Friday, December 30, 2011

Top 10 Cards of 2011

It's time to say goodbye to 2011. As I had only started making cards for OWH in December of 2010, this past year really represents the beginning of my serious card making. I've learned a lot and am proud to show off some of my best work. I'll do my best to link to each card's original post, if it has one, and tell you why I chose the card. :)

Back in this post, I laid out goals for the year. I wanted to host at least one card party and create at least 365 cards. I actually hosted two card making parties, one in January and one in September. I also had all the 8th grade students at my school make AnyHero cards in December. As for the cards, I made well over 1,000 cards. As you can see below, I've shipped 1695 cards. To the best of my recollection, only about 60 of those were made in 2010. My friends helped to make a few hundred at our parties, but that still leaves 1,000+ that I made all by myself. :) Later in the week, I'll be posting the new goals I have in mind for 2012.

Off to the top 10, in no particular order.

#1- Love these because I made them with paste paper I'd made in college. The paste paper gives great visual and tactile texture.

#2- The card that helped me win the Maryland State Digi during the Virtual Card Making Party (my favorite OWH event of the year, by the way).

#3-The card that helped me win $50 to spend in the EK Success online store, thanks to many OWHers who voted.

#4 -My favorite tie card. I am proud of the way I went beyond the designs I'd seen and made something uniquely my own.

#5- Super CAS!!!

#6- I was so proud of myself for coloring the metal accents to match the green paper. This card was also a part of the 10 paper challenge I did this summer. :)

#7 - Shaped Valentine card- I so rarely stray from rectangular cards that I was really happy with this one!

#8 - OWH digi valentine - I really liked the ribbon trim and unisex feel of this card.

#9 - A Christmas card. I made tons, and mostly didn't love them. They're the hardest cards for me to make, aside from sympathy cards, and I really wish they weren't such a challenge for me. This one I really liked because it was CAS and unusual colors for Christmas.

#10 - As a thank you for visiting, I thought this last card was appropriate. I think it's the best I've ever done with distressing.

Thanks for sharing this look back at 2011 with me! Can't wait to see what 2012 brings!!!
Cards shipped to OWH (as of 12/5/11): 1695

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Happy Birthday, dear blog!

It's my blogoversary!

It's been a year since I got involved making cards for OWH and publishing them to my blog. It's nice to be able to look back and see how much better my cards are in general compared to when I started. Check out my first post here. It's been fun to make some blog friends and acquaintances over this year. Thanks for following, reading, and commenting on my blog. Here's to many more years of crafting!

Here's a picture of one of the first cards I made for OWH. This card was a single piece of cardstock folded in half (and not particularly thick, either), with a rectangle of designer cardstock glued on. I think the ink might have bled through to the back, too, but I didn't know the wonders of layering papers onto a new card base yet. I would never send this card now! I bet it ended up in triage. So glad to see how much I've learned. :)

Compare that with this card made recently:
Not really the same, is it? Even the photography's better thanks to what I learned from OWH about building a light box and using good lighting.

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 12/5/11): 1695

CASE of Yolanda's cards on the blog skip

Everyone made such lovely cards on the Hero Arts/OWH blog skip this weekend. Missed the skip? Check it out here. I felt like Yolanda's spoke to me the most as far as which I wanted to CASE (and had the supplies to CASE). I have this pocket watch stamp by Inkadinkado that I've used maybe once and I decided to punch out the face to use as a clock. It looks remarkably similar to the HA clock on the card with three faces. The sentiment is a Valentine's Day sentiment from Studio G.

I CASEd two of Yolanda's three cards. Usually I'm not so exact when I CASE, but I have been busy and stressed of late, and I wanted some no-stress craft time, so I just copied away! :)

How cool that I actually had the same two punches Yolanda used! I knew this was one I should CASE!

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 12/5/11): 1695

Sketch #100

Wow, OWH. Two years (practically) of weekly sketches! How cool is that?

Here's my little card for today's sketch. It uses some K & Co patterned paper and a studio G stamp. The embossing folder is Cuttlebug Swiss Dots.

I'm thinking I'm going to go back and add a punched border around the "hi" in another color as a mat.

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 12/5/11): 1695

Monday, December 12, 2011

Hambo Hoedown #45

This Hambo Hoedown asked us to use a Hambo image to create a card with multiple folds. I used the dragonfly digi and sentiment from Hambo to make a zig-zag fold card. The base cardstock is 12 by 5.5 scored at 4 and 8 inches. The diagonal is done by chopping off a triangular piece with the paper cutter. The card shape seemed to fit this image well. I think it gives the effect of the dragonfly flying. Thanks for looking.

