Saturday, May 31, 2008

More Bleaching

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! Australia This is the second card we made for my Bleach technique class. This time, instead of stamping with bleach, we stamped and embossed an image, and bleached out sections of it, and then watercoloured the bleached areas. It looks really effective on dark cardstock. Here, I've used Elegant Eggplant, embossed an image from "oh So Lovely" using Versamark and black powder. Then I 'painted' the flowers and stems with bleach. You can use an old paintbrush (find one with nylon bristles, as the bleach will eat away at natural bristles), but I prefer to use an Aquapainter filled with bleach. The bleach is less smelly that way, and you are less likely to spill any on your clothes. I've designated an Aquapainter for bleach (i.e. written BLEACH on it in big letters!), but I rinse it out after use and store it empty.
The image starts to bleach out before your eyes, but wait until it's completely dry before you start to watercolour it. I watercoloured with an Aquapianter (without bleach in it!) and Ink taken from the Inkpad lids (Purely Pomegranate for the flower and Always Artichoke for the stem). I also used a cotton-bud (Q-tip) dipped into bleach and ran it around the edges of the Eggplant piece.
The background for this card has been done using the background block in this set (see it on p17). I've stamped onto Pale Plum cardstock in Purely Pomegranate ink, and just stamped repeatedly in one direction, and then turned my cardstock 90 degrees and stamped repeatedly in the other direction. I then sponged around the edges in Pomegranate ink.
You may have noticed I've been going eyelet-crazy lately. I'm setting eyelets everywhere. The crop-a-dile just makes it so easy! Here, the shiny black eyelets echo the black embossed image, and add a touch of class, I think. The little tag is just a small oval punch, with the edges sponged, and another eyelet set in it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Look Familiar?

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaThis card was one of the cards we made in my technique classes this month, and I liked the colour scheme so much that I chose it for my banner. It has all my favourite things in it: polka dots, scallops and Certainly Celery :o)
The technique we learned this month was bleaching. For this card, the background has been stamped in bleach. It's always a surprise what colour you are going to get when you stamp with bleach...different cardstock will turn different colours, depending on the dyes used in the manufacturing process. To stamp with bleach, you just make yourself a temporary inkpad, by layering some paper towel in a container and adding some ordinary household bleach until it is damp, not swimming. Then, choose a stamp that's quite bold, and stamp away. You'll start to see the cardstock bleaching before your eyes. You can speed up the process with a heat gun. Don't expect a perfectly stamped image, but you do get a great effect.
We were amazed at the different colours we made appear, depending on the cardstock chosen. Everyone in the class got to make this card, plus another one (which I'll show you next time), plus matching envelopes, Technique notes and samples to take home and stick into a book like THIS one. All for $15!
This month's technique class is vellum, and you can the the dates in my class schedule over in the sidebar -------->
We'll be learning different ways to use and attach vellum to make pretty, delicate projects.

Stamps: In the Spotlight (level 2 Hostess set), Basic Phrases
Colours: Taken with Teal, Certainly Celery, Whisper White, So Saffron

Accessories: White taffeta Ribbon, Scallop Punch, 1 3/8" Circle Punch, 1 1/4" Circle Punch, Paper Piercing tool, Soft Subtle eyelets, Stampin' Dimensionals, Crop-a-dile, Celery Prints Designer Series Paper

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Crabby Pop-Up!

This is the other Pop-Up card that we made at my Project Classes this month. This one actually looks simpler than the first one, but it took quite a lot longer (partly because of all the cutting and colouring), and uses a lot of cardstock too.
I've deliberately left the front of the card fairly plain:
Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaThe colours are Soft Sky, Blue Bayou, Groovy Guava and So saffron (in case you can't tell, I'm loving the new In Colours!). I've stamped Mr Crabby (from "Crab and Company") on Whisper White cardstock in Black Stazon ink, and Watercoloured using an Aquapainter and my Watercolour Wonder Crayons. Since we don't have In Colours in the Crayons, I used Really Rust and a bit of Cameo Coral. I've stamped various other Crabby creatures on the So Saffron sand, and torn the edge, and inked it with the edge of my inkpad. I've stamped Linen background on the Soft Sky piece for some subtle texture. The sentiment comes from Short & Sweet (p 118). If you have the oval punches, you NEED this set! All of the little sayings fit inside the small oval. Besides that, you get 12 stamps for $29.95...what a bargain!
Now for the best bit. Here's the inside of the card:

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaMr Crabby is all dressed up in his birthday gear! I've cut 3 sections out of the middle of the card to form 3 pop-up flaps. I made a template for this to make it nice and easy. Again, I've watercoloured using my Crayons and Aquapainter.
This would be a great card for a difficult-to-impress teenager, or anyone you want to impress, really!

