Tuesday, 30 December 2014

holiday cards: wrapping up 2014

Now that the gifts (almost all) have been given and the cards (nearly all) have been sent it's time to wrap up 2014 with a holiday card post that will inspire, if not for this season, than possibly for next year.  Here are my holiday card templates for 2014. 

I have also included the card Alex made for his teacher this year.  The design was provided by Dawn (The Inked Stamper), the details and layout were all Alex's ideas and I tied the bow.  Come on.  It's a very nicely tied bow.

Enjoy, my blogosphere peeps and I will see you in the new year.

I am entering happy winter in Simon Says Wednesday Anything Goes Challenge.

12 favourite 2014 projects over 2 posts bonus

So you know I couldn't just choose 12 projects, right?  Here's the overflow bonus selection:

3.  you should celebrate the end of a love affair as they celebrate death in new orleans, with songs, laughter, dancing and a lot of wine - francoise sagan (November)

2.  inked stamper design team december project: all you need is love but a little (hot) chocolate now and then doesn't hurt - charles schulz (December)

1.  the lights will guide you home: arctic sky winter wonderland tag

Friday, 26 December 2014

12 favourite 2014 projects over 2 posts part 2

As promised here's post two of two of twelve of my favourite 2014 projects.  Countdown continuing with number five.

5.  never trust people who promise to make you rich in a day. they are generally crazy swindlers ― carlo collodi, pinocchio (May)

4.  you can't stop the waves, but you can learn to surf - jon kabat-zinn (May)

3.  it is a rough road that leads to the heights of greatness - lucius annaeus seneca (September).  September was my debut to the Gorjuss girls collection.  I fell in love and haven't looked back.  Santoro has produced some of the most stunning stamps and materials I have seen.  And this card hits the top five list for 2014.

2.  inked stamper design team november project: gorjuss presence (November).  Given my feelings about Santoro it's not surprising that this card makes the list.  I have had more amazing comments about this card than for any other project I have made to-date.  It wasn't hard putting it together after I found On Top of the World.  This card also hits the top five list for 2014.

1.  genius without education is like silver in the mine - benjamin franklin (November).  This was my second memory book this past summer and what an incredible experience putting it together for someone who I admired and enjoyed working with tremendously.  It will always have a soft spot in my crafting heart.

Thank you for joining me in 2014 and your continued kind words and support.  All the best to you, my blogosphere and crafting friends, this holiday season and in the new year xx

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

12 favourite 2014 projects over 2 posts

As 2014 is coming to a close I thought it would be fun to join some of my blogosphere friends and post my twelve favourite 2014 projects.  There is something very satisfying and fun looking back over the year remembering the work, the grumbles, the mistakes, the successes and the laughs (I still love the story of how Pinocchio got his twig nose) now embedded in each little (or maybe not so little; I'm still working on that) project.  I love remembering the support, the feedback and the people who surrounded me as I crafted.

Here they are in order of appearance:

12. another prima birthday (January) 

11.   goggles and tophats: a steampunk january (February) 

10.  valentine's day tags 42 over 2 posts (February).  This was really an all-time favourite.  I know, I know, it's really three (five if you count post one) projects but I can help myself.  This was my first humungous swap (42 tags) and I love how each set turned out.  Gold star for Valentine's Day 2014.

9.  lil monster layout (March)

8.  shabby freya chic (March) 

7.  scottie and yolanda birthday wishes (May)

6.  always start out with a larger pot than what you think you need - julia child (May)

Stay tuned for post two with the second half of my favourite project picks.

Monday, 15 December 2014

i would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought and that gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder - g.k. chesterton

The frog die cut (Elizabeth Craft Designs; hoppy the frog) didn't even make it on my radar, however, my bestest friend/enabler convinced me that life would never be the same without it.  And I have to admit it is mighty adorable.  And to seal the deal I also bought the fitting accessory pack (props 1) which comes with glasses, a top hat, a mustache, bow tie and lips and the foxy fox.  Oh yeah.  You know I had to get that fox.

The tag itself is cut from wood paper.  I die cut the frog and the frog shadow out from grunge paper and painted it with silver izinks and then, when dry, alcohol inks.  And yes, if you look closely, the frog has its own layered background, or shadow, which makes building this little sweet-thing so easy-peasy.  Genius.  Elizabeth Crafts you are a genius.

The cattails and dragonflies are from Impression Obsession (you know how much I adore IO, oh I do).  I coloured both the cattails and dragonflies with markers and covered with them glossy accents.

I'm always so thankful but it seems, in the midst of holiday cheer, a thank you tag without a holiday theme is a bit out-of-sorts.  Almost like the musical interlude in the middle of a movie, if you know what I mean.

