Tuesday, September 29, 2009

I Love to Read!

One of my favorite pastimes is reading.  It always has been.  It is not often you will find me without a book.  I even get a little nervous when my stack of books yet to be read starts to dwindle.  I also love to discuss reading with my friends.  Recently, I've been having discussions with my friend, Allison, regarding the Twilight series.  She is just finishing it and we have been having the best time talking about the characters and our favorite passages.  In light of that, I created this bookmark for Ali.  The knome is from one of my all-time favorite SU stamp sets, Knobbly Knomes (ret).  I have yet to find another set that duplicates the charm of these little fellows.  I was inspired to create this scene by the Inspiration Challenge at SCS.  Here's the link to the inspiration I chose at Pajama Squid:

Woodland Boot

It's a good thing there is no deadline for entries into the challenges at Splitcoast, since this is a few days late. 

Recipe:  I stamped the BG flowers and toadstools, masking as appropriate, on a piece of Whisper White CS and colored with Prismacolor pencils and Gamsol.  I stamped the knome three separate times to allow for some parts to be popped up, colored and adhered to the BG.  The sky was sponged over a flower-shaped punched Post-It to create clouds. 

I hope Ali likes her new bookmark and it reminds her of our friendship every time she picks up a book.

Til Next Time,

Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Peach of a Thank You

Hope everyone's having a wonderful Saturday morning.  We are supposed to have some hot weather the next couple of days, so I think I'll just stay in my craft room where it's cool and create. 

I was feeling like watercoloring last night and started on this peach image from Farm Stand, a retired SU set.  Well, the next thing you know, I had a card.  I added an SU sentiment, pleated some ribbon at the bottom and added some brads & buttons to balance the image.  I'm off to check out the Inspiration challenge over at Splitcoast, be back with a card later.  Stay cool!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

More brayering and a couple challenges

I continue in my endeavor to improve my brayer techniques I learned with Ms. Zindorf.  I also wanted to participate in a couple of recent challenges over at Splitcoast.  So, this card incorporates both the Technique Lover's Challenge and the Color Challenge.  I was just blown away by yesterday's TLC where coordinated buttons were made from cardstock.  Yes, the button on my card is made from several layers of cardstock and some Crystal Effects.  I know it's difficult to see in the picture, but this actually turns out to look like a real button with dimension and everything, plus it can coordinate with any cardstock you may be using on your card.  How cool is that?

The Color Challenge for today used Summer Sun, Burgandy and black, which worked well with brayering.  I brayered Summer Sun first and then stamped my flower image from the Essence of Love set.  I sponged some Baroque Burgandy on the right side of my cardstock and black on the bottom.  I highligted some of the reeds with white gel pen, added some glittered punched butterflies and added the sentiment at the top.  It was a very simple and fast card. 

I am in love with this button making technique and will be making tons of these in the near future.  So, go on and check out the challenges over at Splitcoast.  You know you want to.

Til Next time,

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Featured Stamper Challenge

Today is Featured Stamper challenge on Splitcoast, which is one of my favorite challenges, because I can check out member galleries that may be unfamiliar to me.  The featured stamper this week is Tankgrl.  She has made some really wonderful creations.  I chose this little truck from SU Loads of Love merely because I absolutely love to color it.

Here is Tankgrl's orginal card:

Revin Up My Load

We were to change at least two things from the original.  I kept the basic layout of the card and the banner idea.  I changed the color scheme to fall, changed the banner shape and wording.  The truck is holding leaves instead of hearts and I used ribbon at the bottom of the card instead of paper piercing.

I had a blast creating this card.  Hope you'll check out the challenge too.  Here's the link:

Have a great day!  Til next time,

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Inspirational Brayering

Although, I won't say that I love a challenge, I do like to learn new things.  I decided to apply my new-found brayering skills to the Inspiration Challenge over at SCS.  What's great about the Inspiraion challenge is you can really let yourself go and when things don't turn out just right, you can say, "I meant to do that, I was inspired".  

Click here to see the mug from the LAMA e-store that inspired me.

I started with Whisper White cardstock and Barely Banana ink.  I then layered on Yo-Yo yellow and Apricot Appeal.  I stamped my butterfly image three times with Versamark and Chocolate Chip and heat embossed.  I then took my fleur de lis stamp and colored it with SU markers and stamped using the huff technique.  I stamped the little scroll in Apricot Appeal.  I wanted the edge to have a little more contrast, so I brayered a small amount of Ruby Red on the edge. 

There are definitely things that I would change the next time around (although I'm forbidden from pointing out flaws on this blog :), but skills build upon themselves and with each practice, I will see more and more improvement.

