Finding Your Inspiration Mojo

We all experience lulls in creativity.  And believe it or not, even I need a little inspiration with my card making and paper crafting.  Here are some quick tips if you’re feeling overwhelmed or lacking inspiration or need a little push to get started. 

Pick and choose from these seven tips — use one, use two or use as many tips that peak your interest to help you find your mojo.

Tip#1 – Look for inspiration in your Stampin’ Up! catalog.  It is filled hundreds of pages with card ideas, home décor items, packaging and gift-giving ideas.  Start with a simple design and adapt it using the supplies that you have on-hand.   

Tip#2 – Select your favorite Stampin’ Up colors.  Tired of those colors, then look more closely in your Stampin! Up!  catalog.  The annual catalog has fifteen designer series paper packs with exciting color combinations plus the In-Colors showcase the latest color trends.  The holiday catalog has seven more designer series paper filled with the latest fun and trendy seasonal color combinations.  Still not convinced – try combining several neutral colors or try creating a monochromatic look

Tip#3 – CASE a favorite designer and then add your own twist.  What designers, sketches or ideas inspire you most often?  What techniques do you most enjoy?  What design decisions come naturally to you – clean and simple? collages? mixed-media?  When CASE-ing, try experiment by adding or subtracting design elements until you find your own pleasing design combination.

Tip#4 – Look for inspiration elsewhere – Look closely at your favorite magazine, throw pillow, bedspread or new outfit and allow those colors and shapes to inspire you!  What colors did the designers select?  Where did they place the focal point?  How did they fill the design and use proportions?  What design elements and techniques did they use?  Train your eye to see the designer’s design decisions.

Tip#5 – Attend a stamp camp or view online technique videos to expand your skills.  There are many talented Stampin’ Up! demonstrators willing to share their talents through amazing classes, wonderful Tube videos and exciting Facebook Live events.  I think it is easier to learn a new skill with witnessing a live demonstration and having the ability to ask questions than to read instructions.

Tip#6 – Do something adventurous or out of the ordinary.  Grab that stamp set or tool that you rarely use.  Participate in a design challenge. If you like clean and simple, try a more elaborate design.  If you like elaborate designs, try something clean and simple.  Many websites and blogs release design sketches and design challenges to help inspire you and unleash your creativity!

Tip#7 – And finally, use quality products, tools and adhesives.  Quality doesn’t mean expensive.  Different papers have different finishes and weights.  Different inks have different properties.  You’ll be happier using papers and inks that are designed to work together — because they will provide a more polished look.  Using the right tools and the right adhesive makes a huge difference in the final appearance, too.  For example, using a bone folder will provide clean, crisp fold lines.  Having two pairs of scissors – one for cutting paper, one for cutting ribbon will ensure you have nice finish edges.  Having several different adhesive options will help you make the right choice for a more polished design that holds up to handling.

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!

Lisa

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Purchase Your Stampin’ Blends Markers Today!

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Starting November 1st, customers may purchase Stampin’ Blends Markers!  These high quality markers make it so quick and easy to color and blend like an artist!  And, they are a must-have item for any crafter!  Here are the details:

  • Available in 12 colors (first launch) in both a light shade and a dark shade in our favorite Stampin’ Up! colors — Bermuda Bay, Calypso Coral, Cherry Cobbler, Crumb Cake, Daffodil Delight, Night of Navy, Old Olive, Pink Pirouette, Pool Party, Pumpkin Pie, Rich Razzleberry and Smoky Slate.
  • Ivory and Bronze color markers are available for coloring stamped images with skin tones for stamped caricature images and with neutral/earth tones for stamped images like baskets, branches and wood planks.
  • Color Lifter makes blending, highlights and coloring corrections super easy! No worries if you accidently color outside the lines. 
  • Stampin’ Blends are available for purchase as a single markers (for $4.50 each), a 2-pack combo of both light and dark shades (2 markers for $9) or in a complete set (27 markers – for $121.50). Therefore, you have the ability to collect these amazing markers slowly and to replace older markers when the time comes.

Click here to view a one-minute video to see these wonderful markers in action!

