Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Hip Hip Hooray Card Kit

During the past few months life has gotten in the way of fun stuff like crafting, so I haven't been able to post on my blog as often as I would have liked. And my sister and I just found out last weekend that we need to find a new place to live by the end of May, so it doesn't look like it's going to get much better in the next couple of months. (I'm especially bummed because I went to the premier of the new Stampin' Up! catalog last night, and I won't even be able to preorder any new goodies. Well I could, but I'd just have to pack them up as soon as I got them. Boo.) I do have one more card to share after today's post, but that's all I have at this point. I'm hoping I'll be able to make a card or two in between packing up boxes, but just know that I'm still around and probably wishing I were stamping!

Anyway, on with the show. I've had the Hip Hip Hooray Card Kit from Stampin' Up! sitting on one of my craft shelves, taunting me, for weeks. I finally had a chance to sit down and make the cards, and it was really fun. The kit comes with a three-piece greeting stamp set, a clear block, twenty printed kraft note cards and envelopes, Basic Gray ink, card stock stickers, clips, Whisper White Baker's twine and Dimensionals -- everything you need to sit down and whip up twenty cute cards. I wanted to add a little something to my cards -- including a little bling -- so I also used some additional supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Yippee-Skippee!, Just Sayin'
Card stock:  Whisper White, Very Vanilla (for layers inside the cards)
Ink: Calypso Coral pad and marker, Baked Brown Sugar marker, Basic Gray marker
Accessories: Small heart punch, Bitty Banner punch, Merry Minis punch pack, gold sequin trim, Calypso Coral baker's twine, gold baker's twine, Glue Dots, Stamp-a-ma-jig, Embossing Buddy

Altogether I used ten different sentiments: the three that came in the kit and seven others. I made two cards using each greeting, and no two cards are exactly alike. I think I'm going to divide the cards into two sets, so each set has one card with each greeting. And I might just keep one of the sets for myself.

The card kit also comes with a color instruction sheet that illustrates each of the card layouts Stampin' Up! designed. I used the instructions as a starting point for several of my cards, so I could get ideas for how to layer the different elements.

I used the Stamp-a-ma-jig tool to help stamp the greetings straight. Another useful tool was the Embossing Buddy, which I used to lightly dust the back of the stickers that I adhered to the card with Dimensionals.

I used Calypso Coral, Baked Brown Sugar and Basic Gray markers to apply ink to the greeting stamps so I could have multicolored sentiments.

After finishing all the cards, I still had two partial sheets of stickers and the white baker's twine left (since I used different twine). And about one-third of the sheet of Dimensionals, which surprised me since I go through Dimensionals like they're water. That's plenty of supplies to make several more cards using my own card bases - hip hip hooray!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Decorated gift box

For Easter I gave my grandma a big box of birthday cards -- forty-five of them, to be exact, plus five blank cards. Once I had all the cards made, I had to decide how to package them. I found a box that was just the right size -- about 8" wide and long and 6" deep -- but there were two little problems: it didn't have a cover, and it was a boring white box. Luckily those are pretty minor problems for a paper crafter.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Paper: Petal Patch Designer Series Paper (DSP), Certainly Celery textured 12" x 12" card stock
Accessories: 1-1/4" Certainly Celery striped grosgrain ribbon, Chocolate Chip satin ribbon, Vintage Faceted Designer Buttons, large pearls, 1/2" Scor-Tape (Scor-Pal), Simply Scored tool

Here is how the box started. I forgot to take pictures while I was adding the DSP, but it was a pretty easy process. You need three 6" x 12" pieces of matching DSP; an all-over random print is a good choice so the seams from the overlapping pieces won't be so noticeable. Apply a strong adhesive, such as Scor-Tape, to the back of the DSP and/or along the top and bottom edges of the box, and then carefully adhere the paper. Tip: Pull the backing off the adhesive a little bit at a time as you are moving around the box to help reduce the chance that something will get stuck in the wrong place.

