Monday, March 31, 2008

Got Time?? Tole-tally!

Good grief, I just stamped and cut out THREE kangaroos! This was definitely more time that I like to spend on a card, but it was worth it because I have something to post and completed two challenges in the process: this week's technique challenge for SCS, (TLC162) and the Gina K Designs sponsored Sketch of the Week at Card Positioning Systems. (CPS58) Edited to add: Boy do I feel like a dork, I was supposed to use Spring Blooms for the sketch!! back to the drawing board!

The technique this week was paper tole, where you cut out one image into several layers and mount to give a 3-d effect, but you could not do a flower (which is most typical of tole). Well, if you've seen my gallery, you already know I've given this technique a workout with the hippo (very easy cutting!)and giraffe (not so easy cutting!) but I had not yet tried it with a hoppy! Doing three layers here I found rather tedious(because you have to color the ones UNDERNEATH since you'll see them from the sides!*), but I like how it turned out!

The umbrella is two layers. I colored a toothpick with my black marker for a handle and mounted between the first and second layer so it looked like it was over his shoulder. I used my corner rounder punch to make the corners and the scalloped border at the top.

The sticker accents around the ribbon and along the bottom came from the same SU! Scrappin kit which was offered last year, as was the DP. This made a nice card base because the DP is cardstock weight and one sided so you have white space inside to write your message.

You had to have three little accents along the bottom for the sketch, and I noticed only after I added my little stickers it looked like he was hopping from one to the next, completely unintentional!(luckystamper) Reminds me of the cartoon songs "just foll-ow the bounc-ing BALL!" :)

Great quote: "Creativity is not a driving force. It happens. It creates itself and you have to be open." ~ Mayumi Oda, artist and writer

* and you can bet I did a crummy job coloring on the layers you don't really see!! LOL!(and on the one you can see for that matter, by that time I was just ready to get! the thing! done!! ;)

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Another design I'd been wanting to try for awhile(for any theme really, this is just the first) was to stamp letters on my balloons from Just So Hoppy (or Hippy) to spell out my greeting, how's that for festive?? The letters are done using a clear Inkadinkadoo alpha set I got in one of their value packs from Jo-ann's. Very whimsical font, perfect size to fit on the balloons.

This started out as a single layer card on PT white CS, but I didn't like how I centered it, so I did a little trimming, matted it on top of a DCVW glitter mat(thanks, Donna!) and added the stork from "How Sweet It Is!" , popped up on dimensionals. Gina K donates $7 of every "How Sweet It Is" purchase to diabetes research, and they are such adorable, versatile stamps! And don't these images look like they came from the same set?? How's that for "coordinating!"

I used prismas and OMS to color everything. Last I threaded a ribbon through the punched slit and tied on a little pastel colored safety pin from a pack I found at Big Lots (you'll be seeing lots more of these on my cards!! and maybe getting some in the mail! ;)

The first delivery of cards from the shower should probably be "dropping in" tomorrow! :D Some of you have written and asked when to send or if there is date they have to be mailed by: NOPE! I don't think it is ever to early or too late to send card! I will be doing a special post to share more about this effort, some of your responses, and announce the winner of the candy (which I will pst a pic of soon!) by the end of the week, though, but if you want to send cards and letters/prayers AFTER that, by all means, do, I will keep sending out the addy as long as people keep requesting it! They are ALL greatly appreciated(by everyone but the mail carrier! LOL!)

Love & Blessings,

Alter it!! Tutorial

Well, I wish I could say I'm giving away $5K. I'm not. This is an insert that fell out of a Newport catalog that arrived at my house last week(maybe you got one, too? I've never bought anything from Newport, yet still I get a catalog every now and again) Anyway, I was really drawn to the colors and smokin' hot lady images, saw some definite papercrafting potential here! (I've been wanting to do some really cool "girl on the go" tins, but would you have believe I don't own any cool girl stamps?? Nope, no bellas, like em, but don't have any. Rubber Romance I really like, too, especially "Melanie"(hee!) but don't have those either! so I had to get creative...)

I did NOT want the white text on my tin, so here's a really neat way to crop/paper piece a custom label together using the a label image from What's in Your Tin?2. I stamped it on the corner so I'd have the large girl on the left. (It's okay the dollar sign is still in there, wait and see.)
Next I cut around the outline of the label with my snips and then just went around the right side of her silhouette.
Now I need the top right hand corner. on the back of the insert was the same artwork (flipped) so I stamped my label again to have the paparazzi clicking pics over her shoulder, and cut out on the line.
And here's the finished tin with the images glued together to make one new label! Cool, huh?! I added an adhesive rhinestone to one lens, and matted it on black CS, part of the cover of my DCVW All Dressed Up mat pack(that showed the diffrent pattern swatches!). Perfect match for these colors and artwork on the insert.
Gotta go, I'm a little irked becuase I spent a lot of time writing the end of this post, had it saved, and when I posted it, I noticed it cut off the end, can't find it anywhere!!! Hopefully I don't need to start backing up all my text in another location, grr :( (So I had to come back in and at least finish the directions, but can't redo all the rest right now! more later!)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

The Power of One*

"With great power, comes great responsibility." ~Uncle Ben, Spiderman

"Never underestimate the speed, reach or impact of the ripple you create." (me)

I have mentioned before I was a SU! demo for five years, and during that time I had less than 5 people (on average) attending my once-a-month workshops! (and it was pretty much always those same people! God bless them!!) I was always so much more interested in making art than money by trying to find new customers and hostesses for workshops, so my business never really grew without that networking piece. Staying at my stamp table in my room allowed me to develop my craft, but didn't give me an audience. Until I started my blog, that is.

