Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Creation abounds (and some Stash Diving, too!)

I found myself in a creative mood the past few days, so I endeavored to continue my quest to use up stuff that's been laying around way too long. I am happy to report I have been somewhat successful, too. ;-)

I consider this first card a Stash Dive qualifier because it includes a piece of Mike's ribbon I purchased in one of the last SCS ribbon-enabling crazes. Most of my Mike's ribbon is purchased because I 'see' the SU colors in it, but when I get it home I go brain-dead. So the fact that I used any of it qualifies it for this challenge.

As an added bonus, I broke out my old had-to-have Fiskar's embossing plates and ran one through the Cuttlebug (another must-have) to create a panel for behind the baby buggy (image by GinaK). The border was given to me by a fellow crafter, and since I am baby-card-challenged, I forced myself to use it instead of putting it in The Stash.

This one is a stretch for the Stash Dive, especially since it uses so much new stuff, like 2 months young new! I got this stamp a while ago because of a card I saw on SCS, so I had stamped him in an attempt to use him, but I just looked at the stamped images...and looked at them some more ... but nothing came to me. So today I rescued him from the pile of started-but-not-completed items and used him (them)! So even though everything else on the card is new, the frogs were a rescue, so it counts.

Also, I was pretty proud of myself for putting Wild Wasabi with Soft Sky. I really should credit the scrap pile for that combo, though, as they were laying next to each other in the heap.

This one uses something I 'discovered' while I sorted and filed my about-to-implode scrap pile this morning, so it counts as a Stash Dive entry. Even though that scrap pile gives me so many good combos and ideas, it really needed to go, as my paper cutter was asking to reclaim its spot on the table.

The So Saffron and Old Olive card stock and the piece of patterned paper were a left-over from a long ago workshop, and just called to me to be used as a set instead of split up and put away. I added some Blue Bayou (I think that's the color ... it was a scrap...) to the layers, and also punched another scrap with the Scallop punch and stuck on a Big Pieces image. Tied on a ribbon - another one done! The sentiment is from the Three Sayings Simply Sent Kit.

So much for the Stash Diving, and on to more creative endeavors with 'fresh' card stock.

For these next three cards I tried out the Serendipity technique that was used for one of the SCS Fan Club Challenges a few weeks ago. I did my own variation of Serendipity in that I chose not to emboss anything. I just used direct-to-paper with the So Saffron, Mellow Moss and Really Rust SU classic ink pads, then stamped some images from the SU True Friend set in black. (The set is from the Holiday Mini.) I then cut the card stock into 1 1/2 inch squares and started using them.

These cards are all inspired, nay - CASEd, from this card on SCS, but I did change one or two things. The first card above has the squares layered on Mellow Moss and put on a So Saffron card base. That's black grosgrain ribbon with a piece of moss tied into the knot.

This one uses a left-over strip of the stamped paper. I used the retired French Script background and layered the Serendipity strip on Always Artichoke. I punched the Designer Label also in Artichoke, and layered one of the Circle of Friendship sentiments on top of it. I attached it with some gold brads since I edged the punched piece with the gold ziggy pen. The whole thing is layered on a Very Vanilla card base.

This last one could actualy be a Stash Dive entry, because today I 'discovered' (again!) some left-over Serendipity squares next to my stamp mat and I could not bear to throw them out. I layered these on black a la the original card referenced above, but since I am The Crooked Stamper, I naturally had some uneven squares. Enter the Opportunity for Embellishment, and a black knotted ribbon found its way to the center of the piece to hide the grevious error. The sentiment is from the Three Thoughts Simply Sent Kit. (Can you tell what I have laying about on my stamp table?)

Some of this creating was going on today since I was home supervising the guys installing ceiling fans and fixing my phone line. Let me tell ya, it was a day of comparing toys. Yes, toys. They pulled out a 4-foot-long drill bit, but yet they were amazed at my 1 3/8 inch circle punch. One of the guys thought we were cutting these shapes. Really! He has obviously never seen any of my work ....

Right now I have a 2-foot by 2-foot hole in my Living Room ceiling, and wires (not hot yet) hanging out of that and several other holes here and there. I have chosen to ignore the comment one guy made about a bushy-tailed critter that scurried past him while he was fishing the phone line through the ceiling...

The cat is utterly exhausted from the effort to stay awake and supervise along with me today. I caught her at several points of near-coma as she tried to sneak in a few short cat naps. Little does she know the guys will be back for Act II tomorrow. I honestly do not think she will ever recover.

As for me, I look forward to another non-work day tomorrow. By the end of the day I shall have fannage and more light, to boot! It will be nice to be able to circulate some air when my Dining Room is filled with 8 ladies emitting much stamping energy. ;-)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Stash Dive Challenge #2-6

In my continued pursuit to make some progress in my paper stash, I came up with the following cards.

