Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Essentials by Ellen Winter 2016 Hop

Hello, and welcome to the Essentials by Ellen Winter 2016 Hop! I’ll be showcasing several of the new stamp sets and dies on my post today! And, yay!!! I also get to give away an Essentials by Ellen stamp set!  The winner may chose ANY Essentials by Ellen brand stamp set (maximum value $15) currently in stock at Ellen Hutson.com  To enter my giveaway, please leave a comment on this post by February 16th! There is also a crazy awesome Grand Giveaway in the CLASSroom!  To enter, be sure to leave a comment THERE, also by February 16th; ALL winners will posted at the CLASSroom on Friday, February 19th! If you get lost, please visit the CLASSroom blog for a complete list of all the designers. Happy hoppin’!

You should have come from the one, the only, Julie Ebersole!!! I am beyond impressed with the coolness of her designs in this release. As you will see after reading this post, I am OBSESSED with her interactive bear from the All Inside set. What makes it so special is that the die actually cuts his hands! That means you can make him do a ton of things. So let's get right to it!

 FIVE different ways to use the cutest bear on the market

1. Give him an embellishment.
Here the bear is hanging on for dear life as the balloons whisk him away to "happy" : )  Adding actual balloon strings adds another texture to the card, as well as an easy way to have the bear hold the balloons. I didn't adhere the strings to the bear, just slid them under his die-cut arm. 

The sentiment and balloons are from another set called Up the Happy. I wanted the sentiment to really stand out since it tells part of the story, so I embossed it with black powder instead of just stamping it in black.

On the left is the original version of this card ... can you tell what I ended up changing? The crowd of bears on the original card is very compact, and doesn't really give you the impression that one bear is getting carried off by the balloons. Plus the taller bear in the middle of the crowd was competing too much for the focal point. For the final version of the card on the right, you'll see that I split up the crowd of bears so there's a space where the balloon bear would have been standing, before he got a hold of the super-charged helium balloons. And your eye goes right to the balloon bear, not to some attention seeker in the middle of the crowd below.

A slight difference, but I think it tells a better story : )
2. Give him a sentiment.
 Oh yes, the cutest bear ever can hold any sentiment you want him to. Isn't that so much more fun than just sticking the sentiment on the card base?! Speaking of the card base, I cut several more of the Brushstroke Hello dies in white to make the base a little more interesting, clustering them on the bottom of the card to help ground the bear.

Here he is, with his chubby little hands grasping the sentiment. Aww! Both the bear and the sentiment have a layer of white fun foam underneath to make them thick and substantial.

3. Cut him from felt.
Really, a whole different world opens up when you start thinking beyond paper. I had my grade-school-aged cousins over for a party last week and they all went NUTS over this cutie in felt! They wanted to make him in all different colors. This project is the cover of a prayer journal from a women's group I just joined. The bear is glued down, with some stuffing inside to make his belly round. I stamped the "hugs" sentiment and then stitched over it with metallic thread. Then the brown panel is sewn to the peach panel, which has a brown blanket stitch along the edge. I wasn't sure how to attach it all to the plastic notebook, so I finally ended up using my tiny attacher and stapled underneath the brown felt edge. You can't tell it's there.

And did you know you can stamp pretty well on felt?! Yes! I like to use StazOn because it gives a darker impression. All these textures make me so happy!
4. Stamp multiples of him.
What a great way to get more out of your stamp and die sets. Instead of one bear, why not make eight of them?! Multiplying something is an easy way to make it look more impressive (a common interior design trick as well). I picked the Many Thanks die specifically to go with this gang of bears. Thinking more about the sentiment, my husband suggested I decided they should literally be holding many thanks. Not having a "thanks" stamp in the right size, I just wrote them out and tucked them into the bears' paws.

This card is made a little differently, with a flat panel for the back and a main focal point that swings out (folds back flat for mailing).

One tip is when you know you are going to fussy cut around your image anyway, go nuts and color outside the lines. Way outside. It doesn't matter!

You would never know there was all that mess before their trimming.

5. Give him a Gift Card.
Yep, use two of these bears for a fun and unique gift card holder! You may be wondering, "why green bears?" Well, I wanted them to tie in with the colors on the gift card. Same thinking for the sentiment on the bottom from the Totally Awesome set ... the "amazing" is colored in with colors from the gift card. That sentiment cracks me up. "Treat Yo Self." hahaha!

To make the bears into a gift card holder, just space out the bears and slip the card in.

I just love him in green with the white fun foam underneath. And I love his quirky smile. He's all, "Yeah, I've got a gift card for you. I know you love it. I know you love me."

My husband came by while I was working on the cards (notice that I get easily distracted and often work on many projects at the same time ... it looks like three of the bear cards are in progress here) and asked,

"so, what's with all the bears?"

I just completely fell in love with this guy!

