Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Easter baskets...

It seems absolutely impossible that Easter is at the end of this week-where has the time gone?! I was just starting to think of getting the decorations out of the attic and planning my Easter dinner, when I realized I only have 5 more days-aaak! I did actually mail all of my Easter cards today, though, so I feel a bit better.

I am having about 12-14 adults and 10 children over for Easter dinner and I always like to decorate the kids table and give them each a little treat basket. I saw this tutorial for Easter baskets over on Splitcoast a few weeks back and made them with my class last week: super simple, cute and they only fit a small number of treats- goodness knows they'll be sugared up enough by dinner time!

The template uses a 4-3/4" x 7-3/4" rectangle, with a 1-1.5" strip for the handle, so you can get 2 baskets out of a 12x12 piece of card stock. A few simple score lines, clip the corners, assemble and add the patterned paper, ribbon etc.

Brads hold the handle in place and allow it to swivel. This one is pretty simple, but you could add a scalloped border at the top edge, buttons, rhinestones- let your imagination take off! I used girlie colors for this one, but I will be breaking out some blues/browns for the boys at the table- otherwise it could get ugly!

Have a great day~

Stamps: Eggcoutrements
Paper: Pixie Pink, Whisper White,  Raspberry Tart Designer Series paper (retired)
Ink: Melon Mambo
Accessories: Sending Love Pretty in Pink epoxy brads, Designer Label Punch, Regal Rose grosgrain ribbon, Crop-a-dile, scalloped edge punch

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Inspired by Nature...

Just a quick post today to share one of the cards we made at my stamp class last night. I am blessed to have such a great group- what a fun time we had!

I try to teach one or two new techniques each class to keep pushing everyone to try new things on their own. This card uses the "Easel" layout which was featured in a tutorial at Splitcoaststampers a few weeks back. I was inspired by Beate's card in the example to use a stark relief look against a patterned paper background, so chose the "Inspired By Nature" set which really lends itself to this look.

The coneflower image was stamped in Craft Black ink over the patterned paper and embossed with black embossing powder to make it really rich and dark. Note to self: be sure to rub the paper with an Embossing Buddy first to avoid any stray embossing powder, especially when using black- my first one looked like it had pollen blowing on the background! The greeting was stamped in Black and punched out with the Wide Oval punch, then layered on a black nested shape.

The inside was finished simply with a patterned paper strip and a punched border edge, which keeps the card open like an easel. There are so many great variations one can do with this card- check out the "Easel Gallery" at Splitcoast to see some beautiful cards using this technique!

I'm off to take my Girl Scout troop out for shaved ice-yum! Have a great day~


Stamps: Inspired by Nature
Paper: Basic Black, Whisper White, Walk in the Park Designer Series paper (retired)
Ink: Basic Black Craft
Accessoties: Wide Oval punch, Sizzix machine, edge punch, dotted organdy ribbon, dimensionals

Friday, March 26, 2010

Easter Blooms...

I have had a pack of watercolor paper gathering dust for who knows how long and I finally decided it was time to break it open and give my markers a rest for a change! The main image from the "Bloomin' Beautiful" really lends itself to watercoloring and hydrangeas really are my favorite flower.

When you use water on an image, either to watercolor directly or to blend watercolor pencils, you need to use an alcohol ink so it won't run or smear when you begin painting over the top. I stamped the flower pot image in StazOn Jet Black, let it dry for a few moments, then used an Aquapainter and ink refills to color in the image. I am much too lazy to use a regular brush and cup of water and I love how the Aquapainter releases just the right amount of water as you paint.

I usually start by spreading an even layer of ink, then I go back to add more color to highlight areas- you can always add more, but it's hard to take away! After the image was dry. I cut it out using a nested die on my Sizzix machine and layered it onto an embossed Bashful Blue base and card, with some Old Olive wide striped ribbon for contrast. The greeting is highlighted in a fancy frame and gives it a special, spring feel!

This is one of the cards my stamp group will make tonight, so hopefully they have as much fun painting as I did!

Have a great weekend~

Stamps: Bloomin' Beautiful
Ink: StazOn Jet Black; Bashful Blue, Mellow Moss, Creamy Caramel, Summer Sun ink refills
Paper: Bashful Blue, Whisper White, watercolor paper
Accessories: Sizzix machine, Perfect Polka Dots Embossing folder, Old Olive wide striped grosgrain ribbon, large oval punch, Aquapainter, dimensionals

Thursday, March 25, 2010

You crack me up!

