Sunday, October 10, 2010

Green Birds and Apples

My lovely mum called the other day, with a special request. Could I make a thankyou card for the medical clinic that was so helpful on their last holiday? Well, sure I could! Easy! And to make things easier, she told me the clinic had very pretty decor, which she described. I googled as we talked, and soon I was looking at photos of Apple Tree Medical in Cairns. Wow, she was right, a pretty clinic!

I decided (obviously) to case the joint. That's "CASE", Copy And Steal Everything, a scrapbooking term for deriving inspiration from the efforts of others.

Here is my tester. I decided to go with dots in shades of green, and of course my pretty bird punch. The Sizzix Timeless Type Junior Alphabet was the perfect typeface, so of course I decided on die cut letters. Dots a bit big, I thought. Need to make a bigger card, or smaller dots.

Making a tester is a GREAT idea - nothing like actually seeing what you plan to make before you start sticking.

I went for smaller dots. Here's the final card:

I've turned one dot into a leafy apple, and added a "Daffodil Delight" base card to hold it all together.

Those greens are: Certainly Celery, Kiwi Kiss (a retired colour), and Old Olive.

I raised some of the dots (they are 1/2 inch circles, by the way) up with Stampin' Dimensionals. Perfect for the job, and a little 3-d just adds to the impact.

I don't always remember to make the inside of the card pretty, but this is a special case, so... The bird here is a different brand, by the way. Not quite as iconic as the Stampin' Up bird, but I finally decided on using it too. The dotted line is just marker ...

And finally, a pretty envelope is a must. I took a quality envelope, and added some stamping from the Cheep Talk set - it all comes together. How good is it that the ink, markers and card all match each other? So easy to get good results.

So, this goes in the mail to Mum for her approval, and (if she likes it) off to Cairns to brighten the day of some hard working medical people!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

I told you you'd need Fifth Avenue Floral

So, I claimed, back here, that you'd be needing the Fifth Avenue Floral stamp set. Here's more proof.

In this example, I've gone nuts with watercolour pencil. I've overlapped the lines, and used the odd resulting shapes ... bit of fun, a bit fussy. A bit time consuming, I have to say, but that gave me plenty of time to listen to some music.

New favourite colour scheme - Rich Razzleberry and Pumpkin Pie - bright? You have no idea!

And here's more evidence... I coloured just one flower (with those well known alcohol based markers, but honestly, water based ones would give you a lovely result too). The newsprint background paper is, the new 'Newsprint' designer paper by Stampin' Up. So glad I can finally indulge my newsprinty leanings in "official" projects - the ones where I am trying to show off the products I am so pleased to be allowed to offer for sale!

The scalloped edges have been stamped with our gorgeous music wheel stamp - oh, yum!

And "This is no Humbug" is straight from the decorative paper. Of course.

Monday, September 20, 2010

New Stuff, and some of it penguin-oriented!

So, enjoying the lengthy breaks between posts on this blog? Yeah, me too! Plenty of good stuff to share though, so let's go!

There's a new catalogue! There's a link to it here, and of course, I can provide you with a lovely printed copy.

And here's one highlight - the new OWL PUNCH! Yup, that little owly guy is all done with one punch (there are a bunch of bits, and you get to have fun assembling owls out of different colours and patterns. I've elected to make the owl's tummy out of our new Newsprint Designer paper. Love it!

Notice the woodgrain? That's a new, BIG, woodgrain background stamp. I've stamped it twice, just of register, in two shades of brown. Nice stamp.

Notice the dark brown? That's a new colour, called Early Espresso. It takes a very special kind of person to get excited about dark brown card, but if you are one, don't worry, you are among friends.

Oh, and some old favourites are back in the catalogue. There's the gorgeous Butterfly Prints, and the deer little Forest Friends. I used Forest Friends here on a card for my daughter - the set has a nice tree, a rabbit, an owl, and a deer. Here, I've combined it with Trendy Trees (the orange tree), as well as a punched heart. Oops, didn't show the deer in this card...

For some reason, Forest Friends makes me think of Bridget Jones' Diary.

Oh, yes, I promised something penguin-oriented too. Here ya go. Made from the Owl punch, with minor modifications. He looks a bit surprised, doesn't he?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

You'll be needing Fifth Avenue Floral

I'm often asked about favourite stamp sets - here's one! Fifth Avenue Floral, introduced in last year's catalogue (and still to be available in the forseeable future, of course) is just a fabulous one!

