Saturday, February 27, 2010

Tweet Tweet! Bluebirds are in Town

You know spring is just around the corner when the birds arrive, and I've seen cardinals and bluebirds and blue jays in the last few days, to name a few. My friend Monika is fond of the bluebirds, and she posted some pics of them on her blog a few days ago. When I saw the bluebird couple, it sparked an idea for a card using ANOTHER new punch I have--the 2-step bird punch.

The 2-step bird punch is one of the newly-designed, low profile punches that are exclusive to SU!, and this one makes quick work of creating a sweet winged creature. It's called a 2-step punch because the body and the wing are punched separately. It also punches a branch (!), but I didn't use that on this card.

When I set out to recreate the bluebirds in paper, I punched two bodies in Whisper White so that I could add some breast color appropriate for the sex. The male has rust colored plumage and the female a tan set of feathers. I used my sponge daubers to add that coloring, using Really Rust and a combination of River Rock and Close to Cocoa.

Then I punched out a second body for each, one in Brocade Blue and one in Sahara Sand. I trimmed away some of it and layered it over the WW body. Then I added the wing--one in BB and the other in Kraft. I little dot of an eye with a Basic Black Stampin' Write marker, and they were ready for their "environment"!

I used some retired DSP called Delicate Dots from Sale-A-Bration last year. Isn't that pattern perfect for making it seem like those birdies are resting in a flowery bush? A simple base of Sahara Sand, the opposite corners rounded, and the card is almost complete.

I used the Kisses diecut pieces that are available in the Spring Occasions Mini for my sentiment, which is from Kind & Caring Thoughts (Level 3 Hostess set). A quick inking in Brocade Blue, and it's ready to go.

I trust you're enjoying the signs of spring in your backyard. Tell me what you're seeing!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Lots of Hearts with Cool New Punch

When I was blurfing yesterday (blog surfing), I spent some time on Stasia Sloma's blog. The girl's got game! As I scrolled through her archive, I came across this cool tag she made to coordinate with a birthday gift bag. That got me thinking about a new punch I have, and I skipped off to my craft room, inspired once again.

This new punch is one of 7 featured currently in the Spring Occasions Mini Catalog. The cool thing about this punch is not so much that it's a 1/2" heart, but that the punch has a hinge that makes it collapse flat for storage. I took some pictures to help illustrate what I mean.

When laid side by side with a standard SU! punch, a 1/2" circle for comparison sake, you can see that they are similar in size, but not in height. The black one's punch mechanism is handle on the exterior of the design. As you can see in the pictures of the new design (new color too), the locking mechanism on the back allows the punch to store flat when not in use. This also promotes stacking, which you CERTAINLY cannot do with the black ones!

Now on to the card I created with this nifty punch. I love this color combination, which I saw here and knew I had to make over with SU! colors. Crushed Curry and Bermuda Bay from this year's InColor collection were paired with Real Red...something about these colors together is just so cool!

I used smaller circles than Stasia did, since my hearts are smaller than her stars. I also had to make things a little more challenging for myself because I wanted the hearts to be red. I layered them on .75" circles of Whisper White, but they seemed too small on the card base. I wanted more white in the design too, so I got my 1" circle punch out and found the missing piece of the puzzle.

I didn't have the sentiment Stasia used, so I opted to go simple with a tiny "i love you" from Love Matters. This would've been a good card for last month's SAS, but love is not something only to be expressed one day a year!

I'm happy it's Friday, are you? What are your plans? Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

My First Easter Card

I have two favorite seasons: spring and autumn. Although today's temps are hovering in the 30s, the sun is shining, so I can deal with a bit more cold.

Yesterday, I saw tiny red buds on one of our trees! I'm guessing it's a red maple; I don't care. It's a sign of life and the greening of things, and that's what has me excited!

This card was loosely inspired by Kerin Sylvester's card, which I saw on Nancy Riley's week in review.

I went to my stamp stash and pulled out the much neglected Sweet Stems set, mostly because its images are similar to those used by Kerin. Once I got stamping, my card went in a different direction than Kerin's, but I like to give cred where cred is due. I used the largest flower spray and stamped it around a 3.5" x 3" piece of Whisper White.

