Wednesday, September 30, 2015

BOHEMIAN BORDERS BUTTERFLY

Have you ever made your own Designer Series Paper? No?? Well, at my September Stamp-In Workshop, my girls did just that!

The background of this card? Nope. Not DSP. Starting with a blank slate of Whisper White, simply add various of the borders from the Bohemian Borders set in alternating colors. So easy. And, don't you think it looks really cool?? Like real DSP?


With the help of the Scalloped Tag Topper Punch (page 165), some Stampin' Dimensionals, (page 156), the Elegant Butterfly Punch (page 166), and the Bow Builder Punch (page 167), the end result is a very dimensional card.



Are you chompin' at the bit to learn how to make this card? Well, you're in luck! Here you go:

Supplies:
Crazy About You stamp set (page 106)
Bohemian Borders stamp set (page 96)

Island Indigo cardstock
Wild Wasabi cardstock
Whisper White cardstock

Pumpkin Pie ink
Island Indigo ink
Wild Wasabi ink

Scalloped Tag Topper Punch
Bow Builder Punch
Elegant Butterfly Punch
Corner Rounder Punch
Stamping Sponge
Ribbon
Whisper White Baker's Twine
Stampin' Dimensionals

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

Use three of the Bohemian Borders stamps in alternating colors of Island Indigo, Pumpkin Pie and Wild Wasabi marching down the card to create your design.

Use the Corner Rounder Punch to round all the corners of this piece. Adhere it to the card base.

Punch a butterfly, using the Elegant Butterfly Punch in the lower portion of a 2" x 3" piece of Whisper White cardstock. Insert the top portion of this piece into the Scalloped Tag Topper Punch to create the tag. Round the bottom corners of the tag. Sponge Island Indigo ink lightly around the edges.

Choose whichever combination of words you'd like to use as your sentiment from the plethora of stamps in the Crazy About You set. Apply them to an acrylic block, approximating the distance the words need to be apart from each other. You can check by holding the block with stamps attached over the butterfly-punched tag. Once the words fall at equal distances from the top and bottom of the butterfly, you are set. Stamp the words in Pumpkin Pie.

Insert a 6" length of 3/8" Taffeta Ribbon through the top hole of the tag. Secure it with a piece of Whisper White Baker's Twine tied in a knot close to the top of the tag.

Using two Stampin' Dimensionals, one at the top and bottom between the butterfly's wings, attach a square of coordinating DSP that measures 1 7/8" x 1 7/8". Adhere this piece flat to the card front.

Create a little bow with the Bow Builder Punch from Wild Wasabi cardstock. Adhere it to the card front below the butterfly.

NOTE: It has always bothered me that one of these bows created with the Bow Builder Punch would probably not look quite so perky after a trip through the mail on its way to the recipient. Accidentally, I set something heavy on top of one of the bows I had made. The happy discovery from this aggravation was that they look darling when they are FLAT also!

Bohemian
Smiles.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

NOBLE MAPLE LEAF

Have you seen the set of stamps that came in this month's Paper Pumpkin kit? 

I was completely astounded when I tore into that cute red box and laid eyes on the array of wonderful and versatile stamps enclosed within. I could hardly wait to use them. 

I wasn't planning on putting together the cute little treat bags that were the actual kit quite yet, but, gee, I certainly did want to use some of those stamps!

See the border on this card? I used two of the Paper Pumpkin stamps to create it: the maple leaf and the squiggle. Fun and easy to make an eye-catching border with just these two stamps. Mine is done is Delightful Dijon and Cajun Craze.


The noble maple leaf was created with an old Stampin' Up! die. I still LOVE these leaves and plan to use this die forever and a day! I cut the leaf from a gorgeous textured Designer Series Paper that I had hoarded in my stash, waiting for just the right project to come along.

Of course, you all recognize the tag from the Chalk Talk Framelits on which I mounted my leaf with Stampin' Dimensionals. To further add to the dimensionality, I also popped up the tag itself onto the card. 

