Monday, September 30, 2013

Simple, serene note cards

When I make a set of note cards to give as a gift, I naturally want them to look and feel like they belong together, they're part of a set. Sometimes that means I use the same design for each card and just change the sentiment or one color (for example, a set of floral cards where just the color of the flower changes). Or I might use the same layout and color combo and change only the image. Yesterday I made a set of eight very clean and simple cards that all have the same color combo, one stamp (the sentiment), and focal images composed of punched or die-cut card stock.

Supplies (all Stampin Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Four You
Cardstock: Soft Suede, Pool Party, Pear Pizzazz, Island Indigo, 4" x 5-1/2" note cards and envelopes (Paper Reflections)
Ink: Soft Suede
Accessories: Autumn Accents die; Beautiful Wings Embosslits die; Argyle, Woodgrain, Perfect Polka Dots and Chevron embossing folders; Petite Pennants and Cupcake builder punches; linen thread; rhinestones; paper-piercing tool; Mono Multi liquid glue; Glue Dots; Dimensionals

I divided the eight cards into two groups: four birthday cards and four hello cards. Within each of those groups, I made two cards with a more feminine design and two that were more masculine. (The photo above shows half the set; the complete set has two of each card shown.)

The first step I took was to choose the color palette. I wanted a neutral color for stamping the sentiment, so I selected Soft Suede. For the other three not-too-masculine-but-not-too-feminine colors, I chose Island Indigo, Pool Party and Pear Pizzazz. I like how the two lighter shades add softness to the darker tones, and all together I think they feel very serene.

Next, the focal images. For the birthday cards I chose a cupcake for the feminine card and a banner for the masculine version. (Tip: To create the banner, use a paper-piercing tool to make holes in the top corners of each pennant. Thread the linen thread on a needle and then string the pennants together.) For the hello cards I opted for a nature theme: butterflies and leaves.

I also used another method to unify these cards: they all have just one embellishment. The feminine cards have a single rhinestone as the candle flame and a group of three as the body of the largest butterfly. On the masculine cards I strung the pennants together with linen thread and tied a piece around the acorn stem. Embossing folders also added texture to the cardstock pieces on the masculine cards.

A simple set of note cards, yes. But all in all, I think a striking one, too. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wacky Halloween wishes

October hasn't even started yet, and my weekends for the month are already almost booked. That means if I want to send out any Halloween cards this year, I'd better get them made in a jiffy. Yesterday I pulled out the retired Stampin' Up! set called Spooky Bingo Bits and noticed that some of the images look like letters -- the jack-o'-lantern could be an O, the witch's boot an L, and so on. That gave me the idea for this wacky Halloween card:

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Spooky Bingo Bits, Retro Alphabet Upper
Cardstock: Whisper White, Basic Gray
Ink: Pumpkin Pie, Basic Gray, Gumball Green, Elegant Eggplant, Daffodil Delight, Jet Black StazOn
Accessories: Honeycomb elbossing folder, orange grosgrain ribbon, Gumball Green stitched satin ribbon, 1/8" Basic Black taffeta ribbon, primary rhinestones (Me and My Big Ideas), corner rounder, Glue Dots, Dimensionals

It was a fair amount of fussy cutting -- which is why I only made one card like this -- but I think it turned out pretty cute. I couldn't find an image for every letter in "Happy Halloween," so I used my oldie-but-goodie Retro Alphabet set to fill in a few of the letters. I think it's probably better that way; if there was a series of only images, I don't think you would be able to tell that it was actually spelling something.

I used Glue Dots and Dimensionals to adhere the cut-out letters and images to a piece of Basic Gray cardstock embossed with a honeycomb texture. I kept the embellishments simple with just a few ribbon tags and an orange rhinestone. I might have to go back, though, and add googly eyes to the skull for one last little detail.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 27, 2013

Birthday wishes for little ones

I have two more fun birthday cards for kids to share with you today. Both are pretty straightforward -- stamping, coloring and a bit of embellishing -- so I'll just list the supplies I used. If you have questions or need more details, post a comment, and I'll respond as soon as I can.

