Thursday, June 23, 2011

Yes, I admit it. I like to throw things...

...well, at my cards, anyway. I have this tendency to start with whatever image I've colored, find some coordinating papers, then just start throwing embellishments at that poor card until it can't take anymore. The paper sometimes ends up totally covered with pretties, but it's like an addiction. I can't stop. There's nothing more fun to me than digging through all of my embellishments to find yet another one that might work. Here's a case in point:
Quite some time ago, I colored this adorable image from Belles N Whistles, called "Clowning Around". Isn't she cute? Tonight, I finally decided to put her on a card, because she seemed perfect for the current Digi Bells challenge to make a birthday card. I'm also entering her in the Pink Elephant challenge 104 to make a circus card (thanks to Star for telling me about it!). This card started out with a basic light blue paper from Basic Grey's Hopscotch collection, matted onto dark brown bazzill cardstock. Then I put on three stripes of patterned paper from the Hopscotch collection. I didn't like that effect; it was too bland, so I added another piece of paper from the same collection. You see where this is going, right? The paper wasn't enough, so I popped the image with some dimensional dots. Still not enough. I added ribbon. Boring! Tossed on a sentiment, which made the other three corners look empty. I love Wild Orchid Crafts, so I had to add some flowers to fill a corner. Two corners were still empty. A quick punch with my EK Success scalloped corner punch almost fixed it, but not quite. More dimensional dots, and somehow, some buttons and cupcake stickers, netting, and a Sassafras Lass card made their way on there. I hope my poor clown did not end up buried. Nah, not possible, since Elisabeth Bell's images can't help but stand out. Her work is just too awesome to do anything else. And besides, this little clown needed some cute stuff to juggle, right? Yeah, yeah, that's it.

I'm tired from all of that tossing and throwing, plus trying to carry this heavy card to another room to get a decent picture (it does sit up surprisingly well, considering its weight). I'm off to watch So You Think You Can Dance, and then maybe I'll actually get some sleep tonight. Not likely, given my insomnia over the last few days, but I'm going to give it a shot!  Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Happy sunny birthday, Dale!

My friend Dale celebrated her birthday this past Monday, but I couldn't post the card til she got it in the mail. It finally showed up yesterday. I guess I'll look at that in a positive light and say she got to extend her birthday by a day that way!
Dale loves yellow and all things vintage, so I overloaded on the yellow, then threw in some vintage touches (an old button, some pins, and old lace). She also loves red, but I couldn't make that fly with the softer feel of this card. Oh, well.

She has been an amazing friend to me for the last few years that I have known her. She's got a great spirit, a fabulous sense of humor, and a loving heart. She's got to have tons of patience, too...she has little ones running around her house constantly! I love kids, but I don't know if I'd have the patience for that (which is one of the reasons why I didn't have any! LOL). She's such an involved mom and grandma. I love to watch her videos on youtube, where she's singing with her family or doing little lessons with her sweet granddaughter Emma. Each video makes me smile. Happy Birthday, Dale! LUG!!!

So, anyway, thanks once again for looking. Have a fabulous day!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bling is a girl's best friend!

I love bling and it doesn't need to be in the form of diamonds (although I've not been known to turn them down!). Guylou is hosting a challenge over at CDAC to use bling, bow(s), and buttons. She provided this adorable freebie for us to use, too. You can get one yourself if you join CDAC. Check out the challenge here. I had fun making this card, although it took me a few days. I started it, let the stickles dry, then left it sit and sit and sit. I finally finished it up. Introducing little Dorothy and her sparkler!
Isn't she adorable? This image brings back many, many memories from when I was a kid. I remember summer picnics and playing with sparklers. We used to wave them around, writing words in the air with them. I can still smell the rather chemical, nasty smell they had as they burned. I can hear the sizzle and pop. It makes me smile to think back to those innocent days, where I just got to be a kid and not worry about anything but having fun.
Now, on to details about the card. I used Spellbinders Label #14 to cut around the image. I colored her with copics, then added red ink and outlines with a blue stardust pen and gold stickles. Dorothy's dress is polka dotted using a signo pen, and her sparkler blings courtesy of more gold stickles. While I had the stickles out, I outlined the background paper, too. The stars are cut with a Creative Memories star punch and I attached some star-shaped buttons with KI Gloo. I love that stuff. It holds practically everything. I got the cute red gingham ribbon at a store in Germany. It was what we used to call "five and dime"s here in the US. In other words, lots of fun stuff super cheap. Oh, yeah, I added some freckles to Dorothy's cute little cheeks using my Creative Memories journaling pen in brown.
When coloring the background, I wanted to get away from doing the solid thing (like a sky). Instead, I remembered how the ash from the sparklers used to fall all around us. It inspired me to use the dot technique. I used C00-C5 and then hit it with some silver sparkle from a stardust pen, too. Here's a close-up so you can see a bit better.
 This card is headed out to one of our soldiers in Afghanistan.
July 4th is fast approaching! I hope you have a fun Independence Day with lots of sparklers, fireworks, and yummy picnic food. Darnit, now I want a hamburger.....

