Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! The card today was made using a solid pumpkin stamp and watercolor crayons. I damped the stamp with a wet paper towel and then colored it with yellow, orange, and green watercolor crayons. I spritzed it with water and then stamped it onto some heavy cardstock. I repeated the whole process three times and then finished the card with some gold brads. Hope everyone has a wonderful holiday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007


I am SUPPOSED to be doing a ton of things to get ready for Thanksgiving tomorrow. Am I doing any of them? No. Am I checking out stamping blogs instead? Yes. Sigh. I thought I might as well upload a card to ease some of my guilt.

Today's card is an iris folded ornament with bow. I chose a rather nontraditional color palette (purple), but I thought the finished card turned out well. I copied the ornament pattern onto cardstock (a copy machine works well for this). I then used an exacto knife to cut out the ornament pattern. I flipped the card over and stamped a Hero Arts Christmas saying in purple ink. Unfortunately, I think the stamp has since been discontinued. It was important to do the stamping BEFORE I did the iris folding because once you add the folded papers, the card is too bulky to stamp. I also added a piece of gold paper to the top of the ornament and edged the top loop with a gold Krylon pen before doing the actual iris folding. I followed the iris folding pattern and added different patterns of purple paper till the ornament was complete. I have several bits of advice when picking papers for iris folding.
  • Think thin. Thick papers make your card too bulky
  • Add a variety of textures. I often mix up papers such as mulberry papers, vellums, and smooth scrapbook papers
  • Use scraps, but make sure you have enough. Iris folding is a great way to use up some of your small scraps. However, make sure you have enough of each color before you start. I found out the hard way how hard it is to finish a card if you run out of a certain paper. You can never make it look me!
  • Having trouble picking colors that work well together? Go monochromatic. I picked all purple papers, so I knew they would go with each other.

I finished the card with some gold Krylon pen and a purple bow. I wrote these instructions as if everyone was familiar with iris folding. If you have never done any iris folding, there are a lot of great books out there as well as a wonderful tutorial on Splitcoast Stampers.

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday! Wish me luck that there won't be TOO much traffic for my drive.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Stamping Friends

As Thanksgiving and Christmas approach, I tend to focus a lot on friends and family. I am truly grateful for all the wonderful people in my life. However, it is also this time of year when I start to miss people the most.
I was going through a box of cards and found one that I had made from a set of Outlines stamps my friend Deedee gave me. Seeing the card made me nostalgic for New Mexico and my stamping buddies Deedee and Michael. It seems so long ago that we stumbled into China Phoenix having no idea what this "stamping" thing was. Little did we know what we were getting ourselves in to!
I also miss the holiday party the three of us would have every year. We would exchange gifts and do some "challenge" stamping. We would each bring some stamps we had never used or didn't know how to use and throw them into a bag. Each person would have to draw several stamps out of the bag and make a card with the stamps they picked. You could either stamp the whole image or use only part of it. Trust me, it was always a challenge, and it was always fun! I still remember the time I drew out a cowboy, a skeleton, and a bathtub. Yikes!
To make the card today, I stamped the tree onto green and purple papers and embossed in gold. I then cut up the pieces of the tree and reassembled them as I wanted. I colored in the patterns with green and purple markers then punched a star out of gold paper. I finished the card with a gold Krylon pen and some gold glitter glue. It is hard to see from the picture but I popped the Christmas Wishes saying up with some glue dots.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I was inspired to make some pins by my recent trip to Hampton, VA for a stamp convention. When I went to my first stamp convention back in 96, tons of people traded pins before they went into the show. Ever since then I have packed my bag of trade pins and sought out those who were also trading. Unfortunately, every year since then I have found less and less people who were also trading. Is it a lost venture? I came home this year with only 3 pins. Sigh... Okay, I will stop being melodramatic.

