Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summer Preparations

We had a busy Monday doing some summer preparations with the deck and the yard.  The weather had been too rainy and cool to get very excited about setting up the deck and patio however, with a string of 80 degree plus days, I think summer is finally arriving!  The big lilacs are more or less finished but our French lilac is just filling out - in a few more days it will be really beautiful.

There were some unexpected visitors in our back yard early this morning.  We live very close to the center of town and seldom see deer - I wonder how they got here?  They looked around the back yard for a little while and then ...

..went up the side yard and crossed the street to see our neighbors!  In the foreground you can see the dark purple irises that just opened up today.

We made a trip to the garden center for some plants for the planters and hanging baskets and picked up a few rhododendrons too.  They will fill in an area where we lost a few shrubs from the hard winter.

We did a lot of scrubbing and cleaning and things are looking much tidier.  We are having a big get together next weekend and this will be a week full of preparations.

A few people asked how to see the full card with the butterfly that I posted on Monday.  That was a Scrappy-go-Lucky project and Mandy has asked that I keep most of the photos and information on the Scrappy-go-Lucky blog with just a sneak peek on my blog.  It is just a click away - so please click HERE if you would like to read the full post and see all of the photos.

Creative Charms - May - Deal of the Month $6.99

Creative Charms- May - Kit of the Month $14.99

Today is the last day to order the Deal or Kit of the Month for May from Creative Charms.  These are always so tempting and such a good value.  Click HERE for the Deal and HERE for the Kit.  Fair warning the June Kit and Deal have arrived at my house and they are both great - so you'll be tempted all over again!

Free Product

The Lettering Delights Customer Appreciation sale ends tonight (May 31st) at midnight.  You can save 40% on your entire order - just use the code UndertheSea at checkout.  Please click the affiliate badge above or in the left side bar to go to the site and see all of the cute new things they have added lately.

I did make a few cards and worked on my new project for a little while this weekend.  I hope to catch up with the challenges and post those in the next few days.  In the meanwhile, I am trying to figure out recipes that will work for eighty people or so (!) for the party next weekend.  Busy times here!

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Monday, May 30, 2011

Beautiful Butterfly

I hope you are having a great holiday weekend - we are continuing on the rounds of graduation parties and enjoying the chance to catch up with family and friends.  Hot weather has finally arrived in New England - it's been in the 80's here.

Last week I showed you this stack of intricate butterflies.  They were made with something new that Mandy at Scrappy-go-Lucky sent to me to try out a little while ago.  The photo at the top of this post is a sneak peek at a card I made using one of the butterflies.  You can read all about the card and how I cut the butterfly on the Scrappy-go-Lucky blog - just click HERE to see the full post.

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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Birthday Card - take two...

I finally got things sorted out with the computer and Blogger.  We were at a family graduation party most of the afternoon and evening on Saturday so I decided to put the full post up for today.

I wasn't planning to make a card when I started - I just wanted to show a way to add a "loop bow" under a paper medallion for a pretty effect.  I have been experimenting with ways to use ribbon since I seem to have an excellent ability to collect ribbon and I need to move more of it out into the world on projects so there will be room for me to add more to my collection!

I have always found it tricky to get ribbon bows to work out neatly when the ribbon is not the same on both sides.   This cute polka dot ribbon is one that I got from a Stampin' Up clearance rack sale.  The stitched border goes through but the polka dots are printed on one side only.  To make the "bow" I cut two lengths of ribbon - one larger than the other.  I folded the ribbon in half and used a sharp piercing tool to poke through the center at the join of the ends.

I did the same thing with the second piece of ribbon, adding it to the piercing tool.

 I slid the two loops up near the top of the tool to make the hole in the center larger.

 If you read my blog regularly, you know that I like to use the wired ribbon from Costco - I just pull out the wires from the sides when I don't want it for shaping the edges.  Of course, I save these bits and pieces of wire and they can be very handy for other projects.

I took our the piercing tool and held on to the ribbon stack - then I threaded the wire through the pierced holes and bound the ribbons together.  The wire is very strong but also very thin and easy to push through the pierced holes.

To finish off the wire conection, I put the opposite ends through the holes and reversed the pattern.  This may seem to be a lot of trouble but it is really quick and easy to do.  I imagine that some people just use adhesive to hold the pieces together but I find that this method is great to be sure that your bows won't come apart at the last minute!

Next I added a large foam square to adhere the ribbon loops to the main vertical ribbon on the card front.

The ribbon down the center of the card layer was added using the "cheater method" - wrapping it around the paper and taping each end.

