Sunday, December 30, 2007


Greetings! I hope everyone had a SPLENDID Christmas! I sure did... but as always, it's good to be back in my stamp room.

I was playing around with a card tonight and in trying to decide which method I wanted to use to color in this cute little mouse, I thought I'd share with you some differences between several Stampin' Up! products. Here are 5 different methods to color in this image from the new Happy Heart Day set. I used the same colors on all examples - Ruby Red, Old Olive, Brocade Blue, and whichever Gray each method allowed. I have included my own personal description of the pros and cons below each image. I hope this gives you some insight on the many ways you can color your images!

1) Blender pen with ink pad lids

For this method, you take a Blender pen and dip it into a well of ink that you create inside the the lid of your ink pads by squishing the ink pad together while it's closed. If you need more ink (the squishing technique typically doesn't give enough ink for the lighter colors), you can squeeze a drop of ink from the re-inker bottle directly on the inside of the lid. Tip: You should always start coloring where you want it darkest, and then blend it out from there.
Pros: Quick method; creates a strong, vibrant look; easy to blend and make areas darker than others (the Olive shirt looks fabulous using this method!); not limited by colors because all 48 standard Stampin' Up! colors are available plus In Colors and neutrals
Cons: Not practical for larger areas as the Blender Pens only blend so far before needing to re-ink (I do not like the way the big heart turned out using this method... it was too big); if you color too long in one area (ie. to make an area darker) you will rub the cardstock raw

2) Watercolor Wonder Crayons with Aquapainter

For this method, you use an Aquapainter (which is a brush tip that stays wet using the water stored in the barrel) and touch it to the Crayons to ink up the brush.
Pros: Fairly quick method; this is by far the easiest method to blend; all 48 standard Stampin' Up! colors are available plus black, gray, white, ivory, and sand; creates a vibrant, but more loose look
Cons: A little more difficult to create dark areas (notice the Olive shirt is not as dark and vibrant); you have to be careful at how much water you use - too much water prevents the vibrant color from showing

3) Stampin' Pastels with QTips

The Stampin' Pastels come with several fine-tip applicators which I use for small areas (like the Brocade stripe and flower). For larger areas, I just use QTips.
Pros: All 48 standard Stampin' Up! colors are available plus black, white, and gray; you can use the eraser (included) to remove errors; very affordable at $24.95 for the whole set
Cons: Not practical for small areas; hard to blend; not as precise as other methods (ie. the color doesn't go all the way to the lines); typically a lighter look

4) Stampin' Write Markers

Self-explanatory method... I prefer the markers when I'm coloring very small, detailed images, like a bunch of flowers. This is not the method I would normally choose for an image such as this one!
Pros: Strong, vibrant color; all 48 standard Stampin' Up! colors are available; you can purchase the markers individually, in color families, or the whole set; markers have a brush tip and a fine tip, so it's easy to color larger areas as well as small, detailed areas
Cons: Cannot blend at all; not available in In Colors; not all neutrals are available (that's why the mouse is not colored - there's no gray!)

5) Watercolor Pencils with Blender Pen

For this method, you start by loosely coloring in the image with the pencil, and then use the Blender Pen to blend it all together.
Pros: Easy and fast to use; very affordable at $19.95 for 24 colors
Cons: Colors are not Stampin' Up! colors so you have to just pick the best one to match; hard to gauge how much to color because once you use the Blender Pen on it, you can't add more color

And there you go! Wanna know my personal favorite? I typically use either method 1 or 2... but I do reach for the other methods when the circumstances call for them. What about you?? Have I left anything out? Do you have a Pro or a Con that I should add to my lists? (it's late and I'm sure I've left a few things out!)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Merry & Bright Christmas

Here is one last Christmas card that I want to share with you...

I used one of my favorite color combinations - Soft Sky and Blue Bayou - with a touch of Real Red thrown in. The darling little snowman is from Merry & Bright (from the Holiday mini) inked with black StazOn, and the Merry Christmas sentiment is from All Holidays which I embossed using Real Red craft ink and clear powder. The gentle snowflake background is in Soft Sky ink on Naturals White cardstock. I colored the snowman's scarf & hat using my Real Red marker, and then I glittered up his hat with some Dazzling Diamonds! I also shaded his body using a blender pen with the Soft Sky ink pad. I layered the snowman with the circle and scallop punches and then also punched the scallops with the 1/16" handheld punch. Here is a closer view:

Some Real Red grosgrain ribbon, metallic silver cord and a little Merry & Bright tag finish it off. Inside, I tucked our photograph and letter underneath the red ribbon since it goes all the way around. It was a perfect place for it.

