Saturday, December 31, 2016

WARM AND COZY NEW YEAR


I'd just like to take this opportunity to wish you 
a Warm and Cozy New Year. 
I hope 2017 is very good to you all.

Cozy
Smiles.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

ANTIQUE FLOWER

I am almost finished with the 30 Days of Creativity Challenge sponsored by +ppsuae, Pretty Papers.

This card is the one I created for Day 27 on which the prompt was Brads. This gave me the perfect opportunity to use one of the beautiful antique brads from Stampin' Up! I'd had one package of these brads, and have been pretty much hoarding them, saving them for those projects that are "just right" for them. The one in the center of my flower on this card is my fourth last brad. <sniff> 

Another Stampin' Up! product that I have been shamelessly hoarding is the sumptuous background Designer Series Paper I used on this card. Each and every one of the designs in this little pad of paper are simply wonderful, and, once again, are meant for just the right project.


 A bit of a strange perspective on the lovely Antique Brad in close-up:


This card ended up being 5" x 5". And it was ever so much fun to make!


I have only three more days left of the Challenge. The last three prompts are Blend, Mask, and Thank You. I think I am going to make it. 

I'd wondered about my sanity in taking on a challenge for the month of December. The days over Christmas, when I had a house full of company. were especially challenging. 

It's been a fun and, yes, challenging, journey. Thank you +ppsuae for letting me play along!

Antique
Smiles.
(the only kind of smile I really have nowadays)

Saturday, December 24, 2016

WORLD PEACE

 My Christmas Wish for All of Us?
WORLD PEACE.
That's not asking too much, is it?

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you all!


This is a card I created for a 30 Days of Creativity Challenge hosted by @ppaue on Instagram. The prompt for that particular day -- Day 5 of the challenge -- was WHITE. 

If you would like to see all the cards I've made so far for the challenge, you can check them out HERE.

May you create wonderful Christmas memories -- and STAY SAFE!

Peaceful
Smiles.



Wednesday, December 21, 2016

RUDOLPH ORNAMENT


Each year, I create a special ornament for my granddaughter, Stella. This is the 2016 ornament. I hope she likes it!

Red-Nosed
Smiles.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

ANNUAL TRIP

Last year, shortly before Christmas, two of us went to our County Jail to help inmates make Christmas cards to be sent to their loved ones. That occasion was the first time we had ever undertaken such an outreach project. Lori, the facilitator, was present simply as another body. This was really my project. And I have to admit that just thinking about it made me a nervous wreck. 

However, after we had concluded our two hours with about 20 male inmates, I had to admit that it was a good, satisfying project to have done.

This year when I was asked, I agreed without hesitation. You see, now I was a pro. And this didn't bother me in the least. 

Last year, I had had very little time to prepare (and be nervous!), so I was forced to utilize supplies that I'd already had in my stash. This year, however, I had ample time to get ready (and fret -- nah. I was OK.) So, I worked on it a little bit each day for about a week, and was prepared way ahead of time.

Being that we were taking these projects into a jail system, we were very limited as to what we could bring along. I'd had the idea of die cutting numerous snowflakes for them to incorporate into their cards. You know how when you diecut something intricate, so many of the little pieces stay in place (if you don't use the brush and pad system to remove them). So, I had the brainy idea of having the guys use toothpicks to poke out all those teeny pieces. I thought it would be somewhat time-consuming and keep them busy awhile longer. But, I was told that toothpicks could not be brought into the jail. 

I spent hours doing all the prep work for these simple cards that unexperienced papercrafters wouldn't have any trouble putting together. 

For these more serious red and green cards, I went to the Dollar Tree and purchased two packs of Christmas cards that I thought would work well for my project. I proceeded to fussy cut all the ornaments and trees. Then, from another portion of the cards, I punched snowflakes into circles. The polka dot strip across the bottom was another part of the cards that I merely cut to size. The rest of the supplies came from my existing stash.


