Friday, September 30, 2016

Bright spots in the garden

As I mentioned in my last post, here are my last few garden pictures:

I took these photos earlier this month. Most of the garden was already past its prime then, but there were a few bright spots, like these Scarlet Runner beans. You can see the huge bean pod in the background, but it's the bright flowers that grab me.

If you look in the upper right corner, you'll see the tail end (literally) of a bumblebee. I was trying to get a shot of the bee in the flower but, as usual, he was too fast for me.

We didn't have a bumper crop of broccoli this year, but we did get a couple of good-sized heads. I was hoping it might do better toward the end of summer, but no luck. The plants are still beautiful, though.

The Brussels Sprouts have gotten bigger since this photo was taken, but we haven't picked any yet.. They like the cool weather and are harvested at the end of the season. It's fun to have fresh vegetables when most everything else is dormant.

The flowers in our back garden are a little out of control, but I don't mind. I'd rather have wild patches of flowers than perfectly tended and orderly beds. I took this photo, though, to show how huge the marigolds got. We knew they'd be taller than the usual marigolds, but we didn't expect them to be anywhere near five feet tall. (The unattractive dead-looking stalks are the milkweed plants. The day I took these photos I opened a few of the milkweed pods and let the seeds travel on the wind to, I hope, become more milkweed plants next spring.)

I took one close-up shot to try to capture some of the vibrant colors in the flower garden. This picture doesn't completely do them justice, but I think you get the get the idea. I love the bright pink and orange. We never did figure out exactly what the pink flowers were. They may have been something from the seed mixture we planted last year that came up again this year, but we don't know for sure. They were some sort of vine, though, and I had to pull them away from the tomatoes a few times.

The end of the garden is always a little bittersweet. It is sad to see everything dying -- partly because I know that means winter is coming. (It's a good thing I'll have these pictures to remind me that the snow won't last forever.) But at the same time, we're usually pretty tired of the weeding and watering and picking by the time fall rolls around, so it's a bit of relief to know we don't have to do that anymore. (Although we do need to pull up all dead plants still. That will be a project for October.)

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Blossom Builders flower pot card

Fall has definitely arrived in my neck of the woods, and I love it. The crisp air, fresh local apples (especially Honeycrisp), vibrant leaves, and cozy fleece sweaters. But it is sad to see the summer flowers fading away. (Although the giant marigolds in our garden are still hanging in there. That reminds me that I still have a few last garden pictures to share.) So before I get immersed in the jewel tones and leaf-themed stamps of autumn, I thought I'd share a fun flowery card.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! uness otherwise noted):
Stamps: Inside & Out: Birthday (Papertrey Ink)
Paper: Baja Breeze, Chocolate Chip card stock, silver glimmer paper, 6" x 6" Wood Designer Cardstock paper (My Mind's Eye)
Ink: Chocolate Chip
Accessories: Blossom Builders die cuts, large pearls, Designer Naturals Buttons, linen thread, Beautiful Wings Embosslits die, flower pot die (unknown), Corner Chomper (We R Memory Keepers), Glue Dots, Dimensionals

The Blossom Builders die cuts, which Stampin' Up! sold several years ago, were another thing I re-discovered while sorting through my craft supplies for the yard sale. I love the combination of colors and patterns, and they also came with banner pieces and pink rhinestones. I picked out a few flowers and arranged them with a die-cut flower pot (also from my stash), using rhinestones, a pearl and a button for the flower centers.

For the background, I adhered a piece of wood-patterned paper to the bottom third of a Baja Breeze card stock base. I wanted it to look like the flower pot was sitting on a table, and I think this works. I add a banner stamped with a sentiment and a small die-cut butterfly to finish the card.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 23, 2016

Paint sample birthday card

Last month my sister and I had a yard sale. It wasn't a huge affair, but it was still good to go through things and start weeding out items we didn't need anymore. I even made a small dent in my crafting supplies. (Yay! Room for more new toys!) Most of the stuff that didn't sell went to Goodwill, but there were a few things I decided to keep, including a small baggie of paint sample cards that had been in the "free" box.

