Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Another Fabulous Year with Graphic 45

Over the past few weeks, Graphic 45 has been announcing the new Design Team, Ambassadors, and today are introducing the Special Project Designers. I'm featured there today alongside fellow designer Gloria Stengel. I hope you get a chance to hop over there and check us out at this link. Graphic 45 also has a give-away opportunity, so be sure to leave a comment after you read the post.

As I write this post, I'll be sharing projects I've created specifically for Graphic 45 to teach. Each project has been or will soon be posted with a free PDF downloadable Project Sheet which is provided to you Graphic 45 fans. Do you subscribe to their blog? If you do, you're already receiving these project sheets. If not, be sure to subscribe so you don't miss anything.

Botanical Tea Tag Mini

Mainly, as a Special Project Designer, my job is to design class projects for Graphic 45 to teach at their events all around the globe, including their recent cruise. However, there are often other opportunities that arise as well. A few examples: I've created samples featuring the Decades ink pads for the Clearsnap product catalog coming out soon. And samples for the Hampton Art booth at CHA using their Graphic 45 stamps, just to name a few. And yes, it's a paying job. Can you think of a better job on earth? I can't.

By The Sea ATC Book Box and Tag Set

I consider myself extremely lucky to have this wonderful opportunity and am so grateful to be invited for another year. (I hope they never tire of me, because I could do this for the rest of my life if they asked me to!) I've been designing these projects since 2014 and absolutely love it.

Raining Cats & Dogs Box (turned dog house) and Card Set

Come Away With Me 8 x 8 Box

Graphic 45 is more than just a pretty paper company. They are an excellently run company, a tight-knit family, and know exactly what works. And they are extremely generous to their design team and understand the importance of that team.

This side job was a thrill: I was asked to design these samples for the product packaging of each of the Graphic 45 display frames. If you see these in the store, take a second to look on the back and you'll see these! Those are photos of my daughter Jamie, my husband Paul and myself. Paul loves to walk into a scrapbook store with me and pick one up when there are other shoppers nearby, casually show them what a great product it is and cunningly turns the package around and holds it near his face. He waits for their reaction. (true story)

Twas the Night Before Christmas 5 x 5 Mixed Media Box

Time To Flourish 12-card Series

Home Sweet Home Recipe Book

Artisan Style Mixed Media Album

Precious Memories White Shadow Box

Gilded Lily Mixed Media Album

Rare Oddities Black Shadow Box

Mon Amour Mixed Media Album (featured with project sheet on the G45 blog today)

World's Fair Black Shadow Box

A Christmas Carol holiday set featuring book boxes and tags.

Children's Hour 8 x 8 Easel Album

Mon Amour Tag Bags

Children's Hour Mixed Media Album

Cityscapes Chunky Travel Album

Enchanted Forest 6-Card Set

Whew! That's a bunch of fun times I've had, wouldn't you say? 

And there's even more I can't yet show you. So stay tuned here and the Graphic 45 blog so you don't miss anything.

Thanks, as always, for popping in and for all your love, support and encouragement over the years. And special thanks to Graphic 45 for putting their faith in me.

Here's to another great year of creativity!

Monday, June 27, 2016

Hydrangeas in Tokyo

Later this week I'll be posting recaps of our wonderful family vacation to Tokyo, but today I wanted to share a special Thank You card I made for my Tokyo friend, Kyoko Nakai, using Susan's Garden Notes Hydrangea die from Elizabeth Craft Designs. I'm featured with a tutorial for this card over on the ECD blog today, so be sure to check it out there.

One thing we were pleasantly surprised to discover in Tokyo was the appearance of hydrangeas. They're everywhere! In the city along the sidewalks, by the rail tracks, in the parks. And so many colors. My favorites were the blue ones with a touch of lavender. Here are just a few photos I snapped while walking around.

And here's Kyoko, who I met back in 2012 on the Tim Holtz Caribbean Cruise. We've been Facebook friends ever since and when she heard we were coming to Japan, we arranged to meet up for a some shopping and a wonderful lunch. Kyoko was so kind to spend several hours with us, answering our questions about Japan and suggesting several things we should do while there. I can't thank her enough!

So in thanks to Kyoko and to symbolize the beauty of hydrangeas in Japan, I created this special card just for her. I hope you take a moment to visit the ECD blog and check out how I created it.

Thanks and have a great Monday!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Let's take a Safari Adventure

Happy Monday, bloggers and Graphic 45 fans. After returning from our fantastic vacation to Tokyo, Japan, I couldn't wait to return to my studio and play with the new Safari Adventure collection by Graphic 45. You are going to LOVE this one, no matter what type of crafter or artist you are! The incredibly beautiful imagery is perfect for a scrapbook, cards, mixed media, journal pages, you name it. I am going to make SO much more with this collection, but I began first with a Graphic 45 black shadow box.

