Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Year in Review

I saw someone else do this, and I liked the idea. Here are my favorite cards from 2009. If you like any others not listed here, let me know!

Happy 2010!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Just for Grandma

My mom's mom is the only one of my four grandparents still living, and she'll be 89 on Tuesday. As I thought about what kind of card I wanted to create for her, I struggled. I don't know her tastes as well as I do those I make other cards for. I don't know her favorite colors, I don't know her favorite flower, and these or something from a conversation we've shared are usually catalysts for inspiration. So I perused my own gallery and hit on something I know is near and dear to grandma's heart--quilting.

I'm not sure what the first quilt was that she made for me, but I remember sleeping under them during vacations at her house. My sister and I and our cousin Julie all had flower quilts made from octagonal shaped pieces on our beds. My mother stretched some on frames and hung them to decorate the walls of her home to honor her skill. She made one for Michael when he was born. I've made one--ONE--because of her influence.

So, now that I had the theme, I pulled out a technique I found somewhere 2.5 years ago, and got to work. I started with a 4" square of Pretty in Pink and scored it down the middle on the diagonal in each direction to create a large "x". Then, keeping the paper positioned like a diamond, I moved the point to the first half inch line on my paper cutter and scored the paper. I did this all the way across and turned it the opposite direction, still on point, and repeated the process. It's harder to explain than it is to do, I promise.

Once I had my quilt grid, I filled in the squares with a very small pattern from PTI's Simply Stationery set. The stamp is mounted on an acrylic block, which Stampin' Up! will begin selling next month--hurray! Having the ability to see through the block was critical to placing the stamp inside each little box. I chose Pretty in Pink, Rose Red, and Mellow Moss as my color scheme.

Of course, as I am finishing up, I boff one of the inkings and it's not quite perfect. So, I use my Stamp-A-Ma-Jig to align the image so I can re-stamp it. Third one down on the left is the result. ARGH! I was not about to start over, so I had to improvise. Ribbon to the rescue! What mistake?

I matted the quilt on Mellow Moss and then on a Whisper White card base. It looked a bit stark, so I added a border element from another PTI set because it carried through with my sewing theme. The small sentiment is from Wow Flowers and is attached with glue dots.

Grandma's eyesight isn't all that good anymore. She can't do any handwork--besides quilting she knitted up a storm too (I received a beautiful large afghan and matching pillows as a wedding present)--so I hope she'll appreciate my version of handwork when she receives this in the mail. Happy birthday, Grandma! Your crafting influenced mine, and I'm so glad.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Another Handmade Christmas Greeting

My friend and fellow demonstrator Nadine sent me this beautiful, bright Christmas card. I just stared at it for a minute when it arrived...the color combination was so bright and the white snowflake seemed to practically jump off the card! Stunning work.

The base is 4.25"x5.5" of Real Red card stock, which seems almost surreal when paired with Bermuda Bay from this year's InColor Collection. The Serene Snowflakes set, available in the Holiday Mini Catalog through Jan. 4, 2010, has several sizes of flakes, which Nadine used to create a background pattern. The focal image snowflake was created using Versamark or White Craft Ink (I'm guessing) and White Embossing Powder. The fact that there are NO stray flecks of powder around either the image or the sentiment is a testament to some seriously careful work or some other technique I don't know of. Nadine, enlighten us, please!

The ribbon is Real Red 3/4" polka dot grosgrain, and it adds just the right amount of texture and pizazz to this card. It's threaded through a slot (created by the Horizontal Slot Punch) and tied to the main focal image. Love the additional spunk! The intricate border along the bottom of the Bermuda Bay layer was created using the Eyelet Border Punch.

It's so nice when people take the time to make cards and send them to local friends. Thanks, girlfriend! You should start a blog...

Back tomorrow with a card for my grandmother's 89th birthday.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Fifty Really Isn't OLD, Is It?

Two of my favorite customers are turning 50 in the next week, and these women really don't look like they're about to be a half-century old! Could that be because I'm only 7 years younger than they are, and I don't feel old at all? Nah...well, maybe.

Lisa comes in daily and gets a venti 7 pump nonfat 180 degree no water no foam chai (but she's not high maintenance!). I wanted her card to be whimsical, because I know she's kinda dreading this milestone. So, I chose some cute characters from Doodle Factory that I had in my stash as the starting point for her card.

