Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Birthdays, Open House, swaps. . . and, oh yeah, MORE technology snafus. . .

I know it sounds like a broken record, but man, where do these weeks go??? What have I done in the more-than-a-week since I've been here???

The days all seem to blend together, BUT I'm happy to report that in the past few days I've experienced what will hopefully be my last computer change-over for at least a couple years AND I've finally found ALL the tabletops in my craft room--a very rare occurance!! I think my old brain has finally figured out yet another new photo editing program and ALL my little rubber stamp friends are back in their repective boxes! What a great feeling!! Of course, the calm, everything-in-its-place, peacefulness lasted about 5 minutes because, as usual, I have a long list of projects that need to be completed.

Both my mom and my daughter have birthdays in July, my New Catalog Open House is in two days, and I've signed up to do a few new-catalog swaps. So, not long after the wastebaskets got emptied, I was back making a mess! What fun, especially since I was using a lot of the new toys the UPS man has delivered in the past couple of weeks!

For my mom's birthday, I pulled the notes I had for making a "tri-shutter" card out of my "neat ideas to try" folder, decided to get my new "For All You Do" stamp set inky, took a deep breath, and got busy. Why is it we humans resist trying new stuff so much??? As usual, this different card design wasn't all that difficult, but it had been in that folder for a bit because I thought it was going to take too long or some darn thing. Once I got going, I had a great time putting it all together, and it really didn't take too long (if you subtract the time I spent admiring it!!!)

This is what the card looks like just "out of the envelope. . ."

And when opened, it looks like this. . .

It starts out as a piece of cardstock cut to 12" X 5-1/2" and then scored at 2", 4", 8" and 10". Next, two slits need to be made "connecting" the 2" score to the 10" score. The slits are 1-1/2" from the "top" and "bottom" of the card. This can be done using a craft knife, a cutting mat and a ruler, but I made super-quick work of this by using my Fiskars paper cutter with the orange blade. That cutter has always been my favorite whenever I have to cut something in the center of a piece of paper. It's easy to place the cardstock 1-1/2" into the cutter, and then "drop" the blade right on the point where the 2" score line starts. Pull all the way down until you get to the 10" score line, and then repeat for the other side. Got that?
Explaining the folding "ins and outs" could get even hairier than that explanation I just wrote up there, so I figured a top-view picture might be easier. . .
Once you have all the folding going in the right directions (which really, truly doesn't take that long once you pull that 12 X 12 piece of cardstock out the drawer!) the only thing left to do is to decorate it the way you want to.

There are lots of gorgeous samples out there on SCS and other places, most using two coordinating patterns of Designer Paper to decorate each of the areas. I didn't have any paper that worked in the color scheme I wanted, so I just stamped what I needed. I made myself a "template" of that "T" piece that is on either end of the card so that I can just trace it when I make another of these cards. I really think that the "T" pieces are necessary to help stabilize the card, since part of the "T" covers that middle score, but I've seen cards that didn't use it that seem to work too.

Some of the cards I looked at used 3D embellishments like flowers from the Pretties kit, Hodgepodge Hardware or other little charms. Since I was including a couple of gift cards in the design of my card, I didn't use anything but glitter and a little vellum for embellishing because I didn't want to add any more bulk.

The center section of the card is just the right size for a gift card pocket. After I cut the cardstock to fit the center section--but before gluing it in place-- I put the gift cards under it and used my bone folder to "score" around the sides and bottom of the gift cards so that they fit in the pocket more easily. I also used a circle punch to create the "thumb tab" or whatever it's called. I stamped the butterfly from the " For All You Do" set twice on the pocket, and then used the dotted stamp from that set and the "kissing" technique to stamp on vellum for the pop-up wings. I ended up cutting the vellum wings apart and adhering them separately because they looked less fake that way.

I was pretty pleased with the results, and with the fact that the card didn't take 3 weeks like my brain seemed convinced it would!! The card even arrived at my mom's ON her birthday!! Extra bonus!! (Hope you enjoyed your birthday, Mom--and that you don't mind that I'm sharing your card. Love you bunches!!)

Another project that had the potential of taking 3 weeks was the design of one of several swaps I need to get out in the next couple weeks. For this one I knew I wanted to use the new "Service & Sacrafice" stamp set and the coordinating jumbo wheel, "Hero." I was so excited to see that the new catalog had some very nice choices for making cards for our service men and women and their families.

The red, white and blue color scheme was a no-brainer, but now for the "3 week" part! What to do, what to do. . .? (This is also the part that renders my tabletops invisible in a hurry!) I stamped the little star and flag stamps from the set on some twill tape, some ribbon, and futzed around with punches like I always do, but wasn't happy until it hit me that the "baby wipe" technique would be perfect for the Hero wheel.

With this technique you are essentially creating your own custom stamp pad with reinkers and wipes. Just add the colors you want to a couple thicknesses of baby wipe, until you have what you need. Since I was using the jumbo wheel, I had to make my "stamp pad" rather large, but it's not always necessary. I rolled my images on glossy cardstock, and I had to clean my wheel after each of the 20 strips I needed to keep the colors true, but that might not always be necessary either, depending on your desired result.

After stamping the sentiment on glossy cardstock and punching it out with the Wide Oval Punch, I punched 2 more Wide Ovals from Brilliant Blue cardstock and adhered them to the back of the sentiment, layered that over Real Red 5/8" grosgrain ribbon and added gold brads. The Brilliant Blue cardstock at the top of the cards is stamped with little stars with Brilliant Blue ink. A simple design, but overall, I achieved the respectful look I was going for--and it didn't take 3 weeks!

Have some Open House prep to finish today--and it's raining, so hopefully it'll be easy to focus on staying indoors and getting to work! If you're in my area on Friday, hope you stop in! Hope to be back soon to share the birthday card I made for Melissa.

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