Wednesday 30 October 2013

Ready for more transformed owls?

I love using the new Circle Cards Thinlits Die.  Using it the way it's designed is great, but usually I slip the end over the cutting edge and get an extended card.  I've explained the process in another post.  I think it adds more interest to the card since you wind up with an additional fold.

I decided to make another Hallowe'en card, complete with altered owls, using the extended Circle Flip Flop card.  Basic Grey seemed like the perfect colour as my base cardstock.  Using the right colours, in this case Summer Starfruit, Basic Black and Pumpkin Pie, the Basic Grey is a perfect backdrop and also adds a hint of the spooky feeling of Hallowe'en.

From the front, the card appears to be primarily Basic Grey and Summer Starfruit because I used that colour of Designer Paper as my second layer on the front fold as well as the back of the extension.  This is how it looks all folded up (before I dressed it up, of course).

As my second layer on the inside, I used Pumpkin Pie Designer Paper.  Just a note here:  the designer papers are all the retired style, although the colours are current, and the stamp set for the bare tree that I heat embossed in Basic Black in the centre is the retired Season of Friendship set.   Just as a matter of interest, I added one additional limb to the top left branch.  I needed it for the owl.  Call it artistic license.

One of the things I love about the extended Flip Flop card is that there are so many areas to decorate.   There is the front, the extended inside and the fold-over back.  But the real "star" of the show is the circle which "flip-flops" as you open the card.  For the front, I decided to use a circle punched from Summer Starfruit cardstock, which I stamped in Basic Black ink using the black cat from the new Bite Me photopolymer stamp set.  First, however, I stamped a portion of the huge spider web from that stamp set across my circle using Smoky Slate ink.  After stamping the cat, I stamped the BOO! from the stamp set under it, giving the illusion that the cat was resting on top of it.   I used a sponge to shade the edges of the circle with some Basic Grey ink.

It looked a bit bare with just the one owl and the tree so I had to add another owl.  With the black cat on the front of the card, a witch seemed like the right choice.

The Flip Flop circle on the inside of the card looked pretty bare by this time so I punched a 2 1/2" circle from the Pumpkin Pie Designer Paper and covered it with a spider's web and a spider.  The Trick or Treat sentiment was perfect in Basic Black.

To add a bit more interest to the inside of the card, I punched out some ovals from the Pumpkin Pie Designer Paper as well as a few tiny punched flowers which I cut in half.  A bit of adhesive and some squiggles with my Always Artichoke marker and a pumpkin was born.

Finishing up, I just loved the way the black cat takes over the front of the card and didn't want to distract any attention away from it, so I just added a bit of Basic Grey shading around the DSP and a couple of spiders, also from the Bite Me stamp set.  The back fold-over was perfect with the addition of the spider web from the same stamp set...and, of course, another spider or two.  And that finished the front which you can see all folded up here.

Even with the vampire owl, the witch and the pumpkin, the inside of the card was missing something so I stamped some more spiders' webs, some spatters, some spiders and loved the effect.  Time to stop.  So this is what I wound up with for the inside.

Does the witch look a bit down in the dumps?  Wouldn't you if you couldn't remember where you left your broomstick?

Hope you like the card.  It was such fun playing around with the owl builder punch.

Sunday 27 October 2013

The Owl Builder Punch---May it always be with us!

From the first day that I was introduced to Stampin' Up! two years ago, the Owl Builder Punch has been part of my life.  You can say that I fell in love when I first saw it and it wouldn't be a lie.  That one punch is so versatile and so much fun to use!  It would be a ghastly mistake if Stampin' Up! chose to retire it.  Fingers crossed that it never happens!

Talking about ghastly, I decided to use the Owl Builder Punch for some of my Hallowe'en cards this year.  With all the available stamps, and I have some nice Hallowe'en ones, I still find myself drawn to "my owl".  This time, however, that theatrical little guy became a vampire bat for my card.

Don't you just love the way the Always Artichoke and the Red Glimmer paper make his eyes so compelling? Cutting the tops off the circles and then adhering them at an angle makes for eyes with an attitude.  Just what my little vampire bat needs!

I have to admit to using a couple of retired products.  The moon, for example, was cut out of retired Pumpkin Pie Brights DSP but has been upgraded to almost current with the Orange glitter that's squiggled all over it.  The embossing folder, too, has been retired but the Spider Web was too much of a temptation for me to ignore, so I've used it.