Monday, May 26, 2008

My Craft Room

One of the things quite a few of you asked to see is my Craft Room. I've never taken any pics before because it really is quite an ordinary room, compared to some of the gorgeous rooms I've seen around the place. So, I hope you're not too disappointed when you see it!!
My room doubles as our family office and computer room, and it's only a very small room. Most of my stuff is at one desk. When I sit down to create, everything is within reach:
Since the desk isn't very big, Dave put a large piece of melamine on the top, to make it deeper.
I love the Stampin' Up! grid paper, and always use it to stamp on. It adds a bit of 'cushion', which helps to give a good stamped image, and the grid lines really help to line things up. I'd be lost without it! The lighting in my room isn't great, so I have 2 "daylight" globe desk lamps (I also use these to take photos of my cards). The wooden unit on the side is my Punch Storage.
This top unit is an IKEA bookcase, tipped on it's side, and cut down to size. Dave added the extra compartments for my stamp sets, and put a foam core back on it. The drawer unit holds my embossing equipment, wheels and small punches, with ribbon rolls on top. The other smaller drawer unit has wheel cartridges, re-inkers and extra inkpads. I add a white insert into my stamp set cases, with the name typed on it, so it's more visible. They are divided up into categories (Words, Alphabets, Hostess sets, Occasions & Sentiments, Flowers, Nature, Backgrounds and Christmas). When the stamp set has both words and images in it, I also stamp the words in that set onto the white insert near the name, so I can see at a glance what other words I have.
All of my cardstock is in 2 filing cabinets. It takes up 3 drawers, and the other drawers are for general filing. I sort in colour families, with 1 drawer for Earth elements, Bold Brights and neutrals, and the other for Soft Subtles, rich Regals, and In Colors. The third drawer contains my white and vanilla, plus scraps (a clear plastic A4 envelope for each colour family). I've stuck some In Color Combination Charts on the front for inspiration (and to cover up all that grey!)
I hope that satisfies your curiosity!
Let me know if you have any questions :o)

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Free-standing Pop-Up card

We've just heard that Stampin' Up! have almost run out of the Palette o' Prints papers, and they won't be getting any more!
Place an order for $35 or more and you can purchase the limited edition Palette o' Prints pad for just $12.95. That's 48 sheets of 6x6" papers, 4 different colours, 12 different designs for just $12.95.
You can read all about it HERE, and see some cards made with this gorgeous paper here. You can see a card made with similar papers here.
Email me now if you'd like to get your hands on these gorgeous papers!

Every month I run "project" classes. This type of class is where the focus is on creating something fun, rather than on learning a new stamping technique. Often it's a 3D item like a box or mini album, and this month it was 3D cards, aka Pop-Up cards. It has been my most popular class seems like everyone loves pop-ups, and I've run it 6 times this month (phew...I'm pretty popped out!)

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaThis is the free-standing pop-up. I found my directions here, but I adjusted to suit our cardstock. Take an A4 sheet, and cut it down to 10.5 x 28cm. This will be your card base (you can get 2 card bases from 1 sheet of A4 cardstock). Then, score at 2.5, 7, 9.5, 14, 18.5, 21, and 25.5cm. You should be able to follow Dawn's tutorial for the rest. It's much easier than it looks, but feel free to email me if you get stuck!
The colours I've used are River Rock, Blue Bayou, Purely Pomegranate and Very Vanilla. The stamp set is Garden Whimsy.
I'll show you the other pop-up card we made next time!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another Card by Amy!

My special guest stamper (aka dear daughter Amy, age almost 11) has another card to show you. This was the beautiful Mother's Day card I was so lucky to receive. Amy wants to tell you how she made it!
I had to make 4 Mother's Day cards because I have a Mum, 2 grandmothers and 1 great-grandmother. Mum showed me a cool way to make 4 cards out of 1 piece of paper. First, I used the Colour Coach to choose some colours. I chose Certainly Celery, Bashful Blue, Regal Rose, Apricot Appeal, and Almost Amethyst. I got a Whisper White A4 piece of cardstock and the 5 ink pads. Then I got a stamp set called 'Priceless' and I stamped my favourite stamps from the Priceless set all over the white cardstock. Then Mum cut my sheet into quarters. Then I got 2 A4 sheets of Regal Rose coloured card and Mum cut them in half lengthways. I folded them in half and we cut off most of the front part. I tied a different coloured piece of ribbon around each one (Certainly Celery, Bashful Blue and Apricot Appeal), but I did two blue ones because there were only 3 colours. I meant to give Mum one with a blue ribbon but I accidentally gave her a green! phew, It was her favourite colour. The last thing to do was stick it together and stamp Happy Mother's Day inside. I think they all liked their cards.
Thankyou for all the nice things you said about my last card. I really liked reading all your comments!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Day Late

I'm not sure what happened to yesterday. The batteries on my camera died, I recharged them, and it's all a blur after that LOL
Here is the promised pic of all 4 Tree cards:

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaAnd this is the other design for this month, using 'Big Bold Birthday':

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaThese colours are Bashful Blue, Rose Red, Pumpkin Pie and Certainly Celery. I've used the Prints Patterned Paper, which makes these cards really quick and easy to put together. I love the way this stamp set can make 4 such different cards.

There's a few little tricks in each of these cards: I've used a half-scallop circle to make the frosting on the cupcake. I used the long thin 'happy birthday' to form the strings of the balloons. I turned the cupcake base into a flower pot, and i turned the present bow into a flower (just like in THIS post).

