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Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The many faces of Stripey

Better read the previous post or this won't make any sense...

Chevy and Stripey

Groggy Stripey

Pensive garden Stripey

Watchcat Stripey, who never did catch anything living

Chevy hogging the toy, Stripey and Kitty waiting for him to tire and go somewhere else

For those who know and love me

...just a note with some personal stuff. We lost our beloved Stripey cat over the weekend to acute renal failure. I'm so sad to be without him and there is a definite void in our household. He had quite an easy personality and was so incredibly loving.
Here are a few photos to give you an idea how cute he was. If you want to read any more, scroll down. But I know you're not all cat people so I won't hold it against you if you don't...

Stripey hanging out, and with his catnip cigar

Stripey and Chevy napping

We adopted both these boys above in '02 after losing a cat to congestive heart failure, and another to a heart murmur, both within a two week span. Feeling the huge loss and wanting to give a good home to another cat, we went to the adoption center at our local Petsmart. They allow two local shelters to bring in a few cats and leave them in an area where they are available for adoption.

I have to admit we picked Stripey immediately, partly because he was a combination of our two cats that had just passed away - chubby, orange tiger, sweet, playful, interactive, gentle. I'm pretty sure we agreed on just one but I couldn't resist this other cat too that was just a ball of energy. We took him out of his cage and he crawled all over us in his excitement to be handled. I remember my husband saying "That cat will be nothing but trouble if you bring him home" so we brought both cats home ;o) Chevy was 3 and Stripey was 8 and they bonded instantly. I'll look for a photo from their first day together in their new home and post it.

It's been an awesome 6 years having them both - we couldn't have asked for cats with better personalities, and so loving to each other and us. Although we are so sad to be without Stripey and the emotions are still raw, we feel blessed by God to have ended up with both of these guys. We are keeping a close watch on Chevy and trying to give him extra attention - he and Stripey were practically joined at the hip and spent innumerable hours a day cleaning each other, hanging out in the yard, giving our stray adoptee cat BooBoo evil looks from across the room, and so many other little moments. It makes me sob to remember it all now - I can't wait for the day when the memories don't bring so much pain.

Thanks for sharing my grief with me - I know a lot of you guys are pet people and don't have to stretch too far to feel sad for me, knowing exactly what it's like to lose what you love.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Special TJ News!

For a limited time (just a couple weeks, I think) Pat at Technique Junkies is offering two years of the Technique Junkie Newsletter at 2003 prices!
Get the 2008 and 2009 Technique Junkie Newsletters for $33.00. You will receive an incredible 150 techniques delivered to your doorstep. TJ techniques are step-by-step -- not an overview -- and the newsletter itself is full-color, professionally printed and high-quality. In addition, you have online-access to the step-by-step picture tutorials online, and great sample artwork.

To sign up, email Pat for an invoice through PayPal. If you would prefer, you can send a check to her, OR to get your credit card charged directly, simply send your credit card number is one email, and your address and expiration date in a second email. All her contact info can be found thru the subscription link on the home page of Technique Junkies

On a personal note from me, let me just tell you that TJ newsletters changed my stamping life! I had been getting bored with stamping and the TJ newsletters always provide just the right inspiration, and occurring every couple of months gives you just enough time to try out all the new techniques that grab you before the next issue arrives. To me tho, the very best feature of the whole TJ experience is getting to belong to the Yahoo email group, which is a perk of the subscription, where very generous and talented stampers share what they are working on.

I know I'm always pushing Technique Junkies, but it's because I know you will not be disappointed and will wonder how you ever created without it :o)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wiper Card for a Wedding Couple

Yay! and thanks to Nancy Y for sending me the link to a tutorial on this card!!
For anyone wanting to make your own, check out this blog: STAMPS, PAPER, SCISSORS It should be halfway down the page and is titled Wiper Card (I'm guessing because the tab swishes up like a windshield wiper blade) ((Cheri, if you need a demo of this on an actual vehicle just c'mon over ROTFLMBO oh, I crack me up ;o)) Be sure and click on WIPER CARD in the righthand column of her blog for a template with instructions!!!

Here's a mechanical card I bought in a box of samples at a stamp sale earlier this summer. Isn't it cool?! It uses two sheets of 3 1/2" x 8 1/2" cs, scored and attached at the end panels. The crab panel moves to the right so it'll close and lay flat. The coolest part, besides the googlie eyes, is the little panel that pops up from the inside as the card is opened (that would be in a long strip with both panels lying back to back). This type of card is best in person because it's so fun to play with!

So this was my inspiration for a casual wedding card for friends that recently tied the knot (don't look any further Krista if you want to be surprised! LOL)

the inspiration card:

Click photos for more detail

and here's mine:

Card closed measures 4 1/4" x 6"

I made my card a little larger to suit the stamp I was using for the main panel.

I've had a bad headache for a couple days so my method on this one was a little scattered ;o) I think I decided on the card format first, then the colors I wanted to use, then the technique, then the stamps. I think ;o) LOL

Anyway, I meant to use the Technique Junkies "Stippled Pigments" technique from the Dec 06/ Jan 07 newsletter, but needed to change so much it ended up totally different than I was picturing. I knew I wanted to emboss in white and add color later so that's what I did, starting with white cs. The color comes from using a Dreamweaver stencil brush and Versamagic Dewdrop Chalk inkpads. All colors used were Pink Petunia, Malted Mauve, Perfect Plumeria, Sahara Sand and Jumbo Java. I love how chalk inks settle into the cs and blend so well as they are drying.

One thing about putting the chalk inks over the white embossing - it tends to color the white and is hard to rub off thoroughly so I used a paper stub with some alcohol to remove the chalk coloring from the embossing. Sounds putzy but it goes quick!

I stamped the flower in the Jumbo Java repeatedly and accented the flourish (all stamps are from the Stampin' Up! set "Baroque Motifs") with a Tombow dark brown fine-tip marker. I used adhesive flat-backed Crystal Stickers Pearls (from Archiver's) as accents. I realized too late that I had a need for two halves on the edges - so I thought they're cheap enough, I'll try to cut one in half! I could hardly believe it worked!! I have to say, you CANNOT beat Tonic cutting tools! LOL The edges looked raw as they weren't pearlized so I used used some liquid pearl on them. I rounded two of the corners because it looked a little harsh.

The half circle slit punch is from SU. I put a brown rivet in the center and threaded a ribbon thru as shown (ribbon is from the dollar bin at Michael's, where a certain friend of mine says it's where bad ribbon goes to die LOL, but we always manage to buy some! This is good stuff - as it's reversible, pink on one side, brown on the other.)

The background is second-generation Jumbo Java, as is the medallion on the pop-up panel. Oops, I guess the Congratulations is a Anna Griffith stamp.

I wish I had a tutorial page to lead you to on the card format - the original card was from a Stampin' Up! demonstrator so if anyone knows of an original source please let me know and I will definitely want to give credit where credit is due - thanks!

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy 4th! (and a card)

I usually don't work with red too much, or bright colors for that matter, so after all of yesterday's red on the cherries card I didn't have any more in me for a 4th of July card today!! So here's a shabby sunflower card...

Click on photo for more detail

Card measures 5 1/4" x 4 1/4"

Here's a side view when it was almost finished so you can see a little more of the layering, and truer colors.

Let's see... I started this one by picking out a main image to use, which is a sunflower collage by PSX. Sorry it's such an old one and may be harder to find - it's another stamp from a used sale recently. I knew I wanted a worn look, so I lightlly brayered Distress Antique Linen over a sheet of yellowy cream cs.

Always make more of a background than you're planning to use so you can restamp mistakes, add matching embellishments, or add coordinating elements to your envelope.

I stamped the main image three times, using black Staz-On ink. I used colored pencils to color parts of the three - on the first just the border, on the second just the sunflower and smaller panels attached, and the third the butterfly and square. I then trimmed these and layered with pop-dots (see sideview). There are great artwork examples and full directions for this style of stamping (Paper Tole) in the 06/03 Technique Junkies newsletter. I tore around the edge of the panel and set it aside.
When doing this technique, I don't color in the whole panel on every layer, but I do like to add a little coordinating color around the edges that might show under the next layer if the card is tilted at an angle, etc.

On the textured off-white cardfront I just inked up the main image stamp with the Antique Linen, used a sponge to wipe off the hard border lines and stamped it repeatedly.

For the dark ochre panel, I stamped the Stampin' Up! Scratched bkgd stamp in Antique Linen, and then sponged the same around the edges. I wrapped a large piece of twill I had distressed with the Antique Linen straight from the pad around the ochre panel, and then put three antique brass brads thru as shown. I find that you can't beat the ATG 1/2" "tape" for these types of tacking down, as it gives the fabric enough to cling to but never shows thru.

When putting brads thru fabric and ribbon, I like to use an Exacto knife to make a starter hole. Make sure the blade is good and sharp, place project over a foam pad, and push the tip of the blade into the material so there is a small cut.

I was going to leave it this way, as the sideview shows, but I wanted more of a border. So I used some of my leftover background, stamped the main image stamp again with the Staz-On and cut a square from the area I liked. I cut the square on the diagonal, stacked both pieces, and cut a notch for a photo corner look. Still too plain, lol, so I used a Timeless Touches Fiber Friend ruler (with spaced pierced holes) and a piercing tool to punch a border. Then I just connected the dashes with a Signo Uniball white gel pen, and used the sponge with some Antique Linen on it to lightly go over so it wasn't quite so stark white.

I layered it all as shown and that's it! (Well, except that after I had scanned it and written this, I decided the ochre border was too harsh, so I used my fingernail to rough it up all around and now it's perfect LOL So I think I'll stop thinking about it now! Before I find something that can only be changed by prying a layer up ROTFLMBO ;o)

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cherry Branch

Here's another new-to-me stamp (cherries, by Rubber Stampede) - I always get ridiculously inspired by new images. I thought the Technique Junkies Marker Water Coloring technique would be great for this, although I wondered if I could paint in the lines LOL It's in the current (June 2008) issue.

Click photo for more detail
Card measures 5 5/8" x 4 3/8"

Oops, forgot the waterbrush here!

Still on my quest to keep it simple and use what I have. I've always loved fruit images and I really like the branch on this one - very realistic. I followed the instructions for the main panel to a T, using Canson 140lb cold press Watercolor paper. There was literally no warping which tickled me to no end :o) I used a touch of white gel pen on each cherry for a little highlighting. I used some Marvy LePlume II markers from the 'Garden' set - they are the skinny style, and even tho they've been around here forever and a couple were a little dry, they still worked great with this technique!

I ran the panel thru the largest of my circle Nestibilities to cut it, and then emboss a line around the edge. I then laid this circle on my red cardstock and traced around it with a pencil. I used the scallop scissors to trim around this. And speaking of these scissors, the following is for Laurie especially :o)


When making scalloped edges on a square/rectangle so that the corners look right, here's what I do:

  • trace around the main image panel with a pencil onto colored cs
  • starting on a long side I cut a line with the scalloped edge scissors, starting and ending with a full circle at each end
  • then I line a circle on the blade up with the last circle on the cardstock and cut a line along the short end
  • I do the same thing with the next long side, starting where I just left off on the short side
  • when you get to the end of the second long side it's easy to finish the last side doing it the same way

I applied white Uniball Signo gel pen to the scallops as shown, and adhered the main image panel to the red one.

For the striped panel I used second generation Stampin' Up!'s Real Red dye ink on the Hero Arts Holiday Stripe stamp. I used Versamark on the cherry stamp to make a background on darker green cs and then dried it with my heat tool.

I rounded the bottom corners of the background panel and layered it to a reddish brown cardfront with rounded corners. After tying a white grosgrain ribbon around the striped panel I layered it all as shown.

Thanks for looking!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

A Little Upgrade LOL

I really wanted my main image panel to pop visually on the card from my last post but couldn't figure out how originally. So I left the card out on my desk all evening and it dawned on me to use my trusty gel pen. Here's the revised card:

Using a New-to-Me Stamp

A friend saw me oogling this birdcage stamp (Hero Arts - Bird in Cage) in a store the other day and generously offered to sell me her's cheap since it didn't work out for her project as planned (thanks Cheri!)

This is also my first attempt at using my Nestibilities die to get an embossed border. I wasn't sure how till I saw the You/U Tube tutorial on it.

Click photo for detail of background panel

Card measures 4 1/4" x 5 1/2"

forgot to include the Cuttlebug tag die here

I wanted to use a background piece I made using the Technique Junkie AI Float technique. It provides a super-easy marbled paper look - but unfortunately I ended up covering most of it!

It's hard to see but the light layers are a pale blue cs, and the dark is cocoa.

I started by cutting the white rectangle using the Spellbinder's Nestibilities die shown, and then embossing the border with the same die. I stamped the birdcage in the center, THEN, another cool feature of these dies - I laid the die over the panel (it covered the border outside the embossed line) and stippled Stampin' Up!'s Pretty in Pink around the edges.

I layered this panel to a black panel, and then to a brown panel I had trimmed with a scalloped edge scissor. This was then layered to a pale blue panel.

I ran a piece of the brown cs thru my Cuttlebug using a Fiskars texture plate ( I think the layering was Plate A, texture plate, cardstock, thin rubber sheet from Menard's plumbing section ;o) a few pieces of scrap cardstock, and Plate B.) This was layered onto a pale blue cardfront.

I stamped Background Text - Thin (A Stamp in the Hand) on my AI Float panel and layered this to a blue panel. I wrapped this panel with stretchy ribbed ribbon from SU.

I layered the panels to the cardfront, tucking half a pink fabric flower under as shown (look Juli! this makes it one whole flower I've actually used now from the 3 M scrapbook show 2 years ago!! LOL) The main panel is pop-dotted and so is the little tag (cut using the Cuttlebug and a die from the "Tiny Tags" set and stamped with black Staz-On and what I believe is a Hero Arts stamp).

I used a few self-adhesive flat-backed pink rhinestones which are brighter irl to highlight the flower center and balance the lower left corner.

Thanks for stopping in! :o)