Thursday, 27 November 2008

Something a little bit different...

This is the first card I have made using the Petal Prints set. I have always admired it, but don't have it in my collection (yet!) Thanks to Kim Tonnet I was able to borrow it and have a play. I don't know why this is the first idea I had to do with it, but I like it! I also had a bit of a dig through my hoard to find some neglected mulberry papers and a Hero Arts background stamp.

The base card is Whisper White, stamped in Ruby Red using the Hero Arts background stamp both front and back.
I then used some Vellum tape to overlay the base with the flecked mulberry paper. Because this resulted in a 'vanilla' colour, I chose Very vanilla cardstock to stamp my image and greeting with, in Ruby Red.
I stamped all over the cardstock sheet, using the 'stamping off' technique to vary the intensity of the red, and using the 2 step stamps to overlay. It's sort of a different take on the 'one sheet wonder' style cards I guess.
I used a ticket corner punch to nip out the corners and mounted it on Ruby Red cardstock, with cream brads in the corners. The sentiment is from "Occasional Greetings" and has a Petal Prints flower stamped off 3 times behind it. Possibly should have been 4 x - maybe next time!! This panel is also mounted onto Ruby Red card and popped up from the base with Stampin Dimensionals foam dots. What do you think??

oops! forgot about the flowers!! I had some Prima flowers that matched Ruby Red and Very Vanilla SO well, I just had to add those as well, with a red brad in the middle. Ta da!

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

A reprieve! Marker offer extended to 14th December

Are you the sort of person who wants to have their cake and eat it too?? Have you been holding onto your craft budget waiting to see what's in the Summer Mini, studiously trying to convince yourself that you don't REALLY want some yummy markers??

If so, you are in luck! As of this morning, Stampin' Up! have extended the deadline for the Individual Marker promotion until Sunday 14th December. So, now you can order from the Summer Mini AND get some markers at the same time!! :) This is of course hot on the heels of my email newsletter last night, advising you all of the 5 days (now 4) left *rolling eyes*, making an unintentional liar out of me!!

It doesn't extend to the Spring Mini or rub-ons offer though, so I'm standing by to take your getting-down-to-the-last-minute orders for those.
Enjoy your Wednesday everyone!

Monday, 24 November 2008

Just 6 days left!!

Time is definitely running out to order from several promotions running only until 30th November...

Spring Mini ends - The papers, accessories and stamp sets in the Spring Mini, including the Christmas themed items will be disappearing. While some products may make a re-appearance in upcoming main Idea Book and Catalogues, it's a risk you might not want to take if it's on your 'must have' list!

Rub-ons Promotion - Have you tried our lovely Rub-ons yet? There are two large 15 x 30cm sheets in each pack, one black and one white, for just $15.96, that's 20% off their already great-value price! Excellent for applying to personalised Christmas gifts!

Single Markers Promotion - There is just 6 days left to grab some individual markers, so check your sets for any that are lost or damaged, or take a unique opportunity to build your own custom set of colours. See my post below "A Baker's Dozen" for my picks for an all-purpose great colour mix.

I'm taking orders up until 8pm on Sunday, when my final order will be submitted. Please don't miss out! Email or call 02 9484 9447

Remember there is also a prize of a stamp set plus ribbon sampler pack to be drawn from November orders of $50 or more! You must be on my Newsletter Subscriber list to be entered, so if you're not signed up, click on the box at the side NOW!

Here's a bonus card, to show that not every creation needs to be a masterpiece of stamping art! This card was put together literally in 5 minutes flat - the time I had between finishing wrapping the birthday gift for the last minute invitation and when I dashed out the door with 7yo in tow. I'm a bit ho-hum about it in terms of it's creative merit, but hey! It was certainly a lot faster than stopping at the shops for a bought card!! I have used the fabulous markers to colour the little birdy, he has an orange beak and legs if you look closely!! The background is the versatile Polka Dot, stamped in Brilliant Blue on a Brilliant Blue card base. "Wild about You" and "Seeing Spots" were the sets used, in Wild Wasabi and Real Red on Whisper White cardstock, and the greeting is from the "Family Phrases" set. I used the Seeing Spots stamps to stamp the border of the white panel, stamping off the edge to link with the spotty background. I used River Rock ink and an Aquapainter brush to put some 'dirt' for the croc to stand on, and assembled.... I added some white gel pen accents to finish. Voila! I'm sure that took longer to write than to actually DO! The 8yo recipient was delighted!