What I ended up doing for the turquoise cards was purchase two packs of cute holiday-printed cardstock at Michael's. I then utilized almost entire sheets, by punching and punching and punching. The greetings across the bottom of the card were from a sheet from the second pack. It was a sheet of rows and rows of holiday phrases. I used my papercutter to slice these all to size.


I put all the individual supplies into separate plastic bags so they'd be easy to distribute when I got to the jail. I kept the two cards as separate projects, so they worked on only one design at a time. Since I had done all the prep work, that didn't leave a whole lot for the guys to do themselves. But, I gave them choices to make and told them that, even though I had sample cards for them to look at, it was only an idea of what it could look like using the supplies I gave them, that they were to feel free to make them completely their own. 

And they did!

Few of the cards looked like my examples. They truly did make them reflect their own personalities and tastes. In fact, many of the guys combined components from each of the cards together on one card. I was proud of the care they took in their creating for the most part. I did a lot of running around, redistributing wayward supplies. but the only real help I offered them was to a few who needed help tying their bows.

The guys were all very well-behaved and I heard "thank you" many times. Some even shook our hands as they left the room one by one. It was a gratifying experience that I hope to be offered next year again.

Gratified
Smiles.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

PURPLE SNOW

This card was one of the toughest I've had to come up with for the 30 Days of Creativity Challenge hosted by Pretty Paper so far. You see, the prompt for this day was ACRYLIC. Acrylic, yeah. I usually don't use acrylic in my cardmaking, except for the acrylic blocks on which I stick my stamps.

What to do?

A couple months ago, I had given my Gelli Plate a try and made some rudimentary prints. I use acrylic paints to do these prints. So, I shuffled through the pathetic prints I had, trying to find SOMEthing that might work for a card. 

Well, I finally came across this purple on white print. Very basic, done with a stencil. But, when I looked at it, it reminded me of gusting wind during a winter snowstorm.

So I cut the print down to proper size and used it for my background, and this card was born:


To me, the dimension of this card in all its layers is especially appealing.











Don't you just love the neat line of "stitching" on the darker purple circle? 
That is one of the 12 dies that were available only during November. 
But, don't worry. Stampin' Up! will be bringing them back in their annual catalog in June!





At first, I was struck by how BUSY this card was. When my husband professed to like it a lot, I questioned the busy-ness. He shrugged. I must admit that the card has grown on me, and now whenever I look at it, I feel somewhat delighted inside.


Snowy
Smiles.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

DOTTY SANTA

As I mentioned in my post last Sunday, I am participating in a 30 Days of Creativity Challenge through Pretty Paper Studio on Instagram. 

Each day -- December 1-30 -- we participants are given a prompt. We can interpret this prompt in any creative way we like. Since I am primarily a cardmaker, I decided from Day 1 that each of my 30 days would feature a card.

The prompt for Day 7 was "work space". Oh my. That leaves me with LOTS of options. You see, until I really really have to put things away, I usually go from one project to another, without cleaning away the stuff I'd just used. Consequently, there are always lots of supplies lying about in my work space. 

This one was sort of a no brainer. I had used my Copic Markers to color in a whole bunch of these cute Cookie Cutter Santas, punched them out, and they were just lolling around, waiting for me to do something with them. Since I'd made enough Christmas cards to send out, and these were supposed to go on Christmas cards, they didn't have a home. Sad, eh? Santa without a home?!?

So, I went to work on one of the plethora of Santas I had colored and punched. Here's what I came up with:


Below is a closer look at how I colored all these cute Santas. I thought I would show you that to explain the strange color combination I used for the dots in my background.

The background dots were punched with the 1/2", 3/4" and 1" Circle Punches.

Do you notice the "stitching" around the perimeter of the oval on which my Santa rests? Yup. That is one of the new Stitched Framelits. Those are simply the bestest!


I hope you're all having lots of fun with the cute characters in these Cookie Cutter sets and then punching them out with the coordinating punch! And acutally DOING something with them!


I'd love it if you'd check out all of my Days of Creativity submissions on my Instagram account. 
And feel free to follow me if you care to!

