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. Note: my Privacy Policy can be found at a tab below and you can find my NBUS Challenge online. I hope you'll join in the fun there! Thanks for coming by! Have a beverage and enjoy!

February 28, 2024

Go7: Masked Stenciling

Hello Stamplings!

Me, again! It's the 28th of the month and time to share our Group of Seven Cardmakers technique, which this month is Masked Stenciling. I'm delighted that my friend Pat from Colourful Card Creations is our Guest Designer! To see Pat's beautiful card and the results of the rest of the Group of Seven, please click over to the Go7 blog.

Here is the design I came up with:
The technique is as simple as it sounds and there are lots of possibilities! You mask a portion of your card panel or an image and then stencil over the mask. I started by first going through my stencils for ideas. 

When I came to this NBUS stencil, the "Aha!" phase was done!
To make my mask, I traced the flamingo through the stencil onto an adhesive sheet and fussy-cut it. Yup, that's right, I fussy-cut those legs and that neck! Of course, after wards, I needed a sip of wodka and a brief lie-down. 

Upon rising, I placed the flamingo on my card front and blended ink through the tropical leaves portion of the stencil using CP inks and brushes. I just noticed that my flamingo is shy and somehow managed to duck her head into the leaves! 

And because that was easy and fun, I made a second card:
For this card, I used the watering can you saw on my previous post and the Floral Mask stencil from Memory Box. The result you see made me cock my head and had Hammy and the little guy laughing out loud.

So here's a little tip: If you are masking an image, rather than an edge, take a minute to visualize the finished card and how the image and the stencil will work together. For example, will part of the image (say, a watering can handle) disappear into the stencil?! Oops. I saved the card by covering the can with a die-cut, but I wanted to share my learning moment.

Springification!

We have a sunny break in the rain and it's enough to bring a riot of color to the yard!
Enjoy the rest of your week! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!*

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! Just a reminder, if you try out the Masked Stencil technique, we'd love to see you link your creation to the inspiration gallery at Group of Seven Cardmakers.
*Life is too short!

Linking my card to Allsorts Challenge (things that fly), Shopping Our Stash (it's not easy being green), SSS Monday (fur or feathers), Stencil Fun (a/g), and The Paper Funday Challenge.



February 26, 2024

February 26: A is for Anything Goes!

Hello Stamplings!

How are you? Welcome to a brand-new week! I like to think of it as a clean slate of possibilities! I just don't understand how they keep coming around so fast any more!

Onefer
For this cute card, I used a favorite stamp from Your Next Stamp called, "Hammie Coffee & Tea." The e/f is from Fun Stampers Journey, the frame is from PTI, the sediment is from Pink Fresh, and the stencil is from Gina K. The flat sequints are from somewhere, too, but I ran out of breath. 

You can prolly see that Hammy had fun winking his image. I'm linking to the A/G stencil challenge at Just Us Girls and to the circles challenge at Can You Handle The Pressure.

The photo doesn't show embossing of the e/f very well, so here is a closeup:

There is a special reason I made a "Hammy" thank you card to post today. I have a very dear friend, Annie, who lives in England. I met her online back in May of 2012, soon after I started blogging. Annie and I have exchanged many emails, cards, calls, and Zooms over the years and Hammy and I were fortunate to meet her in person when I did my friends Tour back in 2016!

Over time our crafting interests have evolved. Annie is well-known for her incredible talent with mixed media and making miniature works of art. Lately, she has taken up felting animals and she tickled me no end by making me this delightful little guy to add to my menagerie!
Don't tell Hammy, but isn't this little guy just the cutest?! Not only was he special, he arrived in his own little apartment with a handmade felted top, replete with a sweet lambie and French-knot flowers!
Hammy, who is often bored with me, is so happy to have a friend!!
I was going to name him Junior, which is pedestrian and unimaginative, but after all, ahem, I named "Hammy!"😏 Perhaps we should have a Naming Contest?! I'd love your suggestions! And thank you again, Annie! Mwah!

p.s. in the "small world" category: I live in a medium-sized town in California that we will call Nellville. When Annie went to her local post office in a village across the pond in England to mail this precious cargo, the postmistress looked at my address and exclaimed, "I'll be in Nellville next week!" I mean, of all the towns in England and the USA, what are the chances?!😲

Twofer
I used this watering can from Memory Box the other day and while it was out, I die-cut a few more in this pretty lilac color. When I saw the current Color Hues challenge, I backed it with a piece of lime pp that I've had forever. I used a NBUS Memory Box die called, "Lavender Bunch" to fill the can. The frame is from poppystamps called, "Pointed Rectangle Frame." I'm also linking in the pp brief at Double D.

~~~

I had a chuckle when I was thinking about what to make for this week's I.D.E.A.S. schedule. The letter is A, for "anything goes," which basically means that everyone who posts a creation during this week will be joining me, lol! Welcome one and all!

By the whizzle, anytime you want to play with the I.D.E.A.S. schedule, you do not need to use your NBUS. It's always a goal to use it, but unlike the NBUS challenge,
it is not a requirement for I.D.E.A.S. Sorry if you're confused. It's good practice for when you get to be my age!

I look forward to seeing what you make! Have fun!

