Curt's Best Shots Slideshow

Monday, August 31, 2009


Hey All!  How was your week?  Hope your weekend was all you wanted it to be!

Today is another Magical Monday, and today we introduce a new FREE digital image from Nina May!  Today, you are being introduced to Gigi.  Here she is in all of her splendor:

Is she not the cutest pig ever?  LOL  Today's challenge is to use paper piecing on your card.  When I first saw this image, I was drawn specifically to the umbrella for some reason.  That umbrella was just screaming "fringe".  But I knew that I didn't have anything that was small enough to look like fringe.  So, when I colored the image, I colored a green border about a 1/4 of an inch around the bottom of the umbrella and then cut it out (all from a second printed image).  I then used my smallest snip scissors to cut vertical cuts all along that newly created green border to give a fringe effect.  I then popped it up with a foam square piecing it on top of the first printed image.    Here is a close up:

Actually, the fringe shows better by looking at the shadow it casts. Anyway, I colored the image with my cheap colored pencils and oms. I used Diamond Glaze for the shiny water effect (can't see in the photo very well). I sponged the background sky with Colorbox light blue ink and a dauber. The paper is from a DCWV stack and the mat paper is navy blue Bazzill card stock. The bow was made using my bow easy. I think I'm getting a little better with using it. The inside of the card says "Relax and Enjoy Your Day".  The sentiment was computer generated.

So, there you have it.  Another great FREE DIGITAL IMAGE from Nina May and There's Magic in the Air.  Hurry on over and snag your free image and if you have a chance, play along with us in the challenge this week.  I'd love to see what you do with this image.

Thanks again for all of your support and for stopping by.  I love having you here.  I'll be posting a new post of some great stuff on Wednesday.  So I'll see you all then.


Curt O'Brien

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

Monday, August 24, 2009


Hey All! Hope you had a great weekend! I certainly did. I spent hours visiting all of your blogs and just marveling at how beautiful your work is! I also wanted to thank you for the incredible comments you left me on my last post. Honestly, besides loving doing this, you are one of the main reasons I do this. Thanks so much! You are all the coolest. 

Speaking of coolest, it's another Magical Monday and today we are introducing "Elvis with Boots".  This week's challenge is to get "inspired" by the photo below and create a card using Nina's "Elvis with Boots":

So, here is my inspired card combining the above:

When I saw Elvis for the first time, I immediately thought of a young boy's birthday image. So, That is what this is, a birthday card for a little boy. I incorporated mostly all of the colors from the inspiration picture. I colored him with my cheap colored pencils and OMS. I then masked him and sponged the stormy looking sky behind him using Colorbox inks. I used my Nesties for the matting and sentiment tag. The background paper is from my stash (don't know who's it is) and the sentiment is from a $1 stamp set I picked up at JoAnn's. By the way, this is my FIRST BOW USING THE BOW EASY! LOL I still don't quite have the hang of it yet, but this isn't too bad.

I also used Diamond glaze to make the water look wet as well as putting a few drops on his boots to look like they are wet too. Here is the close up:

If you click on it you can see the shine really well. I LOVE Diamond Glaze. It makes a super adhesive too! I use it exclusively for gluing on dew drops and crystals. They really stay put!

So, there you have it. You need to run over to "There's Magic in the Air" and pick up your FREE "Elvis with Boat" image as soon as possible. Once you have him in your collection, why not play along with us this week. I know Nina would love that. And I would love to see what all you creative people do with Elvis!

Thanks so much for visiting! I love having you here! What would I do without you??? LOL


Curt O'Brien

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

Friday, August 21, 2009


Hey All! How the heck are ya? Happy Friday to each of you! I have tons to share with you today! I mean TONS! LOL I don't know what's gotten into me, but I have been one card making crazy person. There are a couple of things that I just can't wait to tell you about, so let's get started!

