Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Stampin’ Up! Spreading Holiday Cheer With Thought

With recent economic strains and a possible recession looming in the minds of many, holiday shoppers are transforming from a shop-till-you-drop mentality back to the pace of simpler times. In fact, based on an annual survey, the National Retail Federation recently forecast the lowest increase in holiday spending by consumers in at least six years, and for the first time in the survey’s history, those surveyed said they plan to spend less on family gifts than the previous year. With this in mind, this year’s budget-conscious shoppers need suggestions for spreading holiday cheer with thought—not debt!

Two for One Giving

Charitable gifts are an emerging trend in holiday gift giving. In fact, many corporations are embracing the holiday spirit by teaming up with non-profit organizations to donate proceeds from the sale of exclusive products, allow individuals to make donations to particular charities on behalf of others as presents, and some corporations will even match donations during the holiday season. If you decide to go this route with your holiday shopping, try to choose an organization that is near and dear to the recipient’s heart. For instance, the Ronald McDonald House Charity has a variety of corporate donors who match donations or donate proceeds from the sale of special products back to their charity. Giving a Two-for-One gift this holiday season is a financially smart choice and one that will help according to, many non-profit organizations that expect a drop in donations this holiday season when most donations are normally made.

Volunteer Your Time

If you can’t afford to give a monetary donation this holiday season, give your gently used unwanted belongings or volunteer your time or professional services. Non-profit organizations are always in need of helping hands and hearts as well as supplies to help supplement their holiday activities. For instance, your entire family could get involved and share a heartwarming experience of cleaning out their closets and delivering clothes to the homeless shelter or delivering meals to the elderly or serving soup at a soup kitchen. The act of service will be a gift you can give to yourself and your family that will last a lot longer than the expensive gifts of years past.

Give Handmade

This season, shoppers will find that making handmade gifts, packaging, holiday d├ęcor and baked goods are a great alternative for stretching the holiday budget. The value of a handmade gift is priceless, and for many budget-conscious holiday shoppers, much less expensive.

One company helping shoppers do more with less is Stampin' Up!® The company will host a Holiday Extravaganza sale with up to 50% off select product bundles Nov. 26-Dec. 1, 2008 only online at “I love to give handcrafted gifts. It is often less expensive, plus the people I give the gift to usually appreciate them more,” says Shelli Gardner, CEO and Co-founder of Stampin’ Up! “Creating and giving handcrafted gifts also provides and opportunity to appreciate the spirit of the holiday season by spending more time at home with the ones we love, sharing our talents and spreading holiday cheer the old-fashioned, handmade way.”

To learn more about exciting offers during the Holiday Extravaganza sale, unique handmade gift ideas or to attend a holiday crafts demonstration, please contact me.

This sale is only good through December 1st, so place your orders now. Just visit my Stampin' Up! website and click on the "shop now" button in the upper right-hand corner. Once you're there, you'll need to click on the photo of the shopping cart when it's displayed. If you're impatient, like I am, click on "Holiday Sale" directly under that image and then you can click on the shopping cart image. You'll save as much as 50%, so you don't want to miss out on this opportunity!

Click here for a complete listing of all sale items.

Toodles and have a VERY happy and blessed Thanksgiving!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I'm Finished For The Day!

I wasn't going to go back to my stamp room again today... guess it was calling my name! I got the layout for this card from Julee Tilman's Mojo Monday Sketch Challenge #61. I started with a base of Very Vanilla CS. The scalloped layer is Purely Pomegranate CS (retired) with a piece of retired DSP from last year. The sentiment was stamped in Always Artichoke classic ink and is from the "Holidays & Wishes" stamp set. The angel is from "Holy Triptych" and was stamped in Jet Black StazOn ink on a piece of transparency. On the BACK side of my stamped image, I used my two-way glue pen to apply adhesive to her wing and then added Dazzling Diamonds. I used the glue pen again to add Fine Cosmo glitter in Rose Pink to her gown. Her hair was colored on the back side of the transparency, as well, with a So Saffron Stampin' Write marker. The transparency was then layered over a piece of Very Vanilla in the same size with gold brads. The gold brads are NOT from SU! and probably came from Hobby Lobby. The main image was matted on a slightly larger piece of Always Artichoke CS and then added to the card front using Stampin' Dimensionals. Ribbon is Always Artichoke grosgrain.

I LOVE this stamp set! The only thing I don't like about it is the amount of time it takes to color the images. These images just scream for lots of different colors and it takes a while to get all the detail filled in. I used a card base of Baja Breeze on this one and the Ski Slope DSP. The image was colored with SU! Stampin' Write markers and layered over a piece of Real Red and a piece of Chocolate Chip CS. I added a piece of Real Red grosgrain ribbon to the bottom panel. The "very merry" came from "Holiday Tag Team", which retired last year (BOO-HOO!!!). I punched it out using the 1" circle punch and then matted it on Real Red and Chocolate Chip pieces cut with my Nesties.
Here's the cool part of this card! On the snowman apparel that I wanted to leave white, I added fabric puff paint and used my heat tool to "puff" it. Yep... it works on paper, too! I love the way it looks on cards. You just have to be careful to not "smoosh" (that's a technical term) it before it cools. If you do, you'll have flat puff paint and where's the fun in that?
I WILL NOT GO BACK TO MY STAMP ROOM TODAY. I WILL NOT GO BACK TO MY STAMP ROOM TODAY. I WILL NOT GO BACK TO MY STAMP ROOM TODAY. Don't know if that will work or not. I don't think it ever kept me from talking in class as a kid, so I'm not going to hold my breath! Toodles!

