Tuesday, April 28, 2015

HAPPY

This was another of those tremendously fun cards to figure out and create. The finished result truly does make me feel happy! It is just so sunshiny and bright and -- well, HAPPY!


The flower was especially fun to make. I chose one of the Framelits from the Flower Fair set in the appropriate size for the card I was planning. After measuring just how much space that flower would take up, I applied strips of assorted Stampin' Up! washi tapes to a base piece of cardstock a smidge larger than the flower size. 

I then ran this piece through the Big Shot with my Framelit. I've never done die cutting with the Framelits of a tape-covered surface, so wasn't sure what exactly to expect. But it turned out wonderfully! I love the clean, crisp edges of the flower. It makes me HAPPY!

The colors were picked up again in the darling DSP I chose for the top portion of the card.


For the banner strips, I selected the matching colors of Calypso Coral, Pool Party and Daffodil Delight cardstock and overlapped and staggered the pointed ends for a random but HAPPY look underneath the flower. I did pop up the flower with Stampin' Dimensionals.


The Calypso Coral "HAPPY", of course, came into being with the help of the Hello You Thinlits.

Does this card make you HAPPY or not? Hope it does!


My card was based on this sketch provided by The Paper Players this week:


HAPPY
Smiles.


Monday, April 27, 2015

FAUX PRESSED TIN

While this card was fairly simple to create, photographing it, on the other hand, was excruciating and very frustrating. 

The background, being a reflective surface, was a real challenge to capture on "film" without catching too much of a reflection of me, my camera, bouncing sunlight, etc. I ended up taking a total of 65 pictures! Time after time I'd go back to try again after viewing them on my computer screen. I endured and ended up with a handful that I think depicts the card tolerably well. 


Another of the problems I continued to experience was that the flower, made from Blackberry Bliss cardstock, a normally densely dark color, kept showing up too dark, almost black. The following photo shows the color a bit better, although it makes it look a tad too much like Rich Razzleberry because of its lightness.


What I was trying to accomplish in creating the background of the card was to replicate the classic look of pressed tin


After looking at a few of the photographs, can you wager a guess as to what nontraditional material I used to get this effect?



I actually inserted a piece of aluminum (tin) foil inside the Beautifully Baroque embossing folder, which is, unfortunately, RETIRING! 

After embossing the foil, I gently turned the excess over the edges of the 4" x 5 1/4" piece of scrap cardstock I was using as my base. To secure it on the reverse of the base, I simply scotch taped it in place.


As you know, texture in foil is fairly delicate and easily ruined by pressure. To hopefully alleviate this problem, I opted to make my flower quite three dimensional so the flower would take the majority of the pressure, especially if mailing the card. I'm not sure if this is a feasible solution as the card is still sitting on my desk and not making its way through the US Mail. But, in theory, it sounds good. 

The flower, which I had originally planned to make completely from Blackberry Bliss and using several various punches, turned out to be very BLAH in just that color. No PUNCH whatsoever. Pardon the pun. 

So, I punched duplicates of all the layers out of Naturals White (on the RETIRING LIST! AARGH!) and staggered the petals a little from the Blackberry Bliss layers, thus giving it more sparkle and pizzazz. Also, I think it looks sort of pinwheel-y. 

The largest layer of this flower is created with the Blossom Punch, which is also on the RETIRING LIST. I am so sad about these three retiring products: the Beautifully Baroque embossing folder, both Naturals White and Naturals Ivory cardstock, and the Blossom Punch. I made this card about two weeks ago, so was not aware of their imminent retirement.


One final look at the finished product. 
It definitely does give a classic, traditional, and very formal feel to a card creation.


Why not give this cool technique a try yourself?

Pressed 
Smiles.




Tuesday, April 21, 2015

MARCHING TO MY OWN DRUMMER

I have a pretty terrible habit. One that I constantly hope doesn't offend my hostess. I was even chastised once in public for this bad habit.

You see, whenever I am at a stamping event, I am always changing up my own creation from the original sample the hostess provides. I don't know what my problem is. I just cannot help it. 

Case in point: Once, years ago, I was at a stamping event by myself. Minding my own business. Not paying any attention to how the other attendees were creating their own projects. 

In my head, I had decided on the little changes I wanted to make on my card. Apparently the crafter across the table from me had been keeping a close eye on what I was doing. When she saw my omissions, she said," Oh wait. You missed this . . . " I replied, "Oh, this is how I meant to do it." She looked at me incredulously, shrugged, and muttered, "Huh. To each his own." 

I inwardly chuckled at that.

