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Big Bold Hello!

Well, it’s Monday.  That high wind storm warning had us running around like crazy yesterday trying to batten down the hatches.  I braced myself for losing electricity, as frequently does happen when the wind knocks out the power grid we’re on–funny how we can be steeped in darkness for hours (10 the last time), and yet there are twinkling lights right across Penn Cove, cuz they’re on a different grid . . . (rolling eyeballs)

Miscellanea:

Good eye!
  Yes, the item in my tote was a Cuttlebug Embossing Folder–Stylized Flowers.  It’s fabulous–BUT, it’s not quite A-2 size as they tout, so if you get any, be prepared for that.   The folder itself measures larger than A-2, but the embossing pattern on the folder itself is about 1/8" shy all around than a true A-2 panel.  As long as you’re layering it onto a base card, you can trim around the edges, and this should be of minor consequence?  But, if you were hoping for the design to bleed off the edges, resulting in a true A-2, that ain’t gonna happen.

I’ve been working with it, but have run into a design conundrum:  It is so flippin’ GAWWWW-JUS, that I can’t bring myself to finish off the card with any kind of sentiment or additional embellishment that might cover up any of the embossing!  So, I need to work out that kink before posting anything complete.

Punches behind my tote:  Someone asked about the lever oval punches.  Those are made exclusively by EK Success for Stampin’ Up!, so the only way to get your hands on those particular punches, is to contact your Stampin’ Up! demonstrator.  She’ll hook ya’ up!  And, yes, they are pretty snazzy! (wink!)

I’m under a heavy deadline this week, so I don’t expect to have a lot of time for bloggin’ until I get past that.  Hope this design sparks ya’ in some way . . . it’s been raining BUCKETS here for days and days–a week+, in fact!  So, I wanted to make something bold and colorful to lighten the gray skies plaguing the island of late . . .

Bigboldhello
"Hello" from Sweet Shapes, "Thinking of you 365 days, 24/7" from Circle of Friendship by Stampin’ Up!;  Turquoise, red and canary stocks; Colorbox Fluid Chalk Ink in Warm Red; Palette Hybrid Ink in Noir; Paper Sculpting Daisy by Sizzix Originals; Pinking Scissors, retired, by Stampin’ Up!; 1" Circle Punch by Paper Shaper/EK Success; 1/2" Circle Punch by Stampin’ Up!; Ribbons all by Stampin’ Up!; 1/8" red eyelets; Clear Adhesive Dome, Sticko "Tiles Play" by EK Success; Flowered Packing ("Pop") Tape from The Container Store

As many of you know, I’ve been tinkering around with my Big Shot Personal Die Cutting System . . . and havin’ more fun than a girl has a right!  chuckle!

I’m also a sucker for daisies–This one’s a bit on the mondo size, heh, heh, heh–but, hey!  I likey!  I cut it out on the BS from white (BLANK) chipboard coasters (I’d gotten in on a group order over at SCS–Speanburg, I still smoocheth your tootsies, girl!).  WOW!  I love white chipboard–it’s so much easier to tint and have the color remain true!  I DTP’d (Direct To Paper) the warm red chalk ink to the daisy die cut–it dried very quickly.

Red was used because it was one of the dominating colors in the packing tape, which I had layered over a piece of red card stock, and then trimmed with deco scissors.  Now, I gotta admit:  patterned packing tape is really not much different than using a strip of patterned paper, except that it has a high gloss finish, of course. 

I know why I bought it–it was colorful, and it had . . . daisies. snort!  It measures just shy of 2" wide, and 25 meters in length on the roll (about 27.3 yards), and cost $4.99.  Was it practical?  Well, at first I thought it would be.  But, when it came off the guide and got stuck on itself, I had a devil of a time getting my fingernail underneath it to get it started again, without tearing it.  So, if you get any, pay attention when you’re putting it away that you put a strip of wax paper or something similar along the cut edge so if it gets stuck back on itself, you can easily pull it up without tearing.  Otherwise, you’ll end up wasting a lot of it just to get it re-started again.

Decorative strip in place, daisy in place (embellished with a clear dome sticker over the top for added kick), and sentiment in the lower right, the design still seemed to need something.

Balance.  The eye naturally finds floating in a triangle (odd numbers) to be pleasing.  How do I know this?  Well, I read.  I read a lot.  I’ll admit, however, that I skip over all the technical mumbo jumbo, and get straight to the core of what’s essential:  in this case, with regards to balance, it’s odd numbers and how the eye likes to move around something visual.  It’s a simple thing, really, and it always baffles me how belabored and wordy some books get over a concept that really takes only about one line of explanation and you’re good to go.  Why is that? (eyebrow raised in that quizzical Spock kind of way)

To complete the triangle, I added a "string closure" type embellishment to the upper right–you know, like the kind used on inter-office envelopes?  After knotting some turquoise grosgrain, I added a few extra snippets of red gingham for just a smidge more zip.

Then, I stopped.  There’s actually plenty going on in this card, in the way of pattern and focal image, so to go any further would probably kill the whole thing.

Things to ponder in your creative explorations:

Odd Numbers
Balance, with regards to the visual triangle
Knowing when to stop

Rain or shine, I wish you a beautimous Monday! (grin)

Baker NOT!

