Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Crystal Flower

So how surprised was I yesterday when Shelby called me at work to tell me what colors were in the SplitcoastStampers color challenge yesterday? The colors in themselves are not very surprising (So Saffron, Bravo Burgundy, and Handsome Hunter), they are very wintry colors. The surprising thing to me was that Shelby knew where SplitcoastStampers was! Shelby reads Splitcoast?

Like it's really hard to find, Cyndi. I log onto your home computer, type an "S" into the Google bar, and "splitcoaststampers" magically appears.

So here's our card. The stamps are by Verve. I took Anna Wight's crystal snowflakes idea and made a flower. The flower parts are cut with a Spellbinders die and a Martha Stewart punch. Instead of covering the flower parts with glue and dipping them into glitter, I VersaMarked them and embossed them with glittery embossing powder.

What in the world did we ever do before Martha Stewart's fabulous leafy, branchy punch (the green part of the flower)? I love that punch so much--and her bird punch, too!

I can't get over your love of Martha Stewart. You live your life in such an anti-Martha, haphazard way.

I live my life in a haphazard way? Pot, kettle.

I'm supposed to live an ethereal sort of life. I'm Shelby.

When we were growing up in the Methodist church, every Sunday we would sing the Gloria Patri. You may know the words: "As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be." My sister was sure they were singing "is now and ever Shelby," and she's lived her life that way ever since.

Somebody's got to do it.

Cyndi and Shelby

Sunday, December 28, 2008


ItalicCyndi, please tell all the blog readers about this card briefly because I've got something I need to get off my chest.

Okay, Shelby (said Cyndi very apprehensively not knowing what her sister was going to contribute today).

Just tell them without the commentary.

Today's card is based on a sketch I found at Card Positioning Systems. Cute sketch, huh? I used some retired Bali Breeze paper from Stampin' Up! and the stamp sets "Embrace Life" (flower) and "All Holidays" (thank you). Shelby helped me out by using the sewing machine. The flower was embossed with black on watercolor paper and colored with reinkers and a water brush.

Tell them about the "Thank You" part.

The "thank you" was embossed in white and then I used by Stamp-a-Ma-Jig to stamp the same sentiment in pumpkin ink just a tiny bit down and to the left.

THAT'S THE PART I WANT TO TALK ABOUT! I went with Corky to his brother Charlie's for Christmas, and when we got there, we found the dining room table covered with scrapbooking stuff and alphabet stamps. It turns out Charlie's wife Diane is big into scrapbooking (why on the dining room table right before Christmas I don't know, but I don't judge). She was working on a fairly cute page, when I just HAPPENED to mention that if she used one of those Stamp-a-Ma-Jigs she could make the letters straight. She told me (kind of snarkily) that she had a Stamp-a-Ma-Jig, but it was too much trouble to use and she liked that the letters weren't straight.

For those of you who are lost about the Stamp-a-Ma-Jig, it's a simple stamp image positioning device that I use all the time to make sure my images are straight on my cards. Here's a YouTube video on it. Of course, that is not imporant to everyone, Shelby.

I understand that "straight" and "level" isn't everyone's goal, so I told her that she could get the letters uniformly uneven if she used the stupid thing. I mean, I've seen Cyndi use it a million times, and it can't be that difficult.

Is that why you spent most of Christmas in the RV? Because of scrapbooking differences? Shelby, everyone has different taste. Just because I like making everything even . . .

Wait a minute. I just opened this card you made.

The inside of the card is not what we focus on for this blog, Shelby.

You stamped the inside crooked.

Shelby . . .

Badly crooked. Why didn't you use the Stamp-a-Ma-Jig on the inside?

I would have, but it was easier to . . .

I give up!

Shelby and Cyndi

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve Sketch Challenge

Here is a copy of the Sketch Challenge today at SplitcoastStampers. I thought I should probably post the sketch as well as the card I made because it's really hard to tell from my card what the sketch is. It's my loosly rendered interpretation.

Since this sketch gave me the opportunity to use a larger stamp than I usually use, I thought immediately of of this lovely image from OnyxXpressions. Since it is an image of Mt. Fugi, I also started bracing myself to part with a little of my stash of washi paper.

So I layered the main image, both pieces of washi paper, and the red base on black cardstock to give it a little definition. Instead of layering exactly like in the sketch, I decided to have my layers be more like a fan or a hand of cards. I lined up my three layers and poked a hole in the bottom left-hand corner. Then I added a formerly-silver brad.

With all the Asian, the silver brad really needed to be gold, so I carefully held it with tweezers, heated it with my heat gun, then dipped the hot brad into gold embossing powder. I heated it again so that the details in the brad would come out again.

After stamping the "Thanks" in the bottom corner, I added some black shiny bead-like stickers in the other corners.

On another topic entirely, if you like Oxford Impressions stamps, you need to visit Suzanne's blog. You will not be sorry to see what's over there right now.

Have a Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Warm Wishes--Color Challenge

I only worked half a day today, so I had lots of time to do this wonderful Color Challenge at SplitcoastStampers. Today's colors are So Saffron, Cameo Coral, and Orchid Opulence. Initially I was going to make a big flowery creation, but I went with a Zindorf-inspired creation instead.
The sparkly trees are not showing up, but in real life, the sparkle as if an ice storm had hit the night before.
The bunny and the bird are Martha Stewart punches. The bunny is utilitarian as he covers up an unfortunate smudge in the snow. The bird just balances the bunny, but I think they add a lot to the card.
Thanks for looking.

Faux Silk with a Pop and a Twist

I am so pleased that I was able to get on SplitcoastStampers yesterday. For some reason, I've been busy doing other stuff.

Anyway yesterday's technique is called "Faux Silk with a Pop," and then I added my own Twist. I thought this tag image from Inkadinkado would work perfectly, and since I have not sent my mother a Christmas card yet (I know, but she's at my brother's and won't know when the Christmas mail arrived--unless she reads this blog), this is a very timely card.

