Celebrating a Special Group of Friends!

Aloha, all!

     This weekend marks the 4th and final blog hop of the 2015 VC Rocks season. As I've mentioned before, VC Rocks is an online group made up of Stampin' Up! product lovers who have created a "Virtual Convention" experience online, from May to August each year. The group "Rocks!" Most who are members of our group do not get to go to big Stampin' Up! events, so this virtual event is great. Going forward there will be no more summer Stampin' Up! Conventions – events will be at other times during the year. But I'm sure that VC Rocks will be back next year for us to continue to having fun.

     Besides swaps, Make n Takes, and even the odd class, the Blog Hops are part of the fun and a way for us to share projects not only with our group, but with anyone who follows our blogs. This summer the overall theme of our blogs has been "Celebrate," and for this last Blog Hop, we're celebrating our friendships with each other.

     For my project, I'm going to divert from my usual chatty blog experience, and use my projects to as a tribute to all my VC Rocks Friends.  All of the stamps are from the Banner Blessings Photopolymer Stamp Set (available online here), the papers are from the Cherry on Top Designer Series Paper Stack, and the ribbon is either Cucumber Crush or Watermelon Wonder 1" Dotted Lace Ribbon.



Each and every friend I've made in VC Rocks, not only this year but in many years past, means a lot to me. We share each other's projects and Stampin' Up! experiences, along with stories of how our lives are going. There just is not a better group for Stampin' Up!-loving friends to meet and share.



Thanks to all of my VC Rocks friends for a great summer! I so look forward to chatching up at Christmas and to a new VC Rocks season in 2016.



As we close VC for the summer, I wish you all a great Fall and hope you all will shine throughout the holiday season with memories of VC Rocks 2015!

Posted on : Aug 21 2015
Posted under Stamping |

My Final Three Cards for August Paper Pumpkin!

Aloha, all!

     As a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator, I have quite a complete craft room, and I really don't need to be subscribing to Stampin' Up!'s Paper Pumpkin Monthly Kit. But, as I explained yesterday, I love getting a new stamp set and new papers in the mail every month – whether I need them or not!

     Unfortunately, what has happened with me much of the time is that I look at the kit, take out the stamp set to use in other projects, and leave the kit sitting there. So, yes, I have a stack of red Paper Pumpkin Boxes in my craft room. So last month, I decided I definitely needed to DO SOMETHING with my monthly Paper Pumpkin Kit when I get it in the mail.  My August kit arrived late Monday, and yesterday I made three cards. This morning, I had to get my craft room work table cleared off for a big project I'm starting, and I almost just packed up the kit to set aside.

     But no!  I kept my promise to myself, and made three more cards with materials in the kit, as well as some additional embellishments from my own personal stash.



     To start the finishing of this project, I made two Sympathy Cards. I do not have any in my stash at the moment, and I do try to keep a few in my card box. For the top card, I just added a strip of Gold 5/8" Satin Ribbon as an additional embellishment. As with yesterday's projects, I used gold heat embossing rather than the chalk-looking White Craft Ink. The second card uses a piece of a cover of one of the boxes in the kit. I'm not making the boxes as I have no idea what I'd do with them and they'd just sit around taking up precious space in my craft room. I stamped directly onto the glossy cardstock using Jet Black StaZon Ink.


     This card was just something whimsical I came up with as I really didn't want to waste that lovely pink cardstock that was meant to be used for flowers to embellish the boxes.  As I was holding one in my hand wishing for some inspiration, up the inspiration popped as I glanced at my table and spotted the Papillon Potpourri Stamp Set I had out from a project earlier in the week. Bingo – butterflies! Again, I used gold heat embossing and then punched them with the Elegant Butterfly Punch. I stamped "hello" using Night of Navy Classic Ink and finished the project off with a bit of Gold 1/8" Ribbon tied around the middle of the flower die-cut.

     So this month's Paper Pumpkin kit is done and history!  The box and left overs are in the trash and I'm on to other projects!  Now I can hardly wait until next month's Paper Pumpkin!


Posted on : Aug 20 2015
Posted under Stampin' Up! Kits, Stamping |

Three Ideas for the August Paper Pumpkin Kit!