~~~

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

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! I'll be back on Wednesday for the Group of Seven post.🖌🖌🖌🖌🖌🖌🖌

*Life is too short!





February 19, 2024

February 19: E is for Embossing Folders

Hello Stamplings!

I hope this finds you happy as a lark, on a lark, or larking about! Useful word, that! And I hope that some of your larking happened in your craft nest! 

It did in mine. I'm happy to say my I.D.E.A.S. schedule has given me a much-needed shot in the arm! It's early weeks, but so far, so good. This past week I played with embossing folders, some NBUS, some not.

Onefer
This NBUS 3-D embossing folder is a Kath Breen Sizzix folder called, "Linear Leaves." It was a bit cloudy when I took this photo, but I think you can see that I used a coupla glossy leaves from my stash, which were made from a long-ago smooching session. I added a mat and die-cut sediment using some of my stash of fancy-pants glimmer paper. She says, chuffed! 

Then I set it across the room and felt less chuffed as the composition seemed off-balance. I couldn't find a bling I liked, so Hammy suggested the falling leaf. He's a clever lad, but having made the entire card, I was a bit apprehensive about cutting the leaf! Phew! I'm linking to The Paper Players.

Twofer
This NBUS 3-D embossing folder is also Sizzix. It is a Georgie Evans folder called, "Fallen Leaves." I thought it made a lovely background for my "Feather Tree Frame" die from poppystamps. I added a hot foil sediment which was a gift from a friend, with the birthday bit attached on the inside. I'm linking to Simply Clean and Simple.

Threefer
This embossing folder is a Cuttlebug folder called, "Candy Cane Stripe." Before embossing, I covered a panel with a wide rainbow-colored Washi tape that I've had for ages. I laid the tape side-by-side and trimmed the excess, then ran the panel through my Gemini using the e/f. You can just see the seam of the tape at the top and bottom. This is a great way to use up any wide Washi tape. Even regular-width Washi laid diagonally (or any which way) looks great embossed. 

You prolly know what I'm going to say next. I chose the colored flower die-cut ("Bouquet of Thanks" by SSS) and sediment from my stash to complete the card. Then, bless him, Hammy walked across the flowers with freshly painted white toenails and I added the metallic heart in order to join the beautiful gallery over at The Flower Challenge. I'm also linking to Can You Handle the Pressure, which is A/G and has the option of reds or pinks.

Fourfer
I took the Go-Back Machine to make this one, using a Darice e/f. I was inspired by a 2017 post by Pat at Ramblin Stamper. She brayered background ink and then stamped trees directly onto an e/f before running it through her machine. I like to switch things up a bit when I can, so I used a vintage car (from the Tim Holtz "Journey" stamp set) instead of trees. And, yes, the sediment die-cut was from my stash.👍 I'm linking to Christmas Kickstart Challenge and Christmas Craft Creations.

It's not my best work and it still needs a little sumpin-sumpin (maybe a headlight beam?), but I wanted to share anyways, because usually when I try to do something extra with an e/f and ink, it ends up in the round file. This time, for a first try, I was pleased and might even do it again. 

Well, wait now, come to think of it, I did do it again. The second time I stamped a coupla stags on the folder, but somehow I inked them so their bodies were dark on top of the trees, rather than behind the trees.😏 Clearly, I need to do it a few more times to get the hang of which side is up and which side is down. You know, like life.

I.D.E.A.S.

I hope you enjoyed this week's makes! Remember to let me know if you follow along, so I can come visit you and pin your creation to my I.D.E.A.S. Board.

FYI, your creation doesn't have to be posted on a Monday ~ any time during the week is fine ~ and it doesn't have to contain NBUS, snippets, or items from your stash. (But when it does, you feel like you put the capital P on roductive!)

