Monday, November 28, 2016

Simon Says & Inspired

My card today is for the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge and Inspired By All The Little Things Challenge #34. The theme at Simon's is A Christmas To Die For (using a die) and the Inspired Challenge gave us this picture to use for inspiration.  I love the black and white with pops of red and green.  For my red and green, I decided to use a Poinsettia.

I started my card by cutting a black card base from True Black Cardstock.  I also cut a white inside panel so there would be a place to write a message. Next I cut a base layer from Altenew Spicy Yogurt Cardstock at 5 3/8th x 4 1/8th .  For the next layers I cut the largest Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle Die (4 x 5.5) from Pure Poppy Cardstock.  The music paper was the final scrap I had left and it had already been cut down into a stitched rectangle previously.  Next I die cut the bloom of the poinsettia using the Spellbinders Layered Poinsettia Die with Pure Poppy Cardstock and the leaves from some scraps of cardstock.  The poinsettia cuts 4 layers of the flowers so they are very easy to put together.

Additionally, I cut three of the "Believe" die cuts and one black shadow.  I put the three layers together using a little bit of spray adhesive and then used Ranger Multi Medium Matte to adhere the shadow to the back of the die cuts.  This Simon Says Stamp Exclusive Believe Die is my favorite from this year's release and I know it will be a favorite for many years to come.

That is my card for today!  It was super easy to put together and I love how it turned out.  Also, there was no stamping, just die cutting so it came together really fast.

Thank you so much for stopping by and be sure to stop over at both of the challenge blogs to see if you find some inspiration there. I really appreciate the kind and encouraging comments you leave for me.

I'm also entering this card into the Simon Say Stamp Flickr Challenge #59.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Papertrey Ink November 2016 Blog Hop

Its time for the Papertrey Ink Monthly Blog Hop for November 2016.  As always, Nichole found a great image for us to be inspired by. I had a hard time narrowing my project down to just one.

When I was a little girl, my Grandmother Fisk had one of those cool Aluminum Christmas Trees and this picture reminded me of that.  It was in her formal living room and we children were for the most part not allowed in there, especially the boys. Now, I know this one is white, but it's still what it reminded me of.  The vintage style ornaments and the gift boxes with foiled polka dots are just like some of the lovely things my grandmother would have had on or under her tree.  We were so lucky to have her for so many years.  She passed away in July of 2012 at the age of 99.  I wish I knew what ever happened to that tree!  I think it was long gone years ago, but I sure wish I had it.  It would be fun to have in my studio!

I had several ideas for this blog hop card but this is the one that came together for me in the way I envisioned it.  I was dying to try the new Noted: Scalloped A2 Vertical Card Die.  I had asked for a die that could be used vertically way back when the Don't Forget to Write Kit had come out. Before I ever got my kit I realized that the side fold card used with that set is the one I use the least.  So during the most recent release earlier this month, several of the ladies on the Papertrey Forum went out there to make sure I had seen Betsy Veldman's Release Week Post with this new card die.  It's really genius as you cut in two passes to get the full card but because of the size, it wasn't as expensive as some of the other Noted Dies. It's going to be a fantastic basic for years to come.

I started with the color of those gift boxes in the inspiration image, Hawaiian Shores Cardstock.  I cut a vertical card base for my project.  Next I cut the new Leaf & Sprig Frame Die from Stamper's Select White Cardstock.  This cuts 5 frames all at once in various sizes so I wanted two of the 2nd largest to glue together for a little bit sturdier element.  I adhered them with Ranger Multi Medium Matte. I saved the rest of the frames for other projects. The largest Leaf & Sprig Frame is full A2 size.

Next I did some ink blending on a piece of watercolor paper using Hawaiian Shores Ink and spritzed it with Tsukineko Sparkling Sheer Shimmer Mist.  While that was drying I got out the stamp set from Don't Forget to Write so that I could use it to stamp the card sentiment.

Another product that was released in November is called the Wrap It Up Collection, seen here. While I couldn't get that yet, I loved the concept so I set about to create a small scale version of that with dies I already had. Using two different Stitched Rectangles,  I cut two from the gold foiled paper.  This paper was originally Mint and Gold, but I carefully did more ink blending over the top so that it would match the Hawaiian Shores Cardstock better.  This paper is much thinner than my Papertrey Cardstock, so I didn't want to accidentally muck it up by going at it too hard with my ink blending tool.  This worked out well as it doesn't effect the foiled part but it did deepen the color of the mint stripes.  I frequently realign my die cut back into the die to make it whatever I need (shorter or narrower) and that is what I did this time.  The original rectangle I cut was twice as tall as this present is, so I just cut in in half by using a bigger die and laying it across the cut line. Next I used another bow die that I already had to cut the bow. It cuts in three pieces and you just have to assemble it.  I used some gold shimmer vellum that I have on hand for the bow.  Once I had that put together, I went back to my misted background panel, stamped my sentiment on it using Versamark with Antique Gold Embossing Powder and heat set it.

After that, I cut it to go behind my frame. If you cut it to 3.5 x 4.75 inches, it is a perfect size to go behind.  The frame is about 1/16th inch larger than that on both sides.  Finally I was able to assemble all of the pieces to make a card to go with a gift.  In my husband's family, all the siblings with their spouses take turns hosting the Finger Family Christmas.  It's customary to present your hosts with a small gift of thanks or a bottle of wine. This will be a great card to put with that gift and write a little note of thanks inside.

Today's post will be extra long as I have something I like to share this time of year.  This is the day that many families start decorating for Christmas. So with that in mind, be sure to read this story.