Aloha, all!

     If you're like me and subscribe to Stampin' Up!'s Paper Pumpkin Monthly Kit, then you might be a bit disappointed when the kit features a 3-dimensional item. Hey, if I want a box, I know how to make one. What I do like with every kit, however, is that each and every one includes a new stamp set and some new paper or cardstock I've never seen before. Once I home in on the stamp set and cardstock, the rest of the stuff is just incidental.

     And so it is with the August 2015 Paper Pumpkin Kit. What fun are those metallic card bases! But oh that chalk look on Basic Black Cardstock is just not going to work.  And the boxes? Not going to happen. What am I going to do with a box with pink and black flowers? But that kit is not going to waste!  Do you know what those boxes are made of?  Cardstock! There are some pretty strips to be had from just cutting them up. And the black die-cuts? Heat embossing will work just fine with those. Sure, I could use the heat tool on the Whisper White Craft Ink. But I never have liked the chalk look very much anyway, except in a school type setting.

August Pumpkin 2_edited-1

     In addition to adding a layer of the cardstock from one of the boxes, I included a bit of Basic Black Cardstock to use as a mat to separate it from the striped background. I used three of the stamps in the August 2015 Stamp Set, stamped in VersaMark and then heat embossed with Gold Stampin' Emboss Powder. Finally, I added some Gold 5/8" Satin Ribbon to accent the stamped images. This is a nice card to send off with a quick note to someone!


     For this card, with the bows in the background, I took one of the pink banners included in the kit, matted it with a bit of Mint Macaron Cardstock, tied a bow of Gold 1/8" Ribbon, and made that the central background image on the card. Again, I gold embossed two of the stamps in the set, this time on Mint Macaron Cardstock, cut it with one of the framelits in the Chalk Talk Framelits set, and adhered it with Stampin' Dimensionals onto the banner element. This is a much lighter card for saying "hello."

August Pumpkin 3

     I just couldn't stop with this kit! As I was writing this blog post, I noticed how close in shape the Chalk Talk die was to the shape of the black die-cuts in the kit. I still had the Mint Macaron Cardstock out, so I stamped on it with the new Archival Basic Black Ink, trimmed the top to be straight across, then adhered it to one of the black die-cuts. I trimmed it's top, too, added some Pink Pirouette Cotton Ribbon and a few Pink Pirouette Candy Dots, and that element was done. But what to use as a background. Hmmm. I kept moving one of the pink banners around to see how that would work. Then I glanced down and saw that there were LOTS of those pink banners sitting on my work table. Two would work nicely. So I adhered them together and then ran them through the Sizzix Big Shot using the Elegant Dots Embossing Folder. Voila! Done.

     I believe my next step will be to use some of my floral punches to punch some images out of those big flower shapes that were meant to go on the box. Those will also make some fun additions to card fronts!

     For sure, I'm going to take this opportunity to make a few sympathy cards. I'm out of them at the moment, and it never hurts to have some around. The sympathy stamp in this set is really nice.

     OK – back to other projects! I hope you enjoy your Paper Pumpkin kit this month as much as I have!

Posted on : Aug 19 2015
Posted under Stampin' Up! Kits, Stamping |

A Card for Any Occasion!

Aloha, all!

     A couple of years ago I was in a gift shop and saw a set of note cards that really caught my eye. On the front of each card was a quilt design. The designs all had pieces that looked just like a piece of quilting fabric might look. Of course I thought, "Why buy these? I can make my own!" 

     As we all know, that's easier said than done. Nonetheless I tried it out using Stampin' Up! products and came up with several designs that I shared with you, and I made my own box of quilt designed cards. You can click here to see that set, and just use the search function down at the left to search for "quilt" to find many more..

     Anyway, up came today's Stampin' Up! Only Challenge theme, which is "Cards Without Words," and those quilt cards came right back to my mind. I love having a few cards around that can be for just about any occasion, and quilt patterns are perfect for that.


     I'm sure you recognize this paper as being from the Stampin' Up! Pretty Petals Designer Series Paper Stack. I had never looked at that set as having the possibility of being in quilt designs. But now that I've looked more closely, I think I can see some more in the future!

