Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Brayered Plaid

Another technique we used at this week's marker techniques class was to create a multicolored design using markers and a brayer. As you can see, on this card the design was a multi-colored plaid of alternating colors and widths of stripes. We created the plaid by applying the brush tip of each marker directly to the brayer and using a wood turning technique, meaning that the tip stayed in place while we rotated the brayer attachment in the handle with our other hand. To create the wide stripes we placed the side of the brush tip against the brayer and to create a narrow stripe we used the point of the brush tip.

Before we made the plaid, we stamped the image from Big on Spring on a piece of whisper white card stock and colored it in using stampin' write markers in tempting turquoise, gable green and orchid opulence. To keep the image from looking too cluttered, we masked it using the brown backing paper from the die cut stamp. We then huffed on the painted brayer and rolled the stripes in one direction. We then huffed on the brayer again, turned the card stock 90 degrees and wheeled the stripes on again. The brayer is good for no more than 2 passes, but two is all you need for a cool plaid.
Giuli wheeled the gable green card base with the duckies wheel from the Occasions mini catalog and added the congratulations sentiment from the birthday hugs and wishes set. We added orchid opulence and tempting turquoise mats to both the image and the sentiment and attached them to the card front.
I think it turned out kind of cute!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Markers to Dye for

Another technique that we practiced at the marker techniques class last night is dyeing. Stampin' write markers make it so easy to quickly create accessories that coordinate exactly with other Stampin' Up! products. Simply take a white fabric accessory, like the flowers from the pretties kit or white ribbon, and dye them with the markers to get the color you need.

On this card the flowers were dyed with the cameo coral stampin' write marker and the narrow white grosgrain ribbon was dyed with two different markers -- cameo coral on the edges and so saffron in the center (you might have to click on the card to see both of the colors). How cool is that?

If you want to find out for yourself how wonderful Stampin' Write markers are, why not join my marker club? You can spread out your marker purchases over 4 months and get a level 1 hostess set of your choice as a bonus! Contact me at to join today!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Watercoloring with Stampin' Write Markers

I think most people know that I absolutely love my Stampin' Write markers, so you'd think that I could answer just about any question about them, but today I received an e-mail with a question that had me stumped. The question was whether Stampin' Write markers could be used for water coloring and shading.

Well, since I'm not much of a watercolor artist, I admit I have never used our markers for these purposes. I had heard that you can use a blender pen or an aqua painter with our markers on watercolor paper to achieve great blending and watercolor results, but I really didn't have any first hand knowledge. So tonight I tried it out and the rumors were right! the combination of our markers, watercolor paper and either a blender pen or an aqua painter makes it possible for even someone like me to get great watercolor results.

On this card I used an image form the Fruit Stand set. I used old olive and certainly celery markers for the leaves and stem. I used elegant eggplant, lavender lace and so saffron markers for the flower. For the berries I used elegant eggplant, lavender lace and bravo burgundy. I first added color using the markers and then blended the color using an aqua painter. I was actually surprised at how easy it was to blend the lighter and darker shades of colors. I may just be water coloring a lot more in the future.

While I was experimenting with markers and water coloring I thought I might as well incorporate this into my Marker Techniques 102 class, which was postponed to tonight from this weekend. With last week being as crazy as it was I simply was not ready to teach this class Saturday morning, so we postponed until tonight. To be completely honest, I was kind of winging it tonight as well. Not with the techniques (I have known which techniques I wanted to teach a long time ago) but definitely with the samples. This ended up being the class card for the water coloring with markers technique. Giuli used Regal Rose and Rose red to color the roses and blended the two shades with a blender pen. The stems and greeting were colored/stamped in always artichoke. An always artichoke mat was also used for the main image, which is mounted to the river rock card base with dimensionals. Two designer papers were also used on the card base: Rose Red prints double sided designer series paper and ginger blossoms double sided designer series paper.

I think Giuli did a lovely job with this card tonight and I had a fun time trying out and teaching a new technique! I'll post more marker technique cards later this week.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Background Check

Today was Bill's Easter and we celebrated by getting together with the whole family at his Uncle's. Unfortunately, this meant that I had no time to stamp, but thanks to Glenda I do have something to post. This is another card we made at stamp camp Friday. I really like it! The color combination is great and I love using embossing as a masking technique. As you can see on the sentiment panel, if you stamp the sentiment and emboss it (we stamped it in chocolate chip craft ink and embossed it with clear embossing powder) and then stamp a background stamp over the embossed panel, the raised surface of the sentiment will create a kind of a mask and the background stamp will leave a sort of a blank boarder around the sentiment. This is neat because it can be done without stamping a mask, saving lots of time. Thanks, Glenda, for designing a perfect card to showcase this technique!

Other than the sentiment from All Holidays, the only stamps used on this card were two background stamps -- canvas and weathered. It just goes to show that you don't always need an image stamp to make a beautiful card.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Out of the woods?