Several years ago, cards made with paint chips or paint color samples were all the rage. I never really got into the trend, though. I did collect a few color samples, and I made a card or two, but then I tucked the other samples into a drawer. After the yard sale, I decided to give the technique another try.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Many Manly Occasions (Paper Pumpkin kit)
Paper: Thick Whisper White card stock, paint sample card (unknown)
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Wink of Stella clear glitter brush pen
Accessories: Merry Minis punch pack, corner rounder, "happy" sticker and enamel stars (Many Manly Occasions Paper Pumpkin kit), Pool Party cotton ribbon, Dimensionals

I thought these orange shades would be perfect for a bold, bright birthday card, and I love the pops of Pool Party from the "happy" sticker, enamel stars (both from a past Paper Pumpkin kit) and strip of ribbon. I had to trim down the paint sample so it would fit on the white card base, and I used the scraps to punch a few small stars. I painted the orange stars with clear Wink of Stella glitter and used Dimensionals to adhere them to different shades on the paint sample.

Now I'm going to try to use up the rest of the paint color samples so they don't get stuck in a drawer again. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Masculine birthday card with Paper Pumpkin

I haven't had much chance to play with my Paper Pumpkin kits lately, so they're starting to pile up. But when I needed a masculine birthday card a few weeks ago, I knew the kit from August, Bold Botanicals, would be a great place to start. I wanted to change the design a little, and this is what I came up with:

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Kit: August 2016 Paper Pumpkin, Bold Botanicals
Stamps: Inside and Out Birthday (Papertrey Ink)
Ink: Tip Top Taupe card stock

First of all, I didn't stamp the corner image on the background piece. The image itself seemed a little too feminine for what I had in mind, and I wanted to place the focal circle off-center rather than directly in the middle of the panel.

I also wanted to emphasize the Tip Top Taupe, rather than the Mint Macaron, in the background layer. Moving up the focal image helped with that since the only "swoosh" of Tip Top Taupe was in the middle of the panel. I also used my own Tip Top Taupe card base instead of the Mint Macaron one in the kit. I went with a square base; it's 4-1/4" x 4-1/4" so the ribbon and card stock strip can extend past the edges of the card and still fit in A2 envelope.

The last change was to swap out the sentiment for a birthday greeting. What do you think?

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

'Scraptastic' cards, part 2

As I mentioned in my last post, I've been using up the scraps of Designer Series Paper (DSP) that were left after making my cousin's shower invitations. Earlier this week I shared five individual cards I made with the scraps. Today I'm going to share two sets of four note cards.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Paper: Whisper White card stock, white note cards and envelopes, Subtles DSP Stack
Accessories: Butterflies Thinlits dies, corner rounder, Bitty Butterfly punch, 1-1/4" square punch, rhinestones, Mono Multi liquid glue

I think these cards are my favorite of all the ones I made with the DSP. For each card in the set I used six squares of DSP, and I rounded opposite corners on each square. I adhered the squares in a grid on a note card base, added a butterfly die cut in the middle and placed a single rhinestone on the butterfly.

I also added a little accent to the envelopes by adhering a small butterfly punched out of DSP to the flap of each envelope.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Thanks a Latte (Paper Pumpkin)
Paper: Thick Whisper White, Crumb Cake, Pink Pirouette card stock; white note cards and envelopes;  Subtles DSP Stack
Ink: Crumb Cake
Accessories: Cups and Kettles Framelits dies, corner rounder, Hearts border punch, small heart punch, 1-1/4" square punch, Brick Wall embossing folder, Mono Multi liquid glue, Dimensionals

I bought the Cups and Kettles Framelits dies months and months ago, before they retired from the last Occasions catalog, but I had never used them. When I was looking for a focal image for the flowery pastel panels on these cards, I decided the mug shape would be a good choice, and the Thanks a Latte stamp set from a past Paper Pumpkin kit has sentiments that coordinated perfectly.

I added a tiny pink heart to each mug and die cut the "steam" from Crumb Cake card stock. To add a little texture, I embossed the card bases with the Brick Wall embossing folder before attaching the focal panels with Dimensionals. I also added a DSP heart to the flap of each envelope.

