Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Piggy hugs

I just have a quick post tonight -- being back at work is tiring! (And it takes up all my crafting time. Boo!) But last week I was able to finish several projects, and I'm looking forward to sharing them with you. I'll start with a sweet and simple note card that would be perfect for Valentine's Day or to send a little love any day of the year.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!) unless otherwise noted:
Stamps: Quick Critters stamp and die combo (Taylored Expressions)
Paper: 110-lb white card stock (Recollections), Real Red card stock, Designer Series Paper (DSP) Patterns Stack - Brights
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Early Espresso, Regal Rose
Accessories: In Color sequins, Dimensionals, Fine-Tip Glue Pen

Isn't he a cutie? I bought this stamp and die combo at a stamp show a couple of weeks ago, and I love it. The dies cut out four different animals, and you use the stamps to add the faces. (I used all of the animal shapes on a set of four note cards; I'll post those soon.)

The set also includes several great sentiment stamps; I especially like that this one says "love and hugs" instead of "love and kisses"; it seems more versatile to me. And who wouldn't love a hug from this cute pink polka dot piggy?

After I die cut the piggy from DSP, I added a small piece of Real Red card stock to the back so the heart stands out. I stamped the face and then colored his snout and added detail to the ears with a Regal Rose marker.

I adhered the piggy to the card base (measuring 3-1/2" x 5") with Dimensionals and stamped the sentiment below using Early Espresso. I inked up the "hugs" banner with Regal Rose, stamped it on a small scrap of card stock, and cut it out. I also used Dimensionals to add it to the sentiment. I finished off with three pink sequins.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Fiesta fun!

I'll admit that when I first saw the Birthday Fiesta stamp set in the Stampin' Up! catalog, I thought it was fun and cute, but not something I would ever buy. Then I started seeing comments online from other demonstrators who couldn't wait to get that set and were planning to use it for make-and-take projects. Naturally I started to wonder if maybe I needed that set after all ...

So I looked at Birthday Fiesta again and started to think about different card ideas. I realized the images would be fun to use with a fiesta-themed card stock pack I bought at a craft store a couple of years ago. And the banners and streamers would be useful for general birthday cards. And ... well before I knew it, Birthday Fiesta -- and the coordinating Framelits dies, naturally -- ended up being the first item on my order when the catalog started.

I've had a lot of fun playing with the stamps and dies over the past two days. I only have a few cards to show for my work, but it was fun just to tinker. For my first card I had to use the llama image:

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Birthday Fiesta
Paper: Sahara Sand, Basic Black, Cucumber Crush, thick Whisper White card stock
Ink: Watermelon Wonder, Daffodil Delight, Cucumber Crush, Bermuda Bay, Smoky Slate, Memento Tuxedo Black
Accessories: Fiesta Time Framelits dies, Word Bubbles Framelits dies, rhinestones, Dimensionals, Mono Multi liquid glue, Glue Dots

I know there's a lot going on here, but this card makes me smile, so I'm happy with it. I started by stamping and cutting out the llama, banner, and cacti. A couple of quick tips: 1) To make the banner, I inked the solid image, stamped on scratch paper and then stamped on the die-cut banner. Then I stamped the detail image using the same ink color. 2) For the llama's blanket, I used a narrow strip of washi tape to cover the middle part of the image. I inked the image with Watermelon Wonder, removed the tape and stamped the image. Then I repeated the process, covering the outside parts of the image with washi tape and inking the middle with Daffodil Delight, and stamped between the red triangles.

With all the pieces done I started playing around with layout. I stamped one streamer in each color near the top of the card and then adhered the banner with Dimensionals. With the busy-ness at the top of the card, I needed to "ground" the bottom, so I added a strip of Basic Black card stock. After adding the llama and cacti, there was still something missing, so I hand-cut a few tufts of grass and glued them along the black strip. I didn't want to stamp the sentiment right on the card base, so instead I stamped it on a die-cut word bubble. Who can resist a llama telling you to fiesta?!

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Birthday Fiesta, Hello Sunshine (Stampin' Up! Paper Pumpkin), All About Everything (Stampin' Up! Paper Pumpkin)
Paper: Thick Whisper White card stock, gold glimmer paper, Fiesta Forever stack (DCWV)
Ink: VersaMark, Memento Tuxedo Black
Accessories: Fiesta Time Framelits dies, Winter White embossing powder, gold Wink of Stella glitter brush pen, banner punch, Dimensionals, Mono Multi liquid glue

For my next cards I set the llama aside and focused on the banners as the main images. First I had to settle on a background. I wanted to use white card bases, but I didn't want them stark, so I added flecks of gold by firmly tapping a gold Wink of Stella pen over the card bases.

Then it was time to add color. I picked out several sheets of the Fiesta Forever card stock stack I mentioned earlier in my post and got to work die cutting and embossing streamers and banners. The embossing was a bit time-consuming, but I love the white patterns on the colored banners. Then I settled on a layout, gluing the streamers directly to the card bases and adhering the banners with Dimensionals. One note: With the spacing on the banners, it worked better to use a 4" wide card base rather than the 4-1/4" of a standard A2 card. That way the banners went from edge to edge and I didn't have to cut any of the individual pennants in half.

