Thursday, March 28, 2013

Avery Elle April Blog Hop: BEGINNINGS & GIVEAWAYS

Today is not an ordinary day around here:)  Yes, it's Avery Elle Blog Hop Day, and, of course, that's always fun!  But today, I have all kinds of happy, happy news that I have been longing to share!  I hope you have some time to sit awhile, this is going to be a long one;)  The theme for today is beginnings!  

The first new beginning involves a new Avery Elle DT member!  Our new teamie is none other than the awesome Nina Yang from Waffle Flower Paper Crafts blog:)  

Not only is she an awesome designer (her templates are phenomenal), but she's one of the sweetest and smartest gals I know.  Nina and I are already friends, and I'm super excited to be on a team with her!  Check out Nina's website because she's got all kinds of fun and wonderful stuff:)  

The second announcement is a new beginning for Avery Elle!  Debuting this month are Elle-ments, exclusive steel dies!  I'm ecstatic to say that this month, Avery Elle is releasing 2 sets of dies.  One of the sets is called Rounded Diamonds (set of 4 nesting dies) and that's the set I'm working with today!   (If you keep hopping, you'll see the other set of dies:)

And what could make dies even better?  Coordinating stamps (natch)!  Are you imagining all the possibilities in this set?   I know I have;)

The graphics in this set are perfect for whipping up bold and graphic CAS cards in no time!  My first card uses the largest chevron stamp with the matching die.  The dies are open in the middle, so it's super easy to die cut AFTER you stamp.  (The sentiment is from last month's set All Squared Up by the way)

This chevron stamp is so versatile because is can be used alone or with any size of the Rounded Diamonds dies.  You'll notice that the chevron design itself goes all the way to the edge of the cut for a nice clean look!  Let's keep moving shall we?  My second card takes advantage of the ability to do a reverse cut design.  

For a bit of color, I used vellum colored with Distress Ink behind 3 of the reverse cut "windows".  In the last window is a sentiment from the Framed Fonts set.  This card was super easy to do!  If you don't have vellum, how about using patterned paper or washi?  Good clean graphic fun:)

My last card uses the matched set together, a stamp with the matching die.  I used the open design stamp and colored it in with Copics.  Then I die cut a panel with the matching die to place over the stamped image with foam tape.  I love that the design could be a leaf, petal, or even a feather!  (The sentiment is from last month's Petals and Stems set)

I really hope that you've enjoyed the dies and stamps I've used today!  Not only because I'm a DT member, but because I had a hand in designing these babies!  Yup, I designed the Rounded Diamond dies and I collaborated with Jamie (the owner/designer of Avery Elle) on the coordinating stamps (THANK YOU FOR TAKING A CHANCE WITH ME JAMIE!).  Even as I write this blog post, I still can't believe it!  I didn't intend on designing dies or stamps.  Truthfully, the only reason I tried any designing at all is a purely selfish one.  I wanted them and couldn't find them on the market:)  Simple as that!  I've always been a fan of squeezing the most from your craft tools and I specifically designed this set to be used in multiple ways.  My die designs (die-signs?) are meant to be used with the coordinating stamps OR by themselves to build backgrounds, shapes, tags, whatever!  I really hope you see the same potential in them that I do:)  And you never know what other dies may be in the works (did I say that?)!  

And guess what?  Jamie is mixing up the release schedule at the store this time and the new stuff is live in the store, RIGHT NOW!  Go ahead, we'll wait:)

Now if you got through all of that, I lurve you! Mwah! THANK YOU for hanging in there!  You all are amazing and your support on this blog has been nothing short of miraculous!    (Okay, enough of my jibber-jabbering)

Now if I haven't tired you out, you have to keep hopping along to see all the wonderful projects using this month's release!  You'll be excited to know that this month we have one of my favorite folks guest designing with us, Laurie Willison (see I told you this was an awesome month)!  Here's the blog line up if you've just started...

JJ Bolton (you are here:)
Laurie Willison (guest designer)
Don't forget, to celebrate the April Release Blog Hop, Avery Elle is giving away a $25 Gift Certificate to one winner!  You have until Sunday, March 31st EST to enter.  The winner will be announced on the Avery Elle blog on Monday, April 1st (no foolin').  All products will be available for right NOW!!!

