Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Little Pieces

Janine, the April diva of the month at TSR, asked me to design a sample for her using paper posies. Since I am a big fan of these easy-peasy little beauties I was happy to comply. What struck me as interesting though was that this LO is wholly made up of scraps, some buttons and a piece of kraft cardstock. I dug into my scrap bag and ripped circles, went through my ribbon and found some pieces that would work and voila - a LO done for very little expense. Sure, no one is going to be knocking on my inbox asking to publish it but that isn't why I scrap. I scrap to remember the people, places and times that make my life beautiful.


Fun things you can do with little pieces of patterned paper:

1. Make a teeny posie for "o" or the dot for an "i" in your title or journalling.
2. Grass. Since grass is sort of clumpy it works well with an assortment of inch long piece. Ditto for stems and leaves.
3. Flowers. Posies like this are fun and lend a charming feel to your LO. All you do is rip paper in cicles, scrumple them and then ink the creases and edges. Stack them up, add a button or brad and your done.
4. Punches and Die cuts. I sometimes punch the last bit of paper into a flower, heart or other useful shape and then have them on hand when I scrap. It never takes long before they find their way on to a page.
4. For slightly larger scraps, you can stamp journalling spots onto them and then set them aside for a nice decorative element and space to write.

Life is Delicious

Since my blotter was littered with pointy hats I decided to make another card. One of the things I like most about rubber stamps is the versatility. When I see hats, I don't just see hats but also ice cream cones and megaphones. I bet if I looked a little harder I'd see more things too. When stamping, as in life, don't limit yourself to the most obvious use, path or solution.


Both circus star and pointy hats are part of the sale going on right now at Odd Bird Planet. The sentiment can be found here.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Card Sets

One of my favorite and most often requested gifts is card sets. Cards are a great gift because they are personal, hand made and consumable. Now days so many of us are simplifying so gifts that can be used up are especially welcome.

When making card sets it's best to spend some time thinking about the recipient. Beyond design concerns, you should ask yourself if the person you are making the cards for sends photos or writes long letters. If either is the case it is best to make your sets greeting card size as opposed to note card as 4x6 prints fit nicely inside and there is a lot of room to write. The cards below are greeting card sized.

Sets work best when they all share the same color scheme, design or a common element. In my example, all the cards follow the same design pattern but the different papers and colors make each one unique. This also is a great example of how versatile one stamp can be and how color evokes a different mood. Choosing a theme for your card set is also a nice touch. I chose hats for my theme, this hat stamp and some quotes about hats - the rest came together easily.

When packaging card sets you can make or repurpose a box or you can simply stack them with envelopes and tie them with a bow. I've done all three and tied with a ribbon always seems to elicit the most excitement.





These cards use Odd Bird Planet's Pointy Hats which is part of the sale going on right now.

Friday, March 27, 2009

How Charming


Odd Bird Planet is having a big 30% off sale on selected stamps. Lucky for me, this little charmer is one of the reduced images. He was one of my first loves over at OBP. You can see the complete list of stamps that are 30% off on Johanna's blog.

On this card I used Charmed Charmer and How Charming.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fun Hair


Sorry I've been a bad blogger. I have all the right excuses - poor health, broken printer/scanner etc. But the reality is, sometimes blogging gets lost in the shuffle.

I took the time to make a page this AM about my cool new hair color. The bottom pic is the shade it's faded too - still very super-hero whose alter ego is a rock star, no?

Chris bought me a Kindle! Anyone want to point me to cool message boards and such so I can learn all the Kindle tricks?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Easter Card Tutorial

There is a new tutorial of mine up at Clear Artistic Stamps you can see it here.

I'm not sure if I mentioned it before but we went to Race to Witch Mountain and it was awesome. Great movie, action packed, exciting, funny. What was especially nice was that I didn't find a single bit of objectionable material. The teens were fully clothed, there was no bad language, the closest thing to potty humor was the dog asking the girl if they could stop the car so he could go to the bathroom. As for as violence, there are a lot of car chases and fist fights but anyone who is hurt is always shown with a bandaid or some other minor scuff later. Even the largest crash is followed with dialogue stating that the driver was fine. All five of us gave it an 8 or 9 out of ten. I especially loved the nods to the original two movies- there's even cameos!

