Anniversaries and Blendabilities

Hi Everyone,

Happy Saturday! I am so happy it is the weekend; it’s been a long week. The not so fun part, which I’ll only briefly mention, is I had a medical procedure at Johns Hopkins this week that was supposed to be a quick few hours procedure. Well, because of low hemoglobin, it turned into an overnight hospital stay. Not so much fun – but I’m home, recovered and luckily that was only a small part of the week!

The larger parts of my week and the fun times – there were two! First, today our family celebrated my parent’s 40th wedding anniversary. Individually, my parents have always served as amazing role models to my sister, to me and now to their four grandchildren (my nephews and niece). My father and mother each have their own unique personalities, life journeys and life lessons to teach. They are amazing mentors and advisors to our entire family. Together, their love is inspirational. Every relationship has struggles and tribulations, but my parents have shown our family what unconditional love is – to each other and to all of us. With 40 years under their belts, they show us that a relationship can be built on love and trust and to never give up!

We celebrated today as a family at Hickory Bridge Farm in Orrtanna, Pennsylvania (just outside of Gettysburg). My sister chose the restaurant, which is also a bed and breakfast and event site for parties and weddings. It was beautiful. Not only that, but it was great to celebrate this occasion with our parents complemented with a “family-style” meal. The food was delicious and home-cooked and the ambiance of an old barn setting was beautiful. We were greeted upon entry with cheese and crackers and fresh, homemade apple juice. Once seated, we enjoyed cucumber or spiced peaches, iced tea and lemonade. Our salad course was topped with bacon infused dressing. For dinner we enjoyed chicken and gravy topped dumplings, baked ham and crab imperial. Finally, for dessert, we enjoyed apple crisp and cherry ice cream pie. Needless to say, if you left Hickory Bridge Farm hungry, it was entirely on you!

After dinner, we visited the country store on site and spent some time in the scenery to take some pictures of the happy couple!

Photo Aug 16, 6 12 40 PM

It truly was a beautiful evening and I’m so happy (and grateful) for my parents!

The second fun time had this week was a Stampin’ Up! get-together on Monday night to learn, play with and create using Blendabilities markers! I hosted the event at my house for another demonstrator and 16 guests. It was a great time! This is the second time I’ve had the opportunity to teach others about Stampin’ Up!’s new Blendabilities markers. It’s such a great experience and since the product is brand new, it’s always fun showing someone who has never used Blendabilities markers or may be afraid to try them out all about them, and to see their comfort once we’ve gone over the basics!

At the get-together we made two cards. The first is called Snapshot:

Snapshot

This card is made using Blendabilities markers. The camera is stamped with the Snapshot stamp set (Item #133812) using Smoky Slate Blendabilities markers (Item #131005). The card base is Smoky Slate and the card front is Very Vanilla. The top border is stamped with Real Red using the Dotty Angles (Item #133658) stamp set. The greeting is from the Fabulous Four stamp set (Item #134171 – wood or #134174 – clear). Once colored, the camera was cut out and mounted using Stampin’ Dimensionals (Item #104430) on a piece of Flashback Designer Series Paper (Item #133699).

I chose to use the Snapshot stamp set for a make-and-take because, as I’ve been talking about Blendabilities with my customers and about this stamp set, I’ve received a lot of questions about how you color this, or why you would use Blendabilities since it doesn’t look like there’s a lot to the image, in terms of shading, shadowing or blending. However, as you can see above, you can actually get quite creative with Blendabilities. Blending doesn’t have to follow a specific rule or logic even. It can be how YOU perceive the image or whatever fuels your creativity! In this case, as I isolate this image in my mind, this is how I’d picture it – colored and blended exactly as I’ve done it. One additional thing to note: not all cameras are Smoky Slate (grey). In fact, Stampin’ Up! has 11 other colors and I’m sure the Snapshot camera would look good in any of those colors!

The second card made for the get-together is called Bloom for Hope:

Bloom with Hope

This card was made using a stamped image from the Bloom for Hope Hostess Stamp Set (Item #133949 – wood or #133952 – clear). It is colored with Wisteria Wonder (Item #131002), Daffodil Delight (Item #130998AND Smoky Slate (Item #131005) Blendabilities markers. The card base is Wisteria Wonder and the card front is Whisper White. The card front is stamped using Wisteria Wonder ink with Petite Petals (Item #133152 – wood or #133155 – clear) and the greeting is from the Four You stamp set (Item #130535 – wood or #130538 – clear). To make the background, I glued an inch strip of Daffodil Delight to a 2.5 inch strip of Wisteria Wonder from the Designer Series Paper Stacks (Item #130134 – Brights and #130135 – Subtle), angled it a bit and trimmed to fit it on the card front. Finally, the ribbon is 1/2″ Seam Binding Ribbon in Wisteria Wonder (Item #134572) with a rhinestone (Item #119246).

