Thursday, January 31, 2008

Target $1 Valentine lip balm slider tutorial

Here's a really quick and easy Valentine project I came up with after finding these lip balms in the $1 spot at Target.

When I bought them I wasn't sure quite what I was going to do with them. After playing around I decided a slider would be the easiest thing. Here's how they look finished.

It's super simple to make these. You will need sticky strip and a scorer. First, cut a piece of cardstock 3 7/8" x 2 7/16". Next, with the cardstock positioned lengthwise, score at 5/16", 3/4", 2 1/8", and 2 9/16". Fold at each score line to make the slider. Secure it with sticky strip on the smallest flap.

Then you're ready to stamp and embellish as desired. If you want to make the inside layer panels, the measurements are 1 1/8" x 2 1/4" for the largest and 7/8" x 2" for the smallest. It was definitely a challenge stamping on such a tiny canvas!

I chose colors that would coordinate with the colors on the lip balms. The first is regal rose and chocolate chip; the second is pretty in pink, real red, and whisper white; and the last is chocolate chip and very vanilla. Stamps on #1: heart from Mini Medleys, sentiment is by My Sentiments Exactly. #2: Happy Heart Day, sentiment is by Memory Box. #3: heart background from Sprinkles, sentiment from All Holidays. Embellishments: Stampendous stickers, glitter pen, chocolate chip taffeta ribbon.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Inspiration Challenge #8: Cocktail dress

When I saw this dress in the Bloomingdale’s catalog (click here for original) I knew I had to use it for the challenge this week. I really loved the color combination and just thought it was a gorgeous dress. Since I can neither afford it nor do I have anywhere to wear it, I’ll have to settle for making a card based on it! My colors are SU taken with teal, chocolate chip and sahara sand, and all supplies are SU unless otherwise noted.

I wanted to incorporate the diagonal element from the dress into the card somehow. I ended up first cutting the background chocolate panel, then the slightly smaller teal panel, and then I took another piece of sand that was the same width as the teal and cut it at an angle. I laid it on top of a chocolate piece the same width and eyeballed it to get the correct size layer. Don’t ask me what angle it is – math is not my strong suit! – but the width of the finished diagonal strip is approximately 2 inches. Since it didn’t quite reach to the bottom of the panel, I thought a horizontal strip across the bottom would look good.

The dress seemed to call for my Baroque Motifs set. I stamped the swirl on the teal panel in chocolate ink a couple times, then dirtied the edges with the chocolate ink and added some Sakura glitter pen. The sand panels use the same swirl and ink but I stamped off twice before stamping on the sand pieces to get a light background. The sentiment is by Inkadinkado and is stamped in teal. Both strips of sand also have some edging in the chocolate ink. The medallions are stamped onto sand cardstock and cut out, then accented with glitter pen. The crystal brad is from Making Memories.

To mount everything, I layered the background panels and the diagonal panel first, then added the sentiment with foam tape. The chocolate flowers are mounted flat, but the teal medallion is on foam tape – which looks nice and also allows room for this rather large brad! I can’t believe I made a wedding card with no ribbon on it – it just didn’t seem to need anything else.

I hope you like this challenge and will play along this week. If you do, be sure to let us know with a comment! I'm also going to start providing a keyword for posting on SCS, so this week's is DSIC8. Happy stamping!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Just got home, it's Monday night...

and I'm exhausted! But it was a good weekend. Always wonderful to see the family. I thought it would be fun to post a few highlights - and unfortunately lowlights - to catch y'all up.

We left Thursday afternoon and mostly the travel was fine. The kids actually did quite well. Our stroller, however - our beloved Inglesina Zippy - didn't survive the first flight. It should be noted that this stroller replaced our first Zippy almost exactly four years ago, after the same airline broke the handle off on its very first time in use, ever. This time it was the wheels. I picked it up on the jetway, opened it, and tried to push it - no go. I looked down to see a wheel assembly missing - it was leaning up against the wall where the stroller had been. The plastic just snapped in two. I envisioned myself having to make the rest of the trip with no stroller and buy a new one when we arrived - but thankfully a nice ticket agent took pity on me and got the luggage people to bring up a spare they had lying around. It's a horrible stroller but it got us through. I did have to lug the broken one all the way to Indy in order to file a claim to get them to pay for the replacement - only to find out that usually they don't pay for broken wheels. What's up with that? Oh, it should also be noted that when I picked up the substitute stroller at the end of the trip tonight, they'd broken off the child tray in front. I am never going to trust the airlines with a stroller again!