I still have ONE spot left for tonight, if you would like to come along!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Lovely as a Tree

Every Tuesday night (and one Tuesday morning per month), I hold a Stamp-a-Stack class. This is a class where you literally stamp a stack of cards in one night. It's a great way to build up some cards for sending or giving as a gift, and you always pick up techniques and tips along the way. At my Tuesday classes you get to make 8 cards, in 2 different designs for only $10. All you need to bring along is some Stampin' Up! Snail adhesive. I can order this in for you, if you don't have any, or you can use mine instead and pay $15.
Normally, the month's classes are filled well in advance, but I actually have 2 spots free for this Tuesday night (20th May). Email me if you'd like to come along.
This is what 2 of this month's cards look like:

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaI've used the set 'Lovely as a Tree', which is a great set for making masculine cards, and cards for all occasions. I've endeavoured to make the stamped images look like artist's sketches, by inking them in shades of grey and then watercolouring with Watercolour Wonder Crayons.
The swirls in the background are the gorgeous Brocade Basics stamped in Versamark ink. The colours I've used are River Rock, Basic Grey, Going Gray, Basic Black and Whisper White. The photo corners (made using the Photo Corner punch) adds some balance to the simple design.
I'll show you the other 2 cards, and also the other Stamp-a-Stack design tomorrow. I also have another card by Amy coming soon...she wants to show everyone the Mother's Day cards she made!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Another Kristina Challenge

Edited to Add:
What a buzz, being in the Top 10! It has made my day. And to think I almost didn't bother submitting this card!
Welcome to any new visitors from Kristina's blog. Hope you enjoy having a look around!

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! Australia This one was a toughie! Not my colours at all....Real Red, Old Olive, So Saffron, Pumpkin Pie and Tempting Turquoise. I couldn't help adding some white too.

I decided to use some chipboard, since that was something that a few of you asked me about in my Q&A. OK, it's not a tutorial yet, but it's on the way. I used the chipboard panel with 4 circles cut out of it, and covered it in Olive "Prints" Designer Series Paper. (Don't forget this month's Palette o' Prints Promotion, and you can get some of this yummy paper for yourself!)

I'll be back in the morning to tell you how I made this card. My bed is calling me (too many late nights...I've had a class every night this week!)

OK, I'm back after a good night's sleep!
Once I'd decided to use chipboard on the card, the rest flowed from there. Rather than sticking the paper to the chipboard and trying to cut the circles out of the middle (way too hard!), I used the chipboard as a stencil, and traced around it, including the circles. Then I used my 1 1/4" circle punch to punch out the 4 circles. I stuck it to the chipboard with a gluestick, and lightly sanded the edges with a sanding block. I stamped the 3 butterflies on separate pieces of Whisper White cardstock, so I could position them behind the windows. The "Happy Thoughts" message is from "Think Happy Thoughts", and the little ladybird has been punched out with the 3/4" circle, and popped up on dimensionals. Then, I just layered it all on a piece of So Saffron cardstock, and then another Print Designer-Series Paper (Pumpkin Pie this time), and then the Tempting Turquoise base card. A piece of the Striped red ribbon adds a cute embellishment.
This is not a standard sized card...because I 'built' the card around the chipboard, it ended up being bigger and squarer. Not a problem, since I'd give a card like this in person anyway, rather than mailing it :o)

Oh, So Lovely to Watercolour!

I've been having fun watercolouring lately. Something about the cooler weather makes me want to stay inside and colour in! This little Hostess set (Level 1 set 'Oh, So Lovely') is aptly really is lovely to watercolour.

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaI've stamped the berry stamp a few times in Basic Gray ink on Sage Shadow cardstock. I coloured it with my Aquapainter and White Watercolour Crayon first to give a base coat of white, and then I used a mixture of Aquapainters and Inkpads to colour the berries in shades of blues. The predominant colours are Brocade Blue and Brilliant Blue, to co-ordinate with the cardstock. Here's a closer look at the Watercolouring:
Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaI've coloured the leaves with my Sage Shadow watercolour crayon (after first doing a base coat of white). I've used a Sponge Dauber to sponge around the edges in Sage Shadow ink.
I wanted a piece of background paper to mat it on, but I couldn't find one in this unusual colour combination, so i made my own. I've stamped "En Francais" background stamp in Brocade Blue, and then some swirls from "Priceless" in Whisper White and Brilliant Blue, and done some sponging to give it depth. It's been matted on the new Basic Gray cardstock. The Ribbon is Basic Gray taffeta. It's probably hard to tell in the pic, but the base card has also been stamped in "Linen" for added texture.
Now here's a closer look at the embellishment:
Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaI've stamped the circular greeting (from "Think Happy Thoughts" on page 92....if you have circle punches, then trust me, you need this set. It's only $29.95, and says everything you need to say in a circle!) on Brocade Blue cardstock in Basic Gray ink, and sponged the edges in Brilliant Blue. A pewter Jumbo brad (sooo easy to set with the Crop-a-dile!) finishes off my circle tower.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Big Bold Flower

You might have noticed that I've been having some fun with the "Big Bold Birthday" set lately (it's on p 37 in the catalogue). I've surprised myself with how much I've enjoyed using this set, and I love it's versatility. I love the way you can make your own custom-made cupcakes and presents with it, and the little accessories - flower, heart and party blower - are so cute. It's great for making cards for males and females of all ages.

One thing I like to do with a stamp set, is to use it in a way other than it was intended.

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaHere I've stamped the present bow (you can see it used in the 'proper' way here) twice, to make a flower, and stamped the small flower in the centre and embellished with a Rhinestone brad. I've stamped the long, thin happy birthday words to make a stem, and 2 hearts to make leaves. the swirl in the background is the party blower, but I've just inked the 'streamer" and not the blower. The oval has been punched out, and 'make a wish' stamped on whisper white to appear behind.
The colours I've used are Regal Rose, Wild Wasabi and Purely Pomegranate. The Purely Pomegranate piece has been popped up on dimensionals, and I've used some of the gorgeous Striped Grosgrain ribbon in Wild Wasabi.

