Curt's Best Shots Slideshow

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


Hey All! It's finally here! I get to show you the stamp set that was inspired by my Gunther! I have had such a blast making the 2 projects I'm showing you today. As my last post told you, the stamps were designed by Jami Bova of Stamp Happy with Sgt. Stamper. I am just thrilled with the set, but then I'm a little partial. . .LOL! Are ya ready???? Here is the package of the set, then I'll follow that with my projects. Introducing. . . .Drum roll is playing. . . .Gunther's Greetings:

Now, if you take the above stamp set and combine it with this:

You get this:

When I first saw the stamp set, I knew immediately that I would make a set of note cards. Can you believe the container is a Spam can? LOL A good blogging friend sent me a note card set in a spam can that she decorated and I had always loved it. So, I broke down and bought some Spam. I'm surprised that I still like it because it has been years since I've had it. I like to cut it in thin slices and fry it for a sandwich. Yum! OK, sorry, back to the cards. I love how "Gunther" peaks out over the edge. Here is the whole set out of the can:

The set consists of 6 note cards ( 5 1/8 X 3 5/8 ) each with matching envelope (one shown below) I had so many thoughts when I saw this set, but one of the first things that hit me was "She gave him a bandanna!!!! I immediately knew I could stamp it out on patterned paper and give him an array of bandannas just like he has in real life. (I know, you all are thinking I'm a little too nuts over this). So the note cards were born. As you will see below, the paper matting matches his bandanna on each card:

I then used coordinating ribbon for each. There are 5 sentiments with this stamp set (all adorable plays on dog phrases - see package at beginning of post) so each has a different sentiment inside, and one is just a blank note card. As I said, they also each come with a matching envelope here:

I only had a couple of things that gave me issues with this project. It took me some time to find paper in my inventory that had print small enough to show well on the bandannas. I also had a hard time trying to get the coloring down. It was hard for me to color a "black" dog when the lines had to be stamped in black. Drove me nuts actually. After several attempts, I finally decided to stamp the image in Versamark, then embossed them with fine detail ep. This made a big difference, however I still don't' think I did very well with the coloring. I can't wait to see the others designs to see how they colored him. But I don't think mine look too bad, especially with the bandannas. It's just that Gunther is jet black and it is hard to get that when coloring.

My second project involves a couple of items that I bought over a year ago and have never used. They were such a good deal that I couldn't resist buying them at the time. I also intended to use them for "the boys". When I got the stamp set, I new this was the perfect time to pull them out. Here it is:

It is a glass front memory box (or shadow box). You can either stand it up like I have it in the picture, or hang it on the wall. I bought two - one for each of them. They had been originally $24.99 at Hobby Lobby, and I got them on clearance for $5.00 each. They have hinges so the front part lifts up (see below):

The picture below shows the detail of what is inside:

This was like doing a scrapbook page, and that is kind of what I wanted it to be to remember the stamp set. I have always loved this photo of Gunther. There are so many captions you could put with it. You'll also notice that on this stamped image (and one of the note cards) I added a tongue to him! Of the hundreds of pictures I have of him, I have very few where he doesn't have his tongue hanging out. I also added a bowl of food to this one (Gunther is a chow hound).

So, there you go. My Gunther's stamp set! You can go to Jami's blog or to the 2 Red Bananas' blog to see what they did with the set. They may not have theirs up yet (It is now 2:03 AM - I just couldn't wait) so keep checking back.

Thanks so much for coming to see my Gunther's stamp set. I appreciate you humoring me through all of this. You all are so very sweet! Thank you again for all of your support. You'll never really know what it means to me.

Take good care and have a good rest of the week. I'll see you on your blogs!



Stamps: Gunther's Greetings 2 Red Bananas
Papers: The Paper Co., DCWV "The Pet Stack", Bazzill card stock.
Ink: Archival Jet Black
Stuff: Ribbon, 3 D stickers, K & Company Letter, colored pencils and OMS

Friday, February 20, 2009


Hey All! How have you all been? Happy Friday!!! Hope you all had a great week and a wonderful Valentine's Day. As you can see, my blog is all decked out for St. Patrick's Day as are my boys above. Honestly, they have bandannas for every holiday and season. I love my guys so much! And with my last name being O'Brien, I would lose my Irish card if I didn't decorate my blog for the holiday.

I have a few things to share with you today. A couple of cards, an update, and some EXTREMELY EXCITING NEWS! So, on we go!