If you are interested in taking a brayer class from Michelle or want to view her free online tutorials, please see my sidebar for blogs I follow, Michelle Zindorf.   Also, check out the fun challenges at Splitcoast.  It's a great way to spark your creativity.  Here's the link to the Inspiration challenge.

Til next time,

Friday, September 18, 2009

Happy Harvest

I love making Autumn and Winter cards.  They are probably my favorite cards to make.  I pull out all my lovely old, well-loved, much used stamps and just lose myself in a fall scene.  Today, I'm using a retired set from SU, called Happy Harvest.  I have six layers here, which I think is a record for me.  The first layer is the gingham DP from my scrap bin.  The next features the corn stalks, mounted on Pumpkin Pie CS, then the pumpkin patch, mounted on Old Olive CS.  I then stamped and WC'd the scarecrow, cut him out and positioned him in the pumpkin patch.  He's guarding all those Halloween pumpkins!  The fence comes next, which I made out of some scrap CS, stamped with Weathered BG stamp and distressed with ink. I added some faux nails with a mettalic paint pen and then cut the whole thing out.  The little sign is the last layer.  I wove some wire through the top of the sign to make it look like it was hanging on the fence and then draped the scarecrow's gloves over it, so he is kind of leaning.  All images were WC'd with SU re-inkers (my favorite coloring method).  This is just such a happy little card, it makes me smile.  Hope you like it too!
Til next time,

Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Visit with Michelle Zindorf

How incredible!  Michelle Zindorf, yes, the Michelle Zindorf came to my house to teach her brayer technique.  It has been a whirlwind few days, but so rewarding.  I not only learned lessons in brayering that have changed the entire way I view cardmaking, but I feel I have made a new friend.

Michelle flew in on Thursday and we had lunch and got to know one another.  She is so easy to be around that I felt like I had known her for years, not just a matter of hours. 

On Friday, I took Michelle's beginning brayer class.  Although, I didn't pick up the techniques as fast everyone else did, Michelle took the time, after teaching for 6 hours, to help me, and I felt much more confident. 

On Saturday, I took the advanced class, had so much fun, and learned so much.  Of the six cards I made, these are my two favorites.

As I mentioned, new techniques do not come easy to me, but Michelle made each step so easy, we all surprised ourselves with our new found talent.

Everyone had a great time, learned lots and made new friends. 

If you haven't checked out Michelle's blog, please do. I have it listed in my sidebar list of blogs I follow. She does online tutorials several times a week (for free!!!) and teaches all across the country just about every weekend. You can check out her class schedule on her blog. I strongly recommend taking both her beginner and advanced classes. You will just be amazed by what you learn.

Thanks Michelle and everyone that came for such a wonderful experience.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Chard Gorton

Okay, now on to a great recipe!

We made a decision earlier in the year to grow a big vegetable garden, as we have yet to put lawn in the backyard.  Vegetables are much better anyway IMO.  Although we had a rather mild summer, we still ended up with some dandy produce. 

One of our favorite vegetables is swiss chard, but I was getting a little tired of my same old recipes.  So, I decided to put together some of our favorite flavors and came up with Chard Gorton. 

Chard Gorton
2 bunches of swiss chard, stemmed, washed and dried, cut into manageable pieces
2 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cloves of garlic minced (add more or less, as you wish)
3 T. butter  (you can substitute here if you wish)
1/2 cup ricotta cheese (fat-free may be used)
1/4 cup grated Parmesean cheese for mixture and then 3 T for topping
1 egg beaten
Salt and pepper to taste
2 T seasoned bread crumbs

Blanch the chard in boiling, salted water for 45 seconds.  Drain and shake dry.  Gently saute mushrooms and garlic in butter over medium heat until mushrooms soften.  Add the chard and remove from heat.  Mix the ricotta, 1/4-cup Parmesean and the egg.  Season with salt and pepper.  Mound into an oven-to-table casserole.  Mix breadcrumbs and remaining Parmesean, sprinkle the top of the casserole.  Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes and Enjoy!  This makes a wonderful side dish or even a main dish and the leftovers are great for lunch.

If you have any great recipes to share, please link them in your comment.  I'm always looking for something yummy to try.

Off the subject, or maybe this is the real subject at hand

No card today, no recipe or plant display, just wanted to have my say about something important to me.  In the current state of United States economy, with companies dropping like flies, so many people out of work and policies changing for the existing companies, I have noticed something about my fellow crafters.  We are a strong and dynamic lot.  We take some time to lick our wounds, and then we bounce back.  We create new things, re-invent ourselves, and become better and stronger than ever.  Two crafters come to mind at the moment and I hope they don't mind that I mention their names here.  Sherry Cheever and Michelle Zindorf.  The links to their blogs are listed on the right in my list of blogs I follow. 

