January 19, 2021

POLKA DOT VALENTINE

 I recently decided that it would be fun to go back to some ancient stamping techniques. 

With that in mind, my first project was going to use Smackin' Acetate. Over the years, I have seen variations on this technique, so the one I was going to embark upon may be different from the technique you may be familiar with.

If you've ever seen my Creation Station (lucky for you if you haven't!), you will know that it is a crazy mixed up disorganized totally impossible mess. Yes, that bad. I never seem to have the "time" to clean up. Only the time to create. Why waste time putting things away when you are just going to need them again? 

Maybe -- maybe -- some day I'll treat you to some photos of my Creation Station. It is embarrassing. I'd like to say it works for me. But that would not be the case. It's just the way I am. They say that a cluttered desk (Creation Station??) is the sign of a genius. Well, if that is true, I should be the president of Mensa. Lke the meme goes, I don't have a mess, I have ideas lying everywhere. Yup. Me.

Anyway, back to the Smackin' Acetate project. As I was searching for a piece of acetate -- they are all over the place, but do you think I could find even one small piece? -- I came across a piece of bubble wrap.

LIGHTBULB!

If I could do Smackin' Acetate, why not SMACKIN' BUBBLE WRAP?!?

I took this nifty art supply, bubble wrap, and scribbled an assortment of Stampin' Write Markers in reds and pink, namely Melon Mambo, Real Red, and Poppy Parade, over the area I would need to work with. I then spritzed it with water and laid a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of white cardstock on top of it, trying to keep the dots of the bubble wrap as straight as I could. 


It wasn't perfect. But nor is Smackin' Acetate. It's sort of one of those techniques where you get what you get. I actually loved the way it looked.

I used the Heat Tool to dry it so I could continue to work on it.

Wanting to stick with a Valentine-y look, I chose Merry Merlot ink to stamp the cool wreath from the Arrange a Wreath stamp set (page 127 in the Annual Catalog) upon the pretty polka dot background.

Next step, to make it look like a Valentine, I stamped several of the little hearts from the set in Melon Mambo onto white cardstock. Because I am a product hoarder, I had a tiny Stampin' Up! heart punch from long ago that fit perfectly with the stamped hearts.


After punching out the hearts, I put little pieces (or the Mini Stampin' Dimensionals) of Stampin' Dimensionals on the backs and affixed them to the wreath.

The sentiment, Happy Heart Day, also came in the Arrange a Wreath set, so I stamped that in Melon Mambo, and used a die from the Tasteful Labels Dies (page 179, in the Annual Catalog) to die cut the sentiment. By the way, I only recently purchased that die set, and I know I am going to be using it tons! It is another of those incredibly versatile sets.

Adding a little Melon Mambo ribbon to the back of the label, I adhered the sentiment to the bottom of the card with a couple Stampin' Dimensionals.


So, what do you think of my Smackin' Bubble Wrap technique? Do you think it will go down in stamping technique history? 

It makes me smile to look at it, so I know I will be using it again. Heaven knows, I need an excuse to smile. 

Dotty
Smiles.
















January 16, 2021

BERRY BLESSINGS

In my last post, I whined about my photo shooting setup dying and the poor quality of photos I ended up getting with my quick old school setup. Remember?

Well, I immediately did some research into the top ten photo setups on the market, and decided on one that was within my price range. I ordered it immediately. This was on Tuesday. Incredibly, it arrived on THURSDAY! Woo hoo! 

Yesterday I set it up for the first time and did some experimental shooting. It is drastically different from what I'd been using the past three years. So, I am not completely satisfied with the results quite yet. But the photos shown below will suffice. I guess. I need to do some more work with it.

OK. Now that's all cleared up. It's onward soldiers!

Have you had a chance to check out the new Stampin' Up! Mini Catalog and the brochure for Sale-a-Bration? No, you say?

