Throwback Thursday, a Concept Card, and a Contest!

Hi Everyone,

I hope everyone is having a good week. It’s been a very busy week here. A coworker and I were just talking that 4-day workweeks are often busier and crazier than 5-day weeks, perhaps because we inevitably have to fit 5 days of work into 4, or because we feel like we’re already behind when we start our week on Tuesday – who knows! Anyway, even though it’s been busy, I wanted to post tonight two “newbie” topics to my blog:

Throwback Thursday:

First, if you follow social media, Facebook and Instagram, a lot of people post pictures from years past with captioned with “Throwback Thursday” or hashtagged #tbt or #throwbackthursday. While I haven’t gotten into that fad on social media (yet!), I figured I’d give you a card on here from last year. As (I hope) you all know, the 2014 Holiday Catalog was released last week! With its release each year, I begin thinking about the holiday card I’m going to make (in large quantities) and send out to friends and family.

In honor of Throwback Thursday, here is my holiday card from 2013:

TBT Holiday 2013The stamp set I used for the trees was the Lovely As a Tree Stamp Set (Item #128655 – Wood or #127793 – Clear), which is still available in the 2014-2015 Annual Catalog.  The card base is Night of Navy and the card front is actually a piece of Whisper White cardstock. To give a shadow effect, the trees were first stamped with Staz On Jet Black ink and then re-stamped with VersaMark ink for wet embossing. Now, most people that know me know that I’m not a huge fan of wet embossing; it’s just not my thing. However, to make a pretty holiday card, I’ll take a deep breath, a deep sigh and get out the embossing powder and my heat gun! For this card I actually mixed Iridescent Ice Stampin’ Emboss Powder (Item #101930) and White Stampin’ Emboss Powder (Item #109132) to give it a white and shimmery/glittery effect. I applied both at the same time, heat set, and voila, a beautiful effect! From there, I used my Stamping Sponges and Night of Navy ink to color in the sky and Sponge Daubers and Pool Party ink to shadow the snow.

The Greeting Contest:

I cheated a little bit with the greeting. It’s actually from a retired stamp set. Without using Google (please no cheaters!), can you guess which stamp set the greeting came from? Using past holiday or annual catalogs is acceptable, or if you know it by heart, I’ll give you credit as a totally awesome stamper. Anyway, the first person to COMMENT on this post with the correct answer will win a holiday-themed Stampin’ Up! prize! Again, to win you need to guess the stamp set the greeting came from and comment on my post. I have to approve all comments, but will take the first correct commenter. In order to receive your prize if you’re right, I’ll email you to get your address or if you’re local I’ll drop it off! Good luck to everyone!

Concept Card:

I receive a number of questions from fellow stampers and blog readers about how I come up with some of the ideas for my cards. Most card ideas come from my head and some come from inspiration from Pinterest or other blogs. Very rarely do I “CASE” cards, which means “copy and share everything” or “copy and share exactly” – essentially, copying an idea exactly as it is demonstrated by Stampin’ Up! or another demonstrator. (By the way: I have no problem with CASE-ing and encourage anyone that does so to give proper credit to the author!)

Because I rarely ever have a blueprint to work from when making my cards, I typically make a few iterations of cards over the span of a few days. My early cards I call concept cards and very rarely does any concept card I make become my final product. I usually add, delete or change something. It could be as drastic as the color scheme, card base or card front, maybe I reposition a greeting or change stamped images, but I usually do something!

Here is a card I made tonight. It’s meant to be a very simple Halloween card:

Halloween Card Concept

This is my first attempt at this card and it’s a concept card. Since I’m finished with it to my satisfaction for now, I’ll leave it on my display shelf. I’ll probably look at it once more tonight and again over the next few days. I’ll probably come back to it on Sunday or Monday and recreate it from scratch – keeping the same concepts but changing something. I’m not sure what I’ll change yet, but as I work through my iterations I’ll post pictures.

One rule I have about how I handle my concepts: I never alter the original or iteration cards. They were my original works and ones that I learn and modify from. I recreate from my concepts rather than add or change the original. Now, after I’ve settled on a final product, I don’t waste my concept cards either. I typically take a picture (or multiple pictures of them) to see the progress I’ve made. If they’re of acceptable quality, which they typically are, I’ll package them and give them away as I would my final card. Just because I wasn’t happy with my creation doesn’t mean someone won’t be happy receiving it!

