Category Archives: New adventures in creativity

i’m back…

HI there! I know it’s been a LONG time since I posted anything, and you may have forgotten I’m here. I hope not! My life became so busy that I did not have any time to blog. (I’ve fixed that part.) Here is my first post in what I hope will be a regular series from now on. I’m still doing crafts, but my interests have expanded to include word art.

Here is a free download for you to try: a 4th of July word art poster. I designed it to use 8 1/2″ by 11″ paper because that is what most people are able to print. The poster uses music and songs that are associated with 4th of July. You can download a PDF of the poster by clicking on the title below.

I hope you have a wonderful 4th! I’ll be spending the holiday on the National Mall, singing in “A Capitol Fourth” for PBS. Please tune in and share the holiday with us!

4th of July Subway Art by Annie V24th of July Subway Art by Annie V2

spinning top

Several people sent me some wonderful comments about my Menorah Card (Thank you!!!) so I’ve been motivated to design a few more Chanukah cards and files for you. Here they are:

I found that this was a great way to make use of tiny scraps of card stock. The file contains the panel with dreidel cutout on one side of the mat and the embellishments on the other.  I put all four Hebrew letters in the file and you can choose how many to use.  HERE is the svg file.

Once I got the dreidel cutout part done, I thought I’d do a variation with four of them on one card. This design was inspired by the work of artist Andy Warhol.

The file contains the embellishment panels for each dreidel and all four Hebrew letters. I decided that I’d rather not use the tiny letters and just let the minimalist shapes speak for themselves.

HERE is the file if you’d like it.

If you’d rather just make the cards without the tiny embellishments, HERE is a file with two of the card panels but no embellishments.

MATERIALS

Single Dreidel card: DCWV Shimmer Stack (blue mat with cutout), Best Occasions Prismatic Paper Pack (gold mat), American Crafts Specialty Foil Card Stock (Silver mat, Silver letter cutout), AC Foil (tiny black embellishments)

Four Dreidel card: American Crafts foil card stock (black mat), Recollections glitter card (Marine Blue mat), American Crafts foil card stock (silver mat), Best Occasions Mettallic paper (hot pink embellishments)

Anybody up for a game of Dreidel?

festival of lights

The birthday card with candles that I designed made me think of the upcoming holiday that (part of) my family will celebrate: Chanukah (or Hanukah, or Hanukkah.)  The eight-day celebration is filled with traditions that include fascinating history lessons (about the Maccabees who were freedom fighters against the Romans in the 7th century B.C.E.), delicious foods (latkes!) and fun (the Dreidel game.) The holiday commemorates a miracle that occurred many centuries ago. The story of Chanukah also symbolizes hope in the face of adversity, and that concept is timeless.

For those of you who observe Chanukah, here is my take on one of its important icons: a menorah. The modern Hebrew word for this is Chanukiyah. The menorah has eight candles that symbolize the eight days during which the Eternal Light in the synagogue burned when there was only enough purified oil to last one day. The ninth candle in the middle (called the Shamash) is used to light the others.  Each night, one more candle is lit, until on the last night of Chanukah, all eight candles are burning brightly.

brightly shining lights that celebrate the season

DESIGN: I did this entirely in SCAL 2, using the available shapes in the software. The more I experiment with this program, the more I want to discover what is still unknown to me. It is really a fun adventure.

MATERIALS: Top layer (American Crafts white 80 lb card stock), Blue layer (Recollections Marine Blue Glitter card stock). Silver layer (American Crafts Specialty Foil card stock), Card base (Staples 110 lb card stock, lots of Scor-Tape to secure the menorah cutout panel to the glitter mat.  If you haven’t tried Scor-Tape, I highly recommend it.  It comes in many different widths, and the 1/8″ tape is fantastic for getting into tight places (like between the candles.)

I generally belong to the “less is more” school of design, but I’m thinking of adding a small clear gem to each candle flame.  What do you think?

I’ve discovered that there are not that many Chanukah cards out there, so here is one that you can share with your loved ones.  Please CLICK HERE to download the Menorah Card Panel I designed. If you do use it, I’d love to see the results.

No matter what holiday you celebrate this season, may it be filled with joy and peace.

brotherly love

Today is my brother’s birthday. So, of course, I had to make him a card but I didn’t’ mail it yet.  (Work does tend to get in the way of life sometimes…)

Anyway, here it is:

Not enough candles, but who's counting?

I sent the photo by email with a note that said “hard copy to follow.” Please don’t laugh.  At least I remembered his birthday.

The front panel is 4 1/2 inches square and designed to take 1/4″ wide ribbon for the candles and the flames. The card stock is from American Crafts (silver and black textured foil) and Colorbok (royal blue mirror card stock.) The ribbon is from Michaels and the pink metal stud is from Joann’s.

Want to join the celebration? Please  CLICK HERE to get the birthday and candles panel. The file contains the panel as well as the extra “y’ so you can cut that piece in a different color.

making the season merry

Here is the second of this series of cards with a single word on the front.  I like this way of focusing on a single thought that has to do with the holidays.  Depending on how you view the card or where you mind chooses to go, there are unlimited ideas that can spring from that one greeting.

I’m finding the bright red foil a bit hard to photograph and I admit that I’m too lazy to get out my photo studio and lights.

The papers I used for this card are all from American Crafts (red, green and gold foil and white glitter.)  I used Pops Dots to create another layer for the tree. I couldn’t resist adding a tiny bit of bling with the royal blue star (from K&Company.)

All the pieces are contained in the svg file.  Please CLICK HERE to download it.

I’m really getting in the mood for the holidays by crafting.  It’s good for my soul.

celebrate the season

Where did the time go?

It seems like yesterday I was wondering when the temperature would drop out of the high 90s, and here it is November already.  I’ve already started rehearsals for my favorite Christmas shows and am looking forward to hearing holiday music on my I-Phone.

