Thursday, 31 December 2009

First tag of Christmas

Hello! Are you having a good New Year's Eve? We are. We did a bit of shopping today, the girls got gift certificates for a toy store so we went out. Then we went for supper at a great Chinese restaurant in our end of town, then came home and played with the new toys. Now we're tucked up snugly and will try to stay up late enough to ring in the new year. We'll see. I was up very, very late last night finishing my tags for the 12 Tags of Christmas, which was a totally self-imposed assignment, but really a huge amount of fun and a real creative rush. I did get them all done and emailed off to Tim Holtz himself, and entered in the contest. My fortune cookie tonight said I would be successful in everything I turn my hand to, so I am optimistic about my chances.

Here's the first tag, based on this one by Tim Holtz. Design elements I used were the snowman motif, the steps for creating the background (distress ink, crackle treatment) and stickle-based icicles. I used blues and pinks and purples for the background, and stamped with SU snowflakes, also with a SU snow-related rub on. The snowman is Sunshine Designs, coloured with markers and cut out. The ribbon is SU. The tag is manila, smaller than Tim's but I had a bunch of these in my stash and they work surprisingly well with all the abuse they get. I did find that really good cardstock drank up too much ink for the wetter distress techniques. It tends to float a bit better on the manila - must be coated with something. Anyway, I liked how this one came out. It's quite sparkly in real life. I still don't know what I'm going to do with all these tags. It was a real hoot doing them, even if I did stay up far too late for my own good.
Well, I should get off the computer and spend some time with my true love, who did not (bless him) give me six geese a-laying today. Two children a-playing was quite enough for me!
Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Butterfly Birthday

Merry Christmas! Has anyone's true love sent them four calling birds today? How about four pounds of back bacon? My true love went for groceries (twice) so he's in the good books today.
How was your Christmas? Mine was great, and now we are in that lovely, indolent, gluttonous aftermath. I have Jamie Oliver's leek and turkey pot pie in the oven and we are all hoping it is as good as it sounded in the recipe. Yum yum! Can't wait.

I have even been doing some stamping, withe extra bonus of having my mother here to stamp with! Last night we did a whole bunch of thank you cards featuring that cute little MS butterfly punch. I also did a birthday card for a friend of mine who has a birthday coming up. I went with a clean and simple card since I have been labouring away doing Timmy-style tags with endless layers and colours and textures. I was ready for something clean and non-Christmas. This butterfly has been kicking around my desk for a while so it was good to find it a home. It started out as a trial of versafine on glossy (works if you heat set it), using my SU floral stamp. It kicked around on my desk for ages like that, then it got used as a trial to see if alcohol inks can go over top. (They can.) This one uses silver and shades of blue and green. Then it kicked around on my desk for a while until I got my SU butterfly die for the Big Shot and it was the perfect thing to cut butterflies from. Poor little butterfly got moved from pillar to post, buried, discovered, tidied, buried, lost, found, you name it. Finally, last night was it's night! It even got some tiny rhinestones to celebrate.
For this card, I went with a simple layout, which I'm sure was inspired by a layout on Natasha Trupp's Clean and Simple blog, but can't remember exactly which one. Anyway, it's a plain white card, with a rectangular focal point is in the middle. The flourish (SU, Priceless) is in tempting turquoise with some royal blue glitter pen accents on the dots and the antennae. The sentiment is PTI, stamped in turquoise and versafine blue. Warning! Versafine needs to dry or be heat set if you are stamping on whisper white! Or your clean and simple will be all smudged and you will have to do it all over again! But don't worry, it will be faster the second time around because you will have already figured it all out.
Hope you're having a wonderful Christmastide!
Happy stamping!

Friday, 11 December 2009


No, that's not New Stamps Required (but I wouldn't say no". It's for Not Stamping Related! I have been madly writing and addressing Christmas cards so no time to stamp. This combined with Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of Christmas every day and I am going into agonizing withdrawal. Though I did have the satisfaction of popping cards in the mail yesterday, and the odd-size ones got put directly in the bag before Mr Post whisked them off in his van.

So, in the absence of anything stampy to show you, I thought I would show some other things that I have found either really cool or really funny lately.

If you have 6 minutes and volume on your computer, this will blow you away.

