Wednesday, August 29, 2007

With seconds to spare

Did you ever notice that a large number of my posts are published right before midnight? Ever wonder why? Well, a part of it is that I work during the day and stamp at night and I'm a night owl, but the real reason is the dreaded Feedblitz Sweep. Those of you who read this blog through your blog reader service or who (dare I hope?) have it added to your favorite websites list probably don't know or care about the Feedblitz Sweep. But those of my readers who subscribe to e-mail updates rely on Feedblitz to tell them when there's anything new, and Feedblitz only knows what's new as of its daily midnight sweep. So if I post an article at 12:10 a.m., my e-mail readers won't know about it for two days.

Does this matter? Not really, except that my goal is to have something new for everyone daily, and when I don't post by midnight I feel as though I let my e-mail subscribers down. Silly, I know, but it is what it is.

But A-Ha! I think I have figured out a way to beat the Feedblitz sweep. You see, If I post something by midnight, even if it's not a full article, it still gets picked up and everyone is updated. I can then go in later and edit the post and when the e-mail subscribers come to read the full article it will be here for them to see in all its glory. Clever, right? Well I thought so anyway ;-).

So here is my stamping project of the night. I'm working on several projects that I will be teaching at my Halloween Home Decor class on September 25, and this little treat bag will be one of them. It's a fun little decoration that can be filled with treats and displayed throughout the Halloween season and then used as a party favor, contest prize or even a special gift for a teacher, mailman, your favorite bank teller or anyone you want to make feel special.

I really love the interplay between the crazy spiders from the arachnophobia wheel and the cute little spider from the Batty for You set. I can just tell what the little batty for you spider is thinking -- "Whoa --I'm way out of my league here!" LOL!

More Halloween home decor projects tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Just a couple of cards

Well, the power actually came back Monday night, but I was working on my swaps and didn't have anything ready to post so I decided to play hooky. This is the card that I was working so hard on. I know it doesn't look like much, but when you're stamping 25 of these babies plus stamping, coloring and cutting 15 more of the small gourds and leaves, which are attached to the card with dimensionals, it ends up pretty time consuming. I think it was worth the effort, though, and I know my fellow demos appreciated not having to cut and trim the small parts at the shoebox swap tonight. Having them stamp and watercolor the pumpkins was quite enough.

I like how this card turned out. I water colored the pumpkins in really rust and pumpkin pie classic ink using the aqua painter. The small gourd was colored more mustard and pumpkin pie. The leaf was old olive and really rust. I used just a bit of the brocade backgrounds double sided designer series paper for the horizontals strip. I love how you can use a strip of designer paper to add color and texture to a card without having to stamp anything.

So of course since I prepared 40 of these cards and 40 of the super size snowflake I showed you this weekend, I received 40 different cards from my fellow demos in return. We do this kind of swap every time a new catalog comes out. Glenda organizes it all for us, and figures out all the logistics. Those who live close enough and have the evening free come to stamp. The rest of us mail our swaps in or drop them off. Or there are some who are crazy, like me, and participate in both groups of swappers (this time we had 2 grouped of 40) so that one of our swaps is a stamping swap and the other one is a drop off. In any case, this time around I really wanted cards from both groups, hence the mass production this weekend. I can;t wait to show you the swaps I received, but there was no time to photograph and upload them tonight.

One thing I remembered to take the time for was to make two get well soon cards for friends. I have two friends who are sick. One just recently had surgery (everything went well, thank goodness) and another who's been ordered off her feet for 6 weeks. Ouch! So I made a get well card for both of them and they are fairly similar -- sorry ladies! I wanted to use Serene Sunflower because everyone loves sunflowers, right? They're just so bright and cheery, you just can't help but feel better when you look at a sunfower.

In any case, hopefully both of them will get better just as soon as possible, but int the meantime they'll have a cute card.

So that's it for tonight. I'm off to ZZZZ land. "Talk" to you tomorrow. And don't forget to let me know if you're interested in participating in my shoebox swap. See the post below for some details.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Fun colors!

