Wednesday, June 30, 2010

It's a Girl!

I had so much fun playing in my first Embellish challenge, I could not resist to try for this next one! Not to mention, the talented Ashley Cannon Newell always is on the lookout on what's currently hot & trendy. Here are the deets for the challenge:

This card came pretty quickly together, since I had a good idea what my layout was going to look like, as inspired by the Waltzingmouse Sketch Challenge #4.

Here is the card, not created on the last minute deadline rush on a Thursday night -- aren't you proud of my non-procrastination?
It's A Girl Card
Stamps: Snag 'em Stamps - Giraffe (imaginisce), Wonderfully Whimsical (Papertrey Ink)
Paper: Basic Card Stock - Cream  (Recollections), Boxer (Basic Grey), Urban Prairie (Basic Grey), Oasis (sei)
Ink: Brilliance - Pearlescent Orange (Tsukineko)
Embellishments: Nestabilities - Cassic Small Ovals (Spellbinders), Nestabilities - Classic Scallop Ovals Small (Spellbinders), Vintage Button Collection - Spring Mix (Papertrey Ink), Taylor's Tiny Twinkles - Multicolors (Taylored Expressions), Hemp Cord (Darice), Ribbon - Coral (Michael's), General Purpose Thread - Pewter (Coats & Clark)

So this marks my first baby card. The four bows is a lose interpretation of the circle in the sketch. I used one of Claire's tips to ink up the card stock with the nestability frame still on. There is also clear embossing on the giraffe to add a little definition to the image.
It's A Girl Card
Baby cards might be my new favorite kind of card to make. They are so adorable. What are yours?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Lilo's First Adventure

When reading all the talented craft blogs, I could not help but think that I should get up the courage to learn how to sew. I never had a home economics class in school, nor did I grow up with sewing around the house -- unless you count sewing on a button. And that does not even count, since they do not tend to stay on long!

So my first mission was to do research! I asked a few friends, who asked other friends for me, and before you know it, I had expert sewing advice coming about. In addition I remembered Becky having a few awesome sewing post where she shared about her new purchase. So shout outs go to Inés, Becky, Talida and Nat for helping me with my purchasing decision.

When deciding on a machine I had to ask myself a few questions, and along I realized there were two main points I learned were most important to me: 

  • I do not know how to sew - I might hate it or I might be terrible at it. I should put a small investment down to see if I like it. So purchasing an expensive machine was out of the question. If I loved sewing, then it would be natural growth progression to upgrade to a better one. A Bernina perhaps ;)
  • I wanted enough sewing functionality to experience the whole spectrum in sewing. My stretch goal is to create a quilt one day. In the meantime, the sewing machine had to serve as an embellisher for cards and clothes, or a fixer-upper for hemming pants (for short people) or fixing a trim on a shirt.
Without further suspense, I decided on a Brother CS6000i, which I baptized Lilo. As in Lilo & Stitch. Get it? ;)

Lilo - the Sewing Machine

Inés was kind enough to show me the basics, and I went crazy trying to try every stitch setting. I basically sewed over every inch of my 5x4" scrap that Inés gave me. After about 10 minutes of playing around, I felt super confident that Lilo and I could make something.

Incidentally, Scrap Our Stash was having a June Stitch Challenge. Perfect opportunity to get down & dirty with the basics of sewing. So off I went to design a card based around stitching. Other sewing projects were also on my mind and I was picking up fabric, when I decided that I would cut a little corner off and use it in my card. I thought of creating an easy shaped template to cut out the space, fill the negative space with fabric, backing, and poly-fill to create a cushiony, three-dimensional card, and add a hand-written sentiment on the bottom to give it more of that "stitched with love" feeling. 

