Saturday, May 28, 2016

Time for Teacher Gifts!

I have a tremendous appreciation for teachers. My sister is an incredible (and nationally recognized - brag, brag) elementary school teacher, so I hear all about the heartbreak, hard work, and amazing successes that come with her job. Now that my girls are in middle school, we have to spread our appreciation through gifts a little more widely than we used to, but I always try to send a special thank you at the end of the year for all the hard work these amazing people have put in to teach my kids.

To get started on this year's end-of-school cards, I pulled out my PTI Teach and Inspire stamp set. This set has some great heartfelt teacher-themed sentiments, and since you can't have a teacher card without an apple, I also grabbed my Apple Prints set and coordinating dies.

This card layout was originally created by Nichole Heady, and I have made several incarnations of it over the years. I adore scrunchy seam binding bows, and the partial die cutting along the edge is an easy technique with a fun wow factor. 

To create a border using any die, position your top cutting plate so that it is part on and part off your die. The section sandwiched between the two cutting plates will cut through, and the section without a top plate will remain attached. Then trim with a trimmer or craft knife in a straight line between your cut images. Hard to explain but easy to do! Here's a card I did using the same technique and some Halloween pumpkins a while back:

Partial die cutting is an easy way to make dies more versatile. Anyway, back to the topic at hand! My second teacher card uses the images from Teach and Inspire. I love this cute tree, and the sentiments in this set are some of my favorite in all of my extensive stash. (Insert guilty grin.)

I plan to create a nice card for each teacher to pair with a modest thank you gift or treat. I am so grateful for the teachers in my life who inspired me to pursue the things I still love today. What a gift they are to the world!

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

An Old Favorite

It's so easy to lose touch with old friends. I was reminded of this the other day when one of my besties from our years in Oklahoma sent me a beautiful note in the mail, and I realized how long it has really been since I talked to her. I wish there were more hours in the day and quick travel between places far away. Maybe in the future the quick travel part will become even more of a reality!

In the spirit of old friends, I pulled out a stamp set from years past that I just love. Back when it was shiny and new (and trendy) I used it all the time, but now that the vintage trend has passed, it is neglected and in the back of my stash gathering dust. Not this week! Out it came to do three projects using different techniques.

The first is a vintage inspired wedding card. I watercolored my image twice and die cut a butterfly out of one version to pop up over the second so the little wings are a bit three dimensional. Quick, simple, and the watercolor breathed new life into an old favorite image.

For the second card, I pulled out all the vintage tricks and created a collage focal panel with white embossing as the top layer. A scrap of trim and a little tag, and this card is shabby chic enough to live in 2010. Those were the days. 

The third card is pretty and pastel and a little more clean and simple than the others. I added a layer of vellum over this butterfly for a touch of softness. Easy and best of all ... easy to mail!

I hope you be inspired to pull out an old favorite crafting tool and maybe even to a send your creation to an old friend!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Coffee is Real Magic

Hi, friends! Have you heard of Jessa Frieg and Useless Trinkets? Now you have! This great blog features several hilarious and adorable free digital stamps with tons of multi-lingual sentiments. Thank you, Jessa!

I couldn't resist this adorable unicorn named Cookie Jar. I created two card versions of Cookie Jar in different sizes and used two of the matching sentiments.

For both cards, I used a die cut cloud as a mask and sponged several pastel shades of ink in layers to create a sky background. I colored up Cookie Jar with Copic Markers and layered some clouds in the foreground. A touch of white Wink of Stella glitter brush pen to adds some subtle sparkle.

This cute little Narwhale card is a birthday card for one of my daughter's friends. I used the same masking process to create the water background. I created the wave mask using a scallop edge die and a piece of copy paper.

I hope you'll check out Useless Trinkets! Thanks for visiting my blog today! If you do use any of these images on your own projects, I would love to see them!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Stampin' Up Goodbyes ...

Alas, it is that sad time of year again when all of the beautiful things on my Stampin' Up wish list retire to make way for new beautiful things. It might be a bit sick that someone with upwards of a gazillion stamp sets can still have a wish list as long as mine!

There were two sets on my list that I couldn't let go. The first was the simple but sweet set called "Summer Solstice." This set took a long time for me to discover since it's rather unassuming, but the pieces lend themselves to the collage style I love so much.

The second was a set called "World of Dreams" that features several really lovely silhouette images that will compliment some of the other sets in my stash.

This simple card was inspired by Lisa Young. In fact, it was blatantly cased. Thanks, Lisa! You sold me on this one! The orchids are gorgeous, and all of the elements work together beautifully.

I can't believe summer is here already. Today my mom and I took our annual field trip to the garden store to buy our flowers for the season, since it is just about safe to plant! The green grass and trees against the blue, snow-capped mountains is just breathtaking. How amazing to be alive!