I call it Marching To My Own Drummer.

At my own Stamp-In Workshops, I encourage my participants to do anything they wish to "make it their own". I tell them that just because I had designed it a certain way doesn't mean that mine is the best or only way to create it. Go for it!

Unfortunately, I haven't attended too many stamping events in the recent past. But, I was thrilled to finally be able to make it to a local one a few weeks ago. This wonderful hostess happens to be my Upline and I had been stamping with her for years. So she is accustomed to my derailments from her original designs. And accepts them graciously. (At least, I think she does.)

The card following is one of the two we created that day. When I got home, I tweaked it a bit. OK. I tweaked it quite a lot. During my creation process, I decided to make it my dad's birthday card. This is what I ended up with:


I utilized all the supplies she had given us. But, I added a few more things at home, namely the birthday banner, the mat around the bird image, the textured banner and the cute retired brad that brought it all together so well.


I liked the dimensional effect these additions provided to make the card just a bit more special.


The bird image is from the gorgeous set, Moon Lake (page 21 in the Occasions Catalog). The most delightful aspect of this set is that the images are all so perfect for a masculine card. Or for the nature lover on your card list. 

I just ordered this set for my own use. In fact, it arrived via UPS about an hour ago. But, I told myself that I could not open that exciting Stampin' Up! box (the orders from my last week's Stamp-In Workshop) until I finished writing this post.

OK. I'm finished with the post. I am dashing off to keep a date with Moon Lake!

My
Own 
Drummer
Smiles

Saturday, April 18, 2015

FROM THE HERD

Well, HOWDY from the herd!


When I first saw the stamp set, From the Herd, in the Occasions Mini, my first thought was, "Oh, that's adorable. But . . . when would I ever use it?" And proceeded through the rest of the catalog, only to put these pasture beauties out of my mind.

But, then, the INTERNET came into play. And all those Stampin' Up! demos and non-demos were demonstrating just how CUTE and versatile this set could be. But, N O . . . And I discovered more great ideas using From the Herd. Well . . . NOPE! Then there was MORE! FINE! And I succumbed. And am I glad I did.

BECAUSE . . .

This image is perfect for FUSSY CUTTING!!! Yayyyy! I was in heaven. 

I chose some very herd-like colors from among my Stampin' Up! cardstock. And started stampin' away. And, the rest is, as they say, herd-story. 

Snip. Snip. Snip.

After several days of cutting (and going half blind!), this was how my bunch turned out <to pasture>.



After finally arriving at this point, I decided to let it mellow awhile. Not quite sure how I wanted to proceed. I looked at the herd day after day until finally those Paper Seedlings took root and an idea melded.

I grabbed my favorite neutral color, Soft Suede, and put a few pieces of that color through my Big Shot inside the Woodgrain Embossing Folder. Placing those embossed pieces behind the herd looked cool, but not quite cool enough. Hmmm.

How about if I did my best to make it look like a real fence??!? 

So I cut those embossed pieces into strips of slightly varying widths. Staggering the space between the slats as well as making the tops and bottoms of each fence board somewhat uneven, then adhering it to a dark -- Early Espresso -- background piece made it look so realistic I needed to rub my eyes to make sure it had not morphed into a REAL FENCE. Just kidding. But, I was happy with the way it looked.

While the herd looked good against the fence, it still looked a bit naked. So I added a wee strip of black around the Naturals White background atop a bit larger piece of Cajun Craze to bring out the beautiful rustiness of the big guy's coat.

Much better. However . . . 

It still needed a little something more to look, I don't know, more farm-y. 

Since Soft Suede meshes so well with soon-to-retire Baked Brown Sugar, and I just so happened to have some of the Thick Baker's Twine in that color, I knotted a length of it into a loose lasso and held that in place. I showed my husband to seek his advice. He didn't like the "rope". I just did not care if he liked it or not -- after all, what does he know?? -- and I ADHERED MY LASSO with a Glue Dot to the upper right of the piece. And I was HAPPY. 



This angle show some of the cute characters looking sort of 3-D:


And here is the herd from the opposite angle:


I have to admit that the first piece I finished cutting out was one of the goat's eyeballs. As soon as I completed my last snip, it immediately fell from my grasp, only to lose itself in the nap of the carpeting at my feet. I never did find it. But it DID worry me that hopefully this wasn't an omen of how the rest of the cutting would go. I had a few mishaps along the way, and it, of course, is far from perfect, but I think it all came together quite well. 

Here is a close-up of my so real-looking lasso:


Well, HELLO, HERD. How are all you cuties??