I chose Wild Wasabi as my ink; why, I'm not sure. That's the way of the creative muse, I guess. I pulled out my Yo Yo Yellow Stampin' Write Marker, another interesting choice for me, since I don't tend to use my Bold Brights very often. Why question what works: that's my motto!

I mounted the white piece on a 3 5/8" x 3 1/8" piece of WW and then pulled out my YYY. Seriously, I can't believe I'm making a card with this bright yellow, but what says--SHOUTS--spring louder than YELLOW?

Then I realized that I now have a sentiment in my collection that I've never had before: Happy Easter. Normally, I don't make Easter cards because I don't believe the holiday to be about bunnies and spring, but I don't have any cross images either, so this is the closest I'm going to get to a card that speaks to the celebration. Imagine those flowers are lilies!

I stamped Happy Easter from Well Scripted and then set about to create a mat for it using the new Scallop Corner and Scallop Border Punches. FUN TIMES, I tell you! For this, I have Gretchen Barron to thank. This demonstrator figured out the math for creating these beautiful squares and rectangles. Her tutorial is here. I am SO thankful for the generosity of crafters on the internet!! I'm so math challenged that I never would've figured this out on my own. Kudos, Gretchen!

The one I used was 2 7/8" x 1 15/16". Note that this is the measurement of the rectangle BEFORE I used the punches on it, not what it measures afterward. You punch the corners first and then use the border punch to punch out what's left. Doesn't it look great?!

The ribbon is also WW, and it's mounted on .75" strips of Whisper White. I know some of these card elements aren't current, but use what you have before you spend more money: that's another motto of mine.

Happy Thursday! I hope you have a great weekend. I'm wondering: is anyone going without something for Lent? If so, why? I'd love to hear from you on this.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

A Suess-ish Happy Birthday

Every week on Splitcoaststampers, there is a sketch challenge hosted by Rox71. She is prolific, I tell you, and when I'm struggling for a jumping off point for a card, I search through those I've saved to my favorites file. Rox supplies exact measurements for each piece of the card, which makes me want to kiss her! I was drawn to this one because of the large center panel and the cute triangles on the sides.

When I pulled out the retired It's a Loop Thing DSP and went to Fun & Fast Notes because the drawing style is similar. Well, once I stamped the cake image, I wasn't so fond of that large center panel anymore! My cake was too small. So, I stamped it a few times, stacked the cake layers, and created a bigger cake! I used my Aquapainter and Riding Hood Red, Pirouette Pink, and Baja Breeze to color my "red velvet" cake. A little glue on the heart "flames" and they were glitterfied with Dazzling Diamonds! I popped all the layers up on Stampin' Dimensionals, which created a shadow for the cake without having to draw one in.

The triangles were created by cutting a 1 3/8" square in half diagonally. I noticed Rox had cute snowflakes on top of each of her triangles, so I set about to create a similar effect. I didn't notice until I was done tying the knots of white ribbon that I'd adhered the points of the triangles to the base of the card. I wasn't about to redo it though!

I'm so not a pink girl, but I hope someone who's having a birthday soon is so I can send it off! Speaking of birthdays, I need to get my father-in-law's card in the mail! Gotta go before the mailman comes!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fine Flourish Pocket

On my last card, I showed you 2 new small background stamps--A to Z and Solid Stripes. With this card, I'm highlighting my third purchase, Fine Flourish. This stamp is so intricate, even though it's only 2.75" x 2.5". I was always attracted to detailed designs when I colored as a child, and this reminds me of that experience.

I was inspired by this creation by Jill Hilliard, but when I mocked it up, it was too small for my purposes. So I upped the size by 2 inches to create a pocket using an 8" x 8" square of DSP, which resulted in a card that's more regular size.

After I created the pocket, I went to work with Fine Flourish. I stamped it with Versamark and then heat embossed it with Copper. Then I spent a good half hour deciding where I was going to put the colors I'd chosen: So Saffron, Dusty Durango, and Old Olive. I just love this look--so much "eye candy"!

