Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hoppy Easter!

Hoppy Easter! :) What are your plans for today? We're having Easter at my house (about 20 people) and a big Easter egg hunt for the kiddos as well :) Should be a lot of fun! I made mini Easter basket place holders for dinner - I'll be sharing those later this week, they're super cute!

Anyways! Red Carpet Studio is having an Anything Goes Easter challenge this week! We'd love to see all those Easter crafts you've been working on. :) Cards, layouts, decorations, Easter baskets, all Easter projects are welcome! Verve Stamps is our sponsor this week, and they very generously provided each DT member with their Hoppy Easter stamp set! One random winner of the challenge will win a $30 gift certificate!

Here's the card I created for the challenge:

The bunny is a digital stamp from Stamp AnnieThing, colored with my Prismas before I got my Copics :) The sentiment is of course from Verve, and the papers are DCWV. I added a small twine bow using twine from The Twinery and some purple pieces of CANDi as embellishments. 

The DT has some more great Easter inspiration for you, make sure to stop by RCS and check it out!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Oh Happy Day!

Happy Saturday! It is absolutely BEAUTIFUL outside today here in northern Illinois - we might even reach 60 degrees! I am loving this spring-like weather (finally!) although it is supposed to get chilly again for a few days before warming back up. Slowly but surely!

Today I'm sharing with you a card I made for the new linky party at All that Stickles - this week's theme is Yellow Stickles! Any project using Yellow Stickles can be linked up. :)

I originally created this card for a release party challenge at Peachy Keen Stamps earlier this month, but never got the chance to post it on my blog, so here it is!

The cute, little worm is from the Create a Critter cartridge and he's cut at 2.5 inches. I gave him a Peachy Keen face from set PK-754 and even embellished his glasses with Glossy Accents. :) I embossed the circle and the photo corner with a polka dot embossing folder using my Cuttlebug. The background paper is from Recollections and I used pearls to embellish the scallop to match the colors in the paper. Twine is from The Twinery and the sentiment is from Whimsical Designs. And of course I used Yellow Stickles. :)

I was actually a random winner of a $25 gift certificate to Peachy Keen for entering this card, so that was really exciting! I almost considered sharing it on my blog right then, but things have been so crazy around here lately I thought I'd save it for the Yellow linky party.

Hope to see you linking up! We have great sponsors for this month (winners announced next week) and also some great Stickles tutorials!

Have a lovely weekend and a very Happy Easter. :)

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Ashley vs. Pastels

For some reason, the creative part of my brain looks at pastel colors, and completely shuts down. I have no idea why! I think pastel color palettes are so pretty, but for some reason they're a very hard color combo for me to work with! I think it's partially because I'm not a "girly girl" and because I'm used to working with brighter colors, and don't have very many pastel papers other than solid cardstock, which normally doesn't do me a whole lot of good. So when I saw this was the color inspiration for this week's Whimsical Wednesday challenge, I freaked just a bit!

Like I said, so pretty, but so uninspiring to me! I had originally planned on making a card for this challenge, but when I couldn't find enough pastel papers to use, I decided to switch gears and make a 3D project instead, and this adorable little bird house in the Silhouette store immediately caught my eye:

And I must say, I think I actually made a project I like using pastels! The bird house stands about 6 inches high and is made out of Kraft cardstock distressed with Vintage Photo Distress Ink by Tim Holtz. The flower is accented with Star Dust Stickles and the little bow was made using crinkle ribbon from 3 Girl Jam. The bird is from the 3 Birds on Parade Cricut Cartridge (I believe cut at 3 inches) and his face is from Peachy Keen Stamps.

Happy Hello is of course a Whimsical Designs stamp from the "Everyday Sentiments" set. I cut out a blue flag using cardstock and stamped it and then adhered it to a toothpick to make it look like a little sign. :) The grass is from the Silhouette store as well. Oh! And the roof is DCWV paper. :)

I gave it to my mom to put on her work desk.. it's a bit depressing that it's late March and there's still snow on the ground! No birds chirping here just yet, so I gave her one made out of paper instead. :) She loves it!