I've seen some of the following before, but they are good for a belly laugh every time. They remind me of the sign I saw outside a church here once that said (no word of a lie) "Lord save us from evil Psalms" What a difference a carriage return can make, eh, not that signs have carriage returns, but you know what I mean (if you were born before 1980....).

They're Back! Those wonderful Church Bulletins! These sentences (with all the BLOOPERS) actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:

The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say 'Hell' to someone who doesn't care much about you.
Don't let worry kill you off - let the Church help..
Miss Charlene Mason sang 'I will not pass this way again,' giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
For those of you who have children and don't know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church. So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
A bean supper will be held on Tuesday evening in the church hall. Music will follow.
At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be 'What Is Hell?' Come early and listen to our choir practice.
Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
Scouts are saving aluminum cans, bottles and other items to be recycled. Proceeds will be used to cripple children.
Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM - prayer and medication to follow.
The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM. All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B S. is done.
The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM.. Please use the back door.
The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare's Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM. The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
Weight Watchers will meet at 7 PM at the First Presbyterian Church. Please use large double door at the side entrance.
The Associate Minister unveiled the church's new campaign slogan last Sunday: 'I Upped My Pledge - Up Yours.’

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Bella Blog Hop

Welcome to the Bella Birthday Bash Blop Hop sponsored by Stamping Bella! If you've just happened upon my blog, you can CLICK HERE to find out how to start the tour.

My main image is Penelope with Prezzies, watercoloured with markers. Her flower is accented with a little gem. I like how this stamp is versatile - I've used it for birthdays too, but coloured this way to match my Christmas paper, it becomes a Christmas card. The aqua layer of patterned paper is also SB, the Patterned Holly stamp, stamped in lime green pigment ink and embossed with that vivid green embossing powder. I accented the open portion of the leaves with some watered down liquid pearls for some shimmer. The bottom layer of paper is Eskimo Kisses, ornament pattern, blurry because my main image is so far above it and the scaner had trouble focusing. This is due to my very bulky ribbon layer, which I love. It's wide grosgrain ribbon in burgundy, gathered using a lot of tape on the back of the panel. I love how it echoes the little ruffly bit on Penelope's skirt. I will now say that this was all along part of my master plan. (It's on the internet now so it must be true.)

Three gift certificates for $100 in Bella Bucks will be hidden along the hop, but we’re not telling you where so be sure to leave some love as you hop!!! Make sure you leave comments on every post so you have a chance to win!! Click here (post #87)to find out where to check if you've won. The winners will be announced on Monday, December 7. Thanks so much for stopping by! Now it's time to hop on over to Kathleen's blog for some great eye candy on the next stop on the hop.

Friday, 4 December 2009

12 Tags of Christmas #1

I recently discovered Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of Christmas feature. Wow! It's really amazing. I fell in love with them and wanted to try my hand at them. One of the techniques featured was on how to make plaid backgrounds with alcohol inks so I set to it. It's really easy and I have a tidy pile of them on my desk (tidy used figuratively here of course).

I used mostly reds, golds and purples for this background, and stamped on some wintry images from the Winter Post set (SU). I even tried out my new scratching tool - aren't I getting grungy here! I used versafine ink, which seems to be wearing off. Ink that rubs off is a bit more of an extreme distress effect than I was going, so I will need to be gentle with this card until I try a replacement panel. I will have to try a different kind of ink next time, and just hope for the best.

I also scuffed up the edges of the tag (textured cardstock, named similarly to the irascible hotelier at Fawlty Towers). A bit about how I made my tag. In the absence of the elusive #8 manila tags, I made my own from cardstock and trimmed the corners at the top. For once they are even, a fluke that will never happen again! I also punched a circle from burgundy, but punched across the edge of the paper to get a flat side. Then I added an eyelet with my crop-o-dile. I stamped it a few times with a snowflake from Winter Post and edged in plum and artprint brown. The fibres are from my stash and I just love how they add texture and interest and a hit of colour. The layers are various colours of Mr Fawlty cardstock, edged in artprint brown. The brown one was run through my Big Shot for some texture, and the light burgundy has been stamped with a non-SU Christmas tree in bronze. The main card has been stamped in snowflakes in gold and versamark. The brads are square and spell "joy". They were silver so I tinted them with my alcohol ink applicator while I had it out. They're not so stark now and blend better. When all was said and done my hands were filthy but I was very happy with the result. I loved the tag, but I needed to put it on a card. I'm not so assimilated into the TH cult that I can just make tags for the sake of tags. I'm also a few steps away from doing large amounts of metal work in my papercrafting. Please pass the koolaid!
Thanks for stopping by!

