Happy Tuesday, Happy Spring!

Cards 2 Comments »

I’m scraping the bottom of the blog post title barrel today. 

Today was an especially sunny day in St. John’s so I was in the mood for a sunny card. (in all honesty, I started it yesterday)  I’m sticking with Whipper Snapper so far this week…it’s just what I’m in the mood to work with.

I used some K&Co paper (it’s gorgeous – you need it!) and Regal Rose Rose Red cardstock.   I also used up a scrap of ribbon that’s been just flapping off the end of the spool – now I’ve got space for another spool of ribbon in my ribbon drawer!

I used my Pixie once again – I will eventually stop announcing that but it’s still shiny and new so I get to talk about it – gotta get my $45 worth – and also broke out some Martha Stewart glitter for a little extra something.  Here’s the card:

I hope you can see some improvement in my photography.  I’m still not very good but this camera has white balance and it’s made a big difference in my opinion.  The card still looks way nicer IRL but I imagine that is the case for many bloggers.  I’m just glad you can see the glitter on the flower!

Enjoy the rest of your evening…I’m off to waste some time playing a computer game!

About a Boy (and a Pixie review)

Cards, other crafts 2 Comments »

I’ll start with the card and then do a quick review on the Pixie by Singer…

Today’s card uses some cute new Cosmo Cricket paper called Joy Ride.  The 3 latest paper lines by CC all have similar colour schemes which is a bit disappointing in one way but probably means they’ll be okay for mixing and matching.

I chose my patterned paper before I coloured the image and then tried to match the colours as best I could (I only own a couple of copics – skin tones – and I have 3 of the SU colour families in reinkers but I think I did okay).  I used a cute Whipper Snapper stamp that I’ve inked up before but never used on a card. (Speaking of Whipper Snapper, their Spring 2010 collection came out today.  I can hardly wait for them to have a sale so I can place an order – KAREN, are you listening?!)

Here’s my card:

Isn’t this little guy cute?  And WS has more cute stamps – several of them suitable for the boys (or men) in your life so check them out!

I didn’t have the exact shade of purple (I’m thinking Eggplant might have been a good colour match but I don’t own any) but I think the card turned out okay.  The ribbon might be a bit of a mistake but I couldn’t leave the card too plain so on it went!

Colouring was a hybrid – copic markers for the skin and SU reinkers for everything else. (well, the outline is a grey copic as well…)  I don’t know if I’m going to get the hang of copic markers.  It’s great that there are so many shades for skin colouring and outlining but I’ll be sticking with watercolouring for the time being. 

On to the Pixie.

As mentioned, I purchased a Pixie at Wal-Mart about a week and a half ago and I have used it enough times to do a quick review.  Here are my thoughts:

If you are in Canada and want a smaller machine like a Janome Sew Mini, this is probably a good substitute.  It’s small, it’s affordable, it runs on batteries if you want it to (though it works better with the adapter) and it has several stitches.

Some Pros:

It’s sturdy.

It comes with 4 bobbins (3 already spooled plus a spare), 3 spools of thread, a needle threader, and a spare needle.

There is a small compartment for holding spools/bobbins.

It’s compact.

It comes with an adapter so you don’t need to use batteries.

It’s not difficult to use – especially if you are already familiar with operating a sewing machine.

Some cons:

The zigzag stitch is not that great for cards.  It works but it’s not the right scale for card-making.

Batteries do not last that long (I used Duracell and only got 3 uses out of the machine before it slowed down)

You can’t use “regular” sized thread spools with the machine.  I’ve found a work-around but it will only be of use to you if you have access to another machine to thread bobbins.

