Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Clean and Simple Things

My brain is refusing to cooperate with me.  I have a story to write and it's just not coming.  I can either eat copious amounts of chocolate (which plays havoc with my Weight Watchers points) or give my brain something else to focus on for a while.  I decided to play along with two challenges: Color My Heart: Black, White Daisy, Silver, and Indian Corn Blue and Heart2Heart: Clean and Simple.

Here's what I came up with:


I used pigment ink in Silver and Indian Corn Blue to emboss the images on the tag.  The background is Silver pigment that hasn't been embossed.  I colored the wings and stamped the sentiment in Black and used White Daisy cardstock.  I used a paintbrush and water to pick up Indian Corn Blue from the lid of a dye ink pad then flicked it over top of the background.  Although I did my flicking after the tag was affixed, I recommend you do the whole background before attaching the tag.

If I clean up my desk area, I can probably procrastinate another ten or fifteen minutes. **Sigh**

Let's hope my characters start talking to me soon! 

Until next time,
Becca

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Five in Five

Sometimes you need a card in a hurry.  This week for design team duties over at Stampin' Buds, I wanted to make five different cards where each one took about five minutes.  And I wanted to do them with the limited supplies.

Don't get me wrong, I love all my ribbons, markers, papers, gadgets, gizmos, and whatnots, but you can create a big impact with a couple well-designed stamp sets and a few embellishments. 


Here's each one alone:

I stamped the circle first, stamped it again on a post-it note, then cut out the center to create a mask before stamping the daffodils in the middle.  The sentiment was stamped before I put the Washi tape over top.

For the next two, I created "patterned paper" using the Doodle Design circle and three dots.  The Washi tape went over top of a white strip to keep the pattern from showing through.  To attach the banners, I used a regular stapler (which I'm counting as an "embellishment").



If you want to limit yourself to one stamp set, here are a couple with just the daffodil set.



Two stamp sets, one ink pad, two colors of paper, and two embellishments.  Beautiful doesn't have to complicated, expensive, or time-consuming.

Until next time,
Becca



Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Writer's World Wednesdays - Moving On

After the big thrill of getting my first box of author copies and seeing my name on the cover of a book, this week has been all about what comes next.  My friend and I spent about twenty hours finishing up the last quarter of a synopsis and sample chapters for a proposal.  All in all, we probably have about a hundred hours into this proposal.  It's for a three book series that generated some interest at the Christian fiction writer's conference back in September.  Now we just hope an editor likes the idea well enough to buy it.  If we get a bite, it will likely be in three to six months with a publish date a year to two years after that.

I had some friends ask me if publishing always takes this long.  These ladies were with me when I signed my contract back in April 2014 for the book now shipping from Amazon and will hit Wal-Mart shelves February 1.  The short answer is, "YES!"

Don't go into writing if you want to be an overnight success.  Not only does it take an average of ten years and four to six full-length manuscripts that never get out of your laptop's basement before you've put in enough work to sell something to a publisher, once it's sold you have about a year before you get to hold the results of your work.

Which is why the most fun I had this week was teaching the basics of a story plot to one of my violin students.  He's twelve and wants to write science fiction.  The smile on his face when we were done was instant gratification.

Until next time,
Becca

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Mr. & Mrs.

I am clearing the clutter from my craft room/writing office.  While I hunkered down for the holidays and a few author-ish duties, things just piled up.  As I cleared off my work space, I discovered a wedding invitation I should have responded to a couple weeks ago.

Oops.

The invitation is deep gray and dark purple with a large "&" in the corner.  Using it as my inspiration, and stealing the ribbon that was tied around it, I came up with this:


I am entering it into this week's Heart2Heart challenge.  It's a tic-tac-toe challenge.  I went straight across the middle row with stamping/ribbon/distressing.  Where's the distressing, you ask?  Why, right there on the ribbon.  I used my scissors to fray the edges.  I'm counting that as distressing.

The stamps and ink are CTMH. The letters are from the Artfully Sent alphabet (retired Pansy Purple ink) and the ampersand is from Happy Mail (Slate ink).  The puffy hearts are also from CTMH, but I colored the small, purple one with Copic markers to change it from light pink to deep purple.  The corsage pins are secured with Liquid Glass.

Hopefully the happy couple will forgive my tardiness when this arrives.

Until next time,
Becca

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Tiny.Sweet.Adorable.Precious.

