Friday 31 January 2014

Not just an ordinary Tag Topper!

On page 35 of the Occasions mini catalogue, you'll find the new tag toppers that Stampin' Up! is offering.  Those toppers make wonderful tags and can, of course, be used for a whole lot of other projects as well.  Remember my little Valentine's chocolate holder?

Well, yesterday I was waiting at a train stop and my mind began wandering (waiting can do that to a mind).  And suddenly I had one of those "lightbulb" moments.  I did everything but shout out "eureka".  What did my wandering mind come up with?  Just like that, waiting for a train to pass, I figured out how to use that punch to make an adorable little box.  This idea came complete with score lines, measurements...the whole shebang!  Wow, huh?

So, of course, as soon as I got home I took out a piece of paper and a pencil and sketched out that template so that I wouldn't forget it.  Last night I finally had time to try it out.  And, guess what!  It worked perfectly!  I'm going to have to wait for trains more often.

Today I'm going to get to work and make another little box.  This time, however, I'm going to take photos of each step.  That way, along with the template which I plan to post, you'll be able to make one of these cute boxes, too.  Excited?  I sure am!

If you haven't seen the template and instructions, click here!

Thursday 30 January 2014

Sale-a-bration banners---Oh what fun!

Just a quick post today to show off a little card I created for another colour challenge.  This time the colours were Primrose Petals, Pink Pirouette, and Crumb Cake: a perfect combination for a Valentine's Day card.

I decided to use Primrose Petals as my base cardstock with the next layer of Pink Pirouette and the top layer of Crumb Cake.  After that I added one of those pretty Doilies, a sentiment from the Perfect Pennants stamp set stamped in Primrose Petals on Whisper White, cut out with my 1 3/4" circle punch and mounted on a piece of Primrose Petals cut out with my 2 3/8" circle scallop punch.   That looked perfect, adhered to the centre of the doily with dimensionals.

Across the top I strung a piece of Baker's Twine ending with a bow at the right top.  Along that I used dimensionals to adhere five adorable little banners stamped alternately in Primrose Petals ink and Pink Pirouette ink.  The free Banner Blast stamp set from the Sale-a-bration brochure has such a great assortments of stamps and, bonus, they all co-ordinate with the free Banner Punch that is also in the Sale-a-bration brochure.  Oh, by the way, that punch may be free during Sale-a-bration, but it's also going to be part of the upcoming Annual Catalogue and I assure you it won't be free then.

To the top left corner I added a little blossom cut out with the Petite Petals punch which was introduced in the new Occasions mini catalogue.  The only thing the card needed after that was some bling---which was beautifully provided by a scattering of rhinestones.

And there you have it:  another colour challenge met and an introduction to those playful Banners from Sale-a-bration.  

Wednesday 29 January 2014

Celebrating Sale-a-bration

Yes, that's right!  It's Sale-a-bration time again.  For those who aren't familiar with Stampin' Up!, Sale-a-bration is that special time of year when, for each $60 you spend (before shipping and taxes) you get a choice of free product from the Sale-a-bration brochure.  And what a choice!  Some of the items in the Sale-a-bration brochure would normally cost anywhere from $9.95 to $26.95 (if they were even available in our catalogues).  And from January 28th to March 31st, you can earn them for free just by buying the products you would have bought anyway.  Talk about a win-win!

Today I'm going to showcase the cute (and very versatile) Decorative Dots embossing folder that is only available through Sale-a-bration.  What I like most about this embossing folder (besides that it's free) is the way the large dots are randomly placed.

You may remember that I used the Decorative Dots embossing folder for that gold foil Wedding card in my blog hop post a few days ago.  To refresh your memory, here's a quick look at the card.

For a larger image, you can click on the card.  Doesn't the gold foil look like real gold because of the embossing?  It makes me think of hammered gold.  Love the look!

But this embossing folder is incredibly versatile.  Used along with the playful See Ya Later stamp set (also free in the Sale-a-bration brochure), we get a totally different result.  Looking at this card, you wouldn't think it was the same embossing folder that was used for the elegant card above, would you?

