Thursday, May 27, 2010

How Can It Be?

Where has this week gone? My days have been full; I've been doing exciting things like laundry and grocery shopping, but I didn't think it could be Thursday already! I lost an hour of my life yesterday trying to clean the grout in the shower. Any suggestions on how to defeat that stuff without so much elbow grease? UGH. And my folks arrive on Monday for a visit. That's not even a room they're going to see! You're not here to read a rant on cleaning or lost time, but thanks for letting me share. Let's get down to business.

Last night I was prepping materials for my Stamp-A-Stack this weekend, and it dawned on me at 7:30 that I had yet to make my brother-in-law's birthday card. His birthday is May 28, so that meant I had to get the card to the post office this morning on my way to work in order for it to have a prayer of getting there on time.

I've known for over a week what card I wanted to make. I'd seen this one by Stasia Sloma and wanted to put my own spin on it. But I had procrastinated and needed to work fast before I lost the ability to form a coherent thought, let alone a creative one. So I chose Bordering Blue because it's masculine and because it's retiring, paired it with Sahara Sand and Whisper White and got down to making a quick and easy card.

Sorry for the less than fantastic photo, but you get the idea. Disregard the semi-cockeyed WW layer too. It was stuck on too well for me to peel it off and I was beyond caring at that point. Besides Circle Circus, I also used a retired set from SAB called Congrats. I like how it turned out.

Now here's the rest of the story. I drove to work early (remember that I get up at 3:45a most mornings) to stick this and another birthday card in the mailbox. I worked my shift at Starbucks. On the way home, I call my sister to catch up and chat a bit. I ask her if she's doing anything special for him, since his birthday is this weekend. She paused and said, "It's not 'til JUNE 28, Jenn."


Monday, May 24, 2010

Father's Day 4x4 Photo Card for YouTube

Here are the links to the videos:

Happy Monday, all! My friend Aldo and I are at it again, creating a Father's Day card that can be made with minimal materials. You'll have to wait to see the step-by-step instructions on YouTube, but here are some pictures of what I came up with. My son was mortified that I would use this picture for my project, but it was the best one I had, so he'll have to deal with it. After all, he's the one who made the face! Don't tell him that I think he looks a little bit like one of the Three Stooges!

This card was inspired by one I saw last Father's Day on Kristina Werner's blog. I chose the easel layout instead because I think it's a great way to display pics of dad's kids at the office, on his dresser at home, or in the car, mounted to the dashboard!

I made two versions of this card and the second one featured items anyone might have around the house, specifically a magazine and a Sharpie marker. The picture I'm posting features a chipboard frame made shiny using Silver Embossing Powder, but while we were taping, the idea of using a metallic silver Sharpie marker occurred to me, so we redid that section. Again, you'll see it all on the video!

There's almost a month until Father's Day, so do a little planning. Snap some pics or flip through an old photo album, and do some crafting. I'm certain your dad will love it!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Builder Wheel Birthday Card

Hey all! Happy Friday! SU! has a new product I want to give you the skinny on today. They're called Builder Wheels, and there are 6 styles available in the Summer Mini Catalog on pages 8 and 9. These wheels are designed to be used with the Jumbo Wheel handle. They make quick work of card making, and allowed me to create a great masculine birthday card. But first, a bit more detail on these wheels.

The wheels coordinate with each other and have two themes: friendship and birthday. The three I bought were the birthday set, which features Candle Crazy, Birthday, and So Many Stars. They do not have to be purchased as a set; they are available for mix and match. I liked the Candle Crazy so much that I bought 2 of that wheel and the Birthday wheel to create my border/main image.

The wheels must be purchased with a Builder Wheel Spindle and Spacer pack, which allows you to attach them to the handle. The spindle and spacers also allow you to use each wheel by itself (like I did for the envelope) or together as a set in the handle. You can purchase an uninked cartridge and juice it up with whatever reinker color you want, or you can roll it on an ink pad. Because of the length of the Birthday wheel's message, I would recommend the cartridge. All that said, I didn't use one for this project because I didn't remember I had any until after I was done! The cartridge insures even ink distribution without running out before you're done rolling.