Even though I'm a big grown-up girl, I still have trouble sleeping in the house when my husband is gone. Part of me is listening for the kids (although they're both big enough to walk themselves into my room if they have a problem) and part of me listens to outside noises and watches the closet door for the Boogeyman-LOL! Just as I was finally getting into a really sound sleep, a huge thunderstorm blew through and ruined the rest of the night's sleep-ugh!

After pretending I could go back to sleep for awhile, I decided to head down to my craft room and finish off an Easter card I have been working on for the last 2 days. Clearly Mojo has left me in the dust because this card took me so long to get together and I'm still not sure it's really the way I envisioned- but hey, it's done!

The idea started with my craving to use Kraft card stock and mix that with some spring colors- so far, so good. When I started looking through my Easter images, I wanted something cute for my kids and the "A Good Egg" was a set I had not used before. When I looked at the chick and the egg stamps, I thought about making a peek-a-boo card, especially with the greeting that comes with this set.

Since I have been hoarding my "Sweet Pea Designer Series" paper pack, I finally decided to break down and buy the "Sweet Pea digital kit" from Stampin' Up so I will have an unlimited supply of these great patterned papers forever, it's cheep and the storage space is slim- a few hundred MB on my computer-ideal!

I printed the pink polka dot onto Whisper White cardstock on my Canon MX850 printer (the colors are totally true to the original paper!) and layered a piece onto a white strip punched with one of my scalloped border punches. I colored the design on the egg with markers, then paper pieced the eggshell over the top.

I stamped the chickie, colored him with markers and placed him in the middle of a Certainly Celery nested die shape I cut out on my Sizzix machine. A strategically placed brad (covered with a little pink rhinestone for some sparkle!) allows one to open the egg and see the little chick. Once I got out the rhinestones, I had to add a few more the the egg and to the corners- it was definitely crying out for some glitz!

The greeting was hand cut, held in place by sticky dots to give it that rolled look and finished off with one of these great pink corduroy buttons (definitely need to order more of those before the end of the month!).

The inside was finished off with just the greeting and a simple frame- no need for more fuss than this- my kids won't notice the difference with more layers! I will definitely have to make a few more of these for my nephew and some other little friends (maybe change it up with more blue for the boys)- I think it will be a big hit!

Just a reminder, the Occasions Mini and the SAB promotion are coming to an end on March 31st, so be sure to take one last look for things you "can't live without"-haha!

Stamps: A Good Egg
Paper: Kraft, Whisper White, Regal Rose, Certainly Celery, Almost Amethyst, Sweet Peas Designer Series paper
Ink: Regal Rose, Certainly Celery, Almost Amethyst markers, Basic Black
Accessories: Pink corduroy buttons, brad, rhinestones, hemp twine, scallop edge punch, Sizzix machine

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Back in the swing...

After the whirlwind of spring break activities (5th grade camp trip, Texas state swimming champs and a ski trip to Colorado) I feel like I need a vacation from vacation! The girls from our team did great at states (TAGS) and got 5th place in the relay with a time of 1.99- broke 2minutes which was their goal!

Colorado was so pretty and the weather was good for most of the time. I wanted to share a few really pretty pictures that I took while skiing this year. This is a view from Buddy's Run at the top of the Storm Peak- great views to ski off into and the only blue run on this side of the mountain!

Here are my two little skiers- they are rapidly catching up to me on the slopes and Emily will likely pass my abilities in the next 2 years- especially on the moguls!

So now that I'm back, it's time to get in high gear to make Easter/spring themed cards. I am really trying to stick to my goal of actually mailing out cards in time for birthdays and holidays, so by this weekend, they need to be made and mailed!

I started this card before I left and the colors I picked for the frame (pink and green) seemed too sugary for me, so sometimes a good idea to walk away and pick it up a little later. I printed this digital stamp on Whisper White card stock, colored the scene with alcohol markers, then paper pieced her dress and shoes over the top- the tiny shoes were a killer to cut out, even with my smallest craft knife!

The frame was made with two different nesting dies on my Sizzix machine and I think the brown makes a nicer contrast than pink and green did. The card background is a Kraft 5.75" square which was layered with a sheet from the Sweet Pea Designer Series paper collection- I am having a hoarding moment with this paper pack and may have to order the digital set so I can have a continuous supply! A few little scallops on each side finish off the pink polka dots and a corduroy button brad "ties" the bow in place.

The inside is finished off with some more of the pretty pink paper and a non-specific greeting, although I will probably use this card for one of the many spring birthdays I have coming up!

Tonight I have to prepare all the cards/ baskets we will be making at my class this Friday night, so stay tuned. If you're in the Houston area, hope you can join us, if not let email me if you want a kit! Have a great day

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Get well!

