Saturday, December 3, 2022

SSS DieCember Blog Hop, Dimensional Rectangles

 *This post contains affiliate links to Simon Says Stamp.

Happy Saturday!  Today I'm taking part in a fun hop showing off the new DieCember release from Simon Says Stamp.  You should be arriving from Alberto Gava's blog, but I'll have the full blog hop list at the end of this post if you need it.

It's not a good hop if there aren't prizes right?  Not only is Simon offering the Merry on a Line die set for free with any $25 purchase this weekend (use code MERRY at checkout), but they'll be choosing one commenter from every step along the hop to receive $25 to spend in the store!  

My cards feature my latest design for Simon, Dimensional Rectangles.  It's a set of four stencils that create this really fun background.

My first couple cards show off the basic design of the stencil.  For the green card, I used Aspen, Sage, Pine, and Flannel inks.  These were stenciled over a very subtle patterned paper.  

The finished panel was trimmed down, matted, and added to my card base.  I finished things off with the Yay You sentiment die and a secondary sentiment from the Reverse Yay sentiment strips.

For the blue version, I used that same patterned paper again, but this time used Morning, Twilight, Galaxy, and Flannel ink

The sentiment is from the XL Stacked Greetings set.

Because I stenciled on 6x6 paper, I had a couple rows of each of the blue and green pattern left from the previous cards, and I didn't want those to go to waste, so for this next card, I adhered the strips to a base piece of white cardstock, alternating the colors and offsetting the pattern.

I used the Basic Box Card Happy Birthday die for the sentiment, inking up a piece of white cardstock with Twilight and just a bit of Galaxy ink to get that ombre look before die cutting the sentiment.

It's December, so I really couldn't get away without creating a couple Christmas cards.

To do so, I did some selective inking with the stencils to create borders to frame each of my sentiments.  This is pretty easy to do since the rectangles are in rows, so masking off is easy.

For this first card, I used Celery, Limelicious, and Pearfection ink, and gold embossed the last layer.

The sentiment once again features my go to Merry and Bright die along with that fantastic Matte Gold cardstock.  I also used the stars that come with the die set to add a bit of embellishment, again with the Matte Gold.

This next card features CeleryLimelicious, and Watermelon ink along with a final gold embossed layer.

The sentiment is from the Holiday Greetings set and was also embossed in gold.

That's all for me today, but your next stop is Anna-Karin Evaldsson, and I have the full hop list below if you need it.  Enjoy all the inspiration and have a great weekend!

Simon Says Stamp Blog
Laura Bassen
Debby Hughes
Alberto Gava
Miriam Prantner
Anna-Karin Evaldsson
Amanda Korotkova
Mindy Eggen
Emma Williams
Cheiron Brandon
Heather Hoffman
Emily Midgett
Lea Lawson
Sandi MacIver
Kim Hamilton

Friday, December 2, 2022

November 2022 in Books

A pretty short reading list this month.  I got caught up in a couple slow books, including One Hundred Saturdays, and then I started The Passenger by Cormac McCarthy, but just could not finish it.  I slogged my way through about a hundred pages, but there didn't seem to be any progress towards the plot/premise in the book, it was just a lot of random dialogue with characters that came and went, so I finally gave up.  Overall it was a pretty good month though, here are the recaps:

The Ways We Hide - Kristina McMorris - historical fiction - five stars - The story of Fenna Vos, an escape artist/magician whose hero is Houdini.  Fenna is recruited by British intelligence to create escape aids for the military during WWII.  Things are going well until an old friend is in trouble.  Fenna springs into action to save him, but things are much more complicated than they seem.  I liked Fenna, and while I thought the plot itself required a fair amount of suspending my disbelief, I also enjoyed it.  A really good read.

One Hundred Saturdays: Stella Levi and the Search for a Lost World - Michael Frank - memoir - four stars - This one was closer to three and a half stars for me.  Stella Levi grew up on the island of Rhodes and was deported to Auschwitz in 1944.  Frank interviews Stella over a series of Saturdays, recording their conversations and her memories of her life.  It was interesting reading about the Jewish community in Rhodes, they were originally exiles from Spain.  It was a really interesting community/culture, and Stella spoke in depth about her growing up years.  The 'chapters' are little snippets of her life, and while she doesn't care to talk about her time in the camps in the beginning, she eventually gets there.  I found this really interesting, although somewhat plodding.  Frank interjects information about articles her read, different topics, etc.  Some of that is tedious, I think it would have been better to keep the focus on Stella, but still a very different and interesting view of WWII.

Mother Daughter Traitor Spy - Susan Ella MacNeal - historical fiction - four stars - This was kind of a fascinating book.  It takes place just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor.  Veronica Grace and her mother unexpectedly relocate to Los Angeles after she graduates.  They are befriended by some nice people who offer her a job, only to discover that they are leaders in the American Nazi party.  Horrified, they report the group, and are recruited to spy against them.  I really have never read about the American Nazi movement, and was somewhat shocked and appalled by the depth and breadth of it.  This is one of those books that opened a door into a part of history that I really wasn't familiar with and has made me want to read more on the topic.

