Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Weekends at the Lake--#tgifc265

This week's TGIF Challenges theme challenge is: Travel.  As I thought about this theme, I started to realize how much I missed our long weekends spent on our sailboat Vahevala, a 30' Catamaran. We had her in a boat slip at Harbor Point at Lake Martin, Alabama, a 2-1/2" hour drive to get there.  The trip was worth it though.  Lake Martin is a beautiful lake and great for sailboats.  The yacht club at Harbor Point had races on Sundays which we watched from our boat.  Although we should have been racing--we could have beaten some of those other boats--Vahevala sailed nicely!  Herb and I met 46 or so years ago at a Sunday Regatta at Shawnee Yacht Club in Topeka, Kansas, so we were no strangers to sailboat races, just not motivated.  We were there to relax and enjoy living on the sailboat for long weekends. My favorite time on Vahevala was with my first cup of coffee at sunrise.  I'd sit in the cockpit and watch as the lake came alive.  Sometimes I'd  spy a great blue heron take flight. 

Fortunately, there's a stamp set to recreate this memory!  The Lilypad Lake stamp set (#146496) and the coordinating Lakeside dies (#146351) are retiring the end of this month, so I enjoyed using it for this challenge.  I colored the bird like a great blue heron, and created a regatta with the sailboats:


For the background, I did a soft Blueberry Bushel wash on a piece of Shimmery White card stock and stamped the ripples in Mint Macaron on the bottom two-thirds of the sheet.  The sailboats were stamped in Blueberry Bushel, colored with Blueberry Bushel and Poppy Parade Stampin' Write Markers, die cut and adhered to the "lake".  The top Mint Macaron layer was embossed with the new Old World Paper 3D embossing folder (#153200, available June 3).  Then an oval window was die cut out of this piece using the largest oval in the Layering Ovals die set (#141706).  The great blue heron is watching from the shore amid the water plants die cut from Mint Macaron, Soft Sea Foam and Shaded Spruce card stock.



Be sure and check out all the travel projects this week at the TGIF Challenges Blog. There's sure to be a lot of fun inspiration!


Hope you enjoyed my travel memory today!
--Sara Nell









Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Watercolor Resist--#tgifc264

It's a technique challenge this week at TGIF Challenges:  watercolor. I decided early on that I wanted to do a watercolor resist technique card for this challenge.  I had an idea of the direction I wanted to go but, of course, that went out the window as I started playing around with different stamps and colors.  I had a few fails, but then I turned one fail into a cool background piece with a double resist technique:


I started with a piece of Fluid 100 Watercolor paper (#149612).  Next I randomly stamped the diamond pattern image from Gallery Grunge (#146538) in VersaMark and heat embossed it with White Stampin' Emboss Powder.  Then I did a watercolor wash in Balmy Blue ink across the entire piece.  It was kind of boring at this point, so I set it aside and tried a few other things and colors.  None of them turned out, so I came back to this piece.  I stamped the dotted image randomly over the piece in Versamark and then embossed it with Clear Stampin' Emboss Powder.  Then I did another watercolor wash over the top with Highland Heather.  Definitely not boring!

Finally, I had to decide on a focal point for the card.  I chose this sentiment from Colorful Seasons stamp set (#143726).  It's one of my favorites and I thought the font was perfect with this offbeat background.  I stamped it in Highland Heather on Whisper White card stock, die cut it with a Stitched Shapes (#145372) circle, and layered it over the openwork circle die cut using Balmy Blue card stock and a die from the Painted Labels dies. (#151605).

A card base of Whisper White Thick card stock, a layer of Balmy Blue card stock, a double bow of Whisper White crinkled seam binding (#151326), and three Basic Pearls (#144219) complete the card.

Both the Gallery Grunge and Colorful Seasons stamp sets are retiring at the end of this month.  So, click on the link to my store now if you want to purchase one or both before they are gone forever.

You can do so many different things with watercolor, so be sure and check out the projects this week at the TGIF Challenges blog here. You will be inspired!


Hope you have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!  Things are opening up again.
--Sara Nell

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Playing with a Retiring Favorite--#tgifc263

So, I did something a bit different today for the TGIF Challenges sketch challenge this week.  I decided I wanted to use the octopus in my retiring Sea of Textures stamp set (#146488) as the focal piece in the sketch.  Then I needed to figure out my background.  How about using the retiring Pigment Sprinkles (#149663)?   It was fun experimenting with this card.


Can you believe it?  I only used the Bermuda Bay pigment sprinkles on the background layer and I got these gorgeous Blackberry Bliss pockets of color on my card.  Kind of like the deep, deep ocean. That's why I love the pigment sprinkles, you never know what will happen when you use them. I wanted a lighter backdrop for my octopus in the top layer, so I first did a watercolor wash with Coastal Cabana ink, then taped off two of the holes in the the Bermuda Bay pigment bottle and lightly tapped on some sprinkles.  This gave me a swirly patch with just a bit of Rich Razzleberry.  The other sketch layers are Blackberry Bliss card stock and the Gray Granite netting die cut from the retiring Under the Sea dies (#146334).  The card base is Gray Granite.

