Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Adventure ahead

Two weeks ago I turned in my resignation at work. I've been thinking about doing this for ages -- after nine years in childcare, I'm ready for other challenges and opportunities. I don't have another job lined up, so I'll be updating my resume, looking at job postings, maybe taking a few classes or even researching graduate school programs. Basically a full-time job without the paycheck.

But amidst all the busy-ness of discovering the meaning of life and deciding what I want to be when I grow up, I want to remember to take time to enjoy quiet moments. I may have to put this card somewhere I will see it every day:

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: A Quiet Life, Pursuit of Happiness
Paper: Bashful Blue, Very Vanilla, Basic Black card stock
Ink: Jet Black StazOn, Bashful Blue, Wild Wasabi, Hello Honey, Blush Blossom, Pink Pirouette, Baked Brown Sugar
Accessories: Bashful Blue taffeta ribbon, Blender Pen, Dimensionals

I love this serene image, and I think it works perfectly with the sentiment and the clean and simple layout. I used a Blender Pen to color the image, added a Basic Black mat to make it stand out and finished the card with a simple knotted ribbon. Just looking at this card makes me feel a little calmer about all the adventures that lie ahead.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Simple Work of Art

There are times when I love to spend hours making elaborate, intricately embellished cards. But there are probably more times when I need a card that's simple, cute and quick. The new Stampin' Up! set Work of Art is prefect for those times.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Work of Art, Four You
Paper: Whisper White, Basic Gray, Blushing Bride, Certainly Celery card stock
Ink: Calypso Coral, Blushing Bride, Certainly Celery, Basic Gray
Accessories: Itty Bitty Accents punch pack, Bitty Banner punch, Neutrals Candy Dots, Glue Dots, Dimensionals

This card used four stamped images, three punched shapes (two flowers, layered together, and one banner) and one Candy Dot. Super quick and easy to put together when you want to send a little note to a friend. And it could be easily customized by changing the color combo, the sentiment and/or the punched accent. You could even make a set of these cards to give as a last-minute gift that doesn't look last-minute.

Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

The card contest that wasn't

For weeks I've been looking forward to attending a rubber stamp show that's in our area this weekend. I was excited to see cute sample cards and projects, buy a few goodies, and maybe even win a prize at the card contest. I won the card contest two years ago at the same event, and I was hoping to do it again -- first prize was $100 to spend with any of the vendors at the show.

Originally I didn't think I would have time to make any cards for the contest, but the weekend before they were due I decided to go for it. I created two cards to go with the contest theme, "The Nature of Things," and sent them off a few days before they were due.

When we walked into the stamp show yesterday morning, there were several people standing in front of the contest display board admiring the samples. The winners weren't going to be announced until the afternoon, but all the submissions were put up on the display. I patiently waited my turn, and when they were done, stepped up to see my cards. "Which ones are yours?" my aunt asked me. I looked at all the cards, and my heart fell. Neither of my cards was on the board. I was so disappointed, probably more than I should have been. I don't know what happened to them; maybe they got lost in the mail, or maybe they arrived after the deadline. I just know that I half wanted to leave right then, and I wasn't really interested in looking at anything.

But we started to walk through the booths, and after a bit I perked up and realized it wasn't the end of the world. After all, there was no guarantee I would have won anything anyway. So I set aside my disappointment and enjoyed spending the day with my friend and my aunt, finding all kinds of new crafty treasures. And just for the record, here are the two cards I made for the contest:

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Touch of Nature
Paper: Barely Banana, textured Soft Suede card stock; watercolor paper
Ink: Jet Black StazOn, Versamark, Barely Banana, Crumb Cake, Soft Suede, Pear Pizzazz, Old Olive
Accessories: Clear embossing powder, 1/8" Old Olive taffeta ribbon, linen thread, pearls, Aqua Painter, Stamp-a-ma-jig, Glue Dots

I did a little bit of watercoloring on both cards. I don't do it very often, but I think the soft look works so well with nature cards. For this card I used ink blended with an Aqua Painter.

I wanted to some subtle details to the background, so I added two flowers at the bottom and a butterfly peeking out from behind the focal layer. They are stamped with Versamark ink and embossed with clear embossing powder.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Lovely As a Tree
Paper: Basic Black card stock, watercolor paper
Ink: Jet Black StazOn
Accessories: Soft Subtles Watercolor Wonder Crayons, wood sheets, linen thread, Neutrals Candy Dots, Aqua Painter, Dimensionals

For this card I stamped the image in Jet Black StazOn and scribbled some Watercolor Wonder Crayons over it. Then I used an Aqua Painter to blend the crayons and soften the lines. Behind the top and bottom of the focal layer are strips of a wood sheet.

