Friday, August 25, 2017

Message in a Bottle

When I first saw the 2017 - 18 Stampin' Up! annual catalog back in April, one of the stamp sets I immediately fell in love with was Message in a Bottle. I love the different images that fit perfectly inside the bottle as well as the cute, punny sentiments. Here are the first few cards I've created with this fun set:

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Message in a Bottle
Paper: Whisper White, thick Whisper White, Lemon Lime Twist, Tempting Turquoise card stock
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Tempting Turquoise, Lemon Lime Twist, Crumb Cake
Accessories: Tide embossing folder (Lifestyle Crafts), burlap trim, Tiny Attacher (Tim Holtz), die-cut swirl (left over from an old Paper Pumpkin kit), 4 mm clear droplets (Pretty Pink Posh), Glue Dots, Dimensionals, Art Glitter Glue (Art Institute Glitter)

This card was the perfect opportunity to use a couple of colors I don't reach for very often: Tempting Turquoise and Lemon Lime Twist. I know Lemon Lime Twist is a new InColor, and it may grow on me, but right now it still seems really bright. Like scream-at-me, glow-in-the-dark bright. Especially when I look at a full sheet of the card stock. But I really like the small pops of it on this card.

To make the focal image, I stamped the bottle then the water inside the bottle. I also stamped the water on a sticky note, cut that one out and placed it over the image on the card stock. Then I stamped the octopus over the mask. I also used the mask to add the waves by tracing along the scalloped top edge.

Since the focal image was a little on the small side, I wanted to give it a bit more oomph. I found a die-cut swirl accent left over from an old Paper Pumpkin kit and glued it to the embossed background. I stapled a piece of wide burlap trim over the swirl and then used Dimensionals (placed at the top and bottom of the bottle) to adhere the focal image to the card. The finishing detail was three clear droplet, which make me think that the octopus has splashed some water out of the bottle.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Message in a Bottle
Paper: Basic Black, Whisper White, Flirty Flamingo, Lemon Lime Twist, Tempting Turquoise
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Flirty Flamingo, Lemon Lime Twist, Tempting Turquoise, Crum Cake, Crushed Curry, Chocolate Chip, Blush Blossom
Accessories: Tide embossing folders (Lifestyle Crafts), Stitched Shapes Framelits dies, 4 mm clear droplets (Pretty Pink Posh), Beachfront Ribbon Originals, clear Wink of Stella glitter brush pen, Art Glitter Glue (Art Institute Glitter), Dimensionals

I stuck with Tempting Turquoise and Lemon Lime Twist for these cards and added in some lively Flirty Flamingo. You'll notice that I used the same layout for both of these cards, but I just flipped the colors: Where I used Lemon Lime Twist on one card, I switched to Flirty Flamingo on the other (and vice versa). The layout is also very similar to the octopus card -- if it ain't broke, don't fix it!

I added a little sparkle to these cards by painting clear Wink of Stella on the mermaid tails, seashell tops and hats. And three clear droplets found their way onto each of these cards, too.

That's it for me tonight. I had wanted to do a couple of blog posts this week, but my allergies have been kicking my butt for the past couple of days. (I'm having a hard time keeping my eyes open as I type!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Easy shaker card

Shaker cards are fun to give (and to receive!), but I admit that I don't make them often because I don't want to fuss with all the assembly. Well, at one of the craft shows I went to this summer, one of the vendor booths (Cre8tive Artz by Tall Mouse) had a display of shaker cards made with clear cellophane bags. I know this isn't a new concept, but for some reason it hadn't ever occurred to me to try it. And when the gentleman working in the booth came over to talk with us, he pointed out that you don't have to use new cellophane bags/envelopes -- you could re-use packaging you already have. Genius! I have so many cellophane packages in different sizes from items such as embellishments, adhesives, and even stamp sets, and it would be great to re-purpose them. So I gave it a try with a playful kids birthday card.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Sweet Treat JB0837 (Jillibean Soup), Happiest Birthday Wishes
Paper: Whisper White, thick Whisper White, Melon Mambo, Real Red, Pumpkin Pie, Yoyo Yellow, Cucumber Crush, Pacific Point, Lovely Lilac card stock
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Basic Black marker, Smoky Slate marker, Basic Gray marker, Real Red, Pumpkin Pie, Yoyo Yellow, Cucumber Crush, Pacific Point, Lovely Lilac
Accessories: 2" circle punch, red/white twine (Target), corner rounder, foam strips, Itty Bitty Shapes punch pack
Other: Cellophane packaging/bag

