Wednesday, September 28, 2016

TRIM THE TREE

I have been so crazy busy with studying lately, 4-5 hours a day. Now, on Saturday, I found that I am going to be selling my artwork at a local gallery. So I've been crazy busy getting ready for that too. There had just been no time for healing Creative Therapy. So, I made myself do it. Yup. I actually did something for pure pleasure. 

When Stampin' Up! added so many new things to their Clearance Rack, I decided to do some shopping. One of the things I picked up is another retired box of the Project Life cards in three assorted sizes. I combined those with the ones that I'd had left from my first box, and now I have a nicely huge pile of cards to randomly choose from when I am in dire need of Creative Therapy.

So, that's what I did. I randomly chose a Project Life card, and the one I came up with was one from the most recent set I'd just bought.

This was sort of an odd one. You see, both sides of the card were cute. And, the best part was that the two cute portions were on completely different areas of the card. So, I was able to use BOTH sides!

What did I have in front of me after I trimmed off the interesting portions? A little sketchy untrimmed Christmas tree, with a star its only decoration -- so far. Then, the admonition that it was time to trim the tree. I dug out the set I'd purchased to host a special workshop in a few weeks: the Tin of Tags stamp set (page 33 of the Holiday Catalog). Using the tiny star and Christmas bulb, I "trimmed" the worded portion. 


Behind the tree, I tucked a piece of what I refer to as our "coffin trim". Retired a few years, I don't use it very often, but this seemed to be the perfect time. The color of the trim is Old Olive, and the greens on my card are Pear Pizzazz, and these two greens play so nicely together.

Do you like the squiggly swirls above the "coffin trim" and tucked within the words? That squiggle comes from the Cupcake Cutouts Framelits on page 192. I LOVE it! It is so fun and happy. And I thought it was perfect to set the mood for trimming the tree.

Speaking of, "trimming the tree" is the reason I did nothing to decorate the tree drawing. You know, it's time to . . .

After digging through my embossing folders, I decided to use the Lucky Stars (page 194) to echo the star on the top of the tree and the one that I stamped above "the tree".


When I finished the card, I was much more creatively healthy. But not completely cured. The card just needed a little something more. 

I've been fooling around with my drawing a bit these past months, so I decided that trimming the stamped images with a little drawn border would be cute. When I finished that, I actually said out loud, "Why not? It's MY card." And proceeded to add the split border around the edge of the top portion of the embossed piece. Then I sketched in the little metal bulb tops. There! Now I AM CURED! 

The bottom photo shows the happy dimension of the card. Can you see that the ends of the squiggles are not glued down? They are all ready to trim the tree, and they don't want to be held back! I love the whimsy this little touch adds to the whole card.


Trimming
Smiles.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

NOTES BOOKS

Two weeks ago at my Stamp-In Workshop, my girls had the opportunity to choose their own color palette for their project. I set my metal container full of all my Washi Tapes in front of them, and they got busy picking out ever so lovely color/print combinations. I had been fairly pleased with the two shown below that I'd had as samples. But, when I saw what my girls came up with -- I was jealous!


These are quite small, a perfect size to stick in a purse or set near your computer for random notes. They measure just 4 1/2" x 3 1/4". The base for the "notes books" is a common one, especially at this time of the year, shown below:


When making these little guys, you need to be very careful with the dimensions of the covers, both front and back. You see, I have discovered that they are not identical in size. Each one has to be measured.

Measuring the entire covers minus the cool black tape binding, you use a piece of scrap cardstock for your base. Once your color choices are made, simply start at the top of the scrap laying down strips of Washi Tape. I made my ends extend beyond both edges so I could simply fold the tape neatly to the back of the base before adding it to the notebook.


Adhere the completed piece to the front of the notebook by putting adhesive on both areas -- the taped piece as well as the notebook, to assure a firm hold. Be especially careful to extend the adhesive to all the edges, so it doesn't peel away.

Once your front is finished, choose a prominent color from your chosen Washi Tapes, and cut a piece of cardstock in that color -- AFTER MEASURING THE BACK for the perfect dimensions. Adhere this piece the same as you did the front.

For the top Notes Book, I used Lost Lagoon on the back, while the one below sports a red back.


I wasn't sure how to decorate the front. I thought of various things, i.e., flowers, butterflies, something else. Until . . . I remembered that way back in the beginning of the Paper Pumpkin history, there was a stamp that said something like . . . "notes". Uh huh! It was easy to find. And it was the perfect look and size.

After stamping the word in black, which coordinated so well with the black binding, I cut out the white piece as well as one larger in black using the Tags & Labels Framelits on page 193 of the catalog.


