Tuesday, September 22, 2020

"LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL" FALL CARD

 

It's the first day of Fall, and I love it!

We've been so fortunate to experience a few days with breezy, cooler temperatures.  Actually, it doesn't usually get cool this early, and I have thoroughly enjoyed it.  Not that anyone has ever asked me if the seasons get equal time in North Carolina, but I can honestly say that they do not.  It seems to me that Fall turns quickly into Winter, which turns too quickly into Spring and then, if you blink, you've missed the opportunity to enjoy the beauty of Spring because . . . BAM! . . . it's Summer for the next 8 months.  I might be slightly exaggerating, but Summer (with it's heat, humidity, bugs, frogs, lizards, snakes, spiders, etc.) definitely seems to last longer than the other seasons.

To celebrate the beginning of Fall, I used Stampin' Up!'s "Life is Beautiful" stamp set to create a few cards to send to the elders.  

Other Stampin' Up! products featured on my cards include:

Cardstock:  Crushed Curry, Cajun Craze, Very Vanilla, Crumb Cake

Designer Paper:  Plaid Tidings

Ink:  Crushed Curry, Cajun Craze, Pumpkin Pie, Merry Merlot, Old Olive, Rich Razzleberry, Soft Suede

Embossing Folder:  Basket Weave (retired)

Punch:  Washi Tape (retired)

Stampin' Write Marker:  Pumpkin Pie

Before long, I'll walk around with a leaf blower, which will be very pleasing to Ramsour.  He LOVES a fluffy nest of leaves!






Wednesday, September 16, 2020

FALL FRAMED CHALKBOARD

 


I am so ready for Fall and was excited when I saw that the September Club Couture transfer was this:

Isn't it great?!?!  I especially love that the word "blessings" can easily be used by itself on other projects, and what's not to love about its script design?  

I created an ombre effect on my project by using my finger to swirl/mix the two paste colors (Shimmer Harvest and Fig).  Chalk Couture has several shimmer pastes now, and it's amazing just how much they actually shimmer--they're gorgeous! 


Have you heard about Club Couture from Chalk Couture?  It's a monthly subscription, and subscribers get an exclusive transfer (like "Fall Blessings" shown in this post) and three packets of Chalk Paste.  There are also other perks to being a subscriber, such as monthly promotions.  Learn more and/or subscribe HERE.

Ramsour didn't understand why I wanted to spend time playing with Fall stuff while there were plenty of balls in the yard that needed to be thrown, but wasn't he a good sport to pause and pose for a photo?



Tuesday, September 15, 2020

MY LITTLE SEWING CORNER

I believe my little sewing corner is all set up--at least until I discover that changes are needed.  When I shared photos of the perfect storage unit in this post, I mentioned that I was in the process of setting up a corner of my room for sewing.  I've had a few requests for photos of the finished sewing corner, so here you go:


If you didn't believe me when I said it's a "corner", now you can see for yourself that it is definitely a corner.  It's a small one, but it's also perfect!  So far, I have the perfect amount of space to move around, and it helps that everything is at my fingertips (or within reach).  My MacBook doesn't reside on the table, although I have used it a couple of times to refer to a tutorial.  Going forward, I will probably view YouTube from my TV, which is mounted on a wall across the room.


It just worked out that my homemade design wall (which hangs from what was originally purchased as a quilt hanger/holder) has been hanging on the wall by my new sewing corner for several years.  Presently, it displays some wool applique blocks that have never been turned into finished projects.  That's okay . . . I can still enjoy seeing them.


I have really enjoyed this new corner in my stamp/craft room!  The storage unit that I recently assembled and decorated has been SOOOOO handy!  See that little Janome machine?  It was purchased for the sole purpose (many years ago) of sewing on cardstock.  I can still remember the day it arrived and how I watched a Gina K video that demonstrated how to thread the machine and bobbin and how to use the machine.  When I say that I watched Gina's video, I didn't just watch it one time.  I must have watched it 20 times just trying to get the machine threaded!  I knew NOTHING about a sewing machine back then (didn't know much until about a year ago, actually) and pretty much viewed little J as the closest thing to a toy that sews.  Since that time, little J has done a little sewing on cardstock, a LOT of sitting on various cabinet shelves for a few years, and got to come out of hiding last Fall when I decided that I wanted to make a rag quilt.  I ended up making six (6) rag quilts!  Most of them were made with the Singer machine, but most of the blocks for those quilts were quilted on little J.  Just recently, after watching many videos of skilled ladies sewing through nylon zippers with their sewing machines, I wanted to try it.  I had made two zippered pouches but hand-stitched over the zippers and, since I want to make more zippered projects, I became obsessed with wanting to know what would happen if I sewed over the zipper.  I didn't want to risk damaging the Singer's needle (especially since my mother so graciously let me bring that machine home with me), so I apologized to little J for what could possibly happen to his needle as I guided it to, over, and beyond a zipper.  Well . . . little J surprised me once again by being a mini but mighty machine!  His needle just zipped across that zipper like a knife through warm butter, so he earned his place--and job--in the sewing corner.