Our sponsor this week is Beccy's Place and one lucky winner will receive their choice of 3 digital images, so make sure to stop by and link up a project made with pastel colors for a chance to win!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Peachy Keen Sketch Challenge!

Happy Monday! One of the best parts about this semester for me is not having to be anywhere on Mondays until work at 6:00 - makes Mondays much more enjoyable. :) 

I received sort of a strange request for a card - from my mom, of all people, lol. A few weeks ago we had to put our dog down (sorry - I don't want this post to turn into a tearjerker!) and she wants to send a card to the vet thanking her since it was done so peacefully. I swear she gets crazier by the day in her old age. :) How do you make a card like that?! I wasn't sure.. but the sketch challenge at Peachy Keen this week made it a little bit easier:

And here's my take on the sketch:

I didn't want it to be a depressing or sad card - so I gave the dog (a cut from the Silhouette store - along with the bone) a Peachy Keen face. Twine is from The Twinery and the Washi tape is from Recollections and Freckled Fawn. Papers are DCWV and the pearls are from my stash. :)

My mom liked the card... so I guess it'll get the job done! :)

Have a great rest of your day and thanks for stopping by,

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Red Carpet Studio Flower Challenge!

This week the Red Carpet Studio challenge blog is having a flower challenge! Use one or more flowers on your card for a chance to win your choice of 2 digital stamps from Saturated Canary.

I normally don't participate in RCS challenges since my DT always does such a great job of providing inspiring projects, but every once in a while I like to step out from all the behind the scenes work I do and play along. :) 

Saturated Canary was generous enough to provide each DT member with their choice of an image from her shop - how sweet of Krista. :) I chose to use the "What the Librarian Reads" image - since I am a part-time librarian and thought it would be fun to color. 

The paper is from one of the new My Mind's Eye "Unforgettable" collection, and the enamel dots up in the corner are part of that collection as well. The sentiment is from Whimsical Designs and the flowers are from The Paper Studio. I colored the librarian with my Copics using the following colors:

Skin: E00, E01, E02
Hair: E33, E35, E37
Shirt: N1
Skirt: BG72, BG75
Books: Y11, RV25, RV29

I'm still new to using Copics (I've only had them for about a month now and my collection is still growing!) so I definitely enjoyed challenging myself to coloring a more detailed image than the basic ones I've been practicing with. I'll get there someday! :)

Have a great day and don't forget to stop by Red Carpet Studio to see more DT inspiration for this week's flower challenge! 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

So Stinkin' Cute

You know those days where you get a really good idea for a card or project in your head, and then it turns out nothing like you originally pictured? This is one of those cards:

Before I continue I should mention this card is my DT project for the new Buttons & Bows challenge at Whimsical Designs! Our sponsor this week is Miss Kate Cuttables and one lucky winner will receive a $20 gift certificate to their store. :)

Anyways! So this card turned out nothing like I planned. When I saw the 'So Stinkin Cute' sentiment from the Whimsical Fun Vol. 1 stamp set, I knew right away I wanted to create a card with a skunk. But, the Silhouette store didn't have any skunks I felt were appealing, so I chose to use the skunk from the Create a Critter cartridge, who's actually pretty darn cute. But, I wanted a traditional black and white skunk, which would have meant her eyes would have blended in with her head, so I added some googly eyes instead, and am not sure how I feel about it.

I love the papers used on the card (from the DCWV 'All Dressed Up' matstack) but couldn't decide on a layout I wanted to use, so it ended up being pretty simple. I do like the twine and the button accent, along with the twine bow in her hair. 