I have found the coolest challenge site! I normally don't play in challenges, but this blog is a blast, and the owner is such a generous person! It is called "Midnight Madness" and you can see the link over there to the right. They give away really wonderful prizes, cash, and other fun stuff! They have a HUGE give away going on right now that is totally awesome! Click on the picture of all the stamps over there to the right that is labeled "Midnight Madness Blog Candy". There, you'll find all the exciting details. Here is the sketch for this week followed by my card:

I'm really getting into the Fall mood and can't wait for the Autumn season to start. I used my CB to do the leaves in various metallic papers. The card stock is Bazzill and the printed paper is by ProvoCraft pad called "earth tones". Here is a close up of the leaves:

I played in their last sketch challenge for the first time last week. Here is the sketch they had followed by my card:

Is that not a great image??? It is a digital image by McMahon Five Designs. I fell in love with it the moment I saw it and had to have it. I colored it with colored pencils and OMS and sponged the background of the image with distress ink. The background paper is from DCWV Fall Stack . The punched border is a MS punch. I added copper ribbon and dew drops to finish it.

Next, (yes, yet another card to share) I want to share with you a new card technique I found on SCS. Well, it's new to me and I LOVE doing these cards! It's called a "recessed window" card and you can find a wonderful video tutorial here. Here is my card:

I hope you can see the dimension of the card in this pic. I just can't get over how cool this recessed window card turns out. I followed the measurements in the video, but I came up with my own way (easier in my opinion) to do it. I simply cut 2 squares as templates for the recessed window. The first one is a 3 inch square and the inside one is 2 3/4 square. I then simply place the card on a cutting mat, place the first square onto the front of the card and trace around it with an embossing tool. I remove that square then center the second smaller square in the center and trace around it with my embossing tool. Works like a charm (you'll understand better after you watch the video. I made the pumpkin by using my Nesties ovals and cut out 3 and put them together after using ink around the edges for depth. I used punches for the leaf and vine, and free handed the "stump". The leaf is again created from my CB and I added copper glitter to the veins of the leaf. The background in the shadowbox part is done with the Core'dinations paper and a CB folder. I stamped the leaves on the outside of the frame with Versamark ink then embossed them with clear ep. I forget who the sentiment stamp is by.

These recessed window box cards have a million ideas going on in my head. I have a Halloween seen in my head right now that I will be making for the next post. Just got a bunch of new Halloween stamps that will be perfect for this. Can't wait!

Finally (whew), I want to show you is my newest note card set. I can't tell you how frustrating it was trying to photograph these! It's because of one of the materials I used on the cards and the holder. Here is the holder:

As you can see, the background mat and the corners, and the Nestie cut out are all done in "mirrored" paper. This stuff is super shiny and you can actually see yourself in it. I first saw paper like this on Sharon Johnson's blog months ago. What gave me the idea for these cards was that gold, mirrored bee up there. It was on a set of note cards that I bought at Michael's at the beginning of Summer. I'm always buying stuff like this thinking that I can alter it on a later project. Here is the holder open:

You can now see the cards inside. Here is one of the cards by itself:

I cut the embossed bee from the ready made note card set with my Nesties. I then matted it with the mirrored paper that I got at Hobby Lobby. It was actually in the matting section in framing. It was a huge piece (I believe it was 3.5 feet X 2.5 feet). I just cut it down to pieces I could work with. The background paper is embossed with a new Quik Cutz embossing folder called diamonds and dots (I believe). It reminded me of a honey comb, sort of. . .LOL. I then used a honey colored ribbon to give it a finished look. The ribbon is actually darker IRL and does go with the paper. Here is a pic of the complete set:

You can see in this shot how shiny they are because of all the reflected sun shimmering off of them. Working with the mirrored paper is a pain though, because it really picks up your fingerprints, and I was forever wiping them from the shiny surface. But oh so worth it! I wish you could see these in real life. They have such a great "feel" to them.

Well, there you go! I've worn my little self out! LOL I hope you liked what I have shared today. I want to tell you too, that right after dinner tonight I'll be visiting all of you to see what you have been up to. I'm sorry I haven't been by sooner, but with the DT I'm on, the new challenge blog I'm playing with, and the jolt of creativity I'm experiencing, plus taking care of the house, Jay, and the boys, I've had precious little time for anything else. But I promise, I'm coming to see you tonight and tomorrow morning.

