Thursday, September 20, 2007

Emerging Fall Colors

Okay, I love this technique! I have been wanting to try it for several days, and finally found a little time yesterday to play. I love fall colors, and love the way this flower turned out in these shades. You can find the tutorial for this technique, called "Emerging Color" here.

I followed the tutorial above, however with a slight modification for this card. Before stamping the colored images, I used the brayer to add More Mustard ink to the Whisper White cardstock, so that my focal image flower would have color as well. This stamp set, Fabulous Flowers (should I say it is my favorite???), is perfect for this technique.

The ingredients for this card:
Stamps: Fabulous Flowers, All Holidays
Cardstock: Whisper White, Close to Cocoa, Ruby Red, Really Rust, More Mustard
Ink: More Mustartd, Ruby Red, Really Rust, Pumpkin Pie, Old Olive (classic and craft), Versamark
Ribbon: Chocolate Chip Taffeta
Accessories: Clear embossing powder, Brayer, Heat Tool, Ticket Corner punch, Rhinestone brads, Dimensional Adhesive, Sponge Dauber

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Tumbled Tile Coasters

One of my coworkers has been asking me to put together a tile coaster class for her and a group of her friends. I love making tile coasters, and have finally found some time to figure this out for her. I spent time this weekend making up some samples. Unfortunately, all of the stamp sets that I own that work best for tile coasters are retired sets --but rather than buy several new sets, I have decided just to use these - they are some of my favorites, and really work beautifully for this project! You can click on images for a larger view.

There are a variety of methods to making tumbled tile coasters, and everyone has their favorite way to do these. You can find tutorials on for alternative ways to do these. I personally prefer not to use methods that require me to spray an acrylic sealer over the tile. Since I want them to be used as coasters, I want the natural stone to maintain it's absorbency.

The best stamp set choices for making tile coasters are those with fine line drawing images, and plenty of area for adding color. Fat lines and solid images do not stamp as well in my experience. I love choosing stamps that have a lot of subtle detail - images with shading and stippling add a lot to this project!

When I make tile coaster, I purchase the "Botticino" brand tumbled tiles from Home Depot. I wash them to remove the powdery residue, and allow them to dry before beginning the project. Once dry, I stamp my focal image in Stazon (permanent ink) - Timber Brown is my favorite color choice. I like to use a background (especially French Script) so I mask the focal image, and then stamp the background in Stazon as well. For best results, allow the Stazon to dry overnight (it really does make a difference!) Then I use craft inks and a blender pen to color my images. It takes just a tiny bit of craft ink - I have all 48 Stampin' Up! colors in the Stampin Spots, and I smudge my desired colors onto a palette (a blank CD works great for this, and we all have one we messed up on or has gotten scratched laying around - or a free one AOL sent us, right). I pick up a little of the lightest color choice first, then add color for accent in darker shades. Once I have colored my images, I bake the tiles to "really" set the color. About 5 minutes at 375 seems to do the trick. Colors do fade slightly once the tile is completely dry, so keep this in mind when coloring your image and make them more vibrant than you may desire in your completed work. Once they are baked (and cooled) I add felt pads to the bottom of the coaster. Tie sets of 4 together with a ribbon and add a cute handmade gift tag and VOILA! These are a lot of fun to make, and make awesome handmade gifts.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Missing and "Wanted"

One of my coworkers is ill, and will be off of work for several months. The office is kindly taking food to his family every week....but I don't cook. And for those of you that know me at all, you know that taking MY food to a sick friend is really NOT an act of kindness. So I decided to make some cards to send ALONG with the food that others are taking instead.
Of course, if you know me, you know that masculine cards are not my best thing either...but I am working on that. I had an excuse to buy these fabulous (truly FABULOUS!) new western stamp sets so that I could make a special "WANTED" card. I am so excited by these stamps.