I wanted to add the sentiment in a medallion and place it as the center of the "bow."  I originally planned to use all three of these layers,.  I decided that the green lace scalloped circle was a bit too large so I simply attached the sentiment to the smaller yellow scalloped circle.

Instead of placing the loop bow straight across the card, I set it at an angle - just to keep things interesting!

This was the first version of the card.  I wanted to keep it simple but I thought this looked too simple.  The paper ("Garden Variety" line by Cosmo Cricket) is so pretty that I didn't want to hide it - so I decided to look at my other options from that paper line and add an additional piece in a coordinating color and pattern.

I matted it with a coordinating red cardstock, leaving just a thin reveal to help set it off against the background paper.

The sentiment is from this great group of card elements.  They are printed on pearlized cardstock and have perfect sayings ready to pop on your projects.  These were a gift from my friend Enfys.  I believe they come from Craftwork Cards in England - here is a LINK to the page on their site.

Craftwork Cards also makes the "Candi" (the paper brads or dots you can see on this card).  I saw at these at CHA and really liked the effect - there are some more photos of their samples HERE.

The added square gives the impression of a gift box for the bow to rest on.   I think the extra color was needed to add a little more "oomph" (not sure if that's how you spell it but I hope you know what I  mean!)

We'll be going to another graduation party on Sunday - and we'll be hosting our own party next weekend - this certainly is a busy time of year! I hope you are having a nice weekend.  Please remember all of the brave servicemen and women who have sacrificed for our country as you enjoy your holiday activities.

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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Birthday Bow

Good morning!  I have been trying to get a card and some other information posted but I keep having Blogger/computer issues.  Those of you on the email list know that I post late one day for an early morning distribution the next day.  This little card is something I wanted to share - and I will be back to edit this post after I get some sleep!

Please keep your fingers crossed that the computer and I will be able to work together better in the new day.  Lots more to come ...

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Design Studio Updates for April cartridges

Most of the cartridges that were announced in the Hello Thursday in April were added to Design Studio by an update yesterday.  This includes the cartridges built in to the E2, however, since there are no physical cartridges the situation is similar to the Gypsy Font and Gypsy Wanderings.  You can design with these cartridges on the computer  but will have to transfer the file to the Gypsy to cut it.  I didn't have time to go through and check on everything, but the "American Alphabet" cartridge is listed as just "Alphabet" (this is one of the cartridges built in to the E2).

To update your Design Studio, you need to go HERE and download the update.  You will see that the page has finally been changed to reflect the cartridges that have been added since last November.  You should SAVE the download to your computer and then run it to have the new cartridge information load correctly.  You will need to close and reopen Design Studio to see the new cartridge listed.

The Cartridge Library on the information tab of the Cricut.com site has not been updated as of late Thursday night... just keep checking it to see when the handbooks are added so you can get a good look and see which, if any, cartridges you would like to add to your collection.

 I have been doing more research and working on a couple of the "secret projects" that I have to keep under wraps a bit longer.  A couple of them are for family occasions that are coming up and I don't want to ruin any surprises!

The season of Graduation parties is upon us!  You can see a couple of graduation cards I made quite a while ago  HERE.  The paper on the card above is from an older Creative Memories collection.  I want to pass along news of another sale to those of you who use the CM Digital StoryBook Creator Plus 3.0 program.  If you click HERE, you will find the digital items that are on sale (39% off) until May 29th.

The three Creative Memories exclusive Cricut cartridges (Reminisce Accents, Cheerful Seasons and Stork's Delivery) are also reduced $5 to $49.95 each until the end of June - you can find them HERE.

Free Product

There are Memorial Day sales all over - in the major craft stores and most of the online stores - if you are in the mood to spend, there are plenty of deals to be found.  Lettering Delights is also having a "secret sale" - 40% off any size order if you use the code "UnderTheSea" (good until May 31st).  Just click the affiliate link above or in the left side column to see what is new - they always are adding great things and my library on their site is getting very full!

Cricutmachine.com had a number of cartridges on sale for just $19.95 - the sale was to end yesterday but they usually extend their sales, so it might be worth checking out HERE.  Oh My Crafts has a code to save 20% on any size order - orders over $75 ship free in the US. The code is MDAY20 and is valid until 11:59 p.m. EST on May 30, 2011 HERE.

There are also special sales on the Cricut.com site HERE.

That's enough enabling for one day - I don't plan to shop because I need to use more of the things I already have here...  Have a great holiday weekend - I hope the weather is kind to you!

