Monday, April 26, 2010


I have been off my posting again.  I had an unexpected trip come up.  I ended up flying out suddenly to Ohio because my grandfather had become very ill.  He is 91 years old and he is a fighter but he is coming to the end of his battle and old age has finally caught up to him.  I am lucky that I was able to come up quickly and I have gotten the chance to see him and talk to him and let him know how much I love him.  So there ended up being a blessing to being unemployed at the moment.  Also from that unforeseen blessing I was able to come up on a one way ticket and I can stay here however long things take and for however long I am needed.  I am currently sitting in a hospital room watching my grandfather sleep, it is 1 am, as I took the night shift to relieve my mother of the stress.  I like it this way, lots of time to be one on one with him. 
The little time I have been away from the hospital I have gotten to enjoy something I don't get in Southwest Florida, Seasons.  Look at these beautiful trees:

Don't get me wrong though, I miss Florida.  When I flew out it was beautiful blue skies, bright sunshine, light breeze and 90 degrees.  When I landed it was grey, raining, and 59 degrees.  But occasionally I do miss the changing of the trees.

I have some pictures of some things I made recently so I will be posting occasionally while I'm here.  I just wanted to take a moment to share with you what has been going on in my world.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Finally Finished!

I finally finished the second picture frame!  I pushed it to the side of my desk and there it sat until today.  To refresh your memory go here.  They look great hanging on my wall.

I changed up the stem and leaves to be Certainly Celery Satin Ribbon. I have the Old Olive in all the other styles but Satin :) I think it came out great and I even liked it better than the first stem I did. The pleating hides the hot glue.  I then took some of the Wide Chocolate Chip Striped Ribbon.  I hand stitched a thread along one edge of the ribbon and knotted it at the end.  I then scrunched the ribbon and tied the two ends together.  After hot gluing it down I hot glued a Chocolate Chip Corduroy Button in the middle.  So much fun!

Card Stock - Kraft (soon to be called Crumb Cake), Certainly Celery
Accessories -hot glue gun, 5/8" Satin Certainly Celery Ribbon, 1-1/4"Chocolate Chip Striped Ribbon, Corduroy Chocolate Chip Buttons

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How I became a Stampin' Up! Demonstrator

My Stampin’ Up! Story

In January 2003, my mother invited me to a home workshop she was having. She said she had been to one before and it was this great product that you use to make cards and such. She was very excited so I decided to make the drive (2 hours) to come to this party she was having. When I arrived I was introduced to Stampin’ Up! My mom had around 10 women at her party and it was during Sale-A-Bration so for every $50 you spent you earned a free stamp set. We all had so much fun making a card and a cute little pencil holder for Valentine’s Day. I watched as my mother earned lots of free merchandise from her huge workshop. I had even purchased $50 worth of stuff to get a free set. My mom kept saying “You could do this, how much fun would it be”. I went home and thought about it for maybe a week then went onto the Stampin’ Up! website and found myself a local demonstrator to sign up under.

I have enjoyed every minute of my demonstratorship. I did take a year off to move from Ohio to Florida as it was too much to do both, but as soon as I got myself settled I signed up again so I could get back to doing what I loved so much! The people I have met and the fun I have had is worth so much to me. I can’t imagine my life without Stampin’ Up!

You can be apart of this great company as well.  Contact me today

Nicole Black
Stampin' Up! Demonstrator
(239) 223-2370

Join me
password is nicolebstampin

Monday, April 19, 2010

Awash With Flowers Vase

I created this card based on this one.  I modified it using the new Awash with Flowers set that is part of the Two-Step Stampin' promotion.  I just love this set!  It is so versatile with four different flowers to create and endless combinations.  Hurry to get yours before the offer is over (April 30th)!  Otherwise you will have to wait until the new catalog comes out in July.

I used colors that will soon be retiring (Pixie Pink and Green Galore).  I have to admit that I dont really like these colors, they are too bright for me.  But the card came out adorable!  The vase is the Ornament Punch with the bottom trimmed off.  I popped it up with Dimensionals.  After I took this picture I decided there was too much white space on the right and added a fly trail by hand with the Basic Black Marker.  The saying is one that I like from the Simply Said Set.  I probably should have stamped it in the Pixie Pink as it is kind of hard to see.  Oh Well.  Live and learn.

