July 30, 2010

If I Made This Card Again I Would...

     Ever made a card and found yourself thinking, "Gee, if I made this again I would definitely change...."?  That's exactly what I was thinking after I made this card.
   The original, here on the left, was inspired by the colors in the Autumn Traditions DSP from the 2009-10 Idea Book & Catalog (I love those colors!).  After I made it I stepped back and kept thinking that there was something not quite right with the card.  It's an ok card but I found myself thinking that if I made the card again I would change a few things.  On the inside of the card it was easy to see the the paper piercing was not up to code; it was crooked (something a perfectionist like me just cannot handle!).  That was one thing that needed to be changed.  I had also toyed with the idea of popping the scalloped squares up on dimensionals but changed my mind at the last minute.  Those had to be raised so that would be the second thing I'd change.  And let's talk about the ribbon - it's just all wrong.  I love Elegant Eggplant but I don't have the 5/8" grosgrain that I thought would look great with this card so I paired it with chocolate chip.  Hmmmm, that would be change #3.  And the panel in the middle needed something else.  More piercing?  Done, change #4. 
  But it was too hot and humid in the craft room do do anything about it then so I left the card and came back to it a day later. 
    And here is the remake of the original (who says you can't remake a card, they do it to movies and songs all the time, right?).  Much better the second time around!
Stamps:  Cute by the Inch (hostess)
Paper: Always Artichoke, More Mustard, Ruby Red (retired), Elegant Eggplant
Paper:  Crumb Cake, Elegant Eggplant, More Mustard, Ruby Red (retired), Always Artichoke, Whisper White
Tools & Accessories:  Paper piercing tools, white ribbon, dimensionals.

     And on a different note,  I couldn't resist adding a photo of the awful working conditions I'm subjected to!  Being such a creative person takes not only time but also space.  I have one little area in our spare bedroom in which to create my masterpieces, and as you can see from this photo, Floyd doesn't understand the concept of personal space yet.  Unfortunately, this is a fairly frequent occurrence in my "stamping studio", making it quite difficult to produce the little works of art my customers have become accustomed to.  Oh, I could simply close the door to the room but then I would have to listen to his downright pitiful meows as he scratches at the bottom of the door, waiting for me to open it.  And then when I do open the door there's that heartbreaking look.  The one that says "I only want to come visit with you, pleeeeeease let me in... I love you..."  Oh, deary me, it's a good thing my little buddy is so gosh darn cute...

July 22, 2010

Birthday Card Fit for a Man

     Today's card was inspired by, of all things, an Embosslits Die!  Found on page 215 of the 2010-11 Idea Book & Catalog, the Thanks Embosslits Die is a chemically etched die that can simultaneously cut and emboss an image when used with the Big Shot machine. 
     Being a stamper you'd think that I was pretty good at sending out birthday cards to friends and family members...  um, not so much.  I can't use the excuse that I forgot a birthday, especially since I have a Birthday Calendar (pg 170, $7.95) filled in with all the important dates. For some reason I fail to actually make the cards and get them in the mail.  Or if I do get a card in the mail it's always a store bought card (gasp!) and usually a day or two late.  I think my lack of enthusiasm for birthday cards may be due in part to the fact that there are a lot of males in my family.  While I'm pretty good at creating (or CASEing) cards with bright colors and lots of pretty ribbons and other embellishments, what I'm not so good at is creating masculine cards (men are not only hard to shop for but they're hard to create cards for!).  So I challenged myself this week to create at least one card that could be easily reproduced and sent out to family members. 
     I chose masculine colors and aimed to keep the card itself simple.  I know it's hard to tell from the photo but the stripes were embossed with clear embossing powder to give it a bit more texture.
Stamps: Solid Stripes, Bitty Birthday (retired)
Ink: Night of Navy, VersaMark
Paper: Crumb Cake (aka, Kraft),  Whisper White, Night of Navy, Brocade Blue (retired)
Tools & Accessories: Brads, dimensionals, wide oval, modern label extra-large and word window punches

July 17, 2010

Introducing Stampin' Up Colors...

