Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy New Year!

Wow, it's 2009! I can't believe it. Todd and I celebrated by going to see the Manhattan Rhythm Kings in concert (they were fantastic) and then we toasted in the new year with Nyquil and went to bed. LOL. How sad is that? Yes, we're sick again - it's the never-ending cold around here. But anyway...

Do you make New Year's resolutions? I don't always... it's so easy not to keep them, you know? I don't think I've ever followed through when I did make a resolution. But I'm going to try this year, and I have several.

1. Exercise! I don't know why this is so hard for me - I always feel better when I am working out regularly. I was doing pretty well until we traveled for three weeks last summer and then it all went downhill. So I am renewing my efforts and will reacquaint myself with my Wii Fit. My goal is to do something with it every day, with at least three days devoted to a longer workout.

2. Spend quality time with my kids. Lately I've been so busy that my kids have gotten the short shrift - in quantity and quality. I may not be able to increase the amount of time I spend with them, but I want the time I do spend with them to be better. I think we will all be happier!

3. Clean up my stamping space - and keep it that way. I'm excited that I'll have a club starting at the end of the month - but it'll be rough if I have to do a week's worth of cleaning for every meeting!

4. Try to raise my stamping profile by entering contests, submitting stuff for publications, and applying for design teams. I don't think I'm after fame and fortune (ha! on that last one, for sure) - it just seems like a good move to be making at this stage, and I think it'll be a fun way to challenge myself.

I'm putting these out here in the hope that it'll help keep me accountable - we'll see if it works! Feel free to share your resolutions, too. Happy 2009 - hope you and yours will be richly blessed this year!

Monday, December 29, 2008

OK, I lied

I said I wasn't going to try to go back and catch up on challenges, but for today I changed my mind. I kept thinking about the SCS inspiration challenge from Saturday - I haven't played one of Steph's challenges in such a long time! I was drawn to the Diva Pashmina - it must have been the name! I combined this challenge with Julee's Mojo Monday sketch challenge.

First I stamped the large flower from Bella Blossoms in always artichoke on very vanilla cardstock, then I stamped it again with regal rose and pink pirouette and cut out the flower and its center. I mounted the rose flower flat and the pink part of the flower with dimensionals. The background is from the pink pirouette patterned paper collection. I stamped the sentiment (also from Bella Blossoms) in artichoke directly on the background.

To finish the card I went a little crazy with my paper piercer - I don't think I've ever pierced a card this much! It started with just the rose panel behind the flower, but then the rest of the card looked bare so I added a bunch more piercing. The ribbon is vanilla taffeta ribbon, and I mounted the flower panel over top with more dimensionals.

I don't know about you but I am loving reaching for more springy colors - now if the weather would only hurry up and get there!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Double the challenge, double the fun

Well, I think I've given up on trying to catch up on all the challenges I missed. There just isn't time, especially when new ones pop up every day! I'll just see if I can keep up from here on out. Today I intended to do one card for Jen's sketch challenge and the Our Creative Corner challenge to use something clear. But I ended up doing two separate but similar cards.

This first card is for the OCC challenge. I found this cool Maya Road clear ribbon when I was out browsing today. So that was my starting point. I embossed a black cardstock panel with the Birds and Swirls Cuttlebug folder, then layered onto baja breeze cardstock. I stamped the hummingbird and leaves from Dream a Little and added a bit of piercing to the corners, then adhered a strip of the clear ribbon over top. The oval sentiment from Only Ovals was stamped twice, in baja breeze and basic black, then I punched the baja breeze oval and cut out the sentiment in black to adhere over top. I put both layers of the sentiment oval on dimensionals.

