August 31, 2010

A 2 Minute Card and a 15 Minute Card

  Today's card was inspired by the Body & Spirit Day Spa.  Let me explain.  My husband is the sweetest guy I know and loves to give me gift certificates to Body & Spirit.  Cheryl gives fantastic pedicures and Leigh is by far the best massage therapist we know (we can't say enough about her!).  Because both ladies are so good at what they do I like to give them a gratuity at the end of the service and a little thank you note to go along with it.  I've found that 3x3 cards are the easiest to give and take only minutes to make.  This card took about two minutes to make.

     I also wanted to make a more detailed card for a co-worker who really helped me out this summer (thanks Kim!).  Because I'm giving her a gift along with the card I decided to revamp the card a bit and add a touch more detail. 

    For the second card I "dyed" the brads Night of Navy to match the cardstock and added Extra Thick Embossing Enamel to the sentiment (I know it's hard to tell from the photo).  If I were to make this card again I would run the Whisper White cardstock through the Big Shot with the Perfect Polka Dots embossig folder (pg 214, $7.95) for a textured background.  The second card took about 15 minutes to complete.

Stamps: Cute By the Inch (hostess)
Paper: Whisper White, Night of Navy
Ink: Night of Navy classic and craft
Tools & Accessories: brads, ETEE, square punches, 5/8" grosgrain ribbon, dimensionals

August 27, 2010

A Note of Thanks

     Hello!  This is another card I made using the "dyed" brads technique.  I was inspired to make this card after looking through my embelishments drawer and seeing the 5 containers of Circle Designer Brads that I hadn't touched since I purchased them months ago!  Unfortunately, the circle brads have long since retired but Stampin' Up! does still offer the Flower Designer Brad (pg 187, $5.95 for 16).  I still have tons of the brads left so don't be surprised if they show up in projects for the next few months!

Stamps: Thank You Kindly
Paper: Very Vanila (textured and smooth), Cherry Cobbler, Riding Hood Red, Baja Breeze, Not Quite Navy, So Saffron, More Mustard
Ink: More Mustard, Cherry Cobbler & Not Quite Navy craft ink, Stazon black
Tools & Accessories: Paper piercing tools, Circle Designer brads (retired), dimensionals

August 23, 2010

A Purple Card and Brads to Match!

Hello!  Today's card is inspired by Beth Ann Wilson's card.  While I absolutely love the colors she chose, I decided to tone it down a bit and went with Perfect Plum.  While Stampin' Up! does offer a wide variety of colored brads I currently do not have any in my collection.  Bummer.  But... the good news is you can "dye" brads to match any color cardstock and it's super easy!
     Simply cover the brad in your choice of craft ink (in my case I used Elegant Eggplant), coat with clear embossing powder and heat until melted (for small brads this is 8-10 seconds).  I've found that you may need to rough up the brad a bit with a sanding block if the ink isn't sticking too well.  Make sure you let the brad cool for at least a minute before you try to use it - it will be hot!   I'll be honest and say that once you've "dyed" your brad you shouldn't handle it too much - the color will eventually come off. 

Stamps: Great Friend
Paper: Perfect Plum, Elegant Eggplant, Whisper White
Ink: Elegant Eggplant (classic and craft), VersaMark
Tools & Accessories: Big Shot, Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder, clear embossing powder, heat tool, dimesionals

August 22, 2010

Punch Caddies Not Available...

     Stampin' Up! is disappointed to report that due to serious production and quality issues with the manufacturer, they will not be able to offer the Punch Caddies (pg. 200) at all. And because the manufacturer will likely not be able to meet SU's high quality standards for the Punch Caddy in the future, they do not have any plans to offer a revised or equivalent product in its place.
     Stampin' Up! is disappointed that they cannot offer the Punch Caddies for sale. But because of their ongoing commitment to providing customers with the highest quality products, they simply cannot allow this product to go live.

     Bummer... :(

August 19, 2010

Christmas in August

     Hello!  Today's project is a Christmas tag we'll be making at my next Stampin' Up! workshop at the end of the month.  Christmas is still a ways away but I like to get my customers thinking about cards and tags they may be giving so they'll have plenty of time to order supplies and actually sit down and create before the hustle and bustle of the holiday season hits. 
     I used a snowflake from a Sizzlits set purchased at nation-wide craft store chain.  Stampin' Up! offers a very similar set (pg 211, $19.95 for a set of 4) or you could certainly use the Snowflake Extra-Large punch (pg 200, $16.95). 
     You'll notice that the button on the snowflake is made of paper.  This is because I don't have a large selection of buttons and have found that the Button #5 Sizzlit die solves the problem!  As long as you have the cardstock you can make a button to match any project - I love that!

