Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Stamping is good therapy

... after a day like yesterday, with all the horrible news from Virginia Tech. I just cannot believe what humans can do to each other. My prayers and my heart go out to those left behind to deal with all the mess, emotional and otherwise. I just ... I don't even know what else I could say. It just cuts me to the core.

So, I've had to bury myself in my craft loft, which hasn't been easy because when I'm blindsided with horrible things like what happened yesterday, it's hard to shift my focus. Fortunately I had a few projects already in the works, so I just finished those, and then today I did do a whole new one, but honestly, it was really hard to get it finished! My brain just did not want to focus.

So, here are the new cards:

This one is Paper Tole and "Pearl Ex Gets Floored" (also called Painted Pearls). Paper Tole is basically where you cut out two or more of the same image and make it three-dimensional to reflect the shape of the real thing. So it's more than just sticking two Doodle Flower images together; for this flower it meant curling the petals downward and then layering the two cutouts. Some Paper Tole is really involved, with all kinds of separate petals, leaves, whatever. I'm not that gifted! lol I painted both the flower and the doodles with an aqua painter filled with Future Floor Finish and then dipped in Pearl Ex. I'm not hugely pleased with how the doodles came out (people like me with shaky hands just cannot paint good lines, no matter if they're curved or straight!), but it's okay enough to show it in public. ;-) I like the effect, I just wish I could control the paintbrush better. All images are Stampin' Up! (I think I got this one watermarked ...)

The background on this one is a technique called "Alcohol Press", which basically involves artistically dropping alcohol inks on acetate, mixing with blender and then brayering around artistically. I don't want to give away too much, because this is a Technique Junkies technique, and really, if you want to know how to do it, you should subscribe! (This is $18US WELL SPENT!! I can't say that enough.) Images are Sunday International and Club Stamp.

This is another TJ technique called "Distress Dragging" -- only I used SU dye inks instead of distress inks. Images are from Chapel Road Art Stamps. I hadn't tried this technique before, and it's a bit of hard work, especially when you have to repeat it four times like I always do, to get four cards.

This is another TJ technique (see how much I love TJ!!!) It's another one that's very hard to do four times in succession, so for now this is the only one. It's the embossing that's hard work, especially for this stencil. My hand kept cramping up! So the technique is called "Embossed Pearls", I think. You're supposed to use dark cardstock, but I don't have a Cuttlebug or similar machine, and I just really haven't gotten the hang of "reverse embossing" where you put the stencil on top of dark cardstock, then lay that over a mousepad and emboss on what will be the back side. Mine didn't turn out well enough defined. So, anyway, I used light colored cardstock, and the Spring Green, Blue/Green Duo and Interference Gold Pearl Ex.

And last, but certainly not least, the one I did today, the exhausting one:

The technique is Alcohol Smoosh (again, TJ), and I used glass beads on the grid image. All stamps are Club Stamp. Cutting out the clear double-sided adhesive to go over the grid (four times) was hard work! But I really like the way it gave some depth and shimmer to the grid.

I find myself using fewer SU stamps lately because of the "can't sell your cards made with SU images in permanent storefronts, including internet storefronts", even though I haven't really begun to do that yet. But I do want to try out Etsy and see how that goes, so I can't use any SU images on cards I sell there.

Well, here's hoping and praying we can all get back to some semblance of normal after yesterday's tragedy. What breaks my heart is knowing that there are many, many other families and loved ones who will never be "normal" again.

Boy, do we need to welcome God back into this country!

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Finally got some craft loft time!

Had another stupid migraine today, but finally got it knocked out (after it knocked ME out, lol), and managed to do some playing in the loft. Actually, what I did was play with some things I'd already begun, since my brain, rather "hung over" on migraine meds, wasn't feeling like trying to think up something new.

Yesterday (I think it was), one of the ladies in my Stampin' Up! Yahoo group posted a link to a tutorial on her blog called "Faux Watercoloring". It uses SU's Color Spritzer tool, and it's a pretty kewl technique! And very easy. Here's the URL to her site: http://stampinupinspirations.blogspot.com (Don't know why I can't get those darned links to work!)

