Tuesday, October 28, 2014

SCARY CHECKERBOARD

^This is the absolute LAST Halloween card I am going to show you this year. I promise. But, it's just too cute not to share.

First of all, I have to tell you a short little story about the stamp set I used for this card.

When the set first came out, I fell in love with the little skeleton that was in the set. Don't ask me how someone can fall in love with a skeleton. But I did. Because of that bony little guy, I just HAD to get the set.

Fast forward many years . . . I have used this set many times over the years, but . . . the cute little skeleton has never seen ink. Stupid, huh? I still think he's cute though.

~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ ^ ~ 

The top portion of this card was fun to make. I simply cut a piece of black cardstock to 2 1/4" x 5 1/4". On the Halloween colors of orange, green and purple, I stamped various of the images from my MUST-HAVE set in black ink. I then punched them out with the 1" square punch. From there, I just adhered them to the black piece in a checkerboard style.


While I like the little Halloween images, I think my favorite part of this card is the sentiment. All the crazy layers.

First of all, the bebop-looking "happy halloween" comes from the Teeny Tiny Wishes set found on page 18 of the big catalog. By the way, if you don't already have this set, run, don't walk to your computer and order it immediately! (Don't forget to name me as your demo!) It is an essential set to own that can be used for every occasion throughout the year.

Anyway, I stamped the sentiment in black on the purple and punched it out with the Word Window punch. Blah and uninspired that way. I decided to do a bit of layering. I grabbed my trusty Project Life Cards & Labels Framelits set and went to work with all the colors I was using in the card. It all came together so nicely. I mounted it atop a piece of black ribbon. It needed a little something else, so I punched out some limey green dots with the 1/4" paper punch, and added them.


So, that does it for my Halloween show-and-tell. I hope you enjoyed it. Have a safe and happy, but also S.P.O.O.K.Y.  Halloween!

Scary
Smiles.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

FRANK 'N' BAT


For my little granddaughter Stella's Halloween card this year, I pulled out an oldie-but-goodie stamp set, Googly Ghouls. Almost seven years old, Stella's  mommy has been reading the Harry Potter series to her at bedtime. I think they may be in Volume 5, so they've been at it for quite some time. I thought that with her newly-found macabre side, Stella may enjoy a card starring Frankenstein and his buddy, Bat.

Of course, since the set was designed this way, and to add to the sense of fun, I added googly eyes to Frank, Bat and the BOO sentiment. 


I do think that what helps this card to succeed is the use of the various Framelits surrounding Frank 'n' Bat. I used the Ovals Collection, the Apothecary Accents, and the Word Bubbles. 

To continue with the dotted theme of the Designer Series Paper in the background, I added 1/2" black dots topped by off-center 1/4" dots in the orange, green and purple. A smaller version of the dots adds a bit more flavor to the top and bottom of the label on which the white oval sits. 

I have to be honest in admitting that before I added the larger dots, I thought the card was fairly "blah". I think the dots added some whimsy and a feeling of being a bit more offbeat. Do you agree that they helped?


Are you having lots of fun creating Halloween cards? Or maybe you don't do anything special for this spooky day? I usually don't get too caught up in the Halloween thing, but this year, the Halloween greetings just keep flowing out of me. 

Spooky
Smiles.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

THREE LITTLE PUNKINS

Have you noticed the cute stamp set, Fall Fest, in the Stampin' Up! Holiday Catalog? It contains components for lots of fall occasions. The four leaves are a great size and shape that you could truly use throughout the entire year. There is a cute smiling ghost as well as three pumpkins, which you could use as, well, pumpkins. Or you could "carve" them for Halloween with a choice of three non-spooky faces.

I actually combined every single one of the stamps on a card, except the ghost. I also added cheery dots from Dotty Angles on page 98 in the Big Catalog. A.N.D. one of the stamps -- the BOO! -- from the September 2014 Paper Pumpkin kit.

So, at last week's Stamp-In workshop, my girls created this card:


The two end pumpkins were stamped directly on the cardstock. The center guy was stamped on scrap, cut out and popped up between his two buddies with Stampin' Dimensionals.


If you'd like to try your hand at this a Three Little Punkins card, it's fairly easy to do. Here's how:

Supplies:
Fall Fest stamp set
Dotty Angles stamp set
September 2014 Paper Pumpkin "BOO!" stamp

Naturals White cardstock
Old Olive cardstock
Crushed Curry cardstock

Pumpkin Pie ink
Crushed Curry ink
Cherry Cobbler ink
Basic Black ink
Always Artichoke Stampin' Write Marker

Corner Rounder punch
Stampin' Sponge
Baked Brown Sugar Thick Baker's Twine
Paper Snips
Stampin' Dimensionals

Instructions:
Fold a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" piece of Naturals White cardstock in half, creasing well with a bone folder.

