Wednesday, July 19, 2017

BIRTHDAY SQUIGGLES

The jury is still out on how I feel about this year's new In Colors: Berry Burst, Fresh Fig, Lemon Lime Twist, Powder Pink and Tranquil Tide. Meh. If I had to choose a favorite -- or two -- I guess I would pick Tranquil Tide and/or Fresh Fig. Not a fan at all of neon colors, to me, the Lemon Lime Twist falls into that category. The Berry Burst is, in my eyes, a combo of Rich Razzleberry and Melon Mambo. The Powder Pink -- well, it's just too much akin to Blushing Bride and Pink Pirouette, neither of which I use very often at all. So, I don't need another soft pink.


I had a Stamp-In workshop last Monday, and since I was in love with the new Happy Birthday stamp in the catalog (Stylized Birthday on page 80), I wanted to feature it in one of my workshop cards. I also wanted to play with some of the new In Colors.


 In tandem with the Swirly Scribbles Thinlits (page 216) and the four most jewel-like tones of the In Colors, I came up with a project that pleased my senses enormously.


To incorporate a little more of the richness than just the jewel tones of the papers, I embossed the sentiment in gold. 


Following is a tutorial of how to build one of these cards for yourself to give to some lucky birthday male or female:

SUPPLIES:
Stylized Birthday stamp (page 80)

Very Vanilla cardstock
Black cardstock
Berry Burst cardstock
Fresh Fig cardstock
Lemon Lime Twist cardstock
Tranquil Tide cardstock

VersaMark ink

Big Shot
Swirly Scribbles Thinlits
Embossing Buddy
Heat Tool
Gold Embossing Powder

INSTRUCTIONS:
Fold  a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" piece of Very Vanillla cardstock in half, creasing well with a bone folder.

Rub a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Basic Black cardstock well with the Embossing Buddy. You don't want any stray dots of gold embossing lurking! Stamp "Happy Birthday" in the center of this piece in VersaMark ink. At the Heat Station, add Gold Embossing Powder to the stamping, tapping the excess powder back into its container. Use the Heat Tool to emboss the image.

Using the long Swirly Scribbles Thinlit, cut one of each of the four In Colors. Add the swirly shapes to the edges of the black piece so the sentiment in the center is completely visible. Do a little planning in putting the diecut pieces on. Use glue sparingly and be fairly confident about the placement. Excess glue on the black is hideous and very difficult to remove. Once you have your diecut pieces adhered to the black piece, adhere this entire piece to the card base.

At this point, use scissors to trim off any excess swirls that extend beyond the edges of the card. At certain points, you may have to add a bit of glue to hold it in place because your trimming may create some strange and straggly ends.



Squiggle-y
Smiles.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

WHY IS IT SO HARD TO WORK OUTSIDE THE BOX?

So, tell me why it is so incredibly difficult to work outside the box? If you look back at the cards I've featured on my blog, for the most part, they are all about precision and symmetry. So, any time I am trying to come up with something that is not all neatly lined up and balanced, I am truly outside my comfort zone. And, I always end up questioning the end result.

Take for example the card in today's blog post:


Be honest now. Is it a jumbled-up mess?


Sure, it's fun.


It's fashionable


It's even refreshing.


I do like my background, which consists of the watermelon components stamped 
in Smoky Slate on Smoky Slate cardstock. 


And the little additions of green sequins and Melon Mambo ribbons . . .


The two-toned "thank you" -- to match the watermelon -- 
fussy cut and popped up with Dimensionals . . . 


Maybe looking at it even makes you a little bit hungry . . .


It is sort of cute and "kitschy" to look at . . . 


And I REALLY do like that THANK YOU!


 But, be honest. As a card, is it a success?


Because I'm just not sure . . .

Can we start a conversation about the difficulties of working outside your comfort zone? And, what constitutes a successful design? 

Uncomfortable
Smiles.




Tuesday, July 11, 2017

SANTA WITH EMBOSSING PASTE SNOW

 After a successful session of Creative Therapythe other night, I came upstairs and popped my head into where my husband was. I asked him, "What month is it?" Smart person that he is, he immediately responded, "July." To try to trip him up after such an easy question/answer, I asked, "What do you often hear: ________ In July?" He was quick with his response, "Christmas in July." 