I decided to use strictly the imagery from the paper collection in addition to a few die-cuts for my shadow box. Sure, I could've made room for family photos or miniatures or other embellishment, but once I got to fussy cutting these fabulous creatures, flowers and leaves, I found I could fill the whole thing!

You can probably calculate the amount of fussy cuts in just this area alone. It's a lot! But I'm one of those crafters who rather enjoys fussy cutting. And I challenge those of you who purchase this collection NOT to fussy cut. You just won't be able to resist!

I added several layers of foam tape behind images as I layered them into the frames to give dimension and depth. To the "ledges" between the frame openings, I adhered strips of burlap.

As you can see in the background, I've layered the palm frond paper between the two sheets of acrylic which come with the shadow box. And all my fussy cuts have been inked with Ground Espresso Distress Ink for a finished look.

To the top of the shadow box, I added this pediment die-cut from black matboard. I layered three of them together, gilded the front with a bit of Tarnished Brass Distress Paint, and adhered this with strong Tacky Glue, then more fussy cut imagery added in front.

Graphic 45's antique brass claw feet are perfect with this paper collection!

These palm fronds are from an old QuicKutz die I've had forever and use often.

Safari Adventure is starting to show up in scrapbook stores now, so run out and check it out in person. You're sure to love it!

Thanks for stopping in today. I've got lots to share about our trip to Tokyo. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for a recap here on my blog. Thanks and have a great day!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Creative Carte Blanche - Winged Things

It's a new month and time for a new Creative Carte Blanche creative adventure. This month, Susan Mostek has challenged us with the theme "Winged Things." I knew right away that mine was going to include bees. I love bee imagery!

I created this art journal spread and I'd love to share how it came together.

I began with gesso on my pages. Once dry, I added Fossilized Amber Distress Paint with my fingers. I find that I'm applying paint more this way lately than with brushes. Something about literally getting my hands in there makes it that much more enjoyable.

Next I worked in Wild Honey Distress Paint. (Yes, with my fingers.)

Once dry, I stamped this dictionary stamp with Sepia archival ink onto the pages. How fabulous is this? It's a dictionary page with the words and definitions for Bee, Beehive, Honey and Clover. (I'll put a link to all stamps and products used at the end of this post.)

I Googled images of bees and printed out this line art, approximately 7 inches wide. I only have an inkjet printer, so after printing it on regular inkjet paper, I sprayed it with an even coat of Workable Fixative. I wasn't sure if this would work or not, so I just gave it a try. Once dry, I blended Distress Inks in different areas of the bee with colors such as Abandoned Coral, Peacock Feathers, and Mustard Seed. Not traditional bee colors, I know. And that's exactly why I did it.

I took creative carte blanche. (*wink*)

Next, I cut the bee out close to the image outline. It doesn't really matter what color I make this bee, don't you agree? I think it would look pretty cool with any combination of colors.

Before adhering my bee to the page, I tapped some Rusty Hinge Distress Paint through a honeycomb stencil. 

This might be hard to see, but I masked off the bee and crown from the center of this great stencil from StudioR12. I recently discovered their website and bought a bunch of stencils. I wanted to focus on the laurel wreath for my pages.

I used Ruby heavy body acrylic paint from Dina Wakley Media for the laurel stencil. These are by far my favorite paints to work with, and Ruby is the perfect, true red.

I stamped this sentiment from the Ponderings stamp set by Stampers Anonymous onto Tim Holtz's Tissue Wrap, then cut out each line and adhered them to the page with Collage Medium. Once dry, this tissue will be less noticeable.

To fill in open spaces, I stamped several small bees and some honeycombs of different sizes using archival inks. I also added a stitch stamp around the four edges of the spread.

After stamping the stitches, I rubbed Vintage Photo Distress Crayon around the outer edges and smudged it with a wet finger. Next I outlined the laurel with a white gel pen and outlined my bee with black Pitt artist pen Big Brush by Faber Castell and smudged it to create a soft but dramatic shadow.

I discovered that the Workable Fixative worked really well and kept my inkjet bee from running or bleeding when water-based products were applied over it. I sealed over the top of the bee with Collage Medium and a medium paintbrush.

Now it's YOUR turn to join in the adventure. Let's see what Winged Thing you can incorporate into your art! Post yours on the Creative Carte Blanche blog at the main challenge post by Susan (on June 3rd). Have fun with it!