Sunday, July 13, 2014

Lawn Fawn Admit One Birthday Balloons

This will likely be my last post of the month. I am finally having the much needed surgery on my back that I have been anxiously awaiting. I hope to be back to crafting and posting by the first of August, if not sooner. I'm usually quick to heal, and my surgeon is the best in the area, so I'm optimistic. Anyway, today's post is for the Lawnscaping Color Challenge

This was a true challenge for me as I didn't have the Copic colors that I wanted to color any kind of animal, water, or sky. It seems I skimped when buying my blues. I was able to make B00 and BG01 work to color the blue balloon. The same combo wouldn't have worked for sky or water. I've been looking for a reason to use my Admit One set, so this seemed to be the perfect opportunity. I love carnival and circus themes. Something about the bright colors and balloons. It reminds me of my youth. I look forward to using this set more frequently. I love the stitched journaling card die, too! It was one of those "have to have it" purchases.

I used Copic markers and the Admit One stamp set to create my card. I used the free sample of Pink Lemonade cardstock that was included with my last Lawn Fawn order as my background. I used the Stitched Journaling Card die to cut Whisper White card stock, stamped and colored the balloons on Whisper White, then cut using the Admit one balloon die. I adhered Crushed Curry baker's twine with glue dots under the center of each balloon, brought the strings down, and tied a bow to create my balloon trio. After I was satisfied with the placement of the strings, I removed the backing on the Stampin' Dimensionals and stuck each balloon down.

I used the happy birthday stamp from Stampin' Up's And Many More set to stamp the sentiment on vellum then cut with the Itty Bitty Banners framelits Dies. I was able to use a glue dot over the twine to adhere the banner without any adhesive being visible. The project took all of 15 minutes to create, coloring and all. I think it took me more time to get a useable photo of the card.

Thank you for looking! Wishing everyone a wonderful summer. Please pray for a speedy recovery for me! I may have confidence in my surgeon, and have been desperate to get back to being fully independent and free of intolerable pain, but it is my spine. Prayers certainly can't hurt! To all of my fellow demonstrators, I hope you enjoy convention this year! I was so looking forward to it. It wasn't meant to happen this year. I hope to join you all next year in Salt Lake. 

Supplies used:

Stamps: Admit One(Lawn Fawn), And Many More(Stampin' Up!)

Ink: StaZon Jet Black

Paper: Pink Lemonade DSP(Lawn Fawn), Whisper White CS(Stampin' Up!, Vellum(Stampin' Up!)

Accessories: Stitched Journaling Card Die(Lawn Fawn), Admit One Dies(Lawn Fawn), Bitty Banners Framelits Dies(Stampin' Up!), Crushed Curry Baker's Twine(Stampin' Up), Stanpin' Dimensionals, Glue Dots

Copic Ciao Markers: Y08, Y06, Y02, YR07, YR04, YR02, B00, BG01

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Creating Custom Project Life Cards

My love of paper crafting started with traditional scrapbooking in 2005. Since the first few months, I haven't finished any pages. I have a bad habit of not finishing things, especially things that require me to use a printer to print photos. I wasn't overly excited about Project Life, but ordered the Everyday Adventure kit and one of the stamp sets just to try it out. I found it far less intimidating, as I could add things at my leisure. Since the preorder in May I have finished 6 "pages" and plan on doing many more. Having the ability to make custom cards that match the ones in the package has made Project Life even more exciting for me.

 I found the idea on Pinterest, so I'm not claiming ownership of the concept. I can't believe how much fun this is! The Project Life stamp sets are great for creating custom Project Life cards that will match the packaged sets. In the photos below I have the ones that I created on the right, with one from the box on the left just to show how well they match. All you need is ink, stamps, and some dies to cut out masks. Beyond that there really are no limits!

If you want to try scrapbooking, this is a great place to start! The kits work great for journals, too. I'm currently working on one with my daughter. Project Life is a great project to work on with the kids, which is great if you feel a little bit guilty for not letting your kids color with you when you're using your shiny new markers, as I did. More importantly, it's a great way to keep the memories documented and pass them down to further generations.