Now for the cover. Here is a brief tutorial that explains how I made mine:

Step 1: Determine the size of the cover and score the card stock.

My box was about 7-7/8" square, so I wanted the cover to be 8" square so it would fit over the box. So on my 12" x 12" card stock, I scored along each side 2" in from the edge.

Step 2: In each corner there will be a square formed by the intersecting score lines. On each of these squares, cut along one of the score lines just to the point where it meets the other score line, making a tab. I usually make the cuts so two are on one side of the card stock and the other two are on the opposite side.

Step 3: Fold the card stock along the score lines. Apply adhesive to each of the tabs, fold them in and attach them behind the adjoining flap.

Step 4: If needed, trim along the bottom edge of cover so all the sides are even. (I had a tab or two that weren't lined up perfectly after I adhered them, so just I trimmed off the extra card stock.)

Step 5: Embellish the cover as desired.

I adhered a piece 1-1/4" striped grosgrain ribbon along the middle of the cover. I used three more pieces of ribbon in different lengths to make three loops. I flattened each loop in the middle and adhered them together from largest to smallest. Then I added a button with a pearl in the center to the top loop. After I was done I decided I wanted to have a little touch of brown on the cover, so I made two small tabs with Chocolate Chip satin ribbon and tucked them between two of the other ribbon loops.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 18, 2014

A few more Easter cards

I didn't make too many Easter cards this year, just enough for a few family members and friends. (And of course, I put them in the mail earlier this week with messages along the lines of "I hope you're enjoying our warmer weather" and "Spring is finally here!" And then our temperature promptly dropped below freezing and we had an April snowstorm. Figures.) I shared my Easter basket card earlier this week (April 14, 2014), so today I want to share the other cards I designed.

Rust-colored card with scalloped green strip across the middle. Mushrooms stamped along the bottom and "Happy Easter" in the middle. Focal image is a bunny in an egg shell stamped on a white rectangle and colored in.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Everybunny, Easter Blossoms
Card stock: Really Rust, Kiwi Kiss, Very Vanilla
Ink: Tuxedo Black (Memento), Really Rust
Accessories: Watercolor pencils, Blender Pen, Scallop Edge Border punch, corner rounder, cream organdy ribbon (unknown), Dimensionals

The starting point for this card was the focal image. I stamped the image with Tuxedo Black ink, colored it with watercolor pencils and used a Blender Pen to soften the pencil lines.

From there I chose the coordinating card stock colors: Really Rust for the card base and an accent of Kiwi Kiss. I know they aren't your traditional Easter or spring colors, and I was a little leery about the combo, but they grew on me.

To finish the card, I stamped a sentiment in the middle of the card and a border of mushrooms along the bottom of the card and then added a ribbon and bow.

Kraft card stamped with mushrooms and flowers with Easter egg blooms. Focal layer stamped with two bunnies and "Happy Easter everybunny" greeting.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Everybunny
Card stock: Very Vanilla, Crumb Cake
Ink: Tuxedo Black (Memento), Crumb Cake
Accessories: Watercolor Pencils, Blender Pen, Very Vanilla seam binding ribbon, corner rounder, slot punch, pearls, Dimensionals

I love the adorable bunnies in the Everybunny stamp set; I just wish I could do them justice with better coloring skills. I used the same method for the focal image as the previous card: stamp, color with watercolor pencils, apply Blender Pen. To add the ribbon I punched a slot in the right side of the focal layer and pulled one end of the ribbon through the slot. A few simple pearls are the finishing touch.

Pale Plum card stamped with flowering branches in the background. Focal image is a silhouette image of a girl collecting Easter eggs. Brown ribbon and "Happy Easter" greeting.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Easter Blossoms
Card stock: Pale Plum, Very Vanilla
Ink: Pale Plum, Soft Suede
Accessories: Deco Labels Framelits dies, Soft Suede taffeta ribbon, pearls, Dimensionals, sponge

These two images -- the flowering branch and the little girl silhouette -- are my two favorite from the Easter Blossoms set. And together they make an adorable and quick card.

