Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Lonely, Lovely Tree

I LOVE TREES! Silhouetted against a predawn or dusky sky, they are just about my favorite part of nature. When I saw this set, Branch Out, which is retired (I'm sorry! You're welcome to borrow it anytime though), I knew I wanted it. Then I purchased it and was distracted by other stamping activities. Until the other day. I saw this card by Silke Ledlow and was inspired!

This look is one that's difficult for me. I'm not sure what it is about white space that intimidates me, but I find it hard to leave well enough alone. (When I was growing up, the household mantra was "if a little's good, a lot is better!") So, I followed Silke's design mostly, but I had to infuse it with a bit more Rich Razzleberry, for some reason.

Okay, here's the skinny on this card. It's a WW base, scored every 1/4" on the right side. There's retired Walk in the Park DSP anchoring the whole design. The tree and the tire swing are stamped in Chocolate Chip, with "leaves" of Pretty in Pink and Rich Razzleberry. The sentiment is from Wow Flowers and the strip is curled slightly to give it some more interest against the White card stock.

This is one of the cards I'm offering at next month's--how can it be that NEXT MONTH is just 2 days away?!--Stamp-A-Stack, being held at my home Friday evening, Feb. 5, from 6:30-9:30p, Sat. morning, Feb. 6, from 10a-1p, and Sun. afternoon, Feb. 7, from 2-5p. I have slots available at all times, so feel free to leave me a comment if you'd like to join me!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Just in Time for Valentine's Day!

I know you're probably thinking, "Don't rush it, girl! I still have 2 weeks until Valentine's Day." Yes, you do, but if you're like me, you tend to wait until the last minute, and you don't communicate everything you want to because you haven't allowed enough time to let your thoughts about your loved one really solidify.

Well, this quick card will get the loving thoughts flowing! Inspired by Andrea Walford, fellow SU! demonstrator, this card is whimsical and perfect for either an adult or child recipient.

It starts with a base of Ruby Red card stock. After all the Real Red I used on the McDonald's Fry Box cards, I was ready for a different shade of the hue! I also chose to use the 3-heart stamp from Love You Much as the background on the Kraft card stock. I stamped it in White Craft Ink and embossed it with White Embossing Powder.

I liked what Andrea had done to make the hugs and kisses scalloped circle the focal point of her design, but I changed it up a bit by the placement of my ribbon. This is still some of my favorite ribbon ever--3/4" wide double-stitched Chocolate Chip--and you can see that it doesn't take much to really make a statement!

The scalloped circle is stamped in Chocolate Chip and colored with a Stampin' Write! RR Marker. I also stamped the center heart a second time and popped it up on dimensionals for some added visual interest. I punched out a 2" (non-SU!) scalloped circle in Chocolate Chip to mat the focal image with for more impact. The accompanying accentuating hearts are punched from Ruby Red with the 3-Heart Punch that coordinates with this set.

This is one of 5 cards being offered at my February Stamp-A-Stack, Feb. 5, 6, and 7. Contact me for details if you'd like to attend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Haitian Relief: One More Reason to BUY STAMPS NOW

If you're like me, it seems everything I'm doing these days is reminding me of Haiti. As I was getting my eyes examined today, I thought, "There's no care like this available in Haiti." As I was driving down the debris-free highway, I realized, "There isn't one road like this in Port-Au-Prince." While I was washing my comforter at the laundromat: "Most people in Haiti only have the clothes on their backs and no clean water to clean them." The entire situation has impacted me in a way that other international disasters haven't, and I'm not sure why. Perhaps it's because the devastation is so comprehensive that no facet of their lives has been untouched. None. I have given a little money and I've said some prayers, but it doesn't seem like enough.

That's why I'm excited that SU! is giving me something--albeit small--to do to help Haiti: buy stamps. This set is called I {Heart} Hearts, and it is available in clear mount (item #118571) and wood block (item #117010).

SU! announced today that $2 of every sale through Feb. 28 will go to American Red Cross' Haiti Relief and Development Fund. All you have to do to buy this set is click on my shop 24/7 icon on the right, click shop now at my demonstrator business website, and place an order. The stamps will come directly to your door, and you can use them to spread the love to those around you who need to know how you feel about them. Everyone in Haiti wants another chance to tell those they lost that they love them, so don't waste the opportunity you have to say those important words to those in your life. By buying stamps, you'll be showing the people of Haiti your love, even though you may never meet them. Think about it.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


On Monday when I was profiling the card I created for the Ronald McDonald House craft night, I mentioned that I used a retired Sale-A-Bration set. Well, since I've been practically buried in french fries for a few weeks, I have neglected to mention that this year's Sale-A-Bration has begun!! I've posted links just to the right of both the SAB brochure--where you'll see no prices listed; more on that in a moment--and the new Occasions Mini.