Well, things are looking better and better on the Stewie front. His appetite has returned to normal - you can see him munching on some parsley in this photo - and his output is nearly there. Tonight he even binked (jumped in the air for no reason) which normally is a sign of happiness and definitely is not done when a rabbit is in discomfort. It was the first time we've seen him bink in over a week! Definitely a good thing!

It will take us a while to feel comfortable and stop monitoring him closely, but I'm so glad all the plans we made for the worst case scenario do not have to be put into play just yet. Knock on wood, Stewie may be with us for a long time.

Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers! We are so happy we may have more time with our little furchild! I just wish you could all meet him -- he's such a lovable little bun!

I know that Stewie thanks you all for the warm thoughts as well, and if he could he would stamp you a card that might look very much like the one pictured here. Alas, he has not mastered stamping (yet!) so I had to make the card myself. For the main image I used a retired Stampin' Up! set called Birthday Bunnies. I know this isn't a birthday card, but I thought the present could really be used for any occasion. The sentiment is from Think Happy Thoughts -- a super versatile little set. So there you go - a thanks to all of you from the bunny!

Friday, April 25, 2008

Thank Goodness for Glenda!

I still haven't been able to stamp anything on my own, so I'm super grateful that tonight I was able to attend Glenda's stamp camp, where I made 8 amazing! projects. I only have time to upload one tonight - this awesome card made with Afternoon Tea designer paper (my current favorite!) and the Live Your Dream stamp set from the Occasions mini catalog.

The card looks absolutely awesome when closed, but the best part about it is the closing "mechanism".

I took several pictures of this card from all angles so that you can see the "doors and the "latch". I thought the way Glenda coupled the slit punch with the large oval punch to create a latch was pretty darned brilliant, and you can bet I will be doing this on future cards!

This is what the inside of the card looks like, stamped with a topical sentiment! Really, it's just a super special card!

Thanks Glenda for a wonderful evening of stamping where I didn't have to prep or design any of the projects. It was nice to take a few hours for myself and relax a little, before getting back home to Stew, who is still eating great but not producing as much waste as we would like. If the doesn't start to manufacture some overnight, it will be back to baby food and water syringes tomorrow, which I know he'll hate but does seem to get him "moving". I know these updates are probably getting tedious, but I also know some of you want to know what's happening (at least until we're completely out of the woods) so I'll keep reporting until there's no more reason to, one way or another. But in the coming days I will also have lots more stamping stuff as I get back into a bit of a normal groove!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Back in the stamp room

I went back into the stamp room today but, as you can see, I didn't exactly emerge with any paper crafting masterpieces. In fact, I barely stamped at all. I just stamped the sentiment and the grass on this card. The flower was made using die cut bloom and accents and elements and the stem and leaves were made using the old olive poly twill ribbon. I used the signo white gel pen to add white accents to the die cut blooms. I stamped the grass using the bottoms of the candle images from the Eat Cake set. The sentiment is from Amazing to Zany. I confess this is not one of my favorite creations, but given the way this week has been going, that's not too surprising. Maybe I'll be more creative tomorrow.

Thank goodness there is much better news on the Stewie front. Today we did not administer any baby food or water through the syringe, because he ate very well on his own and kept his litter box filled as well! In fact, this morning he actually had the nerve to thump - a lot! For those not familiar with bunny behavior, they thump when they are either scared or angry! Bill and I think that he was basically warning us not to try the baby food route again. But whatever he was thinking, the fact that he had enough strength and personality to thump meant that he was doing better.

Tonight he actually ate 2 servings of parsley plus all of his nighttime green leaf lettuce and the baby carrot and the 2 additional romaine leaves I brought him, and he's makign good use of the litter box. So once again we have our hopes up that he has turned the corner and that everything may be OK after all. We're not ready to declare victory yet, but at least it seems like things are going in the right direction.

Thursday morning update

Well, the emotional roller coaster that is called Stewie continues at our house this morning. Yesterday was like Monday all over again. No eating or pooping the entire day. When Bill came home from work we gave him another syringe full of baby food and one full of water. It seems like that ook effect afgew hours later and by the time we let him out to run around upstairs at night (we ususally let him run around at least 1 hour every night) he ate up the parsley Bill brought up for him plus another batch. He also ate some of his books and boxes (I know tis sounds weird, but the fiber from the paper and cardboard is actually good for him) and even some hay. This morning we found about 1/2 of his nighttime lettuce eatedn and there were actually new "deposits" in the litter box. So clearly this is all positive stuff. But we've seen him get better before (Tuesday) and then relapse (yesterday) so I'm not sure what to think this time. We'll let him have a morning without the baby food and see what happens.

