Saturday, May 30, 2015

Easy-to-make card set and and box

Last fall I shared a couple of card designs I made by cutting and folding 12" x 12" patterned card stock and adding a few embellishments ("No stamping required" posted Sept. 11, 2014). I decided to try that technique again, but this time with a smaller card stock mat stack (4-1/2" x 6-1/2").

Four card designs made by folding a piece of printed card stock and adding embellishments.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Paper: The Mariposa Mat Stack (DCWV), vellum card stock, gold glimmer paper, textured Vanilla Cream card stock (Darice) - for envelopes
Accessories: Just Blooms white daisy variety pack (Close to My Heart), earth tones glitter buttons (American Crafts), rhinestones, Shine & Sparkle sequins (Hazel & Ruby), Wink of Stella clear glitter brush pen (ZIG), linen thread, Victoria crochet trim, Baja Breeze 1/8" taffeta ribbon, Beautiful Wings Embosslits die, Bitty Butterfly punch, Envelope Punch Board, Dimensionals, Glue Dots, Mono Multi liquid glue

When I first saw the Mariposa Mat Stack in the craft store I immediately loved it. But I stood firm and didn't buy it. (Since I am primarily a card-maker, I only use little bits of patterned paper at a time, so one pack lasts a loooong time.) I didn't have such willpower the second time, though, and it came home with me.

I love the different butterfly- and bird-themed prints, many of which have glitter or foil on them. But I realized that several of the prints were going to be difficult to incorporate on a card because they had a definite focal point rather than an all-over pattern. So why not make them into their own cards?

Card made by folding a piece of printed card stock and adding sequins and glitter.
I made three cards with each of four different prints. I trimmed 1/2" off the long side of each piece of card stock (either the top or bottom, depending on the design) and then folded them in half, for a total of twelve 3-1/4" x 4" card bases. Then I simply added embellishments. Starting with the top left card in the picture above, I added a layered butterfly, crochet trim and ribbon, paper flowers with buttons and rhinestones, and gold sequins. For the last card I also used my Wink of Stella clear glitter brush pen to add glitter to one of the flowers (you can see the sparkle a bit in this picture).

Card and coordinating hand-made envelope.
Once the cards were done, I made envelopes for them with some textured cream card stock. When I bought the cream card stock, I was hoping it would be heavy enough for card bases. Upon opening it, though, I discovered it was actually pretty lightweight. I was pretty disappointed until I realized that it was perfect for these envelopes.

I made my envelopes with the Envelope Punch Board, using the measurements for a 3-1/2" x 4" card. I used the 1/2" strip I cut off each card to decorate the envelopes so they coordinate. Since these cards are too small to mail, I did not add any adhesive for sealing the envelope closed.

With all the cards and envelopes done, I needed a way to package the set. I wanted a little box or basket that could be displayed on a desk or shelf to keep the cards handy. I didn't have anything that was the right size, so I made my own little holder.

Handmade box for coordinating card set and envelopes.
Supplies used for the box (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Butterfly Basics
Paper: Kraft card stock
Ink: Crumb Cake
Accessories: Beachfront Ribbon Originals, Scor-Tape (Scor-Pal)

Making a box like this is actually pretty simple. Here's a quick tutorial (Note: These measurements are not the ones I used for my box.):
1. Determine the length and width you will need for the base (e.g., 2" x 4").
2. Decide how tall you want your box (e.g., 3"), add that amount to the dimensions for the base (now 5" x 7") and cut your card stock to that size.
3. On each side, measure in the amount of the height of your box and score (e.g., score each side at 3"). That should leave a square or rectangle in the center of the card stock that is the size you need for your base.
4. On opposite sides of the card stock, cut along the two score lines just to the point where they meet the perpendicular score line. This will create "tabs" on the four corners. (If desired, you can trim down the tabs, but leave enough card stock to apply adhesive. Practice folding up your box to determine how or if you want to trim the tabs.)
5. If desired, stamp your box.
6. Fold and crease all the score lines.
7. Add strong adhesive on the four corner tabs.
8. Fold up the sides of the box, tucking in the tabs that were created in Step 4.
9. Embellish your box as desired and fill with cards or other goodies.

To give this as a gift, I placed the box and cards in a cellophane bag and tied it with a coordinating ribbon. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Simple feminine birthday cards

I'm back with another bunch of birthday cards to share. Today's cards are clean and simple with a feminine touch.

Birthday card made with stamps from the February 2015 Paper Pumpkin kit, Layers of Gratitude.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Layers of Gratitude (February 2015 Paper Pumpkin kit)
Paper: Very Vanilla, Pear Pizzazz card stock
Ink: pear Pizzazz, Pool Party, Calypso Coral, Basic Gray
Accessories: Corner rounder, rhinestones, linen thread, Wink of Stella clear glitter brush pen (ZIG)

The background for this card was made with two stamps, a stripe and a dot. They are photopolymer stamps, so it was easy to position the images for repeated stamping. I placed the stamps next to each other on a clear block and started with Pool Party ink at the top of a 4" x 5-1/4" piece of Very Vanilla card stock. I stamped the stripe and dot toward the left side of the card stock, reapplied the ink and stamped the stripe again on the right side. Then I cleaned the stamps, applied Pear Pizzazz ink and repeated the process, shifting the images so the dot was slightly to the left of the image above. I continued stamping, alternating the three colors of ink, until the whole piece of card stock was filled. I have to say that I didn't measure or plan out the vertical spacing, but it ended up just about perfect.