There are FANTASTIC items in each, and my wish list is the longest it has been in awhile! The great thing about SAB, and why there are no prices in that brochure, is that with every purchase of $50 in merchandise--NEW CLEAR MOUNT stamp sets, gorgeous Designer Series Paper, NEW Decor Elements, ribbon, etc. etc. etc.--you get to choose one thing from the SAB FREE!!! WHO DOESN'T LOVE FREE?!?

You can order online using my name when you're asked for a demonstrator, you can place an order through me, or you can host a private class for your friends and share the offer of FREE stuff with them! Go check out the beautiful things and let me know what you'd like!

Go...there's no card art today--what are you waiting for?

Monday, January 18, 2010

January Ronald McDonald House Card

It's that time of the month again when I volunteer at the Ronald McDonald House. It's my month to design a card and, thanks to the inspiring work of Karen Graff-Povis of Live, Laugh, and Stamp with Karen, I have a bright, cheery card that fits the weather we're having--who can be depressed when it's 60 outside!

I was inspired by Karen's card because it used a color combination I'd been toying with yesterday. I have 2 packages of Barely Banana card stock left over from my Ronald McDonald House Fry Box card--miscalculated how much it would take to make all those "fries"--and so I wanted to put some of that color to use in whatever I designed for this month. Karen's combo is slightly different than mine. I used Real Red, Ballet Blue, Certainly Celery, and Whisper White together with the BB. I loved how she used the new 1.75" circle punch to create a cut-out for the focal image, and I also have the striped RR ribbon in my stash, so her design gave me a starting point. Thanks, Karen!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thanks to the Butcher

So, what kind of card do you make when you need to thank your local butcher? A card with MEAT on it, of course!

A small group of couples that Bob and I have been part of for 18 months joined forces Dec. 30 and made a meal for about 100 people in Gainesville who came to the Good News Shelter. We are a group of only 6 families and wanted to provide a balanced meal complete with main course, vegetable, fruit, bread, and dessert.

As we were discussing the menu, I shared that the idea had occurred to me to ask our two independent meat markets in town if they would consider donating the 16 lbs. of beef we were going to need for the chili. I was too cowardly to go ask, but my friend Stacey wasn't! As a result, all the meat was donated by both markets.

I said that I'd make cards for all of us to sign to thank them for their contribution, and so I sat down to design something I thought a butcher would like. The most recognizable cut of meat I could think of was a t-bone steak, so I tried my hand at making one from card stock. My husband still contends it looks like an infected tooth, but the rest of the small group members knew exactly what it was when they looked at it!

I used Ruby Red for the meat--I realize now it is steak tartar, but then I was just going for the look of beef when I started--and Blush Blossom for the fat and the bone. I put it on a plate crafted from Brocade Blue and Night of Navy. As the card kept evolving, I realized my place setting needed silverware, so I pulled some Metallic Silver from my stash and sketched them freehand. I made a tablecloth for the whole thing to sit on by using my Basic Backgrounds Retro from PTI.

This is a 5"x7" card, which gave everyone plenty of room to convey their appreciation. I hope the butcher likes it.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Percolated Creativity

I know that's a weird title for this post, but it's what describes best the process I went through as I designed this set of monogrammed stationery. I've had two of these done for several weeks, using Basic Grey and Cool Caribbean (tryin' to use up some VERY old card stock from the first InColor collection in '06).

Then I lost my creativity--I think fatigue and the knowledge that I wasn't going to meet my initial deadline to give this as a gift for the holiday stole it--and it wasn't until Friday that it returned! Has this ever happened to you in the middle of a project? I'm cruising right along and then I just lose interest. I don't get it. Since the result of "letting sleeping cards lie" usually works out for the best, I'm posting this so you don't get discouraged by your process and persevere. Good things are in store, I promise!

This was the first card I created. I wanted this set to be usable by either the husband or the wife, so that set the tone for the designs. Clean, crisp, no frills. Very modern. The stamp sets I was inspired by were Fresh Alphabet and Simply Stationery by PTI. I also used Basic Backgrounds Retro, as it has a fantastic, hip look.

Since I didn't purchase the ink pads for the CC, I had to improvise. I went to the other InColor collections and on this card used Soft Sky from 2008. Then I walked away from this project for a few weeks and forgot that was the color I used! When I grabbed the ink pads again, I chose Baja Breeze, which is a bit stronger blue than SS, and it worked beautifully--and better, in my opinion.

The second card is a bit unusual, as it spells out the family's name across the front. Here's another example of where percolating works to one's advantage. When I set this card aside originally, it just had the center panel. Two days ago, when I compared it with the others, it looked a little drab, so I added the stamped images as borders across the top and bottom. It really jazzes up the card and grounds the center panel, don't you think?

The third card grew out of my love for circles and playing around with the two sizes of double-ringed circles that come in the Simply Stationery set. I had never used the little one before--I think it's 1/4" in diameter--and the design just kept growing as my creativity nudged me to "try this." Listen to those nudges! I added a strip of Basic Grey 1/4" satin ribbon to this, and I think it helps with the need for some visual relief from all the paper. See, a masculine-oriented card CAN incorporate ribbon! This is my favorite design of the set.

The last card began as a divergence from the earlier design with the bold border, and morphed into a card that was more feminine than any of the others. I decided not to fight it, did a little detective work to find out the wife's middle initial, and created this one specifically for her use. I started out working with this as a vertical orientation, but was happier with it as a horizontal card. The scalloped border punch really helped pull this design together.

I'll be giving the set to its intended recipients tonight. I hope they're as pleased with it as I am, and I know they won't mind that it's a little "after the fact" because it needed to percolate awhile.

ONE LAST THING: consider picking up this at-home kit for getting organized this month! I have plenty available, so disregard the need to wait until after Monday to let me know of your interest!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Bee Happy

A friend of mine is a preschool teacher and the theme of her classroom is bees. Long before I knew her, though, I did an exchange swap with a blogger friend for some images of these happy bees. Honestly, I can't remember who manufactures them, and I'm not supposed to mention any competing companies to SU! here anyway.

But they're too cute not to profile at all! I just love how cheery they are, and when I came across them again as I was doing a major stamp room clean sweep, I decided to not hoard them any longer, but give them to my friend.

I chose a 4.25" square size, since I didn't want to try to come up with too much to put around the main images, which were only 2" square. I used Crushed Curry and Soft Suede from this year's InColor collection because they reminded me of bees. It was so relaxing to color these little guys with my IC Markers. I added Ruby Red as an accent.

I played around with the layout for awhile, but knew I wanted to do something that would mimic bees' stripes. The striping is more obvious on the cards at the top of this post than in these last two (double click on the top one to see in larger size), and I incorporated some Whisper White on those so that I could place some sentiments from Absolutely Fabulous. This set--sorry, it's retired--is a great font(thank you Kristina Werner for lending your amazing handwriting to a set!) and a perfect size for these smaller cards.

Since I used hearts on all of them, I had a strip of RR that had hearts punched out of it. It became a background border and I am tickled by the look! I left these two with the SS base blank. It's good to have a stash of non-specific cards in hand that you can customize when the need arises.

It's snowing right now here. It's a quiet, soft snowfall--no wind to speak of, so the flakes are just gently drifting toward the ground. It's beautiful to watch, and school was let out early in anticipation of this event. It's supposed to worsen as the evening progresses, so we'll see what that means for me tomorrow morning as I attempt to get to work by 5am! Right now, though, it's a rare site to behold here in GA.

Monday, January 4, 2010

2010. New Decade. Same Ol' Need to be Organized

Welcome to the new year and new decade. I heard some really good advice about New Year's resolutions yesterday: before you decide what you want to do, determine WHO you want to BE. You're going to be something, you might was well decide what it is. Well, one of the characteristics I want people to know me by is my creativity! How about you?

While you're contemplating that, I want to profile a new project that will help solve the dilemma you face when you're in the car and need a piece of paper to jot something down. We've all been there. Someone calls and wants to communicate some important information, we want to remember the name of a cool tune on the radio, or we have a thought pop into our brains that we know we'll lose forever if we don't write down. Well, scramble no more--I have the solution!

This is what I call a Thought Keeper. It's a slim, 5.25" square metal tin that has a cool design on the outside--so it's easy to find among all the maps, napkins, owner's manuals, etc. that ends up in the glove compartment of your car--and a calendar and notepad on the inside. These were designed by Andrea Walford and Sophia Landry, sisters and Canadian SU! demonstrators with busy lives and lots to keep track of.

Mine replaces a ratty notebook I made 2 years ago to keep track of my mileage. It's falling apart, and I was so excited to find this design. Everything I write down will stay inside the tin until I am ready to remove it! I used retired Urban Garden DSP and non-SU! chipboard letters to decorate the exterior.

I also made one for my husband. He started a new business last fall, and while he was doing his expense report he shared that he needed something to write down his mileage in, since he keeps forgetting to keep track of it for tax purposes. I can help you, honey! His is pretty basic and plain, because I didn't want to incorporate embellishments that might get snagged by other things while it's in the center console of his truck. Let's just say it's not the neatest space! He's left-handed, so his notepad is oriented so that he'll be able to write easily. His is decorated using Manchester DSP, and I chose the striped to suggest the lines on the highway.

I'm offering these for $15 each at a class I'll be offering Jan. 16 at my home. If you're interested in attending, please let me know! Those who attend will be able to choose from my current inventory of DSP and will create their own color scheme for their project.

If you're interested in obtaining one of these as a "make at home" kit, I can provide all the pieces you'll need--you'll supply the adhesive--for the cost of the supplies plus shipping. Again, leave a comment with an email contact, and I'll get in touch with you. This option will only be available AFTER my class registration has closed. I have 8 tins available.