Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Perfectly Distressed

This week's Grungy Monday challenge takes us to a cool video Tim did some time ago on what he calls perfect distress......the wonderful pairing of distress inks and perfect pearls.....click HERE to check it out; it's an oldie but goodie, and well worth re-visiting.  I think this technique will add great sparkle to your holiday projects.  Speaking of which, I'm still meeting my own personal challenge, and my entry for GM is also a Christmas card.

I originally thought I'd just use the technique as an accent, but got totally carried away, and used it EVERYWHERE.  I know that the sparkle of mica powders does not show up well in (my) photographs, so I also took some angle shots.

You can see the effect of the perfect pearls a little better there.  And here's a closeup of Santa.

I stamped Santa (from Tim's Letter to Santa set) on white cardstock with black soot distress ink, and then used several perfect pearls on him:  green patina on the holly, perfect pearl on the hair, biscotti on the face, and raspberry sparkle on the hat and coat.

The Happy Holidays stamp is from Tim's Holiday Wishes set, and I used pine needles distress ink and green patina perfect pearls.  

The last thing I did with this technique was to add both peeled paint and forest moss distress inks all around the card, using a blending tool.  This too, got the perfect pearls treatment; this time I used heirloom gold.

The piece was mounted on a red card base, and at the last minute I decided to add a bit more bling, covering the holly with forest moss distress stickles and adding some barn door distress stickles berries.

So, here it is, still October, and I've already gotten three holiday cards under my belt.  Bring on the next challenge!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Two Hearts, One Color

This morning I worked on two challenges, the current Making Art challenge at the Wendy Vecchi yahoo group, and the Simon Says Stamp and Show challenge.

Lori, the EWV list mom, inspired us with a card Wendy did in her second book, and the only requirement was that we use two hearts.  Well, I interpreted this rather loosely to mean AT LEAST two hearts, not ONLY two hearts.  If that's not OK I'm sure Lori will send the challenge police to my house.  NOT!!   At Simon Says, we're to stamp and show......only one color.

I have a third challenge in mind, a personal one.  And that is to start cranking out some holiday cards.  So, from now on, whenever I decide to enter a challenge, my piece will be such a card.  And here it is:

My one color, obviously, is green.  The background paper (7 Gypsies, by the way) seems to have photographed somewhat brown, but green it is.

Do you recognize that I created a wreath?  I hope so, LOL.  I just stamped a bunch of hearts in every distress ink shade of green around a circle.  The heart is from Wendy's In Love With Art set, and I added a bunch of dots with patina Stickles.   The sentiment is from Card Art Essentials, stamped on white cardstock with olive archival ink.  Peeled Paint distress ink was blended over top, and it is mounted with pop dots to give it some lift. 

Oh, and in the center of the wreath, some dark green ribbon from my stash.

Don't tell the folks at Simon Says, but I think before I actually send out the card I'll add just a bit of red.  :)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Totally Configured

The configurations tray I started on the cruise is finished.....I think.  There are a few little spots with room for more, just in case I should find something that absolutely needs to be there.  But I feel satisfied with saying that I am done.  And that everything on the tray reminds me in some way of the wonderful experience it was to cruise the Caribbean with Tim and company.

Some closer looks at the compartments:

A shaker box full of sand, shells and sea glass
(but no one better shake it!):

The flip-up photo album, and under that,
some nautical looking flags I had
in my stash at home:


A compass, a bird, and a thimble:

A pirate ship....I finally did find one online.  And
next to it, pieces of a pirate skeleton:

I found this guy in the gift shop on the ship
and couldn't resist:

The tiara Pat made for me, that I regally
wore on our last night onboard:

A silly doll I found in St. Maarten, and dangling
next to her, many of the charms I received
as swaps or gifts:

This compartment is full of goodies that
were in our class kit:

We received a piece of adhesive backed cork that
fit perfectly in one of the compartments, and I used
it to display some pins and one special charm:

 Beach souvineers:

"cruise" spelled out with grunge blocks, and check out
Mario and Tim on the "round trip" ticket:

I had the skull and crossbones charm at home.
The cork is from wine at dinner, and you
know what the cocktail umbrellas represent:

A very special photo deserves its own

Now, all that's left to do is decide where to display this great memento.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Tim In 10

Today's Grungy Monday challenge is perfect for me:  Tim in 10, or, create a card using some Tim
products in 10 minutes or less.  Great for anyone with time issues.  In other words, just about everyone.

