I'm Amy, a stay-at-home mom by day and a crafter by night. After a day of chasing my kids around the house, I escape to my craft room for a few hours of creating while they sleep. Thanks for joining me in my little corner of the crafting world!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Goodbye 2012, Hello 2013!

Happy New Year's Eve!  I've been so busy with family over the holidays that I haven't spent much time in my craft room or blogging, but I plan to post some new cards later this week.  In the meantime, I wanted to take a moment to thank each of you for visiting my blog in 2012.  Your kind comments have meant so much to me, and I hope you'll continue to visit me here in 2013.  I have met so many wonderful people through the blogging world, and I continue to be inspired every day as I visit your blogs and online galleries to see your marvelous creations.  Here's to a happy and crafty 2013 for all of us!

Thanks for stopping by today.  Happy New Year! 

Friday, December 21, 2012

Last-Minute Christmas Card

Happy Friday!  I had to sneak in one more Christmas card for you.  This one is quick and easy, which is just about all I have time for right now.   I love the Christmas season and will be sad to see it end, but I won't miss the craziness of holiday preparations!

Here's my keep-it-simple Christmas card for today:


I started by making a card base from Crumb Cake card stock.  I used some dark green card stock to die cut three Christmas trees, then added some color by watercoloring over them in green.  To add a little sparkle and texture, I outlined them and scribbled over them with a clear Spica pen.  (It's hard to see the texture and sparkle in this picture.)  I stamped the sentiment in Handsome Hunter using both a pad and a marker (I didn't like the coverage I got with a stamp pad alone, so I used the stamp pad first and then filled in any light spots with the marker before stamping).  Since this is a large stamp and some of the letters had spots that still weren't as dark as I'd like, I used a blender pen to fill in where needed.  I added a background of ivory burlap, then added my die cut trees over the burlap with mini glue dots.  For a little sparkle, I added some rhinestones near my sentiment. 

I hope you are feeling the joy of the Christmas season, too.  Thanks for stopping by today!
 
Products Used:
 
Stamp: Hero Arts
Paper: Crumb Cake card stock (Stampin' Up!), dark green card stock (unknown)
Ink: Handsome Hunter Classic Dye Ink (Stampin' Up!)
Accessories and Tools: Framelits Holiday Collection (Stampin' Up!); Watercolor Crayons (Staedtler);
Spica pen (Too Marker Products); rhinestones (Zva Creative); ivory burlap


Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hay for Terry

Oh my goodness, this card was nearly my creative undoing!  Today's card is a Teapot Tuesday Challenge card, and our recipient is a fellow Teapotter's husband, Terry, who needs a kidney transplant.  We wanted to send some cheer to him during this difficult waiting period, so we needed to make masculine cards.  Our teapot inspiration this week is a western-themed teapot and our challenge was based on Clint Eastwood movies.  I didn't have any western-themed stamps, but I had this cute hay bale and funny sentiment that I wanted to use.  We also had several techniques we could choose from for this challenge, and each was a twist on one of Clint Eastwood's films.  I chose to use a "painted background" technique (Paint Your Wagon).  I also decided to add a second option and use five panels layered (High Plains Drifter). 

A masculine, cowboy-themed card?  This posed a very intriguing challenge that took me far outside of my usual box.  My husband came down to my craft cave at one point and said, "What exactly are you trying to do there?"  I tossed that card and started another.  And another.  And another.  My recycling pile was getting pretty depressing.  But then I remembered a technique I saw Sandy Allnock use on a "Stump Sandy" segment on OWHtv where she distressed a piece of patterned paper to adapt it to her card's colors.  Finally, success!  (The distressed patterned paper is what I'm calling my painted background...I know, it's a stretch!)  But then I needed four more panels and I didn't have any matching patterned paper in my stash.  I struggle with using patterned papers anyway, so this was tricky.  I used a background stamp on one layer and even used the original patterned paper, unchanged, for another layer.  I am telling you, my heart and soul went into this card last night!  I finally emerged from my cave around 2:00 a.m. and told my husband that a card had almost killed his wife.  Bless his heart, he pretended to understand!

Here's my card:


I started with a dark brown card stock base and a piece of patterned paper.  I distressed the patterned paper with Walnut Stain and Tea Dye Distress Inks.  I stamped my image and sentiment on Classic Crest Natural White and sponged Chocolate Chip and Close to Cocoa chalks over the panel, then inked the edges with Rich Cocoa ink.  I stamped the sentiment in Rich Cocoa, but struggled find the right shade for the hay.  I finally settled on inking the stamp with Rich Cocoa then using a a clean sponge to pull a bit of the ink off (stamping off removed too much ink, so the sponge was the trick), then sponged the stamped image some with additional colors until it could pass as hay.  It's still not the color I'd like, but it will do.

I stamped another piece of Natural White with a Canvas background stamp using Chestnut Roan chalk ink.  The lighter patterned piece on this card is the same patterned paper I used for the large distressed panel, just without any distressing.  Isn't it amazing how much difference a little distress ink can make? 

We get extra cookies at the tea party if we forgot about Christmas while making the card, and I can pretty much tell you that I deserve a plateful!  The only time I thought about Christmas was when I wondered if this card would ever be finished by then!  For all of my struggles with this card, I have to admit it was one of the most fun cards I've ever made because it really required me to try new things.  If you could only see the pile of rejected card parts you would know just how many new things I tried!  This card is definitely not my usual style but I hope it will give Terry a smile.

Thanks so much for visiting today!

Products Used:
 
Paper: Dark brown card stock (Bazzill); Classic Crest Natural White 80 lb. (Neenah);
"Woven Natural Fibers" patterned paper (The Paper Studio)
Stamps: Hay bale and sentiment (River City Rubber Works); Canvas background stamp (Stampin' Up!)
Ink: Memento Rich Cocoa (Tsukineko); Walnut Stain and Tea Dye Distress Inks (Tim Holtz/Ranger); ColorBox Chalk Ink in Chestnut Roan (Clearsnap); various other inks
Accessories and Tools: Chalks (Stampin' Up!)