I stamped the branch four times on the Pale Plum card base and the silhouette on Very Vanilla card stock. I die cut the focal image and sponged the edges with Pal Plum ink. I used Dimensionals to adhere the focal image over the ribbon, added a few pearls (including one on the focal image) and stamped the sentiment.

I hope you have a very "hoppy" Easter. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 14, 2014

A tisket, a tasket

A-tisket, a-tasket / A green and yellow basket ... Okay, the basket on my card isn't green and yellow, but that little poem runs through my head whenever I look at this card:

Blue card with large Easter basket shape cut from card stock and embossed. Basket is filled with stamped and cut-out Easter eggs and chocolate bunny.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Chocolate Bunny, Easter Blossoms
Card stock: Baja Breeze, Crumb Cake, Chocolate Chip, So Saffron, Pear Pizzazz, Calypso Coral
Ink: Chocolate Chip, So Saffron, Pear Pizzazz, Calypso Coral
Accessories: Baja Breeze 1/8" taffeta ribbon, Square Lattice embossing folder, Ovals Collection Framelits dies, Corner Chomper (We R Memory Keepers), Dimensionals

To make the basket, I embossed a piece of Crumb Cake card stock with the Square Lattice embossing folder and then rounded the two bottom corners. I adhered a strip of plain card stock along the top of the basket, wrapped a piece of ribbon around it and tied a bow.

To make the handle I used two consecutive sizes of the Ovals Collection Framelits dies to create an oval frame. I cut the frame in half and adhered the ends to the back of the basket.

You can't have an Easter basket without some treats, right? So to fill the basket I stamped and cut out a chocolate bunny and several eggs.

Come back later this week to see a few more Easter cards. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

A bit of literary intrigue

Last Sunday I ordered a book from Amazon. Now, I don't order as many things from Amazon as some people do (ahem, my sister), but I've ordered my fair share. Especially books. I love owning, holding, admiring and arranging bookshelves full of actual paper books. I have two Kindle e-readers, but I rarely read books on them because it's just not the same. Come to think of it, I also prefer crafting with paper and other tactile items over digital options. But I digress.

I've always assumed that book orders are filled the same way any order is: there is a giant warehouse (or two or five) filled with ready-to-go stuff, and when you place an order, some combination of people and computers find the stuff you want, put it in a box and send it on its merry way. Right? Well, maybe not.

The book I ordered was The Black Moth by Georgette Heyer, one of my all-time favorite authors. She wrote more than fifty books in three genres: historical romance (think Jane Austen), historical fiction and mystery. (I'm working on collecting them all.) The Black Moth was Heyer's first book, and I have never come across it in a store, so when I saw it on Amazon, I ordered it.

All the other items in my order shipped Monday and arrived Tuesday, thanks to my sister's Prime membership. But the book shipped Tuesday and arrived Wednesday. (Actually according to the UPS tracking info, the origin scan was 12:22 a.m. Wednesday, and it was delivered at 1:58 p.m. Wednesday. That's speedy delivery.) I wasn't in a hurry to get the book, so the slight delay didn't matter. But still, it seemed odd since the book was listed as being in stock.

Once the book arrived, I flipped through it, as I always do with new books. Lo and behold on the bottom of the very last page were printed a bar code and three lines of text: "Made in the USA / Lexington, KY / 07 April 2014." Wait a minute. I ordered the book on April 6, and it was printed on April 7? And the packing envelope indicated that it was shipped from Lexington. Does that mean the book was printed and bound after I ordered it? Was that the reason for the delay? Does Amazon print some books on demand, only after they are ordered?

This little mystery had me intrigued. The publisher listed in the book, Seven Treasures Publications, apparently does not have a Web site. Weird. And the publisher listed on Amazon, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, is actually an Amazon-owned self-publishing company. So I suppose on-demand printing is possible, but A) it doesn't necessarily seem the most efficient way to go. I mean, are they really printing one copy of a book at a time?  and B) I wouldn't have expected the turnaround time to be that fast.