I had purposely made the background to measure 8" x 10" from Naturals White cardstock so I could eventually fit it into a standard-sized frame.

We had just moved in November, and I KNOW I moved enough frames with us to open my very own framing store. But, unfortunately, the downstairs storage area is still filled with sealed-up boxes. My frames are in there somewhere. But where? 

After doing a brief, half-hearted digging through the boxes, I unearthed a box that contained frames. Ugh. Most of the frames were of the 4" x 6" or 5" x 7" variety. 

Only one measured 8" x 10". It was a natural wood, still in its little protective cardboard corners. I decided to give this less-than-perfect frame a try, and yanked off those little corners.

Arrrghhh!! The corners that were meant to PROTECT the frame actually had RUINED it. Where the corners had been, the wood was several shades lighter that the rest of the frame. I attempted to blend the colors together with ink, paint. No good. It looked awful. I tried sanding and sanding and sanding it. But that didn't help either.

For a brief time, I left it in that frame, telling myself I would get accustomed to the look. 

Last Monday, I showed it to the girls at my Stamp-In Workshop. I told them that I thought that ideally it would look best in a barn wood frame. They agreed. So I set off on a mission to find the perfect frame. I mean, after all, I knew that in the plethora of frames that I still had buried, there was nothing even remotely like what I had in mind.

I discovered the PERFECT frame for my piece. Of course, I could not keep the glass over the image because I wanted it to be displayed in all its three dimensional glory. So, I actually put the glass BEHIND the image. Weird, huh? But it works.

Anyway, see how well it matches with my Soft Suede fence??


And with my REAL lasso in Baked Brown Sugar??


The completed framed piece measures 11 1/2" x 13 1/2". And I am so happy.

And GOODBYE from the herd!


Herdful
Smiles.



Tuesday, April 14, 2015

FLOWER DUET

I do love a challenge. Something that makes me step out of my comfort zone. Something that forces me to put on my thinking cap to fertilize the little Paper Seedlings that have been sown by a challenge thrown at me. A challenge that coerces me to work outside the box. One that makes me THINK. 

That is how I see this week's Paper Players Color Challenge. Not ever having been a fan of either Pistachio Pudding (too wan and washed-out, not enough zip) or Strawberry Slush (too much too soon), this truly was a challenge for me. It is Joanne's color challenge: Pistachio Pudding, Strawberry Slush and, one color I do love, Coastal Cabana. 

OK, I don't think I would have had a problem putting two of the colors together, namely Coastal Cabana with either one of the two. But, the three together?? Blecch. 

After lots and lots of trial and error -- mostly error -- this is what I finally ended up with. And, you now what? I really kinda like it. In fact, I think I love it.


For the center of the larger flower, I used one of the cute embellishments that I got for free in one of my Paper Pumpkin kits. The colors in this challenge, three of the five 2013-2015 In Colors,  will be retiring in about six weeks, and the embellishments are also in those colors, so it was fun to choose one of them to grace the center of the big blossom.


Thanks, Paper Players, for making me work so hard!


Challenged
Smiles.


Saturday, April 11, 2015

SHOREBIRDS WITH SQUIGGLES

Here is a card, using the beautiful stamp set, Wetlands, that is lots of fun to make. Just be careful that you don't get entangled in the weeds!


See the weeds that I'm referring to? Aren't they cute and squiggly? I'm sure some of you already know how they are created. But, for those who don't, can you guess? 

Simple! You twist and turn rubbers bands onto a brayer roller, ink it up, and roll across your background. Instant weeds! 


I will divulge to you in the instructions to follow how to create your own faux brads as shown below:


If you'd like to try your hand at a card similar to this, here's how:

Supplies:
Wetlands stamp set
Hearts A Flutter stamp set

Naturals Ivory cardstock
Pool Party cardstock
Soft Suede cardstock

Early Espresso ink
Soft Suede ink
Pool Party ink

Brayer (I used the acrylic roller attachment. If you use the rubber attachment, remove the rubber bands as soon as you finish your background. Otherwise, you will have permanent dents. Yuk.)
Rubber Bands (EXPERIMENT WITH VARYING THICKNESSES FOR A COOL EFFECT.)
Stampin' Sponge
Heat Tool
Pewter Embossing Powder
Paper Punch
Stampin' Pierce Mat
Paper Piercing Tool
Essentials Paper Percing Pack
Big Shot
Hearts A Flutter Framelits
Ovals Collection Framelits
Apothecary Accents Framelits
Stampin' Dimensionals
Glue Dots
Large Oval Punch

Directions:
Fold a half sheet of Pool Party cardstock in half, creasing well with a bone folder.

