Monday 31 December 2012

Wishing New Year's Blessings to All!

2013 is almost gone!  What an eventful year!  It feels as if "whoosh" it came and went before it registered.  Sometimes having too much on one's plate makes a year go faster than normal--at least that's what I keep telling myself.

And so, Happy New Year!  Hurrah for 2013---a wonderful year since it almost seemed as if the world would end before it arrived.  So much for rumours!  The earth is safe for another while and we are free to enjoy the coming year.  Let's not make impossible (or improbable) resolutions.  Let's just make sure we try--try to be the best we can be--try to follow the Golden Rule--try to make a difference with our lives.  Let's make 2013 the first year of many that we actually work together to change this world and recoup from some of the damage done to it.

I love the cartoon Peanuts.  The characters are so real.  I am leaving 2012 and entering 2013 by posting two of my favourties, celebrating the New Year.

Thanks for the send-off, Snoopy and Woodstock.  Let's hear it for 2013!

Saturday 29 December 2012

Moving away from Christmas

Except for a few Thanksgiving cards and one or two Hallowe'en cards, it seems that I've been totally immersed in Christmas-related cards and projects for months.  It was so much fun!  And then we get a new Spring 2013 catalogue and, of course, samples have to be made from all those wonderful products.  That, I found, was easier thinking about than doing.  My instinct, apparently, was to reach for Christmas papers and to think in terms of Christmas.  No wonder!  My small Christmas tree is only perhaps four feet away from me here in my crafts room.  (Yes, all the decorations and the large tree are still very evident in other parts of the house!)

So I took myself in hand and searched through my paper for the colours that did not even whisper Christmas to me.  And I decided that another holiday would provide me with a different mind-set.  What better choice than Valentine's Day?  Yes, there is still love involved (for me Christmas is and always will be a time of love, family and fellowship), but it's more of a straight-out "I love you", "I really like you", "Be my Friend", etc.  And Valentine's Day, even though it's right smack in the middle of winter, doesn't make me think of sleds, decorated trees, or snowflakes.

What better choice in Designer Paper for this card than More Amore?  The laser-cut hearts on two of the sheets can be cut apart and used singly.  And they are gorgeous!  I decided on the ones in Primrose Petals.  I could have chosen the Real Red, but since I wanted to use the Pool Party and Tempting Turquoise, I felt that Primrose Petals was my better choice (isn't it wonderful that Stampin' Up! gave us those choices???)

Sometimes I look at my pile of paper and embellishments and am amazed that this is going to be a card.  That's the fun---the magic---of card-making.

A bit of cutting, a bit of stamping, a bit of gluing, and the card takes shape.  That single stamp, "Love", that Stampin' Up! is offering for a limited time is the perfect fit for the second size in the Heart framelits.  I find that exciting!  There haven't been any stamp sets to co-ordinate with these framelits since the last Valentine set in Spring 2012!

I love how this card turned out!  I can see myself turning to these laser-cut hearts frequently.  And the single stamp is perfect for that heart in the centre, isn't it?  Hmmm...  Maybe it won't be so hard to move away from Christmas cards after all.

Friday 21 December 2012

For the moment! For the day! For the month! Forever!

Apparently the world was supposed to end sometime around 3:00 a.m. on December 21st, 2012.  That time has come and gone.  Of course, in case the ancient Mayan was on a different time system, the day will not be ending until midnight.  Will the world end then?  I suppose that if it does, I will never know about it.

I cannot understand why some people are so preoccupied with the end of the world that it has become an obsession with them.  Their lives revolve around the end of life rather than around life itself.  I ask myself:  "Is the prospect of Doomsday their only pleasure?  In that case, do they even live?"

I know this could be argued endlessly in a Philosophy class.  But this isn't a Philosophy class.

If the world ends, I will not know about it.  Nor will all the other people on this earth.  If the world ends, end of story.

I know that this world of ours is far from perfect but it is what we have and we should care for it.  We should stop worrying about Doomsday and begin worrying about the planet which we happen to inhabit and begin to take care of it.  We should  stop worrying about Doomsday and begin caring for each other and striving to make this a world where we all care about each other.

I'm glad the world didn't end.  I'd miss it. Wouldn't you?

Thursday 20 December 2012

Knowing you care

I am the first to admit that it sounds hokey to tell people to send a card to a community reeling from a tragedy such as the one at Sandy Hook.  If you think about it, however, it begins to make sense to reach out and let people know someone cares.  It lets them know that the world out there is not just after more sensational news.  People are hurting just knowing that this has happened in their world.