And I want to extend a special Thank You to Dianne for her wonderful Christmas gift to me... the fabulous Ott light that I used to take these pictures under! It is a BLISTERY day outside, and even if I could stand the cold, there's no way the card would stay in one spot with this wind! I could never get a decent photo inside... until now! I think this light did the trick and I'm so pleased to have an alternate location to photograph my cards - right on my work table.

Well everyone, have a simply glorious Merry & Bright holiday!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Origami Tree

Here's a really neat card to make... a 3D Christmas tree! It was inspired by this card on Splitcoast, and she has some basic instructions listed.

The tree presses down flat, so it can go into an envelope just fine. But when you pull it out... POOF! It pops out like this - here's a side view!

I made this one using the Wintergreen DSP, and I used a different pattern for each bough. But you could do this so many different ways and get all kinds of different looks. The boughs are just folded up squares... very simple to do (okay, so that smallest one was a little tricky!). I used Certainly Celery as the base card color, then a layer of Naturals White with Antique brads, and the tree is mounted on Always Artichoke with the corners punched with the ticket corner punch. The background snowflakes are from Merry & Bright, inked in Versamark. The base of the tree is just a scrap of Chocolate Chip and I inked the "Be Merry" stamp from Warm Words with the Chocolate Chip marker - I did each word separately so I could place them on top of each other. The star is from the Season of Joy set and it's stamped in Soft Sky ink with Dazzling Diamonds glitter (hard to see).

I have just one more Christmas card to show you before I "sign off" for the holidays... I will do that tomorrow, so stay tuned!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Forgotten Holy Triptych Card

First of all, be sure to keep your eye on the Retiring Accessories List... these items are only available through the end of December and many of them are already sold out! Remember, too, that you can still get that gorgeous satin ribbon from the Holiday mini catalog at Buy One Get One Free! It comes in Chocolate Chip and Pomegranate - 2 rolls for $9.96! Get your orders in while you still can!

Second of all... I GOT MY NEW CATALOG in the mail YESTERDAY!! I'm always SO excited to see all the great new stuff! And if you haven't already figured it out, one of the MANY benefits of being a Stampin' Up! demonstrator is that you get to see it all FIRST! They send each demonstrator a complimentary copy of each new catalog... So what do I think? Well, I'm VERY excited about the Level I Hostess Sets, that's for sure! They are easy to acquire (a $150 order does it), and they are so cute... and once you've acquired all of the Level I sets, you can start stocking up on their new Level I Designer Series Paper pack! This is just perfect for those of us who end up owning every Level I set there is... (and multiples of many of them). Now we have a consumable to choose! Aside from the Hostess items and many, many new stamp sets, I am also very excited about the new accessories... Sticky Letters that you can make glittery with new glitter colors, Felt flowers in a reusable tin, Rub Ons that can be used to embellish glass and other hard-to-stamp surfaces... just wait, you're in for a treat! If you would like to reserve your copy of the new catalog, please just let me know! Mine have been ordered and should arrive in time for the New Year.

Okay... now for that Forgotten Holy Triptych card. I should've shown this a while back, but for some unknown reason, it never made it! I know this set is currently unavailable, but perhaps you were lucky (or smart!) enough to grab it up before it went into hiding... and you never know, maybe it will make another appearance in mid-2008! In any case, this was one of the cards we made at an earlier Christmas Stamp-a-Stack workshop.

The star and the sentiment both came from Star-Studded Season, also in this past Winter mini catalog. I have a thing right now for Blue Bayou and Soft Sky... I find that I use it a lot. Paired up with the white taffeta ribbon and gold embossing powder and brads... it makes a stunning mix.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Iris Folding

I wasn't too crazy about these two cards, but every time someone sees them, they just oooh and aaaah, so I thought it only fair that I display them for the world. This is a technique called Iris Folding. This is a very basic design - probably the simplest Iris folding design out there! It's a fun way to use up scraps of your Designer Series Paper (DSP).

