Thursday 28 February 2013

Learning the Basics---Lessons directly from Stampin' Up!

Yes, that's exactly what this is:  A collection of lessons directly from Stampin' Up!  This download includes PDF pages, videos and all sorts of great directions to get you started whether your first love is scrapbooking or stamping.

The Basics

Learn innovative ways to get the most out of your supplies (from stamps to the Big Shot) with clever tips and all the techniques you need to start creating with success. 

Divided into six sections focused on a variety of topics, this class includes videos, step outs, and supply lists for 30+ projects!
  • Stamping Basics (7 projects)
  • Stamp-a-ma-jig (4 projects, video) 
  • Masking Techniques (4 projects, video)
  • Embossing Techniques (7 projects, 2 videos)
  • Markers and watercoloring Techniques (6 projects, video)
  • Big Shot and punches (6 projects, 2 videos)
*Since this is a large downloadable file, there are no shipping costs but a 5% GST still applies.

If you are interested, you can go to my online store and get it directly downloaded to your computer.  Just click on the line under the above picture and you will be taken directly to my store and the appropriate page.

Tuesday 26 February 2013

There's something about horses...

I've loved horses since I was a kid.  I read any book about horses that I could find whether it was fiction or non-fiction.  And if the book happened to have photographs or drawings, so much the better.  My dream was to own a horse of my own someday.  Well, some dreams don't come true, but my love of horses has never diminished.

Of course, under the circumstances, the Horse Frontier stamp set was on my "first pick" list when the new Annual Catalogue came out last year.  Strangely enough, months and months later, I still hadn't touched the set.  Oh, I saw some very nice cards made by other stampers but somehow I didn't feel the urge to use the stamps.

That all changed when I challenged myself to use those poor, neglected stamp sets that have been sitting there, on the shelves, whining to be noticed.  In fact, I didn't just limit myself to one card.  I made three.  By the time I finished, I had used all four stamps in the set.

I kept to the same colours in all three cards and also the same Designer Paper: Comfort Cafe.  Just by switching them around, using different framlits, layouts, and embellishments, all three cards are totally different.

For this card I chose to use Chocolate Chip for my base cardstock, then a layer of Crumb Cake onto which I adhered a two pieces from the Comfort Cafe Designer Paper.  Before I mounted those layers onto the base, I ran them through the Big Shot using my Chevron embossing folder.  Then I added a strip of 7/16" Natural Trim ribbon to hide the join and mounted the whole thing on the Chocolate Chip base.  I stamped the horse on Naturals Ivory cardstock using Chocolate Chip ink and cut it out using one of my Windows framelits.  The Summer Starfruit banner was added just for fun and the "feathered" look was achieved by using a damp sponge and Chocolate Chip ink.

So I wanted to stay within the same colour scheme when I made the next card.

This time I used Crumb Cake for my base cardstock and then a layer of Chocolate Chip and then a layer of Summer Starfruit, but before adding the Summer Starfruit I used my Big Shot and the Chevron embossing folder on it and then sponged it lightly using Chocolate Chip.  For the horse this time, I had in mind just seeing a portion of it, almost as if it was looking out of its stall and discovered that by using the rectangular Designer Frames embossing folder on Chocolate Chip cardstock and then cutting a rectangle of Naturals Ivory out to fit in the frame, I got exactly the effect that I was looking for.  I stamped the horse on the small rectangle using Chocolate Chip ink.  Then,. after adding a couple of banners cut from the Comfort Cafe Designer Paper, I mounted the framed horse with dimensionals.  A banner with horseshoes finished it off quite nicely.

For the third card I stayed within the colour scheme but went all out with the rest of it.

My base cardstock for this card is Chocolate Chip just like the first card, but that's where the similarity ends.  For my next layer I chose to use Summer Starfruit which I ran it through the Big Shot using my Argyle embossing folder.  Then I used my new Distressing Tool (love the way it fits my hand) and had a go around the perimeter of the cardstock.  A bit of sponging with Chocolate Chip ink finished it off nicely and I adhered it to the base using snail.  Next I took a 3 1/4" x 3 3/4" piece of Comfort Cafe Designer Paper and distressed it all around the perimeter.  Then I took a piece of Crumb Cake cardstock about the same size and stamped the horse on it using Chocolate Chip ink.  I decided to make this one a pinto using my Stampin' Markers.  After colouring it, I tore the edge off the piece all the way around and then sponged with Chocolate Chip ink to emphasize the torn edge.  I adhered the horse to the Comfort Cafe and then mounted that onto the Summer Starfruit using dimensionals.  The horseshoe was heat embossed with silver and the sentiment was cut out using one of my Labels framelits.  

