Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Going, Going, Gone!

On Monday, April 15th, Stampin' Up! released their annual list of retiring stamps. It's always a bitter sweet thing for me.  On the one hand, I can barely wait for it to be revealed, and I feel a sense of urgency to get the ones that have been sitting on my wish list before it's too late.  On the other hand, it means that a bunch of new sets are coming out soon, and I am super excited to see what's in store for us. 
I have to admit, I was bummed to see some of my favorite stamp sets on the list this year.  As a special tribute to these wonderful stamp sets, I thought I would feature a few of my favorites right here over the next few weeks. I'm going to begin with two of my Christmas favorites.

Season of Joy

Why do I love this set?  It think it's one of the most versatile Christmas sets I've seen.  It comes with 8 stamps that all look great together, but they are different enough to create multiple styles of cards that will each have a unique feel.  I can use this set to create Christmas cards several years in a row, and most people would probably never realize that I was using the same set over and over.  I feel like I get more value for my dollar, and I never get tired of experimenting with these fun designs. 
Here are just a few of the cards I've made with this set.  The one to the right features the poinsettia flower.  I added ribbon to give the impression on leaves and used the Eyelet Trim Border punch to carry the dots from the flowers down into other elements. 
I used Cherry Cobbler Dazzling Details to add some shimmer to the center of the flowers (it's hard to capture the shimmery effect on camera, but it adds a little extra bling that really makes the poinsettias "pop."  The repetition of the flower makes such a dramatic statement and the overall color scheme has a charming, vintage feel.
For the next card, I borrowed one of my go-to layouts that I absolutely love, (used previously on an autumn card).  There are a few subtle differences.  The brown swirls at the bottom right are new and help balance the visual "weight" of the ribbon bunch in the opposite corner.  I've removed the rustic-looking natural hemp twine and used a shiny gold paperclip to attach the ribbons instead.  The center of the poinsettia flowers is accented with Cherry Cobbler Dazzling Details.  The snowflake is accented with the clear Dazzling Details, and the star on the tree is actually embossed with gold embossing powder.  Again, it's hard to see the details in the photo to the right, so I've added a close-up below to show you how these tiny details add up to big results.

The last card is has a layout that I borrowed straight out of the Stampin' Up! catalog.  I like it because it's deliberately more simple, which allows me to reproduce multiple copies quickly and easily. It's just right for those us who try to make handmade Christmas cards every year and have a lot of people on our list.  The most time-consuming part of this card is cutting out the stamped Christmas tree images.  To speed up production, stamp one tree onto thick cardstock or a tagboard and cut it out leaving a generous 1/8" border around the outside edge.  Use that as your template and trace out a bunch of trees onto an 8.5 by 11 inch sheet of Very Vanilla cardstock, filling it with as many trees as possible.  Grab two more blank sheets of Very Vanilla and stack them with the first sheet.  Hold the paper tightly and
cut through all 3 pieces at the same time. You'll get three trees for the work of one.  Next, stamp the tree image using Old Olive ink onto each of the paper cut-outs by lining it up carefully.  I used Whisper White craft ink and Versa-mark watermark ink to create the snowflakes in the background.  The Real Red and Old Olive paper is textured for added variety, and I attached Very Vanilla 1/4 inch grosgrain ribbon to finish it all off.  If desired, add a gold embossed star or a star-shaped gold brad to the top of one of the trees for a little bling.  Stamp your favorite sentiment on the inside of the card and you're done!

Honorable Mention:  Four the Holidays
Another retiring Christmas set that I can't live without is called "Four the Holidays" and it features four simple Christmas greetings in beautiful fonts.  I used them to make gift-card holders this past season, like the one shown below.

If you've fallen in love with Season of Joy and Four the Holidays and want to add them to your collection, they are still still available, while supplies last.  You can visit my website to find out more information.  Be sure to check out the full list of retiring stamps. Hurry! They are going, going, (soon to be) gone!
Happy crafting!