so totally cool

Refreshment by Kitty 6-28-15Okay, so, I knew this when we moved here, but gosh… it’s HOT in Florida!  Of course, I’m trying to find ways to keep cool.  Thank goodness we have air conditioning, and ceiling fans and stand-alone fans all over the house.  I’ve discovered something, though: fans tend to blow things around… light-weight things like paper… and I’m a paper crafter, LOL.  So I spend almost as much time trying to catch flying bits of paper (before my cats do), as I do actually crafting.  🙂

When I’m not chasing paper bits, I cool down with frozen fruit bars.  (I’m currently hooked on Nestle’s Outshine bars… if they’re made with fruit, they have to be healthy, right?)  Anyway, when I heard that Simon Says Stamp’sWork it Wednesday Challenge” was all about refreshment, I immediately thought of popsicles fruit bars (sounds healthier, right?).

So is it just me, or do those smiling treats remind you of the old dancing refreshments that used to play across movie screens during the intermissions?  (I am TOTALLY dating myself, aren’t I?)  Anway…

Most of this card was made using the August 2014 Simon Says Stamp card kit .  The kit is no longer available, but you can still buy the cute stamp set by itself.  I stamped the popsicles fruit bars on white cardstock, colored them with Prismacolor pencils, blended with odorless mineral spirits, fussy-cut, inked the edges, and coated with a bit of Wink of Stella for a little sparkle.  The sentiment is from a different stamp set, by Ali Edwards, but I just thought it was perfect for this card. The sentiment piece, and the pop… fruit bars are all attached with some foam adhesive.  And all of those nice “enamel” buttons?  Believe it or not, they are all just melted Perler Beads (see previous post on that).

Stay cool, and thanks for stopping by!

Supplies (affiliate links used when possible – see full disclosure):


 

coloring books for adults

Adult Coloring Books 6-26-15Okay, by now, you must have heard of these – coloring books for adults.  I mean… gosh… they are EVERYWHERE!  It seems like it’s all anyone is talking about, on Facebook, Yahoo, the TV news – it’s crazy.  Just in the last 2 weeks, I’ve joined more than one new Facebook group just focused on coloring, and I’ve liked several coloring book artists’ pages.

The first time I mentioned Adult Coloring Books to my husband… well… let’s just say his idea about what that might be wasn’t suitable for a family-friendly website, LOL.  I am now making it a point to say “Coloring Books for Adults”.  Although, to be honest, I don’t really quite get it.

Here’s the thing… I loved coloring books when I was a kid, and I love coloring books now – and in between, I still loved coloring books.  That never changed.  And honestly, the types of coloring books didn’t change much, either.  The only real difference between a “coloring book” and a “coloring book for adults”, as far as I can tell, is the amount of detail in the images.  (Well, that and you don’t see a lot Barney the Purple Dinosaur or Care Bears books marketed towards adults.)  Once I mastered “coloring within the lines”, I wanted more detailed pictures to color, and I loved geometric shapes.  My style and medium have changed a bit, but my choice for pictures really hasn’t.

For the most-part, I’ve been focusing on coloring stamped images lately.  I’m a card-maker, so that makes sense.  But really, the concept is the same – coloring is coloring, isn’t it?  However, all this chatter about coloring books did convince me to invest in a couple or three, to play around with.  Here’s what I discovered:  The coloring books free me up to try new color combinations, and new techniques.  Many people color because it’s relaxing – and it is – but I think it’s also a good way to experiment and develop your creativity. For this picture, I practiced my shading:Tessalation by Kitty 6-26-15This was all done with my Prismacolor pencils (no blending – I just adjusted the amount of pressure).  While I hope my technique has improved a bit, this design looks A LOT like some that I colored WAY back when I was a kid (we won’t talk about just how long ago that was). This book is definitely one of my favorites:

 

I’ve always loved these intricate designs, but I must say that The Coloring Cafe also has some really cute pictures – elaborate, but with a theme, some even with uplifting sayings:

And, I am completely coveting the gorgeous books by Johanna Basford!  I bought this book for a friend before this whole craze started, and I’ve been wanting to get my own copy since then. (It was sold out when I purchased the other ones – it’s a hot commodity right now.)  I think she had a lot to do with this whole coloring craze.

So what do you think?  Did this sudden love of coloring just come out of nowhere?  Do you like to color?  Are you coloring more because of the craze?

