Unhappy Finish ~ ALYOF Feb

My quilt top is finished but I'm not really happy with the results.  It didn't quite turn out the way I envisioned it in my head.   Mostly because I didn't have enough of the patterned fabric to make the design I first wanted to.

This quilt was made with challenge fabric from the South Sound Modern Quilt Guild Arts Walk challenge.  We were each given a fat quarter of fabric and were asked to only add solids.  They did give us the option to buy more of the challenge fabric, but by the time I figured out I needed more for the design I had in my head, it was sold out.

Thankfully one of the guild members helped me out and gave me enough to finish the geese I had started.  So, the top is done, but I'm not thrilled with it.  Perhaps I will play around with the design and add some colorful borders.  If I had more of the challenge fabric I could perhaps balance the design with a strip of it at the bottom.  Sigh.  At least I finished it in time for my Feb. goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes.  I still have another month before Arts Walk to quilt it and bind it or change it somehow.
Feb. Finish


Inspired By...

Can you guess what inspired me to create these cards?  The answer is going up in my StampNation classroom, Heather Creates, as soon as the video finishes processing on youtube.  I'll not only share the inspiration and give you ideas on finding more, I'll also share a neat trick I learned for doing the rock-n-roll technique with the newer style Stampin' UP! ink pads.  

If you want to learn how to do rock and roll check out the Technique Toolbox: Creative Uses for Dye Inks class in the Creativity Grows Here Classroom.

If you would like to see my post on StampNation for today's cards: Clicky

If you're not yet a member of StampNation and want to learn more: Clicky


TBT on Wednesday with Wplus9

Today I am playing in a new challenge.  My friend, Maureen Merritt, has a challenge up on the Wplus9 blog and I just had to play along.  Maureen introduced me to Wplus9 and I fell in love with their images and sentiments.  The challenge is to use an older set, but I'm still fairly new to the company.  That made this challenge difficult for me.  I decided to use the first Wplus9 set I had purchased and CASE one of Mo's cards.  Here is her card.

Maureen's TBT Card

This card really caught my eye because the focal image was recessed behind the white border.  I decided to give it a try. Here's what I came up with.

After I sponged the background I stamped in an aqua color (Soft Pool), then inked up my stamps again with black, shifted them slightly and stamped again.  This gives a soft blue shadow for each of the stamped images.

Stamps: Banner Love, Heartfelt Holiday (Wplus9)
Ink: Black Licorice (MFT Hybrid);  Soft Pool (Hero Arts Shadow Ink); Shaded Lilac, Spun Sugar, Tumbled Glass (Distress)
Paper: Whisper White (Stampin' UP!)
Accessories: Rounded Stitched Rectangles (Lil' Inker Designs)


Butterfly Thanks

Today I have yet another card inspired by the Stampin' Celebration challenge.  Don't you just love when inspiration strikes and continues to fuel your creativity for weeks? I'm telling you, those photos really sparked my creativity!

Instead of balloons floating into the sky, I had a bundle of butterflies.  The sponged heart in the background gives them a nice anchor to float away from.  There is still time to play along with the current challenge.  Just be sure to link up here by Friday.


The heart in the background was sponged to give it a softer look than cardstock alone gives.  If you would like to see a tutorial on sponging backgrounds for depth and color, be sure to check out the sponging section of the new Technique Toolbox: Dye Ink class at the Creativity Grows Here classroom.  Here's a sneak peek at the card (and video) I made for this class.

I also showed a cool sponging technique using hand made stencils on my card last weekend. Clicky to see that or scroll down.  :)

Stamps: Papillion Potpouri (SU)
Ink: Crisp Canteloupe, Pistachio Pudding, Pool Party, Pink Pirouette, Soft Sky, Wisteria Wonder (SU); Tumbled Glass, Salty Ocean, Peacock Feathers (Distress)
Paper: Pink Pirouette, Whisper White (SU)
Accesories: Thanks Script (Mama Elephant); Hearts Framelits (SU)


All Heart + Video

There has certainly been a theme in the challenges at StampNation this month.  I just couldn't help myself when I was creating them.  February is heart health month so all month long I have pulled from that inspiration to create challenges.  Today's card actually fits 2 of this months challenges.  I was asked how I created the card below in the challenge last week.

