Hi, I'm Torrey. Welcome to Left Field, where creativity runs amok and imagination is ALWAYS more important than knowledge. Shoes are not allowed but ties are optional. This is a repository of snippets from my life out here in Left Field. One never knows what shiny bits of creativity will be found here... cards, scrapbook layouts, photography, poetry, recipes, ponderings, rantings and musings. It could be anything! Life in Left Field is always changing, always real, always ...interesting.

July 3, 2014

Hooray for the Red, White, and Blue

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

Quickie post here of an anniversary card I recently did for my in-laws. Ya know, I really dislike that term..."in-laws". It sounds so corporate and institutional. I love my "second parents" (that's better). After all, they produced my dear hubby whom I love with my whole heart.

Anywho, it was their anniversary (on the same day as my hubby's and mine...not coincidentally). I wanted to make them a special card. Jonathan's (my hubby) mom has a GIANT Raggedy Andy in her office. He sits on the sofa in there. I think she keeps him there as a reminder of Jonathan (it was his growing up). So that's how I landed on the Raggedy Anne and Andy theme. I found the digital black and white outline of them somewhere online. I colored them up with my ever-trusty Prismacolor pencils (as per usual). They turned out cute if I say so myself.

Doily die - QuickKutz
Eyelet border/corner punch - Martha Stewart
Prismacolor Colored pencils
patterned paper
scallop decorative scissors
embroidery floss
brown stamping ink

June 17, 2014

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

I have a question for you. How many of you venture outside your crafting "comfort zone", and how often and under what circumstances do you go there? Do you challenge yourself? Or do you follow the prodding of some outside influence?

I stepped out of my crafty comfort zone TWICE within the last week. Once was by my choice...the other was because someone hired me to do a project (ok ok...so technically I choose to do both, but you know what I mean). The two media I dabbled in are Gelli printing and watercolor painting.

Neither of which I am REMOTELY practiced in.

Like...not at all.

The Gelli printing was my own choosing. I joined a Meet-Up group of mixed-media artists. This month's topic was Gelli printing. Boy howdy is it a messy art form. REALLY messy. It was fun, but I have a dickens of a time getting my prints to look like what I envision in my head. Here's one I did. To be honest...it's more "stamping" than it is pulling a print. I just don't get the whole positive/negative thing....and don't even get me started on layering. I just don't get it. This was was of the only prints I pulled all night that didn't come out with its colors all muddy looking. BTW, those little circles on there are made with bubble wrap. Cool huh?

The second sojourn into unknown waters was a wedding invitation that a friend of mine wanted me to "illustrate" so that it could be framed and given as a keepsake gift to the happy couple. Cool idea, really. She brought me her wedding invitation from 40ish years ago. It was illustrated quite beautifully with a hand-painted lily-of-the-valley border that went up one side. This couple is getting married in Vail, Colorado (must be rough), so my friend wanted it to reflect a "Colorado/outdoorsy" theme...so flowers just wouldn't cut it. I suggested that I create an image of the chapel they're getting married in...along with a snowy mountain range. My friend agreed...and it was then and there I knew it had to be done in watercolor. And she wanted it to be done on the original invitation itself...not on a copy. So I had one shot to get it right.*


What was I thinking?

This meant I had to draw...

and paint.

And draw in perspective.

AND PAINT...with watercolor.

All within a 5x7 inch space.


I thought I had a couple of weeks to do this...so I wasn't in any rush. BUT, my friend called me last night and informed me that she really needed this by Wednesday at the latest since she's leaving for the wedding on Thursday.

That's THIS Wednesday...as in tomorrow.

She apologized profusely for misleading me to believe that I had ample time in which to get this done.

In retrospect, it was my own fault. I should have looked at the date on the invitation.


But, this morning I started drawing the building outline and general background in very light pencil onto the invitation... and by 2 pm this afternoon...it was finished.


Be impressed. I am.

 Here is a photograph of the chapel
I think I did ok...considering I'm not a watercolor artist and it's so little.

My friend was THRILLED.

That means, I am THRILLED.

She thinks I should go into business doing this for people.

I think not.

*I did ask for more copies of the invitation...just in case I messed it up (which I didn't).

June 4, 2014

It's an Avalanche of Cards!!!

Hidy Ho, Crafty peeps!

So, it's kinda dusty in here, isn't it? I can honestly say I've been too busy to post.