Stamp Set(s) - Awash With Flowers, Simply Said
Card Stock - Whisper White, Pixie Pink
Ink - Pixie Pink, Green Galore, Basic Black
Accessories - Big Shot, Emblosslit-Beautiful Wings, Ornament Punch

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Wonderful Mother's Day Card

This card was completely me sitting down with a stamp set and going to work.  I just love when that happens!  I just got the Country Morning stamp set and thought the flowers stamp would be perfect for a Mother's Day card.  I picked a retiring color that looked like it would go well with this stamp.  I thing Lavender Lace fit the bill perfectly.  I have seen several demonstrators use a white on white layering effect that I really liked, and wanting to keep the card simple I tried it here.  I used Dimensionals to pop the first layer off the second.  I use Lavender Lace Ink on Lavender Lace CS for the words which gives the card softness.

Painting the flowers is the best part of the card.  I laid out a bunch of colors of ink pads and went to work (see below for which I used).  Before I open the Ink Pad I squeeze the lid against the top, then only flip it part way open.  I use the ink on the lid to dip my blender pen into to "paint".  I painted the flowers completely with the light color and use the darker to highlight.  This is a technique I wished I used more often.  Such an amazing effect!  What do you think?

Stamp Set(s) - County Morning, Well Scripted
Card Stock - Lavender Lace, Whisper White
Ink - Lavender Lace, Almost Amethyst, Close To Cocoa, Going Gray, Summer Sun, Old Olive, More Mustard, StazOn Black
Accessories -Blender Pen, Dimensionals

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Grateful Butterfly

Since the announcement that there will be Stampin Up colors that will be retiring, I have put my focus into using these colors.  I have discovered something, the colors I am drawn to are not retiring.  Whew!  That makes me feel a lot better about this whole change.  There are one or two that I really liked but on a whole, I very rarely use most of the colors retiring!  I am also very excited about the new colors.  Just a remind for you:  Here are the colors retiring; and Here are the new color families.

I saw a card similar to this on one of the blogs I follow, but cant for the life of me find it again.  It has a simple elegance to it that I love.  I used the retiring colors Almost Amethyst and Lovely Lilac.  I think It is quite beautiful and will go into my pile of cards that is good to have on hand for "emergencies".

Stamp Set(s) - Small Script (retired), Vintage Vogue
Card Stock - Whisper White, Almost Amethyst, Lovely Lilac
Ink - Almost Amethyst, Lovely Lilac
Accessories - Big Shot, Embosslit Beautiful Wings, Scallop Trim Border, Pretties Kit, Dimensionals

Monday, April 12, 2010

Wedding Card

I was in need of a wedding card for a wedding coming up.  I saw this one a while ago.  I changed some things up.  I used Elegant Eggplant to match one of the colors from there wedding.  I used Embosslits Scalloped Heart of Hearts and Full Heart Punch.  It is hard to tell from the picture; however, the white of the hearts is made from the Presto Patterns Specialty DS Paper.  I stamped the script Love from the retired set Wonderful Words at the bottom.

Since Elegant Eggplant is so dark I put Whisper White on the inside.  In Elegant Eggplant I stamped Together Forever from the Together Forever stamp set and a heart from Simply Said.  Overall, I think it came out just beautiful, I cant wait to give it to to figure out a gift ;)

Stamp Set(s) - Wonderful Words (retired), Simply Said, Together Forever
Card Stock - Elegant Eggplant, Whisper White, Basic Black
Ink - Basic Black, Elegant Eggplant
Accessories - Embosslits Scalloped Heart of Hearts, Perfect Polka Dots Impressions Folder, Big Shot, Full Heart Punch, Scallop Trim Border, Sheer White Ribbon (retired), 1/4" White Grosgrain Ribbon, DS Presto Patterns Specialty Paper, Pretties Kit, Glue Dots

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Flower Pictures

I cant believe I am half way through Saturday and I still haven't posted!  I have been easily distracted lately.  I have not established my routine yet.  Today I have been playing with some craft projects to hang in my stamping room.  I bought some great frames from IKEA (where else) that were on sale.  I had seen these ribbon flowers that I thought were just beautiful and wanted to try.  My plan was to show you both of my framed works of art for this post but alas I have not finished one.  I will explain in a minute.

