Sunday, February 28, 2016

PINK AND WHITE CHALLENGE

IMAGINE this scenario: 

You are handed a 4" x 6" piece of cardstock decorated in a wild (to you!) pink and white pattern with a white 1" border on one edge. One side of this identically-patterned piece is in landscape format, the other in portrait. 

Now, you are challenged to take this piece of cardstock and base a card on it. 

Gulp.

This is exactly what happened to me the other day.

You see, awhile back I picked up from the Stampin' Up! Clearance Rack one of the Project Life Card Collections. I figured that at a teeny price tag of $6.38, this would give me LOTS and LOTS of possibilities for one-of-a-kind cards. The card collection comes with 100 cards in the assorted sizes of 4" x 6", 4" x 4" and 3" x 4". All of the cards are two-sided, giving me actually 200 choices for cards.

On days that I need a little extra dose of inspiration, a pick-me-up or some Creative Therapy, I open my box and randomly grab a card. No matter what I think of this random choice, I MUST go ahead with my creating, choosing one of the two sides to utilize.

So far, I have made five cards this way (no, you haven't seen any of them yet). A couple times, the challenge was no challenge whatsoever; I was able to happily go right to work. Unfortunately, twice now, I was completely stumped with my random choice.

This pink and white card was one of those occasions. I actually set it aside for about an hour, busying myself with something else in the meantime, until finally I came back to it, and decided to dig in to my challenge. After all, that is what a challenge is, right? Challenging??

Initially, I had intended to make it a completely pink and white card. But, when I decided to make my focal flower using the Botanical Builder Framelits Dies (page 26 of the Occasions Catalog), I dearly wanted to add one of the scrumptious leaves. And not in pink.

Here is the card I finally created:
I'm in love.


To get the 2-layered tag, cut two tags, the white about 1/4" shorter than the pink layer, using the Scalloped Tag Topper Punch (page 165). By overlapping these tags, you obviously lose the hole at the top, which, in this case, is quite alright. If you want to use it as a tag, just use a hand punch to create a hole. 

I LOVE the dimension you get with these flowers! 

For the leaves, I could have had even a little more interest by stamping their counterpart stamps before die cutting them. But, I had decided that there would not be any stamping on this card whatsoever. A.N.D., besides,I felt there was quite enough interest in that flamboyant background piece already!

A Candy Dot (page 161) in the center of the flower was just the right amount of green to coordinate with the leaf.


And then, I was left with that blatant white space! Oh my.

I tried a few options, none of which tripped my trigger even a little bit.

So, I echoed my green in that embellishment by cutting with the long leafy piece, and making it look pretty much like the die itself. I did this by cutting along the "embossed" line you get when you die cut this piece.

The movement and grace in that vast dead white space provided by this diecut turned out to be the perfect choice.


When you know you would benefit greatly from some Creative Therapy, and don't have a particular project in mind, how do you go about getting inspired? 

I actually have a few options. 

The latest is the random choice of these Project Life cards. 

Otherwise, I go to the drawer where I store my stamp sets and blindly reach in to pick a set. That is the set I must use to base my creativity on.

Years ago, when I planned on starting this blog, I went through all the cool projects and techniques I had earmarked for forever, and typed a reference number along with the description to match, and printed this list out on my computer. I then cut these ideas into strips, and dumped them all in a Clarks shoebox. When I need a pick-me-up and have no inspiration, I -- once again -- blindly, pick out a strip of paper. I retrieve either the book or the magazine page or printed instructions that matches my selection, and that is my assignment.

Dumb, huh?

What can I say? At times, I'm just a random type of girl. And it works for me.

So, what works for YOU??

Random
Smiles.


Wednesday, February 24, 2016

& THE WINNER IS . . . AMPERSAND!

Have you noticed lately the proliferation of everything AMPERSAND? You know that cute symbol that stands for the word, "and"? They seem to be everywhere!

Adding the perfect touch of whimsy, this symbol fits into many a decor, especially one that begs to be a little bit eclectic. Like my own decorating style. 

I personally have picked up a few of the ampersand symbols, and, for the most part, I have them displayed in my Creation Station space.

