Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Guest Artist!

A little while ago my sister Anna-lise sent me a photo of a project she had just finished. It was a gift for a daycare teacher who was leaving - a clever gift bag ('bag in a box' - or is it 'box in a bag' ? - I can never remember) - I think filled with yummy home made fudge, and a matching card.
I thought she had done a great job, and suggested that perhaps she could be my first 'guest artist'. She thought I was joking! Now she knows I would never joke about something like that! I think she has done a great job, and I especially like the way she has used her stamps to make her own 'patterned paper'. That is a favourite technique of mine too - and makes for a truly one of a kind project.

The flowers were stamped using the 'Simply Said' stamp set. The 'Thank You' comes from the now retired 'Cheery Chat' set.

And Thank You Anna-lise, for being my first guest artist.

Guest artists are always welcome, and that isn't a joke!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

More Birthday Cards for Boys - part 2

For the second of the twin boy birthday cards, I stuck with the 'Big Bold Birthday' stampset, but decided to go with some presents this time.

Once again I chose a background paper with a nice simple pattern and bold colours (Jersey Shore - another retired one -sorry about that - Did I mention I had been having a clean up and rediscovering long lost favourites?) The sometimes tricky bit of choosing colours was then simplified by using the colours in the patterned paper.

Here are both of the birthday cards side by side. I wanted the cards to have a similar kind of feel, but still be different. The birthday boys may be twins - but they are individuals after all. Both cards were given the stamp of approval from my boys, so hopefully they will be well received by the birthday boys too.

More birthday cards for boys - part 1

We seem to be in the middle of birthday season for boys at the moment. Hayden is about to head off to another birthday party - this time to a ninth birthday for twin boys. Eek - not one boy birthday card, but two!

As I was deciding just where to start, I got to thinking, that although there are quite clearly lots of differences between the things that boys like and the things that girls like, from observing my boys and girl, I know that they also have some similarities. Like the fact that they all like cake. And presents. My girl just likes them a bit more pink and sparkly than the boys (although I am pretty sure, that if cupcakes with pink icing were the only thing on offer, they probably wouldn't say no - just complain a bit between bites!)

Time to get out the 'Big Bold Birthday' stampset.

This set is about to retire from the USA/Canada catalogue, but will be available in NZ/Aust until September 2010. I am pleased about that, as this is a very versatile stampset. Especially handy when it comes to birthday cards for boys. For the first card I decided to stick with cake.

I started with a piece of patterned paper from the now retired 'East Coast Prep' and took the colours from there. It all came together pretty quickly after that - with the help of my Stamp-a-ma-jig to get all the cake and candle bits lined up just right. One card down, one to go. But you will have to come back tomorrow to see that one!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Time for a Scrapbook Layout

As I have mentioned here before, Bridie sure does love her baby dolls, even more than her birdy pyjamas. Since the birdy pjs have a layout of their own, I figured it was time the dolls got in on the act too.

This layout is actually a little while overdue. I first started thinking about it way back when I was dyeing these flowers. Unfortunately, the original idea that looked awesome in my head, did not translate so well to paper. Sigh. Don't you hate it when that happens? So I set it aside for a while, and had a rethink. Version two didn't really do it either. More time passes. Until this week, as I had a bit of a tidy up of my craft 'room', rediscovered this project, and decided enough was enough, stick it down already!

So that's what I did. Punch out a few more flowers, rearrange some stuff, and STICK IT DOWN! I love it when you can make all your own embellishments to perfectly match your project. These ones were inspired by the dress Bridie was wearing in the photo. Flowers, hearts, and lines for the long stems. The crimped pieces were intended to mimic the texture of the fabric.

Ingredients for this one (All SU!):

  • pink pirourette, pacific point, certainly celery, bashful blue, and white card stock
  • pacific point ink, brilliant blue stampin'write marker, and pink pirouette ink (for dyeing the flowers, and sponging the edges of the pink card)
  • 'ABC Alphabet lower' stampset
  • Fabric flowers from the Pretties Kit
  • Rhinestone Brads (ice, round)
  • Punches: 5 Petal Flower, Boho Blossoms, Small Oval, Heart to Heart
  • Crimper
Now to go and find what else is lurking in the half done pile!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Gathering supplies for another K Werner challenge

Well, gathering ribbon anyway...

