Sunday, December 30, 2012

MUSICAL BUTTERFLIES

As you already are aware, I love to use music in my work. A portion of a musical score was the perfect backdrop for these three lovely butterflies. A fairly simple card to create, it is elegant
and refined.


To give the large central {realistic} looking butterfly even more dimension than the stamp 
alone achieves, I stamped it once again, added color, punched it out with the Butterfly Punch, 
and popped it up with Stampin' Dimensionals over the butterfly I had already stamped on the Naturals Ivory strip.



To make your own Musical Butterflies, here is how you do it:

Supplies:
Papillon Potpourri stamp set
Kindness Matters stamp set

Soft Suede card stock
Naturals Ivory card stock

Soft Suede ink
Black StazOn Ink

Music Score
Stamping Sponges
3/16" Corner Punch
Stampin' Dimensionals
Big Shot
Vintage Wallpaper Embossing Folder
Apothecary Accents Framelits
Elegant Butterfly Punch
Watercolor Wonder Crayons
Aqua Painter
Paper Piercing Tool
Essentials Paper Piercing Pack

Instructions:
Fold a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" piece of Soft Suede card stock in half, creasing well with a bone folder.

Run a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Ivory Naturals card stock through the Big Shot inside the Vintage Wallpaper Embossing Folder. Round all the corners. Sponge all edges with Soft Suede ink.

Using the largest of the Apothecary Accents Framelits in the Big Shot, cut a frame from the music. Sponge the edges with Soft Suede ink.

With the musical piece positioned underneath the appropriate mat from the Essentials Paper Piercing Pack, pierce all along the edges. Adhere to the card front.

On a 1" x 3 1/2" strip of Naturals Ivory card stock, stamp the big butterfly in Soft Suede ink, 
as well as one of the smaller butterflies on each side of the large butterfly. Round these corners and sponge the edges.

On a scrap of Naturals Ivory, stamp the large butterfly in Black StazOn ink. With the Watercolor Wonder Crayons and an Aqua Painter, paint the butterfly in your choice of color.When the butterfly has dried completely, punch it out and adhere it over the previously-stamped large butterfly with a Stampin' Dimensional. Gently pull the wings upward to add to the 3-D effect.

Attach this completed strip to the center of the music with three Stampin' Dimensionals.

Add your sentiment of choice inside the card with either of the inks.

If you enjoy my tutorials, and would like to recreate your own cards, I would very much appreciate if you would order your supplies through me as your demonstrator. Simply click 
on the appropriate box(es) on the right side of my blog.

Smiles.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

BALLERINA MOUSE

One of the {many} good things about Stampin' Up!'s My Digital Studio (MDS) is the fact that you can keep adding to your stash of goodies digitally, and they are always always there when you need them. And though some of the items may retire from the big (hard) catalog, they never "retire" from MDS. Once you have them stored digitally, they are available to you forever. No need to sell off space-hogging retired stock to make room for more.

I have a retired set, Under the Big Top, in my MDS stash. When it came to making a special birthday card for my granddaughter, Stella, to commemorate her fifth birthday, and I rediscovered the ballerina mouse from that set, I knew immediately that was the image I would base her card on.

You see, Stella is an avid up-and-coming ballerina. Not serious ballet mind you. Just Storybook Ballet classes geared towards preschoolers. But she loves, loves, loves it. So Ballerina Mouse it is.



I printed the her four times in actual size. The first time was simply on white card stock to form the base for my mouse. I then printed her another three times, adding a different Designer Series Paper to fill in the stamp with each printing. I knew I wanted her belly to be a pink print, her mouse body to be in a neutral print, but wasn't sure about the tutu.

When I found the perfect swirly DSP, I decided to make her tutu orange, since I love orange and pink together.  I printed only the first layer on card stock to give it stability. The other three images were printed on copy paper so it wouldn't become too thick.

I then cut out the various pieces I needed. More of my beloved paper piecing. When I placed all the pieces atop my base like a puzzle, it just seemed sort of flat and one-dimensional. Before I glued the pieces in place, I sponged the edges. This added the needed dimensionality and livened it up just right.


I added a little glitter to her tutu and mounted her onto some retired sparkly Specialty Designer Series Paper from last year cut with the Oval Accent Bigz Clear die in my Big Shot. Adding a few Basic Rhinestones and embossed paper with sponged edges was just what it needed.

Being that her birthday is actually tomorrow, Stella was given her gifts this morning before she and her family left from their Christmas visit. So I got to see her when she opened her card. She loved it. And I am thrilled that she did.

Smiles.