First, a shameless CASE of this card on SCS, but I used some of my stash of matte gold paper and some retired gold cord to make it 'my own'. I also made a silver version that used matte silver paper and silver cord. The sentiment is from Hero Arts.

These next four cards are my attempt to use a whole piece of patterned paper, and not be left with any scraps for the scrap pile, which is also growing and about to implode.

This is reversible paper, so it was easier to come up with variations on a t
heme. I really liked how it went with the new Stampin' Up! Basic Gray color paired with the mostly-retired Going Gray. The Happy Birthday sentiment is from Inky Antics.

This is the same card, just with the papers reversed, but I counted it as a second project, mostly because I could.

This one ended up square because of the size of the main piece that grew and grew beyond 4 1/4. It's nice to break outside the standard 4 1/4 x 5 1/2 sometimes. Throws people off, too, since it is so not like me to do that.

Being non-SU patterned paper, I again had the challenge of figuring out what SU colors to use with it. Here I used Regal Rose and Purely Pomegranate. The rest of the recipe includes SU's Heartfelt Thanks stamp set, small and large oval punches, and Going Gray taffeta ribbon.

For this last entry I cut the patterned paper to the intended size (!), and it ended up filling most of the card, so I opted to work on the overlay part, which I think turned out boring, but it works all the same. The sentiment is from SU's Hugs & Wishes set...freshly-mounted rubbah in my house.

I think if I make a few more copies of any of these I'll manage to use up the remaining part of the patterned paper and meet my goal. Yay!

I did the math. It took me 2 hours to come up with these 4 ideas (plus I'll do a few duplicates) to use up one piece of paper. At this rate, based on the amount of paper I have in my stash, it will take me ... hmmm ... 12 boxes ... carry the 2 ... about 7 years to get through it all. That is if I never buy any more paper and no one comes up with anything new. So funny it is almost sad, isn't it. I guess I'd better get crackin' then!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Krum update - One week later

Today was wicked hot, so sitting outside at the market most of the day was, oh, the word 'oppressive' comes to mind. This kind of weather should be outlawed. I brought my trusty room fan to move the air (thank goodness we have electricity available!), plus some frozen towels. Yep, frozen towels. I wet down some kitchen towels and freeze them over night, then pack them in a cooler the next day. We started doing this on our all-day bike rides to cool off after 4 hours of biking in this Hazy, Hot & Humid, so I knew what I had to do to survive the market today. Once the towels start to thaw a bit, you peel them apart and place the partly-frozen towel on your neck, temples, back, front, top of your head, wherever works to cut the hot. It is amazing!

The market was pretty hoppin' considering how hot it was. Most people who stopped by with their dogs had them out because they were on their way home from the Vet. Lots of people went to the Vet today, including me...must be that time of year. My kitty, who normally just acts a little miffed and bothered at the Vet's office decided to be a total witch today, and I have the claw marks to show for the moment she decided she really did not want her back claws clipped.

Anywho, Krum's new Mom came by and gave us a Krum update. When she first took him to the Vet last week he weighed in at 10 ounces. Now he is up to a full pound! One of her two current cats ignores the little guy, but the other one, who is male and 1 1/2 years old, tries to Mother him. So cute!

Krum is doing very well. She reported he now goes all night without needing attention - just like a baby! She is a real trooper for taking him on! He's figured out how to use his mini overnight litter bowl, and has even started to refuse the bottle, so she thinks it may be time for some moist food. She said it was too hot out or she would have brought him - what a good Mom!!! Hopefully we'll get to see him real soon. I plan to pack my camera every week in case he makes an appearance so I can post an updated photo of the little guy.

While I was at the Vet's office this morning, I mentioned to one of the Vet techs about Krum, and they were overjoyed that we'd found him a home, and that our story had a happy ending. She said so many of them do not, so I was again reassured with our collective decision.

Right now I am nestled in my couch in the nice air conditioning, dreading having to go out tomorrow. I plan to hit Lowe's as soon as they open (early!) to pick up some ceiling fans that I am having installed on Tuesday, then I have a stamp club event at 2 where I plan to walk briskly from the air-conditioned car to the air-conditioned community room where we ar meeting. There really oughta be a law about this stinkin' hot & humid stuff outside. Stay cool, wherever you are!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Stash Dive Challenge

You've all heard of the Hand Jive, right? Well this isn't it. Nope, not even close. This is my own version of what other people have done recently, which is to challenge myself (and others, hopefully) to use up some of that stuff you call your 'stash'! My flavor is called The Stash Dive. Lame, I know, but all the good ones like 'Just Use It' and 'Use Em Up' were already taken.

Actually, I did this as a self-challenge earlier this year, and I have dipped into the heap once or twice, but without much luck. I thought maybe if I went public it would force me to do something. Maybe...certainly worth a try.

