Thursday, June 26, 2008

Customer Newsletter Archive Updated

I just realized that I did not post my last two month's worth of Customer Newsletters in my archive. I have updated that this morning, so if you look down the right sidebar of my blog page, you will see the archived copies of April, May and June's Newsletters. If you have recently signed up to receive my newsletters, you may want to check out at least the June newsletter, so you don't miss anything that's current. I try to get my newsletters out during the first week of each month, and during the first few days of the month when I can.

If you are subscribed to my blog using a reader, you'll need to go to my actual blog site to see the sidebar: http//

**Notice to Stampin' Up!® Demonstrators: Out of professional courtesy I request that you do not subscribe to my Customer Newsletter. Instead, please feel free to view the archives if you are looking for inspiration for your own Customer Newsletter.**

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Come eScape with Me--Right Now!!!

Today is the first annual celebration of the Stampin' Up!® eScape event! Please click HERE to read more about it.

In honor of eScape Day, I am posting the pattern and instructions for a stationery box with 8 coordinating cards, as pictured above. Directions are also included for decorating 8 coordinating envelopes, which are not shown in the picture above. These cards are great to make and keep on hand for mailing and keeping in touch with friends and relatives, or to make and give away as a gift in their coordinating box!

Click HERE to download the pattern & instructions for making the Box & Card Octet.

I hope you enjoy eScape Day, and that you will take the opportunity to brighten someone else's life by sharing a hand-stamped card with them! I'd love to get comments from you, to hear how you are spending your eScape Day.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Décor Elements at work...

...I put these up above my stamping desk, so they are literally AT WORK!

I have to tell you, I am not a home decorator in any way, shape, or form. I am also not a comedian. So, you can trust that when I say, "if I can do this, anyone can!", I am totally serious. This is the first set of Décor Elements I've put up, and I didn't even wreck them! That should be a SCREAMING endorsement in and of itself.

To be honest, I made some pencil marks on the wall (which was stupid, I should have used something easy to wipe off like chalk) and I had to erase the pencil lines, and I actually erased over a few of the vinyl letters and pulled and scrunched them up a little. The letters smoothed and straightened back out just fine, every time (yes, I did it more than once). These puppies are sturdy!!

You can email me for your copy of the sales brochure, and you can start ordering your Décor Elements products on July 1st.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Cherry Pickin'

This card was made with a quick template you could use with most any image and color combination you'd like:

The card is a standard size 8-1/2" x 5-1/2" sheet of card stock folded to 5-1/2" x 4-1/4", in landscape orientation (meaning the long side is from left to right, and the fold is on the top). The light blue panel (on the template) is 2-3/4" wide by 4" tall. The white panel is 3" square, with a 2-3/4" x 1-1/2" piece of patterned paper on top. The medallion was made by layering a 1-3/8" Circle punched image onto a Scallop Circle punched piece. I used 1/4" Grosgrain Ribbon on my card where the dark blue strip is shown on the template, but you could use 5/8" ribbon, or a 1/2" strip of coordinating card stock.

You could certainly take more time and add more embellishments, like eyelets or brads, or some paper piercing around the edges of the panels, but you can whip out 10 of these cards easily within an hour by keeping them simple. And limiting your 3-D embellishments will make these easier to mail without extra postage, or concern over "snagging" and damage in transit.

Stampin' Supplies: Tart & Tangy stamp set**; Jumbo So Swirly wheel; Summer Picnic Designer Series Paper**; Old Olive & Real Red card stock and ink; Bashful Blue card stock; Jumbo ink cartridge; and 1/4" Grosgrain Ribbon; Antique Brass Hodgepodge Hardware Kit***.
**only available through June 30th ***only available through August 10th

Email me today to get all the supplies to make these notecards, before they are no longer available. Also check out these limited-time offerings and specials: Occasions Collection mini catalog (expires June 30th), eScape Day Bundle Offer , Fresh Cuts Sneak Peek Offer, Retiring Stamp sets list.