Why You’ll Love Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Blends Alcohol Markers:

  • Alcohol markers provide you with a rich, bold colors in your favorite Stampin’ Up! colors.
  • Color your pearls, rhinestones, white accents and other small plastic, glass and metal pieces with Stampin’ Blends to create perfectly coordinated embellishments for your project!
  • Each marker has two tips – a fine tip and a brush tip – so you can add just the right amount of color where you need it. On the barrel of the marker, a thin line or a thick line near the cap indicates the tip thickness.
  • Everyone has a favorite color! You can use your favorite color marker to your heart’s content knowing that a replacement marker with a fresh tip is available for purchase when the older marker needs replacing.
  • Stampin’ Up! tested these markers to ensure longevity! Each marker cap snaps tightly into place to prevent evaporating the alcohol solution and drying out the marker.
  • The marker caps are nestable – making it easy to find the cap and to snap the marker closed when not in use. By nesting the cap, I know I won’t lose the cap when my desk gets messy.
  • Stampin’ Write Markers and Watercolor Pencils can be used over top of Stampin’ Blend coloring (but not the other way around) for more subtle shading.

Tips for Using Stampin’ Blends:

  • For best results, stamp your image with Memento Ink on Whisper White thick cardstock or Very Vanilla thick cardstock. Let the stamped image dry 1-2 minutes before coloring to keep the stamped image lines crisp!
  • The alcohol solution in Stampin’ Blend markers will soak in and bleed through the paper – in fact, that is how you’ll know you’ve added enough rich, bold color. Recommend protecting your work surface by coloring on Grid Paper (or scrap paper). 
  • Work in small areas at a time because the inks blend more easily when wet. If you have a large image, work in smaller areas at a time before moving on.
  • Start with the lighter color first (leaving some white space to create a natural highlight, then add the darker color with a flicking motion for feather light touches of color, and then blend out with the lighter color using small circular motion.
    • Add a line of darker color inside the sketch lines of your stamped image to add dimension.
    • Add small flicks of darker color to create shadows and blend out with lighter tone.  TIP:  Recommend adding the darker color with a flicking motion, and then blending out with the fine tip of the Color Lifter using small circular motion to blend the outside edge.
    • You can also experiment with blending other colors of similar hues.  For example, add Light Daffodil Delight as a base layer for coloring leaves before adding Old Olive — it will give you a different shade of green.  Light Smoky Slate works great as your base color, too!  
  • Use the Color Lifter or the lighter shade marker to blend and to soften any harsh lines of color.  Recommend small circular motions to “move” the color and blend.
  • Use the Color Lifter to create highlights, add texture, clean up edges or to correct mistakes.  Recommend adding a little bit of Color Lifter in small circular motion and giving it a chance to “move” the color before adding more.
  • After each use, securely snap on the marker cap and close the marker! Even if you put your marker down for just a minute, snap it closed! 
  • Store your Stampin’ Blends horizontally in order to keep both tips wet with ink and to prevent one tip from drying out.
  • Whisper White and Very Vanilla are ideal for use with the Stampin’ Blends markers.  However, with a little lighter touch, you can use other light-colored shades of SU card stock!  For example, Crumb Cake, Pink Pirouette, So Saffron and Soft Sky may work nicely for your project.
  • Recommend matting your colored image to hide any “bleed” through on the backside of the paper.

Ways to practice your coloring and blending skills 

Getting confident with your new alcohol markers requires a little experimenting and lots of practicing.  If you’d like to make some adorable projects using your Stampin’ Blends, consider ordering the Color Me Happy Bundle and save 10% on the Color Me Happy stamp set and Color Me Happy Project Kit.  The stamp set has beautiful line-art images that are perfect way to practice using your new alcohol markers.   The kit includes 16 cards (4 each of 4 designs), envelopes and embellishments.  Please note that this kit is only available while supplies last and you may need to purchase a Memento ink Pad, if you don’t already own one! 

These awesome coloring tools are available November 1st! 

Click here to view a full color PDF version of the details on the kit, stamp set and Stampin’ Blends.

Become a demonstrator or hobbyist

By joining my team, you can add the Stampin’ Blends Marker Collection (a $121.50 value) to your Starter Kit — pay only $99, get FREE SHIPPING and receive a free paper pumpkin kit! That is a $54 savings.  As a hobbyist, you will save 20% on everything you order from Stampin’ Up! and never have to host a stamp camp or party.  Please contact me for more information.

