Happy Harvest

I have a confession to make. I’ve recently become totally enamored of a Stampin’ Up! cardstock color that often gets short shrift–Kraft. You can purchase a forty (40) count package of 8 1/2″ x 11″ 80lb. weight cardstock for $ 7.50 (#102125). Many people accuse the color of Kraft paper as being bland and boring. But with Summer dying its slow death, Autumn is right around the corner…and Kraft is the perfect color either as a main focus or accent to your projects. There’s something about Stampin’ Up! Kraft cardstock that is at once vintage and freshly modern. Another interesting thing about the Kraft cardstock is how wonderfully in coordinates and compliments the currently line of fabulously popular In Colors selections. Try pairing up some Kraft cardstock with Soft Suede, Dusty Durango, Rich Razzleberry, or Crushed Curry. I think you’ll be surprised at the palette it opens up for your imagination and creativity.

I just finished making a set of card fronts for a Stampin’ Up! swap I participated in and I used the combination of Kraft cardstock, Soft Suede cardstock, Soft Suede ink and a new stamp set that will be debuting tomorrow (09.01.09–which is the official launch of the new 2009-2010 Holiday Mini Catalog from Stampin’ Up!). The results (if I may say so myself) were striking. (I will share the project with you once my swap happens; Oh, and I’d be remiss if I didn’t give the Philly Inkers a shout-out!)

Over the weekend, I tackled several more card projects using Kraft cardstock. The one I’ll be sharing with you today is Autumnal in theme. I used a piece of 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ Kraft cardstock scored at 4 1/4″ as my card base. I used a Martha Stewart corner rounder punch to lop off the four couners. The decorative mat paper is from 7 Gypsies. It is a slightly lighter shade of Kraft color base and has a very muted cranberry polka dot pattern to it. I thought the contrast in tones was intriguing. I rounded the corners of my decorative paper and then used a tea stain along the edges to draw the eye in. A strip of Stampin’ Up! Close To Cocoa cardstock cut at 1 1/2″ x 4″ serves as a horizontal break in the design.

Using Stampin’ Up! Whisper White cardstock to stamp my images and the Papertrey Ink stamp set entitled “Vintage Picnic”, I used Tsukineko Memento Ink in Tuxedo Black to stamp my images. The basket and pumpkins were then hand-colored with Copic Sketch Markers. The sentiment was stamped on Whisper White and them punched out using the Stampin’ Up! Modern Label Punch (#116630, $ 15.95). I then used a chamomille and chai blend tea dye to “age” the sentiment label and ink its edges. I adhered all of my elements with Stampin’ Up! Two-Way Glue Pen and added a faux stitched accent with my Uniball Signo 1.0mm White Gel Pen.

I really love this particular Papertrey Ink stamp set–it is very versatile. I also like this project because it shows that you can mix-and-match your scraps and come up with a cohesive project. It’s no secret I love using Stampin’ Up! products. But, I love many different companies and lines and often mix products in projects and designs. Don’t box yourself in to thinking that you need to be “matchy–matchy” in your crafting. Papers, stamps, ribbons, and embellishments from a host of different manufacturers often create stunning synergy.

So here’s a look at the finished card. Whatever you are harvesting today, may you do it with a smile on your face and love in your heart. Keep Crafting!




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O Christmas Tree Pop-Up

Today I turn 44. So, I thought I’d share a sneak peak of something I bought as one of those “present(s)-to-myself”. This exclusive Stampin’ Up! Sizzix Bigz XL die will be available in the upcoming Stampin’ Up! Holiday Mini-Catalog, which will be active from September 1, 2009 through January 4, 2010. The die is called “O Christmas Tree Pop-Up” (#116822) and will retail for $42.95. This Bigz XL die and a complementary ornament Sizzlits die were designed by artist Karen Burniston.

I used some Bazzill Bling cardstock and my Cuttlebug to cut out the pieces for my tree assembly. To create this pop-up, you will need one (1) cut of each of the largest tree shapes, four (4) of the smaller tree silhouettes, four (4) of the triangular tree pieces, and one (1) of the base piece (which attaches your tree pop-up to your card base if you choose to use it in a card fashion). Of course, this Bigz XL die is highly versatile for use in home decor, holiday decorations and other Christmas projects. Here are the cuts used in this project:

The assembly of the actual Christmas tree pop-up is relatively easily and I highly recommend reading the enclosed instruction sheet with the die before you begin. After a bit of awkwardness the first time, it becomes a logical process. Amazingly, the assembly of the tree does not require any adhesive or other fasteners. It is comepletely built on a tab and slot construction.

