Tuesday, December 31, 2013

WELCOME 2014

Last year, I created my first calendar to fit into the cute CD case-type holders Stampin' Up! introduced back then. You can see my first attempt HERE. At the time, I was pleased with how it had turned out.

With one more year of MDS experience under my belt, I decided to make another edition for 2014.

Here I have pictured January in place inside the holder, 
with the rest of the year arrayed outside the case:


Following shows each individual month:













I must admit that creating the 2014 calendar was much MORE fun and much LESS of a challenge than 2013 was. Hopefully that is how 2014 will actually roll for me too. 

Happy New Year to you all!!

Smiles.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

CHRISTMAS FINALE

Christmas has now come and gone. But, I still have a few things I think you should see before we say goodbye to the Season for another year.

I was very fortunate in that I got a handful of beautiful handcrafted Christmas cards this year. And I would like to share them with you.

Dawn

Jan

JoAnn

Larissa

Linda

Marge

Patrice

Aren't they all simply gorgeous? And, am I not the luckiest? 
Thank you so much, girls!
You  make me smile.

Throughout the getting-ready-for-Christmas season, I had been running across some really cool ornaments on Pinterest. I fell in love with the look of these ornaments, and the surprising simplicity in creating them. 

I spent Christmas Eve alone, and having worked (retail) all day, and I was really beat, I decided to have some personal fun. 

The first one I made is the one in the foreground with the holly. Not really knowing what I was doing, after finishing this one, I discovered there was lots of room for improvement. I then made the green one. Still not perfect. But, they were cool nevertheless. On Christmas night I created the red and white ornament.


They were great fun to make. I will definitely work on some more for Christmas Future. Maybe we will put up a tree next year?

Smiles.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

PENGUIN GREETINGS

Merry Christmas!!


Every Christmas, I create a special ornament for my precious little granddaughter, Stella. This year, a cute little penguin fella donned his Christmas finery to wish Stella a special greeting. 

I visited Jolly Bingo Bits in MDS to get this little penguin, enlarged him, gave him a wreath to carry, added a festive necktie and glittery icy blue eyes, printed him, and cut him out. I layered him against a Whisper White snowflake cut with the Festive Flurry Framelits (again!!). A spritely red and white polka dot background lies underneath the snowflake. I added some modified rick-rack from Tasteful Trim to the bottom, and finished that off with some dimensional red dots.

I forgot to measure the ornament before I wrapped it up, but I'd say it measures around 4" x 6" or so. A fairly large ornament. But then, all the ornaments I've made for Stella so far have been larger than the average ornament.

Hopefully Stella will love it. 

Christmas
Smiles.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

FESTIVE FLAKES

 I created a handful of snowflake ornaments this year, most of which I have given to various people.


I veered from my traditional flakes in hues of blues, and tried a Cherry Cobbler/Very Vanilla combination.


The paper I had chosen as the settings for the red and ivory flakes was Designer Series Paper from last year's Holiday Season. I loved the prints and the color combinations. Using the second largest of the Floral Frames Framelit Collection, I created a nice backdrop for the snowflakes.


Of course, the three largest snowflakes of the bunch were cut with the Festive Flurry Framelits in my Big Shot. 


The red center snowflake was cut with the retired Sizzlit that also included the bird and two sizes of cone-shaped trees.


I opted to adhere small ivory-colored buttons to the center of each ornament, finishing them off beautifully. The completed snowflakes measure approximately four inches across.

To store these ornaments individually for year-after-year use, I first measured the ornaments. I then created custom-sized envelopes that fit each one exactly with my Envelope Punch Board from a heavyweight ivory-colored cardstock. For easy get-into-ability, I attached two 1/2" circles punched from Cherry Cobbler cardstock, and adhered them to the flap and the lower portion of each envelope with ivory-colored brads. I finally added ivory crochet thread to wind around the circles to close each little storage pouch. Nifty.

Festive
Smiles.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

SNOWFLAKE FLURRY

Where we live, in our own little piece of heaven, watching the snow gently fall from the sky among the trees is a truly wondrous experience. Our main floor is actually two stories up, so when looking out the bowed window at the falling flakes, you get the feeling that you are out there among them. Almost a part of the beauty. But, warm inside. 


"Believe" is a perfect sentiment for this card. Because to be lucky enough to witness a spectacle such as a gentle snowfall, there really is a feeling of belief. Belief that something bigger than us -- mere humans -- is gifting us with the many beautiful gifts of nature.


The sentiment, embossed in pewter, is fussy cut and set atop a strip of dry embossed snowflakes. The straight strip looked stark, naked, and somehow not right. So I also fussy cut around the edges to soften this miniature snowstorm.


To honor the sometimes wild beauty of a snowfall, I set my dimensional snowflake against a wild "sky" of faux silk. I think this also adds to the magic.


I separated the four layers of the snowflake with Stampin' Dimensionals, with a stack of TWO Dimensionals between the second and third snowflakes, a single one between the other layers. 