Dotty
Smiles.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

COPPER ORNAMENT

At my November Stamp-In Workshop, my girls made these cute little ornaments. The base, created with the Merry Tags Framelits and Copper Foil Sheets (page 47), is at the same time intricate and simple. The Copper Foil is exquisite, and you feel like you are working with a fine metal. 

Measuring just 2" across, plus the hanger, it is the perfect-sized ornament for a Christmas tree. 

Two of the components to create this lovely little ornament are retiring. The Merry Tags Framelits (Item 141835 found on page 21 of the Holiday Catalog) are now half price at $12.50. The matching stamp set, Merriest Wishes (142063/142066, also found on the same page), is now at 15% discount for the clear set. 


Do you remember those beauteous ornaments that were featured on the cover of the Holiday Catalog a few years ago? As a reminder, check it out HERE. Anyway, just for those ornament creations, Stampin' Up! had a set of Basic Pearls in a much larger set. Of course, I didn't make just too many of those complicated ornaments, so I had quite a few of those pearls left over. They were the perfect addition to complete this ornament. Don't you agree?


If you'd like to try your hand at creating this ornament, here's how:

SUPPLIES:

Copper Foil Sheets (page 47 in the Holiday Catalog)
Whisper White cardstock

Merriest Wishes stamp set

VersaMark Ink

Big Shot
Merry Tags Framelits (page 21 in the Holiday Catalog)
Copper Embossing Powder
Embossing Buddy
Heat Tool
Sticky Notes
Giant Pearl
Stampin' Dimensionals
Metallic Cord

INSTRUCTIONS:

From a 2 1/2" square piece of Copper Foil Sheet, cut out the ornament with the appropriate Framelits. LAY THE COPPER SIDE DOWN WITH THE FRAMELIT CUTTING EDGE AGAINST THE WHITE SIDE!! (Ask me how I know that. There is a crumpled piece of this copper foil in my wastebasket.) Once the ornament is cut, use the foam and roller brush to remove it from the die. You may have to work carefully to get it released. Don't force it. It is fragile and can tear. It's frustrating, I know, but it is worth it. Right?

On a scrap of Whisper White cardstock, after rubbing it well with the Embossing Buddy, stamp the spoked center in VersaMark ink. At the heat station, pour Copper Embossing Powder on the stamped image, tapping the excess powder back into its container. Heat to emboss.

Once this is cool (it just takes seconds), you will cut it out with the appropriate round Framelit from the same die set. In order to make sure that the white outside edge is VERY even, take a strip of sticky paper and lay it over the die once you have it in place before you run it through the Big Shot.

Add a giant pearl to the center.

Attach the circle to the center of the copper ornament with a Stampin' Dimensional.

Loop a piece of metallic cord through the top and knot the ends.

If you would like to catch these good deals before they are all sold out, order them through the Store on www.stampinup.com, and don't forget to name me as your demonstrator! Before you place your order, however, check out all the offerings. There are some really great prices!

Ornamental
Smiles.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

'TIS THE SEASON

I have never taken part in a 30-day Instagram Challenge before. It seems like I find out about these cool creative challenges, oh, maybe three or four days into the challenge. This time, however, I was pleased to find a challenge BEFORE it began. 

I questioned my sanity to take on a challenge during DECEMBER. But, then I discovered that my daughter, Emily Balsley, is doing a challenge this month, so, I figured that if she can manage it, why can't I? So, I decided to give it a whirl.

This 30 Days of Creativity is hosted by Pretty Paper Studio. They go under @ppsuae on Instagram if you'd like to check them out.

Anyway, the prompt for day one was "Flowers". So, I thought, we're coming up on the Christmas season, so what would be more appropriate than a beautiful poinsettia?

I had stamped this poinsettia from a retired Stampin' Up! set onto a pink cardstock and its leaves <obviously> on green cardstock. While they were pretty enough, they appeared sort of "flat". So I got out my Prismacolor pencils and added some life to the petals and the leaves. I am much happier with them now.