Each stamper, creator, imagineer, artist, inventor (or whatever you call us!) has their own method to creating cards. It may not work for everyone but I enjoy going through this process. It makes it fun for me and I also feel accomplished when I look back at the pictures of my various concepts to get to my final product!

I hope you enjoyed learning about my process a little bit. Like I said before, when I come back to the card above in a few days, I’ll post the next iteration/concept. It *could* be the final product or there could be many more rounds from there. Stay tuned!

Wishing you all a very happy Friday and weekend! I’ll be back tomorrow or Saturday with September party dates… looking forward to seeing you all soon!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

A Bowl of Cherries!

Hello!

I hope everyone had a good week. I can’t believe it’s Saturday already! I also can’t believe we’re winding down summer and it’s already Labor Day weekend! I hope everyone enjoys it. If you are traveling this Labor Day, please be safe. I’ve spent the last two days with friends and will be spending the rest of the weekend with friends and family, both in D.C. and York, and I couldn’t ask for a better weekend!

For some of my friends (and for me), this last week was long and rough! School started this week and I spent a good part of the week finding classes that would both satisfy my remaining few credits I have left in my MBA and ones that I would be able to survive for the next 15 weeks! I think I found two good ones on Tuesday night and Friday afternoon. Wish me luck!

Surviving a difficult week got my creative juices flowing. I started to think about the Giggle Greetings Stamp Set (Item #131062 – Wood or #131065 – Clear). This is a great stamp set to own because the pictures and the greetings are just TOO CUTE! Here’s a picture of the stamp set:

Giggle Greetings Stamp SetThe other reason this is a cute stamp set is because you can use Blendabilities to color the images. Based on the title of my post, you can probably tell which image and saying I decided to use on a card! Here is the finished card:

Giggle Greetings Card

The card base and matching Blendabilities color is Coastal Cabana. I also used Cherry Cobbler Blendabilities and cardstock, and 3/4″ Chevron Ribbon in Cherry Cobbler to provide accent. The greeting is from the Gifts of Kindness Stamp Set (Item #130441 – Wood or #130444 – Clear) punched using the Modern Label Punch. This card is dedicated to anyone and everyone who had a difficult week like me! My hope is that next week life will be a sweet bowl of cherries and not the pits!

So with this post, I also wanted to let you know about a few other announcements!

#1 – the Holiday Catalog was released this week! That’s right, it may only be the last week of August but it’s not too early to start looking at the holidays. The 2014 Holiday Catalog includes Halloween, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s! Feel free to click on the link above to browse the online catalog on the Store. If you’d like a physical catalog, please feel free to contact me and I’d be happy to drop one off or mail one to you! I just started my second year as a demonstrator and this is my second holiday catalog! This one is even more exciting than last year’s. It’s more colorful and the new stamp sets are so cute. I’ll be spending some time over the next few days making some cards from the holiday stamp sets and will post them on here and Pinterest! Stay tuned!

#2 – please stay tuned to the blog! My upline, Wendy, and I are working on finalizing dates for September for a few great parties – our monthly Paper Pumpkin Party AND a Holiday Wreath Party! We will be coming together to share company and make the Frightful Wreath Simply Created Kit, found in the Holiday Catalog! Please consider joining us for these awesome workshops!

#3 – through September 10th, the Paper Pumpkin Promotion is still going on! Remember, if you sign up by September 10th, you’ll receive the September 2014 and October 2014 kit for 50% off! I know you’ll love your Paper Pumpkin kits, but remember, Paper Pumpkin is a monthly subscription, so you can try out Paper Pumpkin for September and October and if it’s just not for you, that’s fine; you can stop your subscription and/or take a month off if you’d like! To sign up for Paper Pumpkin and receive the 50% off offer, simply click on THIS LINK. When prompted for a Promo Code, enter HALFOFF2 and you’re all set! Please feel free to contact me with any questions.

#4 – Finally, please remember that Stampin’ Up! posts new Weekly Deals each Tuesday. Since the Weekly Deals will be ongoing, I will be posting a permanent link on my blog for you to preview the deals each week! Please remember that Weekly Deals expire (and new ones are posted) each Tuesday at 12:00 a.m. MT!

Again, wishing everyone a very happy, festive and fun Labor Day weekend! Please be safe and enjoy! I’ll be posting holiday cards soon and the dates for September parties! I look forward to hearing from you and possibly seeing you at a party soon! Take care!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven

 

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

Back in the Air Again…

Hi Everyone!

