Archive for February, 2007

babies babies everywhere

Baby Hanna cardEverywhere I look, there are the sweetest, cutest, most precious pudgy babies! (Maybe I’m just noticing them a wee bit more because Dan and I have started our much-anticipated and equally nerve-wracking adoption process. I admit that I may be getting a teeny tiny bit baby-obsessed after spending hours – and hours and hours and hours – looking at adoption websites!)

I recently found out that one of my dearest friends is preggers. Then just today she emailed to tell me that they found out the baby is a boy (yippee! dad’s a sports nut…). I wish I lived closer to her, but since I don’t, I made her this 6×6 card today to say ‘congratuations.’

Baby boy blessings card: Certainly Celery, Bashful Blue, and Whisper White Cardstock; Sarah designer series paper; Baby Firsts, Canvas, Cute Converse (retired), and Graceful Words (retired) stamp sets; Bashful Blue, Certainly Celery, and Blush Blossom Classic Stamp Pads; Bashful Blue and Certainly Celery, Stampin’ Write Markers; Aqua Painter; blue gingham, celery and white grosgrain, and white wide organdy ribbons; linen thread; word window punch; 1/8″ circle punch, square bashful blue buttons from the Soft Subtles collection; sanding block. Notes: All images are colored in with markers except the baby faces, which I watercolored using an Aqua Painter. All layers of the card were distressed with Bashful Blue using the DTP (direct-to-paper) technique. The buttons and patterned paper were both sanded to create a distressed finish (and the paper was sanded in the middle area to create a “white” area for stamping the word “blessings.”baby-girl-white-bkgd-web.jpg

Two more friends (also in my downline) recently gave birth to the most darling little girls. I got to meet one sweetie (Lucy – love the name!) at our last downline meeting. She was only 7 weeks old and so so tiny. I’m still waiting to meet Izzy (yes, another awesome name), who was just born a few days ago – and I’m gonna, just as soon as I can limp on over to her house!

I guess I’ve just got babies on the mind… I actually made this girl card several months ago for one of my stamp classes, inspired when I found out my two friends were both having girls just a few months apart. It’s an incredibly simple and fast card to make using a dry embossing technique. Disclaimer: I can’t remember whether or not I cased some of the concepts of this card from the incredible contributors to splitcoaststampers, but it is possible.

Yeah Girl Baby card: Very Vanilla and Chocolate Chip cardstock; Spring Flowers (or Spring Showers) designer series paper; A Little Love stamp set; Shapes Classy Brass template; Basic Brown Classic Stampin’ Pad; Regal Rose Stampin’ Write Marker; Hodgepodge Hardware (aged copper spiral clip); rose grosgrain ribbon; light table; empressor stylus. Notes: for best results, stamp and color image before dry embossing.

to distress or not to distress…

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This article was written to assist those individuals new to the concept of distressing. It is my hope, whether you’re a veteran or new stamper, that you’ll find these basic instructions useful for either yourself, a friend, or a customer. Comments, suggestions, and corrections welcome and encouraged.

The cards in the feature photo were made with the Polka Dots and Paisley stamp set on cards custom-cut to be the same size as Cool Caribbean and So Saffron Long Notes available in the new spring mini, available beginning March 1, 2007. (Note: Long Notes have a different fold than those shown here. Long Notes fold on the long side and have rounded corners on the side opposite the fold. See my post on 3/3/07 for an example.) Accent colors include: Chocolate Chip, Taken With Teal, and Very Vanilla.

Do you like the distressed look, but worry that you might ruin a project if you try it? Fear not! Distressing is an easy technique (or collection of techniques) and it can add a lot of texture and dimension to your paper crafting projects. It’s also a great quick-fix to salvage projects you might otherwise toss. What’s fabulous about distressing is that you can make it as subtle or obvious as you desire, and coordinate it with any project.

Getting Started

First, you’ll need some basic tools: a sanding block or file, a sponge, a tearing tool like Stampin’s Up!’s Tearing Edge (optional), and a distressing tool like Stampin’ Up!’s cutter kit). Then choose a dye ink pad (such as a color from Stampin’ Up!’s “Classic” stamp pad line).

Color Choice Makes a Difference

To create an aged look, use a coordinating neutral shade of brown ink. Creamy Caramel is the most versatile and subtle ink color; it’s the shade I use the most. For a more dramatic look, try Chocolate Chip or Basic Black.

trifold-frame-deedee-cu-web.jpgYou can also create a coordinated look with colored distressing by using an ink color from your project palette. The example shown is a subtle DTP color distress using Taken with Teal just on the edge of this coaster. Don’t be afraid to experiment. It all depends on your style preferences.

