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 – July 22nd

Weekly Deals Banner

Hello Stampers!

Happy Tuesday! I am currently writing from San Diego. I’m up early (it’s only 5:00 a.m. here) waiting for a ride to Disneyland! I’ve had a great time in San Diego so far and can’t wait to fill you in. Before I depart for Anaheim, however, I wanted to post this week’s Weekly Deals. These deals will be current through Monday, July 28th at 11:59 p.m. MT.

07222014While my comments about this week’s Weekly Deals will be short, with Halloween and the fall holidays fast approaching, consider stocking up on the Pumpkin Pie or Crushed Curry 3/4″ Chevron Ribbon, both on sale this week. Pumpkin Pie adds a nice ribbon embellishment to a Halloween card, wreath or other project since it is Stampin’ Up!’s “official” color of Halloween. Crushed Curry is rich enough that, combined with other festive fall colors, adds great ribbon embellishment for those “giving thanks” cards or other projects for Thanksgiving!

I hope you enjoy this week’s Weekly Deals! Also remember that Stampin’ Up!’s Designer Series Paper is still Buy 3-Get 1 Free through the month of July. You only have 9 more days to stock up on Designer Series Paper with this great deal! Don’t delay!

Here is the link to the Designer Series Paper Sale:

DSPBuy3Please enjoy this wonderful day. I’ll be in Anaheim at Disneyland today and tomorrow but hope to catch up on my blog posting soon!

I’ll say hi to Mickey Mouse for you when I see him!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

 

 

Live from Convention!

Hello Everyone!

Happy Friday! I’m sorry I haven’t posted here since my plane ride but it has been quite busy, busier than I thought! Convention has been wonderful in so many ways – the general sessions, make-and-takes, seminars, but most importantly the company and great existing (and new) friends. It’s been a blessing to be able to spend these past few days with people who share the same passion for creativity and stamping as I do!

Over the next few days, I’ll be posting Convention recaps one day at a time. I have quite a few pictures to share and stories to tell and I’m excited to share this experience with you. I’ll be wrapping up by sharing some of my favorite swaps that I’ve collected from here at Convention.

Let’s get started with Wednesday (travel day to Convention):

Convention started out unofficially on Wednesday night. After picking up our badges and goodie bags filled with make-and-take essentials and our schedule, Wendy and I attended the Paper Pumpkin Night Out. We got to preview and make the Paper Pumpkin kit for September. I don’t want to spoil the surprise for all my Paper Pumpkin subscribers, but I can tell you that a.) it helps hold some yummy goodies; b.) it is Halloween related, and; c.) depending on the stamp, it will give you quite the scare!

After picking up our badges and bags, we came back to the Hilton for our very first ‘scheduled’ swap! This swap was so much fun. For it we had to make 25 cards and 12 3-D items. Here is a picture of the card and 3-D item I made for this swap:


Hilton Card Swap

Hilton 3-D

The card was made using the Corner Garden (Background) Stamp Set (Item #134045 – wood or #134048 – clear). The greeting was stamped with the Big News Stamp Set (Item #134015 – wood or #134018 – clear) using Jet Black Staz On Ink on vellum. The card base is Wild Wasabi and the card front is Soft Sky.  The butterflies are punched with the Elegant Butterfly punch (Item #127526) and adorned with Rhinestone Basic Jewels (Item #119246).

The rainbow 3-D is actually my own design.  The box is a piece of Soft Sky cardstock cut to 6 inches by 5 inches and then scored to make 1/2″ sides. The clouds were punched in Whisper White cardstock using the 2-3/8″ Scallop Circle (Item #118874) and cut in half. The sun is punched on Hello Honey cardstock using a 1-3/8″ circle punch (Item #119860).  The rays of the sun are punched using the banner punch (Item #133519) on Crushed Curry cardstock. The greeting is from the Gifts of Kindness Stamp Set (Item #130441 – wood or #130444 – clear) stamped in Night of Navy ink on Whisper White cardstock. Finally, the rainbow is made from Real Red, Daffodil Delight, Old Olive and Pacific Point cardstock using a series of cuts in a lock-in design with hot glue to hold it together.  The rainbow is made extra colorful (and yummy) by adding red, yellow, green and blue M&M candies.