I enjoyed this little challenge to use up some DSP scraps, and I hope these cards gave you some ideas for fun "scrappy" layouts. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 15, 2016

'Scraptastic' cards, part 1

After making all the bridal shower invitations for my cousin, I was left with a 1-1/2" x 12" strip of nine pages from the Subtles Designer Series Paper (DSP) Stack. (Note: In prepping the invitations, I had cut up nine pieces of DSP, but I only ended up using eight. So I had a strip of Marina Mist DSP even though I didn't use that paper for the invitations.) I decided to take those scraps (with some other supplies) and see how many cards I could make. Here are the results:

I used a 1-1/4" square punch and punched each of the strips into a bunch of squares and then combined the squares into different layouts. I ended up with thirteen fun, cheerful cards -- two four-card sets and five individual cards. I'll share the individual cards today and the two sets of note cards tomorrow. I won't add a lot of details since there are several cards, so if you have any questions, just post a comment and I'll respond as soon as I can.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Sunshine Sayings
Paper: Thick Whisper White, Calypso Coral, vellum card stock; silver foil paper; Subtles DSP Stack
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Accessories: Swirly Scribbles Thinlits dies, 1-1/4" square punch, rhinestones, Glue Dots, Mono Multi liquid glue

I used all the squares to make a background for this card. To tone down the colors and pattern I added a layer of vellum card stock. Tip: I glued the embellishments on top of the vellum first. Then to adhere the vellum to the card base, I placed dots of glue behind the embellishments so they wouldn't be visible.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Sunshine Sayings
Paper: Thick Whisper White card stock, Subtles DSP Stack
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Accessories: Sunshine Wishes Thinlits dies, 1-1/4" square punch, clear Wink of Stella glitter brush pen, Basic Black baker's twine, Mono Multi liquid glue

My original plan with this card was to stamp just one "hello" above the die cut and DSP. But that didn't have enough "oomph," so I kept stamping until I had a whole string of "hello"s. I added baker's twine below the DSP to balance out the black and white on either side of the color.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Paper: Thick Whisper White card stock, Subtles DSP Stack
Ink: White gel pen
Accessories: Sunshine Wishes Thinlits dies, 1-1/4" square punch, Sherbet Designer Buttons, Button Latte buttons, White Perfect Accents, linen thread, Mono Multi liquid glue, Glue Dots

To make the quilt-style background for this card, I adhered one square of each color to a scrap piece of white card stock. I used a white gel pen to draw "stitches" on each square. I adhered the panel to a 4-1/4" x 4-1/4" square card base (it still fits in a standard A2 envelope) and added a die-cut heart and a cluster of embellishments.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Gorgeous Grunge
Paper: Thick Whisper White, vellum card stock; Subtles DSP Stack
Ink: Pool Party
Accessories: Butterflies Thinlits dies, 1-1/4" square punch, gold metallic thread, rhinestones, 1/8" Scor-Tape (Scor-Pal)

This card and the next one are the only two of the group where I used the striped side of the DSP instead of the flowered side. I had a harder time combing the stripes in different colors in a way that wasn't overwhelming. But I do like this one. I staggered the placement of the DSP squares so the stripes lined up and used a bone folder to distress the edges.

For the focal image I die cut two butterflies and adhered them together in the center. I pulled the wings up a bit on the top butterfly to add some dimension and placed a few small rhinestones along the body.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Butterfly Basics
Paper: Thick Whisper White card stock, Subtles DSP Stack
Ink: Wild Wasabi
Accessories: Banner punch, 1-1/4" square punch, Petite Petals punch, Subtles Candy Dots, Glue Dots

I arranged the four striped squares on this card so the stripes form a diamond, and I added a small white flower to each square to break up the pattern. I really like how the striped border stamp along the bottom of this cards mimics the diagonal stripes in the DSP.

That's it for the first five cards. Stayed tuned for details about the two "scraptastic" card sets in my next post. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Rainbow of shower invitations