Well, as a demo, I am able to earn Sale-a-Bration goodies ahead of time. I love strawberries. So I was drawn to the combo freebie of the Berry Blessings stamp set and the coordinating Berry Delightful Designer Series Paper, both on page 14 of the brochure.

The DSP is especially delightful. So fresh and juicy! Almost makes a person think of summer. Or, at least, weather that is a whole lot more pleasant than what we're having now, mid-January.


This card was so much fun to put together. 
With the gorgeous DSP, it almost made itself, truth be told.


A little close-up of the sentiment portion:


The berries were stamped in Memento Tuxedo Black ink, 
then colored with my beloved Stampin' Blends:


I will share with you a quick tutorial on how to create a card like this. But, FIRST, you have to get your hands on this stamp set and DSP! (Contact me!)

SUPPLIES:
White cardstock
Poppy Parade cardstock
Berry Delightful Designer Series Paper (page 14, Sale-a-Bration Brochure)

Four Seasons Floral (pages 4 and 5, Make Beautiful Things brochure)
Berry Blessings (page 14, Sale-a-Bration Brochure)

Memento Tuxedo Black Ink
Stampin' Blends in Light and Dark Poppy Parade and Light and Dark Shaded Spruce (or coloring medium of choice)

Sparkly Gem (I'd happened to find these on the Clearance Rack)
Sstitched So Sweetly Dies (page 179, Annual Catalog)
Die cutting machine
Stampin' Dimensionals

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

Cut a piece measuring 4" x 5 1/4" from the Berry Delightful Designer Series Paper and mount it to the card base.

Stamp four of the strawberries from the Berry Blessing stamp set onto a strip of white cardstock that measures 1 3/4" x 5". Color the berries as you wish.

On a scrap of white cardstock, stamp the sentiment in black ink. The sentiment is from the Four Seasons Floral stamp set. Cut it out with a die from the Stitched So Sweetly die set.

Add the sentiment piece to a rectangle measuring 1 1/2" x 2 1/2", cut from Poppy Parade cardstock.

Adhere this to the card towards the bottom right with a few Stampin' Dimensionals.

Add a glittery embellishment in the upper right corner of the sentiment.


Berry
Smiles.









January 12, 2021

SQUASH BOOK

First of all, I really need to apologize. The quality of these photos is pretty awful.

You see, as I was setting up my tiny photo studio, I discovered that I couldn't turn on the lights. You all know that I've been less than happy with this set-up for ages now. So, I guess that it turned out to be quite fortuitous that I had an excuse to throw the whole shebang away at last.

But, that left me with a horrible dilemma. How was I supposed to take the photos for my blog post? I tried a couple of old school things. But nothing seemed to do the trick.

What I ended up using leaves me with all sorts of weird shadows, to say the least. So, I am so sorry that the photos today are less than pleasing.

I did order a new lighting studio, but it won't be here until next week. So, I guess I (and you!) will have to suffer through until then. The one I ordered had 4.6 stars out of 5, but you never know . . .

Anyway, another admission here. I have always been horrible at anything that involves mountain and valley folds, such as origami or Swedish stars. Things like that. A hopeless case I am.

But, several years ago, I made something they called at the time a Funky Fold Book. And I don't recall having any problems with it. So, I thought I'd try my hand at it once again. The tutorial I used was very lacking. I could not get those sections to fold up into a square. Origami time all over again. 

Finally, after lots of finagling, I was able to get it to cooperate. And I do like what I ended up with.

I used some beautiful Stampin' Up! Designer Series Paper, the Ornate Garden Speciality Designer Series Paper, found on page 149 of the Annual Catalog. The pretty frame around the title of my book, "Follow Your Heart, It Knows the Way", is created with the Ornate Dies (again! I LOVE that die set!) on page 182. 

My plan for the inside of the book is to hand letter some of my favorite quotes. Don't hold me to that though. I often have made books in the past with glorious plans, but the books remain empty.

Anyway, following are my <lousy> photos of a book that I really am proud of.