Close-up of birthday card made with stamps from the February 2015 Paper Pumpkin kit.
I wanted to add a subtle sparkle, so I used my Wink of Stella brush pen to paint glitter on the polka dots. To finish the card front, I stamped a sentiment, rounded the corners of the Very Vanilla card stock, and adhered it to a Pear Pizzazz card base. I wrapped linen thread around the card front, tied it in a bow and added a few rhinestones around the sentiment.

Inside the card I stamped "Happy birthday" and a few additional polka dots in Pool Party, Pear Pizzazz, and Calypso Coral.

Single-layer black and white birthday card made with Elementary Elegance stamp set.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Elementary Elegance
Paper: 110-lb white card stock (Recollections)
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Accessories: Curly Label punch, rhinestones, silver baker's twine, corner rounder, Wink of Stella clear glitter brush pen (ZIG)

This card (and the following one) are actually white, I promise. I did not choose a good place to take these photos.  I thought about not posting them at all, but I really like these two cards. So I hope you'll forgive the bad photos and imagine the pretty white card stock.

This card was so easy to make, but I think it looks really elegant. I stamped the frame image first, near the top of the card. I used the Curly Label punch to punch out the middle of the frame and then stamped "Happy Birthday" inside the card so it is positioned in the center of the framed area. I also stamped three birds on the card front and one inside. I placed three rhinestones on the card front and added a bow of silver baker's twine.

Close up of single-layer birthday card made with Elementary Elegance stamp set.
As with the previous card I wanted a little glitter, so I again pulled out my Wink of Stella clear glitter brush pen. For this card I painted the glitter on the crown at the top of the frame and then in the narrow border around the frame.

I love the crisp black and white of this card, but you could easily add a pop of color by using colored twine, ribbon, and/or rhinestones. Or you could stamp the bird images using a different color ink.

Single-layer birthday card made with Springtime Love set (from Raisin Boat).
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Springtime Love (Raisin Boat)
Paper: 110-lb white (Recollections), silver glimmer paper
Ink: Basic Gray
Accessories: Sunny Yellow Pearl Pen (Viva Decor), Simply Scored tool, Itty Bitty Accents punch pack, Glue Dots, silver baker's twine

I used Basic Gray ink on this card, so it's a little softer than black and white. This was another very simple card. I stamped the wreath and sentiment, used a Pearl Pen to add little color accents in the wreath, and used Glue Dots to add a silver punched heart and silver baker's twine bow.

To add a border, I used my Simply Scored tool to score a line on each side 1/4" in from the edge. I prefer scoring from the back of the card stock so the lines are embossed (raised) instead of debossed (indented) on the front, but I often don't think of embossing until I'm almost finished with a card and there are all kinds of things layered on the front so it doesn't lie flat for making score lines. With this card I had already applied the Pearl Pen and was too impatient to wait for it to dry, so I scored from the front of the card.

A simple pink birthday card with a row of three cupcakes.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Create a Cupcake, Remembering Your Birthday
Paper: Blushing Bride, Very Vanilla, Baked Brown Sugar card stock
Ink: Baked Brown Sugar
Accessories: Cupcake Builder punch, Circles Collection Framelits dies, Itty Bitty Shapes punch pack, Subtles Candy Dots, 3D Adhesive Dots (ZOTS), sponge

The sentiment inside this card reads "Today calls for something pink with sprinkles on top!" so of course I needed pink cupcakes on the front. I cut out three Very Vanilla circles, sponged them with Baked Brown Sugar ink, and adhered them in a row across the card. I made three cupcakes, added a small flower accent on one of them, and adhered them in the circles. A stamped sentiment finished off this pink and pretty card.

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

A new technique and a new challenge

While I'm usually a stick-to-the-basics card maker (stamps, ink, and paper), sometimes it's fun to try something new. So last week I experimented with a new technique: using molding paste and a stencil to create a background for a card. And while I was trying one new thing, I decided to make it two and designed my card for the latest Fab Friday challenge. I've checked out the Fab Friday challenges before, but this was my first time participating. This time the challenge was a sketch (see diagram below), and I think it worked perfectly for what I had in mind:

Card featuring a background made with molding paste and a stencil. Stamped images from By the Tide stamp set.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: By the Tide
Paper: Sahara Sand, Basic Gray, Very Vanilla card stock; 6" x 6" Wood Designer Cardstock Paper (My Mind's Eye)
Ink: Sahara Sand (pad and refill), Basic Gray, Island Indigo
Accessories: Mini Pebbles stencil (The Crafter's Workshop), light molding paste (Golden), Regals Candy Dots, Island Indigo cotton ribbon, Essentials Paper-Piercing Pack, paper-piercing tool, Dimensionals

This was actually my second attempt at the background. The first time I applied the paste directly out of the container. The white paste was too stark against the Sahara Sand card stock, so I tried adding color by sponging and painting ink over the top. It worked but wasn't what I wanted for this card. For my second try I put a bit of paste in a separate container and mixed in a couple drops of Sahara Sand ink refill. Success! It was softer than the straight white, but still light enough to stand out. Once the background was dry, it was time to tackle the rest of the card.

