Monday, August 31, 2009

Bad Card ... Fixed?

Thanks to the outpouring of ideas on how to fix the damaged card from the previous post, I finally settled on a solution I can live with.

I tried several tactics (paper piercing, string of pearls, alcohol as an eraser, using my Stamp-a-ma-jig to place additional dotted curves as part of the design) before settling on trimming out the sliver of unwanted stamping and then adding a few more slivers to make it look planned. I backed the watercolored panel with Melon Mambo cardstock to match the eyelet border at the bottom and the NEW ribbon, and re-mounted the panel on Stampin' Dimensionals. Sigh. It took me more time to repair the damage than to make the card in the first place!

Many thanks to each and every one of you who offered suggestions, both as comments in the post below and in emails responding to my plea for ideas. I continue to be awed by the creativity of my peers!

Stamp Set: Always
Colors: Burmuda Bay, Melon Mambo, Whisper White, Basic Black
And: Iridescent Medium, stipple brushes, reinkers, grosgrain ribbon, Heart to Heart and Eyelet Border punches, paper snips, Stampin' Dimensionals, gravity

Good Card Gone Bad

Perhaps you've heard the expression frequently used by stampers: "There are no mistakes, only more opportunities for embellishments." I'm a subscriber to that belief myself. Well, usually.

My disaster du jour may be an exception to this rule. I messed up BAD. As of this writing, my feeling is that this situation is pretty hopeless.

So there I was, cutting up a bit of Whisper White cardstock to decorate and put on the inside of this card, having already finished everything else to my satisfaction. This isn't just ANY card, mind you. This is a card made with the special paper I created yesterday; AND a contest candidate.

I'm working along happily, when suddenly there is a disturbance to my left. A stamp inked with black that I had put up on the ledge where my computer monitor is leapt (leaped?) from the ledge, obeying the laws of gravity. It fell, but not just anywhere, mind you. It landed in the worst possible place: On my nearly-finished card! and ink down!! WAAHHHH!!!

I quickly removed the offending stamp and did my best to dab off the ink while it was still wet. Alas, to no avail.

Here are the evil stamp and the messed-up card:

Here's a closer-up:

I've been sitting here a good 20 minutes staring at the damage and trying to figure out a "fix." Perhaps my brain is still in shock because nothing is coming to me.
Ideas, anyone?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Play Day

Today I played. *smile* I don't have any finished cards to show you, but I would like you to see some amazing "handmade paper" I created. My plan is to incorporate these into cards within the next couple weeks.

It was hard to get good photos of my play results because what you see is affected by how the light hits it. If you look at them from one angle, they look like pretty watercolored backgrounds. When the light hits them just right, though, you can see some incredible shimmer.

Sherrill Graff and Shirley Munoz came up with this technique. Sherrill recently shared it with the Stampin' Up! Late Night Stampers group. (Are you a member yet? If not, why not?? You're missing out on a lot of good stuff!)

These papers were made using water, reinkers, and an iridescent medium similar to the Shimmer Paints found in the new Holiday Mini catalog.

Stay tuned to see what projects I create with these mini works of art! Even thought I have a few ideas rattling up there in my brain, even I can't say for sure what will happen next!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Big Shot Holiday Cards

I issued a challenge to myself today to use some of the pieces recently created with the Big Shot in a couple holiday cards. I ended up with what I consider to be a weird combination of colors -- and yet I like them!

Card 1:
Colors: Rich Razzleberry, Ruby Red, Elegant Eggplant, Kraft
Big Shot: Snowflake #2 Originals Die, contraband embossing folder
Other: Distressing tool, sanding block, jewel-tone brad, non-SU! Happy Holidays stamp

Card 2:
Stamp Set: Delightful Decorations
Colors: Rich Razzleberry, Dusty Durango, Soft Suede, Confetti Kraft
Big Shot: Contraband embossing folder
Other: SU! Ornament punch, gold micro brads, Stampin' Dimensionals

Baby Birthday, Big Shot, and Alcohol Inks

There's been lots going on here, stamping- and other-wise. Between maintenance issues on my current apartment and looking for a new one, I've been a bit stressed. How do I cope with stress? I stamp, of course!!

I keep a running list of swaps, birthdays, orders, and special projects so that I can stay on track and [hopefully] avoid any last-minute crunches. Next up on my list was a set of invitations to baby's first birthday party. I designed the card with lots of details, so it took me most of a day to get ten cards done; but I'm really pleased with how they turned out. Here's a pic of them all lined up on my worktable, waiting for the Stardust Stickles to dry:

Saturday was a fun day because my friend Rose Ann came over! She brought her Cuttlebug and Big Shot and alcohol inks and gesso... let's just say she taught me a LOT! I've got a pile of punched and embossed pieces that I can't WAIT to use on cards. The timing of her lessons on how to use the Big Shot was perfect, because look what arrived on Monday:

YeeHaw!!! I am now the proud owner of a BIG SHOT! The poor UPS guy nearly dropped the box when I squealed with excitement, lol.

I spent yesterday afternoon practicing, and now I have another big ol' pile of stuff to make cards out of. I didn't anticipate how addicting the Big Shot would be. I'm going to be hard pressed (ha! a Big Shot pun!) choosing between rubber stamps and dies and embossing plates when I place my personal orders with Stampin' Up! Oh well, it's a nice problem to have!

I had never used alcohol inks before, so I was tickled pink when Rose Ann showed up with hers and let me play with them for the first time. I'm duly impressed with them... gotta start saving my pennies so I can get some of my own. Here are two cards I made with the "experiments" I did on glossy cardstock:

Both the cat and the hummingbird are images from Michael Strong Rubber Stamps. The scalloped circles were cut and embossed with Spellbinders Nestibilities.

Next on my agenda: Who knows? I have some watercolor iridescent medium I want to use for a technique contest that ends next month... but then again, I want to play with gesso and try some of the techniques in this month's Technique Junkies newsletter... and I have a bunch of stamps from SU!'s new Holiday Mini catalog that haven't seen ink yet... and then there's this pile of embossed cardstock to play with... and a Big Shot to tinker with...

Stay tuned to see what I come up with next!

P.S. If you live in the Columbus, OH area, take a look at my previous post. I'm looking for hands to help me make cards for families staying at Ronald McDonald houses -- no experience necessary!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Kaleidoscope Cards

I had a couple of pieces of ultra-cheery Kaleidoscope Designer Series Paper that I've been eager to use, and these six cards are what transpired. I think they're pretty self-explanatory except for one thing: On all but one of the cards, I used Crystal Effects to "pop out" part of the DSP design, usually circles. You can see a little bit of the reflection of the dried CEs in the photos.

If you have any questions about these fun cards, leave a comment and I'll post an answer for you!

Stamp sets: Best Yet, Best Card Ever, Think Happy Thoughts, Teeny Tiny Wishes
Colors: Tempting Turquoise, Green Galore, Only Orange, Pixie Pink
DSP: Kaleidoscope
SU! Punches: Scallop Circle, 1-1/4" Circle, 1-3/8" Circle, Word Window, Modern Label, Curly Label, Scallop Edge, Scallop Square
Other SU!: Crystal Effects, Stampin' Dimensionals, Tempting Turquoise brad, Green Galore brads, Fairy Tale ribbon (retired)
Other non-SU!: Fibers, ribbons, rick rack, brads, flowers, and self-adhesive crystals from stash, EK Dotted Wave border punch

Patchwork Cards

These patchwork cards are CASEd from Penny Ginnery. The colors have been changed to protect the innocent. (Huh?)

Seriously, folks, this is as close as I will ever get to quilting. I tried it, and can now cross it off my list of things to do. It's actually a cool idea -- just not something that makes my heart sing to do, even though I really like how it looks.

Stamp set: Heard from the Heart
Colors: Riding Hood Red, Pirouette Pink, Whisper White
And: SU! designer buttons, SU! small Square punch, more chocolate than usual

Friday, August 14, 2009

Wow, I WON a Big Shot!!!

Knock me over with a feather, folks! I have some AMAZING news! I've WON a Stampin' Up! Big Shot -- an awesome die-cutting and embossing machine, for those of you not yet in the know!!!

How incredible is that? And what did I have to do to win it? Well, I joined the Stampin' Up! Late Night Stampers Yahoo! group several months ago; and in the process of looking at members' blogs, I left comments -- something which I would have done anyway! Is that INCREDIBLE, or what?

The list mom, Sherrill Graff, is a leading SU! demo who firmly believes in encouraging her downline, fellow demonstrators, and stampers in general. She puts her money where her mouth is -- and often! -- by holding contests and giveaways which allow people to WIN product! She also hires people to make SU! sample cards and projects for her and pays them with stamps and supplies. I'm blown away almost daily with the number of opportunities she provides via the SU! LNS groups. (By the way, there's a demos-only group AND a group open to all.)

Not only does she support with merchandise, but she's an enthusiastic wealth of information on how to sell and recruit. Anyone interested in learning stamping techniques as well as more about the Stampin' Up! experience would benefit from the LNS group; and the ideas and encouragement she (and other demos at all levels of sales, including hobby demos) provides on the demos-only list are endless!

Yeah, I'm gushing, I admit it. But can you blame me? I mean, I WON A BIG SHOT!

ETA: I forgot to mention -- not only did I win the Big Shot, but Sherrill threw in a whole bunch of accessories, including pads, dies, and embossing plates. And, I ended up with a free Hostess stamp set to boot! WOW!!

ETA: I'm gonna be a Big Shot Hero, dies in my eyes... (you have GOT to check out this video!!)

Custom-Made Cards

A friend of mine ordered ten cards last week, and I was happy to oblige. She asked for some general birthday, thank you, and thinking of you cards, plus two custom cards. I was able to easily pull eight cards out of my expansive stash that fit her requirements:

... and then began working on the two custom cards. One of her requests was for a "man card" for a relative who likes to hunt and fish. I don't have deer or realistic looking fish, but I told her I had a moose stamp. She laughed and told me I could use it. Here's how it turned out:

I used colored pencils with odorless mineral spirits to color the moose image, used a Sharpie to create a small black border, and used SU!'s Rough Texture wheel for the background. Inside I put a sentiment from one of the many birthday sets Stampin' Up! offers.

The next card was much more interesting to make, and I'm really proud of how it turned out. A friend of my friend recently added a new little puppy to her family, so she was hoping for a fitting card that would be personal. I started out with this card front:

... and put a little surprise on the inside:

It's perfect because the puppy is all black except for four white paws!

The puppy is made with all Stampin' Up! punches. Accessories included a white gel pen, some Crystal Effects for the shiny nose, and some googly eyes I had in my stash. (Thank goodness the puppy is a girl since all my googly eyes have eyelashes, lol!) Here's a close up:

Other supplies for the card include a Pink Pirouette card base, Bella Rose DSP, a computer-printed sentiment, my Eyelet Border punch, SU! felt flowers with white button brads, buttons with white scrappers floss, and white taffeta ribbon.

I'm really pleased with how quickly this order came together, and I think my friend will be very very happy. I think she knows I'm including her birthday card in the package, but I'll hold off posting it here until I'm sure she's gotten it.

Jessica Returns

I sent this card out about ten days ago, so I'm guessing the recipient received it even though I've heard nothing. At any rate, I hope she was surprised.

Yup, it's Jessica from Hero Arts again. Dress print, panels, and flowers are from a DCWV Glitter Stack. It's a simple card, but still cute. (Or maybe I'm biased!)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Quick Card -- and a Mini Sermon

Here's a card I made for a friend who got gypped out of her return card in a swap. This has been happening a lot to me lately, too -- I sign up for a one-on-one swap, dutifully send out my card, and then wait by the mailbox only to receive no card back in return. It's SUCH a disappointment!

Well, I can't send cards to myself to make myself feel better (just doesn't seem to work that way, lol), but in this situation I could "make it right" for my friend. :o)

Stamp set: Simple Friendship

Colors: Positively Pink, Chocolate Chip, Whisper White

And: Dotted Wave punch, sponge, chocolate

I have to step up on my soapbox for a minute and remind my fellow stampers: If you make a committment to send a card to someone, PLEASE follow through! (Conversely, if you're not sure if you can follow through, don't say YES to a swap. Or if something does come up that prevents you from following through on time, contact your partner to let them know!) Your actions, as well as any lack of action, makes an impact. There is so much negativity and disappointment in the air these days without you causing more hurt feelings. I learned from this project just how much one card makes a difference to someone when they're having a bad day. I encourage my stamping peers to make a POSITIVE difference in the world around them, even if it's just by following through on their committments!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Razzleberry Birthday

I ran across this card by my upline's upline, Penny Ginnery, and just had to CASE it. I opted for different colors, though.

Try as I may, I can't get the shadows behind the three punches to show. I think my new camera is TOO good, LOL! At any rate, I do have the three curly squares raised up on Stampin' Dimensionals, and I think that's what "makes" the card.

Stamps: Birthdays Count (under $10!)

Colors: Rich Razzleberry, Whisper White

And: Rich Razzleberry Patterns DSP, Polka-dotted Grosgrain ribbon, Curly Label punch, Trio Flower punch, gold brads, White Craft ink, Stampin' Dimensionals, Chocolate

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Monochromatic Medallion

I made this 5-1/2" square card for the Late Night Stampers monochromatic challenge this week. Really, it's not as easy as it sounds!

Here's from a different angle so you can see the clear embossing better:

It came together kinda like this:

1. Stared at my packs of paper, piles of inkpads, boxes and boxes of stamp sets, and wondered for a good half hour what the heck I had gotten myself into.

2. Narrowed it down to something with the Medallion stamp and Rich Razzleberry.

3. Picked out four prints from the Rich Razzleberry Patterns Pack that don't have white in them. (I'm a purist when it comes to monochromaticity.) Had a brilliant idea of using a square of each print to create a larger background to stamp the Medallion on.

4. Changed my mind and picked out one print to stamp the Medallion on.

5. Cut a Rich Razzleberry card base just slightly smaller than 5-1/2" squared (so it would slide into the envelope easier).

6. Used the Eyelet Border punch along the open end of the card.

7. Using the hit-or-miss technique, trimmed a piece of patterned paper to fit in the allotted space on the cardfront.

8. Brayered the Medallion stamp with white craft ink, then sponged Rich Razzleberry onto the stamp. Stamped onto the patterned paper and embossed with clear detail EP.

9. Admired my work, then realized I didn't have a clue what I would do next. (...which is pretty much how all my cards start out, so it doesn't panic me).

10. Sponged some Rich Razzleberry polka-dotted ribbon so that the dots would no longer be glaring white. Added to the left side of the Medallion panel and fiddled with the tie for 10 minutes before throwing a hissy fit and deciding to lay the ribbon flat and just attach a separate bow with a glue dot.

11. Debated if I could pull off using an Ice Circle brad in the center of the Medallion. Decided to go for it. If I had to make the card over, I would opt for a small dyed "Pretties" flower instead. Hindsight is 20/20.

12. Decided I wanted the Medallion panel to not blend into the card base so much, and sponged the base with more Razzleberry to make it darker.

13. Decided I wanted even more contrast, so sponged the edges of the panel with Craft White and Razzleberry ink, then clear embossed it.

14. Finally attached the panel to the card base with some sticky strip. "Ain't no way that panel's going anywhere!"

15. Wished the eyelet border showed better, so put a strip of patterned paper on the inside to back it, then sponged a bit of Craft White and Razzleberry ink for more contrast.

16. Wondered what to do about a sentiment, and finally decided on "Just For You" from Teeny Tiny Wishes stamped onto a bit of Whisper White cardstock sponged lightly with Rich Razzleberry ink. Punched it with a 1-1/4" circle punch, layered it on a 1-3/8" circle of patterned paper, then layered on a Rich Razzleberry Scalloped Circle with pierced scallops. Added a smidge more paper piercing and attached the whole thing to the cardfront with a few Stampin' Dimensionals.

17. Wondered if I was done, but decided the upper right corner needed some paper piercing, too.

18. Took pictures for my blog and the contest entry, then realized I hadn't done anything with the inside. I decided to sponge a bit of Whisper White the size of the front panel and second-generation stamp just a portion of the Medallion on the left.

19. Decided to do the something similar with the envelope, only this time stamping the Medallion on the lower left corner.

20. Figured that life's too short to pull out the camera a second time, especially when it's bedtime, so reminded myself that my readers are intelligent and able to envision what I did with the inside and envelope if I wrote a description.

21. Wondered if anyone actually read every word of this description, lol.

I'm open to feedback on this one. I'll be honest, it's not one of my favorite cards, but I think it's passable. Your thoughts?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Christmas in July -- uhhh, August

I've been in a festive mood the last couple days, so decided to participate in the Late Night Stampers Challenge #30: Christmas in July. The colors are sorta non-traditional (as in sorta greenish and sorta reddish), but I really like them.

Stamp set: Snow Swirled

Colors: Bermuda Bay, Melon Mambo, Whisper White

Toys: Filigree brads, Polka-dotted Grosgrain ribbon, Scallop Border and 3/4" circle punches, paper piercing tools, Stampin' Dimensionals