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sweet summertime at Guylou's!

It's time for another challenge at Guylou's Inimitability and I am stoked because it's my turn to host! When Guylou (a.k.a "G") asked me to take a turn, I had so many ideas floating through the swiss cheese holes in my brain. With the help of my wonderful friends on G's DT, I narrowed it down and decided to do a sweet summertime challenge. What's this mean, you ask (and if you didn't ask, just pretend like you did, ok?)? It's simple. Make a project that includes BOTH of the following:
1. The word "sweet" somewhere on the front of the card. You can use it in any way you like. If you check out Guylou's store, she's even got some cute sentiments made by Tracy. That makes it easy peasy!
2. Your project must have something to do with summer/warm weather. That doesn't really limit you too much. I mean, you can use so many ideas for that. You could focus on foods associated with summer like watermelon, ice cream, and even Maryland crabs! (yes, I have steamed crabs on the brain. I'm getting my first batch of the season this Saturday. Yum!). You could focus on warm weather places like the beach, or warm weather clothes like flip flops, bathing suits, shorts or sunglasses.

See, I tried to make it easy on you! As usual, G's DT came up with some cool ideas. Don't forget to check out their blogs to see (links in my sidebar on your left). For my card, I used a new image from G's store called "Leah Eating Watermelon." Leah is one of my favorite GI characters and I'm always so excited when G releases a new one.
I colored Leah with copics (no surprise there, since I don't tend to use any other medium anymore). My sentiment is from my friend Tracy. G's selling it in her store, along with several other "sweet" sentiments. Papers are My Mind's Eye "Home" collection. I got that cute rubber flower on clearance at Michael's. It's so bright and happy that I had to add it to this card. This is the first time I've created a background with chalk, but I went a little too light. It's actually clouds that I made by cutting out a cloud shape from white paper and using chalk to rub it onto the paper all through the background. In real life, it shows up as a very faint sky. I promise. LOL.
So, what are you waiting for? You have until June 30th at 10 p.m. EST to enter the challenge over at Guylou's Inimitability. To make it even sweeter, the winner of the challenge will receive a $5 gift card to spend in the GI store, plus a chance to be the guest DT for a future challenge. I can't wait to see how sweet you can make your summer project for Guylou's Inimitability!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

One of the good things about dragons... that they can be any color you want them to be, and no one bats an eye. I guess that's the good thing about any fantasy creature. They're pure imagination and you can let your creativity lead you where it may. Today, I decided my dragon should be purple. Maybe I was inspired by my niece, who graduates from elementary school tomorrow. No, I'm not implying the child is a dragon (although she did inherit some of her father's stubborn behavior and temper!). I just think of her every time I see purple, since it's her favorite color. Debating with a ten year old over the merits of pink versus purple is actually quite fun, or funny...whichever way you look at it. Anyway, here's the card:

The papers are Basic Grey. The tulle bow is actually purple, although it looks pink in this pic for some odd reason. I colored the dragon with my copics. I used stardust pens to highlight the scales and flames, as well as liquid applique to make the marshmallows look more realistic. The dragon is from Sweet Pea Stamps.
This card is for several challenges:
Sweet Pea Stampers - monochromatic. I chose purple
In a Sweet Pea Dream - wings
CES - inspired by a movie. My movie is Shrek! 

