Sunday, May 29, 2011

Catered Crop Sponsor

Hope you're enjoying your holiday weekend, blog friends! If you get a chance to squeeze in some stamping time for yourself, you may want to head over to Catered Crop and participate in their current Follow-the-Recipe Linking Party.

We're pleased to be the sponsor for this event, and one lucky participant's name will be randomly drawn to receive a $25 gift certificate good toward Inky Antics wood mounted stamps and/or clear sets. You've got until June 9th, so there's plenty of time to play!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Another HoneyPOP Blog Hop!

We're excited to present another HoneyPOP Blog Hop! The talented Inky designers have been busily creating projects featuring our five newest sets from the popular HoneyPOP Collection, which we hope will inspire you.

The blog hop starts today and ends on Monday, May 31st at midnight Central time. Please visit each DT members’ blog to view their HoneyPOP creations and leave feedback for them. At every stop along the way, you’ll find a SECRET WORD to collect.

When you’ve gathered all six of the SECRET WORDS, return here and rearrange the SECRET WORDS to complete the sentence in the entry form below. Three winners will be drawn at random, and they will each receive one of the new HoneyPOP clear stamp sets and a coordinating honeycomb pad.

Ready to play? Then let's start hopping:

Once you're finished, please come back here and fill out the entry form. We'd also love to hear how you enjoyed the hop!

And if you'd like, you can earn extra entries by doing one or more of the following:
  • Become a Follower with Google Friend Connect. (Click on box in right hand column. Type the name you follow us with below.)
  • Subscribe to our posts via Networked Blogs or RSS Feed. (Type the name you subscribed with below.)
  • Write a post on your blog about this blog hop. (Type the link to your post below.)
  • Share this giveaway through Facebook page or Twitter. (Use the easy buttons in the bar below. Type your Facebook and/or Twitter names.) 
Be sure to fill out the form and hit "submit" again for each extra entry (up to 5 total).

*Entries are now closed*

Rules: All entries must be received by 11:59 PM CST on 5/31/11. One entry per person, except for extra entries (see above). Entrants must be at least 18 years old and reside within the United States. Winners must respond to the notification emails by June 5th, or prizes will be forfeited.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dawn's Feathered Friends

Nope, she doesn't raise chickens in addition to llamas (at least, not as far as I know!). This post's title refers to the poultry theme of today's cards created by Dawn Lusk.

The first one features 3504K Bouquet Chicken and 10777D Chicken Hi:

The colors are so bright and cheery! There is a lot of green and red, but it screams "spring" to me (and isn't Christmas-y at all) probably due to the yellow, white, and blue accents.

I like how Dawn antiqued the edges of the die-cut image and saying, which really make them stand out. She did that here, too:

In the second card, the difference is that she only inked the dry embossed edges of the pieces (which were stamped with 10424G Duck and 1341D What's Up). She left the diecut pieces in the Nestabilities to use as a stencil before sponging the raised portions.

Thanks so much to Dawn for sharing her wonderful creations. We were delighted that she joined us as a guest designer this week, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as we did!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Another Creation From Dawn

Not only does she stamp, but you may recall from yesterday's interview that Dawn Lusk also raises llamas. I just had to share this photo she sent when I asked her more about that:

What a crack up! Dapples is gorgeous...but also funny looking, huh? (No disrespect to all you llama lovers out there.) Dawn said it's clipping time on the farm, so she'll be busy shearing, spinning, and knitting in addition to stamping!

Based on the stamps she requested to use for her projects, I'm guessing Dawn has a soft spot for all critters...including dogs and cats, of course:

Once again, it's the details that really make this card special. Besides the fantastic coloring, Dawn added a light blue "halo" around the animals to give them definition. The hand drawn border along the edges does the same thing, and that black strip near the bottom serves as a nice divider between the image and saying. Notice how she cut around the critters' paws and positioned them on top of the strip...neat touch.

Finally, there's the card shape itself. I found this video on YouTube, and the author does a great job of explaining how to use Spellbinders Nestabilities dies to create custom notecards like Dawn's. Have you done this technique already? Let us know if you decide to give it a try!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Inky Guest Designer: Dawn Lusk

Over the years, I've been fortunate to meet some wonderfully talented designers. One person I've known for quite a while is Dawn Lusk (who was introduced to me by our "honorary" DT member, Keri Sereika), and I was thrilled when she agreed to make some Inky cards for us to share with our blog readers!

