Thursday, February 26, 2009

Before I Go Away for Awhile...

I wanted to be true to my promise (although a day late) to show you a cool template I bought online that coordinates beautifully with the Simply Stationery set I profiled on Tuesday. It's for a desktop organizer created by Lauren Meader.

She is an amazing artist, and she has teamed up with Papertrey Ink (PTI) to offer these as Timeless Templates. For a one-time $5 fee, I downloaded the template and also received 5 ideas for how to use it! I can reuse it time and time again, but I can't share it with you. You have to get your own. I may offer it as part of a class sometime this spring; it would be a great end of the year teacher gift, don't you think?

I thought you might want to see how these clear acrylic blocks help you position the images where you want them. It's really quite simple. I stamped this background creator image (also from PTI called Retro) after I lined it up on the grid that is etched into the block. Not all clear acrylic blocks have grids, so look carefully when purchasing them. I inked it up in Bravo Burgundy and was able to see where the stamp would "land" on the flap. I did this twice on the flap that folds up to create the pocket, and once on the edges around the organizer. It's so easy!

And now I take my leave...I've decided that I need to participate in Lent this year by giving up blog reading (I truly feel addicted and obsessed) and blogging. It has been a growing distraction, and I want to put it in perspective and not let it dominate my life. If I can do it for 6 weeks, hopefully I'll be able to keep it from being the first thing I think about in the morning! If you need to get in touch with me, I will still be reading and responding to emails. My address is in my profile. Or you can just leave a comment here; it links to my email.

Take care, and I'll see you after Easter!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Whether Stationary or Stationery...It's Just for Me!

I have to confess that the word in question tonight always give me pause. Is it "-ary" or "-ery"? I had to look it up to be sure. It's settled; it's "-ery" that correctly spells the word that describes this picture.

This card was made using a new set from Papertrey Ink (PTI) called Simply Stationery. It is so elegant and has so many elements. Check out the link and see what I mean. Tonight, I experimented with two sizes of ornamental circles designed to hold monograms. The alphabet is also from PTI and is called Fresh. Isn't that a perfect word for it? I know you're only seeing one letter, but, trust me, it's a beautiful, simple uppercase set of letters.

I chose Bravo Burgundy and So Saffron as my color palette because I really think they contrast each other so nicely. These acrylic stamps accept ink very nicely right out of the package. I am thrilled with the crisp images and the coordinating elements.

The pattern was created using two singular stamps that I positioned together on a clear acrylic block. This helped me stamp right where I wanted to, because I could see where the previously stamped images were on the card stock.

I photographed both sides of the envelope, since I used images for each that were coordinating, yet different. The smaller circle for the "seal" is 1.25". The element on the front is 1" in height and I alternated my two chosen colors to decorate the front.

Tomorrow I'll show you some very cool packaging for creating gifts of stationery!

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Loop to Loop!

Today was Stamp-A-Stack. I had to wait until Tara finished making these before I could photograph them for you. There were only so many rub-ons, and there weren't any extras for me to make a sample for her to work from.

She did have the original card to use as a reference. I turned the layout from horizontal to vertical, so that I could basically use the same pieces I was cutting for the materials I was cutting for Christy's cards. Hers use the pieces from the original layout, also utilizing rub-ons similar to that card.

It took a long time for the gals to complete their cards this time around. Too many stamped pieces to cut out...oops! I'll have to keep that in mind for next month. Hope you have had a good weekend.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Hand Drawn Coffee Card Redux

Well, the boys are downstairs playing Halo 3, so I have the evening to do as I please. What pleases me is to read blogs and make cards! As you know, I'm putting together the cards for this Saturday's SAS. Nothin' like the pressure of a deadline to spark creativity! I'm half serious about that. Being a journalist in another life, I know that my brain can be trusted to come through for me in the "11th hour".

This afternoon, I went back to this cute little card I made last week. I wanted to adapt it to a full-sized card, but I didn't want to use a normal fold. I made a z-fold card 2 years ago, and I couldn't remember how I did it. With this in mind, I searched SCS this morning before work to see if anyone had posted the scoring measurements, and even played around with some grid paper to try to figure it out. I got frustrated and ran out of time, so when I came home I abandoned that approach and something else came to me--the matchbook fold!

