Sunday, August 30, 2015

PASSWORD BOOK

Long about 12 years ago, I purchased a cute little wire-bound book in which to store my Website information, such as user names, passwords, and other pertinent information. I had purchased it at the gift shop of an art museum. And I was thrilled with my little find.

Unfortunately, at around the same time, we acquired a seven-week-old puppy that my daughter, Sarah, named Harley. 

Being a puppy, Harley excelled in all the typical puppy shenanigans. One of his tricks was to eat things. Pretty much ANY things. One of the things he decided looked luscious was my little password book. His teeth took a hefty chunk out of the front and back of the book, as well as some of the pages. 

Through all these years, I've continued to use the little ragged well-chewed book. 

For the past few years though, I had been thinking it would be a good idea to come up with a replacement. I wasn't sure what format my new password keeper would take. And I put it on the back burner. As is typical of me when I am not sure what to do.

Just recently I had one of those profound AHA moments. 

Walgreens, as part of their Back to School promotions, offered those mini composition books for a mere six for $1.00. You know the ones: black and white "marbled" with the black fabric-like binding and 80 lined pages. Yesss! 

I made an updated Password Book out of one of those little composition books. Mine measures 3 1/4" x 4 1/2". The PERFECT size! 

It was easy, but time-consuming, to make. I utilized the black binding, and simply added appropriate-sized Designer Series Paper to the front and back covers, using Glue Stick on the entire surface of the notebook to adhere the DSP. I then used a papercrafting sanding block with downward strokes along the edges to "seal" the paper to the cover. 

This is what my little treasure looks like:

My biggest complaint about my original book -- besides its deplorable condition -- was the lack of tabs. My entries were every which place. If you know what I mean. No rhyme. No reason. Complete frustration!

To make my new Password Book alphabetized, I needed lettered tabs. Right? 

I know it looks a little funky (but an endearing funky), because of the large size of my letters. But, I absolutely love it! And I spend an inordinate amount of time simply riffling through its pages. It's adorable.


To create my much-needed tabs, I cut the letters from black cardstock using my Big Shot and the Little Letters Thinlits (page 172). The tabs themselves were created from retired Blush Blossom cardstock using the also retired Modern Label punch. I then snipped each of the labels in half, adhered the appropriate letter, and attached them to the pages. 


Another smart thing I am doing this time around is writing the entries in PENCIL! 

Share with us the method you use for storing all your passwords.

Alphabetized
Smiles.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: ROADS TO NOWHERE


It's a leaf.
I know that.

BUT
while flying,
if you've ever looked
THROUGH THE CLOUDS
to the
LANDSCAPE 
far below

Reminiscent?

ROADS.
To WHERE
anywhere
elsewhere
somewhere
nowhere

Some
days
feel 
like
THAT.

Each man's life represents a road toward himself.
- Herman Hesse -


Inward
Smiles.




Wednesday, August 26, 2015

SCALLOPED CHERRIES

HELLLLOOOOOO, Paper Players! 
I liked the Sketch Challenge for this week, so decided to indulge myself.

What do you think of the cute little cherry design on the Designer Series Paper I used for my background? 

That paper, as well as the funky crosshatched green and white piece come from the Cherry on Top Designer Series Paper Stack on page 144. I threw in a little Mint Macaron for a some contrast. The card base is that scrumptious Watermelon Wonder. Mmmmm. Makes me hungry just looking at it. It is spot on for the color of watermelon!


I did dig out the retired set, Button Buddies, to make my little cherries for my focal point. I cut out and popped up the leaf. And I like the little scalloped circles around the button "cherries". As I am wont to do, I repeated the cheery (cherry!) scallops in the dot-embossed white circle.


Below is the sketch on which I based my card. I stayed fairly true to the sketch:



Do any of you, my readers, ever take part in challenges? Share some of your favorite challenges with us here!

Scalloped
Smiles.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

FRIENDLY DRAGONFLY: TUTORIAL

I realize it's been quite awhile since I've shared a tutorial with you. Well, you are in for a treat today. Because I am going to give you blow-by-blow directions on how to create this beauty:


Using an amazingly beautiful -- and versatile -- stamp set from the big catalog, this card features Awesomely Artistic (page 125). I have used all but three of the images from this set, and it includes nine images. 

