Sunday, October 28, 2012

Yarn Bombs

One of the things I love about visiting bookstores in other towns, particularly big cities, is the opportunity to see new books usually not available at my local store.  Often, I return these books to my local store when the excitement wears off and I realize I've lost my effing mind.  Case in point, I found this book, Craft Activism, while visiting my family on the west coast and was completely reeled in by it's seemingly innovative nature.  BTW: It totally rocks the innovation piece in so many ways.  However, I don't knit.  I don't sew.  I don't do half of the crafts in this book.  Being me, I didn't write down any of the cool ideas or inspirational goodness.

Lucky for me, I made a trip to U City yesterday and walked up on this:

It's a form of street art.  It's a very cool form of street art...and there are so many others.  I decided to start a pin board on yarn bombing which you can find here.  There's something simple and beautiful about seeing a tree or other object enveloped in yarn - I don't know what it is.  I just love it.  So that's it for this Sunday morning (almost afternoon).  Hope you're having a good day!  Until then...

BTW:  The artists behind this work care called the Tree Sprite Knitters (the coolest effing name ever) and information on this installation can be found here.  I learned a little more from this short post.

  • This ART is commissioned by the Delmar Loop - so cool.
  • There a variety of names for yarn bombing (which can be found on the tags of this post).

Also...if you want more on one member of the group and the generator of the QR code attached to the tree (again, so cool) take a look here.  If you want more on the book I mentioned earlier, check out the Craft Activism website.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

One Rant and an Announcement

I want to start by saying I love this place.  I've loved it since the moment I started it - but I'm just not carving out the necessary time to make this space the place I wish it could be.  Consequently - I will be closing the blog at the end of this month.  I plan to be active on at least one scrapbooking/mixed-media site and will leave a link as soon as I have determined which site to use.  I will also be active on Goodreads so feel free to send me a friend request.  In addition, I'm sure I will be posting to Pinterest with my usual amount of dedication.  I appreciate all the readers I've had in the past few years and wish you the very best.  Until then..

One last rant: I looked up a condition on my online health chart today and the first link on google was a veterinarian site.  WTF!!!!!

Friday, August 10, 2012

10 on the 10th - Most Used Crafting Supplies

I'm a little scared to utter the words out loud - but I think my mojo might be back!  I've scrapped four pages in the last week and am feeling really good about it.  I thought I'd take this opportunity to list the 10 products I've used most on the last four pages and really loved.  I also will give a little bit of information on how it's changed the way I'm doing things.  So drumroll please Ms. Tonks...

 1.  Dylusions Ink Spray by Ranger ~ I currently have the four color swatches below (colors from left to right: Vibrant Turquoise, London Blue, Lemon Zest, and Fresh Lime).

Original Source (image & swatches)

2.  Dylusions Stencils

Original Source
3.  Color Magic by Heidi Swapp

Original Source

4.  Distress Inks by Ranger - I'm really loving Perfect Peacock right now.

Original Source
5.  American Crafts Thickers - Heyday Mistable from Studio Calico

Original Source
6.  October Afternoon ~ Loving layering these with a brad.

Original Source
7. Decorative Brads ~ Pick your favorite company.  Right now I'm really loving My Mind's Eye.

Original Source
8. American Crafts Adhesive

Original Source
9. Distress Markers by Ranger

Original Source
10. Instagram Photos - printed at Persnickety Prints

Original Source
I should also add I've been using sketches, design principles, and patterned paper by the masses.  I'm on Pinterest constantly.  I've organized my boards to be more meaningful and inspiring for me.  These 10 products have opened the door to a subdued form of mixed media scrapbooking and I couldn't be happier.  I went for the 3X3 option for my photos so there's much more space to tell the story.  In addition, because I'm using wet media - I walk away from my layouts for drying time which has really given me permission to let a layout sit and percolate for a few hours or days depending on the situation.  I'm really loving this new approach (if you want to call it that).

Today: I'm getting out of the house, getting coffee, and reading up on play therapy.  Good times all around.  I don't have any immediate plans to craft but who knows.  I'm really trying to enjoy these last few days of summer.  I hope everyone has a great Friday.  Until then...

Monday, August 6, 2012

It's All Coming Back to Me Now

It's slow going - but I'm scrapbooking again.  I don't have the best pictures to share.  I'm really into Instagram right now and I think it's a perfect app for sharing my more personal layouts.  So without further ado...