You can probably see where I was trying to go with Jen's sketch. The elements just didn't quite come together on the first card. I still had to fudge a little by putting the white taffeta ribbon behind the center panel, but I just couldn't cover up the hummingbird. Everything else is pretty much the same, except for the different pattern of paper piercing. Somehow I feel bad that even though the clear ribbon started the whole process for these cards, I like the second one better. What do you think?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

I hope everyone out there is having a wonderful Christmas! We'll be having a white Christmas and spending it with family - I can't think of anything better. I went to church last night and the candlelight service really put me in the holiday mood, as it always does.

And now for something completely different. Here's another challenge card that I've managed to complete this week. The colors are from an SCS color challenge from maybe three weeks ago? I couldn't play at the time but loved the combination of riding hood red, baja breeze and taken with teal. It's not one I would have thought of on my own and it's stunning. I made this card for the most recent challenge for Our Creative Corner: to make a lovey dovey card. I used the Always stamp set along with a sentiment from Verve Visual's Feeling Groovy set. These song-lyric sentiments are so fun and I thought this one was perfect for the challenge.

I first stamped the heart with riding hood red on whisper white cardstock. I cut it out and then layered onto riding hood red cardstock and cut out again. I made my own designer paper with the smaller stamps - to get the tiniest flowers I colored the image with a taken with teal marker since I didn't want to use the circle around the flower. I used one of the baja breeze patterned papers for the background - I liked letting some white show through in this card.

I struggled with the layout a bit - as I've said before, coming up with my own sketch is often a challenge for me. How did I do? I have to give a shout-out to my stepmom, Chris, for giving me her opinion, which was really helpful. She's a quilter and sewer and knows a thing or two about being crafty! I ended up using a large teal panel with a strip of riding hood red striped ribbon, then adding the stamped panel and the heart and sentiment mounted on dimensionals. The big challenge with this card was breaking up the white so that the different stamped elements would each stand out. I'd love to hear what you think!

OK, I'm off to get ready for the Christmas festivities. Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I am so far behind!

My goal of catching up on challenges is going to be hard to achieve! To celebrate the holidays, SCS is having an extra challenge each day as part of the Holiday Challenge Extravaganza. It's going to be impossible to do all of the challenges, but I had time to make a couple cards yesterday. Sorry that the photos aren't great - I'm experimenting a little since I don't currently have a perfect spot for photo taking.

This one is for the first HCE challenge. It was an inspiration challenge, so you know I had to play! I loved the brown and blue combination on one of the onesies. I'm pretty much done making Christmas cards, LOL, so I chose to use some of my new Verve Visual stamps instead. This is the Asian Flair set and I thought it would make a lovely masculine card with these colors. I stamped the three different images in chocolate chip and not quite navy, then I cut out the circles with Nestabilities and mounted with dimensionals. Underneath I added some chocolate chip patterned paper, layers in not quite navy, three vintage brads, and my recent favorite sentiment from Upsy Daisy.

My second card is for the most recent featured stamper challenge using Paula (paulatracy) and her lovely gallery. I picked this card although mine ended up quite a bit simpler because I wasn't looking at Paula's gorgeous creation while I was working on mine. I used one of the stamp sets from the new catalog - Dream a Little, which is one of the new level 3 hostess sets. I stamped the flower three times with chocolate chip, then colored with a blender pen and pink pirouette reinker. The sentiment is from Impression Obsession and was cut and layered with Nestabilities. I added some Bella Rose paper for the background and edged everything with chocolate chip ink for a little shabby chic touch.

It feels so great to be making cards again! If I don't make it back to post before Christmas, I hope everyone has a lovely holiday.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

It's been quite a week

I feel like I've been lost in never-never land for the past week and then some! Here's a quick rundown...

The big ice storm that hit New England on December 12 affected us, unfortunately. We lost power for basically three days and spent two nights in a hotel. Lots of others were without power longer than that - Ben's school didn't get electricity back until late Wednesday, so he missed three of his last four days before the holiday break. It was a real mess - so many trees down. I'd never seen anything like it.