Thick Baker's Twine in Very Vanilla and Wild Wasabi united to make a perky bow that I attached with a Glue Dot. Another Glue Dot-ted element is the old, old Stampin' Up! button that nestles into the notch of the tag. Without that button, the card just somehow look unfinished. This was the perfect addition.


I  know the three following photos don't show you anything new about this card. But, I was having such a blast with the lusciously dramatic light and shadows, I just had to share them with you.




This is a card that would be suitable for virtually any occasion. OK. Well, maybe not for a new baby. But, even for a fall wedding or any occasion for a male. I love when a card ends up being so versatile. 

Two of the reasons that I rarely put a sentiment on the front of my card are: 1) I think that they can almost stand alone as a work of art in miniature; and 2) by eliminating the sentiment from the front, you are left with infinite options for an occasion simply by adding an appropriate sentiment INSIDE the card. Leave it blank until a need arises!

Noble
Smiles.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: TOGETHERNESS



Nature's springtime
Fallen from a
maple tree.

Beauty,
grace,
color.

HARBINGERS
of 
AUTUMN.

Beauty,
grace,
color.

The
CIRCLE OF LIFE
over
and 
over
and
over.

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
- Albert Camus -


P.S. Please click on the word "HELICOPTERS" above for a charming and informative short video about maple helicopters.

Circular
Smiles.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

FRESH APPLES

Incredibly, tomorrow is the first day of fall! There are so many wonderful aspects to this time of year. Among them, of course, is the proliferation of Farmer's Markets and roadside stands offering fresh farm-grown produce and flowers. 

To me, this image of an old pickup truck laden with a heavy load of apples is the epitome of the season.

In sharp contrast to what we in the Midwest are about to be treated to in the next few weeks, namely a luscious show of gorgeous colors, I wanted to keep this card fairly monochromatic. 

The colors I chose were Crumb Cake, Early Espresso and touches of Cajun Craze.


I ran the oval on which the truck image is mounted through my Big Shot inside the beautiful Woodgrain Embossing Folder. I then sponged the edges liberally with Early Espresso ink. This adds lots more dimension and character that the embossing alone can offer. 


And, I love the way one of the apples from the baskets in the back of the truck rolled out to add a little spark to the sentiment -- which was punched with the Washi Label Punch. I love that punch!


I am entering this card into The Paper Players challenge for this week, a Clean-and-Simple Challenge in which entrants were to create a fall scene:


Crisp
Smiles.


Sunday, September 20, 2015

TEXTURED BIRTHDAY

As you can see, this card is FULL of texture. It is absolutely TEXTUREFUL! Yes, that IS a word. At least, now it is. Because it describes this fun card so well.

This card went to my niece, Stacy, who -- by the looks of the card would probably be a child -- is an adult with two precious daughters of her own. But, she teaches young children, and since she is so full of fun herself, I thought the card would be perfect for her. I also thought Macy and Mallory might get a kick out of it as well.


The texture and dimension comes from several sources. 

The cute lion, from Zoo Babies on page 32, is stamped twice. The second time it is stamped, his head is punched out with the 7/8" Scallop Circle Punch (page 165) and popped up with a Stampin' Dimensional. The lion is mounted atop a Decorative Dots Embossing Folder-embossed circle in -- a color mostly neglected on my part -- Tempting Turquoise, cut with the Circles Collection Framelits (page 173).


Texture and interest continue in the ribbon-and-dot strip that is a continuation of the Happy Birthday salutation. The red grosgrain ribbon has delightful up-and-down stripes. And the layered dots added to the ribbon carry on a bit more texture.


The happiest and most textured aspect of the card, however, is in its background treatment. 

I don't know if you've ever tried this trick before or not. But, if you haven't, you MUST give it a try. Here's how to do it:

Take a cheery napkin and carefully separate the top ply of the napkin from the bottom undecorated plys (plies???) beneath. This is usually fairly easy if you start at one of the corners of the napkin. Crumple the decorated layer of the napkin a few times in your hands, slightly flattening it out each time. Once you have nice, interesting veins in the napkin, set it aside. DO NOT FLATTEN IT COMPLETELY. You WANT the ups and downs for texture. 

