A site for my handmade cards, accompanied by my photos and written meanderings which are occasionally witty, often tongue-in-cheek, and rarely profound. Beginning in June 2013, you'll also see lots of NBUS, which is an acronym I coined for Never-Before-Used-Schtuff. Feel free to join in, use the acronym, and use up your NBUS too! Thanks for coming by! Have a beverage and enjoy!

July 29, 2015

Penguin Love and a Silvery Snowman

Greetings, stampers!

Hammy and I had one of "those" crafty days yesterday where things went off the rails design-wise. It happens. Sometimes as your working, Serena Dipity stops by and takes your design to dizzying and wondrous heights you hadn't even imagined and then sometimes she's off having a coffee and Mr. Murphy, the cad that he is, drops in and takes your design to Meh-ville.

The day started, as it usually does, when the shadow of a challenge or two crossed over the Playhouse sunroof and my onefer came to be.
Here's the darling card I was using as my inspiration:
It was made by my friend Tracey McNeely of In My Creative Opinion. She is this week's MUSE over at the challenge of the same name. She's one of my penguins.

As I looked at Tracey's cute card, I thought: I have penguin stamps and dies from the Stamps of Life. Okay. I don't have a palm tree, but I do have a beach umbrella. Okay. 

Tracey made incredible stylized surf and sand with her stenciling. That gave me pause. Since her sediment is about love and I needed a coupla anniversary cards, I visualized stenciled hearts somewhere in my design instead of sand and surf. As I was mulling that over, I went through my "love" sediments and shazambam, when I saw the NBUS Alley Way stamp "love is in the air," I thought it would be awesome if stenciled hearts were floating in the air over the penguins. Okay.

As it happens, I don't have a heart stencil, so I used the negative of my Memory Box "Heart of Hearts" die and sponged ombre pinks through the heart holes.

I should have stopped there. 

But Mr. Murphy loomed large with his flirty eyes and his deep voice and he suggested that if I sponged a circle around my hearts, it would look like the sun setting on the beach. Well, shure, I stupidly agreed. Darn it, Darnell. It's not even centered and, of course, that bugs the heck outta me. Owell. It's guudenuff and it's going to noncardmakers, so they'll love it, even if I don't.

Today's Twofer

I just couldn't let it rest, because I still thought the original idea was a cute one. This time I used a stamp with a cluster of hearts just perfect for the drawing up in my head. It's NBUS from SU's "Perpetual Calendar" set.

I likit. Hammy wanted to pop up the penguins and I'm not prezackly sure why, but I do like that he glossed up the beach umbrellas for the cards.
Challenges

You might have noticed that my cards are black and white with just the one color, Al B. It ombre in the first case. That's because, besides MUSE, I'm playing in the current challenge at Uniko Challenge which is, "black and white with the optional twist of a splash of colour!"
Right Click to Save!
Today's Threefer

Next we toyed with whether or not that first card was even going to make it onto the blog. If it wasn't, which seemed likely at that point, I still needed a "twofer." Hmmm. And I need Christmas cards by the dozenzes, so we brainstormed.

If I use a snowman instead of a penguin and a Christmas tree instead of a palm tree, I could still use Tracey's great design layout. I found the perfect NBUS snowman stamp from PTI's "Friendship Jar Holiday Fillers" and when I was looking at my tree dies, I saw my NBUS die from MFT, "Tree Lines," which I was dying to use, so I cut that out of a scrap of gently patterned green paper. Then, if I cut it in half, I found a fitting sediment from Technique Tuesday's "Jingle All the Way." Whoop Dee Do La La!

Then it was ME who went out for coffee. When I left, I told Hammy to just draw and glitterize a few stray snowflakes spots over the snowman's head for Cuteness Sake, like we did with the floating red hearts stamp. Then he could have a macaroon. The instructions were very straight-forward.

But, grapes preserve us, when I came back I found Hammy prostate on the chaise clutching the pen in one paw and the glitter glue in the other, eyes rolled back in his head and criss-crossed. The evil sod, Murphy, was slithering out the Playhouse window, laughing sardonically.

Say What?
And people wonder if retirement is boring! I've gotta run and reapply the Epsom Salts to Hammy's soaking tub. He is going to miss running on his wheel for a few days until those paws unclamp, poor dear. He's had a rough time lately, but goodness what a sparkly card this is!