I also wanted bright and cheery, so that she'd smile when she opened it. Bright colors just seem to promote happiness somehow. I chose Gable Green, Green Galore, and Glorious Green from the Bold Brights family and stamped each of the little characters I chose--they look kind of stunned or a bit freaked out, don't they?--in the same color as the card stock to create a sort of patterned paper look. This card is 5"x7", and the layers seemed a bit ungrounded without something going on behind them. I had some alphabet and number stamps from PTI sitting on my desk for another project, so I inked up the number 50 in black and created another background diagonally across the card.

The sentiment is custom created using My Digital Studio. I used the Gill Sans Extra Condensed font, and chose Glorious Green as my color. I printed it and the interior message off from my computer and incorporated the one on the front with a Basic Black mat. The googlie eyes were a last minute addition that really make the card silly. She'll chuckle at this, I'm sure.

Michelle also comes in every day and gets a triple grande nonfat 3 splenda awesome foam latte, teaches preschool, and loves ladybugs. She has a bracelet, earrings, a necklace, and a keychain fob decorated with these, so determining the design for her card was easy.

I went to, searched the galleries for ladybugs, and found exactly what I was looking for--the little bugs created using circle punches! Thanks to CarolAnn's Corner, I had the sizes I needed already spelled out for me. But I couldn't keep things simple, and had to try to make them bigger. I ended up using a 1.75" for the wings, a 1.25" for the body, a 1" for the head, and .25" for the spots. I layered them on Brocade Blue and mounted it all on a simple Whisper White base that's 4.25"x5.5".

I wanted to add another bug to the inside to go with the message, so I made one using CarolAnn's original design, but I went with 1/8" circles for the spots. I made little tiny balls of adhesive to stick them on, and I'm really pleased with the look. All the ladies are popped up on Stampin' Dimensionals. The sentiment is from Flight of the Butterfly.

I have a few days to get my fellow partners to sign these, and on their special days we'll be sure to do something like put a BIG 5-0 on their cups or sing or something. Fifty certainly is something to be celebrated, and I'm happy to have the chance to honor these two special women who make my job fun each day.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Does This Make Your Mouth Water?

I had a very interesting conversation Wednesday night at the Ronald McDonald House. While I was there for our monthly crafting night, the marketing and communications director for the Atlanta Ronald McDonald House Charities stopped by.

While we were getting acquainted, she asked about the cards we were making. She knew of Stampin' Up!'s partnership with RMHC as a national sponsor, and wanted to know if there would be some way that we could work together to have some kids from the House involved in making cards for the Atlanta McDonald's franchise owners.

You see, these owners had decided the evening prior to continue donating their "fry tax" (revenue they make each time they sell a pound of french fries, if I'm understanding it correctly) to the work of the charity. These funds, which have totaled approximately $750,000 annually, and the director wanted to thank these businessmen for renewing their commitment during this challenging economic climate when they could've chosen not to. She wants the children of the Houses to sign cards for these folks to thank them for their investment.

As we brainstormed about what the card design could be, a light bulb went off in my head. The thank you for donating the fry tax money should be a card that looks like a box of McDonald's famous fries! I shared the idea, which she loved, and was given permission to run with it. Here's my prototype.

Whenever I try to mimic something that is widely recognized, I like to get as close to the original as possible in my design. So, I purchased some fries, traced and eventually disassembled the box in order to create a template, and the rest came together fairly easily. The base is Real Red, obviously, although I wish it had some gloss to it like the actual box.

The striped white interior behind the fries was created with Whisper White and a Barely Banana Stampin' Write Marker. The fries are crafted from a half sheet of Barely Banana card stock cut on a variety of angles. The card will be signed on the inside, although I'm thinking of adding the words "thank you" in a font close to the McDonald's font on the outside of the box/card.

The coolest part of this is that a group of high school students who are part of an organization called National Charity League have the Ronald McDonald House as one of their philanthropic organizations that they support (they also volunteer at the House at least once a month). Since the director wants 60 of these, the girls are going to help me mass produce them! Although I have to get clearance on the design from the director, I think this is a good start.

Got fries? I'm going to eat lunch now.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Another Week Flies By

...without much stamping. I made three cards for the gals I work with at the Ronald McDonald House each month using that cute Santa made of punches, but I forgot to photograph them before giving them! That's the kind of week it has been. My brain is just a little fried, y'all.