The greeting is from the Sea of Textures stamp set. It was stamped in Blackberry Bliss on Gray Granite card card stock, heat embossed with Clear Stampin' Emboss Powder and punched out with the Classic Label Punch (#141491).   Retiring Blackberry Bliss Nature's Twine (#146342) and retiring Noble Peacock rhinestones (#149494) complete the card.

The octopus is stamped in Mango Melody.  My octopods are almost always a shade of orange.  That was the color of the only octopus I've ever met in the wild.


There are lots of fun and beautiful interpretations of this sketch over at the TGIF Challenges blog here.  Check them out!



Hope you are surviving quarantine.  My friend, Mari, arrived home from her art studio yesterday to find a painted dog.  Her living, breathing pet dog was painted in a rainbow of colors.  She was able to escape to her studio, but her 5 creative kids (ages 4 to 18) were stuck at home . . .

Cheers!--Sara Nell


Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Homage to Retiring Favorites--#tgifc262

This week's color challenge at TGIF Challenges is Calypso Coral, Coastal Cabana and Daffodil Delight.  It makes me think of the beach and when I think of the beach, I think of the Adirondack chair die in the Seasonal Layers die set(#143751).  It is retiring as is the coordinating Colorful Seasons stamp set (#143726)--two of my most used and well-loved favorites.  My card today is a homage to both:



I did a color wash of Coastal Cabana on one piece of Shimmery White card stock and an ombre wash of Calypso Coral on another.  The bottom of the Coastal Cabana piece was stamped numerous times with the texture image from Sea of Textures stamp set (#146488--another retiring favorite).  I used second and third generation Sahara Sand to create the beach.  I used the Stamparatus to stamp the "Just Breathe" several times in Sahara Sand to get a darker shade over the sand. 

I die cut the Adirondack chairs from the Calypso Coral piece.  Honestly, I do not think I would have even purchased this stamp and die bundle if it had not been for that chair.  I would have missed out on making all my favorite leaf and snowflake cards as well as the Spring and Summer ones if not for that chair.  So, it's fitting that I pay homage to this set with these chairs!

For the glasses of lemonade, I used the Sahara Sand Stampin' Write marker to outline the glass image and the Coastal Cabana one to color the straw.  Then I used an Aqua Painter to color in the Daffodil Delight lemonade.  I cut a little wedge out of the Daffodil Delight lemons to adhere them to the top of the glass.

You can't see the shimmer of the card stock that makes the whole card shimmer like the beach in the sun, so here is a close-up so you can get a sense of it:


Check out all the fun projects made with this bright and fun color combination over at the TGIF Challenges blog here.


It is hard for me to lament the retirement of my favorite Stampin' Up! stamps and dies, because I know wonderful new products are on the way in the upcoming Annual Catalog.
Old favorites will give way to new ones.  

Have a great week!
--Sara Nell


Sunday, May 3, 2020

Creation Station May Hop--Mad as a Hatter Mash Up


Welcome to this month's Creation Station Blog Hop!  Expect the unexpected today! You'll see unexpected color combinations and unexpected uses of materials.  Be sure and click on or under the Next button at the end of each post so you can see all the fun we had creating the unexpected.

So glad you stopped by today and I am sorry my photos are not up to snuff--couldn't figure out where I messed up my settings.  I took several batches of photos at different times of day, switching things up.  They are what they are, but you can still see the details on my unexpected cards.

To decide on my color palette today, I pulled out a piece of card stock from each of my fullest packs of colors and moved the colors around on my desk until I was happy with a group.  This color palette is way outside my comfort zone, but I so admire stampers who consistently use bold color combinations--some of my favorites are on this Creation Station Design team.  I hope they and you like my color palette of Mango Melody, Shaded Spruce, Balmy Blue and Highland Heather.   Definitely unexpected, especially from me.

I also threw in some unexpected uses for some of the dies in the Ornate Layers die set (#152726) which is part of the Ornate Garden Suite available now in Stampin' Up!'s Early Release Promotion.  I also used the coordinating stamp sets Ornate Style (#152572) and Ornate Thanks (#149471) from this suite. Alas, the Ornate Borders dies are on backorder and I do not have them yet.


This is a 5" X 5" card.  It started, as did all my projects today, with a piece of Fluid 100 Watercolor Paper (#149612) covered with a wash of Balmy Blue ink.  Over this, I stamped the large floral bouquet from Ornate style in Balmy Blue spritzed lightly with water to result in a gradation of color on the background.  For the focal point, I die cut the rectangular openwork die and used it as a stencil to watercolor the design in Mango Melody onto a piece of watercolor paper, also with a Balmy Blue wash on it. I layered this piece into one of the ornate frames in the die set. "You're amazing" was stamped in Shaded Spruce on Highland Heather card stock and embossed with clear embossing powder.  A layer of Mango Melody, a card base of Shaded Spruce, a Holiday Rhinestone and a piece of Whisper White 1/4" crinkled seam binding colored with the Mango Melody Dark Stampin' Blend complete the card.