Do you remember that wonderful background stamp of a few years ago called Hello Doily? Well, I will definitely never forget it or stop using it, for two reasons: it is just so lovely and real-looking, and since my mom makes beautiful crocheted doilies, it reminds me of her every time I see/use it.

Stamped in Whisper White Craft Ink onto black cardstock, it looks like a real doily on which I set my lively poinsettia blossom.

I liked the way it looked lying on the doily and the black against the gold sparkle. But it just needed a little something more.So, I decided to add the 'tis the Season sentiment gold embossed on Vellum Cardstock. I carefully cut out the arched shape and added it to my card with some glue in two very important spots. Yup. You could see the glue through the vellum (what else is new??!?), so I hid my glue areas with two 1/4" dots I'd punched from the gold glitter paper. 


A close-up of the liveliness I added to the petals and leaves:


Since I popped the flower up on the doily with Stampin' Dimensionals, it lifts a bit away from the doily, giving it the illusion of being more three-dimensional:


Today I get to do Day 4 of the challenge, in which the prompt is "Mini". I know exactly what I am going to create, but I have to get a few more things finished before I can get creative.


Eventually I will post all 30 of the creations I made for the challenge. But, for now, I will just stick with seasonal-looking days. Stay tuned!

Challenging
Smiles.


Wednesday, November 30, 2016

OWL GIFT CARD HOLDER

Remember I've admitted in past blog posts that I hate riding in the car for any distance? All I can think about on a road trip is how I could be getting so much done if I was back at home. On the last several trips my husband and I took, I came prepared! I have items stamped and all ready to be fussily cut while I am on the road. (This keeps me from falling asleep.) 

Recently I had stamped a bunch of the owls and foxes from the hostess set, Cozy Critters, in the current Holiday Catalog (page 3). I'd stamped the owls and foxes on Whisper White cardstock. However, I stamped their coordinating scarves on teeny scraps I had of Christmas Designer Series Papers. 

So I had a lot of cutting to do! Yay! I must have gone a bit overboard though because I had, oh, about 40 of the owls and foxes and even more of their coordinating scarves.

At my November Stamp-In workshop, my girls made cute gift card holders, using either one of my precut owls or foxes. 

The gift card holders are fairly small -- only 3 1/2" x 5".


Showing the inside of my sample. One of my workshop attendees noted, however, that I'd missed one of the supplies that was needed to make this project: the gift card! Ah, good one. I'd told her that she could have the one in my sample (it had already been used. I just wouldn't let my husband throw it away!).


Once the girls chose whether they wanted to feature the owl or the fox, they chose the coordinating scarf to glue in place.


A view that shows both the outside and the inside simultaneously. 


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

SUPPLIES:
Cozy Critters stamp set
Merriest Wishes stamp set (page 21 of the Holiday Catalog)

Whisper White cardstock
Garden Green cardstock
Cherry Cobbler cardstock
Choice of Designer Series Paper

Cherry Cobbler ink
Garden Green ink

Tear & Tape Adhesive
Stampin' Dimensionals
Big Shot
Softly Falling Embossing Folder
Merry Tags Framelits (page 21 of the Holiday Catalog)
Cherry Cobbler ribbon (mine was retired)
Cherry Cobbler Baker's Twine
3/4" Circle Punch

DIRECTIONS:
Fold a 5" x 7" piece of Whisper White cardstock in half, creasing well with a bone folder.

Run a 3 1/4" x 4 3/4" piece of Cherry Cobbler cardstock through the Big Shot inside the Softly Falling embossing folder. Adhere this piece to the card base.

Choose a piece of Christmas-y Designer Series Paper, and cut it to 1 3/4" x 4 1/2" and 2" x 4 1/2".

Adhere the 1 3/4" x 4 1/2" piece to a 4 3/4" x 2" piece of Garden Green cardstock. Attach this piece to the card front, raising it just a bit from center.

On a scrap of Whisper White cardstock, stamp the circular words in Garden Green. Cut it out with the appropriate Framelit.