At Target, however, when I came upon this large unfinished wooden ampersand, I grabbed it with the intentions of actually DOING something to it. The piece measures a generous 10" tall by 9" wide. The wood is 3/4" thick, so gives a good, solid base for standing without any kind of additional support.

My first thought was to cover it in Designer Series Paper, namely a piece from the Bohemian Designer Series pack on page 142 of the big catalog. So, I carefully selected the piece of DSP I wanted to use, set the ampersand on top of it and -- stuck it away. Like I do so often. I always have such good intentions.

What do they say about "good intentions"? THE ROAD TO HELL IS PAVED WITH GOOD INTENTIONS. Uh oh. I'm in trouble.

Anyway, recently I came across this "good intention" again. I had a day off, nothing really planned, so, I finally went ahead with my project.

I simply traced the ampersand onto the back side of my chosen DSP with a pencil, then carefully cut it out. I used Stampin' Up's Glue Sticks to put a good even coat of glue onto the wood and also onto the back side of the paper piece. I smoothed and smoothed the paper in place to get a good seal. 

Initially, my intent was to add some sort of embellishment that I was going to make. However, when I finished with solely the DSP, I loved the way it looked so much that I thought anything else added would be overkill. It worked so well with just the happy design of the DSP, I decided to leave it as is.

And I am very pleased with that decision.


 When a visitor enters the foyer of the house, they are greeted by my colorful eclectic &.


Have you ever used your papercrafting supplies to create a piece for your home decor? What was it? What of your supplies did you use?

&
Smiles.

Sunday, February 21, 2016

HAPPY DONUTS

Since I have been a smart subscriber of Paper Pumpkin almost from the very beginning, I am building up a wonderful stash of stamps unavailable elsewhere. 

One from several months ago, one that I use frequently because of its festive look, is the "happy birthday" stamp that provides the sentiment on this card. Those squiggles are just so darned cute!

To create a card that is the epitome of happy, celebration, yummy and colorful, I turned to the Cherry on Top Designer Series Paper Stack (page 144 in the big catalog) because the papers in this 6" x 6" stack of birthday-themed paper contributed every single one of those criteria.


On the card front, I have combined three of the distinct paper designs: the chewed-on donuts for the background, the happy yellow and white chevron on which the sentiment is stamped and a strip of the banners And don't they all play well together?

And, even though the green in this print is actually Cucumber Crush, I grabbed this piece of Gumball Green (remember this great green??) ribbon as a nice coordinating bit. I have always swooned over this ribbon. So, to get a chance to use it is a real treat.


This highly contrasted photo shows in detail the plethora of circles I used for the card. Count 'em: The donuts, donut sprinkles, even the donut HOLES!, stamped-on balloons, the circle that holds the sentiment, the little yellow circles as part of the garland on the strip, and finally, the raised circles provided by the Decorative Dots embossing folder. 


Now, don't you agree that this card should make the recipient actually HAPPY to be turning another year older?

Donut
Smiles.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

MARBLED CHICK

I have another TUTORIAL for you! 

Since Easter is only a little over a month away, I thought an Easter card was in order. The chick from the Honeycomb Happiness set, one of the Sale-A-Bration freebies, is perfect for sending Easter wishes.


Topping the sassy chick's "egg" with flowers created with the Botanical Builders Framelits Dies -- PERFECT! The little leaves are cut from Cotton Paper (page 148 in the big catalog).


I realize that the Sale-A-Bration Perfectly Artistic DSP is now no longer available, but the marbled appearance of one side of all the papers gives you a chick with a different look each time you stamp and cut him out!


For the stenciled-look background, I used -- for the FIRST time! -- the Happy Patterns Decorative Masks. Instead of using the spritzer, however, I simply sponged on my color.

And then you can see that I used black and white Baker's Twine to twist around the sponged piece. I love how this echoes the black outline on the chick.


Here is the tutorial I promised you.