At the fold of the card, stamp dots in Crushed Curry. At the bottom opening of the card, randomly stamp leaves in various colors. Sponge all edges of the card with Pumpkin Pie ink. In Basic Black, stamp BOO! about 1/4" from the fold line. Set this aside.

In Pumpkin Pie ink, stamp the two smaller pumpkins on a 2" x 5 1/4" piece of Naturals White cardstock, coloring over the stems before stamping with the Always Artichoke Stampin' Write Marker. Leave enough room to "set" the larger pumpkin between them. "Carve" their faces with Basic Black ink. On a scrap of Naturals White, stamp the tall pumpkin the same way. After stamping him (her?), cut it out, leaving a small white margin all around the edges. Pop it up between the other two pumpkins with a couple of Stampin' Dimensionals. Round the corners of this piece.

Adhere two 1/4" x 2" pieces of Crushed Curry strips of paper to each end. Take two pieces of the Thick Baker's Twine and tie a knot in the centers of them. Setting the twine in place over each of the yellow pieces, adhere the ends to the back of the white piece.

Adhere the finished pumpkin piece onto a 2 1/4" x 5 1/2" strips of Old Olive cardstock with Stampin' Dimensionals. Glue this finished piece to the card front. It should fit well between the stamping you had done with the leaves and dots.

P.S. The Fall Fest stamp set can be purchased as a bundle, for a 15% savings, with the Framelits that match. If you have the Framelits, just use those in the Big Shot to cut out the center punkin!

Boo!
Smiles.



Sunday, October 19, 2014

GOOGLY SPIDER

Purple, Orange, Limey Green with touches of black and white. These seem to be the preferred colors of Halloween, at least, in recent years. I "heard" someone ask online the other day, "Why purple for Halloween?" I don't remember seeing an actual answer to that query. But that's the way it is. And that's the color combination I used in my Googly Spider card.

With no real ideas in mind, other than to attempt using the old Bigz die, Peekaboo Frames, I headed down to my Creation Station to make a Halloween card. Talk about needing to plant Paper Seedlings!

Do you remember that die -- Peekaboo Frames? It was a die that Stampin' Up! released a few years ago to go along with the Advent calendar idea where each of the cute closed frames was numbered 1-25, and the little flap doors could be opened on the appropriate day to reveal a seasonal image inside.

I own that die and have not used it more than a handful of times. I have several little Stampin' Up! Halloween images that I've collected over the years, and thought some of those would be cute to live behind closed doors until the receiver opens and releases each of them.

After making all the frames, I decided that they were not what I'd wanted after all. But I still liked them as FRAMES.

I am a photographer, and frames are a necessary "evil" for photographs, at least, those you print out. So, I decided to cut off the doors -- GASP! -- and use them just as frames. My idea was to have a wall full -- really a card full -- of frames holding spooky images. After laying out this plan, I realized that my card would have to be much bigger than I wanted.

Narrowing my frame choice down to just three, this is the resulting card:


I apologize that the only current Stampin' Up! product, besides the cardstock, is the Chevron Embossing Folder, which I thought was perfectly spooky for this card.

Guess where the "BOO!" came from! Uh huh, from the September 2014 Paper Pumpkin kit! See how glorious it is to receive Paper Pumpkin each month?!? You have a plethora of wonderful exclusive stamps to use forever!

Dangling from a real thread off the spider web from Wicked Cool is the googly spider from Googly Ghouls. Of course, I had to spookify the spider by adding REAL googly eyes!


The BOO!, the web and that scary spider were all heat embossed.

I had called the card finished once I had the framed images on the chevron background. There was just something missing though. I set the card nearby and glanced at it here and there for awhile. I hated the vast amount of purple in the background. I think it was because I had done my frames "backwards", in an unexpected arrangement: largest down to smallest. It was way too top heavy. But I just didn't know how to fix it. I thought about drawing squigglys along the raised chevrons. How about a triangular green shape on the lower corners of the card? Eeeek! Not the answer.

Finally, I came up with the perfect solution: I added the green photo corners and dotted them with orange circles. I was in happiness heaven! 

So tell us: Do you ever think a project is complete, then you take a good, careful look at it, and realize that something is missing? So, with the realization that your project is actually not quite finished, you went back to the drawing board and tried various "solutions" until you were satisfied when you finally did consider it finished? Is this a frustrating problem for you in your creative endeavors? 

And, by the way, does anyone know the origins of the colors of green, orange and purple being used in depicting Halloween?

