Saturday, September 30, 2006

*Revisiting a Technique*

Years and years and years ago I was totally into Iris Folding. I bought so many different Japanese papers, and fancy tissue papers, and shiny wrapping papers. I cut them all into 1" wide strips, folded them in half, glue them and bundled them with the rest of the ones from that piece of paper. I kept them all in a big basket. And I Iris Folded any shape and size! I even did my Christmas Cards that year. And then, like most of my obsessions, I found something new and that laundry basket full of 1" folder paper strips got pushed into a corner.

Last week I was chatting with one of the gals who is in my Stampers Group. We are meeting for the first time on Tuesday. She was all excited about a new technique she saw called Iris Folding and wondered if we could please please please learn it at our October gathering. I of course said "Yes!" glad to have someone excited about something new that I knew I could teach!

So I was cleaning up a little yesterday in my stamp room and decided that I had time to make a card. I attemped Iris Folding again. I was a little rusty, but I think it turned out well.

Now, you have to believe me when I say it looks better in person than it does here. The gold background and gel pen doodling don't show up nearly as nicely in this scan. I used all Stampin' Up! stuff on this card (since it's a Stampin' Up Group). The papers the form the Iris are from the new Holiday pack of scrapbookign papers and the cardstock colours are True Thyme and Cranberry Crisp. Instead of a shiny metallic paper in the centre as I always used to do, I decided a simple gold brad did the trick. I sure hope that these girls like the technique!

My only compaint about this card was that by using the scrapbooking papers instead of the other specialty papers I used to use, the medallion ends up rather thick. On the card, it looks like it's on pop dots. But I guess that's OK... it looks more dimensional and adds a little more interest to the card.

Thanks again for taking a peek at my blog.... happy Saturday!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

*Plain and Simple*

I didn't have a lot of time to be crafty today, but enough to create a card. I spent more time tidying up my stamp space than making this card I think.

I haven't done a card with non-Stampin' Up! stuff in a while.... it wasn't as difficult as I thought it might be!

I bought these Prima Flowers several months ago and they've been looking pretty on my shelves since then. I knew I wanted a simple card and I think that's what I came up with. I shouldn't say it's a non-SU card as the cardstock and ribbon are SU. But hey, the main parts of the card are not. I thought at first that I needed something more on the card, but I think I'll follow Tracy's advice and keep it simple instead.

Thanks to everyone who takes a minute or two to post a comment... the comments encourage me to be creative!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

*More Christmas*

Most of my friends (stampers and non-stampers) are a little surprised when they find out that I am already stamping Christmas stuff. I guess it is pretty early, but when you make a tonne of cards (last year I made about 100) and then have requests to do Christmas Card workshops, one must prepare early.

But it's all good... Christmas is by far my favourite "occasion" to stamp. I love the colours, I love the images, I love the embellishments.

I still don't have my Christmas cards planned, but I have done several different designs for workshops and classes. I posted some the other day and created two more today.

Frosty was inspired by a design I had below... used the same colours and the word window punch, but laid it out a little differently The background is the Holiday Greeting background stamped in white craft ink. The colours are Certainly Celery, Very Vanilla and Rose Red. I'm not one to do a snowman card in anything other than blues/white/silver, but this card really appeals to me.

This card was inspired by a card I saw on Splitcoast Stampers by momma b. I was intrigued by the simplicity of her card. Unfortunately (for me) I like her card a lot more than my own! I'm not sure what it needs... opinions?

Now, the main reason I have been stamping Christmas cards these last few days is that I have a Stampin' Up Workshop on October 3rd and I was asked to do all Christmas cards with the girls. And, we're going to do 3 cards (which is more than I'd do in a normal workshop). So I need to come up with 3 cards that look good, use some different supplies, but aren't too difficult or labour intensive. I really like a few of these cards, not so thrilled with others, and have no idea what the attendees at this workshop will like. Any input would be appreciated.

I'm off to Tae Kwon Do tonight with the boyz... not only are the boyz kicking and punching and learning disclipline, but so am I! It's been fun so far, even more so because three of my good friends are also taking it with their kids! We are all beginners, and I totally feel like a fool, but I love that I am doing something active with my kids.

