Friday, July 06, 2012

Four Ways Friday #93 - Lovely As A Tree

I approached this week's Four Ways Friday with the Lovely As A Tree stamp set much the way I approach nature.  I believe that nature is beautiful all on its own, so I found it difficult to create highly embellished cards with these gorgeous nature images.  So instead, I kept it simple, simple, simple while still incorporating a few different techniques/ideas.  I hope you enjoy this simple approach to nature :)
A few stamps, a bit of ink, and a touch of Dazzling Details.  This is how I approached this first card.  I began with a Sahara Sand base and stamped the large tree in black.  Next I stamped the sentiment from Loving Thoughts.  The finishing touch was a bit of sparkle with some Dazzling Details.  Simple, graphic and bold.
You can add some whimsy to your cards by combining images from different sets.  This tree always reminded me of a drawing, so I decided to pair it with the pen from Established Elegance.  I colored the tree using a variety of Stampin' Pastels.  I love the soft color they give to an image.  The sentiment is from Loving Thoughts.  Imagine if I could draw like that...
I often forget about the gorgeous tone-on-tone effect you can get by stamping with Versamark and then heat embossing with clear embossing powder.  That is exactly what I chose to do for this card.  The image and sentiment (from Apothecary Art) were stamped with Versamark on Always Artichoke card stock.  I heat embossed with clear embossing powder and then adhered the panel to a Very Vanilla card base.  So simple and so beautiful.
If you are in the mood for a meditative exercise, cutting out this leaf image is for you!  I stamped the leaf image and cut it out with my paper snips.  I then colored it using cotton swabs and Stampin' Pastels.  I took the card base and ran it through the Big Shot with the oval Designer Frames embossing folder.  The leaves were popped up on dimensionals and the sentiment from Curly Cute was stamped in black.
I hope you've enjoyed this week's simple return to nature with the Lovely As A Tree stamp set.  I hope these simple ideas inspire you to see the beauty in simplicity :)  May you have a simply beautiful and creative weekend!!!!!

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Throwback Thursday: Botanicals

Today's Lesson From The Craft Room:  Do What You Need To Do To Make Yourself Feel Better!
If you follow my blog then you probably know that I often struggle with the whole idea of retiring stamp sets and discontinued items.  I know that I live in a consumer-focused world and that by being a Stampin' Up! demonstrator I am a contributing member of this society of materialism.  Most days I am okay with that.  I love our products and I, like everyone else, like fresh and new products to play with.  Some days though, I find myself staring at my shelves of retired items and it makes me sad.  Sad that I have perfectly wonderful, beautiful supplies that I no longer use because they have been labeled "retired."  Some people part with their retired items.  I don't happen to be one of them (that's another story for another day).  As a matter of fact, I have even been guilty of purchasing retired items because of their beauty and then I stop myself from using them because of their status..."retired."  So the other day I was thinking about placing another Stampin' Up! order in an effort to refresh my supplies and I hesitated.  I have many stamps that have never seen ink - they are as fresh as anything - so why not play with them?  I know what you're thinking..."They're retired!"  Yeah, yeah...and so is my mom, but I still talk to her and spend time with her and enjoy her!  So there!  So I decided to create a special space for my retired and discontinued items that I still keep and love.  Every week I am now going to share Throwback Thursday with you!!!!!  Every Thursday I will ink up one of these much-loved stamp sets and put them to work!  One thing I appreciate about Stampin' Up! is that there is often a current "similar" stamp set available if you want the same look and feel of the retired set.  I will do my best to identify the current set that could give you a similar look.  I hope you enjoy Throwback Thursdays!  I know I will :)
Today's Throwback Thursday features the Botanicals stamp set.  I stamped all of the images onto a Naturals Ivory card base using Basic Black ink (except for the script background - I stamped that image with Crumb Cake ink).  I love how you can create an elegant one-layer card with this set.  You can absolutely create a similar look with the Nature Walk stamp set.  You might even pair it with the En Francais background set.  See what you currently have that might mimic this one-layer look!  Your stamps are calling to you :)

Wednesday, July 04, 2012

Out On A Whim Wednesday: Playing With Plaster Of Paris

Today's Lesson From The Craft Room:  Take It Off The Shelf And Put It To Use!!!!
Do you have something sitting on your shelf in your creative space that you have never used?  No, this isn't a trick question :)  You can admit to it - your secret is safe with me :)  A particular box of Plaster of Paris has been sitting on one of my shelves for quite a long time...taunting me.  It happened to be not too far from another box - one of Amazing Molding Putty - also unopened.  So the time finally arrived to take those boxes off the shelf and put them to use!  What better way to honor Out On a Whim Wednesday!!!!  The Amazing Molding Putty is super easy to use and I was able to mold a few items in under 40 minutes!  Pretty cool!  I then mixed some Plaster of Paris with water and poured the mix into the molds.  About an hour later you can demold the plaster and then let it sit for another 24 hours to dry.  Here is what one of my pieces looked like when it was removed from the mold:
I am not quite sure where this piece will end up...somehow a wood board and some type of collage seem to be attracting me...we'll see what happens :)  (In case you are wondering, the pattern came off of an antique box that Michael found in the course of his work as an antique dealer...I knew the pattern had to be molded!)  In the meantime, I've been hard at work molding some other objects that I have big plans for!  Sometimes all it takes is taking something off of your shelf and putting it to use to give you a big burst of inspiration!!!!