My day was brightened today when I received a handmade card from my friend Connie in IL. I thought you'd enjoy seeing her handiwork. This set, Baby Jesus is Born, is retired, but a fresh technique makes it new again! Connie stamped the Holy Family image in Black Staz-on on Vellum and then used Stampin' Write! Markers on the back to color in the line art. Quick, simple, and easy to mass produce. The base is Night of Navy, with Ruby Red and Creamy Caramel accents. I really like the gold eyelets with the Linen Thread tied through them!

I'm home alone this weekend while my husband and son volunteer at church, so there will be more eye candy later tonight or tomorrow. A three-day weekend off work--whew! Glad I have no Christmas shopping to do!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Twilight Card for New Teenager

You know you've achieved rock star status as a barista when one of your customers wants to hang out with you on her birthday. When Hannah, who is 13 today, was asked by her mom what she wanted to do for her birthday, she said she just wanted to hang out with "her Starbucks friends". Since Hannah (and a goodly number of us baristas) is a Twilight fan of the highest order, we decided to go see New Moon (again) and have chocolate cupcakes at the store afterward to celebrate her becoming a full-fledged teenager. I'm so excited!

I volunteered to make a card for the group to sign, and when I asked her mom what her favorite colors are, she told me the traditional pinks and purples and mentioned off-hand, "black and red, the Twilight colors, of course." That started my creative juices flowing, and this is what I came up with to commemorate both her birthday and current obsession with Edward, Jacob, and Bella.

Obviously I didn't have any vampire stamps or sentiments that would fit this theme, I powered up My Digital Studio and customized what I needed! With this new software from SU! I could've created an entire card digitally, but I wanted to handcraft the other elements besides the sentiment.

I used the Chiller font (the program utilizes all the fonts that are already stored on your computer), and gave the words a shadow that was Real Red (click on the picture to see in greater detail). I printed it, cut it to size for the front of the card, and mounted it on RR, Basic Black and a large Silver Metallic mat (for those who aren't "in the know", vampires sparkle in the sunlight, so this was a nod to that).

I sketched the teeth on Whisper White, outlined them with a BB Stampin' Write marker and freehanded an upper lip for them. After I was finished, I realized it probably would've been better had the fangs been at the top of the saying, but I'd already cropped the sentiment and didn't have enough white space at the top. They are better accented against the black background though, don't you think?

I customized an interior message as well and that was it for this card! I think she'll be thrilled with it. This is the kind of card I love making; it is just for the intended recipient for a specific special occasion. Who will you bless with a handmade, custom card?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Punch Santa Clipboard

Since you were so enthusiastic about my return to this space yesterday, I thought I'd grace you with my presence again today! Here's another little thing I saw online, this time at Dawn Olchefske's blog, and wanted to do something with it that was more than a card. Isn't he just adorable?

I made up this clipboard as another door prize for some lucky person whose name will be drawn from a hat of those who provide me with their contact information tonight at the Cards for the Troops event I'm doing in conjunction with my Starbucks at a local elementary school. It uses some retired Christmas Lodge DSP from last year, as well as a variety of snowflake stamps from 3 sets, stamped on Whisper White with Baja Breeze ink. LOVE that color!

If you'd like to purchase the punches used to make this guy, just contact me via the comments section or click on my SHOP ONLINE 24/7 button up top right and order the following supplies:

Paper: Real Red (102482), Blush Blossom (103318), Whisper White (100730)
Markers: Basic Black (100082), Pretty in Pink (100045)
Punches: 1 3/8" Circle Punch (104401), Scallop Circle Punch (109043), 1 1/4" Square Punch (104400)

What a FUN project this would be to make these and create gift tags or place cards for your Christmas table! If you'd like to host such a gathering of moms and daughters (or just moms or grandmas) at your house, just contact me and I'll bring everything we need.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'm Not Dead. I'm Just Hiding.

I just went on vacation, people! I'm guessing no one really thought I was dead, but I know I've been gone long enough to make certain people suspicious. We went north to visit family for Thanksgiving, and I didn't take my laptop--gasp! Well, I'm back for the duration now, and not going anywhere soon. Does that mean I'll be posting more regularly? much is it worth to you? :-)

Just before I left, an order came from SU! with these cool file folders. They're designed to gussy up your office, but I had other plans for these babies. I'd seen them transformed into a cool notepad holder, and I wanted to try the template out myself.

