Wednesday, 30 November 2016

WWC96 - A Surprise Pop-Up Card

I love special folds!  There are so many types and I know I have barely skimmed the top of the vast barrel full that have been created.  The fun is in finding a new one and using it in a special way for a card of one's own.  This week Gail is giving me that opportunity by hosting a Special Fold Challenge.  Any type of special fold is allowed.  The problem, for me, is deciding on just one.

I didn't want to use  a fold that I've already done for this challenge so I went out and searched for a new (for me) fold.  Since Gail's challenge launches on my husband's birthday, I decided that my creation would also be his birthday card.  Two birds and all that jazz.

I found the perfect fold on the SplitCoastStampers site.  They have a wonderful library of folds and techniques.  This one would be perfect.  For details and a great tutorial by Beate Johns, you can click HERE.

I decided to use some of the Serene Scenery Specialty Designer Paper.  The leafy design was perfect for what I had in mind.  Along with that I used Always Artichoke, Crumb Cake, Marina Mist and Whisper White cardstocks.  I followed the steps of the tutorial pretty closely and the result is a nice, masculine looking card like this.

That's the closed version.  When the ribbon is pulled and the tag comes up, the centre folds and the oval with the elk stands like an easel.  As if that's not cool enough, the greeting becomes visible at the top where I've heat embossed the "Happy Birthday" in white.  Below the easel, you can also see the sentiment which I stamped in black.

Where I veered away from the tutorial is visible at the back of the tag.  You can see I've added a pocket which appears when the tag is pulled up.  It's exactly the right size for a gift card, which is what I'm enclosing for my husband.

And this is how the card can sit with the centre standing like an easel.  Cute?  I think so.

Stamps:  The Wilderness Awaits, Butterfly Basics, Happy Happenings
Papers:  Serene Scenery paper stack, Always Artichoke, Crumb Cake, Marine Mist,
Whisper White
Inks:  Versamark and White embossing powder, Basic Black Archival ink, Marina Mist,
Crumb Cake, Soft Suede
Tools:  Stampin' Trimmer, Heat Gun, Aqua Brush, Layering Ovals Framelits

I hope you've enjoyed my card.  It was such fun trying out this new special fold.  For more special folds created by the rest of the Watercooler Artists, check out the Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.

Oh, and before I forget, we also have a special treat this week.  That talented special-folds artist, Bronwyn Eastley from Australia, is our Guest Designer this week.  And guess what she is offering to everyone who visits her blog?  The tutorial for her wonderful Z-Fold Spinner card will be free to download during the week of our challenge.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

WWC95 - The winner!

Drum roll please!  It's time to announce the winner of Libby's "anything goes" Masculine Challenge.  We had some amazing cards this week and after much deliberation, Libby's pick was

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

WWC95 - Thank you (masculine style)

I'm so glad that we have a Masculine "anything goes" challenge once a month.  I have so many men in my life and frequently need cards for them.  This week it's being hosted by Libby Fens.  I can hardly wait to see what the other Watercooler Artists have created for this challenge, how about you?

I immediately turned to one of my favourite masculine styled stamp sets, Country Livin'.  Of course I used the guitar again.  I love the way it looks, especially this time, leaning against what I expect is the raw wood wall of an old cabin.  Looking outside the window, you see the gorgeous light on the grasses.  This is another of the wonderful images from the Serene Scenery Designer paper stack.  Doesn't it just set the mood beautifully?

That open weave burlap ribbon which we started carrying in our Annual Catalogue works beautifully with the embossed Kraft paper, doesn't it?  And what would I do without that Woodgrain embossing folder?   The punched out banner from the Thoughful Banners bundle is the perfect finishing touch.

I hope you'll check out the creations by the other Watercooler Artists at our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.  And then, please link up your own wonderful creation for us to enjoy.  Remember, it's anything goes as long as it's masculine.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Online Extravaganza - November 21st to 28th

It's that time of year again.  Stampin' Up! is offering selected stamp sets, bundles and punches (as well as a few other items) at savings of 10% to 40%.  Have a look at these awesome items and decide quickly.  Many items are only available while supplies last.

There are some great items available, as you can see.  You can either contact me to place your order or you can go to my online store and place this order yourself.  Either way, for some of these items I wouldn't wait.  If there are two or three asterisks behind the number, once the supply is depleted, that item is gone for good.

