April 20, 2019

RUBY RED HIBISCUS

I have been slowly building up my collection of Stampin' Blends. Stampin' Up!'s version of alcohol-based markers are simply fabulous. 

Being completely heartbroken that the beautiful set, Humming Along, found on page 36 of the Occasions Catalog, is on the Retiring List, I decided to use the hibiscus from the set to showcase these markers.


I truly love that hibiscus and promise to continue using it forever and ever. I've had many red hibiscus plants/trees over the years, and never tire of seeing these beautiful flamboyant flowers. And the stamp of the flower from this set is so realistic.


Because the flower is so lovely in and of itself, I wanted it to be the complete focus of my card. I still wanted a little embossing to add a bit of dimension, so selected the Subtle Embossing Folder, which lends a truthfully subtle texture. Perfect and elegant.


To color the flower, I used a combination of Poppy Parade and Cherry Cobbler, Granny Apple Green and a touch of Mossy Meadow for the leaves, and Daffodil Delight and Mango Melody for the stamen. 

To add just a bit more pizzazz to the stamen, I adhered three weird little sequins that were tinier and more cupped than traditional sequins. I like the touch of bling and dimension these three little guys bring to the overall effect of the flower.


I felt a bit odd having my card be in the colors of green, red and white. Too Christmas-y? But no. I think it works.


There is very little dimension to this card in that only the oval is popped up onto the card background with Stampin' Dimensionals. And, then, of course, the three sequins.


Happy Easter!


Ruby
Red 
Smiles.

April 16, 2019

JUNGLE/RETIRING LISTS

I belong to a group on Facebook hosted by Visual Artist and Creative Encourager Terry Runyan called #daily creating. As a member of this group, under Terry's tutelage and guidance, we are encouraged to do something creative every single day. Each Sunday, she provides a list of prompts for the coming week. We, the members, have the option of following these prompts (I do) or creating something else unrelated to the prompt.

In a few past blog posts, I have shared with you some of my work and a little more about the group. You can see these posts HERE and HERE. As I've said, I have always followed whichever the day's prompt is in creating my daily piece. It sort of makes me feel like I'm back in college, being given an assignment to complete. I like that.

The other day, the prompt -- JUNGLE -- did not move me in any way. At least, as far as drawing goes. I didn't feel like researching jungle flora and fauna and creating something that probably wouldn't please me anyway. I even briefly debated whether I should skip that day's prompt or not -- something I've never done. No. I'd made a commitment to myself. 

I'd joined this group initially to try to regain some of my drawing capabilities. 

Well, if I didn't want to draw anything, but still wanted to do the prompt, then what?

My mind immediately leaped to the Tropical Thinlits (page 221) and all the lovely jungle-y leaves in this set. Yes! My mind was made up. 

I hurried down to my Creation Station and searched through all the green cardstock that was retired and I couldn't part with. It seemed as though JUST cardstock might not be interesting enough. So I grabbed my stash of retired green Designer Series Papers. 

After selecting a good-looking stack of papers, I went to work with the dies and my Big Shot. I also picked a few dies from other sets that had leaf-y frond-y looking pieces for my endeavor. I tried to vary my selection of papers and leaf styles.

Once I had a nice pile of jungle-y leaves, I started my project. Beginning with a 6" x 6" piece of Designer Series Paper that was green with a leafy design -- because I knew parts of that paper would be showing through on the finished piece -- I started layering on first solid green pieces to form a base, then more and more detailed leaves. Layer after layer, I kept adding to my jungle.

And, this is what I ended up with:


I mean, seriously, other than a mess, what else does it bring to mind?? A JUNGLE! Yes? Yes! Since I've never actually been to a jungle, this is my vision for what the landscape would look like.


A few close-ups so you can see the variety of flats, textures, prints, 
even some white.


The reason I added a small balance of white to the mix was to break up the monotony of all the greens and to perhaps make the viewer think of flowers or, at least, the presence of something other than leaves.