Voila! Isn't it cool? It takes no time at all, and makes a very chic statement about how organized you are. I'm going to be offering this as a class in January, since I'm guessing no one has free time right now to do anything besides shop or bake or do laundry. So, what do you think about a New Year's Day stamping and crafting time? Would you like to be my hostess for the day and earn yourself some FREEBIES? Give me a shout and I'll give you the scoop!

Here's what it looks like on the inside. I used a Velcro square to hold the flap closed.

Wish me luck. I'm working with my Starbucks to host a craft station at a local elementary school tomorrow night. While the kids and their families wait in line to get their pictures taken with Santa, there will be 4 activities they can choose from. One of them is making a card to send to a Georgia soldier. I'm really hoping to meet lots of new contacts at this event. I'm going to give this notebook away as a door prize for giving me their contact information. You'd want to win this, wouldn't you?

So, let me know what you're doing for the holidays. Are you making anything hand crafted or homemade? I like those gifts best. You should see the handmade mittens a long-time friend of mine gave me as a belated birthday present while I was up north. AMAZING! If you have some good recipes for food gifts, I'd love to hear about those too. Share of yourself this season. I guarantee it'll mean more than any gift card you could put under the tree.

Monday, November 16, 2009

These Should Bring Some Smiles

When I saw a turkey made with scalloped circles, I knew it would be a great craft to do with the families at the Ronald McDonald House as our November activity. These are actually bodiless at this point; I decided to do some of the tedious small detail work this afternoon so that the crafting would go more smoothly. Don't they just crack you up? You can check out this post if you want to see the finished bird.

If anyone is interested in joining me in this volunteer opportunity, feel free to contact me. I go monthly, and it's usually mid-week and mid-month.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Easy Elegance Comes with Persistence

This is a post about how it pays to not be satisfied with a first attempt, even if you're under a deadline. I saw this card on Karen Graff-Povis' blog last month and put it in my starred file of cards that I use to inspire me.

As I considered her card this morning (because I have my first stamper coming for this month's Stamp-A-Stack this evening), I began to pout because I wasn't sure how I could replicate the embossed look on the large background piece of Karen's card. Then it hit me. I said I'd feature a card using Bride Specialty Paper (BSP)! Perfect!

I pulled out the BSP and chose Night of Navy (NN) to achieve the contrast I wanted. I used the same stamp set Karen did--Baroque Motifs--and approximated the measurements of the different layers. When I finished, I decided to use the striped pattern in the BSP as the card base, but when I attached the NN layer, it was mostly hidden. It looked okay, but not quite the display of elegance I was going for. I thought there was too much space between the image, the ribbon, and the sentiment. So I began again.

This time, I made the NN layer smaller, 3.75" x 5", and made the Bride DSP layer 3.5" x 4.75". The focal panel, which I wish was glossy white but I don't have it, is 2" x 3.5". The NN layer behind it is .25" bigger. This creates plenty of exposure for both Specialty Papers.

A little touch of white satin ribbon and the card is complete. I think this would be a great wedding or anniversary card, either of which is always good to have in the stash.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Gobble, Gobble...

That's turkey-speak for, "thankful for you"! This is the card I came up with after finding this ADORABLE turkey made with scallop circles on Michelle's blog, I knew as soon as I saw it that I wanted to use it two times this month--for next week's Stamp-A-Stack, and with the families at the Ronald McDonald House!

This is the card I designed for my SAS. The base is Dusty Durango, and it is a gate fold (5.5" x 8.5" scored at 2 1/8" on each end of the 8.5" side). The turkey is made with 4 scallops, 3 that are cut in half and mounted on a whole scallop base. The card stock I used to create this Tom were: Crushed Curry, Ruby Red, Soft Suede, and Dusty Durango.

The "head" of the turkey is 1 scallop circle cut so that there's a single scallop at the top and 3 at the bottom. The eyes are made using Whisper White card stock and a 1/4" circle punch. I created pupils with my Chocolate Chip Stampin' Write marker. The "bill" is made with the slot punch, and the wattle (yes, I had to look up that term!) is made with the smallest heart in the 3 Heart Punch. The "feet" are made using the 5 petal flower from the Boho Blossoms Punch (retired). A shout out of thanks to my fellow demonstrator friend Patti for allowing me to borrow this to give my bird something to stand on!