Enough talk, here's the card! I used Not Quite Navy classic ink to roll the wheels. I started with a full, 8.5" width of Very Vanilla card stock because I wanted to get the entire "Happy Birthday to You" message to see how long it is. It's about 7", so I trimmed off the "to You" part and went with the rest as my main image.

Some quick coloring of the candles with Soft Suede and So Saffron, mounted it on Kraft and attached both layers to another mat of NQN that I used eyelets in the corners to allow me to thread Linen Thread through to create a frame. The Linen background stamp (retired) inked in SS helped add some texture to the VV base, and before I knew it, the card was complete.

My fellow partner at Starbucks and videographer Aldo had a birthday yesterday, so this card will circulate among us for wishes and be given to him next week. I think I'm doing pretty well with the manly birthday cards this month, but there's one more to go. Be looking for that next week--have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 20, 2010

A Man's Man's Card

My husband's brother's birthday is later this week, and my dear man asked me if I had a card he could send him. Well, of course! Honestly, I had it on my "to-do" list to make him one, but, as I have already revealed, I am challenged in terms of stamp sets that provide inspiration for cards for men.

So, I was surprised when this turned out to be one of the best cards I've ever made for a guy. I started with a bunch of 1" square pieces of retired Designer Series Paper called Outlaw. I'm really trying to use what I have, and this paper coordinates with several colors that are being retired at the end of June, so it's time to stop saving it for a later day! That day is NOW!

I attached the squares to a 4" x 5" piece of card stock. Normally, I wouldn't put Really Rust and Going Gray together, but because it was already paired in the DSP, I took courage and went with it. Another thing I did that I haven't ever done before is stamping on DSP. I took my Wanted stamp set, which this paper was designed to pair with, and stamped a variety of images from it on the DSP in Going Gray. I stamped them off once, so that they wouldn't overpower the pattern in the paper.

I distressed the edges with a pair of kid scissors I have specifically for this purpose. Then I wrapped the whole thing in twine. For the main image, I took the horse stamp and stamped it four times, starting at the right side of the piece of Going Gray and moving to the left without reinking. Then I distressed this piece too and crumpled it up to make it more rough.

Then I got the idea to stamp the large Linen background image on the Going Gray base. I did it first with Really Rust and then again with Going Gray ink.

I carried the theme inside by using the largest image from the set and stamped it off along the edges. The sentiment is from Full of Life, and it's just something I know Bob's brother will resonate with.

What stamp sets are you drawn to when making a card for a guy? How do you choose a color palette? I'd love to hear how you manage this challenge. In fact, if you are inspired to make a card for a guy because of this post, include a link to your picture of it in the comments!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Pomp and Circumstance

May is graduation month here in Georgia, beginning with the colleges and universities. The high schools will have their commencements Memorial Day weekend. One of the partners at my store graduated from Georgia State University this past weekend, and I organized a gift for her from all of us baristas.

I'd seen this card by Jackie Topa and thought it was a great way to capture the spirit of graduation without purchasing a stamp set devoted specifically to the event. I heard someone share at SU!'s annual convention a few years ago that she doesn't purchase a set unless she can envision three different uses for it. I think that's sound advice.

This card starts out as an 8" square piece of Basic Black card stock, folded gate style (2" in from each side) to create a gown effect that opens down the middle. I then took 2-2" squares of Whisper White card stock and punched one corner of each with my Scalloped Corner punch. This punch was featured in the Occasions Mini and will be in the new Big Idea Book & Catalog that comes out July 1. I scored a line parallel to the corner to create a collar.

The cowl is made with a scrap strips of Brilliant Blue and Real Red card stock, the school's colors. The mortar board is just a 2" square piece of Basic Black with a silver brad attached in the middle. I followed Jackie's instructions for making the tassel.

I also followed her lead--why reinvent the wheel?--and used the congratulations stamp from Well Scripted. Isn't the diploma just a cute little finishing touch? Shawn loved it, and I was tickled that she did. It was the perfect size for a note and a bit of cash, a gift always appreciated by graduates.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Father's Day at Ronald McDonald House

This is the week each month that I go to the Ronald McDonald House and provide a crafting opportunity for the families staying there. Because we only go once a month, I try to provide a card that is suitable for the next holiday on the calendar. This month, that would be Father's Day.

