My first postcard swap

I’m so excited!  I’m participating in Do What You Love’s Great Big Stitched Postcard Swap (http://dowhatyouloveforlife.com/blog/2013/09/the-great-big-stitched-postcard-swap-is-back-design-course-giveaway/).  It’s my first “swap” of any kind and it’s so much fun.  I’m swapping a postcard (as the title suggests, it has to have some kind of stitching on it) with someone in New Zealand.  This is especially fun because my parents have vacationed in Australia and New Zealand a few times and I’ve heard so many stories/seen pictures that they brought back.  This makes it feel even more “close to home”.

So, here’s my card:

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I used a few pieces of scrapbook card stock paper as a stiffish background (knowing that it would be going a LONG way).  I cut the butterflies out of another piece of paper and glued them on then sewed over the top in a kind of a flight pattern.  I used butterflies because of the airmail connection (you know, because butterflies fly).  I can’t find the normal foot for my machine so I used the “N” foot and a stitch that’s made for elastic.  I actually kind of like the way it came out.  I used a metallic thread on top and a dark green in the bobbin- which made for a neat contrast.  The theme for this swap was “Celebrate!”, so I stamped on that word with the subtitle of “Fly Free” (to go with the butterflies).  I’m celebrating my first swap!

I taped a piece of white cardstock on the back to cover up the stitching and write my message and used washi tape around the edges to firm it up (and as a bit of a border).

I can’t wait to get MY card, and I’ll be sure to share it when I do.

Oh, and just for the heck of it, I’m entering my card into a few challenges:

Created With Love Challenges’ “Sewing- Real or Faux” challenge (http://createdwithlovechallenges.blogspot.com/2013/10/cwlc-62-sewing-real-or-faux.html).  I absolutely love sewing on paper and there are some great entries in this challenge.

Twist of Faith Cards’ “Things with Wings” challenge.  The butterfly is such a powerful symbol of inspiration (rebirth and resurrection) that I think this is perfect for their challenge.  (http://twistoffaithcards.blogspot.com.au/2013/10/challenge-59-things-with-wings.html)

Ooh-la-la Creations Challenges’ “Things with Wings” challenge (http://ooh-la-la-creationschallenges.blogspot.com/2013/10/things-with-wings-at-ooh-la-la.html)  I love all the birds and butterflies in this challenge, but my favorite is a winner from the last challenge, Marina, with a little girl with wings.  Her card is stunning.

Sugar for my sweet

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I know I’ve mentioned this before, but my wife is an amazing cook.  I’ve given her full reign to get any kitchen utensils/appliances she needs because I know she’s going to use them to make something delicious.  And any time she says she wants me to make or decorate something for the kitchen, I’m all over it!

A few weeks ago, she said she wanted a sugar dish to keep on the counter so she didn’t have to open the canister every time she needed a little bit of sugar.  I know we had one that came with our mug set, but I couldn’t find it for the life of me.  I kept my eye out for one as we were browsing at the cute country stores, antique stores, and galleries on our trip last weekend, but couldn’t find one.  Then, buried on my craft table, I found this little jar I had saved from the recycle bin quite some time ago.  I think some kind of meat rub or seasoning came in it (the kitchen is clearly her domain).  It was the perfect size and has a nice latching top to prevent bugs from getting in and spills from getting out.

Simon Says Stamping is challenging readers to try stamping on anything but paper this week (http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/mondaychallenge/challenge-stamping-on-anything-but-plain-paper).  This seemed like the perfect opportunity to join in.  At first, I tried stamping the word “sugar” right on the glass.  It didn’t really show up well.  I’m sure there’s a way to stamp on glass, but I couldn’t figure it out.  So, went through my scrap paper box and fabric bin and got some materials that I thought would look neat on the jar and in our kitchen.  I also picked out a really cool old-fashioned glass jar stamp that I bought a while ago and have been looking for the right place to use it.  The fabric I chose was from a set of cloth napkins I picked up at the thrift store (I’ve been using one of them for backgrounds for my photos, lately, and have started cutting up another to use in different projects).  I grabbed the one I’ve been cutting up and stamped my jar on it with a midnight blue ink from my Paper Pumpkin kit.  The stamp came out perfectly, having followed Design Team member Sandra’s directions for stamping on cloth: http://madebysannie.blogspot.com/2013/09/londen-calling.html (I absolutely LOVE this bag she made for the challenge).  I made sure to get my stamp nice and inky and then stamped on a somewhat supple surface, pushing and holding for a couple seconds longer than I might otherwise have on paper.