I am very excited that Stampin’ Up! is offering these amazing alcohol markers.  Once you try them, I am confident that you’ll find that these Stampin’ Blends are a must-have item!  Please contact me with any questions. 

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!

Lisa

 

Stampin’ Blends – new Alcohol Markers

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November 1st, Stampin’ Up! is releasing a new line of alcohol-based markers!! 

I’m so super excited.  I pre-purchased ALL of these amazing markers.  And, I’m so, so happy that I did.  My crafty friends who attended October’s stamp camp had the opportunity to color with these amazing markers and they absolutely loved them.  I truly believe these new markers are a definite must-have crafting supply!  

What are alcohol markers?  They are artist-quality alcohol markers are shades of your favorite Stampin’ Up! colors:  Bermuda Bay, Calypso Coral, Cherry Cobbler, Crumb Cake, Daffodil Delight, Night of Navy, Old Olive, Pink Pirouette, Pool Party, Pumpkin Pie, Rich Razzleberry and Smoky Slate.  Each alcohol marker applies just the right amount of color where you need it.  Use the brush tip for coloring large areas, adding dimension or creating shadows.  Use the fine tip for adding details.  Every color (except Ivory and Bronze) has a light and dark shade. There is a Color Lifter to soften the colors, add texture, clean up edges and create highlights.

How to use these markers?   First, stamp the image using Tuxedo Black Memento ink.  (TIP:  To keep the image crisp, give the stamped images a minute or two to dry before adding the saturated color of the markers.) Color the selected area of the image with the lighter shade.  Next, add the darker shade for creating a shadow — adding line of color around the edges.  Then blend out the harsh, darker line using the lighter shade.  So, so simple.  You can also experiment with blending other colors of similar hues.basket of wishes catalog image

Here is a bushel basket for Basket of Wishes stamp set that I colored with the darker Crumb Cake marker and the Bronze marker.  First, I colored the whole image with Crumb Cake (it is lighter than the Bronze marker).  Then, I used the Bronze marker to create shadows because it was darker.  Then, I blended out the Bronze line with the darker Crumb Cake marker.  Quick and easy!  

After stamping the image in Tuxedo Black Memento ink, I quickly colored the basket with dark Crumb Cake.  Each stroke blends into the next stroke without streaking!

Next, I used the Bronze marker to color the basket horizontal bands and over top of the squiggly shadow lines in the image.  Then, I used the dark Crumb Cake marker to smooth and soften the Bronze marker lines.

basket of wishes 5

I dotted the Color Lifter pen to create highlights and enhance the overall look.  It is truly quick and easy.  And, if you happen to color outside the lines, the Color Lifter works beautifully!  These markers are a MUST-HAVE in your crafting supplies.  

These awesome coloring tools are available November 1st!  Click here to view to see a full color PDF version of the details on the kit, stamp set and Stampin’ Blends.

Click here to see a 1-minute video to see how simple these markers are to use!

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!

Lisa

Adhesives

Stampin’ Up! offers many different types of adhesives because different paper crafting projects require different adhesives to create that polished look and to last!  As your crafting skills grow, you’ll need these adhesives to support your crafting needs.

Snail Adhesive – This is my go-to adhesive for applying controlled amounts of double sided adhesive to your cards and projects. It is acid free and refills are also available to order.  I keep two snail dispensers and one refill on my desk — so that I’m never without!

Mini Glue Dots – Fantastically handy and requires no drying time.  I use tweezers or paper piercing tool to pick up and apply these instant dots of adhesive exactly where I need it.  

mini glue dots

StampinDimensionals and the new Mini Stampin’ Dimentionals are double-sided adhesive foam dots.  They are great for adding height and dimension to your projects; while, Foam Adhesive Stripes are great for making shaker and spinner cards.

Stampin’ Up!’s Fine Tip Glue Pen is perfect for brilliant for projects with very intricate die cuts, as it allows you to add fine lines of glue where needed.  Also, when applied on top of an embellishment and allowed to dry, it provides a glossy finish.  

fine tip glue

Fast Fuse  is an acid free super-strength adhesive which is great for 3D projects.  

