Thursday, March 5, 2015

Thanks Oodles

I fell in love with the Oodles of Doodles stamp set the moment I saw it.  So many fun things to do with those scribbly graphic shapes.  This week, for my design team duties over at Stampin' Buds, I decided to put three simple cards together using a limited number of supplies.

Here's card #1, a basic one-layer that's fast and easy:


My chosen accessory for the first two cards is the Stitch Guide.  I've not used it for much actual stitching, but I sure love how it gives me some oomph without adding any bulk.

Here's card #2, also one layer, but adding another stamp set and a few more ink colors:


To get the smaller Canary circles, I bent the large circle shape from Doodled Designs into a kidney shape then stamped off the edge so your eye fills in the rest of the circle.  You'll also notice that all of the various shapes and colors are stamped in triangles.  That one design principle has done wonders for my stamping!  This card was CASE'd, so here's the original (because it's important to play nice in blogland and give credit where due).

Here's card #3:


Again, this was CASE'd, so here's the original.  I'll be honest, this card took some fussing, but is that fun or what!  I'm entering it into this week's Heart2Heart: Opposites Attract challenge because each of the colors are opposites on the color wheel.

To make the pinwheel, I stamped it on the top panel first (including the center circle - the smallest circle in the Oodles of Doodles set).  I started with the center circle, then stamped Canary and added the Thistle triangle directly opposite.  I didn't measure, I just eye-balled the straight line of the triangle base of the Canary with the straight line base of the Thistle.  Then I went to the Pear/Pixie leaving room for the Glacier/Sunset. I used an x-acto knife to cut out the triangles  giving  myself a small border and leaving the center circle in tact, placed my top panel over top of the card base and drew the triangles onto the base with a pencil, then stamped the pinwheel again.  The black wand was hand-drawn using a ruler and black pen.

I used a couple different accessories...a gold Bling Gem colored with the Black ShinHan Marker. Love how alcohol markers can customize accessories for greater versatility!

If I were doing this card over again, here's what I would change:
  • color the center circle black before using the x-acto knife to cut out the triangles.
  • be much more careful about x-actoing the circle so it looks like a circle instead of a sortof circle/sortof hexagon
  • color the bling gem black before putting it onto the card making sure to leave plenty of time for it to dry (in fact, it would probably be a good idea to do this before starting the card)
  • if I was feeling very adventurous, I might forgo stamping the center circle altogether and add the black gem with no border around it
I started this as a one-layer card, but it lacked pizzazz without the cut out top panel. You will need lots of Foam Tape (some of it cut in tinsy, tiny pieces) to keep the pinwheel from sagging.

A word of warning...you are running out of time to purchase the Doodled Designs stamp set.  It's part of the Seasonal Expressions catalog that expires at the end of March to make room for a brand new Seasonal Expressions.  But, if you're going to put in an order, be sure to add the Happy to be Friends stamp set, too.  I'll be back next week with some ideas using it because I find it incredibly versatile.

Until next time,
Becca

4am Mojo

It's four in the morning my time.  I have another blog post scheduled for later today.  But I couldn't sleep because my brain was racing about things to do with this week's Mojo Monday sketch.  So...here's my card.


Now I'm going back to bed.  Hopefully I can get some sleep.

Until next time,
Becca

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Writer's World Wednesday - Greasing the Gears

Quite often, I find symbolism in routine things. It's sortof my job.

I've been struggling these past few weeks to overcome writer's block.  Never had it before.  Don't like it.  Wish it would go away.  For three weeks, I've stared at a blank screen and hoped something--anything--would start to flow again.

Then I fixed my sewing machine and the words started to come. Slowly, but they are coming nonetheless.

How do the two relate?  I'm not entirely sure, to be honest.  I was making a card, adding stitching as a finishing touch, and my sewing machine started to thunk with each rotation of the needle.  As the daughter of a home-ec teacher, I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that the majority of my sewing (as in 99.9%) is on cards rather than clothing.  I might not use the machine the way it was originally intended, but that doesn't mean I don't know a machine requires oiling now and again.

I pulled out the oil, Googled how to apply it, took my machine apart, and greased the gears.

Here's where the symbolism comes in.  You don't add oil to everything, just where it's required.  With writing, I know I can't get too bogged down with editing until after the story is finished.  Easier said than done for a former English teacher who loves her red pen.  When I get stuck, my first instinct is to edit, edit, and edit some more.  At least I'm doing something, right?  But that's like oiling the foot pedal of a sewing machine.  It might be a moving part, but putting oil on it only makes a mess on your floor.  You're doing something, yes, it's just not helping.

Maybe oiling the sewing machine freed something up in my brain.  Maybe having to really concentrate on an unfamiliar task fired up neurons so my left brain is talking to my right brain again.  Or maybe it was simply time for my writer's block to expire.  All I know is I took a step back, put down my red editing pen, and focused on what needed help--character motivations.

And away we go...

Until next time,
Becca


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Baby Pink

There has been a run on baby boys around here, so it was a joy to get to make a little girl card.


I am entering this into the Heart2Heart Think Pink challenge.  Here's my supply list (all from CTMH):
  • Stamp: Cute Koalas
  • Ink: Cotton Candy
  • Paper: Paper Fundamentals, Whimsy Assortment (Pixie), Cotton Candy Cardstock
  • Accessories: White Shimmer Trim, Pixie Thick Twine, White Waxy Flaxy (retired, and I'm almost out!!)
  • Other: Cricut, Artfully Sent, Liquid Glass, Foam Mounting Tape, 1/4" circle punch
The only trick to this was resizing the baby buggy image to 5 1/4 x 4".  Everything else is just patience and lots of foam tape.  Lots and lots of foam tape!  Oh...and a pencil to mark the center of the wheels to add the small dots of Cotton Candy.

I love how the thick twine frays so nicely.  It gives you lots of impact for only a little bit of actual twine.

If I were to do this over again, I think I might edge the base layer with more of the White Shimmer Trim.  After all, little girls should develop a love of bling early!

Until next time,
Becca

Friday, February 27, 2015

Happy Mail

My sister is fighting a pretty big health battle.  I wanted to send her a little something just to let her know I'm thinking of her.  I combined the color challenge from Color My Heart with Mojo Monday #386 for this card:


Here's the supply list, all CTMH:
  • Stamps: Jubilee Workshop on the Go (retired) and Happy Mail
  • Ink: Sunset, Honey, Olive, Outdoor Denim
  • Paper: Sunset, Olive, Outdoor Denim, and ProPlayer (retired)
  • Accessory: Resin flower from Pemberly Workshop on the Go (retired)
I only had a small scrap of the ProPlayer B&T paper left.  It was 2" wide.  I cut it into two strips, lined them up very carefully, supplemented the length with a 1" border of plain Outdoor Denim on top and bottom, and you would never know if I didn't tell you.

There was lots of fussy cutting on this card.  The flower was stamped three times in three different ink colors, then each layer was cut out and glued together to create the effect of a tri-colored image.

Since I liked the idea of securing the banner with the stitching along the left side, I had to do a little finagling.  I used a smidgeon of glue to secure the left side of the banner to the ProPlayer paper, sewed just that one side, slid the next layer under the banner, then foam mounted the main image over top.

I hope this brings a little cheer to my sister and reminds her that, though we are miles apart, we are always close.

Until next time,
Becca

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Cheating for a Good Reason

Sometimes I just get stuck.  It seems to be my theme lately.  But when you're on a design team or have a writing deadline, you can't afford to stay stuck for long.  This week I decided to cheat on my design team duties over at Stampin' Buds and steal an idea straight from last year's CTMH catalog cover.  Remember this?


I used it as my inspiration for this:


I am loving the Wanderful paper packet.  The colors are so fabulous together, even if I wasn't able to photograph them that well.  It's not a combination I would have tried otherwise, but it's very chic!

The blue background piece with the cut arrows, planes, clouds, etc. comes from p. 38 of the Artbooking cartridge.  I sized it to 6x6 before cutting.  I think everything is pretty self-explanatory, but leave a comment if you have questions and be sure to check back for an answer.

I did want to mention one thing about the paper pierced chevrons.  When I first poked them using the stitch guide, the holes weren't even.  That's because the paper piercing tool will poke with various degrees of pressure.  It won't matter if you plan to actually use the holes for stitching, but if you plan to leave them as is, you might want them to be uniform.  The way to get nice, even holes is to do a second round of poking where you lift the paper away from the piercing mat and poke the piercing tool about a full inch through the paper.  That takes the tool to the thickest width so all your holes are the same size.

Too bad I can't cheat by copying someone else's novella, but copyright laws tend to frown on that sort of thing.

Until next time,
Becca

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Writer's World Wednesday - Perspective

As I told you last week, I have another contract.  It's exciting. It's wonderful.

It's somewhat terrifying!

I've known it was probably going to happen since last September, so I've been working on the story for a while.  I had a manuscript half done, thought it was good, gave it to a mentor who said, "This isn't working," and started all over again.  I got the first two chapters done by the first of February. Then nothing. I've been stuck for about three weeks now.  My deadline to turn in the manuscript isn't until June, but I'm already beginning to panic.  What if I can't get unstuck?

Considering my first novella (the one available in The Homestead Brides Collection right now) was 100% done before I had to start all over again with only six weeks to go, I was feeling pretty good at the beginning of the month.  Not so much anymore.

On Saturday, I went to a writer's meeting, told my dilemma to a New York Times bestselling author, who diagnosed my problem in one sentence.  My writing buddy and I looked at each other and said, "How come we didn't see that?" 

Perspective.

Sometimes you are so focused on the details you miss the overall objective.  A story gets written one word--one letter--at a time.  Keeping the big picture in mind as you work is vital. 

This week I'm taking the week to focus on the overall message of this upcoming story.  Let's hope it gets my brain in gear so my fingers can start typing those letters and words soon!

Until next time,
Becca