Friday, March 30, 2012

texture & pattern

My art class assignment was to explore the concepts of texture & balance and create a 9x12 sample board composed of 48  1½" squares. The pieces needed to function individually and as part of a whole.

As you can see, the color wheel inspired my project.

I started off thinking I was going to focus on food patterns and texture, but was drawn to a couple of the rainbow images - especially the watch face and the colored chopstcks.

I struggled with how to create a color wheel out of a an 8x6 grid until I realized that if I used the rainbow images in the center 4 blocks, I would have an outer rim of twelve squares. Twelve squares are perfect for highlighting the primary, secondary and tertiary colors.

By using the two outside columns to highlight neutral colors, I have a 6x6 square of color in the middle that feels anchored and in balance.

The biggest struggle was finding the four rainbow images for the center panels. I loved the "Mexico" image and finally decided to manipulate it to fit my 1½" square space - it replaced an image of multiple balloons that just didn't feel right.

thanks for stopping by,


Thursday, March 29, 2012

you can't win if you don't play

And, no, I'm not talking about the MegaMillions jackpot that is sitting at half a hundred kachillion dollars right now. Dear husband was thinking about buying a ticket or two today, but the line was too deep so he left the store. Should I send him back?

The lottery would be just icing on the cake for me, because I have already won something this week. Did you see the big grin on my face yesterday when I went to check out the sketch for this week's MFTWSC at Splitcoast Stampers and saw this

The winner of last week's challenge is Jacquie J! You can see her fabulous entry HERE!

I go by Jacquie J at SCS because Jacquie was already taken when I registered and I had to quickly come up with an alternate. Let's be honest - it had to be something I'd remember and, unlike my children who never use their real names in their online identities and have a couple of great, creative aliases, I usually stick to a variation of my name. In real life no one ever calls me "Jacquie J", but there might have been a stern "Jacqueline Jean" directed at me once or twice in the very, very, very distant past.

Take a look at my last post to see both the MFTWSC sketch and my interpretation that was the prize winner from last week. You truly just have to play along to have a chance to win, as the winner is selected randomly.

The best thing about winning is the generous prize - a $20 gift voucher at My Favorite Things - for some of us that really is better than winning the lottery {grin}.

Thank you My Favorite Things for the weekly chance to win!

I'll be back to show off what I have been doing in my art class and the card under construction for this week's challenge.

Thanks for stopping by,


Saturday, March 24, 2012

Loopy Bloom

This week I had some time visiting with my crafty friends, which meant I was able to play with stamp sets I covet like the Who's That Girl Lovin' from the Oven from My Favorite Things.

I fought my attraction to paper piecing with these stamp sets for a long time. If I gave in to this desire, I knew it would be the beginning of a downward spiral into collecting 6x6 designer paper pads - the smaller prints are just too perfect for paper piecing the small stamp images. If I gave into this desire, who knew where it would end? Would it end??!!!

Alas, I am weak. It started out so innocently with just a paper pad here, a paper pad there. Then there was the gluttonous evening where it made sense to fill my cart with enough paper pads to qualify for free shipping. Oh, the joy when the box arrived on my doorstep!

So far I've managed to keep myself happy with borrowed stamp sets, but I know the time is coming when it will not be enough. I am agonizing over which sets to start with - ones that I already know & love, or something new?

With my new Authentique Loyal and Echo Park Victoria Gardens 6x6 designer paper pads and a borrowed WTG Lovin' from the Oven stamp set, I created a card for the MFTWSC64 sketch challenge at Splitcoast Stampers.

Here is my card:

I used the Loopy Bloom die from MFT and Melissa Francis crepe paper to create the flower. I'm loving this flower die and the crepe paper cut like a dream!

I've rearranged the office a little to make it easier to pull out my Big Shot and this has made a huge difference in how often I die cut. For just this card I used the MFT Scalloped Scallop and Loopy Bloom dies and the Reverse Wonky Rectangle and Labels Twenty-One from Spellbinders Nestabilities. 

I didn't like the Label die after I cut it, but it had my sentiment stamped on it  already (and the stamp set is with it's owner), so I trimmed the piece down to a ticket shape.

Thanks for stopping by,


Friday, March 23, 2012

sun powered

well, almost . . . the panels are up and the wires have been run. We just need to get things connected and soon we will be solar powered in this house!