I chose this card for two reasons. First, I wanted to highlight a stamp set, the Bloom for Hope Hostess Stamp Set, as a set you can use with Blendabilities even though it’s not “officially” endorsed to be used with Blendabilities. Simply put, you can use any stamp set you’d like with Blendabilities. Stampin’ Up! recommends some sets that have larger areas to color and blend, but really almost any image has the potential to be spruced up with some Blendabilities color!

The second reason I chose this card is because of the blending technique. As I mentioned above, the flower is colored with Daffodil Delight and Wisteria Wonder, which are fairly easy to see. What may not be easy to see at first glance is the flower is also blended using Smoky Slate (grey). When Stampin’ Up! initially launched Blendabilities back in June, they released six of the twelve colors initially. My biggest disappointment was that they did not release Smoky Slate with the initial offering. In using alcohol-based markers before, I love using greys to further blend my designs. Grey works especially well when coloring with purples and blues (medium or darker blues) but can be added, in moderation, to other colors as well. While it may be difficult to see from the picture above, the shadowing just outside of the stamen is accented with grey, as well as some of the darker shading on the petals of the flower. If you haven’t tried already, I recommend you try adding some grey for blending to your design. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results!

With the time spent at the hospital, hosting the Stampin’ Up! get-together and celebrating with my parents (oh, and working, too – have to pay for Stampin’ Up! somehow!), it’s been a very busy week! I’m happy to have shared the highlights with you and I hope you’ve found some inspiration in the two card ideas! I’ll be focusing a bit more on Blendabilities in some upcoming blog posts.  As always, I’m available to host a workshop, a demonstration or provide more information about Blendabilities or any Stampin’ Up! product. Feel free to contact me. Also, the Bloom for Hope Hostess Stamp Set can be yours for hosting a get-together with some friends to learn about Blendabilities or maybe to take advantage of the great Big Shot Promotion going on right now. Contact me for more details.

Have a great week! For my readers who are teachers and heading back to the classroom this week, I wish you my best! Thank you for all you do and cheers to you for a great school year ahead!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

Weekly Deals – August 12th

Weekly Deals Banner

Hello Everyone!

I hope everyone has had a great start to August and you are enjoying your summer! I am sorry that I’ve been out of touch or disconnected for the past few weeks! I haven’t been feeling well for the past few weeks and have been majorly distracted by medical tests and procedures. While I’m not feeling great now, I’ve also missed all of you, my Stampin’ family, and I’m glad to be back online and reconnected.

I have a number of things to update you about and will be posting here over the next few days. On this post, however, I wanted to provide some Stampin’ Up! news about Weekly Deals and the Big Shot Promotion.

Here are the Weekly Deals for this week:

08122014This week’s Weekly Deals are amazing.  From a price point-of-view, some of the more expensive items in our catalog are on sale at great savings! Also, most of the items on here are a great value because you can use and reuse them, like the Envelop Liners Framelits Die and Rosette Designer Bigz XL Die.  Click on the Weekly Deals Banner or the picture above to check out all the deals.

Do you like the Weekly Deals but are you thinking — “I don’t own a Big Shot yet?”

If that’s the case, Stampin’ Up! is running an excellent promotion for the month of August:

Promo PicHere’s how it works – buy a Big Shot for $99.95.  During the month of August, you’ll also receive a free stamp set and Framelits dies (specific bundles) for free. You can choose between wood mount or clear mount. The value is up to $60!

Own a Big Shot already but want one of the cool bundles?  For the month of August, the bundles included in the link above are 15% off! How great is that?

Click on the picture above for more information and to see the stamp sets and Framelits bundles available under this promotion!

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the Big Shot Promotion or any of our Weekly Deals! I’ll be placing a workshop order this week, so if there is anything you’re interested in, please let me know!

Thanks for your emails of concern while I was AWOL. I appreciate the concern and I’m sorry for my absence!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

 

 

Getting Ready!

Happy Friday!

I can’t believe the weekend is here already. It seems like the week just flew by. My Operations Manager was on vacation this week so work was extra busy. Added to that, each evening (except Wednesday) I spent 5-6 hours in my Stampin’ room creating swap cards! I’m happy to say that I’m almost finished. I should be finished with my planned swaps tomorrow and then I’ll make a few others for general swaps.

Tonight I spent most of the evening creating 50+2 cards for the “Manly Man Card Swap” which is happening on Thursday. The card design had to be more masculine themed (no flowers, glitter, or bling) and had to be a card that I’m assuming a man wouldn’t mind receiving or sending to a friend or loved one.

