Wednesday, December 31, 2014

happy new year!

Hello my WONDERFUL friends, and HAPPY new year!

I'm so excited to be a part of today's blog hop! Not only is the WHOLE Unity team part of the party, Unity is also participating in the Season's of Giving hop. Yay! SUPER AWESOME!

So what does that mean for you?

Prizes and a fabulous sale happening NOW at Unity!

The new year gives us a chance to both make a fresh start, and look back on the past year to see how far we have come... For me, this year has been a year of discovery, growth, and learning who I am. I still have a long journey ahead of me to get me where I want to be, but as I looked back on the past year, and ahead to the year to come, I wanted to remind myself what I have learned. 

I LOVE this lace stamp! SO pretty!!!

The lace, butterflies, and the little vine border under the photo ALL come from January's new KOM "Magic of Beginnings"

The quote on the photograph is from December's KOM Warmth of Winter.

*tip: you can use ink designed for non-porous surfaces like StazOn, or acrylic paint to stamp directly on photographs!

There are also some textures worked into the background using December's SMAK "Moments Like These" and Beautiful Elements (love these both!)

The butterflies are stamped on acetate and colored with alcohol inks on the back... 

*tip: Use a little bit of Ranger's Snow Cap alcohol ink mixed in with your color to make it more opaque.

And, for those who are familiar with my blog... you know I love sharing tutorials... SO...

Today I wanted to walk you through a fun technique that leaves your stamped images with a very unique look!

Step 1: Stamp your image on a piece of clear plastic acetate using a permanent ink designed for nonporous surfaces... Like StazOn.

Step 2: If you want to add some color, simply flip the plastic over and color with alcohol based markers... Make sure you are coloring on the back..otherwise you will just smear your lines.

Step 3: Spray the BACK of your image with spray adhesive...

This is what I used. 

Step 4: crinkle up some silver leafing and firmly press it onto the spray glue. (this is DIFFERENT from tin foil... this is a THIN metal leafing.)

All the extra leafing that is hanging off the edges can be collected and used in another project. No waste!

The end result is this beautiful metallic image. And yes, it can be die cut after it's all finished!

*Tip 1: I highly suggest having a lint roller handy. Tiny pieces of leafing like to get all over. A lint roller cleans things up quickly
*Tip 2: this is also fun to do with pictures (that's how I learned this technique originally) simply print the picture on acetate and follow the same steps to add leafing!

Have a fabulous day, and a magnificent new year!


Thursday, December 18, 2014

playing with inlays...

Hello my wonderful friends!

It's time for another Unity hop!
(and sale!)

And today we are celebrating FRIENDS!
Love it!

If you are arriving here from Kary's blog you are right on track... if not, go ahead and start at the beginning by clicking HERE.. You don't want to miss any of the fabulous inspiration (or chances to win!)

Isn't he just the sweetest? Best part? Panda's are black and white… no need to color. Perfect for those who feel their skills in coloring are somewhat lacking. Or those who are simply lacking time to color. But wouldn't he/she also be super SWEET in a non-traditional color? Like... light turquoise or lavender for a baby card?  Or… hot pink for the bold at heart. Yes, please!

Speaking of new… sometimes we get so caught up in having the "latest and greatest" gadgets and gizmos for crafting that we neglect our old favorites. Now there is ABSOLUTELY nothing wrong with trying new things and evolving as a crafter.. In fact, I am ALL for it! That's how you stay inspired and keep growing. However, sometimes it isn't that you need new tools, but rather, a fresh look at the old ones. 

I've seen this technique floating around, and I just hadn't had a chance to play with it yet...
It is actually SUPER easy.. All you need is a die cut machine, dies, and paper.

Step 1: Die cut your card front as well as a contrasting paper with the die of your choice. You are going to want to keep all the NEGATIVE parts of your card front, and the POSITIVE parts of the contrasting paper… Like you see above. (if you are an electronic die cutter… you can easily do this with that type of machine too!)