And now to continue wrapping up 2014.  Stay tuned blogospere friends!  There is mucho to post with 16 days to go!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

the lights will guide you home: arctic sky winter wonderland tag

I participated in an alphabetical winter wonderland tag swap this holiday season with my stamp club.  My letter: "A".  Designing a winter-themed tag with the letter "A" is both a blessing and a curse.  "A" can almost be transformed into anything: a holiday song, a snowman, angel, antique sled, abominable snowman.  You get the idea.  And sometimes that amount of craft freedom can drive a girl nuts.

I decided to go with arctic sky.  I had been playing with my gelli plate and I loved the shine and flow I was getting from my shimmer paints and Izinks.

Using stampin' up's white christmas stamp set, my marvy snow marker and champagne stickles I created this sweet little winter wonderland and sky-filled northern lights.

I am entering my tag in Anything But A Card's Challenge No. 42: Celestial, Simon Says Bling It On Challenge and Mixed Media Monthly Challenge #7 Tic-Tac-Toe (tape-glitter-stamps).

Coming soon: I have designed and created a bunch of holiday cards this season that I would love to share with you and I also plan to share my year's favourite posts with you.  It has been a fantastic year and the holiday season is in full swing.  I cannot wait to hear how you celebrate and plan for the new year.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet - jean-jacques rousseau: an advent atc

I participated this year in an advent ATC swap.  Last year a few of the ladies gave me their extra copies to whet my appetite and inspire me to join in this year.  I opened all five of them as soon as I got home.  And I got grief from my bestest enabler/friend and my son (who was four at the time).  This year I promised to open them properly (so many rules) and Alex has monitored my ATC opening behaviour.  I get gold stars so far.

I wanted a monotone card which highlighted my number.  Both the background stamp and the cardinal and birch die cut are by Impression Obsession (I'm obsessed with IO).  They make the most incredible cover-your-card backgrounds.  The picket fence, which I embossed, is by Ellen Hutson.  I emphasized the two cardinals by covering them in glossy accents.

The wrapping is often as important as the thing you're trying to wrap.  I love Stampin' Up's tree embossing folder and the tiny clothespins I found at Michaels.  The stamped #2 is also a Stampin' Up holiday stamp set.  Brilliant.

I'm not sure how we ended up in December.  And, as for most people who celebrate anything in December and January, this week promises to be filled with getting ready for celebration, getting ready for next year and enjoying all of the wonders of the holiday season.

I look forward to seeing all of your creative crafty holiday treasures.  Thank you for sharing!

Monday, 1 December 2014

inked stamper design team december project: all you need is love but a little (hot) chocolate now and then doesn't hurt - charles schulz

It is starting to look a lot like Christmas!  Mother Nature has definitely prepared us Edmontonians for the winter solstice with a HUGE amount of snow just before the weekend.  And although the snow and the road conditions have fostered a number of colourful words, when all tucked up warm at home, sipping my Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte (no whip, non-fat if you're in the neighbourhood), past the din of tires spinning and snow plows beeping there is something so magical and peaceful with the world covered in white. 

Is it any surprise then that white is the in colour again this winter?  White ornaments, white trees, white deer heads.  White.  Which totally adds style to our December inspiration photo all that much more.  My Mind's Eye kicked it out of the park with their Sleigh Bells Ring collection.

Using MME's Sleigh Bells Ring collection and Prima's Coffee Break Cup O Joe paper I put together this fun, wintery, sparkly layout.  It has been a super long time since I worked on a layout.  For those who can date Alex's age by the toque he wears, you will recognise that this is an early 2014 winter layout.  Oscar has now been retired.  Not sure what it is about my monkey but he can definitely make a toque look good.

There are quite a few layers to this layout.  I started off setting up the first layer by laying down the book page, the burlap pieces and Prima's Coffee Break Cup O Joe papers.  I then inked splatters and hot chocolate cup rings using distress ink (pumice stone)/Tim Holtz splatters layered stencil and added stars and random droplets with dylusions sprays and izinks.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, because this is the second time I will sing their praises in two posts for the Design Team, I will once again mention how great those little bottles of ink are.  Izinks are super easy to use and have a fantastic dramatic effect for very little cost.  Afraid to use them, you say?  Let me know in the comment section if you are interested in a class and The Inked Stamper can set something up if there is enough interest.  So don't be anxious about letting us know if you would like a demo on how they can be used.  Classes at The Inked Stamper are always super reasonably priced and you definitely get your bang for your buck.  

I outlined some of the stars to ground them.  A technique I learned at The Inked Stamper from Dawn.