I can see so many other possibilities, too.  What about bubbles coming up in a glass of ale or air bubbles in water.  Both of those would be great used with the Core'dinations paper, wouldn't they?  Sand the embossed paper a bit and you wind up with the lighter bubbles.  What do you think you will do with this embossing folder?

Sunday 26 January 2014

Scrapbooking for Optimism

Here in Blackfalds, Alberta we have a very busy club that is part of the Optimist International Organization.  Among the fund-raisers which I support, is the Scrapbooking for Optimism for which I put together make-n-takes.  It helps make me more visible as a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator, of course, but it also helps out the Octagon Branch of the Blackfalds Optimist Club.  I love the slogan of the club:  "For the future! Optimists bringing out the best in kids."  It's a worthwhile cause.

For the crop that was put on this weekend, I created two Valentine's projects.  They were relatively easy but a lot of fun.  Since doing the make-n-takes gives participants a break from the concentration of working on their gorgeous scrapbooks, they need to be easy and fun.

The first one we did, early in the day on Saturday, was a little Valentine's chocolate holder.  For a lot of people the word chocolate was all they had to hear to become part of the group.  I provided the ice chocolate squares.  Many of them didn't make it into the project---but their kids may just want something sweeter and more familiar anyway.  (Let's go with that.  Yes, the chocolates were delicious.  I felt it was my duty to do a taste-test.)

Using the brand new and incredibly useful Scalloped Tag Topper punch, I punched both ends of a strip of 7 1/2" x 2" Smoky Slate cardstock.  Then I scored it at 3 1/8" from each end.  I cut a piece of the dotted Strawberry Slush design from the 2013-2015 In-Colors Designer Series Paper Stack and cut a 6" x 1 2/3" strip.  After rounding the corners using my Envelope Punch board, I adhered that to the base cardstock.

Next, I used that wonderful new Sizzix Originals die, the Spiral Flower, and used it to cut a piece of Strawberry Slush cardstock.  After using the bone folder to break down the fibres and scrunching the cardstock, I rolled it and created my flower.  Using hot glue, I set the flower and also adhered it to the project.  Next, I used the "V is for Valentine" from the very versatile Occasions Alphabet stamp set and cut that out using a thinlit from the Circle Card set.  Finally I used some Silver foil Baker's Twine to attach that tag to the little chocolate holder (after adhering the chocolate using two glue dots) and the project was finished.

Later in the day we made a Valentine's card.  I love the musical note paper in the Modern Medley Designer Series Paper and thought it would be perfect used with the "A Little Love Note" sentiment from the new Love You to the Moon stamp set.  Along with that I used a base of Originals Ivory cardstock, a layer of Baked Brown Sugar cardstock and then a layer of Very Vanilla embossed with that cute Decorative Dots embossing folder from the new Sale-a-bration brochure.

A strip of the polka dot Gold Foil vellum cardstock, a circle of the Modern Medley paper, a pretty Crisp Cantaloupe scalloped heart using the framelit from Hearts a Flutter, and all I had to do was cut a heart using the second smallest framelit from the Hearts Collection and stamp it with the sentiment.  Finally I added three Goldl Foil hearts cut out using the Small Heart punch.

Everyone loved the projects.  We made money for the club.  What more could I have asked for?

Thursday 23 January 2014

The Wacky Watercooler Welcome 2014 Blog Hop

Wacky Watercooler New Catalog(ue) Blog Hop

Welcome to our brand new Blog Hop.  There is something particularly exciting about welcoming in a brand new year with a blog hop.  I know we're all excited about the new Occasions mini catalogue and, of course, Sale-a-bration.  Hopefully all the wonderful creations in our Blog Hop will make you just as excited about the new Stampin' Up! products as we are.  If you've just come from the talented Marsha Reed's blog, I know she'll have gotten your creative juices flowing.  Isn't her blog wonderful?  

                                                        * * * * * * * * * *

It's threatening to snow again and we already have way too much snow on the ground as it is.  Under the circumstances, I had to lift my spirits and work with some bright and spring-like colours just to escape the winter outside my window.  I love the watercolours featured in the new Occasions mini.  The Designer Paper is lovely and the stamp sets simply make me smile.  For my first project, therefore, I decided to use a mixture of my favourite images and products inside a frame.