Paper: Card stock - Close to Cocoa (SU!)
getments: Fabric (Joann's); General Purpose Thread - Coral (Coats & Clark)

Here is what I learned:
  • Do not use organic shapes as your first sewing assignment. Stick with straight lines. And practice navigating around.
  • Read the sewing machine's manual. There is a tension knob to help adjust threading so that the bottom thread does not poke through the top. And practice various tension settings on card stock.
  • Choosing the stitch length directly effects how easily one can navigate the curves. Practice in this would have also helped.
  • Pre-piercing the sentiment with a pushpin or needle makes it easier to hand-stitch the sentiment.
  • Use heavier card stock.
I am a little disappointed in some of the off-track stitching and boo-boos that happened, but as a first-attempt or proof of concept I think I managed to achieve what I wanted to. I will definitely try this kind of card again after I have become more comfortable sewing and getting to know the ins and outs of my sewing machine. Let's see if I can't give it a cleaner look then...In the meantime wish me luck on my pajama pants. Here is hoping that both pant legs come out the same length! What was your first sewing project? Any pointers?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

A Cupcake Birthday Greeting

My weekly indulgence is to make time to prepare a card for the fun Waltzingmouse Sketch Challenge. This time I looked up the sketch challenge on Saturday and had all week to tinker with what ideas I could incorporate. Since I also had a shortage of birthday cards, it was pretty easy on deciding a theme.

I even promised myself to start early this week! But with an unexpected accident and a run to the ER in the middle of the night that resulted in stitches and an upcoming work deadline, the week had turned into such a chaotic one. Can ya relate?! So here I am, 
on my usual Thursday after work trying to throw a card and blog post together. I chose a bright red card stock to start. And here is what came into creation:

Happy Birthday
Stamps: Free Spirit - Sentiments (Waltzingmouse Stamps) 
Paper: Cardstock Paper - Red, White (Recollections), Offbeat (Basic Grey)
Ink: Earth Elements - Chocolate Chip (SU!)
Embellishments: Emboss A2 - Spots & Dots (Provo Craft), Nestabilities - Classic Small Ovals, Classic Scallop Ovals Small (Spellbinders), Celebrate-It - Brown, White (Michael's), Craft Punch - Cupcake (Martha Stewart)

That Provo Craft embossing folder had been sitting on my desk unopened for a while, and I decided I wanted a fun fun card. And since I was going to cut out a circle window I thought the emboss folder would fit my shape theme. 
Spots, Dots and a circle window later, I was on a mad hunt for bright & fun pattern paper and pulled out the Basic Grey. After I added that layer, a scalloped white frame was necessary to hide the transition from the pattern paper to the cardstock. 
At this point I needed to find something birthday-ish to stick in the window, and Martha's Stewarts punch was nicely within reach. The only debate was, white cupcake peeking from red cardstock, or red cupcake peeking from white cardstock? But that was quickly resolved after I saw that the white frame and the white cardstock didn't give too much contrast. So everything was adhered nicely, when I went about to find ribbon.

Not one ribbon seemed to match: they were either to thin or had crazy patterns. I didn't want pattern ribbon to add to the already craziness, and when I stumbled across my remainder white ribbon piece I thought I had something to work with. But everything still looked too "flat" and I thought a nice dark brown shade would do it, since the Basic Grey pattern paper had that nice brown stripe in it. Of course I'm not an engineer for nothing, and decided to create my own layered ribbon. I trimmed the white ribbon down the middle and adhered it to the left and right sides of the brown ribbon. I like the look, but I don't like the manufacturing quality, since it was a challenge to get it straight and evenly spaced. Can you see the un-eveness?

At this point I realized my newbie mistake. I wanted to run the ribbon through the hole and tack it on the back of the card, but my cupcake stack was in the way. Ooops. Two quick peels & one adhering job later I was close to done!

Reached for my favorite set o' stamp, and pulled a quick birthday label together. And with the little home-made ribbon scrap (that took so much love to put together), I created a little loop to finish it all :)

So here is hoping I can sneak in my whirlwind creation on time. I love how it "just came together." This actually goes against my plan-ahead personality, so I'm really surprised by how it turned out. Do you ever start without a real plan?

Thursday, June 17, 2010


Another fun Waltzingmouse Sketch Challenge has inspired me to get my carding groove on.  Don't get used to so many posts in one month -- much less in one day. It's all just poor coincidence and a horrible need to want to participate and try everything. Not to mention I've been getting really excited about the comments that pop up on my blog. It's proof that someone skimmed or at least looked at the pretty pictures making it all worthwhile! Thank you ladies -- you are my motivation! On to card deets, shall we?

I recently received a wonderful hand-made gift and wanted to created a thank you card in attempt to express how much I loved the gift.  

Thanks - Arigato - Merci
Stamps: Arigato (Hero Arts), Asian Gardens (Waltzingmouse Stamps), Mega Mixed Messages (Papertrey Ink) 
Paper: Preppie Pack - Plum (Bazzill Basics Paper), Dotted Swiss (Bazzill Basics Paper), Cream (Recollections), Marbled Grey (Scrap Pack Recollections), Paperie Poolside & Greenhouse (Making Memories)
Ink: Brilliance - Pearlescent Blue, Pearlescent Sky Blue, Graphite Black (Tsukineko)
Embellishments: Nestabilities - Classic Small Ovals, Classic Scallop Ovals Small (Spellbinders), Ribbon O' Spool - Light Blue (Offray), Stickles - Baby Blue (Ranger)

I am still trying various supplies out and must say I love how the Brilliance ink comes out on dark card stock. The picture, unfortunately, does not show the true warm color that the Plum card stock really is, but I thought a green would complement the rest of the card well. The color combo was probably influenced by all the Asian Garden set I had on my mind (when I was cutting out those tedious flowers) and because I kept craving green tea during my crafting session. The oval image begged to be framed on a nice scallop and by creative license I left out the yellow panel of the template. And there you have it. Here is hoping that the recipient does not read my blog first ;)

I can't wait to see what the other gals made...

Well Done & Good Luck

The June Waltzingmouse Blog Hop's theme is "Let's hear it for the boys!". And to accompany this theme I have a story for you ...

My recent trip to Sequoia National Park was filled with many adventures and inspirations to make cards. Among one of the days of exploration, a bunch of friends and I went up Moro Rock. It is a rather distinct granite dome structure that has a well-built stairway for the visitors to climb. At the top there is a beautiful view of the Great Western Divide as well as a 360 degree view over the western park of the Sequoia National Park. After we finished our tour we got back into the car and drove off and while looking back I got a great snapshot of the rock and exclaimed "Look Moro Rock is Olivia the Owl -- sleeping." My friends thought I was nutso, but tell me, don't you see the resemblance?

Moro Rock

A distinct 3/4 view of an owl sleeping. I tell you, those boys have no creativity! I immediately noted that upon my return I had to make a card pulling my beloved "Owl Celebration" from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. And here is what I came up with:

Stamps: Owl Celebrations (Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps), Owl Occasions (Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps), Free Spirit - Sentiments (Waltzingmouse Stamps)
Paper: Lucky Teal Cards & Envelopes (Creative Imaginations), Crinkle Cardstock - Olive (Wausau Paper), Real Wod (Creative Imaginations), Cream (Recollections), Offbeat - Lighthearted (BasicGrey)
Ink: Earth Elements - Close to Cocoa (SU!), Pigment Ink - Black (Colorbox)
Embellishments: Nestabilities - Standard Small Circles, Classic Scallop Circles Small (Spellbinders), Jute Packaging Twine (Westim Crafts), Vintage Button Collection - Brown (Papertrey Ink), Point 88 - Art. No. 88/46 (Stabilo), Softcore Colored Pencils - PC933 Violet Blue, PC946 Dark Brown, PC1002 Yellowed Orange, PC1015 Deco Blue, PC1034 Golden Rod, PC935 Noir (Prismacolor)

Another cousin just graduated high school and thought a sentiment that captured both congratulating him and wishing him off to his next four years of schooling was appropriate.

This card has also been entered to the Scrap Our Stash's June Sketch Challenge because I can always use the added practice to execute a sketch. I find it hard to keep true to the templates and always take creative liberties. Here are mine:

  • I flipped the sketch vertically and horizontally to accommodate my stamp restrictions (digis would have more helpful in this case ;), since Olivia the Owl's branch looked better coming from the left.  
  • By keeping the branch on the left I could create visual arc lines with the branch and the top half of the circle, as inspired by the dotted arc lines in the sketch
  • The three scored lined was an interpretation of the five segments of the sketch. This allowed me to segment my paper and anchor my design more cleanly.
  • The button with a bit of man-ly twine substituted for the flower
Other "hacks" included:
    • Adding the "&" into the sentiment, by piecing it together from other parts of the Free Spirit Sentiment set
    • Cutting along Olivia's hand, to stuff the diploma under her feathery fingers
    • Paper-piecing the tree together using wood and other paper
    Hope you like it. Have you had any vacation-inspired cards?

    Live Your Bliss

    I saw this fun challenge on Claire's blog. I've been itching to use more of my nestie-friendly stamps from Waltzingmouse Stamps, so I decided I would throw a card together with this hot color combo and try to step up to the challenge to center it around the label as a focal point.

    I didn't have any particular design in mind when I started this card. I just knew that I wanted my card base to be brown and my label coral. I was looking for an appropriately-sized sentiment to complement the label. I stuck with a paler yellow, since I did not have matching bold yellow in my stash. I tried to use "rules of 3" with my coral (i.e., ribbon, twinkle, and label). And this is how it turned out.  

    Live Your Bliss Card
    Stamps: Very Vintage Label No. 4 (Waltzingmouse Stamps), Mega Mixed Messages (Papertrey Ink) 
    Paper: Close to Cocoa (SU!), White (Recollections), Sophie Paper Pad (K Marcella)
    Ink: Earth Elements - Close to Cocoa (SU!), Brilliance - Pearlescent Coral (Tsukineko)
    Embellishments: Nestabilities - Label Four (Spellbinders), Vintage Button Collection - Spring Mix (Papertrey Ink), Taylor's Tiny Twinkles - Multicolors (Taylored Expressions), Hemp Cord (Darice), Ribbon - Coral (Michael's)

    I also tried scoring at an angle. Unfortunately I do not own a Score-pal, so scoring on my Fiskar's cutting board was rather tedious. Can you see my mistake? ;) Well, at least I know what I'll be spending my 50% off coupon at my next craft store visit...

    Tuesday, June 8, 2010

    Class of '10 Congrats

    "Uh oh" was my thought when I boarded my plane last week to SFO. I was reflecting on the great news that my brother was now gainfully employed, when I realized to my horror that my two cousins also had graduated - one from Boston University (also with honors ;) and his brother from his local high school. So somehow many of the boys in the family were hitting milestones. And with Father's Day coming up...I have my work cut out to think man-ly cards!

    Inspired by my flight, I was determined to make a card with planes, and thought of the Free Spirit - Boy from Walzingmouse Stamps. Isn't that paper plane just pure hotness? As a avid paper plane engineer, I could not wait to return from my trip to make this card. Coincidentally, I also returned just in time to play along Waltzingmouse Stamps' first sketch challenge. So, without further ado...

    Stamps: Free Spirit - Boy (Waltzingmouse Stamps), Free Spirit - Sentiments (Waltzingmouse Stamps), Vintage Circles, Small (Waltzingmouse Stamps) 
    Paper: Preppie Pack - Oxford (Bazzill Basics Paper), Cardstock - Cream (Recollections), The Boyfriend - Study Hall (Cosmo Cricket)
    Ink: Earth Elements - Ruby Red (SU!), Brilliance - Graphite Black (Tsukineko)
    Embellishments: Nestabilities - Circle, Small (Spellbinders)

    I have grown quite fond of the Free Spirit set. It makes the daunting task of making boy cards fun! My formula for a boy card is: 

    Boy Card = good boy stamp set + bold colors + boy-specific pattern paper

    Now, it's your turn. What are you favorite boy stamp sets? What fool-proof formulas do you use?

    Psst - if you haven't entered the WMS Sketch Challenge, run to your scrap desk and create something. One can never have enough Waltzingmouse Stamps ;)
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