Saturday, December 31, 2016

Stretching Myself

I had so much fun being a display stamper for the November OnStage in Kansas City, that I've decided to apply again.  I know how it works and what to expect now, so I think I can do a better job this time!

I think the most fun part was visiting with all of the other display stampers when we were setting up the displays.  Everyone is so nice to each other and so positive and complimentary about each other's work.  Stampin' Up! stampers are so wonderful, we uplift and support each other always!

The application requires three card fronts, a scrapbook page, and  two 3-D items.  I had so much fun stamping with my new Occasions stamps.  I really stretch myself on one of'll see...I'm saving it for last!

Card Fronts

Lefty wanted to help with the pictures!
I was trying to get some good pictures and Lefty decided that she needed to help! She's so thoughtful that way!
Dragonflies are our friends
I'm not usually a dragonfly and butterfly kind of girl, but I'm enjoying this set.  The phrases are great and I love the little dotty border stamp.

There's one in every group!
I love this little shaker card!  The crazy haired chicken cracks me up.  Her friends are just hanging out acting like respectable chickens...and there she is!  Acting a fool!  There's one in every group and if you aren's sure who it is, it's probably you!

You CAN do this!
I made this card thinking about a friend who is going through some relationship issues. You can do can spread your wings and be you.  You may not need to fly away, but you definitely can show off who you are.

Scrapbook Page
Lefty's First Christmas
I had these frames left from another project and they look just like polaroid frames (I used one on the "Hey Chick" card also).  Lefty was only about three months old on her first Christmas and she had so much fun exploring and getting into everything.  She checked out the cookies in the oven, helped clean the dishes, attacked the stockings, explored the Christmas tree, and enjoyed the ribbon, paper, and boxes!

3-D Items

Cookies for You!

Cute Egg Carton
I am loving these egg cartons!  I didn't even have to spritz it with color to make it cute.  This is a little container for cookies...I stamped some baking implements in real red, pacific point, and daffodil delight on whisper white paper and made a belly band out of it.  I tied real red grosgrain ribbon around it and added a cute tag to it.  Someone's going to love getting this gift!

And here it favorite.  The one that really stretched me.

The Victorians were strange; they explored the world, loved science, and enjoyed natural things but they also made things from nature.  There are tons of displays of stuffed birds, small animals skulls, and bugs.  They called these curios. They would display some of these in, wait for it, curio cabinets.  I was on Pinterest one day killing time (LOL) and came upon some of these curios.  I was very intrigued by them.  Here are a couple of examples.
Butterflies arranged on a branch

Bugs around a painting of a lady
See what I mean?  Weird

These made me think about things I could do with the Beetles & Bugs stamps.  I made a couple of specimen trays and then went kind of crazy.  I stamped this sort of kaleidoscope thing.
Stamped Bug Curio
I love the effect of the moths...the outsides of them form a circle and the insides form a square.  Bugs seem way less creepy when you use pretty colors on them, by the way.

It needed a cool frame to really make it stand out.  I used a sheet of 12 X 12  Early Espresso cardstock and cut a square in the center for the curio.  The frame was boring so I looked for things to jazz it up.  I punched butterflies from Early Espresso with both of the butterfly punches and attached them all of the way around the frame stacking a little one on top of a large one.  
I attached the curio to Very Vanilla cardstock and attached it to the back of the frame.  I mounted the whole thing on a piece of cardboard for stability and added Delightful Dijon mini-stripe ribbon as a hanger.  
Here are two pictures of the finished curio.  I took one at an angle so you could better see the butterflies around the frame.

Look at the cool butterflies around the frame!

Insect Curio ready to display on the wall
I had to buy the Beetles & Bugs stamp set for an Occasions and Sale-a-Bration swap, but I am so glad!  They are so cute and have really made me stretch my imagination!

Joyful Stamping,

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Epic December Team Meeting

Our December team meeting was EPIC!  We had Christmas dinner, played Stinky Santa, brought shoe box swaps, and still had time for prizes and recognition!

We celebrated Virginia's promotion to Bronze Elite (WTG, VA!), Cindy had top sales for November, and Patience had FIVE events so far in December!  Kay had lots of gifts for us and prizes from the Occasions catalog!

Kathy brought Kay's favorite dessert...sugar cookies from Community Bakery and Stacey brought mint chocolate brownies!  Look at Kay's amazing hot chocolate bar!  Check out those peppermint spoons in the back.

