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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Ribbon Storage

Last week I decided I couldn't live with dropping one more ribbon spool and having to wind it all back up LOL So in case it would help anyone else I'm posting a few photos of what I did with my decorative ribbon, and how I'm storing my specialty trim.

As you can probably tell I didn't take the time to iron any of the ribbon after taking it off cards and spools because I had quite a mess and just wanted to get everything hanging up. I pulled some white plastic hangers out of my closet and looped each ribbon on to them, seperating the ribbons into color families.

I can't even tell you how much easier it is to access the ribbons this way - just takes a split second to see what's there and it's so much simpler to hold individual ribbons up to my project to check color and size. Then I just cut off the length I need, not worrying about relooping to even out the ends unless I REALLY cut a lot off! I pull the hangers in and out of the closet and most of the loops actually stay tight. The problem ones are the really wide stiff ribbons but for some of those I brought one end over the hanger and used a safety pin to tack the two sides together right under the hanger rod. If you're really concerned about the ribbons sliding off eventually you could always put a piece of double-sided tape along the top ridge of the hanger rod.

I have the hangers on an over-the-door hanger to photograph but I store them in a regular clothes closet in my stamping area because they don't take up much room.

I use a plastic Iris cart for things like twill, raffia, and all sheer ribbons. Crochet thread is seperated in small baggies, one for each color, with a hole punch in the corner, and then these are strung on a hinged O ring.

Fancy style knitting fibers, etc. are on their original cards in the Iris card, and I keep all solid grosgrain ribbons on their own hanger because I bought a ridiculous amount at a close-out sale last spring (hi Laurie! ;o)

Hope this helps if you too have out-of-control ribbons in your stamp area!

Friday, October 24, 2008

A new blog!

I just started a brand new blog spot where I can ramble about all things non-stamp-related without torturing my stamping-only friends >;o) so come on over and join me if you get the urge! I'll have all sorts of categories eventually, like personal challenges, pet care tips, great quotes and media, health tips, etc. Enjoy!!

2 Christmas cards

I'm quite a slow starter when it comes to Christmas cards - I think this is the first of them for this year!

I love the quarter-sheets at I Brake For Stamps because there are enough images and words that you can really mix them up for different looks, but you can literally dig in your couch, borrow a couple bucks from the cookie jar and pick one up - they are great stamping value! These two links will get you right to the pages so you don't have to search around:

Pinecone Heart:
Christmas Tree:

(click photos for more detail)

Card measures 4 1/2" x 6 3/4"

The main panel on this card uses the Ripped Marble technique from the Technique Junkies August 2005 newsletter. It's a super easy and effective technique for collage stamps especially, and the only hard part is making sure the three colors chosen go together. If you keep it monochromatic it's almost a sure thing ;o) I sponged the edges of the darker green with Distress Peeled Paint ink, and layered it onto black cs.

For the highlight on the calender page, I inked up just the 25, stamped it onto a cream cs scrap, then inked just the edges of the ball further below and using a stamp positioner, framed the 25 with it. I sponged on Peeled Paint around the edges and used a glue pen to tack it down as shown.

The background panel is just Water Color Distress from the TJ February 2007 newsletter, using the Peeled Paint ink.

When doing the Water Color Distress technique, try different cardstocks, spray bottles and surfaces as they all add to the final look. The more tooth, and more absorbent your cs is the more definition you get in the ink spots. More water, a smooth mat surface and smoother semi-coated cs will yield a more solid watercolored look.

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

This second card features the Water Color Distress on the main panel, and I used Distress Peeled Paint and Tea Dye. Be sure your first color is dry before you redo the technique to add the second color as Distress inks can muddy if they are mixed when water is added.

To get more definition on the heart panel after I had stamped it on the Water Color Distress panel using Staz-On Timber Brown, I stamped the heart on a piece of copy paper, cut out the center, laid it over my main panel, and used a stencil brush to add Peeled Paint around the edges. Then I colored the pinecone and needles in with Stampin' Up! markers, adding white gel pen to highlight the cone and stem, and also the Peace oval.

For the layering I stamped the sentiment on wide twill, using Peeled Paint, and then cut the ends randomly and frayed them. On the brown panel, I pierced the edges and connected the dots for Faux Stitching using a white gel pen. I inked the smaller coordinating heart with Versamark and stamped all over the brown panel, and then added antiqued copper brads to three corners.

The olive panel is edged with Peeled Paint and a sponge, after being run thru the Cuttlebug using the Leafy Branch folder. I was going to highlight the embossing with ink but decided I liked the subtle effect better.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Techno Stamper Challenge #40

Yikes, it's been so long since I posted - sorry about that!! BUT, I've been working on Technique Junkie sample cards for the December newsletter and you will be SO HAPPY with the newest techniques Pat has for you! I already know some are going on my all-time favorites list - can't wait till it comes out so you can see... I know I say this all the time but a subscription to TJ is the best $20 a stamper can spend in a year!

I wanted to do a card to play along with the Techno Stamper Lunchtime Challenge #40. It's slightly modified but the general idea is there :o)

(click photo for more detail)

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

All images are by I Brake For Stamps (except the marble texture, which is from a cube by Stampendous, but there is a fabulous new rubber sheet of textures on the IBFS website - see the New Stamps page - along with birds and wildflowers, and some quotes in great fonts!)

I started by using the Technique Junkie Layered Collage technique from the 8/08 newsletter on the main image panel, using Distress Tattered Rose, Adirondack Raisin and Stampin' Up! Always Artichoke. I actually came up with this technique as a quick way to add more visual texture to any collage stamp. All you need to do is stamp your bkgd image of choice in the lightest ink, then stamp your collage image in a medium ink, and then ink up three individual images in a dark ink and stamp randomly around edges to frame the main image. If you use a sponge to add the lightest ink around the edges of the panel it really frames it nicely.
The background panel is a leftover piece of Brayer Spots from the 12/07 newsletter.

For the corners I stamped the marble cube on SU Artichoke cs using the same ink, cut 2 small squares on the diagonal and notched them with scissors. For the cardfront I just ran the Raisin pad over the same color cs that I stamped the main image panel on.

Sorry I'm not sure who made the circular hardware or dragonfly, but the Antiqued Brass photo corners are SU.

Thanks for looking, and go check out the brand new stamps on the I Brake For Stamps site - they are awesome!!!!!!!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Asian Collage

This card features stamps from the same half-sheet of Asian-themed images from I Brake For Stamps that I made the previous post's card from. The main image panel actually contains 6 different images.

The Technique Junkies techniques used on the main panel are about 1/3 Glowing Image, 2/3 Tone on Tone, and 3/3 Faux Collage (I know - that doesn't exactly add up LOL) This card was actually pretty straight forward to make. I used Fresco inks thru out, working the color into the background layer with sponges after stamping the parasol image in black Staz-On ink. The brads are a nice shiny gold in real life. I used a black Micron marker to outline the words for a little more definition.

Thanks for looking!

Paper Lantern Flower

Yay - finally got some stamping play time late last night! I've had a half sheet of beautiful Asian-inspired images by I Brake For Stamps sitting on my desk, calling out to me, all week long. If you like the stamps used on this card and you go looking for them, the sheet just so happens to be on the 'Specials' page over on the site!!

(click photo for more detail)

I thought the Technique Junkie Paper Lantern technique from the Oct 04 issue would be perfect for this set of stamps. I like that the flower is just bold enough to hold it's own among the crimping.

If you know you're going to crimp your cardstock, try to trim it to the size you need first, because I have found cutting after crimping can stretch out the edge just enough to make it look out of proportion.

I used Twinkling H2O's on the main image, including some champagne color around the image, to add very subtle shimmer. Even tho the technique calls for black ink on the ridges, I needed a softer look so I added some Ranger Archival Inks Sepia without going over the main image. The butterfly was colored loosely, with alot of water on the brush, and then trimmed closely and outlined with a drier brush and coppery-brown. I attached it using Glue Dots strips, just along the body, so that in real life it's very 3D. I used Stampin' Up's Natural cardstock, which is pretty heavy weight, for the main image panel and the butterfly, so it's very sturdy.

To make the frame I just cut strips on an angle and then smeared Staz-On Timber Brown ink from the pad along the edges, getting more on in spots for interest. The green panel is crumpled, smoothed and then gone over lightly with a Distress Antique Linen pad to accent the creasing. For the main back panel I used Brilliance Galaxy Gold to repeatedly stamp the symbol. Just layer together onto a piece of burnt orange cs, adding small gold brads to the corners, and it's done!

Here's hoping your weekend is a really great one!!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

TJ Newsletter organization

No artwork of a visual nature for you today, but I think organization can be a form of art if it makes your life easier and frees up time and effort. :o)

You know by now how I love Technique Junkies for the constant influx of stamping ideas, but I don't think I've ever mentioned how much I like having the paper issues as well as the online access. Sometimes I find it easier to create without my computer on and I love being able to flip to the technique page and read thru the steps as I'm whipping up a card. The only downside - I use them so much I have a fear of wearing them out!! Or worse - gasp - blotting out a key word with an ink splotch!! LOL Here's the answer I came up with for myself and wanted to share:

This is a softsided booklet I picked up at Office Max for just over $5 (no sale on at the moment :'o( Wah, and LOL as I "need 6 more!) Each holds one year's worth of newsletters with extras (more on that below...) Inside are 24 permanantly affixed sheet protectors, and both the spine and cover can be filled with any paper (think hand decorated! Mine isn't there yet...) to customize the outside.
Inside the front cover pocket I have a listing of what I call Go-to techniques for the newsletters in the book and the month of the issue they can be found in. These are my pet-favorites - either quick and easy, low mess, or so stunning I can't resist!

Now here's the real beauty - each year of newsletters (with the exception of the first which I think is a couple months worth, and this year, which will be an extra page or two in the last two issues) contains 18 double sided pages, and there are 24 pages in the booklet, which means: you can either skip a page after each newsletter and file your technique extras from that issue in it, or leave all the blanks at the end like I did above and insert an index (the one in mine is the Index by Supplies for 2007 which can be found in the TJ File section of the group site). I actually pasted two columns on each piece of paper as it prints out in a single column and that just made it too many pages. As shown it just fills the extra pages! Woohoo!! Another option would be to just continue on with newsletter pages for the next year, but I personally like each year seperate.
The only drawback I can see to this method, if you are compulsive like I MIGHT be >;o), it's hard to cut that first newsletter down the middle to get single pages out of it. BUT, hang in there - the finished product feels great to handle and will be easy to store or carry along anywhere because it is flexible but seems well made. The spine measures 6/8" so it's narrower than most three-ring binders. I figure if it should get tired years down the road I can always move the newsletter pages to a ring binder with sheet protectors.

Here's a photo of the center, where you can see that the pages are in there pretty good. Sorry I don't have a full photo open to the pages with the newsletter in - I didn't want to infringe on copyright laws by duplicating Pat's material online, but you get the idea how awesome it looks!
Hope this helps as it hasn't been too beautiful to look at :o) For more organizational tips for your stamping area, go to the section labeled Index of Posts (on the sidebar) and click on Organizational Tutorials...