Another side effect of the storm was that my Internet service was disrupted. I knew they were having trouble from the storm but when I still couldn't get online last night, I finally had to call and they couldn't fix it over the phone and will have to send someone out. I felt so cut off from the world without being able to get online at home - I made a few quick trips to the public library but it just wasn't the same!

I also caught a cold and I'm now on day #4 of not having a voice (or much of one) and coughing like crazy. It's so hard to be a good parent to little kids when you just can't talk to them.

The good news is, I managed to get all my Christmas custom orders completed (and there were a good number of them). Now I'm looking forward to the holidays, when I plan to enjoy family celebrations and catch up on some of the card challenges that I haven't been able to play in the last couple weeks! Oh, and send out my Christmas cards. Better late than never!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The state of things

Well, it's still crazy around here and seems to be getting worse. Sarah's babysitter has been sick all this week and I've lost a lot of valuable time to get everything done. So unfortunately I am going to have to suspend my challenges a couple weeks earlier than I'd planned. Sorry about that! I may not get back to post much before the holidays, so season's greetings to everyone and hope your holidays are wonderful!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

We lived to tell about it!

Today was a first at our house - a birthday party with a whole lot of other kids. This was the first year that Ben expressed interest in inviting kids from school. We went whole hog and invited the whole class (19 other kids) plus two from our neighborhood. In the end we had 9 kids come, and that was plenty, LOL. I think they had a good time.

We decided to do a mad science party. Having a science demo expert in the house helped a lot. Todd did a great job of holding the kids' attention, even in the face of a few little boys who were on the rowdy side. Thankfully, nothing got broken or damaged! Here is a sampling of the festivities for you.

Looking at Todd's dinosaur track he purchased a couple hours west of here

Showing the kids the fossilized dinosaur poop - always good for a laugh

Making ping-pong balls levitate with a vacuum cleaner

Filling beakers with "magic" colored water (the food coloring was placed in them ahead of time - they were totally fooled!)

Then adding dry ice to the beakers - the kids' favorite part!

Here is my cake effort for this year - after much indecision I went with a volcano cake. It's a regular cake mix baked in my Kitchen-Aid mixing bowl. It took more than an hour to bake, but it did finally get done. It might have looked better if I'd used two cake mixes. Anyway, before I frosted it I put a small vase down into the top of the "volcano" to be filled with hot water and dry ice. I only put the vase about halfway in and then filled in around with frosting to make more of a point to the mouth of the volcano. The lava is red and orange gel icing. I thought it turned out pretty well, and it really wasn't hard. The kids seemed to get a kick out of it - and it tasted good, too!

It's amazing how quiet 10 kids can be when you fill their mouths with cake and ice cream.

I just have to share one funny story related to the party. This actually happened on Friday when one of the class moms told me that her daughter couldn't come to the party. This particular girl was someone whom Ben really wanted to be there, so I was afraid he'd be awfully disappointed. He looked a little sad at first, then he grinned his Ben grin and said, "She won't know what she's missing!" That's a good attitude, my boy. I hope you can keep that outlook through your whole life!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Taking a breather

It's been totally crazy here. Tomorrow is Ben's birthday party - I'm sure more will be forthcoming about that - and I've been madly working on custom orders and my Etsy shop. And somehow in the midst of this I'm supposed to finish Christmas shopping and get the kids' photos taken and send out Christmas cards and pack for our holiday travel and... and... and...

I took a little break from the madness to make a card for a friend. I wanted it to be very sweet and girly, and this is what I came up with. The sketch is Jen's and it was super fun.

I started out with the patterned paper by KI Memories. That led me to an unusual color combination, perhaps - pink pirouette, pale plum, and close to cocoa. I used my ticket corner punch, which recently came out of hiding (i.e., I found it under the mountain of stuff on my craft table). The stamp is by Inkadinkado and is stamped in cocoa ink on pink cardstock.

