Friday, December 12, 2008

Simple Christmas cards

Like a lot of people, we're on a tight budget this Christmas. In addition to shortening my Christmas card recipient list, i've also been working on some simply designed cards. They're easier to make, less time-consuming, and without the addition of a lot of bulk, they're cheaper to send. Here's a few recent ones:

Ingredients: CS - Kraft, stash; PP - unknown; stamps - Martha Stewart Christmas Tree Stamps; ink - Versafine; snowflake punch; pop-dots.

Ingredients: see above.

i think my dad may be getting this one.
Ingredients: CS - Kraft, stash; stamps - Martha Stewart Christmas Tree Stamps, Limited Edition Distressed Background, Fancy Pants Simply Stated, Papertrey Ink Mixed Messages; ink - Pallette Hybrid, Ranger Distress; pop-dots.
So, your frugal tip for today is make simpler cards! This is especially helpful at the holidays when we're all short on time, need to make lots of cards and can always stand to save some money.
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Frugal Crafter and a few Christmas cards...

So, today's frugal tip concerns embellishments. Available today is a huge variety of embellishments for your paper-crafting needs. i sometimes buy these pre-made embellishments for special projects, but whenever i can i make my own using stamps and/or punches. i find it's not cost-effective to buy an embellishment i use frequently, such as flowers, in every color i would need. i make exceptions for those lovely velvet and felt flowers, but for paper i just buy a few varieties of punches to make my own in any color or type of paper/CS i choose.

For this card, i punched snowflakes for embellies and added paper ribbon, another cost-saving technique. Awhile back i purchased a set of ribbon/lace stamps, knowing that they'd pay for themselves very quickly.
Ingredients: CS - stash, Bazzill; stamps - Martha Stewart Clear Pattern Stamps, Autumn Leaves Freestyle Alphabet, Art Warehouse Ribbons and Lace, small snowflake (unknown); ink - Pallette Hybrid, Versamagic; brads - MM.

This card has more homemade snowflake embellishments - this time i added eyelets and some gold Stickles for bling.
Ingredients: CS - stash, Bazzill; stamps - Sassafras Lass Stunning Spirals, Martha Stewart Christmas Tree Stamps, Studio G; ink - Versamagic, Pallette Hybrid, Colorbox Chalk; eyelets - MM; Stickles; pop-dots.
And one more... For this one, i added stamped ribbon to cut down on bulk and keep things simple.
Ingredients: CS - stash; PP - My Mind's Eye; stamps - Martha Stewart Christmas Tree Stamps, Papertrey Ink Take a Bough; ink - Pallette Hybrid; Stickles.
Most of you long-time crafters know these tips already, but hopefully someone reading this will discover a new idea.
Thanks for stopping by, and i hope you're all having an inspired day!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Autumn cards...

Hi, everyone! i'm finally back online after a couple months with no computer. While trying to add a new video card to our old rig, the mother board was basically fried. A friend of ours with more computer know-how than us built us a new setup, much better than our previous one. We're still limited by dial-up, but i'm just happy to be up and running again!
i've got a lot of catching up to do, not only on my own blog but also looking at what my favorite bloggers have been up to for the past two months.
Tonight i'm sharing a couple of Autumn cards i made back in September.

Ingredients: CS - stash; stamps - Inkadinkado Autumn Foliage and Travel Time (script), Autumn Leaves Swirls V.1; ink - Pallette Hybrid, Versamark; Prismacolor pencils; OMS; ribbon - stash; chalk; pop-dots.

Ingredients: CS - stash; PP - Basic Grey; stamps - Inkadinkado Autumn Foliage, Art Warehouse Ribbons and Lace; ink - Pallette Hybrid, Versamagic; Prismacolor pencils; OMS; brads - MM.

Thanks for looking! i'll be back soon with some of the Christmas cards i've been working on. i haven't had time lately to create very often, but hopefully things will calm down soon so i can get back into the groove!

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Garden collage...

My garden this year was definitely an improvement over last year's, but the ongoing lack of rain (despite the rain we got from recent hurricanes) really stunted it. i tried my best to keep it wet enough by watering almost everyday, but it just wasn't quite enough. Even still, i've managed to pick a few cucumbers, some tomatoes and a few squash. The biggest crops (as usual) were the peppers - jalepenos and New Mexico chiles. i got in some late season cukes and tomatoes, so i may see some yield from that before the first frost.
The flowers also did well, and my marigolds have exploded. i first planted the seeds 4 years ago and haven't had to replant since. Every year they come back up, even popping up in the yard all over.

