Thursday, February 24, 2011

Blog candy is in the mail

Sorry it took me a little while to get to it... I mailed the blog candy packets yesterday at the same time as sending in my Spring cards for the challenge (I made 14 Easter cards and 14 general cards). I'll upload the cards this afternoon. Right now I've got to run off to church to help with their Thursday lunch for the homeless.

Monday, February 14, 2011


Drumroll... I went to and it drew out (rolled up) comments number 18, 4 and 40. Now I'll have to go back to the comments and see who that is.
Opening up the comments window at the side of the screen...
Comment number 4 belongs to Lisa, who was kind enough to include her email address in her comment.

Comment Number 18 was deleted by the author! Oh dear. Must have been a booboo. I'll draw another number in a minute.

And comment Number 40 came from Karen Y who also included her email in her comment.

Now to replace the comment-that-wasn't. decided to make things easy for me and it selected comment Number 48, belonging to Ann K.

Thank you everyone. I'll get emails off to these three lucky ladies and get addresses to send the pressies to.

I hope you enjoyed the blog skip

I hope you enjoyed the first OWH blog skip on the weekend. I had great fun making my cards and seeing what I could do with the supplies I was given. There'll be another one soon, so keep your eyes peeled for it. I'll draw my three winners a bit later today just in case anyone's running late, but this morning I have 48 comments to choose from.

In the meantime, here are some cards I made over the weekend. The Stamphaven group were holding a spring-themed Challenge week last week and I made some time to play. (Interested? The board is free, and you can go check out the challenges and posts any time to get some inspiration.) I hosted a challenge on one of my favourite topics - punched flowers. The hardest one was the 'raid your stash' challenge - not because you had to dip into old supplies, but because you had to incorporate a rubber stamp that you owned and had never used for a card! I really don't do a lot of stamping and I made plenty of cards that qualified on the stash front, but without a stamp.

Colour challenge - red/orange; and punched flowers
Colour challenge - red/orange and punched flowers (flower was made with a circle punch and a tree punch)

Black and white challenge

Black and white challenge again, made with scrap cardstock and a Martha Stewart border punch

'Clear the Clutter' challenge - using stuff you had lying around on your desk and in your stash)

3D challenge (the bird is done in four layers with cardstock scraps inbetween to raise them more subtly than popdots)

Fruity card challenge

Friday, February 11, 2011

OWH Blog Skip Number One

Welcome to the first Stars and Stamps/Operation Write Home Blog Skip. I'm a little early posting this, but I wanted to make sure that I got it done in time, and I'm in the Florida timezone rather than on the West Coast. If this is the first entry you're seeing, please go back to the Stars and Stamps blog to visit the rest. Here are the rest of the blogs in the skip.
  1. Stars and Stamps
  2. Barb
  3. Yolanda
  4. Cindy
  5. Sandy
  6. Karen
  7. Marianne
  8. Holley
  9. Paula
  10. Seongsook
  11. Cora
Our challenge was simple - each participant was given a card pack with some patterned paper squares and a cute bunny stamp, and asked to make a card using these supplies and whatever else we felt like adding. There were two bunnies in the pack (one to practice on) but I don't do a lot of colouring, so I was able to use both. In other words, you get two cards for the price of one! (note - my scanner has a peculiar quirk - everything I scan comes out MUCH more contrasty than it is IRL. That is not blue ink around the edges of the shield, it's violet almost the same shade as the ribbon!)

The first thing I did was to make this card base with three of the patterned papers. I used my heart border punch to add a little interest. Then I set it aside and started cutting shapes on my Cricut to find the ideal shape for the bunny. I had wanted to use an oval or a heart but it didn't fit the image - the shield fit the stamp on perfectly. I cut a larger shadow layer out of the last paper, and I planned to use it on this card base... but when it was done it was just too busy. So I set the shield aside and used the plain white bunny stamp in a simple square. (If an image doesn't quite fit nicely on the page, tilting it an angle can make a big difference - I could trim a little off two corners without losing any of the image or making it seem too squashed.) It covers up a lot of the center circled panel but that's okay - I like the floral and leaves much better! Lastly I cut the sentiment with my Cricut. It didn't quite 'pop' enough, so I added a very thin black shadow layer beneath it. I fiddled around a bit to find a good placement for the sentiment. I was going to put it straight down the right-hand edge of the card but I wasn't entirely happy about it - then I laid the card down on my desk and the sentiment slid sideways and lo and behold, it fit PERFECTLY on the diagonal! It just goes to show - don't be in such a hurry to glue everything down. It might pay to take your card pieces and play with them awhile to try different arrangements and see what happens.
On to the second card... as I said, I cut this shield to use on the first card but it was too busy - it needed a plain background to make it really stand out. I don't really like colouring, but it was too plain for this background, so I compromised and just coloured in the flower and ladybug with kiddy markers. I lightly inked a plain cream cardbase with one of those fingertip inkers. It's mostly green but I added just a touch of purple to echo the paper colours. I usually cut the decorative band from paper, but I was running out of pieces and I had a purple ribbon exactly the same shade. It already had the lace sewn onto it... All I had to do was to glue it down with my ATG, and use some glue dots to add the punched flowers.