It's a Card-Makin' Day!

I think I've mentioned before how much Smith and Wesson like sitting under my Ott task light when I'm trying to be creative. Today was no exception. I managed to get one card made before Wesson had parked his buttocks under the warmth of the lamp.

It was okay while he was sitting off to one corner of my work table since I still had the majority of it to work with.

Then the little bugger decided he'd take a bath while enjoying the warm light. Smith slept through the entire thing, which is unusual. He's usually the one beating a path to the light as soon as it comes on!

This card is one that my Mom made as one of her Christmas cards this year. We worked on them last Saturday and they turned out GORGEOUS! We started with a card base of Pale Plum. The large snowflake from "Snow Swirled" was stamped on another, slightly smaller, piece of Pale Plum in Pale Plum classic ink. We matted that on a slightly larger piece of Chocolate Chip. A piece of Chocolate Chip taffeta ribbon was added about 1/3 of the way from the top of the card. The tree (Lovely As A Tree) was stamped in Chocolate Chip craft ink on Pale Plum CS and was heat embossed using the Heat and Stick Powder. While that was still warm, we sprinkled Fine Cosmo glitter in Orchid on it. We tapped the excess off and heated the image again to set the glitter. That piece was matted on Chocolate Chip CS and then added to the front of the card. The sentiment comes from the "To You And Yours" stamp set and was stamped in Chocolate Chip classic ink on Pale Plum CS and then punched using the small oval punch. The large oval punch and Chocolate chip CS were used to create a mat for the sentiment and it was added to the card front using Stampin' Dimensionals.
Here is a close-up of the card, although neither of these photos do this card justice. It is absolutely STUNNING in real life!

Ok... so that last card was done in non-traditional colors, but I wanted to get REALLY funky with it! Here I stamped the same tree in Taken With Teal craft ink on Pink Passion CS and heat embossed it using the Heat & Stick Powder again. While it was still warm I added the Turquoise Fine Cosmo glitter and tapped off the excess. I heated the image again to set the glitter. The back panel on this card was stamped using the same image from Snow Swirled, only I stamped it in Whisper White craft ink this time. The card base is Whisper White and the other panels are done in Tempting Turquoise and Pink Passion. This is definitely funky and, although I like it, it probably won't be the card I send out this year.

Here's the closeup of the glitter on this one and, again, the photo just doesn't do the bling any justice!

This is my favorite card of the day. It just looks so stinkin' fun! I wanted to participate in Beate's Weekend Sketch challenge and this stamp set came to mind immediately! my card base is Bashful Blue. The patterned paper panel is Frosty Day Designer Series Paper from this year's Holiday Mini Catalog, matted on Close to Cocoa CS. The main image was stamped from the "Holiday Lineup" stamp set. I used my AquaPainter and Bashful Blue classic ink pad to create a shadow behind these guys. Once that was dry (I'm impatient and used my heat tool) I colored the image using Stampin' Write Markers in Old Olive, Certainly Celery, Brilliant Blue, Bashful Blue, Apricot Appeal, Pumpkin Pie, and Close to Cocoa. The sentiment was stamped in Chocolate Chip classic ink on Whisper White CS and punched out with the 1" circle punch. Mats were created in Tangerine Tango and Close to Cocoa using the Spellbinders Nestabilities. A piece of Tangerine Tango striped grosgrain ribbon was added behind the sentiment before adding it to the card front using Stampin' Dimensionals.

This card started with a Kraft card base and uses the Ski Slope DSP. This also follows Beate's layout for her weekend sketch challenge. The DSP was matted on Chocolate Chip CS, as were the main image and the Felt Flurries embellishment. The main image was stamped in Chocolate Chip classic ink on Whisper White CS. The edges were sponged with Baja Breeze classic ink and a sponge dauber. I used my two-way glue pen on the dove to add Dazzling Diamonds. A rhinestone brad from the Pretties Kit was added to the center of the snowflake. I used my Signo White Gel Pen to add "swirlies" around the edges of each piece before adding them to my card front. A piece of Chocolate Chip felt ribbon from the Alpine Ribbon Originals (Holiday mini Catalog 2008) was added to finish the card off.
Hope you've enjoyed my cards and more cat antics! Toodles!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Only 44 Days Until Christmas!

