Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Easy Layered Card - TUTORIAL

This is just a quick little note to remind you that it's ok to
create something quick 'n easy. Layered cards have so much dimension but take very little time.

The stamps used on this project:

Swirly Background ~ Scrappy Cat
'What's Up' ~ Impression Obsession

Here's is what else you will need for this project:

Cardstock in brown and clay orange
K&Company A-Z Mat Pad Papers
Colorbox Chalk Ink in Burnt Sienna & Yellow Citrus
K&Company Actopus to Zelephant Circus Train Border
Circle Punch
Double stick Flat and Foam Tapes

Cut, score & fold brown cardstock to desired size. Cut clay orange cardstock to fit as a top layer and stamp Swirly Background with Burnt Sienna and place on top of card.

Cut square from a coordinating paper and shade around edges using yellow citrus ink.

Cut center circle using punch from K&Co background paper and adhere to card

Cut one image from K&Co Train Border and adhere to square. Insert brads where the train wheels would be and layer on top of circle with foam tape.

Stamp 'What's Up' underneath circle in burnt sienna ink.....it's that easy!

AND DON'T FORGET ..... There's still time to enter to win my BLOG CANDY!
See the post below for all the details!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Alphabet Circus Train - BLOG CANDY

I spent some time loading photos on to my computer this evening. Many of them were of my grandsons, go figure! I wrestle with the temptation to share every 'cute' photo of them because, well you know, they're all cute!

So instead, I thought I would post these two projects I made which were inspired by them. There are at least 3 layers in this dimensional card.
I used K&Company's 'Actopus to Zelephant' Designer Mat Pad and Self-Adhesive Borders and let my imagination do the rest. I think they are great cards for kids and for 'kids at heart'.

Are you one of those 'kids'? Leave a comment and let me know what keeps you young and on Friday July 3rd, I will put all your names in a hat and draw a winner. The winner will receive a signed version of one of these cards complete with coordinating envelope...and knowing me, there will be a little something extra, too!

A Little Inspiration

Thought I would take a moment and share my 'Safari Box Purse' with you. I have made and sold so many of these in a variety of themes, but this has always been my favorite. It's the only one I cannot part with.

It's been awhile since I created this, but every time I look at it, I'm inspired. In other words, it's a reminder that whenever I experience 'dry' times in my creativity, I know that if I keep searching, I'll find creativity just around the corner.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Go Make Some Art...Whatever That is...

Sorry I haven't been able to post for a couple of days. I spent the better part of the last two trying to reorganize my art space. I hesitate to call it my studio anymore because I haven't been making much art in it lately. Does that ever happen to you? The creative juices run a little dry...the next thing you know, you begin to wonder 'hmmm....maybe if I re-theme all of my pinks/reds decorative background papers into sub-categories of pale, pastel, bright, rose, floral, geometric, retro, wedding, baby and MY HEAD IS GOING TO EXPLODE ALL OCCASION, I'll have more ideas...hmmm'.

Well, I think we all need to re-configure once in awhile because it does give us a fresh perspective.

The last message I posted said that I was feeling "particularly creative today". Well go figure! That was exactly 2 days ago. I just didn't know that the creativity I was experiencing would be channeled into 'new landscaping' for my space.

So as I put the finishing touches on my 'space', I look forward to sharing some new art with you. I hope you will let me know 'what kind of art you made today' Maybe by the end of today, I will be able to call it my art studio once again.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Watercolor Moments

Today I am going to look at everything as if it were a painting in watercolors. Looking out of my open window. there are lovely cumulus clouds floating by, a beautiful sunshine that is warming us up to nearly 95 degrees. Just a lovely, lovely day.

I woke up this morning in a very creative place, so I hope to get many things accomplished in my studio. As soon as I do, I will share them with you.

Will any of it include actually using a watercolor method? I don't know, but I know that it might...and that's good enough for me! Enjoy your day and take a moment to post a comment below. How did you spend it? And did it include watercolors?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Are You Trying to 'Follow' Me?

I know there were several of you who were checking out the blog today, so I thought I would let you know that as of this post, the site is not readily loading the 'followers' list, so if you are having trouble signing on to follow, please try again a little later....and if everything's A-OK with your log-in, then welcome! I'm glad you're here!

Sense of Time by Marilyn Heneghan

If you have been following my posts, you will know that over the weekend, I attended a Stampin' Up get-together at my friend Dr. Judy's house. One of the things I like about getting together for these types of mornings is that you can almost count on making new acquaintances...and of course, I did.