And remember, those terrific new Stitched Shapes framelits were so popular that they are currently unavailable to order.  The stamp sets which were discounted by 25%, however, will be available at that price until November 30th.  More details in my store.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

The Wacky Watercooler November Blog Hop - "All Out" Christmas Celebration

We're giving ourselves a break and taking December off.  That means November is all about Christmas.  We're going "all out" and presenting our best ideas and projects so that we can inspire you.  Between the Annual Catalogue and the Holiday Catalogue there are some awesome products to use.  And if that's not enough, a little dip into that growing "stash" is inevitable.  I know I love this time of year and all the creativity I see online.  I hope the projects I've put together for this blog hop give you some inspiration.

As you will remember, if you've wandered through our blog hops before, our blog hop is presented in a circular fashion.  What does that mean?  Wherever you begin in our blog hop, whether you go forwards or backwards through the participants, eventually you will wind up precisely where you began.  I hope you'll take time to visit all the participating blogs and, perhaps, leave a short message letting us know  what you've thought of our posts.

If you've been moving forwards through the blog hop, you'll have arrived here from the very talented Penny Hanuszak's' post. Penny makes her home in British Columbia, Canada and is a member of our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge artists as well.

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My first project is a fun gingerbread house created with that terrific Home Sweet Home bundle.  I loved it for Hallowe'en and love it no less for my Christmas creations.  In this case I'm making a number for some of my special customers.  Filled with chocolates, they should be a hit and also show them my appreciation for their continued loyalty.  I began with the Kraft paper.  To my eye, that is about as close to baked gingerbread as our paper gets.

I decided to keep it toned down.  Yes, I could have added a whole lot of candies and totally covered it the way my grandsons believe all gingerbread houses should be covered (they don't eat the gingerbread but love the candy).  I guess I go the other way.  Less is more (I eat gingerbread but don't like the candies).  Sadly, I hand cut a whole bunch of candies from the gorgeous Candy Cane Lane Designer Series paper but wound up holding them here and there and just not liking the effect.  So I added some hand-cut gingerbread items from the same paper.  Minimaslist, but it appeals to me.

After all the chocolates are gone, the little house will be terrific as an ornament in the tree, especially if a little mini-battery-operated light is put inside.

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For my second project I decided to revisit a special fold which I featured back in the March 2015 Blog Hop and for which I posted the template in my March 28th 2015 post.  I thought it would make a wonderful Christmas card.  For this one I used the Christmas Magic and the Father Christmas stamp sets.  The two sets are terrific on their own but together they are simply favulous!

My base is the Heavy Whisper White and I've also used Cherry Cobbler and Garden Green cardstocks.  They're the featured colours in SU!'s This Christmas Specialty Designer Series paper and, since that's the paper I used on the inside of the card, it made sense to use them throughout.  Of course that paper also features Very Vanilla but since the design which I chose doesn't include it, I was able to use Whisper White instead.  

Although I stamped the borders from the Father Christmas set on Whisper White, both the train and Father Christmas were stamped on the wonderful Shimmery White Specialty paper.  I love the way that paper takes watercolouring.  It doesn't pill and, best of all, adds a slight shimmer to the entire image.  Of course I also had to use my brand new, just arrived Stitched from the Heart stitched shapes framelits which Stampin' Up! just released.  I LOVE them.  Look at the way they cut my square for the train!  Look at the wonderful circle and oval around my sentiment!  Those stitches cut deeply and look great.  

If you look along the edges of my "book" on the inside of the card, you'll notice that I've managed to give the illusion of pages.  Just another of the many uses for the Gorgeous Grunge stamp set.

One of my layers for the inside of the card is Mint Macaron cardstock.  Strangely the lighter versions of the Garden Green in the designer paper are an almost exact match to the colour.

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For my last project I created a bag and matching card set.  First the card.  I used a base of Very Vanilla and then added black and a very small amount of red.  Again, I just loved the Stitched Shaped framelits which I used for my oval on the outside and my square on the inside of the card.

 I love using the Gift Bag Punch Board and what better paper to use it with than the gorgeous This Christmas Specialty Designer Series paper?  I love the plain Very Vanilla sheet with the hundreds of black snowflakes all over it.  The problem with the paper is that it really is quite lightweight and I was afraid it would tear too easily as a bag.  So, how did I get around that?  I added a "girdle" of Basic Black cardstock along the bottom of the bag and a narrower one at the top of the bag.  

