Saturday, February 28, 2009

Non-stamping Sneak Peek

Today, just to be a tease, I'm giving you a sneaky peek at a very important project I have in the works. You won't see any more about it until after April 18th, though. That's right, Chickengirl, it's only 7 weeks away, and I've got some practicing to do!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Papertrey February Blog Hop

It's time again for the Papertrey Ink Blog Hop. This month's theme was anything to do with Spring. Like most of you in this hemisphere, I just can't wait for winter to be over. To me, Spring is epitomized by the budding of new leaves and blossoms on the trees, and that was what inspired this card. I love the soft colors. And yes, I did use pink and brown again, but I did throw in some green this time!

For further inspiration, I used Julee's Mojo Monday sketch. Definitely more layers that I am accustomed to using, but totally delightful. And if some of the layers look just slightly askew to you, let's blame it on the angle of the camera, shall we?

I hope this card invokes the promise of Spring for all of you!

What I used:
Stamps: PTI Out on a Limb
Ink: Burnt Umber, Sweet Blush, Spring Moss
Paper: PTI White, Sweet Blush, Spring Moss, Dark Chocolate, various PTI DP
Other: Fiskars Threading Water border punch, SU circle punches, pink rhinestones

Monday, February 23, 2009

{heart} your heart

Hope you don't mind a little time-out from stamping talk to hear a little about my personal life and a bit of a public service announcement!

As most of you probably know, February is National Heart Month, a time to raise awareness about heart disease, which remains the leading cause of death for American men and women. And as most of you probably do not know, I was recently diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. So I am now under a doctor's care, after too many years of my own laissez-faire health management and a few years with no medical insurance, and I am determined to do everything in my control to live a long and healthy life. I know there are a lot of women out there (and men, too) who put off dealing with high blood pressure and cholesterol, since there are usually no symptoms associated with it. So I want to encourage all of you to take the time to {heart} your heart!

To that end, I am now on medication to control my blood pressure, and have changed my eating habits to lose weight and try to bring my cholesterol levels under control. In fact, in the last 6-1/2 weeks I have lost 20 lbs! And today I underwent a Nuclear Stress Test to determine whether my heart is healthy enough for me to sweat to the oldies with Richard Simmons. There was really nothing to it, but I had worked myself up to such a state of anxiety that my blood pressure went so sky-high that they almost had to cancel the test! After a half-dose of a mild sedative, they finally got me down to a manageable level and proceeded with it. Turns out the hardest part of the whole thing was figuring out how to stay on the treadmill, since I had actually NEVER been on one before and kept almost falling off the back of it; my doctor had to keep his hand on my back to keep me in one place! And let me assure you, no matter how scary the "nuclear" part of it sounds, it's a piece of cake! (Edited to add: Actually, the hardest part of the whole thing was cutting out caffeine for 2 days before the test!)

I'll get the final results back shortly, but I'm not worried. From all accounts it seemed to go fine. My life is really, really good — filled with blessings and happiness. And all of you out in blog-land are part of that. So take care of yourselves! Go get your blood pressure checked and do whatever you need to do to make sure we can share our love of all things stamping for a long, long time.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Oh no! More pink and brown!

I just can't seem to get away from it. I like it, really. It just seems that I use it too often. Anyhow, this week i {heart} papers is the sponsor of the sketch challenge on the CardPatterns blog. And as sponsor, Kate is giving away an awesome bundle of goodies to the winner of the challenge.

I had a really hard time with this sketch, but I did end up with a card I like. But as Kate says, "that's why they call it a challenge!"

What I used: (mostly available at i {heart} papers!)
Stamps: Birthday Cupcakes (Inkadinkado)
Ink: Palette Burnt Umber, Copics
Paper: PTI white, Basic Grey Bittersweet collection
Other: Ranger Glossy Accents, Stickles, white tafetta ribbon, bling

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Can Spring Be Far Behind?

There's something about butterflies that just lift my spirits! We've had a string of bright, sunny (but still kinda cold) days, and you can almost believe that winter will be behind us soon. So when I decided to do Julee's Mojo Monday Sketch this week, I really wanted to use butterflies in a bright, springtime-y way.

I recently got this gorgeous Webster's Pages paper from Kate at i {heart} papers (p.s. - it's on sale!), and the bright, cheery colors and the butterflies just called out to me. It paired beautifully with this Stampendous Butterfly Beauties set. And of course, it just wouldn't be complete without some bling!

What I used:
Stamps: Butterfly Beauties, PTI Out on a Limb
Ink: PTI Ocean Tides, Palette Claret
Paper: Webster's Pages Cream, PTI White, SU Apricot Appeal, Baja Blue
Other: Random ribbon from Michael's, bling , SU Circle Punch

Friday, February 13, 2009

IHP February Challenge (and a sale!)

This month Kate, of i {heart} papers fame, challenged us, her devoted and talented design team, to use holiday paper or stamps in another way. I admit, I struggled over this, since the only holiday paper I had consisted of snowmen and trees. And then inspiration hit — I could get PUNNY with it! So I kinda decided on a concept, a Valentine's Day card, and then thought to myself, "Self, where are we gonna get a sentiment stamp that works for this?" And like a bolt of lightning, it struck me: use the JustRite stamper — you can make any sentiment you want!!!