Here is my creation:

Manly SwapThis card was created from the Walk in the Wild Stamp Set (Item #130354 – Wood or #130357 – Clear) .  The saying is from the And Many More Stamp Set (Item #134273 – Wood or #134276 – Clear). The card base is Always Artichoke and the card front and ink is Early Espresso.  It was embossed with the Woodgrain Textured Impressions Embossing Folder (Item #127821). The greeting is punched using the Modern Label Punch (Item #119849).

I really like this card, and while I wouldn’t be ashamed to receive or give away any card regardless whether it has flowers or bling, I think this meets the definition of “manly” (and if you don’t think so, the moose wants to speak with you! *smiles*)

Anyway, I plan to spend some additional time this weekend finishing swaps and preparing for Inspire. Create. Share. 2014! My flight to Salt Lake City is very early on Wednesday morning. I definitely look forward to joining Wendy, Pauline, and others I’ve met over the last year at Convention! After Convention I’ll be traveling to San Diego to visit my cousin, and to go to Legoland and Disneyland for my 30th birthday!

I’ll be posting here throughout the weekend. And don’t worry, I plan to make time during Convention to post exciting updates of things we’ve learned, projects we’ve made and any new updates or tidbits I have for you. I’m literally jumping with excitement and can’t wait for the week ahead!

Wishing you a great weekend — wish me luck with packing and getting ready!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

 

Weekly Deals – July 8th

Weekly Deals BannerHello Everyone!

It’s Tuesday again and time for some new Weekly Deals… plus, I have an exciting announcement about a Big Shot Promotion coming in August. Here are the Weekly Deals for the week of July 8th. Remember, Weekly Deals expire at 11:59 p.m. (MT) on Monday, July 14th.

07082014This week, the Weekly Deals are featuring a few great items. Of particular note is the Gold Fancy Designer Vellum Foil. Have you used it yet? It is great for projects, cards and scrapbook pages that require a little extra bling! There are three designs and you get nine sheets (3 of each) per pack.

Consider combining the vellum with the Silver 1/8″ Ribbon. This is an advanced holiday purchase (in my opinion) as I typically use yards and yards of silver in my holiday cards!

I hope you enjoy the Weekly Deals this week.  Remember, also, that for the month of July Designer Series Paper (DSP) is on sale Buy 3, Get 1 Free.  This is a great deal and you can mix-and-match the Designer Series Paper offerings!

DSPBuy3Here is the link for the Designer Series Paper.  There are 8 great designs to choose from!

Finally, demonstrators were just informed that there is a HUGE Big Shot deal coming in August. For the month of August if you buy a Big Shot, you’ll get a free stamp set AND coordinating Framelits dies pack. Usually, the stamp set and Framelits dies pack costs $35-$45.  The Big Shot is $99.95, so this is a huge and amazing deal! After Convention I’ll let you know the exact pairings of stamp sets and Framelits dies, but I wanted to bring this news to you as soon as I could so you can make your August wishlist!

Have a great week, everyone!  I’ll be back before the end of the week with some new cards I’ve been making!  This last week has been spent making swap cards for Convention and I’m almost finished. So excited to share everything that I’ve come up with!

Wishing you well!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

 

 

 

A Card by a Different Fold

Stars CardIf all cards folded on the right side, or top, or along one edge, life would be boring!!  I present to you my new card, made with my Top 3 from June 16th!  Yes, it’s a very star-studded card!  Doesn’t it just make you see stars!  (Okay, I’m done.  I promise!)

This card was created with the Be the Star Stamp Set (Item #135731 – Wood or #135734 – Clear), Stars Framelits Dies (Item #133723), and Star Itty Bitty Punch from the Itty Bitty Accents Punch Pack (Item #133787).

The unique thing about this card is there are two folds in the card and it doesn’t open like a conventional card!  Here’s a picture of the card open:

Stars Card - OpenOn the inside you have room for a greeting, as I’ve done on the red star and you can sign your card, write a short message or put shooting stars(!) on the white star.  Plus, the placement of the white star allows the card to stand up when opened, allowing the card to be displayed “full star” for all to see!

I hope you enjoyed my new card creation!  As I mentioned before, I love stars and find it fun to create outside-the-box designs!  Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or feedback!  I love to hear from you!

Want to know how to be a *STAR* with your friends and family? Consider hosting a Stampin’ Up! demonstration!  I’d love to demonstrate at my house or yours how to make this wonderful card, allow your friends and family to make this card or others and introduce them to Stampin’ Up!  Contact me today for details!

