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Visit my author web page at www.beccawhitham.com

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Color Dare - Random

When you sign on to a design team, you are going to get stretched.  But you know you're really in for it when the owner of the Color My Heart blog puts out this e-mail, "Okay, kids, this is going to be a hard one. I chose these colors at random and I dare you to make something pretty out of them:  Twilight, Juniper, Goldrush, Cotton Candy, Gypsy, and Ruby."  To which I say, "Ha!  Take this!"

 
 
I cut everything using the Art Philosophy cartridge (flowers at 2"; centers at 3/4").  The flowers were stamped in their coordinating colors using the script from Universal Background (love that set!) and all edges were sponged with their coordinating colors.  The flower centers were stamped in White Daisy using A Posy (retired, but you can use any solid circle).  The Ruby centers were punched and then topped with Glitz Red Glitter Gel. You might not be able to see it well, but the background leaves were cut in Juniper with an overlay of Goldrush.  Again, these are coordinated cuts from Art Philosophy.  The stems on the larger Juniper leaves was stamped with the stem from A Posy and then sponged around the edges.  To get the leaf shapes, I actually stamped the leaf from A Posy on the back side of the cardstock and cut them out with regular scissors.
 
The sentiment is from For Every Occasion and is stamped in Twilight.  I sponged the edges of the background cardstock in Goldrush and sewed it to a Kraft card using a combination of straight and zig-zag stitches.
 
Now, I must give credit where credit is due.  I totally stamplifted this idea from Betsy Veldman's blog.  I tried to find the exact link for you but couldn't.  You might have noticed my tendency to stamplift.  But isn't that the whole point of blog hopping?  My secret weapon is OneNote by Microsoft.  I copy and paste idea after idea, categorized by stamp set, technique, and theme so I always have inspiration at my fingertips.  However, I never want to stamplift an idea without giving credit to the original creator.
 
For those of you interested in the nitty-gritty, the cut shapes can be found on the following pages of the Art Philosophy booklet:  circle, p. 21; branch/branch overlay, p. 35; flower, p.57; decorative circle, p. 61.  As always, leave me a comment if you have any questions.
 
Until next time,
Becca
 

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Color Dare Wedding Layout

My daughter got married in July...of 2009.  Yep, I'm behind on my scrapbooking.  This week's challenge over at Color My Heart is Sweet Leaf, Topiary, and New England Ivy.  This monochromatic color scheme works really well when you have lots going on in your photo, and particularly when your background is filled with trees.  Like this:


I tried to center my photo of this layout, but you might notice the edges are not exactly square.  They are on the real page.  Honest!  And how much simpler can this layout get?  It's just three strips of paper in various widths. 

The L&D logo was designed using some Cricut cartridges (Graphically Speaking and Base Camp) along with the Design Studio and Juke Box accessories.  They allowed me to mix and match, weld, size, and stretch until we had created a unique logo for their wedding (see this post to see how this was used on the invitations).  I wanted to show you something similar using the CTMH Art Philosophy and/or Artiste cartridges, but I had to make an unexpected trip out of town.

Sometimes simple is best.

Until next time,
Becca

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop



I've been tagged by Terri Whittington-Haynes to blog hop about my current manuscript.

The rules of the blog hop:
  • Mention who tagged you, and link to their post.
  • Give the rules.
  • Answer the ten questions below.
  • Link to several more people
1. What is the title of your next book?
Tentatively, it’s Shadows of Death but I’m not terribly attached to it.  The book is about three weeks old, so lots will change before it's done.
2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
Two places, really.  My son gave me Killing Lincoln for my birthday in October, and there was a lot of interesting background information about John Wilkes Booth which I didn't know.  Then, in December, when the terrible shooting happened in Newtown, CT, I heard that the shooter's father heard what had happened when TV crews showed up at his work where he was an executive of a large company.  Now, I don't know how much of the last part is true, but it doesn't really matter.  It sparked the inspiration question, "What happens to innocent family members who are left behind to deal with the aftermath when someone in their family commits an atrocity?"
3. What genre does your book fall under?
Historical Suspense.

4. What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
Sarah would be played by a young Winona Ryder...

and Zach would be played by Sean Astin.


5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Um...uh...hmmm.  Like I said, the book is three weeks into the process, and I'm working really hard at character development before I jump into the plot.  But the basic idea is that Sarah is a relative of John Wilkes Booth.  After he assassinated President Lincoln, members of his family were imprisoned.  So was Jefferson Davis.  I'm still trying to see if I can make those two historically accurate tidbits cause an extra layer of conflict for Sarah and Zach.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I would love for it to be represented by an agency, but since I haven't ever published a book...
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Yeah...three weeks and counting.  The last manuscript took almost eighteen months before I put it on the shelf because the more I tried to fix it the worse it got.  Writing for publication is a learning process.  You have to be willing to persevere, but you also have to be willing to let go.  While writing my last novel, Honor's Betrayal which finaled in the ACFW Genesis Contest, I learned two, very surprising things about myself.  First, I write suspense.  Who knew?  And second, I have a much easier time developing plot than characters.  The general feedback on HB was that the plot rocked but the character's were flat.  I tried to go back in and add character development, but it just wasn't working.  So...I put it aside and started Shadows of Death to begin with character development.
8) What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander, though I feel terribly prideful even thinking it.  If you haven't read this book, it's just stunning.   Also, though she did not write for the Christian market, I am a HUGE fan of Patricia Veryan.  She died several years ago, but her novels have given me hour after hour of reading pleasure.  (Warning: she writes "old style" with the omniscient point of view so she "head hops."  Sometimes even the parrot will chime into the narration.)
9) Who or what inspired you to write this book?
My husband and I are of one political persuasion, but we have close relatives who are just as adamantly of another.  During the presidential campaign, we saw lots of posts on Facebook from both sides of the political line.  I found the name-calling appalling.  No intellectual debate, no reasoning together, just name-calling, exaggerations, and digging into "my side" and turning the "other side" into a personal enemy.  After the election, there were people signing petitions to allow their states to secede from the Union.  Now, what does that sound like to you?
Did you know that Jefferson Davis, the President of the Confederacy, was imprisoned for two years without formal charges?  He was never charged with treason, and he was never declared innocent of any charges.  He just languished in prison until the general populace didn't care much anymore.  As a result, nothing has been resolved.  Do states have the right to determine issues like who qualifies as human and who doesn't?  Or does the Federal government have the right to make all-encompassing decisions about who qualifies and make the rest of us comply regardless of our individual beliefs? And where does Biblical truth come into the debate?  Not the twisting of Bible verses to support my personal beliefs, but an honest look at God's beliefs about the issues...even if that means I'm wrong and have to change my beliefs.
10. What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
 The Booth family has a fascinating history.  We all know John Wilkes Booth as Lincoln's killer, but did you know his family was famous?  Really, really famous!  Did you know one of his brothers saved one of Lincoln's sons?  If you are like me, you didn't even know John Wilkes Booth had brothers.  Or sisters.  Or a famous father who kept his family a secret for about twenty-five years.

Now for the tagging:

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Lemony Challenge

Yes...hang onto your hats, I posted twice in one day.  There are several challenges out there which were just begging to be entered.  This card works for the following:

OWH: Midweek Throwdown, Show Us Your Green
Mojo Monday: Sketch 276

It was also going to be entered in The Dynamic Duos but I missed the deadline.  Oh well.

Stamps, paper and ribbon are all retired CTMH.  The baker's twine is from Stampin' Up. 

And now it's time for me to do laundry, take down Christmas decorations (yes...Christmas decorations), and prepare some meals in advance because I'm leaving my DH for a couple weeks to help out a friend.

Until next time,
Becca


A Cup of Cocoa

The challenge this week over at Heart2Heart is "Hot Cocoa."  I decided to take the challenge literally and include a package of actual cocoa.

The folded bag is a trick I learned from the exceedingly creative Aaron Booth.

Stamps are from Sip (cup) and Pair-A-Phrase (sentiment).  The doily and ribbons are probably from Hobby Lobby.  The sentiment tag was cut using the Art Philosophy cartridge.

Nothing says "I love you" like chocolate.

Until next time,
Becca

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Love This

Our assignment on the Color My Heart design team was BLACK & WHITE with an accent of any color.  I  tried...I really tried, but in the end I couldn't get away from the classic dash of red. Well, Tulip to be exact.  I also stretched by adding some neutral accents, but the rules allow it.


I stamplifted this idea from Buttons and Bling, one of the blogs I visit for inspiration.  However, mine has a very different feel and uses a hodgepodge of CTMH products.
  • Art Philosophy Cricut cuts: heart (from retired Roxy paper, edges sponged with Tulip), tag, and square with notched corners.
  • Stamps from It's Your Day August 2012 promotional set: striped background on tag, LOVE THIS sentiment (edges sponged with black to deepen color).
  • Stamp from Frame It Up: square outline with notched corners
  • The crochet flower, wood button, white embroidery floss, corrugated arrow, and hemp are current accessories, but all are from different sets.  And I'm pretty sure some of them are retiring at the end of the month.
  • Tulip ribbon is from some promotional kit I got a while back and can't recall.
  • Liquid Glass to adhere everything that isn't paper.
This card also works for the The Dynamic Duos: Red & Black with Valentine Theme.

Usually I shy away from bold, graphic designs (mostly because I'm not confident in my ability to pull them off), but I am downright tickled pink at how this came out.  Well, tickled Tulip to be exact.