Birthday card with gree patterned paper for the background. Focal image is a group of animals holding a banner that says "Fill your day with happy."
Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: A Happy Hi
Paper: Very Vanilla, Close to Cocoa cardstock; Banbury Designer Series Paper (DSP)
Ink: Jet Black StazOn, So Saffron, Certainly Celery, Bashful Blue, Pink Pirouette, Old Olive, Close to Cocoa, Chocolate Chip, Smoky Slate, River Rock
Accessories: Apothecary Accents Framelits dies, Essentials paper-piercing pack, corner rounder, striped Pink Pirouette ribbon, Dimensionals

Birthday card with printed paper (blue and green stripes and plaid) for the background. Focal image is a leaping dog with a birthday hat surrounded by confetti.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Ruff Day
Paper: Very Vanilla, Kiwi Kiss, Pacific Point cardstock; Muirfield DSP
Ink: Jet Black StazOn, Kiwi Kiss, Pacific Point, Baja Breeze, Soft Suede, Chocolate Chip, Crisp Canataloupe
Accessories: Itty Bitty Shapes punch pack, Blender Pen, Dimensionals, Mono Multi liquid glue

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Card variations

The birthday season in our family is in full swing, and I realized a couple of weeks ago that I don't have a very big selection of kid-friendly birthday cards in my stash. I wanted to create a few cards that were quick but also cute. An easy way to do that is to use one layout and then make small changes, such as color combo or embellishments, to give each card its own personality.

Three cards with punched triangles arranged like a banner, one neutral color combo, one masculine (blue and green) and one feminine (pink and light green).
Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Paper: Pink Pirouette, Certainly Celery, Baja Breeze, Pacific Point, Tempting Turquoise, Whisper White cardstock; silver glimmer paper; Banbury Designer Series Paper (DSP), Muirfield DSP, DSP Patterns Stack - Brights Collection (retired)
Accessories: Petite Pennants Builder punch, sall heart punch, Merry Minis punch pack, paper-piercing tool and mat, mini silver brads, Mono Multi liquid glue, Dimensionals

I wanted one girly card, a boyish one, and one that could be for either gender, so I chose three packs of retired DSP and punched five pennants from different prints in each pack. (This is a great way to use up some of those little DSP scraps you may be hoarding. Not that I'd know anything about that. Ahem.) I also chose the color of my card base and card stock layer from the colors in the DSP. To decorate the pennants, I added stars and hearts punched from cardstock and silver glimmer paper.

To create the banner, I made a hole in the top corners of each pennant with a paper-piercing tool and attached them together with mini silver brads. I pierced a hole in each side of the cardstock layer and placed a brad through the end pennant and then through the cardstock. (Note: Before piercing the holes in the cardstock, lay the banner across it to get an idea of where the holes should be placed; if the holes are too far apart, the banner will be too short.)  You also could use a Glue Dot behind one or more of the pennants to keep them in place; I actually like the little bit of movement in the "free" banner.

To finish the cards, I adhered two 1/4" strips of silver glimmer paper to each card base and then used Dimensionals to attach the layer to the card front. The only stamping I did was inside these cards, so they were especially easy to make. And although I made these cards with kids in mind, I think they could be used for adults, too.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Quiet winter scenes

I've had a busy weekend trying to get various projects done and items crossed off my to-do list, so I have a quick blog post tonight with two wintery holiday cards.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Winter in the Park (Lawn Fawn)
Cardstock: Soft Sky, Whisper White
Ink: Jet Black StazOn, Soft Sky, Gumball Green, Real Red, Soft Suede, Daffodil Delight
Accessories: Corner rounder, Mono Multi liquid glue, Dimensionals

Does this scene make you wish for winter? Personally, I'm not quite ready for the snow and the cold. And the snow. But I do love this quiet little scene: the garland between the lampposts, the falling snowflakes and the snow-covered park bench. But my favorite part of the card is actually the light in the lampposts, which I made by tapping the end of a cotton swab on my Daffodil Delight ink pad and then touching it to the cardstock. It created exactly the soft, sort of hazy look I wanted. I didn't add any embellishments to the card because there's already quite a bit to look at, and I didn't want it to become too busy.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Winter in the Park (Lawn Fawn)
Cardstock: Soft Sky, Whisper White, Soft Suede
Ink: Soft Sky, Soft Suede
Accessories: White baker's twine, rhinestones, Dimensionals

For this card I simplified the winter scene to just the snowy park bench. I made the snow drift a little larger and slightly mounded. To create that shape, I simply curved the stamp before I put it on my clear block. I added a few rhinestones to the falling snow and a simple piece of white baker's twine around the bottom of the card.