Hope your Halloween creations are coming along just spookily. And that you are enjoying this glorious season of Fall!

Googly
Smiles.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

HAUNTED HOUSE

On Friday, October 10, I had the honor of having a Guest Post I had written featured on the Rhinestone Beagle Blog. Since it has already been published on their blog, I thought I would share the post with you on my own blog, Paper Seedlings. Please keep in mind that the post is very photo-rich, as that is what they had wanted for their Howl-oween Tricks & Treats Craftathon. Hope you enjoy it! Let me know in the Comments section what you think.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Thanks so much to the self-proclaimed "two crazy ladies", Kelly and Anita, of www.rhinestonebeagle.blogspot.com for inviting me to participate in their 
fourth annual Howl-oween Tricks & Treats Craftathon
I am so THRILLED to be here!

On my blog, www.paperseedlings.com, I bring to my readers papercrafting inspiration, planting little "paper seedlings" in their creative brains. Most of the time, my content revolves around cardmaking. 

However, for this Craftathon, I stepped a bit outside my personal creative box, and created something a bit different: a piece of Halloween decor that measures 6 1/2" x 8 1/2". I know, it's not A LOT larger than my typical greeting card, but the way it's made and the numerous steps involved make it a much more intense project than a greeting card that the recipient may just THROW AWAY (GAAASP!)

I am not accustomed to taking photos of every step of my creative process. Thus, I was a bit remiss at times in being faithful to documenting each of the steps. If there is not a photo present, I will fill you in with words on what's going on.

This is my Haunted House creation. It took me several hours to complete, what with all my trial and error. I will do my best to condense this process for you, so if you would like to re-create my version or make one that is your very own, it won't take nearly as long!


The background of this project is a variation on the Faux Silk technique. I had this really COOL tissue paper that was a sparkly blackish-grayish-silverish that I thought be be ideal and SO MUCH FUN to use in this project.

My first step was to choose a piece of cardboard cut to 5 1/2" x 7 1/2". I cut a piece of the tissue so it was somewhat larger than the cardboard:


The first step in this cool Faux Silk process is to crush the piece of tissue in your hands -- that's right: into a ball! -- open it slightly, recrush, open, recrush. Do this 3-4 times. On your last crush, gently open it, but don't flatten it. You NEED mountains, valleys, rivers. Yes, a veritable map of the terrain of a stretch of land. 


Completely cover one side of the cardboard with Stampin' Up!'s Glue Stick. Be extra careful with the corners and the edges so the tissue adheres well. Gently lay the cardboard, glue side down, onto the crushed tissue, and press it down. Turn it over, and with your fingers gently press all the little veins into place onto the glue. DON'T RUB IT! Rubbing it will smooth out the character of the piece too much. Start slowly. You can always press down some more, but once that tissue is flat, it stays flat. 


Turn the extra edges to the back of the cardboard and neatly adhere it in place, making the sharpest corners you are able. Be careful when you are stretching the edges to the back that you don't pull too hard and flatten the veins that way. Give it a final pressing, and your result should look something like this:


I wanted to do another technique called Cracked Glass on the spooky moon behind the house. To do this, I used the 1 3/8" Circle Punch with Pumpkin Pie cardstock. I completely covered one side of the circle with VersaMark ink. I then dumped over the circle an unusually thick clear embossing powder that Stampin' Up! no longer carries. But I think you can still find something similar in craft stores. With my heat tool, I heated it up until it was melted. 


This is what it looks like after only one coat. Wait a few ticks for it to cool somewhat, then repeat this process: VersaMark, thick glossy embossing powder, heat to melt. Do this until you have four layers of this embossing. Then . . . stick it in the freezer! Yup! After about 15 minutes, it should be ready for cracking. But, if it's in longer, no worries. 

Anyway, once you take it out of the freezer, immediately start bending it in your fingers to give it cool spooky cracks. If you don't get enough cracks the first time, it can be refrozen, and worked on again. If you STILL aren't satisfied, heat it up with the heat tool again, and start the freezing process all over again. (You will see later in this post how the cracking on my moon turned out. Stay tuned.)


With black ink, I stamped my haunted house onto Smoky Slate cardstock. I then cut it out with one of the Framelits from the Apothecary Accents set in my Big Shot. Do you see the stamped moon on the image? That's what I measured to decide on the size of my Cracked Glass moon.


Since this Framelit only comes in one size, and I really wanted to surround it with a similar frame in Perfect Plum, I cut another of the shapes from the purple cardstock. 


Originally, I had planned to do this matting with TWO pieces of the Perfect Plum, but discovered that only one was necessary. Thus, the two cut pieces below. It was the two pieces cut horizontally that I ended up using. Ignore the long skinny piece. 


