Sunday, August 30, 2009

Did I show you this one yet?

Hi everyone,

Gosh I can't believe how long it's been since I blogged. I was doing much better at this before I went to Noosa!

The trip was AMAZING, one of the most memorable 5 days of my life. It was so fantastic to meet all the other incentive trip achievers and their guests, meet one of my blog stalkers (Hi Helen, come on, post a comment!) and spend quality time with my hubby - and I came home feeling so pampered, relaxed and inspired! Can you imagine sitting in a glorious outdoor area at a table with talented ladies like Ngaire Anderson, Marelle Taylor and Jayne Mercer, and have Ngaire break out into song? A couple of us joined in, and then Ngaire made up her own lyrics to sing a song all about Stampin' Up!. Wow is she clever or what?! I've never experienced a make n take session quite like that, I loved it!! (Hmm those of you who have booked upcoming workshops with me - what are your singing voices like?!).
Stampin' Up! are so generous and showered us with gifts (I've shown them to some of my fellow demonstrators this weekend, and there were shrieks over the packaging everything was in, let alone the actual gifts!). Sitting next to Shelli Gardner on the final night at the farewell dinner I had this immense feeling of how lucky I was - as the group was small compared to the huge US/Canadian incentive trips we all got to have 1:1 time with Shelli. There are US demonstrators who would have their teeth pulled to sit next to Shelli at dinner as I did, I'm sure!
I was in awe of Janiel and Angie's organisational abilities and how they'd thought of everything, from getting us all from our home towns to the venue at the same time, down to the gorgeous tags all of our gifts were labelled with. They had one of their US designers beautifully hand-write our names onto handmade tags, and shipped those over to label our places at the dinner table with, can you believe that? Most companies would have had the hotel print them onto cards or something, that would have been easier, but not as pretty! I brought all of those little touches home with me where I could, as I will treasure them always, so will share them with you later. Oh, Janiel and Angie are the Special Events organisers for Stampin' Up! and they do an incredible job!

Anyway, one of the reasons I've been absent from blogging for over a week is that I got home on the Sunday night, unpacked and crawled into bed - and pretty much stayed there for two days. One of my problems is that I'm on the go all the time, so when I relax, my body thinks it's time to fall over and I invariably get sick. I'm not sure whether it was the flu or a bad head cold that I had, but I was achy and had that tell-tale Rudolph look with my nose. Pity I don't have shares in a tissue company, is all I can say!

I am in the process of downloading my photos from my camera at the moment so will try and share some of those in the coming week, along with other highlights of the trip. But in the meantime here's a card that I demonstrated at Laurinda's workshop a number of weeks ago, and I don't think I've shown it to you on here yet. I hope you can see that I've used a number of the fabulous new products in our Spring Mini - I got some acetate and stamped on it with the Good Friend stamp set, using Stazon white ink. I'm so happy that Stampin' Up! finally gave us that to use - love the effect of stamping on acetate! The key thing with doing this is that you have to be really steady and stamp straight down and lift straight up. If you wobble, you'll smudge it! But, if you're quick, you can take a tissue (rats, where are those shares!) and wipe off your smudged ink before it dries, and stamp it again.

I also used the new DSP we have - Walk in the Park, using two strips of it on top of the acetate. The butterfly was inked up in Pretty in Pink and then Riding Hood Red inks, while that gorgeous frame was stamped in Kiwi Kiss with the sentiment in Riding Hood Red. I cut both out by hand and adhered them on top of the acetate, curling the butterfly a little so that the wings stood up from the card, although you can't really see it here. And for an extra fun touch, do you see that brad? It's one of the new white ones from the Spring Mini - but to decorate it, I added a rub on flower from the Summer Love Rub-ons. How cute does that altered brad look now?!

The problem with acetate is that adhesive shows through it, so I used my snail adhesive only underneath the frame, butterfly and strips of DSP. That was another reason for the DSP, to give me somewhere to stick the acetate to the card base! Which is Baja Breeze cardstock by the way, and stamped in the same colour. One of my favourite in-colours this year!

I'll try and be back soon... I'm trying to finish 50 swaps for this coming Saturday, and it's a busy week at work this week, so bear with me! As always, if you need to order anything, or you just have a question, drop me a line (click here).

Happy stamping!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Greetings from Noosa!

