Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Perfectly Soft Breeze of Hope

That is definitely NOT what we are experiencing weather-wise here in central Minnesota today. At one point on the drive home from work the visibility was reduced not due to blowing rain, but blowing dirt! It had to be extremely windy in order to blow dirt today, as our ground is so saturated with moisture that many of the farmers around us are still unable to get their field work done.

So, if you're guessing that the title has to do with the color scheme, you'd be right! When I saw this color challenge of Perfect Plum, Soft Suede and Baja Breeze on splitcoaststampers, I couldn't imagine how they could work well together - so I decided to take the challenge! I thought I would have a struggle on my hands with this one, but the card came together very easily - and on the first try, a rarity for me! I'm sure what made it so easy was this beautiful stamp set, Strength & Hope, which is in the Summer Mini Catalog. For each purchase of this stamp set, Stampin' Up! is donating $2 to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, which is dedicated to preventing breast cancer and finding a cure in our lifetime through funding clinical research worldwide. So what are you waiting for? Just go to my Online Store, purchase this set, and help make a difference!

Stamps: Strength & Hope
Paper: Whisper White, Perfect Plum and Baja Breeze cardstock
Ink: Perfect Plum, Soft Suede
Accessories: Oval Scallop Frame die, Big Shot, Stamp-a-ma-jig, Ticket Corner punch, Whisper White 3/8" taffeta ribbon, Basic Pearls, Paper Snips, Stampin' Dimensionals

First I used some temporary adhesive to adhere the Oval Scallop Frame to the white card front piece to serve as a mask for the words. I used the Stamp-a-ma-jig to repeatedly stamp the word image in Soft Suede inside the mask, and after removing the frame I had a nice oval shape filled with inspiring words. I stamped the H and butterfly in Plum and then trimmed them using the Paper Snips. If you look closely, I inked up the word "hope" and cut it out separately, adhered it behind the H, and then popped it up with dimensionals. You also have to look closely to see where I used the ticket corner punch; can you spot it? I used the beautiful pearls to finish everything off.

I can't wait to use this stamp set again! Check back here on Saturday to see more of this wonderful set, and hope you have a sweet time stamping this week!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Warm Heart...

...cold hands! That's me tonight as we suffer through yet another cold, rainy and dreary evening. It's Memorial Day weekend, and here in central Minnesota our furnaces are still kicking in; sadly, it doesn't sound as if the rest of the weekend is going to get any better (sigh). As if that wasn't enough, I can't find my warm and fuzzy slippers, which is why my hands are cold; if my feet are cold, so is the rest of my body!

Anyway, since May is just about over, I thought I had better post a card using one of the stamp sets that is 30% off only through the rest of this month - the fabulous Word Play. This set contains 12 versatile word images that can be used for just about anything! Now that I think about it, I also used this set in the graduation gift card that I posted last week, but forgot to mention that it was on sale (another sigh). This was inspired by an anniversary card that I received from my husband, so every time I look at it, my heart just warms right up! It is a side-pocket card that will fit in a standard A2 envelope. The red Glimmer Paper used for the heart is still available for order, so don't despair! Some of the items from the Occasions Mini Catalog have been carried over and can still be ordered; just click on the Occasions Mini Carryover link on the right side of the page to see what's available, and then go to my Online Store to place your order!

Stamps: Word Play
Paper: Basic Black & Very Vanilla cardstock, Love Letter Designer Series paper, red Glimmer Paper
Ink: Riding Hood Red
Accessories: Full Heart XL and 1-3/4" Circle punches

The black base is cut 5-1/2" x 6-1/2" and folded in half, with tabs left at the top and bottom of the back that I folded over and adhered to the inside front. The vanilla strip was cut 2-3/4" wide and 3-1/4" long. Then I adhered the 1/2" strips of Love Letter paper to the top and bottom of the strip and punched out the half heart on the right side before stamping the words. Before adhering the strip to the black cardstock, I punched a half circle out of the right front of the card. I then adhered the strip to the front, lining up the heart cut-out over the circle cut-out. The vanilla pull-out is 3-1/8" x 5-3/8". I simply punched a heart out of the Glimmer Paper and put adhesive on the back left side. Then, with the vanilla piece already inside the card, I fit the left side of the Glimmer heart inside the punched-out half heart on the card front, and pressed down to adhere it to the vanilla pull-out. Sweet! An easy anniversary or valentine card.

Now I'm off to climb under the covers - thank goodness I still have my winter quilt on the bed! I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and please remember the REAL reason for Memorial Day.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Nothing But Neutrals!

That was the theme for last week's stamp club. We made three projects, using colors from only the Neutrals color family. I wanted to show the club members how using only neutrals not only is easier than you might think, but it also adds a touch of elegance to any project.

I created this card with a special person in mind, who recently retired after over 30 years in a medical records department. She is a wonderfully sweet lady who loves flowers and favored simple, classic neutrals in her clothing, so I wanted the card to reflect the lady! I used the new Flower Garden embossing folder from the Summer Mini Catalog, which produces a beautiful, elegantly stylized image. I added just a touch of shimmer to the flowers with the Smooch Pearlized Accent ink. This is the first time I had used the Smooch ink and I found it incredibly easy to work with, and love how it accented the flowers without detracting from the beauty of the embossed image. I hope my friend feels the same way!

Stamps: Teeny Tiny Wishes
Paper: Whisper White, Basic Black and River Rock cardstock
Ink: Basic Black
Accessories: Flower Garden embossing folder; Big Shot; Pinking Hearts Border, Word Window Large, Modern Label XL, and  1-3/4"x7/8" Oval Large punches; Basic Pearls; Stampin' Dimensionals

Hope the rest of your week is filled with sweet sunshine; we sure could use a few more days of that here in Minnesota. See you Friday!

Friday, May 20, 2011

"Something old, something new...

...something borrowed, something blue" is a wedding custom that originated in England. Each item in this poem represents a good-luck token for the bride. If she carries all of them on her wedding day, her marriage will be happy. Since June is traditionally a month favored for weddings, we made a wedding card at my stamp club this week. Since the good-luck tokens hopefully help make a happy marriage, I incorporated the custom into my card planning in the hopes that it would make my stamp club happy! The "something old" is the stamp set we used; "something new" is the border punch as it was the first time we used it. "Something borrowed" is the idea for the border punch frame, which I borrowed from the amazing Dawn Olchefske. And the "something blue" is - well, this may be reaching a bit, but when you look at the rhinestone jewels in a certain light, they almost look a light blue!

Dawn had posted a card on her blog a while ago where she had made a 3" square border using the Dotted Scallop Ribbon Border punch. Since the word stamp I wanted to use wouldn't fit on that size, I took her idea one step further and expanded it to a rectangle. I had a lot of weirdly punched paper scraps before I finally figured out the correct dimensions for the base rectangle! How did I do it? First I marked the center of my punch with a permanent marker. Then I centered a 3" wide strip of cardstock in the punch, and drew a line on my punch on either side of the cardstock with my marker. If you center the 3" piece of cardstock between the lines on the punch, you can punch out the scallop ribbon shape and leave a nice square on either end. Then I started playing around with different lengths of cardstock. I found that 3" x 3-5/8" and 3" x 4-5/16" make perfect rectangles. To match up the punched holes on the long length, you need to line up the right side of your cardstock with the mark on the right side of your punch, punch it out, and then line up the left side of the cardstock with the mark on the left side of the punch and punch. It's a lot easier than it sounds, and the results are certainly worth it! Sadly, my camera just couldn't capture the rich shimmer of this card.

Stamps: Everything Nice
Paper: Shimmery White cardstock
Ink: Crumb Cake
Accessories: Basic Rhinestone jewels, 5/8" Organza ribbon, Elegant Bouquet embossing folder, Big Shot, Stampin' Dimensionals

Well, it's raining again here (sigh) but hopefully the pitter patter of the raindrops on the roof will sweetly lull me to sleep. I'll try to keep to a regular posting schedule of Tuesdays and Fridays, so I'll see you again next week. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Three R's

If you're my age and were a fan of the TV series Little House on the Prairie, you may remember Laura Ingalls Wilder saying that she went to school to learn the 3 R's: Reading, 'Riting and 'Rithmatic. At least I think that's where I remember hearing it; one of the downfalls (and believe me, there are many!) of being my age is that I have a tendency to misremember things. Anyway, with graduation season right around the corner, I wanted to come up with a graduation card project for my stamp club. I tried a couple different card ideas, but they turned out really lame, and I was starting to panic because I was on a tight deadline. I started cleaning out the cupboards in my stamp room, as sometimes doing mindless chores helps me think, and I came across a packet of Fresh-Cut Notes note cards with envelopes. For a previous project I had used quite a few of the note card fronts only, so I had a bunch of envelopes and just back pieces of the note cards. I pulled them out to set them aside for sale at my annual stamp garage sale when the light bulb in my head went off so brightly it just about blinded me! I had once made a teacher thank you using the Stampin' Up! small open-end envelopes, and it was a big hit. Could I possibly use the note card envelopes in much the same way? You be the judge!

This gift card incorporates the "green" 3 R's: Reduce, Reuse & Recycle. I reduced my stash of stuff, and I was able to reuse the envelope as a gift card or money holder in the card. The back piece of the original note card was recycled as the bottom inside portion of the card. First, I cut the black CS 4-1/4"x8-1/2" and folded it in half. Then I adhered the envelope to the top inside of the card, so that when the card is closed the envelope flap hangs over the top outside (see top picture). To make the "Happy Graduation" tag on the front, I cut a strip of white cardstock 3/8" wide and about 3" long and stamped the greeting. Then I turned my Jewelry Tag punch upside down and held it so the circular end of the punch was to the left. I then fed the strip of cardstock word-side up through the open end of the punch on the left and pulled the strip up through the rectangular opening in the back until the word portion was visible. Then I just punched, actually punching out just the top circular portion. This is a quick and easy way to use a small punch with a greeting that is too large for the actual size of the punch. I hope that made sense! If not, just let me know and I'll try to post a "how to" picture.

Stamps: Teeny Tiny Wishes ("Happy Graduation"), Happy Greetings from the Summer Mini Catalog ("Way to go..."), Word Play ("Go in the direction...")
Paper: Basic Black textured 12"x12" and Brushed Gold cardstock, Fresh-Cut Notes
Ink: Jet Black StazOn
Accessories: Jewelry Tag punch, Stars #2 die cut, Big Shot, Paper Piercing tool, Gold brad, Stampin' Dimensionals

Now it's late, and I must get to bed. Hope you have a sweet rest of the week!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Dreaming of summer...

It's another cold and rainy evening here; the kind that makes you want to curl up in front of the fireplace with a cup of hot chocolate and daydream about all the things you want to do on a hot summer day. Darn...I knew I forgot to get something when I stopped to shop on the way home from work - I'm out of hot chocolate!! Guess that means there's no daydreaming for me (sigh). I'll just have to make do by putting my slippers on and gazing dreamily at this card while sipping a hot cup of decaf coffee. Hmmm...it's not quite as good as being on the water's edge at sunset of a hot summer day watching the boats, but it comes close!

This sailboat image is a single wood-mount stamp, called Sail Away, that is available in the Summer Mini Catalog; I love that Stampin' Up! is offering single stamps in addition to all the other fabulous items in their catalogs! I knew I wanted to use the sailboat as a silhouette on a lake, so I stamped the image using craft ink, embossed it with clear embossing powder, and then sponged a scene over it using the masking technique. However, once I got that part done I couldn't come up with a card layout that I liked. I tried several before settling on this one, SC297 from the Wednesday Card Sketch challenge on splitcoaststampers. I'm not entirely sure that I really like the finished product, but it is what it is.

Stamps: Sail Away
Paper: Night of Navy and Whisper White cardstock, Night of Navy Designer Series Paper from the Regals Patterns Stack
Ink: Night of Navy craft stampin' spot; Daffodil Delight, Pumpkin Pie and Night of Navy stamp pads
Accessories: Clear embossing powder, Antique Brads, 1" circle punch, Paper Piercing tool, sponge wedges, Stampin' Dimensionals

Now I'm going to go crawl into my nice warm bed and hopefully have sweet dreams of warm, sunny weather in the near future. Hope you do, too!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Bright and cheery to chase the dreary!

I just don't know what to think about the weather situation here in central Minnesota. After a cool, rainy and dreary weekend, today we went from the 50's this morning to a high of 88, with VERY high humidity. Now I can't even watch any prime time TV on our local stations as they are all covering the tornado watch currently in effect, which is centered around the Twin Cities metro area. Can't we have just one nice stretch of spring-like weather, with sunshine and comfortable temps in the 70's? It would be nice if that stretch would last longer than one day, too! I imagine I'm not the only one who's getting kind of cranky with this unsettled spring we're having.

So, here's a card that should perk you right up! I finally got to play with some of my new stuff from the Summer Mini Catalog last night, and this is the result of my playtime. I couldn't wait to use my Blossom Bouquet Triple Layer Punch, and boy did I have fun! This is an awesome three-in-one punch; you just move the lever to punch out whatever image you want, and then you can layer them in a variety of ways. I knew I wanted to create a card with bright and cheery blossoms, so I pulled out my trusty Color Coach to help me come up with the color scheme. I had an image in my head of what I wanted to do, and it actually turned out the way I imagined it; that doesn't happen every time! Do you feel a little more cheery now? I do!

Stamps: none!
Paper: Daffodil Delight, Melon Mambo, Tempting Turquoise, Certainly Celery and Whisper White cardstock
Ink: none!
Accessories: Blossom Bouquet Triple Layer Punch, Scallop Trim border punch, Swirls Scribbles Sizzlit die, Perfect Polka Dots embossing folder, Big Shot, Circle Fire & Circle Ice Rhinstone Brads, Paper Piercing tool, Daffodil Delight 1/8" taffeta ribbon, Stampin' Dimensionals

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I hope everyone had a sweet day today - I know I did! My oldest son Cody brought me a beautiful bouquet that included daisies, my favorite flowers! Jayson, my youngest, gave me the complete Season 7 of Stargate SG-1 on DVD; I LOVE Richard Dean Anderson! My husband even gave me a gift, and for once it was just perfect: a wooden hammer that I can hang on the wall, with "Honey Do" written on it, and a clothespin attached to it where I can clip my list of things that he needs to get done. Now I just need to find the perfect place to hang it, where he can easily see it! We went out for dinner, and then came back here and engaged in a spirited Wii bowling tournament. It was so spirited that after Cody left to go back home, I had to lay down and take a nap to recover! It didn't help that it rained all day, which always makes me just want to curl up under a blanket. So, since I was stuck in the house this evening I did some much-needed updating to my blog, and changed things around a bit to make it easier for you to navigate to the various Stampin' Up! promotions and specials. Hope everything works better for you now!

My order from the Summer Mini Catalog came on Friday, but since I was gone all day Saturday and busy with other things today, I have to wait until tomorrow evening to start using my new stuff. Stop back here once in a while this week to see what I've been up to! Until then, sweet dreams!!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

May is National Scrapbooking Month...

And Stampin' Up! has lots of specials to help you get your photos off your camera and into a scrapbook! This month only, you can take 30% off select stamp sets (also great for cardmaking!), digital download products, and My Digital Studio professional print products. AND if you've been contemplating signing up to be a Stampin' Up! demontrator, then May is the perfect time to do so! You can take 30% off the Digital + Starter Kit, and have almost everything you need to get you started in a fun and rewarding career. Click on the May Specials! link on the right side of the blog page, which will take you to my demo business web site. From there you can click on any of the specials that appeal to you to find out more details.  

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

You can help!

As part of our Making a Difference program, Stampin' Up! is proud to partner with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation® (BCRF) in the Strength & Hope Campaign. From May 1-August 31, 2011, Stampin' Up! will donate $2* from the sale of each Strength & Hope Set and Digital Kit to BCRF.
A Strength & Hope Digital Kit (item 124475) is also available that includes a four-piece stamp brush set, 12 Designer Series Papers, and 10 embellishment pieces for $9.95. Click on the May Specials! link on the right side of this page, then click on Hope & Strength on the Promotions tag, to view images from this beautiful set.

Contact me today to order this beautiful set and support BCRF as they work find a cure for breast cancer! Or shop now in my Online Store. *Stampin' Up! is donating $2 from this purchase to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation®. BCRF is dedicated to preventing breast cancer and finding a cure in our lifetime by funding clinical and translational research worldwide. For more information about BCRF, visit http://www.bcrfcure.org/.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

April showers bring May...flurries??

The calendar says it's now officially May, but we had temps in the 30's and 40's today with occasional snow flurries. What?? Do we need to rename May Day, and call it May Fool's Day?? Although I tend to be the optimistic type and try to look at the glass always being half full instead of half empty, I'm tired of holding a glass half full of slush. I want flowers, and sunshine, and I want to be able to wear my sandals without socks! Well, they say "hope springs eternal," and I hope if spring ever gets it here, eternal will mean that it lasts at least a few weeks and then leads to some semblance of a summer.

I'm trying to keep that hope alive by posting this birthday card. The cute frog smiling up at the bright and pretty flowers makes me feel a little more optimistic about soon being able to see some REAL frogs and flowers! The flower image is from the set A Flower For All Seasons (which has been around for a while but is still one of my favorites), and the bright colors instantly lift my spirits. The layout is SC214 from the Wednesday Card Sketch Challenge on Splitcoaststampers. The bow was done the SweetP way and is attached to the strip of ribbon beneath it with a glue dot. It's hard to tell in the picture, but the card folds on the left side, and the right side of the card front has a 7/8" strip of Vanilla cardstock layered under the punched Wasabi and is actually 1/8" shorter than the back side, so the strip of Wasabi that you see on the far right is actually the right inside of the card. Is that clear as mud or what?? It actually makes sense if you don't think about it too much!!

Stamps: A Flower for All Seasons, It's Your Birthday
Paper: Wild Wasabi & Very Vanilla cardstock, Woodland Walk Designer Series Paper
Ink: Jet Black Staz-On & Chocolate Chip pads; Crumb Cake, Wild Wasabi, Marina Mist & Chocolate Chip markers
Accessories: Marina Mist 1/4" grosgrain ribbon, Eyelet Border punch, Paper Piercing Tool & Mat Pack, Stampin' Dimensionals, Mini Glue Dots

May you have a sweet time stamping!!