Sketch for Fab Friday 64 chellenge.
The pebble-style background made me think of river rocks, so I wanted to play with a water/beach/ocean theme. I'm still in love with one of my latest ocean-themed cards, so I reached for the By the Tide stamp set. For the focal panel I used a square of Sahara Sand card stock stamped twice: first with the text image in Sahara Sand ink (stamped multiple times to cover the whole piece) and second with the coral image in Basic Gray ink. To add some texture, I pierced a border around the square. Then I mounted it on a piece of Basic Gray card stock and tied a piece of Island Indigo ribbon around the panel.

For the panel along the left side of the card I used a piece of patterned paper that looked like weathered wood. I love the detail of the wood grain and the perceived texture it adds to the card. I used Dimensionals to adhere the square panel over the patterned paper and then added a stamped and hand-cut Island Indigo fish as the accent in the upper left corner. I adhered the whole card front on a Basic Gray card base and, as a final embellishment, placed an Island Indigo Candy Dot in the upper right corner to add one more touch of color.

I enjoyed this new technique and playing along with the Fab Friday challenge, so I hope to do both again soon. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Elegant gray butterfly

What colors do you imagine when you think about a butterfly? The first ones that pop into my mind are the orange and black of a monarch butterfly. But then I think of the blues, yellows, greens, and purples. Pretty much any color except gray. But a gray butterfly was exactly what this card needed:

Monochromatic gray card made with printed vellum, embossed card stock, and die-cut butterfly.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Paper: Basic Gray card stock, Sheer Perfection Designer Vellum
Accessories: Butterfly Thinlits dies, Wink of Stella clear glitter brush pen (ZIG), Tea Party embossing folder (Lifestyle Crafts), rhinestones

Putting this card together was definitely, well, a process. It started with the piece of vellum. I wanted to try coloring the flowers with alcohol markers; it worked, but it wasn't the look I wanted. So I trimmed off a strip that I hadn't colored yet ... and didn't know what to do with it.

Eventually I decided to add some texture. I found a floral pattern embossing folder that worked well with the flowers on the vellum and embossed part of a piece of Basic Gray card stock. I placed the card stock in the folder so the left side stuck out about 1-1/4" from the folder and did not get embossed. Then I laid the vellum along the unembossed strip, folded the top and bottom of the strip over and adhered it to the back of the Basic Gray card stock.

I really liked the monochromatic panel, so I cut and folded a Basic Gray card base. But I didn't adhere the panel to the base because I couldn't figure out how to embellish the card. So the pieces sat for a week until I had a friend over to stamp. I showed her the partially done card, told her I wasn't sure what it needed, and she immediately said, "A butterfly."

And it was as simple as that. Well, almost. I still had to decide what color the butterfly should be. I tried pink. Nope. Light blue. Uh-uh. Should I stick with the monochromatic scheme and add a gray butterfly? Would that be too weird? I wasn't sure if it would work, but I cut out a gray butterfly ... and I loved it. It was perfect. I adhered the middle of the butterfly to the embossed panel and pulled the wings up. To add a little sparkle and elegance, I placed a strip of rhinestones along the body of the butterfly and used my Wink of Stella pen to paint clear glitter along the border of the card base. I adhered the panel to the card base, and the card was finally done. And I think it was worth the wait.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, May 22, 2015

First solo sewing project: lavender sachets

For Christmas my parents gave me a sewing machine, which was quite a surprise. I'd been thinking about getting one for a few years but never really got any farther than just the thinking. I did some practice stitching to try out the different features on the machine, and several weeks later I took a field trip to the fabric store. With all the new crafting possibilities swirling around in my imagination, I bought a little sewing box, an easy pattern for making pajama pants, some pretty fabric to make said pants, and a few other necessities. But I had to put that project aside because I always seemed to be in the middle of some kind of card-making endeavor.

Fast forward to April, and my sister and I went to the Minnesota Textile Center's textile garage sale. It's an event geared toward reuse and recycling: Community members donate items to be sold -- anything and everything related to sewing, including patterns, thread, notions, fabric, even partially completed projects -- and proceeds benefit the Textile Center, with surplus materials donated to schools and other nonprofit organizations. I bought a grab bag of different trims, odds and ends of fabric, some patterns and books, and even a partially finished purse (all the extra fabric was included, so even if I decide not to finish the purse, it was a great deal for the fabric alone). It was a crazy experience, but it got me excited about sewing again.

I knew I couldn't start with the pajama pants, though. I needed something much easier first, so I decided to make sachets. I ordered some dried lavender and washed one of the fabric pieces I picked up at the textile sale. And then everything sat again while I made other gifts and worked on the garden with my sister. Sigh. I had actually wanted to make the sachets to give to my aunts, grandma, and mom on Mother's Day, but it just didn't happen.

Simple lavender sachets made with fabric and a ribbon loop for hanging.
Finally this week I got out the sewing machine and made eleven lavender sachets. I think they look pretty good, and they smell wonderful!

For a pattern I cut a piece of chipboard into a 4" square. I used a pencil to trace the square on the back of the fabric and then cut out the fabric (two layers at a time), leaving about 1/4" of fabric around the pencil line.This way I could sew right along the line and didn't have to worry about a seam allowance.