The sentiment for this card was created using a brand new product from SU! called My Digital Studio (MDS). MDS is a digital papercrafting solution that allows you to create cards, photo cards, photo albums, scrapbooks, fliers, multimedia projects, DVDs--the list is almost as endless as your imagination! I put it through its paces because I don't have a Thanksgiving specific stamp set, and I wanted something larger than any of my "thanks" stamps could offer.

MDS has a collection of over 5000 products that SU! offers in physical form--card stock, stamp sets, Designer Series Paper, embellishments, punches, and Simply Scrappin' Kits--that I can utilize to create something digitally! Once I've created it digitally, I can print it myself or have it professionally printed--more on that in another post. Don't think that this program isn't something for you. It's so easy to use, it's amazing! More to come!

I used one of the included alphabets and resized it--which you can't do with regular stamps!--to craft this custom sentiment. I printed it on Very Vanilla card stock, cut it to size, and added the turkey. I was able to customize the color of the letters so that they matched the card base too!

I hope you like my turkey. Watch for more to come on MDS! I'm getting certified and can't wait to share all that I'm learning with you.

Just Playin' Around...

Had this little pumpkin idea come to me in my inbox and tinkered around with a scene for it. It's made with 5 scallop circle punched circles that are scored down the middle, attached to each other, then to the card base. Add a bit of Chocolate Chip card stock to make a stem, and that's it!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

I'm Not Sure I Like This

This card was inspired by the colors of the season and a card I saw in this month's Stampin' Success magazine. The original used a smaller tree, but all I have is the one from Season of Friendship. The original showed using coordinating colors of Designer Series Paper to create "rolling hills", and to pop two of the layers up on Stampin' Dimensionals to make it look more 3D. Since my tree is so much larger, I'm not sure the effect worked, but it's growing on me.

I laid all the layers flat and tacked them together on the So Saffron base with some removable adhesive so they wouldn't scootch while I was stamping the tree. I had to fill in some tiny gaps with my Chocolate Chip Stampin' Write Marker. I wanted to create a sky of clouds, so I punched out a scallop circle and used a sponge dauber to create them. I started at the top and used Sage Shadow ink. The cloud is created by the negative space not inked. Does that make sense? Anyway, I hope you get the idea. If you don't, let me know, and I'll take pictures. I thought it was a little underwhelming, so I very lightly sponged some Really Rust onto the area to give it a bit more color.

The leaves in the DSP "hill" are a very different size than those on the tree, so I limited myself to stamping a few on the limbs and not confusing things by having any on the ground. I inked those in SS and RR.

There's no sentiment because I can't decide what kind of card this would be useful as. Thinking of you, surely, but what other sentiment would work? I'm just not sure at all about this card...

Monday, November 2, 2009

An Experiment with Circles

As you can tell by the past two posts, I draw a lot of inspiration from fellow crafters. Squareheadedstamper (her term, not mine), Brandi Wiggins-Cote of Canada provided the catalyst for this card.

I used a 3.25" circle of Garden Green card stock, which I cut in half and folded, freehand, to create these little cuties. I haven't perfected the technique enough to show you step-by step how I achieved these trees, so I'll work on that and post pictures when I get it better figured out. These were beginner's luck.

I decorated the trees with 1/4" circles in Real Red and Metallic Silver card stock. I also strung them with "garland" made with the silver and gold elastic cord currently available in the Holiday Mini Catalog. For the center tree's "ornaments", I tacked glue dots in place and then sprinkled the entire tree liberally with Dazzling Diamonds. That didn't seem flashy enough, so I dug back through my other Christmas stamp sets and found a tiny poinsettia in Season of Joy. I stamped it on Cameo Coral and cut them.

The background "snow" on Not Quite Navy card stock was made using a stamp from the Snowflake Spot (retired) set. It was inked with white craft ink, sprinkled with Clear Embossing Powder, and set with my heat tool. I tore a piece of Whisper White card stock to create a "snowbank", and stamped "all spruced up" from Fun & Fast Notes in Garden Green. This card reminds me somewhat of the Charlie Brown Christmas special, where there were all kinds of beautiful trees and then there was the sad one that Charlie ended up loving.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

A n Almost-Complete CASE

I saw this card two weeks ago on Nancy Riley's blog. She does a weekly roundup of her favorites from all the blogs she peruses, and this one made her picks for the week. The creator is Tammy Fite, a fellow SU! demonstrator. I recreated it, only changing a few things.

