Monday, February 28, 2011

It's more VSN time!

So, yes, I was happy that King's Speech (and also Aaron Sorkin) won last night.   Yippee!

As promised, here are a couple more cards I made this weekend for VSN.
I threw in this Hero Arts stamp set the other day to get an online order over $50, so when I read Misti's challenge of using a bird stamp, it just sung out to me (get it?!?! I crack myself up).  I stamped the bird and balloons on all sorts of Echo Park paper (Little Girl and Walk in the Park), embossed, and cut out.  I added some orange twine the balloons and called it done!

My final card to show you is for LuvLee's challenge  of being inspired by your wedding song. 

Our first dance was to Mark Knopfler's "Are We in Trouble Now?"
  We even took dance lessons before our wedding which were so much fun.  Just recently, a groupon came up for some more lessons and I grabbed one for each of us.   So I'm going to stick two "dance tickets" in the sentiment pocket before I give it to my DH.  The image is from Eat Cake Graphics, and the paper and letter stickers are from (where else?) Echo Park.

I definitely had a fun time playing in VSN, hope to see y'all at the next one!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's VSN Time!

Are any of y'all participating in Virtual Stamp Night on Splitcoast?  You still have until Monday at 8:00 EST to play and upload your creations.  I like to play because it's always fun to see what I can make in 45 minutes.  Here are a couple of cards I made for it; I'll share a couple more tomorrow.
This was definitely my favorite of the bunch!  It was for Snail's challenge of embossing (either heat or dry) vellum.  I definitely need to put vellum on my shopping list, because I only have this confetti kind from a long-ago craft project.  I was puzzled for a bit until I saw this Sugar Nellie image in my stamp index, and thought a sparkly vellum moon would be so much fun.  I stamped her on the vellum and embossed with clear embossing powder.  Then I used Wild Honey distress ink to ink up the moon.  I stamped her again on white paper, and colored her in using distress inks and an aquapainter.  I was going to go with a "wish big" type sentiment, but then I just couldn't resist "I love you to the moon and back..." from PTI's Out on a Limb sentiments.  I stamped the "I love you" using Barn Door distress ink and the rest of the sentiment with Fresh Ink Lemonade, then clear embossed.  I cut the sentiment strip extra long, folded the flaps over, and adhered them to the inside of the card.  Then I used some blue & white twine to hang the moon on, securing it to the back with tape because I'm classy that way (and I was running out of time).

Embossed vellum turns out to be really hard to photograph, so here's another angle for ya:

Not Quite Navy is definitely one of my favorite colors of all time, and I used it again on this card for Resqbarbie's sketch challenge. 
Would you believe me if I told you I watercolored this card using only 3 distress ink colors (tumbled rose, peeled paint, and vintage photograph)?  Well, ok, you probably would.   But I still love it and this SU stamp!  I guess technically I used four colors, because I sponged the edges with Antique Linen.  The PTI Mega Mixed Messages sentiment is stamped with NQN ink onto Soft Suede (which is another current favorite that I need to order more of!), then punched out with the modern label punch.

Anyone watching the Oscars tonight?  I'm hoping for King's Speech to win.  We saw it last week and it was definitely the best movie of the year.  Social Network just didn't do it for me, but I am hoping Aaron Sorkin will win for best screenplay in return for Sports Night never winning anything.  Yes, that is exactly how I think the Academy Awards should work.   :)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Passing The Torch

It was certainly a wild race this past month as Orange Torchbearer for Amber Ink! 
Thanks to Lindsey of Bashful Blogging for passing the torch to me and thanks to Pam and Amber of Amber Ink for making this such a fun month! 

But now the time has come to pass the torch the fabulously talented Cheryl of She Stamps.  I know she'll be carrying that torch high this month, so make sure you stay tuned!  And make sure you check out all the March torchbearers at the Amber Inklings blog!

Thanks again Amber Ink for a fantastic and fun month!

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Bad News/Good Friends!

