Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Life Happens

I always have the best intentions. I go months without a blog post, then post a couple and PROMISE that I'm back to blogging on a fairly consistent basis. And you know what? Life happens. It just does. Not only did I not post anything, but I went months without getting any time to get crafty! Which really bums me out, because getting an opportunity to make a card, scrapbook page, or craft project is what relaxes me and centers me. 

Earlier this year, I decided to make a distinct effort to carve out more "me" time to craft. I had been hosting monthly craft nights in the community center down the street, and suffice it to say, a lot of women in one room meant we hardly ever got anything done except gabbing. The craft nights weren't as successful as I had hoped, and I've chosen to stop them. Lots of gabbing led to lots of gossip, which led to lots of nastiness. I don't have time to craft...I'm definitely not going to take my craft time to be a part of that.

So, I approached my husband and offered up a deal. He likes to play computer games, I like to craft. There has to be some sort of barter here! I get a couple hours a week to craft, and he gets a couple hours a week to game. Win-win! Not ideal, as I'd love to spend hours and hours crafting...but I have two little boys who both really enjoy lots of momma time and attention. So I will take my two hours and ENJOY IT.

So, without further adieu, I crafted!!

This card turned out to me a little more intense and involved than I anticipated. I completed it for two challenges: 

(1) a graduation/celebration themed challenge over at TGIF Challenges,

and (2) a sketch challenge on a Facebook group called Stampin' Gals Gone Wild

I decided that I wanted to try a couple techniques I hadn't done in quite awhile. The flower is actually a bunch of scalloped circles punched out. I bent and roughed the paper up quite a bit, then slowly pulled the layers of the cardstock apart. They are held together with an old brad (its good to hoard things!). The stickers are from the Perpetual Birthday Calendar Kit, and were sponged with Coastal Cabana. The designer series paper and buttons were both part of the Sale-A-Bration catalog this year. The "Best Wishes" stamp is actually on the Remember Rotary Stamp (page 191 of the annual catalog). I really had to think outside the box with the graduation challenge, because I didn't have one "congratulations" stamp set!! How crazy is that?? I created the graduation cap by cutting the top part of the cap by hand, and then the bottom is half of a 3/4" circle punch. I added some rhinestones for a teeny bit of sparkle.

I really enjoyed completing this card. I'm loving seeing the other creations submitted to the TGIF Challenges, and they have a great design team. Its a new challenge, this being only week three. I'm excited to see where it goes...and hopefully to win or get an honorable mention in the future. :)

Want to see more? Check out Stampin' Up with Jennifer on Facebook! I post tips, new product, weekly deals, and more!

Card ingredients:
Stamps: Remember Rotary Stamp
Ink: Coastal Cabana, Basic Black
Paper: Coastal Cabana, Best Year Ever DSP (from SAB 2015)
Embellishments: letter stickers from Perpetual Birthday Calendar, Best Year Ever button/ribbon pack (from SAB 2015), white twine, rhinestones

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Papillon Blending

Another CASE. A demo featured a frame she created using Papillon Potpourri and blendabilities. I knew I wanted to recreate this using a card, and love how it turned out! Also another wonderful opportunity to fiddle with the Blendabilities which are sort of addicting...although I finally realized they smell like dirt when the ink is still wet. Just a wonderful tidbit from me to you. :)

I have to admit I don't own the bitty butterfly punch, so I had to cut those out by hand. So this card took a bit longer than it could have. I also used this opportunity to whip out the new Regarding Dahlias set for the greeting and floral image on the inside, as I remember the CEO of Stampin' Up, Shelli Gardner, telling us at Leadership a few years ago that you should NEVER have a bare card on the inside. :)

Stamps: Papillon Potpourri, Regarding Dahlias
Paper: Whisper White, Coastal Cabana
Ink: Memento Black ink, Coastal Cabana
Blendabilities: Coastal Cabana, Cherry Cobbler, Old Olive, Daffodil Delight
Accessories: Pearls, Butterfly Punch

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Banners and Moonlight FTW!

It's rare for me to say that I've fallen in love with paper...but immediately upon seeing the Moonlight Designer Series Paper Stack, I was there. I am definitely a fan of the geometric craze in life right now: honeycomb, stripes, chevron, polka dots...I'm all over it! I cannot go into a home store without wanting to redecorate everything. I guess I could tell my husband at least these craft supplies are cheaper than the throw rugs, pillows, and curtains I have my eye on. :)

I CASEd this card from another demo, just switching out the greeting and main colors. This was my first time getting to break out the banner framelits and Perfect Pennant stamp set, as well as (eeek!) the magnetic Big Shot plate. Holy awesomeness!! Seriously, I can't believe I waited this long to buy that sucker. It is A-MA-ZING. Totally worth the price.

