Friday, August 14, 2009

My Exciting News, Plus Some Christmas Gift Tags

I received the most exciting news yesterday.... I won the Cornish Heritage Farms Summer Stamp Star Design Challenge!! I just love this company's stamps, and had great fun participating in the five weeks of challenges that comprised the contest. So I was thrilled when Becky Olsen emailed me that I had won, and would be receiving their September releases in the mail. But the excitement didn't stop there... Becky actually called and asked me to join their design team. I was so thrilled, I couldn't get a single thing done for the rest of the day. Seriously. I have never been on a design team before (heck, never won a contest before!), so I was excited, nervous, thankful, honored... and pinching myself to see if I was going to wake up from a dream. But no, it's real, and I can't wait to start bringing you the latest and greatest rubber stamp creations from Cornish Heritage Farms!

So how about a little Christmas in August with a recently released Cornish Heritage Farms set called Night Before Christmas? It's a wonderful set from their Rummage Bin line that features some stamps that are perfect for making gift tags. Now, there are several ways to approach a little project such as this, and I was reminded of one of my favorite scrapbooking magazines, Simple Scrapbooks. Sadly, this magazine is no longer being published, but I have kept several issues as reference. Each issue, they had a feature called "Step It Up," where they showed you three options for making a scrapbook layout. Option 1 used only the "Essentials" - the very basic minimum you would need to produce a page or two. Option 2 was called "Add Product" - where if you had a little extra time and product, you took your essentials but added a few embellishments for more interest. Finally, Option 3 was "Add Time and Technique." This was where you could hole up in your craft room, dig out lots of fun things from your stash, and go to town on a seriously "stepped up" layout.

So let's do the same thing with some Christmas gift tags, shall we? Let's say it's very late on Christmas Eve (so late, in fact, it might even qualify as Christmas morning). You have forgotten to buy (or make) gift tags. No worries! Get out a sheet of ivory cardstock, some red and/or green ink, some red or green ribbon from your stash, a hole punch, and your Night Before Christmas stamp set. Cut your 8 1/2 by 11 inch cardstock in half width-wise (so you have two pieces that are 5 1/2 inches long and 8 1/2 inches wide), then cut 2-inch strips going across, so that you have 8 tags that are 2 inches by 5 1/2 inches. Now get out your red and green inks, and stamp the cute little images I have shown here. You can use the little banner space in each image to stamp one of the sentiments in a contrasting color if you have time; if not, just put the recipient's name in there. Snip the end with pinking sheers (or not... no sweat). Punch a hole, thread the ribbon through, and in no time, you've got 8 clean and simple tags. Repeat as necessary. (Sources: Stampin' Up! Riding Hood Red and Wild Wasabi inks, Martha Stewart Craft Markers, offray Ribbons)

Now, let's say you're busy, it's nearing the Christmas season, but you do have a little extra time to spend on your gift tags this year. Let's step it up and go for Option 2. Get a few embellies out of your stash... whatever you have on hand will do. The last thing we need to do this time of year is go out shopping for more stuff! For these tags, I used double-sided patterned paper that had a fairly soft, uncomplicated pattern on one side; this was the side I stamped on. I made sure I left an extra long bit of paper on one side of the tag (this will vary, depending on what effect you want - so make the strip of paper however long suits your fancy). Stamp your tag image in red or green, and add a sentiment or the recipient's name, just like the first tags. Fold over the long end of the tag so that you can see the other, more graphic side of your patterned paper along one end of your tag. Trim both ends with decorative edged scissors. Punch a hole in the folded end. Now the fun part.... thread through some twine, cord, yarn, whatever, and attach some buttons, some felt snowflakes - anything you have that is small and decorative. Thread the twine (or yarn, cord, etc.) through the hole and catch a length of ribbon from behind, then thread back through to the front and tie a bow or knot. Tie a knot in the ribbon at the back to make sure it doesn't slide off, and you're done! Stepped-up Christmas tags! There are endless combinations that look great, with not that much time involved. (Sources: Kaiser patterned papers, vintage and Papertrey Ink buttons, Darice hemp cord, Stampin'Up! felt snowflake, 7 Gypsies waxed linen cord)

Okay, now for Option 3. You're a Christmas-in-August kind of gal, you get things done well ahead of time, you feel like making some gift tags (who knows, maybe as gifts in-and-of-themselves), and you are confident you will remember where you put them come Christmastime. I tried to use various techniques and supplies for these next tags, just to give a small idea of how many different looks you can get. I won't go over every little detail (it would probably take me until Thanksgiving to write it all) but you can take what you like from it as a starting point, and go from there. (Please feel free to email me if you have specific questions!)