OK, now to the good things about the weekend. First, there is my wonderful niece Hannah. She is just such a lovely baby! She is really doing well. When I was holding her on Saturday I got lots of smiles - so precious. Holding her makes me remember how nice having a baby in the house is. It sounds like her next surgery is going to be in May or June. I don't have plans to visit again till late July/early August so I'll have to watch for cheap tickets to take the kids for another visit before then!

It was also fun to see the cousins playing together. They are all stair-stepped in age: Jacob is 5, Ben is 4, Mary is 3, Sarah is going on 2, and then Hannah is 3 months now. Jacob and Ben played together quite a bit and did very well. It was so hilarious watching them, since they have similar personalities in some ways. They both have pretty strong ideas of how things should be, but they didn't always match up. Here's one little example from when Ben was pretending that everything in the house was an elevator (his favorite thing in the world) while Jacob was pretending everything was a train (his favorite thing in the world).

Ben: "Let's get on the elevator."
Jacob: "Well, actually, it's a train."
Jacob: "Hey, I think that door is an elevator!"
Ben: "Well, actually, it's a room."

And yes, they both really talk like that! The other hilarious thing happened at Jacob's house yesterday, while the kids were all playing. Jacob (being the older cousin) had the tendency to call the shots while they were playing - but Ben didn't always want to take it. We had been talking about the saying "You get what you get," which Jacob had learned at kindergarten and has been trying to apply to his life. Well, Jacob told Ben, "You get what you get means that if I tell you to do something, you get to do it." Um, not exactly!

One of my favorite moments was also yesterday. Ben found some musical instruments and brought them out, and we started singing some songs - well, it wasn't long before the four oldest kids were all playing and singing together. It was really sweet and adorable. We did get some photos - the only one I have doesn't have Hannah in the shot much, but Christine brought her over so we actually had all the cousins together and happy for a short while!

Speaking of music, Sarah is singing all.the.time now. Or at least trying to. I noticed it first a few days ago, when I heard her saying some of the words to a song from the Pooh Heffalump movie. And this will only make sense if you know the song: "shoulder... eye... water... jump... sky-y-y-y-y-y!" Cutest thing ever. So on the plane to Indy I got out the safety card for Sarah to look at - always a big hit with Ben - and we were looking at the A-B-C letters on it. Next thing I know I heard her saying "Double X..." and realized she was "singing" the alphabet song! I've also heard her trying her hand at the good-bye song from our music class, the Little People movie theme song (OK, kinda embarrassed about that one, but my kids love those videos), and I think a couple more. I'm so excited to see her so enthusiastic about it!

One sad thing came about while I was in Indy - I discovered that my grandfather, the spouse of my grandmother who died in December, is dying of advanced liver cancer. He was given a prognosis of 3-5 months to live. He is not pursuing any treatment beyond making him comfortable. I think he is ready to be with my grandmother, and he's had an amazing life with a faith that touched many, many people, so I'm trying to find some joy in this for him. It's sad to be losing my grandpa, though, especially so soon after my grandma. But it really makes me glad that we took the kids to see him on our road trip. I'm so grateful that we had that opportunity.

And as far as stamping, I worked on lots of card fronts over the weekend - I don't even know how many - but not many are finished yet! I tried to punch out the shapes I would need and bring it all with me but I just didn't do a good job of predicting what I'd want. When will I learn that it doesn't work? I'll have to see what I can get done in the next few days. It's official - I'm doing the Feb. 13 craft fair, and also one on May 7 for Mother's Day. I'll try to keep blogging since I'm going to try some new Valentine's Day stuff that I'd love to share. It sure was crazy for the Christmas fairs, though, so try to forgive me if I slack off a little! :)

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Wish us luck...

We're taking off this morning to visit my mom - it's my first time flying alone with the two kids, and even though I am traveling as lightly as possibly, I'm still nervous about it. So cross your fingers that all goes smoothly!

I'm taking a ton of card stuff - I cut up a Stampin' Up! scrap kit and another set of cuuuute stuff from Heidi Grace that I found at JoAnn's yesterday - will make them into a bunch of simple cards to put into sets. But I probably won't be posting here till we get back, so have a good weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A don't-miss sketch challenge

Roxie over at SCS always has great sketch challenges, but I think today's is one of the best of recent weeks. I liked it so much I had to make two cards! The details about my first one are posted in my SCS gallery, so click here to read more. I think this Valentine turned out pretty cute. But I also wanted to make an elegant card with this sketch so I tried my hand at it again, and this time I ended up playing around a bit...