The one above uses scraps from Dashing DSP along with Real Red and Old Olive cardstock, and the one below uses scraps from Wintergreen DSP along with Sage Shadow and Always Artichoke cardstock.

Maybe after the hustle and bustle of the holidays is over, I can create a tutorial showing you how to do this. The funnest part is that you don't really know what it's going to look like until you are finished and turn it over... sometimes it can take your breath away!! But as I mentioned, these particular cards didn't exactly have that effect on me. :o)

Sunday, December 16, 2007

More Gift Boxes

It's almost time to give the teachers their Christmas gifts, so I made these three boxes for them using the beautiful Dashing double-sided Designer Series paper. (See my other examples in this post.) I made these a bit different in that I placed the rhinestone brads on the OUTSIDE of the box. It wasn't that hard - you just have to use a sharpie marker to make a dot where it needs to go, and then pierce the box with a paper piercing tool. The "Very Merry" tag is even on the outside of the top box!

Inside, I placed a gift card along with some mints. I will probably get some different mints as these are too big, but I took the photos with these so you could get the full effect. Also, I left one of the gift cards out in this photo so you could see the vellum pocket better.

I know teachers love practical gifts, and a gift card certainly fits that bill... but to hand them just a gift card is no fun! These are so much cuter, don't you think?

These would also be great throughout the year for birthdays and other special occasions, but you'd better stock up on the boxes now, as they are on the Retiring Accessories list! (See this post for the list, which I continue to update with the items that are sold out already.) You get 4 of these extra small size Stamp & Supply boxes for just $5.25. Hurry up and grab some before they're gone! Order through me and I'll send you the dimensions to make these boxes... they are not hard to make at all. I will be out of town from the 23rd through the end of the year, so if you need to place an order, please have it to me by the 22nd.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Keeping Score

I'm taking a chance that the person this is intended for won't happen to peek at my blog in the next few days... and if you do, Angela, well then SURPRISE!! This is what will be arriving in the mail shortly!

My dear friend, Angela, in Utah (see this post if you don't remember her) and I always play cards when we're together. So I thought a neat gift would be a scorepad with a deck of matching cards. I found this cute spiral notebook with an attached pen at Target and I just dressed it up a bit! I created a new front panel using Kraft cardstock and the gorgeous Baroque Motifs swirl in black Craft ink with clear embossing powder. I used ModPodge to glue it securely to the front, and then sanded the edges for a smooth look. I added the black scallop (punched with the corner rounder, guide removed) at the top, some black grosgrain ribbon, and some other ribbons for pizzaz. The pink section at the top of the notebook is how it came, and the closest color it matched is Purely Pomegranate, which is why I used a scrap of the Purely Pomegranate double stitched ribbon. Then I stamped the word SCORE using my rough edges alphabet, embossed it, matted it, and attached it so she'd be sure to know what this is for... as if that perfectly matched deck of cards wouldn't tell her!

This was a fun gift to make! I can't wait until Angela and I can play cards again... she's fun to beat because she's so competitive!! (I don't beat her too often, that's why I get to make a big deal out of it when I do!)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Winter Anniversaries

First - real quick... I am continuing to update the retiring accessories list in my prior post to show items in red that are no longer available. I will keep doing that throughout the month.

Do you have anniversaries to celebrate in December? I have two special ones that I needed to make cards for. Here's what I came up with - and you'll have to forgive the photographs this time... we're having such dreary weather and I couldn't get good lighting (oh, if Santa would only bring me one of those little indoor photo studios... *sigh*)

The swirlies in the background are really much lighter in real life. Here's another one with a different color scheme:

This is the first time I actually used my Pretties kit, and I was thrilled with the way it dressed up the otherwise simple cards! Only problem is that I'm not sure how they'll fare through the mail... but I'm going to give it a try. The first card has a Naturals Ivory base color, with River Rock, Le Jardin DSP, and Bashful Blue Taffeta ribbon. The second card has a base color of River Rock (that beautiful color that is virtually IMPOSSIBLE to photograph well!), with Chocolate Chip, Brocade Background DSP, and Chocolate Chip Taffeta ribbon. That Chocolate ribbon is really interesting... it has a kind of sheen to it that makes it shimmer. The stamps for both cards are from Carte Postale and Hugs & Wishes. I paper pierced the bottom edge for added interest using my Mat pack and paper piercing tool from the Crafters' Tool Kit.

