Monday, November 30, 2009

Thankful for...

Having just enjoyed our first ever Thanksgiving (and just quietly - we cooked us a pretty yummy turkey!) we have well and truly been in 'thankful for...' mode lately.  It occurred to me that there are a few SU things that I am thankful for...
  • Thankful for all the lovely people I have met through this passion/obsession we share!
  • Thankful for the lovely ladies who support my efforts to be a demonstrator - thank you!
  • Thankful that SU's vintage brads not only work fantastically as temporary replacements for lost screws in my sunglasses, they work so well that they might even become a permanent part of my sunglasses.  Talk about made for the job!
  • Thankful that there is no more waiting for the new summer mini catalogue

Despite the fact it could be dangerous!

  • Thankful that I now have a keyboard with an 'H', because, between you and me, it has been rather frustrating not having it for the past few months!

  • Thankful for the circle scissors, and the new circle punch, and the butterfly punch, and all the fun projects my wider demonstrator team have come up with for using the new sweet treat cups... (okay that is really just another thankful for the summer mini!)
  • Thankful for the fact that when my paper trimmer wasn't where it was supposed to be today, it only took me a few minutes to find it in the boys room.  Last time it took me a few days.  Partly because of the mess in their room.  Partly because it just didn't occur to me to look in the boys bedroom for my paper trimmer.  Silly me.  Where else would they put it after I asked them to please put it away when they were done?!
  • Did I mention yet, how thankful I am that the wait for the summer mini is over?!
Hoping that next time I post it will to share some projects.  But I have a feeling it's going to be one of those crazy weeks!   Anyone else fixed their sunglasses with brads before?  I tell you, it works great!

    Monday, November 23, 2009

    Yummy Scrummy Muffins all ready to go

    Remember this stunt muffin?

    Well today was the day to bake the actual muffins - Apple and Cranberry - yuuummm!!  While the muffins were cooling the kids and I lined up around the table and got a proper little production line going.  I was going to take a photo of them in action but then realised we were probably breaking umpteen different child labour laws, so perhaps photographic evidence wouldn't be the best!  Instead, here is a photo of those well dressed muffins all lined up and ready to go.

    Campbell was a little concerned that we wouldn't know which ones were which once we put them all in one spot.  Then he realised that we could just look at the tags - because, afterall - his colouring in was WAY better than Bridie's - 'she just used all orange...'  I assured him that Bridie's teachers will love all orange just as much as she does.  That made it okay (just as long as they don't get mixed up in the mean time!)

    Sunday, November 22, 2009

    The Grown Up Version

    So for the grown up version of this card (and this, the original one) I put the bug stamps away, and decided instead to use the big flower from the Eastern Blooms set.  The design of the card was exactly the same again, just the colours (this time tangerine tango, more mustard, so saffron and old olive) and stamps changed, and this time I left off the brads.

    The tango squares were punched from crimped card, and I used the mat pack to piece around the edges of the mustard squares.  To add even more textural interest I added a fun centre to those flowers.  First I used my cropadile and punched holes in a scrap of saffron card.  Next I gathered up all those little punched circles.  They do come out with a slight bend in them, and usually I would flatten them off, but for this project I decided to leave them as they were, to help with the texture.  I decided that crystal effects would be the best adhesive to use and initially planned to put a blob on the centre of the flowers and then cover it with the saffron circles.  I discovered that although they were holding fine, it wasn't as easy to stack them all up in a pile, the way I wanted.  Since I was making this up as I went along anyway (are you surprised?!) I decided to turn these squares into textured, glossy tiles instead, by covering that little pile of saffron circles, and the rest of the stamped square too, in crystal effects.  This way you can still see and touch the textured centre of the flowers, with no risk of anything falling off, and the high gloss centre doesn't look out of place, because the entire square looks the same.

    I really like the way the tiles, and indeed the entire card has turned out, and will definitely be adding this to my list of techniques to use again.

    Saturday, November 21, 2009

    A Girly Birthday Card

    For me, the thing that always takes the longest, is figuring out the initial design of a project.  Sometimes I have a clear idea in my mind, and other times I just wing it and see what happens.  And then there are times like this, where I recycle a design I have used before.  This buggy boy birthday card is still one of my favourites so I decided to do it again - but this time with a girly look to it.

    Apart from changing one of the bug stamps (all still from the Bugs and Kisses stamp set), and of course the colours, I decided to keep the rest of the card - the placement of the different pieces and the extra embellishments (brads, crimped squares and paper pierced squares), exactly the same as with that first card.  That meant I didn't spend time shuffling bits around and trying to decide what looked best (I can spend a LOT of time shuffling things around!)

    After my recent successful outings with the bold brights I decided to keep it up, but must confess, I think I prefer them in smaller doses.  Nevermind.  I am hoping that it will still appeal to a little girl, even with all those bugs on it - oops, I mean big girl.

     Speaking of big girls, I have also made a more grown up version. No bugs this time, but still some fun elements, so that will be the next post.

    SU mini catalogue and promo news

    I have some projects waiting to share, but technical difficulties mean I cannot get to the photos again, and the posts just won't be the same without the photos - so, while I wait for Peter to come home and figure it out for me, I thought I would make a quick public service announcement instead.

    The Stampin' Up! NZ/Aust Spring Mini Catalogue is coming to a close.  You can click on the link over in the side bar (to the right) to view this mini catalogue online, or contact me ASAP if you prefer a paper copy - I think there may still be a couple floating around.

    November 30 is the last day to order product from this mini catalogue, and I can tell you that nothing from this mini has been carried over to the new summer mini that will be available from December 1.   This includes the very popular scalloped oval punch, the handy white StazOn ink, and the even handier StazOn Cleaner.  It is possible they may return in future catalogues, but your guess is as good as mine on that one - I do know they are not in the upcoming Summer mini.

    As for the Summer Mini - I can tell you that there is some fun, fun stuff in there - stamps, punches, papers, embellishments - and if you are a fan of circles you are in for a treat!  I will have the online link available here on December 1 so you can see what I am talking about.

    While I'm talking SU stuff I should also mention the promotions that are running at the moment.  Firstly a great Christmas one.  SU have put out a Christmas Gift Giving Guide  that includes a variety of products.  As an added bonus, when you spend $105 on product from the guide you get to choose a free punch - either the scalloped square punch, or the boho blossoms punch - FREE.  This promotion is available until December 14.  If you are wanting product for Christmas gifts I would recommend ordering ASAP though.

     The second promotion - The SU Breast Cancer Awareness Programme, is one for new demonstrators. 

    For every new demonstrator who signs up before 31 December Stampin' Up! will donate $5 to the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation.  In addition, you will receive FREE a pack of Raspberry Tart papers, and a Pretty in Pink Classic Ink Pad.  For more information about what is involved in becoming an SU demonstrator you can check here or contact me.

    Saturday, November 14, 2009

    Packaging for a Morning Tea Treat

    I was inspired by the latest NZSU challenge based on the clever packaging idea that Donna Calley had on her blog, and especially loved that beachy theme that Donna had used.  I decided it could be a fun way to package up some muffins for a special morning tea treat for the teachers (except I don't think they call it 'morning tea'!) and went with a northern hemisphere autumny look instead.
    Introducing the stunt muffin:

    Since we haven't baked the actual muffins yet, and it is still a few days before we need them anyway, we decided that a nice piece of screwed up newspaper would double nicely as a stunt muffin - for blogging purposes anyway!

    This pacakaging was a little shorter and wider than the original, to make room for a muffin without it being reduced to crumbs.  To fancy up that really rust card a bit I stamped it with one of the stamps from the 'Lovely as a Tree' stamp set - with a touch of old olive ink along with the rust ink.  The image on the tag is from the 'Window Dressing' hostess set.

    Surely that has to be the best dressed stunt muffin in town!

    Friday, November 13, 2009

    And now a Christmas Carousel Note card.

    While I was playing around making this carousel note card, I got to thinking that those carousel notes did look a little bit like a mighty big Christmas ornament, and how that could work well for a Christmas card.  So that became part two of my carousel note challenge.  To add to the fun I decided to work with a non-christmas stamp set that is another of my favourites, and which I know a lot of you have yourselves - the ever lovely Baroque Motifs.  (I should point out here that the greeting came from the 'Occasional Greetings' set and not Baroque Motifs).  I have probably said it before but this is such a versatile set - beautiful for backgrounds or the main focus, and any and all occasions - including Christmas.  I used a Ruby Red carousel note, and teamed it up with some kiwi kiss, for a more traditional red and green christmas look.

    This time round I decided to work with just one of the carousel notes as the front of the card, and then attached a more conventionally shaped card behind it.  This way you get the scalloped circle look, but can still stand the card up easily, a bit like an easel. 

    After stamping up the vanilla circle with the vines, flowers and greeting, I sponged the edge of the circle with kiwi kiss ink, and then used a two way glue pen to add a dash of diamonds to the flowers - Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas without some glitter.  It doesn't show up so well here, but in real life - it's sparkly!

    The top of the 'ornament' was made from a round tab punch of kiwi card, folded in half then adhered to the top of the carousel note (purely decorative this time, not an actual hinge like on the last card).  The finishing touch was a kiwi kiss ribbon bow at the top of the ornament, and some stamping and sponging on the inside of the card.

    This really was a quick and easy card to make, but I think it looks really special, and definitely a little out of the ordinary. This card could even double as an ornament - just by threading some linen thread, or even some more ribbon, through the folded round tab at the top.  Might not work so well on those really little trees though!

    Thursday, November 12, 2009

    Carousel Note Birthday Card

    Confession time.  I love the 'Carousel Notes' and have used them for a few different projects, such as this cute handbag mini album, but I don't think I have used them to make a card yet.  Not one that I remember anyway!   So I decided it was time for a new challenge to myself, and that was simply to make cards using Carousel Notes. (What's a carousel note?  It's a nice big (approx 15cm across) scalloped circle of card, complete with nice square choc chip envelopes,  just crying out to be loved!)

    I'm not sure why I haven't done this earlier, as they are perfect for a card with a difference, without the need for complicated or time consuming fancy folds etc.  For this card I decided to use two of the baja breeze carousel notes, and team it up with a splash of kiwi kiss...  

     I stamped some flowers on a circle of white card using baja blue and kiwi kiss inks, and then added the sentiment in Kiwi Kiss.  The edge of the circle was then sponged with the blue ink, (although this was later hidden!) and I also sponged lightly over the blue flowers.

    To help tie in the kiwi kiss inking a little better, I decided to add a circle of kiwi kiss card as a mat.  Now is when I confess, that in my haste to cut that circle the ends of the cut didn't quite meet up.  Normally this probably wouldn't even be noticable, but when you lay it between two other circles it is kind of hard to miss!  Since I didn't have a definite plan of where this card was headed (did you sense that already?) I decided to do a little experimenting before cutting another mat - hoping to hide that slightly imperfect circle shape, and add some textural interest. I wet the edge of the card and then rolled and scrunched, in the same way I had on this layout, and then left it a few minutes to dry.

    I am really enjoying the resulting contrast between those elegant flowers and that rough and bumpy border.  A little rhinestone brad was the finishing touch before attaching it all to the carousel note.  I then lightly sponged the edge of the carousel note with some of the kiwi kiss ink to help tie it all together.

    I used the round tab punch to make a 'hinge' to attach the two carousel notes, making it into a card, and then added another stamped white circle to the inside to finish it off.

    Recipe for this card:
    Carousel Notes (1 pack includes 4 each of Kiwi Kiss, Ruby Red and Baja Breeze)

     Kiwi Kiss and Whisper White Card
    Kiwi Kiss and Baja Breeze Ink
    Fifth Avenue Floral stampset
    A Little Birthday Cheer stampset
    Rhinestone Brad (circle ice)
    Round Tab Punch

    Wednesday, November 11, 2009

    A masculine Birthday card

    Well it seems the little problem we were having accessing our photos on the computer was not so much a computer problem, as it was a problem with swinging feet - kids feet that is - swinging, as they sat at the computer, and inadvertently disconnected cables.  Annoying, but now that we know what was happening,  much easier to fix than a real computer problem might have been!

    While we had our temporary photo freeze out I was able to get a few projects done though, and am slowly working my way through the long list of cards needed over the next few months.  I also thought it was about time I did a colour challenge - and found this one of Makeesha's that was just what was needed.  The colours - chocolate chip, close to cocoa, really rust and vanilla are perfect for a classic man card, as is the  'sanded' background stamp, and the soon to be gone Spring Mini catalogue stamp set - 'Sense of Time'.

    I also started off with some of the lovely jumbo brads from the spring mini, but when it came time to put them on they just didn't quite work how I wanted.  While I was playing I remembered a great little embellishment idea that I first saw long ago on a project by Jacque, and decided to throw that in the mix instead.  I had been wanting to try it for ages, so this was the perfect opportunity.  I will confess to a brief moment when I questioned the ability of my cropadile to chomp through all those layers, and then neatly set the eyelet.  Apologies Cropadile - it was wrong of me to doubt you - you worked just great - as  you always do.

    I wavered between the hemp twine and twill tape to finish it off, but decided that the twine had a little bit more of a - I don't know - 'she'll be right temporary man repair' look about it? (perhaps a cable tie would have worked well here?!)  Glad I did go with the twine, as having just checked the link for Makeesha's challenge I realised she has a similar embellishment on her card.  Don't want them looking too alike!

    And so here is where I ended up.  A nice manly card with a hint of fancy, but not the frills (or is that frills but no fancy?)  Either way it has lots of layers, and a good manly weight to it too!   Best of all, another card marked off the list, and another one coming soon!

    Tuesday, November 3, 2009

    'I've got my eye on you' Halloween mini album

    My big old monster eye that is!

    Here is the first of my Halloween inspired projects.  Halloween candy inspired that is. Hayden was delighted to find an eyeball candy in amongst his trick or treat stash.  I was delighted to find the packaging that eyeball came in, and immediately claimed it as the perfect embellishment for a scrapbooking project.

    I thought it was a bit too bulky for a conventional scrapbook page, but on the cover of a mini album it is just perfect, and I decided to go with an accordian spine album like this one.  Once the candy had been disposed of (thanks boys!) I was left with the plastic bubble, complete with red veins.  It was a quick job to punch out some circles of card for the eye, and pop those inside the packaging.  Best of all, the eye then fitted perfectly inside the 1 3/8" circle I had punched in a chipboard coaster. 

    Originally I was going to cover the coaster with plain black card, but it looked a little too flat.  Instead I stamped with versamark ink and the sanded background stamp, and then heat embossed with clear powder.  It looks a bit too shiny in the photo, but is better in real life, and looks like a reptilian monster skin.  The back cover also has the embossed sanded look.  Inside it is black pages, and that is as far as it got - the printer ran out of ink before I could print the photos, so completing the inside of this little halloween memory book is still on the list of things to do.

    So far I am loving this little project, and would love to do some more - I can see this in green, for dinosaur lovers.  I will confess, that while buying groceries today, I did keep an 'eye out' for some more of those eyeball candies.  No luck though, so it is looking like I might have to resort to cleaning the kids bedrooms, in the hopes of finding more discarded candy packaging...

    Monday, November 2, 2009

    Five Minute gift packaging

    So first the background story.  Hayden's teacher has a collection of magnets from various places that she or her students have visited.  Whenever we go exploring he wants to get her one to bring back.  Then he forgets all about it until we get home again.  Except this time.  This time he remembered to get one.  He just forgot to give it to her today.  He remembered after he had gone to bed tonight, at which point he requested if we couldn't please wrap it up all nicely for her?

    What's a mum to do?  Of course we can figure something else.  But something quick, because Hayden is supposed to be sleeping, and I am supposed to be listening to the sound of all three of them asleep - ahh the quiet!  Thank goodness for the very clever, super simple, and best of all, really quick triangle box.  Not to mention coordinating card, ink and ribbon (Tangerine Tango) and the always elegant Fifth Avenue Floral stamp set.

    Five minutes later, pausing only for a photo, we were done, and Hayden was tucking it away in his bag all ready to take to school tomorrow.  It really is so very easy, and not only does it work well with the 5 minute simple approach, the 10 minute something special  variety looks fantastic too. (Hard to believe there is a humble magnet in that box!)

    I think this might be my favourite gift packaging technique, athough I do really like the bag in a box (box in bag?) approach too.  It does take a few more minutes though, and to be honest, I really do like to hear the sound of those sleeping babies!

    Sunday, November 1, 2009

    Candy for Breakfast

    and lunch, and pretty much all through the day...  yep - we have just celebrated our first Halloween (is celebrate the right word?) and the kids are maintaining their sugar high just nicely.  Big crash coming though.  The bottoms of the buckets are peaking through the candy wrappers!  In amongst the candy wrappers, I have found some inspiration for some Halloween related projects which I am hoping to get to this week.  Also more scrapbooking inspiration from our recent family adventures, just as soon as I get on top of the photos. Not forgetting assorted birthdays, thank yous, and new baby cards that are on the to do list.  Hopefully I should have lots to share in the next fews weeks!  But right now, time to sneak a bit of sugary goodness I think!