All supplies Stampin' Up unless noted

Stamps: Borderettes, Remember This, Geek is the New Chic(A-Muse Studio)
Ink: StaZon Jet Black, Bermuda Bay, Crushed Curry, Pear Pizzazz, Pumpkin Pie, Strawberry Slush
Paper: Whisper White
Accessories: Ovals Framelit Dies(to create mask), Project Life Cards & Labels Framelits Dies, Sizzix Big Shot

Keeping it Clean & Simple With Stampin' Up's Blendabilites

When I think Blendabilities, or Copics for that matter, images of beautifully detailed flowers enter my head. Since I prefer clean & simple cards, I've always thought that alcohol markers just weren't for me. I couldn't make a shabby chic or collage card if I tried. I'm also terrible at using traditional coloring methods like watercoloring. I wasn't expecting to love Blendabilities as much as I now do. I ordered them with the expectation that they would end up collecting dust with the Copics that I bought in 2011. I am so glad that I tried something new! They are now my favorite crafting tool.

I've wanted to make this card since I bought the Countless Sayings I photopolymer set. I even colored it in on a practice sheet that I stamped when I first got my Blendabilities. This card goes to show that in just 5 minutes or less you can still make a card that isn't boring. I toyed with the idea of adding sequins or enamel dots, but I wanted something that could be created with very little cost. You could make an entire set of these cards in less than an hour. 

If you still are on the fence about Blendabilities, I would recommend starting with 2 or 3 colors. My favorites to work with are Cherry Cobbler, Rich Razzleberry, and Daffodil Delight. I love all of them, but I found these to be a bit easier to work with when I had no clue of how to use them.

Also, if you're just starting out and finding that you're having trouble blending, I would recommend trying the Copic Mini Pack card stock or Xpress Blending Card. I was unable to do much of anything on Whisper White when I first started out. I switched to Xpress Blending Card and found it much easier. Once I was able to color an image with some degree of confidence, I found it much easier to color on Whisper White. Just a tip, I know I'm probably not supposed to recommend anything but Stampin' Up product, but I want you to learn to love your Blendabilities. If it takes using a different brand of card stock, I don't see the harm.

All supplies from Stampin' Up!

Stamp: Countless Sayings I Photopolymer
Ink: Momento Tuxedo Black
Paper: Cherry Cobbler & Whisper White Card Stock
Accessories: Cherry Cobbler Blendabilities, Dimensionals

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Patriotic Paper Pumpkin Party Creations

I wanted to take the time to share some of what I created using the June Paper Pumpkin kit. Refills are still available. If you would like to order a refill kit, they are $7.95 plus shipping and tax. They are available only while supplies last. 

I was able to create 3 pinwheel bouquets. One for my mother, one for her to display at her office, and one for my desk. I also created a pinwheel basket. I made some treat bags and paper straws for the 4th of July barbecue. All of that and I still have supplies left over in the kit. Here are some of my creations:

I apologize for the photo quality. I am using an iPhone for photos and posting. It is impossible to sit at the computer. Thanks for stopping by. Have a safe 4th of July! Thank you to all of those who have served or are currently serving our country. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Paper Pumpkin Pinwheel Party Bouquet

I am in love with the latest Paper Pumpkin kit! I wanted to make something that wasn't a card just to feel somewhat accomplished. Our new home is in need of some decor anyway. With Independence Day right around the corner, the Pinwheel Party Paper Pumpkin kit was a perfect place to start. All I had to add was a vase, stones, and a piece of Night of Navy Seam Binding Ribbon. It really was that simple. It took me longer to find somewhere well lit to take the photo than it did to put the whole thing together! The refill kit is available to Paper Pumpkin subscribers while supplies last. If you don't need the ink or stamps that came with it and didn't subscribe in time, you can order the refill kit for $7.95 if you sign up for Paper Pumpkin today. It's quite a steal at that price!