I have been working overtime in the Labora-Torrey this spring. I completed a custom-scrapbook for a client (I'll post the layouts in a later post). And, for some reason, I've had a major influx of card making opportunities. (opportunities sounds much better than obligations). Let's see...in the last month I've had my husband's birthday, Mother's Day, my bestee's birthday, my step-dad's birthday, my anniversary, my in-law's anniversary, and graduations out the wazoo. I could have made a few more graduation cards, but honestly...I ran out of steam. So, I apologize to Danielle, Kate, and anyone else I missed. I wish you all GREAT successes in your next adventure...but this old horse needs to hole up in the barn for awhile and put down her scissors (at least for a week, then I'm on to round 2).

So...I will post ALL the cards I've made during the past few weeks (except the Mother's Day card which I've already posted) in this post. One thing you may notice is how very different they all are. How unique each one is. That's how I roll. I'm not a cookie-cutter type card maker. I tailor each to the individual it's intended for. All the styles are different because all the recipients are different.

Another thing you may notice is that most of the graduation cards don't have people in caps and gowns on them. I find those types of cards to be sort of cliche...although I did break down and make one of them in the "traditional" style. Besides, the character on the card sort of looks like Tristen (the young man I'm sending it to.)

Are you ready????

Card #1.  My husband's birthday card. 
It's one of those card-in-a-box cards. I really, really like these things. And yes, if you hold it just right...the track on the front flap of the card lines up perfectly with the one on the back of the card. 

Card #2. Jodi's birthday card.
Jodi is my bestee. But you knew that. I started it by ripping out a page from a real antique reference book...that I purchased just for this purpose. It's a technique I've been dying to try for awhile now. The paper of the pages are SUPER thin...almost like tissue paper. I printed a digital image onto one of the pages and colored it with my Prismacolor pencils. I printed the fairy onto textured cardstock and colored her up as well. I fussy cut her out and adhered her over the colored text. I really like fairies. A lot. And, I really like Jodi. A lot. So, it was a no-brainer.  And, I think it's worthy of framing. 
(hint, hint Jodi).

Card #3. Richard's birthday.
Richard is my step dad. He loves the city. And, I love this new cityscape die I just got from Memory Box. It comes in a silhouette version...but I liked the one with the windows. I made the background by sponging ink on the cardstock. I made "reflections" in the "water" using a black colored pencil and a white pen for highlights and a few stars coming out in the sky. Star light, star bright...first star I see tonight.
Card#4. Haley's Graduation
Haley is Jodi's daughter. She's my "adopted" daughter. Actually, there is no "adoption" about it. She's my daughter too as far as I'm concerned. She's a bright, shiny, determined and extremely capable young woman. She has overcome some incredibly big obstacles in the last couple of years...to the point where they didn't even phase her. She treated them like little cracks in the sidewalk...she just stepped over them and kept going. She's amazing.

For her card, I wanted to convey how very proud I am of her. So I knew I needed to create something over-the-top. Way over the top. Y'all know how I am. I love 3-dimensional, pop-up cards. I recently got this balloon die set from Docrafts (their Xcut build-a-scene balloon die set). I adore it. Enough so, that I bought one for Jodi for her birthday. Happy Birthday, Jodi.

 Following are 3 shots of the card. The photos, as usual, don't do it justice.

Fully closed
Partially open
(belly band opened)

Fully Open

Card #5. Tristen's Graduation
Tristen is Haley's significant other. He has had to grow up quickly, and I think it hasn't been easy for him. My hope for him is that he realizes how wonderful a human being he is and that his life is filled with opportunities. All he has to do is choose which ones to pursue...which path to follow. My prayer is that he will make GOOD choices.

Card#6. Tina's Graduation
I've known Tina about as long as I've known Haley. They grew up together. She's kinda like my second adopted kiddo. Tina, too, has gone through some tough times in her young life. Her latest challenges include some health issues that would totally ground the average person...but with Tina...she takes them in stride and just keeps flying. She's like the Energizer Bunny.
She has blossomed into a beautiful young woman. She has Japanese roots, and is very proud of her heritage. I wanted to honor this part of her. The origami doll on the front is a compilation of several different patterns, which I combined/altered until I got a doll that matched the vision I had in my head. I have to confess...I was REALLY tempted to make the sentiment inside read "Congraturations and Good Ruck"...but I opted not to. But I just had to confess that the ornery little imp that whispers bad ideas into my ear was present for the creating of this card.
Card #7. Wyatt's Graduation
Wyatt is my mom's cousin's daughter's son. I have no clue what type of cousin that makes us. I don't care. He's family. I am amazed at how much he looks like his grandfather (my mom's cousin). I mean, he is the spitting image of his grandpa Eddie. Wyatt is a fish. Not that he has webbed toes or gills... He has been an accomplished swimmer since...well, about since he could walk. He is a regional champion and landed a swimming scholarship to college. He'll be going to school in Colorado!!! I wanted his card to be somehow related to swimming/water, without it being a dripping wet guy in swim trunks with a graduation cap on his head. So I made it kind of nautical themed. It's close to a swimming theme, right?

Card #8. Anniversary Card
My dear hubby and I just celebrated our 3rd anniversary. I know that's not very long in the grand scheme of things, but it still amazes me how fast 3 years has flown by. The heart puzzle, puzzle piece, and floating hearts are adhered with foam spacers for added dimension. The inside is filled with mushy stuff. 

What's written inside the card...stays inside the card. amiright?

So that about wraps up my card-making Lolapalooza. I still have 1 anniversary, 3 birthday, and 3 Father's Day cards to come up with in the next couple of weeks. More posting later!

And, I'm not posting any of the supplies I used. If you REALLY want to know what supply I used, just ask me in the comments. I'll be happy to tell you.

May 10, 2014

Homage to Momage

Hidy Ho, crafty peeps!

Sunday is Mother's Day...

I always make my mom a card (no surprise there). This year I thought I'd try my hand at one of those exploding card in a box constructions. I watched several videos on how to construct their base. Some of the videos were in metric, some in English. Thank goodness for the latter...I hate doing conversion math in crafting. Let's face it...I hate doing conversion math, period.

There was one problem...

All the videos out there are to make an A4-sized card (which is a card that measures 4-1/2” x 6-1/8” ...or 11-1/2 cm x 15-1/2 cm). That's all well and good, except the envelopes I have (which come with the generic card blanks I buy at Michaels) are A7 size (5-1/4" x 7-1/4"). So, I did the conversion math and resized the base to fit my larger envelopes. So, MY finished card is A7 size...basically 5" x 7". I actually made my template a little shorter than 7" (mine is 6-1/2") so that I can make embellishments that extend beyond the top border and still fit in the envelope.

Be impressed.

I did math.

Here is one of the videos that will show you how to assemble it all. The measurements she gives are for the A4 size...so you have choices!! Click the following link to see how to put it together.
I will post my template at the end of this post for those who are interested.

Here is the card I did for my mom. I learned a few "tips" during the construction process. The first tip is that you can extend the decorative elements pretty far beyond their designated space in the middle section on either side......but you need to test it in the closed position to see if or your embellies will stick out the sides of the card when folded flat.

Here is what the card looks like closed. Some people go all crazy with decorating the outside. I didn't. The magic of my card is on the inside...so I used MINIMAL decoration on the outside (coordinating patterned paper on each panel and a few pop-dotted simple cardstock elements).
Mom Card Closed

Here is what the card looks like if you fold the top two panels down, while the card is still in its "closed" position.

And here is what it looks like completely opened into its "box" form

and a closeup of the stuff in the middle:
Add caption
Everything on this card is a combo of diecutting, punching and paper piecing by hand. The nest was made by cutting apart a wreath diecut and adhering it over darker brown cardstock. The birds started life as plain Jane bird diecuts that I jazzed up with paper piecing.

My husband even got in the spirit and made a card using this format for his mom!! Here is his card! I'm gonna make a master card maker out of him yet!

Patterned Paper (Diecuts With A View, Recollections)
Twig Wreath Die (Impression Obsession)
Pine Branch Die (Impression Obsession)
Meadow Bird Die (Memory Box)
Forest Bird Die (Memory Box)
Heart punches
Hand punch
brown pigment ink

TEMPLATE (as promised)

May 3, 2014

Confessions of a Boomer-aged Gamer Chick

This is how I imagine it, if I close my eyes.
In the basement of an average neighborhood church, members of a seemingly normal-looking group of Boomer-aged people are sequestered away…for some secret meeting. Glancing at this gathering of people, one might not immediately discern their relationship to one another. There’s a lawyer, a plumber, a retired nurse, a teacher, a domestic engineer, an IT technician, a retired career Marine Sergeant, and a grandpa . They all have one thing in common.  The retired nurse pushes herself up into a standing position -- causing her folding chair to make a horrible metallic scraping noise on the linoleum floor. She takes a deep breath, holds her head high, and announces, “Hi, I’m Torrey and I’m a gamer chick.”  The group responds in monotone, 8-bit unison, “Greetings and salutations, Torrey!”
Yes, my friends, I’m here to tell you that the world of video games is NOT limited to those under the age of 20.