This card was inspired by something I saw on Kristina Werner's blog almost a year ago. She made a photo card with a patchwork background that was 4" x 12", scored at 3" in from each end to create a trifold card. Since I didn't have any 12" x 12" card stock, I chose to make mine a bit differently. I cut a 4" x 9.25" piece of Really Rust card stock and scored it at 3" in from each end and then got to work.

I cut dozens of 1" squares from the Outlaw Designer Series Paper I have had for several years and determined to use instead of save for later. The sentiment is one of my all-time favorites, from a long ago retired set called Gratitude. Isn't it a perfect thing to say to a father?

Then I got out my Wanted stamp set and my only Father's Day stamp and started stamping. I only used RR ink because it's easier for all concerned if there's only one color of ink to stamp with. The trifold panels could be used to place pictures of kids and dads, but the families at the House probably don't have those handy, so I didn't go that route.

The trifold is mounted on a single sheet of 4.25" x 5.5" RR card stock. I thought the 4" x 9" just turned out to be a bit too small on its own.

Last month there were all boys at the house, so I hope the census is similar this month. I think they'll like stamping with this Western themed set.

Monday, May 17, 2010

For My Sister

LOTS of birthdays in the family this month--5! Three of them are this week!! Today is my sister's 41st birthday. No big celebration like last year (I sent her 40 pieces of her favorite toffee from our favorite chocolate shop), but that doesn't mean her day should pass without acknowledging her and what makes her special.

This card utilizes another favorite color combination (Tempting Turquoise and Gable Green) that I won't be able to craft with after June 30, when GG is retired. I'm not planning on stocking up on retiring colors; there are new options and I'm going to embrace change! If you don't feel similarly though, I would advise you to act immediately and shop online to get what you'd like to have and hoard.

This card is fairly simple. It was inspired by one I saw online, but when I went back to find it, I couldn't. This one by Nancy Riley comes closest to what I saw. I stamped the grass image from Inspired by Nature in Garden Green on Whisper White card stock. I stamped it again on a smaller piece and matted it with GG and TT. The butterfly is from Flight of the Butterfly, and the solid 'fly is inked in TT and stamped off once, and the overlay of flowers is not.

Deciding where to place the greeting was the most challenging part of this entire layout. I finally went with the plain "Happy Birthday" from It's Your Birthday and determined the more meaningful sentiment would go on the inside.

My sister has not always been my confidante; we fought as kids and I even pulled her hair and strong armed her at times to try to get her to do what I wanted her to do. Today, though, we are close, and I'm so thankful to have her not only as a sibling but as a friend. She's been there for almost everything and she loves me. She's an amazingly talented pianist, incredibly organized household manager, and unconditionally loving wife and mother. Hugs from here, sister! Wish we could go for lunch.

Friday, May 14, 2010

So Long, Farewell...

All demonstrators have a favorite color combination. I like Elegant Eggplant and Apricot Appeal together, even though you don't see this often in my cards. I just don't think many other people enjoy it as much as I do, so I save it and use it only once in awhile. Well, Apricot Appeal is one of the colors being retired June 30, so I thought I'd better use it while I can.

Fellow demonstrator Andrea Walford highlighted a technique called Craft Resist, which uses Craft Ink to create a background color over an embossed image. I don't have any Craft Ink other than Whisper White, but I was curious to see if the technique would work with Classic Ink. I followed Andrea's instructions by first stamping my image, from Watercolor Trio (it's SO versatile!), in Versamark and then embossing it with Clear Embossing Powder.

I swiped it with my EE pad until I had the amount of color I wanted on the Whisper White card stock. I could've left it a bit more streaky, but I'm pleased with the result. The ink that covered the image wiped off, and would've been stunning on its own with the white serving as a stark contrast to the color. But Andrea removed the Embossing Powder by melting it with an iron so that she could place color with Stampin' Pastels on the image.