The second largest ornate frame die was used as a stencil two different ways on this card.  I centered the frame over a piece of watercolor paper with a Balmy Blue watercolor wash, then used a sponge brayer to brayer over the the metal die to create the outline of the frame.  Then I used a small stencil brush with Shaded Spruce ink over the metal die to create the die pattern on the paper.  (Don't worry, the Shaded Spruce ink has disappeared from my fingers--another benefit of the COVID-19 hand washing routine!) 

The embossed Mango Melody piece was created using a silicon pad under the bottom cutting plate with the long narrow openwork die.  "Thank you" was stamped in VersaMark and embossed with gold on Highland Heather card stock and then was layered slightly over the embossed Mango Melody piece.  Petal Pink 1/4" Metallic-edge ribbon (#151194) was colored with the Mango Melody Dark Stampin' Blend and tied under the Thank you piece.  A Balmy Blue card base, layer of Highland Heather and three gold Gilded Gems (#152478) from the Ornate Garden Suite complete the card.


On this card the watercolor wash piece was die cut using the largest Rectangle Stitched die (#148551).  Three daisy images from Ornate Style were stamped in a row in VersaMark, embossed with White embossing powder and watercolored with Mango Melody and Shaded Spruce.  A long openwork die cut was used as a stencil to apply embossing paste tinted with Highland Heather ink under the daisy row. "My friend" from Ornate Thanks was stamped in VersaMark and embossed in white on Shaded Spruce card stock.
A card base of Whisper White, layer of Highland Heather, a bow of Whisper White baker's twine and three Holiday Rhinestones complete the card. 

I hope you will try some of these unexpected colors and techniques on some of your projects.  It was a lot of fun creating them for you.  Now it's time to hop on over to Artisan Martin Stone's blog to see what Mad Hatter Madness he has come up with--it's sure to be unexpected and inspiring!


Have a great May!
--Sara Nell




Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Happy Graduation--#tgifc261

It's a fun product challenge this week at TGIF Challenges:  Use Your Words.  This challenge highlights word dies. I pulled out my retiring Well Written dies (#148534) to create a Happy Graduation card.  It is sad that traditional graduation ceremonies are not taking place this year--especially for our high school seniors who didn't experience proms, awards nights and all the fun end of the year events that mark this important time of passage into adulthood.  Without the ceremonies and parties, graduates still need a recognition of their achievement and I've had many customers ask for graduation cards.  It has been fun creating these cards in Upson-Lee High School colors:  purple, silver and black.  

Here is the one I created for this challenge and also for a friend who wants a card for her son's girlfriend:


When Blackberry Bliss was first introduced as an In Color, I promoted it as the perfect Upson-Lee purple!  So it is the card base and the 4-layer die cut "happy".  

The focal point is the large floral stem from Forever Blossoms stamp set (#151457).  It was stamped in VersaMark, heat embossed in Silver and colored with the Purple Posy Combo (149566) and Soft Sea Foam combo (#148059) Stampin' Blends. The stamped piece was layered on Basic Black card stock and then on Silver Glimmer paper (#146960).  

"Graduation" is from the retiring Well Said stamp set (148796) it was stamped in VersaMark and heat embossed in Silver on Basic Black card stock.  Three Rhinestones (#144220) complete the card.

Check out the fun uses for word dies over at the TGIF Challenges blog here.


Here's to all the graduates this year!
--Sara Nell



Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Free as a Bird Mother's Day Card--#tgifc260

It's time for a TGIF Challenges technique challenge this week.  The technique is belly bands.  I usually do belly bands on boxes, but today I made a gatefold card with a belly band.  I had fun with it because I rarely do gatefold cards--so two construction techniques for me today!


The card base is Pool Party cut 5-1/2" X 8-1/2" and scored at 2-1/8" from each short end. I used three patterns from the Bird Ballad designer series paper pack (#149592).  Two pieces of the feather pattern were cut to 5-3/8" X 2" and layered on the two sides of the gatefold on the card base.  The belly band is the bird cage pattern cut at 1-1/2" X 10-1/2". It was wrapped around the card and taped together in the front with Tear & Tape adhesive.  The birds on the focal point circle were fussy cut from another pattern of Bird Ballad paper.  The birds were layered on a stitched circle (Stitched Shapes dies, #145372) die cut out of Pool Party and a scalloped circle (Layering Circles dies, #141705) die cut out of Calypso Coral.  

The greeting is from Strong & Beautiful stamp set (#148732).  Three strands of Whisper White baker's twine (#124262) tied in a bow with the ends curled and three Basic Pearls (#144219) complete the card.

There are some inspiring belly bands over at the TGIF Challenges blog.  Check them out here.


Hope you have a great weekend!  I'll be stampin'!
--Sara Nell

Weekends at the Lake--#tgifc265

This week's TGIF Challenges theme challenge is: Travel.  As I thought about this theme, I started to realize how much I missed our long ...