It’s been a while… and a few cards

As promised, my new job has been somewhat overwhelming.  But the launch of our department is tomorrow, so hopefully all the hard work will pay off (or it will be a complete disaster, I’ll get fired, and I’ll have all the time in the world to craft and blog).  Today was a holiday for us, Columbus Day.  It’s actually one of my least favorite holidays, because of the tragedy of his story that we end up glorifying and celebrating, but who can knock a day off?  I ended up working about 3/4 of the day to get ready for tomorrow, but I spent the rest of my time off making some cards.  I needed that.

Here’s what I came up with, and the challenges that inspired them:

ImageI made this for Sketch N Scrap’s  http://sketchnscrap.blogspot.com/2013/10/card-sketch-11-special-prize-alert.html.  This has been one of my favorites, as having the sketch gives me a nice backbone to work off of.  I made it for my new church birthday card ministry.  I’ve sent cards out to about 4-5 people each month for the past couple months and it’s been really fun.  Now I have to go to my list and find some October birthdays that haven’t already passed.

The colors in this card came from The Paper Players’ color challenge this week (http://thepaperplayers.blogspot.com/2013/10/pp167-jaydees-color-challenge.html).  Jaydee chose Midnight Muse, Pool Party, and Whisper White.  I found perfect great paper for the background in a huge book of origami paper my wonderful wife bought me last weekend in NYC (I go to NY and one of the only things I got was actually from the Barnes & Noble that we hung out in to kill some time before our dinner reservation).  It had that perfect Pool Party color, so I popped it on the background (also, the sketch had a really neat polka-dotted background, so I thought this worked well).  I used a midnight blue stamp pad for the small letters on the stamps, the Sharpie-drawn partial frame, and the ribbon.  Funny thing about the frame is that was actually the side of my sewing tin that I traced.  It was the perfect shape for the sketch:

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The Whisper White is in the background of the background paper and the white Pitt Pen I used for the first letters of “Happy Birth Day”.  I love those little tags but they’re ordinarily so expensive that I’d never spring for them.  They were one of my finds at Resources for Rhode Island Educators (https://craftymadre.com/2013/08/25/heaven-im-in-heaven/).

I’m also entering this card in the Simon Says Stamp Blog Wednesday Challenge  (http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/wednesdaychallenge/).  The challenge was to use Rubber or Clear Stamps.  I used my favorite set of clear cling stamps from Hero Arts for the small letters.

The second card I made this afternoon was inspired by the Paper Craft Star photo challenge  (http://papercraftstar.blogspot.ca/2013/10/challenge-165.html).  They post a photo to use a photo for inspiration, and the photos are always really neat.  I’ve checked out their challenges before, but never been able to think of anything that seemed to work.  This week’s photo was a great autumn massage storefront scene, complete with pumpkins and foliage.  People seem to be making a lot of Halloween cards, but, to tell you the truth, I’ve never really given a Halloween card.  I didn’t think of it as a “card” holiday.  So, instead, I made a birthday card using the colors.

ImageThe background was a page out of the aforementioned origami paper book.  The paper’s all square (for obvious reasons), so I used the piece I cut off to add a little accent (folding it to give it some dimension before taping it on and then adding some ribbon on top of that).  The folded paper is one of my favorite ways to add the ribbon look for gift wrapping (and might just be my Quick Tip Tuesday tip for tomorrow, if I can get around to posting about it.)  I used some awesome Tim Holtz cardboard letters I’ve had tucked away for just such a look and glued them on.  I really love this color scheme, and the challenge was the perfect way to show it off.  I’m also entering it in Tammy Scrapin’ Corner’s Fall Colors themed challenge:  http://www.tammyscrapincorner.com/2013/10/challenge-84-at-tammy-scrappin-corner.html and House of Gilli’s Anything Goes/Fall theme challenge:  http://houseofgilli.blogspot.com/2013/09/challenge-54-anything-goesfall.html.

Finally, I made a nautical themed card for the Simon Says Stamp Blog’s MONDAY CHALLENGE (I love that they have 2 challenges a week on two different blogs named for the days they’re posted- it’s always easy to know when they next one will be up).  (http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/mondaychallenge/challenge-nautical/)

ImageThis was my least favorite card of the bunch, and I wasn’t really sure what to do with it.  The theme was “Nautical”, and it’s not something I’ve done much with.  But, I happened to have this ship stamp and the “Bon Voyage” in my collection, so I figured “What the heck?”.  I used a 3rd piece of origami paper (trust me, there were over 800 pages, so I have plenty left to actually use for origami).  I used my midnight blue stamp pad to color the edges a little and then stamped it up.  I finished it off with a square knot at the top.  I didn’t really make this for anyone in particular, but it can go in my card box for the next time I need a going away card in a rush.