Monday, December 24, 2012

A BANNER CHRISTMAS




Since I own the Perfect Pennants Bigz L die for my Big Shot, I decided to make a very special Christmas banner using it. I wanted it to hang from the bottom of two picture ledges we have
in our great room, so the color scheme was important.

I decided upon two current Stampin' Up! colors and two retired ones. The current colors are Cherry Cobbler and River Rock, while the retired colors are Handsome Hunter and Pear Pizzazz.


I actually did waste quite a lot of time and paper trying to decide upon all the various combinations: the colors, the embossing folder, the dies. 

During the designing process, I tried so many things that I didn't like. For example, for the bottom points of each of the pennants, I had originally planned to adhere a tiny spiral flower 
in Cherry Cobbler. I made 17 of those teeny little things, only to lay them all in place and 
discover that they looked horrendous! So I set them aside for another project (they are still 
set aside . . . waiting), and went back to the drawing board. That's when I hit upon using 
the Sweet Buttons Embosslits to create framed circles. I then added antique ivory buttons 
to each one. I LOVED the look of that. 

Originally, I had created rosettes that would grace each of the three blank pennants. Nope. 
Too much.

The pennants themselves seemed a bit bare, so I found a (non-Stampin' Up!) Sizzix die that 
would provide an open edge trim that would echo the circles surrounding the letters and those 
at the points. It was the perfect finish. (And I apologize to Stampin' Up!, but I DID use the die 
in my Big Shot!)



The most tedious part of this project was the creation of the letters. I stamped each one on 
River Rock in Cherry Cobbler ink using one of Stampin' Up!'s retired alphabet sets. Then . . . 
I cut each one out. 


All, in all, I am delighted with the results of my three-week-long quest for a Christmas banner.

(The following picture shows four of my photographs. If you click on the photo, you should be able to see them a bit better.)


I send to you and yours wishes for a very very merry Christmas (or Happy Holidays!) and a 
safe and happy 2013. 

Smiles.



Sunday, December 23, 2012

HELLO CHRISTMAS

When I created this card, I had barely begun delving into all that Stampin' Up!'s My Digital Studio (MDS) is capable of. Which I guess just goes to show how easy it is to use the digital program.




The circles are digital circle punches, filled in with Whisper White. I then added various brush stamps from the Jolly Bingo Bits set. The stamps are automatically black, so I used the coloring tool to make them just exactly the colors I wanted them to be. I "inserted" digital brads between all the circles to unify the composition. 

After I printed out the front of the card, I added a few finishing touches to give it a bit of sparkle. Dazzling Diamonds, a Basic Rhinestone, and a little Cherry Cobbler Bakers Twine gave 
it a more dimensional look.  I then mounted the digital panel to a red card base. 

Without pulling out your stamps, punches, and all those separate colors of inks, it is easy to create a card that definitely says "Hello Christmas". And with the capability of placing four identical card fronts within a single page document, it would also be a simple matter to print 
out several pages of them to mass produce. By pairing digital work with "real" supplies such 
as glitter, bakers twine, and rhinestones, and then mounting it on a traditional card front, 
you have produced a hybrid card. 

Sending a virtual "Hello Christmas" your way.

Smiles.

Friday, December 21, 2012

WELCOME HOME

My daughter comes home today! Not such a big deal you say? Oh, but it is! You see, Sarah just arrived back in the U.S. a few weeks ago after a tour of duty in Afghanistan. She is a Combat Medic with the Army. I am so glad she made it back safely.

Anyway, we will be picking her up at the airport this evening, and it will be so good to see her! She will be with us for about two weeks over the Holidays.

A few years back, when Stampin' Up! introduced their pirate-flavored stamp set Ahoy Matey, Sarah fell in love with it. She informed me that each and every card I ever make for her in the future must be made with this set. Oh? Oh. OK.

As she was leaving for her Basic Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, I dragged out her favorite little pirate to wish her luck and safety. I used Stampin' Write Markers to make the little pirate into a camo-clad soldier.


Here is a close-up of his little Army outfit:


You may ask why I have this card in my possession. It's because Sarah isn't at all sentimental, and she didn't take it with her. That's OK. Every time I look at it, I smile, and then pray for her safety. 

Welcome Home, Sarah!

Smiles.




Thursday, December 20, 2012

A NEW YEAR

When I discovered the Desktop Display Calendar Case on page 22 of the Stampin' Up! Holiday Catalog, I immediately decided to create calendars for the members of Linda's Stamp-In Club
for Christmas. Each year, I make something a little more special for my members to show them how much I appreciate them.

The Calendar Cases are meant to be used in conjunction with the Designer Calendar shown on
the same page. I decided to make my calendars a bit more personal and hands-on. In other words, I wanted to make them, not just slide the darling calendar pages inside the Calendar
Case and call it done.