The space available on our south facing roof is really limited, so the panels are split into two sections. I thought I had a photo with all 12 panels, but this shows the layout of the front six - there is another 6 just to the right (east) of these.

When we bought our WA house, previous owners had run phone and cable wires outside the house and into bedrooms and the living room. If you have ever seen twine wrapped numerous times around a package, you have an idea of how that house looked. I can't begin to tell you how much dear husband hated the look. One of the first home improvement projects that he took on was to rewire what we needed through the crawl space and walls. He then cut & remove all the wires wrapping around the house.

Given that history, you know that with this solar project, there was no way dear husband was going to put up with wires running across the roof and down the outside wall of the house. It definitely takes a little more effort up front: I had to deal with worker men crawling around inside all week and they had to deal with our limited attic space, roof joists, rafters and other challenges. In the end, the only exterior evidence of our new power source are the panels on the roof.

We just need our utilitiy's blessing to connect the inverter to the panel and their system and the sun will be powering most of our electrical needs!

Thanks for stopping by,


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

what to do with a moustache rub-on?

My dear daughter asked me earlier in the week if I could stop & get her a birthday card when I picked up her brother from school. I smiled, shook my head and said no. I really try not to buy cards, but did offer to make her one instead.

A group of her friends are planning on delivering numerous "presents" all day long to the birthday boy and it was her job to get the card.

I've had this set of Hambly Screen Prints Moustache Rub-ons since late last year. I bought them when my dear husband decided to participate in the Movember fundraiser and grow a moustache during the month of November. The thing is, he already has a pretty good moustache & I've only seen him once in 18+ years without it.

Our kids have technically seen him without it, but neither of them remember as he immediately started growing his moustache back after shaving it off. He's the kind of guy that could shave twice a day, so it really isn't long before the moustache is back.

Of course, dear husband didn't discuss his decision to participate in Movember with me - he just came home from work clean shaven one day LOL.

Anyway, it is because of the Movember photos that I have the Hambly Moustache Run-ons in the house. I showed them to dear daughter and asked if she wanted me to use them in her card.

She liked the idea and, with the pressure on, I went to Splitcoast Stampers gallery for inspiration & came across this card by Krystie Lee:

My dear daughter loved "you da' man" and I decided to use the MFTWSC63 sketch again and came up with this:

Because I'd used a pretty dark grey cardstock for the card, I finished the inside to give the kids lots of room to sign their birthday greetings.

The sentiments are all stamped using my ancient Making Memories Rummage magnetic stamp alphabet. I might be the only one still using this, but I have always loved it and it makes its way onto many of my projects.

The ink is Memento Tuxedo Black and the papers are all from Times & Seasons or This & That Charming Echo Park 6x6 paper pads.

Thanks for coming by,


Monday, March 19, 2012

This one I love

Oh my goodness, sometimes I am just so happy with the way a card turns out. My dad's birthday is April 1st, so yes, that does make him an April Fool. Growing up, we always had to try prank him, and he really was remarkably patient and resigned to the whole annual ordeal.

At 83, maybe the poor guy deserves a break, but now he has 10 grandchildren who want a turn teasing him.

Anyway, back to my card. This is similar to what I did for our 2011 Christmas cards, so some of you might recognize parts of it:

Did I mention he is going to be 83? LOL decided to make sure everyone knows! The card is a gatefold with a 5 inch base. Because that meant I need a 15 inch wide piece of cardstock for the base, I had to add the front panels after I scored the 12 inch piece at 1", 3 1/2", 8 1/2" and 11". A new 2 1/2" panel was added to the 1" flaps to create the front. Clear as mud?!

I used the My Favorite Things Perfect Bracket Edge Die-namic to cut the outside edge of the panels. The largest die in the Nestabilities Reverse Wonky Rectangles is used to cut the green patterned paper for the panel under the numbers. The piece is cut down to fit on one side, then matched up the other side, leaving about an inch of the center left over.

This photo gives you a better view of the pattern paper that really just peaks through when the card is closed flat.

These next two photos show my favorite parts of the card - the banner and the baby photo!

 Papertrey Ink banner dies were used to make the WOW banner and strung across the opening with Martha Stewart Bakers Twine. Very old Scenic Route stickers spell out WOW.

