Friday, 27 December 2013

stampotique birthday boy

Stampotique Twinkie is hanging onto the banner for my coworker's birthday card.  Is it any surprise that Stampotique is on my short-list of very much loved stamps.  I adore the intricacy of Daniel Torrents' designs and the whimsy of Jill Penney, Kira Nichols and Jo Capper-Sandon.

I fashioned a little birthday hat out of washi tape for Twinkie and coloured him in with markers.  The background is weathered wood and vintage photo distress inks.  Recognize my much loved brick stencil?  It definitely has gotten its fair share of use lately.

The banner:

The card has some nice dimension.  It was fun adding a little free-hand and I love the birthday hat. 

We're right in the middle of the holiday season and I have to admit the past week has been on the craft-slow side.  I have two winter layouts floating around in my head and I have to break the seal on my newly received Gelli plate gift.  My hesitation is mainly due to time commitment and partly due to perfectionism.  Silly.

Alex and I have been spending a lot of time in the science world.  He received the Smithsonian series for Chanukah and I bought a science kit from Scholastic.  Hours of incredible fun.  Does the baking soda/vinegar reaction (both in test tube and on a four-year old's face) ever get old?  Seriously.  We did that experiment three days ago and he's still talking about it.  Now we're trying to grow navy beans, we excavated a T-Rex and Alex built a 100 piece puzzle all on his own.  The excavation layout will come eventually - watch for it.  I have a crazy idea using a live photo from our Royal Tyrell Museum trip.  It will be something similar to the graffiti tag I made in June 2013.

Thanks for stopping in and I hope that your holiday season is filled with joy, laughter and lots of wonder.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

snowman tag swap

Mr. snowman is a Stampotique favourite of mine.  His long branch-y arms allow for some really fun additions like carrying presents.  The everythingshetouches family celebrates both Chanukah and Christmas in our home; like Ben Stiller says, "any holiday where we get presents is celebrated" and I would add food .. any holiday that offers great holiday dishes is worth celebrating.  Turkey, cranberry sauce and potato latkes are pretty decadent and divine.  Mr. snowman is not as jolly as Santa but he's got a really great toque. 

The complete set:

And the back:

I had a great time entering the tag swap.  There is something relaxing and cathartic in generating the same tag and tag elements over and over again.  Very relaxing.  This was a 10-tag swap.  I just found out yesterday that I have upward of 40 cards/tags to get done for St. Valentine's Day.  Ouch.  I was scolded with affection to get them done and so I will.  Eager to beat the last minute rush I went shopping today for some inspiration and product.  Yes, I realise that we haven't even finished up with Christmas and New Year's yet but I thought I might at least come up with some of the 5 templates (I'm going with 5 different tag templates) if not any of the product.  If you have an idea that you would like to share I would be more than happy to, um, borrow it. 

And now that the temperature has really dropped and the forecast promises a week full of snow (not exaggerating) I'm starting to feel the need to cozy up with a cuppa chai latte, a good book and turn on the holiday lights.  It's time to hunker down for the winter, snuggle up with mr. everythingshetouches (you were right dear, it does sound naughty) and start on some winter layouts.  I have the elements of a great layout.  I can't wait to put it together and show it to you.

Stay warm and happy crafting.

Thursday, 5 December 2013

indoor meets outdoor .. a birthday wish

I designed my coworker's birthday card around the birdcage stencil and Tim Holtz/Ranger distress glitter.  If you haven't yet used the Tim Holtz distress glitter, and you're a fan of glitter and glittery things, you must give it a try.  It has a remarkable quality and finish.

I fell in love with the birdcage stencil the moment I saw it.  It has such a delicate and versatile presence.  I am already making plans to use it in more projects.  The only issue: time.  Between now and the end of the year (can you believe saying that in a sentence with any legitimate meaning?  Seriously.  Where did the year go?) there are so many other projects to finish up.  My more realistic goal: Finish up all of the projects which I have started or require some reparation and move them to the done category.

I found that as the card started to develop the outside world of branches and flowers started to take shape with the elegance of the inside world of glittery dress forms, chandeliers and bow-tied keys.  Somehow the two worlds work together in delicate balance.