But on the flip side, if this book was printed after and because I ordered it, that means it was printed just for me. Aw, that makes me feel kinda' special.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Nature-inspired masculine cards

I like to use nature as an inspiration for masculine cards, and today I have trees, fish and a lighthouse scene to share with you.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Lovely As a Tree, On Your Birthday
Card stock: Chocolate Chip, Whisper White, Old Olive, Marina Mist
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Old Olive, Marina Mist
Accessories: Birch paper ribbon, Designer Naturals buttons, linen thread, sponges, Dimensionals

I stamped the tree image in Chocolate Chip on Whisper White card stock and then trimmed it down to create a smaller focal panel. I used sponges to apply Marina Mist ink on the sky part of the image and Old Olive on the grass and then layered it on Chocolate Chip card stock. For the background of the card I used a layer of birch paper ribbon from the Thankful Tablescape Simply Created kit.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: By the Tide
Card stock: Bordering Blue, Midnight Muse
Ink: Baked Brown Sugar, Midnight Muse
Accessories: Flower Soft - Ultra Fine Sand (Flower Soft), baker's twine - Cappuccino (Hemptique), Mono Multi liquid glue, Dimensionals

I bought a small container of sand-colored Flower Soft years ago to use as sand on beach- and sea-themed cards. And do you know what? I don't think I ever actually used it. But for some reason it popped into my head while I was trying to decide what to add to make this card a little more interesting. To adhere it, I simply applied Mono Multi liquid glue along the bottom of the card using the wide applicator, sprinkled the Flower Soft over the glue, pressed it down, shook off the extra and let it dry. I love the textured effect.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: World Map, Coast to Coast
Card stock: Bordering Blue, Naturals Ivory
Ink: Jet Black StazOn; Bordering Blue, Cherry Cobbler, Soft Sky, Always Artichoke, Crumb Cake, Sahara Sand markers
Accessories: Pewter jumbo eye let, Cherry Cobbler baker's twine, Corner Chomper (We R Memory Keepers), Dimensionals

I love the Coast to Coast stamp set, and I think the lighthouse images work well with the World Map background. I stamped and colored the lighthouse image and then added two simple embellishments: a jumbo eyelet and some baker's twine. (I like how both the lighthouse and the baker's twine have diagonal Cherry Cobbler stripes.) For some additional visual interest I rounded two opposite corners of the focal layer as well as the corresponding corners on the card base.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Flowers for spring

We had a much-anticipated (and I feel much-deserved) gorgeous spring day today. Mild temperatures, plenty of sun and ever-shrinking piles of snow made for a great start to the week. So in honor of spring, here are a few clean-and-simple flower cards:

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Spring Garden, Happiest Birthday Wishes
Cardstock: Soft Sky
Ink: Gumball Green, Real Red, Soft Sky, Soft Suede, white gel pen
Accessories: Corner rounder, Dimensionals, Glue Dots

Spring Garden is one of my favorite floral stamp sets; with just a few stamps, you can make a beautiful card that has a watercolor quality to it. For this card I used the tulips to make a splash of color on a layer of Soft Sky card stock, which is adhered to a Soft Sky card base with Dimensionals. I doodled a white border around the focal layer and added a stamped and cut-out butterfly with a Glue Dot.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Bright Blossoms
Card stock: Crumb Cake, Gumball Green, Whisper White
Ink: Gumball Green, Melon Mambo
Accessories: 1" square punch, Postage Stamp punch, Brights Candy Dots, Gumball Green stitched satin ribbon, Dimensionals

I can never have too many tulips, and these three are perfect on this clean card. You can't get much simpler than a few stamps, punches and a couple of embellishments. I really like the combination of the white stitches in the ribbon with the white circles on the flowers.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Flower Shop, Happiest Birthday Wishes
Card stock: Perfect Plum, Old Olive, Very Vanilla
Ink: Daffodil Delight
Accessories: Chevron embossing folder, Pansy Punch, Secret Garden Framelits dies, Very Vintage buttons, 1/8" Daffodil Delight taffeta ribbon, Brights Candy Dots, bone folder, Dimensionals