Now I have to say, this card tickles the heck out of me. Not only did I manage to think outside of the proverbial box, but I stepped, no leaped, out of my comfort zone. If you've seen much of my stamping, you will know that my style doesn't lean toward shabby or distressed. But because of the nature of the paper design (OK, and because I kinda smeared the white ink when I was trying to highlight the embossed buttons) I went and dragged that white ink pad around the edges of everything. Instant shabby. I'd like to think it adds to the snow concept. But perhaps I flatter myself too much...

Go check out what Kate and the rest of the design team did with this challenge:

Oh yeah, about the sale: In addition to her usual free shipping with orders over $40, Kate already has lots of things reduced in her store, but i {heart} papers is running some banner ads on Splitcoast Stampers, and to celebrate she's offering an additional 10% off on everything in the store — the code is in the banner ad, so go check it out!

What I used:
Stamps: JustRite stamps (Small Letters and Times New Roman arranged on round wood block)
Ink: Palette Noir and New Canvas,
Paper: Jolly Little Snowmen, SU Kiwi Kiss, Whisper White, Not Quite Navy, PTI Raspberry Fizz
Other: Cuttlebug strip embossing folder, Nestabilities hearts

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Inventor of the Year? Moi?!!!

And what is that contraption, anyway?

Do you remember the pic of the stacks of printed and cut wedding invitation pieces that I showed you the other day? The ones for my cousin? Well, the construction of them was looking to be truly fearsome, as they required a degree of precision and consistency of a scope beyond anything I've ever done before. And having to make 120 of them in a short period of time was scaring the heck out of me! So I cut down a piece of foam-core board, and created a template/frame to make the job much simpler, and foolproof!

Wanna see what the finished product will look like? (My apologies to any family members who might be reading this who will now not be surprised when they get theirs in the mail.)

The ribbon is looped at the top, runs through the center of each panel, between the layers. And the bottom one, the RSVP, is attached in such a way that it can just be slid off the ribbon and mailed back in the envelope. Oh, and what you can't see is that on the back of the middle piece is another pink panel for Transportation.

Now, this is only a mock-up, for measuring purposes. I used text-weight paper for this one, whereas the real ones will use all 80# cardstock. But can you just imagine having to put together 120 of these — centering the ribbon, getting the loop and the distance between each piece consistent — without something like my little contraption? I am (perhaps inordinately) proud of myself for this one!

And so, my dear friends, you know what I'll be doing this holiday weekend...

Saturday, February 7, 2009

PTI Sketch Contest

PaperTrey Ink is celebrating their 2nd anniversary, and they're having all kinds of cool contests! Today's contest looked especially fun, and I had a little time to play, so I decided to go for it. Nichole hid a sketch in a connect-the-dots puzzle, to celebrate a new line of ribbons she's coming out with. I decided to turn the sketch upside down for my card.

What I used:
Stamps: PTI Green Thumb
Ink: PTI Plum Pudding & Lavender Moon, Versamark
Paper: PTI White, Plum Pudding, Guide Lines DP
Other: Martha punch, silver embossing powder, SU flower punch, PTI Plum Pudding ribbon, White Liquid Pearls


OK, just in case you were wondering why I've had pink and brown on the brain lately, here's why...

I'm making the invitations for my cousin's wedding, and these are her colors. I did the Save the Dates a couple of months ago, so these colors have been stuck in my head for a while!

Today was spent printing and cutting cardstock for 120 invitations. And these are not just any invitations...wait until you see the finished product! I guess this is what's going to be keeping me busy for the next week or so, but I'll keep trying to squeeze in some other (non-pink&brown) stuff!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Peony Butterfly

Yikes! It's been a rough week or two, and I'm glad to be back at my table doing something creative! I continue in my mission of building up my stash of non-cupcake birthday cards. Not that there's anything wrong with cupcake cards — it's just that there's a woman at work who likes to buy my cards, and her friends are just not the cupcake type. Whatever...

Anyhow, I hope you're not going to get tired of seeing butterflies here, because I have plans for LOTS of butterflies. They make me think about summertime, and I am SO over winter! And I just needed to use some of the new goodies I got (after my package took a scenic tour through NYC courtesy of USPS) from Kate at i {heart} papers.

Now, looking at this card, you might think that I die-cut the butterfly out of the pretty paper I used at the bottom. Uh-uh. It came as part of a sheet that's full of go-jus assorted die-cut butterflies that all coordinate with the yummy Amy Butler Tea Box Specialty Paper Pack that's currently ON SALE (!) at i {heart} papers. And guess what! The Pink Stickles that I outlined that pretty butterfly with perfectly match the pink metallic string in Kate's store.

I freehand cut the swirl in the peony paper, and then glued the pink metallic string along the contour. If I could do this card over, I would definitely add some kind of subtle pattern or texture to the brown cardstock, but it is what it is!

What I used:
Stamps: PTI Birthday Basics
Ink: Palette Burnt Umber
Paper: Amy Butler Tea Box Specialty Paper Pack, Tea Box Butterflies Die-Cut Paper, SU! Pretty in Pink, Close to Cocoa, Very Vanilla
Other: Pink Stickles, pink metallic string, SU! oval punches, bling (can't remember where it came from!)