The dress form is a Memory box die cut and the ribbon was dyed and set with distress ink (tea dye and weathered wood).

I faintly removed sections of the background inking (distress inks: antique linen and weathered wood) by wetting one of my favourite stencils.  You can only just see the script on the bottom left-hand corner in the photo below.  I have said it before, and I will again, working with distress inks is so incredibly versatile.  There is a phenomenal number of techniques possible just from a few ink boxes.  I'm trying to convert the converted I'm sure.  Just sharing my enthusiasm.

Stay tuned for my version of a winter tag swap. 

Happy crafting everyone and thank you for visiting.  And thank you to the anonymous friend who sent me an owl pendant.  I truly love it!

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

autumn .. the year's last, loveliest smile - william cullen bryant

Autumn has a quiet obscure elegance as the days get noticeably shorter, the colours change and the weather becomes crisp and sharp.  Many people love the change from the heat of summer to Autumn.  Although writers and poets associate fall with human decline in vitality and the decent toward death; the falling leaves and the slow demise of nature as it prepares for its final days (hmm a little dreary dear), there is also a newness related to Autumn.  New pencils, new school clothes, new classrooms, new teachers and some new classmates and the invigorating air brings a freshness and sense of innovation (that's more like it).  

I both love and fear Autumn.  I love the colours, Halloween and cozy socks.  However, I also feel great dismay for the pending winter.  Although born in Canada I cannot seem to make my body or mind accept winter as a positive season.  No matter how hard I try, thoughts of ice and -30 temperatures do not equal yay, good times.  Somehow this year Edmonton has been given a reprieve from an early winter.  Each day that the highs are greater than -15 are a cause for celebration.  I can feel my friends in Ontario and Montréal cringing.  It's a dry -15 which is the east equivalent of -5.  Trust me.  You can still visit after October 1st.

I am entering my Autumn layout in three challenges this month:

1.  Berry 71 Bleu November challenge: Change is beautiful and
2.  Happy Accidents and Turning Leaves for Anything But a Card Challenge #29: Fall into Fall
3.  Ladybug Crafts November Challenge: Autumn Colours

Alex, mr. everythingshetouches and I along with some friends spent a warm and fun-filled September day at the corn maze last year.  Alex and his friend E. started the merriment with a number of jumps from the top of the haystack.  I am saving the photos of Alex and E. for a separate layout so stay tuned (and I need permission from E's mom to share his photo with you).  Alex loved the freedom and silliness of the straw as it came loose from the barrels and I was surprised that the scratchy texture did not phase him as he tossed it in the air and let it fall all over him.  The middle photo is my favourite of the three and I'm so happy that I was able to capture the moment.

I found the leaves and berries at one of the dollar stores in town.  Dollar stores have really improved their stock over the years and a little ingenuity and some imagination does not hurt either.

The berries were attached to the corrugated cardboard with a little raw, unmixed and exposed gel medium.  I wanted the layout to have a little edge and authentic feel.  An Autumn raw crisp feeling.  The Recollections: Tattered and Worn cardstock was cut, distressed with vintage photo and layered on top of gel medium/copper acrylic paint with brick stencil.  I adore the way this corner turned out.  The colours, the lines and the textures really came together.

Using one of my favourite masks: so happy, memories with you, cherished moments I sprayed calypso teal Ranger Dylusions Ink Spray to create an added dimension.

I attached a part of the Pink Paislee treasures cardstock to the background of the layout and added a bit of Gesso for interest and layering.  Layered behind the photos is more corrugated cardboard, playing cards and painted/gel mediumed brick stencil.

My goodness.  I just took an inventory in my head of all the layouts I have to catch up on.  I wish I could say I am only one year behind but that is hardly the reality.  The good news is I do not have to wonder what I should be doing next. 

