Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Elementary Elegance

I love the name of this Sale-a-Bration stamp set. Elegance? Why it's Elementary! And this stamp set really is elegant. I thought it would work very well with this week's Mojo Monday sketch, as well. This week's challenge was Round or Square. How about rectangle? lol! I never could follow rules ;)

This card is a sample of one of the cards we'll be making at my Occasions Mini and Sale-a-Bration Kick-Off party this Friday. Love it? Why don't you come (if you're in the Ottawa area). As always, Stampin' Up! thinks of everything! See how the center image coordinates perfectly with the Curly Label punch? This makes it much easier to have a perfectly centered, perfectly stamped image. To add an extra dimension to my card, I raised the sentiment up on Stampin' Dimensionals.

Tips & Tricks: 

*I've once again used the Everyday Enchantment Sale-a-Bration DSP on my card. Isn't this just so different from some of the other patterns I've shown you on other cards?
*To make sure the 'Happy Birthday' sentiment really pops out, I sponged the edges of the curly label.
*Sometimes it's harder to ink and stamp larger stamps evenly. What I love about the vintage look is that things are supposed to look old and 'not perfect' so  it's okay if things aren't stamped perfectly.
*I've once again used the SAB Organdy Ribbon in Lucky Limeade. And once again, I love how I can see the DSP peeking through it.
*I didn't use the image of the bird found in the DSP, but the Elementary Elegance stamp set has a matching image in it. Oh SU!, how great are you at helping us coordinate our creations so well :)

I hope to see you at my SAB and Occasions Mini Kickoff if you're in the Ottawa area. 'Til next time, keep letting stamps bring out your creativity!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Waterfall Card and Tutorial

This past week-end, I had a stamper's group and after seeing a fantastic swap at Leadership (I wish I could give credit but it wasn't a swap I received, I just saw it in passing...) I decided to do a waterfall card. This card has such an impact, looks so complicated but is actually very easy to make! I also designed this card with the Friday Mashup Challenge in mind. They asked us to do a card:
1) using the sketch they provided; or
2) using something new in our stamping stash; or
3) mash it up and do both.

Because I knew I wanted to do a waterfall card, the sketch didn't work for my card. But I did have a Sale-a-Bration stamp set, Elementary Elegance, that I hadn't used yet. I've used the Sweet Shop DSP before, but it's still pretty new in my stash and I love the colors so I used that, too. Finally, the waterfall card I saw at Leadership used the Labels Framelits and it looked so great! They're pretty new in my stash too :)

Look what happens when you pull the ribbon tab:

How awesome is that? The best thing about it is that it's not even that hard to make. See below for a quick and easy tutorial:

Step 1: For a standard 4-1/4 x 5-1/2 (A2) card, cut a piece of card stock that is 8-1/2" long. The width will depend on how wide you want the waterfall to be. Here I used the 2nd smallest Label Framelit and my strip is 2-1/2" wide.

Step 2: For four waterfall elements, score your cardstock (on the bad side of the card stock) in five places at even intervals with your Simply Scored scoring tool. I scored my card stock at 3/4", 1-1/2", 2-1/4", 3" and 3-3/4". You NEED that 5th score line, even if you have only 4 elements.

Step 3: Fold the card stock on all the score lines as shown.

Step 4: Adhere the waterfall elements (on this card, the labels) just below the following score lines: 3-3/4" for the upper most element, 3", 2-1/4" and 1-1/2"  for the last element. DO NOT adhere anything to the last scored area (3/4" score line;.

Step 5: On your card mat, use brads to attach a 4" x 1" strip of card stock or DSP about 1-1/4" from the bottom of the mat. DO NOT adhere this card stock with adhesive; you need your waterfall to pass through here.

Step 6: Put a strip of Sticky Strip at the top of the 1st score line (at 3/4").

Step 7: This is the tricky part. Slide the unscored portion of the waterfall card stock underneath the 4" x 1" strip of card stock or DSP that you attached with brads. Then, attach the Sticky Strip you put on in Step 6 to the top of 4" x 1" strip of card stock/DSP. Be very careful to adhere your waterfall on straight.  

Step 8: Decorate your card as desired.

See how it's *really* not that hard? There's a few steps, but once you've got the hang of it, it only takes about 20 minutes to make! The girls at my stamper's groups were thrilled with this card and I'm so glad! My mom will be getting this card for her birthday on Saturday and I hope she loves it too.