For this card I started with the background paper, which is from Stampin' Up!'s Porcelain Prints. It's matted on blue bayou. It was when I chose to use the Oh, So Lovely hostess stamps (retired) that I decided to flip the sketch. Whoa, crazy! I initially was only going to use vanilla and blue bayou, but it just needed something else so I used my last bit of soft sky textured cardstock that my upline gave me (thanks, Nola!). I also made the small panel way off-center so that I could add the vanilla ribbon and the punched circle (these are Marvy punches). The sentiment is from Hero Arts and is stamped in Versamark and embossed in old SU winter white. I used lots of fingernail distressing and inked edges on this one, and I love it!

Inspiration Challenge #7: Cardigan

For today’s challenge I chose this pretty sweater from Garnet Hill. If you want to check out different views or zoom in you can click here for the original. You might be wondering why there's so much celery on my cards... in the catalog the three colors of the sweater were all right together, along with matching camis and pants, and I think in my head the rose sweater had the celery green on it. That's what I love about inspiration challenges - there are always so many different ways to approach them.

I did something a little unusual while I was working on this challenge. I stamped four of the flowers with the intention of making four cards all the same – one of my preferred ways to get multiple cards for craft fairs, because if I don’t do it that way from the start, I usually don’t want to go back and make the same card again. I ended up playing around and doing four different cards with them, and the photo shows them from left to right in the order I made them. (Supplies are Stampin’ Up! unless otherwise noted.)

Here is how this went. I did the center panels first. I stamped the speckled background from Itty Bitty Backgrounds with celery, and to be sure it was not too dark I stamped off once on a scrap first. For the flowers, I used the Heartfelt Thanks set. I stamped the stem in certainly celery and the flowers in regal rose by picking up ink on my blender pen and coloring onto the stamp. (If you close the pad and press down on the lid, you’ll get some ink you can dip your pen into. I use this trick all the time!) Then I overstamped the outline in old olive. The flower fit perfectly in my largest Marvy scalloped oval punch, so I punched out a frame from celery cardstock and trimmed it to size. I did four of those just alike. I also made four panels of celery paper and stamped “heartfelt” in olive at the bottom of each. And then it started getting crazy!

I took my first flower and mounted it on regal rose cardstock. When I put it up against the dot paper I thought, it needs another layer. I wished I hadn’t already taped the pink on because I thought it would look better with an olive panel between the celery and rose. I realized I’d also intended to sponge the edges and use a corner punch. Since it was too late for those things, I decided to do them on the rest of the cards, and for this one just mounted the panels as shown and added the organdy bow (ribbon from Papermart).

Then for card #2, I got out my ticket corner punch. I decided to only punch the background paper and the flower frame, and leave the other two panels intact with a brad in the corner. The panel is mounted on dimensionals.

By this time I thought, why not just keep playing around and make them all different? The third and fourth ones both use an EK Success scalloped corner punch. I really like these corners. These cards are the same except for the ribbon treatment. On the third one I layered wide white organdy (also from Papermart) and celery grosgrain behind the panel, and on the last one I tied white grosgrain on top of the panel and added a knot of celery grosgrain on top.

So, which one do you like best? I have my favorite but I won’t tell since I’m curious what you all have to say. Please leave me a comment and let me know, and play along with the challenge!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Stamping to take my mind off things

We discovered a bit of a crisis this morning. The heat was down too low in part of the house last night and some part of the pipes froze. That whole side of the house was cold so which part, we don't know. We are worried that the pipes could burst and damage or destroy our not-so-long-ago-fully-finished basement (otherwise known as Todd's Sherlock Holmes study). We have space heaters running and I hope and pray that the ice is melting as we speak.

So in the meantime I'm working on cards - always a great escape from real life! I decided to do today's color challenge on SCS, which was to use real red, blue bayou and soft sky. This card is all SU products, and it's a CASE of a beautiful card on p. 37 of the spring-summer '08 catalog. I first stamped the 2-step flowers from the A Beautiful Thing set in soft sky and blue bayou, then cut them out and mounted to a blue bayou panel. (Almost all the panels have edges distressed with my fingernail.) Under that I layered red, vanilla, and soft sky panels, then added the ribbon. The card is a top fold in soft sky with the canvas background stamped and the edges inked up. For the sentiment I did another vanilla panel with the sentiment in red and affixed it to the bottom of the card before adding the center panel. The flowers are mounted with dimensionals, and I used two layers on the center flower so it would pop up over the other two. This was a pretty quick and easy one to do!