*July 22, 2014, update: Our mail delivery today brought the envelope with the two cards I submitted for the contest. It was just marked "Return to sender," and I double-checked the address, which was correct. So I'm guessing they arrived after the deadline and were returned. At least now I have a couple more cards I can add to my stash.*

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

A fun flower and large polka dots

Is there such a thing as too many flowers? I'm sure some people would say yes, but they'd be hard pressed to convince me. So I today I'm going to share --surprise! -- a card with a flower. But it's just a single flower on a clean and simple layout.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Bloom for You
Paper: Naturals White, Soft Suede, Whisper White card stock
Ink: Soft Suede, Hello Honey
Accessories: Hello Honey stitched satin ribbon, Fun Flower punch, 7/8" scallop circle punch, 1/2" circle punch, Large Polka Dot embossing folder, corner rounder, gold sequin trim, Glue Dots, Dimensionals

To make the flower I stamped the image three times on Whisper White card stock: once in Soft Suede and twice in Hello Honey. I punched out the full flower and two center circles and layered them together with Dimensionals. Then I gently curled up the sides of each petal to add a little more dimension.

For the background I embossed large polka dots on a piece of Soft Suede card stock, rounded the corners  and adhered it to a Naturals White card base. I wrapped a piece of Hello Honey ribbon around the card front, attached the flower and added a few gold sequins for a little sparkle.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Flower Patch blooming birthday card

I think I am in love with Stampin' Up!'s new Flower Patch stamp set and coordinating Flower Fair Framelits dies. There are different sizes and styles of leaves and flowers, and since the stamps are made out of photopolymer, it is easy to layer the images. Then you can use the Framelits dies to quickly cut out the stamped flowers -- or skip the stamping and just cut the flowers out of different colors of card stock. It all makes my inner flower child pretty happy. And here is the first card I made with these fun products:

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Flower Patch
Paper: Pool Party, Whisper White card stock
Ink: Wild Wasabi, Garden Green, Tangerine Tango, Poppy Parade, Crushed Curry, Baked Brown  Sugar
Accessories: Flower Fair Framelits dies, rhinestones, Glue Dots, Dimensionals

I wanted a tropical feel for my card, so I chose orange, red and yellow for the flowers. Once everything was stamped I started die-cutting. Some of the pieces aren't cut exactly right because the Framelits dies shifted a bit as I was running them through the Big Shot. (That's what I get for using a too-warped cutting plate with my magnetic platform.) But it doesn't bother me too much, especially since this was my first time using the set and Framelits. And it proves that it's a handmade card, right?

I played around with the flower layout, and when I had an arrangement I liked, I used Glue Dots, Dimensionals and regular tape-style adhesive to attach the pieces to the Pool Party card base at different heights. Finally, I stamped the sentiment in the lower left corner of the card and added a little embellishment by placing a rhinestone in the center of each yellow flower as well as a few surrounding the bouquet.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

A little birdie told me

Yesterday I received my first big Stampin' Up! order from the new catalog (yippee!), and I actually took time last night and this afternoon to create a few cards with my new goodies (double yippee!). The card I'm sharing today uses one of the new hostess sets, Hello Love.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Hello Love
Paper: Whisper White, Soft Sky card stock
Ink: Jet Black StazOn, Soft Sky, Crushed Curry
Accessories: Cupcake Builder punch, Crushed Curry baker's twine, Summer Sun corduroy button, Glue Dots, Dimensionals

The idea for this card started forming while I was mounting the stamps, and I'm really pleased with how it turned out. The card is 3-3/4" square, and the white layers on the front and inside are 3-1/4" square.

To make the clouds on the front of the card I punched out the frosting part of the Cupcake Builder punch from Whisper White and Soft Sky card stock. I layered the pieces together and adhered them to the card with Glue Dots. For the sun I pulled out a long-retired Summer Sun corduroy button, added a bow of Crushed Curry baker's twine (love how well the two yellows coordinate) and adhered it near the clouds with a Dimensional.

Now for the "punch line" ...

Cute, right? I left enough space on the inside layer to include a short handwritten message or to just sign my name.

Because this card isn't standard size, I made my own envelope for it using a piece of Soft Sky Prints Designer Series Paper and the Envelope Punch Board.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A growing garden

One of the fun things about our new home is that we have our own garden (or half a garden, since we share it with the tenant upstairs). We chose a variety of fruits and vegetables to plant -- bell peppers, broccoli, cucumbers, strawberries, a few different types of tomatoes, and zucchini -- as well as a few perennials.