So, I whipped out from behind my back:


You see, all of a sudden, it had dawned on me: Hey, it's July! I should be making Christmas cards!


I love this little Santa guy. I'd already colored him with Copics, so he was just chompin' at the bit to be the star of a card. So, I obliged:


What I REALLY wanted to try out was the new Embossing Paste in the catalog. The four masks that are available to complement this technique weren't, to me, indicative of a snowstorm. So, I dug through a stash of old Stampin' Up! masks I had on hand, and came up with this polka dotted background, which I thought looked sufficiently like snow, so I ran with it:


Before I added the Embossing Paste snowflakes, I stamped my background with both the open and the closed dots from the Playful Backgrounds (page 150).


See how cute and fluffy the "snowflakes" are?


Using the Embossing Paste is really a snap. I purchased and used the Palette Knives that were pictured along with the Decorative Masks and the Embossing Paste (page 201) for my card. But, I think a plastic knife or popsicle stick would work equally well, if you want to save $5 (to spend on something else!).

There is really no need to be perfectly perfect when applying the Embossing Paste. See the difference in my dots? I like that look. Of course, if you do have a case of OCD, you may want to give it a bit more time and care when doing your own. I like the look of my imperfect imperfection.


Once I finished adding my Embossing Paste, I hit it briefly with the Heat Tool. I don't think that's actually necessary though, as it seems to dry quite quickly. Just do that portion of a card first, and set it aside while you work on the other components. By the time you come back to the background, I'm sure it'll be dry.


Just an up close and personal picture of my cute little Santa guy:


One warning though when using the Embossing Paste: AS SOON AS YOU FINISH WITH IT, CLEAN YOUR MASK AND TOOLS WITH WARM WATER. If the Embossing Paste dries in place, well, might as well order another set. It clogs up the holes in the masks and turns into cement on the tools. With this bit of caution, you'll be enjoying making all kinds of textured and dimensional backgrounds.

Another point: It is possible to tint the white Embossing Paste with a drop of reinker. 

To get the full benefits of this magical Embossing Paste and tools, watch this Stampin' Up! video here. 


Textured
Smiles.














Saturday, July 8, 2017

MASCULINE WOOD TEXTURES

Some cardmakers find creating cards with a masculine feel a difficult task to accomplish. If that is a problem that you have, there is a product in the new Stampin' Up! catalog that may make make that problem simply fade away. Check out the Wood Textures Designer Series Paper Stack on page 187.


With four each of 12 different double-sided designs, you are sure to find one that is exactly right for your masculine-flavored card.


 In my card below, doesn't my background look exactly like rustic wood paneling? Even though the wood design I selected does have more of a rustic feel, some of the papers have the look of fine woodworking that are simply delectable and beg to be stroked, only to discover that it's not really wood at all -- it's PAPER!.


 The classic set Lovely As A Tree (page 137) is the perfect complement to the wood panels.


Embossing the tree adds to the elegance, but doesn't take away from the masculinity of the card.


To further the wood concept of the card, I used the Woodland embossing folder (page 211) for the narrow Soft Suede edges of it.


While the die I used to cut the retired sentiment is no longer available, there are many other combinations of die and stamp that would work equally well.


 If you like the look of this card, I invite you to try your hand at one of your own. Check below for the materials list as well as the tutorial for this particular card. As always, feel free to change up any of the components to make it uniquely your own. But, this is meant to serve as a sample.


SUPPLIES:
Lovely As A Tree stamp set
Retired greeting

Soft Suede cardstock
Basic Black cardstock
Very Vanilla cardstock
Wood Textures Designer Series Paper Stack

VersaMark ink

Big Shot
Stitched Shapes Framelits (page 214)
Woodland Embossing Folder
Heat Tool
Black Embossing Powder
Embossing Buddy
Black Dots (I used those that I made myself from Enamel Accents)
Striped Ribbon (this particular ribbon is 1 1/4" wide)
Stampin' Dimensionals

DIRECTIONS:
Fold a 4 1/4" x 11" piece of Soft Suede cardstock in half, creasing it well with a bone folder.

Run a 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" piece of Soft Suede cardstock through the Big Shot inside the Woodland Embossing Folder.

Wrap a piece of 1 1/4" wide striped ribbon around the side edges of the embossed piece about an inch or so from the bottom, taping the edges on the back. Glue this piece to the card base.

