Saturday, April 30, 2011

Ex-Squeeze Me?

My Second Reveal Day at Sketchabilities
Hey everyone, it is another reveal day over at Sketchabilities. If you ever use one of the sketches from the site, just upload it to the gallery and you'll get lots of positive comments. We promise to be nice and play well with others. Here is Sketch #46, you have until May 10th if you want to play along. We also just chose a guest design team member from the last reveal day's sketch. Hop on over and see 20 variations on this layout from the DT or peruse the gallery to see members' contribution and gain some scrappy inspiration for your own projects.

For this current sketch, I saw that mine was the only one that didn't use photos while the others are gorgeous layouts. Oh well, if life hands you lemons, then make some lemonade.
First May sketch at Sketchabilities
My unfinished take on the sketch

The Background
Several years ago, Kevin and I planted three little dwarf citrus trees along our driveway. They were around one foot high which were housed in these little black plastic tubs. Now they are over 7 feet tall,  growing over the roofline and are finally offering some fruit. 
Dwarf pink lemonade tree

It seemed a shame to let the lemons just fall off the tree and rot, especially after watching them grow from tiny 1cm green lemons. The ones pictured are pink lemonade lemons which do have a slight pinkish hue inside, but not that bright artificial pink associated with the drink. People are disappointed when you they cut one open, so I wanted to prevent you from suffering a similar fate in the future. 

I had previously shared about my ice tea tags, which is in daily use if you ever come and visit. I wanted to make something similar in concept but different in design. When I saw the sketch, I knew I wanted to use it to make a lemonade tag.

Sunshine Seeds patterned paper

The Process
Berrylicious fresh phrase die cuts
I immediately thought that the little seed packet designs on Imaginisce's Berrylicious papers could be cut and used in place of the photos. My favorite part of the collection is the "squeeze me" sentiment, so I paired up the two.

I followed the sketch, adding ex to the squeeze me sentiment so it would be like the lemon grimacing, "Ex-squeeze me?" at the thought of being made into lemonade. It that too cruel to anthropomorphize patterned paper? I then laminated the version shown above, folded it in half, added string in between the fold before I glued it together with Fabric-tac. I then embellished the top with some buttons and Memory Thread so there was more dimension and some roving vines. I made a little 3 x 3" tag instead of a 12 x 12" layout from the sketch. So you can use sketches for more purposes than the intended use. 

Tag in use

Completed Tag
Here is lemonade tag with his friend ice tea tag. When they get together, it's like a golfing sensation.

Arnold Palmer anyone? 
Take care,

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

A Little Baby Gift

News Update:

Jillibean Soup's Chilled Strawberry Soup Collection
  • I had my first design team meeting with Pages from the Heart and am very excited at what I'll be doing there. For now I have three projects that I'll be making with Jillibean Soup's Chilled Strawberry Soup line that will be displayed in the store. I finished two of them, but can't show you until it posts on Pages' blog.  They did turn out really cute and one of them features my two nieces, hey girls! I can even develop classes based on my projects to be taught in the store. But I don't know if I can teach adults after teaching 8 year olds for so long. What if I write participants' names on the board for talking to their neighbors and not paying attention in class? Haha. Come on by the store for your scrappy shopping needs and you can see all the DT's submissions which are now displayed.
  • Sketchabilities has its next reveal this Saturday, April 30th. We are also choosing a guest designer for May from the entries received from the April 15th sketch. It could have been you! No, it really could have been. 
My Commissioned Set:
I received a commissioned request from my mom, I wouldn't charge her in case you were wondering. She bought some baby items as a gift and wanted me to wrap it and make it card. Here are the final products:

Baby gift container and stand up card
The Background:
Iced Milk drink with pudding
and honey boba
There is a local tea shop called Half & Half Tea House where the wait is over half an hour for a cup of tea to go, and even longer for a table during prime hours. They have all kinds of flavors and added ingredients, think Starbucks for the Asian crowd. Their signature is the honey boba tea. Kevin and I decided to check it out to see if it was worth the hype. I ordered the iced milk green tea with boba and Kevin had the grapefruit black tea with lychee jelly. Both were excellent and it is worth a trip during the non-crowded times. But at close to $5.00 a cup, we decided to try and replicate the drink at home. We mixed black tea with a bit of grapefruit juice, cut up some lychee jelly and it tasted pretty similar. 

Lychee jelly bites
Now where am I going with this? The lychee jelly came in little bite sized packs, they are actually shaped like hearts but I don't think you can tell in the photo. The packs are contained in a larger tub with a cute little handle. It seemed like there were over 50 packs and it cost less than one cup of tea. We chopped up a bunch of the jellies at once and just added a bit to a cup of iced tea whenever we wanted for a fresh fruity taste. 

When I saw the size of the baby gifts from my mom, I thought they might fit in the lychee jar. I decorated the jar a bit and it was a simple but more unique way to package a gift. Here are some close ups. 

Label with wired baby word

Altered lychee jar with handle
The Card:
The card is pretty cool too. I originally saw free standing pop-up card idea from Imaginisce's blog featuring design team member Rhonda V's totally awesome card. What I liked most is that the card folds down flat but can be opened up to have its own little stand. I like the cards with different shapes and varied dimensions. This one is a little trickier than the side step sushi card, and I had to make some adjustments to get it to freely stand. It is all one connected card, the sentiment part retracts inside the base when you compress it. If you'd like to make one, you can find the directions and measurements here at Split Coast Stampers.

Card popped up on stand

Card folded flat

Until next time,

Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Delectable Sushi Card

Travels to Kyoto, Japan

Japanese doll

My sister, Jenn, is in Kyoto this week with Dad for her spring break and she sends me these photos, so of course I have to post them. I guess she is having a good time, you can decide. Lesson learned - be careful what you send to people.

Japanese noodle ad
Sakura blooming

When she was in college she participated in an exchange program with Doshisha University in Kyoto. She lived with a host family that took really good care of her and treated her like a member of the family. 

Jenn at Doshisha University
Kevin and I visited Kyoto last summer with our two tour guides - Dad and Jenn. Both are fluent in Japanese and knew the lay of the land. My Dad also studied there when he was in graduate school at Kyoto University. We even saw the house my parents lived in as students around the time I was born. Ahh the memories...

Dad's graduate housing
We also met up with Jenn's host family and they prepared a build your own sushi roll dinner. 

Jenn's host family

Sushi Card

The night before Jenn was leaving for Japan I got the idea to send a thank you card with her to give to her host family and I wanted to incorporate sushi somehow. I saw some side step cards recently and decided to try my hand at one. I watched a video on Youtube to see how to make one and here is my result.

Sushi Side Step Card

It has many layers so you can add various items to each step. I cut out a sentiment from a piece of patterned paper for the first layer "Pack yo", then a photo, lastly a handwritten note below the main sentiment and main embellishment. The card splits into two parts so on the left non-stepped side I printed out a photo of a Japanese candy ad. I thought the girl looked like she could be saying the main sentiment which is, "The sushi was delicious" in Japanese which I had Jenn write in later under the sushi. 

Side View

Handmade Sushi Embellishment 

If you ever had a need for fake sushi embellishments, here is my secret. I cut a strip about 1.5 inches long of 1" black electrical tape and laid it flat. On top I placed a layer of cotton, then a few pieces of ribbon and fiber. I rolled it together like how you would with sushi and then cut it into 4 pieces. They are so small and cute and really look like the real deal. That was my favorite part of the card even though I was running around the house thinking, "What looks like seaweed? What can be used for rice? How can I get some crab and avocado?" But I figured it out. If you'd like to make your own side step card, here is a template with the measurements. There is a lot of measuring, one cut and a lot of scoring and folding, but it isn't too difficult and is a nice variation from the standard card shape. Think outside the rectangle. 
Japanese Candy Box

Jenn, Dad and host Dad with Sakura

Dad and Jenn met up with the host family this trip already. I wonder what they thought of the card. 

Have fun making your own embellishments!
Take care,

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Pages from the Heart

A New Designing Opportunity:

I made several scrapbooking goals for the year and one of them was to be more involved with my local scrapbook store. I was really excited to see that Pages from the Heart, a super cute and recently relocated scrapbooking store (ss) in Monrovia was looking for a design team. I immediately applied and was accepted. The staff seems very friendly and the industrial loft architecture is unlike any other ss I've frequented. I alluded to this announcement in a previous post, but could not give the specific details until Pages from the Heart posted on their blog. I even had to answer those "get to know the design team" type questions. So if you want a glimpse into the inner workings of my scrappy brain, take a look at this post from Pages from the Heart's blog. The funny part was that I was trying to answer the long list of questions succinctly and lightheartedly to make it more of an easy read, but I think I failed in that endeavor. You can't deny who you really are. I'm really excited to get started on this new adventure. You can visit the store and spot some of my projects as samples during the next 6 months. So come on by y'hear @ 137 E. Colorado Blvd. Monrovia, CA 91016.