Tombow Multipurpose Liquid Glue  which has a super strong bond and dries clear, great for adding embellishments to your projects and for sticking down paper.

multi purpose glue

Tear & Tape – This strong adhesive has a tear-able paper backing for quick and easy assembly that is perfect for boxes and 3D projects.   Love it!

tear and tape

Washi Tape – What’s to love about washi tape? Everything! The designs and colors. The versatility. The simplicity—just tear, tape, and transform. While technically not an adhesive, it comes in lots of coordinating Stampin’ Up! colors.  It is great for attaching elements, matting, adding a strip of color or creating custom backgrounds. 

Multipurpose Adhesive Sheets –  This is a new item in the Annual Catalog.  It easily adheres to the backside of cardstock and is easily cut with your Big Shot and dies — so it is super easy to attach die cut embellishments!

multi purpose adhesive sheets

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!

Lisa

Random Act of Kindness

random act of kindness is any action designed to offer kindness towards the outside world. The phrase “practice random acts of kindness and senseless acts of beauty” was written by Anne Herbert on a place mat in Sausalito, California in 1982.  Ten years later, Anne published a book, entitled Random Acts of Kindness, speaking about true stories of acts of kindness.

Today, RAKtivists are changing the world through random acts of kindness.   

WHAT IS A RAKTIVIST?

‘RAKtivist’ is short for ‘Random Acts of Kindness activist’ – a kindness ambassador who inspires others with hope, kindness and generosity through their actions.   RAKtivists are everywhere.  The stranger who stops to hold the door open for a young mother with her hands full.  The commuter who offers their bus seat to an elderly passenger.  The person who leaves behind painted rocks for others to find.  The crafter who sends cards to brighten someone’s day.   Yes, you are a RAKtivist!

Recently, I received two RAK cards from other Stampin’ Up! demonstrators.  These are ladies that I have never met – but they choose to send crafting hugs to me.  I literally did the happy dance at the mailbox.  I couldn’t wait to open a crafting hug to me!

This card uses the “Crafting Forever” stamp set.  

crafting forever - Sept RAK

And this card uses “Oh So Eclectic” bundle.

RAK - 2017-09-01

World Kindness Day – November 13, 2017

While we should probably celebrate kindness every day, the official day is Monday, November 13th.  So mark your calendar & get ready to spread lots of kindness!

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!

Lisa

 

Spooky Night Product Suite

Now that September is finally here, Halloween is just around the corner.  The Spooky Night designer series paper is perfect for making party favors for Halloween night.

xx spooky night dsp sampler

And paired with treat tubes, mini clear treat boxes and mini pizza boxes from the new Holiday catalog, you will be sure to please any ghosts, goblins or witches that come a calling.

If you would like to learn make this card and other stamping techniques, please contact me to attend one of my stamp camp classes at lisap23322@gmail.com.  All of these products are available from my online store – just click on the tab above.

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!

Lisa

Special Treat Bags for You

Would you like to give someone a sweet treat this holiday season?  Try these striped treat bags from Stampin’ Up!  These fun bags with gold foil stripes can be used plain or dressed up with die cuts, ribbons and other embellished or customized with stamps, brayers and other techniques to create a special treat for someone special.

Here is a treat bag that I made recently to attach on the outside of a plain white gift bag to hold a birthday card.  I simply die cut the large butterfly from the Butterfly Thinlits and the “for you” sentiment from the Mini Treat Bag Thinlits using the gold foil sheets.  

xx striped treat bags

Here, some designer paper is used to create a festive belly band.  The treat bag is held closed with some linen thread, mini tassels and tags.  This is just so simple to make.

xx striped treat bag sample idea

And how about… just adding some Large Number Framelits and this treat bag becomes an adult version of an advent calender with gold mini sequin trim and Santa’s Sleigh Thinlits.   

xx striped treat bag sample idea 2

This just goes to show that there are lots of creative possibilities for using these striped treat bags – especially when a package contains 10 bags, each 4.5″ x 7″.  All of these products are available from my online store, just click on the tab above.

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!

Lisa

Technique: Fussy Cutting

Fussy cutting is a quick and an affordable way to create your own pretty embellishments and to add simple depth and dimension in your craft project. 

But, what is Fussy Cutting? 