My next step was, in my opinion, the toughest part of this project. I wanted to slip  my moon behind the part of the house where the moon was in the stamped image. 

For years, I have enjoyed doing Scherenschnitte. That is always done on much thinner paper. Doing fussy cutting on cardstock is LOTS more difficult. So, I was not able to get the clearest cuts that I would have liked. 

Anyway, once the cutting was done, and leaving a bit of the stamped circle intact, I glued my cracked moon in place behind the house. 


To get the cracks and spooky features of the moon to show up a bit better, I rubbed some black ink into the cracks with a sponge. 

This photo shows the cracked moon a little closer, as well as the less-than-perfect cutting job I did:


After my moon was in place, I added glue to the back of the gray Framelit piece, and adhered the top and bottom of my purple Framelit, leaving a gap in the middle of the gray piece so the purple extended beyond the gray on the top and bottom. 


As I noted, my original intent was to do this with two pieces of the purple so it not only extended on the top and bottom, but on both sides also. Nope. I hated this look. And it was just too naked like this. (Plant some MORE Paper Seedlings!)


I took out my Ovals Collection Framelits, and cut an oval from the Perfect Plum that was the ideal size to add to my mat. I added the oval behind the purple I had already adhered. It was just right.


At this point, I was pumped, and forgot about my camera. But, I'll share what I did. 

I decided that I would pick up a bit more of the Pumpkin Pie color of the moon, and mat the entire piece in more of that. I started placing the pieces onto this as I came up with ideas. 

Spooky sky was added around the house with sponged Smoky Slate ink. That nicely added to the creepy feeling of the haunted house and broke up the flatness of the cardstock alone.

I punched triangles from the Smoky Slate and the Perfect Plum cardstock with the Triangle Punch, and placed them along the edges. The triangles didn't have enough oomph, so I sponged the edges of each one with Smoky Slate ink. Laid them in place. Hmmm. 


I really liked the Pumpkin Pie mat, but the piece still needed more "spookiness". I had purchased from Stampin' Up!'s Clearance Rack their Halloween assortment of Washi Tapes. I checked those out and liked the skull design. I decided to cut another piece of scrap cardstock 1/4" larger than the Pumpkin Pie edge. But, before gluing that in place, I covered the edges of this new piece with the Washi Tape. I love it!


I tried a few types of ornamentation on the triangles. In this case, I had punched out 1/2" circles from the Smoky Slate cardstock and inserted smoky-colored brads in the centers of each circle. I decided to not keep these. But, I DID keep the cool antique button I found in my button stash that I added below the house.


I then tried alternating colors of 1/4/" dots on the triangles. Nope. Too circus-y. Plant some more Paper Seedlings . . .


I ended up adding 1/8" dots punched from black paper to the centers of the "circus-y" dots, and I was happy.


One more view of my final result:


My 11-year-old mutt, Harley, was helping me throughout most of this process, but then he decided he wanted to go outside. So I absently let him out, and went back to work. 

It wasn't until I was finished that I remembered that I hadn't taken a photo of him helping me! Oh no! So, I got a pic of him looking longingly in at me through the window. Say "hi", Harley!


Once again, thank you SO MUCH, Anita and Kelly, for letting me share my creative process with you and your readers. 

If you'd like to catch any more of my creative inspirations, come visit me at my blog, www.paperseedlings.com. I post every Sunday and Wednesday. I would love to see you there!

Haunting
Smiles.


Saturday, October 11, 2014

WHITE CHRISTMAS

Last Saturday, October 4, as you probably already know, was WORLD CARDMAKING DAY!. Yes, I am a bit behind. But, you see, I had to work last Saturday. Tired as I was when I got home, I was determined to NOT let this special day slip by without me doing SOMEthing to commemorate it SOMEhow.

A brief story first. When I first saw the stamp set White Christmas on page 31 in the Stampin' Up! Holiday Catalog, it did not trip my trigger, float my boat, do anything for me. However you say that it just did not appeal to me. So I bypassed it. 

A friend of mine wanted me to order the White Christmas set for her. Long story short, I messed up on the order (first time I'd ever done that in nine years! What was I thinking -- or NOT thinking?) and I ended up ordering two of these sets. Instead of sending one back, once I saw it in my hands, I saw that it wasn't so bad, so I decided to keep it. Still not quite sure of it though.

When I got home from work on World Cardmaking Day, that was the set I turned to. I'm so glad I decided to keep it! Now I want to keep creating with it. Especially when I am seeing such DARLING cards being made with the set on Pinterest! 