Choose either an owl or the fox, and the scarf to match whichever one you pick. Adhere the scarf to your choice. Add your critter to the center of the circle with a Stampin' Dimensional.

Thread a piece of Cherry Cobbler ribbon about 5"-6" long through the top of the round tag. Hold the ribbon ends together with a bow tied around the base made of Cherry Cobbler Baker's Twine. Glue this finished circle to the card front.

Inside the card, stamp the falling snow on the bottom portion right under the crease in Cherry Cobbler ink. Add Tear & Tape as close to the two short and one long edges of the remaining piece of DSP. With the 3/4" Circle Punch, punch a half circle in the untaped edge. Remove the covering from the tape strip and adhere it inside the card. Insert a gift card, and you're all set for gift giving! 

Even though this card is a bit smaller than traditional, it will fit nicely within a regular A2 size envelope. Otherwise, you could use the Envelope Punch Board to make a custom envelope that fits the card perfectly!

Gifted
Smiles.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

WONDERFUL WINTERLAND

When my Paper Pumpkin kit, Wonderful Winterland, arrived the other day, I was immediately enamored, and wanted to get to work on it right away. 

I hastened down to my Creation Station and ripped into the package. The stamps that came with the kit were so cool, and I realized that I could use them for so much more than just what they were intended. Then I looked at the instruction sheet that always accompanies each kit. The cards were TINY, measuring only 3" x 4 1/4". No! The possibilities were much too precious to only make note-sized cards. 

So I went to work, fixing that situation more to my liking. And this is what I came up with:


Besides making the card larger, another of the changes I wrought was that I stamped my snowflake modules in the sky with VersaMark ink and sprinkled them with Dazzling Diamonds Glitter, instead of with ink as the directions instructed.


I also eliminated the baker's twine that was wrapped around the top of the card. I added a layer of Pear Pizzazz cardstock as a mat underneath the scene. That was placed on top of a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Whisper White that I'd embossed with the Softly Falling embossing folder in keeping with the Wonderful Winterland theme. Finally, I added it to a Soft Sky card base to make it a full-sized 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" card. And I was happy.


I simply love all the layers this card boasts!


Following is the photo from the front of the instruction sheet, showing how the card would look if the instructions were followed. Cute, but not quite substantial enough.


Once more a close-up of my version:


Have you given your Paper Pumpkin kit a hug today? 

Winterland
Smiles.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sunday, November 20, 2016

KNITTED ACORN

In the Holiday Catalog, which is current now until January 3, Stampin' Up! introduced something new in their lineup of products. On page 13 you can find the Cable Knit Dynamic Textured Impressions Embossing Folder, a mouthful, I know. But it is honestly so cool! It has the most texture and dimension of any embossing folder I've ever seen.

Ever since I got my hands on one of these exquisite folders, I was anxious to use it in a card. Since it is a warm and cozy cable knit, that's the type of card I wanted to feature it on. I wanted the textured background to be very prominent and easy to enjoy. But I didn't want it to completely take over the card.

I used two of the acorn components from the Acorny Thank You stamp set on page 202 of the big catalog. 

The ultra wide ribbon is some that I've had from years past and I have always loved it, although I don't get much of a chance to use it. So I called it into play for this fall-flavored card. The ribbon is Chocolate Chip and Very Vanilla. So, to create my acorn, I made the bottom in Chocolate Chip, and since the cable knit was in Soft Suede, that's the color of my acorn cap.

Do you love the awesome Very Vanilla tag on which my acorn rests? It is one of the Cheerful Tags Framelits Dies (page 39 of the Holiday Catalog). Except I snipped off the portion that has the big circle in it. That left a cool shape with two slits through which I was able to slip my stripe-y ribbon.

The Chocolate Chip swirl-y shapes that bracket the acorn are also from that Framelits set.


A little close-up of the fantastic texture. This photo still doesn't do it justice though. You really needd to see and touch it in person.