Marilyn was one of those people. Before she began her project with us, she passed around a few cards for us to look at and this one stopped us all in our tracks! So I asked her if she would mind if I shared it with all of you.

This project entitled 'Sense of Time' was of course created using a variety of stamps, papers and accents from SU. I absolutely love the color scheme and it is the perfect solution to some of those hard-to-think-of themes, such as graduation, retirement and masucline cards.

I've also mentioned to Marilyn that, from time to time, I would like to invite guests to host some tutorials for future projects, so look forward to more from her. She is also an altered book artist, so I look forward to her sharing with us soon. In the meantime, at the end of this post, you will see some of the products used for this card in the 'labels' list. If you would like more information, please let me know in the 'comments' section and I will be glad to put you in touch with her.

Monday, June 22, 2009

What's On Your Wish List?

So these are some of the treasures that Sarah sent me. I am so looking forward to creating some fun pieces to share with you. The only thing missing from the photo are a couple of magazines that I absolutely love. CraftStamper and Cards. Sarah knows how much I love to collect British magazines and of course, anything having to do with rubber stamping is a plus!

Sarah and I are working on our wish lists. There are things here in the U.S. that she would love to try and of course, the same holds true for me and the UK.

What's on your wish list? Isn't it exciting to purchase something that you've been waiting for! Then there's the ceremonial 'crossing off of the item from the actual list' That just makes room for the next thing, doesn't it?!

The comments section of this post is open, so please share....what's on your wish list.....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

My Favorite Friend from England

You've read many times little bits about my friend Sarah. She created this lovely little fairy and sent it to me along with a fabulous collection of fun things to play with in my own artwork. I will post a photo of those things tomorrow.

I love Sarah. She and I met in, what at the time, seemed like a most unusual way. Now it's the way most of us meet new people...the internet. I'll try for the short version.

My store was hosting it's first paper arts retreat and I was searching the web for different ways to promote the event. I went on to a website that had a place for people to leave comments after their own visit. I read some of the posts, and there was one from a woman named Sarah from the UK.

Well...being married to someone from the UK, my curiosity got the best of me and I decided to email this total stranger, just to ask her where in England she was from. Low and behold, she was from the Manchester area, where my husband Paul is from. Over the next several weeks, we emailed and found out that we had so much in common, it felt like divine intervention, which we still believe to this day. After 'getting to know one another' for a year or so, she arranged to attend our 2nd annual retreat, and she was able to spend a week with me in my home. The last time I saw Sarah was nearly 3 years ago. We made a trip to Banbury to spend 3 weeks with Paul's mum(that's for you, sweetie) and we took the train up to Manchester to see Sarah and her family. I spent 3 great days at Sarah's 'manor'. I am hoping to have an opportunity to see her again in next February. So, Sarah and I have been friends for nearly 10 years....and the rest, as they say, is a fabulous history!

My life has become so enriched by our friendship. Today the internet plays such a huge role in people connecting. I mean look at this moment now....you are reading my blog and there's a good chance we haven't even met. I think that's one of the reasons Sarah and I both have blogs because it just makes sense....it's become a natural transition at this time of our lives.

Please visit her blog and leave a comment....and tell her hello for me! Sarahanderson1.blogspot.com

Blue Skys Ahead

For anyone out there who may be struggling with life, this is for you!

Metal Embellishments Tutorial

I don't know about you, but I love to use black and silver whenever I can. Put with it an outstanding color like turquoise and the results can be stunning.

The stamps used on this project:

Retro Background ~ JudiKins
Happy Birthday ~ Hero Arts

Here is what else you will need for this project:

Cardstock in matte black and turquoise
Embossing Ink
Embossing Powder in silver
Black Dye Ink
Silver wire - any gauge will do
Wire mesh
Round Brads & Star Brads in silver
Small hole punch
Double stick flat tape
Double stick foam (dimensional) tape

Cut, score and fold black cardstock to desired size, then stamp Retro Background onto card and emboss with silver powder. Cut turquoise cards stock to fit the outside of the card at the fold, so it looks like a 'binding' on a book. Stamp and emboss as before, only stamp going opposite direction for interest.

Use hole punch through the 'binding' piece on each end and place brads through. Attach to the black card using dimensional tape.

For the tag, trace or free hand cut a tag from left over turquoise cardstock. Stamp and emboss sentiment randomly on the tag and emboss in silver. Using same stamp, randomly stamp in black dye ink. No embossing necessary. This gives a bit more dimension to the tag. Punch hole at top of tag and insert a couple of pieces of wire and twist to imitate the string that is typically at the top. Place tag at an angle and attach to card with dimensional tape.

