Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Better Late Than Never...

Sigh.  The problem with challenges is that they only last a week...and usually by the time I get around to them, that week has flown by.  This card is the perfect example.  All last week I was really excited to FINALLY participate in the Mojo Monday sketch challenge, especially since the sketch was designed by one of my favorite bloggers, Mary Fish (go check out her blog!).  But when I finally had time to sit down and make a card on Sunday night, I realized it was already "too late" because a new sketch would post first thing the next morning.  Maybe I'll get it right this week...

I still really like the sketch (153) and I love how this card turned out!  And since I don't know of any babies on the way at the moment, this is sure to be early when it is needed.  Of course, it features one of my favorite stamp sets, Fox and Friends, as well as the ever useful Short and Sweet.  I also tried to use some ribbon on this card, even though I haven't always had the greatest of success with it.  I am a fan of the 1/8" Taffeta Ribbon, and it was fairly easy to tie that knot (though I'm not sure how it would measure up to others).  Maybe I'll go crazy and start tying bows soon.

For the finishing touch, the brads (from the 5/16" neutrals assortment, which is now retired) were easy to line up with my Mat Pack and Paper Piercer tool.  Then I popped the entire card front layer with dimmensionals, so there would be space for the brad backs and the ribbon that slides around.

TUNE IN TOMORROW!  A new month means it's time to change our blog look, so you'll want to hop on over from your reader after I post tomorrow morning.  You'll also want to hightail it to my sidebar, where you'll be able to download the Holiday Mini and fall in love with everything.  


Stamps: Fox and Friends, Short and Sweet
Ink: Early Espresso, Cajun Craze, Pacific Point, Certainly Celery
Paper: Chocolate Chip, Crumb Cake, Cajun Craze, Pacific Point, Certainly Celery
Extras: Word Window punch, Modern Label punch, Corner Rounder punch, Early Espresso 1/8" Taffeta Ribbon, 5/16" Chocolate Chip Brads (ret), Mat Pack, Paper Piercer

Monday, August 30, 2010

And Now in Paper...

You might have seen this coming...I took the plunge, and got Upsy Daisy after having such fun with it in My Digital Studio last week.  Luckily for me, as a demonstrator I have access to a demo-only website where people trade stamp sets that need more love.  I was able to trade one of my neglected sets for Upsy Daisy, so it was waiting for me when I got back home.

This is my recreation of the first card from last week, which features new color Cajun Craze on a base of Pumpkin Pie.  I really like it in person--just perfect for a fall birthday!  I'm sure I have plenty of those coming up...


Stamps: Upsy Daisy
Ink: Cajun Craze
Paper: Pumpkin Pie, Cajun Craze, So Saffron
Extras: Modern Label Punch, Dimmensionals

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Loft Stamping Highlights

Get ready for goodies--I went to the Loft!!

As Kiran knows, "the Loft" is my aunt and upline's HUGE creative corner.  More than a corner, it really is a fancy, specialty-made stamping space that, to me, is luxury itself.  And my aunt/upline is even more addicted to Stampin' Up! than I am...she made Founder's Circle for the first time this year, which means she is one of the top 100 demonstrators!!  She says I need a downline to make this happen...Kiran, are you ready to sign up yet?  Anyone else?

The great thing about the Loft is that it is always filled with the latest and greatest of Stampin' Up!'s releases...so today you're getting a real treat with this sneak peek from the Holiday Mini.  It goes live on Wednesday, and I know I can't wait!  It's jam-packed with great things, and as a demonstrator I was able to pre-order for myself, as was my aunt.  On to today's holiday trio of fun.

First up is this great little treat box, which was a snap to create with the Big Shot and the new Candy Wrapper die.  Kiran, you are going to LOVE this when you get it!  And it's a perfect size, since you can get two candy wrappers out of each sheet of 8.5x11" paper with minimal scraps.  I made this one from Bashful Blue, then wrapped it with Cherry Cobbler 1/2" Seam Binding, which is also new in the Holiday Mini.  (I almost never buy the ribbon, but I love this stuff.  It will be in my next order!)

The snowflake is adorable, and also really easy with the Big Shot, using the Northern Frost decorative strip die.  One pass through produced eight different snowflakes that have a little shine, since I used Brushed Silver cardstock.  This die is a must-have if, like me, you love snow and how beautiful it makes everything look.

The finishing touch is the Basic Rhinestone I stuck in the middle of the snowflakes.  What a steal!  You get 150 of these gems for $4.95--if that's not the best deal in the Idea Book and Catalog, I don't know what is!