SUPPLIES:
Honeycomb Happiness stamp set (Sale-A-Bration brochure, page 15)

Melon Mambo cardstock
Whisper White cardstock
Crushed Curry cardstock
Cucumber Crush Cotton Paper
Perfectly Artistic DSP (retired from SAB brochure)

Black ink
Crushed Curry ink
Melon Mambo Stampin' Write Marker

Paper Snips
Big Shot
Botanical Builder Framelits Dies (page 26 in the Occasions Catalog)
Project Life Cards & Labels Framelits
Oval Collections Framelits
Basic Black Baker's Twine
Happy Patterns Decorative Masks (page 157 of the big catalog)
Stampin' Sponge
Stampin' Dimensionals

INSTRUCTIONS:

Fold a 5 ½” x 8 ½” piece of Melon Mambo cardstock in half, 
creasing it well with a bone folder.

Do background stenciling on a piece of Whisper White cardstock measuring 4” x 5 ¼”: 
Holding the Happy Patterns Decorative Mask firmly in place over the cardstock,
sponge with Crushed Curry through the stencil.

Wrap a piece of Black Bakers Twine around this piece,
crisscrossing so the ends spread as in the sample.
Tape the ends to the back.
Adhere this piece to the card base.

Cut a panel from Crushed Curry using the 3” x 4” die 
from the Project Life Cards & Labels Framelits.
Adhere this over the Bakers Twine.

From Whisper White, using the Ovals Collection Framelits, 
cut an oval that measures 2 ¼” x 3”.
In black ink, stamp the chick towards the bottom of the oval 
so you have room to add the three flowers at the top.

On a scrap of the yellow Perfectly Artistic DSP, stamp the chick once again in black.
Cut out the chick, omitting his feet.
Adhere the patterned chick over the stamped chick on the oval,
letting the first chick’s feet stick out.
Color the feet and the beak with a Melon Mambo Stampin’ Write Marker.

With the Botanical Builder Framelits Dies, cut three of the small flower from Melon Mambo.
Cut three of the twisty centers from Crushed Curry Cardstock.
Use the small leaf die to cut two leaves from the Cucumber Crush Cotton Paper.
Glue the flowers together.
Adhere the leaves to one of the petals of two of the flowers.
Adhere the flowers around the top of the oval, with the leaves pointing downward.

Add one of the smallest Basic Pearls to the center of each of the flowers.

Stamp “Happy Easter” inside the card in Melon Mambo ink.

Marbled
Smiles.


Sunday, February 14, 2016

HERD-FULL WISHES

My granddaughter, Stella, is a girl with many many interests. As a grandma who doesn't see her in person all that often, it is difficult to keep up with all that thrills her. On a recent visit, however, she seemed to be especially enamored of word clouds/thought bubbles. 

So, when it came time to create her Valentine, I wanted to incorporate them into my card. What better way to do so than by having a comical herd send their wishes via word clouds. 

A few years ago, Stampin' Up! released a cute Valentine-making set that included a line of conversation hearts. While the hearts looked cute all in a line, I wanted to release them from their static positions, so proceeded to cut the hearts all apart and mounted them each on their own individual wood blocks. They are ever so more useful this way. 

One of the most fun (funnest??) cards I created using these hearts can be found in this post. If you don't feel like clicking on the link, here is a photo of the card I am referring to: 


Anyway, I digress. Back to Stella's Herd-Full Wishes card. 

Here is Stella's Valentine from Grandma and Grandpa:


I stamped each of the hearts in a different color on scraps of Whisper White cardstock. I then used the retired framelits to cut each of them out. Popping them up with Dimensionals above the herd got that greeting right out there.

NOTE: Since birds don't talk, the little birdie simply sang his greetings. <smile>


To follow through with the word bubbles, I stamped a sentiment from a past Paper Pumpkin kit on white, and cut it out with a different Framelit. Popped up inside the card, it was the perfect greeting.


I am so excited to report that we were able to "deliver" Stella's Valentine to her in person last night!

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY TO YOU
FROM ME -- 
AND THE HERD!

Thoughtful
Smiles.



Wednesday, February 10, 2016

EMBOSSED HEART VALENTINE

This Monday, at my monthly Stamp-In Workshop, my girls made a Valentine for that special someone in their lives.

With the help of the stamp set, Bloomin' Love (page 17 in the Occasions Catalog), we did lots of stamping on this card: the focal point heart, the small bouquets in the embossed background, the fancy label as well as the sentiment inside it, and, finally, the sentiment inside the card.