Now I need to get back to cleaning out what has become my storage room. It's supposed to be a room where I can chill out and read in my beanbag chair, surrounded by my fun collection of Steiff, Hermann, and hand-crafted artist bears. Right now, though, it's a hoarder's dream. It's just so overwhelming that I have been taking "breaks" from it all day to do things like make cards and read my book (unfortunately, not in my beanbag chair. There's no room for it in all of the boxes. So, for now, my couch is still the place to read). Have a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, June 11, 2011

For our soldiers, with gratitude

***this will be a short post because I am supremely irritated that I typed out a long post and blogger ATE it!!!***

My plan was to head to Busch Gardens today, but I woke up and wasn't in the mood. Shocking, since it's one of my fave places to go, but I just wasn't up for the drive and didn't feel like moving. I went back to bed, slept in til 9:00, bummed around with a book for a bit, then decided to make some cards. I got this great stamp from Hobby Lobby earlier this week, because it expresses my feelings towards are soldiers perfectly. The new sketch at Sweet Stop Sketches also seemed perfect for it. These cards are based after Sweet Sketch #112.
The stamp says: "Soldier, because of your bravery, courage, and sacrifice, liberty and freedom are still ours. We are deeply grateful."

When I bought the stamp, I came home and made this card with it, which I promptly mailed off to a soldier:

Please consider supporting groups like Soldier's Angels and Operation Write Home. Let's give back to those who sacrifice for us every day!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What do you call it when it's not big enough to be a milestone?

If you've accomplished something that you wouldn't necessarily call a milestone, but it's still an accomplishment, what in the heck do you call it? Heck, I don't even know that it's an accomplishment. Today, I went to the movies by myself for the first time. Doesn't seem like much, I know. It's just not something I have ever done. If you know me, you know that I am a very independent person. I go to amusement parks alone (in fact, I plan to go to Busch Gardens on Saturday). I eat out at restaurants alone. I go on road trips alone. None of this phases me. My ex told me that he admires that I can do that, because he can't stand to go to restaurants and things like that by himself. I have never had an issue with that, for whatever reason. However, I've never gone to a movie by myself. My brother does it all of the time and I know that other people do, as well. It's just never been something I did. Movies have always seemed like a couple activity or something you do with friends, so you can talk about the movie after. You'd think trips and amusement parks would seem more like group activities to me, wouldn't you? It just hasn't been that way.

Since Rick passed away, I've been trying hard to step out of my comfort zone. A wonderful guy I know who also lost his partner gave me great advice. He had a lot of good advice to give, in fact. I'll just share one tidbit with you here, because it pertains to this post. He told me that I needed to get out and do something for me. Something that had nothing to do with Rick. Something that could be totally mine and mine alone. He told me, although not in so many words, that I needed to find my own way, apart from my memories of Rick. I needed to do this to move forward in my life. I've tried to take his advice to heart. I took a Spanish class (I don't remember much of it now, but hey, I took it!). I signed up for some groups like Soldier's Angels and CDAC. I planned and executed a trip to Canada. I've redecorated my home and made major decisions about home improvements, and even managed to do some small home repairs on my own (that was a serious shocker, let me tell you. I'm not handy). One thing I hadn't done was something small, but for some reason, significant to me. Today, I did it. I went to a movie by myself, and man, was it weird. It wasn't even a movie Rick would have seen with me. It was strange to buy one ticket, to go through the snack line without conferring with anyone else about what they wanted to share, and to pick my seat without checking with another person to see where they'd like to sit. I gotta say, I didn't like it much. I don't see this as something I'll do often. It kind of sucked. It didn't help that the movie was not as good as I had hoped. At least there's always my other sole endeavors. Busch Gardens, here I come!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Two in one day. YAY!

I'm getting slap-happy. I guess it's getting late or something! Anyway, I managed to finish another card today. This one is for a few challenges. First, though, let me show it to you:
Isn't she a cutie? I colored her with copics and a red stardust pen for the "flames" on her torch. Papers are Basic Grey curio collection.

