Friday, December 18, 2009

Teacher gift boxes...

Hi Everyone! School is out, the parties are over and I can finally get back to my to do list- what a marathon! I just wanted to share a quick post on the gift boxes I made last night (along with treat containers for 25 kids!) for my children's teachers. I bought them very pretty ornaments but needed something a) pretty to pack it in and b) a something that would insure that they reached school safely!

I saw a tutorial for canning jar boxes earlier this summer on Tracy Harp's website Inky Doodles and figured this was just the right size for a large ornament. I scored and assembled th ebox per her excellent tutorial, then added patterned paper to all four sides and the top. I used Sticky Strip tape to adhere to the ribbon to the edge of the cover and the handle, with a bow to finish it off. The handles were attached to the box with large rhinestone brads or large eyelets so they could swivel out of the way to open the box.

I used this cute Christmas set that hadn't seen ink until this year for the focal image and the tag. I cut them out using nested dies on my Sizzix machine and colored them with alcohol markers (may be a few more of thise on Mr.s Claus' list this year!). These boxes went together pretty quickly, especially after the first one, and the teachers loved them more than the gift inside!

I'm off to finish addressing my Christmas cards and maybe even get them mailed by tomorrow- maybe... Hope you are enjoying a peaceful weekend before Christmas {if you are you either don't have children or are way too organized!).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cuppie Snowman gift tags...

I felt like I was marginally in control yesterday when I was getting ready for work, checking off my to do list in my head, then little son vomits on his breakfast plate-ugh! Total and utter derailment for the day! Poor little thing really was sick (you know it's real when they lay on the couch or in bed all day and don't even ask to play a video game or watch TV!) and he needed mommy, so home I stayed. I tried valiantly to get some work done, then gave up in the early afternoon and made some gift tags for holiday gift exchanges, etc coming up tomorrow.

I wanted to make a holiday neutral tag in case the exchange gift goes to someone who doesn't celebrate Christmas and remembered I had this cute cupcake set that hasn't seen any ink yet- amazing because he's so darned cute!

I started with a Bashful Blue tag cut out on my Sizzix machine with a nested label die. I added a smaller piece of Chocolate Chip to the top, stamped snowflakes over the remainder of the tag and sponged the edges. I used my Crop-a-dile to punch in a grommet for the ribbon at the top and added some rhinestones for glitz (this is my daughter's book exchange gist, so there must be glitz!). Cuppie was stamped in Memento Tuxedo Black on Whisper White and colored with alcohol markers- I really do love coloring- it's so therapeutic! He was also cut out using a nested label die and then the greeting was stamped below. After I made the first one, I realized a little punch of red would be good, so I added a strip of patterned paper to one and red ric rac to the other, which I think makes it pop a bit more.

These were so easy and fun to make that I am going to squeeze some time in this weekend to make a bunch for other packages we are giving, including my famous egg nog- more to come on that!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sparkly Christmas Joy...

Happy Tuesday everyone! I had all good intentions to post yesterday but somehow the day slipped away from me. By the time I got home, I was beset by homework help (DD has 3 tests this week- clearly someone needs to get a grip on reality!) and hearing the list of what "also" must be done for class parties, plays, etc this week. My inefficiency was also compounded by the incredibly dreary weather we've been having here in Houston- damo, misty, rainy, dark- tough to get motivated to do work- I just want to stay home and bake cookies and craft!

To beat the dreary weather blues, I made a simple sparkly Christmas card using a new stamp set and paper I treated myself to (Mrs. Claus deserves some extra treats for doing such a good job at the holidays!). The paper is all glittery and sparkly, so I kept the rest of the card very simple. I started with a white card base, added the red glittered snowflake paper, then layered a smaller rectangle of the glittered stripe over the top. I added a layer of Baja Blue cut out with a nested label die then tied some of this yummy Kiwi satin ribbon I hoarded last season around in a bow.

The image was stamped in a black pigment ink and colored with alcohol markers, with a little glitter pen for accent on the berries and holly (hard to photograph but pretty IRL). The image was cut out using a smaller nested die and mounted to the card with dimensionals to pop it up a bit. The best part of this card is the snowflake- so glittery! I used my Sizzix machine and a nested snowflake die to cut snowflake parts out of Regal Rose and White. I sponged the edges of all pieces with Regal Rose, then outlined the snowflakes with Crystal Effects glue and rolled the pieces in chunky glitter. When they were dry, I stacked them up and used a rhinestone brad to keep them together before mounting with a dimensional sticky dot.

Quick, easy and so sparkly- my daughter was totally into this card- she's a glamour girl in the making! Only 4 more work days for me until holiday time- yay! Have a great one~

Friday, December 11, 2009

Happy Birthday to you...

I am the queen of making cards and not mailing them. I have so many cards in boxes in my craft room it is absolutely sick. I make them, I intend to mail them, but somehow dates slip by. I have even tried making reminders on my calendar a week ahead so that I have time to get them in the mail and delivered by the desired date. Does it happen...NOOOO! My dear friend Cheryl's birthday is no exception. So, she has gotten a voicemail "Happy Birthday" message and now a cyber card!