I am a gamer chick from, well…from the very dawn of the video game. I was there when the primeval video game Pong (insert registered trademark symbols behind everything I list from here on out) first emerged from its primordial ooze. Yeah, we had one. In fact, we were the ONLY family on the block that had one. This made me a very popular girl. I can’t tell you how many HOURS we spent gleefully staring at those two little vertical lines and moving, bleeping blip. That is how it all started.
By age 17, I was spending most of my weekends (and thus my allowance) at the only “arcade” in town. It was adjacent to a pizza parlor. It was there that I discovered a macabre, but totally addicting game called Death Race. It was a game where the player operates a little “car”. The entire object of the game is to intentionally run over as many pixelated “pedestrians” as possible. The challenge was that once you hit a person, a little gravestone would pop up in their place. If you hit a gravestone…it was “Game Over”. I know it’s wrong, but I loved that game. And, I was good at it.
From there sprang iconic games like Pac Man, Space Invaders, Joust, Frogger, and Qbert. I was in HEAVEN. Then, with the advent of personal game systems, these arcade games started to finger their way into the home market.  And, I was right there. The first game system I invested in was the Intellivision by Mattel.

Just look at these quality graphics! (she says sarcastically)
Those are buildings and lakes on the left, and islands on the right, you have to use your imagination.

Now, instead of hanging out at the arcade, my friends and I could huddle around a giganto 17-inch TV and play wondrous games like Utopia, Shark Shark, Snafu, Bomb Squad (the code, THE CODE!!! Figure out the code!), and my all-time favorite Microsurgeon…in the comfort of our own homes! We would lose all track of time. Looking back, this would have been  today’s  parents’ dream…teenagers, safe at home, spending time with one another, laughing and having a blast without alcohol, drugs, violence or sex. We were nerds. We didn’t care.

Over the years, most of my friends stopped playing video games. Most of them traded in their Intellivisions, Ataris, and Commodores  for “grown up” things…like cars, boats, getting married, having kids, buying houses. 

Not me.

While my friends were graduating from college, I was graduating from Intellivision…to Nintendo. And, to this very day, Nintendo is still my game system of choice. Today, I could open my own personal Nintendo museum. I have ‘em all…from that original grey box Nintendo to the Wii (and every other iteration of Nintendo in between). 

I still have all their games too, and they all still work. And yes, I did graduate from college (with high honors I might add), and I got a car and got married, but that is beside the point.

I was happy in Nintendoland for many, MANY years. Link, Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Toad…they are my brothers.  Then, a wonderful thing happened. The video game world evolved, yet again. Suddenly, with the exponential growth of the internet, a new generation of video games was created 

(cue an angelic chorus laced with synthesized music).

MMORPG…Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. 

I cut my MMORPG teeth on a cute little game called Maplestory. It’s innocuous enough—cutesy little 2-D virtual world where chubby little player-controlled characters go on a mindless (and endless) pursuit of their ever-elusive “next level”. It got really boring. I got tired of the grind. I craved better quests. I longed for awesome graphics. I hungered for more dimensions—3, to be exact. 

Enter…WoW (cue legendary, EPIC music).
I started playing WoW (World of Warcraft) about 7 years ago. Maybe 8…I’ve lost track. WoW was so amazing to me when I first started playing. I mean, it’s an ENTIRE 3-D WORLD! 3 DIMENSIONS!!!  Let me see if I can illustrate the difference in an analogy. I like analogies. WoW is to Pong, as Michelangelo’s Pieta is to a 3-year-old’s drawing of a 5-legged dog.  ‘Nuff said.

I love WoW. Sometimes I need a break from it for a few months, but, I always manage to find my way back. WoW has gotten me through some tough times in my life. Without going into great detail, it is a great distracter that allows me to place my focus away from pain. It’s a pretty powerful painkiller. WoW is also (as strange as it sounds) where I met my husband. We really did meet there about 5 years ago. Heck, I even got my 76-year-old dad to play (and we’re even in the same guild). I know there are many other MMORPGs out there. But, for me, my battle cry will always be, “For the Alliance!!”  If nothing else, for less than $15/month, I have one incredibly affordable form of entertainment.

A couple of weeks ago my husband and I were cleaning out our garage. He opened a big pink plastic storage tub. Inside was my Intellivision system with all its games-- all complete, all in their original boxes. We brought it in and spent awhile on the internet trying to figure out how to hook it up to our “modern” TV. After a quick trip to Radio Shack, we had it all hooked up. I pressed the “ON” button, and that familiar, tinny 8-bit music filled our entertainment room. It immediately whisked me back to my youth… to where this journey all began, decades ago. I have come full circle and have returned to my “video” roots. Yep. I’m a gamer chick to my very core, and I will be to my dying day…only then will it be...

Game Over.