The swap also featured some extras. First, it was a PJs swap. We were invited to wear tasteful PJs. The swap was in public so you had to be fully dressed and somewhat appropriate for walking around a public hotel. I wore grey pajama pants and my Oscar the Grouch t-shirt. I’m sorry, for privacy reasons (and my own bashfulness), there are no pictures; however, rest assured, those of us that did dress in our PJs had a blast and some of the PJs were extra cute. I even won a prize for most comfy PJs and, outside of my hotel room being almost 80 degrees, they are quite comfy!

Second, we had a contest for the best card and best 3-D. While I did not win in either category, it was fun to vote and pick our winners. I voted for Wendy’s 3-D item and a card made by Pam R. Pam R.’s card won in the card competition and as one of my favorite cards so far from swaps at Convention 2014, I’ll be featuring her card in a future swaps blog post! Wendy’s 3-D was a can of (gummy) worms. I’ll also be posting her 3-D project as it was one of my favorites. Stay tuned!

After our PJs swap, our group including Wendy and Pauline, retired for the evening with great anticipating and dreams of Thursday’s Opening Session!

I hope you enjoyed reading about my Wednesday recap!

Some exciting things to look forward to in my Thursday recap include:

  • Opening Session and the Holiday Catalog unveiling!
  • All the trouble I got into at the Convention Store!, and
  • Watercoloring woes!

Have a great weekend! I’ll be back before the weekend is over with more to share!

Having a great time here in Salt Lake City!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

From 35,000 feet!

Hello Everyone!

Well, I am on my way to Convention! That’s right, as I write this post, we are at 35,000 feet about an hour and a half into our four hour flight to Salt Lake City.

In my downtime here on the plane, I wanted to post and talk about my final swap I made for Convention. I made this card for general (unscheduled) swapping and literally squeezed it in at the last minute. My flight this morning was at 7:54 a.m., with arrival to the airport at 6:00 a.m., which meant I had to be up at 4:15 a.m. to get on the road in time to make it! Even with an early wake-up, I was up until 11:00 p.m. finishing this card up.

Here it is. I made 50 for general swapping and am very pleased with how it turned out:

Open Sea Card

For this card I used The Open Sea Stamp Set (Item #128454 – wood or #123032 – clear), Work of Art Stamp Set (Item #134111 – wood or #134114 – clear) and Four You Stamp Set (Item #130535 – wood or #130538 – clear) for the ‘hello’ greeting.

The card base is Basic Black cardstock. The card front and compass background is Kraft 12″x12″ cardstock (item #133674). The card is also embellished with Basic Black Baker’s Twine (Item #134576).

While it is difficult to see, the background of the Kraft card front is actually stamped using the charter page stamp from The Open Sea Stamp Set and So Saffron ink. Up close, this adds a pretty cool effect. The sea is stamped with the horizontal brush line from the Work of Art Stamp Set with Lost Lagoon ink. To get the effect, it took 8 or 9 impressions with the stamp to add depth to the sea. The globe is stamped with Night of Navy ink and the compass, ship and greeting are stamped with Jet Black Staz On ink.

(Aside:  Now, some of you will be surprised that I used Staz On ink rather than the Memento ink available in this year’s catalog. Many of you know that I prefer the Memento ink to Staz On because Memento is water based and easier to clean and work with. However, for this card, Staz On worked better after testing because it gave a clearer, crisper image when stamping on the Kraft cardstock.  For stamping black ink on Kraft cardstock, I would highly recommend Staz On ink for a clearer, crisper image.)

I hope you all enjoy this card and feel my excitement as I successfully completed all the swaps I signed up for and committed to, plus had time to squeeze in a general swap! I’m so excited for Convention and can’t wait to arrive in Salt Lake City. I’ll be posting over the next few days the news, tidbits and other information I hear and learn while at Convention. I’ll also be posting pictures of the rest of the swap cards (and the 3-D project) I made for Convention. Some of my blog readers are in these swaps and I did not want to spoil the surprise!

Have a great Wednesday. For my Maryland friends, enjoy the ‘polar vortex’. It is supposed to fall into the 70’s for the next few days. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to 95-100 degrees of dry heat in Salt Lake City and 70-75 degrees in San Diego with not a drop of rain in the forecast. Woohoo!!

Wishing you a happy day!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

Two new cards!

