Friday 28 June 2013

Stamping a Scrapbook Page!

I had some outdoor photos that I wanted to scrapbook and couldn't find any Designer Paper that "spoke" to me.  You know what that can be like.  Nothing feels quite like the page you want to make.  Well, at that point, I decided to stamp my own background for the scrapbook page.

First things first, I chose a sheet of the 12" x 12" Crumb Cake cardstock.  The great thing about this colour is that it is light enough to stamp on and neutral enough not to interfere with the colours in the photos.  To give the page a bit more punch, I used a damp sponge rubbed slightly over my ink pad to add some subtle colour to the bottom and top of the sheet.  At the top I used Marina Mist and at the bottom I used Pear Pizzazz.  It's a very subtle effect, but I wanted to get away from simply stamping on the plain Crumb Cake.

Once that dried, I chose that wonderful new stamp set, Wetlands, to stamp the rushes, the geese and the marsh birds across the bottom of the page.  Then I used my old friend, Lovely As A Tree, to stamp some trees across the top of the page.  For all this stamping, I used the new Baked Brown Sugar ink.  Now I was ready to mount my photos.

For the photos I used some of the new Squares Framelits to crop them and also to cut the mats onto which they would be mounted.  For those mats I used Always Artichoke, Baked Brown Sugar, Naturals Ivory and Chocolate Chip.  As you can see, two of those shapes aren't squares.  I also used my Ovals Framelits as well as one of the shapes from the Apothecary Accents Framelits.

To add a bit of interest, I adhered a piece of the Natural Trim Ribbon in a lazy, meandering diagonal and stamped it using my Fabulous Phrases stamp set and Crumb Cake ink.  Once everything was mounted on the page, I stamped a few sentiments (sorry, a couple are retired but were perfect for my page).

To finish off the page, I added a bit of white on the Canada Geese using my Aqua Painter and white Craft Ink and also put a tiny bit of Always Artichoke on the tips of the fir trees using my Stampin' Marker.

Wednesday 26 June 2013

Hurrah! The New Stampin' Markers are now available for single purchase!

What terrific news!  Now, instead of buying a set of all ten of the new Stampin' Markers, we will be able to order the colours singly.  It's great to get only those that we actually need or want, isn't it?  Thank you, Stampin' Up! for making them available this way.

Tuesday 25 June 2013

Hexagonals rock!

I love the Honeycomb embossing folder.  I love the new Hexagon Punch.  Put the two together and they rock, big-time.  I had to make a get-well card and, using the embossing folder and punch together, made a quick and easy card that I'm hoping will instantly lift the spirits of my friend.

The colours I decided to use were white, black and red.  I love those colours together and, for this design, really helped make everything "pop".  My base was the Naturals White cardstock.  Then I cut a 4"x5 1/4" piece of the Real Red Polka Dot Parade designer paper and a 3 3/4" x 5" piece of Basic Black cardstock which I embossed using my Honeycomb embossing folder.  I also punched out a piece of the same Polka Dot Parade designer paper using my Hexagon punch.  Finally, I snipped a 1" square of the Creped Filter Paper.

Taking my hexagon piece of Polka Dot Parade, I used my Basic Black Stampin' Marker to draw a line halfway up the centre.  Then I drew a line from the edge on both sides to meet that centre.  I also cut a small hole in the top of the hexagon shape and pulled the folded up piece of Creped Filter Paper through and attached it at the back with a glue dot.  You can see what I'm talking about in the following picture.  You know what they say: a picture is worth a thousand words---and also shows off exactly what I did.

I propped that up on dimensionals on my embossed Basic Black layer.

Then I stamped the Get Well sentiment from the new Tag It stamp set on Whisper White cardstock, using Basic Black ink.  I cut that out using the matching framelit from the Chalk Talk framelit set.  I used the next size up framelit from that set to cut a plain piece of Real Red cardstock to back the sentiment.

I propped the sentiment up on dimensionals as well.  And the card was finished---as simple as that.  But I love the way the colours "pop", don't you?

At this point I have to say that using my new magnetic platform made cutting the sentiment out with my framelit so easy that I felt like singing.  No more post-it notes or tape to hold my framelits down ever again!

Monday 17 June 2013

Another swap? Are you kidding me?

Remember me?  The one who swore off all swaps until the end of time?  Well, the end of time certainly came a lot faster than I anticipated because suddenly I've agreed to be part of another swap.  This is a perfect time to say Oy vey!

A friend of mine is having a swap using the brand new stamp sets that are being released each month this year in celebration of Stampin' Up!'s 25th Anniversary.  The one I chose to do is the set released for May:  Best of Brides and Babies (item #133482).  So far it's probably my favourite set with the Best of Butterflies being a close second.  You can tell from the name of the stamp set that I would be having a choice of making a baby card or a wedding card, right?  That was a really difficult decision.  The stamps for each were so appealing.  After changing my mind several times, I finally chose to do a wedding card.
Best Of Brides & Babies Clear-mount Stamp Set
You can see from the images in the stamp set that any of those stamps would be fun to use.  For my wedding card I decided to use the Bride and Groom stamp as well as the Bells stamp.  

The designing process can be really difficult insofar as there are so many ways one can use the stamps and also so many colours one can use and so many ways one can use the products. So I decided that I would use the Vellum Cardstock but first emboss it with my Framed Tulips embossing folder.  I love the way vellum turns opaque and white wherever it is embossed.  The pattern of the Framed Tulips embossing folder gave the embossed edges a very lacy look.  Using my StazOn, I stamped the bride and groom towards the lower left of the embossed vellum and then on the reverse side of the vellum, I used my Pacific Point Stampin' Marker to colour in the bouquet and the flower in the bride's hair.

I also chose the Pacific Point as my base cardstock to compliment the colour of the flowers.  In order to emphasize the lacy look of the embossed vellum and also to make the stamped image stand out, I cut a slightly smaller piece of Whisper White to mount on the base cardstock first and then I centred the vellum over that.  You can really see the details in this picture.

Since the image of the bride and groom isn't very large, that left an awful lot of plain white on the card.  To balance the stamped bride and groom, therefore, I chose to put the scalloped heart from the Hearts a Flutter stamp set towards the top right corner of the card on a separate piece of Whisper White cardstock.  I stamped the heart using the new Smoky Slate ink.  After using my framelit to cut the heart out, I used VersaMark to stamp the bells onto the heart and then used silver embossing powder to heat emboss them.  I loved the finished result.

I adhered the heart to the card using Stampin' Dimensionals.  And that, I decided, would be enough.  The finished card looked elegant and simple.

And that is the card everyone in the swap will receive.  

Monday 10 June 2013

Soho Subway Designer Paper, oh yeah!

I ordered the Soho Subway Designer Series Paper during the pre-order period that Demonstrators are given prior to a new catalogue becoming "live".  We only have a short list of products from which we can choose and, of the three Designer Papers offered, one of the two I chose was Soho Subway.  I really love the colours in the paper.  Early Espresso has always been one of my go-to colours as has Very Vanilla.  Island Indigo is such a deep and rich colour while Summer Starfruit, a colour I barely tolerated when it first came out, has become another go-to colour during this past year.  The new 2013-15 In-Color, Crisp Cantaloupe, worked well with each of the other colours.  The one fear I had was that the large letters or numbers on a few of the sheets of the Designer Paper might be overwhelming when used in a card.

Today I took the plunge and decided to use a piece of the Designer Paper that had "NEW YORK" written boldly across it and that featured all of the five colours.  No, there isn't any Island Indigo in the actual piece that spells out "NEW YORK", but the two skyscrapers beside it are actually the reverse side of the sheet and the graph squares (or windows, as I chose to designate them to be) are actually drawn in Island Indigo.

There is a lot going on in the card, some of which you only notice after you've looked at it more closely.  The layer I've put directly onto the base cardstock of Crisp Cantaloupe, is made up of a piece of Summer Starfruit and Early Espresso adhered together.  I took two strips of the graphed side of the Designer Paper, each a different width and length, and adhered them to that layer, beginning right at the join-line.  Then I put that pieced-together layer through the Big Shot using my Square Lattice embossing folder.  The embossing made it appear as if it was one layer of cardstock.  

Before I adhered that layer to the base cardstock, I tore the top right hand corner away, making sure I didn't damage my skyscrapers.  Once I had adhered the layer to the base cardstock, I carefully tore the corner off the base to compliment the torn corner of the layer.  Then I adhered the piece of Designer Paper with the "NEW YORK" parallel to the skyscrapers, but extending into the Early Espresso section of the layer.  At this point the card was looking very stark.  I knew I had to add some different textures and shapes to break up the sharp angles.

I took a piece of the 7/8" Cotton Ribbon and frayed about 3/4" on each end.  Then I used my Stampin' Spritzer which contained a mix of Rubbing Alcohol and Summer Starfruit re-inker to spray both sides of the ribbon, making sure that the frayed ends also got well-spritzed with the solution.  While that was drying, I took two of the medium sized Simply Pressed Clay buttons and pushed each one into my Early Espresso ink pad, making sure that I got some ink onto the sides as well.  The result was a sort of "ringed" effect since the deeper grooves of the button remained the white of the clay.  That didn't last long since I immediately took them and spritzed them with the same Summer Starfruit solution with which I had spritzed the ribbon.