I wanted something that was evocative of Autumn, without purchasing a specific set. I inked the entire Medallion stamp in Perfect Plum (PP) and then used sponge daubers to add accents of Pumpkin Pie and Old Olive (OO). Quick and easy, and the sponges create such a soft look!

Tammy stamped the upper half of her card base with the swirl from Baroque Motifs. I did the same. I didn't have any coordinating Designer Series Paper for the bottom half, so I just stamped the image again below and accented it with the small flower from the set. Yhen I placed the image, which was matted with Dusty Durango (DD) and OO card stock, on the card base. There's a small strip of DD helps keep the OO 1/4" grosgrain ribbon in place.

The placement of the sentiment was challenging. I went with "cherish" from Baroque Motifs, because that's what this season makes me want to do. I want to bottle the weather, press the beautiful leaves, and make the most of what I know is fleeting.

Make the most of this weekend! See you Monday!

Friday, October 30, 2009

I Have a Good Reason, Really...

Wow...15 days since I've posted. Well, instead of giving you the reasons, which I'm sure you'd understand because you're doing other stuff besides sitting around waiting for me to post here, let's get to a card!

Lorri Heiling is a very encouraging SU! demonstrator in AZ. She has a blog, and posts monthly the cards she and her downline make to swap at their meeting. This week, she posted this card by Barbara (who does not have a blog), and I LOVED it! I wrote Lorri immediately, seeking details. Lorri found a thread on SCS that gave details about this card design and its creator, Penny Wessenauer. That thread led me to Penny's Photobucket page where all the directions were neatly typed, complete with pictures! Don't you LOVE the internet?!

Here's my take on her design. I started with Soft Suede (SS) card stock, which is such a yummy color of brown that it's almost a shame to put it in the same category as Chocolate Chip or Close to Cocoa. (I won't reiterate all the instructions, because Penny already did a fantastic job with them.) I had my dear friend Shelly in mind for this card, since I missed her birthday and wanted her to have something that would communicate how I feel about her all the time, not just on the one day a year we officially celebrate her existence.

I pulled out the Peaceful Wishes set, which is retired (don't even get me started), and tried to think of a complementary color to pair with the SS. I chose Always Artichoke (AA). Aahhhh...I love trees, and these two evoke an evergreen forest in my mind. Enough waxing poetic. I needed a layout to help get my juices flowing, and I'd just seen a one for a square card on Melissa Sauls' blog. I stamped the evergreen branch image on 2-1 3/8"x3.5" strips to create patterned paper and then focused on the main image.

One of the main reasons I purchased this set was for this image. I used the direct to rubber coloring technique with my SS, AA, and Ruby Red Stampin' Write Markers. After a good huff on the stamp, I admired my work on the Very Vanilla (VV) card stock. I wanted to mat the image, and one thing led to another and suddenly I had 3 layers!

Now for the fun part--creating a little stopper so that the card would have a built-in easel! The pinecone in the set was sized appropriately to serve this purpose, and I mounted it with 2 double-stacked Stampin' Dimensionals to give it the height it would need. The sentiment from Kind & Caring Thoughts completed the card. I'm so tickled with how it turned out! Now I'm going to have to wait at least a week to hear what Shelly thinks of it. She lives in Vietnam, so this card's going a LONG way to its home.

Here's a side view so that you can get a better idea of how the easel is created. That Penny is BRILLIANT!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Delightful Inspiration

I was perusing blogs yesterday, trying to relax, and I checked in with Laurie Schmidlin of Just Give Me Stamps. She had posted a little Christmas card design that made a lightbulb go off in my head. I was too tired to pursue my idea yesterday, but today, after I'd done some other stuff that was deemed productive, I played around with the idea she'd inspired.

