Saturday, October 30, 2010

See What Happens When I Get a Weekend Off?

Crafting! I saw a good sketch on the Cardabilities website (via Jen Allen's blog) and thought I'd play around with it. I have the Ovals Originals Die for the Big Shot, and I hadn't played with it yet. This didn't turn out at all like I thought it would, but sometimes that's a good thing.

I won't bore you with the evolution of this card, but I will tell you that I started out thinking there would be a greeting in the Very Vanilla oval with some sort of embellishment, like the sketch, in the lower right corner. The greeting I chose ended up being better oriented horizontally instead of vertically, so I began to rethink everything. A set I am not normally drawn to, Home for Christmas, came to mind, because I thought I could focus on the door in the image and pair it with the sentiment that goes with the set.

I inked the image in Early Espresso and laid the middle sized oval where I wanted it on the stamp. I colored only the wreath in Old Olive and Cherry Cobbler and matted it on Cherry Cobbler card stock with the largest oval. Again I chose Jolly Holiday DSP (I prefer traditional Christmas colors and this package is less muted than Deck the Halls DSP, the offering in the Holiday Mini) for the paper that the sketch showed as two large pieces behind the ovals.

I had some snippets of the 5/8" Victoria Crochet Trim and thought I could add them to soften up the sketch. This is about as vintage or shabby chic as I get, peeps. I like the end result though. These would be quick and easy cards for Christmas, as they don't require much coloring or stamping.

I know many of you lurk but don't ever comment, so let's see if I can get a response from you. How many of you are making Christmas cards this year? If so, what set are you using? If not, why?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Another Christmas Box & a Photo Card Idea

Whew! Have I been BUSY. I have a feeling it's going to be like this through the holidays, so I may only be able to get to the craft room once a week for a postworthy creation. I'm guessing your life is similar. Since we could probably play "I can top that" with our calendars all day, I'll stop with my sob story and show you what I promised in the headline for this post, okay?

My last few posts have featured different packaging ideas for gift cards, and this post is no exception. This box was designed by Dawn Griffith, and she has a great video that explains and shows how to make it better than I can. It may seem a bit confusing, but just do what she says, and it'll make sense.

I used Jolly Holiday Designer Series Paper and scored the 8.5" side at 2" and 7", and the 10.5" side at 2", 5", 7", and 10". It comes together really quickly, once you cut away a few unnecessary pieces, and it only takes two strips of Sticky Strip to hold it together. To decorate the front flap, I punched out a Decorative Label shape (currently back ordered, due to popular demand) in Very Vanilla and layered the tag ornament from Delightful Decorations, stamped in Cherry Cobbler and punched using the Ornament Punch, on top using Stampin' Dimensionals. The box is tied closed using the 5/8" Old Olive grosgrain ribbon.

Isn't this cute? The final box size is 3" x 5", which is the PERFECT size for a gift card! There's also room in there for a lot of small candies. My favorite is Dove Dark Promises, if you're wondering.

The other thing I've been playing around with, in my very minimal spare time, is a photo card. This one was inspired by one I saw online. I used the 1.75" scallop circle punch and 1 3/8" circle punch to create a wreath. Then I made "berries" using my .25" circle punch (retired SU!). I tied small white bows for the wreaths using the 1/8" Whisper White satin ribbon. The gate fold card, which you score along the 8.5" side of a 5.5" x 8.5" piece of card stock at 2 1/8" and 6 3/8", is stamped with the Woodgrain background stamp on Soft Suede card stock to create the idea of wood doors.

Inside, there's a generous center panel that will hold a 3.5" x 5" photo, but it has to be oriented in portrait style. You don't want a landscape orientation here, peeps. The two side panels are for your family's greeting. I used a sentiment from Home for Christmas, but you could just write something.

The second version is much more down and dirty, quick and easy. This is a piece of 3 7/8" x 9.25" Cherry Cobbler card stock. It will fit in a #10 business envelope and can be mailed for no extra cost. There is room for a 3.5" x 5" photo, landscape orientation or portrait orientation, as well as a small piece of Jolly Holiday DSP (3" x 3 7/8"). The only embellishment is an ornament from Delightful Decorations, stamped in Old Olive on Very Vanilla and punched out with the Ornament Punch. There's a sweet little 1/8" Very Vanilla satin ribbon bow, and that's IT! Sign them and you're done--bada bing, bada BOOM!