I also just wanted to tell you about a friend of mine who is having a Stamp Sale at her house in Cherrybrook on Saturday (17th May) at 2:30pm. She's selling off lots of stamps (mainly Stamp It and Hero Arts), as well as inkpads, tombows and other supplies. She's even making some yummy afternoon tea. You can email Jennifer if you'd like to pop in!

Monday, May 12, 2008

You Asked!

You might need to grab a cuppa for this one! Here are the answers to all those questions you asked me!

I’d love to know where you feel you get your most inspiration. I love your cards; great layouts and colour combos. So, where do your ideas come from, and how do you keep track of them?
In all honesty, ideas are not something I seem to run short of. Sometimes I start with the stamps… I find stamp sets themselves quite inspiring. I like to sit down with a set, and just see where it takes me. Other times I start with a colour combination…it could be one that I’ve seen somewhere (in the catalogue, at the shops, on a website), or one from my head. A lot of my creating is guided by designs that I have to make for classes and workshops, and the needs for those cards are quite specific (for example, to showcase a technique or stamp set).

Out of all the wonderful cards and other projects you have created, which one are you most proud of or holds the most meaning for you?
ooooh, that’s a tricky one! The chicken cards (one, two and three) stand out in my memory, because a very dear friend sent those stamped images, and they were so far out of my comfort zone. I had always hated that stamp set, and I was amazed that I could turn an image that I really didn’t like into a card that I was proud of! It made me see that being challenged and stepping out of my comfort zone could be very rewarding.

Not much of a question really BUT I would love to see a photo of your stampin' area if you could manage it sometime!!
I’ve had a few requests for this. I’ll take one soon, I promise!

My question is, what is your creative process, do you start with colour, stamps, design, etc?
This varies a bit depending on why I am sitting down to make something. If it were for a challenge, obviously I would start with whatever the challenge dictates (a sketch, a colour combination, a stamp set, etc). This is one reason why I like challenges…it forces you to start differently from how you normally would. If I’m preparing a design for a class, that will also dictate how I start.
But let’s say I’m sitting down to make a card for someone, which is traditionally why you would make a card! I would think about that person, and their likes/dislikes. That might dictate a colour combination or a stamp set. The other thing I like to do is think about something I haven’t used for a while (or at all!) and let that guide me. So, I might think “I haven’t used my new Pretties Kit much”, open it up, pick out a flower, than a colour to use with it, then a stamp set to go with it, and go from there.

I have been stamping only for about one month after a successful Stampin' Up! party. I have been making cards for a few years and have a collection of "stuff" but now I have so much more, how do you store your stamps, ink pads etc as I see you have a cupboard for the punches.
A photo would help with this…but until then… I like to be able to sit at my desk and be able top reach everything I need without getting up. I store all my cardstock in a filing cabinet, in colour families. I have my stamps on some shelves above my desk, which also has little drawers for ribbons, wheels, etc. My inkpads are all on the Stampin’ Up! Inkpad caddy on my desk. I actually find my Stampin’ Up! stuff easier to store than my old stuff used to be. Everything comes in cases and sets! And because of the colour families and co-ordination of products, I don’t need 5000 different shades of blue cardstock, and 6000 pieces of blue ribbon, and 7000 blue inkpads…I just have a few, but they all match each other and work together. I now only own all SU! and I sold off all my other stuff. I tell you, SU! has changed my life!

My question is - WHEN do you stamp? Do you do set yourself a block of time per day or do you do bits here and there when you can?
I’m lucky in that both of my children are now at school, which gives me more time to stamp. I’ll tend to have some days where I’ll plan to stamp for a few hours, and the rest of my week will be structured around it, so I’ll make sure the washing is done, grocery shopping done and the house clean, before I let myself stamp. It’s a great motivation for getting the boring jobs done!

My question is what do you use for your ribbon storage when the ribbon is not in rolls. Have been collecting quite a few loose ribbons lately and am looking for a good storage system.
Most of my ribbon is in rolls, so I’m not much help with this one! My main advice would be to have it visible and accessible, so you USE it.

As I am still relatively new to stamping and card making (but already hooked), my question is.... what are the top 5 Stampin' Up! products you would recommend to someone new to stamping and card making.
Good question!
Apart from the obvious stamp sets and inkpads, the 5 things I couldn’t make a card without are:
1. A good trimmer. I love my SU trimmer. It sits on my desk all the time. I literally couldn’t make a card without it!
2. A bone folder. I hate it when a card doesn’t have a crisp, clean fold
3. A good pair of scissors. Totally under-estimated. I didn’t know how important a good pair of scissors was until I had one
4. Sanding Blocks. Great for getting rid of shaggy edges or rough bits. Also good for distressing cardstock
5. Stampin’ Scrub and Mist. If your stamps are easy to clean and put away, you are more likely to use them, therefore you get more value from them.

My question is how do you fit it all into one day: stamping cards, updating your blog, workshops at night, looking after your family (kids), cooking, cleaning, mad balloons, shopping, preparing workshops, exercise, help kids with their home work, paperwork, ordering, mail outs etc etc, Have you got any good advice on how to fit stamping into your day?
Phew, I’m exhausted just reading all that I fit in to a day! LOL
I have to say, I’m a pretty (OK, very) organised person. I’m also a list person. I write down everything, and have lists for everything. I also have routines, and plan things like meals and write them in our household diary. I’m also efficient and multi-task a lot. For example, if I’m on the phone, I’ll pack the dishwasher at the same time. I also don’t watch TV! Radical, I know, but I can’t fit it in! I also have a wonderfully supportive husband and extremely helpful children!