I'm going to make this post short because I am tired! This card is for the following challenges:
Sweet Sketch Wednesday #104
Anyone for Anya and Friends - use polka dots (I embossed dots on the black paper, and the ribbon has polka dots)
All That Scraps Wed Challenge - Anything Goes

This is another card I'll be sending to one of our wonderful soldiers. I bought this stamp after I joined Soldier's Angels, figuring she'd be perfect for cards for them. Have a great night!

Man, I suck at masculine cards

I have the hardest time with masculine cards. If you are a follower of my blog or have seen my gallery at, you know I'm more into the frilly, feminine stuff. Flowers, lace, pastels/soft colors, etc. I also have a difficult time with the clean and simple style. The word "simple" refers to the lack of embellishment and layering way more than the difficulty level, in my opinion. I find those CAS cards extremely difficult to do. I just want to throw more and more embellishments at them.

Today, I had a bit of free time before picking up my mom to head out to an auction to support the JDRF. I decided that I should try a CAS card with a more masculine theme. Um, yeah. This sucker drove me nuts. I think it turned out okay, though. Judge for yourself:
The cute little image and the sentiment are from the Greeting Farm. I had a rough time with his bright red hair. I used my trusty copics to color the image.  The buttons and star are from my stash. The olive green paper is Bazzill. There's a black mat before you get to the patterned paper, but it didn't show up well here. The pp is Tim Holtz. I went around the edges of the image repeatedly with my double edge cutterbee piercing tool. In real life, it shows up pretty well. I roughed up the edge of the white paper with my distressing tool and added some cats eye chalk ink in creamy brown. Then I doodled some stars and a few little circles, put it all together, and ta-da!
Now I'm off to hopefully win some good stuff at this auction. I've never been to a quarter auction and have no clue what that even means, so wish me luck! If you're there, you can identify me as the short, chubby one, looking around like I have no clue what in the heck is going on!!! LOL

Oh, yeah. I almost forgot. This card is for the Simon Says Stamp challenge to make a masculine card. I'm glad to see I could find a challenge for it, too!

Edited to add: this card is also for the CES Clean and Simple challenge. Thanks to Vicky for telling me about it!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Monochrome Mania over at Guylou's!

It's time for another challenge over at Guylou's Inimitability. And boy, what a challenge it is! Our wonderful digi team leader and creator came up with this one. I think she really wanted us to have to work or something, because man, it was hard. G has decided that it's time for a monochromic (monochromatic, as I call it) challenge. That means your project must pretty much appear to have all the same color. I chose white. Of course, my picture taking abilities lately pretty much suck, so it looks like white and grey. I promise, the whole card is white. It is just different textures in the papers that throws things off, I think. Oh, wait, I guess you can't decide for yourself unless you see the card. Well, here it is:

The pieces that appear grey are actually white paper with a bit of bling to it. The sparkle around the image comes from stickles, since you can't use any loose glitter when sending cards to the troops. This is the card I put in my first care package to Jessica, to introduce myself as her soldier's angel.

This image is called Gabrielle and I left her uncolored to stay with the white theme. She's mounted on two scalloped ovals cut with my nesties, and then onto a piece of cardstock that I covered with strips of lace.

Now, here's all you have to do to win a wicked cool prize, which includes two free digis of your choice from G's store as well as the opportunity to be a guest designer on an upcoming challenge: make a monochromatic card and upload it to Guylou's Inimitability challenge blog. But wait, there's more!!! This time around, we've got an awesome sponsor, too. In addition to free images and appearing as a guest DT, the winner of this challenge will also get a free one year subscription to Through the Craft Room Door magazine. How awesome is that, and how sweet of them to sponsor Guylou's Inimitability. You have until June 16 at 10:00 p.m. EST to enter the challenge. As always, you improve your chances of winning if you use one of G's images, but it's not mandatory. Again, though, it does give you more chances to win. You can even pick up a freebie if you join her group at CDAC. Come on, give it a shot!!! I can't wait to see what color you choose!