Hi everyone,
Just checking in with you all, I am having an absolute ball over here in Noosa! It's hot, gorgeously sunny during the day, and Stampin' Up! have done an amazing job organising the holiday for us. I don't have pictures to share here yet (I have taken lots though!) as I have no way of downloading them. But I will share lots with you when I get home.

The flight over yesterday was uneventful and fun; we had an enjoyable coach ride up from Brisbane airport to Noosa Heads where we are staying. We stopped part way and had lunch at a famous pub (I can't remember how to spell the name so will tell you later!) and arrived to a warm welcome at the Sheraton hotel. Shelli Gardner (co-founder and CEO of Stampin' Up!) was there to meet us, and wow she remembered me from Convention! That was so lovely as I know she meets thousands of Demonstrators every year and for her to remember my name was so touching and sweet! She is an amazing lady.

I hit the spa soon after arriving and that was incredible; so relaxing I nearly fell asleep, just like I predicted earlier! Patrice and I really enjoyed ourselves, it was totally worth it and got our holiday off to a wonderful start. We had a gorgeous dinner last night here at the Sheraton, unfortunately I forgot to take my camera and take photos of the food (I'm serious!) as the dessert selection was amazing. Hopefully one of the other demonstrators here will share photos of that later.

Today we were taken by ferry to Ricky's restaurant and were split into teams to prepare the food for our lunch, 6 different amazing courses, it was just divine! And they gave us the recipes too - I suggested to hubby that he could reproduce them for me when we get home but strangely he didn't seem too enthused about that! There's definitely a food theme to my post here I know, but as a trained Food Techie I can't help myself!

This afternoon a few of us went shopping at a local mall which was fun, I picked up a few things for my little girl at home. Tomorrow morning we're doing our swap and some make n takes which is exciting - a couple of days with no stamping has started to bring on withdrawl - you all know I love to stamp! On Saturday we're hoping to go on a fabulous touristy trip hand feeding wild dolphins and lots of other things, I'm really looking forward to that. And of course there will be the farewell dinner that night which I am told is a real highlight of the Incentive trip. That's all a big secret as to what we are doing so that adds to the excitement!

Oh and you should see the gifts that Stampin' Up! has so generously given us so far (I say so far as there are more to come - we spin a prize wheel every day and they have been leaving gifts in our rooms every night!). I now have a cute apron and a chef's hat (embellished with SU buttons!), I have won some Ski Slope DSP and corduroy buttons on the prize wheel (woo hoo!), and tonight they gave us a gift box containing lots of ink pads, some marker pens, a new stamp set (WOW) and a new punch that we don't yet have in NZ. I'm SO excited about this punch as I'm guessing it means we'll be getting this one in a future mini or main catalogue (or both) and I get to play with it now!! My poor husband has had to put up with me shrieking when I open the gifts from SU as it is so exciting to get all these wonderful things. Thanks SO much to Stampin' Up! for spoiling me rotten, and a huge thanks too, to all my wonderful customers and team members, without you I wouldn't be here in the first place.

Hopefully I'll be back again to share more news with you before we head home on Sunday. I'll definitely post photos when I get home as I'm sure you're all keen to see the goodies!

Inky hugs to everyone!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Not quite as I'd planned...

Hi everyone,
Well the last couple of days haven't exactly gone according to my grand plan. Aside from going to work, I had all these fabulous ideas for projects to make, challenges to enter, and blog posts to put on here. But it's just not meant to be!

I have been frantically busy in the last week, making swaps for the Stampin' Up! incentive trip to Noosa that hubby and I are going on. I even had him play "factory" with me tonight and had him cut up the supply lists I'd printed, but alas, they are still not finished! So I will be busy on the plane in the morning, lol!

In the meantime, here's a wee Christmas card that I had as a make & take for Laurinda's workshop a little while ago. I also made lots of these for a team swap, which went down well. They're quick and easy to make, and again I took the colours from the DSP I used - Ski Slope, from the Spring Mini. I hadn't planned on buying the Tree Trimmings set until Stampin' Up! gave me an offer I just couldn't pass up (an extra discount on top of my normal Demonstrator discount!) and I'm rather glad now that I did get this set.

Must get some sleep for a few hours... I think I might be falling asleep during my facial at the Spa tomorrow afternoon. Oh well, I can think of worse places to fall asleep!