Here’s a link to all three books I purchased, as well as some others I’d like to get (affiliate links used – see full disclosure):


Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Coloring!

travelin’ dad

Dad Day 2015, card by KittyHappy Father’s Day! This card is for a dad who doesn’t have a lot of hobbies, but likes to travel.  Have you noticed that all the “guy” paper-crafting things have to do with golfing or fishing?  There are also a few cute “tools” for the DIY type.  But what if your dad doesn’t do those things?  It can be challenging.

For this card, I started with the wood grain embossing folder, because wood seems to be a nice, easy, all-around “manly” thing.  I stuck to shades of brown, and added some stars from some thin wood paper, plus a bit of twine.  The title is just die-cut letters (Sizzix Doodle Dots alphabet… sorry, I don’t think this one is available anymore)  To give it a bit of a travel theme, I replaced two of the letters and the apostrophe with a little wood veneer car, sailboat, and airplane.

Wishing all the great dads out there a spectacular day!  Thanks for stopping by, and have a wonderful day!

Supplies (some affiliate links used – see disclosure for details):


yes, i love fussy-cutting

Fussy-cut for SSS 6-20-15

Simon Says Stamp’s latest Wednesday Challenge is USE YOUR FAVORITE TECHNIQUE and/or PRODUCT.  Wow – how do you choose?  I mean, one of things I love best about card-making is that you get to try out so many different techniques.  And when it comes to products… well… I might have a slight hoarding problem.  😉

After some thought, I realized that one technique I keep coming back to is “fussy-cutting”, or cutting around the very edge of a stamped image.  In most cases, that’s an image that I colored.  And I really love to add a bit of dimension by stamping some part of the image more than once, and layering it.

This card definitely fits that bill.  I took my time coloring the image (another digi-stamp from Meljen’s Designs), working on my “shading” skills.  This one is done all with just Prismacolor pencils – no OMS or blending solution.  I did go around all the edges with a black marker, and I went over some of the lines with a very thin black pen.  All of the ribbon & bow (including the bits on the side of the gift) were stamped a second time, and popped up with foam adhesive, along with the little “tag” (with hand-written “For You”).  The ribbon also has a nice coating of Wink of Stella glitter. The title is die-cut (probably my second favorite technique), and I added a bit of enamel accents in two of the corners.

This card also works for the 30-Day Coloring Challenge over on The Daily Marker.  I haven’t produced enough work to post a colored image every day, but I am trying to color just a bit every day.  More on that in a future post.

Some notes about fussy-cutting:  first, you’ve got to have good scissors.  There is just no way around that.  I used my Cutterbees for this one.  Next, a good brush-tipped black marker to run around the edges really helps your image pop.  You have to be careful, but if you hold your marker and image so that you are always coloring from the back, then any slip of the marker should only mark the back, where it won’t be seen.  (Trust me – most of my fussy-cut images have black marks all over the backs of them.)  For enhancing the fine lines on the image, you’ll want a really good, really fine-point black marker (and a steady hand).  As for foam adhesive to layer it, you have a lot of options, but my tip would be that if you want to add dimension with really tiny parts (like that tag above), then get yourself some clear Kool Tak foam.  I use it very sparingly (it’s not the least expensive option), but it’s awesome when I need a really small piece.  I still try to keep it all behind the image, but if a tiny bit peaks out, it’s nearly invisible.

So, when it comes to fussy-cutting, you probably love it, or hate it.  Which side do you fall on?

Thanks for stopping by, and have an awesome day!

Supplies:


stamp storage and stamp index

Clear Stamp Storage - bashfulcatHi!  Today I have something a little different for you.  I love seeing how everyone keeps their crafty supplies organized.  I’ve found the most wonderful ideas on other blogs!  I’ve taken some of those ideas and tweaked them a bit, so I thought I’d share my own system for keeping stamps organized.

I’ve tried a few different methods for storing my clear stamps, but eventually joined the band-wagon and followed Jennifer McGuire’s system (more or less).  She is so wonderfully organized, and her collection of supplies is a dream.  (Thanks for sharing with us, Jennifer!)

She stores her stamps in plastic sleeves designed especially for stamps.  I took the budget route, and found some inexpensive sleeves that are the right size and work just fine (link below).  Mine are open at the top, but I found I actually prefer that.  Since I store them all right-side-up nothing falls out, and it’s quick and easy to get into them.  Instead of plastic storage, I’ve opted for baskets – I love baskets.  (The one above came from either Michaels or JoAnns.  Sorry, no link.)   🙂

I tried to make this system as easy as possible so I can stay on top of it, so most of my stamps I just leave attached to the plastic sheets that they arrived on.  I just take them out of the package, and slide them into the sleeve.  Usually, the designs are already printed on the sheet, so they’re easy to see.  Sometimes (as above, with the Mama Elephant label), I’ll cut out some of the packaging and glue it to the cardstock piece.  Other times, I’ll print out labels.  Either way, I do make sure to save any relevant information (name of stamp set, manufacturer, etc.)

Most of my effort goes into my index system.  See that number 31 at the top of the sleeve?  That’s important.  Avid stampers often talk about the problem of keeping track of their stash and avoiding buying duplicates.  My index system serves two purposes – it helps me avoid double-purchases, and it helps me find what I need when I’m crafting.

Stamp Index Binders - bashfulcatThese are my index binders – currently three for stamps, and one for die-cuts/punches.  However, this system is really easy to adjust – I’ll be starting a new binder soon.  (Oh how I wish I could find more of these binders!  I LOVE them – bought them years ago, haven’t been able to find them since.  They never jam – the rings are super-solid.)  The labels (on binders and sleeves) were made with my Brother P-Touch (link below).  I am so addicted to this little machine!  If you like to organize things, I can’t recommend it enough.

When I’m ready to make a card, I will often page through these, looking for inspiration.  But they are organized so I can quickly find something, if I know what I’m looking for.  Say I’m looking for a cat image.  I just go to the binder marked “animals”, and there’s a special tab for cats:Stamp Index 3 - bashfulcatEach image is stamped on its own little baseball-card sized piece of cardstock.  (Sometimes, for very tiny images, I’ll put a few on the same card, if they go together.)  When I find something I want to use, I just flip the page over – the location of the stamp is written on the back.Stamp Index 4 - bashfulcatFor example, that card on the bottom right says “SL-23” at the top.  That means that I’ve stored that particular stamp in a sleeve numbered 23.  And since I keep those sleeves in numerical order, it’s a breeze to locate it.  Some of my older stamps are still in CD cases.  Not a problem – the CD’s are numbered the same way.  I even include digi-stamps in my index.  (All locations are written in pencil, so if I ever move anything, it will be easy to adjust.)

I learned about the baseball sleeves from another stamper – wish I could give credit, but it was a while ago and I didn’t write down who it was.  Many thanks to the brilliant stamper that came up with this system!  You see, there are two reasons why this system is so brilliant:

(1) It’s so easy revise it.  For example, I currently have a tab marked “bugs”.  If my collection of bugs were to grow, I could split it up into tabs for butterflies, bees, and caterpillars, without re-stamping anything.  I would just re-arrange the cards.

(2) I can easily categorize a particular stamp under more than one heading.  For example, I have two cat stamps with pumpkins.  In addition to storing them under “cats”, I could also store them under “Fall”, or “Halloween”.  It makes it so easy to find what I want.  Some people organize their actual stamps, and that’s great… but you can only put the stamp in one place.  I can index them in as many places as I want.  🙂

I am also using a similar system for punches and dies.  It works almost as well, though most of the images are too big for baseball card sleeves.  If/when my collection of dies gets much bigger, I may modify this, but it works for now.

Die-cut Index - bashfulcatHow do you store your stamps?  Is there anything you would do to improve on this system?  I’d love to hear!  Or if you have any questions about my system, just let me know.  I’m pretty easy to track down.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by, and happy stamping!

Supplies:


just getting all my ducks in a row

Ducks in a Row, card by Kitty

*This* is why I love digi-stamps.  Have you ever tried them?  Instant gratification, shop in your pajamas, and once you buy them, you can manipulate them!

This little duck pull toy is another of my Meljen’s Designs digi-stamps.  I was looking for something new to color – you know, for that awesome 30 Day Coloring Challenge at The Daily Marker – and I saw this little duck toy.  I kept thinking that it would be cute to have a bunch of these ducks all in a row.  And, being a digi-stamp, I was able to print them out in different sizes, smaller to larger.  🙂

They are all colored with Prismacolor pencils and blended with OMS.  I added a bit of white gel pen, a bit of glitter with a Wink of Stella pen, and some Glossy Accents, but it’s hard to tell in the photo.  The wheels were all stamped twice and popped up with some foam adhesive, as were the ducklings themselves.  And then I took some black floss and tied all of the little guys together.

I wanted a little something on the background, but I didn’t want it to detract from the duckies, so I took a background stamp and did a little tone-on-tone stamping.  The sentiment was printed on my computer, cut into a strip, matted with yellow cardstock, notched on the end, and attached with more foam.

You know, this is one of those cards that was cuter in my head than it ended up on paper, but I still like the idea of it.  Perhaps one of you can take the idea and improve it.  🙂

Happy Crafting!  Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

Supplies (affiliate links used when possible – see full disclosure here):


grateful for your friendship

Grateful card 6-13-15Hi!  I am all fired up to try some challenges! So what do you think?  Want to join me?

This week’s Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge is “Friends or Superhero”, and they are showcasing Mama Elephant products.  Well, I only have one Mama Elephant stamp set (so far – there WILL be more), so I decided to start with that, and see what came to mind.  This also works for the 30 Day Coloring Challenge over at The Daily Marker. 

The idea of superheros was a little daunting for me, but friends?  Friends I can do.   And there’s nothing better than finding a friend who will stick by you when times get tough.  You want a friend who will share their umbrella with you – not one who runs when skies are grey.  I have a friend like that, and I’m so very grateful.  And you know what?  Now that I think about it, a good friend really IS a superhero.  🙂

For this card, I stamped the adorable little fox and bunny, and the umbrella, and colored everything with Prismacolor pencils, and blended with OMS.  (Yeah, yeah… I know.  I’ve got to get out of my comfort zone and try a different coloring method… one of these days.)  I fussy-cut everything, and inked the edges with a black marker.  I also added a bit of Enamel Accents for the eyes.  I attached them to a die-cut piece of speckled patterned paper, using a bit of foam on the fox to give the image some dimension.  I used to more die-cut rectangles, one to mat the image, and one for the sentiment.  I attached all of this, along with a couple strips of matching cardstock, to a white card-base embossed with dots.  Instead of trying to create raindrops, I thought that the dots and speckles would sort of stand in for them.

Hoping all of you have some superhero friends.  Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

Supply list:


Also used:  Mama Elephant “Up and Away” clear stamp set, Simon Says Stamp “Happy Every Day” clear stamp set (sentiment), My Favorite Things “Pierced Rectangle Stax” Die-Namics, Papertrey Ink cardstock (Stamper’s Select White, Spring Rain), My Favorite Things cardstock (Pink Lemonade).

fun with flowers

Flowers on Kraft by KittyIt’s official – I LOVE Prismacolor pencils on Kraft paper!  🙂  I had a lot of fun with this card – I will be doing a lot more of this.

I started with a simple Kraft card-base.  I took three flourish stamps and stamped the design with VersaMark ink.  I wanted a subtle design here.  I would have used clear embossing powder, but I don’t have any good stuff (it’s on my shopping list), so I used a pearl powder that looks mostly clear, with a bit of shine.

The flowers and leaves were more of my digi-stamps from Meljen’s Designs.  I printed them out on more of the same Kraft paper, and colored them with my Prismacolors.  I didn’t use any solvent this time – just added the color pretty heavily.  This was my favorite part!  I plan to print off a bunch of designs today on Kraft cardstock, just so I can enjoy coloring them.  🙂

I fussy-cut out the flowers and leaves, inked the edges with a black marker, and also went over some of the lines in black to make everything more bold.  I rounded the petals by hand, just a bit – the flowers are attached with just a Glue Dot in the center, to give them a little dimension.  I also added some Glossy Accents to the centers.

For the greeting, I die-cut a “hello” from more Kraft paper, and colored it with pencils, again just giving them a fair bit of pressure, but no solvent.  I was able to color it by keeping the die-cut inside the “negative space”, but in hindsight, it would be easier to just color in an area of cardstock a little larger than the die, and cut it after it was colored.  Again, I inked the edges, and then added a coat of Glossy Accents to the whole thing.

Have you tried using your pencils on something other than plain ol’ white paper?  You might be surprised at the results!

Thanks for stopping by, and have a magical day!

Supplies used:







As well as:  Papertrey Ink Kraft cardstock and Stampendous “Nature’s Elements Kit” embossing powder

 

sunsets and palm trees

Palm Tree card by KittyI had so much fun with today’s card!  It really all started when I saw Kristina Werner’s Summer Sunset card.  I just loved the bright colors on the white background!  But, I didn’t have any masking paper… or the inks she used… or… well, you get the idea.  So, I set the thought aside and went back to that 30 Day Coloring Challenge.

As I was coloring, I kept looking up at this beautiful painting over my desk.  My friend, Robyn Wells, painted it and gave it to me last Christmas.  Isn’t it just gorgeous?!  (Thank you Robyn!)Painting by Robyn Wells, 2014Well, I was thinking about these beautiful sunset colors, and just couldn’t resist digging through my ink pads to see if I could create something similar.  I just took a piece of my usual white stamping cardstock, and a bunch of sponge daubers, and whatever inks I could find that said “sunset” to me, and I went to town.  The blending isn’t perfect – distress inks are better for that – but I did get some vibrant colors.

I cut out the image with a deckle rectangle die, and then dug through my supplies in search of a palm tree stamp.  I finally found one, but it was just an outline, and I really needed a silhouette… so I improvised.  I stamped the tree with VersaMark ink, and heat-embossed it in black.  Then, I went over all of the open areas with a VersaMark pen, added more black powder, and more heat.  It took a few tries, but I finally came up with an image I was happy with.

For the sentiment, I just die-cut it from some of the leftover inked cardstock.  It didn’t seem to “pop” enough, though, so I die-cut the sentiment again from black paper, and layered the two.  I attached the tree image with some foam adhesive, added three dots of Enamel Accents, and called it done.

Thanks so much for looking, and have a great day!

Supplies used:  Papertrey Ink Stamper’s Select White cardstock (card base), Hammermill Color Copy Digital Cover cardstock (for the inked image & sentiment), Thinking of You die from Simon Says Stamp, VersaMark watermark ink, Ranger black embossing powder, Hero Arts mid-tone shadow inks (Butter Bar, Soft Canteloupe, Pale Tomato), Papertrey Ink Premium Dye Ink (Autumn Rose), Tim Holtz Distress Ink (Shaded Lilac), Tsukineko VersaMagic Dew Drop Ink (Night Sky), Spellbinders Nestabilities Deckled Rectangles Large die, black Enamel Accents, and a rubber stamp from a very old Scrapgoods scrapbook kit “June 05 – Beach Fun Set”.

a little tea with your mouse

Mouse tea cup card by KittyHave you heard about the 30 Day Coloring Challenge?  Kathy Racoosin, from The Daily Marker, is encouraging everyone to color something every day.  And WOW – you should see her coloring!  Just amazing.  She has totally inspired me to color more.

I look forward to learning more techniques with other mediums, but my favorite is still my good ol’ Prismacolor pencils blended with odorless mineral spirits.  That’s what I used here, for this adorable digi-stamp by Meljen’s Designs.  (Sadly, her digital store has closed, but you can now get her designs from her new Etsy shop.)  I colored the image with Prismacolors, added a few highlights and details with a white gel pen and a bit of clear Wink of Stella.  I fussy-cut it and ran a black marker around the edges to give it definition.  Then I die-cut an oval tag, colored it to match the cup, stamped the sentiment, added an eyelet, and attached it to the handle with a bit of Baker’s Twine.  I glued it all to a fancy die-cut rectangle, and attached that to my cardbase with a bit of foam adhesive.

Okay, I have a confession to make… the tied-on tag was actually done to cover up a small mistake.  Fussy-cutting is always a bit challenging, but those “inside parts” are what get me.  You see that area inside the cup handle?  Well, I should have used a good, sharp craft knife on it, but my knife seems to have disappeared (like a number of other things, since the big move).  So, I figured I’d just punch a hole and use my little scissors.  I almost pulled it off… but there’s a small tear in the paper near the bottom of the handle.  That little bit of twine is just enough to hide it.  You know that expression “Necessity is the mother of invention”?  That is SO true.  Some of my best card embellishments were an afterthought – done to hide a small boo-boo.

Even if you’re not a card-maker, or an avid crafter, you might want to pull out a coloring book and some crayons.  You’re never too old to color – it’s a wonderful stress-reducer.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

Supplies used:  Bazzill cardstock (Vanilla and… some red color, LOL), Hammermill Color Copy Digital Cover (white cardstock used for the stamped images), Memento Tuxedo Black ink, Spellbinders Nestabilities Lattice Rectangles die, “Teacup Mouse” digi-stamp by Meljen’s Designs, Simon Says Stamp ” Where Your Heart Is” clear stamp set (hello), Prismacolor colored pencils and odorless mineral spirits, Sakura souffle white gel pen, Wink of Stella clear glitter pen, a black eyelet and a bit of twine (from my stash).  Oh, and three dots of white Enamel Accents… I just have this thing about three dots.