These were both very simple to make, and very fast! Just right for this busy time of year!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Retiring Accessories

Here it is... the list of accessories that will retire at the end of this month. Order now before supplies are depleted! Items marked in RED are already gone.

109198 Accents & Elements Borders & Blossoms
109199 Accents & Elements Little Reminders 2
109197 Accents & Elements Tagged
100700 Album Leather Post Black 8-1/2x11
105385 Album Linen Post Mellow Moss 8-1/2x11
104520 Album Linen Post Natural 8-1/2x11
104517 Album Linen Post Navy 8-1/2x11
105382 Album Linen Post Real Red 8-1/2x11

105392 Album Linen Ring Mellow Moss 8-1/2x11
104510 Album Linen Ring Natural 8-1/2x11
104513 Album Linen Ring Navy 8-1/2x11

105388 Album Linen Ring Real Red 8-1/2x11
105067 Boxes & Tags Pockets & Pieces Assortment I
105068 Boxes & Tags Pockets & Pieces Assortment II
108798 Boxes & Tags Tiny Takeout Confetti White
107246 Boxes & Tags Tiny Takeout Kraft
105747 Boxes Stamp & Supply Extra Large
105748 Boxes Stamp & Supply Extra Large Divided
105744 Boxes Stamp & Supply Extra Small
105749 Boxes Stamp & Supply Jumbo
105734 Boxes Stamp & Supply Large
105746 Boxes Stamp & Supply Medium
105745 Boxes Stamp & Supply Small
101052 Brayer Attachment Foam
107293 Cards & Envelopes Greeting Very Vanilla Medium
109149 Designer Series Paper Brocade Background
109161 Designer Series Paper Cerise
109162 Designer Series Paper Charbon
109155 Designer Series Paper Creepy Crawley
109152 Designer Series Paper Darling Doodles
109150 Designer Series Paper Dashing
108503 Designer Series Paper Petals & Paisleys
109156 Designer Series Paper Linen Prints
109147 Designer Series Paper Notations No. 2
109148 Designer Series Paper Outlaw
109158 Designer Series Paper Uptown
109157 Designer Series Paper Wintergreen
107285 Envelopes Open End Very Vanilla Large
107284 Envelopes Open End Whisper White Large
107296 Envelopes Shimmery White Medium
107287 Envelopes Square Vellum Large
107310 Envelopes Square Very Vanilla Mini
107294 Envelopes Vellum Medium
107290 Envelopes Very Vanilla Large

107291 Envelopes Whisper White Large
101016 Eyelet Tool Kit
105317 Eyelets Bold Brights II

105379 Eyelets Silver
105315 Eyelets Soft Subtles II
107282 Fancy Fibers Bella
107283 Fancy Fibers Elizabeth
103352 Stampin' Glitter Romantic Red
103349 Stampin' Glitter Silver Shine
106650 Greeting Glue
102620 Liquid Glue
103145 Page Protectors Post 8-1/2x11

104523 Page Protectors Ring 8-1/2x11
103598 Paper Vellum 12x12
105543 Pastel Refills Bold Brights
105544 Pastel Refills Earth Elements

105547 Pastel Refills Neutrals
105545 Pastel Refills Rich Regals
105546 Pastel Refills Soft Subtles

105962 Perfect Layers Tool
104184 Post Extenders
106522 Punch Spring Bouquet Flower
109722 Simply Scrappin' Creative License Hostess Level 1
109611 Simply Scrappin' Happy Me Hostess Level 3
109596 Simply Scrappin' Out & About
109626 Simply Scrappin' Primary Colors
109649 Simply Scrappin' Round Up
109635 Simply Scrappin' Secret Garden
109663 Simply Scrappin' Winter Bright
107415 Simply Sent Friendship Shapes
109230 Simply Sent Happy Day
105580 Spectrum Pad Blue Frost
101492 Spectrum Pad Celebration
105579 Spectrum Pad Cotton Candy

101336 Spectrum Pad Pumpkin Patch
100000 Spectrum Pad Un-inked
103953 Stamp-a-ma-jig Imaging Sheets Refill
104432 Stampin' Around Cartridge & Ink Refill Clear Embossing

