Sunday, 27 April 2014

The Look of Watercolour

One of my favourite sets from the Occasions Catalogue is the Happy Watercolor stamp set.  That, along with the Watercolor Wonder Designer Series paper, tops my list of favourites.  One of the stamps in the set looks like a large watercolour "blob".  If you ink it up and stamp it, the colour even goes onto the paper similarly to watercolour.  It goes from lighter to darker.  I love the effect.

The card that I've made is simple but very effective.  All I used was the "blob" from the Happy Watercolor stamp set as well as my "C" acrylic block.  In this case, however, instead of simply using the acrylic block for mounting my stamp, I also inked it up and used it like a stamp.

On a piece of 3 3/4" x 5" Whisper White cardstock, I began by inking the "blob" with Marina Mist and stamped it towards the left side and just under 1/2" from the top.  Then I inked up my "C" block with Crushed Curry and stamped that partly over the bottom of the Marina Mist.  I cleaned the "C" block and then inked it up with Tangerine Tango and stamped that partly over the bottom of the Crushed Curry.  Then I inked up the "blob" again, this time with Gumball Green and stamped it partly over the bottom of the Tangerine Tango.  That brought me within about 1/8" of the bottom of my Whisper White.  This stack of colours wound up being approximately 1 3/8" from the right hand side of the cardstock at the closest.

I gave the inks a few minutes to dry thoroughly and then inked up the flowers from the Serene Silhouettes stamp set with my StazOn black ink and stamped the image onto the column of colours, approximately 1/8" from the bottom of the Gumball Green.

Then I took the "I'm here for you" stamp from the Petite Pairs stamp set and stamped that in black StazOn near the top right corner of the cardstock.

I used Marina Mist as my base cardstock and had a layer of 4" x 5 1/4" Basic Black cardstock on top of that before mounting the stamped Whisper White cardstock.

Simple, right?  I think it's simply gorgeous.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Simple doesn't mean plain.

I designed a make-n-take for a charity Scrapbooking Crop.  The ladies like to have a break from their scrapbooking and line up to make cards.  In this particular case I only had the one make-n-take because I was still recovering from bronchitis.  You do what you can.

Taking a break is fun but the ladies don't want to do cards that take a lot of their time.  As a result I try to design cards that make them proud of their achievement and yet aren't going to be really time-consuming.  In other words, no lengthy techniques or really finicky designs.  Since the next occasion that is coming up is Mother's Day, I thought a Mother's Day card would be appropriate.

I used a base cardstock in Gumball Green (on the retired list) with the next layer being a combination of Whisper White and Watercolor Wonder Designer Series Paper (retiring June 1st).  The ribbon I used to hide the join between the two papers is the Satin Stitched Ribbon in Gumball Green (on the retired list).

For the Whisper White, I had everyone stamp one of the flowers from the Flower Store stamp set using Crisp Cantaloupe ink in a random pattern.  Then I had them stamp the leaves from the retiring Secret Garden stamp set in Gumball Green ink.  Since the stamping was random, it was interesting to see the varying designs which resulted.

I had everyone cut a small butterfly from the Crisp Cantaloupe paper in the 2013-15 In-Colors Designer Series Stack and a large butterfly from the Watercolor Wonder Designer Series Paper.  Mounting them on the ribbon with the small butterfly on top of the larger one really tied the colors together and, for some added bling, I had them put a strip of 4 rhinestones down the centre.  All we needed after that was the Happy Mother's Day sentiment and the card was done.

This really was a relatively simple card but everyone loved it.  It could just as easily be used as a birthday card or for any other occasion, as well.

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Tiny changes

Sometimes all it takes to change a card is a bit of colour.  I made up the following card initially using a piece of Designer Paper from the Fresh Prints Paper Stack that is available until the end of May (or until supplies run out) through the Occasions Catalogue.  The stack of 4 1/2" x 6 1/2" paper offers 4 pieces each of 12 double-sided designs.  I love the variety.  There are very neutral designs and colours as well as much bolder designs and colours, all in shades of Coastal Cabana, Crumb Cake, Real Red and Whisper White.

