Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Make YOUR Life a Project!

Scrapbooking can be a lot of work.  Yes, it's wonderful to pull out a finished scrapbook and share the pages with your kids or friends, but getting to that point where you have the finished scrapbook is a lot of work.  For some people the answer has been to switch over to Photobooks.  Stampin' Up! offers that option through its My Digital Studio line.  The quality is awesome and getting the Photobook put together isn't at all difficult.

But for many of us there remains a desire to have more of a "connection".  Handling real photos and arranging them into the scrapbook is a hands-on experience that we don't really wish to abandon.  If only it didn't take so much time!

Well, you may have heard about Project Life.  It has become a very popular way to put together a scrapbook while still experiencing the hand-on connection.  Stampin' Up! has joined up with Project Life and, beginning May 1st, will be offering products in the colours you've grown to love as part of the line.  Excited?  Join the crowd!  May 1st can't come fast enough.  And the whole line will be available with the unveiling of the brand New Annual Catalogue, which will happen at the beginning of June.

If you're curious and want some more information, just have a look at this video.  It gives you a good idea of what will be coming up.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The April Wacky Watercooler "Spring has Sprung" Blog Hop

How time flies!  It's already time for another blog hop with the Wacky Watercooler gang.  We're going to have fun sharing some amazing projects that are inspired by Spring's many occasions.  Luckily, with all of Stampin' Up!'s wonderful products, becoming inspired isn't difficult.

For those of you who are familiar with our blog hops, you'll remember that it's a circular one.  Whoever you begin with, whether you go backwards or forwards through the names, you will, eventually, wind up right where you began.  Like a ring, it continues forever.  Of course you can "jump off" at any time.  For those of you who haven't experienced one of our blog hops before, you're in for a treat.

If you've come through the blog hop from the beginning, you will have arrived here from the very talented Christine Giuda's blog.  Christine never ceases to amaze me with her artistic projects.

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For this blog hop I am going to have one project to show off.  The hanging Memory Tray that I've used for the project isn't Stampin' Up! but it makes a wonderful backdrop for all the great products that are.

My project shows little moments that represent Spring for me.  Winter took over for far too long in this area.  There is still some dirty snow on the ground but temperatures have risen sufficiently to rid us of some of the huge piles with which we've lived since the latter part of October.  The other day I saw a robin.  I'm sure Spring is here, finally.

When I think of Spring, a couple of things come immediately to my mind.  One is Easter.  It's a sure sign of Spring if we can hide some treats and eggs outside.  Of course the treats aren't the only wonderful thing about Easter, but when you have kids, the Easter Egg hunt becomes an annual event.

I went to town making flowers for this little vignette.  Thank goodness there are a lot of choices among Stampin' Up! products.  All the flowers were made using the Creped Filter Paper.  The little blue ones were made with the Petite Petals Bundle while the daisies were cut using the Blossom Party die and then sponged with Daffodil Delight ink.  The pretty roses were cut using the Spiral Flower Die and then sponged with Crisp Cantaloupe ink or Pool Party ink.

The next occasion that comes to mind with Spring is my daughter's birthday.  There are a lot of birthdays in the Spring, aren't there?

For me, my daughter is my wish come true.  What's better to celebrate than a pink elephant wearing a party hat?  I love the background of Watercolour Wonder Designer Series Paper, don't you?

Spring also means that the birds and Canada Geese return to our area to nest.  I'm sure they had a bit of a shock this year when they flew overhead and saw all the white.  Thank goodness that's going away quickly.  They have to get their nests established and find good feeding areas after all.

I've used the Watercolour Wonder Designer paper again in the top vignette and then stamped it using Early Espresso and the Serene Silhouettes stamp set.  The bottom vignette showcases that wonderful Wetlands Stamp set as well as Lovely as a Tree.

This next vignette uses a partial nest that is not Stampin' Up! but everything else definitely is.  I just wanted a nest and, try as I might, could not make one myself.  Kudos to the birds who seem to have no problems making them each year.

The cute little eggs are made from our Simply Pressed Clay.  They're as light as a feather (yes, I've added a little vellum feather poking out of the nest) and once they dried it was an easy matter to stamp them with little spots using the Gorgeous Grunge stamp set.  Once the ink dried, I painted the eggs using a mixture of Crystal Effects and Pool Party ink.

When I think of the birds returning, I also think about birdhouses.  My grandson loves Bluebirds and so I made this vignette especially for him.