If you have not tried Faux Silk you should give it a shot--it's pretty easy and not too messy. Here's how I did it:

I stamped the tag onto tissue paper, colored the holly leaves with Prismacolor pencils, cut it out leaving about 3/4 of an inch around the stamped image, and wadded the whole thing into a ball. Then I rolled it around between my palms like I was rolling out candy before dipping it into chocolate (oh, that's what I've been busy with). I cut a tag just a little bit smaller than the stamp's tag shape. That's because I didn't want to have to stretch the tissue paper out all the way. The beauty of the faux silk is in the wrinkles.

Here's the "Twist" I added. I brayered on inks from a spectrum pad onto the plain cardstock tag. I guess I made sort of a tie-dyed faux silk.

I covered the tag with a glue stick, unwadded my tissue paper, and stuck them together, carefully preserving little wrinkles in the tissue paper and folding the excess tissue paper around to the back. I even mitered my corners. (You can use any kind of adhesive for this, although I prefer dry adhesive. Although if you use wet adhesive you can put glitter all over it before it dries. I guess it's whatever you're in the mood for.) Then I sewed along the parameter of the tag.

I made two more tag shapes out of pink and green cardstock, stamped a very subtle "linen" background and then the filigree which was embossed with gold, and sponged and stitched them as well. On the dark green card base, I stamped the linen background with VersaMark and embossed with clear embossing powder. It is very "unsubtle" (if that's a word).

Okay the "Pop" of this technique is the Mona Lisa image from the tag collage that was stamped onto a piece of white cardstock, colored lightly with Prismacolors, and then adhered to the top of the faux silk.

As finishing touches I added red bead berries, some more holly in the top, left-hand corner, and crocheted some cord for the top of the tag. Then I tied that into a bow because it was pretty. I have to tell you I have never crocheted the cord or tied the ribbons of a tag into a bow before, but I really like the way it came out and will be doing this again.

Thanks for reading and have a fabulous Christmas.

I'm enjoying a quiet house because Shelby, Corky, and his dog took the RV to Corky's brother's house for the holidays. Talk about Silent Nights.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Overdue Tim Tags

I cannot believe I waited a whole week before uploading my last two Tim Holtz tags. Bad stamper!

Anyway, this one is based on Tim's Tag No. 10. My reindeer is grungeboard that I embossed a paisley background onto and then painted with green Twinkling H2Os. The flowers (Fancy Pants) and the "Happy Holidays" (Inkadinkado) were embossed with clear embossing powder, and then the tag sprayed with Glimmer Mist. I was planning on ironing the embossing powder off, but it looked pretty good as it was, so I left it.

The flower that you see was inspired by Anna Wight's crystal snowflakes. Here's her tutorial. I didn't do the technique justice, but it's only my first attempt.

No I didn't put a crown on the deer. I don't understand putting crowns and angels on animals and children. The whole concept just confuses me.

Now, the image to the right is inspired by Tim's Tag No. 12. I didn't have Tim's clock stuff, but I did have a partial clock stamp by Stampin' Up! which I stamped on the tag and then again on acetate. I added a giant decorative brad to hold the acetate clock onto the tag.

Santa is by Artistic Outpost (Snowy Woods plate), and those snowflakes are, again, from OnyxXpressions. I stamped them in black, but then wanted them to pop more, so I used my Stamp-a-Ma-Jig to line them up and embossed in white, using the original black stamping as a shadow.

I really enjoyed making these tags. Thanks, Tim, for all the inspiration!


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tim's Tag No. 11

I know I've skipped Tim's No. 10, but I'll get back to that, I promise. I had to share with you about the little tags that are on the big tag. It looks like etched glass.

The tag that Tim Holtz made today is found here. It's a beautiful tag, but it uses stuff I don't have, namely fragment charms, which he sanded, stamped, and embossed. So I was looking at his tag on line when my sister Shelby came up behind me. Tell them what you said, Shelby.

I said, "Great! Tim's copying you. Now he's using Shrinky Dinks."

Tim, of course, wasn't using Shrinky Dinks, but the look was very similar, and so I took the leftover shrink plastic I used in Tag No. 9, cut tag shapes out of it, and shrunk them down to size with my heat gun. The shrink plastic I have is already roughed up on one side, and I didn't know if this technique would work. I stamped my snowflakes on the rough side of the tiny tags, poured on the clear embossing powder, heated them up again, and was amazed to see a snowflake appear! And it's all because of Shelby and her brilliant idea!

I'm just glad Corky and I didn't use all the shrink plastic last night.

You used my shrink plastic?

Corky was making tiny little guitar picks as gag gifts.

That shouldn't have used up much of the Shrinky Dinks, Shelby.

He made a lot of them.

Until next time,

Cyndi and Shelby

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Tim's Tag No. 9

As you may know, I'm following Tim Holtz' 12 Tags of Christmas Challenge, and here is Tag No. 9 a la Tim Holtz.

I used Artistic Outpost's Snowy Woods plate extensively for this tag. In fact everything but the deer (Penny Black) and the "Post Card" (Stampin' Up!) are from the Snowy Woods plate. Oh and there are also words behind all the sponged on color, but I kept on sponging on color until you can't see them.

Now you may notice that on the tag that Tim created, he used a key and a lock. I figured that since Santa doesn't have keys (hello, there is no lock on my chimney), I would add the deer and the sled. These were fun to make. They're Shrinky Dinks. I remember when I was a kid my mom and Shelby and I would color Shrinky Dinks then bake them in the oven. That's before we found out about heat guns.


Tim's Tag No. 8

Well, I felt kind of bad that I told my friend Shelly I was going to use a Diet Pepsi can for snowflakes the other day, and then I didn't. Therefore, I made the ornament on this tag out of an aluminum can in an attempt to redeem myself.

I get it--"redeem" "aluminum can". I'm going back to bed now.

Thanks, Shelby, for explaining my little joke for me.

It was a mighty little joke.

Anyway, I cut the can open, cut the ornament out of the can, and then put it in a cuttlebug embossing folder and embossed it. I then stickled it a lot and set it aside to dry.

The rest of the tag is similar to Tim Holtz' Tag No. 8, except for the stamps used. The background (which is so subtle it doesn't even show up in this photo) is a flanel background from Stampin' Up! The Season's Greetings is from Inkadinkado. The snowflakes are from OnyxXpressions, and the flourishes are from Fancy Pants.