The first card which I made shows off one of the neutral designs.  I love the white fans on the background of Crumb Cake.  To keep it neutral and to make the flowers I intended to use "pop", I used Crumb Cake as my base cardstock.  My next layer is one of the lovely, dainty White Tea Lace Paper Doilies  which are so easy to use and so affordable since they come in a package of 24.  On top of that, across the lower portion of my card front, I attached a 2 1/8" x 4 1/4" piece of the Designer Paper.

I cut a banner out of Whisper White cardstock using the third largest of the Banner Framelits from the Occasions Catalogue.  Then I centered the squared off top of the banner in my Scalloped Tag Topper Punch to add the pretty detail and also to make it possible to tie a ribbon to the top.  For the sentiment I used the Perfect Pennants (also from the Occasions Catalogue) using Crumb Cake ink.  I also sponged Crumb Cake around the edges of the tag.

After adding a piece of Raspberry Ripple Stitched Satin Ribbon, I chose to attach the tag on an angle using dimensionals.  Then I added a large flower stamped in Raspberry Ripple with the Flower Shop stamp set and two small flowers, one in Raspberry Ripple and one in Marina Mist, and finished them off with pearls in their centres.

The next card is made in precisely the same way with just a few colour changes.

For my Designer Paper I used a piece that included all the colours:  Real Red, Coastal Cabana, Crumb Cake and Whisper White.  I stayed true to the Crumb Cake as my base cardstock but changed out the colours of my flowers, using the Real Red for the large flower and one of the small flowers and then the Coastal Cabana for the other small flower.  I decided to use the Crumb Cake Seam Binding ribbon for the top of the tag so that the focal points of the card were the flowers and the Designer Paper.

These cards can easily be stamped "Happy Mother's Day" or "Happy Birthday" on the inside.  Or they could be used simply for a get well or just because type of card.

Don't forget that the Occasions catalogue will only be active until June 1st.  If you want the Paper Stack, Banner Framelits, Petite Petals Bundle or Scalloped Tag Topper punch, this is the time to get them.  And don't forget that FREE SHIPPING ends on Friday, April 25th.

The first of many "good-byes"

We have the list of retiring stamp sets and accessories.  As usual there are a lot of products which will be leaving.  Part of me is feeling a bit low because many of these products are favourites or "old friends".  Part of me is very excited about the new products which will be unveiled very soon.  For the next few days I plan to use some of the retired products in a "last goodbye".  If any of these products appeal to you, be quick about ordering them.  Many are already sold out and once they're gone---well, they're gone.

And remember---until Friday shipping is FREE!

With Mother's Day coming up soon, I thought it would be a good idea to begin with a Mother's Day card.  For this one I used Naturals White as my base cardstock.  My next layer is that beautiful Primrose Petals Core'dinations cardstock.  Yes, it's retiring.  I used my Petals-a-Plenty embossing folder on it and then sanded the raised embossing with my Stampin' Sanding Block (both the embossing folder and the sanding system are retiring).  Then I attached some Baker's Twine across the top of the embossed cardstock using my Mini Brads before adhering it to the base cardstock.

I used the Banner Punch from the Sale-a-bration brochure to punch out four banners from the 2013-15 Designer Series Paper stack.  Since I planned to stamp some flowers in Coastal Cabana ink, I punched the banners from the various designs in Coastal Cabana.  I also used the Coastal Cabana ink for my sentiment which is from the Delightful Dozen stamp set (also retiring).

Across the bottom I layered a narrow rectangle of Naturals White, Primrose Petals, and then Whisper White.  I stamped the leaves from the Bright Blossoms stamp set (retiring) using Pistachio Pudding ink and then attached two flowers made with the Petite Petals bundle and Pistachio Pudding ink and a larger flower made with the Flower Shop bundle and Primrose Petals ink.

The pearls in the centres of the smaller flowers will continue into the new catalogue.  The large pearl in the centre of the large flower is being retired.  If you're like me, you'll want to get some before they're gone.

Remember, Friday is the last day for FREE SHIPPING.  You can use the 10% you save  on the terrific products in the upcoming new annual catalogue.

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

With Sympathy

It's hard to make a sympathy card.  Actually, it's hard to buy a sympathy card, too.  You want it to say exactly the right thing.  You want it to be right, not only for the recipient but also as a tribute of sorts to the one who is gone.

Our uncle died last month and his celebration of life was held last weekend.  He was an amazing man, full of vitality, who loved his family and the great outdoors.  I wanted my card to express some of that and also to be just right for our aunt who will, of course, be the recipient.  In the end I believe my card wound up being more for her than for him.  All I know is that it was hard to make.  Memories just kept flooding my mind as I worked on the card.  He will be missed.

I settled on a base of Naturals White cardstock.  The next layer was Baked Brown Sugar and then I added a layer from the Sale-a-bration Designer Paper, Sweet Sorbet.  I really loved the Pool Party, Basic Black and Whisper White in the piece I chose.  I added the strip of film from the On Film framelits which I cut in Baked Brown Sugar.  Once I had the bird image from Simply Sketched Hostess stamp set attached to the cut-out, I mounted them onto a piece of Basic Black cardstock and trimmed it leaving a small frame of black.

My sentiment also comes from that stamp set.  I kept it simple by stamping the words in black using my StazOn ink.  Having the sentiment on Pool Party cardstock cut out with my large Oval Punch and then mounting it on Basic Black cardstock cut out with my Scalloped Oval Punch really made it "pop".  A simple bow tied with my Pool Party Seam Binding ribbon added the perfect touch, don't you agree?

Friday, 18 April 2014

FREE---can you think of a better price?

Just in time for the retirement list, Stampin' Up! is offering FREE shipping on all orders made between April 21st and April 25th.  I feel like doing cartwheels, I'm so excited!

Stay tuned for the list of retiring items which I will have for you on Monday, April 21st.  You know there will be items on it that you've been wanting to buy.  This will be your last chance because once the items on the retiring list are gone---well, they're gone.

Thursday, 17 April 2014

A Masculine "Happy Birthday"

Since I make my own cards, I seldom go out there and buy one any longer.  They always look so generic and don't say what I want to say.  This is especially true of cards for the men in my life.  I like to mix in a bit of what means something to any of them.  For my brother-in-law that would be the outdoors and wood.  He's a master wood-crafter and his projects "blow my mind".

Stampin' Up! has some wonderful stamp sets that really are appropriate for what I had in mind.  Lovely as a Tree---what can I say?  That stamp set pays for itself and just keeps on giving.  The oak tree image was exactly the image which I had in mind.  Gently Falling---again, perfect, especially the oak leaves and acorn.  Hardwood, the background stamp available through the Occasions Catalogue---just asked to be used for this project.

The colours I chose all make me think of a living forest or of wood---perfect!  Always Artichoke, Baked Brown Sugar, Pistachio Pudding, Early Espresso and touches of gold embossing powder.  The colours are organic and compliment each other beautifully.  With a touch of Burlap ribbon, the front of the card definitely came together.  If you look closely, you can see I took the stitching off the edges of the ribbon and frayed the ends.

I think the little "Happy Birthday" from the Teeny Tiny Wishes stamp set is the perfect touch, don't you?

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Make YOUR Life a Project!

Scrapbooking can be a lot of work.  Yes, it's wonderful to pull out a finished scrapbook and share the pages with your kids or friends, but getting to that point where you have the finished scrapbook is a lot of work.  For some people the answer has been to switch over to Photobooks.  Stampin' Up! offers that option through its My Digital Studio line.  The quality is awesome and getting the Photobook put together isn't at all difficult.

But for many of us there remains a desire to have more of a "connection".  Handling real photos and arranging them into the scrapbook is a hands-on experience that we don't really wish to abandon.  If only it didn't take so much time!

Well, you may have heard about Project Life.  It has become a very popular way to put together a scrapbook while still experiencing the hand-on connection.  Stampin' Up! has joined up with Project Life and, beginning May 1st, will be offering products in the colours you've grown to love as part of the line.  Excited?  Join the crowd!  May 1st can't come fast enough.  And the whole line will be available with the unveiling of the brand New Annual Catalogue, which will happen at the beginning of June.

If you're curious and want some more information, just have a look at this video.  It gives you a good idea of what will be coming up.

Thursday, 10 April 2014

The April Wacky Watercooler "Spring has Sprung" Blog Hop

How time flies!  It's already time for another blog hop with the Wacky Watercooler gang.  We're going to have fun sharing some amazing projects that are inspired by Spring's many occasions.  Luckily, with all of Stampin' Up!'s wonderful products, becoming inspired isn't difficult.