     As with so many of the quilt designs I've seen, I haven't a clue about what this pattern is called or even how to go about looking it up. It certainly has a Pinwheel around the center – or maybe not! But whatever it is, it was fun to make. With a pattern like this, I just go ahead and make a square card so that there's an even set of mats all around.  I also like to texturize quilt block cards just to give the impression of some quilting over that paper piecing. For this card I used the brand new Fluttering Textured Impression Embossing Folder from Stampin' Up!

     The colors in the butterfly patterned paper, besides the Basic Black Background are Old Olive, Mint Macaron, Calypso Coral, and Pacific Point. I decided to pick up the last three colors in the matting.  The central square in the project is a Calypso Coral pattern, and is, in fact, the opposite side of the Butterfly pattern in the Paper Stack.

     For the small butterfly in the center, after much trial and error with stamped and non-stamped images, I decided on a plain Whisper White butterfly, topped off with a Calypso Coral Candy Dot.

     The squares are about 1-3/8" square. I trimmed the layer 1/16" all around to make the square design 4". The mats are 4-1/4, 4-1/2, and 4-5/8. I just wanted a sliver of white showing around the card. So I made the card base of Whisper White Thick Cardstock a 4-3/4" card.

     I hope you find this to be a fun design and maybe even make one yourself!  But whether you make this or another design, try making a card without words and entering it in the SUO Challenge! It is open until 6 am Eastern Time on August 29, 2015.

Posted on : Aug 17 2015
Posted under Challenges, SUO Challenges |

A Lovely Hostess Set!

Aloha, all!

     Believe it or not, I've been busy, busy, busy making cards. I'm not showing most of them here because I'm going to be including them in some tutorials that I'll be offering as rewards for Stampin' Up! purchases, or for sale. But that's a few weeks down the road. For today, I picked out a new set from the Stampin' Up! 2015-2016 Annual Catalog that's a "Hostess Set." That's a set that we can purchase for much less than market value once we've placed an order for $150 or more. If you host a workshop or class and you and your friends purchase the $150, then you have $15 to spend, and this set as a clear mount rubber stamp set is only $10!



     I had not planned on buying this set for one main reason. This looks like a beautiful flower – but what kind of flower is it?  I can tell you right now that it is NOT a hydrangea. I have hydrangeas in my garden, and I have not been able to find either florets as large as those in this flower OR stamens this pronounced. Someone said it's a rhododendrun. Nope. I have tropical rhoddies in my garden – lots of different varieties – and NONE have as tight a head as does this flower, nor do they have leaves like these.

     But then I realized that everything in the Stampin' Up! catalog is artistic – it's not necessarily real. What was I thinking?  So what you have here, dear readers, is a pink flower. Period!

ButterflyStamp     So now let's look at that butterfly. Whether or not there's a butterfly with these markings, what is so special about this critter is the way the artist who created this design made it look like it was flapping those little wings in the air. It's not a 3-dimensional butterfly. Among the requirements that I put on a card that I make is that it has to fit nice and neatly into an envelope. My cards are made for sending, and a 3-D element would lose its shape in an envelope. Not this butterfly, though! It's flat as a pancake. I did adhere it with a Stampin' Dimensional which gives it the shadow. But that's it.

     The main Stampin' Up! colors in this card are Daffodil Delight and Garden Green. I sometimes really like the effect of several mats, with one larger than the other, as is the Daffodil Delight Cardstock mat in this project. I stamped the sentiment in Garden Green and the outline of the butterfly in Memento Black ink.  But all the rest of the color comes from a set of alcohol markers. I thought this would be a good card to help me keep practicing using and blending the colors as you can only do with alcohol markers. I'm still a total amateur at this, but I think I'm improving a bit!

     If you'd like to find out more about my greeting card layouts and tutorials that will be coming out in late summer, be sure to sign up for my newsletter mailing list – the form is just up and to the left on this page!





Posted on : Aug 07 2015
Posted under Announcement, Stamping |

Butterflies on the Edge!

Aloha, all!