Once that first layer dried I was all set to start building.  I added the photos, the snowflakes (Lawn Fawn stitched snowflakes) and the MME embellishments

I love dimension and I love creating dimensional pieces so that each time you look at it you find something new to notice which is why I will often add a pop-up piece or two.  The Prima cups O Joe and the little toques were perfect for adding that additional layer.  

Thank you for stopping by, remember to leave a comment and if you have any questions do not be afraid to ask!  I always love hearing from you and the Design Team have the bestest and mostest craft knowledge to share.  I am always learning from them.

Stay warm and craft-on my North American friends and to those in warm wintery locations: send us warm crafty thoughts.  We will need them until April.

Wednesday, 26 November 2014

you should celebrate the end of a love affair as they celebrate death in new orleans, with songs, laughter, dancing and a lot of wine - francoise sagan

Oooooh-la-la this post is l-a-t-e!  By a month at least.  It seems that I have found a trend in my posting and it isn't pretty.  Good thing New Year's is fast approaching; I can be assured I will not struggle with coming up with enough resolutions.  First one was a pilot to test out the waters: I resolved to not be cold this winter.  So far, so good and I am definitely gaining resolution-making confidence.  Second resolution: plan out my crafting a bit better.  I need to balance out the commitments and plan better.  I'll keep you updated on how my resolutions are coming along.  Third resolution: Follow through with following up.  I should throw in a: don't-take-on-more-than-you-can-chew resolution but that would mean before December even hits I already have four resolutions.  I should pace myself.

I had a blast making this double-sided Halloween tag for our Halloween tag swap.  Theme: New Orleans.  I wanted continuity between the two sides and so the cobbled path on the bottom of side one matches up to the cobbled path on side two as does the fence.  F-U-N spells Halloween in New Orleans.

I wanted the haunted house stamped image to be a mix of colour and black & white; vintage meets retro colour.  I kept the tag to three main colours: orange (all time fav colour), purple and green and accented the colours with stickles.  The background was painted using distress ink (pumice stone).

Here's a close-up of the pumice mixed media cobbled path.  I decorated the fence with sequins and sprayed tag side one using dylusions (picket fence) and both the shattered and halloween text stencils.

Tag side two highlights our zombie/day of the dead friend who may have left his haunted house to party New Orleans-style at the Haunted Chateau which is in the cemetery.  The forest was created using dylusions (picket fence) spray and a forest stencil.

I added a day of the dead face to mr. zombie (stampers anonymous zombie dancer) with a wiggle mechanism so mr. zombie really does boogie.  He was painted using distress inks (peeled paint,seedless preserves, tea dye).

The rats in the cemetery image is actually not a stamp but an embossing folder that I inked.  I'm not much of an embossing folder user, however, I do have an unexplainable number of folders and I often take a bunch out at the beginning of each project hoping that one will find its way into my work.  And really they do not.  I was adamant about using the rats in the cemetery folder for this tag swap and as I often do, I thought how the folder would make a much better stamp than a folder et voila! the background embossed stamp was born.  Not revolutionary but effective.

Some folks do Christmas in July; maybe Halloween in November will start to trend.  Just when you thought it was over and all that was left was a memory and some caramel chews you visit everything she touches for a little reminder of our favourite spooky holiday.


Friday, 7 November 2014

genius without education is like silver in the mine - benjamin franklin

This post is long overdue.  The delay in posting was partly due to its length and partly due to the how busy life has been the last few months.  Better late than even later. 

I am still saddened by mr. chemistry's retirement this past summer.  There are a few people at work that brighten my day and although my interactions with mr. chemistry were limited and mainly in times of crisis, our conversations were always extremely entertaining, awe inspiring (mr. chemistry is a world of number knowledge) and very special to me.

It was a pleasure putting this memory book together in his honour.  Every page has a pocket to fill with mementos, colleague well wishes and greetings and other keepsakes.

I found this truly adorable mini clipboard at Michaels which made a great front cover and fit in nicely with the Chemistry theme.  I stamped the formula image from the Tim Holtz stamp set The Chemist in white Brillance pigment ink onto the clipboard and layered the same set bottles and flasks in front for some dimension.  The mini glass bottle was a Dollarstore treasure, filled with gold glass beads and a cork topper secured with glossy accents.

Page one: I love this stamp set!  I coloured the Chemist in with coloured pencils and distress inks as watercolour medium.  The background was created using peeled paint and vintage photo distress inks.  I stamped the bottles and flasks onto a page of an old book with the exception of the green bottle in the foreground to add a bit of interest.  You have seen the brick stencil before in many of my projects.  Definitely a go-to stencil.

