Color Your Season - Part 3

Half-way there in my personal challenge to share 6 samples featuring elements of the "Color Your Season" offering this month. Given that the stamp set and dies will ONLY be available during August 2018, and ONLY while supplies last, I think it's fair to call 'em "collectibles", don't you?

Here's a reminder of the 3 products included in this offer (a limited-edition 2-volume stamp set, limited-edition coordinating die set, and 2nd volume of watercolor pencils to enhance Volume 1 that you may already have). You can check 'em all out in more detail here - and here..... but if you're charmed by this versatile, year-round set, remember it goes to those who act the quickest because availability is limited, and when the stamps and dies are gone, they're gone!

Color Your Season August Special (1)

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I had a ton of fun working on this one, and I think my favorite part was actually picking out the colors I would use. The initial images were stamped lightly with Sahara Sand onto watercolor paper, and then I watercolored over them with an Aqua Painter (and ink from the following ink pads). I'd debated whether or not to stamp off some of the Sahara Sand before stamping the image because I initially had in mind to go with the "no line watercolor" look, but ultimately decided against that. And I'm real happy I did. Artists will often sketch out their image in pencil before watercoloring it, and I think the light hand with the Sahara Sand ink worked find to approximate that look!

Here are the colors of ink I ended up using on this project:

 

BTW, I am absolutely IN. LOVE.WITH the new color "Granny Apple Green"! It's so fresh and clean, and seems to go with just about anything and everything I consider pairing it with! If you don't already have that one in your updated color collection, I highly recommend getting it asap.

Ok, so the easy part of this project was getting the image stamped and colored onto one of the only two remaining scraps of watercolor paper I found in my drawer. But THEN the challenge was to figure out where to go from there to end up with a completed card? My initial idea was to die-cut it with one of the 3 frame dies included in the bundle. But alas, the smallest one was too small, and the other two were too large. (Have you heard the story about this girl in the forest who entered the home of three bears while they were away?....)

Anyway, after staring at my dies options for a while, I was inspired to run a series of swirls down the left-hand side. Btw, TWO such swirls are included in the coordinating die set; I sure love when Stampin' Up! does that for us to make things easier/quicker thru the Big Shot! And once those were glued on, I daubered (um, is that really a verb?) more Daffodil Delight ink over them to pump up the visual depth even more.

The scallops die on the right-hand side is actually from another die set I had handy: Seasonal Layers Thinlits. Its large, chunky attitude seemed to set off the finer detail pieces nicely. 

Now, if you're not yet convinced you need this set of stamps and dies in your collection, you can wait for me to get the next 3 samples written up and posted, or you can go claim your own bundle while it's still available! 

"BONUS DAYS" reminder!
 
With every $50 product order you place in August,
you'll get a coupon for $5 off your September order. No limit!
So if your product total is getting close to $50, $100, or $150, etc., then you might want to bump it up.
Also, don't forget that orders of $150 or more (that aren't part of a hosted event) always qualify for Stampin' Rewards, too...
meaning at least $15 in additional free products in your box!
 

Color your Season - Part 2

My challenge (to myself) continues, as I attempt to create and post 6 card samples made with the "Color your Season" limited-edition products available only during this month of August, and only while supplies last.  (Which, I suppose, defines them as "collectible", right?) ;-)

 

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Sample #2 is another layout option from my July class. It's stamped with Stazon Jet Black, then colored in with Watercolor Pencils (a mixture of the original set of pencils shown in the Annual Catalog + the additional set available this month), plus Blender Pens. And then fussy-cut.

BTW, I posted some fussy-cutting success tips in our "Paper Dreaming with Lynda" Facebook group this morning. If you're a member, or qualify to be a member, of that FB group (current customer or team member, regular class attendee, or long-time close stampin' friend), be sure to check over there for those tips!

And keep your eyes peeled for Sample #3!

Bonus Days Reminder


Blended Seasons - Limited Time Availability

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Don't you just love stamp sets with seasonal longevity? And what if such a set also had a matching die set that included a beautiful, unique element that Stampin' Up! has never offered before? And what if you could add 10 new, fresh colors to your watercolor pencils collection? 

Well, that's exactly what August's special limited-edition offer includes!

Introducing the "Color Your Season" collection...... available only during August 2018, and only while supplies last!

 

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 There are 3 elements to this offering (an exclusive 2-volume stamp set, an exclusive die set, and a set of watercolor pencils in 10 fresh colors). You may choose to get 1, 2 or all 3. The best way to see everything that you can get, and all the details you'll need, is by downloading this 2-page flyer.