It’s purple (that could be a pro or a con – it’s a con to me)

So, I hope that will help some Canadians in their decision.  Before I go, I will show you the work around I’ve come up with so I don’t have to buy smaller, more expensive spools of thread:

As mentioned, you will need access to another sewing machine.  All you have to do is fill a plastic bobbin with thread using a “regular” sewing machine.  You can use this bobbin as the spool of thread for the Pixie (the bobbin in the bottom of the machine needs to be metal as it’s held in place by a magnet)  Here’s a picture of my work around (I am using white thread – the bottom spool came with the machine and I’m just using it to give my “spool of thread” some height):

That’s it for tonight.

Celebrate Cuteness!

Cards No Comments »

I just want to start out today by saying that I want my lost hour back and I don’t want to wait until Fall to get it!

I didn’t spend a lot of time crafting this weekend but I did make a couple of cards and we also purchased the materials we need to get my closet handles and shelves done so that’s somewhat exciting (to me!).

Today’s card uses my new Pixie.  I’ve been using it a lot so I can make sure it’s well-tested in case it breaks and needs to go back to the store.  I am not in the mood to become the owner of a $45 purple paperweight.  The review will have to wait until tomorrow as I need to take a couple of pictures so hang in there.

Back to the card.

I used a cute WS stamp (just can’t say enough about how cute the illustrations are and I like the size of the stamps.  I make plain cards so having a large image as a focal point helps cut down on the empty space on the front of the card.

I also used some more of my older Cosmo Cricut paper – gotta make way for new stuff so you might see this line a time or two in the next few weeks.  Here’s the card (and ignore my wonky sewing…I can’t sew):

I really like how this turned out.  It doesn’t have a lot of layers but has the look of a more complex card.  I adhered one of the patterns to a piece of More Mustard cardstock and ran it through the Pixie.  I then cut the background paper and sewed the borders.  Then I glued the two pieces together.

The image is paper pieced using the same papers.  I coloured the hair, skin and shoes with reinkers and my aquapainter.  I think it turned out really cute. 

Mixing patterned paper is a great way to make a simple card design look a lot more complex.  My style is very simple so I rely heavily on the papers that I use.

I should be able to get my review put together tomorrow night so check back soon!

Spring Has Sprung…

Cards 2 Comments »

…the grass is riz.  I wonder where the birdies is?

While it’s a little too soon to celebrate Spring in Newfoundland, I am in the mood to make Spring-themed cards in my craft room.

Hero Arts stamps are one of my favourites (after Whipper Snapper, of course!).  They have a playful, distinctive style and the bunny from the set I used on today’s card was just begging to be inked up.

I used some very colourful K&Co paper that I got around this time last year (and still have a suspiciously large number of sheets left – must use it up ASAP!) and just put a few touches of colour on my little white rabbit.  I do have a Happy and a Spring stamp but thought Happy Everything was a little more universal.  After all, there is still a fair amount of snow on the ground (despite the 110 mm of rain we had last weekend) and we could still have a few nasty snow storms before all is said and done.

Before I go, I thought I’d share my version of an “inspiration station”.  I like to gather up my like-themed bits and bobs so I will remember to use them at certain times of year (for example, in late January/early February my tray was filled with valentine’s items).  I use a silicone muffin pan – it’s the larger size cups – it’s easy to keep clean and it won’t scratch surfaces if you drag it around your work area.  Here’s a shot of what’s in there right now:

If you make cards and don’t have an inspiration station, why not gather together some of your pastel-coloured flowers, buttons, brads and ribbon…you might actually use some of your stash instead of just collecting it!

Peanut Butter Thank Ewe

paper crafts 2 Comments »

I’m sure I’ve mentioned my coffee buddy before (we’ll call her “D” for blogging purposes) but I don’t know if I’ve mentioned “the ritual”.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday we go to Tim’s (Tim Hortons for the uninitiated) on our break and buy a coffee.  We take turns paying and it takes our whole break to drive there and back (nothing is in walking distance of our office…well, something is but you wouldn’t go there for coffee!) so we do our chatting in the car and in the line to buy our coffee.

