Monday, September 27, 2010

CAS86 - Sketch Inspiration

This week's CAS challenge over at SCS is a sketch inspired by Charlene's (cookiebaker) Thank You So Much card.  It is a sketch I have used frequently, so I was very comfortable using it for my card.  I added a few elements, and although I still consider it CAS, it has a lot more fluff than I usually use.

This card was also tied in to Susan's (LateBlossom) inspiration week on her Simplicity blog.  I tore out a few pages from ads and catalogs recently that were inspiring to me.  This card uses a color combo from one of those ads, and I really love it.  It is so warm and rich!

Here is my DT sample card.

Every time I see a card with a bow made from wide ribbon, I am in awe.  This is the widest ribbon I have (5/8"), so I tried a big bow on this card.  It's not really that big, but it has the effect I wanted.  I think the sponged edge on the image panel is a great balance for the bow.

Supplies used:
Stamps - PTI Turning a New Leaf, Mega Mixed Messages
Paper - Sahara Sand, Cajun Craze
Ink - Versamark, vanilla craft, espresso
Accessories - vanilla EP, heat tool, sponge, brads, satin ribbon, dimensionals, square lattice EF, Big Shot

Oh, in case you're wondering, here is our euchre scoreboard.
Boys - 3
Girls - 1
We haven't given up hope yet, and still have a week to whoop them for good!



Saturday, September 25, 2010

Inspired by Nature

Susan has been talking about different sources of inspiration on her Simplicity blog this past week.  Her OLW challenge this week was to be inspired by nature.

I love the outdoors, and I am most inspired by colors.  I especially like the colors of sunsets.  Living in Colorado, we have spectacular sunsets over the mountains.  I would never be able to recreate the beauty of our sunsets on a card, but at least you can tell that is what it is.

The button was not planned, but I needed something to cover up a smudge from not masking adequately when I sponged the background.  That also changed my placement of the sentiment.  It still turned out ok, though, the image is just how I visualized it.

Supplies used:
Stamps - Teeny Tiny Wishes, Stampabilities waving wheat
Paper - GKD PL white
Ink - versamark, Memento black, artichoke, so saffron, pumpkin pie
Accessories - 1 1/4" circle punch, post-it note, nestabillities label die, clear EP, heat gun, sponges, button, linen thread, SAMJ

By the way, my mom and I got beat 2 games to 0 in euchre tonight.  Just wait 'til tomorrow (tonight, since it is 2 AM now).  We're gonna take them down!


Friday, September 24, 2010

The Best Caramel Apple Dip in the World

My parents arrived in town this week, so I've had limited stamping time.  I did make a card today, but you will have to wait a few days to see it.  :)  And I might get some stamping time in this weekend between our euchre bouts.  My husband thinks he knows how to play, but he doesn't even know how many trump cards there are.  (!)  The sad part is, he and my dad usually beat my mom and me.  The only reason they win is because my dad knows how to play so well.  And luck may have a little to do with it; my husband is lucky at cards.

Wasn't this post supposed to be something about caramel dip?  Oh, yes.

A friend of mine had some of this dip at work the other day, and as soon as I tasted it, I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  It was so much better than the sickeningly sweet dip you can buy at the store, and it is super easy to make.


Here's the recipe...

8 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 c brown sugar
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Mix together until creamy and sugar is dissolved.

Try it tonight.  You'll be glad you did!



Sunday, September 19, 2010

OLW a Little Late

You know how you can come up with a card design out of nowhere, but if you are challenged with that particular design you draw a blank?

You don't?


Well I do!  That is what happened to me this week with Susan's OLW challenge to use three images and one sentiment.  It seems like I have used that layout a lot.  Using three images is a popular design because of the rule of 'odds' and forming a visual triangle to make the design appealing.  But do you think I could come up with anything?
Nooooooooooo! (voice raises and lowers)

Until today when I wasn't even trying.  I bought a border stamp set on clearance several weeks ago and finally inked it up today.  Here is the first card I made.

I was originally going to put a third strand in another color, not even thinking about the OLW challenge, but it would have been too crowded.  So I left it the way it was and stamped the sentiment.  I really liked how this turned out, even without the third color.  Then the light bulb went on (off?), and I thought of this...

Isn't it purty?

