Sunday, March 31, 2013

Enjoy this Day...PS SPARKS Picture Perfect Challenge

Five – that’s the ‘official’ number of times we’ve been to Bend.   Our familiarity with the city makes returning almost like a ‘home-coming,’ – we know where to go, for what we need, and rarely need the guidance of a map to help us reach our destination.  Each time we visit (in July), however, in the midst of those places we consider special (and miss when we’re at home, like Trader Joe’s!!), the twists and turns of the roads inevitable lead us to something fresh and new.   Trip one, it was the beauty of the routes my husband raced in the Cascade Classic and the Old Mill Shopping District; trip two, took us to the gorgeous residential area of Broken Top,  with the adorable vacation rental home that I so wanted to take back with us (where are those house-movers when you need them? J).  Trip 3, was ‘wedding year’ for us, and in looking for a ring for my husband (cyclist – titanium.  Wouldn’t want something that ‘adds weight’ even if it’s a micro gram!!), we ventured into Silverado, with its unique jewelry selection; even though time frames prevented us from buying his ring there, a stop to gaze and admire is always on my ‘when in Bend, go here’ list (and I don’t even wear jewelry!).  Trip 4 – this past July -  took us to a part of the city we didn’t even know existed, and we discovered it only because I had ‘recently’ been afflicted with my card-making affliction.  I’d scoped out a most charming little shop (since closed…sadly), and off we went.  

Trip 5 is no exception, and even on this but our second full day here, we’ve seen a showcase of “firsts” on many levels: a first ‘spring’ visit; a ‘first’ to an Easter Celebration at St. Francis of Assisi church; a first to a Costco in the US (awesome prices!!); and my favourite so far:  a first (and as of about an hour ago – second) hike along the Deschutes River Trail.  Best part – it’s literally just outside the front door of where we’re staying!   Yes indeed, I do LOVE Bend!  Tomorrow, we’re shopping in the morning and come afternoon, well…I have a date with a certain delightful, invigorating nature trail!!

Anyway, after all that, time to get at ‘er with my post’s ‘real’ purpose:  submitting my entry to the Paper Smooches SPARKS Picture Perfect challenge. 

As I mentioned in a previous post, my new PS stamps arrived just prior to our trip, and with such excellent timing, I headed straight for the challenge.
My ‘re-vision’ of the picture included:  creating a ‘corkboard-ish’ frame adhered to a white cardstock background; the colours, circularity (that’s a word, right?), and layers of the buttons is reflected in my butterflies’ colours and the circles that they’re ‘lit upon.’  I added the sentiment because I could!!  New PS stamps = new opportunities, and I took ‘em! 

Yes, as usual, my contribution is a bit of a stretch (Bend on my mind..), but making a card to showcase my ‘new family members’ was a treat in and of itself. 
Thanks for dropping by, and if you leave a comment, know that it’s welcomed and appreciated, deeply!
Wishes to you to  discover the ‘new’ in the familiar; if we’re willing to see and explore, we never know what delights await! 
Happy Easter!!

I'm beyond honoured to be selected as a 'Featured Player' for this entry:  So grateful!!

Hope...CASology card (and a cas post!)

Our time in Bend is wonderful, filled with new discoveries.  One discovery, however, is that the internet is 'temperamental', which means a "CAS" post from me for this go-round (do I hear cheering???).

The theme at CASology this week:  Hope.

and I tried very hard (very!) to follow the CAS guidelines, because I am sooooo guilty in *sort of* not paying them sufficient heed. 

My card is cas...really fact, so cas that I'm not sure it even fits being cas, especially in the realms of the other beautiful cas cards already submitted.  My Memory Box butterfly (gift from my husband, as I mentioned in a previous post), came out to play once again, as did a sentiment from Verve.  I die cut the butterfly on a layer of white cardstock, placed patterned paper underneath, added the butterfly in pink + brown (the right wing lays flat) and stamped the sentiment.  Seriously cas...

Hope = Anything is possible.

Thanks for dropping by, and if you leave a comment, know that it's welcomed and appreciated - deeply!!

I hope you're having a wonderful Easter Celebration; may this season of 'new beginnings' bring you abundant blessings!  To all those traveling:  safe, happy journeys!!

Darn - missed the deadline - but glad I played!!

