Saturday, March 29, 2014

Upcoming Challenge # 2 and...Our Sponsor!

Hello there!
Just a quick post to remind you that our challenge is coming fast and furious in two short days! Can you guess what the theme might be for Virginia's View Challenge #2?

I am taking this chance to introduce our sole monthly sponsor:

Simon Says Stamp

Simon Says Stamp

In business since 2002, Simon Says Stamp is striving to offer you the best online selection of Rubber Stamp, Altered Art, Scrapbooking, Artist Trading Card, Card Making and Paper Crafting products in the world.  We stock over 100,000 items in our warehouse so that we can offer you quick service and one stop shopping at a great price!

Our top prize winner will receive a $25 gift voucher from Simon Says Stamp! How sweet is that?
HUGE thanks to Simon Says Stamp for such a generous offer and believing in this challenge blog. I know you will be excited about this!  
Challenge + prize=Fun!
 See you on April 1 (12:00am Eastern Time zone)! Ciao!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Spotlight Feature!

This is the moment we've all been waiting for...We have so many beautiful entries for the first challenge! My initial estimate was around 10-15 (alright, maybe 20 at best) entries! To my disbelief, it is a whopping 359!

Our Top winner will get a $25 gift from CAS-ual Fridays Stamp Store.

It was SO VERY tough to narrow it down to Top 10 Favorites from 359 entries, as you can imagine. Dr. John, Stephanie and I tried our best. There were quite a few stunning entries that are EVERYONE's favorite choices and we are taking notes! These players will be invited to guest design for our challenge blog in the coming months. 

Without further ado, let's get right to it...
In no particular order, these are our Top 10 Favorites:

Dr. John: " I like trains, I like cars...these are great examples of manly cards with water-colors!"
1. Claire  (player #2)
2. Susan Joyce ( #145) 
 " I picked these cards because they had a huge impact with their designs and styles. They stuck in my head and left an imprint in my heart".
3. Leigh Penner (# 60)

4. May Park ( #72 & # 277)
5. Jacqueline ( # 189)
 6. Jo Nevill ( #319)

Stephanie: "I like clean and simple cards with interesting textures. Monochromatic colouring always catches my eye!"
7. Michelle W. ( #55)
8. Sarah G. (# 92)

9. Natasha K. (#175)

10. Christine Drogt (#317)
Our Top 10 Favorites, please grab your blog badge! 
The following are our Honorable Mentions ( in no particular order)
Alice W.
Lin ( 2nd card)
 Sherry E.
 Karen D. 
Beth S.

With the random. org. selection, the CAS-ual Fridays $25 gift card goes to one of the Top 10 Favorites

.... (drum roll, please...)

 #10 Christine Drogt

Congrats, Christine, please e-mail me to redeem your prize! 
Thank you so much for participating in our first challenge. I can't wait to share next month's challenge with you. It's going to be fun, exciting and inky!
I will see you right here on April 1, same time, same place!
yours truly, Virginia

Friday, March 21, 2014

A Wrap-Up

Thank you for all the amazing entries for our first challenge! As you can tell, from the number of entries (359 in total) , it is a smashing success! I am overwhelmed by the enthusiasm that you have shown me and the encouragement that comes through your words and actions!

Today's post highlights a few of the entries that I had come across. These entries deserve some love and attention all of their own. Our Feature Spotlight (coming up on the 25th) will be the last event before we embark on next month's theme!
I have compiled the submitted projects into a few categories:

 1. Use water-colors as background colors: this is probably the simple yet most effective way to create a quick card. Most of you have created gorgeous cards with this technique. Here are a few beautiful examples to inspire you. 
 2. Use water-coloring as the medium for coloring the image: this technique really plays up to the challenge. Here are some of the gorgeous examples.
3. Use water-coloring with diecut: this is one lovely and innovative technique! The various diecut with the different shades of water-coloring really make the designs shine!

 4. Paint with water-colors: some of you are so brave and try painting with water-coloring (no stamping!!). They are most original and beautiful!

5. Apply watercolors with stamped, dry-embossed, emboss-resist,  stenciled background: this is the most popular approach for all stampers. This option provides the most satisfying and happy results.


6. Bright and vibrant water-colored background: without a doubt, this is the most immediate and effective way to convey the sense of happiness, love and hope.

7. Subtle and muted water-coloring: These sophisticated cards are fine examples of "Less is More". 

 8. Create a scene card with water-colors: each one of these artistic card should be framed and admired. A lot of  love, care and attentions went into these designs.

