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.