Thursday, February 26, 2009

Stamp Simply, Flourishes Focus .... and MORE!

Hi all! It's Friday which means it's time for another Stamp Simply challenge! With this one, you can almost hear the birds chirping! That's because we've got cabin fever and can't wait until spring arrives!

The goal today is to create a card with signs of spring! For all the official details, all you need to do is to head over to the lovely Sharon Johnson's place HERE.

For this challenge, I also pulled out my Twinkling H20s! This week on the Flourishes Newsletter, Laura Fredrickson put together an amazing tutorial on how to use these little vivacious pots of paint to add shimmer and shine to your projects! So, stick around and I'll have a link list so you can visit the other DT members's blogs and see their fanciwork!

For this Stamp Simply Cabin Fever challenge, I actually sought my inspiration from art! I had the Flourishes Lilac set, which features a Magnolia as well and some fun insect elements!

I don't know about you, but before I color any flower, I often "google" it to look at colors and see how it looks in nature. Well, on my search, I found this gorgeous watercolor image from the artist Karen Winters....

Isn't it beautiful? It really struck me! I really loved the wash of teal and lime watercolors! So, I decided I would try to recreate this inspiration piece using my stamps and my twinks!
Grab some watercolor paper, and these colors of twinkling H20s - Sea Glass, Key Lime, Chiffon Pink, Pink Azalea, Golden Jade, Poppy Red - some burnt umber Palette ink, a waterbrush, a piece of paper towel, and you are pretty much ready to go!

I painted my flowers with a watered down version of Chiffon Pink and while it was still wet, I dabbed some Pink Azalea on the areas that I wanted to shade. For the leaves, I colored them with Key Lime and while still wet, I dabbed on just a bit of Golden Jade. The ladybug was colored with a pretty strong version of Poppy Red. Then, I was ready for my watercolor wash on the backround. The key to creating a wash is to literally wet down the entire background, avoiding the stamped and colored image itself. This will help control where your color travels. Pick up the Key Lime and Sea Glass and literally scribble all over the background! If you get too much color on your background, all you do is blot some of it off with your paper towel. Keep working it until you've got it just the way you want it! That's it!

Here's a close up! While it's hard to photograph Twinkling H20s, you can see a bit of the shimmer on ther paper. In real life, it sparkles a whole lot more! I really love the way this turned out! I have to say, it was fun seeking out a new kind of inspiration in art! Not to mention, I thought this image went perfectly with the new Poppy Finch paper from Memory Box and pink May Arts satin ribbon. That was a happy accident! ;-)

Want to see the other Stamp Simply gals' creations? Check out Sharon, Heather, Dee, Tammy, Janine, AJ, and Jennifer. Becky is taking the week off... but will be back soon!

And for more Twinkling H20s inspiration, be sure to check out the Flourishes Newsletter for Laura's tutorial and then click on over to these DT member's blogs-- Christine Okken, Cindy Lawrence, Faith Hofrichter,Latisha Yoast, Leslie Miller and Stacy Morgan! You won't be sorry you did!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Did you have a FAT Tuesday??

I did!!! :-) I actually REALLY did. I have a good friend who is quite the chef. She called me late Tuesday morning and says.... Are you home? I say "Yes" and she responds, "I'll be right over." Well, this nice lady knew my polish heritage and made me Packzis for fat Tuesday! Bless her soul!

Here's a peek! they were filled with a fruit filling that tasted like a mixed berry. It was very, very good! I can only imagine how long these took in the kitchen. Making them, from what I've been told, isn't easy!!

Well, in light of yesterday, I made a card for another dear friend, Jan Marie Caruso (who is one of the owners of Flourishes) because today is her BIRTHDAY!!!! When I think of Jan, I think of a spirited woman who has a lot of ties to New Orleans. So, in honor of her special day, I made her a card truly fitting for her! I picked up my Flourishes Mardi Gras set (truly a fun set!) and the wheels started spinning!

I stamped the silhouette in black ink on some distressed pink paper from the Bittersweet Basic Grey collection. Then, I grabbed my Inkssentials pen and started to highlight parts of the "marchers" shirts to make it pop. I also colored the horn with my Zig fine tip gold pen. Add some sparkle to my umbrella handles with a Stardust Gelly Roll pen and you're almost done!

