Thursday 29 September 2016

CYCI#139 -- Happy happy joy joy!

The challenge over at Can You Case It? is all about rainbow inspirations.  Well, I've been doing a lot of sorting out here in my crafting room and one of the things that I've had the hardest time sorting is my Designer Paper.  I'm finding it's hard to let go.  One of the pieces made me think of rainbows.  I think it was most likely from a Sale-a-bration a few years back, but the colours still appeal.  They seemed perfect for the challenge.

Of course then I had to figure out what to do with the Designer Paper.  I have all my framelits and thinlits magnetically mounted to my wall and so I began staring at them, willing them to give me inspiration.  And they did.  I happened to notice two sets of word framelits which, once I read them, kept repeating themselves in my head.  So, of course, to silence them, I had to use them.

Off topic for a moment.  Have you ever seen the Ren and Stimpy Show?  There is this episode where they define this "phrase".  Basically what the words mean is when the world expects you to put on this happy face when in reality all you want to do is either shriek or tear your hair out or pound hard on the nearest wall.  "Happy happy joy joy" is your inner silly song which gets you through the ordeal of making everyone else around you happy.  So, when I saw my "happy" framelit and my "joy" framelit, I knew I had to use those words.

My base is the Heavy Whisper White cardstock and the next layer is the Night of Navy.  Onto that layer I glued all the words as well as a Daffodil Delight happy face cut using the Project Life Paper Clip thinlits.

I hope you'll check out the Can You Case It? Challenge yourself.

Wednesday 28 September 2016

WWC87 - Wow!

There are a lot of males in my family and so Kath's Masculine "Anything Goes" Challenge is absolutely perfect.  It's the "anything goes" that really makes me excited.  Just think!  No boundaries except that this card has to be masculine.  I'm almost giddy with excitement.

I'm still hung up on that gorgeous Country Livin' stamp set.  It's no surprise, I'm sure, since I've used the boots several times as well as the truck and that great guitar.  Well, this time it's back to the guitar.  I had an idea which I'm hoping will translate perfectly into a card.

I decided to revisit a technique which I actually love but haven't used for at least two years.  It's the faux patina technique and for this card I intend to use the copper embossing powder as well as some copper foil accents.  The faux patina technique is very showy.  It looks absolutely elegant and vintage and hard to do.  That's where people fool themselves.  They shy away from trying the technique and yet, once a person does each step carefully, suddenly it's done and it's easier than it looked---and absolutely gorgeous to boot.  Rather than take you through all the steps, I'm going to add a link which is already set up at the Splitcoaststampers site.  The colours of ink which I used for this card are Crumb Cake, Tempting Turquoise, Almost Artichoke, and Chocolate Chip.

For my base I've used Chocolate Chip cardstock followed by a layer of Crumb Cake which I first lightly sponged around the edges with Crumb Cake ink.  Then I've added my beautiful piece of faux patina.  Doesn't the Boho Chic embossing folder work beautifully with that technique?  My Star is several layers.  The base is Chocolate Chip and then I've added a layer of Copper Foil and finally a star cut from the musical paper from the This Christmas Specialty Designer Series paper.  I fussy cut out the guitar (of course) and used my AquaPainter and Crumb Cake, Soft Suede and Chocolate Chip inks to colour it.  The sentiment?  I found it among my retired stamps and thought it was absolutely perfect.

And there you have it.  My masculine card is complete.  I hope you'll join us at the Watercooler Wednesday Challenge to see the gorgeous creations by the other Watercooler Artists.

Wednesday 21 September 2016

Thankful * Grateful * Blessed

It's not quite Fall yet.  That, apparently, begins tomorrow, on September 22nd.  But from the look of the leaves around here and the nip in the air, Fall decided to begin early without permission.  Why am I talking about Fall?  That's the theme of our "Simply Stamping" challenge this week and our hostess, Gail Allen, provided the wonderful photograph of a previous Fall in her area.