I chose a frame with a 10" x 10" opening.  I also chose to leave the glass behind the art to allow the full 3-D effect.  For my base layer, I used a 10" x 10" piece of Core'dinations Very Vanilla.  The next layer was an 8 1/4" x 8 1/4" piece of Basic Black cardstock onto which I mounted an 8" x 8" piece of the lovely Modern Medley Designer Paper.  Then I created four pretty 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" squares of watercolour paper mounted on 2 3/4" x 2 3/4" squares of Basic Black cardstock.

For each square I used the brand new Happy Watercolor stamp set to create the background effect.  For square one I added two colourful vellum butterflies using the Papillon Potpourri stamp set and the matching Elegant Butterfly punch and Bitty Butterfly punch.  That glossy black down their bodies was created with the Crystal Effects and Basic Black ink.  For square two I added sentiments from the Happy Watercolor stamp set which I cut out using the new Word Bubbles Framelits dies and then sponged along the edges using Basic Black ink to make them stand out.

For square three I used the beautiful poppy from the Happy Watercolor stamp set.  Before I did the background, I stamped the poppy twice, using a mask to allow one to appear behind the other.  Then I used a mask over the stamped poppies to avoid getting the background colours onto the flowers.  Finally, I used my Aqua Painter to colour the poppies.  The centres of the flowers are glossy thanks to Crystal Effects.  For my last square I decided to first do the background using the Happy Watercolor stamp set but then covered that layer with a square cut from So Saffron cardstock using the new Hexagon Hive Thinlits die.  Then I stamped the bee from the new Springtime Hello stamp set on several of the solid hexagons.  Finally I painted "dripping" honey using a mixture of So Saffron ink and Crystal Effects.

I love the finished frame and, yes, it does make me happy to look at it rather than the snow outside.

                                                  * * * * * * * * * * 

You've probably seen one of those "cards in a box" which Tanya Bell created.  I believe she originally got her idea from Monica Gail and adapted it to a smaller Australian envelope size.  Well, their envelope size is larger than our usual size (for a 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" card).  So I played with the measurements and brought it down to that size.  Yes, it does save a bit in materials and, more important, I have a lot of that size of envelope and so do my customers.  I've provided the template and measurements here to save space in this post.

I needed a birthday card for my nephew and thought this would be a fun change from the "normal" card.  I kept the main colours neutral to let the explosion of images take centre stage.  For the base, therefore, I used the Naturals White and followed by a layer of Baked Brown Sugar.  For the lower portion of the box I then did a layer of Whisper White and finally a layer of Venetian Romance Designer Paper.  For the folded-over upper portion of the box, I stopped at the layer of Whisper White, onto which I stamped an image for each section.  Using the elephant and balloon from the You're Amazing stamp set kept the feeling festive, as did the sentiment from the Label Love stamp set.

Finally I finished up with images stamped from the Banner Blast, Peachy Keen, Just Sayin', and See Ya Later stamp sets.  The inks I used were Early Espresso, Real Red, Crushed Curry and Smoky Slate.  I used strips of Window Sheet to hold each element up in place.

The long rectangle of Whisper White at the back leaves lots of room to write under the sentiment from the Yippee-Skippy stamp set.

There is a real "explosion" of elements coming out of the box.  If you look closely, there is some Cherry Cobbler Dazzling Details at the top of each candle.

 Believe it or not, this box folds down easily to fit into one of our standard envelopes.

                                               * * * * * * * * * *

My final project for the Blog Hop is a wedding card.  I may have gone a bit over the top with the dazzle, but that's easy to do when using that gorgeous Gold Foil sheet as well as the Gold Glitter.  I nearly had to wear sunglasses to work on the card!

For this card I began with a base of Shimmery White cardstock.  There is such a subtle lustre to this paper that makes it perfect for special cards.  To create a sharp border around the Gold Foil, I used Basic Black cardstock as my next layer.  I love the way it frames the gold!  The foil was too flat and polished for the look I wanted, therefore I used the fun Decorative Dots embossing folder that is one of the free Sale-a-bration items this year.  Doesn't the texture look terrific?