A 4.25" x 11" slice of Baja Breeze card stock--sorry, I'm stuck on that right now--is scored at 4.5" and then 1.25" in from the other end. This creates a place to tuck the top flap in, thus creating the "matchbook." The bottom of the card front doesn't go all the way to the bottom of the folded up flap when it's tucked in, so the only thing I had to do was make sure I placed the adhesive to keep the flap closed below where the card front tucked in. (Didja follow that?)

Adapting the rest of the card's original elements to the larger size wasn't all that difficult. I went to my Creamy Caramel scrap stash and found several pieces that seemed like they would work. The main mat for the image is 2.5" x 4 1/8". I added 2-1" x 4.25" strips of Riding Hood Red across the top and bottom. The Very Vanilla piece is 2.25" x 3 7/8". I stamped the cups in RHR this time instead of BB, and cut them out--very carefully around the "steam"--and then colored them using my blender pen for the BB and the Stampin' Write CC marker. I popped them up on dimensionals, and the natural light creates the shadowing they need to look grounded!

The sentiment is from Best Yet, recently retired from the Hostess line in the last catalog. The hearts are punched using the 3 Heart Punch; tired of hearing me mention that tool yet? It's great, I tell ya! You NEED one! I added the Whisper White Taffeta ribbon to give a little more visual interest to the overall look.

What do you think? What do you do for fun when the rest of your family is otherwise occupied?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Sketchy Business

There is a blog called Our Creative Corner that posts a weekly sketch challenge. If you're not familiar with sketch challenges, they're fairly ubiquitous in crafting blogland. Many paper crafters and stamp companies create sketches for card layouts and invite anyone interested to post a card made using the design.

OCC posts every Saturday, and this week's designer is Laurie Schmidlin. I follow her blog because every time I type "just" in my web browser, her blog, Just Give Me Stamps, comes up just below mine! Laurie's well known in the stamping community, and this sketch and interpretations of it have popped up in quite a few of the blogs I follow.

Since I need some cards for this Saturday's SAS--I work well under deadline pressure--I decided to try this one. I wanted a masculine card, and this one, with its large panels, seemed to lend itself to such a beast. (Yes, they're hard to make, and can make me testy.) I pulled out Manchester DSP, Baja Breeze, Kraft, and Very Vanilla card stock and went to work.

Circles seemed too feminine, and I don't have that many manly man images. Birthday Whimsy was sitting out in my peripheral vision, and each of its images is similar in size. A perfect trio! I stamped the cake in Always Artichoke, which matches fine IRL (don't know what happened in photographing), the balloon in BB, and the present in Sahara Sand (why we don't have an ink pad in the color Kraft, I don't know). The twill ribbon was also laying around on the craft table, so I pulled it into the layout for the horizontal piece the sketch suggested.

It's a tad plain, but for a guy, I think it'll be just right. I have two more cards to figure out for Saturday, so you'll be seeing more this week. What kinds of cards are you working on these days?

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A Bold Look Inspired by a Gloomy Day

It's rainy and cloudy here (I wrote this on Saturday, but I'm not posting it until Monday). I don't really mind this at all, but when I was thinking about a card color combo, Bold Brights caught my eye. I was influenced also by this card by Karen Giron on SCS. Isn't it cheery?

Seeing as I didn't have any Jersey Shore DSP and I am tired of working with DSP, I pulled out Party Hearty, the stamp set in question, and decided to create my own DSP using the stamps in the set and Versamark. I liked Karen's varied sizes of DSP strips, so I went through my stash of scraps in Tempting Turquoise, Yo-Yo Yellow, Only Orange, and Green Galore to see what I could find. Only had to cut into Only Orange to get a strip to play with. The base is Brilliant Blue.

I'm so tickled that I ended up using every stamp in the set on this card (well, if you count the envelope where I stamped the party hats that I didn't photograph)! I also like how the cupcake turned out. The "frosting" was created using Versamark, Heat and Stick Powder, and Dazzling Diamonds. It's also popped up on dimensionals, and the circle is popped up too. I cut the circle using my Coluzzle Cutting system, but I'm going to be purchasing the new Circle Scissors Plus so that I don't have that annoying task of trying to snip the circle free after you cut around the track in the Coluzzle. Be on the lookout for projects featuring this new tool in the weeks ahead.

