Thursday, December 31, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: NATURE'S POMPOM


NATURE'S POMPOM

CHEER
for the
NEW YEAR!

As we bid
2015
ADIEU,
let us usher in
2016
with
HOPES
and
PRAYERS
for a 
MORE HUMANE
year.

Let us learn to be 
KIND
to one another.

A
RESOLUTION:
SMILE more.
be more PATIENT.
have more TOLERANCE.
ENJOY being alive.
TRY harder.


Hope smiles from the threshold of the year to come, whispering, 
'It will be happier.'
- Alfred Lord Tennyson -

Please pay me the compliment of visiting

Cheering
Smiles.





Wednesday, December 30, 2015

BALLOON CHICK

Yesterday, my precious granddaughter, Stella (our only grandchild), turned eight years old. Of course, to commemorate this auspicious occasion, I wanted to create a card that would be as special to her as she is to me.

I had recently gotten -- ahead of time -- a darling set from this year's Sale-A-Bration catalog, Honeycomb Happiness (found on page 15 of the Sale-A-Bration catalog). Even though this set was designed to coordinate with the Honeycomb Embellishments (which will be able to be seen on page 9 of the upcoming Occasions Catalog), I immediately saw the three images -- an ice cream cone, a balloon and my little chick, pictured in my card in this post -- as wide open line images, which . . .

You guessed it: I could stamp them on scraps of Designer Series Papers and CUT THEM OUT! And do paper piecing! Yayyy!

NOTE: We are traveling two hours each way to visit my parents on New Years Day, so I stamped many many of these images in readiness for four hours in the car. And lots of FUSSY CUTTING! I'm so efficient, eh?

Anyway, back to the special card for Stella.


I stamped the chick on a piece of the paper found in the Cherry on Top Designer Series Paper Stack (page 144 of the big catalog), obviously the one with the chewed-on donuts. I then found some scraps of DSP that featured coordinating colors to create three balloons. The background circle on which my Balloon Chick rests is also a sheet from the Cherry on Top stack. The circle was, of course, cut with the Circles Collection Framelits. 


I topped the chick and the circle onto Calypso Coral cardstock on which I stamped the full balloon image randomly in Calypso Coral ink. Then a layer of Bermuda Bay on top of Crushed Curry formed the rest of the card base, giving me a very colorful, very wonderful card.


I love the dimensional look of popping up with Stampin' Dimensionals the chick and her three balloons! The Candy Dots arranged in an arc added a bit of interest also.


During Sale-A-Bration, which runs this year from January 5 through March 31, you can choose one of the freebies from the special SAB catalog for every $50 you purchase (before tax and shipping). Contact me if you would like me to mail you one of these catalogs!

Also, the new Occasions Catalog will go live on January 5. I will be showing you in upcoming blog posts projects I have made using some of the new products. Stay tuned.


HAPPY, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU, STELLA!

Birthday
Smiles.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

SANTA GETS PUNCHY

I have one last Christmas hurrah to share with you today. It just so happens to be the Christmas card I made for my granddaughter, Stella.

I had seen variations of Santa Claus faces consisting of pieces created with Stampin' Up! punches and/or Framelits/Thinlits on Pinterest. They were all adorable and just a little bit different from each other. I guess the reason for the differences obviously stem from the fact that rarely do we all own the same cutting equipment, and also the desire to make our creations in our own individual ways.

So, using the supplies that I possessed, this is the Santa card I came up with for Stella:


Just a little closer look:


Aspects of my personal version of Santa that I especially enjoy are his eyebrows and his sideburns. I love his little chevron-shaped eyebrows. Without the sideburns, my Santa looked like an elf impersonating Santa Claus. Much too young to have the huge responsibility of circling the globe in the span of one night, distributing toys to all the good girls and boys.

I debated various ways of making the jolly gentleman look his age. Finally, I hit upon SIDEBURNS! Yes! It was the exact right touch to age my youthful Santa.

Take note that his large drooping moustaches are made from the bird body of the Bird Builder Punch. I needed to do a bit of selective trimming, but it did the trick.

To make the catchlights in Santa's big black eyes, I used the White Chalk Pen. Sponging around the nose and cheek circles added a bit of needed dimension.

The background utilizes the beautiful Softly Falling embossing folder. I love the effect it adds.


Punchy
Smiles.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: MERRY CHRISTMAS!


Wishing you the
BEST 
kind of
CHRISTMAS!

Remember, if Christmas isn't found in your heart, 
you won't find it under a tree.
- Charlotte Carpenter -

Let's find Christmas in our hearts
the whole year through.


Christmas
Smiles.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

FLURRY GATEFOLD

The following blog post was published as a Guest Post on The Crafty Blog Stalker on November 19.

The tutorial for making the card is very detailed and filled with photos. Follow along if you would like to. I would be most pleased if you would! The card I will be showing you how to create is this one:


Because the card doesn't open traditionally -- right to left or bottom to top -- but from the center point, it is referred to as a gatefold card. 

To get the folds in the exact spot, start with a piece of cardstock that measures 5 1/2" x 8 1/2". Place the 8 1/2" edge up against the top of the Simply Scored, and score at 2 1/8" and 6 3/8".


Crease on these score lines with a bone folder so the card stays shut just right.


From Whisper White cardstock, cut two pieces that measure 1 7/8" x 5 1/4". I just have them lying in place on my card to illustrate.


Now, comes a really fun part -- a little thing that I like to do in my papercrafting as often as inspiration strikes me! -- when you use something that isn't normally considered a crafting supply. For this card, I was inspired by the plastic mesh bag in which my oranges arrived. Look at something "odd" with a different eye. In this case, I immediately saw this mesh as a STENCIL!

Cut off a piece of this mesh that is larger than your two white panels. Grab a Stamping Sponge and an ink pad and go to work! Because in my mind, snow flurries are not even in the way they appear, I echoed that in my sponging. So I varied the pressure I used in my stencil sponging so some spots were lighter, while others were darker, giving the panels a nice variety of color intensities.


Once I had both panels sponged to my taste, I glued them in place on the gatefolds of the card.


Instead of decorating this part of the card any further, I decided to opt for creating a belly band for the decorative part. Belly bands are fun and easy to create, and they can look so impressive!

A multi-layered snowflake was my choice for embellishment for the belly band for this card. I proceeded to make each of the three layers slightly different. I used three of the snowflakes from the Festive Flurry set. The bottom layer was stamped first in VersaMark on Lost Lagoon cardstock, then heat embossed in silver. My second layer was simply stamped in Lost Lagoon ink on Whisper White cardstock, while the smallest snowflake was embossed in silver on Whisper White.


I used the matching Framelits to cut out the snowflakes precisely. The blue on white snowflake is still inside its Framelit.


To make my very dimensional snowflake, I used Stampin' Dimensionals between each layer as I popped them together.


As a finishing touch, I added a Basic Rhinestone to the center. Just the PERFECT amount of bling. 


To create the belly band itself, cut a strip of Whisper White cardstock measuring 1" x 8 1/2". Lay the card centered on top of the strip, and carefully bend the ends up so they almost meet in the center. (No problem that they don't meet; the tiny gap will be covered by the elegant snowflake.)


Crease those folds well with a bone folder so the belly band will fit snugly and look neat.

Rub an Embossing Buddy over the strip with the folds facing upwards. Then, with the spotty stamp from Gorgeous Grunge, stamp several times across this strip in VersaMark. 


Cover your VersaMark spots with White Embossing Powder, tapping the excess powder back into its container. Heat emboss until all the powder is melted.


Grab your Stamping Sponge again, and gently cover those spots with Lost Lagoon ink. This technique is called a resist, in that wherever you have embossing, those spots will "resist" the ink, and remain white. Once you have the intensity of ink sponged on that you desire, you are set to move on.


Take a piece of Lost Lagoon ribbon that is about 9 1/2" long. Add Glue Dots here and there, and adhere the ribbon to the center of the resist strip, securing the ends of the ribbon onto the back of the belly band with tape.


Add some glue to the back of the snowflake and adhere the snowflake to the closed belly band. Once the glue has set, you can slide it into place on your card.

Wait!! We're not quite finished yet!


We are going to repeat some of that resist technique inside the card. Remember that the inside is Lost Lagoon? Cut a piece of Whisper White cardstock that measures 4" x 5 1/4". Repeat the same embossing steps you did on the dotted belly band: Rub the Embossing Buddy well over the cardstock, followed by your stamping in VersaMark whatever sentiment you have chosen. Cover this with White Embossing Powder and heat it until the entire stamped image is shiny.


Gently sponge Lost Lagoon ink over the embossed portion. Remember to start out softly; you can always add to the intensity of the ink. But, once you have it too dark, there is no going back. Keep the ink the darkest over the sentiment so it is readily legible, feathering it off into the distance.


Glue this panel inside the card for a neat finish that echoes the work you have done on the belly band.


And, here is your finished product. Lots of steps, a little bit of time, but well worth it, don't you agree?



 I simply adore the very dimensionl look of the snowflake on the belly band.


To open the card, your recipient merely slides the belly band off.


And this is what they will find inside to greet them!




I would love it if you would join me: Paper SeedlingsInstagramFacebookPinterestTwitter.

Flurry
Smiles.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

TAG IT!

This past Monday, December 14, was my most recent monthly Stamp-In Workshop. 

For quite awhile now, my Stamp-In participants have been treated to being able to create four cards that I had designed for them. Sure, every once in awhile, I would deviate a bit and offer three cards and one non-card project. But, they seem to like making cards. So, basically, that is what I stick with.

