Monday, October 31, 2011

An appropriate nightmare on Halloween

Happy Halloween everybody. We got some snow here in Brooklyn but it's all gone now so I think the witches, spooks and goblins will come out and play tonight. We are going to a party at The American Museum of Natural History.
But that's not what I want to share. I had a crazy SCARY dream last night!!!!
Ok several things:
1: I LOVE this easel from 7 Gypsies!  2: I found a pack Bazzill black card stock at TJ Maxx for 6 dollars along with AC Mix Tape for 3 bucks- shelf raiding time! 3: That FABULOUS brain stamp is from Dragonfly Laser on Ebay- they have FANTASTIC rubber stamps- all handmade in New Jersey. It's crystal clear- I used a mist to ink it.
It started normally. I was hanging around with Lola in a busy wide street- perhaps 42nd and Broadway. We stopped at a cafe table (they are everywhere now- part of a "traffic calming" program the mayor dreamed up).
Suddenly this chic comes out of nowhere saying she's a long lost relative and asking to hold Lola. I say no but she takes Lola off my arms anyway.
I am watching her walk away with my baby. I see them cross the street. I am thinking- WHY am I letting this happen? DO SOMETHING!!
And the the sun goes out.
Everything goes black for a few seconds.
People scream. Cars crash.
The sun FLICKERS back on.
I start to run after the woman who has now turned around and is looking at me from across the street. Lola is holding her arms out for me. No one moves.
I distinctly hear someone say: "What's going on? What's happening?"
I start to go through all the scientific causes in my head- eclipse, stroke, falling space stations- wouldn't an eclipse be on the news for weeks??? my brain babbled.
Wouldn't it get incredibly cold?
The sun flickers back off.
Pandemonium breaks out. People stampede past me and I am taken away from Lola and the sun FLICKERS back but much weaker- redder, dimmer.
Adorn-it thought bubbles, Basic Grey Obscure line rub-ons I had to activate using double sided tape.
Tip- don't bother with the heat gun- it just curls up the plastic they come in.
That's when I woke up. I "heard" myself yelling WAKE UP! WAKE  UP! I literally could not stand it another minute.
First I checked to see if Miss Thing was ok- she was. Then I looked out the window- it was dark- 3am dark in a snowy too cold to hang out night. And it was quiet.
Ooooo creepy not really awake brain filled in all KINDS of terrors I had to actively choose to ignore... didn't sleep for the rest of the night.
Halftone app

This year's outfit- Candy Corn Witch. She refuses to wear the hat.
She also refuses to pose while looking at the camera.
Happy Halloween!
Michelle and Family

Friday, October 28, 2011

Cardtastic Friday!!! Two hand made cards.

Lola's been sick all week and hasn't been sleeping. I've had little creative time but I've really felt a NEED to make stuff. Rather than drive myself crazy trying to schedule pages in 20 minute intervals I've started making cards.
A master crafter can easily spend hours on a card using advanced techniques, check out Polka Cabana to see what that looks like, but I like to create a card in 30 minutes flat. Especially since I suspect many amy end up in the garbage anyway. But not best friend Gia- she's a keeper.
Gia's Birthday Card- I tried a new way of shooting this and really liked the result.
I placed the card directly in front of the light coming in the window and used a bounce card to light the front a bit more. I also over exposed this shot by 2 stops using my manual setting.
Materials: Gauche Alchemy ouchless corrugated board, Webster's Pages flower, Prima roses,
Elle's Studio banner, Canvas Corp burlap, Maya Road pins.
I made this card minutes before I met Gia for the first of 3 lectures on website design at Noble Desktop. Yup- I'm going pro people- blogging is awesome and I want to do it for bucks- maybe I'll finally land a paying gig too.
This shot shows more detail but it's flat.
I really need to invest in some photo staging material. 
Remember a million and  half years ago when I started my "Happy Mail" project and gathered all the real world addresses of my facebook friends? I haven't sent a single post card since!
I was talking to Cheryl the other day when she very politely pointed out she was still waiting for her card. OOOOOPS!
Here ya go sweets!