I printed small monthly calendars off the Internet, and proceeded to enhance each of the Naturals White pages with appropriate stamping. Unfortunately, after I glued the monthly calendar onto the page and stacked 12 of them together, they could not be inserted into the slit to contain them in the case. The pile was just a tad too thick. Gulp. I had already spent a few hours on them. Now what? I wanted them to all be contained within the case, and this was not going to work. Put on thinking cap.

Being a fairly new lover of My Digital Studio, I set out to give that a try. Within the program
are calendars that can be used in MDS projects. You are able to choose the type you want,
change the year, the font, the size, etc., until you have what you need.

I used the digital brush stamps to "stamp" appropriate monthly images on each page of my calendar. I am so pleased with how they turned out. And they fit perfectly within the Desktop Display Calendar Case. (The cool thing is that the cases will be available beyond the end of
the Holiday Catalog, which is January 2.)


This is how the completed calendar looks when it's closed, just lying flat.


Here it is with January inside the open case and all the other months arrayed around it. 
Of course, all the months, when stacked together, fit just right inside the case.

It was really a lot of fun to create this unique calendar in MDS. The stamps could be resized, tilted and recolored. I even used more than one color on five of the months: July, September, October, November and December. And, I now have it saved on my computer, so if I need an extra calendar, I can just print it out without hauling out all my traditional stamping supplies. 
Ah, the modern age.

Smiles.







Tuesday, December 18, 2012

SNOWMEN IN THE ROUND

Every year, I make my precious little Stella, my only grandchild (who will turn five right after Christmas!), a really special ornament. I hope she treasures these ornaments as she gets older and realizes how much love her grandma put into each and every one of them.

This year, I decided to go with a snowman theme. I have worked the two snowmen from Snow Much Fun to the bone (uh, do snowmen have bones??), so decided to give them a little break, and veer towards some of the smaller of Stampin' Up!'s recent snowmen (most of which are, alas, retired).

I stamped 20 of the snowman in Black StazOn on white card stock. I then used a variety of Stampin' Write Markers to give them a little color. My next step was to cut each one of these cuties out. Once that was done, I placed them on the outer edges of a six-inch chipboard circle just to make sure they all fit nicely. I glued a piece of retired Designer Series Paper to cover the chipboard. A snowflake came into being using the old retired four-inch die in my Big Shot, and was affixed to the center of the DSP-covered circle. I then adhered all the snowmen around the edge of the circle, a few of them overlapping bits of the snowflake here and there. Hmmm. A little drab. So I added Dazzling Diamonds to the snowflake along with a few turquoise rhinestones to add that necessary bling for a five-year-old. I tied a silky turquoise ribbon at the top for a hanger.


Here are a few close-ups of the little snow buddies:




Doesn't Stampin' Up! make just the cutest snowmen?? I love 'em!

I hope Stella likes her ornament for 2012. 

Smiles.




Sunday, December 16, 2012

EMBOSS OR DEBOSS

I love snowflakes, so as soon as I saw the new Snow Flurry Bigz Die that Stampin' Up! introduced in their Holiday Catalog this year, I knew I had to add it to my arsenal. You know how that is.

While snowflakes are traditionally white, I thought, why not create red-and-green snowflakes,
the oh so traditional Christmas colors? I picked some retired Designer Series Paper in the basic colors of Real Red and Wild Wasabi and went to work. Since the polka dots in the Real Red paper were Very Vanilla, I based the card upon Very Vanilla card stock, a little bit more of a departure from the expected blues and white.

To add a bit of bling to the otherwise mundane look of the snowflake, I added one of our retired Clear Rhinestone Brads to its center, a perfect touch. Although its dimensionality does make it necessary to add that extra postage stamp to the envelope when mailing it.



Emboss or deboss? If you look at the photo of the cards closely, you will see that the snowflakes
in the background of the card on the left are DEBOSSED, meaning that the normally raised details that come from using the embossing folder in the Big Shot are turned towards the back of the card, so the small snowflakes are indented rather than raised. The card on the right shows it
the normal way it would be used, with the raised details facing outside = EMBOSSED.

I am just not sure which one I prefer. The one on the right definitely has a more dimensional quality, while the one on the left has a more subtle feel. It's just one of those dilemmas where
it turns out to be purely a matter of taste.

Even though both the Clear Rhinestone Brads and the Snow  Burst Textured Impressions Embossing Folder are both now retired (sigh), they can be found on the Stampin' Up! Clearance Rack which you can access here: http://www.stampinup.com/ECWeb/ItemList.aspx?categoryID=1136. There are hundreds of items on the Clearance Rack, at up to an 80% discount!