Next up is the card that I made to coordinate with the little candy wrapper.  This card is also made with a Bashful Blue base, and allowed me to use up more of those great snowflakes from the Northern Frost die.  The sparkly pops of red are new Glimmer Brads from the Holiday Mini...and I'm going to have to have some of these too!

The kids with the sled remind me of growing up, and they're in my favorite new holiday set from the big catalog, Welcome Christmas.  I really like the silhouette images of these kids, as well as of the tree decorating.  The finishing touch for this card is the sentiment, from the set Four the Holidays and inked up in Cherry Cobbler.

Finally, credit for this card goes to Mary Kay Molnar.  The base is Cherry Cobbler, upon which she layered a piece of Brushed Silver that had been embossed using the Big Shot and the new Northern Flurry embossing folder.  Like all the embossing folders, it is beautiful and easy--I recommend it, and might even have another card made with it to show you later (hint, hint).  The bow, at which clearly Mary Kay is more skilled than I, was tied up using that Cherry Cobbler Seam Binding.  Love it!

The finishing touch on this card ties the whole set together, and it was so simply done!  (One of the great things about visiting your upline is that you always learn new tricks and techniques).  It's just a mini glue dot that was placed in the center of the snowflakes, and then sprinkled with Fine Galaxy glitter.  I've never tried that, but it looked so easy and beautiful that I'll have to work that in to my repertoire.

Whew!  What a whirlwind of stamping fun...as always, when I visit the Loft.  Be sure to stay tuned for more great holiday ideas...over the next few months, that is.  I'm going back to "normal" stamping for the moment.  And more importantly, be sure to check out the new Holiday Mini on Wednesday.  You will LOVE it and I will be happy to share more of its contents with you and your friends.  Just email me to book a party.


Candy Wrapper
Paper: Bashful Blue, Brushed Silver
Extras: Big Shot, Candy Wrapper die, Northern Frost decorative strip die, Cherry Cobbler 1/2" seam binding, Basic Rhinestones

Card 1
Stamps: Four the Holidays, Welcome Christmas
Ink: Versamark, Cherry Cobbler
Paper: Bashful Blue, Brushed Silver
Extras: Big Shot, Northern Frost decorative strip die, In-Color Glimmer Brads, Basic Rhinestones

Card 2
Paper: Cherry Cobbler, Brushed Silver
Extras: Big Shot, Northern Flurry embossing folder, Mini Glue Dots, Fine Galaxy Glitter, Cherry Cobbler 1/2" seam binding

Thursday, August 26, 2010

My Digital Studio: Ways to Use It 2

I'll admit it--I'm itching to have ink, paper, and stamps in my hands.  Though My Digital Studio is less messy and a lot easier to travel with, it just doesn't give me the same satisfaction as a true paper card does.  Of course, if I were printing these off, maybe I would feel differently!

Since I'm heading back to my creative corner tomorrow, today's way to use My Digital Studio is for planning purposes.  I own Vintage Vogue, but haven't used it very often.  So I decided to plan a card that I can make in real life when I get back home.

My plan is to use the Top Note Die--to do this digitally, I had to stretch out the Curly Label punch until it is *almost* the size of the Top Note.  My background here is Baja Breeze, and I plan to stamp the border image in Marina Mist.  The flowers and leaves will be trickier--I'm going to use masking, and stamp them on Whisper White (in Regal Rose, Rose Red, and Old Olive), and then probably cut the whole thing out so it can hang over the edge of the Top Note Die.  This was certainly simpler digitally!

Finally, My Digital Studio didn't have everything I wanted.  I think it would look really nice if the Top Note has a subtle background of French Script to it...but I don't have a digital version of that stamp.  So I'm just going to note my plan here, and urge you to keep tuned for the paper card so you can compare.  I'm thinking this might make a great wedding card?


Extras: My Digital Studio

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

My Digital Studio: Ways to Use It

When I first learned about My Digital Studio, I thought to myself that this would be a great way to test out stamp sets before buying, so I'd know that the stamps were ones that I really liked and would use often....but this is the first time that I've done that.  When Upsy Daisy was introduced, I really wasn't interested in it.  The set has grown on me, but I'm still on the fence...so I decided to test it out in My Digital Studio.

A great thing about My Digital Studio is that it's very easy to try out different color combinations and see how a stamp will look in a variety of ways.  While the first card featured Cajun Craze on Pumpkin Pie, this next one is Concord Crush on Elegant Eggplant...but I can't decide which color scheme I like better. Both work really well!  I do really like the font that the sentiments come in...

