Sunday, June 30, 2013

SOMETHING GOOD

I've been feeling somewhat dispirited lately, and finding it difficult to be grateful. A few weeks ago, a friend gave me a "quote" that she said she has always loved. The timing to hear this was perfect, so I have adopted it as my own mantra.

I thought I would offer you this little bit of inspiration today. Ideally it will instill some hope into your life, as it has in mine.


I created my mini poster in MDS (My Digital Studio), incorporating one of my own photographs -- to me, a very hopeful photo -- into it. Please do not print this without prior consent from me.

If you would like further information about Stampin' Up!'s MDS, I would love to help guide you along the way. 

Hopeful 
Smiles.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A ROSE IS A SYMPHONY

A few days ago I decided to take the Paper Players up on their weekly challenge -- to, well -- CHALLENGE! myself. This week, it is a sketch challenge.

When I first started out, I thought I knew the exact direction I wanted to head. After lots of stressful and discouraging time, I was completely frustrated, and decided to let it go for the day. I secretly wondered if I could possibly save the poor thing in its present condition. But, you know what they say: sleep on it.

My creative dreams must have intervened during the night because when I woke up the next morning, I had a new plan fully formed. I was anxious to get to work. This new idea came together quickly and neatly:


Once again, I incorporated one of my favorite papers into my card: a piece of old music. I had also just recently learned how to make this type of roses from Core'dinations paper.


The combination of these lovely roses and my beloved Hello Doily stamped in black onto the music proved to be a very effective combination. I added a little embossing to the top portion of the music to give that area a little more interest, and I am truly happy with the romantic end result.


This is the sketch upon which my card was based:


Smiles.




Sunday, June 23, 2013

PINWHEEL SUMMERS

When I think back to the halcyon summer days of my childhood, many images and memories come to mind. Running through the sprinkler. Fireflies. Watermelon. Four leaf clovers. Angle worms. Roller skates and skinned knees (and the key hanging on a string around my neck). Picnics. Orange pushups. A "tent" made by using clothespins and a blanket against a fence. Violet Kingdom. The occasional snake. Sparklers. Penny candy. Library books. Cut-outs (paper dolls) of the Lennon Sisters. Barbie and friends. Calling for Lolly by standing outside the door of her house, and sing-songing, "Lolll-yy". Playing kickball in the middle of Main Avenue. Exploring bomb shelters. And . . . pinwheels!

OK. So I realize I am dating myself big time. I was lucky enough to live my childhood through the 50s and 60s. Like I said, halcyon times. If only life were still so simple and good.

Pinwheels, always a symbol of happiness and whimsy, are often associated with summer occasions, such as the Fourth of July. So I decided to feature one as the star of my red, white and blue card.


Since pinwheels spin in the breeze, I decided to make the pinwheel on my card spin also. These are often referred to as spinner cards. Interactive and fun to play with, they are surprisingly easy to put together. Basically all you need are Stampin' Dimensionals, a "track" and your two cents worth.



I used the Bright Blossoms set (page 89) and retired Designer Series Paper of the same name for my pinwheel card. Not so much patriotic as summery and happy, I felt it was a good choice.

To support my spinning pinwheel, I used a label I made with my Big Shot and one of the Apothecary Accents Framelits. I echoed the dots on the DSP  by piercing around the edges of the label using the Essentials Paper-Piercing Pack as my guide. To make the track in the label, I made a continuous punch using the Word Window Punch. To anchor the track piece to the card, I looped taffeta ribbon through the sides of the punched area and attached the ribbon ends on the back. 


The track is raised up with two Stampin' Dimensionals stacked together along the edges. The pinwheel is mounted to a sandwich of pennies: two pennies with a Stampin' Dimensional between them. This allows the pinwheel to spin along the track once the card is all put together. 

I had decided to add two thin strips of Island Indigo paper above and below the red piece to add a bit more variety. 



I used a craft knife to carefully slit the two ends of a Modern Label and slipped the bottom strip through the slits I created to mimic the track piece a bit. Adding two of the silver 1/8" Mini Brads on either side of the label gives a good finishing touch.

After stamping the flowers and dots on the Whisper White base, I ran it through the Big Shot inside the Perfect Polka Dots Embossing Folder to bring dots back into the mix once again.

Nostalgic
Smiles.



Wednesday, June 19, 2013

FAUX WATERCOLOR

I have learned of a new use for the Stampin' Up! clear-mount blocks. So easy, so quick and so unpredictable.

For this card, I used Block E, which measures 3 716" x 4 7/16". It's the perfect size for a card front.