As pretty as the snow is, I really hope we have plenty of time before we see the flakes falling. I'm not ready for boots and shovels yet. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Gnome Sweet Gnome

Shockingly, I was not a big lottery winner last Wednesday. I wasn't even a little lottery winner. In fact, on all three of my tickets I had one number. Total. But filthy, stinking rich or not, I do have two cute cards to share with you.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Gnome Sweet Gnome (Lawn Fawn)
Paper: Whisper White, Bashful Blue cardstock; Prints Pack Designer Series Paper (DSP)
Ink: Jet Black StazOn, Basic Black, Early Espresso, Real Red, Bashful Blue, Crumb Cake, Crushed Curry, Blush Blossom
Accessories: Gnome Sweet Gnome dies (Lawn Fawn), Dimensionals, Mono Multi liquid glue

I debated whether or not I should buy the Gnome Sweet Gnome stamp set, which is filled with lawn-themed images, such as a flamingo, bird bath, and this gnome and his toadstool house. I finally caved and decided it was just too adorable to pass up.

For this card, I combined coloring with paper piecing. I started with the house, which I stamped on Whisper White cardstock and on a piece of Real Red polka dot DSP. I colored the base of the house on the white cardstock and cut the mushroom top from the DSP image. I also cut out the inside of the circles from the DSP, although I could have stamped the image again on Whisper White, cut out those circles and adhered them over the DSP. The gnome's hat is also the Real Red DSP, and his suit is a piece of argyle-print Bashful Blue DSP. I used two different Wild Wasabi DSP prints for the grass to create some depth and visual interest. This wasn't a quick card to create, but I think the finished product is pretty cute.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Gnome Sweet Gnome (Lawn Fawn)
Cardstock: So Saffron, Whisper White, Soft Sky, Wild Wasabi, Smoky Slate
Ink: So Saffron, Wild Wasabi, Smoky Slate, Soft Sky
Accessories: Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder, Cupcake Builder punch, Gnome Sweet Gnome dies (Lawn Fawn), Dimensionals, Mono Multi liquid glue

I haven't used So Saffron very much lately, so it was fun to pull it out for this card. And combining it here with Soft Sky, Wild Wasabi and Whisper White makes me think of a peaceful spring day.

There's nothing too complicated on this card, but I do want to point out a few little details. First, the stamp of the dotted wavy line behind the flying bird is the same image I used for the grass edges in the previous card. I love those double-duty images. And speaking of double duty, the clouds on this card are actually the frosting part of the Cupcake Builder punch. Honestly, I think I may have used that punch more for clouds than for cupcakes. Finally, when I made the bird bath I also stamped it on a scrap of Soft Sky card stock so I could cut out the "water" for the bird bath.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Hoping for some good fortune

Today after work I stopped at the gas station to buy a few Powerball tickets for tonight's mind-boggling jackpot. I know there's virtually no chance of winning it, but as the saying goes, you can't win if you don't play. And then I thought maybe, just maybe, I could improve my luck a bit by sharing a few cards made with one of my new stamp sets, Good Fortune. Well, it's worth a shot anyway.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Good Fortune (Lawn Fawn)
Cardstock: Smoky Slate, Basic Black, Whisper White, So Saffron, River Rock
Ink: Smoky Slate
Accessories: Herringbone embossing folder (Cuttlebug), corner rounder, So Saffron brads, Mono Multi liquid glue, Dimensionals

I have coveted this stamp set, with its Chinese take-out box, chopsticks and fortune cookie sayings, for ages. I finally broke down and bought it, and I'm glad I did. It's fun, lighthearted and, at least for me, a little outside my usual style.

This was my first card with the set, so I stuck with a straightforward layout: I stamped the pieces on cardstock, cut them out and adhered them to an embossed layer. (It's hard to tell in the photo, but there is a Dimensional behind the middle of the fortune to create some depth.) The upper right corner looked a little bare, so I added three So Saffron brads. Speaking of So Saffron, when I was deciding which color to make my fortune cookie, I assumed it would be some shade of light brown, maybe the long-retired Creamy Caramel. Nope. I was surprised that the best color match (at least based on memory, since I didn't have a fortune cookie on hand to compare) was So Saffron. A good reminder to not overlook unexpected colors.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Good Fortune (Lawn Fawn)
Paper: Midnight Muse, Crumb Cake, Very Vanilla, So Saffron cardstock; Print Poetry Designer Series Paper (DSP) stack
Ink: Crumb Cake, Midnight Muse
Accessories: Woodgrain embossing folder, Dimensionals, Mono Multi liquid glue

I really liked the simple layout from the first card, so I made another card using the same placement for the stamped images. I played around a bit with the background, however, to make it look as if the items were sitting on a table. I used a piece of Crumb Cake cardstock embossed with a woodgrain texture for the table and a piece of polka dot DSP for a funky-looking wallpaper.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Good Fortune (Lawn Fawn)
Cardstock: Basic Black, Whisper White, So Saffron, Baked Brown Sugar, textured Old Olive
Ink: Smoky Slate, So Saffron, Baked Brown Sugar, Jet Black StazOn
Accessories: 1-3/4" circle punch, 1/8" Basic Black taffeta ribbon, Dimensionals

As much as I like that first layout, I knew I couldn't use it for every card I make with this stamp set. So on went the thinking cap (or maybe the creativity cap; actually for me, it's probably a little bit of both), and I decided to separate the images instead of creating a scene with them. I stamped and cut out the box, chopsticks and fortune cookie (with a short fortune this time; the set includes both the long and short images and several sentiments for each size. Awesome.) and used Dimensionals to adhere them to punched Basic Black circles on an Old Olive card base. A piece of narrow ribbon along the bottom of the card is a simple, but effective embellishment.

So, now I think I need to go find a fortune cookie that tells me, "You will win the lottery tonight." A girl can dream, right? Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Fall friends

Fall is my favorite season, and our weather has definitely been autumnal the past few days. It's the perfect time to share two cute animal cards that make me think of fall.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Into the Woods (Lawn Fawn)
Paper: Blue Bayou, Whisper White card stock; Patterns Pack III Designer Series Paper (DSP)
Ink: Early Espresso, Gumball Green
Accessories: Early Espresso baker's twine, Designer Naturals buttons, Corner Chomper (We R Memory Keepers), Dimensionals, Mono Multi liquid glue

I think this little fox is adorable, and he was perfect for paper piecing. I stamped the image on Whisper White card stock and striped Really Rust DSP. I cut out two pieces from the DSP image, adhered them to the image on Whisper White card stock and then cut out the whole fox. To complete his little scene I stamped and cut out a log and a few bushes and layered the pieces on the card, using Dimensionals for the fox and one of the bushes.

I wanted to add a few simple embellishments, so I wrapped a piece of Early Espresso baker's twine around the bottom of the card and added a wood-look button (also tied with baker's twine) in the upper right corner. I finished the card by rounding the two bottom corners.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Into the Woods (Lawn Fawn)
Paper: Early Espresso, Soft Sky, Whisper White card stock; Patterns Pack DSP
Ink: Early Espresso, Gumball Green, white gel pen
Accessories: Ovals Collection Framelits dies, Cupcake Builder punch, Dimensionals

You Friends aficionados out there will appreciate the fact that at least half the time I was making this card, all I could think was, "There's a deer just outside eating fruit from the orchard!" Hee. I used a Soft Sky oval on an Early Espresso card base to create the look of a frame or window. To create the deer, I stamped the image on DSP, cut it out and used a white gel pen to color the tail and ear. Again I used a log and a few bushes to create the scene; I also added a couple of clouds (made with the Cupcake Builder punch) to better balance the layout. Finally I used a white gel pen to make a faux-stitched border around the edge of the card base.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Halloween treat-bag tags

On Friday I came home from work to find an envelope filled with stamping goodness waiting at my door: six stamp sets and two sets of dies from Lawn Fawn. Yippee! I had so much fun crafting with my new goodies this weekend; I think I have projects for the next five blog posts. Today I'm going to share some cute Halloween tags that will go on treat bags for the toddlers in my class at work.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Critters in Costume, Hoppy Halloween (Lawn Fawn)
Cardstock: Whisper White
Ink: Jet Black StazOn, Basic Black, Basic Gray, Smoky Slate, Crumb Cake, Soft Suede, Island Indigo, Pumpkin Pie, Tangerine Tango, Real Red, Lovely Lilac, Crushed Curry, Crisp Cantaloupe
Accessories: Chalk Talk Framelits dies, Critters in Costume dies (Lawn Fawn), Dimensionals

Aren't they fun? This was the first time I've used my Chalk Talk Framelits, and they were perfect for these tags. I stamped and colored the animal images on Whisper White cardstock and then cut them out. And cutting them out was quick because I used coordinating dies for all of the images except the vampire bunny, and that one was pretty easy to cut out by hand. I did a little bit of stamping directly on the tags and then adhered the animals to the tags with Dimensionals. Now I just need to add names and attach them to the Halloween treat bags (I'll try to post a picture of the finished bags so you can see the tags in action).