If you would like to make snowflake cards of your own, here's how to do it:

Supplies:
Snow Swirled stamp set

Real Red card stock
Very Vanilla card stock
Designer Series Paper (DSP) in Real Red and Wild Wasabi

Real Red Ink

Big Shot
Snow Flurry Bigz Die
Lot of Tags Sizzlits Die
Paper Piercing Tool
Piercing Mat
Snow Burst Textured Impressions Embossing Folder
Stamping Sponge
1/2" Circle Punch
Red and Very Vanilla Polka Dot Ribbon (retired -- sigh)
Stampin' Dimensionals
Stamp-A-Ma-Jig (optional)

Instructions:
Fold a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" piece of Real Red card stock in half, creasing well with a bone folder.

Run a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Very Vanilla card stock through the Big Shot inside the Snow Burst Textured Impressions Embossing Folder. Decide whether you want your background to be debossed or embossed, and sponge the edges of your choice with Real Red ink. Set aside.

Using the Snow Flurry Bigz Die, make a large snowflake from the red DSP and a medium-sized flake from the green DSP. You can do both of the snowflakes with one run through the Big Shot. From a scrap of the green DSP, punch out a 1/2" circle. Adhere the snowflakes together, adding the green circle to the top. With the Piercing Tool, create a hole in the center of the snowflake, and insert a Rhinestone Brad. Bend the legs of the brad as tightly to the paper as possible. Use small dots of Tombow Multipurpose Adhesive on the center and the large round dots of the snowflake and adhere it to the embossed/debossed piece.

Wrap a 6-inch piece of the polka dot ribbon around the lower portion of the embossed piece, securing the ends of the ribbon on the back of the panel.

Cut a label using the Lots of Tags Sizzlit in the Big Shot from Very Vanilla card stock. Stamp the greeting in Real Red ink. Using a Stamp-A-Ma-Jig makes this process easier to line up exactly. Sponge all the edges of the label with Real Red ink. Attach label to the ribbon using three Stampin' Dimensionals.

Smiles.

Friday, December 14, 2012

TRACKS

We had a pretty snowfall here in Central Wisconsin this week.

During this season in the past, we have had a lot of wildlife traveling through our property.
In fact, years ago, when it was still permissible to feed deer, my husband had placed two big wooden feeders fairly close to our house that he kept filled with corn to try to entice our
beautiful guests. And it worked. We had constant wild entertainment.

The deer would travel together along a single path coming from the woods, with our feeders as their destination, always arriving about the same time each day. The buffet is open! Since our viewing window is on the backside of our house, and is raised up to the second story, we had a perfect vantage point to view our visitors. At one moment in time, we had 32 deer in our yard!
It was the most wondrous sight I've ever seen.

Since it is prohibited to feed deer now in recent years, we rarely see any of these ethereal, graceful beings in our yard. Sigh. At times, we see trails of tracks left by deer passing through. But usually not the animals themselves.

This week's snowfall provided a beautiful cover to preserve the proof of their presence -- their tracks. Then, a few days ago, eight turkeys -- which we did see in person -- ambled through the yard, leaving behind a very different variety of tracks. And, of course, the bunnies leave their trails too. The way the various trails crisscross in the snow yields interesting visual appeal.

The other day, the light was so exquisite, and the trails of tracks showed up so beautifully,
I just had to grab my camera and try to capture the sight.


I selected my favorite photos from the day and compiled them all in a 12" x 12" layout in My Digital Studio. I hope you enjoy my memories.

Smiles.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

ALL THAT GLITTERS


Each month I hold a workshop in my home. Some of the papercrafters who attend the workshops choose to be members of Linda's Stamp-In Club. One of the perks I give to my members is a little something I created just for them in their order bag each month. For November, I decided to give them some glitter for their Christmas tree.


I chose the heart shape to symbolize my love and appreciation for them. 

To create these little beauties is very simple -- although a bit messy. These ornaments are the clear glass shapes you can find in the big box craft stores. Simply take off the top cap -- it pops out easily -- add several drops of your choice of Stampin' Up!'s reinkers, then add glitter. I used some of the fine glitter that Stampin' Up! carried awhile back. 

Before adding the glitter, make sure that the entire inside of the ornament is coated with the reinker. Add the glitter -- as much as you want since the excess will be tapped back into the container -- and tap and tap and rotate until all the colored insides are covered with glitter. I let them dry for 10-15 minutes before putting their tops back on. Tie your choice of hanger onto the loop in the cap, and voila!, you have a gorgeous sparkly ornament.


May your Season be filled with glittery wonder and happiness.