One thing to remember about this embossing folder: If you simply run a piece of cardstock through the embossing folder as you usually would, that's just what you would get: a piece of embossed cardstock. Nice. But not the purpose of this specialized embossing folder. It sounds sort of weird, but in order to get the deeply textured dimension that it was meant to give, you need to SPRITZ THE CARDSTOCK LIGHTLY WITH WATER ON BOTH SIDES before putting it into the embossing folder. The wetness fades quickly. But the extra dimension you get from stretching the paper fibers a little with the water first is AMAZING! 


One more close-up of the overall texture. Don't you just LOVE it??


My girls created this card at the Stamp-In Workshop I held last week. I had meant it to be a cozy Thanksgiving card, so I encouraged them to choose from among the Thanksgiving sentiments I had to stamp inside the card.

If you'd like to re-create this card, following are the supplies and directions:

SUPPLIES:
Acorny Thank You stamp set

Soft Suede cardstock
Chocolate Chip cardstock
Very Vanilla cardstock

Soft Suede ink
Chocolate Chip ink

Big Shot
Cheerful Tags Framelits
Cable Knit Dynamic Textured Impressions Embossing Folder
Striped Ribbon
Stampin' Dimensionals

DIRECTIONS:
Fold a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" sheet of Very Vanilla cardstock in half, creasing well with a bone folder.

Spritz with water both sides of a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Soft Suede cardstock. Immediately place it inside the Cable Knit Dynamic Textured Impressions Embossing Folder and run it through the Big Shot. Be sure to feed the hinge edge of the embossing folder through the Big Shot first. Once this piece is completely dry, adhere it to the card base.

Run a scrap of Very Vanilla cardstock through the Big Shot and cut with the Cheerful Frames Framelit with the hole in the center. Trim off the portion that has the hole. You won't be using that part.

Insert a 5" piece of wide striped ribbon through the holes at the top and bottom of the tag. Making the ribbon lay as nicely as possible, fold the top end over to the back of the tag, and secure it in place with a piece of tape. Trim the bottom portion of the ribbon to produce two points. Arrange the ribbon within its slit as you wish.

Run scraps of Chocolate Chip cardstock through the Big Shot and create two of the fancy scrolls from the Framelits set. Adhere these to the sides of the label.

On a scrap of Very Vanilla cardstock, stamp the cap of the acorn in Soft Suede and the bottom of it in Chocolate Chip. Cut out the two pieces. WHEN CUTTING THE BOTTOM PIECE, LEAVE A PORTION AT THE TOP SO THERE IS ROOM TO ATTACH THE CAP BY OVERLAPPING. Attach the cap to the bottom with a piece of Stampin' Dimensional. Then attach the acorn to the center of the tag with a Stampin' Dimenisonal.

Now, don't you just want to snuggle up in a cozy cable knit sweater in front of the fire with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book?

Knitted
Smiles.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

CAN'T RESIST AUTUMN

I  wish I still had this card in my hands so I could retake photos of it. You see, it honestly is so much prettier in person, and I'd try mightily to capture more of its essence.

But, unfortunately, it is now living about 100 miles from me. Tomorrow is my mom's birthday, and this is her birthday card. I snapped a few shots of it before I mailed it out to her.

Anyway, this card is an example of emboss resist. The flowers of all sizes on the card are from a Paper Pumpkin kit from a few months back. I love the large flowers, the half flowers and aren't those two tiny sized flowers adorable?

After rubbing my paper well with my trusty Embossing Buddy, I stamped them all over the Whisper White cardstock in VersaMark ink. I added gold embossing powder to the stamped images. Once my background was cooled enough, I sponged autumn-flavored colors all over, trying to vary darks and lights, but blending the colors.

Once I had my background sponged, I added a few sequins from this past month's Paper Pumpkin kit to give it a little bit of bling.


I'm so sad that the set from which I chose my sentiment is retired because it so so wonderful and whimsical. To match the gold embossed flowers, I also embossed the Happy Birthday in gold. 

