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