Yes, I'm about to show you yet another card I stamped today inspired by the Coldwater Creek catalog. I can;t help myself -- their clothes have the coolest color combos. Today I'm not going to ramble about how I stamped the card -- it's pretty self explanatory. I'll just post it here side by side with the jacket. The only hing of note is that I pretty much ignored the pumpkin pie, which is the predominant color in the jacket, and instead pulled out all of the accent colors -- More Mustard, Really Rust, Tempting Turquoise and Green Galore. It was really cool to see how well these colors went together.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Return of the Mojo?

Jen left a really funny comment the other day. She said my constant references to my stamping mojo made her think that this would be a good name for a cat. I agree! It might even be a good name for a bunny, should we ever get another one. I can hear it now -- "Stop digging mojo!" "What are you chewing on, Mojo?" "Time for bed, Mojo" Hee Hee!

Anyway, I wouldn't want to announce the triumphant return of the mojo, because I'm not sure it's quite back yet, but I do like the cards I stamped tonight, so that's a step in the right direction.

Let's start with the Supersize Snowflake card I promised you last night. As you can see, the snowflake is so large that in order to stamp the whole thing you'd have to use the entire vertical card front, which I might try at some point. Today, however, I wanted a horizontal card, so this is what i came up with. Not exactly rocket science, but simple can be pretty too.

I first inked just the winter wishes greeting in Blue Bayou and stamped it at the top of the whisper white layer. I then inked up the snowflake with soft sky ink and stamped just about half of the snowflake on the bottom of the layer. I flipped my stamp over to the outline background, inked it up with blue bayou, and stamped the outline onto the card. Because I was stamping the snowflake straight (in terms of card to block orientation) I didn't even need the Stamp-a-ma-jig to line up the outline to the solid stamp -- Woo Hoo! I covered the solid part of the snowflake with two way glue and sprinkled on some dazzling diamonds glitter. Fun!

The first card put me in a snowflake mood so I decided to keep going. Last night Jen and I got together to talk about card designs for a series of holiday card Stamp-a-stacks we'll be hosting jointly with our friend Sara in September, October and November (Third Thursday of every month at 7:00 p.m. in Itasca -- mark your calendars now!) We found lots of great designs, but not nearly enough featuring snowflakes. So I'm hoping maybe one of these cards will be a good candidate.

Anyway, I started by wheeling a 4x5.25 piece of whisper white card stock with the Snowflake wheel in bashful blue. I then went over the entire sheet with my Bold Snowflakes Jumbo Wheel inked up in Night of Navy. the two styles of snowflakes are very different, but I like the way they play off one another. I think it helps that the more delicate snowflakes are stamped in a lighter colors while the bold snowflakes are darker.

After I was done wheeling, I ripped the card stock in half (cool --two card fronts wheeled at once!) and added bashful blue ink to the ripped edge.I mounted the whisper white to a 4x5.25" piece of brocade blue card stock and adhered that to a bashful blue card base. I used the bashful blue marker to ink up the snowflake and night of navy marker to ink up the "winter" on the stamp from Perennial Favorites, and stamped it on whisper white. I punched the image out with the petite tag punch and matted it onto a tag punched from night of navy card stock. I added a brocade blue brad in the center of the snowflake and some bashful blue gingham ribbon. I adhered the tag to the card base with a dimensional and the card was done. Again, It's not particularly elaborate or inventive, but it is kind of cute, right?

But even after stamping the two snowflake cards I still did not feel like the creative juices were flowing properly. I definitely needed some major mojo infusion. And what finally got me out of the funk? The Coldwater creek catalog, of course! I swear, their buyers have such a fantastic eye for colors! All I have to do is look at their clothes and the ideas start flowing!

The first thing that got my mind racing was this shirt. I really loved the combination of groovy guava, taken with teal, lovely lilac and elegant eggplant. This color combination was so far out of my usual comfort zone, and yet it worked beautifully! So I knew that if i just put these colors together I would have a cool card.

Once I had the color combination, I needed to choose a stamp set. I thought the colors lent themselves to flowers, but they had to be delicate yet not too delicate, KWIM? I wasn't sure I did either until I saw my Polka Dots and Paisley set and realized that it was perfect!