I free-handed the birdhouse after I used the Woodgrain embossing folder on Early Espresso Co'redinations cardstock.  The little roof is hand cut from the Epic Day This and That Designer Series paper as is the background paper.  The leaves are Always Artichoke cardstock cut with the Little Leaves Sizzlit die and the Bluebird was stamped and cut using the Backyard Basics Bundle.

Another occcasion that signals Spring for me is Mother's Day.  Whether it is a single rose or a large bouquet, flowers always represent that day for me.  My Mum loved flowers and was always delighted to receive them for Mother's Day.

This little rose was made from our Simply Pressed Clay and then coloured and sealed with Crystal Effects.  It's been wrapped up in a piece of the Modern Medley Designer Series paper and held together with a ribbon of Victoria Crochet Trim.  The little leaves were cut using the Little Leaves Sizzlit die.

Of course flowers are sensational during Spring.  I think I love them so much because it is such a delight to see them after a long, white winter.  Daffodils, especially, represent Spring for me.

I've made these using Vellum cardstock and the Secret Garden bundle.  I heat embossed the daffodil flower onto the Vellum using white embossing powder.  I thought it would be far too stark to use black.  Then I sponged Daffodil Delight ink into the vellum and let that dry.  I also cut a 3/4" x 1 1/4" piece of vellum and sponged that with Crisp Cantaloupe ink.  Once that was dry, I used the new Fringe Scissors to cut approcimately 1/4" down into the Vellum.  Then I used Sticky Strip to form it into a "tube".  By running some Multipurpose Liquid Glue along the non-fringed edge, I was able to place the "tube" into the centre of the flower and "voila" a daffodil was born.  The leaves, too, are Vellum cardstock while the grass was cut and recut using the Fringe Scissors.

Besides the daffodils, I love lilacs in the Spring.  The scent of them is almost intoxicating, especially if you happen along a lane bordered with bushes.

For the little blossoms, I used Perfect Plum and Elegant Eggplant cardstocks.  I would guess that I cut well over a hundred of  them using the Itty Bitty Shapes punch.  Then, after curving them with my Bone Folder, I put a dab of Dazzling Details in the centre of each.  While that was drying, I cut a "branch" out of Early Espresso Co'redinations cardstock and soaked it well in some tepid water.  Then I hand-curved the branch so that it appeared to be 3-D.  After that was dry, I adhered the branch to my little vignette and then glued down layers and layers of blossoms.  Three vellum butterflies made using the Papillon Potpourri stamp set and matching punches, and my vignette was complete.

I made one more item for this project.  I love pussywillows and they really are the harbinger of Spring for me.  Of course I wanted mine to be made from Stampin' Up! supplies and, after a whole lot of fussing and a bit of swearing, I think I managed to make a reasonably realistic branch.

The little pussywillows that are peeking out were made using the Simply Pressed Clay.  After layering a whole lot of colours together to give the branch some realism, I covered it with Crystal Effects.  All in all, I'm happy with the results.

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So, what does my project look like as a whole?  I'm glad you asked.  I'm just dying to show it off.

After taking pictures of it from a whole lot of angles, I decided to use this slightly not-direct view.  I think it shows some of the 3-D effect (and there is a LOT of that).  If you click on the photo, it will enlarge on your screen and you'll get a better look.  It's nicer in real life---but then most things are, don't you think?

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Well, that's it for my post.  I hope you've enjoyed seeing my Ode to Spring.  Your next stop will be with Stefanie Pletscher.  Stefanie is not only an amazing medic, she is also a very talented crafter.  I'm sure you'll agree when you see her projects.

Our next Blog Hop is the second week of May.  Don't worry, I'll give you fair warning.

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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Swallowtail -- the Beauty of a Butterfly

It's finally beginning to look like Spring out there and so my thoughts go to flowers and butterflies and all things colourful outside.  With some sad-looking grass patches showing up between piles of rapidly melting snow, I really need to use my imagination for this.  But I'm so ready for flowers.  And for butterflies.  After 5 1/2 long months of white, I need some colour in my life.

For a stamp that feels almost too large and unwieldy, the Swallowtail background stamp has to be one of the most versatile stamps.  And the results are almost always outstanding.  I happen to like the way the image looks embossed on vellum.  There is an added elegance to it, especially when done with Silver Embossing powder.

I kept my colours toned down somewhat so that the silver and the jewel tones of the colours in the wings would pop.  Added to the edge is a cute little scallop and at the top of each scallop I've added a little rhinestone.  In the background, under the vellum, you can just make out the design from the Very Vintage Wheel which I used on the cardstock.