Cheerful envelope

Here, by popular demand*, is the envelope to go with the thank you card in my last post. White on white is not a great way to showcase this, but I forget how to change my blog settings. (No doubt it's somewhere in the settings menu, but it's post or fiddle, and I'm choosing post!)

I stamped it on a white envelope using a big and juicy ink pad (primary colours). Still lots of room for the address and return address, though I'm not sure how much Canada Post likes this sort of thing. But they have never, not once, asked my advice on anything, so I don't think I need to ask them either. None of the envelopes have been returned to me yet. Not like the year that I got about 30 back because I forgot to put stamps on them. They must love me there....

I did go on a tour once of the sorting facility (very interesting!) and they did mention that their machines don't like red on envelopes, so never use red ink or things will have to be hand sorted. It was very tempting to think that for 52 cents (or is it more now???) a pop, the delightful people at Canada post should be hand sorting my hand made creations. (One would think that it would brighten their day to come across some handstamped creation to add music to the poetry of postal codes...)

At the risk of sounding very Hyacinth Bucket, I'm tempted to think my hand made cards should be hand sorted, and possibly even hand delivered. On a silver salver. By a liveried footman. And definitely not, most definitely not, subjected to the indignities of a superbox.

*100% of blog comments requested it! How could I resist such a clamour from my following?!?

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Cheap and Cheerful Thank Yous

At last! I did a "clean and simple" card! And it was simple! And most of them were clean! (They are going, by and large, to 7-year-olds, so I am not too worried about the couple that got smudged.)
My daughter's birthday was last weekend, so I needed a batch of thank you cards (13!) for friends and family. I hemmed and hawed for a bit about what to do. I was tempted to try to use up stuff from my scraps stash, but that always takes a long time. Instead, I went to designer paper and coordinating cardstock and ink, for guaranteed wow and speed. I love how it all came together.
The "thank you" image is one I picked up at a beautiful stationery shop here in town (along with too much (????) Japanese paper). I told myself it would be handy to have a circular thank you stamp, and lo! I was correct. I love it when that happens. (I'm still waiting for the ideal moment to trot out my scrimshaw stamp, and appropriate occasions may be less frequent than birthdays and thank yous. Still, it was a gap in my stamp collection....)
This was a very punchy card, and very quick to come together. If you want to recreate it at home, and why wouldn't you, here are the dimensions: standard card base (I used a sturdy white cardstock, 5 1/2"x 8 1/2"), the patterned paper (Razzleberry Lemonade) is 4 1/4" x 2 1/2", the "thank you " is punched on 1 1/4" circle, and matted on a 1 3/8" circle (Rich Razzleberry). The scallop circle is a 2" scalloped circle, punched from coordinating patterned paper (also Razz Lemonade). The ribbon (crushed curry grosgrain) is about 4 3/4" long, trimmed with a notch to overhang the card (I love that!).
I also whipped up matching envelopes, feeling very pleased with myself. I have a nice funky flourish that I stamped with a very big and squelchy (juicy?) multicolour inkpad in the same bright yellows, pinks and oranges. I just love how those turned out. It's sometimes hard to get a nice matching envelope with a card that relies so heavily on patterned paper. I can't (a) bring myself to "waste" patterned paper like that lining an envelope and (b) be bothered to do it. In this case, the perfect stamp again presented itself as did the ink. There was a tricky moment when I wondered if I could find that ink pad since it's so big it doesn't fit any of the places I keep my normal inks. But I just said to myself, where is the first place you would have stowed it, and lo! there it was, cozily snuggled between my watercolour wonder crayons and my wood veneer. I must have filed it with the "W's" for "Wow-these colours match perfectly".
Well, thank you for stopping by and bearing with the horrors of my organizational skills and my overzealous use of interjections.
NSR: I went to see the Group of Seven Nutcracker with my SIL, niece and daughters on the weekend. It was fabulous! It was Ballet Jorgen, and their Canadian interpretation of the story was wonderful. The toys that came to life were woodland creatures and the dance of the loons was particularly magnificent. They are touring various places, so if they are coming to a stage near you, I would recommend them. I am no connoisseur of The Ballet, but they seemed quite good.