Stamps: Perfect Pennants
Paper: Hello Honey, Blackberry Bliss, Whisper White, Moonlight DSP stack
Ink: Blackberry Bliss
Accessories: Blackberry Bliss ribbon, Apothecary Accents framelits, Banners framelits, Chevron embossing folder, Big Shot

Monday, July 28, 2014

Petite Petals plus a Baby

Boy oh boy. 

Life has been interesting these past few months. After being told by every doctor and nurse that I'd "sooo deliver early", I ended up having to be induced at 41 weeks with my second son. After 25 hours of labor that included a foley bulb to bring on dilation and hours upon hours of pitocin (thank the Lord whoever invented the epidural), I pushed twice and my uterus ruptured (I was attempting a VBAC). I had to be rushed into an emergency c-section and both my son and I almost died. Connor was born not breathing, had an intial APGAR score of 1, and had to be transported to the children's hospital for a NICU stay. I spent one night in the ICU then three nights in the regular mother-baby unit at the original hospital I delivered in. They wouldn't transfer me to the hospital my son was at (gotta love Army hospitals and how they need to pinch pennies). So I didn't meet my son until he was four days old, and only saw pictures and Facetime shots until that point. It was a very harrowing time.

Connor was on oxygen for about a month, and has been off it thankfully for two weeks now. Because of the timing of everything I had to cancel my intended trip to the Stampin' Up Convention, which I was so bummed about! Fortunately SU was very understanding and didn't charge me the cancellation fee, and Southwest Airlines just puts the fee into a credit. I figure if I don't use it before next year, I'll repurchase a ticket to NEXT year's convention. :)

In the meantime, I've been busy trying to get acclimated to being the mother of two. Son #2 is a heck of a lot more demanding than son #1 was as an infant, and wants to be held 95% of the time. So crafting is on the backburner unfortunately. But I did manage to sneak in some time to create my first proper card in MONTHS. This was a CASE of a CASE, believe it or not. The original was found on a stampers page called Pootles Papercraft, from England. 

I changed a couple of things, including the colors, number of punched flowers and the small flower punch (from last years retired Itty Bitty Punch Pack...but it is only slightly different from this years version). I also used the new Dotty Angles photopolymer set.  I have used clear sets from other companies before and never had much success with ink showing up.  But SU's photopolymer inks like a dream!! I'm very impressed.

I'm planning a class around the Petite Petals class. So many options with this set!

Stamps: Petite Petals, Dotty Angles
Paper: Whisper White, Pool Party, Lost Lagoon
Ink: Pool Party, Lost Lagoon
Accessories: Whisper White Baker's Twine, Petite Petals Punch, Itty Bitty Punch Pack (retired), Stampin' Sponge, Pearls

Purchase these products HERE.

Friday, April 25, 2014

I'm baaaaaack!!

 I think its been a year since I posted on here. In that year, due to the military, I've moved TWICE, lived through two tornadic storms in Oklahoma (one of which destroyed a bunch of toys in the backyard, the roof, the entire gutter system, and did major damage to our fence), spent a week at a hospital in Denver seeing multiple specialists for my son trying to narrow down some of the characteristics of his genetic disorder, and unexpectedly got pregnant. :)

So, in the spirit of "nothing screams Jen like complete chaos", I decided last week to sign up AGAIN as a Stampin' Up demonstrator. During the move and general inability to find customers last summer, I dropped as a demo. I've been missing it like crazy! SU offered a great deal for new demonstrators to receive a free registration to the annual convention in Salt Lake City, a savings of $300. Added to that the fact that I found a seriously cheap airfare nonstop from Denver, and I managed to convince my dear husband to let me sign up. Again. For the third time in 8 years.

So as I was organizing my craft room/guest room, I decided to find some of my all time favorite projects and post (plus SU is having a contest where people can receive product to make projects for the display boards at Convention...and I'd loooove to do that). And then I got a bee in my bonnet this week and decided to make a mobile of sorts to hang above the rocking chair in the nursery to give the baby something interesting to stare at while I'm spending countless hours rocking him. Countless. Hours.

So here is one of my favorite 3D projects. We did this a couple years ago in a class based around the Ornament Keepsakes stamp set and matching dies. 

I love to add shimmer and glitter to things and make them POP. By layering the ornament images, we were able to create an awesome 3D image on top of the box to really make the box amazing.

