Sunday, March 25, 2012

New Bookmark for Me, and Happy Birthday Dad

As promised last week, I have my dad's birthday card to share.  I didn't want to post it too long before he got it in the mail, because I'm not sure when (or if) he ever checks my blog!  He should be getting it in the next day or two though, at least I hope so- his birthday is tomorrow!  Here it is:

As I think I have stated before, I find making masculine cards a bit challenging.  For one thing, it is not easy to find papers that are geared toward/would appeal to men.  The vast majority of scrapbook paper out there is pretty feminine in terms of color and design.  That's why when I find a good paper with masculine colors or patterns, I try to stock up.  I have had both of these papers for a long time, pretty much since I first started making bookmarks, so you have probably seen them both before.  I did try to find a new one for my dad's card, but right now, everything in the stores are very pastel and flowery.  I didn't want to do anything too close to the card I did for him last year, so stayed away from any of those same papers.  I like the two of these together.  The argyle is bold, while the pin stripe is more subtle, but the color tones go very well together and don't clash.  The little bit of gray in the pin stripe gives an extra color to work with beyond the different shades of blue and the black.  I didn't stamp a setiment on the inside- just left it blank, and hand-wrote in my Happy Birthday message.  Hope he likes it!

Next, I would like to share a bookmark I made for myself today.  A few months ago, I told you about a book cover I bought from a fellow Esty seller, Rebekah, for which I made a coordinating bookmark.  You can see both the book cover and bookmark here.  Recently, I have found myself reading more trade-size paperbacks than I have in the past, and have missed having a book cover to protect the books I read.  So, back to Rebekah's shop I went!  She was so nice and accomodating with my first order, I knew that her shop was the right one to go to for my next one.  Besides that, she works with the MOST beautiful batik fabrics!  The hardest part about shopping in her shop is picking just one- they are all stunningly beautiful!  After perusing her shop, I found one or two fabrics that I really liked, and sent her a message about customizing a trade-size book cover for me.  This time, my eye was drawn to a beautiful batik fabric in blues, greens, and teals with dragonflies.  Unfortunately, I only saw it on a checkbook cover.  So when I messaged Rebekah, I mentioned that I liked another fabric, but if she had the dragonfly fabric, that would be my preference.  She responded that she would be able to accomdate my request.  Again, I asked for no ribbon to be sewn in, as I wanted to make my own bookmark.  And this time, I asked for a custom closure for the cover that was similar to another one I had seen elsewhere.  I thought it would protect the book better, and since I live in the rainy PNW, I am happy for any additional protection for my books!  Rebekah was great about it- she had not done anything like it before, but was willing to try.  It came out exactly how I imagined it, and I couldn't be happier!
When I saw the fabric, I immediately knew what kind of bookmark I wanted to make.  You might remember these cards, where I used a sponge and different colors of stamp ink to make a pretty mottled background in colors very similar to the ones in this book cover.  So I used that same technique, and then stamped a very subtle leaf pattern in a light green, and a dragonfly in the teal ink.  I framed it in deep blue and teal, and topped it with a coordinating blue ribbon.
The leaf detail is difficult to see, so here's a closeup:
Ok, maybe it's hard to see here too..but the ligth green that you see is the viney leaf stamp.  The lighting wasn't great when I took this picture, but in reality, there is much more differentiation between all the colors.  Anyway, I love it, and it goes great with the book cover!
My family is off on spring break for a few days, so I may actually have some time to craft in the evenings this week!  I'm anxious to start on some collage-style pressed flower bookmarks to list in my shop, since I enjoyed making the ones I did for Elizabeth Loupas so much.  I'm planning to do some gift envelopes that can go along with those as well, in hopes that they will sell for Mother's Day, which is just around the corner!  I also need to make a card for my cousin Trina's birthday, which is on April 1, so will have to get that done soon too.  Til next time!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Thank You Card and Some Odds and Ends

I'm getting back into a crafting groove after a couple of weeks off since finishing the big custom project for Elizabeth Loupas.  Who, by the way, will be having another giveaway this week of her new book, The Flower Reader, along with one of the bookmarks I made for her!  Be sure to check her blog for details on how to enter!

I might have mentioned while I was doing that project that I decided to get some new business cards.  The ones I have been using were ones I made myself with some of those perforated sheets that you can get at office supply stores.  They were ok, but I was ready to upgrade to something a little more professional.  I have had the idea floating around in my head for awhile for a logo- actually, I have had the image in mind since I started my shop nearly 2 years ago now.  But I am no graphic artist, that is for sure!  However, I do know one, and I enlisted (begged for?) her help with this.  Kindra is one of my coworkers, and does a bit of graphic design on the side.  I showed her what I had in mind, and she ran with it, and several versions and much patience on Kindra's part later, I have a logo of my very own!  And none too soon- I got my new business cards printed up the same day that I shipped the big custom order to Elizabeth!  She graciously offered to include my cards with each of the bookmarks that she is giving away, so I really wanted them to look nice.  I'm very happy with how the logo looks on the cards.  What I'm not so happy with is how Staples printed the cards offset to the right- I had everything perfectly aligned in the center in the template on their website, so I don't know what happened there.  In any case, like I said, I got them the day I was shipping Elizabeth's order, so there was no time to ask to have them redone.  I guess next time I will go somewhere else to get cards printed.  Anyway, have a look:
I think it's very cute, and it's just what I had pictured in my mind!  Now I just need to figure out how to get it onto my shop banner and stuff like that!

To thank Kindra for her efforts, I made a thank you card for her:

I saw this paisley paper at Michaels, and even though I am an admitted paper addict and really should not have been buying more, I HAD to!  I love the color combination, and the design is kind of fresh and springy, and boy am I ready for spring!  In any case, Kindra certainly deserves thanks for the great job she did and especially the patience she had with me and my revision requests.  I also happily offered to pimp her talents and graphic design business, so here is where you can find Kindra for all of your graphic design needs:

I haven't done too much else lately- I did make a birthday card for my dad yesterday, so I will post that next time.  Still need to do one for my cousin Trina, but may not get to that until next weekend.  I'm having a spring cleaning sale in my shop- use coupon code SPRNGCLN12 at checkout for 15% off entire purchase through the end of March.  And I am still working on a concept for the wall art that my friend Sandra asked me to do for her office.  I have a plan, but it is a bit slow in coming together.  Thankfully, Sandra said she can be patient with me!  I am looking for some materials and having a hard time finding what I am looking for, so may have to figure out a plan B, but I'm not ready to give up yet!  And yesterday, I took a class at Michaels where I will use what I learned to create this project.  That's all I'm going to say about it for now!  Finally, I am going to begin work on some new bookmark stock for my shop in preparation for Mothers Day, so look for some of those designs soon!

Monday, March 12, 2012

My Big Secret Custom Project: The Unveiling

Hello all!  I am so excited that I can tell everyone about this now!  I mentioned before that I was asked to complete a big custom order, and now I can let the cat out of the bag on what that was!

About a month ago, I was contacted by Elizabeth Loupas, an author of historical fiction.  Her second book, The Flower Reader, is set to be released next month.  I custom-made three dozen pressed flower bookmarks for her to give away along with promotional copies of the new book, and today she announced the giveaway on her blog, which is linked above.  It is so exciting to be a part of something like this!  I have to tell you, Elizabeth could not have been more lovely to work with- it was truly a pleasure to do this project for her, and I loved putting together these bookmarks!  These are different than anything I have ever done before, and as a result I think I have really grown in my creativity through this project.  I still enjoy the "portrait" style bookmarks that I have made since the beginning, but I love this "collage" style as well, so plan to do more in this style in the future.

Elizabeth asked me to make each bookmark completely unique, and I will admit that I was a bit daunted by that in the beginning.  I wasn't sure that I could come up with 36 totally different designs, even with the large variety of flowers I had to work with.  I managed to do it though!  I think I used every conceivable color combination that there is!  Here are a few of my favorites:

What a truly rewarding project this has been!  I am just thrilled that Elizabeth chose me to do this for her, and I'm so glad that she is happy with what I made.  And it's pretty exciting to see all the wonderful comments she is getting on the above blog post!

Well, now that I have completed her project, I am moving on to other things.  I have a very dear friend who recently asked me to make her some wall art for her new office, and I am doing some research and coming up with a plan for that.  My dad's birthday is at the end of this month, so I want to make him a card, and also one for my cousin whose birthday is April 1.  And also, I need to start planning ahead for Mother's Day, and start stocking my shop for that!  I want to do some bookmark gift packs in pretty spring colors, as well as some cards, of course.  I took this weekend off from crafting, but will be getting busy next weekend, so look for more stuff here then!

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Birthday Slide Card

Hello!  I have been super busy working on my big custom project, which I will post more about in a week or 2 when I have it completed, and when the customer has gone "public" with it.  So exciting!  In the meantime, I have had a little time to do a few small projects, one being this slide card.  My daugther had a birthday party to go to today, and I made the birthday girl this card.

I loved making this card, because it really was pretty simple and easy, but the result is so cool!  It was WAY easier than the slide cards I made for the PBS swap last year- this one took me only a fraction of the time to make.  I love that the ribbon is the slide mechanism too.  You can do so much with this design- the possibilities are endless!  I had to explain to Haley how to slide open the card, but once she got it, she seemed to like it.  I also made her a bookmark with her name on it, but did not have time to take a picture of it.

I should finish up my custom project in the next week, and then I will be working on some stuff for Mothers Day...I'm thinking some cards, and some pressed flower bookmark gift packs in gorgeous spring colors.  Can't wait to come up with some new designs!