Take care and I'll be back soon to tell you all about my fabulous trip! (I know it will be fabulous, because Stampin' Up! have organised it!).

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Take 2 - Circle Circus

Morning everyone!

Here's my second take on Karen's Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge #30. Quite a different look to the first card I posted up yesterday, isn't it? (See it here). For this one, I thought it was about time that I mounted my Circle Circus set that I got at Convention back in May, gosh time has flown since then! I must say that I wasn't so excited about this set when I first saw it, but it's slowly growing on me.

The colour inspiration for this card was the Washington Apple DSP, I am working with that at the moment for other projects, so I took the colours from that. That's another great tip for when you're stuck for a colour combination, just use the colours from your favourite DSP, whether or not you actually use any of the DSP itself. So I've used Riding Hood Red, Pumpkin Pie, So Saffron and Bashful Blue for this card. The greeting comes from the Occasional Greetings set, it's a set of 12 stamps for $71.95. So it's an investment set - at the higher end of the range, but so versatile, I get a lot of use out of it. I'm sure I'll be pulling it out again soon for Father's Day cards!

I think the rest of the card is pretty self-explanatory, but if you have any questions, click here to email me.

Have a great day!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge #30 - Great Friend

Morning everyone!

Sorry for my little absence there, I did promise I'd be putting up another project from a recent workshop, didn't I? Well, this is not it (sorry Laurinda!), I'll post that up some other time. I just had to play along with Karen's Sweet Sunday sketch for this week. I have a couple of cards I needed to make, urgently, to send to my wonderful nieces over in the USA, whom I see very rarely :-(. I am very late for their birthdays this year, ahem...

So anyway, Karen's sketch was perfect for one of the cards I wanted to make. Now I must tell you that the particular niece this is going to, is into bright pink, and very girly stuff. I haven't really used the Bold Brights colours as a dominant colour (except maybe Real Red, for Christmas projects) in a while as I am so into the new in-colours right now. But Pixie Pink had to come out of hiding!

This is another example of how to use some strong colours together but not have them smack you in the face - like my tip in a previous post, use lots of a neutral colour and allow some empty ("white") space to give your viewer's eyes a place to rest. In this case I used both Whisper White and Kraft cardstock to break up the Pixie Pink and Orchid Opulence. The green colour is Certainly Celery, which helps to tone it down a fraction. This colour combination is straight from the Colour Coach - if you have one, go check it out!

The stamp set I've used here is Great Friend, from the Spring Mini. Probably my favourite set from there, although I like lots of them! And I've used the new scallop oval punch too. I love how Stampin' Up! punches nest like this (this one works well with the large and small oval punches) and make it so easy to add your own embellishments. This card took me less than half an hour to make, and that included messing around with colour and stamp image choices. Those of you who know me, know that I have a lot to choose from, so that can take a while!

It'd be a good one for making several at a time to give as a set. Three silver brads finish off this simple card, it kind of looked a bit empty before I added them. I've spaced them out evenly by using the mat pack to get the holes for the brads where I wanted them, all nice and straight in a line. (I'm picky like that). If you don't have the supplies I've used, just e-mail me (click here) to place your order.

Come back and visit soon as I have another entry to the Sweet Sunday challenge to show you! I know, two entries to one challenge - I'm as shocked as anyone!

Thanks Karen, for another fabulous challenge!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Corrosive Challenge #23

Hi everyone!

I'm sitting at home right now waiting for someone to finish installing the dishwasher (one of the many things we've had to sort since moving house - I am never moving again if I can help it!!). So I thought I'd put this blog post up while I wait.

Janet this week has a colour challenge for the Corrosive Challenge #23, this I can handle a little easier than the inspiration picture she had last week, I just couldn't do that one! However, this was still a bit of a challenge for me. We had to use the colours Pumpkin Pie, Bermuda Bay and Ruby Red. We don't have Bermuda Bay (it's a US in-colour) so I substituted Tempting Turquoise.

The tough part with this colour challenge for me was that all three of those colours are really strong ones - kind of "in your face" type of colours that I would normally use individually with something a little softer (or only use one other colour). So I knew I ran the risk of making something hideous, if I didn't nut it out carefully!

