Tuesday, July 31, 2007

One Fish, Two Fish ...

This latest adventure started yesterday evening, when I was trying to get more prepared for my Open House on Sunday, but instead I was distracted by a most excellent post on SCS, and Creative Avoidance set in once again.

The SCS post was (to use a Jan Tink phrase) stinkin' cute, so I had to CASE it immediately. The original SCS post can be found here, and she directs you here for the instructions on how to fold the fish. My creations are a combination of the two cards. I have to say, this is one of the cleverest uses for Stampin' Up!'s Round Tab punch I have seen yet.

First, I visually scanned my nearby, ever-present scrap pile, and grabbed some Blue Bayou, Basic Gray, Certainly Celery, and Apricot Appeal. The only non-SU items on this guy are the googlie eyes.

The seaweed is made from punches using the Horizontal Slit punch (CASEd idea). LOTS of gluing, but I really like the look.

I used the Alpha Bits set, stamped with SU's Basic Gray (my new favorite SU neutral color!) on the same color as the base card. The CASEd card used the same color as the background, but I thought the Basic Gray was a little too dark. She also used UTE powder on the bubbles, and I considered using Crystal Effects, but I decided not to in the end. Word of caution: Select a short phrase if you plan to make more than one of these puppies...my hand is feeling the effects of all that punching!

Now that I look at it, this entire card is punched! What was I thinking?!

Recipe (All Stampin' Up! except for the eyes): Stamps - Alpha Bits; Card stock - Apricot Appeal, Blue Bayou, Basic Gray, Certainly Celery; Ink - Basic Gray; Accessories- Round Tab Punch, 1/4 inch punch, Horizontal Slit punch, black marker, Two-Way Glue Pen, bone folder, googlie eyes.

I wanted to use non-In Colors, just to show I could do it, so the rest of these use Brocade Blue, Bashful Blue, Apricot Appeal and Certainly Celery.

Also, these next two are all-SU since I used the punches to make eyes to replace the googlie eyes. This is basically the same as the first one, just with different colors, and I inked the edges of the punches with Pumpkin Pie ink.

As I was setting the punched eyes in glue, I thought it would be sooo easy to make expressions on their faces - like rolling eyes, etc. Just a passing thought, in case any of you reading this want to 'twist' the idea a bit. ;-)

This version uses the leaf and stem from Bodacious Bouquet instead of the punches to make the seaweed. MUCH easier on the old hands!

I tried to make the bubbles look like air bubbles coming out of their mouthes...talkative little buggers, aren't they...

[No, I am still at Blogger's mercy as far as how the spacing works, so scroll, please ....]

These last two samples incorporate the Cuttlebug Bubble Embossing Folder. Hey, I just had to try it! I think I really like it as a background, but I had to cut back on the speech bubbles as it was busy enough already. Fortunately, the smaller phrase was MUCH easier to punch, too. ;-) I included a blank bubble for the other fish so it looked like they were breathing...what can I say.

So for mass production, this will not be my first choice - too much punching! But I can certainly see the potential for twisting it up a bit with the flexiblity in phrases, eye placement. and even fish placement. As I was typing that last photo description, my mind wandered to a fish floating upside down...is that sick, or what?!?!?!

Well, I guess I'll go hang up the SU-only samples for my Open House and consider this a successful evening. Off to play some more, but I am done with the fish (for tonight.)

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Friday, July 27, 2007

Kit samples

My road trip is finished, and I am back in home-body mode. I decided to unpack my Stampin' Up! Three Thoughts Simply Sent Kit and take photos of the cards I made while on the road.

But first, here is a card I made just before I left. I was doing a wrapping paper purge (you know, in a Good Mom moment when your kids sell wrapping paper as a fund raiser for school and they are too young to go door-to-door in the neighborhood - like 3 & 4 years old! - and you buy a LOT of paper to help them out and you do this for years and years...) and I found a bunch of really pretty tissue paper amongst all the wrapping paper...it was too pretty to give away!

This card is what came out of my attempt to justify putting the tissue paper in the small 'keep' pile. I broke out my new lower-case 't' stamp and my new Pretties Kit, too. I clear-embossed the 't' on Groovy Guava, then cut it out. I stamped the flourish from the Baroque Motifs set, but it got mostly covered up by the layers. I'd use it again, but move it out to the edges some so it shows!

Recipe (All but the tissue paper by Stampin' Up!): Stamps - Baroque Motifs, Artfully Asian; Card stock - Groovy Guava, Ballet Blue, Whisper White; Ink - Versamark, Groovy Guava; Accessories - Groovy Guava 'marker', Gold Cord, Pretties Kit; Misc tissue paper.

Next are the cards I made while on my road trip. All I had with me were the Three Thoughts Simply Sent Kit and some paper snips.

These first two were made following the samples and directions provided with the kit. I think they came out very nice! And they would be sooo easy for a beginning stamper, or someone who just wanted to make a bunch of quick cards.

The rest of these are the result of me playing with the provided materials. The kit also comes with some Whisper White card stock, but since I did not have my paper cutter with me, I did not use any, yet.

There are some materials left, so I'll use 'em up and publish the results some other time.

[Once again, I have failed to understand how Blogger aligns these things ....I gave up trying.]

