Sunday, 30 March 2014

Let there be Spring!

Apparently the Vernal Equinox (Spring) occurred on March 20th this year.  It's funny how precise we're being about the equinoxes and solstices.  When I went to school there were dates we learned that represented them.  For example, the Vernal Equinox always occurred on March 21st.  My mother-in-law was quite proud of having her birthday on the first day of Spring.  I wonder what she would think now with the date changing each year.

We're now ten days into Spring.  Ten days!  What do I see as I look out the window?  Well, let me tell you right now that it isn't crocuses, daffodils or tulips.  Nope.  For us here in Alberta, Spring is white, white, white.  As I type, more white is being added.  I'd like a phone number to call.  Maybe a customer support line.  I'd like to call and tell them that something is out of sync and perhaps the machine could be fixed so that we can finally have Spring.  Of course, having acute bronchitis doesn't make me any happier to have this endless cold.  I think some flowers might just have as much or more effect as the medication I'm taking.

Being sick makes it hard for me to concentrate and do my crafting.  A general lethargy overwhelms me and inspiration eludes me.  *sigh*  Sorry about that.  Normally I'm so current with my blog and even scheduled posts to appear during my two-week vacation.

I felt like making a "Let it Snow" card but that's hyprocritical since I REALLY don't want any more snow.  The grey skies and white landscape is hard to ignore, however, and crept into my project.  As a result, my base cardstock is the white naturals.  The next layer is Basic Black and then a layer of the Sweet Sorbet Designer Series Paper which is available only until tomorrow.  Finally I topped that with Blue Sky cardstock cut with my Hexagon Hive thinlits die.

I added some icicles using my Uniball Signo white pen and my Stampin' Chalk Marker.  With a layer of Crystal Effects covering them, they really do look icy.

With a frozen bee from the Backyard Basics and the sentiment from Springtime Hello, my card is complete.  Bleak?  Cold?  Welcome to Spring in frozen Alberta!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Getting back to reality...

It takes a few days to acclimatize and it also takes a few days to get back to reality.  Coming from a toasty 30 degrees C (86 F) and a relaxing day at the beach and landing in a grey land where it had the nerve to be minus 10 degrees C (14 F) was a shocker.  I'm still working to acclimatize myself.  That's hard when a little voice in my head keeps saying "let's go back, let's go back".  There's also a little voice in harmony with that first little voice which keeps saying "this is not reality!  it's snowing!  it should be sunny!  go back! go back! go back!"

Ignoring those very persistent voices is difficult.  Even while I'm trying to craft and make a new project, I have to work hard not to stop everything and just sit and lose myself in the photos I've taken of the trip.  *sigh*

It makes sense, therefore, to combine my longing for the warmth and colours I've left with my desire to begin crafting again.  This card takes advantage of the terrific Polaroid frame and camera included in the On Film Framelits Dies.  I've also used the By The Seashore stamp set for the background since it evokes the wealth of shells found at the beach.  The colours?  Well, just look at the photo of my family.  I had to use the beautiful Pacific Point and the Crumb Cake to echo the colours in the photo.

To finish off the card I used the sentiment from the Perfect Pennants stamp set along with the matching Pennants Framelits die.  Holding it down with the arrow from the Hung Up Cute Clips seemed appropriate...what do you think?

Saturday, 22 March 2014

A card for Mother's Day

It's that time of year when I have to begin thinking of classes in which we'll be making at least one or two Mother's Day cards.  Of course that means coming up with some simple designs as well as some really WOW designs.  Today I'm sharing a simple design that is perfect for my upcoming make-n-take at a scrapbooking crop.  There's never a lot of time for all sorts of techniques, but that doesn't mean it can't look special.

I kept the colours for the card to simple blue tones and white.  My base is Pool Party with a layer of Island Indigo and then a layer of Whisper White.  I added two strips of Pool Party which I had embossed using my Big Shot and the Chevron embossing folder.  Between the two strips, I embossed a single line on the Whisper White cardstock using the Needlepoint Border embossing folder.  Then I cut a banner with rounded top corners from the Island Indigo cardstock, added a doily in Whisper White cut with the Delicate Doilies die, a floral shape in Pool Party using the Floral Frames Collection framelit, and finally, in the centre, a circle cut from Whisper White cardstock after I had stamped it in Island Indigo ink with one of the images from the Serene Silhouettes stamp set.

