Saturday, February 28, 2015

Spring Coffee Lovers Blog Hop - Take 2

Right now it is 11 p.m. and if ever a girl could use some caffeine, it would be little old me. 

I. Am. Beat.

My cousin had a birthday party last night and her whole family popped into town for a visit. They live about 5 hours away, so it was a real treat! We went to a dueling pianos show last night and let's just say we definitely brought in the early morning hours in style. 

But between the late night, getting up at 7 to start breakfast, and entertaining, coffee has been my best friend. Whew!

I'm going to keep this post as short and as sweet as I can:
Two things I want to tell you fine folks about:

Number one: Eclectic Ellapu's new challenge starts TODAY. The Pink Team's challenge is Anything Goes and the Purple Team is "Go Green", so head on over and enter all your awesome cards so the rest of the design team and I can come ogle them!

Number two: If you haven't heard of the Coffee Lover's Blog Hop by now, you should crawl out from that rock you've been hiding in and come join the party!

I whipped up a second card tonight using some stencils.

I started by sponging Mustard Seed all over the cards background and stenciling with Wild Honey and a stencil over the top. The cards are supposed to be spring themed, and there is nothing more springy than a fresh sunrise. 

Next, I die cut an image on my Cricut, and used it as a second stencil. I sponged with Fired Brick Distress Inks. 

I added some Fired Brick and Vintage Photo DIs to the edges and stamped mug and sentiment from a Prima set. A little twine and a doily later, I had a completed card! 

Pssssssst - if you like that sunburst stencil, I'm giving one away in my blog candy package. Leave me a comment and >>>include your contact info<<< and you'll be entered. It's not necessary to follow my blog, but if you do you'll receive an extra entry! 

I haven't even had a chance to comment on most of the entries from the hop, since this weekend has been so jam packed. I'm headed off now to check out some awesome creations! 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Spring Coffee Lovers Blog Hop - Take 1

What gets me more jazzed than than the first sip of hazelnut vanilla coffee on a 30 below, frigid North Dakota winter morning?! ...Well, nothing, actually. 

Point in case? This photo taken at the local IHOP:

A giant cuppa with extra whipped cream - I don't get much happier!
BUT what gets me allllllmost as jazzed is the internet sensation known as the Coffee Lover's Blog Hop


And it's back! The brainchild of the one-woman wonder and organizational mastermind, Amy Tsurata, the Coffee Lovers Blog Hop brings together caffeine-craving paper crafters from around the blogosphere in a one-week frenzy of goodness. The hop starts today - so go whip up your card and join in! 

Amy told us that our creations should be Spring themed. Now, there's lots of ways to interpret Spring... In North Dakota, Spring is equated with gooey mud. Everywhere. And a groundhog who ALWAYS sees his shadow. Sigh* Since I didn't think that would be so cute on a card, I decided to go with option B - which is something really bright and cheerful. Hey - a girl can dream. 

I started by hand drawing a Coffee chalkboard-esque sign, using these new markers I just got called Chalk Magic

After experimenting, I found that these markers give some of the best coverage that I've gotten from a chalk marker/white marker thus far. I bought them because the white markers I have tend to get clogged up and leave weird blotches in places. These had a very smooth flow. They were created by a family-owned company for use in crafty projects and are meant to be erasable on non-porous surfaces. Since I was using it on card stock, however, they stayed just dandily (I don't care if it's not a word, spellcheck, I like it.) I have to say that I wish the nibs were a little smaller, for detail work, but overall I was impressed. 

Next, I stamped a mug from Two Paper Divas "You Warm My Heart" stamp set. Since I won the set in the Christmas blog hop, I thought it would be only fair to show it off here. It's such a cute set and it's the exact type of coffee I like to drink - with lots of whipped cream! 

I added some amazingly bright paper and Voila!! A card! 

I'm going to support the following awesome challenges:
Simon Says Stamp Work it Wednesday - Spring
The Challenge - Thanks for the great sketch!

I won't keep you for too much longer, other than to say that you should totally go play along at the Coffee Lovers Blog Hop because they have over 20 sponsors and you can win lots and lots of cool things. Be sure to hop along and leave encouraging comments, too, because there are a lot of people who will be offering up some blog candy. 

Like me!! 
I've got a pretty sweet prize package consisting of a Wendy Vecchi stencil, a chevron embossing folder, some metal feather embellishments, and a Prima sketchy word stamp. 