Right now I need to break out more of my new stuff and start playing! I have an Open House and a series of workshops planned for early August, and not a clue in site.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

On The Road

I took off this week for a much-overdue visit to the MidWest to see my Family. As I planned my escape from the DC weather (Hazy, Hot & Humid), I pondered living through a whole week without stamping...Aaaaaaaugh!!! Especially after such a recent influx of new SU stuff to my tiny condo. I was in pain.

Then I had a brilliant idea! In a Good Demo moment, with my last order of must-haves from the Stampin' Up! catalog I had broken down and ordered a Kit. You know, those self-contained, everything-you-need-in-a-box kits for card-making. I thought - YAY! Just pack that puppy and you're all set! I threw in a pair of snips, and off I went!

I chose the Three Thoughts set because I loved the sentiments (yes, I am still mourning the loss of AYC 1 & 2...). Now that I have it in my hot little hands, I really love the sentiments! Actually I love the whole kit! Die-cut stamps, pre-cut and pre-scored cards, cool stickers and chip-board for embellishing... man, do I sound like a commercial for SU or what?!?!?

Up until today, I have been busy visiting and driving, which is a good thing; after all, Family is the most important thing ... just above stamping. ;-) But I had planned a down day, so this is it! I plan to break out the Kit and play this afternoon. If I get time, I'll rig up the camera and post my creations. If not, I'll tackle that when I return this weekend.

By the way, the weather in Michigan right now is a blessing compared to DC. It is very breezy and in the 70's, I think. Sweet! Also, I did give a short bow of reverence as I passed what I believe is Jan TInk's side of town...I-75 Northbound from Ohio into Michigan. I kept driving, though, past scenic Downtown Detroit (pronounced Day-Twa) to the Northern burbs where I am staying. It was a very solemn moment to think I was almost in her presence. I think I felt some vibes just being in the same STATE!!!!! I am humbled.

Off to play!

Friday, July 20, 2007

Creative Pressure Cooker

This week has been NUTS! I had an ordering frenzy with Stampin' Up! last week, and between my workshop, my Consistency Counts incentive, my Great Rewards redemption, and the new Love Notes I simply HAD to have, well, let's just say it has been a veritable Christmas in July here! I have had packages delivered to my door - sometimes multiples! - every day this week! I loooove being a Stampin' Up! Demo!

Now add to that excitement the latest shipment of Belly Flops that arrived Thursday night, and I was in heaven! (I should get a commission from this place, or at least a discount!)

But back to stamping. I live to stamp these days. I cannot wait to come home from work and play, especially now that I have all this NEW STUFF! I have all these ideas of what I can do with all this NEW STUFF, but apparently no time to actually play.

Part of this week was dedicated to a Beginner's workshop for three co-workers. This was originally scheduled for last Tuesday, because it immediately followed my Sunday workshops, and it was very easy for me to leave everything set up for a Tuesday session. But car trouble ensued (not mine, thankfully), and we had to postpone until this week. I am NOT whining about having the workshop - not one bit! (It was really a lot of fun!) What I am whining about is the pressure having to keep everything set up and CLEAN for a whole week! It was sheer torture! Well, in truth it lasted about 3 hours, as I took that cancelled workshop window last Tuesday and STAMPED! I covered most surfaces in minutes, and had to clean frantically before this week's workshop. Truly sad.

I did manage to do a card for this week's SCS Sketch Challenge. I thought it would be a most excellent opportunity to use up the wide ribbons from last year's SU Ribbon Originals I bought in a Good Demo moment. Now that the ribbons are retired, I am trying to use them up.

So this card is my entry for the Sketch Challenge. When I bought these ribbons, I loved the classic colors, but I never figured out how to use the wide ribbons except as a layer or a small piece of trim. ANYway, I thought it was perfect for this layout. As a fellow stamper commented to me this evening - looks kinda military. Yeah, I guess it does!

Recipe (All products by Stampin' Up!): Stamps - All About U, Circle of Friendship, Flannel bg; Card Stock - Always Artichoke, Basic Black, Really Rust, Whisper White; Ink - Really Rust, Basic Black; Accessories - Vintage Brads, 1 1/4" circle punch, 1" circle punch, 1/2" circle punch, Linen thread, Rhinestone brad, Copper circle tags.

This next card is really a gift from two of my new victims...er, I mean stamp customers. ;-) After the Beginner workshop on Tuesday (and a very nice order - thank you!), I promised to show them how to mount stamps. So today I took this set in to work and we had a lunch-time stamp-mounting session. Two bennies came of this effort: (1) I eliminated any fears they had about the stamp-mounting process, and (2) my whole set is mounted! (Thank you RH & JK!) So all the way home from work today I was planning my first card with this set, and this is what came out.

I think it is FAB-ulous. ;-) It was inspired by several samples posted on SCS. I had always thought to stamp the flower somehow with good contrast between it and the background card stock, but when I saw how someone had white-embossed it on black, I was sold! The center part of the flower did not come out too well in the photo, but it is clear-embossed Versamark on Purely Pomegranate, cut out, and then I went back with the black marker and colored in between the petals and around the edges. It has a black brad in the center, and is attached with a Dimensional for some depth. The red added the little splash of color the card needed. I think I am really going to like the possibilities with this set!

