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Some quick shares

My productivity has surpassed my sharing lately, so here are some recent projects.

A card:

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A scrapbook page:

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Funny sort-of Valentine – Tim Holtz February Tag

When I was in college, my friends and I were part of the medieval club. And in someone’s strange humor, Valentine’s day was dubbed “Gargoyle Day”. As I recall it, regardless of dating status we celebrated with break-up comedy movies, chocolate, and gargoyle crafts. There was also a “Black & White Ball” around mid-February as an official club activity which involved modern formal apparel and medieval-style group dances. Yeah, I’m a big nerd, I own this.

Gargoyle Day and the Black & White Ball were my favorite versions of Valentine’s Day. I didn’t mind the kiddie version of passing Valentine’s to every fellow student and making our own mailboxes. And I remember my parents giving me candy and toys. But I guess I don’t remember seeing big romantic displays of chocolates and roses. If my parents did a romantic dinner or something, either I didn’t know, or it didn’t make an impression on me. I do remember them showing each other love and kindness all along the way, and making time for each other on a regular basis.

So in my own dating life, I’ve voted for regular displays of affection over big romantic gestures. Don’t get me wrong, I like the opportunities for creativity inspired by every holiday. And I’m impressed by the romantic efforts other people go to for their loved ones. And maybe, just maybe I’m looking forward to making pink heart-shaped pancakes and other silly gestures for my little boy in a few years. But otherwise, Valentine’s Day just isn’t my holiday.

So that’s a long preamble for my take on the February Tim Holtz tag. But I felt the gargoyle required some serious explanation! I loved the look of his background of embossed hearts that call to mind vintage enameled heart jewelry. I loved the little Industrial sticker details. I’m not sold on the popular chalkboard look, yet. Maybe it will grab my imagination at some point, but for now I’m skipping that technique.

So then the other thing this Gargoyle Day tag needed was a gargoyle! I drew a gargoyle as Cupid, colored it with Distress markers, and pinked up the edges of the circle diecut with Distress ink.

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Ingredients: Watercolor paper, #8 Manila tag, Industrial border stickers, Distress markers, Distress ink pads, Sizzix Movers & Shapers hearts, Distress rock candy glitter, Seasonal chitchat stickers, Sizzix decorative strip ticket die, Grunge board, Stampers Anonymous Odds & Ends stamp, glitter glue, foil tape

Learning: I feel like I barely squeeked by with the hearts. I had cut them last month from foil-covered Grunge board that was left from the previous tag. I had hoped that I could cover them with red glitter glue and have a cool, mirrored, slightly glittery surface, but I had trouble getting good coverage with the glitter glue. So then I tried to cover with Distress glitter and go with the technique in Tim’s tag tutorial, but I should have just pulled off the foil or removed the glitter glue to switch Glossy Accents, because the glitter glue didn’t hold the glitter on very well when I inked it. Glossy Accents seems to be a really strong adhesive. I did like how easily the Distress glitter dyed with the Distress ink – that is a good trick to remember!

Something I tried with much more success was masking off part of a stamp. I don’t know if other people do this, and maybe there is a better way, but this is the method I came up with. I used bits of painter’s tape to mask off a section of the stamp I didn’t want to print, inked the stamp, pulled off the tape and stamped it. This gave me a nice blank space to scrawl “Gargoyle Day” instead of Valentine’s day.
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My lettering on the ticket is kind of primitive, and I like to think that my gargoyle was taking over Valentine’s day, like maybe Cupid needed a day off or something. I think I could have pushed that idea a little more, but I didn’t have any other ideas.

Loving: I may have said this before, but I really like how the Odds & Ends stamps go with the Ticket Strip die. It’s just really cool to stamp a custom ticket, and I’m getting a lot of mileage from the concept.

I like the background every bit as much as I imagined, and despite the minor glitter losses I like how the Grunge board hearts came out. I like my gargoyle Cupid too, at least conceptually. I still haven’t decided if I like my “cartooning” style. But that is an issue for a different time.

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Alethiometer – January 2014 Tim Holtz tag

My husband and I recently finished reading the His Dark Materials trilogy. In these fantasy young adult fiction books, a spunky young girl gets into all manner of adventures across many worlds and is helped along by friends and a marvelous “truth-teller” device called an Alethiometer (aka a golden compass, but don’t bother with the movie of that name because they really muffed it).

So when I saw the January 2014 Tim Holtz tag with the “pocket watch” die, my mind traveled to a pocket watch version of the Alethiometer that I made him for the holidays.

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I dissected a pocket watch and attached a printout that I had carefully sized and sealed to the watch face.

It turned out really well, and still works as a watch, even!

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But when I made it, I regretted that I didn’t have time to draw the many symbols myself. I just got the imagery from the internet and combined with some pearl inlays I had created previously in photoshop for a different project.

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So I thought it would be great to use the pocket watch die to make an Alethiometer of a size where I could draw the symbols in for myself. Otherwise, I followed much of Mr. Holtz’ tutorial for the pocket watch and the background.

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Ingredients: Manila tag size 8, Sizzix Frame Pocket Watch die, Sizzix Alterations Circles, Super fine gold embossing powder, Glossy Accents, Sizzix tickets decorative strip die, Tim Holtz clockwork stencil, Holtz Grunge alpha stamp, Distress inks and markers, Martha Stewart lettering stamps, Stampers Anonymous Odds and Ends, Archival ink, Idea-ology game spinners, Micron pen, Darice embossing folder, Grunge board, Tarnished Brass Distress paint, and some words I printed. Whew!!