Teach the Children

Just last Monday night I had a strange Visitor.  This is how it happened.  I had just finished the household chores for the night and was preparing to go to bed when I heard a noise in the front of the house.  I opened the door of the front room, and to my surprise, it was Santa Claus himself stepping out from behind the Christmas Tree.  He placed his fingers over his lips so I wouldn't cry out. 

"What are you doing here..." I started to ask, but the words choked up in my throat as I saw that he had tears in his eyes.  His usual jolly manner was gone - gone was the eager, boisterous soul we all know.  As I stood there in my night shirt bewildered, Santa said, "Teach the Children."  My perplexed expression still shown in the near darkness.

"Teach the Children the old meaning of Christmas - the meanings that Christmas nowadays has forgotten.  Teach the Children, the star was a heavenly sign of promise long ages ago.  God promised a Savior for the world and a sight of the fulfillment of that promise was the great star of the East. The star now reminds us of God's love for mankind and of God fulfilling His promise.  The countless shining stars at night - one for each man - now show the burning hope of all mankind."  Santa gently laid a star upon the fireplace mantle and drew forth from his bag a glittering red Christmas ornament. 

"Teach the Children, red is the first color of Christmas.  It was first used by the faithful people to remind them of the blood which was shed for all people by the savior.  Christ gave his life and shed his blood that every man might have God's gift to all, eternal life.  Red is deep, intense, vivid.  It is the greatest color of all.  It is the symbol of the gift of God."  As Santa was twisting and pulling another object out of his bag, I heard the kitchen clock strike twelve.  I wanted to say something, but he went right on.

"Teach the Children," he said as the twisting and pulling suddenly dislodged a small Christmas tree from the depths of the toy bag.  He placed it before the mantle and gently hung the red ornament on the big Christmas tree.  The deep green of the fir tree was a perfect background for the ornament.  Here was the second color of Christmas. 

"The pure color of the stately fir tree remains green all year round," he said.  "This depicts the everlasting hope of mankind.  Green is the youthful, hopeful, abundant color of nature.  All the needles point heavenward - symbolic of man's returning thoughts toward heaven.  The great, green tree has been man's best friend.  It has sheltered him, warmed him, made beauty for him, formed his furniture."  Santa's eyes were beginning to twinkle now as he stood there.  Suddenly I heard a soft tinkling sound.  As it grew louder, it seemed like the sound of long ago.

"Teach the Children, that as the lost sheep are found by the sounds of the bell, so should it ring for men to return to the fold; it means guidance and return; it signifies that all are precious in the eyes of the Lord."  As the soft sound of the bell faced into the night, Santa drew forth a candle.  He placed it on the mantle and the soft glow from its tiny flame cast an eerie glow about the darkened room.  Odd shapes in the shadow slowly danced and weaved upon the walls. 

"Teach the Children," whispered Santa, "that the candle shows man's thanks for the star of long ago.  It's small light is the mirror of starlight.  At first, candles were placed on the Christmas tree - they were like many glowing stars shining against the dark green.  Safety now has removed the candles from the tree and the colored lights have taken over in the remembrance."

Santa turned the small Christmas tree lights on and picked up a gift from under the tree.  He pointed to the large bow ribbon and said, "A bow is placed on a present to remind us of the spirit of the brotherhood of man.  We should remember that the bow is tied as men should be tied - all of us together, with the bonds of good will toward each other.    Goodwill forever is the message of the bow." 

Now I wondered what else Santa had in his bag.  Instead of reaching into his bag, he slung it over his shoulder and began to reach up on the Christmas tree.  I thought he was hungry as he reached for a candy cane, purposely placed high on the tree.  He unfastened  it and reached out toward me with it. 

"Teach the Children that the candy can represents the shepherds crook.  The crook on the staff helps bring back the strayed sheep into the fold.  The cane represents the helping hand we should show at Christmas time. The candy is the symbol that we are our brother's keeper."

Santa then paused.  He seemed to realize he should be on his way.  Later would be his big day.  As he looked about the room, a feeling of satisfaction showed in his face.  He read wonderment in my eyes as I am sure he sensed my admiration on this night.  He was his old self as he approached the front door.  The twinkle in his eye gave Santa away; I knew he wasn't through yet.  He reached into his bag and brought forth a large holly wreath.  He placed it on the fireplace and said, "Please Teach the Children the wreath symbolizes the eternal nature of love; it never ceases, stops, or ends.  It is one continuous round of affection.  The wreath does double duty.  It is made of many things and in many colors.  It reminds us of all of the things of  Christmas.  Please,  Teach the Children."

I pondered and wondered and thrilled with delight, as I saw and viewed all those symbols that night.  I dozed as I sat in the soft candle light, and my thoughts were of Santa and all he made right.  To give and to help and to love and to serve, are the best things in life, all men can deserve.  Old Santa Claus himself, that jolly fat elf, is the very best symbol of Christmas itself.  He's the sign of the gift of love and of life, the ending of evil, the ceasing of strife.  His message to me on the pre-Christmas night, has opened a treasure of deepest insight. 

The one thing on earth we all ought to do, is the Teaching of Children, the right and the true.  
Author Unknown

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog and if you'd like to leave a kind or encouraging comment, I'd love to read it!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Hello Lovely

I am jumping on here today with a quick post! This week's Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge theme is Trio-Tastic.  You have to do something (anything) in threes. I've been really busy this week and with it being Thanksgiving, I'm really trying to get a few things accomplished. So far, I'm not having too much luck. I've been so into making Christmas cards that I have been longing to create something in some fresh "sunshine-y" colors.

I watercolored this beautiful image from the Concord & 9th Hello Lovely Stamp Set in Red and Blue the other day, but I really wanted to create one in these beautiful coral tones.  I'm strongly considering changing my favorite color to coral instead of pink.  I love this shade that Papertrey calls Berry Sorbet.  