     Join Carrie Cudney, one of Stampin' Up!'s amazing facilitators, as she discusses how to use Stampin' Up!'s exciting new color collections from the 2010-2011 Idea Book & Catalog.

The Card That Took 2 Days to Make...

     ... and not because it's a technically difficult card but because I am so darn indecisive.  The finished product is nothing like my original idea.  In fact, the only element that is the same is the stamp set. 
     I began this card several days ago when I tried to use the Scallop Square Bigz die for something other than a rag quilt purse.  I had it all planned out: a 4 1/2"x 4 1/2" card using pinks and grays and blues.  I stamped the flower image and colored it in with a blender pen and added a sentiment when I decided it needed something a bit more.  Buttons, ribbon, pearls and crystals just didn't look right... hmmmm.  Why not try cracked glass?  So off to Michael's I go in search of Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel (besides the UTEE I ended up coming home with 2 pairs of flip-flops, sponges, black embossing powder, and stickers).  But once I thought about it, I really didn't like the idea of the sentiment being under the UTEE and thought it would look better as a separate layer.  So back to the drawing board I went...  and this is what I came up with:  a traditional 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" card in shades of purples and greens using the cracked glass technique.
     This was the first time I had attempted to use UTEE and I really liked it.  It's used the same way as traditional embossing powder (VersaMark, powder, heat tool) but you do 3-4 four layers instead of just one.  I found an awesome video tutorial on it by Beate over at Split Coast Stampers and it helped me a lot.  I wasn't quick enough to add the additional layer of UTEE after the heating so I ended up adding VersaMark between the layers.
     Making the glass "crack" made me a bit anxious.  After all, I had just spent a good hour or so deciding what I was going to make (for the second time) and painstakingly colored all the flowers and leaves with a blender pen.  It bent easily but didn't really crack like it was supposed to.  It's been quite humid in NH for the past week or so and I found that sticking the cardstock in the freezer for a few minutes made it easier to crack. 
     But I think the most exciting thing about this card was how I learned to use the "micro" button on my camera for close-ups!  It's been a year and I'm still figuring out how to use it.  Maybe I should actually read the owners manual... nah, it's more fun to find out as you go along.

Stamps: Elements of Style
Paper: Mellow Moss (retired), Perfect Plum, Very Vanilla
Ink: Mellow Moss, Perfect Plum, VersaMark
Tools & Accessories: Blender pen, ultra thick embossing enamel (not SU!), dimensionals, vanilla taffeta ribbon

July 16, 2010

Flowers and Blooms

   I'll be the first to admit that I have difficulty with changes.  I'm lucky enough to say that for almost 34 years my life has been pretty consistent.   I like my life to be predictable, dependable and in a nice, neat order.  I can safely say that the littlest change in family tradition could cause me to have a near apoplectic seizure.  Even my classroom is neatly organized and run in a series of routines that rarely changes (I have had lots of positive comments by both colleagues and parents that appreciate my attention to routine).  You can imagine what it's like for me each July when Stampin' Up! changes their entire catalog!  
     When I purchase items from SU! I try to choose things that will be around for a while.  I usually don't give in to the mini catalog stamp sets or the embellishments that will be around for 4 months.  What if I got attached to them and then wasn't able to purchase them again?!  Just thinking about that possibility gets my heart racing...
   Today's card is the perfect example of this.  I love the Flower Fusion kit SU! offered last year but was hesitant to purchase it and actually use the embellishments because I knew they wouldn't be around forever.  But I finally gave in and purchased a set.  It wasn't until after I saw SeattleStampers card over at SplitCoastStampers that I knew I just had to do something with the tin that had been sitting in my craft room for months. 
     I kept the color palette the same (I love Pumpkin Pie, Rose Red & Old Olive together) but to make the card a bit more of my own I changed the layout (just a teenie bit) and the sentiment. 
     So I used my Flower Fusion kit.  But what if I want to make the card in the future and I run out of felt flowers?!  Agggghhhhhhh! (deep breath, unclench the hands, deep breath, go to my happy place, breathe...) 
     After calming down, I was able to take a close look at the flowers and realized that they look an awful lot like the flowers in the Birds & Blooms Sizzlets dies.  Hmmmmm, I got my creative juices flowing and decided to make the same card again, this time using the Birds & Blooms Sizzlets dies rather than the felt flowers.  Not bad, and thankfully, crisis adverted.
     While I love the original the best, I can sleep peacefully at night knowing that the card can be easily duplicated at any time!  (aahhh, I feel so much better...)  When do I make the card again I think I'll rough up the edges of the flowers and maybe even pop them up on dimensionals, to give them a more realistic feel. 