Good news: We had downright gorgeous weather this weekend!  Even my mini-crocuses got the memo:
Bad News: Stamping inside could not compete with a good book and that gorgeous weather!
Good News: I still have some great creations to show you--they are just not mine!  I've gotten some wonderful RAKs in the past couple of weeks:
What a surprise this package was!!  Maria of Crafty Creations had some extra paper and doodads, so she packaged them up and sent some fabulous RAKs out!  I was fortunate to be one of the lucky recipients because there were some fabulous goodies in there!  It's hard to see, but there is a whole stack of paper there under the doodads and thread.

This little beauty came from Lindsey of Bashful Blogging.  What a fabulous Valentine!  I love her great heart balloons, and I hope the shimmeriness of the ink shows in the picture--it looks so shiny and happy in real life!

Another fabulous scrappy/shabby chic card from Angela of Paper Cupboard.  How can she figure out how to put on fifteen different elements and it looks so freakin' fantastic?!?  Plus it came in a totally cute polka-dotted envelope, which I did not get to take a picture of before someone in this household threw it away.
 Finally, these cards and book were from Emily of Art from the Heart. The one on the left is a cute little Valentine (aren't those hearts adorable?) you can see here and the thank you on the right (aren't those apples adorable, too?) can be found here.  The thank you was for sending her some Unity stamps that were gathering dust, and in return she surprised me with Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, which I just told her was on my wishlist.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some absolutely stunning creations today, even if I can't take the credit for them.  Well, ok, I guess I can at least take the credit for making good choices in stamping friends!

PS-I've fallen a bit behind in both my reading and reading reports, so here's the latest:
Books #2 & 3: Best American Magazine Writing 2010 and Best American Crime Reporting 2010 I've gotten these books for past few years and there's usually at least 3 or 4 stories that really stick with me, a few that are entertaining, and a few that are meh.  About the same for this year, with maybe a little more meh than usual, which may be why I abandoned reading for a couple weeks.
Book #4: To Fetch A Thief by Spencer Quinn.  Yes, a mystery as told by the private detective's dog.  Yes, I love the whole series.  Yes, I'm a total dog dork.  Yes, I'm OK with that. 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!  Are any of y'all planning on venturing out tonight?  Fill me in on your awesome plans!  I think DH is cooking me a nice steak, served with a amaretto sour, of course.  Speaking of DH, here is my {second} card for him:
This card is also for this week's Waltzingmouse Sketch Challenge.  The poochie is from There She Goes Puppy Love set.  It was a gift from DH, so double awesome (the fact that it is a dog is first awesome)!  I colored her with copics, then stamped a Waltzingmouse Vintage Labels 4 border in Bashful Blue.  Each layer is attached with pop dots for some great dimension.

The sentiment is from The Cat's Pajamas, with a little Martha punch action at the end.  Of course I had to use some of my favorite paper, and I added a little stitching for fun.  The top corner seemed lonely, so I made some 3 faux brads using Real Red cardstock.

The second Valentine is for my friend to give to her husband.  I couldn't resist these little turtles from Amber Ink!
This one is also for the Embellish Color Trends Challenge. In Word, I drew a 4 x 5.25 rectangle, then inserted the row of turtles.  I resized them to be .8 inches tall, then copied and pasted the picture until I had 5 rows of turtles (I flipped some of them horizontally to break up the pattern a bit).  After printing and cutting, I colored the two that were gazing at each other with copics, then added some glossy accents to their shells.  The sentiment is from Unity, die cut with scallop circle nestability.  Then I matted the image with Kiwi Kiss and adhered to an Ocean Tides base.  Here's a close up of the turtles so you can check out the shiny shells:
I hope y'all have a wonderful Valentine's day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Amber Ink + Math = Love

Just a quick post while you still have time to make some Valentines!

I made these in a jiffy with Amber Ink's digi stamps.  How could I not use the equation one:
This is a fun technique from the Scrapbook Embellishment Handboook.  Cut the petals off of all those flowers you have but never use.  Put down a strip of adhesive and press the petals onto it.  I did one layer of petals, then another strip of adhesive, and another layer of petals.  Add a ribbon over it, some stickles to the bee & sentiment and boom-you're done!