Before we get started and I unveil my own creation for this challenge, I am going to give you a very quick run-down of what our expectations for this challenge are:

"Simply Stamping" is a return to basics.  We expect either one single stamped base layer or a base with one single layer on that.  We expect simple stamping.  You can use masking, heat embossing, stencilling, sponging.  You cannot use an embossing folder or embellishments or additional layers (not even a tag).

What our team discovered is that it's not very easy to stamp simply.  It remains one of our most difficult challenges.  I decided that I would use two layers.  My base is the Heavy Whisper White and then I added a layer of Whisper White upon which I did all my stamping, masking, detailing.  It took time, but I was so happy with the results.  Normally I would have stamped my sentiment on a separate piece of Whisper White and then popped it up on Dimensionals.  Well, that's not allowed so it became part of my masking challenge.  And it worked.

The stamp sets which I used for the fallen leaves are the Vintage Leaves set and the Rose Wonder set.  My sentiment is from the Paisleys & Posies set.  What I've done is to cut out several leaves as well as a rectangle the size of the white area for the sentiment and used those as needed to mask those already stamped areas which I did not wish to stamp over.  It was definitely time consuming.  Simply stamping isn't necessarily your fastest card technique.  But the results are very satisfying.  I'm happy with my card, unembellished and simply stamped as it is.

 The appearance of the additional layer of green behind the sentiment is precisely that, an appearance.  I've used a ruler and carefully coloured in that green area top and bottom to make it look matted.  I've also used the side of my marker along the edge of my layer of Whisper White to help the white stand out against the base white.

I hope you'll check out the wonderful "simply stamped" creations by the other Watercooler Artists at our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.

Monday 19 September 2016

Wow! The new Cable Knit embossing folder...

You'll see on the package of the new Cable Knit embossing folder that it is considered a "Dynamic" folder.  I read the word but it really didn't mean much to me.  In the Holiday Catalogue it merely said that "our new Dynamic folders create deep, dimensional  embossed impressions".  It did not say what was obvious to me as I held it when my order came in, that it was three times as heavy as any embossing folder I own.  And thick!  Yes, this embossing folder is THICK!

I've been using embossing folders for quite a number of years now and so I don't read the packaging.  You've used one embossing folder, you've used them all.  NOT!  I suspected strongly that this embossing folder would not go through my Big Shot with the normal "sandwich" of platform, cutting pad, embossing folder with paper, cutting pad.  This Dynamic embossing folder looked to be as thick as one of my cutting plates.  I held it up against one just to test my theory.  It was thicker.  Actually it was approximately as thick as my cutting plate plus a normal embossing folder.  So I tested my theory one step further and ran the folder through my Big Shot with only one cutting plate, the Dynamic embossing folder holding paper, and the platform.  And it embossed the paper.

So I did something that I hadn't done in years.  I read the packaging for this Dynamic embossing folder.  And it told me to do exactly what I had just done.

Well, I had this embossed piece of cardstock.  That just didn't seem right.  I had to use it for something.  It had been a while since I made a card simply for pleasure without the pressure of a challenge or a blog hop.  So I did just that.  I made a card simply for pleasure, just because I had a piece of cardstock which I had just embossed.  With no plan in mind, I proceeded to go where inspiration might take me.

The result?  I may just have people make this at my next workshop or crop.  And to top it off, I had so much fun.

Stamp set:  Sweet Home
Paper:  Very Vanilla, Whisper White, Wasabi Green, Real Red, Baked Brown Sugar, Silver Foil
Inks:  Real Red, Almost Artichoke, Chocolate Chip, Baked Brown Sugar
Tools:  Cable Knit Dynamic embossing folder, Home Sweet Home Thinlits dies, Pretty Pines Thinlits Dies, Banners Framelits, Delicate Ornaments Thinlits (hook)

Yes, I admit that I used the retired Baked Brown Sugar cardstock and ink but this was just for fun and I happen to love that colour, especially for gingerbread.