Having a blog that people visit gives a person a lot of power. By "power" I'm not talking about the"I'm so much better than YOU!" kind of power! The power we ALL have to share information, about anything, with everyone in our network and beyond as fast as you can send an email or link someone! Working with Gina K who gives back in SO many ways, receiving emails from all over each day from people sharing their stories about why they visit this blog, and watching the hit counter rapidly rise makes me aware of the power and platform I have now to share something more than my crafting tips and stamps when I can.**

I don't thin I've ever been so excited to check my email (and it's always exciting!) as I have been the past few days to see messages coming from people both familiar and new to me ready to roll up their sleeves and help! WE are up to over 60 people participating in the Make Someone's day!! The WE is what's important here! Many that have written have said I have such a big heart for doing this, but I would argue differently, the credit goes to you! Please remember I am sending one card; the other 59 come from YOU. I'm asking you to help a person whose story has moved me, but you are signing up to help someone unknown to you because you already know how good it feels to give!! (If I were as generous as some of you might think, I wouldn't have that BIG basket of hoarded cards, remember?!!! LOL! But I'm working to change that!! and I couldn't do it with your help!) Your generosity inspires me to want to do more (and in this case, all I did this time was ASK a favor. Handing out a blog candy to one of you for this is a very small price to pay for the joy it is bringing me and the person who is receiving your artwork.) And it's gotten me thinking about even more things to do! I'm excited for what's coming next, and for everyone who joins me for the ride!

*The terrific writing and unforgettable characters make the book "The Power of One" a must read (although I have to admit I didn't like the last few pages, but only because I was liking it SO MUCH up until that! (You may feel differently, I won't give anything away! When you'll recommend a book you don't even like the ending for you really must think there's something in there worthwhile LOL!

**I want to be very clear I in no way think that bloggers NEED/SHOULD FEEL OBLIGATED to give away candys, arrange RAK requests, donate, or use their blogs for anything other personal enjoyment! Blogs are an outlet for people to enjoy creating in any way they want, reporting on anything they want, to any audience of any size they want. I've just been blessed in SO many ways this past year, many of which have come through the blogging process(connecting with peope I may have never met, learnign about things I might never have discovered), my cup is now running over, and I feel I'm being led to serve. Simply put, the reasons I had for starting a blog, (helping to market my stamps) have evolved. Now that so many more people are tuning in to what I have to say/think/can offer than I ever imagined would listen/be interested, I want to imagine something bigger than I ever imagined being able to do by myself for others. (Not to mention that I have the most amazing captive audience anyone could wish for! I've always said stampers/crafters are the nicest people!) :)

Thank you again! Have a great weekend!!!

PS: I almost forgot about the card! I've been meaning to make a quickie card with the Just So Hippy and Just So Hoppy using NO ANIMALS!! (Maybe not everyone wants to "say it with animals" ALL the time,) so how about a simple balloon-o-gram? I finally dipped into the odorless mineral spirits and Prismas for this! (They really do seem to glow, took a little more time than watercolor crayons, but the effect is VERY NICE!) These balloons are really fun to color, I find a large open, rounded space is one of the simplest things for ME to color/shade (probably because a sphere is the first 3 object I learned to shade/create in art classes, so I'm really comfortable with where the shadows are supposed to go!! LOL! This uses one balloon from each set, masked to give it a layered look. I'll be back with a tutorial of how I did the tin from yesterday, it just has a LOT of photos, haven't finished yet.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Contest! PRIZES! Rock the Vote!

EDITED TO ADD: Voting is closed for the contest! I've pulled the post with the projects to be voted on so that no more votes will be added and the results can be tallied; check the release party thread tonight to see who won! Check back later this week for a brand new contest using HIP HOP ACCESSORIES!
(I NEEDED to post contest info but I want to make sure you know about "Make Someone's Day", so scroll down to read the previous post or click here!* )

I'd like to do something a little differently with my contest this month, with two ways to win. Send me your best work using the "What's In Your Tin? 1 and 2" sets. You can use one or the other or combine them in a project. You may use other stamps as well to decorate your project, but you must the use the tin label stamps/sentiments stamps from the set in some way. You do not have to use an Altoid tin in your project. GET YOUR CREATIVE ON!!

But guess what: I don't really want to judge this month! It is VERY difficult picking a winner, so I'm going to ask for your help. Email me pics (jpegs or similar please, not links, so I can share them easily on my blog) of your projects by April 17th. The next day I will post the entries you will be voting on. Leave the name of the person's project you think should win in that post. Voting will end at 11:59 PM CST on the 19th. On the 20th I will post the winning project that got the most votes. The person who created it will win my next stamp set which will be revealed on April 20th following the release party in the Gina K forum.

Why should you vote?? Wellll, I will choose one person's comment from the voting post at random: this person will also receive a prize! See? You don't have to have to enter a project to win! (but your chances of winning are MUCH better if you DO ENTER, I have a LOT more people vying for a free set in blog candys than I do submitting contest entries, and the prize for the person who creates the winning project might be a little sweeter, so please ENTER! (and then come back and vote!) :)

(The tin above was really fun to make! Can you believe I don't own any fabulous girl stamps?? So I had to get a little creative to make this, it might look like a magazine page, but it's not. It was a little trickier to put together than this might seem at first glance(how many pieces of paper/layers do you think are used here?), but it wasn't HARD, I will come back with a tutorial and step by step pics! Stay tuned! :)

* So far THIRTY of you have already written asking to send cards and prayers!! Thank you, thank you!! It brings tears to me eyes every time a new email arrives, I SO appreciate your willingness (eagerness!) to get involved! (My previous candy offerings have had hundreds of people playing; wouldn't it be amazing to have that many people or more participating this time?)
"Alone we can do a little, together we can do so much." ~Helen Keller

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wanna Help Me Make Someone's Day?(Candy Opportunity!)

I got this award the other day from Kelly, and I *think* maybe someone else?? but now I can't find it in my email?? Sorry!! (I hate to get rid of anything, which often makes it hard for me to FIND anything! ugh!!) That was SO nice of her, and I'd like to tag her back and several other people as well (but hate to leave anybody out!) ALL of you who are always leaving comments and faithfully reading my blog, consider yourselves tagged, you know who you are, your comments mean SO much to me!

