Birthday Card Ministry

So… I’ve been loving making these cards.  I keep thinking I’m going to stockpile cards so I have a bunch to choose from whenever an occasion comes up, but as soon as I make one I want to give it to someone.  I just so happen to go to a church with a huge congregation and every month the “Carillon” (kind of like a newsletter) lists all the congregants’ birthdays for the month.  So I decided to start sending them to people in the church.  I can do them for other occasions, too, like weddings and funerals.  There will always be some occasion to make a card for.

Here are the ones I made today:

ImageI went with this theme specifically for the Drunken Stampers’ challenge this week: Beaches.  http://drunkenstampers.wordpress.com/2013/08/10/place-beach-drunken-stampers-challenge-136/  This “term” their themes are People, Places, and Things, so there are tons of possibilities.  I had so much fun with the 3 cards I made for their movie-themed last term.  I love the way these ladies think.

Anyway, the “Life’s a beach” is kind of a play on “Life’s a (some other word that begins with ‘b’ and ends with ‘ch’)”.  Unintentionally, but perfectly enough, I stamped the “e” upside-down on my first one.

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I used a couple stamps from a cheap set that I just got at a local discount store for the “Have a Great Day” and palm tree (with this challenge in mind).  It didn’t stamp very well (I guess I know why it was at the discount store) so I went over it a bit with my trusty Sharpies and also added a couple coconuts while I was at it.  I used my awesome stamp-press to put down the letters for “Life’s a Beach”.  I used Distress Ink for the black, hence the “distressed” look, and combinations of stamp-pads, magic markers, and Bingo daubers for the tree and sun.  The sun is one I made recently and am still pretty proud of it.  (Here’s my post about that, if you’re interested: https://craftymadre.com/2013/08/08/i-made-a-stamp/)

I’m also going to enter it into Our Creative Corner’s “Words, Words, Words” challenge: http://ourcreativecorner6.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/words-words-words.html.  This will be my second entry for that challenge (they allow a max of 3) and my first entry also had a little mistake in it.  I hope they don’t think I mess up everything but if they do, that’s okay, too.

Art Journal Sketch Challenge

I made my first art journal page in a long time last night and now I’m hooked.  I used to do art journaling therapeutically, but it’s not something that I’ve felt I needed recently.  I’ve found so many beautiful art journaling blogs that have inspired me to start again.  I found this challenge on a blog that I like and thought it would be fun to enter:  http://liftsummercrafts.blogspot.com/2013/08/challenge7-art-journal.html?m=1

It’s a sketch challenge, and the sketch in this one is a work of art in and of itself.  It has so much interest and detail that the only thing that really makes it a “sketch” is that it’s gray-scale.  Nonetheless, it was really fun to work from.  Here’s what I made:

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I made the background with watercolors and a stamp using yellow ink.  Then I used some random papers from a scrapbook pack I’ve had for ages and some washi tape to make the rectangles.  I still didn’t know what I wanted to put in the “frames” but in looking through my magazines, I found some words that really spoke to me in a catalogue for a spiritual retreat center, Genesis, that I’m going to a workshop at this September.

The photo is of a statue on the retreat grounds and I used pencils to color it in a bit.  I started out with just light blue wings on the angel but then started adding more color, turning them into butterfly wings.  Butterflies are such a spiritual symbol for me- representing beauty, serenity, and resurrection.  I also did some doodles with Sharpies to add some of the dimension that the sketch had.

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I really can’t wait for the retreat.  It is with Jan Richardson and her husband, Garrison Doles.  They’re a poet/artist and musician, respectively, and lead spiritual retreats throughout the country.  This one is called “Mapping the Mystery” (where the work “mystery” comes from).  They are able to approach spiritual life through creativity, which really speaks to me (for obvious reasons).  This is one of Jan’s blogs:  http://www.janrichardson.com/.

CAS(E) this Sketch! Challenge submission

I’ve been meaning to enter one of these sketch challenges for a while now but haven’t been able to get around to making something before the challenge deadline was up.  I love the idea of having a loose template for a card and then being able to use whatever materials or designs I want to make it my own.  It’s also a great way to try out other layout ideas that I never would have come up with myself.  So… I finally did make a card during the week of a challenge and am going to submit it.  Here’s the  challenge sketch and site:

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http://casethissketch.blogspot.com/2013/08/case-this-sketch-39.html

I liked how clean and simple it was (which, I found out, is what “CAS” stands for).  It seemed perfect for a sympathy card and I actually had to make one for my church’s Music Director, whose brother died last weekend.  Here’s my card:

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I found the photo of the great, old tree in National Geographic and though it had a similar line to the flower in the photo.  I also love the perspective and the person climbing up it… almost like someone climbing into Heaven.  I added a banner with some card stock that has a kind of pearlized color (it doesn’t show up well in the photo) and the faux stitching boarder with a silver Sharpie.  It’s about as “clean and simple” as I get.  I hope she likes it.

Challenge entry for The Stampsmith Challenge (and my new favorite stamps)

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I LOVE when neatly decorated packages come in the mail.  It’s always the sign of a crafter sending me supplies or a piece I ordered.  This one from Estelle was no exception.  I’ve been starting to experiment with stamping and loving all the resources on-line (and, of course, at good-ol’ Michael’s).  I found this challenge and knew it would be the perfect excuse to get some new stamps:

http://thestampsmithchallenge.blogspot.com/2013/07/tsc44shabby-chic-or-vintage-grunge.html

The “shabby chic” and “grunge” themes certainly helped peak my interest!  So, here’s my contribution to this week’s challenge.  I’m thinking it ended up being more of a grunge look.  I usually start out envisioning shabby chic, but then I keep adding more and more layers, pushing things over into “grunge-range”.  This card started out with really pretty circles using a few different yellow acrylics and “floating medium”.  You can see it more than in my last post’s card’s background.  It works amazingly well with shading and blending.  Then, I used one of my new Stampsmith stamps to add this great Anais Nin quote (I love her).  I used the cute heart stamps that I’ve had forever and a Sharpie to make little flowers in the centers of the circles I had made.  Then, I added some roses with the “extra” stamp that Estelle threw in (I LOVE extras).  The coolest thing about her stamps is the intricate details in some of them.  I had no idea stamps could actually be photo-realistic, as well.  I know that I’m going to get better at using them- there’s quite a skill to stamping.

