Sunday, February 17, 2013

VCMP #6 & 7

It's a new day and there are more Virtual Card Making Party challenges to be found for President's Day weekend! I started off with #6 - Things With Wheels from Creepin' Along.

I've been saving this stamp for a special occasion... it reminds me so much of my '72 Chevelle SS and the good times that I had with my Dad in the garage, souping it up! Oh, how I would like to find another one like this some day!

Stamp is from Stamper's Best and I tried to channel my inner Chip Foose while coloring with my CTMH markers in Sky and Pacifica. Foose I am not... but I do like this hot rod all the same. I'm hoping that some man-hero will too. (Or maybe some lady hero, to send it home to her Dad?) No sentiment - so it can be used for any occasion, or just because it is cool. :)

Also used - some very shiny silver foil paper and a diamond plate embossing folder by ProvoCraft.
Please don't mind the reflection. :)

Challenge #7 is up over at The Sparkle Within and we were to make something coffee tea or chocolate related, as if I need any more caffeine today... well... there is always room for more. :)

Also used - a random scrap of corrugated (SP?) paper for the holder and a digital sentiment by Bugaboo. I also used a random punched heart and a bit of twine.

I'm off to do some more challenges but there is a storm rolling in and it's making me think that some time might be well spent with a big blanket and a movie. :)

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Saturday, February 16, 2013


Last challenge of the day! I had so much fun! This stop might have been one of my favorites. Over at The Crooked Stamper we have been encouraged to use up a whole page of paper and make six cards out of it. What a fun idea... I might have to do this more often!

I searched my coveted Hoarding Drawer. You know, that drawer where you keep your very favorite... not to be used!!! paper. Now I can't really figure exactly why this paper was in my Hoarding Drawer except for that I love Halloween... I love these silly colors and monsters, and I thought I would save it for something special. It's from Hooligans.. (CTMH) and I took it one step further and used up an entire packet of Hoarded Special Embellishments to match. Little felt monsters with google eyes!!!

Wow! Does it feel good to get rid of some of my stash, and especially for such a good cause. Don't you think that the troops will have fun sending these home to their little monsters? What a silly, cheerful card. :)

Even though this paper is really for Halloween, I thought that I covered up enough of the "Halloween" type of  words and left just the silly, monster sayings show through. I also found this super cute sentiment (Studio G) to go along with it, because my very favorite part of the paper... is that little pattern that says, "hahahahahahahahahaha!"

Google eyes. It doesn't get much better. Sorry about the lighting. My natural light from the window is long gone and I have completed my day of Virtual Card Making Party cards. More tomorrow... hooray!

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One of the things that I do love best about the VCMP challenges is the opportunity to dig through my stash, trying to find something appropriate for the challenge that maybe I haven't used for a while.

The fourth challenge is to make things with wings and I set out to find a stamp with a butterfly on it but found this old set instead. How quickly I had forgotten about this pretty stamp set...Find Your Style... It has always been one of my favorites and with a pretty sentiment, it makes a nice card. (I just checked, it's retired!)

I decided to go for monochromatic and did a kind of tweak on the triple stamping technique using some favorite purple colors - Gypsy, Amethyst and Grey Flannel.

Also used: some little bling stones.

And with that, it is time to change my trimmer blade and make ready for the 5th and final challenge today. I've had so much fun... have you?

(One more for the road, because I love these stamps.)

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Ready for a challenge? Over at BunnyScrap you can learn how to make a "texture omit" pattern that can be run through your Cuttlebug with an embossing folder. The shape that you create makes an area that will not be embossed, leaving behind an interesting "window" or place on that paper that the texture does not happen.

I found this to be both interesting and challenging but I am glad that I did it - as I can now keep my "texture omit" pattern for future projects and store it away in my Cuttlebug supplies in case I want to do this again some day, and I think that I will.

Also used: an old scrap of red white and blue ribbon that I have hoarded for years.
"God Bless America" stamp by someone who makes unmounted, blue rubber stamps. :D
Some red and blue gel pens to accentuate the stamp and stars a little bit.

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Cards with critters challenge #2 can be found here and you can collect this cute baby Ciara digi just for participating in the challenge. Isn't she cute?

Other supplies: Some Chocolate and a scrap of patterned paper by CTMH
Sentiment and bone digi by Sandy A. from a blog hop event last year.

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President's Day VCMP!

It's one of my favorite events of the year. :) A VCMP or Virtual Card Making Party is kind of like a blog hop - with different blogs every few hours that host challenges or give tutorials on making different kinds of cards! Best of all, I get to do this from home on my own time. I'll be hopping and making cards in my pajamas in between loads of laundry and dishes. :)

If you want to play along, just start at Stars & Stamps

Here is where I will be posting my cards along the way.

Challenge #1 - Chevron patterns!

Chevron Pattern Embossing Folder by Sizzix
Chevron Pattern Stamp by CTMH - "It's Your Day"
Cloud, Sentiment and Balloon Stamp by Hero Arts (OWH Fundraiser Set)
"Holiday Red" and "Sky Blue" papers - CTMH

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Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February Expressions Kits

Fastest. Month. Ever. Didn't I just post my things for the January Express The Moment kits? Well, It's that time again. This years' kits from ETM are showing some real promise. I just love to see the latest lines of products from my favorite companies inside. This month there are a ton of goodies from My Mind's Eye and of course a whole bunch of things to continue our "Project Life" style albums.

There are a ton of butterflies in this month's kit ... perfect for creating this page that I have been wanting to make for some photos of my little niece and nephew at some butterfly gardens back east. How did that firey little redheaded boy hold still long enough to get that butterfly on his finger? The world will never know. Thank goodness for Kodak moments or I would never believe it. :)

If you are continuing with the monthly 8x8 page, you can copy this one if you like. I love the doily stickers and the sentiment stickers in the kit. They will be so pretty for a February photo of some kind. The best part about creating one 8x8 page each month is that at the end of the year, you have an entire album to send to someone special.

The following cards were made using some deconstructed sketches. I love these sketches!!! Look closely and you will see some really pretty embossed patterned papers that are found in this months' kit. It's like having new embossing folders, almost. :) The embossing on these papers is VERY textured and there are two different colored sides to the paper. Gorgeous. I used a Stampin' Up sentiment on this one:

I used my own bling on these cards because they turned out so formal looking with these beautiful patterned papers. (You can never have enough bling, right?) For the sentiment on this one, I embossed with silver powder using a Close To My Heart sentiment stamp.I also distressed the edges of all of these papers softly, using a medium grey ink

One more with another example of this beautiful embossed paper. This one is a very cool pattern, don't you think? I love the combination of romantic colors and patterns in this month's kit.

Inside the kit is also an entire box, 12 blank cards made with patterned paper, called "Just Write" by American Crafts. These are perfect, PERFECT for dressing up and making a few Valentines or cards for Operation Write Home. When I was finished making my other projects with the kits, I just sorted my scraps and found OWH sketches to follow to use up the scraps. We learned how to do this at the last ETM crop... it's very easy and  a great way to use up your extras!

 Speaking of crop, there's one coming up for Express the Moment in Idaho Falls, so be sure to check the website for details. I hope to meet you there for some good card-making, cropping fun!

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Monday, February 4, 2013

iPad Tutorial: Blogging

Welcome! Here is part three in my series of how I use my iPad for paper crafting. So far we have covered a few things about what I LOVE about my iPad but today, I'm going to explain what I DON'T use my iPad for and why. Maybe you can make up your own mind about it and save yourself a headache.

Blogging - it takes up just about as much of my paper crafting time as the actual crafting does. I enjoy it, but I would love to maximize my use of time and get things done faster if I can.

On my iPad, I downloaded an app called BlogPress. Now don't get me wrong. It is fantastic for quick blog updates and editing and the app has had quite a few good updates since I first started using it. I use it quite frequently and in fact, I am using it right now.

The thing that I don't like about it can best be explained by saying this. At first I thought that this would be a great way to quickly use the iPad to take a photo of a finished project and post it online. But let me show you what I found:

This photo taken and uploaded with iPad and BlogPress app.

Yes, that was fast and easy, but what I didn't realize was how much the quality of my photos would suffer. I'm at a bit of a loss to explain exactly why this happens because I am just not *quite* that techy. The funny thing is, that when I see the published post on my iPad, the photos don't look so bad. It wasn't until I actually went back and viewed the posts on my desktop computer that I noticed the big difference. Compare:

*At this point I switched from iPad to desktop publishing*

This photo taken with Kodak  digital camera, uploaded to computer
and added to the post the "traditional" way.

For the photo above, I followed my previous way of taking a photo with my camera and uploading with my desktop computer. Much better! I'm still upset about quite a few of last years' posts where I used iPad photos instead of camera photos. Lesson learned: the faster method just isn't as good.

It should be said that the iPad that I use is an iPad 2. Maybe it is the quality of photos that the iPad 2 takes that is the problem. I tried many things to figure out if the problem was the iPad camera, or the app, and I think that I decided that the problem was a little bit of both.

To try to resolve this problem, I did try taking photos with my camera, uploading the camera photos to the iPad, then using BlogPress to blog the camera photos. I also tried uploading photos taken by both methods to PhotoBucket, and adding the links to the posts rather than using the BlogPress photo uploader. The results were still not as good as I would have liked. To be honest, this wasn't saving me any time either. The bottom line is, I do see the big difference and it is important to me to have better quality photos. So for now, I'll stick to my desktop publishing, unless my post is just for text.

I'm pretty sure that I've heard that the photo quality and resolution has improved with the newer model iPads, so maybe that is another answer. But for now, I love this one and use it way more than enough for it to be "worth it" to me. Maybe some day my poor iPad 2 will bite the dust. When that happens, I'll have to try again with a newer model, and I'll let you know what I think!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope that maybe this post has been helpful for you iPad / papercrafters out there. Next week I'll continue with some more tips. 

Oh - that cute stamp set? It's by My Favorite Things and you should definitely be on the lookout for more examples of them over at Stars & Stamps. . . just sayin'.  :)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Cards With Critters - Sweet Chickadee!

Welcome to those of you who came for the Operation Write Home Groundhog Day Blog Skip! Whew... that was a mouth full! :) If you came here from Sandy's blog, you are headed the right direction.

Keeping to the theme of cards with critters, I decided to do some more birds. I love birds... they remind me of spring and I CAN'T WAIT FOR SPRING so that little groundhog had better have some good news for us today!!!

My inspiration came from Pinterest where I saw a whole bunch of punch-art birds. I thought it would be fun to give it a try with my Cricut instead of a bird punch (because I don't have one... lol) I just cut that bird out of three different colored cardstocks and pieced them together to make my favorite - a little chickadee. I chose a chickadee because I think I saw one last week! How unusual for this time of year! I'm so excited for spring!

For a list of supplies and a little how-to on that chickadee, read back one post if you like.  I'll provide the measurements that I used so that you could try too.

Thank you for stopping by and be sure to hop on over to Sarah's blog next. Happy Groundhog Day! Happy Cards With Critters Day! Happy Bloghopping! And keep those cards coming for Operation Write Home. You guys rock. :)

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Sweet Chickadee - Parts and pieces!

Here are all of the parts and sizes for my little chickadee card. . .
I made him for the "Cards With Critters" bloghop on 02/02/2013

It might surprise you to find out that I used just one Cricut Cartridge for this project. It's called Art Philosophy and I just love it for the pretty shapes and pieces that it makes!

  • The card base is A2 size or 4.25 x 5.5"
  • The yellow mat is just "one smidge" smaller than this. Basically I took a 4.25 x 5.5" piece and shaved just 1/8" off of each side. (top and side only - not all four sides!)
  • Next I cut a square of green cardstock at 3.75" and a square of blue cardstock at 3.5"
  • Time to use your Cricut cartridge!! :)
  • Cut the pretty doily out of white cardstock. It is on the same button as the Christmas stocking, Pg. 67. Be sure to press "Font Layer" and "Shift" to get the doily and cut one at 4"
  • Since you are cutting on white cardstock, this is a great time to cut out a 2" bird - pg. 51
  • Keep using the white cardstock and cut out one "Rctngle5" at 1.5" Then cut several of  "flower 8" - pg 50... at 1/2 and 3/4" sizes, or as big as you like. I cut white flowers... but sure, you could cut pink or whatever you want. :)
  • Next, cut the Branch from pg. 35. Cut one "Branch2" at 2" out of green cardstock. 
  • While you are at it, cut the marquee sign out of the green cardstock by pressing "shift" and "decorative layer" at 1.5"
  • Out of brown cardstock, cut the branch by pressing "Layer" and "shift" to get the brown branch at 2"
  • You need two more birds if you want to make the chickadee like mine. Cut the bird out of black cardstock at 2". 
  • Switch to grey cardstock and cut the bird at 2" and the wings at 2 1/2".  (I liked my wings more when cut at a little bit larger size.)

I used one of those tiny roller-ball type Zig glue pens to glue the pieces together. 
If you want to make a chickadee, use the black paper as the bottom layer. 
Without sounding gross, just use your scissors and cut the head off of the grey bird in a rounded shape like I did. Then I took the white bird and cut the breast shape and a little "swipe" of white for his face.
Glue the face swipe part down first, then glue the grey headless part, then the white breast.
The last bit was just to add the wing.
The bird is adhered to the card using dimensional squares.
For the sentiment I stamped and embossed with black embossing powder. Make sure you do this on the white marquee sign after you check placement - meaning put the green layer down on it lightly before stamping the sentiment, so it is centered where you want it.
I also adhered the marquee sign sentiment to the card using dimensional squares. 

I added some bling to the corners of the doily and to the center of each of the flowers. I also added a tiny black gemstone for his little eye. I love how this turned out and I think I will experiment with some different kinds of birds - maybe robins and bluebirds and a cardinal for winter!

Thanks for stopping by to see the instructions! This card was made for one of our deployed heroes to send home to their friend back in the states. You can learn more at Operation Write Home if you would like to make cards for the troops, too.

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