If you'd like to win it, leave me a comment and  >>>>include your email<<<<. You don't have to be a follower of my blog to win, but you'll get an extra entry if you are! :) Plus, I'm pretty cool (and humble) and will probably come give you a follow back. 

Happy hopping, my friends! May your sips be long and may your brew be strong!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

I'm So Fancy - Crafty Gals Corner Fancy Folds

Among many things that the universe has deemed me to be less than proficient in, making cards that have fancy folds sits at the top of the list. Try as I might, I always do something to screw it up. This is why I am an ENGLISH major, people. So I don't have to measure things. I can't tell you just how big my scrap pile is because my motto is measure once, and when that fails just cut something somewhere, somehow. 

So this week's challenge over at Crafty Gals Corner gave me a little bit of a stumparoo. The theme happens to be "Fancy Folds". 

I also go to work with a great image from the Stamping Boutique called "Thoughts"

This girl just looks so pensive and gorgeous. She's got hair flying every which-a-way and I knew I wanted her to be the star of the show. So every fancy fold I came across just seemed to detract for her beauty. Eventually, I just decided to do what I do best (worst?): Make something up!

I have officially dubbed this folding technique the make-a-few-score-lines-somewhere-to-fulfill-the-challenge-brief fancy fold. 

I colored up this fanciful girl and added some psychedelic, funky papers that make me feel as though I should be dancing around in a disco club in the 70s. 

I also stamped a rather wistful saying in the bottom corner. 

When you untie the ribbon and open this baby up, this is what you'll see:

Although it might not be in my wheelhouse, I actually really like how this turned out. It was really relaxing to color her in.

I'm also going to send this over to the following challenges;
Simon Says Stamp Monday- Anything Goes
Tuesday Throwdown - Anything Goes
Simon Says Wednesday - Anything Goes

As for you - well you should click on over to Crafty Gals and link up a card. We've got some pretty great sponsors this time around.

Prize: $12 Gift Certificate

Prize: 2 Digital Images/3 Images if you use an image from TSB

Thanks for stopping by my crafty friends! And a big shout-out to Kay and Sid who made my day by hitting the follow button. You rock!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Paper Flowers - A What Not to Do Guide

Frilly and Funkie Challenge blog tasked us with creating paper flowers this week. Due to my lazy nature, it's been a long, long time since I handmade my own flowers. Usually I let Prima or Recollections do the work for me. 

But, because I have fallen in love with this new challenge blog (thanks Pamellia) and have become a veritable pauper by browsing through the Frilly and Funkie Boutique store, I decided to give it my best attempt. 

You, my lovely readers, are about to profit from my mistakes - or at least laugh at them.

I am one of those rare breed of people who looks at an object and sees something else entirely. Like what it could be used for on a card. Consequently, I really hate it when people send me package fillers because it means I am practically obligated to stick it in some drawer to be used at a later date. 

The flowers I decided to make were a product of some thin packaging paper. Which brings me to step one of What not to Do when creating paper flowers. 

Do not attempt to cut uber thin, wrinkled packaging paper on your Cricut. Yes, your Cricut can cut vellum, which is also thin. No, it will not cut this. Just don't. You will spend the next half-hour inventing new curse words as you try to peel bits of paper packaging from the adhesive sheet. 

So, that brought me back to good old fussy cutting. I started by making a 5 pointed flower piece, followed by a slightly smaller 4 pointed flower piece, and then an even smaller 5 pointed piece. 

After cutting out the petals, I rubbed each piece with Old Paper Distress Inks, to add dimension. For the very centers, I cut a circle and then cut tiny strips into it, then painted it with Perfect Pearls - perfect gold and added a teensy pearl. Lastly, I curled the ends of the petals.

Which brings me to my second What not To Do when making paper flowers. Do not spend a half hour cutting out paper petals from the most delicate paper and then decide to try out your brand new spray stains. Things will not end well. Delicate paper will not sop up liquid. But it will disintegrate when you attempt to move it. 

And then you will entertain the thought of giving up and not playing in that challenge you really wanted to play in, before inventing new curse words, and then sighing in futility and starting all over again. 

But when you finally do finish those flowers, you'll probably remember why you went through all the trouble - because the end result will be gorgeous. 

I used some gold fibers from an old cord to add texture behind the flowers, and I die cut a black doily and painted the edges with Perfect Pearls, letting some areas get more saturated than others for a more distressed effect. 

For even more texture, I took some red feathers and added some glitter to ends of one of them, giving it a good juxtaposition between hard and soft.

After I had all these pieces, I piled them all together and....

