Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Why I Haven't Been Posting

I think Kitty Noodles from Eat Cake Graphics has had the same type of day (or week, or month) that I've had recently.  :)  It's been so crazy, I made this card for last week's Splitcoast's sketch challenge and a new one is already up.  I thought Kitty's whirlwind day would coordinate great with the Journal Blotch Circle.  I printed the sentiment on my computer, after doing a few test prints and using my stamp-a-mag-jig to make sure everything would fit.  Kitty Noodles is stamped and heat-embossed, then painted with an aqua painter and Wild Honey Distress Ink.  The patterned paper is Studio Calico's Anthology collection, and the kraft paper was stamped with Skipping Stones Design's Grunge stamp set.  Core'dinations paper sanding, sewing, distressing, and tim holtz tiny attacher attaching finished it all off!

I also have some happies to share:
I won this fabulous blog candy from Angela of Paper Cupboard.  Look at that fantastic card she included--she has magical powers when it comes to mixing patterns.  Maybe some of her powers will rub off on me when I use those great flowers!  Thanks, Ang!

Emily of Art from the Heart sent this wonderfully glittery St Patrick's Day card--doesn't it just radiate happiness?  Thanks, Em!

I was also featured last week on The Facebook for PTI's Make It Monday challenge and I won Embellish Magazine's Music Challenge.  Yippee!!

Even more exciting, I've been awash in comments and followers.  Each time one of y'all takes the time to leave a happy or even, gasp, choose to follow me, it warms my heart!

But the best happy of all?  DAYLIGHT SAVINGS TIME, BABY!!!!

Share your recent happies in the comments!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Embellish Music Challenge

Just a quick post to meet the deadline for the latest Embellish Magazine challenge.  I hope these rockin' A Muse guitars count as the "with music."  I used this week's early Clean and Simple Fall-To Layout #132, flipping and elongating it.  A fun background pattern using Skipping Stone Design's Grunge stamp set (a prize from my previous Embellish win!) was stamped onto another sheet of kraft, which was of course torn to make it rockin'!  I also grunged everything up with Antique Linen and Vintage Photo distress inks, which I also used to darken the metallic studs that I used to "hold up" the guitars. Here's the whole she-bang:
Hope you are rockin' tonight!

Happy St Patrick's Day!

Blog Follower (that's you):  Um, seriously?  She is not going to show more St Patrick's card, is she?  I don't think she even made this many Christmas cards.  I've also seen her use $24 sets less than she's used this $5 PTI Luck of the Irish set!
Blogger (that's me): Yes, yes I am going to show you more St Patrick's Day cards.
Blog Follower: Really?  Why did you not just put all of them in one post?
Blogger: I'm trying to extend the joy of the green, my friend.  Plus I was trying to wait until they reached their destinations, but I guess the last two people will just have to act surprised when they open their mail today or tomorrow.
Blog Follower: I'm not sure if you're using "their" correctly.  It's not their joint mail, is it?
Blogger: Ok, you got me.  I never know what to use in that situation.  But at least I know that you go to an isle for vacation and you go to an aisle to get a new thingamabob at Hobby Lobby.
Blog Follower: Well, I never would mistake one of those for the other!
Blogger: And that's why I'm....
lucky to count you as a friend!
Blog Follower: Wow, that was a lot of effort to get to that card.
Blogger: But wasn't it worth it?  Do you not see that fabulous retired Kiwi Kiss papers and ribbon going on here?  The white embossing?  The multiple dies?
Blog Follower: And the white inking!
Blogger: I know-white inking!  I told you it was worth it.  But should I have corner chomped the top right corner?
Blog Follower: But what if it had not looked good and you already did all the fancy stamping with the PTI vintage labels flourish and all that paper and ribbon adhered?
Blogger: There's the rub, my friend.  So I left it as is.  Hey, want to see yet another card?  If you say yes, I'll tell you a secret afterwards!
Blog Follower: Ooooh, I love secrets!
Blogger: Tada!
Blog Follower: Um, seriously?  Why are you putting black on a St Patrick's Day card?
Blog Follower: Of course it is!  That makes more sense.  Hey, what ink colors did you use?
Blogger: I think Memento New Sprout.  Or maybe SU Certainly Celery.  I know the dark is Peeled Paint Distress ink.
Blog Follower: Yeah, even I know it's Peeled Paint Distress Ink.  I'm a follower and that's the only thing you've mentioned in the all these St Patrick's Day posts.  What's next--a card using Echo Park paper?
Blogger: Uh, way to ruin tomorrow's surprise!
Blog Follower: Oh, was that your secret?
Blogger: No, my secret is that Amuse Art Stamps is having a 50% off EVERYTHING sale with code 50gone!  I think they are going to shut down their web presence and focus only on the new Amuse Studio (which will have its ordering website up and running April 1st). didn't hear it from me, but you can get  some great deals when you click the "sale" category (at the end of the stamp category listing).  We're talking 20 sheets of paper for $2.50!  Stamp sets for $2.50!
Blog Follower: Ok, that was a pretty good secret.  Do you get anything from that sale since you're a demo?
Blogger: No, I'm just that nice.
Blog Follower: Hey, I have one last question.  Are you perhaps wearing sparkley green shamrock antennae right now?
Blogger: You know me too well, Blog Follower.  You know me too well.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