This entire arrangement has been drawn for you so there is no masking required. Some people really like masking but I'm not one of them. I love heat embossing, but it's very hard to mask and heat emboss.  I've had success a few times, but not much because masks are sticky, so the embossing powder wants to stick where the mask was covering your image before.  It's a lot of hassle to get an embossed image that is clean so when I find one like this that the entire bouquet has been done for me - well, that's a winner in my book!  I don't mind taking time to watercolor, but masking?  Forget it!

Recently, I've been using a few props in my photos to add some interest but I think I am only going to be doing that for some holidays and special occasions in the future rather than trying to do it all the time. It's getting to be more about the props than about the focus of the blog or the photos and it's taking so much time to get the lighting right etc. that it's leaving me less time to create.  Since this isn't a photography blog but rather a paper crafting one, I think I'm going back to basics.  In fact, just knowing that and deciding it, makes me a lot happier.

This is a really simple card.  I stamped the image onto Canson Bristol Watercolor Paper with Versamark and heat embossed it using Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder.  To watercolor it, I used a "trio" of colors - Mowed Lawn Distress Marker, with Light Carmine and Pink Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens. The random gold splatters you see there are part of the stamp.  Once I had all the water coloring done and it was dry, I went over each of the blooms with my Wink of Stella Glitter Pen.  The blooms are just luminous in real life. I cut the panel with the largest Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle Die and set it aside while I stamped my sentiment.

The sentiment comes from the Sugar Pea Designs Kindness Matters Stamp Set.  I cut one of the smaller Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangles from the same watercolor paper to stamp it on. Again, I used Versamark with the Simon Antique Gold Embossing Powder.  Once that was done, I mounted both to a top folding A2 card base made from Papertrey Ink Berry Sorbet Cardstock.  A few Gold Sequins from Pretty Pink Posh finished this Clean & Simple card off.

Thanks for stopping by today and if you'd like to leave a comment, I very much appreciate and enjoy reading them.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Simon Flickr Challenge & Concord & 9th Challenge

I've been making so many Christmas cards that it's left me longing to watercolor so when I saw that the Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge was for coloring, in any method, so I used the new Concord & 9th Stamp Set  called  Hello, Lovely which means I am also entering this into the Concord & 9th Challenge. This is a big, beautiful floral arrangement that you can color in your choice of mediums.  All the arranging is done for you. The first card I made with this stamp I used Spring colors but for the second one, I wanted to do something in more Christmas-y colors.

I started with a panel of Canson Bristol Watercolor Paper.  After treating it with my powder tool, I stamped it in Versamark and heat set it using Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder--still my favorite gold!

I used a combination of Distress Markers (Festive Berries) and Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers in Persian Blue, Olive, & Deep Green with a water brush. The entire panel was spritzed with shimmer mist once the watercolor had dried. 

I stamped the sentiment from the Sugar Pea Designs Kindness Matters Stamp Set onto the same watercolor paper and used the same embossing powder.  

Next I die cut the sentiment and the watercolored panel using dies from the Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle Die Set then assembled my card onto a top folding card base made from Bazzill Whirlypop Cardstock using my ATG gun.  This was a super simple card for these challenges.  It took a little bit of time to watercolor, but I really enjoy doing that.  

So that's it for a quick post this morning.  I'm hoping to take the rest of the day off!  Thank you so much for stopping by today!  

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Simon Says.... Christmas Critters!

The Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge for this week is Christmas Critters.  While I don't have any critters specifically for Christmas I do have this set of Winter Pals and that's probably close enough for this challenge.  I worked some snowy hills into my card along with a snowy night sky which I hope conveys that feeling of Winter/Christmas where I live. The design of this card is very similar to one I did earlier this week while still being a bit different.

I started with a panel of medium blue cardstock and did ink blending using Chipped Sapphire Distress Ink and a Mini Round Ink Blending Tool.  I used a lot more ink at the top of the panel than at the bottom although I'm not sure you can see the difference in the end.  After that I added some "snow" by making spatter with Heidi Swap Color Shine Spray in White.

I stamped the critters, sled and tree from Wplus9 Studios' Winter Pals Stamp Set in Simon Says Stamp Intense Black Ink onto Stamper's Select White Cardstock from Papertrey Ink, then colored in the penguin, sled and tree using all Cool Grey Markers (C1, C3, C5).  For the little girl bear, I used Warm Grey Copics (W1, W3, W5).  I used B000 and BG05 (Holiday Blue) for the ear muffs on the penguin plus a couple of pinks for the little hood on the bear.  After I was finished coloring them, I die cut them with the Winter Pals Coordinating Dies. I cut three of the largest sized oval from the MFT Stitched Ovals Die and glued them together for a thicker frame.  From the leftover positive piece from the inside of the ovals, I cut those using the Landscape Trio Dies from Mama Elephant and spritzed them with Tsukineko Sheer Sparkle Shimmer Spritz to make them look snowy so I could use them for hills. I also used Clear Wink of Stella Shimmer Pen on everything else.  I assembled everything onto the blue panels and then adhered that panel to a White Top Folding Card Base made from Stamper's Select White.  The banner was die cut using the banner die from Be Merry Stamp and Die Sets.

I love this style for my grandkids or for friends, like my hairdresser, who have young children at home.  In fact, she has a not quite 4 month old at home so her littles always love critters.

I hope you enjoyed my card today and that you'll come back soon to see my next project.  Don't forget to subscribe or follow me on Facebook and Instagram, although I update Instagram much more often than my Facebook Page.  I guess because Instagram is a bit more interactive I tend to go there much more often. Have a great day everyone!  We have a beautiful fall day on tap here.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge

Hey everyone! It's time for another Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge and this week's theme is Thanks/Thanksgiving. I have several projects on my desk right now but I took time to color this the other day. It's a digital image from Power Poppy and I can't wait for them to actually make it into a stamp.