Awhile after my MIL died (a short while...) my FIL began going out and a few months later settled on a "designated companion"- the elder generation eschews the term "significant other", as I am told- "other what?" they say- too funny!

Last weekend my FIL's companion tripped in a parking lot and fractured her femur, requiring pinning and maybe a hip replacement- definitely not in her spring plans and very painful-ouch! She has been inundated with flowers, so Emily and I decided we would make her a get well goodie box and fill it with books, crossword puzzles, treats, etc- much more fun for the recovery phase!

We decided to start our get well box with the card that will accompany it. I had just downloaded this great little stamp and thought she was perfect for our gift! The image was printed on my Canon printer onto Whisper White card stock and colored with alcohol markers. I used some Cosmo Cricket paper scraps that I had in my box and layered it all onto a Real Red 5-3/4 square card base. I like the look of layered ribbons, so I used the Whisper White Organza ribbon as the base and added some retired Soft Sky ric rac over the top.


 The inside was finished with some of the patterned paper and a computer generated greeting.

I think the buttons are my favorite feature and are not real buttons at all- they were made using the Faux Button technique. You punch out 6 layers of a shape, glue them together, punch the holes and cover it with Crystal Effects glue to make it shiny. Waiting overnight for them to fully dry is the hardest part! It's such a great little trick for making custom buttons to match your project.

I highly recommend this great Faux Button tutorial on You Tube- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tWnH-PZvIok - Linda does a great job and it's so easy! Stampin' Up's Summer Mini catalog will feature an even easier way to make custom buttons with plastic backers and mini punches to fit the shapes- kind of like the build-a-brads!

It's a beautiful day here in Houston and I'm going to try to enjoy some of this sunshine before I have to be cooped up inside a swim stadium. DD Emily is swimming finals on the relay team tonight at Texas State championships (TAGS)- go Houston Swim Club!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Spring has spring!

Yesterday was such a beautiful spring day here- sunny, warm sun with cool breezes, buds on all the trees- just great (all my friends up north are throwing eggs at me right about now...). The weather put me in the mood to start some Easter/Spring cards and I was inspired by some pretty paper we pulled out at my class the other night. I let everyone dig through my paper stash to make their own checkbook covers and I was totally amazed at how awesome and different each one came out!

I used a sketch from awhile back on Splitcoast Stampers Wednesday Sketch challenge as a starting point. Since I had several patterned papers that I wanted to get onto the card, this seemed like a good layout.

The card starts with a Whisper White 5-1/2" square onto which I layered a 5-3/8" harlequin patterned paper from the retired "Sarah" designer Series paper collection (2007). Each patterned square is 2-1/4", layered onto a 2-3/8" matching square. I ran some navy velvet ribbon down the middle and adhered the whole piece to the 5-3/4" Night of Navy card with dimensionals.

My little girl was colored with alcohol markers, then her dress was paper pieced over the top- she's too cute! The image and the background layers were cut with my Sizzix machine and some nested dies and I added a bow on the top to frame the image and keep with the "rule of threes"- accent colors should be repeated three times to balance the eye. My critics (my daughter and her friend) thought it "needed something", so I added an accordion flower to the corner-all better!

I have become a big fan of  finishing the inside of my cards- it takes just a little more effort, but makes a big impact! I used the new Pinking Hearts punch to make a little bordered edge which dresses it up a bit and framed the greeting with a nested shape- so springy!

This will be my mom's Easter card, so I hope you like it Grace! She digs floppy hats, so this should be right up her alley!

Have a restful Sunday~


Stamp: Circle of Friendship (retired), Digital image(girl)
Paper: Sarah Designer Series paper, Night of Navy, So Saffron, Certainly Celery, Whisper White
Accessories: Alcohol markers, navy velvet ribbon, 1-1/4" circle punch, pinking hearts edge punch, Sizzix machine, nested dies

Friday, March 5, 2010

Anything but a card...

"Anything but a card" is the theme for my class tonight (although we will be making one or two cards too!) and I wanted to post the last two projects we will be making. I made my own checkbook cover several years back and it was starting to look pretty grubby, so I figured this was a great time to make a new one and show everyone else how easy this is!

I have been playing around a bit with the My Digital Studio from Stampin' Up, which allows you to make digital cards and scrapbook pages, but it also allows you to do "hybrid" scrapping and stamping. "Hybrid" is when you make some elements using digital paper, stamps, etc, print those out and make the rest with real ribbon, accessories and so forth.

