Sunday, April 25, 2010

The countdown is on. . .

The new Summer Mini Catalog starts next Saturday, May 1st, and so as is usually the case before the launch of something new, I was under the gun to get swaps designed and in the mail. I always seem to think I have plenty of time. . . and then find myself wishing my SUV had wings so I'll make it to the post office before it closes! Fortunately, I do plenty of reading on Splitcoast and know that I'm not the only person who does this!

I needed two designs for the swaps I signed up for. I decided that I was going to challenge myself to use new stamps that no one else had selected for their swaps, and also that I would use only colors that were not going to be retiring. That turned out to be a little more challenging than I thought--since I had already sketched designs for some of the new floral sets (which won't go to waste, of course), AND I found that I still have a little "work" to do in coming to terms with losing some of my favorite "go-to" colors. But with the deadline looming, I got to work.

I used the new "Builder Wheels" (p. 8-9 of the Summer Mini) for both of my swap designs and in the process discovered that I love them even more than I thought I would. The "wheel spindle and spacers" that the new thinner-style wheels go on is very well designed so you can use one, two or three of the wheels at a time, but because the wheels are quite narrow, rolling just a single takes a very steady hand (that I evidently don't have based on my pile of boo-boo's!), so I'll be using at least 2 of these new wheels together. The triple-cell cartridge has plastic spacers between each of the 3 foam pieces so the 3 colors you load don't bleed together. LOVE that and will be adding a ton of these new cartridges to my collection!

This first swap uses the Square Lattice embossing folder for the background layer, just like my "Mystery Image" post from yesterday. With Not Quite Navy, Elegant Eggplant and Old Olive loaded in the ink cartridge, I wheeled the "Birthday," "So Many Stars" and "Candle Crazy" wheels over full sheets of cardstock and then cut the sheets to size. After wrapping a piece of 5/8" Old Olive grosgrain ribbon around the wheeled layer, I added a sentiment from the "On Your Birthday" set that is punched out with the wide oval punch, and then backed with another wide oval punch of Elegant Eggplant. It's probably hard to see, but after punching out the eggplant ovals, I ran them through the embossing folder, and then when I layered them, I shifted the oval so that it is really only showing on the right side. On the left side of the sentiment, I inserted a silver Star Designer Brad, but then promptly covered it up with a punch-out made with the new "Itty Bitty Bits" stamp set and coordinating punch. I didn't really want to cover up the silver star that is in the brad, but somehow I needed to add a little more color to the center to balance everything. (How's that for an "un-official-no-I-don't-have-a-design-degree/don't-have-the-foggiest-idea-why-it-should-be-this-way" reason!)

Since I really seem to like lots of flowers and cheery, girl-y colors, I was relatively pleased with how this more-masculine-themed card turned out.

In my post of the "You make me happy" pup, I used the side of the Square Lattice embossed sheet that showed the "plus" signs. For this swap I used the side that the name of the folder implies:

This side looks more like intertwined squares or a trellis. Kinda cool that one folder provides two looks!

The second of my swap designs also uses 2 of the new wheels, but in a brighter color scheme. The focal point of this card uses one of the new "ala carte" stamps called "Birthday Block" that is on p. 41 of the Summer Mini. I embossed that image by first stamping the block on my Versamark pad and then immediately going to my Tempting Turquoise Classic pad and finally to the paper. (Adding the Versamark to the stamp helps make the image a little more sticky and allows the clear embossing powder to stick.) After heat embossing, I used Real Red, Pumpkin Pie and So Saffron markers to color in "you," "happy," and the candle. Having the image embossed makes staying in the lines super-easy!

The base of this card is black, not that you can really tell that, and what I did was trim off a 1/2" strip of the front. The Pumpkin Pie grosgrain ribbon is adhered to the very edge of the front of the card, while the Tempting Turquoise and Real Red pieces are adhered to the back/inside edge.

The star embellishments are just cardstock punches with "black" brads holding the stacks together. I say "black," because I am always-and-forever out of black brads (while I have TONS of the 3 other colors that come in the Vintage brads set!) so I had to get creative. I have colored brads with my black Sharpie marker before, but for this swap I needed far too many to have the patience to do that, so I tried something new. I took some of my Rich Regals colored brads and pressed them into my black Staz-on pad to see how that would work. (I used a tweezers to prevent overly-messy fingers!) They looked good, but needed a while to dry--so if you're going to try this, allow extra time--overnight would be good.

Now--on to the next project: cleaning up from all this creating! Hope you have a good day!

Saturday, April 24, 2010

"Mystery Image" Challenge

I participate in a couple of online swap groups several times a year, and one of the groups issues a variety of different swap "assignments" and also, weekly challenges. My week itself is usually enough of a challenge (!!!) so it isn't often that I put myself on that roster, but a couple weeks ago, the challenge topic piqued my interest because the focal image was to be a "mystery image" that came to us in the mail. That sounded interesting, especially on a dreary day during "spring break" when it seemed that half the world was somewhere else using up all MY sun! So I signed myself up and waited for the mailman to show up.

When the envelope arrived, this cute little puppy spilled out and it was time for me to get creative. All I had to do was create one full card to send to my swap partner--I could do that!

I dove into my stash of preordered upcoming-Summer-Mini-Catalog items and decided to use the Square Lattice Embossing Folder as a background. Just looking at this pup can't do anything but make you happy, so I used a portion of one of the Boho Backgrounds stamps for the sentiment and had that peek through the lattice. After watercoloring the image, I glossed up the dog's tag and the daisy with Crystal Effects and added a sprinkle of Dazzling Diamonds glitter over the daisy for a little extra sparkle.

One thing that I learned about my first run with the lattice embossing folder (besides the fact that this thing is going to get used A LOT!) is that if you're going to both emboss and punch a piece of cardstock, you want to punch first. Because the process of embossing softens up the paper fibers, when you go to use your punch you will not get as crisp of a punch. If you look closely, my Word Window shape is a little fuzzy.

It was fun to "have" to do a little playing, and it was also fun to get the card from my partner later that week (below). There were several of us who signed up for this challenge, and although the colors used for the pup were similar in most of the designs, everything else about the cards was totally fun and unique.

Friday, April 23, 2010

New Color Excitement!

As most of you have heard by now, on July 1st we will all have some yummy, new colors to work with as Stampin' Up! introduces their new Color Collections. Color is such a huge part of Stampin' Up!, scrapbooking and card making, and SU! is updating their color palate to stay current with the latest trends in color and design. I'm rather excited about all of this and can't wait to get my hands on all the new stuff--but before I get too far ahead of myself, I wanted to put together a good explanation of all the details, because I've heard A LOT of variations on how all this is being interpreted.

In preparation for these new collections (which include 5 brand new colors and some of our favorite In Colors from the past), Stampin' Up! will be saying a fond farewell to some of the current colors on July 1st: Almost Amethyst, Apricot Appeal, Ballet Blue, Barely Banana, Blush Blossom, Bordering Blue, Brilliant Blue, Brocade Blue, Cameo Coral, Close to Cocoa, Creamy Caramel, Gable Green, Glorious Green, Going Gray, Green Galore, Handsome Hunter, Lavender Lace, Lovely Lilac, Mellow Moss, Only Orange, Orchid Opulence, Pale Plum, Pink Passion, Pixie Pink, Really Rust, Ruby Red, Sage Shadow, Summer Sun, Taken with Teal, YoYo Yellow.

As with all change, the loss of all these colors seems harsh at first, but I know we'll all love the new offerings once we start playing with them. All I have to do is recall how we were sometimes less-than-excited about some of the In Color offerings at first--and then were shrieking when their rein was over because they had become absolute favorites. But, that's not to say that there are definitely some reasons that you may want to make sure you have a supply of certain colors before they are gone. If you have a favorite, favorite, favorite color that will be leaving, you may want to make sure that you have a pack or two of cardstock, a full reinker, and maybe even a fresh marker, so you're all set before it's too late. Or, if you're like me, and "your" (the kids') school colors are ones that will be going away, check your supply so you'll have what you need to make announcements, invitations or thank you cards. Contact me to let me know what you need, or visit my online store to stock up.

OK - so enough already--on to the specifics of all the new stuff! Our current 4 color families will be updated and called "collections." There will be ten main "core" colors in each of the four Color Collections.

There will be 5 new colors: Daffodil Delight, Early Espresso, Cajun Craze, Cherry Cobbler and Marina Mist-- and 10 Returning In Colors: Baja Breeze, Melon Mambo, Pacific Point, Rich Razzleberry, River Rock, Riding Hood Red, Pink Pirouette, Soft Suede, Tangerine Tango and Wild Wasabi.

The Brights Collection will include Regal Rose, Melon Mambo, Rich Razzleberry, Pacific Point, Tempting Turquoise, Old Olive, Daffodil Delight, Pumpkin Pie, Tangerine Tango, and Real Red.

The Neutrals Collection will include River Rock, Chocolate Chip, Soft Suede, Early Espresso, Crumb Cake (formerly Kraft), Sahara Sand, Very Vanilla, Whisper White, Basic Gray, and Basic Black.

The Regals Collection will include Elegant Eggplant, Night of Navy, Not Quite Navy, Always Artichoke, Garden Green, More Mustard, Cajun Craze, Riding Hood Red, Cherry Cobbler, and Bravo Burgundy.

The Subtles Collection will include Pink Pirouette, Pretty in Pink, Rose Red, Perfect Plum, Marina Mist, Bashful Blue, Baja Breeze, Wild Wasabi, Certainly Celery, and So Saffron.

The In-Color concept will continue, but with some change for the better! Stampin Up! will introduce 5 new In-Colors with the 2010/2011 Idea Book & Catalog on July 1st. (Watch for a sneak peak in June.) These new In-Colors will be available for 2 years! But wait, there's more! Then for 2011/12, another 5 new In-Colors will be introduced for a total of 10 In-Colors! The following year, the 2010/11 bunch will retire and a new set will be introduced! AWESOME.... RIGHT? Once a set of 5 is introduced, we get to play with those for 2 years instead of just one.

To help all of us update our supplies with these new colors, there will be NEW Color Kits for Stampin' Write Markers, Stampin' Pastels and Watercolor Wonder Crayons. This way you can add to your already existing collection by only adding the new colors! Plus - there will be an awesome NEW Color Coach tool that you'll find even more useful than the current one!

Gotta run now, but I'll be back soon. Contrary to my (lack of) activity here in "blogland," I've been anything but asleep! I finally pushed a bunch of swaps for the upcoming Summer Mini Catalog out the door, may be recovered from the marathon stamp camp last weekend, and I have yet another craft room IKEA-update to show you--but today's the last sunny day for a few, so I'm out to take care of the "colors" in the yard instead of the craft room! See ya later!
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