Thursday, May 31, 2012

Colored Pencil Butterflies (Part 2)

Here is one of the four cards I made with the blue butterflies I colored with colored pencils and then swabbed with baby oil. I flipped OWH Sketch #23 90 degrees, and checked off another of the wonderfully inspired sketches they offer card-makers on a weekly basis.The patterned paper is from the Citrus Stack from Die Cuts with a View (DCWV), my favorite paper brand.

I splurged at Jo_Ann's and stocked up on solid and patterned paper, a set of coffee themed stamps, ribbon, and supplies for heat embossing. I did a trial run with the heat embossing stuff and both the kids and myself were quite impressed. Fun!! Either the heat embossing or the stamps with be my next endeavor, so until then, take care!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Abracadabra, Magic Colored Pencils!

The OWH bloghop was incredible! I visited just about every single blog and found something new to try in each one. One of the biggest things I got a bit jealous of was the all the gorgeous coloring on stamped images. The big trend right now (and I think it'll be the biggest for a long time to come) is Copic markers - they are made to blend, come in tons of colors, and are double ended with two different sized tips. The job they do in the hands of these ladies is incredible, but alas, they are a big investment, so yours truly won't be getting them anytime soon.

That being said, I still wanted to my improve coloring. I only have 3-5 image stamps, and that's because I'm horrible at coloring. (Most the time I just stamp them with colored ink, layer them on matching paper, and call it a day.) So I went to the OWH tutorial page, and sure enough, there was a guide to coloring, (Cardmaking 201). The guide says to swab the image with baby oil after coloring with colored pencils. Sweet! Only, I didn't have any baby oil. I had olive oil, and figured it couldn't hurt to try. I used my kids' basic Crayola colored pencils and then swabbed the images with a Q-Tip. I have to say, it was pretty cool, but I wanted to see if the baby oil turned out differently, so I got my hands on some, and it brought out the colors even more than the olive oil. Plus, it smells nice :). Here are the befores and afters of the 3 butterflies. (The lighting between pictures is off, sorry, I don't know why. I took both in the same spot. Probably because it was mostly lit by the sun. P.S. I used my camera on my Iphone 4.)

Ok, so the olive oil definitely works, but the baby oil does double what the olive oil does. If you look closely to the baby oil one, though, the oil bled onto the paper surrounding the butterfly. I had swabbed right up to the outline on each of the two, and you can't tell from the naked eye, but the camera picked it up, so I figured I'd mention it. By the time I noticed this, I'd already done another set of images and took a pic of them as well to see if it happened again....

Looks like the only oil bleed victim is the pink flower in the bottom left (tried silver in the center of the top left... eh)
When all is said and done, I really like the technique. And since the bleeding isn't noticeable, I'll use these images on cards in the near future. I won't swab clear to the outer edge from now on, just in case, though. As a side note, I think it'd be much more noticeable if these were on colored card stock.

I'll post the cards I make with these in the next few days. Today we are going to Adventureland with my sister, on leave from Fort Polk, and tomorrow I graduate from college. Wow! Lemme say that again... Tomorrow I'm graduating - from college! I can't believe it. :)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Blog Launch! (Beware: It's a Doozie)

Have you ever thought about doing something new, and then dismissed it because you thought you weren't "good" enough, or that you couldn't commit to it? That's how I've felt about the prospect of starting a blog for the past few months. But this morning I was explaining to my kiddies (girl, 12; boy, 9) tomorrow's huge Huge HUGE bloghop event at Operation Write Home (hey, my very first embedded link!), and when my boy asked if I was part of it, I had to say no because I don't have a blog. He then told me I should start one, and I guess something clicked, because here were are! I think it has to do with that thing about how an idea becomes more "real" once it's spoken out loud...

