Friends

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Goodbye to a grand old year!

2013 had its ups and downs.  But what year doesn't?  The ups are always so much better when you have a few downs to compare them to, aren't they?  I know they are for me.

2013 certainly left its mark on some of my friends.  Flood damages!  Major flood damages!  A lot of people are still hurting from the extremes of weather the year offered.  If it wasn't flooding, it was hail.  If it wasn't hail, it is the endless snow!  How can so much snow exist, for Heaven't sakes?  Everyone's big question these days is "where are we going to put even more snow?"

And through it all I've been playing with paper.  Even today, when I was (apparently) clearing up my crafting space, I became sidetracked and had to make a card.

The brand new Spring Occasions catalogue is just about here.  On January 3rd the public will be able to order the products in it.  I had the privilege of ordering a month early so that I could make up samples to show off.  The problem with the timing is that Christmas got in the way.  Yes, I have used one of the brand new stamp sets.  I used it in making one of those little Christmas frames that I became rather obsessed with creating.  Today while I was clearing (and cleaning) my room, I reached for the same stamp set: Life in the Forest.  Ironic that this is the stamp set I bought on a last moment's whim!

I bought seven stamp sets from the new catalogue.  One of my New Year's resolutions is to use all seven before I begin to play with any of my other products.  And no---I can't use Life in the Forest again until I've used the other six.  After all, I used it twice.



May your New Year's Eve be safe and happy.  May you be as creative as you have always hoped during the coming year.  May you never want for friends and may you stay healthy.

God bless us----every one!

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Using Window Sheets

At some point during the past few weeks I came across a poinsettia that someone had made using a Window Sheet.  It was, if I remember correctly, in golds and reds primarily but I'm sure that a layer of the poinsettia was made from the Window Sheet material---unless it was vellum.

Anyway, the look of the flower obviously made an impression and my mind began "percolating" and designing in the background while I went through my normal life.  And then it was finished and demanded that I create an icy poinsettia: all layered with silvers, blues, and the requisite Window Sheets.  As I thought my way through the flower, I could tell it would be very wintery.

My first layer for the poinsettia was on Silver Glimmer paper.  I had to stamp the image of the poinsettia from the Joyful Christmas stamp set on the reverse side of the Glimmer Paper and then cut it out along the stamped lines.  To me the shape and texture looked very much like the hoarfrost that one sees covering the world on some winter days.  I decided to stamp the same image on a Window Sheet with Versamark and then heat embossed it with my Silver embossing powder.  Of course that flower also had to be cut out.  Those first two layers were of the full-sized poinsettia.



My next two layers were going to be just the centre of the poinsettia.  The first one I heat embossed in Pool Party on a sheet of Silver Foil paper and then the second one I heat embossed in Silver embossing powder on another Window Sheet.  I cut both of those smaller flowers out as well.  Yes, there was a lot of hand-cutting with this particular design.

I decided to use Pool Party cardstock for the base of my card and then cut a layer of Island Indigo cardstock.  For my next layer I chose Whisper White cardstock but for that one I used my Pretty Print textured embossing folder.  To assemble the flower I used dimensionals between each layer after first rolling the petals between my thumb and Bone Folder to add some curves and depth.  Finally, in the centre of the top flower layer, I adhered one of those gorgeous Frosted Finishes embellishments (if you love those as much as I do, don't forget to buy some before they disappear forever on January 3rd).

Finally I heat embossed Noel from the Greetings of the Season stamp set using Pool Party embossing powder on a piece of Window Sheet.  Add some Pool Party Seam Binding ribbon, and the card needed nothing more.


What do you think?



Wednesday, 18 December 2013

A Hexagonal Greeting!

There is a new die being introduced in the Spring Occasions catalogue.  The die is a large thinlit, not quite the size of the "flip-flop" thinlits, but close.  Its name?  The Hexagonal Hive thinlit die.  I'm thinking that we're going to be seeing a lot of bee-hive style cards after Christmas.

The die makes an amazing Christmas card, too.  I was, of course, playing around with it and suddenly realized that the hexagonal shapes in the die were the perfect size to spotlight the little Holiday Mini punches. So I had to see what might happen if I mixed in the little mini Christmas tree punch and the little mini Star punch.

Keeping the colours to a simple White, Red and Green, I began moving the mini pieces here and there, found a pattern that appealed to me, and added the little "Very Merry" from the Very Merry Tags stamp set. The finished card is just simply fun.


In real life those stars just shine---they're punched from the Silver Foil paper.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Counting down...

We're past the middle of the month, now.  It's just a bit over a week before the big day.  Are you ready?  I sure hope you are because I'm simply not.

I haven't quite finished accumulating all the gifts I had in mind.  For a couple of people that means I'd better get motivated or they're facing an empty spot under the tree.  That wouldn't do at all.  And there are those "little things" I'm still considering getting to bulk out one or two stockings.  And the time is ticking!  I can actually hear it in the background.

I've put together a few decorated boxes.  Some you've seen as I've made them for blog hops or posts.  One that I finished last week makes me really happy.  I had bought a couple of boxes from the local Dollar Store (yes, the one with those awesome little frames I've fixated on for a while) and had some thought of decorating them.  Finally, last week I tackled one of them and I'm so happy with the results.  It's a good-sized box, too, which means it can hold something special.  It's a 5" x 5" square and is 2 1/2" high.  Like I said, a good size.  A pretty scarf can easily fit inside or a goodly stash of candies (or tea).

I have been using the Joyful Christmas poinsettia quite a bit this year.  It's so incredibly beautiful and lends itself to so many cards and projects.  You won't be surprised to hear that I used it again for this project.  This time, however, I only used it to heat-emboss the poinsettia in gold in the centre of the lid.  After that I dug out my Watercolor Winter stamp set from last year and went wild.  That stamp set is a perfect compliment to this year's Joyful Christmas stamp set, don't you think?


I love it when I can use stamp sets in conjunction with each other.  It's quite an investment to have a stamp set that serves only one purpose.  When it can be used with another set or to compliment current sets, it's definitely a bonus.  I guess what I'm saying is "buy what you really love".  Most of the time you will re-use it.

So, around the gold heat-embossed poinsettia on the lid of the box, I stamped some of the pine twig and the pine cones in Always Artichoke and Early Espresso respectively.  I added a bit of Gumball Green with my markers to give the pine needles more presence and coloured in the pine cone using my Baked Brown Sugar marker.  Then I used my Strawberry Parfait marker to colour and shade in the heat-embossed poinsettia.  A bit of sponging around the edge of the lid using my Gold Encore stamp pad and the lid was looking really nice.  All it needed was one of those exquisite Frosted Finishes Embellishments in the centre to be perfect.


The rest of the box had to be worthy of this lid.  I knew immediately that I wouldn't use the Joyful Christmas stamp set any longer.  The sides of the box were too shallow at 2 1/2" to fit that beautiful, large poinsettia.  The small poinsettia from last year's Watercolour Winter, was exactly the right size.  And so, for the sides, I used the poinsettia and the pine twig from that set.  Instead of colouring each poinsettia the same colour as the one on the lid, I chose to match the lid on two sides and to colour the poinsettias on the other two sides with my White Stampin' Chalk Marker.  I love the way the chalk marker lets you layer the colour just like the markers do.  Of course I also sponged some Gold Encore ink on the edges of each side of the box.


Doesn't it look pretty all stamped and coloured up like this?  The whole box is so stunning that I'm almost reluctant to give it up.  I just hope the recipient loves it as much as I do.


After all, this is a box that could become someone's special memory-holder.  Wouldn't that be great?

Saturday, 14 December 2013

What colour is Christmas?

Too often I hear people criticize a card or decoration as not being "the colour of Christmas".  What is the colour of Christmas?  For some people it is and always will be red, green and white.  But why?  Why can't Christmas be blue and white or white and silver or yellow and green or just about any colour in the rainbow? Is the holiday diminished by the colours we choose?

My own answer is a resounding "NO!"  Christmas is whatever colour makes you happy.  Christmas can be any colour or colours that make you feel like loving everyone and giving and celebrating.  Christmas can be a rainbow.

I began thinking about colour and Christmas when I noticed that I hadn't used one inch of my Sweater Weather Designer Paper.  Believe me, here in Alberta it is definitely sweater weather at the moment.  Actually it feels more like several layers of sweaters-type-of-weather.  As I leafed through the Designer Paper, thinking that since I hadn't used it for Thanksgiving or, actually, anything, perhaps it would make a good Christmas card.  Well, those of you who own the Designer Paper know that it doesn't have what some would call conventional Christmas colours.

And I thought, what colour is Christmas---and all the stuff you've already read.

So I took a 3 3/4" x 5" piece of the Sweater Weather Designer Paper and proceeded to make a Christmas card.  The primary colours in the piece I cut were Soft Sky, Chocolate Chip, Sahara Sand and Crushed Curry.  After pulling a piece of each cardstock out of my files, I finally decided that the base cardstock would be Crushed Curry.  My next layer became Chocolate Chip and then we had the Designer Paper next.  The combination looked great---really, really great, actually.  Did it make me think of Christmas?  Not a bit!

So I began looking through my stamp sets and rejected them one by one until I came to the hostess set, Warmth & Wonder.  The deer was perfect!  I had a beginning!   So I cut a piece of Whisper White cardstock with my second-to-smallest Oval Framelit and cut a piece of Chocolate Chip cardstock with my third-to-smallest Oval Framelit for the backing.  First I stamped the tree from that set using Sahara Sand ink, then I stamped the ornaments in the set over the tree using Soft Sky ink, and finally I stamped the little deer using Chocolate Chip ink.  Since I wanted the deer to appear to be walking in snow, I cut another section of oval in Whisper White and tore a small piece from an end jaggedly.  I glued that over the bottom section of the Whisper White oval, covering the bottoms of the deer's feet, and managed the illusion of snow.

I adhered the stamped Whisper White oval to the Chocolate Chip oval and then, after first adhering a section of the Burlap Ribbon to the card layers, adhered the oval over that using dimensionals.  For my greeting I used a combination of the "celebrate" from my Fabulous Phrases stamp set and "Christmas" from the sold-out Endless Greetings stamp set.  I cut that using the Scallop Oval Punch and also cut a backing of Chocolate Chip using my Large Oval Punch.  That was also mounted on dimensionals.


Don't the Chocolate Chip and Crushed Curry Candy Dots look perfect as an accent?  

So, what is the colour of Christmas?  Whatever colour makes you happy inside. 

Thursday, 12 December 2013

A New Frame---A Look at the New Catalogue

I decided to make another one of those addictive frames.  I'm finding that as soon as I've made one, I see my stamps sets and get all sorts of new ideas for another frame.  Of course that urge was helped along by the delivery of my new products from the Spring Occasions Catalogue.  I get to play with all those new products and make up samples to entice everyone when the catalogue becomes "live" on January 3rd, 2014.  When you think about it, that's really not very far away, is it?

So, among the products in my package was a stamp set that I wasn't all that sure I wanted.  Actually it made my order at the last minute---talk about waffling about something!  Now that I have the set, however, I am really quite pleased.  What's the name of the set?  It's the brand new Life in the Forest stamp set which has 7 stamps.  I'm not allowed to show you the set but I am allowed to make something up using it.  Strange, huh?

My first thought was to use a black frame and during the entire set-up and creating my little squares, I was aiming towards that black frame.  In the end, however, I layed the squares out on the black one and then on my last white frame and knew immediately that it had to be the white frame after all.

The images in the stamp set are all little forest creatures as well as a set of trees and a mushroom.  They're all very simply drawn, which is likely the reason that I waffled about buying the set to begin with.  But all the images colour up beautifully.  I decided to use my Aqua Painter and ink from my stamp pads.  The effect was wonderful and made me love the little creatures.


You can see that I also used an image from the For the Birds stamp set as well as the presents from the Wishing You stamp set.  My colours are a combination of very subtle and nice and bright.  I knew that I wanted to use the Soft Sky and to balance that, I made two squares using the Pistachio Pudding.  I wanted each one to be on a base colour and was surprised at how much I liked the Pacific Point with the Soft Sky.  The Pistachio Pudding also looks really good on the Gumball Green.

Don't you just love these adorable little creatures?  Just think---on January 3rd they will be available and so will everything else in the new catalogue.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Framed yet again!

I can't get enough of those frames!  I managed to buy a stash from my local Dollar Store and can't stop coming up with new ideas for them.  Will the madness ever end?

One of the new frames in my stash is black and immediately I thought about using some retro images.  I haven't been with Stampin' Up! for that many years, but have some great images to fill the squares for that type of look.  One stamp set from last year, Winter Memories, provided two of my images:  the kids making snow people and the old-fashioned skates.  The other scenic image came from the older but still well-loved Winter Post stamp set.  For the sentiment I used one from this year's very versatile Christmas Messages stamp set.

I wanted the finished product to hark back to yesteryear and decided to use the least amount of colour.  I think I managed to give it that old-fashioned look by sticking to a touch of grey, red, green and blue, don't you?


The next frame I chose to do was white again.  I knew I wanted to use the Owl Builder Punch for the images in each window but had to decide just what the little owl would become for each.  So many choices!  That punch is so versatile!  If you don't already have it, I strongly suggest that you can't go wrong getting one.

My final choices for my owl images were:  a little penguin (of course), Mr. & Mrs. Santa, and a little snow (man) owl.  I decided on primarily white or green backgrounds.  For the sentiment, I turned to the retired No Peeking stamp set.  Yes, that's some retired Designer Paper behind my sassy little snow (man) owl, but it seemed absolutely right for this project.


Who wouldn't love to receive this set of adorable owl-based characters?  Don't you need an owl in your life?


Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Clearance Blitz! Here today...gone tomorrow!

Once again Stampin' Up! is clearing off its shelves, getting ready for the end of the Holiday Catalogue and the beginning of the Spring Occasions Catalogue.  You already know what that means...a fantastic Clearance Rack Blitz.  Some of our old favourites (and not-so-old favourites) are being offered at a discount of up to 80%.  At this time of the year who doesn't want to save some money?  If you have a friend or relative who likes crafting almost as much as you do, this is the time to get them great quality gifts without breaking the bank.

This link will take you directly to my store and the Clearance Rack Blitz.  If you don't want to view the items page by page, just change it to "view all" and that problem is solved.

Some of the terrific items on sale will be familiar to you since I've enjoyed using them and showing off my projects.  That wonderful Spider Web Embossing Folder, for example, is there and at a great discount.  Remember when I used it on this card?


Another product in the Clearance Blitz is the Scalloped Square Punch which I featured in this card.


The Silver Flourishes which are featured in this card are also being cleared out.  They look so elegant on cards, don't they?


There are also stamp sets,  buttons, brads, some of that wonderful white-core Core'dinations paper, beautiful Designer Papers, fabrics, more punches and dies.  And the savings are terrific.

Remember, these products are on sale only until they run out.  There will be no second chances or backorder lists.  When they're gone...well, they're gone.

Friday, 6 December 2013

Framed!

Last month I participated in a charity Scrapbooking Crop.  I always provide at least one prize to be included in a draw and thought it would be fun to have something purely Christmas.  A few days after making that decision, I came across some cute little frames in a store and my idea took flight.

The frame was simple.  All white, it was divided into four little frames within an outer frame.  The perfect background for some fun Christmas images, I decided.  After playing around with some images and trying to decide what four might work best together, I finally wound up with this.


I love the beautiful blues, silver and white in the Winter Frost Specialty Designer Paper and, last week, decided that I would have to make up another little frame.  This time I decided to spotlight the gorgeous Festive Flurry stamps and framelits and snow.  It seemed especially appropriate since we've had an incredible amount of snow so far.  Yes, I know it's not officially Winter yet.  That makes me rather nervous.

The frame is the same but what a difference using these cooler colours makes, don't you agree?


I'm not sure which one I like best.  Let me know what your pick would be.

ADDED DECEMBER 8th

I finished another frame and wanted to share it as well.  Now I'm hoping that I can find more of these frames because I have some more ideas and no more frames to hold them.


These frames have been a fun project and would make a great class---or a great stocking stuffer for someone special.