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.