The Vanderbeekers on the Road (The Vanderbeekers, #6) - Karina Yan Glaser - juvenile fiction - four stars - This was my 'kid' book for the month.  I enjoy the Vanderbeekers, reading about their adventures always makes me smile.  This book picks up right where the last one left off, family is on the way to surprise and pick up Papa for the roadtrip that his father never got to take him on.  Things don't start out well as the van breaks down, but they eventually get there, and then the whole family sets off for California.  Along the way they make new friends, and have all sorts of new experiences.  Cute and fun.

Other Birds - Sarah Addison Allen - fiction - five stars - I liked this one a lot.  It centers around Zoey who is moving into her deceased mother's old apartment at the Dellawisp on Mallow Island, just off the coast of South Carolina.  She's about to start college, and has moved away from a home in which she doesn't feel particularly welcome (she's really not a part of her father's second family).  At the Dellawisp she quickly becomes acquainted with the neighbors and brings them together.  There's a science fictioney component to the story as each of the characters is haunted, or rather accompanied, but a ghost who has unfinished business.  I liked how the stories of those individuals played out as part of the backdrop of the living characters, and I really liked the characters in general.  Great read.

The Winners
- Fredik Backman - fiction - five stars - I'm a huge Backman fan, and have loved Beartown and all it's inhabitants from the start.  This final installment of the Beartown saga brings many beloved characters full circle.  Benji, Maya, Ana, Amat, Bobo, and of course Peter and Kira are front and center.  Beartown is on the rise, and the uneasy truce between Beartown and Hed is broken after a huge storm in which the roof of the Hed rink collapses.  The competition between the two towns comes to a head as the Council talks of shutting Hed down and merging the teams, or shutting both teams down and creating a new one.  Against this backdrop Benji and Maya return to town to mourn a beloved Beartown member and reconnect with others.  As always, there is trauma and grief, there were parts of this book that were a gut punch, but also so so good to return to Beartown.  Loved.

My favorite this month as definitely The Winners.  I'm sad that the Beartown story has come to an end!  I'm currently reading Ancestry and The Frederick Sisters are Living the Dream which couldn't be more different.  I'm not too far into either of those, so withholding any judgement just yet.  Would love to know what you guys have been reading!

Thursday, December 1, 2022

SSS DieCember Release!

 *This post contains affiliate links to Simon Says Stamp.

Happy December!  The DieCember release is officially live at Simon Says Stamp!  There are all sorts of new goodies in this release, including my newest stencil design - Dimensional Rectangles.  

I'll have a bunch of cards to share with you featuring those stencils later this week, but today I thought I would focus on one of my favorite new dies from this release, Winsome Branch.

I'm kind of a sucker for delicate branches/leaves, so this die is right up my alley.

I thought it would be fun to paint gold watercolor accents on some die cuts.  The branch was cut from watercolor paper as well as navy and green cardstock.

I used Starry Colors watercolors to add accents to each of the branches, setting them aside to dry.

For the backgrounds, I used Gansai Tambi watercolors to paint soft watercolor washes on watercolor panels: brown and yellow, green and brown, and blue and brown.  Once the panels were dry, I used the darker color from each background to add a bit of splatter to the panel.

The finished/dried panels were then stitched to my kraft card bases.  Usually I stitch pretty close to the edge of my panel, but for these I put the stitching a little closer to the center of the card, and I really like how that frames things.

The die cut pieces were then adhered to my cards.  You'll see that there aren't fully adhered, I like the movement/dimension you get when they aren't fully adhered.

The sentiments are from the Well Wishes and Spring in My Step sets.  They were stamped with Versafine Clair, and popped up over some gold thread.

I varied the placement of the branches in each of the cards to mix things up.

Finally, a few gold sequins completed the look.

That's all for me today.  Be sure to head over to Simon to check out the full release!

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Layered Alpha Noel

 *This post contains affiliate links to Simon Says Stamp.

I've got a quick Christmas card to share today mixing some non-holiday with older holiday products from Simon Says Stamp.

I started by inking up NOEL using my Layered Alpha stencils using Cherry, Watermelon, and Pearfection.

I thought it would be fun to contrast the more rustic/graphic look of the letters with some delicate sparkly snowflakes, so the top and bottom edges of the panel were stamped using the Snowflake Edges set and embossed with WOW! Metallic Gold Sparkle Embossing Glitter.

To pull some of the color from the letters out, I added some soft inking around the edges of the card using Pearfection, and then added some colored accents to the snowflakes using Copics (R12, R35, and R43).

A couple colored mats finished things off.

Hope that your week is going well.  We're gearing up here for a lot of pie on Thursday!

Thursday, November 17, 2022

SSS Holiday Sparkle, Fir Branches

 *This post contains affiliate links to Simon Says Stamp.

I've got a very clean and simple card to share today featuring the new Fir Branches card from Simon Says Stamp.

I wanted to create a frame of fir branches, so I started by die cutting an oval from the center of a piece of soft gray cardstock.

The branches were die cut five or six times from a dark green, and then arranged around my oval.