I wanted to use one of those dainty Tea Lace Paper Doilies on the card and decided to use it as a frame.  The fifth size of Circles Framlits (beginning at the smallest and working out) was perfect to take out the centre of the doily.  I also took a piece of Gold Foil and "stacked" the fifth size of circle and sixth size of circle and ran that through the Big Shot to get a gold ring that perfectly fit the hole.  So I stamped the sentiment from the One In a Million stamp set onto a circle of Basic Black using Versamark and then heat embossed it using the Gold embossing powder.  You can see how nicely all that came together.

Right here I'm going to stop and tell you that I absolutely love the new Spiral Flower Originals die that is in the Occasions mini catalogue.  With it, you can make truly beautiful flowers.  I've made several using cardstock and Designer Paper but for this project I decided to try making three using the Creped Filter Paper.  The results exceeded my expectations.  I sponged a bit of the Gold Encore ink on the scalloped edges before making the flowers and then, once I had hot-glued them firmly into place, used an artist's fine brush to put a tiny bit of Tombo glue along the edges and then to add some Gold Glitter.  The result?  What do you think?

Inside, I went for simple elegance.  I layered some Basic Black and Whisper White and, besides the sentiment from the Love & Laughter stamp set, added a heart cut-out and little Gold Foil heart.

The finishing touches for the front were some leaves cut from more Goil Foil using the Little Leaves Sizzlits die, a scattering of Basic Pearl Jewels and a little Gold Foil heart cut with the Small Heart punch.  And that's where I stopped.  Anything more would have been excess.  How do you like it?

                                             * * * * * * * * * *

 Well, that's it!  I hope you enjoyed my projects for the Blog Hop.  I'd love to hear what you thought of them, if you have a moment to comment.  Since we're linked in a circular fashion, your next stop will be the beginning, with the talented Jean Fitch.  Jean never ceases to amaze so I'm sure you'll love seeing her terrific projects.  Thanks so much for joining us today.

 photo nextwatercoolercrockbutton.jpg

Sunday 19 January 2014

Are you ready for a treat?

That's right!  This Thursday, January 23rd after 6 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, you'll be able to visit the new Wacky Watercooler Welcome 2014 Blog Hop.  If you've checked our blog hops before, you'll know just how talented our line-up of participants are.  The Blog Hop will be active until Sunday, January 26th.  

Saturday 18 January 2014

Matching the new with the "old"

Okay, the Papaya Collage stamp set isn't precisely old.  It is, however, in its second year with Stampin' Up! so it isn't precisely new, either.  It's a very elegant set.  For me it carries elements of Victorian glamour and just begs to be used in a more vintage style of card.

That's what I aimed for with this card, using a base of Early Espresso cardstock and then layers of Very Vanilla and Crumb Cake cardstocks.  For the first layer of Very Vanilla, I used Primrose Petals and Early Espresso inks to stamp the leaves and rose all over (after off-stamping to give a very light image) and then used my distressing tool to age the edges before lightly sponging them with the Early Espresso ink.  For my next layer of Crumb Cake, I used Primrose Petals ink to stamp the frame and Early Espresso ink to stamp the leaves.  Then I ran the cardstock through my Big Shot using the Fancy Fan embossing folder.  To better define the inside of the frame, I used some household bleach and an artist's brush.  I love the deep vanilla of the bleached out area, don't you?

I used the Papillon Potpourri stamp set and the Primrose Petals ink for two butterflies and punched them out using the matching Elegant Butterfly punch.  Then I sponged some Early Espresso around their edges and painted a line of Crystal Effects down their centres to define their bodies.

Finally I used that terrific new tool, the Spiral Flower Originals die and some Primrose Petals cardstock.  I used my Bone Folder to break down the stiff cardstock considerably and also "scrunched" the cardstock a bit to give it more texture.  Then I simply rolled the flower and used hot glue to set the blossom.  The finished flower is gorgeous and I can see myself making many more for many, many projects.  Talk about an easy way to make an awesome flower!

This card doesn't have a sentiment and I'm not sure that I'm going to bother with one.  It looks perfect the way it is.  Can't you imagine giving this card for a birthday, Mother's Day or an Anniversary?  

Wednesday 15 January 2014

Some wonderful news!

