Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Yet another Guest Blogger!

Last one for a while, I promise!! Then I'll get back to showing you some stuff that I actually made myself LOL
These cards are by Michelle, a brand new team member. She's done a great job with the challenge, especially given the limited supplies she owns (just the Starter Kit!)
This is her first version:

And this is her "Stepped Up" version:

She's added ribbon and embossing to give the card an extra something special.
Thanks for joining in my challenge Michelle!

Monday, June 29, 2009

....And Another Guest Blogger!

And another entry to my June Challenge!
This one is by my lovely friend and downline Cheryl. I met Cheryl at a Craft Show a couple of years ago, and she has been a regular class attendee ever since. She also lives just down the road, which is great because we can borrow eachother's stuff! I am constantly grateful for all the lovely people Stampin' Up! has brought into my life.
Cheryl cased this idea from a Convention swap I received from Jo Eades, but she has definitely made it her own. This is a great idea to use scraps of DSP:

And this is her Stepped Up version. She has added the Eyelet Border punching, some faux stitching, a layer of Almost Amethyst, some sponging, a Build-a-Brad and Dimensionals.

These are both awesome Cheryl. I love the soft colours. I haven't played with the Tea Party DSP yet, but these cards definitely make me want to pull some out.
Thanks for joining in my Challenge Cheryl!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Another Guest Blogger!

I love getting more entries to my June Step It Up Challenge. You still have a few days to enter. I will announce the winner on the 1st July. This entry was emailed to me from Jo Knappstein, who doesn't have a blog of her own.
This is Jo's gorgeous card, made using the Friends 24-7 set. In Jo's words, for the original card she "simply stamped, matted, edges inked, and dimensionals placed under the 'Here for you'...

...In the stepped up version, the image was altered in the two outer images (by only stamping the lower part of the branch), and all heat embossed, then coloured with markers, an extra mat, brads in the corner, and “Here for you” placed in a label holder, and threaded on with a ribbon."
The colours are part of an Alisa Tilsner colour challenge, and the card was CASED from Clare Daly."

Thanks Jo, I love your cards!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Stamp-a-Stack FAQs

I regularly get asked questions about my Stamp-a-Stack classes by customers and other demonstrators. I'll try to include all the answers here, but if I miss anything, leave a comment, and I'll add to this post :o)

What is a Stamp-a-Stack?
The idea behind a Stamp-a-Stack class is that you go home with a 'stack' of cards ready to send out. Traditionally at a Stamp-a-Stack, you would take a couple of card designs and mass produce each one a few times.

How often do you run Stamp-a-Stacks?
I run Stamp-a-Stack classes every week (on Tuesday nights and a couple of day times as well), and have been doing them for the last 3 years. They are the most popular type of class I run.

How many cards do you make in the class?
In my Stamp-a-Stack Classes, you make 8 cards and matching envelopes, in 2 different designs.
This is an example of one design:

Even though all 4 cards look quite different, they all use the same pieces of cardstock, in a couple of different colours, arranged in different ways. It's an A5 card, a piece of 10.5 x 7.4 cardstock (Riding Hood Red and Pink Pirouette), a piece of 9.6 x 7cm cardstock (Very Vanilla) and a piece of 9.6 x 4.2 cm cardstock (Close to Cocoa). I have just re-arranged them in different ways to come up with 4 variations.
It's more interesting than taking home 4 identical cards, and my class attendees get to have a play with a lot more tools and accessories, and pick up some tips and tricks too! I show them all 4 variations, and tell them that if they are in a hurry to get home, to just choose 1 or 2 of their favourite variations, and mass-produce them, but most of my ladies like to make all 4 different variations.
I try and make the second design quite different, so everyone takes cards home to suit lots of different recipients.

How much does the class cost?

I charge $15 if you bring your own SNAIL adhesive, and $20 if you prefer to use my SNAIL. It includes an embellishment pack (ribbon, brads, etc) and 8 envelopes.

Are the classes suitable for beginners?
Definitely! But more experienced stampers will also pick up some tips and tricks.

Is the cardstock pre-cut?
Yes, I pre-cut everything. It makes it so much quicker that way! I package it all up in a Jumbo-wheeled white lunch bag. That way, as a design is completed, it can be popped in the bag, away from falling inkpads and the like!

How long does it take you to cut all the cardstock?
I cut a month's worth in one go. It usually takes a couple of hours to cut the cardstock for a whole month's worth of classes.