The trickiest part was inking up the solid flower with the groovy guava ink pad and the stem with the taken with teal ink pad. Once I managed that the rest of the card just came together. I stamped the flower outline in taken with teal and the sentiment in groovy guava, all on whisper white card stock. I tore all the edges of the whisper white card stock and added a taken with teal mat. I adhered it to a larger piece of lovely lilac, tore off the bottom edge and added some double stitched groovy guava grosgrain ribbon.

I used elegant eggplant for my base, stamped in elegant eggplant with the polka dots stamp. I added a strip of taken with teal and another strip of groovy guava prints designer double sided paper on to p of the teal strip. Finally, I added the pain image and I was done.

And you know what? I love it! Stamping this card was so much fun! It just came together naturally, thanks to the good folks at you know where.

So I don't know if this is really the return of the mojo or just a lucky fluke, but whatever it is, I'll take it!

After the storm

Yesterday the mother of all storm systems passed though our area. We had wave after wave of thunderstorms, extremely high winds and tornado warnings. Many areas lost power (including us but, thankfully, only for a little while). I wouldn't know how to explain it all in meteorological terms, but Tom Skilling, our WGN and Chicago Tribune Weather Guru, says it had something about all the warm moist air being sucked up into thunderheads that were 60 miles high (Is that even possible?Maybe I remember it wrong?) and then dragging the air from the upper levels of the atmosphere down through a funnel. I'm probably misrepresenting what really happened, but whatever it was, it was bad. Lost of damage from the downed trees and flooding. All around not good. I thought I would show you pictures of our neighborhood today, though these really do not do the storm justice.

This is a photo of our local creek. Normally it is pretty shallow, especially in the summer, and not quite as wide as the two openings you see on the bridge in the picture. What you're seeing here is the creek overflowing the banks so that it's about 4 times as wide as normal and about 10 times as deep. Believe it or not, since we didn't have any rain today, the water level actually went down a bit. Yesterday you almost could not see the top of the holes under the bridge.

This is a view of the other side of the road. Again, normally all of this is grassland. Now the park has turned into a lake.

This is what happened to one of our neighbor's trees. Lucky for everyone it fell into the yard, and not on the house or a car or a person! I've seen trees that were split down the middle vertically by lightening or uprooted by the wind, but I've never seen this mature of a tree just snapped in half! It is truly stunning!

And here is a close up, so that you can get a different perspective on the size of this tree. It was huge, and it snapped in half like a twig. Granted, looking inside the trunk it does look like it may not have been the healthiest of old trees, but still! WOW!

Thankfully, we managed to weather the worst of it OK. No water in the basement and no downed limbs. So far we also haven't seen the next wave of storms that are supposed to be passing through. Maybe we'll get lucky and this system will pass us by altogether. I hope so -- we've had quite enough rain this month, thanks!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A Sneak Peek and a Tip

Maybe it's a little too soon to be talking about the Holiday Collection mini Catalog, which is due out September 1, but I just could not resist giving you a sneak peek at one of my new goodies.

You're looking at a Super size Snowflake double background. That's right, it's large and it's double sided, with the solid snowflake on one side and just the outline on the other. Pretty cool, huh?

Well, it gets even cooler! This baby is die cut, which means you do not have to trim it out yourself! And, just to make things even more exciting, the same is the case for every set in the holidays collection mini catalog. WOW! Give those craft and rubber scissors a holiday!

Just so that we're clear, after you mount your stamp you will be left with a piece of excess rubber that looks like this. Pretty, isn't it? So pretty, in fact, that it's hard to throw it away. At least I haven't been able to throw mine away. Maybe this weekend I'll figure out a way to use this piece as well!

And this is what the solid part of the Super size snowflake looks like after it's been mounted. But take care! There is a trick to this. This size of the stamp is so large it barely fits on the wood block. But is does fit if you align the words at the very bottom of the block. In addition to being careful, you might want to use this trick that I will now demonstrate with the outline stamp intended for the other side of the block.

First, place the stamped image, rubber side down, on your stamp table. Then carefully peek off the backing just off the part of the stamp that is going to be mounted to the wood block. You should be left with two pieces that look somewhat like this. If you want, you could keep the snowflake paper shape and use it as a mask.

Next, you place a block of wood over the stamp, making sure that the block centered on top of the image in each direction and that the top of the outline reaches to the edge of the wood block. If you do this on both sides your snowflakes should be perfectly aligned.