Here are a few shots of the construction portion of the project:






Once you have your basic pop-up tree constructed, the real fun begins: trimming your tree. As I mentioned, there will be a Sizzix Sizzlits die that will cut a star tree topper and various shaped ornaments in the Stampin’ Up! Holiday-Mini catalog. (You’ll have to wait to see that! I can’t just spill everything…). For this tree, I thought it might be fun to use some of my Basic Grey Bling jewels to decorate my tree. Using various colors and shapes of stones, this is what I ended up with:




The fact that I used so many three-dimensional rhinestones as decorations does not make this pop-up tree the ideal candidate for a card. But, I did it anyway so that you can see the possibilities. The one little odd piece from the original cuts is all that is required to attach the tree to a card. Here, you will need a bit of adhesive. I have to admit that I’m absolutely intrigued by the engineering behind this pop-up mechanism. It’s quite brilliant.




This is but one of the new and brilliant ideas and products coming in the Stampin’ Up! Holiday Mini 2009-2010 catalog. The stamps are adorable and the accessories are all MUST HAVES. (Trust me, if you saw my preview order you’d understand!) Over the next couple of weeks, I’ll continue to give you a few sneak peaks of things coming down the pike in Santa’s Big Bag of Surprises. Until then, Keep Crafting!

Candy Corn Explosion

I came upon this lovely sheet of candy corn paper from a Die Cuts With A View Fall Stack from last year. It inspired me to play with a couple of Martha Stewart punches and create a couple of Halloween themed cards.

I have to say that I am completely in LOVE with the new Martha Stewart Punch Around The Page punch sets. Additionally, the new wing-edged punches are a dream when it comes to folding them up and conserving on storage space. I recently purchased the Spider Web punch set and finally found a source to order my Loopy Border set. I even re-purchased the Drippy Goo punch just to get the wing-edged version.

Both cards are A2 size and the card base is Bazzill textured cardstock in Raven. The first card features a Drippy Goo border on the decorative mat. The stamped skull image is from the new Stampin’ Up! Halloween set entitled “From The Crypt” (#115460, $22.95). It was stamped on Stampin’ Up! Whisper White cardstock (#100730, $7.50 for 40 sheets) with a Classic Stampin’ Pad in Only Orange (#102696, $5.95). The sentiment is from the Stampin’ Up! set “Teeny Tiny Wishes” (#115370, $36.95). The card is accented with a Copic Atyou Spica Glitter Pen in Orange.


The second card showcases the same decorative DCWV paper. I cut a piece at 3 1/4″ x 5″ and used both the Martha Stewart Wing Edger Spider Web punch and the Corner Spider Web punch to create the all-around border. To highlight the web cuts, I adhered the decorative paper to a piece of Stampin’ Up! Whisper White cardstock cut at the same size. I used the Stampin’ Up! Ticket Corner Punch (#107214, $6.95) on the four corners as an accent.


Medallion

I guess it is rather gauche to say, but I really love this card. There’s just something about the combination of colors and textures that makes me happy.

The centerpiece of the card is one of the new stamps from the 2009-2010 Stampin’ Up! Idea Book & Catalog called “Medallion” (#115223, $17.95). It’s a very large damask-inspired background stamp that is very Parisian in feel and style. Because the image is so large, you can really be creative with it–making it a subtle element or a focal point of a card, scrapbook page, or home decor project.

The base of this card is a piece of 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ Stampin’ Up! cardstock in Night of Navy, scored at 4 1/4″. The mat of Papertrey Ink’s Stamper’s Select White cardstock is cut at 4″ x 5″. The Medallion image was stamped in two parts. First, the offset image was stamped on the card mat with Tsukineko Memento Ink in Blue Danube. Then, I restamped the image in Tsukineko Memento Bahama Blue and cut out only the center circle portion and adhered it to the card mat image. The button is from Papertrey Ink’s Enchanted Evening Collection and was sewn on the cardstock with their Rustic Jute Button Twine. The card mat was then sponged on the edges with Tsukineko Memento Bahama Blue and adhered to the card base. A diecut journaling block was added to the card interior as the cardstock was so deep in color. The finished piece has a charming couture charm to it (if I may so myself).






Coloration

One of the things that fascinates me most about paper crafting (and crafting, in general) is choosing colors for a project. I swear I can literally spend hours flipping through reams of cardstock, paper stacks, mat stacks and decorative papers browsing and matching, placing swatches and pages side-by-side, changing my mind again and again. I guess in the end–and something I find true of many crafters–we are all paper addicts. Can you really ever have enough paper? I, myself, am trying to debunk this myth apparently. I would never admit this in public, but I think when you have so much paper you actually have to pack some of it away, there might be a problem. But, then again, I tell my therapist it’s just my back-up plan.