Hope you'll stop by for my inspiration challenge tomorrow - happy stamping!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday family news bulletin

I know I've been posting lots of cards lately, which is fun for me but not as interesting to those of you out there who want to know how we're doing. So let me see if I can catch you up. Actually not a whole lot is going on. Todd is busy working on his proposals and I'm doing my best to keep the kids entertained and myself from going over the deep end! So far we're hanging in there. Unfortunately snowy and/or cold days have kept us indoors a lot. I'm ready for spring!

No news on the TMJ front. My doctor's office has not been successful thus far in getting ahold of the Botox people. Of course, it's hard to believe they are coming down on the other doctor for not returning their calls when my doctor's office hasn't been returning mine. Grr. I hope this will be resolved sometime during my lifetime, sigh. They are going to try calling again tomorrow - today, apparently, the Botox guy is not working.

As if jaw pain wasn't enough, I've also developed tennis elbow from carrying Sarah too much. I guess I should call it toddler elbow. It's really painful and so far my efforts to carry her less and take Advil as needed aren't really doing anything. Looks like another doctor visit is probably in my future. I doubt I'll make it in this week, though. This weekend I'll be taking the kids to visit my Indianapolis family so there will be a lot going on before then!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Featured Stamper day!

When I first started doing SCS challenges the Featured Stamper wasn't one I really liked - but as I pushed myself beyond my comfort zone I really started to enjoy them. I've found that it gets me doing things I never would have thought of, and I've made some of my favorite cards for the FS challenges.

Today's featured stamper is KathyC - I don't know if I'd ever seen her gallery before, but she does beautiful work! I chose this card to CASE and turn into a Valentine's card. (It would have been so tempting to stick with snowflakes... maybe I'll come back to that idea in a few months!) I used pretty in pink instead of soft sky but kept the other cardstock colors the same (purely pomegranate, white, basic gray) and since I used the same fold as Kathy, I put some of that gorgeous basic gray taffeta ribbon between the crease and the scored line (1/2" from the crease) and secured with sticky strip.

I had trouble choosing what heart stamps to use. The Denami Designs sentiment jumped out at me right away because it resembled the swirly "Joy" stamp that Kathy used. In the end I chose this heart border stamp by Stampendous. I did generation stamping in pomegranate around the sentiment, and stamped in Versamark on the top and bottom of the base. Finally, using a Marvy heart punch, I punched two hearts from pretty in pink and pomegranate, accented them with glitter pen, and added three Primas with a Making Memories crystal brad. They're attached to the stamped panel with dimensionals.

I'm not sure what I think of this card so I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

VSN, day 2

Today was pretty busy - not as much time to stamp as yesterday. But I still got three cards done - only two for VSN, though. It's just too tough with having the kids on my own most of the day.

Enough whining... here's the first card. The challenge was to use bling - do you think I got enough on there? This was a tough one to photograph and I think it's better in person, but ah well. I started the whole thing with the papers from DCWV's Luxury Stack - I've had this in my stash for ages but haven't touched it till today. It's metallic pearlized paper and just so elegant. I figured embossing was the only way to get stamping to work on this paper, and that let me add some more sparkle with the Ranger embossing tinsel (over Versamark). It's fabulous stuff. The "love" stamp is by Rubber Stampede. Something else new to me was the SU photo corner punch - I pulled it out and realized I had no idea what to do with it! After browsing some blogs and galleries I decided to layer the stamping on silver cardstock and repeat one of the papers on the photo corners. Of course I had to use my fun Making Memories crystal brads again! The embossed swirl background on vanilla (Art Impressions) and silver organdy ribbon were last-minute additions that really made the center panel just pop out. I had a few false starts and lots of interruptions doing this card, so I'm not sure I really made the 45-minute time limit, but I *think* I would have been OK!

My next VSN card was for the next-to-last challenge, which was a follow the list challenge that you can find here. It seemed pretty challenging based on the list, but I made life easier by going to some SU coordinating stuff - my adored Carte Postale set, the matching paper Le Jardin, and - initially - the French Flair background stamp. In the end I thought the swirly background was too busy so I swapped it out for the Linen stamp instead. It always looks so classy. I picked artichoke, river rock and vanilla cardstock to go with my two prints, and for embellishments used gold brads, river rock ribbon, and for bling my clear gel pen. I wanted to keep it subtle. The flower stamp is all I ended up using from Carte Postale, with a sentiment from Warm Words. To make the flowers soft I stamped the artichoke and river rock off once before going around the sentiment. I did use the paper piercer to make the brad holes, but the punched ovals (Marvy) are the only visible sign of the required tools. I really enjoyed Frances's challenge and I think I ended up with a lovely wedding card out of it.

