In the birdhouse, not the doghouse

It took me awhile to jump on the milk-carton-as-birdhouse bandwagon.  When I decided to use (mostly) retired colors, the idea of a folk art dwelling started to form.  Some of my stampers this month thought this was very Mary Engelbreit, which I count as a huge compliment.  When her magazine Home Companion was discontinued, I was sad.  So many good things in there!  Well, I don’t know why I didn’t investigate this sooner, but she has a blog that is also fun.  The pictures of participants and their projects at this spring’s Home Companion Workshop are inspiring.  When I first read about the Workshop, I was raring to go.  Then I saw the price!  Gulp.  Going to Convention in less than one month seems like a bargain!

Speaking of prices, I want you to know that for the new year — the new Stampin’ Up! year starting July 1, that is — I will not be raising my stamp camp prices.  There have been suggestions that I should, especially since the cost of card stock is going up, but I can hold the line just fine.  What I will be doing, however, is charging for workshops.  What’s the difference?  A workshop is a party held in your home, usually, that gives me an opportunity to present Stampin’ Up! products to your friends by demonstrating them and allowing guests to participate.  Workshops (that allow you to earn free and hostess-exclusive product!) will be “2x2x2” — two projects for two dollars in two hours.  Talk to me about how to hold a party of your own!

Ink:  Close to Cocoa*, Ballet Blue*

Paper:  Summer Sun*, Ruby Red*, Garden Green, Taken with Teal*, Close to Cocoa*, Ballet Blue*

Other:  Mini Milk Carton Bigz die, Window Sheet (thick), Glue Dots, Punches (1¼” Circle, Scallop Circle, Extra Large Two-Step Bird, Heart to Heart, Small Heart, Scallop Edge), 1/2″ Polka-Dot Grosgrain Ribbon* (Crushed Curry), Stampin’ Dimensionals, hole punch

*retiring June 30

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Blushing hydrangeas

Here’s another card from my Early Espresso monochromatic experiment.  As I’ve said, it’s never worth making just one of something, so the other day I had created a half sheet of random hydrangeas.  So pretty!

This pink, Blushing Bride, is one of the new In Colors.  As you know, each year starting in 2010, Stampin’ Up! will introduce five new In Colors, which will remain in inventory for two years.  I love that idea, since it increases the color combinations we have to play with!

When demonstrators first saw the new colors — core colors and In Colors — there was some grumbling about the similarity of the pinks.  However, our preview was online only, and I can tell you that in person, this pink is different enough from the others.  Pink Pirouette has a little raspberry in it; this is more like a strawberry shake.  Lovely!

Stamps:  Because I Care

Ink:  Early Espresso

Paper:  Blushing Bride, Early Espresso, Very Vanilla

Other:  Scallop Rectangle Clearlits Die, Stampin’ Dimensionals

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Tuesday Tip: DIY padded envelope

When I got ready to mail this card to my friends last week, I was a little concerned how it would travel through the mail.  More than once a recipient has told me that a brad or other embellishment was poking through the envelope upon delivery!

To protect my work, I simple took 1/4 sheet of coordinating card stock and ran it through the Crimper.  This piece then faced the front of the card when I inserted it into the envelope.  Although it may not have remained crimped en route, I think it should have provided sufficient cushioning.  And it also gives the recipient something to wonder about when they open the envelope:  “What am I supposed to do with this?”

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Simply hydrangeas

This hydrangea image, part of a Level 1 hostess set from the new Stampin’ Up! 2010-2011 Idea Book & Catalog, is stunning.  Are you intimidated by the idea of coloring this?  This approach, above, is nothing more than several squares punched from various parts of a larger image.  The fact that it is monotone makes it so striking.  I was inspired by the beautiful work of SU! demonstrator Jo-Ann Pullen and the stunning new Early Espresso core color, a very rich black-brown.

Stamps:  Because I Care

Ink:  Early Espresso

Paper:  Early Espresso, Pear Pizzazz, Very Vanilla

Other:  Finial Press Textured Impressions Embossing Folder, 1¼” Square Punch, Stampin’ Dimensionals

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Scrappin’ Saturday — The 2-page spread

I quickly (10 minutes) whipped up the second of the two-page spread for Carnton Plantation.  You can see the first page here.

