Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall Challenge Card

Well, the bad news is that our new computer is STILL dead- looks like a defective motherboard now.  Worse, they are on backorder, so there is no replacement to be had at this point in time.  So I don't know when I will have my computer back and working. :(  The good, or if not good, at least luke-warm, news is that I did figure out how to get photos onto my son's mini-laptop that we've been using for email and whatnot, so I can take some basic pictures- I just can't edit them.  So I am still unable to do anything with pictures for my Etsy shop....but I can still put them up here!

The weekly challenge this week at PBS Swappers is to make a card with a gift card pocket or holder of some kind.  Well, I cheated a little bit.  I kind of used that same concept, but applied it to a bookmark, rather than a gift card.  It's something I've been wanting to try for some time anyway, and since I have a brand spaking new bookmark to show off, what a great opportunity to give it a try!

I had a lot of fun picking colors and paper for this card!  You'll recognize the bookmark from my last post, and as you can see, I used the one with the copper border.  These leaves have such a great mix of colors, from green to a goldy-brown to the deep red, and I tried to bring them all out in this card.  The design is pretty simple- just strips of paper adhered horizontally to the card base.  I made my own picture corners with matching paper to hold the bookmark to the card  It held up ok for the picture, but later the corners kept coming loose.  I guess my double-sided tape is not strong enough to hold them down when the bookmark is in them, so I will have to find a stronger adhesive for future projects of this kind.  The letters that spell out "FALL" are just alphabet stickers in metallic gold, which I stuck to rectangles I cut out of off-white card stock with rounded corners, and backed with coordinating borders that I made out of the same paper as on the card.

I will be working on some more fall leaf bookmarks this weekend, and am excited to do so because I have collected and pressed/dried some more leaves, different kinds than the ones above, and can't wait to create with them!  The leaves are starting to change color really quickly now, so opportunities for new material are multiplying daily!  I'm especially on the lookout for yellow and oranges, since what I have so far are in the red/burgandy family.  Hmmm, might be that a trip to the park is on the agenda for the weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Something Special in the Works!

Well, the bad news first.  Still no computer at home.  It looks like a problem with the video card, so a new one is on order and I'm hoping it will be fixed early next week.  So I am posting this from my work computer- shhhhhh, don't tell on me!  Well, I AM entitled to breaks.  So today, I am foregoing my morning cup of green tea in favor of sharing something special with you.

First, let me refer you to this post- my very first post on this blog.  This is where I shared what inspired me first to begin making my bookmarks.  It was  not quite a year ago now.   In some ways I can't believe it has been that long, and in others, it seems like forever ago!  Anyway, this has been a special week for me because I finally was able to see my original vision become concrete.

I am so excited to use my own dried, pressed fall leaves!  I have been scoping out trees in my neighborhood and near my office and watching for them to start turning colors and falling so that I can start collecting them for my crafting projects.  These particular leaves came from a tree in my neighborhood, and I have to come clean here.  I couldn't wait for them to fall off of the tree.  I've been looking at that tree several times a week, every time I take the dog out for a walk, and the leaves keep getting more and more vividly colored- but the darned things are hanging on for dear life!  So, apologies to whoever my neighbor is who owns this tree, but yes, I took them right off the tree.  Honest, there were lots left.  You wouldn't even know any were gone.  I don't think they'll miss them.  I still feel just a little guilty.

Anyway, I really like how these came out.  I dried and pressed these with my MicroFleur, which I just love because it is so fast and easy.  I was able to make three bookmarks with what I collected the other night.  I love how the leaves are not quite done changing colors- there are still tinges of green on them, which you can see in the close up.  I look forward to trying some with some nice vivid reds, oranges and yellows, which will probably take another few weeks to find.  And I'll try not to steal them.  Once they're on the sidewalk, they're fair game, right?

Here's one of the other ones.  This one uses a copper metallic border instead of the red:

I'm not sure which I like better.  Both look good with the gold on the inner border.  Unfortunately I only have a little bit of that copper paper left and don't know where to find more of it.  But, hey- no better excuse to go shopping for more paper, and I'm not complaining about that!

I plan to get at least one of these listed in my Etsy shop whenever I have a functional computer at home, which I hope will be soon.  In the meantime, I'm still looking for leaves so that I can build up my inventory.  Stay tuned for more additions!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sigh...MORE Computer Problems

Well, we have DEFINITELY had more than our share of computer issues lately!  After all those virus problems a couple of months ago, we finally got a new computer at home.  We've had it for close to a month now, and it had been working just great...then it suddenly started spontaneously rebooting itself.  My husband has taken it up to his cousin, the computer whiz, to have it looked at, so once again, I am without a computer at home for who knows how long. :(  Well, maybe now I'll have more time for crafting, since I won't be on the internet!  The bad part is that I won't be able to do anything with photos, either for this blog or for my Etsy shop, until we get the computer back.

And what terrible timing that is too, because all of a sudden, activity seems to be picking up on my  Etsy shop!  I'm not sure what's going on, but whatever it is, I'm grateful for it!  I got THREE orders last Friday, and have had my shop items included in two treasuries since Saturday!  I am itching to make some new stuff and get some new listings up, but alas, that will have to wait.

In the meantime, I wanted to share the card front that I made for the first swap I participated in on the PBS  Swappers Paper Crafts Yahoo group.  This swap was for congratulations card fronts.  Since I am new to card making, I was not really sure where to start for this one.  I went to Craft Warehouse to get some supplies and inspiration, and really only had one thing in mind: to make a card that could be given to either a man or a woman.  Since most of the crafting I do is pretty feminine, this was my way of challenging myself and trying to get out of my box, so to speak.  I had some red and off-white houndstooth paper at home that I thought might be nice, so with that in mind, I looked for coordinating papers.  This is the final product:

I fell in love with the tan paisley-patterned paper that serves as the background for this, and thought that the pattern is large enough that it was not necessarily feminine.  As you can see, I did find a way to use that houndstooth paper, as well as some of the red handmade paper, which I tore on the edges to distress it and make it more interesting.  The "Congratulations" text came from a stamp that I picked up from the $1 bin at Michaels.  While it might not be my favorite card that I've ever made, I do like all the different textures used on this one.

I am going to try to get back into the weekly challenges on the PBS Swappers group, starting with this week's challenge to make a card with polka dots- how fun!!  I have several papers with polka dots, plus a polka dot embossing folder that I can use with my Big Shot, so it will be neat to figure out what to do this time!  Hopefully by the time the challenge is over I will have my computer back and can post a picture!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Big Shot Fun!

Well, slowly but surely, I am getting back into crafting a bit.  I still have very little time, but I've managed to do a couple of things in the last couple of weeks.  Just wanted to do a quick share, since it's been a busy day, and tomorrow is Monday (oh no!), and it's almost 8:30pm, and I still have a whole bunch of things to do before bed!

First is the Christmas card I did for the Christmas card swap with my PBS paper crafting swap group.  I wanted to do something with poinsettias, and I found some really cool papers a few weeks ago that I wanted to use.  I got a Sizzix die that I really liked and that I thought would work for poinsettias, and OH, it is SO much easier than making those poinsettias that I was doing before!  This is not a traditional holiday color palette that I used here, but I like that- I kind of wanted to do something a little different.
 I used the striped paper on the bottom as the color inspiration for this, and I think it works really well.  The poinsettias were cut out using my Sizzix Big Shot and the Sizzix Originals Flower Layers #2 dies.  I used the same die to cut out the leaves in green, and cut in half and adhered underneath.  The paper I used for the leaves was a sort of crepe, crinkled texture, that I think gives a lot of dimension.  Now, the poinsettias didn't look quite right, because they were so flat.  If you remember the poinsettias I did a couple of months ago, I used the same embossing technique with an embossing tool on these to give them some veining as I did on those previous ones, and it looks much better than it did with just the flat paper.

Next up is a special project- invitations to my sweet daughter's birthday party!  She will be 10 this coming Wednesday, the 15th, and honestly, I have no idea where the time has gone!  We are having her party next weekend, and thought it would be fun to make the invitations ourselves.  I used another couple Sizzix dies that I got from the wonderful world of the Sizzix clearance center, and Meredith and I are both very happy with the results.

We had a lot of fun with this!  We didn't have a lot of time, or I probably would have tried some additional embellishments.  I love the cupcake though- so cute!

That's all for now- hopefully when things settle down a bit, I can do a bit more creating.  I need to get back to my bookmarks!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Back From a Break

Hello all!  Not sure how many of you actually READ this blog, but I am sorry for my absence!  My finger is much better, but I have been VERY busy lately with preparing and dealing with the start of school for my two kids.  The oldest (14) is a freshman in high school and is in the marching band, so had band camp for the last two weeks of summer.  Marching band, I am learning, requires a LOT of commitment, not only from the students, but also from the parents!  Honestly, I had no idea...I never did such things in high school myself.  I was too busy obsessing over Duran Duran and trying to keep my hair as big as possible!

Anyway, I have not been doing much in the way of crafting in these last weeks.  My lovely new Big Shot has mostly sat in the living room, lonely, with only the occasional experimental use.  I did check out the Sizzix website and went NUTS over their clearance center- oh what a happy place that is!!  I ordered some lovely items and hope to use them in the near future.  But not til things settle down a bit.  Right now, I'm lucky I have time to sleep, let alone craft!

I have not even been able to keep up with the wonderful Yahoo paper crafts group that I belong to- I have not participated in a weekly challenge in a few weeks because of lack of time.  However, I did join a Christmas card swap, so have done a little work on my design for a Christmas card for that.  I am hoping to get my cards done this weekend and mailed out, since the deadline is next week.  I am not usually one to wait until the last minute, but as hectic as things have been, I must forgive myself this time!

The leaves are are beginning to change colors here in the Northwest, and I am getting excited, because that means FALL LEAVES!  I cannot wait to try some bookmarks with some beautiful fall-colored leaves!  I have already scoped out some trees in my neighborhood and near work so that I can score some of those leaves that I envisioned last fall in a bookmark.  Stay tuned to see the results of that, because I am determined to make it a reality!

Well, that's all for now- I'm hoping to get back in the swing of things soon.  Will definitely post pictures of my Christmas cards- I think they will be nice, though not in traditional Christmas colors.