Again, thanks so much for stopping by. Sorry for the long post, but I just had so much to share with you, and that's what this blogging thing is all about, huh? LOL Can't wait to see what you have been up to and your latest creations! Don't forget the pic of the week below! Also don't forget that I'll be posting on Monday morning for "There's Magic in the Air". You are going to love next week's image! And again, it's FREE!"


Curt O'Brien

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

Monday, August 17, 2009


Hey All! It's another Magical Monday and I have the newest edition of Nina May's beautiful digital stamps to share with you! This is one of my favorites so far. The image is called "Beached Boat". Here is the image:

We were challenged this week to use this image in a "gate fold" card design. Here is what I came up with:

I really liked working with this image. It was great to color and is really versatile to use. I printed it out after sizing it to the size I wanted (a great feature of digital stamps), then colored it with colored pencils and OMS. I matted it on Bazzill card stock and used an EK Success punch to do the corners. The fun background paper is by Provocraft and it came in a pack called "brights". This pattern reminded me of curling waves and the turquoise blue pretty much went with my color scheme. I used Colorbox ink and sponged the background for the sky effect. The one great thing about using colored pencils is that they act as a resist agent to ink because of the wax in them! So you really don't have to worry too much about getting the ink on your colored image. It wipes right off. Here are a few other pics of the card:

Here it is partially opened.

Here it is all the way opened. I used some paper that looked like sand on the inside and stamped the "Beach Life" again.

The sentiment here was from a $1 stamp set that I got at Michael's. I stamped it in Versamark ink, then embossed it with some turquoise embossing powder from JoAnne's. I colored in the letters with a marker. I cut it out with my Nesties and mounted it on the card with a dimensional. The little thingy in the center is a "stick on" metallic brad.

So, there you go! I hope you run over to "There's Magic in the Air" to pic up this FREE image. I also hope you join in and play along with the challenge this week. I would love to see what all you wonderfully creative people will do with this image.

Thanks so much for stopping by for another Magical Monday! I appreciate your support of my first DT designer gig! You are the best!


Curt O'Brien

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

Wednesday, August 12, 2009


Hey All! Hope all is well in your parts of the world. Thanks for all the nice things you guys posted on the Faerie post Monday. You were all so sweet as usual!

Whenever I find something that I was not aware of and find it to be majorly AWESOME, I am compelled to share it with you. Well, this is one of those times. I'm sure some of you know that this product exists, but there may be many of you like me who didn't have a clue. This post is all about this product which is now one of my most favorites.

The product is called "Core' Dinations". It is the coolest card stock I have ever used. Here is the pad I purchased:

It is a card stock with a complimentary core color. This particular pad has 80 sheets 2 each of 40 different colors. I LOVE THIS STUFF! Are you ready to see what I made with it???? Take a look at these:

Is this the neatest effect or what??? I simply ran the paper through each of my CB folders, trimmed them, and then used a sanding block on the embossed image. They turned out so rich and beautiful. This is so much easier that inking up your folders to get this effect, and it gives you a nicer look than white core because the color you get is a coordinated color. Here is a couple of pics for you to see the sanded part a little closer:

I just can't get over how these turned out. Fast and easy with such a great look. No stamping. . . except for the sentiment. You will see at the bottom of each card I left a blank space for any sentiment I choose. Here is a pic of the entire set:

As it says on the cover of the paper, it is so versatile. You can use it as is, emboss and sand the image, antique it, tear it, crumple it up for a great effect, etc. You know me a note card sets. . . I think these in an A2 size with just the embossed panel and ribbon would make a wonderful set.

Don't let the price stop you. Even though the price you see on the pic of the product says $29.99, I bought it from Hobby Lobby when they had their paper on sale for 50% off. That made it very reasonable! The card stock also comes in smaller quantities and in different color combos. If you would like to get more information on this, click here for their website. They even have a video showing how it can be used.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this. Again, thanks for coming to see me and don't forget the pic of the week below! I think this one may be one of my most favorite shots simply because of the lighting that I caught.

That's it for now! I'll be seeing you on your blogs to leave ya some love! LOL


Curt O'Brien

"God, please help me be the person that my dog's think I am."

Monday, August 10, 2009


Hey All! It's another "Magical Monday" and that means another new image and challenge at the "There's Magic in the Air" blog. Today's image is a cute faerie named Kacey. In my opinion, she should really be a Pixie because she caused me quite a bit of mischief!