What do you think? To make the card front, I stamped and colored the image of the gumball machine on a panel of white card stock and then used a 2" circle punch to punch out the center. I punched small circles ("gumballs") out of several bright colors of card stock and placed them inside a cellophane package. (Be sure the pouch is large enough to cover the whole opening in the card front, but small enough to not go past the edges of the card stock panel.) I adhered the pouch to the back of the card stock, embellished the front and used foam strips to adhere it to the card base. Pretty easy!

Obviously when using the cellophane packaging for a shaker element, it doesn't have the same dimension as a "regular" shaker card. Because the pouch is flat, the pieces inside need to be pretty flat, too. But on the plus side, the card also has a lot less bulk, making it easier to mail.

The "gumballs" in my shaker pouch don't move quite as freely as I would have liked, but I think that's partly because the small card stock circles are so light. They do move around a bit when you shake the card, though, and I think that's enough to amuse a young one.

Inside the card I stamped a sentiment surrounded by a few gumballs. I also added gumballs rolling along the bottom of the card.

The next time I make a shaker card like this, I think I'll try using a variety of items inside the pouch to see if they move around better. But overall I'm pretty pleased with this card for a first effort. Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

August garden update

I realized last week that we were already more than a week into August and I hadn't posted a new garden update. Good grief! So I took my camera out a couple of times and snapped a few photos to share.

Here's the overall shot of the garden. For the most part everything has been doing really well. Except the cauliflower. That was a dud. The plant has continued to grow and sprout floret-looking "things," but they look odd, so we haven't picked anything off that plant. Oh, well.

The squash (just to the right of the potted basil in the photo) is finally starting to get bigger and has a baby sunburst squash. It's about time! Usually the squash and/or zucchini we plant waste no time in spreading out as far as they can.

The beans have been reaching their tendrils everywhere and flowering like mad. I don't think we've found or picked as many beans as we have in past years, though. But that's probably OK. We've actually been able to keep up with eating them more or less as we pick them. (I think at the end of last summer we had multiple gallon-size bags filled with beans stuffed in the fridge.)

We've harvested Swiss chard a few times, but we discovered that the goldfinches really like to nibble on it, so I guess we're sharing that crop. (You can't really see it in this photo; it's growing under the cucumber trellis, which is in the middle on the left side of the photo.) One finch was really brave and decided to eat some for dinner while my sister was standing just a couple of feet away. But that's okay; we were both a little relieved to realize that's why all the leaves were holey -- at least the plant didn't have some awful disease or pesky bug.

Here are a few close-up photos:

These are the San Marzano tomatoes. This tomato plant will stop at nothing. It's completely outgrown its cage and doesn't seem to be slowing down. It's also been full of tomatoes -- I think there are at least a dozen in this photo. They were a little slow to ripen, but they're coming along now. I ate some for lunch today with some fresh mozzarella and a bit of balsamic vinegar. Yum!

Here is the baby sunburst squash. Actually I just realized there are two in this photo -- one right in the middle and a teeny, tiny one just above it. And it looks like there might be another one coming near the bottom of the photo. I hope we get a good crop even though they're late bloomers.

If you haven't tried sunburst squash before, I would recommend it. I'm not really a fan of winter squash varieties (e.g., pumpkin, acorn squash, etc.) because they're too, well, squashy. But I've found that I do enjoy summer squash, such as zucchini and sunburst squash. We usually just cut them up and either sautee or roast them.
The eggplant is doing well, too. The last time we planted eggplant -- I think two years ago -- it only grew one fruit. So far this year we have four coming in (in this photo one is hidden behind the leaves below the large eggplant in the middle). We'll have to find some good eggplant recipes! If you have any favorites, leave a comment below. My sister loves cookbooks and recipes, and thankfully she does a lot of our cooking, because I don't particularly enjoy it. She is vegan, so we don't use meat or dairy, but she's pretty good at adapting recipes whenever possible.

Here are a couple of the pepper plants -- the chocolate peppers are in the photo on the right, and the tangerine dream peppers are on the left. We did notice that for quite awhile the tangerine dream peppers insisted on growing straight up. I'm not sure if that's the way they usually grow, but it was amusing.

