Thursday, May 26, 2011

Mustache Love

Wow, so is anyone else having issues with Blogger again? I had to clear my cache and delete my Blogger cookies before it would even let me log in. Grr!

My facial-hair-sporting hubby is coming home tonight after being away on a week-long trip, so here's a little card I made in his honor:

Hee! I added some "texture" to the mustache by inking up the stamp, then pressing it against an uninked woodgrain stamp before stamping onto cardstock. What can I say - I love mustaches, I love woodgrain, why not put them together? The rectangle is debossed into the cardfront using this technique. A pretty simple card, but sometimes the simple ones are the most fun!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: My Cute Stamps "Mustaches", Hero Arts "Designer Woodgrain"; Ink: ColorBox pigment "Chestnut", "Roussillon"; Accessories: Cuttlebug / Rectangle Nestabilities, foam adhesive

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pinwheel Bouquet

The challenge photo over at Play Date Cafe this week got the wheels in my head turning:

I had some older My Mind's Eye patterned papers that I knew would be a good match for these colors. And I'd been wanting to try out the pinwheel from the Easter 2010 Cricut cartridge...

Aren't those pinwheels fun? Here's a closeup:

Putting those leftover disposable chopsticks to good use!

And the matching card (with super-cute mini pinwheel):

Wouldn't these make great party decorations? They were such a blast to make - I'm just itching for an excuse to make more!

My Mind's Eye patterned paper; Hero Arts "Everyday Sayings" stamps (sentiment); My Mind's Eye "Natural" pigment ink palette; Cricut / Mother's Day 2010 cartridge (pinwheel) / Easter 2010 cartridge (starburst seal); Cuttlebug / Seeing Spots embossing folder; brads; chopsticks (as pinwheel sticks)

A Look Back: China Travels

We had barely been in China for a month when we were given the opportunity to participate in a three-week English seminar in northern Shaanxi province. We stayed in the small village of Ansai (安塞), which is famous throughout China for its waist drum dance

(image source)

The dancers wear oblong drums at their waist, each hand holding a drumstick with a trailing red streamer. 

(image source)

Every evening we could find men and women, young and old, gathered in the center of town to practice. It's a joyous, energetic dance, full of leaps and kicks, driven by a pulsing beat drummed out in unison. As a spectator, one can't help but be captivated by the pounding rhythm, the buoyant steps, as the drumming reverberates throughout your entire body. 

We were lucky enough to be there while the local elementary school was performing for a national news broadcast. It was raining off and on, but that didn't dampen their spirits one bit!

Check out those high kicks! Ah, to be that limber again...

The pic above is one of my favorites - my husband snapped it while the children were taking a quick break.

Of course, mere words and pictures can't capture the intensity of this dance. After a little searching, I managed to find this video:

I hope you enjoyed this little glimpse of China!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Regal Thanks

Playing along with this week's Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger, Some Royal Fun. Isn't this the cutest trigger pic?

I immediately knew I wanted to mimic those fun little flags, as well as the black doodle-style accents - and of course the jewels!

I stamped the black flourish images onto light blue cardstock, then added a few accents with a white gel pen. However, it all seemed a little too busy, so I added a layer of velum to tone things down. (Velum is really hard to photograph, btw!) Next I rounded the edges, then diecut the banner and its outline frame. A sentiment in a whimsical script and some subtle bling was all it needed! 

This card also qualifies for the CAS-ual Fridays CFC3 Challenge: to use bling on a Clean And Simple card:

Be sure to head over and check out both of these challenges!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Amy Butler (flourish), Hero Arts "All Occasion Messages" (sentiment); Ink: black pigment; Accessories: Cricut / Design Studio / Mother's Day 2010 cartridge, Signo white gel pen, vellum, small corner rounder punch, adhesive rhinestones, foam adhesive

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Dear Doilies

You know, when we first moved to China back in 2004, cardmaking was a lot more basic than it is now. Dry embossing was done with a light-box, patterned paper was reserved for scrapbook pages, and I had never even heard of a stamping blog. I came overseas with a stack of colored cardstock, a handful of Stampin' Up sets, and the four SU color-families of dye ink cubes. My, how things have changed! 

Now, I'll let you in on a little secret - my love affair with the CAS (Clean And Simple) style really stems from the fact that I don't have access to a lot of the products available in the States. I have to work at making as big of an impact as possible, using fewer supplies. Of course, I've grown to love the challenge it presents! I try to purchase products that can be used in a variety of ways, that give the biggest bang for my buck - like my digital die-cutter. Have I mentioned how much fun I'm having with this thing?

For this card, I manipulated a tag image in Cricut Design Studio to make it "fatter", then cut an identical tag a smidge larger to create a shadow layer. Some stamping, some inking along the edges, foam adhesive to pop the top layer, and a little paper piercing on either side - put it all on a woodgrain-embossed panel, and you've got yourself a card! 