I really wanted to use the paper from the Summer Home Set for my checkbook cover, but didn't have any on hand for my class- solution: digital hybrid! I use Photoshop a fair amount at work, so I tend to use all the SU digital elements with that software, but if you are a digital novice, My Digital Studio is definitely for you! I opened the digital paper, sized it for 8-1/2x 11 paper and printed onto Whisper White card stock- instant patterned paper! The great part of this is that you can have a wide variety of paper "on hand" and just print the number of sheets you need when you want it.

I ordered vinyl checkbook covers online and cut the patterned paper for the insert- 6-1/8 x 6-5/8. I added a simple strip of Chocolate Chip and some Baja Breeze ribbon, with a simple button tied bow to dress it up a bit. I stamped a few blossoms from the retired "Bodacious Blooms" set on Riding Hood Red and Kiwi Kiss as accents, but a monogram with a pretty frame is also really nice. The hard part about checkbook covers is keeping them relatively flat so they fit in the cover- the button makes this a bit bulky, but worth it for the look!

The other project we are doing is a bookmark that I lifted right out of the "Occasions Mini" catalog. I made it a bit wider and jazzed it up a bit more, but the basic idea is the same. I adhered some patterned paper from the Sweet Pea Designer Series pack on the bottom of a 2-1/2 x 8-1/2" Whisper White rectangle and rounded all the corners. I stamped the leaf border from the Vintage Vogue set just above the patterned paper and ran the top through the Sizzix machine using the Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder. Once the flower was stamped in Chocolate Chip, I used my Crop-a-dile to punch a hole through the flower, Chocolate Chip grosgrain ribbon and bookmark and put it all together with a pink corduroy button. I added a greeting and a little flower at the bottom to finish it off. Because it has to lay flat inside a book, no rhinestones or buttons- so sad! I'm going to give this to a friend whose child is sick in the hospital-she needs a little pick me up!

If you're coming to class tonight, get prepared to have some fun- if you're out of the Houston area, hope these inspire you to try "anything but a card"!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Fashionably Late...

For those of you that know me, fashionably late is probably a very good descriptor for me! Somehow I have a craft room full of supplies, stacks of cards I've made and I can't seem to get them into the mail on time! My class tomorrow night is focused on "everything but a card", so a purse card seemed to fit with the theme.

This card starts with a standard 5-1/2" x 4-1/4" card base. To make the purse shape, you cut off 3/4" from the fold on a diagonal to the corner of the card, as pictured in the diagram below. If you prefer your purse to be smaller on top than the bottom, you cut off the 3/4" in the opposite direction.

After the purse was cut from Positively Pink card stock, I ran the outside flap through the Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder on my Sizzix machine to give it some pebbled texture. I cut the top flap out of some retired Designer Series paper with a nested die (you could also use an oval or another shape), punched some holes with a Crop-a-dile along the fold for the pink satin ribbon and adhered the flap to the back of the card.

I placed one of the cute "Sending Love" epoxy brads on the front of the flap and adhered velcro on the inside to hold the purse shut. A little strip of the same patterned paper on the bottom finishes it off.

On the inside of the card, I started with a 5-1/4" x 4" white rectangle and cut off the same 3/4" diagonal piece and added a patterned paper border at the bottom to carry through the theme from the outside. I used half of a Pink nested shape to frame the greeting and allow more of the patterned paper to show.

This little purse could really be embellished to jazz it up a bit more, but we have so many projects to do tomorrow night, I wanted to keep this one simple. I suspect I will be making more of these since I'm always late with my cards!

Have a great day~

Monday, March 1, 2010


Hi Everyone! What a yucky Monday this is- pouring rain, horrible commute to work and I'm on call tonight-ugh! The last few days were so beautiful that it was hard to wake up to this today! We were so busy with swim meets this weekend, my stamping time was seriously limited so only time for one card.

I have been playing with some of my digital stamps and love this little girl! The shape of the image seemed perfect for a frame, which I haven't done in awhile. I printed the image on Whisper White paper on my Canon printer and colored with alcohol markers. I printed the image again on patterned paper and paper pieced her dress and shoes over the image (so hard to cutout those little shoes!!). I used two different nested dies on my Sizzix machine to make the frame, glued them together, then popped the whole frame up on dimensionals over the image to give it some depth.

The base was made from layers of Basic Black, Whisper White and So Saffron Designer paper. I dug through my scraps for a patterned red piece and found this pretty print from the retired Summer Picnic Designer series and it fit perfectly! I added a White layer punched with the Scallop Trim border punch and a few pearls to finish it off. The sentiment was computer generated, punched with the 1-1/4" circle punch and layered onto a black piece punched out with the Curly Label punch. A little ribbon and I adhered the whole thing to the 5-3/4" square Real Red card base and it was done!

It turned out so cute I put it on my desk at work to cheer me out of my Monday gloomies! Have a great week~