Thursday, May 21, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: BEAUTIFUL WEED

The much maligned dandelion is truly a Beautiful Weed. 

Rather than just cursing those infernal pests that pepper lawns, 
have you ever really examined one up close? 

Look at the incredible delicacy of the dandelion: 
the perfectly scalloped tips of each petal, 
the curlicues pointing toward the 
gorgeous chrysanthemum-like curving petals at the center, 
and its glorious and happy color! 

This beauty was one of a few stars on our front lawn, much to my husband's chagrin. 
Oh well. 
They don't last long, and I think they add a lovely sunny look to an otherwise boring lawn. 

BEAUTIFUL WEED

My Instagram Account

Spring is a natural resurrection, an experience in immortality.
- Thoreau -

Sunny
Smiles.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

STAINED GLASS BLOSSOMS

Every once in awhile I dig into some old ideas that I had torn from magazines, marked in books, tagged in Stampin' Success or printed from the Internet. I mean I have a stash of "ideas" that you wouldn't believe.

The other day, I was sifting through them and came across an article about stained glass stamping. It sounded easy enough and very intriguing. The technique is done on vellum. 

First, after stamping the image in VersaMark onto the vellum, you emboss it in white.

I chose some of our wonderful Vellum Cardstock (which isn't retiring! Yayyy!) for my creation. I love the thickness and richness of it because it really stands up well to embossing. 

Anyway, after embossing, turn your piece over and, using Stampin' Write Markers, color the image on the back side, using the white lines as coloring guides.

For my blossoms, from Indescribable Gift, (page 35 in the Occasions Catalog that will be retiring June 2!) I chose a selection of oranges and pinks for the flowers. And, of course a few greens for the leaves and neutrals for the branches. Once I was finished with my coloring, this is how it looked -- from the reverse side, that is!


BUT, then when you flip the piece over to the front, this is what you get:


I wanted to keep my resulting card looking very very feminine and delicate. It took me quite some time and experimentation to choose the perfect Designer Series Paper to serve as its background. 


My intent was for the background paper to show through the vellum, but not TOO much. Very subtle. I finally decided on this lovely paper.


We all know how tricky it is to adhere vellum to another surface. Don't we?? I decided to use Glue Dots to attach it to the DSP. But then, those little globby circles showed through. So, to carry through with the girly look, I covered those little buggers with our Basic Pearls!


Actually, if you refer back to the photo of the whole card, you can see that the bottom of the card was no problem whatsoever. I used the Glue Dots there also, but it didn't matter if they showed or not because I hid them with the strip of DSP on which I stamped the sentiment. But, to balance the card, I added pearls to the bottom corners also.

Thanks Paper Players for the inspiration!


Girly
Smiles.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

SPOTLIGHT ON THE HERD

I introduced you to this adorable bunch with a post about the following picture:


Because they are so wonderfully irresistible, I wanted my Stamp-In girls to enjoy them too. However, my rendition of the herd took me several days to complete. And I didn't think they'd want to devote that much time to their own herd.

My goal then was to create something using the same image, but in an easier, much less time consuming way. Here is what I came up with for them to create at the workshop:


Obviously, both of these cards are the same with the exception of the Designer Series Paper I chose to frame the image with. However, the card below seemed wimpy compared to the first one. I'd thought the lighter, more structured DSP would be cute. However, while it IS cute, it just doesn't have enough punch as its more colorful counterpart. I thought that maybe by adding some faux stitching around the border would amp it up a little. While I don't mind it, it is just not zippy enough for my taste.


Anyway, the simple technique I used on my workshop card is commonly known as spotlighting. I have seen several ways to do this, but this is the way I chose for my purposes.

The frazzled chicken that I chose to spotlight looks like he has had quite a day. Eh?


Wanna know how to make a spotlighted herd of your own? Just keep in mind that this stamp set, From the Herd, found on page 15 of the Occasions catalog will retire as of June 2! Quick! Order yours now! June 2 is right around the corner!

OK. Here goes:

Supplies:
From the Herd stamp set (retiring as of June 2, 2015)

Naturals White cardstock (retiring as of June 2, 2015)
Basic Black cardstock
Choice of Designer Series Paper

Daffodil Delight and Tangerine Tango Stampin' Write Markers
Black StazOn ink

Stampin' Dimensionals
3/4" Circle Punch
1" Circle Punch
Baker's Twine
1/8" Circle Punch

Instructions:
Fold a half sheet of Naturals White cardstock in half, creasing well with a bone folder.

On a 3 1/4" x 4 1/2" piece of Naturals White cardstock, stamp the animal image. Focus special attention on the pressure you put on the center of the stamp so you get a uniformly clear image throughout. This important for larger-sized stamps.

On a scrap of Naturals White cardstock, stamp the head portion of the wild-haired (feathered??) chicken. Color just the chicken portion in Daffodil Delight and Tangerine Tango Stampin' Write Markers. Punch him out with the 3/4" Circle Punch. From a scrap of black cardstock, punch a 1" circle. Adhere these two circles together. Using a Stampin' Dimensional, adhere this circle piece to the stamped image atop its stamped counterpart. There! You just did the Spotlight Technique!

Adhere this piece to a 3 3/4" x 4 5/8" piece of Basic Black cardstock, then to your chosen piece of DSP, which will measure 4" x 5 1/4".

On a 1/2" x 1 3.8" piece of Naturals White cardstock, stamp in black "from the herd". Use the Daffodil Delight marker to draw lines around the edges. With a 1/8" hole punch, punch a hole alongside the "from". Tie a piece of Baker's Twine through this hole. 