Now, you won't want to wait very long to order these because the stamps and dies will only be available during this month of August, and ONLY while supplies last! (And if you've been around Stampin' Up! for very long you KNOW what those 3 little words "while supplies last" can mean, don't you?!?)

While the watercolor pencils make a lovely addition to your 12 stamps and 10 dies, they will eventually appear in a future catalog and you can get them at that time if you MUST wait. (But why not get them now, while you can take advantage of August "Bonus Days", and use them with these stamps and others you may already own?!?)

Oh! And might you be wondering if you can get a discount if you order BOTH the stamps and the dies as a bundle? But, of course you can!  :-)

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In the meantime, I'll leave you with my very first Christmas card of 2018......  one of the cards from my July card class. It features a couple of each of the 3 products from this collection: stamps, dies, and watercolor pencils.  And did you notice that all 3 of the frame dies have stitching on both inner and outer edges?!? Be still my heart! Even if you used only just *those* frame dies, you'd still get lots and lots of use out of them when combined with other dies and stamps you may already own!

Remember that the earlier in the month you grab your "Color Your Season" products, the more likely you'll be to GET them before they're sold out. Be careful to not wait too long and risk disappointment.

  "BONUS DAYS" reminder!

With every $50 product order you place in August,
you'll get a coupon for $5 off your September order. No limit!
So if your product total is getting close to $50, $100, or $150, etc., then you might want to bump it up.
Also, don't forget that orders of $150 or more (that aren't part of a hosted event) always qualify for Stampin' Rewards, too...
meaning at least $15 in additional free products in your box!

August Wallpaper/Calendar is ready to download

2018 - 8 - August - tinified
As I'm preparing this month's calendar, the thermometer on my balcony is reporting 100-degrees, and a dry, smokey wind is blowing in from the southwest. At 14% humidity, these refreshing beverages look like just the thing to soothe a scratchy throat.
 
My monthly desktop wallpaper background not only offers you a pretty seasonal picture to brighten your computer monitor, but also includes a handy monthly calendar and serves as a cheat sheet reference to websites you may want to know about and visit.  And it's even FREE to download and install, so please don't hesitate to share this page with your friends and family.
 
 
You'll probably want to consult your own computer operating system's installation instructions, but installing the background image on my Windows 10 system takes just 3 quick steps - and less than a minute. It's super-duper easy-peasy!
  1. I download and save the image to my computer - from the link just above that starts with "Click HERE". (NOT from the picture that appears at the top of this post!)  TIP:  To "download" the full-resolution image once it's open (from Google Drive where it's stored), I click on the downward-pointing arrow. THAT is what actually begins the download process to my computer.
  2. Once the file has been downloaded, named and saved to my computer's hard drive, I open it. 
  3. Then I right-click on the image and select "Set as" > "Set as Background"..... then right-click again and select "Set as" > "Set as Lock screen". And poof! That's all there is to it! (For convenience, I install this on both my desktop system as well as my laptop.)
And in case you may have an operating system OTHER than Windows 10, these tips may help with installation:
 
Finally, please keep in mind that the format of my monthly picture is designed for most modern-day 16:9 monitors (a common format for monitors and HD TV's since about 2009), oriented in landscape format. (1920 x 1080 pixels.) If you're working with an older monitor (one that is more square-ish in format), or your monitor is set up in portrait format, the picture will probably not work for you. Sorry 'bout that.

Bonus Days are Back!


Bonus Days Aug 2018
Stampin' Up!'s popular "Bonus Days" promotion will run again from August through September this year, and here's the scoop:

For every $50 product order you place with me during August, you'll receive a $5 coupon (emailed directly to you from Stampin' Up!) to apply towards your September order. To qualify, each $50 in product must be placed on the same order (that is, it's not cumulative and therefore cannot be spread out over multiple smaller orders such as $25 + $15 + $10). But each $50 segment placed on a single order WILL qualify for a coupon. So a $100 product order qualifies for two $5 coupons, and a $150 product order qualifies for 3 coupons, etc. (And of course don't forget that an order of $150 also qualifies for Stampin' Rewards of at least $15 in free product!)

So place your order here, and then be on the lookout for your coupon(s) to arrive in your email shortly after you place your qualifying order. You might have to search around a bit for it, because it might deliver into your promotions box, or sp*m or some other folder/box, depending on your email server and how your settings are configured. But this email will contain a unique code, so be sure to save it in a safe place to use when you place your order NEXT month!


Playing with inlays

I've been having a lot of fun recently with various forms of paper inlays. That is, embedding one paper image (usually cut with a die) into another piece of paper or cardstock so that the two (or more) elements work together as a unit. There are a number of forms of this technique, but today I'd like to share where multiple colors can be used within a single die-cut image to offer up variations of color.