Next peel the remaining rubber off the wood block and, Voila! You have a super sized double sided background.
If I was good, I would have a card ready, but I guess I'm not that good. Sorry! Ill try to post a card tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I'm a slacker!

I spent the whole evening in the stamp room with my friend Liz and she has a lot to show for it. Me? Nada. Zip. Zilch. Stampin' Mojo is on vacation. So all I have to show you tonight a re pictures of projects and swaps that i saw at the demo meeting I went to last Saturday. Tonight I decided to feature the Halloween themed projects.

The first photo shows a coupe of home decor items -- we'll be making similar projects at the Halloween decor class on September 22. I really love the idea of incorporating these gorgeous Halloween designer papers into displays around the house!

This second photo is a swap one of my demo friends received at Convention. Isn't it adorable? Just the Batty For You stamps set and the Itty Bitty Backgrounds set plus some punches, crimper and black gingham ribbon. And also the movable eyes -- how cute are those?

This photo is also of a swap received by a demo at Convention. I really love this card because it looks so stylish and features the bitty boos too set perfectly. I'm really looking forward to making this card myself!
Sorry for the lack of new content from me. Maybe tomorrow my stampin' mojo will return. I'll be crossing my fingers!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Two takes

Tonight I want to show you two takes on the same layout and I would love some feedback on which card you like better. Unfortunately, I'm afraid the feedback is going to be a little skewed by the fact that for the life of me I could not get a good picture of the second card. But still, take a look at both and let me know what you think.

The first card is just the cake from year after year stamped in Sahara sand on whisper white and colored with groovy guava ink using a blender pen. I even made all the dots with my blender pen. I added some groovy guava prints double sided designer paper, a little apricot appeal grosgrain ribbon and a greeting made with the word window punch and the small and large oval punches. Simple but cute, right?

Well, I couldn't just let enough alone, so I decided to try to "bling it up" a bit. So on the second card I added "frosting" made with crystal effects and microbeads. I also colored the bottom of each layer with apricot appeal and added the groovy guava dots and I sponged the edges with groovy guava. I know the details are hard to see in the full card picture, so I took a detailed photo that hopefully shows the crystal effects and microbeads a little better.

So what do you think? Is the "bling" card better than the plain or vice versa? I honestly can't decide. I like the simplicity of the first design, but I also like the "sugar frosted" look of the second card. Help!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Winter in August? How Cool!

Remember when I talked about Shelli's cool home decor displays at Convention? Well Darned if Glenda didn't come up with a way to have these ready for us to see live and in person at Saturday's SIS meeting. She had all of them -- the stack of boxes, the pinwheels, the garland, and even a sample ornament. I mean, honestly, I don;t know why she couldn't find a white tree in the middle of August to show us what the ornament would look like hung up. What a slacker! (OK, just in case you don't know my sense of humor -- I'm totally kidding!)

I took a close up of the boxes and the pinwheels. We'll be making similar projects at a winter home decor class later on this year or in early January. I can't wait -- I'm so looking forward to my house looking festive even after the Christmas decorations come down!

I hope you can see the little sparkly icicles hanging down from the lids of the octagonal boxes. These are made with crystal effects and dazzling diamonds, and they're quite easy (though they do require some patience). First you draw a line of crystal effects on top of a piece of wax paper. then you use the tip of the crystal effects bottle to draw down some of the crystal effects so that the line looks like a bit of icicle. Then you lightly sprinkle the icicle with dazzling diamonds and let the whole thing dry overnight until the crystal effects is completely dry. then you just peel the icicle off the wax paper and use an adhesive to attach it to your project.