Jenn and I took a Nikki Sivils class on the first day Pages from the Heart reopened after their move.
I used to live near their former location in the Aztec Hotel. It is a registered historic landmark and has its own Wikipage.  I walked by it all the time but never went in. I was more into stamping and card making at that time. Little did I know what the future would hold and our destinies would intertwine.

Previous location, see the hearts on the window. 
Pages from the Heart left the Aztec Hotel to a substantially larger space on Colorado Blvd. The funny thing is, the previous occupant was actually a boxing gym. 

Former site of O-Fit Gym
I don't know if you can tell, but our scrapbooking class in the first photo was situated where the boxing ring is located. I bet the boxers never thought a bunch of women would be cutting and pasting in the exact space where they were punching and thrashing. They never saw it coming.

I have a meeting with the other designers later this week and will meet everyone for the first time. I'll keep you posted about this assignment. 

Have a scrappy dappy day,

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Sketchy Reveal

A New Gallery:
This is the official start of my 3 month term over at Sketchabilities! Every two weeks there will be a new sketch posted on the site. The design team will reveal their takes on the sketch. You can play along and post your layout in the brand new gallery that is being debuted today, and get your work seen by scrappy people from around the world. If you are more interested in card making, stop by Cardabilities. You can also post your cards in the same gallery if you follow the card sketches.

My First Sketch:
Here is the sketch as designed by Karan Gerber, our fearless leader and founder of Sketchabilities.

Here is my take on the sketch:

I'd Always Pick You Layout
Embellishments and journaling
1. The main one was I changed the background circle into a rectangular fruit stand. There were tiny fruit stands on the patterned paper so I recreated it on a larger scale to house my photos. I outlined the awning and wood with a white pen. 

2. Instead of hearts and flowers, I fussy cut vegetables from the patterned paper. I popped some vegetables with foam adhesive for a 3-D effect. I curled some Memory Thread through the buttons to make vines instead of the leaves in the sketch. 

3. I always like to add a title and journaling to a layout. I made a sign that looked like it would hang from a fruit stand for the title. I spritzed everything for a more aged look. 
My Sign was the Title

The Background:
During the summer Kevin and I went to the Orange County Fair. There were a lot of rides, carnival food, games and a section on farming. That is where we took our photos.

But I have to admit the real reason we went to the country fair was to see one of the musical acts. There were different singers and bands each weekend. Here is the playlist:

I see Kevin was one of the musical acts
We actually went to see Weird Al perform. It was a very entertaining show and I'd highly recommend it. I found out, he can actually sing and not just clown around. I'd go again to his concert. It was a much better performance than another concert I went to starring a certain Beatle. Here are some costume changes he made:

Star Wars Saga
Amish Paradise
I can't believe I'm so white and nerdy. 

I hope you enjoyed my farm fresh take on the sketch. Hop on by to Sketchabilities to see the other DT members' beautiful layouts. 

I've been working on some really cute cards that I want to share with you all soon. So stay tuned for those. One of them even required the use of a blow torch. Hee hee. 

Take care and happy crafting,

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Birthday Bash

Isaiah, Lili, Snowy and I with his pinata

Isaiah's birthday party came and went this past weekend. I would deem it a success, based on kids running around in a blur. I think their favorite part was the Easter egg hunt.
Easter egg hunt

Maya Road Triangle Album
Birthday Banner:
In terms of scrappy goodness, I had this Maya Road chipboard album set lying around that I wanted to use. I had talked to Vic about a Cars theme for the party months ago. I saw some Cars Christmas ornaments at CVS of all places in December and bought a set for this project. I had my supplies ready months in advanced, but made this just days before the party. I think I was resistant to joining in on a overused trend, banners. But the project matched perfectly with a birthday theme and I thought he could hang it up in his room afterwards. Here is my first banner:

Isaiah's banner

I used Bo Bunny's Learning Curve collection which had the red, blue and yellows that I wanted even though it was a school theme, regular cars chipboard embellishments and Cars Christmas ornaments. I decided to cover the chipboard with paper instead of painting since it was less messy. I punched through the chipboard with my Crop-a-dile and tied on the ornaments. I had a small frame leftover from another project and put Isaiah's photo in it. There are 6 letters in his name, there were only 5 ornaments so this worked out. I tried to keep the decorations more masculine for a boy so I didn't use ribbon, scalloped edges and the like. It was quite easy. Here are some close-ups:

Dangling mini-photo frame
Dangling Christmas ornament

Birthday Dirt:

Once for Halloween I made a dirt cup dessert, with chocolate pudding topped with crushed cookies, candy worms and a Milano cookie tombstone iced with RIP. I thought I could incorporate that idea into a Cars theme. I decided to decorate a cup with Lightning McQueen saying, "Eat My Dirt!" It seems like something he'd say. The hardest part was getting the right shape to wrap a plastic cup. A rectangular label did not fit a cup with angled sides. Kevin figured out that you needed a fan shape so he made calculations and designed the template for me using the space between two differently sized circles and two rectangles. This is the final shape:

Eat my dirt labels
Digitally decorating it was a breeze compared to creating the template. Here is the final product which the kids enjoyed eating. I used sugar free pudding to offset the other sugary ingredients. 

He really did eat one this time,
he refused when it came with a kid's meal at a restaurant. 

Take care and happy crafting,

Friday, April 8, 2011

Catching Up

New News:
Hey everyone, long time no see. Kevin had spring break last week so we were running around, including hosting a sleepover party at our house for the boys' volleyball team and then taking our own mini-vacation to Santa Barbara, which I will post more on later. It is so gorgeous there! Also, a lot has been happening in my scrapbooking world and I was waiting for the dust to settle, before I shared.

Isaiah's birthday card

  • First of all, that silly mustachioed card of Isaiah just went crazy. I received 20 comments on that post, as opposed to 1 on my last project. I entered it in Imaginisce's March challenge and actually won. Here is a  link to their blog if you want to see the announcement plus join in on the April challenge. I know Jacob will ask me what I won - I had a choice of $75 worth of paper collections or an i-Top tool kit. I chose the i-Top kit because it is a new tool that I don't have and probably wouldn't ever buy because its function is so specific. You can basically make your own custom brads from paper or fabric. I was thinking I'd try to make bows for my dogs' collars and put a fabric covered brad as the center.
  • Imaginisce i-top tool
  • I also submitted the card to a scrapbook magazine and it was chosen for the July issue. But all images have to be pulled prior to publication. I'm not sure if Imaginisce would take it off their blog so I just declined the offer. Sorry Isaiah, you won't be seen by the masses. 
  • Another goal of mine was to be more involved with a scrapbooking store. I applied and got accepted but I can't disclose where or what I'm going to be doing until April 15th, so stay tuned. I'm really excited about this opportunity. I wonder where it will lead. 

Old News:
Don't worry about me getting a big head or anything. Not everything I do meets with success. I didn't get on MLS design team. Actually my last remaining scrapbooking goal is to get on a manufacturer's design team. I need something to aim for so I won't stay stagnant. I have to admit, the things I make specifically for an application process don't turn out that great, it is kind of like writing a story for a final exam as opposed to leisurely on your own. It doesn't feel natural and it is made under pressure. I think the things that I make for challenges and assignments turn out much better. There is no pressure at that point, I don't really care if I win a challenge and for an assignment you're already on the team.

I usually make things based on other people's sketches, but lately I started drawing in a sketch book and designing my own cards. I shared one idea with Kevin last night and he was laughing and said, "Who would you give that to?" It was a risky idea, especially if the recipient doesn't have a sense of humor. I'll share it with you all when I make it.

Right now I wanted to share with you two of my projects that I submitted to MLS, but they are still cute in their own right.

Glass  Pendants
I went to some scrapbooking expos and I saw some booths that taught you how to make glass pendants. I bought some supplies and made these. The images are from scrapbooking papers, there is a glass tile on top, a bail on the back and ribbon threaded through as the chain. They are really cute and I've actually purchased some from Etsy before as gifts. Now I can totally make my own gifts. Anyone need a necklace? Someone already took the pink butterfly one but there are three left.

First Card Prototype
I made this card first, but didn't really like it for some reason so I did not submit this one. I did like the curly vine coming off the pea pod which is the only thing I kept for my next card.

Second Card

This one came out really elegant and I was more satisfied with this one. I made it to fit inside a plastic box I recycled from Kevin's earphone packaging.

The sentiment reads, "We go together like two peas in a pod." I bought some fried pea pods from Trader Joes, they taste like potato chips, and put them behind the card inside the box. I thought it was a cute idea.

Tomorrow is the big shindig for Isaiah here at my house. Over 60 people are attending so I hope it goes well. I made some more Cars themed items for the party, so stay tuned for those reveals. I hope you are all doing well.

Take care,