So here's what I did with it:

I had an absolute dickens of a time getting the colors to scan properly. In fact, they never did show up right, so I had to go into Photoshop Elements and adjust them. And in fact, I ended up having to actually use the "Paint Bucket" (color fill) tool on the card base (which is Elegant Eggplant, not black, like it looked) and on the little tabs (which are Glorious Green, not some weird turquoise). It's still not perfect. The ink colors are actually Orchid Opulence and Gable Green (backgrounds) and the daisy is colored with purple, gold and green Twinkling H2Os. Oh, and the brads are gold. The background behind the daisy is an SU wheel, and the daisy itself is, I think, Impression Obsession, although I would have to go up to the loft and double check that if I were asked to. I'm tellin' ya -- major brain fog right now! And ya know what? I didn't put the stinkin' watermark on this one. Well, mainly because the main image is NOT SU, so that would be complicated.

Here's another card I did the other day, using a Technique Junkies technique called "Modern Grid". It is SUPER simple, and I love how it turned out. Stamps are Art Neko, Enchanted Ink and Posh, Ltd.

I don't know, my scanner just can't handle purples very well. Anyway, the colors of the card are Lovely Lilac, Sage Shadow and Summer Sun.

I'm off to bed now. Got church tomorrow, Praise Team rehearsal beforehand at 9:00, and I'm just praying my meds "hangover" will be gone by then!

As my former worship minister, Bob-with-the-pierced-eyebrow used to say in his e-mails --
Peace out!

Making things right ...

Somehow, in all the vast quantity of text that is the SU Demonstrator's manual, I missed that I'm supposed to put an SU copyright notice on all creations I make with SU images. I'm not going to go back in right now and put it on the images I've already posted, but I will be doing that from now on. Not like y'all really care, but I want to be sure I'm doing the right thing!

Also, if you notice, I've added a "Note about CASEing" to my sidebar. It's just basically asking you to be nice and not "steal" my designs so that you can submit them to magazines, contests, etc. with YOUR name on them instead of MINE. Just a fairness thing, really. I rarely ever CASE anything exaxtly. (CASE means "Copy And Steal/Share Everything". I like for designs to ultimately be my own, even if I've just changed a small thing. And I imagine you do, too. So it's just there as a reminder to do the right thing.

Migraine coming on. Off to bed.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Did I say "Spring"? WHAT Spring???

Tomorrow is Easter (or, as I prefer calling it, "Resurrection Day"). This is Central Texas. In April. Should be 80 degrees F, right? Hahahahahahahaha ... I laugh in your general direction! It's in the 30s and sleeting!! SLEETING! The DAY BEFORE EASTER!!! My bluebonnets aren't very happy, although the pansies look pretty resigned to it.

BUT -- at least it was a good day to stay in the craft loft! I got a couple of cards made (remember that I make 4 of everything, so it takes longer than just doing singles), both using the "Drumroll" technique from Technique Junkies' latest newsletter. (Run to www.patstamps.com right now and sign up!!) They're having a "challenge" with that technique right now on the TJ Yahoo group, so I'm not going to post them until after that (I'm entering them), but I'm pretty pleased with the way they turned out!

I have another couple of cards that I CAN show you that I've done in the last week. For some reason I just haven't been all that productive in the loft lately. Partly this is because it had turned into the craft room from hell, so I had to do some serious re-organizing in there, and that took several days. I ended up moving all the "rarely used" stuff into the cabinets in my bathroom and Aidan's. We've lived here four years and have hardly put anything in them (the main bathroom I use for makeup, etc., is downstairs), so they were just sitting there waiting to be used. It was great, because it cleared out a whole bunch of space that I could move other things that I DO use a lot into, and it just feels more spacious in there right now. I was able to move my big SU rotating inkpad holder from my desk to the top of the shelf behind me, which really helped! I hadn't realized how crowded having that thing on the desk made me feel. Now I have more room to fling papers and fibers and bits!

But then the new TJ newsletter came out, and I had a swap due, so I had to do some playing, right?

So here's the first one:
This one is done with a new technique called "Cottoned Color". The stamps are foam stamps from Heidi Swapp. It's a nice card to look at on a cold day like this!

And here's the one I did for a Thinking of You swap:

This one was done with an older TJ technique -- "Rainbow Strip Flip" -- plus one that's a batiked version of Brayered Madras. I was pretty pleased with the way it came out -- the only other swap experience I've had, I just couldn't think of anything good and didn't really like the card I ended up turning in.

Well, I've pretty much run out of things to talk about, so I'm off to ... do more goofing off, I guess!

Blessed Resurrection Day!