Monday, January 28, 2013

Tattered Blossom Heaven

I told you Brandy had been at it again.  Heartfelt Creations has been on her mind for the past month.  We booked our annual convention fun mid-December by registering for classes at CK's Scrapbook Convention scheduled for April 12-13 right here in Mesa, Arizona.   Each year we have a classic debate.  Do we take classes?  Since we began our creative paper journey over a decade ago at the convention, we've taken a few (read *many*) classes.  Additionally, with all our friends online who blog and inspire us providing the techniques and guides, we find there are few techniques we actually need instruction on.  So, Brandy and I have agreed that taking classes is less a learning experience and more an inspiration experience.  As such, we've come to find that class projects that *by the picture alone*  do not inspire our creativity should not be taken.  Last year's Cool Closures (We thought we might actually learn some cool closures.  We were wrong!) and Digital Photography classes were good examples.  We picked these two because we thought we might learn something innovative and new.  We just learned there is really nothing new under the sun that can't be googled and figured out rather than paying somewhere between $20-$30 for the pleasure.

This year stands to be significantly different.  We've decided *by using their product* that Heartfelt Creations products and classes provide exactly what we're looking for in a class.  Their classes have value- for the $25 class fee you receive all project materials (usually to make 3-4 cards or a 2 page layout) and a voucher for a free $15.99 stamp at their convention booth.  That works out to $3 a card, the instructions (written so you can take them home) for the project, and a stamp set that is totally worth the price.  Bonus is the time spent enjoying a 1 1/2 hours with your best friend.  So this year we only signed up for Heartfelt Creations classes.  Our "class load" is heavy this year because of the wonderful timing of sign up- post birthday for me.  We decided to enjoy the Delicate Aster class, Decorative 3D Cards, Heartfelt Techniques, and Heartfelt Layouts.  I'm not sure whether we can take such heartfelt times, but we're going to give it the 'ole college try. 

Brandy will also tell you that she scraplifted the entire design for these two cards directly from Heartfelt Creations' Related Project Samples tab for the Tattered Blossoms stamp set.  The recipe can be found here.  I'll politely disagree and point out a few improvements/advantages to Brandy's design.  First and foremost to me, the use of the clear pink pearls softens Brandy's card making her design slightly more girly to me.  Also, by not using the die to cut out and emboss the sentiment, I think she's made the swirl stamp the cornerstone and star of this show.  Not that I don't love a 3D'ed sentiment, because I do.  Just that direct stamping the sentiment for me in this case makes the card more simple in one way and more sophisticated in another.  Also, the use of the die to cut out one of those tattered blossoms and 3D it off the page again, for me, draws the eye to the star of the show which is the swirl.  I also really love the yellow paper used in the background layer.  Makes those flowers pop!

Brandy used her Copic markers to color in all stamps, otherwise she pretty much followed the recipe.  Here's the products she used:

Tattered Blossoms Swirl Stamp Set

Tattered Blossoms Stamp Set

Tattered Blossoms Die

I'm pretty sure the sentiment stamps come from the stash, though I don't know the maker.

Before I go, just a quick note to give the props to Kathy Roney (whom I don't know personally) who not only made the original creation but graciously shared it with us all to be copied.  By pointing out what I like in Brandy's card I don't want to imply I don't love Kathy's creation.  It is beautiful and not lost on me that she thought of it first, something I have not done.  As I continue in this disease though, I find that sometimes it helps me to think about why I love a particular card and contrasting two similar designs can really bring that out for my broken down, not so creative self.  It helps me understand what draws me in and ultimately is the only real way to release my not so inner critical, perfectionist. old lady so that the I LOVE TO CREATE part of me can get out.  If you're secretly like me, try it.  It might help too.  If you are like Brandy, what are you doing here?  Go make something would ya, because you make great stuff!

Andie (for Brandy)

Friday, January 25, 2013

2013 Calendar

I'm not going to use a lot of words in this very picture heavy post.  I was able to get the calendar I made for our family photographed and am publishing it here.  The kit was a clearance Die Cuts with a View French Country calendar kit.  Oh my, it is too bad that I can't find this anywhere online or I might have already purchased all the inventory to make this calendar for many years to come.  The papers are wonderful and most of the embellishments came from the kit.

You'll notice the pictures are almost exactly the same as the calendar I made for my Grandma.  This was to make the whole process easier and get the job done.  It's now hanging on the back of my pantry with all our appointments.  I so love it.

Last years calendar (same idea), I've cut out of the calendar and intend to put it into a scrapbook.  I'll try to get photos and get them posted.  It's a great way to capture photos from the previous year and then converts to perfect scrappy pages. 


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

The Very Best of Friends

I hope you've come to know both Brandy and I through these posts.  While Brandy doesn't always create her own posts, she is my driving inspiration.  Our friendship has survived thirteen years of life's stresses and pressures.  That is not to say we've had a lot of internal friend stress.  More that working moms doing high stress jobs spending long hours at the office have often meant that we haven't always been able to spend the time to nurture our friendship.  Thankfully, the past year has been filled with wonderful times spent together not just crafting, but also enjoying each other.  I fondly remember March's Creative Chemistry 101, April's CK convention, a smattering of  crop nights including one at our LSS, our trip to Cottonwood and the Glitter Art Institute, and our Play All Day event in Mesa. 

I've saved this post about one of my favorite gifts for my birthday because all the Christmas hype and my illness would have made it just one more post in a sea of posts.  Hopefully the delay is a true reflection of how very precious this gift was- I want to highlight and focus on Brandy's craftiness.  It is my inspiration and I hope you find inspiration too.

