Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cinema Saturday: The Princess Bride

Today I get to Guest Design for Brooke and Sankari's Cinema Saturday Challenge, surprise!!! This week the featured film is one of my favorites: "The Princess Bride" I grew up loving fairy tales and movies, so it was very easy to decide on a project I wanted to create to go with, the book the grandfather reads to the boy. (If you don tknow what I'm talking about, you must go rent this movie! THIS WEEKEND!) I made a book with my paper, ink and sponges, it is about the height and width of a card, as well as the pages inside tellign the story, like several cards within a card! Sitting out on a little table or shelf, it will be mistaken for a real book, let me show you!

The cover started out as a 4 x 5.25" piece of WHITE Gina K Pure Luxury CS! (I printed out the titles from my computer) After stamping on my SU! Baroque Motifs flourish in Memento Black I traced parts here and then and my words with a Krylon gold leafing pen. To age the paper, I rubbed my Tim Holz Antique Linen distress ink directly onto the paper (direct to paper technique). This ink is so blendable you can get a nice smooth color. Then I wiped some scuff marks on it and sponged a bit more on in areas to give it a little texture. The I sponged on some SU! basic Brown around the edges.

The book cover is made with a piece of SU! Chocolate Chip CS 5.5 x 9.5" long. I used my Scor-Pal to score at 4.25 and 5.25" to give it a 1 inch wide spine. You can make your smaller or larger depending on how many pages you want to add. I knew I also wanted to make my pages dimensional so I need room for that. I stamped the flourishes again all over in the brown ink and swiped the pad all over at different angels to give it those leathery creases. Last I sponged the edges with the same brown.

I stamped a few star bursts from the set in Gold Encore ink down the spine and drew some lines above and below with my leafing pen, and adhered my panel to the front. If you look back at the top pic, I also added a few large flourishes punched out of SU! Brushed Gold CS I burnished a little with more of the brown ink, they look so beautiful with the stamped flourishes and weaving them around the edges of the paper like that reminds me of creeping vines in the fire swamp!

Today I am only sharing a few pages of "the book" (I'll keep you posted with more additions later) I printed out more text on my computer in a font that looked like it was written with a quill pen. The long description you see on the left is a quote from the book ( from which the movie was adapted) the father explaining what a great adventure the tale is his very skeptical son. . (you see, the story really does have everything!)

I made the first page dimensional by popping up a page I die cut with an oval Nestabilitie, it frames up this retired SU! castle image from "Provencal," colored with Copics and sponged with Brocade Blue for the clouds. I carried the flourish images through the rest of the pages in the Antique Linen color and sponged the whiite pages with it again, more lightly this time to look like parchment.

And here we are at "the end" LOL! I can't give away any more of this marvelous story except to say that (as you probably would have already guessed) it ends happily. :) This image from my "Hand in Hand" set is also framed up behind an oval window and is fitting for this very romantic ending. (Don't miss this fantastic movie! Watch it with someone you love)

Buttercup's sleeve is pieced with Paper Temptress Candido Incandescent CS, white gold paper that looks like spun silk! Westley's sleeve is colored in with a Black Copic and highlighted with the Colorless Blender. Sunset background is sponged with Antique Linen and SU! Cameo Coral.

I'm inspired now to create more of these books, favorite titles I know my friends love. A faster and practical way to adapt the look of this project without "telling the story" is to create the cover and have it hold some pretty monogrammed note cards inside for yurself or someone else, it could tie closed with a bit of ribbon (I'm sure I'll be sharing one down the road!) a beautiful writing kit for a book or movie lover's desk!

Be sure to check out the other samples over at Cinema Saturday and play along! If you incorporate the movie theme and the PCP sketch challenge this week into one project and upload it in the PCP gallery by next Thursday, you are eligible to win the "Hand in Hand" set, courtesy of Sankari! More details here!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Guest Designer Sankari Wegman

A little Q&A today with Sankari Wegman, her warmth, wit and passion for paper shines through in this interview, I know you'll love getting to know her better (and be inspired to go make something wonderful after...! ) You can see her first two creations with "The Best Things in Life set" here! (on her appropriately titled blog "Sunnysankari"!) :)

Technique: I think my favorite technique is paper piecing. It is such a simple, easy and quick way to add color, different DP's and texture to a card.
Colors/Color Combo: My favorite color ever is anything green (my closet is organized according to color and the green section is huge, sadly the yellow section needs a boost :) I think my favorite color combinations in card making are anything bright and cheery. I love playing around with bold bright colors

Type of Project to make that is not a card: I love to play around with the Every Day Display board that I got from Creative Memories last year. It hangs in our entry way and every month I change the display up according to the themes of that month )for example: Valentine's day, Birthdays, holidays, etc.) I love it when my kids help me put it together - they love being part of it and love to show it off to people as they come to visit out house. It such a great way for all of us to do a creative project together - I look forward to it every month :)

Gina K. set by Melanie - I love all of them! I think if I had to pick out a favorite, then it would have to be "Hand-in-Hand". I absolutely love the images and the sentiments are amazing and perfect. Both the images and sentiments are so versatile and fit every occasion.

Gina K set from any illustrator. I love the Retro-Boutique set by Rupa - it is so beautiful and her images are so beautiful.

Craft Supplies I can't live without: I love punches (I wish I had a room of punches :) My favorite are the Scallop Punch from SU! - You can create so many different things with this punch (not just for matting, from flowers, to cupcakes, to hearts - anything!) and my other favorite punch is the corner rounder :) It is such a simple little punch - but with it you can create a nice edging along with creating a scalloped border even if you don't have a scalloped punch - love that one supply can have more than one function.

I have been stamping now for a little over 9 months and I love it - I often wonder, why didn't I do this earlier!! I started stamping after checking out some blogs online. I was just amazed at the creativity that was out there and totally fell in love with the beautiful world of paper-crafting.

I get my inspiration from ... EVERYTHING! These days, everything I see - I think of it in terms of a card. From my children's clothing to the movies I watch - everything is inspiring. I was at the grocery store and I loved the way they stacked the oranges -- and I thought - wow, that would be a great idea for a card! I also love doing color and sketch challenges. Doing a challenge like that inspires me to create something that I might now have created by myself. A challenge like a sketch or color challenge gives you a boundary within which you have infinite creativity to design something that speaks to you. So within a finite value of the parameters of a challenge - you can touch infinity - that totally inspires me! I loved doing challenges so much that I created one of my own. I love watching movies while making cards and I always used to think: "wow, her dress would make such a pretty card" or "i love the lyrics in this movie - I want to make a card from it". This is how I got the idea for the Cinema Saturday Creative Challenge blog site - where every saturday we pick a movie from which we create a card, layout or altered project. I absolutely love making a card based on a theme from a movie - because you can use any sketch, colors, etc to help you bring that theme alive on the card. I love seeing what others have created from the same movie and talking about our favorite parts of the movie. In doing so, I have learned so much about my blogging friends where they have traveled, how they fell in love with, where they were the first time they saw that movie, what that movie evokes for them, what the songs of those movies makes their heart feel - its really been a wonderful way to get inspired and to get to know my fellow blogging friends. It is so wonderful to be inspired by the world around you.

The most important things I’ve learned about stamping / cardmaking / scrapbooking
is that it affords us an opportunity to touch the hearts of someone else. Just making a card to give to someone is like sharing a part of you with that person. Through card-making, I have learned that just the act of giving someone a card is a simple way of showing your love, your support and gives you a chance to show them how important they are in your lives. Through scrapbooking, I have learned that preserving a moment in time through different layouts and journaling allow you to preserve that precious memory and share that memory with the ones you love. Through blogging, I have gotten to meet a ton of amazing artists with amazing stories who share so much of themselves and inspire me in my creations. I love connecting with all of my blog friends and feel like the world is a smaller, cozier and homier place to live in because of all YOU wonderful friends!

Some of my stamping/crafting goals are: To create something everyday (whether it be a card, project or altered item), to finish my daughter's one year album, to do challenges that I have not done before, to try a new technique every week, to use up what I already have, to have a relatively clean chaotic stamp corner, to get a better organizing system so that my stamp corner doesn't explode after every card I make :). I would also love to try my hand at designing some stamps! (wow - there, I said it out loud!)

Some of my stamping/crafting accomplishments are being a Supernova on the PaperCraftPlanet design Team. What an amazing and wonderful opportunity to e part of this amazing network created by Susanna Boyd. I was so blown away to be part of this amazing design team - I wasn't sure if I was in the right place when I saw the names of the supernovas!! WOW! Through PaperCraftPlanet I have enjoyed meeting more amazing blogging friends! My cards have been featured on Card of the Week, Inspirational, on Tara Reed's Design blog and a few picked by Kristina Werner. I am always so grateful for such recognition and blog awards from my fellow bloggers because it always amazes me that people actually come over to visit me :) The most wonderful part of blogging and crafting is that even though I live in a very small town in the heartland of the Midwest, I feel so connected with the whole world.

When I’m not stamping, I’m probably chasing around my 4 year old son and almost 2 year old daughter. I love reading with them, painting, going for walks (when its not freezing here in Iowa), and love watching them discover the world around them. I also teach physiology at the University and give lectures on health care. I love hanging out with my family and friends and laughing :) A perfect day would be lounging with my husband and kids, laughing and of course a little stamping too!!

Today the Cinema Saturday Challenge has some sneak peeks for you, every couple hours they will peek you some frames from the movie, it is up to you to guess the featured film for the challenge this weekend! They look hard, but someone always gets it (and reading the guesses is half the fun!) please go check em out! You can bet I'll be playing the challenge again this week, can't wait! :)

Guest Designer: Allison Cope

Ally went so crazy to town with my set last month, I still haven't even shared all her amazing creations! So expect some more Valentine's inspiration from her over the next week! :)

Here's what Ally has to say about this today's card:
"I loved the phrase "Hand in hand, heart to heart" that Melanie had added to the "Hand-in-Hand" set and knew that I wanted to use the phrase using hearts. So I came up with this really simple card. I die cut my label shape and then cut the heart shape out of it's center. I stamped the sentiment on some vellum paper and adhered it to the back of the label and peeking out of the heart opening. On a scrap piece of white cardstock I stamped the two hands holding one another and coloured them in quite dark so they would show through the vellum. I centered and adhered the hands behind the heart opening and the created a hand-cut scalloped border for the label using my deco scalloped scissors. "
Supplies:Stamps: Gina K. Designs (Hand-in-Hand)
Papers: Upsy Daisy Designs
Cardstock: Bazzill Swiss Dot, Bazzill
Tools: Fiskars deco scissors, Spellbinder's Nestabilities
Inks: Ranger, CopicsOther: ribbon, thread
Thank you Ally, the quote over heart hands this way just gvies me warm fuzzies!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Hooked on a Feeling...

Here's a card with Gina's cuties from "Best Fishes". That juicy little fish pucker was begging to kiss somebody and I realized how funny it would look pressed up to the seahorse, his eyes are about to pop out of his head LOL! I cut a window out of my embossed (Dots and Spots) Berrylicious base (Paper Temptress) with my heart Nestabilities, inside I stamped them on a heart the same size and framed it up with a scalloped heart. I held my classic die in place so I could sponge on some Cool Caribbean ink for water and then colored them both with Copics. I added a little Crystal Lacquer to the lips and eyes and Copics Spica sparkle to their fins. Outside I stuck on some adhesive page pebbles and mirrors to complete the "under the sea" look.

Inside I stamped the bubbles form the set and then drew a little heart bubble above covering them all with Crystal Lacquer. This inside would work just as well as a simpler "outside" of a card.

One element I really like on this card is the little hook going through the heart tag (made with the Marvy punches) with the "hooked on you" greeting (see top pic), that's an earring fishhook you can find in the jewelry section of any craft store, inexpensive fun "fishing bling" to got with your sea stamps (and no sharp tip!) I would have liked to have threaded some fishing line or wire through it and wrap it around the top of the card a few times to complete the design, but didn't have any at the time I needed to photograph the card for our release. (Today I found some plain white thread in my sewing basket that will work just fine) :)
What are YOU hooked on? For me, one thing is American Idol! (although I'm not hooked on any one person yet)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Guest Designer Shannon Bracken

Today I have a beautiful "The Best Things in Life" sample from Shannon! (sigh, isn't it lovely...?) I love this classic script font I used for "memories" in this set, it's perfect for all your "pretty cards" and pages and makes you think of all things past you want to remember. The thick and thin lines echo the large and small details of Gina's "Take Flight" set, as it will all your other realistic, nature or vintage stamp images. These larger greetings are a design element in themselves, balancing out the large blue butterflies, and the way she set it off here with these colored to match rhinestones is divine!!

Stamps: "The Best Things in Life" and "Take Flight" by Gina K. Designs
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Pacific Point, Versamark, Versamark Champage
Paper: 120lb Pure Luxury CS
Accessories: Whisper White taffeta ribbon, Stampin' Up! Iridescent Ice Embossing Powder, self-adhesive rhinestones, Martha Stewart butterfly punch

And a little more about the very talented Shannon!

Shannon’s favorite:
Technique -- Emboss Resist

Colors/color combo -- Blues, usually the darker and richer the better.

Type of project to make that’s not a card? -- I really enjoy making little boxes for stuff.

Gina K set by Melanie -- Oh, this is an easy one..."A Year of Flowers"

Gina K sets (from any illustrator) -- I'm sticking with "A Year of Flowers" I'm always reaching for it and have to sometimes "force" myself to use another set so that my other stamps don't get jealous.

Craft supplies I can’t live without: -- My laptop!! It sits right here on my table with me. Clear 6" square quilting ruler, my Big Shot (LOVE it!!!), Stamp-a-ma-jig because I can't stamp straight to save my life.

I've been stamping for (how long) -- In total for about 8 years as a hobby making cards for friends and family for holidays and parties. Seriously since about August when I turned my hobby into a passion.

I got started stamping… -- I really can't remember....probably went to a Stampin' Up! party at my mom's.

I get my inspiration from -- Melanie!!! hee hee.... I spend a lot of time blurfing, checking online galleries, art, magazines, everyday things I see in stores. Inspiration is all around us.

The most important things I’ve learned about stamping/cardmaking/scrapbooking are -- patience! Mistakes happen, but we learn to work around them. Especially after working on a focal point image for an hour. Oh, and to stop hording my supplies. ;-)

Some of my stamping/crafting goals are -- My first goal was to be on a design team and I accomplished that only a few days into 2009. My other goal for this year is to get published.

Some of my stamping/crafting accomplishments are -- Melanie's Guest Designer!!! Cuttlebug Challenges Design Team Member, InStyle Stamps Card of the Month Designer Feb 2009, Bombshell Guest Designer March 2009

When I’m not stamping, I’m probably -- blurfing! LOL... Seriously, if I'm not in my studio I'm probably spending time relaxing with the cats in front of the TV.
Thank you, Shannon for sharing! Have a terrific day everybody!! :)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Luxury Chocolate

Turn an ordinary chocolate bar (well, as "ordinary" as chocolate can be, LOL!) into a luxurious gift with some HOT pink designer paper and luxurious ribbon and bling! Here I made a quick wrap for my big Carmello Chocolate bar with a 6x6 piece of Bittersweet Basic Grey paper and my "The Best Things in Life" greetings. (When I was finished, I couldn't help think how easily I could wrap 35 more bars with my pad LOL!) To me, this page in particular had a really magical, "candy vibe" to it!

This pattern definitely had "a middle" with these cool shapes expanding outward, so I really wanted to have my greeting centered on that midpoint. First I placed my 3.5 " round acrylic block on top, see how the cross hairs go right down the center and line up with the pattern horizontally?

Then I added my words. You can line up the bottom of your letters and/or the top with the block lines, sometimes you will have to use both on the same greetings when the size of your fonts are different. TIP: Always do your image placement on top of your DP when you are stamping on DP, it's not just about getting your greetings aligned and centered with the block sometimes, not just for centering like I did here, but you might need to work around a large or dark element in your print pattern that you don't want to cover, or where your word won't show up, KWIM?

Then when you stamp , you'll flip the blockover, lining it up with the pattern the same way you did before. Pretty foolproof!

Then I used my threading water punch down both sides (the little strips left over I'm actually going to save to glue on as a little trim on a card or something later), the scallops make it so much fancier and the silver foil peeping through the punched holes looks like bling all the way around! (I removed the Carmello paper wrap, it was separate, and left the foil in place) I had to take that a step further and add a couple adhesive rhinestones to the "o" centers in chocolate. Ribbon is SU! Chocolate Chip Satin.

And there you have a super inexpensive gift (think teachers and friends) that looks so rich and sophisticated! It's almost too pretty to open (but if someone gave me this bar, I think I would go block out time on my calendar to be alone with it LOL!)

(Around Christmas time I actually saw some large prettily-wrapped (I believe Hershey) bars at a craft fair, they were asking 8 bucks each! I really loved the idea, but ouch, the price! My candy bar was $2 and ribbon and paper were only about about 50 cents! We can do this, ladies!!)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Binder Storage for Nestabilities

Tory made the FABULOUS suggestion in our Gina K forum to use the binder boxes and pages Gina K carries for storing your Nestabilities! I'd been storing all mine in CD cases and while this was a nice option, I would always search through my many labelled CD spines for the set I needed and then after an afternoon of crafting have about 8 open CD cases lying all over my desk LOL! So I really like the idea of having them all in one binder! (okay, one and a half, my Nestie collection is quite formidable at this point!)

Simply apply adhesive magnetic tape across the refill pages and add the nested dies. Depending on the shape you may choose to orient the tape vertically instead of horizontally. Almost all sets fit two per side. Below you can see the two petite ovals on page, and the Labels One and Star set on the other. You may choose to have all your square sets on one page, with the Large and Small classic sets on one side of the page, and the scalloped sets on the back as I did (in case I need to pull that one page out to do a project I have them all, OR to have them on pages facing each other so you can see all for sets at a glance, I like that idea, too. (The nice thing about these is they are easy to change around if I decided I want that set in a different spot based on how much I use it or whatever, just pull them off one magnetic strip and place them on another, it's all the same!

There are only a few exceptions to this: scalloped sets in a few cases overlap when they are nested together which makes it hard for them to have enough contact with the magnetic tape to grab on because they are sitting on another die.(I have only had this prblem with the squares and hearts, so not all sets overlap)) My solution was to go ahead and use two side of the sheets so I could split up the sets and have room in between each, I don't really mind that they aren't with their "partners" LOL! So what you see here is just two sets of scalloped squares, broken into four groups. It actually makes it a little easier to see the difference between the sizes and to pull of the one you need without upsetting the rest of the set, KWIM?
The other exception is the long rectangle sets (there may be others, there are a few fancier long die sets I don't have) there is no way to put more than one set of these on a side, not diagonally, side to side, above or below, believe me, I tried! ;) I found I also needed to have more than one strip of magnetic tape to hold them as there was such a huge difference in size, the longest ones need something to grab near the top and bottom edge so I used three, the smaller ones are fine to just have the one going through the middle the way the other sets do.

You may want to reinforce the other sets with more strips as well. One thing I will mention about this system that has both plus and minuses: The pages are very slick, the positives are that the magnetic tape is repositionable if you need to move it, AND if you decide you want to use that sheet to store stamps again instead you take the tape off, NO residue! i love that it's not going to ruin my pages, yeah! The downside is that if you don't replace you dies and close the binder up, the magnetic strip is going to want to grab onto the magnetic strip and dies across from it on the opposite page, KWIM? (but will still be stuck there when you open, you just pull it away and stick back onto the other page.) It can't though if you have the full set on there,(and you need to put your dies back anyway) the other alternative is to only use one side of a page for your dies so they aren't attracting each other.

The binders hold 6 sheets, if you use both sides of every page. Doing so, you can hold 24 sets in this one binder that takes up 1.25" wide of counter space (9.5" high and 7" deep) I LOVE that! I chose to put them in an order than makes sense to me all the classic geometric shapes first, followed by the fancier ones and tags, these last in the order I use them most, so I know where to flip for the set I need (when I was using my CD cases I didn't always put them back in the same spot and would have to scan through the spine labels to find the one I wanted.) However I'm thinking i might use my SU! Round Tab punch to create some tabs for the tops of the pages labelling each for an additional reference, there is room on the top of the pages to do so...what do you think?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Cinema Saturday:Wizard of Oz

Ill go ahead and share my Cinema Saturday creation, but ding dong! I completely missed the required element of the challenge: a metallic element(see Sankari's fabulous Tin Man sample!) Doh! Oh well, I'm still really happy with it it, and had a blast working on it. Although the challenge was posted yesterday, this card might go down in the books as longest time to make a card from start to finish, because I started it back in JULY! Yes, you read that right, I pieced together the dress and shoes from "Retro Boutique" right after the set was released because I thought the shape of it and some gingham paper would make a perfect little "Dorothy outfit" for a follow your dreams type card, but I never finished it because I couldn't decide on a layout. The pieces you were cute not to save(and I'd spent the time on them!), so I tucked them away in boxes to complete at a later date when inspiration struck...well, hello, inspiration!! (7 months later LOL! hey, you never know...! I was just impressed I found them!)

I stamped the dress once onto white CS, so I could sketch in the apron to cut out and lay over the pieced image, and once onto Magnolia gingham DP and added some little cap sleeves with a pen. Red Stickles and adhesive rhinestones colored to match are accents for the shoes and bag, I colored the basket with Copics with the chisel tip end, dotting some little squares it to make it look like woven strips. The background DP is Basic Grey Sultry and the path is Summer Sun CS I Cuttlebugged with my mesh folder. "The journey begins" is from my "Hand-in-Hand" set.

Inside I stamped "Wish Shoe Well!" from Rupa's set, perfect with the ruby slippers, dontcha think? I was going to put the ribbon on the outside, but decided to slide it into the inside, because having it at the top( although it was tying in the red and blue outfit at the bottom), was breaking up the illusion for me of the scene. The colors in the DP are so different from the outfit or yellow brick road, I know, but the flower print in the background was so perfectly, magically surreal, and while not perfectly coordinated, it really does give the impression of one of those vivid glorious Technicolor scenes from the movie, so I went with it!

(So what do you do with a "Wizard of Oz" card?? LOL! Send it to a film/craft buff and encourage them to enjoy "the journey"!) ;)

Cinema Saturday has a very nice PRIZE this week, a Gina K set of your choice valued at $19.95 or less, thank you Brooke and Sankari for offering that! You have until this Thursday, 12 PM PST to link your creation on the Cinema Saturday Challenge blog, see more details there. But DON'T FORGET THE METAL like I did if you want to win LOL! Q&A with Sankari soon to come!

The Best Things in Life Tip Sheet!

Soem important tips and ideas for your "The Best things in Life" set:

Doing a close, careful trim will allow you to snuggle your phrases closely together on your block and stamp once to get them properly aligned and spaced evenly.
Many of the phrases allow room to do a careful cut with your scissors or hobby blade between the words to separate the stamps for more versatility in creating sentiments (such as "can make" and "come from"). The best way I've found to do this is to hold the stamp between my thumb and forefinger of my left, bend back which pulls the words away from each other making the gap in between larger so I can safely cut my images without worrying about cutting through them. If you are not comfortable cutting some of these, DON'T, I don't want you to ruin your image! Just use a marker to ink up the individual words when you need them. :)

Some fonts do not allow enough room to snip apart, see the binder sheet. I chose to leave "the best things in life" together for example, also italicized greetings like waiting for and your family I'm not going to try to cut (a couple can still be cut apart, like "on sale", I just forgot to do that one)

A grid line block works like a dream with these! I strongly recommend the round blocks that Gina K sells. This is lined up on the medium sized 3.5" block, so you can see this medium sized block can hold quite a few greetings. Below you can see one I did on the largest 4.25" round block, still enough room to place a coordinating image!

