December 11, 2018

STRING OF LIGHTS GIFT CARD HOLDER

Yesterday, December 10, was the Christmas Edition of my Stamp-In Club. This gift card holder was one of the projects the girls worked on.

At this time of the year, aren't we all looking for cute ideas for gift card holders? The stamps in the Making Christmas Bright set (page 7 in the Holiday Catalog) gives us lots of options to create and makes a really darling gift card holder with just a bit of work.


The String of Lights Gift Card Holder, wearing its belly band:


The naked gift card holder, sans belly band:


The inside of the gift card holder is fairly straightforward 
with a little creativity in the multi-colored letters in the word "Bright", 
to echo the colors used in the Christmas lights 
on the outside of the holder as well as on the belly band:


The belly band in all its glory:


Just a photo to show the belly band in the act of being removed:


Interested in making one of these quick gift card holders? Read on!

SUPPLIES:
Whisper White cardstock
Gold Foil Cardstock

Making Christmas Bright stamp set (page 7 in the Holiday Catalog)

Pacific Point ink
Real Red ink
Garden Green ink
Crushed Curry ink
Stampin' Write Markers in:  Garden Green, Pumpkin Pie, Pacific Point, Real Red and Crushed Curry
Black ink

Tear & Tape (page 213 in the Annual Catalog)
Simply Scored (page 208 in the Annual Catalog)
1" Circle Punch 
Christmas Bulb Builder Punch (page 6 in the Holiday Catalog)
Mini Stampin' Dimensionals
Basic Rhinestones

DIRECTIONS:
You will be using a strip of Whisper White cardstock that measures 4" x 7 3/4". With the Simply Scored, score at 2 1/2" and then again at 5 1/8". Crease on the score lines.

Work first on the part where you scored at 2 1/2". When folded up, this won't quite touch the next score line. There will be about a 1/8" gap. Refer to the sample. Take the 1" Circle Punch and, going in a little more than halfway, punch in the center of the end. This will help the recipient to get the card out of the holder.

With the piece still lying flat, and beneath the circle you just punched, stamp "May your Christmas be" in black ink. Then, using the brush end of the Stampin' Write Markers, color each of the letters in the word "Bright" a different color. REMEMBER: When working with markers, the ink dries quickly, so HUFF on the stamp before stamping it below the black words.

Add Tear & Tape along the sides with the tape going right along the edge so there is room enough for a gift card to slide in. Press the sides together.

Now you are going to work on the front of the gift card holder. In black ink, stamp the row of Christmas lights four times, being sure to stagger each line a bit so they aren't perfect rows of soldiers. Use the same Stampin' Write Markers to color in the strings of lights.

TO  MAKE THE BELLY BAND:
Take a 1" x 8 1/2" strip of Whisper White cardstock and wrap it around the gift card holder. Wrap it tightly, but not too tightly. You want to be able to remove and replace it easily enough but yet to stay in place on the gift card holder. Make creases where necessary.

Flatten the strip out. Centered across the top of the long portion of the strip, stamp the line for the bulbs in black ink. DON'T ROCK THIS STAMP AT ALL. ASK ME HOW I KNOW THAT.

Stamp each of the lightbulbs in a row in the colors according to the sample on Whisper White cardstock. Once your bulbs are stamped, use the Christmas Bulb Builder Punch to punch each of them out.

Take a strip of gold foil paper and punch out four of the bulb toppers. Adhere the toppers to the bulbs.

With a Mini Stampin' Dimensional on the back of each bulb, hang them hither thither on the black line.

Add a Basic Rhinestone to either side of the string of lights.

Adhere the two ends of the belly band together and slip it onto the gift card holder.

Go to your favorite store and purchase a gift card to slip inside for a lucky recipient.


There! Now, wasn't that fun?

Gifty
Smiles.

December 8, 2018

CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE - WEEK 4

Well, here I am, just having finished Week 4 of my personal Christmas Challenge. That means that I've created 28 cards since I started this challenge!! The stamp sets that I have left yet to create with should bring me almost to Christmas.

OK. Let's get started on this week's batch of cards.

Last Sunday, making the card below, I had just so much fun! These Christmas bulbs  and coordinating punch from the Making Christmas Bright set on page 6 and 7 of the Holiday Catalog make creating cute seasonal cards a snap.

Nothing terribly special about this card, except maybe its size. It measures 3 1/4" x 5 1/2". The cute spotty DSP in the background is from the Under the Mistletoe pack on page 189 of the Annual Catalog. Each of the light bulbs is popped up with Dimensionals.


