Curt's Best Shots Slideshow

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Hey Kiddos!  How's your Wednesday going?  Well I hope.  I love the name that I have given this post, and since I've made my official posting day Wednesday, that is what the future Wednesday's posts will be called.  Kinda has a nice little "Norman Rockwell" sound to it doesn't it?  LOL  OK, on with the post:

I'm going to have to come up with a new way to photograph my cards.  Quite honestly, I'm not happy with the quality of the photos of the cards I got today.  Whenever I shoot them in pure direct sunlight, the color bleeds out, as well as some of the definition.  I even tried to use the setting on my camera that says "bright sunlight", but the pics came out even worse.  So I had to screw around a lot with the lighting in my photo editing software to try to make them as presentable as possible.  So I apologize for the less than great quality.

Here is the first of 3 cards I'd like to share with you this evening:

As all of you who know me even a little, you know that I LOVE Fall and Halloween.  For once, this card looked exactly like the one in my head after I created it.  The leaf stamps are by Martha Stewart and I stamped them with Versamark ink and then embossed them with copper embossing powder.  I then used sponge daubers and sponged them with Staz-On ink in mustard, pumpkin, and olive green.  I cut them out and applied them to the strip on Bazzill card stock.  I don't know who does the background paper, it was from my "scraps bin", but I loved the lattice print on it.  The sentiment is computer generated and popped up with dimensionals.  Added a bow tied with my Bow Easy and done.

Next is a Halloween card.  This card was created around a single element:

The haunted house scene is an intricately die cut sticker!  When I saw these (at Archiver's) I went nuts over them.  The orangy yellowish background was created by sponging watercolor paper with Staz-On mustard and pumpkin inks with a touch of black towards the top.  The moon color was created by masking that area before sponging with the other colors.  I then removed the mask and lightly sponged the center for a little more color.  Looks like it almost has a little light behind it doesn't it?  Once the sponging was done, I peeled off the sticker and aligned the moon part of the sticker with the masked moon area, pressed it all down and tah dah the main image.  Looks like it was stamped.  The other thing I did with this card was to "dye" the ribbon.  The checked ribbon was originally black and white, but since white really wasn't an option for this card, I used my Staz-On pumpkin ink and a dauber and rubbed the ink onto the ribbon turning the white parts to pumpkin.  Worked perfectly.  I put the ribbon on a black strip of card stock so that it would show better.  The sentiment ($1 stamp at Michael's) was stamped directly onto the background paper and embossed with detail black ep.  I then added the black brads with an orange dot in the center and the photo corners at each top angle to complete it.

The last card I have to share is one that I couldn't have done without the help of one of my sweet blogging friends.  You know who you are and thank you again (long story).  Anyway, I saw a card she had made with this stamped image and I emailed her right away to find out where to get it.  She told me where, said it was pretty pricey, and offered to send me a few of the stamped image which she did.  Here is my card:

I made this card for my best friend's partner Richard for his upcoming birthday in November.  He collects wolves, and as a matter of fact, has adopted two real wolves at a preserve.  When I saw this stamp, it screamed Richard.  So that is why I asked her where she had gotten it.  I so appreciate her sending the stamped images.  I colored this one with my ccps and oms.  I gave the leaves a Fall treatment since it is a November birthday.  The background paper is from a Fall stack.  It kind of reminded me of debris on a forest floor which went perfectly with the image.  I added the brown cord with the "wolf paw print" LOL and added the matted image to the card with foam dimensionals.

Well that's it for this post.  BTW, I'm at 93 followers and I've decided that when I reach 100 followers I'll be giving away some blog candy.  So stay tuned.  And in my next Wednesday post, I'm also going to give a little tutorial for you Bow Easy users on how to use the Bow Easy in a different way with a little tip I came up with.  

Again, thanks so much for stopping by.  I'll be off looking at all of your blogs this week to see what you have been doing.  It is always a couple of hours that I so look forward to.  I get my favorite beverage, sit back, and start blogging and leaving comments.  You are all such inspirations to me and I'm so lucky to have each of you as readers of this weekly stuff I put out.

