Thursday, October 29, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: MEETUP


What do you see?

Squint
your eyes.

A
MASK?

Wide
Gaping
EYE SOCKETS.

A
MOUTH
filled with
DISCONTENT.

Whether Halloween or not,
we all wear
MASKS.

Does anyone ever really
SEE
the real
ME?
or
YOU?

Life is
one big
MASQUERADE.

We all wear masks, and the time comes when we cannot remove them without removing some of our own skin.
- Andre Berthiaume -

Please visit me on INSTAGRAM.

Hidden
Smiles.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

3 PUMPKINS AND A BOO

 Just wanted to send you all a big BOO via three little pumpkins:


I snipped out the center of the Spider Web Doily for this card, as I also did in the card below. I mean, after all, if the center if going to be covered up, why not save it for another project??? Just common sense, and it takes only a minute and a few snips


In lieu of the center of the web, I used a crumpled and sponged circle cut with the Circle Collection Framelits from an old romance novel. And, although it's not apparent in the photo, I fussy cut all the pumpkins, glued the two end ones in place, and popped the center pumpkin with a Stampin' Dimensional. 


For the top portion of the card, I used a piece of Stampin' Up! Halloween paper from loooooong ago. To show you HOW long ago, it is white on the other side and the weight of copy paper almost. For the purple portion, I sent it through the Big Shot inside the Chevron embossing folder. To spookify it a bit, I sponged Smoky Slate over the raised portions of the embossing.

After I adhered the designed piece and the purple embossed piece to the orange card base, I added a strip of black and white washi tape. I like the way the tape served as yet another Halloween-y layer. 


B O O !

Spookified
Smiles.

Sunday, October 25, 2015

COZY CHRISTMAS

Two things are approaching very quickly: Christmas and quilt weather. Yup. We can deny it all we want, but they're on their way! So, we might as well embrace it.

I hope you hang onto your Stampin' Up! goodies, even after they retire. 'cause I certainly do! 

If I had gotten rid of my Triangle Punch when it retired, I would not have been able to make this cool card. The same can be said of the Designer Series Papers I used for the tree. Oh, and the embossing folder. Oh yeah. Also the pleated ribbon. 

Oh well. Please forgive me. I just love all of my Stampin' Up! yummies and grab whatever fits in with my vision of a project, whether current or retired.

I must mention that the cardstock and the punch -- the Banner Punch -- I used for the tree's trunk are definitely still in the catalog!


What a fun card to create! And, once you get your layout of designs figured out, it is simple to put together. Once it was embossed with the tight design, however, the colors of the tree seemed to have lost some of their brilliance and vibrancy. That's OK. I love it anyway.


To use current product to make this card, you could substitute the Tree Punch (page 167) and cut off the trunk. The only problem is the size. Using that punch would give you a much larger tree. Although maybe it would be cute using just the top two layers of the tree. I don't own that punch (GASP!) so I can't try it. 

Other current embossing folders that would give you a cute quilted look for your Christmas tree include Boho Chic, Elegant Dots and Tiny Triangles, all on page 174 of the big catalog Depending on the look you wish to achieve, you might also try Arrows, Chevron, Honeycomb, Modern Mosaic or Zig Zag. 

Current Designer Series Paper that would make a darling quilted Christmas tree are Merry Moments DSP (page 143 of the big catalog) or Season of Cheer (page 29 of the Holiday Catalog). I think Home for Christmas (page 9 of the Holiday Catalog) would not be conducive to creating the tree. The colors are too disparate and, for the most part, the design is too large. In my opinion.

Oh yes! The darling sentiment comes from the set Cozy Christmas on page 9 of the Holiday Catalog. That set has the earmarks of becoming a classic with so many possibilities. Of course, I will hang onto it FOREVER! 

Hey! I have an idea! If you would like to create your own quilted Christmas tree cards, why don't you order your supplies naming ME as your demonstrator! I would be honored and so thrilled if you would! As a matter of fact, I would love it if you would order through me for ANY of your papercrafting projects!

Try your hand at paper quilting. I guarantee you will fall in love, especially after you see the beautiful results!

Quilted 
Smiles.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: RISING TO THE TOP


This little
LEAF
has done its
BEST.

It has risen to the
TOP

and 
SUCCEEDED.

So must
WE
learn from this little
LEAF

and 
NEVER
give up on
OURSELVES.

We cannot rise higher than our thought of ourselves.
- Orison Swett Marden -

Please honor me with a visit to

Thoughtful
Smiles.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

LOVE ALWAYS

I've done this in the past. But haven't done it recently. Randomly chose one of my stamp sets as my "assignment". 

When I grab for any of my stamp sets, they are all together in one place -- retired and current. So, to me, it doesn't matter whether it is current or not. If I randomly picked it, it's the one I am to use.

For this "assignment", I nabbed a Sale-A-Bration set, Banner Blast, a set that hasn't seen nearly enough ink. 

OK. So this is my assignment. I needed to base a card creation on this stamp set.

X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O X O

Opting for a black, white and red color scheme, I decided to go with a love theme. Cutting up a few pieces of Designer Series Papers, I went to work. 

And this is what I came up with. Pretty much outside the box for me!

I especially love the bottom DSP layer,, which is a very even pattern of cross stitched hearts. On this card, the way the hearts stick out only on the edges -- maybe it's just me?? -- but the design reminds me of an animal print. Kinda cute -- and WILD -- you know?

Of course, everyone understands the xoxoxoxo design on a love card. I added a few strips of Washi Tape too.


I hung my little love-ly banners on a black and white baker's twine wash line, popping each banner away from the card surface.


My "always" is also from an old stamp set, but, with the "love" hovering above it on the card, it was most fitting. I punched out the sentiment with the Washi Punch. LOVE that punch!


This was a great project to create on a day that I wasn't feeling just too creative!

What is one of your favorite classic color combinations to work with? What sorts of things do you make yourself do to wake up your muse -- on those days when it seems she must be on vacation?

Always
Smiles.

Saturday, October 17, 2015

OVAL PUMPKIN

This past Monday, at my monthly Stamp-In Workshop, my girls made a cute Halloween card. (I purposely photographed it with lots of "dark shadows" to make it appear more sinister.)

Notice that one of Stampin' Up!'s Spider Web Doilies (page 47 of the Holiday Catalog) was used in the card. I learned recently (thanks, Patrice!) that, if you are going to cover up the center of the doily, why waste it? Take a couple minutes to carefully snip that center of the doily away to use in a future project!

In the next week or two, I will share the card the girls made utilizing the center of the web. Stay tuned!


To make the "realistic" vine for the pumpkin, I simply wound a 1/4" strip of green cardstock around a pencil. (Sorry about the slightly flattened look of my vine. Something was accidentally set on it.)


To further add to the card's sinister look, I tore a page from an old yellowed book and incorporated that into the composition. 


For the sentiment, I used a little strip of the same book page without the print and tore it to the proper shape and size.

You can also notice that I used some of the retired Halloween Washi Tape that I had purchased from the Stampin' Up! Clearance Rack. I love the look of the rows of skulls. At my workshop, in case any of the girls weren't crazy about the skulls, I offered another -- not-quite-as-spooky -- option in black and white.


I like the looks of the card because it could also be used simply as a seasonal decoration! Spoooooky!

Following are the supplies and directions to recreate (resurrect?) this card for yourself. 

SUPPLIES:
A variety of three different orange Designer Series Papers
A neutral (brown-colored) DSP for the stem
A green DSP for the leaf
Basic Black cardstock
Smoky Slate cardstock

Black ink of choice
Smoky Slate Ink

Flower Patch stamp set
Happy Halloween stamp (or spooky stamp of your choice)

Old book page
Stamping Sponge
Spooky Washi Tape
Spider Web Doilies (page 47, Holiday Catalog)
Paper Snips
Big Shot
Flower Fair Framelits (you will use the leaf)
Ovals Collection Framelits
Banner Punch
Simply Scored
A pencil for curling

DIRECTIONS:
Use the Simply Scored tool to score a 4 1/4" x 11" piece of cardstock in half, at 5 1/2". Fold on the score line.

First of all, snip out the center portion of the Spider Web Doily. Set this aside for another project. (Notice that it is WHITE on the back! More on that in another post!)

Sponge the edges of a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Smoky Slate cardstock with ink to match. Adhere this piece to the card base.

Add 4 1/4" pieces of spooky Washi tape to the top and bottom of the gray piece.

From an old throw-away book, take a piece of a page that measures 3" x 4 1/4" and crumple it loosely in your hands. Flattening it out somewhat, sponge over the words with Smoky Slate Ink. Adhere this between the Washi Tape pieces. Depending on the width of your Washi Tape, there may be some overlap.

From a scrap of the book page (without print), stamp the sentiment in black ink. Add a little sponging to this piece. Tear it to size and adhere it to the lower left of the card.

Using tiny drops of glue (or the Fine Tip Glue Pen on page 43 of the Holiday Catalog), adhere the spider web to the card, with just a bit hanging over the right, top and bottom edges.

To create the pumpkin, cut three ovals, using the Framelit that yields 1 3/4" x 2 5/8" ovals, from each of the three different orange Designer Series Papers. Slant the bottom two ovals toward each other, with their tops touching. Add the top oval over these, gluing it all in place.

Stamp in black the feathery leaf onto a piece of the green DSP that you've chosen. Cut it out with the appropriate Framelit. Create the stem for the pumpkin with the Banner Punch and the brown DSP. Adhere the leaf and the stem to the pumpkin top. Hide the pointed ends of the banner piece behind the pumpkin.

Wrap a strip of matching green cardstock that measures 1/4" x 6" tightly around a pencil, pulling it off gently to retain a curl. Attach to the back of the pumpkin.

Adhere the pumpkin over the web, with a bit more of the web showing to the right of the pumpkin.

Sinister
Smiles.




Thursday, October 15, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: YELLOW


A little
CHEESE
with your 
WHINE,
Linda?

Reference:
My recent
WHINING
about the lack of
FALL COLOR.

This last week I
was rewarded
with
BEAUTIFUL
COLOR.

Stopped in a
CEMETERY
on my way home from work.

Breathtaking
COLOR!

I HAD TO SHARE.

October gave a party.
The leaves by hundreds came --
the chestnuts, oaks and maples,
and leaves of every name.
The sunshine spread a carpet.
And everything was grand.
Miss Weather led the dancing,
Professor Wind the band.
- George Cooper -

Please visit 
PLEASE?

Yellow
Smiles.






Wednesday, October 14, 2015

EMBOSSED LEAVES CELEBRATION

I seem to have developed an unhealthy obsession lately. I am unduly obsessed with the fall colors, or until recently, the lack of. After all, I live in Central Wisconsin, so it should be heartbreakingly beautiful in October, right? 

My last Focus Friday told the woes of driving even farther north than we live in hopes of discovering awe inspiring autumn colors. Nada. 

A few days after that drive, the colors miraculously appeared, even in our neck of the woods! Glory!

This past weekend, to celebrate that glorious emergence of the coveted colors, I made this card:


I started out with a piece of Whisper White cardstock onto which I sponged my version of fall colors: a concoction of Cajun Craze, Always Artichoke, Crushed Curry, Cherry Cobbler, and, for a little mystery, Rich Razzleberry. 

Following the sponging, I turned to this retired set of gorgeous leaves. I love this set because of all the line work, which takes to heat embossing so beautifully.

After stamping the leaves hither and yon in VersaMark ink, I covered the stamping with Gold Embossing Powder, and heated it to set the embossing. I did the same with the word, "celebrate". 

I wrapped some of the gold metallic baker's twine around the ends. It still seemed to need a little more pizzazz. I considered adding some punched dots like I do so often in my cards. 

But . . . 

Then I remembered that I had recently gotten a package of the Candy Dots (page 161), which was still unopened. So I added three of the Candy Dots in coordinating colors to the sentiment portion. I love the look of these little pieces!

Since I took these photos yesterday, I have removed the little ends of the Modern Label Punch in Cajun Craze from the sentiment piece. They just seemed -- I don't know -- STUPID?? 

It now has a cleaner look. 


Yesterday, we had lots of wind and rain, so many of the lovely trees took quite a hit. However, today, as I drove to work, I noticed that the trees in a large cemetery were still glorious. So, on my way home, I took advantage of the pleasant fall weather and the beautiful trees that somehow escaped the wind, and took lots of lovely photos.

Ah. Now, my heart is happy.

Celebration
Smiles.


Saturday, October 10, 2015

TWO STARS

My daughter and her husband celebrated their tenth wedding anniversary this week. Emily and Stephen are and have been all about the stars. So, I thought it would be appropriate to incorporate not only stars, but Emily's favorite color combination, in my card for this milestone anniversary.

I made a prototype from scraps first to make sure my idea would work nicely. My sample did, so I went to work on the real thing.



It is a gatefold card, but . . .


I wanted to use TWO STARS as the theme.



Can you see in the following photo how the star on the right folds in first . . .


only to close completely with the top star exactly covering the first star.



I had something specific to say inside the card. But, I was stymied as to how to follow through with the card being entirely handmade. Of course, not having a stamp saying what I wanted to say, I contemplated doing the inside on the computer. But that just did not  fit with my vision, 

So, I went ahead and stamped the verse by hand, each letter individually. The look, of course, is far from perfect. But it turned out to be a GOOD look. Just right, in fact.


What was my inside verse?

It's been ten years since two stars became one.

Starry
Smiles.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: ORANGE RUFFLES


October
in Wisconsin.

Over the weekend
we drove
200 miles.

Searching
Searching
Searching
for 
GLORIOUS COLORS.

Alas.
We remained in
PACKERS COUNTRY.

All the trees were
GREEN
and
GOLD.

We were
OBVIOUSLY
too early.


Thus,
ORANGE RUFFLES:
my
TRIBUTE
to fall
COLORS.


Bittersweet October.
The mellow, messy, leaf-kicking,
perfect pause between the opposing miseries of
summer and winter.
- Carol Bishop Hipps - 
"October," IN A SOUTHERN GARDEN, 1995.

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I LOVE comments and followers!

Orange
Smiles.







Tuesday, October 6, 2015

STICKER BOO

Recently at work, I've been very busy tagging items with colored tags. Normally, once all the tags are used up on a sheet, the sheets are thrown away. Saturday, however, as I stuffed one in the garbage, I had a second thought. HINT: Think kleenex boxes. 

I realized that I should be able to use this throw-away sheet of "stickers" in my cardmaking somehow. The sheet I had rescued was a vivid orange that simply begged to be used in a Halloween card.

So, when I saw The Paper Players theme challenge this week called for a Halloween card . . .

I was set.

Peeling off a strip of the orange, I adhered it to a piece of black cardstock about the same size. Then, I went to work with my Hexagon Punch, being careful to punch them so they showed interesting compositions.

Initially, I was going to have all the shapes going in the same direction like they were on the sheet. But, that looked kinda boring. After shuffling them around, I discovered that they were much more Halloween-y looking pointing in random directions. So, that's what I did with my design.

The Halloween images in the purple hexagons came from three old Halloween sets that I will NEVER get rid of. 


The following photo shows a slight reflection from the light because the stickers themselves are shiny. This shine was a wonderful complement to the flat look of the black to which it was attached.


Now, THAT'S the way to recycle, eh?


Sticker-y
Smiles.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

CRITIQUE TIME

When I was in college as an art student, I used to both dread and look forward to Critique Day. On that day, a piece or two of our recently assigned work would be tacked up for all to see -- all of my fellow students, as well as the professor. 

Of course, at this time, we were <doomed> to find out just how bad or good our work was, at least on this assignment. It seemed it was rarely the professor who spoke up at this time. After all, he had the power of the GRADE. The students were the ones to give and take on each work of art. And we were all expected to use "art" words, not just, "It looks great." or "That stinks." We actually had to establish what was right or wrong about what we had produced. 

Recently, as I was changing my kleenex box for a fresh one, I took a good look at the one that was destined for the dump. (Not really. If you know me at all, no kleenex box EVER gets thrown away. They are all saved for future papercrafting projects.) Well, this one screamed "autumn" to me. So I was determined to use it for an autumn-flavored card. I mean, don't those orange blobs -- if you squint and use your imagination -- look just like leaves wearing their fall colors? 

I had the incredibly incredible idea to use them as such in conjunction with the new Stampin' Up! Woodland Textured Impressions Embossing Folder (page 39 of the Holiday Catalog). 


After cutting off a section of the kleenex box to use in my card, I ran it through the Big Shot inside that embossing folder. Since a kleenex box is somewhat shiny, I carefully sanded just the tree portion of the embossing. After the sanding, I used a Sponge Dauber with Chocolate Chip ink to gently color in the tree areas. (I realize these are meant to resemble birch trees, which are predominantly white or cream, but, hey, I used my artistic license.)

I also embossed my background piece of Whisper White with the same embossing folder to expand on the tree-textured theme.


A strip of Washi Tape topped by a thinner strip of Chocolate Chip cardstock formed the basis for my sentiment, stamped in Chocolate Chip.


Now, while I do appreciate certain elements of this card, I am not completely pleased with the overall look of it..

How would you change what I've done? Would you have deleted something, added something? What? Or was it just a bad idea in the first place, and the kleenex box should have been sent to the dump without any further fanfare? C'mon. Your time to critique!

Anxious
Smiles.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: FOUR BALLERINAS


PICTURE THIS:

You are at the 
BALLET.

You have an aerial view of the 
STAGE.

WHAT DO YOU SEE?

FOUR BALLERINAS
in the
SPOTLIGHT.



The ballet is a purely female thing:
It is a woman,
a garden of beautiful flowers,
and man is the gardener.
- George Balanchine -



When I was contemplating a title for this photo, it immediately struck me as the pictorial essence of a ballet performance. It evoked images in my mind of the lovely ballet paintings of Edgar Degas.

MY INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT begs you to visit.

Pink
Pirouette
Smiles.