Mr. Brown from UPS just delivered my sneak peek stamp sets from the upcoming Occasions Mini catalog which starts Jan 5th, so I decided to break out this great new set called Vintage Vogue for her card. The big news from the Occasions mini is that Stampin' Up will now offer clear mount stamps in addition to wood mount. The stamps are still the same red rubber, but have cling foam on the back side which can be used with acrylic blocks. The good part for those of us with a lot of stamps is two-fold: it's better for the environment not to use so much wood and, more importantly, much smaller storage space-YAY! They will still offer wood mount for traditionalists, but I strongly encourage people to try the clear mounts because you can see where you're stamping your image and storage is great!

This stamp set, Vintage Vogue, screams Pale Plum, Mellow Moss and Close to Cocoa to me, so I dug through my paper stash for some patterned paper with those colors from a few years back called Enchante´.

I started with a Kraft 5.75" card base (my favorite square) and stitched on a piece of DP from this set which I had crumpled and sponged with ink to give it a vintage feel. I used the same technique for the floral layer and sponged all the Kraft card stock with Vanilla Craft ink before assembling to lighten the edges. I wrapped a length of crocheted trim that I found in the Joann's sale bin around the card and added pearls to the corners to complete the vintage look.

The main image was made by stamping the vines on Confetti card stock, then stamping the "F-friend" colored in Pale Plum and Close to Cocoa in the center. I stamped the "F" again, cut it out and popped it up on dimensionals to set it apart, then cut the whole thing out on my Sizzix machine using a nested label die. The edges of the main image and the Mellow Moss layer were sponged with Close to Cocoa to age them a bit.

Because the crocheted ribbon frays a bit when cut, I decided to finish off the inside of the card as well. I added a layer of floral to cover the ribbon ends and a layer for the greeting as well. It's a bit heavier to mail, but it already requires hand metering, so who cares?! The greeting comes from this awesome set called "Well Scripted" which is destined to become a favorite.

So my dear friend, Cheryl, happy birthday and my card made it on-time, even if it needed some cyber help! Maybe I'll mail it tomorrow...maybe.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I need an elf...

Happy hump day everyone! I honestly can't believe it's Wednesday already and I am beginning to feel a bit breathless about how far behind I am, both at work and at home! My tree is up and lit, but not decorated, no lights outside, no other decorations yet; 2 swim meets and 3 parties to go to this weekend;  school parties and recitals over the next two weeks; and a book chapter that is so late it wakes me up at night with stress!

Somehow no matter how well I plan, this is where I end up every year! Knowing this would happen, made this card over the TG holiday and figured today was the day to share it. This image from MFT tickles me every time I see it- it was so me last night (only there was an empty wine glass next to me!). This card was fun to make, but was a bit labor intensive on the cutting side, as much of it is paper pieced- explanation to follow.

The image was first stamped on Whisper White card stock then stamped again on the colors/patterned papers that I wanted different parts to appear in- it gives a bit more texture to the image instead of simply coloring. I downloaded and printed some digital paper from SEI - this is a fun way to expand your paper repertoire without having to store it! Stampin' Up also has a whole line of digital papers, stamps, etc which are really convenient when you need a particular color patterned paper and you don't have it on hand. I stamped the image on the blue stripe for the wallpaper, pinkish-red for the chair and deep yellow for the carpet. I cut out the sections and adhered them over the white image- note to self: color the parts you are not paper piecing first so it is cleaner (mistake made on the first card led to much frustration and gnashing of teeth!).

After the image was colored and paper pieced, I covered the Christmas balls on the tree with Crystal Effects glue to give them a shiny appearance. I used this same technique on the martini glass to make the appletini look like liquid-yum! I added the greeting on the bottom and some satin ribbon and she's done- wish I was!

Hope you're having a great day- I'm off to make some lists and work on that chapter!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Rudolph Christmas Tags...

I'm trying deperately to get myself in the Christmas spirit and get things done so I'm not so rushed this year (ha!). We had a snow storm last Friday which made it feel a bit Christmasy-that was so much more fun than all this fog and rain we've had the last few days!  My kids certainly made the most of the few patches of snow that stuck to the grass and ground, including snowball fights and a 10" snowman (a bit pathetic, actually!)

Despite the weather, about half of my stamp group made it and we had great fun. I posted most of the other things we made last week, but never got around to posting my reindeer tag- he was definitely the favorite! I have to admit that he was not my idea, but I embellished him a bit more that his original creator.

The tag starts out with by cutting out a scalloped circle in Whisper White and Merry Moments Designer Series paper on a Sizzix machine and cutting the green patterned piece in half before adhering to the white background. The greeting was stamped using a Stamp-a-ma-jig to insure perfect positioning, although I usually just wing it! I added the green ric rac using Sticky Strip which is really sticky- the good news is that it sticks and the bad news is that it sticks, so you have to be really sure you want something stuck exactly where you place it!