Supplies used:
Stamps - TPC Studio Dots & Stripes, Sincere Salutations
Paper - GKD PL white
Ink - Pacific point, old olive/cherry cobbler, old olive
Accessories - none!  Not even my SAMJ!

I really like my new border stamps.  There are so many possibilities for them!



Saturday, September 18, 2010

Unmounting: The Why, The How, and Things I've Learned

When I first read about people unmounting their stamps, I couldn't imagine ever doing it.  Not entirely because of the labor it would involve, but because I like the feel of the wood block in my hand.  My stamps are closely trimmed and mounted with the labels placed in perfect alignment of the rubber.  (Yes, I'm quite *n*l about how I mount my stamps.)  I couldn't imagine tearing them all apart.  Besides, I tend to sell stamps I don't use, and I thought unmounting them would lessen their resale value.  If I unmounted all my stamps, would I have to keep all the blocks in case the buyer wanted them?  Where would I store all of them?

Fast forward to now.  I have no more room to store my umpteen million stamps.  I have even removed some of my lesser used sets like alphabets to another shelf, and I'm still out of storage space.  Getting rid of sets was not an option.  I have whittled and purged as much as I can, and these sets aren't going anywhere.

It was time to unmount.

Here is a picture of my current stamp storage.  Some of the sets have already been unmounted and are stored in CD cases.  My PTI sets are also in CD cases.  As you can see, not much room for any more sets.

Not that I need any more sets, but this takes up such a large area of storage space, and it could be so much smaller.  Now that I have decided on Scrap 'n' Cube for my craft room remodel, it was time to get busy unmounting so I could get rid of that hideous metal shelf that is leaning like the Tower of Pisa.

How do I unmount?  I have microwaved, heat gunned, and just gently pulled the rubber off.  I feel wierd using the microwave - I'm afraid I will damage it by microwaving wood and rubber, and I'll have to buy a new one.  Besides, it's upstairs in the kitchen, and I'm too lazy to lug all my stamps up there and back down again.

I have used my heat gun some, but very carefully.  It doesn't take long to soften it up enough to make it easy to remove.  I will use it only if it is too difficult to remove the rubber and foam without heating.

Some people unmount to bare rubber, but I like to leave the foam on.  I peeled this off without heating at all, and it is one of my oldest sets.  All of the sticky stayed on the block, but the label has enough sticky left that no additional adhesive is necessary.

Once I have the foam and rubber removed from the wood block, I remove the sticker and place it on the foam.  That way my stamp is still indexed, and I can 'see' where I am stamping the image.

A quick trim of the excess sticker around the edges, and I'm ready for the next step.

Ever since I first started unmounting, I had been using a piece or two of double sided tape on my acrylic blocks to hold the unmounted stamps.  After it lost its stickiness, I would put a new piece on.  That worked for a while, but I am ready for something better.  Storing the unmounted stamps in CD cases was also an issue because they slid around inside, and I want them to stay put.

Aleene's Tack-It Over & Over to the rescue!

Here is something very important that I learned...If you are going to use TIOAO, dilute it before you use it, and don't cover the entire sticker!  I was silly (stupid is more like it) and did several sets with full strength TIOAO covering the entire sticker surface before I tested them.  They are very hard to remove from the block, so much so that the label starts to pull away from the foam.  That stuff is super strong!

Now I use it diluted (about 50/50 with water) and put it just in the center of the stamp with a cotton swab.  That way the edges are not tacked down, and it makes removing the stamp much easier. 

A little goes a long way.

One of the major advantages to unmounting is the decreased storage space.  I purchased the empty stamp cases from SU!, and can fit 4, sometimes more, sets in each one by sticking the stamps to both sides of the case.  The hardest part about that is figuring out which sets to put together.  I try to put similar style sets together, but then they can't be in alphabetical order like I am used to.  For instance, Bronc Buster and Wanted belong together.  Do I file them under B or W?  Indexing my stamp sets is going to be an even bigger project if I combine them, but once I decide how I am going to do it, it will be wonderful.  I figure I can reduce my storage space by at least 2/3 by combining my sets.

If you have any ideas for indexing, or how you've combined sets, let me know.  I'm sure you have lots of great ideas out there.  I do know that I want to keep my sets together and not separated into sentiments, flowers, etc like some have done.  I just don't think that would work for me.