Supplies: Patterned Paper: Crate Paper, Echo Park; Letters: American Crafts Thickers; Cardstock Stickers; Crate Paper, Embellishments: October Afternoon; Stamps: Autumn Press; Ink: Distress Ink, Dylusions; Stencil: Crafter's Workshop
This layout was a little tricky.  It was based loosely on a sketch from Scrap Friends and I realized it was all wrong because my sweet nephew was looking towards the outside of the album.  I made the changes and it came together.  It was a good first step back into the fray.

Supplies: Patterned Paper: Pink Paislee; Banner: Heidi Swapp; Letters: American Crafts; Stickers: K&Company, October Afternoon; Buttons: My Mind's Eye, October Afternoon; Cardstock Embellishments: Crate Paper; Brad: SEI; Wooden Flower; Kaisercraft; Ink: Distress Inks & Markers; Silver embellishment: unknown
 I had seen a lot of crafters take on this paper and was super excited to use it.  There was only one problem...The ultrasound photo had so much black it needed to be more prominent in the overall scheme.  I decided to outline each and every piece of paper with my black distress ink marker.  It's hard to tell in this photo - but it helped make the elements pop and gave some unity to the layout.

Supplies: Patterned Paper: American Crafts, My Mind's Eye; Paper Embellishments: October Afternoon; Brad: SEI, Letters: American Crafts, Cosmo Cricket, Echo Park Paper; Stickers; October Afternoon; Ink: Ranger Distress Ink; Spray Ink: Studio Calico; Flair Buttons: American Crafts, Basic Grey; Cardstock Embellishments; Crate Paper
I loved doing this layout.  My niece had sent me a video the night before and I knew I just had to scrapbook what she said.  I had a lot of fun mixing papers and embellishments.  I also loved the spray mist effect.

So that's it for now - I don't have any immediate plans to scrapbook but my muse is definitely no longer on permanent hiatus.  It's nice to see her again.  I hope everyone is having a great Monday.  Until then...

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Do I have Enough Life?

I am completely enamored with Project Life. I want to do it desperately but the same question keeps on plaguing me.

Do I have enough life for Project Life?

Let's be honest...
  • I don't take a lot of photos.

  • I don't leave my house unless absolutely necessary which would mean a lot of pictures of bookstores, coffee shops, work, one beastly kitty and yours truly. Not so interesting.

  • It's just me and the aforementioned beastly kitty. I feel like Project Life is for families and happening singletons like Kelly Purkey.

  • I lead a small life, with some excitement sprinkled about, and that's okay for me. It's the way I prefer it. I just don't know if it's enough.
And then...

I started on my sister's baby shower album. At first I had visions of a cool mini book with mixed media techniques and altered greeting cards and then I got a grip. First of all, that's not my style at all. Second, I don't have an effing clue about how to make an altered greeting card album. Next, I wouldn't dare try anything new on a project for someone else.....

Or would I?

I decided after a little bit of soul searching that a mini album is not in the cards right now. My mojo isn't going that strong. Plus I want my sister to be able to tell her family's story without resorting to having me do all the crafting. No one can tell her story like she can. While I was able to convert her to the world of card making, I have my doubts about converting her to scrapbooking. Enter We R Memory Keepers. I bought two sets of page protectors and started creating a photo album scrapbook. I've really enjoyed myself so far and something has clicked in me. I hope the same will happen for her.

  • I need to start taking more pictures.

  • I need to start telling my story using any pieces of my life around.

  • I need to let go of how things should be and start putting myself on the page - no matter the size or number of pockets.

So...I'm going to get my sis started on telling her story and then start carving out this new way of scrapbooking for myself. I feel the first twinges of excitement. It's nice to have that feeling again. I thought it was lost to me. So that's it for now. I'll try and keep you posted on my sister's album. Here's hoping everyone is having a lovely Tuesday. Until then....

BTW: For links to the original images pleas click on the photos.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Big, Big Plans

I'm getting out of the house.  I know it might not seem like a big deal - but really it's a huge thing for me.  I'm an introvert, a wallflower, an observer - I get most of my energy from being in 888 square feet most every day.  The summers are a real challenge since my natural inclination lures me to comfortable spaces, my house, the bookstore, the local coffee shop, etc.  The movie theater use to be on this list of comfy spaces that felt a little like home - but that hasn't been true for a long time.  So - it's a big deal, for me.

I'm going to see this movie today after three months.  I have no idea what I've been waiting for...

Source Image
...and after I'm done with all that alleged greatness (and hotness I might add) I'm off to get a Salvadoran classic for lunch and then join my many (fictional boyfriends) at the showing of this movie...