In this closeup of the interior design, you can see that I just colored directly on the rubber using the same colors as the strips in the same order across the words "you take the cake!" and colored the dots along the bottom to match the base color of the card. The circle sentiment was placed with help of the Stamp-A-Ma-Jig.

Valentine's Day Recap

Hope you had a great Valentine's Day! Bob and I went to Married Life Live, a quarterly marriage enrichment event that our church sponsors. He worked in the video control room as the shader. The shader is the person who makes sure that what is seen on the big side screens is the same skin tone and color palette as what is being seen live. I sat in the control room during the entire event, so this was my view of the action. There are about 10 tv monitors--maybe more--that keep track of the different cameras, both still and roving, and the director switches back and forth between the different angles he wants. It's fascinating to see "behind the scenes".

One of the perks of this job (for me, at least) is that those who work have a meal provided by the church before the event begins. What's even nicer is that the spouses of those who are working are invited to come eat with their honeys before the event begins. Nice, huh!

One of my FAVORITE things about these events is the dessert that is catered. Sally's Catering makes these AMAZING little treats she calls Dosie Does. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that there are 2 cookies sandwiched together with fabulous vanilla frosting. I don't care what they're called, they're FABULOUS! I'm sure I could make them at home, but it's so much better when Sally makes them, and all I have to do is enjoy (and try not to eat more than 1!)!

The topic was "Finishing Together", which we fully intend to do! We had a busy week last week, so it was good to get some time together to connect, hear some excellent music, and receive some great instruction. It was good to be reminded that we need to make time for couple time, hanging out without an agenda like we used to when we were dating.

We're so good at keeping up with our schedules--we never miss appointments and our kids get to every activity we've signed them up for--but we don't give ourselves permission or ramp up the creative and logistic energy necessary to make time alone with our spouse happen.

So, what our church is doing is planning 6 date nights, with a variety of activities and in a variety of price ranges, to help us get over the hurdle of not knowing what to do and therefore not making time for it. Cool, huh? It's called the Great Date Experiment. I'll keep you posted...

Hope your day was special, even if only in some little way.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Stamp Sets for Sale!

I'm cleanin' house--well, at least my craft room--and I have 9 sets for sale. Click on this link to see up close and personal pictures of each set. All sets, with one exception, are $10, plus shipping and handling, which I'm guessing will be about $5 through USPS.

Here's a listing below:

From the Garden (large flower from Hostess Line): $10 SOLD
So Many Scallops, set of 4: $10
Time Well Spent, set of 12: $15
Polka Dots & Paisleys, set of 6 (2 sets): $10 each
Friendly Flowers, set of 4: $10
Gorgeous Grapevine, set of 9: $10
Block Party, set of 3: $10
Sidekick Sayings, Hostess set of 3: $10 SOLD

Leave a comment to let me know which ones you'd like. First come, first served.

One Last Valentine

My man is fabulous! Even after nearly 20 years of being together, I still enjoy our life together and never regret for a day choosing to marry him. We don't make a big deal out of Valentine's Day (I don't care about flowers, and I'm not a gifts person), but I didn't want the day to pass without a handmade card.

The card is 4.25" square and the base is Riding Hood Red. The mat is Pink Pirouette (he's manly enough--even used to own a pink oxford) and Candy Lane DSP was used for the overlay. I stamped two hearts from Love You Much on scrap paper, cut them out, traced them, and then cut them out of the DSP to create this look. The sentiment is from Love Matters and the hearts are from LYM.

I like the insides of my cards to be blank so that I can write what I want to share, but I did choose to decorate it a little, since that's the in vogue thing these days. I punched the hearts from the leftover DSP.

I hope you know you're loved today, even if you don't get a valentine.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

More Ronald McDonald House Cards and Tour Pics

Had another nice outing to the larger of the two Ronald McDonald Houses today. e took a ton of cupcakes and I made 25 more cards using the Candy Lane DSP, Love You Much stamp set, 3-Heart Punch, and several layouts I'd found over the past week. (You can click on the collage to see the cards larger.)