To increase your chances of winning:

As a bonus giveaway, I will also be choosing a winner at random from the comments on this blog post.  The winner will get a set of the Rounded Diamond dies!  Just leave a comment by Sunday, March 31st EST:)
    Mahalo and Aloha,

    Tuesday, March 26, 2013

    Avery Elle: Classic Red Petals

    Hey guys!  Just one more card with the new Avery Elle set Petals and Stems before the month is out:)  This time I used the large leaf stamp to create a graphic background in black and white.  I love the way you can dress these flowers up or down.  I used the one-Copic method on the flower again.  

    For a tiny bit of drama, I used a thin sliver of gold between the stamped panel and the card base.  Yes, I'm still loving the gold but it just feels right!   I was hoping that the black, white, red, and gold combo would feel traditional but still a little modern:)

    It's been so much fun with all the new March Avery Elle goodies!  Don't forget to stop by  Heather's blog today, she's also got a card to share!  

    Mahalo and Aloha,

    Thursday, March 21, 2013

    Avery Elle March Stamp Highlight: Celebrate

    Hey people!  Today Heather and I have more Avery Elle release projects using the March sets to share!  I am working with the new set called Celebrate!  {Am I the only one singing that song right now?'s time to celebrate...celebraaaaate!...}  

    This is such a cute set!  I love the unique font and the fact that the letters can be colored in.  Plus, the stripe and frame are the kind of basics you can use for practically anything.  For my card, I did a kinda chalkboard-y type technique.  I started by stamping the frame stamp in a deep black on kraft card stock.  I stamped the sentiment in the same black and then filled it in with a white pencil.   

    The flower was stamped in white and then I colored it in and "shaded" with the white pencil.  I love the way it almost looks hand drawn.  I added a little twine and then put the panel over a gold background.  I like the contrast of the rustic elements (kraft, burlap twine, and white pencil) with the more formal ones (gold and black frame).  

    I really appreciate you stopping in to take a peek!  I hope you hop on over to Heather's blog too!  She's highlighting the set All Squared Up today!

    Mahalo and Aloha,

    Tuesday, March 19, 2013

    Ellen Hutson Giveaway Winner!

    Hi guys!  I almost forgot to pull a number for the Ellen Hutson giveaway!  The winner of this prize package is #24 ~ Beach Girl 115!!!
    She won with this super nice comment:)

    Beach Girl 115, please contact me at ribbongirls at comcast dot net and I'll set you up with Ellen to get your prizes:)  Thanks so much for all the comments and I hope that you stop by again!

    Mahalo and Aloha,

    Mama Elephant Stamp Highlight: Today Was

    Hey, hey, hey!  Time for the last of the Mama Elephant's March release highlights!  Don't forget, the new release is live now and available for purchase in the store!  Today's set to highlight is Today Was!

    I love all the custom options that this set gives!  For my card, I went straight for a stamp that you *probably* would use more for scrapping than carding, and made myself a background.  I just love the look of Versamark on gray card stock!  

    After I stamped the background I cut the yellow panel with my Silhouette.   I wanted the panel to stand out against the gray, so I picked the a bold yellow (still love that combo).  The cut panel measures 3" wide by 4" high (that's a good Project Life size, right?).  Click here to download this cut file.  {Please refer to the terms of use here before downloading}

    I didn't want to totally cover the die cut panel with the sentiment, so I stamped it on vellum.  I finished everything off with a sprinkling of enamel dots in sky blue.  

    THANK YOU for stopping in!  Stop by the other Mama Elephant team members and see what they did this great set!  
    JJ Bolton (you are here)

    It's been so much fun with you this week!  I do hope that you found something inspirational or picked up a little tip or technique this week:)  As always, I thank each and every one of you for visiting and for your super sweet comments!  

    Mahalo and Aloha,

    Monday, March 18, 2013

    Mama Elephant Stamp Highlight: Hello

    Hey guys!  Time for another Mama Elephant's March release highlight!  Remember, the new release is live now and available for purchase in the store!  Today's set to highlight is Hello!

    If you came to the Stampede, you've already seen me use these stamps:)  Aren't they fun?  The variety of sentiments in this set will match so many images!  I decided to pair the smile speech bubble with, of course, a camera stamp!  I used the camera from We Click to create this easy peasy card:)  

    I wanted to  do something to frame the image, so I thought photo corners would go well with the camera theme.  I don't have a photo corner punch or die, so I did a cheater version.  If you look closely, the main image is on a panel (3-3/4" wide by 5" high).  To get the look of photo corners, I put a gold triangle in each corner of the card base.  (I used a 1" square punch to make 4 triangles)  When you place the panel over the card base/ triangles, voila!  "Faux-to" corners!  For fun, I used shiny gold cardstock (which you know I am in love with lately!).  