The best things sentiments are made to use together or separately and fit almost all the Nestabilities shapes. Use them as your focal point with some beautiful DP for a quick and elegant card or a photo for a scrapbook page, or pair them with some of your favorite Gina K images:

The best things in life
aren't things
are dreams:
Take Flight, all our floral/nature sets
caffeinated: My Cuppa Joe
Hand in Hand, Best Friends
memories: Kindred Spirits, Hand-in-Hand
shared: Thinking of You, Kindred Spirits, Hand-in-Hand
babies/your family: How Sweet it is, Kindred Spirits, Hand-in-Hand
shoes, purses, on sale, involve shopping, pink : Retro Boutique
birthdays: Sweetest Blessings, How Sweet it Is
covered in chocolate: Have a Cookie , Sweetest Blessings, How Sweet it Is
worth waiting for: King of the Grill (fishing rod or grill! LOL!), sets with babies
worth working for: hammer!
have fur : all the sets with furry animals! (we have a ton! from every illustrator!)
come in a tin/in small packages: What’s in Your Tin? Sets, Festive Labels
come from the heart/God: nature sets

but there are really too many list, words like “memories” could be as varied as “Just So Sporty” or “Christmas Blessings” for a scrapbook page, etc, have fun getting really creative here!

Tons of longer phrases you can make:
Ex: “the best things in life are memories that can make you laugh & cry” (great for scrapbooking, no need to journal on that page!: )
Or silly ones like:
The best things in life are pink shoes on sale!
And short phrases that DON'T always inlcude "the best things" stamp, like "friends are priceless" and “babies are worth waiting for”

You can also split the phrase up: “the best things in life…” and end the phrase inside the card.

"The best things" can be stamped at the end of the phrase to change it up: "shared memories are the best things in life!"

Vary the placement of the words and change up your layouts by snipping the individual words apart and placing them all over your card or page for a fun collage or ransom note style!

Have fun using the "dot dot dot" to build suspense and get the reader turning the page and exclamation point when you need some extra emphasis! or leave it off when you want a more subtle message :)

Or even single words on tags: almost all single words in the set will fit the Nestabilities Tag Dies.

Stamp a single word or phrases onto your photos in black or white ink.
Stamp the phrases you want from the set on vellum to create a stunning quote overlay for your photos.

Ink up in your phrases in mutliple colors with markers to emphasize certain words, or try highlighting a stamped word by scribbling over it with a color from your color scheme.
Pop up one word from the phrase to make it stand out.
Ink up "the best things" stamp with a marker, omitting the "s" in things to go with a singular word "PINK...the best thing in life!'

or omit "in life" occasionally just to change your greeting up!

Ink up just "best" to stamp with "friends" (or "friend")

Make a focal point out of a list of "your best things" from the set with "..." at the end, the inside will read "...the best things in life!

Fun projects beyond cards and scrapbook pages:

Create a calendar for your wall or desk with a different best thing each month.

Create an altered block with a sentiment and photo on each side, doubles as home decor!

Start you day off right with a simple magnetic poetry set for a tin or the fridge by stamping out all the individual words, you'll never run out of sentences! Decide whether to wake up to something inspirational like: "The best things in life come from God", or a reminder to drink your coffee with: "caffeinated things are best!" The family will love leaving silly phrases for each other like "babies have fur" or "shopping memories...priceless!"

Stamp up random pages in a blank book with the different phrases to create a dream or inspiration journal. Create matching bookmarks for friends customized with their best things

Look around for tins you have of ANY shape, not just the Altoids tins, to create "memories in a tin", "birthday in a tin", etc

Quickly create sweet gift wrap, tags, packaging, etc, from little boxes, bags and envelopes with the teaser: "the best things come in small packages!" (or PINK packages! LOL!)

I could go on and on, but want to save some surprises for the blog! I've already mentioned some projects which you will be seeing examples of here soon. Hope this at least get you started! Please spend some time looking at the set and come up with a sentence for me! I'll pick one person's comment and send that person a card! :)
Have a great day!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Memories are the Building Blocks of Life

I have found my new favorite item to alter (besides tins, of course!): behold the scrap block!! I've admired these before but was always a little intimidated about getting started and don't see the blocks many places. But shortly after my new "The Best Things in Life" set came, I spied some fence post scraps in DH's workshop and asked him to please cut me some cubes!! :) Score!!

Here you can see the top of the block I stamped and one side: my family. Each side will have a different pic of our family members, plus one surprise! (he he heh!)

Supplies for this project are minimal!

6 sheets DP and coordinating ink, glue, a block (this measures 3.75"), your photos, "The Best Things in Life" set (the only stamps I used for the whole thing!), and some embellishments and or punches (here some silver Hodge Podge, staples,and ghost shapes)

I was able to cover every side of the block with a different pattern from my Basic Grey Wassail pack, and use the leftover scraps for accents or punched photo corners! (I went ahead and ordered this even though it's after Christmas, it has so many beautiful non-holiday prints and these warm, earthy colors and neutral go great with my home decor(and great for masculine cards), so I highly recommend it!) All photos are printed in B&W on Gina K Pure Luxury 80lb I do so much better when I don't use color photographs in my photographs, it really stumps me on choosing colored paperssomeitmes, KWIM? (I love this snuggled pic of my boys!) I stamped my sentiments in Cranberry Crisp ink onto one of the distressed solid papers in the pack, too, and framed it up in the Hodge Podge. Silver Brads are colored here with my Cardinal Copic.

Here's a pic of Paul and me at our first baby shower. I stamped "memories" from my set over the pic in white craft ink (in the past 7 years since this pic was taken, we've created a lot of great ones!) I love the look of stamping on photos! I stapled through two Heidi Swapp ghost shape hearts at the corners. I carried this silver embellishment theme throughon each side, simpler and more unified-looking.

