Thursday, June 28, 2012

Where's that Monkey...?

Over at Operation Write Home the Midweek Throwdown Challenge is to use a monkey (or two, or...) on a card.  I only have two stamps of monkeys, this tiny guy (very old Stampin' Up! stamp, part of a zoo themed set) and a larger one that is a solid image.  I decided to use this one, so I picked out this OWH sketch #104 because I figured the layout would help focus attention on the monkeys.  Thanks to my big cleanup in the crafts room, I remembered I had this patterned paper with the ferns (probably 12+ years old) so I found it easily (yay me!) and got to work.  The lime green and the vertical strip (colored with alcohol inks) are from my scraps collection. Which for some odd reason, does not seem to be dwindling much...

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Never Say Never

"Orangutans are skeptical of changes in their cages..." ~ Simon & Garfunkel
Do you know that song by Simon and Garfunkel, At the Zoo?  I love it, and the line above is my very favorite, probably because it describes me perfectly!  When I first heard about so-called digital stamps I was extremely skeptical.  How could images printed out from your computer be "stamps"?!  I was sure I wouldn't want to get anywhere near that whole new fasciation within the stamping community.

But, I was wrong (clearly it almost always takes me a while to warm up to new things; see lyric above).  I read a description of these digital images and I realized that there are several real advantages to them: they take up zero space in your craft room; you can adjust the size to make the image as big or small as you like; you can (I'm guessing) rotate and flip the images; and finally, a digital image costs much, much less than a stamp.  Oh, and of course there's the factor of not having an inky stamp to clean up, and eliminating the chance of stamping a blurry or incomplete image.  Pretty convincing reasons to give digital images a try, don't you think?

I made the card above using Operation Write Home's Sketch #127 and a free digi (as they are sometimes called) from Doodle Pantry.  I was very happy to be able to try out a free digi before deciding to re-adjust my thinking.  I'm a believer now.  I printed out four of the ducks onto a piece of cardstock - I realize now I made them a bit too big for a standard 4.25 x 5.5" (A2) card, but I'll manage.  Next time I can always make them smaller (wheee!).  I colored the duck with my Prismacolor pencils; not sure my printer toner would do well with a wet media like markers or paint.  That's okay with me.  The patterned papers are of course scraps from my stash.  Now that I can easily look through my scraps I am using them up quickly; I love it.

I'm sure I will continue to buy and enjoy regular stamps, but now I've got more options when I want a certain kind of image. I can't wait to go shopping for some digis!

But I'm still not calling calling them "digital stamps."

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Blue and Yellow

Better late than never!  I made this card (possibly from an Operation Write Home sketch, but if so I didn't make a note of the sketch number) for the Midweek Throwdown Color Challenge at Stars and Stamps, one of the OWH blogs. Using up more scraps, yay me! I colored the girl with watercolor paints.

I wonder if I should add a small sentiment in the upper (or lower) left corner - what do you think?

Saturday, June 23, 2012


 A week ago I wrote about a new art installation in my neighborhood.  Yesterday, Avi and I noticed that there seemed to be more pieces in the grouping.  I went back this morning to check it out.
 Sure enough, two girls have been added on one side of the world, one with a book bag on her back and one holding a book under her arm.
And a little boy has been added on the other side.

I have no idea if these additions were planned all along, or if someone called City Hall and complained (it wasn't me).  I also haven't made up my mind if these additions really make much difference to the overall message.  At least the number of girls is now closer to the number of boys (4 to 5 instead of 2 to 4).

It seems clear that these are prefabricated figures that are purchased and arranged at the discretion of the person installing them.  The boys with balls hold the same pose, as do the girls with book bags and the boys who are sitting down.  It's too bad they aren't arranged in a way that at least hints at real interaction between the figures.  It's like each one is alone.  I think that's sad, but perhaps it's a true reflection of society today.  What do you think?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Clear as Day

Another card for a challenge blog!  This one is for CAS-ual Fridays (CAS stands for Clean and Simple); Challenge 57 is to use vellum or acetate on a card.  I have a number of pieces of printed vellum that have been in my stash for ages (not surprised, are you?) and it's high time I started using them.  The marble-look paper I used to stamp the image on is a scrap left over from a larger piece that a friend gave me - I'm pretty sure she used alcohol inks to get that lovely effect.  Of course, more scraps were used for the mat and the strip down the center. The layout I used for this card comes from Operation Write Home's vast library of card sketches.  I am finding that using their sketches really opens my mind to new possibilities.  This one is #124.

Something Shiny

The Week 72 Challenge at Less is More is to make a card with something shiny - I think this qualifies!  I couldn't resist making another iris fold element for a card.  I know you can probably see how shiny the embossed gold cardstock is, but most of the papers used to fill in the star have a sheen to them, too.  The piece in the center is crazy sparkly - I think holographic is the right word.

This is a birthday card for a sweet, smart and all-around lovely friend.  She is chic and glamorous, down-to-earth, funny and sharp, and just about the loveliest person you could meet.  I can't help but smile every time I think of her.  Hope she likes the card!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Going in Circles

Over on the Penny Black Saturday Challenge they're looking for cards with 5 circles.  It took me a minute, but I am pretty sure the reason for this particular challenge is the upcoming Olympics.  I made this card using a Penny Black image of a mouse on a spool of thread, cut away the spool and gave him an Olympic torch (I used an oval punch and a leaf punch to make the flame).  I think I will send this to my dad before the Olympics get started - I got my love of sports from him and have many wonderful memories of watching football, basketball, and baseball games with him.  I even got to watch some of the 2008 Olympics with him.  Great memories.

Will you be watching the Olympics this year?

Do You See What I See?

There's a new art installation in the center of our neighborhood.  This little park is right in front of the elementary school (there are also two pre-schools and a day care center located in the same complex as the school).  My first thought was how cute and colorful it is, and what a big improvement it is over what was there before, a sort of giant egg carton caterpillar type thing.  Then I took a closer look. (Click on the photos to see them better)
 The two little girls each have book bags.  The boy with long hair is talking on a cell phone, no book bag.
 The two little black boys are separate from the other kids.  Do they have book bags? No, each carries a ball.
And guess who is on top of the world?

Maybe I'm overly sensitive, but this is something kids ages 3 - 11 are going to see every day for 9 years.  Something tells me a message is being delivered here.

What do you think?  Do you see what I see?

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Things with Wings

Still getting lots of inspiration from the Stars and Stamps blog!  The Midweek Throwdown Challenge this week is for cards featuring Things with Wings.  This stamp is one I've had for many years - I doubt it's even made anymore - and I love using it for cards with a more masculine flair.  The background was made with alcohol inks on a scrap piece of glossy cardstock, and the dark brown cardstock used for the mat was also taken from the scrap pile.

In knitting news, I'm making pretty good progress on the second toddler-sized sock.  I really want to step up production on those socks because I have a lot more pairs of socks to make and I want to start planning out my vacation knitting projects.  I'm sure my knitting friends can relate when I say I always plan what knitting to take before I think about which clothes to pack!  I'm even thinking I might actually might bring along a few stamping supplies on this trip...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New to Me

I've heard of and seen examples of iris folding over the years, but was never tempted to learn more about it, much less actually try it.  It sounded too much like origami to me, something I just can't seem to get the hang of. But I was browsing the internet today looking for card ideas, and I happened across this tutorial for iris folding on the Operation Write Home Stars and Stamps blog.  There was even a video!  So I watched the video and decided this was something I really wanted to try.

The card above uses more paper scraps, plus the pink cardstock with the dots dry emossed into it was part of a gift received long ago.  The only new things (aside from the technique) are the card base and the rubber stamp, both purchased last summer.

I love it when I learn something new.  Can't wait to make another card using this technique.

More Cards

 I'm not sure whether it's having a clean and organized crafts room or the fact that I now know exactly what is in that room, but I've been motivated to make a lot of cards lately!  The two in this post are based on a card design sketch from the Operation Write Home stamping blog, Stars and Stamps.  It's sketch #195 - and as you can tell by the number this is a rich resource for card ideas!  Not to mention of course that OWH is a fantastic organization that provides a valuable service by sending blank cards for service men and women overseas to write in and send home to their loved ones.  Not only that, but the organization is extremely well-run and keeps card-making contributors involved in many fun and educational ways.

Both of these cards made from scraps of patterned paper that have been in my stash for over 10 years, and they use alphabet stickers that have also been in my stash for a good long while.  I'm all about using up the stash these days!
My choice of letters remaining on the sheet pretty much limited what words I could use, but I think I managed okay.  Not sure what I have left but somehow I doubt I'll be able to get another word out of just these stickers.  Maybe I'll do a sort of mix and match of various stickers next time.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Goofy Stuff

"You're never too old to do goofy stuff." ~Ward Cleaver
Yesterday afternoon I finished up two birthday cards, one for a friend of Meital's and one for my mother.  I also made this card, which was originally going to be a red, white, and blue card for this week's challenge over on the Penny Black challenge blog.  But this little bear (by Darcie's Country Folk) insisted he really needed to be on the card, and I have to admit I'm happy I listened to him.  Love the way this turned out (plus, more scraps used up, yay me).
And speaking of goofy stuff, I couldn't resist setting up this photo.   It nearly took me a week, but I finished the first tiny sock of four that I'm planning to make.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, the guy whose navy blue sock that is in the photo above has twin boys, so they are getting socks with their names on them.  After making two pairs of size 13 socks in recent months, these toddler-sized socks feel ridiculously small.  But boy, are they cute!

Sunday, June 10, 2012


Over at Less is More the challenge this week is to use a flourish in a clean and simple card.  Once again I was inspired by the talented Chrissie (scroll down to see her butterfly card in the June 9 entry, that's the one that inspired me).
The vase stamp is by Posh Impressions, the irises are from the now-defunct PSX, the flourish is by 100 Proof Press and the sentiment is part of a set by Hero Arts.  This card is all one layer; I did use a bit of masking to decorate the vase and pose the flowers "inside" of it.

Saturday, June 9, 2012


One bonus of my crafts room reorganization is the reorganization of our family's collection of compact discs.  The girls each have their own personal collections in their rooms, and I have no clue how - or whether - they are organized at all (not my business, thank goodness).  But the discs you see above are for all of us, and up until a couple of days ago they were scattered all over the house, with most of them gathering dust in my crafts room, which does not boast a CD player!  In fact, there are still about a dozen discs in Avi's car (and his CD player there is broken).  Need to get those into the drawer.

Naturally, I had to separate by category (but not too much) and alphabetize.  I can't help myself.  There is a divider running down the middle, from the back of the drawer to the front - if you look closely you'll spot it.  On the left of the divider is general, popular music.  Those discs are alphabetized by artist's first name (some don't use a last name, after all - like Beyonce and P!nk) or by name of movie if it is a songtrack (like Lion King or Hairspray).  We've got lots of variety in there, from Aretha all the way to Zydeco.  Over the years on our family vacations we have purchased a lot of the music Avi and I enjoyed when we were young, for our own pleasure and to introduce the girls to great music from the past: the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Diana Ross and the Supremes, Billy Joel, Louis Armstrong, Phil Collins, the Temptations, Benny Goodman, Frank Sinatra, Celine Dion...  This summer I think I want to pick up some Tower of Power and possibly Earth, Wind & Fire...

We also like to explore unfamiliar music, and on one trip we happened upon some kind of fair or festival.  More than anything else we saw or did there, the music really grabbed us, and we ended up buying CDs by two new-to-us groups: Sajama and Brian Jack and the Zydeco Gamblers.  As I said,  Avi and I share our favorites from the past with the girls, and they keep us up to date on the music world of today, but discovering music together was a great experience.

Anyway, on the right hand side of the divider, in the front we have classical music (from Bach to Vivaldi) and in the back, Israeli music.  The latter runs the gamut from collections for kids to such artists as Ofra Haza, Shalom Hanoch, music from Avi's youth (by such groups as Kaveret), Danny Sanderson and Kobi Oz.

Of course you know the next step is for me to make a list of what we have, so that we don't buy any duplicates this summer!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Sweet Spot

Two posts in one day, can you believe it?!  Now that my crafts room is so neat and well-organized, I want to spend all of my time in there.... (though I do get my daily allotment of knitting in, never fear).

The story behind this card is that I was checking out more stamping challenge blogs and came across the new challenge at CAS-ual Fridays (the CAS stands for clean and simple).  The theme this time is Sweet Spot, and you must use spots or dots in your card.  Of course I immediately thought of all the polka dot paper I've discovered this week in my crafts room.

But before I headed down there, I stopped in at Chrissie's blog, Simply One of A Kind, and saw this card.  I just love her card, so I decided to do a version of it for the CAS-ual Fridays challenge.  The stamps are both by Hampton Arts.  And I used up some more paper scraps! (click on the photo to see a larger version).

Here Comes the Sun

Once again, I couldn't resist the House Mouse and Friends Monday Challenge - this time it's Here Comes the Sun.  I think these two little fellas are happy the winter is over!  To make the little banner for the sentiment, I stamped the words twice, once for the card, and a second time to create a mask or template.  I cut the second image very close to the letters, following the shape as best I could, then I positioned that just above and below the sentiment and drew lines for where to cut, leaving some white space as you can see.  To make the cuts at the end of the strip of paper, I used a square punch, punching with just a corner at an angle to the strip of paper.  I had seen a tip for that somewhere and wanted to try it.  Unfortunately, it didn't work out too well for me, instead of nice, sharp points I got one sharp and one squared-off point and had to fix it with scissors.  Better find that tip and re-read the instructions...
One of the many positive aspects of clearing through the clutter of over a decade is finding things you didn't remember you had - this background paper is a perfect example.  As soon as I saw it yesterday I knew I had to use it for this challenge.

And now all of my patterned paper (and scraps thereof) are finally organized, whoo hoo!  Tomorrow I'll share pictures of that, and of something else that got organized as a result of my crafts room cleanup.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Making Progress

 I've been spending quite a bit of time working in my crafts room, and it's beginning to show! My coloring media (paints, chalks, etc) are better organized, though come to think of it I may not quite be finished with that...hmmm...  Anyway, here you see my watercolors (and Twinkling H2Os, which are individual watercolor cakes with added shimmer, quite lovely), chalks, alcohol inks, and in the back spray bottles with color washes.  Ink pads and markers are elsewhere still awaiting  further reorganization.

The shelves you've seen previously are much better organized (and dusted!).  On the top shelf is a variety of empty boxes and tins saved for future projects, stamping books and some books left over from my teaching/tutoring days.  And, of course, a lovely piece of art from the wonderful and talented Sandy.  On the bottom shelf are my paint and stenciling brushes and several boxes of stamps (those may be rearranged later, as I decide what needs to be in this prime location.  These shelves are right behind where I sit, and anything on them is easiest to find and reach).
 In the cabinet next to my paints and chalks are more boxes of stamps, plus all of my sets of EZ Mounted stamps by Posh Impressions and one foam mounted set.  I have not indexed these into my catalog, but at least the sets are filed alphabetically by name (OC much?).
And here is my pride and joy!  I'm not quite done, but I have cataloged almost all of my stamps here in this binder, and labeled the boxes.  You'll notice that when I have stamps that may be related thematically to the current box, I note the location of the other stamps so they will be easy to find.
At the front of this binder there are going to be two lists (unless I can think of another type, I am obsessed with lists - bet you couldn't tell...).  Obviously, this list is in numerical order by box, and that is how the entire binder is organized.  Later I'm going to add an alphabetical list, so that if I want to find, say, a stamp of a chair, I can scan the alphabetical list for Household and see that I need to look in Box 8.

I also want to add a schematic telling me where each box is located, but that needs to wait until I decide where I want everything to go.  I'll probably do that in pencil.  Heh heh...

I can't believe how good it's making me feel to have everything cleaned, sorted and organized!  No more wasting time searching high and low for that one stamp I *must* use but can't find.  So glad I'm doing this.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Goin' (Back) to Indiana

We'll see who catches the reference - if you do, I'll know you're a contemporary of mine, lol!  Anyway, little Lulu La Lamb here (design by the talented and creative bj from nv) is even now winging her way (well, she's actually still in the post office at this exact moment...) to BeLinda and CeeCee of Elephants Remember Joplin.

About a week and a half ago, as I was sitting at the basketball arena waiting for the start of the semifinal games for the Israeli championship, I got a Facebook message from BeLinda.  I am very happy to have contributed to Elephants Remember Joplin in the past (see here and here), and I was honored that BeLinda was writing to ask if I could help out again, this time with a special project - her daughter CeeCee is collecting toys for the children of  Henryville, Indiana who went through the tornado there.  The thing was, they needed the toys before the end of June.

Luckily for me, I had started this cute litle lamb months (and months) ago, with no particular recipient in mind.  As you know, I do that from time to time - you just never know when you're going to need a lavender and purple lamb, after all!  All I needed to do was finish up the body and knit the legs, ears and tail, which would have taken much less time than they ended up taking but for the fact that I was being lazy (shhh!).  I didn't have enough left of the colorful yarn to make the little keyhole scarf called for in the pattern, so I just knit an I-cord until I ran out of yarn and tied it into a bow.

So that's two knitting projects finished so far in June, and the pleasure of being able to help out in something wonderful.  Pretty good deal.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Finished and Not

 Finally, I've finished something!  These navy blue socks (yarn is by Simply Socks Yarn Co.  Allison's collection of solid sock yarns is absolutely incredible, and the yarn is soft and lovely to work with) are for a wonderful guy who is a big Yankees fan.  I am going to make socks for his twin boys using what's left of the navy plus some bright red. 
Above is a long-overdue shot of my current in-progress projects.  The purple toy (which will be a lamb soon) is going to BeLinda and CeeCee of Elephants Remember Joplin.  BeLinda asked if I could send something for a special project they're doing in Indiana, and I am delighted to have another opportunity to help with the wonderful work they are doing.

Just below the lamb-to-be is part of a square of what will be an afghan for Liat one day.  In the middle of the photo is the start of a pair of purple socks for Liat (lots of purple, huh?)  The very pale baby sweater is from a pattern in the fabulous book Itty Bitty Nursery by Susan B. Anderson and will go to Outreach to Appalachia.  And finally, the tiny object above the sweater is going to be a fairy (design also by Susan B. Anderson, she's one of my favorite designers!).  Not sure yet who that's for, so it is definitely last on my to-do list.

So lots left to work on, but first up will be the lamb.  I want to finish her up and get her in the mail early next week.  It's getting hotter and more humid here, so small projects will be the theme for the next long while.  If you're a knitter, what's on your needles?

Oh, and for those who might like to know how I used the chalk on my monochromatic card, it's very simple.  I used a slightly damp paintbrush to pick up a little chalk from the very edge of the cake of chalk, and applied it like paint to color in part of the image.