Monday, August 22, 2016

September Stash Kit

This is my Stash Kit for the month of September. Since September is the beginning of fall, I decided to go with fall-themed goodies that weren't centered around Halloween or Thanksgiving. For the first kit, I gave myself a lot of choices - probably more than I really needed. But my goal is to make at least 1-2 cards with each stamp set.

I chose 3 rubber stamps:
The Greeting Farm - Anya's Day Out (part of Super Secret Stamp Club #9)
The Greeting Farm - OA - Journey (Oliver and Amelia line)
Kraftin' Kimmie Stamps - Let the Good Times Roll!

And 3 photopolymer stamp sets:
Mama Elephant - Chance of Rain
Lawn Fawn - Into the Woods
Penny Black - Homemade

I chose one paper pad to focus on:
My Favorite Things - Fun & Frolic 6x6

And a few embellishments:
Lawn Fawn - Into the Woods Flair
Wplus9 - Autumn Splendor Blue enamel dots

I have also added a small baggie with random ephemera (some die-cut shapes, wood veneer and a couple of stray enamel dots), and enough card bases to make 12 cards.

Throughout September, you'll be seeing the cards I've made with my stash kit. I hope you'll enjoy them!

Thanks for reading!

Stash Kit Project

Stash Kit Project is a personal challenge created to help me focus on my existing stash and to make use of supplies I've purchased but did not use (or did not use enough). The idea behind this challenge is very simple: create a kit of coordinating stamps, paper and embellishments and make several cards throughout a month with it.

My kits will be similar to card kits you can get from Simon Says Stamp, but I will be adding several stamp sets instead of just one. I'm keeping the first kit pretty simple, just to give myself some time to get used to the process and to go over some other things I may need in future kits. I'm also going to keep track of everything I use with the kits, so I can make them portable for traveling or crafting on the go.

Want to play along with me?
Here's the basic rules:
1) As the goal of this project is to make use of supplies, you shouldn't only use what exists in your stash - no shopping for new products allowed!
2) Give yourself some choices, pick products that you've used before and loved, then mix them with products you've never used.
3)  Retired products are good! I encourage you to pick retired goodies as long as they inspire you to create something awesome. Tip: You can google the name of the product and find the product sheet to link to so your readers can see what it looks like before you've played with it.
4) Think small - fewer kit elements mean you have a better chance of completing your goal. You can always add extra items if you run out of everything, but you don't want to be stuck with half a kit to use up as the month winds down.
5) Pick a goal. How many cards will you make? This will both give you something to work toward and help you decide how big your kit needs to be.
6) Have fun! Simplest rule, but the most important one. If you're not enjoying the process and you're forcing yourself to make things, don't be afraid to take a step back. Treat it as a learning experience that will help you construct a better kit next month.

If you decide to take part in the Stash Kit project, do let me know! I'd love to check out your blog/site and send some extra support your way. :)

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 8, 2016

Brief Hiatus

Just a quick update today, and a quick card share. Between work and a couple of other life things, I will likely not update much over the next week or so. I'm hoping to still steal away some time to get crafty, but we'll see how that goes.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

STC- Birdie Brown: Birthday Bears

It's time for another Stamp Trio Challenge! This is a personal challenge where I take one stamp and use it to create 3 different cards. This week, I'm using Birdie Brown's Birthday Bears stamp set. If you've taken a glance at my blog, you know I'm a big fan of Torico's illustrations and lovely design style. So, I'm always inspired and excited to use one of her stamps.

Birthday Bears features great images that can be used for birthdays, celebrations and more. There are 2 bear sizes and a variety of accessories. I was also really excited about the sentiments, as it features both punny and classic birthday greetings. Since birthday and thank-you cards are the cards I make most often, it's always nice to have a good variety of sentiments to use.

The first card I created used a lovely striped paper from My Favorite Things called Thick & Thin. I've been really drawn to purple lately, especially when combined with yellow - so those are the colors I chose for the card. I created a front panel using a scalloped rectangle, and I used a stencil and Wild Honey distress ink to create a starry background. I embossed the sentiment onto a black strip of cardstock -- I love how this turned out, making it look like a word sticker.

For my second card, I used the County Fair Plaid paper from MFT. I went with an orange/gold theme for this card, and used some sequins and enamel dots to embellish the space. I also used a curved scallop die to create a fun and interesting shape for the front panel.