To get the watercolor look, take 3-4 colors of the Stampin' Write Markers of your choice, and, holding the markers on their sides on the  brush ends, scribble on the block. Uh huh. Scribble. Start at the top of the block, scribble a bit, then move on to the next color. Be careful not to overlap the colors too much. Too much overlapping could result in a look that is a bit muddy. I think it looks better when the colors are more distinct from one another. After all, you chose the colors, so you want them to stand out, right?

When the whole block is scribbled with color -- and don't be concerned if the color is not perfectly distributed -- lay it on your work surface, and spritz it gently with water. Little beads of color are good. This will give your background its unique look. A look that could never be completely replicated again. In this sense, your background is a monoprint.

Center the inked block over your receiving paper, and push down like you are stamping an image. Carefully lift the block straight up.

If there are rivers of color melting into each other, gathering at the edges, or unsightly puddles, gently soak up the excess color with a tissue. To hasten the drying, so you can get on with your silhouette stamping, use your heat tool.


The cool thing about this type of background is its uniqueness, its unpredictability. Each one will be a complete surprise. And they will all be lovely. Try varying color combinations. 

Even though I used the Summer Silhouettes stamp set, I think it would be even more beautiful -- and simpler -- to use the tall floral image from the Serene Silhouettes set. One I don't have, but is waiting patiently on my Wish List. (How long is YOUR Wish List??) 

Actually, now that I am open to page 64 in the new catalog, I notice Blooming With Kindness on the facing page. I think that chrysanthemum would be EXQUISITE. I am surely going to give that one a try!

Here's how I made my card:

Supplies:
Summer Silhouettes stamp set

Naturals White cardstock
More Mustard cardstock
Not Quite Navy cardstock

Black StazOn ink
Stampin' Write Markers: Not Quite Navy, More Mustard, Cajun Craze, Old Olive

Spritz bottle of water
Clear Block E
Heat Tool

Instructions:
Fold a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" piece of Not Quite Navy cardstock in half, creasing well with a bone folder.

Adhere a 4 x 5 1/4" piece of More Mustard card stock to the card front.

Using the brush end of the markers ON THEIR SIDES, gently scribble color in preferred order onto the entire Clear Block E. A LITTLE overlapping is OK, but just try to cover the block without too much overlapping. Overlapping makes the colors a bit too muddy.

Lay the colored block on your work surface and give it a few light spritzes with water. Immediately press the block to the surface of a 3 3/4" x 5" piece of Naturals White cardstock. 

If you have puddles larger than a droplet, gently blot them with a tissue. Use the Heat Tool to completely dry the ink.

BEFORE STAMPING, SLIDE THE TOP OF A PIECE OF SCRAP PAPER 
UP TO THE BOTTOM OF THE COLOR PORTION 
SO YOUR INKING DOES NOT EXTEND BELOW THE COLOR.

The secret to getting good coverage of black ink overall is to make sure the stamps are WELL-INKED each time before you stamp the image. And press evenly and firmly when stamping.

Stamp silhouette images as desired. Distress the edges of the Naturals White piece before mounting it to the card front. Since this is basically a flat-looking card, distressing the edges gives it a bit more dimension and personality.

Watercolor
Smiles.



Sunday, June 16, 2013

FOR THE LOVE OF CHARLEY

Two weeks ago, during Stellie Weekend, Stella, her mom (my daughter, Emily) and I had a girls day out. One of our destinations that day was the Woodson Art Museum. Emily and I are both big fans of the capricious art of Charley Harper, and an exhibit of his work was currently on display at the Woodson.


Don't you just love his rendition of a birdfeeder?

Before we actually went inside the museum for the exhibit, we stopped in the lovely sculpture garden for a few photo ops with our goofus Stella.

There were numerous lovely -- great-smelling -- trees in full bloom in the sculpture garden. Emily and I were both entranced by these trees and the fairytale ambience their blossoms added to the garden. Some of the sculptures in the garden are especially inviting to little museum visitors, and Stella had a ball with a few of them.


I gathered a few of the more entertaining of the sculpture garden photos to use in a layout created in my beloved MDS . Because the blossoms played such a big role in our enjoyment of the vicinity, I decided to try something in MDS that I had never tried before. 

Having taken several photos of closeups of the blossoms, I decided to use one of them as the background for the layout. I went into mydigitalstudio.net, went under the "learning" tab at the top, typed in the search box "photo as background", watched the 51-second long video about how to do it, and DID IT! I then set the photos of Stella atop the flowers. With this as the background, it mimics the feeling of being in the sculpture garden.

I knew Stella would love spending time in this museum. Having been a volunteer greeter for several years there, I was very familiar with the care the museum folks take to make sure little ones enjoy their visits to the museum. They provide an interactive art area for the younger set to, well, interact with a variety of art experiences! Besides, the Charley Harper exhibit -- being so whimsical and childlike in its appearance -- would also appeal to a five-year-old.