Now the 4th side of the block I wanted to reflect the person holding it to remind him (or her, I need strokes occasionally too LOL!) what an important part they are of our family!! I was loving the real mirrors on the card I made with Rupa's set, so when I had this idea for the last side, I was going to make another trip to Hobby Lobby to buy a square one, but then looking at the little round ones on my desk, I thought it might be so much cooler to use what I already had and create a mosaic with the round ones!! To capture a pic of this side for you, I placed a photo of Jonathan and me reflecting in it (a print out from Chuck E Cheese, hee hee!) It's like a whole side of shine and embellishments, and looking into it and seeing your face reflected in fragments is so playful and unexpected, I'm glad I didn't make that extra "Hobby Lobby run" after all LOL!

I'm just loving this block! (here it is in our entry way) It's like a shiny, textured TOY that begs me to pick it up and turn it over! (I'll probably find myself doing this every time I enter and exit my house LOL!) I created this in just one morning, the hardest part is trying to choose whihc photos! (and don't make it harder than it has to be, you can always make more!now I want one for every room!! ) This will be our "family block", but I have already gotten busy on a valentine block for DH's office, a block for each of my kids to match their rooms, 9and plans for birthday blocks for friends, relatives, and neighbors, and themed blocks to put out at holidays (a Christmas memory on each side, etc!)

Hope this inspires you to make your own blocks celebrating the best things in (your) life! :)

PS In case you are wondering, I did cover the bottom with DP but nothing yet beyond that. for the person who turns it over to see if there's anything underneath, I'm thinking I need a clever quote or really funny family photo: which gets your vote?(I'm off to look for one!) ;) (no 3D embellishments on this side, though, I want it to sit flat!:)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wanna be Inspired?

Sankari Wegman is one of my guest designers this month, I first became familiar with Sankari and her work through Papercraft Planet. She is such an artist and inspiration, and I am still dumbfounded she has only been stamping a few months, (and you will be too when you see the amazing detail she puts into her cards! *) Additionally, she is quite the cinephile, and has teamed up with her friend Brooke to host something called Cinema Saturday Challenge! If you love movies, this is the perfect way to to incorporate this medium into your crafting! Each week they choose a different movie, (giving you peeks on Fridays, (it's so much fun to guess! although i haave no clue what this week's is) and then some great trivia about the film and their samples Not only are they outstanding films, but are always visually stunning, which makes the perfect starting point for a stunning card! Then you get a chance to play along too, the winner receives the coveted "Audrey Award"(see above!), is that not the cutest?? (That's a button I'd love to have on my blog!! I didn't win this, though, just lifted it to share it for the post!! )

You'll hear more about Sankari and Cinema Saturday in my Q&A I always share from my guest designers, but I wanted to give you a heads up now to go check out the challenges from weeks past (I know you'll find some of your favorite "classics" in there, there are definitelyy some I'd like to backtrack and do!) and give you a chance to play along this weekend! Now that our release is over, this is definitely the kind of challenge I want to make time for (while I munch on a bucket of popcorn LOL!) and have a DVD playing in the background!

*Some are more like actual movie props, check out this one for "Fellowship of the Rings" challenge! Thud!!

Chocolate Alert!

Great party last night, if you missed it well, woo hoo, I am tired!!! (the design team guest designers, and Gina K fans were in full effect!) I was going to post my tip sheet for "The Best Things in Life"(<--you can see the full set now by clicking on that link!) today, but after all the discussion last night I need to add more stuff to it LOL! So excited everyone is lovin' on this set! :) Instead I'll share a favorite project I peeked during the party, it got more than a few "how'd you do that??"

This may look like the real thing, but the following card has NO calories!

Here is a fun shaped card I created, inspired by the "covered in chocolate" greeting in my set. It fits into an A2 envelope and the wrap is made from Paper Temptress Hot Fudge and SU! Brushed Silver, the chocolate bar base was made with Long Rectangle Nestabilities and SU! Chocolate Chip. Wrapper is embossed in silver to look like a very popular candy bar! See how these two different shades of brown paper make it look like the real deal? ;)

I embossed the smaller chocolate sections into my card front with smaller long rectangle dies. To create the wrapper, I just wrapped my Pop Tone Hot Fudge paper and silver paper around my card like you would wrap a real candy bar and adhered at the back. Rip one end of the wrap and crinkle with fingers for realism! (like you had to get to that candy fast!! :)

Here you can see the card pulled out of the wrap and opened to reveal SURPRISE! a chocolate- covered pink center (raspberry? strawberry? pick your pleasure!) This greeting is also embossed in silver, on Paper Temptress Mountain Rose Glimmer paper. I had to sneak out a little "bite" with my SU! scallop punch! ;)

Here it is tipped so you can see the shimmer (er, glimmer!) A wonderful guilt-free indulgence for Valentine's Day! This would be fun as just a playful greeting card or holder* or for a check or GC, too because everything 's better covered with chocolate, right?
Have a great weekend! Her are some "Best Things" peeks from one of my guest designers this month Shannon Bracken if you missed the party! :)
Oh, BTW, now that you've seen the whole set, which sentiments would you INK up first?? ;)
*or maybe an April Fool's gag, leave it out and see how many people try to pick it up!! (snort!!)

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hand in hand Contest Winner!

Thank you everyone who sent cards for Pat's card4kids effort this month! I am looking forward to hearing how many she actually ends up getting, I know with everyone's generosity she should far surpass her goal of 1000 Valentines! Althought the contest is now closed, 's not too late to send cards, though please read the Hand in hand link below!

Congrats to Lori Tecler, she is the winner of the first "Hand in Hand, Month to Month" Contest, and she will receive my new "The Best Things in Life" set! You can see Lori's beautiful sample here Thanks for playing ,Lori, please send me your snail mail address!