Learning: I screwed up the count on this. For some reason I thought there were 32 symbols, but by the time I got to drawing to the last few symbols, I realized that there were supposed to be 36! Oops! At the same time, I don’t think 36 would have worked out proportionally. It was hard enough to draw in those tiny spaces as it was!

My other mistake was that I had the foil side facing up when I went to cut the pocket watch. So I had to flip it and reroll it in order to get that impressed inner rim. This made the whole thing a bit more fragile, so I backed it all with a diecut piece of paper.

Loving: Grunge board was really fun to work with, very pliable, fun to cover in foil and cut! I also loved how nicely the ticket stamp matched the ticket die.

The words on the ticket die were a happy accident. I initially tried to spell out my quote with Martha letter stamps but my experiment didn’t fit well. So then I printed out what I wanted in a small font. I was going to just use a fresh ticket diecut, but then I realized that my printed word strips were so small that they fit between the stamped lines for a cool echoed sentiment. I love the way that worked and will file that idea for use again!

I also like the way the embossed word “Alethiometer” looks. I had to cut apart the Grunge alpha stamp which was tedious but so worth it! To make the gold pop a bit more, I blended more black soot ink over the gold embossing.

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Card for a gamer

For a friend’s birthday, I decided I needed card inspiration. I haven’t done any non-holiday cards yet in my recent plunge into paper arts, and I knew I wanted them to be more sophisticated than the ones I made when I dabbled in birthday cardmaking ten years ago.

I turned to the latest sketch from Mojo Monday – Round or Square. But then my immediate thought was ‘oh, I’m in a hurry, I don’t want to mess with a custom envelope too!’ My next thought was ‘ack! But putting in the extra effort is what cardmaking is all about. If I didn’t want to make it special with effort, I could just go to the drugstore’,

So that was my mental self-correction dialogue. After that I set to work to make a cool, masculine card using the square sketch.

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Ingredients: The base was Tim Holtz Lost & Found paper stash, the tiny cards and blue pattern were something I manipulated based on stock imagery and had leftover from a previous project, the torn card – again left from a previous project – was made with the Card Faces Texture Trades embossing folder, Alterations ATC die and Distress ink, the stamps are Flourishes and Martha Stewart, the diamond pattern paper is from a DCWV mat stack.

Learning: I need more ribbon options. Last night I was telling myself that less dimensional seemed more masculine, but in the light of day I see that I was just kidding myself to deal with the fact that I didn’t like my ribbon options.

Loving: I’m really excited about how all the bits came together from different previous projects. I feel like this really validates my keeping of random bits from previous projects – so many fun ways to reuse! It’s like I’m creating my own eclectic ephemera.

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Cozy with candles

Today’s challenge almost didn’t happen, as baby was sniffly and fussy for most of the evening and wouldn’t nap.  But just before bed, I got my inspiration.  For this challenge, “Grab a Cup” at Flourishes, my brain made a few creative leaps.  The challenge was to be inspired by a photo of a coffee cup and some little cookies.  My brain fast forwarded to “cozy”, and “cozy” made me think of candles and looking out at winter snow.  What’s funny is that until I looked at the challenge again, I completely forgot that the starting point had been a mug of coffee!  Now of course, I want a latte…

I just love the retro candle paper!  It reminds me of when I was a kid, putting up the holiday decorations with my parents, siblings, and some hot cocoa!

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Ingredients:  Core’dinations cardstock, Tim Holtz seasonal paper and seasonal salvage stickers, distress inks, stickles, a Sizzix Christmas tree die… I think that’s it, I was pretty tired when I finished!

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Sewing on paper

For my first ever challenge-blog entry, I have been inspired by a challenge at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog. This week’s challenge is “patchwork“, and my mind quickly turned to cozy, snugly quilts.

As I attempt some of these challenges in the fall season, I hope to “put by a store” of handcrafted holiday cards. So using a holiday paper was a must. I used Tim Holtz’ “Holidays Past” paper. A sheet featuring 1.5″ squares furnished an appropriate scale. Then I got to sew on paper – a technique I’ve long wanted to try, but never thought of a reason before. I haven’t sewn a real quilt in ages – although I’ve recently been thinking of a new way to continue working on the ever-unfinished “Fall Quilt”. After sewing decorative stitches along the borders of the premade squares, I needed to deal with the whitened needle holes, so using a wet paintbrush, I inked the sewn lines and edges of the quilty paper with “Tea Stain” Distress ink. I fussy cut a photo of my baby and inked the edges with “Vintage Photo” Distress ink…

About now I need to confess that I have a bit of a design-crush on Tim Holtz. A month ago I’d never heard of him, and now I kind of want to buy everything that man has put his name on… Which pretty much means he must be really good at his job. So if it seems I mention his products ad nauseum, I apologize, I’m just really impressed. And as is my custom with such things, I want everyone to jump down the rabbit hole with me. It will make my excess seem more justified later if everyone else is kind of on board with me. Know what I mean? I just love tattered, grunged, antiqued, patina-ed, distressed, scuffed, aged, etc, and Tim Holtz is all over that style!

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Back to my project: baby photo went on a hand-drawn pillow, and all pieces went on a pearlescent card that was on clearance at Pat Catans (the local discount craft store). That’s my first ever challenge entry! I can’t wait to see how other people interpret the inspiration.