I think these 8 categories pretty much sum up the amazing entries. Of course, there are quite a few that do not fit into any of these categories. I know I miss mentioning all of your beautiful work that also are in these categories. I encourage you to check them out and comment on the entries before/after yours. One of the goals of this challenge is to make new friends and encourage the camaraderie amongst the participants/blog followers. I know you will help me in that department!

Our Spotlight Feature is coming up on the 25th. See you then!

Yours truly, Virginia


Wednesday, March 19, 2014

.... Grateful for You

We have 359 entries for the first challenge!
Incredibly amazing.
  I am grateful for your participation and enthusiasm.
Can you tell my love for water-coloring?
I bet a lot of you do, too
grateful for you
Supplies: Garden Background (Hero Arts), Hand Written Sentiments ( Simon Says Stamps), Distress Inks (Peacock Feather, Festive Berries, Mowed Lawn, Pickled Raspberry), vellum, black and white embossing Powder (Zing), Paper piercer (Making Memories), light green threads, sequins (Dollar Store) 
Some background stamps are just perfect for water-colors. A little piece of vellum, some hand-stitching and a pretty background, you've got a happy card :)

Since this is a new challenge blog, there are a few issues that I think I need to address. Here are some questions that were raised:

Q: I thought the challenge runs for three weeks...I missed the deadline!
A: I did say (approximately) 3 weeks. However, I apologize that I didn't state it clearly that the challenge runs for 18 days every month.

Q: Given the number of entries, are you considering a design team call soon ?
A: At the moment, I do not plan to have a design team. Every month I will invite top-notch guest designers to design for our challenge blog with specific themes in mind. I consider all the entries from YOU ( the players) as my design team members. I am counting on YOU to inspire, admire and comment on each others' work.

Q: How are you going to pick only Top 5 Favorites? 
A: I is impossible to pick only Top 5 Favorites, especially since we have 359 entries for our first challenge. I will adjust the number of favorites, for instance, I may pick Top 10 Favorites instead. In order to keep the challenge exciting and fun, I will ask my hubby Dr. John for his votes, too ( He has good taste for cards!).

Here was a suggestion from Kelly Griglione:
....WAY TO GO! I think you'll be a wonderful hostess for this monthly challenge. In addition to the spotlighted cards, I think there should be a "Dr. John's pick". How fun and unique would that be?!? I think people would get really excited about that!! He could have his own graphic, and say a sentence about why he likes it. What a unique perspective he would bring. I'd be so interested to hear why a non-card maker is drawn to a particular design (because, after all, most of the cards we send out are probably to non-card makers).

 I hope that you will continue to play and support this challenge blog. There are SO many ideas floating in my head and I can't wait to share them with you in the next few months.  I will have a wrap-up post next. Please scroll down to check out all the awesome entries and leave each other some blog love. This is what this new challenge blog is all about. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Inspiring Stamped Cards with Water-coloring!

As we get closer to finish our first challenge on water-coloring, I thought it will be awesome to share my sightings of amazing water-colored cards in the blog land!

First up, it is the uber talented Lisa Spangler's birthday card (see here). Her Pinterest board on water-coloring provides you some serious inspiration!
Happy Birthday by Lisa Spangler 
Don't you just love the saturation from the water-coloring? And her gold stitching, gem and sequins really enhance the overall design. It's all in the little details, right?
 Watercolored Poppies by Lisa Spangler
The details of her Poppy Flower card are here
You can see more of Lisa's beautiful work here here and here
Next up is a delightful card from Pamela Ho. Isn't her composition gorgeous? I love the trims and how she did the sentiment! And let's not forget the distressed edges from her frame! Swoon!
Neat & Tangled - Diamonds by *茵~, via Flickr 
This card from Cristina truly highlights all the loveliness from water-colors with lots of white space!
 Whatever You Decide Card by Cristina Kowalczyk for Papertrey Ink (February 2014)
 And who knew that a bit of water-coloring can look so stunning on a Christmas card?
Jacqueline's work always amazes me! Check out all of her entries for this challenge! I bet you will be totally inspired!
Jacqueline's Craft Nest
 Here is a UBER COOL one from Maria Fischer (Riesling Mama). Those water-colors totally evoke our sense of excitement and happiness! As Maria would say: "Viel Spass" (lots of fun)!