Stamps: Thank You Kindly
Paper: Whisper White, Pumpkin Pie, Rose Red, Old Olive
Ink: StazOn Black
Tools & AccessoriesFlower Fusion (retired), 1/2" striped grosgrain ribbon (retired), brads, dimensionals, Birds & Blooms Sizzlets die, Big Shot 

July 11, 2010

Elements of Sympathy

     I love to stamp but the one card I hate to make is a sympathy card.  Unfortunately, I needed to make one recently for a co-worker of my mother's.
     This card was inspired by many cards on Split Coast Stampers that use the Elements of Style set and a similar layout.  The flower image was stamped in black Staz-On and colored in with a blending pen and Bravo Burgundy and Always Artichoke ink.  The front of the envelope was also stamped with the flower image and colored.

Stamps: Elements of Style, Thoughts & Prayers
Paper: Whisper White, Bravo Burgundy
Ink: Black Staz-On, Bravo Burgundy, Always Artichoke
Tools & Accessories: Dimensionals

July 8, 2010

Sending Happy Thoughts to Stella

     Hello!  The heatwave in the Northeast continues for the fourth or fifth day (could be sixth, I've lost track) and it's too hot to go outside again today :(  Unfortunately, we live on the second floor of our building and it can be a bit stifling in our place during the summer.  We've had the A/C on almost 24/7 and I'm so excited to see our electric bill for the month of July... I'm sure we'll be taking out a small loan just to pay for it.
     Anyhoo, today's card was made for my SU! upline, Stella, who's been under the weather lately.  It was inspired by a card I found on Split Coast Stampers, created by mugsie.  To make it more of my own I changed the sentiment and colors but left the layout the same.

Stamps:  Apple Blossoms, Season of Friendship, Kind and Caring Thoughts (retired)
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Pretty In Pink, So Saffron, Perfect Plum
Paper:  Whisper White, Pretty In Pink
Tools & Accessories: 3/4" circle punch, dimensionals

July 7, 2010

Update Your Colors!

Retrofit Your Existing Stampin’ Up!® Products With The New Color Kits!

     With all the excitement of Stampin’ Up!’s color renovation, you might be wondering what the best way is to update your existing Stampin’ Up! products. Wonder no more! With the new color kits, you can get all of Stampin’ Up!’s new colors (and just the colors you need) without the expense of replacing products you already have.  You can order cardstock, Stampin' Write markers, ink, Stampin' Pastels and Watercolor Wonder Crayons in the new shades.  Shop online today to update your colors!


An Independence Day Race and a Party

     My family chose to celebrate the 4th in a unique way this year - by running in a 10k race - that's 6.2 miles!  Harvard Pilgrim HealthCare sponsored their first Independence Day 10k that began at Gillette Stadium (the home of the New England Patriots) and ended on the 50 yard line of the Patriots field!  The photo is of me, very hot and very tired, on the field at the finish line.  I was aiming to finish in under an hour but ended up finishing in 1:06 - not bad for my very first 10k. 
     While the race itself was pretty uneventful coming into the staduim was a different story.  We ran through the same tunnel and blow-up helmet that the players run through to get on the field during a game - a very cool experience.  While temps reached into the low 90's on race day, the entire family was able to complete the race and both of my parents had their names announced as they came in the stadium ("Here's David coming in...he's on the 30 yard line, the 40, he's across the finish line!") and both were featured on the big screen above the end zone.  I had so much fun that I'm thinking of doing it all over again next year!
     On the 5th my family hosted a birthday/graduation party.  The birthday was in honor of my Dad's 61st and the graduation was in honor of me earning a M.Ed as a reading & writing specialist.  We had friends and relatives, ribs and mini Moe's subs and, of course, a cake.  The cake was made by Jeanne over at The Well Dressed Cake and was absolutely gorgeous!  The top layer was decorated with balloons and stars in honor of my Dad and was Gilligan's Island flavored -white chocolate cake with coconut buttercream frosting (my Dad's favorite).  The bottom layer was decorated with "teacher" theme: apples, rulers, pencils, ABC's and 1,2, 3's.  The cake itself was a rich chocolate cake with cookies-n-cream buttercream frosting.  It was very hard, dare I say almost painful, to cut into this beautiful piece of art... but once we did it was well worth it!  Jeanne's cakes are the most dense, most flavorful cakes I ever had - not only beautiful but also DELICIOUS!