As you can imagine, a Tim Horton’s gets a lot of traffic in the run of a day.  You wouldn’t normally be able to walk in and order “the usual”.  However, when we picked up coffee last week, on one visit we were greeted with “It’s nice to see some familiar faces” (it’s roll up the rim time at Tims…I think they are getting a few more customers than normal) and on another visit the absolutely lovely lady who served us remembered how I take my coffee.  I was impressed!

Generally speaking, I love the girls who serve us at this location.  They are always friendly and enthusiastic.  When they tell you to have a nice day, they sound like they mean it.

So, in light of last week’s exemplary service, I thought a little thank you to the staff at Tim’s on Aberdeen Avenue was in order. 

Here’s what I made:

…and here’s a group shot:

Time permitting, I’d like to make a little basket to present them in – we’ll see how that goes.

This project was really easy to whip up.  It only takes one sheet of double-sided patterned paper to make 4 of these. (you’d need more paper if you were making a larger pouch).  I got the tutorial from SCS.

The papers are all K&Co (my fave double sided paper) and the stamp is a Penny Black sheep that I’ve had for a while (he’s so cute!).  I glittered the flowers and lightly coloured the image with markers.

My C plate is broken so I couldn’t use my cuttlebug to make the scallops.  Luckily, my SU scallop punch was just the right size for this project.  I really need to get a new C plate as I’m lost without my cuttlebug.

I hope the girls (and guys) at Tim’s like their little treat.

A Little Tour

House 8 Comments »

The sun has managed to shine just a little bit today so I thought I’d take another go at blogging my craft room.  At this point it’s just a couple of shots of the room.  There are still a few things to do (which I will point out on this tour) but I’ve been using the room since late January. 

Picture 1 – This is the view of my room from the door.  The colour is still off – if you want to know what it really looks like you’ll have to find the paint chip – it’s Asparagus by Behr.  We’ve used the same colour in our living room and bedroom as the windows on our house (except for the basement, ironically) face East/West and we don’t get much direct sun so the rooms are a little dark.

In the above picture, the bank of Jetmax cubes where my Cuttlebug and Tonic trimmer live will eventually be covered with another countertop.  There will be a bookshelf running along the back for extra storage.  I’m hoping to have that done by mid-April but I’m not holding my breath!

Picture 2

This is the view from the other side of the room.  You can see that we have a wall of closets.  The smaller closet is for my craft stuff (and still needs to have shelving installed – for now there’s a plastic shelf in there but it isn’t an efficient use of the space so “real” shelves are next on the list of things that need doing.)  The larger closet is for household storage and doesn’t have any shelving in it at the moment.  We’ll store board games, seasonal items, etc. in that closet.  There are also no handles on the doors at this point.  We are sourcing some longer screws so we can use some small metal knobs that we already own. (this project was a huge budget suck – it took longer and cost much more than we had anticipated – the room was previously part of the unfinished basement)

Note that my trimmer doesn’t quite fit on top of the Jetmax cubes.  The countertop will add an additional 10 inches to the depth and will also make for a more durable work area.

Eventually, our elliptical machine will have to live in here as well (boo hoo) but maybe it will inspire me to use it. (ha!)

Picture 3 – This is the main event.  My desktop is a 10 foot countertop with Jetmax cubes as pedestals.  My computer is on one side of the work top and my crafting area is on the other.  I still have to get my Cricut set up in here but there’s no room at the moment (DH is going to put in a shelf for my printer and I’ll put the cricut where the printer was)  The cost of finishing this room in the basement was pretty steep  so we spent as little as possible to outfit the room.  I already had all these cubes (I have 12 in total.  My old room had 9 and I got 3 for my birthday last year but didn’t assemble them because I knew I’d be moving downstairs within a month or so) and the filing cabinet.

The only things that are new (i.e. weren’t used in my old room) are the wall mounted magazine holder (where I keep my cricut cartridges and my SU ink cubes) and the white desk organizer that is on top of the filing cabinet (both were birthday gifts back in December) – oh, and the trash can is new too!  