Source Image
Better get a move on...I have every intention of smuggling petit vanilla scones and breezing in with coffee.  We'll see.  I hope everyone has a lovely Monday.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Baby Shower Thank You Cards

Hello friends!!!  I finally have something crafty to report.  I wanted to share the cards from the June 10 on the 10th post where I tackled the issue of planning and finishing a big project.  I was focused on how to keep things fresh and interesting while getting 50 cards completed.

Now that I'm firmly on the other side of this large crafty commitment, I can breathe a sigh of fresh air and talk about it without turning to blue language or tears.  So without further ado...

As many of you might remember, the momma-to-be was active in the paper decision making and color scheme.  This is an important part of the process.  I definitely felt inspired by the scheme and ended up having more freedom than anticipated in terms of accent colors, design, etc.

This is by far the favored card of the bunch.  My sister (momma-to-be or preggers depending on the day and my mood) loved this card.  She especially loved the paper-pieced shopping bags.  I had planned on doing that on every card - but that flew out the window after the first 10.  I think the Spectrum Noir markers held up well and I like the coloring on this particular card.  The design is a direct copy (or card lift) from the ever-talented Jodi Collins.  You can find her original card here.  I love her style so much.

Next up, is this beauty,

I really loved making this card.  It's another card lift from Jodi Collins.  Find the original here.  I think it's one of my favorites because the amount of layering.  Notice how I've stopped paper piecing at this time and the juiciness of the Spectrum Noir markers is getting the better of me on the leggings.  I'm trying not to sweat those things - even now.

The following card is a simplified version of the one above.  I had grand plans to liven this one up a little more but it didn't happen.  I also planned on paper piecing the bags, another thing that didn't happen.  Insert sigh here.

Next up, is another Jodi Collins inspired card.  Have I said I love her work enough yet?  Find the original here.  I really love what SHE did with the card.  I think my interpretation is really lacking.

Frankly, there is too much pattern going on here.  I never thought I'd utter the words.  There is no where for the eye to rest - a really big problem in design.  I should have considered that more.  Also notice how I've stopped the intricate blending on the images.  This was one of the last designs and my arthritic hand was screaming for mercy.

The next card was inspired by this sketch from Retro Sketches.

Retro Sketches: Original Source

This was my favorite paper.  I didn't have a lot of it and I was just SURE I was going to rock these out.  I thought the heavens were going to open and sing at this finished card.  Guess what?  I hate the end result.  Sometimes life is just like that.  I wanted to tear them up - but a girl's got to get here order done.

And finally last but not least is this little dear...

I almost kept this one.  It was in the height of my blending phase and I was playing with sky colors.  I loved the end result even if the shading around the girl is a little purple for my taste.  This card was inspired by one of the earliest sketches on the Mojo Monday blog.  You can find the original here.  I really love the finished product on this one....

So that's it for now.  I'll be back in a few days with a list of things I learned from this project.  I have big plans with Starbucks and my local book store today.  Going to do some reading and try to resist buying any of the lovely books.  Hope everyone has a great Saturday.  Until then...

Friday, July 27, 2012

My Life in Mail Order

If anyone has gotten whiplash from the sudden change in posting topics on my blog, please hang in there with me.  I'm trying a new attitude.  I want to continue to tell my stories however I can - and paper and glue just isn't working for me right now.  This little place is working at the moment so I'm giving it a try.  I'm hoping some of my story will be interesting (above all) to some readers and possibly even helpful.  So here it goes...

My Sunday "Bundle" of Meds
  • I hate mail order pharmacies. 
  • I hate being forced to change providers.  I don't care how many carefully worded, kind letters I receive in the mail.  If i wanted mail order I would have switched already.  So eff off.
  • I hate how hard it is to get everything changed over to my particular mail order pharmacy.  
  • If forced to change, I will start a protest which will really only hurt myself since I will be the one without medications.
  • I want to be able to do what the hell I want to do when I want to do it.  I need my meds now and I want to be able to call my local pharmacy and pick them up.  I don't care how easy anyone says it is going to be - it's not that damn easy.
  • Let's face it - if it's going to go wrong - it's most likely going to go wrong with yours truly so please let me keep on doing my thing and move the eff on.
  • Living with a chronic illness is hard enough.  I'm on a lot of meds and I don't want to play phone tag with any company when there use to be an easier, faster way.  
  • The only thing I want mail order is magazine subscriptions and books and even those are slowly going digital thanks to my friend Phoebe - my first generation iPad.  I'd rather try a mail order husband than pharmacy.  Yes, I said it.