Friday, 21 November 2008

A technique tip - solid stamps

Probably the most common stamping hiccup I'm questioned about is how to get a decent impression from solid stamps - the ones where there is a large block of colour, rather than outline-style. While creating the rainbow of markers image in the post below, I was reminded of this, when I used the "Tart and Tangy" set, full of these bold solid stamps. Here are a few tips I can offer to hopefully improve your results:

* New stamps will nearly always have a residue of some kind on the surface, from the moulding/manufacturing process. This residue is usually oil-based, which is why the water-based marker ink tends to bead up on the stamp surface - and this inevitably leads to blobby incomplete stamped impressions. Before I was truly converted to the delight of wood mounted rubber stamps, I often found the same issue with acrylic and polymer stamps. The solution?? Give all your stamps a good cleaning on the Stampin' Scrub with a squirt of Stampin' Mist cleaner before first use. The microfibre mats will gently but thoroughly remove any buildup. It's also important to clean well after using pigment based inks, which might also leave a residue

* Next - the choice of cardstock matters most for solid stamps. The fibres in our Whisper White and Very Vanilla cardstocks are tightly packed, and the surface is very smooth. Other coloured cardstocks have a rougher texture and absorb the ink a little less evenly. This is great when you are looking for a distressed or aged appearance, but for a crisp clear solid image, choose WW or VV!

* Inking technique matters too - I use the "rub and tap" method, where I first rub firmly over the surface of the inkpad and then tap gently on the pad to finish. Make sure to flip the stamp over to check ink coverage before stamping.

* For our massive background stamps, rub and tap sometimes isn't enough - a rubber brayer (102395 $23.95) will give beautifully even application of ink to your stamp, similar to applying paint to a wall with a roller. It's also useful for rolling over the top of your cardstock piece when on the background stamp, to get the best impression. (remember to rinse the colour off first, or invest in a couple of brayers for 'clean' and 'inky')

* The jeans technique - Sometimes the rubber surface is so smooth, that it won't hold the ink as a complete film coverage. This can be corrected by giving a good rub on your fave pair of denims. Note to self - pay attention and clean FIRST to avoid looking like a pre-schooler let loose in the paint box, also remember that velveteen pants will leave fluffy fibre-y bits! If the jeans don't do the trick, try your Adhesive remover eraser (103684 $3.75) to key the surface a little more intensively.

And, finally, if you still aren't satisfied, just keep on stamping - good workout will definitely improve your results, my set of "Lovely Labels" solid stamps is now behaving nicely after a trip to a stamping retreat weekend where it was well borrowed!

I hope you found this technique tip helpful, please don't hesitate to ask me YOUR questions, and I'll see what I can rustle up for future editions :)

A Baker's Dozen

Usually, it's lots cheaper to buy things in sets, compared with individually purchasing the set's contents. Yes?? Well, with the current Stampin' Write Individual marker promotion running till 30th November, it's still true, by a whopping 12 cents per marker! (insert ironic smiley here!) So, why not take the opportunity to build your own "custom" set of colours, either built around your favourites for stamping with, colours you don't own in inkpads, or around other markers you might have already. One of my Stampin' Up! uplines, the lovely Kim Tonnet gave me the idea of creating a "Baker's Dozen" of 13 markers to cover most occasions. I've selected what I think gives a nice coverage of the rainbow, remembering you always have the option of lightening up darker pen shades by use of an Aquapainter brush or Blender pen, and when applying direct to rubber, you can stamp-off first to get a paler shade on your project also.

So, what do you think? It's probably more a "Fruit Shop Dozen" based on the stamp set I used, the cute Tart and Tangy from the (soon to end!) Spring Mini (113031 $21.95) The colours are, left to right:

Chocolate Chip

Blush Blossom (for skintone)

Regal Rose

Rose Red

Real Red

Pumpkin Pie

Summer Sun

Always Artichoke

Old Olive

Certainly Celery

Bordering Blue (for creating shadow and outline effects)

Night of Navy

and.... Lovely Lilac!

Act fast to get your order to me, as this promotion only runs another 9 days, ending strictly 30th November. I am taking orders up to 8pm :) Happy colouring!

Bookmark these instructions!

Well, I didn't quite get to write the tutorial or post yesterday, but in my defense I DID take all the pics - so here are the instructions as promised...

Start with a 6x6" square of double sided Designer Series Paper - this means you can make 4 bookmarks from ONE sheet of 12x12! Place it with the face side chosen down

Fold the square in half diagonally

Fold one point back down to the long fold

Fold both pointed ends of the long fold back up to the top, to form a smaller diamond/square

Tuck the folded points down under the flap

Use a Crop-a-Dile or similar to make a hole through all layers, near the top of the folded point, you can sort of wriggle it so it doesn't make a hole through all the layers, sort of between the fold (you'll see what I mean when you try it)

Feed a folded ribbon length through the hole, a paper piercer will help, and pass the ends through the loop

Decorate a scrap of co-ordinating cardstock, here I stamped off an image from Simply Said in Old Olive and a monogram-style C from the Wild West alphabet in Not quite Navy. I layered this on a circle scallop of Not Quite Navy cardstock and stuck it firmly to the front - Sticky Strip is best for this so it won't come adrift.

Present finished bookmark to delighted child :P Easy peasy!

Thursday, 20 November 2008

A quick and easy gift

Here is a little creation that I adapted from a Kaisercraft template, for a corner page bookmark. It starts with a 6x6" square of our gorgeous double sided patterned paper, and with a few folds that are easier than they look, it transformed into an origami-like creation ideal for adding that extra touch to a gift of a book or magazine. I've dressed it up a little by adding a stamped embellishment, ribbon tail and a rhinestone brad. I hope to create a step by step photo tutorial today (HAH! I can hear you say, but I'll try!!), but for now here's a glimpse of the finished product, created in last year's Enchante papers - this year's colourway of the same designs is called Le Jardin, and it's one of my favourites. Stay tuned for instructions!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Stamp-a-Stack THIS SATURDAY!

It's the last one for the year, and a great opportunity to finish (or start!) those handmade Christmas cards you've been promising to make since, um, February! It's at my home in Cherrybrook, and there are a couple of places available. Give me a call on 9484 9447 to book, and I'll see you Saturday 10am-1pm. We're making 6 cards, 3 each of two designs, and the class cost is $15 for all materials and comprehensive written instructions. Bring a friend new to Stampin' Up! and there will be a bonus for both of you!

The cards we're making are shown above, and use some great marker techniques on glossy white cardstock - effective yet quick and easy for mass production, and you can try out the markers while they are available individually on promotion!

Saturday, 15 November 2008

A sneak Peek!

Spring Mini is almost GONE (quick!! have you sent those orders in yet??!!) And, Summer Mini is just around the corner starting December 1st. As always, there are some yummy stamps and accessories, and no way to tell what will be making a brief visit and what will be back in a future catalogue. Here's a card giving you just a little taste of what was (one of) my favourite set (s!)... I must be having a purple card phase right now... That peek will have to do you until December 1st, but if you'd like a copy of the Summer Mini mailed to you for December 1st, please join my mailing list by sending your address to my email or by clicking the box at right. Happy Guessing!

Just 2 weeks left for Spring Mini!

Don't delay, or you'll miss out!! Check your Spring Mini catalogue wishlists, stock up on the Apple Cider and Summer Picnic Designer Series Papers, stamp sets and accessories - there's only 2 weeks left!!! The last 3 months have gone so fast, and it's getting to the busy end of the year when it's easy to put things on the 'i'll do it later' pile. Phone or email your orders to me by 8pm on Sunday 30th November to make the deadline. There are other November benefits - take advantage of the single marker and rub-ons promotions, and be entered into the draw for my November Newsletter prize as well! CLICK HERE and just write "subscribe" to receive my monthly-ish newsletter in your email in-box.

The card above is a more 'pretty' design than I usually create, but I do quite like the lacy effect! It uses the soon to disappear (perhaps for good!) "Always" set (113007- p 16 Spring Mini $55.95) - a great set for Scrapbookers and cardmakers alike. I've used those bargain $4.95 single markers in Pale Plum, Perfect Plum and Mellow Moss to colour the heart, my favourite technique with both markers and this set! So much more interesting than an image stamped in one colour, and easy to do with the precision fine and brush dual marker tips. I've also used the Polka Dot background stamp and a stamp from Delight in Life Simply Sent kit, on a Designer Label punch, mounted on white taffeta ribbon, threaded with a piece of Silver Hodgepodge! Let me know what yout think of my experiment with the frilly aspects of stamping!!

Friday, 14 November 2008

A Sale-a-Bration reminder! And some Christmas Cards

Well, it's nearly my FAVOURITE time of the SU year again! Sale-a-bration will be running again in from January 1st - February 28th. Save up those Christmas gift dollars and make them go further, with a FREE extra stamp set with every individual customer order of $100 or more. Last year there were four free sets to choose from, specially created for SAB and strictly limited edition. The Christmas cards above show one of them, "Lots of Thoughts" It has a great range of sentiments for lots of occasions, and it is one I keep reaching for, even though it is officially "retired" I'm sure this year's sets will be just as great, and there is no limit, so if your wish list is BIG you could earn several! I am taking bookings now for January and February, so check your new diaries and call me on 9484 9447 to set a date! For hostesses, there are extra benefits for Level 2 workshops (with $600 or more in sales) with an additional SAB set for you!

More about the cards above... I have used Glossy White cardstock ($9.50 for 25 A4 sheets, 106555) to stamp images from the exclusive hostess set "In the Spotlight" in Wild Wasabi, Ruby Red, Garden Green and Real Red all over the sheet in a random pattern. I then cut it into strips and mounted it to create quick and easy yet striking card fronts. I have added a few brads to give some dimension also, and finished with the Lots of Thoughts Merry Wishes sentiment mounted on a scallop circle and a wide grosgrain ribbon tie.

Hope you like them!!

Wednesday, 12 November 2008

And another November Promotion!

That's right, we sure are being spoiled with the 20th Birthday Celebrations! From November 10th to 30th, take 20% off the cost of ALL Stampin' Up!'s Rub-on transfers, from both the main catalogue and the Spring Mini. There are 2 large 6x12" sheets per pack, one in white and one in black - so there is something for every coloured background. Use the words, sentiments or images on cards, or use the alphabets to add monograms for a very personal touch. Rubons have been a favourite with Scrapbookers for years, and the gorgeous designs available complement many of Stampin' Up!'s stamp sets. During this promotion, they are priced at just $15.96 per pack with any $20 spent on regular priced catalogue merchandise. They are excellent quality, with clean and smooth transfer of images - just like your favourite Scrapbooking brands such as Basic Grey. A smart demo from the Elite team (Claire Daly) worked out they are 30% cheaper than Basic Grey per square centimetre, even when full priced!! So, don't miss out on this opportunity to grab some to try. You can also use them on off the page projects like picture frames, vases, door hangers and more - the only limit is your imagination! Contact me today on 02 9484 9447 or by email at to place your order.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Stampin' Write Markers Promotion 10th-30th November

We've been asking for it for ages, and for a strictly limited time, we have it!!
From the 10th to the 30th November, the fabulously versatile Stampin' Write markers are available individually, for a tiny $4.95 each! It's a great time to test out what these great pens can techniques
*Colour specific parts of images and leave unwanted words or sections out
*Journal or write in matching colours with the precision fine point tip
*Create unique backgrounds with acetate transfer techniques
and lots more!!

If you already know and love our markers in their colour family sets, then it is an unmissable opportunity to replace your favourites or any that have become accidentally damaged. It's also a cheap and versatile way of grabbing some useful colours that you don't own in inkpads, as the pens contain the same dye ink, and can be used to ink up your stamps, as described above! I know that I'll be grabbing the opportunity to purchase a spare Ruby Red, Old Olive, Night of Navy and Rose Red pen for my collection. And probably quite a few more!
There is no limit to the number of markers you can purchase individually, subject to stocks lasting of course, so don't delay, and send me your 'must have' list today!

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Product focus - Stampin' Up! Paper Snips

I have always loved and appreciated good quality tools - probably instilled in me by my parents and their 'right tool for the job' philosophy. Neither myself nor my sister would even comtemplate being caught cutting anything other than fabric with Mum's dressmaking shears, the threatened consequences were simply too dire!
When I was working as a research scientist, I had a fabbo pair of the finest microscopy tweezers and a you-beaut pair of surgical scissors. Both were so good they would often 'visit' other lab benches, usually when I needed them ASAP. Aunty Jack style labels were thus affixed: "Take my XYZ again and I'll rip yer bl**dy arms off" Did the trick, and I have both to this day!

The same love of quality tools goes for papercrafting scissors too. There are scissors and then there are Stampin' Up! paper snips. I thought I had not one, but several good pairs of paper scissors, ideal for getting into the various nooks and crannies for cutting out delicate shapes, snipping ribbon ends just-so etc. I resisted buying the SU paper snips for many months - don't need em, I thought. Hmmmm. Yes. Well. Then I actually got to use a pair at a Stampin' Up gathering. I was so instantly sold on them that a pair went on my very next order. This very same thing has happened to several other people I know too, so it's no co-incidence.

They really aren't expensive, just $18.95, and are worth every single cent 10 times over! They have precision tips that cut all the way to the end, and even though I am left handed, I can see and cut in the exact position I want, no 'oops' with these little wonders! They are perfect for trimming the fussiest of ribbon ends too. They have a protective snap on cover to protect those precious blades when not in use, and to stop you from stabbing yourself on their sharp tips in your craft caddy! Find them on page 149 of the IB&C, code 103579, and contact me to order your very own pair!

Back with a pic tomorrow, where I'll add another secret scissor find, perfect for placating the kids as they craft by your side...

OK, I'm back - picture taken at night again, it was a busy day around here! Please excuse the reflected light spot! In the photo above you can see the black handled paper snips with their blade cover - unassuming in appearance, yet simply the best ever papercrafting scissors - so good in fact that they have won Creating Keepsakes Magazine Readers Choice Awards in 2003, 2005 and 2006 to date! Beside them is a bargain find, well worth picking up a few pairs of. They are from IKEA, and a set of this small pair of aqua handled ones, a medium sized pair with yellow handles and a large pair with red handles costs a massive $3.95. The aqua and yellow handled ones are pretty darn good for general purpose cutting in the craft room. So, keep some on hand for the kids to use, to cut sticky gunky adhesive with, and anything else you should NOT subject your SU Paper Snips to!

A couple of tips to finish with - the bright braid tied around the handles of my scissors is a quick identity tag - all my scissors have the same tag, easy to recognise at a glance, even across a cluttered bench. The second tip is that you can clean your scissor blades from time to time with either a small amount of eucalyptus oil, or a squirt of the 'goo remover' type citrus based products available from your supermarket. This will get any yuk off and leave them cutting smooth as silk all over again :)