And just because I think they're really pretty, here is a close-up shot of the flowers on one of the bean plants. We planted a few different varieties, and I love all the different colored flowers -- and the bumblebees do, too! Yippee!

The sunflowers are finally blooming in the flower patch by the alley. Only a few of the seeds sprouted, and I think the rest of them became a snack for the local wildlife.
These sunflowers aren't nearly as big as the mammoth ones we planted a couple of years ago, but it's much easier to take pictures of them!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, August 11, 2017

Manicure kit in a jar

Earlier this summer one of my cousins celebrated her eleventh birthday (girls turning eleven was a theme for me this summer), and I decided to give her a fun manicure kit in a specially decorated jar.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Paper: Night of Navy, Lemon Lime Twist, Flirty Flamingo, Emerald Envy card stock
Accessories: Stitched Shapes, Layering Circles, Circles Collection, Flower Fair, Secret Garden Framelits dies; Decorative Dots embossing folder; Itty Bitty Shapes punch pack; rhinestones; pink letter stickers (unknown); navy organdy ribbon; Night of Navy seam binding ribbon; Dimensionals; Glue Dots; Scor-Tape (Scor-Pal)

Isn't that cute? The jar itself was left over from trail mix. I'd saved it, certain I would find a way to put it to good use. The contents included a set of nail tools (clippers, file, etc.) in a decorative holder, light pink and sparkly clear nail polishes, nail polish remover pads (safer than liquid nail polish remover when one has four younger siblings running around) and nail art stickers. The original package from the stickers wouldn't fit in the jar, so I opened the pack and put them in a small resealable bag. To keep with the theme, I used cotton balls as the packing material inside the jar.

When it came to decorating the jar, I used the holder from the set of nail tools as my inspiration. I love the bright flowers combined with the navy background, so I selected a few Stampin' Up! card stock colors to coordinate: Night of Navy, Flirty Flamingo, Lemon Lime Twist, and Emerald Envy. I wrapped the jar with the navy card stock and a length of navy organdy ribbon. I die cut flowers and leaves and adhered them around the jar, adding accents with a mini punch and, of course, some rhinestones. You gotta have a little bling, right?

For the lid I die cut a large Night of Navy circle for the background. I cut a smaller Lemon Lime Twist stitched circle for the focal layer and matted it with a scalloped Emerald Envy circle. I practiced handwriting "Monica's Manicures" a few times, but I couldn't get it quite right, so I decided to look through my alphabet stickers instead. I found some small pink circles with white letters that were a really close match to Flirty Flamingo. Perfect! I spelled out the words on the Lemon Lime Twist circle then adhered it to the navy circle slightly off-center. I added a die-cut flower and a few rhinestones, and to finish the lid I wrapped Night of Navy seam binding ribbon around the edge.

I don't make a lot of gift packaging for kids, because I know in all the birthday hoopla it will most likely just get tossed and not really appreciated. (What's inside is a lot more important than what the outside looks like.) But this project has a little more "permanent" feel, and I think it will look cute sitting on the recipient's dresser or bookshelf. It was a fun project to put together!

Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Birthday crafting session

Last month one of my awesome and crafty friends turned eleven years old. (Where does the time go?!) To celebrate the occasion, today she came over with her mom (also a super awesome friend; we went to college together), and we had a little birthday crafting session.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Kit: Heartfelt Banner Designer Kit
Paper: Pear Pizzazz, Calypso Coral, Coastal Cabana card stock
Accessories: Butterflies Thinlits dies

To start off, the birthday girl put together a quick little banner from a fun kit. For an extra punch of color, I die cut a few butterflies out of coordinating card stock and added them to the basic kit supplies. She was excited to think about what she would clip on the banner once she got home.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Kit: Something Good to Eat Paper Pumpkin (September 2016)
Paper: Very Vanilla card stock
Ink: Crushed Curry, Chocolate Chip
Accessories: Crushed Curry baker's twine, clear Wink of Stella glitter brush pen, Note Tag punch, 1/8" hole punch

Next up we made some little treat tubes. I never used my Paper Pumpkin kit from last Halloween (I wasn't intentionally hoarding it; I just didn't have a need for sixteen treat tubes at the time!), so I decided that would be a fun project. But since it's not quite time for Halloween, I needed a more summery theme. I bought some chocolate-covered sunflower seeds from the local candy store and designed a tag using the sunflower image and one of the sentiments from the set. It was the perfect combination and tasty, too! (We had to sample a few of the treats to make sure they passed quality control, after all.)

