Sunday, September 23, 2007

2 Days with Deb!

On the left is an assortment of stuff I made with the help of Deb Gerlach who hostesses a Stampers' Six class and an occasional crop. She's also got the most laid-back dog, Molly, who mostly watches everyone come and go, offering her fluffy sweet little ears for a pat. Deb herself is great at coming up with cool ideas and has a fun, chatty manner that's really encouraging. She let my friend Kathleen and I experiment with all her cool toys during the crop. I had no idea how much the S.U. markers rock, though the cost of a full set nearly made my swallow my tongue. That'll have to stay on the wishlist awhile. More affordable are the brads which I liked because they are freakin' razor sharp--they poke through the paper so easily. On the other hand, if you have a strong aversion to punctured fingertips, you might not like them as much. Me? I don't mind bleeding in the name of craftsiness and pretty sparkly brads.

So, on the left is my favorite project we did, mostly because...well LOOK at it. There's a cute orange kitty poised amongst some great Addams Family-esque images. The fence totally reminds of the part in the credits where Gomez (Admit it! He's a mad hottie!) is shown sharpening the finials on the iron fence that surrounds the Addams home. The house, while not as spacious as the Addams' is still one I'd move into any day of the week.
The moon? Yeah. It's just a dot that comes with the set. Uninspired, yes, but it worked for the layout anyway and could be handy, I suppose, if you lack anything, you know, round. Loved the tree so much, I had to find a way to cram it in, even though it wasn't included in Deb's original design. I was torn about including the witch. No, I'm not anti-witch, but quite the opposite. Is the whole pointy-hat, flying, big-nosed image insulting or charming? Not one of my friends who is of the witchy persuasion has a visible wart or greenish tinge (unless they eat something scary, which pretty much makes anyone green, regardless of religious persuasion). So, what's the consensus? I'd really like to hear. I just think it's kind of worrisome any time I see an oversimplified depiction of the people of any religion. On the other hand, if they made a stamp depicting a little bald black-robed zen monk, I'd buy it myself. But what if it had, say, the features of a character on an old anti-Japanese WWII propaganda poster? That changes everything.
Anyway, I loved the project overall. I'm really into making itty bitty 6x6 scrapbook pages all of the sudden so it fit in nicely. 12x12 is my usual preference (8x8 once was. I'm interested in trying some 8.5x11 next.) but I love how the shape and size of the paper totally changes the way the whole project turns out.
The cards were fun too. Watercolors are always fun since water is always fun and paint is always fun. I liked pretty much all the methods. The crayon kind were new to me so that was probably the most fun. I immediately picked up some of the watercolor pen thingies at an online yard sale (cheap!) on yahoogroups that I really like:
You can only get retired stuff (not currently available from a rep) but you can find some pretty great stuff really really cheap. If you happen to know of something similar for Creative Memories stuff I would be ever so happy to hear about it. :)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Carte Postale: My Favorite stamp set from the current Stampin Up catalog...

Well, it had an unfair advantage being French and all, but damn, it also has a lot of stamps in it. They take advantage of *all* the space in the box. :) There's no extra shaking space in there.
Okay, so maybe you think I just picked this to talk about because I'm skipping down the yellow brick road toward Stampin Up demohood, but no! This project was done as a plug for Pizzazzill cardstock (if you look very carefully, you'll see itty bitty polka dots on the pink paper.) Yes, you may call me a corporate whore, but indeed, I did enter a project for every single day of the Pizzazzill (still bugs me that its name looks like an attempt by Pizza Hut to make pizza look slightly different so you'll think it's somehow totally new) contest, except for the days when I had the flu. I went through a huuuuge stack of their cardstock ( I see...truly they are the winners. What a fool and errant knave am I!) At any rate, this is one of the many.
The base is pink polka dot cardstock. The next two layers are from a K & Co. cardstock stack book, including the nifty little photo corners. I then stamped (using Elegant Eggplant S.U. ink) the birds and words, then just for kicks, added a black fleur de lis to grab attention at the forefront, adding a little depth. It still seemed lacking...too "hey, it's layers!" so I punched a hole halfway down the back half of the card, one on each side, then threaded the ribbon through both. I should have taken a pic of the back to make it easier to replicate, but essentially you want the majority of the ribbon strip to lie flat on the back, with the ends threaded through each of the holes, then tied around the front of the card to hold it closed. Add a little buckle, either from the Hodgepodge Hardware set or perhaps something similar found at a hardware store (I need to do further research on this topic...stay tuned!)
One thing Scott pointed out--I made this for his mom--is that if the recipient isn't too familiar with "interactive" type cards that they might need a hint to know that they are supposed to untie the card and open it. I figured his mom was smart enough to figure it out on her own. If I hear otherwise, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Scrappers 10 with Terri

I loooove this group! We week once a month to make things from Stampin Up products. You'd think I was a consultant from how I gush over all their stuff. I spend waaay too much on stamps and I'm completely addicted to their cardstock now that they've pretty much spoiled me for anything else, as far as blanks go. The colors are great and the texture is better than any others I've found. Creative Memories, I'm sorry, but a lot of yours is too akin to construction paper for the price (though the prints are pretty neat, and I adore their little scrap pack things with the journaling boxes...I could go on, but we're talking about something else here.) and's great for a lot of things, but not for stamping. It's got that weird grid texture.
Anyway, check out the cards we made. Terri had some really fun ideas this time, my favorite being the one on the far left with-get this!- scratch and sniff embossing. Too cool! It's just Kool-aid powder and some heat and stick powder. Now I have to get to the store to scope out different to try. You can also use spices, like pumpkin pie spice for Thanksgiving cards, and being totally goofy as I am, I'm totally thinking we need some chili powder embossing powder for a taco night invitation. (As an aside I love the invitation they made on Scrap! on PBS, but I just don't have the wherewithall to go find all the various types of industrial plastic required to make each guest lifelike tacos, hand delivered. It was incredibly cool, yes, but come on...poly this and that? Oh my. I believe I just walked into a dirty joke. Anyway...)
It's not easy to see in the picture, but there is a neat technique on the sympathy card that I'd never seen before. Terri showed us how to use an atomizer thing along with one of those incredibly expensive Stampin Up markers to blast tiny flecks of color across the entire card. It had the effect of unifying the layers, though if you are squeamish about it and put too little, it could end up looking like you spilled something on the card. Overall, I give it a thumbs up. I don't know how expensive the apparatus is, but if it's not too pricey, it would be neat to have. I doubt it's going to be a core tool for anyone, but it would be fun to pull out for something extra now and then.
The tiny card was done to show off this catalog's punch box set. The punch is a line of 3 little flowers and, of course, you also get a stamp set to match. If you ordered it last month (and, of course, I had to. A cool new toy *and* a deal to go with it? Like I could say no.) you also are getting a set of little gift card blanks to start playing with right away, just like the one you see in the pic. I love those tiny little cards for throwing into care packages, hiding for friends to find, and for a little gift topper in place of an overwhelming birthday card. I like birthday cards, of course, but they seem like a bit much when they're huge honking things on top of a cute little present. Mail the big card and use one of these for gift delivery. The recipient gets two surprises (and who doesn't like that?) and your present is less cumbersome when you're juggling it, a purse, and your shoes at the sushi place.
So, I'm very excited to go to the next Stampers 10! I was sad last time that my friend Jen K. couldn't make it (she was being held hostage by her inlaws, I think.) so it'll be doubly fun at the next one. Whoo hoo!