Merry Christmas!

Yes, I know I have neglected this blog but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been extremely busy with my crafts. After taking the Watercolor Online Card Class for Card Makers, I found that I really enjoyed this medium. As mentioned previously, I always wanted to learn to draw freehand and how to use watercolors successfully without making a bunch of mud, which unfortunately is remarkably easy to make! I scoured various websites, YouTube videos, Pinterest, library books and magazines, etc., and I practiced many months and created projects that I now jokingly call abstracts. I finally found a real class to take where I could get some feedback and learn firsthand.

After 7 weeks of classes I finally have been able to make something I feel confident enough to share. The joke with my instructor was that the first week I used tons of paper towels, and each week I used fewer and fewer. The last class I used only 1 so maybe I got the hang of it a little. Here is my last class project. I know it is simple, but most of the paint is where it is supposed to be!

Watercolor Snowman - class project

Watercolor Snowman – class project

Also, because we are two days away from Christmas, I am sharing two Christmas cards I previously made.

The first one is a poinsettia image stamped on a piece of vellum and heat embossed in gold. I then took a second image, cut out the center portion, and pop mounted it on top of the base image to give it a little dimension. These cards were a lot of work but I enjoyed each step in the process and was happy with the elegant look.

2103 Christmas Card

2103 Christmas Card

Because the making of this year’s card coincide with my watercolor classes, of course I had to use a little watercolor technique on this card. I made a panel with a simple multicolored wash background and let it dry. I then stamped the snowflakes, heat embossed them with white powder, and mounted the panel to sparkly white paper. The sentiment and chain of gems were also heat embossed in white. I thought a little more sparkle was needed and because sequins were all the rage this year in the world of cardmaking, I opted to add just a few.

2014 Christmas card

2014 Christmas card

May you be surrounded by the love of family and friends this Christmas!

Retirement Card

A couple weeks ago I had the pleasure of attending a retirement lunch for one of my coworkers. With the kind of work I do and because I work from a home office, I generally don’t get to see my coworkers very often although we talk on the phone and of course communicate through email and text all the time. I had worked with Barbara for a few years and could tell she had a beautiful heart right off the bat, and I quickly learned that she can tell a story like no other.  She definitely never takes herself too seriously and can tell it like it is. Her down-to-earth perspective of daily life can result in side-splitting laughter, so you can see why I was eager to finally get to meet her if only once before she retired and moved to live with her son and his family in Michigan. I told you she has a beautiful heart – and an emotional one too – which makes her all the more endearing.

Retirment Card

Retirement Card

I made her this card and wanted it to be as bright and cheerful and special as she is.  I stamped the flowers in vivid orange and yellow ink and topped that layer with the sentiment-stamped vellum, which softens the colors a little.  That way the background paper isn’t competing as much with the paper flowers I added to the front. Best wishes to Barbara in her retirement!!

A Fond Farewell

Crafty Ladies

Crafty Ladies

Last weekend was so bittersweet.  Some crafty ladies and I visited the Crop-A-Doodle-Do one last time before they closed for good.  You probably know how much I enjoyed my crafty weekends there, and I am really going to miss the farmhouse and the terrific folks who worked there.  Also, I think we witnessed one of the most spectacular sunsets ever with its fiery reddish-orange glow cast all across the farm.  I will miss the serenity and peacefulness found only in the country.

Fiery Sunset over the Cornfield

Fiery Sunset over the Cornfield

Colorful Sunset Reflection on Farmhouse

Colorful Sunset Reflection on Farmhouse

Anyhow, I was able to get a start on my Christmas cards but they will be a work in progress until I finally mail them out in December.  There are a lot of steps to them, but I think in the long run they will turn out really pretty.  It was fun to break out the heat embossing tools and supplies once again and even though it can be a little messy, the end result is so classy and beautiful.

Vellum Poinsettias

Vellum Poinsettias

In contrast to my poinsettias, Judy was working on a summer project and used the napkin transfer technique that we learned last weekend a Stampaway.  So cute!

Judy's Project

Judy’s Project

After a while I was weary of playing with the poinsettias, so I happily broke into my newest Stampin Up set called Secret Garden.  With a little inspiration from Pinterest I made these cheerful-looking cards.  I was really happy with the way they turned out.

Stampin Up, Secret Garden

Stampin Up, Secret Garden

Well, I guess our Crop-A-Doodle-Do fun is over but looking back we learned a lot from each other and made a lot of fun memories.  Thanks, ladies, for making it so terrific!

Stampaway USA 2013

Stampaway USA is ranked the #1 stamping convention in the US, and I feel very fortunate to live so close to Sharonville where it is held.  Folks come from all over the US and even as far away as Australia to attend.  The week starts with classes held on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, with Saturday being the big shopping event at the Sharonville Convention Center.  Vendors include some of the largest names in the crafting industry down to a small, locally owned stamping shop.

Judy and I took 3 classes on Friday and learned some interesting techniques with parchment, aka vellum, which is very intricate and beautiful.  We learned the basic patterns and how to add color on the back of the vellum for a soft effect.  Click on the pictures to enlarge to see the really beautiful lacy patterns.

Teacher's sample from parchment (vellum) class

Teacher’s sample from parchment (vellum) class

Teacher's beautiful Cross card sample in parchment class

Teacher’s beautiful Cross card sample in parchment class

Teacher's sample of parchment bookmark - mine is only half way finished :)

Teacher’s sample of parchment bookmark – mine is only half way finished 🙂

We also took a class utilizing decortative paper napkins with mica powder watercolors (I want!!), shimmer mist, and other embellishments to make interesting card tops shown below.

Elegant Style with Glitz class samples

Elegant Style with Glitz class samples

The other class was taught by Shari Carroll who has designed stamps for Hero Arts and most recently works for Simon Says Stamp.  She has some great tutorials on YouTube and my favorite technique she taught us was ghost stamping.  Here is an example of the ghosting technique:

ghosting technique sample

ghosting technique sample

Saturday we shopped til we dropped and bought stamps and supplies from companies whose items are not carried locally.  I bought a beautifully detailed poinsettia stamp from Northwoods, and I hope I can do it justice on my Christmas cards this year.  I’ve got my work cut out for me!  Next year’s event is on August 8 and 9 – mark your calendars!!

Shopping at the Convention - The Paper Cut booth

Shopping at the Convention – The Paper Cut booth

Shopping at Stamps by Judith & Heather booth

Shopping at Stamps by Judith & Heather booth