Christmas Countdown

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The pressure is on!  Only 2 months until Christmas!  I have NO idea where the year went.

My first Christmas project each year is usually the cards for our family overseas.  I really should have more done by now but here is my first Christmas layout for 2008.   This is a great card for mass production if you’re willing to make all the elements a bit at a time and then sit down and assemble everything.  We’ll see if I actually do that as I don’t like to make the same card twice.  Luckily, this card is really easy to change the look of just by swapping out the colours, image and embellishments.  Even though the layout will be identical, it will really look like a different card. (if things go well with my mass production tomorrow I’ll come back with a comparision)

Tomorrow, my friend Karen and I are getting together to make Christmas cards.  The goal is 20 each but I admit that’s a bit lofty for us as we tend to, ahem, chat a little during the crafting process.  She is the only person I craft with so there’s always lots to talk about when we get together.

The image on the card above is by Hero Arts.  I love their clear stamps but I wish they wouldn’t make certain parts of the image “solid”.  For example, the deer’s scarf is solid on the stamp which means that the scarf becomes whatever colour I stamp with (usually black).  You can’t really colour parts of an acrylic stamp with markers so portions stamp in different colours as the ink tends to pool on the slippery acrylic surface.  Rubber stamps are much better for colouring with markers.  As I could not use this technique, I paper-pieced the scarf. (stamped the image with a different colour of ink (real red) and then cut out the scarf and glued it over the original image)  While this is a popular and easy technique, some of the stamps in the set have solid areas that are much too tiny to do this easily. (e.g. the Santa hat on the bird in this set.)  If anyone with an affiliation to Hero Arts reads this, please pass it on to your marketing peeps!

You might not pick it up in the picture but the snowflake on the card has been covered in Martha Stewart glitter and there are threads of silver running through the ribbon as well.  It gives the card a little bling. (and my fingers, and my clothes, slippers, floor, worktop etc…glitter is messy!)  I think I’ll emboss the background the next time I use this layout.  I don’t want to add anything else to the card but some texture will kick it up a notch (BAM!)

Must motor…I have a bazillion rectangles and scallops to cut for our session tomorrow.

Supplies used: Hero Arts stamp – Jolly Christmas, Old Olive and Real Red cardstock, Christmas stack from 2007,  Marvy punches, linen thread, buttons, MS glitter, Essential Glue Pad, snowflake punch by EK Success, Michael’s Bow-tique ribbon, Palette Hybrid ink in black, old olive and real red ink by SU!, pop dots.

Bag Of Boo

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Probably my next to last Halloween themed post.  A co-worker asked me to alter some items for her young niece and nephew.  As they are fairly young, I kept the alterations simple.  The frankie notebook was a no-brainer.  They are just so cute and I have a few punches I didn’t have for the ones I made last year so these turned out a little more professional looking. (I’m only picturing Franketta here…Frankie has purple hair and I didn’t make eyelashes on his lids – other than that, they’re the same)

Weird picture.  I made a super-cheap macro studio out of some foamboard but I’m still getting inconsistent results.  I thought I’d figured out what I was doing wrong (holding my camera on a bit of an angle) but apparently not.  I’ll keep trying though!

The bag that all the items are going in is a cute bag I saw on SCS.  They are super easy to make and a great way to use some of the PP I have.  I made this bag quite a bit taller than the one I saw on SCS as I wanted all my items to fit inside.  The bag will be tied closed with some orange ribbon after I place the contents inside.

The orange rectanglular item is simply some rolls of rockets in a “kit kat” wrapper.  It’s so cool that you can seal up just about anything in some paper, crimp the ends and make it look like it came straight from the factory that way. 

Too bad the picture is so bad.  I did manage to get a slightly better close up of Franketta so you can check out her eyelashes:

I just altered a Mead notebook.  TIP: I’ve seen tutorials where you are told to make a template so you’ll know where to punch the holes to slip your altered cover over the existing one on a coil-bound book and wanted to share a MUCH faster way to do this – just tear out a page and use the page as your template.  It’s definitely faster and usually more accurate too!  I just center the torn page over my new cover and punch out the holes (I use my cropadile on these notepads as the hole is 3/16″ and is a perfect fit).

I won’t bother listing all the supplies used here but if anyone has questions, leave me a comment!

Gros Morne Vacation – no card today.

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My husband (see banner above!) and I took some vacation time this past week (Thankgiving Week in Canada) and went to visit Gros Morne National Park for a few days.  We rented a cabin in Rocky Harbour and spent a couple of days soaking up the scenery and walking a few of the MANY trails in the park.

The weather on the west coast of Newfoundland was lovely during our stay.  There were a couple of threats of rain but the dark clouds didn’t amount to anything and we had lots of sun and perfect conditions for our walks.  I won’t go on and on about everything we saw while we were there but I will share a few pictures I took while we were there. (Note: My camera is a teeny tiny Sony Cybershot DSC-U20 – it wasn’t designed to take pictures of mountains etc.)