I applied the dry heat and, sure enough, it melted! So I used Old Olive and AA chalks and I like the soft look it created. I used Q tips to apply the chalk; I wish there was a better tool, but it got the job done. I matted it on Whisper White and mounted it on Apricot Appeal.

In my stash of EE card stock, there was this 4.25" x 11" piece, folded to overlap and with rounded corners; I'm sure it was left over from another card attempt that didn't work out. I decided it was perfect and stamped the same image I used in the technique in Versamark to create a background pattern.

I have a friend whose birthday is coming up early in June, so I wanted to create a way for her to be able to keep the art after she was finished with the card. When I pulled out the 5/8" Old Olive grosgrain ribbon so that it would help pull that color out of the main image, the idea for a bookmark suddenly popped into my head. I adhered the entire piece using temporary mono adhesive. It can be removed and the sticky stuff rubbed off; then she can use it to mark her spot in her favorite book.

Since this card ended up having a bookish theme, I'd like to know what you're reading this summer. I just finished Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork. Fantastic! What do you suggest?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

For the Clothes Horse on Father's Day

I always have trouble designing a Father's Day card, since my husband doesn't seem to fall into a specific category. He's not a sports fan, he's not a hunter, he's not a car guy, and he's not my personal version of "Tim the Toolman". So, most of the stamp sets geared toward guys just don't fit him.

Since I figure I'm not the only one with this issue, I try to make my annual Father's Day card something masculine without being stereotypical. It's HARD! This year, I wanted to use up some retired Manchester Designer Series Paper, and I wanted to make a card that I could use for card making time at the Ronald McDonald House next week. It dawned on me that most men like to be considered stylish, so I tried to make a card that would capture the "inner clothes horse" in every dad.

I came up with this. I think it looks like an argyle sweater vest layered over a shirt. At least that's what I was going for! It was also my goal to use up some retired Soft Sky card stock, so to me, this is a win-win result!

The card is 5.5" x 8.5", scored at 2 1/8" in from each side on the 8.5" length. This creates the center opening and is also known as a gate fold. For the message, I grabbed "love you much" from Well Scripted, and the only "Happy Father's Day" stamp I own, from another retired set called All Year Cheer II.

I'd really like your feedback on this. Would this suit your card giving needs for dear ol' Dad this year?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wedding Card

I haven't been to a wedding since last fall, and I don't see any on the horizon in the near future. Still, having a go-to layout for a unique wedding card in my repertoire is a necessity, so when I saw the free card template for this creation a few months ago on Lynn Pratt's blog, I filed it away. Yesterday I got around to giving it a trial run. I really like how it utilizes the Bride Specialty Paper and captures the elegance of this once in a lifetime event.

I followed the template for the most part, although I eliminated some panels that were to be added to the dress, and I decided to let the DSP speak for itself. The groom's tux also uses the DSP, and the single brad is silver.

I added my own interior, deploying Dazzling Diamonds judiciously on the swirl from Baroque Motifs. I think the "congratulations" stamp from Well-Scripted is perfect for this card, don't you?

Like I said, there are no weddings for us to attend this summer. What about you? What are your summer plans?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Sweet Scoops Sketch Challenge

I saw this sketch being used by various stampers whose work I like--Nancy Riley, Vicki Burdick, and Laura Fredrickson. It's the Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge 68 by Karen Giron, and I thought I'd see if I could use it with the Sweet Scoops stamp set that's new to the Summer Mini. There's inspiration abundant on the internet, and crafters are among the most generous people I know.

I started with a base of Pretty in Pink and layered Rose Red on it. Then I pulled out the Thoroughly Modern File Folders again and cut pieces from my scraps to create the layout. Love those and will miss them when they're gone!

I have a friend who doesn't like ice cream. I'm not sure how we're friends with this ginormous obstacle in our path, but we manage to get along somehow. The only ice cream she'll eat is called Blue Moon, made by Sherman's, an amazing ice cream maker in southwest Michigan. I know she'll smile when she opens this card, because she'll know which ice cream I'm evoking by my image. And it IS that blue, folks. I can't describe what it tastes like, but it's a little bit like cotton candy. I'm partial to Chocomania, but I'll have to just dream about it, since I'm 80 bazillion miles away from the source.