The tomato to the left is a Mr. Stripey, the most prolific of all of this year's crop.

See the mantis to the left? It was in my garden everyday for a couple of weeks, and stayed in that one spot in particular for days. i felt like he was my guardian, probably keeping the aphids down.

These pink and yellow snapdragons are my favorites of all the blossoms in my garden. Their colors are stunning, and they are such a joy to me everyday.

Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you all have a creative and joyful day!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Monday, Monday...

Life has been pretty hectic here in the last few weeks... Add to that a less than stellar birthday (mine) on Saturday, and i really need some art therapy. i hope there's some peace on the horizon soon.
On the artistic front, i've been thinking a lot about art journaling. i love making cards - they're a quick and satisfying way to fit art into a busy day - but i'm craving something meatier, and something just for me.

i made this card a few days ago. i was thinking of my mom when i made it, how she's always there for me, always supportive, and never forgets my birthday. i think this one's for her, and it helps that she loves red and green. i rarely use this color scheme as it's so tied up with Christmas, but this card turned out fine and definitely non-holiday-ish.

Ingredients: CS - stash; stamps - Limited Edition Distressed Background, Autumn Leaves Freestyle Alpha and Manhattan Icons, Inkadinkado Circles and Dots, PTI Paper Tray; ink - Versafine, Versamagic, markers; chalk; felt flower - American Crafts; dimensional glaze.

And your frugal tip for today concerns embossing. Embossing powder can be clingy stuff, and often it sticks to places you don't intend. To minimize cling on your paper or CS, there are products you can rub over your paper that keeps the EP on the stamped areas only and off the rest of your paper. i've never bought any of these products and can't lay claim to their abilities. While searching online last year, i discovered that a sheet of fabric softener works in the same way, so i've been using those ever since. One sheet can last through multiple uses and adds the extra benefit of making your project smell nice, too. Why buy an extra tool when we all have something at home we buy anyway that can do the job? Gotta' love that!

Thanks for stopping by, and i hope you all have a fantastic day!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

i was lucky enough to spend time crafting over the past couple of days, and the following cards are a few of the results from that time.

The inspiration for this card actually came from a shampoo bottle! Just goes to show almost anything can spur creativity.

Ingredients: CS - Colorbok, stash; stamps - Inkadinkado Birds Galore and The Garden Variety, Papertrey Ink Paper Tray (remember the little flower?), Heidi Grace Dreamer, Autumn Leaves Swirls V:1, sentiment by Image Tree (?); ink - Colorbox Fluid Chalk, Versafine; ribbon - Offray; Stickles; pop-dots.

i had this card in my head for a few days before i was actually able to sit down and execute it. i'm pretty happy with the results, and i just love this Geisha stamp.

Ingredients: CS - Colorbok, stash; stamps - Inkadinkado Asian Influences and Garden Words, SU! Small Script; ink - Pallette Hybrid, Versafine, Colorbox Fluid Chalk; Prismacolors and OMS; ribbon - ?; brads - MM; pop-dots.

i spent a long time tweaking this card and then realized what it needed was waves. i added 3 layers of waves with pop-dots between them and was so excited by the results.

Ingredients: CS - Colorbok, PI, stash; stamps - Heidi Grace Beyond the Sea; ink - Versafine, Colorbox Fluid Chalk, Ranger Distress; Prismacolors and OMS; hemp cord; ribbon - Offray; eyelet - MM; pop-dots; seashell.

As always, thanks for stopping by! Have a creative day!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

New stuff...

i hope everyone is enjoying their summer so far! My garden has kept me away from my craft room for the most part lately, but i have managed to make a few new cards. Here's three:

i've been doing some simple and easy cards recently. i also finally got some OMS and have been using it to blend my prismacolor pencils. i'm still learning, but i like the results so far.

Ingredients: CS - Paperbilities, Papertrey Ink; stamps - Inkadinkado's Flowers by Amy Smyth, PI's Mixed Messages; ink - Versafine; prismacolor pencils and OMS; ribbon - Offray; brads - MM.

Ingredients here are the same as the card above, excepting the ribbon - not sure who makes this.

...and something not so simple, but still quick and easy.