Thursday 15 September 2016

The Wacky Watercooler September Blog Hop - My Favourites from the 2016 Holiday Catalogue

It's September already and the Stampin' Up! 2016 Holiday Catalog launched at the beginning of the month.  Have you seen it?  I saw it for the first time as a PDF on my computer and fell in love with quite of few of the new products.  Once I had the real paper catalog in my hands, however, that changed.  Radically!  I'm not sure that I need everything with which I fell in love but I know I want it all!  So you can imagine that getting ready for this blog hop and coming up with THREE favourites was a monumental task.  I kept changing my mind.

I'm excited about this month's blog hop for more reasons than the Holiday Catalogue and all its tempting goodies.  This month we have a participant from England and one from Australia joining the participants with whom you've grown familiar.  As you will remember, if you've wandered through our blog hops before, our blog hop is presented in a circular fashion.  What does that mean?  Wherever you begin in our blog hop, whether you go forwards or backwards through the participants, eventually you will wind up precisely where you began.  I hope you'll take time to visit all the participating blogs and, perhaps, leave a short message letting us know  what you've thought of our posts.

If you've been moving forwards through the blog hop, you'll have arrived here from the very talented Gail Allen's post.  Gail lives on the west coast of British Columbia and is a member of our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge artists.

* * * * * * * * * * 

For my first project I decided to revisit the Cookie Cutter Christmas stamp set which I showcased for the last Blog Hop.  This set is part of the Candy Cane Lane Suite.  There are so many things I love about this Suite.  The Candy Cane Lane Designer Series Paper, for example, is stunning.  The colours are very simple:  Whisper White, Crumb Cake, Early Espresso and Real Red.  That's right, just four colours, but the WOW factor is real.  Actually, besides the stamp set, this designer paper is the star of my creation.  

For this hop I also looked around for products and tools that I have been neglecting.  It's so easy to buy and then forget to use the things with which you originally fell in love.  One of those tools is my Gift Bag Punch Board.  I don't know why I've neglected it since it really is so easy to use and the sizes of bags you can create is almost endless, but now that I've dusted it off, I decided that I would use it and the designer paper to create a nice Christmas Gift Bag.  The paper is really beautiful.  The designs--what can I say except it almost came down to "eeny-meeny-miny-moe" because I couldn't make the choice.  Finally, however, I went with the sheet that has a solid Early Espresso background and features some adorable gingerbread trees, stars, mittens, and, of course, "men".  

 My bag is the large sized one.  I could make it any height so it would even fit a wine bottle since it is gusseted, but I chose to make this one about 6 inches high.  Actually the bag would be about 4 3/4 inches tall but I decided to add flaps to both ends.  The bottom flaps are glued shut the conventional way but the top is different.  At about 4 3/4 inches there is a score line and I also cut off the side flaps.  That just leaves the one along the top front of the bag and one along the top back.  I finished off by using the Reverse Punch on the other side of the tool.  The two holes on each flap will allow me to lace through my twine and tie it shut with a bow.

Of course every bag needs a tag, right?  I used the colours from the bag to create mine.  The little Christmas tree was simply die-cut using the Perfect Pines framelits and the little gingerbread man was stamped using the Cookie Cutter Christmas set and cut using the Cookie Cutter Builder punch.  To make the tag pretty, I used the Scalloped Tag Topper punch.  

And a close up of the tags.

* * * * * * * * * * 

My second project is also all about Christmas but the colours and the atmosphere are totally different.  For this card I turned to a stamp set with which I immediately fell in love  when I first saw it in the online catalogue.  Those feelings didn't change when I saw it in the actual catalogue and it was on my first order.  The set?  Christmas Magic.  I love all the images but for this card I needed something small because I planned to combine it with images and the sentiment from the Star of Light set as well as the Starlight Thinlits dies.  So I picked the snowman.  He's such a cute little guy and perfect with his slightly bemused look.