I would also like to get any of you involved who are interested in paying it forward and helping make someone else's day: I have a certain someone in mind I would like to SHOWER with cards!* I don't want to give away the surprise, though, so if you are interested, please email me at : mmuenchinger @ and I will reply with a little about this person and why I chose her along with the address to send a card to! If you play along with me, I'll enter you for a chance to win a special blog candy, just for those participating!** When the cards begin arriving, I'm sure this person will figure it out and contact me! At that point I will announce the recipient's identity in another blog post for eveyrone else reading along with her response to the mass mailing, AND announce the winner of the candy! If you can't send a card, but would be interested in hearing about this person and praying, I would love to get an email from you , too! Wanna help spread the word to others who might be interested in sharing some of their creations and the candy? Please link this post!

I have another STAMPING CONTEST I will be announcing later today, with two ways to win, stay tuned!!

* I realize this person would get a TON if I just drop shipped "my basket", but it's more fun when the cards are all coming from lots of different people with different messages! ;)
EDITED TO ADD: I've had a few people write so far who would like to send cards but prefer not to be entered for the candy, because they've won a lot of other things recently! That's so nice, I will certainly repsect these wishes! If you feel the same, please just let me know in your email that you want to give someone else a chance to win! I wouldn't want anyone to not play that would like to get involved just because they don't want any more prizes right now! :) HUGS! I'm so excited about the response it's getting already! (the comments here do not reflect how many people are participating, as they are emailing me directly! I will report later how many cards my "mystery recipient" gets!! ):)
PS I'm a little behind(LOL!) on a few mailings I'm still trying to finish up, so if you are out there wondering "is she ever gonna send that?", it's coming, it's coming! ;) (I DO have a card all ready to go for the person above, though, don't worry LOL!!!)

Random Fact #8???

Quickly, had to share!!! hee hee!

Be sure to scroll down and get inspired by Mindy's fabulous papercrafting retreat!! I wanna go!!

Any Idol fans in the house??

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Tag, You're It!

OK, I've been tagged! by stampinmami! Thanks, Maria, I just love spilling secrets (when I'm able!) I like my posts to have a pic so here is a tin I whipped up with "Tag, You're It!" (LAST months' free set, now available for purchase.) I used the emerging color(sort of, I'll explain later) technique to create this paper, I'll be back to post more of a step by step explanation on how to make this tin, but I really like how it turned out.

Okay, now for the rules of the game:
Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
• Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog, we all want to know them.
• Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
• Let each person know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I've suffered multiple concussions/head injuries throughout my life(this might explain a little about how my mind works!) May have also been the root of my insomnia and migraines...

2. I'm a trivia buff, and auditioned for Jeopardy when I was in college (but didn't make it, and I'm STILL mad about it, poo!) BUT I play a very MEAN game of Trivial Pursuit, LOOK! OUT!

3. My stamped artwork(cards/projects) has never been published (or submitted for publication)

4. I can dislocate both shoulders, which makes this dreadful popping/scraping noise. (I discovered this in class one day in 3rd grade, and can do it over and over again, like blinking!) This means I can hold my hands behind my back, and without letting go, bring them over my head and down, hands now clasped in the front!** Anybody else??

5. I can touch the tip of my nose with my tongue (yeah, probably goofing off in class again!)

6. I failed out of college my first year(too much partying) Took one semester off(well, they made me, that's what failing out is!), got some perspective, and returned the next semester (and graduated 3 years later with honors.)

7. In college*** I did spokes modeling with Vanna White for a mattress company at a trade show!(she has a stick figure body (big surprise!) and when we met she commented on the formal I was wearing: "I'm so glad I didn't wear that today!"

So now I'm tagging:

1. Lee
5. Jana
7. Jess

And if I didn't tag you, maybe I already know more random stuff about YOU than you think! LOL! ;) (Don't worry, I'm sure this thing will come back around again soon!) OR you JUST got tagged before I could hit ya, you might need some rest! Half the people I went to tag had already gotten it the day before! but some I went ahead and tagged anyway) ;)

*I haven't decided yet whether this will be a "wristy" or a "strappy", I kind of want one I can put on a super long piece of ribbon and throw over my and one arm so it hangs at my waist and I'm completely hands-free! This one matches the shirt I'm wearing today...
**and probably escape a straitjacket. I'm sure you'll all agree, a very important life skill!

*** a lot of crazy stuff happened in college! (much of it too random for this blog!)

Two Challenges-Hatty Birthday!

I actually managed to make something for this week's color challenge (Whisper White, Basic Gray, and Soft Sky(I had to substitute bashful Blue) and last week's technique challenge on SCS (the negative effect); I think pigs just flew by!!!

I was SO excited to see how the size shape and delicate lines of he narrow border image from WIYT2 goes with Rupa's Thinking of You images, it's like they were MFEO!!("made for each other", Sleepless in Seattle) The first time I saw this stack of hat boxes I immediately thought "cake"!! I stamped the cake first, covered it with a mask and then stamped my label around it. The "cake and hat are colored with ink and an Aquapainter. Next I drew a few lines for candles, added a dab of ink for the flames and went over them with Stickles. I inked up just the "hats off" part of the sentiment so I could use my SU! oval punch and new silver hodgepodge frame. I chose an oval tag to mimic the tops of the hat boxes.

For the background you ink up the negative side (that has the word "Cuttlebug" printed on it) of your Cuttlebug folder (I thought Paisley would be perfect with Rupa's India influenced images.) Add your paper and roll through you bug, and you have a beautiful two-toned textured background! Clean the folder immediately after using. (This was actually a LOT easier to do than I thought, the ink hasn't gone down into the grooves when you ink up this side, so it was just a simple swipe-love it!) I notched out the corners with the cool 4 way corner scissors Gina sells, and added a halfback peal in the corners. To make the mat for my focal point, I stamped the same label onto Basic Gray CS, then went around the outside with another pair decorative edge scissors and put the focal point on top. Perfect! Finished the card off with some taffeta SU! ribbon.
TIP: The location of my accents follows the "rule of thirds", if you split the card up into thre sections vertically and three sections horizontally(tic tac toe bor style), the ribbon runs down on linewith the tied bow being where two lines intersect, the right edge of the coal pint falling on the other vertical line with the hodge podge frame intersecting. This is an easy way to place your details and results in a pleasing layout.