And when none of that works and my friends, family, and doctors have heard my consistent bitching for almost a year and reminded me I've the one with higher blood pressure, pain, etc not the mail order pharmacy,  I'll get on it for about two days and hope for the best.  Don't be surprised if I'm pissed again in about 72 hours.  Mama needs her meds.  Hope everyone is having a happy Friday.  Until then...

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

There's a Hole in the Marketplace!

I was sitting in my room killing time before my dentist appointment this morning and started thinking about my lack of desire to cook for just one person and a very finicky cat who only approves of Iams Digestive Health cat food, french fries and petit vanilla bean scones from Starbucks. However, she does see fit to put her ASS in your food (including cupcakes) if it's in "her" way. Iams does all the cooking for her. They might be supplying a home for her if she puts her nether regions near one of my raspberry truffle cupcakes again. I digress. Anyway...I started looking for cookbooks and blogs and found a list of 30 blogs for cooking singletons but only a few cookbooks. I immediately thought there's a hole here.

What a delight to see a hole in the marketplace, right? An opportunity to be innovative with my ideas and "talents" and bring something new into the world. I mean there's gotta be plenty of people struggling with cooking for one and growing tired of eating like a college student in their thirties. Not to mention all of the people out there eating cereal for dinner. And then it dawned on me...I don't have ideas or talents in this area. I don't like to cook and would rather have dental work than eat a pan full of effing leftovers. So I wrote this post hoping someone with the skills, desire, and talent would stumble upon this post and say...damn, there is a hole in the marketplace and jump on it ASAP. Please someone out there take the leap...I can only eat Lucky Charms for dinner for so long.

While we're still on the subject of holes in the marketplace...I thought I might add the need for resources on mixed media card making. Someone needs to blow that topic wide open. I think it's definitely ripe for the taking. Again, will someone please get on that?

Clearly the novocaine has altered my brain chemistry temporarily because I'm all over the place here. Long story short...

  • I want a book on cooking for one that's easy, affordable, and flavorful. Hold the unlimited heaps of leftovers. There's no space for that in these parts.

  • I want more books on mixed media card making, scrapbooking, and paper crafting in general. It would also be helpful if this resource offered a never ending supply of confidence and innovative ideas. I would also like it to give me the power to love everything I create.

  • Better yet, I want food to materialize in my home along with perfect mixed media projects and the will to live at my every effing whim.

Basically I want the effing holy grail. But for those of you that were wondering...there are some serious holes in the marketplace. So that's it for this girl on Wednesday. Just a lot of words and no crafty news or products to report. For those of you in the same situation, keep your head up. I hope everyone is having a lovely day. I'm off to the market for some more Lucky Charms. Until then....

P.S. Double arm pump for my most random post ever.

Monday, July 23, 2012

I Feel A Breakthrough Coming....

Updated on August 6, 2012: I removed this post for a few days after reading this article.  I was quite disappointed by the news - and removed the post immediately.  However, after taking a few days to think about it - I think it needs to stay.  It meant something to me at the time and it still does despite the controversy surrounding it's publishing.  The book is no longer available - but this is still part of my story.  So...I've returned it to the blog with the complete understanding of the questions surrounding the book's accuracy.  I say all this just to say it's a part of my story and it's the story that matters.

I'm sitting in my local Starbucks looking over my highlights and notes from the book Imagine by Jonah Lehrer. I feel so literary and productive sitting on my iPad writing this post. Frankly its a good thing I'm feeling slightly up because I can't decide if I've been temporarily paralyzed or am in the process of one of the greatest personal creative breakthroughs yet.

As you might remember, I read the above book for a podcast and loved it. With my dwindling creative energy, I decided to take a second look at this book before beating my head against the wall hoping for some creative insight. I found this quote.

"Before we can find the answer - before we probably even know the question - we must be immersed in disappointment, convinced that a solution is beyond our reach. We need to have wrestled with the problem and lost (Lehrer, page 6 - Kindle)."

Holy cow was this an eye opener. I am in this stage right now in so many areas of my life. This has been the point where I've always given up in the past. It's the point where I've let in the "nots" and called it quits. No one talks about this part of the process! No one says you feel like you're at the gates of hell before the light appears. No one talks about the suck fest that is the down cycle of creativity - life in general. It reminds me of that moment on "Friends" when Monica and Chandler realize relationships don't last if you give up after every fight.

These thirty seven words gave me hope. So a big thank you to Mr. Jonah Lehrer and the overwhelming disappointment and gloom that's getting me to the next level creatively. Let's hope it's real for me and you (as it may be). So here's to a little creative suckage on a melting Monday (it was 94 degrees at 10:00). I hope u have a wonderful, cool day in your little space of the world. Until then... (originally posted on 7/23/2012).

Sunday, July 22, 2012

"The Nots" (A Very Long Post)

I've been really floored by how wonderful my reading challenge has been going over the last almost seven months.  The quality of the reading has been at times divine and surprisingly pleasing.  I've spent a good deal of time in both fiction and non-fiction with crafty pieces sprinkled through out.  I just finished this book by the wonderful Susannah Conway and started this ditty by Kristin Neff.  I got the second book "recommendation" from Brene' Brown's website.  I noticed it was on her nightstand and wanted to learn a little more about self compassion after reading her fantastic books.  Susannah and Kristin have helped me become familiar with something called "the nots."  "The nots" are those things we repeat to ourselves so much that we give them a corporal shape and form.  They are spoken into existence.  I started thinking about all my "nots" and why I'm having such an effing hard time with being creative right now.  And guess what - there's that eight year old girl staring me in the face.

In second grade, I had the most fantastic teacher.  I loved being in her classroom and she fueled my love for words and books.  Unfortunately - this is also the year I began to tell myself that I didn't have the "art" gene.  I started to notice how other kids were able to draw, color, and create things in a way I believed I never would have imagined.  This is the year "the nots" took over when it came to drawing, painting, cutting, gluing, you name it.   I became the non-artist.

If there is one thing I've learned about creativity - it is the necessity to move forward and learn new things.  Without the challenge, we become stagnant - burnt out.  "The nots" have been keeping me from moving forward and I am afraid they will take everything creative I've cultivated in myself since 2007 and make it disappear.  I can't have that - not now, not ever.  I thought it was time to put those "nots" out in the open and start tackling them one by one.  So here's the short list of my "nots".

  • I am NOT an artist.
  • I am NOT a painter.
  • I am NOT creative.
  • I am NOT a writer.
  • I am NOT as good/smart/pretty/talented/(put any adjective here) as _____________________.

The last "not" is a big one because if I'm not as good as that person - why in the world am I doing this thing?  This is the thought that brings me to my knees.  I wonder how often "the nots" keep me from moving forward - from my doing my very best.  Who would I be without them?

Patterned Paper: Heidi Swapp, Cosmo Cricket, Studio Calico, Crate Paper: Stamp: Stamping Bella (image), Hero Arts (sentiment); Ink: Ranger Archival Ink, Distress Ink (Spun Sugar); Markers; Ranger Distress Markers; Embossing Powder: Unknown; Vintage Paper: Red Lead Paperworks.
I thought I'd give a quick example.  I know the first picture isn't great but it gives you the overall look.  I made this card for a friend's birthday last week.  I waited until the last minute to do the card due to my massive amounts of panic when it comes to crafting lately.  I used my distress markers in the exact way I had seen on several tutorials.  I chose one of my favorite images.  I stamped it on vintage paper from my LSS.  I took one hour to color this girl and I ended up hating it.   It's growing on me now - but still all I see are the flaws - the "nots."  

  • The colors are NOT blended well.
  • The papers are NOT matched well.
  • Text was NOT a good choice for the stamped image.
  • I can NOT make perfect cards.

If you didn't realize it by now - I hate the "nots."  I'm giving the "nots" the finger and trying to remember there is more to this creativity thing.  Why?  I know there is a sweet spot.  I've been there before.  I know because of this...

Patterned Paper: American Crafts, Echo Park; Stamps: Unity Stamps (She Art Girl by Christy Tomlinson); Hero Arts; Markers: Spectrum Noir; Ink: Studio Calico, Ranger Archival; Button: Bella Blvd; Cardstock: Archivers
I made this card five days before the one above.  I made mistakes - which I fixed to the best of my ability.  I played around with color and even sprayed the background when I realized the white was just too bright.  Eight days later...I love it.  I don't feel the "nots," not to say I didn't feel them then.  

There have been plenty of times when things have worked - when I've pushed the limits and come out the other side.  It's scary and hard but it's doable.  I can do this.  I need to start repeating that to myself.  I need to go to the mattresses with these "nots" and kick them in the ass.  I have to fight for my creativity (dramatic, I know)....

So anyhoo - it's a long post.  It's definitely one I needed after reading so much about unraveling and self compassion.  I'm still having a hard time in that chair - but I'll get through it.  I have to.  I hope everyone has a lovely Sunday where the "nots" are few and far between (non-existent even).  Until then...

Friday, July 20, 2012

I've Been Thinking...

I've been thinking a lot about this blog of mine and moving forward.  I've hit a real low in my creative stride and am continuously contemplating my next steps.  I've tried to re-immerse myself in the things I loved when I was my higher eight year old self (reading, watching movies, creating stories, cutting my mom's catalogs to create paper dolls and building whole lives and communities, etc.) and I just feel weighted down.  I have no clue how to reconnect with that little girl.  I know a big part of the puzzle is getting rid of my bitchy inner critic and learning to play without the parameters or fear of imperfection.  I just don't know how to let it go.  So I feel stuck in this quagmire with no direct instructions on what to do next.  I know the things I've been doing aren't working.  It is one of my pet peeves to know what's not working without any hint of an idea of what might work...the story of my life it seems.  Constantly defined by the things I don't want or what doesn't work - not the things that make me happy.  How does one get to this place?  How does one get out?  There's this perfect quote that embodies my next steps...

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” 
― Howard Thurman

In just three short sentences, Mr. Thurman gets it.  I need to start asking.  I need to start questioning myself more.  What makes me come alive?  So that is the question for now.  I've finally started to carve that out in my work life - I need some help in the other far more neglected parts of my life.  I hope to be back soon with pictures of the thank you cards for my sister - done in record time I might add (less than a week).  I thought my hand might never recover.  Fortunately, a few weeks of rest and regular use of wrist splints got these hands back to their prime shape - which is honestly pretty crappy to begin with.  Anyhoo - I hope there will be more to come (fun, relatively painless, crafting and blogging - that is).  See you soon.  Have a lovely weekend.  Until then...

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Reading Pledge 2012 Update

I know it must seem like the bulk of the time I spend on this blog is book related - at least recently.  I would give excuses but it's part of my personal project to get back to the things I love most.  I'm right on time with my pledge at this point and am in the process of reading two books.  I've made it a habit this year to have at least one fiction book and one non-fiction and/or creative book in progress at any given time.  It's been working out pretty well and I'm loving it. It's nice to be reading more again.  So what's going on now...

Like many avid readers, I have jumped on the Fifty Shades trilogy band wagon.  I'm about two-thirds of the way through the final book and I'm really feeling the need to disembark or throw up in my mouth a little bit.  Really, I'm pretty fed up with the mind-blowing sex with the tragically naive, beautiful (and she doesn't even know it) girl.  I'll finish the trilogy.  I've put in the time but it's really pissing me off right now.  I think I'm going on my third week of not reading this book - wasted time indeed. 
If I had the physical book I would have tossed it across the room on several occasions.  Unfortunately this is not possible with the ereader.  One strike in its favor I tell you.  Who knew almost 1000 pages of reading about the hot, damaged guy in love with the innocent, vulnerable girl could make me start looking for sharp objects?

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Moving on...I started reading Imagine by Jonah Lehrer in preparation for the upcoming podcast on Paperclipping Roundtable.  I've had the book for a while and am LOVING it.  It has a similar tone to the lovely works of Mr. Malcolm Gladwell.  His books are little bursts of knowledge and I just soak it up like a sponge.  Loving the opportunity to read about creativity and imagination.  Loving the opportunity to become acquainted with another amazing non-fiction writer.  I also am enjoying my time away from the red room of pain.  Reading Fifty Shades is turning into my red room of pain.  I exaggerate...slightly.

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So that's it for today.  If you're interested in joining in on the book club read for the podcast, hop on over to the Paperclipping blog.  The podcast panelists are all reading the book and will include the regulars (Noell, Nancy, and Izzy), Ali Edwards and Stacy Julian.  I cannot wait.  They will be taping the episode next week.  Yay!  

Today: I plan on writing my summer manifesto inspired by Ms. Ali Edwards.  I'm only running a few weeks late.  I also plan on coloring more than ONE image today.  I have exactly 16 days to finish 55 cards - which roughly evens out to three to four cards per day.  I also plan on treating myself to a big cup of coffee, blueberry muffin, and possibly finishing at least one book.  Hope everyone's having a lovely Tuesday.  Until then...

P.S. For those of you that LOVE the trilogy - you know who you are - I'd like to apologize for my remarks.  I hope this doesn't take away from your own reading experience.  Please don't let my views deter you from reading the books either,  remember you're dealing with a girl who pinned this and is wondering if she can make a sign for when she leaves the house.  Nutcake, indeed. 

Monday, June 11, 2012

New Marker Love - Spectrum Noir

Today's product love is brought to you with a big smile and a lot of hope.  This product is actually not something I'm lusting over (shocker)...but something that lives in my home as I write and breathe.  Actually - it's 72 things...72 Spectrum Noir markers to be precise.

I've had these markers in my house for almost 72 hours (this is totally unintentional I assure you) and I'm learning slowly.  I bought the basic packs (12 packs with six markers) which covers the colors of the rainbow, neutrals, and skin tones (which they call pale hues).  I had literally never heard of this marker before I bought my first 36.  I just roll like that - I'm a nutcake as my mother would say!

How did I come to learn about these markers let alone buy 72?  It's a funny story (please feel free to skip this paragraph if you are uninterested).  I was actually going to buy Copic markers.  I had sat down with my paper and determined which markers I needed and then went to the booth with the lowest price.  Now - this should have been easy enough.  However - the vendor had made the brainy choice to place their markers next to their purchase line.  The line was incredibly long and I couldn't get to the markers.  A very nice woman waiting in line gave me a quick tip - these markers were cheaper around the corner.  I had scoured the whole place so I wasn't quite sure which booth she was suggesting - but like a good girl I went looking.  It turned out the booth had sketch markers, not ciao, putting them way out of my budget.  So...I knew it was going to be a waiting game to get the markers at the busy, unorganized previous booth.  I started wandering around and found myself in Bee Creative's booth.  One of the nice ladies doing a demo was talking about the markers and giving some basic information.  I looked at the deals and quickly realized I could get 36 markers instead of 16.  I was sold instantaneously.  I noticed the specially formulated paper but could not afford it - so I moved on with my new pack of six markers.

That night I came home and played using mixed media paper from my Canson Mixed-Media Pad.  I had watched a few videos and knew the markers were "juicy".  I did my very best not to be heavy handed.  I quickly realized this paper was not going to work...

I actually liked the color palette - but the bleeding was too much of a distraction.  I also realized I was not blending the colors as suggested on the charts (more on that later).  The numbers were difficult to read on my packaging.  However...I could see these markers were going to work and would be a fine replacement for my budget at less than $2 per marker.  Please note: I did not have the foresight to record my color choices.

The next day all I could really think about was getting back to that booth and buying the rest of the colors and the specially formulated paper.  So what's a girl to do - in reinforcements of course.  I talked to my special benefactor - and she gave me the money for the additional 6 sets!!!  Since I'm working on cards for my sister and parents - she was more than willing to help out.  Thanks Ma!!!!  So I headed out and bought the remaining sets and paper.  I was ecstatic.

Once I got home, I reorganized my marker stash banishing my ultra fine tip Sharpies to a basket to be taken to work when summer school begins.  After I was happy with the new arrangement...I started to play using the special paper and here's what I got...

Right Image: Shirt (CT4, GB5, OR1), Pants (IG1, IG2, IG4), Two Bags - same color (BT1, BT2, BT4), Boots, (CT4, GB5, GB8); Left Image: Shirt & Boots (CT4, GB5, GB8), Two Bags - same color (BT5, BT7, BT9), One Bag (TB3, TB5, TB6, and TB9), Boot strap (EB8)

Sorry for the big picture - but I thought it was a better size to view my "findings."  My first attempt is on the left.  Using the Indie Chic Nutmeg line as my color inspiration, it became clear that blending the three warm colors was creating an orange effect - something I definitely did NOT want.  Also - the bags weren't the right color and just weren't dark enough.  So I substituted the orange color for a light brown on the boots and liked the finished effect.

I then moved on to the image on the right using my new found knowledge.  The yellow color of the shirt and boots worked wonderfully.  I alternated coloring different parts of the image to minimize the amount of bleeding.  I was worried it would make blending more difficult - but it didn't.  I then moved on to the bags and really liked the darker blue green colors.  Then I moved on to the last bag and really broke the bank.  I used far too much ink covering up a lighter blue shade that just wasn't working.  In the end, I have the colors I want - just in a juicy form.  So I separated out the colors and made sure to write each blend down for later reference.  My plan is to start cranking a few of these out today sans heavy bleeding.  I'll keep you updated on how it goes.

In the meantime, I wanted to leave you with a few resources I have found helpful if you choose to try out these markers.