Distressing Basics

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Regardless of the technique or techniques you use, there are a few basic things you can do before using ink. First, you may choose to sand your paper. This is an optional step and works best on patterned paper or white-core paper to expose the colors underneath. The close-up of this band-aid tin shows an example of patterned paper that has been sanded and aged with Creamy Caramel. To create this effect, gently sand closest to the edges first, then make sure to wipe off any loose paper dust from your project and work surface before applying ink (you don’t want those ink pads getting all gunked up).

Tearing has been a popular technique to create a distressed edge on paper. You can either using The Tearing Edge or tear by hand. If tearing by hand, I’ve found that the best method is to guide the tear towards yourself slowly with your fingers moving along and guiding the direction of the tear.

paisley-distressed-edge-web.jpg More recently, the distressing tool in the Cutter Kit has become a popular alternative to tearing. You can apply the distressing tool to the straight, cut edge of cardstock to create a distressed edge. This tool allows you to better control the size and shape of the cardstock, and it offers a more subtle result. Practice on scraps until you get the hang of it. And make sure to dust off loose cardstock dust before applying any ink. Hint: if you find yourself without a distressing tool, you may create a similar effect by running a fingernail down the edge of the cardstock.

Ink Techniquespaisley-corner-022707.jpg

For the softest distressing result, sponge ink gently across the edges of your cardstock (rub sponge on an ink pad to pick up ink first).For more solid coverage, try the direct-to-paper (or DTP) technique by rubbing the ink pad directly on the edge of the paper. (The DTP technique was used on the So Saffron long note shown here.)

As you get more comfortable with the technique of your choice, you can angle the sponge or ink pad to cover more of the front of the paper as well.

Ta-Da! An Overview from Beginning to End
Once you’ve decided on your color palette and you feel comfortable with basic distressing and inking techniques, and you know how dramatic you want the end result to be, it’s time to start distressing. Remember that you’ll want to distress one layer at a time before you assemble your project and all layers should be cut to their finished size before you start. The basic steps are:

1) sand if desired

2) use a tearing edge, distressing tool, or fingernail to distress the edge (repeat step 1 if desired/needed)

3) for a softer look, sponge ink on the edges; for a bolder look, use the DTP method to get more ink on the edges

4) assemble your project and, if desired/needed, distress completed project lightly

Enjoy!

stop and smell the roses (and chocolate)

bobbibouquet2-web.jpgOK, I actually had to work today, so I didn’t have the chance to stamp (boo hoo), but I wanted to share a fun project with you. Those who know me may have already seen these beauties, but I thought I’d share them again because they make a great gifts for Easter/Spring/Mother’s Day.

Last year, I started making paper-pieced flowers after seeing a simple one on splitcoaststampers as well as in Paper Crafts magazine. I started out with a few basic daisies, then ended up designing several different flower types, including carnations, mums, tulips, forget-me-nots, several leaf shapes – and, of course, the obvious sunflower and random other daisy-like flowers.

I made these pretty pink and yellow flowers for a friend’s birthday almost exactly one year ago, and Dan received the earth-toned version last Valentine’s Day. He almost immediately (and impressively) removed the chocolate bars from their paper sleeves. When his flowers wouldn’t stand up on their own, they eventually were stuffed into an envelope and are currently awaiting reincarnation. (pfffffttttt…! get it? reincarnation??! Sorry, couldn’t resist!)big-chocolate-for-a-big-guy-web.jpg

All flowers are made with cardstock or heavyweight patterned paper and punches (or die cuts). What’s missing from these pictures are flowers made with the new oval punches, which would be a lovely addition.

If you’d like to make these, I recommend starting with a simple design. Consider the smaller vases (smaller candy bars) with 1-3 flowers. Also, use a strong non-liquid adhesive for best results. Warning: this project has the potential to be kind of time-consuming (if you let it), so I recommend punching shapes while watching the telly and assembling when you have some free time. Here are printable Instructions for Chocolate Bar Vases with Paper-Pieced Flowers.

I couldn’t stop

journal-for-deedee-web.jpgI went to pack up the coaster trifold and band-aid tin for my online friend and the only box I could find had too much room left in it. Just enough room, in fact, for this $1 Spot scrapbook I bought over a year ago. And, since I had some paper left from those projects, I decided to make this journal. It’s a little busy with the stripes going every which way, but I still like it, even with the extra long, floppy ribbons (I usually prefer my ribbons cut short on projects like this). And aren’t those clustered flowers with bling cute? I often reach for my Stampin’ Up! flower punches before I grab the prima flowers (ok, prima lovers, don’t hate me…I use them too, just not very often). I’m not sure why, but that Spring Bouquet punch is just plain awesome. Besides, I love the idea that I can punch flowers out of scraps I would otherwise throw away and I know that I’ll always have the perfect color I need.