I had a lot of fun meeting this challenge.  Having all three cards use the same Designer Paper and colours made it a lot of fun.


Friday 22 February 2013

Give it a chance...

I have to learn to give things a chance before reacting negatively.  That is definitely self-knowledge that I am having to embrace.  Yes, there was the incident with the Delicate Details Lace Tape, and we all know that I like the way that looks on cards, right?  I had to 'fess up to that a short while ago.

There is also the matter of my reaction to the All Dressed Up stamp set and the co-ordinating Dressed Up framelits.  I saw those and immediately thought they would be good for a one-time use and then gather dust. Each time I went past the page in the Spring Catalogue, I told myself the same thing.  The problem is that each time I went past the page, my voice grew less convincing as I told myself that.  Finally (yes, you've probably already guessed this) I wound up buying the bundle.  When it arrived I was ambivalent and put it aside for another few weeks.

Yesterday evening I used the set.  It was so much fun to "play dolls" and use this set.  I can imagine all sorts of projects, too.  Imagine a framed set of three or four dresses, all different, for a girl's room (or even for a dressing room if you're lucky enough to be one of the select few that owns one of those).  I'm itching to try a few different projects!

This card is what they call an "easel" card, which means it stand up by itself to display the front, like an easel.  I really enjoy making this type of card and also the twisted easel variety.

The little "DREAM" statuette is not part of the card but seemed appropriate.

Tuesday 19 February 2013

Think angry----no, think ANGRY!

Lately our little grandson, Xavian (or X-Man as he's more frequently called), has been into all things Angry Birds.  Of course under the circumstances his birthday card had to be all about Angry Birds.  So I had to get myself into an Angry Bird state of mind.  I swear, working on this card made me begin frowning!

X-Man keeps saying that he loves every colour of the rainbow.  Actually one of his very favourite colours is red, but he doesn't like to hurt the feelings of the other colours.  Never, and I mean never, try to force him to say what is his favourite anything.  He'll always say he likes them all.  This little guy is all about making people and things feel good and so he can't pick favourties.

So I picked the red bird for the front of the card.  Easy-peasy.  The birds are basic shapes.  You have your circles and your triangles.  And I have so many punches...

Since X-Man just turned 6, it really was providential that I finally broke down and bought the Memorable Moments stamp set at the beginning of the year.  It was the perfect sentiment to heat-emboss in white on the "grass" at the bottom of the card.

And what is that bird angry about anyway?  It's those egg-stealing pigs!  So, of course, I had to put one of those evil pigs into the inside of the card, didn't I?  X-Man is always building those little wood structures for his Angry Birds game and so, using the Modern Label punch and then putting the pieces into the Woodgrain embossing folder seemed appropriate.  It's the perfect place for the pig to hide.

Sometimes it's fun to just take a few punches, some bright paper, and put together a card for someone you love, isn't it?  I had a blast and Xavian loved his card.  And that's what card-making is all about.

Friday 15 February 2013

Struggling onward---more of the Papaya Collage

I still had the bird to think about.  Oh, I realize that using a stamp set doesn't mean using every single stamp in the set.  There are usually one or two pieces that see little stamping compared to other pieces that seem to be used all the time out of a stamp set.  In my last post I used the frame, rose and leaves from the Papaya Collage stamp set.  Normally I would have been satisfied with that.  In this case, however, since nothing in the set came easy, I was determined to use the bird stamp as well---and, hopefully, the odd little party hat.

Staying within the colours that I had used with the last card, I again used the Early Espresso for my base cardstock and had a second layer of cardstock using the Primrose Petals.  For the stamped images, I decided to use a piece from the More Amore Designer Specialty Paper: the one which was overall mainly Very Vanilla with tiny connected hearts thinly drawn in black and the occasional heart fully coloured in Real Red, Primrose Petals, Pool Party or faded black.  On this 5" x 3 3/4" piece, I stamped the leaves in the upper left corner and also in the lower right corner, using Early Espresso ink.  Then, also using the Early Espresso, I stamped the bird "standing" on the leaves in the lower right corner.  Finally, using Primrose Petals ink, I stamped the party hat on the bird's head.