I actually made this card specifically for this week's challenge from the Paper Players:




I especially love this shot of the card in that the lighting makes it look positively ethereal. 
Which would be about right, seeing where snowflakes come from to us on earth.

Snowy
Smiles.


Saturday, December 14, 2013

POINSETTIA LOVE

Last April, I showed you a lovely project using the now-retired set, Fifth Avenue Floral. It featured a cool technique that has been called Floating Reinkers.

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Then . . . Joyful Christmas comes upon the scene.  I have already used this set in a plethora of ways, but . . . wait! The Floating Reinkers technique would be perfect for the wide open spaces in the poinsettia and leaves!

I had so much fun making a whole greenhouse full of these flowers. In fact, if you don't mind, I would love to show you a few of the variations in color/blending that I achieved.











The technique itself is quick and easy. Seriously. The time consuming part is actually the cutting out of the flower and leaves. But then, if you love fussy cutting as much as I do, it won't matter. Besides looking better and more realistic cut out, you can also be as sloppy as you want when floating your reinkers. If they go outside the lines, so what? You will be cutting it off anyway. 

I do think the flowers would look even a bit more realistic if each flower consisted of the outer rim of petals and then, cut separately, the inner six petals, popped up over the first layer, of course. 

However, when I'm doing many of the same card, this is as detailed as I like to be. But really, I think I'm going to have to try that. 

Anyway, this is my completed card:


Don't you just LOVE poinsettias?

Smiles.



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

SNOWFLAKE GIFT BAG/BOX


At my November Stamp-In, the girls created this cute gift box/bag. I'm not really sure whether I should call it a box or a bag, so it's a gift box/bag. Measuring a cute 3 1/2" x 5", it can be filled with basket filler (crinkled paper), tissue paper, or a treat can be placed inside a cello bag. 


I couldn't decide if it needed a handle or not. Sporting a handle of some sort would probably put it more in the gift bag classification. Paper or ribbon handles? I debated forever, and finally decided I liked it best this way. My bag/box.


A firm base measuring about 1 7/8" x 3 1/2", allows it to stand without being tipsy at all.

With a bit of imagination and Stampin' Up!'s Simply Scored, you can create these little cuties in almost any size.  Featuring the Festive Flurry stamp set and its coordinating Framelits gives it a wintery feel. Not just for Christmas.

Flurry 
Smiles.


Saturday, December 7, 2013

WANING BEAUTY

Who says a hibiscus needs to be in full bloom to be beautiful??

When the weather started to turn too cold for our six-foot tall hibiscus, my husband brought it inside the house for the winter. Its branches were long, gangly and straggly. BUT, it had three big beautiful buds!

A few days ago, the last of the three buds turned flowers was closing and readying to drop. I looked closely at the flower, and realized it held a somewhat different beauty than it did when it was fully open. I grabbed my camera and documented its waning beauty.

MDS enabled me to bring the images together in a beautiful photo montage

I'm so glad I took the photos when I did, as the next day my beautiful flower was lying on the floor. Finis.

After trimming those straggly branches back drastically, I imagine we will have to wait a loooonnnggg time before we can enjoy any more of these exquisite blossoms in real life. For now, these images will have to suffice.

I thought the vivid red-ness of the photos would appeal during the Christmas season. Since the hibiscus is Hawaii's state flower, Mele Kalikimaka to one and all!

Mele
Smiles.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

WATERCOLOR SNOWFLAKES

I almost hesitate to mention how adorable Endless Wishes, one of Stampin' Up!'s photopolymer stamp sets is (was). Why? Because it proved to be so popular that it is no longer available. Hopefully you jumped on the bandwagon and got yours while they could still be ordered.

Endless Wishes, a phenomenally versatile set, was a perfect choice for the technique I used in this card.


This technique involves randomly inking up one of the clear acrylic blocks with the side of the brush end of Stampin' Write Markers, in this case, a mix of blues and purples. After you have the entire block covered with color, spritz it lightly with water, and stamp onto your choice of paper. Different papers give different results. So, try it on a variety of paper scraps to see which effect you prefer. 

Please note: If you spritz with TOO much water, the colors bleed into each other unpleasingly. Practice with papers and amounts of water before turning to your actual project. I love it when the colors aren't perfect -- a little white showing through, uneven edges, a little blending. As in the photo above.

Once your background is dry, stamp your image over it. You can either leave the image(s) contained within the parameters of the watercolor area, or expand beyond the borders, like I did. 

To be honest, I loved the way my watercolor snowflakes looked once I finished the eight of them. BUT, I did not like the way the overall card looked. They sat around, lonely and unloved, for quite awhile. I finally decided to cut the first cards up, saving just the snowflakes on the blues and purples, and try again.

I discovered that leaving the card pure and very simple was the way to go:


Aren't those snowflakes just adorable? And don't they look happy?

Grab your acrylic blocks and Stampin' Write Markers and give this fun technique a try!

Smiles.