Here's some of the fun I've had with mine lately:
This is a pretty simple technique, a bit of fun for a stamping afternoon or evening ... stamp your image onto watercolour paper, in any of your favourite water based Stampin' Up inks (not black or white, they are different...). The strong colours work best. This is Rich Razzleberry (totally excellent for this purpose).

Then grab an aquapainter, or a fine paintbrush and water, and just ... paint the inside of the petals with water. Let the ink run. If you do a petal at a time, the in will run into each petal, rather than just all over. Dry it off with a heat tool as you go, if that helps. But basically, just paint water and have fun!

For the background, I've used the (sigh - breathtakingly nice) "Manhattan Flower" Textured Impressions folder for the Big Shot. It matches the large rose in the stamp set. Oh, and there's the curly punch too.

Here's another go I had at that same watercolour technique:

At the recent Stampin' Up convention, the lovely Shelli herself (the CEO and chief muse to all demonstrators) used actual old book pages in a sample she made in front of us - yes, she does what I do, takes apart old damaged books and makes them precious again! So I feel good about showing this one off - it includes a page from a very damaged French-English pocket dictionary.

The colour here is Not Quite Navy - I've found it's the "runniest" ink of all for watercolouring purposes. That is, it loves jumping onto a paintbrush and going where you tell it.

See that little oval shape around the "For You" sentiment? Made that with the Word Window, but I had to punch twice. That's worth learning - you can make a short oval as well as a long one.

I have two more Fifth Avenue Floral goodies to show, but they aren't finished, and I really mustn't spoil the surprise by showing them off half done!

Anyway, there are roughly a brazillion other ways to use this set. It has three flowers, a stem, and a nice sentiment too. It's super-popular, and you can have it for $45.95. Maybe you should think about putting it on your wishlist.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

That bird punch again

Are we tired of the bird punch yet? No? Didn't think so!

Here's the little guys just grooving around my art journal - Soft Suede and Kraft (the light brown colour) are my colours of the moment. Loving them!

By the way, Kraft is getting renamed soon - it's going to be Crumb Cake. A much more alliterative Stampin' Up name! And it's getting promoted to a full colour, not just an also-ran. So it gets a stamp pad, and a marker, the whole treatment - yay!

But here's what I really wanted to show off - alternative birds! You'd know when these guys land on your shoulder - CHIRP!

That's just a circle punch making the body, of course, and a Stampin' Write journalling marker for the little details.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bargains! Bargains!

Oh boy, this is what we need - just THIS WEEK, four really popular punches are on special, at 35% off. Now, this only applies until Tuesday, when a new offer will appear. No, I don't know what. But I'm looking forward to it! The Scallop Oval punch is included - one of the most amazingly popular punches - see it in use here. And here (that's a penguin card, so we love them).

Here's some stuff I laboriously cut and pasted from the Stampin' Up web site...

Deals of the Week

Throughout the month of June, we are bringing you a new deal every week! With the Deals of the Week, you'll get up to 50 percent off a selection of products from the 2009-2010 Idea Book & Catalogue!

This week's deals:

Scallop Square punch - $30.95 $20.12

Trio Flower punch - $30.95 $20.12

Boho Blossoms Punch - $30.95 $20.12

Scallop Oval Punch - $30.95 $20.12

See what I'm sayin' - the Scallop Oval Punch - yay! A little bit of gorgeous for $20 and change.

I'm putting in my own order shortly, you want me to include yours?

Some fabulous Stampin Up swaps

A little free time ... why don't I post a few photos of fabulous swaps I got at the recent Stampin' Up convention?

Here's one I really admired : by Jane Norrish, it's a terrific little box (containing a packet of tissues, very handy). The box is made of Kraft coloured card (which is getting a rename soon, so Crumb Cake - a much more Stampin' Up name!). The stamps are all from the pretty Pendant Park stamp set, which is in the current mini catalogue. And wow, I think they must have had Jane's box idea in mind when they put the set together, because it all works so very well! The stamp set is a very reasonable $27.95 if you get it in clear mounted (or you can have wood mounted for a little more).

Now let's have a look at something made by Carolyn Bennie (who, amongst other things, was pushing a pram at convention - that's a busy lady). She had made heaps of sets of earrings! Yes, actual earrings! Check HER blog for a bit of info about how she made them - the Tiny Tag punch was instrumental, of course.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Me and Shelli - Convention news!