One of the images is this gorgeous realistic dragonfly. While it is fussy cut, it is an easy task. Leaving a bit of margin around the stamped portions makes it fairly quick to cut out.


And popped up with a piece of Stampin' Dimensional, it seems as if it has just landed on the card -- or is about to take off again.


The following photo shows a couple of elements that I really love, and that make the card outstanding. 

The technique used is, of course, an emboss resist. Notice the shiny embossed look of the fern that is catching the light.

By coming in at the end with some of the splotches from the set, stamped off first, it gives our card another interesting facet.

I love how easy it is to create the "Friend" label. It looks somewhat complicated, but with Stampin' Up!'s creative planning, it is so simple to manage.

The lovely 1/4" Cotton Ribbon in Marina Mist adds the final -- necessary -- touch.


The card would be equally as beautiful in a variety of other color combinations. I, however, do love the icy looks of the blue/green combo I've used here.

Have fun creating one of these cards for yourself!

Supplies:
Awesomely Artistic stamp set

Whisper White cardstock
Naturals White cardstock
Tempting Turquoise cardstock
Mellow Moss cardstock
Wild Wasabi cardstock

Tempting Turquoise ink
Marina Mist ink
Wild Wasabi ink
Mossy Meadow ink
VersaMark ink

Marina Mist 1/4" Cotton Ribbon (page 159)
Basic Pearls
Embossing Buddy
Clear Embossing Powder
Heat Tool
Big Shot
Project Life Cards & Labels Framelits (173)
Stampin' Dimensionals
Paper Snips

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

Adhere a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Tempting Turquoise cardstock to the card base, followed by a 3 7/8" x 5 1/8" piece of Mossy Meadow cardstock.

Rub a 3 3/4" x 5" piece of Whisper White cardstock well with the Embossing Buddy. Stamp the ferns in VersaMark, stamping the larger ferns first and filling in the blank spaces with the smaller ferns. It is OK to overlap the ferns a LITTLE BIT, but try to keep them fairly separated. 

At the Heat Station, dump clear embossing powder over the entire surface, tapping the excess powder back into its container. Use the Heat Tool to emboss the ferns, making sure that ALL the ferns are shiny. Set this piece aside to cool completely.

On a scrap piece of Wild Wasabi cardstock, stamp the dragonfly in Mossy Meadow ink. Carefully cut out the dragonfly, leaving a small margin around the stamped image. Set him aside. BUT KEEP AN EYE ON HIM SO HE DOESN'T FLY AWAY!

On a scrap of Whisper White, stamp the frame image in Wild Wasabi. Stamp "Friend" in the center of the frame in Marina Mist. Cut out this label with the appropriate Framelit in the Big Shot. Add Basic Pearls to either side of the word, removing the pearls from their base and transferring them to the label with a craft knife (Xacto). Set this aside for now.

Go back to the fern piece. With sponges, and starting with the Tempting Turquoise, sponge the ink randomly, starting out softly. You will be darkening it later, so leave it light for now. Follow with the Wild Wasabi and the Marina Mist inks, starting to blend and overlap the colors somewhat. When you have the entire piece covered with these inks, you can go in and deepen some of the tones for a variety.

In Marina Mist, lightly stamp the splotchy dots here and there, stamping them off first.

Secure the ends of a piece of Marina Mist 1/4" Cotton Ribbon to the back of this piece with tape. Adhere the piece to the card base.

Put the dragonfly in the sky with a piece of Stampin' Dimensional. Add the label over the ribbon with two Stampin' Dimensionals.

Take flight!

Friendly
Smiles.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: FANCY


Every time
I look at this image,
I am 
PLEASANTLY
reminded of
the work
of
Georgia O'Keeffe.

GRACEFUL
ABSTRACT
CONTROVERSIAL
paintings of
FLOWERS.

Are you 
FAMILIAR
with

FLOWERS don't bloom where no seeds have been planted.
If you want kindness, be kind.
If you want acceptance, be accepting.
If you want encouragement, be encouraging.
If you want forgiveness, be forgiving.
If you want love, be loving.
If you want respect, be respectful.
We should not expect from others 
what we fail to give to them.
- Tom Krause -

You are cordially invited to visit MY INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT.

Fancy
Smiles.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

WASHI BEAR BIRTHDAY

Yesterday was my son-in-law, Stephen's, birthday. Early last week, I realized that it was approaching quickly and that I still had to make a card for him. He is both a yoga and a bicycling enthusiast. But I didn't have ideas relating to either one of those two interests pop into my head. 