My first card is my submission for the House Mouse Monday Challenge #25. This one was a little different because they had a sketch you had to follow. I'm not big on sketches, but this one was kinda cool and I really loved the layout. Here it is:

Here is my interpretation:

How perfect for St. Pat's Day. As most of you who have followed my blog for any time, you know that when I do a sketch challenge, I literally follow the sketch - no variations. I think this HM image is so cute. I like how this turned out, except that bare spot up there in the upper left hand corner. But, like I said, I follow the sketch as given. Here is a close up of the image:

I'm listing all the details of the cards at the end of the post if you are interested. But I have to say, I colored this image with colored pencils and OMS with blending stumps. I'm not kidding you when I say this. . .the pencils I use for my coloring of all images are simple Crayola colored pencils. I also use these other super cheap colored pencils called "Cran". Makes me laugh every time. Remember when you were a little kid and you called crayons "crans"? Anyway, these pencils cost $7.99 for 72 colors! LOL Can you believe it? My Crayola pencils were like $6.99 for 48 colors. And I get these kind of results. And trust me on this. . .I know some 5 year olds who can color better than me! The secret to the coloring turning out is the odorless mineral spirits and choosing the correct colors. That's it. So, I'm just telling you my little closeted secrets because if you think you can't color. . .if I can get results like this, you can too!

My next card is one that I had in my head the minute I saw two of the stamps that I used for it. The bird and the nest stamps just inspired a card in my head. Here is what came out:

Whenever I see a nest with eggs, I always picture them blue or speckled. When I saw these stamps, I immediately thought of beige and robin egg blue. The background paper is speckled with the browns, blues, and the light greens that I used for the tree just budding. Here is a close up of the bird:

I also did something that I have never tried. That is coloring an image on colored card stock. I always thought that the color of the paper would alter the color. I was so pleased with how it looked, and plan on doing it more in the future.

OK, now on to my EXCITING NEWS! Did you notice the "2 Red Bananas" logo on the right side of my blog near the top? It's there for a reason. I know many of you know Jami of Stamp Happy. If not, go see her. She is so very talented! Anyway, she has designed some wonderful stamp sets for 2 Red Bananas. She emailed me and asked if she could design a stamp set with my boys as the inspiration. She had seen a card I had done previously, and took inspiration from that too (you can see it here). I was so honored and pleased and, of course, said ABSOLUTELY! So, a stamp set was born which will be released next month. The are going to sneak peak it on February 25Th, and I get to play along. I will be posting (proudly I might add) my card using the new stamp set. I was also so excited to find out that the stamp set includes a likeness of my sweet Gunther and the stamp set is called "Gunther's Greetings". I hope I didn't spill too much, but I'm just on cloud 9! My little boy is now a stamp set!!!! LOL I've really been doing the happy dance ever since I received the set. I can't wait till you see it. So be sure to come back on the 25Th to see my card and get links to the other designer's cards.Finally, Pat gave me a final count of her cards for the kids at the hospital. She received, are you sitting down. . . 5,675 Valentines. Doesn't that just knock you over. Job well done, thanks again for all of your help!
OK, that's it for this post. As always, thanks so much for stopping by. I just can't believe that you take the time to do it, but I'm so very grateful that you do. Don't forget the pic of the week below! I'll see you on your blogs this weekend!


Curt O'Brien

"God help me be the person that my dogs think I am."
Card Details:
HM Card:
Stamp: "Oh Lucky Day" Stampabilities
Ink: Archival Jet Black
Paper: DCWV; Bazzill Card Stock
Accessories: Nestabilities; ribbon; gem stone
Bird Card:
Stamps: Tree - Memory Box; bird and nest - Inkadinkado wood mounted
Ink: Staz-On Timber Brown
Paper: Bazzill card stock
Accessories: Nestabilities; grosgrain ribbon; foam squares.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Winner of Blog Candy, News of the DT, and Some Cards to Share

Hey All! Happy Hump Day! Hope you all are having a wonderful week so far! Let me get some not so good news out of the way right off the bat. The House Mouse Monday Challenge made their decision for their design team members, and I was not selected. They even added a surprise extra position, but they did not select me. I have to admit that I am super disappointed and was really depressed about it last night, but hey what the hell! You can't win 'em all. . .I do though appreciate all the kind things you all said about what I submitted and how supportive you all were. How can I say I lost when I have such support from all of you. Thank you so much. They did choose another good blogging buddy of mine, Jami of I am so happy for her! Congrats Jami - Im very proud of you!