I hope you had a good week! It’s Friday again! I can’t believe how fast this week has gone by. I’m so sorry I’ve been absent for most of the week; I was vacationing in San Diego visiting my cousins. I’m currently on a flight from San Diego to Dallas/Ft. Worth and then on my way back home to D.C.

While I will be happy to be home, I have to say that the last nine days have been amazing. From starting my trip in Salt Lake City at Inspire. Create. Share 2014, to then visiting San Diego, Legoland and Disneyland, it’s been quite a packed few days.

I promised last week that I would provide a recap of my first Stampin’ Up! Convention, and I do not want to disappoint. However, before I move on to my Thursday recap, I wanted to share this picture with you. It’s a picture of Pluto and me at Disney’s California Adventure.

Pluto and Steven

Pluto is my favorite Disney character since my first trip to Walt Disney World in 1998. I’m not sure why he’s my favorite but I guess it’s because he’s the most “normal,” meaning he doesn’t stand on two legs and talk all goofy (lol); rather, he’s like a regular dog and Mickey’s best friend. I hope you enjoy!

Moving on to Convention!

Thursday was a most wonderful day! Wendy, Pauline and I woke up extra early and enjoyed a good breakfast at the Hilton Salt Lake City Center – to make sure we were good and nourished for our long day ahead. We headed over to the Salt Palace Convention Center at about 8:00 a.m. While we were waiting for the Main Stage doors to open at 8:30 a.m., we were swapping cards. I made about 50 general swap cards and was happy to be able to distribute them. In general, the cards I received during the general swap were beautiful and I was happy to swap with everyone. I received a lot of great feedback about my card too and many people were happy to see a male demonstrator.

Thursday’s General Session started at 9:00 a.m. and it was amazing! To start the General Session, company employees from various departments appeared on stage. Departments such as information technology, human resources, sales, demonstrator support, etc. were announced overhead and then ran down the main aisle to great audience applause. I know from running a small business that the success of the business depends on everyone, and it was nice to get to see the people that help support Stampin’ Up! everyday and make my creativity with great products possible!

After the introductions, Shelli Gardner came on stage and welcomed us to Inspire. Create. Share 2014. Now, if you’ve never heard Shelli speak, all I can say is wow. I’ve heard her a few times on YouTube videos, at the Catalog Premier and on the Grand Vacations trip, but not otherwise live in close audience. Shelli is not only an amazing speaker, but she’s also very motivating. Her enthusiasm not only impresses me as a Stampin’ Up! demonstrator but also as a business owner myself.

One of the big things that was announced and unveiled at the first General Session was the 2014 Holiday Catalog. This is the first time Stampin’ Up! has unveiled the holiday catalog at Convention and it was amazing!

While I cannot show you individual pages of the new holiday catalog yet, I can tell you that it’s amazing. The products being offered for the holidays are awesome and (IMHO) much better than last year. The kits are awesome (more about those later) and gift wrap is back for this year.

The holiday catalog will be available to order from on August 28th. In the meantime, I’ll be doing a holiday preview in August where I’ll have some of the holiday items on preview.

In the meantime, and as a little sneak peek, here is a picture of the cover of the 2014 Holiday Catalog. I hope you enjoy:

Holiday Catalog Preview

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the upcoming holiday catalog, dates you can order, or if you’d like to be put on my mailing list to receive a new holiday catalog in August!

After the General Session concluded, our group, including Pauline and Wendy, and Cathy, Jane, Kim and others moved to Hall C where we had our first of two Inspire. Create. Share 2014 Workshops. At this workshop we made cards using the new Kinda Eclectic Stamp Set. This stamp set is a wonderful addition to anyone’s stamp collection and includes beautiful stamps that can be used in any design.

Here is a preview of the stamps available in the set:

Kinda Eclectic

Unfortunately, the cards I made at the first workshop got buried in my luggage before I could take a picture, but I’ll be posting a picture later of the cards that we made at this great workshop.

After the Workshop, our group split up for a bit. Some went to some breakout sessions that were being held. I attended my second Convention Swap.  It was the All Occasions swap. We were asked to make cards that celebrated all occasions, such as birthday, holiday, thanks, etc. I made 25+2 cards for four groups and swapped with some truly amazing and creative demonstrators. In a later post, I’m excited to showcase some of my favorite swaps from this event.

After finishing at the swap, I accidentally (lol) ventured into the Gathering Place where the Convention Store was located. Now, for this year Stampin’ Up! did something a little different. In conjunction with unveiling the holiday catalog, Stampin’ Up! allowed demonstrators attending Convention to purchase select merchandise from the catalog. If you carried it with you, you were not charged shipping and you even received modified host benefits.