I found out quite by accident that I can print digital images from my printer and they are Copic friendly. I printed this on Stamper's Select White #110 Cardstock.  I still prefer watercoloring or stamping over Copic coloring, but it's nice to know that I can improve. Some people have absolutely MAD coloring skills, but I don't fit in that category just yet.  I'll keep practicing though.  I hadn't realized until I went to do this blog post, that Simon Says Stamp carries not only the sketch markers, but also the refills and replacement nibs.  You can head here to see the full line-up of  Copic products. My overall experience with Simon Says Stamp is that that carry almost everything. And if they don't you can send an inquiry to Customer Service and ask.  

I did the simplest style of coloring possible as I am still learning my way around the numbering system that Copic uses for their markers. In fact, I forgot to write down all the colors I was using and had already put them away before I remembered that I needed that information.  I used two shades of green for the olive branches, two shades of orange with 1 red for the oak leaves, and three purples for the olives n the photo.  

If you want to find out how to use Copic and other alcohol markers, you can find lots of tutorials on YouTube.  They are a significant investment so make sure you do your research before you start buying.  I have had mine for about 10 years and most of the markers I have are Ciao Markers rather than Sketch Markers.  I understand that the main difference is that Sketch markers hold quite a bit more ink than Ciao meaning you have to refill or replace less often.  I got mine when Copics were just getting to be popular in the stamping world and we were advised to get Ciao over Sketch.  They are slightly less expensive but it would probably be worth it in the long run just to get the Sketch Markers, especially based on availability. Ciao Markers can be more difficult to find but you can find them at or

Once I had this image colored, I die cut it with the largest Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle Die then laid it back into the side with a bit of two edges showing and cut it again so that it was just a little smaller than the size of the die. This lets me have a background mat for the image. I cut that from some textured coppery paper that I had on hand and attached the colored panel to it using my ATG adhesive. Next, I cut the Simon Says Stamp Grateful Die from Gold Foiled Cardstock and cut the shadow from some Chocolate Brown shimmer paper. The die comes in two pieces with the word in one part and the shadow is the other part.  You can also use the word without the shadow and have it just as striking. I attached the word with Multi Medium Matte. The coloring took some time, but I did it the other day while I was listening to the TV so I didn't really pay attention to how long it took.  Just like anything else you do in life, mastering the technique requires practice.  

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today.  I'll be back soon with another project!  This is a really short post for me but I didn't feel I could add much more that would be of use.  So I hope no one minds the shorter post.

This card will be entered at the Card Concept Challenge with their Thanksgiving theme.  

Papertrey Ink's November 2016 Create Along With Us

It's time for the Papertrey Ink Create Along With Us Challenge for November 2016. The idea is that we are inspired by one of the projects from the Design Team during release week.  I had a hard time deciding which direction I wanted to head this month. The projects from Nichole and the whole team are always inspiring but I loved the projects that incorporated a tag into the cards done by Betsy and Melissa.

I started by die cutting the Tag Sale #4 Die from Coaster Board and Hawaiian Shores Cardstock.  I glued the Hawaiian Shores layer to the coaster board layer using Ranger Multi Medium Matte.  Next I cut the 2nd largest Simon Says Stamp Stitched Circle from Canson Bristol Watercolor Paper.  This die just happens to be the exact size for the tag die. After treating the circle with my powder tool, I stamped the Papertrey Ink Splits - 'Tis the Season onto the circle and heat set it with Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder.  This is still my go to powder for most things.  I love that its a really warm gold. I just used an acrylic block to do my stamping.

I had originally planned to watercolor this part of the "ornament" but I ended up using my Copic Markers doing some very basic coloring.  I used two colors on the candles but one color for the greenery (G17) and another for the holly berries (R29).  The candles were colored using BG01 and BG05. Once the coloring was complete on my circle, I misted it with some shimmer spritz and let it dry.

Several months ago I got a paper pad from Hobby Lobby called Be Bold, Be Bright and it has all these gorgeous foiled prints in it.  I really only use these papers as backgrounds from time to time and I have hardly used any at all, but when I want something really special looking, I love to pull them out.  I die cut a piece with the largest Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle Die and mounted that to a Top Folding Card Base made from Stamper's Select White.  I pulled the banner greeting from the Botanical Blocks IV set and stamped it onto the banner from Tag Sale: Quilted Die cut from the same watercolor paper.

This was another super fast card to put together but still allowed for a little bit of a handmade touch and would be easy to do multiples of.

Thank you so much for stopping by to look at my project today.  It always means a lot when you take time to leave kind and encouraging comments.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Inspired By All The Little Things #32 & SSS Flicker Challenge #58

As soon as I saw the image over at Inspired By All The Little Things, I started trying to formulate an idea in my head.  In fact I have a few ideas so you may very well see more than one post for this challenge.  Everything about this image says "snowy winter scene" so that is what I wanted to convey in my card.

While I was checking out some of the other challenges yesterday I came across this card by Vika Salmina, a member of the My Favorite Things Design Team that was done for one of their recent Color Challenges.  The colors she used here completely influenced own my color choices.  I don't have any paper from MFT and only a few dies, but I immediately set out to grab what I did have in similar colors to this gorgeous card.

I used Papertrey Ink's Stamper's Select White, Scarlet Jewel, Smokey Shadow, and SU's Smoky Slate cardstocks.  I also (don't faint here), actually used my Copic Markers to color with.  I KNOW!  The thing is, I feel like I've learned a little bit more about how to do it and was inspired to try again for a few reasons; Kathy Racoosin's current challenge (#thedailymarker30day), and a card I received in the mail from my scrappy friend, Barb Engler.  It was so beautiful and I know it was colored with Copic Markers.