For my December 14 workshop, however, I was not having them make ANY cards. The first time in history that has ever happened. You see, what with the December 14 date being so close to Christmas, I guessed most of my girls had finished with their Christmas card making. 

BUT . . .

Maybe they weren't completely ready with their wrapping and decorating. So, I came up with four projects that would be useful this close to Christmas.

THUS . . .

Just for this month, I renamed my workshop to Santa's Elves Workshop. It seemed a more fitting title. And, just to be goofy.

One of the four projects the girls made was a set of three gift tags. 

I pre-cut Whisper White cardstock to a little less than 2" wide (so it fits comfortably inside the tag punch) by 3 1/4" long, and coordinating Designer Series Paper the same size, only this layer was 3 1/2" long. 

They had several decisions to make when constructing their gift tags. They had a choice of ribbons, baker's twines, DSP designs, which tree they wanted to stamp, which of the tag punches they wished to use, and various washi tapes.


You can see in my first sample tag that I used the Ornate Tag Topper Punch for both my layers.


The layer of Designer Series Paper serves no real purpose except as a little added decoration. I love the way that teeny bit of coordinating design extends past the bottom of the white tag. Just a little added whimsy if you will.


For next two tags, I used the Scalloped Tag Topper Punch. For the first tag, I also colored in random ornaments with Crushed Curry and Real Red Stampin' Write Markers.

The cute trees, as well as the To and From, come from the Festival of Trees stamp set (page 71) and are punched out with the Tree Punch on page 167.


On each of the tags, I glued the punched star to the top of the tree, then popped up the tree on the tag with Stampin' Dimensionals.



These tags are so much fun -- if a little time-consuming -- to make. I know that I am a pack rat who saves pretty much everything, especially if someone made it for me. But, being gift tags, I'm sure most of these little treasures end up in the trash. What a heartbreaker! 

How are you doing on your gift wrapping? I have two more gifts to wrap, and then I'M DONE! 

Wrapped
Smiles.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: WACKY WEATHER


'twas a week before
CHRISTMAS.
Not a snowflake in
SIGHT.

Looked at the forecast:
possibility of
PRECIPITATION
on 
WEDNESDAY.
But, wait,
they're predicting 
RAIN.

Whatever happened to
IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE CHRISTMAS
???

I guess we in
WISCONSIN 
will have to settle for

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas, 
just like the ones I used to know.
- Irving Berlin -



Unsnowy
Smiles.




Wednesday, December 16, 2015

WISHING YOU JOY

Something that you, my readers, know about me is that I HATE RIDING IN THE CAR any distance longer than 15 minutes. I fuss and fidget, finally falling asleep in frustration, because of the realization of all the time wasted when I could be PAPERCRAFTING! 

Recently, I had a great revelation. Why not ride AND papercraft? 

Thus, in preparation for any road trip, I stamp out a multitude of images that I can fussy cut while in the car. The image on my card, shown below, is just one such project.

The wreath, a Stampin' Up! image from the Wondrous Wreath set, is meant to be stamped, then cut out with the matching Framelits Dies. Easy, huh? Well, I don't own the matching Framelits Dies, so it wasn't to be so easy for me. But a lot more enjoyable!! Each of the three stamps that make up the wreath image have tabs for easy alignment so the finished product will match with the dies. 

Since I did not have the option of using the Framelits, I stamped my three layers, the lighter green base, the sporadic darker leaves, and the berries, hither and yon, not lining them up at all. Pretty much any way. I told myself that it looked "more natural". Yeah, right. Whatever. It just gave me the opportunity to fussy cut it. Likewise, I stamped the little poinsettia as well as the bow. Lots of cutting fun in the car! It kept me happy and awake and the time flew!


You can see in the following photo that it was not the easiest piece to cut out. 


The sentiment was from a very versatile set, Holly Jolly Greetings, found in the Holiday Catalog.
The secondary layer of cardstock which I mounted on the Whisper White card base, was a cardstock that possesses lots of interesting texture, which is not terribly visible in the photo.


I love the dimension achieved when popping up the various layers with Stampin' Dimensionals.


WISHING YOU JOY!

Fussy
Smiles.





Sunday, December 13, 2015

MY TRIP TO JAIL

I went to jail on Friday. Let me tell you all about it.

Being an avid cardmaker, I was asked a few weeks ago if I would be interested in participating in a little community outreach project. Sure! That sounded good.

As I listened, I realized that maybe I should not have agreed quite so quickly. 

You see, this outreach project was to teach Christmas card making to inmates of our county jail. 

Um. OK?

This past Monday, all the plans were set in stone. I was to create two Christmas cards and provide all the supplies and preparation for EIGHTEEN JAIL INMATES to make. GULP. 