The first one was a lot of fun.  I changed up the colors to match what I had on hand.  I used Striped Old Olive for the stem and leaves and Rich Razzleberry Polka-Dots for the petals.  I used a button from Playground Designer Buttons.  It is weird but I have used all the Old Olive buttons from the set and I still have plenty of the three other colors, wonder what one of my favorite colors are :D  Anyways, once I mastered the hot glue gun (only burning myself a couple of times) I managed to put together the fame you see below.  I am just going to save the glass from the frame for some other project I am sure to scheme up.

The stem probably could have used some work but overall I am pretty happy with the result and overall impressed with myself.  The elated feelings were short lived.

I then began on the second flower.  I chose to do the Chocolate Chip Wide Striped one.  I changed up the Stem and leaves to be Certainly Celery Satin Ribbon.  I have the Old Olive in all the other styles but Satin :)  I think it came out great and I even liked it better than the first stem.  The pleating hides the hot glue.  Anyways, this is how far I got.

Then I began on the flower.  I bought this great little machine a while back to do stitching on cards and such.  I figured it was perfect since I am not a sewer.

It is hard to tell in the picture but it is about as tall as my hand.  Very cute.  Anyways, I pull it out for the first time because to gather the ribbon I need a stitched thread to pull.  I figured Perfect.  Not so much.  An hour later I still cant get the thing to work.  It all looks right and I have it all threaded right and it runs, however, no stitches are made.  I then had one of my clients over (thank you Barbara) and she looked at it as she sews a lot and knows WAY more than me.  She couldn't see anything wrong either. 

Well that brings me up to now.  Here it is 4pm on Saturday and I haven't finished my project to post!  I am going to have to pull out my cross stitch stuff and sew a thread by hand to complete my project.  Not a big deal, I was just hoping to show you my great project that I COMPLETED.  I just wasn't meant to be.  I will post the completed flower when it is done.  Otherwise, enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

Card Stock - Rich Razzleberry, Kraft (soon to be called Crumb Cake), Certainly Celery
Accessories -hot glue gun, Playground Buttons, 5/8" Satin Certainly Celery Ribbon, 1/2" Old Olive Striped Ribbon, 1/2" Rich Razzleberry Polka-Dot Ribbon, 1-1/4"Chocolate Chip Striped Ribbon (in flower to come), Corduroy Chocolate Chip Buttons (in flower to come)

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Renovation of my Stamp Room

Well I have had a little time on my hands recently so the first thing I took on was cleaning up and rearranging my stamp room.  I wanted to show off my hard work.

First, my birthday present.  I got one of the deluxe ink storage units from Storage Units, Ink & More.  I Love It!  It holds all my stamp pads, markers, and reinkers!

Here is my primary work space.  As you can see I mounted the ink rack on the end of my table.

I used rods from IKEA for my punches.  I need to get another rod, I have already run our of space!

I made my ribbon rack from wood posts and peg board with hooks.  Then used dowel rods to "string" the ribbon.  I have one more rod to add to make four rows.  If you want exact dimensions to make your own, email me and I will send them to you.

This piece is one that I still want to change out; however, I have not figured out what to do yet.  Right now, this is four wire cubes that lock together.  I have the top two facing my table and they hold currents sets.  The bottom two face out and hold the few retired sets I cant let go of and other ideas and stuff I collected and probably need to go through and clean out.

Behind where I sit is all sorts of containers for storage of all my toys.

First, to my right side are all the things that need to be easily accessible: adhesives, clear blocks, punches too small to fit on rods, white cardstock, accessories I use often, wheels, etc.  On top is my stamp cleaner and other random stuff because I cant actually have a spot for everything.  Next to it is a crate with my neutrals and In Color Cardstock.  I put them in file folders with the tab being a piece of the color.  It is a great way to hold both the paper and scraps to minimize waste.  Under that is the container that holds all my 12x12 Cardstock and Designer Series paper.

In the closet there are three layers, the bottom holds all the rest of my accessories and toys.  Two more crates for the 4 families of Cardstock.  And lots of bins with drawers full of accessories, paper, tools, glitter, embossing powders, stamps, inks, ideas, and random stuff I cant bring myself to throw away :)

I have installed a couple of shelves to hold accessories that are current such and buttons, Florette's, eyelets, brads, etc to easily see what I have to work with.  I am a visual person and if I put it away I will forget I have it to use!  I need to get one more shelf to finish it off.

The top of the closet holds other type of crafting stuff such as candles, candle holders, cross-stitching, and paints along with pictures, cards, envelopes, and albums.  The very top shelf is my husbands storage, mostly computer related stuff.

