March 2021 Paper Pumpkin: Here’s To You

My April Paper Pumpkin kit is arriving to day and I’m so behind on blog posting that I’m just now writing about the March 2020 kit, Here’s to You. This kit celebrates life’s journeys, milestones, and accomplishments with stamps and paper that evoke the freedom and openness of the being outdoors. The kit contains all the supplies to make the cards pictured above, a Calypso Coral mini ink pad, and the photopolymer stamp set pictured below:

After assembling the cards per instructions, I decided that the images are great for a masculine card. However, the tones of Calypso Coral were not. The landscape pictures got me thinking thinking about the Polaroids my grandparents would take when they were on trips (I really wanted a Polaroid Camera for myself). I was inspired to extract the mountain scene from the pale peach card base and mount it to a piece of paper to look like a Polaroid picture. I wanted to make the card base more masculine. Any time I make a card with wood grain, be it from a stamp, designer series paper, or from an embossing folder, my husband takes notice. He says it looks like wood paneling and not in a bad ’70s way. So, I pulled out my In Good Taste designer Series paper and cut a background from one of the wood grain pieces and mounted it on a Crumb Cake card base. Here’s my card:

I also made a similar version of the card that didn’t require any additional supplies beyond what the Paper Pumpkin kit included. I cut 3″ off the bottom of the flowery envelope liner and mounted it to the Pretty Peacock card base. You can still use adhere the top of the envelope liner to the inside of your envelope. For the white card base for the picture, I just flipped over one of the scraps from the card from which I cut the mountain and sun scene.

Tune in soon for my post on the April 2021 Paper Pumpkin kit, So Cool.

Also, sign up for the next kit, Batter Up by May 10th.

February 2021 Paper Pumpkin: Bouquet of Hope

Deep confession: I don’t really like this kit. Not at all. It’s not the stamp set that bothers me, it’s the cards. They remind me too much of Mrs. Walowitz’s house on the Big Bang Theory with too many floral patterns clashing with one another. The fact that this kit doesn’t float my boat doesn’t make me angry and is only mildly disappointing. Stampin’ Up can’t please everyone all of the time.

The February Paper Pumpkin, Bouquet of Hope, includes all the supplies to create the cards pictured above, a Mossy Meadow mini inkpad, and the stamp set pictured below:

When I receive a kit that I’m not keen on, and after processing my the initial dislike, I bolster myself with two positive ideas. Sometimes a kit may not suit my tastes, but it there’s probably someone in my life who will find it perfectly perfect and enjoy the card as is. Secondly, I’ve been given an opportunity to practice creativity and transform the elements into something completely different than the original projects.

To begin this creative process I mentally deconstruct the cards and sort the supplies into two categories.

Things I liked:

  • Stamp set
  • Black Sequins
  • Mossy Meadow
  • Tags with black accent
  • Thinking of You sticker
  • Envelope lining

Things I didn’t like:

  • Rococo Rose
  • Gold Doily
  • Gold
  • Vellum (its tricky to attach without the glue showing through)
  • Too many flowers

The first thing I did was try and figure out what to do with that crazy gold doily. I put washi tape on the gold side of the doily and taped it to the center of a 5.25″ x 4″ sheet of white paper, thereby creating a mask. I sponged on Mossy Meadow ink, entirely covering both the doily and the white paper. I carefully removed the doily and set it aside for a different card.

Next, I added some 7/8″ black ribbon and used the sequins on the tag. By adding the thick ribbon and orienting the card in landscape vs. portrait direction, the tag doesn’t seem out of proportion from the doily.

Remember that Mossy Meadow doily I made earlier? I mounted it on the floral Merry Merlot card base. Instead of attaching the oval tag, I placed the large flower bouquet in the center, which reduced the busyness of the doily and was more appropriately portioned. I attached the I’ll always be here for you sentiment on the long horizontal tag to the bouquet, added some sequins, and voila, an improved card!

Vellum. I have a love/hate relationship with vellum. I love how it looks and I hate that it’s difficult to attach without adhesive showing through. In order to conceal the adhesive, you can only apply it behind parts of the card that are in front of the vellum. I felt that the card design in the kit didn’t have enough of these hidden areas to secure the vellum adequately. Instead, I adhered the Thinking of You sticker to a piece of patterned paper (reaped from one of the envelopes and one of the card bases), and mounted it in front of the vellum. On the Rococo Rose card, I flipped the vellum over so you saw white vines instead of gold. On the Just Jade card, I left the gold, because as much as I dislike gold color, I think it looks really cool paired with jade.

In my efforts to change the look of this kit, I ended up making nine different cards. Here’s a slideshow of the ones I didn’t feature in this post.

January 2021 Paper Pumpkin: Sending Hearts

Paper Pumpkin is an all-inclusive monthly subscription paper-crafting from Stampin’ Up and I look forward to receiving it every month. The January 2021 kit is called Sending hearts. The kit included all the supplies needed to make the cards pictured above and the photopolymer stamp set pictured below. It also included a Poppy Parade mini ink pad. The coordinating colors are Poppy Parade, Basic Black, and Petal Pink.

Today I’m sharing a few alternative designs that I made using the kit and supplemental supplies.

On this card, I repeatedly stamped the XOXO stamp on a white card base. I also added a piece of Petal Pink vellum and metallic edge Petal Pink ribbon from my stash of retired paper products.

For this card, I stamped the top portion of a white card base with the Love stamp. The bottom red panel is cut from one of the card bases included in the kit. The scalloped black border is punched from a border punch I have, but you can just as easily piece together two of the scalloped black strips from the kit. I offset a square of white vellum behind the front panel to give it more emphasis.

This next card utilizes the cute little snail stamp. I used a technique to reverse the stamped image so the snails could be facing one another. The reverse technique is very simple. Stamp the image on a silicon crafting mat and place a piece of cardstock over it, lightly pressing down without wiggling the paper. If you don’t have a silicon crafting mat, a silicon baking mat can be used instead.

Happy stamping and Happy Valentines Day!

October 2020 Paper Pumpkin: Joy to the World

Most years, Stampin’ Up reserves the October and November Paper Pumpkin kits for the Christmas Holidays. The October kit is usually cards and the November kit usually has something to do with gift giving. Next month’s kit will make gift card holders, but if you don’t need gift card holders, I’ll feature oodles of alternate projects here on my blog. The October 2020 Paper Pumpkin kit, Joy to the World, includes all the supplies required to make a total of eight cards, four of each design, pictured above, a Just Jade mini ink pad, and the photopolymer stamp set pictured below.

This month, I made a lot of alternate card designs that for the most part reworked the contents of the kit without many additional supplies. I cannot gush enough about how much I love the color Cherry Cobbler and it pairs well with the Just Jade leaves on the wreath and flowers. I wouldn’t have thought to include gold accents, but they look lovely against the Crumb Cake background.

Here are my alternate designs:

I always say don’t be afraid to sacrifice an envelope for the greater good of your card design. The envelope liner made a great background paper. On the original card design, the majority of the roses are hidden behind the tag, so I reworked the placement so you can see them better. Since Cherry Cobbler was the dominant color, I switched out the red thread for some gold I had leftover from a past Paper Pumpkin kit.

On this card, I cut down the front of one of the card bases and mounted it on a piece of Whisper White cardstock. I also sponge-rolled Cherry Cobbler ink on the cable-knit sweater embossed swatch of paper. Sponging on a different color of ink made the embossed pattern more prominent. Once again, I used gold thread instead of Cherry Cobbler.

Once again, I sponge-rolled the white embossed paper with Cherry Cobbler ink. I also added gold metallic pearls.

Can you tell I really liked sponge-rolling the cable-knit sweater pieces? This time I used Just Jade instead of Cherry Cobbler. I cut down the Crumb Cake card base and mounted it on a Just Jade card base. If you’ve ever made cards with me, you know that tying bows is not high on my list of paper-crafting skills. I wrapped the embossed paper with the Cherry Cobbler thread instead. I also added gold metallic pearls.

My final card is my stamps only card. It doesn’t use any other supplies from the kit. I saw a lot of people using their Stamparatus to evenly space a column using the Joy stamp and I had to do it too. This card is a short slimline card and fits in a small letter envelope.

Additional Project Supplies

As I mentioned earlier, next month’s kit will make gift card holders. Here’s a little sneak peak of what to expect. The kit will contain fifteen gift card carriers with coordinating envelopes. Featured colors are Cinnamon Cider, Daffodil Delight, Calypso Coral, Mint Macaron, Shaded Spruce, Blushing Bride, and Whisper White.

What’s in my On-the-Go Craft Tool Box?

I’ve just spent the last three days at the Inky Fingers Crafting Weekend retreat. My 16 year-old daughter came with me and we loaded up the back of my Forester with all manner of paper-crafting supplies. When I say loaded up, what I’m really saying is stuffed to the brim. We had to get a baggage cart to bring it all in to the hotel.

Not all crafting events require a trunkful of supplies though. That’s why I’ve created my own On-the-go Tool Box that packs tightly into one of Stampin’ Up’s wide stamp storage cases to use when I attend smaller workshops where most everything else is supplied.

Here’s a picture of what is stored in my tool box:

  1. Acrylic stamp block
    I prefer Stampin’ Up’s Clear Block D. It measures 2-7/8″ x 2-11/16″ and doesn’t take up a lot of room in the case. I’ve found that it fits most stamps I use. I also love how the block is grooved on the sides for easy gripping.
  2. Double-sided Tape
    Most people prefer a certain type of adhesive: glue, tape runner, glue dots. Some people love tape runners and are very adept at using them. Tape runners will also fit perfectly in your tool box. I, however, use double-sided Scotch tape, mainly because I’m about as coordinated at using a tape runner as I am at tying a bow (you won’t see a lot of bows on the cards I design). Stampin’ Up recently introduced two new tape runners, Stamp ‘n Seal and Stamp ‘n Seal+. I’ve used these a few times now with success, meaning that I didn’t end up with sticky fingers and a roll of unwound tape that I can’t roll back into the applicator. I have to use up my supply of Scotch tape before I fully commit to them though.
  3. Glue Dots
    Glue dots are great for sticking down tiny things. Paper Pumpkin kits come with more than enough glue dots to finish the projects you make so I have oodles of sheets of them. You can also order a roll of glue dots from Stampin’ Up or find other versions at your local craft store.
  4. Stampin’ Dimensionals and Mini Stampin’ Dimensionals, also known as “foam popper upper thingies”
    The purpose of Dimensionals is to do exactly what is in the name. They give your projects dimension by lifting elements off the card base. You can also find adhesive foam squares at your local craft store.
  5. Paper Scissor Snips
    The purpose of scissor snips it to precisely cut out small things. Mine are Cutterbees, but Stampin’ Up also sells a nice pair.
  6. Bone Folder
    Bone folders smooth down the creases in your cards; allowing them to lie flatter. In my experience, most bone folders are created equal. You can buy a a bone folder from Stampin’ Up and most local craft stores also sell them.
  7. Pen & Sharp Pencil
  8. Take Your Pick tool
    The Take Your Pick tool is a paper-crafter’s dream multi-tool. One end has tacky putty end that easily picks up sequins, paper accents, and other small objects. The other end has 2 changeable, double-ended tips; one with a with paper piercer and mini spatula and the other with small stylus, and large stylus.
  9. Water color painting pen
    A water color painting pen holds water for easy water color painting. Most of the time when I’m at a workshop where water coloring is required the host usually provides one of these. It is however nice to have your own so you don’t have to wait your turn to use the one provided. Stampin’ Up sells a set of three of these babies with varying brush thicknesses.
  10. Tweezers!
    I love these reverse-action tweezers that I found on Amazon! Once you grab something, they hold on to the item even when you stop squeezing.