So that's my rant for the day. Sometimes we make cards that don't turn out to match our original thoughts. Sometimes they turn out better than what we first thought, and other times, not so much. But that's all part of being a crafter. :)

Hope to see you linking up to this week's Whimsical Wednesday challenge!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Simple Thank You

Over the weekend it hit me that I still had to make thank you cards for those who got me birthday gifts! My birthday was just over a week and a half ago, and I told myself right after my birthday to get started on those, but of course other things come up and the thank you cards get forgotten about. Until now! Today I'd like to share one I made for my grandma, actually, that I'm also entering into this week's anything goes challenge at Peachy Keen. :)

The card is 6.5 x 5 inches and the tulip is about 4 inches tall. I used Peachy Keen face from the PK-451 Wide-Eyed kids stamp set, a new set in my collection! The Thank You stamp is one I purchased at Michael's a while back and the papers are from the "Chloe's Closet" paper stack made by Making Memories. The lace is from my stash.  

I lightly distressed the edges of the tulip with Tim Holtz distress ink in  Wild Honey and colored her eyelids and tongue using orange and pink gel pens. :) I love the way Peachy Keen faces just light up a card!

Happy Hello

Well, it's Tuesday. Normally I don't mind Tuesdays, but today is my first day back in class after having a week off, so I'm a bit tired! It's always so hard to get back in the groove after having some time off. I did get A LOT of work done on my week off, and it feels really good to be caught up and even head of the game with homework assignments and such.

The one good about it being Tuesday, however, is that it's time for another challenge at Party Time Tuesdays! This week's challenge is a pastel challenge. 

For some reason, I always have such a hard time working with pastels. I'm used to working with brighter and bolder colors, so having to tone it down a notch or two is often a challenge. But at the same time, that's what makes it fun. :)

To make it even more of a challenge, I decided to create a step card with the help of my Cameo, a style of card I've never made before!

The adorable image I used is "Ellie with Kite" available in The Paper Nest Dolls online shop. I colored her with my Copics, but because I needed a small image (she's only a couple inches tall) I only need a few colors Copics and used one-shaded blending since she's pretty tiny, and blending with multiple colors would've been very difficult. Here are the copics I used:

Skin: E00, E01, E02
Hair: Y08, Y11, Y13
Dress & Shoes: B00, YG11
Kite: V12, RV52

The papers are from the DCWV "So Sweet" mat stack and the flowers are Prima. I added some adhesive pearls in the corners of the plaid paper and embellished the white background of the digi using White Opal Liquid Pearls - a new favorite technique of mine! The 'Happy Hello' sentiment is from Whimsical Designs.

Even though pastels are a challenge for me to use, I'm really pleased with how this card turned out! I hope you stop by Party Time Tuesdays to check out more inspiration from their wonderful design team and even link up a pastel card of yours. :)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cutting Digital Stamps with a Cricut

Happy Monday, everyone! Hope your week is off to a great start. :) Today I'd like to share with you a tutorial I put together for my DT post over at The Paper Nest Dolls. It's all about how to cut a digital stamp using a Cricut! 

For those of you who have researched the Cricut/Cameo debate (and that's a whole other post in and of itself) you know that many argue in defense of the Cameo because of it's ability to incorporate digital stamps into the Silhouette software and then cut them using your machine, one of the reasons I purchased a Cameo in addition to my Cricut Expression, but I'm a neutral party. :) However what many don't realize is that digital stamps CAN be cut using a Cricut! While an exact outline around the image cannot be cut, shapes from cartridges can be used to give your digital stamps fun borders other than the basic square/rectangle.

To cut a digital stamp using a Cricut, your'e going to need to make a stencil, so to speak. Once your stencil is made, you will use this to place your digi on the mat in the same spot your stencil was cut. This way when you cut the stencil again, it will cut around your digi in the exact same spot, leaving you with a fun shape cut around your digital stamp!

Step 1: Print your digi!

This image is called "Best Friends and Sisters" can be found here in The Paper Nest Dolls shop. Make sure when printing to leave at least an inch around all sides of your image to leave room for cutting a shape around your image.

Step 2: Color your digi!