What can a card do? It can give comfort. It can give hope. It can let them know that they're not alone. For those who feel helpless and angry about the tragedy in Sandy Hook, Connecticut, this is something you can do. Send a card--a hopeful card--a card that tells them that you are thinking of them.  A card that reminds them that there are still a lot of good people in the world.  People who care...

Sandy Hook Elementary School
12 Dickenson Drive
Sandy Hook, CT 06482

Sunday 16 December 2012

Loving what you do...

I have been doing this for a year now.  Somehow, in that weird mind/time way in which we so often perceive our lives, it seems longer and shorter than a year.  It feels as if I've been doing this forever.  I don't mean that in a bad way, I'm truly loving what I'm doing.  It feels as if I just began with Stampin' Up!  So odd to feel both ways!

I took a few minutes today and looked at some of the cards I made in the beginning.  I took special notice of the cards that I chose to have people do as make-n-takes at my workshops.  What I see when I compare those cards to what I am making now is growth.  That makes me feel good, too.  Growth is important in life. If you aren't growing, you're standing still or, even worse, declining.  I'd rather feel my creativity grow than decline.

I look back at my beginning and see that, although I still don't have a lot of customers, my customer base is growing.  That, too makes me feel good,.  Oh, yes, like any other human, I'd love to suddenly have a thriving business and make giant leaps up the ladder of success.  But there is another part of me that is happy just growing and enjoying what I do in the manner that I am doing it.  I'm not sure that I'm the type that would be comfortable having so much business and having so many demonstrators responsible to me that I would have no choice but to become more of a business person than a creative person.  I've owned a business some years back and I know that what I liked best about it was the creative end.  In the same way, I prefer the creative part of this Stampin' Up! business.  I have just enough paperwork without feeling swamped.  Too much success would tip the scales.

And so I'm loving what I'm doing.  I'm loving my interaction with the people who also love what they are doing, whether they are fellow demonstrators on the Stampin' Connection or customers who are enjoying my classes.

This is the way to approach the end of a year---knowing that you are happy.

Friday 14 December 2012

Stars on my Mind!

So I was stamping that beautiful image from the Come to Bethlehem stamp set.  Of course, lately, stars have been on my mind and I immediately noticed the star that the Wise Men are following.  And suddenly I realized that this lovely star has eight points.  Yes, I said eight!  Naturally my next thought was: I wonder if I could make a 3-D eight-pointed star?  You saw that coming, didn't you?

Back to my protractor and a quick calculation that gave me the angles necessary to wind up with an eight-pointed star.  It turns out that each angle will have to be 45 degrees.  Of course it would be awesome in Glimmer paper, right?  Can't you just imagine the stamped silhouette image of the Wise Men and then this gorgeous, glittery 8-point star?  Thinking about it made me want to do it even more.

Back to the square of cardstock with the intersecting diagonal lines, but this time let's use a five inch square instead.  Use the centre created by the intersection and measure 45 degrees.  Do that eight times and draw the lines as you go, of course, and you have the basis for the star.  Doesn't that seem like a lot of lines?  The Glimmer paper is going to be put through its paces on this one!

Once you have all eight lines, there is still the problem of finding the inside point---without which there cannot be an outside point, after all.  So each one of those lines is going to have to be measure for 22 1/2 degrees, or one half of 45 degrees.  I'm drawing those lines in red to make sure that what I have done is clear.

So, clear as mud?  Measure the red lines to 3/4 inch from the centre.

Measure alternating black lines to 1 1/2 inches from the centre.

Measure the remaining black lines to 2 inches from the centre.

Now connect the black lines to the red lines as shown in the picture below.

This, once you've cut it out, is going to be your template.

And if you think those angles look skinny and the "arms" of the star look skinny, I would agree with you.  For that reason, I've decided that for this star I am going to be using the Brushed Silver cardstock.  It will still be amazing with some of the Silver Sparkle Dazzling Details on it and will be so much more easily folded along those skinny "arms".

Well, it really was quite a challenge scoring those skinny arms.  But where there is a will, there is always (or usually) a way.

Just remember to fold the short score lines into valleys and the long skinny arms into mountains.  It looks really nice when it is folded.

And then, to top it off, I simply smeared it with some of the Silver Sparkle Dazzling Details.  Once dry, this will look wonderful!

And this is what I was aiming for:  a 3-D star coupled with that silhouette stamp of the wise men riding towards Bethlehem.

It took a while to get to this card, but I love the results!

Am I planning to attempt 3-D stars with even more arms?  No!  Emphatically, no!  I think eight is my limit.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Making the 3-D Six-sided Star---Doing the Math.

I promised to work on a 3-D six-sided star when I posted last time.  Actually the math for it is very easy.  You begin, again, with a 4" x 4" square of cardstock.  Then draw the two diagonals to get a centre point.  After that it's just measuring with your protractor.  Since the circle would have 360 degrees, six points within the circle would require six angles measuring 60 degrees each.  Much easier than the 72 degrees for the five-point star, don't you agree?

Once you've measured out your six angles, extend the lines from each long point across to to corresponding long point.  Do the same with all the "inside" points.  You can see what I mean in this picture.

This will be your template.

Using the template, trace out the star shape on the back of a piece of Glimmer paper.  Again, join the points as you did on the template.  You will see that in my example, below, I have joined the long points in black ink and the short inside points in red ink.  I have a reason for that.

Each line drawn in black ink is going to be the fold line for a "peak".  The Glimmer paper will be folded with back side to back side, Glimmer out, and the fold line will be a peak on the Glimmer side.  Each line drawn in red ink is going to be the fold line for a "valley".  The Glimmer paper will be folded with Glimmer side to Glimmer side and the fold line will be a valley on the Glimmer side.  It makes sense once you do it.

This picture shows a short red ink line being folded.

When all the lines have been folded into peaks or valleys, you will already be able to see the 3-D star taking shape.

Flip it over with the Glimmer side up and gently push in the valleys and help the peaks up, encouraging a point in the centre.

It's a gorgeous star.  It seems almost more solid than the five-pointed variety.  I can see so many possibilities for this star.  For example, can you imagine it in the centre of an ornament?

Of course a five sided star would also be awesome in a five-sided ornament, but I love the way this one turned out.

And finally, by extending one "arm" of the star (extend the line going from long point to long point), you can have a 3-D Star of Bethlehem.

I say "finally", but actually there is no limit, except your imagination.  That's as far as I'm taking it on this blog entry, however.  I hope you'll enjoy experimenting with this 3-D star and share some of your creations.

Below, I've uploaded a template for those who just aren't into "doing the math".   Download, print out, and use as your own template. Enjoy!

Sunday 9 December 2012

Doing the math!

I love the way those 3-D stars look.  I have a few mounted around my craft room, made of various leftover pieces of Designer Paper.  They're fun to fold.  They look great in pretty well every size.  I learned to make the stars using the folding method, almost like an origami fold that one has to cut in the end for the star to materialize.  That seems to be the most-used method.

And then I decided that I wanted to make a star out of the Glimmer paper.  Now, anyone who has handled the Glimmer paper knows that it is rough and actually feels almost exactly like very, very coarse sandpaper. Could you do one of those origami folded stars using very, very coarse sandpaper?   Trust me, it's next to impossible without having it crack on some of the folds.  Yes, I tried it simply because it was a cheaper trial run than using Glimmer paper.

So, back to my elementary math.  A circle has 360 degrees.  The star that I wanted to make has five points. It follows that I would therefore have to have five segments, each measuring 72 degrees, right?  Trust me, I've done the math--it's right.

So, I'm going to lead you through the whole step-by-step calculation with pictures accompanying the steps and then I'm going to upload a template.  If you print out the template, you can vary the sizes and your star will always be totally aligned and even, unlike the folded type.

I began with a 4" x 4" square of paper since my protractor is 4" and so I needed the room to make my marks for the lines.  Step two was lightly drawing a diagonal line from one corner to the other and then repeating this with the other corners, like so:

This gives me a centre where they intersect.  So, using my protractor, I lined the centre up to the intersecting lines.  It doesn't matter which line you choose to do this from.  The one you choose will be the first line of your star.  From that, measure 72 degrees and make a mark.  Draw a line from the centre to the mark.  This is line two of your star.  Keep doing this until you have five lines.  In the picture below, it is only the dark lines that are part of the star.  The others just gave us the centre.

Once you have the five lines marked in ink, erase the light diagonal lines.

 Then extend the five lines one inch past the centre as shown:

Then, with a ruler, connect the long line with the short line as shown:

Next carefully cut the outside lines.  This is your star template.

Since it's impossible to make an even line on the Glimmer side of the paper

I had to trace the star onto the back of the Glimmer paper.

Carefully cut out the star shape from the Glimmer paper.  Next, draw lines as shown:

Make sure the lines are carefully drawn since they are the lines which you will score using the Simply Scored.

Once you have scored each line firmly, fold along each line with the Glimmer side out.  Make sure all five lines have been well creased.

Now, turn the star over and make sure the long lines are hills while the short lines are valleys.  And voila!  You have a 3-D Glimmer star.

I decided to make one in the Silver Glimmer paper and wound up with this card.  Thank you Justin Krieger for the inspiration.

For those who do not wish to do the math, I'm uploading a template.  All you have to do is copy the picture file and then go to print.  You should be able to choose your printing size and thus also choose your star size.  Enjoy. :)

Saturday 8 December 2012


I take a lot of photographs.  I've done it for years.  I can't remember a time when I didn't own a camera.   Of course now I own cameras in the double digits, but we won't talk about that.  That's a topic for another blog.

One of the things that I love about stamping is the way it is possible to convey an almost photographic "look" to a card.  I dig into my memories and, with some shimmer paper, a sponge, several colours of ink and a couple of stamps, create a scene that is similar to some that I've come across in British Columbia where I used to live.  Of course I've taken a bit of artistic license, but overall, it brings back memories.

Since I'm feeling nostalgic, my card is in sepia which, for me, is a nostalgic colour.  It reminds me of the past.  Perhaps my own past is not as far back as the original sepia photographs, but let's just agree that memories are well depicted in sepia.

The moon is, of course, exaggerated but since I've moved to Alberta, I've seen some enormous moons as they rise up from the horizon.  They say it's because of atmospheric conditions, but for me that enormous moon is magical.  So I've combined my enormous Alberta moon with the silent beauty of a deer walking through the hilly woods in the evening.

I hope you like it as much as I loved creating it.

Monday 3 December 2012

Have you seen a penny roller?

I found out about penny rollers a few months ago.  Jean Fitch gave me a link and I was hooked. Of course I had to try making one.  The result is a card that I absolutely love.  I have it on display in my crafts room and every time I go by it, I have to make that penny roll.  After all those rolls, I can report that the card still looks as good as new.  Kudos to the Stampin' Up! cardstock.  It really is superior to any other I've used.

I made my penny roller card as simply as possible, to put all the focus on the cute little rolling penguin.  Yes, that's what I said: a rolling penguin.  The adorable little penguin is one of the stamps from the Polar Party stamp set.  Actually the trees I've stamped on the front of the card are from that set as well.  I love the way they look with the Northern Flurry embossing folder.  Simple, yet striking in their simplicity.

How did I make the penny roller?  I used a base cardstock of Naturals White, 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" folded in half to make a 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" card.  Then I took a 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" piece of Naturals White and put it through the Big Shot in the Northern Flurry embossing folder.  That folder allows a nice clear area for stamping and that's where I stamped the three trees from the Polar Party stamp set.  Then I used my Word Punch. I began approximately 1/2" from the left edge, and brought the punch up to the base of the trees.  Continuing to punch across the bottom of the cardstock in the same line, I finished approximately 1/2" from the right edge. Placing this embossed piece of cardstock onto the base cardstock so that all sides match, I then stamped one line of the sentiment from the Polar Party stamp set through the punched out area, onto the base cardstock.

Then I coloured the trees.  Next I stamped one of the penguins from the stamp set onto Whisper White and coloured it.  I also punched out a 3/4" circle of Whisper White.  I fussy-cut around the penguin and mounted him onto the 3/4" circle.  It looked as if he was sitting on a giant snowball.

Next I placed dimensionals around the perimeter of the embossed cardstock and across the middle, being careful to keep the dimensionals well away from the line punched with the Word Punch.  I carefully mounted the embossed cardstock onto the base cardstock.

The next step was to create the "penny roller" portion of the card.  The 3/4" white circle is just about the exact size of a penny so I mounted the penguin/snowball onto one penny with double-sided tape (Sticky Strip).  Then I placed a dimensional in the centre of a second penny and joined the two pennies together.  It was easy to slip the bottom penny carefully through the punched line.  And there it is!  A penny roller.

I just love this little guy.  He spins back and forth and always makes me chuckle.

Don't you just love it?

Sunday 2 December 2012

Simple is best

All right, I will admit that this statement, made by a self-confessed WOW card maker, seems a bit odd.  But really, sometimes simple really works out to be the very best and most beautiful way you can go, both in life and in cards.  After making a whole bunch of possible family Christmas cards, this morning I have finally made the one.  Yes, this is it.  No more waffling back and forth.  No more agonizing over the choice.  This is it!

My final choice is what could be called the offspring of my Peace on Earth card which I posted in a previous blog-entry

 and my front-runner in the potential family Christmas cards.

Combining the two in spirit finally brought me to the right card and this is the one which I am making for everyone on my Christmas card list.  Love the way the Illuminate adds depth to this card!

I hope everyone that receives one likes it as much as I do.

A totally different look!

Have you checked out the new Stampin' Up! site?  It's totally unrecognizable!  Seriously, if you have a moment, wander over there and have a look.  It's full of surprises.  You can click on videos and all sorts of wonderful new boxes.  The style and impact of the page is completely new.

How can you tell Stampin' Up! is getting ready for next year's 25th Anniversary celebration?