While the embellishments were drying, I took a piece of Very Vanilla cardstock and prepared to stamp my sentiment.  I had decided to use the "make a wish come true" sentiment from the Make a Wish stamp set.  I thought it was appropriate since I would love to go to New York and so would my daughter.  First I inked the stamp up with my new Crisp Cantaloupe ink pad.  Then I used my Blender Pen to remove the ink from "make a" and "come true" and also from the "I" in "WISH".  Having de-inked those portions of the stamp, I proceeded to ink them up using my Stampin' Markers.  I used the Early Espresso marker for the "make a" and the "come true" and then used my Summer Starfruit for the "I" in "WISH".  Didn't the ink begin to dry on my stamp?  Yes, it did.  No worries, however, since a simple series of "huffs" (as if you're steaming up your window in the winter) added enough moisture to reactivate my ink.  You can see from the image that all the colours stamped equally well.

Yes, my sentiment does look a bit grubby, doesn't it?  Well, it just looked too sterile compared to the rest of the card so I took one of my small acrylic blocks and, without a stamp or anything else on it, tapped it onto my Baked Brown Sugar ink pad, stamped it off onto my working paper, and then "stamped" it onto the sentiment.  The ink had separated into droplets and I love the final effect.  I had used a sponge to "age" the edges of the base cardstock as well as the torn corner and now I dampened the sponge slightly and sponged the edges of the sentiment.  It gives a totally different look than a dry sponge does but, done sparingly, is very effective.

I adhered the ribbon using some Snail adhesive and then adhered the sentiment using Stampin' Dimensionals. To finish it off I used glue dots to adhere the buttons and then "filled" the centres of the buttons with the Large Rhinestone Basic Jewels, using tiny pieces of the Stampin' Dimensionals.

There you have it.  The large letters worked perfectly as did the graph side of the Designer Paper.  I enjoyed the challenge and really love the resulting card.

Friday 7 June 2013

Surrounded by Pillow Boxes! Such fun!

There are a lot of really great samples in our brand new catalogue.  You've probably seen the cute pillow box on page 122 and wondered how it was made, considering that Stampin' Up! retired their little Pillow Box Bigz die over a year ago.  The answer is a template.  Isn't that terrific?  A template just costs the paper you print it on and can be resized to fit your needs.  It truly is the best of both worlds.

Using the pillow box template, I had to try my hand at a couple of pillow boxes (are you surprised?).  My first one highlighted that favourite stamp of mine, the Swallowtail (item #131943).  That giant butterfly has helped me create so many wonderful items!  I'm still madly in love with it.

So, I made a sandwich (no, not the edible type).  At the bottom I placed my Stampin' Pierce Mat (item #126199).  Then came my Designer Paper (or cardstock).  Next came my template and I was good to go.  Using my Simply Scored Stylus (item #125624), I firmly traced all the lines of the template (for the straight lines, I depended on a ruler).  Once traced, the lines were nicely visible on my Designer Paper and I was ready to begin cutting the solid lines of my template using my Paper Snips (item #103579).  When that was done, I simply folded along all the broken lines of my template and was ready to put it together using some Sticky Strip (item #104294) along the side flap.  Before I did that, however, I used my 1" Circle Punch (item #119868) to cut a partial circle into one of the rounded pieces on each end of the box.

After that, it's a matter of decorating the pillow box.  Since it's a nice, generous size, the Swallowtail stamp fit pretty well at a slight angle.  I decided to use the Embossing Resist Technique and therefore stamped it using my VersaMark (item #102283) and Clear Embossing Powder (item #109130).  Once that was set using my Heat Tool (item #129053), I let it cool down completely and then pulled out a Sponge Dauber (item #102892) and my Basic Gray stamp pad (item #126981) and began working the ink into the embossed butterfly.  I was careful not to get a lot of ink past the outline of the butterfly but at the top, around the head and wings, I made it quite a bit darker and went over the outline quite darkly in order to make it appear like a shadow and give a 3-D effect.  Remember, you can always add more ink with your dauber, so begin lightly and keep adding until it makes you happy with the effect.

When I finished with my shading, I adhered the side tab  to the untabbed side and my little pillow box looked great already.  My final touch was to add one of the large buttons made with the Simply Pressed Clay (item #130685) and then used a Stampin' Dimensional (item #104430) to add one of the smallest flowers made with the Simply Pressed Clay to the centre.  I adhered that to a piece of folded 5/8" Crochet Trim (item #118481) and attached it all to a corner of my Pillow Box.  I loved the result.