I would like to say that I love the step-by-step instructions for different things - the faux bow I look up all the time.
I often think I get bogged down explaining too much on my blog, so I’m glad the instructions are appreciated!

My question is about organisation - how do you store your stamps so you know what you have, and how do you remember what you have when you sit down to start a card for someone?
I have my stamps stored in categories similar to the way they are arranged in the Catalogue; Flowers, Christmas, Backgrounds, etc (and I actually don’t own that many...I sell off all my retired ones). When I sit down to create, I can see all my stamps, label side out, right in front of me.

I love the Mothers Day card packs ... I would like to make some for Christmas Presents and wondered if you have made the card box to fit 10 cards in. If you have what would the dimensions be? I've only just started stamping and not too sure on scaling things up.
You could probably squeeze 10 cards into the box if they were fairly flat and didn’t have too much layering. You can’t make this box any wider because you are restricted by the size of an A4 sheet. You could make a wider one using a 12x12 sheet or you could make a tote bag instead.

My question is how do you store your inkpads. Is it true that it is best to store them upside down?
Yes, inkpads should be stored upside down, so that the ink is always close to the surface. Stampin’ Up! Inkpads are the only ones I know of that are designed so that you can store them the right way up, and the inkpad will be upside down, because the inkpad is in the lid! I store mine on the spinning inkpad caddy and I LOVE it!

I am an avid SU! fan (not a demo) and would like to know what your top 5 stamp sets would be out of the new catty that could let you create lots of cards (including word, picture and background stamps).
oooh another tricky one!
1. I love Short and Sweet (p 118). Cute little sayings that fit just about anywhere and little background stamps too…a bargain at $29.95
2. I love Big Pieces (p 88) for all sorts of backgrounds, suitable for any age, male or female and any occasion. They are also great to punch out
3. Wild About You (p 66) is a favourite. Great for kids, but adults too, and you can do lots of solid stamp techniques with it.
4. Petal Prints (p 74) is a lovely floral set that you can do 2 step stamping with and also watercolour
5. I should probably include another word set, but instead I’ll say Baroque Motifs (p 98) because it’s unfailingly elegant and I love it!
I would never advise anyone to get a stamp set because it is “useful”. The ones you will USE are the ones you buy because you love them!

Keep up the good work, as I love your style. I too tend to miss that wow factor and the photos of my cards just don’t do them justice - guess that is another quick question - what do you use to make your photos look great?
Well, thankyou for the compliment, because I don’t think my photos are that great, and it’s something I’d like to improve! My set-up is very simple: I use 2 desk lamps with cool daylight globes in them, a backdrop of 12x12 Whisper white cardstock, and a point and press Olympus camera. I always adjust the brightness up a few notches when I’m editing my photos.

I love checking out the inspiration on your blog & what you are up to. My question is how do you find & manage the time to be so productive??!! Not only coming up with great creations, but also sharing your tips and ideas on your blog.
When I make a batch of cards, (I hardly ever make just one. In fact, it’s not unusual for me to make 4 or 5 in an evening) I’ll take photos of them all, edit them all and have them stored on my computer, ready to upload to my blog. Then, it’s just a matter of typing up a quick description to go with it, and I’m done.

I've just discovered your blog, it's great.... how do you find the time to stamp? Do you stamp at night and just stay up late?
I tend to go to bed at about 11pm…is that late? I don’t watch any TV. That helps!

I have recently found your blog and it is incredibly inspiring. My question is - I have at least 4 roll-on adhesive products from various makers and they are all duds (patchy coverage, don't wind etc). I have read that the Stampin’ Up SNAIL is great - can you tell me what makes this product better than the rest on the market.
When SU! first came to Australia, I bought every roll-on adhesive that there is, so I could compare price and quality. I am now happy to sell SNAIL because it works, the refills are easy to pop in and the price is competitive. It definitely makes card making quick and easy, and saves picking up the backing pieces from double-sided tape!

I was wondering if you could give some ideas for birthday cards for little boys? I find them much harder than girls, but I seem to need them often.
Yes, boy cards are definitely trickier than girls! Try stars (Jumbo star wheel, and punches), bugs (Bugs and Kisses), animals (Wild About You), Transport (cars, boats, trains) or one of the sport sets. Failing that, there’s always something generic like balloons or presents stamped in bright colours. Brilliant Blue with Pumpkin Pie or Night of Navy with Old Olive look great for boy cards. You can also use some of the new Double-sided papers (try Jersey Shore or Simply Scrappin’ Crew Kids Boy)

If you have any great card ideas for 'Stem Silhouettes', I'd love to see them. I love this stamp set, but I'm stuck for ideas on what to do with it.
I love this set, but sold it once it retired. You can do a search on my blog for ‘Stem Silhouettes’ or there’s an abundance of ideas on Splitcoast

Doesn't the ribbon look beautiful!! I want to know doesn't the family get annoyed when the house is full of ribbon/paper etc. I know mine does when my craft has taken over :-)
My family are very tolerant, especially considering I run classes from home 2-3 times per week. I try to keep my mess contained usually, but sometimes I’ll spread out, so I can at least be with them while doing a mindless job like cutting ribbon.