The third card from today was for the inspiration challenge - couldn't miss that one, of course. I love how it turned out, and for once I will direct you to my SCS gallery here for the details instead of the other way around!

Friday, January 18, 2008

My VSN cards so far

Well, I am having a great time playing some of tonight's VSN challenges on SCS. There have been some really creative challenges so far and lots more to come!

My first card was for this challenge - I always love an inspiration challenge and this one was fabulous. I was looking at the shoes and saw that one had a ricrac kind of trim - and thought, don't I have some pink and brown ricrac in my stash? And once I pulled those out, I thought immediately of a baby card, knowing that I had some cute ones I'd gotten recently. These papers by Pebbles seemed perfect, especially since the floral has brown in it! I picked the bear stamp from Bundle of Joy (SU) because he would good look brown, and he's so darn cute. I stamped him in basic brown on watercolor paper and colored in with a cocoa watercolor crayon. I used the pretty in pink crayon to shade in the background (kinda hard to see in the photo). The sentiment is from the coordinating set Bundled in Love and was inked with a Tombow marker. I matted everything with cocoa cardstock, added the ricrac (from JoAnn's) and mounted the bear on dimensionals. You may recall that I did this card a while back and so I did a CASE of myself - and if I do say so, I think I stepped it up a notch!

And now for something completely different - the next challenge, "Little Black Dress," was to stamp on black cardstock (see here). All supplies are SU - except the brad in the center. I had some old winter white embossing powder gifted from a friend, and got out my retired Good Things Grow set. The squares were punched with the 1 1/4" square punch. I used pomegranate as an accent color, mounting the squares so they made this nifty pattern. And then I broke the rules a bit, because the embellishments were also supposed to be black, but the challenge also said something special that we were saving, which these Making Memories crystal brads definitely are, and you know, my favorite little black dresses always have a bit of bling! The stamped panel is mounted on dimensionals.

I stamped the canvas background in black on vanilla cardstock - note to self, you will have to rinse your Stampin' Scrub after stamping a black background! I cut a larger pomegranate panel and tied the black grosgrain around, then punched ovals from vanilla and black and added the sentiment (from Short & Sweet) in pomegranate, and mounted that with dimensionals. It all went on a vanilla card. I really love how this turned out, and maybe I'll do another one with teal instead of pomegranate, since I had a hard time choosing!

I may do one more challenge before bed tonight (OK, maybe two if I get cracking) but this is the last you'll hear from me for today. Night!

My first Beate challenge card

It seems that everyone in the stamping world knows Beate Johns and her wonderful blog, which you can find here. Beate writes great tutorials that have really helped me grow as a stamper. She also does a sketch challenge every weekend, and this is the first time I've played along.

I think I'm about ready to take a couple days off from making Valentine's cards, but here is one more. Everything on the card is Stampin' Up!Last night I colored this mouse from the Happy Heart Day set with watercolor crayons - rose red and (I thought) pretty in pink, with creamy caramel for the mouse. I love playing around with these crayons since blending them makes lots of subtlety possible. I decided to use this image when I saw Beate's sketch. (Of course I didn't remember that the sketch called for the sentiment to be in the lower right corner, and I'd already planned my circles to go all the way down, so I messed the sketch up on my first try! Oh well...) It was when I went to color the flowers that I realized I'd actually used the regal rose crayon for the mouse and not pretty in pink, so I used all three colors for the flowers and made sure to add cardstock in all three. The large scallop square was made with my corner rounder punch - I only had to trim one edge a tiny bit to make it meet up on all sides. I couldn't believe it! I punched the circles with my 1" circle punch from regal rose and mounted the flowers with dimensionals, then taped them with sticky strip over pretty in pink grosgrain ribbon. The stamped panel is also mounted with dimensionals. The background is from the rose red designer paper pack and is cut to fit on a white card.

So the next couple days if you read my blog I hope you will NOT see: anything made with rose red, or anything that's a valentine. I need to step away and get some fresh ideas! This weekend is VSN on SCS so if I get to play, I will try to do something different. Woohoo! If you don't know about it, come read here and play along with us - it's always a blast!

My favorite way to start the day...

By making a card, of course! (In the interest of full disclosure, I did the tree image last night so that the Stickles would dry, not knowing what I'd do with it, but when I saw today's SCS limited supplies challenge I decided to make my card around it.) Sorry for the lousy photo - at 7:15 on an icy morning, conditions for taking pictures are far from optimal!