I think the trick to accomplishing this is to have a plan, and by that I mean a really thought out plan, so you don't waste any of those precious minutes thinking or futzing around looking for just the right embellishment.  Added to that, I wanted my card to actually look like it might have taken more than the allotted time, so I figured I'd need to use a quick and easy (yet impressive) technique.  I decided on one from last year's 12 Tags of Christmas.  Click here for the details on Tim's blog.  And now, my card:

A piece of scrap plastic was cut to the same size as the white shimmery cardstock, then embossed with Tim's Snow Flurries folder.  If you click on the link to Tim's blog above, you'll see how you can use this technique to create a very impressive piece when you have more than 10 minutes to spare.

The blue snowflakes are part of Tim's on the edge die which is also called Snow Flurries.  It is the same blue cardstock I used as the card base.

I can't tell you the origins of the ribbon, it's just a scrap piece from my stash.

The Merry Christmas ticket is from the Odds and Ends set.  It was stamped with black archival ink on a scrap of white cardstock, then lightly inked with Faded Jeans distress ink.

The adhesive that holds the plastic to the cardstock was placed where the ribbon would eventually hide it, so nothing shows through.

If I had more than the 10 minutes (the whole thing actually took a bit less than that) I'm sure I would have added more "stuff," but I'm happy with the way it came out and wouldn't be embarrassed to send it off to someone.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Totally Smashed

No, not a description of last night's activities, but rather my new found love for the smash book style of journaling.  I've shared before that I altered a smash book to take with me on the cruise.  Here's the cover again, with the addition of a chain I added to show off some of the great charms I received on the cruise.  (BTW, the rest of the charms are in my configurations tray).

I'm not going to bore you with all the pages, just wanted to try to convince some folks I know, who have their doubts about what this smash book thing is all about.  For me, as I mentioned recently, it's been very liberating.  If your goal is to preserve memories, even everyday events, this is a wonderful way to do so.  Just glue in (i.e., smash) some receipts, a photo or two, scribble some words if necessary, and you are done!

Speaking of which, I AM done.  The entire book is filled and I have everything I did, what I saw, who I was with, the projects we made, all of it inside.  Yes, I can (and might) go the traditional route and do some actual scrapbook layouts, carefully choosing colors, trims, embellishments, measuring, etc. etc., just because I also do find that to be a pleasurable activity in itself.  But I don't have to.  And given how busy most people are, it's good to know that you can still document the moments of your life without spending an additional lifetime doing so.

OK, off the smash book soapbox, and here are a few of the pages.

inside front cover and first page:

notice I added tabs for different sections:

my time at Disney.  few photos but a whole lot of ephemera:

first night on the ship and Coco Cay the next day:

St. Thomas:

Most of the pages of a smash book are blank, but some have some writing and/or doodling.  I generally ignored that, just covering the pages with my stuff, but if it so happened that what was already on the page worked with what I was adding, I went with that flow.  As above, where it said, "I like this."

St. Maarten:

the configurations tray (notice I left a blank space for a photo of the
completed tray, whenever that might happen):

Every night, after the cabin attendants ready the rooms for sleep, they leave booklets about the following day's activities.  I saved them all and cut out the daily summary to include in my book.  I put them all in a section of their own.

and here are just two of several pages devoted to the
many wonderful swaps I received (I cut up some coin
envelopes to make the pockets so I could
remove the ATCs and see what's on the backs):

I also have many pages of photos of friends, pictures of every project we did, and of course the time Pat and I spent in Cocoa Beach. 

So, have I converted anyone?  Anybody planning to get smashed anytime soon?  LOL!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Cruisin' The Caribbean With Tim: Departing and Cocoa Beach

Sunday, October 2nd
Cocoa Beach

We got into Port Canavarel before sunrise, and I went out onto our balcony and got this shot of the Disney ship that had just come in.

All week I'd meant to take a picture of the carpet in the elevator.  On my first RC cruise in '09, the idea struck me as silly, but then I realized there is something to be said for reminding people on vacation exactly which day of the week it is.  The carpet insert changed daily, and was the first thing you saw when you entered the elevator.

The night before we had put our suitcases out in the hallway, and all we had to do on this last morning was pack away any last minute items in our carryons, eat breakfast, and go to our assigned waiting areas.  Our group was called to disembark at about 9:30, and by 10:00 we had retrieved our luggage and were outside waiting for a cab to take us to the Doubletree hotel in Cocoa Beach.

Pretty nice hotel, maybe a little close to needing some renovation, but clean, and best of all, right on the beach.  Our driver informed us that it was one of only two hotels there with direct beach access.

Nice room.

Some pretty comprehensive free products in the bathroom.

A small balcony with an ocean view.

An astronaut-related display in the lobby.  Pat had hoped to meet one, but alas, they are all long gone.

A small but quiet and relaxing pool area.

And a beautiful, uncrowded beach to walk on.

That night we were treated to this beautiful sight from our balcony.

And the next morning, this wonderful sunrise.

I'm so glad we decided to stay one extra day after the cruise.  Aside from being very relaxing, and loving the Cocoa Beach atmosphere, it kept us from the huge crowds that usually are at the airport any day that ships come into port.  We got through security in minutes, our flight was on time and uneventful, and I was home before I knew it, already missing my artsy friends and Tim and Mario and having someone else prepare and serve my meals, not to mention a balcony with an ocean view.  Sigh......

Monday, October 10, 2011

OMG, A Non-Cruise Post!!

Grungy Monday #22 - A Tim Inspired Halloween
Simon Says Stamp and Show Something With Wings

I was so happy to see Grungy Monday reappear, and lucky for me, I was able to create something that also works for the Simon Says challenge this week.

I'm not much of a Halloween person, but I know plenty of people who are, so this tag will be headin' out sometime soon.

The base is a black Ranger tag which was embossed with Cuttlebug's spiderweb folder.  Embossing ink was swiped over the raised parts and then brushed with copper and grape Perfect Pearls.  The top of the tag (where there was no embossing, is covered with some of Tim's Halloween tissue tape.

The bird is from Tim's Raven/Scaredy Cat die.  It was cut from grungeboard, inked with black embossing ink and covered with black embossing powder.  Then it got a coat of rock candy crackle paint.  When I went to finish drying it with my heat tool it did some crazy bubbling, but I'm going to say it was deliberate because I like the texture.  (But it really was a happy accident).

Behind the bird are both sizes of the mini rosette die. They were cut from some Cosmo Cricket Halloween paper that I've had for about two years.  The Happy Halloween ticket is hanging from a bit of ribbon behind the raven.

OK, I think I'm done with spiders and black cats and ravens and witches.  Bring on Santa!

Cruisin' The Caribbean With Tim

Saturday, October 1st

After class this morning (see yesterday's post for the project), there was lunch, and then the challenge of packing.  Luckily I left NY with two large half filled suitcases, because I needed every bit of that space for all the goodies and projects acquired this week.  At 5:00 we would have our farewell cocktail party with loads of giveaways, then on to dinner.

For those of you who have cruised before, you know that most every night, after making up the cabin for sleeping, the cabin attendants leave an animal, fashioned from cleverly folded towels.  Here is our zoo:

Everybody sing along, "I wear my sunglasses at night...."   Who is old enough to remember that one hit wonder Corey Hart?