Aligning objects is a snap in My Digital Studio — literally.  Selecting the Snap to Grid option ensures that items can’t be slid just anywhere on the page.  It’s as if there are little bumpers that keep them in place.  Secondly, you can select more than one object (for example, the two bottom pictures here), and select Align Bottom.

To make sure I had continuity between the two pages, I simply made a duplicate of the first page, then stripped out the elements I didn’t want to keep (most of them!).  I re-used the star motif as another way to tie the two pages together.

Stampin’ Up! added more digital downloads for MDS this week.  I thought they were going to do this just once a month, but it’s been more often than that.  It’s hard to keep up!  Luckily, a fellow demonstrator created a checklist for us to use to keep track of what’s offered and what we have already downloaded.  You’ll find it here, on the Resources page of my blog.  When there are changed, I’ll updated it, and you’ll be able to tell if it’s current by the date.

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Salute to Cherry Ames

Last week on the Stampin’ Addicts blog hop, I shared a dress card and promised I’d provide the template.  You can find it here, on my blog’s Resources page.  This is a variation of someone else’s work, but I haven’t a clue where I first saw it several years ago.

Does this version recall any experiences as a hospital volunteer?  I was a Candy Striper for a very brief time when I was 14, before my family moved away from the area.  I was proud to wear the dress and pinafore (in the manner of Cherry Ames), but I remember it as being a lot of running around and being under close supervision.  Little wonder, delivering urine specimens and picking up meds!

Anyway, I believe the construction of this card is obvious, but if not, here are a few tips:

  • Trace the dress onto the folded card stock; punch the neckline at the fold through both layers.
  • After you have cut the apron, but before you adhere it to the dress, trace the dress neckline onto the apron, then punch.  You cannot punch through three layers.
  • Before you adhere the apron to the dress, construct the collar.
  • The collar is a punched circle cut in half, each half positioned so that the points meet in the center.  Adhere the outside edges of the collar, then punch out the remainder to match the other necklines.

Embellish this to your heart’s content!

Paper:  Bashful Blue, Summer Picnic Designer Series Paper (retired but currently available in the Clearance Rack at 60% off!)

Other:  Scallop Edge Punch, Eyelet Border Punch,  5/16″ Neutral Jumbo Brads (White), Organza Ribbon

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Diaper Bag Tag

This is such a simple project, it doesn’t need much explanation.  I love to make bag tags of all kinds, as participants of Super Saturday and other Inkspiration events know.

Sometimes I use scrap cardboard (gluing together several layers) as the base for these tags, other times I use coasters or Stampin’ Up!’s chipboard.  For this project, I did both.

I’m sorry to see that SU! has retired Glassy Glaze — in fact, it is now sold out.  It is the “chunky” clear embossing powder that requires fewer layers to get that deep effect.  (Here, it almost looks like the star is inlaid into the circle, doesn’t it?)  On this project, I stamped and punched the star, adhering it to the Designer Series Paper-covered chipboard circle very well.  You must have adhesive to the edge of the star, or the melted embossing powder wants to seep underneath.  The result is not pretty.  Here I “smooshed” the face of the chipboard circle into VersaMark ink, covered it with Glassy Glaze, and heated it until it melted.  The coverage is light and uneven, so after the chipboard circle has cooled, repeat the process.  For good measure, do it again!  The last time I used Iridescent Ice instead of Glassy Glaze; this gives the impression that the sparkles are suspended in the thick glaze.

(Why did I emphasize the cooling step?  If you take hot, melted embossing and press it into the VersaMark pad, the molten liquid will pull the foam off in little clumps.  Your project is ruined.)

Stamps:  Nursery Necessities

Ink:  Pumpkin Pie, VersaMark

Paper:  Pawsitively Prints DSP (retiring), Whisper White

Other:  Scallop Circle #2 die, Circles #2 die, Crop-A-Dile, Heat Tool and Stampin’ Emboss Powder (Glassy Glaze, Iridescent Ice), Pumpkin Pie 1/2″ Striped Grosgrain Ribbon (retiring)

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