Inspired by Brian King’s blog today, I decided to look back at my favourite cards from this year – although it’s actually only 7 months of card making. I was going to pick my top 7 but I’ve been unable to cut further than 8 so I decided that I’d stick with 8, one for each of the months that I’ve made cards in (I started right at the end of May!). So here are my favourites, in chronological order:

Stampin' Up! Wondrous Wreath

This was one of the first Christmas cards that I made, back in September. I really fell for one of the colour combinations in the Holiday catalogue – pear pizzazz, lost lagoon and pool party – and made it into a rather non-traditional Christmas card. I still love it. The post back from Labor Day can be found here.

Stampin' Up! Mixed bunch

This very happy Happy Birthday card came about after my Critique Board basically dared me to use more colour. I’d been using two or, when feeling brave, three colours on a card and I’d previously produced the above card where all the flowers were the same colour. They demanded more colour and read my mind when I thought about a few and said “LOTS of colour”. I grabbed the regals ink pads and stamped away and absolutely love the result. Here’s the original post.

Stampin' Up! Lovely as a Tree

I love this card for a few reasons. It evolved out of a mistake – I’d messed up the trees when stamping and rather than throwing out the error, it sat on my desk for a few days until I realised that I could use just part of the image. I think it ended up better than the original that I was duplicating – mostly because I liked it so much and also really liked making it. The original post is here.

Stampin' Up! Let Your Hair Down

This card I was especially pleased with because it was for a challenge and orange has been intimidating me. I think I’ve conquered my issue with it now. Or at least somewhat. You can see the original post here.

Stampin' Up! Perfect Blend in soft suede. Multiple cups.

The card is one of my favourites because it makes me laugh. And it was so appropriate for one of my colleagues at work – you can read the whole story here.

Stampin' Up! Get your santa on

This card was also for a challenge; the colours were baked brown sugar, cherry cobbler and very vanilla. I had been making a lot of cards with the Stampin’ Up! Get Your Santa On! set but I hadn’t used either the JOY banner or the present so I added a personal challenge to use them on this card. I was extremely pleased with the result. Here’s the original post.

Stampin' Up Lotus Blossom

This fresh and spring like card was made a couple of weeks ago with the new 3 step Stampin’ Up! Lotus Blossom stamp set which will be available next week in the Sale-a-bration catalogue. I was very pleased with the result and have been quite flattered that it’s been pinned and re-pinned quite a lot. The original post is here.

Stampin' Up! Festival of Trees

The final of my favourite cards for the year is one of the Christmas cards that I sent. I love the simplicity – and of course it had to have gold embossing on it! The original post was here.

Looking back at the 440 or so cards that I’ve made (don’t worry, they weren’t all unique) I can definitely see an evolution in my card making helped in part by the challenges that I’ve joined. I’m excited to see what will happen in 2015 as I continue to make cards.

Here’s another sneak peek for you from the upcoming Sale-a-bration catalogue which goes live on 6th January. This is one of the sets that you can get for free after spending $50; it’s the Stampin’ Up! A Happy Thing set.

Stampin' Up! A Happy Thing

When I got this stamp out and stamped it in memento black ink on whisper white, my mother, who is visiting, had a look and commented that the beak was too short for a kingfisher. I went to wikipedia and checked out both the beak and the colouring. I coloured the breast in pumpkin pie blendabilities but none of the blues were correct so I used my stampin’ write marker in pacific point to colour the rest of the bird. Then I took my black marker and both coloured in the beak and elongated it a bit. The family declared it more kingfisher like!

I used calypso coral blendabilities for his legs/feet and one of the browns, I forget which, for the twig with some touches of old olive at the end. I then cut out my kingfisher with the #7 circles die (starting counting in the centre). Somehow this card seems perfect for a note rather than a card for an occasion so I decided against adding any sentiment or extra layers. I think he stands rather well all on his own.