Well, as I wrote in text message to a few of my friends, the Convention Store got me into a little trouble (i.e. they gave me a BOX to carry out my goodies instead of a bag or two!)

Convention Store Sign

Needless to say, I needed a quick stop back at the hotel to drop off my new toys. I met Wendy at the lobby and we ventured back to the hotel for a quick pit stop!

After unloading my Convention box, we ventured back over to the Convention Center. Upon looking at our schedule we realized that the time we had scheduled to visit the home office in Riverton would not be sufficient in order to make it back for our 7:00 p.m. class (that we had paid for). To remedy this, we stood standby for an earlier bus and were soon on our way to Riverton.

It took about 25 minutes with traffic to arrive in Riverton but was well worth the time and the trip! The home office is beautiful. The 2-story water effect on the lower level is amazing and Wendy and I were both wow’ed by the distribution center! If you’re familiar with Amazon’s distribution center model, Stampin’ Up! uses the same model. The distribution center is divided into various zones. Your order being fulfilled is transported by conveyor and if an item you’ve ordered is in that zone, your box drops to a lower belt and lights light up letting the zone fulfillment person know which items to pick. They’re then placed in the box and reset to the upper conveyor. We were told at the distribution center that as many as 18 pickers could pick your order if it’s a large order! The center was truly amazing.

Upon returning from the Home Office, Wendy and I grabbed a bite to eat and then made our way back to the Convention Center for our 7:00 p.m. class. At the class we worked on a Simply Created Kit to be released in the 2014 Holiday catalog called Watercolor Wonder. In a previous post, I previewed a card made at this class and I’ll be excited to further work with this kit when I return home. As an aside, I must tell you that this was Cathy’s favorite kit of all at Convention. And Cathy, if you’re reading this, I’m so excited to see all the fun projects you’ll be making with watercolors! 🙂

Finally, our busy first “official” day of Convention ended with drinks at Spencer’s in the Hilton. For our drinks we were joined by others we had traveled with for a larger group and had such a great time in each other’s company. We all agreed that one of the best parts of Convention is the company, catching up with existing friends and making new friends!

The first day of Convention was so great. I’m so happy to share it with you. I’ll be back later on in the flight or this evening to post about Friday! Also, I plan to clean up my Stampin’ Studio (new name I learned in Convention) tomorrow and I should have some new projects for you by the end of the weekend!

Please enjoy your weekend. Thanks for reading and I can’t wait to share more with you soon!

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

Card Swaps are Finished!

Hello!

I’m happy to report that 269 card (and card fronts) later, my scheduled card swaps are finished! I don’t think I’m finished with making cards for swaps yet, as I want to prepare a few for general swaps, but I’m happy that I’ve finished my committed swaps! In the end, I’ll probably make 30-50 general swap cards on Monday and Tuesday to take with me. The way I packed, they’ll be easy to fit in at the last minute.

So the last card that I designed was for an All Occasions swap taking place on Thursday. I signed up for all 4 groups being offered and had to design four different cards in quantities of 27 (25+2 hostess cards).

Here is my final design:

Camping

This isn’t an overly sophisticated card, as you can tell, but I like it because it reminds me of calmer times. It’s been a long time since I’ve gone camping, which I define as a tent in the woods, but I have fond memories of Cub Scouts at Camp Tuckahoe and other camping trips!

The trees and tent are stamped in Early Espresso from the Lovely as a Tree Stamp Set (Item #128655 – Wood or #127793 – Clear) and The Great Outdoors Stamp Set (Item #132091 – Wood or #126562 – Clear).  The “sky” effect is a stamp from the Work of Art Stamp Set (Item #134111 – Wood or #134114 – Clear). The greeting is from the Project Life Remember This Photopolymer Stamp Set (Item #135786). The card base and greeting base is Island Indigo.  The card front and greeting front is Smoky Slate.  The moon was stamped with the Whisper White Classic Stampin’ Pad (Item #101731).

I hope you enjoy this card and, like me, this card has you reminiscing of calmer times! I still have my 3-D project to finish, which I’m excited to post when it’s complete, and then on to packing and getting ready! I’ll definitely be back one more time before leaving for Convention to post the Weekly Deals and another update; see you soon!

Have a great week!

Let’s stamp the day (and night) away!

-Steven