Welcome to my blog. Over the years that I have been stamping and paper crafting, I have so often been inspired by the ideas on other sites and blogs. I hope I can pay that back in some measure with my own. (In between laughs -- or cackles as my son calls it!)

December 30, 2011

Encaustic Wax

My dear friend Christiane was visiting from France, my sister Ruth was in from New York, and my other friends Judy and Leona, and her daughter Stephanie,  were able to stop by -- so on request, I did an encaustic wax teaching session the other day.  I was first introduced to encaustic wax last May, when 'camper stamper' Barb Gibbons very generously showed us the basics (and more!) at a Stampscapes retreat.

Here are the three cards I made during my recent teaching session.  The flowing backgrounds are all wax.  It may not show well in the photo, but the lavender toned one with the trees has lovely silver metallic glints in it.  

The trees are from SU!'s classic Lovely as a Tree set; the flowers are SU!'s Upsy Daisy set, and the seahorse is 'Sea Border w/Seahorse 535-L' from I Love Rubber Stamps.  This seahorse is one of my favorites to use with this technique. 

You can see more of my encaustic wax cards in my SplitCoast gallery -- the wax cards start on page 2 and 3 of the gallery.  You can learn more about encaustic wax here.

December 24, 2011

Stamped Cookies

Look at these wonderful Stampin' Up! Sweet Pressed Cookie stamps.

 They are made of silicone and really don't stick to the batter.  I used the sugar cookie recipe that came with them, and they all turned out great on the first try!  One tip is to use a recipe that doesn't has leavening (baking powder or baking soda) as the design may get blurred as the cookie swells.

I'm really happy with these.  The set has a snowflake, a heart and a pumpkin face, along with a really nice wooden handle.  I hope they come out with more designs. 

These will be great on the Christmas cookie platter tomorrow :-)

December 11, 2011

Papercast ornaments

OK, I'll confess I'm a bit of a thrifty saver.  No scrap of card stock gets tossed.  And I'm strict about that, especially if it is the lovely SU! white card stock.  I save my scraps of white for a few years in a big crock.  Then, when it is full, I go on a paper-cast ornament frenzy.

This year, friends Leona and Donna came over so I could teach them.  The method is that you must reduce the white scraps to paper pulp by first soaking them over night, then pureeing them in the blender with a few cups of water.  

You then strain the pulp and press the soggy pulp into molds.  (Be sure to spray the mold with a mold release first.)  Use a sponge and towels to 'press' out as much water as possible and to push the pulp into every detailed nook and cranny of the mold. 

Most of my molds are reproductions of antique German woodcuts.  They come from House on the Hill in Elmhurst, Il and are really designed for cookie making.   I also have some clay molds from Arnold Grummer, but they don't have the old world detail and charm, although they do dry faster and un-mold much easier.
After drying overnight, carefully pry the paper-cast out of the mold.  If any tear, just toss them back to the blender to be reduced to pulp again for the next session.  Punch with a 1/8 inch circle punch and thread with white ribbon.

It is really hard to photograph the detail in white-on-white.  Hopefully these photos give you some idea of how marvelous these are.

December 5, 2011

Recycled Christmas tags

Don't you always feel just a bit sad for used Christmas cards?  They start out in all their glory, wrapped so neatly; are selected with so much thought; addressed with such care; and journey hundreds of miles to send good wishes from family and friends.

Then, well, sooner or later they just land in the trash can or recycle bin.  Unwanted, they become just a pile of clutter to clear out in the frenzy of January post-holiday tear-down and cleaning. 

Well, no more!  I'm on a one-woman campaign to give those card castoffs a second life.  For the third year now, I've turned old cards into tags (although many recipients confess that they become bookmarks or even get hung on the tree, where they can bask in the glow of the lights.)  They get a second chance to make the journey to spread good cheer.

And you know what the most fun part is?  Besides, of course doing my bit to recycle and be eco-friendly -- and yes, it is indeed a good way to use up scrap embellishments and ribbon.  But beyond that, the most fun part is when I get my envelopes ready and try to pick "just the right tag" to match the recipient's personality.  Sometimes it really is hard to decide.  So instead of banishing your old cards to the recycle bin, give it a try -- or better yet, I love receiving your castoff cards!

December 3, 2011

Crafter's Companion Design Team!

I'm so excited to let you know that starting in January, I'll be part of the Crafter's Companion Design Team!

I'm really looking forward to working with these tremendously talented ladies and will enjoy working with all of their great products!  More on this as we get in to the new year!

December 2, 2011

"Enchanted Forest" tree

For the past three years at work, our team, along with about 8 other teams, have done Christmas trees that sits in the central atrium.  It's a bit of a competition and has become a new tradition. 

For our team the past two years, I've been "chief tree designer".  Last year, our theme was "Peace" and we did our tree in red, silver, and white, with lots of doves and folded origami cranes.  I liked it a lot.

This year, our theme was "Enchanted Forest".  I put my papercraft skills to work on the poster, and our tree was full of both woodland and magical animals, complemented by a purple and blue color scheme.  Aren't the twig backdrops that another team member made great?  We were really happy with it. 

Oh, and I think the people the most worried about my retiring might be the Christmas Tree Team.  The heck with the real job!

November 28, 2011

Sue's Reindeer Card

After Thanksgiving, my good stamping friends Linda and Sue came over.  I don't see them nearly as much as I would like (since I moved to a different suburb).  Of course it helped that Sue used to be only three houses down the block, and Linda less than a mile away.

So anyway, they came over and yes, there was some cacklin' going on!

Sue had brought this wonderful reindeer card for us to make.  She said it was originally inspired by Wendy Wexler.  The reindeer image is from a retired SU! set, Merry Mini's, as is the corner punch.  That marvelous fern leaf punch is by Martha Stewart.  The cardstock is all SU!   Very cute, no?

November 26, 2011

Autumn Clipboard

OK, so I made this clipboard a few years ago.  But it is one of my favorite projects, and I didn't have a blog to post it on then!  ;-)

So I'll close out the Thanksgiving weekend with this.  I started with a plain clipboard, painted the base.  Then I just started layering collage-style.  You'll see sequin punchinella; cut out leaves (mostly from the Stampin Up! Fantastic Foliage and Autumn Leaf Prints sets); beads and ribbon.

Several layers of Modge Podge are protecting it and giving it a wonderful sheen.  Enjoy!

November Birthdays

All of the ladies I know who have November birthdays got this card. 

And so easy, just brayer with a Big and Juicy pad by Ranger.  I used the "Foliage" colors. 

Isn't the leaf lady image stunning?  I'm sorry I can't give credit to the manufacturer...I bought it when Addicted to Rubber Stamps was going out of business (but they are back now!) and it was unmounted and I didn't note the maker.

October Stampscapes Retreat

In October, I had so much fun at a Stampscapes retreat.  Three uninterrupted days of creativity and non-stop stamping!  It was sponsored by Tonya Weakley, owner of the Peddler's Den stamp and scrapbook store in Somonauk, Illinois.  Great ladies, and a great time.

Here are two of my favorites that I made there.  The duck in the foreground is by Stacy Stamps.  On the right, the Stalking Tiger (large) is from I Love Rubber Stamps.  The background scenery is all by Stampscapes.