Pope Francis Strength

Let me start by saying that I'm not Catholic, I'm actually a very happy member of our local UCC church. That being said, I'm very impressed with the actions and words we have seen from Pope Francis. He really is a great teacher and leader showing us the ways that we are all supposed to reach out and support all of our neighbors. So, I was thinking that it would be nice to send him a card to let him know that I appreciate him and his message. This card may be a bit feminine with the flowers, but they are just popping up now and they are a sign of rejuvenation and rebirth.

Happily all of the products that I used on this card are carrying forward in some fashion. I used the Falling Flowers bundle for the die cut flower images – the bundle is on the retiring list, but the constituent parts are in the new catalog. Also, I used some of the basic pearls in the center of the small flowers. Those are retired (in fact, they are gone), but new ones in different sizes will be available in the new catalog. I am pleased with how this card turned out – I originally designed it for a stamp club, but I ended up deciding that it was too fiddly and designed something different.

I used this sketch as a starting point for this card. I don't have a separate piece with the sentiment, rather I stamped it directly on the layer with the oval. To create the oval image I diecut an oval in copy paper and termporarily placed it on the Sahara Sand layer before stamping with the Diagonal Stripe background stamp. This was actually the fiddly bit – I really had to press down pretty hard all over on the stamp in order to get a crisp-ish edge on the oval when I removed the mask.

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Posted on : Apr 28 2017
Posted under Sketch Challenge, Stamping |

Thank You Bee

I created several of this card to include with the orders for the guests at a recent party held by a friend. I used a Post-It to give my wishes to the recipient so that they could re-use the card if they wanted. This is a great trick that you can do when sending a card – I encourage re-use whenever possible. Multiple people that can smile from the same card is a great thing, in my opinion.

I was inspired by this older sketch challenge to create this card. I've mentioned several times lately that I've really been liking these sketches, and here is another one that I just couldn't resist. The flourish image in the sketch screamed to me to use the Flourish Thinlits. Isn't this die-cut flower gorgeous?!? If the bundle that includes this set of dies is on your wishlist, I encourage you to purchase it while you can still get the bundle pricing. Thankfully the dies and coordinating stamps are carrying forward, but it is on the spendy side, so 10% off for bundle pricing is especially valuable.

I did a trick with one of the Tags & Labels Framelits dies to create the scallop-y end of the stamped tag. I cut the paper the width of the opening in the die, and ran it throug the machine with only end under the top of the tag; the rest of the strip of paper was poking up through the top of the die so that it wouldn't get cut when I ran it through. I also only ran it part-way through my Big Shot so that there wasn't an impression squeezed into the paper from the lower portion of the die. This is a great trick to get some more usages out of your dies.

I also used the retired circle dies to create the background large circle because our current circle dies aren't quite as large as what I wanted for the card. Circles are pretty easy tho – if you don't have dies that do what you want, you can trace the bottom of a small plate, mug, whatever circular object you have and then cut with scissors. Not as easy, but do-able for anyone.

I dug into the history books to find this color combination. I have to confess that Melon Mambo is not a color that I use very often, but I have been pulling it out a little more often lately. I do love how all of these colors look together, so I very well use this combination again. I think the colors go together beautifully for an eye-popping (in a good way) result.

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Posted on : Apr 26 2017
Posted under Color Combo, Sketch Challenge, Stamping |

That Saying Again

Recently I posted a card with a really large image of "Live Laugh Love", and here we have those words again, in a smaller form with more text. This greeting is part of a go-juss artistic stamp set called "Beautiful You"; there are many useful greetings in the set along with some great outline images of women. You can't see it here, but on the inside I stamped a Whisper White panel with the dancing lady from the stamp set and gave her a red skirt with one of the swoosh stamps in this set. I encourage you to check this set out.

I created this card for "general" swapping while at the Stampin' Up! Savannah OnStage event. In advance we received notice of a few stamp sets that are carrying over into the new main catalog, and Beautiful You is one of them. That is why I decided to use it for a swap card. I wanted to trade cards that would hopefully be useful to demonstrators beyond the current catalog phase. Alas, I rolled the dice with the Brights DSP and the red ribbon you see on here, and I lost. Both of those products are on the retiring list. Oh well – the card will still be useful for a couple of months to the few demonstrators that I swapped with.

I used the sketch you see here as the inspiration for this card. Recently I posted that I had discovered these sketches from *ahem* another stamp company. That is part of what I love about sketches – they are product "agnostic" and can be followed using products that I have. I added the oval greeting so that it isn't just banners on this card. I'm sure that I'll be creating more based on sketches from this site, so stay tuned.

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Posted on : Apr 19 2017
Posted under Sketch Challenge, Stamping |

Sunburst Birthday

This is the second card that we made at a party I put together for a friend in March. She was interested in the tag bundle from the Occasions catalog, so I got to work designing this card. This was actually a pretty quick and easy card, and the guests seemed to enjoy working with the dies and stamps in this bundle. I used the color scheme from the Fruit Stand DSP for the colors that you see here, and the DSP panel in the middle is from that pretty pack of patterned papers.