How long does the class take?
My evening classes are at 7pm for a 7:30 start, and we always start in time. Speedy workers are often finished by 9-9:30, and those who work at a more leisurely pace are usually done by 10pm.

How do you set up for the class?
I take 6 people per class. I set my dining room table up so that there is a design at each end, with all the supplies for that design. 3 people work on one design, and the other 3 work on the other one, and then they swap seats as they finish.

Can I have a Stamp-a-Stack in my own home?
Definitely! Once you have experienced a regular workshop, lots of people like to get their fingers a bit more inky and invite their friends over for a Stamp-a-Stack. Instead of 8, you will make 6 cards for $10 (all supplies included), in a couple of different designs.

You can see all my Stamp-a-Stack examples HERE

Friday, June 26, 2009

Black and White

I thought that an appropriate title for today's post, after hearing the sad news of Michael Jackson's death. It also suits this month's other Stamp-a-Stack design.
I am not normally a black and white person (I love colour too much!), but I was asked by a lovely customer of mine to create some black and white cards, and another customer asked me to design a card suitable for a girl in her late teens. I decided to combine the two requests, and used one of my favourite sets that I haven't had enough chances to play with, Circle Circus. The result was this:I did one design in black and white, and the other in Chocolate Chip and Very Vanilla, for a softer look. The Striped in Color ribbon adds a splash of colour to the palette.
We also stamped a 14.3 x 10cm insert inside each card, to give it a bit of pizazz and also to make it easier to write in.
TIP: Very minimal supplies in this one, so it would a perfect set to make while you are away on holidays!
I've been asked lots of questions about how I run my Stamp-a-Stack classes, so I'm putting together a FAQ post...stay tuned for that!

Materials (all Stampin' Up!)
stamps: Circle Circus, Think Happy Thoughts
ink: Basic Black, Chocolate Chip
card: Basic Black, Chocolate Chip, Whisper White, Very Vanilla
other: Striped In Color Ribbon (Pink Pirouette, Baja Breeze, Kiwi Kiss, Riding Hood Red), Corner Rounder

Monday, June 22, 2009

Bloom Away Stamp-a-Stack

This is one of this month's Stamp-a-Stack designs.

The Elegant Eggplant card was inspired by a swap I got at Convention by Marie Ferguson (I don't think Marie has a blog, but if anyone knows otherwise, let me know so I can pop a link here). I loved the idea of using Bloom Away to make cards that require no watercolouring, so I borrowed it for this month's Stamp-a-Stack!
I'll pop back later with some more details on colours etc.

We have family dinner here tonight, and I'm a bit tired after going to the Simon and Garfunkel concert last night (yes I'm SUCH a music dag, and proud of it LOL). It was utterly brilliant. Paul Simon is a poet. I'm such a sop and had tears pouring down my face several times (no one warned me I would need tissues!). The harmonies were just sublime, and those lyrical melodies.... I was emotionally exhausted afterwards (and my hands were numb from clapping). Just amazing.

Materials (all Stampin' Up!)
stamps: Bloom Away, Cute and Curly, On Your Birthday, Sanded Background
ink: Elegant Eggplant, Always Artichoke, Pumpkin Pie, Riding Hood Red, Sahara Sand, Bravo Burgundy
card: Elegant Eggplant, Always Artichoke, Pumpkin Pie, Riding Hood Red, Sahara Sand
other: Wide Oval Punch, 1 3/8" Square punch, 1 1/4" Square Punch, Small Tag Punch, Scallop Edge Punch, Eyelet Border Punch, Crop-a-dile, Linen Thread, Very Vanilla Taffeta ribbon, sponge dauber, dimensionals, Mat pack, Cutter Kit

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Challenge Cards by Cathie

I've had lots of lovely entries to my June Step It Up Challenge. You have until the end of June to enter. I want to show you an entry by a lovely new downline and friend of mine, Cathie.

Cathie doesn't have a blog of her own (although hopefully one day soon she will!), so I hope she doesn't mind if I show it here. This is the original version:
And for the stepped-up version, she has added some more layers, a half pearl and popped up the “o” in 'enjoy' to make a special card for her daughter's 13th birthday (Happy Birthday Bec!).

Thanks for sharing your creation with us Cathie. I'm sure Bec enjoyed her card and I'm sure you will enjoy her teenage years! :o)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

2 new discoveries!