Speaking of Pinterest, I have found that little corner of social media to be probably the best creative inspiration E.V.E.R.! Don't you agree?

Anyway, here is the card that I created to commemorate WORLD CARDMAKING DAY:


It was a blast to make from start to finish. It just came together so wonderfully. 

The first thing I did was to emboss the trees and snow in black. I then used the embossing as a resist to add my Marina Mist sponging. Then I stamped the buck, the Christmas tree and the SUV in black on colored cardstock, then fussy cut each of the pieces. Of course, I wanted my buck to STAY a buck, and I did not want to attempt to cut out his antlers, so I stamped him into the scene first, then overlaid the stamped antlers with my cut-out deer.

He looked sooooo lonely, standing there all alone in the woods late at night. He needed a mate. Right? But I only had this buck stamp. Hmmm. Conjuring Paper Seedlings . . . Aha! I eliminated the antlers, one ear and the legs to create a doe lying in the snow. Brilliant, if I do say so myself. So Bambi's mama joined the snowy scene.

I added some white embossed snowflakes using the stamp that came with the set. There! Nice scene. 

Now what? I dragged out all my Framelits. And tried the biggest ones. None of them were quite right for it. 

Since I hadn't done tearing in awhile, I thought that might be just the perfect look for a snowy night scene. Originally, I had planned to sponge the torn edges with the Marina Mist to blend it all together. Once I had torn the edges, however, I felt the brilliant white edges made it look even snowier and more natural.

Mounted on top of a piece of Island Indigo cardstock that had been embossed with the Decorative Dots Embossing Folder to echo the snowflakes in the stamped image, then on top of a white card base, it looked just right.

I love how this card turned out and keep it standing on my counter in the kitchen. It makes me smile every time I look at it. I hope you all like it too!

OK. I admit that I ended up making it into WORLD CARDMAKING WEEKEND. On Sunday, the set drew me once again. A friend had given me some really cool blue tissue paper, so I thought it would make a perfect background for this snow scene. So, I proceeded to use the faux silk technique to apply it to cardstock. 

Well, it looked sort of cool. But the more I added to it, the more amateurish it looked. When I look at this finished card, all I can think is: B.L.U.E.! It should probably be garbaged . . . 

But, I do like ONE thing I did with this card. 

Once again, I fussy cut the various elements, but this time with Designer Series Paper! Do you like my printed deer couple?


And, how about my patterned Christmas tree and the SUV on which it rides? Cute, huh? Yup.


But, I refuse to show you the entire card. Suffice it to say it was definitely a fail.

So, share with us: Have you ever looked at a stamp set a few times only to feel it did absolutely nothing for you? Then, for some reason, you have that very same set in your possession. And you turn out loving it?

This was another incident of messing up turning into a happy accident. I will use this set a lot more, I promise!

Snowy
Smiles.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

EAT SOMETHING SWEET

Remember in my previous post when I showed you  how adorable the September 2014 Paper Pumpkin kit is, and how my first project following the instructions turned out? Well, I promised you that I would share another project I did, changing up the directions and a few materials a bit to make it suitable for another occasion?

Just a reminder of what the projects were to look like if the directions were followed and the appropriate goodies were used:


I thought it would be easy enough to make this a CHRISTMAS treat bag as opposed to one for Halloween treats, with only a few changes.

Some of the burlap bags were printed in black stripes, while the rest were black polka dots.

This is what I came up with. 

Choosing one of the polka dot bags, I used one of the plain tags that came in the kit, along with one of the black striped tags for its mat. Since one of the stamps that came in the kit, "Eat Something Sweet" was nicely appropriate for a Christmas treat, I stamped that on the plain tag in red. To attach it to the bag, instead of using one of the orange or purple clothespins that came with the kit -- which are decidedly HALLOWEEN! -- I dug through the leftover supplies that I had accumulated from past Paper Pumpkin kits, and came upon these darling unfinished clothespins. Perfection!


To turn the black printed polka dots into "mats", I punched out green and red circles with the 1/2" Circle Punch. I then adhered them to the center of each dot with green glue. 


Needing a little something more, since I obviously could not use the orange sequins that came with the kit, I took the scraps from punching out the circles, and with the Banner Punch, punched one in each color. Adding them in a jaunty way to the tag was the perfect ending touch!


Now, I'd like for you to put your Paper Seedling planting hat on and come up with another way we could change up the striped bags for some other occasion. What do you think?

Dotty
Smiles.

P.S. I added this project o' mine to the MPC1014 Sweets & Treats at My Pumpkin Challenge at http://www.mypumpkinchallenge.blogspot.com/. Think about joining their monthly challenges yourself!