Wednesday, 26 October 2016

WWC91 - Happy Birthday

It's time for another challenge and this week Marsha is hosting a Masculine "Anything Goes" Challenge.  Simply put, as long as I create something that has a masculine flair, I'm golden.

Of course I turned to one of my favourite stamp sets, The Wilderness Awaits.  Is it only meant for masculine projects?  Not at all.  But certainly my husband and brother-in-law both love anything to do with the outdoors or wild animals.  I love the way that little fox looks, curled up in its den but watching all that goes on.  I knew he would be perfect used with a brick wall and perhaps, some leaves.

I have been hoping for years that Stampin' Up! would carry some modeling paste.  What is so special about that product?  You can mix any colour of ink with the paste and then spread it over a stencil.  Once the stencil is pulled off, the resulting brick has so much texture, it actually looks real.  I love the effect.  That was my plan and as the day progressed I realized that I had put too much ink into the mix, making the paste more fluid than normal and much slower to dry.  Well, my project was due last night.  Go to plan "B".  Same idea but instead of the modeling paste I turned to the Stampin' Up! Brick Wall embossing folder.  First, of course, I used my brayer to add ink to the raised portion of the folder and then I embossed my paper.  That resulted in the lines of grout being a different colour.  I love the way that looks.

Stamps:  The Wilderness Awaits, Best Birds, Thoughtful Banners, Sprinkles of Life
Paper:  Soft Suede, Soft Sky, Very Vanilla, Tip Top Taupe, Whisper White cardstocks
Inks:  Soft Suede, Tip Top Taupe, Cajun Craze, Wild Wasabi, Crushed Curry, 
Pumpkin Pie, Basic Black (Archival), Whisper White (craft)
Tools:  Brick Wall embossing folder, Birds & Blooms thinlits, Duet Banner punch

I've also linked this card with the SUO Challenge for their Fall theme.

Of course my other card could be assembled today.  The modeling paste had dried nicely and gave the bricks a great texture as well as a feeling of solidity.  I changed the card up a bit simply because I don't often create two of a kind.  Instead of the tree and bird, I used a background of Whisper White upon which I stamped two images of the Sheltering Tree as well as a number of leaves.  I also used the Swirly Scribbles thinlits to cut out a whole bunch of little leaves in a variety of cardstock colours.

Stamps:  The Wilderness Awaits, Sheltering Tree
Paper:  Crumb Cake, Early Espresso, Cajun Craze, Crushed Curry, 
Wild Wasabi, Whisper White
Inks:  Cajun Craze, Soft Suede, Crushed Curry, Wild Wasabi, Pumpkin Pie,
Early Espresso, Basic Black (Archival)
Tools:  Swirly Scribbles thinlits, Crafter's Workshop Brick Stencil,
Teresa Collins Ba-Si-Cal-Ly Essential Modeling Paste

I hope you've enjoyed my journey through these cards.  For some amazing creations by the Watercooler Artists, check out this week's Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.

Thursday, 20 October 2016

The Wacky Watercooler October Blog Hop Celebrates Fall

Fall is such a  spectacular season, isn't it?  The trees put on their finest colours before retiring to their long sleep for Winter.  It's a time of year when artists and photographers do their best to capture a bit of that beauty and poets put together descriptive words in an effort to do justice to the scene.  Of course we paper artists also have to do our best, given the tools available to us.  Thank goodness Stampin' Up! offers some fine colours, stamps and dies to help us along.  Welcome to our celebration of Fall (or Autumn if, like me, you grew up with that name for the season).

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 Libby Fens' post.  Libby makes her home in Texas and is a member of our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge artists as well.

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My first project uses the adorable Scarecrow from the Cookie-Cutter Hallowe'en set.  Along with the cheery pumpkin images from the Hallowe'en Night Specialty Designer paper and the pumpkin set from the Spooky Fun bundle, this card just makes me smile.  I used the letters from the Labeler Alphabet set to create the sentiment.

For me "Thankful" could easily be used for Thanksgiving or for a happy greeting to someone I care about and for whose friendship I am thankful.

* * * * * * * * * * 

My next project is a special fold card in a style which I have admired for quite a while.  I've seen it called a Twisted Pop-Up card, a Pop-up Panel card, and a Pivot Twist Pop-up card.  But by whatever name you've seen it before, you have probably also admired it.  I was looking for a template with our 5 1/2"x 4 1/2" sizing but could only find Collette Mitrega's YouTube tutorial.  So I fiddled around with the measurements and made mine the "normal" size for our envelopes.  What a perfect way to show off the fairies, playing with the colourful falling leaves!

I began with a base of Cajun Craze and added a layer of Crushed Curry.  Right there we have the basic colours of Autumn and it's easy to build from that.  I mentioned that I was going to be using fairies for this card.  I thought it would add a playful touch, especially for a Fall birthday.  For the front, therefore, I've used the image which has the fairy hanging from the cherry branch.  You'll notice, however, that the cherries are gone and I've added a leaf or two, concentrating on bright Fall colours for them and the fairy.  I've also added some bright foliage from the Awesomely Artistic set and then just had fun with the foliage from the Sheltering Tree to add some background colour and interest.  The sentiment is from the Birthday Blossoms set.

For this style of card there is a lot of interest added to the inside of the card.  The "mechanism" inside pivots the four panels and "presents" them.  It's quite a surprise for the recipient and not as difficult to make as one might think.  I used the four panels along the strip to feature more Fall colours and, of course, more fairies.

The first has some blooms at the bottom and some colourful leaves at the top.  I've turned to the Birthday Blossoms for those images.

The second has several leaves from the Vintage Leaves set, all colourful and one which has a tiny fairy hanging tight as it drifts downward.

The third has the little fairy sitting on her toadstool, holding up a large oak leaf.

And the fourth and final panel has dandelion seeds floating across and upward with a small sentiment in the middle.

Because this style of card offers room at the top of the base and at the bottom, I've added an oval with the birthday wishes and sentiment at the top and then a blank oval at the bottom which is perfect for writing.

I hope you've enjoyed checking out my special card as much as I enjoyed creating it.

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My final project is for my daughter.  She love the Fall season best of all the seasons.  She exults in the multi-coloured leaves and the crunch of the fallen leaves as she walks through the woods.  What better way to give her a little pick-me-up when she is run off her feet, than to bring a bit of Fall into her home so that she can enjoy it.  I found the inspiration for this wall hanging on Clare McDonnell's Maple Leaf Memories blog.

The embroidery hoop and burlap are clearly not Stampin' Up! products but everything else is from the catalogues.  The leaves were first stamped using the Vintage Leaves set and Basic Black ink and then cut out using the matching Leaflets framelits.  I've used Tangerine Tango, Wild Wasabi, Crushed Curry, Tip Top Taupe and Cajun Craze cardstocks.   After cutting the leaves, I sponged them with several of the same inks and also added some deeper inks using my Stampin' Markers.  After that I used my scoring tool and Silicone Craft sheet to emphasize the stamped lines.  Finally I spritzed the leaves using my Spritzer and rubbing alcohol before crushing them in my hands.  Strangely enough, that sort of abuse results in some very realistic Fall leaves.

As an added touch, I created two acorns using Tip Top Taupe and the Pumpkin Pie Glimmer paper.  After cutting them out with the Acorn Builder punch, I proceeded to sponge the perimeters and I also added some highlight to the centres of the acorns using the Whisper White craft ink.  I also cut out two pine branches using the Pretty Pines thinlits and Almost Artichoke cardstock.

I wanted to add some cording as well but decided that the copper thread was simply too lightweight to show against all that foliage.  And so I cut the thinnest strips of Pumpkin Pie Glimmer paper possible and used those instead.
The sentiment is, unfortunately, retired but it seemed the most appropriate under the circumstances.

* * * * * * * * * * 

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, Gail Allen.  Gail is from the Sechelt in British Columbia and is also  a member of our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge artists.

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

WWC90 - Happy Hallowe'en

This week's challenge is hosted by Libby and she is presenting a very graphic challenge with just two colours, black on white.  As if that isn't enough, Libby's challenge is also what we call a "Simply Stamped" challenge.  You have to do a lot of thinking and planning to achieve a "simple" card.

Before we get started and I unveil my own creation for this challenge, I am going to give you a very quick run-down of what our expectations for this challenge are:

"Simply Stamping" is a return to basics.  We expect either one single stamped base layer or a base with one single layer on that.  We expect simple stamping.  You can use masking, heat embossing, stencilling, sponging.  You cannot use an embossing folder or embellishments or additional layers (not even a tag).

What our team discovered is that it's not very easy to stamp simply.  It remains one of our most difficult challenges.  I decided that I would use two layers.  My base is Basic Black cardstock and then I added a layer of Whisper White upon which I did all my stamping, sponging, detailing.  It took time, but I was so happy with the results.  Normally I would have stamped my jar on a separate piece of Whisper White and then popped it up on Dimensionals.  Well, that's not allowed so it became part of my stamping challenge.  And it worked.

Stamps:  Jar of Haunts, Spooky Fun, Bite Me (retired)
Papers:  Basic Black, Whisper White
Inks:  Basic Black
Additional Tools:  Sponge

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

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

WWC89 - Thank You

I love colour challenges, especially when there is some bling involved.  So, of course, Penny's colour challenge for this week's Watercooler Wednesday Challenge is right up my alley.

Look at those colours!  They're elegant AND there is the added "bling" of Silver.  What could be better?  Actually I was tempted to simply make a card using those wonderful acorns.  But how imaginative would that have been?

And so I turned to my framelits for inspiration.  Of course with all that was going on last week plus Thanksgiving this weekend, I left this card until the very last minute.  Panic and inspiration don't always mix well.  My mind kept jumping from one possibility to the next until I was ready to pack it in and forget about the challenge altogether.  But I didn't.  Instead I decided to use one of the Birds & Blooms thinlits to cut a piece of Tip Top Taupe.  It was okay but needed something so I sponged around the perimeter using Tip Top Taupe ink which deepened the colour and gave it more dimension.  I really liked the pattern of the die-cuts in the bird and so I carefully coloured them using my Tip Top Taupe Stampin' Marker, being careful not to dislodge them from their places.  I liked it even more after that.

I wanted some background interest but I didn't want to emboss the whole piece of Whisper White and so I hand cut two heavy pieces of cardboard into ovals, laid them on top of each other, and used them instead of the bottom plate when I ran the Whisper White through the Big Shot using the Woodland embossing folder.  The result?  An oval of embossing.   I lightly sponged the embossed trees and branches using Tip Top Taupe to define them better.  I also used my AquaPainter to add a light wash of Soft Sky between the embossed trees.

I stamped the branch from the Best Birds set on Whisper White using Tip Top Taupe and also stamped several blossoms as well.  After using the Birds & Blooms thinlits to cute them all out, I used my AquaPainter to add Tip Top Taupe to the branch and Soft Sky to the blossoms and leaves.  After assembling everything, I stamped the sentiment from the Rose Wonder set in the upper right corner using Tip Top Taupe.  A scattering of tiny silver stars (thanks to the Umbrella Weather framelits) and the card was done.

I hope you'll check out the other creations by the Watercooler Artists for our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.  I look forward to seeing your card linked up this week.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

WWC88 - Love you!

Welcome to the challenge I'm hosting this week.  It's a sketch which I went a bit crazy designing with all those background lines and splotches but I think it has a lot of possibilities.  I hope you do, too, and are inspired to create a wonderful card which you will link up and share with us.