I wanted the card to be elegant and understated with a touch of dazzle.  For my base I used the Heavy Whisper White followed by a layer of Emerald Envy.  Then I cut a piece of Shimmery White Specialty cardstock on which I planned to do my stamping and which I also planned to cut with one of the star thinlits.  I love the thinlit that doesn't cut out a star but just cuts holes which make a star shaped pattern.  You can see how it allows a peek at the Emerald Envy underneath.  Then I used the smallest of the Starlight thinlits to cut a star from the Dazzling Diamonds Glimmer paper.  Isn't it gorgeous layered on top of the star cutout?  

I stamped my little snowman using the Basic Gray archival ink because I thought black would be too stark and snowman are soft.  Because I stamped it on the Shimmery White cardstock, the snowman has a slight shimmer to him which I love.  I used Emerald Envy and Real Red to colour his mittens and scarf.  For the mounded snow at his bottom and for the snow along the brim of his hat I first added glue and let that  get tacky.  Then I added the Dazzling Diamonds glitter to it and "wow", did it ever sparkle!  It perfectly balanced the dazzle of the die-cut star.

For the inside of the card I kept it simple.  I stamped the wonderful flourish from the Star of Light set using Mint Macaron and then stamped  the sentiment from the Wondrous Wreath set over that using Emerald Envy ink.

And the whole front of the card, of course.

* * * * * * * * * * 

For my third project I turned to the Home Sweet Home thinlits dies and their coordinating stamp set, Sweet Home.  I knew that I would get this bundle as soon as I saw it.  I could imagine how excited my grandsons and their friends would be, getting a spooky house filled with candy for Hallowe'en.  Not to mention Christmas.  Yes, that little house bundle will be seeing a lot of activity.

I was really upset with myself for not ordering the Hallowe'en Night Specialty designer series paper when I ordered the bundle.  As I saw after I put in the order, this paper has a great brick design which is absolutely awesome on these little houses, especially the Hallowe'en ones.  But with the paper not due to arrive until Monday and this blog hop launching this Thursday, I've had to improvise.  And so I turned to the Timeless Textures stamp set and my Whisper White craft ink.  I think the effect on the Basic Gray cardstock is just rough and aged enough to be perfect for Hallowe'en, don't you?

I had a lot of fun adding spider webs, ghosts, gravestones and a little fence by combining the Home Sweet Home bundle with the Spooky Fun bundle.  This little house can just sit on a table as a decoration because of the way I've put the scene together, but by itself and filled with candy, it's going to give a bunch of kids a real Hallowe'en treat.

* * * * * * * * * * 

 And that's it for my projects.  I hope you've enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed creating them.  From here you'll be visiting another wonderfully creative stamper, Jan McQueen, who is joining our blog hop for the first time.  Jan hails from Australia and we've had an interesting time figuring out the time difference.

Wednesday 14 September 2016

WWC85 - You Are My Sunshine

I love colour challenges.  Usually I have to do a lot of thinking to get myself into the right mood to use the challenge colours.  I think we all know how that is.  We all have our favourite "go-to" colours.  That's where these challenges help me to work outside my safe little box.  Jean's challenge is no different.  What is different, however, is her choice of colours.  We have two neutrals and a metallic.  Time to get my thinking cap on.

There were so many ideas that flooded my head.  That's just as hard as sitting there with no ideas in your head.  Finally I decided on combining a heat embossed copper and a die-cut copper foil.

I began with a base of Heavy Whisper White followed by a skinny matte of Basic Black and then another layer of Whisper White which I first embossed, heat-embossed and stamped.  The heat-embossing is, of course, the wonderful sun from the Kinda Eclectic set, stamped over in the top left corner.  I absolutely loved the way the copper embossing powder heated up and melted into such a shiny metallic.

Then I took the new Pine Bough embossing folder and placed that in the top right corner, angling across diagonally towards the left lower area.  I followed that up with a slight bit of sponging over the embossed "needles" with some Basic Black ink and then also used the Basic Black ink to stamp part of the sentiment using the Sunshine Sayings set.  Under that I glued the rest of the sentiment cut out of Copper Foil using the Sunshine Wishes framelits.