Here's an awesome picture - ME with SHELLI (boss of Stampin' Up). She was in Sydney for the convention, and of course so was I. Gail nudged me over to have a photo taken with the great lady, and she was polite enough to pose for everyone who asked.

I showed this to Jeff, and he just looked blank. I told him it was like him getting a photo taken with Steve Jobs. While Steve hands him an iPad.

'Cos Shelli DID give me (and everyone else) some stamps ... pretty ones too, but I can't show you them yet...

Tons of stuff to fill this blog with, but first of all I'd better alert you to the SPECIALS - join up as a demonstrator yourself for only $259 right now - yes, you get the big starter kit, worth over $500, with lots of choices as always.

And - stand by for June specials. No idea what they are. Just stand by, OK?

Monday, May 24, 2010

I made the candy hearts!

Just when I have tons to add to this blog, the boys (grade 7 twins) have a big project to work on, that they've been dragging their heels on for weeks. So at nearly 11pm I get a few minutes on the good computer.

I just got back from Stampin' Up Convention, in Sydney! It was fabulous, we all had a ball.

And my first thing to share is this : I made candy hearts! That was my swap.

Jeff and I were out one evening, sans kids (it happens for two hours a week, so we always make the most of it). We'd eaten delicious noodles, and were ready to go home, but I suggested "Let's wander until we see something new". In the newsagent, getting pen refills, we found something new - a confectionery cookbook published by Frankie magazine. There, I've given you links, so no complaining.

We flicked through this pretty book (full of retro food styling - old toffee tins, vintage fabric - it's luscious!). We got to the page about candy hearts - their sample ones had stamped messages. Jeff said "Hey, you have stamps...". We just looked at each other, and we HAD to make candy hearts. He helped me shop for ingredients (glucose syrup was the only odd ingredient, and that was easy to find). I rolled out the mix, cut them out with a tiny heart cutter, and picked the right stamps for them. Circle Circus was a big success, as was the word from Trendy Trees. I stamped right onto the candy, using food colour as my "ink". Yes, yes, I cleaned the stamps really well before and after. If you were actually planning to eat them, I'd buy a fresh set of stamps and use them for confectionery only. That's gotta be good for business!

Here's what hundreds of fresh candy hearts look like drying in the kitchen. I made over 100 bags with three to a bag, so that must be ... a lot to roll out.

The first few people I swapped with took them and just popped them in their bags, so I started saying "Help yourself to candy hearts - I made the candy!" THAT got people taking a second look.

I was totally convinced I had made the cleverest and most creative swap there ... until I actually started swapping! Whoa, these ladies know how to do some stuff! Stand by for some photos when I get unpacked.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I'm going to Convention!!

Woo hoo! I'm off to Sydney for the Stampin' Up convention - two days (and a bit) of fun, friendship, and getting revved up about making stuff, showing how to make stuff, and sharing the love generally. I have swaps to share - about 100 of them! So with any luck, I'll get to come back with 100 different arty things from other people.

Here's a photo of my swaps - but it doesn't show the whole thing ... stand by for that.
You like the owl? It's from Fox and Friends, my first unmounted stamp set. It's in the current mini catalogue.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bag Book Time!

What's this in my stash? A fancy paper shopping bag, with nice ribbon handles? Well, I did get a great pair of pants out of that transaction, but there's no point in letting the bag go to waste, is there? Are you thinking what I'm thinking?

If you're thinking "It's bag book making time!", then you'd be right!

I snipped and chopped at the shopping bag, getting all the good bits out. The star designs are printed in silver, so I didn't waste them. The paper made the cover of the book (covering some mat board), and the handle became the closure and bookmark. For the pages, I selected various colours of Stampin' Up cardstock.

See, I was getting around to mentioning Stampin' Up stuff.

It had to be SU cardstock, because I'm planning to write, paste, and stamp into the book, and I wanted pages I could rely on.

The ribbon closure has an old belt buckle added. Eyelets set courtesy of the Cropadile. From the line of eyelets on the closure, you can see the book is designed to get fat! Fabric scraps from Reverse Art Truck. That's a wooden toggle hanging off the bookmark. The word "details" came from the bottom of the bag - it was contact details!