Lastly, here is a delightful watercolor painting that makes you ...happy!
watercolor cards - Google Search 
Watercolor Floral Bouquet Stationery Cards by Yao Cheng Design 
(from Pinterest)

I have enjoyed visiting every blog that you entered for this challenge! The real challenge is how to pick a Top 5 favorite! I wish I could pick 50! Hope you enjoy the eye candy today!
Happy weekend!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Did I Mention....Prizes?

First of all, can I just say a big fat thank-you for being the most wonderful participants in this new challenge blog? I am still a one woman operation because I only estimated 20 entries for the entire month ( it's now close to 200 entries!!). So many of you have never tried water-coloring before, you sure took the plunge and make a huge splash with this new challenge! I am amazed at the wonderful entries that you had submitted! 
Since this is a challenge blog, did I mention prizes? No, I think I forgot that little detail! Well, lucky for us, there will be sponsors offering a prize to the top winner. I will have Top 5 Fav selected and announced on the 25th every month. My daughter Stephanie who is an accomplished photographer/PhD student offered to help me with this difficult task--select Top 5 Favorites. The blog header and badge photos are Stephanie's work (see here). Stephanie has an excellent taste in designs and she does make cards ( when she has time) !

The Top 5 selection criteria will be based on:
1. Originality (30%) 
2. Execution (30%)
3. Craftsmanship (20%)
4. Presentation (10%)
5. Wow factor (10%)

Among the Top 5 Fav, there will be a random draw for a lucky (and talented) winner who will then receive the top prize. I hope this selection process is fair and encouraging to all participants. Also, in order to qualify for the top prize, your project has to be NEW (not linking back to a previously made project). You are welcome to combine other challenges, please limit to your total number of challenges no more than 4.
Without further ado, here is our very first sponsor for this month's water-coloring challenge.
CAS-ual Fridays Stamps

Let's hear it from the sweet and talented owner/founder Michele Gross

"Founded in 2012, we are a small company with big ideas located in beautiful Colorado.     CAS-ual Fridays Stamps are made of the finest clear photopolymer available, and proudly made in the Heartland of America. My designs are based on my love for Clean And Simple design, hence the CAS in our name, but will delight any stamper's style. Whether you are a CAS enthusiast, or lover of all things layer-licious, you will have a blast getting inky with them."

For the top winner of our first challenge CAS-ual Fridays Stamps has generously offered $25 gift to their store! In fact, the new release of fun stamps and Fri-dies is out right can check them out here.

Also, a special note of thanks goes to Michele, who was so encouraging and helpful! Michele offered me some fabulous advice on starting this challenge blog. For that, I am truly grateful!

We will reveal the official sponsor after March Challenge! So, are you now excited!? Thanks for stopping by!    
Yours truly, Virginia 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Guest Designer-Jennifer Rzasa

Dear friends! It brings me great joy to introduce to you our very first guest designer! Since our theme is all about water-coloring, the first person that came to my mind was Jennifer Rzasa (Our Change of Art)! Jen uses watercolors like no other! From a simple design (see here and here) to a more complicated one (see here), Jen's take on water-coloring can truly make you "feel" when seeing her card! If that's not a gift, I don't know what is!? Here is her awesome video on water-coloring!
For our challenge blog, Jennifer was so sweet to create this card just for us here! 
 Isn't this card breath-taking?
Here is what Jen has to say about her card: 
"To make my card, I started by sketching out a butterfly onto heavy weight bristol paper.  I like to paint on this because it has a smooth surface and is not too expensive.   Using my trusty watercolor set, I painted a rainbow of colors, blending them along the way with some water.  Once dry, I stamped my sentiment and mounted the card to a lovely teal card base."

Big thanks to Jen for saying yes upon my request. She was super speedy and sent me her project photo the very next day! Please stop by Jen's blog (here) and leave her some blog love!

I was very inspired by Jen's butterfly card, so I decided to make one with my own twist.011
How fun is water-coloring? You can find out all the details about this card in my blog Yes, Virginia..

I have some very exciting news to announce in my next post and I can't wait to share. If we hit 100 followers sooner than my next post, I will share the happy news over Facebook page!

edited:  Thank you, Carol McCready, for becoming the 100th followers! Yay! Here is the FB message: Alright, alright, ALRIGHT! We have reached 100 blog followers in our one-week old challenge blog! The breaking news is...we have an official monthly sponsor! Hope you are excited!
Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Videos on Water-Coloring

 Dear friends! Welcome to our 2nd post here! I want to make this blog more than just a challenge blog, so today I am popping in to share a few video about water-coloring!  With the help of some good simple tips and easy-to-watch videos, we can make our stamp designs even more artistic and expressive! You may have seen these fabulous videos already, but I am grouping them here to share as a source of inspiration. That way, no one is missing out on the fun!