Of course Glenda couldn't just show us the technique -- she and Julie P. worked really hard to make sure we were able to take home a sample card. That means that Julie made lots and lots of these icicles ahead of time. At the meeting all we had to do was stamp the main image on this card, apply some dazzling diamonds, and then adhere the stamped images and the ready-made icycles to the card. And isn't it an awesome card? I'll be the first to admit that the seasonal whimsey set is not my style, but I love the way it looks here! Thanks Glenda and Julie for making it possible for all of us to have this awesome sample!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Like a dog with a bone

Sometimes when I find a color combination I like I just can't let it go. I really like the card I made for Jen with this color combination (see post below) so I decided to make another one. This time I stamped just a portion of the Happiness background stamp in Bravo Burgundy on very vanilla and colored the flowers with my more mustard marker. I then used my 1/8" handheld circle punch to punch out the larger white dots, punched the corners with the ticket corner punch and tied the river rock double stitched ribbon around the image. I added a mat of More Mustard Prints double sided designer paper and used the ticket corner punch on the corners.

I used river rock card stock for the base, stamped the sentiments from the Think Happy Thoughts set in river rock ink and added a Bravo Burgundy flower in the center. I then adhered the main image on an angle. Nice and simple!

Strategic punching

I think by now everyone knows that I love punches and that I'm the queen of using up scraps. Well here is a card I stamped for my friend Jen showcasing a great way to punch strategically to get maximum use out of the card stock and the photo corner punch.

I started off with a strip of bravo burgundy card stock that was shorter than the mat on the card but long enough to allow me to punch three times. (And yes, of course this strip came from my scrap pile). I drew a line with a pencil about 1/4" away from the edge of the card so that the punched reveal would be roughly in the center of the width of the strip. I used this line as a guide to line up my punch. I eyeballed the places to punch along the length of the strip. (In the future I may measure for this too.) Anyway, once I had my line I just punched the photo corners three times, trying to space the reveal equally along the strip length. Now I had 6 bravo burgundy photo corners for use on another project and the remaining strip, which some people would toss in the garbage but I wanted to use as a decoration on my card.

I took out my Think Happy Thoughts set (I love this set -- it goes perfectly with the Happiness background stamp and reminds me of last year's riveting hostess set, which was awesome). I stamped the flower in bravo burgundy on very vanilla card stock and punched them out with the 3/4" circle punch. I then adhered the circles to the little squares left behind by the punch with dimensionals, thus completely hiding the squares and making only the diagonal line visible. I adhered a piece of more mustard Prints Double Sided designer paper to the back of the bravo burgundy strip. I then used my 1/16" handheld circle punch to make holes in the centers of the flowers and inserted three more mustard brads. Now my strip decoration was ready to go.

I used bravo burgundy for my card base and added a river rock mat which I stamped in more mustard with the dotted circle from the Think Happy Thoughts set. I then adhered my decorated strip. I still needed a sentiment, so I used the friendship stamp inked up with bravo burgundy on very vanilla and punched it out with the 1 1/4" circle punch. I added a 1 3/8" circle mat of bravo burgundy. I stamped the flower in bravo burgundy on more mustard card stock and punched that out with the 3/4" circle punch. I added another more mustard brad to the center of the flower. I attached the whole assembled sentiment to the card and voila -- it was ready to go.

I know this card doesn't look like much at first glance, but I simply love how I was able to use every bit of card stock with no waste through strategic punching. I also love how the punched reveal, in combination with the designer paper used in the background, sets off the stamped flower images.

Have you ever used strategic punching to get the most out of your card stock for your projects? If not, I hope this post serves as your inspiration!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Boho West

Today I wanted to feature three projects featuring our Boho West Collection and, more specifically, our Wanted Set and Outlaw designer paper. The first tow projects are Make and Takes from this year's Convention, starting with this awesome 6x6 scrap page. In addition to the wanted set, this page also utilizes the new Sanded background stamp, which is really fabulous! I really love how the stamps in the Wanted set go great with our various circle punches and the new star punch. I also love how on this page we only used 1 punched corner. The pieces in the opposite corner were not part of the original design. In fact, they were scraps left over from the original design. Well, you know how I can;t bear to throw away good scraps, so I just incorporated them into this page. but if you don't like the overlapping circles do not blame SU -- that was all my idea.

The second project is the cute pocket card and i think I already talked about this one, but what the heck, I'll talk about it again. We used the Outlaw double sided designer paper to form the pocket. We stamped the Really rust insert with the paisley stamp from the Wanted set and dry embossed the circles using the Crop-a-dile. I love to dry emboss with this new tool, and it makes punching holes through just about anything a snap! It's also used to set the new big eyelets we have available this year, which you can see in the center of the medallion on this card. One of my favorite products this year is the wide grosgrain ribbon, and I love how it's added to this project and tied with a bit of linen thread.

