Thursday, May 28, 2009

Grad Gift Card Holder

With four conventions in five weeks, May and early June is our most jam-packed period this year. I'm headed to the airport today and will fly into Cleveland (where our main building is located). Then I'll drive with the gang to this weekend's StampScrapArtTour show in Southfield, MI. On Monday, we'll be back on the road again to the Great American Scrapbook Convention in Arlington, TX. We'll return to Ohio the following Sunday, and I'll fly home on Monday the 8th. Whew!

It will go by quickly, but I'll sure miss "seeing" you here on the blog for a while. I don't have a laptop yet, so that means no posting for me. Here's a speedy project I wanted to share with you now, though:


This clear pillow box is perfect for holding a gift card...that great, one-size-fits-all present favored by grads everywhere. I stamped 1554F Grad Background using Opaque StazOn in Cotton White, and the front panel was decorated with 1562J Congrats Grad. Filled it with paper shred from the dollar store, hid my gift card inside, and voila! Instant gift!

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Wanna win a pack of clear pillow boxes? While I'm out of town, let me know in the comments section of this post how many graduation open houses (if any) you're planning to attend this year. Entries will be accepted until Monday, June 8th, at midnight Central time. One entry per person, with U.S. citizens only for this particular giveaway. After I return in a week and a half, I'll randomly choose the winner that following Tuesday and let you know here.

Please be sure to add your name if you post anonymously (in other words, without signing in) or we won't be able to include you in our drawing. It will be the winners' responsibility to contact me via email no later than June 12th. If I don't hear from the winner, I won't be re-drawing; please remember to come back and check by the deadline.

Good luck, and catch you after the Arlington show!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Clear Cardstock Congrats

Here are your random numbers:

3

Timestamp: 2009-05-26 17:35:10 UTC

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Congratulations to Stacie, our latest blog candy winner! Stacie, please email me with your last name and snail addy so I can send out your pack of Clear Cardstock. And thanks, everyone, for participating. Hope you enjoy the rest of your day!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Here Again

Oh dear, I cannot believe it's been so long since I've done a blog entry. I didn't mean to ignore you, Inky readers. We got back from the Maryland show on Monday evening, I blinked, and already it's Sunday. Eek!

Yesterday I hosted a make & take event at We're Stampin' Mad in Osseo. Even though it was a holiday weekend (which didn't even occur to me or Jackie when we originally scheduled this date), we had a nice turnout. It was great to see so many familiar faces and meet some new ladies, as well.

Here's the card we made, featuring 10410F Piggy and 0397D Sow's Going:


The concept is identical to the clear card I made a few weeks ago. I like how we added a sparkly crystal to the center of 3481A Little Daisy:


It's pretty tiny...can you see it in the photo? Once I got home, I put it into a clear envelope and wrote the address on an oval piece that I positioned over the oval on the card front. Now the ovals are all lined up to create a clever "triple layer":


Incidentally, I was wondering about whether extra postage would be required on a clear envelope. The short (and unfortunately somewhat unsatisfying) answer is "maybe." Apparently sometimes it goes through without problems, and other times this type of letter has to be hand-canceled and therefore is subject to a nonmachinable surcharge. (Although the criteria for nonmachinable letters doesn't specifically mention anything about non-paper envelopes, some post offices will charge the extra 20 cents and others won't. In fact, it may even depend on which postal employee you ask at the same post office.)

So, if you're just dropping your card into the mail, I guess it depends on how lucky you feel whether you want to put on the regular first class 44-cent stamp or go ahead and pony up the additional fee, even if it may not be necessary.

But here's one thing you can do that won't cost you a penny: Let me know in the comments section of this post how you're celebrating Memorial Day, which will be your entry for a quick round of blog candy to win a pack of our new Clear Cardstock. Entries will be accepted until tomorrow, May 25th, at midnight Central time. One entry per person, with U.S. citizens only for this particular giveaway. I will randomly choose the winner on Tuesday and let you know here.

Please be sure to add your name if you post anonymously (in other words, without signing in) or we won't be able to include you in our drawing. It will be the winners' responsibility to contact me via email no later than May 28th. If I don't hear from the winner, I won't be re-drawing; please remember to come back and check by the deadline.

Good luck, and happy holiday weekend!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Metallic Cream Chalks

Oops, the past couple of days have gotten away from me since I arrived home on Sunday afternoon! Steve and I are leaving tomorrow for this weekend's Ocean City convention, and it's been a push to get everything ready. I'm teaching a new class on Saturday (Box It, Bag It, Can It) in addition to my "regular" one (Inky-active Cards: Surprising Sliders), so that means double the prep in addition to a make & take on Friday night. Whew!

