Saturday, June 23, 2007

Miscommunication at A Muse?

I'm wondering if something went awry over at A-Muse-A-Palooza? In the posting for this week's challenge (see earlier blog entry), it said the prize was a mystry. But, when the newsletter arrived yesterday, there was this picture--->

That's the prize for the silly celebrations challenge! Errrr and I won a MUG! I want that one! I want A Muse for my prize. But, I guess winners ought not be whiners!

For more on the challenge, see

Friday, June 22, 2007

Challenge 8: Wacky Holiday #4 (Responsibility is overrated day!)

For my 4th entry this week, I declare today, "Responsibility is overrated day!" Won't we all love to throw the bills out the window, not think about insurance, ignore the mortgage thoughts, hop in a convertible, and CRUISE! Okay, maybe that's just my day!

Here, I stamped Cruisin' (an A Muse stamp I ADORE), then masked it to stamp the brownstone (A Muse) 4 times to create a block feel. I colored each a bit differently, in an attempt to hide the sameness of this block. : ) I used a bit of glitter on the windows to get some shine though didn't show up well in the photo. Also, I'm still playing with chalks to create some color on street and sky.

So, ignore the emissions test; forget about unemployment; who cares about figuring out mortgage rates! Relax, it's your day! And, remember, responsibility is overrated!

Challenge 8: Wacky Holiday #3 (Gardening Month!)

Is there an official National Gardening Month? If not, there should be and it should be now! Outside of stamping, gardening is a hobby I really enjoy that has been passed down from my maternal great-grandmother, my Grandma, my mom, and me! The whole bunch: Gardeners! Here's my Garden Month card! I used the Gardening Tools stamp, topped off with Creative Candies micro-dots (also A-Muse) and LOVE it hung like a picture against the pots paper. I will have a hard time giving this one away.

I thought I'd also paste a picture of my own backyard garden. Hehehee... just kidding. I took this last year at Versailles, one of the premiere gardens of the world. My own endeavors are much more modest in scale.

Challenge 8: Wacky Holiday #2 (Happy Birthday to You day!)

Did you know that June 27th (next week, Wednesday) is "Happy Birthday to You day"? I am assuming that it was inspired by Alice in Wonderland and "happy birthday to me" day. But, nonetheless, it gave me a chance to make a traditional card for a wacky holiday.

I used 3 A Muse stamps (sentiment; Lizzy; tiny present). I used shimmer chalks to give a little iridescent color to both the butter background paper and the white with the stamps. Kind of basic, but useful.

Challenge 8: Wacky Holiday #1 (National Grilling Month)

Did you know that July is National Grilling month? For the challenge this week, I found this website which lists official, wacky holidays. July is the month of the Grill so here's the perfect card!

Both Stamps are A Muse. The Grill is filled in using Mica D'lights in tiger eye to give it some shimmer. The flames/smoke is with glaze pen.

I outlined the Time for Fun using a gel pen 'cause I didn't like it in black. Finally, used a Souffle pen to do the dots.

Fun paper... can't remember where it ever came from-- it was a scrap, but good and summery!

Another Cottage Stamper winner!

Congrats to Kaylyn Conover who won the Scavenger Hunt at a-muse-a-palooza. Way to go! Her prize for the winning entry includes:
· A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA t-shirt (green or pink)
· A Muse Tiny Flowers Lowercase Large clear stamp set
· Color Box Petal Point Pigment Ink Pad
· NEW! Marvy Uchida Giga Scallop Rectangle punch
· 10 yards of assorted *yummy* Strano ribbon
· SCS prize package (mug and one year fan club subscription)

Yeah, happy stamping!

Both of us are mentioned on the Cottage Stamper homepage ! Yippee

Monday, June 18, 2007

The big winner is.... ME!

Yipppppeeee! I won a design challenge! As posted this AM on the A-Muse-A-Palooza website, I won the sparkle challenge... and on my very first entry.

Ironically, the card that won was my re-do card! I didn't like (correction-- hated!) the initial attempt with clunky glitter on an "e" so I redid it with the carload stamp and it's okay. Nothing special. But randomly, it's a winner!