Step 2: Cover another piece of card stock (here I'm just using the card base) with adhesive. I use a tape runner just and keep my lines fairly close… If your die is really intricate or has lots of little pieces, you may want to use an adhesive sheet cut to size and stuck over your card stock. 

Step 3: Lay your card front down over the adhesive. 

Step 4: Lay your contrasting die cut right inside the hole.. it should fit together as easily as a puzzle! The end result is an INLAYED look. Super fun!

Now it's all ready to stamp your sentiment! I chose one from Build-a-Damask

I kept this design fairly simple because that card is part of a set that will be given to someone who LOVES simplicity. But you can get as crazy as you want…

Here I used multiple dies, multiple papers, and even have them overlapping!

I have been having tons of fun playing with this and exploring possibilities!  Try creating your own paper for the inlay using background stamps! Or inlay a large open shape that has a focal image stamped in it… Really, your imagination is the limit! 

Have fun!

Don't forget---
 Leave a comment on EACH blog in the hop (including the Unity blog) for your chance to win.  The winners will be announced Saturday night on the Unity blog.

Your next stop is Lisa!


Thursday, December 4, 2014

just a simple thanks...

Hello my wonderful friends!

It's time for another Unity hop!
(and sale!)

If you are arriving here from Kary's blog you are right on track... if not, go ahead and start at the beginning by clicking HERE.. You don't want to miss any of the fabulous inspiration (or chances to win!)

Sometimes life hits you like a hurricane, leaving destruction and chaos in it's wake. I'm feeling that right now… so as much as I would love to have some funny story to share, and a tutorial for you, my dear friends, all I have is this… Part of a card set I made for my sister. 

It's nice and simple (just the way she likes it…) I stamped the smaller solid poppy from
Donna Poppies in colored ink, than the outline in black. I used the tips of one of the leaves from of  Love Never Leaves in the corner for leaves, and a drew a simple stem with a marker. The phrase is from Blossom Stackers. I wanted to add a bit more color to the cards, so I trimmed the panels to 1/4 inch smaller than my finished card size. To ensure the colors match perfectly (cuz I'm pretty OCD about that!) I rubbed the ink pad directly onto the edges of the card from before attaching the panel. It didn't take me long to whip up an even dozen for the set.

I hope you are all having a wonderful December. It truly is a beautiful time of year. 

Don't forget---
 Leave a comment on EACH blog in the hop (including the Unity blog) for your chance to win.  The winners will be announced Saturday night on the Unity blog.

Your next stop is Lisa!


Wednesday, December 3, 2014

frosty inspiration...

Hello my wonderful friends!

I have recently decided that if it is cold enough for frost, it is cold enough to be wearing socks…like the super thick fuzzy kind. And gloves. And a coat… even if it doesn't match your outfit, or makes you feel like a marshmallow. I've also been reminded just how little I seem to care about logic when I have a camera in my hand and something I want to capture. Does it really matter if I can't feel my fingers as long as I get the shot before the light moves, or the ice melts? 

Yeah… I'm not claiming intelligence when I am being creative. Apparently, they don't necessarily go hand in hand.

With that in mind, I thought focusing my creativity INSIDE might be a prudent move. So, I come before you today with a wintery project that involves absolutely nothing cold. 

Ready to get frosty while staying toasty?

Step 1: Stamp your image onto white tissue paper using a permanent ink. I chose to use a stamp from from Unity's "Beautiful Elements" kit. I {LOVE} this kit!!!  I figured the red heart would work for my decor from Christmas all the way through February. Perfect. 

When the ink is dry, cut your image out. This doesn't have to be perfect, but you want to trim fairly close to the image so you don't have a ton of extra tissue paper to deal with.

Step 2: Make a sandwich. Place your cut out image where you want it on a candle, than wrap a piece of wax paper over top (that thin waxy paper in your kitchen). Hold that tight, and heat with a heat gun.

