Thursday, February 28, 2013

LOTV 9th Birthday Celebration!

I discovered  Lili of the Valley stamps about 3 months ago.  They are from the UK and their images are completely adorable.  LOTV is a wonderful company to work with too, and their shipping rates to the US are very reasonable.  I'm obviously late to the party - as this weekend is their 9th birthday!  Their latest challenge is to create a birthday card for them.  Here's mine - isn't this bright and cheery?
Rosie Posie - Lili of the Valley stamps (LOTV)

Coloring the hair was my focus again.  I typically color brunettes, so I stretched myself this time to color a blonde.  I'm pretty pleased with the results!

I used Copic Coloring Guide Level 3 as a source for the hair colors:  Y11, Y21, E53

Her sweater is R20, R22, R24 with some R 29 in the deepest shadows.

Skirt colors:  B24, B26, B29

For the shoes, I went with more denim blues B34, 37 & 39

 I love to visit their blog and look at the style differences of their design team.  Lots of bows, flowers, ribbons and layers - a more UK esthetic.  Stop by their website and look at their stamps or better yet, join in the celebration and make a card!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Some Dress!

"Cosmos & Mimosa" - Karen Lockhart stamps
Back again with a card I am using for the Use it Tuesday challenge.  The premise of their challenges is to use things you are hoarding from your stash.  This week's challenge to use an uninked stamp is in honor of their second birthday.  Happy Birthday, Ladies!

Like many stampers, I go through phases where I have to have a stamp, and then it sits waiting to be used.  A few years back, I went through a Karen Lockhart phase and bought a bunch of her stamps.  I do love them.  There is a series of "couture" dress stamps from different flowers and vegetables.  I couldn't get this one out of my mind, and then once I bought it placed it in the clamshell with the rest of my Lockhart stamps.

Maybe it was the Oscars and all of those fancy dresses, or the "Unconventional Materials Challenge" on Project Runway - I don't know, but the scallion dress stamp came out was kissed by my pad of Memento black ink, and colored with my Copics.  Not only is the stamp newly used, so are the Copics.  I have very few violet and blue violets - and rarely ever use them (not my go-to colors).  Many of the papers are from my scrap drawer.  The green vine is a scrap of very old SU DSP - one I have saved and couldn't possibly run the risk of using!  The purple patterned paper is from a gift pack I received at Christmas. The embossing folder (hard to see in this photo) is one of the first few I purchased after discovering the joys of a Cuttlebug.

I simply love how this dress turned out.  It will be inked again very soon!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Zeroing In On Coloring

Happy Saturday!   Once I sat down and started working today, the Copics came out for this sweet Stamping Bella girl.  This week's Play Date Cafe Challenge gave me the color palette of buttercream, denim, and stone, so that is where I began.

I thought I would share some of my process with you today.  I started out stamping four images, hoping one of them would end up in my Copic portfolio.  It's not going to happen - these will go into the circular file!  (I used to be frugal with paper, but have had better results when I let go of that idea and gave myself permission to experiment.)

You can see one placed I focused was on the clothing colors.  I liked the yellow one at the bottom, but I wanted yellow to be an accent color, so I went with blue and stone.

The other placed I played around with was hair color.  The top left girl's hair was based in E33 and then flicked with R09 & R59 (too red).  The girl in the top right is based in E31, and then E33 & E57 (too blah).  The bottom left used E33, E47& E49 (too dark).   Some of the same colors, but all very different looking!

Maisy Ketto - Stamping Bella
   The girl that made it onto my card has hair that is reddish-brown, which made for a richer looking color.  It's based with R20 (the same color as her cheeks!), and then flicked using E31, E33 & E57.

Her clothing is W0, W1 & W3 with blue dots in B32, 35 & 37.

Her wings are B0000 closest to her body and then Y0000 out at the tips.

Clear Stickles add some accents to the card, but don't show up in the photo.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

One Month Anniversary!

All Our Dreams - Lili of the Valley
Blogging for one month already - and I am right around 700 visits and seven followers!  It's been so much fun and served as a source of motivation to get back to making cards.  Thanks to everyone who has visited my blog - old friends and new.  I really appreciate the comments and the support.

