Tuesday, March 6, 2018

A Host of Golden Daffodils

   I wandered lonely as a cloud 
That floats on high o'er vales and hills, 
When all at once I saw a crowd, 
A host, of golden daffodils; 
Beside the lake, beneath the trees, 
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze. 

    Daffodils have to be the happiest flower in creation ~ and don't they make you happy, too? I can't help but smile when I see them, lined up in a less than precise chorus line along a fence or in a random patch sprouting up in the woodside. 

Continuous as the stars that shine 
And twinkle on the milky way, 
They stretched in never-ending line 
Along the margin of a bay: 
Ten thousand saw I at a glance, 
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

Daffodils, jonquils, narcissus ~ are they all the same? In one sense it doesn't really matter (to me, they are all simply beautiful springtime flowers), but when your mother attempts to define the difference, you take note. So, daffodil is the common name for many of the species of the genus Narcissus. 

The waves beside them danced; but they 
Out-did the sparkling waves in glee: 
A poet could not but be gay, 
In such a jocund company: 
I gazed—and gazed—but little thought 
What wealth the show to me had brought: 

    It is likely that you refer to this flower in the context in which you were introduced - from William Wordsworth's poem I Wandered Lonely As A Cloud, or the sweet childhood classic Daffodowndilly, or mythology class and the legend of Narcissus.

    I was lucky enough to roam through England's Lake Country where Wordsworth spent so much time, where he and his sister Dorothy hiked and became inspired to journal and compose ... as an English major, that trip was major to me!

Did you memorize his poem in school?

For oft, when on my couch I lie 
In vacant or in pensive mood, 
They flash upon that inward eye 
Which is the bliss of solitude; 
And then my heart with pleasure fills, 
And dances with the daffodils. 
William Wordsworth

     Daffodils, like few other flowers, seem to have continually popped up here    and there through my years, so when I discovered the stamp set You're Inspiring featuring these trumpeting blooms, I knew it would be on my wish list. I have just started playing with it; stamping and coloring the images is almost as joyful as the flowers themselves.


    The delicate lined images are perfect for coloring with our Blends, the Watercolor Pencils, Stampin' Write Markers, plus added interest using Blender Pens and Aqua Painters. 

There truly are dozens of varieties of this happy bloom, but generally the blooms are yellow or white, often with a touch of orange - not that I am the expert, just what I have observed and found from google - so reach for Daffodil Delight, Crushed Curry, Pumpkin Pie, Tangelo Twist, Garden Green.

  When I bought my very first home in October 100 years ago, I was immediately struck by the towering oak trees and maple trees in the front yard; what beauty! I honestly believe I bought that house on Sunny Lane for the trees. After that first gorgeous autumn and then a Midwest blizzard-heavy winter, the backyard fence burst into hundreds, HUNDREDS of daffodils! I had no idea they were there ~ such a delightful surprise! 

    Several years ago when I sold my mother's home, which was my childhood home and the home in which I raised my girls, it was March and her jonquils were up and in bloom. The last item packed after I locked the door was a handful of her flowers to take to our new home. 

Are you familiar with the Greek myth of Narcissus?

Echo and Narcissus
John William Waterhouse

The stamp set is incredibly easy to work with, let's stamp!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Don't Hide Your Eyes From This Eclipse

I became fascinated last summer when 'eclipse' cards became the rage, or the revival of the eclipse card. I was immediately going to create a card for my youngest grandson, his name has just four letters.

Opps, I did not have the large letter framelits.

Debate with SU Self:
SU Self: You need the framelits to make the eclipse cards.
Self: They seem a little pricey.
SU Self: Is anything too expensive for your sweet grandchildren?
Self: Of course not, ridiculous question. Hmmm, COLE. ABBY. COLIN. BRADLEY - oh, way too long.
SU Self: what about words: LOVE. KISS. YOU. HELLO.
Self: Good ideas, but will I really make them; I have stamp sets I haven't used yet (don't tell anyone!).
SU Self: Well you surely won't make them if you don't have the framelits.
Self: Yeah, I do need the framelits.

Well, I did not buy them.