The year is starting off well.  Stampin' Up! just announced that they are introducing a brand new product called Blendabilities.  These are markers with a brush on one end and a nib on the other, alcohol-based, which will be available in addition to our current Stampin' Write Markers.  Isn't that terrific news?  Look out, Copics---we're bringing some competition!  Here is a chart of some of the initial introductory colours.

Another new item which you'll be seeing in the brand new Occasions Catalogue is the Spiral Flower Originals Die.  This die makes 3-D flowers an easy chore.  Just think, you can impress people with gorgeous paper flowers on a gift box, in a bouquet, or on a special card.  There is a great video showing the flower being made right here: the possibilities are endless.

If you enjoyed the video, you'll love making one of these lovely flowers at my upcoming Open House.

Friday 10 January 2014

A bit of nostalgia and some plans...

I'm taking longer to de-trim my Christmas tree and take down all the decorations because somewhere along the line the bug that totally knocked down my husband and daughter just before Christmas is doing its best to bring me to my knees.  So far, with the help of some Oil of Oregano, constant rests and permanently crossed-fingers, I've managed to feel under the weather but not actually sick.  Hopefully it doesn't come to that.  I.don'!  Mind you---who does?  Well, maybe hypochondriacs, I suppose.

Anyway, my firm date for de-trimming my tree has always been January 6th, or Epiphany, or the 12th day of Christmas.  Whatever you want to call it, tradition in our family is that Christmas decorations remain intact and on display until that date.  (This used to be hard when we insisted on having a "real" tree).

It's fascinating how long things can take when you just don't feel good.  Looking at the process purely from an objective point, it's taking a very long time.  But then with piles of snow outside that are nearly 6 feet high, being inside and slowly taking decorations down and putting them away is a good way to pass the time.  Not feeling well has undermined my creative process so I just go past my new products and sigh these days.

One of my favourite decorations on the tree are my silk white and silver butterflies.  They're on thin wires that measusre about 10 inches long and, by wrapping the wire around a branch just right, it looks as if the butterfly is suspended in the air, about to alight in the tree.  I love the effect!  I've already decided that when the silk butterflies finally get too tattered to use, I will replace them with hand-made vellum butterflies that I will heat emboss in silver and to which I will also add some silver glitter.  I may try my hand at that for next Christmas just to see how they would look.  There's nothing wrong with adding a few more butterflies to the tree, after all.

So my tree is quite icy looking.  There is occasional colour but overall, the impression is one of white and silver.  The butterflies look as if Jack Frost has frozen them and they are going to rest in my tree.

Along with the vellum butterflies that I plan to make for next year's tree, I plan to make some of those wonderful Festive Flurry snowflakes as well.  I made several for friends and acquaintances and only kept one for myself.  I really like the one that I kept but think I'll make several along the white and silver theme I already have going as well.

Mind you, I really like the Island Indigo in the snowflake as well.  The large rhinestone looks nice in the centre as well, but I love the look of the snowflake with the now-retired Frosted Finishes Embelishments in the centre.  Once I finished with everyone else's and with my classes, however, I wound up without one for this snowflake.  Thank goodness I have some more coming any day!

For those of you who didn't get the Festive Flurry stamp set, framelits or bundle, you're in luck.  Stampin' Up! is carrying over that wonderful bundle and so you haven't lost out---yet.  Right now they're still available until June 1st.  I can't make promises after that.  If you'd like some gorgeous snowflakes for your tree next year, remember to get the stamps and framelits soon.

Tuesday 7 January 2014

I should have "knocked wood"!

It's snowing outside...AGAIN!  I guess it isn't enough that some of the piles of cleared snow are now at least six feet high.  We're striving for a record here and the snow is definitely cooperating.

I made a card for a swap that I entered.  The cards I committed to do for the swap are due in less than two weeks so it's definitely time for me to get started.  Designing the first card always takes the longest time.  After that, it's a snap.  Or, at least, much easier.

The stamp set which I committed to use for the swap (each person in the swap had to commit to a specific set on a very limited list) is the Best of Snow stamp set.  I love the little characters in that set as well as the snowflake and sentiment.  I've used the set a fair bit over Christmas but wanted a completely new card for the swap.  My decision was to go for blues, whites and silvers.  On a good day, when it's not overcast and snowing, I love the blue sky, white snow and silver flashes of the sun sparkling against all those combined flakes.