Monday, December 17, 2012

Something Has Changed...

Today's post is much different than the post I'd anticipated writing.  Today's card is a Valentine's Day card, and I'd planned to write about this romantic, sweet sentiment I found that I just knew would be perfect for Valentine's Day cards for Operation Write Home.  I wanted to share this card with you in such a different way than I will today.  But this card was made prior to the horrific events that unfolded at Sandy Hook Elementary School.  This card was made before my heart was broken.  And so today's post is not the post I'd planned to write.

I was picking up my son from school on Friday when I heard that a gunman had opened fire in an elementary school in Connecticut.  I was chatting on the phone with my sister and watching my son walk out with his class when my sister asked if I'd heard about the shooting.  She didn't have any details or know of any casualties at that point, so I pushed it to the back of my mind and figured I'd hear more later.  I got out of the car, spoke with the teacher for a few moments and walked my son to the car while we talked about his day.  It was as normal as normal could be, until we got home and I saw the news for myself.  Then nothing was normal anymore.

So while today's card was created as a Valentine, today its message takes on a special significance and reaches far beyond a sweet Valentine's Day sentiment to true, deep, devoted and determined love for all who hold a special place in our hearts:


I'm holding those I love a little tighter today.  My kids are getting extra hugs and kisses, my husband is getting extra attention, and I'm focusing on present moments instead of worrying about all the stressful parts of holiday preparations.  I'm taking my kids out for ice cream and going on "adventures" with my son.  I'm having deep, important conversations with my husband.  I'm reaching out to friends and family.  I'm holding on to those I love, and they are holding on to me.  God has blessed me with wonderful people to love, and for the moment, at least, we are here on this journey together.  I don't want to waste a single opportunity to hold them close while I still can.

If you're still reading this post, bless you!  I always provide a recipe for my cards, and today will be no exception.  Here's how I made this card:

I started with a base of black card stock and covered the front with patterned paper.  I stamped the sentiment in Memento Tuxedo Black on white card stock and adhered it to a piece of black card stock.  I die cut a scalloped border from white card stock, then adhered the sentiment panel and border to the card front.  I added some shimmer spray to the sentiment panel for this card, but I plan to make another card like this without the shimmer spray so I can donate it to Operation Write Home.  This card is quick and easy, but its message is powerful.
 
I am submitting this card for the current challenge at Shopping Our Stash (use a sentiment as the focal point of the card). 

Thanks for taking the time to visit and read my post today.  I hope the message of this card found its way to your heart.


Products Used:
 
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Stamp: 7 Gypsies/Hampton Art
Paper: Solar White Classic Crest 110 lb. (Neenah); "My Heart"
patterned paper (Karen Foster Designs); black card stock (unknown)
Tools and Accessories: Big Shot (Sizzix); Die-Namics Open Scallop Edge (MFT);
Sheer Shimmer Frost Spray (Tsukineko)

 

Friday, December 14, 2012

Joyful Trees for Christmas

Yay, it's Friday!!  I don't know about you, but I could sure use a weekend! 

This week's Ways to Use It Challenge at Splitcoast Stampers asks us to use "fussy cutting" on a card.  Fussy cutting is cutting very carefully (usually with precision scissors or a craft knife) around an image, so it takes some extra time and effort.  I've also been a bit fascinated by a technique I've recently learned about called "inlaid embossing".  This technique involves adhering die cuts, layers, etc. together and then dry embossing those elements right into the paper.  There are so many possibilities for this technique, but for today's card I combined fussy cutting with inlaid embossing and kept my design fairly simple. 

Here's my card:

 
I started by fussy-cutting the trees from some patterned designer paper I had in my stash.  I tried to keep just a tiny bit of the border around each tree to help it stand out against the background.  I adhered the trees to a piece of dark green card stock in slightly uneven rows (intentionally this time!) and then ran the whole panel through my Big Shot using the Bow Strings embossing folder horizontally.  I stamped my sentiment in Pine on a piece of Natural White card stock (which is a lovely off-white color), then adhered the sentiment to dark green and kraft card stocks.  My kraft card stock isn't very heavy, so I lined the inside panel of the card with Natural White card stock to add support. 
 
I pulled a fiber strand from some off-white burlap I have in my materials stash and adhered it over my inlaid embossing panel. ( I love the slightly frayed look I can get from burlap.)  I attached the embossed panel to a card base made from kraft card stock.   I added some Glossy Accents to the "joy" sentiment and set it aside to dry.  I wanted this card to be understated, but just couldn't resist a tiny bit of shine!
 
I hope you are having a blessed Advent season  Thanks for stopping by!
 
 
Products Used:
 
Stamp: Naughty or Nice (Stampin' Up!)
Ink: Ancient Page Pine (Clearsnap)
Paper: Solar Crest Natural White 80 lb. (Neenah); Cutesy Christmas Trees patterned paper (The Paper Studio); dark green card stock (unknown); kraft card stock (unknown)
Other: Burlap fiber; Glossy Accents (Ranger)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Silver Bells, Teapots and Glitter...Oh My!

Happy Tuesday!  This week I decided to join two challenges that are new to me.  The first is the Teapot Tuesday Challenge at Splitcoast Stampers.  The Teapotters are a great group of stampers who use a different teapot each week to inspire their cards, and then they send the cards off to a designated person who could use some "happy mail" that week.  This week's inspirational teapot is a beautiful silver one, and our destination for cards is the mother of a fellow stamper who is dealing with several medical issues.  She normally loves Christmas but is having a hard time getting into the Christmas spirit this year, so we are sending lots of silvery, sparkly cards with a Christmas theme (and we are asked to throw in a hint of pink if we want to really make the card special for her).  