I decided to add a ribbon loop on one side of the sachets so they can be hung on a hook or a hanger. I chose a couple of 1-1/4" wide ribbons from Stampin' Up! -- Old Olive striped grosgrain and Pink Pirouette two-toned ribbon -- that coordinated with the fabric. I used about 4" or 5" of ribbon for each sachet (I never measured them, just snipped off a piece), folded it in half, and pinned it with the folded part between the layers of fabric (front sides of the fabric facing each other). Then I turned on the sewing machine and sewed everything together, leaving an opening about 1" wide on one of the sides.

Simple lavender sachets made with fabric and a ribbon loop for hanging.
I pulled the fabric and ribbon through the opening so the sachet was right-side out, then I carefully spooned the dried lavender in the opening until the sachets felt reasonably full. Again, I didn't use any precise measurements, but I had a 1/2 pound bag of lavender (which is a really good-sized bag), and that was enough for all eleven sachets with maybe a third of the bag still left. Then I hand-stitched the opening closed, and that's it!

I finished all of the sachets in one day, so it was a quick and easy endeavor. And now that I've got one sewing project under my belt, I think I might tackle those pajama pants. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Birthday balloons

I'm not sure what happened to spring in Minnesota. It's certainly gone into hiding for a few days. We had the potential for frost last night, so we brought out a bunch of old sheets to cover up the veggies as much as we could. This morning it's still only 38°F; hard to believe Memorial Day is coming up next week. But I know that in just a few weeks we'll be in the middle of heat and humidity and I'll be wishing for a cool snap, so I won't complain too much.

Something I won't complain about at all is birthday cards. They're fun to make, fun to give, and fun to receive. I'm actually not sure which of those I like best! Today I'm going to share three birthday card designs that feature balloons.

Birthday card made with the Up, Up & Away stamp set.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Up, Up & Away
Paper: Soft Sky, Whisper White card stock
Ink: Soft Sky, Early Espresso, Crushed Curry, Poppy Parade, Lucky Limeade
Accessories: Dimensionals

This was actually the last card I made for the stash I gave to my uncle. It was the afternoon of the party, and I needed a quick and easy design. This card fit the bill perfectly, and as a bonus it's gender neutral and could even be used for other occasions by changing the sentiment.

There's nothing too complicated with this card, which is pretty typical for me; I don't think a card has to have twenty layers, a dozen embellishments, or a time-consuming technique to be impressive. I stamped the balloons on Whisper White card stock, cut them out, and adhered them to the card base with Dimensionals (I stamped the balloon baskets first). Then I filled in the background with a few clouds, birds, and the sentiment. Easy peasy.

Birthday card made with the Celebrate Today stamp set.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Celebrate Today
Paper: Daffodil Delight, Whisper White card stock
Ink: Daffodil Delight, Tangelo Twist, Tempting Turquoise, Island Indigo
Accessories: White baker's twine, foam dots (unknown)

The Celebrate Today set is currently in the 2015 Occasions catalog from Stampin' Up!, but it's also carrying over to the next annual catalog. I'm excited that this set is staying around because I love these bold balloons and the different ways you can use them. You can make these balloons into hot air balloons, too, but I decided to go with more traditional birthday balloons. Again I used basic stamping and cutting to make this card. (There are coordinating Framelits dies to cut out the balloons, but it's actually just as fast for me to cut out the stamped images by hand.) I think this card could use some sequins or rhinestones, but I was trying keep it "guy appropriate," so I skipped the sparkles.

One-layer birthday card made with the Sketch a Party and Sew You stamp sets.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Sketch a Party, Sew You (March 2015 Paper Pumpkin kit)
Paper: 110-pound white card stock (Recollections)
Ink: Real Red, Daffodil Delight, Bermuda Bay, Memento Tuxedo Black
Accessories: Bermuda Bay sequins, Glue Dots

This card is another gender-neutral design, and it's even more "simple" than the previous two -- no cutting! To make the balloons, I stamped the outline image in each color. Then using the same colors, I stamped the inside/filler image on scratch paper before stamping it on the card, so it is lighter in color.

For the sentiment I used stamps from the March 2015 Paper Pumpkin kit. The "Happy birthday to" and "you" are separate stamps, so I used black for the first part and Bermuda Bay for the "you" to make it stand out.

I did have to add a few sequins to this card because it needed something. But they're blue sequins, so I don't think the guys would object too much, right?

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The sea, the sea, it calls to me

We're back to birthday cards today, and I'm going to share a few designs that have a sea or nautical theme. These designs really could be used for any occasion, and they are great options when you need a masculine card. (And again, I apologize for the poor photos. Grr. If I still had the cards I would take new pictures that didn't have weird shadows in them.)

Focal panel created by stamping the bird image from Wetlands twice on watercolor paper and then adding Crumb Cake, Lost Lagoon, and Soft Sky ink with an Aqua Painter.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Wetlands, Plane & Simple
Paper: Crumb Cake card stock, watercolor paper
Ink: Jet Black StazOn, Crumb Cake, Lost Lagoon, Soft Sky
Accessories: Aqua Painter, Crumb Cake seam binding ribbon, Neutrals Candy Dots, sponge

Of the cards I'm sharing today, this is the only one with a birthday sentiment on the front of the card. But you could easily omit or change that sentiment to have a great all-occasion card.