I still have a TON of projects to make for other online friends (not to mention much-needed birthday cards and thank yous and and and…), so back down to the stamp room I go!

last chance

Since I got such a late start in the blogging realm, and because the end of the winter mini is so near (only 3 days left – gasp!), I thought I’d post a couple of goodies that I made with my absolute favorite (of all time) double-sided designer series papers (Loves Me) before they are long gone. <<<hold on, I feel a panic attack coming on – do I have enough? what if I run out? should I buy more and stock up? –deep breath– OK, had to stop and go check my stash. I think I’m going to be ok.>>>love-xoxo-blocks-web.jpg

These wooden blocks (two-sided, whitewashed, distressed, with beveled edges – yeah, baby!) were a huge score at Oriental Trading Company, on clearance even. The photo shows both sides of one set of blocks. I designed them for a downline meeting project (and I originally intended to give these to Dan for Valentine’s Day, but decided the color scheme was too girly). Right now, they’re sitting on my display table stacked vertically and I love looking at them! I think they’ll be a fixture in my stamp room even when the paper retires. I’m also planning on making a mantlepiece decoration with the extra blocks I bought that should be good year-round. As soon as I get around to that one, I’ll post here.nugget-purse-and-backpack.jpg

Another fun quickie project was this darling nugget purse (and optional backpack). I have to attribute the purse design to Dawn Griffith, who got the original concept from Brenda Quintant on SCS. I did these as free make-n-takes at a local crop (pre-Valentine’s Day) and they were a big hit! But a couple of gals mentioned that it would be nice if there was a design for boys too, so my friend, Bobbi Sample (who was graciously helping me all day long at this crop) and I came up with this backpack design on the fly. Granted the paper is still girly, but you can imagine what this cutie patootie backpack would look like with boy-themed paper! Sooooo easy and quick, I adapted these Nugget Purse (and Backpack) Directions from Dawn’s tutorial (thanks Dawn, you rock!) with a few changes/shortcuts (mainly I skipped a step and opted for the tag corner punch instead of the tag punch, which made an already simple project even quicker and easier).

it just goes to show you…

linen-thread-holder-web.jpg…that you can alter almost anything if you put your mind to it. Truth be told, I needed a better system for my linen thread. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve lost that small flat piece of cardstock. Besides, my hands just aren’t that nimble to unwind and unwind that skinny little thread when I am working on larger projects.

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The solution came to me when I ran out of floss the other day. I noticed that the container comes apart easily and the floss is about the same size as the linen thread. Eureka! A solution to my linen thread problem. Of course, I had to alter the container…

I used some leftover papers from an altered band-aid tin and tag project I made at one of my past downline meetings. That was a fun and very easy project too! Can you tell how much I like to alter things?

Back on my feet again, almost…

trifold-frame-deedee-web.jpgAfter dealing with two weeks of immobility (more or less) due to a broken foot, I finally managed to hop down to my basement craft room and have some fun. Dan even joined me last night and played his guitar as I whiled away the hours stamping and paper crafting (until 2am!)

bandaid-tin-for-deedee-web.jpgOne of the things I made was this coaster triframe with faux hinges* and little matching band-aid tin (with tags inside, not shown) for a friend in one of my online stamp groups. I hope she likes them. The color scheme is a little “different,” I think. I used Junkitz papers mostly and the paper dictated the colors. I made some other goodies too, but those will have to wait for another blog day.

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* Faux hinges are a fabulous in-a-pinch technique, courtesy of Lynn McAuley of SCS. Here’s the first faux hinge project I made, which was more or less CASEd (copy and share everything) from Lynn’s original directions.

I belong to several online groups. My favorite group for great ideas, of course, is splitcoaststampers (SCS), the absolute best stamping resource on the web, in my (not so) humble opinion. I have a gallery there with most of my recent projects. SCS has a huge following, and its members are some of the most creative people I’ve ever had the pleasure to CASE (tee hee)! SCS was originally set up by a Stampin’ Up!® demonstrator, so if you need ideas for a particular Stampin’ Up! stamp set, chances are that you’ll find it in the SCS gallery (although folks use all brands of stamps and paper crafting supplies). Membership is free to anyone for everything except the “fan club,” though that’s a small investment I’d highly recommend.

I also belong to two Yahoo “wish” groups for Stampin’ Up! demonstrators where we gift each other stamps and accessories. It’s a fabulous pay-it-forward concept. One group, TradesTreasuredFriendships (TTF), is private with a focus on building relationships and I’ve made several dear friends there. In fact, one of the special gals at TTF will be receiving these goodies. The other group, SUDemoOnly (SUDO), is open to any Stampin’ Up! demonstrator and has grown tremendously over the past couple of years.

Testing, testing…is this really MY blog?

Well, folks, I did it – I think. I started my own blog! And I did it all by myself. The DH didn’t have to set it up for me (though he still has to get it over to my webpage). But hey, it’s a start, and a good one, I hope. My plan is to post daily and I’ll try to post projects as often as possible, and I’ll also include stamping and crafting thoughts, ideas, and personal updates as well. I really hope you enjoy my new blog. Feel free to share it with anyone you think might be interested.