Oh, here's something I forgot to mention.  The TIOAO dries very quickly when it is diluted, but I usually let it dry over night just to be sure.  Start out with a little bit on your stamps; you can always add more if you need it, but you can't take it off.  (Or if you know of a way to get it off, please let me know!  I have about 10 sets that need help!)

I hope this was helpful to you if you decide to unmount.  It is a big undertaking, but the need for less storage space is definitely worth it in my book!

Happy peeling!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Foam Board Projects

I have had several inquiries about the dimensions and directions for my foam board projects.  Since I am a computer dodo, and can't figure out how to respond to the anonymous inquisitors, I am answering them here.

All of my foam board projects are linked to the "foam board" label on the left side of my blog.  If you click on that label, it will pull up all my foam board posts.  I have dimensions and detailed assembly directions for both the ink pad holder and the Copic cubbies posted seperately.

If you still can't find what you are looking for, let me know, and I will try to help you find it.

Thanks for your interest, and I'm happy to help in any way I can.


Another Halloween Card

I have been doing a lot of stamping lately, and needed a break, so I made a card tonight.

Say what?

That doesn't make much sense, but then I haven't been making cards; I've been stamping on tiles for my craft show that is coming up in a couple weeks.  I think the Stazon fumes were getting to me!

Do you ever wake up with ideas for cards swimming around in your brain?  That happened to me this morning, but by the time I got around to stamping tonight (a flat tire, sick kid at school, and a trip to the allergist got in my way today), my ideas were pretty much gone.  So I made a card that isn't anything like what was in my head when I woke up today.

I'm in the process of unmounting all my SU sets, and I had my Halloween sets out, so that is what I decided to use tonight.

This has way more 'stuff' on it than I usually use, especially lately, but I don't think it's too over the top.

Supplies used:
Stamps - home is where the haunt is, house of haunts
Paper - GKD PL white, daffodil, eggplant
Ink - daffodil, pumpkin pie, elegant eggplant, Memento black
Accessories - nestabilities oval die, nail heads, ribbon, EK swirl flourish punch, post-it, 1" circle punch, SAMJ, sponges and daubers, dimensionals



Sunday, September 12, 2010

Balloon Bouquet

Here is the sample card I made for the CAS84 challenge - Inspired by a Birthday Wreath.  Here is a link to the picture.

I was inspired by the balloons and the colors.

After the balloons were colored in, I went over each balloon individually with my Sakura glaze pen.  That gave each balloon a little shine and dimension.

This was a really fun card for me to make, and I love how it turned out.  The ribbon ended up being the perfect touch after trying every other imaginable solid color ribbon.  I had a mess to clean up, but it was worth it!

Supplies used:
Stamps - button bear, PTI birthday basics
Paper - GKD PL white
Ink - Memento black
Accessories - Copics, various SU markers, ruler, ribbon, Sakura glaze pen

Thanks for stopping by!


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

OLW and a Stamping First

It's Wednesday, and you know what that means.  Time to make a one layer card!  Susan's challenge was to make a black and white card with just a spot of color.  Having little color, with lots of black and white tends to make whatever is colored pop.  That can make for a striking card.

At first, I was only going to color the spider's treat bag, but the rest of him (her?) got lost.  So I have two spots of color instead of one.  I think it was necessary, though, to complete the image.

Tho photo doesn't show it, but the spider is embossed to give it a little texture.

And now for my stamping first.  See those brackets around the sentiment?  That is something I have never used before.  I have never really understood the need for all the brackets I see, especially in scrapbooking, because I am more of a literal person.  Grammatically, you don't need brackets, so therefore it doesn't make sense to me to use them.  Unless of course, it is for a design element.  I finally figured that out today!  The sentiment was just floating out in the middle of nowhere until I added the brackets.  Now it seems grounded and is very much a part of the whole picture.

I like that.

And I need to loosen up!

Supplies used:
Stamps - web wishes, Hero Arts bracket
Paper - GKD PL white
Ink - Versamark, Memento black
Accessories - SAMJ, post it note for masking, clear EP, Copics
Technique - masking



Monday, September 6, 2010

CAS83 a sketch challenge

Here are a couple cards I made for my first challenge as a CAS DT member.  It is a sketch challenge based on Denise's (resqbarbie) card seen here.

The first one turned out ok, but I still think it needs a window frame or something.  I didn't want it to be too busy, though, so I just left it plain.