Pumpkin Painting… dos and don’ts

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It’s pumpkin time!  That means pumpkin seeds, pumpkin lattes, and pumpkin decorations.  My wife’s alma mater, Bay Path College, held the 3rd Annual Carpe Diem Dash to benefit their scholarship fund.  A good friend of hers is the president of the Alumni Association, so we chipped in to help out (manning the water stations, not running).  I was also able to help with the decorations by painting pumpkins.

We went to the awesome farm that supplied the veggies for our wedding, Gooseberry Farms (http://www.farmfresh.org/food/farm.php?farm=1997), and they gave us an amazing deal on tons of pumpkins, gourds, hay, and a crazy-looking hubbard squash (grey food- who knew?).  I took some of the biggest ones and used Sharpies and acrylic craft paint to decorate them with “Carpe Diem” (the college’s motto- long before “Dead Poet’s Society“) and this year’s theme: “Be Bold”.

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The Sharpies and craft paint weren’t necessarily the best choices.  The Sharpies colored well but have such narrow strokes that I couldn’t do much other than write with them.  The black craft paint was great- it went on smoothly, stayed where I put it, and covered really well.  The pink was another story.  It went on really light (not opaque like the black) but when I tried to do a second coat, even after letting it dry, it wiped off the first coat in some places.  I had to go over it a few times, and even then I didn’t get the really “bold” color I was hoping for.  I think there are other things that would have worked better to decorate them.  Paint markers, maybe?

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I still think they made for great decorations, especially the way our friend arranged them.  I like that crazy hubbard squash the best.  But the real best part… they came home with us and are now decorating our front steps.

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Oh Baby, part II

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Here’s my second baby card.  For this one, I used title of one of my favorite Dr. Seuss books:  “Oh, the Places You’ll Go“.  (My absolute favorite is “The Lorax“.)  People give the book for graduation presents all the time, but it’s a perfect theme for a new baby, too (I think).  The other bonus- Dr. Seuss shares a birthday with my lovely wife AND is from my very city.  Yes, I’ve been on THE Mulberry Street (it’s no where near as exciting as he portrays it to be, unfortunately).

I used a map I picked up from a brochure stand on our recent weekend in Vermont for the “O” and Sharpie for the rest of the letters and the road and water.  I cut the pictures out of an old Highlights magazine (I’ll be so sad when my boy is no longer young enough for me to justify a subscription).  The “grass” around the bike is non other than my famous glitter spray.  Oh, and the background is my homemade spray ink (see here for details: https://craftymadre.com/2013/07/18/a-few-more-icads-on-the-home-stretch).  On the inside I just wrote “Welcome to the world.”  My diaper cake is almost done and I’ve gotten started on the diaper bouquet for the parents of today’s kiddo’s card.  Stay tuned!!

I’m entering this card into a few challenges:  http://chocolatecoffeecards.blogspot.com/2013/09/challenge-48-anything-goes.html – How could you not love this blog?  Coffee, chocolate, and cards (3 of my favorite things)!

http://bunnyzoescrafts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/september-challenge-something-blue.html – A “something blue” challenge, this month (good thing the baby’s a boy).

http://cutiepiechallenge.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/challenge-53-cute-one-for-boys_22.html – The Cutie Pie Challenge is not something that a lot of my cards would necessarily work for, but I definitely think this one is “cute”- and it’s for a boy.

http://cardmakinmamas.blogspot.com/2013/09/cmm74-for-kids-sponsored-by-bugaboo.html – The Card Makin’ Mamas “For the Kids” challenge is another fun one.  I’m loving all these kid cards at the “back to school” time of year.

and

http://cisforchallenge.blogspot.com/2013/09/challenge-6.html– The theme is “make is sparkle”.  I’m hoping my glitter glue will count for that.  The prize is 6 meters of white lace.  (I’m not quite sure how long a meter is, but I really like lace!)

And, just for fun, here’s a photo from the Dr. Seuss Memorial sculpture garden near our house.  (Yes, that would be Horton.)

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UPDATE:  Shoot!  I just realized that the car’s on the wrong side of the road.  Maybe we should move to England before the baby’s born.