To try to capture the ambience of the interior of the museum, I wanted this layout to be crisp and clean, with just a touch of whimsy in honor of the Charley Harper works being exhibited. 

Following are a few photos I took of pieces in the exhibition. Other than the museum lights reflected in the photos, I was pretty happy with the way they turned out.





If you would like to see MANY more example of Charley Harper's work, do a search for Charley Harper and click on "images". You will be smiling from ear to ear. Guaranteed.



Smiles.






Wednesday, June 12, 2013

THE BASICS FINALE

I am about to introduce to you my takes on the final five projects in the Stampin' Up! online class, The Basics.

As I have already reported in previous blog posts about The Basics, I had a wonderful time completing these assignments. The best part was utilizing the basic instructions and techniques presented, but being able to make them completely my own. Since I did not have many of the supplies required to do them as instructed, I was able to put my own spin on each one by digging into my own personal arsenal of Stampin' Up! goodies and using what I already had instead.

For a mere $14.95, I strongly encourage you, whether you are a novice paper crafter, wish to revisit or brush up on tried and  true techniques, or, like me, want to challenge yourself to 34 fun projects by putting your own spin on them, to order this download online class, The Basics.



Anyway, I am pleased to present to you the Final Five.

project 30


The striking contrast in this card makes it one of my absolute favorites. What a great combination: Daffodil Delight, Basic Black and Whisper White. At the time, I did not own the Bitty Butterfly Punch -- I have it NOW though! -- so I substituted the two punched butterflies with butterflies stamped in Whisper White Craft Ink. Simply stunning.

project 31
Resembling a loving stoplight, this card gave me the most grief. I honestly could not get it to work as instructed after several frustrating attempts. So I opted for a simplified version. Even though it was not as presented, I still like my card. Call this one a "fail". I guess. I didn't follow the assignment.

I would be curious to know how any of you fared on this project. Let me know!

project 32

This is another project that I changed up considerably from what was presented. I THINK I like the way it turned out. Dragging out some of my old eyelets to put in the center of the flower seemed like a great idea at the time. Now, I'm not so sure. 

project 33
Although this card of mine is based on the now-retired River Rock color (yuk!) and lots of other retired product, I am blissfully happy with how it turned out. 


Just a reminder: Even though some of the products in your supply stash have retired, please don't retire them from your mind! As a Stampin' Up! demonstrator, I hesitate to use retired product for my workshops, but for my personal creations, I love to resurrect some of the oldies but goodies that I may have set aside. 

project 34
Finally, a project that you have seen before: my fond farewell to three of my favorite retiring colors: Not Quite Navy, Riding Hood Red, and More Mustard, and a pop of the dreaded River Rock. I consider these colors to be the best of friends, playing so well together. 

As so often happens, my interpretation of this project from The Basics is a departure from what was instructed. I took the basic premise and ran with it. I don't regret my decision -- but I DO feel a little naughty. The project in The Basics is truly a lovely one . . . 

My journey of 34 days through Stampin' Up!'s online class, The Basics, is one I will always treasure. I'm glad I embarked on this joyful undertaking. 

With that, I can say, "That's All Folks." 

Smiles.








Friday, June 7, 2013

WISHING YOU

A family wedding anniversary is coming up quickly, and since I wanted to create a card for this post, I decided this was the time to make a card for their special day.


I perused my big binder of stamp brush images for MDS, picking out sets that contained possible images that would be good for a card such as this. 

I decided on the corner of flowers from the Upsy Daisy set, choosing to recolor the flowers in Rich Razzleberry, and decreasing the opacity to make them a bit more subtle so they wouldn't be the main attraction on the card. 

While the full Upsy Daisy stamp set is now retired, you can still get a smaller version of this image in the Best of . . . 25 Years stamps sets in the Flowers set from March. The rest of the stamps available in the March Best of . . . Flowers can be seen here: 
They are just the prettiest of the pretty. 

Such an elegant image deserves an equally elegant background. So, from my MDS Designer Series Papers selection, I dropped in a background from the Beau Chateau DSP. 

To add to the loving theme of an anniversary, I added to a separate page the love birds from the Meant to Be set, keeping their opacity at 100% since they were supposed to be the "stars" of the card front.

Once I was satisfied with my card front and my love birds, I printed them out on my printer, then proceeded downstairs to my workshop to finish it off as a hybrid card.

I first cut down the card front to 3 3/4" by 5". To add to its elegance and to give it more dimension and interest, I ran the panel through my Big Shot inside an embossing folder. I then mounted it to a 4" x 5 1/4/" piece of Whisper White cardstock. This went atop a Rich Razzleberry card base in the traditional size of 4 1/4" x 5 1/2". 