My question is about the amazing boxes - do you design them yourself or are there templates available.
Some come from templates and some from my head because I couldn’t find a template. Often templates need to be adjusted to suit our cardstock, as they are designed for US sizes. Once you’ve made a few boxes, it’s easy to ‘tweak’ them to suit your needs!

My question to you is I always seem to get stuck when it comes to making masculine cards, do you have any tips or maybe some photos you could share with us. I get stuck when it comes to what colours and accessories I should add and if I should keep it simple
Male cards are definitely more boring to make! You can see a few ideas by clicking on the "Masculine" category in the Sidebar. I don’t actually own any of the traditional 'masculine' stamp sets…I find them too limiting. Since all the men I know aren’t into golf, for example, why would I buy a golf set so that I can make one or two cards? I tend to rely on background stamps, patterned paper and words and alphabets for masculine cards. To stop it from looking ‘flat’ and boring, try some Hodgepodge Hardware. Hemp Twine is also great.

How do you do you matting, do you hand cut each piece?
I use a paper trimmer to cut all my pieces for matting. If I have a main piece 4 x 7 cm, for example, I will use my trimmer to cut a mat 4.5 x 7.5 cm

I have a question. I want to cover some chipboard in paper or even cardstock - not quite sure if you can use cardstock - how do you go about this? I have heard about gluing it down and then using sandpaper to get rid of the excess but I have tried it before and have not had much luck. Any help would be great.
I’m planning a chipboard tutorial coming soon. Paper is easier than cardstock because it’s thinner. Use a glue stick to glue all over the piece of chipboard, all the way to the edges and stick it glue side down on to some patterned paper. You can use a brayer to smooth it out and get rid of any air bubbles. Trim around the piece with your scissors (don’t worry about trying to get too close). A Sanding Block is great to smooth down the edges and an emery board is good to get into small crevices. You can also dye chipboard with ink.

My burning question is why don’t we see more purple cards? Everybody loves them so why are there not more purple ink and paper colours? Purple is good for males and female and children’s cards isn’t it? Oh and one more - can demonstrators or customers make suggestions to SU for new colour combinations?
Stampin’ Up! has some lovely shades of purple…Lovely Lilac, Almost Amethyst, Lavender Lace, Pale Plum, Perfect Plum, Elegant Eggplant, Orchid Opulence. We are sadly lacking in purple ribbon though!
Demonstrators and customers can always offer feedback to Stampin’ Up! through Demonstrator Support.

How do you Heat emboss on cardboard chip shapes? I saw it mentioned in a magazine and would love to see some demo photos
I’ll make sure to include this in my Chipboard demonstration. You can emboss on Chipboard in the same way as you would on regular cardstock. It’s a great effect!

I'd love to know what you love most about being a SU Demo. I have just joined...waiting on my kit actually so am interested to know what others think.
There’s very little not to love! I have made great relationships with my customers and fellow demonstrators. It has also challenged me in so many ways. And, for the first time in my life I can truly say, “I love my job”!

I've only just got into stamping but already I have stuff everywhere. I loved your hubby's creativity with your punches and I wondered if you had some hints on how to store all the stuff, particularly the paper - do you keep the colours together in their sets (eg soft subtles) or put the scraps in a box or ??????? I don't know - I'm getting lost in stuff. And stamps and inkpads and lots of other bits.... I'm sure it's only going to get more chaotic!!
I started with my cardstock in one of those File Containers, with each colour family in it’s own sleeve, and scraps in the front. Now it’s all in 2 drawers of my Filing cabinet. I still keep it in the Colour families, but one sleeve for each colour. Scraps are in their own plastic envelope…again, one for each colour family. You will find your storage needs change as your collection grows!

Mine is really a request of sorts. Do you own SU! sets that are exclusively Australian? I live in the US and I would love to see cards made with them?
There are a few exclusively Australian sets. Unfortunately I don’t own any! None of them really appeal to me. Sorry!

Would love to have some hints on how best to use the Stampin’ Up brayer.
The brayer can be used in a few ways. It sounds like a tutorial for this might be a good idea!

It’s good to have creative Aussies blogging, have you thought about video tutorials?
I guess I would need to own a video camera to do that, huh?

I'd like to know how you have your work desk organized for stamping/scrapbooking?Maybe a picture?

hmmm…a few requests for this one…I’ll get onto it soon!

How do you store your ribbons? I would love to know.
It's very basic at the moment. Just in a plastic container, on their rolls, plus a zip lock bag with scraps.

I love your Blog Candy Canes and Faux Bow tutorials! I like tips, techniques, and tutorials. I prefer the tutorials not to be videos because sometimes I like to study the photo of how something is done.
I’m planning more tutorials soon!

Where do you get your inspiration? Do you start with a colour, stamp set or sketch? Also how do you manage your time with young children? Sometimes I feel ready to sink with everything that needs to be done.
I think I’ve answered this one. I can definitely relate to that sinking feeling. I often feel like I’m struggling to keep my head above water, and wish things would stop for a little while so I could catch up!

My question has to do with chipboard too. I have never used it and would like a tutorial on it. I've seen it in scrapbooks but is it too heavy for cards?
Chipboard is actually surprisingly light. Tutorial coming!

If you had to pick just one - what would you say is your favourite blog?
Mine! LOL
Actually, I rarely get a chance to look at anyone else’s blog. It's the reward I give myself when I've ticked everything else off my to-do list...unfortunately that rarely happens!

