Monday, March 25, 2013

Taylored Expressions - Doodlebug Partnership: Flower Box Papers and Project

Hi Everyone!

As you might already know I just love Taylored Expressions - there is just something so fun, bright and cheery about all of Taylor's stamps and I feel like each stamp is my favorite set :) Well - something super special happened this month - the Taylored Expressions Design Team (the Baker's Dozen!) had the opportunity to work with the new lines from Doodlebug!! I have always loved the fun patterns, colors and embellishments from Doodlebug and it is the perfect fit to use with the fun and whimsical stamp sets from Taylored Expressions :)

For my project today, I decided to alter a mail organizer that I found at a craft store. We have been needing a mail organizer - right now everything gets lost in the shuffle and once new mail crosses the threshold, I am not quite sure where it all ends up because my hands are usually full of other things as well, milk, groceries, shopping bags, soccer bags, my bag.... hmmm... a lot of bags seem to be involved in the picture :) but you get my point - a mail organizer was needed and when I spied this at the local craft store, I knew I had to get it - even with the camouflage pattern because it seemed like it would be so much fun to alter :))) Here is the before picture of my project :)

To alter my project, I used the Flower Box papers from Doodlebug - SOO full of awesome bright colors, patterns and an awesome sticker sheet! I used these bright and cheery colors and started altering my mail organizer by measuring the area of the front of each of the slots - from which I cut the patterned paper (I love the blue woodgrain pattern and the fun rainbow pattern) I cut them out and then glued them onto the fronts of each of the mail pockets.

Then on a nestie shape, I created a little scene :) On the top and bottom pocket, I created a little scene using the super sweet tree stickers from the Doodlebug collection and then creating some grass using the Taylored Expressions Grass Edger Border Die and the Taylored Expressions Clouds Border Edge die. I thought it would be fun to create little kites floating in the sky - so I stamped and cut some kites out from the In the Park stamp set  and then added a blue flower brad from Doodlebug that comes in the kit and a little button with twine for the sun in the right hand corner. I used the Doodlebug sentiment stickers and I loved the font of the sentiment "love" for the top pocket and the banner sentiments: smiling and family for the bottom pocket: Here is a picture of the bottom pocket:

And for the middle pocket, I varied the Doodlebug designer paper and created this little scene that says: "Home is Wherever You Are" - from the From My Window stamp set from Taylored Expressions! I cut out and layered the sentiment with the Banner Stacklets 1 dies and I choose to use one of my favorite houses: the Cupcake House from the Cozy Cottages stamp set :) ! If I lived in a cupcake house - it would probably be eaten fy the first day --- how could anyone not eat a house that is forever smelling of delicious banana bread? I personally do not have that kind of willpower - and I would eat all of my cucpake house the first day :)))) I used the same sticker tree and decorated the four corners and added a heart and button to the sentiment for just a little more fun :)  Here is a closer picture of that:

And then I did the same thing as I did to the top pocket as I did to the bottom pocket of this mail organizer :)  I put a very light layer of ModPodge over it which gave it a nice sealant quality :)I love the way it turned out - it just fits perfectly in with our house - and I absolutely love that I created it for my family :) I can't wait to hang it up near our entry way and start organizing our mail.  Everyday when I come home after work with all of my bags and my hands full - seeing this will just totally make me smile! :)

Project Ingredients:
Inks: Love Letter, Bahama Blue, Tuxedo Black and copics
Accessories: Brads and pearls from the Doodlebug Flower Box Kit, Clouds Border die and Grass Border die from Taylored Expressions, Spellbinders nesties, sponger, Best Glue Ever, Bakers Twine, buttons from stash and Banner Stacklets 1 dies from Taylored Expressions.

 I love that Doodlebug and Taylored Expressions have paired up for this partnership! The fun and bright cheery colors and whimsical patterns of Doodlebugare such a great fit with all of the Taylored Expressions stamps! I had so much fun crafting and creating this project with the products from both of these awesome companies!

Later this week, Taylor will be showing the projects that the Baker's Dozen have created with all the wonderful lines from Doodlebug - so make sure to stop by there this week and thank you for stopping by today!

Hope you have a wonderful day and get some good crafting time in :)
Ciao for now :)

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Taylored Expressions March Studio Challenge: Photography

Hi Everyone!