Cyndi and Shelby

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tim's Tag No. 7

So yesterday Tim posted his Tag No. 7. This tag of mine is closer to Tim's tag than any tag I've done so far. One of the reasons is that Saturday I bought the seasonal grungeboard that he's been using. But our tags aren't exactly the same. Here's how they differ.

1) I forgot to stamp snowflakes on the tag before assembling it. Whoops!

2) My snowman's scarf is way cuter.

3) I didn't have Christmas beads, but I had white beads that I dyed with the alcohol inks and strung with gold spacers.

4) My snowman presents his beads in a more sophistocated manner.

5) My snowman's nose is shorter and more in proportion to his tiny, little head (why is the head on this snowman so tiny?)

6) While Tim made his snow out of clear UTEE, white UTEE, glitter, perfect pearls, and glossy accents, I made my snow out of clear UTEE, white flocking, glitter, PearlEx, and crystal effects. My snow is very, very fluffy looking thanks to all the flocking, but still pretty icy because of the glitter.

I really enjoyed making the snow. That's a fun technique. I didn't use gloves either and had no trouble washing the mess off my hands. (Although while dying the red beads there was the incident with the red alcohol ink and the brand new skirt. I came out of my skirt really fast, washed it in the nearest sink, and all the ink came out, but it was really dramatic there for a minute.)


Sunday, December 7, 2008

Tim's Tag No. 6

I'm still working on Tim Holtz' Christmas tag challenge and having a ball. Here is the link to his Tag No. 6. It's different than his other tags--old fashioned and sweet. Here's how I did it.

While I was waiting for the alcohol ink to dry in the pallet, I made the background. First I did it like Tim suggested, but I thought it was too light for my taste, so I put two colors of blue reinkers on the craft sheet and spritzed it. There was a LOT of ink and water on the craft sheet so I switched my cardstock tag to a piece of watercolor paper. Inky water still dripped off the tag when I picked it up, but the blues combined and swired so beautifully. The background was fabulous when I took the heat gun to it.

If you are examining the tag to find the beautifully swirled background, I am sorry to tell you that something terrible happened to it. I stamped the green branches (still looking good) then stamped the sheet music. Whoops! I accidently stamped the music upside down. If only I hadn't already cut the corners at the top I would have just flipped the tag over, but no, the tag had been trimmed. So I used my soft filter technique and lightened the whole thing. Then it was too light, so I added dark blue to contrast with the "snow" that was going to be on the outside of the tag. It worked well as a camaflage, but my beautiful background is now no where to be found on the tag.

On a piece of acetate, I stamped the Christmasy branch and the little birds from Stampin' Up!'s retired Feathered Hope set. I also found out the reason Tim suggested outlining the tag shape onto the acetate. Acetate is very hard to see on a work station (especially a cluttered one). I had to outline it, just to see where I was supposed to stamp! Then I turned the acetate over and colored the little birds with the dried reinkers activated by a water brush full of blending solution. After that I added white paint as directed by Tim, but I added it with a sponge, which I thought gave kind of a frosty look to it.

The letters were cut out of a glitter sheet and colored with alcohol inks. I punched snowflakes out of a Diet Pepsi can, just like my friend Shelly did, but they were too big. I was afraid for my petit birds to get hit with such large flakes. I remembered I had these cute little snowflakes left over from two Christmases ago, so I used those. Sorry, Shelly. I broke with the program.

When I was done, I noticed there was a lack of Stickles, so I remedied that by putting Stickles glitter glue around the whole tag, giving it a very icy feel.


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Tim's Tag No. 5--With Butterfly

This is my version of Tim Holtz' Tag No. 5. He used his fabulous grungeboard reindeer. Unfortunately for me, I did not own that lovely creature, so I substituted a fabulous heavily flourished bird from Sugarloaf. Okay . . . you have probably noticed by now that that bird does not appear on the tag. It turns out you can have too much flourish. Who knew?

Instead of using the bird, I stamped the butterfly on chipboard, embossed it, painted it red, then lightly touched the embossed snowflakes with a white chalk ink pad. I used some red wire for its antennae and put red beads on the ends.

The background is really cool, and I never would have thought of doing this if not for Mr. Holtz. First I painted the whole tag with black acrylic paint, then embossed the swirly elements (Fancy Pants) and the script (retired Stampin' Up!) with black embossing powder. Then you paint the whole thing green with acrylic paint. As soon as it's dry on the tag, but before it's dry on the embossed parts, wipe the whole thing with a wet paper towel. The paint comes right off the embossing and stays pretty well on the rest.

I painted the grungeboard flourish with a gold paint pen, painted the felt snowflakes with stickles and let them dry, and added lace at the bottom. It's hard to see but the lace then got further embellished with pearl stickers, as did the snowflakes (can't have too many pearl stickers).

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tim Holtz Tag 4--Sort Of

Here is Tim's Tag for Day 4. As you can see, my tag looks nothing in the world like his tag. It does include a Santa Claus (from my Fancy Pants Blissful Season set), but it's not a photograph of me and Santa. And it includes the number 25, but mine are die cut and colored with a silver paint pen. Mine is also tag shaped and contains quit a bit of metal.

Actually I was more inspired by my friend Robyn Sharp's copper piece that she did a couple days' ago. I used the Faux Designer Paper technique on the copper (no it's not pink card stock--it's copper) using stamps from Inkadinkado and OnyxXpressions. Then I stamped a portion of a tree from Penny Black in the upper right-hand corner and hung this great ornament from Inkadinkado (also cut out of copper). The ornament was painted with blue alcohol inks before I stamped it, but it's really hard to tell that from the scan. And of course, I had to bling it up a little with Stickles and beads.

The Santa part is not printed on cloth like Tim's is, so to make up for it, I stamped a linen background stamp over it in VersaMark and embossed with clear. You can't see it, but it's textured in real life.

Lastly, I finished with Dresden Foil trim which I got at Rock Candy Studios. This is good stuff and very addictive.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

Soft Filter

The background paper for this card is some Anna Griffin paper that is several years old. I have gobs of it. Every time I saw it, I bought it.