I would really love it if anyone else would like to play along. There is only one rule: you must use something lurking in your stash that you simply had to have, but you have never quite figured out what to do with it now that it is all yours. For me this includes a ton of very pretty scrapbook paper that seems to jump into my basket when I visit scrapbook stores. Why do I even go there?! Who knows.

And there is no end date to this challenge. Personally, when I cut into a virgin piece of scrapbook paper, I use only a small fraction of it. Sad but true. So for me to make a real dent, this will be an ongoing challenge. I will periodically post things I have made with The Stash, and I hope you will, too.

So for my first entry...ta da!

I got this piece of paper a while ago and I keep looking at it on top of the nearest heap trying to figure out - of course - what to do with it. First, being non-SU, I had to determine what color(s) to put with it. I thought it was between Ruby Red and Groovy Guava, so I used both! Then I decided the whole piece of paper was still too much, so I cut it up into panels a la this week's SCS Sketch Challenge. That was the perfect solution - it broke it up just enough.

I recently acquired the Stampin' Up! True Friend set from the Holiday Mini and I have been dying (did I spell that right?) to use it. I thought the floral complemented the paper's pattern. As an added bonus, I used some now-retired SU copper brads.

I really like how it came out! Maybe I'll make a few more to sell this weekend at the Farmers Market in a shameless attempt to use up most of the sheet.

Off to play some more. If you'd like to play along, just add a comment with a link to your card. Thanks!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Love is in the Air - Meet 'Krum'

Saturday was a great day! Perfect weather again for the Farmers Market...all that Hazy, Hot & Humid was gone. After setting up my tables, one of the farmers mentioned she had a stow-away on her truck. Apparently one of her feral cats had her kittens in the truck a while back, and even though they (the cat family) had moved out of the truck, every once in a while a kitten got stowed in there while Mama went a-huntin'. So she had discovered a stow-away when she got to the market, and he was adorable! He seemed in good shape, but the farmer told us that feral cats are not known to be the best mothers, and even though Mama would probably keep him fed, she thought that was about all she'd do for him, and she was not sure of the life span, or life quality, of a feral cat.

Enter the soft-hearted City Girls - one of them being me. The Blanket Lady donated a blanket and we kept the kitty in a wooden crate and gave him love by gently scratching or rubbing his back so he'd sleep. He is grey with blue eyes, and we figured him to be about 4 weeks old. He fit in the palm of my hand.

After too much handling by interested customers and with him doing a lot of whining, we got some milk and tried to have him lick it off our fingers - no go. Everyone ooh'd and aah'd at him, but no one wanted to take him home. He really was too young to adopt, as he would need to be bottle-fed for a few weeks. Some people were willing to do it, but could not because of the Day Job commitments.

Enter Jennifer, a market regular. She immediately fell in love with him, and offered to go to the Vet to pick up kitty formula and a bottle. The Vet was out, so she went to the local Pet Store and they GAVE her some bottles and formula. Then Jennifer asked us if she could take the little guy home and try to get him to eat. Since she is a regular, we were happy she wanted to help out, especially since he would be cared for in a quieter place.

Fast forward to 2:00, the end of the Market. In comes Jennifer with the kitty in his crate, and he was curled up and sound asleep. She'd taken him to the Vet, who checked him out and he was a very healthy little guy! No fleas - he looked fine! They figured he was 3-4 weeks old, and the reason he was so unhappy is he did not know how to relieve himself - who knew!? Apparently this is something the Mama cats do for the little ones until they can do it for themselves. So Jennifer got a lesson in how to do this (really!), and then she took him home to meet her two current cats. One of them is not too happy, but the younger one wants to help take care of the new guy. SOLD! She came back to tell us she wanted to keep him. And, if for some reason she cannot, then one of the gals at the Vet's office will take him.

His name is now Krum, since that is the name that was painted on the side of the crate he was in. How cute is that?

We are all soooooo happy this had a good ending! We are sure if the farmer had taken him home, Mama cat would have found him and fed him for a few more weeks, but we are all also so aware of over-breeding and all that, so getting him adopted into a City Life home was (we felt) the best option. I can tell you that cat will be loved to pieces! And we'll get weekly updates on him! Can't wait!

I have since done some reading on feral kitten adoption, and all of them say the kittens are much better off being adopted into loving homes. It helps keep down the feral cat population, and they will have much better lives. This makes me feel much better about our collective decision.

Oh, and as for the market itself, today was a very good day for all of us. Not only did we have the kitty to entertain us for the first hour or so, but since it was so nice out, everyone was out walking, most with dogs or baby strollers, or both, and the market was hoppin'! I sold a few more 'One of a Kind' cards, and the woman who ordered the Monogram Note Cards loved them! Like I've said before, it is so nice when other people like your work. It just makes my day!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A Great Week!