I never thought I would like kits. My only regret is waiting so long to sign up! I have all kinds of creative plans for the Pinwheel Party set. I even ordered 2 refill kits already! As lovely as the little pinwheel bouquet is, the greatest Paper Pumpkin moment for me was when I handed a finished pinwheel to my 3 year old daughter. Her whole face lit up and she was so excited. After thanking me at least 20 times she proceeded to run off to proudly show everyone in the house her new treat. Of all the things I have missed while being almost completely incapacitated, it is the time I spend creating with one of my children by my side. Being able to make her a treat made my day. 

I'm going to make a stepped up version of this to give Mom. I've fallen behind on my weekly gifts. I can't wait to share the next one with you! I have been learning a few new techniques that I've always wanted to learn but never had time for. Check back in a few days to see my latest Paper Pumpkin creating. Thanks for stopping by!

All supplies are Stampin' Up! unless noted

Stamps - None
Ink - None
Paper - From the Pinwheel Party Paper Pumpkin Kit(June 2014)
Accessories - Real Red Straws, Silver Brads(both from June Paper Pumpkin), Night of Navy Seam Binding Ribbon, Glue Dots, Vase, Polished Rocks

Monday, June 23, 2014

Salt Shaker Vase

I've decided to blog some of my previously unblogged creations during my downtime. This was one of my first original ideas for something other than a card. 

For some reason I chose to add the Spiral Flower Bigz die to one of my orders. From time to time I like to chose an item that I have no interest in to add an to a large order. Usually I do this using my Hostess benefits so I can justify it as "free" to myself.

I did this long before becoming a demonstrator. Long ago in the world of business I learned that inventory was not just about what I liked. I carried that lesson with me and applied it to all areas of my life. Whether it be books, groceries, clothing, or crafts. You can't expand much if you don't try new things. Some of my favorite outfits, meals, and craft supplies were actually acquired this way.

Ok, so the concept of the vase itself is quite simple. It was an inexpensive salt and pepper shaker set. Not from the dollar store, but under $5 for the set. I like it. It has just enough style, yet is still plain enough to be embellished. 

The flowers were made using the spiral flower die. I used hot glue to set them after rolling tightly around the handle of my paper piercing tool. Prior to rolling them I pierced a hole in the center of the base piece of the flower. After allowing the glue to cool I threaded floral wire through the hole, into a button, then back down through the other button hole, then back down through the hole in the flower. 

I stamped the image from the By the Tide set and hand cut the image. Yep, someone is still regretting all of that "saving" they did by not buying all of the circle punch sizes. I tied Crushed Curry Chevron ribbon around the shaker itself, then used linen thread to tie the stamped image to that. The floral wire was cut to the appropriate length, then placed into the shaker through the holes in the lid. 

This one was made with Mom in mind. She loves her beach theme. She also has about 400 shades of turquoise in her bathroom alone. I know it sounds awful, but somehow she pulls it off. Only Mom could do such a thing. 

This is a really easy project. It can be done it surprisingly little time. I would suggest stocking up on glue sticks, shakers, and floral wire. It's a tad bit addicting. I'm planning on doing an upgraded version for craft fairs. Mom gets all of my first runs, but she's more than ok with that. Happy crafting!

All supplies are from Stampin' Up!

Stamps: By the Tide
Ink: Coastal Cabana
Paper: Daffodil Delight, Bermuda Bay, Coastal Cabana, Very Vanilla
Accessories: Crushed Curry Chevron Ribbon, Linen Thread, hole punch, salt shaker, Spiral Flower Bigz Die, Big Shot, Floral Wire, Brights Collection Buttons, Regals Collection Buttons, hot glue gun

Saturday, June 21, 2014

My First Paper Pumpkin - Just in Time!

I know, seeing as I'm a demonstrator you'd think that I wouldn't have waited until now to subscribe to Paper Pumpkin. There are a few reasons that I held back as long as I did. The first reason is easy, I'm cheap, hate spending money, I'll admit it. Hate spending money, and I will admit that this mentality has always ended up being more costly in the long run, but it's a tough habit to break. I'm working on it.

The second reason is probably a bit more common, I like to be creative. I see the kits in the catalog, or the subscription based ones and regardless of how cute they are, I find myself thinking that it seems to much like cheating. I mean, I want to envision something in my head, dig through every basket of my supplies to find just the right pieces to use, and end up with a creation that almost sort of resembles that seemingly unattainable perfect vision I had. It makes me feel like I did something. Sure, I didn't change the world, I probably didn't even make a difference in anyone's life by creating it, but I end up with a tangible product that is of my own creation.

