Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Copic Certification Fun

This weekend was a whirlwind of activity. I traveled to Greenville, South Carolina, to attend the Standard and Intermediate Copic Certification Workshops. I had a wonderful two days of learning more about Copic markers and how to use them to their maximum potential. Over the next several weeks, I'll be talking more about what I learned and sharing some tips and techniques with you. The experience was absolutely amazing, and I was blown away by our instructor, Cindy Lawrence. Her cards are a true sight to behold!

I'll also be displaying my Copic certification badges here on my blog - as soon as I receive them. As with many things, making everything "official" takes a little time. 

Meanwhile, I'd like to offer my sincere congratulations to my fellow classmates, who also received certifications. Here's a simple card that was designed for a young man, but it seems to fit the bill quite nicely.

For those interested in the particulars of the card, I used Bazzill Herbal Garden Dark cardstock, cut to a finished size of 5 1/2" square. The pattern paper is Creative Imaginations (camouflage). I misted the paper with Heidi Swapp Color Shine gold - and also used a Hero Arts Stamp and Cut Sun Flags die and stamp. The sentiment was my own, generated on my computer and printed out. I popped up the flags and sentiment with Stampin' Up's Stampin' Dimensionals, and that was it!

It does seem a little strange that in a post about Copic markers, I didn't use any. Don't worry; I'll get to it!  For now, I'm just happy to be home again and back to a normal routine. Travel is fun, but as Dorothy once said, "There's no place like home!" (Wizard of Oz)

Thanks for visiting, and please stop back by in a couple of days. I promise to offer some interesting tidbits about Copic markers - and have a cute card to show you, too.  May God bless!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Word Play

Today I want to talk about word play...and finding a use for some of those stamps that may not have gotten much time on the work table! Some of my favorite stamps have animals on them. Coloring an image is easy...finding a way to use it on a card may not be.

Lately, though, I've been finding more and more creative sentiments that feature animals. For example, I made this cute card with a digital stamp from From the Heart Stamps. This is FTH's stamp of the month and was produced for their April stamp of the month challenge. I have to admit I used some very unusual colors on this one - for me! The card base is Bazzill Limeade (green), and the Copic markers feature yellow-green (YG), yellow-red (YR), blue (B), and dark earthtones (E) for the flower pot.

Notice the chicken in the pot, who is "just chicken in," or more commonly "just checking in." But you already got it, didn't you? Anyway, I love the play on words. I've recently discovered more of them and thought I'd share some examples, with a few key words in italics. Actually, I just made a number of these up!
It's a tall order, but...
Just stretch out and relax a while
I'm lookin' over a four-leaf clover
I'll always look out for you
Grin and bear (bare) it
It's been a bear of a day
Just the bear (bare) facts
Owl (all) aboard!
Owl always love you.
Owl go to my grave lovin' you...  (Halloween?)
I ain't lion (lying)...you're the tops!
I'd be lion if I said...
It takes real courage to...
Have an ice day!
Brrr!  Baby it's cold outside!
All dressed up (penguin tuxedo)...and nowhere to go
Okay, so you get the idea. If some of these have sparked a few sentiments in your head, please leave a comment. I'd love to have more fabulous ideas for my greetings. The more the merrier.
Thanks for visiting, and may God bless!


Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Don't Forget to Cover It!

Hello.  Today's post is short and sweet! 

I'll never forget the first time I ever received a handmade card. When I opened the envelope, the first thing I saw was a plain white piece of card stock. The actual card was behind it. That may seem a little strange, but it really isn't if you think about it.

Handmade cards often feature dimensional items on the front, also referred to as "popped up."  The card maker will use a piece of foam adhesive with some thickness to it that makes particular elements stand out - or stand up - if you will.  When inserted into an envelope, those pieces can get "stuck" on the corners of the envelope. The cover sheet for the card offers a flat surface to insert into the envelope. It helps the card maker, the recipient, and the post office!