Here is a water-color video from Darlene Devries. Her instructive videos are really fun to watch. Do check out her many awesome videos on You Tube if you haven't already.

And here is an excellent one from the amazing Jennifer McGuire about water-coloring!
You can check out the rest of water-coloring from Jennifer here.

Our challenge participant #41 Shery's did an awesome video! It had been featured over our Facebook page the other day (in case you miss it)! Shery created a masterpiece! I know you will be totally inspired! She surely makes water-coloring look easy!

Please stop by Shery's blog and give her some blog love!

And if that is still not enough videos, here is another wonderful tutorial from our player # 67 Catherine Pooler. I love Catherine's instructions and the creative way of using her ink pads!

 I hope this post helps you to create something fun with water-coloring! If you have your favorite videos about water-coloring, I would love that you share the links in the comment section, so we can all check them out!

Thanks for making this blog a happy crafty place!

We are going to have our first guest designer making her debut here on the 8th!

Hope you will stop by and check it out! Have yourself a lovely day!

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Virginia's View Challenge # 1

 Welcome to our new challenge blog!  Please make yourself at home. Now that we have a brand new blog, there will be special features and discussions. Yes, this is more than a challenge blog, I want it to be a place that you like to hang out... I am super excited! Yours truly, Virginia
Happy March, my friends! 
It's another NEW month, new idea and new post here! I have been thinking about having a regular challenge in my little old blog in the last while. It all started right after Cath made her announcement that she is leaving Moxie Fab. I missed Cath and her witty and beautiful posts. One of them was the regular Tuesday Trigger. I miss how the inspiring photo prompted us to make something different and out of our norm. I truly miss that! I am not trying to do what Cath did, but I think we can continue to be inspired by the essence from Tuesday Trigger. So, with that in mind, I am going to try to do a monthly challenge!

Introducing.... Virginia's View Challenge!
On top of the inspiration photo, I will also add a required  technique or element (for example, masking, distressing, embossing....etc.). For this month, I am adding my new latest love-water-coloring!

Why water-coloring, you ask? As a stamper, I have never thought I could/would use water-coloring in stamped cards because I am not artistic and talented enough. However, with some amazing stamps, this goal can be somehow achieved! Last year, water-coloring was all the rage! It can be seen in web designs, fashion, advertisement, packaging...etc. Perhaps I am also craving for colors as it has been a long, miserable and harsh winter here in North America.

These are my humble goals that I am aiming to achieve:
1. to foster the love of stamping/card making among the on line community
2. to grow as a stamper/card-maker regardless of level and experience
3. to make new friends and encourage the camaraderie amongst the participants/blog followers. 

The challenge will run for 3 weeks and there will be a SPOTLIGHT feature on the 25th. In this feature, I will be highlighting a few of the participants' work. We can all be oohing and aahing about a WOW design that needs to be admired and appreciated. You are encouraged to link up as many as projects as you like. Cards, scrapbook layouts, altered projects... anything with paper, stamps and inks involved are welcome! If the linked project is not related to the challenge, it will be deleted.  Don't have a blog? No problem! Any link (Flickr, FB page, Splitcoaststampers...) is welcome! Your project can be inspired by any of the inspiration photos or/and has to do with water-coloring . The sky is the limit!

Sounds good? Here is my latest take on this challenge!a little birdie told me 
Supplies: distress inks, TH water brush by Ranger, Basic Grey paper, gold strings ( Michael's), Hero Arts Stamp, SRM Stickers (bottom sentiment)
Here are my other cards with water-coloring to get you inspired... 
I hope this challenge will get your creative juices flowing (with water, of course!!)! 
 Here are a few things that I have learned:
1. plan ahead ( choose your colors and images, if possible)
2. use water-color paper (the thicker ,the better) 
3. do some testing. Play around with some colors and see what suits your design
4. control the amount of water (the more water you add, the less intense the color is).
5. once you have the right paper and paint are all set! Just. have. fun.

 If there is enough interest (say, over 10,15, 20...entries), I promise that there will a V.V. Challenge #2 in the works for April and beyond.
Thanks for stopping by!
edited: I have created a Facebook page, you can get the latest update there as well. You can like it here!