One of my favorite cards I completed for a swap in my group last year. It features a couple of things on the retirement list this year....bummer. I love the "Oh, Hello" stamp set, and Midnight Muse is an AMAZING color. Hopefully when SU does another color renovation they'll add this one back in. :) I created the score lines individually on the Pool Party cardstock using the Simply Scored Borders Plate. And yes, it took awhile and I had some pieces that didn't make the cut. :) The "flower" in the left hand corner is actually just a piece of seam binding ribbon where I pulled a seam out of the middle and then bunched it up.

I have always enjoyed learning new ways to create cards that are "outside the box". This one I created for Leadership in 2012. I love how bright and cheerful it is.

 Pull the ribbon and reveal your message! This card features Bring on the Cake, another retiring set. The balloons and presents are from a set that retired last year. Both sets will definitely stay in my stash, as they are awesome for birthday cards, especially for the younger crowd.

Another "outside the box" card. Sometimes the standard 4.25x5.5 card gets a little mundane! This was created for a stamp club in 2011. I have to admit, I can't remember the name of the stamp set. Its very similar to Fabulous Florets, another great floral set retiring this year.

One of my favorite scrapbook pages features my son chasing after my niece during a family vacation in Ohio. Living in Colorado now...I covet that green grass! The dry atmosphere here just doesn't allow stuff to green that much. The page was based off an online challenge.

Rosettes are wonderful. Such a great way to apply a little "wow" with a tiny amount of cardstock. My upline showed me how to create a floral image using the heart punch. Isn't it cute?

I fell in love with the ribbon border punch...and of course it was immediately retired right after I purchased it. :) And the alphabet (retired last year) will always be one of my favorites. The stamps work so well with SU ink, its such a clear and striking color.

So here is my "bee in a bonnet" project that I just HAD to get completed this week. And sadly, in my final nesting phase, I know I'll end up adding more to this before the baby is born!

I used My Digital Studio to print off punches in various shapes and sizes. Because I don't have an e-cutter, I just printed them and cut them by hand, then folded them and adhered them together using sticky tape and Tombo mono multi adhesive glue. I then glued them to some baker's twine and added snippets of ribbon. The colors are Whisper White, Midnight Muse and Pool Party. They match the bedding in the baby's room. Once the room is complete I'll have to post some final pictures.

So life has been just a teeny tiny bit hectic. But I'm looking forward to the challenge of having an SU business again, and have already found some new customers, a potential new recruit, and signed up for a vendor fair. And I'm 34 weeks pregnant. Yep.

I PROMISE I'll be posting more often on here. You can also find me on Facebook by searching for Stampin' Up with Jennifer. And don't forget my Stampin Up website where I will post classes and any orders can be made.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Am I missing something?

I was going to post a new post with tons of pics of projects I've worked on over the past few months, but it appears Blogger no longer lets you upload straight from your computer. So I now have to upload to Picasa and THEN to the blog? That's freakin' ridiculous. Am I missing something?


Thursday, May 24, 2012

Changing this post...

(I'm changing the title of this post because this post is getting spammed between 20 and 30 times a day. All because I linked up to a website. Sheesh! So instead of deleting the entire thing, I'm going to try and change the title and hope it doesn't get spammed anymore. Or else I'll have to painstakingly move the entire post over to a new post...which I will only do as a last resort. Yes, I know I haven't posted since May. The second half of 2012 wasn't too kind to me. My crafting business is hurting horribly and issues with my son have taken priority. Hopefully in 2013 I'll be able to come back and actually SHOW stuff on here.)
Its the end of the school year. This is my first "end of school year" as a mom. My 3.5 year old son attends an every-day developmental delay preschool at the local elementary. Which means I've been enjoying 2.5 hours every morning by myself, then continuing to enjoy a naptime most afternoons. I'm sure my husband would disagree with me on the necessity of all this "mommy alone time"...but considering the remainder of the day my energetic and destructive son runs me completely ragged, I've been counting on these hours to recuperate and ready myself for the next onslaught of three-year-old terror.

The next statement is full of irony. "Fortunately", my son has qualified for extended school year, and will visit with his class teacher and his therapists for 1.5 hours, three times a week, for six weeks over the summer. I put quotations around "fortunately" because it is ironic. Basically I'm saying its fortunate that he's still so delayed that he qualifies for the maximum amount of time during the summer. Now, I will say that his improvement over the past few months has been amazing. I am so unbelievably grateful that my school district has these services and that they even have a summer program. I was concerned that we might lose steam over the summer with his progress, and he might revert back to not-so-stellar behavior (we've recently made the oh-so-successful switch from w-sitting to 'criss-cross-applesauce', which I'm sure all your moms or educators out there know exactly what I'm talking about!!). So I am relieved that he'll continue to work with the educators he already enjoys and trusts...and that I'll get a small break a few days a week. Even if its just to clean up the mass destruction that we generally have each day in our house. Because let me tell you: I am NOT one of "those mothers" who has a spotless house. I enjoy playing with my kid. I enjoy letting him experiment with messes. We also have three pets, two of which shed like its going out of style. So please, come visit my house. Just don't eat off my floor. Or adhere to the five-second rule, whichever floats your boat. :)

On to a project!!

