Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Snowflake tag

This has been floating around in my holiday boxes for two or three years, and I finally sent it off to a new home this year, because I sent everybody else on my little list a handmade card, and I was one short. I'm not sure what year that was exactly, but I got to experimenting with different colors of blue and different snowflake stamps - including the one that says "happy holidays" - and this was the result. I really like it and I've always intended to make more like it.
It's not exactly perfect but I am not a perfectionist, anyway.

December SSS kit

This is a card I made with the paper and stickers from the December card kit (which is apparently not sold out yet as I write this on 12/23):
I keep thinking of ways I could have improved it, but it went to a child, and he's not likely to be picky about it, so I need to just let it go!

Under the cut are some cards I did not make - these are some cards from Simon Says Stamp's website, and I'm putting them here because I imagine they will disappear from the website at some point in the future and I want to be sure I can find them again when I'm ready to make cards for next year. (I only got around to making a couple of cards from the kit, so I've got lots of stuff left.)

(Another adorable idea done with a stamp set I have is this geometric thing, done by one of the ladies below. That one would work all year round, I think.)

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Simon Says Stamp December card kit

This is the only finished card I've made with the Simon Says Stamp card kit yet, but I think it's cute and really I like the pieces that are in this kit. This is going to my nephew along with his gift:
(I'm not entirely satisfied with the way I did the sequins, but eh.)

I saved the picture from the link, & here that is:

Here's most of the contents of my kit - stamps, stickers, sequins (in two colors), cardstock, and a little VersaMark pad. It appears to be exactly the same as above. The red patterned paper you can see is part of a 6x6" Pinkfresh packet that coordinates with the stickers.
There was also an idea sheet which you can see a bit of at the top left, and I think the only other thing was some embossing powder. (It's "rainbow fine embossing glitter," it says here, which is certainly not anything I already had, but I haven't tried it out yet. - Which, hmm, is this stuff, I guess, so it is embossing powder and not just glitter. I thought so, but I wasn't quite sure from that first description.)

Here's more of the paper:
You can see that the top one was what I used for the card above. There are a couple of different ones like the bottom one, with little drawings that go across the page.

I'm showing you the close-up of the stamp set for a particular reason:
...and the reason is that I adore that "happy holidays" script stamp, I've been using that stamp on everything. I like a lot of the other ones, too, and I think I'll eventually use a lot of these, but that one is the early favorite. (The all-caps "merry christmas" is also adorable, but I send cards to a number of people who don't explicitly celebrate Christmas, so it's good to have religion-neutral stamps.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Forest cards

So here are 11 cards with basically the same design, yet you can see that nothing is exactly alike.
I believe the first one above (top left) is the one I made originally as a test piece, and I showed a picture of it previously. I had some pre-cut cards from SU in Old Olive, so I just cut my "sample" out and mounted it on the Old Olive, which is one of the colors I used for the trees anyway so it matched great. The rest of them are true one-layer cards.

Honestly, the only one where I have any serious critique on the forest part is the top center one above, where the trees are a bit scattered and go much further up on the card. But even that one looks fine. The others all look great, I think (both above and below). You can tell the ones I did together - I just stamped all the way across the bottom of the cardstock and then cut it in two afterwards. You can kind of see my progress as I did more of the tree stamping - I'm not sure if the one at the bottom right below is actually the last one I did, but it seems the most "realistic"-looking in terms of the way the trees fade into the background.

I also experimented around with various borders on the "jingle" ones below. I do like the one with the white border all the way around but again, I think they all look fine, with and without.
The only thing that really bothered me about leaving off the santa-and-sleigh stamp from the original was that I didn't feel like "jingle all the way" made much sense without it. I could have gone and gotten the other Ellen Hutson stamp set that had that stamp, but instead I went looking for a "jingle bell" stamp - that is, one with a picture of a bell. I wanted one I could put it on the inside of the card, so at least there was a follow-through with the saying. (Some people that get the card may not even notice, but at least *I* am happy, that way.) I ended up getting this one from Paper Source, and I stamped it on the inside in Real Red and it looks cute.