I think this will definitely appeal to the ladies.  But maybe I should offer it in a pink version as well.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

For the Love of Watercolour

Watercolours can be so lovely and the ones in this year's Occasions Catalogue are especially beautiful.  The sheets in the Watercolor Wonder Designer Series Paper (132994) take my breath away.  Not all of them, of course, but enough that I am enjoying this paper immensely.

For this card I used the Happy Watercolor stamp set (133188) in conjunction with the designer paper because it is such a perfect match.  The inside of the card has the large "blotch" stamped in Crisp Cantaloupe ink and those pretty splatters, also from the stamp set, stamped in Daffodil Delight, Gumball Green and Island Indigo inks.  The sentiment is from the Love You to the Moon stamp set (133143).

The front of the card makes me smile.  I've used the Naturals White as my base cardstock and then layered it with Island Indigo and then a piece of 1 1/2" x 3 3/4" Whisper White cardstock for the top and a piece of 3 1/2" x 3 3/4" Watercolor Wonder Designer Paper for the bottom.  Before I adhered the designer paper, I ran it through the Big Shot in that wonderful Decorative Dots embossing folder (133520) from the Sale-a-bration products.  The result is subtle because of the colour splotches but I love it!

I covered the seam between the papers with a piece of Gumball Green Stitched Satin Ribbon.  Then I prepared six little flowers by stamping Crisp Cantaloupe, Pool Party and So Saffron cardstocks using my Whisper White Craft ink.  A little stem of Gumball Green using the Secret Garden framelit completed my preparations.  Then I stamped the Whisper White cardstock just above the ribbon using Island Indigo ink and a sentiment from the Happy Watercolor stamp set.  Then it was just a matter of punching out my flowers using the matching Petite Petals punch and adhering them to the ribbon and stem using my dimensionals.

A rhinestone in the centre of each flower gives it just the right finishing touch, doesn't it?

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Enjoying the Tag Topper Card

As you already know, I love the Scallop Tag Topper punch.  I've made no secret of that fact and have the little boxes and tags to prove it.  Today I finally decided to make one of the popular Tag Topper Cards.  They're a fun change and give a card that special WOW factor that is near and dear to my heart.

This card is about a month too late, but who cares?  You can tell someone that you love him/her any time of the year, can't you?  It doesn't just have to be said on Valentine's Day.

Because of the open space that occurs when part of the front of the card is taken up by the Scallop Tag shape, I decided that this was the perfect opportunity to add a strip of the Gold Vellum.  The staggered gold hearts are perfect, especially with the "I freakin' love you!" as the sentiment beside it.  You can see that I decided to have the ribbon stretch right across the card.  Actually, I adhered it to the base cardstock and threaded it  through the openings left by the punch.

The front of the card was a bit more fun.  I love the Sweet Sorbet Sale-a-bration Designer Paper.  The floral design, especially, appeals to me.  I thought it would be perfect used along with the cute little bee from the Crazy Mixed Up Love stamp set.

The colours in the designer paper just begged for a base cardstock of Summer Starfruit.  Along with that I added a layer of Basic Black to really make the Designer Paper "pop".  I also added a few hearts punched out of Gold Foil using the Owl Builder Punch (that punch has so very, very many uses!).  I think the hearts really balance the gold hearts in the Gold Vellum, don't you?

Don't forget, you have until March 31st to get some of this wonderful designer paper free with a qualifying order.  I know I love using it and am certain you will as well.

Thursday, 13 March 2014

March Wacky Watercooler Blog Hop--A Smorgasbord of Products

Already March and another blog hop.  Is it just me or is this year moving along at a real clip?

Welcome one and all to our new blog hop.  We're making our March presentation a real smorgasbord of products.  All the current catalogues and current products in the online store are fair game.  Excited?  I sure am.  I can hardly wait to see what the talented members of this blog hop have created to excite our imaginations this time.