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 12/5/11): 1695

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thoughts on "stuff"

My craft spending freeze starts now! I am finding my poor craft room is just overrun with supplies and it's harder and harder to stay organized. I have plenty of interesting things to use and I have things for each and every season, so there aren't many things I can legitimately say that I need. I will exclude from the freeze adhesive, white cardstock for card bases, and envelopes, but I have enough of those items to last me about 6 months. Postage is also excluded. I will keep a running total of what I do spend just for my information!

Other than the space issue, I'm also starting this freeze because I've noticed I'm so excited to get a good deal on something that I don't even look at new products. The fun, then, is in buying for the sake of a good deal as opposed to buying great items that I am thrilled to craft with. That isn't to say I buy everything that's ever marked down, but I will admit to having bought plenty of things I've never or barely used just because they were "kind of neat" and very cheap.

My third reason for freezing my collecting of craft supplies is that I'm seriously thinking about buying a house. If I can go several months without spending on craft supplies, that money could pay for painting a room or two in my new house, or buying patio furniture, or getting a new sofa. It's crazy to even type this, but I need to. I spent $360 in the past three months on craft supplies. That does include my big order of 2000 envelopes and 30 rolls of ATG tape which amount to about 110 dollars. The rest? Papers, punches, ribbons, stamps, and inks. Ninety percent of what I bought I really didn't need. I wanted it at the time. I'm a careful spender in all other aspects of my life, so I'm ready to get a handle on this. I shop at discount stores and an Amish market for most of my groceries, picking up sale items at the chain grocery stores. This easily saves 50% off grocery store prices. I choose not to have any TV subscription and opt for Netflix instead. I rarely (less than once a month) go out to eat or get take out. My commute is 2 minutes. My electric bill is always less than $50 a month. So, crafts, you're next! Watch out!

Game plan:
1. Don't go to the craft stores or down the craft aisles in large stores. I don't have an LSS, and I doubt JoAnn or Michael's will really miss me.
2. Organize/Catalog what I have. If you forget you have it, you might replace it with a similar or identical item. I also might discover items I haven't used that will be fun to play with!
3. Record any purchases for necessities (white cardstock, adhesive, envelopes) and any other purchases.
4. Be proud of finding new ways to use old supplies.

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 10/20/11): 1642

OWH Sketch #99

Sketch 99 coming at you! Next week will be exciting! There will be a guest!

I used a large stamp from Inkadinkado, embossed in black embossing powder for the largest portion of the sketch. The medallion on the left was stamped a second time and popped up from the image. The red and black background paper was modified with ink- it was black and white and I used a marker to make it match the red cardstock I was using.

I wonder what the characters mean. Does anyone read Chinese or Japanese or whatever language that is?

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 10/20/11): 1642

Monday, December 5, 2011

Unity stamps shaped card challenge

Unity had a challenge linked on their FB page today to make a shaped card (no squares or circles, either) and so I decided to use my newest Nesties.

I won these Unity Stamps from a contest on Ellen Hutson's blog back in October and decided to use them tonight. I love how they look with the black, white, and red combo, especially with some of the stamps heat embossed. I use the oval and scallop oval Nesties to frame an image in the center of the card. I tied on a red heart paper clip as a charm using some plaid Offray ribbon.

I sent my Valentine's Day cards to OWH today, so this one won't make it this year. Maybe I'll send it to someone special. ;-)

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 12/5/11): 1695

Sunday, December 4, 2011

OWH Sketch #98

Can you believe how close we are to celebrating Sketch #100? Wowsers!

Here's my take on #98. It uses a mix of embossing folders from Sizzix and Cuttlebug and some American Crafts ribbon.

Bonus card...

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 10/20/11): 1642 {Shipping more tomorrow!}

Hambo Hoedown #44

This week's Hambo Hoedown challenge is to use dry embossing. They sent out a snowball fight digi, but I chose to use the Beaver digi I got recently for winning the Queen of the Hoedown. It's perfect for OWH valentines.

The papers are from KI and Pebbles. The embossing folders are D'vine Swirls and Houndstooth from Cuttlebug.

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 10/20/11): 1642

Saturday, December 3, 2011

More Love!