(And then, naturally, I ended up buying two boxes of cards and a calendar from Paper Source while I was at it. That place is dangerous.)

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Card kits & stamp pads

Note first that I've started using the "large" type size, which looks pretty big on the editing screen, but not excessively big on the blog (different font). I don't know if everybody else is seeing what I'm seeing, though. If anybody thinks it's annoying feel free to chime in in the comments. I know at least a few people are reading my entries!

I ordered the Simon Says Stamps December card kit on a whim because it looks like it has really useful stuff in it. I generally don't do subscription card kits because I found that I just didn't use them enough. (I still have pie-shaped boxes from last year hanging around - those were in a Paper Pumpkin kit and they're adorable but I just didn't really have any particular use for them. If I remember next year maybe I'll put candy in them and give them out to co-workers or something. Last year there were candy bags the month before that and I did use every one of those.)

Here's the stamp set that's in the SSS kit:
It looked like it had things I'd actually want use in it. Plus there are stickers and papers and sequins and such.

I have more new stamp pads: I ordered from Inspiration Emporium on the last day before the class coupon codes expired - they had the spring Distress colors marked down to $10 & change for the set of three, which seemed like a good deal. And I also added "Seedless Preserves" to the order, because one thing I found out from swatching all my stamp pads was that I don't have many purples. I also did a small Stampin' Up order and replaced my contaminated Real Red pad (which was an old-style one anyway) and also got an Old Olive one, because all I had was a Spot (mini) and I seem to end up using it a lot. And I also threw in some washi tape because it was on sale and I'm (newly-again) obsessed with washi tape lately.

(That still leaves the old-and-glitter-contaminated Cherry Cobbler pad - darker red - but I haven't wanted to use it so far this year, so I'll save replacing that til later. I just wish I remembered what I was thinking when I got glitter all over both my holiday-red stamp pads!)

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Purchases & swatches

I bought a lot of cardmaking stuff lately - not only for the class, but also because I had this one particular idea in mind before the class even started. Specifically, I got it in my head to do some kind of blingy metallic thing. Nothing specific, but I bought some things with that in mind. Instead, I'm still making multiples of the card I showed before - with not a hint of metallic to it - and I haven't tried to do anything else yet, including this metallic idea and/or any cards from the class besides the one. (I really tremendously enjoyed looking at all their ideas, though.)

One of the perks of these classes from Online Card Classes is that (if you take the class at the time it first comes out) you get coupon codes for various e-tailers. I think for both the classes I've done it's been the same: 10% each at Simon Says Stamp, Ellen Hutson, & Inspiration Emporium. (added, to clarify: In this case, the codes were good starting sometime in October, before the class actually started, and they expire on the day of "wrap-up day" which ends the class. Which is, in this case, only a few hours away.)

I've used these coupon codes pretty freely; this is just a selection of what I got:
The stamp set is the one I've been using for the cards I've been doing (see the link above) - I've used all three sentiments from this set, plus the little trees and star/snowflake stamps, so this turned out to be a really good value. The only other stamps I bought were little rectangles to do swatching with, to go with the tags which are in the picture. I'll put some of my samples below, I really like this format for swatching. Another thing I've really used is on the bottom of the piled-up stuff in the picture above, and you can't really see it because everything else is on top of it - that's the Bristol Smooth cardstock, which I think is 100 lb. I really like the weight and the feel of it for stamping - especially for these one-layer cards that I've been doing. I know you can buy cardstock that's even heavier but I think that would be too much. 100 lb. feels (to coin a phrase) just right.

Other things I've bought lean heavily toward the metallics, because as I said I've got this idea in my brain and I'm not going to be happy til I produce something using it. I bought a set of Kraft-Core metallic cards & envelopes - I may end up with so much bling it's blinding. I bought a glue-pad because I didn't have one, and Distress Glitter to try out, and some Wow embossing powder. I have done embossing before but I don't have many colors, so I bought a clear and a metallic one - I can't remember, it might have been brass? I don't have most of this in front of me right now. And I also bought a set of metallic Stickles - I used the silver one for the one-layer cards. And then I bought some stuff like StazOn refills and minis of matte medium and Glossy Accents, also of which I had before but are used-up/dried-out etc., since it's been a while since I used them. My old StazOn (Jet Black) pad was basically dried up so I bought the midi pad as well as the refill, just in case, but I hope the big pad is also still reinkable. I don't know why it wouldn't be. (I really like the midi pad, though, now I want to get some other colors!) Oh, and the blue thing is a Gelato in Blueberry, I believe it was, because I hadn't ever tried them and I wanted to try one out before I committed to buying sets.