Cupcakecake_1

My local grocer foibled me for Dave’s Halloween birthday PIE.  As you know, the Anti-Martha (that’s ME!), does not do anything from scratch if she can possibly avoid it!  They were OUT of Marie Callander pumpkin pies.  CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?????  I had no cake on order at the bakery 20 min. away, and even if I made the trip in, it is HIGHLY unlikely at this point, they’d have a suitable cake for a last-minute Lucy like m’self.

I had to think fast; this was a birthday emergency of gargantuan proportions.  Methinks Pixie would be proud at this flash of Einstein:  a cupcake cake!  Good thing my friend Betty Crocker and I are tight!  Whew!

And, the man’s birthday gift?  Well, criminy, I think I scored BIG TIME with this bit of brilliance:  ESPN Full Court on the tele!

Yeeeeaaaaaaaaahhh, baby!!!!

(rubbing hands together gleefully at my birthday surprise genius!)

But, how do you present such a gift?  Well, I had no TV stamps–criminy, I have GOT to get me a cute swanky retro one . . . but, once again: 

I AM BRILLIANT!!!!!

Bwah ha haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa!!!!  Take a look-see, below, for the love of the game . . .

(my hubby was a h.s. girls basketball coach for quite a few years–his teams trophied a number of times at the State Basketball Tournament, including his last team, which placed 2nd twice, prior to his leaving coaching and teaching to become an administrator–I’m a rather proud wife, and can’t help but glow over his accomplishments and the impact he has had on so many, many kids throughout his career, no matter what capacity he has served in!).

Bballtv
No stamp images whatsoever used.  Sizzlit Window Die Set, Funky Box #1 (black card stock); Black Card Stock Brushed Silver Metallic Card stock; 3/4" Circle Punch; Silver Mini Brads; Basketball Confetti from party store; Black Fine tip Marker; 3M Foam Mounting Tape

Desperate times call for desperate measures.  I used the die to create a funky TV outline in black card stock–and, I did indeed have to trim around the perimeter to remove the cursed and unwanted outline impression of the outer edges of the die itself.  To compensate for the loss of effect, I layered it onto silver card stock, and trimmed out again, to make a TV console.  A circle punch and hand drawn embellishments finished it off quickly.

I’ve had this basketball confetti for years, so I fished it outta’ the shoebox, and mounted them in graduatingly higher positions, with foam mounting tape, on the card front, so the basketballs appear to be bouncin’ right outta’ the tele and into the livin’ room!

Needless to say, he was rather surprised . . .  (very big grin!)

The Best Accessory . . .

Shoeshoppin
Images, patterned paper, note card, Simple Stick embossing powder, and Twinkle Stickers all by A Muse Art Stamps; Palette Hybrid Ink in Noir; Colorbox Fluid Chalk Ink in Charcoal; Stampin’ Up! Pretty in Pink Craft Ink; Dotted Organdy Ribbon by May Arts; Grosgrain Ribbon by SU!; Buckle by Sizzix Originals; Prisma Glitter; Mini pinking shears, source unknown; Small Scallop Oval Punch* by Family Treasures.

I’m sick!  Sick, I tell ya’!!!  I’m havin’ a love affair with a die cutting machine. (insert rolling eyeballs)  I could crank out these little buckles with my Big Shot for days and days.  So dang CUTE!!!!  This one was cut out of lightweight coaster material, and makes for a sturdy little buckle!  I had to glitterfy it so, I coated it DTP (Direct to Paper) with pink pigment ink and embossed it with Simple Stick.  Simple Stick is a special effects embossing powder that you heat carefully, just until it melts and turns wet looking, and then back off with the heat.  It remains tacky, so you toss it into a tub of glitter and coat it.  Brush off the excess glitter with a soft brush, and then, heat it again, gently, to lock in the glitter.  I wanted an *ultra* glittery effect on the buckle, so I used this method instead of clear embossing powder that was premixed with glitter.

The striped paper was folded and trimmed with deco scissors to resemble a shopping bag, and I just glued some black ribbon for handles.  Some tissue glued to the back side completes the look.

After stamping the shoe on a scrap of Fabriano, I punched it out with the scallop oval punch, blinged it with a Twinkle Sticker and inked the edges of the scallop so it would define it more  and then mounted it to the little striped bag.

I wish I had this sentiment in a stamp–I just love it.  But, since I don’t, I had to write it out myself.  My pen is running out of ink, so I better get a new one . . . Hmmmmm.   I’ve found Pigma Micron to be an excellent journaling/writing pen, but I haven’t had a new one in quite some time.  A-hunting I shall go, a-hunting I shall go, hi-ho the dairy oh . . . (wink!)

Someone asked about Friday’s design, and why the outline of the brass stencil did not appear on the the embossed card.  While I’m not completely sure, I believe it may have to do with the pressure involved for dry embossing, vs. cutting through the card stock?

Someone has suggested that I try removing one of the shims, and perhaps insert one not quite as thick, when working with the window dies to see if that alleviates any of the issue, before I butcher the foam on ‘em.  At some point, I just may give that a try.

Oh, and, Gail?  I’m a total moron.  I do remember you telling me about this, but I didn’t put two and two together that you were talking about these very same dies when I ordered the darn things!!! Argh!  (grimace!)

*When I visited Family Treasures’ website to get a link, I noted that they featured very few punches at all.  I seem to remember them being a rather dominant punch manufacturer, but perhaps they have turned their focus to other products and no longer make punches?  A google search, with key words "scallop oval punch" will probably turn up various e-tailers (online stores) that carry the line, or a similar product?

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