I couldn't decide what to put for my big embellishment and finally decided on a flower. This one from the Basket & Blooms die is sooo nice. I really should use this die more often! I used the pale plum for the flower and then added a pink button from JoAnn's with some hemp twine. I added a strip of pink pirouette ribbon and popped up the flower and sentiment with glue dots.

What do you think? It's not exactly my usual style, is it? It was fun to step outside my fallbacks and try something different. I hope my friend loves it!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Inspiration Challenge #42: Pier 1 ornaments

I can't help myself - I know I turn to Pier 1 a lot for my inspiration pieces but this one just called to me. Maybe because it reminded me of the Fa La La collection by Making Memories that I picked up at Target over the weekend. I already did a flip album with it, which I hope I get time to show you soon, but for today I made a (gasp!) Christmas card. (Actually I cut enough paper to make six - Christmas is coming and I keep forgetting that I need cards...) Here is a link to all the Pier 1 ornament collections - if you see something else there that inspires you, go for it! I think this photo is so large that you can't see the whole thing on my blog, so be sure you check out the original.

For my card I cut the tan card base and olive layer (4 1/8" x 5 3/8") from Bazzill cardstock. I decided to use as much of the printed paper as possible and not to any further layers. I know, another shocker! The printed panels are 4" x 1 11/16". To finish off, I took a sentiment from the kit and added burgundy Stickles around the edge. Then, on very vanilla cardstock, I stamped the poinsettia from Christ Is Born in Marvy Matchables English red and for the leaves, stamped the image again with old olive and cut out two petals to adhere behind the flower. I dotted more Stickles on the berries and then adhered both sentiment and the poinsettia with dimensionals. I think that's going to do it!

This week's SCS keyword is DSIC42. Please come and play! I'm really getting into the holiday spirit and I hope you are too. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Neutral territory

I am so challenged deprived lately - I haven't done the SCS color challenge in a long time. Today I managed to fit it in, and it was perfect timing because I needed to make a masculine birthday card. The colors of basic black, sahara sand and very vanilla were just what I needed.

I started my card with the large pine tree from Lovely as a Tree, stamped in sahara sand on vanilla cardstock. I cut and embossed with long rectangle Nestabilities, then swiped the edges with black ink on a paper towel. I like the effect that has over the embossing. Then I layered onto black cardstock. I stamped the sentiment (from Upsy Daisy) in black and did all the same things.

The background uses the Weathered stamp in sahara sand on vanilla cardstock. Again I added black ink to the edges, then three black vintage brads. To finish I added one more black layer, a top-folded sahara sand card, and some dimensionals for the sentiment. Ta-da! I'm really liking this card and I might even try it with some different combinations of neutral colors and images.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm a flower gal, too

Congratulations to Dawn (flowergal36), today's SCS featured stamper! Dawn's work is amazing. I love floral images so I picked a flower card to CASE - Dawn says she stinks at stamping them but I don't believe it! I changed a few things - flipped the sketch, added black accents, used different stamps, and changed the ribbon treatment.

My flower stamp is the Wild Rose from Cornish Heritage Farms. I stamped it with jet black Stazon on watercolor paper, then colored with a tiny brush and watercolor crayons (old olive and chocolate chip) and pink pirouette reinker. I added a sentiment from Hero Arts, stamped in basic black. The background is the Bella Toile stamped in pink pirouette on whisper white, then I used my Scor-Pal to create the grid. I added a strip of white organdy ribbon, then a strip of black satin ribbon, and layered onto black cardstock and a pink pirouette card base. The center panel is mounted on dimensionals. I love the softness of the image with the punch of the black - I think it makes a great combination. Thanks for coming by to check it out!

Saturday, November 29, 2008

ABC Blitz: Post-It Holders, 2008 version

I love playing around with post-it holders, and I wanted to make some using the Sweet Always paper and the coordinating Always stamps in regal rose, pumpkin pie, and chocolate chip. Here is this Christmas's incarnation of the post-it holder, in two versions. The first version uses a belly band to keep the holder closed. You can also see the matching beaded pens I made for these, using Rochelle's tutorial here. These were so fun to make! I'd never done them before but I had all the supplies on hand and wanted to try it out.