    THANK YOU for stopping in!  Stop by the other Mama Elephant team members and see what they did this fun set!  
    JJ Bolton (you are here)

    Come back tomorrow for the last of the highlights from the March release!  Have a wonderful day!

    Mahalo and Aloha,

    Sunday, March 17, 2013

    Mama Elephant Stamp Highlight: Papa Love

    Hey there!  Time for another Mama Elephant's March release highlight!  Remember, the new release is live now and available for purchase in the store!  Today's set to highlight is Papa Love!

    So yesterday we went girly with Lovely Mums, but today we're flipping the coin.  This set is named Papa Love but really it's for any guy in your life!  Just look at the variety of sentiments in this one!  For my card, I wanted to create something colorful but still on the masculine side.  So I took the circle sentiment and turned it into a balloon.  I just used a marker to draw in the balloon tail (or whatever you call that little triangle bit;)  To go with the sentiment balloon, I used the balloon stamps from the Good Times set.  I didn't bother masking because I really wanted that overlapping look just like real balloons.  The strings are just drawn in with a silver pen.  

    THANK YOU for stopping in!  Stop by the other Mama Elephant team members and see what they did this lovely set!  Lots of fun ideas for masculine cards:)
    JJ Bolton (you are here)

    Come back tomorrow for more highlights from the March release!  Have a wonderful day!

    Mahalo and Aloha,

    Saturday, March 16, 2013

    Mama Elephant Stamp Highlight: Lovely Mums

    Hey y'all!  You've seen the peeks all week from Kryssi and stampeded with the whole team, now it's time for Mama Elephant's March release highlights!  BTW, the new release is live now and available for purchase in the store!  The first set to highlight is Lovely Mums!

    Everybody needs a stash of flower stamps.  Although I make a ton of masculine cards (twin boys will do that to ya!), the cards that get the most ooh's and aah's are the real girly ones!  This set is about as girly as it gets;)  I love that when Kryssi and Angela designed this set, they included an outline AND a fill version of the 2 flower images.  So for my cards, I did an outline version and a fill version!  This first card uses the outline bloom that has been colored in with Copics.  {I'm a Copic newbie, but if you want to learn from the master check out Alice's blog!}

    I just added 2 little banners to ground the flower and stamped the sentiment and that was it!  A quick card that looks like it took much longer;)  For my second card, I used the fill/solid version of the flowers.  Some of these flowers I stamped, fussy cut, and glued with foam tape.  Some are stamped directly to the card base.  {BTW, I'm using Hero Arts Shadow Ink and it is so pretty!!}  To create the shading, I used my handy dandy Copic marker...again!  Can't seem to stop doing this technique.  Believe it or not, I got this shading using only one marker.  

    If you like this look, here are some tips for shading.  Choose a similar shade that is just slightly darker than the image you are shading.  You don't have to use multiple markers to get that variation.  Add strokes in layers, more strokes = darker color.  It's just that easy.  I usually start from the bottoms of the petals and flick upward/outward.  Like I said, I'm totally not an expert just passing along what I did specifically for this card:)

    That's it for me today!  THANK YOU for stopping in!  Please go visit the other Mama Elephant team members and see what they did this lovely set!
    JJ Bolton (you are here)

    Come back tomorrow for another highlight from the March release!  Thanks for stopping by and have a great day!

    Mahalo and Aloha,

    Friday, March 15, 2013

    Mama Elephant March Stampede


    Happy Friday people!  Welcome to the Mama Elephant February Stampede!  You've already seen the first looks at the March release on the Mama Elephant blog, and the new release is now live and available for purchase in the store here!

    For the Stampede, I created two CAS cards with the new set above called Hello.  This set includes more handwritten sentiments by Kryssi which you know I can't resist!  For my first card, I used the Fabulous sentiment bubble paired with some colorful patterned paper.  Love how the stamped image is so crisp!  To finish, I added enamel dots in the same yummy colors found in the paper.  Fun, right?