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Squid Girl

I finally inked up my new Starving Artist stamp. Woo-hoo.



Saturday, March 21, 2009

Made a Page

I made a page that fit too challenges at the TSR crop and the challenge at WT. Talk about double-dipping! I used the kit I won from The Scrapbook Circle and a Page Maps sketch.



Friday, March 20, 2009

Brayden's Latest Card

My youngest entered the 2S4Y challenge this week and he really loved the whole process. He asked for lessons on how to use Prismacolors and I happily complied. Ever since he's been bitten by the paper crafts bug - especially Odd Bird Planet Stamps. Here's his latest card:



Why I love Kits

Happy First Day of Spring! There is a cyber crop at TSR this weekend and it's already hopping.

As you know, I'm the scrap-room's biggest fan (although I'm sure a lot of other members would wrestle me for that title) and I blog about them often. It's my favorite kit and I do love my kits. For March, one of the page kits was Jackson Lodge by Collage Press. Each kit works out to be a bit over five dollars and I purchase the patterned paper add-on which brings it to about $7.00. Adding only extra cardstock from my stash and a few pieces of ribbon and twine, I made all this.




This is for the sketch this week at Card Positioning Systems:



And you've already seen this:



This is what was left over:



What I love about killing a kit is how a lot of design opportunities are presented that I wouldn't have attempted on my own. For example, Disneyland and Decision were what I think of as intentional designs. I started out with a stack of new paper and had my way with it. Next came the CPS card. Since that required specific shaped paper, I needed to make it while I still could. Then came La Jolla. It's just my scraps, inked, lined up and stitched. Then I added the fussy-cut flowers and turned it around until I liked it. I had a lot of rectangular squares left from the first four pages and I decided to make a color-blocked background instead of several cards. I had a circle and some partial circles remaining from Disneyland so I added them too for interest. I think it turned out to be a pretty neat page and all I had to add was ribbon and twine to unify it.

I've heard people worry that using too much of the paper will make everything the same - hardly. These pages will go in albums as far flung as 1996 and as recent as last week. If someone has the stamina to look through all forty of my albums I doubt they'll notice that I used the same flowers.

Did you notice I did some single photo layouts? *gasp* I never do that, but there was only one pic of me and Chris when I was seven months pregnant, Maki Men will probably go up on the wall and Decision lended itself to a single photo as well.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Bargains at Odd Bird Planet

Johanna just posted some awesome - inexpensive - spring bundles over at the Odd Bird Planet Blog.

Get them while you can. Most are priced around ten bucks!!!!

A Simple Tip

I use 12x12 paper for card making. It is only a little bit more expensive than 8.5 x 11 but with it you can get much, much more. Here's how:

1. Cut your 12x12 paper at 8.5 inches and then cut one inch off the long side to make an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper.


2. Use a border punch to make a fancy border strip with the small piece and cut the 8.5x 11 sheet in half to make two 8.5 x 5.5 pieces.


3. Fold your two 8.5x5.5 pieces into A2 sized cards


4. Use your 3.5 x 12 piece as a perfectly sized mat on your card fronts. I keep a bag of these border strips and matting pieces handy so I can mix and match.




I've been updating my Etsy shop again as my card box is overflowing. Click on anything below to see my shop :-)

Etsy: Your place to buy & sell all things handmade
PerkyNihilist.etsy.com


Tuesday, March 17, 2009

2S4Y Youth Art Month and Caardvarks

This week's 2S4Y is a little different in that they are celebrating youth art month and inviting the kids to join us. Since I am in possession of three children we decided to clear part of our schedule and make some cards together. Only Trenton and I had to use the sketch. Here's what we made:

Brayden (age 10):

Avery (Age 11):



Trenton (Age 12):


And here's mine, the current challenge at Caardvarks is "Critters" so I made sure to include an animal on my card :



Avery and Brayden used stamps from Odd Bird Planet and Trenton used a stamp from Bam Pop!