The colours for Kristina's challenge this week include a couple of my favourites - basic gray and really rust, along with more mustard and very vanilla.

Although I really like those colours, I had to think about this one for a bit. Initially I was going with the Baroque Motifs stamp set, and a touch of embossing powder (I love how that swirly background looks when it is embossed!) Somehow instead, I ended up with something completely different, with not a baroque motif in sight - this project was definitely one that 'evolved'...

No stamping at all this time - just punches (5 petal flower, boho blossoms, and the 1 3/8" square), earth elements buttons, and the beautiful basic gray taffeta ribbon - knotted through the buttons, and gathered on the adjacent squares.

It has been a while since I gathered ribbon on a project - this taffeta is just perfect. I love the look and it is really not difficult - I will add a gathered ribbon tutorial to my list of things to blog about soon!

A change of scenery

Why do you scrapbook? Who do you scrapbook for? (Do you scrapbook at all?!)

For me, it is mostly about my kids. Capturing their lives - the good, the not so good, and the down right embarrassing (oh yes - I have a LOT of photos that I am saving for 21st birthdays!)

Today I finished a scrapbook layout (shock, horror!! More on that later!) and when I went to put in into Bridie's album, we of course had to stop and look at the rest of the book. Then Campbell wanted to look at his book. Then they both wanted to look at Hayden's.

They spent ages - comparing baby pictures, questioning if it really was them, asking me to read 'the story', and wanting to know 'Who's That? Who's That? Well whose THAT?!' (I'm sure we haven't changed that much!)

This is a reasonably regular occurrence. They really are proud of 'their books', and I should add, their sense of ownership is STRONG! Last year Campbell smuggled his album out of the house so he could proudly show his friend next door. Unfortunately, in a squabble with the friend over which page to look at first, the spine of the album was torn. Not completely in half, but a good effort. He was devastated. I wasn't overly impressed myself. Then I realised, that is part of the story of 'his book' - maybe I should do a scrapbook page about that!

Today as I watched them studying their books, and listening to the (minor) squabbles over which page to look at first, it occurred to me that this is why I do what I do. What better inspiration could there be? That has also got to be another reason why scrapbooking is more important than doing laundry - right?!

And I got a new photo to greet you all with too!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

An accordian spine mini coaster book...

Once upon a time there was a boy who went to a cartooning class. The boy loved it, and wanted to spend almost every moment after that, designing, creating, and mass producing comic books, which he intended to sell to his family.... I am guessing that is just the first chapter of that story, rather than 'The End'!

For my part, I decided to make Hayden a special little coaster book, that he could turn into a limited edition Hayden Jones comic. These little books are easy to make, and a great way to use up those scraps. Some of you have done them in a class or workshop with me before.
When it came to decorating the covers, I wanted to keep them simple (not knowing what story Hayden would be telling), but not completely blank. One of my favourite stampsets in the new catalogue is the 'Once Upon a Time' set. This set may not be quite as versatile as some of them, but it was one of my must haves (and I cannot quite explain that myself!) This was the perfect project to get some ink on it for the first time...

The verse on the front cover - Once upon a time - is actually one long stamp. I used sticky tape and my Stamp-a-ma-jig to stamp it in two shorter lengths, so it would fit the cover better.

Why sticky tape? Use it to cover the part of the stamp that you do not want inked up, ink the entire stamp, remove the sticky tape, and stamp as usual. The part of the stamp that was under the tape will remain 'clean' and will not leave an image. As for the back cover? 'The End' of course!

This is what the inside of the mini book looks like (pre-cartooning). The spine of the book is an accordian fold - the number of pages in the book depends on the number of mountain folds, and can be adjusted to suit. A length of ribbon sandwiched between the double coaster covers prevents the accordian spine opening out too far, and also doubles as a way to hold the mini book closed.