One of my favorite new additions to the room is my 5x5 square shelf from IKEA.  It is not completely finished as I want the bottom to all be bins and I want a couple more inserts like the one set of drawers I already have but it is SO awesome!  It displays my catalogs, magazines, scrapbooks and many projects.  It is also where I store my Big Shot and accessories.

(notice the extra chair, anyone is welcome to come and play with me!)

This corner holds the filing cabinet every house has but more importantly the TV!  And because my husband and I are computer geeks, the TV is actually a monitor that is run through a VCR (yes we still have one) and a computer so it is on the house network so I can tape shows on my TIVO downstairs and then transfer them to my room to watch!  I also have my high quality color photo printer.  The great little table was from IKEA for only $8!

Here is a closer look at my work table and my view out the bay window.  (Meeko loves laying in front of the window while I work!)  Notice my Netbook, another birthday gift.  My family Spoils me!

Frequently my husband will hang out with me and work on his work (he is a website administrator) on his laptop so he has a table by the couch to work on.  And of course a tea set up for brewing.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of my stamp room.   I am very blessed to have such a wonderful space for my crafting!  It is by far my favorite room in the house.  Let me know if you have any ideas on how to better organize my stamps; otherwise, I guess I will have to wait until all I have are clear stamps!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Back Into the Swing of Things and Color Renovation

I am back to blogging!  And just in time too.  Stampin' Up! has announced a Huge change!  But more on that in a minute.  Thanks for all the support with my layoff!  I am still job hunting but now that things have settled down and I have actually finished working at my previous job, I am able to get into my stamp room a little more!  The last couple of days I have been working on cleaning and rearranging my stamp room.  I will post pictures of that "renovation" later this week. 

(Making you wait another minute on that big announcement.) 

Yesterday I was able to go and hang out with a couple of my stamping girls during the day!  That was a first for me and we had So Much Fun!  We made two cards that were modifications of cards that I have done in the past.  Yes, we were together for half a day and only made two cards!  We were having so much fun talking and teaching that we didn't accomplish as much as we originally thought we would.  Here are the two cards we made.

This is the same card as here; however we used Vintage Vogue for the flower top instead of Awash with Flowers.  The only reason we made this change is because when I was grabbing stamp sets to take I grabbed another set instead of the solids part of Awash with Flowers.  I was so mad at myself but we recovered nicely.

This card is using a retired set one of the girls was playing around with.  I just think it is a beautiful card!  The dimensions are 5 1/2" x 2 3/4".  We used Bravo Burgundy, So Saffron, and Kraft paper.  The background is stamped with White craft ink and the flower is stamped with Basic Black.  We then used Bravo Burgundy and Blender pens to color in the flower.  Just varying the amount of ink on the blender pen and mixing in the white craft ink that wasn't quite dry, we were able to get the different shading.  It is hard to tell from the picture; however, on the Bravo Burgundy we stamped a retired background stamp with Basic black to give the card a nice texture.

Color Renovation
Okay I held out long enough, now for Stampin' Up!s big announcement!  We are going to have a color renovation in the 2010-2011 Idea Book & Catalog released on July 1st!  I love that Stampin' Up keeps things fresh!  Colors and styles are constantly changing and cycling—and Stampin’ Up wants to stay on top of current trends.
First, for the very sad news; to accomplish these great changes some current colors will retire as of June 30. Everyone has their favorite colors, and I am no exception. If some of your favorites are retiring, you will definitely want to stock up on them before they’re gone. You can place orders for retiring colors through June 30, while supplies last. Click here to see a list of the retired colors.

The good news is that there are some beautiful colors being added. Our core color line will be reorganized into four color collections of ten colors each for 40 core colors. And then each July 1st 5 additional "In Colors" will be released and best of all, they will last for two years each time instead of just one as they do now! (so that will be 45 colors in the 2010-2011 catalog and then 50 in the 2011-2012 one.)

Within the new four core color collections we will be getting 6 brand new colors (including a great one called Crumb Cake that is an ink version of our current Kraft card stock) plus 10 former In Colors that were very popular are returning! Click here to see the new color families.

Now I know you're wondering about things like pastels, markers, watercolor crayons, etc. that you may have in your stash. Stampin' Up is going to be offering lots of great kits to retrofit lots of existing color tools you may already own. I will have more on that soon.

I am so excited about the new colors and I can't wait to share them with you soon!!!