The pages are black, Whisper White, Kraft, Very Vanilla, Only Orange and vellum. I cut A5 sheets of each colour (then realised I wanted the a teeny bit smaller, and trimmed them all), organised the pages into a nice order, then made the book.

Actually, before making the book, I decorated each and every page with punches. ONLY punches, and only with the colours of card that were already in use in the book. Some pages are so decorated there's precious little space to write, but hey. I've just shown ONE photo from inside, but there's lots more (mostly simple).

I used just about every punch I have. Ah, it was fun, and even though this was a "just for the sake of it" project, it has set off a few ideas for "real" projects. That's why we muck around with our art materials, folks!

What am I planning to do with this eccentric book? I thought I'd take it to the Stampin Up Convention in Sydney in May as my travelling art journal. There's always things to write, draw or stick in, and with all those stamps around, I should be able to pretty up a few pages too!

And here's a link to TS14+, the unknowing sponsors of this book, and makers of yummy, comfy clothes!

Friday, April 2, 2010

Happy New Mini! There's a BIRD PUNCH!

Yay! There's a new mini catalogue out, and it's super-cool! I mean it, there are some fabulous products, that have had even the demonstrators scrambling. Here's one:

It's a punch - a bird punch! It's a two-part punch - that is, the bird and wing are separate pieces, encouraging you to punch them out of different cardstocks. The elegant branch is nice enough to buy just for itself, but there it is, included in the SAME punch. Oh my! At $30.95, this extra large sized punch is a lot of fun. And it's a new design too - it folds flat. Works well, and stores like a little flat brick.

Want a closer look? Course you do:

I've had a play with one of the stamps from the Circle Circus set as my "texture", and my colour scheme here is Kraft (brown), Kiwi Kiss (awesome green) and Summer Sun (brilliant yellow, but I've toned it down behind the bird).

I've sponged all the edges - once you start sponging, you can't stop.

So - the bird punch is just one of the new goodies. There's a whole mini catalogue to look at, and I have a few spare copies still. Let me know if you want one!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Little Houses from the Good Neighbours set

I've been at it again.

Here's what I made when I tinkered around with the Good Neighbours set from the Sale-a-bration catalogue. Now, who wouldn't want to make a table full of these?

I made heavy use of the Stamp-a-ma-Jig stamp positioner, which made the alignment a breeze. I stamped four houses (for the sides, I've use the "upstairs" part of the taller house), in Old Olive. I added a roof to two of the house parts (in Pumpkin Pie), and then snipped with care. I left a tab inside, and used a tiny dot of glue to hold the house together.

Did you know you can get this stamp set for FREE? Yup, it's a bonus with any order of $100 regular Stampin' Up stuff. And there are three other Sale-a-bration sets to choose from too - and you can earn all of them if you want. Check the brochure. Yummy!

Monday, February 1, 2010

A colour challenge!

Anne-Marie, another Stampin' Up demonstrator in the "Gail Force Stampers" family, decided we were all whinging a bit too much about not having any inspiration lately - any "mojo", as we say.

So she threw down the gauntlet. She asked us to open our Summer Mini catalogues to page 16, and look at the "Kaleidoscope" decorative paper there. In catalogues, Stampin' Up thoughtfully prints a colour chart of the colours that match with all their decorative papers. Neat, hey?

Our challenge was to take that palette of six colours, and make ... something ... with it. The colours were a bit eye-popping! There's Tempting Turquoise, Green Galore, Summer Sun, Only Orange, Pink Passion and Pixie Pink. Yes, that's TWO different pinks, and some intense brights. Not my usual combo, but hey, I was up for a challenge.

However, I was a bit short of stamp pads. I only had one of the mentioned colours. So, I pulled out my full set of Watercolour Crayons - what a great way to have one of every colour! And I disregarded the (unspoken) specification that it should be a stamped card. Instead, I went silly with collage. And it was fun! I collaged some papers (photocopies from old magazines), painted thinned gesso over the whole thing (wiping any excess off, especially off the person's face). I coloured with crayon, and used a water brush to move some of the colour around. Then I could stamp on top of the whole thing at will. With borrowed stamp pads - we demonstrators stick together. What fun! Here's my results - and I made some others later, which you'll see on my regular blog.

These stamps are all from the "Hello Again" set, in the Summer mini catalogue. A great, all-purpose stamp set.

Here's Chris' take on the same challenge. And here's Kaz's.