The challenge was to use background stamps, and no designer paper. For my background I used a Hero Arts dotted heart stamped randomly on SU real red cardstock in real red ink. The tree (Savvy Stamps) is stamped on vanilla cardstock in close to cocoa, with Xmas red Stickles over the hearts. I used some ivory wide organdy and gorgeous red velvet ribbon as an accent, and rounded the corners with a Marvy punch. Everything is mounted on dimensionals because the velvet ribbon is quite thick. Finally I put it all on a top-folded vanilla card and added the Savvy Stamps sentiment in real red at the bottom. Since the main part of the work was done ahead, this came together really quickly!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

CASEing my way through blogland

I gotta say, I am loving that my freelance work is caught up, the kids are happily playing with the babysitter, and I am happily playing in my stamping room! I haven't had enough time for creativity lately so it's much needed solace for my soul.

I found this card of Andria Werner's that I was dying to CASE. Of course, I didn't read her description until I was almost done, so I ended up changing some things, but I guess that's what it's all about, right? My card is all Stampin' Up! stuff this time. I started with vanilla cardstock and took out my Artfully Asian stamps - Todd got me this one for Christmas, and it was my first time using it. Love it! I stamped the leaf branches in artichoke and the flower branches in celery, then used my blender pen and the celery and guava ink pads to color. This is one of my favorite combos for a nice, soft card. I tried to have less ink on the blender pen with the leaves on the flower stem so they'd be lighter - I liked the contrasting outline on Andria's card.

I took another vanilla panel and stamped with the linen background in guava, then added the sentiment in artichoke at the bottom. I decided to use the narrow grosgrain (in celery) since the wider one seemed overwhelming to the images. Once the panels were mounted on artichoke, I added the vintage brads and put it all on a celery card base, using dimensionals to pop up the stamped panel. And that's it!

Inspiration Challenge #6: Flower Market

I think I found a really fun challenge for this week - at least I had a blast with it! It's a series of decographs found here - I had to take a picture of the catalog page again this week so my apologies.

For my card I decided to try my hand at the emboss resist technique. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to do something new to me. I also broke out my new SU Baroque Motifs set, and what a fun one to play with! I liked the first of the prints the best. First I stamped the flowers, sentiment (My Sentiments Exactly), and scroll in Versamark and So Saffron craft ink on white cardstock, then embossed with clear embossing powder. When it was cool I sponged on a heavy layer of Taken with Teal ink and then buffed it off with a paper towel. It was amazing to see the images just pop out! I tied the ribbon around and thought that maybe I was done, but it really seemed to need something more so I added the pin. I don't have the Pretties Kit so I just used a corsage pin and beads that I had hanging around. It's what Todd would call a dangerous card - no safety end on the pin - I keep meaning to check at Michael's if I can buy them separately. Anyway, to finish it off I mounted the stamped panel with dimensionals onto a saffron panel and then onto a white card. I'll definitely be playing with the resist techniques more - this was so much fun!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

The card that took all day to make

You know how sometimes you get on a mission and you just can't stop till you've finished? That's how I was with the SCS color combo challenge today. I tried several different things - and you may see them again because I still think they were good ideas - but they didn't end up working. Finally, at 9:30 tonight, I decided to go back to CASEing and chose this beautiful card by Jen del Muro that I'd seen a few days ago - I've recently been touring a lot more blogs, and boy, it is addicting - check Jen's out because she does gorgeous stuff.

I started with the flowers, which are from SU's Delight in Life. I stamped the flowers several times in sage shadow to make the leaves, then colored in with the pad ink using my blender pen. The background of the flowers is apricot appeal and the outline is rose red. I cut everything out and laid out the pattern on a piece of apricot cardstock, then cut out the panel around the flowers like the out of the box technique. The background paper is SU's rose red designer paper, which I've had for ages now but hadn't even opened the package yet! I layered it on top of a barely larger apricot panel, then made a sage scallop border for the top. The white organdy is a scrap that I think was in a $1 ribbon bag from Michael's - I liked that it was wide but not too wide. By the time I put all of this together, I realized I had very little room left for the sentiment, but thanks to SU's Short & Sweet set and my little Marvy scalloped oval punches, I think I made it work. Whew, I'm tired. I guess I can go to bed now!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

I want glittery cards, gosh darn it!

I am determined to make some Valentine's cards with lots of sparkle to them. But so far everything I'm trying is not working like I want. I'm sure you will see more of my efforts if you read my blog often - this is the first one that I'm willing to publicly share. And it's nowhere near glittery enough, hrmph, but I like it despite that!

