Michelle Parlee Believe Wall art

I met Michele Parlee last year on the Crafty Chica cruise.  She and the rest of the Crafty Chica cruisers were some of the nicest people I had ever met.  I was S-U-P-E-R intimidated when I got there.  I thought they were way more talented than I could ever hope to be.  Once I got over my issues with help from my sister and some of the other girls in the group, I found a lot of inspiration from all of the incredible people in the group.  Unfortunately I won’t have a chance to go on the cruise this year, but I got this piece from Michele and it helps inspire me whenever I see it.

what a difference a year makes……

What a difference a year makes……  Fortunately and unfortunately that statement has been extremely true for me.  The short version – I lost my job, decided to go back to college to finish my bachelor’s degree and then found a new job.  The new job is at a place I used to work – definitely never, ever, ever thought I’d go back there.  At least it’s in a completely different dept & doing something new.  I even get to travel every 3 to 4 months for my job and get my passport stamped.  Unfortunately it’s only to the suburbs of Toronto.  (throwing my hands up in mock anger…..lol!)  Hopefully I’ll get to spend an extra day out there so I can finally see Toronto, instead of just seeing from the airplane!  :)

Juggling college & work has been a huge challenge, but I’m really happy I decided to go back to school.  It’s something I needed to do for me.  Although it’s taking up so much time – I haven’t had much opportunity to be creative. I’ve been thinking about setting up a schedule for myself for the weekends so that even if it’s just an hour, it’s something I can look forward to.  A reward for all my hard work. 

I have a few samples of stuff I’ve worked on and I think I’ll post some pics.  I also have some pics of things and places that have been inspiring me lately.  Hopefully blogging again will get the creative juices flowing and I can knock the dust off my sketchbook.  :)

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

One door closes and another one opens….

There has been so much that’s happened over the last 6 weeks. Unfortunately blogging took a backseat while I sorted everything out…..

So I took a much needed vacation in the middle of March with my sister & took part in the Crafty Chica cruise. We had the most incredible time, met the most amazing people and actually relaxed. We loved every minute of the trip! I almost forgot to mention the desserts at dinner every nite on the ship – I had the molten chocolate cake each night. Yep, you read that correctly…..and yes, it was that good that I had to have it each night!

I’ll post some of the pics of the stuff I made in a separate post. The projects were a lot of fun after I got over my initial melt-down & realized I needed to let go of the control freak in me. I was a little intimidated the first day by how easily the “art process” came to so many of the participants. These people are all incredibly talented & I felt like such a hack. My sister helped me snap out of it! I usually work differently & plan everything out, including sketching out my designs before-hand, but it taught me how to be resourceful & use the materials that were available. It was waaaaay out of my comfort zone, but I ended up learning so much about myself and that I’m not just a stamper, but an actual Mixed Media Artist! Go figure! :)

We stayed a few extra days in California. It was our first time there & everything was so beautiful. We stopped at Zuma Beach, drove thru Topanga Canyon, saw Grauman’s Chinese Theater, walked on Hollywood Blvd & the Walk of Fame. We even got to see Kat Von D’s tattoo shop! We took a so many pictures. I still can’t believe how much I loved Cali. Everyone we encountered were so nice! We’ll definitely go back. We’re considering signing up for next year’s Craft Chica cruise.

About a week after we returned, I was informed by my employer’s CEO that my position had been eliminated. So please pardon my short melt-down…… It took me about a week to really wrap my brain around the news. I went thru all of the emotions…….”Why me? Why? Why? Why? What the heck am I going to do now?” Once I picked up my shattered ego off the floor, I pulled myself together. So this is my last week at work and I’m wrapping up the final details. I’ve been busy over the last few weeks working out the hand-off of my responsibilities, prepping training documents/manuals, training some staff & attending a bunch of meetings.

Last week, my fave stamp store Stampology Chicago announced they’re looking for a new owner. If they aren’t able to find the right owner, then they will close the shop. This is a complete bummer. Jeez, so much bad news in a month. On the other hand, one door closes and another one opens…….!

Let’s see what the next month brings. I think things are about to change in a really positive way for me. I have a really good feeling about what’s going to happen next! :)

Finished ATC’s!

Here are some pics of a few of the finished ATC’s. I ended up making way more than I needed for the group. I don’t know why I always do that. I guess it’s because I never want anyone to be left out. :) Well, at least I have extras now that I can use for other projects!
My fave one is the lion with the sacred heart. The pics don’t do these any justice. They came out looking really cool. After I used the glitter Copic markers, I added Stickles in different colors as additional accents.

Adventures in ATC’s, Part II…..

I finished the last of my backgrounds over the weekend. I had a couple of ideas for stamps & knew I wanted to use designs that could “mesh” well together. I settled on some Tim Holtz/Stampers Anonymous unmounteds and some Inkadinkado clear unmounteds.
The pic below are just a sample of what I started stamping. The backgrounds I wasn’t crazy about take on a whole other dimension now that I’ve applied the stamped images. The yellow & red ATC’s are images from Tim Holtz unmounted stamps. The orange and turquoise ATC’s are Inkadinkado clear unmounteds. I’m using different colors of Staz-On ink to stamp with. The samples in the pic were stamped with black or brown ink. I’m also using blue and green for other images.
These are at the 1st stage. I still need to “dress them up”. I should be finished stamping tonight and should be able to start embellishing them right away. I set a deadline of Thursday/Friday to finish them. I have to pack them up by Saturday morning. I’ll take more pics once I’m done. Hopefully the Crafty Chica cruisers will like my work! :)

Adventures in ATC’s…..