Finally I glued a Basic Black die-cut bird cut using the Birds & Blooms thinlits, placing him so that he appeared to be perched on the "n" of the "sunshine".

I hope you'll check out the wonderful cards created by the rest of the Watercooler Artists at the Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.

PCC211 - Hello Fall

This is my last post as a member of the Paper Craft Crew design team.  Life has just become so crazy that something had to go.  Sadly it was this challenge.  But I've been with this team for over 20 months and perhaps it's time to leave the door open behind me for someone fresh to walk in and take my place.

I had a lot of fun with this week's challenge.  Since the weather in this area is getting a bit nippy and some trees are already changing colour, I decided to say hello to Fall even though, technically, it shouldn't be here for another week or so.

I decided to use the Woodland embossing folder for the background of this card.  Before I embossed it, however, I took my retired En Francais background stamp and stamped the inside of the embossing folder.  What did that do?  If you look closely, you will see the script stamped using Peekaboo Peach ink behind the trees.  How did I make the embossed trees stand out so nicely?  I softly sponged them using Basic Grey ink.

As for the rest, it's a mix and match of a whole bunch of products that I had lying around.  Did I mention that I'm cleaning out and sorting out my crafting room?  At the moment it's very, very confusing in here and difficult to find space in which to work, but it's coming.  I can see a glimmer where I'm sure the end of this long, dark tunnel is located.  And then?  Then I'll have a crafting room of which to be proud and also I'll be able to work in here so much more easily.

If you've enjoyed my cards as a design team member, come back to the Paper Craft Crew Challenges where I'm sure I'll be returning to create and link up my cards frequently.

Friday 9 September 2016

A threesome!

As you know, I enjoy challenges.  Every once in a  while the unexpected happens.  Every once in a while, as I look through my bookmarked challenges to see if anything moves me to create, I will find not just one, but two challenges which compliment each other and for which I can make a card, combining them and thus entering both.  This time I found THREE.  That's right, three!  Is this ever going to be fun!

What's so good about combining challenges you ask?  For one thing, if one challenge makes you think outside the box, imagine how much more "grey matter" is forced into action when two or three challenges are in play.  Of course they have to "mesh" or it won't work.  My three:

I had such a good idea for these challenges!  As you can see, there are circles galore as per the Paper Players Challenge.  I've used the challenge colours for the Nacho Average Challenge (plus a neutral).  And, finally, I've used Paisleys & Posies as my "P" for the Just Add Ink Challenge.

I hope you'll check out these three awesome challenges yourselves.  There are some great cards there for inspiration.l

Thursday 8 September 2016

SIP#64 - Blessed

Clean and Simple challenges are fun.  They test your ability to create something special without layers and layers or lots of embellishments.

For the base of my card I used the Heavy Whisper White.  I added one layer to that, a narrower strip of Basic Black cardstock which I heat embossed using several images of the Paislies & Posies stamp set using Gold Embossing powder.  Then I added my sentiment, also from the same set, heat embossing it using the White Embossing powder.  To the top of the strip of Basic Black cardstock, I adhered a strip of the black and gold Pop of Pink Designer Washi tape.

I hope you'll check out the other cards linked up to the Stamp, Ink, Paper Challenge this week.

Wednesday 7 September 2016

WWC84 - Have a Fabulous Birthday!

It's time for a sketch challenge!  This week Deborah Smart has created an awesome sketch challenge for the Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.  I love sketches because they can be flipped onto their sides, turned upside down or, of course, used precisely the way they're shown.  It's always a choice.  I really liked Deborah's sketch but it just wouldn't work for what I had in mind.

So I took Deb's sketch and I flipped it 90 degrees to the right and that worked perfectly for the stamp set I had in mind.  I had a birthday card in mind for my niece and knew she would love the Fairy Celebration images.  Now I could use them for the card.