Yesterday I shared the retirement list with you, and this project features so many things that are on the list. In fact, several of the products are discounted, too! If this card has inspired you to purchase the stamp set and coordinating thinlits, please make sure to order them separately because both of the individual components are on sale, but the bundle is not. I understand that it is confusing, but I want to make sure that you get the best deal possible. If you do want to purchase any of the retiring products, I encourage you to do it ASAP to ensure that you can get everything that you want. For instance, I know that the rhinestones are already sold out. We have carried them for a number of years, so hopefully you have some of that bling on hand.

I went to my favorite sketch challenge site for inspiration for this card. I wanted to have the tag as a focal point on the card, and this sketch suited my purposes.  FYI – I have a wee tip for you to recreate this tag if you get the stamps and dies. To get the stamped greeting, we stamped the greeting first in Tangerine Tango and then stamped the outline with Cucumber Crush. That order of stamping allowed us to line up the images better than doing the outline first and then the greeting. After we had it stamped, we die cut it with the sunburst die so that it would be cut exactly as needed to fit into the middle of the sunburst. Pretty cool, huh!

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Posted on : Apr 14 2017
Posted under Sketch Challenge, Stamping |

Happy Kites

I created this for the March meeting of the Essex stamp club. This was the second card of the evening, and I thought it would be the simpler one of the two. The first one was the sunburst card that I shared recently. As it turned out, they thought that this card was the more challenging one, and they found the sunburst to be quite easy. Honestly there was a bit of waiting for stamps and ink with this one, so that slowed us down a little bit. The challenging part was lining up the two separate stamps that make the kite image that you see here. This card did show off some of the versatility of the super-cool Swirly Bird stamp set.

I used the sketch that you see here as the launch point for this card design. The greeting on this card is what is in the "Any Shape" spot, and the kites are flying above this great sentiment.

I used this color challenge to pull together the colors for this card. Kiwi Kiss and Not Quite Navy are both retired, so I had to make a substitution using current colors – Wild Wasabi & Island Indigo. They aren't an exact match, but I do like how these colors all go together. What do you think – did I make a fair substitution?

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Posted on : Apr 11 2017
Posted under Color Combo, Sketch Challenge, Stamping |

Fabulous Friend

As this post hits the internet, I'm busy enjoying a day of stamping fun at a Stampin' Up! event called "OnStage". I attended the very first one of these specific events a year and a half ago in Baltimore – this time I've traveled to Savannah Georgia. I'm hanging out with a group of friends that I made at the Baltimore event, and I'm sure that we are having a blast. This is the group that are the lucky recipients of the cute boxes that I mentioned the other day. We are all participating in a gift swap – I wonder what I'll get in exchange. They are a very fun bunch of gals – I'm sure that I will come home with some great stories!

I designed this card for an organized swap scheduled for lunch time at the OnStage event. I also made a few extra to swap with the group that I'm hanging out with. Prior to the event, Stampin' Up! shared a small list of stamp sets that are carrying forward into the new big catalog (this is getting unveiled at OnStage). This card features the Banners for You stamp set, which is one of the sets on the "safe" list. As demonstrators, we would prefer to swap with sets that we know will be around for a while. I totally took a gamble with the diagonal stripe stamp, tho. I have my fingers crossed that it makes it past the retirement chopping block, too. Also, since I wanted my card to have a long shelf-life for my swapping partners I had to think long and hard about using DSP on my design. Then I had the brilliant idea to use some of the Brights DSP stack (hopefully that won't retire). I am quite confident that the regular DSP will all retire, but I hold out hope for the color family stacks and the In-Color 2016-2018 Envelope Papers.

I used the sketch shown here as inspiration for my design. I've recently started to pay attention to the sketches from this site, and I have to say that I think they are pretty great. I haven't ever used the products featured on their site (since I'm totally a Stampin' Up! gal), but I really like several of their sketches. So, don't be surprised if you see more of them show up here in my blog as creation inspiration.

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Posted on : Apr 08 2017
Posted under Sketch Challenge, Stamping |

Success in Life

layering loveThe phrase on this card – "Live, Laugh, Love" has become ubiquitous. For a few years now it has been popping up in home decorating items, bumper stickers, and many other things. It is a shortened phrase that seems like very good words to live by. I did a little searching this morning because I was wondering where it came from. It turns out that it is derived from the first line of a poem by Bessie Anderson Stanley, which goes: "He achieved success who has lived well, laughed often, and loved much". It seems like a wonderful measurement for success, don't you think?

I created this card for a stamping party I did for a friend last weekend. She mentioned to me that she was interested in seeing the Stitched Framelits, so I designed this card to show them off. I love how this card turned out – the stitched border around the phrase is really cool, and the slight scallop mat is great. Oh yeah, she was also interested in seeing something of the newer In Colors. So, I pulled together this color scheme from the colors in one of the DSP options (By the Shore) which includes the lovely Dapper Denim. Isn't it purty?