For the inside of the card I stayed very current.  The cardstock which I've mounted on the base of Basic Black is the new Smoky Slate.  White just seemed a bit too clean and bright for a Halloween card.  The spiders, web, and sentiment are all from the newly released Photopolymer stamp set, Bite Me.  I am loving this set!

Finally, you get to see the front of my card!  As I mentioned, the base cardstock is Basic Black.  The next layer which I emblossed with the Spider Web embossing folder is Always Artichoke.  The little vampire bat is Basic Black (oh, forgot, his wings are cut with the retired bat punch), the moon is Pumpkin Pie with Orange glitter, and the heat embossed "Boo" at the top is Basic Black embossing powder.

I'll be posting more Owl Builder Punch creations.  Stay tuned...

Saturday 26 October 2013

Playing with the Pop n Cut Die

For a lot of people the Pop n Cut Dies are old news.  For me, this is a brand new toy.  Yes, I held out against getting it because "ouch"! it is expensive.  But then a lot of things are and now that I have it I can't believe I didn't get it sooner.

The outside of the Pop n Cut card is really not all that much different from a normal 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" card.  Yes, it has little slots at the bottom of the back where the rounded tabs at the top of the front slip in.  If that was all, it really wouldn't be worth the investment.

Since I was just trying out the die, I used some of my retired papers.  Really, any papers could be used to just as good effect.  I love the way the Apothecary Framelit make it appear as if you're peeking at the haunted mansion through a keyhole, don't you?  And the spider from the new Bite Me Photopolymer stamp set is very realistic, isn't it?

It's the inside of the Pop n Cut card that makes the entire investment worthwhile and gives the card such a WOW effect.  I used the spider web from the Bite Me Photopolymer stamp set across the gravestones as well as another spider from the set and some blood spatters, also from the set.  I also used the retired bat punch (so sorry about that---it was such a terrific punch) and the 1 3/4" circle punch for the moon.  The rest of the bats are part of that wonderful Witch's Brew Designer Series Paper.  Don't you just love it?  

The skeleton is from the Toil and Trouble stamp set and hand cut out.  I made a little "v" cut at the elbow to allow his arm to bend.  The whole scene in the centre is pushed out like a stage.  There is a real 3-D effect and it is so easy using the Pop n Cut Die.  

And there you have it.  My new discovery about a year after everyone else discovered it.  Oh well, better late than never, right?

Wednesday 23 October 2013

I'd rather be crafting...

My refrigerator began freezing everything.  I'm not talking about the freezing compartment, either.  I'm talking about my refrigerator.

I've discovered a few things since the problem began last Friday.  Tomatoes, peppers, onions, cucumbers and a whole lot of other fruits and vegetables turn to mush when they freeze solid and then thaw.  Since I had just filled my refrigerator with fresh produce, this was a very unhappy discovery.

Wanting a glass of milk or water and discovering it won't pour because it's solidly frozen in its container isn't much fun, either.  I could keep on about what isn't fun about a refrigerator that freezes everything, but you get the idea.

Checking out the internet over the weekend, I found out what the problem is:  the thermostat is broken.  I also found some excellent diagrams showing exactly where the thermostat is located, how it is taken out and how the new one would be installed.  I do a lot of trouble-shooting and repair work so it really didn't look all that hard.

Yesterday I located a store in nearby Red Deer which carried the part and bought it.  Today I emptied my refrigerator, flipped the breaker in the electrical panel to ensure that being electrocuted wasn't a possibility and proceeded to disassemble the control box area of my refrigerator.

After about an hour of trying various different ways, I gave up trying to disconnect the main harness plus and the light fixture plug.  There has to be some sort of trick to taking those plugs apart and the diagram doesn't hint towards a solution.  So I gave up and left the kitchen and drowned my frustration in some heavy duty heat embossing.  I had to make some cards for an upcoming WOW class anyway and the detailed work took my mind off the refrigerator.

Then my daughter came over, responding to my call for help (I had sent her a text message on her phone).  Apparently with an extra set of hands, it was possible to take the plugs apart.  Hard with just the one set since the housing had to be held up until it was unplugged.

So...I now have a working fridge.  The thermostat allows me to turn off the fridge (didn't before) and, I'm assuming, allows temperature control.  Apparently it takes 24 hours for the temperature in a fridge to right itself.

All in all---I'd rather be crafting.

Tuesday 22 October 2013

25 Stamp Sets now on sale at 25% off!

Stampin' Up! has gone all out in celebrating their 25th Anniversary!  Just think about it, this week they are offering 25 stamp sets, each at 25% off the regular price.  Amazing?  Yes, it is!  I wish some of these stamp sets had been on sale when I bought them.  There are, however, some that I don't have and will definitely be buying at this terrific discount.

How about you?  Just come over to my Online Store and see which stamps are included.  You can either place your order while you're there or contact me and I'll include your stamps in this week's order.

Remember, this offer is only good until October 28th.

Monday 21 October 2013

There's just something about boxes...

I love all the boxes that Stampin' Up! offers.  They're fun to decorate and fun to fill with a little (or not so little) surprise for someone special in your life.  The Tag a Bag gift boxes are especially fun!  Not only are they a generous 6 7/8" x 2 1/8" x 2 1/2", they come with an acetate sleeve.

You've seen the one I made for the Wacky Watercooler Holiday Catalog(ue) Blog Hop.  For that one I ran the acetate sleeve through my Big Shot using the Northern Flurry embossing folder.  I loved having it decorated as well as the paper box.  The ones my daughter, Shera-Lee, and I made for Hallowe'en also had embossed acetate sleeves.  For them, however, we used that wonderful retired folder, the Spider Web.  That is one embossing folder that I wish hadn't been retired.

As for the rest, we used our new Witches' Brew Designer Series Paper as well as stamps from the Toil and Trouble stamp set.  Shading the edges of the paper and the boxes with a sponge and some Basic Black ink also added to the final effect.

We both loved the way our boxes turned out.  We filled them with shredded paper that we spritzed with a black ink mixture and let dry and then added some chocolates before slipping the sleeves over the boxes. Who wouldn't want to receive one of these as a treat?

Saturday 19 October 2013

Playing with ideas

You've all been there, I'm sure.  You want to make a card and your mind goes blank.  There are countless possibilities, especially considering all the products that surround you---but your mind remains blank.  That's when you begin to scour Pinterest for an idea, right?  Well, I usually go to the Stampin' Connection which is a "demonstrators-only" type of Pinterest.  With thousands upon thousands of samples, all using Stampin' Up! products, the place is a gold mine for ideas.

Usually I look through several pages and something in my brain "creaks" as it opens up.  I don't copy any of the samples directly but, like in cooking, a little bit of this, a dab of that and a pinch of this other thing and suddenly it all comes together in an inspiration.  I love moments like that.

Hallowe'en is one of those holidays where so many of the stamps are cutesy and/or predictable.  What if, however, we don't think about bats, monsters and pumpkins?  What if we think about something right in front of us?  I don't know about you, but I have a penchant towards take-out teas or lattes.  I often come home still nursing one of those take-out cups.  That's actually what convinced me to buy the Perfect Blend stamp set.  It was like bringing an old friend home.

What does this stamp set have to do with Hallowe'en except perhaps as a reminder that a cup of something hot might keep your fingers from freezing as you herd your own ghosts and goblins and space-creatures from door to door?  Well, I found an idea on the Stampin' Connection that I adapted and played with to make the following:

 What a difference a few scrap strips of paper can make, huh?   I had some very thin strips of Very Vanilla lying beside the paper cutter and lightly sponged the edges using my Basic Black ink.  Then I just cut and glued strips willy-nilly across the cut-out cup and, afterwards, trimmed the excess from the sides.  A couple of eyes using my small circle punches, a dab of white using my White uni-ball Signo pen for highlights, and a mummy-cup was born.  Just to make the greeting I chose relevant, I added a silver "crown" adorned with a rhinestone, and this cup thinks it is the Queen of the Nile.

My finished card is perfect for one of my fellow-take-out-cup lovers.  

Wednesday 16 October 2013

Big things come in small packages!

In this case, the big thing is getting a chance to try out being a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator.  The small package is, of course, the incredibly low price for that privilege.  This is the first time in Stampin' Up!'s history that becoming a Demonstrator has been made available for only $25.  If you've always wondered about it and thought about trying it, this would be the right time to do it.