Here's a close up!I used the Bittersweet paper for the base of my card and also made a tag out of the pink with the "You Stand Out In A Crowd" sentiment (Impression Obsession). The punch is from Martha Stewart and the bling is from Kaiser. Add some black and white sheer ribbon and... fini!

Hope you have a fabulous birthday Jan Marie!

Thanks everyone for stopping by! I'll see you all back here soon!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Saluting the Sgt!

When I saw Jami Bova (sgtstamper on SCS) was the Featured Stamper this week over on SCS, I had to stand at attention! ;-) Then, I had to look through her gallery to find one to case for the challenge! There were so many fun things! But, when all was said and done, I chose THIS card.

I loved the shape of the card and the way the eyelet was off to the side. I also loved how the quote really took center stage.So, I grabbed one of my favorite Impression Obsession stamps and sentiments and went to town!

Isn't it fun? Don't mean to be an enabler about shoe shopping, but I tend to agree! I have actually designed outfits around fun shoes that I've picked up here and there!

So, to make my scalloped card - I, of course, used the ole Nesties to get my shapes. I stamped my sentiment and shoes in black and then stamped the shoes a second time on decorative paper and paper pieced it. Add some bling and a fun sheer ribbon off to the side and you're almost done! I used Cool Grey #1 Copic marker to shade underneath my shoe!

Since Jami and I are on the Shimmerz DT, I did add some sparkle to my shoe thanks to a bit of Candlelight Shimmerz!! Here's a close up!

If you haven't played along with the Featured Stamper challenge - there's no time like the present! Check it out HERE!

And, speaking of challenges, today is Tuesday-- which means another Timeless Tuesday over on the Flourishes Newsletter! It's a fun one!

See you back here soon!

Monday, February 23, 2009

I've been a stampin' fool!

This weekend was one where I had a few hours to stamp and was pretty darn ambitious about it! Where did I go first?? Well, Splitcoast of course! It was their Virtual Stamp Night (VSN) and they had more than a dozen challenges every hour on the hour. You had 45 minutes to finish, clean up, grab a snack and go back in for another! It's pretty hard core! LOL!

So, I got to make a handful of cards and had a blast doing it!

This first challenge was called celebrity crush! You had to take your crush and make a card inspired by him! Well, my crush is Jason O'Mara. You might say -- who?? The star of Life On Mars -- serious eye candy! So, when I told hubby I was making a card inspired by my celebrity crush - I didn't even have to tell him WHO! He just said -- "So, do you have a spaceship?" I cracked up. Because the star gets hit by a car and is thrust back to 1973, I decided to be inspired by the 70s! I have the bias cut paper that reminds me of the skirts they used to wear way back then. I have a remnant of flower power and I have some bling to remind me of all the bedazzling that went on in that decade! Pretty groovy huh??

This challenge at the heart of this next card was "man card." You had to use kraft, navy and vanilla, no primas, no ribbon and three brads! Basically, no fluff - just like a man would make! Hey, I know some pretty awesome man stampers -- so, just know -I didn't write the challenge! :-) Anywho, this is what I came up with.....
I ended up using a stamp set that I haven't picked up for a while! Nature's Beauty from SU. After I stamped my butterfly with denim ink, I took a damp waterbrush over it to color my butterfly that way. My mom will be the first to tell you -- using navy is not my strength!
This card above was a part of a color challenge! You had to pick your favorite chocolate and then use the colors tied to it! Well, mine was dark chocolate! That color challenge was pink, brown and apricot. The only apricot I actually have on this card was in the flower and button. It was hard to fit in! I do have something fun to share! The paper I used was from Gina K. Designs free digi paper that she has a link to on her blog HERE. TOOOOO cute! I might need to buy a new printer cartridge! ;-)
And, last but not least -- an inchies challenge! I've never created an inchie -- so again -- fun! I stamped my images from Flourishes Peony set all over watercolor paper and then cut out pieces of it. I accented my flowers and my bee with markers....
Then, as a finishing touch, add some sheer ribbon, some bling and some Angel Wings Shimmez on the wings! I tried to get a close up but my camera battery was dying --- :-( Maybe I can get one and insert it tomorrow!
So... it was a fun stamping weekend! Hope you got just as crafty in your neck of the woods! Until tomorrow!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Thinking Of You!