Next is the really creative part- Rudolph made with 3 different punches! I started with Close to Cocoa and punched out an oval using the Large Oval punch and a flower using the 5-Petal Flower punch- two petals were cut off to make the ears. From Chocolate Chip card stock, antlers were cut out using a flourish die on my Sizzix machine and the "hair" was punched from the Bojo Blossom punch and then the the oval punch to make it fit his hairline. After he was assembled, I drew eyes and mouth with black marker and accented with the Uniball white gel pen (the only white pen that actually works, BTW!). A little red rhinestone nose and he was stuck on using dimensionals.

For the ribbon, I used my Crop-a-dile to punch a hole and mount a jumbo pewter eyelet, and ran about 7 inches of Sleigh Bells ribbon through, tied with hemp twine and a jingle bell for fun! My kids loved the way he turned out and wanted to use these on their teachers' gifts, so clearly I will be making lots more of these!

Time for me to get motivated for work-hope your day is less dreary than ours here in Houston!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tree trimmings gift card holder...

Just a quick post as today is going to be jammed packed with work, my stamp class and a finals swim meet- and now SNOW in Houston- absolute craziness! It appears there are only two prime weekends for parties and holiday events each year and there are way too many competing events this year- having to pick and choose is terrible- I want to celebrate at them all!

What I want to share today is a really quick and easy template for gift card holders. Goodness knows we all need a lot of these at this time of year- teachers, secretaries, Mr. Brown from UPS who delivers goodies to us all year round...

This starts with a half sheet of 8.5 x 11" card stock cut the short way across to give a piece 5.5 x 8". Score and fold the sheet at 2" from one end and 2.5" from the other end. Glue the edges of the 2" fold up to make the pocket. Now comes the fun part- decorating it!

I like to cover the top and bottom flaps with patterned paper, but you can also dry emboss or stamp background images like snowflakes, etc on them if you prefer. I used coordinating papers from the Christmas Cocoa collection from Stampin' Up which go well with the Soft Suede card base I used. Once that is done, you need to make a vertical flap that will be used to close the gift card holder shut. Here I have stamped one of the ornaments from the Tree Trimmings set, topped with a ribbon bow, and layered it onto coordinating card stock. I glued only the top half of this image to the card and added a piece of velcro to the lower half to keep the card closed.

I stamped a greeting from the Snow Swirled set and punched it out with the wide oval punch. I layered the greeting onto a Soft Suede piece cut on my Sizzix machine with a nested die and added some rhinestones for sparkle. These are super quick to make and are much more personal that the ones you get with the gift card- my husband has already requested 20!

Hope you have a greet weekend and keep warm!

Stamps: Tree Trimmings, Snow Swirled
Paper: Soft Suede, Real Red, Whisper White, Christmas Cocoa
Ink: Real Red
Accessories: Clear EP, heat tool, brown dotted organdy ribbon, velcro, wide label punch, nested die, Sizzix machine, rhinestones

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday coffee can treat containers...

I have been saving (i.e. hoarding) my husband's Illy coffee cans for a very long time now and I keep intending to make great treat containers for whatever the next holiday is, but never seem to get around to it. I can't recycle them because they are too good to get rid of- they are solid, have great screw tops- you get the idea. I now have accumulated enough of a stash that it is impinging on my stamp storage space, so I decided they must be used for my next stamp class.

The coffee people didn't plan well for crafters like me. These cans are 11.5" in circumference, so you need to use 12x12 paper to get around the can- if they were just a bit smaller, you could use a vertical half sheet of 8.5X11 card stock, which would really be more convenient!

For this can, I started with a 4x12" strip of Chocolate Chip and randomly stamped snowflakes in the same ink all over it. Then I punched an eyelet border on both sides of a 4.25" strip of Garden Green and overlaid a strip of Merry Moments Designer paper. I adhered the patterned paper to the Chocolate Chip with strong adhesive from my ATG gun and adhered the whole thing to the can with Tacky Tape.
I stamped the snowflake ornament from the Delightful Decorations set in Garden Green craft ink and embossed with clear EP, then punched out the image with the ornament punch (I love not having to cut these out by hand!!). I hung the ornament from the Real Red grosgrain ribbon with a little hook I made from wire- really simple to make and darned cute!

For the top, I stamped and embossed a snowflake in Real Red and layered it onto nested circles made from Real Red, Garden Green and Chocolate Chip card stock. I added a circle layer on the bottom of the can to write the "To: and From:" since my Ornament was tacked down to the can with glue dots. You could also add a tag for that info onto the ribbon, but I didn't want it to detract from my cute ornament!

One important note: the inside edge of the can is a bit sharp since it had a pull top lid inside to keep the coffee fresh. I tried several ways to soften that edge and finally settled on a layer of Crystal Effects glue which covered the sharp edge perfectly.

These cans can be filled with cellophane bags full of cookies and other treats, or maybe some craft supplies for stamping friends!

Thanks for stopping by~


Stamps: Snowburst, Delightful Decorations
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Garden Green, Real Red, Very Vanilla, Merry Moments DP
Ink: Real Red, Garden Green Craft
Accessories: Wide Real Red grosgrain ribbon, Ornament punch, Eyelet edge punch, wire, Sizzix machine, nested dies

Monday, November 30, 2009

Charlie Brown trees...