The black filing cabinet holds my SU cardstock.  It’s filed alphabetically, rather than by colour family.  The In Colour cardstock is filed by year except for the first year or two and is kept in the bottom drawer along with CS from other companies and SU neutrals

In the cubbyhole under the desk, you’ll see some Rubbermaid organizers.  The majority of my 12X12 patterned paper is kept there and is filed by brand.  It needs some culling – which I do several times a year.  I give away a fair bit of paper and keep some of the outdated stuff for making envelopes or practicing a 3-D project.  My SU markers are also kept in this cubbyhole – they’re in the tin my Prismacolour pencils came with.  I just grab the tin and put it on my desk when I want to use my markers.  It keeps them stored horizontally and makes it easy to tuck them out of the way when I’m not using them.

I would have to take a lot more pictures to show you how I organize things.  I like to have my everyday stuff close at hand (thus the messy looking shelf on that wall unit) and to tuck away things that I use less often or that take up too much space.  My clear stamps, acrylic blocks, reinkers, and adhesives are all in the Jetmax cubes under the countertop.  Less used items are either in the bottom drawer, over in the bank of Jetmax cubes or boxed up in photo boxes and placed in the closet (I put all my seasonal things in photoboxes and store them away until I am going to use them).

Picture 4 – this is where “everything else” lives.

I use my paper cutter, scor-it and Cuttlebug over on top of the bank of Jetmax Cubes rather than dragging them over to the work top.  It’s a bit awkward at the moment but when I get my second countertop I’ll have it overhang the cubes slightly to give my knees a little space.

All my smaller than 12X12″ paper lives over here too.  There’s a magazine holder in one of the cubes that I use to store my Basic Grey (and other brands) 6X6″ paper – I have a label on the spine of each package and store them alphabetically.  Any scraps are placed back inside the package so I know where they are next time I use that pad. (I do the same thing with the 12X12″ paper – just throw the scraps back in the drawer on top of everything else.)

I keep my Nestabilities dies in a small photo box on one of the shelves in the cube.  I just throw them all in the box.  It’s not a perfect solution but it will do for now.  I don’t have a lot of Nesties – I carefully select the shapes I want (except for the first 2 sets I bought…they were new back then so I got EVERY plain and scalloped circle and did the same for the rectangles – now I just get the largest set)

All my glitter is stored here too…it’s all in a wooden tray I got at the dollar store – very easy to grab the tray, select the glitter I want and then put the tray back on the shelf.

There is a lot of cardstock and paper stored in these cubes as well.  I have some Bazzil CS, some cheap CS from Costco (I use it to experiment with templates, etc so I don’t waste the expensive paper), watercolour paper, vellum, photo paper, and a few 12X12 pads (as well as a small stack of 8×8″ pads (I have a LOT of paper) all tucked away in there somewhere.

Once the room is finished (new countertop, shelving in closets, elliptical in place, etc.)  I’ll probably put a few ornamental items in here.  It doesn’t really bother me if there are any pictures on the walls – the room is more for function – but I’m sure it will become a little more cluttered as time goes by.

Hope you liked the tour! (oh, and it’s not always this tidy…but that’s another post!)

Sweet Pea

Cards, House 1 Comment »

Today’s card is inspired by some new Cosmo Cricket paper that I recently bought online.  When I saw this particular sheet of paper I instantly thought of an SU hostess stamp that I have – not sure if it’s seen ink before. (hey, they’re free when you buy a butt-load of SU stuff…I’m not obligated to use them!)

I think I coloured this three times before I was happy with it.  You can only do so much with a solid green image.

I used my new Pixie on this card.  In fact, this was the first card I used it on. (I tried the machine with some scrap paper first)  The shade of blue that I matted the paper and the image on were chosen because the machine comes with some weird colours of thread.  The threaded colour is yellow but they kindly throw in a spool of turquoise and a spool of orange…interesting.