Friday, March 29, 2013

Butterfly Muse...MUSE Challenge #10

We are in Bend, Oregon, nestled in our adorable vacation rental, with a view of the Cascade Mountains outside the living room window.  If you read my previous post, you'll know how much I love Bend!  So, with a bit of time before I do my part for dinner preparations, and while my husband is putting finishing touches on getting his road bike re-assembled, I'm chiming in to share my 'pre-trip card' made for this week's MUSE Challenge #10.   After two long days of driving, I sure hope what I write makes sense!  I admit, I'm a tad travel-weary, but we're in BEND!  Love this city!

Ardyth's cards are always, always day-brighteners and smile-makers with their cas style, bold colours, and the ever engaging and entertaining accompanying posts.

Her MUSE card is perfect for a birthday celebration:

In my card, I've tried to 're-vision' those elements of Ardyth's card that inspired me: the colours, the 'movement' of the circles, and of course, the sentiment.  My additional inspiration: new PS stamps that appeared in my mailbox the day before we left!   Talk about an order arriving with perfect timing!  I stamped and cut out a variety of butterflies to 'replicate' Ardyth's circles, on pattermed paper that reflected several of the colours she chose.  

I hope my 're-take' does justice to Ardyth's card, as she is, indeed, incredibly talented!

Thanks for dropping by and if you leave me a comment, know it's welcomed and appreciated deeply.

Wishes for a Happy Easter - and to all who have ventured beyond home this weekend:  safe, relaxing, rejuvenating journeys!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Happy Birthday and Happy Dance!!... TAWS BE Inspired #24 and Retrosketches #56

I've been in a happy dance mood all day, because tomorrow, my husband and I are travelling south of the border to one of my favourite places EVER:  Bend, OR.  I. LOVE. BEND!  This will be a new excursion for us, as for the last four summers (time flies!), Bend has been a summer destination where my husband competes in the Cascade Classic road cycling stage race.  Because of his racing, we've seen the most lovely of places: the stunning scenery of the 'back roads' route that leads to Mt. Bachelor; the lovely forested enveloped road that heads outside of the city from Summit High School; the quaint and charming downtown that becomes the hub of the criterium race, populated with major crowds when the pro riders are on course; and the gorgeous rolling (and steep!) hills of Aubrey Butte.

Just thinking about Bend has me smiling...Trader Joe's (please, no laughing, but I do love Charles Shaw wine!!)...Old Mill District...the Deschutes River...the Cascade Mountains...Gossamer yarn store...sighhhh...Did I mention that I. LOVE. BEND??  Even though it's a two day drive from home - Kenniwick WA is the first stop on the way to Bend; Kelowna, BC on the return trip (where we spend time with my husband's family)- and a whirlwind week's time frame for travel, it's all wonderful.  Just plain wonderful!

Anyway, in and amongst the happy dancing, house cleaning, laundry and 'pondering' what to pack (not done yet - I tend to over-pack if I do so too early), I focused (well, tried!) on making cards, to keep the buzzing anticipation at bay.  Now I'm wondering...did I get those challenges straight??

Today's card is a combined entry to TAWS BE Inspired #24, based on this delightful  'points of many entries' photo that was mightily challenging (lots of stretching with this one!) and  Retrosketches #56:                                                                               

Here's my card:  TAWS freebie Happy Birthday sentiment, nestled inside the doodly frame, (and popped up) from the No Peeking set, and papers from Carta Bella's So Noted collection.  Such pretty patterns; hopefully, the colours do justice to the inspiration photo.  Lori's sketch is great and one I'll definitely use again.  Because my button stash is quite (ummm...extremely!) meagre, I opted for hearts.

Thanks for dropping by!  Wishes for a Happy Easter and a safe, blessed, relaxing and rejuvenating weekend!  
Did I mention that I. LOVE. BEND??  Yes...I thought so, but just in case...and, oh my,a 'little' card-making package has made its way into my suitcase!  I wonder how that happened...

This card received 'shout out' status:  I am sooooo honoured! Thank you:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Easter Butterflies...CAS(E) #20 and CAS-ual Fridays 95

I have the most amazing husband. Ever!  Saturday, he returned home from a two and a half week work-related trip, where he was involved in various facets of a national sports championship.  Imagine my surprise when he 'discovered' a little package had 'magically' appeared in his suitcase and 'could only be' meant for me:  a butterfly die!  Yes, you read that right!  My husband entered a craft store, selected a butterfly die (proving he does listen when I babble on about what's on my card-making wish list...bless him for his patience, although he does get this funny glazed look...) on  his own (so he claimed) and bought it for me.  Amazing gift in all respects: thoughtful, heart-warming, delightfully surprising.  The die: Memory Box's Vivienne Butterfly.  Absolutely exquisite!!