To enhance the black girdle, I added two silver foil Christmas trees to the front and back, scattered red Glimmer paper "ornaments" all over them, and then stamped little white snowflakes around them.  To enhance the silver foil at the top of the bag, I added a die-cut black "NOEL" to the front and back.  I also added a tag using the beautiful Merry Tags framelits dies.  If you look carefully, you'll see that I've mounted the silver foil tag on a black base cut with the stitched circle framelits die.

Lacing the lovely Cherry Cobbler Silky Taffeta Ribbon through the top finished the bag off perfectly, don't you agree?

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And that's it for my projects.  I hope you've enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed creating them.  From here you'll be visiting another wonderfully creative stamper, Sheri Lee.  Sheri is from British Columbia and is a frequent participant of our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

WWC94 - Come, Let us Drink Tea

Guess what!  It's my turn to host a challenge and this time it's all about simply stamping.  That's exactly what the challenge is about, too:  Simply Stamping.  So put on your thinking caps and consider how you can create something very simple but striking and enter my challenge.

 "Simply Stamping" is a return to basics.  We expect either one single stamped layer or a base with one single layer on that.  We expect simple stamping.  You can use masking, heat embossing, stencilling, sponging.  You cannot use an embossing folder or embellishments or additional layers (not even a tag). 

As you can see, this Simply Stamping Challenge is all about coffee or tea.  For me that meant shuffling through my retired stamps since we don't have anything current on the subject except some great sentiments and a couple of coffee rings.  Yes, you read that right.  Just check out the Timeless Textures stamp set and you'll see a great set of coffee (or tea) rings.  And they look pretty real, too.  I've compared them to the ones I seem to leave all over the place.

The set which I finally chose for my teacup is the The Tea Shoppe.  It didn't have individual stamps for the teacup except for one giant one which I really didn't want.  That wasn't what I had planned in my head.  So I took the stamp with the three connected teacups and only inked two of them.  That worked and, once I had masked those teacups, I was able to stamp those great rings from the Timeless Textures around them and, except for the sentiment, my card was done.  The sentiment is from the Balloon Celebrations and is, in my opinion, just perfect for the card.

As you can see, my rings, my sentiment and the base cardstock for this card are all Crumb Cake.  Just the colour, don't you agree, that you would expect to see after drinking tea.

I hope you'll check out the other creations by the Watercooler Artists at our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge this week.  And then, once your creative juices are flowing, link up your own simply stamped card for us to see.

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

WWC93 - Let it Snow!

I love colour challenges and this one of Deborah's for our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge made me think of Christmas.  Funny how  some colours can immediately make certain images form in one's brain.

Do you see what I mean?  Those colours are absolutely perfect for a Christmas scene, especially one involving a snowman, a tree and a big ol' candy cane.  What I loved is the chance to use that wonderful Snow Place bundle along with the Perfect Pines framelits.  Of course the Softly Falling embossing folder added a lot of fun interest to the background, didn't it?

I love the way Deborah's colours work together so perfectly for this card.  It almost made itself once I knew which sets and framelits I would be using.

I hope you'll come and check out the rest of the Watercooler Artists' creations at our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.  And, of course, link one up yourself.  That would be awesome.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

WWC92 - Merry Wishes

I love sketch challenges and Jean's sketch, this week at our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge, is no exception.  I had to study the sketch for a bit to decide what I would do with it, but in the end, tipping it on its side came to my rescue.  That's the great thing about a sketch challenge.  Whether it's vertical, horizontal, or otherwise flipped, as long as the sketch is recognisable, it's legal.

I decided to have a lot of fun with cardstock and Designer Paper for my card.  As my base I've used the Heavy Whisper White.  Then I layered narrow rectangles of cardstock.  The Real Red is attached just as it is.  The Crumb Cake has been embossed using the Confetti embossing folder and then attached.  I used Dimensionals to attach the layer of Early Espresso.  Then came my layer of Candy Cane Lane Designer Series paper which has bits of all those previous colours in it.  Finally, I fussy cut two houses from the same Designer Series paper and attached them using Dimensionals.  My only stamping is the sentiment for which I used Real Red ink and the Christmas Magic stamp set.

