May 29, 2009

Knot tying for papercrafters

I'm really trying to stretch myself on the masculine card side. I rarely give cards to men, but many of Dustin's images lend themselves well little boys and perhaps even the little boys that are hidden away in my favorite men. Yesterday's fabulous release was loaded with great boy images, including a Cow Monkey.

Ride 'em Cow Monkey!Today is my daughter's best buddy and cousin's birthday. She's three and today he is four. They are at that wonderful age that lets them run loose, squeal like little lunatics and generally act like monkeys. On his own, he tends to be a fairly quiet little boy who loves TV, Pixar's Cars and Wall-E in particular, and has an OCD tendency to want things in a very specific order. When my daughter is around, however, the pair turn into raving loons. Cute raving loons, but still, you get the picture. Yes, my daughter is the instigator. One day, in the not to distant future, that little girl is going to lead three little boys (her brother and her cousins) into a great deal of trouble. But for today, well, it's Logan's day. This cute little monkey card is just for him.

Like a good aunt & uncle, we bought him a toy that make an insane amount of noise and has a bazillion little parts and cars. It almost makes up for the Laugh and Learn lawn mower they got our boy-o for his birthday last month. Almost.

It's difficult for me to embellish guy cards. I really want to cover them in flowers, ribbons and cute little bows. So when I sit down to embellish boy cards...I have a hard time resisting the call of the floral bling. About a year ago, I did a mini book on my guys. I bought a big card of various colors of hemp. I use it quite a bit to tie up the buttons I put on my cards and scrapbook projects. I just like the finished look of something through the holes of my buttons. It didn't occur to me until yesterday that it would also serve as a great embellishment for my guy cards.

I was inspired by Paula's pelican card from two weeks ago, adding just a couple of simple knots to my little Monkey. Even then, I couldn't resist adding a button. I think if I'm going to try this again, I'll see if I can dig out my husband's information from his rope tying classes. Part of Fire Rescue is knowing the right knot for the right job. I never knew it also applied to card making!

Project SuppliesI'm back to working my way through my Die Cuts with a View Citrus pad with this card. You can't see in the picture, but that red background has gliter in the white areas. Glitter isn't very masculine, but I figured the bold red made up for it at least a little. Cardstock is American Crafts, Gina K. Pure Luxury for the images, Nesties, Hemp and Creative Cafe buttons.

Check out Dustin's design team on the right for other great cards and ideas on this release!

May 28, 2009

You're just a click away

On a good day, I can get in a couple of hours of somewhat interrupted coloring. On a good day, I can make and embellish a handful of cards. On a good day, I get to watch Rachel Ray instead of Phineas and Ferb or old war movies. On a good day, I don't run out adhesive.

By mid-morning on Monday, I considered the weekend rousing success. I got in many hours of somewhat interrupted coloring, as there's a 3 year old and a 1 year old doing the interrupting, somethings just can't be helped. I did 'sorta' make a nice collection of cards and that balances out the worst of the war movies. I only watched about 30 minutes of Midway, which I consider a win and I managed to sneak in an hour nap Sunday afternoon. It wasn't until early Monday that things went south. Around 11 am, while the 1 year old was napping and the 3 year old was 'helping' Mama make cards, the worst happened. I ran out of adhesive. Entirely. Which is why I only "sorta" made a nice collection of cards. Worse, the local stores were out of stock of even the worst of the barely acceptable adhesives. There must have been a rush.

After a fair bit of muttering on my part, I did what any resourceful person might do...I made cards without adhesives. Frankly, they're really just stacks of cardstock, patterned paper and images. They're a very neat and tidy stack, with everything trimmed out and layered in place. There is nothing worse to this crafter than being completely out of glue. I managed to get out and snag some adhesive on Tuesday and then spent a rather lovely lunch at a local coffee shop on Wednesday, drinking tea and assembling cards. I'm definitely going to do lunch like that again!

You're Just a Click AwaySo, while it's release day over at Dustin's Place, my cards haven't been photographed yet. Instead, I'd like to share a card from my My Minds Eye Bloom & Grow Grow phase. One of the wonders of the internet is the blessing of very good friends that I will likely never meet face to face. With two very small kids, my adult conversation can be very limited. Add in Oklahoma's capricious humidity and I tend to prefer to stay close by a good air conditioner, so outings to a park are rare and when they happen, I discover that other mom's have similar outlooks. I know in a few years, when the kids are in school, my circle of face to face friends will expand once again. For now, I depend heavily on my online friends when I can't handle discussing the merits of the various episodes Secret Agent Oso with a 3 year old any longer. Miss Clickabella was one of the first Bella's I put in my cart when I discovered Stamping Bella. Between work, and online friendships, she epitomized my life at this point.

