Thursday, 19 January 2017

The Wacky Watercooler Second January Mini Blog Hop

Before I begin introducing my projects for this Blog Hop, I want to talk about a friend who should be participating in this blog hop with us today but, instead, is in the hospital fighting for her life.  You will all remember Christine Giuda.  She has participated in our Blog Hops more often than not over the years and her projects are always incredible.  Please pray for this sweet, talented and warm-hearted lady and her family.  Thank you.

* * * * * * * * * * 

This is our second mini blog hop this month, introducing the 2017 Occasions Catalogue as well as 2017's Sale-a-bration.  Some wonderful products have been introduced and, of course, thanks to Sale-a-bration, until March 31st, for every $60 CDN you spend, you get a product FREE from the Sale-a-bration brochure.  Sweet, right?

As you will remember, if you've wandered through our blog hops before, our blog hop is presented in a circular fashion.  What does that mean?  Wherever you begin in our blog hop, whether you go forwards or backwards through the participants, eventually you will wind up precisely where you began.  I hope you'll take time to visit all the participating blogs and, perhaps, leave a short message letting us know  what you've thought of our posts.

If you've been moving forwards through the blog hop, you'll have arrived here from the very talented Jean Fitch's post.  Jean makes her home in Oregon and is a member of our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge artists as well.

* * * * * * * * * * 

For my first project I turned to one of the most outstanding of the new stamp sets, Beautiful You.  Not only are the images beautifully sketched and versatile, but the sentiments included in the set are also some of the best I've seen in quite a while.  I imagine I will be using this set quite happily for years to come.

My card is oversized simply because of what I wanted to include.  I absolutely love the remarkable papers that are part of the Serene Scenery Designer Series paper stack.  I've used some of them before but one, especially, stood out as being perfect for this card.  The beauty of this seaside scene is that it allowed me to use another stamp set which I love along with the Beautiful You set, and that is Wetlands.  Don't those sandpipers look as if they were naturally part of the scene?  

I decided to stamp the image from Beautiful You on a piece of Watercolour Paper and then cut it out using a stitched oval framelit.  I followed along with the natural curves of the colours in the designer paper using an Aqua Brush and several colours of ink.  Since all the sandpipers have shadows, I added a shadow for my lovely lady by first stamping the image on a piece of Window sheet and then quickly placing it on the paper behind my lady, thus providing the shadow.

Instead of leaving the umbrella and dress plain, I used the tiny flower stamp from the Weather Together set to add some blooms.  Then I used my Aqua Painter and the Bermuda Bay and Crushed Curry inks to colour them in.  For my sentiment I used the Thoughtful Banners and matching punch as well as a sentiment from the Beautiful You set.

A few tiny pearls and my card was done.

* * * * * * * * * * 

For my second project I had fun with a mixture of products from the Annual Catalogue, 2017 Occasions Catalogue, and, of course, the Sale-a-bration brochure.  It didn't begin well.  I had decided to use the gorgeous Inside the Lines designer series paper that is offered free during Sale-a-bration.  The main reason for that was that it contains some stunning images which can be coloured with any variety of tools, but, especially with the new Stampin' Up! Watercolor Pencils.  A secondary reason was that the image I chose also included some beautiful dragonfly images and, so far, I haven't bought the new Dragonfly Dreams bundle---next order!

Well, I coloured my images, cut them out using the stitched circle framelits, and totally hated them.  You have to understand that I'm convalescing at the moment and I hit some highs and lows during the day.  Thank goodness I didn't throw away the images (my first impulse), because the next day I knew that I could use them.  And so I hauled out a whole bunch of other products and got to work.  In the end I used some of the Irresistibly Floral Specialty Designer series paper from the Annual Catalogue, the beautiful new Falling Petals embossing folder and Stylish Stems thinlits from the 2017 Occasions Catalogue, and a whole bunch of current cardstocks and inks.

I made it all about circles and added some die-cut leaves and suddenly the images which I had hand-coloured seemed perfect instead of being rejects.  (Remember, I have been having those highs and lows.)  And the whole card just came together almost effortlessly.  

Do you see the slight glitter to the wings of the bee and the dragonfly?  That's due to the subtle effect of the clear Wink of Stella brush.  Trust me, in person those wings simply "rock!"