It's not too late to get a neighbor to take a picture, print them yourself, and send one of these photo cards to your loved ones. The little boxes are great for teacher gifts, neighbors, coworkers, anyone you want to give just a little somethin' to.

Enjoy the weekend. I intend to!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

ChristmasTriangle Gift Boxes, Part 2

I had a scheduling snafu, so here's Part 2!

I hope you enjoyed learning about the triangle gift boxes I shared with you yesterday. Today's post features these boxes made in a much smaller version--3" x 6". To review, creating these is very simple. Just score the 6" side at 3", mark the middle of the 3" side (1.5"), and score from that middle point diagonally down to the center score. You now have a very cute little triangle box. There are so many possibilities for this little box that I can hardly wait for you to see the pictures! Let's get started...

This size holds 2 Hershey's nuggets, making it PERFECT as a container for an Advent Calendar or Countdown to Christmas. I used Jolly Holiday Designer Series Paper, which has Cherry Cobbler, Very Vanilla, and Old Olive as its main colors.

I created the medallion for each day's number by using my 1.75" scallop circle punch, my 1" and .75" circle punches, and a great technique for creating a design around the scallop circle punch that I describe here. It's quick and easy and so cool! I just used some cream thread I had laying around, but you could use Linen Thread too, for a more vintage, rustic, country look.

I think these would make a great gift for a teacher too. For each of the 25 days before Christmas, the teacher could hide one of these boxes in a student's desk, and when the student finds it, tucked inside would be a note explaining that day's special activity. Made without the numbers, these could also be customized with each child's name to make great party favors for a class party. They fill easily from the top too, if you wanted to funnel in Christmas M&Ms. They could be sealed quickly with a Mini Glue Dot.

The boxes are sealed with 2 lengths of Sticky Strip, but the slight opening at the top gave me another idea: placecards, with a twist! Fold a .75" x 7" strip of card stock in half, write a conversation starter question on it, punch a hole at the top, and tie a ribbon or twine bow at the top. Stick it down into the box, much like a fortune cookie fortune. During dinner, each guest will be asked to remove their paper, read the question on it, and answer it.
Wouldn't this be a great way to find out more about your guests Christmas memories, favorite Christmas cookie, favorite Christmas carol, most wished for present while enjoying dinner together? I can't wait to put this to use when we go to my parents' house this year!

Are your creative juices flowing yet? I'd love to hear what ways you want to use these triangle boxes for your holiday occasions! I hope you're inspired. Remember, all you need to make these are the following items:

Designer Series Paper
Sticky Strip
assorted punches
card stock

To order any of these items, shop online 24/7 by clicking the icon in the toolbar to the right.

Monday, October 18, 2010

ChristmasTriangle Gift Boxes, Part 1

I've been thinking about what kind of unique gift packaging I could offer this Christmas, and in searching my own archives, I came across these marvelous triangle boxes. They are super quick and easy to put together, and they have a variety of uses I'll be profiling today and tomorrow. I'm so excited to show them all to you, but today I'll tell you about the gift card box.

This box is made using half of a sheet of Jolly Holiday Designer Series Paper, measuring 6" x 12". It's scored in the middle of the 12" side at 6", then the midpoint of the 6" side is marked at 3" and scored on the diagonal to the center score to create the triangles. All you have to do from there is fill them, punch a hole using a Crop-A-Dile, and tie a ribbon. A little Sticky Strip to close them and they're done!

This size holds 12 Hershey's nuggets and a gift card. Check out this post to see how I decorated the candies to make them more festive.

This is the best sized box for a gift card (I've tried smaller and it doesn't fit horizontally or vertically), but you can make this triangle box using any variation of doubled measurements for whatever suits your purposes. For example, you can make a 5" x 10" box, a 3" x 6" box. Just as long as the length is double the width, you're good!

This would also be a really great size box to use for hanging a gift on a Christmas tree or on someone's doorknob. Have you ever been "boo'ed" for Halloween? Perhaps your family would start a new tradition and use these boxes to leave some little sweets for your neighbors--you could call it being "elfed"! Here's a closeup of the medallion I created to decorate the box. I used Season of Joy to create it.

Come back tomorrow to see two more uses for these boxes, but in miniature! They're so cute I can hardly stand it!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Celebrating New Life

A friend of mine became a grandma for the second time last week. This grandchild had some stressful circumstances during her gestation and surrounding her arrival, so I wanted to make a keepsake for the baby so that she would know how loved she is and has been since before she made her debut.

The mother likes the colors brown and orange, and I know the baby has a quilt in those colors, so that influenced my palette for the card. I used the heart from retired Loop to Loop and stamped it in Early Espresso, Crumb Cake, and Peach Parfait. I wanted the hearts to overlap to communicate how many hearts joined together on behalf of this child before she was born. The "you are loved" stamp is a random one I've had for over 10 years, and I love its simple message in a stylish font.

The card is a simple gate fold with a piece of Crumb Cake down the middle to anchor the heart image to. I used some Chantilly Crochet Trim to soften the card.

For the interior, I pulled out my Billboard Alphabet for the Big Shot and used Early Espresso card stock to create the letters. Old-fashioned names are very hip these days, and Lucy Jean is very in vogue. The letters are glued onto Very Vanilla card stock and matted with Crumb Cake on the Peach Parfait base.

I hope you can find some way to use your paper crafting to enter into someone else's joy this week.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Giving Thanks

Halloween cards are all the rage on the card blogs these days, but I don't know anyone who actually SENDS Halloween cards, so I'm skipping that holiday and giving you a glimpse at a great card you can make for Thanksgiving. Yesterday I shared how I made a non-traditional baby card using the Friends Never Fade set, and while I had it out I thought I'd see if I could adapt the same color scheme and image for use as a Thanksgiving card.

I chose Poppy Parade, Peach Parfait, Soft Suede, and Old Olive as my color scheme and colored direct to rubber using my InColor Collection Stampin' Write Markers. I love having markers for this kind of detail work, and I like that I can try the colors out by purchasing the markers. Ink pads used to be the only options for the InColors, and I'm so happy SU! listened to us demonstrators and gave us markers!

Once I'd stamped the image on Very Vanilla card stock, I used my 2" scallop circle punch to crop it. I just bought the latest circle punch size, 2.5", from the Holiday Mini Catalog, and I wanted to put that to use, so I punched a circle from Poppy Parade card stock and layered the two together.

Then I inked up the Thanksgiving message from Seasonal Sentiments in Soft Suede and stamped it on Very Vanilla. It measures 1.75" x 3" so I could tuck it behind the circle image. I like how the wording seems to curve along the edge!

The patterned paper is from Greenhouse Gala, cut at 3" x 5.5". Did you know it was designed to coordinate with Friends Never Fade? I had scraps of Very Vanilla and Poppy Parade laying around, so I layered them behind to create a matting that ties everything together. Again, as with the last card, I added some Chantilly Crochet Trim and placed a thin strip of Soft Suede behind it so that the pattern shows more.

This card is one I'd really like to receive, as the message communicates how the sender feels about me and is so encouraging. Perhaps Christmas is just too crazy a time for you to think about making cards or even getting cards you've purchased in the mail.

Why not adopt a different approach this season and send out Thanksgiving cards instead! Your card would be a great way to bless those who've invested in your life this year. I'd be happy to help you calculate what you'd need in terms of supplies to make these.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Non-Traditional Baby Card

Friends of ours just had their third girl, Ruby Elliot, and I wanted to make a card welcoming her. I didn't want to use a traditional baby stamp set though, so I combed through my sets and pulled out Friends Never Fade. I like the floral image and thought I could give it an autumnal look.

Poppy Parade from the latest InColor collection seemed like a good choice because its orange-red reminds me of bittersweet. Love that stuff! Anyway, I colored the petals of the flower using my Stampin' Write Marker and added some Peach Parfait (another InColor) accents. I love how SU! does the color coordination work for me, so I can focus on creating. I decided to use Pear Pizazz, also from the collection, for my stem and foliage. Then I stamped it on Very Vanilla card stock. I sponged the edges with Soft Suede to soften it a bit and set it aside.

The color scheme was coming together nicely, so I only had to choose what other elements I was going to incorporate into it. I pulled out my A to Z small background stamp because I wanted to add a subtle inference to childhood to this card. I used Versamark for a tone on tone look and embossed it with Clear Stampin' Emboss Powder.

Then came the tricky part: choosing a sentiment. I ended up going with "small wonder" from a retired Hostess set because it communicated that this baby is a special and unique wonder. I inked it with Soft Suede and used my Stamp-A-Ma-Jig to position it.

The Vintage Wallpaper Textured Impressions Folder demonstrated its versatility again by adding some great texture and femininity to this card while not overpowering the main image. I used Very Vanilla again, cut to 4 1/8" x 5 3/8", so that the Pear Pizazz card base would still be seen.

Next I went to the ribbon drawer and chose Victoria Crochet Trim because baby girls make me think of frills and lace. I also added three Crumb Cake flower buttons from the Neutrals Designer Button collection because I wanted to create an element that would make reference to Ruby being the third girl in the family.

Why not give yourself this same challenge the next time you have an occasions card to make? Choose a set not normally thought to be used for that application and see what your mind comes up with. It knows how to think outside the box.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Corregated Cardboard "Sleeve" Card

Can you find inspiration from a piece of cardboard? Yep. This is how things happen sometimes. Kathleen's card inspired Lorri. Lorri's card inspired mine. Why I never thought of this, even though I handle approximately 200 sleeves a day, is beyond me. And the crafter who DID think of this? She doesn't drink coffee or tea! Just goes to show you that creative catalysts are abundant.

If you want to create the look of a coffee cup sleeve, all you need is a piece of corregated cardboard from any box. As you can see from the picture, although you probably already knew this if you enjoy nitpicking of any kind, cardboard is a sandwich of two thin layers of paper covering a fluted piece of fiberboard. You can read all about it here. To achieve the desired effect, simply remove one of the layers of paper to expose the fluted innards. Voila--you have a great card element!

I need a get-well card for a friend of mine who broke her leg a month ago. I always want to watercolor the images from Morning Cup, so I stamped the mug and the percolator on watercolor paper with Early Espresso Classic Ink. Brown Staz-on ink would've been better, but I don't have any, and as long as you don't use too much H20, you'll be okay.

I used my Stampin' Write Markers in Crumb Cake and Poppy Parade and didn't color the images completely. I laid down some heavy color on the edge and then used my Aqua Painter to pull the color away from the edges and fill in the image. In some cases, I went back over an area with the marker to deepen the color, but I love how fast and easy it is to get a watercolored look by using these two tools. I'm certainly no Picasso, yet I get consistently good results with this method.

Most of the rest of the card is a CASE, but I wanted to use the percolator since the message evokes the image. So I added it to the cardboard layer. The idea for the hearts came from the original percolator image, but I wanted them to be bigger, so they were punched in Poppy Parade using the Heart-To-Heart Punch. The 2" Scallop Circle Punch and the 1 3/8" Circle Punch were used to create the pieces that have the mug on them. I adhered 5/8" Early Espresso grosgrain ribbon to the cardboard, then tied Crumb Cake 3/8" taffeta ribbon and Hemp Twine around it to cinch it a bit. The base is Always Artichoke, a 7" x 6.5" scored at 3.5".

Monday, October 4, 2010

4x4 Cards with Matching Box and Envelopes

I have to warn you. This is a really cute post. If you love little things with their own packaging like I do, this is going to make your day. It's not quite as cute as a puppy, but close.

This box holds 4-4.25" square cards and matching envelopes--isn't it great? Cards measuring 4.25" square are about the smallest size the post office will deliver, and I found the idea for this at Angie Kennedy Juda's site, ChicnScratch. I gladly give her all the credit for the math it took to figure out how to make this box, but I adapted her idea for Christmas.

The idea is simple: use the Vintage Wallpaper Textured Impressions Folder(or any other TI Folder you like, for that matter) and emboss the card base front with it. Then take the Ornament Punch and create a hole in the front that you fill with an ornament from the Delightful Decorations set. I chose Whisper White card stock because I like the crispness of it when it's embossed.
I stamped the ornament with the word "joy" on it in Versamark and heat embossed it with White Stampin' Emboss Powder. Then I mounted it on Stampin' Dimensionals and placed it in the punched hole. A simple knotted ribbon of 1/4" grosgrain in Real Red and Old Olive and the card's complete!

Variation #2: emboss colored card stock (Real Red and Old Olive), but change the orientation of the card base so that you can create a hanging ornament using the punched ornaments left over from the white cards.
I think these would look even cuter with the 1/8" taffeta ribbon as the hanger, but I don't have any. Yet. These will have a Christmas greeting added to the inside, or they could be given blank so that they can be used as thank yous.

The only tiny problem with making 4.25" square cards is that there isn't a ready-made envelope for them. This problem is easily fixed by taking the medium size envelope, sealing it shut, cutting it vertically at 4.5" and creating a flap with a piece of 2.75" x 4 3/8" of Designer Series Paper. Just score it at 1" and adhere it to the envelope. Problem solved.

The box holds 4 cards and 4 envelopes. The directions for making it can be found here. If you'd like to get a group of friends together to get some of these cuties stashed away for December, contact me and we'll set up a date!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Winter is Coming...on Paper

Winter is my LEAST favorite season, so I'm not trying to rush anything. Fall has just arrived here in the South, so, Old Man Winter, if you're listening, "Keep your distance!" Still, I found myself creating a wintry scene the other day and want to share it with you.

I stamped the trees from Season of Friendship on a Baja Breeze base and stamped a third on a scrap and cut it out. I did this awhile ago and was so stumped by what to do next that I put it in my BB slot in my paper storage area and left it there. When I stumbled across it the other day, I thought I'd try my hand at it again. Letting things rest is good for creativity.

I took a retired snowflake wheel (but you could use the Sparkling Jumbo Wheel) and rolled it over the entire surface using Versamark. Then I sprinkled Heat and Stick Powder over the whole thing and heated it until it was glossy, i.e. sticky. Then I sprinkled Dazzling Diamonds on top of that, knocked off the excess, and finished heating the H&S powder, which bonds the glitter to the paper. Oh my. What a beautiful, shimmery scene--my kind of winter, especially if viewed from the cozy confines of my house with a fire in the fireplace.

The third tree was popped up on Stampin' Dimensionals and placed in the center. The little bird from Season of Friendship was the perfect splash of color accent when colored with Real Red and placed in the tree branches, also with a dimensional.

These would make very lovely Christmas cards or thank yous for gifts received during the season. Everything you need to craft these is highlighted in this post; go shopping online through my online store and make some winter on paper for yourself. It'll be here before you know it anyway.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Quick and Easy Gift Card Holder

When that "most wonderful time of the year" comes around, many people struggle to know what to buy folks so they purchase gift cards. Nothin' wrong with gift cards, except there's not much to give. No package to unwrap most times, and just handing over what the store gives you to put it in can leave you feeling like you didn't quite do enough. Am I alone in this? I don't think so.

So, why not take a few moments and create some great packaging for these little cards? That's what I did the other day when I had this great scrap left over from SU!'s new Decorative Label Punch after I punched a sentiment out of a piece of Whisper White card stock. It made such a sweet frame that I began to wonder what sentiments might fit inside it. Since I had the stamps from Seasonal Sentiments, also from the current Holiday Mini Catalog, on my table, I pulled out the beautiful Christmas greeting.

The complete stamp says "Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year", but all of that wouldn't fit. So I used my Basic Black SU! Marker and just colored the Merry Christmas part and stamped it on a scrap of Real Red card stock. I popped the frame up on Stampin' Dimensionals and had a nice like 2 minutes!

Then I reached for a scrap of Garden Green card stock. Conveniently, it measured 3.5" x 8.5", so I scored it at 4.25" and began to play around with the placement of the greeting I'd created. While I liked it, it needed something, and when I discovered what it was, I had to order it and wait until late last week for it to arrive.

"It" was the Petals A Plenty Textured Impressions Embossing Folder for the Big Shot. It creates a sea of poinsettias, perfect for Christmas! I placed just the front of the Garden Green card stock in the folder, ran it through the Big Shot, and was stunned at the difference that the dry embossed look made. I added some small Rhinestones to give some shimmer and more visual interest. WOW! I'm lovin' this, and so far it has taken, oh, maybe 5 min.

I used the now-retired Slit Punch to create a place for the gift card to rest inside, but Mono Adhesive or Glue Dots would work equally well.

See how easy it is to make a simple gift card a more special gift? The time to get started is NOW, friends, so don't delay. The highlighted items, and the card stock, are all you need to make this sweet holder. If you don't have the resources to purchase the Big Shot, let's work together to plan an event for you and your friends so that you will have a stash of gift card holders ready for holiday gift giving. This is just one of 4 different holders I've created that we can make in a private class. Contact me!