I aged the paper used for the focal image on this card using lemon juice. This is a really simply technique, and looks GREAT for cards that you want to look aged and distressed. You simply take your neutral colored paper (in this case, I tore the edges of mine first) and use a sponge or paintbrush to apply lemon juice. I like to use an uneven coat of the lemon juice so that I get "puddling" in some areas if possible. Then you heat the cardstock with a heat tool. The heat burns the lemon juice on your cardstock and turns it brown. This takes a while, so don't give up! Heat it more in some areas than others for the variation in color. And BE CAREFUL - the paper can catch fire, and fingers can get burned (no real need to ask me how I know) so take your time and proceed with caution :)

You might also notice that I have been adding Jumbo Eyelets to everything lately - well that is because they ROCK! These ones are the pewter eyelets, and gol' dang if I don't just love em! And of course you can't love the jumbo eyelets without the crop-a-dile. I bought this tool on a whim one day when I HAD to make a chipboard coaster box, and then it sat on my shelf for months. I am so glad I dusted it off and put it back into use - it really is a nifty little gadget.

Ingredients for this card: (note that this is a 5 x 7 card)
Stamps: Wanted, Bronc Buster, Canvas
Paper: Outlaw DSP, Chocolate Chip, Really Rust, Very Vanilla
Ink: Chocolate Chip (both classic and craft), Really Rust, Clost to Cocoa, Creamy Caramel
Ribbon: 5/8" Chocolate Grosgrain
Accessories: Lemon Juice, Heat Tool, Crop a Dile, Pewter Jumbo Eyelets, Sponge Dauber

Friday, September 14, 2007

Garden of Hope

As promised, here is another card made with the GAWGEOUS set, Garden Silhouettes. But as predicted, my "set sampler" ended at just these two cards, because my new toys arrived and, well I got distracted. Come on, you new it would happen. But I WILL come back to this set! It is worth spending some more time with.

This card was very simple to create. I sponged inks in More Mustard, So Saffron, Creamy Caramel and Close to Cocoa onto Very Vanilla Cardstock. Then I stamped the leaf image in Chocolate Chip ink, and stamped off (stamped it again without re-inking the stamp) to create the shadow effect. I love how soft and ethereal this looks, but the colors are warm, masculine, and peaceful. I made this card for a coworker that is out ill - hope he will like it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Pretty Pink Blossoms

Oooooh! I am so loving this new Hostess Set - why are you all not beating down my door to try to earn it?! Seriously, cute! I am so excited to have had a few minutes to stamp (well, neglected other things to make a few minutes really - but that is beside the point). I have decided to work on set samplers for a few of the new sets I have recently received, and this one was just calling to me. It is so versatile, and just so pretty. Look for a few more this week made with this set (I hope). I have new toys arriving later in the week, so I want to make a few with this one before getting distracted by other new things!

The ingredients for this card:
Stamps: Garden Silhouettes (hostess), SO Many Sayings (hostess) Linen BG, Floral BG
Paper: Regal Rose, Pretty in Pink, Mellow Moss, Very Vanilla
Ink: Mellow Moss and Regal Rose markers, Regal Rose Classic and Craft, Mellow Moss and Always Artichoke.
Ribbon: Mellow Moss 1/4" Grosgrain
Accessories: Ticket Corner punch, Word Window Punch, Artichoke brads, Dimensional Adhesive, Sponge Dauber

Sunday, September 9, 2007

I Scrapped!

Hooray! I found some time to do some scrapping! For some reason lately it seems that finding time for this is next to impossible, and when I DO have time, creativity is somewhere else entirely. So I am very excited this weekend to have accomplished something. No, they are not my best pages, but the fact that I finished them is QUITE an accomplishment, so I wanted to share. I used up some of the retired papers and accessories that I have been hoarding (GOOD JOB, Kristine!!) I used the Retired "Treehouse" Designer papers, and the 2006 "In Color" cardstock and ink. The stamps and accessories used here include: Office Accoutrement, Genuine Article, Big Deal Alphabet, Short Order Alphabet & Numbers, Priceless, Everyday Flexible Phrases, On Board Chipboard, Spiral Punch, Jumbo Eyelets.
The photos are from last November, when My son Ethan and I did an overnight trip with the Cub Scouts. We took the train to San Francisco, where we spent the night in the Aquarium - slept in the shark tube! Then we took the bus to the Exploritorium. It was an awesome trip. I have a ton more photos, but am sadly out of this Designer paper, so will have to do the rest another day when creativity strikes again. I am off to try to do a few cards or simple stamped items before bed, as I still have a few hours in me! Have a great day!