     Ever since I saw Joanne James' entry in the SUO (Stampin' Up! Only) Challenge to make a card with other than a straight edge, I have been dying to try out an idea that popped into my head. And, here we are again for the biweekly SUO Challenge, and the theme is Butterflies. Oooh, and Joanne's card's edge was made with butterflies. So I decided to try my idea out.

     Tje idea was to use the small butterfly in the Butterflies Thinlits, and just cut half of each butterfly out to create the front edge of my card. Then I would stamp butterflies using the Watercolor Wings Stamp Set before decorating the rest of my card. It didn't quite work out the way I'd hoped, so today you're getting a two-fer. First the original card and then another card that turns out to be a tad easier than than my first one and I like it a lot better.


     I really was successful in partially cutting the butterfly framelit three times on the card front. Each of the three times I ran the Whisper White Cardstock through my Sizzix Big Shot, I placed the edge of the cardstock at exactly the same spot on the Magnetic Platform. And I didn't do too badly with the stamping of the butterfly either. It was what was left with the rest of the card front that made it difficult for me to create what I felt was a well-designed overall pattern.

     But I did finish it, using some printed papers, one layer from a sheet in the Cherry on Top Designer Series Paper (DSP) Stack (the Bermuda Bay layers) and one from the Pretty Petals DSP Stack (the Calypso Coral layers). I stamped a sentiment from the Birthday Blossoms Stamp Set and texturized the top of the Whisper White Cardstock layer with the Elegant Dots Embossing Folder. Then I adhered all the front layers together and tied them together with a bow made of Calypso Coral Seam Binding Ribbon. To try to tie the whole card front together, I used a craft knife to clip the left tips of the butterflies to allow them to overlap the stamped layer grouping. That just wasn't enough, though.


     Then I made this card. To me, the card seems to be more of one piece of art rather than several smaller pieces put together on the same card. The difference is that I first stamped each of the three butterflies. Then I cut each completely using the same thinlit. After I put the inside layers and the card front layers (both (Bermuda Bay DSP and Daffodi Delight Cardstock) together, I simply adhered the left wing of each butterfly over the right edge of the card front. The ribbon on this one is the Daffodil Delight Seam Binding Ribbon. The sentiment is also from the Birthday Blossoms Stamp Set.

     Oh, and I like the yellow and orange butterflies better than I like the Bermuda Bay critters!

     What do you think? And be sure to add your own butterfly-themed project in the SUO Challenge this time!

Posted on : Aug 03 2015
Posted under Challenges, Sizzix, Stamping, SUO Challenges |

Remarkable Flower!

Aloha, all!

     As most of you who read Stampin' Up! blogs know, for a short time Stampin' Up! carried a line of alcohol markers. For a number of reasons, Stampin' Up! no longer sells alcohol markers, and I exchanged all those that I, as a demonstrator, had bought for other Stampin' Up! products. Nonetheless, I had become hooked on what I started to be able to do with alcohol markers. So, over the past couple of months, I've been buying another brand of alcohol markers and have started to learn how to use them. I'm hoping it won't be long before I feel as if I know what I'm doing wth them. Meanwhile, I think I'll share with you some of the projects I make as I go through the learning process.


     For today's project, I bought some colors that I thought would coordinate well with Stampin' Up! Bermuda Bay Ink and Cardstock. I do believe I succeeded!

     I've shown you a project already that I've made using the Remarkable You Stamp Set. I made the first one using an oval shape to feature another flower in this set, and, to tell you the truth, I had no intention of using an oval shape for this flower. But once all was said and done, I think that I really like the way that the oval shape shows off the water lily in today's project equally well.

     For the sentiment, I used the new Banner Triple Punch and I matted it with a piece of Bermuda Bay cardstock that I hand-trimmed to a size just slightly larger than the sentiment layer.

     I just love the new Boho Chic Embossing Folder. This is the second time in as many projects that I have used it. This embossing folder has a distinct pattern, so I've tried to make sure that I center my cardstock both vertically and horizontally in the embossing folder. This not only makes the edges look neat, but it also helps me place other elements onto the card so that they're centered just right in either or both directions.

