Saturday, December 27, 2008

Curious!

OK, stampers and paper crafters extradonaire! It's feedback time! I would really appreciate hearing your input about what the one thing you would love to see me change on my blog in the New Year. I'm hoping to make this a place where you want to stop by, so hearing what you would like to see will really help me with that. I will be putting some changes in place at the beginning of the year, so you have a little time to let me know (and if you don't want to leave a comment, just email me).

And if you're not sure if you would change anything, maybe you would take the time to answer one of these questions:
  • Do you like the supplies listed in the post or below it?
  • Can you read everything alright? Is anything too small? Too light?
  • How often do you like to see new posts? Daily (ambitious for me, but a goal is good!)? 3x a week?
  • Do you like to see the picture first?


Thanks a bunch - I appreciate your time in helping me improve! Be well.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Comfort and Joy

We spent a little time recently walking around Alexandria recently. One of the best things about living here is all of the rich historical areas - Alexandria is definitely in this category. The store fronts are all decorated for Christmas, and it is just fantastic. Here are a couple of wonderful examples:

If I had a shop, this is what it would look like at Christmas-time:


I love the tree on the rooftop between the buildings in this one:


And a quick pic of my guys:


I hope you have a wonderful holiday. We're off to go ice skating a little later - our Christmas Eve tradition. Since we're in a new place this year, we had to find a new venue, so how's this for fantastic: skating at the National Gallery in DC. Looks like a winner to me! Enjoy your loved ones & I will see you in a couple of days. Be well.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Need a quick way to wrap those gift cards?





What in the world did we do before gift cards? I don't know if you're anything like me, but I love these things! With a teenage niece and nephew, they're the perfect gift. My niece is also a Crafty Girl, so I like to doll them up a little because she appreciates it. This is what I came up with this year! I'm really pleased with the way they turned out. (Details are below.) I hope this inspires you for any last minute gift cards you are looking to wrap.

Be well!

Supplies:

Cardstock: (Ripe Avocado, Pure Poppy, Vintage Cream, Kraft) Papertrey Ink
Inks: (Ripe Avocado, Pure Poppy) Papertrey Ink , (Versafine Onyx Black) Tsukineko
Dies: (Mega Curved Rectangles) Spellbinders Paper Arts
Glitter: (Stickles) Ranger
Stamps: Paper Salon

Monday, December 22, 2008

Happy Holly Days!



This card combines two of my favorites - Cosmo Cricket's Be Good (Believe) and Holly Cupcake from Lockhart Stamp Company. I decided to use Spellbinders Labels Two to frame the image in a stylish way. The card is 5" square, and also uses PTI Vintage Cream paper and ribbon.

We're getting down to the wire for Christmas - do you still have a lot to accomplish? I'm a firm believer in a good, detailed list - so that has been my sanity saver this year! How about you? Have a good tip for staying organized in busy times? LMK - I love good tips!

Be well.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Fuzzy Slippers



This was such a fun card to create - it combines masking and paper piecing for the focal image. I was looking at this Lockhart Slipper stamp when I realized that they just HAD to be fuzzy! Out came my Doodlebug flocking powder. To make sure I only got the flocking powder where I wanted it, I created a mask of the stamp (I used Eclipse tape, but you can use a post-it note just as easily) and then used Ranger Glossy Accents on the top portion. Poured on some flock and voila - fuzziness! Then I stamped onto PTI Guide Lines, cut it out and layered it onto the white (fuzzy toed) image. Simple paper piecing!

I pulled out PTI Mixed Messages for the sentiment, and then used Spellbinders Labels One to mount it all in style. Machine stitching, inked edges and PTI ribbon finish it off. I like to have some feel better cards on hand during this cold & flu season, so this is the perfect one to have on hand. I hope you like it!

Be well.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Holiday Truffle Box



Have you seen the little Starbucks truffle boxes in the store? I bought one recently literally for the box! (Please tell me I'm not the only one who does this!) Admittedly, the truffles were pretty yummy! So once I devoured the truffles, I carefully opened up the box and traced it onto PTI Pure Poppy. I then stamped it with Pure Poppy ink (for a subtle tone-on-tone look) and Cornish Heritage Farms' Pretty Pattern. To embellish, I added some velvet ribbon, red Stickles and a shrink plastic charm (stamped with the Santa image from PTI's Believe and cut with a Classic Oval Nestability. Colored with Copics.)

It fits two Lindor truffles beautifully! If you're anything like me, though, buy the big bag - you'll need a few extras! ;)

Be well.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Using inchies with regular-sized stamps


One of the fun things about Inchies is the way it can help you look at your regular stamps in a new light. This Lockhart Clothesline stamp is approximately 3" x 1", but by applying ink in select areas of the rubber, you can stamp only the section that you want. On this piece, I first stamped the onesie, then the bib and sleeper and finally the quilt. Cut them out with Classic Square Nestabitilities, then mount them on Black Inchies Squares from Inchie Arts, LLC.