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Floral Friendship Card

I am a subscriber to the Taylored Expressions "Key Ingredients" kit club.  Each month, subscribers have the chance to order additional items at 10% off with free shipping to coordinate with the shipping of the kit.  Some months I spend a lot and other months, I just let the automatic shipment of the kit proceed without adding any extra items to my box.

This month - I did order a lot of odds and ends from the Deals section along with some stamps and dies.  I also ordered a Hello Luscious Card Kit  (click HERE to see) with paper by Basic Grey.  One of my favorite things about the card kits is the lovely Perfect Package box that is included for you to decorate to hold the cards.  I will show you one of my projects with the box soon.

I really like the variety of colors in this paper - it's always fun when colors seem to cover a very wide range of tastes but then settle into a color scheme.   I matted the paper with dark red on the card and cut sentiments in red, however, I decided that it would be fun to highlight the lilac floral on the sentiment strip and used a lilac cardstock to mat the paper.

I thought that the sentiment was hard to read directly on the patterned paper so I cut an additional strip of vellum to help set it off a bit.  I use the Creative Memories Frosted Photo Splits to adhere vellum and they virtually disappear when you burnish the vellum to the paper.

I wrapped some satin ribbon around the card topper and added three gems from the Kaiser set that came in the kit.  Then I used some foam squares to raise up the sentiment strip.  The sentiment is from the die in the Cuttlebug "Forever Friends" card combo set.  I did save the dots to the eyes when I cut it, however, I realized that the tiny gems would be more eye catching over the "i"s.

The foam squares add some dimension and the Creative Charms Vintage Poppy with a Jewel Brad center pulls everything together.

If you look closely at the design of the paper you can see that the poppy is nearly a perfect match for the stream of red and pink flowers in the background.  This simple card would surely be a nice treat for an old friend far away.  I think I will try sewing on the layers of the next card I make with this kit.   I have sewing on the list of things I need to do more of this year!

Our weather was beautiful Wednesday - sunny and 70's.  We need to sort out the deck and patio for the rest of the family to enjoy when they visit in a little over a week (and I am still sorting in the craft room so I can't get outside as much as I'd like!).  I think everyone must be very busy with end of the year activities - I noticed that the message boards seem quieter and there aren't many people walking around in town.
I hope that you are all staying safe from the terrible storms - the news coverage makes us realize how lucky we are to have a place to live.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Vintage Wallpaper as Inspiration...

Things have been a bit off schedule here on the blog due to my bout with the nasty spring cold.  I have had a few too many balls in the air and before I let too much time pass I wanted to get the next challenge up for those of you who are enjoying trying something different each week.  I will post my playing card project soon and I thank the few of you who took on the last challenge.

While we were in New Jersey for The Graduation we were lucky to be able to visit with old friends who still live in the area.  Our younger son was born in New Jersey but we moved away when he was less than a year old so this is a friendship that goes back quite a while.  If you are lucky, there are some people in life that are the kind of friends you can see after gaps of many years and you all just pick up right where you left off - these are that sort of friends for us.
For years we have visited them in the same house they lived in when we lived in the next town but they recently moved into a family home and sold the big house with an eye to retiring to their vacation home before too long.  The house is still decorated with some of the same items that have been there for years and has a very cozy time capsule feel!  I was particularly taken with some of the wallpapers.

The kitchen paper is definitely "of an era" - in both color and style.  I actually took a fair number of photos and I am working on making these into discrete digital elements for another project.  If you are of a "certain age" or have older family members who have kept their decorating constant some of these may look familiar.

This paper actually reminds me of some scrapbook paper that I used for a project a couple of years ago...

Just look at the envelope which was made with a double-sided American Crafts paper.  Of course the colors are different but it certainly has the same "feel."  (If you want to see the post about this card, you'll find it HERE).

I wonder if you have any similar crafting papers?

I really liked the dining room with the shimmery gold silk paper.  It was soft and welcoming but still very special and elegant.

If you look at the colors closely, you can see that they are a teal, green, tan and brown combination that is popular today.

The Challenge this week is to use any or all of these wallpapers to inspire your project.  It could be the shapes on the paper, the style, the color or even the kitchen implements that transfer over into your new project.

Just link your project and see how creative you can be - I know there is a little "retro" lurking in all of us!  Please use the linky - I will move the long explanation of how it works to a tab up top in a day or so but for now if you need directions please visit the last challenge post HERE.

One more note - A new and helpful Question and Answer document for the Gypsy is available from the experts at ProvoCraft - you can download it HERE.

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