     This card is intended for a very special person who has worked very hard for one of the local volunteer groups for which I also volunteer. The group wanted to send her something special in the way of a Thank You note, and who better in the group to do that than the card-maker! It goes out in the mail today!


Posted on : Jul 28 2015
Posted under Punches, Sizzix, Stamping |

Happy Birthday x 3!

Aloha, all!

     Welcome to the third Blog Hop of this summer for the summer online group, VC Rocks. It was 15 years ago this month that a group of Stampin' Up! lovers who couldn't make it to that summer's Stampin' Up! Convention decided to have a virtual convention online. What a blast it's been all these years, so we've decided that the theme for the July 2015 Blog Hop should be a Celebration of Birthdays.

     As you know, I kind of make things up as I go along, only occasionally having a full-out plan when I start to make cards for anything. But this time I had a plan and I went with it and it ended up as I'd planned it. Go figure! The plan was that I wanted to make three different Birthday Cards using the same three Stampin' Up! Designer Series Paper designs and the same three colors as the featured colors. As I got into the project, I did let one more "three" into the projects and I used three different Stampin' Up! Textured Impressions Embossing Folders (TIEF) for each of the three cards. Once I started photographing the cards, I could see some other opportunities for threes – but I had to stop somewhere!


     All of the cards use the same three sheets of paper from the Pretty Petals Designer Series Paper (DSP) Stack, featuring the three colors, Calypso Coral, Old Olive and Very Vanilla. I saw this basic layout on Pinterest a few weeks ago, and it's been in my head ever since. Now it's out and onto paper! I believe the original just used the DSP. But for this card, I thought a bit of a mat would make the three banners pop a bit. I cut the notches in the DSP and in the stamped greeting layer using the new Banner Triple Punch.  For the background, I used the NEW Boho Chic Embossing Folder. After matting the greeting layer with some Old Olive Cardstock, I added a bow made of the new Calypso Coral Thick Baker's Twine.


     For the second card, I used a layout inspired by the challenge layout in the latest issued of CardMaker Magazine. The DSP elements don't have any mats this time as they are all popped up from the background using Stampin' Dimensionals. To punch these, I used the Scalloped Tag Topper Punch, and then tied a bow at the top of each one. You'll recognize the Calypso Coral Thick Baker's Twine from the first card, and I added some Very Vanilla Thick Baker's Twine for a bit of contract. The background for the top part of the card is texturized with the Decorative Dots Embossing Folder, and I added a threesome of Calypso Coral and Old Olive Candy Dots as an added accent.



     Finally, here's another design that I've seen in so many places made by many different people. It's so simple, but has such a nice look. For the layered gift boxes, I cut each piece out and then adhered them all to a strip of cardstock before tying them together with a piece of the Calypso Coral Thick Baker's Twine. I added Stampin' Dimensionals to raise them a bit from the background layer texturized with the Arrows Embossing Folder.

     Thanks so much for getting this far – I usually don't have this many projects to share in one blog post. But it's been fun thinking about some of the activities we've had in the VC Rock Group each summer that I've been a member. I hope you'll visit the VC Rocks Blog Hop and check out the other Birthday Celebration projects by other members of our group!

Posted on : Jul 24 2015
Posted under Challenges, Punches, Sizzix, Stamping |

New Stamps 11: Watercolor Wishes

Aloha, all!

     I have been waiting for over two months for this stamp set to land in my craft room! The reason is that Watercolor Wishes was not ready for prime time until the 2015-2016 Stampin' Up! Catalog had been live for a month and I'd had that catalog to order from a month before that!  When I first went through the catalog during the preview, I knew that was one stamp set that was definitely going to be on my list!  I also knew there would be a Stampin' Up! Only Challenge Theme in July that would be for us to use our favorite stamp set from the new catalog. So here I am with a sample from the stamp set!


     But there are two "issues" with this stamp set. The first is that, as wonderful as it is, the only way to get it into your hot little hands is to buy a card-making kit called (wait for it) the wonderful Watercolor Wishes Card Kit. That quickly brings us to the second "issue" with this set and its accompanying kit. It's been TOO wonderful – read popular. That means that, by the time you read this, it will likely already have gone into back order status – and may be that way for many weeks. 