Two days later, the updated number had gone up to 20. And they were all males.

As I prepared to create the two cards, I had several questions, including CAN THEY HAVE SCISSORS? Probably not, so I came up with one project for which I spent a few hours cutting out all the components for one of the cards. Lots of different sentiments and decorative details they could choose from. 

Not wanting the cards to be just too basic, I added a little flair with drawn-on polka dots and ribbon. This way, they'd be able to make it uniquely their own, what with various choices and all.

We had two hours with these guys. And, even though we did not have to fill up the entire two hours, I wanted to make it worthwhile for them. So, on the other card, I decided that, if they chose, they could do a little coloring with markers. I precut some tags, both a white one with the snowman to color, and a printed cardstock layer for underneath in a variety of designs. So they would have another choice to make. My Big Shot and punches had a good workout!

Following are the two samples I brought along for the guys to follow if they wanted to. I made up packets of the cut-to-size papers for each card, and passed around baskets for them to choose their own sentiments, decorations, ribbons and printed tags. 



I must admit: I was a nervous wreck just thinking about this coming up. 

Number one, the timing was horrible. I was to use this past week preparing for a Stamp-In Workshop to be held on Monday, December 14. I got absolutely NOTHING done as far as those preparations go. I have only a handful of Christmas cards written out. My kitchen is filled with gifts that make me feel guilty every time I walk by them: "Hey!! What about us?? Get us wrapped!" Plus I was scheduled to work four days this week. In retail. 

Added to the aforementioned, I was nervous about this project that was so outside my comfort zone. I had no idea what to expect.

Well, I must admit it was quite the satisfying experience. 

Nineteen, mostly very young men, showed up to make my cards. As I handed a packet to each individual, I received a "thank you" from every one.

For the most part, they were, if not exactly enthusiastic, very polite and receptive to what I had to offer. They did use a bit more of the ribbon than I'd anticipated, so I ended up running out. But, that seemed to be the only glitch. Some of the guys really loaded up their cards with my cut-up decorations. Some had trouble with the ribbons. Several of the guys wrote long notes/letters inside their cards. A few of them came prepared with things they had printed out on a computer that they wanted to incorporate into their own cards. One guy did elaborate drawing on his card. So much so, that we were already finished with the second card, and he was still drawing away. 

Not many questions. They simply worked diligently and got 'er done. 

If they were making their card(s) for a special someone or two, they were to have the addresses with them (or in their heads) to write on the outside of an envelope. If their card(s) were not for someone personal, they merely created two and handed them over to be given to the jail chaplain for distribution.

It was a pretty quiet 1 1/2 hours. A few nice comments about how a son will like getting this card and that he won't be able to see his kids for Christmas and how nice it was to be able to do this project. "Better than sitting on the block."

As they filed out of the room one-by-one, several of them shook our hands, thanked us for coming, and a few even wished us a Merry Christmas.

I left there feeling very gratified that I was able to provide even this little respite for them. Small as it was.

Gratified
Smiles.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

FOCUS FRIDAY: FRAGILE


Life is
FRAGILE.

Every time I look at
this photo,
I want to
remove the
"SCAR"
from the petal on the
farthest right.

But I always decide to
leave it
ALONE.

I see it as
INDICATIVE
of the 
SCARS
we accumulate
throughout
LIFE.

The 
SCARS
that make us
REAL.

The 
SCARS
that show we have
LIVED
and
SURVIVED.

And,
to reiterate was
I just said:

My scars tell a story. They are a reminder of times when life tried to break me, but failed. They are markings of where the structure of my character was welded.
- Steve Maraboli -

Please do me the honor of visiting

Fragile
Smiles.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

NEW AND IMPROVED

I am so pleased! 

Remember in THIS POST where I mourned the spots left by the glue when adhering my "peace" sentiments to the snowflake cards?

I had been hoping to start a discussion of options for fixing this problem on otherwise lovely cards. Since I didn't hear any ideas from anyone, I planned to proceed to try the idea I had been toying with: white gel pen.

This is the card that saddened me the most, as the spots are most evident. Notice them on the left side of the descending portion of the "p".


Well, as I was digging for one of my many white gel pens, I came across my White Stampin' Chalk Marker (page 163). And, once again, I experienced a delightful ah-ha moment! 

I don't always have the most consistent success with a white gel pen, but I have never been disappointed with how my Chalk Marker performs for me. Why not give THAT trusty tool a try?

So, I did. On the card that bugged me the most. And I was so pleased with how nifty that marker worked. I loved the liveliness the random dots added to the card. 


So, what did I do -- since I was so thrilled with my first blush of success? I proceeded to use the Chalk Marker on each and every one of the snowflake cards, whether there were glue issues or not.







So, be honest. What do you think of my "fix"?

Dotty
Smiles.