As mentioned yesterday, you can’t use standard spools of thread on the Pixie so I was stuck using one of the colours it came with to take it for a spin.  Yellow was probably the obvious choice but I went for the turquoise.

Here’s the final product:

My peas were stamped twice and pop-dotted on top of the image.  I made a couple of custom “dew drops” and made a bit of a strange bow – I just couldn’t get a nice bow tied so I tied a knot and added a second piece of ribbon for a little more “pouf”.

I tried a few colours of cardstock to go with the green and Cool Caribbean.  Kraft was the winner.  I am surprised at how much I like this combo.

I was going to share some pictures of my craft room but the weather has been quite dull and the colours are too washed out in my shots.  I’ll have to try again on a nicer day…but here’s a little tease (colours are a little off):

 

A Productive Day

Cards 1 Comment »

My day started out “not so great”…I had a little accident and sliced a little piece off of the side of my thumb – unpleasant.  It also took me over three hours to make one card today.  I started at 11:30 an finished around 2:45.  I don’t know why it took so long except that I was going for a very specific card rather than just letting my muse run free. 

Once that was done it was well past time for lunch so I stopped and made some wraps for DH and myself.  I think I dropped every utensil (and a couple of pieces of food) while I was making lunch.  I was beyond frustrated by the time I was done.  I decided to take a break from making cards (my Saturday is usually card making time – the rest of the week is for work, laundry, minimal housecleaning, etc.) and tidy up the mess in my craft room instead.

Going back to the card, it’s for a house-warming party and the request was for black, silver, grey, – and, originally, elegant.  I had to bail on elegant.  I just don’t gravitate towards that type of stamp.  In fact, thanks to a new blog viewer (Shelley, thank you soooo much for visiting!) I now have a label for my style – whimsical.  I like it!

Here’s my whimsically elegant card:

I’m fairly certain my “client” will like it.  Just need to get the verse done and I’m all set.

This is a larger 6.5″x5″ card.  I used Basic Grey’s Scarlett Letter paper – as soon as S gave me the list of colours to use I knew what paper I was going to pick.  I originally had the image matted on grey cardstock but I removed it and changed it to black.  Much better!  The image is Whipper Snapper and is coloured with reinkers and an aquapainter.  I added a black rhinestone for the door handle and joined some coordinating Primas together with a red jewelled brad.

You may have noticed that this card has real stitching on it.  I bought a Singer Pixie sewing machine at Wal-Mart on Thursday.  I do have a “real” sewing machine but I haven’t had much luck using it on paper and I don’t want to break it (I can’t really sew – I use the machine to hem pants and curtains etc…I’ve had it for over 20 years (I got it with my first ever tax refund!)  I’m not overly fond of the colour but, at least it’s not pink (sorry, I know lots of you love pink but I’m more into green).  Here’s a picture:

I have only used it a couple of times so far – it’s a bit early to give my opinion on it.  I will say that I’m moderately impressed.  It has received some bad reviews on the web but I think the people using it either wanted to make quilts etc. or never used a sewing machine before.  Either way, you have to make allowances for something that is specifically intended for crafting and costs less than $50.

Once I’ve taken it for a few more test runs I will write a little review and share a few tips I’ve come up with so far. (for example, I’ve found a work-around for the fact that you can only use skinny spools of thread with this machine)

I’ll be back tomorrow with a baby card and *maybe* a little peek at my craft room (though it’s still not finished!)

Splashy Card

Cards 1 Comment »

It’s a good thing I got a few cards made over the weekend or I wouldn’t have anything to share this week!  I started the week a bit under the weather and am feeling about 80% better.  I hope when I wake up tomorrow I’m back up to speed because I’m seriously slow at home and work and I have plenty to do in both locations.