I worked on making the card using Nina May's Kacey. I already knew it was going to be a "Hello" card because Kacey is waving. I had told Nina up front that I was not good at using "human" images on cards. I'm not good coloring them or incorporating them. I'm just not comfortable with these types of images. So I knew I was going to have a challenge with this one. But, after some effort, I came up with a card that I was fairly happy with. And here it is:

This background paper is by K & Company and I've had it for quite some time. I knew this was the time to use it. I colored Kacey with colored pencils and OMS, but I did her wings in shimmery paints by Yasutomo. Look at the close up below:

Click on the picture to see how glittery they are. The sentiment was stamped using a set from Hero Arts. I sponged the background with Colorbox pale blue ink for a sky effect. So, I THOUGHT I was done. However, right after dinner on Saturday a thought hit me like a ton of bricks! I remembered that this weeks post was a SKETCH CHALLENGE! CRAP!!!! I ran to my computer, went to the DT blog, and sure enough it was a sketch we were supposed to use with this image. Here was the sketch:

You can see that my original card didn't even come close. So I ran upstairs with the card in hand and started playing with it to see if I could get it to "conform". After about an hour I realized there was no way I could do it. So, I tore it apart to start over. I did manage to salvage the colored image and the sentiment. The rest had to go. So, another couple of hours past to get a new card made to reflect the challenge. I told Nina that this was a double whammy for me because I also NEVER use flowers on my cards! Geeeezzzzzzz this was driving me nuts. So, after all is said and done, here is the sketch card:

Of course it is now after midnight and I needed to get the picture taken and uploaded to get it to Nina for her posting. So, the lighting is canned and not as flattering. But, as you can see, all the elements to the challenge sketch are there. I used a coppery/shimmery ribbon to go with her wings, but you really can't see that well with the lighting on this photo.

OK, so there you have it. I also told Nina that you think a gay guy could do a faerie proud and that this shouldn't have been so hard for me! LOL I do hope you go over to "There's Magic in the Air" and grab this week's FREE image and play along. Again, this image is very versatile as well and can also be used for a saying good-bye card, or an array of other sentiments.

Thanks for coming to see this weeks card! I so appreciate you supporting me like this!

I'll be doing another post mid-week using some new card stock I "discovered" that has an awesome property. Some of you may know about it, but I sure didn't and I'm so glad that I found it. It is the coolest stuff! Can't wait to show you what I made with it. I'll also publish a new pic of the week at that time.

Thanks again!


Curt O'Brien

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

Monday, August 3, 2009


Hey All! It's here!!! My first "official" post as a design team member of "There's Magic in the Air". Today's post is using the first FREE digital image for you to enjoy. It's called "Orson with Cake", drawn by the ever-so-talented Nina May. Here is the card I created using this image:

Isn't he cute?!? This is a really versatile image which could be used for birthdays or for any type of celebration. It's also a cute image for a child's card. I chose a "Party Animal" theme for our celebration. When I think of a monkey, I think of the jungle. So this was in my head when I first saw Nina's image. I colored the image with colored pencils and OMS. I added glitter to the icing on the cake and candle flame. The paper is by Frances Meyer called "Palm Fronds". It came in both the dark green and the light green. I used the light green for the background paper and cut the individual large palm leaves from the dark green. I then attached the leaves with foam squares for dimension. I cut out the circles with my Nesties circles and scalloped circles. The Bazzill card stock used was a dark chocolate. I wanted to give the look of a coconut. The sentiment was computer generated using the Curlz font.

When I put the card together, it still looked like it needed something else. So I created the "vine" and wrapped it all around the card to give it that "jungle" feel. I used brown braiding rope and punched the leaves out using a small $1 punch. Here is a close up:

So, there you have it! My first DT creation! LOL Hope you like it. I also hope you run over to the "There's Magic in the Air" blog to see what the other DT members have done. You also need to get over there to get your copy of this digital image for FREE! You can also participate in the challenge for the weekly prize.

Again, thanks so much for visiting! I do hope you hop over and play or at least pick up your free image. I would love to see what you all do with it as well!


Curt O'Brien

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