I love the way this turned out!! PLEASE remind me to do these challenges more often!! :) (I'm usually just too busy/lazy to go check, so I bookmarked the challenge forum so it's easier for me to open and check out before I start a new project)
TOMRROW: a very special blog candy and contest to win free stamps announced tomorrow!! :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Floral Fantasy

(Mom, don't look!) Here is another card made with Framed Flowers. Had I been able to make a decision this COULD have been a 10 minute card! (I kept going back and forth, back and forth on how I wanted to do all the layers...) Isn't this Floral Fantasy CB folder scrumptious?! (It's one of my new faves) The shapes of the flowers and leaves go really well with Carolyn's images. In addition to loving this "box"image (frame that has SO many uses!), I really love the little individual leaves and flowers included for spicing things up and fleshing out your composition as you like. Here I stamped the individual leaf on the corners of the box as an embellishment instead of the usual brads etc. I used my SU! markers to color directly on the stamp. The word "Mother" is from the free with three set Spring Blooms, I was so thrilled to see all the coordinating font in these two sets(AND with my What's In your Tin? 2 set to boot!) All DP, CS, & ribbon used here (Real Red and Old Olive, two of my favorites) is Stampin' Up!

Okay, gotta go to bed!
Today's creative quote:
Just don't give up trying to do what you really want to do.
Where there is love and inspiration, I don't think you can go wrong. ~Ella Fitzgerald, singer

Feedblitz: I know, I know!*

Apologies if you got SIX (or more?!) updates about my "Say it with Flowers" post (I got them, too!) I was SO excited when I wandered in here after getting up for some water to see I had 23 emails, thought lots of people had dropped by to comment about my last post! Nope. It was feedblitz alerting me over and over about the post I wrote the day BEFORE, not my latest one, plus several of you writing to let me know there's something wrong with my feedblitz!! (But I really do appreciate you taking the time to write if you did!) Anyway, I have alerted "Phil"** to the problem, we'll see what he says this time. I currently have it on automatic express delivery which is supposed to be within 15 minutes of a post, but I think I'm going to probably change it back to nightly, although that gives a one day delay. Seems like there have been more problems with the updates since then, but before there were still problems.

*I wanted to call this post "Feedbutz!"***, but that wouldn't have been very nice, it is a free service they offer after all....

**I'm on first name basis with Feedblitz support, having emailed him about issues so often with their service his name is in my email contacts!

***had to sneak it in there somehow-hee! ;)

EDITED TO ADD: It appears to have started sending repeats now of the Slide and DP post, too! UGH!! SORRY! I just changed my account settings to nightly, which means you should only receive ONE update per post a day, but ti will be one day behind.

Slide and DP- Homemade!

Remember back to an innocent, "simpler" time when we stampers all made our own DP?? LOL! So bear with me for a minute while I share today's experiment with you. When I designed the What's In Your Tin? sets, I wanted stampers to be able to use them even if they never got into altering tins. And I'm out of tins (for a few days at least)! So until they arrive, I'll be sharing some ideas I have for projects with these sets, no tin required!!

I thought this shape would make a really interesting background if stamped "collage style", can give both a retro AND futuristic feel! I used just the one thin and thick-lined border stamp(WIYT1)* on this card, alternately inked in SU! Cool Caribbean, Pretty In Pink, and Chocolate Chip. Fill the page with one color before moving to the next. The trick to making this pattern work is getting the image's corners at right angles with your paper's corners. I did turn the stamp so that some are going horizontal and some vertical, overlapping in places, just keeping everything perpendicular(which is very easy to do to since it's mounted on a clear block. But if you look closely though at the top right corner, this one Caribbean one is a bit askew, oh well! With the bottom covered by the ribbon, it's not so very noticeable!) Layering it on the narrow Caribbean mat and pink base echoes the border widths of the stamped image.

Next, I decided to make a GINORMOUS SLIDE with the same stamp! I used my "Get Well Soon!" greeting (WIYT2) and made a slot on either side with my SU! slot punch, and threaded my Regal Rose 5/8" grosgrain through, cutting the ends with my Fiskars scissors I use only for ribbon to get that nice crisp cut.

Last, I traced just the Cool Carribean thick borders with my Stardust Stickles. I could have done all of them but I stuck with just the one that matches the border on my focal point, took less time, less Stickles, and makes that one stand out from the rest. :) Ends up looking very similar to one of those cool papers in the glitter DCVW mat packs!

So what do you think? I'm kinda diggin' it!

*blogging each day I've decided I REALLY need some acronyms!! You can still read the full title of the set in the labels, but I think I'm going to start referring to these at WIYT1 and WIYT2, okay?

AFTERTHOUGHT: Ugh, you know what would have been SO much better here?? Using my corner rounder on all the layers and card base to match the pattern and slide! (Smacking head!) Oh well, next time!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Say It With Flowers...

Okay, here's an under 10 minute, single-layered card! I made a classic panelled card using PT Stampers Select White CS and my largest Nestabilities rectangle to emboss the middle. Next I stamped my HUGE greeting from "What's In Your Tin?" 2 in the middle in Palette Noir ink. Doesn't it just fill that space perfectly? I masked the bottom and sides of the interior panel with posts its, then stamped Carolyn's grass in Certainly Celery(my fave green ink, tied with Old Olive) along the bottom. I used the large paper flowers from Gina's bling promo this month (spend $100 or more in her store on one order, get a free tin of assorted embellishments!) and the mega rhinestone brads for the centers. An odd number of embellishments makes a very pleasing layout. The flowers are attached with dimensionals, which I placed on and outside the panel. I used my SU! Certainly Celery marker to draw in the stems, and inked up and stamped the individual leaf from the same set to fill out my layout.

Have I mentioned I LOVE single layer cards???