Hi Everyone! Hope you're first day back after the long holiday weekend hasn't been too painful! I am trying to wade through the masses of email and get myself organized for the coming weeks, both at work and at home- a monumental task for sure!

When I first saw the Patterned Pines stamp set, I knew I wanted to make a Christmas card using some of the Thoroughly Modern designer series paper and "alternate" Christmas colors. The bright pinks and teals remind me of the aluminum trees that Charlie Brown waded through before finding his little wooden tree.

I started with my favorite 5-3/4" square card base and layered on a strip of the teal pattern paper accented by a strip of Whisper White punched with the lattice edge punch from MS. I colored the trees on the Patterned Pines stamp with Melon Mambo and Taken with Teal markers, stamped them on a WW rectangle and added rhinestone toppers to each tree. After tying some white organdy ribbon around the card with a little dotted Melon strip for contrast, I layered the image onto Teal and Kraft card stock and mounted it on the card front with dimensionals. A rhinestone brad studded snowflake and a simple greeting complete the card- super fast and easy!

This is one of the cards we'll be making at my class this week, so be sure to come or get your kit! Thanks for stopping by~


Stamps: Patterned Pines (hostess- Holiday Mini catalog), Christmas Greetings
Paper: Melon Mambo, Taken with Teal, Kraft, Whisper White, Thoroughly Modern
Ink: Melon Mambo, Taken with Teal (markers), Basic Black
Accessories: lattice edge punch, rhinestone brads, rhinestones, dimensionals, white organdy ribbon, melon mambo dotted grosgrain ribbon

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Let the race begin!

It's now offically the weekend after Thanksgiving and less than 4 weeks until Christmas-yikes! Every year I say that I am going to be more organized than the prior year, but somehow it still creeps up on me.  I wonder if Einstein ever examined the time continuum in December- the days clearly disappears twice faster  than any other month!

I had hoped to get some things done for the holidays this weekend, but I got layed low with bronchitis so I got very little accomplished. I did get a few cards done for my upcoming class in between naps, though, and wanted to share this one today.

I started this card with a vertical Close to Cocoa card base and layered on Whisper White and the flocked red paper from the Christmas Cocoa paper collection from Stampin' Up. I absolutely love this paper- the combination of reds and cocoa colors is really great! I tried several images for this card and settled on Dasher, which I stamped in Close to Coca Craft ink and embossed with clear EP to make him really stand out. I cut my reindeer and a red mat out using a nested die set and my Sizzix machine and layered them onto the card with some Soft Suede dotted ribbon at the top.

The greeting was also stamped in Close to Cocoa craft ink and embossed and punched out with the wide oval punch. I used the same nested shape in Cocoa for the greeting background and added a red snowflake I punched with a MS punch and a rhinestone brad for accent. The last touch was a tiny red rhinestone for the reindeer's nose- too cute!

Don't forget to RSVP if you're coming to Friday's class- we're going to make lots of great cards, treat holders, etc and celebrate the holidays!

Stamps: Dasher, Holidays and Wishes
Paper: Close to Cocoa, Whisper White, Real Red, Christmas Cocoa
Ink: Close to Cocoa craft
Accessories: Soft Suede dotted grosgrain ribbon, Sizzix machine, nested dies, wide oval punch, clear rhinestone brads, snowflake punch

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Simple Thanks...

Happy day before Thanksgiving everyone! I am up, caffeinated and have already been to the swim club for round one of swim team practice. I have already begun my "To Do" list for the Thanksgiving feast tomorrow (those of you who know me are aware of my list making habit!) and am trying to corral the elderly and children to be as little interference as possible (I'm hoping one apple pie will take them 2 hours!).

On to the card for today... I was going through stamps to use for my Thanksgiving place cards and I saw this set "Give Thanks" which retired last year and I have not used very much. I loved the galvanized bucket of apples and the swirly pumpkin images- they are really fun to color with Copics or watercolor pencils.

I started with a Kraft card stock base and stamped a background in Always Artichoke using a large background stamp called Flannel Plaid. Then I layered two strips of Very Vanilla punched with a lattice border under a piece of patterned paper from the "Sweet Slumber" set. After the image was colored, I cut it out using a nested die set along with an Artichoke background, layering the two pieces with the Riding Hood Red ribbon tied in between. The greeting was also stamped in Artichoke, punched out with the wide oval punch and layered onto an Artichoke die cut fancy oval shape.

Simple, country and reminds me of a New England Thanksgiving and pies! Speaking of which, it's time for me to move onto that task- pecan, pumpkin and apple pies- made with my neighbor who is an expert Texas pie maker! It's our annual tradition to bake together and it reminds me how thankful I am to have great friends like her!

Stamps: Give Thanks, Flannel Plaid background

Paper: Kraft, Always Artichoke, Very Vanilla, Sweet Slumber
Ink: Always Artichoke
Accessories: Riding Hood Red taffeta ribbon, nested dies, Sizzix machine, lattice punch, wide oval punch, dimensionals

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Troubled Poinsettia...