Cover completely a base piece of cardstock, cut to the size you want for your card, with Stampin' Glue Stick (page 156), from edge to edge. 

Gently place the napkin over the glued piece, and flatten in place with your fingertips, preserving as much of the texture as possible. 

Cut off the excess to about 1/2" from the edge of the base piece. Fold the edges of the napkin to the back and glue or tape them in place. Then when you mount it on your card, you will have a delightfully neat finished edge.


Have you ever tried this technique? It is a take on the faux silk technique in which you use tissue paper.

Textured
Smiles.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: PINK LACE


The flowers of
SUMMER.

Crisp.
Colorful.
Innocent.
Flamboyant.

Blooms
that evoke a
SMILE.

Fleeting
LOVELINESS.

Where have all the flowers gone?

The End of
SUMMER.

Where have all the flowers gone,
Long time passing,
Where have all the flowers gone,
Long time ago,
Where have all the flowers gone,
Picked by young girls every one,
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young girls gone,
Long time passing,
Where have all the young girls gone,
Long time ago,
Where have all the young girls gone,
Gone to young men every one,
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the young men gone,
Long time passing,
Where have all the young men gone,
Long time ago,
Where have all the young men gone,
Gone to soldiers every one,
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the soldiers gone,
Long time passing,
Where have all the soldiers gone,
Long time ago,
Where have all the soldiers gone,
They've gone to graveyards every one,
When will they ever learn?
When will they ever learn?

Where have all the graveyards gone,
Long time passing,
Where have all the graveyards gone,
Long time ago,
Where have all the graveyards gone,
Gone to flowers every one.
When will we ever learn?
When will we ever learn?

Pete Seeger/Joe Hickerson

During the McCarthy Era, 1955, Pete Seeger wrote the first three verses 
of this beautiful and mournful song. 
Then in 1960, Joe Hickerson added the final two verses. 
In 2010, the New Statesman listed this song as one of the "Top 20 Political Songs." 

As a young guitarist, during the day of folk songs and the hootenanny
I personally played and sang Where Have All the Flowers Gone? many, many times.

To hear a wonderful rendition, with meaningful accompanying photos, 

Please check out the rest of My Instagram Account and consider following me?

Flowery
Smiles.









Tuesday, September 15, 2015

ARGYLE GOOSE TUTORIAL


Following you will find a tutorial to re-create your own Argyle Goose card, as pictured above. We always need masculine cards, and this one, featuring the great goose from Wetlands, fits the bill perfectly.

SUPPLIES:
Wetlands stamp set

Chocolate Chip cardstock
Naturals Ivory cardstock

Chocolate Chip ink

Boho Chic Embossing Folder
Stampin' Sponge
Big Shot
1 1/4" Chocolate Chip Striped Ribbon
Stampin' Dimensionals

INSTRUCTIONS:
Fold a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" sheet of Chocolate Chip cardstock in half, creasing it well with a bone folder.

Run a 3 3/4" x 5" piece of Chocolate Chip cardstock through the Big Shot inside the Boho Chic Embossing Folder. Adhere this to a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Naturals Ivory cardstock. Wrap a piece of 1 1/4" wide striped ribbon around this piece, securing the ends on the back with Scotch Tape. Attach it to the card front.

In Chocolate Chip ink, stamp the goose image onto a piece of Naturals Ivory cardstock that measures 2 3/8" x 2 3/4". 

Tear one of the short ends off of a 2 3/4" x 3 1/4" piece of Naturals Ivory cardstock. Sponge all the edges, including the torn edge, in Chocolate Chip ink. Adhere the goose piece to this. Add a strip of brown diecut diamonds toward the upper left.

Adhere a 1/2" x 2" piece of Naturals Ivory cardstock onto the ribbon, leaving a small margin on the right. Add a strip of diecut brown diamonds to the top.