To make the focal image, I stamped the bird image twice across a piece of watercolor paper. Then I used an Aqua Painter to apply washes of color: Crumb Cake for sand, Lost Lagoon for water, and Soft Sky for the sky. I let it dry for a bit and then adhered it to a Crumb Cake card base, which I had sponged with Crumb Cake ink. For a couple of simple embellishments I added a Crumb Cake Candy Dot and a piece of Crumb Cake seam binding ribbon tied in a knot.

Collage-style stamping with The Open Sea stamp set and the Triple Time technique.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: The Open Sea
Paper: Cherry Cobbler, Very Vanilla card stock
Ink: Cherry Cobbler, Night of Navy, Crumb Cake
Accessories: Natural trim, game spinner, 1/16" hole punch

I used collage-style stamping with the Triple Time technique for this card. But once I had all the panels stamped and matted, I had a hard time deciding how to embellish the card. Since the background is pretty busy, I decided my embellishments should be pretty neutral. I wrapped a piece of natural trim around the smallest panel, tied it in a knot, and frayed the edges a bit. Then I remembered that I had a pack of retired game spinners, so I decided to make a little compass. I stamped one of the compass images on a scrap of card stock and cut out the circle (I cut off the N-E-S-W directions). I punched a 1/16" hole in the middle of the circle and attached the spinner with the included brad. Then I adhered the compass to the upper left corner of the smallest panel. It really spins, too!

Sea-themed card with By the Tide images stamped on the focal panel and background paper of weathered boards.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: By the Tide
Paper: Whisper White, Night of Navy card stock; wood designer card stock paper (My Mind's Eye)
Ink: Night of Navy, Hello Honey, Sahara Sand
Accessories: Pewter jumbo eyelet, Cappuccino baker's twine (Hemptique), corner rounder, Crop-A-Dile (We R Memory Keepers), foam dots (unknown)

I've never been to the East Coast, but this card makes me think of an old seafood restaurant in New England, a little mom-and-pop place just off the shore that's been weathered by years of sun, sea spray, and storms.

This card is my favorite out of this group. There's nothing "fancy" or complicated about it, but I just love how everything came together: the weathered boards on the background paper, the navy with a pop of yellow, the cut-out seashell, and the jumbo eyelet with baker's twine bow. It creates a very calm, peaceful feeling for me.

Card made with Backwoods stamp set and Houndstooth embossing folder.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Backwoods
Paper: Lost Lagoon, River Rock, Very Vanilla card stock
Ink: Lost Lagoon, Chocolate chip markers; Lost Lagoon, River Rock, Pear Pizzazz, Crisp Cantaloupe ink pads
Accessories: Houndstooth embossing folder, River Rock stitched grosgrain ribbon, corner rounder, Blender pen, Dimensionals

To make the fish images for this card, I used Lost Lagoon and Chocolate Chip markers to apply ink to the rubber stamp (blue on the waves and brown on the fish). Then I stamped the image on Very Vanilla card stock and used a Blender Pen and ink to color in the fish (Pear Pizzazz along the top of the fish, River Rock in the middle, and Crisp Cantaloupe along the bottom).

I matted each fish image with River Rock card stock and adhered them in a column on a Lost Lagoon card base embossed with a houndstooth pattern. I adhered a piece of River Rock ribbon along the left side of the card for a simple embellishment.

I don't know about you, but these cards have definitely put me in the mood for an ocean vacation. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Planting a garden

The past few days have been rather damp and chilly, but today was a beautiful spring day: sunny with a little breeze, but not too warm. My sister was able to take the day off work, and together we finally planted all the vegetables and seeds in our garden. Yahoo! And just in time, too, since we have another series of rainy days in the forecast.

Our cleared backyard garden, ready for planting.
This was last Saturday (May 9, 2015) before we planted anything; the rhubarb and chives come up on their own. Our dad had helped us till the garden and build the fence the week before. We're hoping it helps keep out the multitude of rabbits that live in the neighborhood.

The planted garden, including herbs and strawberries in pots.
And here is the view after we finished this afternoon. The pots in the front are herbs (basil, dill, sage, thyme, lavender, and a few others), and the two large pots on the side are strawberries.

And here is what we planted in the garden:

Peppers, snap peas (seeds), carrots (seeds), and watermelon planted in the garden.
Peppers, snap peas (seeds), carrots (seeds), and watermelon

Beans (seeds), tomatoes, and eggplant planted in the garden.
Beans (seeds), tomatoes, and eggplant

Kale, lettuce, cucumbers, and broccoli planted in the garden.
Kale, lettuce, cucumbers, and broccoli (The cucumbers will grow up the trellis and provide shade for the kale and lettuce underneath, which don't need full sun.)

Scallions, Brussels sprouts, and zucchini planted in the garden.
Scallions, Brussels sprouts, and zucchini

We accidentally ended up with too many cucumber and zucchini plants. That's what happens when you don't pay attention to how many plants are actually in a pack of zucchini or when you put a pack of cucumbers in your cart at the garden store then decide to get a different variety but forget to put back the first pack. Oh, well. Those are the two plants that took over our garden last year; I guess we'll wait and see what happens this go 'round.

I can't wait until the seeds sprout and we can really see the garden start to grow. Thanks for stopping by!

Cute critters, part 2

I'm back today with the second group of kid-friendly birthday cards featuring fun and cute animal images. So let's get right to it!