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The card just above was my first attempt at this, and yes, if you're thinking these dies were recently retired, you would be correct. But these images are a perfect size to practice inlay if you're new to this technique because they're mostly large enough to handle reasonably easily. And I do recommend that if this is your first attempt, try to find an image with pieces large enough to handle. Don't make this harder on yourself than it needs to be, 'cuz it's supposed to be fun!

On this next card, I used this inlay technique on the lower left leaf to get the two shades of green...

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And on this next example, I'll walk though the steps and tips for doing the two-toned inlay on the square element at the top...

Tropical Chic

The colors of cardstock I have used on this square section are Pool Party and Tranquil Tide, and the dies are from the "Tropical Chic" bundle. I started by cutting out the same die shape from a scrap of each of those colors, and basically followed the same procedure with each one.

First, I set up my usual die-cutting sandwich stack and ran the stack through the Big Shot. But then when it came out of the machine, I didn't rip into the stack in my normal way; instead, I removed the entire stack from the machine and flipped the whole thing upside-down. Now I carefully removed layer by layer until I revealed the underside of the newly die-cut cardstock.

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Next, I laid a sheet of contrasting paper (white, in this case) over what remained of the stack and held it in place tightly while I flipped the remainder of the stack back over, and laid it onto my table. So now I could carefully remove the cutting pad (which was once again on top), and ended up with this:

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(Note that going forward I'll be illustrating the process with the contrasting color of cardstock. But I did exactly the same process to each of the two colors I worked with, which ultimately gave me two completed squares - to make two cards.)

Next, using my die brush along with a wooden skewer VERY carefully, I poked out the cut pieces and let them fall into place onto the white paper. Yeah, I did have to make a few adjustments because this step never works exactly perfectly, but the point of this was to try to keep all the little pieces in relative order so I could work with them easily later. These will eventually become pieces in a miniature jig-saw puzzle!

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Each time I have made one of these embedded examples I have found it helpful to adhere a "base" layer of cardstock underneath the main layer. This ensures the die cut images with all the holes in it doesn't stretch out of shape, and it also prevents drawing attention to any imperfections where one piece might not match up perfectly with another. For this latter reason, I usually make the base layer from the same color of cardstock as the pieces which will eventually be inlaid.

For the 2 examples shown at the top of this article, I die-cut just the outer shape of the image when a die was available, and traced and cut out a base when there was no die of that shape. (That rose does not have a solid shape, so it required tracing and cutting by hand.) Then I carefully glued the detailed shape onto its base. For my third card, I used a couple of square dies to trim up the final image, as well as to create a base layer for underneath. Here's the bottom view of the base layer.... just a little smaller than the finished piece, as you can see:

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Now with all the preliminary steps complete, it's time for the fun part..... to start adhering and embedding all the little pieces into their proper spaces. Begin with the piece right-side-up, and insert a teeny-weeny bit of glue onto the base layer in a few open spaces. (Tip:  I like to use a half-and-half mixture of Fine Tip Glue and Multipurpose Liquid Glue, dispensed from a Fine-Tip Glue Pen. I shake this up before using it, but then tap the bottom of the bottle on the table to reduce numbers of potential bubbles. This mixture maintains a little more "body" as it's dispensed, and doesn't take as long to dry as pure Fine Tip Glue does because it's not as liquid.)

Don't put glue in too many places at once; you don't want it drying up on you as you're still inserting pieces into place. A little experience will tell you how far ahead you can work with the glue. And don't forget that when I refer to a "teeny-weeny bit of glue", that's EXACTLY what I mean. ONLY enough glue to anchor the punched-out piece, and NO MORE!

This next picture shows pieces that have already been adhered in place along the left and lower areas. Can you see why it's important to keep the unplaced pieces in relative order for purposes of preserving one's sanity? 

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Most of the time I find I can pick up these pieces with my fingers (and fingernails), but ultimately there are will be a few pieces that are just too small for that. So I have found that if I quickly lick the tip of my pinky finger, touch it lightly to my other hand, and then touch it to the itsy-bitsy little piece, that little challenge piece will usually adhere to my pinky just long enough to set it right down in its appropriate place.  Whew!

And don't forget that if you need reading glasses for close-up work, WEAR THEM! And have adequate working light, and go stare across the street when you're done. It doesn't take my eyes very long to remind me that this kind of minute task isn't very friendly to the eyes.  Ah, but the finished result is certainly worth it!


July's desktop wallpaper/calendar is ready to download

2018 - 7 - July - tinifiedjpg

Hummingbirds. Are you as fascinated by their tiny bodies and silly aerial antics as I am?