The second version of the post-it holder uses the Basic Grey magnetic snaps for a closure. I have to thank the awesome Gina K for helping me out with getting these to work! The trick is to bury the magnet under the layers of paper; otherwise the magnet is too powerful and will just pull off your cardstock after you close the cover. I have as many as three layers of paper in between the two magnets and it holds just fine. For this version I'm showing a monogram, using the Lovely Letters set.

Here is what the inside of the holder looks like. I had orange post-it notes on hand and this seemed like the perfect time to use them. I covered the inside flaps with patterned paper - this covers one half of the magnet if you're using them, but I also like how it finishes off the inside of the holder.

I don't have a full tutorial for you, but here is what I did:

Cut cardstock for holder to 3 3/4" x 8 3/8"
Score at 1 5/8", 2 1/8" from one end
Score at 2 5/8", 3 1/8" from other end

I like to use a square of thin cardboard, like the cardboard that comes with the SU paper packs, behind the center to make it a little sturdier. The size of that panel is 3 3/4" x 3 1/8".

You can change the orientation depending which flap you want to be in front. In the belly band version I put the smaller flap in front, and in the magnetic version I put the larger flap in front. You have to decide which way you're going to go at the point when you attach the post-its to the inside. I adhere the post-its to the holder with sticky strip. The size of the belly band is approximately 1" x 7.5" - since I covered the join with the scalloped circle, I wasn't too exact there.

I hope you'll try these out - they are pretty quick and really fun to do. And I'm curious to hear which of the two closure methods (if any) you like better - I can't decide!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Inspiration Challenge #41: Birdhouse Tree

OK, I have held out this long, but since it's Thanksgiving week and the start of the holiday season, I am just warning you... the next few ICs will most likely feature something related to Christmas. I love Christmas, Christmas stamps, Christmas paper... you get the idea. To kick it off, I thought this fun birdhouse tree from Jackson & Perkins would be a great challenge. Sorry this pic is so small - you'll definitely want to click the link and zoom in. Don't feel obligated to make a Christmas card - I didn't!

The layout for my card is today's SCS sketch challenge. I loved the white against the red so I first took the Boho Blooms background and stamped in whisper white craft ink on riding hood red cardstock. To make sure it was good and white, I embossed with white EP. I made it the large square panel from the sketch, and for something different I layered it with white cardstock and put it onto a black card base.

The rest of the stamps are from Bella Blossoms. I embossed the large flower twice, with Versamark and clear EP on riding hood red cardstock, and with black EP on white cardstock. Then I cut out the red flower and adhered over the black stem. On the white strip, I did some white on white embossing - can you see it? I used Versamark and white EP with the smaller flower stamp. I overlaid a band of narrow black grosgrain ribbon and the embossed sentiment oval, then mounted both the sentiment and the large flower on dimensionals.

Come and play - Christmasy or not, I'd love to see what you create! This week's SCS keyword is DSIC41, and don't forget to leave me a comment with a link so everyone can see.

Hope everyone has a very happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Hey, check it out!

I am feeling quite proud of myself right now - I had a coupon and decided to purchase Photoshop Elements at Costco today. I came home and immediately started playing - how'd I do for my first banner attempt? It was way too much fun to make!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Urban Daisy Birthday

I needed a birthday card today and Beate's latest weekend sketch challenge was a great jumping-off point. I decided to look around for what supplies were out and unloved, and I settled on the Urban Garden papers with the Upsy Daisy stamp set.