Inside, I added another panel that I created in MDS using stamp brushes from Party Time II -- Wishing You a Happy, and another from Fundamental Phrases -- Anniversary, as well as a border from the Meant to Be set, all in Rich Razzleberry.

The love birds were cut with one of the labels from the Apothecary Accents Framelits. I sponged the edges with Rich Razzleberry ink, and added two silver 1/8" Mini Brads on each side. A looped piece of Rich Razzleberry 1/8" Taffeta Ribbon was added to the back of the label. 

The best part, however, is that I punched out with the Small Heart Punch the little hearts between the birds, edged the punched heart with Rich Razzleberry sponging, then popped it up between the birds with a bit of Stampin' Dimensional. The completed label was added to the card front with three Stampin' Dimensionals.



- . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . - . -

Besides having just released their brand spankin' new catalog (click on it on the right of my blog!), Stampin' Up! has two cool promotions going on:

Through the end of June, you can order three of their popular sentiment sets, so crucial in card making, at an amazing 25% off.



The other special, that I mentioned in a blog post when the promotion first began, is 



The MDS 25% savings promotion only lasts, however, until June 15! 
And it even includes their printing prices! 

Time to get your craft on!! I hope I inspired you!

Smiles.




Wednesday, June 5, 2013

ROCK AND ROLL

The Rock and Roll Technique is easy, fun and effective in a plethora of design circumstances.

Incorporating the technique on this Mixed Bunch flower stamp adds even more zip to an already cute flower.

rock and roll technique
Do you see how the edges and the middle of the flower have a denser, more defined color? That look is achieved through the Rock and Roll Technique.


(I'd just like to mention that I have this card for sale in my Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/shop/paperseedlings)

While the rest of the card is fairly easy to C.A.S.E. (copy and share everything) just by looking at it, here is the best way I can tell you how to do the Rock and Roll Technique and create this flower:

Ink up the stamp well with Daffodil Delight ink. Then, holding the inked stamp above the open Pumpkin Pie ink, sort of twist the stamp in a circular motion around in the ink, catching ink only on the edges of the flower. Use an Ink Dauber dipped in Pumpkin Pie ink on the center of the flower, pouncing it lightly several times. Huff on it and stamp this on white paper. 

Use the Blossom Punch to punch out the stamped flower. With the Blossom Punch, make a flower from Pumpkin Pie paper. Put a Stampin' Dimensional in the center to adhere the two punched flowers together, staggering the petals.

There! Are you ready to Rock and Roll?

Smiles.






Sunday, June 2, 2013

CREATING HAPPY

It was definitely a weekend for Creating Happy -- in more ways than one! You see, it was a Stellie Weekend. Yes, my only grandchild, Stella (and her mom and dad, of course!) came for a visit.

Normally, my husband, Pat, and I are privileged to be able to Skype with Stella and her family every Sunday. As everyone knows, Skype is the next best thing to being there. So, most of the time that has to suffice.

But, this weekend was extra special. We got to see them all IN PERSON! Yayyy!!

Well, at five years old, Stella loves rainbows. Yesterday, while I was alone with her, she decided we should make a rainbow -- of ribbon. So, we went down to my crafting area and dug through my ribbon supply in search of ribbons that could be incorporated into a five-year-old's dream rainbow. Of course, Stella was much more imaginative and out of the box in her thinking than I was. But, hey, this was HER rainbow, so . . .

She decided we should build the scene from the ground up, that is, starting with grass. The grass was supposed to be in front of a lake, so we proceeded to my Big Shot to create "waves" using the Tasteful Trim die. Perfect.

What's a lake without inhabitants?? So I dug out some old dies, and went to the Big Shot again, creating seahorses, a crab, a few octopi and some fish. Not like any lakes around here in central Wisconsin! But, this is STELLA'S lake!

After we added the residents to Stella's Lake, we forged ahead with the ribbon rainbow. Gulp. This was truly a challenge in that she chose some sort of weird "ribbons" for the arches of her rainbow. Well, we did the very best we could.

She also needed butterflies fluttering around her rainbow. So, I retrieved two of my favorite Stampin' Up! punches, the Elegant Butterfly and the Bitty Butterfly, and punched out a bevy of butterflies, and Stella adhered them to the world we were creating.

And then, what's grass without little flowers scattered about?? So I grabbed my Boho Blossoms punch and the row of three little flowers punch, which is retired, and created some perky flowers that Stella planted in the grass.

It took us a couple hours, but we were both delighted with the "happy" we created together!


Here's a close-up of our happy scene:


I LOVE Stellie weekends!

Smiles.