Gauche Alchemy Scarlet Fever RedWedding Night White and Black Out color mixed
media kits , red punchinella, Fancy Pants filter doily, Paper Trunk Rockabilly paper (rose), Bazzill
Phoenix Swiss Dotted paper, Mister Huey in Plum and Schoolhouse, DCWV houndstooth paper.
This card will get mailed today- promise.
Cheryl got married recently. Swing by her blog, And Handmade Too, to check out her fabulous Rockabilly themed wedding. The wedding colors were red, black and cream which make for fantastic design.
Couple more scraps for the interior and we're done.
Hmmm- I need to fill in that receipt at some point...
I predict Cheryl will love the record shaped button on this card. I got it at a local thrift store here in Brooklyn called JUNK. It was the only one I saw that day but I'm going to go again to see if maybe I can dig a few more out of the huge bowls they are kept in.
How does Junk get away with charging 25 cents a button when
 they're displayed like this? Dave thinks I'm bananas for pointing this out as I wait
 in line to pay.  I stopped at 3 bucks- that's all the cash I had.
It's now Midnight on the 28th of the month. I go check out Studio Calico as a regular schmo (dropped my subscription like I said I would)- you know what? I like this month's kit but I already have 90% of the products offered up and once again the only thing I wanted- AC woodgrain Thickers- are sold out 3 minutes into the game. NO regrets here!
Isn't this TOTAL awesomeness??? It's the Halftone app and I'm in LOOOVE!
I'm a  reformed comic book geek so this is reaching all KINDS of sweet spots!!
MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Fade to black- shooting an all black layout.

The November True Xoxo Girls challenge is.... (dramatic music) BLACK.
You've been duly warned.
Tune in November first to see the varied and FANTASTIC projects created by the DT.
Meanwhile here's a tutorial on photographing monochrome layouts.

I had a LOT of fun avoiding this challenge. I bitched and moaned to fellow DT members.
I sat down several dozen times and played with my iPod instead.
I read a book- a 400 page book- "Peter and The Star Catchers"- It's awesome- pick it up when you have a moment.
I watched several movies, taught Lola to sing "Itsy Bitsy Spider in Spanish and produced 3 other pages.
Then I made this- finally.
"Good Magic" or  "Happy"- take your pick.
MATERIALS: Canvas Corp chalkboard paper and burlap, Basic Grey and Crate Paper buttons,
Ki Memories title, Webster's Pages die cuts, large paper clip, "good" card and slide mount from
cyber-friend Amy Baldwin (Thanks Amy!!), felt floral by Anna Griffin, Amy Tan chevron fabric paper  
This isn't the page you'll see on the True Xoxo blog. The challenge won't be up till November 1st. I have a very special post scheduled for that day. I'll be celebrating the fabulous Mexican holiday Day of the Dead with not one but 2 projects. Try to swing by- if you aren't completely pooped from FINALLY getting your kids to sleep after their dinner of chocolate covered sugar bombs that is.

Mini Tute time!
Shooting black isn't as hard as you think as long as you keep the following rules in mind:

1. Rake light across the project. That just means add a side light of some sort.
I did this by placing the page directly in front of a window. It was raining so the light was already indirect. On a sunny day, make sure to place your project in a way that avoids direct light. I then added a side light by taping some aluminum foil of a piece or cardboard and bouncing light from the window onto the project- you can sort of see that here- my hand is holding the board.
OOO! DoD page Sneak Peek!!!
2. Make sure to include both "light" blacks and "dark" blacks in your project. 
The Canvas Corp paper I used for this project is great because the paint it uses literally eats light- black buttons added on top still showed. The Ki Memories "happy" title" is also light chomping but the stcky backing acts as a highlight.
This is a more traditional photo of "raked" light. The sun is hitting the page directly. That's great for this detail shot but the shadows obscured many of the details in the overall project photo so I didn't use that shot. Face palm on that out of focus journaling.
3. Add contrast with textures, patterns and if you must- colors.  I added some contrast to this page by using some green and beige elements- I love the final look but and that's mainly why it didn't become my final Xoxo Page- I wanted to explore using only black elements.
Here's what an "all black" page can contain:
True Xoxo Day of the Dead page sneek peek!
I still "cheated" by using some grey chipboard but I just couldn't bring myself to paint those fabulous Cosmo Cricket hearts. The flowers all started out annoyingly pink but got painted black with Tattered Angels Glimmer Glam.
Did this make sense?
Albie says:

Now reaching the Brooklyn stop of the Hogwart's Express. All ABOARD!
MuChoS SmOoChEs!