Thanks for stopping by! Upcoming: posts, a new contest, blog candy, more tutorials, and a tag!!

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Card Set for the Girl on-the-Go!

I was looking at the label border the other night and thought it would make a really nice border for a pocket sized note card. I hadn't made any cards with these tin sets yet, but I've been meaning to! I put 4 little cards and matching envelopes inside the tin along with this little pencil.* No stamps needed for these teeny cards, gotta deliver it in person!

To make each card, stamp it at the bottom corner of a piece of CS, leaving about 1/8" from the edge of the border to the edge of the paper. Score just above the top, to leave 1/8 inch her to match the other side. Fold at the score and cut the other side, again leaving 1/8 ", and make the last cut to make the back of your card (folding it shows how long the front is to match the back.) I used my SU! large corner rounder to punch through both layers on the corners. Looks very modern I think. I used my SU! Pretty In Pink and Chocolate Chip markers to ink up the flowers, **. On the Blush Blossom cards I added a white dot in the center of each to give it a little pop and tie it into my white cards. I stamped them inside the card as well to carry my design through and then used the small 2 bud flower that matches on the back of the card where I sign my name. The greeting is from Rupa's "Thinking of You". I followed Lauren's Scor-Pal tutorial to make the envelopes from this patterned DP, but found I had to make it just a little shorter lengthwise to fit in the tin(since these cards are single layer and have no embellishments, though, they don't need much allowance on either of the sides to fit in the envelope, KWIM?). After folding and adhering the sides, I also used my corner rounder at the tops and bottoms of the envelopes for it to fit, looks really cute with these round corners! This special tin needs to be decorated to match and make it a true "set", of course, but I'm out of tins! (this is my "wristy" with the strap hidden for the pic!) So until my shipment arrives, just imagine something pink and fabulous on the outside! ;)

Makes a fun little gift set for someone or great to keep in your car or purse when you need to throw a little handwritten note in with a spur-of-the-moment gift you just bought or drop in someone's mailbox when you're on the go!

TIP: This same design but with a handwritten or stamped name at the bottom in place of the greeting would be beautiful for place cards at a tea or dinner party.

*I found a 4 pack of mini mechanical pencils at Big Lots for a dollar, perfect size for the tins.

**This was inspired by a beautiful redbud branch outside my bathroom window. When you make the "stems" on this image brown, this is just what the branches look like (well, actually the bark is more of a Sahara Sand...but no matter!) If you've never seen these trees, the blossoms are not red, but a gorgoeus pink-purple, kind a of mauve. After the blooms are gone, the tree grows the most fantastic heart-shaped leaves! It's one of my favorite things about spring arriving each year: seeing the tree turn and spying the first buds on the limb. :)

Friday, March 21, 2008

Here Comes the Bride

Here is a little wedding tin I created with a friend in mind who's getting married. I can fill it with few wedding day necessities, a lucky penny, something old, something new, blah blah, needle and thread, mints! and a folded tissue or special hanky for tears (although she's NOT a cryer, like ME! I cry at EVERYBODY'S weddings! Even husband's coworkers whom I haven't met, a union is just so beautiful!!) and some well wishes...

The bow is loosely knotted for easy access to the tin's contents. I used a value pack piece of DP that had these congrats written all over it, stamped the narrowest border label on it, and colored in the border with my SU! Real Red marker. I stamped the rose from Spring Blooms on the DP and then another one of white CS and colored(withe the aforementioned marker and Gable Green), so I could piece the rest onto the DP, but not have to cut around the narrow stem. The "friend" is from Carolyn's set, stamped on a tiny Cuttlebug tag. I added some stickles to the rose and leaves and some adhesive rhinestones over the tag holes.
Have a good FRIDAY! :)

Top Tin List!*

Here's my tip sheet I was talking about, I posted it to the Gina K forum but forgot to put it here. You are welcome to cut and paste this info to print out your own tip sheet, or go to the forum to print it as a word document. If you'd like visual aids to help picture what I'm talking about with any of the tips, you can view every stamp image in these sets by clicking on the links to the right of this post. Many of the coloring, decorating and cutting tips have been demonstrated here on blog, browse through for examples(for quick reference try the "What's In Your Tin?" labels to the right)

What’s In Your Tin? 1 and 2 Tip Sheet
By Melanie Muenchinger

guilt-free goodies-use this for any sugar free, low or no-calorie treats OR non-edible trinkets(tea lights, card candy embellishments, etc)
Tiny Treasures -anything sentimental. Perfect for accordion books or mini photo albums, baby memorabilia like locks of hair and hospital bracelets, whatever is precious to you.
Survival Kit-any of the "kits". Also great for boys, compass/nature stuff, or for men-playing cards, gum, toothpicks etc
"The Essentials"- whatever you NEED! (ideas for women: in your purse or car, sewing kit, nail file, mirror, lipstick, mints, business cards, feminine, uh, products! etc. For men: Gift cards, small fishing supplies, contacts, nail clipper & tweezers, Change, cuff links, golf tees and little pencils, etc... For teens: Nintendo game cards, dice For kids: candy, trinkets, crayons etc) For music lovers: an ipod tin!
My tooth-for tooth fairy visits of course!
"Especially for you"- classic for any occasion. Great for inside, top or bottom, general gift, excellent for presenting a gift card. This font (which is the same for "to" and "from")matches the font in Carolyn's Framed Flowers and the new "free with three" set!) All three are great for gift tags!
Life is Sweets! and candy is dandy!-CANDY!!!
"This belongs to..."-a child's personal stuff OR a grown-up's secret stash(we all need our privacy!)! The top half can also be stamped on ANYTHING you need to personalize. (clothes, lunchboxes, etc!)
"Get Well Soon!" Fill with Band-Aids, lozenges, tissues, tea bags, etc
"I made this just for you" and to and from are great for bottom or inside of tins.
"for the modern girl on the go" use this alone or in combination with some of the other sayings("guilt free goodies for the modern girl...", "The Essentials for the... " etc!) or for any girly kit contents!
To: and From: stamp these on the bottoms, tops, or inside, and tags, of course!