The highs and lows of all this are really wearing me out, but I think we've decided that we'll keeop him going through the weekend one way or another. Tomorrow is Bill's Good Friday and Sunday is his Easter, and it just doesn't seem right to make any major life or death decisions during that holiday. So we'll see what happens over the next four days. I'll be talking with the vet today to see if there's anything else we can do for Stew in the meantime.

I am ready to go back to stamping. Today we don't have any outside appointments so ther than dyeing Easter eggs the day is clear and I'll see if I can produce something new. I saw a new Coldwater Creek catalog in the mail so maybe that will help if I'm stuck.

Thank you all again for your encouragement. I especially want to thank Loretta for her suggestions on how to get Stewie "moving" again. He seems to be OK in that respect right now, but I'll keep your suggestion in mind because we never know what will be happening in a couple of hours. I really appreciate you all thinking about us!

Hopefully I'll be back tonight with something new for you to look at. Oh, and before I forget, if you're in the Itasca area, this weekend is the Friends of the Itasca Communty Library used book sale. The book sale is in the librayr at 500 West Irving Park Road, Itasca (corner of Irving Park and Catalpa, next to the fire station.) Tonight, 5:30-8:00 is the preview night -- free for friends and $5.00 admission charge for everyone else. Tomorrow through Sunday there is no admission fee. Friday and Saturday the hours are 9-4:30 and Sunday 1-5. I'll be there tomorrow and some time Friday afternoon. Hope those of you who live in the area can stop by -- you can't get a better deal on used books!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Mom's Birthday Card

Well, I guess something is working again. Here is the card I stamped for my mom for her birthday. Just something for all of you to look at while I'm taking a break to deal with the bunny!

two steps forward, one step back

A mixed report for this morning. Stewie ate some of the lettuce we left for him overnight, but no litter box "deposits". So we're back to baby food and seeing what happens today. Obvioulsy I'm thrilled that he's still with us and eating some on his own, but being disappointed each morning with lack of progress is really hard. Dspite trying to not get too excited and hopeful, each night that I've gone to bed since Sunday I couldn't help but hope tha tthe next morning things would be back to normal or at least that we'd have evidence of going back to normal. But no such luck.

To top it all off we're having a really slow internet connection, so I can;t even upload anything for you to look at. Not that I have anything new, but I was goign to show you the birthday card I stamped for my mom, just so you'd have something other than the bunny drama to look at while you're here. So now tomorrow I get to entertain Comcast (again!) amidst all the other issues.

The slow connection is keeping me from logging into my comcast e-mail, so some of you may be getting messages from me today from my yahoo account. Sorry!

I guess they do say when it rains it pours, right? Hopefully these April showers will, indeed, bring May flowers for us.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Thank you so much!

I just wanted to send a huge thank you to everyone who posted a commet or wrote me an e-mail or both yesterday and today! Last night I was so distraught. I spent nearly an hour with my friend Jen (who recently lost a fur baby of her own) just bawling my eyes out, convinced that we were going to lose Stew. This mornign there was a little ray of hope when he started eating on his own and all of your messages really helped too -- knowing that I had so many freinds out there who were puling for us was huge! I believe in the power of positive thoughts and enery and prayer and I think Stewie definitely benefitted fromall of that today. So thank you, thank you, thank you!

Now, for the update. We fed Stewie 2.5 more syringes full of squash baby food diluted with water. In addition, he started eating some greens and hay by himself and, best of all, he started pooping! Without getting into details that you all probably do not want to know, in order to stay alive a bunny needs to keep his very fast metabolism going, which means that he has to eat and he has to poop. Bunnies cannot regergitate, so the only way they can get rid of waste products is by pooping, and if they are blocked they can die as quickly as in 24 hours. Last night Stewie was going on 36 hours of nearly total blockage and almost no eating, so we had little hope that he would pull out of it. But tonight he's in better spirits and his metabolism seems to be returning to normal. He's not quite all there yet, so we're being very cautious in our optimism, but at least tonight recovery seems like a possibility.

The next big test will be what we'll find in his cage tomorrow morning. If his nightime lettuce is gone and is replaced by "deposits" in his litter box, then we're probably on the road to recovery. On the other hand if, as for the past two mornings, all of the greens are still there and the litter box is empty, then it will be another day of baby food and prayers. So please, just keep thinking those positive thoughts and cross your fingers! I'll post an update tomorrow!

Also, lets you think we're ignoring my Mom-in-law to concentrate on the bunny, her doctor's visit went fine today -- no hidden injuries other than the ones we already knew about! She is looking much better and is in good spirits, except for worryingabout her fur grandchild. For the past few years she has been our designated bunny sitter, staying with Stewie here pretty much every time we're on vacation, so she's pretty fond of him and he of her. While I wish the circumstances were a bit different (i.e. no accident for her) I am glad that she has been here with us this week! As sad and distraught as I was yesterday and today, it would have been twice as bad if I was home alone.