The inspiration for designing this card came from the darling little flowered square upon which the heart rests. This is one of the freebies for this year's Sale-A-Bration. It is the Wildflower Fields Designer Series Paper (page 12 of the SAB brochure). The moment I laid eyes on this charming DSP, I knew I had to have it.

Once I decided on my paper choice, I took to coordinating cardstock to the colors of the flowers of the DSP. Not terribly prominent, but a good choice, I turned to Blackberry Bliss.


Before embossing the background piece, I randomly stamped the miniature bouquets in Blackberry Bliss all over. Once I finished with the card though, I realized that this extra stamping didn't add all that much to the overall effect of the card. So, in my instructions, I told the girls that step was optional.


The stylin' sentiment inside the card was punched out with the Extra-Large Oval Punch and adhered flat to the card base. I like the tiny distinction between the oval and the card. Not much, but there nonetheless.


Just a close-up of the total effect of the card front:


Would you like to reproduce this card? Here's how:

SUPPLIES:
Bloomin' Love stamp set (page 17, Occasions Catalog)

Wildflower Fields Designer Series Paper (page 12, Sale-A-Bration Brochure)
Blackberry Bliss cardstock
Whisper White cardstock

VersaMark ink
Blackberry Bliss ink

Big Shot
Hearts Embossing Folder
Circles Collection Framelits
Paper Snips
Heat Tool 
White Embossing Powder
Embossing Buddy
Basic Pearls
Blackberry Bliss ribbon (on the Clearance Rack at Stampin' Up!)
Stampin' Dimensionals
Corner Rounder
Extra-Large Oval Punch
Glue Dots

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

IF YOU WISH, stamp in Blackberry Bliss the miniature bouquet randomly across a piece of 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Blackberry Bliss cardstock. I say IF YOU WISH because I don't think it adds all that much. Up to you.

If you choose to do the stamping, when you are finished, run this piece through the Big Shot inside the hearts embossing folder. Adhere it to the card front.

Round the corners of a 3" x 3" piece of the floral DSP from the Wildflower Fields pack. Adhere this to the card, keeping even borders on the top and sides.

Rub the Embossing Buddy over a 3" square of Blackberry Bliss cardstock. Then stamp the floral heart in VersaMark. At the heat station, pour white embossing powder over the stamping, tapping the excess back into the container. Heat to emboss.

Cut out the heart with the 2 3/4" circle from the Circles Collection Framelits. Use a few Stampin' Dimensionals to attach this circle to the DSP piece.

Notch the ends of a 4" piece of Blackberry Bliss ribbon. Attach it to the embossed card with a few Glue Dots.

On a scrap of Whisper White, stamp first the banner frame, then your sentiment, in Blackberry Bliss ink. Carefully cut out the banner, leaving a margin of white. Pop the sentiment banner up over the ribbon with a few pieces of Stampin' Dimensionals.

On a scrap of Whisper White cardstock, stamp "My Valentine". Punch it out with the Extra Large Oval Punch. Adhere the sentiment to the inside of the card.

THERE!!

Valentine
Smiles.


Sunday, February 7, 2016

ROSES ARE BLUE

ROSES ARE RED,
VIOLETS ARE BLUE.
SUGAR IS SWEET,
AND SO ARE YOU.

So they've always said. But, my card shows there are always exceptions to the rules. In this case, ROSES ARE BLUE. Pacific Point Blue. On Whisper White. 

The beautiful bundle, which features the Rose Wonder stamp set and the Rose Garden Thinlits Dies (page 18, Occasions Catalog), is on my mind a lot. I keep trying to conjure up different ways to use the various components. 

So far, in playing with it, I have stuck to shades of red. Duh. Bo-ring. 

But, WHY, tell me, does a rose have to be a traditional color all the time? While there may be such an animal (plant?) as a blue rose, (I googled "blue rose" and found lots of images of them, but I don't know if they're natural or dyed. The few I clicked on seem to have been dyed.) I decided that my card, whether real or a fairytale, would feature a blue rose. And, if you want blue, what better to reach for than PACIFIC POINT?