Does this card make you wonder a bit more about Stamper's Groups? If you're in Ottawa, drop me a line and I can tell you a bit more about how you can learn new techniques! 'Til next time, keep letting stamps bring out your creativity.

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Leadership Recap

Last week, I attended Stampin' Up!'s Leadership Conference in San Antonio. In short, it was awesome. I'm not sure what I enjoyed more: the conference, touring gorgeous San Antonio, or getting away by myself for 6 days! I think it was a pretty even tie! The first day, we collected our gorgeous Leadership Bags and made some Make & Takes.

As usual, SU! did not disappoint with the bags and yes, the fabric is a sneak peek from the new catalogue!!! I'm pretty picky, but I am in love with this bag! The bottom part is attached by our Neutrals Designer Buttons and can be removed or flipped inside out! How awesome is that?

Look at what else you can you can do with this awesome fabric. I love all the ideas SU! gives us for using their products:

One of our M&T's was a card for Ronald McDonald House. I love this card and have already used this design in one of my classes (and plan on using it some more)!

Another perk of Leadership was watching some of the head people in company tell us about upcoming changes, financials and doing some stamping. Additionally, I was able to take some Leadership-based clases.

The first class I took was on titled "Sharing the Stampin' Up! Opportunity" by Brian Pilling, which was essentially a class to help demonstrators with their recruiting efforts. It was fantastic, and offered a different way of looking at the progress of a relationship between a demonstrator and a new customer / potential recruit. It involves looking at the relationship in a staircase model starting from initiation of a relationship to experimenting, intensifying, integrating and finally bonding (in a romantic relationship, this would be marriage - in a demo-customer relationship, this would be the customer becoming a demo). I loved the ideas I got and how the presentation gave me a new idea on how to approach recruiting.

I also took a class on "Retaining and Engaging Your Downline" by Donna Griffith and fellow Demonstrator Patsy Waggoner. Although most new demonstrators think that getting someone to sign up with Stampin' Up! is the difficult part of being an upline, we all quickly realize that it's the easy part! The hard part is actually retaining your downline and have them sell and recruit themselves. Patsy told us how she has grown and changed her business in the last year and I have to say, this was my favorite class. I was inspired by her. She has completely turned her business around and grown it significantly. For me, her tips on engaging my downline such as sending cards monthly to top sellers/recruiters as well as celebrating their achievements with them really made sense! I've tried doing them in the past and got lazy after 1 or 2 months. But Patsy's results were inspiring and I'm going to give it a good go this time!

I know there wasn't much stamping in this post, but hope you enjoyed hearing about my Leadership experiences. 'Til next time, keep letting stamps bring out your creativity!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Sometimes Simple is Best

As you know, last week, I spent 3 days at Stampin' Up!'s Leadership Conference. I have a growing team of demonstrators and I wanted to make sure that I have all the tools and ideas to lead them effectively. This conference provided that and then some. I took a class called "Coaching for Performance", led by Jim Pitt and Natalie White from the SU! Home Office and though their coaching model is SUPER simple, it makes so much sense. It is based on Active Coaching and brainstorming with your downline/employees rather than dictating to them to develop a way forward for them. There are four main phases to this coaching: 1) establishing a goal, 2) examining reality, 3) brainstorming for options to meet the goal and 4) developing a way forward. I was lucky enough to have one of my downline be a guinea pig for me and it was great. Simple, I wrote everything down for her and even got a few pointers from her! lol! I can't wait to try it with more of my downline. Curious about building a business with SU!? Sale-a-Bration is a great time to join! Check out more info on my website.

I also love simple cards, cards that express what you're trying to say but that are elegant at the same time. They don't take long to make (10 or so minutes) but look like they took a lot longer. Put together a gorgeous DSP and an elegant stamp set and a card like that is easy! My inspiration for this card layout was from the gorgeous, simple sketch this week at Freshly Made Sketches.

I can't wait to give this card to my Leadership roommate - she was such a great roomie and I hope she loves it! You've seen me use the Rue de Fleurs stamp set in a card last week and believe it or not, this pen image is from the same stamp set! Although the stamp set is part of the Attic Boutique suite of products, I used the Twitterpated DSP. I love the Island Indigo color and how vibrant the pen looks stamped with it.

Tips & Tricks:

*Do you often rock your stamps? Especially the smaller ones? Make sure the ink pad you're stamping with is well inked and don't smoosh it in the ink. Tap gently. Then when stamping, be careful to apply even pressure without pushing down too hard. This should help eliminating those rock lines.
*If you're as picky as I am about even placement of brads, pearls, rhinestones, etc., look at this little trick I discovered with the grid from the SU! Mat Pack: the smallest rhinestones fit perfectly into the small placement holes, the medium ones into the bigger ones. Never again will my rhinestones be placed unevenly.
*When doing tone on tone, use Stampin' Dimensionals to pop up one of the layers. That way your colors won't just blend into each other.