So on with better news! We have a winner in my blog candy give-away. There were almost 70 entries which I entered onto Hit the button and the winner is Cheryl of Cheryl's Stamping Corner! I have already notified her of the win. Congratulations Cheryl, the package is on the way! I listed the top 10 below as they came out on the list. Thanks to everyone who entered, and a ton of thanks to all of you who contributed cards to Pat's cause. It is my understanding that she had way over 3,100 cards and ended up giving some to another hospital! You all did a wonderful job!

1. Cheryl
2. Whimsical Thoughts
3. Diane
4. Terri E.
5. Shirley
6. Spark of Whimsy
7. Cheryl Koskakura
8. Six Wacky Women
9. Paper Addict Jenn
10. Julia Aston

OK, a couple of cards to share. The first is a card I sent to my good blogging friend Karen's dog Layla. Karen was sweet enough (or shall I say Layla) to send "my boys" a wonderful Christmas card. So, I (the boys) sent Layla not only the Valentine card below, but I enclosed a hand stamped paw print bandanna that I made for her. Here is the card:

I forget what this type of a card is called, but look below at the picture of it opened:

Karen sent one like this to "the boys" at Christmas, and I loved the card design. See the sentiment says "Yappy Valentine's Day"? LOL The sentiment is computer generated. I stamped the bone frame on the two black panels and then embossed them with white ep. The dog is my "altered" stamp from I believe "Inkadinkado" (as well as the bones). This time I drew in some eye brows to make him look even more like a Giant Schnauzer. Added some ribbon, brads, and bling and done. I even added a bone shaped paper clip at the top left corner which holds the little ribbon. Karen, you will probably see this before it arrives, so don't tell Layla! LOL

My next card is an anniversary card I made to send to a really nice person. This is one of those cards that started one way and ended up totally different. It turned out with a Art Deco style. Here it is:

It did not photograph well, because it has a lot of shiny copper. I stamped the flower image twice, once in black ink on the copper paper and once on black paper in black and then embossed both with copper ep and black ep. I used a 1 inch square punch to do the "notches" where I added the copper square brads. The dots on the flower petals don't look like they are all the same color, but they are. It's just that the light hit some of them and reflected light make them look different. I mounted the flower onto the card with a foam square. The ribbon is shiny copper too.

Couple of final things:

1. If you scroll down, you will see that I have added a video of a very young girl. I found this really fun/cool website called sing snap ( It is where you can go and record yourself singing karaoke style and then post your performance for all to see. I was dying laughing at some of these poor souls, but then I found this little girl who just blew me away. Be sure to click on the play button and give her a listen. The last half of her video will blow you away. She will give you goose bumps.

2. The picture of the week is of a weird plant that I photographed this week in a park where I was walking the boys. I have never seen anything like it. It looks to me like something from a different planet. If anyone knows what it is, would you let me know?

Thanks again for coming by! After being rejected (sobbing) LOL your comments mean more than ever. I appreciate you guys so much!



"God let me be the person that my dogs think I am."

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Stamp Simply - Let's Get Negative

Hey All! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend! I was up stamping until well after 1:00 am this morning. Have you ever just been so into "creating" that you look at the clock and see it is after one in the morning when you thought it was only 10 or 11 PM? LOL I couldn't believe it.

Anyway, the two cards I have to share with you today are below. One is for Sharon Johnson's Stamp Simply Challenge. You can get the details here. The idea of the challenge is to use dies or punches to create a negative image, or a stamp that leaves a negative image. It's hard to explain, but you will see it in my first card. The oval cut out and the butterfly both would be considered examples of negatives.

Instead of using the oval that was cut out, I used the paper that was left from the cut out. The butterfly has a floral pattern on its wings that does not stamp when you stamp the image, so that is the "negative" effect too. Come to think of it, the flower image is kind of a negative too, because the first two images are completely filled in and the other is just an outline. And it you want to get technical, the embossed card stock is also a form of negative imaging because the raised parts would be positive and the indented parts are the negative. LOL I'm such a dork!