This card was the first in a while that I've created without at least in part CASEing something I'd seen elsewhere. I've been doing lots of CASEs lately because it's a lot faster for me, but it felt good to really start from scratch. I started with the Hero Arts flower and heart stamp, which is part of a set I picked up yesterday. In my quest for bling I stamped it several times in SU pink passion and pixie pink craft ink, then embossed with Ranger polysparkle powder. I ended up with a row of 5 flowers that looked good enough to use, so that determined the size of the rest of the panels. I made a background panel in pixie pink with pink passion dots from the SU Itty Bitty Backgrounds set. Next I cut a strip of pink passion and used my corner rounder punch to make the scalloped edges. What a cool trick - it was my first time trying it and I love it! I tied on the organdy ribbon and layered the panels together. For the sentiment, which is by Stampabilities, I stamped in pink passion on pixie pink and embossed as before. It fit perfect in my pink Marvy scallop circle punch, so I layered it on a larger pink passion circle and added the dots with white gel pen. It's mounted with dimensionals. Voila!

Friday, January 11, 2008

News from the week

Always busy here at our house and this week was no exception! Todd is frantically working on two huge proposals due at the end of the month that will hopefully ensure funding for his work for the next fiscal year. And I'm frantically working on an editing project that came in kinda last-minute with a 2-week turnaround - not normally a challenge but for a busy mom, that's pretty quick.

Anyway, here's the news that's worth telling... I had a TMJ checkup today. The doctor is having me go ahead with Botox injections. Not really something I'm looking forward to, but he says for most patients it only takes once. I am going to beat down those pessimistic thoughts that say I am not most patients, and hope wholeheartedly that it will work. I can eat a few more things than I was at first, and I can manage to sing a hymn in church with only some pain... but not good enough. I want my life back, and I hope this is the way to get it.

Ben and Sarah had a good week. Ben started his new enrichment class, "African Safari," on Tuesday and got to be the superstar (the one who does the weather and calendar each day) on Thursday. It is wonderful to see how much he loves school. Sarah's new session of Music Together started on Thursday. They changed to a new location, a room in a gymnastics place, and it's much bigger with bouncy floors and mirrors and Sarah was like a different kid. (The old room was a church Sunday school classroom.) She was exploring everything, running around in circles, and just generally doing her own thing! Several people commented on how different she was, since she used to mostly sit quietly on my lap. She'll be dancing in no time! I wondered whether we'd have time to add a Gymboree class to our week - I'm thinking no, but I bet she would love it. Maybe during the summer.

I have a possibility of doing a fair at a local company around Valentine's Day - waiting to get confirmation that I'll actually be selected to do it. In the meantime I don't want to make a boatload of stuff, but I've been doing a lot of thinking about what I'd like to make. Lots of cards, of course! I'd love to hear ideas if anyone has suggestions. I also had a neighbor order some cards, which was a nice surprise, so I worked on those a bit, but mostly I've been editing today. Maybe tomorrow there will be time for more stamping... one can always hope!

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Inspiration Challenge #5: Library wallet

First of all, I know that I said I'd do this on Thursday. But I made the card already and I couldn't wait! Plus I realized that I have more time to blog on Wednesdays than on Thursdays, so here it is. I'll be posting my challenges on Wednesday from now on.

I apologize that the photo is not great - I don't have a scanner and Anthropologie (where this wallet is sold) wouldn't let me borrow their photo, but you can see the original here. (Select the red one to see the one I used - feel free to pick another if you like them better - it's all good!)

Here is my card. This seemed like the perfect chance to break out my new Embrace Life set from SU. The red flowers are stamped with SU real red, but the teal and olive are done with Tombow markers. All cardstock is from SU. I did the white rub-on stitching (DCWV) around the outer edge to mimic the wallet's stitching. Gold brads seemed called for, and I used my SU ticket corner punch to make space for them in the corners. And I liked the oval placement as well so used my Marvy punches for the sentiment, which I stamped by inking the words separately so it would fit inside the smallest oval. I had to use two different thicknesses of dimensionals to get the oval to lay flat over the two bigger layers.

Please leave me a comment if you play along this week - I'd love to see your ideas!

Monday, January 7, 2008

Just because I was gone doesn't mean I wasn't stamping

I discovered the real upside of driving instead of flying when we travel: I can bring lots of stamping stuff! I had some new stamp sets Todd gave me for Christmas, lots of fun new paper (not even counting the huge stack I acquired over the course of our trip), and as many coordinating colors of cardstock, ribbon and ink as I could stuff into my boxes and bags. I envisioned myself stamping away at our overnight stops along the road, not to mention while we were visiting all those grandparents.