Hi Everyone,

Happy Saturday! I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July! I did. This was the first year in three years that I wasn’t in the hospital over the Fourth of July.  The last two years, I was “privileged” enough to hear the fireworks from Frederick Memorial Hospital.  This year, however, I heard them from my house, which is a much better place to spend the Fourth!

The weather was beautiful yesterday. I hope everyone had a chance to play outside during the day! I had lunch outside and then took the dog for a nice walk later in the afternoon. I haven’t been outside yet and will be traveling today, but am hoping the weather is as nice as yesterday!

For the Fourth of July, I made you two cards that I wanted to showcase here.  The first is a promise from earlier in the week; it’s a card made for my cat-loving blog friends.  It was made with the You Little Furball Stamp Set.  I will be posting a card recipe later for this card:

You Little Furball

Now, this is truly a prototype card.  I wanted to experiment with the Strawberry Slush Thick Baker’s Twine to see if I could make a yarn effect, which turned out nicely; however, if I could change anything, I would’ve made the word “cats” in a different color than black, as I feel it pulls away from the card.  But those are just my self-critiques.  I hope you enjoy this card!

The second card is actually a Holiday Preview card!  It was stamped with the Beauty of the Season Stamp Set, which will be released with the holiday catalog.  As a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator, we prepare for the holidays early. The holiday catalog will be released to demonstrators at Convention in two weeks, and they will allow us to purchase some product from the catalog at that time, and then the holiday preorder starts on August 1st for demonstrators. Can you believe we’re preparing already? I’m so excited for this season to come and to share some great holiday cards with you. Last year, being a brand new demonstrator, I did not make a whole lot of holiday cards. I made one to send out and helped a few friends with theirs, but I didn’t make a whole lot of different designs. I’ll be happy to change that this year and post to the blog with new, great ideas!

Here is the card.  The cardinal was stamped with Stampin’ Write Markers (Cherry Cobbler and Soft Suede) and the ribbon is the Cherry Cobbler 1/2″ Seam Binding Ribbon.

First Christmas

I hope you all have a great Saturday and weekend! Convention is only 11 short days away! I’ll be traveling to York, PA (my hometown) today for a brief visit, but am continuing to chug along with swaps for Convention.  My excitement is growing and I can’t wait to return and share some of our fun experiences with you!

Enjoy!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

Top 3 for June 30th

Happy Monday!

Today is the last day of June, can you believe it? Summer has come full-force, schools are out, and I don’t know about you, but I’m loving the weather. If you don’t like these hot, muggy days, I ask kindly that you remember in January and February what your emotions were on the bitter cold, snowy, icy days! *smiles* Thinking that way, this weather doesn’t seem so bad!

So today is also the last Monday in June. We’ve featured so many great products in the Top 3, I’m going to miss this feature come next month. However, I’ll be doing something new and special starting in August after Convention, so don’t despair, a Top 3 or something similar will return soon.

Here are my Top 3 for the week. Two are similar sets, as I didn’t want to offend any of my feline-loving friends!

#1 – Hot Diggity Dog Stamp Set (page 113)

Item #134021 – Wood or #134024 – Clear

 Hot Diggity Dog Stamp Set

#2 – You Little Furball Stamp Set (page 112)

Item #134147 – Wood or #134150 – Clear

 You Little Furball Stamp Set

#3 – 1/4″ Cotton Ribbon (page 207)

(Featured in Pumpkin Pie) Item #134565

1-4 Cotton Ribbon Pumpkin PieNow, anyone who knows me knows that I love dogs, so the Hot Diggity Dog Stamp Set was right down my alley. For this week, I made a project using #1 and #3 from my Top 3.  Here it is:  Hot Diggity Dog Card

This card was made from the Hot Diggity Dog Stamp Set, the 1/4″ Cotton Ribbon (in Pumpkin Pie) and the Work of Art Stamp Set from last week’s top 3.  What do you think?  I love the stamp sets and am excited to see what exciting things I can make from them.

Over the next few days, for all you feline lovers, I promise I’ll make a card with the You Little Furball Stamp Set. I love the stamp set and I am glad that Stampin’ Up! has come up with some very cute stamp sets for animal lovers in the new catalog.

Please stay tuned for some exciting things to come!

I hope everyone has a great week.  I’ll be back before the Fourth, but in case this is the last post you read, I hope you have a happy and blessed Fourth of July holiday!

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