Have a great Wednesday.  Today is project day for me; our group has worked hard and finished our paper and project – now it’s time to present and put this class behind us!  Wish us luck!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

 

 

 

Weekly Deals – June 24th

Weekly Deals Banner

Hello!  Happy Tuesday!

New Tuesday, new Weekly Deals!  Hooray!  The Weekly Deals are extra good this week.  I love when the Weekly Deals include some non-consumable items, because not only can they be used over and over again for creating fun projects for years to come, but you feel better knowing you got them at such a great deal!

This week there are FOUR items on the Weekly Deals for the Big Shot machine – three Framelits dies and one Edgelits die.  One of my favorites is the Envelope Liners Framelits Dies.  Imagine the surprise of your lucky recipient when he or she receives not only a handmade card by you, but then a decorated envelope lined with coordinating cardstock!

06242014Please check out the deals and let me know if you have any questions! In case you haven’t seen an envelope lined with cardstock using the Envelope Liners Framelits Dies, I’ve included a few pictures below! I’m happy to demonstrate this for you personally or for a group of friends, if you’re interested!

EL_1

The envelope liner is cut out using the Envelope Liners Framelits Dies and Big Shot machine.  The cardstock was selected to match my Tap Tap Tap card from a few weeks ago!

EL_3

After die-cutting the envelope liner, glue it into your envelope and add your card.  See above!  Doesn’t the envelope liner add a nice “extra” to the envelope?  Plus, it now matches and coordinates beautifully with your card!

 

I hope you have a wonderful week – check back for projects later this evening!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

 

Top 3 for Monday, June 16th

Well, Happy Monday again!

I hope you had a good Monday and the Monday blues didn’t set in.  For most of the day here in Germantown, Maryland, it was nice, if not hot. It did thunderstorm tonight, which cooled things off a little bit; however, I’m not a fan of the rain!  I’m just glad it happened in the evening rather than the morning.  There’s nothing worse than waking up on a Monday to dreary weather!

So it’s the third Monday in June already!  This is the 3rd edition of 5 of my Top 3 of the week.  Someone last week asked if these Top 3s are in any particular order.  Besides the stamp sets from the first week (Tap, Tap, Tap and Ray of Sunshine), no.  The Top 3 from last week, this week and the following 2 left in June are in no particular order.

The Top 3 from this week come from my love of stars.  When I first got a Stampin’ Up! catalog last August and paged through it, three things caught my attention.  First, the cover of the old annual catalog was awful.  While the picture itself was cute, I was embarrassed to distribute the catalog because of the color and how feminine it was.  Now, granted, I sell Stampin’ Up! and I’m proud of it… but I like to think that I add a little masculine touch, especially at events like the 2014 Catalog Premier where I entered a movie theater with all women!  Second, along the same lines, there were very few gender-neutral or masculine-leaning stamp sets.  And finally, there were very little, if any, sets with stars in them!

Well, I’m happy to report that all three problems were fixed with the new 2014-2015 Annual Catalog.  First, the cover is SO MUCH better than last year’s cover.  If you don’t believe me, take a look at this picture with the covers side-by-side:

CatalogOldNew

Gone is the cutesy lady holding the frame and in comes the more artsy cover showcasing some wonderful Stampin’ Up! products and our Inspire, Create, Share logo line!

As it relates to stamp sets, there are so many new stamps sets that I think are more gender-neutral or even masculine.  I’ve highlighted a few of them already – Ray of Sunshine, Traveler, Simply Sports, and For Your Country.  For this reason alone I say “thank you, Stampin’ Up!”

Finally, and to kick off my Top 3 tonight, they’ve added sets, Framelits and a punch with stars!  No longer is my favorite 5-pointed shape missing from the Stampin’ Up! world!

So here you are, my Top 3 for the Week of June 16th.  On Thursday I’ll post a project using all three of these products.  If I get time, I may even post two projects!

#1 – Be the Star Stamp Set

Page 93 – Item #135731 – Wood or #135734 – Clear

Be the Star Stamp Set

#2 – Stars Framelits Dies

Page 231 – Item #133723

Star Framelits Dies

#3 – Itty Bitty Accents Punch Pack

Page 222 – Item #133787

Itty Bitty Punch Pack - 2014Of course, the reason why the Itty Bitty Accents Punch Pack is featured is because of the middle punch, the star! Think about how great these products will be for creating special Memorial Day, Fourth of July, or Labor Day cards or scrapbook pages?  Maybe you’re having a cookout on the Fourth of July that you want to remember with a Project Life page?  These items would help to nicely embellish the page!

I hope you enjoy these Top 3.  I’ll be back tomorrow with new Weekly Deals.  Until then, have a wonderful evening!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven