Sunday, November 27, 2011

My Attitude Is.....

.....Gratitude!   I have a lot on my plate lately (and unfortunately I'm not talking turkey here), so I do sometimes have to remind myself that there are still so many reasons to be grateful.  And those thoughts inspired this piece for the current Making Art challenge at the Everything Wendy Vecchi yahoo group.

Lori asked us to use at least one of Wendy's art parts, at least one of her stamps, and to stay with the Thanksgiving/autumn theme.  I worked on and off all day today, and came up with this:

The base is from the Artful Shrines art parts package.  It is covered with some Prima paper over which I used the background stamp (burlap, I think) from Funky Flower Art, as well as the weeds from Well Worn Art.

Here's a closer look at the fence:

It comes from the Outdoor Art art parts set.  I have some distress crackle paint from a Ranger Warehouse sale that was unlabeled.  I think they are broken china and antique linen, and I globbed them on very heavily, allowed it to air dry, then went over the whole thing with vintage photo distress ink.  (The bird, by the way, is from a Sizzix decorative strip die called Birds and Branches.  The branches can be seen on the top of the piece).

The garland of leaves were cut from shrink plastic with Tim's Tattered Leaves die, colored with both plain and metallic markers, then strung on twine after shrinking.

I used the round flower from Lower Case Art to make the pumpkin, stamping and cutting it three times, and gluing parts down on top of each other to make it dimensional.   Then I gave it a good spray with some Perfect Pearls mist.

The sentiment was done on the computer, and it is how I feel.  Today.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Yes, I'm Still Here.......

......and can't believe it's been more than a week since my last post.  First I was out of town on family related business, and then I was too exhausted from that, and then it was suddenly Thanksgiving.
That's it for me; I'm all out of excuses.
Right before I left I received Elena's journal from our asian themed round robin group, and today I finished my pages.

Above is my two page spread.  Elena had requested that we have a black border or frame, so I cut my watercolor paper about an inch smaller than her book and used black distress stain to make the border.

What I like most about these pages is that I think that everything I used on them is something that I received from a friend.  Here are closer views of the two pages:

The first layer on the paper is a bunch of small squares cut from colored paper I received from Lee.  Over that a coat of thinned out gesso, followed by some asian text from a newspaper I got from Teri.  The gold and orange you see is joss paper and I think I got that from Sox.  The bamboo is from a decorative napkin and if I'm not mistaken, Elena sent that to me.  The beautiful images of the Japanese books are from a catalog that Kyoko brought all the way from Japan and gave to me on the cruise.

For better or worse, the haiku is all mine.  I know Elena loves to read, which was the inspiration for these pages.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Tale of Two......

.....chunky ATCs.   Here's the background to this tale:  Susan at EWV (the Everything Wendy Vecchi yahoo group) announced a chunky ATC swap.  She posted all the details, but I was so excited to get going I finished mine and THEN went back to look over her post.  Hah!  Seems in my eagerness to begin, it didn't register in my mind that there was a theme, and that the theme was winter/holiday colors.  I looked long and hard at my creation, and there was not one bit of it that said winter or Christmas or Hannukah or New get the idea. 

What's a person to do?  Get out another block of wood and start again, that's what.  I had the notion to create a winter village and so I did.  I used lots of Wendy's stamps, of course, some of Tim's artful dwellings (cut down in size a bit to fit on the ATC), and some made from simple shapes cut from cardboard.  I call it "Home For The Holidays."

I used Wendy's gorgeous lace background stamp on the entire block of wood, embossed in white then inked with blues.  The icicles around the top are one of Tim's on the edge die cuts.  The snow on the roof tops was done with liquid pearls sprinkled with white glitter.

As for the first one I made, it's a bit quirky, maybe not to everyone's liking, but I think I know someone who will get a kick out of it, so it is packed and ready to go, an early Christmas present for a great friend.  So here it is....."It Started As An Ordinary Day."

Except for umbrella man (Tim's), this one is all Wendy, from the background stamps to the art parts. And don't you think that umbrella man and cane man go together perfectly?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Grungy Monday Christmas Card

I always enjoy the Grungy Monday challenges, but this week even more so.  The inspiration for it comes from one of Tim's 2007 12 Tags of Christmas.  And, since I got onboard the 12 Tags train in 2008, this was a new one for me.  Please click HERE to get all the deets straight from the expert's blog.

Now, as I've mentioned, my intent is to use any challenges I enter to create some holiday cards.  Not wanting to seem like a copycat or anything, my first attempt used a snowman rather than the Santa that Tim used as the focal image.  I really don't love it.  At all.  But will share it so you can see where things can go so very wrong.

I probably should have used black ink on the snowman stamp.  There just wasn't enough contrast between the snowman and the background, which is what lead to my outlining the snowman with my black glaze pen.  Now it looks like the snowman was pasted onto the background instead of being the result of some wonderful technique.  The paint resist snowflakes came out nicely, however.

So, I went back to the Santa idea, and used a wonderful vintagey La Blanche stamp that I picked up recently at one of those deal of the day sites.

I'm much happier with this one.  The snowflakes and script are both Tim stamps; the sentiment is an old Stampin' Up stamp (done with black embossing powder).

I enhanced Santa's hat with fired brick and forest moss distress stickles, his face with rock candy distress stickles, and added some little pine cones and berries. 

By the way, I'm taking Jennifer McGuire's Holiday Card Boot Camp and if you need a little jump start to your holiday cards, I totally recommend it.  Although it already began, registration is open, and once you sign up you will have access to the class FOREVER (and you can download the files and videos if you like). 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Gearing Up For The Holidays

Last year I dawdled around for so long, my holiday cards mostly said Happy New Year.  I've got a decent head start this year, and feel like I'm on a roll.

What started me off was a play date I had with my pals Pat and Teri.

Good thing we are all able to create in chaos.  So many supplies, so little room.  We weren't making cards for ourselves, but Cards for the Troops.  Even with plenty of gabbing, coffee breaks and lunch out, we managed to get close to 30 cards done.

I was so inspired, I continued my card making over the next few days.  When I want to produce a quantity of cards that are not quite identical, what I'll do is cut a bunch of embellishments and other card elements (mats, borders, etc), lay them out in front of me and then do a mix and match thing.  Here are some cards from my "reindeer series" and all feature die cuts from Tim's Reindeer Flight Sizzix die.

I discovered that I didn't have any Christmas paper left, but I'm going to show you that doesn't really matter.  I took some scrapbook paper with colors that work for the season and stamped and embossed right over the patterns.  I then used a Stampin' Up ornament punch to create these cards.  I have a bag full of the ornaments, and tried different color embossing powders, so I'm ready to make at least a dozen or more of this style of card.

I only did one with Tim's snowman folder, but I'm sure I'll do more.

This week's challenge at Simon Says is to "show us a house."  Still in the holiday mind set, but wanting to do more than a card, I created this little decor item using Tim's Artful Dwellings Sizzix die, and a whole bunch of embossing folders to give each house a different look.  It stands up nicely by itself because I attached Tim's small easel die cut to the back.  By the way, the easel is way taller than my little village, but just so you know, you can really trim it a lot (I did!) and it still works perfectly.

First a photo of it lying on my table (so you can actually see the houses), then a darker photo of it standing up, and then a side shot so you can see the easel.

The snow is a combination of Liquid Pearls and glitter glass.  The smoke from the chimney is some twisted wire.  And I think I know someone who is going to receive it as a gift.

Now, back to card making......