Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Stickin' it To Ya' One More Time - Jingle Belles 2017

I promised to be back with another card for the Jingle Belles challenge using stickers. I was feeling pretty crummy last night, but got it done and was hoping for some sunshine today to take a good picture, but it's been snowing off and on pretty much all day so this was the best I could do.  The snow was so sporadic that it's only left a dusting on the lawn and driveway.  It actually looks more like styrofoam pellets.  I think it's called graupel.  I left work early today to go to the doctor for yet another sinus infection, but the little snow pellets, graupel bouncing off the hood of the car when I had to stop made me smile.  I don't know why.

So now I will head over to the Jingle Belles blog to leave some comments for all the other cardmakers before I take a much needed nap.  You can come along and leave some love too.  Just click here.  

Monday, January 30, 2017

Stickin' to My Story - Jingle Belles 2017

Here's my story and I'm sticking to it...........  well here's my stickers and I'm going to be using some of them for this next Jingle Belles Challenge Sticky and Sweet where we are urged to use at least one sticker on our cards.  I have some ideas for the bottom of the pile, but I'm going to start with the top of the pile - the 3-D deer heads.  They were one of those "hey, I've got a coupon to a craft store for 50% off one item, let's go see what I can get" purchases.  Of course, when I go into a craft store with a coupon, seldom do I come out with just one item in my basket.  The trick is finding something not on sale, because usually that is the disclaimer on the coupon - any non-sale item is __% off. Inevitably there are more things that are on sale that find there way into my shopped basket.  So for a while I was avoiding craft stores because, well, I probably have enough of a stash already in my craft room to keep me busy for many moons, yet, sometimes you just need a craft store fix.

This card is so much more sparkly IRL.  I used a thick white cardstock card base and added a frame of white glitter paper over the entire front panel.  I say a frame because I cut the middle out to use it on something else.  It's such a waste to hide all that glitter paper under all those layers, so I didn't. The edges of the frame that I cut are just slightly larger that the brushed silver panel (I know it looks flat gray in the picture, but trust me, it isn't flat).  The gold embossed and silver glitter papers were scraps, as was the embossed silver oval.  That is actually an embossed and die cut piece of a cheap aluminum cookie/pizza tray.  Caution - cutting up those trays can be hazardous as the edges are knife-sharp.  But this little oval had been sitting in my scrap box for some time now and I think it looks quite nice there with the deer head sticker on it.  

Here's where I would say I'm heading over to the JB's blog, but not tonight.  Tonight I'm going to try to get at least one more card made for this challenge and then I'll be ready to comment.  But hey, if you want to take a peak at the other lovely creations today, here's the link.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Art Journaling

Do I art journal?  Yes and no.  I have several sketchbooks that contain artistic endeavors, but they also contain scraplets of things that I come across or want to remember, like quotes, new words and their definitions, recipes, plans for parties, labels from purchases, etc.  I sometimes try to illustrate the quote or word.  But a lot of it recently has been trying out and cataloging new art supplies.  I have a separate book for my zentangles, but sometimes they find their way onto the pages of my sketchbook. So I guess you would not consider it true art journaling. 

Playing with new markers from my son and daughter-in-law.

Just a quote I found that I wanted to illustrate with those new markers.

This started as a doodle drawing on a post-it at work (the square at the top) which I thought turned out too pretty to throw away.  So I added some more longer streamers and a quote.  (I do tend towards the snarky quotes, but not all the time.)

I recently splurged on some new calligraphy pens.  Not markers, but pens with ink cartridges. Though not exactly like dipping a pen with a nib in ink, they come very close.  I did take a course in calligraphy years ago at a night school before I got married and became quite good at it.  I have done many placecards or escort cards over the years and I designed our wedding invitations also.  I'm very rusty and need a lot of practice right now. 

Here I was trying out some new colored pencils from my daughter this Christmas.  

Okay, another snarky quote and illustration combining a sticker from some washi tape I received as a gift and the new markers.  I think I should have changed the quote to say "Have you ever had one of those days when everyone looks like a pinata and you wish you had a stick" because I don't think that many people walk around just holding sticks.  

This is a mixed media page.  It started with that octopus in marker.  Actually no, it started with some lettering practice at the top of the page and then I decided to draw the octopus and found myself making it more involved with the addition of the gel pens. So then I wanted to cover up the lettering at the top and opened some tube watercolors, which obviously you can tell I have little experience with because the background is much darker than I would have liked, however, it did cover up the lettering.  Then I googled octopus quotes and found this one which fit the day as it was National Hugging Day.