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Acrylic Block Color Wash: A Video!!!!

Today's Lesson From The Craft Room:  Do Something You Don't Feel Like Doing
I spent some indoor time on the couch this past weekend and the tv came on (I hadn't watched any tv in awhile).  I was very excited that the first thing I saw when I turned on the tv on Saturday was the prologue for the Tour de France!  I love watching the Tour and find it incredibly motivating!  After the Tour segment was over, on came the men's gymnastics trials for the Olympics.  Are you sensing a theme here (other than the part that I was watching all men)?  After watching people exercise for an hour and a half on tv, I had the thought that maybe I should try doing a little exercise too.  My exercise, other than walking Buddy, has been sporadic at best lately.  And I've gotta admit, the last thing I wanted to do at that moment was get my butt off the couch and go exercise.  But somehow I did it.  I picked myself up off the couch, put on my workout clothes, placed a P90X2 video in the player downstairs and got to work!  I can't say my motivation increased much during the workout itself, but what did that matter.  I was exercising and getting it done!  I have to admit that afterwards I had a big smile on my face!  I did it!!!!!  Sometimes it's worth doing something you just don't feel like doing - it can really boost your mood!  Give it a try!
Here is a video to show you how I used an acrylic block and some ink to create the color wash background in today's card.  Enjoy!!!!

Monday, July 02, 2012

Nature Walk Stamped Collage

Today's Lesson From The Craft Room:  Sometimes I Let My Temper Get The Best Of Me
I was away last week for work and, as usual, went through my sadness at leaving home and my inability to fall asleep as early as I would like in the hotel rooms.  I hit a bit of a limit on Wednesday night.  It was after 10:30 pm and I had already been listening to the child and his mother (and maybe another voice) in the room next door for long enough.  It sounded as if the child had eaten 15 boxes of Fruit Loops and washed it down with a gallon of Coke.  That child was WOUND UP!  Now I understand that kids will be kids and they need their time to scream and laugh and jump and bang.  I also understand that 10:30 pm in a public hotel during the week is not the time for it.  I contemplated banging on the wall, shouting obscenities or turning the tv to maximum volume.  Instead I chose to take the civil route...and called down to the front desk to inform them that my desire to slumber was being interrupted by the youth and his family next door.  They said they would send security up and apologized for my lack of rest.  I did not hear security come up, but after about an hour, the sugar and caffeine seemed to have worn off sufficiently for the kid to calm down and get into bed (rather than jump on it).  I, of course, was now wide awake and did not find my zzz's until after midnight.  When the alarm went off before 6 a.m. I almost didn't hear it - I was pooped.  But, up I got - showered, packed, ready to start my day...and then the little devil appeared on my shoulder.'s very quiet in that room this early in the morning.  I bet they are soundly asleep...enjoying their sweet dreams of sugar plum fairies and bubblegum clouds.  And yes, I did it...I admit it...when I went to close my closet after putting on my work clothes, I pushed the door a little...okay...a lot harder than I normally would...just to make it slam!  I also didn't even consider keeping the hotel room door from slamming shut behind me when I went out into the hall with my luggage.  I don't know if it woke them up.  And yes, I know it was a bit passive aggressive of me.  Is it wrong to felt good?!  Yes, sometimes I let my temper get the best of me and I wish I was a better person and didn't allow it to happen.  I guess I still have some room to grow :)
Today's card was a quick stamped collage card.  I created the background with some ink and some water (I think I'll try to make a video of the technique to share with you tomorrow).  I stamped multiple images from the Nature Walk stamp set and then colored in the images with ink and my aqua painter.  I added a touch of dazzling details to the flowers.  The sentiment is from Loving Thoughts.  I finished things off by sponging the edges of the panel with Marina Mist ink.  I hope you like it :)

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Reason To Smile Promotion Begins Today!!!

Promotion dates: July 1-31, 2012

Promotion Details: During July, you have the opportunity to purchase an exclusive stamp set, available only through this special offer!

Get the Reason to Smile Set-up to a $20.95 value-for just $5 when you spend $50 on any Stampin' Up! products.
$5 Item
Reason to Smile Wood-Mount Set
Reason to Smile Clear-Mount Set
*Enter this $5 item number after reaching $50 on your order.