The Chevron-embossed background adds a lot of depth and visual interest to this card. To create even more depth, I used my bone folder to curl up the petals and leaves and to add the "wave" to the banner. For embellishment I added a button tied with ribbon to the center of the flower and three Candy Dots in the top right corner.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Modern and vintage

As someone who loves all things floral, I sometimes have a hard time creating masculine cards. Usually I rely on nature-inspired cards -- and I have a few of those to share with you next week -- but it's nice to have a little variety. Last weekend I came up with two masculine card designs that I really like: one with a modern look and one that's more vintage.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Gorgeous Grunge, Bring on the Cake
Card stock: Whisper White, Island Indigo
Ink: Kiwi Kiss, Island Indigo, Basic Gray
Accessories: 2-1/2" circle punch, Regals Candy Dots, cork stickers (Little Yellow Bicycle), Dimensionals

To make the background I layered several images from the Gorgeous Grunge set in Kiwi Kiss, Island Indigo and Basic Gray ink on a Whisper White card base. When I make a card like this the trick for me is to not over think it -- just pick up a stamp and go. To help the focal point stand out against the busy-ness, I matted it with a circle of Island Indigo card stock. Two cork stickers and a couple of Candy Dots make perfect neutral embellishments.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Postage Collection
Paper: Very Vanilla, Bravo Burgundy card stock; Newsprint Designer Series Paper (DSP)
Ink: Tuxedo Black (Memento), Crumb Cake
Accessories: Postage Stamp punch, sponge, Stamp-a-a-jig, Dimensionals

I love the combination of the "postage stamp" images with this vintage-looking Newsprint DSP. The postage stamps are actually three separate images: the border, the car and the "No. 1." I used my Stamp-a-ma-jig tool to line them all up, and then I punched them out with the Postage Stamp punch. I matted the three images with offset Bravo Burgundy postage stamp shapes to help them stand out against the DSP.

To add to the vintage feel of this card, I tore the bottom edges of the card front and the layer of DSP. I also sponged all the light-colored pieces -- postage stamps, flag and DSP -- with Crumb Cake ink.

I didn't add any embellishments to this card, but I wonder if it needs something. What do you think: add an embellishment or leave it as is? 

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Flowers all over

I'm back to share a couple of flower-filled birthday cards today. I used two of my long-retired-but-still-loved floral stamp sets to make my own backgrounds, a tried-and-true technique that I haven't used much lately.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Tropical Blossoms, Small Sayings
Card stock: Whisper White, Kiwi Kiss
Ink: Kiwi Kiss, Poppy Parade, Summer Sun, Only Orange
Accessories: Sweet Stitches Big Designer Buttons, Playground Designer Buttons, white baker's twine, Dotted Scallop Ribbon Border punch, corner rounder, Dimensionals

I love the tropical feeling of this card, and right about now I wish I were on a tropical island away from the snow. For embellishment I used a punched strip of Kiwi Kiss card stock and three buttons in different styles, colors and sizes, each tied with baker's twine. Simple, but cheerful.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Sending Happy Thoughts, Petite Pairs
Card stock: Positively Pink, Whisper White
Ink: Positively Pink, Pink Pirouette, Pear Piozzazz
Accessories: Label Card Thinlits dies, pearls, Lucky Limeade baker's twine, Dimensionals

I haven't used my Label Card Thinlits dies very much because I have a hard time figuring out how to embellish the panels. But I think this all-over floral design works well.

Again I used simple embellishments: pearls in the corners and in two of the flower centers and a baker's twine bow.

I also tried a little trick I'd read about to make the flip card longer and provide an interior panel for writing a message. When trimming your card stock, cut it slightly less than 5-1/2" tall; I think I went with 5-3/8". Then when you line up the die to cut out the card shape, place the end of the card stock over the die instead of under it. That end won't be cut, so you can fold it in to make an extra panel.

Thanks for stopping by!