After stamping the tags, we added a little sparkle to the sunflowers by painting Wink of Stella over the center of the flower. It's so pretty when it catches the light!

For assembly, we punched 1/8" holes in the top of each tag. We tied a piece of Crushed Curry baker's twine around the top of the tube, fed both of the twine ends through the hole in the tag and then tied another knot and a bow on the front of the tag.

Finished treat tubes and happy crafters!

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Summer Splash
Paper: Crumb Cake, Whisper White, Cool Caribbean card stock
Ink: Cool Caribbean, Calypso Coral, Lucky Limeade, Crumb Cake
Accessories: Burlap ribbon trim, 2" circle and 2-3/8" scalloped circle punches, Tiny Attacher (Tim Holtz), Mini Action Wobble springs (Art Impressions), 4 mm clear droplets (Pretty Pink Posh),
Art Glitter glue (Art Institute Glitter)

There isn't anything terribly complicated about this card, but the octopus on the Mini Action Wobble spring was a big hit!

For the card base, we stamped the sea life and bubble images on a piece of Whisper White card stock and adhered it to a Crumb Cake card. To add some texture we attached a piece of burlap ribbon trim with mini staples. (This has become my favorite method for adding this ribbon onto cards. Adhesive doesn't always work well with the burlap texture, and I love the contrast between the metal and textile.) As a final touch we glued on three clear droplets to look like splashing water.

Getting just the right stamp placement.


I had so much fun crafting and visiting with friends today -- and it was my second fun stamping day this week! (I think I might have craft day every day if I could.) After we were done creating, I gave the birthday girl a bin full of various card-making supplies as part of her present. She was pretty excited about it, and I think she'll be busy for awhile!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Fun stamping day

Today is the sixth anniversary of my blog. Crazy! I didn't have a chance to make a special project to post for the occasion, but I do have a few cards to share that are the result of a fun stamping day.

My friend Erin, who is in town visiting family, spent a few hours stamping with me this morning, and we had a great time. I met Erin through my blog, so I suppose it works out perfectly to share the results of our stamping session on my blog-iversary:

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Wetlands, Simply Sketched, Petite Pairs
Paper: Thick Very Vanilla, Old Olive, Mint Macaron, Calypso Coral, Basic Black, Very Vanilla card stock; Pretty Petals Designer Series Paper (DSP) Stack
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Calypso Coral, Mint Macaron, Old Olive, journaling pen
Accessories: Punches: Starburst, 1-3/4" circle, scalloped circle, heart border, 1-3/8" square, Itty Bitty Accents pack, Fun Flower; linen thread; 1/8" Old Olive taffeta ribbon; Calypso Coral twine; gold clip; pearls; wood buttons; sequins (Craft Medley, Hazel & Ruby); Aquapainter; Mini Glue Dots; Dimensionals; Mono Multi liquid glue; sponge

Yesterday I put together "kits" for us with patterned paper, card stock and embellishments, and we each made three cards using those supplies. It's fun to see the different layouts and styles we created with the same basic supplies.

In the photo, the three cards I made are on the top, and Erin's cards are on the bottom. I love the white space on her cards -- I'm all about clean and simple! I also really like the watercolor accent Erin added behind the sentiment on the first two cards, as well as the hand-cut images. The doodles she added around the "Thanks so much" sentiment on the last two cards are great. At first I thought those little lines were part of the stamped sentiment, which had me confused because I didn't recognize the stamp!

My first goal today was to experiment with making a masculine card using the Pretty Petals DSP, so I focused on the simple Old Olive and Basic Black patterns to make the card with the Canada Goose. For my second card, on the left, I punched squares out of the DSP and adhered them in a pattern to the card base. I couldn't fit a fourth column of squares, so I trimmed the base down to 4-1/4" square and added a punched flower focal point. My third card, in the middle, was inspired by Erin's card with the strips of DSP. I love that look!

I still have some of my "kit" supplies left, so I think I'll try to make a few more cards with them this week. I love these colors and patterns, and it's actually fun to have the challenge of creating with limited supplies.

Thanks for stopping by today and over the past six years!