Words and quotes.

This was done for National Handwriting Matters Day. Sakura had an Instagram contest and asked for handwritten wishes for 2017.  They picked 10 random entries for a pretty nice selection of their product, but I wasn't one of them.  

And then, I got some gel pens to play with.

So you'll see there is some art.  I have begun to think that I should have a sketchbook with just the art products cataloged as a reference book which would make it a lot easier to carry along with me when we go back and forth to the condo.  I try to limit the supplies I bring along and have self-restricted myself to anything that fits in one particular tote bag.  Over the last year I was mostly catching up on my zentangle calendar, but that kind of fell apart this fall and I'm not doing it again this year.  I didn't get a new calendar set up the way I was doing it, and actually my mother bought me a lovely Mary Englebreit calendar planner (which I'm not really into anymore, but I will use it as it was very thoughtful of her).  

I am anxious to try out a new journal that I got.  It's a 3 x 5 landscaped oriented one with 140 lb. paper making it ideal for small watercolors.  I hope the muse will find me and get me moving on that.

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Happy Birthday Chickadee!

It's our daughter's birthday today so I sent her a bouquet of flowers in a box card.

I'm not sure it got to her in time though.  But I told her it's on the way.  We finally had some sunshine today and you could definitely tell how much all the dreary, rainy days had affected everyone.  What a change in mood.   

I got one more card in this evening for our friends' daughter who just had surgery.  I have to say that having a MISTI certainly made stamping that background much easier.  And, it was fun to make it into an ombre of blues.  I used Bashful Blue, Marina Mist, Pacific Point, and Dapper Denim.  The flowers were colored with my Zigs.  

Looking forward to some more sunshine this week and then they say more cold weather is on the way.  Oh well - it is January!

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Sharing Their Creativity

Before January becomes a blur I wanted to share the beautiful handmade cards that I received this Christmas.
The first card came from Dorrie.  I think it is so clever how she used that magical photo on the handstamped card base.  What a great idea!  And a very cute image too.  Thank you Dorrie!
My SU upline Debbie sent this sweater-clad bear.  He looks like he's about to give me a big hug from her!  Love that bow tie.  Thank you Debbie!

Sabrina sent me this gorgeous winter egret scene.  I saw this on her blog and immediately fell in love with it.  Was I ever happy to actually receive it!  Sabrina is working as a designer for Art Neko stamps and doing such wonderful work.  Thank you Sabrina!

Jingle Belle Lauren created this card for me.  She is also on a design team for Eyelet Outlet and she is such a gifted mixed media artist.  Her snowflake mandalas are totally awesome, and that beautiful watercolored background just takes my breath away.  Thank you Lauren!

Oh, and let me not forget the handlettering that she did on the envelope for the card!  Yes, I said HAND lettered! 

This cute little snowman and bird came all the way from New Zealand from my blogging friend Sunshine.  There aren't any snowman down there at this time of the year.  I think this one needed to come to the northern hemisphere to avoid melting and I'm glad he did.  And I'm also glad he brought along his little pink friend.  Thank you Sunshine!
And thank you also for these clever little paper angels.  You can't tell from the picture, but they come flat and you criss-cross the wings at a slot in the back making them 3-D.  I just love them!!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Birds, Belles, & More Presents

With the Jingle Belles theme of "presents" drawing to a close for the first part of January, I had to put together another card.  I had sorted through my stamps and actually have a few with presents on them, but this one called out to me today.  It not only has an owl, but a little cardinal there too.  I stamped it onto a kraft notecard (a Target $spot find) and colored it with my new SU watercolor pencils.  I added some clear Wink of Stella to the bows and the star.  And I used the other interpretation of the theme by repurposing the ribbon which was on a gift to me, and the red panel is recycled from the envelope of a card my son, daughter-in-law, and grandson gave me.  

Saturday before it snowed, I noticed a visitor under the suet feeder.  He patiently waited for the morsels that fell to the ground around him as the woodpecker attacked the suet cake above.

Won't you join me and head over to the Jingle Belles to see all the other lovely "presents"?

Friday, January 13, 2017

This Week's Wind Up

Kirby, our cockatiel was in bad need of a petticure - that is, his toe nails needed trimming.  See that beak?  If it's not covered gently by a towel he will use it.  The stinker knows to run when he see's the towel coming and usually pitches a fit.  I drape the towel over his head and gently lay him down on his back. Then I have to skillfully pry his foot out and using a nail clipper, snip off the sharp tips of his claws.  If I snip too much he might bleed and that could become a problem.  If it does happen, I put some flour on it to stop the bleeding and he'll be all right.  He usually gets a special treat after this "torture" like some Rice Krispies. 