Thrilled with my new 'treat' - and knowing that he'd appreciate some time on his own to work on his road bike - I set to work to create Easter cards for my mom and dad, and my sister and brother-in-law.  CAS(E) this Sketch #20's pocket themed sketch inspired my 'vision' - and then once I was done, I realized my cards, with their printer-generated sentiments were 'stamp free', the requirement for CAS-ual Fridays Challenge #95.  One beautiful die, two challenges to aspire to, and  a fantastic husband:  blessings, plus!!

Here's CAS(E) this Sketch #20:

and CFC #95

Here are my two cards, with their 'ever so slight' differences...

First for my mom and dad:

and then for my sister and brother-in-law:

Added bonus: a first time outing for my new EP For the Record 2 paper.   Stunning patterns. If you look closely at the 'pockets,' they feature the flowered paper, accented along the top with small orange polka dot and yellow dots-and-diamond patterns.  The butterflies are cut from the same paper, selected to match colours in the pocket.  Love the butterfly die!  LOVE!  (My pockets are a bit 'big'...hmmmm)

Thanks for dropping by.  Hope your day is filled with rose, tangerine, lemon, lime and blush pink...colours of spring; colours of Easter...

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Cool Shades Chickies...Paper Smooches SPARKS Mar. 18-24 Challenge

Spring is in the air (well, sort of, as we awoke to -21C this morning); spring is in the colour palettes of home decor and fashion; spring is in my step, as the days grow longer; and spring is definitely evident in this week's  PS SPARKS Cool Shades Challenge.  

My cards (again) are targeted for my niece and nephew.  The citron colours, combined with the concept of 'fiesta' sent me to my PS Chubby Chums stamps, to create Easter cards - and who fits that centre stage role better than the plumpy little gumdrop chick.  In one version, its dapper in polka dots; the other, in yellow 'pin-stripes.'  I cast an egg or two into the mix, and a bit of greenery...Hopefully, you'll recognize all the fiesta colours in my cards; some are obvious, while others are more subtle, found in little X's and O's.

Here's the PS Fiesta

First up is the card for my niece (a big of a 'forest' chickie, nestled in a cosy nest of jungle leaves)

and the one for my nephew,

Here's the twosome: 

Yes, simple, simple, simple, but since that chick is just so cute and I couldn't 'hatch' (couldn't resist - should have, but didn't) ideas for what else to add, I decided to leave well enough alone.  Inside - wishes for "Happy Easter," an "Aunty C" note and the best part - gift cards for ice cream.  Hmmm...maybe they'll hold off on the ice cream until I visit next...

Thanks for dropping by.  Wishes that your day is filled with play and love!

Update:  My little chick card was selected as a Featured Player for this challenge (scroll past the new challenge)!  I'm so honoured and thrilled!  Thank you PS!! 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Thinking of You...The Paper Players #137

The Sketch from The Paper Players Challenge #137 this week is wonderful, yet it took three 'takes' before I made one I was willing to share.  The not-selected cards are kinda-sorta cute, but didn't have the 'look' I was aiming for.  They'll have their 'limelight' opportunity in another post, non-challenge connected.

Speaking of poor card wasn't done in time to take advantage of decent lighting for its photo op.  For some reason (wait...there is a reason: my photography skills are lame!), my cream cardstock has a pinky hue, and I don't know how to tinker with the 'colour' options well enough to change that.  The 'in person' visual is much prettier.

Again, the field of entries is sheer delight, filled with all manner of creative takes on the 'cas' sketch.  In the mdist of all the prettiness, is my humble little entry, with its butterflies, flower and simple sentiment. 

Here's the sketch:

and here's my take...

Thanks for dropping by!  Warm wishes for a wonderful first weekend of 'Spring'...

Monday, March 18, 2013

Twinkle Star #2 ("Blue for Boys)...CAS(E) this Sketch #19

Hello again; I'm back with a card for my nephew that came about after our Skype episode on Saturday (I shared this in my previous post).   At age 1, my nephew's not much a conversationalist, but he sure holds his own on 'looking cute as a button' on the Skype screen.  Even though I missed his first birthday (sad, sad, sad!), 'in person,' at least we had a 'post party exclusive audience' visit.  Glad I figured out this Skype thing, although I could be spending grande amounts of time chatting with my long-distance sweeties...I rather like that possibility!!

With CAS(E) this Sketch #132 as inspiration,

I made a simple card 'thinking about you' card for the little guy, as a companion to the one I made for my niece.  

Hope he likes his stars and hearts - because he sure brings twinkles and love into my life - and the life of all of us!!  Who knew being an Aunty would be so awesome!!