...grinned happily. If somebody translated me onto a card, this is what I would look like. I think I'm going to make myself this card for my birthday.

Papers are from Carta Bella and the sentiment is from Penny Black's Lost Without You set.

I'm sending this card on over to the following challenges:
Frilly and Funkie - Winter Blooms
Penny Black and More - Anything Goes
Paper Players - Thank you for the awesome sketch!

**EDITED** - I was very inspired by the Paper Players sketch and truly wanted to link up over there. I apparently didn't read the rules very well, because I can only link up to 3 challenges while playing along. So I've removed the other challenges, and my entry links to them.
I haven't had much opportunity to make my rounds this weekend because I was babysitting two lovely little girls and helping them make a birthday card for their mommy (my cousin and best friend). 

Sorry for the terrible lighting, but I was not about to let those adorable little stinkers into a room full of paper products, so the basement craft table it was! :D They were pretty enamored with my stencils and spray stains. 

Well, I'm off to play some catch up! Thanks for stopping by. Please leave me a comment so I know you were here! 

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Little Vintage Flair - Bingo Challenge at Crafty Gals

Hump day has arrived! And you all know what that means... Crafty Gals Corner has released their long sought after, much coveted challenge theme!!

This week, we're getting out the old lady daubers and slappin' some inky dots on a bingo board. Take your pick of a line, any line. Horizontal, diagonal, sideways, upside down? We don't care!

I bet you can't guess which line I grabbed up faster than Jackie Chan's ninja chops. If you guessed lace, flowers, and vintage - congratulations! Give yourself a pat on the back and lick your elbows. (Ok, that last part was just for my amusement. It can't be done, my friends.) 

Anywho, I was given this awesome image from Beccy's Place called Dress Form (how apropos). It's really pretty and right in my wheelhouse of vintagey goodness. I guess I never really liked digi stamps, because I thought they were all cutesy wootsey but it turns out there are so many sketchy or vintage digis too!

I colored the digi in soft, muted tones with my Spectrum Noir Markers and paired it with some Graphic 45 paper that I have been hoarding like a madwoman. I added some burlap lace and a paper flower and...

Ta Daaaaa!

It's one part vintage and one part art deco and all parts just plain cool.  Of course, I had to give it a purpose, so I stamped the inside with a fitting sentiment
(yes that was a dress form pun. You're welcome.) 

I'm also going to link my card up to the following challenges: 
Now. As for you! I haven't forgotten about you! Just click right on the Crafty Gals Corner words and come join us. I wanna see what you crafty geniuses can do. Just for some added incentive, we've got prizes from two awesome sponsors. 

Prize: $10 Gift Certificate


Prize: 3 Digital Images or 1 digital set

Thanks for stopping by! I'm off to do some commenting now!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Celebrating STAMPlorations February Sketch 2

First of all, I feel the need to proudly brag for one moment. I have defeated the Blogger. That's right, I can't tell you how many times I've attempted to schedule a post for a later date, only to be thwarted by Blogger's irksomeness. Ok, ok, more like thwarted by my own technological ineptitude... but today! Today! I have defeated the Blogger by using the magical weapon of olde - the Google. Apparently you have to set a schedule time AND THEN also click "Publish". ahhhhh* Lightbulb moment! So fingers crossed that this posts at the right time and I'm not just hyping myself for no reason (that'd be the Embarrasing).

Anywho... I suppose I should actually post something about what I'm supposed to be posting, right? I have come harkening to the Internets with good news and glad tidings: There is another sketch challenge going on over at STAMPlorations

Here it is: 

I love the sketches over at STAMPlorations. They're always so versatile and great for putting your own spin on the sketch - which is what I happened to do. 

I got these fabulously textured little embellishments from Michael's during their after-Christmas bonanza and have been waiting for the perfect idea to bust them out. 

They're chevron printed, round, and have buttons. I know right? The absolute PERFECT embellishment, it my book. 

As you can see, I flipped the sketch. I created the background panel by using the STAMPlorations Sentiment Builders: Celebrate. I paired my embellies with a cool turquoise and vibrant crimson. I think it gives it a little southwest flair, no?

It is pretty much the perfect non-sex... no not right... nondescript.... na.... what the h is the word?! The Google wins again - unisex! Thank you. It is pretty much the perfect unisex card because it can be used for a boy or a girl. And it's just plain fun! 