I was really excited when I randomly grabbed this set, Beautiful Baubles, on page 10 of the Holiday Catalog. When I created the card in this post, I was so happy with the results of that one that I wanted to repeat the same color scheme for another card using the cluster of ornaments, so I kept the combination of Prismacolor Pencils out for just this case.

Treating the new card the same way as the previous one -- white embossing on kraft cardstock, then colored with Prismacolors -- I hoped I'd be as happy with this new card as I was with the one in the aforementioned post. However, that was not to be. I am not in love with this card. Perhaps it is the addition of Melon Mambo and Granny Apple Green to the kraft color. 

I don't know. It just doesn't grab me.


This next card was a lot more work than a card has any right to be. But, I am happy with the way it turned out, so I guess all the time and effort were worth it. 

Do you remember -- and have fond memories of -- this set, Loads of Love, from ancient times? Since they are showing so many red pickup trucks with a tree in the back, I thought I'd do my own rendition. 

For the post-Thanksgiving Online Extravaganza, I'd treated myself to several more duos of the Stampin' Blends. In that order was Cherry Cobbler. So that's what I used to color my pickup. I had also ordered the Smoky Slate set, so I used those colors on the trim and wheels of the truck.

The Christmas tree that comes with the set is sort of a "stick tree" in that it is all just lines, no substance whatsoever. To rectify that situation, I stamped the tree in Mossy Meadow ink, then filled it in with Old Olive Stampin' Blends.

To get that ol' tree in the back of the truck, I did some masking. After that, I added my little driver, then proceeded to fussy cut the whole thing.

To create the snowy landscape in which he is driving, I tore an edge of Whisper White cardstock, and sponged the torn portion with Balmy Blue ink so it blended well with the Balmy Blue paper of the sky. 

The faint trees in the background are from another set, but stamping them in Gray Granite worked well for the effect. The snow falling is from ANOTHER stamp set and is embossed in white.

So, this little creation utilizes THREE stamp sets!


I noted to my daughter, Sarah,  that this next card was the most problematic card I've ever endured created. It was a case of Murphy's Law from start to finish. What possibly could go wrong absolutely DID!

I know it doesn't show up in the photo, but the colors of the card are Whisper White and Blackberry Bliss. The stamping is embossed in gold.

Enough said.


I was sort of happy with this next card, but when I showed it to my husband, he just shrugged. I usually don't get much of a response from him, but never just a shrug. Husbands.

First of all, I think the color scheme is appealing. It's bright and modern. 

But, it's MORE SNOWFLAKES! In retrospect, I realize that I have an absolute BLIZZARD of snowflake stamp sets. 

To make the three little embellishments on the "merry" portion, I used some little ruffled edged sequins that came in a long ago Paper Pumpkin kit, followed by a silver sequin in the center, finished off with a Basic Rhinestone in the center of the whole thing. They do have quite a lot of dimension, so it would definitely require extra postage and hand stamping.


My oldest daughter, Emily, has long been a fan of the turquoise/red color combination. I'm not sure if she still feels like that. But, this card is a nod towards Emily. 

My color palette is Bermuda Bay and Cherry Cobbler on Whisper White. A strip of washi tape in the Bermuda Bay/Whisper White combo grounds the four trees as they proudly stand there is their red buckets and all their tree-y finery. Mr C is taking a quick flight through to check things out.

The cute embossed snowy sky is done with the Softly Falling embossing folder found on page 223 of the Annual Catalog. I never know if I should have the sparse snowflakes at the top or the bottom. So this time, I put them at the top.

Everything, including Mr C, is popped up with Stampin' Dimensionals.

This is another card that I made in a funny size. It measures 3 3/4" x 6". 


At this point in the photo session, Fred decided to pop in and check out the action.


Back to the cards.

This next one is the card I made for today. 

Ugh. MORE snowflakes! This utilizes the same stamp set that I'd used in my Beautiful Blizzard post. Since I wasn't crazy about the set at the time I made that card, I don't know why I didn't just stick it back into its drawer and called it done for the challenge. But, no. I had to shove it into the stack for the Challenge. Today it was my random pick. I balked and almost ditched it anyway. 

But a challenge is a challenge. The show must go on.