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Simple beaded bracelets

Today was the sixth birthday party for one of my cousin's daughters. When I give birthday presents to  kids, I try to include something that I've handmade, such as hair barrettes, headbands or zipper pulls. (This is a much easier task for the girls than the boys.) For today's birthday girl, I decided to make a few simple beaded bracelets, which I haven't done in ages.

I didn't want to put clasps on the bracelets -- they can be a pain for adults, never mind six-year-old girls who don't always have the patience to wait for someone to help them put on a bracelet -- so I opted for elastic instead. I used 0.5 mm diameter Stretch Magic elastic jewelry cord (Pepperell Braiding Company). For each bracelet I played around with different color combinations, bead shapes and patterns until I liked the result. These two are the more subtle and "sophisticated" bracelets of the group.

For a little contrast, the next two bracelets are more bold and bright. I've always been a fan of rainbows (and things arranged in rainbow order), so these bracelets are my favorites.

I think the birthday girl liked the bracelets; she put all four of them on as soon as she opened her present. Of course, the next time I saw them, maybe 15 minutes later, one had already broken. Sigh. I can't say I'm surprised -- it's a lively group of kids in my extended family -- but I also think I didn't close the crimp bead quite right. So I brought home as many of the loose beads as we could find, and I'll try stringing them again. Better luck next time, I hope.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Remembering Sept. 11

That some good can be derived from every event is a better proposition than that everything happens for the best, which it assuredly does not.
~ James K. Feibleman

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Cardstock: Soft Suede, Crumb Cake, Midnight Muse, Cherry Cobbler
Ink: Crumb Cake, Midnight Muse, Cherry Cobbler, white gel pen
Accessories: Tasteful Trim die, Woodgrain embossing folder, large star punch (retired), Simply Scored tool, Essentials Paper-Piercing Pack, paper-piercing tool and mat, sponge, Dimensionals

Peace cannot be achieved through violence, it can only be attained through understanding.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Cardstock: Crumb Cake, Midnight Muse, Cherry Cobbler, Naturals Ivory
Ink: Crumb Cake
Accessories: Tasteful Trim die, Square Lattice embossing folder, full heart punch, Essentials Paper-Piercing Pack, paper-piercing tool and mat, sponge, Dimensionals


Monday, September 9, 2013

Challenge inspiration

This weekend I wanted to make a few cards, but I was at a loss as to what I should make. Then I happened to discover that it was virtual stamp night (VSN) at SCS, and lo and behold my problem was solved! (Oh, that life was always that easy.) VSN is actually a two-day event with a different stamping challenge posted every hour. You have a set amount of time to complete each challenge (most of them this round seemed to be 45 minutes), and you can choose to do as many or as few challenges as you want to. What I like about the VSN challenges is that, because of the time limit, they are pretty straightforward challenges, such as using a certain color combo or technique. I selected three of the challenges, and here are my results:

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Tape It, Flower Shop
Cardstock: Basic Black, Whisper White
Ink: Jet Black StazOn
Accessories: Pansy Punch, Candy Dots - Neutrals, Dimensionals

This challenge was to create a project that uses black and white. I wanted to have a clean and simple card layout, so for the background I stamped three of the images from Tape It on a layer of Whisper White cardstock and adhered it to a Basic Black card base. For the focal point I stamped and punched out one of the Flower Shop images and curved the petals up to create some dimension. I also punched a flower out of Basic Black cardstock and layered it behind the white flower like a shadow. The top half of the card needed some visual interest, so I added three Basic Black Candy Dots along the left side. (Normally when I make a black and white card, I like to add a little pop of color, so I might have used Real Red or Daffodil Delight Candy Dots. But I thought I'd better stick with just black and white for this one.) I also added a Whisper White Candy Dot to the center of the flower. I finished this card well under the 45-minute time limit; I think it took me less than 15 minutes to complete.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Bud Basics
Cardstock: Chocolate Chip, Very Vanilla
Ink: Crisp Cantaloupe, Calypso Coral, Pear Pizzazz, Chocolate Chip
Accessories: In Color Printed Designer Brads, pearls, 1/8" Calypso Coral organdy ribbon, Corner Chomper (We R Memory Keepers), Glue Dots, Dimensionals