Come play along with me at STAMPlorations and check out our fabulously talented Guest Designer - Carol Dunham of CMDesign. You can use any kind of stamp you want - bonus! And you can win prizes - double bonus!

prize: 3 digi stamps
guest designer spot in Sketch #31

2 Top picks
the option to be a guest designer in the Sketch #31 Challenge if they'll use a STAMPlorations digi stamp (to be provided to them)
or clear stamp (if they already have them)

I'm also sending my card over to the following challenges:
Seize the Birthday  ATG with option of heart or arrows
Design Team Showcase - Anything for a DT


Just as an aside - I have two sweet things I have to share with you: 
Look at these adorable Valentines I made for my coworkers:

I made the tag using STAMPlorations Sugar Rush set. 
The glass jars are actually from the dollar bin at Target! 
Who would have thunk the $1 bin was so classy?

The second thing I have to share is a little bit of a brag, too... 
And pretty much the sweetest thing anyone has ever done for me:

On Valentine's Day, I came home to my boyfriend all dressed up and even wearing a tie! (I don't think I've ever seen him in a tie in the 2 1/2 years we've been dating!) He had bought me a dress and a set of pearls and had them laid out for me to put on. Then he cooked me a steak dinner and he'd bought my favorite wine. The sweetest thing, though, was that he had gotten a hold of one of my Grandma's old valentines to give to me. She passed away in November and this is the first year I didn't spend at weekend at her house to stamp valentines since I was 12. It meant so much to me to have that card, and there were more than a few sniffles. I am a lucky girl.

Thanks for stopping by, my friends! Leave me a comment or follow my blog and I will certainly try to return the favor! I hope you all had wonderful V-days (and if so, you should tell me all about them!)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Featured Friday: Tracey Mallaghan!!

Welcome to the February edition of Featured Friday!! If you haven't seen one of my Featured Friday posts, this is the segment where other extremely talented people have graciously accepted my invite to be interviewed and CASEd. Well... I'm not CASEing them, just their artwork.

This week's FF favorite is the incredibly talented, quirky and charming Tracey Mallaghan of Chronically Crafting Fibro Fighter.

Tracey is extremely passionate about raising awareness for people who suffer from fibromyalgia, a debilitating, but often unseen and misunderstood condition. 

Her artwork ranges in style, but never lacks texture and she always tries out heaps of new techniques. Just one pop over to her blog always leaves me thinking, "Now how did you do that?!" Luckily, if you ask her, Tracey is more than willing to share her crafty secrets, because she's cool like that.

But why wax poetic about Tracey when she can give you much better insight than my feeble words?

Here are 7 things you should know about Tracey:

1.     How did I get my start in stamping

I became ill in Nov 2011 and had to take a lot of time off work, flicking through the telly, oh how daytime telly dulls your brain, I saw Barbara Gray on Create and Craft (I think its making its way to the US) and was amazed at what she was creating with stamps.. I was hooked and started googling about crafting. I read a lot of blogs by people who also started cratting after an illness.  It has really helped me keep looking on the bright side and I've picked up so many tips both for crafting but also on coping with Fibro.

2.     What's the craziest/funniest thing I've ever made

Before I found papercrafting I first started crocheting, my Granny had taught me as a little but it wasn't until I got ill that I realised you could make things... not just long long chains!  
Anyhoo I thought I was it and made a scarf for each of my daughters. Well I got them out of storage for this winter and was mortified lol they were awful.  I showed them to the girls and asked if they had worn them, sensible things that they had pretended to, so my feeling weren't hurt and stashed them in their bags!!!  Now they know I am sharing my stuff with the bloggy world they are thankfully much more honest with me.... I think

3.     If I could be any craft supply, what would I be and why?

Glue,  so I can always hold my family together... cheesy but I am so lucky to have them.

4.     What kind of cards are my favorite to make

Im still learning so much about papercraft that I really dont know, Im still finding out names of styles.  I love Graphic 45 papers and Tim Holtz... well everything Tim Holtz and these are what I always find myself being drawn back to, I think these lend themselves to grungy, layered, mixed media styles so well.  Grungy distressed looks are also so good for covering up mistakes!!  
I love the look of Clean and Simple, too, though. I was struggling with getting this right so took an online course, oh how I love the internet.  
I most love making cards for my family, does that count? I change up the style depending on their taste but getting that really personal touch across that you couldn't get unless you made it yourself makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

5.     What are my favorite card-making challenges?

 I actually started a blog so I could join in with the Compendium of Curiosities.. however, I think i only entered twice... there are just so many fab blogs out there and I do loose track!  I must make myself one of your challenge reminders.  I love Altered Eclectics and my first ever entry was with them. Elaine is such an awesome person and so talented.  And of course her other site Eclectic Ellapu ;)  Becca and I are both on the Design Team and not only do I have the honor of being chosen by Elaine and getting to share my stuff but the Team is full of such lovely ladies like Becca ;)  Also if you havent been NBUSed yet you really must, its not a regular challenge site but Darnell is just so so talented and her posts always, always make me laugh.