One detail stamp that's a great addition to this set is a small stamp that allows you to create the rippled effect that comes from the scoop. It makes it more realistic, even though it's BLUE!

Thanks for the sketch, Karen, and thanks for the beautiful samples, Nancy, Vicki, and Laura! Bring on summer!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Hip to be Square!

I struggle coming up with creative titles for my posts! But this card has lots of little squares and I grew up in the 80s, which was synonymous with Huey Lewis and the News, for me at least. It's how my mind works.

This card was really inspired not by Huey, but by Mary Fish. I chose this card's color scheme to give some time in the spotlight to a few colors that are retiring at the end of next month: Really Rust and Sage Shadow.

The retiring colors will be available until June 30, or while supplies last. We demonstrators were informed last week that some card stock has already begun to be depleted, so textured card stock in the same color is being substituted until it runs out too. The reinkers will be restocked until May 30, and then once the stock is depleted, they will not be replenished.

I stamped images from these sets, just pulling out what I liked and what I thought went well together. All were stamped in Chocolate Chip classic ink, which is being moved from the Earth Elements family (which is being renamed the Regals Collection), into the Neutrals Collection.

These 1.25" squares were mounted on the Really Rust card stock, and accented with Sage Shadow .25" grosgrain ribbon, and a butterfly stamped in SS and mounted on top of the same image, creating a shadow of sorts.

Bleaching without Stamps

My second YouTube video featuring the bleaching technique was shot the same day as the first, and was Aldo's suggestion for those who wanted to use the bleaching technique but didn't have any stamps. This one was billed as a good activity for kids to make their own card for Mom.

I cut the letters out using some leftover lightweight cardboard, and substituted a heart shape for the "o". I taped it down using double-stick tape, which you see in the video I have some difficulty removing!, and sponge around it.

It's a bit crude, but it's quick and easy, and I agreed with my producer that providing an alternative to stamps made the technique that much more accessible to anyone.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Bleached Flowers for YouTube!

EDITED TO ADD: Here's the video link: Mother's Day Card Tutorial!

I was asked by fellow Starbucks partner and aspiring videographer, Aldo, if he could make a video of me making a card for Mother's Day. After several scheduling hiccups, we were able to make it happen at the almost-11th-hour this afternoon. I can hardly contain my excitement as I wait for him to finish post-production on it, and as soon as it's available, you'll see it here, and on YouTube, and on Facebook!

Let me post a few pictures of the card I made using the Watercolor Trio that's in the current Summer Mini Catalog and a technique called bleaching. Aldo wanted to post a video demonstrating how to make a card if you had limited resources and limited time. It occurred to me that someone might have stamps laying around, but no ink. What would you do then? Make your own ink pad using bleach!

The most important thing you need when using this technique is dark card stock. This just doesn't have the same effect if you don't. It's so cool to watch the image appear, as if out of thin air. Wait 'til you see it in the video!

I repurposed a Chinese takeout container for my bleach pad by lining it with several layers of paper towel and saturating it with bleach. I didn't dilute it; I just poured it straight onto the towels. I stamped the images and used a simple mat to help it stand out a little more.

The final result makes it appear as though I somehow was able to get Pale Plum ink to show up on Perfect Plum card stock. Love it! Hope anyone in need of a last-minute card who's surfing YouTube, the internet, and Facebook will too.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

I Scream, You Scream...

we all scream for ICE CREAM! Summer is just around the corner, and nothing screams summer more than ice cream. Stampin' Up!'s newly released Summer Mini Catalog features a set called Sweet Scoops that captures all the fun and whimsy associated with the summertime treat.

My favorite way to eat soft serve ice cream is to have it dipped in chocolate! Makes me want to drive over to my local DQ right now. That's what inspired this card. I stamped the twist in Versamark on Close to Cocoa card stock and embossed it with Clear Embossing Powder to mimic the shine that that chocolate coating gives the cone. The sugar cone, my favorite choice of delivery mechanism for ice cream, is stamped in Versamark on Creamy Caramel card stock. Looks pretty real, doesn't it?