I used scrapbook paper with a neat greenish, distressed look and stamped the work “sugar” on it (with the same stamp I had originally used on the glass itself).  I put on a nice coat of glossy Mod Podge and smoothed on the paper and fabric with the stamp.  I put some of the lacy edge of the napkin at the top to kind of border the label and voila!  (This time, I finally waited until it the bottom coat was dry before putting on the top coat of Mod Podge, so it stayed nice and smooth.)

Many Thanks

I received a new Paper Pumpkin kit and immediately got to work (https://mypaperpumpkin.com/en).  The base cards were kraft paper brown with a neat bullseye kind of pattern on the front.  There was some white baker’s twine (I’ve been wanting to play with that stuff), some little index card-shaped die cuts and some V-shaped die cuts, some wooden-colored buttons, and a couple celebratory stamps.  The ink pad was midnight blue, a color I’ve really wanted.  There were also some little foam double-sided adhesives to give cards some dimension, something I’ve really felt I needed to do more of lately.

Of course, I didn’t follow the directions for the suggested sample card (I’m not so good at following directions), but here’s what I did make.  The theme for all of them was “Thank you”, as I needed to make a thank you card for my parents and wanted to make a few so I could choose the best for them.  They watched our dog while were out of town celebrating our anniversary (which was an absolutely amazing weekend).  Plus, you can never have too many thank you cards.  Here’s what I came up with, along with some challenges I’m entering them into:

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This one is for the Make My Monday challenge:  Swirls and Pearls (http://mimchallegeblog.blogspot.com/2013/09/swirls-and-pearls.html).  It’s pretty clean and simple, a design I’m really starting to like.  I used scrapbook paper for the background on a plain off-white card (for the “swirls).  Then, I stamped the “thanks” on the mini-index card with the navy ink, added the baker’s twine (another little swirl), and embellished it just a bit with some scrapbooking pearls.

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This one was was for Shopping Our Stash’s “Oldest Flower” challenge: http://shoppingourstash.blogspot.ca/2013/09/sos-119-oldest-flower.html.  The background was the card from the Paper Pumpkin kit.  I added the stamped index card and then pulled these flowers out of a drawer.  I actually got them right after we got engaged (so they’re almost 2 years old, now) and had planned to use them for something at the wedding.  I didn’t have a specific idea for them, but I knew purple was going to be one of the wedding colors and I was excited to start shopping.  Of course, we ended up not using them (I think I actually put them away somewhere and forgot all about them).  I glued them down just in the centers, so they still have some dimension, and used the adhesives on the card.  They have just a touch of glitter, which is hard to see in the photo.

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This one was made for Creative Corner Challenge’s “The Leaves are Falling” theme:  http://creativecornerchallenges.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-leaves-are-falling.html.  I actually tried a new technique on this one, based on one of the Artists in Blogland Design Team’s ideas:  http://artistsinblogland.blogspot.com/2013/09/techniques-on-tuesday-with-jessica-sporn.html  She used actual leaves as stamps, which I loved (see, especially, the woman she did with colorful leaf stamps as hair).  She used watercolors for a much more soft, pretty look and I used stamp pads (I like hers a lot better, so I’m going to definitely try that sometime soon).  I’m also linking up to their Show and Tell with my take on their technique (http://artistsinblogland.blogspot.com/search/label/show%20and%20tell%20saturday)  The button is from Paper Pumpkin.  I’m saving the other 4 for something special (I really like the wood-look).

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And this is the one I decided to give to my parents!  I like how clean and simple it is and I really like the geometry from the Paper Pumpkin elements (actually, everything except the actual letter stamps are from the Paper Pumpkin kit).  My dad’s an architect, so I think he’ll like it.  I actually didn’t have a challenge in mind when I made this one (maybe that’s why I like it the best- it’s all me).