The idea was to use the center of one of the ornaments in the Delightful Decorations set to create mini ornaments for an evergreen. I pulled out Peaceful Wishes, which has said branch, and inked it up with Mellow Moss. It really doesn't photograph nicely, but it is a pretty, soft green. Then I set about to create the little ornaments. I chose Ruby Red, Summer Sun, and Bashful Blue as my ornament colors. After I'd stamped each ornament, I used my 1" circle punch to extricate just the decoration from the center of each paper globe. Then I inked them with Versamark and embossed them with Clear Embossing Powder to give them shine, like a real ornament. (Almost burned my finger when I picked up the first one; that stuff can get HOT!)

Then I needed the ornament topper so they could be hung on the tree. There is no stamp for this, so I applied Versamark to a 1/4" scrap strip of Whisper White and embossed it with Silver Embossing Powder. A little snip here, a little snip there, and I had a topper! Next, the loop. Two glue dots and a little noose of silver elastic cord, and I was in business! I applied one more glue dot to the back so it would stick to the base and positioned them where I wanted them on the branches. Then I applied a glue dot to the top of each ornament, and a Stampin' Dimensional to the main part of the circle to compensate for the thickness created by the topper, and I had what I'd pictured in my head. Thanks, Laurie!

One last note: the greeting is from Many Merry Messages, a set that I think will be retired after this catalog year. If you like it, don't put off purchasing it. It has 8 great greetings in a variety of beautiful fonts that coordinate with each other. It's a fantastic investment you'll use for years.

I know it's only October and seems really early to be thinking about Christmas, but it's something that has to be done if you're considering making your cards this season. By getting started now, you have a prayer of enjoying the process, instead of waiting and having it end up as a dreaded task to complete. Don't become a Scrooge--think and plan and have some fun!

All items mentioned in this post are available for purchase through my online Demonstrator Business Website. Click on the Shop Online button in the upper right of the blog and then click on the SHOP NOW button at my site. You can have it all delivered directly to your door and get the same prices you would if you'd ordered through me via email or by phone.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Candy--Corn, that is!!

Oh.My.Word. This is one of the most challenging times of the year for me to go to the grocery store. As soon as I walk through the automatic doors, I am BOMBARDED with displays of Halloween candy. I love the miniature packaging, and all the creative ways candy manufacturers have come up with to make their products "relevant" to the 1-day sugar rush we call trick or treating. But what REALLY makes it hard to avoid the magnetic pull toward the display is laying there (lying there?) in wait for me--BAGS of BRACH'S CANDY CORN.

DO NOT BE FOOLED--there is NO other brand besides BRACH'S when it comes to candy corn. All the other stuff is a sad, poor imitation of this marvelous confection of sugar, corn syrup, and honey. According to Wikipedia, Brach's estimates that Americans purchase enough of it to circle the Earth 4.5 times (if all the pieces were to be laid end to end). I do my part. It is simply amazing.

My dear friend Darcie lives in IL and shares my obsession with and adoration of candy corn. I thought of her last night as I was dumping a bag--yes, I can show some restraint, and Bob was with me--in my cart (NOT a buggy), and today, I was munching on some after lunch when I got the idea to make her a card shaped like the candy!

It came together with great ease. A strip of Summer Sun at the bottom, a wider strip of Pumpkin Pie in the middle, and some Whisper White left to peek through at the top. I measured in 1.5" from each side of the 4.25" x 5.5" base and cut on an angle to create my triangle. Then I used my corner rounder punch at the bottom to soften the edges, and snipped of the corners at the top with my scissors. As you can tell, I should've used my Bold Brights colors, but I didn't trust myself ot have the bag open while I was crafting, so I didn't compare colors before I was taking the picture. Still, I love it--and it's calorie-FREE!

I added the sentiment "Thinking of You" from Kind & Caring Thoughts on the outside, inked in Chocolate Chip, and put the accompanying "and it's all good!" on the inside. Wish I could be there to see her face when she opens the envelope in a few days.

What's your favorite Halloween candy, and why?

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Although There Are No Words

A new acquaintance and customer of mine had a tragic loss in her family this past week. Her daughter-in-law, 31, died suddenly. As I was going on with my life, this woman was walking through shock, pain, and deep grief.

Does it strike you, like it has me, how very odd it is that this happens with great regularity? One mile away from my house, someone's life is forever changed, and I would've had no idea, had she not sent me a short email.

When I received her message, I was too paralyzed to do anything except send a short message back expressing my condolences. This afternoon, that didn't seem like enough. So I made her a card, even though we're not all that well acquainted yet.