These little books are great for mini scrapbooking projects, and make wonderful gifts. The colour used in this one is Baja Breeze (card, ink, ribbon, and patterned paper).

My little girl's birthday card

This week we have been celebrating Bridie's birthday. She is officially three, and although I still like to think of her as little, she tells me she is a big girl now. I don't know about that. What I do know, is that she knows what she likes. Pink and Purple. Glitter. Dancing and music. Her dolls. Did I mention Pink and Purple? You can be sure that if I didn't she will have!
When it came time to make Bridie a birthday card the boys decided to go with a store bought card instead. Mum didn't have any Barbie or Disney Princess stamps in her stash, and they had seen a little card (Snow White, Cinderella ... all the Disney favourites) at the supermarket that they thought would be perfect. Who am I to argue with a big brother or two? Turns out they were right - she loved it.
I on the otherhand decided to go Mummy made. That said - this little dancing girl was the original creative genius of someone else - sorry - not sure who made her first, but I was introduced to her by the lovely Karen Rogers. (I am not sure if Karen has featured her on her blog before - she shared her on our demonstrator team forum - but you should go visit her anyway, as she has some lovely stuff over there).
So anyway, after that rather lengthy introduction, here she is - pretty in pink, with added sparkle - Bridie's dancing girl birthday card...

Isn't she pretty?!

Punches used to make her were the scallop circle, word window, heart to heart, 3/4" circle, and I used my cropadile to punch out those little blue eyes. Sponge a bit of pink ink around the edges, add some glitter to her skirt, stampin dimensionals to give her some lift, and a stamped greeting from the 'Occasional Greetings' set, and you have one happy little birthday girl.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Giftwrapping on the cheap

Confession time.
Although I love seeing the excitement of presents being ripped open, a part of me is always thinking 'Oh no, don't rip the paper!!!!!!' It always seems like such a waste. I could use that pretty paper again!
Lets face it though, carefully unwrapping a gift so as to save the paper, just isn't as exciting as ripping it open.
Since it is probably going to just get ripped anyway, we started wrapping gifts - especially for children - using plain paper, which could then be decorated (read stamped) as desired. Stampin' around wheels are especially handy for this - and I am pretty sure I have photos somewhere of Peter in charge of decorating Bridie's birthday gift last year.
For our most recently wrapped gift, I decided to have the birthday card do double duty and decorate the present as well. Plain brown paper has never looked so good! A simple band of card - crimped - to match the card - in place of ribbon, and we hung the card from the band. That will save the envelope getting ripped up too!

So there you have it - wrapping gifts on the cheap!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Birthday Cards for Boys

Both of my boys had birthday parties to attend this week, so we got to work, whipping up some birthday cards suitable for boys. For the first card the colours came straight from the latest Kristina Werner challenge which was just perfect for boys.

I used Taken with Teal, Baja Breeze, Pumpkin Pie, Green Galore, and white. As always, I decided to go with a pretty simple design, and have my punches do a lot of the work.

The stamps are from the Bugs and Kisses stamp set - a favourite of my boys (and girl). To add some interest to the card squares, I added coordinating brads to the green squares, and used the crimper and mat pack on the teal and baja squares respectively. These tools are both great for adding interesting to boys projects, without making them too 'girly'.

The second card I have for you is actually the first one I made, a couple of days ago, so it doesn't use those challenge colours. The stamp set I used has not yet appeared in the NZ/Aust SU catalogue - I have my fingers crossed for a mini appearance some time soon, but was disappointed to see it just listed on the USA retiring list. My boys LOVE dinosaurs - and don't they all? Here's hoping we see it again soon!