I chose two of the prints and layered them with not quite navy cardstock. The daisy stamp was inked first in basic gray and then not quite navy, using the rock and roll technique. Since both of these inks are very dark, I couldn't really see how much of the blue ink had been applied - it turned out to be quite a lot! I used baja breeze cardstock to make white a less prominent color. The sentiment (in basic gray) is from the same set and was punched with the wide oval punch. I sponged a bit of not quite navy on both stamped panels.

For finishing touches I mounted the oval on dimensionals and added a bit of white taffeta ribbon. Quick but classy!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Elephant Baby

A long while back I promised a friend a baby card. It was on my to-do list, which kept getting longer, and everything more urgent kept pushing it further and further down... until this week, when she actually needs the card! So here it is, and I'm pleased with how it turned out.

My two starting points were leftovers from the Rock-a-Bye Girl scrap kit and Jen's Sketch for You to Try from yesterday. I didn't stay 100% true to the sketch but I hope enough elements are still there!

I began by putting one of the sticker frames from the kit onto the pink pirouette dot paper. Next I used the coordinating Rock-a-Bye Baby stamp set for the elephant and sentiment (stamped in old olive) and layered them with Nestabilities on regal rose cardstock. For mounting I made a scalloped rectangle out of textured olive cardstock with the scallop edge punch (see this great tutorial from SCS) and then added the star in bashful blue. The sentiment and star are both on dimensionals.

To finish I added the striped panel, another layer of olive cardstock, a bit of bashful blue taffeta ribbon, and a white card. I think this is a cute way to use up the scrapbook kit elements and I'll have to make some more of these!

Kreativ Blogger Award!

Teresa is such a sweetheart - she nominated me for the Kreativ Blogger Award. Thanks, Teresa! Here are the rules:

1. The winner may put the logo on their blog.
2. Put a link to the person that sent you the award.
3. Nominate 5 blogs.
4. Put links to their blogs.
5. Leave a message for your nominees.

Wow, who to choose? There are so many wonderful blogs out there. Here are my nominees:
1. Julie of When the Stars Fall from the Sky - I love her style, and we love to talk stamping! :)
2. Meredith - her blog is new to me but she has great stuff, so check it out!
3. Nola, my fabulous upline! She just started her blog so I'm giving her a shout-out.
4. Jill of Inkgenious - always wonderful for browsing!
5. Pam of Stamping with {Serendipity} - another fabulous blogging stamper!

Go check out all of these ladies' wonderful work!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

ABC Blitz: 2009 calendars

I'm challenging myself in the coming days to post some of the ABC (anything but a card) projects I worked on for the fair at Ben's school. (Incidentally, I did really well at the fair and sold a whole lot of stuff, so I'm really pleased!) My first post will be this year's version of the CD case calendar. If you remember, last year I made these. This year I decided to try something different - I liked the 12-page version but they were a whole lot of work and I wanted a simpler version this time around.

For 2009 I got tear-off calendars from Stamp On This. I ordered these quite a while ago, and now it looks like they are running out, so be sure you order early! I made white base panels cut to 5 7/16" x 4 5/8" - you'll want to check this size against your CD cases before you cut since I think the size may vary slightly.

Next I stamped the panels. I made six different ones, using either very large stamps or images that could be combined to make a nice allover pattern. The first one uses Inspired by Nature colored with pumpkin pie, old olive and chocolate chip markers. Next is the gorgeous Bella Blossoms flower in purely pomegranate and old olive over the Boho Blooms background in pink pirouette. I stamped the flower separately then cut it out and adhered over the stem. The smaller flowers were stamped directly over the background.

This one uses Organic Outlines in chocolate chip, kiwi kiss and so saffron (inspired by the card on p. 99 of the catalog).

Next, Baroque Motifs in soft sky, blue bayou, and river rock. (Can you tell I was enjoying getting out last year's In Colors for a change?)

Here I used Kindred Spirits in Night of Navy and Basic Grey. I'm not crazy about this one so I want to keep playing with this set to get something I like better!

This last one uses a stamp by Artful Stamper, stamped in Baja Breeze in two generations.