Thanks for dropping by!  Hope you're feeling love today, from the stars that twinkle in your life.

Pink Twinkle Stars...Case Study #132

On Saturday, I finally figured out how to Skype (I know *HELLO! Skype's been around for ages!!*) for one reason only:  to see and chat with my niece and nephew, who at 3 and 1, are growing up way, way too fast! My niece and I had a most delightful conversation - if not a touch disjointed (Aunty's fault - so much to catch up on!!) - and when it was time for her to head off to 'bath and bed', oh my!  Whenever we visit, saying "See you later" - which usually means weeks later - is ever so hard; Skyping was no different!  Sighh...BUT instead of feeling 100% sad and teary (I opted for 99.9%) all weekend, I delved into making her a card, with a sentiment that comes from the song she always sings to me...

Inspiration from the card comes from Julie Ebersole's stunning card showcased as Challenge #132, at CASE Study.

Thank you, Julie, for showing me how pretty 'simple' can be.  While my card still seems to need "something" (perhaps some splatters??), I'm feeling rather okay with my little sky of pink polka-dotted stars...

 Hope 'my girl' will recognize - on the card and every day - the "love" that surrounds her, my 'Twinkle Star'...

Thanks for dropping by!  Hope you have lots of 'little stars' who bring twinkles and love to your days.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Welcome Baby...Kitten, that is...PS Designer Drafts

It's been a week for babies around here!  Last week, a friend welcomed a great nephew into her life, and today, another colleague is bringing home her baby...a sweet, cute, Persian kitten!  I've seen pictures of little Sisi, and oh my goodness - she's enough to melt anyone's heart with her black and smokey-tipped fur, a smooshed wee nose, and the bluest of eyes.  Swoon...adorable with a capital "A."

I followed this week's Paper Smooches Designer Drafts Challenge to create - what else - but a welcome baby card for my friend.  She wasn't expecting Sisi to 'arrive' for another couple of weeks, however, when the call came to say 'come and get her,' my friend was on the road, ready to gather her 'special delivery.'  I imagine Sisi's paws won't touch the ground for a long time once she arrives home!  She's such a bundle of fluffy kitty darling!

Here's the Designer Draft:

and here's my PS Sparked "You're Purrr-fect" baby welcome:

Yes, I know - Sisi is blackish-grey, but in the world of gumdrop kittens, any colour goes!!

I'm excited to meet Sisi later this week; my friend's planning a baby shower!!!  

Thanks for dropping by!  I hope you have a "Purrr-fect" evening, snuggling with whoever is cute and cuddly in your life!!

Come Play...TAWS Stampy Sunday Linky Party

Dear Arielle,

Your cheery Sunday morning, Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Watcha doin'????  greeting was a happy coincidence to shift the ‘possible’ flavour of this day – snowfall warning in effect, temperatures dropping, gloomy skies, general ‘blechy-ness’ – to one of brightness!  A dreary, blustery, chilly day is the perfect reason to hibernate; and what better hibernation activity than to accept your invitation to join in on a TAWS Stampy SundayLinky Party??   *smile – big, wide, smile*  Make a TAWS card today, post, link = easy peasy!  

With the Milan-San Remo road cycling race on in the background (“Go Team Garmin-Sharp, Go”  - Ryder Hesjedal fan, big time, even though he isn’t racing this event – saving himself for another Giro d’Italia win J. ), I settled down to create.  While “technically” I didn’t get ‘inky’, as I dabbled once again with your oh-so-adorable paintbrush and sentiment freebies, I did get “colour-y” and most definitely “TAWS-y”.   My card is 100% a ‘today’ effort, with only a few distractions in its creation, as I watched and listened to the bike race unfold.  My husband - who races competitively – though not at the pro level by any stretch! – is away this weekend, tending to a National Biathlon Championship, so I've been tasked with 'race synopsis' duty.  I’ll have plenty to tell him: about the uncharacteristically heavy snowfall that lead to the race being re-routed and its length shortened; about the crashes (slick roads + fast bike = inevitable crashes!); and *most important* about how I came close to cutting myself with my super sharp pointy scissors whilst averting my eyes from the crashes!   Anyway, no major injuries sustained – neither bike-race or scissor-wielding wise.

Here’s my card -  simple, almost *cas* (I think), and it makes me smile.  The best feature of my card:  those paintbrushes.  CUTE +++  I hope my crayola crayon colouring did them justice.

Now that my card’s done, time to tackle some chores, bake some cookies (all for me!!), and call my mom.