Well, I'm out the door to meet hubby for Indian buffet. Thanks for stopping by!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: My Mind's Eye "Gertie: Girly", American Crafts "Sing Along" (sentiment); Ink: ColorBox pigment "Ochre", "Chianti"; Accessories: Cricut / Design Studio / Sentimentals cartridge, Cuttlebug / Papertrey Ink "Woodgrain" Impression Plate, paper piercer, foam adhesive, small corner rounder punch, adhesive pearls

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

I've Missed You, Interwebs!

Our home internet connection is up and running again, thanks to a new ISP! Woohoo!

(Oh, and yes, that is a view from my sixth floor apartment, and yes, that is a man dangling by a fraying piece of rope to wash the windows. Aren't you glad you don't have his job?)

Monday, May 16, 2011

CAS-ual Fridays Challenge CFC2

 So glad I get to play along with this week's challenge over at CAS-ual Fridays! My style is pretty CAS (Clean And Simple), so this new challenge blog is right up my alley. This week's challenge is to incorporate buttons and twine (or embroidery floss) into your design. Here's my card:

I hope they don't mind that I went with button stamps instead of actual buttons! I pierced holes in the center of each button, then threaded them with embroidery floss (can't have naked buttons now, can we?). 

Entries are being accepted until 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, so there's still time for you to link up your own creation!

Card Supplies
Stamps: Studio Calico "Buttons", My Mind's Eye "Hattie: Remember" (label), Hero Arts "All Occasion Messages" (sentiment); Ink: My Mind's Eye "Sundress", "Natural" pigment palettes; Accessories: embroidery floss, foam adhesive

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger: Skirting the Issue

I finally found time to play along with this week's Tuesday Trigger over at Moxie Fab World. Here's the inspiration pic:

Ardennes Skirt from Anthropologie

The horizontal stripes across the pleats immediately made me think of chevrons, and those soft sherbet-y colors were too perfect not to use:

I used the same DIY embossing plate technique from my earlier post to create the debossed frame. Next, I cut an additional (single-layer) frame to use as a mask. The single layer allowed the mask to fit down into the debossed groove, flush with the rest of the paper. Once the mask was in place (held down with a few dots of temporary adhesive), I went to town, sponging the entire cardfront with creamy taupe ink and stamping those colorful chevron stripes. Click on the pic for a larger image!

The flower was made by stacking several flower diecuts (every other layer stamped with polka dots), with a grouping of adhesive pearls for the center. A playful sentiment with additional pearls (colored with a Bic Mark It) made the perfect final touches.

Head on over and check out the rest of the entries - there's still time for you to link up your own creation!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: American Crafts "Hello There" (stripes), "Sentiments: Large", SEI "Bridgeport" (polka dots); Ink: My Mind's Eye "Sundress", "Natural" pigment ink palettes, Martha Stewart palette (pink); Accessories: Cricut / Storybook cartridge (frame) / Don Juan cartridge (flowers) / Fabulous Finds cartridge (label), Cuttlebug, adhesive pearls, Bic Mark It, foam adhesive

DIY Debossed Frame

I guess I've got royals on the brain after all the recent festivities - I'm sure I'm not the only one! I was playing around with some diecuts and decided to make another DIY embossing plate. (Very easy: diecut three identical shapes and glue them all together, stacked, to make one thick piece.) I ran it through my Cuttlebug using this sandwich:

From bottom: 
  • A plate
  • B plate
  • tan embossing mat (I use two together)
  • cardstock (face up for debossing, which I did for this card, or face down for embossing)
  • homemade embossing plate
  • B plate
Love the big impact such a simple technique can make!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Pink Paislee "Queen Bee"; Ink: ColorBox pigment "Surf"; Accessories: Cricut / Storybook cartridge, Cuttlebug, adhesive rhinestones 

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Framed Doilies

Boy, long time no post! We've been having crazy internet issues -can't access ANY foreign (i.e. US) sites (no blogs, no google, no webstores, no news articles...) except at random times throughout the day and for only short windows. Very frustrating! Things seem to be working for the moment, though, so here goes...

I made this reusable stamping mask by using the negative from a diecut and a Zig 2-Way glue pen (following the pen's instructions for a temporary adhesive). It's important to use very thin cardstock, otherwise you'll have a hard time getting a clean impression when you stamp around the edges.

I cut my mask out of a piece of cardstock the same size as my cardfront (here, 5 1/2" x 4 1/4"), with the cut-out centered evenly. That way, it's just a simple matter of lining up the outer edges of the mask with the edges of the cardfront, and I know the stamped result will always be perfectly aligned, like so:

The mask is good for several uses before it needs to be replaced (you might need to refresh the adhesive a bit). I've already made three cards with this one, and it's still going strong!