101460 Stampin' Around Cartridge & Ink Refill Whisper White
102391 Stampin' Around Ink Refill Clear Embossing
103017 Stampin' Around Ink Refill Whisper White
103151 Stampin' Emboss Powder Hologram Highlights
105677 Stampin' Kids Pad Bear Brown
105676 Stampin' Kids Pad Beetle Black
105675 Stampin' Kids Pad Boxcar Blue

105674 Stampin' Kids Pad Gumball Green
105673 Stampin' Kids Pad Poppin' Purple
105672 Stampin' Kids Pad Princess Pink
105671 Stampin' Kids Pad Robin Red
105670 Stampin' Kids Pad Yahoo Yellow

103174 Stampin' Pastel Applicators
100852 Stampin' Pastel Erasers
100081 Stampin' Write Marker Going Gray
100945 StazOn Ink Refill Timber Brown
103088 StazOn Pad Timber Brown
107235 Tag Sheets Bold Brights
107239 Tag Sheets Confetti White & Kraft
107236 Tag Sheets Earth Elements
107240 Tag Sheets Kraft
107237 Tag Sheets Rich Regals
107238 Tag Sheets Soft Subtles
100894 Watercolor Brush Flat
101551 Watercolor Brush Medium
101331 Watercolor Brush Small
105395 Wire Works Metallic
105652 Wrapping Paper Whisper White

Retiring Wheels:
100360 Acorns
109812 All about Birthdays*
109690 All about Christmas*
109812 All about Gratitude*

109676 Autumn Dots
104070 Bloomin'
107466 Bodacious*
105750 Bouquet*
107481 Butterflies & Blossoms
104065 Fishy
100267 Happy Jacks
107563 Ho Ho Ho
104312 Hot to Dot
104279 Leaf Prints
106062 Leaves Awash*
107479 Rough around the Edges*
101927 Snowman Fun

107465 Speckled*
105521 Spooky Skyline*
108979 Spotted*
107480 True Hearts
105033 Wings & Things
* Jumbo Stampin' Around Wheels

More Decorative Coasters

We had the first Coaster Class last week and it was a smashing success!! We churned out 120 tiles (or 30 sets)... and they all looked so beautiful! Here are a couple more of my samples that were popular:

I do have another Coaster Class on the 15th, but because it's also full, I'm going to open up one last date... Tuesday, December 18th at 7pm. If you want to sign up, please do so quickly!! And let me know how many sets you'd like to reserve. The cost is only $7.50 per set (4 tiles). They are super fun (and EASY) to make! Skip the shopping... who wouldn't love a homemade gift like this?

I also want to give a plug for my dear friend, Marelle... she's been working her little tail off giving us the 12 Cards of Christmas, and let me tell you, they're fantastic!! I don't know how she has time to do all of this right now, but please go take a look and you'll find a plethora of beautiful Christmas card ideas! Love ya, Marelle!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Christmas Thanks

Some of our wonderful neighbors came by the other night singing "We Wish You a Merry Christmas" and handed us a yummy homemade spice cake! Don't ya just love the holiday season? To thank them, I whipped up this card:

This is just like some others I made a while back in different colors, but I don't think I ever got them on this blog. In any case, it's using the All About U stamp set and to make it Christmassy, I chose the colors to coordinate with the Dashing double sided Designer Series paper (Old Olive, Real Red, River Rock, and Very Vanilla). The little snowflake in the background came from the Perfect Presentation hostess set and was done in Versamark ink. I paper pierced the bottom edge for more interest. There's nothing fancy here... just a simple card that's easy to duplicate for all the thanks we're bound to be giving out this season!

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Out With the Old...

December 1st brings with it the list of Retiring Stampin' Up! stamp sets. The bad news is that everything on this list is going away FOREVER. The good news is that January 1st brings not only a new year, but a NEW Stampin' Up! CATALOG too! If you would like to purchase any of these retiring items before they are gone forever, let me know before the end of this month.

Here's another Christmas card for you, and it just so happens that these jovial snowmen are on the list of retiring sets.

This set is called Flaky Friends and it's due to retire in one month. I always have a lot of fun coloring them. This time, I used only two colors on them: Real Red and Old Olive. The base cardstock is Naturals White with Old Olive on top. The snowflakes in the background are stamped with Versamark, and the "Happy Holidays" is embossed in Basic Black craft ink with clear embossing powder. To give it some balance, I added some Real Red grosgrain ribbon and a Real Red photo corner.

Have a happy day!