I stamped the final project today at our SIS meeting. It was designed by my friend and upline Jen, using a new technique she invented called faux cracked glass (sort of leaves my embossed twine in the dust, right?). This technique is so cool -- once you try it you'll never want to do regular cracked glass again! And it's a perfect technique for this collection of products -- really picks up on the western flair!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Meet my Fur child

This is my fur child, Stewart Pappas. Isn't he handsome? Stewie has been living with us for the last 6.5 years and he's a great pet. He's litter box trained, so he doesn't have to be confined to his cage (though he actually spends a lot of time in there anyway because it's his home and he feels comfortable in there). That green thing in the background is one if his toys -- a liquid detergent bottle cap. He sometimes likes to toss it about. I'm glad it's in the picture because it gives you an idea of Stewie's size. When we got him we were told that he's a mini lop. Well, let me tell you, there's nothing mini about this bun!
I took Stewie to the vet this morning for a check up and he weighed in at a healthy 7 Lbs. He's also about 2 feet long when he's fully stretched out. So all in all about the size of a newborn, except that Stewie does not like to be held, so today was not one of his favorite days. Fortunately, except for a little conjunctivitis which needs to be treated with special medicine, Stewie passed his check up with flying colors. He got his nails clipped today too. Boy, was he ever happy to come home! So much so that he forgot to wish his human mom and dad happy anniversary! Yup, Bill and I have been married for 10 years, and dated for 5 years before that (we got married 2 days after the anniversary of our first date). Time sure flies when you're having fun!
And speaking of flying, because it's been such a busy week we elected to stay home tonight and tried to plan our next European vacation over going out to dinner. Our Colorado trip was sort of our celebratory vacation, and we figured we could go our to diner to celebrate some time next week. Unfortunately, our plans were foiled, probably because we had only a very sketchy idea of where it was we wanted to go and when at the start. But even though we didn't book anything, we do have an idea of where we're going. And the winner is? Benelux! Huh? I know, there's no such country in Europe. But Benelux is actually a bona fide destination -- a trip through Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. We'll probably fly into Amsterdam and then get a Eurail pass and travel all over the region. We already spent a day in Brussels a couple of years ago, so now we'll concentrate on seeing the rest of the region. MMMMM - I can't wait. I can taste the Belgian Waffles already!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Challenge cards

Tonight we went out to dinner at a Mongolian Barbecue restaurant with a couple of friends. This was my first time at such a restaurant and it was fun, especially trying to figure out how the food we selected was actually delivered to us at the end of the cooking process. If you've never been, it's one of those communal cooking experiences where everything is placed in strips on a round griddle and you keep moving along the counter and watching and when you get to the end they actually get your food back to you. Fascinating!

Anyway, since we were out I didn't have time to stamp and didn't even get to see the finals of So You Think You Can Dance. Don't worry, I taped it and I'll watch it tomorrow before the results are announced. Apparently Tracy likes Danny, but I confess I'm a Lacey fan. It might be a bit unfair to let her win after her brother won last year, but I think she's the better dances and it's about the time a girl won that show. But again, I haven't seen tonight's show, which might change my mind.

Since I didn't have time to stamp tonight, here are a couple of cards I made late last night for this week's SCS sketch and color challenges. The color challenge was to use Sahara Sand, Chocolate Chip and Blue bayou -- and awesome color combo! I loved both challenges. And yes, I'm still making corners with my scalloped circle punch. You saw the tutorial for the heart corners earlier and the corners on this card were made in a similar fashion -- I simply punched closer to the actual corner. They're not masterpieces, but I thought they were pretty cute.

I was going to give the Double Line Doodle card to Bill for our 10th anniversary tomorrow, but one of my co-workers saw it and really wanted it for her daughter's birthday, which was today. Well, I figured I'll have time tomorrow to make another card for Bill. So that's probably what you'll see here tomorrow. Now I'm off to get some ZZZZs!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

It's party time!