How do you get your ribbon tied so perfectly on your cards? The knot it leaves is fantastic!
I usually leave my ribbon on the roll to tie it. I find it gives me a better knot that way.

I am stuck for inspiration regarding my 'good things grow' set, so if you have these stamps I'd love to see what you can do with them.
I never owned this set, although it is beautiful. Try Splitcoast.

Do you ever use SU heat and stick powder? I had to have it and now that I do, I can't really make it work for me.
Yes, I love the stuff! Stamp in Versamark or Craft white, sprinkle with Heat and Stick powder, Heat with your Embossing Tool until it just turns shiny (do not overheat), sprinkle with glitter and re-heat to set the glitter.
See my blog entry this morning for an example of this technique.

Also, have you ever used Prismacolor pencils and if so, do you use them with mineral spirits??
No, never. Sorry!

What do you think of the cropadile? I have been umming about it as I have been told good and bad things about it - one is that you can’t reach the middle of the card with it to place your eyelets...
I love it! I hadn’t set an eyelet for a million years, and now I’ve gone eyelet crazy. It hasn't been a problem not reaching the middle…I always seem to need my eyelets close to the edge!

Well done if you made it this far! I think I've answered all of your questions. Feel free to email me if there's anything I've missed.

CaSEing the Catalogue

Copying a card directly from the catalogue is something I like to do often. It is one of the best resources we have...with hundreds of samples just begging to be copied! The card on the left may look familiar if you've looked through your catalogue as many times as I have! It's on page 119.

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaThe card on the right is my version of it. I've taken what is essentially the same card and just switched around the colours and stamp set. I barely had to use my brain at all! What a relief that is sometimes!
The supplies for the card on the left can be found in the catalogue. Did you know that every card has a Stampin' Supplies list in the back? It starts on page 155 and tells you everything they have used to make each and every sample in the catalogue. It makes it really easy to copy the samples!
For my card, I have chosen the Berry Bliss Designer paper, which gave me my co-ordinating colours of Pretty in Pink, Close to Cocoa and Purely Pomegranate. I've used the cute cupcake from Big Bold Birthday. Here's a closer look at the Dazzling Diamonds on the icing, the flower bling and the dry-embossing with the Crop-a-dile:
Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaYou can dry-emboss dots using your Crop-a-dile on the setting A2. I used my Mat Pack to get them evenly spaced.
The circle is a Metal-edged tag with the centre pulled out. I stuck it on with Crystal Effects. I've used a Rhinestone brad in the centre of the flower.
For the sparkly Icing, I stamped first in Pretty in Pink, then over-stamped in Versamark. I then sprinkled on Heat-and-Stick Powder, heated it with my Embossing Tool (until it just turns careful not to overheat!), and then sprinkle with glitter and re-heat to set the glitter.
My challenge to you is next time you need to make a card, grab that catalogue!
Here are all the other colour matches in case you want to make a card like this one.

Designer Series Paper Colour matches
Berry Bliss: Purely Pomegranate, Pretty in Pink, Close to Cocoa
Brocade Backgrounds: Always Artichoke, Chocolate Chip, Old Olive, River Rock
Dashing: Old Olive, Real Red, River Rock, Very Vanilla
East Coast Prep: Real Red, Wild Wasabi, Tempting Turquoise, More Mustard
Fall Flowers: Old Olive, Really Rust, Soft Sky, Sahara Sand
Jersey Shore: Wild Wasabi, Pumpkin Pie, Brilliant Blue, Bashful Blue
Le Jardin: River Rock, So Saffron, Very Vanilla, Always Artichoke, Bashful Blue
Notebook: Soft Sky, Kraft, Very Vanilla
Outlaw: Chocolate Chip, Creamy Caramel, Really Rust, Sage Shadow, Very Vanilla
Petals & Paisleys: Certainly Celery, Rose Red, Old Olive, Pretty in Pink, Soft Sky, So Saffron, Taken with Teal
Spring Break: Old Olive, Pumpkin Pie, Blue Bayou, Soft Sky
Spring Fling: Certainly Celery, Sage Shadow, Pretty in Pink, So Saffron
Spring Silhouettes: Wild Wasabi, Certainly Celery, Soft Sky, Very Vanilla
Wintergreen: Always Artichoke, Certainly Celery, Sage Shadow, Soft Sky

I've been working on all those questions you asked (phew! There were a lot!), and I should have some answers for you tomorrow!

Oh, one more thing....Check out this great idea for mounting the So Many Sayings set on Alana's Blog!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Anyone for Punch Storage?

You may remember the fantastic Punch Storage Unit that my hubby whipped up for me (Click HERE to refresh your memory). Well dear hubby (and I'm not sure if he knows what he's getting himself in for!) has offered to whip up some more of these for anyone who wants one. This offer is only available to those who could pick up from my house in Dundas.
The dimensions of the unit are 70cm x 36.5cm, and it can hold 16 large and 4 medium punches. It comes without hinges so you can hang/stand it up against a wall. The cost will be $50.
Email me if you'd like to put your name down for one. I'll collect names until next Friday (16th May) and then hubby will start making them. He says he'll need to buy "a few" new tools so he can do a good job...I think his motives are becoming clearer LOL.

