Saturday, March 28, 2015

Belated Birthday

My mother's birthday was on Tuesday.  For the past several years, I've made her note cards for various occasions to send to her many friends.  I'm way behind this year, but I thought I'd better at least get a card out in the mail.

I used the Mojo Monday sketch as well as the Small Packages Verve stamps I recently ordered.  I love this cupcake!!  I embossed it on top of CTMH Brushed paper pack which has a variegated orange to pink paper in it.  I then added more pink using Distress Stain in Spun Sugar from Tim Holtz.  I had a bunch of pink circles leftover from something-or-other and glued them down in a line, added leftover zig-zag white cardstock leftover from this card, then added two sizes of white sequins, then topped it all with a bow.  The background panel was run through an embossing folder from Stampin' Up!

So, basically, there's a little from here, a little from there, and a little from somewhere else on this card, but I love how it came together.  I hope my mom likes it well enough to forgive me for not getting her present out sooner.

Until next time,

Friday, March 27, 2015

You're Own Kind of Awesome

My favorite thing about stamping is how it has no creative limits.  The same stamp set can be used thousands of different ways.  Designer paper can be altered to fit your needs.  And, when you start combining a little from here and a little from there, the sky's the limit.

For design team duties over at Mimi, Myself, and I, I combined two stamp sets, a few papers, and several oldie-but-goodie stamping techniques to create a unique card by adapting a pattern from the Originals Card Confidence Program.

Here's the supply list with links for your shopping convenience:
The first technique I used was to score my Cocoa cardstock every 1/4 inch then sand it to expose the white core.  I sanded both horizontally and vertically to get it nice and distressed.  I also distressed the edges on the Seaside paper and did a bit of sanding over the top of it as well.  Using a sponge dauber, I added Slate ink to the distressed parts.  I love how distressing plain cardstock and then sponging gives it the same shabby-chic feel of the cracked paint designer Seaside paper.

The second technique doesn't show up well.  I masked off the word "Wonderful" from the original sentiment (see below) and substituted "awesome" in Cocoa ink from You're the Bomb.

Liquid Glass is my "go to" accessory.  As you see in this close-up, I used it to give the butterfly bodies some shine and dimension.  It's also great to adhere a tiny, butterfly body because it's strong enough you can fold up the wings knowing it will stay put. I also used it to affix the tails of the ribbon where I wanted them.  I rarely get the tails of either knots or bows to naturally fall the way I like, and it used to bug me.  Then I saw someone dot tiny bits of Liquid Glass under the tails and cement them in place.  Genius!

There are a couple other things I want you to see about these butterflies.  The first is how I got that very cool swirly pattern on them.  I started by inking the largest solid butterfly from You're Own Kind of Wonderful (bottom, left) in Glacier ink and rolling the edges in Slate ink.  Then I inked the largest, swirly butterfly (top, left) in Cocoa ink.  I "kissed" the solid butterfly to the swirly one, twisted without taking the two images apart, then pulled them apart.

I did the "kiss and twist" technique a couple times to cover the entire surface of the solid butterfly.  I stamped it on a separate piece of white card stock, trimmed it out (cutting off the antennae), and colored the body with the Bronze marker.  I did the same "kiss and twist" technique using the same colors with the medium, solid butterfly (middle, right) and stamped it under my sentiment.  I had stamped my sentiment onto a rectangle of white cardstock that was extra long.  I then used my Paper Trimmer to slice up to the edge of the small butterfly and used scissors to trim out the bottom of the butterfly.  After I adhered the larger butterfly over top of the smaller one, I used a marker to re-draw the antennae.

Because I'd distressed my background paper, I had to touch up the butterflies with the sponge dauber to tone down the colors.

The last technique used on this card was adapting the card pattern from Originals.  As shown, it's a 4.75 x 3" card, but I wanted a standard 4.25 x 5.5" card.  Basically, I looked at the picture and created my own measurements. After creating my card base, I cut another piece of White Daisy cardstock at 4 x 5.25" and adhered the Seaside paper (4 x 3.75") and Cocoa cardstock (4 x 1.5"). Having a card panel that goes over the top of card base allows me to tape the edges of ribbon (or staple, or poke holes, or...) without the card recipient ever seeing my mess.

I want to re-create this card and substitute "Beautiful" for "Wonderful" then send it to my daughter. But that only uses one stamp set, and it's my job to make you want more than one. (**Big, cheezy grin**)

Until next time,

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Happy, Happy Birthday (and Good-bye)

This is my last post for Stampin' Buds as a design team member.  I can't believe how fast the time has flown.  I hope I've provided plenty of inspiration!  This week, I wanted to feature the Picture My Life feature of the Artfully Sent Cricut Cartridge as they do so much more than scrapbooking. 

A few weeks back, I needed a couple of birthday cards in a hurry.  Out came the Cricut, and two cards were done in no time.  Here's a feminine card:

Then, I flipped my paper over and cut another one for this more masculine one:

I added a few of the adhesive stickers from the Confetti Wishes Compliments to dress things up.  To add dimension, I placed the gold sequins both on top and under the cut-out "HAPPY".  On the first card, I also tied a small knot of Thistle ribbon around the outside edge and inside of the "H".  The banners were cut with my paper trimmer then fish-tailed using scissors.  For the second card, I attached the Topiary Washi Tape before cutting the fish-tail.  (Please note, I couldn't find the link for Topiary Washi, so the shopping link below goes to Topiary Chevron Ribbon instead.)

Everything else is pretty self-explanatory I think, but let me know if you need clarification in a comment below and come back to see the answer.

So quick!  So cute!  So sad to say good-bye to Stampin' Buds, but I'll still have lots of inspiration here (and Shannon will certainly still have inspiration over on her blog).  Therefore, I will leave you with my customary closing...

Until next time,

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Writer's World Wednesday - I can't hear for the screaming

Yesterday was a great writing day.  After a trip to CO to visit a couple members of my critiquing group and a particularly productive Monday with my writing partner, I finally busted the writing jam and got some real work done on Cowboy Competition.

Today, I can't hear the voices in my head over the screaming in my thighs.  Let me explain.

One of my goals this year has be to take off the pounds I put on when I moved to Oklahoma, as well as drop those I've put on over the past twenty years.  It's a lot.  Thank goodness for a good friend who took 60lbs. off a couple years ago and has provided both the inspiration and motivation for me to start working out and eating right.  I've lost close to 25lbs. so far.


However, my friend has put a few pounds back on, so she decided to shake up our morning workouts.  We did an arm workout yesterday.  I was afraid I wouldn't be able to type.  So, between not having spaghetti arms and getting some real work done on my story, yesterday was a great success.

Today we did legs.  We lunged, squatted, balanced, kicked, and jogged in place.  I was sore before I left the gym.  It's gotten worse since then.  I can hardly get out of a chair without gripping something to pull myself up.

Poor Nia and Toby.  They just found their voice again only to be drowned out by thigh muscles.  Life is tough as a fictional character.

Until next time,

Saturday, March 21, 2015

More than Chocolate Cupcakes

I won one of the prizes from Mojo Monday for this card.  Woot, woot!!  So I decided to splurge a little and get a couple of the latest releases from Verve along with a few things I've had my eye on for a long time.  Here's a quick card using the "Chocolate" and "Cupcakes" sets for Mojo Monday #389:

I used CTMH ink in Holiday Red (retired) and Chocolate (of course!) and their coordinating cardstock; colored with Copics in R24, E17, and G24; and finished off with some red Baker's twine and glittery puffy stickers (also CTMH).

The chocolate icing border was hand-cut, but I'm pretty sure there's a coordinating die (that I should have ordered).  I stamped the image once, trimmed it out, and then cut it in half at about the 1" mark. I hid the split under the sentiment panel.  To get the two border pieces lined up, I used a ruler and drew a light pencil line horizontally across at about 1/3 of the way down my card base.  Before attaching the border, I stamped the cupcakes and colored in the strawberries. When I colored the strawberry stems, I went outside the lines with my green marker so that, even though the base color is Chocolate, you see the green just enough to give the impression of a more realistic coloring.