Finally, I decided if I was trying new stuff out in My Digital Studio, I might as well go all the way and play with the embellishments.  But how does this work for envisioning a paper card?  I don't think I could ever tie a bow so perfectly (though I could try...practicing is important!)  Also, this color combination of Regal Rose on Baja Breeze would never look this way in real life...unless I stamped the daisies on Whisper White and then cut them out, but that's not going to happen!

But I do like this stamp set--it's quick and easy to whip up a card, and the stamp set itself has everything you need: a big focal point and nice sentiments.  So what do you think?  Should I get the real thing?


Extras: My Digital Studio

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Three Little Owls--Digital Redux

Does this card look familiar?  Well, it should--you saw it here first.  While that was all paper, this is all digital...thanks to My Digital Studio.  More details on that below.

First, as promised, here's a little info about the changes going on in this creative corner.  Just before I got Dakota (who's still adorable), I moved to a new state...and that means that Kiran and my creative corners are now farther apart!  Not to worry, we can still do our Stampin' Saturdays, but those will require more planning and a longer drive.

To cope with this change, we're now using our blog not only to share with you, but to show each other our latest creations...and explain how we made them.  Though we're sad to be apart, we're really excited for this excuse to spruce up our digital creative corner, and this means we'll have lots more to share with you, our readers!

I'm visiting my parents this week, so I'm without my usual stamping supplies.  However, since Kiran has challenged me to use My Digital Studio more, I decided this is the perfect time to practice.  I got started by recreating my favorite card of the summer, which used the new Two-Step Owl punch from the 2010-11 Idea Book and Catalog.  I really love that Stampin' Up! releases new downloads for My Digital Studio so that the program stays up to date with current catalog offerings...like this punch for a mere 95 cents.

I tried to recreate the earlier card as much as possible--same colors, same layers, same positions.  Another great advantage to My Digital Studio is that while some colors may have retired, they'll never be entirely gone--so I'll always have a supply of Creamy Caramel and Close to Cocoa for these owls.  I also learned a few things as I recreated this card digitally.  Hey Kiran, did you know all this?

  • Grouping is your friend!  As soon as I got an owl looking right, I selected all his pieces and grouped them together, so I could move the entire thing (rather than piece by piece) and didn't have to worry about the layers becoming undone.  I could still ungroup at any point, to adjust wings and other little details.
  • Drop shadows are dimmensionals!  If you look at the first card I made, you'll see that the middle owl is "flying" and thus was lifted off the card.  At first, I had no idea how to make that happen digitally, but after some experimenting with the drop shadow, I think I've recreated the idea, at the very least.
  • Patterns are NOT one size fits all!  To create those bellies/vests on each of the owls, I wanted something as close as possible to the paper I had used, but the options didn't look very good.  But you can fix that!  TIP: After you select the fill paper, double click on the filled image and you'll get a screen that shows you your shape against the background paper--so you can "punch" any section of the paper you like.  In the bottom left corner of that window, there are zoom in and out buttons, and I used these to zoom out, making the patterns smaller and thus more appropriate for the vests.
Since I think I will use this one as a thank you card, my finishing touch was the stamp from "Thank You Kindly" in Night of Navy.  I'd love to hear how you think the digital card compares to the original paper version.  Some things were easier to do with actual paper (like lining up those branches), but other things were much easier digitally (moving the pupils of the eyes exactly where I wanted them).  I'm going to keep experimenting, and sharing my discoveries with you.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Introducing a New Friend

As you might have noticed, there are some big changes going on around this blog...and I'll have more to say about that tomorrow.  But in case you wonder where I've been, here's a big hint.  Dakota, who joined our home on Saturday, has been basking in attention since her arrival.  We're so happy to have her!  But she has been distracting me from my stamping...

My Digital Studio to the rescue!  I need to send out our new address, and thought I should share the good news about Dakota as well, so I snapped some quick and cute pictures, then got right to work.  It was a breeze to put this together, and now I can send a snazzy e-card out to everyone who needs to keep tabs on me.  I like that!


Extras: My Digital Studio

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Anniversaries Are Just Birdy!

Three blog posts in 3 days!  Look at me, I'm a bloggin' beast!  Glad I finally got on board (sorry took me so long Mel).