Oh! I did buy another small stamp set, or rather it was a stamp-&-die set - it was two small snowflake stamps and a coordinating die. (This one, from Hero Arts.) That was my basic idea, metallic with snowflakes, and I was thinking of blue as an accent color, which was why I picked that particular Gelato. If I ever stop stamping little one-layer forests - which is great fun, which is why I keep at it - I'll stop and experiment with all this other stuff I bought!

So here's the swatches, still in progress - I think I took pictures of the reds and the greens:
(You may notice that I was pretty sloppy with the stamping. I wasn't really making any effort to stamp things just so, since it's the color of the ink that's important here.)

I'm not entirely sure if I've dug down to the bottom of my stamp-pad stash yet. I do have a list of what I had, so I just need to compare and see if anything's missing. One thing I found out by doing this was that both of my red SU pads are a mess - that's Real Red and Cherry Cobbler, which are the ones I've used a lot for holiday colors in the past. At some point I apparently got carried away with the glitter and got it all over both of them. You can see it here on the way the Real Red stamped, if you look close. Both of those are the old-style SU pads, so I could stand to buy new ones anyway. I have refills for both of them, I think, but reinking won't help if the pads are messed up. (Right now nothing I'm doing is especially using red anyway. If need be I could fill in with Primrose Petals or the Distress Barn Red, in a pinch.)

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Stampin' Up cards from past years

One thing: I started a new Pinterest account that's mostly crafty stuff, and that's here. I had a lot of craft pins mixed in with other subjects on my old account which I repinned to the new one, so there's already a good bit there.

I was nosing around in my pictures and I found several past holiday cards from when I used to go to Stampin' Up classes. Here are the ones that haven't already been posted on this blog:

This was adorable but it was also a pain in the butt to make. It was mostly arranging the glitter pieces properly on the candy canes that was the problem.

I'd completely forgotten this one. The small stamps were a "bingo bits" set, as I recall.

This was assembled from pennants. (I think I would like it more if I had taken the time to get the star points more even!)

Those were from maybe three years ago; here are some that are even older.
Both of these are quite elegant.
I love the backgrounds, in particular, on these.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Clean & simple

A week in, I actually made something from the class, how cool is that? (Other people may be less impressed by that, but for me, it's amazing, what can I say.)

(This is unfinished, I finished it later with the snowflakes as below. This was my second one, and I went kind of overboard with the forest on this one, although I still like it a lot.)

I actually ordered the stamp set from Ellen Hutson late last Monday after I watched the video - mostly because I liked the sentiments in that set so much - and it came on Thursday, which is really wonderfully fast. I always get excited about e-tailers who have that kind of service. So anyway, I didn't even have a chance to try it until this weekend. The original card also used a Santa-and-reindeer stamp from another set that I didn't buy, so I had to improvise but I quite like the results.

Here's the one I did as an experiment, before that. I wasn't sure how it would come out so I just used a corner of a piece of cardstock I'd used for a previous experiment:
The trees are from the same set, and there are three different sentiments (the one not on my samples is "jingle all the way"). You can see that I was trying out inks and scribbling notes on that same piece of cardstock, but I tried to keep that corner clean so I can cut it out and mount it on a card later. My only real quibble with my results is that the trees are kind of crooked. But I definitely think it's useable.

I didn't want to leave just a blank space up at the top where Santa was on the original, and I didn't have the supplies to do snow in the exact way that Julie did for the class (which was with glitter and a glue-pad) but instead I used the three little star stamps from the Holly Jolly stamp set, spaced out on a block, and I kind of turned them to fit in the available space and stamped them at a different angle each time. The pale blue is Distress Tumbled Glass. And I put a tiny dot of silver Stickles in the middle of each snowflake, which I don't think you can really see unless you look at the largest version of the picture, but which looks very cute.

As far as the trees, I didn't have the same stamp pads that she used - which were Avery Elle - but I pulled out every green stamp pad that I could find, and it turned out that I have a good many and none of them are exactly alike, which is good to know. I'll put my little stamped samples below but also put the names up here so you don't have to try to read my scribbling, I stamped them each twice. (Mostly they're marked 1 & 2 but it looks like I missed at least one. I think you can figure that part out, if you're really wanting to know.) The top row is Stampin Up Mossy Meadow (which is a newer pad - you can really tell with the SU pads because the new ones are so much juicier than the old ones) which is dark and somewhat grayed-out, and then Distress Crushed Olive, which you can see is much more yellow-green. The bottom row is Colorbox Evergreen (which I've had forever, and which is pigment ink rather than dye like all the others) and SU Old Olive. Evergreen is dark and a bit blue-leaning, as it should be, and Old Olive is yellow-leaning - but not near as much so as Crushed Olive - and fairly dark.

Then here we have two more Stampin' Up colors, Wild Wasabi and Pistachio Pudding. I used to think Wild Wasabi was a fairly bright green, but here it just seems like a medium crayon green, really. Pistachio Pudding is lighter and seemingly a bit grayer.
(If I remember right, Pistachio Pudding was an InColor a year or two - or possibly three - years ago; Wild Wasabi may have been one originally too but now I believe it's part of the main line. Mossy Meadows is also new-ish, as I recall. I've let my on-again-off-again SU demonstrator status expire and haven't been keeping up too well this year.)

(I just looked, I got that pretty much right. Mossy Meadow is from last year, P.Pudding is no longer available - meaning it's at least a year older than that, because the InColors retire after two years - and Wild Wasabi is in the Subtles line.)

Monday, November 9, 2015

One more time

I'm not going to make any more predictions about whether this blog is going to become active, because I've been-there-done-that and it just doesn't seem to be happening. I did enjoy looking at Stretch Your Stamps 2, back over a year ago, but did I actually make anything? no. But I'm trying again, with another class - which is the holiday class for this year. Holiday cards are the thing that I am most reliable about doing. (Which is to say, I usually do some every year. I don't reliably produce a lot of them.) This year I've ordered some supplies and paid for this class and I'd better manage to produce something, darnit.

(I've basically learned not to say I MUST do something because that's usually the most reliable way to ensure that I don't. So I fudge.)

If you're interested in this class, it starts today, as it happens, and ends right before Thanksgiving. (But you can always come in late, or even come in after the "live" part of the class is over. Really the only live part is the interaction on the forums, anyway, and even that gets archived.)

So in any case, in honor of all that, here are a couple of holiday cards that I've done in past years
This card uses a background I did with the MDS2 software, but I have no clear idea now how I did this exactly, except that it involved digitally "punching" the hex shape out of an existing pattern and tiling it to make the repeats. I think I did that part by hand, more or less - that is, I cut-and-pasted the hexagon shape and dragged it around where I wanted it one hex at a time. That's as best I recall, anyway. And the big snowflake is an actual felt snowflake sitting on top of the printed piece, which I had embellished with glitter-glue. I bought a bunch of these snowflakes... oh, a number of years ago, four or five years ago, from a clearance sale from Stampin' Up, and I didn't know what I was going to do with them, but I have used them and used them and I'm still not out of them. There must have been 2 dozen or more in the package, I don't remember any more.

Putting glitter glue onto something fiddly like these snowflakes is the kind of thing where I almost always say "oh, that's too time-consuming" - but it doesn't actually take all that long to add the glitter-glue to these and the results are stunning. (The snowflakes came in two colors, or maybe three - red and blue-gray and maybe white, too. I did used clear glitter-glue on the light-colored ones and then red on the red, as you can see above.)

Aha, yeah, here's a white one and I know there were blue-gray ones so it was three colors. I like the crazy quilt-patterned card above but I really love the simplicity of this one, too. I think I'm a clean-and-simple fan at heart.