Twist several rubber bands onto the roller of a brayer, spacing them haphazardly, but equally. (Do a few practice rolls on scrap paper to make sure you like the pattern your rubber band placement makes,) Run the rubber-banded brayer through the Pool Party ink several times and roll it up a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Naturals Ivory cardstock. Continue this process until you are satisfied with your background. Sponge all edges of this piece with Soft Suede ink.

From Soft Suede cardstock, use the Apothecary Accents Framelits to cut the largest label in your Big Shot. Use the Piercing Tool on the Stampin' Pierce Mat and the Essentials Paper Piercing Pack to pierce the edges of this piece. 

On a scrap of Soft Suede cardstock, stamp the lined banner from the Hearts A Flutter stamp set. Cut this out with the Big Shot and the appropriate Hearts A Flutter Framelit. Adhere to the bottom of the large label, letting the two tail ends stick out.

On Pool Party cardstock, stamp the shorebirds in Early Espresso ink. Cut this piece out with the appropriately-sized Framelit from the Ovals Collection with the Big Shot. Sponge the lower portion of this piece with Soft Suede ink.

Cut the last frame from the Apothecary Accents from Pool Party cardstock. Sponge the edges with Soft Suede. Cut this piece in half, and adhere each half to the sides of the oval. Adhere this portion to the large brown label.

On a scrap of Pool Party cardstock, stamp the sentiment in Early Espresso ink. Punch this out with the Large Oval Punch. Sponge the edges with Soft Suede ink. Adhere this label to the larger oval with two pieces of Stampin' Dimensionals.

TO MAKE THE FAUX BRADS: Apply VersaMark Ink directly to a scrap of Soft Suede cardstock. Cover this with Pewter Embossing Powder. (I realize this embossing powder is retired [SOB!], but I'm hoping everyone stocked up on it while it was still available like I did.) Heat to emboss. Once this has cooled, use a paper punch to punch out five "brads". Attach to the upper right portion o the bird oval with Glue Dots.

NOTE: Keep this embossed piece so you can make further faux brads for other projects!

You do not have to add these brads. But, I have to admit that after I had "finished" this card, sans brads, I was truly disappointed with how empty it looked. So, after exploring several options, this is what I came up with, and with the addition of these faux brads, I consider the card quite finished and very satisfying. What is your opinion?

Squiggly
Smiles.



Wednesday, April 8, 2015

SEW YOU

The March Paper Pumpkin kit was an absolute blast! This was one of the "funnest" ones ever. Seriously. I know I've said this -- or something like it -- before, and I'm sure I'll say it again in the future. But, this darling kit presented loads of possibilities. And if there hadn't been only nine cards to make, I'm sure I would still be thinking up more ways to create. (Did I really just say ONLY NINE CARDS? That is a whole lot of cards that can be used for many occasions! In a single kit!)

This is the photo that came with the Sew You kit. If you followed the included directions, your cards would look like these:



However, being me (a tough spot to find yourself!), I just had to march to my own drummer. Thus, none of my cards were created as Stampin' Up! had intended. In fact, I have nine different cards. These are my creations, one by one.

I truly did start out with the intent of following their directions. I did the cute stitching of the "YOU" with the floss that came in the kit. 

From there, I deviated. I added a snippet of my own paper and Baker's Twine. Then, I went nuts punching out little yellow circles which I added to the preprinted dotted card base. I love how happy those little yellow dots make the card look!


I had seen on the Internet somewhere that someone who didn't like "sewing" simply joined the holes with Stampin' Write Markers. A cute idea, but it doesn't add the dimension that the floss and actual sewing does. However, as you will see, I did do this on several of the cards.


To echo the dots on the card base, I added black dots within the perimeters of the YOU letters. I then did some faux stitching around the edges of the word bubble with the marker. 


For this next one, I continued the marker sewing on the YOU. I decided to add a cute matching heart in the center of the "O" and popped it up with a Dimensional.


Here is one more showing the marker stitching. This time I decided not to limit the stamps I use to those that came with the Paper Pumpkin kit. I grabbed Truly Grateful (page 152 in the catalog) and my Bitty Banners Framelits (page 230) to add the words above the "YOU". 


I had some of that adorable Daffodil Delight pompom trim left over from a few years back, and opted to team that up with some Tangerine Tango ribbon from a past Sale-A-Bration freebie to make the bottom of the card super cute. And then, in the above photo, did you notice what I did?? I cut off one of the little pompoms and stuck it with a Glue Dot to the center of my "O". Doesn't that just make you wanna go, "Awwww"? 