Rub a 3" square piece of Very Vanilla cardstock well with the Embossing Buddy. Stamp the tree in VersaMark ink. At the Heat Station, cover the stamped image with black embossing powder, tipping excess powder back into its container. Heat to emboss. 

Die cut the embossed tree with the 2 1/2" Stitched Shapes (circle) Framelit.

Rub a scrap of Soft Suede cardstock well with the Embossing Buddy. Stamp sentiment with VersaMark ink. Repeat the embossing process with black embossing powder. Cut out with the appropriate die.

Space evenly onto a 3 1/4" x 4 3/4" piece of black cardstock four 1" x 3" pieces of the woodgrain DSP. Glue the circle flat onto this, while using a few Stampin' Dimensionals to attach the sentiment.

Add three black dots to the right below the sentiment.

Adhere this piece to a 3 3/4" x 4 3/4" piece of Very Vanilla cardstock.

Attach this to the card base with Stampin' Dimensionals at each corner and one in the center.


Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Share with us whether you find creating masculine cards a problem or not. What little tricks can you share that you use to alleviate the problem?

Woodgrain
Smiles.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

CHEERIEST BIRTHDAY BOUQUET EVER


In the new catalog, that went live June 1, there is the greatest stamp set on page 92. 
It is Beautiful Bouquet, and it consists of 37 (THIRTY-SEVEN!) stamps! 

Look at the precious bouquet you can make 
using the stamps along with the matching dies on page 93!


Besides the components to create a plethora of flowers,
 there are 15 very useful sentiments in the set.


I'd ordered and received both the stamps and the dies a few weeks ago. 

With my dad dying so recently, I have been struggling with my creativity. 
I told myself that I didn't actually have to make anything. 
Merely put ink to stamp, then to paper. 
Just do SOMEthing.


Well, one thing led to another, and soon I was in the process of making a card! 
I had put the oval with the flowers together when I decided to call it quits for the night.


The next day I gazed upon the cute flowery oval, and wondered how to proceed from there. 

It's funny, but when I'd been making my Easter cards a couple months ago, I made several backgrounds that consisted of the circles from the Playful Backgrounds set on page 150 embossed in white. Then, using the embossing on Whisper White cardstock as a resist, I sponged Melon Mambo over the top.

While the backgrounds looked cute, they were not the look I was hoping to achieve for my Easter cards. So, the stack sat unused -- and so forlorn! While I was scouting out something I could use as a background for my card-that-originally-wasn't-going-to-be-a-card-but-was-turning-into-one, my eyes landed on this pile of cuteness.


Yay! It was perfection for the flower-y oval I had created!


Aren't those flowers just the cutest when they are die cut and popped up with Dimensionals?


To carry the Melon Mambo a bit further, I added a bow in that color to the stems of the bouquet.


I mounted the polka dot background atop a piece of Crushed Curry cardstock 
that measured 4" x 5 1/4", then onto a Whisper White card base.


Some dimension -- not a lot -- but just the right amount, I think.


Finally, you are probably wondering why I named this blog post the way I did since nothing on the card says "Birthday". Well, tomorrow is a milestone birthday for me, and I'm feeling a little down about the number, so I am considering this a cheery birthday card from me to me. There! I feel so much cheerier now!

Cheery
Smiles.



Sunday, July 2, 2017

CUTE AS A . . . BUTTON BOXES!

When it comes to treat boxes, there is a LOT of cleverness out there! Why couldn't I be the one to come up with one of these cuties??!? 


Recently, in need of an idea for a little box, I was fortunate to come across examples of one that would be perfect for my requirements. And it uses the Envelope Punch Board, one of my favorite go-to tools. The wonderful creator of this box is Julie DiMatteo, a fellow Stampin' Up! demonstrator who lives in Georgia. Her enticing blog can be found at thepaperpixie.com, if you'd like to pay her a visit.


In her tutorial, Julie noted that the boxes were the perfect size 
in which to nestle a single Ferrero Rocher.


 In creating my boxes, I made use of some beautiful retired 
Designer Series Paper, buttons, and cardstock. 




They are just so crispy and adorable!



 If you'd like to try your hand on these little gems, you can find Julie's informative tutorial HERE.


A big shout-out and thank you to Julie for sharing your tutorial for those of us who are lacking in the cleverness needed to come up with these cute little boxes on our own!

Thankful
Smiles.