Lucky me... I get a splitcoaster stamper mug and a subscription to their on-line galleries. That should inspire something! Here's my winning card, again!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Creative Candy

As the winner of the 4th round of the A-Muse-A-Palooza secret squares game, Becky won packets of these fun stickers from A-Muse. Louise talked me into getting a pack once (at the Cottage Stamper, St. Charles) and I'm so thrilled with 'em. I got them to finish off the card as I had seen it in the a-muse news letter and I love how they look on the card. I will be buying more soon.

I don't see where you can order them directly from the website ( but you can probably email and ask if your store doesn't stock them.

Get lookin' on that scavenger hunt!

Be sure you enter the A-Muse scavenger hunt at the A-muse-a-palooza website. Cool prize possible for a few minutes of looking at good sights! If you're right (answering simple content questions), and they pick your name, you win:

· A-MUSE-A-PALOOZA t-shirt (green or pink)
· A Muse Tiny Flowers Lowercase Large clear stamp set
· Color Box Petal Point Pigment Ink Pad
· NEW! Marvy Uchida Giga Scallop Rectangle punch
· 10 yards of assorted *yummy* Strano ribbon
· SCS prize package (mug and one year fan club subscription)

You've got 'til midnight tonight (Monday) so get crackin' already!!!

A-Muse Design Challenge #7:Sparkle (one final one)

Thought I'd whip out one final entry with my new stamp (thanks to my sister!). I love the summer... correction, I love to grill which mostly occurs in the summertime in Chicago. So, my sister thought I really *had* to have this A Muse grill to go with my Chef Sprinkle (by Cat's Pajamas) and "This cat's cookin' " (Also, Cat's Pajamas). I think she was right... they go together like summer and grilling, like bratwurst and saurkraut, like... oh, you get the idea! :)

Here, I used paper by Frances Meyer for the background. The hat is colored with a souffle pen to give it the raised, opaque look. The hotdog (look close at Sprinkle's tale!) is with a glaze pen.

Finally, to make it challenge-worthy this week, the grill is coated in Mica D'Lights tiger eye. Overall, I'm happy with the effect but now will have to play with my new toy! :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Thinking out loud

One good thing about all these A-Muse-A-Palooza challenges is that they have gotten me to think outside my typical stamp designs and tools. I've become a fan of the magazine Just Cards and that has also gotten me to think differently. But, you know how it is when you're a stamper-- you don't have to do too much for people to be really impressed so I think at times my designs all seem like variations on the same theme. Doesn't matter to the recepient, they don't see the other cards but I get bored with it.

So, these challenges have been a good step to trying other ideas-- this week, glitter. I haven't used it much (if at all) so there is some $ invested, but I'll use it up and enjoy the process.

My gentle encouragement: if you haven't submitted, watch the weekly blog at and try your hand at something new.

A-Muse Design Challenge #7:Sparkle (take 3)

This is a design I did for an earlier challenge too but made another with some glitter and different papers. This is for a friend who just had baby #3 in 4 years! That's a lot of diapers!

I used K*I Memories papers (from Archivers)-- one is called "It's a girl zoo" and the other "it's a girl thin stripe." I'll let you figure which is which! :) The diaper is kind of my go-to baby stamp--- it's from AC Moore's $1 bin! (company says "Canadian Maple Collections" and it's stamped on vellum. I used Mica D'Lights in Tiger Eye to add glitter to the diaper outline. Add a little bow, pin, and the ever-useful "special delivery" (A Muse) stamp, and good to go!

A-Muse Design Challenge #7:Sparkle (take 2)

Another week, another challenge. Here's take #2 for the sparkle challenge. The girl on the bike is by Great Impressions (yes, not A Muse but another WA stamp company-- that should count for something?). Sorry, don't know either paper nor vellum maker- using a scrap of both.

I'm happy with how it came out. The bike is lined with Mica D'Lights in "Tiger Eye" used with my new quickie glue pen (see post below). And, for her pants, I used Stickles in waterfalls.

The only part I don't like is that I didn't line the circles up well enough. So, there's a rim. Errrr....

