Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

OK. I don't typically get dressed up for Halloween. But, today, there was an all-day Halloween party for our clients, so I obliged them. I went to work "not" dressed up at all. But, since I was the only person not in costume, I had to think of something....quick! Fortunately, I was wearing a black top and black pants. After a trip to Nobbies.....voila! I was a kitty cat. Happy Halloween, everyone! (The handsome young man in the second picture is my son....and yes, he is wearing his dad's uniform. My son is not in the military. LOL!) Then, there's my husband, Sean, aka Cat in the Hat. Or, as he put it, the Cat in the Hat that fell into the Gap.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Halloween is everyday

The song "Halloween is Everyday" by Ministry is one of my all-time favorite songs. This song popped in my head immediately when I spotted these stamps by Teesha Moore of Zettiology. I couldn't resist playing with them today, the eve of Halloween. Other stamps used: Swirly hearts by Stampin Up; flourish by justjohanna. I "lifted" the sentiment on the pink card from a stamp also sold by Zettiology. I own the stamp, but it wouldn't have been a good balance for the card.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Fairy Tag

I read in a book recently that you should try to create first thing in the morning. That's when your mind is "fresh" and uncluttered. That is true for me. I think I produce my most creative pieces when I work on them first thing in the morning. My mind doesn't feel it needs to force the process. I just let it wander. This morning, I knew I had to work on Ellie W.'s CJ page. Her theme is "Fairies." I knew that I wanted to use this stamepd image (Stampers Anonymous) and I wanted to color in the wings with markers. All the rest just happened along the way. I tore strips of scrap paper and glued them down on the chipboard tag. Then, I decided it needed some fibers. After I glued down the fairy with pop dots, it stil looked plain, so I added the glitter to her wings and hat, and dimensional glaze to her cute Mary Jane shoes and pom-pom on her hat.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Once upon a midnight dreary.....

It's that time of year again, when we embrace all that is spooky. When it's OK to fright and be frightened. I took the opportunity to work on my pages for the Circle Journal Swap I'm participating in. These are for Mary C.'s book. She asked that we create a "haunted house" and include a photograph of ourselves somewhere on the house. She also asked that we decorate both sides of the page. I used some stamps on this one, stickers, rub ons, and of course, computer generated images and text. Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

No crafting this evening

Sean and I went for a walk this evening. It's a gorgeous Fall evening. The moon is almost full. The sky was clear. We finished up with supper and decided to go for a walk down to the Starbucks. It's only a mile from our house. Our neighborhood is full of hills and valleys, so it was nice to have a variety of inclines. Lots of houses have decorated for Halloween. This is something I don't get into. While I appreciate all of the effort people go through to decorate their homes and to get dressed up, I just don't decorate for Halloween. I may hang up a fall wreath, but I tend to find all Halloween decor to be tacky. Well, OK, I make an exception. We do like to carve pumpkins. That's about it, though.

After we bought a few drinks, we strolled back to the house. It was nice to have the hot drinks to hold onto because the temps were dropping. Right around this time of year, the evening temps drop into the 40's. It's still bearable, but when the sun goes down, the temps drop quickly. Now, the show "Private Practice" is on. I like this show. Gotta run....Maybe I'll have time to create something tomorrow evening.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Collage Challenge: Day Two

Are you ready for the next step? that you've got your paper images picked out, it's time to glue them onto your background. I use gel medium to adhere my image to the background paper. After you've glued down your images, let it completely dry before moving onto the next step.

Now, it's time to add crayons to your collage. Draw around the border and around your images. Use a variety of colors. If you use the water soluble crayons, you'll be able to smudge the colors and blend them in nicely. You should try to blend the colors between your collage papers and the background so that your images don't appear to "just sit" on the background paper. for the last step.....journaling. Use your fine point sharpie pen to write on your page. You can also use your Sharpie to draw and doodle. A word of caution....don't draw over the crayon. You'll end up "clogging" the tip of your sharpie. Let the black ink dry. Then, go back with your white Pen-Touch pen and fill in the open space of your letters. This will give your leters added interest and contast.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Collage Challenge: ala Teesha style! First Day of the Challenge

I LOVE Teesha Moore's artist pages. That's why I bought the book Mixed Media Collage, yesterday. So, I'm challenging fellow artists/bloggers to try their hand at Teesha's style of collage. I'll try to take you step-by-step on my take of Teesha's style... and let's see where end up with, OK? First you will need the following:

-Cold-press watercolor paper. The heavier the weight, the better it will withstand several layers of paper and glue. (I personally felt comfortable with 140 lb to 300 lb weight paper. I bought the paper at Dick Blick's art supply store.)
-Watercolors. I have several tubes of watercolor. I'm sure you can get away with using kid's watercolors, but the type I have results in a bright finish.
-Watercolor brush.
-Water (duh!)
-Water soluble crayons or pastels. I LOVE these. Teesha Moore recommends these, in the book. You'll understand why, when you try them. They move like but-tah! Easy to apply, easy to blend. Just delish!
- Gel Medium or Mod Podge for gluing down your pieces to the page.
-A really good fashion magazine, or access to royalty-free photo, clip art or paper ephemera.
- Some freezer paper. I like to apply glue to the underside of my pieces while working on freezer paper. This way, my stuff doesn't stick to the table, or leaves a residue on my work surface.
-Sharpie pen. I used extra-fine black, fine-point black and a white fine-point pen by Pen-Touch.

Are you ready to roll? OK.....I took the sheet of cold press watercolor paper and had them cut it down to 8 x 10 sheets:

Wet down the surface of your paper really well, but not soaking wet. Add your watercolor and color your sheet, or give it a "wash." Let the surface dry completely before going to the next step. This will take a couple of hours to dry (at least):

While it's drying, gather up your paper ephemera. All of the images and paper I used on my collage page came from one magazine. You'll want to find strips of paper that range in width from 1/2 inch to 1 inch wide, and in various lengths. You will use these strips for the border of your collage. Don't overthink this step. Just go through your papers or magazine pages and pull out whatever appeals to you:

Let's give everyone a few days to get started. I'll post the next step mid-week. Thanks for taking the challenge with me!

Victorian-theme pages

These are pages I created for Debbie C.'s Circle Journal (Victorianrose on Stamp Shack). Her theme is "Quotes", so I combined the theme with a vintage flavor (another request of Debbie's.) It makes so much easier for me, since I, too, LOVE everything vintage or from the Victorian-era.

Two awesome new books at Barnes and Noble

I'm a sucker for technique books. I think most of my crafting friends know that about me. I mean, many books can one person own on the subject of collage? Apparently, not enough! LOL! Last night, we went to Barnes and Noble and I had a stack of eight books and magazines to devour. I mean they were so good, I had forgotten about my caramel macchiatto. I picked up "Living the Creative Life" by Rice Freeman-Zachery. Awesome book. She is an awesome mixed media artist, in her own right. Her book profiles various mixed-media artists, their styles, tips and tricks. Alas, the pocket book only limited me to a couple of purchases. The first one is called "Mixed Media Collage: An Exploration of Contemporary Artists, Methods and Materials." I like the book because it explores the use of computer technology, cloth (textiles), natural elements, paints, ink, transfer-techniques; and, it has a tutorial from one of my favorite contemporary mixed-media artists, Teesha Moore:

The other book that made it into my shopping bag is called "In This House. A Collection of Altered Art Imagery and Collage Techniques" by Angela Cartwright and Sarah Fishburn. What an excellent book! If you enjoy creating altered journals, or if you participate in Circle Journal swaps, this book might pique your interest. It's paperback, with more than 120 pages of delicious examples of altered pages and artists' tricks and tips:

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Pages for a Circle Journal Swap

These are pages I've created for a circle journal swap I'm hosting. These are for Lisa G.'s pages, and her theme is "All About Me." We're supposed to journal our "favorite" things (or not so favorite things); and other interesting (or not so interesting) trivia about ourselves. We're also supposed to add an ATC with our photograph on one side. Stamps on these pages are by Teesha Moore (Zettiology).

Saturday, October 6, 2007

World Cardmaking Day projects: Distress Ink cards

I learned this at the Invoke Arts booth last weekend. I know I've seen Tim Holtz do this on his DVD, but I guess I needed to see it "live" and in person. You just take some manila cardstock (take a manila folder and cut it up). Then, choose three shades of distress inks in the same color family. Go from light to dark. Take the lightest color, and working down the center of the cardstock, start swirling your pad over the cardstock in a figure eight. Turn it 90-degrees, and swirl it again, turn it 90-degrees twice more and swirl again. Then, take the next color (medium shade) and repeat what you did the first time. Then, take the darkest color and just swirl it along the edges of your cardstock. If you do it over the center, you'll cover the pretty layering you've already created with the two lighter shades. How juicy your ink pad is will determine how much ink you want to lay down.

Happy World Cardmaking Day!!!