What is Black and White and Green all over?

This post!  First the green:

This card is for PTI's Make It Mondays challenge of using partial embossing.  Instead of just leaving part of the cardstock off of the impression plate as shown in their video, I cut a scrap piece of paper using the fillable frames #4 die and placed that between my green cardstock base and the impression plate, as shown here.  Then I placed the embossing mat & B plate on top and sent it on through.  It still left a slight impression--maybe I'll try some chipboard (aka Quaker Oatmeal Breakfast Cookie box--people, have you tried these yet?  They are so yummy!) next time.  The stamping was all done with Peeled Paint distress ink. I used the Mat Stack 2 die to cut out some Echo Park paper, and the Limitless Labels dies to cut the circle & scallop circle.  The paper & ribbon are Ripe Avocado.

This one was made for a VSN challenge.  I used some more Echo Park paper for the Limitless Labels and Mat Stack 2 dies.  The small frame around the sentiment also came in the PTI stamp set.  I added some ribbon tails, but something was still missing, so I picked out a card-sized piece of kraft paper and was about to run it through the cuttlebug to emboss it when I ended up turning it over and seeing this already pre-stamped on it!  I had made it for another card, but the flourishes ended up not lining up right or something, so I had put it back in my scrap pile.  It ended up being perfect for this card!  Luck of the Irish, indeed!

Now for the black and white part: I've gotten a lot of books read in the past couple of weeks, since it was state testing at school (which means no planning to do!) and this week is my spring break (woohoo!).

Book #5: Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua.  Man, talk about a tough life--for both the mom and the kids!  Very interesting memoir about being a Chinese mother in the US, but I must admit the last few chapters she kind of wimped out and went all Sesame Street "I guess we can learn and adapt from both types of parenting."

Book #6: A Red Herring Without Mustard: A Flavia de Luce Novel by Alan Bradley.  Now this series is just a pleasure to read: a smart little girl (who dabbles in chemistry), 1950s England, and a little mystery.

Book #7: The Sound of Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey.  A quick read about a woman confined by illness and the pleasure she gets from her new roommate: a common garden snail.  Not a book for everyone, but a nice way to spend an afternoon.

Book #8: The Help by Kathryn Stockett.  Believe the hype: it's as good as everyone says it is.

What are you reading or creating?  Let me know in the comments! :)

Monday, March 14, 2011

A Muse Stamps

As you may have heard, A Muse Stamps has gone into the home sales market, like Stampin' Up or Close to my Heart.  The demo starter kit seemed like too good of a deal to pass up for $99 (+$15 shipping + tax), so I went ahead and joined up.  I'm not planning on being any super seller or anything, but if you're interested, let me know. I may set up my own webpage that you can order from (it won't be live until April 1st, though), or if you're interested in placing an order before then, you can leave a comment and I'll get back to ya.  You can see the catalog here.