CASEd from Yolanda, these cards just scream Valentine's Day, don't they? I made them last night at my monthly crop with some friends. I was looking for something easy to take along, so I just embossed some quarter sheets of cardstock and grabbed a couple of packs of stickers (by Sticko), rub-ons (by Studio G), and ribbons (by American Crafts) and was good to go! The embossing folders are all either Cuttlebug or Sizzix. If you want to know the name of a particular one, leave me a comment and I'll get back to you. :)

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 10/20/11): 1642

ODBD December Challenge

Our Daily Bread Designs is sponsoring its second monthly challenge over on the S&S blog. We are asked to make the sentiment on the front of the card shine. They offer prizes for crafters AND will sponsor shipping costs for up to two boxes. To get the two boxes, we need to get 50 cards (one per person, please) uploaded to the Inlinkz in the link above. Please play along, too!

Here's what I came up with. Please note that while the card is square, the overall dimensions (4.25" square) still fit in an A2 envelope because that is the size that OWH prefers.

The sentiment is one of my favorite Studio G clear stamps from Valentine's Day. The red border is done with a MS punch around the page set. The card includes my first real stitching, done with variegated red/pink DMC embroidery floss from my elementary school stash. I used to be so obsessed with making friendship bracelet!

This will be one of my last Valentine's Day-looking love cards. I plan to mail my box on Monday so Caro gets it before the 10th, which is the deadline for the Archway cookies challenge.

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 10/20/11): 1642

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Makeover Monday

I saw a challenge on Paper Crafter's Library. Check it out here. I went right to my stash of K&Co Americana papers and embellishments and whipped up this card. I love these papers. Each time I use one I feel like I get great results. So glad I bought a 12x12 stack, 2 matstacks, and 10 or so packs of embellishments. These are my go to items when I want to make a great card without too much work coordinating things. The cardstock "Forever" matches better in real life than in the photo. The border is blue foil but it appears to be black in the photo.

I'll be sending this card to Operation Write Home for their Valentines Day Challenge with Archway Cookies.

Thanks for the inspiration, Paper Crafts Library!

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 10/20/11): 1642

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Tuesday Tutorial - Copic bleeding

Go check out the great tutorial Cindy did on OWH Stars and Stamps today.
Brief rundown of supplies:
Stamps by Rubber Stampede (circles) and Studio G (hi)
Blue paper by DCWV, pink unknown from stash
Copic Markers
White pigment ink and white embossing powder
Blue organdy ribbon from JoAnn
circle punch from Fiskars
Photo corner punch from EK
Gem by Tulip

I used 50% rubbing alcohol since it's what I had. Cindy recommended 91%. I didn't get a lot of color variation and I wonder if the stronger alcohol would have provided this. I also used a heat tool to speed the drying time instead of being patient!

I thought this was a cool technique and want to try it with paler colors next time.

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 10/20/11): 1642

Monday, November 28, 2011

First Copic Card

Not feeling the pink/red/hearts Valentine mojo tonight, I opted to make a general love card with earthy papers and a squirrel stamp and sentiment from Hampton Arts. It ended up a fall card, a bit by accident, but I still like it.

It's the first card I colored entirely with Copics! The squirrel is colored with W3, the acorn with E31, and the sentiment with Y17. I started small. I'm working on shading but the colors I have in my collection don't all have blending buddies yet. Perhaps I'll be able to add more soon! Also, I need to get an inkpad that doesn't smear. SU Basic Black is all kinds of runny on this. :(

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 10/20/11): 1642

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Hambo Hoedown #43

It's been a slow card making week for me as I spent most of the past week visiting my family. I did work on a little coloring while I was gone and scored a great deal on some supplies while shopping with Mom (see the end of the post for details), but I didn't finish any cards.

Here's a card that I made for Hambo Hoedown 43 tonight. I was so happy to be picked as Queen of the Hoedown last week that I had to make sure to play along again this week. The challenge was to incorporate something soft onto the card. I had picked up a package of Martha Stewart trim this weekend so I used a tiny piece of it to make the flower on the vase.

The paper I used in the background is from American Crafts. I bought it ages ago and loved it until I tried to use it in a project and was completely stumped. This is one of the first times I've cut it and actually used the patterned side. The reverse is teal, so at least I know I'll eventually use that side if nothing else! The computer digi from Hambo Stamps is going to be great for masculine cards, once I skip the pink! I added the xoxo text to the screen in Word so this can be used for a love card for OWH. Please go play along in their challenges at to support our heroes with plenty of cards for Valentine's Day!

