edges with basic black. Tip of the day: To ink those scalloped corners, just use the very corner of the ink pad and you can get right in there with no problem.

When I assembled the layers, I realized that the celery and turquoise weren't overlapping in a way that I liked. So I layered the silhouette panel between the small turquoise layer and the celery paper layer, and now you can see all the colors distinctly.

The sentiment is by Hero Arts and is stamped in turquoise on whisper white. I kinda wished I'd stamped it in black, but I didn't feel like doing it over! The scrolls behind are celery stamped off once on scrap paper first. I used the large oval punch to cut it out, offsetting the words to the left so I had room to punch a slot for the ribbon. I punched a corresponding slot in the black layer and tied small strips of turquoise and celery ribbon after mounting the oval on foam tape.

So what do you think? I'm not sure I love my card as much as I loved the fabric, but it's growing on me! I'd love to see what you do with this challenge. Have a great day!