It was originally a quilting term to cut pieces of fabric to center and feature a particular section of the design.  In paper crafting, this term is applied when using a good pair of scissors to trim a stamped image from cardstock or printed motifs from designer paper.

It just takes a little patience and a little practice to perfect this technique.  To learn this technique, first start with a simple, straightforward pattern.  Before you know it, you’ll have the confidence to try a more intricate and detailed pattern.

Here are a few tricks for incorporating fussy cutting in your stamped projects:

  1. Relax your hands and take a deep breath.  You’ve been using scissors since kindergarten.  Try not to over think this.  Yes, it really is that simple!
  2. Use Stampin’ Up! paper snips. These are very sharp, micro-tip scissors. The shorter the blade, the easier it is to maneuver the paper.  The smaller the tip, the easier it is to snip out those tight corners.
  3. Begin with a rough cut of the image you wish to fussy cut.  This will give you a smaller piece of paper to handle and the ribbon of trimmed paper won’t get in the way while you cut out the details of your image.
  4. Use the fulcrum of your scissors, not the tips!  This will improve your maneuverability and it will result in clean-cut edges while you trim the image.
  5. Make long, slow cuts rather than quick snips. Quick snips result in choppy edges.
  6. If you encounter tight corners, pass by it during the long slow cut. Then go back later and snip those pieces out using the tip of your scissors.
  7. Always move and turn the paper, not the scissors, as you cut.  Keep your scissors pointed straight ahead.
  8. Always cut the piece of paper all the way to the paper edge, instead of ending your scissor cut too soon and having to tear the paper and possibly ruining your cut.
  9. For a finished look, sponge the trimmed edge or run the brush tip of a color marker around the trimmed edges to hide any rough cuts or untrimmed bits of paper.
  10. For depth and dimension use Stampin’ Dimensionals, Stampin’ Mini Dimensionals and pieces of Foam Adhesive Strips to pop up your fussy cut images.  If you want less height, try stacking two Mini Glue Dots.  If you want more height, add more layers of images and dimensionals.

Fussy cutting is a great technique to have in your back pocket especially since most stamps sets do not have a coordinating die.  And, there are times when your design calls for a cleaner edge than the white border obtained with die cutting.

Here is a card that I made using the fussy card technique by cutting sea shells from the So Many Shells stamp set. 

xx so many shells

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!

Lisa

Blog:  https://craftinghugs.wordpress.com/

 

Holiday Tags with Everyday Label Punch

As we approach the month of September, time seems to fly.  The holidays are upon us before we know it.  Now is the time for some quick and easy craft projects to avoid scurrying around at the last minute.  

These tags are quick and easy and will add a special touch to your holiday packaging – present, gift bag or wine bottle, and within a few minutes you can make 45 or 50 tags.

Merry Little Christmas tag examples

Supply List:

  • Snail adhesive
  • Dimensionals
  • Banner Triple Punch (138292)
  • Scallop Tag Topper Punch (133324)
  • Everyday Label punch (144668 from holiday catalog)
  • Labels to Love stamp set (144967 from holiday catalog)
  • Merry Little Labels stamp set (144795 from holiday catalog)
  • Archival Basic Black ink pad
  • Cherry Cobbler ink pad
  • Old Olive ink pad
  • Cherry Cobbler cardstock (2”x4”, 1”x4”, ½”x4”)
  • Old Olive cardstock (2”x4”, 1”x4”, ½”x4”)
  • Very Vanilla cardstock (2”x3”)
  • Merry Little Christmas designer series paper (144621 from holiday catalog) 
  • Ribbon or Twine (5 inches long)
  • Season of Glitz mini bows (144635 from holiday catalog, comes with 45 bows)

Instructions

  • Select the 2”x4” piece of DSP or cardstock as your bottom layer; punch one end with the Scallop Tag Punch and the other end with Banner Triple punch
  • Stamp the sentiment on Very Vanilla cardstock piece with solid color ink and punch with Everyday Label punch (or use markers and the huffing technique to color sections of the stamp before stamping the Very Vanilla cardstock piece)
  • Using snail adhesive, attach additional layers of DSP or cardstock to the tag
  • Using dimensionals, attach the very vanilla piece to the tag piece
  • Embellish with mini bows
  • Add the ribbon or twine to the tag top

Merry Little Christmas tag punches

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!

Lisa