It would have made sense to post the pin that I made this year as a swap. However, I handed them all out to people and told them about pin swaps in the hopes that next year more people would participate. Looking back, it might have been a good idea to take a picture BEFORE I handed them out! I made a mini version of my Impression Obsession bat martini card and added a pinback. Very cute (if I do say so myself).

When I trade pins at a show, I try to create something nice but also something that isn't too expensive or too hard to mass produce. The pin I am including today is not something I would trade at a show. It was easy enough to make, but the glass and frame would have been to costly. To make this pin, I used one of my favorite Rubbermoon stamps and colored it in using Twinkling H20s and a waterbrush....easy! I then placed it between two pieces of glass and surrounded it with a metal frame from Ranger. The frame comes with a loop on the top to make it into a necklace. I clipped off that part and put a pinback on the back so that it could be worn.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Merry Chrismoose!

The weather here in Virginia went from the low 70's to mid 40's so fast this autumn. One day I was wearing sandals and the next I was searching for a jacket and scarf. Sigh. In any case, it started me thinking about Christmas and Christmas cards. Can you believe it is only two weeks till Thanksgiving?

So...for today's card, I decided to post something in honor of Christmas. I love the stamps by My Favorite Things. What fun! I saw this set, and had to have it. I am sure that many of you have had that same problem when seeing new stamps!

To create the card, I stamped the moose onto 120lb watercolor paper with black Versafine ink. I allowed it to dry and then colored the image with watercolor crayons and pencils (moose with pencils and background with crayons). I colored the entire background (even the holly leaves) with a green watercolor crayon and then smoothed it with a waterbrush. I then went back with markers to color in the holly (over the green crayon). I found it easier to highlight the holly in with darker colors rather than trying to color around each individual holly leaf.

The image of the moose is actually bigger than what I have on my card. I decided to cut it out smaller so that I wouldn't have as much coloring to do. I find that going through my stamps and picturing how I would use just part of an stamp rather than the whole image helps me get the creative juices flowing. It also makes my stamps so much more versatile. My moose stamp has holly around him, but if I were to just cut out the moose, I can use him year-round.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Tying Bows (with a template)

Probably the one thing people ask me to show them over and over again the most is how to tie bows with their Bow Easy. I bought mine at Angela's Happy Stamper and use it in almost all of my classes (My name is Laura, and I am a bow addict!) Tying large bows is relatively easy to do with just your hands. However, if you are trying to tie tiny bows (and have them look nice), a bow maker really helps. The Bow Easy comes with directions, but it really helps to have someone show it to you the first time. After I show people how to use the device, I always tell them to go home and make about 20 bows...that way you will never forget how to do it. However, most people don't make practice bows and forget how to make them. I one likes homework! I am always willing to show people multiple times, but what if you need to make bows when I am not there? :) I thought it couldn't hurt to post my own instructions as a reference guide. Forgive me for posting so many pictures, but I couldn't seem to cut out any of the steps.

This is the Bow Easy. Oooh...aaahh

Pick two of the plastic prongs to be the size of the loops of your bow. Cut a long piece of ribbon (easier to work with when you are just starting out) and place the ribbon on the Bow Easy so that you leave yourself a tail on the left side (you can sort of see the tail underneath my thumb). Hold the tail down on
the Bow Easy using your left thumb. The rest of the ribbon should trail across the top of the Bow Easy.

Wrap the ribbon around the underside of the Bow Easy and back to the top. Move your thumb so that it now holds the tail and the the ribbon you have wrapped around the two prongs.

Thread the ribbon through the space between the two prongs. DO NOT pull the thread tight. You need to leave yourself a loop for tying the bow.

Pull the ribbon through the space between the prongs leaving yourself a loop.

Thread the end of the ribbon through the loop. ** must go through the loop from the left side to the right side. If your loop is laying
funny so that it is hard to go through the left side, you have to physically move the loop so that you can enter it through the left side. If you feed the loop right to left, it won't knot.

Pull the ribbon through the loop and pull tight to form your knot. Technically, your bow is now tied. However, we are going to add an extra step to help the bow lay flat.

Once again, thread the end of your ribbon through the space between the two prongs.

Tug the ribbon from underneath the Bow Easy (out and away from you). This really does help the finished look of your bow. You can now slide the bow off of the bow maker.

Finished! I know it seems like a lot of work. However, you do get a lot faster with practice. I can whip out bows pretty fast now! I hope this tutorial helped.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Back Again

I had hoped to return from the Hampton show with tons of new thoughts and ideas. I did. I also returned with a horrible cold. I can't tell you the last time I felt so bad from a simple cold! Anyway, I am finally getting back into the swing of things.
Unfortunately, I had to cancel last Thursday's "10 in 10 class." For some reason, I thought people might object to my hacking and sneezing on the supplies before they used them. I apologize to the students who showed up to the store before they got their message about the canceled class. I rescheduled the class for Tuesday, November 27th from 6:30-8:30pm. I hope people will be able to attend that class instead!
Back to the Hampton show... I had a blast! The show was small, but I felt that many of the vendors had great demos to watch. On Friday night, my mom and I attended a MITI/dessert session. It was so much fun! Humm...stamping and desserts...does it get any better? Everyone received a goody bag just for attending, and about half of the attendees won a door prize. Unfortunately, my mom and I were losers on that front. For my mom's sake, it was probably just as well I didn't win and have to do my obnoxious victory dance.
For the MITI session, we made 4 projects, had dessert, and made 4 more. The projects were taught by the vendors, so it was a great opportunity to talk to them 1 on 1 and hear about their products. The only downside was that one vendor did the same exact project as last year. Boo!
On Saturday, we attended the actual show. The first 100 people that arrived got a key that had a chance to open a chest with a $100 gift certificate inside. Sigh...losers again. On a positive note, my ATC and pin submissions earned me some "spreadin' around" money for the show (insert obnoxious victory dance here).
Favorites of the show... I loved the Paula Best booth. I can't say enough good things about her fun images and gorgeous jewelry. I ended up with a "Be happy" necklace that is just fabulous. I also really enjoyed the Starving Artistamps booth. Their line of "Doodle Factory" images are weird, quirky, and totally me! I grabbed up their Halloween images immediately and had to get a few of their other weird characters. I also had to get one of their quick mosaic stamps. (Notice the use of the phrase "had to." I couldn't help myself...they had a great demo person). Watch for blog samples soon! I learned a lot at the Sticky Scrap booth. The owner used a lot of Art Impressions watercolor stamps for her booth MITI projects. She rotated the projects every hour and a half and charged $1 to make a card. I have to tell you, they were the cheapest (and most informative) mini classes I have ever taken!
Finally, I HAVE to mention the Impression Obsession booth. Now, I might be biased, but the booth looked great! It was so much fun to see the work of my fellow design team members up on display. I feel like I know them and their work from all the back and forth design team postings. I also got to see Mitra briefly and chat about some of the upcoming new images. I can't wait! I was a little jealous of her though. She was wearing her UVa crocs, and now I am going to have to have a pair. Just call me an envious fellow alum.
The card for today is a Halloween card I made during the Fri night MITI. The image is from Sticky Scrap. What impressed me about this card is that I liked it even though it was coated in glitter. I am just not a glitter person. I think it is because it always manages to find its way into my eye and stick to my contact. Painful! Plus, the stuff never goes away. I think I am still finding glitter from things I made in the 3rd grade. Anyway, we used Sticky Scrap's EZ-Tear Double Sided tape which held the glitter pretty darn well. We were also instructed to use the back of a spoon to really smash the glitter into the tape. I hadn't heard this tip before, and I think it made all the difference. After we "whacked" the loose glitter off the card, the remaining glitter seemed pretty permanent. I also liked the tape because it costs about 5 cents a foot. You can't beat that!
Well, this was a long post, but I had to make up for not posting all week.