There are basically two kinds of Demonstrators:  the business Demonstrator and the hobby Demonstrator.  Stampin' Up! embraces both and supports a person's decision to become either.  As a business demo there really is no ceiling as to how high you can reach on the Stampin' Up! ladder.  And it's not only about how successful you can become.  It's also about how successful you want to become.  It all depends on staying within one's own comfort level.  As a hobby demo you can relax and enjoy the products as well as the discount with every order.  As long as you reach your quarterly minimum, you can enjoy all the "perks" of being a demo without having to work at it.

Which type of Demonstrator might you be?  This would be the time to try.  It will never be more affordable.  For that $25 you get to choose product(s) up to and no higher than a ceiling of $26.95 (still at a cost of $25).  You will have to pay taxes on the $25 but no shipping charges.  How sweet is that?

What additional perks come with the package?  Me!  Yes, I will be there, in your corner, guiding you every step of the way.  And there is no price tag on that.  Sweet?  You bet!

Think about it.  But don't think too long.  This incredibly low offer will last only until Monday, October 21st.  Contact me now.

Sunday 13 October 2013

Vellum, Poinsettias and Winter Frost---Oh My!

You've seen the poinsettia which crowned my little Christmas Box in the Wacky Watercooler Blog Hop and, from the comments I received, loved it.  I'm continuing my own love affair with making vellum poinsettias for the card I'm going to show you today.  This time I'm marrying it up with one of the foil designs from the Winter Frost Specialty Designer Series Paper and the results are even prettier than my expectations.

I began with a base of Smoky Slate cardstock.  My next layer was also Smoky Slate which I ran through my Big Shot using the new Stylish Stripes embossing folder (love how those stripes run diagonally across the paper).  One of the foil designs in the designer paper also runs diagonally and so, by flipping my embossed cardstock, I managed to get the two diagonals to meet in a "V".

My next step was to take some of the Whisper White Organza ribbon and adhered it with a glue dot under the cardstock, where the two papers joined in the "V" and tied it in a simple knot about an inch from the bottom of the paper. Then I used snail adhesive to adhere it to the base cardstock.

Because I intended to mount the poinsettia to the top portion of the card, I decided to have a square of cardstock underneath almost like a stage.  For that I used the Whisper White cardstock which I first ran through my Big Shot using the new Pretty Print embossing folder.  Then I mounted that onto a square of Island Indigo cardstock.

I mounted the "stage" onto the card using dimensionals.  After all, if it's a stage, it needs to be elevated, right?

This is the point where I would normally make the poinsettia.  This time I didn't do normal.  I went "rogue" and decided to make my greetings for the card front.  While I was working on all the pieces, one part of my mind was considering and rejecting a number of possibilities.  I wanted something to tie onto the ribbon with my white Baker's twine.  I have been using a lot of banner shapes and so that was one of my first thoughts.  No, I decided.  I didn't want to have a banner tied to the ribbon.  Nor did I want a scallop, circle, or any of my other punch shapes.  And then I noticed my Ticket Duo punch and quickly checked to see if there was a Christmas greeting in my That's the Ticket stamp set.  Well, of course there was!  A wonderful design and greeting.  And so my greeting "tag" was born.  I love the way it looks, tied onto the ribbon, don't you?

Now I was ready to make the poinsettia.  When I first saw the Joyful Christmas stamp set in the Holiday Catalogue, I knew that I wanted it.  I did not know how often I'd use it or how beautiful the results would be.  The poinsettia is beautiful simply stamped or embossed on regular cardstock.  Embossed on vellum and then coloured, it becomes magical.  I've already coloured using Bermuda Bay ink and cut out the ones below.  They're just waiting for me to use my bone folder to curve the petals.

It's hard to tell in a photo, but if you look carefully, you will see that the leaves which I've embossed below, are actually lightly sponged using my metallic silver Encore ink pad.  In real life it's a subtle effect but it shows up better than in a photo.

Once I used my bone folder to give dimension to the flower and the leaves, I used dimensionals to mount first the large flower and then the smaller one.  Then, using glue dots on the "stem" end of the leaves, I nudged them under the flower as seemed most aesthetically pleasing.  I wound up making one additional leaf because it just didn't "feel" right with four.