The colors of the card are Whisper White, Always Artichoke, and Cameo Coral. I broke into a package of new paper I have called Bride Specialty Paper, which debuted in this fall's Big Idea Book. It was designed specifically for making wedding invitations, but stampers never limit themselves to what things are intended for!

Several places in blogland I saw examples of how this paper had been brayered to change its color, so I tried it. WOW! Adding color reveals this beautiful pattern! I really like how quick and easy it is to create texture and eye-catching detail with this stuff.

The sentiment is non-SU!, but conveyed my heart perfectly. I added a little Whisper White taffeta ribbon to pull the design together.

I hope her heart will be encouraged some, knowing I'm walking beside her through this, even if it's not as closely as some who know her better. Who can you encourage, even from afar, with a simple card and your words today?

Monday, October 12, 2009

She'll Leave More than a Lipstick Stain Behind...

Cheryl is a partner at Starbucks who is moving on to pursue her passion of social work. Her last day will be Wednesday, so it was my task to create a card for her. She's the only one on staff who wears lipstick, and it's not just any muted shade--it's bright pink! We tease her that we always know which cup is hers (we use ceramic mugs, so as not to put more trash into the landfills)! So, I had to immortalize her in the design somehow.

I had Rose Red, Marigold Morning and Vintage Violet (both 2006 InColors), and Old Olive already on my craft table, so I decided to play with those a bit. I was inspired by a card I'd favorited at SCS several months ago. Of course, I had to make it more challenging by adding a fourth color to the mix, one I had no ink pad for, to boot! I putzed with it for 2 days, and finished it this morning at 4:15a before I started the workday.

What stymied me for the longest time was what to do with the large panel on the left. I didn't have any Designer Series Paper that coordinated, so I was left staring at this blank space. In the end, deadline pressure paid off, and I made it into a bookmark! It's adhered to the card front with removable adhesive, so she'll have a little reminder of her time with us while she studies. It says "best wishes" on the back.

The stamps used were It's a Loop Thing, a retired Hostess set, and Say it with Scallops, also retired.

It has stopped raining here--2.5" was predicted, and I'd not be surprised if we got at least that much--so I'm going to trot off to the grocery store.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Got Gift Cards? I Have Holders!

The most common present that many people opt to give these days is a gift card. They're great to receive, but their presentation is lacking. As pretty as the card may be, it's still just a card. Sometimes it doesn't seem like much when you present it. It's not the gift card's fault; it just needs a little help to be special. Enter the gift card holder.

There are about as many variations on this kind of packaging as their are crafters, so I had plenty of inspiration as I was casting about for ideas. These are three I've come up with so far, and I'm putting together a class for anyone interested in having a stash of these on hand. I'd love to partner with you to put a date on the calendar to provide you and your friends with these unique items!

The first one is simple, yet sporty and fun! It's a quickie too, which is sometimes just what you need. It uses a fantabulous color combination of Baja Breeze (yes, I know it's retired, but I love it, so you know how special you must be if I'll share my hoarded stash for this project), Tangerine Tango (again, it's retired, but I don't care), and So Saffron. Love it! The little party hats seem to dance on the cover (thank you, Diana Gibbs for the idea and colors), and they're popped up on Stampin' Dimensionals on top of circles punched with the .75" punch. A slit punch helps keep the card closed and the gift card in its place. Here's a shot of the interior: the gift card is just held in place with mono adhesive.

The second card features a Christmas theme, utilizing the ornaments from Delightful Decorations. This holder goes together so quickly, thanks to the ornament punch that coordinates with the set! A belly band holds the holder together and the card is tucked away in a pocket inside. There's even a place to write a little message! So cool. I learned how to make this at a demonstrators gathering hosted by Glenda Travelstead.

I saved the best for last! Isn't this purse CUTE!! Dawn Griffith posted a tutorial on her blog, and I want to make sure she gets the credit she deserves.
The interior has a clear envelope that has been cut to size to hold the gift card securely, and the bottom flap is perfect for a little message to the recipient. It's held closed with a very small magnet. How's that for GIRLY?

I may add a few more to this repertoire, but I hope you are excited by what you've seen and want to get some friends together and make these! The cost of the workshop will be determined by the number of holders each person wants to make.

Contact me through the comments and let me know when you'd like to schedule this fun time of crafting with your friends.