Saturday, February 28, 2009

It's a Bird, It's a Plane, No...It's Super Yap!

Well, here I am squeaking one in under the wire for Donna's You Want a Piece of Me? challenge over at Papercraft Planet.

I decided to paper piece the DoodleFactory Rooftop backdrop with some of the odds and ends of Basic Grey paper that are really starting to pile up in my scrap folder. I had a truly odd assortment of scraps to work with, but once I put them all together they seemed to go together pretty well. OK. Challenge met. But what to do with my cityscape? In a rare fit of creativity, I gave Yapples a cape and turned him (her?) into Super Yap! Cracked myself right up, I tell ya!

Hope you're having a super day!

Artwork in Progress

I thought it would be fun to show you my latest colored pencil painting as a work in progress. The photo I'm using as a reference is one I took in July 2004. It's the side of Pepe's Dancing Lobster (I think that's the name of the place, anyway), a lobster shack on Fisherman's Wharf in Provincetown, Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

This painting is full of "firsts" for me. My normal inclination would be to enlarge the photo to whatever finished size I wanted and then trace the outlines. I decided that for this one, I would try sketching the composition myself using the grid method. It worked pretty well, I think, but you can see in the side-by-side comparison that my symmetry is off. After much debate, I decided to leave the imperfections and see how they affect the final piece. Will it look more like a painting this way or just a bad copy of a photo? We'll see.

Another first is that this is my very first attempt at working a painting from one of my kit with color mixing and technique instructions. Very scary at first, but so far it's been really, really fun! I do have my teacher helping me, but since she hasn't painted the piece herself, we're both kind of feeling our way through this. (BTW, my teacher is Lynda Montefusco, and she is wonderful.) I really thought the worn paint on the buoys would be a real challenge to render in pencil, but it hasn't turned out that way. Where I have cracks and scratches, I first impress the details with a Prismacolor Verithin pencil. I can then color over the details with the softer Premier pencils without losing them. To get the smooth look of paint, I've been blending colors with odorless mineral spirits. The one thing I'm still not happy with is the white. I've got some Prismacolor Lightfast white pencils on order and, hopefully, they will be more opaque.

So there you have it. Now you know how I've been spending my Thursday evenings. I'll post progress photos periodically so you can follow along if you'd like.

Oh yeah...and I'll post a new card a bit later on.

Enjoy your day!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Toad-ally Punny Card

This is going to have to be a REAL quick post since once again, I'm doing this right before I leave for work.

The stamps here are from smARTworks (Frog Hoppin'), and the background technique is Brayer Tapping from Technique Junkies using a Spectrum Kaleidoscope pad. I stamped the frog and tag onto green cardstock and added highlights with Prismacolor pencils.

Happy Friday, folks!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Show your Metal!

It's time for smARTworks Tea Party Challenge #12. Trish gave us a sketch this time and told us to add something metallic. Now, I could have just added a couple of brads or something, but where's the challenge in that? So I started searching through past Technique Junkies newsletters for cool techniques using metallic paints. Cuttlebug Glow fit the bill perfectly. Basically, you take a piece of acetate, smoosh on a mixture of Lumiere paint and reinkers, run it through your Cuttlebug, and then highlight the embossing. Trust me, this photo doesn't even begin to capture what this looks like.

That wonderful flower image I used is, of course, from smARTworks. It appears on the Cookie Plate, which you can get for free through the smART Bucks loyalty program. I stamped the flower using watercolor crayons applied directly to my rubber. I then spritzed the stamp with water before stamping onto watercolor paper. It looked kind of stark to me, so I also flicked on some speckles of bronze Lumiere. The sentiment is a partial stamping of one from the Daisy Square set. The ribbon I used is sheer and very shimmery, and I can't believe I found something that matched so well in my stash.

The rest of the smart Cookies will be joining the Tea Party throughout the day. Be sure to stop by their blogs and take a look for yourself:

Susan (and Peggy)

And as always, we'd love to have you play along! Just post a link to your card in the comments of any DT blog so that we can all Oooh! and Aaah! over your creation.

Monday, February 23, 2009

A New Card and a Challenge

I'll start with the new card. The stamp is from Whimsy Stamps, and you can get it at Starving Artistamps. I colored the owl, which reminds me so much of a character straight out of a Dr. Seuss story, with Prismacolor pencils blended with odorless mineral spirits. I created the red mat using the Faux Felt technique (Technique Junkies Jan/Feb 09), and the polka dot paper is from Bo Bunny.

And now for the challenge. Donna B. has issued us all a challenge over at the Starving Artistamps group on Papercraft Planet. Seems she wants a piece of us...a paper pieced card that is. This is a just for fun challenge and you have until the end of the month to enter, so why not play along?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Bright Spot in a Grey Winter Day

Today was a cold, rainy, grey day here. The colors in this card may seem a bit bright, but believe me, they are just the tonic I need on a day like this!