Page two:  I embossed and distressed tinfoil (yep, tinfoil; thank you The Inked Stamper for that amazing tip and technique) to create the front layer of the pocket.  The image is a photo I took at one of our local science centres and printed it on glossy paper.  The back layer of the pocket was created using primary elements (black emerald) through the ink splatter and mini grid Tim Holtz stencils.  I am madly in love with primary elements.  Easy to use, great variety in colours and they have a spectacular shimmer.  I have to thank Finnabair for getting me hooked.

I seriously love these little Dollarstore bottles/vials.  I wasn't sure how well they would take to paper and the other medium but they did incredibly well and they are fantastically sweet.

Page three: I simply love this paper.  The colours and the image are just fab.  How sweet is that telephone?  I popped up a few of the argyle squares for a bit of fun and added the chandelier to the back part of the pocket.  Love chandeliers.  Love.

Page four:  The graphic design team at work created the image of mr. chemistry in bed with the monster hovering above him.  He always had a saying about putting the project or job to bed.  I decided to transform that image into my interpretation of mr. chemistry's bedroom.  The stars and dots on grey pearl paper were added with the lovely izinks.  If you haven't yet played with izinks you definitely should go out and get a couple of bottles.  They are very reasonably priced and they are really fun and versatile to play with on projects.  The inks are good to go as-is out of the bottle or they respond really well to water.

I added multiple layers of the memory box die cut cityscape and the created the bedpost by hand.  I drew and outlined the image on some wood paper scraps I had lying around and covered it with glossy accents.

Page five:  The graphic artists created a where's mr. chemistry-type page which I then expanded into the chemistry joke page with mustaches, spectacles and a pocket-protector filled with the funniest chemistry jokes I could find.

Page six: mr. chemistry was often teased for his messy office.  I'm not sure messy really adequately describes the volumes of paper, books and other materials in his office.  I'm pretty sure we had to, at one point, get the floor tested by engineers to ensure that it could bear the weight of mr. chemistry's stuff.  The graphic artists mocked up a photo of mr. chemistry's office adding bits of this and that to the floor, desk and existing stacks of paper.  I then went in and added even more embellishments.  It's kind of like an I Spy book now.  Have fun guessing what was in the original photo and what was added.

By the way, mr. chemistry, in addition to being a mathematical genius, speaks fluently in French.  TrĂ©sor means treasure.

Page seven: mr. chemistry is a genius with three or four advanced degrees in mathematics and sciences so the book papers were truly fitting.  If you look closely you will see the pocket line pretty close to the top of the page because I didn't want to mess with the fantastic dimension of the paper itself.  I really love the way the faux book bindings look and the way the popped up books turned out.  It is a multi-layer stack of books highlighted with gold stickles and distress crackle.  The feather, inkwell and mini-stacked books were coloured with watercolours and highlighted with pearl watercolour and glossy accents. 

Page eight: The Golden Book of Chemistry Experiments was a children's chemistry book written in the 1960s by Robert Brent.  It is a controversial book and banned as many of the experiments contained in the book are now considered too dangerous for the general public. Despite this, its known as one of the best DIY chemistry books ever published (thank you wiki people for helping me out with the information).

I borrowed the fantastic apron die cut from my amazing enabler/friend and cut both the apron and the pocket out of grunge paper.  I distressed the edges with black soot distress ink and covered the pocket in a layer of clear crackle paint.  The front of the page pocket was stamped using white brillance moonlight pigment ink and the chemistry set blackboard stamp.  The back paper was first inked with tea dye distress ink and given a hit using primary elements black emerald and the Tim Holtz splatter layering stencil.

Page nine: I love the blueprint embossing folder and I love embossing wood paper.  Married together is a simply brilliant result.  I highlighted some of the raised lines for added interest.

The back of the pocket was stamped, distressed (black soot) and given a few embellishments.

The insert was first covered in tea dye, weathered wood and peeled paint distress inks and highligted with washi tape and embellishments.

Page ten: True story.  The Chemistry examination in June 2011 was interrupted by a streaker.  Great memories.  The memories of working with mr. chemistry were great, not the streaker.  Silly.  Although maybe for some students the memories of the streaker were greater than the Chemistry examination.  It's all perspective, I suppose.

Backcover: The periodic table paper was popped up and highlighted with a copy of a daily work report.  I love my GEEK is the new sexy stamp.

The book:  And here it is assembled.  I embellished the inserts with faux coffee/tea cup rings, spills and splatters.


Memory books are really fun to build.  I love the details and creating something so meaningful, special and unique.

Thank you for visiting.  I would love to hear from you about the memory books you have created.  What did you love most about the process?  What would you highly recommend for my next memory book?