I started by selecting similar cardstock colors for my project. As mentioned in the previous paragraph, Smokey Shadow, Stamper's Select White, Scarlet Jewel and SU!'s Smoky Slate.  Next, I stamped my selected images from WPLUS9's Winter Pals Stamp Set in Simon Says Stamp Intense Black Ink (Copic or other Alcohol Marker friendly) onto Stamper's Select White Cardstock.  I made my white card base (also Stamper's Select White), a Scarlet Jewel Background Panel and a Smokey Slate panel that was just a tiny bit smaller. Next I cut three of the stitched circles frames from #140 Watercolor Paper using the Simon Says Stamp Stitched Circles Dies. I also cut another solid stitched circle using an in-between size from the MFT Stitched Circles Stax from the same paper to be my background "snow". It needs to be slightly larger than the opening so that you can put it behind the circle frame.  I cut this circle again with the "slope" die which is part of the Mama Elephant Landscape Trio Die Set. Last but not least, I cut three of the banners from the Paper Clippings: Joy to the World Detail Dies and layered them together for a thicker element.  I also glued the circle frames together in this way and then spritzed all of these pieces with shimmer spray.. These would be pieces to help build the scene on my card so I set them aside to dry while I did my coloring.

I colored in all the images using Copic Markers in Cool Grays with the exception of the obvious bits of color on the accessories. Mostly I stuck with C1, C3 and C5 along with colorless blender. I also used C7 on the Penguin. One of the things I have learned by observing lots of Copic Coloring is that I tend to be a bit heavy handed.  So I worked very hard last night to use a delicate touch and I felt like I did much less blending than usual with great effect.  I'm so happy with how these turned out that I am planning to Copic color something again soon!

Once I had the stamped images colored, I die cut them using the Winter Pals Coordinating Die Set. I added a few little details with a Black Polychromo Pencil.  As you can probably tell, I am trying to use all the supplies I have in my studio.  I don't need to use them all at once, but I love finding new ways to use "old" tools.  Marika Rahtu made that technique famous with her gorgeous images and tutorials.  If you haven't seen them, you can check out her YouTube Channel HERE!

I mounted the Scarlet Jewel panel to the white card base with a slightly smaller rectangle of black fun foam behind it. The one I used here came from Darice and is 3mm thick - about 1/8th inch. This makes the whole panel nice and stable and great to build onto.  Next I adhered the Smokey Shadow panel on top of that using Scor-Tape and then started adding my elements to the card to create my scene.  I used Thin 3D Foam Squares to adhere nearly everything.  In some places I used a double thickness but I even used a triple thickness in one place so that everything would lay flat and stable (the little girl bears' head is so far off the card base, it actually required regular thickness x 2).  The sentiment is from the What The Doodle Ornament Stamp Set and was stamped using Scarlet Jewel Ink with Simon Says Stamp Clear Embossing Powder over the top.  I love that little pop of color on the banner and the dimension achieved by stacking the die cuts. A few sparkling clear sequins from Pretty Pink Posh finished off this card.

There were so many little details to create this and it was definitely one of my more labor intensive cards, but I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of it.  I'm planning to branch out into a slightly larger image for my next Copic Coloring project. Be sure to check out all the beautiful projects at both the Simon Flickr Challenge and Inspired By All The Little Things. If you've stayed with me through this whole post, thank you so much.  Every kind and encouraging comment is read and very much appreciated.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge #58

I have another super quick post today for the Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge #58.  Just in case you are wondering, the Flickr Group is actually spelled F-L-I-C-K-R, without the "E" in there. I do occasionally make typos, but this isn't one of those times. *Ü*

This is so similar to other cards I've done in the last few weeks so I'm just going to give you a run down of the products and colors I used here:

Card Base: Simon Says Stamp Audrey Blue Cardstock
Die Cut Word: Simon Says Stamp Believe Dies, Teal Mirror Card Stock
Ornaments: Hero Arts Ornaments Stamp 'N Cut Coordinating Set, Amethyst Allure Reinker, Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder
Branch:  Sunny Studios Holiday Style Stamp Set, WOW! Neutral Ultra Shimmer Embossing Powder, Papertrey Ink Ocean Tides Ink
Background Ink Blending: Simon Says Stamp Audrey Blue Ink
Canson Bristol Watercolor Paper for the base panel

I ink blended the background color on first and then stamped the branch twice for a wider bough and heat set with the Neutral Ultra Shimmer Embossing Powder. Some of the other ornament dies I have cut closer to the edge of the outline and I definitely like that better, but I just love the shape of these ornaments and the optical illusion of the design.

We are enjoying still very warm temperatures during the daytime hours here.  We went for a drive this morning to see some fall color, but we don't have much color yet here. Enjoy your weekend! Thank you so much for stopping by and taking time to comment.

The Card Concept #61 & Caring Hearts Card Drive

Every time I sit at my desk to work this month, I try to make four more cards just for the Caring Hearts Card Drive which distributed more than 22,000 Holiday Cards last year to the elderly who live in nursing homes.  So with the idea of making a few rather than just one, I used the same design that I showed on Instagram the other day, just with slightly different colors. This design is so fast that really, I should make about 10 each time!  (In the end, I made 12 today.) However, I don't have much in the way of printed paper, so it takes a while to choose that. Otherwise, it's super easy to make these cards.  I was having a problem the other day with an ink pad when I was working on these cards but my replacement pad was in yesterday's mail so I could go ahead and make a few more of these.  You can see in the next Photo that my leaves are a different color (Ocean Tides) than the ones I made today, but I decided not to make anymore until my replacement ink pad came.