This was such fun to create!  I hope you'll check out the wonderful cards created by the other Watercooler Artists here.

Wednesday, 26 October 2016

WWC91 - Happy Birthday

It's time for another challenge and this week Marsha is hosting a Masculine "Anything Goes" Challenge.  Simply put, as long as I create something that has a masculine flair, I'm golden.

Of course I turned to one of my favourite stamp sets, The Wilderness Awaits.  Is it only meant for masculine projects?  Not at all.  But certainly my husband and brother-in-law both love anything to do with the outdoors or wild animals.  I love the way that little fox looks, curled up in its den but watching all that goes on.  I knew he would be perfect used with a brick wall and perhaps, some leaves.

I have been hoping for years that Stampin' Up! would carry some modeling paste.  What is so special about that product?  You can mix any colour of ink with the paste and then spread it over a stencil.  Once the stencil is pulled off, the resulting brick has so much texture, it actually looks real.  I love the effect.  That was my plan and as the day progressed I realized that I had put too much ink into the mix, making the paste more fluid than normal and much slower to dry.  Well, my project was due last night.  Go to plan "B".  Same idea but instead of the modeling paste I turned to the Stampin' Up! Brick Wall embossing folder.  First, of course, I used my brayer to add ink to the raised portion of the folder and then I embossed my paper.  That resulted in the lines of grout being a different colour.  I love the way that looks.

Stamps:  The Wilderness Awaits, Best Birds, Thoughtful Banners, Sprinkles of Life
Paper:  Soft Suede, Soft Sky, Very Vanilla, Tip Top Taupe, Whisper White cardstocks
Inks:  Soft Suede, Tip Top Taupe, Cajun Craze, Wild Wasabi, Crushed Curry, 
Pumpkin Pie, Basic Black (Archival), Whisper White (craft)
Tools:  Brick Wall embossing folder, Birds & Blooms thinlits, Duet Banner punch

I've also linked this card with the SUO Challenge for their Fall theme.

Of course my other card could be assembled today.  The modeling paste had dried nicely and gave the bricks a great texture as well as a feeling of solidity.  I changed the card up a bit simply because I don't often create two of a kind.  Instead of the tree and bird, I used a background of Whisper White upon which I stamped two images of the Sheltering Tree as well as a number of leaves.  I also used the Swirly Scribbles thinlits to cut out a whole bunch of little leaves in a variety of cardstock colours.

Stamps:  The Wilderness Awaits, Sheltering Tree
Paper:  Crumb Cake, Early Espresso, Cajun Craze, Crushed Curry, 
Wild Wasabi, Whisper White
Inks:  Cajun Craze, Soft Suede, Crushed Curry, Wild Wasabi, Pumpkin Pie,
Early Espresso, Basic Black (Archival)
Tools:  Swirly Scribbles thinlits, Crafter's Workshop Brick Stencil,
Teresa Collins Ba-Si-Cal-Ly Essential Modeling Paste

I hope you've enjoyed my journey through these cards.  For some amazing creations by the Watercooler Artists, check out this week's Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Wacky Watercooler October Blog Hop Celebrates Fall

Fall is such a  spectacular season, isn't it?  The trees put on their finest colours before retiring to their long sleep for Winter.  It's a time of year when artists and photographers do their best to capture a bit of that beauty and poets put together descriptive words in an effort to do justice to the scene.  Of course we paper artists also have to do our best, given the tools available to us.  Thank goodness Stampin' Up! offers some fine colours, stamps and dies to help us along.  Welcome to our celebration of Fall (or Autumn if, like me, you grew up with that name for the season).

As you will remember, if you've wandered through our blog hops before, our blog hop is presented in a circular fashion.  What does that mean?  Wherever you begin in our blog hop, whether you go forwards or backwards through the participants, eventually you will wind up precisely where you began.  I hope you'll take time to visit all the participating blogs and, perhaps, leave a short message letting us know  what you've thought of our posts.

If you've been moving forwards through the blog hop, you'll have arrived here from the very talented Libby Fens' post.  Libby makes her home in Texas and is a member of our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge artists as well.