Hope you've enjoyed this simple card as well as some of the coaching tips I learned at the Leadership Conference last week. 'Til next time, keep letting stamps bring out your creativity!


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sale-a-Bration... it's FINALLY here!!!

It's January 24, 2012. What does this mean? That Sale-a-Bration (SAB) starts TODAY! Yes, today! What does this mean? From January 24 to March 31 Stampin' Up! is offering:

*Customers: a FREE item from the Sale-a-Bration brochure for every $60 purchased (before tax and shipping). You can start shopping, 24/7, on my website :)

*Hostesses: A FREE, exclusive SU! tote in addition to regular hostess and SAB benefits when you host a workshop of $200 or more. When your workshop reaches $525, you'll get a FREE hostess bundle including the Fresh Vintage stamp set, Everyday Enchantment Ribbon & Brad Pack, and the Everyday Enchantment DSP (on pages 6-7 of the SAB Brochure).

*Demonstrators: Have you been thinking of joining SU!? Whether you just want the kit, you want to join for the discount or you want to give the business a go, this is THE TIME to join! The kit is only $150 (no tax or shipping) and includes over $385 in products! Not only that, you'll get a free package of DSP or a free Digi Download every month from February to December 2012! Get more info on joining here.

To celebrate the start of Sale-a-Bration and to make use of this week's fabulous Mojo Monday sketch, I made this thank you card for my wonderful roommate at Leadership, as well as for my monthly Fast & Fabulous class tomorrow.

Tips & Tricks:

*Love the DSP? So do I and every other demonstrator it seems! It's the gorgeous Everyday Enchanment paper in this year's SAB brochure. Love all the patterns and colors, especially the 'fan'-like pattern. It coordinates perfectly with the SAB Fresh Vintage stamp set.
*How about that ribbon? Because the organdy is slightly translucent, it lets some of the DSP behind it peek through. It's also got a shimmery look to it! In the SAB Ribbon and Brad Pack, you get a roll of Calypso Coral and Lucky Limeade Ribbon, as well as coordinating brads! Now *that* is a deal!

As you can see, now is the time to host your own stamping party or get the starter kit! Have any questions? Feel free to contact me anytime: stampingmonica@gmail.com. 'Til next time, keep letting stamps bring out your creativity!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Happy New Baby Trifold Shutter

Back from Leadership and ready to get posting :) I sent my sister and her husband a card and a little gift to welcome their new blue bundle of joy. She got her package today so I'll finally post the card I made ~ I didn't want to spoil the surprise!

I wanted to make something super special and I know my sister loves Trifold Shutter Cards (click on the link for directions :) ). She loves how fancy they look and how they're so easy to display. So I went in that direction.

I once again used the Beau Chateau DSP - I've made some girly cards with it, but the Marina Mist and Bashful Blue colors are perfect for a little boy.

You may be wondering where I got the greeting. It's from an old, retired (from 1997!) stamp set, Cuddles & Tickles. I bought it when I first got into stamping over 4 years ago and it's one I won't give up ~ it's just too perfect. The baby carriage is from a current stamp set though, Baby Bundle.

Tips & Tricks:

*Don't you just love the baby feet? Our new stamp set in the Spring Mini, Baby Prints, is very similar.
*I just love the baby booties and onesie in the Baby Bundle stamp set. Even if you don't like cutting images out, these ones are pretty easy to trim with you Paper Snips.
*When I have a lot of card stock showing on a fancy card, I like using textured card stock. It just adds that much needed detail :)
*I love the new buttons in the Twitterpated suite of products. Aren't they adorable?

Hope you've enjoyed this card and I hope my sister does too. I'll be back soon! 'Til next time, keep letting stamps bring out your creativity!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

My Leadership Swaps

Eeeek - my first solo trip since becoming a mother almost 6 years ago! Well, I did go on a crafting week-end getaway last spring, but this is more real. I'm flying to San Antonio, Texas, for Stampin' Up!'s Leadership. I'm excited to learn how to run my business better, meet some absolutely awesome demonstrators and hopefully get a few more ideas for projects ;) I hear that SU! knows how to put on an event and can't wait to experience it!!!

