Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Chillin' in the bubbles

It's been forever since I've had a chance to participate in any of the challenges over at Splitcoast, but today's sketch challenge really appealed to me. I bought these cute little "Pure Innocence" digital stamps last week and this was just the sketch to use one of them.

 I have bought a few digital stamps, and although you don't have the pleasure of stamping the image yourself, there are a few advantages: they don't take up space in your closet (just your hard drive), the image comes out perfectly every time and most printer inks are pigment inks and work well with alcohol markers for coloring.

I used coordinating papers from the Sweet Pea Paper Pad (love this pack!) because the patterns reminded me of bubbles.  I lightly adhered the triangles to a 5-3/8" x 4-1/8" Whisper White piece, then machine stitched around the edge. I ran some ribbon down the middle, then overlaid the circle patterned piece.

I printed the image on Whisper White cardstock, colored with alcohol markers and cut out using an oval die on my Sizzix machine. You can't see it here, but I added some sparkle to the bubbles with a Spica glitter pen- so cute IRL! The greeting was computer generated and punched out with the small oval punch- it says it all- relax. I tied a little bow with a button and some hemp twine and added a few pearls to finish it off- done!

She turned out so cute, I'm going to have trouble giving this one away! The week's on the downswing- only two days to go!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Using scraps...

Because of all the card-making and classes I do, I have a robust piles of scraps, both plain card stock and patterned papers- I'm sure you can all relate to this! When I saw this card layout for the Sweet Sunday Sketch challenge I knew that this would be a great way to get rid of some scraps!

I started with a Whisper White piece, 5-1/4"x4", and adhered strips of coordinating patterned paper in rows of different widths. These are from some retired Stampin' Up Designer Series paper sets: Parisian Breeze, Bella Rose and Apple Cider. I would never have thought to combine these different sets, but that's the best part of digging through the scrap bin- new ideas!

After the strips were adhered, I trimmed that piece down to 5-1/8"x 3-7/8" and mounted it onto another white piece 5-1/4"x4" to give a nice outlined edge. I ran a strip of ribbon around the front, added some pearls to the corners, then adhered the whole thing to a Baja Breeze card with dimensionals to make it stand out.

The main image is very simple and versatile for sympathy, thinking of you, etc. I lightly stamped the flower image from the "Charming" set, then stamped the greeting from the SAB set "Whimsical Words" over the top. To make the flower image appear softer and layered under the words, I inked the flower, stamped it off onto scrap paper, then stamped it on the circle. I added a simple bow at the bottom to finish it off- this will be a nice card to have on hand for random emergencies!

As far as scrap storage goes, I have tried many different methods and have finally come down to using Bigso Boxes of Sweden that I got at the Container Store. I have a box for each Stampin' Up color family, then 3 boxes for patterened paper scraps, and I keep them stacked at the end of my island where they are handy.

I like these boxes because they are 10"x13" and can fit full 12" length pieces, which I often have left-over from projects that use 12x12" paper. You do notice that this photo is cropped so that you do not see the mess on top and in the rest of the room, don't you?! I absolutely love my craft room and someday when it's neat, I'll take some pictures to share...that's not today-LOL!

I'm interested to hear how you all (y'all here in Texas!) organize and store your scraps, so leave a comment and share your method!

Monday, February 22, 2010

To Do Lists...

I don't know about y'all, but I love lists, especially "To Do" lists. There is some real satisafaction in crossing things off a list after the task has been accomplished! Those of you who know me are cracking up right now, because this is true for me in spades! (My husband on the other hand, hates my lists- usually because they are honey-do lists for him...).

My Girl Scout troop is deeply engaged in planning and executing their Bronze Award project and I thought a pretty "To Do" list project might be right up their alley. The project had multiple purposes, actually- 1) keep their hands busy while they discussed options and plans for their service project 2) give them a neat place to write down things they needed to do to accomplish this project and 3) get rid of paper and accessories in my closet!!