One of my son's paraprofessional aides is retiring after 32 years of service. She considered my son to be one of her "babies", and worked with him every day. She did such a phenomenal job with him!! I already bestowed countless teacher gifts during teacher appreciation week (which would be for another post, because all EIGHT of my son's various teachers/aides/therapists received gifts every day all week), but wanted to do something special for this aide on her last day. So I made her a set of stationery.

I have a confession to make: I am a designer series paper hoarder. Not even joking. I have paper that hasn't even been OPENED from 2007. You know its old Stampin' Up stuff when it isn't double sided!!! I have kept every single Simply Scrappin' kit, whether it be retired colors or not. The thought of throwing any of this away scares me.

BUT, seeing as how I love soooooo much of the new paper, I have made it my goal to get rid of some of my old stuff. The paper I used for this is from an old pack called "Jersey Shore". Now, I think its at least 3 years old...because I think that blue is Brilliant Blue, which was retired in 2010. But I did my best to match it up with current stuff. And piece of advice: don't color match using an open window. The colors will look completely different than they actually are. Because that orange?? Sooooo NOT Tangerine Tango. Oy.

I found a template for the box on another blog, and now I can't remember whose! I think it was Sharon Armstrong, but I'm not sure. I'll look and see if I can find it. Anyway, her original box template was for the regular Stampin' Up envelopes, and I honestly didn't think anything of it. I just made one, popped it together, then attemped to put one of the envelopes I made using the Simply Scored Diagonal Tool in there. This was how I figured out that the Diagonal Tool envelopes are BIGGER than normal SU envelopes. Live and Learn! Anyway, the box measurements are 9 1/4 x 7 3/4 (bottom) and 8 3/8 x 6 7/8. Score the bottom at 1.5" on all four sides, and the top at 1" on all four sides. Cut the corners, adhere, and there you go. :)

I figured this was as good of a time as any to use some of the outgoing items. You know, I seriously JUST bought that ribbon punch, and I'm sooo bummed its retiring! Also allowed me to use Curvy Verses, which is one of my all time favorite sets. I've had it since I first started buying Stampin' Up years ago. I think it was one of my first sets I purchased.

Not only was this a good time to play with retiring things, it gave me an opportunity to pull out some of my new stuff that I received from my preorder this week! All the sentiments were stamped in Midnight Muse, one of the new in-colors. I'm sure you've heard that Stampin' Up has redesigned all of their ink pads. The containers are the same, just the pad has changed. The new pad is called a "firm foam pad". It is sort of spongy, and definitely has a better ink coverage than the previous pad. When I first stamped with it, I felt that the ink was more like the craft pads. You do NOT have to push down hard with your stamp! You can lightly tap it on the stamp pad to get awesome coverage.

Also wanted to use up some of the retiring grosgrain ribbon, since I have a gazillion rolls of it. This is Whisper White grosgrain. Not even kidding. I dragged it through the Midnight Muse stamp pad, and boy did it take that ink!! (note to self: Midnight Muse ink does not come off fingers easily. When dying ribbon, WEAR GLOVES!!)

Here is the envelope assortment. I'm loving the new diagonal tool, and how easy it will be to make custom envelopes that will be a joy to send. Imagine how awesome it will be to open your mail, full of crappy bills and adverts you don't want, and then find a happy envelope like this! I'd be smiling already. :)

After this marathon project, my craft room/guest room looked like this. Glad no guests were coming...because it still looks like this. My goal tomorrow is to clean it up if my son lets me. The cutest part of this was clearing off half of the table so my son could play with his playdoh while I crafted. Every now and again I had to get into the playdoh too...strictly for educational purposes, of course. :)

My littlest helper. We rescued this kitty on Christmas Eve. We were at a stop light while visiting relatives in Dallas, and we could hear horrid meowing coming from the car next to us. A kitten had climbed up into the engine block to get warm, and then had taken a precarious ride for over 20 miles on INTERSTATE before getting to that stoplight. I got ahold of him and he immediately started purring. Apparently since I was the first to hold him, he and I have established a bond. He follows me pretty much everywhere. He's sitting on the back of my chair as I type this. His name is Blitzen, since we found him at Christmas. We also refer to him as Houdini, since he manages to get out of every collar we put on him, the "cone of shame" that was on him after he was declawed and neutered a few weeks ago, and THREE different wrappings on his paws on the day we brought him home after the declaw.

I officially live in a zoo.