I am pretty happy with the result of my take on the prompt, Jungle. I'd love to hear what you think of it, and whether you think it was a success or just a mess.

Yesterday, April 15, Stampin' Up! released their Retiring Lists. The current Occasions Catalog as well as the Annual Catalog will both expire on the same day, June 3. 

You can access the Retiring List for the Occasions Catalog HERE, while those from the Annual Catalog are found HERE

When I first went through this list yesterday, I was dismayed at the horrendous amount of stamp sets I owned that would be retiring. At least, I THOUGHT they were retiring. Read on.

In the Annual Catalog, there are many sets that had been offered as Clear mount. Yes, the CLEAR stamps are being retired. Stampin' Up! is going to Cling mount as introduced in the Occasions Catalog. The sets from the Annual Catalog that were initially available as Clear, but are also available in the new Annual Catalog, will now be available in Cling mount. 

Confusing, I know. Just keep in mind that some of your favorite sets may show up on the Retiring List for the Annual Catalog, but will just be reimagined in the new catalog as Cling mount. If you have any questions on this, please don't hesitate to ask me.


Back to the Jungle. Do you see the bite marks on the left side of the easel the piece is resting on? Yes, it had a little run-in with a jungle cat, my Fred.

Jungle-y
Smiles.

April 13, 2019

WHAT A MESS

I almost always try to show only my best work in my blog posts. However, I made such a mess of a project yesterday that I just cannot resist sharing it with you.


OK. Maybe it doesn't look all that bad to you. But, keep in mind that every single photo in this post is of THE SAME EGG.


Here you can see the mishmash from the top.


You're probably scratching your head, wondering what exactly I am talking about. 

This was meant to be an egg of assorted lovely turquoise Designer Series Papers. Does it look like that? A resounding NO! 

Just to help you learn from my mistake: 

At this point, I think I had made 13 of these eggs in various colors. All 13 of them went great. I thought this particular one was also following suit. I honestly did not notice a problem until I was gluing the second last oval in place.

Where was my brain you ask? If you find out, please let me know.

The Lesson Learned from my idiocy:

When you are folding your ten ovals to create an egg, ALWAYS FOLD THE SIDE OF THE PAPER THAT YOU WANT TO SHOW TO THE INSIDE. 

What I had done was just the opposite. Without realizing what I was doing, I was hiding all those beautiful turquoises inside their little glued-in prisons, never to be see alive again.


As I was making the NEXT egg, I noticed something. The following photo shows the last five of the ovals all ready to be glued together. Do you see how disparate this combination of papers looks? Imaging them forming an egg. U.G.L.Y. Right? But, if you look closely, you will see that the INSIDES of each of the ovals is some variation on a yellow design. 

So, just to reiterate: WHEN MAKING THESE EGGS, WHICHEVER SIDE OF THE PAPER YOU WANT TO SHOW ON YOUR EGG, FOLD THAT SIDE TO THE INSIDE OF THE OVAL. 


Just a word from someone with <learned> experience. Pay attention to what color you want your egg to be. Often, with scrapbooking papers, not only Stampin' Up!, the two sides of a single sheet of paper are often quite different from each other. So it really does matter.

A final look at my sad little misfit:


This little guy will not go to waste. He will be tucked in at the bottom of the egg basket to act as "filler" so the pretty eggs can show off better.

For complete instructions on how to create one of these eggs, you can find it in THIS POST from a week ago.

Egg-y
Smiles.

April 9, 2019

COLORED EMBOSSING

I know I've said something to this effect before, but I really REALLY had no intention whatsoever of spending $50 to get this embossing folder. REALLY!

However, as so often happens, I started seeing what other Demonstrators were posting on social media using this embossing folder. And once again, all this enabling worked. So, of course, I made  my last $50 purchase of Sale-A-Bration -- just to get this beautiful highly dimensional folder.