The next challenge I selected was to make a card using both silhouette and line images. I knew right away that I would pull out one of my two-step flower sets for this challenge. For the background I randomly stamped the solid (or silhouette) flower and leaf images on Very Vanilla cardstock. Then I added the outline images in Chocolate Chip ink, purposely not matching the outlines to the solid images. For the focal point I stamped a few individual flowers and cut them out. I actually made two cards with this layout within the 45 minutes; I stamped the background images on a large piece of cardstock and then cut it in half to make two cards.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: So Happy For You, Create a Cupcake
Paper: Soft Suede, Whisper White cardstock; Brights Collection Designer Series Paper (DSP) Patterns Stack
Ink: Soft Suede, Tempting Turquoise
Accessories: Soft Suede polka dot ribbon, white baker's twine, 1/8" hole punch, Corner Chomper (We R Memory Keepers), Mono Multi liquid glue

This challenge was to make a project that included stripes and dots. My first thought was to use the retired DSP Patterns Stack, which included both of those patterns. I decided to combine Soft Suede with Tempting Turquoise, which is a color I rarely use (sort of a challenge within a challenge). To make the basket, I stamped one of the cupcake bottom images from the Create a Cupcake set. Then I stamped one image of the butterfly with the dotted "trail" coming out of the basket. For the rest of the butterflies I inked and stamped just the butterfly part of the image, stamping a few of them twice before reinking the stamp to achieve the lighter color. I also stamped a few butterflies on a separate piece of cardstock, cut them out and adhered them to the card with a drop of liquid glue to create some dimension.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Funny farm

I have made some amazing friends through Stampin' Up! One of them, Faith, completely surprised me a couple of weeks ago. Back in July I had casually mentioned to Faith that the only retired Stampin' Up! stamp set I really wish I'd bought was On the Farm. (As a childcare teacher for more than eight years, I've done many farm units and could have used the set for lesson plan materials. Not to mention that it's just plain cute.) I didn't give the conversation much thought after that ... until an envelope containing the set arrived on my doorstop. It turns out Faith not only remembered that I wanted the set, but she also found it on Ebay, bought it and asked the seller to send it to me. Isn't that amazing? She is one of the kindest, most thoughtful people I know.

I promised Faith I would send her the first card I made with the set, but I haven't put it in the mail, yet. (So if you're here, Faith, stop reading if you want to be surprised.) In the meantime, I wanted to share them with you.

Card with three cows (two with bown spots and one with red/white polka dots) and a rooster "saying" the sentiment "You're one of a kind."
Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: On the Farm, Antique Cracking
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Real Red, Whisper White cardstock; Polka Dot Parade Designer Series Paper (DSP)
Ink: Jet Black StazOn, Chocolate Chip, Real Red, Crushed Curry, Baked Brown Sugar, Crisp Cantaloupe, Garden Green, Sahara Sand, Basic Black
Accessories: Burlap ribbon, 5/8" neutrals brads, Dimensionals, Mono Multi liquid glue

I stamped the cow image three times along the Whisper White cardstock and then again on a piece of Real Red Polka Dot Parade DSP. I cut out the cow's spots on the DSP and adhered them to the middle image on the white cardstock. I used markers to color the other two cows. To make the "hay," I cut a piece of burlap ribbon about 2" long. I cut off the seam along both edges of the ribbon (I used one of the seams with the brad on the top right corner of the focal layer), separated the fibers and used one of the fibers to tie the "bale."

I knew I wanted to have the rooster crowing a greeting, so I first stamped the rooster above one of the cows so it looks as if he's standing on the cow's back. I couldn't find a stamp with the sentiment I wanted, so I drew a speech bubble and then wrote the greeting inside. It took me several tries to get a speech bubble I was pleased with; it's not perfect, but it actually blends in well with the scratchy lines of the stamped images. I cut out the speech bubble and attached it to the card with Dimensionals.