Later this month one of my cousins is having a bridal shower. I had volunteered to make the shower invitations, so coming up with a design, writing and formatting the inside text, and then mass producing the cards was my big project for the end of July and beginning of August. I didn't want to post the cards right away to keep them a surprise (I'm not exactly sure why, though, since most of the people receiving an invitation don't know anything about my blog). But now that they've all been mailed out and the shower is only a couple of weeks away, I'm excited to share them.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Million-Dollar Moments
Paper: Thick Whisper White, Whisper White, Pink Pirouette, Blushing Bride, Calypso Coral, So Saffron, Pear Pizzazz, Wild Wasabi, Pool Party, Wisteria Wonder card stock; Subtles Designer Series Paper (DSP) Stack; gold and silver foil paper
Ink: Soft Suede, Early Espresso, Pink Pirouette, Blushing Bride, Calypso Coral, So Saffron, Pear Pizzazz, Wild Wasabi, Pool Party, Wisteria Wonder
Accessories: Delicate white doilies, gold and silver metallic thread, gold and silver 1/8" ribbon, gold 1/4" ribbon (Celebrate It), corner rounder, banner punch, small heart punch, Wink of Stella clear glitter brush pen, Dimensionals

I knew starting out that I would be making a lot of invitations, and the grand total ended up being sixty-four. (Instead of having multiple showers (e.g., separate parties for friends and family or one hosted by the bride's family and one by the groom's), my cousin is just having one big shindig.) I can't make the exact same card sixty-four times, so I had to come up with a design that had little variations, and the Subtles DSP Stack was a great way to accomplish that. For each card I used a 3" x 5-1/4" piece of DSP, so that means I was able to make eight cards from one 12" x 12" piece of DSP. I used eight different colors from the stack for the sixty-four cards, flipping some of the pieces so they used the stripe pattern instead of the flowers.

I also varied the neutral and metallic colors on the cards. I had planned to use gold and Soft Suede for all of the cards, but those colors didn't work well with Pool Party and Wisteria Wonder. For those cards I switched to Early Espresso for the neutral and silver for the metallic accents, which also helped me use up more supplies in my stash. Unfortunately, I still ran out of 1/8" gold ribbon, so I had to make a craft-store run to find a substitute. Since the new gold ribbon was wider, I decided to use a punched heart in the upper left corner instead of the banner.

There are a couple of details that are really hard to see in the photos. One is the loops of metallic thread between the focal layer and the doily. I wrapped the thread around my fingers three or four times, attached the loops to the doily, and then adhered the focal layer over that with Dimensionals. The second detail is that I painted over all the stamped hearts with a clear Wink of Stella glitter brush pen. It's a subtle sparkle since the hearts are so little, but it's a fun detail when they catch the light.

With so many cards to mail, I didn't do anything special with the envelopes. If it had been a smaller group of cards, I might have made coordinating envelope liners and/or stamped an image on the corner of the envelope to make them a little more special.

Here are the invitations all collected, sorted by color, and ready to be addressed. (These bins are the perfect size for cards. I use them when I make Christmas cards to keep all my cards together.) My sister helped with the envelope stuffing and addressing, so it only took us an evening while we watched TV. The next day I walked to the mailbox and dropped them all in. Whew!

Even with the long guest list I did end up with a few extra invitations. I kept one for myself, I saved one for the bride-to-be, and then I gave one to each of the other shower hosts.

That was one project that I'm glad to have done. Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 9, 2016

Airplane celebration

Do you need a fun birthday card for a little boy (or girl)? Here's a cute card design with bold colors and shapes and great dimension.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Splendid Day (Close to My Heart), Celebrate Today
Paper: Soft Sky, Daffodil Delight, Real Red, Whisper White card stock
Ink: Real Red, Smoky Slate, Basic Gray
Accessories: Build-a-Scene Rolling Clouds dies (Taylored Expressions), Hello Sunshine Lawn Cuts dies (Lawn Fawn), Wink of Stella clear glitter brush pen, sequins (unknown), Dimensionals, Mono Multi liquid glue

To make the airplane I stamped it first in Real Red on white card stock and cut it out. Then I stamped parts of it again using Smoky Slate and Basic Gray ink. I cut out those little gray pieces and glued them onto the red airplane. I wanted to add dimension to the plane, so I hand-cut a wing shape from Real Red card stock, folded down the edge to make a tab and glued the tab to the plane.

I wanted to add the banner to the plane, but the original image was too long to fit on the card. To make it shorter, I applied ink to the stamp starting on the left side of the image and then going just far enough to leave room for the sentiment. Then I cleaned off the stamp and applied ink to just the very right edge of the stamp (the vertical dotted line) and stamped it at the end of the shortened banner. I shaped the "celebrate!" sentiment to fit the shape of the banner and then stamped it in Real Red. I cut out the banner and adhered it to the tail of the airplane.