The photo definitely does not do it justice. It turned out peacefully beautiful. I loved the color scheme that I used, Smoky Slate against Whisper White. Since the colors were so subdued, I decided to add some glitz in a snowflake die cut from Silver Glimmer Paper.

Then, do you remember that old chestnut of a stamp set from which my sentiment comes? I LOVE those four stamps. I am going to make a note of it that I use them more frequently, retired or not.


Well, that's the end of my cards for my Christmas Challenge Week 4. Are you getting tired of this yet? I must admit that it is turning out to be a nice dose of Creative Therapy for me each day. It often turns out to be the highlight of a day.

Thanks for accompanying me on my challenging journey.

Challenged
Smiles.

December 4, 2018

BEAUTIFUL BLIZZARD

When I first laid eyes on the stamp set, Beautiful Blizzard, (page 39 in the Holiday Catalog), I felt that I just had to have it. So I ordered it. I think it was the snowflake image's fault. Yup. That's what it was.

Because when it was delivered to me, I really wondered. WHY did I order this set?

Well, I did. So I needed to use it. Somehow.

I was determined to design a card for my November Stamp-In Workshop attendees to make. So I came up with the card pictured below.


From the Clearance Rack while ago, I'd ordered this beautiful Night of Navy Corduroy Ribbon. Being that I used Night of Navy ink on my card, I thought it would be the perfect touch for the card.

After completing the card though, I was struck by the thought that the trim was too heavy and too dark for the card.

While preparing the projects for the workshop, I came up with another -- I thought more desirable -- option for the girls to choose from. Of course, I made the corduroy ribbon available, as well as thin strips of Night of Navy cardstock that I had run through the Seaside Embossing Folder (page 223 in the Annual Catalog) to mimic the blustery wind of the snowstorm.


Later I made another card using the embossed cardstock strip instead just to see for myself how different (and much better?) it looked. Unfortunately, I didn't use the Night of Navy ink as intensely as I did in my sample card, so it was not really a good comparison. 

Another thing I'd done differently with my second card was to add some Dazzling Diamonds Glitter to the Silver Embossing Powder before I embossed the snowflakes. I thought that by doing that, it would make the snowflakes glisten a bit more and show up more prominently. Wrong-o.


Anyway, if you'd like to give a card similar to this a try, following is a tutorial on how to do so.

SUPPLIES:
Whisper White cardstock
Night of Navy cardstock (optional)
Silver Glimmer Paper

Night of Navy ink
VersaMark ink

Beautiful Blizzard (page 39 of the Holiday Catalog)

Embossing Buddy
Silver Embossing Powder
Heat Tool
Night of Navy Corduroy Ribbon or strip of embossed Night of Navy cardstock
Basic Rhinestones
Stampin' Dimensionals
Seaside Embossing Folder (optional)

DIRECTIONS:
Fold a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" piece of Whisper White cardstock in half, folding it well with a bone folder.

Next, take a 2" x 5 1/2" piece of Whisper White cardstock. Using the large blizzard-y blobs, stamp them in Night of Navy across the paper. Use the smaller blob if you'd like; otherwise, you can stamp the large blob twice, turning it each time, then filling in the remaining spaces with the edges of the blobs.

Once the stamping is done, rub the Embossing Buddy well over the piece. In VersaMark ink, add the cluster of snowflakes a few times, rotating the stamp with each new impression.

At the Heat Station, cover the snowflakes in Silver Embossing Powder, tapping the excess back into its container. Use the Heat Tool to emboss the images.

Adhere this piece to a 2 3/4" x 5 1/2" piece of Whisper White cardstock so it is centered with even borders on the top and bottom. On the bottom, adhere a strip of Silver Glimmer Paper that measures 3/8" x 5 1/2". At the top, either add a length of the Night of Navy Corduroy Ribbon, taping the excess to the back of the piece OR . . .  BUT, I think the ribbon is too dark and heavy for this card (my feelings once I'd had mine finished), so another option is to add a 3/8" strip of Night of Navy cardstock that had been embossed inside the Seaside Embossing Folder.

Once this panel is completed, adhere it with Stampin' Dimensionals to the card front, leaving about 1/2" of the card base at the top.

Underneath this panel, stamp "Season's Greetings" in Night of Navy ink. Add two Basic Rhinestones to the left of the greeting.


Blizzard-y
Smiles.

December 1, 2018

CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE WEEK 3

Week 3 of my personally-set Christmas Challenge! That means I've created 21 separate Christmas cards since I started!