When last I left you, I was headed out the door Saturday morning for my weekly Farmers Market. I had packed a cooler with wet, frozen towels to use to try and keep from passing out from heat prostration. Spending 5 hours in the Hazy, Hot & Humid (HH&H) that is DC in August is not the most comfortable way to spend a Saturday, so we try to come prepared. I have a rotating room fan that I plug in and set on High, and we bring lots of cold stuff to drink and otherwise keep from passing out.

Why do we do this? Because WE LOVE IT! Not the hot part, but the comraderie cannot be beat! (Or should that be 'beaten'?) Oh, and all the fresh produce you could possible want! We really do have a good time.

Anywho, I opened the front door fully expecting to be hit in the face with a wall of humidity, only to find it was a totally different situation. I almost said, "Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas anymore." It was sunny, and COOL, and NOT HUMID! Whazzup with that?!? There must have been a storm that I slept through that took away all the HH&H. YAY! When I got to the Market, everyone was smiling! (It's tough to smile when you are already wilted at 8:00 am!)

As far as selling stuff, the past month has been miserable for the crafters. The Farmers are moving those tomatoes like crazy, but no one wants our crafty stuff. It has been slow for all of us, so to our collective delight, it was also a good day sales-wise for us. Double-YAY!

I sold one of what I call my 'One of a Kind' cards - all those prototypes I make, or ideas I try out, or for some reason I only make one of them...they become 'One of a Kind' cards. I had made one with ribbon scraps as a Turkey's tail - got the idea on SCS - and someone loved it! I like it when people like my cards. ;-)

But the best part of the day was a special order I got. When Stampin' Up! first offered the Wonderful Words set, I instantly thought to use the then-available raised-edge note cards to make packs of Thank You notes. (I then had to stock up on those puppies when they retired! Can you say 'hoard'? I am embarassed to say I have a whole drawer full of the buggers.) The Thank You note packs sell great, but this customer was looking for something more appropriate for teenaged boys. I suggested monograms, and an order was placed.

Doing monograms was not such an outlandish idea, as I had recently purchased the JustRite monogram stamper at my LSS, and could not wait to use it for this project! It comes with a reversible pad - black on one side and dry on the other side. The dry side was just asking to be inked with Versamarker refill! Do you see where the brain was going? I was planning to stamp the monogram with Versamark and emboss it with 'manly' colors like Navy and Burgundy. My customer loved the idea!

When I got home from the Market I started to play. Twenty-six note cards later, I decided the JustRite stamper was not going to work for me. I admit I can be tool-challenged, but for a number of reasons, I chose to just use double-sided tape to stick the letters to an acrylic block and use it like a regular stamp. It worked like a champ! This is the result of my labors.

[I tried to crop the photo, but it turned out worse than this, so thanks for putting up with my photographic lack-of-skills...]

I also had a workshop scheduled for the following morning, and since I already had my kit material cut, all I had to do was package it and clean up from the monogram episode. I watched Part 2 of "Pride & Prejudice" and actually got to bed at a reasonable hour the night before a workshop! First time for everything!

Sunday's workshop went well, as did Tuesday evening's. A new customer attended Tuesday and we did not scare her off! She even plans to come back! And I knew she'd fit right in when mid-way through her first project she said, "Oh, I meant to do that!" LOL!

To top it off, Stampin' Up! is ON THE BALL this week! The order I placed from my Open House on the 5th arrived on the 14th, less than the usual 10 days it takes for stuff to find its way to the East Coast. The box usually arrives on my doorstep the day AFTER everyone is here. And then, (yes, there is more!), the order I placed Tuesday night after the workshop shipped the next day! I feel like I am living right this week!

Now if I just did not have to get up and go to work in the morning, it would be the perfect ending to the perfect week ... guess that's too much to ask, though.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Should'a, Could'a, Didn't

You'd think I would learn my lesson from month to month, but nooooo. I always manage to do things the hard way.

After my Open House last weekend, I figured I'd take five cards off the display walls and call it this weekend's workshop. Nope. First I had to resize one of the cards so I had enough ribbon to go around. Then in my Creative Avoidance mode I made up an entirely new card that I decided to use, and THEN I got even more distracted.

I have some TAC stamps I bought a few years ago, and based on my self-imposed rule of "try to use mostly SU stuff" they have been very neglected lately. I love this set, and decided to actually use it to make some cards for today's Farmers Market - I try to always have at least one new thing each week.

I wanted to try Going Gray with Basic Gray, and I do like it. I love the simplicity and inherent strength of these elephants, so I left them alone on the background and just added the sentiment. I decided to embelish with a piece of ribbon from my non-SU stash. At this rate, the stash will last me a lifetime!

Once I had a few of these made, I started to focus on the workshop projects.

[This space not intentionally left blank ...]

Looking over my large stack of new Designer papers from Stampin' Up! I broke into the Porcelain Prints. I LOVE this paper! I wanted to use the flutterby from the Garden Whimsy set since it is so easy to pop up and make a 'WOW'. I rounded only three of the four corners of the white, just to be different.