The sentiment combines words and phrases from the two sets to create a specialized saying.

To be loved more than chocolate is one thing; to be loved more than cupcakes is another; but to be loved more than chocolate cupcakes...I don't think it gets any better than that!

Until next time,

Friday, March 20, 2015

Oh, Snap

I'm excited to be starting some design team duties with my friend, Amie Kiger, over on her blog at Mimi, Myself, and I.  We "met" when we were both on the design team over at Color My Heart.  For my first card, I wanted to put a different spin on both a stamp set and paper pack.

Here's the supply list (with links for your shopping convenience):

I wanted to show you a picture of the stamp set so you could see how I created the "Oh, snap."

I stamped "snap" in Smoothie then very carefully inked just the "Oh," from the sentiment in Black and stamped it on top of the "snap."  I used the micro-tip scissors to cut out the "snap" leaving a border.

When you combine the custom sentiment with the weave paper from Seaside, and add the Smoothie color, the entire card has a completely different feel than what either the stamp set or paper indicates.  But that's my point.  Versatility is only a "hey...what would happen if" away!

Until next time,

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Happy to be Friends

Last week, I promised I would do more with the Happy to be Friends set from CTMH that retires at the end of the month.  I absolutely adore this set and, for design team duties over at Stampin' Buds, wanted to show you a few ideas beyond using a wreath shape.

First up is a wedding card:

The top panels began as a 4.25x5.5 piece of white cardstock.  I then trimmed off a quarter inch and cut the bottom piece at the 1" mark.  I set the bottom piece aside and started stamping on the top piece.  I stamped the wreath spray first in Flaxen without really worrying about leaving space for flowers.   Then I stamped the flowers on top with Pixie and Cotton Candy and used a ShinHan Marker to add yellow flower centers.  This was so easy, and it makes a beautiful background. 

After I stamped the "Happy" in Black, I lined up the top panel with the top of the card base and drew a faint pencil mark on the base as a guide for the Gold Shimmer Trim.  Since I'm not steady enough with my hands to cut a perfect piece of shimmer trim then affix it, I leave myself a little room on each end that gets trimmed later.  I stamped "WEDDING DAY" in Black on the bottom panel, then foam mounted both the top and bottom panels over the card base leaving room for the shimmer trim to peek through.  I few Gold Bling Gems to add a little extra impact, and done!

I was so pleased with how well the Flaxen color coordinates with gold!!  Makes me love Flaxen even more.

Next up, an anniversary card:

For this card, I did a similar type of background stamping as the wedding card only I kept my wreath spray image around the edges of the frame shape cut from Artiste.  I used the exact same colors except for the sentiment which is in Topiary and added a few Canary and Sunset small flowers, Canary sponging, and a pink ShinHan Marker to touch the centers of the Canary flowers.  To fill in any blank space around the flowers, I stamped the triangle of dots from Doodled Designs (also retiring at the end of March) in Flaxen.

If you look carefully under the "Y" in "ANNIVERSARY," you can see where I stamped it on the frame shape.  It wasn't straight, so I used a thin piece of cardstock to stamp it again and foam tape mount it over top of the crooked word.  There's almost always a way to fix a stamping boo-boo!  I hand cut the banner tails on this little piece by eye-balling the center, snipping a tiny center cut, then cutting the V-shape by snipping from the outside edge to the top of my center cut and repeating the process from the other edge.

Using Canary ink, I stamped the banner from Oodles of Doodles about 1/3 of the way down from the top of my card base.  I cut a piece of Pixie Extra Thick Twine (retiring end of March) about a smidgen smaller the center points of the Canary banner, taped the center to the back of the frame shape, and frayed the edges.  Lots of impact for a small piece of twine.