My photo doesn't show, but inside the card, I had attached a smaller piece of Whisper White cardstock on which I had gold embossed a nice saying. I even gold embossed my stamped info on the back of the card. I mean, you gotta stay consistent, right?

I know I feature emboss resist on my blog quite frequently. It is such a really cool technique and gives the greatest results; it's almost impossible to mess up emboss resist! Do you ever use it? What are your favorite resist methods?

Happy Birthday to my dear mom!

(Ir)Resistable
Smiles.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

SUNFLOWER NOTE CARDS

I didn't use all the components that came with the test tube Paper Pumpkin kit. The little sunflower tags were just begging me to use them on cards, so I obeyed, and set to it.

From the kit, I used the sunflower tags and the striped banners, adding all the rest from my supplies.

My mom's birthday is this week, so I thought she would enjoy having a handful of cards on hand. So I made eight cards, four of which are just HELLO cards and four THANK YOU cards. I had thought the Elegant Dots would be adorable as the background. However, when I embossed my first one and laid my focal point on top of it, I wasn't totally thrilled with the look.


So, what I ended up doing was making two of the thank you notes on that background, as well as two of the hello notes. Then, I finished up by doing the same with a different embossed background, the Boho Chic. 


I am mailing the packet of eight cards and their envelopes, so didn't want to add just too much weight. So, I created a simple belly band to keep them neat and all together.


I just love it that Stampin' Up! always provides more components than we actually need to put together the Paper Pumpkin kits. It gives a great opportunity to be even more creative and get more from our supplies!

Sunflower
Smiles.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

SNOWFLAKE SPARKLE

Technical difficulties today. 

I always take the photos for my blog with my little Canon digital camera, then import them to my computer so I can send them to Photoshop Elements to work with them.

This was a difficult card to photograph. You see, it sparkles so much you almost need sunglasses. I took so many photos just trying to capture its beauty that is apparent in real life.

Today, however, when I plugged my camera into my computer, there was no communication between the two devices. Uh oh. I know nothing about those kinds of things! I even rebooted my computer, hoping that would clear up any glitch. But no. That wasn't it. The computer just did not recognize the presence of my camera.

Now what?

I had taken a few photos of the complete card with my Smartphone to put up on Instagram. So, that was my only option (for this little pea-brained person). I sent the phone photo to Photoshop and worked with it. 

And here you have it:


I had been designing this card for an upcoming Stamp-In Workshop. It turned out to be way too frustrating, long and complicated though. So, I opted for a simplified rendition of the same look for the workshop.

However, I did like the way this one turned out. So, I thought I would share it with you, and tell you how I did it. If you are interested.

I started with a 3 1/2" x 4 3/4" piece of watercolor paper. After rubbing the Embossing Buddy well over the paper, I stamped the snowflake from Holly Jolly Greetings (page 34 in the big catalog) several times in VersaMark ink. At the heat station, I covered all the snowflakes with white embossing powder, and heat set it to emboss.

I had added single drops of three retired reinkers to a little paint tray. I then watered down the reinkers with water. I spritzed the watercolor paper well with water so I was working wet-on-wet. Using a paintbrush, I picked up one of the colors and kind of dripped and splattered it onto the wet paper. I repeated that with all three colors, letting the inks run and blend into one another. 

When you are working wet-on-wet, you need to be very careful about the colors you choose, because as they run and blend, certain color combinations will give you a yukky shade of brown. Since I was using shades of blues and purple, I didn't have any problems with mud.

With a paper towel, I absorbed some of the excess ink, started to dry it with my heat tool. Dabbed again. Once it was dry, it was much too light. Remember, I was using very watered-down inks because I didn't want too-saturated colors in any one spot. So I repeated this same process three times until I got the color intensity I really wanted. The white snowflakes had popped through its colored resist beautifully.

Then, I was ready to try a sparkly technique I had come across somewhere. Using Elmer's Glue in another of the slots of the paint tray, I watered the glue down considerably with water, and stirred it until it was well mixed together. Then I took another paintbrush and flicked the watered-down glue all over the background. The next step was to add Dazzling Diamonds Glitter to the wet glue spots. 