And there's my two-for-one special. Are you inspired by these cards? Want to share some of your own? We hope so! There will be more blog skips through the year, so many of you will get a chance to show your stuff. But why wait? OWH is hosting a full-blown bloghop in March, and signups are open now. You have until March 2 to put your name in. We'd love to see what you can do... In the meantime, enjoy the rest of the skip. Your next stop is Marianne...

But before you go I have one final treat for you - blog candy! I'm a premium bargain-hunter when it comes to Craft supplies, and the good folks at Target put a bunch of stamps on clearance in time for me to grab some. Three lucky people will get one of these stamps and a handmade card from me. Interested? Leave me a comment on this entry and make sure that I have some way to get in touch with you by email or through your blog. Then check back on Monday to see if you are a lucky winner. Good luck!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

S&S Saturday Seminar #1 - take 2

For my first card I redesigned this butterfly card and made it into something entirely different. But I decided to see what I could do with the original pieces, since I wasn't attached to the card. I cut the sentiment out and inked it to give it more dimension and colour, and I mounted it on an inked pink card instead of stamping those rather messy butterflies. I brought the perching butterfly down to the corner of the card, and then I started moving the others around on top of a light ribbon that reminds me of a trellis.(I had to replace the pointy butterfly because it was too damaged to reuse, and two butterflies the same shape works better than three entirely different ones.)
All three butterflies and flower. Nice enough, but it entirely covers up the rose buds on the lace and I wanted them to show.

With the flower removed, the pink embroidery takes center stage.

Swap the two butterflies so that they overlap the sentiment. Which do you like better? This card or the one above? They've both passable, but I know which gets my vote. In this one the butterflies are flying AWAY from the flower, in the one above they're moving TOWARDS it.

S&S Saturday Seminar #1 - Focal Point

OWH is running a series of bi-monthly design seminars on the Stars and Stamps blog. The first one was posted on the weekend, and it focuses on creating a focal point for your card. You can see the seminar post (and download a printable pdf for your files) here.

The idea is very simple - often when our cards look like they don't quite work out the way we wanted, it's because they don't have a good strong focal point to pull your eye in and tell you where to look first. We were asked to look through our files or collections and find some older cards that we weren't quite happy with, and to try to remake them with the seminar in mind. If I say so myself, I've got a pretty good eye for colour and design and I when I look at a card I can usually tell if it's a success or not. If I don't like it, it doesn't go anywhere except the trash can, and I certainly don't record it for posterity! lol But I had a pretty good example sitting on my shelf - last year I made birthday cards for our church and the one that came back to me when it was my turn was one that really didn't quite make it.

Here it is in all its unfocused glory. The elements are pretty enough, but it's a jumbled mess and nothing really stands out as the 'important' part of the card. I had some cute stickers and I had a cute butterfly punch and I had a RAKed frame... and I threw them together and called it a card.

I happened to have another copy of the image, this one in red, so I contemplated it for awhile and then made this card instead. I left a skinny white frame around the outside to help make it stand out, and coloured in very selectively. I used a very fine marker instead of wishy-washy coloured pencil, and I put a tiny little diamente in the center of the baby-sized flower.
I was very happy with the design, but alas, I made a big booboo. I stamped some 'shadow' butterflies onto the cardstock (actually looking at it, it would have been better off without them, but I was trying to echo the original card!) and after it was assembled I decided it needed just one more, and of course I managed to get ink on the white frame! With such a simple design that's enough to ruin it for good, unless I can think of a way to salvage it. :(

Okay, some quick thinking. If a card is messed up on the edge, what can you do? Recolour it (which would have been a distraction to the eye) or trim it off and remount it! I got my favourite deckle-edged scissors and made an edge, and remounted the card onto a darker cardstock that echoes the colour of the marker. I had a red-checked ribbon I was going to run down the side of the card, but it was too much of a distraction and the colour wasn't quite right, so I used a border punch instead. It echoes the red-and-white of the image and draws your eye down to that corner of the card. I was going to put a butterfly on the corner of the card overlapping the punch and image, but it was just too much of a distraction. When it comes to clean-and-simple, LESS IS MORE!!!!!!!!!!