Until next time,
Becca

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Color My Heart Snowflakes

Welcome to my first post as a design team member of Color My Heart. This week's colors are Indian Corn Blue and Ruby. Well, I had to substitute Cranberry because I don't own Ruby (yet), but I think you will be able to see how either of these reds will work on the cards below.


I couldn't decide which one of these two I liked the best, so I decided to post both of them. Please note, anything in this post designated using italics is a CTMH product. The basic technique is the same, but the one above shows it a little better so I chose to use it as the larger image on this post. Stamps are Snowflakes and Pirouette. I stamped Snowflakes in Indian Corn Blue ink on both banners (cut with Artiste). For the blue background banner, I added a few Cranberry snowflakes. I then used an embossing buddy (cornstarch inside cloth) to make sure there was no lingering wet before stamping Pirouette in Versamark and covering with clear embossing powder. After shaking off the excess, I melted the powder with my heat gun until it went smooth. (Short heat time gives you a grainy look, medium heat gives you a smooth look, and extra long will melt your powder into the background and give you sloppy/fuzzy edges which can be a very fun look sometimes.)

Next, I pulled out my rubber brayer. Remember rubber brayers? We used to use them all the time, but they have fallen out of fashion. I have rediscovered mine and am having a ball with it lately. Top card was brayered in Cranberry, bottom one in Indian Corn Blue. As you can see, the underneath images are very visible under the Cranberry but barely visible under the Indian Corn Blue. If you want to completely hide the underneath images where they aren't covered in embossing powder, use a darker ink. You will need a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe off excess ink. (If you don't have a rubber brayer, you can achieve this same look using sponge daubers, but it will take more time.)

I sewed both banners using a combination of straight and zig-zag stitches. The blue banner has two rows of stitching, one for the banner and one for the ribbon (because I didn't think to put the ribbon on first...duh!) I added small pearl accents to the red banner.
 
This card also works with the following challenges:
Heart2Heart: Snow Much Fun (my second entry)

Thanks for sticking with this long explanation. (It took less time to make both cards than it did to explain it.) If you have any questions, please leave them in the comments below.

Until next time,
Becca

2,000,000 Congratulations

Two million congratulations to Operation Write Home
 
Until next time,
Becca

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Penguin Fun

My best friend's birthday is coming up. She loves snowmen, but I decided to do something a little different for her card this year. Instead of a snowman, how about an irresistible penguin?

 
Peter Penguin is an old DOTS image, but he is still adorable.  His body is colored with Copics in warm greys to coordinate with the brown background paper.  His hat brim is colored in cool greys to give it a contrast to the body.  I even used a Copic marker to color the small, clear button on the bottom left. 
 
The following are all CTMH products: snowflakes cut using CTMH Art Philosophy (and qualifies it to enter in the Heart2Heart Snow Much Fun challange), banner sentiment from the Artiste bundle coordinating stamps, and B&T paper.
 
The kraft paper directly behind Peter Penguin was embossed with a Cuttlebug folder.
 
I love how even my really old stamps have held their quality so I can create clean, crisp images with them.  And how they can be pulled out and given new life with more current products.
 
Until next time,
Becca

Saturday, January 5, 2013

When You Give of Yourself

One of the reasons I love making cards is because I give something of myself to the recipient, so the sentiment on this card is one of my favorites.  It's also my first card as part of the new Color My Heart Design Team.  Yeeee!  Next week begins our official team duties.  This week is just for fun, and the colors are neutrals.


The colors are Colonial White, Bamboo, Chocolate and Cocoa.  The main stamp sets are Treasures and Unscripted. (Both are retired.  I love to use these sets together.  For another example, please see this blog post.) The background script was created using Universal Background. The other CTMH products used here are white embossing powder, Artiste Cricut cartridge (for the notched paper), paper piercing, B&T paper (Vintage Travel, retired) Cocoa cardstock, and baker's twine.  I also accented the flowers with white gel pens to give a little more white to tie in the white stripes of the B&T paper, baker's twine and embossed sentiment.

The overstamped (Treasures) images were stamped first in Chocolate, stamped on scratch paper to remove some ink, then rolled in Cocoa around the edges.  The leaf was stamped in Bamboo then rolled lightly in Cocoa.  The veins were hand drawn with the white gel pen.

I used a square punch to create the banner by angling Cocoa paper into the corner and eyeballing the center.  Thank goodness for my new prescription glasses.

Now lest you think I came up with this card idea all by myself, I must give credit to Sheri Carroll.  I highly encourage you to visit her blog and soak in all the creativity shared there.

Speaking of shared creativity, I have updated the sidebar of my blog with all the other Color My Heart design team ladies.

Until next time,
Becca