So, next time you receive a card with a cover sheet, you'll know exactly why! Thanks for visiting and stop by again soon.  May God bless!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Best Laid Plans

Hi.  Today I had the most marvelous plans to dazzle you with my wonderful card making skills and show you a beautiful finished card for a birthday this week. But a funny thing happened on the way to my goal...well, a couple of things actually! I chose to tell you about them because it's a definite lesson for me...and might save you some future troubles, too.

Here's what happened:
I printed out a digital stamp that I recently downloaded from From the Heart Stamps, one of my favorite go-to spots for digital images. I was just getting underway with coloring when I noticed that my C1 Copic marker (cool gray no. 1) wasn't working too well. On closer inspection, it appeared that the marker was running out of ink. There are three ways I know of to tell when ink is getting low. First, the pen fails to glide across the paper and starts to get "squeaky" as the color goes on. Second, the color gets splotchy; it's normally very even. (The gray watering can in the second picture below shows a definite unevenness of color near the right side.) And finally, a quick inspection of the brush tip will show a variation in color. The tip starts to turn a whitish hue of the ink color.  If you look closely, you'll see a slight line running up the ink tip in the picture below. There's also a tiny white tip at the end of the brush.

Well, needless to say, this was a most unwelcome occurrence! I immediately sprang into action and ordered a bottle of ink refill for this marker.  Then, as I opened some other markers, I found the same thing. There's only one explanation I can give. I cleaned all my markers these last couple of days in preparation for making blog videos. I used cotton swabs with alcohol, which is perfectly acceptable. What I fear has happened, however, is that I have gotten rubbing alcohol into the tips of my markers. I don't know precisely what the long-term effect will be, but for now they're definitely not working very well. I'm praying this will right itself in the next couple of days.
The second result of this situation is the reaction my markers had on my image. Under normal circumstances, a printed digital image works very well with Copic markers. Today, however, I am getting a definite "bleed out" of printer ink. You can probably see a slight pinkish tint around the black stamp lines in this frog image, particularly around his mouth and eyes. Unfortunately, I was using nothing but greens in my frog.
So, what to do?  Well, time will tell. If any of you have experienced this and have a good solution, I'm certainly interested to hear from you. I'll also be looking for other posts on YouTube about this particular dilemma.
Right now, though, I need to pull out a different type of marker or colored pencil and see whether I can make this frog hop on into the birthday girl's heart!  Wish me luck.
Thanks for visiting and please stay tuned for an update on "the Copic dilemma."


Friday, April 19, 2013

Crocheting Granny Squares Together; No Sewing Required

Hi! No one will be more surprised than I am by my choice for today's post. The primary focus of my blog will be card making, but it just so happens that I have a crochet project in process, and I'm anxious to make good headway before the weather gets too hot for me to hold a large piece of work on my lap. Just as a crocheted afghan keeps a person warm in winter, it can make you hot in summer, too!

My mom taught me to crochet when I was 10 years old, and I've never lost my love for it over the years. Before card making, I used to consider crochet my personal "therapy." In some ways, I still do.  Even now, when I go home to Mom and Dad's house, Mom and I still crochet together at times.

Currently, I'm making an afghan for our bed. It's one of many I've made through the years, but it's just a little different from the rest. My reason for the different style is that I can use up much of my yarn stash without too much additional investment. As crochet projects come and go, little tidbits of yarn are left - and no self-respecting crafter would throw away odds and ends of yarn - no matter how tiny! Eventually, though, storage space becomes an issue.

So, in thinking about my newest afghan, I wanted a design that would allow me to use most of my stash. I'm alternating, in checkerboard fashion, my style of squares:

 By making one square with just two colors (3 rows of color #1 and 3 rows of color #2) and the next square true "granny" style (1 row each of 6 colors), I can maximize use of yarn depending on whether I have a lot of a color or only a little.

This method also allows me to do less planning of square placement. One of my pet peeves is to have  "like" colors next to each other. I've managed to avoid it for the most part, but not entirely. That would take additional colors I don't have - and would defeat my purpose.