Bruce starts volleyball tonight... I think his game is after we get home from TKD. If things go as planned I think I'll stamp tonight while he's out of the house. I find I don't stamp much when he's home on the weekends or in the evenings... I enjoy being in the same room as him, spending time together watching TV or each playing on a computer. I'm sure I could go down to stamp, I'm sure he wouldn't mind... but I hardly ever do it.

Monday, September 25, 2006

*I stamped... but I can't share!*

Sigh... I was actually creative today but I can't share it with y'all yet. I am involved in a calendar swap with CST (Canadian Stamp Talk ... a yahoogroup I own/moderate) and I was graciously awarded the month of December... which should be easy. But I had a tough time coming up with an idea that didn't scream Christmas (for those who don't celebrate Christmas... thought it was only fair). I ended up with a design I am really quite pleased with... a take off on a card I've made recently. It's *very* simple and totally borrowed from someone else! LOL! I think it lent itself well to the 8.5 x11" landscape size.

I was also busy painting today. We have been busy in the last few months doing some painting, chaning out flooring and buying new furniture for our living room and dining room. We also painted the front entry way but had left the closet... and I couldn't live with it so I did a coat of paint on it this morning before work, came home after lunch and did coat #2.

Here are some before and after pics...

We are totally thrilled with how these rooms have turned out. This is the first time we've bought all new furniture... other than the odd piece of new stuff, it's always been hand-me-downs. We've been in the house for 10 years now... and finally some of the rooms are feeling the way I want them to.

If only we could do the kitchen now too...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

*Christmas Ideas*

I found an hour today to play and was inspired by some designs on other websites and blogs. I created three different Christmas Card ideas to use for classes and workshops.

This first card I created from a layout I saw on Splitcoast Stampers. Not sure how I feel about the tone on tone with the silver... it does really look better in person than it does in the scan. I sure with SU had come out with the silver ribbon again in the Holiday Mini as I think that would look better than the silver cord. The blue ribbon was too much blue. I also wonder if it would look better in shades of greens and reds. Will have to play with this design a bit more. I absolutely LOVE the layout though!

This card was inspired by a design I saw on Heather Nichols' blog. I didn't have the reindeer stamp that she used and nothing else seemed appropriate other than the Make it Merry tag from the new tag set. I absolutely LOVE the Christmas Papers in the Holiday Mini. Love it so much I just ordered 3 more packages of it! And I used that word window punch again. It sure is versatile once you start thinking outside the box and play with it.

I love the simplicity of this card. Once again, I was inspired by someone else. Debbie Olson had a card very much like this on her blog. I took one of the square punches from Stampin' Up to create a template for dry embossing a square behind each of the three snowflakes. The card itself is done on the Stampin' Up shimmer paper so you'll have to believe me that it looks so much better in real life. The ribbon is from the Holiday Mini. I love the idea of red and blue snowflakes (instead of only blue, white or silver). I love the simplicity of this card... it makes my heart happy to look at it.

I thought it would be more difficult to get into the Christmas Card Making Spirit but you know what? I truly loved it! I forgot how much I enjoy Christmas stamping. It's usually my favourite thing to stamp.

Now that I've started the Christmas Creativity I need to let it start to blossom and grow on it's own and hopefully come up with a few of my own designs. And I need to find that perfect card that will be the one I send out this year.

Tomorrow night is the first meeting of a new stamp club in Calgary. Hopefully this one isn't cancelled... we tried to meet two weeks ago but a bad accident on a major route to the north end of the city prevented most people from being able to get up here to the meeting. Lucky for me, I live only a few minutes from where we'll be meeting.

I gotta figure out something to take to work on while I'm at stamp club tomorrow. I keep hoping my friend Mona has her baby before tomorrow night so I can take her birth announcements to work on. I have the template done but don't want to make them on the off chance the baby is not a boy (the ultrasound said it was so it probably is, but...). If that fails, I guess I will take an assortment of Christmas stuff and play with some new ideas.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

*Darn Routine!*

Ok, so ya... haven't been down to my creative space since Sunday. Have thought about it. Have been surfing the net for ideas for a Christmas Themed workshop and a Christmas Card Class I will be doing in October, but haven't had any time to get down and actually get anything created. Darn life gets in the way! Been busy beating myself up about "bad food days". After losing 60+ pounds starting in the fall of 2000 (at goal summer of 2001), I have gained back about 20 pounds over the last 2 years thanks to stresses over my Dad's health. After his death in May I needed time to not worry about things like that, thus the 20 pounds. But now I can't seem to get it into my head that eating healthy doesn't have to be difficult. I can do a couple of weeks, and then it's back to the bad habits and the weight comes back on. WOW, let me tell you... it comes on fast and comes off s l o w. Sigh.