When I bought the My Minds Eye papers, I also bought the elements sheet. I know some people feel the driving need to use all the elements on a sheet, but my tidy gene and lack of storage space keeps me from being that sort of mental. Once I use all the elements I like on the sheet, the remainder goes straight into my recycling bin. I do not make any attempts to salvage the bits. If my daughter is nearby, she will latch onto the sheet and proceed to destroy all physical evidence until I take it away and toss any remaining bits into the recycle bin. Which is the same result in the long run, but at least she gets some enjoyment out of it.

This particular sheet came with a nice collection of flowers, tags and a great bracket looking journaling block. As I had not intention of scrapbooking with this paper or elements, the journaling block made the perfect background for my card. Just because an element is designed for one thing, doesn't mean it can't be used for something else. The printed "dots" on the sheet were also used. They fit perfectly into my Creative Cafe flower buttons as button centers. I really liked the finished look.

For those of you who want to know...I haven't done away with the rest of the sheet just yet. I still have enough patterned paper left for several cards or one layout, and there's still some pretty cute elements on the sheet to round it all out.

Project SuppliesAs always, the image was stamped with Memento Tuxedo Black on Gina K's Pure Luxury Baseweight in white. The image was colored out with Prismacolor pencils and blended with Zest-It. I used Prism cardstock and My Minds Eye Bloom & Grow Grow papers & Elements. The buttons are Creative Cafe and the ribbon is American Crafts.

May 18, 2009

Standing out in the crowd

While I have to say that Dustin's dragons are my favorites of his images, occasionally he does a non-dragon that makes me smile even without color. This little chameleon did just that the first time I saw him. I knew i would have to have him. In my obscure facts reading I discovered that the chameleon's name has nothing to do with his color changing abilities. Wikipedia has the complicated translations, but it all boils down to "ground lion". Not at all what I think of when I hear about chameleons!

ChameleonYou might think my color choices for this little guy are a bit off beat, but according to Wiki their colors can include the orange and blue I used along with pink, red, green, black, brown, yellow and turquoise. Some chameleons use their color changing for camouflage, others use it to communicate. With a card as bright as this, there is no blending in. My little guy is telling the world to Cheer Up!

One of my fellow DT members, Michelle Redman, turned me on to Digital Stamp Tuesdays. It's great challenge blog for using your digital images. Last week's challenge is to use a non-traditional fold for your card. Since my bright little fellow here was standing out, I figured he should go non-traditional as well. He's mounted on a traditional gate fold card that's gotten rebellious and turned on the side. If you look very closely (click for a larger image), you can see the seam running horizontally across the middle of the card.

Non-traditional apparently translates to "difficult to photograph". I tried several angles and different setups, but every time I stepped away from the card to take the fell over. I finally gave up and stuck it in the scanner. So it's a bright, friendly card that's fun to open and impossible to photograph without at least four hands. Still, I think it's the perfect card to brighten someone's day.

Check out Michelle's blog for a fun non-traditional fold and a sneak peek and new Dustin images!

As for me, I'm still working my way through my Die Cuts with a View Citrus pad. I do love it's bright, fun, glittery patterns! Cardstock is American Crafts, Gina K. Pure Luxury for the images, Nesties, Prima flowers and Creative Cafe buttons.

May 16, 2009

I do mornings

Yeah, I'm one of "those" people. Before I had kids, I was always up early, often before 7. It was my quiet time in the house. I would curl up with a book and a cup of tea, watch HGTV, maybe do a bit of time on the computer, or even scrapbook. I loved being up when the house was so silent and slowly filling with dawn light. My husband is a night person, so I often had the house to myself for 3 hours.

Then I had kids. And I still get up at the back side of dawn most days although I count it a good day if the day starts after 7 rather than before. Rather than books or HGTV, my days start with Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and baby snuggles. It's still a pretty special time for me. I have the kids entirely to myself and while it isn't quiet, there's something to be said for giggles and squeals.