As I'd explained in my post about the first week of the challenge, each day I am randomly plucking one of my Christmas stamp sets -- both current and retired -- and I then must create a card using at least one component from the plucked set.

Sometimes, it truly is a challenge. The set that was chosen for the day might not inspire me that particular day. Or I might have chosen ANOTHER snowflake set! As much as I love snowflakes, it's hard to keep coming up with new ideas using them. Some days I just am plain not inspired by anything. So that produces a challenge in itself.

But challenge it is. I must keep this commitment I've made. And I will do it!

The first card from week 3 features a stamp that I love love love. And will never ever get tired of. I stamped the precious little chickadee perched amongst holly in Memento Tuxedo Black ink, then proceeded to color in the holly leaves and berries with my Stampin' Blends. 

The Designer Series Paper onto which I mounted my chickadee also features holly to echo that in the focal image. Since I'd colored the holly berries in Poppy Parade, I used that color for the oval surrounding the bird as well as the card base.

I must say something here about the Stampin' Blends. I have a very limited selection of colors. I wasn't sure about investing too much money into the Blends. After all, I have a load of Copic Markers -- I think around 150! But, during these weeks of using the Blends, I have become a convert. They are just so nice to work with. So, what did I do this week? I ordered seven more duos of the Blends! I can't wait to get them so I have a better selection of colors to work with.


I decided to use Blackberry Bliss as the background for this next card. Purple and white -- a stunning combination. After rubbing my Embossing Buddy well over the cardstock, I stamped the snowflakes and little circles in VersaMark Ink. I then added White Embossing Powder and heated it to emboss. 

I then cut another strip of Blackberry Bliss, measuring 1" x 5 1/4". I repeated the prepping with the Embossing Buddy, but instead of snowflakes, I staggered the word "Joy", and then added some of the dots. I once again embossed this in white. When I held this piece against the snowflake background, it completely disappeared. To alleviate that complication, I added it to a strip of Whisper White cardstock which served as something of a divider/buffer. I then popped the strip onto the background with Stampin' Dimensionals.

At this point, I had considered the card finished. But after spending a bit of time looking at it sitting there, I decided it needed some bling. So I added dots of Dazzling Diamonds Glitter. I know the sparkle of the glitter doesn't show very well in my photo, but it adds a nice touch of bling in real life.


Oh man! The next day -- I CHOSE ANOTHER SNOWFLAKE! 

This giant snowflake, however, comes with a matching die. I stamped the snowflake in VersaMark, then embossed it in gold glitter embossing powder. I then used the die to cut it out. 

I decided to mount the diecut snowflake onto a circle cut from Lovely Lipstick cardstock, thinking the touch of pink would be a nice contrast to the sparkly embossing.

I mounted the circle onto Whisper White cardstock that had gained a bit of interest by being embossed inside the Subtle Embossing Folder. I LOVE that embossing folder! It's just so so so SUBTLE. But it definitely adds a touch of class.

Adding a Gold Faceted Gem (page 197) to the center of the snowflake was the final touch.

This card measures 4 3/4" square.


This little sharing image is so precious. Once again, the hedgehog and his buddy, the snowman, were colored with Stampin' Blends.

I hadn't made any gatefold cards yet during this challenge. And I love doing them. This image seemed perfect for a gatefold card, so I proceeded in that direction.

The two animals looked good cut into a circle with the Stitched Shaped Framelits. Since the die was still out from the previous day, I grabbed the snowflake (another snowflake!) and cut one from Pool Party cardstock. The circle was then adhered centered onto the snowflake.

After adding panels embossed with snowflake-looking dots in Whisper White to each of the gatefolds, I adhered the large snowflake to the left side. 

Of course, I needed a little sentiment. I thought the "A merry little wish" seemed appropriate for the exchange happening in the image, so went with that. I die cut it with the little oval from the Stitched Shapes Framelits and added that to the right "gate". 


I love this card. But, I must admit that gatefold cards are very frustrating to photograph. You see, they never stay completely closed unless someone is holding it. I thought by setting it onto a little wooden easel would help the situation. It improved it, but it still gapes a little. 


This next stamp is quite large, measuring about 3 1/4" x almost 5". Because it was so big, I grabbed my largest Clear Block, F, found on page 206 of the Annual Catalog. That particular block measures 4 7/8" x 6". I scribbled in various blues and greens of the Stampin' Write Markers onto the entire block, spritzed it lightly with water, then stamped the inked block onto a piece of Whisper White cardstock. 