      Here is the same tag but in Cherry Cobbler.  To give the snowflake a different feel I covered it in white Chunky Essentials Stampin' Glitter.
     While these tags are super cute and super easy to make, I'm working on a few other projects that use the Two Tags die in unique ways. I've found a great tutorial on how to make a box using two tags that I can't wait to share.

Stamps: Holiday Happiness, Holiday Collection (retired)
Ink: StazOn black, VersaMark
Paper: Bashful Blue, Certainly Celery, Whisper White, Chocolate Chip, Cherry Cobbler, Old Olive
Tools & AccessoriesTwo Tags die, Merry Details, Buttons #5 and Snowflakes Set #3 (purchased at Michael's) Sizzlits dies, Big Shot, hemp twine, ribbon, Chunk Essentials Stampin' Glitter, brad

August 15, 2010

Watercolor Wonder Crayons

     Watch as Stampin' Up!'s Shannon West performs wonders with our Watercolor Wonder CrayonsWatercolor Wonder Crayons are water-soluable and easy to blend.  Use with blender pens or aqua painter for stunning results.  While the technique Shannon uses is timeless, please keep in mind that this video was created before the release of the 2010-11 Idea Book & Catalog and some of the colors have since retired.  The crayons can be found on page 194 of the current IB&C and are $16.95.  Watercolor paper can be found on page 170 of the current IB&C and is sold in packs of 20 sheets (3-3/4" x 5") for $6.95

August 12, 2010

Birthday Elements

      Hello!  Today's card is a CASE of a sympathy card I made earlier which was inspired by the many wonderful examples on SplitCoastStampers.
     I love the simplicity of black and white and I think the Real Red color just makes the card pop.  Although Stampin' Up! now carries Basic Pearls (pg 188, $4.95 for 150) the pearls on my card were purchased at Michael's and adhered with a dot of Tombow Multipurpose Glue (pg 197, $3.95).

Stamp Sets: Elements of Style, Well Scripted (retired)
Ink: StazOn black, Real Red & Certainly Celery Stampin' Write Markers
Paper: Whisper White, Basic Black
Tools & Accessories: Stampin' dimensionals, peals (non-SU)

August 8, 2010

New Punch Style

     Popular Stampin' Up! presenter, Bonnie Thurber, discusses the many benefits of Stampin' Up!'s new, sleeker punch body style.  Punches and the punch caddy can be found beginning on page 200 of the 2010-11 Idea Book & Catalog.

August 6, 2010

Dinner Was So Good I Had To Take a Picture!

     Ever had one of those meals?  In my case, this is a very rare occurrence so I wanted to make sure it was captured on film.  According to my husband, this may be the best salsa I've ever made!  Considering this is only the fourth time I've made salsa I'm thinking that's pretty good!
     It all started with a recipe in the August issue of Family Circle featuring easy 20-minute summer dinners.  Aaron and I are big fans of chicken and salsa and since the recipe called for both I thought I'd give it a try.  The chicken was grilled on our Foreman Grill with just a little bit of McCormick Montreal Chicken Seasoning and a chicken bouillon cube was thrown into the brown rice while it was cooking to give it a bit more flavor.  The next time I make the salsa I will definitely add a can of black beans to add a bit more color and extra protein.  Here's the recipe for the salsa:

1 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
1 1/2 cups fresh corn
1 large sweet red pepper, seeded and chopped
3/4 cups fresh cilantro leaves, coarsely chopped (must be fresh!)
2 tablespoons EVOO
2 tablespoons lime juice (does not have to be fresh squeezed)
3/4 teaspoon salt

1. In large bowl, stir together tomatoes, corn, red pepper, cilantro, EVOO, lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt.  Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. 

     How easy is that?!

    The recipe makes enough for four servings so we had left overs and ended up using the salsa as a side dish the next night.  It would also be really good on tacos or nachos or by itself with a bag of tortilla chips!

August 2, 2010

A Week at the Beach

     My summer vacation has been very busy this year.  Besides teaching summer school and lots of "day-cations" with my husband on Mondays (the only day we have off together), I've also had some time to enjoy the wonderful summer sun.  Last week a few members of my family rented the family beach house and you can imagine where I spent most of my free time last week! 
    When we weren't reading books on the beach, spending time in the incredibly warm water (62 degrees is warm for us New Englanders!) or playing Apples to Apples (love that game!) we were jumping off bridges and whale watching.  It was nice to spend time with the family, especially the ones I don't get to see very often.

                                                                                     This would be my uncle leading the way off the bridge.  While it may not seem that high in the photo, I can guarantee that it's a lot higher than it looks when you're the one about to jump! 

     And this is just a small portion of my family, we're missing quite a few members!