Of course I had to make another one.  This time I used cardstock and decided to use my Honeycomb Embossing Folder (item #129378).  I stamped a few bees into the pattern towards the edge so that they would still be visible after I added a girdle to the Pillow Box.  I used contrasting cardstock for the girdle and decorated it up using my Secret Garden stamp set (item #129144) and the matching Secret Garden framelits (item #129372).  For a sentiment, I used my A Round Array stamp set (item #129090) and its matching 7/8" Round Scallop Punch for the centre and used a dimensional to put it in the centre of the larger tag which I made using my Label Love stamp set (item #130622) and its matching punch, the new Artisan Label Punch (item #130920).

The two Pillow Boxes couldn't look any more different but they're both gorgeous.  I can't wait to see what type of Pillow Box I'm going to create next!

NOTE:  I added the following Pillow Box on June 28th, after making this one using paper from the Soho Subway Designer Paper and adding extra "bling" to the finished box.  In real life this one sparkles enough to make you put on sunglasses!

Watch for my upcoming classes.  I'll be offering technique classes and other fun classes where you can learn to make some of the items I'm featuring on my blog.

Monday 3 June 2013

Congratulations! Spring Treasure Hunt Winners.

Congratulations to our two LNS Spring Treasure Hunt Winners:  Lisa Eisner and Heather Hopson.  Each won a prize of $150 in Stampin' Up! products of their choice.  What a wonderful time to make those choices, just as the new catalogue is open for orders.

A big "thank you" to all the participants in the LNS Spring Treasure Hunt.  Remember, there will be another LNS Treasure Hunt this fall.

Sunday 2 June 2013

My Open House Sneak Peek is almost behind me!

Well, it's almost over.  I had part one of the Open House Sneak Peek on June 1st.  It just seemed like a good way to go since I could get the orders placed right away now that the brand new catalogue is active.  It was a good Open House.  I had two waves of customers and finally wound down around 6 p.m. which was an hour later than I planned.  But you know what Robbie Burns said about the best laid plans of  "meece and men".

As expected, everyone loved, loved, loved the new Simply Pressed Clay.  They were amazed at how light it was (featherweight) and how easily it coloured.  No, I didn't show them how to add drops of re-inker.  From all I've heard and read, that is just a mess waiting to happen, not to mention that too many drops of re-inker make the clay really hard to dry.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: I made the buttons and flowers we used ahead of time to ensure complete drying of the Simply Pressed Clay.)

We used the Simply Pressed Clay on two of the make-n-takes.  The first was a simple 3 1/2" x 3 1/2" card featuring the Gingham Garden Washi Tape.  I called that my "happy card" because the colours just made me smile.  Everyone loved it.

That cute button just off the centre is made using the Simply Pressed Clay which, once dry, was so easy to colour using the Daffodil Delight Stampin' Marker.  The tag is one of the six great sentiments that are part of the Hostess Stamp Set Banner Greetings.  I just love the way everything co-ordinates and is perfectly framed by the Whisper White cardstock which I embossed using the Chevron embossing folder.

The second card which we made for the make-n-takes was the standard 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" size and featured the brand new in-colors.  Again, I kept it simple, having the background embossed with the Modern Mosaic embossing folder and then lining up the butterflies, punched from each of the new in-colors with the Bitty Butterfly punch, along a piece of Whisper White stitched 1/4" grosgrain ribbon.  To finish it off, each butterfly has a little rhinestone in the centre of its body.  The sentiment was stamped with the new Baked Brown Sugar ink, using one of the sentiments from the Sweet Essentials stamp set which is currently on sale at 25% off.

The third make-n-take (yes, I decided to have three!!!) was a simple flower using one of my favourite dies, the Blossom Party Originals, along with the leaves from the Secret Garden framelits and the medium sized flower using the Simply Pressed Clay.  The only non-Stampin' Up! supplies I used were the glue gun and the floral wire.

Don't the Crisp Cantaloupe and the Pistachio Pudding cardstocks look great with a bit of the same colour ink sponged on them?  I sprayed the flower using an alcohol and Summer Starfruit ink mixture in my Stampin' Spritzer.

And there you have it---the basic play/work during the Open House.  Everyone ordered the Simply Pressed Clay and the Buttons & Blossoms Simply Pressed Clay Molds (wow!  That has to be one of the longest names of product in the catalogue!)  Especially after they got to try pushing the clay into the molds by themselves.  I think they were all amazed at the incredible flexibility of the clay as well.  No worries about anything being broken during the mailing process.

Why do I say it's almost over?  I am accommodating a couple of my customers by letting them come on Monday right after work.  This time of the year weekends get really busy.  I can relate to that.