Monday, October 24, 2011

1 year later...

Hello there!

Can you believe it's been 1 year of blogging for this crazy chick from Brooklyn? I can't. Well actually I can. What amazes me is how far I've come- how much I've learned, the friends I've made and how fulfilled I am by making pretty things just because they make me HAPPY!
It's Gonna Be A Half Glass Full Kind Day
Materials: Sassafras Lass grid pattern paper and alphas, Basic Grey Life of the party star paper and mini brads, American Crafts Amy Tan fabric paper and mustard Zing, Maya Road star pins, buttons from Reasonable, stars from Ebay- been in my stash over 2 years!

To celebrate a few friends and I are doing a mini hop.

After you are done here swing by

Both started the same road last year and are now off to a rip roaring success. I am glad to call them my friends.
There are no rules just stop by each blog and leave some love. I have a mini give away to celebrate hitting 10,000 blog views. I was supposed to celebrate hitting 100 followers but that milestone came and went without me noticing! So I will celebrate hitting 131- YAY!!!
I love all of these things but my love did not extend to my memory.
I ordered 2 of each and will not use them even if I tried- current bananas button stash is proof.
So why not share? Post this hop in some other forum or social media website and leave a comment to be entered an extra time for each.
I started blogging because I was lonely. I was making some cool scrapbook projects but that particular craft isn't very highly valued here in NYC so when I brought the subject up I would get strange looks. One friend even said- "I don't even know what that MEANS!" I wanted to reply- do you speak english? Scrap. Book. What's so hard to understand? But that's obnoxious so I kept the yap shut.
Current pattern faves
Arby's motto!
I want to show some work from when I first started that I never posted here - Uhhh- this is making me cringe but it goes right along with my show it all and let the readers decide for themselves mentality.
Lola's Scrapbook cover- inside- the only part I actually finished.
One long forgotten fact- I stared scrapbooking right after I got a green scrapbook from
my best friend, Gia, as a wedding shower present.  Page made in August 2009.
Color blocking? My page to record Lola's naming. Made in July 2009.
Why so many birds? Lola is named after a bird- Alondra- Meadowlark.
I am glad and very grateful to be on the design teams for Gauche Alchemy , Punky Scraps, True Xoxo Girls Challenges and Paper Issues.

The feedback and camaraderie I get from being part of these fantastic groups is invaluable. I've learned  how to create on deadline, how to communicate effectively, how to run a proper blog hop, tips on getting published and how to make a good looking page others will want to swing by your blog to check out.

OH! Before I forget- Paper Issues is also celebrating one year! Why not swing by and play along their October Halloween themed link party? Because I'm always late to the party I just realized I loved Pink Paislee's Phantom line- you can swing by the Paper Issues Etsy Store to check it out as well.

This page is from when I first started posting on
I found Etsy and these wonderful inventions called Border punches.
Page from October 2010- 1 year later I'm still proud of this page.
And thank YOU for sticking around! I learn a lot from your comments and from your links as well. You've taught me what works design wise as well as what confuses you and what inspires you. 

Here's to many more years of creating and a growing list of "followers" or as I think of you- friends.
Ira Glass rocks my world.
I regularly listen to This American Life on NPR while scrapping- it's awesome.

MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Friday, October 21, 2011

Fall colors, beautiful light

Ok I can dig this Fall season- 78 degree weather and rain at night? It's perfect! We went into tree country last weekend to pick apples but the fall colors are not showing fully yet so I decided to get warmly cheerful in my current Punky Scraps layout:
MATERIALS: Gauche Alchemy woodgrain punchinella (that's right WOODGRAIN) and Lady Marmelade orange mixed media color kit, Dusty Attic chipboard, Hambly Studio tranny, Studio Calico paper and tag, Mister Huey Hot Dog, Making Memories metal letters, Basic Grey brads, Mesh origami paper (!!!) and black acrylic paint.
The prompts were many and diverse for this "Get Picky" challenge so I procrastinated LOVELY the entire week. Finally, last night, after 2 bottles of Pacifico beer and a bag of Blue Cheese Kettle Chips I was ready- who cares if it was 1am?
The Mighty List:
Tamara - Hessian/Mesh

Kat - A Tag
Cheryl - steam punk imagery
Kerry - your own handwriting

Marie - black mist
Jolanda - a picture of your eye(s). what do they say/mean to you?
Celina - lace of any kind
Ashley - Doodling

Misty - metal

I was supposed to go deep with my journaling but what I really needed was a page I could hang on the wall and use as a touchstone while I worked- it reads: Do what you want- people will decide they don't like you anyway.
Not to sound like Michael Jackson who I thought spent entirely too much time being defensive (and dangling babies off hotel balconies) instead of concentrating on HIS WORK.
Thank you Shelley J for the beautiful Studio Calico paper!
I took a photo of an image I had opened on my computer desktop using the Hipstamatic app on my iTouch and my favorite lens filter- Watts. 
I then changed the contrast, color and added a round blur using 
The paint splatters were made by watering down some acrylic paint and using a mascara brush to sprinkle tiny dots all over the page- I don't trust the spray nozzle on those bottles one bit.


'I also wanted to repost these tags that I linked over at Flashback Fridays. Amy sent me a nice email reminding me I'm not supposed to backlink an older post since the whole point is to show how much you have improved- yikes- sorry about that. I love these so I'm glad to have a chance to show them off again.
I made these for a tag swap over at Kreatorville Krafts using some old office folders, some scraps of
favorite prints from Sassafras Lass and Girl's Paperie, Making Memories metal tag rims and some buttons-
it took over a week because I kept over thinking the process but I loved the final product.
You can check out the original post here: Going Tag Crazy

Please swing by Punky Scraps and join the challenge- there are 2 prize packs available this month and only 1 person in the running for both- does that sound fair to you? Go up in there and give her some competition!
This year she actually rode the pony AND I managed to get an
eating apples shot where she didn't look like a zombie.
I can't believe that beanie still fits- It's 2 years old!
MuChOs SmOoChEs!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Some Odd Girl Stamps Guest Spot! FUUUN!


I was over the moon when I got an invitation from Kristy creator and head innovator over at Some Odd Girl Stamps to help celebrate her birthday by guest-writing a post on her blog. YAAAY! Naturally I chose to write about my all time favorite topic- iPod camera apps.

Now before you say AGAIN? This time I talk about 4 different applications so perhaps you may want to head on over to check it out. Click here: SOME ODD GIRL 

For this post I want to talk about a card project that did not make it to my SOG post because my writing hit 1000 words and even I know that's too darned long.

I LOVE Kristie's beautiful Japanese animation looking designs and while I haven't been very good at experimenting with digital design, I went ahead and took the plunge.

Here is my first project:
I tried so many new things with this card project! Most impressive to me? I got this card to stick
to my crazy windy and rusty fire escape with some super strength Pop Up Glue Dots.
My fandom for this amazing product has been renewed!

This "How To" moment brought to you by: SOME ODD GIRL:'s Lomo-Fi filter is my all time favorite right now- LOVE those uneven black borders
I t seemed like a lot of work but the final result was worth it.
Hipstamatic's  Ina's 1969 film combined with the Chunky lens. 
  1. Print "Love" sentiment stamp from Some Odd Girl onto Computer Grafix computer printable  transparent plastic sheets which also has adhesive backing so you effectively get stickers.  NOTE:  The ink never dries if you use regular tranny film- it has to computer printable film.
  2. Cut the heart stamp out leaving adhesive backing on.
  3. Print love stamp onto regular paper and cut out the individual letters to make templates.
  4. Use your letter templates on patterned scrapbook paper and cut letters out making sure the edges are a bit smaller so they don't stick out over the Love stamp's black borders.
  5. Peal off adhesive backing on Love sticker and apply the scrapbook paper letter making sure borders align (hardest part of this process).