Place wire mesh where you would like and punch a hole into card on each side of the mesh. Insert Star Brad at each end of wire mess rectangle(only one end is seen in photo), place through the mesh and black cardstock. You're finished!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

What is this 'blog thing' anyway? Tutorial

I got to thinking that there may be some of you out there who have never visited a blog until now.

First of all....welcome to my blog! I love it here and I hope you will visit again and again.

In case you're not sure what to do, first I would say, "Have a look around". Scan the page you are on from top to bottom.

Then, take a look over at the left hand side. You will find all sorts of information. That's where the archives of my past posts can be found as well as the other blogs that I personally follow.

My hope is you will become a 'follower'. Now if that sounds like some kind of spooky commitment, believe me, it's anything but! When you log on as a follower to anyone's blog, it's a sign that you are interested in hearing more of what the blog owner has to say. Now, I am not saying for one minute that I am all that interesting, but I can tell you, I know how to hook up with 'interesting people'. The more followers who sign on, the sooner we can start our rubber stamping and paper arts workshops.

All you do is go back to the left side of the page, scroll down until you see 'Follow me for Great Fun' and click. Make sure you check the box that says you are publicly following me. Anyone who follows privately will not show up as a follower on the list....in fact, I won't even know you are there. I need to know you are there! And one more thing....as projects and other 'missives' are published, I would so love if you would leave me a comment. Just click on the 'comments' prompt at the end of the post you like ( or dislike, I suppose ) and leave your comment there.

Hope this has been a bit helpful. The first blog I ever 'followed' was my friend Sarah's. She's all the way over in England. With the 6 hour time difference, it wasn't easy waiting for answers to all my questions. You can follow Sarah's blog, too! Scroll down at the left for 'Blogs I love' and find 'The Art of Moodling'. She is soooo talented and she loves followers as much as I do!

Go Out and Have Fun....Today!

I spent some time with a wonderful group of women today...saw some familiar faces and hopefully, made some new friends. That's what's great about the hobby of rubber stamping.

I made 2 cards at the 'Stampin' Up' get-together. The first card we made was quite fun to do. I love working with ribbon, so to add a quick little dimensional touch was nice.

The second card was an elegant tri-fold. Although it's not seen in it's entirety in this photo, it's very lovely.

Dr. Judy opened up her beautiful home for us today and with assistance of Marilyn, who by the way, I have asked to share some of her beautiful work on my blog, gave us some fun techniques to take home.

Dr. Judy and I go way back to the early days of my store and it's been so nice to reconnect with her. The sentiments on these cards say it all....Thanks Dr. Judy...I truly needed that!

Friday, June 19, 2009

What Makes You Smile?

I love a good thunderstorm, don't you? Last night, I fell asleep to one. This morning, I awoke to another one. I ran errands in a third one, and as I write this message, I cannot see the barn or the church from my window because a fourth storm is rolling through. This one is the worst of the day. I believe the winds are up near 60 mph at times. But even with all of the rain, it still makes me smile.

Tomorrow I am attending a 'Stampin' Up' get-together. I haven't done that in years, but I am looking forward to getting together with some former customers of my store who have since become friends. Of course, I will take a little money in my pocket...just in case. Rubber stamps still make me smile. It seems like the sky's the limit when it comes to what you can do with them. This card was made with 'Stampin' Up' stamps. My favorite thing to do is embellish my cards and projects with ribbon. Ribbon really makes me smile. Long before I had ever heard of the hobby of rubber stamping, I created handmade greetings made mostly of watercolor paper and ribbon...lots of ribbon. I am gravitating back to those days.....

What makes you smile? I would love to know.....

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Feeling Sparkly!

How much glitter do you own? After I started counting my jars and reached 50, I stopped counting. For some, that may be just a drop in the bucket, but for me, it's a pretty good start.

You see, even as a child, I wasn't interested in playing with the 'messy stuff'. It just seemed like too much work to wash it off my hands. Then it sticks to everything. Then I'd have to wash my hands again. It was a never-ending battle that I just didn't care to fight.

So, you can see why I say that my little stash of sparkly color is a pretty big deal. No, I still don't like that it sticks to everything, and you certainly can't breathe while your trying to put it back in the jar, but oh my goodness, it's so pretty!