Here's a tag for those of you who like sparkle! I stamped the image on vellum, then used stickles to frame out the image and the edge of the vellum tag. I stamped a snowflake (from the same set) in white repeatedly on the blue background tag, and also inked up the edges. I tied the two together with a glittery white snowflake, a vintage mother of pearl button, and some waxed twine. (Sources: StazOn ink in midnight blue; SU! vellum; Brilliance pigment ink in moonlight white; Stickles in frosted lace and icicle; Little Yellow Bicycle glittered silk snowflakes; Darice sparkling yarn.)

Next up, a little something for those of you who like Copics. Or Prisma- color pencils, or re-inkers - anything to color with! I stamped the image in Memento ink and had some fun coloring. If you were to do a batch of these, I would suggest stamping them all out, and using one color marker on ALL of the images, before moving on to the next color. It's faster this way (you aren't hunting for markers each time you move to a new tag) and with an image this small, you don't really need to worry too much about keeping the ink wet enough to blend - it's just not that noticeable. With the image looking so cute, all I needed to add was a little pom pom trim, a frame, and a ribbon. (Sources: Copic markers, Basic Grey patterned paper, and trim from my stash.)

Something a little different: basic black and ivory. Very simple yet elegant, this one, and quite appropriate for a man. The ribbon is Jenni Bowlin, and the velvet button is from my stash of "extra buttons" from clothing! Easy peasy.

Lastly, I'll spring a few new images on you - but they are all still from the same set. The one on the left is sort of retro mod, I think, with it's recycled corrugated paper from my light bulb packaging and its little plastic candy cane from Michael's. I dry-brushed some red craft paint on the corrugated paper, added some ribbon, a little scrap of the BG patterned paper, and a red brad. Fun way to use scraps. The one on the right is sort of rustic country. I added the Christmas text stamp to the background, and distressed the edges with some Ranger Distress Ink in brushed corduroy. A little twine, a twig of holly, and a "tag-on-a-tag" make it done.

Thanks for sticking with me through this long post - I hope you've found some inspiration somewhere along the way!


LeAnne said...

YAY!!! I KNEW you would be the winner! And congrats on your wonderful news. I have this cute set and love what you've done! Can't wait to see your wonderful creations even more in the future!

Andi (RrlScrapGal) said...

Congratulations on your super duper awesome new job!!!!!!

I loved each and every one of your submissions and am now a subscriber to your blog! I love your detailed instructions... It's fun!!

Gorgeous tags!

SS was one of my fave mags, too. Sniff... But, some of the design team are still working together and they have a blog!

Let me hook you up:

Nanny's Room said...

Congrats on the DT position! Just blogging, and ran into your site - love it! TFS

Ali Manning said...

You go girl!!! That is such awesome news. Your work is so fabulous, you really deserve this.

Suzie said...

These tags are absolutely incredible. Would never have thought to do these wonderful things. I am more like your Christmas eve gal, but would love to be that August one. Thansk so much for sharing this idea, it is wonderful.

Lynn Stevens said...

woohoo, I huge Congrats to you for winning the contest, no surprise to me your creations were fantastic! And for being on the design team, Their lucky to have you. You go girl!!!! :)

Susan said...

well, again, I say Congratulations, Jean! Your style and wonderful instructions make for a great package. Just the post shows how awesome you'll be on the CHF dt. Best wishes,


Lesley said...

Oh boy!!! I am SO thrilled for you! I just LOVE your work and can't believe you haven't been on a DT before because you are so talented!!! Can't wait to see all the vintage christmas stuff you are going to create!!

Way to go!!!
Lesley :)

Debby said...

You have a wonderful blog with gorgeous creations and Congratulations!

Colleen Kramer said...

Oh Jean! This is fabulous! Your tags are gorgeous (I had to go back more than once to look at each up close), but the time, energy, and detail you've put into this post is equally amazing! Thanks for sharing with us!

Holly said...

Yay! I'm so excited and happy for you, Jean! You did some wonderful artwork during the summer challenge, and I'm thrilled that you won. Not only did you win a guest spot but a whole year on the DT! So exciting!!!!! I can't wait to see what beautiful artwork you do over this coming year for CHF. Hugs!!

Unknown said...

Congrats Jean! And I just love all that you've done with this set! Just what I was thinking of when I designed it!


Unknown said...

So excited for you Jean, you are so talented! Love this post! The projects are delightful and the thoughtfulness in writing is so appreciated!

Bev Gerard said...

Congratulations on having been announced as a new CHF designer!!
I'm sure your thrilled!


Ellen said...

I just opened the CHF retailer newsletter and of course had to read further. Your work is simply beautiful! It will be so fun to see your beautiful work :)CONGRATULATIONS!!!