"Party animals" birthday card made with Safari Animals and Party Time stamp sets from DeNami Design.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Party Time Petit Fours set, Safari Animals Trifles set (both DeNami Design)
Paper: 110-lb white (Recollections), Whisper White
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black; markers: Bermuda Bay, Tangelo Twist, Old Olive, Basic Black; Blendabilities: Daffodil Delight, Skin Tones, Smoky Slate assortments
Accessories: Word Bubbles Framelits dies, Dimensionals, Mono Multi liquid glue
Other: Computer and printer for the sentiments

Who wouldn't like to party with these guys? OK, maybe not the real-life full-size versions, but these little cuties? Definitely.

I had the idea for this layout in my head, but I couldn't seem to find the right sentiments among all my stamps (and that's a lot of stamps). So I decided to go ahead and print them on the computer. I settled on "party animals" for the front and "Go WILD on your birthday!" inside. Once the sentiments were printed, I stamped and decorated the front of the card, cut out the shorter sentiment with one of the Word Bubbles Framelits dies (I trimmed off the "tail"), and adhered it to the front of the card with Dimensionals. Love it!

I also want to apologize that the lighting in this picture is not very good. I don't have a great place to take photos inside, so I've been trying to take them outside, which creates a host of other problems: the wind blows my cards down, the sun is too bright, the trees cast shadows. Sigh. I think I need to invest in a portable light box. Anyway, back to the cards.

Birthday card featuring images from the Dog's Life stamp set (from Inkadinkadoo) in a faux postage technique.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Dog's Life (Inkadinkadoo), Ruff Life
Paper: Real Red, Whisper White card stock
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Real Red, Soft Suede
Accessories: 1" square punch, Postage Stamp punch, dog brads (Around the Block), Mono Multi liquid glue, Dimensionals

Several years ago I bought the Dog's Life stamp set (as well as a cat version) for a really good deal at a rubber stamp show. But they present a challenge for me because, while there are many nice images, the images are different styles -- artistic, silhouette, cartoon-like, etc. -- which makes them hard to use together. I was determined to use this set for one of the birthday cards, though, so I decided that I'd create a small sheet of "postage stamps." These images are just about 1" square, so I could have easily stamped them on white card stock and just punched them out with the Postage Stamp punch. But I wanted to give them an extra little detail, so I punched out the images with a 1" square punch and then adhered the squares onto the postage stamp shapes. I used Dimensionals to adhere the "stamps" to the card base, stamped a sentiment, and added a fun dog-print brad.

Birthday card with a hamster sitting on a pile of sunflower seeds. Images from the Hug a Hamster set from Raisin Boat.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Hug a Hamster (Raisin Boat)
Paper: Smooth and textured Soft Suede, Coastal Cabana, Very Vanilla card stock
Ink: Soft Suede
Accessories: Dimensionals, Mono Multi liquid glue

I just love this little guy's chubby cheeks! To make the focal point for this card I first stamped the hamster in the middle of a piece of Very Vanilla card stock. This image eventually will be covered with card stock, but it helps for positioning the sunflower seeds, and it gets the whiskers on the card stock. Then I stamped the pile of sunflower seeds underneath him, spreading out toward the bottom corners of the card stock and making sure that some of the seeds overlapped the bottom of the hamster. I stamped the hamster twice on Soft Suede card stock, cut out one of the images and adhered it over the original image on the Very Vanilla panel. From the second Soft Suede hamster I cut out just the paws and then used tiny pieces of Dimensionals to add them to the focal image. To add more depth and detail I stamped a bunch of sunflower seed images on leftover strips of Very Vanilla card stock, cut them out and adhered them to the pile with Dimensionals. The cuteness continues inside the card with an image of a hamster running in an exercise ball and the sentiment "Have a ball!"

I'll be back later this week with a few great masculine birthday card ideas. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

In Color butterfly bookmarks

This afternoon I received my box of goodies that I pre-ordered from the 2015-16 Stampin' Up! annual catalog. Yippee! The catalog goes live on June 2, but demonstrators are able to pre-order selected products in May. I didn't order very much, but I was excited to see the new In Color ink and card stock in person. The In Colors for 2015-17 are Tip Top Taupe, Delightful Dijon, Watermelon Wonder, Cucumber Crush, and Mint Macaron. I wanted to try out the new colors, so I put together a few butterfly bookmarks.

Bookmarks made with Butterfly Basics stamp set and the 2015-17 In Colors: Tip Top Taupe, Delightful Dijon, Watermelon Wonder, Cucumber Crush, and Mint Macaron.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Butterfly Basics
Paper: Tip Top Taupe, Delightful Dijon, Watermelon Wonder, Cucumber Crush, Mint Macaron, Whisper White card stock
Ink: Tip Top Taupe, Delightful Dijon, Watermelon Wonder, Cucumber Crush, Mint Macaron
Accessories: Scalloped Tag Topper punch, Elegant Butterfly punch, Bitty Butterfly punch, gold sequin trim, gold baker's twine, chevron ribbon, linen thread, Glue Dots, Mono Multi liquid glue

Aren't they fun? The In Colors are the only new items on these bookmarks. But everything else will be in the annual catalog, including the Butterfly Basics stamp set, which is currently in the 2015 Occasions catalog.

To make each bookmark, I used a 2" x 7" piece of Tip Top Taupe for the bookmark base and then punched one end with the Scalloped Tag Topper punch. I stamped three images from the Butterfly Basics stamp set on the bookmark using Tip Top Taupe ink: the honeycomb, sentiment and postmark.