One thing that I've always loved about sketch challenges is that as long as one can still identify the sketch, there is a world of leeway in using it.  While I decided not to flip it on its side or turn it upside down, I had a lot of fun with that background, firstly by using a technique which I had never tried before, and secondly by stamping lightly over it to create the atmosphere that I had in mind.  While the sketch may appear very bold, I chose to use it to create a much softer, romantic card.  I hope you like it.

I began with a base of Heavy Whisper White.  Then I added a layer of Soft Sky which would be a matte for the stamped layer of Shimmery White specialty paper.  What I did with that Shimmery White layer was not just stamping.  The blotchy, oddly patterned area was my first attempt at the Bubble Magic Technique.  I first saw it in a card made by Dawn Olchefske.  Better still, she made an easy to follow video.  While I like the bubbles on my card, hers are much more airy.  But, for this card, it works.  When my  bubble-painted area finally dried, I was able to begin creating my card and for that I used the beautiful Touches of Texture stamp set.  The flower outlines in that set really appealed to me and there were splotches that I could use to colour the flowers and also to stamp centres.  I used Crumb Cake ink for the outline and the lovely Sweet Sugarplum ink for the stamped "blotchy" colouring (off-stamped to make the images softer and lighter) and Delightful Dijon for the centres.  The bee is also from the same set and is coloured using the Delightful Dijon.

For the main image and sentiment I turned to the Sunshine Wishes thinlits.  The thinlits heart is wonderfully abstract with a scribbled outline.  I cut it out twice, once from the Soft Sky cardstock and another time from the Sweet Sugarplum cardstock.  I used the "scribbles" from the Soft Sky and the centre from the Soft Sugarplum.  Before adding the centre, however, I ran the heart through my Big Shot using the Confetti embossing folder.  The added texture makes all the difference.  The "love" is cut using the same set of thinlits and Crumb Cake cardstock.  I love the size of the lettering and the style.  To finish the sentiment off, I used the "you" from the matching Sunshine Sayings stamp set and Crumb Cake ink.

To complete the design, I added three gold sequins to the upper left corner.  They compliment the Delightful Dijon quite nicely.

This was a fun card to create.  I hope you'll check out the cards created by the other Watercooler Artists at our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.  Better still, check them out and link one up yourself.

Sunday, 2 October 2016

World Card Making Day (one day late)

It's World Card Making Day (plus one).  My card is late, but I hope that you'll agree that it's better late than never.  As you can see, I've "spread the love" by using a generous variety of products.

I wanted something whimsical.  I wanted to remind people that they should "spread the love" with their cards.  It should not just be about the one day.  It should be every day that we think of people, that we get in touch with people, that we spread the love with our cards.

I didn't want to be late posting this card. happens.

You can think that you're all prepared for something but you can't always know what is happening in your life.  World Card Making Day is a good example of that truism.   I had my card completed and was ready to take pictures and post and suddenly I found myself on my way out of town.  Planned trip?  No.  But sometimes when opportunity knocks, you answer the door.

I've been re-organizing my crafting room which, during the past couple of years, began to take on a life of its own.  I swear that things multiplied while I slept.  Piles grew overnight.  Products hid themselves and played peek-a-boo.  Stressful?  Yes.  So I bit the bullet and began the huge task of re-organization.  Storage was one problem which I had to admit would make life easier.  Bins were not my friends.  Yes, they provided storage, but they also became an ongoing headache because they store but don't make access easy.  If you've heard of IKEA, you know that that store offers almost unlimited storage  solutions which, at the same time, offer easy access to one's belongings.  The closest IKEA, however, is in Calgary and that meant a road trip.  Yesterday my daughter suggested exactly that and off we were.  No second thoughts.

I have the storage solutions waiting to be assembled.  My room is going to be much more functional.  And I didn't post my World Card Making Day card.  I also didn't send it off.  My jobs for today.