Sneak Peek of All Heart Challenge
It is such an easy technique that I decided to make another card, and video, for this week's challenge "Red".


For more information on the Technique Toolbox: Creative Uses for Dye Inks class in the Creativity Grows Here Classroom, Clicky.

I'll put up a bonus video over at StampNation explaining the one layer card I made for the Have A Heart challenge. Clicky   Here is a sneak peek of the design team's take on the red challenge.

Red Challenge

Stamps: Love Story (My Favorite Things)
Ink: Blushing Bride, Real Red (SU); Black Onyx (Versafine); Raspberry Jam (Hero Arts Shadow Inks)
Paper: Basic Black, Very Vanilla (SU); Lost & Found Blush (MME)
Accesories: Clear Embossing Powder, Hearts Framelits (SU)

P.S.  I'll be drawing the winner tonight for a free spot in the Technique Toolbox class.  Be sure to leave a comment on the video in this link CLICKY by 10pm PST for your chance to win.


Stitched Tag Card + A Giveaway

For the past couple of months a group of designers has been working behind the scenes preparing an awesome class for you!  It's part of the Technique Toolbox in the Creativity Grows Here classroom.  

Check out this list of fabulously talented and creative artists:

and ME!  More than 20 video tutorials, 35+ samples and written tutorials to teach you how to streeettch those Dye Ink Pads to make the most of them.

Check out my video below for a bonus tip I came up with after watching one of the videos in the classroom.

Stamps: Love & Sympathy, Serene Silhouettes (Stampin' UP!)
Ink: Blushing Bride (SU); Black Onyx (Versafine); Berrylicious, Blu Raspberry (My Favorite Things)
Paper: Basic Black (SU); White 120lb (SSS); Striped DSP (Tattered Angels)
Accessories: Baker's Twine (Doodlebug); Clear Embossing Powder, Decorative Label Punch (SU); Stitched Tags (Whimsy Stamps)

There are even prizes up for grabs for class attendees!

  • 12 pack of Dewdrop Memento Ink Pads from Imagine Crafts
  • $20 Gift Certificate to Whimsy Stamps
  • FIVE $20 Gift Certificates to CAS-ual Fridays 
  • At the Office Stamp Set and Office Supplies Die set from My Favorite Things Stamps

  • I used inspiration from this class and the sketch at Freshly Made Sketches to create another card.  :)  I'm telling you, I love this easy technique!

    Stamps: Forever In Our Hearts (Verve); Hand Lettered Winter Wishes (SSS)
    Ink: Blushing Bride (SU); Berrylicious, Blu Raspberry (My Favorite Things); Jet Black (Ranger Archival)
    Paper: Basic Black (SU); White 120lb (SSS)
    Accessories: Folding Banner Die (Technique Tuesday); Stitched Tag Dies (Whimsy)


    See you in the classroom!


    Birthday Balloons

    Yesterday I told you that the new photo collage challenge over at Stampin' Celebration really inspired me.  I was immediately drawn to the colors, so I had to use them in the card I made for the design team.  Clicky if you missed that post.


    One of the advantages of being on a design team is that I have more time to work on my projects and sometimes go shopping just for a challenge.  When the new Stampin' UP! Occasions catalog came out I decided to get the washi tape sheets and try using them as balloons.  Check out the results.

    While I still prefer the colors in the original photo, I think this is a fun card for any guy.  I love the way the you can see through the washi tape, just like you can a real balloon.  I hope you will join in this challenge.  It really does spark the imagination.

    Stampin' UP Supplies (unless otherwise noted)
    Stamps: Because You Care *Hostess*
    Ink: Calypso Coral, Black Pen (Micron)
    Paper: Whisper White
    Accessories: Birthday Bash Washi Sheets, Celebration Time (Simon Says Stamp), Chalk Talk Framelits

    The creative team at Creativity Grows Here is getting ready to launch a new class all about dye inks.  I've created 4 videos and 5 cards for the class, but I am just one of the 8 Designers.  :)  I'll have more deets for you soon, but be on the lookout for this creative class.  If you want to be the first to know when the class goes live, be sure to hop on over to CatherinePooler.com  and sign up for her newsletter.