I colored my digi using Copic markers, but of course any coloring medium can be used. The colors I used are as follows:

Hair: Y13, Y15, Y19
Skin: E00, E01, E02
Dresses: BG11, BG13, RV23, RV25
Grass: YG13, YG17
Other: N1, 0, YR04

Step 3: Measure the horizontal length of your stamp.

In order to make sure your digi is centered when using your Cricut to cut it out, you must find the approximate size of the shape you'll be needing to cut. To do so, use a ruler to "center" your digi. You'll see that my stamp above is centered when the width is about 3.75 inches. Always make sure to measure from the widest part of the stamp, in this case it would be the tips of the girls' hair. If you were to measure from their legs, then when you go to cut the shape, your image is going to be cut, too. This will make sense in just a bit. :) Keep in mind that now I know the width of my shape will need to be 3.5 inches in order for the stamp to be centered when I use my Cricut to cut around it.

Step 4. Measure the vertical length of your stamp.

Now that you've measured the width of the shape you're going to cut, it's time to measure the length. Using a ruler and the same technique as in Step 3, center your image vertically. Here you will see my image is centered at about 4 inches. Now I know the height of my shape will need to be 4 inches.

Step 5: Open Cricut Craft Room!

If you own a Cricut and have yet to download Cricut Craft Room (CCR) you can do so via the Cricut website for free whether you have a PC or a Mac. :)

Step 6: Decide what shape you'd like your digital image to be!

I've chosen to use the above frame from the Elegant Edges cartridge - one of my favorites to use for cutting digis! Hint: placing your image in the center of the mat is going to make cutting out your digi much easier and less frustrating.

Step 7: Size your shape to the measurements you took in steps 3 and 4.

This is a screenshot of the top righthand corner in CCR where it tells you the size of your image when you click on it. I made my image 3.75 inches wide and 4 inches tall to ensure my image will be placed in the center of the shape I cut.

Step 8: Load your mat and get ready to cut!

Now that you've found a shape you want to use and made it the right size, it's time to cut it out! You can use any piece of paper for this as this only going to be the template you use to later cut around your digi. Scrap paper works well for this, although I just used a plain piece of white cardstock. Load your paper in the mat and get ready to cut. :) 

*I used a Cameo mat in this tutorial because my Cricut mats are brand new and the paper tend to stick REALLY well to those and I didn't want the paper to rip for this tutorial. Cameo mats can be used with a Cricut and vice versa, in case you were wondering. :) 

Step 9: Cut your stencil!

A little bit hard to see here, but my stencil has successfully been cut.

Step 10: Remove the cut shape.

Remove the shape from the mat, and now you have a definite stencil! Your digital stamp will soon have this shape. Now, here comes the somewhat tricky party...

Step 11: Prepare to cut around your digital stamp.

Leaving the stencil ON the mat (and paying close attention to where it is located in case it accidentally comes off - for example I used a horizontal piece of 8.5 x 11 cardstock, so I centered my paper so there was only half an inch left on the mat on both sides), slide the paper with your digital stamp underneath to get an idea of where it will need to be located on the map.

Step 12: Keep going!

It might take a few tries to get the image directly underneath the stencil so that the image is centered. But don't worry, if you measured correctly, all it will take is a few minutes and some shimmies to get that image smack dab in the middle. :) Does this picture better explain how the stencil is being used? It's a template for where to place your digital stamp on the mat so that the image cuts perfectly around it.

Step 13: Get that image centered! I know you can do it. :)

Once you've got your stamp centered within the stencil exactly where you want it, it's time to get ready to cut! Don't worry if things need to be touched up to fit your image (such as the grass at the bottom of mine) that can be done once the cutting is complete.

Step 14: Remove your stencil.

Now that your stencil has served its purpose, you can go ahead and remove it from the mat. Just be careful to not take your stamp with it! 

Step 15: Don't be scared, it's time to get ready to cut!