The second challenge I'm joining is the Use It Tuesday Challenge (see the blog and challenge HERE).  This challenge asks us to use items from our stash (instead of hoarding them while daydreaming about all the Pinteresty things we could be doing with them), and this week we're asked to make a Christmas or Hanukkah card.  I have so many lovely things in my stash that really need to see some paper action, so it was fun to dig in and use what I already have.  All of the supplies used on this card are from my stash, but here are two things I was really excited to unearth from my stash to use on this card:

  • Glitter.  The real stuff you adhere with glue.  I've had a package of several beautiful glitters that I never use because of the mess (I usually use embossing powders or glitter glue).  It was really fun (and incredibly messy) to use some of the real stuff! 
  • Hot pink and white baker's twine.  I bought a sampler of several twine colors but had not found a use for the hot pink color until now.  Isn't it cute here?

So here is my shimmery, glittery, Christmasy card:
 
 
I wasn't sure if I would like silver on silver, but the sparkly glitter pulls so many other subtle colors that I think it works.  It's hard to see in the picture just how shiny my ornaments really are, but just imagine preschooler-playing-with-glitter sparkly and multiply that by 10!  I also had difficulty getting "true" colors photographed on this card.  The sentiment panel is white (it looks a bit green on my computer screen, but it's actually stark white) and the baker's twine is hot pink and white (no red or green on this card, per Teapotter instructions!).
 
I started with a Basic Black card stock base and a piece of silver shimmer paper.  I die cut three circles from heavy white card stock, then covered them in silver glitter glue to create an extra-sparkly glue base for my glitter.  I added glitter and used my heat tool to speed up the drying process (I should really learn to be more patient, because the heat tool pretty much blew that glitter from here to eternity).  I added more glitter and silver glitter glue and attempted to find a modicum of patience. 
 
Meanwhile, I added hot pink and white baker's twine to my silver panel and stamped my sentiment in Memento Tuxedo Black on heavy white card stock.  I adhered the sentiment piece to a larger piece of black card stock.  I carefully (oh, so carefully because that darned glitter was still wet) adhered my ornaments to the silver panel with dimensionals.  I pulled the ornaments' edges forward slightly to keep the paper from buckling from the glitter glue and to give the ornaments a bit more distinction from the background.  I added my sentiment panel to the front and adhered a piece of white card stock as a liner for the inside.  Then I set it aside to dry and did a happy dance that I finished another card without completely smudging the glitter glue!
 
Here's a tip: If you're using a lot of glue of any kind (in this case, glitter glue), it helps to use a heavy weight card stock.  I've found that lighter weight card stocks will buckle more than the heavier card stocks.  This card stock held up really well to my multiple layers of glitter glue.
 
Do you want to know what a craft room looks like after a messy crafter uses this much glitter?  No, trust me, you don't.  It's really too bad I do my stamping in the middle of the night, because there was so much glitter on me by the time I was done that I looked all glammed up for a night on the town! 



Thanks for joining me for a bit of sparkle and shine today!
 
Products Used:

Stamp: Polar Bears (Stampin' Up!)
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black (Tsukineko)
Paper: Basic Black card stock (Stampin' Up!);
Classic Crest Solar White 110 lb. card stock (Neenah); Shimmer Matstack (DCWV)
Tools and Accessories: Nestabilities Standard Circles Large (Spellbinders); Silver Glitter Glue (Studio G);
Silver Holiday Glitter (Sulyn Industries); Stampin' Dimensionals (Stampin' Up!); baker's twine

 
 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Two Snuggly Snow Friends

Happy Monday!  We finally had a cold snap where I live, so I was inspired to make another snowman card.  This time I have two snowy friends wrapped in a hug.  I think this is such a sweet image!  It is a large one and I think it's perfect for a one-layer card.  This card is my submission for this week's "Let it Snow" challenge at ABC Challenges (you can see the challenge HERE).  One-layer cards are fantastic for mailing (no bulk! no extra postage!) and they can be completed quickly (if you're not constantly getting interrupted by kids or a husband...). 

Here's my card:


I started with Neenah Classic Crest Solar White 110 lb. card stock.  This is a heavyweight card stock that holds up well to multiple layers and also to watercoloring.  I stamped my image in Memento Tuxedo Black, then grabbed my favorite watercoloring crayons.  I prefer to dip my brush in water and then pick up the color from my crayons rather than coloring directly on the paper.  This method allows me to control the amount of color I put down, layer the colors, and also use different sized brushes so I don't get stray marks outside the lines (hopefully).

To add depth, I inked up the white space around the image and the card edges with Memento New Sprout using the "direct to paper" method.  I used a dew drop pad because it works really well for getting the ink into small spaces.  Rather than put a sentiment on the front, I can add a sentiment inside for a holiday or leave it blank to make a nice note card.  Since I colored this one in red and green, I will add a Christmas sentiment inside before mailing it.  I could easily use other colors and create a winter-themed friendship, birthday or love card.  This stamp is quite versatile!

This is a large cling-mount stamp, and since I recently purchased a Fiskars Stamp Press I thought I would give it a try on this card.  I have to say that I love the press!  It allows me to line up my stamp exactly where I want it on the page and helps me put down an even layer of ink with a large stamp.  It also works well for using several small stamps at once to make a scene.  I hadn't bought one sooner because I kept thinking it was unnecessary, but after reading several reviews and watching videos online I decided to give it a try (thank you, 50% off coupon at Michaels).  This tool was definitely worth the money! 

It's beginning to look (and feel) a lot like Christmas around my neck of the woods!  I hope you, too, are enjoying the blessings of this Advent season amid the hustle and bustle of holiday planning.

Thanks for stopping by!

Products Used:
 
Paper: Classic Crest Solar White 110 lb. (Neenah)
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Memento New Sprout (Tsukineko)
Stamp: Jumbo Snowfall Pair (Stampendous)
Tools and Accessories: Watercolor Crayons (Staedtler); Stamp Press (Fiskars); watercolor brushes and water






Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Holly Jolly Sparkly Snowman

Whew!  It's been several days since my last post but I finally have a new card to share with you. This card was so much fun to create!  I started with an idea in my head that actually worked out on paper, which is always exciting!

For today's card I decided to CASE (Copy and Share Everything) some ideas I saw recently and use them to make an original card.  I saw a project on Splitcoast Stampers that used embossed circles for a snowman's body (see the project HERE)  and I really liked the idea of embossing a snowman.  I also saw a card that used a swirled embossing folder with glitter glue (see it HERE), and I was inspired to add Stickles to my embossing.  This week's Try a New Technique Challenge at Splitcoast Stampers asked us to make our own snowmen, so I used these ideas to create this sparkly, swirly snowman card:

I tried photographing this many times and just couldn't get a picture of the whole card that really shows the sparkle on the snowman as well as the embossing on the blue piece, so here are a couple of close-ups:




I started with a Neenah 110 lb. white card base and added a piece of wintry patterned paper to cover the card front.  I die cut 3 circles from Whisper White card stock, then embossed them with the D'Vine Swirls embossing folder.  I created a hat from black card stock and attached it to the "head" of the snowman.  I stamped my sentiment on Whisper White in Versafine Onyx Black and heat embossed it with clear embossing powder, then attached it to a piece of black card stock.  I cut a strip of blue card stock and embossed it with the Swirls, Ribbons and Snowflakes embossing folder, then cut the end to a point.

Once I had all the elements cut and stamped, I attached them to the card front.  I carefully applied Star Dust Stickles directly from the bottle to the raised embossing on the snowman.  I wanted to add some dimension to the snowflakes on my blue piece, so I added Stickles to the centers.  I quickly decided I didn't like the way that looked, so I added tiny pearls to the centers instead. 

I set the card aside to dry overnight (and somehow managed not to smear my Stickles, which was quite a feat for me!).  I had so much fun with this card that I will probably make a few more using different backgrounds, colors and embossing folders. 

I am also entering this card for the Paper Players #124 Challenge (snowman cards) and the ABC Challenge #7 (holiday cards with bling).  Thanks for stopping by today!



Products Used:
 
Stamp: Merry Merry (Recollections)
Ink: Versafine Onyx Black (Tsukineko)
Paper: Solar White 110 lb. card stock (Neenah); Whisper White card stock (Stampin' Up!); Arctic Wishes Matstock (DCWV); black card stock, blue card stock (unknown)
Tools and Accessories: Circles #2 die (Sizzix); D'Vine Swirls embossing folder (Cuttlebug); Swirls, Ribbons and Snowflakes embossing folder (BasicGrey/Sizzix); Big Shot (Sizzix); clear embossing powder (Mrs. O'Leary's); Star Dust Stickles (Ranger); tiny pearls (Zva Creative)



Thursday, November 29, 2012

Glittery Embossed Christmas Stocking

Today's card incorporates a fun technique that I'm excited to share with you!  I created this card for this week's Try a New Technique Challenge at Splitcoast Stampers.  We were challenged to use the Glittery Embossing technique, which uses dry embossing, glitter glue and a brayer.  What fun! 

Here's my card:


I decided to use a square card to accommodate my large scalloped circles, so I cut a 5 x 5 card base from Real Red card stock.  I cut a 4.75 x 4.75 piece of Whisper White card stock to layer on top of the base (in this photo it looks more like silver than white, but it's actually a white square).  I die cut a piece of silver card stock and a piece of Real Red card stock with scalloped circle dies.  For the glittery embossing, I dry embossed the red circle with the Snowburst embossing folder in my Big Shot and set it aside.  I squirted some some Stickles (glitter glue) on a piece of scrap card stock and spread it out a bit, then ran my brayer through the Stickles until it was completely covered.  (I used Star Dust Stickles to create an icy look, but it's hard to see in this picture.)  I ran my brayer several times over my embossed red scalloped circle to deposit the glitter glue all over the embossed piece, then set it aside to dry. 

Next I stamped my stocking in Real Red on another piece of white card stock and die cut it.  I added silver glitter glue to the top and tiny rhinestones to the center of each snowflake.  I set the stocking aside to allow the glitter glue to dry overnight.

The next day, I adhered the layers to each other and attached the stocking with dimensionals (I added a bit of Tombow Mono Multi glue on top of the dimensionals because I find that helps adhere things to embossed backgrounds).  I curled the edges of the red embossed piece to add even more dimension.  I added a rhinestone to each corner of the card and a white liner to the inside panel.  Easy peasy!  Although it took two days to create this card (to allow the glitter glue to dry), I didn't spend a lot of time working on it at each session. 

I have a few tips to share with you today, all based on my own mistakes while making this card.  First, if you are going to die cut and emboss a piece of card stock, be sure to cut first, emboss second.  If you do it the other way, your embossing will get squished.  Second, if you smudge your ink, there are ways to fix it.  I smudged the red on my stocking onto the white area around it (in a very small place, but it really bothered me) so I used a white gel pen to cover up the red marks.  If you layer it on slowly, it usually works.  I got a little too ambitious, however, and ended up getting the white gel ink on the red stocking...grrrr.  So I used a tip I learned from another blogger recently: I grabbed my blender pen and some Real Red ink and blended the red ink over the white marks.  It worked like a charm!  I can't remember which blogger shared the tip, but she successfully uses her blender pen to fill in gaps on stamped images that have "bald spots" where the ink didn't transfer.  This is a pretty handy trick to have up your sleeve!

I hope to try the glittery embossing technique on some larger panels that I can use to make my own background papers.  There are many options and variations on this technique, and I hope you will give it a try, too!

Thanks for stopping by!

Products Used:
 
Ink: Real Red Classic Dye Ink (Stampin' Up!)
Paper: Real Red, Whisper White card stock (Stampin' Up!); silver card stock (unknown)
Stamp and Matching Die: Hero Arts Stamp & Cut Christmas Stockings set
Tools and Accessories: Nestabilities Scalloped Classic Circles Large (Spellbinders); Star Dust Stickles (Ranger);
Silver Glitter Glue (Studio G); Big Shot (Sizzix); Snowburst embossing folder (Sizzix/Stampin' Up!);
Stampin' Dimensionals (Stampin' Up!); Mono Multi glue (Tombow); rhinestones



Monday, November 26, 2012

Flowers After the Rain

Happy Monday!  I had a whirlwind weekend of turkey, family and shopping and now it's time to settle back in to reality for the next few weeks.  I really love holiday weekends, though.  I get spoiled having my husband home to help me with the kids and sometimes I even get to sleep in a bit...pure heaven!

I created today's card for the current CAS(E) This Sketch Challenge.  This challenge is for Clean and Simple cards (little or no embellishments and lots of open space).  You can read more about this challenge HERE

Here is the sketch:

  
And here is my card:

insomniacstamper.blogspot.com

I started with a brown card stock base and a piece of Natural White card stock (Natural White is a vanilla shade).  I stamped my flower stems with Ancient Page Pine, then added the flower heads with Memento Rhubarb Stalk.  I wanted my sentiment to have a slightly darker hue than my stems, so I inked the stamp first with Memento Rich Cocoa, then inked over that with Ancient Page Pine to create a subtle difference.  I also inked the edges of the panel with Memento Rich Cocoa to bring out the brown shade in the sentiment.  I have a really tough time lining up sentiments sometimes, so I used a stamp positioner.  That tool is worth its weight in gold!

I wanted to use a piece of very light gold card stock behind my stamped panel but I didn't have one that was long enough (this piece came from a grab bag and it is just lovely in person).  I ran it through my Big Shot in the Swiss Dots folder, then cut it in the middle and adhered it to my card base with a gap to make it "stretch" to the necessary length.  I covered up the gap by adhering my stamped piece over it with Stampin' Dimensionals. 

I stayed fairly true to the sketch with a couple of exceptions.  The sketch uses a horizontal panel behind the stamped piece, but I felt the height of my flowers called for a vertical panel instead.  I also switched the sentiment and image to opposite sides to accommodate my flowers.  This sketch is a really versatile one that I plan to use again!

I hope to finish another card this evening that I will share with you soon, but for now I'm off to check the Cyber Monday specials and try to finish up my Christmas shopping!  Thanks for stopping by!

Products Used:

Stamps: Field Flowers, Brighter Tomorrow (Stampin' Up!)
Paper: Classic Crest Natural White card stock (Neenah); brown card stock, gold card stock (unknown)
Ink: Ancient Page Pine (Clearsnap); Memento Rhubarb Stalk, Memento Rich Cocoa (Tsukineko)
Tools/Accessories: Swiss Dots Embossing Folder (Cuttlebug); Big Shot (Sizzix);
Stampin' Dimensionals (Stampin' Up!); stamp positioner





Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Simple Sympathy Cards

Happy Tuesday!  We're a bit under the weather at my house right now (in the midst of Thanksgiving preparations...how unfair is that?!) so I'm spending more time wiping noses and soothing unhappy children than I am crafting.  However, I needed to make a sympathy card this week, so I squeezed in a little stamping time while the kids were sleeping.

I am going to show you a few different versions of this clean and simple, quick sympathy card.  I'm using a stamp set you've seen me use before.  It's not my only sympathy set, but it's definitely my favorite. 

Here's my first card:

Insomniac Stamper's Simple Sympathy in Purple

For this card, I started with a panel of Whisper White card stock and applied Memento Lulu Lavender using the "direct to paper" technique.  With this method, you apply your stamp pad directly to the paper.  I used a small dewdrop pad and I find this works better (for me) than using the larger pads.  To avoid getting ink lines from the edge of the pad (or depositing too much ink on the card edges) I started my ink pad off the panel (on the scratch paper underneath) and began swirling the ink on the scratch paper, then moved inward onto the card so the "impact" point was not on the card itself.  I sometimes use chalks or sponging to create this effect, but I think these Memento dewdrop pads work really well for this background.  After I achieved the depth of color I wanted, I used an old towel to rub off any excess ink.  I then stamped my image and sentiment in Elegant Eggplant, and attached the panel to an Elegant Eggplant card base.  This card took less than 5 minutes to make. 

I wanted to try other color options while building my supply of sympathy cards (I seem to need too many of these lately).  This time I used Memento New Sprout for the background, using the same technique as above.  I like the combination of Elegant Eggplant and New Sprout:

 
 
I'm also challenging myself to make more one-layer cards, so I tried making a card without the Elegant Eggplant card base.  I think this works nicely as another option:


You can easily use these techniques to make sympathy cards as well as cards for other occasions and with other stamp sets.  I love having go-to card ideas for those last-minute cards, and any card that can be made in 5 minutes or less is a winner in my book!

One tip: Although dye ink should be fast-drying, I had a few issues with Elegant Eggplant smudging this time (so there are a few card fronts in my recycle bin now!).  I'm not sure why it wasn't drying immediately this time, but a quick fix is to use your heat tool for a few seconds to set the ink before moving on to the next step. 

Thanks for visiting! 

Products Used:

Stamps: Close as a Memory (Stampin' Up!)
Ink: Memento Lulu Lavender and Memento New Sprout (Tsukineko);
Elegant Eggplant Classic Dye Ink (Stampin' Up!)
Paper: Whisper White and Elegant Eggplant card stock (Stampin' Up!)
Technique: Direct to Paper

Monday, November 19, 2012

Cocoa and Friendship

Happy Thanksgiving week!  Here in the U.S. we're busy getting ready for a holiday.  It's been unseasonably warm where I live, so I'm having trouble believing we're coming up on the end of November so quickly.  Christmas (my very favorite time of the year) is just around the corner!

Today's card is a quick and easy winter card.  I collect coffee and hot chocolate stamps (and snowman stamps...do you see a wintry pattern emerging here?), so hot drinks appear quite often on my cards during this time of year.  One of my favorite ways to embellish a stamped cup of hot chocolate is with puffy white Liquid Applique.  This is such a fun (and easy) way to add a bit of fluffy whipped cream!