Today is 2007 World Cardmaking Day! And, to help mark the day, I'd like to invite you to take a trip down memory lane with me. I found pictures of my cards from the very first one I made, to one of my favorites from this year. On, I found nearly 500 projects of mine. A collection of cards, tags, photographs and altered art. I can't believe I posted that much on that site! On the Stamp Shack, I'm getting close to 80 gallery posts! Whew! But, since I don't want to bore you, I've picked four cards from the many I've made, I wonder if you'll notice a change in "style?" LOL!
This is my very first rubber stamped card. I visited a rubber stamp store in Minot, North Dakota (my husband was stationed at Miniot AFB between 1998 - 2002). I went to this store with my good friend, Tami, just to accompany her. I had no intention of buying any rubber stamps. I was so intrigued by the time we left. I went back to the store the next day, and the shop owner was demonstrating heat-embossing. Well, I thought I just HAD to give it a try. I bought stamps (two on this card), cardstock, heat tool, powder, Top Boss....all with the intent of making 150 of these puppies! Can you say OUCH?!?!?! My wrist and hand hurt so much from stamping, I decided to put away my rubber stamps for good (or so I thought). Tami thought I had developed a new hobby so she gave me a set of rubber stamps for Christmas. It was a large set of Christmas-theme rubber stamps from Stampin Up. I still have it too! I don't think I'll ever part with it.

So, five years goes by without even giving any thought to stamping. Then, in April, 2004, my next door neighbor told me about a rubber stamp store in town that was going out of business. I said, "Alright. Let's check it out." I went down there and found a gazzillion glorious stamps that I really wanted. All of her stamps were marked 70% off, can you believe it? I spent $60 in stamps and supplies before I left her store. That's $200 worth of products! It's so funny, because back then, I thought my husband would kill me for spending "so much" on stamps! LOL! Now........oh my.......I just have to laught at that thought. hehehehehe Here is a card I made in 2004, after getting back into cardmaking. This is the very first card I'd posted on, circa August, 2004. This is also the first card I'd made for my first swap. It was with a group of cardmakers (and military spouses) at Vandenberg AFB, California.

In one year, I had learned a plethera of techniques. It's amazing what happens when you log on the Internet and connect with others who share your passion for rubber stamping and cardmaking! I joined the PaperCrafts message board; participated in swaps, and just soaked everything and anything I could learn about rubber stamping. I went to a rubber stamping convention shortly before we moved to Nebraska. Shortly after, I learned how to play with a wonderful new product called Alcohol Inks. This is one of the first projects I'd made with AI's, back in 2005:

In 2006, I had one of my cards published in my favorite Stamping Magazines, Stamper Sampler. I created this card in January, 2006, and mailed it to Stampington & Co. I had forgotten about it, thinking it was a long-shot to get published by such an esteemed magazine. I got my card back in the mail in August, later that year. I thought they didn't want to publish it, after all. No letter. No reason why it was sent back. Well, imagine my surprise, when two weeks later, I had a postcard sitting in my mailbox saying that the card was going to appear in the October/November 2006 Stamper Sampler:

Fast-forward to 2007. I joined the Stamp Shack community, and am now a volunteer Creative Team Member. It's amazing how much the stamping industry continues to grow as it continues to struggle. Many shops close down because of a variety of factors. I believe the biggest one is lease being too expensive and not enough folks are shopping. Online shopping has become increasingly popular. Another HUGE change I've seen in the past three years is that unmounted stamps have surged in popularity due to the availability of EZ Mount and Creative Cling. Regardless of the changes, my passion for stamping and cardmaking continues to change and grow. This is a card I made earlier this year, shortly after learning how to color in images with prismacolor pencils and blending with gamsol. If you look to the sidebar, on the right, you'll find other cards and projects I've made over the last two years. Isn't it interesting to see where I had started (my first stamped card, above), to where I am eight years later, today? Thanks for reading this far, and thanks for stopping by!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Plastic Wrap Crystals

This technique is similar to "smacking acetate." You brayer your dye ink on glossy cardstock (not photo paper). Spritz with water until the ink just starts to run or in my case, "pool." Take a piece of really scrunched up saran wrap or plastic wrap and lay it over the cardstock. Use four "heavier" items to anchor down the corners of your paper; and leave the piece to dry. After it has dried, lift the plastic, and you'll get a "marbled" piece of cardstock (picture 2). I learned this technique from Jan (Far North Designs), who is a Creative Team Member on the Stamp Shack.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Artful Envelopes

I've long-admired the art of stamping on envelopes. I must admit, I've been gun-shy about the process. So, I have an opportunity, this month, to stamp these envelopes for a group project I'm involved in. A lot of masking, of course, went into creating these envelopes. They are both completely flat (single layer stamping and masking). On the first envelope, I used stamps by Lost Coast Designs, Leavenworth Jackson, Stamp Francisco, Rubberstamp Avenue, and Invoke Arts. On the second envelope, I used stamps by Teesha Moore, Purple Onion Designs, Stampsmith and Invoke Arts. Black ink is Stewart Superior Memories Black ink. All of the vibrant colors are courtesy of Nick Bantock inks by Ranger. Thanks for stopping by!