Voila! You have a custom sticker!
I made two.

For the card I used Sassafras paper, lots of bits left over on my desk including some clothing pattern tissue paper, half a burlap flower, corrugated board and a handmade mini doily.

I stuck them onto the card using Modge Podge and used a couple of stitches here and there to attach the Love sticker in front. I wouldn't say this is the easiest way to make a card but it was incredibly fun and educational. Most importantly, I really love the final result.

The second project was a crazy character made with Kristi's Techie light bulb stamp design.
My post over at Some Odd Girl will discuss all the filters used here in a little more detail but
from the Hipstamatic app I used Inna's 1969 film to get that inner white border and the warm color tone.
I then opened the image up on and used the Lomo-fi filter to give it major contrast and
that cool black border.
Ain’t she PURTY?  To make Luz I :
  1. Resized her in photoshop so she took up most of an 8 by 10 piece of watercolor paper and printed her right up.
  2. Colored her using Reese Oil Pastel crayons and “blended” the color using my fingers as I am Copic disabled.
  3. ALMOST ruined her by sticking yellow tissue paper everywhere for “texture”. Luckily Instamatic filters are wonderfully low rez and forgiving of mistakes- the texture is invisible in most pics.
  4. Two wooden lollipop stems became her “legs” and out Luz went on a bike ride.
Sometimes a girl CAN have too much fun.
Hipstamatic's Buckhorst H1 lens and Ina's 1969 film filters
"Luz" as I like to call her- went on several weekend bike rides with me and finally bit the bucket today when Lola mauled her during a particularly vulnerable moment. But you can see her adventures over at my post for Some Odd Girl.  And yes I am aware that I've already plugged it 5 times- why haven't you gone to check it out yet?
BRAND NEW (to me)! Diptic lets you post several photos from any other camera app in your ipod
as well as Facebook or Flickr- no other app can do that right now so go get some of that action people!

MuChoS SmOoChEs!
Some Odd Girl

Friday, October 14, 2011

Well... I tried purple! Punky sketch Challenge

Purple was my favorite color when I was 12.
I had a Victorian style high neck dress with lots of lace and beautiful pearl buttons down the front and a big bow at the back.
I proudly wore that dress to PS 141- deep in the crack-cocaine devastated South Bronx.
Let's please pause to imagine that people.
I wore that dress and beige square-heeled patent leather shoes. With pride.
I'm lucky to be alive!
Materials: Crate papers and borders, K and Company embossed words (Thanks Queen Kat!), Crafter's Workshop 6x6 honeycomb template, Mister Huey in Calico white, Tattered Angels Patina mist, Tim Holtz metal word, Bliss pin from Jo-Ann's, tiny beige alphas from Kaiser Craft, Golden Light molding paste (covered that right up- too messy!),  Modge Podge, Canvas Corp mini clothing pin, Making Memories Velvet flower.
My brother, 2 sisters and I attended PS 141 because our Dad was the school psychologist there.
We never fit in.
Our parents weren't zombies and my Mom had a thing for dressing us up in a neighborhood where safety pins binding the cuff of your jeans (a la Michael Jackson in "Thriller") was OO lala!! Tres Chic.

Dad would regularly spit shine our faces- in front of everybody- using the corner of his shirt cuff.
What was he wiping away?
Our dignity.

I lost my love for purple. It's the color of Prince's rain but I avoided it anyway.
Till now!