To showcase the card stock and ink for the other colors, I made two-layer butterflies. The bottom layer of each butterfly is simply the Elegant Butterfly shape punched out of the remaining four In Colors. The top layer is the small butterfly image stamped on Whisper White and punched out with the Bitty Butterfly punch.

For the tassel I used a piece of chevron ribbon and a piece of gold baker's twine tied with a piece of linen thread. I added a few gold sequins to pull out the gold in the baker's twine.

I know many people are sad to see the current In Colors leave (Baked Brown Sugar, Coastal Cabana, Pistachio Pudding, Strawberry Slush, and Crisp Cantaloupe), but I think I'll like these new colors even more. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, May 11, 2015

Cute critters, part 1

When I made a stash of birthday cards for my uncle, I had to include a variety of kid-friendly cards for all his great-nieces and -nephews. So I pulled out a bunch of animal-themed stamps and made six fun cards. (Personally, I think they'd be good for adults, too, but they might be too cutesy for some people.) Today I'm going to share three of those cards, all of which were made with Lawn Fawn stamps.

Kids birthday cards made with Lawn Fawn stamp sets Into the Woods and Gleeful Gardens.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Into the Woods, Gleeful Gardens (both Lawn Fawn)
Paper: Soft Sky, Wild Wasabi, Garden Green, Crumb Cake, River Rock, Soft Suede card stock
Ink: Early Espresso, Real Red, Wild Wasabi, Garden Green, River Rock, white gel pen
Accessories: Best Year Ever buttons, yellow embroidery floss (from March 2015 Paper Pumpkin kit), Stitched Hillside Borders dies (Lawn Fawn), Dimensionals, Mono Multi liquid glue, Glue Dots

The sentiment on this card was probably not necessary, because how can you look at this card and not smile? It's just so cute! I used two Lawn Fawn sets for these images: Into the Woods for the deer, sentiment, log, and bushes and Gleeful Gardens for the mushrooms. It was a lot of stamping and "fussy cutting," but I don't mind doing that. (Lawn Fawn does make coordinating dies for both of these sets, but I only have the one for Gleeful Gardens. And since I cut everything else by hand, I figured I'd just keep going with the mushrooms.) Once I had all the pieces in an arrangement I liked, I adhered them to the card, using liquid glue, Glue Dots and Dimensionals to get different levels of depth. For a little pop I added a bright yellow button and bow in the upper left corner to look like the sun.

Sea-themed birthday card featuring the otter from Lawn Fawn's Year Five stamp set.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Year Five (Lawn Fawn)
Paper: Soft Sky, Island Indigo, Bermuda Bay, Whisper White card stock
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black; Blendabilities: Skin Tone, Soft Sky, Old Olive assortments
Accessories: Circles Collection Framelits dies, Tide embossing folder (Lifestyle Crafts), Stitched Hillside Borders dies (Lawn Fawn), linen thread, Cupcake Builder punch, Mono Multi liquid glue, Dimensionals

I think this otter is pretty darn cute, too. (The coordinating sentiment, which I stamped inside the card, reads "Have an otterly great birthday.") To make this little scene, I first cut a circle out of and then embossed a piece of Soft Sky card stock. I love how the embossing looks like rolling waves. Then I used the Stitched Hillside Borders dies (which I used in the card above to make the grass) to cut out "waves" from Bermuda Bay and Island Indigo card stock. I overlapped and adhered the waves to the back of the embossed card stock so they were visible through the circle. I stamped the otter and present images on Whisper White card stock, colored them and cut them out. Then I tucked the otter in between a couple of the waves and added the present.

For a simple embellishment I wrapped linen thread three times around the bottom half of the embossed card stock and then adhered the panel to a Soft Sky card base with Dimensionals. Finally I added two fluffy clouds that were punched out with the Cupcake Builder punch.

Card wishing a "Hippo birdie to you!" with Lawn Fawn's Year Four stamp set.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Year Four (Lawn Fawn), Work of Art
Paper: Smoky Slate card stock, 110-lb white card stock (Recollections), Summer Smooches Designer Series Paper (DSP)
Ink: Smoky Slate, Memento Tuxedo Black, white gel pen, Project Life journaling pens; Blendabilities: Cherry Cobbler, Daffodil Delight, Soft Sky, Smoky Slate
Accessories: Ovals Collection Framelits dies, corner rounder, Hello Honey stitched satin ribbon, white baker's twine, Brights buttons, Dimensionals

I love this stamp set with the hippo and birdie. It also includes the party hat, balloon, music notes, and a punny greeting: "Hippo birdie to you!" (I think it would have been perfect if it also came with a sheep image so you could have "Hippo birdie two ewe!") The focal image is basic stamping and coloring. To create the shadow under the hippo, I first masked off the hippo image. (Stamp the hippo on a piece of scratch paper -- a self-stick note works great -- cut it out and place it over the image on your project.) Then I used Smoky Slate to ink up one of the images from the Work of Art set and stamped it so it overlapped the bottom of the hippo. I removed the mask, and now it looks like the hippo has a shadow. This was the first time I've tried that technique, but I'm sure I'll be using it again.

The rest of the card is pretty straightforward: a layer of DSP, a piece of ribbon, and a button with a baker's twine bow. I also doodled a little border around the DSP.