And so I turned to the Fairy Celebration stamp set in conjunction with the wonderful Serene Scenery Designer Series paper stack.  Along with those products, I decided to use a sentiment from the Sprinkles of Life set, the wings from Papillon Potpourri and the delicate images of Dandelion seeds from the Balloon Celebration set.  I picked my colours based on the various shades in the Designer paper.  My base is the Heavy Whisper White followed by a layer of Cajun Craze and then the Designer paper.  The inks are Archival Basic Grey, Blushing Bride, Delightful Dijon, Calypso Coral, Peekabook Peach and So Saffron.  I've also used White embossing powder for the Dandelion seeds and the sentiment.

Thursday, 29 September 2016

CYCI#139 -- Happy happy joy joy!

The challenge over at Can You Case It? is all about rainbow inspirations.  Well, I've been doing a lot of sorting out here in my crafting room and one of the things that I've had the hardest time sorting is my Designer Paper.  I'm finding it's hard to let go.  One of the pieces made me think of rainbows.  I think it was most likely from a Sale-a-bration a few years back, but the colours still appeal.  They seemed perfect for the challenge.

Of course then I had to figure out what to do with the Designer Paper.  I have all my framelits and thinlits magnetically mounted to my wall and so I began staring at them, willing them to give me inspiration.  And they did.  I happened to notice two sets of word framelits which, once I read them, kept repeating themselves in my head.  So, of course, to silence them, I had to use them.

Off topic for a moment.  Have you ever seen the Ren and Stimpy Show?  There is this episode where they define this "phrase".  Basically what the words mean is when the world expects you to put on this happy face when in reality all you want to do is either shriek or tear your hair out or pound hard on the nearest wall.  "Happy happy joy joy" is your inner silly song which gets you through the ordeal of making everyone else around you happy.  So, when I saw my "happy" framelit and my "joy" framelit, I knew I had to use those words.

My base is the Heavy Whisper White cardstock and the next layer is the Night of Navy.  Onto that layer I glued all the words as well as a Daffodil Delight happy face cut using the Project Life Paper Clip thinlits.

I hope you'll check out the Can You Case It? Challenge yourself.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

WWC87 - Wow!

There are a lot of males in my family and so Kath's Masculine "Anything Goes" Challenge is absolutely perfect.  It's the "anything goes" that really makes me excited.  Just think!  No boundaries except that this card has to be masculine.  I'm almost giddy with excitement.

I'm still hung up on that gorgeous Country Livin' stamp set.  It's no surprise, I'm sure, since I've used the boots several times as well as the truck and that great guitar.  Well, this time it's back to the guitar.  I had an idea which I'm hoping will translate perfectly into a card.

I decided to revisit a technique which I actually love but haven't used for at least two years.  It's the faux patina technique and for this card I intend to use the copper embossing powder as well as some copper foil accents.  The faux patina technique is very showy.  It looks absolutely elegant and vintage and hard to do.  That's where people fool themselves.  They shy away from trying the technique and yet, once a person does each step carefully, suddenly it's done and it's easier than it looked---and absolutely gorgeous to boot.  Rather than take you through all the steps, I'm going to add a link which is already set up at the Splitcoaststampers site.  The colours of ink which I used for this card are Crumb Cake, Tempting Turquoise, Almost Artichoke, and Chocolate Chip.

For my base I've used Chocolate Chip cardstock followed by a layer of Crumb Cake which I first lightly sponged around the edges with Crumb Cake ink.  Then I've added my beautiful piece of faux patina.  Doesn't the Boho Chic embossing folder work beautifully with that technique?  My Star is several layers.  The base is Chocolate Chip and then I've added a layer of Copper Foil and finally a star cut from the musical paper from the This Christmas Specialty Designer Series paper.  I fussy cut out the guitar (of course) and used my AquaPainter and Crumb Cake, Soft Suede and Chocolate Chip inks to colour it.  The sentiment?  I found it among my retired stamps and thought it was absolutely perfect.