I mentioned several weeks ago that I was going on the Crafty Chica cruise. It’s 4 fun filled days crafting at sea. I can’t wait! Anyhow…..now on to the complication. Ok, so I decided to participate in the ATC swap the group is hosting. There’s no theme (yippee!) but you need to make at least 50 so there’s enough to share with everyone in the group. Simple enough, right? I had no idea what I was getting myself into.

First of all, I was completely stumped on where to start. I’ve never made ATC’s before. SO me being ever so industrious, I did a little research. I found A TON of sample images! Holy Moley, what did I get myself into. I was a little over whelmed and got into funk thinking there’s no way my stuff is ever going to look even 1/10th that great. What can I say….I’m my best & worst critic! :) That was 3 weeks ago……cut to last week……

So after flinging caution to the wind, I decided to color my own background paper & just roll with it. I’ll just throw some ideas together & see what sticks. If they like it, great. If not, what are they gonna do? Push me overboard? Not gonna happen with my sister around! :) Make faces when they look at my ATC’s? Use them as coasters? Eh, whatever! So after my little self pep-talk, I spent the last week stippling various colors of ink onto 8 1/2×11 smooth cardstock. I used only distress ink. After my thumb going numb from holding the brush too hard & breaking one of my crappier brushes from the pressure I was applying, I decided to try something else. I ended up applying the inkpad directly to the paper in a sweeping, swirling motion. I did this for the last 4 sheets. I must admit, the final colors turned out really nice on those than on some of the ones I stippled.

In this pic, I stippled 3 of the backgrounds & used the direct to paper method on the other 3. The detail in this pic sucks – I took it with my phone. I forgot my camera.

Countdown to Crafty Chica Cruise!

My passport just arrived a few days ago…….and of course my pic looks just like a mug shot. Although it’s got a bunch of holograms on the page & running across my face, so you don’t notice how bad the pic really is. LOL!

My sister & I are going to stay a few extra days in Cali after the cruise. Who knows the next time we’ll ever get out there again? We’re gonna check out San Diego and then make our way to LA. Wish I knew someone out there that could provide some good advice on where to stay, see, etc. Tourist websites & guide books only tell you so much info, ya know? I kinda want to hear from a local. I’m from a big city (Chicago), but I’m never sure what to expect from other big cities.

I can’t believe that the trip is less than a month away! I’m so excited!!! Btw, were the heck did the last few months go? They just zipped by and I didn’t even notice.
Ok – more important question…….what the heck am I going to pack? I need to check the weather cuz March is still pretty cold here, but in Cali who knows how hot or cold it’ll be.
Alright, I’ve got to get started on some planning. I want to participate in the ATC swap on the cruise. I’ll need to make about 50 ATC’s. I’ve never made any before, but I checked some resources and it looks like I can apply some of the same skills/materials from card making. Cool! I have less than 30 days to crank these out. I need to get started on these this week! I’ll take some pics & post the finished ones so everyone can see them.

I joined Paper Craft Planet!

Gotta tell you crafty peoples out there about a cool new thing I just joined. It’s called Paper Craft Planet (PCP). I found out about it thru Bombshell Stamps. PCP rocks! It’s kinda like Myspace & Facebook but only for paper crafters. There’s tutorials, photos of creations to view, groups to join, friend to make, contests & challenges offered by different groups, etc.

I’m having a craft nerd moment about this right now……..excuse me while I go pass out from the excitement! :)

I don’t do windows……

I was just throwing some stuff together & came up with this one. The images are from Bombshell Stamps, except for the “I don’t do windows” saying. That’s actually an epoxy sticker from Creative Imaginations. I think it’s from one of the Marah Johnson lines/designs. I thought it fit really well with the whole theme of the card.

The base is periwinkle cardstock. The red cardstock is from the Ink by Steph line. I used Corner Adorner punches to punch the design in each corner. I punched a scalloped oval from gray/shimmery sugar coated paper.

I stamped the girl with shoe, bird and banner on white cardstock. The banner had the words “Girl’s Ruin” so I didn’t have to make sure the lettering fit inside the banner. Then, I colored in the shoe, banner, letters and bird with Copic markers. I added black Glaze pen her hair. I did about 3 coats to make it super shiny. I had to let it dry thoroughly before I added another coat. I also used the black Glaze pen for the underside of the shoe. I only applied one coat for this part.

I used clear gel pen to apply glittery accents to the shoe. I popped up the shoe and bird with foam tape. I used glue dots to adhere the banner.

It looks really cool in person. I’m really happy with how it turned out.

Funky Monkeys in space!

I was using up some cardstock in my stash & came up with this one. The copper background is actually a sticker sheet from Mrs. Grossman’s sticker line. I’ve had a bunch of them for ages but never used them for anything. It looks really good against the blue cardstock.

I used one of the Changito clear stamps sets by Stampendous. I stamped on white cardstock and stippled light blue chalk ink for the background. I used green Glaze pen for the rocket and grey souffle pen for the astronaut outfit. I used gold, orange, blue and silver glitter pen for the stars and accents.

I cut in a wierd pattern around the cardstock – I weaved the scissors in & out between the stars. Then I used glue dots to attach this piece to the copper sticker. Viola! Funky momkeys in space!