For the background I used white card stock to die cut three layers of clouds. The first (bottom) layer is adhered directly to the Soft Sky card base. The second and third layers are each adhered to the previous layer with Dimensionals. The die-cut sun brings a punch of bright yellow to the card, and a few small sequins add a fun touch of sparkle.

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

Birthday cowgirl

Have you ever seen a stamp set and immediately known it was perfect for a certain project? That was how I felt when I saw the stamp set called Moka Jane from Taylored Expressions. The set, which I stumbled across this summer while looking through the company's retiring products, has a cute image of a cowgirl and several fun sentiments. What made it so perfect for me was that A) My mom's name is Jane, B) My mom wanted to be a cowgirl when she was little (well, more accurately, she wanted to be a cowboy because "Cowboys got the best horses"), and C) My mom's birthday was September 1.

I knew that set would be perfect for my mom's birthday card, so I had to buy it. Here is what I created:

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Moka Jane (Taylored Expressions), Wanted
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Whisper White card stock
Ink: Chocolate Chip, colored pencils and blender pencil (Prismacolor)
Accessories: Large Stitched Rectangle Stackables dies (Lawn Fawn), metallic vintage hemp twine (Hemptique), Princess assortment sequins (Craft Medley), Dimensionals, Glue Dots

Isn't she a cutie? On the packaging for the stamp set, they had used pinks and browns for the color scheme, and I decided to stick with those shades. After stamping and coloring the cowgirl, I cut out the image with a stitched rectangle die.

At that point I wasn't sure what to do with the card base, so it sat unfinished for several days. I wanted a Western theme, but I didn't have the right background stamp, so I finally decided to make my own background. I used a single paisley image and stamped it repeatedly, turning the image each time to completely fill a piece of Chocolate Chip card stock. The pattern works perfectly for the theme, but the tone-on-tone color keeps it from overpowering the focal image. I also die cut that piece with a stitched rectangle die and then layered it on an A2 card base.

For the greeting I stamped two sentiments from the set (and added the little comma by hand) on a strip of Whisper White card stock. I trimmed each end of the strip into a V and then gently ran it along my bone folder to curl up the ends a bit. To give the banner some shape, I stacked a few Dimensionals together, placed them behind the middle of the banner and adhered it to the card base. Then I used a Glue Dot near each end of the banner.

For embellishment I placed a loop of metallic hemp twine -- to create the look of a lasso -- behind the upper left corner of the focal image. A few pink sequins add just a touch of sparkle. I love the end result, and even better, my mom did, too.

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, September 2, 2016

Sweet little scene

This has been a crazy week; I've planned to sit down and write a blog post two or three times, but I just wasn't able to manage it. Now to top it off, I have an end-of-summer cold. Boo! So I have a short post today, and I hope I'll be able to get another one done tomorrow after work. I did have a couple of marathon card-making sessions this week, so I have plenty to share.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Hello Sunshine (Lawn Fawn)
Paper: Coastal Cabana, Lucky Limeade card stock; 110-lb white card stock (Recollections)
Ink: Lucky Limeade, Calypso Coral, Smoky Slate, Memento Tuxedo Black; Daffodil Delight Blendabilities markers
Accessories: Hello Sunshine Lawn Cuts dies (Lawn Fawn), Subtles Candy Dots, Corner Chomper (We R Memory Keepers), Glue Dots, Dimensionals

Even though I'm feeling under the weather, this card still makes me happy. I created this card for a special blog reader -- the only one who participated in my #31DaysofHappyMail challenge last month. (And I received an adorable card in return all the way from New Zealand.) I had hoped to send out more cards, but one is better than none, and it's probably a good thing I wasn't inundated with requests. Maybe I'll try it again another time.

Back to the card. This one is pretty self-explanatory: I stamped and die cut the clouds, birds, and balloon and then arranged the pieces, along with a Lucky Limeade "hill," into a sweet little scene on a Coastal Cabana card base. I added a few Candy Dots (I think they look a little like flowers in the grass) and rounded the top two corners of the card (I like how that mimics the curves of the balloon and the clouds). And that's about it, easy peasy.

Thanks for stopping by!