I'm sure your mind is thinking of a million more ways to use this little guy, but here are five of them. So versatile!
Thank you so much for stopping by, and I hope you are as excited as I am about the new goodies in this release (not to mention the prizes!) To somewhat quote Virginia Lu from my facebook page, waiting for this release has been simply "unbearable"! 

Your next stop in this star-studded hop is Sharon Harnis!

Monday, February 1, 2016

So Many Challenges at Winnie & Walter's Birthday Bash!

Who's up for some challenges?!
Who's up for some crazy-awesome prize packages? As in ... Winnie & Walter Guest Designer? $75 store credits? ALL THE W&W STAMPS IN 2016?!?

Hurry over to the Winnie & Walter blog to see all the Birthday Bash challenges, and start planning your entries! While you're there, be sure to check out my Over the Edge Challenge. I can't wait to see what you create!


Adding Your Sentiment Inside a Stencil

Hi Folks! I had some fun stenciling the secondary sentiment through the heart stencil on this card. Since the words are cut off, you have to work a little to read it, which I think makes you pay more attention to the card. Even though the "love ya" primary sentiment is on the bottom of the card, the large size and the bold red color is meant to draw your eye there first. Then you can pick up the "always & forever" in the heart above.

This card is over at the CAS-ual Fridays Stamps blog today.

Thanks for looking!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Papercrafting Supplies in Valentine's Day Deco Mesh Wreath

Hi Folks! I've gone a little nuts with the after-Christmas sales at Hobby Lobby this year. A friend alerted me to one of the new store locations with a full stock of holiday merchandise at their 90% off sale. It was crazy. Nuts. People (including me!) had multiple carts full. One of our friends bought 94 rolls of wrapping paper, and there were still hundreds left. I filled one cart just with deco-mesh and wreath forms. All the Christmas red works just as well for Valentine's Day red, after all! This wreath is a super-simple one, which I was going to have my second-grade son's class make at their Valentine's Day party. It took 5 minutes to make the actual wreath, and cost $1.70. Then I thought the kids could hang some foam hearts in the middle. For my own purposes, I made my own heart with papercrafting supplies : )

Details on the heart itself are on the Winnie & Walter blog today.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Three Cards, Same Group of Supplies

Hi Folks! I've been getting into a habit of making multiple cards while I have a particular group of stamps, dies and inks out. After thinking about this, I've figured there are two reasons I do this:

1) I love to be efficient with things and use my time wisely. I'm always conscious of time passing and each day I want to be sure that I've accomplished something. I'm happier if it's more than one something!

2) I'm often left with the feeling that the card I'm making could be better. That's when I grab another card base and try again with a slightly different idea. Using mostly the same products helps me figure out if the next card is an improvement or not. Ironically, I'm often drawn to my first attempt. That's frustrating!

This card was the first attempt on a scrap piece of paper to see what stamping through a stencil would look like. The paper was too narrow so I added the navy blue patterned paper on the bottom to fill the space (also worked to ground the design),

This was the last card I made, combining the overall placement from the card at the top of this post, with the idea of stamping through the stencil from my initial attempt. I do like the addition of a secondary sentiment on this card. Were it not so late, I probably would have gone for a fourth card, but I decided this would be good enough and called it a day.

These cards are over at the CAS-ual Fridays Stamps blog today.

Thanks for looking!

Saturday, January 9, 2016

2015 Year In Review

I wasn't going to do a Year In Review post, but I did miss looking back over the year to see what's been going on. And, picking one card each month is way too much stress for me! So we've got a Top Eighteen here. The photos/captions have links to the original post if you're interested.

Here are officially my favorite cards of 2015!

Rotating a stamp
Canopy of stars, collection of feathers and the blended sentiment
Torn background die, mix of elements
Set of six cards with tiny heart dies making one big heart
Recreation of the back of the Cosmo Cricket catalog with a stripe stamp and some watercolors

Use stiff gold lame fabric for dimensional elements without the bulk. w&w: Lulu Fringe, Big Bold Happy, In a Word: Love, The Write Stuff: Love Story: So many flower possibilities with Lulu Fringe!:
You will LOVE this tip for tiny die pieces!

An actual scrapbook page! Jackson's first time eating spaghetti.

Patterned papers with a white poinsettia, and tiny black sentiment

A boatload of masking,

No specific reason, I just like how it ended up.
Rainbow stars pointing to a sentiment

There are two things that struck me as I assembled the cards:

1) This year I selected more "pretty" cards than in prior years, rather than "out-of-the-box" cards. Maybe because it's more difficult for me to create pretty cards, so when I do I get extra happy. Or, maybe it's because I've been trying more pretty cards. 

2) My creative times of the year are definitely the "quiet" months of January - March. A whopping 60% of my favorites come from that time period. Summer (April - September) had one scrapbook page and ZERO card favorites. The rest of my favorites are from the holiday season (Halloween/Hanukkah/Christmas).
 Thanks so much for all your comments and support this year, it means so much to me! If you've created a year-in-review please let me know as I'd love to stop by and check it out!!

All the best for 2016!