I have to say I am so inspired by the way both of these ladies have faced setbacks in their creative and professional lives.  Michelle has taken her brayer tutorials to a new level by traveling all over the country and teaching classes (she's teaching at my house this weekend, EEK, hope I'm ready!).  Sherry has made some brave choices to follow her heart when it comes to her creative endeavors (as it should be), and is forging ahead to new adventures.  Both ladies have faced their decisions with dignity and grace.  I just want to say how much I admire them. 

Thank you for letting me ramble today.  I needed to get this out of my head.

Have a wonderful day and know you are among a wonderful group of people, called CRAFTERS!

Monday, September 7, 2009

TLC Challenge on SCS

Morning Everyone, I was able to play on the Splitcoast Technique Lover's Challenge and wow they had a great project to try, creating your own stamp from fun foam and an embossing envelope.  Here is the link to the MYO Stamp challenge:


The following is what I created.

Things you will need:  A piece of fun foam and an embossing folder of your choice.  I'm using my new Cuttlebug folder called Owl Flourish.
I cut the foam to the size of my folder.  You could also just cut it to highlight a portion of a folder.
Run your embossing folder through your machine of choice.  Make sure you have a pretty thick sandwich in order to get a deep impression.
Once you have your foam stamp, you need to attach it to your acrylic block.  You can use double stick tape, but my foam had an adhesive background that worked great.  Okay, here's the fun part, ink up your foam.  Really lay it on to get in all those foam crevices.
I stamped this using a cushion underneath to get the best image.  I trimmed to the stamped image to the size I needed, distressed the edges with ink, added embellishments, and this is the end result.

Recipe: Cuttlebug EF, Owl Flourish, Basic Grey CS, Shutter Green Tim Holtz Distressing ink, SU Choc Chip,various embellishments.
Hope you like it!  Have wonderful Labor Day!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

My New Craft Room

We remodled our house 3 years ago, and my crafting supplies have largely been stored in cardboard boxes until now.  We just finished my crafting space and although I don't have much on the walls as of yet, I have pretty much everything put away.  It was like reconnecting with old friends when I unpacked the boxes of all my much loved supplies.  Of course, I also found that I had re-purchased a few things that I already had. 

So, I wanted to show you a few pictures of my new space, as well as ways I have picked up from other crafters to store my supplies. 

I think this is my favorite element of my room.  I love seeing all those jars with pretty things in them, kind of like a candy store (for a crafter anyway).

The shelves are 9 feet long and, as you can see, hold all my decorative, as well as necessary supplies.  I like to have everything within reach.  Thank goodness craft supplies are pretty.
This is my main 8 foot work surface.  My husband designed it so that I could have a friend, other than Biscuit and Lucy, to craft with me.  I can also set up my sewing machine on the alternate side while crafting.  The middle cabinet was premade and holds over two hundred SU stamp sets that have been unmounted and stored in CD cases.  
Love, love, love my pen storage.  All my pens are organized in nifty little cubbies.  I have small punches on top and adhesives in the drawer.
Next to my work surface, I have this little step stool that was left in the house by the previous owner.  Of course, because it was old and splattered with paint, I fell in love with it.  I have a basket of paper scraps on top (so I remember to use them), and my small paper pads on the rungs.  Love the vintage feel of this.
Across from my work surface area, I have my storage cubes.  It took me forever to put these all together.  These hold all my loose embellishments, stamp pads, ribbon and single sheets of 12 x 12 paper.  The surface of the cubes makes a great area to use all my di-cutting machines.  Yes, I do have a little gadget obsession. 
This is the way I store most of my ribbon.  I have told myself that I can't buy another spool of ribbon until I finish one of these.  So far, so good.  I try to organize by color, but they do get a little jumbled.
Just a couple more storage ideas:  My Prisma pencils are stored on my shelf in a decorative container...
and Nestabilities are stored in these nifty DVD cases, attached with magnetic tape, and then organized in a basket.
Hope you enjoyed the tour.  I'm sure I'll have more pictures as time goes on, so check back.

Friday, September 4, 2009

First Blog Post Ever

I am finally taking the next step in my creative journey and starting a blog.  Why did it take me so long you ask?  Well, I'm somewhat computer challenged.  I mean it took three people to help me post on Splitcoast when I first started out, so I thought that creating a blog would be way beyond my technical abilities.  Thanks to Google, the process turned out to be pretty easy, so here I am.

Anyway, this is my blog.  I hope it is a place where people who love to create will come to find inspiration, ideas, and most of all, as the title says, a smile.  So, I hope you join me on my creative journey.