Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day 1 of the Mothers and Daughters Traditions Blog Roll and our Thursday Card Challenge “Rolled” into One!

I am excited to be the first Design Team member to host a challenge for this fantabulous event. Mothers and Daughters Creations is sponsoring a blog roll involving the members of the the scrap book and card design teams. Each day we will be featuring one or more challenges plus some wonderful information about Mother's Day, the meanings of flowers, ideas for gifts you can make yourself, and inspiration galore for wonderful cards, scrap book pages, and decorative elements.

You can find all of the exciting details about this blog roll at Traditions Central on the main Mothers and Daughters Challenge Blog, where our own Mother and Daughter Team of Linda and Tamara will be sharing some very special Mothers Day memories and traditions to start us off. I hope to see you playing along with us every day, now through Mother's Day!

Our first challenge for you is our weekly Thursday Card challenge. This week, we challenge you to create a card using layers. You can use layers in a number of ways... your card can have a variety of layers, your image can have layers to "pop" it, your layers can be one on top of another and adhered together, or you can have separate pages lying atop one another.

Blog candy for this challenge is sweet.... Linda has put together some cuts of some of my favorite Bo Bunny papers along with key lime and strawberry ribbons. Yummy! Deadline for all challenges is Saturday, May 16th at 12 noon. We'll announce winners the next day.

So, make a card and upload it to any gallery or your blog. Then, pop back here and post a comment with a link so we can see it. Unlike some of our other upcoming blog challenges, the winner of this challenge is not chosen randomly. We agonize over the entries and then choose the one that we feel is the best.

Need some inspiration? Check out this wonderful card made by my fellow design team member Dawn Knight. Dawn used Bo Bunny papers and one of my favorite Serendipity stamps. She colored the image with colored pencils and Gamsol - beautifully done, Dawn. And I love the Flowersoft on the potted blooms.

Melissa and Leah have also made some terrific samples as well. Be sure to visit their blogs and post a comment and you will be eligible for an additional mystery prize at the end of the Blog Roll. More details about that to come!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Going Green for Earth Day and Every Day

Happy Earth Day - and I'm not a day late. ;) In our home, every day is Earth Day. We've been Going Green for years. But I love Earth Day because it's an opportunity to learn about so many new and creative ideas for living green.

We live by the mantra reuse, recycle and repurpose. If you want some great ideas about ways to do this, check out Kelli's blog, Simply Altered. Her blog is fabulous anyway - Kelli is the queen of altered projects with a definite minimalistic influence - but her Earth Day efforts are back to basics, economical, simple, and earth friendly. We're already doing most of the same things that Kelli does but I got some other great ideas from her blog and I'm hoping to get her recipe for home made laundry detergent!

At SplitCoast Stampers, Lauren (lollies) posted a poll and started a thread of recycling ideas. I picked up some wonderful hints there as well. Check it out.

The project I'm featuring today comes to you courtesy of the scrap box in my studio. In the course of a month, I actually throw away less than the equivalent of a small plastic grocery bag, and that is mostly the non-recyclable plastic parts of adhesives packaging, empty adhesives containers, and tiny scraps of ribbons and other non-recyclable scraps. The few scraps that I don't save to use later for another project get recycled in a box next to my work table.

I don't remember the last time I purchased gift wrap. I recycle and decorate bags and make small treasure boxes that become a part of the gift. Even the smallest scraps have found new life in these miniature treasure boxes. They're the perfect thing for wonderful "little" in size only gifts - pair of earrings, charm, or other small trinket. Click on the individual images for a larger view and check out the details.

During the Mothers and Daughters Blog Roll, which begins a week from today, I'll be posting detailed instructions and templates for these beautiful yet simple to make boxes and for many other equally fabulous treasure boxes in a variety of shapes and media. Some are designed to hold gifts and can be made to the exact size you need. But my friend Robyn recently spent a day crafting with me and showed me a fabulous idea for turning a treasure box into a photo album - a gift and package all in one. (Hint, if you subscribe to my blog now, you won't miss a single event! Scroll down for the link on the left.)

Be sure to pop back here for all of the exciting details, and most importantly, for all of the exciting projects and blog candy that we'll be featuring.

Stay tuned as well for more exciting pictures from our garden along with ideas and techniques for using home grown herbs and real flower elements in your card making and scrap booking, which will find their way into my blog throughout the gardening season.

I so love these Hellebores, the lovely Lenten Roses, which are blooming throughout our cottage, woodland, and shade gardens right now. The blooms are long-lived on the plant and the bloom season in New England is extensive. Last year they bloomed for over two months. But resist the urge to enjoy cut blossoms indoors. They much prefer the cool spring temperature and nutrients they get by remaining on the plant.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Thursday Card Challenge at Mothers and Daughters Creations

Hi All, and welcome to another sunny, warm, and wonderful spring day.

If this fabulous weather stimulates your creative muse the way it does mine, then check out this week's card challenge at Mothers and Daughters Creations. For a change of pace, Tamara offered us a sketch and she chose one that has a lot of versatility. I've had a lot of fun with it and hope to post another rendition or two of the same sketch later today!

For this card, I paired two different papers, Uber Persian and Turkish Delight from one of MDC's newest lines of Imaginisce papers, Exotic East. These are not your typical spring time colors, but aren't they stunning! And they are perfect for an expression of condolence no matter what the season. If you're concerned about stamping on the dark colors, don't be! I used Detail Black embossing powder with Versamark and as you can see, the results are striking.

The stamp I used for this card is from the Serensipity line, Queen Anne's Lace. I stamped the butterfly in the picture on a separate scrap of paper and cut it out and then mounted it on a pop dot to help it to stand out in the design.

With a dark (in this case, black) card base, you need to think about how you're going to finish the inisde of the card. I have embossed sentiments with Detail Gold and Detail Silver embossing powder, but it can be difficult to "sign" these cards unless you have a white, gold or silver gel pen.

Often, I will mat a white or coordinating light colored panel with the same papers that I use for the front of the card, but in this case, I chose to use the lighter of the two design papers and embossed in black. I also stamped and embossed edges of the stamp design around the edges of the panel. It takes it from plain to special and I love the effect!

I also discovered that the Prima Romantica papers and flowers coordinate well with this line of papers and today I am playing with the scraps from this project as well as some Romantica scraps and the Romantica flowers for another project. Join us for our Mothers and Daughters Mother Day Traditions Blog Roll where you can see the fabulous results!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring is Here

If something looks different about my blog, you're right. I replaced the wintry photograph in the heading with a picture taken last spring.

While the Chinese dogwood and azaleas are not in bloom quite this early, spring has definitely arrived and I couldn't be happier.

We have hellebores, crocus, snowdrops, hyacinths, and daffodils spreading gorgeous color throughout the flower beds and the grape hyacinths and miniature iris won't be far behind. The later blooming jonquils, daffodils and tulips are sending sword-like leaves and bud stalks skyward.

Everywhere I look, there is new green growth and beautiful punches of color. Our koi have come out of hibernation and swim to the surface when the sun warms the water. And at night we hear the peepers in the marsh.

The most exciting finds of the day, however, were not the most colorful. I was delighted to see the lilac shrubs loaded with leaf buds and flower spikes, still tiny but definitely hinting that their glorious fragrance and color will arrive early this season.

In our woodland garden, trillium are sprouting everywhere. Last spring, we imported several varieties from a grower in Canada and I can hardly wait for them to start blooming.

But most exciting and most indicative of the rebirth that is the hallmark of spring is the bird's nest that has appeared this week, nestled in the canes of the climbing rose on one of our trellises.

I haven't witnessed any birds attending to it but I'm hopeful that whoever built it will take up residence shortly and that we 'll be blessed with a growing family in residence in our rose garden.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Announcing a New Blog Roll

I'm tickled to be part of a new adventure... my first ever blog roll! Mothers and Daughters Creations will be hosting its very first blog roll beginning April 30th with their weekly Thursday card challenge, and culminating on Mother's Day with a gallery of entries from designers and visitors alike. The theme, Mothers and Daughters Traditions, promises a bouquet of fabulous projects - cards, scrap book designs, gift and packaging ideas, altered projects, and much, much more.