I could say this card is for my buddy Janine, but that would be cruel and unsual punishment! You see, at some point in Janine's past, her house was infested with ladybugs and even today -- she hates them! How could you hate such lovable and cute lil bugs??? :-)

These are some of the new Sarah Phelps images from Impression Obsession that were just released this winter at CHA. I stamped with Versafine Black Onyx then colored with a red watercolor pencil and blended with a blender pen. The underneath of the bugs were colored with a Copic marker (Cool Grey #1) I took my Copic fine line black pen and doodled in the little walk lines for the one lady bug. Add some fun punched edges, a black and white polka dot sheer ribbon, a paper flower and some bling and.... your done! I do wish I knew what dp this was! It was just a scrap in my dp bin!

Is anyone playing along over on SCS for Virtual Stamp Night? They have some fun challenges! I've been playing and still need to upload a few cards! Check it out if you havent!

Well folks, hope you are enjoying your weekend! I'll see you back here soon!

Friday, February 20, 2009

One of my favorite ways to color!

It's my day to share over on the Flourishes Newsletter for our Friday Focus and today -- it's all about adding vibrant color with colored pencils! If you click on the link, you'll find a tutorial on wonderful ways to add color on dark card stock!

Here over at my place, I thought I'd show you an easy way to add a soft look with colored pencils and Odorless Mineral Spirits! So... let's start!

Using Colored Pencils With Odorless Mineral Spirits

I started by stamping my tulip from the Stamp Simply Thank You set with Graphite Black Brilliance ink on my off white paper. Edited to add: You want to use a paper with "tooth". Papers that are ultra smooth really don't work well with this technique. You need something for the waxy colored pencils to grab on to - a bit of grain to hold the pigment. For my ink, I used Brilliance because it's one ink that doesn't smear when you apply the mineral spirits.
Then, I literally scribbled in color to the natural shadows on the stamp. I used Koh-i-noor pencils. Both Koh-i-noor and Prismacolor Pencils have a wonderful and waxy base, which allows you to really blend the colors as you add them! I used a deep pink for the petals and two shades of green for th stem and leaves.
Now, it's time to blend! I dipped my stump into the odorless mineral spirits. (I use Gamsol brand) and then, in small circular motions, I draw the color from the edges into the middle of my flower. I make sure to clean my stump off my scribbling the excess color off on a scratch piece of paper.
You do the same thing with the stem and leaves, making sure to clean the stump in between colors.

Here's a peek at my finished card...

Now, you don't have to use Odorless Mineral Spirits all the time with colored pencils. In fact, you can layer the color and use lighter shades of pencil to blend like I did in this card using the Magnolias in the Lilac set!
I colored my flower petals entirely with white, added Hot Pink to the areas where I wanted some shadows, and then blended by using my white pencil over top the entire flower again. The leaves were done by coloring them with Chartreuse, adding shadows of Dark Green and then coloring the entire leaves again with Chartreuse to blend.

For the full tutorial on layering and blending colors, be sure to check out the Flourishes Newsletter HERE. The Senior Design Team took me up on this challenge and did some absolutely gorgeous cards of their own too using all kinds of colored pencils! Just click onto the Flourishes blog and you'll find the link list there!

TGIF! See you back here soon!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stamp Simply - 2 challenges in 1!

Hi all! Well, last week I couldn't play along with the Stamp Simply gals (insert sad face here)! To make up for lost time, I decided to combine last week's with this week's challenge! The challenge last week was to use a monogram and this week --- black ink only! No colors!

So, here you have it! A monogram for Stamp Simply 74 and a little black in for Stamp Simply 75!

I used Basic Grey Urban Prairie papers for this one! It's my new favorite paper! The ink I used was Versafine Black Onyx with, of course, my monogram stamper! I used the Brayton alphabet set with my 1-5/8" wooden stamper. The "frame" was done with one of the borders from the Special Occassions set. Use a circle punch to trim it up, mat it on a larger circle that has been punched out and then add some ribbon and bling! Done! Super duper easy card! Ten minutes tops!

Want to see what other fun the Stamp Simply gals cooked up??? First check out the lovely Sharon Johnson HERE to see her fab work and get the official details and then, visit these fine ladies on their place on the web!

Heather, Dee, Tammy, Janine, AJ, Jennifer and Becky.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a fabulous weekend!

p.s. Amy S. - you left a comment asking me to email you -- I don't have an email for you, so feel free to shoot me an email if you like! Thanks! ;-)

IO DT Color Challenge!