I was showing the card off to my family and the kids asked if I was putting a family picture in the middle panel - this is what we had done with our Christmas cards. I definitely wasn't planning on that, but dear daughter said "hey, I know what you should put there - a picture of Grandpa".

What a GREAT idea - what she didn't know is my dad had digitized an enormous amount of family photos and documents over the last few years (decades?) as he compiled massive geneology files. I knew immediately what photo was going on this card!

Yes, that's my dear dad in 1929, the year he was born. And, no, no photos like that exist of me.

The sentiment is from a Technique Tuesday/Ali Edwards set Kids Are Cool that I was happy to find at my local scrapbook store.

I am thrilled that this card will be in the mail and should arrive before his birthday - something that does NOT happen every year.

Until we meet again,


Saturday, March 17, 2012

the impact of a power outage

I started this post on Wednesday when the new sketch from My Favorite Things Wednesday Stamp Club sketch challenge was posted at Splitcoast Stamper with plans to finish my card and the post on Thursday.

We ended up with an all day power outage on Thursday - you know, the kind where your utility says it will take an hour to fix, then amends that to 3 and then to 7. It was tax prep day for us, so thankfully I finished downloading & printing the forms we needed before losing power, but all my other computer use plans had to be put on hold.

Here is a look at this week's sketch:

And my version:

This is my very first attempt at paper piecing and I have to admit I love it. I'd didn't want to color the whole couch in with Copics, so I paper pieced it instead (older My Mind's Eye paper I think?). Well, once I started I couldn't stop LOL. In the end, Copics were only used for the arms, legs and the smaller pillow.

I was able to borrow a friend's copy of the stamp set from the Who's That Girl series available at My Favorite Things - this is called Well Read and I know I'll be buying my own set.

                                                                     Well Read WTG

It took me forever to finish the card, but I will be paper piecing again! Most of the papers are from the Basic Grey Curio 6x6 paper pad and the trims are from Hobby Lobby.
I used the Die-namic Perfect Bracket Edge  to cut the top edge of the main panel and the Die-namics Scalloped Scallop Die for the bottom edge. I LOVE that the Perfect Bracket Edge can be fit the width of your paper - if you look at the die, you will see my piece doesn't have the last two scallops on either side because the paper was narrower than the die.

                                     Die-namics Perfect Bracket Edge
We have had a dreary, rainy day here so there is no hope of getting a good photo.  Since the weather isn't supposed to improve for a few days, I decided to go with this and get my submisssion loaded at Splitcoast Stampers while I had time (never know when the next power outage is coming).

Until we meet again,


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

I created a watermark!

Taking the advice of a few friends, I decided to create a watermark before I continued to download more photos to this blog or any online galleries.

A fellow Mac user and friend, Melody, pointed me towards iWatermark from Plum Amazing. Thank you Melody!

My patience was tested today, and I am clearly still learning, but I have managed to put together a basic watermark that will do for now.

To show off the watermark, here is another card I created on our retreat at the beginning of the month:

I love the typewriter stamp and die set from My Favorite Things:  Just My Type. I also used one of MFT's rolled flower dies and combined them with a swirl of pearls, seed pearls and resin flowers. A trio of buttons finished off the design! The green & brown buttons are threaded with the same waxed linen thread. The brown button shows the thread as it is off the spool. What I love so much about it is I can make it any color I need or want by adding a little ink.

                                        Die-namics Just My Type Die & Stamp Set

Just to show I figured out how to move around the watermark, here is another card sample. I can't decide if I like this more translucent version or the one above. 

Opinions and suggestions are welcome.

Until we meet again,


Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Can you remember life before the internet?

I am not a patient person.

Maybe that is not a 100% true statement - but I am really incredibly impatient with my poor computer.

I overload it when I am trying to power my way through learning something new and sometimes the poor thing just goes into a processing spin to show me who is boss.

I'm trying to create a watermark for the photos I post online and things were going great until I wanted to make a change. I've decided the best thing for both of us is to take a break, so I'm having a little lunch and playing on the Macbook while the iMac catches up and cools down.

Can you remember life before computers and the internet?

I hope to be back a little later to test my new watermark,


Saturday, March 10, 2012

having fun with à la modes

When we moved to California 5 years ago I was feeling a little lonely and lost once we were settled into school and our new routine. With the kids being past the age where mom tags along on a playdate, it was tough to meet people.