A SU! event also means swaps. What is a swap? I made 50 cards and will swap them with other demonstrators. The idea is that I'll end up with 50 other gorgeous cards that will give me ideas, techniques to show my customers and hopefully samples with stamp sets/techniques I don't have displayed yet :) It is also a great way to break the ice and chat with some wonderful stampin' ladies!

I really wanted to do something special for my swaps and love playing around with vintage techniques. The Rue de Fleurs stamp set in the Occasions Mini is such an AWESOME vintage inspired stamp set. I just love love love the umbrella with watches... I didn't do it for this card, but wouldn't it make for a gorgeous retirement card image? I think that the next retirement card I'll make will use this set. This stamp set is one I really hope makes it into the 2012-2013 IB&C!

I am also loving the upcoming Sale-a-Bration DSP Everyday Enchantment. It is absolutely gorgeous and the catalogue doesn't do it justice. How do you 'buy' it do you ask? Well... you don't! During Sale-a-Bration, you get to choose ONE FREE item from the SAB Brochure for every $60 you order! How awesome is that? It starts on January 24th :)

This card was my original swap idea, but I soon realized that doing three colors on the umbrella, as well as distressing all the edges would take waaaaay too long! So I did the umbrella in Soft Suede only and sponged the edges of the Very Vanilla card stocks. I did tear the top of the DSP and sponged it to antique it and I did curl the edges of the Very Vanilla layer and its Soft Suede mat. So the swaps still took a really long time, but they could have taken longer ;)

Tips & Tricks:

*The umbrella image in this stamp set is so easy to color with markers. Even though it blends together it is well delineated and it's easy to see where to start each color. It does look gorgeous stamped in one solid color too ;)

*I love the play on words in this set. "Thanks" "For Watching Over Me" (see the watches and umbrella?) or "For the Support" (the bust :) ). So witty and fun!
*There is a gorgeous trumpet and pen image in this stamp set - works for women's AND men's cards - now how many stamp sets can do that?
*Like the curled edge on the card stock? So easy to do! Just use your bone folder to 'tease' the card stock. SU! card is nice and thick, so it'll separate into layers. It's also dyed all the way through! No white core... so you can do techniques like this with it.
*Did I mention I hope this set carries over into the next catty??? ;)

I'm off enjoying some more Leadership... 'til next time, keep letting stamps bring out your creativity!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Stamper's Technique Group Preview

A new year brings new stamper's groups. And that means new techniques to learn for me! I'm starting a card technique group on Saturday February 4th at 8PM, as well as an Anything but a Card class starting Sunday February 12th at 2 PM. Both groups will be every other month. I love these groups because not only do I get to stamp with some very awesome women, but I also have a reason to do some fancy shmancy cards. If you're in the Ottawa area and you'd like more info, email me at stampingmonica@gmail.com.

I have been wanting to try the Faux Tile technique out for a while, and the Fresh Vintage Sale-a-Bration stamp set (a sneak peek!!!) is perfect for it. The only thing I probably didn't do exactly right was that I stamped a bit too hard on the crease lines, but I still like the tile effect. And I love how striking it is with the Rich Razzleberry against Whisper White :)

I also used inspiration from this week's Friday Mashup Challenge. They asked us to do a thank you card, use Designer Series Paper or mash it up and do both. So mashed it all up and used the gorgeous Pocketful of Posies DSP.

Tips & Tricks:

*I love how Lucky Limeade ribbon looks with Rich Razzleberry. The contrast is stunning.
*Love the ribbon? It's the Lucky Limeade 1/8" Organdy Ribbon, part of a SAB bundle! Gorgeous and I love how because of its lightness I can wrap it around a few times without it looking too 'heavy'.
*Sale-a-Bration starts January 24th. Free goodies for every $60 spent ~ stamp sets, brads, ribbon, DSP and many other accessories! How awesome is that???
*I love sponging on my cards. Great effect that costs pennies. Our Stampin Sponges are only $4.75 for 3, and I take each sponge and cut them into 8 triangles. When they get dirty I wash them and reuse! I get over a year's use out of my 3 sponges.
*To do the accent sponging on the faux tiles, make sure you only ink the edge of the sponge so it doesn't spread elsewhere.
*I always use Glue Dots to adhere my buttons. Here I adhere the Tiny Tag with a Glue Dot and then adhered the button over top.