Dawn is a phenomenal colorist, as you can see in this example:

Aren't all the details great? I love the die-cut fence in the background, along with 10407F Hay Bale that was stamped repeatedly. Dawn made a sign for the 10388D Hay There saying and antiqued the edges with an ink pad to add dimension.

Speaking of dimension, here's a closeup of 10443K Mare:

Dawn layered the horse with foam tape to really make her "pop" off the page. That's one of my favorite accents...I love foam tape!

Over the next few days, I'll be showing you more of Dawn's fantastic projects. But, first, I thought you might be interested in finding out more about this lovely lady:

I asked Dawn a bunch of questions for our "online interview," and this is what she said:

1. Where do you live? Rural West Central Ohio, on a mini farm.

2. Tell us about your family. Married 38 years to a man that tolerates my obsessions *grin*. Five children, three of whom are married, one who is still at home. Nine grandchildren, from 5 to 14 years of age.

3. What is something people may not know about you? I raise llamas and spin their fiber on a spinning wheel!

4. How did you learn to stamp? A Stampin UP! workshop

5. Describe your stamping style in five words and explain how this style came about or why you feel you stamp the way you do. Style? I have a style? I’m a colorist of all mediums…oops, that’s six [words]!

6. What’s your favorite beverage and snack (whether you’re stamping or not)? Coffee with cream FIRST thing in the morning and of course anything chocolate for a quick fix!

7. What is your best stamping tip? I’m “frugal,” so lots of times I make my own colored cardstock or faux layers. All you need are some markers in a variety of colors and one black and a ruler. For “faux layers,” use ruler and marker along edge of cardstock with image. For “faux cardstock,” cut a mat just larger than your image from white cardstock, color edges with a marker to match colors in your image or designer paper!

8. What is your current favorite stamping accessory? My Copic markers!!

9. What is the most recent stamping or scrapbook project you made? This really cute card for Inky Antics!! *wink*

10. Is there anything else you’d like to tell our blog readers? Have fun, it’s so much easier to create when you enjoy what you’re doing!!

* * *

Join us tomorrow for another project from our guest designer, and please let us know what you think by leaving a comment!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sponsoring the RRR Challenge

I'm a bit late in posting this, but there's still time to participate in Really Reasonable Ribbon's Challenge #24, which we're pleased to be sponsoring. If you head over to the RRR blog, you'll find a bunch of terrific projects created by their designers, such as this card by Trudy:

She used 10932MC Marvelous Match-Ups Clear Set for the centers and stems of her pretty ribbon flowers. How cute is that!

Trudy and Crystal happen to be on the design teams for both RRR and Inky. Jovi and Debbie also lent their talents to the designers' pool, so there is a total of eleven beribboned Inky cards to enjoy.

Once you're done perusing, why not join the challenge yourself? The theme is "Anything Goes," so you can really let your creative juices flow! One randomly selected challenge participant will receive a $25 gift certificate toward Inky stamps, and the winner of the challenge gets a $10 gift certificate to Really Reasonable Ribbon.

You've got until May 29th to enter your projects, and you can find more details here. Hope you decide to give it a whirl!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Double HoneyPOP Fun

Last week, I posted about some neat cards that our customers made with the HoneyPOP Collection. Well, here's another one that is just incredible:

CeeCee made a previous card with 11028MC Monkey HoneyPOP Clear Set last month, but this new version is double the fun because there are TWO honeycomb pop-up trees instead of one!

Even better, she also created a great video tutorial showing the steps:

Very cool, huh? In the video, CeeCee used a blender pencil instead of Gamsol. Her brand was from Derwent, but you can find a similar one by Prismacolor here.

Thanks very much to CeeCee for the inspiration! If you liked the project, please leave a comment that we can share with her. :-)

Monday, May 16, 2011

Making Soap...& Some Stamping, Too

About a month ago, I resurrected an old hobby that I hadn't done for 10 years...soap making! I've always been interested in recipes, and I love seeing how the fats and oils magically turn into bubbly soap after the lye has been added. I remember giving away dozens of bars before finally putting my supplies into storage long ago. Well, I finally pulled them out and put 'em to use again.

Although there are many steps and a few important precautions that need to be taken, the process of making your own soap is really quite simple. After choosing your recipe, start by weighing out each of the fats and oils.