Today, I'd like to share three different cards from the same stamp . . .
It's from a lovely company called Lili of the Valley (over in the UK).  All of their images are adorable, and they are easy to order from.

You may remember this card from my first-ever post on January 21st.  I loved coloring this baby and putting the card together.  Since then, I have colored that baby two more times.  I can hardly resist the sweet face of this baby!  It makes me think of holding my grandbabies as they slept in my arms.

My second card used the same rectangular shape of the focal image, but I used a more interesting SU! tag die and then my "outside the box" technique to move the leaves and the blanket outside of the rectangular border.

Today's moms aren't as enamored with pastels, so I used gray and coral as my main colors.

skin - E000, E00, E11
blanket - W0, W1, W3, W5
leaves - YG 21, YG23, YG67
pinks - R 20, R22, R 24, R29
bunny - Y11, Y13, Y24
R000 is used to shade around the image

I used the Sweet Sunday sketch challenge to design my third card.  My first instinct was to zero in on the baby again.  I was going to have the circle in the background behind it,  but I changed my mind as I created the card.

I didn't have to worry about keeping it simple, so I added different touches to balance the card and hide my mistakes!

Let me share two of them with you . . .
•My brown circle isn't perfect - the paper moved as I was cutting - solution:  1 1/4" brown patterned paper across the bottom and the baby's circle on top.

•The baby was cut as a rectangle, but I changed my mind and wanted it to be a circle - solution:  tape the rectangle onto another piece of paper, recut it into a circle, add the sentiment and ribbon to hide the spliced line.  (You have to know what you are looking for on the real card to see it!)

Giving myself permission to experiment and "play" (rather than be perfect) takes me in new directions all of the time!  It's such a wonderful aspect of the creative process.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

White on White

embossing folder - SU!
There is something beautiful about an all-white card.  I think it's the classic CAS type of card and one where design plays the central focus.

I tried a few versions of this card using a different embossing folder, and then this tulip one but where it framed the whole card - both were okay, but nothing special.  I liked the simplicity of the tulip border with the tree.  I tried it again and left space at the bottom for the sentiment which is popped up with dimensionals.  I love how this turned out.  Now I just have to work on photographing all white cards!

This card is for this week's Featured Stamper challenge over at Splitcoast Stampers, and Simon Says Stamps weekly challenge.

 embossing folder - Stampin Up!
 tree die cut - Memory Box
 sentiment - PTI

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Let It Simmer

Hands of Time - PTI
One of the tips from the online CAS class I took was if a card doesn't look "right", let it sit over night and come back to it.  That is just what I did with this card.  I was using a sketch from this week's  Freshly Made Sketches challenge, and last night the card "needed something" in the corner(s) above the clock face.  This morning it all came together.  Adding the three rhinestones and arranging the minute hand so it pointed to the upper left corner did the trick!

There were many details I gave attention to in this card.  I brought out the Copics and did some coloring, popped out the center face that the hands are mounted to, I had to use my Copics again on the brown patterned paper to bring in some darker brown (with the vertical lines) and shade over the circles so they were more of a navy blue than an aqua.  The little circles under the sentiment flag were recycled from and attempt to create my own patterned paper.

This same card is also going to go in the "An Eye for Detail" challenge from Cute Card Thursday.

I love it when a card comes together!   This one is for my son-in-law's 40th birthday.  He's celebrating with a trip to Las Vegas this week.  Happy Birthday, Jake!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love and My Copics!

Flynn's Berry Happy Day - Stamping Bella

I am off of the CAS card kick for now and have spent some time coloring again.  Ahhhhhhhh - I feel at home again.  My biggest decision is which markers to use.  Seriously, now!

I did enjoy coloring this sweet little girl.  I really worked on her hair.  I love how it turned out.  You can see where the light hits it and there's enough dark colors to provide contrast.  I am getting down the "flicking" technique needed too.  Too bad I had most of my Valentine cards done, this would have been a cutie!