Thanks everyone for your kind thoughts! I just wanted to give you an update. Stewie is still with us. He's a fighter. Yesterday he was so weak he even turned down a strawberry and cheerios -- usually his favorite treats -- so we thought for sure he was "ready to go." But this morning he started eating the lettuce I gave him for breakfast, so we decided that if he is still fighting we'll help him as much as we can. I fed him a syringe-full of squash baby food mixed with pineapple juice (our vet's recommendation), both for the nutrients and the liquid, which he has not been getting enough of. It wasn't his favorite thing, but he accepted it. So now we wait again to see what happens. (ETA -- feeding a bunny by syringe is the equivalent of bottle feeding -- we didn't inject him with baby food, just in case that's what my original phrasing sounded like.)

In the meantime, I have doctors' appointments with my MIL, so at least he will have some time when people aren't looking in on him every few minutes and bothering him. Maybe the time alone will do him good.

And my MIL is doing well. We have some follow up appointments with various doctors but she is feeling OK, so it's just routine follow-ups at this point. It's just that she has her right hand in a cast and can't drive or a lot of the normal stuff with just her left hand, so we feel better having her stay with us.

I'll try to post another update tonight. Thanks for keeping us in your thoughts.

Monday, April 21, 2008


No stamping today. I mentioned yesterday that we had some family stuff going on. Saturday my MIL had to spend a night in the emergency room due to an accidental fall and is now staying with us until she feels well enough to go back to her own house, and Sunday our bunny got very sick and today, after we took him to the vet, things are not looking too good. Basically, unless we have a miracle, I don't expect him to make it through the night. He's almost 8 years old and he's lived a good life, so we knew that this day would be coming sooner or later, but it stil hurts to lose a member of the family, even if it's only a furry little one.

So it's been a rough weekend and week so far and, needless to say, stamping has not been anywhere near the top of the things to do. If you have some spare positive thoughts or energy as you're reading this, perhaps you might consider directing them our way -- seems like just about now we could use them.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Black, White and Gray

It's finally here! My favorite set from the Occasions mini, "She's all that," is here, mounted and ready for stamping. Unfortunately, due to some stuff going on in our family, I've had very little time to stamp today. Fortunately, with this stamp set, a little time is all I needed.

For this card I used going gray card stock for the card base. I added a layer of shimmery white card stock wheeled with the It's Beautiful jumbo wheel inked up in versamark and heat embossed with white embossing powder along with some basic gray taffeta ribbon. I then stamped the bride image in versamark on basic black card stock and embossed her with white embossing powder. I added a mat of going gray card stock and attached the image to the card base. Finally I stamped the Mr. & Mrs. sentiment in black craft ink on shimmery white card stock, embossed it with clear embossing powder, punched it with the small oval punch, layered it with a large oval piece punched out of going gray card stock and attached it to the card front.

I think it made for a very quick and classy wedding card.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Little Make and Take

I spent most of my day at the Itasca Park District spring fling and then out with my DH and parents to celebrate my mom's birthday, so I didn't have a lot of time to stamp. But here are the little make and takes I had available at my Spring Fling booth. Just a little 3x3 love not that could be used as a gift tag for a birthday or any other celebration. The base is bashful blue, decorated with a strip of real red and summer picnic double sided designer paper. The sentiment is stamped in real red. The Cherries are stamped in real red and old olive (colored using stampin' write markers) on whisper white, punched out using the 1 1/4" circle punch and layered onto a 1 3/8" circle of real red and an old olive scalloped circle. Definitely not complicated -- just enough to when a new stamper's appetite ;-).

Friday, April 18, 2008

A couple more projects from last weekend's meeting

As promised, here are a couple more projects we made at last week's Stampers in Stitches meeting. The first is a 3x3" note featuring a 3-D flower made with the scalloped circle punch. Very cool! The flower is a bit too 3-dimensional to be sent via regular mail, but it would make an absolutely lovely gift card decoration! This is especially true when paired up with a rhinestone brad and some leaves made with the paper crimper and the large oval punch. Very cool project!

The second card is really neat as well. This is a 6x3" card and it's all about heat embossing. Except for the "from the heart" sentiment, everything on the card is heat embossed, including the wheeled pattern on the wide grosgrain ribbon. Who would have thought to heat emboss on ribbon? Very smart!

Both of these were little tricks that Glenda picked up on the cruise. Sadly it does not look as thought I will earn this year's Stampin' Up! incentive trip to Hawaii, but I already have my heart set on earning next year's trip --a cruise to the southern Caribbean. Woo hoo! I can't wait! I will have to work my tush off next year to accomplish this goal, but it will be so worth it!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

afternoon tea centerpiece

You knew I had to do it, right? That centerpiece project is just too cute for me not to make a class out of it. And yes, it will be available by mail!

I will post more pictures of the entire project a little bit later, but for now here is a sneak peak of one "room". Can't you just see it with a fabulous little "portrait" hanging on the wall? (Edited to add -- now that I have all the pictures up, this is no longer an accurate depiction of this "room" -- check out the new photo below for some additional embellishments.)