Ingredients: CS - PI, stash; PP - Rob and Bob Studio; stamps - Inkadinkado's Flowers by Amy Smyth, Hero Arts' Friendship Messages; ink - Versafine, Pallette Hybrid; prismacolors and OMS; ribbon - Offray; brads - MM; dimensional glaze; pop-dots.

Now for another frugal tip. In the past couple of years, i have bought mostly acrylic stamps as opposed to rubber. They are very economical and clean up is a breeze. One of my favorite companies is Inkadinkado (as if you couldn't tell by how much i use them...). You can find their sets online for as little as $9.99, which is what you'd often pay for one large rubber wood-mounted stamp. Also, buying acrylic eliminates the need for stamp cleaner because they clean up with soap and water. i don't own a stamp scrubber - instead i keep a small bowl of soapy water on my desk and use cheap sponges to scrub away any ink.

ETA: You can find Inka.'s stamps even cheaper, actually. i forgot i had seen some on a couple sites selling for as little as $6.99, for an entire set of stamps! And i once picked up a couple sets at A.C. Moore for $5.99!

Hope everyone is well! Have a wonderful day!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

2 cards and "The Frugal Crafter"...

i've got a couple cards to share today, nothing earth-shattering, but i wanted to share something "new" (these are from a couple months ago).

Ingredients: CS - stash; PP - ; stamps - Fancy Pants' Simply Stated; ink - Versafine black, Ranger Distress; watercolor pencils; eyelets - MM; ribbon - stash.

Ingredients: CS - stash, Papertrey Ink; PP - MME; stamps - Rhonna Farrer's Swirls V:1, Inka.'s Birds Galore, PI's Mixed Messages; ink - Pallette Hybrid; ribbon - stash; Prismacolor pencils; brads - MM; pop-dots.

...and now for a semi-regular addition to my blog - i'm going to share some economical crafting tips in something i'm calling "The Frugal Crafter". If someone out there has already claimed that title, my apologies - i'm not trying to step on any toes here, just share a few tips i've learned over the years that may help someone who's on a budget, like me, or frankly just anyone who likes to save a little money (don't we all?). Some of my tips will probably be obvious to some of you or may not be a new concept except to those new to crafting, but rather than filter ideas based on that i'm just going to share what i've learned through personal experience, or garnered from fellow crafters, giving credit where credit is due, ofcourse.

In the world of crafting, there's always some new gadget or toy coming out that we feel we must have. Sometimes the tool is almost a necessity, especially depending on what craft you are most drawn to. For example, i couldn't accomplish much without my paper-trimmer. There are times, as in this case, that shelling out more money pays off in the long run. i'm actually still using a middle of the road trimmer i picked up at Michael's, and it serves its purpose, but i will be upgrading when i can. In these cases, there's almost no getting around spending a good chunk of change. However, there are times when a cheaper version of a tool or even a different route altogether can do the same job for less money.

As far as new gadgets go, i like to wait a bit after their release before snatching them up. First of all, a lot of times other companies follow suit with the same sort of tool, so that opens the door to cheaper options. Also, once something's been on the market for awhile, you have a better chance of finding it on sale or clearance. Sales and clearance are essential tools in the frugal crafter's arsenal. i have stretched many a dollar searching out the bargains, online and in stores. Sometimes it takes a bit more time, but it's worth it. i may go to the LCS with a certain thing in mind to buy, but when i get there i always check the sales/clearance. i may put off what i intended to buy (provided i don't really need it for a project right away) and instead load up on sale items. And if i wait, the item i originally wanted to purchase may go on sale in the following weeks. Also, if your LCS has a newsletter or option to sign up for coupon notices, join in! A lot of times you'll get coupons not provided in the weekly sales' ad.

i'll be sharing more tips in furture posts. Feedback is always appreciated, and feel free to share your own tips!

Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Vacation photos...

We arrived home from Myrtle Beach on Thursday afternoon, which was a couple of days ahead of schedule. We came home early mostly because, as much as we love to camp, we were getting burnt on sleeping in a tent and dealing with frequent thunderstorms. We had a wonderful 8 days there, though, and i think it was a great experience for Z. He's been to the ocean many times, but most of that was during our time living in Northern California, and the water is too cold there to allow much swimming. He took to the water like a fish and even got over his shyness, walking up to every child he met and making friends right away.

i'm not a fan of all the tourist-type stuff that goes on at MB, but i enjoy the state park and was happy for a long-overdue getaway. Here's a few photos from our time there:

Sunrise on the pier.