For this formulation, I started with coconut oil:

I poured the proper amount into my pot and then measured the rest of the oils, including palm, olive, and avocado:

Into the pot they went, as I heated them gently:

Once the oils were warm, I turned my attention to the lye/water mixture. I made sure to put on my goggles before proceeding:

Not exactly a fashion statement, huh? But as you may know, lye is caustic and can burn right through skin even faster than a hot knife through butter. A chemical burn from lye is not something you want to experience, so it's best to make sure your eyes and skin are protected with goggles, long sleeves, and rubber gloves.

Once I was suited up, I carefully weighed the lye:

Yep, Red Devil is a drain opener. It's also 100% lye. Don't substitute with Drano, however. That has other stuff in it that you don't want in your soap.

Incidentally, many people might ask why you'd want lye in your soap if it's so dangerous? Don't worry, there won't be any lye left once we're done. Part of the mystery of soap making is how the lye turns fats and oils into soapy goodness in a chemical reaction called saponification.

All soap is made this way, actually, although commercial bars of soap are often a mixture of soap and detergents. Handmade soap is usually more moisturizing, however, in part because the natural glycerin (a by-product of saponification) isn't removed as it sometimes is with commercial bars.

Anyway, back to the story. Next I weighed out the water:

Then I slowly poured the lye into the water and stirred to dissolve the crystals:

As the lye dissolved, the water heated up:

Meanwhile, I checked on my oils that were still heating:

Oops, the temperature had gotten a bit too high. Before combining the lye/water and fats/oils, you want both to be around 90-110 degrees F:

My recipe called for mixing them at 105 degrees F, so I cooled the lye/water and oils until both were at the right temperature.

Now I was ready for the fun part! I poured the lye/water into the oils while stirring constantly:

After stirring for a few minutes, I pulled out my trusty stick blender:

That really got things moving! You can see how the texture of the oils started to change as the lye/water was incorporated more thoroughly:

After several minutes, my soap had reached trace. This is the stage where the ingredients are fully mixed. You can usually tell when you've hit trace if you dribble a ribbon of soap over the surface and it takes a second or two to disappear back into the mixture:

This is when I added my scent, which was orange essential oil:

Then I stirred in some ground apricot seeds (the photo turned out blurry, so I didn't post it) before pouring the whole batch into my mold:

By the way, can you guess what kind of soap I made? Orange roughy! Get it? Hahaha!

I covered the mold and wrapped it with a towel for insulation:

As the saponification process continued, it went through a stage called gelling. This started in the center:

When I checked it several hours later, it had fully gelled:

Eventually it became solid again, and the next day I unmolded the block and cut it into slices:

Ta da...a block of handmade soap:

At that point, it still needed to cure for 4-6 weeks. Curing ensures that it's fully saponified so it's nice and mild, plus some of the water evaporates so the bar is harder and will last longer.

I've still got a couple more weeks to wait before using it, but today I thought I'd make a gift box for one of the soap bars. My inspiration was the Box & Bag Blog Hop we'd had a few weeks ago. Since my mold happens to yield 2 3/4" square bars, I figured our X2-2940 Square Box Template would fit the bill perfectly. (And, hey, it also happens to be on sale this month!)

I think the finished box turned out pretty cute decorated with 0460F Tub Turtle:

I used ultrafine glitter topped with Glossy Accents to add a sparkly, shiny look to the bubbles and water:

The saying is 0078D Bubbly Day, and I cut out the image, saying, and both matted layers with Nestabilities. (The image and saying are also in 10968MC Spa Turtle Clear Set.) The soap shows through the window, which is lined with acetate:

And it only took me about 15 minutes to put it together...for a lovely handmade gift that I'll be pleased to give soon!

Thursday, May 12, 2011

New Ways With HoneyPOP

Several weeks ago, Karen posted some fantastic card ideas using Honeycomb Paper Pads from our HoneyPOP Collection and Sizzix dies that she'd designed. This flower opens using a pull tab to reveal the honeycomb center:

How creative! And I'd never thought to make a honeycomb flower like this:

We're continually amazed and delighted by our customers' creativity. In fact, last week Frank emailed us photos of this card he'd made for a class he taught at The Crafty Scrapper in April:

Very nice on the outside...but just look at the inside:

Way cool! Frank used the Tim Holtz Alterations "Sewing Room" Bigz Die to cut the dress form. Here's the face behind the talent:

And just yesterday, Ann from Impress Rubber Stamps posted two cards on their Facebook page made using our Honeycomb Paper Pads and stamps from their own line:

We just love seeing how people are really thinking "outside the box" when it comes to using the Honeycomb Paper Pads. It's fun to show what YOU are doing with our products, so please feel free to share anytime by uploading photos to our Facebook page or emailing me directly.

