Wednesday, August 25, 2010

20 Years and Counting my Blessings

Twenty years ago today, I married Bob Nahrstadt Jr. This is what we looked like on that unusually cool, beautiful day.

Here's what we looked like Saturday, when we went out to celebrate our special occasion.

We had a quiet, low-key dinner at Wild Fire Grill in Sandy Springs. Bob chose the restaurant because it was the closest thing he could find to Houston's, a restaurant we loved going to while we dated. Just as we were leaving the restaurant, it started to rain. We sat in the car 20 min., reminiscing to the soundtrack of our dating months (we only had 3 before we were engaged).

When the rain stopped and we got out of the car to go have dessert at Alon's, we discovered a full double rainbow in the sky above us. To me, it was symbolic of our life together. It has been BLESSED. Blessed with unconditional love. Blessed with soul synchronicity. Blessed with growth. Blessed with passion. Blessed with peace.

While Bob isn't one to really need a card for any occasion, I couldn't let this one pass without something to commemorate the milestone. I used the rainbow as inspiration, as well as hearts for all the love we've shared. I punched the hearts from various security envelopes I'd saved, thanks to inspiration from Lydia of Understand Blue. I stuck them on Brights Collection buttons and tied silver cording through each one, since platinum is the modern gift for this anniversary.

I looked online to find out how many days, weeks, and months we've been married and stamped them using my retired, yet go-to number set, Headline Numbers. The interior message reads: "It all adds up to 20 years, but you had my heart from day 1."

I love you, sweetie! Thanks for making 20 years seem like finding the pot at the end of the rainbow.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Coached Color Combination

Sometimes I have an idea for a great card and I know which stamp set I want to use, but I can't settle on a color combination so that I can get started. Ever been there? Well, SU! knows this and has, with the recent Color Renovation, revamped its old Color Wheel and created a Color Coach. This tool is a deck of 55 double-sided cards and each one features a color from our collections. It's so nice to be able to see what a color looks like in a larger swatch, rather than trying to discern it from the tiny representation in the catalog!

The other immensely cool feature is the back side of each color card. There are 2 suggested color combinations! This is especially helpful since there are new colors in our collections that I don't have any experience pairing with others, so having selections at hand that I know have been tested by the graphic designers at SU! puts me at ease and lets me get down to crafting, instead of staring at my card stock feeling stuck.

Here's what the Color Coach selection I made helped me create. I had been using the Brights Collection almost exclusively since the Color Renovation, and I wanted to do something different. I looked up the Cherry Cobbler card, and went with the combination of Cherry Cobbler, Pumpkin Pie, and Night of Navy suggested.

I used Extreme Elements and finally put to paper what I had envisioned in my head since I first laid eyes on this set: a paint splattered focal image. With the colors already determined, I could turn my attention to design. I used several other images from the set, as well as the sentiment from Party Hearty, colored direct to rubber using the same markers. I had to go and make it a bit more challenging by adding the triangles of color around the image, but it was a fun experiment and I'm pleased with the result.

Do you have the Color Coach? If not, why not treat yourself to this time-saving, stress-reducing, creativity-inciting tool? You can order online anytime. Just click here!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Birthday Wishes like Falling Stars

I saw a beautiful card on Nichole Heady's blog (scroll to the bottom past all the Halloween stuff to view it), and I wanted to try to create something similar. I chose the stars stamp from Extreme Elements and inked it in rainbow colors from the Brights Collection. In order to include all the colors of the spectrum, the strip ended up being just over 6" long. Well, that wouldn't do for a standard card, but I have a stash of 5"x7" white card bases from another project and grabbed one from the closet.

My next thought was, "What am I going to do with all that white space?" It's always a struggle for me to create a sparse look, even though I really like it when others do it. I mounted the start strip on Basic Black card stock and chose a silver metallic Sharpie to hand draw a border around it. The silver prompted me to pull out some leftover strips of Square Lattice textured foil that I'd saved from this project.

It added some great sparkle and dimension and grounded everything in the design. I stamped the birthday wish sentiment from Heard from the Heart and still felt something was lacking. This was when I wished for black ribbon, but I don't have that, so I made do.

Andrea Walford showed this grouping of ribbon on a card this week, and I really liked how it looked. It's easy to do and refreshingly different.

I know I've been very erratic in my posts lately. I'm sure you know how life can impede progress to the craft room door! Thanks for your patience. I'll have another post Monday using Extreme Elements. It's a complete departure from this look, and a great guy card. Y'all come back now, ya hear?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Top Note Tent Card

Better late than never! That's my motto for today. I committed to posting something today, and it may be late, but I'm not going to bed until I do!

