Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mr. Big and Vinyl

Hi everyone!

On Saturday, my stamp club ladies got to play with Mr. Big (i.e. Big Shot) and the vinyl we now sell as a separate product.

At this time, it's available in 21 of our 48 colors!

The vinyl we sell is what is used to make our Decor Elements, or as it's now called, Definitely Decorative line of products.

These include the items you can place on your walls.

But, personally, I'm not that ready to commit my walls to something like that - first of all, I should wash them first (not gonna happen, trust me!), and secondly, most of them are fairly large - although most of them are available in three different sizes.

You can browse thru the Definately Decorative catalog by clicking on its image on the left side bar of my blog. Or, alternatively, contact me, giving me your snail mail address, and I'd be happy to pop one into the mail for you.

There are some REALLY cute things in this catalog - and I DO use some of them for projects. I just haven't put them on my walls, as yet.

What I DO use them for are things like mirrors, tiles, serving trays, glass blocks, picture frames, and anything else that's a fairly smooth surface.

The discount stores are a great place to find these items at an awesome price. I showed some of these decorated items here. You'll notice I used a mirror, a tray, and charger plate for some Christmas ideas.

And here, I actually used the Gable Green vinyl to decorate a glass block. I was quite pleased with how this one turned out, since I used the negative image of the Tulipe die on the block. Notice I also ran some of the Pixie Pink vinyl through the Wonderful Wings embosslit to decorate it a little more.

While browsing at a local 99 cent store, I found these cute little containers that were just screaming out to be decorated.

And I thought, what a great thing to use for the vinyl!

I didn't think to photograph everyone's projects before they left on Saturday, and for that, I'm sad. I know how cute they were, but you won't!

So, let me show you the two I did as samples to get the club ladies' creative juices flowing.

I used the Swirls Scribbles Sizzlet die for these.

Used Pumpkin Pie, Gable Green and Taken with Teal to decorate this container.

I'm envisioning this as a trash can (with lid) that you can use when you're stamping or scrapping.

And here's the other one I made. As you can tell, THIS one's MINE, all MINE! LOL

I think I used every flower die I have on hand to make the pieces for this container.

I cut everything ahead of the club meeting, then attached them to the container while everyone watched.

It was SO EASY!

I even cut some extra leaves out of the leftover vinyl from the Little Leaves sizzlet die - that die seems to waste a lot of material, which drives me crazy, so I generally try to cut more out of what's left.

For these, though, I just took my scissors and cut leaf shapes - they look pretty good, don't they?

You've seen just about all of the container.

And it's now sitting on my stamping table, open and waiting for all my scraps!

If I want, I can put the lid on it to take it on a stamping trip with me...

One of the ladies used the Swirly Sizzlit Decorative strip on their containers. It fit perfectly around the bottom of it! Another used the FLowers Sizzlit Decorative strip. It's the same size, and she attached it around the middle - it didn't quite meet, so she covered it with another flower.

Things are ORANGE these days around here. Here are some of the flowers that are blooming in my backyard right now...

The California poppies are in their glory out there, and there is also a Watsonia (also orange) that's just starting to bloom.

It was raining today, so I didn't venture out into the tall weeds to take additional photos. But the sun's supposed to shine tomorrow, so I'll try to show you more then.

I saw on Patty Bennett's blog that she'd photo'd her new rose leaves with rain drops pearling on them. They were absolutely beautiful!

We Californians do value our rain, since we don't get much. Patty lives up around San Francisco and gets lots more than we do in San Diego, but apparently it's valuable there as well!

Do you want to start playing around with Mr. Big and our vinyl? Email or comment to this post and I'd be happy to help you obtain either product!

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Tutorial - Making Fabric Flowers

I'll bet you thought I forgot I told you I'd show you how to make these, didn't you?

Well, I didn't - but had stamp club on Saturday, and have been working on the family calendars, so the fabric flowers had to take a bit of a back seat.

While trying to decide what I'd blog about tonight, I just bit the bullet and made a new one, so that I could photograph the various steps involved.

DISCLAIMER: This is how *I* make the flowers. I've spoken with others who are making them very differently than I do. So, check around, see which method will work best for you. Or, alternatively, try them all and see which you prefer!

So, here goes:

Select a number of fabrics that coordinate with each other. Remember how at first I didn't "have it together" for this step? Well, I think I've got it now!

Check these out!

They're a pretty good set of coordinating fabrics, don't you think?

Next, select 4 folded pieces of fabric (this will give you 8 flower pieces) and decide which flower die you'd like to use.