The idea is, to melt the thin layer of wax  on the wax paper to seal the image into the surface of the candle. When it has gotten all shiny, carefully remove the wax paper. If the wax paper is stuck, gently reheat with your heat gun. It has to be removed while the wax is warm.  The tissue paper all but disappears, and you are left with an awesome altered candle. You can stop here, but I wanted to kick things up a notch.

Step 3: Brush a layer Mod Podge (or other similar glue) over your candle.

Step 4: Roll your candle in epsom salt. Allow to dry.

It looks all frosted and awesome!

I decided to add a little finishing touch to my by stringing a few beads on a piece of twine and wrapping it around the candle. 

NOTE: This is for decoration purposes… I honestly don't know if it is safe to burn a candle covered in Mod Podge and epsom salt. I wouldn't suggest trying it. Just let it look pretty on your table or mantle. :)


Thursday, November 20, 2014

brown thursday awesomeness...

Hello my wonderful friends!

If you are arriving here from Kary's blog you are right on track... if not, go ahead and start at the beginning by clicking HERE.. You don't want to miss any of the fabulous inspiration (or chances to win!)

It's time for another Unity hop!
(and sale… this one's a HUGE one!)

Ok, so in case ya don't know, in the USA, the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) is one of the BIGGEST shopping days of the year, and the following Monday is Cyber Monday where all the online stores have their big sales. Yup, pretty much it is all a huge scheme to get you to spend money… I mean, to help jumpstart your holiday shopping…

 Well, at Unity, we do something called "Brown Thursday" the week BEFORE Thanksgiving, and Unity donates $1 from EVERY SALE to RICE BOWLS, a fabulous group who turns that money  into FOOD for KIDS in NEED. Yeah, suddenly, getting a jump start on your seasonal shopping sounds pretty AWESOME, huh! And we got the fairly awesome deal of 55% off SITE WIDE, along with some other great incentives for you, because we kinda LOVE doing that!

We also love to release new stamps… pretty much every week. Here's one of the BRAND SPANKIN' NEW ones from Phyllis Harris. (Around the edges, I used Beautiful Elements… a newer set that I absolutely LOVE! So excited when it came in the mail!)

Can we say "AWWW" FACTOR?
Sorry, with the silver background, it is was hard to get the lighting right in the photo… it says "Sometimes we just need someone to be there." How TRUE. I am SO thankful for those precious people who have 'just been there' for me!

One of those people that have been there for me, is this little ANGEL. I know, not what you typically think of when you think of "someone to be there", and she isn't even mine. However, she is one of my angels. I get to play with, cuddle, sing to, and hold this SWEET little one every Sunday, and each time my heart heals just a little more. I LOVE her. And I'm so glad her momma trusts me with her little girl while she is teaching!

I used both Unity's current LO sketch and color challenge for this page. (Check out the details HERE…. super simple to enter, and you have a shot at $150 worth of stamps!) The stamps come from this month's SMAK kit "Trust Your Soul"… If you want to get JUST this month's kit, click HERE, if you want to subscribe and get a new SMAK kit delivered to your door, click HERE

You may have noticed, that this month's color challenge is a little different… one of the colors is SPARKLY silver. Love the idea. HATE the glitter flaking off all over everything… so, I thought I'd share with you a fun way to get that BLING on your projects with out the MESS on everything else!

Step 1: Stamp your image with a clear embossing ink.  This fabulous heart background is from the Trust Your Soul kit. LOVE.

Step 2: completely cover the image with a "sticky embossing powder" then return extra powder to the jar. These go by different names depending on the brand...Heat and Stick, Simple Stick… Sticky Embossing Powder… You get the idea. Instructions for use will be on the jar… follow the suggested directions for best results….I'm just sharing the basics.

