Thursday, September 30, 2010

Getting a Jump on "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year"

EDITED TO ADD: Some of you were not aware that the box I made for the Hershey's Nuggets is a variation of the Halloween Treat Box I posted about yesterday. Here's the original link to her tutorial for that box, off which my box is based: Scroll down in this post to find MY measurements that will change her square box into my rectangle box. Sorry for the confusion.

I'm scared to say this out loud, but Christmas is only 86 days away, and many of us will need gifts to give as early as Dec. 1, so subtracting 24 days from 86--62 days isn't a lot of time to get ready! ACK!

When I saw the Jolly Bingo Bits in the Holiday Mini Catalog, I liked the images (which come in clear mount as well as wood block), but wasn't sure I'd invest the money for both the inchies AND the coordinating large Bingo Board stamp SU! was selling.

While my dear friend and veteran teacher Darcie was visiting Labor Day Weekend, she sold me on this set by sharing her template for a bingo board that I could print off my computer! This helped me see the gift-giving potential this set has, and I'm here to share the results with you.

The first thing I did was color direct to rubber with SU! markers all 24 images from the set and create a bingo board. My idea is to create 4 different versions of this board and give the set to a teacher. Bada bing, bada boom--instant activity for use during the holiday season, whether as a reward for good behavior or as part of the class' Christmas party. Any room moms out there in need of a great game for the party? Here you go!

Once I finished with the bingo board, I had my husband scan it into the computer and then I printed two copies of it on Very Vanilla card stock. I cut the squares apart and mounted them on squares made using my Scallop Square Punch, and the 48 pieces are now a great memory game! This is another great gift for any teacher who needs something for a center in the classroom. (Thanks to Cindy at Heart's Delight Cards for the inspiration!) Wouldn't it also make a cute stocking stuffer? I see you nodding your head yes...

The box I made to store them in is a recycled box from Starbucks that gift cards come in. I'm sure if you asked your friendly barista, one or more could be procured for you for free! If you don't live near a Starbucks, Cindy posted a tutorial here for making a box.

The third thing I did with the stamps is colored them and stamped them on 1" x 2 5/8" Avery mailing labels (Avery 8250). I wrapped these around Hershey's Nuggets and had the goodies for a great little hostess gift. I needed a box for these sweets, and used Angie Kennedy Juda's template as a starting point, but a mixup in the scoring created this happy result.

Instead of scoring the portrait side of an 8.5" x 11" sheet of Cherry Cobbler card stock at 2.5" and 6", I scored it at 2" and 6.5". Then, instead of scoring the landscape side at 4.5" and 6.5", I scored it at 4" and 6". My memory was a little faulty--perhaps I could benefit from playing the matching game!

The box became a rectangle instead of a square, and I cut off the part that would create the closure so that the box was open. I took a 1" strip of Old Olive card stock and used the Scallop Trim Border Punch on both sides to make a delicate in appearance yet sturdy handle. I secured it at each end using Antique Brads. Victoria Crochet Trim adhered with Sticky Strip around the top of the box, with a matching bow stuck on with Glue Dots completes the box. This will hold 18 nuggets. Nice amount to share...or not.

So, what do you think? If you like this set as much as I do, contact me or purchase it through my online store. When you do, I'll send you a template for the bingo board and you can get crafting immediately. Then you'll be ready to enjoy "the most wonderful time of the year".

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Halloween Treat Box

When I was hosting my monthly Stamp-A-Stack this weekend, one of the gals saw this project I had prepared for another set of stampers. She asked if I had posted this on my blog, and I replied with certainty that I had. She didn't remember seeing it, so I lugged my laptop over to the table and, sure enough, I hadn't posted it!

This is evidence of my brain going in many directions in the past weeks, and I'll attempt to be a more regular contributor in the days ahead. Apology accepted? Okay, let's get on with today's project.

I first saw the template for this box on Vicki Burdick's blog, and I followed the link to Angie Kennedy Juda's blog. (Some might wonder why I send you away from here, but I'm not about to "reinvent the wheel" when someone as talented as Angie has already made a great tutorial. Here's the link:

I loved the idea of this little box for sharing Halloween candy treats with classmates at school, and I modified hers twice to suit my purposes. I'll show you what I did today and tomorrow. I used Pumpkin Pie card stock, of course. While Angie tied a ribbon around her box, I wanted something more secure because I was making these with the idea that they would be transported for parties and would need to stay closed.

I used a retired punch, the horizontal slot, to create some slits for Early Espresso 5/8" grosgrain ribbon, but you could also use a 1/2" circle punch to accomplish this. I didn't want a scary Halloween image, since the crafters I was creating this for have young children. So I chose the XL 2-Step Owl Punch and added googly eyes.

The sentiment is from Seasonal Sentiments, a variety pack of sayings for the holidays of Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Valentine's Day being offered in the Holiday Mini Catalog. I stamped it with Early Espresso ink and then used our new XL Label Punch, which has such a neat shape, to give it some visual interest on the box. To create the shadow effect, I punched the shape and cut it in half horizontally at the points in the middle and adhered it, slightly separated, behind the sentiment. You could also cut it vertically and achieve a different shadowed look.

The owl and the sentiment were mounted on a 3" x 3" square of Peach Parfait Designer Series Paper from the InColor Collection. The crafters were quite pleased with this, and my favorite part of this project is that it uses 1-8.5" x 11" sheet and requires no cutting.

I'll be back tomorrow with a second modification made with this template, this time making a little goodie box for Christmas.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Desktop Chalkboard Easel

Yesterday I teased you with a little detail from a new project I've been working on for the upcoming holiday gift giving season. It's extremely practical and completely customizable to any taste, and allows the user to communicate a message using its chalkboard!

SU! has an item in its Decor Elements line of vinyl wall accents called Chalkboard sheets. Pair it with our On Board Long Board Chipboard, and you have a great easel!

For this project, I chose the Celebrations Designer Series Paper. The boards are about 14" long, so I used some coordinating Bashful Blue and Pacific Point card stock to cover the chipboard left bare on the ends. It's easy to make something like this with a female teacher in mind, but I wanted to show what one made for a man would look like.

I kept this very simple because it's a sample, but when it finds a permanent home, it will be personalized with the teacher's name across the top. I used Jumbo Eyelets and Real Red 5/8" grosgrain ribbon to tie the two long boards together. The Crop-a-dile chomped right through that chipboard with no problem and made setting the eyelets super easy.

While this would make an excellent gift for a teacher, I envision Mom uses for this too! Being able to post the day's schedule so that everyone knows who has what activities, keeping a running grocery list, posting a quote of the day to inspire, or welcoming guests. I see all kinds of possibilities! The other thing I like about this is that it collapses flat for storage.

I have Jill Hilliard and Jan Wakeland to thank for this idea. Let me know if you're interested in purchasing the supplies for this great project!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Watercolored Coffee Cups

If you've never watercolored a stamped image, you are missing out on a very relaxing, satisfying experience. This card came into being because I kept a piece of leftover watercolor paper from the last card I made using the Morning Cup set. This time, instead of letting the coffee ring stand on its own, it became a sort of border for my main image, a stack of coffee cups.

I stamped them in Early Espresso classic ink and immediately applied Clear Embossing Powder to it so that I could create a waterproof image that wouldn't smear. SU! carries a Brown Staz-On ink, which is waterproof by design, but I don't have it, so I tried this to see if it would work, since liquid on watercolor paper doesn't absorb immediately. It worked!

Then I chose my color palette. When I started as a demonstrator with SU!, I only had the earthtone color family, now called the Regals Collection. i am drawn to these colors in fall, for obvious reasons. I used Riding Hood Red, Tangerine Tango, Daffodil Delight, and Old Olive. I squeezed the felt pads and transferred the ink to the lid and used the finer of the two tips of the Aqua Painter to do my painting. I also created a bit of a grounding shadow around the cups using River Rock.

I mounted the piece on River Rock because the card base was also in that color. Not sure why I chose that when Early Espresso was the obvious choice. It just seemed too dark. I crafted a matting that reused the colors in my palette. They were just scraps and I like the DD piece in particular. The piece of hardware store twine adds a nice touch too.

Initially, I watercolored this percolator for use on the outside, but I couldn't figure out a way to incorporate it. I put in on the inside as a way to extend the card's motif. While I usually choose to color objects in a way that reflects the way they look in real life, I let myself play with this.

Now to figure out which one of my coffee loving friends to send this to...

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Today is all about ME!

I am 44 today. I have had the entire day to myself, and I'm lovin' it! I ate what my wonderful neighbor, Lisa Barr, brought to the front door at 7:30 this morning--red velvet cupcakes! I was wondering what I was going to have for my birthday dessert.

I cleaned the bathroom this morning, first thing. I know that sounds like the last thing any sane person would do on her birthday, but it was long overdue and I knew I'd be happier if it was just done. So it was done before 7a and I have been free to enjoy the day since.

I am going to have my favorite lunch--Publix's ham salad and pretzels, with another cupcake for dessert. I'm going to go to the library when it opens at 1p and pick out another book by Sandra Dallas, since I enjoyed Tallgrass so much the past week.

I've also been in the craft room this morning, and here's a card I made with this birdcage full of birdies that has been sitting on my table for weeks, waiting for a card to go with it.

It turned out well, I think. I enjoyed creating a mat that mimics the colors of the birds. I wish SU! would make a sentiment to go with every stamp set, because I'm not sure what I'd pair with these tweeters if I didn't have "just a note" from the Apple Blossoms Hostess Level 1 set! Are you listening, SU!? It's my birthday, and that is my wish. I'll even write the sentiments FOR YOU, if you ask me!

I'm going to fix this recipe for my birthday dinner, and I may rent a movie to enjoy this evening.

While I was in the craft room today, I worked on a project that I think will make a GREAT teacher gift this Christmas. Here's a sneak peek. Stay tuned. You don't even have to be a teacher to like this!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lovely as a Rose...but with a Little Light

With the holidays just around the corner, this Ornament Punch will be put to good use creating cards using the stamp sets it coordinates with. But I like knowing when I purchase a punch that it'll have other uses than just the obvious one it was intended for.

That's why I was excited when I saw a few versions of roses made with it. Over the weekend, I conquered my cold brain (with the help of a post-work nap!) and made one myself! I decided I wanted to try making the version that has an electric tealight in the center. Who doesn't like the idea of soft light to create atmosphere?

I chose Cherry Cobbler card stock as my petal color, as I thought with Christmas not all that far off, it would make a great table decoration and smart gift. There's a fantastic video tutorial by Kathy Braun, and it provides step by step instructions. The project uses just 1-8.5" x 11" sheet of card stock, and it took about 30 min. to assemble. You can purchase a set of 6 electric tealights for $7 at that big box store that starts with a T. So, for under $20, including the cost of the punch, you can give 6 gifts!

This version of the tealight rose uses 18 petals for the rose and 3 for the leaves. You could add more if you want. The edges of my petals are sponged with Bravo Burgundy to help create the 3D effect. You could also add Dazzling Diamonds to the petals to create fantastic shimmer. I might try spritzing it with Vanilla Shimmer Smooch Spritz to see what that does.

Click on this link to view all the other projects I've made with this versatile punch. If you'd like to order the supplies to make this project, click here to go to my online store and use the item numbers to purchase what you'll need:

ornament punch: 119847
card stock of your choice:
Sticky Strip: 104294
Glue Dots: 103683
embossing stylus--for rolling the petal edges (non-SU!)
electric tealights

It also might be fun to apply some rose-scented oil to these! Let me know if you try this!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Altered Inchie Thank You

I promised I'd share a second card using the Cute by the Inch stamp set from the Hostess line, and this is it. The layout is simple and makes this a quick and easy card to duplicate for numerous occasions, since there are a variety of images.

The panel of Greenhouse Gala Designer Series Paper is offset by two score lines, and the Daffodil Delight 1/4" grosgrain ribbon provides just the right accent color.

The inchie looks a little different when stamped; it has a "u" underneath the word "thank". I'm a journalist and I have to grit my teeth to use shortcuts like these when I'm texting (only to save characters), so I couldn't leave it like that on my card. I cut a piece of Real Red card stock to cover it and used my Billboard Alphabet for my Big Shot to spell out y.o.u. in Whisper White card stock. Aaahhhh...that calms my OCD brain!

Here's what the entire card looks like. Again, did I mention how quickly this came together? Love that, and love those inchies!

If you don't own this set, you can make your own inchies using any small image and cropping it to 1" square. Try it and see what you come up with. I bet you'll be hooked on these miniatures like I am.

Thanks to Amy Voida of Gone Inkognito for this layout!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Please Excuse my Cold-Fogged Brain

I made this card on Wednesday, and I meant to create a post about it so that you could read it yesterday. But I've been taken hostage by my body because I have a cold, so my brain is preoccupied with silly stuff like making me cough and requesting that I blow my nose. Ugh. That's probably TMI for a crafting blog, but it's a legitimate excuse, I tell ya!

Okay, here's the deal with this card. I wanted to make a card that didn't use the A2 format (4.25" x 5.5"), and I'd tagged a simple one online for such a time as this. (See, even cold brain can't subvert my creativity.) It measures 3.25" x 6.25".

I have a lifelong friend--I've known her since fourth grade--whose birthday is in about a month, but since she lives on the other side of the world (a 12 hour time difference), I have to get her card in the mail EARLY.

So I pulled out some retired DSP, the name of which escapes me because of my cold brain, but which is just plain fun and very much in the spirit of birthdays. I also had some retired rub-ons (that sounds weird) that coordinate with this DSP, so I used them too. I avoided this sentiment for a long time because I wasn't sure what it meant, but I've decided that it's an updated version of "hi sweetie!", so I'm cool with using it.

I transferred the rub-on to a piece of Certainly Celery and created a little fun mat with scraps of Whisper White, Riding Hood Red (yes, those are teeny tiny strips, not 1 piece) and Bashful Blue card stock, and some 1/8" Whisper White ribbon. It wasn't until I was finished with the card that it occurred to me that the blue used in this color scheme is actually Baja Breeze. Oh well, not going back and redoing it all now!

The button is from the Designer Button Regals Collection in Riding Hood Red. Instead of trying to thread the 1/8" Whisper White ribbon through the actual buttonholes, I just covered the holes up with the bow!

To create some visual interest inside, I used my Candle Crazy Builder Wheels and rolled them along the seam of the card. I colored the candles with CC and BB SU! Markers and this is when I discovered my aforementioned color faux pas (even with cold brain, I can still spell in French!).

Well, this makes two things I've accomplished since getting out of bed this morning: working seven hours and writing this post. I think I need to nap now. If my cold brain releases me from captivity over the weekend, I'll post some more creations. Hope you're NOT sick so you can enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

InColor Collection Inchie

I've been slow to embrace the new InColor Collection. I think it's because I'm enjoying the renovated Color Collections and I don't feel I need more colors. I bought them, though, so I need to use them! The great thing about this new set of five is that it will be available for two years instead of just one. That takes the stress out of having to use them or lose them in a shorter period of time.

My first attempt uses a layout from Julie Freysinger and all the colors in the collection. If you haven't been "introduced", here are the colors in the latest InColor Collection: Pear Pizazz, Peach Parfait, Poppy Parade, Concord Crush, and Blushing Bride. The base I used is BB, and the rest of the colors are represented in the 1" squares that are mounted on a 3" square of Crumb Cake card stock.

I know I've told you this before, but I LOVE THESE INCHIES! They're from the Level 1 Hostess Set Cute by the Inch, and they're so fun to work with, especially if you enjoy coloring direct to rubber. I like that I can apply color right where I want to and create this little painting of sorts. I'll have another card featuring this set later this week.

One last note about this card: in case you're wondering how I got the ribbon to appear as though it's going all the way around the card, I cut a slit in the scored seam of the card and threaded it through and tied a square knot.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Falling Leaves Card

The South is lovely in the fall, but the ratio of evergreens to deciduous trees is skewed in favor of the pines, so for me, falling leaves are a big deal.

I saw a great tutorial for this card (which I'll post here after my 2 events this month--I have to incent you to come somehow!), and she made it look so easy that I decided to give it a whirl. I'm considering using this as one of the cards for my Stamp-A-Stack and another monthly group I host (hi, Dunwoody Stamper Gals!), but I was concerned it might take too long to assemble. It's really quick and easy, once you get the pieces cut. Since I'll have that part done already, this makes this a "go" for the events.

This card features moving parts, which are made using a strip of 2" x 9" card stock scored at 2", 2.75", 3.5" and 4.25". I used Season of Friendship, Woodgrain background stamp, Soft Suede card stock, Very Vanilla card stock, and Early Espresso classic ink and .25" grosgrain ribbon. It's really fun to make. Here's a little video that shows how the card moves:

If you'd like to attend the Stamp-A-Stack that will feature this card, it will be held Sat., Sept. 26, from 10a-1p, at my home in Cumming. Just leave a comment indicating your interest and a way to get in touch with you, and I'll add you to my guest list!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Changing Leaves are the Flowers of Autumn

I LOVE AUTUMN! Cooler temperatures, the smell of wood burning, the need for long sleeves and pants, apple picking, and the beauty of the changing leaves give me cause to smile. This card was my attempt to capture some of that on paper.

I reached for the Season of Friendship stamp set and stamped the tree in Soft Suede on Very Vanilla card stock. I chose More Mustard for the leaves and filled the tree with them. THEN came the fun addition behind the title of this post: flower shaped buttons!

Each SU! color collection features Designer Buttons in three sizes, and these little flowers are just too cute for words! They come in Cherry Cobbler, Garden Green, Elegant Eggplant, Cajun Craze, More Mustard, and Not Quite Navy (not shown) in the Regals Collection, a perfect combination to depict Fall. I tied Hemp Twine through the holes and mounted them on the tree using Mini Glue Dots.

Then I decided to add a few leaves in each of the colors to give the tree a bit more contrast and interest. I used the same colors as the buttons, and of course they matched perfectly! Love that!

I wanted a unique fold for this card, so I went with the joy fold. Mine is adapted from what I saw on splitcoaststampers. I used Always Artichoke as my base, and secured an Antique Brad to the Very Vanilla layer so that the strip with the sentiment would have something to tuck under to anchor it.

When the card opens, there's a piece of Very Vanilla for writing (my husband's suggestion). It also covers part of the anchor strip for the sentiment, which is good.

This is a little plain and I think it could use something. Any suggestions? Perhaps some ribbon along the right side? I don't want anything too distracting from the main image, but just a bit more snaz.

Is anyone really experiencing Autumn yet? It's still warm here, but we had a taste of cooler temperatures over the weekend. It was blissful! Just a few short weeks and it will be here.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

More Birthday Wishes

My boy who just turned 16 is not into cards, so I didn't make him one. But if I had, this would probably be what I would've been going for. Something eye-catching, but not too over the top. Something short and sweet and to the point. I love that, once I figured out what I wanted to do, this card took less than 10 minutes to execute.

The layout was inspired by a door decoration I saw while driving through our neighborhood yesterday. The stars dangled vertically, attached to each other in a purposely haphazard manner. Immediately I thought of my Stars #2 Originals die for the Big Shot. It has four different sizes of the shape, and they all layer inside each other. I used some scraps to get stars in Real Red, Baja Breeze, Old Olive, and Pacific Point.

I pulled out my new Celebrations Designer Series Paper, and the 4" x 5.25" piece made the perfect background for my stars. Check out the link to see all the patterns offered! Really, go ahead; I'll wait. I like that the numbers pattern can stand for a birthday year or the number of wishes available for the recipient!

The base is Old Olive, which coordinates with the colors featured in the paper and the stars. The sentiment, stamped in Pacific Point, is from Heard from the Heart, and I like that it's a less than predictable way to say "Happy Birthday". I made a little banner, because birthdays are about proclamations.

Need a good birthday card for a male in your life? I can't think of one who wouldn't like this. Want to shop right now for the materials? Here's a quick list of what you'll need:

Celebrations Designer Series Paper
Heard from the Heart stamp set
Old Olive card stock
Pacific Point classic ink
Stars #2 Originals die for Big Shot
Big Shot

Here's the link to my online shopping site. Everything will come right to your doorstep.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Emily, our Sweet 16 Girl

I am so excited!! Michael's best friend Emily and her mom are on their way here for the weekend! Emily and Michael were born six hours apart on Aug. 27, 1994, and she's like a sibling to Michael and an adopted daughter to me and Bob. The bond we all share is very special.

Since Emily was about 10, Bob has been telling her, "When you turn 16, you'll have to go on a date with Michael to celebrate your birthdays." Well, this year is THAT year, and that sweet girl remembered and is coming here to make that memory with my sweet boy.

We're doing some other things too, like going to the "Bodies" exhibit downtown, and eating southern style BBQ. Of course there will be singing and blowing out of candles during our time together. To commemorate this milestone birthday, I made Emily a card using her favorite colors, hot pink (Melon Mambo) and orange (Tangerine Tango).

I'd been wanting to play with the Hostess set Birthday Bakery for quite some time, but hadn't had the time. These cakes were just begging to be colored, so I stamped them in MM and used my TT, MM, Regal Rose, and Pumpkin Pie Stampin' Write Markers to bring them to life.

Then I decided to add a little shimmer, since we girls like bling! The combination of a Versamarker, Heat and Stick Powder, and Dazzling Diamonds made those little cakes all that much more enticing.

After completing the coloring and adding glitter, I had the idea to add the new pearls. It required a tweezers, but the little sweeties really finished the look I was going for.

Then I set to creating the base. I took a scrap of 3" x 11" Whisper White and scored it at 5.5". Then I inked my Birthday Builder Wheel combo with MM and rolled it across the base three times. I colored the candles and then added some other little elements, using my Scallop Trim Border Punch, some retired Haiku DSP, and some more pearls. Maybe I can pull off making something "girly" after all!

The inside contains the message that comes with the set: "if you are what you eat, then eat something cute!" It's perfect for her!

I'll post pictures of the two later this weekend. Have a great holiday, y'all! I intend to!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

A Birthday and Retro Birdies

I've been quiet here for a week because, aside from celebrating my 20th wedding anniversary last week, we also celebrated my only son's 16th. Yes. The big 1-6. (He's the one in the white shirt in front of the bowl of ice cream with candles.) He wanted to have some friends over to play a MMOG (massive multi-player online game), so that was his party. They brought their computers (hard drive towers and monitors, not laptops), and set up in our basement. It went on all night long, but I was in bed. But with all the planning and partying, there wasn't much time for stamping.

Then I spent the early days of this week cleaning my house for out-of-town guests that arrive Friday. You know, fun stuff like mopping hardwood floors, cleaning bathrooms, and laundering sheets and towels. Today, I'm all caught up, so I was jonesin' for some crafting.

I scrolled through my saved posts in my blog reader, and came across this photo that I loved and wanted to try to replicate in a card. It's by illustrator Wayne Pate, and I was drawn to it by the retro feel and the whimsy.

Here's the card that resulted. I used my 2-Step Bird Punch, Whisper White and Concord Crush card stock from the new InColor Collection. I layered them on Poppy Parade card stock, also from the InColor Collection, and matted that on Whisper White. The base is 4.25" x 11" scored at 2.75" in from each end.

I used one of the sentiments from the Always stamp set and used my Stamp-A-Ma-Jig to place each part of the sentence where I wanted them on each bird. I was able to ink up just the words I wanted using the Concord Crush Stampin' Write Marker. I also used this to add the legs. For the white legs, I used something that didn't work out like I'd tested it. I used a White-Out pen. I have yet to find a really good, reliable, non-clogging white pen, but I made do.

The hearts are from the inside of a security envelope and were punched with the Small Heart Punch. I used the little flower buttons from the Designer Buttons Neutrals Collection. So cute! But I couldn't leave well enough alone. I felt like the button needed some thread so that the holes wouldn't glare at me against the Concord Crush birdies. So, I cut some very thin strips of Whisper White and used them as thread. Don't ask me how many tries it took me to get a simple tie, but it was worth it! I adhered them with Mini Glue Dots.

Well, this was a fun exercise. I'd love to see your take on Wayne Pate's birdies.