A beached jellyfish, Myrtle Beach State Park.
While there, we discovered Huntington Beach State Park which contains Atalaya Castle, the former winter home of philanthropist Archer Huntington and his wife Anna Hyatt Huntington, a famous sculptor. The home has not been occupied by a family since 1951, and there's no furniture inside, only a few fixtures like a sink and bathtub. It's a stunning place and wonderful for taking pictures.

Z., looking through a window at Atalaya Castle.


We had several little adventures during our stay, like visiting Ripley's Aquarium, seeing an alligator cross the road in front of our vehicle along the causeway at Huntington Beach State Park and meeting many interesting people. Z. had a fantastic time, that's for sure. i may post some more photos in the coming days.

Hope you're all well! Have a great day!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Paul, Z. and i returned Sunday from a short trip to West Virginia to see my dad. All 4 of us hit the VA Blues and Jazz Festival in Warm Springs on Saturday. What an awesome show that was! On the drive to my dad's house Friday, we were greeted by Mountain Laurel in full bloom (photo above). Unfortunately, we were too early too see the Rhododendrons at their full peak, but oh well...

Wednesday we leave for a 10 day camping trip in Myrtle Beach, so i won't be posting for awhile. This is our first real family vacation together in a very long time, so we're super excited! Until then, hope everyone is well and i look forward to seeing your creations when i return!
Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Belated Mother's Day offerings...

Hello, all! Happy belated Mother's Day to all the hard-working moms out there! Following are photos of the gift set i made my own awesome mom. i also cooked her a feast of Asian dumplings, fried rice, egg-drop soup and Korean-style ribs, yum!

i'm feeling a bit lazy today so no ingredients. If you'd like to know what supplies i used, just ask.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Lots of cards!

i've got several cards to show today; i've been busy! i've been working on a couple projects for friends, as well as simple cards that i can make duplicates of to put up for sale. These first two fall into the latter category.

Basic, but i love the colors and this paper.

Ingredients: CS - stash; PP - MME; stamps - Papertrey's "Mixed Messages", Art Warehouse's "Ribbons and Lace"; ink - Ranger Distress, Versafine; pop-dots; eyelet - MM.

Ingredients: CS - stash; PP - MME; stamps - Inka.'s "Birds Galore", Papertrey's "Mixed Messages"; ink - Versamagic, Versafine, Colorbox Chalk; blue paint (spatter effect); ribbon - Offray?; eyelet - MM.

This was a card made for a friend/customer for an engagement. i struggled over the layout of this for awhile, but then one day it just fell together.

Ingredients: CS - The Paper Company, stash; PP - ?; stamps - Studio G (heart), Inka.'s "Sketchy Flourishes", Hero Arts' "Friendship Messages"; ink - Colorbox, Versamark/Versafine, Colorbox Chalk; ribbon - Ofrray; brads - American Crafts; pop-dots.

This was part of a batch for one of my best friends. i made her some baby announcements as a gift for her shower. All the cards followed the same layout but used different animal stickers for the focal point. Her and her husband have decorated the nursery with a farming theme, and my original idea was to have the focal point be a tractor and i wanted to use a stamp. Let me tell you, i looked all over for a tractor stamp that fit what i saw in my head and i couldn't find it! If i'd had more time to scour the net i may have found what i needed, but oh well. These came out ok and she was thrilled! i put her cards in a photo box with a fat decorated paper clip, a matching mini-comp book, a little photo album and some pens to fill out the announcements. Once the price of postage stamps go up in May, i'm going to send some her way, too.

Ingredients: CS - stash, Bazzill, Colorbok; blue PP - Rob and Bob; stamps - Papertrey's "Mixed Messages", Inka.'s "Tree" set (clouds); ink - Colorbox; stickers - Stickapotomus; ribbon - Offray; pop-dots; "it's a boy" was done on the computer.

This was just for fun!

Ingredients: CS - stash; stamps - Swirls V:1, Inka.'s "Birds Galore", Hero Arts "Friendship Messages"; ink - Versafine, Versamagic, Ranger Distress; embossing powder; brads - MM.

This card is so different from what i normally do, but i like it!

Ingredients: CS - stash; stamps - EK Success (flowers in background and crown), "Mixed Messages"; ink - Colorbox Chalk and pigment, Versafine; ribbon - Bobbin; brad - MM; Stickles; pop-dots.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Bunches of birds...

i absolutely love birds so it stands to reason i love bird stamps, too. Z. and i feed the birds in the backyard and i can watch them from my craft room window as i create. i finally got my hands on the Inkadinkado set "Birds Galore" and am having a blast with it! Be careful if you buy this set - i got one that came with 5 stamps, then later discovered the same set (for the same price) is also sold with 6, so watch out for that. Anyway, here are some cards i made with this set recently.