The weather here is getting warmer and warmer, and we've been having lots of fun roaming the neighborhood and noshing on street food. My current favorite is made-to-order stir-fried noodles with egg, veggies, and hot pepper - SO good! It's hard to believe that as a teenager, I turned up my nose at the mere mention of Chinese food. My, how times have changed!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: My Mind's Eye "Gertie: Girly" (doilies), "Hattie: Remember" (label), Hero Arts "All Occasion Messages" (sentiment); Ink: ColorBox pigment "Picante", "Antique Pewter"; Accessories: Cricut / Design Studio / Storybook cartridge, adhesive pearls, foam adhesive, Zig 2-Way glue pen

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Jumping on the Bandwagon

Up till a few weeks ago, I'd resisted the banner/pennant trend. But then I started seeing not only mini-pennants, but double-sided cupcake flags in all sorts of bright, fun patterns. Not having a local scrapbook store to run out and buy them from, I set about trying to recreate my own.

I used the Design Studio software and the Cricut Mother's Day cartridge to create diamond-shaped pennants approximately 4 1/2"w x 1 1/8"h. Then I pulled out an assortment of patterned stamps and went to town! Unfortunately, I didn't have any cupcakes on hand, so I decided to go with a mini-banner card:

To give my banner something to "hang" from, I embossed the cardfront using Nestabilities and this technique . Next, I folded each pennant in half around a length of embroidery floss, adhering the sides together with tape runner, before tying off the ends of the floss. I attached each pennant to the cardfront using foam adhesive, then glued the bows in place. 

To make cupcake flags, simply wrap each pennant around a toothpick and adhere. I love that I can stamp these in whatever designs I want, or cut them from patterned paper. And since I have the template saved in Design Studio, cutting more is as simple as the click of a mouse!

I have to say, I'm really having fun figuring out this whole electronic die-cutter thing. Is it essential for cardmaking? Not at all. But I do appreciate the extra "something" it can add to a project!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Anna Griffin "Darcey", SEI "Bridgeport", Papertrey Ink "Polka Dot Basics", Hero Arts "All Occasion Messages"; Ink: ColorBox pigment "Marigold", "Citrine", "Orange", "Razzberry", "Antique Pewter", "Picante", Versacolor "Mountain Lake"; Accessories: Cricut / Mother's Day 2010 cartridge / Design Studio software, Cuttlebug / Rectangle Nestabilities, embroidery floss, foam adhesive

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ginko Note

We've been having major internet/VPN issues over the past few days (they're not kidding when they call it the "Great Firewall"), so hopefully I can at least get this posted. Fingers crossed!

I found this random gingko leaf on one of my Cricut cartridges (those "shift" and "creative feature" keys are always full of hidden gems), and I knew it would be perfect for a CAS (clean and simple) card. Check it out:

The middle section is stamped and popped up on foam adhesive (the outline part of the image is glued directly to the cardfront. Add a sentiment, round the bottom corners, and you're done! Here's another pic so you can see more of the dimension:

The clean lines of that gingko leaf are just perfect, don't you think? Definitely a happy discovery.

Now I'm off to enjoy the last day of May holiday - the weather has been great these past three days, and I'm loving it!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: SEI "Bridgeport", Hero Arts "Everyday Sayings"; Ink: My Mind's Eye "Sundress" pigment palette, ColorBox pigment "Antique Pewter"; Accessories: Cricut / Wild Card cartridge, small corner rounder punch, foam adhesive

Sunday, May 1, 2011

5-Minute Card and Other Musings

There's something about a clean, simple card that makes me happy. This one took me literally just  minutes to make - I'm probably over-estimating when I say five. 

You could whip up so many variations of this card, using different punches / die cuts and stamps. If you keep pre-scored blank cards on hand, it goes even faster. Here I used a die cut, a text stamp, and a corner rounder punch. Bare bones basics.

I thought that in addition to a card, I'd share a little snapshot of day-to-day life here in Shanghai (you can click on the pics for a larger view). This is a street in what is colloquially called "Old Town":

Just a quiet road: a scattering of small clothing shops, a few pedestrians, laundry hung out to dry from upstairs apartments. Did you notice the lone skyscraper in the distance, between the two telephone poles? If you follow the street along its meandering curves, you'll find that it opens onto this view:

Isn't the contrast between old and modern fascinating? One minute you're looking up at tile roofs and lattice windows, the next you're gazing at a futuristic skyline. I love wandering around this city - there's always something new to see!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Teresa Collins "Posh"; Ink: ColorBox pigment "Antique Pewter"; Accessories: Cricut / Wild Card cartridge, small corner rounder punch, foam adhesive