Before we get to the whole Christmas discussion, I just have a few things to get out of my system. I am SO excited because my mom and my sister-in-law, Tammy, are coming for a visit on Saturday (the 15th) so we can work on Christmas cards together. My mom has never stamped before even though she's a super crafty lady, and I'm SO super-duper excited about spending that time with her. Tammy is one of my regular stamp cronies and it's always exciting when she's coming to play, too!

MY BROTHER IS A LICENSED INSURANCE AGENT!! WOO-HOO! Derek took his insurance exam yesterday, for the very first time, and passed it!! I'm so excited for him! He's been running the Springfield newspaper route for years, which is AWFUL hours and is 7 days a week, 365 days a year. With a one-year old in the house, he'd like to have a little more freedom and "regular" hours so he's not sleeping when the rest of his family is awake. I'm SO proud of him and I know he'll do well!

Can you believe there are only 44 days left until Christmas?? It sneaks up on us every year and I THINK I have a head-start on the cards this year. Before I get to the cards, though, I want to let you know that I'll be having a Christmas "Stamp-A-Stack" class on Friday, November 21st, from 7 PM to 9 PM and again on Saturday, November 22nd, from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM. The class will be held at my house and we'll be making 16 Christmas cards. They'll be designs that are easy to duplicate after the class if you need more than 16 cards. The cost of the class is $25 and includes all the supplies you'll need to make your cards. I do ask that you bring your own adhesive, paper snips or scissors, and a paper trimmer if you have one. If you aren't signed up for my monthly newsletter and would like to be, you can go here and click on 'Request My Newsletter' in the upper right-hand corner to sign up.

Now... on to the cards... All of these cards have been made using the 'Ski Slope' Designer Series Paper from the Holiday Mini Catalog. They all use the same coordinating cardstock in Chocolate Chip, Kraft, Real Red, Baja Breeze, Old Olive, and Whisper White. Rub-Ons are from the 'Seasonal Sayings' set.

For this card, I stamped the snowflakes from 'Snow Swirled' in Whisper White and Chocolate Chip craft ink and heat embossed with Iridescent Ice embossing powder. The snowflakes were punched out using various Stampin' Up! circle punches and then arranged on my card front. The smallest snowflakes were mounted on Stampin' Dimensionals. The greeting is also from 'Snow Swirled'.

This image was just stamped in Chocolate Chip classic ink and cut out using the Coluzzle. It was layered over a piece of Real Red CS and then I trimmed that layer with my paper snips. I, originally, used the Coluzzle for the mat, but the next sized circle was about twice as much matting as I wanted for my image. The sentiment is from the "Many Merry Messages" stamp set and was stamped in Real Red classic ink. Ribbon is the Chocolate Chip Taffeta ribbon from SU!

This image was stamped in Real Red classic ink. I created a template for the "ice" by using my large oval punch and a piece of scrap paper. I placed the template over my stamped image where I wanted the appearance of ice and used a stipple brush to add Baja Breeze classic ink. The snowflake in the upper left-hand corner of the image is from the "Felt Flurries" kit and the brad is from the Rhinestone Circles "Fire" brads. The sentiment is a rub-on.

This is just a "felt flurry" with some Dazzling Diamonds added for bling. It's layered over three different sized squares and then I added a build-a-brad to the center. Ribbon is the Baja Breeze striped grosgrain ribbon.

This image is one of my favorites. It just reminds me of home and being all toasty on a cold, winter day. The image is from "To You & Yours" and is stamped in Chocolate Chip classic ink. I used my two-way glue pen and some Dazzling Diamonds to add snow to the rooftop and the ground. The sentiment is from the same stamp set and was punched using the small and large oval punches. Ribbon is Chocolate Chip Taffeta.

This image is from "Snow Swirled" and was stamped in Old Olive classic ink. I added Dazzling Diamonds to the star (small star punch) and to the snowbursts on the tree for some extra bling. The greeting is from the same stamp set.

Here's my favorite house again! I used the same techniques as the previous card with the same image. I added a felt flurry with a silver brad. The notched end of the sentiment was made using the "photo corners" punch and was added to the card with Stampin' Dimensionals.

This image was stamped in Chocolate Chip classic ink and then I added Dazzling Diamonds with my two-way glue pen. Ribbon is from the Holiday Mini Catalog Alpine Originals. The greeting is a rub-on from "Seasonal Sayings".
And... last, but not least... this is a full sized A2 card (5 1/2" X 4 1/4"). All the previous cards were 3" X 6". I used Julee Tilman's sketch challenge from her Poetic Artistry blog. I ran out of room at the bottom of my card, so I didn't get the three embellishments added that her sketch depicted. The image is from "A Cardinal Christmas" and I used the stained glass technique. The image is stamped on vellum using Basic Black craft ink. It was heat embossed using Basic Black detail embossing powder (please ignore all smudges! :) ). I colored the BACK of the stamped image using SU! Stampin' Write markers and an AquaPainter. Ribbon is the "Alpine" ribbon from the Holiday Mini Catalog.

WHEW! I've got to go plan for my upcoming card class now! Hope you're having a splendiferous Veteran's Day! Toodles!