Last 2 anniversary cards (I think)

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This one was made for another couple challenges.  The first one is Shopping our Stash’s “Favorite Stampy Technique”.  (http://shoppingourstash.blogspot.ca/2013/09/sos-118-favorite-stampy-technique.html).  I used a fun Hero stamp I got from one of my favorite bloggers on the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge design team, who was thinning her stash and selling some of her old stamps for about 1/2 price.  (http://cheironbrandon.typepad.com/my_weblog/stamps-stuff-for-sale.html).  My “Favorite Stampy Technique” is using Bingo ink daubers to ink the stamps.  I tried it when I first started experimenting with stamping because I only had a couple ink pads.  My wife has a ton of Bingo daubers and she actually introduced me to Bingo (which I have to admit I rather like).  I just randomly inked different sections of the stamp with different colors and plopped the card on top.  (I stamp “upside down” when using these, because they tend to be a little drippy.  I’ve found that when you stamp down on the card some of the ink that drips into the crevices drips down onto the paper.  If you stamp “up” by putting the paper on the stamp, this can be avoided.)  I love how bright the colors are!

The second challenge comes in with the quote stamp.  It’s from Stampsmith (some of my favorite stamps are from them).  Their challenge is to create something that’s “Inspired by a Song” (http://thestampsmithchallenge.blogspot.com/2013/09/tsc46inspired-by-song-using-at-least.html).  This was a perfect theme to make a card for my wife for, who’s laying next to me singing as I type.  This quote made me think of the song of “What A Wonderful World”, which I wrote on the inside of the card and which we played at our wedding (the “Over the Rainbow/Wonderful World” mash up by Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_DKWlrA24k).  It’s one of my favorite songs.)  The flowers seem to have a kind of Hawaiian theme.

This card is perfect for our anniversary because I really did marry my best friend.

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And this is the last card I’m making (I think).  I used another Stampsmith stamp (aren’t they great?  So detailed!) which I colored with colored pencils.  I used my hand-made zig zag stamp on the sides and a cute phrase on the bottom with Sharpie.

Anniversary Card for my love

ImageShopping Our Stash has a challenge going on that was, I think, made for me.  http://shoppingourstash.blogspot.ca/2013/08/sos-115-oldest-hardware.html

It challenges crafters to use their oldest “hardware” in their card designs, however defines hardware as “things like ribbon slides, brads, eyelets, metal frames, etc.”.  When I think hardware, I think things hiding in the bottom of my toolbox, so I went with that.  🙂

I’m also entering it into the Clean and Simple on Sunday Challenge, because this week’s theme is “Floral Fantasy”: http://cleanandsimpleonsunday.blogspot.com/2013/08/challenge-15-floral-fantasy.html.  I really made myself stop after the flower and the text (the silver underline was just the icing).  I was thinking of things I could do in the background or about making a stem (I even had my green glitter-glue out) but I really liked it just the way it is.

I made this card for our 1st Wedding Anniversary, coming up in just a couple weeks (don’t tell her I don’t have a present, yet).  I used nails that I salvaged from some dresser drawers I used to make a spice shelf in the dresser-drawer shelf I made a while ago.  (That project is here, if you’re interested:  https://craftymadre.com/2013/05/14/dresser-drawer-shelves/)  There’s a washer in the center with a neat looking metal flower-shaped thing I found in my “metal” box and it’s all glued together with glitter glue (if it doesn’t hold the metal, I’ll go back and use a stronger adhesive, but I just wanted the glitter in there).  I wrote the short phrase “She loves me” on there with Sharpie, as in “She loves me, she loves me not…”  But there’s only one petal missing because I know she loves me!  🙂

“Easy-Peasy” Christmas cards inspired by Spike

I’ve been telling myself for months that I’m going to take a page from the awesome “Blog that Spike Built” and start making Christmas cards early this year.  http://spikescreativeside.wordpress.com/2013/08/02/easy-peasy-christmas-cards-63-many-merry-christmas/.  She is totally cool and a major inspiration- from her Drunken Stampers stuff to her Art Journal pages to this here “Easy-Peasy Christmas Card Pinterest Board” http://pinterest.com/spikescreative/easy-peasy-christmas-cards/.

And I finally did!!!  Here are my first 2:

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And they were totally “Easy Peasy”.  I made a Christmas tree stencil with a piece of heavy paper and then used a stamp I made out of an eraser with 4 circles.  I stamped a bunch of circles in different colors to fill in the template.  For red and green one, I used a Season’s Greetings rub-in and for the multi-colored one I used a “Joy” stamp with Tim Holtz Distress Ink.  The colors for the “Joy” one are actually from the Stampotique Designers Challenge this month: purple, orange, and yellow.  http://stampotiquedesignerschallenge.blogspot.com/2013/08/sdc111-color-challenge.html  I love the color combo!

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My favorite part is the “star” at the top of the tree, which I did with my boy’s borrowed pinky finger.  I used a Sharpie to put a little starburst in it.