I have a few other images inked to color, but they will have to wait for.  I have to get a Valentine done for my husband tonight- I'm almost out of time!

I'll be back in the craft room this weekend ~ so stop by and see what I have for you!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Clean AND Simple!

Botanical Silhouettes - PTI 
My CAS online class is officially over.  I'm kind of bummed because I thought it went through the 18th - just like me not to read the fine print!  It went through the 11th and the galleries and other things are open until the 18th (oops!).  Anyway, I am glad I took it.  I came away with a little more practice, a couple of new tools that are great for all of my card making and another source of blogging friends.  I have a card that was both clean and simple to make!!  Woo!

Having said that, this is not how I originally envisioned the card.  I planned to have it turned vertically with orange paper down the left side and the focal point starting there and going to the right.  The panel looked "off" and was too close to the edge.  (If you move your head so it's close to your left shoulder and look at the card, you can get the idea).  I turned the card and tried the orange going horizontally and voila' ~ totally scrumptious!  The flowers, stems and sentiment are all from the same set.  IRL the flowers have a nice watercolor look.  I came in with my ink and a blender pen to give them more shading.  I masked the sentiment so it would fit in the space and added some glitter glue after I took the picture.  What doesn't look better with some glitter?!?

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hats Off to Heidi

Heidi's card
Today's card is a result of weekend homework from my online CAS class.  We were to use one of the featured cards from other students in the class to inspire a card of our own.  It didn't take me long to figure out which card to use - I fell in love with the way Heidi designed this card.  Of course, I don't have the stamp set and have had to use self-control not to buy one for myself!  Love the sentiment too!

In taking the class I have figured out that big sentiments are useful for CAS cards.  I also went out and bought a pair of craft tweezers.  In one of the videos last week, Julie (one of the Queen's of CAS cards) mentioned that her hand gets in the way when placing things, so she uses tweezers.  LOVE them - a tool I have used on almost every card since I bought them!!

 Here's my card.  You can see how I used Heidi's idea to have my flowers cascade down from the left corner.  I only colored one flower to replicate Heidi's red flower.  I had a sentiment that I wanted to use that said you are one of a kind, but it was too small.  As I said, big sentiments are helpful with CAS cards like this.  Luckily I had a few from Papertrey purchases.

White embossing powder is used for all of the flowers and the sentiment.  This card uses two different Stampendous daisy stamps that I have had for years.  The swirls and solid flower clumps are from PTI as well.

This is the first and only card I stamped!!  I didn't waste paper this time!  I stamped on scrap paper before I began to work on the kraft card stock. Doing it this way gave me a chance to test out where to place the largest daisies (deciding that "less is more") and then the filler flowers and swirls.  I'm learning some tricks to make my CAS life easier - slowly, but surely!

P.S.  A Monday night addition. . .
I puttered around with another version of this card last night.  The color combination came from a Splitcoast color challenge - very vanilla, basic black and crumb cake.  See how much busier this card is that the one above.  The black seems to keep your eye moving around the card and counteract all of the extra white flowers.  I had to fudge the ribbon a bit.  All of my black ribbon is thin or sheer.  For the bow, I used the sheer 1/2" dotted swiss behind the 1/4" gross grain.  I think I placed the border ribbon too low, but the placement of the sentiment allowed me to raise the bow and not have it took goofy.  See what I mean - much easier to hide mistakes when there's more going on!

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Monochromatic with a Pop of Color!

Season of Friendship - Stampin' Up!
Back again with another CAS card.  As I've done the "homework" in my online class, I have found that CAS cards take me a number of tries.  There's nowhere to hide mistakes or add extra things to balance out something that doesn't look quite right.  Even with a good idea, I've found that when something doesn't work, I have to start again.  Mess up on #2, start again, etc.

The card I posted today was my fourth try.  I told myself if it didn't work, I'd have to stop for the night and go to bed.  On my first card, everything was perfect until after stamping my snowflakes with white ink,  I grabbed clear embossing powder.  The snowflakes came out clear (ewww).  Second attempt -I got to the same point  and used white embossing powder.  The snowflakes jumped off of the card (ewww).  Third (now I'm getting tired) - I accidentally grabbed the white embossing powder and the tree and bird were white!  Yikes!  Luckily two hours after I began working and on my fourth try, life was good.  The white embossing powder was back in its drawer and no where near my card!  The snowflakes look great stamped with PTI's white ink.  Clean yes, but certainly not simple!  I guess I shouldn't do this kind of stamping on a work night!!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A CAS Weekend

Back again.  I signed up for a Clean and Simple Card class online on Friday night.  The class was four days in and continues through mid February.  I've spent the weekend working on CAS cards - which most certainly are NOT simple for me!!  My goodness - I could have colored a ream's worth of cards with my Copics in the amount of time it took me to do two cards yesterday!!

Here are a few that didn't end up in the trash . . .

Day 2's Lesson was a one layer white card.
I pulled out my Morning Cup set from Stampin' Up! to make this card (the sentiment is from PTI).  It's stamped with Memento Black and I used a few Copics to add the red and shade the teapot and the cup.  I used my SU real red marker to "doodle" the lines around the card.  In other renditions, I used a rule to make straight lines, but I like the doodle.  It looks effortless, but believe me ~ it wasn't!  You should see how many tries didn't work out.


This is another version I made, using glitter for the border.  This one was a keeper too.

One of the ideas in Day 3's Lesson was stamping on address labels, cutting them into strips, putting them down on the card front and then stamping on top of them.  I didn't have a background stamp that was particularly graphic, so I make my own in a Valentine's Day theme.  I used stamps from Cornish Heritage Farms Hugs and Kisses and PTI's Tage It's 11 and Tremendous Treats Valentines.  It took a little while to put the background together (again making this not-so-simple!!!)  I made this card a bit bigger so you could see the lines between the cut labels.

As I was stamping on the labels, I had the idea to just stamp the background I created right onto paper and then make a CAS card, which is the one you see below.

This is one of my weekend favorites!  All of those pink stamps are separate stamps from three Valentine sets!  I wished I had one of those Fiskers presses when I was making the background.  Life would have been much simpler!  I also decided to enter it in the Moxie Fab World Background Challenge.

Stay tuned for more CAS adventures!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Copic Shading & Outside the Box - Part 2

I started working on this card a while ago. . . another one that began from me trying to hone my Copic coloring skills.  I am more confident with the technique of blending and shading now! My mini work is "contrast"  in the most shaded areas.  I am particularly pleased with the daisy centers and hollyhock shading.  Two skills I am working to develop in this card:  keeping my light source consistent (a biggie) and coloring curly hair.  Most of the time my images have straight hair - but this one needed curly hair!  The Copic 3 Coloring Guide says to keep your lines loose and flowing which is not as easy as it sounds!!

Since I don't have any art background, keeping my light source consistent requires practice and training.  I have developed my own system for tutorials - when I am coloring an image for the first time, I search for the stamp with "google image" (or on Pinterest).  This gives me a wide variety of cards to choose from to use as a model to study for my own coloring.  This kind of practice is helping develop my eye ~ and makes it a little easier each time I color.  One of my "go to" gals is Paula Williamson.  Our styles are similar and I have learned so much about coloring and card composition from looking at her work.
Patsy Pixie - Stampin' Bella 

The colored image went into my box of unused images  (Kind of reminds me of the 'unfit toys' in Santa's workshop - just waiting to be finished off for a child to love them!) where it was "the star" in this card for Inspiration Challenge 374 over at Splitcoast Stampers and Bellariffic Friday on Stamping Bella's blog.  The overall flower explosion reminded me of a locket from the featured inspiration website.

This image begged to be cropped and have the flowers go beyond the framed border.  Rather than having a lot more white space to make the image blend in, cropping it brought the pixie and her flowers to the forefront. Try it yourself! Just like cropping photos, it gives you a whole new way to look at the picture!  Let me know if you do.  I would love to see your work!


P.S.  My Midnight Tree card was featured as a CAS favorite on Splitcoast!
Not bad for a non-CAS girl!  It's inspired me to take an online CAS class.
Watch for more in upcoming posts.