I did use the MISTI to stamp the sentiment since it is two different fonts and on two different stamps and I needed to be able to stamp it again if my first stamping was not as clean as it should have been. I started with panels of 5.5 x 4.25 inch Stamper's Select White Cardstock and stamped my greeting from the Simon Says Stamp's Believe in the Season Stamp Set. I sprinkled Ranger Gold Tinsel Embossing Powder over the top and heat set it. I stamp, sprinkle, stamp, sprinkle, & heat set 2 panels at a time. Lots of people do more than this but I found if I have too many at once, I tend to mess up the embossing powder before it gets heat set. Some folks stamp 10 at a time for instance but I don't get impressions as good when I do it that way as I think the ink dries too much before getting sprinkled.  I guess I am kind of a slow stamper. Whatever happens, you should always do what works for you personally.  Other people's experiences can be your guideline, but do it how you like.

I wanted to add a few thoughts about MISTI here as food for thought.  I have the MISTI and also the Mini MISTI.  There is also available a Large Misti which will stamp a 12 x 12 sheet of paper. At the time when I got mine, the regular sized MISTI was the only size available. Just after CHA this year, the other two sizes were released.  Heidi Crowl had a "Steals & Deals" flash sale at Simon Says Stamp sometime in the past 6 month and had the Mini MISTI on there for $29.00 so I snatched it up!  I love the small size since I usually work on a panel of cardstock but you need the larger, 8.5 x 11 inch size if  if you want to stamp directly onto a card base.  Also, the Mini MISTI takes up a lot less real estate on my desk.

Image from my Instagram Account on November 8
On the first 4 cards from today, I used the Holly Leaves and Berries from Papertrey Ink's Enclosed: Bell Stamp Set to stamp the images by stamping first in Versamark Ink and then adding my color choices for each thing - in this case Pine Feather and Pure Poppy.  I want to make sure you understand what I did here so I'm going to explain it a bit further.  I stamped first on the Versamark Ink Pad and then without cleaning that off, stamped again in the colored ink. So there is a double layer of ink so to speak is what I stamped onto my paper.  I sprinkled each of them with WOW! Neutral Ultra Shimmer Embossing Powder which deepens the color and makes it look all sparkly.  

I wanted to do a comparison for how that worked as opposed to stamping just in the ink, without any Versamark added, then covering with embossing powder. So that I could keep it straight in my mind which was which, I used Simon Says Stamp Clear Embossing Powder for these next four cards.  I would stamp in ink only, sprinkle the embossing powder, heat set it, then while that was still warm, sprinkle the clear embossing powder again and heat set it and again a third time. These make the glossiest, smoothest berries and leaves.  The 2nd time helps, but it's that third time of sprinkling and heating that really makes them nice.  The look very much as if I put a coat of glossy accents on everything but I didn't have to wait for them to dry. Pine Feather is a very deep green ink and the clear embossing powder just intensifies this.  When I worked on this design a couple of days ago, I did those by sprinkling the berries with WOW! Primary Apple Red Embossing Powder, but honestly, the clear was so much easier to do and I could do it without having to change embossing powders mid stream.  These stamps are small in size and I have my container of Clear Embossing Powder sitting right there for an immediate sprinkle.  Since I planned from the beginning to heat emboss the stamping, I had moved over to that area of my studio where I keep those tools.  I wouldn't have had enough time to get the embossing powder onto the damp ink if I had stamped them at my desk and then moved them the heat embossing area. These inks are not pigment based so they don't stay wet very long. Time is of the essence and you can't dawdle on this step.  I used an acrylic block to stamp the leaves and berries.  I could have used MISTI since it was sitting there but it seemed easier to just stamp them normally.  And although I did this by hand, they are really close to being in exactly the same place on each panel - proof that practice really does help.

The patterned papers are from Wild Rose Studio's Bird & Berries Collection and Painted Poinsettia's Collection. I didn't mess any of these up when I was die cutting them with the Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangles Dies but I was worried I might because they are so thin.

This is the one time of year that I used pre-made note cards from Hobby Lobby but they are not the same size as usual being 4 x 5.5 inches.  Anytime I am making a large group of cards, I use these, to be consistent and because they are fast and ready to go.  I love the narrow margin around the outside of the die cut so if I trim 1/4 inch off of the longer side, then this is a perfect fit for this look.  I actually wish someone would make a die with the stitched edge and the slightest bit smaller than a standard A2 card base; like 5 3/8th's x 4 1/8th.  So far, no one does.  Everyone makes one that is a quarter of an inch smaller on both sides or the same size of 4.25 x 5.5 inches. I'm looking for the in between size.

On some of these cards, I did a bit of ink blending around the edges of the smaller rectangle (cut using the second largest Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle) with Pale Peony or Spring Rain Ink and a Mini Ink Blending Tool. Since this is card stock and not watercolor paper, I used a back and forth scrubbing motion just on the edges which gives some added texture. All in all , this was a very easy card to make and to duplicate. I noticed that my friend, Yana, did a card with the same basic design the other day and all I can say is that "great minds think alike". She used the Simon Says Stamp Poinsettia Stamp Set for her "Holly" which is a genius idea. Yana always makes me take a step back and try to see my stamps in other ways but I'm not nearly as good at that as she is.

This last card is the one I'll be entering into The Card Concept Challenge #61 in the Clean & Layered Style. The color Pink was my total inspiration for this challenge although I did more cards in both the pink and the blue.  If you'd like to contribute cards to this great card drive, you can find all the details here at Jennifer McGuire's Blog or you can contact the Activities Director at a local nursing home to see if there is a need in your area.  I bet there is!   

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Inspired By All The Little Things #31

Hello everyone!  I took a few days off at the end of the week last week and the weekend off because I had lots of company, so I am scrambling to get back into my groove this week.  This is always helped along when I get new products to work with.  I was so excited when I saw the inspiration image for this week as I knew my order had shipped on Friday and was scheduled to be delivered on Monday (yesterday) so I would have a couple of new things that I really wanted to use for the Inspired By All The Little Things Challenge #31.  