This was one of those cards that went together so quickly, until it came to the image. I must have stamped 10 images trying to find the right one to go with this card! I tried a reindeer, a snowflake and a wreath before settling on this poinsettia. I tried a gold embossed version of the poinsettia, but the edges were too light to really stand out against this paper. At that point, I walked away from it, had a glass of wine and came back to it after dinner!

For the final version of this card, I ended up stamping the poinsettia twice in Always Artichoke Craft ink, embossed with clear EP and colored with alcohol markers. I cut the first poinsettia out using a nested die and my Sizzix machine and layered it onto the card front which was made from layers of Riding Hood Red, Vanilla and Wassail (Basic Grey) stitched on my sewing machine. I highlighted the center of the poinsettia with a yellow glitter pen and cut only the inner leaves from the second flower to layer on top of the main poinsettia to give it some depth.

I accented the Fancy Tag and Flourish dies with tiny gold rhinestones for a bit of sparkle and tied it all up with an ivory organdy ribbon- done! After all this work, deciding on a worthy recipient for this card will be hard-LOL!

I've finished my Thanksgiving food shopping and am off to begin making pies-yum! Thanks for stopping by~

Stamps: Poinsettia, Snow Swirled
Ink: Always Artichoke Craft and Classic
Paper: Riding Hood Red, Very Vanilla, Always Artichoke, Wassail (Basic Grey)
Accessories: Alcohol markers, ivory organdy ribbon, Sizzix machine, nested dies, rhinestones, sewing machine

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Penguin love...

How nice it is to finally have a Sunday off to drink my coffee in my pajamas, in relative peace and quiet (well, not so quiet with the aggressive Monopoly game going on in the background!). My FIL and his sister, Aunt Elaine, arrived yesterday for the Thanksgiving holiday and it is so wonderful to see my kids enjoy their grandfather and great-aunt. They are going to wear them out before the week is out!

Aunt Elaine was going through my craft room yesterday and wanted a penguin card for a friend who loves these little creatures. Just so happens I have a penguin stamp from this year's Holiday Mini catalog in a set called Cold & Cuddly- what do I not have a stamp for??

I was inspired to use the Snowfall transparency sheets for a snowy background, after seeing the card in the Holiday mini, and layered that over a card base made from rich Razzleberry. I used vellum tape to adhere it which is relatively well concealed. You can also adhere transparencies without glue by using brads, staples, etc.

I stamped snowflakes using the Snowflurries set (retired but wonderful!) then layered a white strip punched out with a MS snowflake border punch. A little Razzleberry dotted ribbon conceals the border between the different papers and makes a nice bow. I inked the penguin in black, then wiped off his heart and colored it in Razzleberry before stamping on Whisper White paper. This is a good way to ink in different colors, especially if you only want a small accent area.

I cut the penguin out using a circle die on my Sizzix machine, then sponged a blue background with the die still in place so that the edge remains white. It's a bit hard to see in this picture, but it makes a nice contrast edge! I layered him onto a Bashful Blue circle and a Razzleberry scalloped circle, then tie a ribbon of silver cord through the top before adhering him with dimensionals to the card.

The greeting was stamped, punched out with the Designer Label punch and layered onto a Razzleberry circle. A few rhinestones on the snowflake border and around the greeting for some sparkle and he's done! He's so cute-I may need to make a bunch of these for the holidays!

Thanks for stopping by and hope you're enjoying a relaxing Sunday as well!

Stamps: Cold & Cuddly, Snowflurries
Paper: Rich Razzleberry, Bashful Blue, Whisper White, Snowfall transparency
Ink: Basic Black, Bashful Blue
Accessories: Designer Label punch, Sizzix machine, circle and scallop dies, Razzleberry dotted grosgrain ribbon, silver cord, vellum tape, MS snowflake border punch, rhinestones

Friday, November 20, 2009

Thankful Figs...

Happy Friday everyone! It is certainly a soggy one here in Houston today and I needed some serious caffeination to get me moving today. The happy news is that I thought I had to work this weekend and just double checked the calendar- I'm off! That's like a get-out-of-jail-free pass! I hope to work on some teacher gifts and other holiday projects this weekend, so more to come.

I am determined to finish off this year by making good on three resolutions I made last year: use stamps that have never seen ink, actually mail out cards I have made and get my holiday cards out by the first week in December. With Thanksgiving is less than a week away, I am under the crunch to make the "mailing cards out" part happen so I packed a few pre-stamped images and markers in my bag the other night and squirreled away a few minutes to color while on-call (the absolute in multi-tasking!).

This image is one I have had for a year or more and have never used. I was attracted to the figs (love them with blue cheese and proscuitto-yum!) and the detailed leaves. Until I started coloring, however, I never really thought about the complexity of recreating a fig- they're kind of brown, kind of purple and kind of green. A lot of trial and error later, this is about as good as they get in my hands!

After the image was done, it was cut out using a nested label die and layered onto a Chocolate Chip matching piece. The background was assembled using squares of Old Olive, Very Vanilla and an olive piece from Basic Grey "Periphery", then tied a piece of off white silk ribbon around with a big bow to frame the image. I used a bit of glue runner to tack the tails of the bow down so they would stay with a soft wave- it's a nice little trick that I learned from Sharon Johnson over at Splitcoast.

A different nested die cut piece in Elegant Eggplant was placed under the image to make it stand out and the greeting and a few pearls in the corners  finish it off. The whole thing was mounted on an Elegant Eggplant 5-3/4" square card which is my absolute favorite size, although the extra postage makes me cringe!

This work of love will probably go to my mother, although I know she'd rather have my silly pheasant from a few weeks back! Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by!


Stamps: Figs & Pomegranate
Ink: Rich Cocoa
Paper: Elegant Eggplant, Old Olive, Very Vanilla, Chocolate Chip, Basic Grey "Periphery"
Accessories: Alcohol ink markers, Sizzix machine, Modern label punch, nested dies, pearls, silk ribbon, dimensionals

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

More is More...

Happy Tuesday everyone! It was a crazy busy weekend for me and I am just getting myself re-collected after a fabulous weekend at Girl Scout camp. Our entire Girl Scout Service Unit (about 350 girls and adults) was at Camp Agnes Arnold for a weekend filled with crafts, canoeing, archery, smores, too much food and lots of songs and fun! It was so nice to be away from the city, see some fall foliage (a rarity here in Houston!) and feel the cool air.

Our girls shared a treehouse unit with some Cadettes and it was really great to see the interaction between the teens and the tweens- they are growing up so fast and are such wonderful girls!

So onto my "More is More"card! I made the first version of this card for my last stamp class a few weeks back and needed to keep it simple as many of the other cards we were making that night were more complicated. When I looked at the card after the class, I realized I wanted to do a bit more to bring it up a notch and decided to share the two cards as an example of how the addition of a few elements can really bring a card from ordinary to something a bit more!

The card on the left started with a Garden Green base, to which I added a piece of Kraft CS and a strip of patterned paper from the "Merry Moments" Designer paper collection, both of which were sponged with Close to Cocoa ink.  I stamped the wreath from the Yuletide Christmas set in Garden Green and used a Stamp-a-ma-jig to position the stocking exactly in the middle of the oval. The Stamp-a-ma-jig is a great little tool that's worth spending a few moments learning to use- it guarantees perfect positioning of layered elements every time!  The image was layered onto a Night of Navy scalloped oval and adhered to the card over a strip of Real Red dotted ribbon (reverse side) tied with hemp twine. The greeting was stamped on the bottom left corner and some Dew Drops were added to the top left to finish it off. Simple and fast!

The MIM card has a few more elements that I think make it a bit more finished. The Kraft and candy cane striped were stitched together using a zigzag stitch and brown thread, to pickup the color from the stocking, and this piece was layered onto Very Vanilla card stock with dimensionals to make it stand out from the green card base.  I added a layer of red to the main image and sponged all those pieces as well to soften them a bit. The greeting was stamped, cut out using an oval die and sponged before layering onto a vanilla scalloped oval to make it stand out more. I changed the Dew Drops to brown, as there was already more red in this card, and added a brown button on the ribbon.

Two very similar cards with slightly different looks! Leave a comment and vote for your favorite. Better yet, use these cards as an example and go one step further- leave a link to your card to all can enjoy!

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!


Stamps: Yuletide Christmas
Paper: Garden Green, Kraft, Real Red, Night of Navy, Very Vanilla, Merry Moments DP 
Ink: Close to Cocoa, Garden Green
Accessories: Red dotted grosgrain ribbon, hemp twine, Stamp-a-ma-jig, sponges, Sizzix Machine, nested dies, Dew Drops, sewing machine, dimensionals 

Friday, November 13, 2009

Brick Wall Santa...

I have been really lame about doing any of the challenges over at Splitcoast Stampers over the past year, but this particular one sparked an immediate idea the minute I saw it posted. If you haven't checked out this site, or the daily challenges they have, you MUST follow the link and go there. But warning- it will be an even bigger sink of time than Facebook or Etsy!

Each Wednesday they post a new technique cahllenge, with instructions and often a video, that comes out in their "Weekly Inking" newsletter. There is a gallery for all the cards people created using the weekly technique, which is a great way to see what others have done to take it one step further. This week's technique challenge was the Brick Wall technique.

In their tutorial, they stamped a background image, over-stamped a foreground image, then cut it up and reassembled it into a brick wall. This Santa stamp was a gift last year and has never seen ink, but I knew it would be perfect for teh look I was going for. I stamped the Santa image in Memento Rick Cocoa on Very Vanilla card stock, drew my lines on the back of the image and cut it up into a brick pattern. Warning: cut and lay out the image one line at a time or it's like a jigsaw puzzle getting it back together (can you tell I was a little frustrated at reassembling this image?!).

I sponged ink on all the pieces then re-assembled the image onto a separate piece of Very Vanilla card stock. After the image was assembled, I layered it on some Basic Grey Wasail and Vanilla paper and cut a fancy border from Chocolate Chip. I tied a bow with some wide ivory organdy ribbon and cinched the center with a burgundy button and some twine. The finished image was mounted with dimensionals onto a Chocolate Chip 6" square card base. This card was fun to make, but a bit tedious and long, so this may be the only one of these I make this year!

Hope your Friday is a great one- I'm off to Girl Scout camp with all the troops in my area for a great weekend camp-out. The weather is ideal, so it should be a beautiful weekend!

Thanks for stopping by-


Stamp: Tim Holtz "Believe"
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Very Vanilla, Basic Grey "Wasail"
Ink: Memento Rich Cocoa 
Accessories: Wide ivory organdy ribbon, Sizzix machine, border die, dimensionals 

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Delightful Decorations...

The Holiday Mini catalog from Stampin' Up has some wonderful stamps and paper this year, including this great set called "Delightful Decorations". When I saw it, I had instant visions of cards, gift tags and scrapbook page embellishments. What's even more fabulous about this set is that it has a matching Ornament punch (no cutting by hand-yay!) and a matching die for the Sizzix machine. I am also in love with their alternate Christmas colors in this paper line called "Holiday Lounge"- it's kinda funky and retro- a perfect accompaniment for this stamp set.

I started this card with a Ruby Red card base and stamped the small snowflake from the Delightful Decorations set on the background using the same color ink. I layered the Holiday Lounge paper onto a Bermuda Bay rectangle and added a piece of Bermuda Bay dotted grosgrain ribbon across the middle, plain side up before adhering to the card front. A quick greeting from the "Warm Words" set in Bermuda Bay, punched out with the large oval punch, and a scalloped oval punched from Ruby Red and teh base of the card was done.

Now onto the ornaments... The base for the ornaments was formed by two layers, Whisper White and Bermuda Bay, cut out with nested dies on the Sizzix machine. I stamped the ornaments in Sahara Sand, Ruby Red and Bermuda Bay ink and punched them out 1,2,3 with the Ornament punch (love it!!). Now for the really fun part- the hangers! I snipped a piece of silver colored wire (about 2" long) and wound the center of the wire around my piercing tool to make the spring part. I then wound the top part around the end of a paint brush to make the hanger and left a 0.5" tail on the other end to secure it under the ornament. You could also hook the tail end through a hole in your ornament so that it could actually be used as a paper ornament on a kids' tree, etc.

I adhered the ornaments onto the card front using dimensionals to pop them up a bit and added a think strip of patterned paper on the inside to finish it off. This is another quick and easy card for the holidays- it can be adapted with a pocket on the inside to hold a gift card or used to make placecards for your holiday dinner table- lots of great ideas!

Thanks for stopping by- hope your day is as bright and shiny as ours here in Houston!

Stamps: Delightful Decorations, Warm Words
Paper: Ruby Red, Bermuda Bay, Whisper White, Holiday Lounge
Ink: Ruby Red, Bermuda Bay 
Accessories: Bermuda Bay dotted grosgrain ribbon, Ornament punch, Large oval punch, Scallop oval punch, silver wire, Sizzix Machine, nested dies

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Patterned Pines...

Just a quick post this morning- I'm on my way out to sit at an eternally long swim meet (luckily the weather is nice so I can sit outside!). For those of you who missed the stamp class last night, it was a late night and lots of fun- what a great group I have! I think they were taxed by some of the more complicated cards, so I think everyone was glad to make this card since it goes together so easily and is classic.

Starting with a Kraft card base, I layered paper from the Merry Moments Designer Series paper onto Very Vanilla for the background. I stamped the Patterned Pines trees in White Craft ink and heat embossed with Iridescent Ice embossing powder- it gives the trees a nice shimmer and makes them stand out against the green background! I layered that piece onto Vanilla as well to make it stand out.

I stamped the snowflake and corner detail in Real Red and embossed with the Iridescent Ice EP to make them shimmer as well. The Real Red Classic ink is so juicy, it leaves you enough time to get embossing powder on and is easier to clean up than the Craft ink! I added a few red rhinestone brads for sparkle and contrast and the Sleigh Bells ribbon to finish it off.

A quick and easy card that can be easily mass produced or adapted for a photo card! Thanks for stopping by- hope your day is relaxing!

Stamps: Patterned Pines (Holiday Mini catalog)
Paper: Kraft, Very Vanilla, , Old Olive, Merry Moments DP 
Ink: White Craft, Real Red
Accessories: Sleigh Bells ribbon, rhinestones, dimensionals, Iridescent Ice EP, heat tool 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Shimmery snowflakes...

I love snowflakes for holiday cards and when Stampin' Up retired my favorite set last year, I was despondent. That was until I saw the new Serene Snowflakes set in this year's Holiday mini catalog- just gorgeous! The detail in the big snowflake is just amazing.

The image in the catalog got me stuck on blues and golds, so I decided to play around with their new Champagne Mist shimmer paint. I stamped the swirly snowflake on the Kraft background paper in Sahara Sand and then used the shimmer paint to stamp the smaller snowflakes. It gives it a bit of gold glimmer which is subtle, but pretty. I sponged the Kraft card stock and patterned paper (from the Christmas Cocoa Designer Series paper set) and layered them onto a vanilla square base.

I had to play around a bit with the shimmer paint on the big snowflake to get the look I was searching for. The image didn't show up that clearly by itself on light colored card stock using the shimmer paint alone, so I ended up stamping the snowflake first in Bordering Blue and then in the shimmer paint directly over the top using a Stamp-a-ma-jig to get the snowflakes perfectly aligned. It's hard to see in this photo but the blue shows the detail of this pretty stamp and the shimmer paint makes it glisten. I cut out the image and coordinating layers on my Sizzix machine using some nested dies and sponged all the layers before assembling to give it some softness.

I stamped a greeting from the Christmas Punch Hostess set using Soft Suede ink, punched out with the wide oval punch and layered it onto a small nested square. A little ivory organdy ribbon and a few Dew Drops and its done! This is definitely a set that will see a lot of ink this holiday season!

Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!


Stamps: Serene Snowflakes, Christmas Punch
Paper: Kraft, Bordering Blue, Very Vanilla, Christmas Cocoa
Ink: Sahara Sand, Bordering Blue, Soft Suede, Champagne Mist Shimmer paint 
Accessories: Sizzix machine, Wide oval punch, dimensionals, wide ivory organdy ribbon, nested dies, Stampin' sponges

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Back on track!

I finally finished a big research talk and can now allow myself some time to think about things other than work! It was really nice to see my college roommate when I was in Boston last week- we went out to Wellesley College to see my former Chemistry professor and meet with his student for a bit. He was so proud- it was very sweet! My friend Cheryl and I also found a fabulous martini bar in Boston, supposedly the best, and it was VERY good: City Bar on Boylston St- definitely a must if you are in Boston!

I have a class coming up this Friday night, so I had to get a move on making cards as soon as I got back Monday night. Somehow the time between Halloween and Christmas gets shorter each year and I was so far behind last year, that I am determined to get my holiday cards done by Thanksgiving!

This is one of the cards we will be making at my class Friday night. I get tired of the standard reds and greens for Christmas, so I was excited to see the new Stampin' Up Christmas Cocoa paper- chocolates and reds- just yummy!

I used the Mojo Monday sketch to jump start the layout. I have become a big fan over the years of using sketches as a starting point for my cards. It gives me a quick idea of scale, where to place embellishments and then I just fill in with paper and stamps. It also helps me break out of the rut of using the same layouts over and over again.

For this card, I used a Soft Suede card base and layered on Real Red and two patterns from the Christmas Cocoa paper collection. I ran a piece of Soft Suede dotted ribbon (back side which is solid) around the line between the two patterned papers and added red rhinestones along the edges.

I stamped the wreath from the Berry Christmas set in Soft Suede then cut it out using a nested die on my Sizzix machine with a background layer to match. I then stamped the holly leaves in Old Olive and the bird and berries in Real Red- they were cut out and layered on top of the wreath to give it some dimension. The poinsettia flower was cut out using a die and some shimmer added with Ice Stickles and a rhinestone brad. I also added a few more rhinestones to the greeting which was punched out using the Modern Label punch- I was in glitter mode so I went with it!

Thanks for stopping by- happy hump day!

Stamps: Berry Christmas
Paper: Soft Suede, Real Red, Christmas Cocoa DP, Whisper White
Ink:  Soft Suede, Real Red
Accessories: Soft Suede dotted grosgrain ribbon, Sizzix machine, nested dies, rhinestone brads, rhinestones, Modern Label punch

Monday, October 26, 2009

And the broom you rode in on...

I'm sure this is the image my son has of me today after a "discussion" about appropriate school clothes this morning-LOL! Mommy did not agree with the favorite, worn out shorts and T-shirt he had dressed himself in and he was a complete grump when I made him change. He even tried the tactic of trying to recruit daddy to his side, which I promptly cut off- he hasn't figured out that I'm wise to his tricks! After that little tussle, a witchy card seemed in order!

I've had this Halloween set from MFT since last year and haven't had a chance to ink it up yet, so today seemed like a good day to get the witch in me going (since I was already on a roll!). I stamped the witch image twice- once on Whisper White card stock and once on a bright green patterned paper from Halloween paper stack by K&Co. I cut out the witch's dress from the green image and pasted it over the white image- this technique is called paper piecing and is a great way to add color and texture to an image. It's a bit like applique but with paper instead- a really fun technique when you start using it!

The rest of the image was colored with alcohol markers and glitter markers on the sun and her boots. I used 3 shades of violet, blending the streaks of color together, to make a spooky sky- it looks a bit like she's flying through some fog!

I stamped some bats in Taken With Teal on the card background and layered some funky striped DP on the bottom. I have been dying to use my new velvet ric rac and this seemed like the perfect card for it- I definitely have a thing for ric rac! The image and it's contrasting layers were cut out using a set of nested dies on my Sizzix machine, as was the greeting. I am in love with the new fancy labels dies- they add a bit more than a standard die or punch with their detailed edges! A few rhinestones around the edges and she's off!

Hope you're having a good day wherever you park your broom!

Paper: Taken with Teal, Basic Black, Whisper White, K&CO Halloween pack
Ink: Pigment black ink
Accessories: Velvet ric rac, Sizzix machine, nested dies, Modern Label punch, glitter and alcohol markers, dimensionals