So, you ask, what did I actually accomplish? Well... I have yet to break out most of those new stamps, and I just didn't have time or energy to do nearly as much stamping as I wanted. My mom had even cleared off an L-shaped area for me to spread out my stuff - she's the best! - but it was just so busy. Now I know next time to pack a lot less, since I didn't stamp at all in the hotels and I didn't even get that much stamping time otherwise.

I did get some cards done, though. Some friends have requested sets of assorted kid birthday cards, so I've been working on those. It's a fun project - my challenge is making boy-appropriate cards since I tend to want to girl everything up! I'm trying to meet the challenge, though. Here's a cute boy card, using holiday paper from DCWV I found on sale at JoAnn's - I love how those dots pop! The sentiment is from Hero Arts - I found cute clear birthday stamps from them on my first visit to Indy's Archivers store. The cupcake is from Stampin' Up!'s Little Layers Plus. The DCWV paper matched SU brilliant blue really well, and the green ink is Color Box lime with Bazzill cardstock.

This one could work for a boy or a girl, right? I had fun with these coordinating papers from American Crafts. The sketch was from a challenge posted by Gina K on her blog. The cake comes from SU's Eat Cake set, stamped in real red and tempting turquoise. I also used SU red and turquoise CS, but the orange is from Bazzill. The cake panel is mounted with dimensionals. The sentiment is another from the Hero Arts set.

I guess this last one has to be for a girl, but I have to use pink sometimes! The cake paper is from Heidi Grace and the pink is from Stemma - I thought they looked great together. This card is a CASE of one in the Quick & Easy Cards magazine that came out recently. The stamps are from Doodlebug - another clear set I found at Archivers. I used VersaColor orchid ink on Bazzill CS for the "happy," stamped multiple times and circle punched. The "Birthday" is stamped in SU's certainly celery on bashful blue CS and mounted with dimensionals, as is the blue cake at the top, which was cut from the same paper as the bottom panel. I finished it off with SU bashful blue ribbon.

We're home, we're home!

Our big holiday road trip finally came to an end on Saturday afternoon. Despite several challenges - the nasty stomach virus, the death of my grandmother, the horrible snowstorm that hit northern Indiana the day we were supposed to drive up there, and just the many hours of driving we logged with two munchkins in tow - it really was a good trip. I thought I'd focus on the highlights rather than the lowlights, including some photos.

First stop: Arkansas. Although we really were quite sick for a good part of our visit, I managed to get the kids out to the farm with Grandpa Jerry. The kids had a fabulous time. Sarah loved seeing the horses and didn't seem afraid of them at all. They both got a kick out of sitting on Grandpa's tractors, especially his new John Deere, and Ben even got to make the moving parts go!

Next we were off to Indianapolis for Christmas. We got to stay there for a week and a half, so the kids had lots of time to play with Grandma Emilie and Grandpa Bob. Sarah kept us in stitches with all of her antics. Her favorite things were a funky knit hat and a pair of pink rain boots that cousin Mary likes to play with. The boots were big enough that Sarah could get them on by herself, and she loved stomping around the house in them. When she paired the hats and boots with her PJs one morning, it was especially hilarious!

She also got in a bit of trouble with her cousins' cat Sadie. Sarah really wanted to make friends with Sadie, and it started out OK...

but later on Sarah got a bit too close for Sadie's comfort and Sarah got a little swat in the face - luckily, no claws! But it still really scared Sarah and after that she left Sadie alone.

One of the most important memories I will take from this trip is of my beautiful niece Hannah, who was still in the hospital when we arrived but came home on December 30. Because of being sick and my grandmother's funeral, I didn't get to visit the hospital until the 28th. Hannah was in a good mood that day - very calm and just taking everything in. I got to hold her a little bit, for the first time, and it was so wonderful.

Hannah's homecoming on the 30th came a few hours earlier than expected, so on the morning of the 31st they felt ready for us to bring Ben and Sarah for a visit. Hannah had just woken up and had a bottle and so again, she was in a peaceful mood. I held her for as long as she would let me, and it was amazing to see her just staring into my face as I held her on my lap. She has the biggest, darkest eyes, and she always looks like she is studying the world around her so carefully.

Our family has really been blessed by this baby - thanks to all who have prayed for her and will continue to do so as the second surgery comes up in April or May.