I finished off by first rubbing a 5/8" Trim Flower into Crumb Cake and Primrose Petals and then adhering it to the top left corner.  An Ivory Naturals banner stamped in Primrose Petals with Happiness from the Loving Thoughts stamp set finished the card off.

Now I'm not that much of a ribbon and bows kind of stamper but then I'm not much of a "clean and simple" kind of stamper, either.  Working with the More Amore Designer Specialty paper made me begin to think "girly", however, and so I gave the stamp set one last try, but this time with ribbons and bows.

For this card I began with Primrose Petals for my base cardstock, added a layer of Early Espresso, and then  added a rectangle of the More Amore  plus the frame stamped on Very Vanilla using Crumb Cake.  I cut around the frame and then sponged  the perimeter using Primrose Petals ink.  To give it some texture and also to "echo" the design in the More Amore paper, I used the   embossing folder and ran the frame through the Big Shot.  Then I sponged just a touch of Crumb Cake across the Very Vanilla centre and assembled the card.

The ribbon I used for the bow was the Very Vanilla Seam Binding with a folded piece of Victoria Crocheted Lace ribbon underneath and both held together with an Antique Brad.  To finish off the card, I stamped the bird on Very Vanilla using Early Espresso and cut it out carefully.  After sponging it lightly with Primrose Petals, I adhered it to the stamped frame near the lower right corner.

I'm not sure which of the three cards I like best.  I'm glad to have finally used almost all the pieces of the Papaya Collage stamp set.  That's one less stamp set "nagging" to be used.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Some stamps are a struggle

Have you ever bought a stamp set and then left it, neglected, month after month because, quite honestly, you just didn't know what to do with it?  Well, that's what happened with the Papaya Collage stamp set.  I had every intention of using it.  I really liked the design of the stamps in the set.  But I just didn't know what to do with them.

Time has passed and I challenged myself to use those stamp sets that have not yet seen ink.  The Papaya Collage is one of those.  What I did to force the issue was to select the colours I would use in cardstock and ink and then just let things happen.

The first thing I did was to stamp the rose in Primrose Petals and the leaves in Crumb Cake over every available space on a piece of 5 1/4" x 4" Very Vanilla cardstock.  First I offstamped and then stamped.  That way all the images on the Very Vanilla were muted.  I liked that effect.  Then I took that great new Distressing Tool and wore away the edges around the perimeter.  Finally, I sponged some Crumb Cake over the edges and that piece was done.

Then I took a 4 3/4" x 3 1/2"  piece of Crumb Cake and stamped the fancy frame in the centre using Primrose Petals ink.  In the top left hand corner, using Early Espresso ink, I stamped the leaves several times to make them appear to be cascading into the frame.  Then I used the Distressing Tool and wore away the edges around the perimeter.  Finally, I placed it into the Fancy Fan embossing folder and ran it through the Big Shot.  I wasn't very happy with the result, thinking the whole piece was a bit too dark for my taste.  And then inspiration struck and I decided to use some bleach.  With a small tipped artist's brush, I painted bleach inside the recessed portion of each fan design, only inside the stamped frame.  I loved the way the inside of the frame appeared to be illuminated.

I finished off by stamping two butterlies with Primrose Petals on Very Vanilla, punching them out with the Elegant Butterfly punch and sponging the edges with Crumb Cake.  I also stamped the rose using Crumb Cake ink and then coloured the lined areas with my Primrose Petals marker.

Assembly:  base cardstock Early Espresso then the stamped Very Vanilla, followed by the stamped and bleached Crumb Cake.  Finally I mounted the butterflies and rose on dimensionals.

I am really so happy with the way this card turned out.

Friday 8 February 2013

A Romantic Meeting

Do you remember the lovely Designer Cuts cards and envelopes available in last Spring's catalogue?  I came across a few of those in my stash and fell in love all over again.  The laser-cut design is no less appealing a year later.  I knew I had to use one to make a Valentine card.