With this type of embossing folder, if you lightly spritz both sides of the cardstock with water before sending it through the Big Shot, you get an even bigger bang for your buck -- way more dimension and texture. You see, adding a bit of water softens the fibers in the cardstock, making them more malleable and ensuring more goodness.


The embossing that comes as a result of using this folder with colored cardstock is impressive enough in and of itself. But, I'd been seeing cards where the creators had softly colored in some of the flowers in the background. So, for my April Stamp-In Workshop, something along those lines is just what I came up with for one of my projects.


Don't you just adore the texture in this card??


Only having drooled over the photos I'd seen of cards colored like this and not paying any attention to how it was done, I just decided to do it my own way: with Sponge Daubers! Easy, mess-free and nicely controlled. You can make the flowers as light or as dark as you want so simply.

At my workshop, a couple of the girls colored every single bit of texture, including the raised dots. That looked equally lovely. See, this technique is so versatile, it is easy to make it clearly your own.


Following are the supplies and instructions on how to do a card similar to this on your own. Of course, if you were lucky enough to score this particular folder during Sale-A-Bration, you're all set. Otherwise, there are lots of deeply textured embossing folders you can try for the same effect.

SUPPLIES:
Whisper White cardstock
Pear Pizzazz cardstock
Daffodil Delight cardstock

Balmy Blue ink
Crushed Curry ink
Pear Pizzazz ink
Calypso Coral ink

Happy Easter stamp

Big Shot
Layering Circles Framelits (page 219)
Sponge Daubers
Sale-A-Bration embossing folder 
Calypso Coral 3/8" Satin Ribbon (page 25, Occasions Catalog)
Stampin' Dimensionals

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

Spritz a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Whisper White cardstock lightly with water on both sides. Run the damp paper through the Big Shot inside the embossing folder. Set it aside until it is completely dry.

While it is drying, stamp "Happy Easter" or sentiment of choice onto a 2 1/8" circle of Whisper White cardstock in Calypso Coral ink. Center this onto a scalloped circle created from Daffodil Delight cardstock. Fold a piece of Calypso Coral 3/8" Satin Ribbon in half, taping the folded end at an angle to the back of the sentiment circle. Trim the ends of the ribbon as necessary.

By now, the embossed cardstock should be dry. Using Sponge Daubers, lightly tap ink onto the various flowers and leaves. You can make this as light or as dark as you want. I like the more soft, subtle look. Personal preference.

Add the colored piece to the green card base.

With two Stampin' Dimensionals, add the sentiment to the card.


Textured
Smiles.

April 6, 2019

EASTER EGGS

 This week, I got a head start on doing my Easter eggs for this year. And I had a blast doing it! I'm not sure why I stopped at a wimpy ten eggs. Why didn't I just go with a dozen? I dunno.

Shown below is my basket of paper Easter eggs. And the following photos  spotlight each of my ten eggs alone on their nest.













To make my ten eggs, I first sorted through all the scraps of Designer Series Papers that I had kept in my stash all these years. You may recognize some old favorites. I had decided to use an oval Framelit that measures 2 1/8" x 3", so any DSP I came across in spring-y colors and was at least that size, was set aside. No full sheets were sacrificed for this project -- just leftovers.

Once I had an impressive pile of candidates, I sorted through the papers one more time, putting each of the hues together in a single pile. If you scroll back through my individual eggs, you can notice that, except for the addition of white here and there, the eggs are all pretty much monochromatic. 

There was one exception, however. It is the fourth last egg in the series of photos. For this egg, the color palette shared one color between the two papers. 

In all the eggs, I used ten ovals, each of them different from their compatriots. In the aforementioned egg, I used five each of two DSP designs. It was just an experiment. I think I like the look of the monochromatic eggs a bit better. What's your thought?

A TUTORIAL??