Card with farm animals -- cow, sheep, rooster and pig -- in punched circles.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: On the Farm, Antique Cracking
Cardstock: Crumb Cake, Naturals Ivory
Ink: Jet Black StazOn, Chocolate Chip, Real Red, Blushing Bride, Crushed Curry, Baked Brown Sugar, Crisp Cantaloupe, Old Olive, Sahara Sand
Accessories: Circles Collection Framelits dies, burlap ribbon, 5/16" neutrals brads, Dimensionals, Glue Dots

I used the burlap ribbon again on this card, but this time I frayed the ends for a worn, rustic feel and then adhered it along the background of the card. I stamped and colored the images and cut them out with the Circle Collection Framelits dies. I adhered the circles to the card with Dimensionals and added three circle brads to the upper left corner.

I hope Faith enjoys her card. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

File folder card set

A few months ago I received a pack of five cute mini file folders as part of a thank-you gift for organizing a craft retreat. (See the last photo in the post titled "How sweet"; the pack of file folders is on top of the puzzle book.) I knew right away that I wanted to use them to make cards, but in all the hubbub of summer I tucked them away in my craft room and forgot about them. Well, this weekend I transformed them into a fun set of handmade cards.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Teeny Tiny Wishes, Six-Sided Sampler, Tea Shoppe
Paper: Kiwi Kiss, Crisp Cantaloupe, Riding Hood Red, Blush Blossom, Pool Party, Very Vanilla cardstock; The Thrift Shop paper pad (October Afternoon); mini file folders (Paper Source)
Ink: Jet Back StazOn
Accessories: modern Label, 1/2" circle, Scallop Edge Border, corner rounder, Pansy punches; Hodgepodge Hardware - Pewter; basic pearls; Apothecary Accents Framelits dies; Stamp-a-ma-jig; Mono Multi liquid glue; Dimensionals

For each card I used two coordinating patterned papers from The Thrift Shop paper pad: one of the prints was the main layer for the card front, and the second print was an accent along the bottom of the card. I also used the accent print for the punched flower. To create a transition between the two prints I added a strip of coordinating cardstock punched with the Scallop Edge Border punch.

I wanted to play with the office theme of the file folders, so I created labels with the sentiments and used Dimensionals to adhere them on the folder tabs. I also used a photo holder and brad (from the Hodgepodge Hardware kit) to attach the punched flower to the card. I did add a bit of glue under that flower petal, just to be on the safe side, but the rest of the flower is not adhered to the card.

I forgot to take a picture of the inside of the cards, but they're pretty simple. I lined both sides of the card with Very Vanilla cardstock and added two small flags made with the patterned papers from the card front.

The hardest part of making these cards was actually the envelopes. The file folders, including the tabs, measure about 4-3/4" by 6", so they didn't fit in standard A2-sized envelopes. I didn't have enough coordinating patterned paper to make my own envelopes, so that left me stuck with boring white 5" x 7" envelopes. I knew I needed to make them a little fancier, and after trying several different ideas, I finally settled on adding a label made with one of the Apothecary Accents Framelits dies. I think this label is large enough (and light enough in color) to write an address for mailing, but you could also write just a name if you are hand-delivering the card. I'm still not completely satisfied with the envelopes, but I try to remember that most people will tear open and toss the envelopes anyway.

This project reminded me how much I like to make card sets; I'll have to make more for my stash. I hope my friends and family aren't completely tired of receiving them as gifts! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, September 2, 2013

First Creative Crew projects

Several weeks ago I was asked to join the Stampin' Up! Creative Crew design team on SplitCoastStampers (SCS). What an honor! I will be part of the design team from September through December, and each month I will play along with the team challenges and create four projects featuring Stampin' Up! products. (Check out all of the Creative Crew galleries on SCS for some wonderful creative inspiration.) Today I am going to share three of my first three Creative Crew challenge projects.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Betsy's Blossoms
Cardstock: Crushed Curry, Coastal Cabana, Smoky Slate, Whisper White
Ink: Smoky Slate
Accessories: Label Card Thinlits dies, Fashionable Hearts Embosslits die, Dotted Scallop Ribbon Border punch, 1/4" circle punch, Mono Multi liquid glue, Glue Dots

This challenge was to use the Eastern Elegance Designer Series Paper (DSP) (which I don't have) or the colors Crushed Curry, Coastal Cabana, Smoky Slate and Whisper White to make a project for someone you admire. I wanted to use my new Label Card Thinlits dies, so I started with a Smoky Slate card base. I've seen many adorable cards made with these dies, but most of them seem to use DSP to decorate the panels, and I didn't have that option for this card. Instead I focused on stamps.