Inking and decorating tips:
Ink up just the edge if you want a "plain" top to cut out.
Add your own favorite sentiments and images to decorate the labels.
Stamp on DP, no coloring necessary!
Layer your borders stamping different borders on top of each other on the same piece of paper using a stampamajig to create a new fancy border!
Stamp on the back of a piece of DP, cut and flip for a borderless label.
Kiss the bold label from "What's In Your Tin? 1" to your inked up patterned backgrounds for a variety of looks!
Create a “faux shaving cream” or tie dye look with the bold label by inking, and twisting another small stamp (inked with a different color or uninked) to add and remove color and create a swirled pattern before stamping.
Stamp the bold label with a light color(ex: pink) on a patterned piece of paper (ex: flowers on white a white background) and you'll have a pink patterned flower label!
Try stamping on the waterproof labels for toiletry kits,kids tins, bottled gifts whatever!
Use the borders as "frames” and stamp in a row to make an accordion album for your tin or stamp directly on your photos to frame them up!

Cutting tips:
Cut around the outside border for a perfect label for inside and outside and bottoms of your Altoid tins, sized to leave a little silver border showing all the way around for a custom look.
Cut around the inside border of your image for your focal point, then stamp again on coordinating cardstock and cut around the outside border for a perfect, layered mat.
Cut following the border with a scalloped or other decorative edge scissor to kick up your label a notch.
With the thickest border label in "What's In Your Tin? 2", you can take your decorative scissors and cut to the inside, outside or ON the border to vary the width and look of it! (as shown in the pic at the top of this post (I just used black and white so it would be easy to see the difference in the borders): these were all made with this ONE stamp(and seven different pairs of scissors! So how many borders you get out of this is only limited by how many pairs of scissors you have and how far in you choose to cut with each), and they can be found for as low as $2-$3 or value packs for less than that. )
Use the text stamps with your punches and Nestabilities for tags and dressing up tins and boxes of other shapes (ex: round or square lids etc.)
Use the cut labels for inside and the bottom of your tin, too!

When you're out shopping for goodies for you tins, throw a tin in your purse so you can check to see if they will fit. Forget your tin at home? A credit card or drivers license will fit in them, too, so whip that out and check the length.

Please email me your best ideas if you would like to add to this list! It will keep growing I know with your and my help! :) ipod holders were the furthest thign from my mind when designing these sets LOL!

I will be providing more links, tips, and tutorials for your tins in upcoming posts, as well as another post with pics showing tips for how I cut the borders like in the pic above(making the border look different using just one pair of scissors).

* you thought I mispelled ten, right? (that I was going to tell you 10 random funny thing ala Letterman?? or give you 10 recommmendations?? Nope. But I might come back and do that...)

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Sweet Tooth!

My boys aren't losing teeth yet, but at almost 6 years it could be any time for Jonathan now! I had to remember when making a "boyish" tooth tin not to make it too baby/cutesy looking since kids don't usually start losing teeth til they're about 6-8. (In fact, by the time he actually does start losing his teeth, he'll tell me he needs "camo" paper! Now that he's in kindergarten, he think he's become the quite authority on what's "cool" and "not cool" . Cute things are "cute", and cute, if you're a 5 year-old boy, is "not cool".) We'll see if he wants it or maybe I'll be gifting this one, I just love these colors and big spots and dots.

This is DP from a DCVW 12X 12 pack. A strip 12 inches (or a little less if you don't want the overlap) by (just a hair under) 1/2 inch is perfect for wrapping around the side of the tin to match your top. I stamped the "my tooth..." on the DP AND a white piece of CS. Then I sketched simple tooth shape (a loose "M" for the top connected by a loose "W" for the bottom!) on the white CS over the word "tooth", cut out, and lined up with my stamped image on the DP(just like with paper piecing, it fits perfectly!) I used my "postage stamp" edged scissors to cut around the inside border of this label, then stamped the label again on Real Red CS and cut around the outside edge with snips for the mat.

Remember these little images from SU!'s "Fairy Nice"? I just love these little fairies, will probably be hanging onto this set forever, they're just so dainty and sweet. I stamped the label and my tooth first, then positioned them around the words so their faces would be showing, just eyeballed it. I used my stardust gel pen to accent the wings and fairy dust, and an EK success punch for the flowers with adhesive rhinestones in the middles. For my layers on this one, I used the same label image* as on the tin above, but this time the DP(SU!) is the mat. I used my snips to cut my focal layer (again on the inside border, straight cutting this time), and stamped on the reverse side of the DP, using a medium scallop scissor on the border, then flipped so you'd just see my scalloped edge. There are so many ways to cut these labels to change the look, I will show you in an upcoming post.

TIP: When choosing which border label you want for your tin, try matching the thickness of the lines in the font of your sentiments with the border. * The "my tooth" is thick so I used the thick border. For the more delicate word stamps in these two sets, try the "double lined narrow" border. Several of the sentiment stamps have both thick and thin lines making up the letters. Which is why I gave you a border with a thick and thin line! :) I think about these things, you know, always looking out for ya! ;) If you go back through my other tin posts, I think you'll find I've stuck to this pretty consistently when choosing, but this is, of course, just suggestion, not a rule. Using thick with thin and vice versa can look great, too. Another easy way to decide on the look your border should have is from the patter of your DP chunky patterns look good with the thick, striped paper, look at the width of the stripes, etc :)

*You might be wondering then about that really fat border is for then?! wait til you see...! (it's a good one!)

PS Remember back in the day when we got a quarter or loose change for those teeth?? I've been informed the stakes are MUCH higher now: 5 bucks?? Maybe I need to make myself a tooth tin to start saving up money for all the upcoming tooth fairy visits! (better get to designing some more stamps!)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

In Search of Goodies...

I've been bringing around a tin lately while I'm out in case I find something small and inexpensive that might be fun to put in there and want to check to see if it will fit. Thought I'd also take my camera today to Central Market(my fave grocery store, mentioned before) and show a quick tip for shopping for candy for your gift tins(plus a few other random fun pics I snapped).
Wherever you may call home, I hope you are blessed enough to live near a store that carries a great selection of bulk items! I love all the choices and being able to buy exactly the amount you want to eat or need for your recipe. This pic shows just ONE of SIX aisles in CM's amazing bulk department(which also has spices, flours, cereals, nuts, snack mixes, etc, but this row is my favorite). ;) That's William with the balloon(ready to grab some peanut butter and chocolate malt balls.

Some of the bins have scoops, this one has a "pour". I loaded it straight into my tin! Fill 'er up!Exactly enough to fill it, but not too much that I can't close the lid. All the candy* I need for this for only $1.25. (I dumped the candy in one of the Ziploc bags to weigh it, though, for printing the price label, because, ya know, the weight of that tin could have added another 8 cents or so!!) :)
Now a few pics just for fun: when I showed my husband this next picture after uploading on the computer, he said, "That's not real!" He thought it was one of those pics from a "forward" of silly stuff!) But I took it, examined this pepper with my own hand! (At first it may look like the orange color is being reflected form the peppers next to it, but it's not, look at the others!) This just really struck me funny, that these two peppers of different colors are butted up next to each other and the green seems to be taking on the other's pepper's hue! I think I'll call it "Blushing Pepper Kiss!" or "I Melt with You"? or "HOT PEPPERS!" or "Mixed Marriages"? or "Vampire Pepper"? or...leave your clever title in this post!) What do you think? Is this pic funny enough/good enough to warrant circling the world 8 times through email??
I also took a few pics of some magnets I saw at the checkout, two good quotes here:
"always make new mistakes." Now THAT'S a good rule for life! (I don't even want to think about how much of my life I've spent making the same OLD mistakes!)
This next one (sorry it's blurry, my turn came up, had to run!) says: "Good friends are like Stars. You can't always see them, but you know they're always there" I wanted to share this because it really applies to all of you in my online/blogging life. I'm so excited about all the relationships I'm making with people I most likely will never meet (although I'll be seeing a few of you in May-at the swap-yeah!!) but your personalities shine through your comments and blogs and creations in a such a way that you are all becoming as real to me and as treasured as the close friends I see on a regular basis. (It's been hard for me the last few years to stay in touch with people, even family members, because it is so hard to find time for a phone call or have a conversation when taking care of little ones. I'm so glad for the time I can find to blog in the middle of the night to tell you what I've been doing, and so grateful for everyone who I know I can always call "friend" even when time passes and we are out of "touch".) Thanks for checking in; I love hearing what you're up to! :)

Starla asked(on my ipod post):

ok.............what vitamins, food, yoga do I need to take to get a creative mind like yours? PLEASE help me!!

Lately, Starla, it seems to be driven by caffeine, sleep deprivation and a NEED to do something other than work 100 piece puzzles/watch Dora/listen to The Wiggles!(my son William's FAVORITE things) ** (The last few months I've been too busy lazy to do the vitamins, healthy eating thing, but that would probably help.)

And also, I guess just really looking around and being open to inspiration, which is, I think, being curious about everything, looking for beauty/humor in anything (like the things in these pics were speaking to me today. I like to think of the "bell pepper incident" as a little prank God left for me to find. He's got a sense of humor, ya know! the best!;) Upcoming stamp sets I plan to release have come from some of the most unlikely places!) And lately I've been trying to remember to pray that He would "open my eyes" to these gifts each day (not only to apply to my creative life, but just to delight in HIS creation. )

Have a terrific(and funny!) day!

TIP: If you are shopping for gift items and forget to bring your tin with you, a driver's license or credit card from your wallet can be used as guide to show you what will fit based on the length and width of the card.

*These are chocolate covered sunflowers seeds, with a candy coating like m&m's. The seed gives it the nicest little "bite" and makes this treat a little more healthy! I highly recommend! They're so tiny and crunchy and fun to eat, though, they'll be GONE really FAST!

**It probably doesn't hurt that I'm also SUPER motivated to make you want to buy a couple stamps sets, either ;)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

The Fairest Flower

Carolyn needs no help from me selling her newest set,"Framed Flowers" because she makes some of THE prettiest floral cards I know of, but I gotta try and do my girl justice because she's always there for me! I love how easy these are make for making quick, elegant cards, and the extra smaller individual flowers and leaf are great for backgrounds or anywhere you need to add a little something! This card took five minutes and was inspired by one of the first cards of Carolyn's I ever saw, a stunning back and white floral background with her monogram in the middle. This paper is from the DCVW All Dressed Up glitter stack(and is black and ivory), I knew right away it would be perfect with these delicate flowers. I inked up just the "friend" from one of her greetings in the set and added stickles to the center of my flowers. I notched a place on my focal point mats for the ribbon to peek out from under and added a few adhesive rhinestones to the corner. Now I can pull this card out of my basket for any lady, any time!

Sunday, March 16, 2008

A Totally Hip Tin!

I think I am even more excited about this project than the onesie! or the wristy! Are you ready for this??? How about an ipod holder?! (The more I play with these the more I think everything new was DESIGNED to fit in an Altoid tin!) And how perfect: "The Essentials" for the Modern Girl on-the-Go!" What could be more appropriate for your personal selection of Tunes? EDITED TO ADD: want to make one of these to give someone as a gift? Be sure to tuck in an itunes gift card, they fit!!)

First, I centered my ipod under the tin with the lid opening out to the left. I made a mark with my Sharpie on my tin where I wanted to make my hole for the jack so it would line up once I put it inside.
Next I centered my large hole punch in the Cropodile over the dot and punched.