I ran outside in my pajamas to try and get a picture of the sky that looked like it was on fire one morning this week.  Truly I did not get the most beautiful colors in this picture because there was the most gorgeous shade of magenta in there also, but it was so fleeting.  Maybe if you just squint a little you can see it.  

When I got to work I realized that it was a co-worker's birthday and I didn't have a card for her.  So when I got home from work I put this together.  It was originally just on the Summer Sun base, but in my rush I glued the star on upside-down making the card open from the top.  I was tired and hungry and decided to let it go until the next morning.  I showed HWNSNBP and he thought I had designed a new kind of card and that I meant it to open from the top.  I suppose you could have some kind of card that would open from the top, but not this one. So I cut off the front and added it to another card back in the light blue color.  And then...........I forgot to put it in the interoffice mail at work. Thankfully I had already sent her a birthday message via e-mail on her actual birthday.  

That same night I had also put these two thank you notes together.  The first one is a scrapling.  I took that skinny length of cardstock and used that for the card base. The image is one from Unity and before I stamped the image in black I used some markers to make the sky and ground.  This one I just slipped into someone's school mailbox.

The second one started as a scrapling also but then I adhered it to a white card base.  This one is going in the mail and it will fit snugly in an envelope.

And did you know that today, besides being Friday the 13th and Blame Someone Else day is also Rubber Duckie day?  

Monday, January 9, 2017

Jingle Belles 2017 - And We're Off..... There's No Time for the Presents

Hard to believe that this is the 7th year of the Jingle Belles challenges.  So conservatively speaking, I've made more than 300 Christmas cards in the last 6 years.  I may not have taken part in all of the challenges every year, or made more than one card for each challenge, but looking at our Christmas card list, even with it's fluctuations in number of recipients year-to-year, I know that at least that many cards were made.  Most of them were one-of-a-kind.  Those times I didn't do a lot of the challenges I had to resort to some assembly line cards, but for the most part they've been originals.

Our first challenge is subject to the interpretation of the word PRESENT.  You could have the image of a present or presents on your card, or you could use some upcycled material from an actual present you received.  For this card I chose to upcycle although I might argue that a tag goes on  a present.....yeah, but I won't.

I started with a piece of lovely giftwrap that covered a very thoughtful (and fun) gift that was mailed to me.  Let me say right up front that these pictures were hard to take due to the various "shiny" things that were used on it, including that very lovely piece of medium brown and silver foil giftwrap which I used to cover almost all of the front of the card.  The tag is made from a thin cardboard bellyband that was around a cute buffalo plaid pouch I found in the Dollar Spot at Target before the holidays.  I love kraft-colored paper and the fact that there were a few intermittent white snowflakes scattered over the band, well, that was a selling point also.  (How many people do you know that buy things because of the prospect of using the packaging? Your answer better not be 0.) 

I cut a portion of the bellyband and shaped the top to look like a hang-tag.  At this point the all that lovely kraft color in the base, the back panel and the tag all began to mush together so they needed to be defined.  I don't know what possessed me - maybe the meds that I'm on - but I decided to use........brown glitter. I wanted a nice crisp line on the base of the card so I used some 1/8" redline tape to adhere the glitter to.  On the tag I just carefully added a line of Tombow around the edge, sprinkling the glitter on it it every few inches as I went along.  

The "JOY" is part of a diecut.  The rest of the additions to  this card were bits and bobs that I had laying on the craft table at this point.  The silver glitter-paper snowflakes were leftover from my Thank You cards.  The holographic silver snowflake was on a gift bag at some point in it's life.  And that little jewel in the O was just sitting there, wanting to become part of this card, so I let it.

There were still too many little empty spaces I didn't like so I reached for the sequin container and took out some brown sequins to add to the tag.  And then my eye was drawn to some little crystal stickers I had that were perfect size to add to the sequins.  I thought about putting a silver bow on the "handle" of the tag, but decided against it...............................for now anyway. 

Now I need to jump over to the Jingle Belles blog and check out the "presents" there.  Won't you join me?  

Friday, January 6, 2017

New Tool and a Quick Get Well

So...... I'm home sick again for the past few days with what seems to be a reoccurence of a sinus infection from early last month that didn't completely clear up.  I swear that as I get older, when I get sick it seems to take so much longer to recuperate.  Or maybe I'm just babying myself.  And not to mention the fact, as I told a friend recently, that coughing and sneezing has now become and adventure of it's own and I shall not go into details.  

