Thursday, December 8, 2016

You Made the Nice List

OK, I had pull out these N&T elves from Elena.  They are just too cute to make it through Christmas uninked.

For their background, I used an upside down journaling card.  That white box is supposed to be for some sort of title/list heading and then you'd add journaling beneath, but I thought the nice crisp box was perfect for sitting on.

It was a little stark, so I added some white embossed snowflakes (also from the Elfs and Their Shelf set), and the sentiment was stamped below.

An offset mat and some patterned paper finished it off.  This one is nice and flat for mailing, no foam adhesive, gasp!

Almost the weekend!  Can't wait!!!

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Adore Him

I can't tell you how much I love this Little Baby Jesus stamp set that Elena illustrated.  He makes me smile every time I look at him.

If you're still making cards (like me) and are looking for some simple, but impactful designs that could be easily reproduced, this one fits the bill.

After coloring baby Jesus with Copics, I die cut him, and set him aside.

The frame was created by using the middle size panel from my Scalloped dies, and then die cutting an oval from the center of it, perfect for framing baby Jesus.  The sentiment banner is also from the Scalloped set, and I used just the second part of the sentiment from the Little Baby Jesus set.  Hint: stamp the sentiment first and then die cut the banner, so much easier than trying to stamp straight if you are a bad stamper (like me).

For this card I popped the frame up as well as the sentiment banner, but you could just as easily adhere them directly to the card for mailing purposes.

Again, a really simple card to recreate en masse.

Hope he made you smile like he makes me smile!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Merry & Bright Poinsettia - Loose Painted Look

Hey everyone!  I don't know about you, but I feel like I'm behind on virtually everything right now!  But maybe it's just a feeling, because I know I'm ahead compared to past year's on some things.  Isn't it funny how your feelings can override the facts?

For today's card I used my stamps as a guide, to create the look of a painting.  You just stamp the image in a light ink that won't show through too much, and then add paint - you can use watercolor or acrylic, and be very literal or loose in the interpretation.  Here's a link to a card I did a while back using acrylics (you have to scroll down as there are multiple cards in the post).

The poinsettias I used for my guide are Ellen Hutson's Mondo Poinsettias.  I started with a soft wash of blue on the background, and after letting that dry, I stamped the flowers with WPlus9 Fairy Dust.  Then I added some loose watercoloring - not trying to stay in the lines, but also not trying not to stay in the lines, if you know what I mean.

I used an extra fine Sharpie to quickly doodle/outline the shapes, as well as a bit of gold Wink of Stella for some shimmer on the centers.

The sentiment is from another EH set, Brushstroke Christmas, and a nice healthy does of splatter finished things up.

My plan is to start actually writing in some of these cards this evening....

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Thursday, December 1, 2016

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I just adore this image from WPlus9, it's so sweet, and it's a great size that carries your card.

The image was stamped with Memento and colored with Copics.

I added a sentiment from N&T's Santa's Wonderland as well as some really subtle snowflakes from that set also.  The snowflakes were stamped with WPlus9 Fairy Dust ink.  I love how light and subtle the ink is, it's a little hard to see in the photo, but it gives it a great soft snowfall feel.

One more day til the weekend!  Can you believe it's December?!

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

November in Books

Here's this month's book list.  A lot of juvenile fiction.  I needed to finish up Ellie's Battle Books (her school is having a trivia contest based on a particular set of books and I told Ellie I would read them all with her).  The battle is actually on Friday, and Ellie is one of her class representatives, so keep your fingers crossed that she does well!  Besides that, I will say that it's possible I read my favorite book of the year this month.  Which one?  Read on to find out....

The Little Paris Bookshop - by Nina George - fiction - 3 stars - Story about a guy who has a bookstore on a barge/boat in Paris.  He has a bit of a mid-life crisis after reading a letter from his significant other who left abruptly 20 years before and the journey that ensues.  I really wanted to like this book more, but in the end I have the same opinion of it as I do of Saving Private Ryan.  Has a good opinion and a good end, but I wish they had cut out some of the towns in the middle...they all kind of felt the same and it was a bit of a slog to get through the middle part.

Half a Chance - by Cynthia Lord - juvenile fiction - 4 stars - This was a recommendation from Ellie and a good one at that.  It's about Lucy who moves to a new home on a lake and becomes friends with a neighboring family.  It's a great story, but I really appreciate how it gives kids an understanding of Alzheimer's - what it looks like in the early stages, how it affects people as well as the family, and also touches on issues of honesty, and friendship.

Dimestore:  A Writer's Life - by Lee Smith - biography - 4 stars - There was a time in life where 90% of the books I read were biographies.  I'd just wander through the aisle and pick out books about people who looked interesting.  I'd never actually heard of this writer before, but now I'm going to have to try out her fiction and see if I like it.  It was a great peek into growing up in Appalachia, written as a series of essays/sketches.  I liked the kind of bite size chunks of story.

Silverwing - by Kenneth Oppel - juvenile fiction - 5 stars - This is another of Ellie's Battle Books and I really enjoyed this one.  It follows the journey of a bat who gets separated from his family during their annual migration, and in finding them again manages to save the day.  This is actually the first in a series, and we've got plans to finish up the series together as we both really liked this one.