Well the Impression Obsession girls are at it again. We got our team challenge this week and it was all about colors that I hardly ever put together -- orange and pink! I had to dig through my dp to try to scrounge up something and---- this-- is what I came up with!
I've had this stamp (from the Daisy Today set) for a while and can you believe, I've never inked it up? I love, love, love these flowers. I don't know what has been holding me back! So, for this challenge, I just knew I needed to break it in. Who doesn't love pink daisies?

This card was really quite simple! I stamped my image with Palette Noir ink, and then colored my leaves and stems with olive green watercolor pencils. The flowers were done by scribbling a light pink watercolor pencil on a scrap piece of paper and then picking up the color with a blender pen!

I also shaded parts of my flower with my Cool Grey #1 Copic marker.

After I was done coloring it and matting it up, (Daisy D and Bo Bunny decorative papers with Melissa Frances Ribbon) I gave my flower some bling! I painted it with Candlelight Shimmerz! It's my favorite Shimmerz of all time because, even though it is an ivory color - it doesn't really deposit any color when you paint it on in a thin coat. It just accentuates what color is underneath!

Here's a close up!
Well all, thanks for stopping by! Be sure to check out the rest of the IO gals and their fun orange and pink creations!

Michelle Giraud
Dina Kowal
Daniela Dobson
Deborah March
Kelli Richardson
Laura Fulcher
Tina Werner

I'll be back soon with another Stamp Simply challenge AND news about a fun tutorial that I put together using one of my favorite ways to color! So, stay tuned! You won't want to miss out on the fun!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

I got happy mail!!

A while back, Etha over on SCS organized an ATC swap for Flourishes. I have to admit, I jumped in without even thinking about the fact that I don't really make ATCs!! Well, I am glad I did. It stretched me creatively and I got these BEAUTIFUL creations. I was stunned in fact! It did give me some fabulous inspiration to sock away for the future--- don't you think???

Take a peek at these beauties by (Lto R) Sharon Doolittle and Cathy Rose
These next two are by Etha Schuette and Carol Southern-- 0000OOOooo!

Next up is Ali Manning and Nancy Kirk --- gorgeous!!!

And last... but not least... These two with a springtime flair by Teresa Gray and Latisha Yoast!
So... for a gal who doesn't really "do" ATCs I had a blast and got to see some fabulous work up close and personal from some pretty awesome stampers! Not to mention, I got to see some fabulous stamp sets used in new and different ways! Thanks Etha for organizing this! Can't wait until the next big swap!!
Side note--- I just found out the new faces that will be joining the Shimmerz Design Team -- you can click HERE to read the fun news!
I'll be back tomorrow with some Impression Obsession fun! There's a DT challenge brewing! ;-)

Monday, February 16, 2009

A Dose Of Spring

Today was such a perfect day in my neck of the woods. The sun was shining, the "boys" (AKA DH and DS) were out shooting hoops and DD was tooling around on her scooter. Well, with a little spring in my heart I turned out this fun card. I even used a bit of watercolor which was fresh on my mind since my card Friday.

I stamped with my Palette Noir and then began to color using watercolor pencils and then blending with a blender pen. Scribble on the color and then blend it in! That's about it! Papers are a mix of Crate Paper and Basic Grey Urban Prairie. The "tag" was done with two sizes of oval Stampin' Up punches. Add some sheer ribbon and a fun scalloped edge and... voila - Done!

Here's a close up... I love this new stamp set from Flourishes - Signs of Spring. It was just released Friday and it will - for sure- be one of my spring time faves!

Hope you have a happy Monday! The kiddos are off school so I will be trying to cook up some fun!

See you back here soon!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

How I spent part of my Valentine's Day

I'm interupting my normal posts here to bring you a piece of my life! It's part of my life that I haven't really shared. Since it is so close to my heart I thought -- there's no better time to spill the beans than Valentine's Day!

For the past 13 years, I've been working with the department of Child and Family services to give new hope to the state's adoptable kids. I've been a reporter for our local TV station for an ongoing series that features kids waiting to be adopted and let's them -- in their own words-- share the dreams they have of having a forever family. It's been one of the most rewarding things in my life.