Of course, our favorite way to use the Honeycomb Paper Pads is with our HoneyPOP Clear Sets. There are now 12 different stamp sets choices, including our newest baking kitty & pup, turtle, birdy with ice cream, and adorable little girl.

In case you'd like to take a HoneyPOP class, there are several stores who are offering them:

Peanut Doodles in Salisbury, NC
Scrap n Stamp Haven in Ravenna, OH
Stamp Act in El Paso, TX
Stamp and Scrap Nest in Simsbury, CT
We're Stampin' Mad in Osseo, MN (<--- I will be teaching this class myself!)

If you've found upcoming HoneyPOP classes scheduled at other stores, please let us know in the comments section. Thanks!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Inky Friends in Novi

It was great seeing our Inky friends and customers at the Great Lakes MegaMeet last weekend! I was delighted when Chris D. stopped by to say hello:

And it was so much fun when Diane brought her beautiful cards for show & tell:

She added glitter to the cherries and creatively spelled out a sparkly birthday number:

Diane was also busy before Easter making all sorts of cards:

My personal favorite featured pink string wrapped around a bingo card:

There was a cute HoneyPOP chick inside:

Thanks to everyone who came to the show. If you weren't able to make it (or if you just need another Inky fix!), we'll be back in Michigan for the Southfield StampScrapArtTour in just a couple of weeks.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

To All Moms

Happy Mother's Day to our Inky friends who are also moms. Hope you have a lovely and relaxing day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Box & Bag Blog Hop Results

Congratulations to Stef H./Glitterbabe, Kerri M., and CheckerBeads, whose names were randomly drawn from the comments left during our Box & Bag Blog Hop. Ladies, please email me with your address so I can send out your template stamp.

Thanks very much to everyone who played. We appreciate your kind feedback and are glad you participated in the hop.

If you were inspired by our DT members' projects and would like to order the template stamps that were featured, they're 25% OFF during May! Just click on the sign below to visit the sale page on our main website:

Sunday, May 1, 2011

New HoneyPOPs & Facebook Challenge Results

I'm delighted to present 11045MC Sundae Birdy HoneyPOP Clear Set, which rounds out the latest release in this collection:

What's inside? It's a sundae for Sunday! And check out the Light Blue Honeycomb Paper, which many of you have been requesting:

All five of these brand new sets (along with our seven original sets) and honeycomb pad colors (magenta, ivory, light blue, and goldenrod plus the previous six colors) are now available to order through the main Inky website.

We've also put together a list of retailers who carry HoneyPOP stamps and pads, in case you're looking for a local source. (Please contact your store before making a trip, as not all stores may have the new products in stock yet.)

It's always fun to see how our customers are using Inky stamps, and we were excited to view all the projects submitted for our Facebook HoneyPOP Challenge. I asked our DT members to vote on their favorite, and several of them mentioned how they had a difficult time deciding! In the end, this card received the most votes:

It was made by Broni Holcombe using 11026MC Cupcake Birdy HoneyPOP Clear Set. Here's the POP on the inside:

The card that received the most "Likes" on Facebook was from Tina Covington, who featured 11024MC Birthday Elephant HoneyPOP Clear Set:

Tina made up her own honeycomb shape, which was a heart, in place of a regular balloon:

And the winner of our random drawing was Stephanie Landon, who made a card with 11029MC Carrot Bunny HoneyPOP Clear Set:

Congratulations, ladies! Each of you has won $25 in Inky stamp credit. Please email me for details on how to choose your goodies.

A huge THANK YOU to everyone who played. You all did a wonderful job, and we sure appreciate your participation! And if you didn't get your card uploaded in time, we'll be running this contest please keep an eye out for details coming your way soon.

Finally, there's still a few hours left to visit our DT members' post for the Box & Bag Blog Hop and leave comments for chances to win.