My images are from the DoodleFactory Valentine Remix collection from Starving Artistamps, and I also used the dots background. I colored little Violet with a technique called Penciled Twinks, which uses watercolor pencils wetted with Twinkling H2O's (or any other shimmery watercolor paint) rather than plain water. The effect is overall shimmer. The vine and leaves are stamped directly onto the background and simply colored with Prismacolor pencil. The layout for this card is from Splitcoast Stampers sketch challenge SC215.

Wishing you a bright day!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Variation on a Theme

I liked the first Blocked Collage (Technique Junkies Jan/Feb '09 Newsletter) card I made so well that I decided to try another. On the first card, I highlighted the main image with white Prismacolor pencil. On this version, I highlighted not only the main image, but also the larger flower in the border with Jasmine Yellow. The highlighting is very subtle, but that one small change added so much depth and interest. I only wish I had thought to take a picture so you could see the before and after.

The paper I used on this one is WorldWin Treasures Antique White and WorldWin Medium Outdoor Olive cardstock. Inks are Colorbox Fluid Chalk in Olive Pastel and Dark Moss, all stamps are from smARTworks, and I added a few Dew Drops to finish everything off.

Have a great day!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Bit of Whimsy

Well, my MIL is moved into her new place. I knew it would be a difficult day, and it definitely was, but it's done. Thank goodness!

I figured I earned some me time today after all that, so I pretty much spent the entire day stamping today...except for the time I spent running to Michael's that is! Today was a much better day than yesterday, LOL!

For this card, I used the CPS103 challenge sketch. The stamp is from Whimsy, available at Starving Artistamps, and I colored the scene with Copic markers. The chipboard flower was a dollar find at Michael's today, and the embossed panel is highlighted with Versamark ink.

Have a great week, and if you're lucky enough to have tomorrow off, enjoy your day! I'll be at work tomorrow wishing I could have had another day to play with my stamps.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentine's Day

I just have time for a very quick post today. We're moving my MIL to a new apartment today, so it's going to be a busy day with a bit of drama mixed in too, I'm sure. Wish us luck!

This is another card using a technique from the latest Technique Junkies Newsletter. The technique is called Blocked Collage, and it's one I'll definitely use again. All of my stamps are from smARTworks, and I used Ranger Distress Scattered Straw and Tea Dye inks. I highlighted the main daisy image with a white Prismacolor pencil. It's very subtle but it does make a difference.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

KISS {Keep It Simple, Stampers!}

I love to paint and color and will spend hours experimenting with different mediums trying to get the shading and highlights just right for a particular card. I enjoy cutting out even the most intricate designs. I'll pour over my selection of stamps endlessly to come up with just the right combination. These are all things that, for me, make stamping such an enjoyable and relaxing hobby.

But every now and then, it does feel good to just stamp something. Nothing too fussy or time consuming--just some rubber and ink and little else. This month's Technique Junkies Newsletter has several techniques that fill that need, and I have been stamping with abandon

This card uses the Mono Masking technique--some stamps, some ink, and some simple masking. Fun to do, and I just love the result. The stamps I chose are from Serendipity and Layers of Color. My inks were Memento Tuxedo Black and Pear Tart. I also used a black marker and a Prima flower I had handy. That's it...20 minutes from start to finish. I'm going to make some more of these tonight!

Remember, it's good to KISS now and then!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Green Tea

It’s time for another Tea Party at smARTworks…make mine GREEN tea, please!

Green is my favorite color anyway, but this time of year I positively crave green. Give me some grass green, leaf green, spring green, moss green, garden green, lime green, mint green, olive green (oops! different train of thought forming, LOL). Anyway, you get the idea. I’ve grown weary of the neutral palette of a winter landscape. Give me green…bright, vibrant, glorious and alive green! Give me SPRING, already!!!

OK. I’m better now…I just had to rant a little. It’s been a loooong winter here.

Now, about the card. It was Susan’s turn to pick the challenge and she chose to challenge us with a monochromatic color scheme. So I made a green card—a very, very green card. The stamps I used are from the smARTworks Frog Hoppin’ set. With the exception of the card base, which I think is SU Garden Green, the papers all came out of my scrap pile (it’s huge). I colored my little froggies with Copic markers and used Memento Tuxedo Black ink for the stamping. The layout is a Splitcoast sketch challenge SC182. That’s all I can think of to tell you, but as always, if you have questions about how I did something, please email me and I’ll be happy to answer.

The rest of the smart Cookies will be joining the Tea Party throughout the day. In fact, most of them already have, and I already peeked at their cards, which are wonderful. Be sure to stop by their blogs and take a look for yourself:

Susan (and Peggy)

Monday, February 9, 2009

I have some DoodleFactory sketchy goodness for you!

I do love a good sketch, and this week's sketch at Card Postioning Systems (CPS102) is a great one. And, to add to the goodness, Starving Artistamps just happens to be one of the sponsors this week! So I figured why not double my fun and make two cards?!?