More about Goodwill: Mom and I went shopping late on Black Friday but we weren't interested in hitting the big box stores for great deals on tech gadgets. We weren't even shopping for presents. It was just our day to hang out together, which happens so rarely anymore. We decided to go to a big craft warehouse that we'd never been to. It was OK, but nothing was well priced and not having a particular project in mind, we left empty-handed. We continued on to a nearby town's outlet mall for a late lunch and some browsing. Nothing was exciting there, either. I remembered a really large Goodwill store up the road, so we went there after lunch. We were surprised to see such a large number of cars in the parking lot- perhaps 75? We headed in and saw lines 6 people deep. Clearly, there were good bargains to be had! We browsed the housewares section and I came across a great find- Martha Stewart punch around the page sets new in their packages for $3.97 and a single MS border punch for $1.97. We scooped up a few designs we liked and saw a bin of K &Co and other embellishments. They weren't marked, but we found out that they were $.47 at the register. So, I left with three new PATP sets (one large and two regular size), one single border punch, and seven packs of embellishments (retail 2.99-3.99 each) for $18.20 including tax! That was my bargain of the year! Now to figure out how to store my new goodies...

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 10/20/11): 1642

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Lovey dovey

OWH has partnered with Archway cookies again this year. If we OWHers can send in 5000 love or Valentine's Day cards by 12/10/11, Archway will be sending 5000 cookies overseas for our heroes.

I'm doing my part with 30 cards made thus far. Here are some I made this weekend.

This card also qualifies for the MWT to make a card without a sentiment- something that's so hard for me!

Silliest sentiment ever, but the paper on my desk matched the vellum, so I made the card!

I'm happy with my paper choices on this one. Not sure about the jewel, however.

This last card is fun, I think. There are 10 strips of paper tucked snuggly into the red envelope so the top ten reasons can be enumerated!

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 10/20/11): 1642

Hambo Hoedown #42

Here's Hambo's little digi- Wee Henry with Turkey! He was a freebie for those of us who played along in last week's challenge. I just got this one in on time. I forgot about it yesterday when I was crafting and saw the digis today and knew I had to get cracking so as to keep up and not miss a week! I paired the digi up with some DCWV cardstock and patterned paper and some We R Memory Keepers twine. It's a simple card, in keeping with my usual style. :)

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 10/20/11): 1642

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Unity Stamps!

I won some great stamps from Unity off a contest on Ellen Hutson's blog a few weeks ago. Here's a card for OWH I made using the stamps and some scraps of paper. The patterned paper is from DCWV's Indian Summer stack. The border punch is MS. I stamped the heart with an Inkadinkado spectrum pad and then coated the whole thing in Versamark Champagne Dazzle and used clear embossing powder to set it.

Thanks, as always, for visiting!

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 10/20/11): 1642

Bingo Markers!

After I made a few cards with the "Patti Splat" technique from Ranger, I wondered what else I could do with the bingo markers I'd just bought. Sure, I could drop $20 or more to actually play bingo, but what fun is that? I needed another crafty purpose.

I went to work making my own patterned papers with the bingo markers and turned them into these love-themed cards. I think this could be a great way for moms to get their children involved. Set out a few colors of bingo markers and help them think of good overall patterns. I did simple polka dots, plaid, squiggles, spirals, squares, and more of the splats. I know this technique isn't for everyone, but since I gravitate toward bright colors and bold prints, it's right up my alley. You don't see many vintage designs on this blog!

Notice, too, that I just got my Tim Holtz Craft Pick so there's a lot of faux stitching going on! :)

A note on the whale sticker: I bought a pack of these and another of dinos at a dollar store over the summer. Was I ever surprised to see them for $2.99 on my first ever trip to Hobby Lobby yesterday! It goes to show you just have to know where to look to get great stuff for a reasonable price!

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 10/20/11): 1642

Hambo Hoedown #41

Happy Sunday! Where do the weekends go?

Here are two cards made with last week's freebie from Hambo Stamps, the camera guy. I've been loving the masculine digis we've gotten from Hambo the last few weeks. :)

Hambo's challenge this week was to use a frame on the card. I used two Sizzix frames on the first card.

The second card uses OWH's Sunday Sketch #95.

I tried to incorporate both challenges into one card, but it didn't come together right. I didn't seem to have the right sized frames and I didn't want to make one by hand.

Cards shipped to OWH (as of 10/20/11): 1642