These cards were such a delight to make.  I have several close friends whose 4th wedding anniversaries are fast-approaching so I made a few versions of the same card.  The Two-Step Bird punch made it just so simple!  In an effort to use up some of my old/retired paper, I used this color scheme.  But, feel free to play off of these colors with new ink & paper.

TIP: Don't have Razzleberry Lemonade DSP (because it's retired)???  No worries!  If you're lucky, like I am, your fabulous demonstrator will give you some of her old catalogs and you can cut the DSP right out of there!  Or you can just use the catalog you have since you're only ripping out 7 pages.  Each of the section title pages in the 2009-2010 catalog (Holidays, Occasions, Growing Up, etc.) starts with a new DSP.  I simply ripped out these pages and filed them in my DSP organizer.  (You can also get paper from each of these sets: Christmas Jingle Simply Scrappin', Kaleidoscope DSP, Tall Tales DSP, Hostess Bundle Lovely Flowers DSP, Autumn Traditions DSP, & The Write Stuff DSP).  Each sheet can decorate up to 3 full card fronts.  Voila, FREE DSP!  :o)

Happy Stamping!

Stamp Sets: Whimsical Words (SAB '10), Congratulations (SAB '09)
Ink: Basic Black, Pink Passion (retired)
Paper: Razzleberry Lemonade, Sahara Sand, Summer Sun (retired), Pink Passion (retired)
Extras: Two-Step Bird punch, Full Heart Punch, Designer Label Punch, Stamp-a-majig

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Even Trendier Trees!

Update!  After posting one of my favorite cards, with all retired colors and papers, I decided it was time for trendy trees to move forward and embrace Stampin' Up!'s new color palate.  So here is an all-current version of last Wednesday's card.

The cardstock are all new in-color shades: Concord Crush, Poppy Parade, Peach Parfait, and Pear Pizzazz.  I broke out an all-new level 3 hostess set, Playful Pieces, to create the pattern on the layer of Peach Parfait.  TIP: If you haven't had time or money to buy the fabulous new designer series paper, this is an excellent way to create your own!

My trusty Stamp-a-majig came to my aid, lining up the leaves with tree trunks.  Vintage Vogue contributed the perfect sentiment.  Two final touches came from the Ticket Corner Punch and two lines of paper piercing, perfectly aligned thanks to the Mat Pack and Paper Piercing tool.


Stamps: Trendy Trees, Playful Pieces, Vintage Vogue
Ink: Ruby Red, Chocolate Chip, Garden Green
Paper: Concord Crush, Popply Parade, Peach Parfait, Pear Pizzazz, Very Vanilla
Extras: Mat Pack, Paper Piercer, Ticket Corner Punch

Monday, August 9, 2010

Paisley Bride

I have been in love with this stamp set since the moment I laid eyes on it...and that was a while ago.  The thing is, once I received it (as a birthday gift; thanks Jennifer!) it took me forever to finally use it.  With a much needed & not-so-gentle budge by Mel, I sat down with the For The Bride set, my Big Shot, my heat embosser and got crackin'.  Good thing I also had some weddings coming up.  These cards not only look nice but they feel nice too!  Here's what I came up with.  Enjoy!

Happy Stamping!

Stamps: For The Bride, Pendant Park
Ink: Basic Black, VersaMark
Paper: Going Grey, Cameo Coral (retired), Whisper White, Brilliant Blue (retired), Cherry Cobbler, Basic Black
Extras: white embossing powder, corner rounder punch, heat tool, Big Shot, Elegant Wallpaper embossing folder

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Our new look...

I'm sure you've noticed.  What do you think?!?  Melanie & I will be changing the look regularly to keep things fresh (and seasonally appropriate)!  And the best part: it was all so fun, so easy and so quick with My Digital Studio!  I'd be happy to show you how.

Happy Stamping,

My Digital Studio: Summertime Splendor DSP

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Go Ahead, Challenge Me

As you may recall, I started the year with some blogging goals, and one of those was to play in online challenges.  Well, now that it's August, I'm finally getting around to that--it's about time!  Today's card is for the challenge over at Pals Paper Arts, to make a masculine KISS (Keep It Simple, Sweetie) card.  Since I'm keeping it simple, I hopped on over to Clean & Simple Stamping for a nice layout, and found it in this week's offering, FTL102.  I follow both of these blogs and their challenges regularly, but this is the first time I've been able to create a suitable card in the week it's due.  What do you think?