I decided to pull myself outside my comfort zone and try a challenge/book group at a local scrapbook store - when I came home from that first meeting, my dear husband wanted to know if we were staying LOL.  I'm happy to say, I knew I had found kindred souls that night.

Fast forward five years and I am so thankful for the group of ladies I've met through the class/club. Though only a couple are still active in the LSS class, our core group tries to get together once a month to visit, create and share.

Four years ago we started getting together for what has become an annual 4 day retreat. We schlep an unbelievable amount of crafty stuff up the mountain each year - 2 people to a vehicle to make room for our creative goodies! Usually I have a big project or two that I want to finish, but this year I decided to take advantage of having access to my friends' stamp collections and expand into the world of Copic markers and paper piecing.
à la modes Knit Happens

I love the à la mode stamps available through My Favorite Things and had fun with Knit Happens this past weekend.

I made 2 different cards, using my limited collection of Copic Sketch markers to color them in.

The second card is already on the way to a friend, hopefully arriving before her birthday (fingers crossed).

Until we meet again,


Friday, March 9, 2012

happy to be doing a challenge this week

I have discovered that if I have any hope to participate in the My Favorite Things Weekly Stamp Club (MFTWSC) Sketch Challenge at Splitcoast Stampers, I have to get started as soon as the sketch is posted on Wednesday.

Here is the sketch for this week:

I made another birthday card - can't seem to keep a big enough supply around these days!

The patterned paper is from a Basic Grey 6x6 pad and I pulled out my Martha Stewart butterfly punch and a beaded trim from Hobby Lobby.

Now I need to finish up some homework for my Design & Color class. The last couple of weeks have flown by with nursing sickies, getting sick myself and then taking off for an annual, fantabulous 4 day creative retreat with seven friends who share my paper & ink obsession.

Until we meet again, 


Thursday, March 8, 2012

the treat box link

A dear friend of mine, Gloria Stengel, recently had a project on her blog that included a treat box she gave me credit for showing her how to make.

Someone commented on her post, asking if I had a tutorial. First of all, I just have to say it is a miracle there is something I can show Gloria how to do LOL - she is the queen of creative and original ideas!

This is NOT my original design. I had seen a sample on display at Stamping Details that used a full 12x12  piece of cardstock to create a box and loved the look of it. I wanted a smaller box, and quickly realized that any square divided into a 9 section grid can be used to create the box. I made mine with a 6x6 piece of cardstock as the base, so each section is a 2 inch square.

Searching around some of my favorite resources, I found this excellent tutorial at Splitcoast Stampers treat box tutorial for making the box. It looks like the tutorial was posted in 2007, so I'm giving it credit as the original source.

I don't have any photos of the box I made for Gloria, but it is a lovely little box that can be used for many different events. I will take a few step by step photos next time I make one!

until we meet again,


When last we met . . .

Seriously? Almost 3 weeks between posts is not a great start to this blogging thing.

When last we met, I was taking advantage of an unexpected day off to create a little gag gift for a friend's 40th birthday.

Over the years I have seen some great ideas for the big "decade" birthdays - one of my favorites was seeing someone compile a selection of 40 tulip bulbs and plant them. Unfortunately tulips don't love our warm winters here in Southern California. I've also seen a friend painstakingly collect 40 different, unique and hard to find beers over many months and present them to a very happy & appreciative birthday boy in a cooler. This birthday girl might have been very appreciative of a collection of 40 wines, but my budget didn't go there.

The idea I came up with was to create a file folder of an "Anthropological Study" started in 1972 listing the cultural and social influences of that year and the impact they might have on a newborn.

I cut down a regular file folder to a smaller size using a little of my 10,000 foot stash of gaffer tape to bind and create a new folder. I also loved having an opportunity to use many of my favorite stamps - especially the always fun 7 Gypsies Disclaimer Stamp Set.

As usual with any last minute project, all the great ideas started coming in when it was too late to do anything about them, like add a baby photo. I did make a section so the recipients could add photos and some personal family information (did I mention my friend is a twin? of course I had to make a folder for her sister too).

The file included favorite foods complied from popular Women's magazines of the day (pineapple was a big ingredient in 1972), TV shows, movies and interesting tidbits such as what companies were also "born" that year (Fedex and HBO were on that list).

In the end, I was happy with the project and will keep it in mind for future big birthdays. Hmm, a little sister is turning 50 this year . . .

until we meet again,