The above shot of the trail is just a couple of minutes in to one of the most intense trails in the park (the actual Gros Morne trail)  It’s a strenuous half-day hike just to reach the base of the mountain.  Don’t be impressed.  We didn’t actually hike this one but walked a little ways in just to check it out.  The trail takes you to the highest point in the park (806 M – over 2644 feet for those Imperialists out there!) and the environment is describe as “Arctic-Alpine”…brrrrrr!

The next shot is taken at the beach at the “end” of a trail we actually did hike (Western Brook Pond).  It’s a 6 km round trip (add 1.5 km if you take the scenic route through Snug Harbour) so we walked 3 km to take this shot and then turned around and walked back to our car.   Had we arrived earlier in the season we would have been able to take a boat tour that would take us right to the base of the cliffs in the shot (it’s a 2.5 hour tour).  It’s probably a good thing that the tours were over for the year as the water was VERY  choppy that day and my husband is NOT a boat kind of guy. 

Here’s a shot of the same cliffs (they’re seriously a billion years old, BTW!) taken with a real camera (my husband’s).  It does not do justice to the amazing sights we took in while in the park.  Everything was just so BIG!  While hiking through some of the coastal bogs, we felt so insignificant (in an awe of nature kind of way) and inconsequential because you could really see how large the world is and what a tiny blip we are on the radar.  I’m not sure if this will give you some perspective but my shot (above) was taken from the beach with no zoom (my camera doesn’t have one) and the shot below was taken with a zoom lens a couple of kilometers BEFORE we reached the beach (and you can see the coastal bogs we walked through to get to the beach). 

Another cool thing we saw in one of the wooded areas of that walk was this “man-eating tree”.  Isn’t it wild?!

I won’t bore you with any more shots from the park but if you ever have the opportunity to visit Gros Morne, I highly recommend it.

Happy Halloween

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Generally speaking, I don’t make Halloween cards.  I sell most of my cards and there isn’t much of a market for Halloween cards here.  They are, however, VERY easy to make as they have traditional colours, are fun instead of serious, and there are TONS of cool products out there geared towards Halloween.  This all makes it easy to pull together a decent “traditional” Halloween card.

Case in point,  I wanted to make a thank you card for my SU! demo who was patiently waiting for my order (limited buget – I kept changing my mind on what I was ordering) and thought it would be a great excuse to make another Halloween card.  I’d purchased an Imaginisce stamp at my LSS and decided to try it out tonight.  Here is the result:

This was a really quick card to put together.  I stamped the haunted house image in black and just highlighted it a bit with a white colouring pencil.  I also coloured in the “light” in the windows.  Lots of inky splotches and DTP happening on this card.  I even dirtied up the ribbon by scraping a black ink pad all over it.  I liked the little plastic spider on my last card and have lots of them left from a project I did last year so I used another one here. (and will continue to use them on whatever Halloween projects I have left to do this year)  I didn’t have a “Happy Halloween” stamp so I used a rub on that said Halloween and stampe the word Happy above it with a stamp from another set.

(NOTE: The calendar in the background is one I picked up at a dollar store – some of the months are incorrect in the set so I haven’t bothered altering the calendar.  Next time I’m there I’ll probably pick up another one, open it to see if it’s got all 12 months and then see what I can do with it.)

Supplies used: K&Co PP, Pumpkin Pie, Perfect Plum CS, M’s green CS, Imaginisce stamp, Studio G Stamp (happy), Itty Bitty Backgrounds stamp by SU!, distressing tool, rub-ons, black ink, colouring pencils, plastic spider, ribbon (from package of 40 spools from Costco)

An Anniversary Card

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My parents celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary a little while ago and my younger brother asked me to coordinate a gift for them (he lives in another province).  His generous gift was a service from a company that does not do gift cards so I made a gift certificate and matching card  (so easy to make the certificate coordinate with the card!)

I was on a bit of a Basic Grey PP kick at the time so the paper I chose dictated the colours of the card (usually, I pick the stamp I want to use and go from there).  Green and pink were pretty safe colours for an anniversary card and this was the end result:

I blurred out my brother and sister-in-law’s names as well as what the gift was as it’s not really my story to share.  I recently purchased a set of Doodlebug stamps while at Zellers (I was surprised to find them there) and thought they were perfect for an anniversary card – a nice change from my standbys of the lovebirds stamp and my little bride and groom stamp.   It’s hard to find cute “love” stamps but these Doodlebug ones fit the bill.  Incidentally, I’m not sure why my picture is so grainy.  I must have had the camera on a weird setting.  The card was long gone before I downloaded the pictures off of my camera so there was no “do over”.

