I’m usually full of ideas. More than I know what to do with, actually. Crafting time is at a premium with a toddler around, so most end up fading from memory before I’m able to act on them. For years I’ve been sketching card ideas, sewing projects, scrapbook layouts, journaling, and creating materials lists in my Moleskine notebooks and scrap papers. Then I toss them into my bag and promptly forget about them.

For the past few months I’ve been feeling especially inspired. Inspired enough to put those sketches to use. Maybe it’s because much of the time I used to spend watching TV with Jon or reading Twilight fan fiction has been traded for time in my craft room. It could be due to all of the awesome product previews, samples, and tutorials popping up in my favorite blogs. Or it could be the weather. Whatever the reason, I’m sketching more often and turning more of my sketches into reality. And that feels really good.

Take these recent card sketches, for example. If you click the photo above, you can see the whole page of ideas. I kept seeing images the new Papertrey Ink hot air balloon set, which inspired me to think about ways to use the cloud stamps and kite I already owned instead of pining over products I didn’t.

Then I stumbled across Owen Gildersleeve’s art. Eureka! I could make my own hot air balloons. I tried my hand at those first, using jars of embossing powder and glitter to get the basic shape. they’re a little rough, but totally cute. I was stuck on using a rainbow-colored, bias plaid base. When I couldn’t find anything of the sort in my stash, I went with the next best thing: this warm, distressed rainbow plaid from My Mind’s Eye.

The distressed paper forced me to warm up my color scheme, using brown ink and cream cardstock instead of bright blue and white. Everything else is pretty close to my original idea. I made this next card with the leftovers, including a scrap of plaid paper with MME signature strip still attached. I amped up the distressing on this one, going outside my comfort zone for this week’s clean and simple challenge, shabby chic.

Last night I made time to work on the other cards I sketched. My original brainstorm called for a bit of reverse masking. I stamped the clouds on a post-it and cut them out to create a stencil of sorts. Then I stenciled a line of clouds across the card with Stampin’ Up’s white pigment ink and stamped part of the sentiment.

After a few minutes, the clouds and sentiment looked a bit too subtle. So I hit them with some white embossing powder. Since the ink had started to dry, I wasn’t able to get full coverage. But I kinda like the mottled effect. And that adorable red kite? I covered it in lipstick red Spica pen for some serious sparkle.

Since the reverse masking didn’t work so well for the kite card, I went back to the drawing board for the plane. While digging through my embossing/glitter drawer, I spotted the liquid applique and knew exactly what to do. Puffy clouds!

I stamped the clouds in white ink then filled everything with gooey, white goodness. Impatient as I am, I decided to wait until morning to puff the clouds with my heat gun. It was tough, but it was late and I didn’t want to risk ruining the card. So I finished the plane and sentiment flag and went to bed.

And this is what made it so worth the wait. These clouds puffed right up this morning and made my day like Bob Ross and his happy trees. Now I want to add them to everything. Maybe a card with two hot air balloons holding a banner between them. Or a trio of kites. Maybe with a tree scene and a “sending you sunshine” sentiment. Or…

You get the idea.

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