This is what you get in the starter kit:
A couple close-up shots (click to view larger):
My review:
Copics: They sell copic originals, which I have never used.  Instead of a brush tip, they have a bullet point, which is definitely intriguing.  I used it to color a small area and it was nice to get into the nooks and crannies.
Clear blocks:  Very nice thick blocks with indentations on two sides for a better grip. Since Unity isn't selling their blocks at the moment, these were the nice upgrade I've been looking for.  You get five of them, including a big background one and a long skinny one.
Inks: These are pigment inks that dry to a chalky finish.  They seem pretty nice in the small samples I've done. 
Paper:  Now this is the part that is really going to cost me!!  Their paper is fabulous.  It's like the paper they use to make store-bought notecards.  It's thick enough to not be flimsy, but not thick like PTI.  The cool part is that it is white on the other side, so when you make your cards you don't have to add an extra sheet on the inside to write on.  The colors they sent are very pretty (well, except that darn orange!  But I guess it's a nice orange if you're into that sort of color).  They also send color swatches of all their colors, with the color name and family (there are four seasonal color families) printed on each swatch.  I would like to see them print a color combo chart, especially since they don't have any multi-colored patterned paper from which to get color combo ideas.
Bling/pearls/memento ink pad/paper flowers/adhesive/glue pen: All of these are products you probably already have.
Stamp scrubber & cleaner: The cleaner has a familiar blue tinge to it, but I haven't actually used it yet to compare to Ultra Clean.  The stamp scrubber is a little smaller than Stampin' Up's, but has the same type of pads in it. 
Stamp sets: A nice collection of images and sentiments.  These are "sampler" sets, so there are 2 or 3 stamps from a multitude of sets.  Yes, that means if you buy the actual set, you will have duplicates, but I still think they're a good deal.  They are mounted on cushion cling, with the images already on the cling.  They suggest you cling the block to the case, that way you can put the stamps back in their spots and instantly see if you are missing any.  I found it tedious to get the stamps in and out of their space, so I'll probably just chuck the scrap.

After all this product talk, are you ready to see some A Muse cards?  Ok, here are three quick CAS cards I made last night.

This is for a friend who has been stuck in the hospital recently...I thought the caged bird was appropriate.  This is French Roast and Currant ink stamped on Sky paper.  I colored the small pearls with a brown copic before adhering.
This patterned paper was actually the back of the A Muse welcome letter (it's also available in the catalog).  I stamped the dandelions and sentiment using French Roast, then adhered it to a French Roast base.
This final one is also for the Splitcoast's CAS challenge today.  I cut the rocket out of the box (or should I say "out of the oval?") and colored with copics and a metallic silver marker.  I used a star dust pen to add stars on the PTI Smokey Shadow background.  It's a wee little 3x3 card.

Now, don't worry, this blog won't be turning into All A Muse All The Time, but I hope you enjoyed a little peek!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Don't Tell the Welsh Corgi

...but St Patrick's Day is near and dear to my little Irish heart.  So I got the $5 Luck of The Irish set from Papertrey Ink with my last order, and I think I've gotten my money's worth out of it!  So as not to overwhelm you with green, I'll just show you a few today.

This was the only bit of sunshine I saw this weekend:
I heat embossed the circle using white embossing powder, and used the sun from Unity's July '09 KOM to "mat" it--the circle was the perfect size!  I added two clouds, cut from Rustic White paper using PTI's Cloud Die.  I hand cut the hills from PTI's Bitty Boxes paper, and heat embossed the sentiment.  The front hill, as well as the sun, are popped up using foam tape.

This one is for my DH.  I was looking for a heart punch to make a four-leaf clover and then I thought this Martha Stewart Valentine's punch would be perfect!

I simply punched out the four hearts and attached the points together using small glue dots, then adhered it over the hand-cut stem.  I cut a frame using the largest nesties label four and adhere with foam tape.  Since he already knows I'm Irish, I felt I didn't need to add that part of the familiar phrase, so I went with this cute "lucky in love" sentiment from the PTI set.  I stamped it onto Simply Chartreuse to brighten up the Ripe Avocado.  

The final card for today is a two-in-one birthday and St Patrick's Day card for my DH's grandfather:
I cut PTI's Fillable Frames #4 from Echo Park paper, then stamped the fillable frame frame using Peeled Paint Distress Ink.  The sentiment is from PTI's Birthday Basics, and the shamrocks are from Luck of the Irish.  I used PTI's letter impression plate for the background.  I tried doing a letterpress technique with it, but, as you may have guessed by now, it didn't turn out too well-too much white space between the letters that the ink fell into.  Oh well, this is a nice CAS look!

Do you make St Patrick's Day cards?  Eat corned beef and cabbage?  Wear green glittered shamrock attennae?  I do two of those three, can you guess which two?