Adhere the finished goose piece to the card front with Stampin' Dimensionals, covering the ends of the diamond/cream piece.

In Chocolate Chip ink, stamp "Birthday Greetings" onto a 1" x 1 3/4" piece of Naturals Ivory cardstock. To bring the card together, sponge the edges of this piece also. Attach the sentiment to the front with two Stampin' Dimensionals.

NOTE: I'd like to say a little something about the Naturals Ivory and Naturals White cardstock that I call for quite often in my tutorials. I MISS THEM! If you are like me, you stocked up on these basic papers for future use as soon as you heard they were going away. There is no other cardstock in the Stampin' Up! line that gives the rugged masculine feel that is the only suitable look for certain cards and projects. 

Naturals
Smiles.


Monday, September 14, 2015

PAPER CUP EXPLOSION

A few weeks ago, I went positively crazy for the cutest little papercrafting projects you've ever seen!


After presenting a handcrafted paper cup with paper doily to me, my friend, Marge, went about teaching me the ins and outs of creating these precious treasures myself. 


Marge so generously shared her notes, her changes, her supplies, 
and the link to the video on making a fleet of cups.


I have to admit that, in the next few days, I went absolutely bonkers in making them. 
Then, adding matching doilies created with my Big Shot really upped the ante.


I just couldn't stop. I tell you -- I COULD NOT STOP!


Using Stampin' Up!'s Envelope Punch Board makes these a cinch to make. 
And don't the insides looking crazy wonderful!?!


I even crafted a quilted version for a friend who is an avid quilter. 
I filled the cup with treats for her.


See? They even look great for a cup o' Christmas cheer!


I hope you've enjoyed my bit of indulgence in creating something so darned cute!

Thanks, Marge, from the bottom of my cup, er, heart, for sharing and giving me so much pleasure!

Wait! After writing this post and revisiting all my little paper cups, I think I just HAVE to run downstairs and make another one (or two) . . . 

Cups
Smiles.

P.S. Some of you have asked me for the instructions on making these little darlings. This is a link to the video. Have fun!

Thursday, September 10, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: FROND


FROND.

The epitome of
AUGUST.

Fern life
waning.
Still
BEAUTIFUL.
Still
VIVID.
Still
ALIVE.

But not for long.

Autumn beckons.

The foliage has been losing its freshness 
through the month of August, 
and here and there a yellow leaf shows itself 
like the first gray hair amidst the locks of a beauty 
who has seen one season too many.
- Oliver Wendell Holmes -


Beckoning
Smiles.


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

CELEBRATING THREE YEARS OF BLOGGING!

I am thrilled to be able to announce that I am celebrating
MY THIRD BLOGIVERSARY!

I published my very first blog post on September 5, 2012! I just re-read it, and found it to be quite interesting and fairly entertaining. 

Looking ahead to three years later, I have definitely adhered to my original intent. There have been a few changes along the way. But, for the most part, I am still diligently trying to plant those little CREATIVE PAPER SEEDLINGS

It was a slow start in the beginning. My MDS-created quote pieces, for the most part, fell flat with my readers. So, I eventually gave up on them.

Now, however, I have picked up on the quotes once again with my Focus Fridays. For each of my weekly Focus Fridays, I share one of my Instagram photos, as well as a few words <of  wisdom> about my feelings on the subject matter. I end the post with a quote that complements the week's theme. 

I have been receiving many wonderful comments on my Focus Friday posts. So many, and so wonderful, in fact, that I'm wondering if I should just give up on the papercrafting altogether. 

Nope. Can't do that. Photography is one of my passions. But, papercrafting and my love of sharing and planting Paper Seedlings is my favorite and most motivating passion. I truly love how just committing to publishing a papercrafting post every Sunday and Wednesday keeps me so active creatively. It is truly cathartic for me. 

Speaking of comments -- and feedback -- I didn't hear from anyone until I had been blogging for almost a month. Nor did I get many views. I wondered if I was reaching ANYONE!