Wrap a length of Baker's Twine around the entire stamped piece on the very left edge of the white portion, taping the ends to the back. Tie the tag to the upper portion of this in a bow. To secure the tag in place so it doesn't droop over the stamped image, add a small piece of Stampin' Dimensional to the back of it.

Adhere this completed piece to the card base.

Frazzled
Smiles.



Thursday, May 14, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: FALLEN


If you've been following my blog for the past months, you know that my husband and I moved into our "new" house the day before Thanksgiving. Moving in at that time of the year in central Wisconsin, you do not know what exactly is growing in your yard. The mystery will remain until spring arrives.

One thing we did know before we moved in was that we had very old, mature pine trees of various varieties. A plethora of oak leaves on the ground gave mute witness to oak trees -- once again old and large -- that we would be able to enjoy in the warmer months to come.

Once all the snow was gone and the days became a bit more balmy, I was anxious to get outside to see what, if anything, was starting to come up. I was thrilled to discover in early spring that we had yellow and white/yellow daffodils blooming along the edges of our yard. 

While wandering the yard, I have come across numerous pinecones and oak leaves. I took advantage of these not-quite-signs-of-spring by capturing their quiet beauty in many of my photos. 

This oak leaf is my favorite one I've captured and posted to Instagram. At least, so far. I'm sure I will have oak leaves as my subject matter quite often. For some reason, I find them completely irresistible. 

FALLEN

As well as being a collector of natural beauty, I am also a collector of inspiring -- and sometimes humorous and irreverent -- quotes. I plan to end each of these Focus Friday posts with a fitting quote.

Focus on the journey, not the destination.
- Greg Anderson -


Insta
Smiles.


Tuesday, May 12, 2015

BUTTERFLY A L'ORANGE

 I am so glad that customers can once again order the gorgeous Butterflies Thinlits Dies (page 26 of the Occasions Catalog, which expires in a few weeks, June 2!) once again! They are just so pretty and add such grace and whimsy to any paper creation.

The fluttery butterfly on this card is the second largest (or second smallest!) of the set of three. While the largest butterfly has more intricate detail, it is so much larger that it really takes over a card front. For an example of this butterfly being used, check out my Vellum Butterfly post.

Now, this butterfly is an ideal size to use as a focal point, but it doesn't overwhelm the card quite so much as its larger, more flamboyant brother does.

Did you notice that I echoed the notched ends of the sentiment piece in the ends of the ribbon upon which it rests? I love doing things like that! It just adds to the cohesiveness of a piece.


I know it doesn't show up too well in the first photo, and not all that great in the following photo, but I used the Large Polka Dot embossing folder to add a little bit of texture to the Whisper White background. Just enough to add interest, but not take away from the butterfly, the star of the card.


I have added this card to this week's TGIF Challenge #02. When doing a challenge, the hosts of any challenge expect you to use their sketch as a guideline for your own creation, making changes at will, but still having the end result be obviously based on the sketch. The sketch is meant to be your inspiration. 

That being said, I didn't make too many changes, only switched the butterfly upon the pointed banner for the large label shape, and I moved my sentiment down the card a bit.

This is the challenge sketch upon which I based my card:


Fluttery
Smiles.



Saturday, May 9, 2015

BLOSSOM TIME

In honor of all the moms out there, 
I would like to send you this virtual card.


Containing this beautiful flowering branch, just screaming to be colored, the Indescribable Gift set can be found on page 35 of the Occasions Catalog (that expires June 2!!). Stampin' Up! intended the set be used for Easter, with sentiments, "Sharing the joy of His indescribable gift", "Happy Easter" and "Refresh, Renew, Rejoice", and the image definitely fits that occasion. But I think the lovely blooming branch also has uses for MANY occasions throughout the year.

Being May, when so many trees (here in the Midwest) are gloriously -- but briefly -- in bloom, I decided it would be perfect for Mother's Day. 

When the set was released, it was undeniably with the intent of using Blendabilities to color the image. Owning several sets of these markers made just that a possibility for me. But, since so many papercrafters don't or won't have the privilege of using the Blendabilities (as they are no longer available), I wanted to show just how beautiful these blossom are when colored in another way.

One more of my treasured Stampin' Up! supplies that I tend to hoard for special occasions is their White Vellum Cardstock (page 193) of the big catalog. 

Since it is extra-thick and sturdy, it takes to heat embossing very well. I stamped the blossom branch onto vellum cardstock with VersaMark and heat embossed it using Black Embossing Powder. (One thing I cannot stress the importance of enough is to use the Embossing Buddy on all your embossing projects. I did use my Buddy on this, but unfortunately some of the pesky embossing powder still strayed here and there anyway. Grrr)

Then I went to work with various pinks and greens of the STAMPIN' WRITE MARKERS. This method proved to be a great alternative to Blendabilities, as well as wonderfully easy. And the bold black outlines provided by the embossing almost gives the finished piece a stained glass effect.


Here is a closeup of a few of the blossoms:


Since vellum can be somewhat challenging to adhere to a card surface without the adhesive showing through, I opted for a great method of attaching it to my card. I simply cut the vellum cardstock a smidge smaller than the 4" x 5 1/4" layer. I attached it freely to the back of the oval cut mat, then just adhered the whole mat to the card base. 

I hope you enjoyed your virtual card. 
HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

Blossom
Smiles.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: CENTERED

I am proud to present my very first
FOCUS FRIDAY!

Every Friday I will feature one of my recent Instagram photos. 

CENTERED

All of the photos I show in these FOCUS FRIDAY posts are my sole property. Please respect this.

Insta
Smiles.