Oh, wait, I wanted to show you a close-up of the specialty paper that started the whole blizzard. I have a half sheet of this beautiful ancient white paper with embedded silver dots:
Paper-piecing the snowman with this gorgeous paper made it quite the focus pocus until the blizzard of July 2015 came along!
The good news is, it fits in the current Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge, which is "No Ordinary Paper" and, of course, it's another entry in the snippet challenge at Pixie's Snippet Playground!
Pixies Crafty WorkshopSimon Monday Challenge Blog
~~~

Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!*

And Happy Birthday, Bobby, my friend! Enjoy your special day!!

As always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and special thanks to you if you take the time to join as a follower! Please let me know you came by, so I can be sure and return the flavor!
*Life is too short!

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82 comments:

Sylvia said...

Darnell, I like the second penguin card with a few red hearts and the tiny red hearts on the pengiuns. You nailed that one!! Sylvia D.

Maxine D said...

The second card takes the cake, but I am still laughing at Hammy and Mr Murphy's escapades... although the result is still pretty good!
Blessings
Maxine

Kathyk said...

Two triffik cards, Darnell, your posts are always such a joy to read

Kathyk

Sue said...

A wonderful selection of cards Darnell. The penguins are adorable and I love the paper-pieced snowman. Your design are fabulous and thank you for making me smile!
hugs Sue xx

Redanne said...

You ALWAYS make my day Darnell, I am now sitting here chuckling at poor Hammy in a bath of Epsom Salts.... I love the penguins, in both situations and the paper pieced snowman looks like he is having the most wonderful time - just as I suspect you did making these delightful cards!! Biggest hugs, Annie xxx
PS - off to London in a day or two, to see the Queen - Queen Wendy Vecchi!!! xx

Jane Willis said...

It really is about time I learned NOT to read your posts while drinking tea. Although doing so DOES mean my computer screen gets regularly cleaned after tea-spluttering incidents. But in among the tea spluttering there's always lots of inspiration - and your penguins are absolutely gorgeous

Jane

Jane said...

I'm in agreement with previous comments and number two penguin card is my favourite and I'm so pleased that's the one you entered into the Uniko challenge. It's absolutely so right! Thanks for playing along.

Sazzle Dazzle said...

Darnell your first card is just TOO cute but I'm so thrilled you popped it in at Uniko! Gorgeous creation and a stunning design. Love the cute snippets snowman on the second one too! x

Sue - said...

Seems like a few of us like number two best! All three though are great fun cards. Hope Hammy has recovered now!

Di said...

Oh Darnell - you do my heart and soul good, they say a laugh is good for you - so I guess hysterics and rolling on the floor clutching sides counts as recovery and convalescence all in one go for me?

Wonderful cards, amidst the fabulous dialogue - and by a Hammy whisker, I vote for the second card but love them all! And the snippets one is great - when you stare all all of those dots it's like a vortex such as you get in real life snow storms around Mr Snowman - did Hammy do that deliberately I wonder?

Hugs

Di xx

Linda said...

The commentary is brilliant, Darnell! And so are your cards! You're twofer(On Muse) is defo my favourite.

Fab post!

Linda
(Crafty Distraction)

Ros Crawford said...

Having read this I feel I need to lie down ... I'm exhausted for you... And Hammy!! Fabulous cards and I knew who you'd Cased even before I read it so that's how good your cards are!
And I know I have some of that ancient dottie paper too somewhere! Have a peaceful day!

Hannelie said...

I love how this evolved Darnell!
Great use of Tracey's wonderful inspiration !

Sue said...

Fab cards. I really like the one with the hearts coming down like rain.

Hope you have a good day. Sue

Marilyn said...

OMG!! Your cards are awesome! Love the little penguins!

Shaz in Oz.CalligraphyCards said...

i actually think your posts are as great to read as your cards are to look at, Darnell, I chuckled I'll the way..
You've such a great turn of phrase.
Dear hammy' s snowstorm!! :) Love them all.. Tell Hammy I've been having Epsom salts baths daily since the garden marathon started, if I don't THEN I pay for it!!!
Shaz in Oz,x

{Calligraphy Cards - Shaz in Oz}

Mary Anne / MA54K said...

The 2fer penguins are both so special. I love the glossy goodness. Since we are in the middle of a soupy heat wave, I was glad to get a bit of a breeze from that cute, snowy fellow!

Julie Tucker-Wolek said...

Hehehehehe ... that Mr. Murphy seems to get around!! I loveeeeeeeeeee all of these!! The penguins are adorable (don't make me choose!!!) and LOVING the snowman!!!!!!

Pollard Carole said...

Lovely post really enjoyed it and fab cards even if they aren't what you started out to make !! Love and hugs Carole x

Paper Creations by Shirley said...