P.S.  STORY:  Don't forget the pic of the week below.  I have a quick story with it. . .I drug my poor 72 year old Mom down to a dried up creek bed to let the boys run lose to explore.  I was walking ahead of her and all of a sudden I hear this blood curdling scream.  I look around and here she comes running faster than a Colt's receiver with her little dog Chunk in her arms like a football.  I couldn't believe she was moving that fast. . .What could have caused all of this you ask?  See pic of the week below!  LOL  To make the matter worse, I got one of those blank card things where you slide a photo onto the front to make it a photo card.  I ran it through my Cuttlebug to give it that snake skin look and inserted the picture.  On the inside I wrote "Enjoyed our visit. . .next time maybe you can stay a little longer.  Snakey Licks!  Sammy Snake"  LOL  I mailed it to her today.  She is going to KILL me!  I'm so evil. . . .

Take good care all!


Curt O'Brien

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

Monday, September 28, 2009


Hey All!  Happy Monday to one and all.  Ohhhhhh did I say Monday???  That must mean it's Magical Monday!   LOL  And it is indeed.  As most of you are aware by now, every Monday Nina May over at "There's Magic in the Air" releases a new digital image and gives it away free during the week.  Being on the design team, I create a card using the image along with the challenge for the week.  This week's image is called "Dancing Hearts" and the challenge this week is to "Make it sparkle!  Add some form of glitter or bling."  So, here is my card:

Cute image huh?  When I sat down to work with this image, two holidays came to mind.  The first was Christmas, the second Valentine's Day.  If you click on the picture, you will see all the glitter and the bling.  I colored the image with my cheap colored pencils and oms.  I used Stickles on the band of the vase and on the heart in the word love.  The hears on the bottom were created by using two different sized heart punches.  I punched the large hearts right on the background matting.  Then positioned the smaller hearts I punched in the center of the larger punched out area.  I then added bling to each of them.  I used chunky glitter on the "snow".  Finished it off with some ribbon and a bow made with my Bow Easy.  I'm starting to get the hang of that thing!  
I really had a rough time with this week's card.  Now brings the second part of my blog title:  Card Process.  Below, I have cut and pasted an excerpt from my email that I sent Nina with my card file attached.  I think it will give you an insight into the mind of a crazy person (yours truly):  Read at your own risk: 

"Well, you see. . .when I first saw the image, I thought it would be a perfect image for a Valentine's Day card.  But then, as I started thinking about it right before I started working on it this afternoon, after I asked you the question about what was "hanging" from the shelf. . .it reminded me of snow or icicles so I had this fab idea to make it a Christmas card.  I had this grand idea that the hearts were red and the stems were green (Christmas colors) and I could make the snow all glittery, and that little vase thingy I could color in candy cane stripes.  Then put it all together with some Christmas paper and oh what the hell was I thinking!?!  I made 2 cards with the Christmas theme, and once each was finished they were promptly ripped to shreds!  LOL  My candy cane stripes actually turned out looking like I had been drinking all day. . .they were all wavy and pitiful looking.  So I tried again, this time making the vase green and putting red stickles on it.  That only made the vase look really gaudy and like something you'd pick up on clearance at Wal-Mart after Christmas!  Kinda made me nauseated just looking at it.  But I pushed on trying to save the second attempt.  Once I got the glitter on the "snow/icicles", I tried to find some Christmas paper that would go with it.  Talk about my eyes crossing then!  LOL  No mater what paper I would try, it was like clash of the Titans. . .At that point I thought, heck I might as well go down to the kitchen and get some elbow macaroni and make a frame around it because it looked like a 3RD grader had already made most of the card.  Geeeeezzzzz  So that one got torn to shreds as well and I abandoned the "Fabulous Christmas idea".  So on to the Valentine's day theme, and thank God that one worked out OK.  I figure we still have friggin snow in February and I remember several Valentine Days that we had snow on the ground so it can still be a Valentine with snow on it!  And if people in warm climates don't "get it", well they can go make their on "sunny" Valentines. . .see if I care!  LOL"

So there you have it my sweet blogging friends.  A momentary glimpse into the mind workings of a madman!  LOL  I just thought it would be fun for you to see the "behind the scenes" goings on of my "creative process".  LOL

As always, thanks so much for your support.  I hope you go visit the ever so talented Nina May for this FREE image.  I would LOVE to see what YOU will do with this!  LOL

Stay well my friends.  I'll be back with another loaded post on Wednesday.  'Till then, take good care!


Curt O'Brien

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Hey All!  Hope everyone's Hump Day is progressing nicely.  I have another full post for you today.  So off we go!

As a cardmaker, I try to use my craft to help brighten someone's day, send kind thoughts, or help lift spirits whenever I can.  A couple of the cards that I'm posting today are specific to that philosophy.  I'll start with the one that I think deserves first attention.  While I was blog hopping, I ran across this blog:  Jennifer McGuire Ink.  There I found the story of Kate.  Kate is a little girl with a very serious brain tumor.  You can read more about her and her story by clicking on the link above.  They have a great gig going on called Cards for Kate.  So I decided to participate and send a card to her.  Here it is:

I don't have many stamps that apply to children, but I thought this would do the trick.  I made it very "girly" with pink and white background paper and printed heart ribbon.  The image is a Happy Hopper and I think is perfect for her card.  Inside it simply says "Sending You Big Hugs".  I hope it brightens this little girl's day.   If you go to their blog (link above), you'll also find that they are giving away a HUGE blog candy package (it is unbelievable!).  Just read on how to enter.  I'm not doing this for the prizes, I just wanted to brighten a little girl's day.

My second card is for a person who lost their beloved pet cat named Elsie.  One of my good blogging buddies had put out a request for people to send a card to her to cheer her up.  Well, you know me and my love of animals!  So today, I sent this card:

I didn't have any cat stamps (big dog person you know), but amazingly, I found this free digital image from Mo's Digital Pencil Too.  How lucky was that!  And it is such a great image.  I colored it with my cheap colored pencils and oms and mounted the center panel on the card with foam squares.  I then used some yarn to continue the yarn in the image there in the right bottom corner to create sort of a yarn frame.  To attach the yarn, I used this great stuff called "fabric tac" that I got at JoAnn's.  It stays stuck, let me tell you!   The inside is blank where I wrote a small note letting her know I was sorry for the loss of her cat.  I hope it brightens her day.

My next card has two purposes.  First, my Mom wanted me to make a card for her new doctor that she likes really well.  She just wanted it to be something that expressed her thanks for such good care.  So, again I went to my HM stamps and created this card:

This is one of my most favorite HM images.  Again, colored with my CCP/OMS.  Now for the second purpose.  See those buttons up there?  I made those.  See side view below:

There is a tutorial on how to make buttons of any size or shape to go with any card.  They are really easy and fun to do.  It's basically punching 5 ovals (in my example), gluing them together and punching two holes in the center and then coating them with something like Diamond Glaze.  The possibilities are endless.  For the tutorial and links to samples, go HERE.   Mine turned out looking either like wood or leather.  I love this technique.

The final thing I would like to share with you today is my very first Halloween project for the season.  Take a look:

I was so excited to find these glass hinged bottles at Michael's.  Even more excited that they were only $1!  To give you an idea of their size, it takes a full bag of M & M peanuts to fill two.  So they are really a great size!  The top of the jar was the perfect size for one of my Nestie circles which I used to cut out the sentiment for each jar top.  The sentiments are all from $1 wooden mounted stamps that I got at Michael's last year.  I embossed each sentiment to give it a glossy look.  The images on the tags I made are from the Martha Stewart Halloween wood mounted stamp set.  I stamped them on Bazzill card stock with black Archival ink.  I cut them out with my oval Nesties and added the scalloped black edge also with my Nesties.  I finished each off with some bling:

I used my Silent Setter to cut the hole in the top and then fed the ribbon through and attached to the jar.  These were so easy and took so little time.  Each are filled with either M & Ms plain or peanut in Halloween colors.  These jars are large enough that you could put all kinds of different candy in them.  They are simple yet full of Halloween charm I think.  

There you have it.  I'm poppin out stuff like crazy.  LOL  It's because of the Fall season, and I love the energy I get from it.  I hope this stuff inspired you a bit.  I love the comments you guys leave and you are too kind in doing so.  Even though my cards and projects are made for others, they are made because of your encouragement and kindness.  Again, I can't thank you enough for what you do to my spirits.

Please take good care of yourselves.  In reading posts this week, I've read of sickness, and husbands losing jobs, and other sad things that are going on.  I'll keep all of you in my prayers and good thoughts.  I'll be seeing you on your blogs in the next couple of days!  I can't wait to see what you've done this past week!  Don't forget the "Pic of the Week" below!


Curt O'Brien

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

Monday, September 21, 2009


Hey All!  Hope you had a wonderful weekend and that the week ahead holds Great things for you!  Today is Monday and that means another wonderful image from Nina May to celebrate Magical Monday!  This week's image is super cute!  His name is Eldon and the challenge this week is to use ribbon and a  bow on your card.  Here is mine:

The minute I saw Eldon, I knew the bow would be his bow tie.  The ribbon going across the card is a printed ribbon I picked up at Michael's for $1.  I colored Eldon with my cheap colored pencils and oms and sponged the sky background with Colorbox light blue ink.  The background paper is from one of the stacks.  I used an EK Success punch for the small Butterflies and embellished them with drops.  The sentiment is from Artful Inkables, and I used my scalloped circle Nesties to cut it out.  Both the sentiment circle and the matted image are attached to the card with foam squares.

So, there you have it.  Another great FREE image from Nina May at "There's Magic in the Air".  Hop over there and get it while you can because it will be gone soon!  We'd also love for you to play in the challenge this week.  I'd love to see what you talented bunch can do with Eldon!

I hope you all are well!  Thanks so much for stopping by.  I'll have another post on Wednesday.  It'll be another jam packed one!  Thanks so much for your support.  See you on Wednesday!


Curt O'Brien

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

Wednesday, September 16, 2009


Hey All!  Happy Hump Day to all of you!  I hope that you are all having a wonderful week as you go sliding into the weekend!  Once again, I have a bunch to share with you so let's get started!

The first thing that I want to share with you all today is my entry into this week's HM Monday challenge.  The challenge was to make a card using any of the challenges from the last year's posts.  They are celebrating their 52ND challenge which means 1 year.  I chose the challenge of making a "get well" card.  Here it is:

At first glance, this doesn't look much like a get well card, however I made it for my best friend who just had surgery on his vocal cords.  So the inside sentiment says "Hope you are back to singing soon".  He sings in musicals and the opera, so I thought this image made the perfect get well card for him!  The image is a House Mouse stamp called "Two Part Harmony".  I colored it with my cheap colored pencils and oms.  The background paper is by Provo Craft in a pad called "brights".  I used a glitter pen to go over the light blue areas of the pattern to make it sparkle.  You can see it better here:

The next thing I want to share is the way you can look at the same image, and make two totally different cards with it.  Now I know that may not sound like much of a big deal, but I'm going to show you two cards where I used the same image, but on dramatically different cards.  Here is the first:

Every time I see this hamster I smile from ear to ear!  Is he not the cutest?  This is from Maurie Manning's Digital Pencil Too!  Maurie (she goes by "Mo") is a children's book illustrator and is so amazingly talented.  She is one of those artists that when you see her image, you know it's by her without looking to see.  Such a wonderful style.  Go see her by clicking the link above, you will love her work!  This is her hamster image, and I used it for the typical birthday card (kind of lends itself to that type of card).  I colored it with my cheap colored pencils and oms and matted it with navy blue Bazzill card stock.  You can see there on the bottom if you click on the picture that I ran a strip of the blue card stock through my paper crimper to look like a piece of the cupcake liner.  I put different colored brads in each corner to go with the dotted background paper and then added the sentiment (don't know who's stamps) cut out with my scalloped Nesties.  So you can see that this makes a perfect birthday card.  Now let's look at it in a different light:

Big difference in celebration huh?  LOL  It's funny, but when I saw this image for the first time, I thought to myself "What a cute little cupcake monster".  Then the idea hit me to make a Halloween card using that theme.  Again, I colored him with my cheap colored pencils and oms.  I used Ranger's soot distressed ink to go around the edge.  Again, if you click on the picture above, you will see that I put a strip of black card stock through my crimper to give the look of a piece of cupcake liner paper and then put the computer generated sentiment on that.  Added orange brads and some Halloween printed paper for the background and done.  Both of these cards are 5 X 7, which is usually the size I work with.  This also illustrates the advantage of using a digital stamp.  You can size it to fit the card your working on which is a dream for me.  I find a lot of the stamps too small for my preferred 5 X 7 format.  So, I hope this gives you some thoughts on looking at your stamps and visualizing how to use them differently.

The next couple of cards I want to share with you are two Fall cards.  I'll start with my wreath card. . . here it is:

The colors in this card were inspired by the pic of the week at the end of this post.  This one was, I think, more work than it was actually worth!  LOL  I stamped each of those leaves with either Staz-On or Memento ink, then colored the unstamped parts of the image with my colored pencils.  I then cut all 25 leaves out by hand.  My poor big man hands were cramping by the time I was finished!  LOL  I don't know who makes these leaf stamps.  They were purchased way before I was told that I needed to save that information and supply it to people who wanted to know.

When I make one of these wreath cards (see my winter wreath from last season here)  I always first start with a "ring" that I make out of my Nesty circles.  Using a large circle first then a smaller circle to cut out the center of the first circle.  This becomes my "template" to keep the leaves in a circular pattern and something to glue them to.  The paper is by Pizazz and I used it as the background because it reminded be of an old country door or a barn door.  I love the coppery shear ribbon which I used to make the bow with my Bow Easy, which I'm still thinking it's still not that easy.  Don't know why I have such trouble with it!  It must be my big man hands!  LOL

The next is another Fall shaker card.  This time I used a natural element for the "shaker stuff".  Here's the card:

The pumpkin stamp is by Paper Inspirations and the background paper is from a stack by Me and My Big Ideas.  As you can see, I used real pumpkin seeds!  Here is a close up:

They were such a mix of great colors and really added to the theme of the card.  They really make a good shaker sound too!  The pumpkin seeds were already roasted/salted and I washed them in soapy water before using them on my card to avoid any oil staining the background.  I really love making these shakers, and the people that I show them to really go wild over them.  They are super easy to do and you can  see how to make them by visiting my last post where I provide a link to a great video.

Well that's it!  Are ya tired?!?!  I know I go overboard with how much I share.  I try to tell myself, save the cards and post only one at a time.  But I just can't help myself.  I just want to throw it all out there at once!  Just the way I am.  And besides, the way I've been going at it lately, I'd have enough cards to post for months!  LOL

I hope you enjoyed the post.  I certainly enjoy you coming by and taking the time to read the silliness I post.  And then for you to leave the types of comments you leave is even more heartwarming.  You guys add to the sunshine in my day.  Thank you so much.

One last thing, don't forget the pic of the week below.  This was from last year.  It was taken at a walking path here close to my house.  This is the actual shot.  It was not photoshopped or touched in any way.  We had the most vibrant colors last year, and I'm hoping for the same in this year's foliage.   Take care all!  I'll be seeing you on your blogs later tonight and tomorrow morning!


Curt O'Brien

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

Monday, September 14, 2009


Hey All!  Hope your weekend was all that you hoped it would be.  The weather here was so beautiful and me and the boys hit several parks.  They are worn out (so is Dad!)

Since it is Monday, that means it is Magical Monday over at "There's Magic in the Air".  Today's FREE IMAGE is really beautiful, and I had a super time working with it.  Here is my card for this week:

This image is called "Deco Flower".  Nina did a great job with this one.  The challenge this week is to use this image on a card and use either dry or heat embossing on your card.  I went with the dry embossing.  You can't see it very well in the pic above (you can if you click on it), so here is a close up of the embossing just for proof:

I used one of the new Quik Cutz embossing folders for this.  (You can use the Quik Cutz folders in your Cuttlebug).  This folder almost matched the lines in the background paper.  Here is another look at the card so you can see the embellishments I used:

I colored the image with colored pencils and oms.  As you can see, I added pearls and rhinestones to the image.  I cut the image out with my oval Nesties and mounted the matted image to the card with a foam dimensional.  Super easy card.  This is one of my favorite color combos too!

So, there you have it.  Run over to "There's Magic in the Air" to grab this image.  It is only available for a limited time for free before you have to buy it.  So don't miss out.  And I'd love for you to play in the challenge this week.

Thanks for stopping by!  I'll have another post on Wednesday and I can't wait for you to see what I have to share!  Again, I appreciate you guys so much!  Hope you have a great week and I'll see you on Wednesday!



Monday, September 7, 2009


Hey All! Happy Labor Day to each of you. I hope you all are enjoying a long weekend. Today is also another Magical Monday at There's Magic in the Air. So that means another new FREE image for you to grab up there. It also means a new challenge using the free image.

This week's challenge is a sketch challenge. Here is the sketch and my card using this week's FREE image below:

Another cute image by Nina May. Because the larger part of the image is a lion, I once again went with a wild animal/jungle theme. Honestly, I have absolutely no idea who the paper is by. There was nothing on the back of any of the sheets. I used a jungle like leafy patteren paper for the background paper and for the panels, I used the animal prints. I colored the image with colored pencils and oms. The sky background was sponged with light blue Colorbox ink. The hearts are also part of the image, and I added little heart shaped rhinestones on them. The paw print flowers are from a chip board set that I bought over a year ago when I first started this thing called stamping. I thought they were perfect to finish the element from the sketch.

So, there you have it. Be sure to run over an pick up your FREE image. Just click HERE.

I'm sorry I have been missing in action, but I promise you I will have a post on Wednesday that will be full of unique stuff I want to share. I'll also be visiting each of you this week to catch up with what you have been doing. Can't wait to see what you have been up to! And there will be a new pic of the week as well!

Again, thanks so much for your support of my work. It means so much to me!


Curt O'Brien

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