* * * * * * * * * * 

And that's it for my projects.  I hope you've enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed creating them.  From here you'll be visiting another wonderfully creative stamper, Sheri Lee.  Sheri is another Canadian and is a frequent participant of our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.

Wednesday, 18 January 2017

WWC102 - Love You

This week's Watercooler Wednesday Challenge is hosted by Libby Fens and is all about Red on White.  Such a fun Valentine type of challenge, but this one is Clean & Simple.

Of course there are quite a number of heart shapes available in our current Stampin' Up! products.  The problem is deciding which one to use.  I decided that the scribbly heart in the Sunshine Wishes Thinlets would be fun to use, especially along with one of those cute jars from the Jar of Love stamp set.  I cut the heart from a piece of Red Glimmer paper and stamped the jar using Black Memento ink.  I also cut the "love" from another piece of Red Glimmer paper as well as a number of tiny hearts.  (I may have overdone the die-cuts, but I was on a roll.)

I hope you'll check out the wonderful creations by the other Watercooler Artists at our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.  And I hope you'll welcome our new Watercooler Artist, Heather Hopson, as well.  You'll have seen some of her work in our many challenges since Heather has been a very constant participant.

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

WWC101 - A Good Friend Like You

Colour challenges are such fun, especially when you love the colours.  Thanks to Jean Fitch's great choices, I found it was very easy to decide just what sort of card to make.  Bonus:  I got to use some of my new products.
It didn't take me long to get my products together.  I used quite a bit of Shimmery White cardstock since it has such a rich and wonderful sheen.   On a base of Heavy White cardstock, I added a layer of Bermuda Bay and then an embossed layer of Shimmery White.  The Falling Petals embossing folder added such a lovely background, I almost didn't want to cover it up.  But I had more ideas, so I did cover up a small amount of it with the Ovals that I added.

For my Ovals, I chose a stitched oval in cutting out my Shimmery White and then a scalloped oval in cutting out the Bermuda Bay backing.  You can't see the smaller oval which I used to cut out the Sweet Sugarplum which backs the beautiful flower die-cut using the Stylish Stems framelits.  I also added a hand-cut oval to use in the centre of the flower, of course cut from So Saffron.

With all my colours used, I simply assembled everything and then stamped the lovely sentiment from the Special Reason stamp set in the upper right corner, using Bermuda Bay ink.

I hope you'll check out the wonderful creations by the other Watercooler Artists at our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge this week.

Monday, 9 January 2017

WWC100 - Let's Celebrate 100 Challenges!

Better late than never is so true this time around.  I'm adding this at the last possible minute, to take part in the last 10 minutes of the challenge.  Dedicated?  People who know me will have other words, none quite that complimentary.  But I had looked forward to this 100th Challenge for months.  Let me have my 10 minutes of satisfaction that I actually participated.

I kept it simple...had to.  My energy levels are rather low at the moment.  But fancy or simple, the 100th celebration is something for which we, at the Watercooler Wednesday Challenge are proud.

And onward to the next 100...

Thursday, 22 December 2016

WWC99 - Sparkle with Joy and Happiness!

We've come full circle with the challenge we're offering this week.  We began with Clean & Simple challenges and then tried to make them as simple as possible.  Not the best of our ideas.  And now we are back to the current style of Clean & Simple where we do like some empty space, we prefer less ornate, less-multi-layered styles, but welcome a modest amount as well as a modest amount of embellishment.  This week Marsha Reed is hosting this Clean & Simple challenge and has chosen "hearts" as her theme.

Since we are approaching Christmas, this will be a two week challenge, not closing until 5 p.m. Mountain Time on January 2nd.  Lots of time to be inspired and to create!

I challenged myself with masking rather than layering my heart and pine branches.  You know, that old "she thought she could do it, so she did".  Well, that was me and I love the results.  To dress it up somewhat, I used versamark on the green in my bottom right hand sentiment and then tried the Emerald Envy Glitter Stampin' Emboss Powder.  It sparkled beautifully.  It's a subtle addition but I love it.  And since we're allowing embellishments, what better than three of the red Brights Star Sequins?  With a tiny rhinestone in each centre, these stars sparkle.