    Creativity Grows Here
    Dye Ink Class
    Sneak Peek


    Blended Vellum ~ Stampin' Celebration

    The new photo inspiration challenge over at Stampin' Celebration really inspired me.  In fact, I made 3 cards instead of one and I have ideas for a couple more.  Don't you just love challenges like that?

    For my first card I wanted to capture the colors and balloons.  I decided to use vellum and color them with my Blendabilities before die cutting them out.  Here is what I came up with.

    Head on over to the Stampin' Celebration blog to see how the rest of the talented design team was inspired.

    Stampin' Supplies:
    Stamps: Butterfly Basics (Stampin' UP!)
    Ink: Blendabilities- Rich Razzleberry, Wisteria Wonder, Coastal Cabana (SU); Versamark
    Paper: Pink Pirouette, Whisper White, Vellum Cardstock (SU)
    Accessories: Celebration Time Dies (Simon Says Stamp); Stitched Rectangles (Lil' Inker Designs); Baker's Twine, Chalk Talk Framelits, White Embossing Powder (SU)


    Quilter's ADD

    Take a look at my design wall.  It appears to me that I might have Quilter's ADD.  I can't seem to keep my attention on just one project and finish it. I must have several going at once.  :)

    Left to Right- Arts Walk Challenge for the SSMQG, Holiday Chic BOM appliques, March BOM for SSMQG and in the very bottom right corner an orphan block that I created to test a pattern and now don't know what to do with.  Since I took this picture I also have pinwheel blocks made to add to a couple of the Holiday Chic blocks.

    In a couple of weeks I am taking a quilt class on the Broken Herringbone quilt with Violet Craft.  We need 16 different patterns, so I went shopping.  :) A few extra yards may have fallen into my bag, but I am in love with the aqua, pink and red color combo.  ;)

    I think I need to finish at least one of these UFOs before I start cutting for the new class because I am running out of design wall space.  How many quilting projects do you have going at one time?


    All Heart

     The new challenge went up at StampNation yesterday and it is all heart.  Seriously.  The challenge is to create something with a heart on it.  With Valentine's Day coming up this weekend it is the perfect challenge.  Here's a sneak peek of my card.  I was asked to do a video explaining how I created this one layer card, so I am working on a second card using the same technique to share with all of you.  

    For inspiration I used the photo to go along along with this challenge.  Lately I have been in love with blue/aqua/teal paired with pops of bright red and pink. 

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    Clicky for challenge thread
    Just a little side note for StampNation members.  They are experiencing some technical difficulties.  If you're having trouble getting in try again later. ;)


    CASE This Friend

    The current CAS(E) this sketch challenge is a great one.  It is a wonderful go-to layout for any clean and simple card.

    It's almost Valentine's Day so the crew at CASology has us looking at the keyword: Love.  Even though the mustache on the sketch had me tempted to make a masculine card, the CASology cue made me want to go with hearts and flowers.


    My creative friend, Sue, shared a wonderful tutorial on her blog that I just had to CASE. Clicky I thought this sketch would be a perfect way to showcase the sponged piece.   Sue used the die as a stencil.  I did too, but then I used the sponged die cut piece on my card.  I haven't decided what to do with my stenciled piece. Stay tuned and I'm sure it will turn up in a future post.

    Thanks for the inspiration Sue, CASology & CTS.

    I was having a bit of trouble finding sparkly paper to die cut that matched my sponging, so I created my own glittery cardstock.  First, I did a bit of gradient sponging on a scrap of white paper, then covered it in Versamark and added Iridescent Ice embossing powder before heat setting the entire thing.

    Ink: Festive Berries, Picked Raspberry, Seedless Preserves, Spun Sugar (Distress Inks); Versamark
    Paper: Pink Pirouette, Whisper White (Stampin' UP!)
    Accessories: Cherish Border Die, Love Script Die (Memory Box); Iridescent Ice Embossing Powder (SU)


    Sew Saturday ~ ALYOF Goals

    This past week I was having some struggles in the stamp room.  Things just weren't turning out the way I envisioned them.  Does that ever happen to you?  Two things usually help me with this.

    1. Cleaning and Organizing-  The mindless works somehow helps me get back into a creative frame of mind.  Plus, I work better when things are organized and clean.  Cleaning up in the middle of creating, however, stops my flow of creativity, so when a project is done my area is a DISASTER!  Go figure.  Can you relate?