Die cutting the large rose with leaves from Pacific Point gave me a beautiful flower. At first, I thought I would maybe mount it onto another shade of complementary blue. But, then I realized how much more STARK -- and outstanding -- the card would be if mounted on WHITE white. 

By angling the diecut rose just right, it will fit on the traditional 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" card base. Thus, I did that, and when I finished adhering it, I carefully cut along the right edges to form a delicate, wonderful border for the card opening. 

I didn't want to "contaminate" the lovely card front with any more stuff, like the sentiment, or embellishments. I wanted the rose to stand alone. But, the way I had angled the flower left a little bit too much of the alarming white on the left side. It was an easy choice to simply add a 1/4" wide strip of the Pacific Point cardstock, leaving just a small white border at the fold. 

At this point, it looked lovely. But not finished. 

I finished off the card by adhering a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Pacific Point cardstock to the inside of the card. This gives the blue rose with its delicate white cut edges a wonderful background.


This is a difficult caard to photograph. In the following photo, I have it standing up with just a bit of the blue background visible.


Working with the stamps from the bundle, I made this into a birthday card. I cut the framed sentiment out with the wonderful frame that comes with the dies, and adhered it to the inside. Before adhering it in place though, you must keep trying spots for the sentiment so, when the card is closed, it doesn't show from the outside. Tricky.


The following photo demonstrates how the card looks when fully opened. I love the way the edges of the rose look from this viewpoint.


This shows the card lying down on the table. 


Have any of you been playing with this bundle? Have you come up with anything innovative? Let us know what you've been up to with it.

Blue
Smiles.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

LOVE YOU QUILT

Hey, it's time for another Valentine! And, guess what! For a change, I made a paper quilted card! Yeah, I know. I never do that, do I?

Anyway, I thought a loving Valentine quilt would be cute and cozy. Not a really tough design, but I do like how it turned out.

I used the Love Blossoms Designer Series Paper Stack on page 17 of the Occasions Catalog for my quilt strips. The strips are 1/4" wide. And the center square is made with the 3/4" Square Punch. 


The finished card doesn't have a whole lot of dimension. Mainly just in the little heart that I popped up with a Stampin' Dimensional and the Basic Rhinestone in the center of the heart. That's it for dimension. The rest of the card is utterfly FLAT.


Just a little close-up of the "quilted" portion of the card:


I first of all finished up the quilt piece, then layered it onto a piece of Crumb Cake cardstock, and topped it onto a Blushing Bride cardstock base. 

For a few days, the card -- in that state -- just sort of took it leisurely on my work table. Because I wasn't sure where to go from there.

Obviously, I knew I wanted it to be a Valentine. But I had such a narrow space on the bottom of the card to finish off, and nothing was clicking. I tried planting a few Paper Seedlings, but nothing was taking root.

A few days later, I came down to my Creation Station and took another look at the unfinished Valentine. 

As I was searching through my Framelits for something that would work, I came upon my "Hello You" Thinlits set. I liked the idea of planting the "you" on the bottom of the card. But that didn't seem to be enough -- by a long shot. 

Hmmm. Hmmm. Hmmm.

My gaze landed on a newer set I had acquired: Bloomin' Love, found on page 17 of the Occasions Catalog. By using a Rose Red Stampin' Write Marker, it was easy to magically change the LOVE YOU stamp into simply "LOVE". And that worked great with the diecut "you". 

Still too bare though. I decided to use another stamp from this set since it coordinates with the DSP I used in my quilting. Thus, the little Rose Red heart/flower was born.

It STILL needed something. 

Finally, finally, I hit upon the little dotted line from a Paper Pumpkin kit of a few months ago. It was absolutely PERFECT! Yay!

And, another little thing I really like about my final decision. The bottom is quite whimsical and asymetrical, while the quilted portion is completely linear, totally in order. To me, a nice contrast!


Do you ever get stuck on a project like I did? How do you handle this? Do you keep on pushing until the card is done -- maybe not to your liking, but done anyway? Or, like me, do you let it rest for awhile, maybe even a few days, and try again? Do you ever just give up in frustration and toss the "failure" in the round file?

Let us inside your creative head!

Love YOU
Smiles.