I used Flowers Layers #3 die (Item 114527 $15.95).

I chose this one because all three flowers are quite different from one another, and I'm curious how they'll all turn out...

Top the fabric pieces with the CREASE PAD (Item # 113476 $8.95).

You'll notice I've written "crease pad" on this. That's because there are a lot of different pieces for the Big Shot that are black, and over time, I've gotten confused about what is what.

Sometimes you have to do these things, in order to keep your sanity! ha ha

The function of the crease pad is to help build up something a little more solid for the fabric to push against, in hopes you won't get tiny little threads that don't cut cleanly. I'm still working on the build up to achieve a clean cuts, but will get there eventually. It's one of those "play with it til you're happy with it" situations. And it changes, according to the fabrics you're using.

Next I placed a shim on top of the crease pad.

The crease pad comes with two of these opaque shims.

DO NOT DO WHAT I DID - the first time I used one of these I placed it directly above the die, and I now have tiny little opaque flowers floating around that I really don't want to throw away, but which I have no idea how, nor where, to store!

Now I've added yet more shims. This time I'm using CS. There are two pieces for this stack. I contemplated using three, but when I started to crank it through Mr. Big, he seemed to think it was too much.

So, I backed off to two - and really should have used all three. I did end up with the fabrics not cutting cleanly, and had to spend about 5 minutes freeing the flowers from the rest of the fabric.

Here are the "piles" of flower pieces that I got from 4 folded pieces of fabric.

I'll use four of the flowers on the right to make my flower. (the one with the red in the fabric).

Next, I folded four of the 8 pieces in half.

Then, into quarters.

And then I tacked these together from the center.

Be sure all your folds are on the same side!

I used the Linen thread for tacking purposes.

Now comes the tricky part. You want to overlap each of the fabrics to form a circle.

I have one half of each fabric on top, the other half behind the next piece of fabric.

It's a little difficult to hold and unfurl at the same time!

Next, cut a circle out of card stock. You will use this as a base, and hot glue the fabric to it.

This is the 1-1/4" circle.

Add a dollop of hot glue.

Watch for strings! Those pesky devils always seem to be hanging around!

And, working quickly, before the glue sets, push the folded, splayed fabric into place on the CS circle.

Once you're satisfied with how it looks, add another smaller dollop of hot glue to the center of the flower and plop a pretty button in place!

And, voila! You're done.

Well, except for adding a pin back. If you want to glue it to something else, of course you don't NEED a pin back. But I like wearing mine, so I generally put one the back.

Finally, here's a photo of a die cut piece of CS (from the same die) beside the finished flower so you can see how it changes, once you've put it through this process.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial! Are you going to run to your craft closet and dig out that fabric that's been sitting there for years and make yourself some of these?

They do add a bit of dash to your outfit!


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Fabric Cone

The other day I made reference to some "trees", or cones I'd made using styrofoam cones and fabric that I'd cut with Mr. Big.

I really hunted around, trying to find either the earlier post to this blog, or some of the photos, and after about 10 minutes, I just gave up. So you didn't see them then...

I found them today! They were in the folder where I keep all my photos for the blog - but these photos I'd actually NAMED, instead of just storing with their numerical designation that the camera ( or maybe it's IPhoto) gives them.

So, here is a photo of the notorious and infamous Fall cone!

I selected 6-8 colors of cotton fabric in Fall colors.

Ran a layer of each of the fabrics through Mr. Big, using the Pennant die, which has 4 scallops on it, as well as 2 different sized pennants.

I lined the cone with the pennants parts I'd cut, then started pinning (with straight pins) the scallops to the styrofoam cone.

I adhered half pearls from the Pretties Kit to some of them.

One while I was a that large craft store, I found a stem of little flowers in the clearance bin for something like 25 cents - I snagged it, without really knowing how I'd use it, but the pieces were nice and small, and generic - and make great filler for a myriad of projects.

So I pulled some of those off and pinned them to these cones as well.

I thought it came out very nicely! Maybe use it for as a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving table...

This would be REALLY cute if done with Christmas fabrics, don't you think? I'm going to try to remember to do that for this coming Christmas!

Thanks for stopping by!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Electronics! Love 'em or Hate 'em?

Have you ever had problems with electronics?

You know - cell phones, computers, printers, TVs...

Well about 2 months ago, it seemed as though EVERYTHING I own that's electronic was not working in some way or another. VERY frustrating, to say the least!