In keeping both with the KISS challenge and with the clean and simple layout, this is a one-layer card that was quick and easy to put together, and hopefully is a gender neutral way to express my thanks.  I went with the brown and blue combination (in Early Espresso and Marina Mist) both because I love these new colors, and because I think this combo is appropriate for anyone.  In fact, it's one of the main color schemes in my apartment, so clearly I'm a fan.

I did use the Stamp-a-majig in my attempt to keep everything balanced, but even with help that can be hard.  My advice?  Just keep trying!  It really is true that practice makes perfect.  The finishing touch on this card is that line of paper piercing to tie together the circles and the sentiment that otherwise was floating at the bottom.

What do you think?  Is this challenge worthy?

Stamps: Circle Circus, Thank You Kindly
Ink: Marina Mist, Early Espresso
Paper: Whisper White
Extras: Stamp-a-majig, Paper Piercer, Mat Pack

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Trendy Trees Flashback

Every once in a while, there's a card that you love too much to let it go.  Here's mine!  Almost everything  I used here is retired, but Trendy Trees is still available for you to buy and love.  After this stroll down memory lane, I'm sure I'll have to make an updated version of this card!

To get the two-tone look my trees have, you'll want to use the rock-n-roll technique.  Ink your stamp in your lighter color first, then roll the edges in the darker color you want to use.  Remember!  You always want to go lighter to darker ink, so that you don't "contaminate" your ink pads.

I also used my trusty Stamp-a-majig to line those leaves up perfectly with the tree trunks, as well as to make sure that my sentiment was straight and centered.  The final touches on this card came from the Ticket Corner punch (another favorite) and from using my Paper Piercer with the Mat Pack--that's how I got the straight lines of holes on the edges of the DSP.

I hope you've enjoyed this blast from the past, and that it inspires some future creativity.

Stamps: Trendy Trees, Sweet Little Sentiments (retired)
Ink: Basic Black, Chocolate Chip, Yoyo Yellow (retired), Pumpkin Pie, Real Red, Green Galore (retired), Glorious Green (retired)
Paper: Textured Pacific Point, Pumpkin Pie, Washington Apple DSP (retired), Green Galore (retired), Whisper White
Extras: Ticket Corner Punch, Paper Piercer, Mat Pack, Stamp-a-majig

Monday, August 2, 2010

Decor Elements to Go!

Ah, decor elements--we love them.  Between the two of us, Kiran and I have gotten quite a few...both for ourselves and as housewarming gifts for friends.  They're perfect!  We love the designs, the colors, and most of all that they are NOT permanent.  They stick to the walls, but are easy to remove and won't hurt paint, wallpaper, or any other thing.  But what if you don't want to leave your awesome decor element behind when you move?  Well, Kiran has the answer, and detailed how-tos, for you below...  

Use a frame!  I got this one at a local craft store for less than $20.  I'd call that a steal, given how big the large "eat" is.  The next step is to assemble all your pieces, and make sure that the frame really is the right size for your project.

As you might have guessed from that last comment, this decor element was a little bigger than the frame. But it's not a problem!  Stampin' Up! has gridlines on the back of the decor element sheets (how handy), so I could confidently trim in a straight line.

I took the frame apart from the back and simply turned the paper (with the fake photos ) over and added a layer of white cardstock to make sure the images would not be seen.  If you have a roll of paper wide and long enough to cover the frame size, feel free to use it.  You can use different color paper to create a unique and bold look and match just about any room!   Once I flipped the paper over, I put the frame back together again and turned it over.

TIP: make sure you have the frame right side up (check the hooks in the back to make sure it hangs right side up).  If you happen to realize the frame is upside down after you have finished the project, no worries - you can take the frame apart again and just flip the glass but this can be painstaking.

Once the backing is peeled & you're ready to lay the sheet on your surface for transfer, move slowly & cautiously making sure you're not getting lint/hair/debris on the sticky sheet because it might end up on your finished product.  TWO TIPS: Clean the surface first!  I'll be honest, having an extra person to help is really helpful and I'd recommend it. 

Start from a corner and flatten slowly with the decor elements tool moving from edge to edge diagonally with light pressure.  This will eliminate air bubbles/pockets.  TIP: If you do get air pockets, you might be able to use a fine straight pin/needle to poke a hole in the bubble and release the air.  I have a few tiny air bubbles in the handle of the fork but can you tell?  Didn't think so.  When the frame is hung, all you'll hear are the "oooh"s and "aaah"s of your guests.

See our other decor element projects here, and check out the current offerings in the Definitely Decorative catalog to the right.

~Kiran & Melanie