I have seen various ways of fastening this book shut, and tried a few of them. 
None of them appealed to me. 
So I ended up embedding ribbons underneath the DSP on the front and back of the book. 
I then tie them into a loose knot. 


A photo of the book partially open.


My husband is actually holding this hanging straight down. 
The whole insides do not show in the photo. 
But it gives a feeling of what it looks like in the open position.


Without the ribbons, this is how the book would look in a closed position.



I think the knotted ribbons give the closed book a neat finished look.


If you would like to try one of these books that are now referred to as Squash Books, I would give you THIS TUTORIAL. I did not follow it, but it seems to make a lot more sense than the one I followed. Thanks to LC in sunny San Diego for posting this tutorial to Pinterest. If you do a search for Squash Books, you can find lots of tutorials that are better than the one I followed. Have fun!

Squashed
Smiles.





















January 9, 2021

A BIG HELLO

I got this really cool "hello" die recently. As soon as I opened the package and discovered a very bold sentiment, I was immediately driven to use it in a card. I love the font and decided that I would make it the most important part -- the focal point -- of my card. Or as it turned out, cards.

What I needed was a background that was interesting in and of itself, but not so interesting that it would  overshadow my basic statement.

I love making backgrounds in a random, uncontrolled, way. So I grabbed a quarter sheet of glossy cardstock and went to work with some Stampin' Up! inks. I used Mango Melody, Seaside Spray and Granny Apple Green for my color choices. 

I ended up trimming the single piece of finished background so I got enough for two small cards. These diminutive cards measure 3" x 4 1/4". 

Using the Seaside Spray cardstock for the card base for both cards, I simply switched the color of the word from Seaside Spray to Mango Melody for the second card. 


Doing backgrounds like this is, as I said previously, very haphazard and impossible to predict what the finished product will look like. To me, that's what makes it fun.

I actually had the presence of mind to take a few photos of my process as I was going through it. 

The first photo below shows how I simply squished the three colors of ink directly from the ink pad to the craft sheet. 

The next step was to spritz each one with a mist of water until bubbles form. If you add too much water, the color will be extremely thin and not show up too much on your paper. This is especially true if you are using glossy cardstock, as I was doing.

The Granny Apple Green ended up being quite intense, so I spent a lot of time trying to balance the colors as well as I could. 

To get started, dip the glossy side of the paper into a color in a few spots. Continue with the other colors. If you want a more definitive look, dry the paper in between each color with a heat tool. Then they don't blend together as much. 

As the original puddles of ink start to get used up, you are left with little more pronounced dots of color. Those are my favorites! Look at the first card photo and you can see the little dots of color more than in the second photo. 

When picking up ink, you can even bend the paper to grab ink in selected areas. Keep examining what you have so far to determine which areas need a little more work.

The long streaks of color result when you tilt the ink on the paper as you are heating it. Not my favorite, but if you can get them to crisscross each other a few times, it can provide an interesting look. 


My final result is shown in the last photo. Often the inks will tend to puddle at the edges. Sopping it up with a corner of paper towel works to some extent. My solution for that is to simply cut your cardstock a little bigger than you want to end up with, and just trimming off the undesirable edges.

Another consideration to be aware of if you want to make a background using this technique is to be sure to select colors that play well together. I know I've said it before, but if I would have thrown a red, for example, into this mix, I would have gotten much more of a brown result in areas.



There you have it. I hope I've given you some good tidbits of advice for creating a background such as this. It just takes a lot of experimentation and willingness to accept what results, or, if not, to continue to work on it until you are happy. 

Messy
Smiles.





January 5, 2021

EVERYTHING IS STILL ROSY

Have you ever had in your hands one of Stampin' Up!'s Product Medleys? These wonders come with SO MUCH beautiful product! So much. 

Several months ago, some fellow stampers and I purchased off the CLEARANCE RACK a Product Medley called Everything Is Rosy. I just looked back, and that was almost a year ago! You can see some of the cards I originally made from this Product Medley in my Everything Is Rosy blog post.