Supplies used: Doodlebug stamps, Mellow Moss and Regal Rose CS, Neenah smooth CS, Basic Grey PP, punches, classic inks, watercolour brush.

Glitter Birds

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I really love these C.C. Designs birds.  They are cute and fun to colour.  Speaking of colour, this card definitely went outside of my earthtone comfort zone.  Sage, pink, and other pastel shades topped off with just a bit of chocolate chip.  I even used some glitter on my lovebirds!  I’m not much of a bling fiend and glitter just plain scares me (the mess!) but it worked on this card and I managed to keep it to a minimum.

The birds were stamped on watercolour paper and coloured using SU! classic inks and a watercolour brush.  I’m not good at tying bows so I tend to avoid ribbon.  When I do use it I have some unusual ways of creating a bow.  I’m such a cheater!  This card was for an anniversary, in case you were wondering.

Supplies used: C.C. Designs “Love Ya Much”, Studio G sentiment, watercolour paper, sage shadow and chocolate chip CS by SU!, Basic Grey “Blush” PP, Marvy Uchida Oval punches, Doodlebug glitter, glue pen, SU! classic ink, watercolour brush, Making Memories brad, SU! grograin ribbon (pretty in pink)

EEK!

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I was going to post my backlog of cards in the order that they were made but Halloween is almost upon us so this spooky treat is a more timely choice.

Today’s card is a 3X3 square which is fairly tiny in size.  It’s great for bringing out creativity if you are feeling “card-makers block” as there is so little space to work with it’s very easy to create the layout.  I made the envelope out of some old Halloween paper I got in a slab about 5 years ago when I first started making cards (at least, I think it was about 5 years ago that I started doing this.)  Older paper gets on my nerves as it becomes outdated so quickly.  I only learned that lesson about a year ago and am much more selective when buying paper now.  I still buy some slabs but don’t feel the need to snap up everything that hits the shelves.

I also made a little notebook with a matching pen as my friend Karen (of Karen’s Kreations) was visiting and she had never made a beaded pen.  I happily gathered all the necessary items to make a pen and a notepad so I could share the technique with her as they are really fun to make.  I sent her home with some microbeads too so I’m hoping to see some pens on her log soon.

This set is a gift for a friend who LOVES Halloween beyond the point of reason.  I think she likes it more than Christmas!  We haven’t seen each other so much in the last year or so but recently started spending some time together.  She also likes tiny things so I’m thinking the pen will garner a squeal or two of delight.  

I do have another Halloween project going but I won’t be able to publish it until the 31st – don’t want to ruin the surprise.

Supplies used: M’s $1 stamps, Slab paper (ancient!), Rubicoil and plastic coils, microbeads, mini gel pen from Staples, O’ So Sticky tape, notepad, white cardstock, Cuttlebug and embossing folder, black ink, punches, orange and purple cardstock, plastic spider, glue dots, M’s ribbon.

New(ish) and hopefully improved

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After a (not especially) well-deserved Summer break, it’s time to start blogging again.  I took a little time off from card making to relax.  I have quite the natural talent for it too.  I’ve read scores of books, watched lots of movies, did some home redecorating, played games, spent time with my husband, ate (too much) wonderful food and hopefully recharged my creativity batteries.  Time on the computer was shockingly brief throughout the summer.  Hardly checked email, hardly blurfed, definitely didn’t update my blog.

The break also means I can finally move my blog over to the new site as we have changed service providers and my old email and web address are due to expire.  I will be gradually moving most of the content of my old blog over to this one.  If you have bookmarked (okay, not likely!) my old site, you will need to update your link.  I’ve also refreshed my blogroll so if you’re not on there and you want to be, please leave me a comment with your URL.  If you are on my blogroll and you don’t want to be, ditto.

Here ‘s the first card of quite a few that haven’t made it to my blog due to the anticipated change over:

The wedding colours were black and white.  Always an elegant combination.  This is a larger (5.5X6.5 I think!) card so embossing the dots on the white cardstock was a bit tricky.  In fact, when I did it, the folder crushed one row of overlapping dots but some manual fiddling with a stylus brought the dots back to life.

Making a larger card means working with a different scale than I am used to.  Unfortunately, I don’t have any larger wedding stamps.  Use of primas, the scalloped border and the textured background hopefully filled the enormous expanse of space on this card.  I’m sure if this size was standard to me I wouldn’t even notice the challenges of all that extra space but I did…and I think I met the challenge.  Having said that, give me 4.25X5.5 cards any day!

Supplies used: “bride and groom” stamp by Stampendous, DCWV Glitter Stack, white CS, oval punches, ribbon from M’s, colouring pencils, hodgepodge hardware, embossing powder, versamark, primas, rhinestones, Cuttlebug and Swiss Dots embossing folder, glitter pen, heat gun.



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