Sleepy BearFor my sleepy bear, I went bold and bright. He may not be awake, but it's not for the lack of trying on the rest of the card! Can you paper piece a digital image? Sure, why not? I certainly did! It takes a little more work than paper piecing a stamped image, though. I ran a print off of my image on a standard piece of copy paper. Then I used some repositionable adhesive on the back of my patterned paper and adhered it over my printed image. I ran both sheets together through my printer to print the bear onto the patterned paper. I pulled him off, went over him with pencil to shade and highlight, blended and trimmed him out. I went around the pieces with a black pen as I find it makes the paper piecing "fit" better. Otherwise, it stands out to me. All glued together, his striped night shirt and cap perfectly matches the background paper.

So for the overall details, the card was made up with Die Cuts with a View Citrus Pad, American Crafts cardstock, and Nestabilities. Dustin's oh so fabulous image was paper pieced with more DCWV Citrus papers, colored with Prismacolor pencils and blended out with Zest-It on Gina K's Pure Luxury Baseweight.

May 14, 2009

Oh Happy Day!

Yes, it's release day over at Pike's Place...Dustin Pike that is! Seven great images including two bears, a pelican, a pirate, a wizard, a sweet little tea party and that adorable Ark I showed you yesterday! You can buy the whole release here for a mere $7! That's just a dollar an image. A pretty sweet deal, if you ask me.

PelicanNow I showed you my favorite image, the cute ark, from the release yesterday. When Dustin gave us the art, I knew that one would be colored up first. I printed off a sheet load of images to color and found myself surprised by my second favorite. It wasn't until halfway through coloring him that I just fell in love with the adorable little pelican. Don't get me wrong, he's pretty cute in black and white, but he really comes to life when you add just a bit of color!

Lelia found this silly limerick that is perfect for this guy -

A wonderful bird is the pelican
His bill can hold more than his belican.
He can take in his beak
Food enough for a week;
But I'm damned if I see how the helican.

If you've been reading my blog for a while, you know I'm a tea lover. Some would say "tea snob" and I'm sure they mean it in the nicest possible way. It's certainly true. I'm worse than a coffee addict suffering from caffeine withdrawal when it comes to my tea. I prefer fresh, loose, from Whittard if I can get it and Republic of Tea if I can't. I have been drinking tea for as long as I can remember indulging in a hot beverage. I can't stand coffee. I don't even like the way it smells. I once found I a brew that I liked the smell of, only to discover that it still tasted of coffee.

Tea TimeAll that being said, I was delighted when I saw the tea party image for this release. I love tea in most forms and tea images definitely rate high on my list! Good tea images are hard to find. I loved the little girl all dressed up and the bear in his own finery. I can't wait until my daughter gets old enough for her and I to have a tea party of our own.

The Die Cuts with a View Citrus pad had the perfect paper to go with this image. The tiny flowers and loaded with glitter. The ribbon was a total fluke. I did a ribbon swap about a year ago and that ribbon was in my package. It was a perfect match to my paper selection. There wasn't enough to make a bow, but the knot kept me from ODing on flowers like I did on the pelican card and making the whole thing look fussy and prudish.

Now you've seen all my stuff...skip off and check out Dustin's gallery of design team cards for this release. Or browse through the design team's blog with the links on the left.

Once again the cards were made up with Die Cuts with a View Citrus Pad, American Crafts cardstock, Creative Cafe buttons, Making Memories mini-snaps, pinking scissors and Nestabilities. Dustin's oh so fabulous images were colored with Prismacolor pencils and blended out with Zest-It on Gina K's Pure Luxury Baseweight.

May 13, 2009

Monster Sneak Peek

That sounds like a big event, doesn't it? All I can say is we got our hands on Dustin's next release and it's delightfully wonderful...of course! But before I get into that, it's Wednesday! Which means another freebie from Dustin. This week is destined to be a favorite of mine. It's a darling little code monkey. I didn't get a chance to work on him for this release, but I can promise you'll be seeing him here soon! In honor of Wednesday Freebie day, I did manage to color and card up one of the freebies from a couple of weeks ago.

Dustin Pike's Monster TruckI have the hardest time with masculine cards. I always want to doll them up with flowers and such. Monster trucks, however, do not lend themselves to anything but lots of dirt and dust. I managed to resist loading it up with flowers and such! I stuck with some simple Making Memories mini snaps and was reminded why I never ever use these. They were a right pain, even with the crop-a-dile! I had to keep my unpleasant words down to mutterings as my daughter was fascinated with Mama's tool usage. To her delight, I let her help crank the Deckle Rectangle Nestabilities through the Cuttlebug. Courtesy of my mom, she's got her own Kids Cuttlebug, but at 3, she's still a bit young for it.