My first card is a Valentine from Twinkx to Skoober, both from the DoodleFactory Creatures collection. I'm not too sure how Skoober feels about all the attention, LOL! The sentiment is in the Starving Artistamps Boopie Sayings set. I colored them both with Copic markers and used printed paper from Bo Bunny.

For my second card, I decided to finally play with the shrink plastic I've had in my stash for years. Why in the world didn't I play sooner? This is fun stuff! I used images from the DoodleFactory Sweets N Hearts collection, stamped them with Stazon black ink onto the plastic and colored them with Prismacolor pencils. I cut the large cupcake out with scissors, and I cut the smaller treats with my Cuttlebug and punched holes to make buttons. The paper I used for this one is Basic Grey.

I hope you enjoyed my interpretation of CPS102. Be sure to stop by and see what my fellow Starving Artistamps designers came up with...they can always be counted on to come up with something brilliant!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A Return Engagement

That's right...I've rejoined the smARTworks Design Team! I had to give up my spot last summer when my schedule went heywire, but things have calmed back down again, and Susan said I could come back. Thanks, Susan! I've missed being a part of the team, and I'm happy to be back.

So here's the first card of my return engagement. The stamps are smARTworks, of course, and come from two different sets: Frog Hoppin' and Sunny Smiles, which I used to create the background. I colored the frog with Copic markers and used the sketch from the Splitcoast Stampers SC214.

That's all for now...I'm going to watch the rest of the Grammy Awards.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Let's Go to the Hop!

Welcome to the very first Starving Artistamps Blog Hop! And what's the occasion, you ask? Well, we're celebrating the release of some brand new, very fun new DoodleFactory images...Set the Scene Backdrops! I've used the Rooftops and Tropical backdrops on my cards, and there are two more--Jungle and Country. Keep hopping to see them all!

Kathy Daume' at Pretty in Ink is next in our hop, but you're going to want to check out ALL of our blogs. Besides a collection of awesome cards, there's some blog candy hidden along the way. I don't have it, but one of us does, and you sure don't want to miss your chance!!! There's a complete list of all our blogs a little further down.

The first card I made is an Cocktail Party invitation using the Rooftops backdrop and Rupert from the Creatures collection. I colored this one with Prismacolor pencils and did just a tiny bit of blending with odorless mineral spirits. The printed paper is Basic Grey.

My second card uses the Tropical backdrop, and it's one of the those "just for fun" cards. The other images I used on the card come from the Tropics collection, and this one is colored with Copic markers.

Here's the rest of the blogs on our hop:
Juliana Swanson at Stampin' with Inky Fingers
Lisa Somerville at Splendiferous Creations
Donna Baker at Serenity in Stamping
Kathy Daume' at Pretty in Ink
Lori Tecler at Inking Aloud
Lydia Fiedler at Understand Blue
Andrea Cloutier AndreaScraps
Natasha Trupp at Palm Trees and Pogo Sticks
Heidi Kingery at Sweet Somethings
Leigh O'Brien at Sunflower Studio
Irene Silva at Tales from the DoodleFactory

And, before I go, here's a little something I promised to show a couple of friends of mine. I've been doing some beading off and on, and these are a few beaded bookmarks I've made recently. The one on the right is actually made of pieces from an old necklace I have laying around.

Enjoy the hop!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Whew! Am I Ever Glad it's Friday!

I've been so busy, doing what, I don't know. Ever had one of those weeks? I've just been running from one task to another, but doing nothing of any consequence, so I have nothing to really show for all my busy-ness. Very frustrating!

I will have something to show you tomorrow, though! We're having our first-ever Starving Artistamps Doodle Factory blog hop tomorrow morning. We'll be starting the hop at 11:00 a.m. EST, and Tracey has all the details on the Starving Artistamps company blog. Be sure to stop by...the new release is way cool, there will be some blog candy along the way, and I'll have not one, but two cards to show you. And, while I've got the camera out, I'll take some pics of the beading I've been doing and share those too. Fun times--don't miss out!!!

I also have some news to share, but I'll save that for Sunday.

See you all tomorrow!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Look Carefully

It's February now, and if you look carefully, you'll start to see signs of Spring. Already I've noticed that the days are longer, the sun is stronger, and it shines into the windows at a slightly different angle. One day soon I'll look up into the trees and notice that the buds are swollen. Yes, Spring is there waiting, and you can see it if you look carefully.
I'm going to focus on Spring this month and ignore the fact that February can also bring some of our worst winter weather, courtesy of coastal storms we New Englanders call Nor'easters. Wicked nasty!
Keeping with my decision to ignore winter, I stamped this card yesterday using the Large Peony stamp from Starving Artistamps. I decided to watercolor this one just for a change of pace, and as you can see, my watercoloring skills are marginal. I used a combination of watercolor crayons and pencils, and I enjoyed the process immensely...very relaxing.
Have a pleasant Sunday, and remember -- think Spring!