You'll have come here from the very talented Marsha Reed's blog.  Aren't her projects terrific?  In the blink of an eye you've virtually travelled from Iowa in the USA to see me here in Alberta, Canada.  It sort of takes your breath away, doesn't it?

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For the first of my projects, I chose to celebrate St. Patrick's Day.  Just a few more days and all things will be green---except for the world around me which seems to be stubbornly staying white.  

What do people think with regards to St. Patrick's Day?  Well, of course one of the first thoughts would be of the shamrock which St. Patrick made famous by comparing its three petals to the trinity when explaining his religion to the Irish.  Next, most likely, someone would mention the pot of gold that the leprechauns apparently hide at the end of the rainbow.  And that, in a nutshell, describes my card.  Add in some rolling green hills and a lazy cloud and my card is complete.

I made the rainbow using a whole slew of round punches and several of the framelits from the Circle Collection.  Chanting Roy G Biv to myself, I made up the rainbow with arcs of Real Red, Calypso Coral, Daffodil Delight, Gumball Green, Marina Mist, Island Indigo, and Elegant Eggplant.  I love that Stampin' Up! has all the colours to make an awesome rainbow.  Then I used the smallest of the Window Framelits to make the pot (with a couple of minor modifications) and punched out several "gold coins" from the Gold Foil sheets and embossed them using my Petals a Plenty embossing folder.

The green hills are torn pieces of Pistachio Pudding and Wild Wasabi while the sky is a piece of Pool Party.  I made the shamrocks using the Small Heart punch and some Gumball Green cardstock.  After pinching each heart in half, I also sponged the tips lightly with some Encore Gold ink.  All those details are mounted on a piece of Gold Foil and that is, in turn, mounted on a base of Naturals White cardstock.

The hardest part of this was making the rainbow.  After that, it all came together really well.  Everything in this card came from the Annual Catalogue except for the Gold Foil which is current in the Occasions Catalogue.

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For my second project, I had fun playing with all sorts of wonderful products from the Occasions Catalogue.  I love the whimsy of the designs in the Life in the Forest stamp set and the Baby, We've Grown stamp set.  The little creatures seem both playful and innocent to me and so were the perfect inhabitants for me little Birthday Card-in-a-box world.  I think you can tell how much fun I really had in designing and making this card.  It makes me smile.

I'm not going to go into details about making the box.  I've provided a free template as well as all the instructions for it here.  The difference is the way I've decorated up the box.  And you can see from the sheer fun of it that this one was made purely for the pleasure of a child.  That little owl at the bottom is actually peeking out from a hole in the box and backed by a Soft Suede circle that is held in place with a Shaker frame.  The little mouse and the mushroom are both standing away from the box by means of some Stampin' Dimensionals.  Yes, all those little creatures are cut out by hand.  That little mouse's tail was a challenge as were the little owl's feet.  And I didn't amputate any little stamped limbs in the making of this box.

Don't you just love the way the Hardwood stamp inked with Smoky Slate makes the White Naturals cardstock look?  I stamped both the inside and the outside of the cardstock because I wanted it to look the same whether it was folded or not.  

Those balloons are simply Whisper White punched out with the Small Oval punch and coloured using a Blender Pen and Strawberry Slush ink and Coastal Cabana ink respectively.  The bottom of the balloon is actually just the foot of the little Owl Builder Punch.  Then I covered each balloon with a generous layer of Crystal Effects and, while they were still tacky, looped some white Baker's Twine around the bottoms.  All the little owls are suspended on Window Sheets as is the Word Bubble.

The lower portion of the box is almost as much fun as the top.  I added characters from the Life in the Forest stamp set as well as some grass which was made very easily using a strip of Wild Wasabi cardstock and those great new Fringe Scissors.

Finally I decorated up  the envelope into which it will fit perfectly.  I used a combination of the Gorgeous Grunge stamp set and the Mosaic Madness stamp set to put together a candle.  Doesn't the combination of Strawberry Slush, Coastal Cabana and Crushed Curry look perfect with the little box?