July 6, 2010

a CASE of a CASE...

     What do you do when it's too hot to go outside?  Stamp!  Temps today are supposed to reach into the high 90's in NH which means it's much too hot to do much of anything outdoors.  I decided the best thing to do was turn on the A/C and enjoy a guilt-free day of stamping!  *Mental note: using a fan in your stamp room is not recommended (I'll leave the visual up to you!).
     Today's card was inspired by Chat's card over at Me, My Stamps and I.  Chat's card was inspired by Mary Brown's card over at Stamper Camper's Corner - so I guess you could say my card is a CASE of a CASE! 
     To make this card more of my own, I kept the base color the same but changed the accent colors and sentiment.  I also used the stamp set Solid Stripes.  To make the stripes stand out a bit more I embossed them with clear embossing powder.

Stamps:  Solid Stripes, Thank You Kindly
Paper: Whisper White, Ruby Red, Cameo Coral, Night of Navy, Brocade Blue (retired)
Ink: Night of Navy, VersaMark
Tools & Accessories: square punches, Bluebird grosgrain ribbon (retired), dimensionals, hemp twine, clear embossing powder

July 2, 2010

Fun Birthday

This is an original card (gasp!) made by yours truly, a rare occurrence for me!  I wanted to keep the card simple but fun so I decided circles was the way to go.  I was really hoping that Stampin' Up! would carry the Well Scripted stamp set from the Occasions Mini into the new catalog, it's such a great set.  But alas, they did not.  If you don't have Well Scripted you could certainly use a greeting from the Sincere Salutations set (pg. 155, $23.95) or On Your Birthday set (pg. 153, $33.95).  As it is now, I think the colors are more feminine.  To give this card a more masculine feel I would swap the Tempting Turquoise, Summer Sun and Cameo Coral for Night of Navy, More Mustard and Garden Green.

StampsWell Scripted (retired)
Paper: Crumb Cake (aka, Kraft), Summer Sun, Tempting Turquoise, Cameo Coral, Chocolate Chip, Whisper White
Tools & Accessories: Various size circle punches, Stampin' Dimensionals

July 1, 2010

Nothing Says Thank You Better Than Chocolate!

As a teacher I rely on parent volunteers to make my job a little easier.  As a thank you for all they did for me this year I made these little chocolate treat holders; inspiration came from the sample on my SU! website. To make it my own, I changed the cardstock & ribbon color, the stamped image and the brad.

The Pumpkin Pie cardstock measures 4 1/4"x 8 1/2" and is scored at 5" and 6".  The thanks image was stamped using Pumpkin Pie classic ink.  To make the brad white instead of silver it was dipped in white craft ink covered in white embossing powder and heated until the powder melted.  The wide oval punch was used at the top and the bag of candy as well as the cardstock was held together with the library clip.

Stamps: Lexicon of Love (retired)
Paper: Pumpkin Pie
Ink: Pumpkin Pie Classic Ink, white Craft Ink
Tools & Accessories: 1/2" library clips, circle designer brad (retired), 1/2" striped grosgrain ribbon in Pumpkin Pie (retired), wide oval punch, white Stampin' Emboss powder, heat tool, small flat cellophane bag.