And there you have it.  My masculine card is complete.  I hope you'll join us at the Watercooler Wednesday Challenge to see the gorgeous creations by the other Watercooler Artists.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Thankful * Grateful * Blessed

It's not quite Fall yet.  That, apparently, begins tomorrow, on September 22nd.  But from the look of the leaves around here and the nip in the air, Fall decided to begin early without permission.  Why am I talking about Fall?  That's the theme of our "Simply Stamping" challenge this week and our hostess, Gail Allen, provided the wonderful photograph of a previous Fall in her area.

Before we get started and I unveil my own creation for this challenge, I am going to give you a very quick run-down of what our expectations for this challenge are:

"Simply Stamping" is a return to basics.  We expect either one single stamped base layer or a base with one single layer on that.  We expect simple stamping.  You can use masking, heat embossing, stencilling, sponging.  You cannot use an embossing folder or embellishments or additional layers (not even a tag).

What our team discovered is that it's not very easy to stamp simply.  It remains one of our most difficult challenges.  I decided that I would use two layers.  My base is the Heavy Whisper White and then I added a layer of Whisper White upon which I did all my stamping, masking, detailing.  It took time, but I was so happy with the results.  Normally I would have stamped my sentiment on a separate piece of Whisper White and then popped it up on Dimensionals.  Well, that's not allowed so it became part of my masking challenge.  And it worked.

The stamp sets which I used for the fallen leaves are the Vintage Leaves set and the Rose Wonder set.  My sentiment is from the Paisleys & Posies set.  What I've done is to cut out several leaves as well as a rectangle the size of the white area for the sentiment and used those as needed to mask those already stamped areas which I did not wish to stamp over.  It was definitely time consuming.  Simply stamping isn't necessarily your fastest card technique.  But the results are very satisfying.  I'm happy with my card, unembellished and simply stamped as it is.

 The appearance of the additional layer of green behind the sentiment is precisely that, an appearance.  I've used a ruler and carefully coloured in that green area top and bottom to make it look matted.  I've also used the side of my marker along the edge of my layer of Whisper White to help the white stand out against the base white.

I hope you'll check out the wonderful "simply stamped" creations by the other Watercooler Artists at our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge.

Monday, 19 September 2016

Wow! The new Cable Knit embossing folder...

You'll see on the package of the new Cable Knit embossing folder that it is considered a "Dynamic" folder.  I read the word but it really didn't mean much to me.  In the Holiday Catalogue it merely said that "our new Dynamic folders create deep, dimensional  embossed impressions".  It did not say what was obvious to me as I held it when my order came in, that it was three times as heavy as any embossing folder I own.  And thick!  Yes, this embossing folder is THICK!

I've been using embossing folders for quite a number of years now and so I don't read the packaging.  You've used one embossing folder, you've used them all.  NOT!  I suspected strongly that this embossing folder would not go through my Big Shot with the normal "sandwich" of platform, cutting pad, embossing folder with paper, cutting pad.  This Dynamic embossing folder looked to be as thick as one of my cutting plates.  I held it up against one just to test my theory.  It was thicker.  Actually it was approximately as thick as my cutting plate plus a normal embossing folder.  So I tested my theory one step further and ran the folder through my Big Shot with only one cutting plate, the Dynamic embossing folder holding paper, and the platform.  And it embossed the paper.

So I did something that I hadn't done in years.  I read the packaging for this Dynamic embossing folder.  And it told me to do exactly what I had just done.

Well, I had this embossed piece of cardstock.  That just didn't seem right.  I had to use it for something.  It had been a while since I made a card simply for pleasure without the pressure of a challenge or a blog hop.  So I did just that.  I made a card simply for pleasure, just because I had a piece of cardstock which I had just embossed.  With no plan in mind, I proceeded to go where inspiration might take me.

The result?  I may just have people make this at my next workshop or crop.  And to top it off, I had so much fun.

Stamp set:  Sweet Home
Paper:  Very Vanilla, Whisper White, Wasabi Green, Real Red, Baked Brown Sugar, Silver Foil
Inks:  Real Red, Almost Artichoke, Chocolate Chip, Baked Brown Sugar
Tools:  Cable Knit Dynamic embossing folder, Home Sweet Home Thinlits dies, Pretty Pines Thinlits Dies, Banners Framelits, Delicate Ornaments Thinlits (hook)

Yes, I admit that I used the retired Baked Brown Sugar cardstock and ink but this was just for fun and I happen to love that colour, especially for gingerbread.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

The Wacky Watercooler September Blog Hop - My Favourites from the 2016 Holiday Catalogue

It's September already and the Stampin' Up! 2016 Holiday Catalog launched at the beginning of the month.  Have you seen it?  I saw it for the first time as a PDF on my computer and fell in love with quite of few of the new products.  Once I had the real paper catalog in my hands, however, that changed.  Radically!  I'm not sure that I need everything with which I fell in love but I know I want it all!  So you can imagine that getting ready for this blog hop and coming up with THREE favourites was a monumental task.  I kept changing my mind.

I'm excited about this month's blog hop for more reasons than the Holiday Catalogue and all its tempting goodies.  This month we have a participant from England and one from Australia joining the participants with whom you've grown familiar.  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 Gail Allen's post.  Gail lives on the west coast of British Columbia and is a member of our Watercooler Wednesday Challenge artists.

* * * * * * * * * * 

For my first project I decided to revisit the Cookie Cutter Christmas stamp set which I showcased for the last Blog Hop.  This set is part of the Candy Cane Lane Suite.  There are so many things I love about this Suite.  The Candy Cane Lane Designer Series Paper, for example, is stunning.  The colours are very simple:  Whisper White, Crumb Cake, Early Espresso and Real Red.  That's right, just four colours, but the WOW factor is real.  Actually, besides the stamp set, this designer paper is the star of my creation.  

For this hop I also looked around for products and tools that I have been neglecting.  It's so easy to buy and then forget to use the things with which you originally fell in love.  One of those tools is my Gift Bag Punch Board.  I don't know why I've neglected it since it really is so easy to use and the sizes of bags you can create is almost endless, but now that I've dusted it off, I decided that I would use it and the designer paper to create a nice Christmas Gift Bag.  The paper is really beautiful.  The designs--what can I say except it almost came down to "eeny-meeny-miny-moe" because I couldn't make the choice.  Finally, however, I went with the sheet that has a solid Early Espresso background and features some adorable gingerbread trees, stars, mittens, and, of course, "men".  

 My bag is the large sized one.  I could make it any height so it would even fit a wine bottle since it is gusseted, but I chose to make this one about 6 inches high.  Actually the bag would be about 4 3/4 inches tall but I decided to add flaps to both ends.  The bottom flaps are glued shut the conventional way but the top is different.  At about 4 3/4 inches there is a score line and I also cut off the side flaps.  That just leaves the one along the top front of the bag and one along the top back.  I finished off by using the Reverse Punch on the other side of the tool.  The two holes on each flap will allow me to lace through my twine and tie it shut with a bow.

Of course every bag needs a tag, right?  I used the colours from the bag to create mine.  The little Christmas tree was simply die-cut using the Perfect Pines framelits and the little gingerbread man was stamped using the Cookie Cutter Christmas set and cut using the Cookie Cutter Builder punch.  To make the tag pretty, I used the Scalloped Tag Topper punch.  

And a close up of the tags.

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My second project is also all about Christmas but the colours and the atmosphere are totally different.  For this card I turned to a stamp set with which I immediately fell in love  when I first saw it in the online catalogue.  Those feelings didn't change when I saw it in the actual catalogue and it was on my first order.  The set?  Christmas Magic.  I love all the images but for this card I needed something small because I planned to combine it with images and the sentiment from the Star of Light set as well as the Starlight Thinlits dies.  So I picked the snowman.  He's such a cute little guy and perfect with his slightly bemused look.

I wanted the card to be elegant and understated with a touch of dazzle.  For my base I used the Heavy Whisper White followed by a layer of Emerald Envy.  Then I cut a piece of Shimmery White Specialty cardstock on which I planned to do my stamping and which I also planned to cut with one of the star thinlits.  I love the thinlit that doesn't cut out a star but just cuts holes which make a star shaped pattern.  You can see how it allows a peek at the Emerald Envy underneath.  Then I used the smallest of the Starlight thinlits to cut a star from the Dazzling Diamonds Glimmer paper.  Isn't it gorgeous layered on top of the star cutout?  

I stamped my little snowman using the Basic Gray archival ink because I thought black would be too stark and snowman are soft.  Because I stamped it on the Shimmery White cardstock, the snowman has a slight shimmer to him which I love.  I used Emerald Envy and Real Red to colour his mittens and scarf.  For the mounded snow at his bottom and for the snow along the brim of his hat I first added glue and let that  get tacky.  Then I added the Dazzling Diamonds glitter to it and "wow", did it ever sparkle!  It perfectly balanced the dazzle of the die-cut star.

For the inside of the card I kept it simple.  I stamped the wonderful flourish from the Star of Light set using Mint Macaron and then stamped  the sentiment from the Wondrous Wreath set over that using Emerald Envy ink.

And the whole front of the card, of course.

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For my third project I turned to the Home Sweet Home thinlits dies and their coordinating stamp set, Sweet Home.  I knew that I would get this bundle as soon as I saw it.  I could imagine how excited my grandsons and their friends would be, getting a spooky house filled with candy for Hallowe'en.  Not to mention Christmas.  Yes, that little house bundle will be seeing a lot of activity.

I was really upset with myself for not ordering the Hallowe'en Night Specialty designer series paper when I ordered the bundle.  As I saw after I put in the order, this paper has a great brick design which is absolutely awesome on these little houses, especially the Hallowe'en ones.  But with the paper not due to arrive until Monday and this blog hop launching this Thursday, I've had to improvise.  And so I turned to the Timeless Textures stamp set and my Whisper White craft ink.  I think the effect on the Basic Gray cardstock is just rough and aged enough to be perfect for Hallowe'en, don't you?

I had a lot of fun adding spider webs, ghosts, gravestones and a little fence by combining the Home Sweet Home bundle with the Spooky Fun bundle.  This little house can just sit on a table as a decoration because of the way I've put the scene together, but by itself and filled with candy, it's going to give a bunch of kids a real Hallowe'en treat.

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 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, Jan McQueen, who is joining our blog hop for the first time.  Jan hails from Australia and we've had an interesting time figuring out the time difference.

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

WWC85 - You Are My Sunshine

I love colour challenges.  Usually I have to do a lot of thinking to get myself into the right mood to use the challenge colours.  I think we all know how that is.  We all have our favourite "go-to" colours.  That's where these challenges help me to work outside my safe little box.  Jean's challenge is no different.  What is different, however, is her choice of colours.  We have two neutrals and a metallic.  Time to get my thinking cap on.

There were so many ideas that flooded my head.  That's just as hard as sitting there with no ideas in your head.  Finally I decided on combining a heat embossed copper and a die-cut copper foil.

I began with a base of Heavy Whisper White followed by a skinny matte of Basic Black and then another layer of Whisper White which I first embossed, heat-embossed and stamped.  The heat-embossing is, of course, the wonderful sun from the Kinda Eclectic set, stamped over in the top left corner.  I absolutely loved the way the copper embossing powder heated up and melted into such a shiny metallic.

Then I took the new Pine Bough embossing folder and placed that in the top right corner, angling across diagonally towards the left lower area.  I followed that up with a slight bit of sponging over the embossed "needles" with some Basic Black ink and then also used the Basic Black ink to stamp part of the sentiment using the Sunshine Sayings set.  Under that I glued the rest of the sentiment cut out of Copper Foil using the Sunshine Wishes framelits.

Finally I glued a Basic Black die-cut bird cut using the Birds & Blooms thinlits, placing him so that he appeared to be perched on the "n" of the "sunshine".

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