It's my "Ode to Spring"---a thank you that it has finally begun.

Don't forget that the Wacky Watercooler Blog Hop will begin on Thursday.  Yes!  This Thursday.  You'll love it!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Only a few days left...

That's right!  Only a few days and we'll be presenting another terrific Wacky Watercooler Blog Hop.  Just remember to write the dates in on your calendar so that you don't forget.  It begins at 7 p.m. Mountain Time on Thursday, April 10th.

Some exciting projects will stimulate your imaginations and get you all ready to create.  Are you ready?

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Sometimes all it takes is a different colour!

Remember the card I posted on March 7th?  I had made a golden card for all the golden memories that I have of my Mum.  Well, just a few changes in colour, and that same layout becomes a wonderful "Thinking of You" card.

Do you see what I've done here?  I've layered some Coastal Cabana cardstock over the beautiful Gold Vellum and then on the banner, I put a strip of the Coastal Cabana from the Retro Fresh This and That Designer Washi Tape.  Does it make a big difference?  Changing out the golden tulip for a coloured tulip also changes the whole look.  Yet, side by side the cards have precisely the same layout.  What a difference colour can make!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Let there be Spring!

Apparently the Vernal Equinox (Spring) occurred on March 20th this year.  It's funny how precise we're being about the equinoxes and solstices.  When I went to school there were dates we learned that represented them.  For example, the Vernal Equinox always occurred on March 21st.  My mother-in-law was quite proud of having her birthday on the first day of Spring.  I wonder what she would think now with the date changing each year.

We're now ten days into Spring.  Ten days!  What do I see as I look out the window?  Well, let me tell you right now that it isn't crocuses, daffodils or tulips.  Nope.  For us here in Alberta, Spring is white, white, white.  As I type, more white is being added.  I'd like a phone number to call.  Maybe a customer support line.  I'd like to call and tell them that something is out of sync and perhaps the machine could be fixed so that we can finally have Spring.  Of course, having acute bronchitis doesn't make me any happier to have this endless cold.  I think some flowers might just have as much or more effect as the medication I'm taking.

Being sick makes it hard for me to concentrate and do my crafting.  A general lethargy overwhelms me and inspiration eludes me.  *sigh*  Sorry about that.  Normally I'm so current with my blog and even scheduled posts to appear during my two-week vacation.

I felt like making a "Let it Snow" card but that's hyprocritical since I REALLY don't want any more snow.  The grey skies and white landscape is hard to ignore, however, and crept into my project.  As a result, my base cardstock is the white naturals.  The next layer is Basic Black and then a layer of the Sweet Sorbet Designer Series Paper which is available only until tomorrow.  Finally I topped that with Blue Sky cardstock cut with my Hexagon Hive thinlits die.

I added some icicles using my Uniball Signo white pen and my Stampin' Chalk Marker.  With a layer of Crystal Effects covering them, they really do look icy.

With a frozen bee from the Backyard Basics and the sentiment from Springtime Hello, my card is complete.  Bleak?  Cold?  Welcome to Spring in frozen Alberta!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Getting back to reality...

It takes a few days to acclimatize and it also takes a few days to get back to reality.  Coming from a toasty 30 degrees C (86 F) and a relaxing day at the beach and landing in a grey land where it had the nerve to be minus 10 degrees C (14 F) was a shocker.  I'm still working to acclimatize myself.  That's hard when a little voice in my head keeps saying "let's go back, let's go back".  There's also a little voice in harmony with that first little voice which keeps saying "this is not reality!  it's snowing!  it should be sunny!  go back! go back! go back!"

Ignoring those very persistent voices is difficult.  Even while I'm trying to craft and make a new project, I have to work hard not to stop everything and just sit and lose myself in the photos I've taken of the trip.  *sigh*

It makes sense, therefore, to combine my longing for the warmth and colours I've left with my desire to begin crafting again.  This card takes advantage of the terrific Polaroid frame and camera included in the On Film Framelits Dies.  I've also used the By The Seashore stamp set for the background since it evokes the wealth of shells found at the beach.  The colours?  Well, just look at the photo of my family.  I had to use the beautiful Pacific Point and the Crumb Cake to echo the colours in the photo.

To finish off the card I used the sentiment from the Perfect Pennants stamp set along with the matching Pennants Framelits die.  Holding it down with the arrow from the Hung Up Cute Clips seemed appropriate...what do you think?