I'll be posting my other three cute critters birthday cards in the next few days. Until then, thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Fun with flowers

I've gotten a little behind on my blog posts the past couple of weeks because I've been working on several different projects. One of those projects was to make thirty birthday cards for my uncle. (To clarify, they are cards for him to use, not thirty separate cards wishing him a happy birthday.) The cards were part of his birthday gift, and I managed to finish them about five hours before the party yesterday. Whew! I'll be posting the cards over the next couple of weeks -- I have masculine, feminine, kids and general designs -- and I hope you enjoy them.

Since it's Mother's Day, I'm going to start by sharing three cards that include images of flowers. Although these are birthday cards, these designs would also make beautiful Mother's Day cards by just changing the sentiment.

Birthday card made with Flower Patch stamp set and Hello Honey, Rich Razzleberry, Blackberry Bliss and Pool Party.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Flower Patch
Paper: Rich Razzleberry, Pool Party, Hello Honey, Whisper White card stock
Ink: Rich Razzleberry, Blackberry Bliss, Pool Party, Hello Honey
Accessories: Extra-large oval punch, Itty Bitty Accents punch pack, rhinestones, gold and clear Wink of Stella glitter brush pens (ZIG), Rich Razzleberry taffeta ribbon, Dimensionals

I love the bold flowers in this stamp set and the countless ways you can combine and layer them. (Add in the coordinating Framelits dies and the possibilities seem endless.) For this card I used plain old basic stamping on a panel of Whisper White card stock. I stamped a few of the largest flower in Hello Honey, added a few five-petal Rich Razzleberry flowers (with Blackberry Bliss centers), and then filled in with small Pool Party images. I layered the stamped piece on a mat of Pool Party card stock, added the ribbon and mounted the whole panel on a Rich Razzleberry card base. I added a sentiment in a punched oval and three punched flowers with rhinestone centers.

Close-up image of glitter added to stamped flowers.
You may be wondering why some of the petals on the large flowers are a darker yellow. After I had the background all stamped, it looked a little flat to me. So I pulled out my new Wink of Stella glitter brush pens and added some clear glitter over the center of the purple flowers. I decided to try the gold glitter on the yellow flowers, and I really love how it turned out. The darker petals add some dimension to the images, and everything is better with a little sparkle, right?

Birthday card made with Bright Blossoms and Basic Black, Gumball Green, Strawberry Slush and Daffodil Delight.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Bright Blossoms, Petite Pairs
Paper: Gumball Green, Basic Black, Whisper White card stock
Ink: Basic Black, Gumball Green, Strawberry Slush, Daffodil Delight markers
Accessories: Black ribbon (unknown), corner rounder, Dimensionals

To do the stamping on this card I used my markers instead of ink pads. I wanted to use the polka dot vase image from Bright Blossoms but with different flowers. So with my Basic Black marker I colored just the vase part of the rubber stamp and then stamped the image on Whisper White card stock. I repeated that twice to get a row of three vases. (Here's a tip: If you want to stamp three evenly spaced images in a row but don't want to bother with measuring, stamp the middle image first. Then eyeball the placement of the left and right images. It may not be perfect, but it will certainly be close enough.) Then I used Gumball Green, Strawberry Slush and Daffodil Delight markers to color the flower images and stamp them above the vases. I matted the panel on Basic Black card stock, adhered it to a Gumball Green card base and added a simple black ribbon and bow for embellishment.

Card made with Oriental Paintings set, Tea Party embossing folder (Lifestyle Crafts) and Coastal Cabana, Blushing Bride and Pear Pizzazz.
Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Oriental Paintings, Create a Cupcake
Paper: Coastal Cabana, Shimmery White card stock
Ink: Jet Black StazOn, Coastal Cabana, Blushing Bride, Pear Pizzazz
Accessories: Wood sheets, 1/8" gold ribbon, Tea Party embossing folder (Lifestyle Crafts), Aqua Painter, Dimensionals

I've had the Oriental Paintings stamp set for years. I kept it because the images are beautiful, but I rarely use it because I have a hard time figuring out how to use the images on cards. But I was pleased with how this one turned out. I stamped the image with Jet Black StazOn ink on Shimmery White card stock and then colored it using an Aqua Painter and Blushing Bride, Pear Pizzazz and Coastal Cabana ink. (It's hard to see in the picture, but I very lightly painted Coastal Cabana all around the flowers and leaves to add a touch of color to the sky.) Then I adhered the image to a wood sheet to create the look of a frame. For the background I embossed a piece of Coastal Cabana card stock, wrapped a piece of gold ribbon around it and adhered the panel to a Coastal Cabana card base. Using Dimensionals I added the focal point to the card.

Inside of birthday card showing part of the image from Oriental Paintings stamped and watercolored.
I had so much fun watercoloring the image on the front of the card that I also wanted to add the flowers on Shimmery White card stock inside the card. I didn't want the border around the flowers, though, so I carefully applied ink to just the flower part of the image. I did get ink on the bottom part of the border, but when I stamped the image I just made sure to place it so that part of the image was off the card stock. Then I added a sentiment, painted the flowers and adhered the panel to the inside of the card.

Happy Mother's Day to all the moms and mother figures out there! I hope you know how much you are loved and appreciated. Thanks for stopping by!