 

I wanted to create a congratulatory type card for a friend of mine and whilst my sister was over last month, I played with her Stampin’ Up! Pictogram Punches set. It was finally appropriate to send the card last week, so I can now share it.

Stampin' Up! Pictogram Punches

The vase and stems are on the same stamp so I used the Stampin’ Write markers to colour the stamp and then breathed hard on it to moisten the ink before stamping on very vanilla card stock. I got the colour combination of rich razzleberry, pear pizzazz and tempting turquoise from the Colour Coach and played around with various variations before deciding on this one. After stamping the flowers in rich razzleberry, I stamped another on a piece of scrap paper and punched it out using the coordinating punch from the Itty Bitty Accents punch set. I popped this up on the middle flower using a little piece of a stampin’ dimensional.

The sentiment is a single stamp also, so I again used the markers to colour it in. A very short post today, but it’s a very simple card (although no less effective for that) so there’s not much to say. And I’m trying not to procrastinate too much today and get out of the door for a run. There’s not much point waiting because the temperature isn’t going to get much above the current 34!

As I mentioned yesterday, I’m hoping that the Stampin’ Up! Perpetual Birthday calendar makes me more efficient regarding birthdays. I showed you the January page yesterday and today here’s the February page.

feb calendar

I changed it a bit from the illustration from Stampin’ Up! I decided that February and Valentine’s needed a red heart, not a pale pink one. The kit provides three hearts, one in real red, one in blushing bride and one in melon mambo. You get to choose what to use. I skipped the F on top of the heart. I think that the big red heart sings on its own. I stamped the hearts image in real red, blushing bride and strawberry slush both on the top of the sheet and the lower right hand side of the calendar. February is stamped in real red. Here’s a close up of the top of the calendar

Stampin' Up! Perpetual Birthday Calendar

Not only did I stamp the hearts in the three colours but I used the sticky hearts in real red and blushing bride that came in the kit. It gives the page more dimension.

Here’s the detail on the lower portion of the calendar:

Stampin' Up! Perpetual Birthday Calendar

Again I stamped the hearts in real red and blushing bride and added the stickers for dimension.

I’ve found that there are many¬† advantages to making cards. I’m more confident with colour now. And no longer do I have to run to the store to get a last minute birthday card. In fact, maybe I won’t need to be so last minute now (here’s hoping!). Stampin’ Up!’s new Occasions catalogue that is going live on Jan 6th contains a perpetual birthday calendar kit so my goal here is to be really organised. The kit contains more decorations than you need so that you can pick and choose what to add to which month. To complete the project you need the Stampin’ Up! Perpetual Birthday Calendar stamp set and a number of ink pads – baked brown sugar, blushing bride, crisp cantaloupe, hello honey, lost lagoon, melon mambo, pumpkin pie, real red and strawberry slush. The stamp set consists of 24 photopolymer stamps – the text for each month and a little image as well. Luckily the insert in the kit shows which image is suggested for each month.

I pretty much copied the illustration for January’s page.

Stampin' Up! Perpetual Birthday Calendar

I started by stamping the month in lost lagoon and then stamped the January splodges in hello honey. Looking at the illustration – and at the colours mentioned – I decided to use baked brown sugar but to stamp off once before stamping the image. I added the lost lagoon banner but decided that the sticky J just didn’t show up enough in white (as in the illustration), so I dabbed it onto the hello honey ink pad before adhering it to the banner. I used my 2 way glue pen and added a few tiny splodges of gold glitter. Here’s a closer look at the top detail:

Stampin' Up! Perpetual Birthday calendar - January - top detail

As suggested in the catalogue and in the kit’s enclosed leaflet, I added the January image at the bottom right of the sheet. It ties it all together nicely. Now “all” I need to do is get out my calligraphy pens and instruction book that I got for my birthday, practice a lot, and write in the January birthdays! And I should start thinking about a birthday card for my sister since her birthday is rapidly approaching on the 13th.