Isn't it pretty?  And yet it's quite Clean & Simple.  I hope you'll check out the creations by the other Watercooler Artists at our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.

And remember, you have until January 2nd (next year) to link up your own.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

WWC98 - Star of Wonder

I love colour challenges.  You can make anything you wish as long as it revolves around the provided colours.  Sometimes that is harder than others, but it almost always brings some surprising results.  For me, it's the shove that makes me create outside the comfortable little box I usually stay within.  Kath's colours really opened that box wide.

These are gorgeous colours.  Creating with them wasn't as hard as  all that but taking a decent photograph for my post almost proved to be my undoing.  Metallics present their own challenge when one is taking a picture.  Either they reflect too much light or they reflect colours around them (silver is almost like a mirror).  All in all, while I didn't find the colours difficult to use for my creation, finishing up with a picture in order to post was the hardest part of this challenge.

I decided to keep it relatively simple by creating my 3-D star by using Starlight Thinlits dies.  The one I used even provides the scoring lines when one cuts it out.  How terrific is that!  The Lucky Stars embossing folder made a simple but perfect background for the star and also for the die-cut gold foil pine branch and Early Espresso die-cut bird.  I love that he appears to be looking up at the star in wonder, don't you?  Of course the sentiments in the Star of Light stamp set were a perfect match for this card, especially heat embossed on vellum in Silver embossing powder.

To give the white a bit of a frame against the white base, I sponged the perimeter using Early Espresso ink.

Simple but effective.  In real life this is a stunner.  It just doesn't photograph as well as I would like.

I hope you'll check out the cards made by the other Watercooler Artists at our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge this week.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

WWC97 - Joy To The World!

I love the sketch which Penny Hanuszak has chosen for this week's challenge!  It's fun and easy to imagine lots and lots of different cards based on the sketch.

The hard part was narrowing it down to one.  With the introduction of the new Stitched Shapes Framelits, however, I knew I would have to use one of those.  I've been wanting some stitched framelits for ages.  And wouldn't one of those little mice from the Merry Mice be perfect inside one of the ovals?  (As you can see, the card was making itself by this time.)  I looked at the little singing mouse and immediately knew that the musical notes images from the This Christmas Specialty Designer Series Paper would be the perfect match.

As you can see, I carried the colours from my little mouse into the layers of the card.  My base is the Heavy Whisper White with a layer of Pacific Point on top (embossed using the Softly Falling embossing folder).  The Garden Green patterned paper is also from the This Christmas Specialty Designer Series Paper selection.  And, of course, the matte for the musical notes is cut from Cherry Cobbler.

I wanted my sentiment to reflect the Christmas season and also give a nod to the song which my little mouse might be singing and so I used the very handy Labeler Alphabet stamp set to put together the "Joy to the World" at the top right.  Heat embossing it using White embossing powder really made it "pop" against the Pacific Point, didn't it?

I hope you'll check out the other wonderful cards created by the Watercooler Artists at our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

WWC96 - A Surprise Pop-Up Card

I love special folds!  There are so many types and I know I have barely skimmed the top of the vast barrel full that have been created.  The fun is in finding a new one and using it in a special way for a card of one's own.  This week Gail is giving me that opportunity by hosting a Special Fold Challenge.  Any type of special fold is allowed.  The problem, for me, is deciding on just one.

I didn't want to use  a fold that I've already done for this challenge so I went out and searched for a new (for me) fold.  Since Gail's challenge launches on my husband's birthday, I decided that my creation would also be his birthday card.  Two birds and all that jazz.

I found the perfect fold on the SplitCoastStampers site.  They have a wonderful library of folds and techniques.  This one would be perfect.  For details and a great tutorial by Beate Johns, you can click HERE.

I decided to use some of the Serene Scenery Specialty Designer Paper.  The leafy design was perfect for what I had in mind.  Along with that I used Always Artichoke, Crumb Cake, Marina Mist and Whisper White cardstocks.  I followed the steps of the tutorial pretty closely and the result is a nice, masculine looking card like this.

That's the closed version.  When the ribbon is pulled and the tag comes up, the centre folds and the oval with the elk stands like an easel.  As if that's not cool enough, the greeting becomes visible at the top where I've heat embossed the "Happy Birthday" in white.  Below the easel, you can also see the sentiment which I stamped in black.