Did you know that you can emboss on tins? Well, neither did I but I thought it was worth a try!
And guess, what?? It works!

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! Australia I used my embossing buddy liberally all over the tin first, and then stamped flowers from Fifth Avenue Floral in Versamark. The tin is quite a slippery surface, so be careful not to smudge the stamp. Then sprinkle with silver embossing powder. You may need to use a small brush to get rid of any stray bits of powder. Then heat with your heat tool. The tin gets quite hot, so don't burn yourself and allow the powder to set for a bit longer than normal. Because the tin stays hot, the powder will stay molten longer than normal. Actually, I added the DSP (from Bella Rose) to mine because there is smudged embossing under there! (sshhhhh!). I stuck it on with tombow glue, and the ribbon and tag just slide on and off so the tin can be opened.

The tin I used is one that you get with the Flower Fusion Felt flowers. I've been going through a ton of the flowers, making cards like this:

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! Australia
Just a simple one, using the Thoughts and Prayers Stamp Set, Baja Breeze Patterns DSP, Flower Fusion and Rhinestone brads.

I made another discovery...thanks to Lisa Spangler this time, for showing us how to get rid of the grey gloom. I only have a very basic point and press camera, with no white balance settings or anything, so often my photos come out very gloomy indeed. This is what my pic looked like before I GIMP'd it using Lisa's tutorial:

Marelle Taylor Stampin' Up! Australia What a difference, huh? It makes me want to go back and GIMP all my photos (but that would take waaay too long!)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Flight of the Butterfly

Thanks for all your lovely comments about my weekend work. I also made a frame for our dining room wall (which was another thing on my to-do list) but I haven't taken a photo of it yet....now that's on my to-do list! It never ends!!

I'm loving the "Flight of the Butterfly" set at the moment. It's a really pretty set to work with. Here's a card I made for a couple of special friend's birthdays:

I used the very pretty Candy Lane DSP (I love the pink and brown combos in it).
I didn't want to tie the ribbon in a knot, so I made a slit in the paper, and made a loop for another piece of ribbon to pass through.
TIP: I used my Mat Pack to get the 3 brads in a nice even row. I can never get them straight otherwise!

Materials (all Stampin' Up!)
stamps: Flight of the Butterfly
ink: Close to Cocoa, Pink Pirouette, Regal Rose
card: Close to Cocoa, Very Vanilla
other: Very Vanilla Wide Grosgrain, Rich Regals Brads, Regal Rose Marker, Dimensionals, Mat pack

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

I've been busy!

We were lucky enough to have a long weekend here in NSW, so today feels like Monday. I think I'm going to be a day out all week!
I've had the loveliest weekend of stamping, stamping and more stamping. Amy was at a Church camp all weekend, and Jacob had some time with his grandparents, so I got to sit down and just stamp! It was the first time in ages that I've been able to do that, so I had a long list of things I wanted to get done. I had 2 months worth of Elite Challenges to catch up on for starters, and then I've been wanting to try out some Mojo Monday sketches, so I decided to combine the two. Here are some snapshots of my efforts (you'll need to click on the pictures to be taken to the full card)
Build-a-Roo saw ink for the first time in a Colour Challenge, paired with a Mojo Monday Sketch Challenge

Cheep Talk also saw ink for the first time in a Stamp Set Challenge, combined with Keesh's Inkspirations Colour Challenge and I used a Mojo Monday Sketch

I used Flight of the Butterfly for this Colour Challenge, paired with another Mojo Monday Sketch

I used Fresh Cuts for this Stamp Set Challenge, paired with yet another Mojo Monday Sketch. It was the first time I had used the gorgeous Bella Bleu DSP.

I used Petal Pizazz for the first time for this Sketch Challenge, paired with a Colour Challenge by Alisa Tilsner.

This one's my favourite. I used Trendy Trees for the Stamp Set Challenge, paired another Mojo Monday sketch and I used Windsor Knot DSP for the first time (love it!)

And this one I hate LOL I thought I'd try the Sticky Cuts, and they are brilliant to make a quick card or design element with TONS of bling. I just don't like how it all came together on this card though...it's waaay too bright for my taste. It was a Sketch Challenge.

I have to say the Mojo Monday sketches are fabulous! I'll definitely be visiting there again...I can't think why I haven't been there before now!