Fortunately, I have floor space in front of my sewing table to set up a fabric-cutting table as needed, and I like not having to tie up space for that unless/until it's necessary.  I also have a long countertop by my stamping area (on the other end of the room) that has been handy a few times for cutting fabric, so everything seems to be falling into place.  I still have a LOT to learn about sewing but, for now, I'm enjoying small projects.  God help me if I decide that I need as many fabric choices as I have stamps and card-making supplies!  This room, which used to be a garage, is a good size, but I don't know where I'd store a lot of fabric!

Sunday, September 13, 2020

"WHALE OF A TIME" FLOATING GATEFOLD


My great-nephew is 9 years old today, so I'm sharing the floating gatefold card that I made for him.  Stampin' Up!'s Whale of a Time designer paper collection was just perfect and full of color!  My inspiration and the overall design for this card was heavily influenced by one that Carole Baumgartner had made but, of course, I made a couple of fun changes, such as the fun shaker window on the front that gives a glimpse to the ocean scene on the inside.


Isn't it fun to see a little peep of the whale and sea turtle before opening?  I used the whale punch to cut the whale from the designer paper, and scissors were used to cut the sea turtle.  The images in this paper collection are so colorful and pretty!

And when the card is opened, there are two pop-up mechanisms that allow the whale and sea turtle to "float" in the ocean.  


It's a fun birthday card, huh?


Tuesday, September 8, 2020

ORNATE STORAGE UNIT

 



Last week, I started (yet again) attempting to purge some items from my craft room.  My goal was to create a neat and tidy sewing station/corner.  Anyone who knows me would think I'm lying about a sewing station, but it's true . . . I'm adding sewing/quilting to the other hobbies/crafts that are housed in my room.  I'm not sure yet how many hobbies are too many for one room, but I'll let you know when I decide.  Anyway . . . I had armed myself with a large trash bag and was mentally pumped to go into my room and start filling the bag with items that have not been reached for, thought about, or used for years.  Before the bottom of the bag had even been covered, I pulled out this brand new, unwrapped Kaisercraft kit and tossed it in the bag:



But then I thought that I should at least cut off the plastic wrap and just see if I might could use it to hold some items for my new sewing station.  And that's how I lost the first 1.5 days of my craft room purge.  Let me tell you . . . this kit was pretty much a flat package with no directions or suggestions.  That alone almost prompted me to throw it away, but I'm so glad I didn't!  I began to assemble the drawers and then chose papers to cover them.  Calculate for yourself how long it takes to choose papers and embellishments, and don't forget to imagine what a big mess that process creates! [my eyes are rolling] I still need to cover the inside of the drawers--if I decide that they should be covered.  Following are close-ups of the drawers:



The square drawers are 3-1/2" wide and 3-1/2" deep.  Nice, huh?


You should try to read some of the text on the "secretary" paper in these photos.  I found it amusing.


The two widest drawers are almost 12" wide and 2-3/4" deep!


See the little bundle of fabric?  How cute is that?  It and the spool of thread are from a Jolee's collection, I think.


Yes, I added small brads to the tires on that vintage chipboard car.


The drawers in the above photo are each 2" x 3-3/4".

All of the papers and most of the embellishments are from October Afternoon collections that I have had for several years.  I purchased them with a project in mind (creating a family recipe book--mostly my mother's recipes), but I never made time for that project.  The collections featured on my storage unit are Farmhouse, Modern Homemaker, and 9 to 5.  

In case you don't know, I was a secretary/administrative assistant before I stopped working (many  years ago) to stay home with my young son.  I 💕 vintage office and homemaker themes!  One of these days, I hope to own a vintage manual typewriter.  Heck, I'd like to have one of the first electric typewriters I ever used!

This is what the unit looked like when I thought I was finished, but then I went back and added some romantic rose trim by the top shelf and a dainty lace edge at the bottom (see first and last photos).  The photos that I took (at night) make the green paint look quite hideous, but it's really not as slimy-limey in real life.


I am so excited about this "new" storage unit and am so glad that I decided to give it a chance.  The drawers are quite spacious, and I know that they will be handy in my sewing corner.  

I realized once I put the unit together that I had omitted painting the ends of the connecting pieces.  As of this writing, I haven't securely assembled the unit and could paint those areas.  I'm thinking about covering them instead as I don't really want to make another paint mess.  It's a really cool storage unit, though, and I'm going to love using it!





Saturday, September 5, 2020

FALL PORCH POP-UP EASEL CARD

 


As a Stampin' Up! demonstrator, the majority of my stamping-related purchases come from Stampin' Up!  I have loved (and still love) their products since 2003--been a demonstrator since 2004.  But . . . I am a lover of card-making and paper crafts and, every once in a while, I find products that are simply irresistible and feel that I must have them.  That happened recently with the Winter Porch Pop-Up Easel Card dies from PoppystampsI tried REALLY hard to resist buying them.  Several times I would look at them online, trying to find a reason why I might not use them enough to justify the expense, telling myself that I don't have to have things just because I like them, etc.  I knew how to make a pop-up easel card and didn't "need" a die for that, but everything else about this die set seemed so neat.  Unlike my usual impulse to make an immediate purchase when I think I have fallen in love with a product, I decided to take a day or so to entertain second thoughts.  Ha!  That was amusing because all I did was pine for the moment that I would give in.  Somehow I knew that I would give in, and I began to think of the waiting as ridiculous since I was simply prolonging the wait for my order to arrive.  See how I flipped the script on myself?  Do you do that, too?

So my order arrived on a day that I was going to visit my parents, but at least it arrived in time for me to remove it from the mailbox and take with me.  I excitedly showed my mother the dies I had purchased (I couldn't buy just one set), and I think she enjoyed getting to see what a "die" looks like.  It seemed only fair that my parents would receive my first card, which I am sharing today.  Making this Fall porch card took some time, but it was quite fun to see it go from pieces to completion!


Those textured die-cut leaves?  They were one of my purchases, as was the die to cut that cute chair.  The die that cuts the house layer actually has a faint "siding" texture, but I really liked the look of Stampin' Up!'s Brick & Mortar embossing folder for the texture.  The die that cuts the front door and  its frame actually cuts in a way that the door can open, but I opted to glue it shut since there wasn't anything to see behind it.  For the stamped leaf and sentiment on the door mat, I used the retired Lighthearted Leaves stamp set.


Funny thing.  When I got home from my parents' house--all ready to play with my new dies--I was disappointed to discover that the largest die in the set required an extended platform.  Ack!  I had never purchased an extended platform because the XL dies that I had used with my Big Shot machine were thick, steel rule dies that didn't require anything other than cutting pads.  I did NOT want to spend more money just to be able to use that one die, but, after some time and thinking about what to do, I remembered that I have an Evolution Advanced machine (have hardly ever used it) that came with an extended platform.  Woohoo!!!  I dusted it off and gave myself a refresher course on how to use it, and it worked beautifully!  The only thing that was kind of bothersome was that the motor for the machine is quite loud, which I think is why I put the machine away to be forgotten.  Yes, I can use it without the motor, but I don't like having to crank, crank, crank, crank, crank to get that long extended platform through the machine for every cut.  So, as a joke, my son concocted a buffer for the sound.  It fits over the motorized doohickey that attaches at one end of the machine.  It looks quite strange, but it really did help buffer the noise.


As for the Winter Porch Pop-Up Easel Card dies, I have already cut more shapes and started the assembly process for some Christmas cards.  I'm so glad that I didn't talk myself out of this purchase because it does create a WOW card, but there is an undeniable truth . . . making a card such as the one shown in this post or my Christmas cards is quite a lengthy process.  I've spent a LOT of time already just cutting the parts and then working to assemble five Christmas cards, and I still (after one and a half days) need to cut and stamp additional pieces to complete them.  I wouldn't dream of making just one of these cards.  If you're going to take the time to choose colors, sentiments, decorations, etc., you might as well plan to make several cards at one sitting.  Lastly, another view of the Fall porch card.  I love that it folds nearly flat for mailing!