Where I veered away from the tutorial is visible at the back of the tag.  You can see I've added a pocket which appears when the tag is pulled up.  It's exactly the right size for a gift card, which is what I'm enclosing for my husband.

And this is how the card can sit with the centre standing like an easel.  Cute?  I think so.

Stamps:  The Wilderness Awaits, Butterfly Basics, Happy Happenings
Papers:  Serene Scenery paper stack, Always Artichoke, Crumb Cake, Marine Mist,
Whisper White
Inks:  Versamark and White embossing powder, Basic Black Archival ink, Marina Mist,
Crumb Cake, Soft Suede
Tools:  Stampin' Trimmer, Heat Gun, Aqua Brush, Layering Ovals Framelits

I hope you've enjoyed my card.  It was such fun trying out this new special fold.  For more special folds created by the rest of the Watercooler Artists, check out the Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.

Oh, and before I forget, we also have a special treat this week.  That talented special-folds artist, Bronwyn Eastley from Australia, is our Guest Designer this week.  And guess what she is offering to everyone who visits her blog?  The tutorial for her wonderful Z-Fold Spinner card will be free to download during the week of our challenge.

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

WWC95 - The winner!

Drum roll please!  It's time to announce the winner of Libby's "anything goes" Masculine Challenge.  We had some amazing cards this week and after much deliberation, Libby's pick was

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

WWC95 - Thank you (masculine style)

I'm so glad that we have a Masculine "anything goes" challenge once a month.  I have so many men in my life and frequently need cards for them.  This week it's being hosted by Libby Fens.  I can hardly wait to see what the other Watercooler Artists have created for this challenge, how about you?

I immediately turned to one of my favourite masculine styled stamp sets, Country Livin'.  Of course I used the guitar again.  I love the way it looks, especially this time, leaning against what I expect is the raw wood wall of an old cabin.  Looking outside the window, you see the gorgeous light on the grasses.  This is another of the wonderful images from the Serene Scenery Designer paper stack.  Doesn't it just set the mood beautifully?

That open weave burlap ribbon which we started carrying in our Annual Catalogue works beautifully with the embossed Kraft paper, doesn't it?  And what would I do without that Woodgrain embossing folder?   The punched out banner from the Thoughful Banners bundle is the perfect finishing touch.

I hope you'll check out the creations by the other Watercooler Artists at our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.  And then, please link up your own wonderful creation for us to enjoy.  Remember, it's anything goes as long as it's masculine.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Online Extravaganza - November 21st to 28th

It's that time of year again.  Stampin' Up! is offering selected stamp sets, bundles and punches (as well as a few other items) at savings of 10% to 40%.  Have a look at these awesome items and decide quickly.  Many items are only available while supplies last.

There are some great items available, as you can see.  You can either contact me to place your order or you can go to my online store and place this order yourself.  Either way, for some of these items I wouldn't wait.  If there are two or three asterisks behind the number, once the supply is depleted, that item is gone for good.

And remember, those terrific new Stitched Shapes framelits were so popular that they are currently unavailable to order.  The stamp sets which were discounted by 25%, however, will be available at that price until November 30th.  More details in my store.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

The Wacky Watercooler November Blog Hop - "All Out" Christmas Celebration

We're giving ourselves a break and taking December off.  That means November is all about Christmas.  We're going "all out" and presenting our best ideas and projects so that we can inspire you.  Between the Annual Catalogue and the Holiday Catalogue there are some awesome products to use.  And if that's not enough, a little dip into that growing "stash" is inevitable.  I know I love this time of year and all the creativity I see online.  I hope the projects I've put together for this blog hop give you some inspiration.

As you will remember, if you've wandered through our blog hops before, our blog hop is presented in a circular fashion.  What does that mean?  Wherever you begin in our blog hop, whether you go forwards or backwards through the participants, eventually you will wind up precisely where you began.  I hope you'll take time to visit all the participating blogs and, perhaps, leave a short message letting us know  what you've thought of our posts.

If you've been moving forwards through the blog hop, you'll have arrived here from the very talented Penny Hanuszak's' post. Penny makes her home in British Columbia, Canada and is a member of our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge artists as well.