Notable
Smiles.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

SCARE & CROW

OK. I have to admit that I did something just a little weird with this card. And I never realized it until it was completely finished.

My initial idea was for the little scarecrow to be popped up on a cream oval. Yes. That's what I did. However, this oval with scarecrow was supposed to be INSIDE the card. I'd planned to have the oval cut in the front of the card, and when the card is opened the outside oval becomes empty, but the scarecrow on his oval is inside the card to greet you once again!

I must have had a brain fart somewhere along the way. Because that's not what I ended up doing. So, when you read the directions for creating this card, be prepared. What you see is NOT what you got. If you know what I mean.


Anyway, I DID do something right in this card! I'd wanted to dress the scarecrow rather than just color him in. So I found some fall-flavored scraps of old DSP and created his wardrobe by stamping on the designs (a teeny plaid for his shirt!), fussy cut and adhered them to their counterparts on the "naked" scarecrow, which is stamped and punched out of Crumb Cake cardstock.

The crow on his head was a last minute thought. If I had done it according to my original plan, the crow in this spot would not have worked. 

Don't you just LOVE the jeans made out of DAPPER DENIM? How appropriate -- and satisfying.


If you'd like to make your own paper doll scarecrow card, here's how:

SUPPLIES:
Cookie Cutter Halloween stamp set

Crumb Cake cardstock
Very Vanilla cardstock
Dapper Denim cardstock
Assorted fall-flavored Designer Series Paper scraps

Black ink
Crushed Curry Stampin' Write Marker
Soft Pink Stampin' Write Marker

Large Button 
Halloween Night Baker's Twine (page 51 in the Holiday Catalog)
Stampin' Dimensionals
Paper Snips
Cookie Cutter Builder Punch (page 6 in the Holiday Catalog)
Ovals Collection Framelits

DIRECTIONS:
Fold a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" piece of Crumb Cake cardstock in half, creasing it well with a bone folder.

Take a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of autumn-colored Designer Series Paper and, using an Oval Framelit, cut an oval through the DSP having even edges on the top and sides.

Adhere a 2 1/2" x 3 1/2" piece of Very Vanilla cardstock behind the oval.

On a scrap of Crumb Cake cardstock, stamp the scarecrow. Punch him out with the Cookie Cutter punch.

Stamp the pants onto Dapper Denim cardstock, the shirt on plaid DSP, and the knitted hat on the nubby green cardstock. Carefully cut out each of these pieces of clothing. WHEN CUTTING OUT THE PANTS, YOU CAN CUT THEM STRAIGHT ACROSS THE TOP AND THE SHIRT CAN COVER THE UNCUT PORTION.

Dress our little guy by adhering the clothing in place over the stamped and punched out scarecrow, starting with the pants.

Stamp the crow on a scrap of Crumb Cake and carefully cut him out, omitting his legs. Color in the beak with the Crushed Curry Stampin' Write Marker and adhere him to the top of the cap.

From a scrap of reddish DSP, use the punch to create a tiny heart. Adhere this in place on his chest.

Use a pink Stampin' Write Marker to make rosy cheeks.

Adhere the scarecrow inside the oval window with a few Stampin' Dimensionals.

Wind a length of the orange/black baker's twine twice around the bottom of the DSP layer, adhering the ends on the back. This piece can now be adhered to the card base.

Thread some of the baker's twine into the holes of your chosen button knotting it on the back. Put a bit of snail adhesive on the back of the button and zigzag a 10" piece of the baker's twine back and forth beyond the button, catching the adhesive with each loop, finishubg so the ends drape downwards.

Add two pieces of Stampin' Dimensional to the back of the button, top and bottom, and secure it to the front of the card over the existing baker's twine.

There! Now you're ready for fall!

Scary
Smiles.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

SERENDIPITY FALL

It's almost fall y'all! Did you realize that?

I have been super busy with studying lately. Overwhelmed actually. The other day I decided that I dearly deserved a break -- something of my Creative Therapy. Very much needed. What do I find incrediblyrelaxing -- and mind-numbing? Creating Serendipity Paper.

You see, I am a PACK RAT. You weren't aware of that personality trait of mine, eh? I save virtually every single piece of paper that comes off my paper trimmer, with very few exceptions. The thinner strips get put into a bin that I noticed the other was pretty much overflowing. That means it's time to create SERENDIPITY PAPER! This end product is the reason I save all these strips. 

Break time! I sat at my work table and sorted through all these strips, separating the "fall" colors into one pile, the blacks in another, the whites/creams into another, and finally, I had a small pile of strips of music.

My partial pile of autumn scraps can be seen in this Instagram post. It is just so exciting and enervating to get ready for a major project.