Step 3: Heat the sticky powder… again, follow directions on your particular brand for best results. For mine, I simply hit it with a heat gun (just like I would for any embossing powder)…. The biggest trick is DO NOT OVERHEAT! As soon as it changes to clear and shiny, it's done. Heat it too long, and it just soaks into the paper and becomes useless.

Step 4: QUICKLY, while the image is still hot, press some silver leafing over the image. Use your fingers to make sure it is good and stuck. My embossing powder suggest quickly hitting it with the heat gun again at this point to make sure everything is nice and stuck.

Step 5: Let it COOL before doing anything! Once it is cool, you can use a soft scrubby to rub off all the extra leafing. (I'm just using one of those cheap kitchen sponges what have the soft sponge on one side and the course scrubby on the other)  Be sure to save what scraps of leafing you have. You can use them for other projects!

I like to do a quick cleanup with a lint roller to get off any stubborn pieces of leafing…

And the end result is a FOILED stamped image! Sparkly, and NOT going anywhere! 

Alrighty guys, go check out the rest of the hop, then get some shopping done!

Don't forget---
 Leave a comment on EACH blog in the hop (including the Unity blog) for your chance to win.  The winners will be announced Saturday night on the Unity blog.

Your next stop is Rachel!


Thursday, October 23, 2014

tricks and pinwheels...

Hello my wonderful friends!

It's time for another Unity hop!
(and sale!)
Love me them new releases!

 And if you are looking for a jumpstart on holiday/winter stuff, these might just be perfect!

If you are arriving here from Kary's blog you are right on track... if not, go ahead and start at the beginning by clicking HERE.. You don't want to miss any of the fabulous inspiration (or chances to win!)

Trick or Treat, smell my feet…

So, I looked at all these amazing new releases, and I couldn't wait to get started… then, Halloween came early at my house and played a rather nasty little trick on me, leaving me dizzy, nauseous, and super tired.


I only got this one card done with this week's new stamps. SUPER SAD!

This, however, doesn't mean I haven't been busy since I last talked to you guys… I've actually been quite busy with an oldie but goodie kit… Happy Pinwheels (and the swirl from the 7/14 KOM Beautiful Inside and Out)

This was just what I was looking for… a fun, playful, yet simple stamp to make birthday cards….
 The pinwheels are HUGE (5.75 inches tall!) and there is also a bunch of little banners all stacked up.. I just cut out the one that said "celebrate" and used that as my sentiment.

(did I mention I needed 60?)

Yup! Next year's primary kids' birthday cards are DONE!  Each hand stamped, doodled, inked, cut, layered, and folded…. 120 folded pinwheels to be exact. Call me crazy… but I kinda, really enjoyed making them. It makes me happy to be able to do this for the kiddos. :)

So, since I totally don't have anything else to do a tutorial on in my current state of mind, I thought I would show you how to create the pinwheels. 

Obviously, you could just stamp and color the pinwheels. Totally works, but I wanted more dimension. I also didn't want to hand cut and glue on 960 tiny triangles… so I did a little figuring, and came up with this simple solution…

Folded Pinwheels for Unity's Happy Pinwheels stamp:

Step 1: Cut out a 1.75 inch square from DOUBLE SIDED paper/card stock

Step 2: Fold corner to corner, open and fold the other corners together (so you will have a creased 'X' where I have drawn in the dotted lines)

Step 3: Carefully cut along your creased lines a little past half way to the center point (Shown with my solid lines)

Step 4: Fold the bottom left corner up to the center as shown. 

Step 5: Turn your square a quarter turn and repeat until you have done this to all sides. A little dot of glue in the center will keep then all in place.

Step 6: Punch a hole in the center of your pinwheel, as well as the center of the stamped pinwheel.

Step 7: Attach your pinwheel to your stamped image using a brad.

They fit just PERFECTLY over the stamped image… and they move! Happiness!


Don't forget---
 Leave a comment on EACH blog in the hop (including the Unity blog) for your chance to win.  The winners will be announced Saturday night on the Unity blog.

Your next stop is Lisa!