Sunday, June 24, 2012

Never Miss An Opportunity for Art!

I'm guessing not many people remember the movie "My Left Foot" (1989, starring Daniel Day-Lewis)?  I don't either -- I just remembered the title as I went to type this post. I used Wikipedia and found the movie poster, and adapted the art here (at left, appropriately) to tell the story of my left foot.

Here's how my left foot really looks -- or at least has looked for the past week. Yup, fully casted. No weight-bearing. Which means it's a struggle to get up to the craft room. I did the stair butt-climb to get up here, and suppose I'll slide down.

I've really missed crafting. I've been in exile -- on the couch downstairs, playing Solitaire and Pinterest on the iPad. BORING!
Long story short, I apparently suffered a series of small accidents (sprain/near-tears of the Achilles tendon, and of the Plantar Fascia, in two separate incidents). And it's guessed that I suffer from some diabetic neuropathy because the pain wasn't as intense as it should have been, and I kept walking. For months. Which led to the onset of a serious injury called "Charcot's Foot" where all the bones and muscles of a diabetic foot essentially collapse and re-fuse, deformed. It was confirmed by an MRI a week ago ...

No wonder I have been in enough pain to get me to the doctor's (yeah, finally!) Hopefully it was in time to save the foot. In the meantime, the cast's on for four weeks ... and then we'll see. It will likely go back in a "boot" (lovely Gorilla foot, a neighbor called it) ... therapy ... hopefully no surgery. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I am tempted to decorate my cast. Decoupage? Patriotic theme? Summer bummer? Here are some examples, found -- yup -- via Google:

Conservative, with a
pretty teal fiberglass (mine's white)

Serious blingage!

Elmo's foot? And eeek, my leg's not that hairy!!

Or should I decorate just the boot? 

All suggestions welcome!! 

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Welcome Summer Blog Hop

It feels strange -- at least a little -- welcoming summer today, in this year where we've  had very weird weather. It's been "summer-like" since March, with temperatures in the mid-to-high 80's here in Pennsylvania.  Who stole my Spring?

At any rate, the Solstice says it's officially summer (and the weatherman says it's to be almost 100 degrees today!), so it's time for the Hello Summer Blog Hop, sponsored by my friend Ashley of The Glamorous Side of Scrapping.  I made a Happy Summer card:

Card Recipe:
The front of the card is shown in this collage, top left.  I purchased from Just Some Lines a fun digi-image of a sunbathing flamingo. I paper-pieced the umbrella using Doodlebug Designs' "Hello Spring" line of paper, and colored some of the image using Copic markers. The umbrella's tip is a colored toothpick. 

I cut the banner pennants from the same paper, and stitched them together with a running stitch on my Husqvarna Diamond sewing machine. The letters (cut at 1/2") are from Cricut's Simply Sweet cartridge. The summer sun is cut from Cricut's Pooh and Friends cartridge, and is stamped with a Peachy Keen face using Memento Tuxedo Black ink and a white gel pen. 

Inside, I ran a strip of the same paper, and placed a 4.5" flamingo, cut using Cricut's Life's A Beach cartridge.  Throughout the card, I used Martha Stewart Crafts' Ballpoint Tip Glue Pen (my favorite!) and ATG gun/tape as my wet and dry adhesives, respectively.
Finished size: 6x6" folded; white card base with interior image as described (no interior sentiment).

 Please hop along to see what other fun projects are here to celebrate Summer!  Your next stop is with SYLVIA at Bella Scrapbook Designs.  Start at the Hop's beginning with Ashley to see what blog candy is available.  In case you get lost along the way, here is the entire blog hop line-up:
Lissa Marie -

HAPPY SUMMER SOLSTICE, and thanks for stopping by!

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Beautiful Bride Card from a Digi-Stamp

I'm loving this card I made in response to a challenge on Just Some Lines, a favorite digi-stamp store. This week's Saturday Challenge calls for a wedding card. Here's my take:

The image, called Nature's Child, is from Just Some Lines, printed on ivory cardstock. The sentiment is computer-generated in the Azalea Smooth font. I randomly colored the flowers and face using Prismacolor colored pencils, with Gamsol. 

I added some netting over the top of the card from the forehead, taped to the back. Prima strip pearls (cut to fit the crown and the curves and drops I wanted) finished the classy card. I mounted the panel on light blue and lavendar Bazzill papers, and adhered it to more ivory cardstock.

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fathers' Day Greetings to the Men!

This evening, darling daughter Emily came over the Paper Jungle to make her baby Charlotte's Father's Day present for Daddy (Josh).  Here's what she made:

A shadow box frame featuring Scrabble letters and photos
For the "sweetest daddy," a pail of  his favorite treats

Meanwhile, I made the Father's Day cards designed by Jillibean Soup of "The Card Kitchen". This is a monthly kit, and I will say, I do love the designs and after making eight cards, there are plenty of embellishments and paper leftover to make additional cards of my own design.

These are pretty much straight from the kit, other than that I added Glossy Accents (love that stuff!):

I hope your Father's Day is super!

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Copic Coloring ... for fun and profit?

Oh, sometimes my paper world takes a strange turn ...

I've gotten hooked on Zentangling, a relaxing no-holds-barred kind of doodling in black and white -- except I've also enjoyed putting color to the project. I feel very much like a kid again when I cherished my large box of Crayolas, sharp points, lined up just so, and God help the sibling who rounded the tips or snapped one (or more!) in two!

8.5"x11" on ivory
Medium: Pen/ink and Copic markers
Title: "Whack-A-Doodle"

With this folk-art inspired chicken that I drew, I used black ink and then used a wide assortment of Copic markers to color the beast.