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My first project uses the adorable Scarecrow from the Cookie-Cutter Hallowe'en set.  Along with the cheery pumpkin images from the Hallowe'en Night Specialty Designer paper and the pumpkin set from the Spooky Fun bundle, this card just makes me smile.  I used the letters from the Labeler Alphabet set to create the sentiment.

For me "Thankful" could easily be used for Thanksgiving or for a happy greeting to someone I care about and for whose friendship I am thankful.

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My next project is a special fold card in a style which I have admired for quite a while.  I've seen it called a Twisted Pop-Up card, a Pop-up Panel card, and a Pivot Twist Pop-up card.  But by whatever name you've seen it before, you have probably also admired it.  I was looking for a template with our 5 1/2"x 4 1/2" sizing but could only find Collette Mitrega's YouTube tutorial.  So I fiddled around with the measurements and made mine the "normal" size for our envelopes.  What a perfect way to show off the fairies, playing with the colourful falling leaves!

I began with a base of Cajun Craze and added a layer of Crushed Curry.  Right there we have the basic colours of Autumn and it's easy to build from that.  I mentioned that I was going to be using fairies for this card.  I thought it would add a playful touch, especially for a Fall birthday.  For the front, therefore, I've used the image which has the fairy hanging from the cherry branch.  You'll notice, however, that the cherries are gone and I've added a leaf or two, concentrating on bright Fall colours for them and the fairy.  I've also added some bright foliage from the Awesomely Artistic set and then just had fun with the foliage from the Sheltering Tree to add some background colour and interest.  The sentiment is from the Birthday Blossoms set.

For this style of card there is a lot of interest added to the inside of the card.  The "mechanism" inside pivots the four panels and "presents" them.  It's quite a surprise for the recipient and not as difficult to make as one might think.  I used the four panels along the strip to feature more Fall colours and, of course, more fairies.

The first has some blooms at the bottom and some colourful leaves at the top.  I've turned to the Birthday Blossoms for those images.

The second has several leaves from the Vintage Leaves set, all colourful and one which has a tiny fairy hanging tight as it drifts downward.

The third has the little fairy sitting on her toadstool, holding up a large oak leaf.

And the fourth and final panel has dandelion seeds floating across and upward with a small sentiment in the middle.

Because this style of card offers room at the top of the base and at the bottom, I've added an oval with the birthday wishes and sentiment at the top and then a blank oval at the bottom which is perfect for writing.

I hope you've enjoyed checking out my special card as much as I enjoyed creating it.

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My final project is for my daughter.  She love the Fall season best of all the seasons.  She exults in the multi-coloured leaves and the crunch of the fallen leaves as she walks through the woods.  What better way to give her a little pick-me-up when she is run off her feet, than to bring a bit of Fall into her home so that she can enjoy it.  I found the inspiration for this wall hanging on Clare McDonnell's Maple Leaf Memories blog.

The embroidery hoop and burlap are clearly not Stampin' Up! products but everything else is from the catalogues.  The leaves were first stamped using the Vintage Leaves set and Basic Black ink and then cut out using the matching Leaflets framelits.  I've used Tangerine Tango, Wild Wasabi, Crushed Curry, Tip Top Taupe and Cajun Craze cardstocks.   After cutting the leaves, I sponged them with several of the same inks and also added some deeper inks using my Stampin' Markers.  After that I used my scoring tool and Silicone Craft sheet to emphasize the stamped lines.  Finally I spritzed the leaves using my Spritzer and rubbing alcohol before crushing them in my hands.  Strangely enough, that sort of abuse results in some very realistic Fall leaves.

As an added touch, I created two acorns using Tip Top Taupe and the Pumpkin Pie Glimmer paper.  After cutting them out with the Acorn Builder punch, I proceeded to sponge the perimeters and I also added some highlight to the centres of the acorns using the Whisper White craft ink.  I also cut out two pine branches using the Pretty Pines thinlits and Almost Artichoke cardstock.

I wanted to add some cording as well but decided that the copper thread was simply too lightweight to show against all that foliage.  And so I cut the thinnest strips of Pumpkin Pie Glimmer paper possible and used those instead.
The sentiment is, unfortunately, retired but it seemed the most appropriate under the circumstances.

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And that's it for my projects.  I hope you've enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed creating them.  From here you'll be visiting another wonderfully creative stamper, Gail Allen.  Gail is from the Sechelt in British Columbia and is also  a member of our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge artists.