The project will be one centerpiece mini scrapbook in chocolate chip, groovy guava, wild wasabi and soft sky -- colors taken directly from the Afternoon Tea double sided designer series paper. It will also be a great sampler of the new styled silver hodgepodge hardware as it will use 1 of each of the label holders and cast brads as well as the ribbon holder and the silver mini brads. So if you've wanted to work with the silver hodgepodge hardware before you ordered the whole box, this is the perfect way to do it!

Here is the front of the scrapbook when it's folded shut. (ETA: The folded book dimensions are 4.25" square.) The front of the book showcases the designer label holder and the ribbon slide, as well as the Afternoon Tea designer paper and the new poly twill chocolate chip ribbon!

ETA: When the "book" is open, the dimensions are 6" x 6" x 4.25" high.

Here is a view of the first "room." These pages feature the rectangular label holder and one of the cast brads. When you get this project in the mail you will have the card stock and designer paper all pre-cut and pre-scored, ready to be assembled. You will also have the punched pieces. None of the pieces will be stamped, but the beauty of this designer paper is that it works well with a huge number of Stampin' Up! sets.

In this room I left the panel on the right mostly empty to provide more flexibility with respect to photo size. On the left I provided a chocolate chip mat for a smaller photo.

Here is the second "room," featuring the square label holder and another cast brad. On this page I left the panels on both sides fairly open to make sure photos of different sizes could be used.

If you look closely at all of the rooms, you'll discover that this project actually involves very little stamping. I used my Amazing to Zany stamp set for most of the labels (the front label was stamped with All Holidays), but if you do not have this set at home you could just as easily hand write the labels for a very personal look.

This is the third "room, featuring the round label holder and yet another cast brad. I really like all of the cast brads so much! The mini brads are great, but the cast brads add a bit of whimsy to a project.

In this "room" I used a groovy guava mat and some wild wasabi double striped grosgrain ribbon that the photo can be tucked under. I also added a decorative tag on the left. As I think about it now, I really should have punched the larger tag so that it could open and there would be room for a photo or journaling or both inside the tag. Oh well.

The fourth and final "room" features the oval label holder and the last of the cast punches. The groovy guava piece of card stock at the bottom of the full panel can be used to tuck in a photo but also for a title or a bit of journaling. On the left side There is a bit of room to add a small photo.

So what do you think? Do you like it? Would you like to order it as a class by mail kit? Once again, the kit will include card stock (pre-cut and pre-scored,) designer paper, punched pieces, ribbon, various pieces of styled hodgepodge hardware and, of course, instructions. It will not include any stamping. Students will need to use their own stamps, ink and adhesive (I would recommend sticky strip or, in a pinch, Tombow mono multi glue)

The cost of the class will be $20. Registration and payment will be due no later than June 15. I will ship out the orders within 7-10 days of receipt of payment. I accept paypal, visa, master card, discover and cash.

Stamp and Marker Club members may choose this class as their April or May class for $5.00.

This project was so much fun! Now that I have the Live Your Dream set I can't wait to see where my stampin' mojo will take me next.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

centerpiece mini scrapbook

This is a project that we made at our demo meeting last Saturday. I know it may not look like much when it's all closed up like this (especially since I haven't had a chance to decorate and personalize it yet) but it is so awesome inside! Just wait and see.

When you untie the ribbon the whole thing pops open into 4 little "rooms" That's why it makes such a perfect centerpiece -- each side of the table has its own little scrapbook vignette.

On each side there is a triangular pocket where you can insert a tabbed piece of card stock for even more scrapping or journaling! How fun!

Obviously this is not my idea or invention -- I learned it from Glenda who got he original design from another demo in the Stampahawlics -- a group that she belongs to and I just fall outside of. Let me tell you-- those Stamp-a-hawlics are a talented bunch! Glenda always comes back from their meetings with awesome ideas like this one.

I really can't wait to have a little free time so I can personalize this book with photos and journaling, but that will have to wait until after this weekend. Right now I'm just much too busy preparing for the craft show, mailing out class materials and designing classes for May!

More new stuff tomorrow!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A Rosebud for Mom

Just one card to show you tonight but, as promised, it is nice and feminine! As you can see, I'm still pairing up the Wild Rose set with the Afternoon Tea designer paper, and I thought the single rosebud image was just perfect for Mother's Day.

The whole card is still very simple. I placed a chocolate chip triangle over the groovy guava base and heat embossed the sentiment in white. I added some designer paper, stamped the rosebud in wild wasabi. groovy guava and really rust on whisper white card stock, added some double stitched soft sky grosgrain ribbon and attached the image to two offset pieces of wild wasabi and groovy guava card stock. Very easy, but lovely too.