I toyed with the idea of using Designer Series Paper for my background.  But I knew what I wanted and that design simply wasn't available---and so I stamped what I wanted, of course.  The base for my card is the Heavy Whisper White and then I've added a layer of Pacific Point which I covered with images from the Balloon Celebration stamp set.  Why that set?  Because I wanted it to look like the bright blue sky was covered with floating dandelion seeds and stars.  I heat embossed the dandelion seeds using White Embossing Powder and the stars using Silver Embossing Powder.  I left an open area on the lower left side for my sentiment, from the Thoughtful Banners set, which I also heat embossed using the White Embossing Powder.

My little fairy is stamped using Archival Basic Gray ink and then watercoloured using my AquaPainter and my Stampin' Up! inks.  Once it dried, I double matted it, first with a narrow layer of Pacific Point and then with a layer of Dazzling Diamonds Glimmer Paper.   Across the top of the card I added a strip of the striped Affectionately Yours Designer Washi tape as well as a narrower strip of the Dazzling Diamonds Glimmer Paper.

I'm so happy with the way the card turned out.  You can see why it had to be turned on its end.  My image would never have fit if I had used the horizontal layout.

I hope you'll check out the other Watercooler Artists' creations at our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.  I'm looking forward to seeing your card linked up to our challenge.

PCC210 - Eeek!

We have an interesting sketch this week for the Paper Craft Crew Challenge.  It could be used for so many occasions, especially with the strip of Designer Paper under the main images.

Of course I wanted to use some of my new products from the Holiday Catalogue and it was touch and go whether I was going to choose Hallowe'en or Christmas.  There are some awesome stamps for both holidays.  In the end I decided to play with my new Spooky Fun stamp set and the dies designed for the set, the Hallowe'en Scenes edgelits.  I also used the Gorgeous Grunge stamp for some additional background.  For my Designer Paper I took a piece of my black and white striped Neutrals Designer Series Stack and sponged it with the colours I would be using for the card:  Pumpkin Pie, Pear Pizzazz, and Elegant Eggplant.

For the leafy spiral in the background I used a cute flourish die which I had bought some time ago.  Underneath I added a circle of Delightful Dijon.  On top of that I added a piece of Whisper White matted with Pumpkin Pie, on which I stamped the gravestones and the floating ghosts.  Lightly sponging and distressing the paper added to the generally spooky atmosphere.   Instead of a ribbon, I decided to add a spider's web (complete with a spider, of course) which spans almost all the way across the top of the card and then finished up with a bat in the right upper corner.

The little pumpkins in the set worked perfectly beside the main images, especially after I added a face to one with a speech bubble coming from it.  Hallowe'en is a fun time.  Great for ghost stories and dressing up.  This set would be perfect for invitations to dress up parties.

I hope you'll check out the cards created by the rest of the Design Team at the Paper Craft Crew Challenge.

Sunday 4 September 2016

CYCI#136 - A Little Christmas Spirit

I've been watching for an opportunity to use a stamp set which I bought several years ago but haven't used because I've been sticking to Stampin' Up! posts.  Well, as I'm cleaning up the stashes and piles in my Crafting Room in order to make room for myself and allow more ease in creating, I'm coming across more and more wonderful products that I've bought and haven't used.  That ends now.  This sketch challenge posted by Can You Sketch It is the perfect opportunity to do just that.

For the image which I decided to use, I had to turn the sketch on its side but that's one of the things I love about sketch challenges.  As long as the sketch is recognizable, it can be turned any which way.  I used the Heavy Whisper White as my base and then added a layer of Garden Green cardstock.  For my next layer I turned to the Shimmery White specialty cardstock since I love the results of watercolouring on that paper.  

I stamped the image of the two cardinals on the paper using my archival inks and then proceeded to use my AquaPainter to add colour.  For the cardinals I used the Cherry Cobbler, Cajun Craze and Basic Black inks.  For the holly, I used a combination of Garden Green, Almost Artichoke, Crisp Cucumber, Watermelon Wonder and Cajun Craze inks.  And then I added a wash of Marina Mist for my background.   The sentiment (which was harder to decide on than anything else) came from my new Star of Light set.

After I added a couple of rhinestones and drew a few tiny holly clusters, the card was done.