We had such a good time at Kathy's party tonight! It was a smaller party, but that was great because no one had to rush through their projects and everyone had plenty of time to chit chat and shop! And Marsha had such a good time she booked a party of her own, so we'll be doing it again later this month at her place. Woo Hoo! I have to get crackin' and design those make and take projects.

Speaking of make and takes, this is the other card we stamped tonight. Yes, I'm using both Block Party and the stampin' Pastels again. What can I say - I love them both!

On this card the color strips are attached directly to the back of the stamped image and the whole thing is popped up on dimensionals. I sued the photo corners to frame out the image. I stamped aida background stamp on the card base in versamark for a little more texture. I love the fact that this card uses only 1 ink -- versamark, 1 coloring medium -- stampin' pastels, and 2 stamp sets - Aids and block party. Nice, fast and easy -- great party card!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Punched from the heart

Remember how much I love finding uses for punches that are a little out of the norm? And remember how once upon a time I bemoaned the retirement of the snowflake punch not just because it made such cute snowflakes but also because I found a second use for it -- cute little corner hearts? Well, I'm happy to report that I've been getting punchy again, and today, though a happy coincidence, I found that while I may have lost my little corner hearts, Stampin' Up! has provided me with a jumbo replacement. What do I mean? Just wait and see!

Today I was designing 2 Make and Take cards for Kathy's party this Tuesday. The first card came together in a jiffy, but the second just didn't seem right. My friend Karen, who came over to drop off some stuff and check out my convention swaps agreed -- the design just wasn't right. So while we were chatting and she looked over my swaps, I was playing around with some scraps and the new scalloped circle punch. And that's how I found the jumbo hearts! Soon enough the whole card came together and I knew I just had to share this little find with all of you!

To start you need the new Stampin' Up! scalloped circle punch as well as two pieces of contracting card stock that are the same size (I used 2.25x2.5" pieces of whisper white and groovy guava card stock). Although not necessary, I also like to have another piece of a third coordinating color card stock that is .25" larger in each dimension for a mat.

Place a corner of the piece of card stock intended to go on top in the scalloped circle punch so that what you see inside the punch is a heart shape. Punch and repeat on all four corners.

This is what your card stock should look like when all 4 corners are punched.

Adhere the punched piece on top of the other piece of card stock that is the same size. You should now be able to see hearts in all 4 corners.

Mat the punched piece with the larger piece of card stock to make the heart shapes even more prominent, as in this photo. the larger layer is close to cocoa.

And this is what I did with my punched piece. I used the heart image from the simply said set and stamped it in groovy guava. I then used the sentiment outline and stamped that in close to cocoa. I used Sahara sand card stock as a card base, placed a strip of the prints double sided designer paper in groovy guava across the card and added a strip of close to cocoa card stock with a double stitched groovy guava ribbon knotted and wrapped around. I added my punched piece with dimensionals and stamped the "simply said" sentiment in the lower right hand corner. And what do you think? Is that a stinking cute party make and take or what? I sure hope the party guests think so. Can't wait to find out on Tuesday.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Stampin' Disorder?

Last night was the second Friday of the month and that usually means Stampin' Bedlam -- my monthly open stamp night. However, it is summertime and due to Convention and my vacation my monthly newsletter was very much delayed, so last night I only had one guest -- Amy (*waving hello*). Coincidentally, last night was also the first time Amy and I met. She found me through my blog and we corresponded via e-mail, and I thought last night would be a great opportunity for her to check out the stamping studio. And I was right-- we had a great time! Since it was just the two of use it wasn't quite a Bedlam or even mayhem -- I'd probably call it more of a disorder. But between talking and getting to know each other and snacking on pizza and cookies we did manage to get some stamping done. Woo Hoo!

Here are a few cards that Amy made last night. This first one, uses the Year after Year set and the Think Happy Thoughts set. So cute in the shades of brown and pink! The polka dots add a nice touch too!

The next cards uses the Block Party set. Amy really liked this set when she saw my swaps from convention, without even knowing that it was one of my favorite sets too. And since she never tried the poppin' pastels technique before, she decided to use it on her card. I think it turned out really cute!