This is a photo of me before I lost my weight... May long weekend of 2000 at the Rubberstamp Convention in Puyallup Washington. The dark haired lady wtih me is Leslie Onastad, the creator of Radiant Pearls.

The point of that little story is that I think it's very difficult (at least for me) to be creative when you're down on yourself. I need to be feeling good about myself and where I am for the creative stuff to flow. That's probably why things haven't been flowing very well for the last several months. Even the act of losing weight doesn't work so well when you're not feeling positive about yourself.

I'm going to try very hard to not get down on myself for a few extra pounds. The stresses of family health and death and other problems around my family are a natural reason for someone with a weight problem to gain back their weight. I shouldn't be beating myself up about it.... I *know* I need to do the best I can each day.... but some days it's just easier to make bad decisions.

Anyway... maybe nothing you wanted to know, but it's my Blog LOL!

So, maybe tomorrow I'll be back to being creative. Let's see... I gotta hit the gym in the morning, go to work for 2 hours, and then a Meet The Teacher BBQ at the school at 4:30. There should be some time in there between work and Meet The Teacher.

I really gotta start thinking about Christmas cards.... both SU for workshops, and whatever I decide for *me*. This is almost the latest I've left my Christmas card planning!

Sunday, September 17, 2006

*I Stamped!*

I am so pleased to post that I stamped again today. It was chilly again today in Calgary (although the sun was shining today) so I decided to stay in and be creative. I have been creative 4 days in a row now... truly a recent record for me!!

I think the Blog has helped... I felt the need to make something to post today. I even did a card without anything in front of me for inspiration or ideas. The entire card came from my head. Definitely a creative feat for me!

So, that's the card I created. I felt the pull to use the Rose Red colour from Stampin' Up but I didn't know what to put with it. Thank God for the handy dandy Colour Coach from Stampin' Up. Some days I think I would be lost without it! I don't know that I would have necissarily put these colours together but am pleased with the results. Very bright and happy.

I also played with a sheet I had stamped up with Bodacious Bouquet to create a bunch of cards (a technique called a One Sheet Wonder). I had done this technique for a recent Stampin' Up! workshop and had a bunch of cardstock already cut for card elements so I used some of that with my randomly stamped sheet to create the following 3 cards.

I totally love this new stitched ribbon from Stampin' Up! It's in the new Holiday Mini catalogue and comes in three of the new "In Colour" colours.Bodacious Bouquet lends itself so well to the new "In Colour" colours that Stampin' Up! came up with this year. I used Buckaroo Blue, True Thyme, Marigold Morning and Cranberry Crisp in these cards.
The word window punch is so versatile... don't know why I took so long to buy it. Great to punch out small accents like on this card, or to create the tab found on the Happiness Card I posted at the beginning of today's blog entry. So many uses for it if you put your mind to it.

In addition to being creative today, I had some wonderful support and inspiration from other stampers and familiy and friends for my creativity and willingness to share. I had emails today from a few people who's work I admire after I had asked if I could link their Blogs here. They were all so supportive of me and encouraged me to keep creating and sharing my ideas and inspirations. That meant so much to me.

For those that don't know me much yet, here's a bit of insight into me....

I am 36 years old and have been married for 15 years. I was born and raised in Regina SK and moved to Toronto in 1990 with my then fiance. We moved there for Bruce to do his Masters and PhD in Physics. I worked at the UofT in the Student Council office for 5 years before I got pregnant with Alex and went on maternity leave in April 1995. We left Toronto in December 1995 and moved to Calgary AB where we have been ever since. We added Matthew to our family in March of 1997. Milo, our sweet doggie, came to us in August 2002.