For the next card, I decided to go back to stitching with floss. Only this time, I used some floss I had in my stash, just so I could bring a little PURPLE to my card. The "Thinking of" came from a long ago set, but I've always loved it, and it's a perfect contrast to the straightforward lettering in the "YOU". 

To carry the flower theme a little further, I stamped one of the flowers from the sentiment on a scrap of Perfect Plum, punched it out with a paper punch, and popped that into the center of my "O". 


For this card, I made a terrific discovery (that I'm sure many of you have already made)! I used the Dotted Scallop Ribbon Border punch with Perfect Plum cardstock to make a little paper trim. BUT, this is where the great discovery comes in: I continued the stitching with the purple floss, using the holes from the punched strip! How cool is THAT!?!


The next card isn't a HUGE change from the instructions, except I did the marker stitching again, used a landscape format and added some ribbon. The red/turquoise combination is super popular, so it worked great for this card to use one of the stars that came with the kit.


I made ANOTHER discovery in this next card! Can you stand it?? All these discoveries! 

Floss, this time a green, was used for the stitching once again. And I used the Hello You Thinlits (page 30 in the Occasions Catalog) to create my "thank". BUT -- are you ready for THIS one?? -- I used a paint sample for it! Woo hoo! Since the letters in the word are fairly thin, it may be sort of difficult to see, but I think you can recognize it exactly in the cute strip on the bottom created once again with the Dotted Scallop Ribbon Border punch.


Because the skinny letters didn't look substantial enough against the busy triangle background of the card base, I adhered a strip of black cardstock to the top of the word bubble upon which the word could rest comfortably.


I stuck with the floss stitching for the following card and a stamped "hello" in Lost Lagoon.


The coolest part of this card to me, however, is the bottom embellishment. Once again, I punched out a strip of Dotted Scallop Ribbon Border, and stitched in the holes again, but this time I made it look like cross stitch! I then embossed a strip of Whisper White cardstock with the Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder, punched the two edges with the Scallop Edge Border Punch, attached the stitched piece, and I WAS HAPPY!


For my last card, I used the Hello You Thinlits once again, but this time with Pacific Point cardstock. I used the Paper Pumpkin kit's yellow floss to stitch the "YOU".


To make the flower was oodles of punchy fun! For the bottom layer, I used a retired flower punch. The blue layer uses the Pansy Punch, the orange layer is created with the Boho Blossoms Punch, while the center posy was from the strip of three like flowers punch from long ago. I added a Basic Pearl to the center. BUT, the entire flower, with the exception of the pearl, was made from PAINT CHIPS! Are you excited!?!

Because my thin "hello" sort of got lost among all the strong black polka dots, I adhered a strip of Tangerine Tango cardstock to the top of the word bubble for nice contrast.


And, here is the whole bunch posing together:


I must admit that it took me several days to complete these nine cards. But, it was a project I looked forward to continuing day after day. And now I'm sad that it's all finished. :>(

This kit was so much fun to play with! It is now April 7, so that means that in a few days, I should be getting an email telling me that my April Paper Pumpkin kit is on its way. I can't wait! I am in awe of the designers of these wonderful kits and look forward to them each month!

Sew
You 
Smiles.


Saturday, April 4, 2015

A PUNCHY CHICK

Was this ever a fun card to figure out!

For Stella's Easter card, I knew I wanted to create a happy chick breaking free from his shell. But I wasn't at all sure how this was going to turn out. It was a case of experiment, experiment, experiment. 

To start, I made two circles, one from Daffodil Delight, the other from Soft Sky, with my Big Shot and the Circles Collection Framelits to form the chick and his shell. I "broke" the shell by cutting it in half and randomly hand cutting peaks and valleys to form the break from which the cute big-eyed chick is emerging.

To make the egg shell look just a bit more Easter-y, I used the stamps from last month's Paper Pumpkin kit to decorate the egg. After I put the egg and shell together, I must admit, I became a bit punchy. 

Here is a hint: Stampin' Up! punches were used for the chick's "hair", his wings, his beak, the FOUR pieces of his eyes, as well as the turquoise surrounding the embossed Wild Wasabi piece. Would you like to guess which punches I chose to use? 

The catchlights on his eyes were created with the White Stampin' Chalk Marker on page 211 of the big catalog.


So, whaddya think about my little punchy chick?

Wishing you and yours a happy, happy Easter!

Punchy 
Smiles.