Now, the A Muse part is on the inside. The sentiment reads "Relax, it's your day". I'm planning on sending it to my Aunt who's just opened a new business and I think is probably wishing for a nice, relaxing bike ride right about now.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

A-Muse-A-Palooza in St. Charles

I don't know how A Muse chooses their "spotlight" store, but I thought I'd put in a plug for the best A Muse location in Chicagoland in my humble opinion, The Cottage Stamper in St. Charles. I will say first off that I have *no* affliation with them other than as a shopper, but if you want A Muse and you live in Chicago, this to me should be your designation #1. I've been to most of the stamp locations listed on the A Muse site for spots that carry their products and not one comes close to what Karen and Louise have in their little shop.

They've got some great events planned for that magical week in July- check them out under "events" on the official page at

Just my 2 cents on A Muse in Chicago!

A-Muse Design Challenge #7:Sparkle

Admittedly, I'm not talented with the glitter (see exhibit A to the right hehehe) but I'll keep working it

It was originally an initial card with a big ugly, glitter mess of an "e" but then I realized that 1) I would never send it as it was so it needed a re-do and 2) that glitter products had probably progressed since I first bought them probably 5-7 years ago. So, I literally ripped off the "e", spent $10 at Archivers, and bought myself some glitter. Here, I used my new Stickles "waterfalls" on the car.

Just for fun, here's the before picture (with bad initial and old glitter!) What an improvement!

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A-Muse Design Challenge #6: Heat It Up (#6)

This will probably end up as my Mom's birthday card... it's this Sunday but I'm also really happy with how the card turned out. I like the fold-open design though I found it hard to figure exactly where to score for folding.

After puffing out the cake (see post below for details), I embossed it with black diamond. The flames of the candle are embossed with Egyptian Gold.

I used a small punch to get the flowers and used a glaze pen and a souffle pen on the inside to give them a solid color.

Card took a long time, but I'm happy with the product.

A-Muse Design Challenge #6: Heat It Up (#5)

This is my favorite, non-girly birthday card design. It's simple but still wows people. But, in honesty, I confess... until about 2 minutes ago, I didn't realize that this slice of cake was an A Muse stamp. Silly me!

I like to use a textured, but plain background paper. This one looks like brushed suede. Then comes the cake! I learned this technique at a class in San Antonio (at Stamp Antonio, a great stamp store!). Stamp the image on watercolor paper using a dye ink (I like Memory pads for this). On back side, slightly dampen the paper so it's moist. On front again, use the stylist to outline the shape. Flip to backside again and "push" the image out using stylist or bone folder.

After you've got it good and raised, use cotton or tissue to stuff the image a bit and secure with double-sided tape to second small piece of card stock.After that process, you can color and emboss the image. I used black diamond on the cake and gold detail on the candle. Here's a close-up though I'm not sure you can see it any better in this picture.

The special delivery is in treasure embossing powder. Finally, love those brads from Joanns... but only when on sale of course! ;)

A-Muse Design Challenge #6: Heat It Up (#4)

Well, I said in the last posting that I would do one that was more "embossed" this time. I love this little purse dog stamp (by Great Impressions) and think it stamps/embosses so well. Honestly, I wasn't loving it until I stamped and colored it... now I think it's a keeper! The purse is embossed with a black diamond which really comes off as sparkly here.

For the little tag, I divide my A-Muse "Special delivery" into two lines and stamp on small tag.

The zig-zag is made with glaze pen... learned this technique from Louise at the Cottage Stamper. You make small holes in two lines and connect the dots with the glaze. Gives another dimension I think.

Background paper is called "baby girl baby's breath" from Doodlebug Designs. It was bright and cheery and fit my card. At this point, the inside is blank just waiting for inspiration!

Saturday, June 9, 2007

A-Muse Design Challenge #6: Heat It Up (Take 3)

Here's another card for the A- Muse- A- Palooza challenge with embossing (is that a challenge, really? :) ) I used the Seattle girl, embossed with fireworks (by Make An Impression).
It's a blue based embossing powder with red and silver flecks but I don't think you can see them much on her-- for my next card, I'm going to use a heavy image where the embossing shows more).

Around the edges, I used a glaze pen to get the faux-embossed, raised look.

Even the paper is embossed... do I get extra credit? :) It's called "Embossible Designs" by We R Memory Keepers- this one is called Summer flowers. The background is a shiny pink that doesn't show up well in the picture. I'm not 100% sold on the purple bow, but I went with it anyway- thought the top needed something.