Then came Cole's birthday. No Large Letter Framelits. I did, however, make a cute Special Delivery Happy Birthday card using that nostalgic DSP,  happy fox  framelits and fun foam.

Well, I have done it! Ordered. Shipped. In use. For Valentine's Day.

Here are a few tips for when you break down and order the Large Letter Framelits:

* stamp the top art layer of your card, I would not cut it any smaller than 5 1/8 x 3 7/8
* leave some white area, and or lightly stamped areas
* use grid paper and a rule to line up letters, you may place the letters tightly side by side as the cutting edges are a wee bit more narrow than the top edges
* you can also use washi tape to gently secure the framelits on your card before running through the Big Shot ~consider practicing with your line up before cutting into your stamped layer
* cut several sets of the letters from card stock to stack and provide the height

* I used liquid tombow to glue letters into thick stacks of the same letter, glue stamped art letters on the top of the coordinating stacks - don't forget the middle of letters, like with the O, like I did

* gently insert stacked letters into corresponding space

So, don't you need the Large Letter Framelits?

Let's stamp!

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Color Inspiration from the Caribbean

How do you choose which colors to use on a card, or for the card base? There are so many different color combinations.

Having stamped for many years now, I often look for color and design inspiration in nature's landscapes as I travel and take photos. Hmm, does that mean I can write off my vacations as work expense...

Recently in the Caribbean I visited several botanical gardens, including an orchid garden ~ wow, some of those colors were intense.

Row after room of hanging beauties. Of course I was holding up those behind me walking through this greenhouse, but I was intent on studying the shading, thinking of our Stampin' Up! Blends. 

I love to create using white on white, but look at what just a pop of color does for this velvety white orchid. 

More color combinations from looking out of a window... 

And texture. This is a Fish Tails Palm. It resembles our new Petal Pair Textured Impressions Embossing Folders.

Finding color inspiration is the easy part, choosing exactly which of our colors to put together seems to take me a little longer ~ another reason why I am up all night!

Let's stamp!

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Greetings for the New Year!

I hope you are getting excited for the new year and the release of Stampin' Up!'s Occasions Catalog and Sale-A-Bration Event. It is going to be tremendous year ~ Stampin' Up! celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, so I feel certain that we will all have many chances to celebrate with them.

But before the clock strikes midnight and calendar rolls over, consider some stampin' housekeeping before the new products arrive on your doorstep.

I do not want to say that I abuse my Stampin' Trimmer, but it does get a tremendous amount of use as the only paper trimmer I have; so I attempt to keep the surface clean of snail adhesive and liquid glue goo ~ I usually use my silicon craft mat for all of my work, as I am sure you do as well, but sometimes I get in a hurry, or behind ... 

Give your trimmer a good wash down, as well as the cutting mat and the plastic slide/ruler for the blades. I use alcohol wipes to clean the surface and plastic ruler. The trimmer mats do come out of their position and can be turned over. Dust and minuscule bits of paper get trapped in the mat. If needed, add replacement mats to your next order. I always have a spare pair of cutting blades on hand, too.

The alcohol wipes I use work wonderfully well on acrylic blocks; now is a good time to get them cleaned up for new year stampin', too. Try cleaning your bone folder, paper snips and piercing tool while you are at it.

I recently cleaned my Stampin' Scrub ~ just in the kitchen sink under running water, drying it in the dish drainer. 

How about your Big Shot Cutting Pads? Are they clean? Fairly flat? Try to rotate the pads occasionally to help keep them flat. Flatter pads hold framelits to the magnetic platform easier. Having a spare set of pads is a good idea.

Once everything is in terrific working order, stamping becomes even easier and more enjoyable.

The cleaning and supplies take little time and little funds.

Organizing ~ now that's a different matter, but something to consider as you prepare to begin ordering from the new catalog. Take stock of what you already have and make a list of what you need to replenish. As you look through the new catalog at the gorgeous Designer Series Papers, stamp sets and kits, check that you have the coordinating colors of cardstock and ink or refills. 

Cheers! Let's stamp in 2018! 

Monday, November 27, 2017

Quilt All Year with Quilted Christmas and Stampin' Up!