The finished card is 3" x 6", and the final touches are Papertrey Ink's Polka Dot Basics and the sentiment (Lockhart Congratulations on Spellbinders Double Ended Tag).

I hope this gives you another idea for creating Inchies - look out, it's addictive once you start looking at your stamps in this new way! Be well.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Great news for all of you Spellbinders fans!

All the details for the 2009 Spellbinders Paper Arts Design Team Search are up on the Spellbinders Blog. I wish I could effectively tell you what a great year that I've had on this team. Spellbinders is a family company, and when they invite to come onto their team, they invite you to join their family. If you're looking for a design team opportunity, I really think you should look into this one. Good luck!

Monday, December 15, 2008

Just in case you need another gift idea




You may remember that I did a post on the Pursuit Of Craftyness a couple of weeks ago regarding teachers' gifts. I decided those hot chocolate gift packs will be perfect for Wally's teachers - especially since he has an equal amount of male and female teachers. The Beav is still in elementary school, though, so he not only has fewer teachers, but they're all female. I decided to make notecard sets for them. I took my cue from the school's mascot - a red & black bee! (Our high school is the Hornets, so the little guys are little bees.) I pulled out some old Anna Griffin papers and some PTI Pure Poppy. PTI's Honey Bees and Honey Bee Sentiments were an easy choice for my theme, too! I'm sure you've probably seen these pens before, but just in case they're new to you, they're Pentel RSVP pens. It's so easy to line the clear barrel with coordinating paper, that it pulls your whole set together effortlessly.

I hope this gives you another idea for any gifts that you may still need to put together! Be well.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dear Becky,

One of the very best things in life to have is a friend who isn't afraid to give you a swift kick in the rear. I'm so very fortunate to have Becky Oehlers in mine. (Said with only a modicum of sarcasm! Thanks, friend!)

Yes, I've been neglecting my sweet lil' blog. You know how it is, once and a while, something has to slide...

We were in Florida for a little while after Thanksgiving. Ward and I felt like the boys deserved a little cut-loose time, so we went down to Orlando and stayed at the Nick Hotel. Yes, they actually 'slime' people there:


Christmas decorating went into full swing when we got home. We literally walked across the street to get our tree - there is a tree lot that sets up next to the church. It was all very Rockwell-esque watching Ward, Wally and the Beav carry it home. Unfortunately I forgot my camera, but you can be sure I won't miss that moment next year!

So speaking of holiday plans, we are having our party for Ward's staff tomorrow night (ahem, Becky) :). Needless to say, I am seriously procrastinating right now as I have several bathrooms in dire need of attention. Plus I need to run out and get the food that I ordered (I'm cheating on the ham and rolls - shhhh, don't tell!).

I did have a little creative time to get a birthday card in the mail for my brother. I used some PTI from the November release for this:





I used Men Of Life and Heartfelt Basics. From the first moment I saw those sailboats, I knew that I had to have them!Melissa Bickford did such a great job with both of these sets, that I'm sure they're going to be classics for years to come. And the combination of PTI Ocean Tides, Ripe Avocado, Spring Rain and Vintage Cream fit the bill for a clean, masculine card. (Used Spellbinders Labels One to finish it off in style!)

OK, off to clean bathrooms. Have a wonderful weekend and be well.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

I think it's really sad...

Crafting is one of life's simple pleasures. It can remind us of times which are kinder and gentler, and sharing is an inherent off-branch of that. And on the whole, most crafters are only too happy to share with other crafters when they're asked nicely.

So where is the sad part? The sad part comes into play when images are used without permission, and it's happening more than you think. Sharing does not mean you can use my image if you and I have not discussed it and I have not granted permission. It doesn't mean that you can take my friend's idea and post it as your own. It doesn't mean that you can alert me to it after you take the image - permission comes before you use it. And quite frankly, I don't care what language you speak, because this falls under the language of common decency (not to mention International Intellectual Property Right laws, and those I do know a little about).

Julie Ebersole is a remarkable woman, bright and insightful, creative and witty. She has written a concise, well-thought out post on just this matter. Please take the time to read it - it is quite educational.

Please, voice your support against the rampant copyright violations that are happening in our little craft corner of the world. Voice your support for kinder and gentler by asking permission before you take an image.


And so the crazy begins!

How is it that we all get so overwhelmed this time of year? I can't believe it has been almost a week since I've posted - I swear it was just yesterday! My Wizard has been getting a workout this week; in addition to my gallery projects for Spellbinders, I've been working on finishing my Christmas cards. I know I said on WCMD that I was going to use the PTI snowmen, but given my colored pencil phase lately, I went with this instead:


It uses the Lockhart Snow Tree with Birds. Here they are lined up and ready to go:



I plan on sending out the snow man cards that I've made to our friends that don't celebrate Christmas as a fun winter greeting.

So, I was also giving my Wizard a workout creating Holiday party invitations for my husband's office party. The sleigh is one of my favorite Spellbinders holiday dies - I love the filigree on it. The invitations are cut with this Accucut die and kept closed with a belly band. I used a little Anna Griffin paper to decorate the inside, and printed the information in red using my favorite font, Fling! I loved the way they turned out (now if I can just pull off the party as well as the invitations, LOL!).


Time for proud June Cleaver-esque moments. Our old school didn't do anything fun for the Honor Roll students (well, they didn't even call it Honor Roll). Our new school makes a BIG deal about it, and having never done this before, you can imagine my swelling pride. Beav not only made Honor Roll (whoo hoo, Beav!) but also received the Homework Star award and the Citizenship Award. Here he is going up for one of his awards:




Wally had a big choral concert, too. Three elementary schools in our part of the district, the middle school and the high school all joined together for a wonderful concert. Here he is dressed for his choral concert (yes, he's as big as I am!):


I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving. Enjoy your family and be well.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Holiday Gift Peek


It's my turn to blog at the Pursuit Of Craftyness blog today. I did a fun, inexpensive gift for teachers (or co-workers, or neighbors...) with some products from Papertrey Ink and Spellbinders. Head over and take a look!

I also wanted to let you know that Spellbinders has a new website! It's a really nice improvement and even has a blog. I think you will agree that the improvements look fantastic!

Be well.

Stamp your own Journaling cards


I've been working on some projects for the Spellbinders gallery, when INSPIRATION hit in a great way. How about creating your own journaling tags? In whatever color you have ink? You will love how simple this is!

First, I chose Spellbinders Labels One for my shape. Second, I stamped my lines. I used the Cornish Heritage Farms Lined Paper backgrounder. Determine where you want your die to cut, and use a little masking tape to hold your die in the perfect spot.



Next step? Create a foam stamp in a frame shape. All that entails is lining up your dies on the Spellbinders magnetic spacer plate like this:



With a piece of fun foam (whichever color you want - I tend to pick the color in my multi-pack that I'm least likely to use), die cut just as you would a piece of paper. Because Spellbinders dies and the Wizard are so unique, they have no problem cutting through this.



Using the cut frame, use a temporary/repositionable adhesive to allow you to adhere it to an acrylic block. Voila! You have your own frame stamp. Ink it up with the same color you stamped your lines with, line it up over the die cut and presto - your own custom journaling label!

See? Told you it was easy! Be well.

Monday, November 17, 2008

More on the Blackboard Technique

Thanks for the sweet comments on the last post! I'm really enjoying playing around with this technique that I learned from Karen Lockhart. I thought I would show you today how to jazz it up a little! First I want to introduce a newer product to you, Black Inchie Boards from Inchie Arts, LLC. They're fantastic inch by inch boards - they have a high cotton content, which makes them accept color unlike anything I've used before. I've been playing with them quite a bit lately and they're very unique!

OK, so I'm starting this the same way I started my last post, just stamping white pigment ink onto the black. Since it is almost Thanksgiving, I chose the Lockhart pie inchie. (It was an overcast day today, so some of the pics are little soft with the focus on the really close shots - but you get the idea!)


The next step is the same, too - adding white with my colored pencils. You'll notice that I started by only coloring in the 'pie filling'. It becomes very easy to lose your white stamped lines when adding so much white, so I like to section it off.


Here's where you start to add color. Choose what colored pencils you're going to use, then start with the lightest. For this pie, I knew I wanted to use Mineral Orange and Pumpkin Orange Prismacolor pencils; Mineral Orange is lighter, so I started with that:


Next I go in with the Pumpkin Orange and layer on top of the Mineral Orange. To add depth and interest, I didn't color it in completely, only in areas where I wanted to add the darker hue.


Filling done! Now on to the crust:






You can see that I did the same layering, first white, then Peach Beige, followed by Beige Sienna.

I wanted to add a little pizzazz to the pie slice, so I added Liquid Applique for the whipped cream. While it was wet, I added a tiny amount of glitter - then heated:




Final step - if you've been around this blog for a while, you will notice that I rarely leave my edges bare, and this little black Inchie is no exception. I added a small amount of white acrylic paint to the edges to finish it off:


Which leads to this!



I hope this process makes sense - I know I've made a few assumptions, so as always, if you have any questions, please let me know. Until next time, be well!