So I followed the general rule that I mentioned in my last post - use progressively smaller amounts of each colour so as not to have it scream "I'm out of balance" at me. I chose Tempting Turquoise as my main colour, then Pumpkin Pie, and just a hint (relatively speaking) of Ruby Red.

I made this card to give to a little boy who is turning 5 shortly. We're going to his birthday party this weekend. I figure it's safe to post this here since I don't think his Mum knows about my blog.

I used Pun Fun for the rocket and the sentiment (Tip: with that set, carefully cut the sentiments away from the images, mount the sentiments on the sides of the blocks so you can just ink up the images easily and use the sentiments separately without needing to use a marker to ink them up). I stamped the rocket on watercolour paper using Basic Brown (you need a waterproof ink when colouring so couldn't stamp it in any of the colours from the challenge) and coloured it in with a blender pen and my ink pads. I did do a little shading with Going Gray around the rocket to give it a bit of oomph but I hope Janet will forgive me that little addition!

The Pumpkin Pie patterned DSP is retired I'm afraid, from last year's Jersey Shore. It worked so well with this card I thought. If I hadn't had this in my stash, I'd have just stamped a subtle background onto a piece of Pumpkin Pie cardstock.

With the sentiment I stamped it out on Whisper White cardstock, then punched it out with the small oval. Layers using the large oval and Designer label punches finish it off.

So, how did I do? Not too "in your face"? Thanks Janet for stretching me!

Have a great day everyone! I'll be back again soon with another project from one of my workshops recently (wow, so many blog posts in one week, this must be a record for me!). In the meantime, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to e-mail me (click here).

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Casing the Spring Mini

Good morning!
As promised, I have another Spring Mini project to show you today. I demonstrated this one at a workshop on Sunday, where Rachael (yes, we share the same name, hi Rachael!) was keen to learn how the Colour Coach works. I thought it was a great opportunity to showcase products from the Spring Mini, show how to use the samples in our catalogues for inspiration, and teach the ladies about the Colour Coach, all with one project.

A good tip for using colour combinations you're not sure of, is to use progressively smaller amounts of each colour. On the Colour Coach itself it says to use each colour and make it about half of the previous colour you've used. That's just a rough guide, don't go trying to somehow measure the amount you've used! The main colour on this card is Brocade Blue, I love that blue and wanted to feature it for something a little different as I haven't really showcased it before (how can that be?!). So using the Colour Coach, I had Chocolate Chip, Old Olive, More Mustard and Pumpkin Pie colours to work with. If you have a Colour Coach, check that out - and if you don't have one, you can always e-mail me to order it!

Next I looked in the Spring Mini, as I wanted to use products from there for the demonstration. The card using Forest Friends on page 12 (that set is oh-so-cute, and great value at $28.95!) caught my eye. I changed the card dimensions to make a standard size card, and that meant I had a large space down at the bottom of the card. So instead of stamping the sentiment on the side edge of the card as in the Spring Mini, I chose a larger sentiment from Cheer & Wishes and stamped it at the bottom instead. Cheer & Wishes is on page 112 of the main catalogue and I think it's an often over-looked set. At $39.95 for 6 stamps covering a wide range of occasions, I think it's a fabulous set to have. I love the font they've used for "Warm wishes", particularly!

Anyway, back to this card. I changed the ribbon to the Chocolate Chip Taffeta (one of my favourites!), showing the ladies an easy way to add a knot to a project, and used my markers to ink up the tree. As you can see, the amounts of More Mustard (the bunny) and Pumpkin Pie (one of the new flower brads - yum!) on the card are very small; by just adding a touch of those colours it makes the card "pop" but doesn't scream "I'm trying to use lots of colours" in your face! Another good tip is to make sure you've got plenty of a neutral colour in the card - such as white or vanilla, depending on what other colours you're using.

I hope this gives you a few tips on how to take inspiration from Stampin' Up!'s catalogues and working with colour combinations you haven't tried before.

Have a great day!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Sweetest Spring Mini challenge

Morning everyone!

