Friday, July 3, 2009

Lazy Days of Summer???

Ah, yes, it's been another crazy week or two around here. When does the "vacation" portion of the summer start??? But I can't really complain, because some of the hectic pace around here involved some stamping events, and that's always the fun kind of busy!

Last Friday night was the "Last Chance for Summer Fun" party (AKA the retirement party). We all laughed and stamped and ate, and laughed some more! The running joke was that we all needed some sort of intervention for this "addiction" of ours, but agreed that that wouldn't be happening anytime soon!

The annual retirement party is one of the two "mystery hostess" events that I hold during the year where the hostess benefits get raffled off at the end of the evening. We had a first in the history of the mystery parties I've given: EVERY SINGLE PERSON who attended the party won either a hostess stamp set or $30 in free product! How cool is that??? After the party, I asked Melissa, the "official ticket picker," if she had somehow worked it so that everyone won something, but she swears up and down on a stack of new catalogs that it's just the way it worked out! Very cool!

Anyway, so I mentioned that we did get around to stamping during this event. Would you like to see what we did? Read on!

The first project used the now-retired "Wonderful You" stamp set and coordinating "Stems & Silhouettes" jumbo wheel, and Pretty in Pink, Certainly Celery and Very Vanilla cardstock. The flower image was stamped on a scrap of vanilla cardstock with Basic Brown ink and colored in with a few strokes of a Regal Rose watercolor crayon and an Aquapainter. After cutting the flower out and adding it to the card with a Mini Glue Dot, another Mini Glue Dot was added to the center of the flower and covered with Micro Beads, just to give it a little shine and texture. Although this stamp set and wheel are now retired, you could easily substitute another set and create this same basic card. That's the great thing about stamping--it's so flexible!

This next project uses a background technique that was new to everyone. Called "Chalked Grid," it involves using daubers to add chalk circles (about the size of half dollars) to white cardstock. Then the white eraser that comes with the "Pastels" (chalk) set is used, along with a ruler, to remove lines of the chalk. To make the sample shown below I moved the the ruler about a half inch each time, but the grid squares could be larger or smaller, perhaps depending on the scale of your card.

The focal point of the card used the now-retired "Say It With Scallops" Ronald McDonald House Benefit stamp set. ($2 from each set sold throughout the year went to the RMH. The new set for this year is "Very Thankful," a nice selection of 4 thank-you stamps. Mine is coming on Monday! Yippee!!) The center image was stamped with Bashful Blue ink, layered onto a "Scallop Square" punchout, and dressed up a bit with a "Three for You" punched flower and a brad. An easy but cute card to send anytime!

Another stamping event that I held last week was an "Inter-Generational Tea" that a local church sponsored after one of the services last Sunday. About 35 people came for a little refreshment and stamping time. About a third of the stampers were children, and probably an equal number were grandmas! It was a delightful time as experienced stampers and those who had never touched a rubber stamp before came together for fellowship and a little crafting.

We did three different cards. Because of the diversity of the group, the projects were purposely kept simple. This first card is going to look remarkably familiar! I substituted Designer Paper for the chalked technique, and even eliminated the Scallop Square punchout, to make this project quick and simple for everyone.

Because almost everyone loves to color, I always try to include a project that provides that opportunity. This card uses the "A Flower for All Seasons" stamp set for its focal point. The stampers were able to choose which of the four stamps they would use on their card, and after stamping the image with Staz On ink, they used a blender pen and the chalks to add their color. (This card has a Whisper White card base, which I realize now is a little hard to see in the scan, but I have a puppy begging for a little outside time, so I'll just leave it for now--the scan, not the puppy! Puppy, you ask? When did we get a puppy? I'll have to explain that later. TOLD you it's been busy around here!)

(One more thing about this card--I had some experienced stampers in the crowd too, and was happy that even though we were doing simple stuff, I was able to show them a trick or two! They liked "my" foolproof way of adding ribbon to the card--add some double-stick adhesive to the back of the stamped piece. Wrap a 4" piece of ribbon around the front and catch it on the adhesive on the back. Tie another 4" piece of ribbon onto the first piece and trim the ends. Voila! Perfect "bow.")

For this third project (quickly because I really do need to take Sydney for a "w."), I broke out some of the luscious Melon Mambo cardstock and ribbon that is part of the new collection of In Colors for 2009-2010. Because we had so many stampers, I had them use one of two different butterfly stamps from the "Garden Whimsey" stamp set. They were able to choose from the boxes of greeting stamps I brought so that they could make a card for an occasion they had coming up. We added 2-Way Glue and Dazzling Diamonds glitter to the white butterfly spots for a sparkly extra.

So, gotta scoot for today, but I want to remind you about the upcoming New Catalog Open House I'm holding on Friday, July 24th, from 11 AM to 7 PM. I'll have lots of things from our new catalog out on display, door prizes, and as always, a couple projects for you to stamp with some of the new stuff. Free shipping and tax on any orders placed that day (either in-person or via email.) Let me know if you are coming and it'll earn you an extra door prize slip!
Have a great Fourth of July holiday!

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