Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Celebrate Sale-A-Bration!

Just a little over one month left to take advantage of Sale-A-Bration -- Stampin' Up!'s biggest promotion of the year.  Whether you order, host or join, Stampin' Up rewards you with free goodies!  Let me know if you need more information.

I featured several projects in January that showcased Sale-A-Bration products, but not much lately.  But today's card features the Outlined Occasions stamp set that is only available during this promotion and the best part -- it's free when you spend $50 or more.

Colors: Peach Parfait, Poppy Parade and Whisper White.  Stamps: Outlined Occasions.  Tools: Simply Scored.  Accessories: Just Eat Cake Designer Series Paper, 5/8" Jumbo Brads, Markers.
Stampin' Up! has carried these jumbo brads for a while and I've had them in my stash for a long time but I rarely use them.  I do like them on this card though.  And it's a little hard to tell from this picture, but I scored lines around the card base and the other Peach Parfait mat to add some texture and interest.

This is just one of the nine cards you can choose to make at my Birthday Bash Stampin' Buffet on March 9 & 10.  It's a great card for just about anyone.  Not too girly and not too masculine either.  And it will be fairly simple to make as well. We always have a lot of fun at these classes so what are you waiting for?  RSVP today!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Birthday Bash!

All the information about my next class has been posted to it's own page here on my blog.  The class will be March 9 and 10 at my house in Farmington.  The class features 12 different projects all with a birthday theme.  I've shown most of them in the past, but I still have a few more to share this week.

One of the reasons I enjoy swapping is to get ideas for my customers.  And the swaps I get from the gals at Stampin' Addicts never fail to disappoint.  Today's card was completely inspired from a swap I received from Lisa Young over at Add Ink and Stamp.  I simplified hers a bit to make it easier for my customers to make at a class, but the layout and colors (and nearly everything else) are Lisa's.  Thank you, Lisa! 

Colors: Soft Suede, Blushing Bride, Very Vanilla.  Stamps: Creative Elements and Perfect Punches.  Big Shot: Designer Frames Textured Impressions Embossing Folder.  Punches: Scallop Trim Border.  Accessories: Basic Jewel Pearls, Blushing Bride Pleated Satin Ribbon.
I'm offering lots of incentives for people to come to my class this time.  The first 6 to RSVP with their project order get a prize.  If it's your first class or if you bring someone new to class, you get a prize. And if you place a $50 order at the class, you get a free Sale-A-Bration item of your choice and $5 off your project fees.  I hope to see you there!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Take a Spin

I have one more card to share with you from the Birthday swap I hosted a couple of weeks ago.  This one features a really fun stamp set called "Take a Spin."  I love that Stampin' Up! sells these cute little game spinners to go with this set too.  So fun!

Colors: Basic Gray, Whisper White, Indigo Island, Pumpkin Pie. Stamps: Take a Spin.  Big Shot: Striped Textured Embossing Folder.  Punch: 1/4" circle. Accessories: Markers, Game Spinners, 1/4" Pumpkin Pie Grosgrain Ribbon.
This is another card I'll be offering at my Birthday Bash Stampin' Buffet on March 9 & 10.  I'll be posting all the details on this class today or tomorrow so stay tuned for all the details.  And it double (or maybe that's tripled) as Sketch Challenge 125 on Stampin' Addicts this week too. 

And there is a really fun Stampin' Addict Blog Hop happening this weekend to mark the third anniversary of the site.  I simple had too much going on in my life to participate this time around, but be sure to check it out.  Each participating site is featuring a party theme to celebrate different occasions.  Click on the picture to visit the first site.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Welcome to Downton, Cousin Matthew!

My brother and his sweet wife had a baby last week -- a little boy they named Matthew Robert.  We've been pretty excited about his birth around here.  (Well, let's face it, mostly I'm excited.  I'm the aunt and you know that aunts get more excited than uncles and cousins).

If you know me, you know I've been absolutely obsessed with the Masterpiece Classics show Downton Abbey on PBS.  And if you know anything about the show, (and if you don't you are REALLY missing out) one of the main characters is Cousin Matthew, the heir-apparent of Downton.  He is not your usual Edwardian-era nobleman but a common lawyer (insert Edwardian-era "GASP!" here). But if you looked up the word "DASHING" in the dictionary, there would be a picture of Cousin Matthew. 

I digress, but it's my blog and I can do that right?  If you haven't watched this fabulous show, what you are really missing out on is Dame Maggie Smith's brilliance.  Here's just a snippet (and if you look closely, you'll see Cousin Matthew in the first scene):

Sorry about the size, I tried to fix it but I guess I'm not that good.

I'm not entirely sure that my brother and his wife chose the name based on Downton Abbey, but to me he will have to be referred to as Cousin Matthew for his entire life. (It is also interesting to note that Robert is Lord Grantham's first name).  Too bad their isn't an estate in the family for him to inherit.

Oh yes, this is a stamping blog.  I almost forgot for a minute.  You probably came to see a card and I do have one to show -- the one I made our own Cousin Matthew.  My sister-in-law is a quilter so I knew it had to be a quilt card.

Colors: Peach Parfait, Baja Breeze, Whisper White.  Stamps: Teeny Tiny Phrases.  Big Shot: Square Lattice Textured Impressions Embossing Folder.  Punches 1-1/4" square.  Accessories: 5/8" Jumbo Brads, Just Eat Cake and Twitterpated Designer Series Papers.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Masculine Birthday Card

Making masculine cards is tough for me.  You'd think given that I have no sisters or daughters, I'd be really good at them.  Boy cards, I can handle.  But manly man cards are not my strong suite.  I only own one current stamp set that works well for a masculine card (although I have others that would work for general birthdays for anyone - including a man). So why did I sign up to make a masculine card for my own swap?  This is what I came up with:
Colors: Early Espresso, Cajun Craze, Naturals Vanilla.  Stamps: The Open Seas, Happiest Birthday Wishes.  Accessories: Well Worn Designer Series Paper, brads and Early Espresso 1/4" grosgrain ribbon.
The Open Seas was in last year's Summer Mini Catalog.  It is not featured in any current catalog, but it is still available to order.  It is perfect for masculine cards so I hope they never take it away.  And this Well Worn Designer Series paper is also perfect for manly cards.

Did you notice that I didn't use a single punch or the Big Shot on this card at all?  That almost NEVER happens.  I'm surprised the earth didn't stop turning.

This card is also this week's Sketch Challenge at Stampin' Addicts. Come check it out and play along!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Happy Dirtday!

When I saw I Dig You in the catalog last summer, I knew, as the mother of boys, this set was for me.   You just can't go wrong with tractors and dump trucks when you have young boys.

This is a card I made with that set for the Birthday Card Swap I hosted this month.  I struggle to use Daffodil Delight sometimes, but it is perfect for this card:

Colors: Basic Black, Daffodil Delight and Whisper White.  Stamps: I Dig You and Wonderfully Worn Background.  Punches: Word Window, 3/4" & 1/2" circles.  Accessories: Dimensionals, Brads.
It's very unusual for me to NOT use the Big Shot on a card, but this one didn't.  But I did break out the background stamp, Wonderfully Worn, to add some dimension to the Daffodil Delight card base.  I ended up stamping it twice to give it even more "splotches".  It is a very simple card.  But isn't that what boys will like?

This is another card that will be offered at my Birthday Bash Stampin' Buffet on March 9-10. I will have the class up on my blog in the next week so check back.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Stampin' Addicts Sketch Challenge 123

In all the craziness of last week, I had four swaps and a sketch challenge to still do.  So what's a stamper to do?  Kill two birds with one stone, of course. (I hope you all know that's just a saying right.  I wouldn't really kill one bird, let alone two and I doubt I'd be able to hit one with a stone anyway because I throw like a girl).

Here is the card I made for the swap that turned into Stampin' Addicts Sketch Challenge 123:

Colors: Whisper White, Calypso Coral, Wisteria Wonder, Lucky Limeade.  Stamps: Crazy for Cupcakes and Create A Cupcake.  Big Shot: Stripes Textured Impressions Embossing Folder.  Punches: Petite Pennants, 2-1/2" and 1" circle.  Accessories: Markers, In Color Designer Printed Brads and 5/16" Jumbo Brads.
This card will also be offered at my Birthday Bash Stampin' Buffet next month.  These swaps were due at my house on Friday so I didn't want to post this swap card for the challenge.  So I made a second card with the same sketch to post:
Color: Early Espresso, Lucky Limeade, Wisteria Wonder, Coral Calypso.  Stamps: Just Believe.  Big Shot: Beautiful Wings Embosslits Die. Punches: 2-1/2" and 1-1/4" circle, 1" square.  Accessory: Brad

Obviously, I'm very hooked on these In Colors right now.  I just can't stop using them.  I'm to the point I won't even really miss the 2010-2011 colors when they retire at the end of May, but I'm already dreading losing Wisteria Wonder, Calypso Coral, Lucky Limeade, Pool Party and Island Indigo.

Anyone is welcome to play along on the Stampin' Addict Sketch Challenge. Come check it, or any of the other challenges out and get inspired.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Decor Elements

At Stampin' Up's recent leadership conference, the company announced a new catalog strategy that includes a slightly smaller main catalog and two larger seasonal catalogs instead of the usual three mini catalogs.  I'll share more on this as we get closer to the end of this catalog in May.

In order to make the main catalog a little smaller, Stampin' Up! announced it would discontinue two products lines: Simply Adorned Jewelry and Decor Elements vinyl.  I am a little sad about it because I have personally enjoyed both of these lines.  But I understand that most people purchase stamps, ink and paper from us anyway.

Before they go away forever, I wanted to share with you some of the things I've done with Decor Elements in my home. 

This is the shower in my master bathroom.  I have two smaller version of the same stems on either side of the vanity.  Stampin' Up! doesn't sell this design any more, but I wanted to give you an idea of where to put them.  There are a couple of others that are available that would work well for a glass shower door.

Decor Elements: Life Milestones and Tree, Thoughts and Prayers
This one is my favorite, so you get two shots of it.  The first picture was taken before I put the quote up, but it gives you some perspective.  Our great room has this big tall ceiling in it and it was really hard for me to wrap my mind around how to decorate those walls.  But this big tree  was perfect.  There is still a lot of wall above it, but it isn't so noticeable with the tree there.  The quote that I put to the side says, "Life isn't a matter of milestones but of moments."

Decor Elements: Create Definition
The last one is of my craft room wall.  Sorry it isn't a bit tidier, but really, this is as good as it gets for my creative space. The vinyl defines the word create as "To produce through artistic or imaginative effort.  Create and inspire. To make your own."  Perfect for any kind of creative space.  There is also another one that defines inspire.

There are many, many more uses for these including decorating jars, frames and other things that are less permanent than your walls.  And there are many more designs to choose from.  Visit my online store or contact me today for more information.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What else I've been working on this week: Valentines

It's been a few years since we did homemade Valentines for my sons' classes.  But this year, I decided to undertake this task.  They were based on this sucker holder I did for my Valentines class last month:

Colors: Pink Pirouette, Real Red, Whisper White.  Stamps: I {Heart} Hearts.  Big Shot: Scalloped Heart Embosslit.  Punch: Heart.  Accessories: Ribbon and Bright Patterns Designer Paper Pack.
Since I needed to make 46 of them, I simplified them just a bit and did not use that cute scalloped heart behind the stamped heart.  And I made some of them in pink and some of them in red so I didn't use up all of one color.  These are the ones for my older son's class (Sorry the picture isn't better, we worked on them upstairs and my good lights are downstairs):

And I did something I said I would never do this past weekend too.  My youngest son was suppose to make his valentine's box at home this year.  And guess who did a majority of the work.
Colors: Read Red, Tempting Turquoise and Whisper White.  Big Shot: Scallop Oval Frame, Hearts Collection Framelits.  Punches: 2-1/2" and 1-3/4" circles and Pennant.  Accessories: Big Top Birthday Designer Series Paper and Red Glitter Paper.
Originally, I was going to use a shoe box, but in a fortunate turn of events, we emptied a box that had garbage sacks in it on Saturday morning and it was the perfect shape for a monster.  Spencer did help me glue the teeth, eyes and heart on to the box.

I spent all day yesterday and will spend all day today working on swaps.  So I will have a return to regular projects soon. And thanks for all the kind words over the past couple of days too.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pirate Party and the Powells

February is almost as crazy as December at my house.  Between both my sons' birthdays and Valentines, I spend a lot of time in my craft room but not working on stuff for my business.  Which is why I don't schedule any classes at my house in February.

My youngest son's birthday is next weekend.  I don't generally share retired product on my blog, but I am today because it's whats been keeping me busy this past week: (click on the picture to get a better view)
Colors: Naturals Vanilla, Riding Hood Red, Island Indigo, Pool Party, Close to Cocoa (retired), Soft Suede, Chocolate Chip.  Stamps: Ahoy, Matey and matching wheel (both retired).  Accessories: Markers, Blender Pen, Aqua Painter. 
My boys only get birthday parties every other year.  But for the past three times I've done parties, the boys have picked a pirate theme.  I'm just glad that I kept this set for just this purpose.  I saw some invitations like these on Splitcoaststampers four years ago when I did my first pirate party.  It's been so long, I don't even know who to give credit to anymore (after all, they didn't have Pinterest in those days.)  The invitations where delivered on Saturday and they were well received.  One mom told me at church yesterday that her daughter slept with it.

I don't generally get extremely personal here on my blog, but with all the good and busy things happening here, we also have some very heavy hearts.  It's been all over the news about the unspeakable thing Josh Powell did to his sons yesterday in Washington state.  The Powells were neighbors of ours in West Valley and we attended the same church.  It would be disingenuous to say that Susan and I were close friends but to know Susan was to know her well. We served together in the Relief Society presidency and both sang in the church choir.  Her oldest and my youngest were just weeks apart in age and I can't help thinking if things were different, if Susan had never disappeared and we hadn't moved, one of these invitations would have been for Charlie.

This entire thing has been like a bad made-for-TV movie that was too outrageous to be believable. Yet it happened and is happening to real people that are more than just names and faces to me. Yesterday, I spent a lot of time being angry at Josh for being so spiteful and so controlling, right up to the end.  Today, I'm trying to leave the anger behind and send lots of healing prayers to Susan's family and close friends who are left to deal with aftermath.   I hope this is not where the story ends.  Her family deserves to know exactly what happened to Susan but I don't know that they ever will. In the mean time, I find comfort in knowing that those two cute boys are in a better place with their mother who loved them more than anything.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Free Trial of My Digital Studio!

I'm a little late with my post this morning, but I have exciting news to share.  Stampin' Up! is now offering a free 30-day trial of My Digital Studio Express!  Express contains the full functionality of the software with fewer digital punches, stamps, patterned papers and embellishments than the full version of the software. Perfect for trying out all the great features of this amazing digital crafting solution.

I know I've sung the praises of My Digital Studio several times here on my blog.  I love how easy it is to use and how it incorporates all my favorite Designer Series Papers, Stamps and Embellishments that have been offered over the past several years.  The sheer number of downloads that are available for the software is many times larger than the number of products we offer in the catalogs and some of the designs have never been offered as traditional products before either.

In the past, I've shown you scrapbook pages and cards made with My Digital Studio, but today I want to share with you a project that takes My Digital Studio to the next level:

Created using My Digital Studio: Crochet Trim Ribbon Pack, Antique Brad Pack, Deck the Halls Photo Card Digital Kit, Artistic Etchings Stamp Brush Set, Baroque Motifs Stamp Brush Set, and Grosgrain Ribbon Back.  Other: Photo Block.  Photos by Karina Orgill.
I've had several of these photo block in my stash for a while.  About a year ago, I was frantically trying to decorate my house in time for a party when I had an "A-HA" moment.  If I designed each section in My Digital studio, I could incorporate the photo and all the elements together and keep them flat but still embellished.  It's a great way to show off a collection family photos.

You might be wondering how I accomplished this since it's a custom page size.  Easy, peasy.  I measured the size of the block and then created six photo boxed on two 12x12 page that were the exact size that I needed it to be.  That way, I could easily fill it with all the elements I wanted on each side and know exactly where the boarders are for that side of the block.  Once I received it back from the print service, I just cut it into squares and adhered it to the block. 

If you are ready to give My Digital Studio a try and have the chance to fall in love with it before you buy it, head on over to my business website, and click "shop now."  You will see the trial offer near the top of the shopping page.  And don't forget, all the images that are available to purchase as kits are there too.  Click here for the complete catalog of available images and kits.  Let me know if you have any questions.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Everyday Enchantment Canvas

I promised a closer look at my canvas project from the blog hop and I aim to please.  I called this a "mixed-media" project because it uses different mediums together: canvas, paper, metal brads, lace, ink, etc.  A lot of mixed-media projects also use paints and I didn't on this one. Here's another look at the whole project:
I wish I had taken step-by-step photos as I was putting it together, but of course I didn't think of that until it was done. I started with an 11"x14" art canvas.  You can buy these at any big box craft or art store.  The first and probably most important step in a project like this is to figure out what you want your project to look like at the end, before you start putting the pieces together.  Because once you start adhering them to the canvas, it is difficult to move them around.

Once I had my basic layout figured out, I put a moderate layer of Mod Podge on the canvas. Mod Podge is a decoupage medium that can also be purchased at the big box craft and hobby stores.  The trick to working with Mod Podge is to get just the right amount on your project.  Too much and it starts to bubble up.  Not enough and the layer you put on top doesn't stick well enough.  And you have to work quickly because it dries quickly too. 

After you have your layer of Mod Podge on the canvas, place your first layer of paper right on top of it, smoothing it out as you go to keep it from bubbling.  After that layer dries, you can add another layer of Mod Podge over the top and start adding the rest of your layers.  I have found that giving the project a little time to dry in between decreases the amount of bubbles that appear on your project too.

For the flower, I wanted some dimension to it and didn't want it decoupaged to the canvas.  I put a layer of Mod Podge on each part of the flower one so that it would have the same "texture" as the rest of the project.  Mod Podge dries clear but does leave a dull coat over the project. I used dimensionals between the layers of the flower to really make it 3-D.  Here's a close up picture of the flower:
(A keep observer probably noticed the flower moved from the picture above.  I had a hard time deciding just where it belonged and took this picture before I figured that part out.)

I also did not decoupage the photo on to the project.  I wanted to be able to change out the photo later when this one becomes out dated.  I adhered it to the project with dimensionals too.  And just who is that handsome group of people?  It is my parents and all their children last summer at our family reunion.  Can you pick me out of the group?  I'll give you a hint, I'm the only daughter.

I did find out a thing or two by trial and error.  Before I started, I tried using the Tea Stain Stampin' Spot from the Distressing Kit to "age" the canvas.  Once I started putting the Mod Podge on it, the water-based ink pretty much washed off.  So you will probably want to save yourself some time and effort and skip that part.

The other lesson learned is to stick with Mod Podge and not mix adhesives.  For the title, I was in a hurry and didn't want to mess with the Mod Podge to adhere the letters to the base piece so I used regular Mono Multi Glue.  I added a layer of Mod Podge to the top to give it the same texture and the letters aren't sealed down as well as the rest of the project is. 

I made another canvas project at the same time I made this but I submitted it to Stampin' Up! for a contest.  If it doesn't win, I'll post pictures of it in a few weeks.


Colors: Calypso Coral, Lucky Limeade, Pool Party, Very Vanilla, and Poppy Parade
Big Shot: Timeless Type Alphabet, Fun Flower, Island Flowers, Tasteful Trim and Labels Collection Framelits.
Punch: Fancy Flower, 1" and 3/4" Circles.
Accessories: Everyday Enchantment Designer Series Paper, Antique Brads, Crochet Trim, Distressing Kit
Other: Mod Podge, Canvas