To bring in the gold, I added a strip of gold glimmer paper along the bottom of the card bases and a small punched banner piece in the top left corner. For the sentiments I used the stamps from a couple of past Paper Pumpkin kits, and that was it.

Now I'm on to other new card-making goodies. I'm definitely enjoying my time off work! Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, June 20, 2016

Serene sympathy card

I don't keep many sympathy cards on hand, so when my uncle passed away recently I needed to make a card for my aunt and cousins. One of the things my uncle loved was spending time at their family cabin in northern Minnesota. So instead of making a sympathy card with the traditional flower images, I decided to use a nature scene.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Natural Beauty (Heartfelt Creations), Hardwood, Very Versatile
Paper: Basic Black, Baked Brown Sugar card stock; watercolor paper (Strathmore)
Ink: Soft Suede, Jet Black StazOn; ZIG Clean Color Real Brush pens, Nos. 036, 041, 061, 043, 065, 037; clear Wink of Stella glitter brush pen
Accessories: Water brush with detail tip (ZIG), Dimensionals

I realize we don't have mountains in Minnesota, but I love the serenity of this image, so I thought it would be appropriate for a sympathy card. I stamped the image on watercolor paper using StazOn ink and then colored it with ZIG Clean Color Real Brush pens. I haven't quite mastered the technique, but it is fun, and I was pretty pleased with the results (although I do wish I had a gray pen for the mountains instead of just browns). I add a light layer of clear Wink of Stella over the water to give it a sparkling-in-the-sun look.

I mounted the focal image on a layer of Basic Black card stock and then used Dimensionals to adhere the panel to a Baked Brown Sugar card base stamped with the Hardwood background stamp. I wasn't sure of the best way to add the sentiment; I debated stamping it directly on the focal layer, moving the separate layer to the side, or even omitting it altogether. I finally decided to keep everything centered and attach the sentiment at the bottom middle of the focal image.

I've been busy the last couple of days rearranging my stamps and supplies (I have a lot of new stuff that I haven't used yet!). I wanted to get everything organized because I have the next few days off work and I want to stamp up a storm. So stay tuned later this week for (I hope!) fun new projects.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Sunshine Wishes Thinlits dies to the rescue

Last weekend I needed to make an anniversary card. I didn't have much time, and I didn't really have any ideas -- until I remembered I had ordered the new Sunshine Wishes Thinlits dies in my last Stampin' Up! order. I was saved!

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Grunge Elements (Artistic Outpost)
Paper: Calypso Coral, Early Espresso card stock; Stella & Rose - Mabel paper pad (My Mind's Eye)
Ink: Early Espresso
Accessories: Sunshine Wishes Thinlits dies, sequins (Paper Pumpkin leftovers), Fine-Tip Glue Pen

This heart shape was one of the reasons I wanted to order these dies as soon as I saw them. And they made this card so simple. One Calypso Coral heart and one Early Espresso heart along with the word "love" are the focal images. I added a few sequins for a little sparkle and stamped around the edge of the background paper for a distressed look. And that's it! I'll definitely be keeping this set of dies on hand for those "I need a quick card" occasions.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Hollywood glitz

In my post a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I submitted two cards for a contest at the Rubber Stamp Expo. Well, today was the big day ... and I didn't win. It's a bummer, but I'm actually not as disappointed as I thought I'd be. There were more entries than the other two years I'd entered, and the theme this year was "Hollywood glitz," which is so not my usual style. At any rate, now that the contest is over, I'll share my cards with you.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Print Pattern, Sparkles and Smiles (Penny Black)
Paper: Basic Black, Shimmery White card stock; silver glitter paper; red foil sheets
Ink: VersaMark, Memento Tuxedo Black, Stardust Clear Gelly Roll pen (Sakura)
Accessories: Dress Up Framelits dies, Fancy Fan embossing folder, Iridescent Ice embossing powder, rhinestones, Dimensionals

When I thought about my stamping supplies in relation to glitz and glamor, I decided that a shiny red dress would fit the bill. I die cut the dress from red foil and added a silver glimmer paper belt and rhinestone buttons. I adhered the dress to a black dress form and used Dimensionals to attach it to a piece of embossed Shimmery White card stock.

For the card base I stamped the Print Pattern background on a Basic Black card with VersaMark ink and embossed it with Iridescent Ice embossing powder. I stamped a sentiment on a Shimmery White pennant and added a few dots with a Stardust Gelly Roll pen. I finished off the card with a few more sequins. (Note: The card base is slightly narrower than 4-1/4", so the card will still fit in an A2 envelope even though the pennant extends past the edge of the card.)