Friday, June 20, 2008

One Sheet Wonderific

I am SO sorry to have neglected you this week...I had a class last Thursday night, and we made 10 cards from a One Sheet Wonder. We had so much fun that I thought I'd write all the instructions up formally, and share them with you :-)

A One Sheet Wonder is a sheet of patterned paper, or stamped card stock, which you cut into pieces you use to create cards. This One Sheet Wonder is designed for 8-1/2"x11" paper, and I used Designer Series Paper for my patterns. However, you can take an 8-1/2"x11" sheet of white card stock and decorate it all over, to make your own patterned paper, in your own choice of colors and images!

Download the PDF Instructions HERE.

Below, you'll see close-ups of each of the cards I made. [Remember: you can click on any picture to see it at actual size] For my One Sheet Wonder, I used one sheet of Afternoon Tea Designer Series Paper** (DSP), which is double-sided. By doing that, I doubled the design possibilities, since I could use either the flowered side, or the striped side, of the paper. With those two choices, I was able to make some of the cards flowery and feminine, and others very masculine.

I restricted myself to the following colors, which coordinate with the DSP: Soft Sky, Blue Bayou, Groovy Guava, Whisper White, and Chocolate Chip. I also restricted my use of stamp sets to the Live Your Dream stamp set**, and the Sincere Salutations stamp set. I used a number of punches to make embellishments, as well as some silver brads (which you can get in the Vintage pack, or in the Styled Silver Hodgepodge Hardware** pack), and I used some flowers and rhinestone brads from the Pretties Kit. You can choose how much you'd like to "bling" your cards based on your time constraints.

**These items appear in the Occasions Collection mini catalog, which you can view HERE. The catalog and items are no longer available after June 30th, so email me right away if you want to order them!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Décor Elements: An Exciting New Product Line

Here's the juicy tidbits: Stampin' Up!® has introduced a new line of products, called Décor Elements, which customers can begin ordering on July 1st, 2008!


Décor Elements is a line of self-adhesive vinyl wall decorations, which can instantly transform any space, with little to no prep time, without the use of special tools, permanent adhesives, or chemical solutions. Décor Elements provide that instant redecorating adrenaline you've been waiting for!

During Phase One, beginning July 1st, Stampin' Up!® will have 100 designs available for purchase. Many of these designs will come in a larger (wall) size, and a smaller (home decor piece) size, and will be available in your choice of white or chocolate color. One design will be available only in chocolate, and Kraft brown (think paper lunch sack color). The designs will include an alphabet, artistic images, and phrases, and will coordinate with Stampin' Up!®'s rubber stamping and scrapbooking art styles.

Stay tuned for application directions, and FAQs on this new product!
UPDATE: Click HERE to download the Décor Elements catalog, click HERE to see a sample of Décor Elements applied to my wall, click HERE for written application instructions, and click HERE for a video tutorial on Décor Elements application.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Retiring Stamp Sets!

Stampin' Up!® has released the list of sets which will NOT be included in the new Fall-Winter Idea Book & Catalog, which starts on August 11th.

There is both an Alphabetical List, and a list in order of Page Numbers the stamp sets appear on in the catalog.

Although you will be able to purchase these Retiring Sets through August 10th, the Stampin' Up!® sales year actually ends on June 30th. I have been working all year towards a promotion in my Demonstrator Title, but I'll need your help in order to reach it by the deadline at the end of this month!! So, here's my special:

**Spring-Summer Collection 2008, or Occasions Collection Mini Catalog

I have about SEVEN BOXES of stamp sets which have been retired over the last several years, which you can choose from, during this Buy One, Get One FREE Sale. I keep my stamps and supplies in immaculate condition--you won't be disappointed! I also have some retired wheels and accessories you might choose from instead. The list is long, and choices will be given in order of payment completion (if you pay with cash, your payment will be immediately complete, a local check is the next best option, and credit cards take several business days to process). FREE stamp sets are available while supplies last, and will be first-come, first-served. So, contact me today with your order.