Today, we took these children's stories in a new direction. We opened up what's called The Heart Gallery at our mall here in Billings. The goal is to showcase these kids in an artistic way through photos and allow those that go to the mall to connect with these kids! We teamed up with a well known photographer (Clark Marten) to capture these kids on film and man, oh man, when the "gallery" opened today, it was an awesome feeling! The kids were literally giddy!

Here's a look at all of us as we opened up our exhibit! We've got four of the kids, social workers, the marketing manager at the mall and the photographer all there under one roof to kick this big event off!

Here's Ashley, one of the kiddos, being interviewed by our local paper....
Here's a shot of the gallery itself. We have 6 children featured and hope to feature more as these children are adopted! Aren't they beautiful??

Here's a photo of Betty (one of the kiddos) with one of her social workers looking at the gallery...
Gosh what a rewarding day and a wonderful way to kick off Valentine's Day. Thanks for letting me share!!! I'm getting a little teary eyed just thinking about it all!
Have a good rest of the weekend! I'll be back with more crafty stuff soon!

Friday, February 13, 2009

The Sneak Peeks Are Over!

Most of this week I've been showing you sneaks of the new Flourishes sets leading up to their big unveiling! WELL -- the time has come and the sets are in the store and up for grabs! Here's a peek at all three sets!

Strut Your Stuff

All Wrapped Up!

Signs of Spring
Hope you've enjoyed this week! I sure have and you can bet that I'm going to be showcasing MORE from these fabulous sets in the weeks to come!

If you've seen anything that inspired you this week, don't forget to use my code: juliek in the promotional code box at checkout!

Take care everyone and have a fabulous weekend! I'll be back soon!

Living In Color -- Signs Of Spring!

Today is the final day of our sneak peeks at Flourishes for our February release and the last day offers a little something extra! Not only is this final set my favorite-- gotta love these great spring images-- but the design team is putting their "focus" on watercoloring it!

The Flourishes Focus today on the Newletter is a tutorial by the fabulous Christine Okken. Not only did she give you a step by step tutorial on how to get great watercolor effects, she challenged the rest of us to pick up our waterbrushes and give it a try!

So, here's a peek at my card with the new Signs Of Spring set!

I am such a rebel, I didn't pick up my brush-- I picked up my blender pen for a faux watercolor look! Want to see how I did it??? It really is one of my favorite techniques!

I took all the colors of marker that I wanted to use for my daffodils and I scribbled them on a plastic palette. This is actually an old spacer place for my Wizard that I am now "repurposing!" I have three shades of yellow, three shades of green and two shades of brown. Christine's concept of starting light and then adding darker shades for shadows is exactly the same here, I am just going to use a blender pen to pick up my color from my palette. I start by stamping my daffodils on my tag with Palette Burnt Umber ink. It's a permanent ink that really works beautifully for not just watercolor but Copic markers too!
I started by picking up the medium brown marker from my palette to create some shadows around my image....

Then, the rest is just coloring. I started with the light yellow and then added darker shades where I thought shadows might sit. I colored my stem and leaves the same way. After I was finished, I used a texture stamp (it's one I've had forever of just dots) and I stamped all around my image using Antique Linen Distress Ink (Ranger). You could also use a stipple brush to get this effect. I also added a part of the flourish from the Wedding Essentials set in the corner to add a little extra pop along with a light green rhinestone! Distress the edges of your tag, add a little circle accent at the top from green paper plus some yellow polka dot ribbon and you're almost done! I paper pierced along the sides of some paisley decorative paper, matted my tag to this piece and then set this all on my yellow cardstock base. And... voila!

Here's a final peek!
Want to see what the rest of the DT cooked up with the Signs of Spring set and their watercolors? Just check out these fabulous ladies places!

Christine Okken
Cindy Lawrence
Faith Hofrichter
Latisha Yoast
Laura Fredrickson
Leslie Miller
Stacy Morgan

So, head on over to the Flourishes Newsletter to see Christine's fabulous watercolor tutorial! While you are there, leave a comment to see if you can walk away with a Signs of Spring set of your very own! There are also details too about tonight's big Release Party! We'd love it if you came! It will be a ton of fun with games, giveaways and more peeks before the sets go live in the Flourishes store! They will be there to see in their full glory at 9 pm Central sharp!!!

TGIF! I'll see you back here soon!