In this month's Stamp & Scrap there is a technique called Soft Filter that is so cool, and I knew I had to use it on this paper. It's so easy. Basically you take white craft ink and sponge it over your background, making . . . well, a soft filter. It looks like I put a piece of vellum over the background paper, but I just sponged on the white and then stamped on French script. I sponged more at the top than the bottom for contrast.

The main rose image is from the Abundant Joy set from Stampin' Up! I watercolored it with reinkers and a blender pen on watercolor paper. Now that my paper is subdued, it goes together perfectly!


Tags of Christmas -- Tags 1 and 3

In case you didn't tune in yesterday, this is for the 12 Tags of Christmas challenge hosted by Tim Holtz. This is my version of his Tag 1. Instead of masking (which I tried yesterday, but I hated how that tag turned out), I used the Faux Designer Paper from the Technique Junkies Newsletter. The flourish is from Fancy Pants' Blissful Season stamp set and the snowflakes are from OnyxXpressions.

I have to tell you that I had never inked those snowflakes before, and when the ink from the stamp kissed the paper, angel voices were heard throughout the stamp room. I know it's hard to believe I would have that response to a snowflake stamp, but I am in love.

"Merry" was die cut from a Spellbinders alphabet set and glittered. The deer is from Flourishes (gotta love those festive antlers), and the red snowflake is by Stampin' Up enhanced with Stickles.
This second tag is Tim's Tag 3. I do not have all the stuff Tim has so I had to make do with what I had on hand. Instead of a glossy accent, I used clear ultra thick embossing enamel to spotlight my tag (after coloring with markers and a blender pen), and instead of a Philosophy tag, I punched out a circle and put a lot of layers of gold embossing powder on that and stamped in a snowflake. The spotlight needed a little enhancing, so I edged it with a gold paint pen.

And what time did you complete this project?

Hey, Shelby! As you know I was up bright and early this morning, inspired by this great challenge.

The next time you're inspired before 8 a.m., please stamp something quieter. Let's have a new rule: No heat embossing before 8:30.

Or you could get a job and rent your own place. Seriously though, Shelby, you are more than welcome to join me in the studio instead of sleeping through the creativity.

Until next time,

Cyndi and Shelby

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Tags of Christmas--Tag 2

Tim Holtz is hosting his 12 Tags of Christmas challenge over on his blog. This is my version of Tag No. 2. It took a couple of tries for me to get this technique to come out right, but I think I nailed it.

The stamps are from the "A Wish For Peace" set by Stampin' Up! It may not show up on your monitor, but the snow on the trees and the church are glittered. I put a light in the church with a yellow Zig chalk writer.

You may notice that this is Tag No. 2, yet there is no Tag No. 1 posted to my blog. I actually worked on both tags last night, but Tag No. 1 just would not come together. I'm going to take another pass at it tonight if I get the chance.


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Photo Stamping

"Wow!" you are probably thinking to yourself (maybe even saying it outloud to your computer monitor) "How in the world did Cyndi make such great-looking snow?" Well, I'll tell you . . . last summer I took a photograph of a cloudy sky, and then last night I stamped on the photograph using black StazOn ink. Pretty cool, huh? It even looks like Santa is stepping out of the shadows. I really liked how this came out.

The only thing I am adding today is that I didn't do the sewing on the card, Cyndi did it. If I had done it, it would have been straight.

I think it just adds to the charm. The stamp is from Artistic Outpost's Snowy Woods plate (see previous post).

Until next time,
Cyndi and Shelby

Friday, November 21, 2008

Renaissance Paper

Check out the cool background on this card. It's called Renaissance Paper and we made it at my stamp club this past Saturday. We took large pieces of paper bag, soaked them in water and white vinegar, and then sponged with acrylic paint, including metallic acrylic paint. It looks so cool in person.

No, it looks bumpy in person. As I'm looking at this card the wadded-up-paper-bag part isn't lying flat at all. Couldn't you have glued it down better?

Shelby's right in that it is not lying flat. But what Shelby doesn't realize is that parts of the background are glued flat to the black base and other parts are held aloft by Pop Dots--the big Pop Dots. I wanted it to look kind of like a sculpture.

Oh, I see it now. It's kind of like a door stuck on a rock.

The door image is by Artistic Outpost and is one of the images on the Snowy Woods plate. I watercolored it on watercolor paper using reinkers and a water brush. The door knob is a brad.

Since Cyndi's last post, which was a week ago (we're not very industrious, are we?), I have been getting a lot of flack from my friends about Corky and the dog and the tire swing. Well, I just want to set the record straight that (1) his living in an RV in my sister's backyard is not a permanent arrangement; (2) the dog is well behaved; and (3) the tire swing is a blast.

Shelby and Corky raked all our leaves into a big pile and jump into them from the tire swing. I have no idea why they don't break their necks.

Corky found an old mattress on the side of the interstate and we put that under the leaves. We're not stupid.

There's an old mattress from the interstate in my back yard!!!??? Ewwww!

Until next time,
Cyndi and Shelby

Friday, November 14, 2008

Totally Unreal!

Tuesday night I came home after a long hard day's work to find a strange man in my house. No surprise there. My sister (a strange woman) lives in my house, so why wouldn't she bring home friends now and again.

The really surprising thing is that I encountered him going from my sister's bathroom into our fenced-in the back yard. That's strange, I thought. It's way too cold for Shelby to be entertaining in the back yard.

A half hour later Bob came home and asked my why there was an RV in the backyard. WHAT? Our back yard is fenced in, and the gates are far too narrow for an RV. "Bob is ten years older than I am," I thought to myself. Was he suffering a stroke? Early-onset Alzheimer's? So I went into the backyard to check it out.

There was an RV in our back yard.

Bob and I knocked on the door of the RV.

Shelby and the strange man from the bathroom (turns out he's Corky, the new 36-year-old bass player in Shelby's band) opened the door and invited us in to share a bottle of wine (probably not their first). "How did you get this in here?" Bob asked very calmly. "Dude, it was not easy. We had to remove part of the fence, drive the RV in, and then put the fence back. Sorry about the tire tracks in your side yard." "You removed the fence!!!???" I asked. "Yeah, but we put it back real good," he explained "because we don't want the dog to get out."