Do you have glitter in your art basket? I just recently started what are affectionately being called "art buckets" for my 2 oldest grandsons. Caleb, he's 3, likes to color as long as you help him, but then he is off to do his next task, whatever that is for a 3 year old. But it's a different story for C.J. He's 6 and he loves art. When he found out that his "mema" has taught paper arts since before he was born, well, let's just say I achieved a much higher status in his mind. Every visit he nearly begs for me to teach him art. Time sometimes doesn't allow for very much, but what we accomplish in just a small space of time is just enough for him. As for Alex, Jr who just turned 1, well need I say more? The story continues....keep reading....

I haven't gotten around to glitter yet with the boys. In fact, I can safely say that Caleb need not know that glitter exists. I hope that C.J. will take a crack at playing with the sparkly stuff. I have come to love it so much that I don't even mind if he uses my expensive sparklies. It's prettier than the cheap stuff which hopefully will be enough to keep him interested...at least for one art lesson.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Good Morning...

Veering off from a tutorial for the moment....

This is the setting on my 80 year old dresser that greets me every morning.

These are a few of my favorite things

The plate...my husband and I used it to dine on fabulous handmade chocolate-covered strawberries this past Valentines Day. Did I mention that it was our hands that made them?

This silver bowl and giant gem are just great finds...I have a smaller gem next to the giant one.

The lovely circular dresser scarf was crocheted by my aunt who shares my first name...I love dresser scarves & doilies, don't you?

Oh....Even though you can't see it in this photo, behind the plate is a beautiful Tiffany-style lamp that has a lovely pewter base. I won that for participating in a radio contest. We had to drive all the way to Chicago to get it, but it was worth the trip. I use it as a nightlight in the evening. It's quite lovely.

The kinda tacky looking silk flowers in a basket? Well, they are my very favorite. The basket of flowers was a gift from my dad on the day I opened my first store back in 1998. He thought it was the prettiest bouquet I received that day, and there were a lot of them. He is no longer here, but that beautiful basket of flowers will be.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Le Jardin Pears Tutorial

This is a striking, easy piece to create. Be creative! Look at your rubber stamp collection and see what you can come up with.

This was done using stamps from Hampton Arts.

Here is what else you'll need for this project:

Dye-based Inks in 2 dark colors and a 'shadow' color
(I used Ranger Inks in Sepia, Coffee and Caramel)

Matte cardstock in matte green and natural
Small piece of wire mesh
4 coordinating brads
Double-stick foam tape & flat tape
Stipple Brush or Soft Sponge

If you are making a card with this project, cut and fold your green cardstock to desired size. Set aside.

Cut the natural color cardstock to the size of the front of your green card, then cut in half. On one half, stamp a row of 3 or 4 pears with Sepia ink. Then, using the same stamp, use the Caramel ink and 'overstamp slightly' next to each pear to create a shadow-effect. On the other half of the natural cardstock, do the same technique using the 'coordinating word' stamp. Using a piece of leftover natural cardstock, stamp one more pear image in Sepia and cut it out. It will be used in the center.

After stamping is complete, take each half of stamped cardstock and tear toward you to create a rough edge. The rough edges should end up in the middle of your card (see photo). Then using your stipple brush or soft sponge, distress the edges using the Coffee ink.

To assemble the card, place the single pear somewhere in the center of your green card using raised foam tape. Then lay your wire mesh square over the top. Place your top half with the words flush with top of the card and the bottom half with the pears flush with the bottom of the card. Tack down the edges with double stick flat tape. Punch small holes in the centers of each half of natural cardstock through the green cardstock and insert brads to hold wire mesh in place.

This project is really very easy if you continue to refer to the photo as you follow the instructions.
It's a great project to adapt on a larger scale for a piece of wall art, so have fun with it and let me know what you think!

Brief 'chat' with Claudine Hellmuth

Last night I re-connected with world-renowned collage artist, Claudine Hellmuth. Claudine taught at our first paper arts retreat back in 2000. It was her very first public appearance. At the time, Stampington & Company had just released a line of rubber stamps designed by Claudine and she had recently been the cover artist for Somerset Studio.

Since then, she has gone on to teach all over the country and has released several books and her own line of paints and materials.

The photo above is an original print that Claudine signed and gave to me that weekend. Actually, she left me with 4 wonderful prints, but this is my favorite! It's called 'Sunday Travels'.

I hope you will take a moment and check out Claudine's blog at claudinehellmuth.blogspot.com

Floating Garden Tutorial

This is a quick and easy technique for those of you who may not know exactly what to do with your Pearl Ex. It's one that we taught in my store and I know you are going to love the results!