The building tour was very interesting. The building cost $15.3 million to build and has 40-double occupancy rooms and 10 transplant suites. It was amazing to see these, where patients and families transition from the hospital to the "outside world". The kids who stay in these suites are quarantined to a 940 sq. ft. apartment, sometimes for 3 months! The apartment has a full kitchen, laundry facilities, and a television, but the flooring is wall to wall without any seams linoleum, and the families have their own separate entrance to the building.

The rest of the families have private rooms with their own bathrooms, but share common areas for watching television, socializing, playing games, and dining, and there is a separate craft room (which I didn't take a picture of--duh!)! The goal of these areas is to help families feel like they are at a "home away from home", since this facility feels more like a hotel than some. They can also receive mail, and it was cool to see that some had packages for Valentine's Day waiting for them!

All guests have access to a stocked pantry of dry goods, all of which are donated by groups or individuals from the community, and there is also a community fridge that they can take anything they want from. There are also fridges specified for families to keep their own food in, labeled with the family's last name. This led me to believe that the families do most of their own cooking. Not so! Every night there are corporate organizations or private groups that provide a hot meal for anyone who wants it--free of charge! I love how these families are cared for!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Scroll Down...

I scheduled a post to post Saturday, and then I never finished it! I'm a DORK! The information is very important though, so scroll down past today's two posts and learn how you get FREE STAMPS!

How Can Things Be the Same but Different?

I don't get it...these are the same colors I used in my last card, but they aren't speaking to me at all in this combination! Is it as strange to you as it is to me that the same colors look so different used in different proportions? I liked this layout that was part of a huge download of card layouts given away by Papertrey Ink. This is a 5"x7" card by Becky Oehlers.

The one on top has no Riding Hood Red except for the ink on the flowers (from Inspired by Nature) and the ribbon. After I photographed it, I took it apart and added a layer of RHR card stock to see if that would make me like it more. It didn't. Oh well. It was still a fun sketch to try. What do you think this needs? More Baja Breeze? A different stamped image? The words are from the Loop to Loop rub-ons. I'm really interested in your thoughts on these.

On a completely different topic, we return tomorrow to the Ronald McDonald House with 50 rooms to deliver our second batch of cupcakes. I think it has been very gratifying to our customers to find out that we not only met but doubled our goal. I've been making more cards to take, since what I left was not even close to being enough for the current slate of guests. I still won't have enough for everyone to have one, but there will be more than there were last time. We may get a tour of the place, and if so, I may take pictures. Check back.

Have you found somewhere to volunteer in your community, either as part of a one-time event or in an ongoing capacity? Please share...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

An Offer You Really Shouldn't Refuse...

As I said in my post last Friday, if you haven't seen the new catalog yet, you really need to. Reason #1: it's BEAUTIFUL!! There are lots of new stamp sets, as well as some amazing new accessories (corduroy buttons!), textured DSP, ribbon, sticky cuts...there's really too much to list here! Now you want to get your hands on a copy, don't you? Well, contact me and I'll get one to you, pronto!

If you can't wait, go to this link and download the full-color beauty. (It'll take some time, but you can do something else while you wait, like have a snack!) After you enjoy looking, you can shop directly from the SU! site 24/7, choose me as your demonstrator and you'll get the same prices as you would if you placed an order with me. If you don't indicate a demonstrator, the prices are higher! Before you click away from this post to do all that, read on, because there's something else you need to know.

Reason #2: FREE STAMPS! You need to see the new catalog and show it to your friends because EVERYONE who orders $50 in merchandise or more receives FREE STUFF! How can I do that? It's Sale-A-Bration time, baby! With every $50 order of merchandise that is placed, you and your friends can each choose from the special SAB selections (click to see pictures!). There are some new offerings besides stamps this year--a ribbon bundle and a Designer Series Paper bundle!

Please let me know how I can help you with this offer. Friends don't let friends miss out on FREE stuff! Now you know...let's talk.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Hand Drawn with Catalog Colors

EDITED TO ADD: When I was making this card, I was thinking about who I'd send it to. I have many friends I can count on, and I'm so thankful for this reality. For this reason, I'm entering this card in Papertrey Ink's contest for friendship cards. I was flipping through the Spring-Summer 2009 Catalog again yesterday, and I was struck by this color combination I saw on pg. 133. Chocolate Chip, Baja Breeze, Riding Hood Red, and So Saffron. I loved it and had to do something with it. It's just so warm and beautiful.