Oh yeah, Corky has a dog.

This is totally unreal. I mean it, it is totally unreal!

Yesterday he hung a tire swing.


Thursday, October 30, 2008


Hello, blog readers. Shelby here to show you my new creative outlet. Earrings. Can you believe I just learned how and I made all these earrings?

It's true. I have never seen anyone pick up on how to make earrings faster. She was a total whiz!

Hundreds of pairs of earrings I made all in one evening!

Actually it was 20-something pair, but still very good. And I can't get over your craftsmanship. I've been making earrings for several years, and yours look as good as mine, sis!

And it's all for charity, too.

As hard as it is to believe, she did make all these earrings for charity. I bead for a group called Maanza a Leza that supports a village in Zambia. I brought some jewelry home to work on, and Shelby picked right up on the earring part. Now if I could get her to string beads for necklaces.

Boring. Earrings is where it's at. I don't want to be stuck with the tedium of putting very tiny little beads on a wire over and over.

If you would borrow my reading glasses . . .

I don't need reading glasses. I'm much more valuable as an earring specialist.

It's a shame you scanned them all in a jumble. I'm sure people would be able to see your workmanship if they were scanned neatly in pairs or something.

You, Cyndi, are just jealous of my artistic vision.

Until next time,
Cyndi and Shelby

Monday, October 27, 2008

Bandana Technique

Hey stampers, have you tried the banadana technique? Sponge dye ink where you want it, stamp in black, and highlight with a white gel pen. I had done this technique before, and thought I should try it with a Christmas theme. The birds, snowflakes, and sentiment are by Inkadinkado. The corner motif is by Bo Bunny. (Who knew Bo Bunny made stamps?)

As it was explained to me, this is a "double tag," a popular shape in some circles. I certainly don't understand it--you can't fold it to make it into a card because the back of it is not pretty. In fact there are ink smears all over the back of it. Also, you can't send it in an envelope without folding it because it is fairly large.

Yes, Shelby, but the front of it turned out quite nicely. And it's art. The trim is Dresden foil that I purchased from Rock Candy Studios.

You would not believe the amount of time Cyndi spent on this with that white pen. If anyone gets this as a Christmas card, I can almost guarantee it will be the only one.

Hey, "Dresden Foil" might be a good name for my band. It's got kind of an Old World feel to it. We have been practicing and are now up to six songs that are performance ready. "Dresden Foil"--what do you think?

I think it's better than some of the other names you've come up with which are not appropriate for a family-friendly blog.

Until next time . . .
Cyndi and Shelby

Friday, October 17, 2008


I just read her post! First of all, just because I wear skirts a little above the knee does not make me an exhibitionist. Secondly, okay we only know five songs, but we play them for a long time. And lastly, I would welcome any input by way of a name for the band. We're all over 40 (although I'm just barely), but we can still rock. Me and four (really cute) guys.

It has been a long time since I've done anything like this. And even though it was a lunch time gig at a "tire" store, I was really "tired" afterwards. I guess if we get invited to open a muffler store, I'll be totally "exhausted."


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Tumbled Tiles

My dear sister Shelby has gone to bed, so I guess I'm on my own with this post.

This coming Saturday my rubber stamp club, Rollin' On The Rubber (no, we don't pass out condoms at local high schools), is hosting the third annual Stamper's Day Out, and I am teaching one of the projects. We are making coasters out of "tumbled tiles."

I think everyone will have fun with this project. Basically you coat your tiles with two colors of alcohol inks and then, when they're dry, you stamp on them using StazOn ink. Then you can either bake them or seal them with spray sealant. I'm going to bake mine.

Now, I will let you in on a little secret. When I stamped the image on the second tile I made (the orange one), the image smeared. I got out my StazOn Cleaner and wiped the whole thing off. No problem. In fact, it left the tile a lighter shade of orange, like you see here, with the natural marbling of the tile showing up beautifully. So I left it light and stamped that. I liked it so well I lightened the blue and the purple tiles the very same way, which really make the stamped "weeds" pop out. The green tile was light enough for my taste, so I didn't lighten it at all.

The wildflower stamps are by Endless Creations, and the bee is from the Stampin' Up! set Serene Sunflower.

The reason Shelby has gone to bed so early tonight is that she was up so late last night. Normally that would not be a problem as she generally sleeps until lunch, but today she had to get up by 8:30. Shelby has formed a band, and they had to be at the opening of a tire store by 11 a.m. to play for the lunch crowd. The gig didn't last very long as they only know four or five songs so far, and they only got paid in the number of hot dogs they could eat (or stuff in Shelby's oversized purse), but they were very excited for the "exposure"--a very applicable word considering the length of Shelby's skirt. I wish them every success as long as they don't practice in my house.


Saturday, October 11, 2008

Sunset Serenade

Y'all are not going to believe this, but Shelby actually played an integral part in making this card! She did all the sewing on the background.

Cyndi could have done the sewing herself, but apparently she doesn't know how to thread her machine.

It's true. I was cursing the stupid sewing machine, when my older sister came to my rescue, threaded my machine properly, and then, while I worked on the foreground, she sewed the scraps of paper (which had their edges already sponged with Always Artichoke ink) to the base of the card front.

I'm your younger sister by 18 months.

As if. So anyway, the main image (a la Zindorf) was created as follows: I took a Post-It note and masked off the top two thirds, then sponged Not Quite Navy ink on the bottom third starting with the outside edges and working my way to the inside, getting lighter and lighter as I went toward the center. Then I used the same Post-It and masked the water. I sponged Summer Sun, More Mustard, and Pumpkin Pie inks, getting very light toward the center so it would look sunsetty.

Very imaginative word there, Sis. And who named these colors? Allie Alliteration?

Then I stamped the grass from Stampin' Up!'s "Inspired by Nature" set and highlighted the grass with a white gel pen. I also used the pen to add a little light to the water. Finally I added photo corners to the matted image to give it more of photo feel. What do you think?