* * * * * * * * * * 

My first project is a fun gingerbread house created with that terrific Home Sweet Home bundle.  I loved it for Hallowe'en and love it no less for my Christmas creations.  In this case I'm making a number for some of my special customers.  Filled with chocolates, they should be a hit and also show them my appreciation for their continued loyalty.  I began with the Kraft paper.  To my eye, that is about as close to baked gingerbread as our paper gets.

I decided to keep it toned down.  Yes, I could have added a whole lot of candies and totally covered it the way my grandsons believe all gingerbread houses should be covered (they don't eat the gingerbread but love the candy).  I guess I go the other way.  Less is more (I eat gingerbread but don't like the candies).  Sadly, I hand cut a whole bunch of candies from the gorgeous Candy Cane Lane Designer Series paper but wound up holding them here and there and just not liking the effect.  So I added some hand-cut gingerbread items from the same paper.  Minimaslist, but it appeals to me.

After all the chocolates are gone, the little house will be terrific as an ornament in the tree, especially if a little mini-battery-operated light is put inside.

* * * * * * * * * * 

For my second project I decided to revisit a special fold which I featured back in the March 2015 Blog Hop and for which I posted the template in my March 28th 2015 post.  I thought it would make a wonderful Christmas card.  For this one I used the Christmas Magic and the Father Christmas stamp sets.  The two sets are terrific on their own but together they are simply favulous!

My base is the Heavy Whisper White and I've also used Cherry Cobbler and Garden Green cardstocks.  They're the featured colours in SU!'s This Christmas Specialty Designer Series paper and, since that's the paper I used on the inside of the card, it made sense to use them throughout.  Of course that paper also features Very Vanilla but since the design which I chose doesn't include it, I was able to use Whisper White instead.  

Although I stamped the borders from the Father Christmas set on Whisper White, both the train and Father Christmas were stamped on the wonderful Shimmery White Specialty paper.  I love the way that paper takes watercolouring.  It doesn't pill and, best of all, adds a slight shimmer to the entire image.  Of course I also had to use my brand new, just arrived Stitched from the Heart stitched shapes framelits which Stampin' Up! just released.  I LOVE them.  Look at the way they cut my square for the train!  Look at the wonderful circle and oval around my sentiment!  Those stitches cut deeply and look great.  

If you look along the edges of my "book" on the inside of the card, you'll notice that I've managed to give the illusion of pages.  Just another of the many uses for the Gorgeous Grunge stamp set.

One of my layers for the inside of the card is Mint Macaron cardstock.  Strangely the lighter versions of the Garden Green in the designer paper are an almost exact match to the colour.

* * * * * * * * * * 

For my last project I created a bag and matching card set.  First the card.  I used a base of Very Vanilla and then added black and a very small amount of red.  Again, I just loved the Stitched Shaped framelits which I used for my oval on the outside and my square on the inside of the card.

 I love using the Gift Bag Punch Board and what better paper to use it with than the gorgeous This Christmas Specialty Designer Series paper?  I love the plain Very Vanilla sheet with the hundreds of black snowflakes all over it.  The problem with the paper is that it really is quite lightweight and I was afraid it would tear too easily as a bag.  So, how did I get around that?  I added a "girdle" of Basic Black cardstock along the bottom of the bag and a narrower one at the top of the bag.  

To enhance the black girdle, I added two silver foil Christmas trees to the front and back, scattered red Glimmer paper "ornaments" all over them, and then stamped little white snowflakes around them.  To enhance the silver foil at the top of the bag, I added a die-cut black "NOEL" to the front and back.  I also added a tag using the beautiful Merry Tags framelits dies.  If you look carefully, you'll see that I've mounted the silver foil tag on a black base cut with the stitched circle framelits die.

Lacing the lovely Cherry Cobbler Silky Taffeta Ribbon through the top finished the bag off perfectly, don't you agree?

* * * * * * * * * * 

And that's it for my projects.  I hope you've enjoyed them as much as I enjoyed creating them.  From here you'll be visiting another wonderfully creative stamper, Sheri Lee.  Sheri is from British Columbia and is a frequent participant of our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.