So, I decided to make him a card that was cheery and maybe a little bit goofy instead. Going through my supplies for something that I thought would appeal to him (and me), I came across those little guys with their happy arms and signs from Cheerful Critters -- now retired, alas. The bear looked especially endearing, so I opted to use him on my card.

Maybe I AM getting just a little crazy about fussy cutting and paper piecing, but that's what I went with again for this little guy. Going through my scraps of DSP, I came across this cute dotted design. I stamped his striped T-shirt onto that paper, then cut it out. I stamped the little bear himself on a brown cardstock, and cut him out. I then dressed him in his new T-shirt.

OK. Now, where do I go?

I had an idea of putting paper pieced balloons all over the background. With that in mind, I went through the stamps from my past Paper Pumpkin kits because I knew I had one of a balloon. 

During this search, I encountered one of the giant orange balloons from one of the recent kits. Since there was orange in little bear's fancy shirt, it seemed like the perfect solution. I tied some baker's twine around the bottom of the balloon. 

Well, now I have a nattily dressed bear and a big balloon. Of course, it was a no brainer that the sign his skinny little hands would be holding was to be created with the Sassy Salutations. 

Alright, now my focal point is done. What about the background of the card?

Hey! I'd been meaning to use some washi tape in a project, but kept forgetting about it. So, I grabbed that container and went through my vast array of Stampin' Up! washi tapes, both current and retired. I chose four designs that would complement the colors in his shirt.

But, now what?

I took a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Whisper White cardstock, and just started stacking the washi tapes in haphazard horizontal lines, varying the amount of white space between the tapes. I gently tucked the torn edges to the back of the white piece. Nice and neat and clean.

That background was aDORable! So, I mounted it to a card base of Crushed Curry.


A close-up of our "furry" little star with his cute sign:


I used a few Stampin' Dimensionals on the bear and his balloon to give a little added dimension:


I was anxious to find out if Stephen liked the card, and was thrilled when he actually posted a picture of it on Facebook last night, attributing it to his mother-in-law, Linda Kilsdonk. Awwww!

Happy Birthday, Stephen!

Washi
Smiles.

Sunday, August 16, 2015

JACOB'S ARK

I may have gone a little overboard with this baby card.


But creating it was just, oh, so much fun! 

It took me a couple of sessions to complete the ark. Because, you see, the animals and waves are all paper pieced. The clouds were snipped from some old retired 6" x 6" DSP that I had in my stash. 

Initially, I had discovered this piece of boy-looking Designer Series Paper that I thought would be the perfect neutral backdrop for my pieced ark and its occupants. You can see in the previous photo how I had placed it onto the piece, with just the hint of neutral letters in the background. I had planned to cut the finished portion out with an oval or a circle Framelit and make it into a cute tent topper card. 

But, as I finished the ark and surroundings, it just screamed for me to add other elements to it and make it something even more special, and possibly of keepsake quality.

Those little Paper Seedlings had been planted, fertilized, watered, and now they were percolating just 'neath the soil.



The little one's name is Jacob, so . . . hmmm . . . C'mon, Linda, crawl out of that box.

I fetched my set of Little Letters Thinlits and went to work. I used two-toned orange polka dot paper to randomly place the letter Thinlits so the dots would be every which way. Not organized and in neat rows. Kinda like a little boy.

By adding the name to the wave, it was neatly incorporated into the total design. 


Because it was actually a card, I added the cute and happy greeting inside in a matching look.


The final card measured 6" x 6" -- a size I thought would be precious framed and hung in Jacob's room -- so I needed to make an envelope to fit.

Grabbing my handy dandy Envelope Punch Board, I used paper that did not quite match, but it exuded the same feeling of masculine baby, to create the enclosing envelope.

I completely forgot to take a photo of the cute blue bow belly band I made to seal the flat little package. The Envelope Punch Board was used once again (love that thing!!) to create the same type of bow that I put on THIS EASTER BASKET. I then attached it to a belly band that I made from the same textured cardstock as the bow.


Happy Birth-Day to you, Jacob!

Snippy
Smiles.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: SUNNY


LUCKY DAY

Common Knowledge:
On a sunny day,
never take photos
between
10 and 3.