This card began with a scrap piece of paper left over from a card project from a few days ago (the chandelier card). It was a strip of lovely cardstock from the new Die Cuts With A View stack called “Downtown Loft” that is an exclusive to JoAnn’s. It was a green tiled cardstock that had squares of high-gloss interspersed throughout. Since it wasn’t large enough to actually use as a card base or mat, I decided to take one of my Martha Stewart punches (“Oak Leaf”) down from the rack and punch out as many pieces as I could from the scrap.

As I started playing with my punched-out pieces, I soon was fascinated with a wreath-like shape. I punched out a 1 3/8″ circle of white cardstock and and 1 3/8″ circle of decorative paper from scraps. Using a Zig 2-way adhesive pen, I attached each leaf stem to the back of the white cardstock circle. Once it was complete, I adhered the decorative paper circle to the white circle. Then I stared at it for a while and decided it “needed” a bit more __________? I ended up piercing a hole through the center and using a Stampin’ Up! Corduroy Button in Kiwi Kiss. (Are we sensing a green theme?)

Next, I went looking for papers to mount my creation on. After much thought, I ended up choosing Stardream Fuse Mica cardstock in Fairway for my A2 card base. The card mat is from the DCWV “Taj Mahal” mat stack. After everything was adhered together, I was struck by the fact that an Indian influenced design worked so well with the seemingly incongruent wreath design. One might even daresay it’s rather “Christmas-y” in it’s overall look. Yet, it could serve as a general everyday notecard.

Sometimes it is a game of trial and error. But, that’s not really the right term. For in my opinion, there are no errors…just ideas that don’t quite workout like you thought they might. Expressing your creativity and experimenting is a very large part of the entire crafting process.

Keep coloring your world….and as always, crafting…




All Hallow’s Eve

I am completely enamored by this new Stampin’ Up! Halloween stamp called “All Hallow’s Eve” (#113264, $17.95). It’s a very large stamp and is deeply etched for maximum detail. I will admit that the size makes it a bit cumbersome to stamp with (and you may have to stamp a few times before you get a print that you’re truly happy with). You may also want to ink your stamp with a brayer for larger and quicker coverage.

The card base is Stardream Fuse Mica cardstock in Flame. The image was stamped on Stampin’ Up! Whisper White cardstock with Tsukineko Memento ink in Tuxedo Black. The card mat and base were punched with the Stampin’ Up! Tag Corner Punch (#107215, $6.95). The ribbon is from artiste extraordinaire Marah Johnson and Creative Imaginations (LOVE IT!). I used a Sakura Metallic Ink Pen in Orange Flame for accent and a Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Write Journaling Pen in black for the freehand sentiment.



May your ghosts and goblins always bring treats…and Keep Crafting!

Cricut Exploration: Home Decor

I have a horrible confession to make. Over the weekend, I finally took my poor ignored Cricut Expression off the shelf and played with him. It’s not my intent to be a neglectful father. However, my limited crafting space does not allow me to leave my Circut set up for easy use. I’ll admit, it’s a bit of laziness on my part; That, and a combination of being busy using other techniques and ideas.

This weekend, I decided to explore the Cricut Solutions Home Decor cartridge. After a few imperfect cuts and a blade change, I made a few elements for some card layouts. I really enjoy the modern and fashion-forward look of the cuts on this cartridge.



This first card features the bumblebee cut at 3″. This card also features an embossed layer using the exclusive Stampin’ Up! Elegant Bouquet Textured Impressions folder by Sizzix. I used Stickles in Fruit Punch to highlight the center of each flower. The bottom is trimmed with the Stampin’ Up! Scallop Edge punch. I enhanced the Cricut cutout with a pair of googly eyes and a bit of glitter pen. But my favorite element is the wings. I used a piece of clear acrylic plastic to back the wings showcasing a design of black swirls and flourishes. I really love the effect.




The next card uses the stylized cupcake image on Home Decor cut at 3″. The base and mat cardstocks are both Bazzill Bling. The sentiment stamp is Stampin’ Up! The real highlight of this card is the coloration of the cupcake. I was striving for an airbrushed (without actually airbrushing) look using my Copic Sketch markers. Using a lot of blending, I think I achieved a fairly decent interpretation of the coloration.



The final card features the chandelier cut from Home Decor. I absolutely ADORE this cut. I cut it at 3″ in a yellow Bazzill cardstock. I then used Copic 110 to color in the chandelier leaving the original yellow “bulbs” uncovered. The chandelier is attached to a strip of DCWV Modern Loft cardstock that has been edged with the Stampin’ Up! Eyelet Border punch. I used a Stampin’ Up! clear rhinestone brad to attach the chandelier to the strip. The sentiment stamp is from Unity Stamp Company. The base cardstock is from the Die Cut With A View Downtown Loft Stack. This is my absolute favorite stack of the new JoAnn Exclusive releases.

Until next time, Keep Crafting!