I had several of the Friends and Flowers Simply Scrappin' kits left-over from a few years back that I had been "saving" (hoarding) because I loved the colors and patterns. I designed a quick folder for the "To Do" list, brought in some stamps and let them have at it. This one was my example for them.

The folder is super simple- just cut an 8x8" square of card stock, score at 4" and 4.5" and fold along the score lines. They decorated the covers, punched holes in the sides, set large eyelets and ran some ribbon through for a tie closure.

I wanted to make this for plain white list pads, but I was short on time, so I cut stacks of computer paper 3.5"x 7.75" to make the list pads. The girls stamped the top of each page using stamps from the "Charming" and "Note to Self" sets, then stapled the stack in place. Following their idea, I used a long, thin sticker to decorate the inside spine of the folder- those girls are all about embellishing!

It was a super simple project that the girls loved and made them want to begin planning the last part of their Girl Scout "Journey" and their Bronze Award project- who can argue with that?!

BTW, Kristin is the winner from the "Chickin' In" poll- email me your choice of SAB sets and I will get it out to you!

Have a great Monday everyone!


Stamps: Charming, Note to Self
Paper: Chocolate Chip, So Saffron, Certainly Celery, Friends and Flowers Simply Scrappin' kit
Ink: Melon Mambo, Chocolate Chip, Certainly Celery
Accessories: Crop-a-dile, large eyelets, ribbon

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Spring Cleaning...

I spent the day spring cleaning in my stamp closet and there are lots of stamps that need good homes, so check out my "stamps for sale" page!

I have also been in the process of converting some of my favorite stamp sets to clear mount. This will help me save space and is a more comfortable way for me to stamp than wood blocks. Stampin' Up must have known that some of us would fall in love with the clear mount process and would want to convert our old sets, so they are selling empty clear mount cases to store them in.

The easiset way to convert these stamps is to adhere them to mount them on thin (1/16") cling foam (I like the Thin EZ Mount cling foam by Sunday International) which doesn't add much thickness to the original stamp. It's super easy for stamp sets that have never been mounted- just peel off the backing, adhere to the cling foam and cut the stamp out. If your stamps have already been mounted on wood blocks for awhile, I found the best method is to use a paint scraper to remover the stamp from the wood block, then adhere it to the cling foam and cut around the image.

I have created a set of blank inserts for the new SU clear mount set cases which you are welcome to download. It is a pdf image that will print out inserts for 2 cases in landscape orientation. Right click on the image below to save it to your computer and it should print out correctly.

You can use a labeler to generate the stamp names for the cases, or open the file in Photoshop and add the text before printing, as I have done on the example below. The finished dimensions of each insert are 5-1/2" wide by 6-3/4" tall, which will fit the case perfectly when you score the left edge at 1/4".

If the stamp set has not been mounted before, I adhere the stickers to the insert; if I am remounting it, I stamp the images on the insert before sliding it in the case. Supplies you will need for the conversion process: empty cases, thin EZ Mount cling foam, good scissors, Goo Gone adhesive remover, mindless TV, wine and patience!

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Just Chickin' In...

After weeks of rain, we finally have a string of beautiful sunny, spring days ahead here in Houston! I'm sure I'll be heckled by those of you who are still battling the snow and ice, but you'll get your due in August when it's 100 and humid here!

I finally managed to get a Mojo Monday sketch challenge done this week, although it's Thursday already-LOL! I find sketches to be a great way to get inspired- it makes me try a layout and stamps that I might not otherwise think to use on my own.

After seeing this sketch, I decided to use "Best of Cluck", a retired Stampin' Up set that will always have a place in my closet- I have seen so many funny cards using this set over the years! To go with the farm themed card, I chose a palette of Soft Suede, Riding Hood Red and More Mustard and some retired patterned paper from the Sweet Slumber set. The chicken was stamped with brown pigment ink and colored with coordinating markers, then cut out using my Sizzix machine and a nested die.