Hope I've inspired you to make a thank you card for someone special! 'Til next time, keep letting stamps bring out *your* creativity.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

One Size Fits All

Didn't I get some good cardmaking news today :) My Yummy Birthday Card won me a 'Glamette' award from The Friday Mashup.Thanks for the award, was pretty excited to see that I got a nod :)

Now onto today's card...Do you ever wish you had a birthday card that you could customize for a men's, woman's or kids' birthday? Well, using this week's sketch at Freshly Made Sketches, I came up with a solution! It's simple, as is this wonderful sketch! I love how classy Baja Breeze and Basic Grey look, and this color combination works for both men's and women's cards. Below is a men's or gender neutral card. Scroll down to see my feminine version.

Tips & Tricks:

*Want to make this card a bit more feminine? Punch out a flower with the Flower Triple Layer Punch and add it in the top left corner. I wanted a little bling, so I added a little rhinestone in the middle. A 1-minute addition makes it a totally different card :)
*I thought the new Satin Pleated Ribbon would be a little girly, but in the Baja Breeze, it totally works on a masculine card!
*I always do everything on a nice, straight line/angle. I decided to mix it up and turn the rectangle 45 degrees and make it a diamond.
*Have you checked out the Delightful Dozen stamp set? It debuted in the 2011/2012 IB&C and replaced the All Holidays stamp set that retired last year. I love how the birthday stamp can be the focal point for the card.

Sometimes, simple is best. I hope you've enjoyed this simple card. 'Til next time, keep letting stamps bring out your creativity!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

A Yummy Birthday Card

Happy Birthday!!! I'm trying a new challenge this week, the Friday Mashup. Every week, the give us two challenges and we can 1) do one challenge, 2) do the other challenge or 3) 'mash up our creativity' and do both on one card. This week we were asked to make a birthday card and/or use pastel colors on the card. For my first Mashup, I did both :)

I also needed to make a children's card for my Birthday Card Class this Friday ~ so I once again used this challenge to help me along in my class prep :) I'm so busy ~ I can only do so many things at a time so if I can kill two birds with one stone, I will!

After using my cherry-scented embossing powder last week, I was itching to try my melon-scented and vanilla-scented powders as well. I know my ice cream cone is green, but there is no pistachio-scented embossing powder and I wanted to use Lucky Limeade on my card, so vanilla-green it was :) And the melon... mmmmmmmmmm. Think melon-flavored Jolly Ranchers... yummmmmmmy! Love these powders!

Tips & Tricks:

*I used markers to color my stamps and then use my Versamarker overtop the colored images. Then I applied the Scented Embossing Powders and heat embossed them! Super easy to use :)
*Don't you love how the Mouthwatering stamp set coordinates perfectly with the Sweet Shop DSP? Stampin' Up! makes coordination so easy - that's one of the things I love best about their products.
*The Occasions Mini offers Baker's Twine in all of the 2011-2013 In Colors. I love the Twine because it's so cost effective ($3.95 for 25 yards!) and you can wrap it around the card a few times without giving it a second thought :)

Hope you love this card and hope it's tempted some others to join us on Friday at my class! 'Til next time, keep letting stamps bring out your creativity!

Friday, January 6, 2012

A Man's Birthday Card

I just found out I'm a new auntie! My new nephew was born less than an hour ago. Unfortunately, he lives all the way in Germany so I don't get to see him 'til he's about 3 months old :( And I guess I should've been making a card for him. But I didn't know he was on his way, so I made a birthday card instead.

This week's Pals Paper Arts Challenge was a color challenge (my favorite after sketch challenges) and they asked us to use Not Quite Navy, Very Vanilla and Baja Breeze. A great color combination for a man's card. Even better, I needed to make a card for our Uncle Dale who's birthday is next week, as well as for my Birthday Card Class next week :) (Yes, this is another sneak peek of the class!)

I love the ties from the Best Dad Ever stamp set - they work for a bunch of different masculine cards. Even more, I like stamping out a tie in a contrasting color, cutting it out and putting it on top of one of the darker ties. It adds so much to the image.

Tips & Tricks:

*I love the clear Bitty Buttons. They work with all styles of cards. Adhere with Glue Dots - very easy!
*I find the NEW Island Indigo Baker's Twine coordinates well with Not Quite Navy. In this card, I used Mary Fish's trick of threading a thin strip of card stock through the button (LOVE this technique!). But in a second card I made, I used the Baker's Twine. Looked great!
*Never have enough cards? An 8-1/2 x 11 piece of card stock makes two cards! So since you're already stampin', why not make two cards? One for now, one for when you just don't have the time!

'Tis all for this evening. 'Til next time, keep letting stamps bring your creativity!