Today’s card demonstrates my modified Huggabug stamp.  I mentioned on my last post that I would modify the stamp to remove the wings if there was enough space to trim the “offending” (it’s not really, I just prefer no wings) rubber.  It wasn’t possible but I had no trouble at all trimming the wings from my other Huggabug stamp.  Here’s the card:

This new K&Co paper is so cute.  I used two of the patterns a couple of cards ago and actually had made this card first and used the leftovers to make the other card.  There wasn’t much left of the two sheets which is one of the reasons I prefer buying the smaller sized paper pads (plus they’re cheaper, plus they take up less space, plus the patterns are scaled down to a more friendly size for card making).  Living in NL can be a bit of a disadvantage when trying to find the smaller pads so sometimes I do end up buying the 12X12 pads – and will NEVER be able to use all the paper I own.

I used SU reinkers to colour the image and filled in the hearts and dots with clear sakura glaze (can’t be seen in the picture).  I also used my “custom dew drops” for the flower centres (they’re the clear baubles from Michael’s with punched SU cardstock underneath).  I often wonder why people buy different colours of things that are so easily customized.  It’s like embossing powder.  I only own clear, white, gold and silver.  I can pretty much get whatever effect I want without buying a zillion other colours. (though I do have many colours of glitter and did only have the basics in fun flock until I got a deal on eP for a grab bag of colours)

Well, that’s it for tonight (until Saturday, actually!).  Enjoy the rest of your week!

Hug-A-Bug

Cards 4 Comments »

This image is from the birthday order I placed in December – I’ve finally managed to ink it up.  This is probably the image I wanted the most from Stamping Bella but I resisted buying it in my first order as I always think it looks more like someone is moving house rather than a stamp I could use for a birthday card but it’s so cute I finally caved and bought it. 

I actually thought this would make a cute set from Stamping Bella if they re-drew the image with nothing on the roof and gave you accessory pieces for different times of year (similar to SU’s Loads of Love).  It would be great to put presents on the roof or a Christmas tree or skis/snowboards, etc.

The other reason I resisted is because these images are all “Huggabugs”.  I think I mentioned this some time ago but I’d prefer this little creature (who IS adorable) didn’t have wings.  I know that people in the stamping world know they are supposed to be huggabugs but the recipients of my cards don’t know this.  I did alter the previous Huggabug that I bought but I gave this one a quick try and I just wouldn’t be able to remove the wings without damaging other parts of the stamp.  Hopefully, the cut I did make won’t be that noticable the next time I use the stamp.

So, here’s the card:

It came out a little dark – I’m still working on improving my pictures but I think it’s more of a lighting issue at the moment.  The camera certainly takes clear shots.

I used some Cosmo Cricket paper that I’ve had for a little while.  I probably would have used more of it by now but I got it the same time as I started making Christmas cards and it got overlooked for far too long.  I’ll be making it a point to use some of it up in the near future so you might see a lot of this paper in the weeks ahead (maybe…I’ve got a lot of paper begging for the spotlight and I have a very short attention span)  I also used some retired SU cardstock – don’t ask the colour, I can’t remember…maybe Baha Breeze?  When moving to my new room I grouped the In Colour CS by year and I’m hoping to finish off some of the older stuff.  The colours are nice but I can’t get more so I might as well use it up and make room for the next crop.

The colouring on this card is a hybrid. (I firmly believe in mixing mediums.)  I used copics for the face (I only have a couple – for colouring faces and for outlining – I am still on the fence about investing in copics so I thought colouring faces was a good way to test-drive them.  So far, I DON’T have the knack!) and reinkers with an aquapainter for the rest of the image (that’s my “normal” way to colour these days).  I didn’t use colouring pencils/OMS on this card but I have added them to the mix in the past.

There is a small portion of the image that I didn’t colour.  I just don’t know what it is.  It could be the lid on the top box that is sitting on the roof of the car.

If anyone knows what it is, please let me know! (I might ask on the Stamping Bella forum.  I don’t normally visit those forums as I don’t need to know about any more stuff that I should buy!)



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