Monday, April 14, 2008

More Masculine Cards

Here are a couple more masculine card styles I've been working on. The first uses the Winds of Grace sailboat as a main image and the waves as a background image. The sentiment, heat embossed with white embossing powder, is from "A Little Birthday Cheer". The only "decoration" is the tab made with the slit punch and a not quite navy brad. The base is blue bayou, the mat is sage shadow and the boat is stamped on bashful blue card stock. I used blue bayou ink for all images and versamark for the sentiment. Super fast and easy!

This next card was fun too! Again, nothing fancy here. The Elk from the Wildlife Reserve stamp set is stamped in chocolate chip classic ink on naturals ivory card stock, which is matted with chocolate chip card stock and accented with always artichoke brads. The always artichoke strip is stamped with the argyle background from the Classic Backgrounds set in always artichoke classic ink. The sentiment from "A little Birthday Cheer" is stamped on the more mustard base in chocolate chip ink.

As I make more of these "masculine" cards, I'm stating to like them more and more. The best thing about them is that they are intentionally non-fussy, so you don't have to feel bad about not using fancy techniques or lots of ribbon or other accessories. These cards are the epitome of the less is more movement. And right now, As I'm trying to prepare for classes, the craft show and other events, less is more holds a whole lot of appeal!

Hope you enjoyed this foray into the world of "manly" cards. Tomorrow it's back to the feminine side of stamping and more Mother's Day cards.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Winds of Grace

I've been doing a lot of stamping this weekend! Woo Hoo!

Saturday morning we had a Stampers in Stitches meeting, where we stamped a bunch of cool projects which I will show you later in the week. I spent a big part of the rest of the weekend making cards to sell at the craft fair I'm participating in next Saturday. The craft fair will be held at the Itasca Park District and is a fundraiser for the Itasca gymnastics team. I can't wait and I hope I'll see some of you there!

I'm sure a lot of shoppers at the craft fair will be looking for Mother's Day and Father's Day projects, so my goal for this weekend was to make some masculine cards that could be used for Father's Day. I don't have a lot of "masculine" sets, but my good friend and downline Liz came to my rescue by letting me borrow her Winds of Grace stamp set, as well as her Wonderful Favorites stamp set. I used both to create numerous variations of the cards shown in this post.

Although the cards can easily be used for Father' Day, they could also be used for a birthday or any reason, really. This was intentional on my part. I think there is a need out there for cards made specifically for a father-in-law or step-father that are nice, yet blank inside so you can create your own message. I guess I'll be testing that theory Saturday -- LOL! If the cards sell I'll know I was on the right path.

I should mention that in addition to borrowing Liz's Winds of Grace and Wonderful Favorites stamp sets, I also borrowed her card design. The bottom card is almost a direct copy of a card I stamped earlier this year at Liz's stamp-a-stack. So a big thanks goes out to Liz for the stamps and the inspiration and for being such a great friend!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Big on Cute

I stamped this card quite a while ago but didn't upload it here because it was a swap card and I didn't want to spoil the surprise. Now that everyone in the swap has their cards I thought I would share it with you. I used the Big on Spring stamp set for the main image and background basics for the tone on tone background on the barely banana card base. The stars in the background are actually stamped with so saffron ink to make them show up a little bit more.

I used my certainly celery stampin' write marker to color in the letters of the sentiment. I stamped the onesie again on a piece of barely banana card stock, colored it with regal rose and certainly celery markers, trimmed it out and attached it to the original sentiment image with a dimensional. The I used the brown paper backing left over from when I mounted the set as a mask (if this does not make sense, click to see this post) and sponged around the maim image with barely banana ink. I also added some certainly celery sponging around the edges of the whisper white card stock.
I attached the main image to a lovely lilac mat and added a narrow certainly celery ribbon. I then attached the whole thing to a piece of certainly celery card stock which I ran through a crimper. Then I just attached the certainly celery crimped piece to the card base and the card was done.

Friday, April 11, 2008

I would rather be Stamping!

I just had to share with you this card I received from one of my best friends. Hester lives in Washington, D.C., so we don't see each other too often. In fact, we have not seen each other since I became a Stampin' Up! demonstrator, so you can imagine how thrilled I was when Hester visited us recently and she and I got to spend a morning stamping together.

For as long as I've known her, Hester made cards by re-using photos from magazines, postcards and books. Unbeknownst to me, she has also dabbled in stamping, though she is not nearly as obsessed as I am (at least not yet!). So while the cards we made together were by no means her first hand-made cards, I believe they were her first all-stamp cards.

In any case, Hester is now a proud owner of some Stampin'up! stamp sets and other stamping goodies but, poor thing, she's been working so hard she hasn't had time to play with them. But apparently she did have time to make this totally hilarious card! Isn't it great? I mean, words to live by, right? In fact, I think I should have that slogan made into a T-shirt! Great card, Hester! Thanks for making me smile! Now stop working so much and get stampin'!