After the ink dried, I stamped the image in black ink. I had trouble getting a perfect stamped image, so resorted to touching up the problem spots with a Basic Black Stampin' Write Marker. 

I think this card would have come out better if I'd done it on watercolor paper. But, since the Whisper White is thinner and doesn't take water all that well, it buckled a little bit on the edges. Even gluing it firmly to a cardstock base did not alleviate the problem entirely. That problem keeps me from loving this card. 

A smattering of Pool Party sequins on the sides of the card sort of finishes it off.


Do any of you longtime Stampin' Up! aficionados remember Mr. Twigster? This small stamp set is one I love and refuse to get rid of -- ever. 

The little guy, his Christmas tree and the tiny strand of lights in the card below all come from that set. Once more, all the coloring is done with Stampin' Blends. 

The cute Designer Series Paper upon which Mr. Twigster rests is from the Under the Mistletoe DSP on page 189.

And once again, both the circles surrounding our little man are cut with the Stitched Shapes Framelits. This is a set of dies that I go to sooooo often. They can be found on page 220 of the Annual Catalog. You would never ever regret purchasing these versatile dies!


This week's final card was so much fun to create. 

With the roundness of the wreath, I opted to echo this round shape all the way through the card, including the card base itself. 

Since I wanted the wreath to show as much as possible, I elected to put my sentiment onto vellum. 

The cool thing about working with ink and vellum is that the ink stays wet long enough to emboss it. Thus, I simply stamped my sentiment in Lovely Lipstick, then, at the Heat Station, I covered the stamping with clear embossing powder, and heated it to emboss.


The reason I show this card on a little easel also is that, being a circle, what did it want to do in the previous photo? That's right, it rolled a bit in one direction. I thought it may be a bit more stabilized on an easel.


I hope you enjoyed this little foray through the third week of my self-imposed Christmas Challenge. Please let me know if you have any questions whatsoever.

Tomorrow starts Week 4! Yayyy!

Challenging
Smiles.

November 27, 2018

GOLD SPARKLE ORNAMENT

I know. I know. I've said it several times already. The Beautiful Baubles set on page 10 of the Holiday Catalog is wonderful! I simply cannot get enough of it. I hope you all are not getting tired of seeing cards I make using it..

Anyway, at the November Stamp-In, the girls created their own versions of my sample card:


I regret to admit that the embossing powder used in this card is not Stampin' Up! But, I discovered this twinkly glitter gold embossing powder and just could not resist. It was perfect for this card. I tried to capture the twinkle to some extent:


Of course, Stampin' Up! Gold Embossing Powder could certainly be substituted in this card, and I'm sure it would be equally beautiful. It just wouldn't have the sparkle. Do you want to give it a try? Read on!


SUPPLIES:
Merry Merlot cardstock
Whisper White cardstock
Gold Foil Paper

Merry Merlot ink
VersaMark ink

Beautiful Baubles stamp set

Big Shot
Circle Dies
Pretty Pines Thinlets (page 219)
Embossing Buddy
Gold (Glitter) Embossing Powder
Heat Tool
Subtle Embossing Folder (page 223)
Stampin' Dimensionals
Gold Cord

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

Run a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Merry Merlot cardstock through the Big Shot using a 2 3/4" circle die, and leaving even margins at the top and sides. Then run this same piece through the Big Shot once again, this time inside the Subtle Embossing Folder.

Rub the Embossing Buddy over a 3 1/4" square piece of Whisper White cardstock. Stamp the large ornament in VersaMark ink. At the Heat Station, sprinkle the stamped image with the gold (glitter) embossing powder. Heat to set.

Adhere this embossed image to the back of the circle you just cut in the Merry Merlot cardstock so it is centered.

Adhere the Merry Merlot piece onto the white card base. The ornament should show through the diecut circle.

Using the bow and two branch dies from the Pretty Pines Thinlets, cut one bow from gold foil paper, one larger ended branch from gold foil paper, and the smaller ended branch in Whisper White cardstock. (See sample.)

In Merry Merlot ink, stamp the sentiment onto a 3/4" x 1 3/4" strip of Whisper White cardstock. With tape, attach the diecut stems, as well as a looped piece of gold cord to the back of the sentiment piece. Add a few Stampin' Dimensionals to the back to mount it to the card front.

Use small dots of green glue to add the gold bow to the top of the ornament.

Step back and admire your creation.


Glittery
Smiles.