A 101 years ago one of my best friends taught me to quilt. Her grandmother quilted, as did her mother, as did she. I admired all of their handiwork as well as those countless women I never knew, but either lovingly touched their quilts or bought their quilts to keep my young family warm.

At the time I was living in the Midwest in a somewhat country environment and surrounded by Amish communities. I took every chance I could get to venture out to fall weekend festivals and obscure antique shops 'just looking' for quilts.

When I decided I wanted to try sewing one myself, I labored over the calico choices in the fabric store ~ literally labored as I was expecting my second child! With primary colored calico selections, 'Garden Green' green for the sashing, fluffy white batting and thread and needles, I was prepared for my first quilting lesson. I had also decided upon the relatively simple nine patch pattern and the size of a baby quilt.

I completed it all by hand; it blanketed my youngest and it has moved with me and is now safely stored, but readily available as needed for any visiting baby grand. (I tried a few additional quilts, with varied success.)

Needless to say, I was delighted when Stampin' Up! introduced the Quilted Christmas Suite. It is the first suite shown in your Holiday Catalog, and it was the very first holiday item I purchased!

DSP  and ink for fabric ~ framelits for templates ~  paper trimmer for scissors ~ snail for thread...

Choosing the pattern is simple, but the 'fabrics,' well that's still a little labor intensive, only because I love it all. But, I can have it all! With all of the items in the suite, I can stitch, quilt and even applique.

I particularly like this sweet and joyful font!

As always, I look to the many talented demonstrators and crafters online and in my cyber communities, my upline and downline and the catalog for inspiration and a starting point. The combination of talented artists and SU materials always equals success.

I have many more Christmas cards to make with this suite, but the incredible beauty of this suite is that it does not have to be ~ should not be ~ limited to Christmas!  I used it for Thanksgiving: 

And I copied a design that I thought was interesting and not particularly holidayish:

Can you see that needle and thread? Created with die cuts and the coordinating framelits. 

This is just too much fun!! 

Although you can use this suite of products all year long, the products are only available through the end of this year!!  Join the fun and we can create a virtual quilting bee!

Monday, November 6, 2017

Tell them thanks

Tell them thanks...

Please don't put away your fall and Thanksgiving stamp sets yet! I know everything in the stores is beginning to scream Christmas, but let's not forget about what just may be the least commercialized holiday of the year. 

I love autumn! We have stamp sets and dies and papers and embellishments and embossing folders that make for beautiful fall cards. Stunning cards. Handsome cards. What a lovely way to say 'thanks.' 

I will be happy to help you design a card if you like it - just ask! 

Please don't let this season of gratitude slide by without
telling them thanks! 

Wednesday, September 13, 2017


Bonjourno! The ship is rolling just a bit as we are making our way from La Spezia (our port for Florence and Pisa) to Civitavecchia (our port for Rome), but I think I can still type.

With these breezy days in the seventies on the Mediterranean. it is tough to consider the holidays and how quickly they are approaching. But before I left home on this much anticipated cruise with my husband, I did spend some play time with some products from the new Holiday Catalog.

I started out with two Designer Series Paper offerings : Be Merry (annual catalog page 113)

and Quilted Christmas (holiday catalog page 5). You know I love paper!

And although I did have the holidays on my mind, I was just playing and...

I picked up the new cat punch (have you found that in the holiday catalog?) and began punching out calico and gingham kitties.

Thinking of quilts, I chose different papers for cats and background and sashing and juggled them around a bit. I embossed several options for the background with the Quilt Top Textured Embossing Folder ~ solids and patterened papers. Then, I couldn't decide which side of the embossing I preferred.

I will say that embossed white or white with small and sparse patterns look a little like Northern Quilted Bath Tissue. I opted for a darker, almost-solid colored background for my paper quilt.

Not being the swiftest with numbers, I cut and embossed a piece of DSP measuring
5 1/2 x 4. Then I simply placed four kitties fairly evenly spaced on that layer and used 1/4" ribbon as the 'sashing.' And it worked! I could then layer that onto a standard card base of 5 1/2 x 4 1/4. Heavy cardstock is quite useful here.

So, I have not completed my cards; still playing, but I have lots of ideas, and not all Christmas...

Maybe another glass of wine will inspire more ideas.