I think you've wasted enough time on this card, and it's time you got some housework done. I'm not cleaning this house by myself again. Your readers would not be impressed if I photographed and posted the living room.

Unfortunately, she's right. We're off to do a few chores. Thanks for reading.

Cyndi and Shelby

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Clear Card for Christmas

I put this card together for shoebox swap at the Memphis Gathering of Splitcoast-stampers which was last weekend. It uses the new-this-year To You and Yours stamp set by Stampin' Up! The really cool thing about this card, which you may not be able to tell from the scan, is that it is a clear card. The light blue panel behind the tag is actually the inside of the card, and the blue tag with the dove on it is glued to the front of the card. The snow on the house and the white swirls on the dove's trail are made with a white Zig marker from their Chalk Collection.

Shelby here. Hi, everyone. I don't stamp, but I can tell you that this actually is one of her better cards that I've seen. The concept is wonderful. What she calls the "card base" is a clear piece of plastic like those clear report covers. And she stamped white swirly things directly onto the clear part and glued the paper parts directly to the plastic parts.

Thanks, Shelby, for helping to explain it. The clear part of the card is "7mm acetate" (which is plastic) and the paper Shelby was referring to is "cardstock." I don't actually "glue" anything together, but I put it all together with dry adhesive.

Potato, potahto.

I should explain a little why Shelby is helping me out today. It appears that Shelby's therapist thinks that she and I could use a little work on our relationship and has suggested that we do a project together. This is it.

Heaven forbid we start something that I'm actually interested in.

So I will keep posting my art.

And I will provide the color commentary.

I'm sure it will prove to be very colorful.

Cyndi & Shelby

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Sunflower - Summer's Last Hurrah

Here is the birthday card I made for my mother. Happy Birthday, Mom! Those of you who know me will be totally impressed in that I actually sewed on this card. That's right--it's not faux stitching on this card, but actual thread from my actual sewing machine. I gave up the TV in my stamp room, and now I have room for my Singer. These stamps are the "Serene Sunflower" set by Stampin' Up! and they are retired. Retired? How can this set be retired? I've barely used it!
For those of you wondering, life with my sister Shelby is actually going pretty well. It turns out she cooks! Now Bob and I have food in the house all the time. Need a snack? There are leftovers in the fridge (and they are not in Styrofoam take-away boxes this time).
Of course none of my pots and pans were up to Shelby's standard. She dug into her bedrooom closet full of boxes and replaced virtually everything in my kitchen with her stuff--even the salt and pepper shakers and cannisters. All by herself she boxed up all my kitchen paraphernalia and moved them to my bedroom. I guess she feels like we're more on an even par, now that my bedroom is hard to move around in as well.
Shelby has also started therapy, which I think will be good for her. The divorce from Art was quite a blow to her psyche. Plus it's probably stressful to her to have to move in with her (much younger-LOL) sister.
Finally, Splitcoaststampers is having a Memphis gathering this Saturday, and I am so excited! I've been making a shoebox swap (i.e. one card 40 times, but I only put one together. The other cards are cut out, but not stamped, and put into individual sandwich bags. Think "snowman soup" or a cake mix). I'll post my card after the event.
P.S. The text is in different colors because I can't get the paragraphing to work. Technology!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oatmeal and Watercoloring

With all the drama that's been going on in my house, I had to get back to my peaceful studio.

This card is inspired by yesterday's SplitcoastStampers sketch challenge (my favorite of all the challenges) and a friend's birthday that's coming up next week. I really wanted to try this sketch, but I had choir practice last night, beading group, yada, yada, yada . . . Anyway, I got up this morning an hour early so I could get back into the studio before my sister Shelby woke up and the drama recommenced.

I used Stampin' Up!'s Eastern Influences set for the central image on this card and an old Anna Griffin sentiment that I have had for a long time. I like that it's such a small sentiment, because I don't always save room for a big “Happy Birthday.” The paper is Basic Grey's "Eva" that I got from Jacksonbelle Embellishments.

An important thing to know about this story is that I have also been trying to save enough time in the morning to eat a healthy breakfast, so I had oatmeal cooking real slow on the stove. Oatmeal is fairly low maintenance, and I was pretty sure I could keep an eye on it while watercoloring. Unfortunately watercoloring, for me, is very absorbing--almost spiritual, and . . . yes, I forgot about the oatmeal until I smelled it burning. (Always microwave oatmeal when watercoloring.)

Anyway the smell of burned oatmeal made the kitties crinkle their noses in disgust and woke Shelby, who wandered into my studio to see what I was up to. I didn’t realize she had never watched me make a card before. She shook her head, went back into her bedroom closet (having to crawl over furniture in order to get to it) and dug out a box of store-bought greeting cards. She presented them to me unceremoniously and told me I could help myself anytime I wanted and that she knew where she could get more if we ran out. [Sigh].

(The unappreciated artist)

Shelby is here . . . with her furnishings.

My sister Shelby has moved into my house. I understood that when you add a new person some disruption to a household occurs, but I had no idea . . .

The good news is that by the time I went over to her now-former house to pick Shelby up, she had the giant Ryder truck loaded and ready to go. Since her ex-husband was paying for the move, she hired the youth group from her church to pack her up and load the truck, and she paid them well for it with the blank check Art (her ex) gave her. I think it boiled down to a ski trip for the entire youth group in January.

It took us what seemed like forever to drive from Roanoke to Memphis with the giant Ryder truck lumbering slowly down the interstate, and me following in the station wagon. Part of what made the journey so slow was the speed at which she was comfortable driving the giant Ryder truck, and part of it was due to the giant bottles of water she would purchase (and subsequently drink) every time we stopped. And we had to stop a lot . . . because of the giant bottles of water. But I shouldn't complain; after all I could have been the one stuck in the truck.

I'm not being judgmental, but one of the reasons Shelby may have had for drinking so much water and having to stop so much may have been the truckers. The reason she had to stop at truck stops was because, she alleges, they have nicer rest rooms. The reason she had to wear indecently short shorts for a woman her age was because truck stops have truckers. Now I would admit that Shelby has nice legs, but apparently she did not want confirmation from me. The friendly trucker drivers told Shelby everything she wanted to know each time she stepped down out of the big Ryder truck and languidly stretched the weariness of the road out of her taught muscles. Divorce is hard on a person, and it doesn't hurt a body to accept a little positive reinforcement now and again.