Luckily I had a Blushing Bride stamp pad in my stash as well.  That's the colour of the envelopes and also the colour that is simply outstanding against the soft Very Vanilla of the cardstock.  A design began to form---I was getting excited about this spur-of-the-moment project.

I used a Hearts framelit as my stencil for the inside of the card.  With that, I sponged a Blushing Bride heart that was perfectly centred to show off the laser-cut design of the front of the card.  This was already looking nice.  My next step was to find a frame of sorts for that laser-cut centre heart.  What about a piece of 4" x 5 1/4" Very Vanilla cardstock with a heart cut into it, framing the laser-cut heart?  That would be perfect.

Once I used the Soft Brocade embossing folder on the piece of cardstock and then sponged some Blushing Bride over it as well as around the perimeter and the cut-out edge of the heart, I knew this would be the perfect frame for the laser-cut heart on the front of the card.

To add some dimension and more of the vintage feel, I cut some Brushed Gold cardfstock using my Big Shot and Little Leaves Sizzlits die and divided it into three small twigs.  Then I added three of the lovely Vanilla 5/8" Flower Trim vintage flowers, rubbed slightly over the Blushing Bride stamp pad.  Adhered them to the upper left corner of the heart with my favourite Tombo liquid glue and then adhered the three small gold "twigs" in among the flowers.

My final touch was to stamp the large heart shape from the gorgeous You Are Loved stamp set on Very Vanilla cardstock using Blushing Bride ink.  Then I stamped "Just Because" from the Vintage Verses stamp set using Crumb Cake ink.  I cut that out using a Heart Framelit and used dimensionals to put it against the large cut-out-heart, in the bottom right corner.

On the inside, in the centre of the sponged heart shape, I stamped the sentiment from the You Are Loved stamp set.

Now, honestly, isn't that Romantic?

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Eating crow!

So how often have you said: "Oh, I'd never use that!  It's too expensive!"  Well, I've said it one time too many.  When I saw the Delicate Details Lace Tape in the Spring Catalogue, my first thought was that it was pretty.  My second thought, after glancing at the price, was that I wouldn't use it, especially for classes or workshops.  And so I haven't ordered it.  I've held firm on that decision during all of the December pre-order period, all of January, and now we're into February.  *sigh*  I may be changing my mind.

Yesterday I received the Delicate Details Lace Tape as a gift.  It looks prettier "in person" than in the catalogue.  That was my first, immediate thought.  And all evening my mind would wander and I would think of possible projects.  Of course you know what I did when I got home, right?  If you didn't guess that I decided to design a card around the lace tape then you don't know me very well---yet.

The Delicate Details Lace Tape is very white.  Some whites are a bit off-white or even creamy; this white is about as white as snow.  So I decided that I would make a black, grey and white card.  I chose the Basic Black as my base cardstock and then again as the centre piece of cardstock.  So I separated them with a layer of Basic Grey cardstock.  I liked the look already and I hadn't really begun.  I decided to use the Bloomin' Marvellous stamp set (Sale-a-bration) and stamped images of the butterfly, blossom and leaves all over the 3 3/4" x 5" piece of Basic Black using my Whisper White Craft Ink.  Yes, you can also use the StazOn White to do this.

Then I stamped a 2 1/2" x 5" piece of Whisper White with Basic Black ink using the En Francais background stamp.  I tore the edge of the paper around the perimeter, close to the stamped words.

I wanted some flowers on the card but I wanted them to be more similar to the blossoms that I had stamped and so I decided to use the Crepe Paper, folded to about 8 thicknesses, and cut that with the Blossoms Party die.  Scrunched up and held together with a black glimmer brad, the flowers were perfect for the card.

As I began assembly, I could see that I wouldn't like the look of the lace tape against the white stamped piece.  This observation definitely brought the whole process to a screeching halt because the whole reason I had designed the card was the Delicate Details Lace Tape.  So---back to the drawing board.  I needed the tape to be any colour other than white.  And that's when the "lightbulb" above my head suddenly lit up the whole room.  (Don't you just love those "aha!" moments?)

I decided to colour the lace tape.  Good idea, right?  Not really, since the tape is plastic and repelled the Stampin' Marker I tried to use and also the Stamp Pad I tried after that.  And then I noticed my red jiffy marker.  Permanent Maker---that should work!  And it did---work that is.  And this is the card.