So, my tip for today: Decide if there's a way to satisfy more than one goal. My goals are to use up odds and ends of my yarn stash, make something I'll enjoy, and have fun! I've designed my work to satisfy that end. And it's very therapeutic! :-)

Note that my blocks are crocheted together  - not sewn. Also, only two rows are completed thus far, so the squares will flatten out and be more even when the afghan is complete.

For more on how to crochet these blocks together, I've constructed a little video demo - my first! The crocheting is really quite easy - unlike learning to make a video. I hope to gain skill quickly though.

Thanks for visiting. Stay tuned for card making fun in my next post.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In Memoriam

My heart was very heavy yesterday over the bombing at the Boston Marathon. I could hardly watch the news as my memory re-played the terror of 9/11. I'll never forget the physical reaction I experienced watching the towers fall.

In memory of those who lost their lives or are critically wounded, I will simply say today that life is precious. Hug those you love today and tell them what they mean to you. As Goethe said, "Nothing is worth more than this day."

Thanks for visiting and please stop back by later in the week.  May God bless!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Launch day! Welcome to my inaugural post!

Hi!  Welcome to the first post of my new blog. I’m honored that you’ve come my way. And for those of you who are stressing today because of the federal (U.S.) tax deadline, sit back and relax a few minutes and focus on something positive!
Today I am simply introducing myself and laying the groundwork for future posts. First, let’s talk about what my blog will be about.
Currently, I plan to focus mostly on crafting. I love several types of crafts, including card making, scrapbooking, and crochet.  I even occasionally knit on a circular loom, but I have little to offer by way of advice there. I’m still a novice and don’t practice enough to get better.  You can expect to see samples of my work, how-to’s, product reviews, crafting on a budget, personal anecdotes, and more.
In addition to crafting, I can say that I’m interested in lots of things. I’m intellectually curious, an avid reader, and a consumer of tons of media, including other blogs.  So, it’s quite likely that I’ll have varied content here.
What about frequency? I’m certain I'll post at least two or three times a week, but until I find my rhythm, I’m opting not to commit to any particular days.  (I’m a full-time professional employee, working 40 hours a week.)  In fact, I had planned to launch this blog on May 1, but that was before my very best friend (or for you “young-uns,” BFF) hooked me up with Julie Kirk’s “push-up bra blogging.”  Julie says to enhance what you already have, and it was incredibly liberating to list what I know and can write or talk about with ease.  That gave me the push I needed to just dive in head-first! Maybe you’re in the same boat and would like to check out Julie here AFTER you finish my post! It’s free, although she is asking for donations for Save the Children – a worthy cause.
So, that's enough about the site. Now here’s a little about me: My name is Karen Summey. For some reason, people often have trouble pronouncing my last name, so let’s clear that up straight off. My name rhymes with mummy, rummy, and tummy.  I could also say that it rhymes with dummy, but really…I don’t want you to remember that one!  
I am a native of western North Carolina (Hickory) and lived there until late 2010.  Then, I got a wonderful job offer and moved to eastern North Carolina. Now, it’s important to understand that as a person in her mid-50s, this is a tough time to finally run away from home!  I’ve been married for 30 years plus a few odd weeks, but most of our family (both my husband’s and mine) are still in the Hickory area.  We’ve adjusted to the move, mostly, but it’s tough to live 250 miles from parents, siblings, nieces, and nephews. If you’ve ever moved that kind of distance, you know how tough it is to find new friends, new doctors, new church, new shopping, etc. It’s exhausting!

There is one additional family member we brought along on the adventure.  She's our sweet baby...even if she is, technically, older than we are. She's a dachshund, also known as a wiener dog in these parts. (And let me warn you now, she'll probably "drop in" vocally every now and then. She gets so excited when I talk!)

Okay, so enough about me.  I’m sure you’ll learn more as time goes on, but for now I’d like to offer a short video gallery of some of my work. Then, if you like what you see in my blog, I’d be delighted to have you subscribe.
For your information, some of my card samples were made using From the Heart Digital Stamps. You'll see their logo at screen-right; for the record, I receive no compensation for endorsing their products.  I just happen to love them!

Thanks for visiting!