The image used here is from Magenta, but you can use any big, bold image you have.

Here's what else you need to get started

Embossing Ink in Black
Embossing Powder in Clear
Matte Cardstock in Black
Pearl Ex in your choice of colors
Dove Blender / Blender Refill Fluid
Squeeze & Flo Bottle w/Dove Blender Fluid in bottle
(these last two supplies are optional dependent on what you have)

Stamp and emboss your image on black cardstock. This effect will work on other dark cardstocks, but you will have to experiment on your scraps to
see what works.

This technique was done with a Squeeze & Flo bottle/paintbrush.
If you have a Dove Blender pen, you can do the same technique, and in fact,
you can squeeze into smaller 'nooks n crannies' with it.
Place 2 or 3 colors of PearlEx onto a small disposable plate and dip either the
tip of your Dove Blender Pen or the edge of the Squeeze & Flo brush into the
first color and begin to 'paint' or 'float the color' inside the lines of your image.

It's as easy as that! It may take a bit of practice with the Squeeze & Flo
technique as you may find at first you have little pools inside your image.
Make sure you allow it a few minutes to dry and if you want to seal it, just
use a matte fixative or a shot of cheap hairspray. The expensive ones will
work too, but who can afford it?!

Hope you will try this technique.....let me know what you think!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Then....9/11 happened and things were never the same....

As we go along on this journey, I will fill in the 'bits n pieces', but for now the bottom line is I miss the experience of teaching workshops and watching your eyes light up as that light bulb comes on and you "finally get it"! I know I won't be able to 'see' your eyes, but you'll let me know.

So I hope you will join me and please tell your friends. There will be free tutorials of projects, all kinds of creative ideas on how to use rubber stamps and online workshops that you can do from your very own art studio, or your dining room table, because that's where we all started!
Fast forward to the past 10 years....

I once owned the largest rubber stamp and paper arts retail store in Northern Illinois. It was the culmination of what seemed to be a life long dream. I made some of the most wonderful friends along the way, but what I really loved was teaching new techniques in our workshops. We did this in hour long classes to weekend retreats.

What I Want for Me.....and You

As our new adventure begins, let me tell you a bit more about myself.

I spent the better part of my early adult years working as a bookseller in a number of wonderful places. Of course, they are all gone now, but there was no question in my mind what direction I would take for an eventual career.

I know retail marketing isn't everybody's cup of tea, but I literally thrive on it....I do! My husband has this thing stuck in his craw (do the British have a craw?) for people who use the word 'literally' out of context. Well, believe me, I've thought about it, and with the exception of major life changes that have occurred that wouldn't allow me to pursue that 'retail' life, I know it's a deep passion for me.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

I'm not much into cutting intricate pieces, but I absolutely love this Heidi Grace paper and thought it would be lovely as a 3-D effect on this card.

While making the wedding cards, I became obsessed with these wonderful flowers from Prima.

Handcrafted Obsessions

I was all excited to go to the wedding of a dear friend, so I started working on the 'perfect' card to wish congratulations to the happy couple. I became a bit obsessed and made at least a dozen variations on this card. As it turned out, we didn't make it to the wedding, so if anyone needs a wedding card, I've got plenty to sell!

On a day like today, you cannot help but spend some time 'outside' of the windows.
The view of this church is extraordinary in the evening. Sometimes the cornfield becomes to high to see it, but for now, I can enjoy it as planting has not yet begun.

This is my open window...

It seems to me that when people are searching for the 'perfect' blog name, it can either be a spur of the moment decision, or one that we agonize over for days into weeks. I fall into the second category.

I sat for days making a list of things that define 'me'. I asked my husband, "if I were to die, what would be the things you would most remember about me?". He was very reluctant to go there. I don't blame him, but it was the only question I could think of.

Anyway...as I opened my bedroom window this morning, in the ritualistic way that I do, I started to think about what it is that makes this a moment I always look forward to. Is it something from my childhood, spending time with grandparents who lived a rural life? Or is it just that breeze that you can only experience from an open window on a beautiful day....and then it hit me! That was the first 'description' on my list of things that define ME. I love windows! Big, open windows. It doesn't matter what the weather, if they can be open, I open them!

So welcome to Julie's Open Window!

I want this place to be there for those who want to explore all life has to offer through the medium of art. I am no photographer, but the first few photos you will see here, are my views through my open windows. From there, we will switch gears a bit to all things handmade. But I must say, the view that I have through my open windows, those views were made by the GREATEST HANDS OF ALL...God, our Creator. Enjoy!