On the very last day we grabbed a moment when everyone was working and Tim wasn't busy, and asked him to take a picture with us.  We went into the studio and got Mario in there too. 

Val, Pat, Mario, me, Tim and Elena

Before the cruise, Kyoko wrote that she'd heard that our collaborative journal group was starting an Asian themed book, and she kindly said she'd bring some things for us to share.  Did she ever!  And it seemed as though Naomi was giving things out every day.

 A Japanese catalog, newspaper, a handmade button, and in the wrapper, some
washi tape.  By the way, on the tag, my name in Japanese.  Naomi also
gave out Japanese bubble gum, but no photos of that.  Long since chewed.

Antique silk.  Wow!  Thanks, Kyoko!

Here's that washi tape, perfect for holiday projects.  Thanks,  Naomi!

To truly enjoy dinner on a cruise you need three things.  Good food, good company, and a really good waiter. We had it all.  AK was attentive, thoughtful, and always had a smile.

Some more great gifts from great friends:

 Gorgeous necklace, made by my cabinmate Pat!

 Val found some cigar boxes in one of the ports and
got one for each of us.

 I don't even remember who gave out the Caribbean cards, but
I received three from three different generous cruisers.

I got several great gifts from Pam, including the puka shells. The old
type piece with my initial was from Gloria.

I was wandering around the Promenade deck and saw this incredible display of fruit and vegetable carving.  And here I thought that stuff was just for eating,

And some random shots of friends.

Our cabin doors are metal, so the cruise line allows door decorations as long as magnets, not tape, hold them up.  Look at the fantastic sign Pat made for our door:

Every time you made a purchase in Mario's shop you received raffle tickets.  At the farewell party tickets were drawn and many wonderful gifts were given out.  Mario really loves this part....look at him here with all the tickets:

I didn't win anything this year (not that I could have fit one more thing in my bags), but Elena (who already owns every craft supply ever invented) won three times.....a full set of archival inks, a huge stack of Thickers, and....are you ready for this.....a Vagabond!  Which, of course, she's going to give away since she already has one.  She is a generous soul with a huge, huge heart.  And another wonderful lady, Linda Ledbetter, won a spot in next year's Scrapmap Mixed Media cruise.  That really warmed my heart.  By organizing both the Compendium of Curiosities and Grungy Monday challenges, she really kept me happily busy and creative all year.   Oh, and check out this awesome slide show she made from her cruise photos.  While you're blog hopping, you won't want to miss
Val's cruise posts.  They are detailed and full of great photos, almost none of which duplicate mine.  Were we really on the same boat?

As we left the party and headed for dinner, we learned that the gifting wasn't finished.  Everyone received this exclusive Tim messenger bag:

It's a great size....holds a ton of 12x12 paper and lots more. 

As I've mentioned before, I was very tied up this summer with some family stuff, so not only did Pat do our door sign, but she also made sure we could show up for the final dinner in style.  It wouldn't be a party without a tiara.

And see, I'm wearing my watch necklace too!  Never enough bling.

One more thing.  I mentioned in an early pre-cruise post that I was bringing the smash book I'd altered to use as my day to day journal.  I have to say, this was a very liberating experience for me.  Although I haven't scrapbooked much in recent years, I was at one time a very active scrapper, and would spend hours on my layouts.  This time, just getting those memories on paper, smashing them in, so to speak, without worrying at all about matting, embellishments, color combinations, etc. was like a breath of fresh air for me.  I'm sure there's room in my world for both methods of documenting memories, but I'm telling you, I'm in love with the smash style. 

Two pages about getting to Florida, and Disney.  I'm almost finished with this journal; I just have some more photos to print and smash in.  Lots of room inside for all the little odds and ends one collects on vacation.  Love it!

My heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped make this cruise the wonderful experience it was.  Tim, Mario, Monica, Joy, Richele, Jim, Beth, and all my old and new friends.....THANK YOU!!!!!

And that's it!  But tune in tomorrow to see our post-cruise adventures.  Cocoa Beach, here we come!