Sunday, September 25, 2016

*ALL* the colors!

if you've ever asked my niece maddie what her favorite color is, she will have said, without the least bit of hesitation, "RAINBOW!" at the age of twelve she's old enough to know that technically, rainbow isn't a color, as such. but she doesn't care. it's still her favorite. something i've noticed lately in my sketchbook is that if i'm doodling or doing anything abstract without being given a specific palette, i will probably use my favorite color: RAINBOW! :)

this color burst watercolor was made for #sisters with heart in art on instagram, the prompt was "drips and drops". well, that just SCREAMS rainbow hearts, doesn't it?!

this was a marker testing page that i later filled up with black pen doodles. well a girl's gotta do something at 10:30pm, right?!

someone asked me recently if my half- and two-thirds mandalas actually go off the page, or if i just crop them that way for instagram. IG does kind of force you into a square, so sometimes i am posting a slightly smaller version than real life, but if they look like they go off the page, it's most likely because they do. i just find it more dynamic when the art fills up the space really well. also... symmetry is HARD you guys! 

i had fun in september jumping intermittently on an instagram challenge hosted by @aisforanika called #backtopattern. this particular prompt was "shapes". i'm still not sure what possessed me to do that much precise measuring and coloring, but i like the result; sort of "vitruvian man" meets 1970's tv test pattern, eh?

another #sisterswithheartinart prompt, this one was "circles" and i had just gotten a tiny (round!) paint set on a trip to the metropolitan museum of art.  

another day of #backtopattern, this time "paisley". i actually set out to make a funky version of a color wheel using all the shades of color burst, similar to some very cool ones i saw on ken oliver's facebook page. well, i DID use all the shades of color burst, lol, so there's that... :) 

whatever ♥YOUR♥ favorite color is, i hope before this lovely sunday ends you will have used a bit of it in a project that makes you especially happy!!! ♥

Friday, September 23, 2016

belles are ringing

this fortnight's prompt at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ is called "christmas bells, those christmas bells..." and for once, it means EXACTLY what you think it does: we want to see holiday cards with bells on them! jingle bells, church bells, silver bells, sleigh bells, or any other kind of bell you can think of! here's what i made:

cardinal brads, holly brads and glitter gold washi tape: eyelet outlet; vintage sheet music and doily (inked green and layered) from my stash; chipboard letters: basic grey; plaid patterned paper: october afternoon; sage green cardstock: core'dinations; ink: colorbox; adhesive: elmers brand gluetape

the very first year of ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ my lovely blogging friend and fellow jersey girl lorraine of paper vernissage gave me this beautiful memory box "jingle bell border" die and it is still one of my all-time faves! in this case i've used it-- and most of the other elements on the card-- to make my oversized sentiment even more prominent; a task for which those adorable (brand new!) eyelet outlet cardinal brads are admirably suited, imo. my layout was inspired by this week's sketch (#178) from atlantic hearts sketch challenge:

stephanie has also created a most inspiring holiday card (literally) with bells on, why not check it out at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016


I was fairly surprised earlier this year when my retired, and not especially "tech-savvy" mother got her first smart phone. The reason? She wanted to be able to text with her grandchildren! Of course the best part of texting is being able to use all those cuuuuuuuuute emojis, right? Well, good news, now we can use Eyelet Outlet Emotion Brads and Emotion Mini Brads on cards, too!

I made a fun background of text speak using my vintage typewriter, but you could easily stamp or computer-generate something similar. Before I began typing, I lightly traced around the brads and the Heart Enamels I wanted to use, so that I'd be sure to leave enough space, in the right places. It's pretty hard to type right down to the bottom of the page, so I filled in the last few lines with a strip of Tape Measure Washi and a strip of Skinny Hearts Tape.

I can think of sooooooo many fun uses for these... I'm probably going to need more than one pack! :)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

SOS270: fairies and angels

the new challenge at shopping our stash is pretty self-explanatory this week; we want to see projects that feature fairies and angels. easy peasy, right? yeah... UNLESS you want to make a card with a fairy... it turns out you have not one single thing with fairies on it. not in your whole entire stash. not even in your vintage book and/or digital files collection. i'm pretty sure this is not a situation that will apply to anyone else, but if it does, take heart. you can always make a christmas card, instead. :0

vintage postcard from my collection, scanned, made a bit smaller, and printed on kodak premium glossy photo paper; patterned papers: graphic 45, craft and you design; vintage ribbon from my stash; glittery snowflake: my mind's eye; ink: ranger distress in several brown and tan shades for toning down all the white and all the edges; adhesives: elmers' brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

having had a bit of a moan over my thwarted intentions, i must say that once i shifted gears from fairies to angels, i had quite a few from which to choose. i decided upon this beautiful vintage postcard, which i scanned and re-sized to make it a little more card-friendly. also, it was the one i thought would work best with the current sketch saturday sketch (#430) so that sort of clinched the deal.

loads more angels and fairies to be found at SOS... hop on over and savor the magic! 

Sunday, September 18, 2016

hand lettering, anyone?

i've always liked type. i have more alphabet stamps and stickers than any other category, and don't get me started on computer fonts. but the last couple of summers during ICAD i've really enjoyed doing little bits of hand-lettering on some of my cards, and this year i discovered quite a few calligraphy and lettering artists i like on pinterest. there are even some pretty cool challenges on instagram... so now and again, when i've got a little "sketchbook time" at the end of the evening, i will do a bit of hand-lettering. here's a bit of that now:

the fall lettering challenge, hosted by @inkcitra and @letteringbymhel runs the entire month of september and features (as you might've guessed from the name) a distinctly autumnal flavor. this might be my favorite entry for that so far, mostly because the finished piece looks almost exactly like the picture that was in my head. 
(gotta love it when that happens, right?!)

i do most of my lettering with tombow dualbrush pens. i've tried other brands of waterbased brush markers, i've got some copics, and occasionally i even treat myself to a fancy lettering pen. but 95% of my every day marker-ing is done with the tombows, and i have to say that if i was only going to own ONE BRAND, they'd be it. because they're good quality, come in LOTS of colors, and function well in pretty much any situation, on any type of paper. they are, in sports terminology, a true "utility player" imo.

most of my outlining is done with faber-castell's pitt artist pens, specifically the XS (.1mm) and S (.3mm) nibs. they have fairly durable tips, (admittedly, i'm a nib-killer) and i find them to be the *most* smear-proof of the major brands. they are not, however, as permanent as, say, a sharpie. so i tend to outline last (as in OVER my marker or watercolor) whenever possible. i do like sakura's micron pigma with the .005 nib, too, because it's such an amazingly light line.

more fall lettering challenge prompts, obviously. i've been experimenting with different letter shapes and styles. and every once in a while i manage to resist outlining in black, lol. (but, no, not all that often.)

"full harvest moon" is lettered with tombows over a background i watercolored using ken oliver crafts' color bursts, and the lettering has highlights done with liquid metals. in real life it looks soooooo much cooler, but for the life of me, i could not capture that in a photo. 

aaria baid, known on instagram as @surelysimpleblog is another of my lettering and doodling heroines. i especially love her short IG videos, one of which inspired this wreath, using her "geometric roses" technique. 

yep. another FLC entry. the pumpkin is watercolored with colorbursts and then the letters are tombow. again. because that's the way i roll. ;)

what's this, you ask? why, it's a sunflower rendered in blendy shades of colorburst, with tombow lettering on top. made for the FLC. what are the odds, people??!?!

amanda kammarada is a tombow brand ambassador, and yet another lettering star on instagram. i admire her amazing talent, of course, but i'm also impressed by how friendly she is, and how generously supportive she is of other letter-ers, especially beginners. she is a true "encourager" which i admire tremendously!
(if you want to absolutely marvel at her skill, check out this video in which she does a much more impressive version of "galaxy lettering".)

Friday, September 16, 2016

home *SWEET* home for the holidays

we are still celebrating holiday architecture at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ with structures ranging from gingerbread houses to cityscapes to the eponymous little town of bethlehem to... santa's house at the north pole, perchance?

patterned paper: photoplay; cardstock stickers: doodlebug; brads, washi and enamel hearts: eyelet outlet; glossy red cardstock: jam paper and envelope; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

this little house and the uber-cute reindeer couple were just a few of the stickers on a sheet of doodlebug's icons i bought recently. i can never quite resist how adorable their products are. i've dipped into some of the BRAND NEW eyelet outlet brads to dress these cuties up even more: the boy reindeer has donned some antler brads, while the girl reindeer is wearing a hat that comes in the elf brads set. i've also added some of the fab new heart enamels (these come in soooooo many gorgeous colors!) plus a bit of skinny washi tape with hearts, and holiday dots washi. i'd love to take credit for thinking up that super-fun diagonal swathe of tape, but actually, i just followed the current sketch saturday (week #429) layout:

head on over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to see stephanie's card and check out the "little town of bethlehem" gallery!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

it's a THREE-fer on TWO-sday!

yes, i have *three* blog posts today, if you scroll down you can see my guest DT post for the current retro rubber challenge, and below that, the fab project i made for the eyelet outlet blog this week! meanwhile here comes my regularly scheduled post for shopping our stash. this week's challenge might be a toughie for some of you hardcore stampers, because we don't want to see ANY stamping this week; instead we'd like you to, "cut and paste" by which we mean swap out your stamps in favor of diecuts or stencils or BOTH! c'mon... it'll be fun! here's what i made:

patterned paper and florals: prima; black and white tape: scotch; leaf stencil: penny black; distress ink: shabby shutters and peeled paint; label die: nestabilities by spellbinders; black glossy cardstock: ranger; machine stitching uses coats and clark heavy duty upholstery thread in black and the highest number of stitches-per-inch on my sewing machine; adhesives: elmer's brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots

i happen to love stencils and diecuts, so i've got both on my card. the former involves my favorite leaf stencil and a few shades of green distress ink; the latter uses one of the many label shape nestabilities, which i still consider to be one of the best papercrafting tools of all time! i've incoroporated both halves of the current fusion challenge into my card, because heck, they're both pretty awesome, right?

since i knew i wanted to place everything according to the sketch, i made a few light marks where my focal point/label would go and then started stenciling the leafy background to emerge from behind it. the plain leaves definitely had great shape and color, and they resembled the inspiration photo quite nicely, but there was something missing. i mention this because i think it might help anyone who is longing at this point to grab their stamps; the thing that i thought was missing was definition... so i added some outlines, by machine stitching around one set of the leaves and adding veins to the other. you could also do this with a pen if you don't like to sew. either a plain outline, or faux stitching would work!

to give the leaves even more interest, i borrowed a trick from hand-lettering, which is to add a drop shadow to one side of each letter, or in this case, to one side of each leaf. i use a grey tombow brush marker for this; at the moment my favorite shadow color is N60, which is just the right color and intensity of blue-ish grey, imo.

there are lots more beautiful "cut and paste" creations from the design team over at SOS. do stop by and check those out, won't you, darlings?! ♥