So starting Thursday, April 30th, grab your cup of tea or coffee and a sweet roll and join us on the MDC Challenge Blog for our daily posts. We'll share fabulous projects, memories, and recipes, inspirational ideas for journaling scrap book pages and writing personalized messages for cards, and the secret language of flowers. Create a card or a treasure box, embellish a picture mat or a scrap book page, test your knowlege of trivia, or simply share a memory and you could win some of the fabulous blog candy we'll be offering each day. Sweet!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Scatter Joy With the New ATC Challenge at Mothers and Daughters Creations

Hello, Everyone! Continuing the new challenge series we started last month, Mothers and Daughters Creations invites you to play along again with our newest ATC challenge. This month we are looking for ATC’s featuring spring, Passover, or Easter themes.

If you’ve never made an ATC before, here and here are links to two recent tutorials on my blog that give tips and and answers to any questions you might have. You can post any other questions you have here or on the Mothers and Daughters Creations challenge blog.

The rules are simple: Create a 2.5 inch by 3.5 inch ATC with a spring, Passover, or Easter theme. It’s okay to stretch your imagination (and ours). Any and all media and techniques can be used, but the card must include stamping somewhere on the front of the card and the stamping needs to be in the form of an image – not just a sentiment. It can be the primary image or part of the background, such as a flourish or background stamp. Aside from that, anything goes. There are no vendor or color requirements.

This week, I was inspired by the fresh green sprouts of the iris, lilies, tulips, and daffodils that are already 2-4 inches high. I'm tickled to be seeing green after the harsh winter we had. I can't wait until the trees start sprouting leaves!

The deadline for submissions is Wednesday, April 30th at 12 noon EST. We’ll announce the winner on Thursday, May 1st. The winner receives a goodie box with an assortment of papers, stamps, and embellishments for making ATC's, plus one of my own original ATC's.

All you need to do to enter is upload your card to any gallery or to your blog and post a comment here on my blog or on the Mothers and Daughters challenge blog with a link to your card so we can all see it. Be sure to subscribe to my blog to get weekly updates plus tricks and tips for making ATC’s.

Happy Spring, a Blessed Easter, and Joyous Passover to all.

Friday, April 3, 2009

A New Challenge, A New Season!

Welcome Spring! It's finally here in the Northeast and I couldn't be happier.

This week's card challenge at Mothers and Daughters Creations is to make a card with a box, with your design spilling out of the box. Check out what Melissa Earnest did. She created the design inside of a box on her card. I thought that was truly inspired!

For my card, I chose to feature violets. Next to lilacs, pansies and violets are my favorite spring flowers, hands down. So I popped a bunch of violets into a box, and of course, some blossoms fell around the box as well.

I stamped the image several times on white card stock, and watercolored and cut out the images. I also stamped it directly on the striped background paper. Then I layered the leaves and blossoms over it for depth and shading. Ordinaruly I stamp images onto heavier weight watercolor paper and cut them out, but the intricacy of the stems in this design would have made the job of cutting them out rather formidable. Stamping the design in a little bit darker shade of green ink directly onto the card gave me a canvas upon which to build the nosegay without having to worry about the stems.

For my background, I chose a striped paper from Melissa Frances that says spring in a big way and ties all of the colors together. I matted it onto two layers of lavender card stock that were from the same card stock collection - Core'Dinations - as the card base. I matted the patterned stripe onto the darker shade first, then onto the lighter shade, then onto the dark card base.

Usually the tendency is to mat in increasing or decreasing depth of color. Mixing it up so that the lightest hue is sandwiched between the two darker tones makes each color stand out, and highlights the striped paper with a totally different effect than mounting it on the lighter color would have.

Since I used a dark card base, I had to provide a panel on the inside of the card. I stamped and clear embossed a sentiment and matted it with the same design paper and card stock I used on the front, and added a spray of violets across the bottom.