Custom Mounting Text & Texture Tutorial

By now most people know that, on occasion, I enjoy custom mounting my stamps. Most often it's because I want to be able to stamp sentiments or images separately from other sentiments or images that they are paired with by Stampin' Up! Sometimes, as with my new Text and Texture set, it's because the set is intended to be double mounted and I prefer a single mount.

Anyway, I will show you what I did to create my single-mounted set and index sheet, but first I wanted to show you the card I stamped with this set. Isn't it cute? I stamped the "texture" with bashful blue on whisper white, then used my Stamp-a-ma-jig to line up the text perfectly over the texture and stamped the text in real red. I added a real red mat and my sentiment was done.

For the rest of the card I started with a certainly celery base, added a strop of the Summer Picnic Designer Series Paper and a piece of the zig-zag stitched red ribbon from the Jersey Ribbon Originals assortment (by the way, I finally found a good use for the Tombow Mono-Multi glue. Even though this ribbon is thicker and heavier than our regular ribbon (and, therefore, may not be held on by SNAIL alone) the Tombow Mono-multi keeps a cement-like grip on this ribbon. Just thought you'd want to know.

I attached the sentiment above my designer paper and ribbon strip and then I used a dimensional to add a medallion made out of the scalloped circle punched out of bashful blue, a 5 petal flower punched out of real red and a 1/2" circle punched out of pumpkin pie, all held together with a bashful blue brad from the soft subtles brad assortment.

I think this card is really cute. I might just use it as my swap card for a demo meeting I'm attending tomorrow!

And now to the tutorial. As I mentioned above, the Text and Texture stamp set is intended to be double mounted on 3 large blocks -- with one side being the large "text" and the other side being the smaller "texture". Normally I don't mind double mounted stamps because it does save storage space and, in most cases, it makes no difference to the way I stamp. Also, the index stickers for most double mounted stamps show the whole stamped image, albeit reduced in size. However, because the sides of these blocks are so small compared to the size of the image, this apparently was no possible to do with the Texture part of the stamps in this set.

Since I wanted to be able to see the whole "texture" image as I stamped (just in case I ever want to highlight particular text), I decided to single mount these 3 images. Fortunately, as you may recall, I recently custom mounted the Many Happy Returns set on 3/8" sqaure wooden dowels (see second photo in my April 7 post) so I was left with the three blocks from that set which, coincidentally, were the same size as the text and texture blocks. Woo hoo!

All I needed to complete this project were the additional wood blocks (you actually only need 5 for the stamps if you don't mind double mounting one set of the Text Images like I did, but the 6th block comes in handy for stamping the index images), my black stazon pad and a roll of clear shipping tape. I started by cutting off a piece of shipping tape a little longer than the wooden block, so that it would be easy to pull off the block after I was done stamping. I placed the tape on top of the block, trimmed it even with one end of the block leaving a little tab on the other edge, as shown in the photo above.

Next I mounted a texture image onto a different bloc, inked it up with my black stazon pad, and stamped it on top of the block I had previously covered with a piece of clear shipping tape. Because the blocks are the same size, stamping the top of the a block was actually pretty easy, but you also do not have to worry too much about being straight because you can make adjustments later as you're applying the stamped tape to the correct block.

Here is what the index image looks like after it is stamped. Pretty good, right? Except for the absence of the Stampin' up! copyright information you'd never know it wasn't the original index sheet.

After you stamp your index sheet and the ink has had a chance to dry, peel off the tape from the original block and attach it to the top of the block you stamped it with. To make sure that I didn't smear the image by rubbing it to take out any air bubbles I actually used a piece of card stock on top of the stamped image first, to absorb any ink that was still wet. I then rubbed the top of the block through the card stock to make sure there were no air bubbles under the tape.

After you're done attaching the tape to the block, carefully trim the tape so that it is even with the edge of your block and you're good to go.

Here is a photo of my 4 custom single-mounted stamps. I would not have minded double mounting the Life is Good sentiment, but since there are 3 large images only 2 can be double mounted together so I had to single mount this one as well, and since it had to be single mounted I figured I might as well make an index print for it as well. In the foreground you can see the index tab that comes with the set, and I hope you're able to note that the index sheets of the "texture" images only show a partial image. Again, that's the only reason why I wanted to single-mount this set, because I actually do want to know what the entire image looks like before I stamp.

And here is my new stamp set, all snug in a spare extra large box I had left over from combining a couple of other sets for storage purposes. I really love this stamp set and I was so happy that with a tiny bit of effort on my part I was able to customize it to make it work for me!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Simple Rose card

As you can see in the previous post, my first attempt at making a simple card with my Wild Rose set was not particularly successful, but I was determined, so I went back to the drawing board and came up with this card. It still involves the use of a stamp-a-ma-jig and trimming out the rose image, but cutting out one large image is so much faster and easier than trimming out the 15 different images that were used to make the first card.