For many years my parents kept multiple hummingbird feeders in their yards and we loved to watch from inside the house, or even head outside to see if we could get one of the little guys to alight on us. Alas, I never accomplished the latter, but I did get dive-bombed plenty of times. I remember one particular male hummer who had decided a specific feeder was his. And his alone. And while he visited it often throughout the day for nourishment, he also spent most of the rest of the day sitting on a special "look out" tree branch with attention focused directly on "his" feeder. Then, whenever another hummer dared to approach "his" feeder he'd swoop over and chase the interloper away, only to circle back to his private perch and resume his guard. His mama had definitely not taught him the concept of sharing!

My monthly desktop wallpaper background not only offers you a pretty seasonal picture to brighten your computer monitor, but also includes a handy monthly calendar and serves as a cheat sheet reference to websites you may want to know about and visit.  And it's even FREE to download and install, so please don't hesitate to share this page with your friends and family.
 
 
You'll probably want to consult your own computer operating system's installation instructions, but installing the background image on my Windows 10 system takes just 3 quick steps - and less than a minute. It's super-duper easy-peasy!
  1. I download and save the image to my computer - from the link just above that starts with "Click HERE". (NOT from the picture that appears at the top of this post!)  TIP:  To "download" the full-resolution image once it's open (from Google Drive where it's stored), I click on the downward-pointing arrow. THAT is what actually begins the download process to my computer.
  2. Once the file has been downloaded, named and saved to my computer's hard drive, I open it. 
  3. Then I right-click on the image and select "Set as" > "Set as Background"..... then right-click again and select "Set as" > "Set as Lock screen". And poof! That's all there is to it! (For convenience, I install this on both my desktop system as well as my laptop.)
And in case you may have an operating system OTHER than Windows 10, these tips may help with installation:
 
Finally, please keep in mind that the format of my monthly picture is designed for most modern-day 16:9 monitors (common format for monitors and HD TV's since about 2009), oriented in landscape format. (1920 x 1080 pixels.) If you're working with an older monitor (one that is more square-ish in format), or your monitor is set up in portrait format, the picture will probably not work for you. Sorry 'bout that.

How to wrangle your thin dies - Part 1

If you're like me, you probably love the added dimension and interest that Stampin' Up!®'s dies add to your papercrafting. But you may also wish to skip some of the potential headaches that can arise when trying to keep all those frustrating little bits of metal under control! Today I'll be sharing some of my tips for handling and storing dies with minimal frustration.

Tip #1: Always put each die away immediately after using it.

LOL!

OK, who are we kidding here!?! WHAT serious papercrafter actually takes the time in the middle of his/her creative "zone" to put away every single tool one-by-one?!? Pretty inefficient, if you ask me.... 'cuz not only are you risking losing your creative mojo, but you just might need to use that exact same tool again only 14 seconds from now, right?!?

Ok. So let's start over, but this time we'll add in a dose of reality. Here's my approach:

I recognize that while I'm creating, things WILL be out of place. So I try to be ok with that. But that doesn't mean my workspace has to devolve into total chaos; my goal is to keep things at least moderately corraled so they don't get lost or damaged, and they can be returned to their rightful places with minimal effort and headache later. So while I'm working... 20180623_140226

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This awesome tray was given to me by a friend. But it's easily found at Harbor Freight, and it's easy on the budget. Designed for mechanics to hold onto screws and bolts and the like, it's got a heavy magnet at the base. So it can be attached to a metal tool chest or workbench - or not. I've found that without even attaching the tray to a magnetic surface, its weight alone tends to keep it upright and unlikely to tip over with normal use. And of course, the magnet at its base keeps the dies in place inside the tray regardless.

I LOVE this tray! But there *is* one lesson I've learned while working with it. Occasionally I've found that a smallish die just disappears. Totally vanishes from my work area! One moment it's there, and a second later it's not. But I've had this happen enough times now, that before I set off on an extensive exploration of my clothing, the carpet, the wastebasket, etc., I usually just need to pick up the tray and look underneath it...

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Now, has this ever happened to you? You're straightening up your workspace and come across an itty-bitty die that looks something like this.

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Quick now, what die set does it belong to? (Yeah, right!) Well, here's the shortcut way to find out.

Flip it over, and .....

 

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Read the 6-digit number engraved on it. That will be the Stampin' Up! product code! If you have absolutely no idea what set it belongs to, click here (store.YourPaperDreams.com), and type that product code into the search bar. If it's still currently available, the picture and name of its die set will come up so you can reunite it with its family!

Missing die identified
But if it's not currently available, you'll have to search through your collection of die sets, looking at the product code of each set, in order to find the rest of its tribe. Tedious, yes. But at least doable!

Which brings me to the topic of how I *store* my thin dies... and why. Check out more tips in my next post!