To create a tab for the pocket card, I punched half of a 1" circle in the middle of the pocket and inserted a 3.25" x 6.5" simple piece of Whisper White card stock to which I attached So Saffron ribbon with brads.

This card will be featured at my March Stamp-A-Stack. I know the colors aren't all that springy, but they're colors I like. Perhaps I'll give my participants the option of choosing their own color scheme!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Baby Shower Invitation

Finally! I've come up with a card for a baby that I LIKE! This card is the invitation for my cousin Abby's baby shower, which will be held next month in Indiana. I won't be able to attend, but I wanted to be part of the event in some way, so I volunteered to make the invitations.

The baby's nursery doesn't really have a theme, but the walls are painted baby blue and tan. So I pulled out Bashful Blue and Kraft card stock and began experimenting with some new stamps I have.

The striping on the Kraft is done with a new small stripes stamp that's featured in the Occasions Mini. It's a great size; 2 7/8" square. This makes it easier to work with than a large background stamp. There are 4 of these, and I purchased 3! I stamped the stripes with Whisper White Craft ink and heat embossed them with White Embossing Powder.

I used a second one, albeit in a very small way on the BB card stock. If you click on the picture of the card, you can see the small letters peeking out behind the focal image. I have a feeling these are going to get a lot of use!

The bug is from the Level 1 Hostess set offerings and is called Love Bug. I stamped it with Sahara Sand Classic Ink and then colored it with that and a BB Stampin' Write Marker.

The heart was almost an afterthought. I couldn't figure out how to incorporate a sentiment that made this into an announcement/invitation. I had this heart in the same small box I was keeping the buttons, and I remembered that I have a very small stamp that says "it's a boy". My son wandered in while I was trying to determine placement of all the pieces, and he's responsible for this result!

I only have 11 of these to make once I get a thumbs-up from the hostess, so that won't be overwhelming. I have a pretty busy week. Working every day except Wednesday, crafting at Ronald McDonald House tomorrow night, then hosting a group of high school girls Friday night through Sunday morning for our church's local retreat. Good times! Have a great week!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Good Neighbor Card

Mary was my side-by-side friend for almost 16 years; she was my neighbor in IL. Over the years, through side yard conversations while she weeded her impatiens beds, sitting at her kitchen table or on her screened porch with its swing eating cookies and sipping tea, borrowing that cup of sugar for a recipe, sharing the joys of raising boys, watching their dogs and they watching ours while each vacationed, and celebrating birthdays and holidays, we grew close. Closer than either of us knew, I think. Then I moved to Georgia. She's still waiting for me to move back.

We talked on the phone yesterday for about an hour, and it was like no time had passed. I'm sure you have a friend like this. Someone who knows you so well that words aren't always necessary to explain yourself. Someone who will tell you the truth and provide great counsel because you've walked miles of life's road together and you have history. Someone who can be called no matter the time of day if you need something. At least I hope you have that kind of person to call your friend.

After our phone call, I wanted to express how much her friendship means to me, and when I remembered that I have a new stamp set called Good Neighbors, I knew I had what I needed.

This is a z-fold card, a 4.25"x11" piece of card stock scored at 2.75" and 5.5". The base is Sage Shadow. I wanted the card to show that we're close even though distance separates us, so I went online and traced outlines of IL and GA onto Post-It notes, then transferred those to card stock and cut them out. I used Apricot Appeal for IL, since it's a peachy tone Mary likes, and Barely Banana for GA because it's in the color family so I know it'll coordinate.

I pulled out this clear mount stamp set and chose the house that looks the most like Mary's. She lives in an old 2-story wooden sided beauty with a wraparound porch. I stamped the house in Chocolate Chip and colored it with Ruby Red. I stamped the roofline I liked in Creamy Caramel.

For my house, which is white, I went with Sahara Sand so that I could get the details that house stamp offered. You can see from the photo that the stamp is the same deeply-etched red rubber as the wood mount stamps. That means I'm still guaranteed the crisp images SU!'s stamps are known for. My roof is black and steeply pitched, so I chose one that I thought resembled it and stamped it separately from the house and cut it out.

I mounted each house on its state. Then I wanted to create a "road" between our houses. There are three kinds of trees that come with the Good Neighbor set, so I hand colored them with my Stampin' Write Markers in Chocolate Chip, Old Olive, Always Artichoke, and Certainly Celery and lined the road between our houses with them.

The sentiment comes from Whimsical Words, a set that's FREE with any purchase of $50 in merchandise during Sale-A-Bration, and it expresses what I want Mary to know. I stamped it on a paper "Kiss", a die cut offering from SU! in the Spring Occasions Mini: 20 for $3.95 (item #118779). I hope Mary will feel very appreciated when she gets this card. Love ya, dearheart!

In local news, we have SNOW! We were feeling left out, what with all that the rest of the country has had dumped on them, so we're excited to be included in the Snowpocalypse of 2010!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Clear Mount Whimsical Words

Hey! Happy Wednesday! It's feeling like Chicago here today and it's all due to the WIND. The temperature is in the 32, but with the wind chill it feels like 21. At least it's sunny!

Speaking of sunny, this bright and cheery card will be on its way next week to my father-in-law. I CASE'd this from Jill Hilliard and added my own little touches.

The base is Bermuda Bay. I'm growing more fond of this color by the day. Such a rich, unique shade of blue! The striped strip is actual Bridal Specialty Paper on which I used a brayer inked with Summer Sun to change the color to match the scheme. The stamps used are from Circle Circus, a go-to set for me. The mat for the main image is Crushed Curry, a very close cousin of SS. I kept this very free of embellishments, since this is a card for a man.

I love love love that I can see EXACTLY where I'm going to place my sentiment with the clear mount stamps! It was straight and positioned where I wanted it the first time. Fantastic!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Farewell to Sonja

Today we'll be having our post-holiday party as a team at Starbucks. We're going bowling and eating at the alley. But one of our partners will not be with us, and without her the festivities will be a little less festive. Sonja has moved back to Tennessee, and this is her farewell card.

I liked this design and color scheme that I created for Nina's birthday, so I used it again (the supplies were already on the table!). The quote is from Tim McGraw and says:

"We all take different paths in life, but no matter where we go, we take a little of each other everywhere."

That sums it up well. Sonja takes a little of us, and we keep a little of her.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

MY card for Nina with NEW GOODIES!

Earlier today I posted all about my friend's husband's experience making cards for his wife's birthday. Today I'm sharing the card I made for her!

As I said, Nina has a thing for bees. When I received my latest order this week, in it was the Level 1 Hostess set, Cute as a Bug. As soon as I saw the bee stamp, I knew it would be what I would dictate the rest of the card's design.

Also in my box were 2 new punches, the Scallop Trim corner punch and the Scallop Trim border punch. The first one is on sale in the new Occasions Mini, and the border punch is only available as a FREEBIE you can choose from the Sale-A-Bration brochure with the purchase of $50 of merchandise. I knew I wanted to play with these, so I put them on my craft table too.

ALSO available for experimentation was a set called Well Scripted from the Occasions Mini (click on link of cover to the right to view all the offerings of this amazing publication!). The COOL thing about this set is that it is one of several SU! is offering as a CLEAR MOUNT stamp. See and read all the details HERE...They cling to the clear block without adhesive, are made with the same deep-etched red rubber the wood mount stamps are, and they're SO slim for storage. And placement? RIGHT WHERE YOU WANT IT WITHOUT A Stamp-a-ma-jig! You have to try these.

Here's a closeup. Isn't that beautiful? It's made with a 3.75" square and it's easy peasy lemon squeezy! You punch the corners FIRST, then use the diagram included on the border punch to finish the space between the corners. It's so neat! Get the low-down on the corner punch and the new design of the punch itself HERE...

There are clouds that the bee is buzzing by as she flits through the sky. Those were made using the scallop circle punch, creating a "skyline", and sponging over them with Soft Sky ink.

The grass on the Certainly Celery base was added to further evoke the perception of a nature scene for the little bee, and was done using the Live with Passion stamp.

I'd love to show you how to use these new products FACE TO FACE, so contact me and set up a time for a private class for you and your friends! This is just a mere snippet of what's in the Occasions Mini and the SAB brochure, so go check them out and shop til you drop!

One Husband's Adventure in Card Making

My friend Nina's birthday was yesterday, and her husband Scott wanted to communicate to her how much he loves her and asked for my help. He sent a message to me through my husband a few weeks ago and asked me to design 3 cards for her that he would make and then give to her throughout the day. Isn't that SWEET?!?

Of course I told him I would, but that was one of the most challenging assignments I'd taken on in some time. I didn't know what he was looking for, and I don't have a real good read on her style either, even though she's one of my friends and a fellow crafter.

Scott arranged a ruse, with the help of my husband, so he could come over here last Saturday--men need help from other men with things around the house, like with painting (wink wink). Needless to say, he was amazed at all the different techniques and tools I incorporated into the cards he made! He thought it was unique that he would make his own "Hallmark" on the back and include his signature of his art, but I stressed that these cards would be kept by his wife for a long time, and that she would want to remember the year he did this.

Here are the cards I designed, but that he created. The first one used some rub-ons from It's a Loop Thing, and he said when he saw it that it would be his wife's favorite. I know Nina LOVES bees, so I that's why I'd chosen these images. This is a gate fold card base with More Mustard card stock, stamped with the flower stamp from Loop to Loop set. The rub-ons were mounted on Whisper White and matted on Chocolate Chip. The accents on each side are scraps from a Simply Scrappin' kit.

The second one was made using some special extras I'd hoarded. Cool Caribbean is one of my favorite InColors of the past, and it's the base for this card. I used the Stampin' Around Petals jumbo wheel (retired) inked with Versamark to create the very soft subtle background. The color scheme was determined initially by this strip of flowers in Pumpkin Pie, So Saffron, and Cool Caribbean. The sentiment is from God's Blessings, and Scott LOVED it.

The third card took me back to the coordinating DSP that went with the rub-ons and the stamp set from the first card. Who says you can't breathe new life into stashed stuff? The base is Pink Pirouette, and I fashioned the card so that it would look like a wrapped package (I did tie the bow for the man--those are hard for large hands!). The scalloped squares are punched in Certainly Celery, Bashful Blue, and PP. The sentiment is from Always, stamped in Riding Hood Red.

When I spoke with Nina yesterday, she told me about the cards and how she loves the bee one, and how what he said in the card brought tears to her eyes. I believe Scott hit the bull's eye on this birthday! Feel free to copy this post to your husband, and I'll help him too. It's not too late for Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Anyone? Anyone?

Are you still out there? Has anyone even missed me? Probably not. Well, here's what's been happening. This week my computer and I have had issues. I couldn't get it to recognize the cable that allows me to download pictures from my camera to it, and it wouldn't tell me why it was having this little fit. Today, I tried again, and it was like nothing had ever been amiss. I don't get it. All's well that ends well, and you get to see cards galore over the next few days. Aren't you excited? Hello? Is anyone still out there?

Okay, here's the first card. My old boss texted and asked for a baby card in the same design as the one I made in honor of his firstborn. It's a tri-fold shutter card (still don't get why they call it that, but they didn't ask me), and this one was for their friends' new daughter. The nursery is done in pinks and neutrals with jungle animals. Okie-dokie.

And the little girl's name is Lyla, but her mother didn't want to correct my friend's wife when she sent an email and spelled her daughter's name incorrectly (what?!? then why spell her name the way you did and doom your daughter to having her name misspelled for the rest of her life? again, I was not consulted), so the card is created with her name spelled as Lila. I guess it could be chalked up to post-partem distraction.

So, I whipped up this card using some light cardboard, since I needed but did not have any 12"x12" card stock in a neutral color like white or kraft, some left over Pink Pirouette DSP from last year's InColor collection, and my retired Wild About You stamp set featuring jungle animals. The animals were stamped in PP and accented with Old Olive. I used Outline Alphabet (again retired) to craft the sweet baby's name (with an "i" not a "y" like her parents intended--argh!). The mom liked the card, I was told, even if her firstborn's name was not spelled as she intended. It's the thought that counts? She's more easy going than I was as a new mom.

More to come...