It's time for the Baker's Dozen Studio Challenge.  This is a monthly opportunity for the Taylored Expressions team to share what makes our stamping studios hum.  Each month we  have a fun, crafty question so we can share our favorites, some tips and tricks, stamping advice and more.

This month our theme is:

You oughta be in pictures!! 
We all love to share our completed projects with others on our blogs and in on-line galleries.  So, when the stamping ends, the photography begins.  This is a fun step for some and a frustrating one for others.  How is it for you?
Tell us how you get those beautiful project photos.

Since the theme of this month is photography, I thought that I would use the Oh Shoot! stamp set for my card today :) Here is the card that I created using the sentiment: "Oh Shoot!, sorry I missed your birthday!" I love that sentiment as well as all of the others in this set!

I am not a photography expert at all and I wish I had tips and tricks for how to take a good photo. One post that really helped me was reading Amy Sheffer's post on SCS about the photography tips that she uses. I didn't follow the whole thing, but it really helped me get started. So I thought I would share what I do to take a pic of a card. First, here is a picture of my photography set up if I pull back from this card. The table is usually full of stuff that I typically just shove over to one side :) but for this picture, I actually wiped my table down - it usually has the remains of uneaten crusts, smears of jelly and almond butter and a ton of paperwork  - Its so refreshing to see a clear table and
also I am realizing that I need to water the plant in the corner :) !!!

 I use a photo box that my DH bought for Christmas for me (on eBay) a couple of years ago and set it up on our dining room table facing the windows for direct light:

I prefer to use natural light, but there times that I have to do the same set up at night, and them I use my OTT light over my box. I use a Canon Rebel 2Ti - which I really like, but is not necessary to have. The one feature that I really like about the Canon is that I can manually adjust the focus and so that allows me to sometimes just focus on one part of the card if I am trying to do a detailed shot of say just the sentiment - like in this picture below:

Here I wanted to just focus on the paper piecing of the camera, the glaze over the lens and camera, the sentiment and flash - so I manually focused in on these areas:


In terms of photo tips - I don't really know if I have any, but I will list what seems to work for me:
  • natural morning light seems to work the best - by the afternoon time if you don't have direct sunlight, there can be a blueish quality to the background and to the papers on your card. I like direct morning sunlight the best (around 7am-9am)
  • take the photo of your card while being level with your card - this might mean that sometimes you have to crouch down to lean down in awkward ways to be level with the card - but its nice to get a shot of the card level with your camera... also its a nice workout to get in some squats as you take your pictures :D
  • try angling your card to one side which allows the dimensions on your card to be seen - I like to angle my card to both sides take lots of pictures and then decide which one or which angled picture I like the best.
  • this brings up the point: take lots of pictures - its nice to have options!


Once the pictures have been taken, I upload my pics into my MAC (iPhoto) and see which ones that I like the best - I delete all the ones that I don't like and usually end up with three that I like the best - of which I see which one has the sharper image, is clearer etc. Then I open it up in Photoshop (I don't know which version I have, I think its a few years old).
  • In photoshop, I change the image size (around a 4x6) and resolution of the pictures (to between 150 to 200 dpi).
  • Next I like to create a little softness around my photo by using the modify feature in photoshop. I click on modify and the use the feather tool (about 90) and then select a box over the center part of my picture .
  • One selected that portion of the picture will pulsate and then I click copy, click for a new file (which will be the same image size as the file I am copying from) and then making sure the background is white, I paste onto the new file and there is some feathering and softening to the edges of the photo.
  • I might adjust the brightness of the picture also and might increase the saturation of the picture in case I was taking pictures on a cloudy day and there wasn't enough sunlight.


So just to show a demonstration of a before an after, I thought that I would show a picture of one of my photos that didn't make the cut because it didn't really show the glaze of the camera image. Here is the before picture - as you can see - its pretty dark, you can see the outer edges of the photo box and its not exactly straight/level:

I cropped the picture and then followed the above steps in photoshop and I kind of like how this side picture of the card turned out - here is the after:


Card Ingredients:
Stamps: Oh Shoot! From Taylored Expressions
Papers: Pebbles: Seen and Noted (6x6)
Inks: Love Letter and Tuxedo Black  and copics
Accessories: corner chimer, ribbon from stash, bling, glaze and Banner Stacklets 2 dies from Taylored Expressions.

The Taylored Expressions Baker's Dozen Design Team have not only amazing designers but amazing photographers and I can't wait to see their tips and tricks for how the take their photos!! Please hop along with me and check them out!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!
Big hugs!
Sankari :) 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Thank ypui!

 Hi Everyone,

Hope your March has been a fun one! Here at our house - March has been flying by on super sonic speed! It might be a mix of cabin fever and spring fever and just plain old fevers that have made this a crazy month and any time I get a few moments to sneak to my craft corner I am so excited! 

I made a fun and quick Thank You card using the super sweet Posh Posies stamp set! I love this set - solid blocked stamps make card making so fast and quick and I had fun playing with my oval nesties - usually I don't really use them - I don't know why - but it was fun to bust them out for this card :) I loved the colors in the  Pebbles Seen & Noted paper pad and I used this for inspiration for the colors of the posies that I did by straight stamping them onto my color ink pads (Love Letter, Rose Red and Cantaloupe from Memento):

Card Ingredients:
Stamps: Posh Posies from Taylored Expressions
Paper: Pebbles Seen & Noted
Inks: Memento Love Letter, London Fog, Cantaloupe, Rose Red and Tuxedo Black
Accessories: EK success edger punch, corner chomper, pink bling, twine, dimensionals, oval nesties, sponger and dimensionals

I stamped my flowers and then cut them out and adhered them into my vase, The vase was created by a two tone stamping of gray and black together and then I tied a little bit of twine to the center. It was fun to just throw some bling around the card --- isn't it always fun to throw around a little bling ? :)

Thanks so much for stopping by today! Hope you get some crafty time to yourself!
Ciao for now!
Sankari :)

Friday, March 8, 2013

Taylored Expressions March Spotlights: From My Window card set

Hi Everyone,

Did you see all the new products that arrived into the Taylored Expressions store yesterday?! There are so many new dies and stamps ready for your crafting pleasure! Today we are hopping around and showing some of our favorite sets from this release and I decided to make a card set using the Arched Window die with the From My Window stamp set. I love all the scenes in this stamp set and it was so much fun to color in the scenes and then layer the Arched Window die over it and then stacked it onto the  Banner Stacklets 2 from Taylored Expressions. Here are all the cards that I made in this set:

I love this gorgeous neighborhood scene - and then the top of the Banner Stacklets 2 added a little line of liquid pearls. I kept the layout the same and used papers from the gorgeous Pebbles Seen and Noted (6x6) paper pad:

Card Ingredients:
Inks: Memento Teal Zeal and Tuxedo Black and copics
Accessories: Arched Window die and Banner Stacklets 2 from Taylored Expressions, button, twine, dimensionals, liquid pearls and corner chomper

Here is another card using the lovely night scene - I added some yellow stickles to the moon and stars and a little gray button and some twine on the side. This card reminds me of the Disney song: "When you wish upon a star, makes no difference who you are..." :)

Card Ingredients:
Inks: Memento Teal Zeal and Tuxedo Black and copics
Accessories: Arched Window die and Banner Stacklets 2 from Taylored Expressions, button, twine, dimensionals, liquid pearls and corner chomper

And one of my favorite scenes from this set is the lovely tree with the swing on it. I created a little fall scene and then added a little yellow stickles to the hill representing the rising sun - I love the papers that are in this Pebbles Seen and Noted (6x6) paper pad!

Card Ingredients:
Inks: Memento Love Letter and Tuxedo Black and copics
Accessories: Arched Window die and Banner Stacklets 2 from Taylored Expressions, button, twine, dimensionals, liquid pearls and corner chomper

I can't wait to see all the gorgeous creations that this amazing DT has created - please hop along with me and check out these wonderful creations!!

Thanks so much for stopping by today!
Ciao for now,

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Taylored Expressions March Release Day: Arched Window die

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to Release Day at Taylored Expressions!!!! Today all the awesome new stamps and dies are available for purchase - check out the Fresh out of the Oven Tab at the TE store for all the newly released items as well as all crafty things that are new to the store!

Today for my project, I am using the super cute new die from TE: the Arched Window die. What a fun die and it is so easy to create a scene of what's outside the window if you coordinate it with the From My Window stamp set or you can use it all by itself. I chose to use it all by itself and create a little scene using the papers from the  Pebbles Seen and Noted (6x6) collection. I cut out the Arched Window die on Choice Snow White paper and then popped it up on some vellum paper and then die cut the top part of the arch onto some DP. I pretended that the gray chevron DP was like the wall of a house and then created a little scene with grass and a fence around it. The tree is from the In the Park stamp set and was colored with copics and then cut and popped up near the house.

If I look outside my window right now, all I see is snows - and as much as I love snow, I think its time for winter to wrap it up and for some spring sunshine to come on over!! The Pebbles Seen and Noted (6x6) has some awesome flowers in it - so I cut them out and created a little window box to hold the flowers and then underneath stamped the sweet sentiment from the From My Window stamp set: "Love Lives Here":
Card Ingredients:
Stamps:From My Window stamp set from Taylored Expressions for the sentiment and In the Park stamp set from Taylored Expressions for the Tree
Inks: Memento Tuxedo Black and Love Letter
Accessories: Arched Window die and Grass Border die and Fence Border punch from MS, vellum, circle punch, star punch from MS, copics and dimensionals.

I love all the possibilities that are there from this Arched Window die --- so many that my head starts to swirl and my eyes get huge!! LOL! And then when I see the amazing creations from the TE Baker's Dozen Design Team - I am always blown away by the creativity and pure genius of all of these amazing designers! Please hop with me and check them out today:

Thanks so much for stopping by! Hope you can stop by tomorrow for a fun spotlight hop! Hope the scene outside of your window is a sunny one!
Ciao for now!
Sankari :)

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Taylored Expressions March Sneak Peek: Moka Meredith

Hi Everyone!!

Happy Wednesday - official hump day! So excited to keep showing peeks from the March release from Taylored Expressions!! WOOHOO!!! Today I am peeking the newest Moka on the blog: Moka Meredith! She is so cute isn't she with her sunglasses and her camera across her neck!! That's my kind of girl - I always have my camera - and now my kids do one of two things when I try to take pictures of them - 90% of the time they either run away as soon as the camera comes out or they groan loudly, do a couple of eye rolls and grudgingly pose for the camera (and quickly give me a smile - you have to snap it quickly because that smile comes and goes quick!!!). 

I love the sentiments in this Moka set - esp. the one: "Have Camera, Will Travel" !!! YES! That's me - I would love to travel around the world taking pictures of the travels! I would love to travel to all 7 continents  - so far I have been to 4 out of 7 - not sure I could ever really make it out to Antartica - but it could happen - will keep you posted :D

For my card today, I colored Moka Meredith with my copics and then cut her out and created a little beach scene for her to hang out on - I used the Wave Border die for the waves at the beach. I also added a little embellishment of a camera on the bottom right side from the Oh Snap stamp set (which will also be released tomorrow) :) I colored in the copics and then added a little glaze to the lens of the camera and also some glaze to her sunglasses. Also being released tomorrow is the Film Strip Border die that I cut out from the Simple Stories: Snap Life (6x6) papers and then layered over some vellum paper:

Card Ingredients:
Stamps: Moka Meredith and the Oh Snap! stamp set from Taylored Expressions
Inks: Memento Teal Zeal, Love Letter and Tuxedo Black and copics
AccessoriesWave Border dieFilm Strip border die and Oh Snap Camera dies from Taylored Expressions, dimensionals, circle punches, vellum, glaze, red and blue twine, heart punch, stickels and corner chomper.

The Simple Stories: Snap Life (6x6) is such a perfect paper pad for Moka Meredith and the Oh Snap stamp set - it already has little layouts and sentiments ready for all your photo sentiments - I cut out the "Oh Snap" voice bubble from the paper pad. This stamp set inspires me to travel around the world (if you could travel anywhere where would it be??) - but in the meantime hop along with me to checkout the newest creations from the Baker's Dozen DT using all the different stamps and dies that will be released tomorrow!!!! :

Thank you so much for stopping by today! 
Please hop over tomorrow for some release day fun!!
Ciao for now!
Sankari :)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Taylored Expressions March Sneak Peek: Vintage Dreamer and Graphic Greetings Thankful

Hi Everyone,

It's Release Week at Taylored Expressions and today we are peeking some of the awesome new stamp sets and dies that will be released this week! Last year the Vintage Dreamer stamp set was released exclusively as a Key Ingredients Subscriber Exclusive and now it is available for general release - yay!!! Here is a project that I did with it last year

Card Ingredients:
PaperMy Mind's Eye Lost & Found - Rosy 
Stamps: Vintage Dreamer from Taylored Expressions
Inks: Memento Ladybug Red, Rich Cocoa
Accessories: Layering Doilys (Large), liquid pearls, corner chomper, vellum, Heart Box die from Taylored Expressions,  ribbon and accessories from KI kit

This is such a gorgeous stamp set - it makes it so easy to create vintage-y cards and projects and I love the font in this set - so much fun!

There is also a new Graphic Greeting stamp set on the block - the new Graphic Greeting Thankful! I love these sets of graphic greetings - it makes it so easy and quick to create a card - and all the fonts together makes it look like you stamped each of those sentiments! I stamped my sentiment with onto Choice Snow White card stock and then again onto the Pebbles Family Ties (6x6) paper pad and cut out and adhered the sentiment You're the Best from the yellow paper onto the main sentiment panel. I cut out the flower and popped it up again after coloring it with copics and adding a bling to the center. I also used the brand new Flutterbys dies - these are so beautiful - the butterflies come in two sizes (with a base die cut and a intricate delicate cut out butterfly overlay. I also used the new border edge die: the Open Scallop die for a border along the bottom with some bling to the centers of the dies:

Card Ingredients:
Stamps: Graphic Greetings Thankful stamp set from Taylored Expressions
Inks: Memento Tuxedo Black and Nautical Blue
Accessories: Flutterbys dies and Open Scallop border from Taylored Expressions, corner punch, dimensionals, bling and twine.

I loved using the new dies stamp sets - can't wait to see what the rest of the Taylored Expressions Baker's Dozen girls have created today - please hop over with me and check them out:

Thanks so much for stopping by today! Please hop over tomorrow for more release week peeks:
Ciao for now!
Sankari :)

March Verve Diva Inspiration Blog Hop!

Welcome to our Diva Inspirations Hop! It's the 5th of the month and that means it's time for the Verve Inspirations Team to breathe new life into some much-loved stamps and dies. And there's a PRIZE up for grabs! So be sure to leave a little shout out in the comment section of each blog as you hop about to be entered in a drawing for a $30 gift certificate to Verve Stamps! Check out all the details over at the Verve Blog, which just happens to be the start of the hop.

I love the Inspiration hops - and this month we are welcoming a whole lot of new Verve Divas for their first Inspiration Hop!!! Woohooo! Welcome Ladies! For my project today, I made some table centerpieces for my friends 50th birthday using the  Let It Shine stamp set. We had a long table set up for her 50th birthday and I thought it would make it more special to personalize the table decorations with little candle holders decorated with her favorite colors (green, blue and purple) with a little tag that says: 50, Your Time to Shine!

I found little glass candle holders and combined it with some green burlap, flowers, berries and twine with a hazelnut scented candle inside (Smells SOOO good!). Having a milestone birthday can such an emotional moment - and I love the sentiment "Your Time to Shine" - just puts everything into perspective and inspires me to always enjoy and be grateful for this precious life of ours. Here is another angle of the candle holder - with the candle inside:

Here is a shot of all the candleholders together - I love how it turned out. I stamped the sentiment from the awesome  Let It Shine stamp set  - check out all the sentiments in this  beautiful set! I punched out the sentiments with a circle punch and then matted it onto some green card stock that I cut using the Vintage Oval die. I attached the tag onto the candle holders with some twine and finished it off by adding some glitter to the thickers:

Project Details:
Stamps: Let It Shine stamp set from Verve Stamps
Paper: PTI white cardstock and green cardstock
Inks: Memento Bamboo Leaves
Accessories: Vintage Oval die from Verve stamps, Circle punch, American crafts foam number stickers, flowers/ berries/ burlap from craft store, twine, dimensionals and cropadile and ribbon from stash

I think my most favorite kind of project is one where I can make something special for my friends and family - and making this project was so much fun and so special because it was for someone special! Julee has the most amazing sentiments that always say the most perfect things straight Can't wait to see all the amazing projects that the Divas have created for the hop this morning - please hop over with me and check them out - and don't forget to leave a little love - some lucky commenteer will get some awesome prizes! Check out these amazing ladies and their amazing creations with me:

Thanks so much for stopping by today!
Big hugs,
Sankari :)

1. Julee7. Karen
2. Amy8. Sankari
3. Anya9. Sarah
4. Betty10. Sony
5. Jen d.11. Susan
6. Jessica12. Tiffany