I don't know what you all think about our new goodies in the Spring Mini, but I'm having a ball playing with everything! Karen had her Sweet Sunday Sketch Challenge #29 up when I went to check yesterday, and I love this week's sketch! I don't know how you do it Karen, but ideas seem to pop straight into my head when I see your sketches! I'm supposed to be making about 50 cards for a couple of swaps I'm doing (in the next two weeks - yikes!) but couldn't resist the challenge this week.
For this card I used several products from the new Spring Mini - first, the card base is actually our new textured specialty DSP, Parisian Breeze. Wow this paper is just gorgeous! It's a little more expensive than our other DSP, $27.95 for 12 sheets (plus shipping) because it's thick enough to use as a card base as I've done here. The fabulous part about that is that I've got a beautifully patterned inside of my card without any effort on my part! My card is 3" x 6" so in fact I could get 4 base cards from one sheet of DSP, that doesn't work out too bad at all cost-wise. Hmm, might have to do that...

The second new product I used was one of the individual stamps that we have in the Spring Mini. Fun Flowers is a cute little image that I used for my focal point, I stamped it on Whisper White cardstock using Baja Breeze ink and cut it out. I mounted it on a scalloped square punched from Kraft cardstock, then used Dimensionals to layer it onto my Chocolate Chip patterns DSP from the main catalogue. That was mounted onto a piece of Kraft cardstock and I added a row of pierced holes on each side for a bit of added dimension (I think they work well with the dots on the Parisian Breeze DSP). I often add a little piercing on my projects as it can lift an otherwise boring layout and it's the cheapest way I know to embellish your work, once you have purchased the mat pack!

The "Thank You" image is also from the Spring Mini. Can you find it in there? It's from the Elegant Thank You stamp on page 3. I simply used a Chocolate Chip marker to ink up just the words, stamped it onto Whisper White cardstock and cut it out into a little banner. It's attached using one of the oh-so-yummy corduroy buttons in Baja Breeze, also in the Spring Mini. I love these! (If you're reading this Dale, yes I do now have a sample to show you - and they are fabulous!). There's also a couple of Dimensionals behind my little banner, as with the layers on the left hand side, it needed to sit up a bit from the card base.

I have to show you the inside of the card as well, I love the pattern in this DSP. I often add a Whisper White or a Very Vanilla insert to my cards, especially where the card base is a dark colour, so that it gives you a clear space to write your message. Adding an insert makes the card a little thicker and I think, a bit more luxurious. I usually do a little simple stamping to the insert and here I've used one of the images from Great Friend, one of my favourite new sets from the Spring Mini.

And that's it! You won't hear me say this often (I'm my own worst critic), but I love this card. The photos really don't do it justice, you need to see it in real life. I love how quickly the idea came to me, and how easy it was to put together. Thanks again Karen!

If you live in NZ and you would like a hard copy of the Spring Mini, contact me (click here) and I can get one to you pronto. While you're waiting, you can view it online - just click on the picture of the Spring Mini in the sidebar.

I hope I've given you a little inspiration today, be sure to check back soon as I've got more Spring Mini samples to share with you this week!

Happy stamping!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Announcing.... The Spring Mini Catalogue & my first class at home!

Hi everyone,

For those of you who are not Demonstrators and have been waiting anxiously to get a peek at the Spring Mini, I'm delighted to announce that it's now open for ordering!

You can click on the picture of the mini (see to the right), or simply click here to view it online. I anticipate keying my first lot of orders through this weekend so that my customers will start to receive their new toys possibly as soon as Friday August 7th, depending on how inundated with orders the Stampin' Up! warehouse team are! If you would like your new toys to be included with my first lot of orders, e-mail me (click here) to let me know what you'd like!

I have a second announcement - and for me, this is almost as big news as the new Spring Mini! I have finally scheduled my first class to be held at my home! I have taught classes elsewhere, but I'm excited to be able to welcome you to my home for a fun class in a cosy setting. Places will be limited, so don't hesitate to contact me to book in - and as a celebration of the occasion, the first four to book will receive a free gift on arrival!

- Masculine Cards Class - taught by me recently at SENZ 2009, repeated by popular request! Please see the photo for a wee peek at the cards we'll be making.

- Sunday 16th August, start time 1:30pm (finishing approximately 3:30pm). Located in East Tamaki, exact address provided upon receipt of your class fee.

- Cost: $45 which includes the Starring You stamp set valued at $28.95, and a free copy of the Spring Mini catalogue. Please bring your own adhesive, and a pair of scissors suitable for paper crafting.

- I will need attendees to book in and pay your class fee by August 9th to allow time for the supplies to be ordered. Thank you!
Have a fabulous weekend!