Wow you have been busy with three very beautiful designs. I love the splashes of colour with the Penquin couple, they are adorable and the dotted paper for the snow in the third is brilliant... beautiful! I hope you are doing well. Hugs, Shirleyxx

Shelly said...

Three totally CUTE cards! Love them all!

Jeanne said...

Fantastic post, all around, Darnell. So happy you are here to keep us all in stitches and to see some really great eye candy. Poor Hammy! What a visual that is...and the snowstorm of July 2015 will keep me giggling for a long time. Thanks for the smiles!

Susanne Vargas said...

Another entertaining post and lots of inspiration! Love all the red hearts on the second card and the snowstorm was very refreshing to look at in the July heat!

designbydonna said...

Really cute cards even the ones with Mr. Murphy influence. I kinda like the blizzard. Made all the more entertaining by your fun commentary.

Pat said...

You and Hammy have been busy Darnell and I love them all but my eye has been particularly taken by the black and white with those gorgeous red hearts floating about, and as for no. 3 the snow blizzard is fantastic and I can see why Hammy needed a nice hot bath and a lie down after that experience! Your blog posts are always a tonic and my laughter muscles always get a work out. x

Pia S said...

Wow, you've sure been busy and creative today, Darnell! Each card has their own unique beauty and sweetness, but i think your second card takes the cake, but not by much....

Donna said...

Hi Darnell :)
I may be a newbie to blog land, but I'm fast learning NOT to listen to my husband's advice when it comes to my cards and tags. Like you I have listened and regretted the decision!!!
Love, love, love the Pengiins with the Hearts card :)
Super cute...

conil said...

Well, you and Hammie were certainly busy, weren't you. I know how you feel, as Mr. Murphy frequently oozes under my craftroom door, the creep. But, in this case, he either didn't have time or wasn't his usual noxious self, because these are all challenge worthy entries. Love Hammie's glossy umbrellas and those ethereal hearts on the first card. Even though Hammie has paw cramps the threefer looks really sweet with your paper-pieced snowman. (I think I have that paper somewhere around here, too.) The sentiment and floating hearts were really an excellent idea...I might steal...er, borrow it.

cuilliesocks said...

Three wonderful cards Darnell, love them all, but it's the snowman that's my favourite, hugs Kate x

Shannon McComb said...

Awww how cute is this!!! I adore your penguin card that you created inspired by Tracey card!! Love your ombre of hearts!! So very adorable!!

Happy Dance said...

I'm sort of back. Will explain that later. Your posts always bring smiles to my face, and your cards bring smiles to my heart. Hammy did a pretty darn good job, I have to say. I don't think I own a penguin stamp, or even an appropriate sized snowman. LOVE that glittery goodness on him, btw. Looks like one of the blizzards we get now and again. Sure would like one today...hot and sticky here. I miss you my friend. Could we be neighbors? And I'm betting that Tracey loves your cards. They are just fun! xo Bev

Jacee said...

Those penguins are just the cutest Darnell, fabulous card!
hugs Jacee
Simply Paper Card Design

Verna Angerhofer said...

All are so cute. Fantastic cards and love the Penguins a lot.

Jean said...

Love the penguins!

Sharon Underwood said...

Wow, you've been busy! I like all three, but the second one stands out to me the most. I, too, have those penguins from the Stamps of Life. Aren't they cute!? You're having a blast during retirement, I can tell. You're so creative! Give a smooch to Hammy. :)

Sue said...

Darnell, this is a truly gorgeous and inspirational selection of your wonderful cards - all completely adorable and so beautifully put together - I could n't choose between them!
Sue...xxx

Taunya Butler said...

Wonderful, super delightful creations!! You have added such special and sparkly and cool details to each card that makes each of them shimmer and SHINE!! Love seeing how you had your own unique touch to your cards!! Hope you are having a happy day!!

Susan said...

Love the cards, especially the snowman one, but even more, I love the story of Hammy and Mr. Murphy! You totally brightened my day!

Valerie Nolan said...

Such a funny post Darnell I hope poor Hammy has recovered!Love the penguins and the snowman in his vintage outfit!
Val x

Carole said...

You have brought a smile to my face on a very cold miserable day here in the UK. (washing barely dry) Your cards and adventures in making them are fabulous....but like a lot of others No2 gets my vote! Love your penguins and brollies......more for the rain here than any sun.....oh how I wish I was back with your penguin under the parasol where I was last week...much warmer! I give you 10/10 for perseverance on this one and also for your clever interpretation of the sketch and all your inspiration.lets hope love is in the air and not snow!

TK Watson said...

Well, I'm just LOVIN' the cards! Does that make me a Non-cardmaker? I hope not! Well, anyway, you and Hammy are quite the couple -- OH! And don't forget Mr. Murphy too...

Kathleen said...

Trial and error and you won't know the errors till you try and these have all turned out extremely well, my favourite is the second penguin one, that is spot on for me.

Kath x

Geri said...

Thank you so much for making me laugh my head off (bet you thought I was gonna say _ss off...right?)

Hammie and you cooked up some really cool stuff! Had you not mentioned the off center circle in the first card, I never would have seen it cuz I was so enamored with the penguins under an umbrella!!! Awesome sentiment!

Adore the second card with the hearts, especially how you carried the hearts through to the penquins and the sentiment. So effective.

Third card honestly looks like a typical January day in Dauphin, Manitoba, Canada....so in other words, all seems normal to me! Once again, you rocked the sentiment placement!

Thanks for making my afternoon so much fun :)

oldpunca said...

Mr.Murphy, Hammy and you have made a wonderful job! :-)) I like your "not centered" heart on the first card. It's cute. :-))
Hugs, Sonja

Liz said...

Still chuckling from reading your post! You do make me smile, Darnell. Love all your cards and I had to scroll back up to see the off-centre heart, as I didn't notice it was off-centre until you mentioned it! LOL! Thanks for the giggle at the end of the day (nearly time for bed, here in the UK) xx

OH Babs said...

The penguin cards and the snowman card are all great and anyone would love them. We are awfully critical of ourselves. Why? We are creative women and not every card can be 100% perfect - leave that to Hallmark. :)

Brenda said...

Goodness, I hate to laugh at Hammy's expense, but I just can't hold it in! lol I am liking the heart/sunset card, not bad to my eyes, but I am totally loving the pop of red hearts on the second card, such a fabulous anniversary card Auntie! Then there is the blizzard of July 2015....I'm sorry I'm still rolling on the floor laughing! lol But all in all, it is still a cute card. I hope Hammy heals nicely and can get back on his hamster wheel soon! Hugs, Brenda

Carol said...

A wonderful trio of cards Darnell...even if they didn't all go to plan. Love no two though, I have a nephew and his wife you would love it! Carol x

Bonnie said...

LOL, you quack me up, Darnell! I do like the 2nd penguin card better! I have to shout at myself sometimes to STOP! I don't have a Hammy to give me hints. I can do it all on my own. And he did a great job on the snowfall on the 3fer! All that snow maybe will make it feel cooler! There's never a dull moment around your house! Love it!

Nora N. said...

It looks like you and Hammy had a great time!! Your penguin cards are cute but I like the second one better as well. I like the fun snowfall that Hammy created. It is different and very festive. Great take on the challenge!

Helen F. said...

So happy you AND Hammy are back to crafting together, Darnell ~ you compliment each other's creative minds :-) I'm really likin' the 3rd card as my fave of today's trifecta

Tracey said...

Oh Darnell...its such a pleasure to visit, your posts are so fun and entertaining to read! You certainly have a way with words, Love it! The first 2 cards are so so cute......and how cool is the blizzard in the 3rd one. Great work!!

JD/ Jill said...

All great cards! Really like how that paper inspired you to make that really creative snowman card!

Cheryl W. said...

Even though Hammy was nearly snow-blind after creating the "blizzard on a card," he is still one mighty fine partner to have in the craft cottage. I often wish I had an idea man like him to help me when the cardmaking gets slow. Together you've created 3 fabulous cards. Love them all!

Karen Mead said...

I love all your adorable cards Darnell and those penguins melt my heaart:) I hope you are well - hugs xx

Buffy Esser-Burnside said...

Gorgeous cards!

Cat Craig said...

Wonderful stories Darnell, Mr, Murphy the cad...I love that. I am so glad you showed all three cards. I can clearly see Tracey's muse card in your creations. Your recipients will enjoy them tremendously.

sandie said...

What a fun post! I so know what you mean about one day good, one day not! I love your description about your thinking process and have to say card 2 turned out a delight!

Anita in France said...

Thank you, Darnell! You've just got our already bright blue and sun filled day off to an even better start ... laughing out loud ... with tears!! You and Hammy did a great job with this trio ... the popped up penguins under their sunkissed shiny parasols are so cutie patootie ... and goodness, that snowman is having such fun in his blizzard. How sweet of Hammy to put himself out so much to create just the perfect environment for his chilled out friend. Hope his recovery is swift ... you need those paws! Hugs and bisous, bisous to you both! Anita :)

Carole Z said...

As with previous comments Darnell, you do make me chuckle!!! And we all love penguins don't we? These are are super cute! hugs Carole Z X

Leigh Penner said...

These are so sweet!

Petra Swart said...

Murphy and Hammy had me LOL, Darnell!!!! And your cards are as lovely as your very entertaining stories!!! Love those sweet little penguins with all the hearts and love in the air - so clever to use the umbrella!!!! And the snowman looks so happy out there in the heavy snowstorm!!!! Very cute cards, Darnell!!! Hope Hammy's paw will be better soon!!!
Have a great day!!!
Hugz

Beverley said...

You have brightened my day with these cute cards and seeing your entry in the Uniko Challenge :) Thanks so much for sharing and joining in on the fun. Hugs Bev x

hazelspaperdesigns said...

Poor Hammy!! I love all three! Number 2 appeals to my CAS heart, number one makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside - LOVe that pink ombre'd sunset, and Snowy's blizzard is just plain fun! Love how you paper-pieced him too with that fab DSP. Never a dull moment at your playhouse Darnell. Always fun to visit!

Viv said...

Oooh sooo many fab cards again Dee, how do you do it??? enjoy the weekend my luverly friend ;) hugs Vee xx

Ardyth said...

Love these- the addition of red to the penguins is classic and perfect for love, valentines, anniversaries etc! So glad you joined us at Muse this week!

Kim Heggins said...

Fabulous trio of cards...I love your sweet critters and snowman too. You are so creative to make your own stencil...you are amazing!!!

artful-notions said...

I only noticed the non centered heart sun after I read through your description. It and all the cards are adorable. Mr Snowman is darling too, even with the blizzard!

shirley-bee said...

Darnell, I've just spent a lovely few (many!) minutes catching up on your posts, but I have the bestest excuse for being tardy - family christening short break, and now DS2 is over with his girlfriend, so while they're off visiting friends, I'm sneaking a blog catch-up. Your holiday looked fabulous, and it was so nice that you could meet Lolly. Love these cards - your offset sun works perfectly for me because the beach brolly is offset over the edge of the card, and your penguins are offset, so everything balances for me. Love the second version even more, and your dotty snowman in a blizzard - fabulous! No wonder Hammy needed a lie down :)

La profe said...

Lovely penguin cards. I like the second version more.

Chriss Blagrave said...

Love your trio of cards Darnell! The penguin couples are truly deep in love amidst love filled air! Darling little scenes.
Your snow guy looks happy, happy to have all of the snow falling about...Hammy should be exhausted from all of those applications!
Big hugs :))) XOX

Becca Cruger said...

I always seem to wind up with a big ol' smile on my face when I pop over here! Your goofiness is my favorite. The end. I can't even imagine how much your fingers must have cramped after that glittery blizzard. Don't you wish real blizzards were filled with glitter?! Then I wouldn't dread them so much. As for your penguin card... Well. You know that symmetry is not the end all to be all right? Your heart-filled sunset is adorable, although I think I'm with Hammy in that the simplicity of the second is just the cutest.

April Cheetham said...

I love your gorgeous cards, Darnell and I have laughed throughout your post! I didn't even notice the symmetry on the first card until you mentioned it :-)Have a lovely weekend, April Xx

Deborah Frings said...

Love these penguins! And the splash of red on the hearts is fab. Great work. Thanks so much for playing along with our Uniko Challenge. Deborah xx

Lynne in NI said...

Heee, I loved reading about your design process ;)
Great cards, those little penguins are soooo cute x

Greta said...

Wow--you were on a roll, Darnell! I just love the black & white with a pop designs!

Anna-Karin said...

Stunning cards and such a fun story. Love the penguins. Thank you so much for sharing with us at Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog!

baileyrosy.com said...

Hi there Darnell, I finally made it to your blog and wow I have missed so much !!! I love your penguins they are adorable and beautifully done and love the glossed up umbrella and those gorgeous hearts.Perfectly popped up and such fun. Thank you so much for sticking with me and for all of your kind comments and messages you really are a star and I am overwhelmed by your kindness considering how busy you are.

Marie

honeybeelane said...

I love your cute cute penguin card, Darnell! So sweet.....the song "Love is in the Air" is now stuck in my head though!! ;)

Marybeth said...

Three absoultly stunning cards here today,Darnell! The penguin card with the small hearts is my favorite looks store bought and the glossy umbrella ......perfect!

cm said...

Oh, for gosh sake's, I can't even compose a comment because the tears are streaming down my face from laughing so hard! I'll leave it at "LOVE this post", because another giggle-fest is about to erupt!
Hugs~c

Bobby said...

I'm only two weeks late but I wouldn't have missed this post for anything, Darnell. Still chuckling. If he wasn't so helpful, I'd be tempted to give that hamster the old heave ho. The cards all turned out well, despite Murphy and his awful ways. Thanks for the birthday wishes, too, my friend.