This month there may not have been enough time for you to play or linking this RAK contest with the other RAK request may have been confusing (I was just trying to allow you more chances to win for doing your good deed!) Next month’s will be posted soon, and I am opening up the prize offering to everyone who donates cards, whether they use the "Hand-in-Hand" set or not. (My sample for the request and intro to the organization will use it, however.) I think you will be really excited to play when you hear what it is!

I can't believe the party starts in 10 minutes, I have been creating up to the minute (and had to get the kids fed tonight(where oh where is DH??) Let's go!!!

Sneak Peek Day 3: Sweetest Blessings, Tag Lines, and Digi-Paper!

Today we have some peeks of a new illustrator, new product and new free with 3 set! This first card uses "Sweetest Blessings" by Mary Duffek. Isn't that cupcake cute? I colored it with Copics and popped it up on a dimensional. The smaller ones in the background? That's digital paper, new from Gina K Designs! (Digital paper for those of you who are unfamiliar with it, is paper you can print out, so you always have as much or little of each pattern as you need, cool stuff!)
The cupcakes are just one print you get in this great digi-pack! One thing I did to modify it though for this particular design, the cupcakes on the paper all have WHITE icing when you print it out. This means you can tint the frostings to any colors you choose to match your holiday or color scheme, here I made an assortment of pink, blue and green. I kept the shading minimal since the red solid base is already colored in for you.
I added a little Crystal Lacquer to the cherry and inked up just the word "sweet" from one of the sentiments in the set and stamped it in Black Staz-on onto my Heidi Swapp ghost shape heart. The shine of the heart looks great with the shiny cherry. (I was able to hide the glue dot I attached it with by tucking it under the scalloped punch.) Other little details like the dotted ribbon (from the Gina K Pure Luxury Holiday collection) and the dots on the green scallop layer and holes from the threading water punch along the bottom all accent that sweet delicate border on the cake. Great Mset, mary, looking forward to seing more from you! :) (Please note, although illustrated by Mary, this set will come in a Gina K tin, and priced at 18.95!)
Next up is the new Free with Three: "Tag Lines", a set of 18 greetings (which fit on the Nestie tags, shown below). One of my favorite sentiments in the set is "Doin' the happy dance!", because I say that a lot! and of course "dance" made me want to get out my zebra (or "Zack", as Cathy likes to call him!) ;) from "Jumping for Joy" to go with! (go Zack, go Zack, get higha..! LOL!)
The big balloon bouquet he brought with him was created with my "Just So Hoppy" balloon and is PIECED with more paper from the digi-pack I mentioned above! Love these warm orange and red prints. EDITED TO ADD: I used my Niji waterbursh and white craft ink to add a white highlight to the top of each pieced ballon and traced the underside of each balloon with a marker one shade darker than the paper to give it dimension, both blend so nicely inot the paper! I just couldn't stop without using all the others so the background and punched curved corners are digi-paper too! Would you like to get this new digi-paper for FREE? Gina K will be giving out a coupon code that will allow you to throw that pack into your shopping cart for free with any purchase! (but it's only good til Sunday, don't wait too long if you like to try this paper (of course you can pay for it later, it will be available for purchase) :)
BTW I had a lot of people requesting a zebra card during my blogaversary when I was coloring animals; the great thing about the zebra, he needs almost no coloring! ;) Maybe just a light gray for shadow on one side of all "his parts", and sometimes a little round circle of blush to the cheek (although I forgot it here) I love using him for a pop of black and white to punch up any other colors I'm using in my design.

Hope you enjoyed these peeks! Still a little time to get ready for the party, are you ready?? I'd love to hear who all is coming to chat with us and check out more peeks! (Teaser: I've got chocolate for those who dooooooooooo.... :)
EDITED TO ADD: I am so sorry I left on our team's sneak peek list, just realized! Gina K, Cammie, Jessica, Theresa, Kurtis, Erika, Donna, Emily, Melanie, Cindy, and our Spotlight Designer this month Mary Anderson!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Sneak Peek Day 2: Best Fishes and Warm & Fuzzy

This is probably one of my favorite shaped cards I've ever created, a fishbowl inspired by the "Drop me a line!" sentiment and the little worm on a hook in Gina K's newest "Best Fishes". Recognize the kitty? It's from Asela's "Framed Friends" set from last month, and it works swimmingly with the Gina's set. ;)
Start by placing your circle die overlapping a 4 1/4" square folded card and cut. (f you don't have a die, trace a bowl or something overlapping the scored edge and cut through both layers.)

Next I stamped the fish and worm to the right so that the fish appears to be checking it out! :) With my die in place as a mask, I sponged some Cool Caribbean ink around the edges of the bowl. When you remove it, you'll have water in the bowl and the illusion of solid glass walls around the edge.

I colored my images with Copics and cut the kitty out of the frame, gluing him just below the edge of the card, centering a paw over the worm so I could draw a line down to attach it to the hook.

I had already photographed this card for the log and then realized how much better it could be if I pulled out of the multicolored beads I almost never use and added them to the bottom for gravel! A little Crystal Lacquer on the bottom before sprinkling them on and gently pressing them in. I removed a few that were poking out over the edge so it would look like they were all contained within the bowl.

Inside I added the sentiment and a few bubbles also from the set. This was really fun to make (and still fits in an A2 envelope.)

My next peek: more animals! I love this little love bird on a swing from Asela's new "Warm & Fuzzy", so I would thought it be cool if I could find a way to hang him up! I just got these heart Nestabilities with Valentine's' day coming, they seemed a perfect solution and pretty way to frame the image.

After cutting through both the Basic Grey Bittersweet DP and Gina K Pure Luxury 120 lb base, I poked a hole at the top of the heart and threaded a jump ring through, then made a hole through the top of the chain image and threaded the ring through that.

Here is a closeup of the bird. (I like him giving him a little nudge with my finger to get him rockin'!) I colored it with Copics and tried to subtly create a little heart on his breast, did you notice? :) I also traced the wire with a Copic Silver Spica. Now this is important: I used the Gina K 80 lb CS for my image. This means my Copics bled through to the inside....

... which allowed me to see my coloring and trace with a pen to create a back for him! The coloring wasn't completely solid, but there was enough for me to see his shape and add more color. I didn't draw in the beak or feet since you wouldn't see those....
I hope you enjoyed these peeks! To see more of these sets from our team, please visit:
Last day of peeks tomorrow, and then the big party! :) I hope you'll join me, thanks for stopping in!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Sneak Peeks Day 1: "The Best Things in Life" and "Perfectly Polished"

This month I am offering you a "greeting" set like no other : "The Best Things in Life"! (When I called Gina a few months ago to tell her about it, the first thing I said was the title and she replied "oooh, I love it already!" LOL!!!) In it you will find 39 coordinating stamps that will help you celebrate all the things YOU love in life: happy, silly, and sentimental, all in one set, suitable for any occasion! Expect a LONG tip sheet with this one that will still only scratch the surface of combinations you can create, too many to number! These large scale words are PERFECT titles for scrapbook layouts of any size(I thought long and hard about scrapbookers' needs when I created this set!), as well as being just what you need when you want the focus of your card to be a sentiment, when you need to make something quick and only have time for a greeting and your favorite designer paper, or to compliment any of your favorite stamp images (and, as you might expect, there are a TON of Gina K ones that go quite nicely!);)
The mixed fonts in this set create a fresh and fun look that will work with any designs you choose! Today I made a simple card using just three of the stamps from the set, "the best things in life" is one you can build on in many ways (you'll see more in our peeks and at our party!) I was able to line up all three at one time on my round acrylic block so I only had to stamp once, coloring directly onto the stamps with my SU! markers (Chocolate Chip, Regal Rose and Rose red ) to give it this colorful look (and give the words you really wan to accentuate that extra POP!) as well as match the beautiful new Basic Grey Bittersweet paper you can purchase Thursday night in Gina K's store with the rest of our release (oh, yeah, I'll be getting a couple more PACKS of this DP, if I can get my order in fast enough!) I found two beautiful cardstocks from Paper Temptress to compliment these Basic Grey prints : the base is Mountain Rose Glimmer (see how shimmery ??) and the yummy brown paper is Pop Tones Hot Fudge! Some heart Nestabilities, a few charms (from Joann's they came in a pack, average about 20 cents a piece!) I hung from silver brads, and SU! 5/8" grosgrain finish it off! Easy EASY! (I had a hard time deciding what to show today as my other sample is completely different, so please be sure to come check it out at the release party Thursday!

Check out more samples of this set from our Gina K Design team (maybe we'll get some insight as to what each of them consider "the best things in life" LOL!!):
Carolyn King, Donna Baker , Emily Giovanni, Erika Martin, Jessica Fick , Kurtis Amundson, Theresa Momber
and Gina K!

This next card uses Rupa's newest "Perfectly Polished" set, super girly, super fun!

The mirror image in the set really inspired me to try a card where the recipient would be looking back at themselves while reading "You're the fairest of them all!" (how's that for a daily affirmation?!) I found a 24 pack of little round mirrors in the exact sizes I needed for $2.49 at Hobby Lobby(which made them 10 cents each!) This card uses the 1" and 1/2" sizes, adhered with Mono Multi, isn't that fun? (now I can make about 10 more cards like these, hee hee!!)

This was definitely the hardest card I've ever tried to photograph (to really capture the cool reflection and not have something like my camera ofr cuttlebug in the pic LOL!!) I used Brushed Silver for my base and mat, and another fun Bittersweet print! I love how the dots play off those round mirrors! Image is stamped in Memento Tuxedo black, colored with Copics, and a little bit of Copic atyou Spica Silver for more shine. To dress it up a bit more, I punched out some large flourishes and accented them with adhesive metal dots to make it look like a fancy swivel easel, similar to the mirror image.

More peeks of "Perfectly Polished" found here:
Cindy Lawrence
Jessica Fick
Joanne Basile
Kurtis Amundson

and in the Spotlight's Mary Anderson!

and two more new peeks here tomorrow! Like what you see here so far?? Let me know here!! :) (or tell me YOUR "best things in life", betcha I've got you covered, hee hee!) Don't forget you can win this set by donating cards, you have a couple more days, read this!

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Proud Moment!

Last Friday I spoke at my first grade son's career day. A year or two ago I wouldn't have imagined I'd be standing up in front of a classroom telling them about something cool (IMHO) like illustrating (which kept sounding better and better as I listed the benefits (sketching in your jammies, etc! ) LOL! When I began my presentation with asking how many of the kids liked drawing and making things with paper and glue, not surprisingly almost every hand went up. (Almost every person is born with a desire to create, we just stop as we start questioning whether our work is" good enough"; I know, it happened to me!) It was so exciting to share with them about my "jobs": illustrating stamps and designing cards, two opportunities I didn't even realize existed as a child! I really hope I was able to inspire his classmates who have the talent and interest in art to explore the possibilities and their potential (and if not art, then to find a way to get paid someday to do what they love!)

While I never have regrets about what I'm doing, as a mom there are definitely times I question whether the amount of time I spend on it is right for the rest of my family, we are fortunate enough that I don't need to work. I never tire of what I am doing (quite the opposite, it energizes me!) but my kids grow up as fast as any and designing, stamping, and blogging does split my focus, and sometimes means sacrifice. My hope, though, is that as they get older their love affair with art will continue to grow as I am able to share more of my craft with them, as well as seeing that I am doing something I am so passionate about, and that they in turn will makes choices to follow their own dreams and pursue opportunities, art-related or not, which will make them both successful AND happy.

The look on my son's face and his and their applause as I finished my presentation really said it all. (I'm so proud of my Jonathan, and knowing he is proud of me, too, means the world!) :) I want you to know your how greatly your comments and feedback touch me, too! They keep me going, creating and inspired to have soemthing new to share with you every day!

Thought I'd share this personal story today, on the eve of the previewing my first set of 2009, (12 months ago I released my first set ever!) I hope you love the new set! :)

Do what you love, and have a GREAT day! ( The peek will be up at midnight CST!!!!)