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: From the Garden, Endless Birthday Wishes, Tin of Cards, Over the Rainbow, Designer Typeset; Seriously Amazing, Birthday Bundle, Hello Sunshine, Blissful Bouquet (all Stampin' Up! Paper Pumpkin); Good Fortune (Lawn Fawn); To Thine Own Shelf (Simon Says Stamp)
Paper: Baked Brown Sugar, Real Red card stock; black glitter paper; gold foil sheets
Ink: Baked Brown Sugar, VersaMark
Accessories: Stars Framelits dies, clear and gold detail embossing powders, pearls, alphabet stencil (Frances Meyer, Inc.), sequins (Craft Medley Box of Chocolate and Paper Pumpkin leftovers), Wink of Stelly gold glitter brush pen, Fine-Tip Glue Pen

For this card I took the idea of a Hollywood star and changed it up a bit. I cut a star from black glitter paper for the glitz. I added a red banner in a nod to the red carpet and stamped and embossed the words "you are a." Then I traced the letters for "star" on a gold foil sheet and cut out the letters by hand. (I don't mind fussy cutting, but this was the point when I really wished I owned some sort of alphabet dies.) To give the letters a marquee look, I added tiny pearls to look like lights. (I got this idea from a post by another Stampin' Up! demo, Allison Okamitsu, who is very creative and talented.) I glued all the pieces onto the star and then attached everything to the card base with Dimensionals.

For the background, I stamped various sentiments from a whole bunch of different stamp sets. It was a little time consuming, but I was really happy with the overall effect. Then for a last touch of sparkle I added a few sequins.

Even though I didn't win the card contest, I had a great time at the stamp expo. And between this stamp show, the one I went to in April and the new Stampin' Up! catalog, I have a huge pile of new goodies to play with. I'd better get to work! Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Background made with DSP scraps

Do you hold on to those little leftover pieces of patterned paper because you can't bear to toss them? I certainly do. One great way to use them up is by creating a block-style background for a card.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Daydream Medallions, Party Hearty
Paper: Island Indigo, Whisper White card stock; Sycamore Street Designer Series Paper (DSP)
Ink: Island Indigo, Pool Party
Accessories: Floral Frames Collection Framelits dies, Summer Smooches Designer Fabric Brads, 1-3/4" circle punch, rhinestones, Dimensionals

This technique is great for packs of patterned paper because the colors and styles are all coordinated for you. The DSP I used here, Sycamore Street, has a lot of strong colors and patterns so I wasn't sure how well it would work for this card. It's definitely a busy background, but I like it.

To make this background, collect several scraps of coordinating patterned paper. Choose a piece and adhere it in one corner of your card front, leaving a narrow border of card stock (I went with about 1/8"). Working from that corner, keep adding pieces, trimming as necessary to make them fit. Be sure to mix up the size, shape and orientation of the pieces. This technique is also fun to do with solid color card stock (I like to use three or four colors) or pieces that are all the same color but are embossed with different textures.

I used a large focal image with plenty of white showing to break up all the patterns. I cut out both stamped pieces with the Floral Frames Collection Framelits dies and attached them together with a fabric brad. I added two flags at the bottom of the focal point (another pattern from the Sycamore Street DSP pack) and attached it to the card.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Grow, garden, grow!

We had a gorgeous afternoon, so I took advantage of the sun and snapped a few pictures of the newly planted garden.

Here's the whole garden -- with the new compost bin my dad built. And that corner of the garden is perfect for it because it often stayed too damp for the veggies. We also tried putting down some material to block the weeds. This one is a recycled paper-like product that we can just till into the soil in the fall.

This is the back half of the garden. The cages on the left side are for pepper plants, and the three taller ones in the back are the tomatoes. The four plants in the back right corner are Brussels Sprouts, and the one in the foreground on the right is a sunburst squash (related to pattypan squash).

And here's the front half of the garden. On the left the first plant is zucchini (just one plant this year, thank goodness), and then there are four broccoli plants. The trellis in the middle is for the two cucumber plants, and then behind the trellis (or below, depending on your perspective), will be lettuce, if it comes up. The lettuce plants we bought ended up looking a little raggedy before we planted them, so we added some lettuce seeds for good measure. On the right side is the rhubarb and then the two bean towers.

Here are our crazy strawberries. Last summer I planted strawberries in the two large pots sitting outside the garden. This spring the pots are filled with just weeds, and the strawberries planted themselves in the garden. So we let them just have that corner (along with a few pots of herbs). The large bush in the upper left corner is raspberries, so that will be our berry patch.

We already have a few good-sized strawberries. There were actually a few berries I was looking forward to picking in May but some of the local fauna enjoyed them before we could.

The two strawberries I picked today probably could have used one more day of ripening. But I was worried that I might not see them again if I waited.

Fresh strawberries. Yum!

I also put out some fresh bird food in the backyard, and one of our chipmunk friends wasted no time filling his cheeks. (How they cram all that food in there I'll never know.) He was too busy to even care that I was taking pictures.

I'll try to post a few garden updates over the summer so you can see how things are progressing. Thanks for stopping by!