For my last card, I found a fun dotty paper in my paper stash and used it as inspiration for the rest of the card. I paired it with a curved white panel at the bottom and a die-cut circle matted with a scalloped pink edge. A few enamel dots and a sentiment finish it off perfectly.

Though I'm happy with all 3 cards, I will continue working with this stamp set to create a few more - in particular, a few masculine cards, as I'm running low on those.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Cheri Love

 My Favorite Things - BB Mon Chéri, Papertrey Ink - Wet Paint Cuts (die)

One of my early childhood memories was drawing a fox pupped on construction paper. It was one of those accidental moments of greatness, as the fox turned out amazing and was featured prominently on the classroom wall. Yet, when I tried to draw that same fox again at home, I just couldn't do it. I think I remember trying a good dozen times without success.

If I think really hard, I can think of a dozen other occasions where those great awesome pieces came accidentally. And they're met with both frustration and joy. Making that great something is an incredible motivation and a nod from the universe that I can do this creative endeavor I'm trying. But it's also frustrating because I can't replicate it effortlessly.

That idea of being great effortlessly has been on my mind a lot lately. Watching videos of artists and crafters creating makes it seem like that's how they do it - effortlessly. All the details come together, all the techniques seem simple and even the mistakes turn into something charming. It seems effortless until you stop and think about how long it took to get there...

For every perfect drawing, that artist has a sketchbook filled with sketches and details that didn't work. For every perfect card video, that crafter has another 5 that didn't make the cut. Those achievements aren't because the individual got lucky - they spent work on developing their skills. And it's that practice work that ensures their greatness.

So, I don't want effortless anymore. I don't want accidental greatness. I want skills born out of work and practice, and all the big and little things learned along the way.

Like today's card... Another attempt at the mystifying clustered layer style I've seen on Pintrest. It still seems impossible to me, and I need heck of a lot more practice... But I'll get there in time.

Thanks for reading,

Friday, July 29, 2016

Birthday Ballet & More Unicorns

 My Favorite Things - BB Birthday Bears, Penny Black - Sweet and Cute, My Favorite Things - Chevron Cover Up

It's Friday, and Fridays make me feel happy. Maybe it's because it's generally my quiet workday, or maybe it's the promise of a potentially relaxing weekend, but I quite like Fridays.

And on this Friday, I'm sharing another birthday card. It features a sweet ballerina mouse from Penny Black and a large cover-up die from My Favorite Things. I have a few of these cover up dies - basic shapes like polka dots, stripes and chevrons. But for some reason, I used to find them difficult to use.

While they do cover up quite a bit of patterned paper, the problem was that I used the wrong kind of pattern. Anything too complicated of too large would look really fragmented and out of place. But using the miniature patterns from Doodlebug papers is just perfect! The cover up actually breaks up the pattern enough so it's not too overbearing.

Just look at it in action again:
Sweet Stamp Shop - Unicorn, The Alleyway Stamps - Lighter than Air (retired).

I feel like I stumbled upon the winning formula, there, and I'm going to go through my Doodlebug supplies again to see if I can match them with one of the cover-ups.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

I {heart} you, cutie!

My Favorite Things - Cupcake Cutie (retired)

I read a question the other day about whether I get inky fingers as a crafter. I don't, really. I'm always super careful not to touch the inkpad because I just know that I would accidentally smear it all over my pristine card front and end up crabby and frustrated.

What I do get, however, is the "Copic fingernail". What's that, you ask? Why, it's a little colorful patch of ink on my right ring finger. It tends to take on whatever color I used, but during marathon coloring sessions, it just looks black. Funnily enough, I've had a few friends concerned and asking if I'd pinched my finger in a door or something. Nope, I just colored a bunch of cute stamps!

It has to do with how I hold the marker when I'm coloring. Despite obsessively cleaning my Copics (the barrels, the caps, all of it), it still happens and the color sticks around for a few days before disappearing completely. And since I never wear nail polish, it's a stubborn little stain I can't just wipe away in a minute.

I never get annoyed by the Copic fingernail. It was my reminder that I had a chance to get creative and a quirky little detail to bring up in conversation. And, boy, did I have it when I colored the cutie from Cupcake Cutie! It was the darkest shade of brown in her hair, I think, but it left me with a splotch on my ring fingernail that I can giggle about.