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Hope you all have shamrocks and green beer penciled into your schedules today *grin*

Here is a card I made to celebrate the holiday - I just can't get enough of this little alien dude.


Supplies:

Paper: Bazzil, Basic Grey,
Ink: Versafine
Dimensional dots in two heights
Stamps: All are from Odd Bird Planet - Moonrocks, rocket, cupcake creature, and bonfire flames.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Good Monday!

Good Morning Friends. Happy Monday! Gab, the current Diva at TSR posted this hilarious bit of March 16th trivia:

March 16th: Feast day of St Urho, the grasshopper slayer

Finland's answer to Ireland's St Patrick, Urho expelled the grasshoppers from Finland. Raising his staff, he intoned, "Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to hell!", and they accommodated him, and the country's wine-grape crop was saved forever. Of course, St Urho is a made-up saint, just for fun.

Some say that a Finnish-American store owner in Minnesota, USA, became weary of his Irish-American employees always asking for a day off on March 17 in honour of St Patrick, and it was he who invented St Urho. Waverly Fitzgerald (School of the Seasons) says that it was at a 1856 St Patrick's Day party that the saint, whose name means 'hero', was first mooted. There are other explanations.

All over the USA, Finnish Americans commemorate today as a national celebration. For example, the town of Hood River, Oregon, celebrates with a parade in which locals are costumed as locusts, shouting "Grasshopper, grasshopper, go to hell!" A large fibreglass statue is at Menahga, Minnesota ('Home of St Urho') to the saint who never was.

Whether Finland ever had a wine industry, and the fact that there are still grasshoppers in that country, are matters to puzzle the scholars."

I found a very cool Ning community recently called 52 sketches 52 weeks. This is my LO based on last weeks sketch:



I'd already printed the photo block and the LO took me about ten minutes. I find limiting myself to a page kit and nothing else really speeds up the process. Sometimes you have an hour to spare - but sometimes you don't. YKWIM?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Clear Artistic Stamps Tutorials

Have you guys been checking out my tutorials and cards over at Clear Artistic Stamps? There is a new one each week and you can get to them by clicking on the By Invitation Only blinkie to the right. Speaking of Clear Artistic Stamps, I was looking at the card I made yesterday and thought it needed something more or different. Do you ever tear a card or LO apart a day later? I do, all the time. What I did on this card was drop the sentiment down (it was dimensional) and moved it to the left and added this awesome flower. It is from the Intrigue set. I stamped several copies of the flower and then layered them together using different thicknesses of dimensional tape. I highly recommend getting dots or tape in 1/8 inch and 1/16 so you can put your accents at different levels.

Here's the new version:

New Orleans Lay Out

I've been trying to get Chris to pick out the most important photos from his trip to NOLA so I could scrap them but you know how guys are *grin* I decided I'd use the ones he told me the most about and that as a group told the story visually of his experience there. Here is what I did:


You can see a larger view here

Another way to tell a story in scrapbooking is to place your pictures in such a way that the readers eye moves from the beginning of the story through to the end. This story shows New Orleans in all it's glory and then death comes to that beautiful region. You see houses marked with spray paint showing how many people and pets were found. Then you see a sculpture (blue poles) representing the water level at different times and finally the new homes being built by Global Green (the Brad Pitt charity). I left space for Chris to write his thoughts too.

Have a great weekend!

P.S. Look what I did:

Friday, March 13, 2009

Friday Friends Challenge

It's Friday and Susan has another gorgeous card sketch that we can play along with. I bow to her diligence - posting a card sketch every day is a huge undertaking. You really should check it out.

Making Life Better

I have a LO 4/5 of the way to done and several cards in various states of completion so the odds of another post today is high. But, I was just over at my friend Mary's blog and realized my comment was practically a blog post and it said a lot of the things that were on my mind.

I started Healthy, Wealthy and Wise (For the remainder of this post HWW) this week to get my life back on track. Was it off track? No, not really. But I knew I could be doing better and I work well within frameworks. HWW requires me to not just focus on one aspect of my life, something I tend to do if left to wander. For example, I've lost over forty pounds in the past nine months but I've let my mind go to mush and was buying apples at $4.00 a pound. Healthy, yes! And that is wonderful, but wealthy and wise need some attention too.