I started by using a sheet of the soft, warm yellow paper from the Wild Rose Studio Harvest Meadow Paper Pack (a 6 x 6 paper Pack) and stamping the Holly Leaves from the Papertrey Ink Enclosed: Bell Stamp Set with Ripe Avocado Ink.  I did this by starting in the center of the paper and rotating it vs. rotating the stamps to get the leaves going all different directions and nicely spaced although I didn't do any kind of measuring.  My friend Yana is a whiz at this but this was my first try to do a pattern of this sort.  I actually surprised myself with how well it turned out.

Next I stamped the Holly Berries using Pure Poppy Ink and then stamped the Hero Arts Music Background in Versafine Onyx Black Ink.  Even though the paper is very thin, I still heat set that ink with Simon Says Stamp Clear Embossing Powder being careful not to hold it too long in one spot.  This prevents the pigment ink from smearing. Then I cut a panel of Pure Poppy Cardstock with the largest Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle Die, cut the printed paper I had made with the same rectangle, then re-aligned it back into the die to take about 1/8th inch more off two sides which gives me about 1/16th of an inch all the way around for the Poppy Mat. This is a favorite technique to stretch my dies even further.  

Before/After stamping the pattern
This card really mixes a lot of different brands of products for the finished card; Wild Rose Studio, Hero Arts, Papertrey Ink, Simon Says Stamp, Winnie & Walter and there's even a punch from SU!  I love to take the bits and pieces from any brand I have to get the exact look I want on my finished product.

Once I had the patterned paper created I just pulled in all the bits and pieces off my desk to create my card. The Poinsettia is from the Simon Says Stamp Winter Flowers Stamp & Die Combo, the banner and leafy branch are from Papertrey Ink's Songbird Dies, and even though there is a bird in that set that I really like, I felt it was too big for this project so I used my SU! punch for that.  I used Festive Berries Re-inker to paint the Poinsettia but I was going more for the color rather than the technique on that element.  Because I used Black Versafine for the sheet music, I wanted to also use that ink for the bloom.  A little Nuvo Crystal Drops in Ebony Black Gloss for the center and for the bird's eye finished out the details.

For not having any sheet music paper, I am pretty darn happy with how this came out.  The card base is made from Mossy Meadow Cardstock (SU!) and the banner and branch are both cut from some Antique Gold Shimmer Paper scraps. Be sure to stop over at the Inspired By All The Little Things Challenge Blog to see how everyone interpreted this challenge.

Thank you so much for stopping by my blog today.  I appreciate it when you take time to leave encouraging comments.  I hope you'll come back soon.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Shine Bright Like A Diamond

I am popping in with a super fast post today!  I took several days off last week to get a few days in with my best girls (my daughter and best friend were both here) and also one of my brothers was here with his daughter, my niece Livvie (short for Olivia).  Liv is a senior in high school this year and an honor student who will be starting college next fall.  She is planning to be a lawyer.  It was so awesome to see her and my brother and we browsed through my Heritage Album and filled her in on as many family stories, traditions and so on as we could remember.  It was a lot of fun.

I wanted to get something made quickly today for the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge this week in the theme of "Shine Bright Like A Diamond".  I tried to keep things as simple as possible for today's card.  I have so many ideas in my head right now that it is hard for me to stay on task and finish one before starting another.  I have bits and piece for at least a half dozen more sitting on my desk.

I started by doing some ink blending on a piece of watercolor paper using a Mini Ink Blending Tool and some Simon Says Stamp Audrey Blue Ink.  If you use a light touch, you can give it just that hint of color which exudes more of a light source look rather than a definitive color.  You can enhance that look my adding a bit of shimmer mist to that panel and letting it dry. I love using this on my cards and when it was dry I cut it with the Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle Die in the largest size. Next I stamped the Pine Branch from the Sunny Studios Holiday Style Stamp Set. I first inked the stamp in Versamark and then without cleaning off the stamp, added Pine Feather Ink then stamped it onto the watercolor panel. By doing it this way, you can add embossing powder over the top to intensify the color and provide iridescence.  I used WOW! Neutral Ultra Shimmer Embossing Powder and heat set it. This ink is my favorite green for the holidays but I don't really have any other ink in a similar color.  Simon's has a new ink color called Evergreen that's on my wishlist. Next I cut the What The Doodle Ornament from gold glitter cardstock. I used a metal shim and didn't have any trouble but my glitter paper has a kind of vinyl backing on it which can sometimes give me trouble.  Luckily it didn't today.  I also cut the Simon Says Stamp Believe Die from the same glitter paper.  Using Ranger Multi Medium Matte, I attached the die cut to the branch and the die cut word below.  I also added some of the Pretty Pink Posh Sparkling Clear Sequin Mix which has them in the 4, 6, 8 and 10 mm size all in one package.  I don't usually have all the sizes so I'm glad that Simon Says Stamp offers these in a mix.

I mounted everything onto a top folding card base made from Pine Feather Cardstock and attached my panel using 1/4 inch Scor-Tape for a super strong hold. Finally, I added Stardust Stickles to all of the openings on the ornament for the ultimate in sparkle and shine.  It did take a little while to dry, but I feel like the end result was worth it.

This is it for me today but I hope you'll stop over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog to see all the great ideas and inspiration there.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge #57

Each year right after Halloween, the grocery stores and nurseries start putting out their Poinsettias.  While I love the traditional red ones, it's the lovely pink ones that make me happy and speak to my heart with their beauty.