I’m also entering the Hero Arts “Game, Set, Match” challenge (http://ablognamedhero.blogspot.com/2013/09/challenge-32-game-set-match.html).  They suggested making 3 (or more) identical, or really similar, cards at once (which I do all the time, especially when making holiday cards).  I didn’t use any Hero Arts stamps in these, but in going through my collection afterwards, I realized that I do have quite a few.  I’ll definitely use one for their next month’s challenge!

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So, now I have a few thank you cards for next time I need one.  Which one is your favorite?

(p.s. While our dog was staying with my parents, my brother took some amazing pictures of him.  Here they are on his blog:  http://lorrinbaker.wordpress.com/2013/09/15/bear/.  Thanks, Lorrin!)

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.

On a roll

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I made another card tonight.  I was so exhausted after the Block Party that all I could do was sit at my table and grab for supplies within reach.  The cool thing is that the event made the news and attracted a ton of people from the congregation and the neighborhood.  Here’s the link to the story:  http://www.wwlp.com/news/local/hampden/spfld-church-hosts-block-party

I made this card as a thank you for my boy’s principal, who helped him get cleaned up last week after a little “accident” at school (suffice it to say, he won’t be wearing a belt to school anymore).  This is another “clean and simple” one for CAS-ual Friday’s Challenge blog:  http://cas-ualfridays.blogspot.com/2013/09/cfc114.html.  The theme was “Back to School”.  I’m also entering Shopping our Stash’s School or Workplace/Office challenge: http://shoppingourstash.blogspot.ca/2013/09/sos-117-school-or-officeworkplace.html.  My boy went back to school a couple weeks ago and I already posted the card I sent his teacher (here: https://craftymadre.com/2013/08/25/beginning-of-the-year-teacher-gift/).  Luckily, the boy’s little accident gave me another occasion for a school card.  (He’s going to kill me for writing about this if he ever decides to read my blog.)

I used black cardstock with a white Pitt Pen for the chalkboard effect.  I also made a little schoolhouse stamp (out of an eraser).  I sketched it on and then had to remember which line I actually wanted to cut around.  I threw the bell in the roof on as an afterthought.  I think I can use it for Christmas cards, as well, by just drawing some snow on the top of the roofs and finding a Santa with his sleigh stamp or sticker to put over a bunch of them.  I traced around them with colored pencil (and then cleaned up some of the lines on the stamp after using it on this card).

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I was inspired to make this stamp by these adorable house stamps made by another blogger but I can’t, for the life of me, find the post.  I hate it when that happens!  They were much more detailed than this one and she had a whole collection of different styles of houses that she put together, in one piece, in all different colors (if this blogger is you, please comment and let me know so I can add the link).

Anyway, I’m sending the loaner shorts back with a couple extra pairs for other kids who may be caught in a similar situation.  It’s my boy’s first year at this new school and so far we’re loving it.  I couldn’t believe it when he said it was the principal who cleaned him up (rather than the school nurse or an aide) but it’s great to see people all pitching in- above and beyond.

Card challenge

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I made another card for a couple challenges.  The themes for each of them, respectively, were “Music” and your “All-Star stamp”.  I’m making the card for a couple of my boy’s friends (siblings) who are performing in “The King and I” in a couple weeks.  He’s going to their dress rehearsal tomorrow, so I thought it would be nice for him to bring a little card for them.  It was also the perfect occasion to use my new film strip punch by “ek”.  I’ve never gotten one before because they’re so expensive, but I needed something to do with my last 40% off coupon at Michael’s (it would have been a crime to just waste it, right?)  I love it because it has a guide that you can line up the already punched portion to keep the pattern going in as long a line as you want.

Here are the challenges I’m entering:

http://addictedtocas.blogspot.com/2013/08/atcas-challenge-21.html – This one is one of my favorite new challenges.  I’ve struggled with the “Clean and Simple” style but it forces me to be really mindful.  I especially liked this week’s theme, “Music”, and it was perfect for the purpose of the card.  I used one of the Design Team’s ideas of putting sheet music behind a die cut shape.  I can’t find the link to her post about the inspiration card, but here’s her blog: http://florenceandfreddiepart2.wordpress.com/.  I really love her style.  My first iteration of this card included a couple stickers on the front with a movie theme.  I love the stickers, but the style didn’t really match and it took away from the CAS style (see, I’m learning).  Luckily, I was able to peel them off and put them on the inside, instead.  Without the stickers, I was left with a blank space next to the writing, so I cut out a little star out of a piece of the music and pasted it on.