Anyway, there is a lot of depth to this card. I did something that I normally don't do on my cards, and that is to stamp directly onto the printed paper. I did that with the image and the sentiment. I raised the embossed cut out oval with foam squares to give it more of a frame effect. Here are the deets:

Stamps: Stampendos (flowers) Sentiment: Studio G Butterfly: Inkadinkado
Paper: DCWV stack Bazzill card stock
Ink: Staz-On Timber Brown
Embossing: Cuttlebug folder
Oval cut out: Nesties
Ribbon: Michaels

My next card was inspired by the extremely cold weather we have been having. Several days have been below 0. So when it is this cold, I always turn to those comforting, warming things that help take the chill off. One of those things is a nice hot cup of cocoa. Here's the card:

I bought this stamp months ago, but this is the first time I've used it. I colored them with colored pencils (had to put reading glasses on because the print on these cups were so tiny!). I added liquid applique to the top of the cups and heated it with my heat gun so it would puff up. I used my finger which had a little ink on it to dab the liquid applique so that it looked like the "whipped cream" had been sprinkled with cocoa powder. I then used an ink pad to distress the edges and then mounted the cups image with foam squares for dimension. The sentiment is computer generated. Added the ribbon, made the bow separately, added a large clear dew drop that I "painted" with a Copic marker to match the colors of the card and done. Card deets:

Paper: Creative Imagination; Bazzill
Ink: Archival Jet Black; Colorbox brown
Stamp: Jone Inc. Teacup Parade
Stuff: Ribbon-Michaels; Liquid Applique, large dew drop thingy

Last but not least, I wanted to give all of you a huge heartfelt thank you for leaving the incredibly supportive comments on my last post. I truly have never felt so supported and cheered for, and you all made my day with each and every comment. Whether or not I get the DT position is a moot point. What really matters to me is all of you and how wonderful you are! So again, thank you sincerely. I am told that we will know next week who has been chosen. I will let you know as soon as I hear.

I will be drawing for the winner of my blog candy tomorrow. So if you don't mind, I'll wait and make the announcement of the DT position and the blog candy winner at the same time. So hopefully in just a few days. Thanks for all of you who helped support Pat Adam and her Cards for Kids project. The last update I heard was that she had well over 3,000 cards! I just can't get over it. What an amazing thing we all did!

Thanks so much for stopping by. . .Love having you here! Don't forget the Pic of the Week below. I took this one the first part of this past week. I'll see you all on your blogs!


Curt O'Brien

"God help me be the person that my dogs think I am."

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Application For DT At House Mouse Monday

Hey All! As stated in my previous post, this post is going to be my application for a Design Team position over at House Mouse & Friends Monday Challenge blog. They have two spots open and hopefully they will pick me for one of them. I wanted to thank all of you for the wonderfully encouraging comments you left on the previous post wishing me luck. I so appreciate your encouragement and I am honored to call all of you my "blogging buddies

I would love to be a DT member of the House Mouse & Friends Monday Challenge blog! I LOVE the House Mouse, Happy Hoppers, and Gruffies stamps. The current DT over there is so amazingly talented, and it would be an honor to be part of their team. The House Mouse images provide such an array of creative possibilities, and to be able to be a part or a weekly challenge using these amazing images would be a blast. Plus, I think it's time that a guy's perspective gets represented!! LOL

So, as part of the application, I am supposed to post 3 examples of my work. I made two new cards last night for this post. One is also being used to submit for their current challenge, so it will be first. I couldn't decide which other one to choose, so I included a few of my previous cards as well. I know they only said 3, but I don't think it will hurt to exceed expectations, right? LOL

Here are my 7 submissions:

This is also for this week's challenge. You are to make a Valentine's Day card. I always loved the adage "You have to learn to love yourself before you can love another." So it was the inspiration for the sentiment on this card. It was computer generated and cut out with Nesties. The image was colored with my Copics. I mounted the red card stock (Bazzill) on some pearlescent silver card stock then that onto the floral paper (there was no name on the back so I don't know who it is made by). The image is called "Bunny Bath".

I used this image because it is one of my favorites and I just bought the stamp. The image is called "Buzzy Friends". I colored these little cuties with colored pencils and OMS and blending stumps. I used Shimmerz Angel Wings on their wings, but you really can't see how sparkly they are in the picture. The patterned paper is by Itty Bitty Scraps and the black card stock is Bazzill. The sentiment was computer generated and the little bees are buttons with their shanks removed.

The rest of the cards below are ones from previous posts.

Well, now I'll wait to see if I'm chosen. Keep your fingers crossed, and I'll let you all know as soon as I know. I so appreciate your wonderful support and your kind comments.

Love ya Buddies!



"God help me be the person that my dogs think I am"