Wouldn't this be a fun card to receive?  It's definitely the kind you send to someone who likes to keep the cards you make.  Being able to send it with one postage stamp is fantastic!

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

"ARRANGE A (FALL) WREATH"

 


Will I tire of Stampin' Up!'s Arrange a Wreath bundle?  

I don't think so.

I mean . . . just look at the pretty layers and colors on this card.

And that bow!  

I've already been using those layered bows on Christmas cards.



I kept this card fairly simple with a Brick & Mortar embossed background because I wanted all of those gorgeous wreath layers to shine.  My cardstock colors are Very Vanilla, Pear Pizzazz, Mossy Meadow, Soft Suede, Cajun Craze, and a wee bit of Gold Glimmer.  I pleated a torn strip of Plaid Tidings designer paper for a backdrop for the sentiment, which is from the Country Home stamp set.

Pretty cool, huh?


Friday, August 28, 2020

ANOTHER "THERE WAS JESUS" TRI-FOLD


I made another "There was Jesus" tri-fold card featuring Stampin' Up!'s Healing Hugs and (retired) Still Life Stems stamp sets.  I tried to make this one less bulky by not using brads, but it still had bulk.  All sealed up in the envelope, it looked like I was mailing a book.  I'm okay with that because when someone's going through a rough time, maybe it will brighten their day to remove from the mailbox a fat little envelope (with postage stamps all across the front).

The sentiment on the slip-off band (sending you healing vibes) is from Healing Hugs.  Just as before, I printed a portion of the lyrics from Zach Williams & Dolly Parton's "There was Jesus" song onto Vellum cardstock, which I stapled to Whisper White cardstock so the lyrics showed up better.  The floral images throughout the card that I stamped with Mint Melody ink are from the retired Still Life Stems stamp set.  I'm so glad I kept that one! 


Stampin' Up! cardstock used on this card are Mint Melody, Basic Black, Whisper White, and Vellum.  Ink colors featured on this card are Mint Melody and Memento Tuxedo Black.


Once again, I used one of the retired Crosses of Hope dies to cut that gorgeous cross.  On the back of the card, I included information about where the lyrics came from, who wrote the song, performed it, etc.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

COLORFUL VASE . . . BORN FROM A DOODLE

 


I'm a doodler.  If I'm on the phone, I'm doodling.  Sometimes I practice lettering by writing words from the conversation, and other times (although rarely) I will play with lines.  Last night, while talking with my mother, I drew and colored the "hello" piece (in the above photo--about the size of a postage stamp) that reminded me of a vase, which totally inspired the watercolored vase for today's slim card.


This card is 3" x 6.5".  Aren't the colors nice???  I began by using a permanent pen to draw the "vase" and then the crosshatch lines.  A watercolor brush was used to color the drawing with Mango Melody, Poppy Parade, Granny Apple Green, Gorgeous Grape, and Coastal Cabana ink.  I used the Wink of Stella Clear Glitter Brush on top of the Gorgeous Grape sections and also on two of the die-cut sprigs.  Once colored, I fussy cut the vase and began to arrange the punched and die-cut shapes.  A retired punch was used to cut the Poppy Parade flowers, and I used three dies from the Forever Flourishing dies to cut the Whisper White, Pool Party, Mango Melody, and Gorgeous Grape shapes.  The "hello" sentiment is from the Forever Fern stamp set, and it was cut with one of the Tasteful Labels dies.  The finishing touch was the placement of rhinestones in the flower centers.  The photo below most accurately shows the pretty colors.


You never know where a doodle will take you!


Saturday, August 22, 2020

"THERE WAS JESUS" TRI-FOLD CARD

 


I think the lyrics to Zach Williams' and Dolly Parton's song, There was Jesus, are just beautiful, and I used some of them as the focal point for this tri-fold sympathy card.  




While there's nothing noteworthy about the colors or design of this card, that is exactly what gives centerstage to the lyrics--the message.  

The designer paper that I used is from the In Good Taste collection, and the die-cut cross is from the retired Crosses of Hope dies.  I never bought the coordinating stamp set but, when I saw the dies a while back in Stampin' Up!'s Clearance Rack, I knew that I needed them.  Other Stampin' Up! products featured on this card are Watercolor paper and the retired Just Because stamp set and Vellum, Basic Black, and Gray Granite cardstock.

Interestingly, as I have worked on this post, the beautiful There was Jesus song came up on my playlist.  🥰