After I had this pile accumulated, I went through it again, this time shortening some of the pieces to better lengths, such as about five inches or less, tearing the ends. Some of the wider strips I tore in half. I love the juxtaposition of the straight edges in contrast to the torn edges. It gives the end result ever so much more personality.

The next step was to create my motherboard. I used a 9" x 12" sheet of nondescript card stock for my substrate. Using Tombow Multipurpose Glue (my favorite green glue!), I glued the strips hither and thither over the base piece. I didn't want these strips to go anywhere, and knowing that some areas would be somewhat bulky, I used this glue for security reasons. (I sound like I work for the government!)

To get from sorting, tearing, gluing down the strips, stamping and embossing took about three hours to come to this result: This piece only measures 8" x 9" though because at this point, I've already cut off four inches of it to use for creating.


Below is a close-up of what the hodgepodge mess looks like.
You can see that I did some embossing in copper and gold to give it extra sheen and interest.


I use my guillotine paper cutter to cut them into as close to 1" squares as I possibly can. Some of the areas are so thick due to the number of layers of paper that I worried about the health of my trimmer as I was trying to cut through them. Even though I was incredibly careful with my trimming, the squares were not perfect one inch squares every time. 


I love how, once the sheet is cut up, each little square is a perfect little work of art. 


So far, I have used 12 of the squares to create little pieces. Two of these pieces are pictured below. The third "piece" is a card that my Stamp-In Workshop girls will be creating in October for their own little commemoration of autumn. 

To see that third piece, you'll either have to come to my workshop on Monday, October 10 (I'll send you directions!) or wait until it finally shows up on my blog with a tutorial. Your choice. (The workshops always start at 12:30 p.m. CST.)

Anyway, this first one is mounted on Whisper White and layered over a square of the beautiful retired Mossy Meadow, finished by a thin border of black. This piece measures 3 1/4" x 3 1/4", just the perfect size to use on the front of a card.


This second one is mounted on a flecked piece of off-white cardstock, then onto a layer of (yum!) Blackberry Bliss, also, unfortunately, retired, then against black. I took this photo with the square lying in the sunlight, hoping to be able to show off a little of the metallic gleam from the elegant embossing.


Now, I will be waiting to hear from you that you will be at my October 10 workshop! 

Serendipity
Smiles.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

MERRIEST WISHES

I was immediately enchanted when I spotted the bundle on page 21 of the new Holiday Catalog. And it zoomed right to the top of my Wish List.

The bundle, which consists of the Merriest Wishes Stamp Set and the Merry Tags Framelits Dies, is meant to be used more in the tag category. If you take a look at the four wonderful projects the Stampin' Up! designers have come up with on page 21, I think you will be equally enamored. 

While the bundle makes adorable tags, I wanted to try my hand at using the components to make Christmas ornaments. The size of the finished ornament measures 2". So, they aren't overly large, just a nice size to add some charm to any Christmas tree.

I know lots of demonstrators and crafters have great, innovative ways of storing their dies. I, however, am not quite so organized. What I worry about most is losing one of the teeny tiny dies. So, lately anyway, I hit upon a pretty good idea --- at least, for me. As soon as I get a new Framelits or Thinlits set, I cut out each of the pieces and mount them in an orderly fashion on a contrasting piece of cardstock that is cut exactly to fit inside the original packaging. I have this showing on one side so I can see exactly what the set contains. It is also easy to spot if you are missing any of them. Then I just throw the Framelits/Thinlits in the other side of the envelope. Organized, eh? Well, it works for me!

Anyway, that is what you see on the left in the following photo.


I used Glimmer Paper (page 175) on most of these ornaments. The one shown below is very simple, and incorporates Dazzling Diamonds Glimmer Paper, along with a scrap left over of textured Gumball Green cardstock underneath. Very quick to put together, especially if you need many of them!


This one involves a combination of stamping and the Red Glimmer Paper. I popped the small ornament in the center up with a Stampin' Dimensional, as well as the large white circle on top of the Glimmer Paper ornament.


This one is also very easy to create, just two quick runs through the Big Shot, once with white cardstock to cut out the deer scene, and once more to cut out the ornament shape in blue cardstock. Then it's just a matter of gluing the two pieces together and adding a hanger. Quick, easy and cute!


This next one involves a bit more time and effort. The bottom layer is, of course, created of Red Glimmer Paper. Don't you just LOVE the detail in that outer edge?

To create the center, however, I did something a bit weird. Because the Red Glimmer Paper was ever so SPARKLY, I wanted to follow through with that sparkle in this piece. 