I found out last night that the mother of a friend of mine passed away. I needed to get a card in the mail, and today's tutorial on SCS for tent cards helped me get the job done. Of course, I couldn't just do it the easy way the way Beate recommended, but with enough adapting, I achieved the look I wanted and had a card that would stand up on my friend's desk to remind her that I care.

The flowers are from Fifth Ave. Floral, and the mat they're placed on is called a Top Note Bigz Die for the Big Shot. I used this because it is new to me, and because I don't have a die that will cut a single circle big enough to serve as a window for an object. I colored the flowers with Rose Red markers after stamping them on Pretty in Pink card stock. The sentiment is from Because I Care.

I'll write a message on the back of this and hope that my friend is encouraged when it arrives.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ronald McDonald House

Tonight, I went with several other demonstrators to the Ronald McDonald House in Atlanta to do card making with the families who were there. After we were done, Cari Olson, the house manager, showed us this video, featuring one of the families who has been part of the House for many years.

I thought you'd like to see it too, so you can understand what Ronald McDonald House does and why I love being part of the environment:

What Ronald McDonald Houses Provide

I know I've been quiet here for quite awhile. I promise something will be posted tomorrow.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Trying New Things is Hard Sometimes

Oh my. My nephew Nik's birthday is Monday, and I sat down this morning, thinking I had a plan for his card and would just whip it together and post it on my way to work later today. I feel as though I have conquered the arch enemy of creativity by finishing this card!

Ten is a difficult age, especially for a boy. Things that were once cool start not to be cool, and yet you're not old enough to embrace the things of adolescence. So, I knew when I looked at the image I'd chosen that it wasn't going to work. It was just too juvenile. So I pulled out Extreme Elements and grunged up my card a bit. I'm so not grunge, so this was challenging.

Then I went back to my original image, the Builder Wheel trio of Candle Crazy (retired) and Birthday, to see if there was anything there I could salvage. At this point, I was feeling the clock ticking...LOUDLY.

I ditched the candles and even paired down the words from Happy Birthday to You as far as I could to remove as much of the Whisper White. That would work...I thought.

My next idea was incorporating the NUMBER of Nik's birthday into the card design, but in order to do that I had to call my mother-in-law to confirm that he is turning 10. I had made a mistake on my niece's birthday card in this category, but that's another story for another time...

Okay, yes, he will be 10 on Monday (at this point, this card might not make it there before he turns 11!), so I pulled out my retired Headline Numbers and stamped them on Basic Grey. Blah. So I ran them through the Big Shot in my Square Lattice Textured Impressions Folder (could we please come up with some agreed upon shorter name for this?!) and liked that look. I mounted them on the card using Stampin' Dimensionals and used the same to place the sentiment.

Done? Please? NO! The card looked unbalanced on the left side due to my placement of the word "Happy". I was NOT "happy" at this point. Glancing around my desk, I saw a piece of Silver Metallic card stock that I had embossed with the aforementioned folder and remembered I had the Big Shot Stars #2 Originals diecut in the shape of stars! Yes, yes, yes, I would finish this or DIE!

The stars adhered, the card was complete, and I am glad I pushed through all the obstacles my arch enemy used to try to deter me.

Now I have to cram some lunch down my throat, change clothes, and run this by the post office on my way in to work. Whew! Who said card making was relaxing?!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Find the Birdie

I'm always on the lookout for unique cards, and I saw this technique on a gallery at SCS over the weekend. It's called a tunnel card, and it's a fun card to experiment with!

I have wanted to pair the new Woodgrain background stamp with the 2-Step Bird Punch since I purchased the stamp in my first order from the new catalog. This technique gave me the perfect excuse! I inked my stamp with Crumb Cake (aka Kraft) and stamped it twice on a 5.5"x 8.5" piece of CC card stock. Then I scored it as the directions indicate.

Since I needed an opening for this portion of the card and I wanted to simulate a knothole in a tree, I pulled out my Ovals original die for the Big Shot. I wanted to use the biggest oval, which measures 2.25" across. But since I was positioning it on the center fold, I only needed half of it.

I measured and marked the halfway point on my die, lined up the card stock, and ran it through the machine. Perfect! Now I was ready to fill my tunnel and knothole with a bird in a nest.

My punch made quick work of that. I used Always Artichoke for the branches and Real Red for the bird.

With that accomplished, I needed to create the card front. I chose Season of Friendship to continue the tree and bird theme and made the main focus the sentiment. This was stamped using my color scheme of AA for the leaves, RR for the bird, and Soft Suede, my card base, for the wording. I hope the front isn't too plain. I just didn't want to do too much and have it compete with the interior.

If you'd like to learn how to make this card, consider hosting a group of friends at your house (or mine) for a private class! Contact me to find out more details. There's a hostess special going on through the end of the month, and there are extra hostess dollars up for grabs. You don't want to miss out on FREE money, do you? Get in touch with me and let's set a date!