Thank you for stopping by and peak in again soon.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

two layer inspired necklace

A friend was sporting a really truly fabulous necklace this summer.  It was complex and had diversity and fantastic busyness.  And so, I decided to re-create it with a little everythingshetouches' flare.  I don't have a comparison photo for you, however, I promise I was true the concept: two layers with many different hanging beads.  Ét voilà.  My version of the two layer necklace:

Other than figuring out the length of the two strands of chain so that they overlapped without interfering with each other, there was no complicated thoughtful design.  I found great freedom in random beading.  I used gemstone and wood beads and Czech glass pearls.  The diversity in texture, colours, opaqueness, shape and size makes for a very interesting piece, do you agree?

Perhaps December will bring a pair of earrings to make up the jewelry trinity: bracelet, necklace, earrings.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

the chemist mixing up a birthday surprise

I special ordered my STAMPERS ANONYMOUS Tim Holtz: The Chemist stamp.  It was love at first sight.  And he arrived just in time to be the centre piece for my dad's birthday card.  I have mad love for the Chemist stamp set.  Is it just me or is there a slight Bryan Cranston resemblance?

I added vintage photo ink blotches and used my Silhouette Cameo teacup stain stencil with black archival ink to create teacup stains (oh, what a messy Chemist) on brown cardstock.  Did you ever watch the 1960-ish video in Chemistry class warning students about the dangers of eating and drinking in the lab because they may accidentally drink the chemical concoction in lieu of apple juice. And how students should never, never ever, use the beakers for apple juice even though all that chemistry makes you down-right thirsty?  I think my Chemist is a bit of a badass and might just drink his earl grey from a beaker.  Tough-guy.  I added bricks with the mini brick stencil by mixing red and brown acrylic paints into gel medium and then highlighted the bricks with copper metallic paint when the medium dried.

I wanted to create multiple physical layers and so I cut out the centre of the card and taped in a sheet of watercolour paper that I ran through watered down distress inks (tea dye and weathered wood).  This is still one of my favourite go-to techniques.  I stamped the formulas onto the watercolour paper and distressed the edges of the centre with black soot.

I had opened the card to work on the front to minimalize the colouration on the inside and the back of the card and decided to decorate the back as well.  Looks like my Chemist did a bit of over-mixing and had an explosion in the lab.  Oh Chemist.

The Chemist was stamped and embossed onto a large Prima tag.  The Prima tags are pre-scripted which gives a nice background and the colouring is perfect for the pale-skinned Chemist who hardly sees the light of day. 

The jars of chemicals were coloured in with watercolours using my distress inks and markers.  I coloured in the Chemist with markers.

Now that my dad and brother's visit has come to an end I'm hoping to ramp up my crafting time.  With Chanukah, Christmas and more birthdays around the corner I have no choice but to roll up the crafting sleeves and get busy.  

Happy crafting everyone.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

pj november challenge: the result

It was harder, than I originally thought, to predetermine and limit myself to a prescribed set of crafting tools but that was the challenge for November with PJ Challenge.  I admit I'm very pleased with the result and I now have 4 mini cards (4x4), 4 regular cards (6x6) and 3 tags ready for the winter holidays.  At the end of the day, being restrictive, once I started crafting, was a bit liberating for me.  I know it's counter-intuitive, however, it was true.  All I needed was right in front of me.

Before I get too far ahead of myself I have something to admit: I switched out the fired brick distressed ink for tea dye.  In the planning and preparation the red ink seemed like a natural choice for holiday cards and I thought the little chick could use a red pompom but I decided, in the end, that the fired brick would stand out too much against the rest of the more muted colours.

The 4x4s: I painted the sweet chick, hats and snowman shadows with the distress inks.  The inks are, in addition to many other uses, a fabulous watercolour medium.  And as expected with watercolour, you can play with the density of the colour and if you're unhappy with what you have applied, you can add or take away colour.  I am really becoming a huge watercolour fan.  I feel a watercolour craze settling in.


I distress inked a scrap section of the watercolour paper and cut-out the circle snowflakes using a punch.  Love, love, love the result.  Reminds me of images of the planets which is very far off from snowflakes but still has a nice little effect on the card.

 The 6x6s:

I love how this card turned out.  I used the cut-outs from the windows to create little pockets of snowfall.

The tags:

And the paper dust:

Spectacular challenge.  Very productive.  Thank you HK for my sweet little chick.  He is definitely a nice addition to my modest winter-related supplies.  