Long about September 27, I posted a lovely card that got TONS of attention though. In fact, I smile every time I STILL see it re-pinned more than occasionally on Pinterest. This particular post, Autumn Splendor Emboss Resist, has received an astonishing -- to me, at least! -- 4,962 views. 


However, the post, White Wedding, is the one that has received the most pageviews for me. It boasts a total of 7,953 views! I hope the recipients of this card have saved it!


The post, . . . and She Said, "Be My Guest." was my second-most-viewed post, dating from May 3, 2013, with a whopping 5,464 pageviews. I was honored to have been asked to do a guest blog post on someone else's blog. A tutorial, complete with a plethora of step-by-step photos, is included in this guest post.


Even though I think my work and ideas have been improving all along, I feel like I am stagnating a bit.

I'm not sure what has happened since the beginning of 2015. These past months, I am lucky if I have a post that receives a paltry 300 pageviews. And those are usually photos from my Focus Friday posts. Hmmm. Any opinions to share on this unwelcome phenomenon?

When I first started blogging, one of my goals was to -- as I had noted in my very first blog post -- extend my reach beyond sharing with just those in the area who attend my monthly workshops. In saying this, I had hoped to not only reach more papercrafters with my ideas, but to maybe pick up some new Stampin' Up! customers. This hasn't happened. I haven't let this deter me (not overly much anyway) and have kept plugging away with my inspirational posts. 

It always pleases me when I receive a comment from one of my readers about how, with a particular post, I have inspired them to . . . 

I love to be your inspiration! If you think of any other ways I can change or improve my blog offerings, I would dearly love to hear from you. I want to continue to extend my creative outreach, and if I'm not hitting the nail exactly on the head, I need to hear ways I can do my job better. OK?

I abhor the fact that I am not more technically proficient to keep my blog looking and running its best. 

In fact, as I was writing this blog post, I'd wanted to access my Pinterest stats. I just wished to get some more detailed information about how many times my Autumn Splendor Emboss Resist post has been repinned on Pinterest. 

According to what I read regarding Pinterest Analytics, I needed to upgrade my account to a Business Account. Willing to do this, I proceeded as I was directed, only to become tangled up in the html coding. I wasted an inordinately exorbitant amount of time trying to work this out, only to give up in frustration. 

My daughter, Emily, has mentioned to me on occasion that my blog header in itself is woefully outdated (my words, not hers exactly). In taking a close, nonobjective look at my carefully-crafted-in-MDS Paper Seedlings header, I am forced to agree. 

Now, with the dawning of my fourth year of blogging, I am about to set out on a new adventure of reworking my header. Emily told me that my existing header does not adequately represent what my blog is all about. She continued to suggest that I actually "handcraft" my header, similar to how I create a card.

After giving the possibility some thought, I have decided that (once again) she is right! And what a fun project that could prove to be! 

I have become quite psyched about this project, and have been planning it all out in my brain. So far, I love the (imagined) results! And I can't wait to get to work on it. 

However, something has me mystified. Something that I will have to pursue further to get the answers I need. And I know I will be experiencing some technical frustration on that front. I am anxious to get going on the hands-on creating of the new header. But I do not know what size to work in so that it fits at the top of my blog like a header should. 

As I previously stated, my original header was created in My Digital Studio (which is now defunct). So it was easy to digitally get the finished piece to be the right size for Blogger.

So, while I am planning more and more cute components for my new and improved header, I am at a standstill until I can figure out that sizing problem.

I apologize that this post has become fairly lengthy. But I wanted to do something of an overview of my first three years as a blogger. I also wished to let you know that I hope to make some improvements in my blog in the coming months -- if I am able to figure it all out! If you are willing to help me out with some ideas, logistics or simple suggestions, as I've previously noted, I would love to hear from you!

So, with that all said, 
HAPPY THIRD BLOGIVERSARY TO ME!

Bloggy
Smiles.


Sunday, September 6, 2015

PATCHWORK PIZZAZZ

In desperate need of some Creative Therapy the other day, I turned to quilting for solace and comfort. Paper patchwork quilting, that is.