To make these eggs is simple. Once you sort through all your possible DSPs and stack them in similarly colored piles, your next step is to die cut each of the ovals. Whew. I should have built up wonderful muscles in my right arm after doing all this Big Shotting. Nope. Still as flabby as ever.

Next step is to choose the ten different papers you will use in a single egg. Lay them out in a line in front of you to come up with an order that appeals to you. Then, just starting with the first oval in the line, fold it in half, using a bone folder to make a nice crease. Do this to each of the ten ovals, stacking them in the same order you'd decided upon. 

Starting with the oval on the top of the stack, with the oval folded in half, add some Tombow Multipurpose Glue (Green Glue to me!) to one half. Take the next oval on the pile and match up the fold lines and the edges. It is important to be as precise as possible when putting these together. Otherwise, you get unsightly edges, which can, of course, always be carefully trimmed with Paper Snips. 

Once you have the first two ovals together, continue on in the same way through the rest of the stack. Take time with each addition, however, by tapping the folded edge on a hard surface and making sure that the two ends line up and you don't have any mismatched edges. Once you get in the flow, it goes fairly quickly. 

After all the ten ovals are glued together, it's time to glue the two remaining single sides, one from the first oval and one from the last one. Be so careful when lining up these last two edges. They don't always want to cooperate nicely. But, show 'em who's boss by holding it in place a few beats. Don't give 'em a chance to be unruly!

Gently pull the various edges apart. Voila! Your first egg is ready!


I'm not really sure what this egg-making technique is called. But, in fall I'd made little pumpkins in this same manner. So, I thought: WHY NOT EASTER EGGS? And it worked!

If you give these little treasures a try, have a lot of fun. It's a great way to use up many of the scraps of DSP you've had lying around forever. I felt so good about that!

Egg-y
Smiles.

April 2, 2019

LEAVES TWO WAYS

I wanted to try something a little different for my blog post today. So, I decided on a technique I will call Leaves Two Ways. Of course, you could use stamps in any shape other than leaves. 

Say you decided to use flower stamps, then the technique would be called Flowers Two Ways. It doesn't matter. I'm just being goofy. I guess it's a good thing that no one appointed me to name the various techniques.

On with the show.


Even though I've never been a big fan of the color Pacific Point, I decided that it would maybe make for an elegant card using this technique. So I went with it, both in the cardstock and in the ink.


Starting with a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Pacific Point cardstock, I stamped in Pacific Point ink the large philodendron leaf from the Tropical Chic stamp set, found on page 121 of the Annual Catalog. I didn't touch any of the leaves to each other, but stamped them randomly across the piece of cardstock. To get a random design to come out fairly well, start with one image stamped close to the center, working outwards from there. It makes it a lot easier to add little bits and pieces of the stamp at the edges rather than try to fit the whole stamp into teeny spaces that are much too small to accommodate the stamp without overlapping.


Once the Pacific Point ink was dry, I rubbed my Embossing Buddy well over the stamped cardstock. Then, with VersaMark Ink, in a similar fashion, starting near the center, I stamped the leafy frond randomly right over the tone on tone leaves. I actually did three at first in the center, then went to the Heat Station, dumped gold embossing powder onto the stamped images, heat set them, then continued on from there. 

Before heat embossing, you still have time to examine your images for any stray marks you do not want in your final piece. If you find some unsightly embossing powder caused by overstamping, dropping the stamp, anything, gently remove the unwanted pieces with a small paint brush. Then heat emboss.

Once those first three images were embossed, it was easy to figure out where to stamp from there. It actually took me three times at the Heat Station until the leafy fronds were embossed the way I like them.


Because I used gold embossing powder, I opted to mount the embossed piece onto a brushed gold cardstock base. I die cut the word from the same gold paper.


In taking the photos of this card, I tried to get the impression of the gold embossing and the brushed metallic in the word and the card base. Tough to do, but I think this last photo shows off both those elements nicely. Well, sort of. Now I see that the light completely faded out the top edge of the gold card.


Two-Way
Smiles.