I did take a brief break, though, to play with the brand new Pebbles Metallic Cream Chalks we just got in stock last week:


What a unique formula...they're very soft and creamy yet highly pigmented. Even better, they dry instantly and the color doesn't smear or transfer! They were easy to apply and blend by swiping them onto my paper, just like I did with these butterflies I'd first stamped in VersaMark and embossed with Silver Detail Powder:


This panel made a simple but pretty card:


I also tested out the chalks on paper I'd dry embossed with the Spellbinders Impressabilities in my Cuttlebug. After I dabbed a stipple brush in the one of the chalk pans, I used a firm, swirling motion to apply the color:


I like the way it showed up darker in the crevices and lighter on the smooth parts, and there was a soft sheen that added an elegant appearance:


And, yes, that dimensional butterfly in the upper left is an actual metal piece from the Impressabilities template itself. Next time, I'm going to arrange my own customized design with portions of the template that I've snipped out...but that will have to wait for another day. I'll be back on Monday and will catch up with you again next week!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Making An Impression

I haven't forgotten about you, dear readers...I've just been working on pulling things together for the Great Lakes Mega Meet in Michigan this week. But before I go to the airport this evening, I wanted to show you more of the Spellbinders Impressabilities templates. Beate from Splitcoast did a great tutorial on it, but I wanted to make my own version with a few additional notes. (Update on 11/23/09: Sorry, we no longer have this product in stock.)

The Impressabilities are 4 1/2" x 5 3/4" thin steel templates that can be run through most die-cutting machines to create a pretty embossed pattern on paper or cardstock:


They are similar to the Cuttlebug A2 Embossing Folders in some ways and unique in others. For example, I've found that I need to add a fairly thick shim when embossing onto cardstock (i.e., a sheet or two of thin cardstock or at least 4 sheets of cardstock). The Impressabilities are thinner than the Cuttlebug folders, so the pattern they leave on cardstock is a bit "softer" than on text weight paper (which is shown above on white):


A cool thing to try with the Impressabilities is a techinque called Letterpress Embossing. Start by inking up the template with a pigment pad, such as Brilliance Moonlight White:


Place the Impressabilities with the inked side down in your "sandwich":


Stacking from the bottom up, this is the order:

A Plate
B Plate
Tan Embossing Mat
Cardstock
Impressabilities Template (Inked Side Down)
Thin Cardboard Shim (or 3 Pieces Scrap Cardstock)
B Plate

The sandwich I made above is for the Cuttlebug. If you're using another machine, follow the same recipe you'd use for embossing with the Nestabilities.

After running it through the Cuttlebug, here's what it looks like:


Cool, huh? But you don't have to stop there...you can also set the template back over the embossed design and sponge dye ink on top:


The pretty duotones really set off the white pigment ink:


And it makes an impressive background for a card (ha ha, sorry about the bad pun), shown here with 10102J Live Dance Laugh:


You can also do the Letterpress Embossing technique with dye ink. Originally I was concerned that the waterbased formula would bead up on the metal surface of the Impressabilities and create a spotty print, but it worked just fine:


By this time, my fingers were already inky so I decided to go whole hog! Using the Impressabilities as a stencil again, I sponged Brilliance Planet Platinum over it. Then I dabbed some deep blue dye ink on top. This made for a dramatic look:


I wondered how the shimmer chalks would look, too, so I tried those:


It turned out okay (but took a while to apply the chalk with my pom pom applicator):


I think my personal preference is for using inks, either pigment or dye, to sponge on top...but you might want to experiment and see what you think.

The Spellbinders folks also say you can snip apart the Impressabilities with fine-tipped scissors and emboss selected portions of the template, as you wish, such as a frame or a corner. Or stretch it out to create a border. There are lots of possibilities, so I'm eager to play with them again another day!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Party Favor Tins

It seems like April passed by in a flash, and I'm guessing it will probably be the same with May...which means June will be here soon. (Maybe I'm just trying to "rush the season" because I'm eager for summer, LOL.) And you know what happens in June? Yep, graduation open houses!

Wouldn't it be fun to hand out little favor tins like this:


It was super easy to make, too. I stamped and colored 10264E Hooray Owl, and then I cut out the oval and scalloped oval shapes with Nestabilities dies. Then I filled a clear-topped aluminum tin with candy, tied a ribbon around it, and attached the owl panel on top with foam mounting tape. My finishing touch was adding a bit of Diamond Glaze over the owl's eyes. (I've been using Diamond Glaze a lot lately, and I love it! Even better, it's FREE this month with a minimum purchase...check out Inky's May special offer.)

In fact, the first tin came together so quickly that I decided to make another one, this time featuring 10262E Gradulations Bunny:


Yeah, I don't know any schools whose colors are pink and lime green either. But it's such a pretty combination that I figured I'd pretend someone has them!

We don't have anyone in our extended family who is finishing high school or college this year, but these round aluminum tins also make great wedding, birthday, or shower favors.