    2.  Take my creativity to another medium.  If I am struggling with stamping, I switch to sewing.  If it is sewing that has me frustrated I go back to my scrapbooks.  When scrapbooking just isn't going right I turn to painting, cross stitching, applique, etc.  You get the point.

    Honestly, I have so many ideas for cards, that I think I just got overwhelmed.  When I tried to make them work, they wouldn't.  I needed to do both of the things above and #2 sounded like more fun, so I headed to the sewing room.  :)

    Here's what was on my design wall this week.

    First sewed together this Amish Snowflake block. One of our SSMQG members designed this modern take on an old favorite.  I had one block finished last month, but didn't get the second one finished before our meeting.  I decided to square up all my half square triangles and finish the block before our meeting on Wednesday.  The unfinished block is 20"x20"

    This month we had a pot holder swap at our guild meeting.  This seemed like the perfect excuse to spend more time sewing.  Here's my modern pot holder for the exchange.

    Finally. when I got some creative juices (and confidence in my creativity) going, I headed back down to the stamp room in the garage and begun cleaning & organizing.  If you want to see a scary "before" picture check out yesterday's post.  When the work of purging and putting away gets too boring, I head back up to the sewing room and work on my February goal for A Lovely Year Of Finishes.

    My goal is to complete the quilt top for the Art's Walk Challenge for the South Sound Modern Quilt Guild.  We were each given a fat quarter of fabric and challenged to use only that pattern and solids to make a quilt that is at least 20x20".  I ran out of fabric and only needed about 30" x 2.5"  and the store was out!  Thankfully a fellow guild member, Meagan found some yardage, and let me have a strip of hers.  Phew.  
    Feb. Goals

    Tomorrow is the last day to link up with your February goals.  If you like to sew and want a fun challenge, head on over to Melissa or Shanna's blog to participate.

    What do you do when you get creative block?   Does cleaning, organizing or switching mediums help you?


    Today I told my husband that he is semi-famous.  He asked why and I told him because his picture is up on Catherine Pooler's blog.  Catherine has started a new feature on her blog spotlighting the design team and members of StampNation.  Today is my day to shine.  She asked me several questions, the first one was to tell a little about myself, so I had to share a picture of my family.

    A little over 3 years ago I took the plunge and signed up for a little card making website called StampNation.  The cost was less than the price of Netflix each month and I was certain I would watch more cardmaking videos than I would Netflix.  It was the best decision I made for my card making journey.  My skills rapidly improved and I found friendships in the community that will last a lifetime.

    When Catherine asked me if I wanted to join the design team for a 5 month term I did the happy dance around my computer and replied "years".  That was 2 1/2 years ago and I am still happy dancing today at the amazing opportunity.  Thank you Catherine for believing in me and giving me the chance to stretch my creativity beyond my wildest dreams!

    If you are joining me from CP's blog, welcome, and thank you for stopping by.  I hope you cruise around and enjoy the site.   Typically I post cards on the weekdays.  I try to post a video or 2 a week, if I am not working on creating videos for classes and StampNation.   On the weekends I post my sewing, scrapbooking and a little bit of family life.  If you like it here you can subscribe to my posts by email in the box on the left.


    Fun & Messy Friday

    There's just something FUN about Fridays.  I think it is the promise of the weekend to come.   This week I have been working on a few things behind the scenes.   There are a few projects I have to share with you from my sewing room.  Check back in tomorrow to see those.

    In my stamp room I have been doing some purging and organizing.  WARNING, graphic picture ahead.  Ugh!  Not for the faint of heart.  It's too scary for the general public.

    Perhaps this will motivate me to take some after pictures before I mess it up again.  Those white organizers finally arrived from Organize More.  I bought them on black Friday when they were having their huge after Thanksgiving sale.  Apparently I wasn't the only one because it took a couple of months for them to ship.  I'm excited to get my dies, stencils, clear stamps and embellishments put away in something I can easily flip through to find what I need.  I won a $100 gift card to Organize More, so I think I will get another one of the organizers on the left.  Embossing Folders and More Caddy link

    I was hoping to fit my papers and stamps in both organizers, but the storage pockets I have are too large for the one on the right.  Thankfully my dies SU mat stacks, many of my stencils and several embellishments fit perfectly! Card Supplies and More link  Please let me know what you would buy from Organize More if you had $100 to spend.  :)  I'm VERY pleased with the high quality wood they used.  These pieces will last me a long time.