I kiddingly told someone Mercury must be retrograde - Mercury is the main influence on communications, whether electronic or otherwise, if you're into Astrology.

So, I checked Susan Miller's horriblescope site, and, sure enough - Mercury WAS retrograde!

So, the cell phone eventually started working again (although I still don't like this phone!), I found all my lost contacts for my email... But not without having spent about 3 hours on the phone with various "help" lines - and I use that term very loosely!

And I THOUGHT everything was working again...

Then the printer decided to die on me. It was in the middle of printing out some flyers, when it ran out of black ink.

So I changed the cartridge, tried printing again, and all I got was PINK!

OK, change out the rest of the cartridges - and now it doesn't print ANYTHING!

I get very frustrated with technology, very quickly. I can take about 3 stabs at fixing something before I get so upset I have to walk away from it.

And once I walk away, I'll talk myself out of tackling it again for WEEKS! I figure, I've already tried everything I know how to do, and nothing has worked, so I'd better not fiddle with it anymore, cause, sure as heck, I'm gonna screw it up further!

So last week I decided I NEEDED to get the photos printed for the family calendar. Our current one runs out the end of February!

Tackled it again, only to have the same thing happen - NUTHIN'

Worked my way thru the on-line help from Epson, did everything they told me to do, and then I couldn't find the printer anywhere! Finally called their help line (after several emails discussing the problem). The person I talked was very helpful, but....

... long story short. I ended up buying a new printer the other day. It was going to cost more to fix the old one than a new one costs.

That's a sad thing, don't you think? We've become such a "throw away" society, that it's cheaper to buy a new one than fix the old one...

And while I was buying the printer, I bought myself a different phone, too!

So, now I've got NEW electronic things to learn how to manipulate and mess up! As I walked out of the store with my new printer, the guy at the door said "Now the fun begins" - guess if you're an electronic geek, that IS the fun part.

The printer's all hooked up and I'm printing out the photos I want to use for the calendar.

I've made these calendars for about the past 5-6 years - I sort of have a process. But not matter how you cut it, making 4 handmade calendars is time consuming.

Don't get me wrong - I love making them and I love that they appreciate getting them. But they are time consuming.

I debated making them on My Digital Studio, but realized the smallest I could make was 8-1/2 x 11 - consensus was the smaller 6x6 is better for all of us. I suppose I could have come up with some sort of a work-around, but by now I've burned up any excess time to play with it that I might have had.

So, handmade it is!

Here are some sneak peaks - nothing is glued down, nothing is final as far as which photos will be on which pages. But it's a start!

Come back again in a few days, and, hopefully, I'll have some finished pages to show you!

In the meantime, just a reminder that it's Sale-A-Bration (SAB) time - pull out that Occasions mini-catalog and that SAB catalog, pull a $50 order together, select an SAB item, and give me a call!

Thanks for stopping by...

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Spring IS coming!

Hi Everyone

It's been a beautiful day here in SOCAL. Warm. Sunny. In the 70's...

My oriental poppy out front has burst into bloom.

The mockingbirds have begun to sing. Pretty soon they'll be keeping me awake at night again.

Spring is here - at least in SOCAL. I wish I could bottle it up and send it to those of you who have been experiencing the worst winter for snow in a VERY long time!

I can't believe some of the snowfall totals you've had back East this year! I used to live there, and the worst snowfall I can remember was about 20" one Thanksgiving the first year we lived on our farm. Snowed us in for a week...

But I can't bottle up the SOCAL spring and send it to you, so I hope you'll enjoy the spring vicariously thru photos and stuff here on my blog.

I submit these for your consideration...

Jasmine, Watsonia and allysum in the wildflower garden, and cymbidium orchids.

It's great to have Spring! And the sun doesn't set until after 5:30 here these days, so life is good!

Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We Interrupt This Program...

... for something totally different for today.

We had our Demo get-together yesterday, and before they get lost in the shuffle, I wanted to show everyone's contributions to a fun day.

It was a small turn-out, but that's OK. That gives us more time to swap ideas and information - and fewer of us talking at the same time! LOL

I, of course, (as I promised) used the fabric flowers I've been making as my swaps for the day. I forgot to take photos of all of them before they were whisked off to new homes, so you'll need to backtrack to the past three postings on this blog to view some of my offerings.

Veronica is a quilter, and loves things like paper-folding, I think, because they remind her of quilts. So, I had asked her if she had any scraps she wanted to get rid of, so I'd have someone else's taste to incorporate with mine (hopefully!).

She not only brought me a bag of scraps, she also gave me some nifty old buttons! WOO HOO - these will look good on future flowers, I'm sure.

But I digress...

Here were the swaps everyone brought yesterday


How soft and Springy!

We had a beautiful day yesterday. Temps back up to where *I* like them - upper 70's, low 80's. And as you'll see below, the flowers are starting to pop up and bloom all over the place.

This card was made using the Asian Artistry set. And I love her colors! Pretty in Pink, Gable Green, with a little Regal Rose behind the main image.

Did you notice she ran the Gable Green piece through one of the texture plates? Adds a nice dimension to the card, doesn't it?


She used the Movers and Shapers Big Shot die to cut the card, then ran the front of it through the polka dot embossing folder.

She also used the XL 2-Step Bird Punch. I'm LOVIN' that punch - never a bad card made when using that!

I really like her color combination too. I'm not sure I'd have ever paired Rich Razzleberry and Basic Black together, but it works wonderfully! And the little bit of black CS behind the words makes it pop.


She used the newest Big Shot die from the Occasions mini. It's called Mini Milk Carton.

And it is SMALL! I've taken a photo of it beside one of our re-inkers, just to give you some perspective.

It's really very cute, though, and she filled them with chocolate, of course!

I mentioned earlier that things are starting bloom for us these days. How about a couple of photos that I took just this evening...

This a California Poppy that will start blooming in the next day or two. This is one of the survivors from last year, so it's got a head start on anything I planted this year.

Here's Melie (Smedley if you want to be formal!) pouncing into my flower garden. Lord knows what he thought he saw, but I thought it was a cute photo of him in action.

Hope you saw something here today that inspired you in some way - gardening, your pets, or some sort of stamping. Doing something creative!

Thanks for stopping by...

Sunday, February 14, 2010

NOW we're gettin' it!

Finally, I was able to get my act together re: fabric coordination!

You don't think about 8 different fabrics going together unless you're a quilter, I guess.

I do with paper - it just never dawned on me that I'd need the same mind set for making fabric flowers!

As I mentioned before, I used a lot of different Big Shot flower dies to cut out my fabrics. I was curious if it really made a difference which one I used. Would I like the flowers better from the Flower Folds die or the Scallop #2 die? Or would I like those I'd made with yet other dies?

Well, I think I tried them all!

It's very easy to make these flowers, since you can cut EIGHT LAYERS of fabric at the same time! YES! Once through Mr. Big and you've got all your flower petals - and more!

Wanna see?

This one was made using the Flower Layers w/Leaf die (Item 113470 $19.95).

There are three different flowers and a leaf on this die, so I just folded my fabrics in half and cut two of each one at the same time.

This is one of the other flower patterns on that same die.

Isn't it interesting how different the two flowers look once they're put together? Yet both of them look like the flowers they're supposed to be! I love it!

I used some fabrics with music, musical notes and a yellow with a small pattern. I used buttons for the centers of both. These seem to be the handiest things I have laying around, and I think they're just about perfect!

I have more to show you, but will need to finish them first! I got off on another tangent for a couple of evenings and need to get these done by Sunday afternoon, since they're going to be my swap for this month's Demo get-together! SHHH - don't tell them, OK?

I hope seeing these fabric flowers has struck some resonance within you. If you're a quilter to start with, I'm sure you can see myriad possiblities here!

If you love flowers as I do, well, they're just great accessories to make and give as gifts!

I've taken to wearing one of them on whatever shirt I'm wearing for the day. Lately, because it's been pretty chilly here, I've been wearing my white vest - and they ALL go with that!

Next post I'll give you step by step instructions on how to make these, OK?

Don't forget about SAB, Haitian relief - oh, and I hope you had a very


Thanks for stopping by...

Saturday, February 13, 2010

More Fabric Flowers

Last time I posted, I showed you the fabric flowers that I'd adhered to quilt batting before running it through Mr. Big.

Tonight I want to show you other flowers I made, without the batting.

These were made using cotton fabrics - I've been on the search for coordinating fabrics to make these from.

My first stab at it wasn't the best - I bought about 8 1/4 yards of fabrics, with Spring in mind. But what I didn't take into consideration, until I'd "built" my first flower was that the fabrics needed to coordinate better.

Here is my first attempt:

Yeh, coulda done better at coordinating the fabrics, although this flower DOES go with a lot of colors! LOL

I took one of the Kraft corduroy buttons and dyed it using the gold shimmer paint and Rich Razzleberry re-inker mixed together.