To add a little contrast to the greens, I swiped my white pigment inkpad over the branches and used a blending brush to add some of that white to some harder to reach/swipe places.

To add a bit of color, I die cut several berries using the Berry Stems dies.  These were then scattered around the frame and adhered in place using Micro Dots.

The sentiment, from the Holiday Greetings set was stamped directly onto my card base in Cherry ink, and then then frame panel was adhered with foam adhesive for some extra dimension.

That's all for me today, thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

SSS Holiday Sparkle, More 'Same but Different' Cards Using the Retro Layering Christmas Stencils

 *This post contains affiliate links to Simon Says Stamp.

Hi friends!  Today I'm sharing a series of cards that really put a dent in my need for more Christmas cards.

Similar to the these cards that I shared last week, today's cards were mass produced using a similar recipe and common products.

Here's what I used:
1) Layering stencil for the background
2) Holiday sentiment set
3) Some largish die cuts (don't need to be holiday themed) that work with the background stencil
4) Sequins.

For the layering stencil, I'm using the new Retro Layering Christmas stencil set.  One of the best parts of this set is that it's so big.  Each inking created two backgrounds which goes a long way in speeding up the cardmaking process if you need to churn a bunch out quickly.

There are some really beautiful cards folks have created using this stencil where it's inked with multiple colors - green for the leaves, red for the berries, etc.  For my purposes, I was going for speed and volume, so I opted for a tone on tone look.  I used Field for the green cards, Cherry for the red, and Flannel for the neutral.

The detail layer for each of the cards features gold embossing paste.

While my backgrounds were drying, I stamped and gold embossed a series of sentiments using the Holiday Greetings stamp set.  Mats were created for each of the sentiments using the same cardstock as for the card base, but swiping the edges with the same inkpad used for the stenciling.  For the neutral cards, I just used a white mat.

I also die cut some greenery/foliage from Matte Gold cardstock.  I used both the Privet Branch and Delicate Leafy Branch dies for this.

Once all the backgrounds were dry, they were cut in two.  For the green cards, I also made mats for the stenciled panel in the same fashion as the sentiments.

Then it was just a matter of putting all the pieces together.  The die cut greens were adhered directly to the stenciled panel, and then the sentiment pieces were popped up.

I used the sequins to add some extra sparkle and balance to the elements.

I love how quickly these came together as well as the fact that I was able to mix old and new, holiday and non-holiday, to create these.

Thanks for dropping by!

Saturday, November 12, 2022

SSS Holiday Sparkle Blog Hop, Printmaking Pines

 *This post contains affiliate links to Simon Says Stamp

Welcome to Day 2 of Simon's Holiday Sparkle Blog Hop!  The fun all starts at the Simon blog.  You should be arriving here from Alberto Gava's blog, but I'll have the whole list at the bottom of the post in case you need it.

The best part of blog hops are the prizes, right?  Well, not only is Simon giving away $25 to spend in the store to a commenter at every stop, you can also use the code CUTEBAG to get the above holiday pouch with any purchase of $50 or more this weekend.

OK, now onto my cards!

Today I'm showing off my new Printmaking Pines set.  While there are coordinating dies available for this set, today I'm showing off some one layer cards that focus on stamping.

This set is unique to my Printmaking series in that there isn't an outline stamp.  I wanted the trees to be larger, and I just couldn't fit in the outlines.  I promise these are very easy to line up though, and the larger size works perfectly for mini-slimline cards.

This first card features the Pawsitively Saturated Trio 14, which includes Pine, Sage, and Aspen inks.  The tree trunks were stamped with Mocha.

The trees were stamped on a subtle white patterned paper from Lawn Fawn, and the sentiment is from the set.

I added some stitching around the stamped panel for a little rustic texture.

This next card also features stamping on patterned paper.  This print is a little less subtle, and I'm usimg some unconventional colors:  Ocean, Surf, and Limelicious.  The tree trunks were again stamped with Mocha.

When stamping these cards, I actually used two stamping platforms.  Two of tree stamps were placed in the MISTI in two different corners, so I stamped the first, rotated my panel placing it in the opposite corner and stamping the second layer.  In my Tim Holtz stamping platform was the third tree layer as well as the tree trunks.  

The card was finished off with another sentiment from the set as well as a turquoise mat.

Next up, I stamped the trees twice, side by side on a subtle grid paper, to create a patterned paper using some more unconventional colors.

This time I used Surf, Sweets, and Limelicious for the trees, and black for the trunks to give a graphic punch.

The sentiment, also from the set, was embossed in white on black cardstock and the popped up over the panel.  I also added a black mat which shows just on the right and left sides.

This last card is my favorite.

I started with a medium green cardstock, stamping the first two layers with Pine and Field, and gold embossing the third layer as well as the sentiment.  The trunks were again stamped with Mocha.

Lastly, I inked the edges of the panel with Pine to give it lovely glow. 

I hope I gave you guys some ideas for how to use this set as well as show off the variety of looks you can get from it. 

Your next stop is Anna-Karin Evaldsson, and the full hop list is below.  Happy hopping!