Amy also really like a card made by my friend Jen, and decided to CASE it. the card uses the Serene Sunflower set. I really love this set and sunflowers in general. When we were leaving Denver, on the way form the hotel to the airport, we saw this amazing field just filled with Sunflowers -- it was glorious. I just wish my camera had been more handy!
But back to the card, I love the way the flowers look on the sanded background stamped in the new River Rock ink. And I love Amy's addition of the gingham bow in the corner, which to me looks like a butterfly. So adorable!

This was the card that Amy really needed to finish last night because she needed it for a swap. Amy has been stamping for quite some time and is a member of a 1 on 1 swap group. I must say this concept intrigued me. I could definitely handle doing 1 on 1 swaps!
Amy got the idea and templates for this card from katydid creations. She stamped the snowman onto the pre-printed seed packet label, colored in the snowmen, sponged on an almost amethyst background using a reverse masking technique and added silver snowflakes. She then attached the label to the seed packet template and layered the template onto the card. a bit of fun ribbon and an adorable snowman charm finished off the card. It was really beautiful -- the swapper who receives this card will be one lucky lady!

And this is a card I stamped last night. I needed a card for the birthday of Bill's uncle Andy, who's turning 81 soon. Uncle Andy likes funny cards, so I thought this owl and a play on words might be cute. I trimmed out the clouds freehand and punched out the moon. I didn't really have a branch stamp, so I thought I would have to cut one freehand as well. But then Amy had the great idea to use a twig for a branch. Bill found a suitable twig on the patio and I attached it to the card with crystal effects. Then I stamped the "who's 81?" sentiment. I should have used a Stamp a Ma Jig but oh well. Uncle Andy thought it was cute when he opened it today during our family birthday celebration.
If you'd like a chance to finish several cards or work on any other stamp or scrapping projects join me at my next open stamp night in September -- mark the second Friday on your calendar now!

Fall themed contest entires

Here are a couple more cards I submitted to last month's Stampin' Up! contests. I know, I know -- did I seriously think these were contest winning cards? Well, no, but I did think they were cute and they were fall-themed, which is what the contest required. I used stampin' pastels on both cards because I love pastels and because to me pastels lend themselves particularly well to fall-themed cards. This first card is actually a re-working of a card I designed last year. The card base is very vanilla and is edged with stampin' pastels. the background layer is basic brown, colored with pastels stripes. I then used the acorns wheel which, for some inexplicable reason, is on the dormant list, inked it up with versamark and wheeled it across the chocolate chip layer to create this neat pullin' pastels background. I used three different colors of stampin' write markers to create the varied color on the Autumn sentiment, punched it out with the small oval and used pastels on the very vanilla card stock to add more subtle color. I layered it on a large pumpkin pie oval and created a slider with more mustard narrow grosgrain. The acorn is from the Touch of Nature set. It's stamped with basic brown and colored with close to cocoa and more mustard, then punched in three circles which are matted with more mustard, ruby red and old olive larger circles. The card really looked much nicer in real life-- the texture on the chocolate chip layer is so velvety! If you recall, this was right around the time when my camera broke, so this is a scan and it does make the card look so flat. But again, while it may not be a winning card, I do think it's a great fall card.

This was another card I stamped for the fall themed contest. I knew from the start that his card would not win because I used too many different stamp sets. But I still had fun stamping it and giggled when I added the happy harvest sentiment from Loads of Love Accessories. You see, this card is really wishing the squirrel happy harvest, and if you saw the squirrels around our house and how fat and happy they are in the fall when they're having their acorn feast, you'd understand why I would want to make a card for them. They are just too adorable. We have lots of very old oaks on our property, and on some nice fall days it's like a squirrel smorgasbord, with as many as 10 of them happily munching away!

For this card I first created background on the piece of very vanilla card stock with my stampin' pastels using the rainbow background technique. Then I stamped the trees from Lovely as a Tree (I just love that set -- I hope it never ever retires!) and the squirrel from Wildlife Preserve in basic brown ink. I covered a chipboard tag from our On Board Accents and Elements collection with more mustard card stock, stamped it with the leaf from Lovely as a Tree and the sentiment. I colored the leaves with more pastels and even used pastels to color the whisper white narrow grosgrain old olive on one side and ruby red on the other. I made this card just for me (and the squirrels), so it's OK if no one else likes it. It just made me happy!