I used the Flower Folds die for this one - I selected the third smallest flower.

The shimmer paint gives a nice little touch to the button, don't you think?

Here are a few others I made the first night:

I used left over fabrics from some scallop cones I made a year or so ago. I can't locate the photos I took of them but will, and will post one of these days.

The fabrics are great choices for Fall colors, or if you wear a lot of browns, gold, yellows and/or oranges.

I used a button in the center of this one as well.

I used the Scallop Circle #2 die for this flower - used the smaller of the two flowers on the die.

I've just hot-glued all the layers together for these flowers. I punched out a circle of CS, then glued layers, then the button. After everything cooled down, I adhered a pin back to it.

And here's the third flower made during my first attempt:

Again, I was using any fabrics I could find laying around here. And it's been a very long time since I've worked with fabric, so you KNOW I had to dig to find stuff - especially if you've ever been IN my Stampin' Garage!

This flower was made using the Flower Folds die again. Third smallest flower on the die...

I used a corduroy button for this one as well - it's the discontinued color Pacific Point. Always one of my favorite colors - I'm sorry it's no longer available. Sigh...

The next time I post, I'll show you some I made after I started getting my act together re: color coordination.

In the meantime, don't forget - it's Sale-A-Bration (SAB) time! For each $50 you purchase in product from the Idea Book and Catalog (IDBC), the Occasions mini-catalog or either of the Decor Elements catalogs, you've earned FREE item from the SAB catalog!

And this year, not only can you get FREE STAMPS, you may also choose to receive a 6x6 paper pad or a NEW PUNCH!

Specifically, the corner Scallop punch.

And it's a doozy! I've shown you samples using that in the past two - three weeks, so dig back in my blog a little and you'll find them. Probably late Januaryish...

AND, as if THAT'S not enough - should you purchase so much product that you actually get one of everything in the SAB catalog and run out of options, this year there is a list of additional stamp sets from the IDBC that you may choose as well! AWESOME!

What would YOU like for your SAB freeby? Look thru the catalogs along my side bar and give me a call and let me know!

Thanks for stopping by...

Friday, February 12, 2010

Fabric Flowers

I've talked about fabric flowers before...

When I went to see my upline at the quilting show last May...

When I returned from Leadership in January, where Jill had also had a demonstration for the demonstrators in attendance.

I guess I never blogged about it (some things HAVE to be just for us demos for a little while, you know! It's one of the perks!), but I kept thinking about it, and wanting to try it.

Oh, and Jill had given me one that I showed in my hair

So, this week, I started playing around with fabric flowers on my own.

And here are some of the results!

This is my favorite so far. It's made with the large Flower Folds Big Shot die.

I ironed some batting between each of the fabric layers. When I went to the CHA show earlier this year, they had a "small" bag of this batting, so I picked it up.

It's got adhesive on both sides, and you just iron your fabrics to it before putting items thru Mr. Big as a unit. And it's enough batting to last me for a VERY long time! It looked as though it was large enough to do a baby quilt all in one piece.

I did have to re-iron after that process, though, so I decided I would hand stitch around the outsides of each of these flowers to keep everything looking neat and tidy.

If I'd ever dig my sewing machine out (and have some place to put it!), this would have taken 5 minutes instead of about an hour.

Here's a photo of the pieces, before I put everything together:

I'm always on the look out for anything with cherries on it, ever since I decided to paint my kitchen about 5 years ago and put a decorative border of stamped cherries along the top.

At that time, I had a DEVIL of a time finding anything with cherries on it. Apples? everywhere! Cherries? few and far between.

S0 when I went to that big fabric store I'm sure you're all aware of (wink, wink) to get quarter yards of fabrics to make my flowers, I was happy as (a cherry) pie to find the black gingham with cherries all over it.

I'm seriously thinking about going back and buying about 5 yards! Don't know what I'd do with it - maybe make curtains, but I love it! But then again, I'd have to dig that sewing machine out...

Did you notice the new moving icon along the top of my blog (left hand corner)? It's to remind all of you that Stampin' Up! is donating $2.00 for each I {Heart} Hearts set that is sold by February 28th. When can I order that set for YOU?

My thanks to Michele Laycock for supplying the necessary items (and making it free!) in order for me to have that icon. She's an invaluable source of aid in my maintaining this blog.

Next time I blog, I'll show you some flowers I made using other Big Shot dies. It didn't seem to matter which ones I chose (and I chose quite a few!), they all turned out very nicely.

Melie says "Thanks for stopping by"

And so do I!