Recipe (All products by Stampin' Up!): Stamps - Garden Whimsy; Cardstock - Wild Wasabi, Blue Bayou, Whisper White, Porcelain Prints DS paper; Ink - Blue Bayou; Accessories - Blue Bayou double-stitched ribbon.

I got up early this morning due to a wrong number phone call (grrrr) so I decided to be productive and not wait until tonight to cut up the card stock for my kits. Now that THAT is done, all I need to do tonight is pack up the kits and clean off the tables to set up for the workshops. Then I can watch Part 2 of Pride & Prejudice (LOVE that movie!)

I am off to the Farmers Market to hopefully sell something. I have a cooler full of frozen towels to use to try to help me survive the heat. It is ugly out there!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Catch-up Day

You know the saying ... the best-laid plans of mice and men...or in my case, the best-laid plans for my DAY OFF! Can you say 'poof'? In reality, I have no one to blame but myself.

I had today off so I could be home to keep an eye on the cat as the handyman went in and out of various doors of my condo; I had to make sure she did not get any ideas about a little adventure. Lucky for me it was so stinkin' HOT (welcome to DC in August!) she did not even attempt to escape.

So my plan was to wake up on time (which happens even when I do not want it to happen), shower, and get some stuff done before the guy showed up at 9:30. I was somewhat successful. I cleared the rest of my Open House samples off my display walls, broke down the display walls and stashed them in the car, threw a load of wash from the washer into the dryer, took out the trash and recycling, emptied the dishwasher and filled it up again, and then the handyman showed up. Not a bad start to my morning!

Then it got interesting. You see, in theory I was raised to BE a handy person, just like I was raised to know what cut of beef comes from what part of the cow. As I age, I find I have less patience with the 'handy' part of that upbringing - I much prefer to hire someone and have it magically completed for me. As for Part 2 - I still cannot get the beef thing. Fortunately for me I do not eat too much of it, so I can ignore the details. Sorry, Dad, I know you tried.

So as the handguy worked, I had lessons. He was trying to figure out why my backyard light and outlet had no juice, when all of a sudden the bathroom safety outlet was thrown. Turns out there was a connection, and I had a mini-electrical lesson! I also had a few other mini-lessons along the way with the grouting and other tasks on my To Do list.

This was all a good thing, but it did interfere with my plans to get ready for Sunday's workshops! I just called it more Creative Avoidance and got over it. In the 3 hours he was here, I managed to make 2 cards. TWO, just TWO! Sigh.

This first one is a modified version of one I made for my Open House, which was a 5 1/4" square card. I had to modify it to have enough of the ribbon to go around for everyone. There are only two yards of each ribbon in the Ribbon Originals packs, so I need to be frugal.

In all fairness, this one did not take all that long since it was already designed, but I did take the opportunity to make some extras for sale at my Farmers Markets.

Recipe (All products by Stampin' Up!): Stamps - Three Thoughts (Simply Sent Kit), Monogram 't' lower; Cardstock - Blue Bayou, Whisper Whote, Whisper White textured, Blue Bayou DS paper; Accessories - White taffeta ribbon, Sherbet Ribbon Originals.

Now this next one took a lot of time. I dunno - it just took me a while to put it together. I actually stamped the flower and made the panels last night, then I sat and looked at it, then went to bed. I got the colors from the Color Wheel, largely because my brain was tired and I could not think straight. I am always up for help when it is handy!

This one started when I read Captain Crafter's Challenge #22 - to use watercoloring. So, I tried various ways to use this image with watercolors, and I failed miserably. So I opted for regular ink and moved on.

I got the panel idea from some samples on SCS, and this is one of the few large images I have that lends itself to being split up into panels, layered, and still viewable by the naked eye.

Today I decided it needed a square card base, and a fru-fru thingy behind the sentiment. After much playing I ended up with several of SU's Scallop punches to make it a bit frillier than a plain rectangle of card stock would have been. Now that I look at it, I am not so sure this will be the final version, but since it took me ALL DAY to get to this point, I decided to show what I'd done anyway.

Recipe (All products by Stampin' Up!): Stamps - Fabulous Flowers; Cardstock - More Mustard, Not Quite Navy, Old Olive, WHisper White; Ink - More Mustard, Not QUite Navy; Accessories - Mustard gg ribbon, staple, Scallop punch.

After all this laboring, I took advantage of the handyguy being done early afternoon, and I headed to IKEA so as to avoid the weekend crowds. What was I thinking?!?!? Instead of Weekend Warriors (those of us who slave at the office all week and power-run our errands on weekends) I got Daytime Drivers (oh, let's exit right from the left lane, dear), and Idea Shoppers (oh, let's kill some time today and look around IKEA). Grrrrr! I got stuck in Beltway traffic I was hoping to avoid at 2 in the afternoon, then behind several shoppers who had nothing better to do than chat on their cell phones mid-aisle, and the section I wanted was at the BACK of the store. Then, to add insult to injury, they did not have what I wanted. Well, they did, but not in the size I need. So I left.