I've been playing with my Copics a bit more lately, ever since I've signed up to attend the "basics" and "intermediate" classes in using them coming up in August in Lyndhurst,  NJ.  I'm aiming to be Copics-certified in the use of these markers -- for me, and maybe to (one day!) teach!

Of course, dear hubby (while ever-supportive) wants to know why it is one needs to be certified to use markers ... but he agrees, I am certifiable! Certifiably "whack-a-doodle" that is. 

Come to think of it, I think John just gave title to this piece ... Whack-A-Doodle. And oddly enough, it's now sold!

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,

Friday, June 8, 2012

Nothing but Black & White

A nifty digi-stamps store I frequent, Just Some Lines, has a difficult challenge this week ... simply black and white. I used the B&W version of my Zentangle (posted earlier this week), reduced in size, to make this quick and simple card:

Feeling like I wanted to use a "Just Some Lines" digi-image, I made a second card for the challenge. Isn't this Halloween image just adorable?! 

I colored the image with black pencils by Prisma, trimmed it out to pop the hanging items, used black Martha Stewart glitter around the wand, cut it with a Spellbinders nestability, and inked the stormy background. The sentiment was computer-generated and printed.  I popped the nesting shape with thick dimensional foam dots from Ranger.

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,

A Quickie to Make Your Mats Re-Sticky

About a year and a half ago (Dec. 2010), I posted a long YouTube video on how to recondition your Cricut mats. I spent hours first prepping my mats: scraping and removing old glue. I tested various products to do this ... and then had to reapply glue to get them re-sticky. That meant I purchased oodles of products and spent lots of time.

No more.  How wise I've become with the help of fellow crafters! 

Today, I'm here to show you in actual time (in 4 minutes!) how to clean and resticky your mat, using just one product and a foam brush (ok, and water).  Here's the video:

I used Aleene's Tack It Over and Over Repositionable Glue.
The cheapest price to buy it online is on

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,

Compliments - Unexpected and Unusual

Good morning, blog friends.

This morning, I awoke fresh with a tip I'd like to add to a video for you ... now I'm just figuring out how to stage it. So it's coming soon, along with some cards.

But in the meantime, I wanted to share some smiles I received this week that were both unexpected and unusual.

You may remember the floral wreath I made for Mom for Mother's Day?  Well, once a week I call Mom and Dad in Florida ~ almost always on a Monday afternoon is my time to call. Mom and Dad always each pick up their own phone extensions so it's like a conference call.

Mom was saying how much she truly loves the wreath I made, and how she thinks of me every time she walks by it hanging near her kitchen. Lovely. Not unusual. But then Dad chimed in: "Ellen, I had a chance to look at that wreath closer. It really is beautiful -- a work of art."  Well, I about fell off my chair! Dad?? A softie!!? 

A little later, same day: Hubby John said something that made me smile. I was bemoaning how I didn't want to invite a neighbor-lady into our home during a conversation we were having on my porch, simply because I didn't think my home was neat enough for white-glove scrutiny. You know the sort. John's comment: "Never feel uncomfortable. The fact is, we love our home so much that we actually use it, it's not just for show." 

I guess that's why my PaperJungle is such a mess: well-loved, and well-used. Happy Friday, all.

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Zentangling My Way to Relaxation

One of my best bloggie friends in the Universe (hi, Jenn!) introduced me to the Art of Zentangling.  For those of you who don't know or haven't tried it yet, to Zentangle is the art of meditative drawing in some repetitive form that's relaxing and almost soul-searching (that's why the "Zen").

This week's theme over in the Artist's Play Room is "Let's Zentangle." And since I've never done it before, I decided to (literally!) try my hand at it.

I took a tracing of my hand and let my mind wander. For whatever reason, the song "That's Life" played over and over in my head as I was drawing -- I'm not sure if it was Frank Sinatra coming for a visit, or if some of my images became to represent aspects of my life that are important to me.  Many of the images here are representative: proud (peacock feathers), trust (Cladgh), tears, storms, marriage, birth, turtle (tough exterior, mush inside), hope (flower springing from the tears), God (eye), delta/change, identity (thumbprint), new life (leaves), ups and downs (chevrons), time flies, time heals all wounds ...

You get it...

Now do your own. It doesn't have to be representative of anything. Just relax... and draw.

A typical Zentangle is black and white or black and shades of gray on white. So I kept my original of this piece of art as just black waterproof archival pen on white. Then I made a copy of it, printing onto watercolor paper, and colored it in using my Copic markers. After I was content with the color, I trimmed it off its sheet and pop-dotted it onto a thicker watercolor/artists' paper, suitable for framing.

I'll be posting this Zentangle on Jenn's Artist's Play Room ... and hanging it in my PaperJungle, just for fun and inspiration.  What have you done for you today?

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,

Monday, June 4, 2012

Name banners for Special Kids

This weekend, I combined my work and my hobby (again), by making welcoming banners for two baby boys admitted last week at Pediatric Specialty Care.  The banners I've made for each child as they come in are quite a hit with the staff and families, as they both brighten and personalize a child's room.

To cut the pennants, I used Cricut's Art Philosophy cartridge. For the names, I chose fonts from Lettering Delights, which I printed out, fussy cut, lined with a colored cardstock and popped up on the pennants. 

Here's one for Cecil, a toddler:

This banner also used background papers from Lettering Delights,
which I printed on my home computer/printer.

Here's one I made for Rasul, a baby with young, urban, "happening" parents:

This summer, about 40 friends -- wonderful crafters, all! -- will be making and donating Halloween-themed banners for the children at PSC. If you'd like to join in the fun, please send me an e-mail at We're still looking for more banner makers, as well as those who'd like to make a banner and post about it a Labor Day weekend blog hop.  These kids truly appreciate your talents!

DeFiaNtLy DiFfeReNt & CreAtiVeLy Yours,