Throwing caution to the wind
(literally -- it was beastly windy)
I set out bound for a local
garden center
to take some photos
ANYWAY.

Sun
(and wind)
beating down,
but I was
LUCKY
that the conditions
rendered the
petals
of this
BLACK-EYED SUSAN
almost
translucent.
MADE ME SMILE.

What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity.
These are but trifles, to be sure,
but scattered along life's pathway,
the good they do is inconceivable.

- Joseph Addison - 

Please do me the honor of visiting MY INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT.

Sunny
Smiles.


Wednesday, August 12, 2015

BLOSSOMS FOR YOUR BIRTHDAY

Today my sister, Diane, is celebrating one of those dreaded milestone birthdays. You know which ones I'm talking about.

To make her day a little more special, I wanted to create a birthday card for her that was "a little more special". I always think that a tent topper card delivers a little more punch than one that just opens up in the traditional way. Sort of more star quality maybe?


This angle shows off the interesting profile a tent topper card possesses. 


A few weeks ago, my husband and I took another road trip. Of course, I just cannot get into the car for a destination more than 10-15 minutes away without worrying about being able to stay awake, and fretting about all the stuff I'm NOT getting done.

So, I opted to do some more paper cutting!

The day before we left, I stamped the flowers, leaves and branch from the retired Indescribable Gift set on an assortment of blossom-like papers. 

In the car, I snipped my little heart out. No, not really. That would hurt. But, I did have fun doing it.

For Diane's card, I went with almost all polka dots, with the branch being the only exception.


When I first started cutting out all the components, I, of course, also cut out some of the little leaves that encased the buds. When they became much too small to even keep track of, I decided that, once I had my flowers put together, I would simply color those pieces green.

That turned out to be not such a great idea. You see, if you  know anything about color theory, you know that when you combine pink and green, you get, guess what? Yup. An unsavory brown. Yuk. I tried a couple of different mediums, but none gave me the result that I'd wanted.

So . . . it was back to cutting out the teeny tiny leaves. I must say, they are very tedious to deal with. But I did it:


This photo shows the funky paper I used for the branch in this card. I love its looks! Don't you?

You can also see more clearly in the photo the combination of dots in the composition, including the Basic Pearls I added to every other scallop around the edge of the oval. After all, pearls are a sort of "dot", aren't they?

And, although it's not apparent, except a little bit in the second photo, I used the Large Polka Dot embossing folder on the background of the card front to continue with the dot theme.


Another tent topper card I'd posted to my blog in the past is THIS ONE:


If you'd like to see some other examples of tent topper cards, check THIS out for lots of inspiration! (Thank you, Pinterest!)

Happy __ Birthday, Diane!

Birthday
Smiles.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

MONUMENTAL THANKS

If you'll recall, the following was a Paper Pumpkin kit from a few months past. Pretty cute. The accordion-folded thank you card sports an orange felt letter on each "page", which, when opened fully, spells out THANKS. 


The other night, I randomly picked one of my bright red Paper Pumpkin boxes that still contained leftovers from the kits that I had never quite used up, with the intent of creating something from the ingredients found therein. 

Inside the random box, COMPLETELY UNUSED, were the sheets of self-stick orange letters. Oh my.

I stared and stared at the letters, scrambling them every which way, trying to make an alternate word. But, unfortunately, I could not come up with anything meaningful to put on the front of a card. 

So, I went out on a limb and created a card -- a THANK YOU card. Weird, huh?

Of course, my format is considerably different from what the kit instructions wanted me to do. Mine is a traditional landscape card. 

The backdrops for each of the letters were stamps from a long ago Paper Pumpkin kit. I did incorporate the same colors, Daffodil Delight and Pool Party, with the orange, for my color scheme. 

In order to fit the letters on the front of a 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" card, I needed to trim a bit off the top and bottom of each letter. The only letter that "suffers" from this surgery though is the "s". 

I added some punched-out Daffodil Delight stars hither and thither to give it a bit more zip.


Now, don't you agree that the recipient of this card will feel like I am sending them a really BIG thank you!?


Let's move back into the past a bit. If you recall, I used components from this kit in a previous project: PAPER PUMPKIN THANKS REPURPOSED

Following are two paragraphs from that post: 

Now, here is my problem. And I would love your input: Do you ever have Instagram prints made commercially? If so, where do you have them done? I am interested in 2" square prints, or somewhere around that size. 