This mini-album was made and conceived in Brandy's mind after a conversation we had one evening.  I was talking about a blog post or comment by a friend about being convicted of loving Jesus.  The challenge was whether your life represented your love of Jesus enough that if you were brought before a court of law that you could be convicted of loving Jesus.  This was very challenging to me personally.  So much so, you've probably heard me talk of it here on this blog before.  Out of the conversation came an idea- both camera shy and usually more focused on doing for others- could we be convicted of being each other's best friend?  Brandy and I dedicated ourselves to taking photos and going places together- creating evidence that we could be convicted of being friends.  From that thought and her creative wellspring Brandy developed this mini-book.  Now, when pressed in a court of law, I can definitely provide evidence that Brandy and I are best friends. 

I can't promise to know where all the craft supplies came from or what particularly inspired each page.  You'll  notice a theme in the quotes and the liberal use of Spellbinders frames.  Much of the paper is from Brandy's stash and purchased items she intended for the project.

What you haven't been shown is the very lovely, personal and handwritten notes that are on the backs of the pull out tags.  These words of encouragement were meant for me and so I've kept them for me.  I page through my album when I need a pick me up or just to admire all the hard work.

There is the liberal application of Distress Inks through out mainly applied using the Ink Blending Tool

One of my favorite memories with Brandy- meeting the paper craft rockstar, Tim Holtz.  Thank you Brandy!
See that evidence?

The details that went into the crafting of each page.  Here the sentiment was embossed using a stamp.  Gorgeous!

Our trip to Sedona was such a treat.  We I was giddy at the Glitter Art Institute!

Everything from the paper choices to the color scheme (green is my favorite color followed closely by blue!) to the kind words are just precious.  I am so grateful for my gift.  I intend to use it as inspiration forever. 

Thank you, my Brandy.  I've evidence now!


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Daisies Oh My!

Oh my...  That's what I first said when I saw this lovely from Brandy.  Oh my...  Little card, how do I love you?  Let me count the ways...

  1. Dimensional flower petals... ahhh.
  2. Lovingly colored  leaves (they are green!) uh huh!
  3. Distressed pop off the page sentiment die cut stamp...yeah!
  4. Background stamp making your own patterned paper, oh yeah!
  5. Simple Stories Summer Fresh patterned paper, my my my my my.
  6. Inside notecard, fully distressed with embossed 3d flower- too much.  I have to stop there.
Brandy used some of the Heartfelt Creations product here:

Daisy Patch Boutique Stamp Set

Daisy Patch Flowers Stamp Set

Daisy Patch Die Set

I realize the details on the making of this card are a little sketchy.  That's kinda on purpose.  However, if you have any questions, feel free to ask as a comment or by using the email in the About Us tab.

The card design was Brandy's own creation.  Sheer genius, yes?

Andie (for Brandy)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Quick Little Mini-Books

This is a cautionary tale which includes quite a few photos.  It seems that many of my posts in the past days have included quite a few.  I suppose this is a representation of what gift giving crafting is truly like.

Today I am sharing these wonderful matchbook mini-albums that I put together using a rather old Close to My Heart scrapbook kit.  That is not the cautionary tale, I'll get to that in a minute.

This kit is really quite simple and easy to use.  The kit provides three similar matchbook mini-albums in three different color schemes- peach/green, tan/pink, and tan/blue.

The mini-albums are intended to be assembled using the provided stamp set and four small mini-stamp pads of the major colors, pink, peach, tan and blue.  The die cuts are all provided.

Instructions clearly indicated what stamp to use where, what color to combine for each book, and which stamping techniques (sometimes using the second generation images, sometimes first generation, sometime stamping off the edge, etc.). 

You can see how the provided mini-album pages have the existing patterned paper in just the right locations to provide beautiful two page layouts.  The finished product is actually quite lovely.  I highly recommend Close to My Heart kits as they are easy to put together.

This is maybe where I should get to the cautionary tale.  It has nothing to do with Close to My Heart which provides a wonderful product that I am sure I can put to good use in the future.

The caution comes from my experience as a scrapbook and paper crafting hoarder collector.  I sorta feel as though maybe I should have started this post with:

Hi!  My name is Andrea (last name withheld and nickname purposely not used!).   
I am a scrapaholic.

I am truly not making fun of AA.  It's just that this is a disease that I have (hence Contagiously Crafty) and I have had it bad for years.  So bad that when I went to a LSS for what they call their Yard Sale I inocently picked out this mini-album kit for $5.  The yard sale is an opportunity for folks to sell any items used or new in the LSS where people have already come for papercrafting supplies.  The kit was labeled new and I felt that getting four stamp pads, a clear stamp set and three mini-albums with all the trimmings seemed a bargain.  Plus, I enjoyed the design.  Therefore, it was not at all funny when only moments after purchasing (while showing off my find) when Brandy pointed out that we had in fact purchased the exact same kit years (YEARS!) ago to share between us and that she remembers making at least one of the mini-albums herself.  I believe her exact words were "Don't you have that stamp set at home?!"

I, respectfully, didn't answer her rhetorical question as the dawning light of remembrance lit my face.  In my defense, I have since looked for said stamp set and cannot find it.  Neither can I find any evidence of having any of the three mini-albums (they were probably gifts to someone else ?!).  And I would NEVER.EVER.EVER admit it if I do find them.

By the way, have I mentioned that I own a Scrapbox?