  • - Do a search for Spectrum Noir markers and a variety of videos are available.  There are even some videos comparing different alcohol based markers.
  • Trena's Stamp Headquarters - She has a lovely blending chart she has created (which I downloaded to my iPad).  She also has a blank chart to allow for your own play time.  It's a really great source.
  • Spectrum Noir Blog, Video Tutorials, & Downloads - there is a lot of good information here, including blending charts and a coloring chart to keep track of the colors in your stash.  
I hope you find this very long post helpful.  I hope you're having a wonderful Monday.  My day is looking to be a rainy one with isolated thunder storms - my favorite (NOT!).  Here's to a productive crafty day and to you.  Until then...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

10 Things on the 10th: Tackling the Big Projects - Updated

It's been quiet here on the blog.  It's that time of the year - the time when I try to recover from a full school year - no matter how much I love it.  The time when I try to reignite my creativity.  It's a tough job - but this year I basically have no choice.  I've offered to make thank you cards for my dear sister's upcoming baby shower extravaganza.  It's one of the variety of craft projects I'm taking on for the big day.  I'm pretty excited.  So I thought I'd put together a little something to show how I'm approaching the job of making 40 cards for my big sis.  I know 40 cards might seem like small potatoes to many of you - however, this girl has never tackled a project quite so large before.  So without further 10 things on the 10th inspired by the lovely Shimelle Laine...

1.  Choose a color scheme. In this case, mine was chosen for me based on the nursery and shower color schemes.  Yellow and gray were the words plus a touch of blue for my sweet baby nephew!!!

2. Choose a stamped image. In this case, I collaborated with the mommy to be and came up with a great image from My Favorite Things.  My favorite thing about these stamps (no pun intended) is the variety of skin color choices available with an image of this kind.  It's a real plus for me.

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3. Determine if you want to use the same design for the whole project.  I opted for more than one design since there is only one image.  Color, paper, and design are the only areas for any kind of variety.

4.  Choose the paper. Again I collaborated with preggers and came up with three lines with similar color families and completely different patterns.  I'm a bit of a paper whore (some say enthusiast - I prefer the former), so this was definitely one of my favorite parts of the process.  I chose the following three lines...

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5. Play with coloring options.  Match the colors as closely as possible to the patterns you have chosen.  I just became the proud owner of 72 spectrum noir markers - the basic set. I also recently purchased the full set of distress markers.  I've spent a lot of time on this site learning the fine art of water coloring.  Gotta love YouTube.

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6. Decide if paper piecing is an option. I absolutely love the look but it's a true pain in the ass to make happen.  The question is how much do you value your sanity and/or how much do you like the client.  I'm still on the fence here.  If I do decide to go with paper piecing - it will definitely be with this paper.  I just love it.

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7. Decide on a design.  This is a time when I scour my books, magazines, binders, and favorite challenge sites.  I also like to look at card galleries and my favorite blogs for further inspiration.  I am a huge advocate for card lifting.  I save the images on to my smart phone and iPad and keep it close when I'm crafting.  Last but definitely not least, check out the Pinterest boards for more inspiration.

8. Test the image and markers on a variety of mediums, both ink and paper.  Archival and Staz-on inks work best for water coloring.  Memento inks are advised for alcohol based markers.  However I have found sites that recommend Brilliance and Colorbox Pigment Inks.  In the case of alcohol based markers - it is usually helpful to heat set the inks before doing any coloring just to be safe.  If all else fails - try heat embossing your favorite ink.  For the stamping, I'm using special stamping paper from Crafter's Companion specially formulated for alcohol ink markers.

9. Plan, plan, plan.  Make sure you have your designs picked out with the number of cards per design.  Try and know your dimensions to get the most out of your paper. Give yourself a deadline and designate the number of cards to complete daily.  Be sure to stay on track.

10. Relax. Have fun. Take breaks. Be You. Be true to your style. Remember someone chose you based on the quality of your work. Embrace your own style including (no, especially) the imperfections.

I hope this is helpful.  It is my largest project/order to date. I have a smaller order from my father - 15 total.  There are no specific themes so the size of this order allows for changes in stamps, paper, etc. - this kind of project makes me incredibly happy.  I'm a little nervous about the thank you cards.  Honestly, I just want everything to be perfect.  I need to let go of that need and just embrace my own style with all of it's accompanying flaws.  Flaws are what makes us human and beautiful.  Right?  So here it goes...I'm off to get started.  Hope everyone is having a wonderful Sunday.  Until then...

Update: Several people asked to see photos of the finished products.  I thought I'd add an in process photo here (below) and link to the final post.  Thanks so much for reading.

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