    The next card has another sentiment bubble but this time I paired it with one of the matching phrases that fits perfectly in the bubble:)  For the image, I used a circle die as a template to create the "Earth" using blended ink and then stamped the city scape from Believe in Magic over it.  A bit of washi tape across the top and some strategically placed dots and it was done!  Loving the graphic black and white!  

    To celebrate the new release, Mama Elephant is giving away 3 gift certificates worth $20 each to 3 lucky people!  Winners will be chosen at random from the collective blogs in the Stampede.  Winners will be announced on the blog Monday, March 18th.  The winners will have 48 hours to claim their prize.  

    Here's how to qualify to win (leave a separate comment for each):
    1) Leave a comment on this blog post
    2) Become a follower of the Mama Elephant blog
    3) Like/share Mama Elephant on Facebook
    4) Follow/tweet about Mama Elephant on Twitter

    Are you ready to stampede?  Here's the list of designer blogs you'll be visiting.
    Alice Wertz

    Thank you so much for stopping by!!  Come back tomorrow for the start of the DT stamp highlights!  Are you ready to see the new sets in action?  Have an awesome weekend!

    Mahalo and Aloha,

    Ellen Hutson the CLASSroom Guest Post & Giveaway

    Hey, hey, hey!  Just a quick post to mention that I'm guesting over on Ellen Hutson's blog, the CLASSroom, today!  I hope you head on over and check out a little tutorial on how to create a scored sunburst!   Here's a sneak peek of one of the projects:)  

    Ellen has been nice enough to offer some blog candy that includes a sampling of the products I used in my tutorial projects:)  Cool, right?  I just ♥ Ellen!  So go check out the tutorial and check back here for a chance to win!

    For a chance to win, just leave a comment on this post by Monday, March 18th, midnight EDT!  The winner will be chosen at random and posted on this blog on Tuesday, March 19th:)  Crossing my fingers for you:) 

    Mahalo and Aloha,

    Thursday, March 14, 2013

    Avery Elle March Release: Petals and Stems

    Hi guys!  Today Heather and I have more new Avery Elle release projects to share!  I am working with the new set called Petals and Stems!  If I only get one flower stamp set this year, this is the one I would pick!  It's modern and vintage and LOVELY all at the same time:)  And the font on the sentiment is fantastic, no?

    When you have stamps this beautiful, you just want to showcase those beautiful images!  So I took some Speckled cardstock and simply stamped the largest bloom in the set in a warm yellow ink.  With Spring coming, have you noticed that yellow seems to be sneaking into my projects lately?  For the flower center, I used a pinky orange ink.  To get a deeper, more variegated look, I used that well-known trick of shading with a copic.  Super easy to do!

    I don't know about you, but sentiments cause me all kinds of headaches.  Where to put them, what style, what size, what ink!?!  Here's my thought process on how I chose this sentiment.  I wanted a sentiment large enough to tie together both flowers.  I chose a cool gray ink to counterbalance the warm yellow.  {The sentiment frame is from the set Framed Fonts and the sentiment is from the set All Occasion Tags.}  I really love how it turned out!  Classic with a bit of modern.  

    Thanks so much for stopping by today!  Hop on over to Heather's blog too! She's highlighting the set All Squared Up!

    Mahalo and Aloha,

    Thursday, March 7, 2013

    Avery Elle March Release: All Squared Up

    Hi guys!  Today Heather and I have some new release projects to share!  I am working with the new set called All Squared Up!  You know I'm a fan of bold graphics and this one has bunches:)

    I always like to keep a stash of cards for those "just in case" moments.  And that means that I need to keep them gender neutral.  Sets like this are the perfect thing to make cards that are great for practically anyone!  I stamped the continuous hexagon border along the side and dressed it up with several solid colored hexagons.  Before you know it, you've got a custom background stamp:)  

    I finished off the card with a sentiment stamped onto a wood veneer banner that I colored with a bit of ink.  The sentiment is from another new set, Petals and Stems.  The orange stripes along the side are just a bit of washi tape:)  

    Thank you so much for stopping by today!  Hop on over to Heather's blog today too! She's highlighting the set Roll With It!

    Mahalo and Aloha,

    Friday, March 1, 2013

    Mama Elephant Sketch Challenge #2 in on!

    The Mama Elephant Sketch challenge is back!!!  Not only can you win free stamps (who doesn't love that?) but you also get to participate in the monthly Stampede blog hop and get featured on the ME blog.  

    All the details are right here!!!  And as my Dad always says, you don't win if you don't play!