Lanier, Amy, Sassy, and Virginia got to sit at the Adult's table

Patience, Cindy, Stacey, Elizabeth, Lazendra, and Catrina sat at the kid's table
Stinky Santa was fun!  Everyone ended up with something they loved (I got cheese straws made by Sassy!)

OOOH!  Did you see Virginia steal the painting from Stacey??

Look how pretty these are!

Wonder Woman and Sparky ready to stamp
Sparky was in a sassy mood on Saturday and took this cute selfie of us.  She also took some less flattering ones of me that I'm NOT using!
Kay got cold (of course)
Kay turned on the air conditioner because she was hot...then she put on a sweatshirt because she was cold.  LOL

And last but not least, here are our creative challenges.  I won the popular vote...thanks guys!  I worked all day on these...coloring a 12X12 sheet of paper takes a long time!

What a fun meeting this was!  EPIC it was indeed.

Joyful Stamping,

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Watercoloring Made Easy

I love the look of watercoloring.  But I get a little out of control when I use our classic ink pads and the water brushes.  And when I use the blender pens it just doesn't look quite dark enough and doesn't blend like I want it to....enter the new watercolor pencils!

Stampin' Up! made us this great video demonstrating how to use them.  Watch it and then check out the cool watercoloring samples below.

Doesn't that look easy?  And fun?? I know you can't wait to get started.  These go on sale on January 4.  If you book a stamp party for you and your friends, you could earn these for free!  Just email me to set a date for your watercolor party!

Here are a few samples of some amazing watercoloring that I found on Pinterest.

Aren't these amazing? The top picture is by Sarah Berry in the UK.  The second one doesn't have a watermark, but she has some amazing skills, doesn't she?
Merry Mice that have been watercolored
Watercolored Merry Mice
Here are some Merry Mice that I watercolored for some of my Christmas cards.  It's so much fun!  I'm working on this sheet of paper from the Sale-a-Bration paper "Inside the Lines".  I'm going to color the whole sheet and then cut it to make cards.  
Blender pens and watercolor pencils used on Inside the Lines paper
Watercolored Inside the Lines Paper
Don't miss out on the date you want for your watercolor me ASAP to get the date you want!

Joyful Stamping,

Friday, December 2, 2016's almost time for a new catalog!

January 4th.  That's the date.  The new catalog is coming!  I have my copy and have ordered a few of the new things and I know you are going to LOVE it!

My favorite thing is the new watercolor pencils!  They make watercoloring so easy and shading even easier!  I'm going to have a watercolor class in January...dates coming soon!

Here's you a little sneak peek of what using watercolor pencils looks like.  I just colored more heavily along the shading lines on her chest and then when I used the blender pen over it, it shaded it so beautifully! (No, we won't be using the chicken in the class...I have something more fabulous planned for the class)

Be patient my friends!  Occasions is coming.

Joyful Stamping,

Friday, November 25, 2016

What do I do besides eat, sleep, work, and stamp?

I LOVE to bake!  Let's be clear about this, baking is NOT the same as cooking.  Cooking is a chore, something that you have to do to make food to stay alive.  Baking is optional, and you made things that people enjoy eating, that you can give as gifts, and that make the house smell good!

For the last year and a half I've been learning to make macarons.  Macarons are a labor of love.  They are seriously temperamental.  You can make a batch of shells one day that are perfect and then make a batch the next day in exactly the same way and they go wonky on you!  But no matter how they look they still taste just might not want to give that batch away as gifts!

I wanted to make some to take to the Mills for Thanksgiving.  I wanted a try a new flavor or combination that I haven't tried before, something fall-ish.  I found a recipe for S'mores macarons on pinterest.  They looked wonderful and graham cracker shells sounded fun.  Also, the recipe used homemade marshmallow fluff and how could I not try that?

So, a trip to the grocery store later, I was ready to get started.

Last July I bought a "how to make macarons" kit in Kansas City.  It came with this silicon mate that has slightly raised circles on it.  It generally keeps the macarons the same size.  I haven't ventured out to using a silpat mat and hand drawn circles yet.  Baby steps!  (I found a different kit at Target last Christmas that had the same mat in it, so now I have two and can pipe all of the shells at the same time!)

graham cracker macaron shells
Graham Cracker Macaron Shells

As you can see, some of the shells did wonky things. A couple cracked, some of them rose unevenly (??), a couple had tiny feet, and some of them ended up with growths out of the top of them.  I'm blaming the weather!  It was chilly and rainy yesterday.
There were enough good shells to make about 20 pretty macarons.