I love the bold images in the Betsy's Blossoms set, so I stamped several branches and one bird image on the card base. For the focal point, I die cut the inner label shape out of Whisper White cardstock and the sentiment out of Coastal Cabana. Now, the "i [heart] you" die-cut doesn't come with a dot for the "i," which looks unfinished to me. So I used my retired SU! 1/4" circle punch to make my own dot. You could also use a standard office punch or even one of the circles from the Cupcake Builder punch.

To add some Crushed Curry to the card, I used the Dotted Scallop Ribbon Border punch with Crushed Curry cardstock. I adhered the strip just behind the front fold so just one scallop edge was visible on the card front (you can see the whole strip in this picture of the open card). To create a place for writing a message, I die cut another Whisper White label shape and adhered it to the back of the "flippy piece" (yes, that's the technical term) over the punched strip. Lastly I added a few Crushed Curry and Coastal Cabana embossed hearts to bring in just a bit more color.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!, except "Other"):
Stamps: Summer Silhouettes, Dictionary
Cardstock: Coastal Cabana, Whisper White, Basic Gray
Ink: Crushed Curry, Coastal Cabana, Smoky Slate, Basic Gray
Accessories: Vintage faceted buttons, Coastal Cabana stretch ruffle trim, Basic Gray taffeta ribbon, corner rounder, basic and large pearls, Sticky Strip, Glue Dots, Dimensionals
Other: Painter's tape

For this challenge, we were supposed to use any of the stamp sets on pages 111 - 119 in the 2013 - 2014 Annual Catalog to create a project. There were two other requirements, as well: We had to use a technique or a special fold we'd never tried before, and we had to use at least two of the colors from the previous challenge: Crushed Curry, Coastal Cabana, Smoky Slate and Whisper White.

I was a little surprised when I realized that I don't actually own any of the stamps on pages 111 - 119. So I did a creative substitution, and instead of the floral silhouette image in the My Friend set, I used Summer Silhouettes. For my new technique, I used the Magical Masking Tape technique to create the background for my focal image. (Note: The tutorial in the link indicates you should use glossy white cardstock. I used standard Whisper White cardstock and was very careful when removing the painter's tape. I did have a few tiny spots where the tape started to pull apart the paper at the edges, but I trimmed them off. Otherwise, it worked fine.) I rounded the corners of my focal layer and mat so it was easier to add the stretch ruffle trim around the back of the piece. Overall, I'm pretty pleased with how this card turned out, although I wish my silhouette images had stamped a little darker.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Hello, Lovely
Cardstock: Whisper White, Smoky Slate, Basic Gray
Ink: Smoky Slate, Crushed Curry
Accessories: Decorative Label punch, Basic Gray stitched grosgrain ribbon, rhinestones, Stamp-a-ma-jig, Dimensionals

I decided to make a second card for the previous challenge, so I created a double Z-fold card. Of course, I still didn't have any of the stamps on pages 111 - 119, which meant another substitution. This time, instead of the border-type images in the Background Builders set, I used Hello, Lovely.

I wanted to create rows of images on this card, so I put my Stamp-a-ma-jig to good use. I still had to start over more than a couple of times. Here's a tip that helped me: Newer Stampin' Up! stamps do not have the copyright info on the labels that go on the wood blocks. Consequently, when I was using these symmetrical images with the Stamp-a-ma-jig, I kept forgetting which corner of the stamp needed to be placed in the guide to get the correct stamp placement. I finally took a fine-point permanent marker and made a small arrow on one corner of my wood-mount stamp. Now I know how to place the stamp in the Stamp-a-ma-jig - no more guesswork.
To make the focal point, I used markers to apply ink to the "Hello Lovely" stamp, stamped it on Whisper White cardstock and punched it out. I also punched a label shape from Basic Gray cardstock, cut it in half horizontally and adhered the halves to the back of the white label.
Inside the card I continued the row of Crushed Curry "tiles" that are on both outside panels. Otherwise, I left the inside blank so this card can be used for a variety of occasions.

I do have one more Creative Crew project left to share, but I'm going to save that for a little later in the month. Thanks for stopping by!