There was a lot of furniture in that van. And now it's mostly all in one bedroom and a bathroom in my not-so-large house.

You won't believe how she's got that furniture arranged. She's got her queen-size bed pushed into a corner at the far side of the room and has about 14 inches on the right side of the bed to get in and out. She has two large dressers stacked one on top of the other and uses a footstool, a chair, and a "fairly" sturdy table as a ladder to get into the top drawers of the top dresser. Right beside the stack of dressers is a computer desk that also houses her television, her good china, silverware, and stemware. Because it won't fit on the computer desk, the printer is located across the small bedroom on the dining room table; the printer is beautifully flanked on either side with ornate sterling silver candelabra. Thank goodness the closet in that room is large--because four of her six dining room chairs are squeezed in along with a lot of clothing and three big boxes. The other two chairs contribute to the furnishings of the bedroom, one at the computer, and one at the dining room table.

You would think in a room that crowded with furniture, a woman would leave her nick-nacks packed in a box, wouldn't you? But a lot of them are proudly displayed on the several end tables in the room. Others that are not in her bedroom have been placed on the several end tables that now are crowded into the bathroom under a large sofa-sized painting of a serene farmhouse and cows.

Some people don't believe in storage facilities.


Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Ryder Truck!!!

Y'all are not going to believe this. I rented a station wagon to come here to Virginia to pick up my sister and make sure that we could get all her clothes, along with the personalty she needed, to make a new life for herself in Memphis. Apparently Shelby thought she needed more personalty than she told me about on the front end. She has rented a Ryder truck--not the smallest one either.

"Where in my house are you planning to put everything?" I was trying to stay calm. Trying to be reasonable. Wondering how I was going to explain this to Bob who was already having to get used to the idea of having his quiet home invaded. "I'll make it fit. Don't worry." I can't help it; I'm worried.

Meanwhile, my mom and I are having a great visit. Her new condominium is just lovely! The photo is some art from her apartment. Isn't that cool! I'm going to use it as an inspiration piece when I get home.

Speaking of inspirational, you just don't know how I've missed the mountains of Virginia. After I break it to Bob about his sister-in-law's big furniture move in, I will tell him my great idea about retiring to Floyd, Virginia (still dreaming-distance into the future). He'll probably be ready to retire as soon as he sees that Ryder truck.


Friday, September 5, 2008

Pretty Paper

Thursday's Splitcoaststampers Ways to Use It challenge is to use some of your specialty paper. I bought the paper for this card from my local scrapbook store, Eclectica, a couple of weeks ago. It's so yummy I almost had it for lunch that day, but I'm glad I saved it.

Usually the cards I make are 4-1/4" X 5-1/2" (commonly referred to as A2), but this one is 5" X 7" because I didn't want to cut this paper up too much. I used some more faux stitching (is the border stitch called a couching stitch?--I don't remember) and made some more of those cute butterflies. The sentiment in the middle of the diamond is from the Verve set Beautiful You and says "No winter lasts forever. No spring skips its turn. --Hal Borland." The buttons are from a giant stash of buttons that I have, but I never use.

This is my last post before I leave on my week-long trip to see my mother and to pick up my sister. I am so excited that I have actually packed my suitcase a whole day before I leave! My clothes are usually pulled warm from the dryer a half hour before we leave.

Funny story: My grandmother used to pack so far ahead of time that she would have nothing to wear. She would pull things out of the suitcase, wear them, wash them, and repack them . . . for several weeks.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

Paper Engineered Butterfly Wings

Wednesdays may be the best day of the week on Not only do they post a new tutorial of a project or a technique, but Wednesday is sketch challenge day. And here is my card based on this week's Sketch Challenge.

First of all, let's talk about the faux stitching. For those of you not acquainted with this technique, the artist pokes a line of holes in the paper with a paper piercer (or a pin or a needle or beading awl or whatever sharp implement you may have in your stamping space) and then draws between the holes with a pen. Here I used a Signo white gel pen, which is ideal, but if you want your "thread" to be another color, use that instead. Now some stampers use a piercing template or a ruler to be sure that their "stitching line" is absolutely straight. Me, I just punch the holes in a relatively straight line. I mean, if I were to either hand sew or machine stitch on a card, I'm not kidding myself that my stitches would be any straighter than this. I'm just not that good of a seamstress.

Please note that the above card shows examples of "faux machine stitching," both in the straight stitching around my focal image and the zigzag stitch on the red stripe at the bottom. Why is faux machine stitching any different than regular faux stitching? you may ask. It's because I intentionally added an additional layer of faux stitching (bottom left-hand corner) to resemble what happens when you run the machine forward and backward at the end (or the beginning) of a line of stitching to lock the stitch. Just another whimsical detail I thought would be funny.

But I digress. This card was actually pretty easy to make. The main image and the butterflies stared out as Barely Banana paper, and I sponged them with Summer Sun and Ruby Red inks. I used the Upsy Daisy stamp set from Stampin' Up! for the flowers and the salutation. The butterflies are punched with a Martha Stewart punch (the only Martha Stewart item in my entire house--it's actually a great punch, very easy to use).

Now for the paper engineering. I am often frustrated when I punch or cut out a butterfly, carefully glue just the body of the creature to my card so that the wings can flap freely, and then put in in an envelope where the Postal Service runs it through their machines and the card gets to the recipient with the wings crushed flat against the card. Now, I could either write something inside the card such as, "I hope you have the Happiest Birthday ever. Please pop up the wings of the butterfly so that they are as pretty as before they were mailed," or I could try something else. This time I tried something else.

Under each butterfly wing there is a strip of paper that measures approximately 3/8" x 1/16". Not only is it an extremely tiny piece of paper, but it is folded in half (making it even tinier) so that it can act as a springy hinge between the wing and the card base. Just a drop of glue on each side of the tiny hinge works like a charm.