I am surrounded by pregnant women...and I'm loving it.  This week for my design team duties at Stampin' Buds, I thought I'd get a jump on congratulation cards.


This is a pretty straightforward card.  Like last week, I wanted to focus on what you can do with the ShinHan markers, particularly the Colorless Blender.  However, before I get to the coloring, please note the stamped image itself.  I used a technique called "no-line coloring."  The idea is to have a very faint outline of your image using either a light ink or stamping off until your ink is faded.  I used black ink, stamped it on scratch paper three times, then stamped on the top panel.  For some reason, I didn't get the right side of the image as light as the left.  It works out well for the sake of illustration, though.  Look at the difference between the koala bear's ear on the left (with the more faded lines) and the right (with the darker outline).  The left side is a better example of "no-line coloring."

"No-line coloring" is a great option when you have an image with both outline and solid parts. The leaves on this are solid. If I stamped in a dark ink, I wouldn't be able to make them green.  They would be a muddy, indeterminate color.  Green leaves, brown tree trunk, and a gray bear all possible because the outline was light enough to be covered up.

Now...the Colorless Blender (CB) tricks.  The gray ShinHan markers don't go light enough to achieve the above effects.  To get this coloring, I started by scribbling WG4 onto an acrylic block. I then filled the bear image with CB (working a small section at a time). Working quickly so the paper was still wet, I touched my CB to the WG4 on the acrylic block and started working color from the edges of the bear to the center letting the color fade out. I repeated picking up and coloring until I'd achieved the depth of color I wanted.  I cleaned my CB by "coloring" on a clean piece of scratch paper until none of the WG4 remained.  I then added dots of CB to the bear's fur to give it a mottled look.

The blue "haze" around the bear was done with B68. I started by flicking my marker from the edge of the image out.  Then I took the CB and flicked from the outer edges of the blue toward the image. It gives that soft, fade-away glow.

The last things I want to point out have to do with the banners.  They are from the Art Philosophy cartridge cut at 1" W x 1.5" H from the Hopscotch paper pack.  I custom colored the peach colored one (comes with a Colonial White background) to match the koala's ears and cheeks by using YR26.

To finish off the card, I tied white embroidery floss (not a CTMH item) onto the banners and added the gold sequins in a triangle shape to frame my image.

I'm tickled pink with how it turned out.  Though maybe I should be tickled blue since this card is for a boy.

Until next time,
Becca



Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Writer's World Wednesday - Holding a Dream

It finally happened!  My first box of "author copies" showed up on my doorstep on Monday.  My husband raced home from work so he could take pictures.  Here are about ten thousand words worth of pictures...






 Could. Not. Stop. Crying!


 My husband asked for the first autographed copy.


Until next time,
Becca

Sunday, January 11, 2015

A Note to Say...


I have a friend going through a rough time, so I put together a card to tell her I'm thinking of her and praying for her situation using the sketch from Mojo Monday #379.


Here's a list of supplies used:
  • Stamps: Daffodils are from A Little Note (CTMH), sentiment is from Take Note (Verve)
  • InkFlaxen, Ponderosa Pine, Smoothie, Sunset, Pixie, and Indian Corn Blue (all CTMH)
  • Embossing Powder: Clear Detail (Stampin' Up!)
  • B&T Paper: Hopscotch and Whimsy Paper Fundamentals (CTMH)
  • Ribbon: Turquoise Metallic Velvet (Decorate Trim - purchased at Hobby Lobby)
I stamped the daffodils in with Indian Corn Blue pigment ink and embossed with clear powder over top. Then I started "watercoloring" by squeezing my dye ink pads until some ink transferred to the lids.  I used Flaxen as the background (avoided going inside the flowers and stems) getting a deeper concentration in the center and fading out at the edges. Then I got sloppy (on purpose...really). I added Ponderosa Pine to the leaves and stems; the flowers are Sunset with Pixie and Smoothie in the centers.  When the panel was dry, I flicked Ponderosa Pine and Smoothie over the top.

The bottom background panel is Flaxen paper (plastic coated side) from the Whimsy Paper Fundamentals ponged with Smoothie ink.  The blue panel is from Hopscotch.  I used Ponderosa Pine to sponge the edges of it and watercolored panel as well as to stamp the sentiment.

Sometimes life gets messy.  But who says a mess can't be beautiful?

Until next time,
Becca