HWW was born from me trying to take a little time each day to insure that I am growing personally and moving our family in the right direction. Little things like exercise, reading good books, emptying the deepfreeze we don't use now that we're vegan to save $15 a month off our power bill - it all adds up. And if those little things are done everyday it can REALLY make an impact.

Yesterday afternoon I was at a difficult spot in my book and I asked the boys if they would mind if I read it aloud so I could keep focused and not skim that part. My oldest enjoyed the chapter so much he asked if I would pick up a copy of the book from audible.com (we subscribe) for him to listen to at night in bed. Had I not been tackling more difficult books, he would have missed this educational opportunity. Little things really do make a difference.

Last night I assessed the skill needed to cut four inches off my hair and give me blunt bangs. Deciding it wasn't a technical cut I got an eight dollar haircut... and it looks awesome.

Two little things but T is now enjoying a book I never would have considered offering him and my hair style cost $172 less than the last one. Quite the savings.

This economy has everyone concerned - or down right panicked - it is a terrific time to try something like HWW for yourself.

*Exercise and eating well will improve your mood and your ability to cope. There is nothing like endorphins!

*Read the books you've bought but never got to or go to the library and take out a few new ones. It'll get your mind off the steady stream of bad news without costing a dime.

*Trimming your expenses doesn't have to be all bad. Take out a vegetarian cookbook from the library and see what strikes your fancy. One meatless meal a week will reduce your grocery bill and your waist line.

*Grab one of those DVDs you had to buy or got for christmas (you bought them because you like them, right?) and pop some popcorn. Stay in, enjoy those you love.

*Use up your scrapbook stash, ink those stamps you bought, finish knitting that hat you started (Nicole!).

Some friends have been blogging about HWW, be sure to check them out:

Jenna
Mary

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sketches

Don't you just love sketches? They take the hard "where should I put stuff" element out of making a page or card but they leave all the creative (fun!) parts for you so you still get to play.

At TSR Susan is providing sketches "by the numbers" meaning the third month will have a three picture design, the fourth month four etc. As a multi-picture scrapper this tickles me pink because I get so tired of sketches for a single photo. Those just don't work for me. I always end up shoving in a collage. LOL.

Speaking of pink, I made this LO last night:



My team for scrapvivor was the Scrapmonkeys so I finally got to use my cute sock monkey grand adhesions. I also got to use some of those luscious Marieke Vermeulen Design printable journalling spots. If the economy has you down, I recommend trying out printables. I used to buy journalling spots all the time and now that I've got the printables I don't have to spend a cent (beyond paper and ink) to have all I need.

Healthy: 30 min Wii-Fit this AM
Wealthy: Didn't spend a cent yesterday and finished taxes
Wise: Read another large section of World is Flat (this chapter is 150 pages long so I gave up on a chapter a day)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Healthy, Wealthy and Wise?

Healthy:
As many of you know, I injured my foot in California and wasn't allowed to do anything strenuous on it for a month. The month ended last week smack dab in the middle of the fever-cough-misery so I wasn't able to jump back on the horse as planned.

To be honest, I've only worked out once or twice since Christmas. My back has been acting up something fierce and between my bone disease, sprained foot and several respiratory illnesses I just haven't had the strength to do much at all. But, this morning I walked down the stairs without coughing myself silly or limping so I pulled out the Wii-Fit. Let me tell you, it hurt like a son-of-a-gun! My foot is stiff and tender. I only made it through 18 minutes of exercise (which is about 25-30 min real time) and after advanced step I was coughing like crazy. But I did it.

My plan was to not weigh myself. When I'm sick I don't eat well. Veggies and tofu just don't look comforting but rice and bean chips, refried beans and hummus are grand. I also drink more juice and eat less fruit. All that can add fat to the ass. YKWIM? Then I realized that looking away from the facts is a quick way to gain back the weight I've lost so I gritted my teeth and tried not to squinch my eyes closed as the scale swung up to my weight. I was up 0.4 pounds which in my world doesn't count. A half a pound one way or another has more to do with eating, drinking and whether or not I peed than much else.