The colours I used here were Pacific Point, Kiwi Kiss, and So Saffron. I used my stamp-a-ma-jig to get all those dinos lines up right where I wanted them. Once again, a super quick and easy card. Reports back were that Mr 7, the birthday boy, and a dinosaur fan himself, was suitably impressed. Whew!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Saying Goodbye

The past few days have been sad ones in our house. Not only did we have to say goodbye to our visitors yesterday (and I have to say, although they weren't exactly noisely, it sure is quiet around here today, and we are missing them a lot!) we have also been saying goodbye to our Gran, who passed away on Thursday.

One of the things that I enjoy most about this hobby, is sharing it with friends and family. Not only by giving cards etc, but also sharing the opportunity to create stuff, especially with my children. I love that they enjoy and appreciate what I do (craft stuff anyway, not so much the laundry etc!) and that they can join in. I wanted to suggest to them that perhaps we could make Gran some cards, but Bridie beat me to it - asking if they couldn't please draw Gran a picture. Better and better. Something they really wanted to do, and not just to make Mummy happy.

They all sat down to their creating, and Hayden and Bridie were soon happy with what they had done. Campbell on the other hand, surprised us with the time and care he took over his picture, first carefully drawing it with pencil, and then colouring it all in. He was at it a long time. He asked me to write a message on the back, and then added some more drawing there.

The thing that struck me the most about his drawing was the fact that Gran - who he had drawn first, had something in her hand. Since the rest of the drawing involved planets, and rockets and the like, I feared that what Gran had might be some kind of laser, or gun, or other favourite boy accessory. When I asked Campbell what it was, he told me it was Gran's walking stick (with a 'how can you not know that?!' look on his face).

Of course. Gran's walking stick. It was a relatively recent (past couple of years) addition to Gran's life, and is not really something I think of when I think of her. For Campbell though, that walking stick is a major part of Gran's identity (He and Bridie both were quite partial to that walking stick!) - so much so - that it was right there with her in his picture.

I have been thinking about this a lot since then. The different ways that we see, and remember things. It occured to me that this has huge significance when it comes to scrapbooking. Most of my scrapbooking is about my family - especially the kids - and milestones big and small, that they are experiencing. Things that I think are important, and with the exception of perhaps this layout, where Hayden had some input, all are entirely done from my perspective.

I am thinking I might need to change that.

I did have a couple of projects rolling around in my head already that were going to involve the boys creative input. I am thinking that I need to get them out of my head and into the 'box' and really make them happen.

Vague, I know. Once they are out of my head, I will share them, I promise.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Waterlily Gardens Layout

Wow - I think this is the longest I have gone between posts. I feel like a slacker! We have been so busy exploring with our visitors, taking LOTS of photos, but other than that, not really being so creative. Except of course, the baking of 231 butter cookies for Hayden's cultural fair at school yesterday, and the recreation of 'cool belts like the Indians make' for Campbell and Bridie (did manage stamping, embossing, and eyelets on those!)
So here is a layout from a while ago. We had had a family trip to the very lovely waterlily gardens in Waihi, and I decided to try to recreate the waterlilies on a layout...

At the time 'Bodacious Bouquet' was the stamp set I had that was most likely to resemble waterlilies (if you squint your eyes a little!) and I was quite pleased with how it turned out. The lily pads were just flowers (I am thinking from another stamp set?) with a cut up the middle. Attached in random fashion, with some of the 'leaves' and flowers raised up with stampin dimensionals. The block of photos (6 photos, punched into squares) is also raised from the celery and blush mat, using dimensionals (having first attached the photos to a piece of hidden card to make life a little easier!)
Of course no waterlily garden would be complete without a dragonfly, the perfect 'DIY' embellishment. I first stamped it in place using celery ink on the celery 12 x 12 card, then stamped again on vellum, cutting out just the wings, and attached them over the dragonfly that was already stamped on the card. I added another card body over top of the wings using a dimensional (partly to hide the adhesive showing through the vellum) and added a couple of brad eyes. Because the wings are slightly offset, it kind of gives the impression the dragonfly is actually flying...

With only two days of school left for Hayden, we are in need of more teachers gifts - that promises a good chance of another post soon. If all goes well! On the other hand, Rocky Mountain National Park is calling us!