Nonetheless, the card turned out fun and earthy. I liked using a peachy color for her dress, even if I didn't quite figure out the perfect peach color combo. I also found washi tape on my desk from a previous card and a piece of hemp twine (another supply I really ought to use more).

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pinky B-day Bot

Pretty Pink Posh - Stitched Duo 1 die, Alleyway Stamps - Lighter than Air (retired, company is closed)

I have a pretty good collection of dies. Several blueprints from My Favorite Things, a collection of shapes and necessities from Simon Says Stamp and a smattering of shapes and pretty word dies from other companies. I have a Bigshot that is set up on a sturdy desk, and I reach for it often. Whether it be a front panel or a banner for sentiment, I've spent quite a bit of time cranking that handle and hearing the cracking as the dies cut through cardstock. I wouldn't say that I use dies on every card, but nearly.

And yet, I find myself gravitating toward the same familiar shapes and the same familiar uses. Little bits and pieces that come with blueprints or mini hearts of varying shapes and sizes sit forgotten because I don't have a place for them.

So, I thought... Wouldn't it be a good challenge to occasionally make a card with only those dies? Wouldn't it be fun to see what kind of layout I can come up with when I've only got bits and pieces?

The answer is... Yes, yes it would! A great challenge, in fact, and one that left me stumped for about a day before I figured out a card concept I was happy with. And what a fun concept it was!

I started with a very girly pink paper and added my small white rectangles in a neat little row. Then I put a blue robot on top of the middle one and a sentiment underneath. I scattered wood veneer, enamel dots and sequins for embellishment. I left two of the rectangles blank so I can write in the number -- always a nice way to personalize a card.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Golden Frog Celebrate

When it came to crafty inspiration, I used to love Pintrest. I didn't have a Pintrest board dedicated to cards I liked, but I followed a few few ladies with massive boards (15K and 8K worth of images of cards only with a million different styles) and I browsed through them for inspiration. I liked seeing all the different takes on a stamp from design team members and I was always thrilled when a crafter used a technique or a product I love (especially patterned paper).

Instead of looking at fun designs, I caught myself researching the stamps they were using, or the dies, or the technique that's going to require 50 new tools. Suddenly, there were all these new "CRAFTY NEEDs" and a pattern of giving myself negative feelings. I'd be sad that I can't buy that super cute stamp or annoyed that I don't have 20 spare hours to make that technique work perfectly. And that's the exact opposite of what I want for myself when it comes to crafting.

So, I unsubscribed. I deleted the links out of my bookmarks and reminded myself once again of what I wanted to do and how I wanted to feel. I want to be inspired by what I have instead of what I want. I used to say "need", but it's not really a need when I can make without it. So, I don't need to know what others are doing - I just need to know how my happy crafty stash will inspire me today.

And today, it inspired me to make a celebration card with a frog and raining gold. I used a rub-on -- which is quite new to me, as I've never used one before (I guess they were popular before my time). It was a strange experience. A little frustrating, actually, and I can see why they're not making a whole lot of a comeback.

Nonetheless, I used a different supply that I didn't have to go out and buy and that made me happy. As happy as the little frog king sitting under a rain of gold.

Thanks for reading

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Welcome Fox

I still had the Woodland Cuties stamp set out on my desk, so I decided to whip up another card. This time, I went with a baby card, as I didn't have any of them left in my card stash. I stamped the fox out and colored it in bright oranges with my Copics, then carefully cut it out with a pair of sharp scissors. This particular set has a matching die set as well, but I did not pick it up - so, fussy cutting was needed.

I made a cute little front panel using the scalloped rectangle from Tag Builder Blueprints 3 and a banner for my sentiment from Blueprints 20. I adhered the sentiment strip to the bottom of the rectangle and layered the fox over it.

For my background, I chose the purple and orange plaid paper from Plaid Patterns 6x6. The addition of purple complemented great with the orange and really made the little fox pop. I tied on the rest of the colors with a few enamel dots. I didn't try to match the colors perfectly, just using what I had on hand.

I added everything to a top-folding A2-sized card (4¼x5½") made from purple cardstock.

Thanks for reading!