Because I'm cheap, I cut my piece of foam tape to mount the frame shape then cut it again down the center to create two, thin strips that went on either side of the taped Twine, peeled off the backing, and mounted it over top of the Canary banner.

Such a cheerful card for Spring!

Again, three of the stamp sets used on these cards, as well as the Pixie Extra Thick Twine, are being retired to make room for a brand new Seasonal Expressions offering beginning in April. 

Until next time,

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Writer's World Wednesday - Cows and Cowboys

As I've said in previous posts, I have another contract with Barbour Publishing for a novella collection called The Cowboy's Bride which will release in March of 2016.  My story is set on a ranch.  With cowboys.  And cows!

I, of course, am your typical city slicker who's never been closer to a cow than the stall at the county fair.  I know nothing--N-O-T-H-I-N-G!--about cows or horses or cowboys or ranching.

Enter a God-ordained trip to see a friend that just happens to result in a visit to a real working ranch which has been owned by the same family since 1918.  Although many of the techniques and tools have changed, many of them are the same.  And, like any good rancher, every tool has been saved and still hangs on the walls of his tack room.  He took me around his barn, let me climb up to the hay loft, drove me out to his pasture, showed me the various grasses, talked me through wooly loco, and even let me borrow a book and a couple films he thinks will help me.

Earlier this year, before I officially got this contract, I visited with a young man whose mom used to be my choir director when we lived in Washington State.  He's now grown with kids of his own (sure...make me feel old!).  He was a rodeo cowboy for a few years and talked to me about some of the tricks of his craft.

Even though I am still pulling words out of my fingers like teeth out of my gums, I'm confident that God is working behind the scenes to help me bring things together.  You just don't get these kinds of connections without there being something bigger working for you.

Until next time,

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Happy (to be ready for) Mother's Day

Last Thursday, in my post for design team duties at Stampin' Buds, I said the Happy to be Friends set in the soon-to-expire Seasonal Expressions catalog is extremely versatile.  As promised, this week I have a card (with a variation) using it.

Last week, you saw how I bent the Doodled Designs circle to fake a small circle on this card.  Here, I bent the oval wreath from Happy Mail into a circle before adding elements from Happy to be Friends on top.  This card could very easily be adapted using the circle from Doodled Designs as the background wreath (which is why, even though I don't actually use it, I've included the shopping link below).  You might need to use a second generation of the Pear ink, though, because the stronger heft of the Doodled Design circle means using a lighter color.

I'm a bit...hmmm...obsessive compulsive is the nice way to say it.  It bothered me that "Mother's Day" wasn't centered under "Happy".  The small cluster of flowers - which I didn't want to move or leave off - was going to hide the first few letters.   My next thought was to put "Mother's Day" further to the right, but then it would cross over the wreath, and I didn't like that.  It really bugged me.  Like I said, obsessive compulsive.  So here's my solution using the banner that also comes from Happy Mail:

Because I was adding the banner after the card was already assembled, but I still wanted it to have some dimension, I glued the left end of the banner under the Thistle Striped Ribbon and used Foam Tape on the right end.  It gives the banner a wave which I think is a pretty cool happy accident.

Another great thing is that the dimension won't get smushed in the mail.  Between the give in Foam Tape and the slight bit of depth to the Thistle Striped Ribbon knot (which isn't moving because Liquid Glass is magic), the banner is protected.

If you don't have the Happy Mail set, there are very similar banners in several other sets (Lifting Spirits, for example, which is why I included it in the shopping link below).

Lots of fussy cutting on this card, but so worth the effort.  And I love how the cutesy Confetti Wishes paper takes on a classy but still vibrant feel on this card.

If you are new to stamping and want one set that will get lots of mileage, Happy to be Friends is perfect. It covers every occasion for which we send cards except Father's Day.  However, if you're like me, you will want to add something that has a circle shape for a background wreath so you don't have to pencil draw one.

I'll be back next week with another card using this same set.  So many possibilities!

Until next time,