Recipe (All products by Stampin' Up!): Stamps - Fabulous Flowers; Card Stock - Soft Sky, Basic Black, Purely Pomegranate; Ink - Versamark, Basic Black; Accessories - Vintage Brads, White EP, Dimensionals.

Then I made myself use the new Rosie's Roadshow stamps that jumped off the shelf and into my arms while I was in the local stamp store yesterday. This card is my Ode to Washington, DC, Summers. If I could figure out how to depict the humidity level where you start sweating the moment you step outside, and your clothes are stuck to you before you even get to your car ... do you get the picture? So you can see that when I saw this Polar Bear, I had to have him! Especially since I immediately saw the Fan and the sentiment on the neighboring shelf. (Do you think it is a conspiracy that they do this to us?) I thought of the A Muse small oval I had at home which had yet to see ink, and a sale was made! I actually had this whole card in my head before I left the store, and just now had the chance to put ink to paper. I love him!

Recipe: Stamps - Oval by A Muse; Sun, Bear, Fan and sentiment by Rosie's Roadshow; Card stock - SU Whisper White, Soft Sky and Soft Sky Designer Paper; Ink - SU Soft Skyand Basic Black; Accessories - SU Ticket Corner punch, SU Mini Glue Dots (popping up the bear a bit), Blender Pen Soft Sky "marker", Basic Black marker, sponge.

This moose ... well, the moment I saw him in my first rampage through the new SU catalog, I knew he would be mine. As is my nature, I "see" a stamp on a card, but when I get the stamp in my hands, I tend to get half-way and then get stuck and stop. I played with this guy for two evenings before this card came out.

In one of my earlier attempts to get him 'brown enough' I inked him with Chocolate Chip Craft ink and embossed him with clear EP, and he was very brown, but his teenie tiny eyes disappeared with all the embossing, so I bagged that idea. I decided that he worked best when well-inked with regular Chocolate Chip ink and stamped on Whisper White.

I am really liking the Outlaw Designer papers, and I am not a 'Western' gal - at all! I think the patterns and colors are very nice; they are subtle, and they lend themselves to a lot of possible uses. I will probably have to get more. Oh, darn!

Recipe (All products by Stampin' Up!): Stamps - Moose You; Card Stock - Kraft, Really Rust, Very Vanilla, Outlaw Designer Series paper; Ink - Chocolate Chip, Really Rust, Versamark; Accessories - Chocolate Chip Taffeta ribbon.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

One Stamp, Four Cards

In my last gasp of energy for the weekend, I tried the One Stamp, Many Cards idea using the new Stampin' Up! Happiness background stamp. That is the real reason I bought it (read: justification), so I might as well give it a shot.

I first tried to color it with markers, but that was a disaster. Not gonna post the results of that effort.

I then tried the new In Color ink pads - too juicy, and they stamped really wet and dried funny on the Whisper White card stock. I'll wait until they have experienced a few more workshop sessions before I try them again.

Then I tried my old faithful Certainly Celery, which has certainly seen better days. It worked the best of all of the ink pads, so off I went to create.

First, I must say this stamp has way more solid image sections than I originally thought, and they do not take ink well...that may be the 'too wet' problem I had with the In Color inks. I should probably rough up those sections a bit and try again.

Even with the Certainly Celery ink pad, the solid-er parts stamped kind of mottled-looking, which is fine if you like that sort of thing, but it is not what I was going for.

Anyway, here we go...

This is card #1, and I used just the flower section of the stamp. I chose this particular color combination from the SU Web site. A few weeks (or maybe months) ago SU had Not Quite Navy on the background of their Web site, with Celery and Orange accents, and I LOVED it. So that's where the idea came from.

Recipe (All products by Stampin; Up!): Stamps - Happiness bg, Curvy Verses; Card stock - Certainly Celery, Not Quite Navy, Pumpkin Pie, Whisper White; Ink - Certainly Celery, Not Quite Navy; Accessories - Navy gg ribbon, Pumpkin Pie marker.

This is card #2, using another section of the Happiness stamp. I used the same colors as #1 since they were out and I am lazy. I stuck with the same, predictable 'me' card, layering it (almost straight, too!) and this time I added the Pumpkin as stripes behind the layered image.

I think it is missing something, maybe a sentiment, but most of my sentiments retired :-( and I have not replenished my supply yet.

Recipe (All products by Stampin; Up!): Stamps - Happiness bg; Card stock - Certainly Celery, Not Quite Navy, Pumpkin Pie, Whisper White; Ink - Certainly Celery; Accessories - Pumpkin Pie marker.

On to card #3, which used the floral and striped sections of the image. I did my usual layering with the same colors (I am SO lazy), but wanted to do something a little bit different, so I focused on the background. I noticed the circles of dots in the stamped image, and reached for the circle of dots in the new Think Happy Thoughts set. Subtle, but not boring, and it pulled everything together.

I added the Happy Birthday from the new All Holidays stamp set - but I sure do miss All Year Cheer 1 & 2! :-(

Recipe (All products by Stampin; Up!): Stamps - Happiness bg, All Holidays, Think Happy Thoughts; Card stock - Certainly Celery, Not Quite Navy, Pumpkin Pie, Whisper White; Ink - Certainly Celery, Not Quite Navy; Accessories - Pumpkin Pie marker.

And last, but not least, card #4, in which *gasp* I used a different color for the card base! Actually, I did try to sneak some Pumpkin Pie in there, but it looked better without it.

This card uses the top strip of the Happiness image. The words are a little multi-colored from where I did not clean the stamp well enough from one of the darker ink stamping attempts prior to settling on Celery. I think it adds a certain je ne sais qua, don'tcha think? During a workshop, I'd say, "I meant to do that."

I have seen many samples on SCS using the scalloped edge and eyelets, and I LOVE the look! Now that I seem to be getting the hang of my Crop-A-Dile, it is really easy, too. [I have a pink Crop-A-Dile, pre-SU offering, so I have had practice...I just tend to mangle the eyelets.] The fiber tied in the two eyelets is a piece of selvege edge from the Navy gg ribbon.

I think I will call this my Fusion Card. Where else would you find Argyle, smoke whisps (or is that dust) from a Western set, and a sentiment from an Asian set? If you do not think too much about it, I think it will pass muster. [I really miss AYC 1 & 2 ....I sooo need some good sentiments.]

Recipe (All products by Stampin; Up!): Stamps - Happiness bg, Bronc Buster, Artfully Asian; Card stock - Not Quite Navy, Whisper White; Paper - Certainly Celery from the Palette Of Prints; Ink - Certainly Celery, Not Quite Navy; Accessories - Navy gg ribbon, Brilliant Blue eyelets, Crop-A-Dile.

I am sure I will try this again, especially since my Customers like the idea, so I'd best start practicing for a future workshop. Once I get the inking down on the solid parts of the stamp, I'll try making white-based cards to see if I can get that to work.

More new stuff!

More playing with my new shipment of Stampin' Up! stuff. This one uses more of the Outlaw Designer Series papers...I thought it went really well with our Kraft card stock. I like the subtle patterns of the DS paper in that they provide a nice canvas for other layers without overwhelming them.

The popped-up image was punched with the new SU scallop punch from the reverse side of the main DS paper. The image fit almost perfectly into the scallop opening!

I used the SU Word Window punch as a - word window! Someone on SCS mentioned our Word Window punch fit perfectly over the words that come with this stamp, and this allows you to put in whatever word YOU want. Too cool! I thought the word 'friend' looked a bit lonesome, so I added the brads.

The double-stitched gg ribbon is SU's new River Rock. I like how it 'goes' with other colors.

Recipe (all products from SU): Stamps - Bronc Buster; Card stock - Kraft, Very Vanilla; Ink - Choc Chip; Paper - Outlaw DS paper; Accessories - Scallop punch, Word WIndow punch, Ticket corner punch, River Rock double-stitched gg ribbon, brads.

These two cards are the same except for two things. (1) One uses Real Red and one uses Ruby Red, and (2) The one on the left has a flower stamped on it to cover up a background schmear boo-boo.

This one started out as an opportunity to showcase our new Cerise Designer Series papers. When I cut the panels, I had a 2-inch piece left over, and it accidentally flipped over to reveal the red dotted side. I really liked the look, so I cut it in half and made it look like I'd planned it all along!

I had originally used Cream gg ribbon on the dotted part, but it went a little too well - to the point where it was almost a yawner. That is when I lost control of the project and delved into the land of Basic Gray.

It all started innocently enough. I had always planned to use the 'find joy' stamped in red on Very Vanilla, and layer it on red horizontally. But then I got the idea that the Going Gray would look FABulous with the red, so I punched out the sentiment with the scallop punch (it just fit) and tried the Gray square under it. That was when I decided the Gray ribbon would look better than the Cream, as it would tie it all together.

THEN, the background was boring - it needed something. Instead of a few brads or eyelets, I went for a bold background. This bg was just sitting on my craft table (aka: Dining Room table), waiting for Tuesday's workshop, so I looked at it and thought, "Hmmm, I think those circles match the dotted circles in this paper.", and I think they do! The rest, as they say, was history.

Recipe (All products by Stampin' Up!): Stamps - On the Spot bg, Polka Dots & Paisley; Card Stock - Real Red, Ruby Red, Basic Gray, Very Vanilla; Ink - Basic Gray, Real Red, Ruby Red; Accessories - Scallop punch, Basic Gray taffeta ribbon.

The idea for this last card was triggered by a recent SCS challenge to use reverse masking. I tried that first, and cut out the oval frame. It was too much work, and I would never ask anyone to duplicate it, so I went to Plan B.

First I stamped the oval on the Vanilla strip of card stock, then I covered the stamped image with another piece that I had labored to cut out earlier, then I stamped the Linen background over it all. Next, I placed a mask over everything but the center of the frame (another previously-stamped frame with just the middle cut out of it) and stamped the flower image.

I had made markers in the new In Colors with Blender Pens and re-inkers, and that's what I used to color the parts of the flowers before they were stamped.

Since I am good at getting part way through a card and then getting stuck, I got stuck. It needed something, but what that something was, I could not figure out. The Vanilla panel originally fit the short 4 1/4 inch side of the card. I thought to layer it on Wasabi, but then that was boring, too. Such a 'me' card.

Soooo, I thought to add the layered punched ovals. This not only added a bit of pop to the card, but I think it also pulled the three colors together. I decided to just hack them off at the end of the vanilla instead of folding them to the back side. The layers are much smoother this way. I did find, however, that the brads were not holding it in place any more (I had spinning oval parts!), so I un-did the brads and put some snail under them to hold the little buggers in place.

Now that the piece was too big to fit the shorter side of the card, I turned it and was then faced with how to fill the gap between the oval and the edge of the card. I forced myself to cut into my new Wild Wasabi double-stitched grosgrain ribbon. I just used a little piece on each side and cut it off at the edge of the card.

Lastly (if you are still reading, thank you!), I broke open my new All Holidays sentiments and used the 'thank you' to finish the card.

Recipe (All products form Stampin' Up!): Stamps - Label Classics, Garden Silhouettes, All Holidays, Linen bg; Card stock - Purely Pomegranate, Wild Wasabi, Very Vanilla; Ink - Sahara Sand, Basic Gray; Accessories - In Color 'markers' (blender pens + reinkers), sm & lg oval punches, brads, Wild Wasabi double-stitched grosgrain ribbon.

Phew! Off to play with the Happiness background stamp. I have a theory that I can color it with many markers, or stamp it in multiple colors, and by cutting it into strips, get a whole workshop out of one stamp! My Customers like the idea, and they have been asking for an All White Card Base workshop, so I'll let you know how well this works. ;-)

New Stuff!

I spent most of last night in front of the b00b tube mounting my new Stampin' Up! stamps. LOVE 'EM! This is my first card with the new stuff - it uses the Bronc Buster stamp set and the Oulaw Designer Series Paper.

I really like how the SU Designer papers coordinate with our card stock. Here I used Creamy Caramel, the new Basic Gray, and Really Rust. The circle in the upper right corner is punched out of the DS paper (it fit perfectly in our 1 3/8 inch circle punch!), and the star us cut out of the pattern on the reverse side. The circle is held together with a brad and popped up on a Dimensional.

I looked long and hard for an appropriate sentiment, and ended up using one of the Warm Words with the new Basic Gray ink.

I think it could use some more brads for balance somewhere, but I am afraid to keep adding to it; and anyway, I want to MOVE ON to more new stuff!

Off to play now!

Recipe (All products by SU): Card stock - Creamy Caramel, Basic Gray, Realy Rust, Very Vanilla; Paper - Outlaw DS paper; Ink - Close to Cocoa, Really Rust, Basic Gray; Ticket Corner Punch; brad.

Friday, July 13, 2007

The Paper Chase

I love paper...all kinds of paper, and I have a TON of it. But do I have enough? Never! Why, just last week I was dragged, kicking and screaming, to a local paper store.

Truth be told, a few co-workers had planned an outing to The Paper Source in Georgetown and I begged to go along. Two of them are working on pre- and post-wedding projects, and I, um, well, I needed paper, ya know?

I did set a limit for myself. You see, the last time I went on a similar field trip, I came home with a bunch of must-have papers. And these are not those puny 12x12 sheets. No, siree! They are 'parent' sheets. Here is the definition of a parent sheet from about.com: "Standard parent sheet sizes are 17x22, 19x25, 23x35, and 25x38 (North American sheet sizes) or A2, A1, and A0 (ISO sheet sizes)." See? BIG! Since most of the parent sheets I had to have last time are still neatly rolled in their bag in which they followed me home, I told myself I'd go on this field trip adventure, but NO PARENT SHEETS! Only 12x12 sheets allowed.

Broke that rule as soon as I walked in the door. Although I must say I did show amazing restraint, for me, and only bought three sheets. Two of them match the new Stampin' Up! In Colors, which was my justification for their purchase. I did pick up a few, okay maybe 10, 12x12 sheets of card stock, too, plus a few - a FEW - embellishments, including the amazingly hard-to-find gold gel pens. What's up with that, anyway? Who's buying all of them that I cannot find them anywhere?

Back to the topic at hand. So I bought three parent sheets and made myself USE them before I put them away. Imagine that - USE paper. HAHA! I hoard, I do not USE. But since I was looking for more creative avoidance last week, this was perfect! (BTW, I finally did cut up cardstock and make the workshop kits, though it was late Saturday. ;-).

So here are the three papers I got:

Love 'em! Following is what came out of that must-use-it session.

[Now this is where Blogger and I butt heads ... sorry about this silly spacing issue. Scroll, please, to continue.]

This first card uses a paper that literally screamed Groovy Guava and Wild Wasabi to me. I think it goes quite well!

Recipe: SU card stock - Groovy Guava, Wild Wasabi, Very Vanilla; non-SU paper; Marvy oval punches; A Muse sentiment; CHF bg; SU ink - Groovy Guava, Wild Wasabi; misc. ribbon.

This next paper looked like Groovy Guava and "one of our greens"...I chose Old Olive, but Garden Green might work well, too.

One of my flaws (and yes, I have many), is the inability to complete a card once I match the papers. I've had the paper laid out on this one for a week, unable to figure out what to put ON the paper. Sigh. Just tonight I ended up with four circles, all the same size. I punched the Vanilla one with the 1/4 inch square punch to make the 'teeth', then layered it onto the Old Olive circle. The two Cranberry circles are just stuck on the back, offset a bit.

Recipe: SU card stock - Very Vanilla, Cranberry Crisp, Old Olive; non-SU paper; SU ink - Sahara Sand; CHF bg; Prima flower dyed in Cranberry Crisp reinker + water; misc brads.

This last one is not an In Color, but it does have the Fleur de Lis, which seems to be a theme for me this year. It lends itself well to 'manly' cards. I used Night of Navy, which I do not use nearly as much as I should, and I got to incorporate one of my many must-have Fleur de Lis punches. I kinda like how it turned out.

Recipe: SU card stock - Confetti Cream, Night of Navy; non-SU paper; Fleur de Lis punch; SU Cream gg ribbon.

I struggled a bit with this one, because the background of the Fleur de Lis paper is more of a creamy color - yellower than our Very Vanilla and whiter than our Barely Banana. Now my new mission, of course, is to find the perfect card stock to go with this paper. Naturally, this means a field trip to Recollections, home of Everything Scrapbooking, and more! I can get lost in there for hours. Maybe I'll save myself and make do with the Confetti Cream, ya think?

See, I can actually dip into the hoard and use it, sometimes. Based on the condition of my Craft (Storage) room, I have a loooong way to go! Maybe when I get my act together I'll host a Stop Hoarding contest. Some day ...

This was just my first pass with these papers - there is so much potential, I must use them some more! But for now, my first shipment of new Stampin' Up! goodies arrived today, and I just unpacked the box. YUM! Off to mount the stamps and get a-playin'!

Friday, July 6, 2007

The Man Pack

I have alluded to the Man Pack in my last two posts...now for The Reveal. As I continue on my path of creative avoidance (not making the kits for Sunday's workshops), I decided to complete the cards for these packs for Saturday's market in the hopes I might actually sell one.

The Man Pack is not my idea. It was posted on SCS by someone, maybe even associated with Stampin' Up!. The idea was to make a box of cards for the man in your life to remove all excuses about him 'forgetting' to get you a card for those important days like your Birthday, Valentine's Day, your Anniversary, etc. I took it a step further and included a handy calendar.

Now for Show-and-Tell. This first shot is my Man Pack box.

The cover is covered (not punny) with a piece of 'manly' scrapbook paper. I used a thin piece so it was easy to work with. Here it is a subtle brown pattern. I printed the tag on the computer, punched it out with a scallop punch, and made the belly band out of coordinating card stock.

Next I made the calendar. The striped piece on top is the cover that opens up to reveal the calendar, which is the next photo.

[Apologies in advance for my inability to get Blogger to space these things correctly ...]

This is the calendar open. I printed it on my computer; each month is like a small piece of notebook paper, with a place to write in the day and the event. I provided a little help by showing them Valentine's Day is February 14th, and Mother's Day is in May.

Not sure if you noticed, but I punched two 1/2 inch circles out of the same brown cardstock as the belly band, attached them to the top and side of the cover with eyelets, and added a tie to keep the calendar closed. Very manly, I thought.

This last photo is the collection of cards I made. They include I'm Sorry (the most important one!), Happy Birthday, Mother's Day (hiding on the bottom right), and three Love You theme cards that cover Valentine's Day, Anniversary, and any old other time he feels compelled to tell you he loves you.

That's 6 occasions each year he should now not forget.

Who might buy these, you ask? Good question! I would think the guy could buy them if he is in the doghouse, or expects to be if he misses another 'important' day. More likely, though, I can see the woman buying it, filling in all the dates, then presenting it as a gift. Or hiding it in his briefcase as a not-so-subtle hint!

Assuming any sell, I have decided to stick with the same 6 designs for this year, then change them next year. I also plan to sell refill packs, and I have included a re-order form in the lid of the box.

So that's the Man Pack. I'll let you know if I sell any!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

The Anatomy of a Marker

What, you might ask, is she talking about?!?! Today's lesson is actually the next phase of my creative avoidance effort ... I still have not cut that card stock for Sunday's workshop kits. Saturday night is looking like the time this might finally get done!

Today's distraction occured while I was waiting for the furnace/heat-pump service guy to show up and do the Spring maintenance. Yeah, I know, it's July, but I had the Fall service done in January, so I am right on schedule.

Back to the story. In the 3+ years of my Stampin' Up! Demoship, nothing ordered has ever arrived broken or damaged in any way. Thus my surprise when a marker arrived in my last shipment and it was fractured - the end had snapped clean off.

SU immediately shipped me a replacement and graciously allowed me to keep the massacred one. I took this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to examine the anatomy of the marker, and thought I'd share my findings here. C'mon, you know you're curious!

Most markers, both SU and other brands, have two ends - one thick (the brush) and one thin (like a pencil point). If you store your markers vertically, the end on top dries out, so I store mine flat. I'd always assumed this drying-out thing was because of a shared reservoir of ink, and the top end was just ink-deprived. In fact, leaving it level for a while would usually bring the dry end back to life. Well, now we know that shared reservoir thing is true, but I'd never pictured it quite like this.

I am not sure what I DID expect, but this looks totally cool.

First, we have the marker re-assembled. It looks normal enough. But wait ... check out that left end! It is not really attached - just cleverly set next to the rest of the marker to give you the idea of what it should look like. In reality - it is snapped right off!

[Since Blogger won't let me put my pics where *I* want them, or maybe I should say since I have not learned how to accomplish this in Blogger (closer to the truth, I imagine), I have lined them up to the left. You might have to do a little scrolling...]

Now look at the tip that is broken off. It has a pointy thing that sticks into the reservoir. The reservoir is that orange thing poking out of the right side of the opening.

Next I pulled out the reservoir, and it is like a squishy tube (a technical term, I am sure!)

Here is a close-up of the end of the tube, and the hole that takes the pointy thing from the now broken-off top. There is a hole in each end of the tube.

Hmmm, I thought. If this thing is truly a reservoir, I wonder if the end could be un-screwed and the reservoir re-inked? If so, these things could live forever! I tried to un-screw the good end, but no luck. Bummer.

Just for grins, I tried the brush end of the mangled marker, and it works! My Customers and I should be grateful this thing did not spew all over the rest of the very valuable stuff in that shipment. Can you imagine schmeared, stained rubbah? Oh, perish that thought!

So now that I have the blog entry out of the way, I think I'll go finish my Man Packs for Saturday's Farmer's Market. I'll post that when I get them done.

Thanks for scrolling this far. ;-)

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Catching up on the To Do list

Ah, the To Do list. Nothing about fixing up, or cleaning up, the condo - no way...that is a TOTALLY separate list! I am talking about the stamping-related To Do list that I make every year and never get to. I target that down-time in the craft-show world between January 1st and April or May, when, in theory, I am house-bound evenings and weekends and should be able to focus. Right.

Living in a tiny condo has its good points and bad points. The good points include being affordable and easy-to-clean. The bad points include only one bathroom, no third bedroom to dedicate to crafts, and too much stuff to fit inside the four walls. Thus, again in theory, I should be really organized to be able to maximize the available space. Oh, that is sooo funny.

I am really a very organized person, though you could not tell that by looking at my desk at work, or at my work table here at home. But do not touch that pile o'stuff - I know where everything is!

So one of the things on my list was to create an inventory of all my Stampin' Up! sentiment stamps. I found myself saying I knew I had a Hello stamp but could never remember what set it was in. My solution - inventory them. Not all the stamps, just the sentiments. Here it is, July 4th, and I finally got to it. Actually it is more like creative avoidance, since I should be cutting card stock for this weekend's workshops.

In what I call a Good Demo moment, I ordered the 5x5 Journal from a recent Mini Catalog so my customers could touch-and-feel it. I have seen so many good ideas on SCS using the journal that I thought, "Some day ...".

After 70+ of my sets retired this year, and my stamp-set inventory dwindled to a manageable number, I thought it would be an excellent time to do that inventory. My new stuff has not arrived yet, so in theory (there it is again) this should be easy.

I grabbed the 5x5 journal and laid out A Plan. I'd use retired 12x12 card stock from one of my many Must-Have packs o'card stock, then make page tabs using the round tab punch. I also cut up a bunch of extra pages out of Very Vanilla and punched the holes with the Spiral punch. Very easy! I decided to have a page per letter of the alphabet. Perfect.

Then, one at a time, I took out my stamp sets with sentiments and images, and stamped each sentiment on its appropriate page. Under each sentiment I wrote (or is that scrawled) the name of the set from which it came. I also added a circled 'R' if it was a retired set.

Then I started in on the word-only sets and tackled them. I had to add a lot of pages for 'H', and - just in case you care - we (I) have no 'K', 'Q' or 'X' words yet.

Lastly, I decorated the outside and created the tabs for each letter. I used a retired alphabet because I HAVE NO UN-RETIRED ALPHABET SETS LEFT! Sigh.

[One of these days I'll figure out how to get Blogger to align my photos side-by-each ...]

So anyway, this is the finished product - cover and a sample inside page.

Not only do I stamp crooked, I also tend to be challenged sticking things on straight. The tabs are not neatly-aligned along the right side - oh, well. It's for me, and I can deal with it. Actually, most of my customers have learned to deal with it, too. At least they are still coming back! And their versions of anything I do can be straight. There is hope!

I just love that crab, so I had to use him. His set has so many sentiments, it made a good background for the cover decoration. I am really glad Stampin' Up! plans to bring him back in the Spring/Summer catalog.

Next up, I need to purchase another 5x5 journal so I can inventory my non-Stampin' Up! sentiments. I may actually need two journals to do that project - I have soooo many sentiments.

So I guess I'd better cut up that card stock for Sunday. Or maybe I'll make a few more Man Packs first. I will Show-and-Tell that project later.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Captain Crafter #17

This is my submission for Captain Crafter's Challenge #17. We were asked to use this layout and feature a living thing, but not flowers. I immediately looked to see what chipboard flowers I had that fit my large circle punches, then I had a DUUUH moment and went for the horse instead.

My downline and I were playing with the slit punch and double-sided papers the other day when she hit on this idea - don't punch all the way to the end, then flip it over and you have cool circles showing with the opposite pattern. And I got to use some of my Palette O'Prints paper, to boot! I've gotta stop hoarding that stuff...

I guess I was in a Celery mood today. It happens! The Celery ribbon is a perfect match in real life.

Card Recipe (All products by Stampin' Up!): Card stock - Certainly Celery, Very Vanilla; Palette O'Prints paper; Ink - Choc Chip; Stamps - Bareback, Sincere Salutations; Accessories - Slit Punch, Celery grosgrain ribbon. Non-SU punches: Marvy circle punches.

Monday, July 2, 2007

A creative moment

Okay, I caved and went over budget with my first Stampin' Up! order yesterday. I am weak. But, I did order some very cool papers and embellishments, and even a few stamp sets. I actually hit my self-imposed limit (what a joke!) before I had selected any stamp sets...how embarassing. It should be an AWESOME Open House in August, though! ;-)

I figured all the SU servers would be swamped at 2:00 pm EST (12:00 noon MT), so I decided I could wait a while. To pass the time before I ordered, I thought I'd actually plan my projects for my upcoming workshops. It is so unlike me to have this task done prior to the Saturday night before the Sunday workshops (that Day Job really gets in the way ....), that I amazed myself.

I really want to give my workshop Customers a chance to touch-and-feel as much of the new stuff as I was able to (and wanted to) pre-order, so I have worked the stamps sets and new In Colors into the projects. Some of the projects were largely inspired by samples on Splitcoast (modified to make them my own, of course), but I feel really good when I can start from scratch and come up with something I like. We are our own worst critics, are we not?

My friend, downline and enabler, Marianne (yes, all one person), stopped by to pass the time, and she helped me a lot with this project. Brainstorming and mock-ups are a wonderful thing. I wanted to do a flower with the new Pick A Petal set, but I am awful at doing the stems. I had cut a piece of Wild Wasabi for the stem, and stuck a second smaller piece off to the side to look like a leaf. It looked like something, but not a leaf. Marianne's suggestion was to use another petal stamp - the one with the 'smile' word in it - and make a curved leaf. I dutifully stamped it and cut it out, then stuck it on the stem. She moved it from the right side of the stem to the left side, which left room for a sentiment. Sheer genius on her part! The result of that effort is here:

I think it turned out great! And I am soooo happy the Polks Dots & Paisley set carried over to the new catalog! I really love that sentiment!

One of the things I like about my workshops (if that's even what they really are) is that most of the Ladies will look at my project card sample, then switch their version up a little. The only rules I have about changing things are (1) you can do anything you want with the card stock you have been provided, and (2) if you change it, you must share what you did with everyone else.

So this project really lends itself to that switching-up thing. The flower originally had three petals, but it looked a little sad, so I decided it needed four. If they want to add even more petals and trim them off at the card's edge - fine with me!

The grass was really fun and easy to make, too. I got that idea on Splitcoast, and it came to me while I pondered the bottom part of the card. It is just a strip of card stock with a bunch of slits cut into it.

Off to create some more. Heck, I have until Saturday night to start clearing off the tables and cutting card stock for the kits!

Card recipe (all products by Stampin' Up!): Stamps - Pick A Petal, Polka Dots & Paisley; Card stock - River Rock, Wild Wasabi, Whisper White; Ink - Groovy Guava, Wild Wasabi, Basic Black.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The new catalog!

Today is the first day of the new Stampin' Up! catalog year, and I am planning my day around when I think the best time will be to hit the SU servers to place my first order. Fortunately for me, I do not NEED this stuff for my July workshop, so if I wait until early next week, it might actually be a better idea. Yeah, right.

The new catalog is GORgeous, and the first time through I got stuck in the Accessories section. I MUST HAVE every piece of paper in there! LOVE IT! The Prints Designer Series Papers, where you can get 6 2-sided designs in 16 different colors! Oh, the possibilities!

And the new Basic Gray color - YUM! I am even pondering the chipboard stuff, and that is sooo tough to Demo, since there is not enough of any one thing to go around for a group. ;-( I'll make samples and let them drool over those!

And we have a Scallop Punch! YAY! So many things that pique my creativity. One thing SU does VERY well is to coordinate not only their sets and papers with each other, but they also make sure their sets work with their punches! I made up a template last year for my Customers - a laminated 1/2 sheet of card stock with all the punches punched into it. You can use it to place over images in the catalog to see if they match up with the punch. A LOT of them do. This is how I figured out the Fancy Flexible Phrases expressions (now sadly no longer available) fit perfectly into the Small Oval Punch. That actually sold some of my Customers on both the set and the punch at the time.

The only down side of this catalog is I was not over-enamoured with a lot of the new stamps. I guess they are just not my "style", whatever that is. Sometimes I look through the new catalog and mark almost every page! Then I have to budget so I have something left to buy at the end of the catalog year...how embarassing when I already have everything I want out of a catalog and in June I have to select a free set. Luckily, this year I could select one out of the Preview catalog since I waited so long! (Great how that worked out, huh?)

So my challenge this year, outside of not buying all the papers TODAY, is being really creative and getting a few stamp sets that I can use to demo with all that PAPER. I may not be able to follow my personal rule of "buy it if you like it, not just to sell". Outside of all the flourishes, which I do like, and maybe some of the Western stuff, I may need to wait for some of that awesome SCS creativity to start showing once these sets start arriving on people's doorsteps so I can be inspired.

I am SURE I will snap out of this once I get my hands on a few of the sets myself. Who knows, I may find myself buying it ALL. It could happen. ;-)

Off to do triage on my Wish List. This could be a really expensive day.