And thank you for stopping in.  I always appreciate the visit.

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

a man who limits his interests limits his life - vincent price

The intention this year was to craft a whole bunch of Halloween decorations and although I started out of the gate strong with my re-purposed Halloween-y flower pot (see photo below), I haven't done very much Halloween crafting at all.  However, I cannot complain; the time was otherwise very well spent entering a few craft challenges and visiting with my dad and brother.  And my dad's birthday card post is just getting some final touches before it hits the blogisphere.

Alex, mr. everythingshetouches and I did pull out our Halloween decorations a little while ago and created a little Halloween heaven (hmm how contrary) including the scene below.  Alex and I found, near the soccer field this summer, two large branches both with interesting personality.  And much to mr. everythingshetouches' chagrin, the branches became part of our household decor with intent to be modified and integrated as we see fit.  The branches, for example, have made an excellent perch for my ravens and black rose this Halloween season (don't mind the blinds; home decor is a work in progress).

Halloween Re-purposed Flower Pot
October was a very busy and fun-filled month.  Still to come: PJ November Challenge (November 1), my dad's birthday card and a little chalkboard project I would like to share.

Thank you as always for the support and kind words.  It is very nice to receive such positive feedback.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

it's better to travel well then to arrive - buddha; a birthday wish

I really wanted to make something extraordinary and special for my awesome, amazing friend, however, when I set out to design his birthday card I didn't have a plan.  Isn't it much harder to be creative without at least a bit of a plan, or is it just me?  It took a while to decide on two items: the Parisian street map and the city scape die cut and once they were on the table the rest fell into line.  I went with a city theme: street map, skyline, birds on a wire, a novel to read as you travel and a balloon ride.  Oh my goodness, I'm such a dork trying to make it all come together but I'm a sucker for cohesion.

The background of the card was stamped with a large script stamp and the whole card was distressed with Tim Holtz vintage photo. Some of the script was embossed to increase texture.  I randomly Modge Podged torn book pages and gave the card a good spray of Ranger Dylusions calypso teal Ink Spray.  The ink blotches are diluted acrylic paint added with a pipette and heat set.  I love ink blotches.

The balloon and Parisian street map stamps were stamped onto torn watercolour paper which I first ran through Tim Holtz tea dye.  The border was hand-drawn.  I think the border adds authenticity and grounds the image.

The Memory Box city scape die is one of my recent favourites.  I have an idea for a chalkboad/city scape card bouncing around in mind which I will attempt to tackle once I finish up some other priority projects:  my dad's and my brother's birthday cards and the November PJ Challenge.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

a memory is what is left when something happens and does not completely unhappen - edward de bono

In my past life, while living in Montréal, I worked for a watch and jewelry distributor.  We imported our merchandise from overseas and shipped them to boutiques and large vendors (Costco, Walmart) across Canada.  Our jewelry was imported from Murano, Italy and I instantly fell madly in love with glass hand-crafted jewels.  Sometimes, if I was lucky, a bracelet would arrive in less than stellar condition or our merchandise would be out-of-season and I would, for pennies a bag of beads(well, almost pennies; Murano glass is expensive because each piece is hand-crafted and often includes silver and/or gold foils) get loads of materials to create my own pieces.

It's been a long while since I crafted with beads, however, I find that it's really nice to exercise the fingers and mind in a different direction every so often.  I created this bracelet with a mix of Murano beads, pearls, quartz and seed beads linked onto chain.

I really do love designing and making jewelry so I think I might set aside some time to make one new piece once a month.  Stay tuned!

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

pj november challenge: the preparation

I'm planning and preparing to enter PJ Challenge's November Challenge.  It's a two-parter and a doozy.

The challenge: Prepare your materials according to a pre-determined kit (September 30th deadline) and create cards using those materials only (November 1 deadline) until you have nothing left to use.

The kit includes:

- 6 sheets of paper (maximum)

- 5 stamps (maximum)

- 4 inks, dyes, or paints (maximum)

- 3 types of embellishments (as many of each type as you want)

- 2 ribbons or something similar

- 1 drink of choice (water, homemade lemonade, tea, coffee, wine, etc).

I've decided to use washi as an embellishment and as a ribbon alternative.  And I choose to use my "drink of choice" in my cards.  The spray bottle contains water although I seriously think using red wine would be great fun and would result in some pretty fun scratch and sniff cards.

Time to start crafting!

Thursday, 19 September 2013

you can't get a cup of tea big enough or a book long enough to suit me - c.s. lewis

Each summer, the daycare that Alex attends, has a tea party for children and parents on the last day before summer vacation.  It is incredibly charming to watch one and two year old children sipping lemonade and juice from proper china tea cups and munching on scones and sandwiches.  The staff dress up in elegant tea party wear and floppy sunhats and the outdoors are transformed into a lovely tea party.  It is quite the dichotomy if you get to witness the effects of International Mud Day which occurs only a few days earlier.  The photos used in this layout are from the tea party three years ago; Alex's first summer at daycare July 2010 when he was one and a half years old.

I'm entering this layout in three challenges:

1. Berry 71 Bleu September sketch plus mixed media challenge

2.  About A Boy September 1 black white + one challenge.  Creating a layout using black, white and one other colour (green).

And 3. Scrap Around the World September 2013 Challenge 5 bold graphic.  The mood board is striking and definitely inspirational:

The bottom centre image of the child holding the adult's hand inspired my selection of photos for my layout.  It's often fun to observe our children engaging in more "adult-like" behaviours, such as gently sipping tea lemonade from tea cups, however, I don't want Alex to grow up too quickly.  I want him to truly enjoy, savour and value his childhood.  

I covered the 12x12 manila cardstock with gesso and white acrylic.  Across the bottom and up the right-hand side I added homemade crackle.  It worked out so well that I decided to use the same technique on the tea cup itself which was cut out with, along with the black and white butterflies, the Silhouette Cameo.  The tea cup, saucer and steam were cut out of Tim Holtz grungepaper and the two vellum butterflies were cut out using a Memory Box die cut.

I added green (Dylusions Ink Spray dirty martini) and black (black acrylic paint mixed with water) splatters across the entire layout and a tea cup stain at the bottom right for some whimsy.  The black paint mixed with water created tiny bubbles and the effect as they popped was fantastic.  Alex is very familiar with the bubble technique.  He sometimes uses dishsoap, food colouring and water to create his own bubbly art in a larger bubble version.  On small or large scales bubbles are fun, beautiful and make very lovely art pieces.  

I punched out the three little butterflies from vellum and tissue paper, placed them on the tea cup and doodled some bits both on the butterflies and tea cup.


I love the layered and rough frame in Debbie's sketch, especially against the delicate butterflies and flowers, and recreated my own pseudo-frame with two different layers of washi tape.

The butterflies were stamped with random images and one was embossed.  I was aiming for non-uniformity.  Success.

Inspired by Holly's (in the fun lane) post on dipped beads I tried my hand at dipping.  I like dipping.  A lot.  But I have made a mental note to make sure that I (a) secure my dip object to the wire better(one poor bead took a plunge and got a green bath) and (b) secure a proper drying space before dipping instead of running around with a dripping dipped bead trying to find a good location to dry.

I modge podged one bead with green tissue paper and the tissue gave the bead a really nice texture.  I love modge podge and tissue.  Wonderful and dangerous duo (tissue loves modge podge as much as I do).

I love Alex's expression in this photo below.  

Years ago, just after Alex was born, Canadian Tire had an incredible sale on sewing machines.  Although I had not sewn anything since Home Economics in grade 8, I had ambition to start sewing.  Major project: create new cushion covers for the couch, love seat and chair in the sun-room to match the developing naval theme.  Minor project: sew paper and material to incorporate stitching in my paper projects.  My ambition remained in the planning stage - until now.  I'm still working on lightening up on my lead foot but with a few attempts the end result was successful.  Onto the major project!  First step: find naval-type fabric.  Second step: Check my sewing apprehension at the door and go for it!  Maybe step (1a) is: create a small-sized cushion cover.  Until then, I will definitely be stitching all over my paper projects.