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.