That kit came with ever so many goodies that I don't think I'll ever be able to completely use it all up. Last week, one of the friends who ordered it with me and I got together virtually to work on some more cards using this kit.

If you do have this Product Medley in your possession (lucky you!) and would like some more ideas of what to do with the components, keep perusing this post, as I have added three more idea cards.

The papers that come in this Medley are exquisite. As I use part of a sheet, I always save whatever is left over. To make use of some of these scrappy little pieces, I ended up with the first card:


The Product Medley came with some rose gold foil paper that is gorgeous. And it embosses beautifully. I grabbed an embossing folder that has retired (darn) and ran a piece of the foil cardstock through with that folder. The results . . .

Notice the crinkly ribbon and the Night of Navy baker's twine I used in the card. They too came in the kit! Oh! As did the pretty metallic edged Night of Navy ribbon in the first card I showed you.


Another of the papers that came in the Medley was this marbeled metallic on Night of Navy. The die cut flowers, the crinkly ribbon and the foiled edge labels were also some of the components. The darling sentiment was also part of it all. 


I have loads of product still remaining, so I am sure that sometime in the future, I will have more card ideas to share with you.

Who of my readers has the Everything Is Rose Product Medley? Do you love it?

Rosy 
Smiles.





January 2, 2021

#dailycreating AUGUST 2020

In August, I celebrated two years with Terry Runyan's Facebook group, #dailycreating. For participants of Terry's group, she posts a list of suggested prompts for the upcoming week each Sunday afternoon.. While these prompts are not mandatory, for some they serve as a kickstarter for ideas. Terry is simply encouraging us to be creative in some way each and every day. At the time I did these drawings, I was following the prompts almost religiously, which often led to creative pieces that were less than wonderful -- in my eyes. That is because oftentimes a prompt here and there would not resonate with me.

Lately, however, I have found myself deviating more frequently from the prompts, giving me not always successful pieces, but often resulting in work that is a bit closer to my heart. 

Each day, we participants who choose to do so, post our day's work to the Facebook page. The group is loving and non-threatening in their comments. If a member asks for advice, the other members are sure to jump in with constructive words, always in a caring and safe manner. I find this group of artists, some professional, some mediocre (where I fall), some complete beginners, all mesh very well. I cherish them as family.

To begin a new -- and hopefully better! -- year, I will start out by sharing with you 12 of my creations for August. As always, above each piece, I will include the prompt and any other pertinent information I know about my subject matter.

 #buttons, zippers and pockets


#insects
firey jewel beetle

#thing on thing
chameleon

#repair
*kintsukuroi

#in love

#if i were a food . . .

#vest
corgi

#thing on thing
javan tree frogs

#baseball cap

#sneakers

#thing on thing
knobbed hornbill, indonesia

#fish
sea goldie, red sea

Under the prompt, repair, I noted that is was an example of kintsukuroi and added an asterisk (*). For anyone who is interested in this Japanese philosophy of repairing something broken, bringing it to an even more valuable level, HERE is a very interesting article to further your knowledge. Enjoy!

ADDITION: For any of you who find the topic of kintsukuroi, also known as kintsugi, I just discovered a fascinating video about this time honored Japanese art of preserving the past and making the "victims" of accideents even more valuable. HERE is a link to the short video.

Anyway, this brings me to the end of my little monthly exhibition of what I have accomplished in the not so distant past. Each month I will continue to bring you another installment.

I hope you don't mind that once a month I depart from my original premise for my blog, that of planting paper seedlings, in essence, giving you ideas for paper creations that will further you along your creative journey. 

Please always keep in mind that these are my own personal creations, and I appreciate that you respect that by not using my drawings for any purpose unless you do so with my express approval. If you like any of them enough, I will gladly have wonderful quality Giclee prints made for you. Just let me know.

Sketchy
Smiles.