Saturday, March 9, 2013

Best of Flowers Swan Card

This swan card was inspired by an ugly duckling card that I transformed using Stampin' Up!'s Best of Flower stamp set.  At our March demonstrator meeting, we were discussing different swaps we could do as a group.  I suggested a swan card swap.

If you remember the story written by Hans Christian Anderson, the ugly duckling was a homely little bird with no friends who eventually matures into a beautiful swan.  When we swap cards it is human nature to like some cards more than others.  And some cards would not pass by the "card police" without getting a ticket!

Our group believes you should swap with anyone who asks even if you don't feel like the card is "swap-worthy".  To encourage swapping, I thought it would be fun to do a swan card swap.  The challenge is to take a card that needs help and work with it until it becomes a swan card.  Of course, for our small group, the other part of the challenge is that the maker of the ugly duckling card must remain anonymous unless it is you.  It's always fun to see a beautiful swap card and what inspired it!

I loved this card when I made it.  The problem?  I thought it was the image that would be coming in the Best of Flowers stamp set. I decided to get a head start since I had the retired stamp set, Just Because.  It's a good thing no one saw the look on my face when I opened my Stampin' Up! box and saw the actual stamp set.

Not only was the image of the hydrangea different, it was a completely different size.  AAAAAKKKK!!!

Having just talked about swan cards at our demonstrator meeting, this problem became my first ugly duckling card challenge.  While the card wasn't ugly to me, using a retired image that wasn't in the Best of Flowers set was a big problem!

I decided to keep the same size card stock and dye the ribbon as I had in my original card. With the smaller hydrangea, I was able to use a larger sentiment.

To be sure that things lined up, I put both stamps on the same clear block.  That way they were both lined up on the Very Vanilla card stock.

The good news about this swan card is that the tutorial is basically the same.  The difference is that I only used the sponge dauber for the first layer of Baja Breeze due to the smaller size of the hydrangea.  This card actually goes a little faster because the bloom is smaller.

So remember that when you aren't happy with your next project, maybe it's a future swan just waiting for the right inspiration. 

Stampin' Supplies for Best of Flowers Hydrangea Card

Item Description Price
133342 Best of Flowers Stamp Set $14.95
121970 Pursuit of Happiness Stamp Set $13.95
129399 Paper Doilies (24 in pkg) $2.95
122331 Baja Breeze Seam Binding Ribbon $6.95
102892 Sponge Daubers (12) $10.95
102845 Blender Pens (3)  $9.95

Visit my online store to get your supplies for this project.  Remember that when you purchase $25 or more in product, you are eligible for my Rewards Program.

Sale-A-Bration goes through March 22nd.  When you purchase $50 in products, you can pick a free item from the Sale-A-Bration catalog.

Creatively yours,

Sharon Cheng
Richland Hills, TX
My Online Store

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Best of Flowers Tutorial

You will be surprised at how quickly you can color the hydrangea flower from Stampin' Up!'s Best of Flower stamp set using sponge daubers and blender pens with this tutorial.  The key to success is to use a light touch and to remember that you can always go darker, but you can't go lighter.  Don't try to get all of the dark areas filled in at the beginning.  You can always go back and add more color.

Note:  This hydrangea is from the retired Stampin' Up! hostess stamp set, Just Because.  Find out more about how I got my images mixed up and see the REAL Best of Flowers Hydrangea card.  The good good news is the the tutorial works for both cards.

Here are the sizes for the card stock.

Very Vanilla:  2 5/8" x 3 7/8" (You know how I love those thin mats!)
Early Espresso:  2 3/4" by 4"
Perfect Plum:  8 1/2" x 5 1/2"

Stamp the flower on the Very Vanilla card stock with Early Espresso and set it aside to dry for at least 20 minutes.  You want the ink to be completely dry before you start adding other colors with the sponge daubers and blender pens.  Remember to use a light hand.  You aren't trying to "scrub in" the colors on the paper.  You're putting them on lightly like you would put make up on your face. If you have a heavy hand, try embossing the flower with Early Espresso embossing powder on watercolor paper.  That will make it easier to blend Baja Breeze, Rich Razzleberry, Old Olive and Perfect Plum while leaving all of the details of the flower in Early Espresso.

This picture shows the four steps to color in the hydrangea. Click on the picture for a close up view.

1. Use a sponge dauber to add Baja Breeze.  Notice that I didn't color in anything solidly.  You want the colors to blend just like they do in a real hydrangea. 

2.  Use a sponge dauber to add Rich Razzleberry.  Use a light hand!

3.  Use a blender pen to add Old Olive to the leaves and small areas of the flower.

4.  Use a blender pen to add Rich Razzleberry and Perfect Plum to the outer edges of the flower.

To color the ribbon, dampen the Baja Breeze Seam Binding ribbon with water.  Use the sponge dauber to brush on Old Olive and Rich Razzleberry in different places on the ribbon.  Be sure to allow some of the Baja Breeze to show.  To attach the ribbon, I put a strip of snail directly on the Very Vanilla card stock and scrunch the ribbon as I stick it to the card stock.

While you can use any sentiment, I used "Just for You" from the Pop-Up Posies Designer Kit. I also cut one of our paper doilies into 4 pieces and used two of them for this card.

Revisiting some cards from the first time around...

I really liked this image the first time when it was in the hostess set, Just Because.  Here are some of the cards I made or received in swaps back in 2010 and 2011.  While some of the elements are retired, you can see how versatile this hydrangea can be.  For this first card, I used pastel chalks to get the soft colors.  You could get a similar effect by coloring directly on the stamp with Stampin' Up!'s Watercolor Wonder Crayons, spritzing it with water and then stamping on card stock.

I loved this card that I received in a swap from Gail Yanker and CASEd it for a class.  River Rock and Basic Black make a stunning color combination.

Here's another card I made where I used the hydrangea for the focal point and the background.

I CASEd this card made by Marilyn Young.  She made the background by using a clear acrylic mount.  She stamped the block on the ink pad and then on the card stock.  With our new firm foam ink pads, you may have to stamp off once on a scrap piece of paper before stamping on the card stock. 

Here are all of the images in the Best of Flowers stamp set.  I'm glad that Stampin' Up! is celebrating its 25th Anniversary in such a fun way by bringing back some great images along with new ones.  The flower on the lower right can be punched out with our 1 1/4" Scallop Circle Punch.  I hope you've enjoyed this trip down memory lane along with the tutorial for my new card.

Stampin' Supplies for Just For You Card

Item Description Price
133342 Best of Flowers $14.95
131395 Pop-Up Posies Designer Kit $12.95
119855 Large Oval Punch $15.95
119856 Scallop Oval Punch $16.95
129399 Paper Doilies (24 in pkg) $2.95
122331 Baja Breeze Seam Binding Ribbon $6.95

Visit my online store to get your supplies for this project.  Remember that when you purchase $25 or more in product, you are eligible for my Rewards Program.

Sale-A-Bration goes through March 22nd.  When you purchase $50 in products, you can pick a free item from the Sale-A-Bration catalog.

Creatively yours,

Sharon Cheng
Richland Hills, TX
My Online Store

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Paper Pumpkin Monthly Kits

Paper Pumpkin by Stampin' Up! is a new monthly kit program that anyone (even you) can enjoy! It comes in a sweet box, but you'll really love what you find on the inside:  All the stamps, ink, paper, and accessories to create pinable projects. Create stuff like cards, journals, décor, and more!

It's so easy to get started. Simply sign up for the program by visiting and click Get it.  Every month a new, surprise project kit arrives at your doorstep. Just think of the anticipation of creating a fun project to pin, show off, and share with your friends and family-every month!

Of course, you'll want to know more. So here's the nitty gritty:
  • Each month we send you a unique, surprise kit with a project-cards, journals, décor, and more! (We've even color-coordinated, measured, and cut everything for you!)
  • Each kit includes stamps, ink, paper, and accessories-everything but adhesive.
  • Each kit gives you a 30-minute creativity escape.
  • We will ship your Paper Pumpkin on or around the 15th of the month.  
  • You need to sign up for a kit by the 10th of the month to get that month's kit. If you sign up on the 11th of the month, your first kit will come the next month. (Let's say you sign up on May 10th, we'll send your kit around May 15th. If you sign up on May 11th, we'll send your first kit around June 15th.)
  • A Paper Pumpkin membership is $19.95 per month (and shipping is included!)
  • There's no commitment, you can cancel your monthly Paper Pumpkin at anytime. You can also skip a month if you want.
  • Starting in early March, we'll offer a Try-It kit if you'd like to try Paper Pumpkin for one month.

Here's How You Order

Sign up for your monthly Paper Pumpkin by visiting and click Get it. Please be sure to select Sharon Cheng as your demonstrator when you're asked during the registration process.

  A Free Gift in Your Very First Kit

The Welcome Kit is the very first Paper Pumpkin you will receive in your first month of membership. The Welcome Kit includes a free gift-a clear acrylic block!  This is the welcome kit we received at Stampin' Up!'s Leadership Conference.

Creatively yours,

Sharon Cheng
Richland Hills, TX
My Online Store