The trimmed rose (stamped in groovy guava and really rust inks) was SNAILed to a piece of Afternoon Tea double sided designer series paper which, in turn, was attached to a soft sky mat. I added a piece of the chocolate chip poly twill ribbon for some interest. The base of the card is chocolate chip with a groovy guava mat that was stamped with the solid 5 leaf image from the Wild Rose set in versamark. I inked up just the words "happy Mother's Day" on the stamp from the All Holidays set with chocolate chip marker, leaving off the swirls, and stamped the sentiment in the lower right hand corner of the groovy guava layer. the final step was attaching the layered soft sky piece to the card front.

It's still a pretty card that coordinates with all the other class projects and it's much more class friendly than the rouge rose card that took on a life of its own earlier today. And since I showed you how that card looked next to the gift box that we'll be making in class, I thought I would show you this one as well.

And now for the class details. Depending on the response I receive in the next week, I will either be offering this class on Wednesday, April 30 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. or Saturday, May 3 from 10:00 - noon. The cost will be $20 and will include the card, the box with coordinating tag and tissue, and either the double sided wall hanging or the mini coaster scrapbook. The class will be available by mail in two formats.

The first class by mail format will cost $20 (including shipping) and will include all of the card stock, designer paper and accessories needed to make the projects, but will not include any stamping. Students will need to supply their own adhesive, stamps and ink and will need to stamp, cut out (if necessary) and assemble the projects according to the instructions.

The second by mail format will cost $25 and will include everything mentioned above plus all stamped pieces -- all you will need at home is paper snips/scissors to cut out any pieces that need to be trimmed (like the rose for the card) and adhesive to put the projects together according to the instructions.

When simple cards go rogue

Did you ever have one of those days when a project just kind of developed a mind of its own and took off with you trailing behind, desperately trying to keep hold of the leash? Yup, you guessed it, that's exactly what happened to me today.

There I was trying to come up with a nice and simple Mother's Day card to coordinate with the other class projects and bemoaning, once again, the fact that my Live Your Dream set, which would make the coordination process sooooo much easier, is not here yet. I went through my stamp collection and nothing there really sparked my interest until I got to the Wild Rose set. (Because this set is in a big box it is, of course, at the bottom of my stamp pile!)

So I took out the Wild Rose set and thought I would make a very simple card featuring the single large rose. Only when I started stamping I could not stop. I had to stamp some smaller blue roses and some rose buds and some leaves and pretty soon my stamp room looked like the Rose Garden in full bloom. (Note to self: this is what happens when you let one of your favorite stamp sets go unused for too long!)

So there I was with all these stamped images and my paper snips started to do a mesmerizing little chant and before I knew it I was cutting everything out and layering it on the card front. By this time I knew I had lost the battle and I had to go with the flow. No way could I put all that work into stamping and trimming out the images and not use them on a card. So I tweaked the arrangement a bit, adhered everything to the naturals white mat with SNAIL and dimensionals, and added the Happy Mother's Day sentiment. The white space in the upper right hand corner bothered me so I grabbed my photo corner punch and added a layered photo corner punched out of two designs from the Afternoon Tea designer paper assortment. Then, as a final touch, I used my versamarker and a blend of iridescent ice and clear embossing powders to add a little shine and glisten to the highlighted portions of the leaves and flowers.

I know very well that this card is not a suitable card to make at a class except for the most patient stampers who love to trim out images, so don't worry -- a simple card is still coming. Anyone who really likes a challenge, however, is still welcome to make this card at the class.

So that's today's rogue card. Stay tuned for the simplified version.

Afternoon Tea Box

Tonight's project is a box made to hold either the Mother's Day wall hanging or the mini scrapbook.

It's actually quite a simple design. The bottom is made out of chocolate chip card stock and the top is made out of a piece of Afternoon Tea designer paper. Around the box is a belly band made out of wide chocolate chip grosgrain ribbon adorned with a couple of flowers from the pretties kit dyed to match the colors in the designer paper and held together with a clear large rhinestone brad from the pretties kit.

Obviously this is a top view of the box.

And here is a side view.

At the class we will also be stamping a tag made with the Live Your Dream set, but since I do not have the set yet, I wasn't able to make a sample.

This photo shows the underside of the belly band. I first wrapped the ribbon around the box and used SNAIL to temporarily adhere the end together, then I slipped the belly band off the box, punched it with my crop-a-dial and used the rhinestone brad to at once attach the flowers to the belly band and hold the belly band together permanently.

And here is a view of the open box with the Chipboard Coaster wall hanging inside. At the class we will also stamp coordinating tissue so that the gift will be that much more special.

I have one more project for this class to show you and I will do that tomorrow. As you can probably imagine, it will continue in the Mother's Day theme and will coordinate with the other projects. Until tomorrow.