For the top I wanted two holes that I could slide my little claw type clasp(like a key ring but that opens rather than having to thread it) through. I punched the first hole slightly right of the center, pushed the clasp through, and made a mark again where it would come out the other side.
Punch again on the dot, and now you have your two holes. (pic shows top view of all three)
To make the labels I used waterproof labels-(ya know, just in case, and love that they already have adhesive), I kissed my bold stamp from What's In your Tin? I to my inked up SU! Dotted background. I added the narrow border in black and then omitted parts of the greetings until I had everything "stacked" to my satisfaction. I didn't have time for the stampamajig, so the last part was a little off, you cover this by adding a few flourishes (from a cheap Inkadinkadoo value set) to balance your design out. (see top pic)

For the inside I decided to recreate the label from the outside but make a personalized label. (As an afterthought I figured I might as well add my number in case I lose it (but I'm pretty sure if I lose it no one be will calling me about it! ('cause they'd want to keep that cute TIN, right?? ;)
You can unplug your jack and there is enough room inside to store your earbuds when not in use. I tucked a few of my business cards behind it(ya know, for all the wheelin' and dealin' I do on-the-go!) to keep it from rattling around(although it can't move around, the jack going up through the hole and into the ipod keeps it firmly in place). If you're out for a walk, exercising, or errands, you could tuck a house key or a little cash in there as well. EDITED TO ADD: Carolina suggested the great idea of putting your gym card in here when you go to work out!
You can hang this on your belt loop or attach it to your purse, tucked inside. Not only is it fun, it protects the ipod and keeps you from accidentally brushing up against it and blasting out your ear with the volume! (I have one of those caribiner things(which I think I paid almost 20 bucks for, but tins are only 1.50! )that it slides into and allows you to tune the dial without taking it out, but I always seem to bump into things and it gets changed, turned off etc) It's also really easy to open the lid to view the screen and change the song. Having the ring at the top and the jack sticking through into the plug keeps it upright and from falling out when you open the lid. I wore it all day, it worked great, perfect sound, just plug in and go! :) So what do you think?? Totally cute, totally functional, totally HIP! (Yup, those are my jeans...)

But what if you don't have a belt loop or carry a purse that day? Since you have two holes at the top, if you want to be really daring*, wear it on a chain for a huge ipod necklace-BLING!* Similar to those neck lanyards(but I don't have one because I read too many reviews that the ipod tends to fall right off the lanyard(which is also pricey) and potentially get lost or damaged... not with this baby!

*I know a few of you who would! (if you just laughed, I'm talking about YOU!) ;)

PS There is no significance to the songs you see on the display(if you can read 'em!), it was on shuffle. Had I planned better, a more inspired choice would have been "Hips Don't Lie"

Dress it Up!

I adore this new set "Thinking of You" by Rupa Shevde, Gina K's new artist, especially this phone!! You won't believe how easy it was to turn it into this little dress! I thought the receiver made a great little padded hanger so all that was need here was to draw in a little hook for the handle. STamp the image on your white CS, then stamp on your DP(omitting the dial) After cutting and paper piecing the "dress" in this gingham paper(the belt and petticoat are NOT red paper, I just went over these ares of gingham with my red marker) and drew in some easy little bows for straps at the top. The little hat I cut out and popped on a dimensional. I used my Nestabilites for the focal point and scallop mat and one of Gina K's new little button brads through the hole in the real button.

Wanna see the inspiration for this card? Check back to see some pics of ME at age 3 and 4 wearing clothes my mom made. (in the 70's mind you, it'll be a real blast from the past!)

And, I've got a tutorial coming up that (I hope!) is gonna ROCK your world!! can't wait, can't wait!! :)

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Top Chef Tre!

I loooove me some reality TV(my guilty pleasure) I like to think my taste in them are for the "high brow", and one of our (mine and Paul's)faves is TopChef on Bravo (new season just started!) Our favorite contestant from any season(and probably any reality show for that matter!)was Tre Wilcox, from this last season. He didn't win the title (took one "for the team", so to speak, on a team challenge) but was so talented and SO nice, I think the only contestant in reality TV history that never offered any dirt on or criticized his competitors, complained about the rules, or gave them anything they could edit in a negative way, just a NICE, stand up guy. So anyway, last week I was checking out at Central Market (the best grocery store ever!) and saw a little sign that TRE himself was going to be teaching a cooking class that Saturday in the store's kitchen /cooking school(which meant we'd also get to eat his food!) We had never taken a class there before, but this was one I had to mention to my husband as something I really wanted to check out!

We had an absolute blast! Our seats were right next to the cook top(I could've reached out and touched him (which I did later!) so we could see, smell, (get foam splattered on us!) and learn from the best. Here's me wavin' at ya in the mirror!
And here's Tre prepping before the class.

He was a chef at 5 star "Abacus" in Dallas before the show, and he now offers his services as a private chef (meaning he will do small dinner parties in your home, VERY cool!) and of course instruction like this. What an inspiration he is! Funny, driven and just loves what he does and making people happy with the food he creates (a tattoo on his forearm reads "gottahavepassion", isn't that great?!). We also got to bring home all the recipes he made, eat everything, sip some wine, ask questions(of which I asked the most, big surprise to you, I'm sure**) It was just great! He's coming back two more times in the next month, so if you get a chance, it was delicious, instructional, entertaining/funny all in one. I highly recommmend!***

And here's me**** and Tre, looking like best friends forever! (Edited to add: He emailed me back tonight after I sent him a heads up that I'd blogged about his event, thanking me for the kind words-aww!) My husband said afterward it was one of the best date ideas I'd ever had! I think we have both have a little "cooking crush" on Tre now,(even more so than before!) We have his contact info(and you can find him on the web at, I just might have to send him a little card(maybe a tin?) blush!

* vs "lowbrow"! but I don't want to name any specific shows as being too silly for even me to watch and risk slamming any of your favorites! (cough!Rock of Love!cough!)
** NOT!
***And thought it SUCH a great value for the price, $50 a person, which includes the 2.5 hour class, meal, two glasses of wine, the recipes, MEET TRE!, and NO tax or tip! Next events with Tre are in Austin at Central Market April 10th and 27th, call 458-3068 to reserve a spot!
****in desperate need of a haircut! (and after my 2 glasses of wine)
PS The big glass of ruby-colored liquid in the top pic is NOT the wine!(hibiscus tea before the class, delicious)