This is a b-day card for an old friend. i love how this came out, simple as it is.

Ingredients: CS - stash; PP - Paper Adventures; stamps - Inkadinkado's "Birds Galore", Heidi Grace's "Dreamer", Papertrey's "Mixed Messages"; ink - Colorbox Chalk, Pallette Hybrid, Versafine; photo corners.

This one was based on Julee's Mojo Monday #30 but i didn't get it done in time to enter the contest.
Ingredients: CS - stash; PP - Rob and Bob; stamps - "Birds Galore", Hero Arts "Friendship Messages", Studio G (swirls in corners); ink - Pallette Hybrid; ribbon - A.C. Moore, Offray; brads - MM.

i made this card in a few minutes just to break in the new set.
Ingredients: CS - Papertrey, stash; stamps - "Birds Galore", "Dreamer"; ink - Pallette Hybrid, Colorbox Chalk, Versafine; brads - MM.

i just love this one, might keep it for myself!
Ingredients: CS - stash; PP - My Mind's Eye; stamps - "Birds Galore", "Dreamer", "Friendship Messages", unknown texture stamp; ink - Colorbox Chalk, Versafine, Pallette Hybrid.

Ingredients: CS - Bazzill, stash; stamps - "Birds Galore", "Dreamer"; ink - Versamagic, Colorbox Chalk, Versafine; brads- MM; pop-dots.
Thanks for stopping by! Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Four new cards...

Hi, everyone! Finally got a chance to post this. i've been making lots of cards lately, for fun and also for several projects including 2 orders and a couple gifts. Here's a few examples of some recent stuff i've done...

This one was a lot of fun to make. i did the background by inking wax paper with Ranger Distress Ink and then misting it with water. i then laid the cardstock into the ink and played iwith it until i liked the look, starting with the lightest color ink and then working my way darker. If you can't tell, there's dimensional glaze on the bees to make them stand out.

Ingredients: CS - stash, Colorbok; stamps - Inkadinkado's "Bee" and HB sentiment; ink - Ranger Distress and Archival; Prismacolor pencils; pop-dots; dimensional glaze.

i made a few like this. i stamped and inked various papers and CS then punched out squares and arranged them. i used so many stamps for this that it would take forever to list them all. If you want to know specifics, just ask.

This was made using some PP i got from Dana over Kismet, Art, Life - i'm not sure who makes it, but it's just gorgeous. i was saving this paper, but lately i've realized the need to use up some of what i have been stashing. i pierced and then hand-stitched this (something i rarely do because of the time involved) - i don't have a sewing machine, so... Yay for Spring cards!

Ingredients: CS - stash, Bazzill; PP - ?; stamps - Garden Words; ink - Ranger Distress; brads - MM; ribbon - A.C. Moore?; pop-dots.

This one's my favorite. i think i saw this layout in an issue of Paper Crafts, but i can't be sure.

Ingredients: CS - stash; PP - K and Company; stamps - Rhonna Farrer's Swirls V:1, alphabet - ?, "birthday" from Anna Griffin sentiment set; ink - Versamagic, Ranger Archival; brads- MM; metal label-holder - ?; flowers - Wal-mart; photo corners - MM.

Thanks for stopping by! Have a wonderful day!

Friday, February 29, 2008

Happy Friday!

Today is a good day - i think i'm finally over being sick! The bad cold/flu i had turned into strep throat and today's the first day i really feel back to normal... i finally finished this card i've been working on for a close friend. She commissioned me to make 2 engagement cards and this is the first. i didn't want to do a typical card and i think this fits the bill. i feel like i could have done better, but all things considered - being sick as well as not feeling so creative lately - i think it turned out well. i hope she likes it!

Ingredients: CS - stash; PP - Basic Grey; stamps - Rhonna Farrer's Swirls V:1, Rhonna Farrer's Alpha Swirls (i might be wrong about the exact name here...); ink - Versamagic, Archival Ink; ribbon - A.C. Moore, Bobbin ribbon; rub-ons (can't remember company); pop-dots; brads - MM.

Thanks for stopping by! Hope everyone has a great weekend!