So I'm weighed in, worked out and back on the program.

Wealthy:

We paid off our hot tub one and a half months before we would have incurred finance charges. Yippee. We also paid off the computers - what a financial disaster the month of November was! We still have a ways to go on other outstanding bills but those two were out of the ordinary debts for us and I'm thrilled to be free of them. Without those expenses we were able to bump up our commitment to our missionaries. I think when discussing debt, people often over look the good you are unable to do because of your spending choices. Our friends have been in PNG for six months already and our support of them hasn't been what it should be because we had to take care of these expenses. In the future when making decisions about money, I want to be mindful to factor in what opportunities to help others are lost if we buy more than what we can afford. The hot tub has nearly paid for itself if I compare the medical bills I used to incur (three appointments a week at $45-$160 each) and the fact that I don't get any of that care now - I just jump in the tub. My quality of life has improved greatly and our gas bills have been reduced. But we still had to pay for it.

Wise:

When I was first dealing with my bone disease I made an agreement with myself. I should be a smart girl, seeking knowledge and wisdom during the normal parts of my life and when the pain kicks up and I'm spread thin to the point of breaking I can read trashy novels, watch old TV shows and give my poor mind a break. We'll that deal is officially defunct. Too much of my time - let's be honest, it's everyday now - is consumed by pain so deciding to take a break from thinking when in pain is no longer appropriate. It sure has been fun though. So this weekend I packed up my paperbacks, I wasn't going to reread my Koontz, King's or Hamilton's any way, and sent them off to Powells. They are all at the library in hardcover so it's not like I can't read them again. Our shelves have gone from bursting to merely sighing under the weight. As for me, I'm putting myself back on a reading program. I'm starting out with The World is Flat, Collapse: How societies choose to fail or succeed, Atlas Shrugged and Nature's Witness. After that I'm going to get back on working through the classics I bought - maybe The Scarlet Letter, finish Utopia and Iliad and then see where that takes me. And with that, I want to get back to dedicating a part of my week to writing. I haven't been doing nearly enough of it and for the first time in years I don't have a single piece out to publishers under consideration or lined up to be in print. Not one. I need to fix that.

If you are willing, I'd love to hear your healthy, wealthy and wise list. Leave a comment and fill me in on how you are doing.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Scrapbooking

During math today I looked at the stack of Disneyland pics and thought that I didn't have time to scrapbook today. Then I reconsidered that. I certainly didn't have time to hand stitch flourishes, pull together different lines of paper or sew ribbon on on my page but I did have time to scrapbook. I'd just need to do it simply.

So I grabbed one of my page kits from TSR that arrived in the mail last night and limited myself to my kit and some ink. In the end, I didn't even use embellishments but that is okay too. I got a lot of pics on the page (score!), told the story and preserved the memory. The rest is just gravy and not every day has room for extras.

Here it is:

Monday, March 9, 2009

Laura's Sketch 21

Good Monday everyone. This is my 200th blog post. I wanted to say something witty and profound but it's just not that sort of day, or for that matter, that sort of blog.

Laura at 2Sketches4You posted such a cute sketch I had to give it a try. Here's my take:


I just love with the new K and Co Daydreams paper!

This weekend I took a bold step and got rid of almost all my cardstock. I know.... SHOCKING!

Over the past four years I've belonged to several kit clubs and bought way more than my share of grab bags. I'd use up the colors I love and then store the lavenders, yellows and any muddy grey-ish colors like taupe and khaki. My stash of cardstock ended up being a sea of tepid shades and I was always running to the store for my faves. So I sorted it all, keeping only my best colors. I now have black, white, red, orange, kraft, dark brown, three blues and three greens. I made a little swatch book with those twelve colors and put it in my purse so I can purchase them as needed. You'd be amazed at how hard it is to find your favorite shade of white when presented with a wall of choices.

The way I see it, TSR will provide all the variety I need and the rest was just throwing perfectly good space after wasted money.

Anyone else doing some major purging or organizing? I'd love to hear about it.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Friday Friends Challenge

It's Friends Friday at Card Sketch a Day Blog.

Here's my take on the sketch - I rotated it to horizontal.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Organizing Embellishments

Since everyone is too sick to function, I've been occupying the down time with doing little jobs I find too menial when I'm running full speed. One of those tasks is getting my embellishments under control.

About three years ago I sorted my goodies by color family; this suits the way my brain works to a T. When I create projects I think, "wouldn't a little red something look nice here" not, "Wouldn't the newest Prima look cute" and I found this approach has me using my stash, old and new, more efficiently.

But, an organizing system is only as good as it's upkeep and I'd developed a bad case of ziploc-bagitis. Between prizes, shopping and de-kitting, the piles and baggies were multiplying- it was due time to sort my stuff.

The first step was looking at the current system and deciding what worked and what didn't. In general it worked well except having one box for black/white/metal/clear and another for brown/cream was too confusing. A lot of products overlapped. So I made two neutral boxes, one for fibers and another for everything else.

Step Two was to gather up all the baggies and piles and sort them by color.


Step Three, the eternal step, was to wrap ribbon onto chipboard ( I cut the back of a notepad into strips), sort eyelets, brads, buttons etc and to put them away in fishing tackle boxes. I bought my boxes at Cabelas ( a sporting goods store) for $2.95 each and the dividers are repositionable. Here's the results:





The one downside of this system is that it is hard to remember the brand of your products, information you need when submitting work for publication. My work around is that I almost always buy the same brand of staple products ( like brads or flowers) and for something unusual I can either label it with a small piece of masking tape in the compartment or like this:


See the bow there? I had tied it for a card and didn't like how it overwhelmed the design. Not one to want to tie a bow twice, I just attached it to my chipboard strip and it's ready for when I need it.

If you have kids in your life, they will enjoy helping you sort. Even my big boys enjoyed taming a pile of stuff in the middle of the table into manageable groups.

Hope this gave you some ideas on managing your craft supplies. These containers are cheap, stackable, light weight, easy to bring with you and adaptable to your needs. I highly recommend them.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Circles, Circles Everywhere

I've been cleaning up my little piles and projects with a strict "finish it or toss it" rule. I had cards 3/4 complete, LOs with the paper chosen and the pictures matted but the design not quite set and art sitting on top of frames but not in it. I thought this down time while we are all sick and Chris is working insane hours was the perfect chance to work through these stacks. I really believe clutter translates into failure when you look at it. You see all the things you should have done but didn't and order, tidiness and control that is missing. Clean surfaces give your mind a break as you don't see anything in need of your attention.

I'm happy to say, my counters and island are once more a mental oasis.

Yesterday Scrapbook Circle hosted the Walopaloza party at Willow Traders celebrating WTs 4th anniversary. I participated in the circle card challenge and the LO with circles challenge and I won their March Kit. Woo-hoo! Thanks, Lisa. Here's a pic, isn't it awesome:



Here's what I made:



This card uses Shadows of Memories stamp and Autumn Leaves paper

and this is my LO:


The journaling reads:

I never knew a four year old could decorate his own birthday cake or that forever more cake planning would be your job * I didn't know your big brown eyes could convince me to touch a snake and reassure me that "I'd Be okay". (Remember how bad that giant turtle scared us all? ) * I never would have bought slime about as often as we buy ketchup * Our spare bedroom wouldn't have been an art studio complete with graphic oil painting of a vomiting zombie - by the way, mixing pepper with the paint was pure genius * You've brought so much creativity and invention into our lives; from the K'nex and elastic band bow and arrows of your younger years to Mr. Nipples, the three foot horned beast that graces your bedroom door. or how about your more recent inventions of instant (heart shaped!) chicken vinegar soup and your paddle games made with balloons and hangers * Without you we never would have bought an "exotic" (and by exotic I mean a little creepy and scary) pet and that means we would have never had the tickly pleasures of Hermie, Brains and Gross in our lives. * You are a precious gift wrapped in a noisy, audacious package. Happy Birthday, Baby. We love you. 2/22/2009

I made the LO with a brand new stack from K and Co - I'm just loving their new papers.