Before it gets any later, I thought I’d better get more Christmas cards done.  This design is an all-purpose one that could be done in a variety of color palettes for whatever holiday you and your loved ones enjoy.

The red and silver card stock comes from the American Crafts Specialty Foil line.  AC is one of my favorite craft supply companies. Their paper cuts so well, even with small details.  The wide ribbon is from Michaels and is left over from a roll I bought last year. I love all the different metallic hues running through it, like lights on a Christmas tree.

I attached the panel using (my usual) Scor-Tape, but also used a small amount of spray adhesive on the back of the letters to make sure they stayed flat on the mat.

This is the first of s series of similar designs I’m working on, so please come back and visit again soon.  I’ll have more.

If you’d like the svg “Celebrate” file, please CLICK HERE.

Let the celebrations begin!

another butterfly

Even though it’s not spring anymore in DC (and heading for fall rather quickly), butterflies are still running through my imagination.  Here is another card I designed this week.

I used my favorite USPS overnight envelope for the framed butterfly panel, and also for the bottom mat. The coral glitter card stock is from DCWV. The clear jewels are from Martha Stewart.

I can imagine a group of these panels in different coordinating colors in pretty frames for a little girl’s room.  What do you think?  The panel is square so I’m sure you can adjust the size up or down.

Would you like my “Framed butterfly in flight” svg file?  Please CLICK HERE and help yourself.

Butterflies are nature’s ballerinas.

framed butterfly – new svg file for you

I’ve been exploring the possibilities of using butterflies in my card designs and came up with this one:

simple but lovely

I’m back to using recycled materials in my cards.  The framed butterfly is made from my favorite, a USPS overnight envelope, and the black mat is a piece of a shopping bag that I ran through my crimping tool.  It has a few small areas that are slightly scarred and I actually think that adds to the charm :).

OTHER MATERIALS and TOOLS: DCWV Glitter Card Stock in Aqua, Staples 110lb card stock in yellow (card base), Scor-Tape to adhere the various layers (of course!) metal studs from Joann’s, and my trusty Xyron to adhere the butterfly cut to the black mat.

If you’d like the svg file for the framed butterfly, please CLICK HERE and help yourself.

I can almost imagine an actual butterfly in flight, one of the true wonders of nature.

christmas in august – it’s never too early!

I love summer.  I look forward to the relaxed pace of the summer months, the warmth, the extra hours of sunlight.  Even though we’ve had many days this year with temperatures over 90 degrees, I still love it.  But I still think of what the future brings.  By the time the holidays come around, I’ll be so busy with concerts that I may not get to my Christmas cards until after they are over (my usual state of being.)  So, here is my attempt at starting the process early.

Here is my first Christmas card design for this year.

My contemporary take on tradition

I used ribbon weaving on this card, along with a window effect for the green of the tree.  The card is designed as a 4 1/2″ square panel that uses 1/4″ wide ribbon on both sides. In case you’re wondering, the mats are 4 1/2″, 4 7/8″ and 5 3/8″ square. The entire card is 5 1/2″ square (my favorite size even though it costs more to mail.)

SUPPLIES: Staples 110 lb white card stock, American Crafts Foil card stock (red, green and silver), red 1/4″ ribbon, 1/4″ wide Scor-Tape to secure the layers, Jolee’s Bling (the red star).  No recycled materials this time but I’m getting to it.  Stay tuned for more cards in this series.

SPECIAL TOOLS: a brayer to make sure the layers make even contact with each other.

This is a very easy card to make but I think it looks very nice when it’s all done.

Please GO HERE to get the svg file for the front panel.  Enjoy!

I can already hear Christmas carols in my head.

weavng in and out

Last week, I did a quick post with a file that had the potential for ribbon weaving.  This method caught my attention a few months ago when I did a Valentine design that was warmly received by several people who follow my blog.  (Thanks for commenting!)  This week, I spent some time exploring and here are two new files I came up with.

I mounted each panel on a series of mats so you can see the “finished” look.  I’m not sure what I will do with these yet.  I could use them for cards or even make a trivet.  I thought I’d try one as the top panel of a gift box. I think these would look lovely as a collection of small framed pictures on a wall.

The first design features a medium size stitch panel that can accommodate 1/4″ wide ribbon (on sale at Michaels this week!).  If you size the panel to be 4.75″ square, the slots will be just right for this size ribbon.

A rainbow of color!

The second design is a variation of the first.  The “stitches” are now shorter and create a different look.  Again, please size the panel to be 4.75″ on each side.

Tiny spots of bright hues!

To secure the ends of the ribbons to the back side of the card stock, I ran a piece of 1/4″ wide Scor-Tape along the outside edges of the first and last slots in each row.  It is very easy to anchor the tape this way.  Be sure to gently tug the end of each ribbon so it lies flat on the right side of the card.

This is a very inexpensive project.  The needed supplies are listed below:

  • One 6″ by 6″ piece of card stock of your choice
  • Eight 8″ pieces of 1/4″ wide ribbon (NOTE: I left a long tail on the ribbon while weaving to make it easier to manipulate.)
  • Two 4 1/2″ strips of Scor-Tape (or adhesive of your choice).

You might use a piece from a lightweight gift box or stiff shopping bag as your base.  My white base started life as a USPS overnight envelope.  I’m going to try a shoe box one of these days and finally use my deep cut blade.

Here are both svg files, free for your enjoyment.  HERE is the medium stitch file.  HERE is the small stitch version.

Now that I’ve done these two designs, my mind is starting to think of new possibilities for this technique.  How about ribbon embroidered Christmas ornaments?  Stay tuned and see what I come up with.  If you’d like to suggest an idea, please do!  I love new design adventures.