If you would like to see my assortment of photos I am going to be choosing from, here is the link to my Instagram account. While you are there, do you have any opinions of which photos I should put in my Paper Pumpkin book?

I know I had promised to share with you the end result of my little photo experiment. Unfortunately, I have only been able to find an affordable resource for 4" x 4" prints, which, of course, are much too large for this diminutive photo album. 

So, if you have an answer to my dilemma (in red) for a resource for 2" x 2" prints, I would LOVE to hear from you.

Monumental
Smiles.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: CONTRAST


CONTRAST.

Purple and Green
Light and Dark
Textured and Smooth
War and Peace
Here and There

YIN AND YANG

Synergy:
An interaction of elements such that, when combined, 
produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements.

THE SPICE OF LIFE

The beauty of the universe consists not only of unity in variety, 
but also of variety in unity.
- Umberto Eco -

Please visit MY INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT.
If you like my work, feel free to follow me.
I would be honored.

Synergistic
Smiles.




Wednesday, August 5, 2015

HIP TO BE SQUARE

I haven't played along with the Paper Players in quite awhile. When I saw their challenge for this week, I decided to hop on board. 

You see, the title of my post is basically the challenge: to create a SQUARE CARD. 

Who says a square card needs to simply open and close like a traditional card? Not me! 

I took out my Circle Card Thinlits (page 171), which I had acquired recently during one of Stampin' Up!'s wonderful Weekly Deals. Yes, using the Thinlits as is gives you a 5 1/2" x 4 1/4" card. Well, who says that's the only way it has to be? Not me!

After cutting a card base with the Circle Card Thinlits, I simply cut the bottom off so my finished card measures 4 1/4" x 4 1/4". Ha! A SQUARE CARD!


Decorating the circle on what is the outside of the card was lots of fun -- and SO SIMPLE! 

I used the Flower Fair Framelits (page 172) with Crushed Curry, Bermuda Bay, Pool Party and Watermelon Wonder cardstock to create the elements of my flower. Crushed Curry Baker's Twine (page 158) tied in a bow behind the button gave the completed flower a touch of happy whimsy.


On the left side of the closed card, I embossed the card base with the Zig Zag embosing folder (page 174). I thought that design was a nice complement to the paper I chose for the right side, Cherry on Top Designer Series Paper Stack (page 144)


As you pull the card open further, the circle rotates to show the opposite side, which I used for my sentiment: The More Candles the bigger the Wish, from a well-loved retired set, stamped in Bermuda Bay and cut out with the 2" Circle Punch (page 165) which was mounted on top of a scalloped circle from the Circle Card Thinlits in Bermuda Bay. The cute little slice of cake was carefully cut from another of the pieces from the Cherry on Top DSP. 




So, what do you think of my square card?

Square
Smiles.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

PAPER PUMPKIN MASHUP

The last two Paper Pumpkin kits I received, June and  July, were at the top of the list of my favorites. I mean, talk about adorable components!

The June 2015 Paper Pumpkin kit:


The July 2015 Paper Pumpkin kit:


Well, I thought it would be great fun to take elements from each of the kits to create a mashup of my own:


In the first place, I am not a coffee drinker. In fact, I have never even tasted coffee. So, all those funny coffee memes on the Internet mean absolutely NOTHING to me. Since I cannot relate to the coffee drinking mindset, the July kit in itself was not terribly appealing to me personally, especially the sentiment, "Thanks a Latte."

But, as a mashup of June and July, this card was exactly my style. 

In the first place, I immediately fell in love with the two outline images of the simple flowers that came in the June kit. Although you mostly can't make out that's what I actually used, the gray images on the border of the white card base are some of the larger flowers in the abstract.  This little addition breaks up the monotony of the pure white admirably. I love the way it looks!



I used the smaller of the flowers to stamp in gray all over the diecut of the coffee cup. The centers of the little flowers were created with orange dots from a paper punch. 

From the June kit, I also love the "Happy thoughts for you" sentiment, so decided to balance the notebook paper portion with that stamp, also in gray. Since I had the sentiment in the area where the cute bow paperclip was meant to go, according to the directions, I popped it onto the top of the sheet. 


Here is my card cutely posing alongside a sunny window:


I think I really like this mashup. How do you feel about it?

Mashup
Smiles.