I made a template to use as a reverse mask.  The image was stamped with Versamark and Memento black ink, then embossed with clear EP.  While the mask was still in place, I sponged the background of the image, and colored the deer with Copics.  When I removed the mask, the ink had bled a little into the 'frame', so I just used my Copic blender pen to push the color back where it belonged.

Disaster avoided.

Supplies used:
Stamps - noble deer, PTI birthday basics
Paper - GKD PL white, wasabi, garden green, crumb cake
Ink - Versamark, Memento black, bashful blue, crumb cake, wasabi, choc chip
Accessories - clear EP, heat gun, Copics, daubers, MS branch punch

Here is the second card I made.

The squares are up on dimensionals, and I bent the wings of the butterflies after I adhered the pearls to the centers.  That gives the card a lot of dimension, and balances out the weight of the buttons.  The sentiment in crumb cake is a little light, but espresso or choc chip would have been way too dark.  I like the soft feel the lighter ink gives to the card.

Supplies used:
Stamps - PTI birthday basics
Paper - pink pirouette, melon mambo, regal rose, pretty in pink, crumb cake, espresso, white
Ink - crumb cake
Accessories - MS butterfly punch, half pearls, 1 1/4" square punch, dimensionals, buttons, hemp twine, white crochet thread

This is such a versatile layout.  There are so many possibilities!  What can you do with it?


Friday, September 3, 2010

I made it!

I found out last night that I was chosen to be on the fall CAS design team on SCS!  Woohoo!  I can't wait to work with the other designers and share my creations with everyone!  Charlene (cookiebaker) and Lori (ltecler) are the other two designers.

I have a busy weekend planned with my family, but I will post my first challenge card here on Monday.

Have a safe holiday weekend!


Thursday, September 2, 2010

It's OLW!

Susan's one layer challenge this week is to use a tree on your card.  I decided to play around with my Trendy Trees set.  This card turned out very different than what was in my head when I started.  And sometimes that is a good thing!

Once again I was playing around with my images on a piece of scrap paper (can you say AR/OCD?), and an even better idea came to me.  I was originally going to stamp the ground shadow stamp in green, but once I practice stamped it with the tree trunks in place, I had the idea to make a fall card with different colored leaves on the trees, and the ground covered with fallen leaves.

Isn't the ground cool?  I want to go jump in it!  The leaf colored ground was achieved by thumping several different markers on the stamp, huffing on it to re-moisten the ink, then stamping.

Tip:  If you want to add interest to an otherwise plain looking card, do something with the corners.  Here, I rounded opposite corners of the card to mimic the curve of the ground stamp.  It really ties things together and makes the card more interesting.

Supplies used:
Stamps - trendy trees, Hero Arts shadow stamp, Stampendous sentiment
Paper - GKD PL white
Ink - chocolate chip, cajun craze
Accessories - cajun craze, daffodil, pumpkin, olive, pear pizzaz, riding hood red markers, taffeta ribbon, corner rounder punch

I must be longing for the fall weather because those are the types of cards I have been thinking about making lately.  I can't wait for the cool, crisp, good sleeping weather nights.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Quick Fix

Do you ever make a card, take pictures, post them, and then realize that you could have done something to make the card better?  I do that a LOT, and my pumpkin card was no exception.

After I posted my last two cards, I happened to look at the pumpkin card that was lying on my desk.  You know how I felt the bow was too heavy and competed with the pumpkins.  I was trying to figure out how I could add more 'weight' to the pumpkins to balance the card out, and then it dawned on me as to how to fix it.  When I made my original card, I practiced coloring the pumpkins first on a scrap of cardstock (I'm *n*l that way).  All I needed to do was cut my practice pumpkin out and pop it up.

See?  Doesn't that look much better?  It definitely seems more balanced to me.  If you look closely, you will see that I added white gel pen accents to the tops of the pumpkins.  When I was practicing, I tried it, but didn't like the look, so I left it off of my original card.  But when I used my practice pumpkin to balance the card, I had to add gel pen to the second pumpkin.  Oh, well, I still think it looks better than the original.

The next time I have a card I'm not happy with, I'm NOT going to take its picture until it gets fixed.

I promise!


P.S.  Thanks for all your nice comments on the cards I submitted for the DT search!  Only two more days...