I knew from the moment I first saw the Monster Truck that I was going to color it red. I knew there was lots of red in the DCWV Citrus Pad I decided to use for my next collection of cards, so I was set. What I didn't count on was the sheer amount of glitter in the pad! There were a few stressful moments before I managed to find a nice simple glitter free red stripe. Paired with black, the red truck really pops!

ArkFor those of you waiting ever so impatiently for the sneak peeks, here's a boat and a bear. Boat's spring in Oklahoma which means it's either 85+ degrees, with extra humidity and lots of wind, or it's 45ish degrees and pouring rain...with lots of wind. Spring in Oklahoma can be defined as "with lots of wind". We get just enough of it to be heartily tired of it by the time it stops blowing in early June. Come late August, when it's hot enough to cook an egg as long as you ignore humidity that wraps you in a sopping wet electric blanket set on high, we're wishing desperately for even a light breeze. As for the rain side of things...there's just enough of it that an Ark starts looking like an excellent weekend project. Fortunately, this ark only took a few minutes and won't kill off the grass in the back yard or make the neighbors suspicious.

Spring also delivers to Oklahoma flowers and bugs. My daughter is quite keen on the first and adamantly opposed to the second. I've given up trying to explain them and have resorted to telling her it's just "Bug Season". I don't have any flowers planted around my house as any plant item that can't thrive on neglect and Oklahoma wind it's worth my time to kill. :) My veggie garden is in and for the first time in many years, everything is still alive...even the cucumber plant the squirrel dug up in search of a pecan. So while I don't have flowers, I also don't have bees.

Bee BearHa! You thought I wasn't going to be able to wrap that all into a bee card, didn't you? This bear and his cute little companion are simply the Bees Knees! I will say that when you get the image in Dustin's release, the bee has antenna. Here he's gone for the aerodynamic look due to all that wind and a bit of over enthusiastic scissor work. You can't tell from the picture but the flower cardstock is loaded up with glitter, as are the bee's wings.

So for the overall details, all of the cards were made up with Die Cuts with a View Citrus Pad, American Crafts cardstock, Creative Cafe buttons, Making Memories mini-snaps, pinking scissors and Nestabilities. Dustin's oh so fabulous images were colored with Prismacolor pencils and blended out with Zest-It on Gina K's Pure Luxury Baseweight.

Check out the rest of the design team for other great peeks!

May 4, 2009

Doodle Dragon Designer!

I hope you aren't tired of hearing me rave about the art of Dustin Pike, because I've just discovered that I am one of his charter design team members! I have linked in the new design team over on the left, along with a cute Doodle Dragon that personally, is just begging for a bit of color! In honor of this auspicious event, I have decided to show you the finished cards I made up of those first dragons.

This continues my run with the My Minds Eye Bloom & Grow 'Grow' line. I really love the colors in this paper. They have been so much fun to work with. I have nearly used up all my Grow paper, but I've barely touched the Bloom side of things. I still have one card to finish off with this group and then I'll move on to a new set of colors.

Dustin Pike Dragon - Go Fly a KiteBack to the dragons! The first one, my "Go Fly a Kite" guy, needed a bit of a touch up when I went to make him into a card. I felt he was a bit pale, so I perked him up by adding in touches of PC905 Aquamarine. I went layer crazy with this card. I had all these great scraps laying about and just couldn't help myself. To keep it from bulking out, I added just a smidge of American Crafts ribbon.

I know these were released as Easter dragons, but I've always seen them as "just hatched" baby cards, or for someone with an unexpected blessing. I have friends who have been waiting forever for China to give them a call and let them know their baby is waiting. Wouldn't one of these be perfect for them?

Dustin Pike Dragon in OrangeDustin Pike Dragon - Just hatched in red

I'm a bit grumpy about how the red dragon photographed. He looks so great in person, but I had the hardest time getting this half way decent photo of him. For some reason, I just have the hardest time getting a good shot of anything red. I'm going to have to go muck with my shutter speed and lighting again, I think.

Once again - The colored cardstock is Prism, the ribbon is American craftsand the flower buttons are Creative Cafe. The white cardstock continues to be Gina K. Pure Luxury Base Weight. Seriously, you should try this stuff! For digital image printing, I use a laser printer. A big monster Brother multi-function, whiz-bang setup. It works great with my Prismacolor pencils!