I’ll sign off my note, Arielle, by saying THANK YOU for ‘adding colour’ to my day, and I hope my card adds some to yours, as well!

Thank you for dropping by!  Happy St. Patrick's Day, Happy Sunday, Happy *Almost* Spring Day!!

Friday, March 15, 2013

Just a Note...Retro sketches #54

CAS and me - we're just not jivin' very well with one another!  My #1 issue = the 'empty' space that, in my view, just seems, well...empty.  Big.  Vast.  Nothingness.  That same space, on the gorgeous cards I see others create, though, is perfect.  Fitting.  Eye-catching.  How curious that my 'perspective' spectrum is at either end, with no middle ground.  Evidently, my next 'cas assignment' is to spend more time exploring the loveliness of 'uncluttered' space, because while I 'get it,' I don't 'do it.'  All this learning and 'trying' - frustrating at times, but when something 'clicks,' oh, but the happy dance is wild!  That's one reason (amongst many) why I enjoy tackling the Retro sketches challenges - for the stretch, for the creative tickle, for the occasional 'grrrr..." and especially, for the 'learning.'  Whether I've learned what worked, or what didn't - it's all a positive, in the end!!

In my Retro sketches #54 entry, I attempted to mirror the 'band+sentiment' portion of the sketch, keeping it on the lower portion of the card.  The bow and the empty space - that's where 'spiral off in a new direction' occurred.  I tried placing the patterned paper, postage stamp frame and flower/sentiment on a longer card, but it seemed so...bare!!  Next option - that I think 'sort of worked' considering the sentiment speaks to 'just a note' - was to create a 'note-sized' card.  The wee empty space was space I could handle.  As I steps!  The bow - oh, how I envy all of you accomplished bow-makers - I replaced with two latte-coloured pearls, that matched the light browns in the patterned paper.  While my card isn't a full-on rendition of the retro sketch, it has its moments.  Best part - I had fun!!  Next best part - it's already in an envelope, ready to send to my aunt.  "Just a note" to let her know I'm thinking about her...

Here's the inspiration sketch:

and here's my little 4 X 4 take - part retrosketch and part me. 

The paper is pretty. - love those flowers -  from a 6 X 6 pad called "Hopscotch."

Thanks for dropping by.  "Just a note" to wish you a day filled with flowers and simplicity...

Baby Smooches...The Paper Players

A couple of weeks ago, I started following the 'charge up your creative batteries' challenges over at The Paper Players and finally decided to toss my hat card in the ring.  The focus on colour, as you see in the image below, sent me searching through my paper stash to create a card for a colleague who just recently became 'Great Aunt" to a new nephew.

As the submission date drew closer, and the stunning entries became more numerous, as usual, my new-comer "should I or shouldn't I" indecision kicked in.  I saw a gorgeous field of cards awash in lovely shades of rose, blue, lime, with just 'hints' of expresso.  My offering seemed such a contrast, especially with its 'bold' background of brown.  Having a card 'stand out' is often a good thing, but doing so because yours seems a bit (okay, maybe a lot) out of step is quite another.  On the plus side, however, I've read the delightfully encouraging comments the Paper Players design team share and that, along with the supportive nature of this community in general, gave me plenty of incentive.  After a couple nights pondering, I've decided to take the plunge.  

Here I first entry to The Paper Players, with my interpretation to Colour Challenge #136.

To the Paper Players - thank you for inspiring my "Baby Smooches" colour palette and offering an opportunity to 'play with paper.'  To those who view my card - I hope you like my little 'celebration' of my colleague's new family member, her "great nephew."  To those who comment - thank you!  Your comments always brighten my day!!

Thanks for dropping by!  May you have a gentle day, filled with pastel colours....

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Fly, little Butterfly, Fly...TAWS #23

Yet another fantastic challenge at TAWS (#23) this time around - and the cross promo/double challenge with 3 Girl Jam simply added to the 'adventure potential.'  The photo of the stacked pillows (or are they, ottomen? Perhaps 'footstools.' Not sure what to call them, but they're sure stinkin' cute!!), the wood wall and fence, and the green wood 'button' offered SO much inspiration.  The stunning cards from the DT over the two week time-frame amplified how one image results in multiple perspective.s  Even with all the angles to explore, possibilities to consider, and details to focus on, I wasn't sure this was a challenge within my scope.  I hemmed, hawed, pondered, puzzled...almost decided 'nope,' don't have the foggiest about where to begin even 'thinking' about what to do.  And then, I remembered the butterfly freebie...and I noticed the little diamonds on the bottom pillow...and the red, the yellow, the aqua...