Click HERE to view the current catalogs online.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Father's Day Shirt-Fold Card

This post will include instructions for the final project from my Father's Day Class, the shirt-fold card. You can also find directions for the Father's Day chipboard frame here, and the Father's Day tie-shaped box (complete with pattern) here.

First, you will need a sheet of paper. You can use whatever size you want, but rectangular seems to work best if you want your shirt to look correctly proportioned. I used Blue Bayou Prints Designer Series Paper (DSP), which I trimmed to 8"x10". I want to use the argyle print that is shown face up below. The Prints DSP has a number of patterns that look wonderful as shirt material.[TIP: practice these folds with 8"x10" printer or scrap paper until you become familiar with the pattern, and then use patterned papers once you master the design!]

The first step is to fold both of the long sides in to the center point. Regular printer paper is thin enough to be quite cooperative, however, Designer Series Paper (DSP) is double-sided, and is thicker than regular paper so that the design from the opposite side won't show through. When folding DSP, you will have much more success making score marks first. Since my paper is 8"x10", I know that each long side will have to fold in 2" to reach the center. So, I will want to score at 2", along each long side...the photo below shows white lines in the approximate locations I will want to place score marks.

To make score marks, I like to use the (Fiskars) 12" Paper Trimmer. However, the scoring blade that comes with the Paper Trimmer is very small and blunt, and tends to easily puncture paper. So, I take out all the blades from my trimmer, line up the paper to the measurement I want--which is 2" in this case--and run my bone folder along the seam where the blade would slide. You can see what I mean if you click on the picture below, to enlarge it.

After scoring, I fold both sides in, to the center. (In the picture below you can see how it looks as I fold only the first side in.) The side of the paper with the pattern that I want to use will be the only side of the paper showing once I fold the two edges into the center.

After folding both sides to the center, turn over the folded piece so that the seam is facing down on your work surface. Choose one end to be the top, and fold about one inch of your paper down on itself, as shown below. (This would be another great place to score before folding.)

You will then turn the piece over once again, so that the one inch folded piece is face down on your work surface, and the side with the seam down the middle is facing up. The placement of the collar folds is critical to getting your card to stay closed. To make each side of the collar, pull one of the top corners down at an angle to where the tip of the corner meets the center seam, as signified below by arrow 1. At the same time, you should be folding the collar at an angle which will give you a horizontal line between the two opposite sides of the collar, as shown below by the white dashed line at arrow 2. When you have your folds positioned correctly, press them flat with the bone folder to get a good crease. Remember: click on any picture to enlarge it and see the detail more clearly.

In the next step, the folded piece is still lying with the seam side up. Take the bottom of the long piece and fold it up towards the top, tucking the end as far under the collar tips as it will go, as shown in the picture below. (This picture is from a side angle so you can see the fold direction.) Hold the paper firmly in its position under the collar, and crease the fold with the bone folder, so that when you let go, the bottom piece stays tucked under the collar tips.

At this point, your card will look like a folded collared shirt with no sleeves showing. Untuck the bottom of the folded piece from the collar, and smooth it flat. Your next folds will create the sleeves, by pulling back each end of the paper from the center seam. A picture is worth a thousand words, so I'll give you TWO pictures showing how you fold the sleeve pieces out...instead of 2000 words! Be aware of the fold across the middle of the card, where one end of the sleeve fold starts, and the bottom corner of the front piece, where each sleeve fold ends. Click on each picture below to see it up closer.

All that's left is to re-fold the shirt up under the collar, and now your shirt has sleeves!

You can add a greeting to the outside, and/or greetings and writing space on the inside. When using this as a card, many folks like to cut white or vanilla card stock in the shape(s) of the open space(s) inside the shirt, to cover up the center seam and sleeve folds. If you wanted to just use this as an embellishment on a gift box, you could adhere the shirt closed and simply use a "To" and "From" label on the shirt front. This fold works exactly the same way with smaller pieces of paper, and makes a cute miniature shirt embellishment for a standard-sized greeting card, if you start with a 4"x6" piece of Designer Series Paper.