Smiles.



Sunday, December 9, 2012

CHRISTMAS CARDINAL

I had always thought that the cardinal from the Christmas Cardinal, a retired Stampin' Up! stamp set, was so regal in his bearing.

A sight I don't often enough see is that of a male cardinal further gracing the already beautiful snowy branches of an evergreen in a Wisconsin winter. That bright spot of cheery red is a welcome sight amidst the neverending white of a snowy landscape. It never ceases to bring a smile to my face and brighten my day considerably. Sort of a sure sign of hope. Maybe it's a good thing it is such a rare occurrence; otherwise, I might not appreciate the beautiful sight as much as I should.

Never having purchased the Christmas Cardinal set for myself, I was delighted that it was available as a download for My Digital Studio (MDS), and bought it immediately.

To create this card, I brought the cardinal image into a blank MDS project, sized him perfectly
for a card front, and printed him out onto white card stock.

There! Now I had my very own coloring page of a beautiful cardinal. I decided to share this with the girls at that month's workshop, so printed out enough copies for everyone to enjoy.


We used Watercolor Wonder Crayons and an Aqua Painter to color in the cardinal and leaves, leaving the berries a shiny black to not detract from the red of the bird. Setting the bird onto 
one of the diecut shapes from the Labels Collection Framelits seemed wonderfully appropriate. Sponging the edges of the frame in red unified it all a bit more.

To further enhance the elegance of the card, the cardinal panel was set against a piece of 
our Cherry Cobbler Core'dinations Card Stock. I ran it through the Big Shot inside the new 
Lacy Brocade Embossing Folder. The top surfaces of the design were then gently sanded to 
give it an especially elegant look. It reminds me of that flocked wallpaper of years past.

Smiles.

Friday, December 7, 2012

GOLD EMBOSSED TREE

When I set out to create a few Christmas cards for my workshop this month, I wanted one to portray elegance -- the epitome of posh.

I am totally in love with Stampin' Up!'s Vintage Wallpaper Embossing Folder, and thought it would work wonderfully well with the tree from the Snow Swirled set. I was right!

What is more exquisite than gold (or silver) heat embossing against Night of Navy card stock? Nothing, I say. Add to that the fact that the card is doubly embossed -- both dry embossing and heat embossing


Do you see what I mean? It possesses a sort of a Byzantine eloquence without the overt 
religious symbolism. Once again, Wikipedia gives a bit more insight into my reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Byzantine_art

The card, while appearing to be fairly complicated, is really quite easy and fun to create. 
To recreate this double embossed card:

Supplies:
Snow Swirled stamp set

Naturals Ivory card stock
Night of Navy card stock

VersaMark Ink

Big Shot
Vintage Wallpaper Embossing Folder
Heat Tool
Embossing Buddy
Gold Embossing Powder
Metallic Star
Stampin' Dimensionals
Bone Folder
Brayer

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

Run a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Night of Navy card stock through the Big Shot inside the Vintage Wallpaper Embossing Folder.

Rub this embossed piece with the Embossing Buddy. Ink up the brayer well with VersaMark Ink. Lightly roll the brayer over the raised embossed surface. Continue reinking the brayer and running it over the embossed piece until all the raised surfaces are equally shiny with VersaMark. Be careful to not push on the brayer too hard; you don't want any ink to get onto the non-raised surfaces. Just skim the tops of the design.

Sprinkle inked surface with Gold Embossing Powder, tapping excess powder back into its container. Use the Heat Tool to emboss. Be sure that all embossed surfaces are shiny and set.

Adhere the embossed piece to the card front.

Rub the Embossing Buddy well over the surface of a 2 1/2" x 3 1/4" piece of Naturals Ivory card stock. Use VersaMark to stamp the tree. Cover the tree with Gold Embossing Powder, and use the Heat Tool to emboss.

Adhere the embossed tree piece to a 2 3/4" x 3 1/2" piece of Night of Navy card stock. Attach this finished panel to the card front with Stampin' Dimensionals.

Add a metallic gold star to the top of the tree.

Smiles.



Monday, December 3, 2012

SNOWMAN AND FRIENDS

I am one of the legions of fans of snowmen. Especially in card making. And the two snowmen who are part of the Snow Much Fun stamp set are especially handsome. Don't you agree? 

This guy, the taller of the two, decked out in Marina Mist and Cherry Cobbler, looks great mounted on top of some of the plaid Christmas DSP that Stampin' Up! introduced last year! I did remove his boots, so he is a smidge shorter than the way the stamp comes.


When the Paper Players set their challenge for this week as snowmen, I HAD to jump in with my guy and his friends. 


Smiles.