The front half is our garden. The two small tomato plants on the left were late additions -- my sister brought them home from work -- and they replaced the strawberries, which were decimated by the hard June rain and/or the vast multitude of rabbits that live in our neighborhood. (We don't mind much; they need to eat, too. And they're so cute!) The empty space in the middle left (near the rhubarb) was the broccoli; that was definitely eaten. There are two of four stalks left, but as soon as the leaves grow back, they become a critter's lunch. We also tried planting some seeds in the pots -- marigolds, oregano and basil -- but no luck; I think the seeds were too old.

A few of my first tomatoes! This plant was a
variety called Early Girl , so it seems
appropriate that it has the first tomatoes.
Blooms starting to come out on the bell pepper.

This is one of the perennials, called Bee Balm.
We planted two zucchini plants. I never knew
they had such beautiful yellow flowers.

Our cucumber plant seems to be on a mission to take over the whole garden. It's in the middle in the first picture above, but in the week since I took these picture, it's spread even more, curly tendrils reaching in all directions.

I can't wait until we have our first harvest. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Faux-postage owls

I'm back for my second blog post this week. Woo hoo! That's one thing I can check off my to-do list. I love that feeling of accomplishment, even if it's only something little. In fact, I've been known to add things on my to-do list that I've already done, just so I can have something to check off. Just sayin'. If one of the things on your to-do list is to send a card to a friend, here's a cute design for you:

Grayish tan card with stamped splatters on the background. Focal image is four owls stamped in different colors, punched out with a square punch then layered on punched out postage stamp shapes. The layered pieces are adhered to the card in a square to look like a block of postage stamps.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Fox and Friends, Lovely Little Labels, Gorgeous Grunge, Teeny Tiny Wishes
Paper: River Rock, Very Vanilla card stock
Ink: River Rock, Mossy Meadow, Marina Mist, Night of Navy, Baked Brown Sugar
Accessories: 1" square punch, Postage Stamp punch, washi tape (We R Memory Keepers), Dimensionals, Mono Multi liquid glue

I think cards featuring faux postage stamps are really cute and fun, and if you follow my blog, you've probably seen them before. To make the faux postage stamps for this card, I stamped the owl images on Whisper White card stock and punched them out with the 1" square punch. (I tried to position the punch the same way for each image, and I think I got pretty close.) Then I stamped the one-cent image in the upper right corner and adhered each square to a piece of Whisper White card stock punched with the Postage Stamp punch.

To make the background for the card, I stamped one of the splatter images from Gorgeous Grunge set a few times from the lower left corner to the upper right corner. I used the same color ink as the card base, River Rock, so the effect is subtle. I adhered a strip of washi tape across the card (I love the woodgrain look with the owls), stamped a sentiment and used Dimensionals to adhere the completed faux postage stamps to the card base.

Here's hoping your to-do list isn't too long this weekend. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Back on track

I can't believe it's already July. The first half of 2014 was pretty crazy for me, and at this point I'm not sure the second half is going to be much better. Sigh. But I need to get back on track with my crafting and blogging, so I've given myself the goal of doing two posts a week. Ideally, I hope to get back to three a week, but I want to start off with a manageable goal. So without further ado, let's get to the good stuff.

Last week a good friend asked me to make her a couple sets of hand-stamped cards. I was more than happy to oblige, and over the weekend I put together a few sample cards to see what she liked. Today I'll share the first two cards, which have a "foxy" theme.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Into the Woods (Lawn Fawn)
Paper: Baja Breeze, Very Vanilla card stock
Ink: Chocolate Chip, Dusty Durango
Accessories: Arrows embossing folder, Crop-A-Dile Corner Chomper (We R Memory Keepers), Dimensionals

This is a very clean and simple little card, but I love, love, love this image. The embossed background adds some visual interest to the card without making it too busy.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Storybook Friends
Paper: Very Vanilla card stock; First Edition Specialty Designer Series Paper (DSP)
Ink: Jet Black StazOn, Dusty Durango, Bashful Blue
Accessories: Baker's twine (Hemptique), gold sequin trim, sponges, Glue Dots

For the focal image on this card I stamped the fox from Storybook Friends but omitted the sentiment at the bottom of the stamp. I added a strip of DSP, with a torn and sponged edge, along the bottom of the card and finished everything off with a few gold sequins and some baker's twine.

Thanks for stopping by!