I was so despondent at the wasted time and gas in this HEAT, that I forgot to stop at the Post Office to mail a retired stamp set someone bought, and at Sears to get a replacement filter for my fridge. And now that it is after 5 pm, my day off is about over. Waaaaahhhh!

I think this evening I will just PICK four more cards out of my Open House pile and call it Sunday's workshop. Some day I will learn.

Tomorrow I have an adventure of my own! I have a Shopping Date with a fellow stamper at at local stamp store, then we are going out for RIBS! Cannot wait! It should make up for today. ;-)

Monday, August 6, 2007

Open House Fall-out

The Open House is over, and I am in break-down and set-up mode all at once! I am breaking down all the display stuff, samples, papers, stamp sets, yada yada yada from the Open House. Then I get to set up the Dining Room for Sunday's workshops. Hey, it keeps me off the streets! I'd have this all done in a day except for that durn Day Job. KIDDING! I like my job (hi, Lisa!), I just wish I had more time to devote to my craft!

Lucky for me I was in such a creative frenzy last week, because now I can select 5 cards off my display walls and call it Sunday's workshop! Yay! Then all I will have to do is make up the kits. I am scheduled to be home on Wednesday because I am having some handyman-type work done - by someone besides me, because in the 10 years it took me to build the list I have never done any of it! - and it involves him doing a lot of going in and out of the condo. Sooo, I will be here to keep an eagle eye on the cat so she does not decide to sneak out and have a kitty adventure. Wednesday will undoubtedly end up being my break-down and set-up day, as long as I do not trip up the handyman!

Believe it or not, as a Demo I get as much out of my Stampin' Up! events as my customers and potential customers do, and probably more! Sure, an Open House lets me show off all our new stuff and try to make the attendees want to covet it all themselves, but I also learn from them. For example, in a last-ditch effort to add some dimension to my display walls (and yes, to fill them up some more), I made a few of the cute lanterns I saw on the Demo side of SCS and hung them up on my display. They are too easy to make, and I was thinking 'holiday decorations' for those who celebrate holidays for which you would decorate.

Here is a very bad shot of two of the lanterns. Bad lighting, bad angle, poor photograph(er), etc. But you get the idea, which may be the best I can do here... (Directions are below.)

One of the new faces in my group is a Kindergarten teacher, and she was looking at EVERYthing from a different point of view. Where you or I (or most of my customers, for that matter) were thinking about making the lanterns out of the double-sided Christmas papers, she saw black & orange for Halloween to decorate her classroom. And, the kids could actually make them, to boot! Never even crossed my mind! So now I am looking at things that would work in many ways; not just for a card, for example, but could a particular planned project be mixed up a little and made into something completely different? Hmmmm... a little mind exercise never hurt anyone! At least I am exercising SOMEthing! LOL!

And on the subject of cards, one of my make-and-takes was a 3x3 card that used the Thank You from the Short & Sweet set. I almost always leave the stamp sets out on my project stations when I do an event, which serves two purposes. One, it lets people see what else is in the set that goes with the stamp(s) they are using; and two, it lets them switch out a sentiment or image more to their liking, or they can add an additional image to their project (some do something on the inside, because I almost never do.) I think the flexibility this provides helps to mix up the creative juices. After all, my samples are only a Serving Suggestion, as I call them.

So this long, hot-air, round-about paragraph of spew actually takes us back to the Thank You sentiment. One of my customers was checking out the other sayings in the Short & Sweet set because, as she said so calmly, "I do not thank too many people." Too funny! As I wiped the tears from the corners of my eyes, she continued, "I am really not all that grateful. Hey, people should be thanking ME!" What a hoot! It may have been the highlight of my day! (Thanks, Ruby!)

So that's all for now. I will go select the five lucky projects for this weekend, and start reclaiming my Dining Room. It beats cleaning!

Directions for making a lantern: Take 12 strips of 1x6 paper and stack them on top of each other. Punch holes at either end with your Cropodile. Knot a piece of ribbon and thread it through one end so the knot will show at the bottom of the lantern. Thread it through the other hole. Pull so you start getting a "U" shape with the papers. Knot the other end close to the lantern, but make sure you have enough extra ribbon on it so you can hang it. Then fan out the strips of paper to make the lantern.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Captain Crafter Challenge #21

This is my entry for Captain Crafter's Challenge #21. I doubled it up to make a card using all new stuff so I can display it for my Open House tomorrow.

It was veeeeery late last night when I did this, so it is definitely not my best work, but it looks good from across the room. ;-) These close-up shots, though, I dunno ...

The Chip Board square with the little flower in the corner is from the new On Board Blossoms & Basics. I used the Versamarker on the flower and embossed it in white. Then I inked the square in Blue Bayou and went back with the Versamarker and added another layer of white to the flower, and I also did the edge of the square for some contrast.