The final step is to cut a 3 3/8" x 2 1/4" panel for adhering the calendar. Then you just take your CD case, remove the front cover, flip it over, and reattach it so it becomes a stand. (Note: make sure you have the standard size jewel case and not the slim kind.)

There you have it - a pretty quick project with lots of possibilities!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Inspiration Challenge #40: Daily Tea

I love the kids' clothing from Tea Collection. They always find the coolest international inspirations! They also have great basics, which they call Daily Tea, and it's one of those lines that I've chosen for our challenge today. I love the different colors and patterns in this set. You can zoom in on the photo if you click on the link.

This challenge led me to a color combo I never would have thought of - kiwi kiss (it's the center of the dahlia flowers in the right-most top, and it's prominent if you look at the rest of this collection of Daily Tea), regal rose, and bravo burgundy. I decided to use the Always set since it has both a bird and a flower image.

I first took a sheet of white cardstock and my burgundy ink and stamped a pattern with the flower and my Stamp-a-ma-jig. (This is a really fun technique to play around with - a lot of stamps make amazing patterns this way, so give it a try!) To make the centers I stamped one of the small flowers from the set in kiwi, then punched out the very middle with a 1/4" punch and adhered with mini glue dots.

I liked the rose piping and tried to mimic that with my layers by using regal rose cardstock. I stamped the bird with burgundy and pierced a border around the square. Under the stamped layers I added a panel of burgundy cardstock with three vintage brads, then a panel of kiwi kiss patterned paper. The sentiment from Short & Sweet was oval punched, and the bird and sentiment are mounted on dimensionals.

Come give this challenge a try - these colors perked me up this morning! This week's SCS keyword is DSIC40, and as always leave me a comment here - I'd love to see your creations!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Honey, you're not old...

You're prehistoric! LOL. That will not be what I will say when I give Todd this card for his 40th birthday, which is tomorrow. He has had a thing for dinosaurs ever since he was little, so I of course had to purchase some of the Basic Grey Archaic papers when they came out. They seemed like the perfect choice for Todd's birthday card.

This card was also done for the featured stamper challenge. Today's stamper is Kendra, who has an enormous and lovely gallery. I picked this card but made some changes to it. I used eyelets instead of buttons, changed the focal shape, and added a sentiment oval.

Instead of stamping dinosaurs, I took the dino printed paper and used Nestabilities to cut out one of the images. They are so fun that I wanted to let this little guy show himself off! I stamped a sentiment from A Muse on a coordinating neutral from Bazzill and cut that out with Nesties as well, and then I used some Bazzill orange cardstock for layering. The underneath layer is made of three other papers from the Archaic collection. I mounted all the layers to an orange panel and then added jumbo antique brass eyelets with my Crop-a-dile and tied hemp twine between them. A few dimensionals for the shapes and a matching neutral card base and we're all set.

We had Todd's birthday party last evening - we had six people (three from the lab, three from MIT days) and a lovely time. Todd enjoyed his Mexican food, we had a great evening visiting, and the kids loved having some new people to show off for. Tomorrow may not be as celebratory since I'll be at the preschool fair for about nine hours... but I promised that I would make the decadent peanut butter and chocolate cake that I make for him every year, so we will at least have that!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Popping in briefly

Good heavens, I can't believe it's been nearly a week since I've posted. I have been crazily making as much stuff as I can for the fair at Ben's school next week. I have vowed that this year, I will not stay up until midnight making snowman soup and such things that people will buy but is just not enjoyable for me to churn out. So I'm having a blast and making things that I really love. Hopefully after this fair is over I'll actually have time to show them to you.

I thought I would quickly post a fun little project I did last week. One of my tasks for the fair is to come up with a donation for the raffle. I'm going to do a gift basket with a variety of stuff in it (not all of which I'm 100% sure of, LOL). This is one of the items.