Finally to top it off, the tip of her umbrella is a "diamond" candy from A-Muse. I'm new to them and have had fun workin' em in.

In unrelated news, I went with my sister (who's a full-time nanny) to the zoo yesterday and we spied the baby polar bear, Hudson. He's about 6 months old and 70 pounds of all cute white fur. Momma was playing in the pool but he wasn't sure- here, she drove under water and in my mind, he's thinking, "huh, where'd she go?"

Friday, June 8, 2007

A-Muse Design Challenge #6: Heat It Up

For the second entry this week, I used the campfire scene. I did a similar one last week but still working with it. I teach at Wheaton College and spend part of my summer at HoneyRock, Wheaton's camp in northern Wisconsin. I was there last week and will be sending some of the students I worked with notes to encourage them this summer. Hence, lots of campfires in person and on cards!

This time around, I embossed the trees (again, had to hand-draw them with colored pencils) with Stampin' Stuff Vertigre powder. I also did the whole line of trees across the back and choose to make the camper stand in front with a popdot. The camper is embossed with black diamond. Also did the campfire as 3-D. The fire is stamped on the green paper (and embossed with clear) and the flames are on yellow, embossed with Stampendous' Pearlustre Champagne. I'm happy with the effect. Finally, the s'more marshmallow is done with Souffle pen.

A-Muse Design Challenge #6: Heat It Up

Well, this is an easy "challenge": images just need to be embossed and since I emboss almost everything, not so challenging.

This first one was one I didn't get to finish for the scenes challenge. All the images are A Muse-- gondola, bridge, brownstone. This is the first time I masked the gondolier so that he can appear closer to the bridge and in front of it. All the images are embossed with clear except the "here comes the sun" sentiment (by Rosie's Roadshow) which is in detail bronze. I always like the way the corner punch frames it.

I'm still playing with chalks trying to get sky and water to look different. And, I was too cheap to by the wave stamp (*sigh*) so those are just drawn in. Ah, if I could buy all the stamps on my list, I think it was another $250. hehehe.

I was inspired by this photo that I took last year July in Venice. There are hundreds of gorgeous houses along the Grand Canal... that was were the monied built their mansions and the "fronts" faced the canal. To say nothing of the tidy little estates along the feeder canals. Ah, Venice.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

A-Muse Design Challenge #5 ... Scenes! Take 4

Okay, I admit I'm not super thrilled about this one, but I was trying something new.

I just got the trailer, campfire, and s'more and I was trying to play with them a bit. This doesn't look *super* but it gave me a chance to put 'em all together... and regret that I was too cheap to buy the trees- I drew them in with watercolor pencils.

Oh well-- they all can't look FAB.

A-Muse Design Challenge #5 ... Scenes! Take 3

Here's a slightly different take on the Cruisin' by the Tower. I used a black paper on the back for dramatic effect. Also, steel ribbon I think goes well.

Again, used shimmer chalks to give some shading to the backdrop.

A-Muse Design Challenge #5 ... Scenes! Take 2

This was my Christmas card design this year (so nice of the A-Muse crew do make a challenge where I could revisit it!). Annabelle in her nightshirt was a big hit. I used a malachite powder to get the garland look. She changed place on the stairs as I made over 50 of these cards. The Merry Christmas stamp is by Denami Design.

The inside sentiment (by Paula Best) is a Charles Dickens quotes from one of my family's favorites, A Christmas Carol, "I will honor Christmas in my heart and try to keep it all the year." Particularly fitting since I sent the cards late! : )

A-Muse Design Challenge #5 ... Scenes!

Well, the challenge this week is to create a stamped scene. Now, this is both the advantage and the hidden underbelly of the A-Muse pyramid scheme. : ) hehehehe. A-Muse images are small and individual so you can mix and match to your heart's desire. The crafty part of the "scheme" is that I would likely not buy an $18 stamp... but these three $6 ones go so well together..... This A-Muse world, it's a pyramid scheme I tell you!

For the first card, I used my new (at least new to me, just ordered!) Crusin' and the Eiffel Tower. Also, time for fun, all by A-Muse. The coloring behind the image is shimmer caulks to give some color to it. The paper is caller flutterby by Lana Rickabaugh. The small sunglasses from Archievers ($1 spot, baby!)