Recipe: Stamps - Short & Sweet; Card stock/paper - Blue Bayou, Blue Bayou DS paper, Ink - Blue Bayou, Basic Gray, Versamarker; Accessories - Blue Bayou Double-stitched ribbon, On Board Blossoms & Basics chipboard, white EP.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Blame it on the walls

Yes, the walls...it is all the walls' fault. Well, it is really the fault of the person who bought the walls, then decided it would be a good idea to use them for her Open House. That would be me.

As a crafter, I sometimes do shows that want you to set up a 10x10 booth, so I have grid walls for that purpose. And because when I display my cards in card racks on those walls they need to be at or just above eye level (think mini-card-store and you'll do fine), the bottom of the walls are never used. SO, when I purchased them, I opted for taller bases (feet) so my 6'-high walls would be 7' high. Perfect for craft shows, but not so perfect when they are in my Dining Room and I have to FILL THEM WITH CARD SAMPLES! What was I thinking?!!?!?

But, it is all I have, so I am determined to complete the task before people start arriving Sunday morning.

This evening, I decided to put the fish episode behind me and move on to some of my un-used new sets. Following is what I ended up with. All of these use Stampin' Up!-only supplies.

This one uses the Brocade Designer paper on River Rock textured card stock. I really liked the two together, but it needed a little something for contrast, so I layered the Elegant Eggplant under the tag.

Aaaaaaand, in a totally not-me moment, didja notice this one is square? Don't know what came over me....

Recipe: Stamps - Block Party; Card stock/paper - River Rock textured, Brocade DS paper, Elegant Eggplant, Wisper White; Ink - River Rock; Accessories - Old Olive 5/8" grosgrain ribbon,Hodgepodge Hardware, River Rock Double-stitched ribbon.

This next one is also square...hmmmm.....

Still playing with the Brocade Designer paper, I decided to keep this one simple, too.

Recipe: Stamps - Sweet Sampler; Card stock/paper - Old Olive textures, Brocade DS paper; Ink - in Basic Gray; Accessories - Basic Gray taffeta ribbon.

For this one I wanted to use the lower case 't' Monogram. I bought it in a Good Demo moment because I thought I should have at least one, and naturally it works with the word 'thanks'. Too easy.

But, like the big monogram stamps, when you remove the die-cut part, you are left with the negative image. With my large monograms, I mounted the negative on the reverse side of the wood block. For this one, though, I actually mounted the sticker on the block, but I did keep the negative around.

So, for this card, instead of using the stamp itself, I had the idea to use the negative like a stencil, and I traced it on the back side of the paper I wanted to use, then cut it out. I then decided to mount THAT onto a piece of scrap card stock to give it some body. I kept the rest of it pertty plain, partly because I hit a creative block, but I also decided I liked it that way. ;-) (Plain, not the creative block.)

Recipe: Stamps - Monogram 't' Lower, Three Thoughts (Simply Sent Kit); Card stock/paper - Whisper White textured, Blue Bayou Designer paper; Ink - Blue Bayou "marker"; Accessories - White taffeta ribbon, Pomegranate from the Sherbet Ribbon Originals.

Moving on, I decided to see what I could do with the Neighborhood Jumbo Wheel. I make note cards for my Farmers Market, and I originally bought it with that in mind. But my Customers don't do that, so I tried to think of some other way to use it.

By the way, I actually have two of these wheels. I was so excited to own it, I bought one, then got a second one with my Hostess bucks. I really should pay more attention...

Anyway, even though I may have a black inked cartridge for the Jumbo handle, I instead prefer to ink up my wheels directly on the ink pads. Not always the best coverage, so when I inked and rolled, naturally there were some 'misses'. Could be Operator Error, too (ya think?) ... sometimes it works better than others.

Never fear!!! I cut the image apart and used two of the best-inked parts to make two cards. Clever, non? I think it gives you a lot more options than the usual wheeling across a single card.

Recipe: Stamps - Neighborhood Jumbo Wheel, Warm Words; Card stock - River Rock, River Rock Designer paper, Cameo Coral and Garden Green textured c/s; Ink - Basic Gray; Accessories - River Rock stitched ribbon.

I seem to be using Basic Gray a lot since I've gotten it. Thinking back to my cross-stitching days, when I could still see the teeny tiny symbols in the little squares in the design instructions, I used a charcoal-colored floss instead of black to outline shapes. Same idea here - less of a contrast than Black. I am sooo glad Stampin' Up! decided to offer this color!

Tomorrow I have the Farmers Market in the morning, then I have to clean. I think I will set a personal goal to clean before I can play any more. Yes, I have more samples to make, but I need to make sure people will fit in to this tiny condo on Sunday, so clean I must.