* * * * * * * * * * 

My final project combines products from the Annual Catalogue, Occasions Catalogue and also the Online Store.  It's an anniversary card which I decided to make in a 4" x 7" size and therefore required a custom-sized envelope.  Thank goodness for the Envelope Punch Board!

I'm going to begin with the inside and work my way out.  Since I used Basic Black as my base cardstock, I needed some lighter cardstock inside on which to write.  For that I used Very Vanilla which I dipped along the edges in my Versamark and then heat embossed with Gold Embossing powder.  After that cooled and hardened, I used my Embossing Buddy to ensure that I wouldn't get all sorts of embossing powder bits where I didn't want them and then proceeded to heat emboss two butterflies from the Papillon Potpourri stamp set.  Finally, I carefully added the sentiment using my Black StazOn ink and the One in a Million stamp set.

For the front of the card I also used the Papillon Potpourri stamp set but this time I used both the small and the large butterflies.  I decided to heat emboss them in Gold Embossing powder as well and scattered them across the lines of music from that beautiful Modern Medley Designer Series Paper.  For their centres I tried the pearls but didn't like the contrast so I chose to heat emboss the little pearls in Gold Embossing powder as well.

They may not look like much on that sheet, but they look wonderful in the centres of my butterflies.  It was simple enough to get the gold embossing on the pearls.  I just pushed them against the Versamark, sprinkled them with Gold Embossing powder, shook off the excess, and then heated them until the gold melted beautifully around them.  You can do that with brads and buttons, too, but that's another project.

The sentiment also has some little gilded pearls on it.  Doesn't the gold embossing make the words from the Teeny Tiny Wishes stamp set "pop"?  I like the way it looks on the black arrow which I cut using the On Film Framelits die.   The slightly larger Gold Foil arrow underneath was hand-cut.  Between the Modern Medley Designer Series Paper and the Basic Black cardstock, I added a layer of Gold Foil.  The corners were all rounded using the Envelope Punch Board.

The matching envelope was easy to make.  You simply look at the Envelope Punch Board for the size of your card and it gives you the dimensions of paper you will need to make the right size of envelope.  Once I had assembled the envelope, I used my Music Notes Stampin' Wheel, Versamark and more Gold Embossing powder and heat embossed each end of the envelope diagonally.  

I love the finished set, don't you?

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And now you're off to Oregon in the USA.  That's where the fabulous Jean Fitch lives and creates.  You'll love her wonderful projects.

I hope you've enjoyed our blog hop.  No matter whether you go backwards or forwards, we're linked in a circle so it's never-ending.  After the second or third time around you may wish to jump off, catch your breath and have a bite to eat before coming back to go around the circle yet again.  There are so many great ideas in this blog hop, you'll want to take notes.

Our next blog hop is in the second week of April.  Don't worry---I'll give you fair warning.

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Monday, 10 March 2014

A bit of everything

You know how sometimes when you're cooking or baking you wind up putting in a bit of this and a bit of that and it seems after a number of those "bits" that you've put in a bit of everything?  That's how I felt when I finished making this card.

I had been looking at the products which I had ordered from the Occasions Catalogue but which were still in their brand new condition.  Never used is a bad thing to be when you're part of a Catalogue with an early end-date.  After all, the Occasions Catalogue ends on June 1st.  Yes, that's still a few months away but do you realize we've already finished with almost 2 1/2 months of this brand new year?  Time flies!  It really does!

So, in particular, I wanted to at least try out my Arrows Textured Impressions Embossing folder and that super-fun framelit from the On Film collection that looks like a Polaroid photo frame.  I also had my eye on the starburst in the Essentials Wooden Elements.  As far as paper was concerned, I had decided that I really hadn't had enough of the gorgeous Watercolour Wonder Designer Series Paper.  To go with it, I chose a base of Naturals White, a layer of Gumball Green (which I embossed with the Arrows embossing folder), some Whisper White and finally, some Crushed Curry.

You can see that I also added a bunch of banners and some Gold Foil just for fun.  The flower is made of coffee filters cut with that wonderful Spiral Flowers Original Die.  I actually cut two and dipped the material into a mixture of rubbing alcohol and Crisp Cantaloupe re-inker.  When dry, I layered the two cut pieces and made one very full flower.  The green peeking out is a leaf, also cut from a coffee filter using Autumn Accents Bigz Die and dipped into a mixture of rubbing alcohol and Gumball Green re-inker.  A bit of white Baker's Twine, some Stampin' Dimensionals, and my card was done.

Isn't that a happy looking card?  Love that Watercolour Wonder Designer Paper!

Friday, 7 March 2014

Sending good thoughts your way, Mum!

It's my Mum's birthday today.  I won't be able to hug her and say "happy birthday", unfortunately, because she left this world over ten years ago.  There's still a hole in my life since she left.  We did a lot of things together and enjoyed each other's company.  Her love of taking pictures led to my life-long interest in photography.

Mum also loved tulips.  They were among her favourite flowers and Dad always made sure we had lots blooming in our gardens back in Victoria.  I don't remember ever seeing an empty vase during flowering season---which, in Victoria, was much of the year.

I made this card with my Mum in mind.  My memories of her are golden and therefore the card is a celebration in gold.  We have Gold Foil, gold embossing powder, Gold Vellum, the golden designs of the Watercolor Wonder Designer Washi tape and even some Gold Encore ink.  Like I said: a celebration in gold.

I stamped the tulip from the Backyard Basics stamp set on Gold Foil using Black StazOn ink.  That ink stamps beautifully on any surface!  Then I used the matching framelit to cut it out.  I love the effect!  It makes me think of a pretty gold brooch---and Mum loved brooches.

So, Mum, I know you're listening.  I'm sending good thought your way---wonderful, golden thoughts.

I miss you, Mum.

Thursday, 6 March 2014

Not much longer to wait

Just think---in a week you'll be able to enjoy another Wacky Watercooler Blog Hop.  Yes, that's right.  I said one week.  Isn't that exciting?  This time there are even more of us in the Blog Hop so you'll have much more to enjoy and from which to get ideas.

Have you heard?  The new hop begins Thursday, March 13th!

Saturday, 1 March 2014

Ode to Silhouettes

Sometimes you see a card that someone has made and it speaks to you.  Lisa Young used the Serene Silhouettes stamp set in conjunction with the birds graphics from the Modern Medley Designer Series Paper.

It's funny how life imitates art (or the other way around).  The other morning I went out to my vehicle and was mesmerized by the hundreds (no exaggeration) of birds that filled the bushes and trees.  Every few minutes they would all, in a seemingly orchestrated movement, rise into the air and take a short flight overhead only to return to the bushes and trees.  The air was filled with their chirping and with the noise of their wings moving.  It was an incredible experience.  I managed to get a photo of a small portion of them in one of the trees but even that was difficult.

You have to understand that all the neighbouring trees and bushes were filled with these birds and when they all took flight in unison, it was a very moving sight.

I reached for the Serene Silhouettes stamp set because it was so appropriate and, with a nod to Lisa's original, used it in conjunction with the design from the Modern Medley Designer Paper which featured the silhouettes of birds in flight.  Perfect.  Now I just needed to figure out how I would use them and I could convert my real life experience into a card.

I used Basic Black cardstock as my base and built up using the beautiful Fancy Foil Designer Vellum in gold as well as some Very Vanilla cardstock and some Gold Foil.  Using a combination of my Banners Framelits dies and Squares Framelits dies, I staggered the pieces.  Then I added a sentiment using the Banner Blast stamp set and, finally, some of the lovely Gold Baker's Twine.  I think the card gives an impression of my experience---what do you think?

Products Used

Serene Silhouettes stamp set
Banner Blast stamp set (Sale-a-bration)

Basic Black cardstock
Very Vanilla cardstock
Gold Foil sheet
Gold Fancy Foil Designer Vellum
Modern Medley Designer Series Paper

Goil Baker's Twine
StazOn Black ink
Stampin' Dimensionals
Snail Adhesive