So, what's black and white and red all over?  My card is!  Hope you like it.  Excuse me while I finish eating that crow...

Saturday 2 February 2013

The Best of 25

Stampin' Up! is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in 2013.  During those 25 years there have been many amazing stamps.  For the entire 12 months of 2013, therefore, Stampin' Up! will be releasing a brand new stamp set each month.  Each set will cost $17.95 and will be available until March 31st, 2014.  Best of all, you can ask me for a "collector's card".  Each time you receive one of these limited edition stamp sets, you will get a sticker which you can adhere to the card.  Collect six stickers and you can redeem a free stamp set of your choice up to the value of $17.95.  Stampin' Up! is sharing the anniversary celebration with you!

January's set was called The Best of Birthdays.  It was a set of six stamps, five of which were considered the best and most popular of the birthday stamps and one of which was a brand new, never-before-seen stamp (it's the one that fits the extra-large oval punch).
 If you've missed getting this set, remember that it will be available for order until March 31st next year.

February's set is called The Best of Love.  It is a set of six stamps as well, one of which has never been seen before.  (I'll give you a hint---it's the one with the lips.)
These Best of 25 Years stamp sets are only available in clear-mount.

Remember, even if you order these through my online store, you will receive one "proof of purchase sticker" with each set.  Make sure you get your collector's card from me so that you can redeem each six stickers collected for a stamp set of your choice (up to a value of $17.95).

I can hardly wait to see which stamps will be released for March.  How about you?

Friday 1 February 2013

*sigh* Coffee!

If you're like me, in the morning you head from your bed straight for the coffee-maker.  (Yes, many of us have detours, but our actual destination remains the coffee-maker.)  My thoughts around this time are basic and, put into words, would probably sound like "Ummmm---coffee----good!"  Coherent thought appears shortly after the first cup of coffee is half-way gone.

I love my coffee-maker!  I depend on my coffee-maker!  I am mad at my coffee-maker!  Yes, that has a slight sound of "crazy" to it, but hear me out.

My coffee-maker has quite a few bells and whistles.  I don't bother with most of them since my one aim is simply to drink that coffee, not to attend a seminar learning all about the "care and feeding" of the machine.  One of the bells and whistles that I am unable to ignore, however, is the way it nags me.  Yes, I did say it nags me.  How can a machine nag someone, you ask.  Simple!  Whoever designed this machine programmed it to flash CLN when it needs a cleaning.  I work hard to ignore that CLN but after a while I cannot ignore it any longer and clean the machine.  The flashing CLN stops.  Life is good again.

Yesterday I committed a coffee-maker "sin".  I did not wait for the machine to flash CLN.  I decided that the coffee was becoming very slightly bitter (a sure sign that it requires cleaning) and jumped the gun (or in this case the flashing CLN).  The resulting coffee, after the machine was cleaned, was absolute ambrosia and I was so very, very happy.

Jump forward to this morning.  I get up.  I realize the coffee-maker is empty.  I stagger over to the pantry and get all the necessaries and grind and prepare the coffee.  I turn on the coffee-maker.  FINALLY the coffee is ready and I go to fill my mug.  And the coffee-maker is flashing CLN!  I must have stood in a frozen position for nearly a minute, trying to process the information with my sluggish, coffee-deprived brain. Yes, it was flashing CLN.  I was not hallucinating from lack of caffeine.  Surely making two pots of coffee could not dirty the machine to the point of requiring another cleaning!

A mug of coffee later, still staring at the flashing CLN, I was still unable to understand what could have happened to my until-now beloved coffee-maker.  Was it getting even with me for cleaning it before it decided it required cleaning?  Could a machine even think of getting even?  Did someone install emotions along with the other programmes?  And then my daughter phoned.  Yay!  A distraction!  Someone else to ask the burning question: why is my coffee-maker asking to be cleaned?

*sigh* The coffee-deprived mind is a dangerous thing.  My daughter put everything into perspective.  Most likely the machine had merely been programmed to flash CLN after a set number of uses.  I jumped the gun and cleaned it.  The coffee-maker had no way of knowing it had been cleaned and the set number of uses came up today...and it did what it was programmed to do: flash CLN.

So simple.  So embarrassingly simple.  I need another cup of coffee...