The third reason? I like surprises, I do, but not when it's "surprise! your checking account went negative by $1 because you failed to remember that all of your scheduled monthly payments, regardless of when they are SUPPOSED to be debited from your account, were all taken out on the same day, which just happens to be the day your husband "forgot" to go to the bank and put his check in."

It doesn't seem to matter that you scheduled these automatic transactions at staggered dates throughout the month, or what kind of calendar you track them on, SOMETHING always seems to go amiss, and that $36 could have been spent on something useful! I don't do monthly subscriptions, not unless I can just pay for it ahead of time and not have to worry surprise overdraft fees.  

Last month I saw that Stampin' Up! was now offering a prepaid alternative for Paper Pumpkin. Yay! I thought about it for a few days, and figured why the heck not? I didn't want to wait until it was too late and see a whole bunch of cute creations start popping up in the blogosphere, and kick myself for not taking a few minutes and spending $19.95 to at least see what this Paper Pumpkin thing is all about.

At the time I also had noticed that it was becoming increasingly difficult for me to create much of anything, so I figured it really couldn't hurt to have something on hand that could be assembled without getting off the couch if need be. I have always just pushed through illness and injury, so it was more of a doomsday preparation than anything. I'm glad I had the foresight. About 3 weeks ago it became more than just "taking it easy". There was no pushing through, that made things hurt more. I had to admit defeat. I had to move from my new position on the couch, a piece of furniture that I have never spent much time with, to my bed. 

Bed? During the day? This isn't me!  Help! Fix it! Fine, I will see a doctor, or 10, just tell me what I have to do to get my life back. Not so simple. Getting to the doctor hurt, I'm no longer even driving, but the car ride hurts. Sitting in the waiting room hurts. But he has steroids, and he's the best around, and since he doesn't look panic stricken, this means I'll be back to myself in no time, right? Not so much. Steroids have always been synonymous with relief for me, seeing as I have Crohn's Disease. My logic says that even if he injected them in my big toe, I should feel slightly better. Why do I not feel better? It makes no sense. Back to bed for me after that appointment with nothing but more question marks looming over my head. I have the TV off, not necessarily because there's nothing worth watching on. No, it's a matter of principal for me. If you're at home during the day and staring at a TV screen, you have failed. I'm not judging anyone else, this is merely a picture in my head of what I did not want to do with my life, so the TV stays off. 

Ok, well that's great. I love a good book. Wait, books are all still the garage. With the exception of my Bible, my quad, and a few beloved Joyce Myer books and the Glenn Beck books I had autographed last summer, everything else is packed. Ok, love Glenn, let's read that. A few pages in, I realize that I don't need to feel more helpless. My head already feels like it may implode at any moment. But I can't think about anything like that right now, not when all I have is time to think and no way to do anything. Joyce Myer, yep, but they don't fill the whole day. Same for the Bible and all of my Scriptures. Definitely need them, but I can't spend the entire day reading anything. My vision is far too bad for that and my good hand is going numb. Can't have cubital tunnel surgery now, don't want to have it later, can't have arm in book holder mode longer than 15 minutes at a time.

Well ok then. Candy crush is only fun until you have no lives left. I'm not paying for them. I'm certainly not spamming the friends that I have managed to keep with requests for extra lives in Candy Crush. Plus, same as the book, can't hold an iPhone or iPad at that angle either. I've already skimmed through the last 10 years of Stampin' Up catalogs and miscellaneous magazines on crafts. I even read through Mom's stash of random magazines that she kindly brought over. Heavy on the pictures, because at this point there isn't much energy left to even think. 

I figure if I have one of the kids bring in some of the new catalog stuff that I will be inspired. Maybe I can envision something and turn it into a real creation. Ok, maybe, but even after trying this repeatedly, having them fetch the needed supplies from my desk and all, I find that I've gone through 3 whole sheets of Whisper White card stock just trying to stamp a simple sentiment to cut out. Not a one of the stamped sentiments was even close to useable. I can't explain why this is, but I certainly know that the frustration did not help boost morale any. 

So there I am, left with just my thoughts, and the 3 cats that are piled on me in a tumor-like fashion. This is not a good thing. I give in and take something for the pain, thinking that maybe if I'm able to eliminate just a bit of it I'll be able to do something other than lay in bed. Or maybe it will take away enough pain and my brain will be able to think creative thoughts. Ha! Feel so funny that creative thoughts are clearly not on the agenda. Yes, I'm a lightweight.

Scrap that idea. Even if I can relieve some pain and make it out of bed, I know darn well that I'm not going to take enough of it for a long enough period of time for that funny feeling to not bother me. At this point I am driving myself insane. I feel bad for those who have no choice but to be around me. I don't even want to be around me. 

And finally the doorbell rings. The neighbor is holding that little orange box that I have been looking oh so forward to seeing. Not sure why it was delivered to her mailbox instead of mine, but that's ok, because my husband is in charge of retrieving our mail these days, and had it been delivered to our box, I would probably still be waiting a few weeks more for it.

As clearly demonstrated here, not having something to occupy one's time can indeed lead to insanity. I was so happy to have that little orange box. I had no idea of what the box actually contained. But I did know that there was hope inside the box. I didn't care if I was just copying instructions. Any previous negative thoughts that I had harbored about kits being too simple or unoriginal were long gone. What had only one month ago been something that I was curious about turned into something that represented hope, a reason to smile, a break from my thoughts, and the highlight of my month. What seemed so simple not very long ago had become more than just an orange box that I had to worry about justifying spending $20 on if my husband saw it. Yes, this really was what I thought when I ordered it. Yet another benefit of the prepaid subscription.

I was finally able to make something. It sounds really simple. Even having lived for many years with a chronic illness, I don't think I could have fully appreciated just how big an impact something so seemingly small could have. It was the first time I felt something other than hopeless, frustrated, or upset in 3 weeks. No, it doesn't cure me. But I know all too well from experience that maintaining as much "normal" as possible in the face of adversity goes a long way to preserve one's mental, physical, and spiritual health. 

I apologize for making what could have been short an incredibly long story. I'm just happy to finally have been able to make something! This month's kit is awesome, too. I was hoping it was going to be something patriotic, and it is, but it's also a whole lot of cute! Even if I felt awesome, it would take a lot of time to track down the "ingredients" to recreate this. It would certainly cost a lot more, which was surprising to me. 

I plan to continue when I make a full recovery. You never know when you might need to make something on short notice. If this month's kit is any indication of what's to come, quality and cuteness are included, so you don't have to sacrifice those. I will admit that I was afraid that maybe the "ingredients" would be not quite the same quality as similar stand alone items sold in the catalog. They far exceed what I was expecting. And hey, if you ever find yourself down, it wouldn't hurt to have a stockpile of little orange boxes on hand. As I have found, this reason alone is more than enough. The beauty of the prepaid subscription is that you can buy it now and activate it whenever you want, or as a gift.

I won't lie, I'd love nothing more than for you to order some, but that isn't the reason I'm posting. I'm posting because for the first time in weeks I have a reason to. I imagine the other reason is probably fueled by pain meds, so I will apologize for that. Now you see what I mean when I say I don't like them. Mostly though, even though I thought I knew the value of this while I was anticipating its arrival, even I was shocked at just how much of a difference it made. I plan to buy a few one month prepaid subscriptions to hang onto and use as gifts in the future when someone else is going through a rough patch or needs some cheering up. 

I could have never imagined just how much one little orange box could make. Now that I know, I can use my experience to hopefully put a smile on someone's face in the future with the simple gift. And here is a picture of the 3 that I created last night. I know, they aren't an original creation, but I created something. Also, I love the little straws. I've been wanting to buy some for a while now, but the cheap voice in my head always won that battle. Loving the pinwheels too. To be honest, I'd forgotten how to make them! These are 100% idiot proof. They are also 100% cute! I'm in love with the paper.