I just realized what time it is, which explains why I cannot type any more - you have no idea how much re-typing I have been doing!!! G'night!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Three Fish, Four Fish ...

Okay, so I lied about no more fish for a while. I showed my examples to someone at work today, and she immediately thought I should do Tropical fish since they are so colorful...which led to Finding Nemo, and his pal Dora. Hey, it was a totally logical progession for us!

So this is Nemo and Dora. Dora got the big eye since she is that kind of gal. Nemo got the googlie eye since it seemed to fit him better.

I tried to get the colors right, but I prefer to call it Nemo-inspired and get away with creative license.

Recipe (All but the eyes by Stampin' Up!): Stamps - Bodacious Bouquet; Card stock - Brocade Blue, Bashful Blue, Brilliant Blue, Yoyo Yellow, Only Orange; Ink - Garden Green; Accessories - Round Tab punch, 1/2" punch, 1/4" punch, black marker, white gel pen, googlie eyes.

[Scroll, please...Blogger and I still disagree how this spacing thing works.]

This is my version of Kissing Fish. Not the actual fish, but the kissing part. I think this would make a nice Anniversary card. I considered adding a black bow tie to the 'guy' fish, but changed my mind. I may kick it up if I ever make more to sell at my Farmers Markets.

The next card is the same except I wheeled a row of the Sandy Shells along the bottom.

Recipe (All products except the eyes by Stampin' Up!): Stamps - Baroque Notifs, Moose You (heart); Card stock - Basic Gray, Whisper White, Textrued Sahara Sand; Ink - Basic Gray, Real Red; Accessories - Round Tab punch, black marker, googlie eyes.

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Yes, I have been a busy bee tonight! The 2-5-7-10 box was today's SCS Wednesday tutorial. Funny, but I actually made boxes with these dimensions 2 years ago when I discovered the 2-4-6-8 box, although my version did not have the cool flap on it. I thought the 2-4-6-8 box was too small to put anything in, so I made it one inch bigger on two of the sides, which made it 2-5-7-10. Interesting, non?

The detail for tonight's box was inspired by many I have seen on SCS the past few days as I continue to troll for ideas for my display for Sunday's Open House. This week my goal is to cram as much new stuff into my creations as I can, and this one has lots. 'Tis the first time I used the stamp set, I snuck in some of the new Blue Bayou DS paper and the Double-stitched Blue Bayou ribbon. Not too bad, if I do say so myself.

I only made one, so of course the scallop and eyelets are crooked since I did not do it over and over and over. People will get the idea, which is what all this is about anyway...the suggestion of 'cool' and the desire to own all the stuff necessary to make it themselves. Oooh, spoken like a true Good Demo. ;-)

Recipe (All products by Stampin' Up!): Stamps - Garden Whimsy; Card stock & paper - Purely Pomegranate, Whisper White, Blue Bayou DS paper; Ink - Purely Pomegranate; Accessories - Blue Bayou Double-stitched ribbon, Corner Rounder punch, 1/8" punch, white eyelets.

Moving on - yes, I did even more - I tried the Faux Suede technique, and I even though it looks okay, it was not a total success. I distressed and crumpled and wet and uncrumpled and wet and re-crumpled, but I could not get the card stock to separate, so I left it whole. Other than that, I think it came out fine.

I love the new Outlook DS papers, and they go so well with Faux Suede, so I cut into another piece and used both sides of it. Please ignore the messed up image on the right side of the card; or should I say, "I meant to do that." ??

Recipe (All products by Stampin' Up!): Stamps - Bronc Buster; Card stock & paper - Kraft, Close to Cocoa, OUtlaw DS paper; Ink - Choc Chip; Accessories - Vintage Brads.

And last, but not least, although not my best work, I tried to think up a way to Demo the new Totally Tabs set. I think this card is a bit lame, and yes, I schmeared the ink, but I am running out of juice - it is waaaay past my bedtime - and I decided it will do for tonight. I may get a conscience and re-do it tomorrow; we'll see.

Even though it is lame, I did manage to cram a lot of new stuff on there: Basic Gray card stock & ink (my FAVorite things so far this catalog year!), the Charbon DS paper, and the Vanilla taffeta ribbon, in addition to the stamps. Yay! Did you see how I snuck in the sentiment? I stamped the 'thank you' from All Holidays on the left-most tab. It was all I could think of - the background paper seemed to dark to stamp on directly. I think I like it. ;-)

Recipe (All products by Stampin' Up!): Stamps - Totally Tabs, All Holidays; Card stock & paper - Basic Gray, Very Vanilla, Charbon DS paper; Ink - Basic Gray; Accessories - Vanilla taffeta ribbon, Round Tab punch.

Time to hit the hay; I'll pick back up tomorrow evening. I have a few more stamp sets to ink and samples to make before I consider my Open House display ready for Prime Time. Last year I made mostly samples from the Idea Book & Catalog, and I will probably do that the rest of this week.