It worked well, but the splotches of sparkly glue were much more dimensional than I would have hoped. Even so, I definitely do like the look of it. Sometimes, during a heavy snow, the flakes come down heavy and thick, clumped together. That's the effect on this card.

I know you hear this all the time, but you should see it IN REAL LIFE! This photo does not do it justice whatsoever. 

So, enjoy this single photo of the card. I've wasted enough time trying to figure out these technical difficulties. Hopefully by my next blog post, I will have it worked out. If you have any ideas for me, please let me know!

Sparkly
Smiles.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

PIRATE BIRTHDAY

Do you remember the long-ago Stampin' Up! set Ahoy Matey? Well, when that set first came out, my youngest daughter fell in love with it. She proclaimed that every single card I ever make for her for the rest of her life needed to be made with that set.

Sarah, now in her 30s, had a birthday this past week. So, of course, I made her a pirate card. 

To add to the festive look of the card, I embossed the rectangular piece of Whisper White with the Confetti Embossing Folder (page 195).



The little guy looked much too clean-cut for a pirate. You know what I mean? So, I added some whisker bristle and brought him up to date. 


I colored his sword blade and his hook in gray, but made them look a little more metallic -- and festive! -- by adding a bit of Wink of Stella. 

And, on the very tip is the cake from the Endless Birthday Wishes (page 22). What a meanie, stabbing a birthday cake with his sword??

His shirt is paper pieced and I drew some stitching and arm hole lines on with marker. His pants are also paper pieced. His bandanna is just colored in, but I added some black polka dots.

Around the perimeter of the white oval, I markered black dots. And on the gray oval behind it, I used marker to add a checkerboard look.


Happy Birthday, Sarah!

Arrgh
Smiles.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

GENTLE FOX

In looking through the Stampin' Up! Holiday Catalog, did you happen to notice the precious stamp set Cozy Critters available as a hostess perk on page 3? 

That wide-eyed owl and the eyes tight shut fox struck me especially. And, the best part is that they are both weating scarves. You know what that means, right? Yup. I stamped the scarves on bits and pieces of Christmas-colored Designer Series Paper that I had in my stash. While riding in the car for long distance trips, I cut these teeny tiny little scarves out.

For an upcoming project, I stamped out a bunch of the owls in Early Espresso. I dug through all my reddish inks for the perfect fox color. I settled on three possibilities: Cajun Craze, and the retired colors of Really Rust and Cranberry Crisp. Truthfully, I wasn't crazy about the Really Rust ones, but Cajun Craze and Cranberry Crisp were very foxy colors! So I stamped a bunch of them. (My Stamp-In girls will be making projects using either the owl or the fox and their coordinating scarves, all of which I have already fussy cut for them.)

Anyway, I was excited to use one of the foxes, so I stole one from the bunch that are ready for the workshop, and went to work.

First, to get some inspiration, I grabbed into my box of Project Life cards, and randomly drew one. I looked at it with absolutely no sense of inspiration whatsoever, and even started to move to put it back in the box. No, Linda! That is the point. A random pick is meant to challenge. So, I reluctantly laid it on my work table and sadly gazed down at it.

I had a few Project Life cards left over from other projects that measured 2" x 2". I sifted through them, and discovered one that would be a perfect complement for this uninspiring background piece. 

Do you all remember the old In Color Cranberry Crisp? I wish they hadn't retired it, because I'd always felt pretty attached to it. 

Having ribbon, paper and ink left over in that color, I used it throughout this card, along with white and Old Olive. Even my foxy fox is Cranberry Crisp. 

And this is what I came up with:


Basically this is the Project Life card I'd randomly picked to work with. The squiggly background lines against white and the cute pointed piece of plaid on the top of it. But then the 2x2 piece of Old Olive polka dots against white was just what I needed to make a happy card.


Foxy
Smiles.

Sunday, October 30, 2016