Homemade marshmallow fluff

While the shells baked and cooled, I made the milk chocolate ganache and then the marshmallow fluff.
This was new to me.  If you've made marshmallows, then you know that they use gelatin and sugar.  Marshmallow fluff uses egg whites and sugar.  
You first make a syrup of water, granulated sugar and corn syrup. You beat the egg whites to a soft peak stage and then pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites while beating...then you turn up the mixer and beat it until it's thick and glossy.  Once you add some vanilla, you continue to beat it until it cools off.  Voila! Marshmallow fluff!

S'mores macarons
Here they are!  S'mores Macarons

 Look at them!  They're so pretty.  And they were DELICIOUS!
The milk chocolate ganache was divine...I used Cadbury Dairy Milk chocolate...I might have snuck one square of the chocolate while I was chopping it.  Cadbury Dairy Milk is my absolute favorite chocolate.

Joyful Baking!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

It's Sale Time!

It's Online Extravaganza time!  Don't snooze; you lose!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Amazing Swaps

The swaps at the November team meeting were great!  Everyone really outdid themselves this month.

Kay and I used new stamps and get a little sneak peek of Occasions and Sale-A-Bration!

Chicken with crazy hair!
Here chickie, chickie, chickie...

I LOVE this chicken! How cute is she with that crazy hair?

Dragonfly wonder
Beautiful Dragonfly

Kay made a gorgeous card with the dragonfly stamp and thinlit.  She used the new amazing bokah paper, too.

The Team's Super Swaps

Don't you think the team did a great job?  And only a couple of Christmas cards...I think we are all getting burned out on Christmas.  I think we've been stamping Christmas since August!  Maybe it just seems that way.  LOL

Joyful Stamping,

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

MY Christmas Cards?

So, I realized tonight that I don't have any Christmas Cards!!  So, I started looking through my cards and stamping stuff.
And I found all of these gorgeous cards that are my samples from my Christmas Card classes!  Thankfully no one will compare their cards and know that I sent them all different cards!  So here they Christmas Cards.  Or at least part of them.

Sweetest Card Around!

Season of Gingerbread Houses

Llama Fun!

Merry Birdhouse

Plaid Owl

Pines and Pinecones

Pink Sparkly Stars

Ugly Sweater Contest Winner!

I know the I've made a few more.  When I find them, I'll update this post.
It's so much fun to look back at what you've done!

Joyful Stamping,

OnStage2016 - Kansas City

I've just recovered from OnState Live in Kansas City!  We had such a good time...from getting picked up in the custom outfitted stamping Tahoe to piling my stuff in the living room and taking a nap!

My friends M'Liss and George Collins went with me to Kansas City.  George custom designed a table for us in the Tahoe so we could stamp all of the way!  Seriously, how cool is that?  Look at me below...I'm using the Big Shot!

So much room to stamp!  We made all of my swaps for OnStage, designed and cut my shoebox team swap, and made keychains for everyone!

Oh, and M'Liss brought OJ and bubbly to make Mimosas!  Look at her stamping and sipping!

Here are the cute keychains we made.  I cut out the circles using the Big Shot and stamped with the Star of Wonder stamp set.  I added a little white pom-pom trim and some silver glitter ribbon and viola! an inspiring key chain.

We drove north with only one potty break, and no lunch I had to have some Kansas City comfort food after we got there.  Check out these loaded tots...loaded with burnt ends!  Yum!

I was selected to stamp displays for this OnStage event (!).  I met up with my fellow stampers at 3:00 to hang our displays.  They even had a sign thanking us!

You can see my displays here.

And then I got sick....
The rest of the day is a blur. 

Joyful Stamping,

Monday, November 7, 2016

Displays for OnStage Local - Kansas City

I was selected to be a display stamper of the Kansas City OnStage Local event.  Thanks Stampin' Up!

Here are the samples that I made.  I ended up making three cards and the scrapbook page from other stamp sets because I just ran out of ideas!  LOL

This is the softest ribbon!
I made this for my mom for mother's day.  Don't tell her!

This popcorn box was made with acetate!

Look, I made my own DSP!
How perfect is this for the Welcome Wagon?

Because pineapples mean hospitality!

Hello, you stinker!

This is one of my favorites.

I designed this to be a Christmas Card

Because, yes, it IS a family thing.