A Sneak Peak

I've been busy creating for the Elite Challenges Blog, for our 3 May Challenges. Here's a sneak peak of one of the cards I made:

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaYou can the the whole card HERE

While you're at it, check out the other 2 May Challenges:
Sketch Challenge 9
Mossy Rocks Colour Challenge

You can leave a comment on the Elite Challenges Blog and let me know what you think!

Friday, May 09, 2008

A Kristina Colour Challenge

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! Sydney Australia My first Kristina Werner Colour Challenge! These aren't my usual colours at all (nowhere near girly enough LOL), so this was a great chance to step out of my colour comfort zone! Here's the pic that Kristina got the colours from:
I've used "Big Bold Birthday" for my card. I stamped 3 presents and stamped 3 sets of dots, which I then punched out using my 1/4" circle punch and the Large hole punch of the Crop-a-dile, and adhered with a 2-way glue pen. The squares are punched out using square punches, and the presents have been popped up on Dimensionals. The ribbon is Striped Pumpkin Pie.

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! Australia

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Strength in Numbers

Isn't it funny how a set of something is instantly more appealing than an individual item? Hang on, maybe that's why Stampin' Up! stamps are so popular?? ;o)
Just to show you what i's a card:

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! Australia OK.... nice card?
But now, here's a set of cards. All the same, just a variation in colour:

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaIsn't it instantly more appealing? Let's go one step further (and you may have guessed where this is leading now!):

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! Australia A set of 5 cards and envelopes and a matching card wallet to put them in. So, we've gone from one nice card to a perfect gift for Mother's Day!

These were really quick and simple to put together too. First take a piece of River Rock cardstock slightly smaller than a cardfront, and scallop the bottom edge (use the Corner Rounder with the guard removed). Sponge the scalloped edge with a sponge dauber and Chocolate Chip ink. Stamp the Baroque Motif swirl in Old Olive ink and then use the Stamp-a-ma-jig to stamp it again, slightly below in River Rock ink. Stamp some small flowers in either Blue Bayou, Really Rust, Purely Pomegranate, Taken with Teal or Elegant Eggplant. Dot the centre with a Chocolate Chip marker. Stamp your desired sentiment in Chocolate Chip ink. Ink up the Floral motif in co-ordinating colour and use a Chocolate Chip marker to colour the outer ring of dots (because the marker is so dark, you can just colour over the coloured ink). Stamp on River rock cardstock, and cut out. Stamp a small flower in Chocolate Chip ink and cut out. Use the Crop-o-dile to set a brass eyelet in the centre of the Flower. Attach a piece of coloured cardstock behind the eyelet and fill the centre with Crystal Effects (I call it Cheat Bling ;o)

Here's what it looks like close-up:

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaYou can find the instructions for making the wallet in THIS post.

Here's what the embellishment on the wallet looks like (Real Bling this time! A gorgeous Rhinestone brad):

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! Australia

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Blog Candy Winner!

My trusty Bingo machine (well, it's actually the kid's bingo machine) has drawn out number 21 (after drawing number 54, 79 and 82), which is this comment:

sydneygirl7 said...
Hi Marelle, I've just subscribed to your news letter and love checking my email to see what you have been creating. My question is about the amazing boxes - do you design them yourself or are there templates available. Thanks so much.

So sydneygirl7, send me an email, and we can organise to have some ribbons and papers sent out to you :o)
I'll get on to the task of answering your questions over the next couple of days!

Monday, May 05, 2008

Don't forget my Blog Candy!

I thought I'd made the Blog Candy Post sticky so it would stay at the top, but obviously not! *oops!*

Leave a comment on THIS POST, making a suggestion or asking a question, and you could win a pack of these beauties (my lounge room is currently abounding in ribbon!):

I'll be drawing a winner tonight, but I would love to answer LOTS more questions!!

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Mother's Day Card Box Template

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! Australia
This is an idea that I tend to go back to again and again...especially around Mother's Day. This is a set of gift cards and matching wallet that I showed you at around this time last year, but this time, I thought I'd give you the actual directions for making the wallet! When I was looking for a suitable box to hold a set of cards for a gift, I could only find measurements for US cardstock, so I came up with my own. The great thing about this wallet is that it only needs 1 A4 sheet of paper, and it holds up to 6 standard cards and envelopes. I'm going to make a new set for the special Mums in my life, so stay tuned for that in the next day or so.
In the meantime, here are the instructions, so you can make your own!

You will need:
• one sheet A4 cardstock, stamped as desired (or decorate later)
• paper cutter with scoring blade in place (or bone scorer)
• sticky strip adhesive
• small piece of velcro or ribbon
• scissors

(All dimensions are in cm)
1. With your A4 cardstock in landscape orientation, score at 7, 8, 20 and 21 cm.
2. Now, with your cardstock in portrait orientation, score at 1.2, 2.2, 18.8 and 19.8 cm.
3. Fold along all score lines.
4. Cut out flaps as in picture.
5. Apply Sticky Strip to the edges of the smaller flap (this will form the bottom of your box), and a small piece to adhere the side tabs (see picture)
6. Adhere the two small tabs to the side flaps, then adhere the lower flap.
7. The larger flap is the top flap of this box. Use a small piece of velcro or secure some ribbon to use as a closure.

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! AustraliaThis is what your box should look like before you stick it all together. The Red lines are Sticky Strip (extra strong double-sided tape). The pencil lines are the score lines, where your folds should be. The dark black line that says "cut" is where the side tab is.

You can find the colours I've used in THIS post. Please email me with any questions!

All of the ingredients for making this project can be purchased from me :o)


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