My background cardstock is the Naturals White but I've used a bit of Whisper White for the sentiment and also for the little snowman because nothing stamps quite as well as that wonderful polished Whisper White (or Very Vanilla).  Added to that are some Island Indigo cardstock and ink as well as the beautiful Encore Silver ink.  To top it off, I added a "frame" of Dazzling Details in Silver Sparkle and a whole lot of dimensionals.  I like the 3-D effect that having my snowman inside a cut-out gives and the additional depth of having the sentiment on dimensionals as well.

Overall, I love the card.  I don't love the snow any more so it can go away anytime.  Hmmm...maybe I shouldn't have used "Let it Snow" for my sentiment without knocking wood first.

Saturday 4 January 2014

Facing the inevitable

It is four days into a brand new year.  I have stamp sets (new ones from the now-active Occasions catalogue) stacked on my crafting table.  I have a lot of left-over Christmas product on my table as well because it was easier to leave things where they wound up while I was in the throes of my final Christmas creations.

I sure loved that Festive Flurry bundle as well as the kit that has been offered.  I made cards and 3-D projects using those and, of course, those sparkly, wonderful Frosted Finishes Embellishments.  There is good news and bad news:  the Festive Flurry bundle is being carried over (hurrah!) while those gorgeous embellishments are no longer available (awwww!)

My final project using both products was a wreath for my daughter's house.  Her colours for Christmas usually highlight the whites, blues and silvers and the wreath fit in perfectly.

It's hard to capture the dazzle with a camera.  But you know how those embellishments shine and can probably imagine what the six on the wreath are doing with any light hitting them.  For some additional detail I have three of my snowflakes suspended away from the actual wreath, invisibly supported with strips of Window Sheet.

But it's time to begin thinking about my coming Open Houses and the new Occasions catalogue.  And, of course, I'm also part of a Blog Hop for which I have to feature products from that Occasions catalogue.  Time to face the inevitable and clear my table.

I only have so much room for stamp sets and, now that Christmas is over, I plan to take the seasonal sets from my shelves and replace them with the sets from the new catalogue.  There is a certain amount of sadness to saying goodbye to those sets.  With all the snow outside, it feels as if the season is lingering.

There are some styles of stamps in the new catalogue that are different from my usual picks.  I plan to stretch my "wings" and see what I come up with, using them.  Some of the sets are supported by some very nice new framelits.  They're always fun because new shapes that I don't have to hand-cut can only make card-making easier, right?

One of the new shapes isn't even a framelit.  It's a brand new punch called the Scalloped Tag Topper punch.  I've used it already for a new card, featuring the new Love You to the Moon stamp set.  Who hasn't said that to their child?  Or grandchild?  The moment I saw the set, I knew I had to have it.  The drawings are simple, but they say a lot that touches my heart.  For this particular card, I used that stamp set in conjunction with one of my old favourites, The Open Sea.  Along with the Basic Black dotted with the silver Dazzling Details, the tag-shaped sentiment with the moon is perfect.  I love the effect.

But now I'd better get back to re-organizing my table and my room.  I have a lot of other new products to show off but I need the room to be able to create.

Wednesday 1 January 2014

Hello 2014---what surprises do you have?

Well, it's a brand new year!  There is always a sense of wonder as the year begins.  What lies ahead?  Will there be happy surprises?   It's a year with promises.  It's a clean slate, soon to be filled with new stories.

My card, welcoming 2014, is a mixture of old and new.  I needed the numbers from the Memorable Moments stamp set.  The "hello", however, is from the new Perfect Pennants stamp set as are the pennant shapes.  I can see a lot of work ahead for the brand new Banners Framelits dies.  They make all the various sizes of banners so easy.  The new Hexagon Hive Thinlits die provided some added interest as well as some cute little hexagon shapes.

I played with the colours and worked in some of that versatile This and That Epic Day Designer paper along with some Tangerine Tango, Gumball Green, and Crushed Curry.  The result is, I believe, happy and celebratory---perfect to welcome the new year ahead.

Hope you enjoy the card and, more importantly, hope the year ahead is a happy one for you.