Thursday, February 26, 2009

Getting Back to Work

I finally buckled down and did some stamping today -- and I even got all of ONE card done! But hey! I gotta start somewhere, right?

I'm going to lunch tomorrow (Friday) with my dear friend who ordered the anniversary cards, so I figured I better have at least started making them! I got one finished this evening, and I'm hoping to get another one or two done before she picks me up around 11. We'll see though. I feel like I'm stamping in the aftermath of a tornado. Nothing is where it should be, the things I want to use are under things I don't want to use, and the clutter is a huge distraction. Depending on how patient my friend can be, I may need to do some housecleaning before I can really sink my teeth into this project... but if she wants the cards before she leaves town in early March, I'll do what I gotta do.

Okay, on to the card:

SU! Stamp sets: Always, Best Yet, Congrats

Colors: Whisper White (I would have liked to used Shimmery White, but that dang tornado problem got in my way!), Chocolate Chip, Pink Pirouette

And: Detail clear embossing powder, Candy Lane DSP, Scallop square punch, Eyelet border punch, Heart to Heart punch, Filigree designer brad, Stampin' Dimensionals, sponge

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Still Not Tired of Happy Dancing!

I have MORE new stuff to show you! But first things first: As promised, here is a pic of my freshly assembled Color Caddy which I'm using to hold my Stampin' Up! Craft/pigment pads. I've put inkpads from the four color families where they belong, and (because I bought the Extender Kit) I have more slots left over at the bottom for the Neutrals (black, white, vanilla, etc.) I haven't put anything into the tray on top yet, but my hope is to get craft ink refills for all of the inkpads and have them in reach right there. I already have the 12 reinkers for the Soft Subtles group because those are the pads that seem the thirstiest.

I debated about purchasing this next item for some time. Copics (alcohol-based artist quality markers) are all the rage right now in the rubberstamping world, but I'm not generally one to jump on the bandwagon unless it's something I feel strongly about. I don't do a lot of coloring of stamped images, mostly because I get frustrated with how blotchy they look when I use the SU! markers; and I'm rarely satisfied with stuff I color using blender pens or an AquaPainter. (Maybe with more practice... but there are other things I'd rather do than color.)

Anyway, I stumbled across a website that's offering Copics for an unusually low price until March 1st, so I decided to take the plunge and buy a small set of the Original style of markers just to see if I like them. My initial impression is that they remind me a lot of the Studio II markers that were hot back in the early 90's but then disappeared from the store shelves and I could never find refill inks. I loved my Studio IIs -- and I think I'm gonna love these Copics! They ain't cheap, but (naturally) there's a million colors to choose from in the event I feel the need to expand my range of colors. I like that I have the option of combining Copics with other mediums such as colored pencils. No doubt I'll be writing more about these markers as time goes on.

I also purchased a good quality set of glitter pens from the same website. Most of my other glitter gel pens have died because I didn't learn until it was too late that they should be stored horizontally.

I believe this is the last of my splurges for awhile. The only thing I'm waiting for right now is the new circle cutter from SU! which is on backorder; and I'll post pics of that when it arrives.

I've spent the day so far assembling the stamp sets that arrived yesterday while playing a slots game on Pogo -- Whew! Multi-tasking is hard work! I've got a million bazillion ideas floating around in my head, but I plan to spend the rest of the day getting all this new stuff organized so that I can buckle down and really start cranking out some cards and projects. The hardest part, I think, will be deciding which of my new stuff to play with first! Stay tuned for further developments...

More Happy Dancing!

Is it just me, or is this the best day of the Stampin' Up! year? It's the day my Sale-a-bration order arrived (well, most of it, anyway) and I got to open up two huge boxes of goodies, including a whole mess of free merchandise. WooHooo!! Come with me to take a tour of my haul for the day...

Naturally (ok, maybe it's just me) the "guts" of any SU! order is THE STAMPS! Without stamps, what have you got? Pretty paper and lots of toys. Oh, and a lot more storage space -- but that's another story. Anyway, I splurged on four stamp sets this time around: Trendy Trees, Hope Happens, Fifth Avenue Floral (yum!), and One of a Kind (which coordinates with the Boho Blossoms punch which I previously purchased). Ain't these sets perty?

Look at the purple rubber on this next batch of stamp sets. D'ya know what that means? They're special stamps -- and I don't mean as in "short bus" speshul. These are stamps I got for FREE! as part of the Sale-a-bration promotion going on through the end of March. (With every $50 you spend, you get to choose one of six FREE Sale-a-bration items. How awesome is that? It's the reason I put my largest order of the year in at this time.) My FREE sets are: Botanical Blooms, Polka Dot Punches (each of these coordinates with a different SU! punch), and Congrats.

I put all my new stamps together in a stack to enjoy the sheer volume of my new rubber. Ecstasy! Oh, the little wheel stamps? One is the Funky Forest wheel which coordinates with Trendy Trees; and the other is Always in Bloom which coordinates with my (previously purchased) Always set.

There are two new Designer Series Paper (double-sided paper) sets that I just HAD to get right away because I'm so intriqued by them: Raspberry Tart and Tea Party. I also got a third set, Delicate Dots, as another FREE Sale-a-bration item. Oooooo, ahhhhh!

My final picture for today shows some new toys (punches) and ribbons that I got. The Certainly Celery and So Saffron ribbons are a bundled FREE Sale-a-bration item, and I also invested in some two-tone white Organza. The punches are the super cool new Eyelet Punch and the Full Heart Punch. The pictures of the punches themselves are lousy, but I've shown you on the white paper what they look like. (I am now accepting applications for a decent photographer!)

I haven't assembled my new Color Caddy + Extender Kit yet, but this will soon hold all 48-and-then-some of my SU! Craft (pigment ink) pads. Perhaps I'll even remember to take a picture when I have it set up.

On backorder is my way ultra trey kewl Cutter Bee Circle Scissor Plus along with a Cutter Bee 13x13" Glass Mat. I'll be doing another happy dance when this product arrives!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Happy Dancing!

Lookie! See what I got today? *happy dancing!*

"What am I looking at??" you ask. Generic DEW DROPS! Woohoo!! I got addicted to Dew Drops by The Robin's Nest several months ago, but have been hoarding my one wee bottle for three reasons: (1) They're so pretty! My eyes adore them. (2) They're a bit on the pricey side. And (3) The best card I've made with them so far arrived at its destination with the little baubles pulverized... it made me cry. (Okay, not really, but I was seriously bummed.)

Imagine my excitement, then, when an Enabler in one of my Yahoo groups pointed to an eBay source for over 2500 of these little acrylic drops -- in 24 different colors plus clear -- for a fraction of the price! I had to pinch myself to be sure I wasn't dreaming. I placed my order late last week, and here they are in my grubby little hands already! The colors are glossier than "real" dew drops, but I actually like them better. They're a skooch smaller, too, which I think will make them less damagable in snail mail, although I will take greater precautions next time I go to mail a dew dropped work of art.

So... if you catch me hoarding dew drops, smack me upside the head and remind me to use them! Now I have NO EXCUSE!

Card Remake

Ever have a card "bother" you? I was all set (right up to having the envelope addressed!) to send this first card for a fish swap, but then I just couldn't do it. I made the card maybe two years ago while visiting my North Carolina friends, and at the time it seemed to be an "okay" card. When I revisited it yesterday, though, I had to admit to myself that despite all the time I spent coloring with pencils that it wasn't my best work by today's standards. This card was, indeed, a fixer-upper.

Sooooo..... I pulled all the elements off the Almost Amethyst card base, and the first thing I did was add highlights with my ultra spiffy Sakura Stardust fine glitter pen. To brighten up the color and add a watery effect, I patted each of the images with a VersaMark pad and then coated them with clear embossing powder -- just one layer, as I didn't want to end up with a cracked glass effect. I put away my Stickles and went instead with a background wheel (Spot On) to give the effect of underwater bubbles.

Given more time to play with this, no telling how much better the card could be, but I need to move on since I've been commissioned to make some anniversary cards for someone who has been very patient through all my health adventures recently.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Tuesday's Projects

I've got the sniffles today and they're threatening to become a full-fledged cold, so I'm posting the cards I made yesterday while I'm still vertical.

The inspiration for this first card was the layout sketch for February in the Happy Stampers group. I love the simplicity of it! Had I not been feeling so lousy, I might have done a bit more layering or something with Crystal Effects, but I think my white gel pen did a good job by itself. (Unfortunately, the lighting when I took the photo washed out the white gel ink in the heart... but trust me, it's there!) I used the SU! stamp set Love You Much for most of the card, but snuck in small Inkadinkado "Think Happy Thoughts" stamp because it fit so perfectly. The DSP is Bella Rose, and colors are Chocolate Chip, Riding Hood Red, and Pink Pirouette.

This second card I did with scraps from Monday's work. Stamp set is Be Happy, DSP is Hawaii Papaya, and I used an oval punch, some brads, a couple felt flowers from Flower Fusion, and a bit of chocolate grosgrain. Although these are not my favorite colors to work with, I'm really pleased with how it turned out!

I posted this card to another one of the Yahoo groups I belong to, and I got a comment back about how good the "B" looks -- solid and evenly inked. I'm a fanatic about getting a nice, crisp image when I stamp. My first "trick" is to use a well-inked stamp pad and to keep checking that every bit of the rubber is covered with ink. Secondly, if I see the rubber is resisting the ink in any area, I clean the stamp and then sand it gently with a sanding block. I find it best to sand all in one direction even thought I was taught to sand in small circles. I feel I have more control this way. Then I clean the stamp again, removing the gritty residue -- and voila! without fail the stamp takes the ink SO much better!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Monday's Mojo

Today I have (so far) whipped up two more cards for Happy Stampers swaps. (No telling what the evening will bring, if anything!)

This first card, my favorite of the two, is for a Letter G swap. It's a Golden-Haired Girl bringing Garden Goodies to the recipient. Yup, that's gold Stickles in her hair! I just LOVE the bright colors!

This next card is all SU! materials except for the Tim Holtz Vintage Photo Designer Series Distress Stickles. The Kiwi Kiss background is layered with paper from the Hawaii Papaya DSP. Stamp set used is Eastern Blooms. My favorite paper piercing tool is MIA at the moment (stupid cat!), but I found a my backup in the SU! Tool Kit so I could add a little extra to the corners of the stamped image. The layout itself is from Splitcoast Stampers, SC166. (Happy Stampers has started experimenting with sketch challenges now! What fun!)

Sunday, February 15, 2009

I'm Baaaaack!

I'm baaaaack! Didja miss me? I'd apologize for neglecting this blog, but circumstances were beyond my control. I spent a week in January in the hospital with a severe infection (cellulitis), was home for a few days giving myself vancomycin IVs, and then I got to spend 17 days in a nursing home. I've been trying to get caught up on paperwork, emails, and housekeeping for the last week. Tonight I got to sit down and stamp, though. I'm so grateful for the return to normalcy. (Well, more or less.)

First order of business for me is catching up on card swaps. It makes things easier that they're all with my Happy Stampers Yahoo Group (which, by the way, does some incredible artwork!). Tonight I worked on a watercolor card that will be soon be en route to The Netherlands. (Cool, eh?) I used garnet Twinkling H2Os on off-white watercolor paper over a heart embossed with Pearl EP; and then also underlined the sentiment with the H2Os for additional shimmer. The rest of the card is pretty self-explanatory. I used the SU! set Always.

Thanks for looking! With any luck, there won't be this long of a gap in posts ever again!