Oh, want to make a card even quicker than that?
Ok, then, print the Amber Ink image, die cut and add some Distress Ink and stickles.  Emboss yellow cardstock with PTI Sunshine plate.  Add flower that you had in your closet from when you used the stems to make your paper hydrangeas.  Now how do you like them apples flowers?

Want an even quicker gift than that?  Well, go to and gift 2 mp3 songs for free with code VDAYMP3S.  See the deets here.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Topic for Discussion: "Stamper's" Techniques

Do you ever wonder if non-stampers "get" our cards?  I remember a thread on SCS about someone's friend commenting the cards she sent that had all the "headless women" (aka MFT) on them.  I also wonder if people "get" TCP stamps with penguins dressed up as all sorts of characters and then I remember penguins are always appropriate. 

The reason I bring this up is the following sympathy card.  I stamped with clear embossing powder, then used my new distress inks to get that gorgeous color (yes, I want every color of distress ink--what are some of your must-haves colors?) and embossed the whole panel twice with UTEE.  And it looked pretty good. Then I asked DH if I should go ahead with my planned cracked-glass technique and he said yes (I love that my DH knows what I'm talking about when I ask him these things).  Anyway, now I'm not sure if it's ventured into stamper's-only territory (remember you can click on the pic to enlarge).  As in, will the recipient be asking herself why I sent her a dirty, broken card?  You can be honest here, I personally still like it but I'm not sure I would do it again.
FYI: I used Wild Honey, Tumbled Glass, and Vintage Photo distress inks, then PTI chamomile on the "glass" after it had been cracked.  If you don't know about the cracked glass technique, you put on a thick layer of clear embossing--either two of UTEE(ultra thick embossing enamel) or many layers of regular.  Then pop it in the freezer for 10-15 minutes, take it out and bend your image where you want the cracks to form.  Then to show them off, apply some ink and then wipe it off-it will just stay in the cracks. 

This will be my last sentence because I don't want a sentence about "wiping it off" and "staying in the cracks" to be my last sentence of my post.  So I guess this one will be my real last last sentence. 

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Black and White Photo Strip Tutorial

Everything looks better in black and white.  Especially if you add a little touch of red and make it in the shape of a heart:
Is this not the cutest garland you've ever seen?  I got the idea from eighteen25, who in turn used scrappergirl's tutorial (WARNING: MUSIC ON BLOG).  I used Stampin' Up's Love Letter polka dot and Bella Rose red floral paper and some sheer pinky-red ribbon (hint: use a thick needle to string the hearts onto the ribbon).  Each heart is made with two 1x5 inch double-faced paper strips.   The photo strips were easy (and fun) to make (tutorial below).

I also used the photo strips again to make this fun Amber Ink Valentine's card:

Photo Strip Tutorial

Step 1:Gather photos.  I use Picasa, which made this so easy.  I went through my photos and pinned any I wanted to use (see screen capture below).  Then I exported them all to a new folder I called "valentines" (clever, huh?).   Having them all in one folder makes them easier to batch edit and to find later, plus you're not messing with your originals. 

Step 2: Batch edit.  Clear your holding tray, then select your "valentines" folder. At the top menu, select picture --> batch edit --> black and white.  

Step 3: "L7, you're a square, dude!"  Crop each photo to a square.  After selecting crop, you can choose "Square: CD cover" from the pull-down menu (see screen shot).  It doesn't matter what size your square is, we'll make them all 1x1 in Word.

(For the next steps, I should have taken some screen shots to show you, but my DH just installed Linux on my computer and, yes, I am too lazy to restart it in Windows to get some Word pictures.  But if you have any questions, let me know in the comments.)

Step 4:Word is the Word, baby. Open a new Word document and make the margins as big as your printer can handle (you can do this by dragging the margins along the rulers on the top and side, or by going to page setup and entering in new measurements).   I went with .25 at the top and bottom so I could get 10 inch strip.  I tried to go with .12 at the sides so I could get 8 strips, but the margins were too small for my printer.