http://www.simonsaysstampblog.com/mondaychallenge/challenge-stamping-all-stars/ – Another favorite challenge, and their design team usually goes in the totally opposite direction from CAS.  But I love them!!  They’re all about the layers and the dimension and they’re not all cards.  One of the submissions is a bunch of multi-colored tea bags stapled to the back side of a wooden frame with chipping aged wood behind it.  On the side of the frame, she stamped one of my favorite quotes from Marianne Williamson “We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?’  Actually, who are you not to be?  You are a child of God.  Your playing small does not serve the world.”  Here’s the link to her piece: http://snappingmonsters.blogspot.com/2013/09/my-other-creations-artsy-tea.html  I think it’s absolutely amazing.  It didn’t inspire this card, but it definitely inspired me (and I Pinned it for later.)

The theme for this challenge is “My Stamping All-Star”.  That would totally be my typewriter letter stamps from “Recollections”.  I use them all the time, and I’ve gotten better at them.  I’ve learned how to use a ruler to line them up if I want a straight line and I’ve learned that if I want the edges not to show I have to either wipe off the extra ink with a damp towel or stamp really carefully on a really hard surface.  I didn’t do either of those things this time, but I like the way it turned out.  I used a Craftsmart’s Brick Red ink pad for a little dash of color.

Here are the materials I used (my new paper punch and my “all-star” stamp (collection):

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And my boy’s sweet message on the inside:

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A few cards for a couple challenges

ImageFirst off, more Christmas cards!!!  (Thanks, Spike, I’m still on a roll.)  I’ve gotten a little collection started and I’m having so much fun.  Addicted to CAS (i.e. clean and simple) is doing a Holiday challenge this week, so what better excuse to add to my collection?  http://addictedtocas.blogspot.com.au/2013/08/atcas-challenge-20.html

I made these out of the same handy-dandy tree template I used in this previous card creation: https://craftymadre.com/2013/08/20/easy-peasy-christmas-cards-inspired-by-spike/ (Hence, the earlier credit given to Spike.)  I used our Bingo ink daubers (my wife is a REAL Bingo fan) to fill in the whole inside of the trees.  I like that it’s not a solid green with the little bit of variation in saturation that the dauber created.  Actually, I picked the colors (green, aqua, and orange) for a challenge that I missed by a couple hours, but I still think they look nice together.  The “Peace” is a stamp I did with orange marker and the aqua button is from the Paper Pumpkin kit I got recently (talked about in the above  post).  It’s hard to tell, but I secured it with glitter glue.

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I started off with the trees being just the green but thought they were missing something.  I wanted to keep it simple, so I grabbed a wire screw cap from my box of doo-dads and used it to stamp little circles on the trees for ornaments.  The first one I used an orange marker for ink but it was too light, I thought, so I used a dark green stamp pad for the second one.  And then I just left it alone (see, I’m getting better at this “clean and simple” thing).

And then there are these:

The Drunken Stampers challenge for the week is a Person: Party Planner (http://drunkenstampers.wordpress.com/2013/08/24/person-party-planner-drunken-stampers-challenge-138/)  The challenge is to design cards for any kind of party.  On Friday, two of my favorite front office staff are leaving for school and part time positions.  We’re having a little “onward and upward” party for them- it’s not going away because they’ll still be with the agency but they won’t be with us as much (which is very sad- great staff are hard to come by).  So, I made these cards:Image

I actually cut apart the card my dad gave me for Valentine’s Day a couple years ago (yeah, I still have it) for the banner, arrows, and swirly punches.  The yellow striped banner is from the aforementioned Paper Pumpkin kit (I’m getting a lot of mileage out of this thing) and the stamps are from a bunch of random collections.  I made the little arrow and attached it with a brad as a little suggestion of the many possible directions life could take them.  On the inside, I used a couple more stamps and then made my own out of another eraser (the pseudo Chevron/Charlie Brown-reminiscent zig zag).  I was thinking of an abstract way to suggest upward movement (or maybe I just had Peanuts on my brain).  Image

I don’t think I’m ever going to stop loving carving these eraser stamps!