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

What a Day!!

And since I have no one else to whine to at the moment, guess what! You get the joy of hearing about it. It's not all bad, but I am beat! My 8 year old son, Ethan, is sick. He has been complaining since Friday of a stomach ache. Now, no big deal you may say...but this is Ethan. And Ethan has an abnormally high tolerance for pain. Last year by the time he let us know that he was sick, he required a week in the hospital, and surgery. And when he broke his thumb, we did not realize it until the next day when he woke up and his hand was a purple balloon. So if he says it hurts, I have to assume it is serious! For the first couple of days, he just whined that he had a tummy ache, but by last night, he was crying and I got pretty worried. I opted not to take him to the emergency room on a holiday, given that he had no fever, no other symptoms, and I figured they would just send us home - but then I spent all not worrying. I took him in today, and they feel it is just a virus, and he will be fine - whew! But in the meantime I called in sick to work for the first time - and feel rotten about it, and I have not slept - which means I am really not my best. Oh well - tomorrow is a new day!

Some of the day was great though - it was Lauren's first day of preschool. She was so excited!! We set her hair in rollers last night just for something new, and boy, how cute!! She is so independent, didn't even bat an eye when I left her. I am so proud. Here she is looking cute as a bug! I just wanna squish her. She is such a big girl!!

Well, this is a stamping blog - not a tell you my life story blog, so I am off - maybe I can turn the day around completely by spending the rest of it stamping! Have a great day!

Monday, September 3, 2007

Let the SWAPS begin!

Alright, so I have never understood the concept of swaps. I know many people that participate in MANY swaps, and I just never got it. I make cards. Why in the world do I need a collection of other people's cards? Right? Well, I have been sucked in. I kept reading posts about swaps on SCS (a serious addictions of mine) and decided a few weeks ago to participate in a demo swap. It was really fun! I still don't know what I will do with all of the cards - although my mother has graciously offered to take them off my hands! lol
Anyway, I really enjoyed sharing my work, and seeing the ideas and styles of other demos first hand. So, I have decided to participate in 2 more swaps this month - heck, I needed something to keep me busy, right?
Here are the cards I am planning for the swaps - unless I change my mind a hundred more times before they are due.

This first card uses my new FAVORITE set, Garden Whimsy. I really REALLY love it, and have been dying for an excuse to play with it. I am really happy with the way this one turned out - fun and happy . I used the following ingredients:

STAMPS: Garden Whimsy, Whimsy Wheel
Paper: Soft Sky DSP, Soft Sky, Purely Pomegranate, Groovy Guava.
Inks: Purely Pomegranate, Groovy Guava.
Accessories: Pomegranate Double Stitched Ribbon, Ticket Corner Punch, Three For You Punch, Rectangle Handheld Punch, Two Way Glue, Dazzling Diamonds Glitter, Sponge Dauber, Dimensional Adhesive.

I also think I will swap this card. Some of my customers may recognize this one - I did a variation of this card at my Christmas Card class last year, and it has always been a favorite. I love to make it, and thought it would be a fun one to share!

The ingredients for this one are:

Stamps: Lovely as a Tree, Aida Cloth, Hugs and Wishes.
Ink: Ballet Blue, Always Artichoke, Elegant Eggplant.
Paper: Glossy White, Always Artichoke, Elegant Eggplant, Ballet Blue.
Accessories: Brayer, Ticket Corner Punch, Silver Brads, Silver Elastic Cording, Sponge Dauber, Signo White Gel Pen, Dimensional Adhesive.

To create the background on this card, I brayered the glossy cardstock with Ballet Blue Ink over the top 2/3 of cardstock, moving quickly to blend the color before teh ink dries so that the snow and sky meet smoothly. I added snow to the trees with the Signo Gel Pen. Trees are "stamped off" to add dimension.