Load that bad boy back into your Cricut. :) Your CCR should still have been left open from when you cut the stencil. Make sure to NOT touch the shape in CCR in between cutting the stencil and cutting around your digi, otherwise the position on the mat will be different and your image will not cut so that your stamp is in the center. 

Step 16: Cut!

The image is now in the center of the fun shape you used to make your stencil!

Step 17: Add the final touches to your image, if needed.

You'll see I went back and touched up the grass to fit the border of the shape. Often times touch ups will be needed, and that's perfectly okay. 

Step 18: Add it to your project!

Place your digital stamp on your project and there you have it! A way to give your digital stamps fun shapes other than the basic square/rectangle if you don't have a Cameo or other cutting machine, or if you prefer cutting electronically versus using metal dies. It can take a bit of practice to align the images the way you want, but overall it's a fairly simple process.

TIP: When trying this for the first time, it may be helpful to cut the digi BEFORE coloring it in case it doesn't turn out the way you wanted it - I've learned that lesson the hard way :) Then you don't spend time coloring the image only for it to not be able to get used. 

I hope this tutorial was helpful and taught you a new way to work with your digital stamps. I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments! Feel free to comment below or email me with any questions. :)

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Rainbow Blog Hop

Happy St. Patrick's Day and welcome to the Rainbow Blog Hop brought to you by the All that Stickles design team!

Today we've put together a fun and of sparkly blog hop full of rainbow-themed projects! Whether the projects contain actual rainbows or just a rainbow color scheme is up to each DT member, but either way these colorful projects are sure to inspire you!

If you've come from All that Stickles, you're in the right place! If you've just come across the hop and would like to start at the beginning, please visit All that Stickles

For my rainbow project, I decided to make something a little different. About a month ago I was in serious need of some new paper storage for my scraps. I originally had them sorted in 4 small plastic containers.  One for warm colors (reds, oranges, and yellows) one for cool colors (greens, blues, and purples), one for neutral colors (whites, blacks, browns, grays), and one for patterned papers that couldn't be categorized into any of the three previous color schemes.

When I realized my small crafty space was growing and those containers could be put to better use, I decided to find a new way to store scrap paper. I was originally inspired by this picture I saw on Pinterest:

I was so excited to make this that I couldn't wait to go searching local stores for these paper holders, so I decided to make them myself! I remembered I had seen a cut on the Cricut Artiste cartridge to make a holder like this, so I pulled it out to refresh my memory.

I was right! Here you'll see the full 3D object and the two pieces needed to make it using the Accent 3 feature.

And what I love about this cartridge is that it comes with an Assembly Instruction handbook to show you exactly how to score and glue the 3D project together:

So what did I do? Made my own paper storage, using paper! I opened up Cricut Craft Room, sized the cut to fit as most of my 12 x12 mat that it possibly could, and cut. I made a sample one to test it first, and to my amazement, it worked! So I went ahead and made ten of them!

I used two 12 x 12 sheets of DCWV cardstock to make each holder. After sorting my containers of scrap paper by color, I filled each paper holder with the coordinating color. Adhering them together was a bit tricky at times, I had to use a combination of a Zig glue pen, my ATG gun, and glue dots. In the month that I've had them, they have yet to fall apart. (Knocking on wood!)

Each holder really only took a few minutes to assemble, and I let each of them dry for a few minutes before putting paper in them. They measure about 11 inches high, 1.5 inches wide (which holds A LOT of paper) and the base is about 5 inches long. 

(Not sure why my wall looks brown in this, it's maroon like in the first picture, lol)

And of course we have blog candy for those who are a follower of All that Stickles and leave a comment on every stop of the hop! Winners will be announced Wednesday March 20th at All that Stickles.

$30 Gift Certificate

$6 Gift Certificate

$25 Gift Certificate

10 Digis of Winner's Choice

Your next stop is Cynthia's blog!

Here's the complete lineup:

Thanks for hopping! :)

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