I chose the title "Every Page Counts" because it's a play on two of my favorites: card-making and literature. Paper stacks have pages and books have pages, and every page has its own worth (even if you have to turn it over and use the white side). My love of literature helped me find my profession, and I'm very proud and excited to be graduating from Saint Joseph's College next week with a B.A. in English, a minor in Philosophy, and my initial certification to teach grades 7-12. While I'm job hunting and playing with the kids this summer, I'll no doubt be making a ton of cards for America's servicemen and women, which in turn gives me plenty of content for this blog. I expect posts to die down come September, however, because I'll be teaching. I consciously don't use the word "hopefully" here because that supposes a possibility that I won't be teaching, and with the job market the way it is, I can't afford to entertain the idea that I'm not good enough to get hired. But enough of that...

I've been making cards for Operation Write Home for a little over a year, and before that, I was pretty much on my own for the six months I played around with the Cricut Expression I inherited from my grandmother. There was about a month in between where I was religiously following Kristina Werner, who I found through a Google search for "homemade cards." Yes, I didn't know how popular card-making was as a craft - but boy do I know now!

One day she mentioned OWH in a post about where she donates some of her cards, and when I followed the link... well, let's just say I might as well have been born again. There were design sketches ("You mean I don't have to spend 10min per card just for rearranging components anymore?"), adhesive tips ("What is this foamy stuff, and where do I get some?"), galleries ([Swoon] "I hope one day I'll be able to pair 3 different patterns of paper like that lady does"), and new ways to use ribbon ("Ok, no more true bows for me. The ends won't cooperate!").  Well, after I all but starved K and D because I was either glued to the computer or up to my elbows in paper and ribbon, my cards started getting incredibly better. I posted a few on the FB OWH page (I can't get over these embedded links!) and the ladies were more than supportive, which got me motivated to try other new things, which necessitated a crafting budget, which didn't work and ended up putting us on the streets. Ok, maybe it's not that bad, but I have had more than my share of crafters guilt in the past year... just enough to put the stuff I buy to good use... only to run out of it and need to go get more. It's a vicious cycle, isn't it?

So in celebration of my blog launch and to show what the ladies and blogs of OWH has done for me as a growing paper-crafter, I though it might be fun to take a trip down memory lane. Here are some of my original creations pre-OWH and a link to my more recent ones. Feel free to pat my head and say "Aww, Rachel... you're so cute" as you laugh. Trust me, I'm laughing too. But hey! I didn't know! ;)

10/2011 - The top two are mine, the bottom are DD K's. Yes, I tilted the g's on purpose to make them fit. AND I sent them out to relatives for the holiday. Also, that turkey isn't cockeyed, he's dead. There's a pencil drawing of my sister (now a sergeant in the Army) and her "machine gun" next to it. Very creative, K!

4/30/11 - Still trying to figure out the ideal card size and how to use border stamps. Actually, I'm still working on the latter.
Spring 2011 - Yes, I did this. I knew it wasn't great but I couldn't figure out a better way. Come on... we all make mistakes!

5/4/11 - It's a good thing my mom loves me. She was very gracious.

7/19/11 - The first card I was really proud of because of the mixed patterns. I still have it as a keepsake.
4/30/11 - All designed by yours truly. I don't remember how I used the space to the right of that grass, but those are yellow stamped birds... ill-proportioned ones too!
8/2011 - Now I'm getting somewhere!

Whew... are you still with me? I hope you're not scarred for life, either from laughter or really, really horrible art. Some of my more recent ones I posted to Flickr in reply to various OWH challenges. And I guess from here on out, this is where you'll find the rest of them. There is so much more for me to learn. For instance, I showed my man a video on heat embossing and we both oohed and ahhed [hint, hint, honey]... then there's the stamped images I'm too scared to color ... and  to be completely honest, what I'd really like to be able to do is merge my too passions and design some digi's with classic literary quotes. Whether they'll be appropriate for OWH or if I'll get over my design handicap is unknown, but I guess time tell!

Happy Memorial Day weekend and thanks for visiting!