Doesn't the poinsettia look wonderful on the card?   There was just one thing missing.  Something was needed for the centre of the flower.  Yes, I could have used pearls or rhinestones, but the new Frosted Finishes Embellishments offered in the Holiday Catalogue are the perfect size and shape for the centre.

There---now it's finished.  Perfect!

Close up of the poinsettia

Saturday 12 October 2013

Something old meets something new

I joined another challenge, which asked participants to use something that has been retired and something current together on a card.  The easy thing about the challenge was that I have quite a bit of retired product and stamps and, of course, also have a lot of current product and stamps.  The hard thing about the challenge was that I have to pick something.  Sometimes fewer choices really do make life easier.

I had decided that this time I would be making a Christmas card.  Thankfully that really did narrow things down with my retired stamps.  When I told myself to choose something that I had never used before (sadly some of my retired stamps were never introduced to ink), that helped to narrow things down even more.  The set I finally chose was the Perfect Presentation from 2007.  This was a stamp set that I had discovered at a garage sale.  I also decided to use the Snow Flurry embossing folder which retired a year ago.

All the cardstock which I used is current.  My base is the Naturals White which I love to use because of the little flecks and its weight.  Along with that I used Pistachio Pudding, Whisper White, Real Red and Gumball Green cardstock.  The current stamp set that I used for the greeting is the Tags 4 You bundle since the stamp set is complimented by a matching punch.

I finished the card off with a sparkling star punched out of the Silver Glimmer paper.

Another challenge completed!

Wednesday 9 October 2013

Sketch Challenge 193

I enjoyed making a card using the sketch from one of the OWH artists for the World Card-Making Day Blog Hop and couldn't resist using the newest one for sketch challenge #193.  I'm finding that meeting colour and sketch challenges pushes me out of my "normal".  I like that every once in a while.

This is the sketch that was made for the challenge:

193 Sketch (Oct 6)

And this is my card:

I decided to use that wonderful and exotic Eastern Elegance Designer Paper because of the fan-like patterns in Coastal Cabana, Crushed Curry and Whisper White.  I would have liked to have used some Coastal Cabana ribbon because the Whisper White ribbon seemed a bit bland against the pattern.  And then it came to me that a vellum butterfly using the Backyard Basics butterfly and matching framelit would finish it off perfectly.

If you'd like to join the challenges or, perhaps, send some card to OWH, here is a link for you.

Tuesday 8 October 2013

A short window of opportunity!

What does this mean?  It simply means that from October 7th through to October 21st, you can become a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator for only $25.  That looks like a typo, doesn't it?  But it isn't.  This is a very short window of opportunity, available only because Stampin' Up! is celebrating its 25th Anniversary this year and wants everyone to feel like a winner.

In 25 years, it has never cost so little to join Stampin' Up!  If this offer interests you, just contact me to find out all the details.  The savings only begin with that first $25!

Saturday 5 October 2013

World Card-Making Day Blog Hop---Operation Write Home

Someone said that a card is a hug with a fold in the middle.  That may sound trite but for those people who are far from their loved ones, whether it is just another province, or state or another country, receiving a card really does feel like a hug.  It is a tangible reminder that somebody loves you or is thinking about you.  Yes, it's wonderful to talk on the telephone, send an email or to skype, but those technologies aren't available to everyone.  And with a card, a day, a week, a month or even a year later, the same wonderful feeling washes over you as you pull it out and read it again.  I'm proud to celebrate World Card-Making Day by taking part in this blog hop.

Sketch Challenge #179

The card which I'm posting today is a Thank You card, based on this sketch supplied by the OWH organization's talented designers.

I decided ahead of time that I wanted this card to be a very masculine one and so looked for a design that would compliment the gorgeous Wetlands stamp set.  I love the way the sandpipers look and they work perfectly in a narrow strip such as is the focus of this design.  I kept all my colours very neutral but used blue watercolour across the top of the sandpipers to simulate water.  I like that one "pop" of colour among all the neutrals.  To give the background some interest, I used my woodgrain embossing folder on some white core paper.  Sanding it slightly helped the woodgrain to really show.

This blog hop is part of an enormous undertaking.  In honour of Operation Write Home, hundreds of blogs are linking up for this blog hop.  To get to the Home Page, just click on the graphic below: