Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

One last Christmas card to share today (although you might still see a winter-themed card here and there - we still have a long ways to go till spring!). I bought these Studio Calico button stamps several months ago, but this is the first time I've gotten to use them. I think they'd look even better heat embossed, or covered in Ranger Glossy Accents. I can't wait to play around with them some more!

Let me tell you, I am SO ready for Christmas to be here. Today has been one of "those" days - woke up to water leaking out of the toilet tank (and I had just put one of those blue discs in, so bright blue water was staining the grout behind the toilet). Had a guy come to "fix" it, which left blue water ALL over the bathroom floor. Sacrificed some towels to clean up the blue mess, then threw them in the washer... only to walk by a few minutes later to see sudsy water all over the floor, and gushing out of the front of the washer... This was all happening mere hours before friends were scheduled to come over - so in the middle of all the chaos I was also trying to bake mini coffee cakes (from a never-tried-before recipe), make a gift tag, sign a card, wrap said cakes, and apply my makeup... Really, all I could do was laugh. Can we just skip ahead 16 or so hours to Christmas?

Wishing you all a wonderful holiday weekend (and hoping your toilets and washers are all in working order)! ; )

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Studio Calico (Buttons), Studio G (sentiment); Ink: Ranger Distress (Antique Linen), Stampin' Up craft (Always Artichoke), Ink It Up! pigment (red); Patterned Paper: Basic Grey (Eskimo Kisses); Accessories: Cuttlebug / 2x2 Scalloped Squares dies / 2x2 Circles dies, cereal box "chipboard," embroidery floss, small corner rounder punch, foam dimensionals

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Deck the Halls

Can you believe Christmas is almost here? Yikes! I still have so much to do! I made this quick card yesterday in between bouts of cleaning (my father-in-law is coming to stay with us for a few weeks, so we've been in deep-clean mode). I wanted to try out this Cricut diecut, and decided it would look even better with glitter. I used this super-easy method:
  1. Place dicut face-down on craft mat.
  2. Apply a large piece of packing tape to the back of the diecut, covering the cutout opening(s).
  3. Flip diecut back over, right-side facing up. The sticky side of the tape should be showing through the cutout(s).
  4. Pour glitter onto diecut. Cover with a scrap piece of paper and press down firmly in order to adhere glitter evenly to sticky areas. Tap off excess glitter, and voila! A glittered image without any messy glue!
I've been tagged by the super-talented Cristina to answer a few questions about myself. So here goes!

1. Four shows that you watch:
    Vampire Diaries
    Criminal Minds

2. Four things you are passionate about:
    My husband
    The NGO my husband and I work with here in China
    Creativity in all forms

 3. Four words/phrases you say a lot:
    No barking! (to our Schnauzer)
    你好 ("hello" in Chinese)
    Coffee sounds REALLY good right now!

4. Four things you've learned from the past:
    Home is relative.
    You're stronger than you think you are.
    You CAN have too much chocolate.
    Go ahead and try "it" (whatever "it" is) - you just might really like it!

5. Four places you would like to go:
    Angkor Wat

6. Four things you did yesterday:
    Started cleaning up my craft area (but then...)
    Made another mess in my craft area
    Played around with my Cricut
    Watched a movie with dh

7. Four things you are looking forward to:
    Our wedding anniversary next week (14 years!)
    Our trip to Thailand next month
    My new Cricut cartridge that's in the mail

8. Four things you love about Winter:
    Peppermint hot chocolate
    Christmas decorations
    Sidewalk hat/glove vendors

9. Tag four people to play along:

I'm actually going to leave this open to anyone who happens to read this blog. Just let me know if you answer the questions - I'd love to learn more about you! 

Card Supplies:
Cuttlebug / Woodgrain Impression Plate (Papertrey Ink), Cricut / Joys of the Season cartridge, eyelet, packing tape, Martha Stewart glitter (peridot), Dymo labelmaker, woodgrain label tape


Sunday, December 19, 2010

DIY Embossing Plates

I held out as long as I could, but with a little nudging from hubby I went ahead and opened my new Cricut. This time everything is working great! (My previous Cricut dropped dead after only a handful of uses.) 

One of the really cool things you can do with the Cricut is make your own embossing plates (aka impression plates or texture plates). It's insanely easy! First, choose your image and size it appropriately, then cut it out three times from cardstock. I cut this square image at 3 3/4" (real dial size off):

Next, glue the three diecuts on top of each other, keeping them aligned as closely as possible (I used a Zig 2-Way Glue Pen). You'll end up with one thick diecut, like this:

Once the glue is dry, your new "embossing plate" is ready for use in your manual embossing machine! Here's the stack that I used in my Cuttlebug, starting from the bottom:
  1. A Plate
  2. B Plate
  3. DIY embossing plate
  4. Cardstock
  5. Spellbinders tan embossing mat*
  6. B Plate
*I actually use two tan mats together - it works best for my Cuttlebug - but I recommend starting with just one mat. Some Cuttlebugs are tighter/looser than others! 

And here's the finished product:

See how nice and crisp the impression is? Just think of the possibilities - it's got me looking at Cricut cartridges in a whole new light!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: SEI "Windsor" (leaf), PTI "Mixed Messages" (sentiment); Ink: Ink It Up! pigment (olive), SEI chalk (cocoa); Accessories: Cricut / Storybook cartridge, Cuttlebug / 2x2 stamps die / 2x2 sliders die, watercolor paper, raffia, edge distresser, foam dimensionals

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Quick Holiday Cards, Part 2

I'm on a roll this week! Gotta make use of the mojo while it's here, that's for sure! Today I've got two more quick holiday cards to share:

I have to say, these pics do not do these cards justice! (You can click on each for a better look.) I stamped the snowflakes with silver and copper metallic inks, and IRL they have a gorgeous glow-y shine. Maybe if the sun comes out later this week, I can try again. Anyway, the challenge over at Splitcoaststampers is to create holiday cards that can be made in 15 minutes or less, for those moments when you need a card "on the fly." Both cards utilize the same supplies, just in different ways. (I figure if you've already got the supplies out, and you have a few extra minutes, why not make two?) 

This embossing technique (used on Card #1) is a great way to add visual interest to an otherwise simple card . And since we're trying to get as much bang-for-our-buck in as little time as possible, metallic inks are a fast alternative to heat embossing. (Note: the brand I used dries very quickly; other brands can smudge if not given enough drying time.) Rhinestones in various sizes add a glamorous touch, and a corner rounder punch gives a finished look in a matter of seconds. As an added bonus, I even kept the sentiment "holiday neutral," so the cards can be used for a variety of seasonal events. So, what do you think? Do you have a go-to "on the fly" design?

Card #1
Stamps: SEI "Glitzmas" (sentiment), SEI "Alpine Frost" (snowflake); Ink: Ink It Up! (copper), SEI chalk (charcoal); Accessories: Cuttlebug / Circle Nestabilities, small corner rounder punch, rhinestones

Card #2
Stamps: SEI "Glitzmas" (sentiment, snowflake background), SEI "Alpine Frost" (large snowflake); Ink: Ink It Up! (copper, silver), SEI chalk (charcoal); Accessories: Cuttlebug / Circle Nestabilities, small corner rounder punch, rhinestones, foam dimensionals 

Monday, December 13, 2010

Quick Holiday Card

The stamping goodies I ordered last month finally made it here, so I've been spending lots of time in my craft area over the last few days. I've been planning this card out in my head for weeks, just waiting for the supplies to arrive:

Doesn't that sentiment fit perfectly in that Labels 4 Nestie? I had my fingers crossed that it would, and I wasn't disappointed. This really was so quick to make: I cut and embossed the white label, stamped the sentiment, cut a window out of the plaid layer with the next larger size label die, attached the white label directly to the colored cardfront, and attached the plaid layer with foam dimensionals. Afterwards I decided it needed a little something, so I used a Sharpie to color two clear rhinestones, which I added to the label. A fun holiday card in just a few easy steps!

One thing I've found is if you're going to create a raised window layer from patterned paper, like this one, it's best to first adhere the patterned paper to an identical-sized piece of cardstock, then cut your window. This helps prevent warping, bending or sagging once it's attached on dimensionals. I've learned that one the hard way!

Tonight I'm staying warm with a snuggly throw, some hot coffee and a space heater, knit booties on my feet and my "grandpa sweater" wrapped up tight. The Christmas tree is lit, the apartment is quiet, and I'm listening to the sound of rain and nighttime traffic outside my window... {Happy Sigh} It's a good night. 

Card Supplies:
Stamps: TPC Studio "Christmas Phrases;" Ink: Stampin' Up craft (Bravo Burgundy); Paper: DCWV patterned paper, The Paper Studio cardstock; Accessories: Cuttlebug / Labels 4 Nestabilities, rhinestones, Sharpie, foam dimensionals

Moxie Fab Tuesday Trigger: All That Glitters

I'm barely squeaking this in under the deadline for the Moxie Fab World Tuesday Trigger challenge, All That Glitters. Here's the trigger photo:

And here's my card:

I noticed that the ring had sort of a starburst pattern of rhinestones, which got me thinking of snowflakes, which led to this pattern of rhinestone-accented snowflakes. I stamped my design using two snowflakes from a Pink Paislee set, then added lots of bling. The sentiment is heat embossed with Zing! embossing powder - that stuff is awesome! I considered adding a ribbon, but that took the card in a whole different direction, so I let the simplicity do the talking. 

A couple of tips:
  • This sentiment is actually part of a longer phrase; I simply made a few strategic cuts with an x-acto knife. Since it's a clear stamp, it's super-easy to just line all the pieces back up on my block if I want to use the full phrase. Don't be afraid to perform a little stamp surgery!
  • You're going to laugh at this one, but it was a "d'oh" moment for me - don't wear colored shirts when photographing rhinestones! In my first batch of photos, the rhinestones kept coming out pink - because they were reflecting my pink shirt. Oops. 
This card also qualifies for the Simon Says Stamp Challenge: Christmas (But no Red or Green!)
It's a cold, rainy day today. I really need to run out and get some groceries, but since that would mean literally running out in the rain (no car; too close to take a cab), I'm thinking that ordering in some fried rice for lunch sounds like a much better idea. Thank heavens for delivery!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Pink Paislee "Tinsel Town," TPC STudio "Christmas Phrases;" Ink: SEI chalk (turquoise, charcoal), Versamark; Accessories: Zing! embossing powder (white), small corner rounder punch, rhinestones, foam dimensionals

Friday, December 10, 2010

Moxie Fab Love Challenge

I made my hubby a card that just so happens to be a perfect fit for the Moxie Fab World Card Creations: Favorite Occasions Week Love Challenge (say that 10 times fast!):

Now, I know that at first glance, this isn't your typical "love" card. But there's a special story behind it. On our first Valentine's Day as a married couple, I was working as a cashier at Walmart (hubby was still in school; I had just graduated). Halfway through my workday, I noticed a small cluster of people gathering at the end of my checkout lane - people I recognized from school. The next thing I know, they're lined up in a semi-circle around me, singing an amazing a cappella version of "You Are My Sunshine." Talk about a show-stopper! It caused quite the little scene, customers and employees alike stopping to watch, while I stood there blushing like mad. Hubby had hired them to come and serenade me at work. Isn't that the sweetest? Later my coworkers told me that they could hear the singing all the way back in the shoe department. Needless to say, hubby became quite the legend at work after that!

To make this card, I embossed a 4 1/4 x 5 1/2" piece of cardstock with a Tim Holtz embossing folder (thanks Amy!), then sponged over the raised areas with ink. I created the sentiment with label tape, then mounted the whole panel on a 4 3/4 x 6" card. Easy peasy! Really, the part that took the longest was carefully sponging the ink. The rest was cake! 

Card Supplies:
Ink: Stampin' Up (Summer Sun); Cardstock: DCWV; Accessories: Cuttlebug / Tim Holtz "Rays" embossing folder, Dymo labelmaker, black label tape

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Happy Day

Look what arrived at my door the other day - the blog candy I won from Amy Tsuruta!

It's my first ever blog candy win, and it is chock-full of crafty goodness! Even better was what came with it: an honest-to-goodness  made-by ~Amy~ card!

Isn't it fabby? Love all the machine stitching she used. Such a cheery card!

And of course with all those new supplies at my fingertips, I had to whip up a little card of my own:

That birdcage stamp was calling to me the moment I opened the box. I kept it nice and simple; the "chain" and sentiment were stamped directly on the cardfront, while the birdcage was cut out and attached with foam dimensionals. The sentiment seemed a little lackluster on its own, so I added the rhinestones as a final touch. {Happy Sigh} Don't you just love that birdcage? I'm smitten!

Thanks again, Amy, for such a wonderful prize! I can't wait to try out all the other goodies!

Card Supplies
Stamps: Studio G (birdcage), Hero Arts (All Occasion Messages - sentiment), Basic Grey (Aviary - chain); Ink: SEI chalk (cocoa); Accessories: rhinestones, foam dimensionals

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

It's Always Sunny In Here

Now this is just too stinkin' cute. I don't think I've ever seen a commercial aimed specifically at scrapbookers before, have you? Talk about a creative bunch!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

2 Challenges in 1

I've got just enough time to squeeze in one more card today; this one qualifies for the Play Date Cafe Challenge PDCC58. Here's the color inspiration pic:

And here's my card:

This also qualifies for the Simplicity OLW31 Challenge, which is to create a one-layer card using a technique or product that got you hooked on stamping. I decided to go with 2-step stamping, since the very first set of stamps I bought was a gorgeous 2-step flower set from Stampin' Up. My cardbase is textured watercolor paper; I used an edge-distresser to give the right-hand edges a faux-Fabriano look. The font combined with the bird image gives this a sort of retro 50s feel, don't you think? This would be an easy card to mass-produce, and it's nice and flat for mailing!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: We R Memory Keepers "2 Step Robin" (Vintage Blue collection), Martha Stewart (sentiment); Ink: Brilliance Graphite Black, Ink It Up! pigment (red); Paper: watercolor; Accessories: edge distresser

Wishing for Snow

I think this snowy card represents some serious wishful thinking on my part! It finally got down in the 30s last night, but our days are still hovering in the 50s; when I look out my window, I see green trees everywhere. (I'm still trying to figure that one out; they're not fir trees, just regular ol' trees, but they keep their green leaves all winter. It's a little disconcerting for this midwestern girl!) Luckily, it's been just cold enough for the sweet potato vendors to come out with their little wheeled ovens, selling roasted sweet potatoes and corn on the cob along the sidewalk. There's nothing like a piping hot sweet potato on a chilly evening - crinkly, brittle skin like old paper surrounding a creamy, sweet filling - perfect in its simplicity.

It wasn't until I was editing the photos that I realized the circle layer looks like a giant snowball. I guess I really do have snow on the brain!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Pink Paislee "Tinsel Town," Ink: Ink It Up! pigment (red); Patterned Paper: Basic Grey "Eskimo Kisses," Hobby Lobby "Christmas 2008" paper pack; Accessories: Cuttlebug / Herringbone embossing folder / Quickutz "Rings" embossing folder / Circle Nestabilities, Martha Stewart tree punch, Dymo labelmaker, woodgrain label tape, corner rounder punch, foam dimensionals

Thursday, December 2, 2010


I find it a bit ironic that I had to purchase this "made in China" Cricut from a US website which in turn sent it to me here in - China. This thing has racked up more skymiles than most people! Alas, just because something is manufactured in China doesn't mean it's available for sale in China. Luckily, I got it for a song over at Custom Crop's Pink Tuesday sale (even with the international shipping added in I still saved money). This is actually my second Cricut Create; my first one stopped working out of the blue last year. I thought about switching to a Silhouette, but since I've already invested so much in the cartridges, I decided I'd just wait for this year's Black Friday sales to try to score a replacement Cricut on the cheap. Now the hard part is going to be waiting till Christmas to break it out!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Embellish Challenge - Noel

I thought I'd play along with the Embellish Magazine Holidays Color Challenge, which uses these colors as inspiration:

This is what I came up with:

I had a lot of fun using these colors; not ones I'd usually think to use for holiday cards. But I think they worked well, especially with the homespun feel of the stamp images. Lots of Cuttlebugging on this one - this Herringbone folder has been getting a real workout lately! It's hard to see in the pic (since it's so tiny), but the reindeer has an itty-bitty rhinestone for a nose (I colored it with a Sharpie to match the sentiment ink color). I thought it helped tie the colors together nicely. TFL!

Card Supplies:
Stamps: Martha Stewart; Ink: ColorBox pigment "Chestnut," Ink It Up! pigment "red;" Patterned Paper: DCWV; Accessories: Cuttlebug / Herringbone embossing folder / circle Nestabilities; rhinestone, Sharpie, corner rounder punch, foam dimensionals