I had come across a darling pattern for a paper quilt a long time ago, and, like so many other things, I hung onto it for future use. Well, it turned out that THE FUTURE IS NOW -- or at least, it was the other day.

This little work of art was so much fun to do. In fact, as soon as I have a little spare time, I am going to make another one -- but in brighter more disparate colors. 

The squares of this quilt are created easily with the 3/4" Square Punch. What a godsend these various punches are! They make creating so so simple.


Looking at the pattern a little more closely, you will discover that some of the squares are cut in half diagonally and pieced together to form a two-patterned square.


I really feel that the simple bow made from Stampin' Up!'s Venetian Lace and topped off with a fancy little button with Baker's Twine sets the piece off perfectly. It also gives it an added homey touch. 


Of course, a card such as this one could be used for virtually ANY occasion. Maybe a guy wouldn't appreciate it as much. But, even so, I think it would make a good get well card for anyone, male or female, who needs a little care and comfort. Kinda like a good wholesome bowl of chicken soup.

When you are in the need for some Creative Therapy, what exactly do you turn to? Do you go the papercrafting route like I do? Knitting? Crocheting? Zentangling? Or do you never require the comforting and settling-down that Creative Therapy can bring?

Patchwork
Smiles.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: STAGES


I named this photo
STAGES.

Obviously the flowers
of this plant 
are in 
varying
STAGES.

Of opening,
that is.

Like
LIFE.
We all go through various
STAGES.

As with the flowering plant,
after going through these
STAGES, 
we 
DIE.

Only to be
RESURRECTED??


In three words I can sum up everything I know about life.
IT GOES ON.
- Robert Frost -

THE CIRCLE OF LIFE


Please visit My Instagram Account. Help me exceed 100 followers?


Staged
Smiles.






Wednesday, September 2, 2015

INTO THE WOODS THANKS

On Sunday, I was lucky enough to be able to attend a little stamping session -- where someone else did the designing and prep. What a treat! 

I was given a little mini kit to do with as I wished. Within the kit were Rich Razzleberry card bases, some Mossy Meadow cardstock and a few pieces of a cute Rich Razzleberry/Mossy Meadow/Whisper White DSP called Into the Woods (page 43 in the new Holiday catalog). 

I decided to take advantage of this freebie and design a card of my own, Besides using the papers I already mentioned, the "star" of my creation was to be the medallion.

Where did that elegant medallion come from, you ask?


One of the cards we made at the stamping event featured one of the new Spider Web Doilies (page 47 of the new Holiday catalog):


We were instructed to snip out the very center of one of the Spider Web Doilies for three reasons: 1) The very center of the doily was going to be covered with the sentiment (BOO!), 2) the little center is REALLY COOL for another project! and 3) it is WHITE on the back -- which opens it to all sorts of (non-Halloween) possibilities. 

Hey, I was all for a little snipping!

For  my card, I elected to keep it the center white so it just looks like a lacy little non-seasonal doily in its own right. For the center, I used one of the Antique Brads (page 160 of the big catalog). They are so incredibly elegant, and I hoard them for special occasions and projects only. (I only have three of them left now. Sad.)

The white, mounted against Rich Razzleberry and surrounded by Mossy Meadow, complements the background DSP nicely.


I wanted to make this a Thank You card. To do so, I reached for another of the new offerings in the Holiday catalog, the Thankful Forest Friends set, found on page 43. I liked the stamp with the "thanks" on it, but as such, it was meant more for a Thanksgiving Card. 



To rectify that situation, I grabbed my Rich Razzleberry and Mossy Meadow Stampin' Write Markers and colored just the bottom section of the stamp, huffed on it, and stamped it onto a scrap of Whisper White cardstock. I then cut it out with the smallest Ovals Collection Framelits (page 173 of the big catalog). 


Do you often use only part of a stamp? What is your preferred method of inking up in a situation like that?

Woodsy
Smiles.