The layout for this card was inspired by this card, that I saw on Karin and Julie's blog, Two Friends Stamping. I turned it and modified it a bit to better suit my images, and to keep one of the cones a surprise until the card is opened by untying the Close to Cocoa ribbon. The base is Pretty in Pink, with some long-ago retired Designer Series Paper, Whisper White, and Close to Cocoa card stock also used.

This card will go to my friend and former boss who is busy scooping ice cream at Graham's Fine Chocolates & Ice Cream in Wheaton, IL. I spent six summers building my forearm muscles (we didn't make soft serve) scooping the world's best ice cream. If you get a chance to stop by, be sure to order Wild Cherry on a sugar cone for me!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Introducing Watercolor Trio

The Summer Mini Catalog selling period started Saturday, and here's the first card I made using one of the sets from it, Watercolor Trio. This is a fantastic beginner set, as it has images and sentiments. It's also available in wood mount or clear acrylic cling mount. I chose acrylic cling mount because I can see where I'm going to place the images and sentiments--love that!

I created this card for the women I stamped with over the weekend (hi again, gals!), and it was a big hit! I used Kraft as my base, layered with Very Vanilla, and the images were stamped in Rose Red, More Mustard, and Elegant Eggplant. The sentiment was stamped in Old Olive. All that alliteration had the gals cracking up, but they loved the combination!

I love how fast this comes together, and yet how fancy it seems because of the easel fold. Check my archive (4x4 easel card) for the link to complete directions. It's so much easier than it looks!

The women stamped this as a Mother's Day card, but I already had all of those I needed, so I created a blank version but kept the butterfly from the set as my "peg" to hold the easel in place.

It's so energizing for me to share card making with others. Thanks to Bekah for bringing the group together. If you'd like me to share my love of stamping with YOUR group of friends, leave me a comment and we'll get the ball rolling!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Thoroughly Modern Always

I had the great pleasure of facilitating a workshop with a group of friends last Saturday (hey ladies!), and this was one of the cards I taught them to make. They all like birds, so the Always stamp set was a logical choice.

I featured a unique use for the Thoroughly Modern File Folders that are part of a unique office organization collection, featured on pages 116 and 117 of the Big Idea Book & Catalog. I had ordered the file folders for this project, and had some of them left over. Gotta make use of what you have, right? I cut those folders up and made a cute card using the folder pieces as I would Designer Series Paper.

The 3" square featuring the bird image is stamped in Soft Suede, one of this year's InColors that is being incorporated into the new Color Collection as a neutral. The base is Melon Mambo, also an IC that is being added to the core line of colors as part of the new Brights Collection. (To read more about the Color Renovation, see this post and this post.)

I used the Scallop Circle punch and some of the folder to make a great little accent element. The always stamp was colored direct to rubber and punched out with the 1.25" circle punch. A little hemp twine bow adhered with a glue dot, and this card was DONE, quickly and easily, and it was very well received.

Now that things have quieted down, you'll see more posts. There's a new Summer Mini Catalog that has cool stamps in it, including one featuring ICE CREAM!


I have been quiet here the past few weeks because I've been at work on a large project. Last Wednesday, I finished them, and the client received them last Friday. Now I can share them with you!

I made 250 of these 5"x7" invitations for a great organization, Amazima Ministries. You can read all about the work it does by clicking on the icon in my right hand column. Last year I handcrafted 175 invitations; this year they wanted something a little more simple.

There are 5 layers of card stock on the strip that peeks out at the top and bottom of the invite, using Real Red, YoYo Yellow, Glorious Green, Lovely Lilac, and Brilliant Blue, all from the Bold Brights family. The largest swatch was 2" and the pieces went down in 1/4" increments from there. It was a lot of card stock to cut--600 of each color! These colors mimic those in the fingers of the handprint, which is the logo for the organization.

I love being able to invest in this cause in this way. If you're interested in attending the fundraiser in Brentwood, TN, outside Nashville, please contact me, and I'll get you connected to the right people at Amazima.