     But I have the kit and Nonetheless, I have to share with you the first card that I made from this wonderful kit!

     This is basically one of the cards in the kit.  As with any kit, I find it hard to make the cards just as they are shown in the kit. While you certainly can make the cards as described – and they will be lovely! – it's more fun for me to be a bit creative and do something different.  If you happen to have a Stampin' Up! Catalog, look at page 80, and over to the left in the top photo, you'll see the two layers that I used for this card.  But I changed somethings out:

  • I used a different sentiment (from the included stamp set)
  • I stamped the sentiment only once
  • I added a knot of Watermelon Wonder 1" Dotted Lace Trim (not in the kit)
  • I added flowers and leaves from the kit that are different from the planned card (these are in the kit)
  • and finally I punched the corners of the card base to coordinate with the rounded corners of the dotted layer. 

     Believe me, there will be enough left in this kit to use everything in it, including the embellishments found in the kit. My plan is to hold classes using this kit after the first of the year. Perhaps by then the excitement of this new find will have worn off a bit, and I can get enough for everyone who signs up for my class!  I hope to make some video class sessions, too. So anyone will be able to get my ideas on using this kit whether they're in my neighborhood or not.  Stay tuned.

     Meanwhile, pick YOUR FAVORITE new stamp set, make a project with it, and head on over to the SUO Challenges Blog to enter it in the challenge! The challenge doesn't close until August 1st! (OMG! Is it August already???? Yikes!)

     Finally this blog post marks the end of my commitment to use all my new stamp sets from the 2015-2015 Stampin' Up! catalog? Oh, there were one or two "other" projects in there. But each was kind of "new" in its own way. So from here on out, I'm not limited to my new stamps or to creating a good excuse not to use them.  But I think I will be using all of them from time to time throughout the rest of the year just because I've come to like them – by using them and not letting them sit around!  I hope you'll try the same with stamp sets you've bought.  If you need ideas, let me know and I'll help you out!


Posted on : Jul 20 2015
Posted under Challenges, Stampin' Up! Kits, Stamping, SUO Challenges |

Sheltering Tree with a Fun Technique

Aloha, all!

     Those of you on my Newsletter Mailing list have already seen this project.  But I thought the rest of you might like to see what fun I had with the Sheltering Tree Stamp Set. The set was first released as part of the 2015 Occasions Catalog, but now it's firmly entrenched in the annual 2015-2015 Stampin' Up! catalog.  And I'm quite please to see it's still around!


     The colors I used for this project are Watermelon Wonder, Cucumber Crush, Soft Suede and Blushing Bride. It's pretty easy to see which colors are where. As always, I love using the Photopolymer Stamp Sets – of which this is one! – because I am able clearly to see where I'm placing my stamps when one image is being placed specifically in relations to another – like the leaves on the tree trunk! Oh, and the background paper is from the Cherry on Top Designer Series Paper Stack. The sheets are definitely large enough to use on a large square card such as this one.

     What's fun and interesting about this card is how I used the large circles in the Sizzix Circles Collection Framelit to just partially die cut the circle. The technique I used is in my newsletter tutorial. If you'd like it, just sign up for my newsletter by July 21st (which is when I hope to get the next newsletter out).  I'll be incuding a link to the June newsletter tutorials in July.


Here are the products featured in this project. Link to my personal Stampin' Up! Store to order any of these!

Sheltering Tree Photopolymer Stamp Set (1371633)
Cherry on Top Designer Series Paper Stack (138443)
Cardstock: Whisper White THICK Cardstock for the card base (140272); Whisper White Cardstock (100730); Cucumber Crush and Watermelon Wonder from the Cherry on Top Cardstock Pack (139002); Pool Party (122924)
Ink: Cucumber Crush Classic Stampin Pad (138324); Watermelon Wonder Classic Stampin' Pad (138323); Blushing Bride Classic Stampin' Pad (131172); Soft Suede Classic Stampin' Pad (126978)
Blushing Bride Candy Dots (from the Subtles Collection – 130933)
Circles Collection Framelits (130911)



Posted on : Jul 18 2015
Posted under Sizzix, Stamping |