The silver embossing powder doesn't have quite the twinkle that I was looking for. So, I grabbed the old container of Iridescent Ice Embossing Powder (See? Save and USE your old retired product!), and, in a separate container, I dumped a little of the Silver Embossing Powder and added some of the Iridescent Ice, mixing it well. Then, that's the concoction I used to emboss. It wasn't quite as sparkly as I'd wanted, but, if you hold it at the right angle, it does shimmer more than Silver Embossing Powder alone would. So, I guess I would call this a "near success". Better than a FAIL, huh?

I added one of the giant pearls from several years ago to the center, and I am a happy camper!


Now, I need your help with the next two ornaments I have pictured  That pretty outer edge is created this time with the Silver Glimmer paper and is laid over an ornament of Cherry Cobbler cardstock. When I came to the center of the ornament, I just could not make up my mind. 

The first photo shows the center medallion made with my Silver/Iridescent Ice Embossing Powder combo with a Basic Rhinestone in the center, all done on Cherry Cobbler cardstock.


This one is done the same way, but on Whisper White cardstock. Now, be honest! Which of the two do you think is the most effective -- or lovely? I have that center piece just lying on top of both ornaments. That will explain my last photo of this blog post.



The following ornament is, I think, my favorite of all of them. However, I WILL NEVER DO THIS ONE AGAIN. It is all pieced. Do you see that? 

I actually cut it out four times. Once for the white outline, once for the deer and the tree trunks, once for the tops of the trees, and once for the blue sky. Whew. Even after all that, I was not all that thrilled with the results and set it aside, crabbily. 

When looking at it later, I thought maybe snow would help. So I used the white gel pen to add snow across the scene. It was an improvement, but still not great. The foreground looked much too, well, WHITE. So, I grabbed my container of fake snow from several years ago. It had never been opened. I added this strange mica snow to that foreground. And, YUK!!! After it dried, I scraped off as much of it as I could. But, I couldn't get it all off, so it was set aside once again. So frustrating!

The other day, when I was making these other ornaments, I came across that pitiful thing again. After all that piecing work, I just could not throw it away. 

So, once again, I cut a white piece and trimmed off just the white foreground and glued that over the first one. 

There I was back to the plan white foreground that was SCREAMING (you can't imagine the NOISE a screaming ornament can make!) for something else. After peering into the case containing the stamps from the bundle, I spotted the perfect solution. And you can see the pleasing results below.


Here is the whole family together. You can see the separate little red medallion on the very top. Remember now to let me know which of the looks you prefer!


Glimmery
Smiles.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

CORNERED FLOWERS

I cut the stems a little shorter for these pretty flowers from the Helpiing Me Grow set to fit nicely within the "frame" of this card. The cool technique I was introducing in this project involve the four photo corners, and I wanted these flowers to be the stars. 


These little paper photo corners are adorable and so easy to do!


Following is a tutorial on how to make your own version of this card.

SUPPLIES:
Helping Me Grow set
Timeless Textures set

Delightful Dijon cardstock
Whisper White cardstock
Crumb Cake cardstock
Designer Series Paper in Crumb Cake and Whisper White

Delightful Dijon ink
Cucumber Crush ink
Tip Top Taupe ink
Crumb Cake ink
Black Ink

Baker's Twine
Washi Tape
Aqua Painter
Stampin Dimensionals
Square Punch or Framelit
Paper Snips

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

In Memento Tuxedo Black ink, stamp the flowers onto a 3 3/4" x 4" piece of Whisper White cardstock, letting the bottoms of the stems run off the page. Squish some ink into the covers of the Tip Top Taupe, Delightful Dijon and Cucumber Crush ink pads, and use the Aqua Painter with this ink to color in the flowers as desired.

Stamp the little splotches around the flowers with Crumb Cake ink, stamping off first. You don't want these spots too dark!

TO CREATE THE PHOTO CORNERS:
From the Crumb Cake DSP, punch four squares or use the appropriate sized Framelit to create four 
1 3/8" squares. Fold each of these squares in half diagonally. Unfold and fold them once again diagonally in the opposite direction. Use the Paper Snips to cut out one of the triangles from each of the four squares. Fold the remaining two flaps to the back and adhere to each other with adhesive. Repeat this same process with all four squares. Slide your corners onto the white piece, adding a little adhesive on the inside backs so they stay neatly in place

About 1/4" from the right edge of a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Delightful Dijon cardstock, stretch a piece of the striped Washi Tape, tucking the ends neatly to the back on the two edges. Wrap a piece of metallic baker's twine around this piece twice, ending with a bow. Trim the ends of the twine as desired.

Adhere the gold piece to your card base.

With a Stampin' Dimensional in each of the four corners and one in the center, add your flower piece, leaving even borders on the top, bottom and left side.

This card can be used for virtually ANY occasion. Don't you LOVE that??


Cornered
Smiles.