This week's sketch by Marie.
This Punky Scraps challenge is based on a sketch but once I started using my Matte Medium and Molding paste I totally left the design and starting pulling everything out the scrap pile that was purple, beige or gold. I didn't really notice this at the time but the palette was set by the paper which has tiny dots running along the border.
Goes to show- Trust. Your. Hind-brain! (the lizard part that goes "Tzzz! Tzzz! Want COOKIE!" "Tzz! Want Cheese Cake- from Junior's- on 8th street not Brooklyn Bridge- that location sucks!"- at 1am)
Got those word sticks as part of a prize I won and thought,
"Hmm...I'll never use these- they're PURPLE! "
Guess what? I used them that night!!!! Never look a gift horse in the mouth.
Second time I try out the Crafter's Workshop Honeycomb template- need to go bolder!
Those 3 acrylic bubbles are the only "real" ones on this page.
The others are all digi created by hitting copy then paste in Photoshop.
If you have a cheap source for those lemme know!
Swing by and join us- Punky Scraps- Spoooooky Sketch!!! Challenge
I never lost my love for Twilight Purple.
MuChoS SmOoChEs!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Welcome to the Xoxo Blog Hop!


True Xoxo is a great team- welcome to our blog hop!!
It was ALL I COULD DO to keep this under wraps for this long!
Lisa Murphy Watson (a wonderful scrapper if I may say so) threw the challenge down LOVELY!
My challenge? Channel master scrapper Ingvild Bolme. WOOOOHAA!
And here it is:
Wonder Wheel- New Year's Day 2011
MATERIALS: American Crafts white cardstock, Tattered Angeles Mermaid Glimmer Glam and Patina Mist, buttons fro m Basic Grey and My Mind's Eye, Chipboard from Dusty Attic, metal gear brads from Oriental Trading
This page is very different from what I normally do and I proved to myself that I can still rock the shabby chic/romantic vibe without getting overly prettified. Still, when I saw Lisa's challenge I WIGGED OUT.
Ingvild's design style is incredibly complex and uses lots of advanced technique.
Click here to check out her blog. But come back here ok? please? :)

Ingvild's a perfect choice for this challenge. She's got a very distinctive style that isn't easily imitated but can be used as a "jumping off point" for your own ideas and style.
First I made a list of themes I loved about her work.
  • White background paper- negative space
  • Turquoise paint- splatters and swishes
  • Transparencies and sewn details
  • Lots of texture with gesso, netting and edge distressing
  • Black and white photos with blown out highlights
  • Flowers, lace and other Prima products
I tried random swishes of a paint across the page but HATED IT!
I dabbed the page with the brush but hated that too.
Then, instead of throwing the page out, I stuck it to the wall and dabbed it more "confidently"with dripping paint- that's how I got that "tree" look.
My only problem with this photo is that it appears to be out of focus.
The photo looks fine in real life but when I take a picture of it WHAM!- no faces!

I then misted it with Tattered angels "Patina" and used my heat gun to dry it off- this lessened the warp I got from using Glimmer Glam.
The Dusty Attic gears were too thick to allow for direct to the page sewing so I referenced the effect by winding some floss around them.

The big blue rose actually started out pink but some misting and glimmer glamming whipped it into shape. I also tried to stay away from edge distressing which can get really ugly in the hands of the inexperienced.

Ingvild's stark white portraits are an inspiration but I decided to take it easy on myself. Rather than start a whole new shoot, I used images from the Polar Bear Club New Year's Dip my husband and I participated in January this year. He jumped in the freezing water and I got my boots wet trying to take photos- it was a truly fantabulous day.
So cozy in the 2 feet of snow...
Did you enjoy the hop? I sure hope so- thank you so much for joining us! Your next stop is back at Xoxo headquarters- thank you for commenting and following each blog- we really appreciate it and remember- it's the best way to win the grand prize- a True Xoxo Guest Designer spot!
But WAIT there's MORE!!!!!
I have a little give away of my own for new followers (and old ones as well- just leave a comment with your email or blog addy)
These lovely flowers are all yours- just swing back to this blog to find out
 who won October 20th!
CLICK HERE for your next stop- the Xoxo home page!
My pant cuffs and feet were completely soaked here- so is the sacrifice I make for me "art".
MuChOs SmOoChEs!