I'll see you next Monday where the assignment is an EzPz "A = Anything Goes!" Always a favorite for card-makers and helpers!🐹

~~~

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

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! 
*Life is too short!


February 12, 2024

February 12: D is for Dies

Hello Stamplings!

I hope you are doing well, wherever you are! I've got a photo/text-heavy post for you today, so let's get this party started!

In keeping with my I.D.E.A.S. schedule this month (see sidebar), today's post features Dies/Die-Cuts. Because this is the week of Cupid's appearance, I went to my drawer filled with hearts and hugs and kisses. (Aren't I the lucky girl?!) I came across two NBUS heart dies! 

The first is this incredible "Etched Swirl Heart" from SSS:
You know how difficult it is to photograph anything wrapped in gold like this! The card base is white, covered by a piece of vellum dotted with gold hearts. I added the sediment and a gold frame. [SSS Wednesday and Cut It Up.]

In real life that heart looks like a piece of jewelry. I haven't cut one yet from silver, but I'm sure it will be just as gorgeous. Here it is cut from a piece of red fun foam: 
Remember fun foam? The coils wanted to unfurl, but Hammy's little paws were able to furl things back in place.❤ [Addicted to CAS and Just Us Girls.]

I have quite a bit of this vellum with gold, silver, and white hearts. If memory serves, it was from Stampin' Up. Here's another Valentine I made, this time using the silver vellum and a Penny Black xoxo die, cut from more fun foam:
[I'm linking to the Inspiration Station. I was inspired by the XOXO in the photo.]

And the second NBUS heart die, also gracing a very simple card front:
This die is "Hugs Heart" from poppystamps and I added a strip of embossed hearts for some dementia and interest. I love that this heart can be used all year long for many occasions where a hug would be welcome. [Double D and poppystamps PSC#113.]

Also, the letters pop out nicely so they can be used on a second QACAS card:
I have several friends with Febwoooary birthdays, six of which fall on the 13th, 14th, and 15th of the month, so I made a few birthday cards with hearts on them:
For the card on the left, I used the same heart vellum and for the card on the right, I used some pretty heart tissue paper I've had for ages. In order to attach the special papers in a way that hid the adhesive, I put them in a "channel" on the card front. I taped the strip of special paper to the card base and then attached the two front panels to either side of the channel using double-sided tape. Mary's your aunt.

The sediment die is "Big Happy Birthday" from SSS. The sediment on the right is actually cut from a beautiful snippet of glimmery shimmery foosha glitter paper which was a gift from a friend years ago. And that's when the trouble started.

Before die-cutting, I checked the paper to make sure it wasn't adhesive-backed already. When I peeled back the corner, it was just paper, so I added it to a sheet of double-sided adhesive. Turns out the pretty pink stuff is paper that doesn't want to be cut, especially not with a layer of adhesive added. So I ran it through my machine several times with this shim and that shim, turning it this way and that way. Finally, the machine and I, and the paper, were all worn out and it appeared to be cut through.

Not.

I sat down and started to fussy-cut the parts that weren't cut all the way. As I worked, it was clear more parts of it weren't cut, than were cut, but by golly by now I was into it and I wasn't going to stop until I won and I got every little bit of it cut, even if it meant I needed dental work from clenching my teeth so hard for so long and even if I had to use every one of the snippy scissors and cuticle scissors and craft cutting blades I own and even if it took me 53 minutes of my life I was never going to get back. Breathe.

After all that, it looks war-torn in places and who can blame it? And even though I specifically set aside the part of the die-cut that held the dot for over the i, when I finished, I furiously threw everything in the trash and then discovered that the dot was missing. Of course it was. And, yes, I then spent several more minutes going through my trash, to no avail. 

I burst into tears! No, that's a lie. But the neighbor did call to see if everything was okay after my vulgar outburst. No, that's a lie. My neighbor is used to it.

I was going to add a little ❤ in place of the dot over the i, but I forgot. I think I just didn't want to look at it any more. I hope you enjoyed and could relate to the trauma and adventure surrounding this card's creation! I know the person who will find it in her mailbox will be amused!

~~~

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

See you next Monday! Let me know in the comments if you play with your dies any time this week and I will add your design to the I.D.E.A.S. board on Pinterest!

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! Happy Valentine's Day whether you celebrate with lovers, friends, or your own best company!

Wait. What? LoverS? 🙊

Mwah!
*Life is too short!

February 5, 2024

February 5: I is for Ink/ ...

Hello Stamplings!

Goodness, we've gone through one tunnel already on the 2024 Train to the Future. Welcome aboard as we switch tracks to February and begin our journey through tunnel two! Wait. What? I think that imagery is too dark and there's enough dark, so we don't need to be going through tunnels. But it's definitely a bullet train again!

Speaking of journeys, if you read my last post, you know I'm on a journey to rekindle my joyful routine with this hobby. This is Week One of the month, so the letter is "I" for "Ink/Color Mediums," and I am featuring my crayon and chalk pastels:

Onefer in Pink
Twofer in Blue
(I can't get over how closely the blue chalk color matches the sky!)