Just keep in mind that you may have to resize your folds in proportion to your original starting piece when using differing paper sizes. In other words, when using a 4"x6" sheet of paper, your folds in towards the center will need to be scored at 1" on each side, and you'll probably want to only fold down about 1/2" for your collar. Again, experiment with scrap paper and see what measurements and angles work best for you with different sizes.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Father's Day Tie-Shaped Box Pattern

I published a post a while back for some Father's Day projects: a tie-shaped box, a shirt-fold card, and a chipboard frame. The chipboard frame tutorial can be seen here, and today I will post the tutorial for the tie-shaped box.

First, download and print out the TIE-SHAPED BOX PATTERN. This is an idea and pattern I saw on a craft web site, but their pattern was very rough, which made assembly very difficult and imprecise, so I created my own pattern. You will want to cut around the general outline of the pattern pieces, essentially to cut away extra white space, so you can fit the pieces closely together on your card stock and eliminate wasted space. I recommend you then use Dotto® temporary adhesive to stick your pattern pieces onto your card stock, and finally trim around the outline of the pattern pieces on the solid lines, and score on any dotted lines. The piece below is the box bottom from the pattern, stuck to Chocolate Chip Textured card stock with Dotto®, after it has been trimmed along all the solid outlines. You should score through the pattern itself, pressing hard to make sure a good score line makes it through to the card stock. After you score, make sure to cut any remaining slits (solid lines) on the pattern, and remove the pattern from the card stock.

After the pattern has been removed, go through and fold on each score line. You will have something resembling the picture below.

You will put adhesive on all the little "tabs" you've folded, and each tab will stick to the card stock side right next to it. The only parts that do not get adhered together are the "knot" of the tie, and the "tail" of the tie. This is where the rectangle tabs on each page of the pattern come in. You'll cut those out in card stock, score them in the middle, then place them in-between the "knot" section and the "tail" section of the tie shape, on each side of the box. See the pictures below for more detail--you can click on each picture to make it larger.

When the scored flaps, and the rectangles are all adhered on the box bottom, it will look like the picture shown below. You basically do the same assembly for the box lid. I like using Designer Series Paper on the box lid, but you can use card stock again if you like. The pattern is sized so that the box lid is slightly larger than the box bottom, so it will slide over it relatively easy. You can add any embellishments you like to the top of the box. To help keep the box closed, you can simply tape it shut, or you can take ribbon, or Chocolate Chip Poly Twill (as I have used on mine) and wrap a length around the "neck" of the tie shape, and tie the ribbon the way you would tie a tie!

I'm not sure you could fit a tie in this box, but the idea is that dad probably already has as many real neckties as he can use, so by giving him this box he still gets the symbolic, traditional gift of a necktie on Father's Day, but you can simply enclose a gift card so Dad can pick whatever he likes. Or, you could print out a note to fold up in the box, which contains directions to Dad's gift. I bought my sweetie a series of motivational talks he had his eye on one time, and since they were mp3's to download, I printed out the link for him and put that in the gift box. Movie (or NASCAR, or gun show, or sports) tickets would also fit well in the box! And you could help your kids make some "coupon books" Dad could cash in for chores or favors, if you use the box bottom as a pattern, and cut your coupon book pages just a bit smaller so they'll fit inside the box.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Father's Day Frame

I posted a Father's Day Class last month, with a tie-shaped box and a shirt-shaped card...which you can see HERE. The third project for the class was a chipboard coaster frame, which I'll display now, since Father's Day is just a little over 10 days away! The outside of the frame, when it's closed, is pictured above. It's two 4"x4" chipboard coasters, covered with Olive Press Designer Series Paper (DSP), and tied together with Old Olive Poly Twill Ribbon. A "sleeve" has been wrapped around the frame, to hold it closed for gift-giving. In the picture below, you can see how the frame looks once it's open.

I used a Stampin' Up! Font CD to print the journaling onto Old Olive card stock. The idea is that the frame is self-standing once the striped "sleeve" is slid off, and the coasters are opened at an angle. So, Dad can take the frame to his office and easily display it on his desk, or the edge of a nearby shelf.

TUTORIAL: You can make your own frame using scrap pieces of chipboard, but I chose heavy (2mm) rounded-corner square chipboard coasters for durability. Lighter chipboard is going to more easily bend and/or blow over. The first thing I did to my coaster is optional--I colored the edges with a Basic Brown journaler marker. I used the journaler instead of the regular marker because the journaler contains pigment ink, which is fade resistant and waterproof. That way, if Dad sets the frame down in some drops of water (or coffee), the ink won't run.

The next thing you'll need to do is cover BOTH sides of each piece of chipboard with stamping or patterned paper. I chose the Olive Press Designer Series Paper (DSP), and adhered 4"x4" square pieces with the Stampin' Up!® Glue Stick, covering both the back of the paper, and the front of the chipboard with the glue, and taking care to get the glue all the way out to all of the edges. The picture below shows two different patterns from the Olive Press DSP pack, but you'll want to cover the front of each of the coasters with the same paper, and the back of each of the coasters with the same alternate pattern of paper. That way, your frame has the same pattern on front and back when it's closed, and the same pattern on both pieces inside when it's opened.

Once your glue is dry, you'll want to take a Sanding Block and sand away any excess paper from the edges of the chipboard, to make it flush. If your coasters have rounded corners, you'll sand away the paper at the edges and the paper will then be rounded, too! Once you're finished sanding, you're ready to punch some holes in your coasters, to tie them together. Use the eyelet template from the Crafter's Tool Kit to evenly measure 3/8" holes in the coasters, to punch out with the Crop-A-Dile. You'll then string ribbon through each of these holes and tie in a square knot to "hinge" the coasters together. Pay attention to the picture below with the coasters tied together--you will want to make sure you punch your holes so that the same pattern of paper is showing when you open your frame up flat.

The rest is pretty much self-explanatory. I cut two pieces of Chocolate Chip Textured card stock to 3-1/2"x3-1/2" and rounded the corners, and layered them inside the frame. Because my pictures had a lot of brown in them, I cut a layer of Old Olive card stock for contrast on each photo mat, to 3-1/8" square, and rounded the corners, then placed my 3"x3" photos on there (after rounding their corners, as well).

For the "sleeve" I just wrapped a strip of 2-1/4"x11" wide card stock around the frame, then adhered the sleeve to itself with Sticky Strip, and adhered a strip of 2"x12" DSP over that with SNAIL. I stamped the Happy Dad's Day greeting in Old Olive on Very Vanilla card stock and trimmed it out with scissors. (the Designer Label Punch will cut this out perfectly, but it doesn't leave any contrasting border area) I then layered the greeting onto a piece of Chocolate Chip Textured card stock which had been punched out with the Round Tab Punch, and put that on the sleeve.

This is a super easy gift that would be great for all types of occasions, and it's sure to be treasured and displayed for many years by its recipient.

eScape Bundle Cards

This month Stampin' Up! is preparing to celebrate the first annual eScape event, formally observed on June 25th. As part of the event, the eScape Bundle is available for $30 (plus shipping & tax). The card above was created using only the supplies provided in the eScape Bundle. Although it's almost embarrassingly simple, I think it looks incredibly elegant.

My personal special is an add-on of embellishments I will provide you for FREE with your purchase of the eScape Bundle this month. I wanted to share a few of the quick and easy samples I've made using the Bundle, plus the FREE add-ons. [remember to click on each individual picture to see it at actual size--which will show much more detail, much more clearly]

The card above was made by stamping on some add-on card stock, and trimming out some add-on card stock. The Circle of Friendship stamp images will punch out perfectly with the 1" Circle Punch, and the centers of each image punch out perfectly with the 1/2" Circle Punch. However, you can just use your scissors to trim around the lines if you don't have those punches! The larger Soft Sky circle layer was punched out with the 1-1/4" Circle Punch, and a number of these punched pieces will be included in the add-on embellishments I will provide you FREE with your purchase of the eScape Bundle.

The card above was made by punching the front corner of the card with the 1-1/4" Circle Punch, then layering the circles onto the inside surface of the card. However, you can get a very similar look by stamping on, and layering with, the add-on embellishments I will provide you for FREE with your eScape Bundle purchase. To get the slightly lighter colored red background, I inked up the image with Rose Red, then stamped it off one time onto scratch paper, before stamping the image onto the Soft Sky card. I think this helps to keep it from competing as much with the red in the focal image.

This last card (pictured above) is another creation made with the add-on embellishments--yes, I am also including some swatches of Soft Sky and Rose Red Prints Designer Series Paper for FREE with your eScape Bundle purchase! The candle was made with the Very Vanilla Grosgrain ribbon included in the eScape Bundle. (the trick to keeping the ends of the ribbon from fraying is to hold the blue part of a lighter flame near each end of the trimmed ribbon and heat just enough to actually melt the fibers together)

The center of the candle flame is the center of the image which was stamped on Very Vanilla scrap card stock, and punched out with the 1/2" Circle Punch, though you could also trim out the little circle with scissors. I placed that circle onto another scrap piece of Very Vanilla card stock (all included with my add-on embellishments) and trimmed around the circle, leaving a point at the top. To get the highlights around the edge of the flame, I took the piece of card stock and just lightly wiped the edges across the surface of the Rose Red Classic Stampin' Pad®, which is also included as part of the eScape Bundle.

These are just a few of the simple yet adorable cards you can make to share on June 25th, in celebration of the Stampin' Up!® eScape event. To order your eScape Bundle, and get your FREE add-on embellishment kit, contact me today!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Artisan Award Entry #10

Okay, this is the final Artisan Award Entry I'll be boring you with...I'm not really comfortable doing the "showing off" thing, anyway. I'd rather provide you with quick and easy templates, tutorials and patterns you can use, instead of shoving my own artwork in your face! But, I promised I'd post all of these, so I wanted to follow through.

This card was fun for me because I LOVE COOKIES, and homemade chocolate chip cookies are my absolute favorite!! I used the One Smart Cookie stamp set, in Basic Brown ink, for the cookies in the background, and for the saying. I colored in the background cookies with Creamy Caramel ink on a Blender Pen. I used layers of Creamy Caramel, Close to Cocoa, and Chocolate Chip card stock for the mat of the focal image, and Antique Brass Hodgepodge Hardware for the metal embellishments. The ribbon is Chocolate Chip Poly Twill from the Occasions Collection mini catalog. I sponged some different browns onto my one-of-a-kind hand cutout of the cookie, finishing with Very Vanilla craft ink, using a sponge dauber, to get the final "golden" highlights on the cookie.

Probably the biggest deal on this card was the chocolate chips on the cookie. I punched out the 6 pointed "star" flower image a bunch of times, using the Boho Blossoms punch. Each chocolate chip was then punched from the petal of one of the already punched flowers, with the 1/4" circle punch, and adhered to the cookie with half of a Mini Glue Dot®. The cookie was popped up with Stampin' Dimensionals®. It was unlike any other card I'd ever seen or made, and I'd hoped it would earn me some winning points for creativity. (I'll show how to punch the chocolate chips in an upcoming quickie punch tutorial)

UPDATE: Interestingly enough, Stampin' Up!® just posted this card on June 5th (a couple mornings after I posted it on my blog) on their Stamper's Showcase, which is a gallery exclusively available to Stampin' Up!® Demonstrators, on the Demonstrator Login side of the Stampin' Up!® web site. I'd like to send a thank you out to my fellow demonstrators who noticed and dropped me a note about it :-)