Today I rounded up enough energy to do two worthwhile things...... otherwise I was "just as useful as the g in lasagne".  

My dear HWNSNBP truly went overboard ordering Christmas gifts from my Amazon wishlist (which comes in very handy if your family wants to treat you to something that you really want).  Not only did he splurge for a set of Copic Markers that I mentioned in a previous post, but he also got me this nifty little tool called a Cuttlelola Electric Dotspen.  I had seen this little gadget reviewed on two blogs that I follow (Understand Blue and Life Imitates Doodles) and having wanted to try my hand at pointillism, without jeopardizing aggravating my creaky neck, this seemed to be worth wishing for. It is a little more expensive that your average stamp or die set, but it's a tool and I've always said that good tools make all the difference.

It's battery operated, but rechargeable right to a USB port and you can use it while it is recharging. There are two speeds and it's not at all noisy.  It comes in a nice little tin, which is also a plus.  There is an advisement that it contains magnetic parts and therefore shouldn't be near watches or cards with magnetic strips and also not be used by someone with a pacemaker.  (Shucks, I just noticed that I put the box down on a pile that contained a giftcard I was registering - hopefully because it was still in the box, it didn't do any harm.)

Here is my first try with it.  I freehanded a flower on a thin sheet of cardboard paper, and I'm pretty pleased with the outcome.  Can't wait to do some more experimenting.  Next step will be adding color.  Then changing the subject-matter and so on.

Secondly, well actually I'm going in reverse order because I did this card this morning and the new tool later this afternoon.  One of our friends recently had some surgery and we wanted to wish him well and since HWNSNBP was passing by their place today on another errand, I quickly put this card together and he picked up some sweets on the way to go with it.  

For the watercolored background I used one of the backs of those Color Burst cards I cut off. I had my cheap set of watercolors nearby and again, since I was in a hurry, I took my spritzer and spritzed the set with water to activate them. Then I picked up some colors in complementing families and quickly added them in no particular order, and without cleaning my brush in between to blend them. I did have to dry it with a hairdryer.  The bear and the fish were stamped and diecut and then I quickly added some color to each with markers.  I added the sentiment by hand and lastly attached some silver cording to the string of fish.  This friend takes our big snapper blues that we catch during the summer and smokes them for HWNSNBP as a winter/holiday treat.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Raptor Trust - Happy Bird Day

On New Year's Eve HWNSNBP and I made a quick trip up to the Raptor Trust.  It was a brisk 38ยบ, luckily there was no wind, but it was just warm enough to unfreeze the ground making our shoes a mess.  Not to worry - it all washes out.

The path into the complex was festively decorated with green and red Christmas balls, just barely visible in this picture.  And as you'll see from the following pictures, the view of the birds in the enclosures is unobstructed to the human eye, but the camera has a hard time focusing through the chain link fences and in some cases, the nylon mesh that is on the bird side of the fence.

Red-shouldered Hawk

Peregrine Falcon enjoying a very chilly bath.

Barred Owl - I can attest that when in the sun, you could feel the warm of it.  The sun on the back of my black coat made the visit not as unwelcoming.

Here's another Barred Owl from the front.  I just love the beautiful patterns of their feathers.

Great-Horned Owl - this one was a little vocal.  He welcomed you with a deep WHOOOOOOOOOO, WHOOOOOOOOOO as you approached.,,,,,,,

.........and turned his head to follow us as we continued on.

Here is another Peregrine Falcon.  This one was a little flighty.

I don't know what exactly is in this enclosure.  This was in a restricted area and taken from a distance.  I just thought the bird and the shadow were cool because they don't match until you realize that the shadow is for the bird just barely out of the picture on the left.  I'm thinking it's a hawk of some kind.

This is part of the signage outside the eagle enclosure.  (Couldn't get a clear enough photo of them.) And this little bird seems to have aspirations of living a larger life.

I see on my calendar of holidays that today is Bird Day so I'm posting this card that I made with a new Unity stamp - Strange Bird.  I love the owl with it's hat and the sentiment is so spot on. HWNSNBP treated me to a set of Copic markers for Christmas - my firsts - and I plan on giving them a good workout.  

I used the debossed side of the feather folder and a diecut piece of cork originally part of a laurel wreath, but when it broke for the other project, it reminded me more of a feather.  

Happy Bird Day Weirdos - you're all awesome!