I started stamping in November of 1996 after my Mom showed me this new craft that she had discovered at a craft show in Regina. I was hooked right after she showed me heat embossing! My first big project was Matthew's birth announcements... sure wish I had kept one!

Over the years I have worked at a paper/stamping store here in Calgary part time, taught classes for two stamp stores and a scrapbooking store, and am currently a Demonstrator for Stampin' Up! I am the "List Mom" of an online community at YahooGroups called CST (Canadian Stamp Talk)... an online community for Canadian stampers/scrappers/paper artists. CST has been around since November 1998 and is the largest Canadian stamping community on the Internet.

I have lots of things that attract my attention other than stamping and paper crafting... I am a TV Junkie, love to read, enjoy going for walks (with my iPod and the dog and no interruptions!), spending time with my girlfriends, snuggling with my husband, snuggling with my dog, hanging with my kids, tooling around on the computer. I think all these other interests sometime get in the way of me getting down into the basement to my stamping space.

So, tomorrow is Monday... back to the routine which includes a couple of hours of work. I wonder how the routine will affect my newly rediscovered creative flow....

Saturday, September 16, 2006

*Blog? Why Should I Blog?*

Not quite sure why I'm starting a Blog. I read several on a regular basis, all stamping/card making/paper crafting related. I find such inspiration in these other blogs and I'm not sure that anything I can share will ever compare. But you never know, perhaps having a Blog that others will see and (hopefully) read will help me find more creativity and more inspiration in the world around me.

I am a stamper. I love paper, ink, wood mounted stamps, embellishments, ribbons.... I love to collect all the beautiful things but then have trouble finding the creativity to put it all to good use. Sometimes I think I worry too much about making it perfect. I think I need to just head to my space and play.

Play. What a wonderful but scary word. To play in papercrafting means to experiment. Means to take chances. Means I have to put myself out there and hope I don't mess it up. But so what if I mess it up? What's the worst that can happen? I use some of my stuff, don't like the results... it's not like I've ruined someone's life. But I fear that failure.

So, instead of playing, I like to CASE... copy and steal everything. I see a card I like and I interpret it and make it my own. I use a colour combination, a layout, an exact card that someone else has done before.

Don't get me wrong... I'd prefer to come up with my own creations. I just have so much trouble doing it. Using others ideas is so much easier. When I go to my stamping space and challenge myself to come up with something on my own, no matter how much I wanted to stamp I find myself frozen and unable to come up with an idea.

It wasn't always this way.... I used to play and play and play. I think part of the problem is that I try very hard to use stamps and papers and inks and accessories from only Stampin' Up! since I signed up to be a Demonstrator for them in February of 2005. I can't use another company's stuff on items I use in my Demonstrations. For whatever reason, it's like I've forgotten I'm a stamper first and a Demonstrator second. It's not like I have a booming business. I make a little money, enough to support my habit. I haven't seen an increase in my business by always using SU stuff.

So maybe it's time to let myself play with all the other stuff I have on my shelves and in my drawers. Sure, I can still use the SU stuff... but I can use an embellishment from another company with my SU stamps. Or whatever turns me on at the moment. If I need to create something for my business, then I use only SU stuff... but when I'm stamping for family and friends, I should just use what makes my heart happy, the way I used to.

I did create something just for me this past week. I started working in the Lunchroom at the school my kids go to earlier this month. I need to take attendance daily and I've been checking off kids' names on my knee each day. So I went to Staples and bought myself a clipboard and I decided to decorate it so that there was never any question if it was mine or not.

I used some SU ribbon on it.... and papers from a scrap stack I got from Michaels. I also finally used some metal brads I purchased more than two years ago (although I removed the brad backs and used adhesive on my clipboard). Unfortunately you can't see the brads on it... there is one on the front clip and one on each of the top corners of the clipboard. I really love how it turned out and can't wait to take it to work on Monday!

While I was waiting for the Modge Podge to dry between coats, I also CASEd a card that I saw in the gallery on Splitcoast Stampers. I loved the layout and the colours used on it. It just totally caught my eye. Here's my version of the card created by notimetostamp

So, that's my first blog entry.... hopefully I am creative enough to post here on a regular basis... and hopefully I can come up with some things that make others feel inspired!