These are the NBUS pastel crayons/chalk:
I bought the chalks on the right sometime around 2003. Ahem. Not realizing they are very similar, I bought the Jane Davenport aquapasteles a coupla years ago. They both work like watercolor pencils, which I also have. Ahem. 

The NBUS flower and die are from "Bonny Blooms" from The Ton. The pink flowers were watercolored using My Favorite Things no-line watercolor paper. It has a smooth finish, but doesn't pill. At least it didn't for me, but I was economical when using my waterbrush. 

The blue flowers were painted using Art Philosophy cold press watercolor paper. Although his little legs were a bit rusty and although you can't see it, Hammy was in his glory winking everything on both cards! After die-cutting the flower spray, I popped them up using dimensional tape and added the simple sediments.

I enjoyed using these products, but between these two and my two sets of watercolor pencils, it feels like excess, so I have started a new donation box. 

~~~
Phew! I followed through! Go me! Allow me to pat myself on the back! And if you join in, pat yourself on the back, too! I have created a Pinterest Board, so if you let me know in the comments that you are joining me, I can come see what you made and add your card(s) to the Board. Go you!

See you next Monday where I will feature dies/die cuts. That's redundant, isn't it?😂 Thank you all for your encouragement!📣

~~~

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

And, as always, thank you for coming by to visit the Playhouse and for taking the time to join as a follower! 

*Life is too short!

January 28, 2024

Inky Gilding Flakes and New Year I.D.E.A.S.

Hello Stamplings!

I hope you are well wherever you are! Things are perking along here and I'm slowly getting used to my new Playhouse fluxation. It's like teaching an old dog new tricks, but I'm getting the hang of it. I've been thinking of ideas for getting myself into a routine, but more on that further down.

First, it's the 28th and that means it's time to show you what the ladies of the Group of Seven Cardmakers played with this month. We got out the alcohol again ~ inks that is! After making designs on Yupo or glossy paper, we stopped breathing,  corralled our gilding flakes, and put them over the sticky bits.

This is my example:
I should have warned you to put on your sunglasses, sorry. Even as bright as it is, it's hard to capture the full shine of the gilding flakes. 

You know that technique where you brayer or otherwise press foil over the sticky bits on your finished AI panel? (quick video) The technique above is similar, except you use gilding flakes instead of foil. If, like mine, your sticky bits aren't very sticky (say what now?), then you apply a thin line of glue where you want your shiny flakes. I was surprised how thick my flake lines were after I brushed off the excess, but I ended up liking how they stood up to all the different bright colors. (If you want a thinner line of flakes, don't press them down flat.)

To find how-to video links and see lots of wonderful and inspiring examples of this technique, please click over to the Group of Seven Cardmakers. And if you try it, please add your design to the linky there!

The greeting on my card is NBUS, so I will link to the NBUS challenge; a few other challenges this month are using NBUS for their briefs, so I will link to Die Cut Divas and Little Red Wagon. And because it's a birthday card, I am linking to Anything Goes at Seize the Birthday.

~~~

Looking Forward, cont.   

Following my last post, Hammy and I mulled both our thoughts and some wine and came up with a plan of action to hopefully fix my broken routine. I'm sharing the plan with you because it is my fond hope that by doing so, I will be held accountable to follow through!🤞

In a nutshell, my plan of action is a schedule. Now some people might think a schedule sounds too much like work, but I have tried everything else the last couple of years and relying on self-discipline clearly hasn't worked! This might not work either, but it can't hurt to try, and I'm excited about the fun I am going to have actually using all my schtuffs!

You can't have a schedule without bullet points and, you know me, you can't have bullet points without an aaaackronym!
I'm sure you can imagine with amusement all the various letters Hammy and I came up with, some of which were inappropriate for a family blog.😉 In the end, "I.D.E.A.S." seemed to hit the nail on the head.

P for paper of any sort and another S for stamps are not bulleted, purr say, because they are generally used, although I do hope I will be better at using my patterned, colored, and specialty papers. Of course, as often as possible, I will focus on NBUS and I'm hoping to add a silent V and C to this schedule, so I'll be better at visiting and commenting, which I always enjoyed as much as any other aspect of this hobby!

How it will work: Barring the usual life caveats of illness or company or travels, I am going to post a card or twofer every Monday. (Right there will be more than I've been doing lately!) Each week will feature a letter in the acronym. Because January is almost over, I will start on the first Monday in February and my calendar will look like this:
For the months that have a fifth Monday, I will feature S = stencil. 

~~~

Wish me luck! Feel free to use my I.D.E.A.S graphic and join me on this productive journey!🙋 Just let me know if you do, so we can cheerlead each other along the way! Enjoy your day! No, seriously, enjoy! LITS!*

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!

Mwah!
*Life is too short!