I watercolored this poinsettia from the Papertrey Ink Botanical Blocks IV using Worn Lipstick and Mowed Lawn Distress Markers with a water brush.  I used Sugar Pea Designs Zig-Zag Stitched Rectangle Dies, Hibiscus Burst Cardstock, Canson Bristol Watercolor Paper, Versamark, Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder, Gold Foiled Cardstock, and of course the Simon Says Stamp Exclusive "believe" die.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE this die!  I'll be happy when the Simon Says Stamp Believe Stamp Set arrives but I had to wait to order until it was back in stock and it hasn't shipped yet.

Since the sentiment is "believe", I had to dig through some stuff and find some Jingle Bells.  They aren't silver bells like in the Polar Express Movie, but since I used gold accents on my card I saved the silver ones for another time. *Ü*

This card was created for the Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge #57 which is still "Anything Goes".  You can still play today or until 9:00 a.m. EST tomorrow!  Have a great day everyone!

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

That's a Wrap!

This week for the Papertrey Ink Make It Monday #266, Lexi Daly showed us how to make our own wrapping paper from stamping supplies that we already have on hand.  I never even thought about doing that but I just downloaded the templates that Lexi had ready for us and gave it a try.  You can see her video here.

For my wrapping paper, I cut a piece of freezer paper to be 8.5 x 11 inches to fit over the diagonal template and to make it easy to see through.  Cardstock would be super difficult to wrap with, so freezer paper was an ideal solution.

For my paper, I used three of the sentiments from Betsy Veldman's Inspired Series - Inspired: Hope, Inspired: Jesus, and Inspired: Grace. Each of these stamp sets is a $5.00 set and similar in font size and proportion to each other.  I think it worked great for my wrapping paper.  For the colors I used Scarlet Jewel, Dark Indigo and Pine Feather.

I don't have anything to wrap up at this point in time, so I thought I'd make mine into an envelope for a 5 x 7 card.  I did make one mistake when stamping, but I was able to hide that when I converted the paper to an envelope.  It's really easy to make your own envelopes with a Scor-Pal and some Scor-Tape or any type of double sided adhesive.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on my Wrapping Paper turned Envelope and I can't wait to see what stamp sets others have used to create their wrapping paper.

Merry & Bright

Today is my last chance to get another entry in for the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge so I thought I would also enter it in the Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge #57. The Wednesday Challenge is still "Anything Goes" and that is also what the current challenge is for the Simon Flickr Group. The only requirement for the Flickr Group is to use at least one Simon Says Stamp Exclusive Stamp Set or Die. Since I use Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle Dies in 95% of my cards, it's an easy one to qualify for.  

In my previous post, I talked about how I inked up some watercolor paper and then splattered it with gold, letting it dry so I could cut Holly die cuts from it.  I got the idea from my friend, Yana Smakula.  Well today, I took that one step further with another of Yana's ideas.

Before I found Papertrey Ink and discovered their awesome cardstock, I had a lot of SU! cardstock and I still do.  Papertrey's Cardstock is much thicker and smoother but in mimicking a technique that Yana did a month or two ago, this time I started with a sheet of SU! Wild Wasabi Cardstock and did ink blending on that using Papertrey Ink's Pine Feather Ink.  Since I was starting with a green background vs. the white one I usually do, it took a lot less work and ink to get the color I wanted.  Yippee!  I am so glad I'll have a purpose for all the SU! card stock in my leftover paper stash.  I use a lot of die cuts in my work and this is a great way to be able to use this supply.  I keep the SU! Cardstock in a separate place from my Papertrey Ink Cardstocks.  I did a half sheet of cardstock this way to get this deeper green that I used on my card.  Once I had it inked up, I spritzed it with Heidi Swapp Color Shine Mist in Gold Lamé and set it aside to dry while I figured out the rest of my elements.

I cut a large Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle from the Sheet Music paper. This was a partial sheet in my scrap bin and the only piece I have of it. I gave the patterned paper a mist of Iridescent Gold Shimmer, then gave it a few seconds to dry.  I really wanted to use it with this WPLUS9 Be Merry Stamp & Die Coordinating Set and the Woodland Basics Die Set which are part of the WPLUS9 Holiday 2016 Collection. I am crazy about this release. I made a True Black top folding card base for my project and adhered the rectangle panel to that.  I actually ordered the Be Merry Set directly from the WPLUS9 Store this time around.

Next I went back to the inked up cardstock and cut a piece of it large enough for the greeting. Treating it first with my Powder Tool, I then stamped the greeting in Versamark and heat set it with Hero Arts White Embossing Powder.  I have a few white embossing powders, but this is now my absolute favorite.  It melts fast and is super smooth and bright white; even brighter white than WOW!'s Opaque Bright White.  There are so many really fine details in this stamp set, especially around the banner. It can get lost in the heavier lines of some embossing powders, but not the Hero Arts White Embossing Powder.  It doesn't say fine detail on the container, but it is a very fine powder.  I've tried several including Ranger, but this is by far my favorite!

Once I had that completed I die cut it with the coordinating die from the Be Merry Die Set.  I also cut several of the large Holly Leaves from the stand alone Woodland Basics Die Set and then began making my arrangement on the card front.  I used Thin 3D Foam Squares for the greeting and Ranger Multi Medium Matte for the holly leaves and sequins.  I used sequins from Cartwright's in the color "Ruby Slippers".  Being a Kansas girl, that color name is particularly pleasing to me.  One of my favorite papers from several years ago is from Basic Grey and is called "Ruby Shoes".  I still have a few sheets of that paper left in my stash as well.

Thank you all so much for stopping by my blog today to see my project.  I truly appreciate all of the kind and encouraging comments you leave for me.  I've started making my Christmas cards to send to friends and family so you'll be seeing lots of those up on my blog in the coming weeks. Have a great day everyone!