Here's the inspiration photo:
and here's my "Fly..." card, 

Isn't the butterfly freebie amazing (THANK YOU for sharing it with us!! I sure hope my paper-piecing did them justice!

Thanks for stopping by!  May your dreams and hopes take wing and 'fly' today...

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

CAS...I think!! CAS(E) #18

Guess what I did *finally*!  I read the definition of CAS, before creating my card for CAS(E) #18, and realized how non-CAS some of my 'attempted' CAS cards are.  Okay,that's a nonsensical sentence, but if you've seen some of my cards, you'll be nodding your head - vigourously - in agreement.  So, newly enlightened and striving very hard uphold the key aspects of what constitutes 'clean and simple,' I'm hoping my card today is a step in the right direction!   Oddly, the "thinking" about this card took longer than the making...

Simple ingredients for this simple card (now I'm concerned it's too basic!!): 
  • Authentique "Fresh" paper (no idea when I even bought this up-until-yesterday poor neglected paper pad.  A new stash discovery, sort of 'vintage-y')
  • a doily die, ticket die and stamp, 
  • a fussy-cut butterfly and
  • a wee red pearl. 
Combine.  Card made.

Here's CAS(E) #18:

Here's my card :
(apologies for the colour, as it's actually more vibrant than the photo shows - the cardstock is 'solar white'...truly!!):

Thanks for stopping by!  A 'ticket' for you, to redeem for a day filled with all things warm and rosy...

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Smiles, and more Smiles...PS SPARKS Trend Watch

From first view of the PS SPARKS Trend Watch Inspiration Photo, to the 400th - because I'm sure I've looked at it minimally that many times! - the same thought repeats:  I want that pantry!  Seriously, all that healthy goodness, beautifully organized, all in one place? Big want.  On the other hand, if I opened a cupboard filled with smiling fruits, veggies, beverages - guaranteed I couldn't eat or drink a single thing!    Chowing down on a smiling orange, or cauliflower, or carrot - nope.  I'd end up *friending* them all, and who knows what would happen next...
I'll set aside my musings, and turn to the task at hand - sharing my smiley card with you.

Here's the delightful photo:

That cauliflower is such a cutie-patootie!!

and here's my card...using a PS freebie...

The happy sun face and the happy pantry - they just seemed to 'compliment' one another!  Hope you think so, too!

Before you go, check out Shannon's fantastically happy card here   So many smiles; so much joy!  Love it!!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you a day filled with smiles, sunshine and rays of colourful happiness!  

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Thank You Trio ~ Muse Challenge #7

  • Okay class, who needs to add some kraft to their paper collection?  *hand up*
  • Who needs to add big, blossomy, bloomy flower stamps to their stash?  *hand up*
  • Who needs to learn about pigment inks...and dye inks..and chalk inks *enthusiastic raising of hand* and how to use them? *waving hand - already up - wildly"
  • Who needs to add bold sentiments stamps to their shopping list (not wish list, but shopping list) *hand up, hangs head*
  • Who appears to be just a "tad" not-so-well-prepared for tackling the awesome 7th Challenge over at Muse? *slowly raising hand*...but wants to give 'er a try anyway? *jumps up, exclaiming yes, yes and YES!*
Okay, that's my situation a nutshell.  No kraft, no white ink, no bloomy flower stamps, no big sentiments and limited skills at creating 'straight' squares and rectangles.  So, taking on a challenge that...well, challenged my resources (or lack thereof) - I was quite puzzled.  Head-scratching puzzled.  And solving such issues sometimes takes me on interesting turns.  This was one of those turns.

As  gorgeous entry after gorgeous entry appeared at Muse Challenge #7 - with stunning stamped  images, eye-catching sentiments and all around 'creativity - I realized I really needed to step-up-to the plate.  Result:   a trio of 4" x 4" Thank You cards.  Yes, my backgrounds are patterned papers, my sentiments are housed in a die-cut frames/tags, but...I did paper-piece a little 'something' on each card!!  Yayyy... I took the Challenge details - "Be creative and make a card that reflects your own personal style and flair" - to heart.  The bonus take-away:  discovering the "pretty" in some of my neglected patterned papers.  Love Muse Challenges - they take me to such interesting places in my designing, and in my 'collections'...

Here's Laurie's beautiful card:

and here's my trio....
Card #1 

Frame is popped up; flower is paper-pieced

Card #2
Butterfly is paper-pieced with a little blue body pearl

Card #3
Little flower is paper-pieced

And here they are together....