I walked into my craft room and pulled out each of these and their accompanying bags of scraps and started to create. I wanted to do a different sized card than the standard, so I went with 3.25" x 6". I only had 1-12" x 12" sheet of card stock in the palette, so CC became the base. The rest is just scraps that I pulled out and arranged until I landed on something I liked.

The BB strip with the hearts is something I knew I wanted to do with that image as soon as I saw it. The heart reminds me of a card I made YEARS ago, before I was photographing my work. I tore hearts from rainbow colored pieces of tissue paper and they overlapped across the front of the card. On the inside was one torn from gold tissue. The sentiment I wrote for it was: "Just like the colors of the rainbow, all of us touch each other...thanks for touching me with your love." A little sappy? Perhaps...but she's the only person who has ever received that sentiment on a card!

But I digress...the card also used the "friend to friend" stamp from Love You Much, which was the perfect size for the .25" strip I found in my stash of RHR. The sentiment is from the Loop to Loop Rub-ons that came with the Hand Drawn Bundle. I like these and hope they make it from the Hostess line into the regular catalog come Fall. I was compelled to use my 3-Heart Punch again. That thing's just so handy, although I don't know why it does a little bit of wonky cutting on the curves. If you look closely at the upper left heart, you'll see what I mean.

As I've said before, decorating the interior of cards is the latest fad, and I knew that this card would benefit from color inside, so again I went to the scraps and came up with this look. The stamped hearts underneath the rub-on look really good, don't they? That little stitched look on the front and inside is from the rub-on sheet.

If you like this set, let me remind you that the only way you can possess it is to place an order for $500 or more from the catalog. Do YOU have to come up with an order that size yourself? Although some of you could, most of you probably wouldn't think of doing so, unless the government was sending you a check in the mail and making you spend it!

You could, however, host a class at your house (or some neutral, cleaned by someone else location like my house, Starbucks, or the subdivision clubhouse) or an online catalog show and collect orders from friends totaling that amount, and you, the hostess with the mostest, would be able to choose this set as one of your hostess benefits. You'd also get $60 in Hostess Dollars to spend--FREE MONEY! Give it some thought. Read my next post and see why you really should think about this...I'll give you a hint. FREE STAMPS!

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Full of Life Sentiments with a Sketch

Today I worked the early shift and had most of the day off. When you get up at 3:40am, being done with work by 10 is sort of strange, but I'll take it!

I had seen a sketch challenge on SCS and wanted to give it a whirl. This layout was designed by Rox. She's prolific! Let's talk about the blue one first. I received some non-SU! patterned paper as a gift, and I wanted to build the card around it. I've said this before and I'll say it again, having SU! coordinate its Designer Series Paper (DSP) with its cardstock so that the colors match exactly is such a marvelous thing. With this patterned paper, I had to experiment before I found something close. I chose Brilliant Blue and Tempting Turquoise from the Bold Brights family and cut the panels.

What to use for a main image? Well, I wanted to use the sentiment from Full of Life that says, "if at first you DO succeed, try not to be astonished." I searched through my stash and unearthed these funny creatures from Doodle Factory. Doesn't that face just seem to say "stunned. amazed. astonished."? I thought so.

Coloring this little guy was a bit of a challenge because the green in the patterned paper didn't really truly match any of the bazillion greens that SU! has already produced. (I'm going to go on record right now that there'll be a sort of limey green as one of the next set of InColors. Remember that you heard it here first.)

The Real Red, BB, and TT were fine, but surprisingly Certainly Celery was the closest green to the color I was searching for. The shading was done with Bordering Blue and a blender pen. Notice that I did NOT say with an aquapainter. I made the unfortunate mistake of using that on the image that's on the other side. Basic Black ink is NOT waterproof, as the catalog claims!

Another sticky wicket here was getting the right shade of matching cardstock for that main image. You see, the color in the patterned paper isn't quite white and it isn't quite vanilla either. It turns out, it's the color of chipboard coasters! I cut one of those down to the sizes I needed and am pleased with the results. I used the same markers directly on the stamp, one phrase at a time, to get the sentiment.