Here's my card:


I stamped my mug in Rich Cocoa on some light brownish card stock (it was in my stash and I have no idea what the color name is).  I added the steam in Close to Cocoa.  The steam is from a different set.  I love to mix and match my stamp sets to make them more versatile. 

I stamped my sentiment in Rich Cocoa, then die cut it and inked the edges with Rich Cocoa.  I used a dewdrop-sized pad this time because the smaller size makes it so much easier to ink the edges on a small label.  I added some baker's twine to my panel and then attached my sentiment piece with Stampin' Dimensionals over the twine.  I adhered the panel to a dark brown card base (also from my stash) and applied Liquid Applique.  I allowed it to dry, then used my heat tool to puff it up.  I decided it needed just a bit more so I added more Liquid Applique over it and puffed it up with the heat tool again.  I love that you can add layers and continue building the "foam" if you want to.  I thought it needed a little something else, so I added a red striped straw over the foam.  Unfortunately a bit of the red got on the foam (those new SU ink pads are JUICY!), so once again I added some more Liquid Applique and heat set it.  See how great this stuff is for covering up mistakes and creating dimension?

I am leaving this card as a "friendship" card by not adding any other sentiment, but I could easily change it to a missing you, thank you, love you, thinking of you, etc. card just by adding a sentiment to the inside. 

Thanks for visiting! 

Products Used:
 
Stamps (mug and sentiment): Close to My Heart
Stamps (steam and straw): Like it a Latte (Stampin' Up!)
Ink: Memento Rich Cocoa (Tsukineko); Close to Cocoa, Real Red (Stampin' Up!)
Tools and Accessories: White Liquid Applique (Marvy); Baker's Twine (unknown); Nestabilities Labels One (Spellbinders); Big Shot (Sizzix); Stampin' Dimensionals (Stampin' Up!)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Misty Autumn Leaf

Full disclosure: Today's card is not one of my favorites, but I like some of the elements so I decided to share it anyway.  I have been making so many winter and love cards lately (mostly for Operation Write Home) that I wanted to step back and make an Autumn card.  I love Autumn, but I really, really, really love Christmas!  I seem to rush into the Christmas season faster and faster each year (much to my husband's dismay, I switched the ring tone on our house phones to "Jingle Bells" months ago!).  I am also running behind on my monthly cards for the Divine Design Bible Verse Challenge at Splitcoast Stampers, so this will be my October verse card for the challenge. 

Here is my effort to refocus on Autumn as we approach Thanksgiving:


I started by die cutting a circle from a piece of scrap paper, then used the negative of the die cut as a mask.  I placed it over my card stock panel and sponged Ancient Page Saffron, Memento Desert Sand and Memento Potter's Clay in the open space of the circle.  I thumped Summer Sun, Garden Green, Always Artichoke and Handsome Hunter markers on my leaf stamp, then misted it with water and stamped it over the circle, then removed my mask.  I stamped the sentiment in Ancient Page Pine and adhered the panel to a piece of Ultrasmooth Vanilla and a brown card base.  I used a distressing tool to rough up the edges and sponged some Distress Ink over the panel (I forgot to write down which Distress Ink I used).  I think if I made this one again I would use less Distress Ink and maybe an add embellishment or two. 

I apologize for not keeping track of the card stock and Distress Ink colors as I used this time.  I've tried to get into that habit but my memory slips now and then!

If you're like me and overwhelmed with pre-holiday planning and shopping, I hope you will take a few moments for yourself to create something just for your own pleasure.  If you're crafting for the holidays (or in my case, for the holidays and my daughter's upcoming birthday), it can start to feel like work or a chore.  If I can do some crafting just for fun and relaxation, it helps balance out all the stress-inducing "have to" items on my list.  I am hoping to sneak away for a bit of crafting every day or two during this busy season, just to maintain my sanity!  I hope you will, too.

Thanks for stopping by!



Products Used:
 
Stamp: PSX
Paper: Various sources
Ink: Summer Sun, Garden Green, Always Artichoke and Handsome Hunter markers (Stampin' Up!); Ancient Page Saffron, Ancient Page Pine (Clearsnap); Memento Desert Sand, Memento Potter's Clay (Tsukineko); Distress Ink (Tim Holtz/Ranger)
Tools: Big Shot (Sizzix); Circles #2 (Sizzix); Edge Distresser (Close to My Heart)
 


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Embossed Snowflakes CASE

How can we be approaching the middle of November already?  What a month it has been!  My baby has gone from taking just a few steps at time to practically sprinting everywhere, keeping this mama running from one end of the house to the other all day.  While she's wearing me out, she's also wearing herself out, which means she's sleeping better and I can get a little more crafting time in at night.  So there is a silver lining!

Today's card is for the Featured Stamper challenge at Splitcoast Stampers.  For this challenge, we pick a card from that person's gallery to CASE (Copy and Share Everything).  We are asked to make at least two changes so the card is not an exact duplicate.  Here is a link to the card I chose to CASE:  Embossed Snowflakes

And here is my card:


While I kept the overall design and color scheme of the original card, I made a few changes.  I used a different snowflake embossing folder because I don't own the one she used.  Her embossing folder left a flat area for stamping in the bottom right-hand corner, but mine does not, so I stamped my sentiment on a label and attached it to the panel.  I sponged ink around my sentiment to add dimension to the label against the white background.  I didn't have the sentiment she used so I chose a different one, and instead of pearls in the centers of the snowflakes, I used White Enamel Accents. 

I started by dry embossing a piece of Whisper White card stock with an embossing folder in my Big Shot.  Next I stamped my sentiment on another piece of white card stock.  I didn't like the color I was getting with Night of Navy by itself, so I inked my stamp first with Cobalt and then with Night of Navy.  This achieved the deeper color I was looking for.  I cut out the sentiment with a labels die in my Big Shot, sponged around the edges with Night of Navy, then adhered the sentiment to the white panel.  I attached the white panel to the Night of Navy card base, then added White Enamel Accents on the snowflake centers, which I left to dry overnight.  This card was quick and easy to put together, and I love the colors for winter.  I could easily change the sentiment to something "not-Christmasy" for a winter card that could be used throughout the season.

Here's a tip for using an embossing folder in a die cut machine (such as the Big Shot): If my card stock isn't getting as deep of an impression as I'd like, I mist the card stock with a bit of water right before putting it in the embossing folder.  I will sometimes run the folder through my machine more than once, but I usually find the water mist does the trick with just one pass through the machine.

I have a few more cards in the works and hope to post another one tomorrow.  Thanks for stopping by!

Products Used:
 
Stamp: WordPlay - Joy (Stampin' Up!)
Paper: Whisper White and Night of Navy card stock (Stampin' Up!)
Ink: Ancient Page Dye Ink in Cobalt (Clearsnap); Night of Navy Classic Ink (Stampin' Up!)
Tools and Accessories: Big Shot (Sizzix); Snowflakes #9 embossing folder (Sizzix); Nestabilities Labels Eighteen (Spellbinders); White Enamel Accents (Inkssentials)

Friday, November 9, 2012

Our Fairy Tale

It's finally Friday!!  This has been one very busy week at my house.  I am looking forward to a weekend of...cleaning and organizing.  Ugh, doesn't that sound like fun?!  But I will be grateful for a little time to get it done (and for a husband who will spend some quality Daddy time with our kids so I can have some time to work uninterrupted...or at least "mostly" uninterrupted!).

I am trying to make several Valentine's and love-themed cards for Operation Write Home this month, and I've been challenging myself to use colors other than the traditional red/pink/white combinations.  Today's card uses navy blue and white, although in the picture the navy blue looks more like black.  I used a very special stamp for the sentiment on this card.  It's a stamp I used for my wedding several years ago, and it is still one of my favorite stamps.  I like to use it for weddings as well as love cards, and I'm happy to have a reason to ink it up again!

Here's my card:


I started with a Night of Navy card base and used some patterned paper from my stash (I'm really working hard to use more patterned paper on my cards).  I had to get a little crafty to get the patterned paper to work just right.  I really wanted the navy blue stars to border my sentiment, but when I placed the panel on the paper it just didn't fit right (the light-colored stars were bordering on one side instead).  So I cut the patterned paper panel and rearranged it to fit behind my sentiment panel, then adhered my sentiment panel with dimensionals so you cannot see the "missing" patterned paper behind it.  Because I used thin dimensionals (1/16"), the sentiment panel is close enough to the card base to completely disguise the missing patterned paper behind it.  Easy fix!  

I stamped the sentiment in Night of Navy on white card stock, but the white was just too stark against the background, so I sponged Not Quite Navy chalk over that piece.  I like it much better that way.  I added white and Night of Navy card stock layers behind the sentiment to really help it stand out.  I considered adding embellishments but felt that if I left it as is, it could be used for a man or a woman. 

I like this sentiment so much that I plan to make a few more OWH cards with it using other papers and colors (and maybe I'll make a "girly" one so I can add a little bling!). 

I hope you have a great weekend!  Thanks for stopping by!

 
Products Used:

Ink: Night of Navy Classic (Stampin' Up!)
Sentiment: Stamper's Anonymous
Paper: Night of Navy card stock (Stampin' Up!); white card stock (Wausau Paper); patterned paper (unknown)
Accessories: Stampin' Dimensionals and Not Quite Navy chalk (Stampin' Up!)


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Thanks a Bunch!

I finally had a chance to spend some time in my craft room and boy, is my craft table a mess!  Looks like I will be doing some reorganizing this weekend.  Doesn't that sound like fun?!

I want to give a shout-out and thanks to my followers.  Some of you have just started following my blog, and I thank each of you for taking the time to follow and visit!

After a busy week without much creative time, I really wanted to get back to challenges.  I combined this week's Ways to Use It challenge at Splitcoast Stampers (make a "thank you" card) with this week's sketch challenge at Operation Write Home.  Here's the sketch:


I love the simplicity of this sketch!  I chose to make a few small additions but tried to stick closely to the measurements provided.  Here's my card:


(I apologize for the shadows on this card, particularly the one around the sentiment panel.  The shadow and the brown card stock really blend together and it's hard to tell where the paper ends and the shadow begins.  I didn't notice it until I had already deleted my other pictures...ugh!)

I really struggle with matching patterned papers, so I was pleased as punch to find this two-sided paper in my stash!  I used the flowery side for the larger panel and used the lighter side for the smaller piece.  I made a card base with Chocolate Chip card stock and added some brown and white baker's twine to tie it all together.  I stamped my sentiment in Rich Cocoa on Crumb Cake, used watercolor crayons and a slightly wet brush to color the image, then layered that piece with Chocolate Chip.  I had planned to simply attach the sentiment panel to the middle of the long strip, but I made an error as I was adhering my layers and tore the flowery paper slightly.  Thankfully there's usually a way to hide errors like this, and it often involves adding more layers or moving elements around.  I moved the sentiment panel to the left side of the card to cover my mistake and adhered it with dimensionals.  I knew I'd need some sort of embellishment on the right side to balance it all out, so I decided to fussy-cut two of the flowers from the leftover patterned paper (I am not a fan of fussy-cutting, so I did not come to this decision easily!).  After cutting out the flowers, I added a small white brad to the middle of each and attached them to the card with mini glue dots.  To add a little dimension, I lightly rolled the ends of the flowers so they would stand off the paper a bit.

This is a simple and quick card that could be used for many occasions just by changing the sentiment.  I am sure I will be using this sketch again!

Thanks for stopping by!
 
Products Used:
 
Stamp: Thanks a Bunch (Unity)
Ink: Memento Rich Cocoa (Tsukineko)
Paper: Chocolate Chip and Crumb Cake card stock (Stampin' Up!); patterned paper (unknown)
Accessories and Tools: Watercolor crayons (Staedtler); white mini brads, brown and white baker's twine


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

AnyHero Mail

Happy Wednesday!  What a busy week it has been already at my house.  We haven't had anything spectacular going on, just a lot of the "stuff of life" that keeps me busy. To top it off, my car decided this was the PERFECT week to break down, and kindly waited to make the announcement until I had my son in his carseat and we had someplace we had to be.  So it's been a week of adjusting and working around schedules.  However, I'm grateful for a kind and fair mechanic and a husband who calmly rearranges his schedule to accommodate mine.  But oh, how I miss my craft room!  I'm hoping things will slow down over the next day or two so I can share more cards with you this week.

Thankfully I've found a few moments of free time here and there, and in those times I've been writing AnyHero letters for Operation Write Home.  What's AnyHero mail, you ask?  Well, I'd love to tell you!  Some of our deployed servicemen and servicewomen receive little or no mail from home.  Isn't that a sad thought?  So when OWH sends a package of cards for our heroes to send home to their friends and family, they also include a section of AnyHero mail.  The AnyHero mail is distributed to those who don't get much (or any) mail.  We hope this helps to brighten their days and give them some encouragement. 

 
AnyHero mail provides a great opportunity for children (OWH has coloring pages you can print for the kids) as well as adults.  Our heroes love to receive letters and cards from home, and you don't even have to make the card...they will happily take store-bought cards or simple hand-written letters.  I have some packages of store-bought cards that I'm using for this, because I can easily grab one and write out a note to a hero whenever I have a free moment.  Would you like more information?  Just click HERE to learn all about Operation Write Home's AnyHero program.

I'm hoping to post more cards in the next day or two, but in the meantime, I hope you'll consider joining me in sending AnyHero mail to OWH.  During this Thanksgiving season, let us not forget to thank those who put their lives on the line for us!




Thursday, November 1, 2012

Ready for Snow!

Happy November!   This month I'm spending some of my time working on winter and Valentine's cards to donate to Operation Write Home.  Today's project is a snowman card using OWH Sketch #144 and this week's Ways to Use It Challenge at Splitcoast Stampers, which challenges us to make a card using anything except Autumn colors (no red, orange or yellow). 

Here's the sketch:

And here's my card:


This card's colors are off-white, brown and blue to match the colors in the patterned paper (I could not get the colors to photograph well today without the picture becoming too dark).  To create this card, I started by embossing the front of an Ultrasmooth Vanilla card base with a snowburst embossing folder.  (Ultrasmooth Vanilla is no longer available, but it's comparable to Very Vanilla.)  I cut a strip of the patterned paper and mounted it on brown card stock.  I cut a panel of Ultrasmooth Vanilla, stamped it with my sentiment in Memento Rich Cocoa (I just love this color) and mounted it on brown card stock.  I die cut a snowflake in Ultrasmooth Vanilla and sponged it with Bordering Blue to match the blue in the patterned paper.  I added some pearls to the snowflake and attached it to the sentiment panel, then adhered the panels to the card base.  Because I'd weakened the card front with my embossing, I added a liner on the upper portion of the inside to balance the weight of the layers.  This extra blank space inside also allows the sender to write a longer message.

Now that I've finished this winter card, it's time to get outside and enjoy the unseasonably warm weather we're having this week.  Thanks for stopping by! 

Products Used:
 
Stamp: Thanks Snow Much (Stampin' Up!)
Ink: Memento Rich Cocoa (Tsukineko); Bordering Blue (Stampin' Up!)
Paper: Ultrasmooth Vanilla card stock (Stampin' Up!);
snowmen patterned paper (The Paper Studio); brown card stock (unknown)
Tools and Accessories: Big Shot (Sizzix); Snowflake #23 (Sizzix);
Textured Impressions Snowburst (Sizzix for Stampin' Up!);  Pearls (KaiserCraft)
 



Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Sympathy in Blue

Wow, it's Tuesday already!  Time seems to be flying by, although my son thinks time is really dragging (he's getting quite impatient for Halloween!).  For those of you affected by Hurricane Sandy, my thoughts and prayers continue to be with you.  Stay safe, friends!

When I discovered this week's challenge at Sunny Challenges & Creations, I was inspired to make a sympathy card.  I always find it hard to get motivated to make sympathy cards, but sadly, they are always needed and my supply has run quite low lately.  For this challenge, we were to make a sympathy card using this sketch:


I also incorporated the current Splitcoast Stampers Ways to Use It Challenge, which required us to use embossing on a card.  Here is my card:

 
I embossed a panel of Night of Navy card stock with a Texturz Plate in my Big Shot.  I inked the lower section of the panel with layers of Memento Tuxedo Black and Faded Jeans Distress inks, which created a subtly different shade for the lower half of the card.  I applied the ink one layer at a time, stopping between each layer to remove the excess ink by rubbing with a soft cloth (be sure to use an old cloth if you try this, as the ink will stain it).  Once I had the shade I wanted, I set it aside for a moment to dry.  I inked my sentiment stamp with layers of Night of Navy Classic and Faded Jeans Distress inks, then stamped it on a die cut label of white card stock.  I wrapped a piece of white grosgrain ribbon around the large panel, adhered the tag over the ribbon, and attached the entire panel to a white card base. 
 
While I will usually stamp "With Sympathy" or a similar sentiment on the front of the card and save the message stamp for the inside, I decided to do the reverse for this card.  I think the quote works well on the front for this one. 
 
Thanks for visiting!
 
Products Used:
 
Stamp: Close As A Memory (Stampin' Up!)
Paper: Whisper White and Night of Navy card stock (Stampin' Up!)
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black (Tsukineko); Faded Jeans Distress Ink (Tim Holtz); Night of Navy Classic Ink (Stampin' Up!)
Tools: Big Shot (Sizzix); Texturz Plate (Stampin' Up!); Nestabilities Labels Eighteen (Spellbinders)
Accessories: White 1/4" Grosgain Ribbon (Stampin' Up!)