6.     What is my least favorite crafting supply

Grrr Too sticky supposedly low tack sticky stuff...  I have ripped so many pieces of paper using stuff that shouldn't stick too much, trying  to hold a mask or die in place.... grrrr.  any tips from you or your lovely bloggy friends on low tack sticky stuff that sticks but not too much would be most welcome.... Grrrr

7.     What is the best thing a new stamper/blogger can do?   

Play and chat,  just have a go with whatever catches your eye and look at lots of blogs.  The crafty community is so friendly and full of advice. If it makes you happy it is well worth doing.  Also try to get organised early on, my crafty stash grew rapidly and it took ages to sort through after a while of accumulating,  Jennifer McGuire has some awesome storage tips.

Oh and if you really want to know if your scarf has turned out well... ask a friend - not your daughters! ;)


The answer to Tracey's question 4 was actually how I stumbled upon her amazing blog. I'd seen a card she'd linked up that was sheer grungy, distressed perfection and I had to pop over to her blog to see who the creative genius was!

Now comes the fun part - where I get to CASE one of Tracey's cards! If you're unfamiliar with the acronym CASE, it means Copy And Steal Everything.

Which is why I was sooooooo tickled pink and blue and all sorts of other colors when I came across this card of Tracey's:
The Original
It's so full of texture and pops with color, and I thought it would make the perfect day-before-Vday card to CASE. 

Tracey also graciously CASED her original creation and made a canvas mixed media collage. 

Tracey's CASE

I'm not sure if I could hang this in my house because every time I walked by it I would just have to stop and stare and its sheer loveliness. I'd waste hours! Remember what I said about all that texture that is never missing from a single Tracey project, This is a prime example. It's just layers and layers of gorgeousness!! 

After seeing Tracey's CASE, I wasn't sure mine would hold up, but I was pleasantly surprised with the end product.


This is one of my all-time favorite CASEs. The color, the texture - just everything screams fun and bright and lovely and.... well I could go on, but I think I'll stop there. 
I'm sending my card over to the following challenges:

But I do want to tell you crazies to go check out Tracey's blog. She could use some new friends! She always leaves the sweetest, kindest comments and I promise your click will be worth the effort!
P.S. I know I'm behind on commenting - I'm sorry, my friends! This week has been... well... just unpleasant and that's what I'll say. I'll be making as many rounds this weekend as I can! :) 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Birthday Balloons - ATG at Crafty Gals Corner

It snowed! Huzzah! For most of the winter, my town has been a frigid example of all things winter: -30 degree windchills on a regular basis, icy sidewalks, shuffling steps - you know the sort. But there has been a definite lack of the white fluffy stuff. I always say that if I have to put up with the cold, I may as well get to frolic around in some snow, too! So yesterday, when I woke up to a winter wonderland full of falling flakes (how do you like that double alliteration) I was decidedly delighted!

But I digress. What I'm really here to talk about today is the new challenge going on over at Crafty Gals Corner this week. 

And it's a good one... Anything Goes!! That's right, no rules, no guidelines, no stodgy old lady with her pointer finger telling you that your card doesn't quiiiite fit the challenge guidelines. Link 'em on up!

As for me, I was given a digi image from Lemon Shortbread called Cute Balloon Girl. (Someone got creative in the naming department.) The name is very apropos though, because she IS adorable and she does have a bunch of awesome balloons which I colored in all shades of bright colors. 

I used a little bit of Glossy Accents to give the balloons a little lift. And then I ran some sheer ribbon down the side. It's the perfect birthday card for my little sis - who's going to turn GAH! 23 this year. Nothing to makes you feel older than when your baby sister is above the age of 16, am I right?

But I digress. My point is that you should totally click on over to Crafty Gals. Why? Because we have three - yes THREE! sponsors this week who just wanna give you stuff. 

Prize: $10 Gift Certificate
Prize: 4 Digital Images

Prize: 3 Digital Images

As for me and my card, we are going to link up to the sketch we used at Mojo Monday and to Party Time Tuesdays Anything Goes

 Thanks for stopping by! Hope to see you over at Crafty Gals soon!