I did include the Mint Macaron glimmer paper from the SAB stack, which unfortunately is no longer available. But never fear, there is a way to create your own colored glimmer paper – it just requires a bit more work. You start with the Dazzling Diamonds glimmer paper which doesn't have color. Then you use ink refill in the color that you want along with an Aquapainter filled with rubbing alcohol to apply color to the glimmer paper. Voilá! You have your own colored glimmer paper in any of the Stampin' Up! colors. Faboo, right?!?

I used the sketch that you see here for the inspiration for this card design. I changed the length of the various banner pieces a little bit, but otherwise it is pretty much an exact interpretation of the original sketch. I love this layout, and I'm thinking that I may create another card in the very near future using this general design. 

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Posted on : Mar 27 2017
Posted under Sketch Challenge, Stamping |

Nailed It!

I created this card ages ago for a demonstrator swap featuring products from the Occasions catalog. I signed up to create a card featuring the Nailed It stamp set, and I'm happy to share it with you here. I love participating in these swaps because I get some fantastic samples to share with people and I appreciate having a commitment with a deadline to get the creative juices flowing. For this card I also pulled in a few products from the main catalog that I think coordinate nicely with the featured set for this finished card. I especially like how well the "congrats" greeting from the Sunshine Wishes dies goes with the "Nailed It!" sentiment in the stamp set.

I drew inspiration for this card from the sketch that you see here. This sketch was a challenge from last summer, but I love to say that they never 'go bad', and these sketches are always available for future inspiration. I thought it was a good fit for the elements that I wanted to feature in the card.

You may be wondering how I created the shape around the "Nailed It!" sentiment on this card. I used a small window-like die from the Bunch of Banners Framelits. The die is longer than the shape you see here, tho. To achieve this look, I die cut the full shape once. Then, I ran the die cut through the Big Shot again, but moved in the other end of the die so it would only be cutting one end of the shape. You can use this technique to create smaller shapes any time that you want, and increase the versatility of your dies.

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Posted on : Mar 07 2017
Posted under Sketch Challenge, Stamping |

Balloon Smiles

This was the more complicated project for the stamp club gathering that happened earlier this month. We started the evening with this card, and ended with the Valentine that I shared a few posts ago. I pulled the colors for the gradient of the balloon from the pretty DSP along the edge. It did take us a while to assemble the balloon, but the end result is soooo worth it. This is one of the sets that I'm really hoping will carry forward into the next big catalog because I want to be able to create with it for a long time. 

We used both parts of the bundle for this card – the stamps for the greeting and the clouds, and the dies for the gorgeous balloon and cutting out the clouds. I really love the font on the greetings in this stamp set, but in my opinion the dies are the true workhorse in the set. There are loads of dies in the set, and this balloon was created wholly from the dies. What I'm trying to say, is that I think you can purchase the dies alone and still be happy with what you can do. I haven't yet created something with the coordinating balloons and outline dies, so maybe I'll change my opinion.

I used this sketch to create my design for this project. I created the card while the challenge was still active, but I didn't want to share here and ruin the surprise for the stamp club gals. I'm quite pleased with how the finished result follows the sketch, and I hope to use this sketch again in the future.

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Posted on : Jan 27 2017
Posted under Sketch Challenge, Stamping |

Baby Bear Banners

I created this card for a demonstrator swap for Sale-A-Bration (SAB) products. You can faintly see the banners hanging from the line in the upper-right panel. Those stamps are the SAB product that I used for my swap submission, they are called Any Occasion. These stamps are very versatile and can be used for loads of different occasions (hence the name wink). I have seen some great creations online using this set with lots of different banners. I'll have to create some more with it to experiment some more.

I also inked up the Baby Bear stamps for the first time. I purchased that set when it was on sale a couple of months ago, and I was very happy to get to use it. I did learn a trick to ensure success when stamping this one. To create the depth of the image, there are three different stamps and you do what Stampin' Up! calls "Two Step Stampin" which is building up layers of different colors. Typically you start with the lightest color and work your way to the darkest. I found that I could line up the stamps for this image perfectly when I stamped from darkest to lightest, matching the bottom of the bear.  The darkest color is the image that has the least stamped area, and the lightest is the most solid image.

I followed this sketch to create this card. I am drawn to grid-styled cards, and I've been looking at this particular sketch for a while now. I did try to use a vanilla panel in the upper right section to better show off the stamping of the banners, but that made the card feel off balance with too much of one color on the right. So, I substituted a Sahara Sand panel instead. I do like the balance better, but I'm still not in love with the lightness of the banners. To be honest, I was scrambling to meet the swap deadline, so this had to do. I envision using this sketch again for cards that use up some patterned paper scraps. 

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Posted on : Jan 20 2017
Posted under Sketch Challenge, Stamping |

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