Step 5: Insert your pictures.  In Word 2007, click the insert ribbon, then picture.  Once you go to your easy-to-find Valentines folder, you can use "shift" to select multiple photos at once-I suggest about 5 at a time so your compute doesn't wig out.  Click the first one, then hold shift as you click the fifth one (another hint: you can hold down control to select multiple files that are not in a row).  Repeat until all your photos are inserted.

Step 6: EEEK!  They're all crazy different sizes!!  No worries, man!  Double-click the first one so the "picture" ribbon shows up.  On the right of the ribbon, enter in "1" for the height, and your width should automatically change to 1 (sometimes mine changed to 1.01 or .99...that's ok).  Continue for the rest of the pictures. Word will automatically put them in a line with a wee little space between them, but the next row will be right under the previous one with no gap.   I was able to get 7 columns of 10 pictures each, which meant I could make 7 hearts from one page. If you don't have enough photos, just copy and paste the same ones again!

Step 7: Print.  I printed mine onto Gina K's cream paper for the hearts and onto PTI's white paper for the card.

Additional step for card: Insert Amber Ink's ipaper jpg into a new Word document and double click the picture.  Then select "crop" on the picture ribbon, and crop the paper to the amount you'll need for the squares.  That way you can print just the amount of paper you need and not use up a whole sheet (and even print two blocks of different ipaper at the same time), but the scale of the paper doesn't change.

I love this garland almost as much as I love Word.
Hope this inspires you to get geeky this weekend!  Learn to love Word and it will love you back.

PTI Favorite

Yup, throwing my hat into the ring to win the ultimate card kit from PTI!  Here's my favorite PTI card of the past year:

Made with Out On a Limb, with Vintage Picnic sentiment.  See the original post here.

Good luck to everyone, and if you do happen to win, I would be more than happy to take some of that extra loot off your hands!! :)

Friday, February 4, 2011

My New Favorite Quote

Am I the only one that sometimes feels a wee bit guilty spending an entire Saturday stamping?  Or spending two hours catching up on Google Reader?  Or maybe that's just me, in which case...awkward!  But maybe you feel a little twinge when you tell your DH "just 5 more minutes!" and then finally come out of your room two hours later (or if your DH is making you dinner while you type this blog post).  If so, this card is for you:

But you'll have to look with your eyes and not with your hands because this card is taking up permanent residence on my crafting desk.  Although to be truly stampy, I should have replaced "time" with "paper." ;)
A fun card to make-printed the quote using Love Ya Like A Sister font onto Echo Park paper, cut out and glued and/or popdotted onto the Echo Paper base.  Also added Eat Cake Graphic's Callie's Looking Down, because what card is not improved with a dog.  I even brought out the ol' Janome and did some straight stitching with a little zig-zag craziness near the corners because why not.

I hope everybody enjoys wasting some time this weekend!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Confession: I lied.

I told Angela of Paper Cupboard that this layout was one of my all-time favorites of hers.  I completely lied when I typed that.  Mostly because I had no idea what COMPLETELY AMAZING layout was on its way to me this week...

O.  M.   G.  (Make sure you click on the pic to make it bigger!)  I mean, can you believe this awesomeness?!?!?  First of all, one of my favorite pics of Addie.  Second of all, heck yeah, Addie is #1!  (#1 in what you ask?  Why, #1 in everything!).  Third of all, corduroy thickers.  Fourth of all, GLITTER STRIPS!!  Fifth of all, cork.

Sixth of all, freakin' banner dies with friendship definitions.  Seventh of all, that gorgeous paper, including the wee bit of polka dot showing around the photo!  Eighth of all, those gorgeous scallops!  Ninth of all, she included a steam card of my very own, since her original steam card was one of my 2010 top favorites.

Tenth of all, it came from one of my bestest stamping buddies and I can tell it was made with lots and lots of love!  It already has a place of honor on my bookshelf in my stamping room. 

Thanks again, Ang, you are absolutely amazing awesome!  And I'm totally sorry about the lying.