I felt like I’m on a roll, so I made a few more today.  I’m actually not really thrilled with the first 2, but the last one totally floats my boat:

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I got my first Paper Pumpkin Kit from Stamping the Moon yesterday and it was like opening a treasure chest!  http://stampingthemoon.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/paper-pumpkin-limited-time-offer/  It came with a little stamp pad, an acrylic block (which I’ve wanted for forever), a bunch of charcoal gray cards and yellow-polkadotted papers that fit, envelopes, a sheet of flag and accent stickers, and 2 stamps.  There were instructions on how to make a sample card, but I hate following instructions so I pretty much did my own thing.  For the top one, I used a Stampsmith “H” stamp (which I love) with the new acrylic block and then stamped the rest of the letters to spell “Happy Holidays”.  I kind of blew it with the snowflake stamp using a bingo dauber.  Oh well, can’t win ’em all.  The Christmas tree one is the innards of the stencil I used in the first batch of cards.  I used another Bingo dauber to stamp around it.  Then I used a couple gift stamps, which I colored with my handy dandy Sharpies, a star stamp (that I made with an eraser), and a “Happy Holidays” stamp that came with the above-mentioned snowflake.  Like I said, those aren’t my favorite.  This one, however, is:

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I don’t know why I like this one so much, but I do.  I made the Gingerbread Man stamp with one of my boy’s old erasers.  It had a Buzz Lightyear sticker on it, so it was kind of shaped like a man, and I just carved this little guy.  Here’s my first test page with him:

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Then, I stamped the circles with the circle eraser stamp that I had used previously to fill in the Christmas tree.  I traced the little guy and drew swirls in the circles and then, just because, I stamped a similar swirl in the corner.  I wrote the little phrase on the card and Voila!

I’m going to submit the second batch, that one in particular, to the this month’s Stampotique Designers Challenge: Polka Dots.  http://stampotiquedesignerschallenge.blogspot.com/2013/08/sdc112-polka-dots.html

I originally made the first one for their color challenge but you can only submit one and I really like that one best.  “Run, run, as fast as you can.  You can’t catch me I’m the Gingerbread Man.”  🙂  Christmas, here I come!

My first commission!

Well… in all honesty, I was talking with a friend at work whose employee’s last day was coming up.  She said that she was going to get a special card and gift for her (she’d been with us for 4 years, which is a long time for our program).  So I said “I know!  I’ll make you a card.”  She didn’t really protest so I assumed she was good with it.  And here it is:

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Our coworker’s favorite color is orange and I asked my friend what she wanted me to write on the card.  She suggested “Shining stars never fade” on the outside and “Twinkle on” on the inside.  I love that!

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I already had the wooden star and I made the stamp out of an eraser (my new favorite hobby).  I’m doing it very low tech, with just an X-acto knife which I use to cut around whatever I want the design to be (after drawing it on with a trusty Sharpie).  Then, I cut the rest of the background out, slicing horizontally through the eraser about 1/8 of an inch down.  I do a couple practice stamps to see if there’s anything I want to change on the image and if there’s any of the background that’s not deep enough, and I’m good to go.  I’ve made about 5 of them so far. I also put a button on the front because when our coworker was pregnant a couple of years ago she didn’t find out the gender of her baby so we all called it “Button”.  And, I have to admit, she really is as cute as a button.

I also found a challenge using die-cuts on the Simon Says Stamps Monday Challenge blog:  http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/mondaychallenge/challenge-make-the-cut/.  The Design Team’s samples are amazing- many of them are so intricate and the die-cuts really make them “pop” (literally).  I don’t actually have any die-cuts myself, but I made a banner for the text on the front of the card kind of looked like one.  One of the Design Team members for the challenge used cardboard in her die cutter and I loved the effect, so I tried to mimic it using my handy-dandy X-acto knife again and origami paper.  I also used a paper punch (which is the same principle as a die) to make the little swirls on the inside.

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I love the dimension from the button, star, and cardboard.  And gluing them on with silver glitter glue gave it a fun twinkle (which I kept going by using it as the tale of the shooting star, as well).  I used pastels in yellow and orange to color around the edge, having cut the orange background paper a little smaller than the card on purpose.  As a side note, the orange paper was a gift from another work friend.  She was cleaning out her childhood home and came across a whole box of this really beautiful, heavy, colored artists’ paper which she gave me.  I love it!

I used my Tim Holtz‘ Distress Ink pad for the text (with my stamp press) and stars but then had to go over the letters on front with a black Sharpie because they were a little too “distressed” to be able to read them clearly.  I have to get a plain black ink pad for things like this.  I sprayed the whole thing with  a high-gloss spray fixative to make it shiny and keep the pastels from smudging.  Also, the spray adhesive I used on the origami paper was still a little sticky around the edges so that helped cover the sticky up.

All in all, it was a lot of fun to make and my friend loved it.