Friday, December 21, 2007

Blogger's Challenge 26 -- make it move! (oh and a confession, too!)

It is already Blogger's Challenge week #26 - a half-year of challenges already! These challenges are something I look forward to each week -- it is kind of nice having someone tell me what I need to do for a change : )

This week, our challenge was to "make it move." I toyed with several types of cards but what I really wanted to do was something I hadn't made in a while. So, here is my Christmas-themed "Make-it-Move" card.

"What?" You say? "Christmas? Uh, that is kind of a floral card."

Well so it is! I hadn't made these flip-tag cards (from the August 2006 version of the Technique Junkie Newsletter) for ages, so before I made my "final" card, I decided to practice. I dutifully pulled out scraps to make a card and grabbed the deer set to go with it. Well, after playing with it for a while (and kept adding and adding and adding), I decided that I really LIKED this practice card and that this was going to be my final version. So that is why my Christmas themed card is not Christmas themed! The card at the top is when the tag is pulled, and at the right is the card closed.
Okay, so here is the confession part.
This card is one big advantageous serendipity (also called a happy accident). I had stamped the "such a deer" saying on the green layer, under the top layer, but guess what? It was crooked (very very crooked!). What is a stamper to do? I put a layer of paper over that.
But shoot! The dang thing was too thick for the tag to close smoothly. So rip off that puppy! And, of course, the paper came with it. So what is a stamper to do? I pulled out a punch...punched the offending part right off, and stamped the saying again and the flowers with a stamp positioner this time (it takes me a while, but I do learn from my mistakes).
But shoot! The saying was too close to the bottom of the punched area. It looked off-balance. So what is a stamper to do? I added the ribbon! The ribbon is attached to the top layer only on the sides so that the top can close.
But shoot! That top layer looked strange just hanging out there! So let's put something on top of that! The circle stamp was just the thing.
And that is how my stamping advantageous serendipity after another.
So there you have it. My confession. I am the most imperfect stamper out there! I just stamp from one happy accident to another.
In any case, enjoy my Christmas themed move-it card.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

So woefully behind...

I may be way behind, but I am catching up (although I do have to go to the Post office today -- if you don't hear from me by Friday, send a rescue team)! Today I scanned ALL of the RAK and other cards that I have in my house. I really love these cards and wanto to share them with you! I created this slideshow of the cards I scanned --each person's name is on the card.

I also updated my own slideshow a bit -- it is at the end of all the posts. If you want to know when I update that slideshow, there is a bar at the top of the slideshoe "MORE" where you can sign up and you will be notified automatically when I make changes to the slideshow of my work.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Congratulations, Joyce Roth!

The winner of the first Artistic Outpost Blogger Give away is Joyce Roth! Congrats, Joyce!

Another give away will be posted shortly!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Blogger's Challenge -- Sympathy Cards

This week's Blogger's Challenge was to create a Sympathy Card. This was a easy- and a hard - challenge. I believe that sympathy cards should be simple, elegant, and not overworked. Sympathy cards, more than any other cards, are defined by what is INSIDE -- not what is outside. So my way of making sympathy cards is to create something soothing and elegant.

When my Mom passed a few years ago, I received hundreds of cards -- and although I was never able to scan and post them (they evoked too much emotion), I did look at them often and gained much comfort from the love and support they represented. Needless to say, I don't take sympathy cards lightly.

Hopefully today I have captured the soothing elegance I was striving for, The flower (from Stampin' Up!) on my card was stamped on acetate with a StazOn pad, then it was colored with Lumiere paint that was tinted with a smidge of Pearl Ex. I chose colors that matched the blue and green background -- which was made using the Watered Tintz technique from the December 2006 issue of the Technique Junkie Newsletter. This was layered on a thin edge of black, then layered again on a Metallic Explosion background (done on matte paper, to bring down the bling) from the August 2006 issue of the TJNL. This was then mounted on Turquoise, then on a very pale blue.

The verse is from Firecracker Designs by Pamela (the sympathy stamp set from this company is wonderful, and VERY affordable).

Hopefully I won't need to send this card out anytime soon.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

More Christmas Cards...

I am STILL working on Christmas cards -- or at least I was until a few hours ago! As of last weekend, I had made 55 -- I thought I had more than enough. Then I started to address the envelopes... I realized that I missed quite a few people, then the mail came all week and I realized I missed more than I thought! The final total is around 75 - so to the studio I went, determined to finally finish the adventure. And finish I did! I made two more cards, 12 of each, to top off the stash of cards. If more names come up, I will have to scrounge up some others from my swap and premade boxes...I am done making Christmas Cards!

Here is the first card I made today. It used the tree, star and snowflake from Hanna Stamps. I love the playful whimsy of these stamps, don't you? I paired these with a vertical verse stamp I bought yesterday for $1.00 (Studio G) when I bought my $45.00 Brilliance Pad (that story is below).

The tree was colored using the Gamsol Pearls technique from the June 2006 issue of the Technique Junkie Newsletter. The snow is texture paste with a dash of glitter, and the snowflakes behind the verse are glittered, too. The designer paper and the ribbon is from Stampin' Up!

Want to hear something funny? My DH really loves this card. It's funny because this is the paper that he HATES -- he doesn't like the color combination. Hmmm...he never noticed that it is the same designer paper!

The second card didn't scan well -- put it is very cheery! This 4" x 8" card is on shimmery card stock (the blue, purple and white are all shimmery). The snowmen stamp is from Stamps Happen (they were also found in my bag during the $45.00 Brilliance pad shopping trip). The fun shimmer behind the snowmen is the Oh-So-Fru-Fru technique from the August 2007 issue of the Technique Junkie Newsletter. "Rejoice" is a retired Stampin' Up! stamp.

So this is the count:
  • 15 Peace on Earth cards
  • 20 Snowman/Joy cards (I changed it from what is shown below)
  • 20 Sandy Claws cards (these took me FOREVER)
  • 12 Merry-Merry-Merry cards
  • 11 Rejoice cards
Okay, so why did I buy a $45.00 Brilliance Pad?
Well, I didn't, exactly : ) One of the TJ subscribers submitted a technique to me for consideration and I was trying it out on Monday. The recipe called for a Gold Brilliance Pad. My pad was REALLY dry, so I put it aside and tried the technique with a Copper Brilliance pad. The copper worked okay, but I could tell that the Technique would just POP with a gold pad. So Tuesday, I went to Michael's to get a re-inker or a pad. I have a bad history there...I always spend more than I intend. Luckily I don't ever have much time to shop!
To combat the spending issue, I decided to go to Michael's between other things I had to do on Tuesday, leaving myself a short window of time so that I couldn't browse too much... I mean, we are talking SHORT. I had about 10 minutes in the store to get what I needed and check out.
Well...the Brilliance Pad cost me $45.00. Dang, man, I just can't help myself! Lotsa dollar stamps, some storage (I am always running out of storage space, I wonder why???), and, of course, the accursed Brilliance Pad. All in 10 minutes. Holy cow, it is a good thing I didn't have more time!!! At least, I am certain that I am in good company -- chances are this happens to YOU too!
The technique was worth it, though...and I was right, gold was better than copper!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

How about a Give-away? I miss them!

Okay, I admit it. I miss the giveaways. The excitement. The thrill of reading your blog messages. Making the cards everyday (okay, so maybe that was hard LOL). So, I have an idea... Let's do it again! This time around, you have three days to enter -- from now until Friday at midnight -- and then on Saturday I will announce the winner and post a new Giveaway. Sound like fun?

Let's kick it off! I would like to introduce to you a fairly new stamping company called Artistic Outpost. Started by long-time Technique Junkie Robyn Sharp, these stamps are artistic, fresh and cool! They are just the type I love. I was lucky enough to receive some stamps from Robyn -- some for me and some for you! So let's get down to it. First, the card I made from today's stamp set uses the Faux Denim technique from the December 2007 issue of the Technique Junkie Newsletter. I just love this little cowboy!
For today's giveaway, you will receive the gorgeous unmounted stamp set above, plus the card above. The stamps are deeply etched and gorgeous -- all of Artistic Outpost's stamps are! Go take a look at the site when you are done entering the giveaway -- I am sure you can find something for your own Christmas list! Entry details are below. Tell Robyn I said "HI!"

ANYONE can enter. One entry per person, per daily give away please. To enter the give away for today, simply leave a comment on this blog entry telling me that you would like to enter by 11:59pm EST on Friday December 14th. No other entry methods will be included in the give away. If you email me to enter, your entry will NOT be considered a valid entry. When you leave the comment, make sure to put your NAME in the comment -- if you enter your comment as "Anonymous", I cannot give you the prize! Blogger does NOT record your email address for me, so you will need to check back to find out if you have won or include your email address in your comment so that I can notify you. I will have a random number generator pick one number from the comments to select one winner. Each give-away is separate, so to be eligible for a specific item you must enter that day's contest on the post where it is listed. Enter today -- good luck!

Congratulations to Joyce Roth, the winner of the stamps and card!

Friday, December 7, 2007

Bloggers Challenge -- Here Comes Sandy Claws...

Welcome to Friday! It's Blogger's Challenge day and it feels great to be back in the swing of things. Today's challenge was to Watercolor....and watercolor I did!

The crab was stamped, then masked, and the hat was stamped over it. Both were watercolored with Watercolor Pencils AND Watercolor Crayons, then layered on a red Nestibility scalloped square. I added a bit of liquid applique` to the hat and a bit of Crystal effects to the eyes to add interest.

The bottom (background) is a piece of white cardstock. Half was decorated with a Stampin' Up! Jumbo wheel, and the bottom was Cuttlebugged. I love how the coloring looks on the bottom! Here's it was done:

  1. I inked 1/2 of the Mesh Cuttlebug Embossing Folder with Cocoa ink (the bottom half, so the bumps were colored).
  2. I placed the paper face-down in the bug and only put 1/2 of the cardstock through the Bug. (This is an easy version of the Cuttlebug Smoosh Technique from the August 2007 Technique Junkie Newsletter).
  3. Then I added red and brown watercolor crayon colors with my aqua painter to get the multi-colored background under the bumps. Dry with a heat tool, and Viola` - instant interesting background!

To finish, I inked the edges of the white piece, added the torn Cool Carribean strip, added a velvet ribbon and layered the background on red and Caribbean paper before popping the crab piece with pop dots.

I hope you like it as much as I do!!! I may make more of these to add to my Christmas Card stash -- my DH keeps adding names to the list!

All Stamps (c)Stampin' Up!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

A couple of quick pages

I have been meaning to post these all week. These are two quick layouts that I made last Friday for my scrapbooks...

Easy pages, lots of pictures. I have been trying to use up my stuff...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Why is this so hard? My Christmas Card Adventure

I create about 500 unique cards a year. Seriously. So why do I find it so hard to design my own Christmas Cards? I think I put too much pressure on myself to make them a perfect representation of my style. Usually I am stymied by my own pressure. I almost invariably end up CASING cards from other people (or at least using them for inspiration)...

I also make 4 or so different cards -- some whimsical, some non-denominational, and some elegant (usually because I get bored making too many of one card!). My DH addresses the envelopes and fills out the inside sentiments, thankfully, so it is up to him to determine who gets which card. Oh, did I mention that my husband is a Creative Director with 20 artists who work for him that we send cards to? No pressure there, right?

This year I am a little behind the 8-ball. I have designed several cards, and I think I am happy with two or three of them. This one I know I am using (please ignore the "scanner blur" on the left of the piece):This card was basically inspired from a card from Karen Cielen. Her's is prettier than mine! I changed the colors, some of the stamps, and simplified my version a bit. This card is very elegant in real life. The red berries are glitter -- I just love the way it looks.
Okay, here is one I am NOT going to use:
It is just too Blah, don't you think?

...and this one -- My DH likes this for our whimsy card. It was inspired by something my friend Dee Ruger made (hi Dee!). I like it because I can whip these out! I have to re-work the ribbons a bit, but you get the idea. It is sparkly IRL.

Then there is this one:This was done using the Dry Embossed Wash Technique from the December '07 TJNL. I love this technique and I really like this card -- I am still pondering this one to make it even better.

Also, I have this one:

I really like this one, too. It is done using the Technicolor Dye Ink Technique from the Newsletter -- I think the bling is the perfect balance with the soft background and the strong snowflakes. (Did I mention that I LOVE snowflake stamps? I have tons of them!).

Okay, finally, here is another NO GO:

DH just simply hates the colors. He asked me to change out the green...uh, that would be a little tough since it is designer paper!!!! (I thought it was too simple anyway).

Okay, now you see my quandary this year. Only one card I really really love (okay, too -- I like the Noel card, too). I need help! Anyone have any sensational cards I can CASE? Please?

Oh well, back to the drawing board tomorrow...

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Pastel Detailing & Technique Development

I'm sorry for the crooked picture! It looks a bit skewed...but I think you probably get the right idea.

Fall is one of my favorite seasons -- at least it is in the top four ; ) This stamp by I Brake for Stamps was just made for fall colors, and since I didn't stamp much in November, I am catching up! The technique used on this card is Pastel Detailing from the December issue of the Technique Junkie Newsletter. Although the technique works best on highly detailed stamps, I love the way the color was so easy to apply using the technique. I really like the subtle shading!

This was the first time I tried the jumbo eyelets from Stampin' Up!, too. I still don't have the settings down for setting them with my Crop-a-Dile, and really struggled putting them in. I need to play with these more!

Next week I get to create! Now that the December issue is mailed, I have two more techniques to put to pictures for the February newsletter -- then I can go into "sample-making-frenzy" mode. I love the first week after the newsletter is mailed more than any other week! I usually start with a few techniques in my file to put into tutorials, then I just start to play -- putting together different ideas I have floating in my head....trying out one thing with another...and new techniques are born.

As I am creating, I pump out tons of backgrounds and unfinished pieces all at once, then make 25 to 50 cards or so over the course of the week to create samples. The hardest part of all this is not being able to scan and share them with anyone else!

I have some more things to post for tomorrow that I did yesterday, and a scrapbook page to share, too. I also need to make my Christmas Cards, so you may see those in a day or so, too....

Have a nice weekend!