How many times did I drop those stupid scraps of hinged paper? I lost count. Then I remembered that I had a pair of tweezers from Making Memories that I probably had never used. It came in a kit with the paper piercer from the second paragraph. WOW! That is a truly indispensable tool when it comes to working with paper that measures 3/8" x 1/16". It gripped the tiny paper effortlessly. I will have to remember that tool is in my arsenal.

On a final note, I wanted my butterfly wings to have just a touch of sparkle, so I painted them with SoSoft Fabric Paint by DecoArt.

It sounds like it was a very involved card, but it actually came together pretty quickly. I still had time to finish de-cluttering, and we now have room to squeeze my sister Shelby into the house when I bring her back from Virginia on the 14th. Although I was kind of dreading adding a person (and a fairly . . . uh . . . dramatic one) to our quiet home, I am really looking forward to spending time with Shelby. I think it's going to be a lot of fun.

Until next post,

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Snowy Owl

Yesterday on the color challenge was . . . any color you like -- as long as your card was monochromatic. As luck would have it, I just received Inkadinkado's Winter Birds from Jacksonbelle Embellishments, saw the image of the owl, and knew immediately that blue was going to be my color of the day

So after I had finished the evening's de-cluttering project (yes, there's more to go, but one must have art in one's life), I commenced with the stamping.

Starting with the small panel, I stamped the owl image with Night of Navy ink on glossy cardstock, set the ink with a heat gun, then colored in both the owl and the blue circle behind his head with a VersaMarker and embossed with clear embossing powder. Next I took my trusty rubber brayer, loaded it with the ink from a Baja Breeze ink pad and brayered the top and the bottom until there was just paleness in the middle. (The intent was to leave more white, but the brayering got away from me.) I used Pacific Point and again brayered the top and the bottom leaving even more in the middle. Finally I added some Night of Navy ink just to the top and the lower left-hand corner. Then I wiped the ink off the previously embossed owl and . . . wow! It looked so good except for the lower right-hand corner which somehow had a dot of white that the ink wouldn't stick to. No problem. That's why God gave us snowflake brads.

For the background piece, I stamped the "birds leaving a trail of Christmas cheer behind them" (hereafter known as "BLTCCBT") stamp in Night of Navy. Then I stamped the snowflakes from another clear stamp set (I think it's Inkadinkado, but I won't swear to it) using only VersaMark, and embossed them with the clear embossing powder. I used my brayer in the same way noted above and wiped the ink away from the flakes. Cool!

I originally matted the little owl with one navy piece 1/8 inch wider on all sides that my owl image. But while waiting for Bob to get off the computer last night so I could scan the card, I looked at it from across the room and I realized the owl should have a thicker mat. So I double matted with the same cardstock. I kind of like the double-mat look.

Special thanks go out to Michelle Zindorf for her work in raising the stamping bar, and then giving us all step-by-step instructions so we can use the "Zindorf Technique" as well. If you don't stalk her blog, you are missing something.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

I'm a Black Magic Woman

Yesterday's Technique Lovers' Challenge at was the "Black Magic" technique. Where the "magic pencil" technique uses Prismacolor pencils and odorless mineral spirits (I use Gamsol), the "Black Magic" technique uses them on black cardstock. Additionally, I usually use the Gamsol on a tortillon, which is a paper stub used for blending, but Lynn (the technique lovers moderator) told us we could dip our pencils directly into the Gamsol to soften the pencil lead. Sweet!

Basically with this technique, you take dark cardstock and stamp your open or line image in white or off-white ink, let the ink dry, then color it with the pencils dipped in the mineral spirits. The first time I tried this, however, I decided to emboss and image in white and then color it. Well, that didn't work out too well for me, so I went back and followed the actual directions. It worked like a charm!

I used my new Stampin' Up! Bella Toile stamp as a background, and it was so fabulous, I didn't want to cover up very much of it (I spent a lot of time coloring this), so I added a tiny little labeled sentiment and some very sheer ribbon.

Tonight, I will start cleaning up my studio, and my husband will start cleaning out his back bedroom/storeroom to make room for my sister Shelby who will be moving in with us in a few weeks. I am not really sure at this point where she will be sleeping, but we are going to have to do some major decluttering. As horrible as it sounds, I hope Shelby's husband will be retaining most of their possessions, because I don't know where she would to put them in my house.

Wish us all luck!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Stamping at Studio Suzanne

People have been telling me I need to blog. I don't know that this is true, and I doubt that I have anything interesting that others would like to know about. But it's free, so here goes.

Last Thursday I had a play date at Studio Suzanne, the home of Oxford Impressions rubber stamps. You'd like Suzanne. She's really nice and she has very cool art stuff in her house and in her studio. In fact, she has a blog:; you should check her out.

After eating really good chicken salad and looking at everything in her studio, we settled in to stamp. I started out by choosing stamps from her Country Girl plate and paper I thought would look good with it. The image of the little girl is a photo stamp, which gives a very realistic impression. For best results you stamp with a not-too-wet/not-too-dry black ink pad onto not-too-matte/not-too-glossy coated cardstock. Luckily, I was at Studio Suzanne, and she had just the tools we needed to make this art project work.
Usually I take a few passes at photo image stamps before I get a good impression, but the little girl stamped great the first time . . . except for her feet. Tragically, I amputated her feet, but I hated to waste the impression so I went with it. This actually provided me a great opportunity for design. One of the pieces of background paper I was using had all these great flowers and leaves in it, which I then started cutting out. Not only did I cover up her feet, but I got a great corner for the picture of the house and even put a leftover leaf in the bottom left corner. (Leaves are hard to contain in the fall.)
Suzanne showed me how to paint (yes, actual paint) the edges with black and brown to look like burned edges. You paint and then you smear with your fingers. I realize I may need to practice this technique a little bit. It doesn't really look burned, but it does look edged, old, and definitely distressed.
When I got home I wasn't perfectly happy with black and white stamped images, so I colored my little girl and my house with markers. I also added the bottom trim and a coordinating ribbon at the top, so I can hang it in my studio, where it will look fabulous and remind me of a fun night spent with my friend Suzanne.
Hey! I just finished my first blog post! The pressure's off. Whew!