I tied some of my wide Riding Hood Red striped ribbon that I have been saving (i.e. hoarding) with hemp twine and a button for a country look and mounted the image over the top. I do love Riding Hood Red and wish it would make it into the main line-up of Stampin' Up colors! I lightly stamped chicken footprints, overstamped the greeting, then punched it out using the 1-1/4" circle punch. This was nested onto a Mustard piece cut with the 1-3/8" punch and a patterned piece cut with the scalloped circle punch.

I had trouble with the scalloped edges and tried so many variations (hence why it was not finished on Monday!). Somehow the plain Suede color was too, well plain. I tried adding strips of patterned paper, but then couldn't decide which color was nicer- each gives it a different look. So... here are the other two and you all get to decide!

Leave a comment and vote for the one you like the best. Someone I randomly draw from the comment pile will win a free SAB set of their choosing, so be sure to leave a name and email so I can contact you!

Have a great day!

Monday, February 15, 2010

New paper...

I've had this orange/turquoise thing in my head for awhile now and when I saw this awesome sparkly paper, it called out to me. I definitely need to have my head examined for buying another bit of paper- I clearly need an intervention! But, like the true addict, I rationalized that this was only a 6x6" paper pack, so not really like buying a full size paper pack...

I have some birthdays coming up this spring, so I decided this would be perfect for a special birthday card. I started with a Sahara Sand card base, a color I'm becoming more fond of because of its ability to complement almost any other color. I layered on a square of More Mustard and Very Vanilla, then a piece of this delicious paper- you just can't appreciate the sparkle in the picture! I used a new punch I have to make a deep border edge and added a complimentary patterned paper piece across the top. I turned to my ribbon stash for some pretty light turquoise ribbon and tied a simple bow with a button and some twine.

The main image is one of my "go to" stamps- I really do love Coneflowers in real life and this reminds me of some pretty ones from White Flower Farm in CT. I stamped it in pigment ink and colored it with alcohol markers- I think this would look great on watercolor paper, painted with re-inkers, but I was unmotivated last night, so markers it was! The color in the patterned paper was somewhere between mustard and orange, so sponging the edges of the Mustard pieces with Pumpkin Pie made the match perfect- it's amazing how much sponging does for paper!

I had a scrap of this pretty paper left, so decided to finish the inside of the card. The greeting is from a great new Stampin' Up set called "Well Scripted"- I love the combination of simple type and script- so pretty! The greeting and the scalloped circle were cut out using nested dies on my Sizzix machine which can cut and emboss the edges. Finishing the inside is a small amount of work for a beautiful look!

Hope you enjoy your Monday holiday- the sun is finally out here in Houston and I am going to get out and enjoy it!


Sunday, February 7, 2010

Guest Stamper!

Good morning everyone! Just a quick post to share some projects that I have been working on for the past week. I was so excited back in December when Susie Berker, a.k.a. Stampinsusie on Splitcoast, asked me to be a "Guest Stamper" for her blog Sharing What I Love. Since I was lucky enough to score the month of February,  I wanted to create some really special Valentine's projects for her to showcase.

After some serious thought and digging through my stamp collection (I was lucky to come out alive!) I decided to make a treat container, a card and a necklace made from plumbing washers. I departed from the cotton candy pinks and cutesy designs and decided to go for a more chic red and black approach.

The card is a much more embellished version of the one we made at my class last week, but I liked the basic color scheme and layout.

The heart treat container started with a chipbard box from Michael's that I had from a mother-daughter class last year with some of Emily's friends- that was the cotton candy pink feast! It's filled with dark chocolate Dove candies in their pretty red wrappers-this box will definitely make it's way to my desk at work!

The last piece was the most fun- the washer necklace! It is so simple, but requires patience, something I am usually short on-LOL!

For all the details on these projects, hop on over to Susie's blog, Sharing What I Love, and while you're there, check out her cool creations as well!

Thanks for stopping by and have a peaceful Sunday!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Heart felt treats...

Where has the week gone?! Not that I'm complaining it's Saturday, mind you, but this week seems to have evaporated with little to show for it. After all of the rain here in Houston over the past week, I am glad to have a sunny weekend!

I wanted to share another one of the cards we made at my class last Friday night. It uses one of the new clear mount stamp sets called "Sweetheart", the coordinating Full Heart Punch and the Sweetheart Treat cups. This set is obviously perfect for Valentine's treats, but since I was over-dosed on V-Day cards, I decided to use it for a cute thank you note.

The card started with a Melon Mambo base onto which I layered a piece of Soft Suede Designer Series patterned paper and a Whisper White strip punched with the new Scallop Trim Border Punch from the Sale-a-bration catalog. I love the fact that they added paper, a punch and regular catalog sets to the list of ones you can earn for free this year- it expands it way beyond the usual 6 offerings and there are some great sets on the list! Follow the Sale-a-bration link on my blog to check it out.

The heart treat cup piece was made by stamping the heart-shaped flower in Melon Mambo ink on a Whisper White rectangle (3 x 2.75"), then punching out the center using the Full Heart punch. I ran my glue runner around the back of the heart piece, removed the sticky liner from around the treat cup and dropped it in place. Next I filled the treat cup with Red Hots- note: small candies/objects work best.

Now comes the tricky part- glueing it into place without spilling the contents. I have tried all kinds of gyrations and I think this one works best. I glued the pink and green layers together, then held the treat layer at an angle in my right hand and the colored layers in my left hand and looked underneath to see that they were aligned before sticking them together. If you can get the top edge straight, you're golden!

I tied some Melon Mambo dotted grosgrain ribbon (plain side up) in a knot around the card, then adhered the treat holder piece.The leaves were stamped in Certainly Celery, cut out by hand (no, Janice, there is no punch for these...) and mounted below the heart with dimensional dots. Lastly, I punched a piece of Whisper White with the Rounded Tab Punch, cut it in half and stamped the greeting- it fit perfectly- score!

DD has requested 30 of these for her class (not many, Mommy...) I clearly have my work cut out for me this weekend! I will also have a special project to share in the next few days, so stay tuned...


Stamps: Sweetheart
Paper: Melon Mambo, Certainly Celery, Whisper White, Soft Suede Designer Series
Ink: Melon Mambo, Certainly Celery, Soft Suede
Accessories: Big Heart Punch, Heart Treat Cups, Rounded Tab punch, Scallop Trim Border, Melon Mambo Dotted grosgrain ribbon, dimensionals

Monday, February 1, 2010

I am on call tonight but wanted to quickly post one of the cards we made at my class last Friday night before things get too busy. The new Occasions Mini catalog has a bunch of great new stamps and some fabulous paper, including the Sweet Pea Designer Series Pack which contains 48 sheets of coordinated patterned paper. This card was simple and fast and had only one stamp!

I started by running a piece of Blush Blossom through the Sizzix machine using the Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder to give it some texture, then layered this onto a slightly bigger Whisper White rectangle.  I added two coordinating strips of patterned paper from the Sweet Pea set, tied a bow with some Chocolate silk taffeta ribbon, then adhered this whole thing to the card front- this avoids having ribbon showing on the inside of the card.

The flower was made using some of these cute little Sweet Pea stitched felt shapes with a faux stitched line drawn with a Chocolate Chip marker. The flower was layered onto WW and Pretty in Pink and adhered to the card front using dimensionals. The greeting is from the "Well Scripted" set- love the combination of script and printed words! This was stamped in Chocolate Chip, punched out with a 1-1/4" circle punch and layered onto an olive piece punched with the Designer Label punch.

A cute little thank you card that's always good to have on hand!

Stamps: Well Scripted
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Whisper White, Blush Blossom, Pretty In Pink, Sweet Pea Designer Series
Ink: Chocolate Chip marker and Ink pad
Accessories: Sizzix machine, Chocolate taffeta ribbon, Sweet Pea stitched felt shapes, Perfect Polka Dots Embossing folder, 1-1/4" circle punch, Designer Label Punch, dimensionals