This is where I started venturing into “grunge-land”, I think.  I recently made some spray-ink with acrylic and rubbing alcohol so I thought a little spray would add some more interest.  (Oh, here’s my post in which I made spray-ink, in case you’re interested: https://craftymadre.com/2013/07/18/a-few-more-icads-on-the-home-stretch/)  Little did I know, but the not-yet dry ink in the quote stamp ran a little with the spray, but by then I was committed to grunge, so it worked out.  Then, I took quote stamp that still had a little ink on it and randomly stamped over the rest of the card.  The black hearts are actually a wooden heart that I used as a stamp.  So, there you have it!

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As a bonus, here’s another ICAD I made this week, I used torn up coin wrappers for it.  Funnily, I used the label from a sheet of letters I got from the Stampsmith to stamp the letters over the top and grunge this one up, as well.  (By the way, the letters are in these intricate nouveau art flower designs- be on the lookout for a project with them soon.)

So, there you have it.  What’s the most unique way you’ve used a stamp/stamps?  I think I’m addicted.

Celebratory ICADs!

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There were a couple pretty cool birthdays this week.  My favorite: Eric Carle.  I love his illustrations and I feel a special affinity to him because the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is on the campus of my Alma Mater.  They have an amazing craft room that has different projects all the time.  I think I love it even more than my son.  I made that first ICAD as a tribute to Eric Carle, using collage that seemed reminiscent of his work.

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The second birthday is of Antoni Gaudi, an amazing architect.  The Google-doodle for that day was so cool that it prompted me to look up more of his work.  It’s so organic and colorful, and I found the quote that perfectly described his work.  I happened to have a background for a card just waiting to be used and this seemed like the perfect way to use it.  I made the background while I was experimenting with some pens that I never really liked.  I broke some open and blew the ink onto some cards.  It was really fun.  I used Sharpies to draw a somewhat abstract representation of his kind of architecture on top of the ink blots.

I made a couple boo-boos on this card, though.  I added an “o” to the end of his first name name and then, when I was adding the ICAD date and # I was accidentally holding the card upside down.  I guess sometimes things are so abstract it’s hard to remember what they actually were to begin with.

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This last one was just a day of pure celebration!  Yesterday, the Supreme Court found part of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) to be unconstitutional.  Not only is this just a really amazing moral victory, but it’s also going to have really positive, concrete benefits for thousands of couples (and couples-to-be) in the US, including my wife and me.  There are still other battles to fight, but this is an amazing step.  For example, while my marriage is legal in our home state of Massachusetts (the first state to legalize same-sex marriage in 2004), if we were to move to a state where it wasn’t legal, it may not be transferred and we could lose many of the rights and privileges we have.

I knew I wanted to make an ICAD about it (albeit a quick one because I spent most of the night celebrating with my family and friends).  I immediately thought of this quote (one of my favorites from our recent visit to the Martin Luther King, Jr. exhibit in DC).  In researching the specific wording, I found that it was originally attributed to a minster from Massachusetts (not surprising).

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I hope these cards are as inspirational for you to see as they were for me to make.  Enjoy!

How do I use this thing? (and some ICADs)

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I came across this 3D stencil in one of my (many) boxes of craft supplies and thought… “What the heck?”  One of the prompts for last week’s ICAD Challenge was “ivy”, so what better time to experiment.  I recently started playing with gesso, and figured that would be as good as anything to stencil with, and then figured I could just paint over the relief for a cool design.  Not.

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The gesso (surprise, surprise) seeped under the stencil, despite at my best attempts at taping and holding it down.  I ended up with a bunch of big blobs.  So, I thought, maybe I can just trace the stencil on top of the gesso like any other normal stencil.  Of course, it’s not a normal stencil, so when I tried to trace inside the openings the foam kept moving and that was a disaster, too.  I tried a trusted Sharpie, but it didn’t work too well on top of the gesso, so I just resorted to painting inside the stencil as well as I could (given my level of frustration and disappointment at this point) with my handy-dandy acrylic paint.  I threw a random quote on it from my collection and was about to call it a day.  But…Image

I had all this paint left over on my plate and this frustrating foamy stencil that I still didn’t know how to use.  So I did a little more experimentation and used it as a STAMP.  And I LOVED it!!!  I made two more cards with it that way.

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And then I just wanted to use up the rest of the paint, so I did the one below.  I used the sewing theme again (which I love), and experimented with some new, metallic thread and a zig-zag stitch.  So, here’s the last one in this “series”:

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So, I guess that what started out as a big mess turned out okay.  It usually does.  (And, if it doesn’t, that’s okay, too.)

And here are some other bloggers who are doing ICADs (it seems like the numbers are growing like weeds- really pretty, interesting weeds).

http://livingadreamlife.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/icad-25-happy-birthday-eric-carle/  – I had no idea it was Eric Carle‘s birthday… I’m seeing a Carlesque ICAD coming up in my future.

http://sitscrapandrelax.wordpress.com/2013/06/25/icad-20-24/  – I just came across this blog and love it.  This series is really neat, she calls it her “She Art”.  The last two are portraits she learned how to do by watching an instructional video on YouTube.  How cool is that?!

Oh… and how DO I use that thing???