As Close to Us As Breathing - by Elizabeth Poliner - fiction - 5 stars - Such a good book!  Follows the story of a family, kind of jumping between the past (the year that the protagonist's brother dies at the beach) and the present.  I really love how the story was woven together.  You know the whole time that the little brother will die, but the details don't come until pretty late in the book, and it is really more about the cascading effect of it on the members of the family.

How They Choked:  Failures, Flops, and Flaws of the Awfully Famous - by Georgia Bragg - juvenile non-fiction - 3 stars - This is another of Ellie's Battle Books.  It's a series of 14 sketches of famous people and talks about character traits that led to their downfall, or that prevented them from being really successful.  The good thing is that it introduces them to people they might not necessarily know of or might have a skewed 'hero' view of, for example Isabella of Castile, Montezuma, Ferdinand Magellan, Vincent Van Gogh, Amelia Earhart.  The sketches are pretty short, but this is a kids book and there were some things that are just thrown in there, not explained, but that you might have to explain, for example syphilis gets mentioned in passing.  Thank goodness Ellie didn't come ask about anything like that!

Ordinary Grace - by William Kent Krueger - fiction - 5 stars - OK, this might be my favorite book of the year.  If you haven't read it, you need to.  I'm normally a pretty fast book reader, I'm all about plot and I don't care about character development, but this book actually made me want to read more slowly.  It's the story of a particular summer in the protagonist's life and a series of deaths that occur in the small town in which he lives.  It discusses grace and justice and forgiveness, seriously you need to read this one.

I, Q. Book 6, Alcatraz - by Roland Smith - juvenile fiction - 4 stars - The conclusion of the I, Q. series.  This was a little predictable in terms of who the bad guy is, and got into a little weirdness with the Knight's Templar, but still a good book and satisfying end to the series, and overall I give the series 5 stars.

Children of Monsters:  An Inquiry into the Sons and Daughters of Dictators - by Jay Nordlinger - non-fiction - 3 stars - I was kind of fascinated by the topic of this book - how do the kids of bad guys (Mussolini, Stalin, Pol Pot, etc.) turn out?  It was a good book for a quick sketch of the kids, but didn't get into their lives in depth, which is what I had been hoping for, so basically it was a mis-match of expectations.  It was still interesting, but left me wanting to know more.

Big Little Lies - by Liane Moriarty - fiction - 5 stars - Liane Moriarty hasn't written a bad book yet, at least not that I've read.  Her books are funny, fast paced, great plots, interesting characters, this was no exception.  I really enjoyed how it all came together, and she has a great way to taking characters with very difficult situations and plots such as death and abuse in this book and still creating a very funny book.

Redwall - by Brian Jacques - juvenile fiction - 5 stars - Another wonderful Battle Book.  The librarian at Ellie's school really did a great job picking them all out.  This is a story of the creatures of Redwall Abbey who are being attacked by a villain, it involves an unlikely hero, a quest, lots of battles, really well crafted, and I'm happy that it's a series too, so we'll definitely be reading more about these critters!

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend - by Katarina Bivald - fiction - 4 stars - I had heard really good things about this book, so was excited to read it.  I'll admit the first quarter of the book I was kind of skeptical, it was a slow start, but in the end a great book/story about a woman from Sweden who goes to visit her pen pal in a small town in the U.S. only to discover that she's died.  Her reaction, the town's peoples reaction and how it all comes together was done really well.  I didn't realize it when I borrowed it, but this was actually written in Swedish and translated into English.  And actually the first book for this month - Paris Bookshop - was translated into English from French.

The Map Trap - by Andrew Clements - juvenile fiction - 4 stars - A nice, quick, short read.  It's about a boy named Alton who is obsessed with maps, and he even draws them.  I loved the idea of the different types of maps he created and the different data he used.  It's a bit of a mystery and also talks about friendship.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Peace on Earth

If you follow me on Instagram, you know I've been coloring some Christmas images.  This is one of my all time favorite images, and today I'm casing one of my previous cards.

Really simple, he's stamped with Memento and colored with Copics.  I used my Journaling Alphas dies for the second part of the sentiment.  I ran the letters through my Xyron - I think it's the quickest and easiest way to apply little die cuts.

A couple patterned paper mats finished it off.  I'm really in crunch mode on the Christmas cards now, but the end is in sight!

Friday, November 25, 2016

Three Sales to Check Out

Hey everyone!  Once you're done with your breakfast of pie, I have three sales to share with you.

Neat & Tangled - this is a really good one, especially if you're shopping today.  If you've been eyeing something, might want to head over early because I know some of the Christmas release has already sold out.  

Ellen Hutson - There are sales all weekend, but today it's 20% off, and it will be 20% off again on Monday, but of course it's another one of those shop early for the best selection deals.

I already shopped, and took the opportunity to pick up these things that I've been wanted for a while:

This is my affiliate link if you are so inclined:

Craftsy - All classes are $17.99 and below.  My class is actually on sale for $13.99 which is the lowest it has ever been!  Affiliate link:

Happy shopping and hope you are enjoying your weekend!