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Faux Woodgrain

This was one of the techniques we did during my May technique classes. It's called Faux Woodgrain. It's been around for a while, but has seen a resurgence of late!
I've seen this done a few different ways, but this is how I do it:
1. Swipe a piece of More Mustard cardstock with a More Mustard inkpad, using your stamp pad direct to paper. Repeat with Creamy Caramel, then Close to Cocoa, and then Chocolate Chip (if desired)
2. (optional) Use a ruler and Chocolate Chip marker to draw lines for floorboards and nail-holes. Make sure to stagger your joins!
3. Now swipe with Whisper White Craft ink, and set aside to dry.
4. A final swipe of More Mustard just to finish off.
You can also do this technique using sponges instead of inkpads direct to paper, but I prefer the inkpads. It's really such a quick, but effective background technique. Perfect for masculine cards.
I used 'Thoughts and Prayers' for the rest of my card, and I think it's all pretty self-explanatory (lots of sponging!). The finishing touch is the brass Build-a-Brad. I love these things! It's so much fun to make your own brad that co-ordinates perfectly with your project.

Materials (all Stampin' Up!)
stamps: Thoughts and Prayers
ink: More Mustard, Creamy Caramel, Close to Cocoa, Chocolate Chip, Whisper White
card: More Mustard, Really Rust, Close to Cocoa, Chocolate Chip, Very Vanilla
other: Brass Build-a-Brad, Large Oval Punch, Designer Label Punch, Curly Label punch, Eyelet border punch, Chocolate Chip Wide Grosgrain ribbon, Chocolate Chip marker, Really Rust marker, Close to Cocoa marker, sponge daubers

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

June Challenge - Step it Up!

Are you ready for another challenge?
Anyone can enter....if you don't have a blog, you can email a pic of your creation to me, and I can show it on my blog, or you can use any photo hosting website.
This month's challenge is to make a card, and then "step it up".
You might like to add brads, buttons, ribbon, glitter, more layers - anything you like just to make the card a bit more special. You can either take a card you have already made, and just make a "stepped up" version of it or you can start from scratch and make 2 versions of the same card, one plain and one stepped up. Just make sure you show both versions in your blog post.
You have until June 30 to make your creations!

Here's my original card. It's a nice quick and simple one, perfect for a make-and-take (in fact it was the make-and-take at the workshop I did on Friday night - Hi Wendy and Sarah!)

And here it is "stepped up":
I've added some more layering, and sponged the layers. I've also added some brads, ribbon and silver hodgepodge as embellishments, and I've cut out the 2 butterflies and popped their wings up with dimensionals, and added some glitter too. Here's a close-up:

I'm going to try Mr Linky this month, but if it doesn't work (I don't have much faith in technology) just leave a link to your cards in the comments section of this post.

I'm looking forward to seeing what you all come up with! I'll pick my favourite at the end of the month, and the winner will receive a sample pack of Stampin' Up! embellishments.

Materials (all Stampin' Up!)
Stamps: Priceless, Sincere Salutations, So Swirly Jumbo Wheel
Ink: Lovely Lilac, Almost Amethyst, Certainly Celery
Cardstock: Lovely Lilac, Almost Amethyst, Certainly Celery, Whisper White
Other: White gel pen, Large Oval Punch, Designer Label Punch, Styled Silver Hodgepodge hardware, Dimensionals, Wide Celery Grosgrain ribbon, sponge daubers, Crystal Effects, Dazzling Diamonds Glitter

Monday, June 01, 2009

Challenge Winner!

Thank you to everyone who entered my Catalogue Challenge. I've really enjoyed seeing all your entries throughout the month. So that you can all enjoy them too, I thought I'd post a linky list here. Just click on each name to view their inspiring artwork. You can see a slideshow of everyone's work down below.
Tracy 1
Tracy 2

And the winner is....this was such a tough choice because they are all fabulous....

I really like the way she took this:
and really made it her own with this cute elephant card:
Tamara, I'll pop your prize in the mail for you :o)
I've got another challenge planned for June, so stay tuned!

Would you like an extra $40 free?

Stampin' Up! have just announced a FANTASTIC Promotion for June and July.

If you have a workshop during June or July which totals $600, you'll receive an extra $40 free...so that's at least a $110 shopping spree from the catalogue, plus a free Level 1 or 2 Hostess set too! What a fantastic deal!

So if you have a looooong wishlist, why not get a bunch of friends together and learn some new stamping techniques, and then have fun choosing some freebies too :o)

But I only have a few openings left in June and July, so email me now!


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