    The challenge this week at StampNation was the keyword "Love".  It took my 5 tries to come up with a card I liked.  The watercolor technique I was working on with Distress markers was NOT working.  Ugh!  Don't you hate when that happens?

     My plan was to put a "love" die cut in between color washed and embossed flowers.  That plan just wasn't coming out on paper.

    Finally I scrapped it and came up with something I love.  (no pun intented)  Here is a sneak peek.   You can see the full card, inspiration photo and design team interpretations as well as member submissions HERE.

    It is based on the sketch from Stampin' Celebration.  Clicky  I was hoping to get a video or two made this week, but that didn't happen.  Perhaps next week.  :) Sometimes we all struggle in the creative process and that's ok!  For me it is important to never give up.  Change direction, yes, but keep trying.

    Speaking of StampNation, we chose Operation Write Home to sponsor for our birthday bash and asked members to consider donating some of the cards they made during the bash to OWH.  Cards have begun pouring in.  I am collecting cards from those who have not donated before so I can add the OWH stamp and make sure they fit all the OWH guidelines before sending them on to this fabulous organization.  Here's my dining room table.  Isn't this fun?!  I love seeing what these ladies created and I've got more ideas to CASE from than I have time to stamp.

    This feels like a very "messy" post, so I'm going to leave you with a cute picture of our kitties and then get back to organizing and putting away.  We got this cat tree recently.  Usually the kittens take turns being on top, but a couple of nights ago they decided to "share" the top spot.  It cracked me up!  I'm so glad I had my phone in my hand to capture them before they jumped down. They are getting big fast and won't be kittens much longer.


    Easy CAS Sketch ~ Stampin' Celebration

    The new sketch going up today at Stampin' Celebration is sure to become one of my favorite go-to sketches for Clean And Simple (CAS) and One Layer Cards (OLC).  This sketch really got my creative juices flowing.  Don't you love it when that happens?

    I have a couple of techniques I would like to try with this sketch, so I will be filming a video this week for you.  Be sure to come back and see what I come up with.

    In the meantime, head on over to Stampin' Celebration to be inspired by the amazing projects from the rest of the team and then get playing.  I can't wait to see what you create!

    Stamps: Hello Life (Stampin' UP!)
    Ink: Coastal Cabana (SU)
    Paper: Whisper White, Retired Mat Stack (SU)
    Accessories: In Color Sequins (Stampin' UP!), Light Pink Bakers Twine (Pretty Pink Posh)


    Scrapbooking Again

    Every year the Pacific Northwest ladies of Scrapshare get together for a day long crop in January and a long weekend retreat in July.  Yesterday was day retreat in Kent, WA.    Last year I wasn't able to make it, so it's been 2 years since I've seen most of these ladies.  It was so much fun to reconnect with these talented ladies.

    L2R- Amanda Vaughn, Me, Sue Nagata

    For the past 2 years I have rarely/barely scrapbooked, but after yesterday my passion has been renewed.  My pages are nothing spectacular, but I am happy in what I accomplished.  In my 7x7 album I made 5 pages and in my 2010 album I have 5 pages, mostly finished.

    My new friends Shelly and her daughter, Symphony.
    Check out Symphony's washi tape carpet on the RHS.
    Not only is this crop a great time to reconnect with old friends, but I also meet new friends every year.  Shelly and her daughter sat at the table next to mine.  Symphony is one of the most talented 7 year olds I've ever met.  She used baker's twine in ways I've never thought of.  I wish I had take a picture of some of her pages.  She's a great little girl scout too.  If you would like to pre-order you can do it here:  Cookie Link

    Last week I went through all my paper and most of my scrapbooking supplies and did a great purge.  Some of it I brought to sell at the crop and I had a couple of boxes of FREE stuff too.  It feels good to have that clutter, and I now have $150 in my pocket.  What I didn't get rid of, and don't plan to use, is staying in the car and going to be donated this week. WIN-WIN-WIN.  :)