For this card, I hope it's obvious that I turned it sideways. I used the true measurements of the sketch, which I didn't find until after I was almost finished with the first card, and I like this one better. The base is Close to Cocoa, and the mat is from Candy Lane DSP. The rest is pretty self-evident. Pink Pirouette is the mat for the sentiment, again from Full of Life.

I received a bit more information regarding the possibility of paper crafters getting involved in Katie's work in Africa. (See this post if you don't know what I'm talking about.) Stay tuned. Details to follow...and they have to with scraps!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Sharin' the Love...Smellin' the Sugar!

WOW! We were told by our delivery service to stop hogging all the cupcakes for the district, so we only had 475 cupcakes on hand to deliver today! 100 of them went to the Forsyth Co. Senior Center, but the remainder of this first batch (there are still several hundred more to come next week!) were split between the two Ronald McDonald Houses that serve Atlanta. My middle seats of my Suburban were folded down, and the back one was out, so we had boxes upon boxes of cupcakes filling the space. The aroma was heavenly!

The first house is so easy to get to, and so welcoming! It has 11 rooms, and a huge common area with a large kitchen counter where we dropped off our cupcakes. We were told that the rooms are full at all times, a sad but true reality of the number of families in need of this kind of place. We left half our load there, and I didn't get a picture. I was trying to keep a stray cat from getting in the building!

The second delivery was to the other House, which is about 10 miles away by Emory University. Oh. My. Word. My manager Kimmy and I were blown away as we turned into the drive and saw this building. It opened this past summer and has 50 double-occupancy rooms. It is state of the art and beyond words beautiful! It too is full to capacity at all times too, and we were assured by Kim, director of volunteer services, that the guests will make quick work of the over 100 cupcakes we dropped off. I did remember to snap a shot here.

Since we have more coming next week, I'll get to return, and I'm so excited! Kim said we could have a tour, and I can't wait to see the rest of the facility. I asked Kim if there's a lead demonstrator for Stampin' Up! (we partner with RMHC to serve there as part of the company's vision of sharing what we love with others). It doesn't look like there is, so I'm thinking about applying for the position.

This experience has just confirmed for me that volunteering is one of the most amazing things you can do with your time. If you don't volunteer regularly anywhere, I urge you to look around your community to find somewhere to invest. You'll be a different person for it, I promise!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Cupcake Love

This is a simple sign my boss Kimmy asked me to create. I am so thrilled that the heart and the cupcake from the Hand Drawn Hostess Level 3 set match the theme of the coordinated effort I had with my Starbucks to bring a little love, via cupcakes and valentines, to the families at the Ronald McDonald House in Atlanta off the Glenridge Connector.

Our goal was to partner with our customers to donate 300 cupcakes to this facility that serves families whose children are in Scottish Rite Children's Hospital. How we underestimated the generosity of our patrons! To date, they have donated over 800 cupcakes!!! That's WAY more than just the one Ronald McDonald House can handle, so we expanded the reach of our love to include the other Atlanta Ronald McDonald House that serves families with children at Emory Hospital.

Even those two organizations can't handle that many cupcakes, so the Forsyth County senior center and two nursing homes in Cumming will also be receiving some cupcakes. Spread the love, I say! The more the merrier! I'll be chauffuerring the cupcakes tomorrow, since I have the biggest vehicle among the partners at my store, and because there was NO WAY I was not going to see firsthand where these love bundles will end up.

Although it's almost not necessary to explain this, I'll just share that I used my Stamp-A-Ma-Jig to position and plot out the border, and I inked the heart in Riding Hood Red and the cupcake in Close to Cocoa. The punched hearts are from the Candy Lane DP.

I hope to get some pics to share tomorrow. It's going to be a fun fun day!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Totally Unrelated to Paper, but Very Much about Love

As we begin "love month", I want you to follow this link and read this story. If you're not reading this on Feb. 1, find the Jan. 31 post and read it.

What this young--I think she's either 20 or 21--woman from Franklin, Tennessee, is doing is amazing. I have an idea brewing for how paper crafters could join this work. Stay tuned.