Thank you for stopping by!   Wishing all of you who entered a gi-normous THANK YOU for sharing your artistry with me!  I'm learning so much (really!!).  

Friday, March 8, 2013

Twinkle, Twinkle...Retrosketch #53

Oh my -  I almost didn't finish my retrosketch #53 card on time!  I could 'blame' this on my lack of organization, or my limited supplies, or my 100% inability to tackle anything that asks for 'straight lines,' (serious case of 'straight-line challenged'), or any number of excuses.  Truth is: sometimes I submit at the 'last moment'  because I'm humbled by the 'amazingness' of all the entries that appear.  So much prettiness!   I look at my *attempt* and I play the comparison game.  Not. smart.  Rather than seeing what I've done that's'different,' or what 'risk' I've taken, I see 'not good enough.'  Doubt creeps in; I begin to question whether I should play, or not.  Net result:. pity-fest!!  Silliness, actually!

In my previous post, I shared my little card + envelope duo, based on my husband's passion for cycling, combined with a quote by Eddie Merckx, a professional cyclist:  "Ride. Lots."  Those two words truly are secrets to success:  to get 'better' at anything, you need to do it - to practice, to try, to persevere - lots.

So, when the doubt crops up, I entertain the mood (for a bit), and eventually remember: these challenges are about learning, growing, trying and having fun!!  They're about stretching creativity, about exercising perspectives, about creating 'personal bests' and especially, about admiring and learning from the expertise of fellow card-makers.  They're about doing what we love.  Lots.  They're about taking risks. Lots.  Most of all, they're about having FUN.  Lots.  Because, whatever we wind up making, in some small way, we truly do brighten someone's day when we share.  Pep talk done - time to get this post posted!!

Here's the inspiration sketch:

Here's my card:  

A little twinkle, a little star...and a whole lot of love!!

Just "because," I made a 'companion''s the twosome:

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you days and nights filled with twinkles, stars and love!!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Tire Tread Wall Paper?? Yes! - CAS-ual Fridays CFC92

My idea for this card (actually, a set of similarly 'themed' cards – maybe down the road…) has been percolating for quite a while. When I saw Cas-ual Fridays’ Challenge #92 - Wallpaper, thought spurred into action and here I am, with a first time entry.  You’ll quickly note my use of artistic license in interpreting ‘wall’ size, given my card is 3”X3”.   Mini-wall with mini-wallpaper… (If ‘interpretation’ had an ‘out there’ category, I imagine I’d be in placed in it…often.) 
My card inspiration is my husband, an avid, competitive cyclist (even though where we live 'winter' seems nearly year 'round!  Sometimes we have summer for…oh, maybe a month!) and a fan of Eddy Merckx, one of cycling's most prolific athletes. "Ride. Lots." is a well-known Merckx quote.  His two-word simple formula for success speaks volumes about how we become better at “anything” - by doing and practicing whatever it may be, lots. So, with my husband's passion in mind, and timely happenstance that he’s at a work-related event for the weekend, not able to see what I’m doing, my card idea came to fruition.

My ‘wallpaper’ underneath "ride" is the tire of his bike. Yes, I inked up his bike tire (while it was on his bike - silly move! There are 'smarter' and 'easier' ways of doing this, like using a piece cut from an old toss- away tire. Lesson learned!), ran it across the white card stock a couple of times, then found a 'usable' section for the background. The card seemed lonely without a companion for the 'sentiment' to make sense, so…ta dahhhh, enter accompanying envelope, with 'enjoy the...' as a link.  A few hearts added both a spot of colour and some ‘wife-ly love.’  I’m planning to tuck this into his cycling bag when he heads for his first competition – likely Mt. Hood in June – an event that will see me left behind at home, at work…sighhh.  Oh well, he’ll have a little reminder that I’m thinking of him – and I’ll have plenty of chances to watch him race as the cycling season unfolds.
Hope you "Enjoy the...Ride. Lots." bicycle-tire wallpaper. 
Thanks for stopping by.  Wishes that your day is filled with things that make you happy. Lots.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Sun, Butterfly, Happy Thoughts...CAS(E) #17

A quick post to share my card for this week's CAS(E) this Sketch #17.  The sketch has certainly drawn plenty of talented artists, based on the entries I've seen. So much inspiration and 'prettiness' all in one place!

I was a bit flummoxed about how to approach the challenge when, in the midst of a 'get organized' stint (it was momentary...I made it go away!) some long-forgotten stamps emerged, buried in my stash (if you can really call my teensy collection a 'stash').  I can't believe they hadn't seen the 'ink of day' before this!  Inspiration sparked, I got down to work, and even wound up colouring a bit, which I haven't done in ages!

Here's Jackie's sketch:

My "Happy Thoughts" card...

After this weekend's snowstorm, I'm ready for spring...sun, butterflies, warm breezes, happy thoughts.  Really, really ready...

Thanks for stopping by.  I wish you "Spring" - spring weather, spring thoughts and spring in your steps!

Sunday, March 3, 2013

WooHooo...PS SPARKS Challenge

Just when we thought Spring had arrived, Mother Nature burst in with another reminder that March can - and does - come in like a lion!  Snowfall warnings, snowstorm watches, snow accumulations:  those 'dire predictions' combined, saw me hibernating indoors all weekend, watching from inside as the snow fell...and fell...and fell.  My husband, away on a work-related weekend, is stranded a five hour drive away, due to road closures.  Being home alone isn't fun even a little bit, but on the plus side, uninterrupted card-making time is an opportunity I willingly embrace!  The best part: not having to clean up after myself!  My supplies are strewn all over the kitchen, which serves double duty as my craft room.  Typically, I shuttle  everything from shelves to the counter, where I merrily craft away, until supper preparations call for stow-away time. Not so this weekend!  A bit of a mess...a 'good' kind of mess (and oh, how I long for a craft room..)

My first two sets of PS Stamps arrived last week, and I'm THRILLED they're part of my collection. Indeed, if I could figure out how to fit them into every challenge that's caught my attention for the week coming, I'd be ecstatic!  Working on it!!  Fortunately, using PS Stamps for PS Challenges is a requirement, so I was happily equipped for this week's SPARKS Picture Perfect inspiration!  On the other hand, the challenge - so clever with those lovey-dovey kissy fingers - was a toughie for me to wrap my head around and my final result is a bit of a long shot.  Even though I'm not 100% pleased with my card, I'm glad that another stamp had a 'play-date'!  That makes four who've had their debut (hippo and giraffe, in earlier posts, and the alligator, waiting for a 'just to share' post later this week).  Several more darlings yet to meet ink and paper!

Here's the Picture Perfect inspiration:
The 'language of romance' Monsieur speaks is too charming!

and here's my "WooHoooo" chick-pic...

Told you - a stretch... that I see the inspiration and my card close together, I wonder what I was thinking, following the direction I went!  Oh well, love works in mysterious ways - and apparently, so do I!!   I'll chalk this up to having taken to heart the 'inspiration suggestions' on the PS blog:  Follow it closely or use it loosely...just have fun!"  Consider this "loosely followed" with a whole lot of fun had!

Thanks for stopping by!  Wishing you a week filled with love, and moments of 'woohooo' because life has handed you something wonderful!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Oh, My Muse....Muse Challenge #6

My 'muse' sometimes works in quirky ways, as revealed in the card I'm about to share.
One of my favourite aspects about challenges, is to observe the diverse ways people 'interpret' the challenge elements.  So much education comes from noting the 'special touches' that fill the small canvases we work on.  Whether the artist has flipped a sketch's landscape or highlighted a little splash of colour peeking from a varied mix or emphasized certain patterns or textures: everyone 'sees' the same 'inspiration,' yet what emerges is as unique - and delightful - as the colours and patterns in a kaleidoscope. Amazing...truly amazing.

Time to turn to Muse Challenge #6 , featuring a stunning card by Deanna Jean:

March is 'birthday month' for my niece and nephew, so my cards, of late, share a common theme.  My 'muse' - with its 'kids' birthdays' focus - drew inspiration from several elements of Deanna's card: colours and patterns, the corner placement of the flowers, the sentiment, and the 'hand drawn whimsy' of the frame.  
With that as a backdrop, my muse took charge, marching off in its own direction.  'Artistic license' ran its course, so the card you're about to see is...well, I'll leave you to arrive at your own conclusions.  

Here's my version:

A bit of a stretch...I know....

My 'connections' the the Challenge card include:
  • patterned red and orange balloons (with splash of yellow added, just because) to replicate the flowers; 
  • a green background, to echo the leaves on Deanna's arrangements; 
  • a 'similarly' themed sentiment; 
  • a 'first time' *shaky* attempt at 'hand drawn whimsy with the balloon strings (oops - should have 5 strings showing!  Gah!); and 
  • two tiny yellow rhinestones, as counterparts to her black flower centers. muse is quirky..very!

Thank you for stopping by!  I wish you a day filled with balloons, clear skies, warm breezes...and abundant happiness.