For those of you who are familiar with our blog hops, you'll remember that it's a circular one.  Whoever you begin with, whether you go backwards or forwards through the names, you will, eventually, wind up right where you began.  Like a ring, it continues forever.  Of course you can "jump off" at any time.  For those of you who haven't experienced one of our blog hops before, you're in for a treat.

If you've come through the blog hop from the beginning, you will have arrived here from the very talented Christine Giuda's blog.  Christine never ceases to amaze me with her artistic projects.

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For this blog hop I am going to have one project to show off.  The hanging Memory Tray that I've used for the project isn't Stampin' Up! but it makes a wonderful backdrop for all the great products that are.

My project shows little moments that represent Spring for me.  Winter took over for far too long in this area.  There is still some dirty snow on the ground but temperatures have risen sufficiently to rid us of some of the huge piles with which we've lived since the latter part of October.  The other day I saw a robin.  I'm sure Spring is here, finally.

When I think of Spring, a couple of things come immediately to my mind.  One is Easter.  It's a sure sign of Spring if we can hide some treats and eggs outside.  Of course the treats aren't the only wonderful thing about Easter, but when you have kids, the Easter Egg hunt becomes an annual event.

I went to town making flowers for this little vignette.  Thank goodness there are a lot of choices among Stampin' Up! products.  All the flowers were made using the Creped Filter Paper.  The little blue ones were made with the Petite Petals Bundle while the daisies were cut using the Blossom Party die and then sponged with Daffodil Delight ink.  The pretty roses were cut using the Spiral Flower Die and then sponged with Crisp Cantaloupe ink or Pool Party ink.

The next occasion that comes to mind with Spring is my daughter's birthday.  There are a lot of birthdays in the Spring, aren't there?

For me, my daughter is my wish come true.  What's better to celebrate than a pink elephant wearing a party hat?  I love the background of Watercolour Wonder Designer Series Paper, don't you?

Spring also means that the birds and Canada Geese return to our area to nest.  I'm sure they had a bit of a shock this year when they flew overhead and saw all the white.  Thank goodness that's going away quickly.  They have to get their nests established and find good feeding areas after all.

I've used the Watercolour Wonder Designer paper again in the top vignette and then stamped it using Early Espresso and the Serene Silhouettes stamp set.  The bottom vignette showcases that wonderful Wetlands Stamp set as well as Lovely as a Tree.

This next vignette uses a partial nest that is not Stampin' Up! but everything else definitely is.  I just wanted a nest and, try as I might, could not make one myself.  Kudos to the birds who seem to have no problems making them each year.

The cute little eggs are made from our Simply Pressed Clay.  They're as light as a feather (yes, I've added a little vellum feather poking out of the nest) and once they dried it was an easy matter to stamp them with little spots using the Gorgeous Grunge stamp set.  Once the ink dried, I painted the eggs using a mixture of Crystal Effects and Pool Party ink.

When I think of the birds returning, I also think about birdhouses.  My grandson loves Bluebirds and so I made this vignette especially for him.

I free-handed the birdhouse after I used the Woodgrain embossing folder on Early Espresso Co'redinations cardstock.  The little roof is hand cut from the Epic Day This and That Designer Series paper as is the background paper.  The leaves are Always Artichoke cardstock cut with the Little Leaves Sizzlit die and the Bluebird was stamped and cut using the Backyard Basics Bundle.

Another occcasion that signals Spring for me is Mother's Day.  Whether it is a single rose or a large bouquet, flowers always represent that day for me.  My Mum loved flowers and was always delighted to receive them for Mother's Day.

This little rose was made from our Simply Pressed Clay and then coloured and sealed with Crystal Effects.  It's been wrapped up in a piece of the Modern Medley Designer Series paper and held together with a ribbon of Victoria Crochet Trim.  The little leaves were cut using the Little Leaves Sizzlit die.

Of course flowers are sensational during Spring.  I think I love them so much because it is such a delight to see them after a long, white winter.  Daffodils, especially, represent Spring for me.

I've made these using Vellum cardstock and the Secret Garden bundle.  I heat embossed the daffodil flower onto the Vellum using white embossing powder.  I thought it would be far too stark to use black.  Then I sponged Daffodil Delight ink into the vellum and let that dry.  I also cut a 3/4" x 1 1/4" piece of vellum and sponged that with Crisp Cantaloupe ink.  Once that was dry, I used the new Fringe Scissors to cut approcimately 1/4" down into the Vellum.  Then I used Sticky Strip to form it into a "tube".  By running some Multipurpose Liquid Glue along the non-fringed edge, I was able to place the "tube" into the centre of the flower and "voila" a daffodil was born.  The leaves, too, are Vellum cardstock while the grass was cut and recut using the Fringe Scissors.

Besides the daffodils, I love lilacs in the Spring.  The scent of them is almost intoxicating, especially if you happen along a lane bordered with bushes.

For the little blossoms, I used Perfect Plum and Elegant Eggplant cardstocks.  I would guess that I cut well over a hundred of  them using the Itty Bitty Shapes punch.  Then, after curving them with my Bone Folder, I put a dab of Dazzling Details in the centre of each.  While that was drying, I cut a "branch" out of Early Espresso Co'redinations cardstock and soaked it well in some tepid water.  Then I hand-curved the branch so that it appeared to be 3-D.  After that was dry, I adhered the branch to my little vignette and then glued down layers and layers of blossoms.  Three vellum butterflies made using the Papillon Potpourri stamp set and matching punches, and my vignette was complete.

I made one more item for this project.  I love pussywillows and they really are the harbinger of Spring for me.  Of course I wanted mine to be made from Stampin' Up! supplies and, after a whole lot of fussing and a bit of swearing, I think I managed to make a reasonably realistic branch.

The little pussywillows that are peeking out were made using the Simply Pressed Clay.  After layering a whole lot of colours together to give the branch some realism, I covered it with Crystal Effects.  All in all, I'm happy with the results.

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So, what does my project look like as a whole?  I'm glad you asked.  I'm just dying to show it off.

After taking pictures of it from a whole lot of angles, I decided to use this slightly not-direct view.  I think it shows some of the 3-D effect (and there is a LOT of that).  If you click on the photo, it will enlarge on your screen and you'll get a better look.  It's nicer in real life---but then most things are, don't you think?

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Well, that's it for my post.  I hope you've enjoyed seeing my Ode to Spring.  Your next stop will be with Stefanie Pletscher.  Stefanie is not only an amazing medic, she is also a very talented crafter.  I'm sure you'll agree when you see her projects.

Our next Blog Hop is the second week of May.  Don't worry, I'll give you fair warning.

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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Swallowtail -- the Beauty of a Butterfly

It's finally beginning to look like Spring out there and so my thoughts go to flowers and butterflies and all things colourful outside.  With some sad-looking grass patches showing up between piles of rapidly melting snow, I really need to use my imagination for this.  But I'm so ready for flowers.  And for butterflies.  After 5 1/2 long months of white, I need some colour in my life.

For a stamp that feels almost too large and unwieldy, the Swallowtail background stamp has to be one of the most versatile stamps.  And the results are almost always outstanding.  I happen to like the way the image looks embossed on vellum.  There is an added elegance to it, especially when done with Silver Embossing powder.

I kept my colours toned down somewhat so that the silver and the jewel tones of the colours in the wings would pop.  Added to the edge is a cute little scallop and at the top of each scallop I've added a little rhinestone.  In the background, under the vellum, you can just make out the design from the Very Vintage Wheel which I used on the cardstock.

It's my "Ode to Spring"---a thank you that it has finally begun.

Don't forget that the Wacky Watercooler Blog Hop will begin on Thursday.  Yes!  This Thursday.  You'll love it!

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Only a few days left...

That's right!  Only a few days and we'll be presenting another terrific Wacky Watercooler Blog Hop.  Just remember to write the dates in on your calendar so that you don't forget.  It begins at 7 p.m. Mountain Time on Thursday, April 10th.

Some exciting projects will stimulate your imaginations and get you all ready to create.  Are you ready?

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Sometimes all it takes is a different colour!

Remember the card I posted on March 7th?  I had made a golden card for all the golden memories that I have of my Mum.  Well, just a few changes in colour, and that same layout becomes a wonderful "Thinking of You" card.

Do you see what I've done here?  I've layered some Coastal Cabana cardstock over the beautiful Gold Vellum and then on the banner, I put a strip of the Coastal Cabana from the Retro Fresh This and That Designer Washi Tape.  Does it make a big difference?  Changing out the golden tulip for a coloured tulip also changes the whole look.  Yet, side by side the cards have precisely the same layout.  What a difference colour can make!