I'd found these cute tins of cocoa and spiced cider mixes at HomeGoods a couple weeks ago. (If you are not lucky enough to live near a HomeGoods store, TJMaxx has a lot of the same stuff.) I didn't want to cover up the cute print on the outside, so I just used sticky strip to adhere some wide chocolate chip grosgrain ribbon and added a bow. The tag uses a snowflake background from A Muse and a sentiment from Hero Arts with my SU tag punches, and I tied it on with a bit of hemp twine. The colors are old olive and chocolate chip.

The top of the tin is probably my favorite part. This snowman from Inkadinkado is the perfect size. I colored him in with an old olive marker and some Tombow markers - I was trying really hard to match the colors on the tin. It's a sickness, I know.

I cut and embossed the circles with Nestabilities - I am so excited that I finally figured out the embossing sandwich that works in my Big Shot. If you're curious, this is what works for me:

1. Open the platform to tab 1 and place a cutting plate on top.
2. Put the die face up and the item to be embossed face down.
3. Cover with two Spellbinders tan embossing mats.
4. Cover with another cutting plate - I use a clean Cuttlebug B plate.
5. Put through the Big Shot without closing the top of the platform.

I hope that helps someone - I've definitely found that some experimentation is needed to figure out what works in your particular machine.

Unfortunately I'm going to have to take this week off from the inspiration challenge, but I expect to be back next week. I know y'all will understand!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Christmas card stamp camp!

I hosted my Christmas card stamp camp last Saturday and we had a great time. I also learned a lot about how to run this kind of event! I had made ten different cards and the stampers who came made one or two of each. Next time I think I'll cut the number of different cards down a little, LOL. I'm posting them here with very brief recipes so if you want to know any more details about any of these cards, please ask!

Card #1 is a CASE of Sharon Johnson with Ski Slope paper and the Punches Three set. Instead of Nestabilities I used the wide oval punch for layering. Colors: real red, chocolate chip, baja breeze.

Card #2 uses Fun & Fast Notes and Heard from the Heart. The kraft panel is 3" square and the 1 3/4" circle punch centers in the middle fairly easily. Colors: always artichoke, mellow moss, bravo burgundy.

Card #3 is done with Lovely as a Tree in baja breeze and handsome hunter - we all agreed this was an unexpected but really great color combo. More Ski Slope paper and sentiment from Many Merry Messages.

Card #4 uses the Always set in riding hood red, very vanilla, and always artichoke. I distressed the edges with my fingernail and added artichoke ink. Another sentiment from Many Merry Messages.

Card #5 is a CASE of one of Shannan Teubner's cards from the most recent Take Ten. I used the In the Spotlight set with paper from Holiday Treasures. Sentiment from All Holidays. Colors: riding hood red, chocolate chip, baja breeze.

Card #6 is in bashful blue and brocade blue with the stamp set from the Country Living kit. The snowflake fits perfectly in the scallop punch. The paper comes from the Rock-a-Bye Boy scrap kit. I added some accents to the large snowflake with white Signo gel pen.

Card #7 uses Holiday Treasures DP and the tree from Snow Swirled. The sentiment is from Warm Words.

Card #8 was embossed with clear and silver EP. The colors are night of navy and bordering blue with brushed silver for an accent. The angel is from Holy Triptych, sentiment from Holidays & Wishes, and swirl from Baroque Motifs.

Card #9 with the Christmas Cardinal is CASEd from the mini catalog in old olive, real red, whisper white and kraft. All stamping was in black and coloring was done with markers.

Card #10 is a bit of an oops - the snowman from Just Celebrate isn't current! I am without any current snowman stamps and I didn't realize what I'd done till Saturday morning. The small snowflake comes from Season of Friendship. The colors are nontraditional: kiwi kiss and pacific point.

Whew! That was a lot of cards. The good news is I have three of each of these, so I'm well on my way to having my Christmas cards done now!