August 2016 Pop it Ups Designer Challenge #1: Flower or Flour

Welcome to our second month with a new format for Pop it Ups Designer Challenges. Challenges are now posted twice a month - on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays. The first theme of the month will be set by me and the second theme of the month will be set by a team member. For each challenge the team will post one card on their personal blogs on Monday of challenge week. This way the same amount of great Pop it Ups inspiration is posted each month, but spaced out on two dates so it's not so overwhelming. 

Here is the challenge I issued to the team:  "Flower or Flour" - Make a card with flowers OR make a card with a baking/cooking theme - you decide!

For my card I'm sharing the project I made for the packaging of #1207 Twist Circle Pop-up plus a general assembly video for this new die. The front of my card is a very simple lead in using patterned paper, the scalloped edge from the Pull Card Edges, and a ribbon bow. As the card is opened the circle starts to twist up into the center of the card.

TwistCircleJollyClosed

The "Hi" circle comes with the set and works so well with the other circles to create a fun center decoration. I added flowers from the Flower Pot Pop Stand die set and a greeting from the Occasions Clear Stamps. Jolly the Mouse hangs out inside the card and I created a rickrack border using the Pull Card Edges.

TwistCircleHiJolly

Ready to learn how to assemble this die? Check out this video tutorial for the Twist Circle.

 

The video card is such a quick and simple design. I used mostly just the pieces from the Twist Circle die set to achieve this look, adding greetings from the Just a Note clear stamps and one additional circle die from the Labels & Circles set (to frame the "just a note to say" stamp).

  TC_Both

Here are the products used on the Jolly card and the video card. Elizabeth Craft Designs products are sold at independent craft stores throughout the world.

 



image from karenburniston.typepad.com

The Designer Challenge team is going to blow your mind this challenge. Be sure to click their names to visit their individual blog posts to see full supply lists for their cards and more photos and tips.

Sandy Diller also used the Twist Circle for this month's challenge and created an amazing cupcake-a-ganza! I am in love with all the details in this amazing card for the "flour" side of the challenge. I especially love the cupcake that fell - what a clever touch!

SD_CupcakeTC

Kelly Booth is the queen of color and this card is no exception. I love her combination of pinks and reds for a sweet and pretty Flower Pot Pop Stand card. Kelly added the Paris Edges as doilies inside the card and I love her yellow butterfly.

KB_flowerpotbirthday

Fran Sabad made a vertical card using the Flower Pot Pop Stand. What a great idea! To create visual balance Fran added a wide accent strip to one side of the card. This card is so classy and light. I love Fran's use of the Flower Stage it Stencil on the sides of the pot. Gorgeous!

FS_AnniversaryFlowerPot

Summer Hills-Painter's Flower Pot Pop Stand uses such a beautiful color scheme. She added the Occasions Clear Stamps "Happy Birthday" greeting, which can be cut out perfectly using a die from the Anita Frames die set. Inside she made her pot match the gorgeous patterned paper.

SHP_FlowerPot

Raquel Mason used the Flower Pot Pop Stand die set but repurposed it as an oven for Buster the Dog's favorite cake .... uh oh . . . it's made with Whiskers the Cat! Ha ha ha. This card cracks me up! (No cats were harmed in the making of this card) Love Raquel's use of the Props 8 baking items plus the Props 6 bandana.

RM_OvenFlowerPot

Caz Counsell needed a special card for a departing co-worker and created a beautiful bouquet. This card features the Flower Pot Pop Stand being built closer to the back of the card and collapsing inward - another great way to use this die. Caz also put Poppy the Owl in the pot. Adorable!

CC_FlowerPoppy

Karen Aicken did a marvelous job creating a fun scene for the "flour" side of the challenge. Karen used Baker the Beaver, Props 8 and the Cake on a Rectangle Pull Card repurposed as an Easel Card. I just love the colors and all the fun details in this. 

KA_FlourEasel

Frances Byrne made a pretty in pink Flower Pot Pop Stand card using a custom plaid paper that she created using the new Stripes/Plaid stencil. I love the pop of greenery in her sweet bouquet. Using the plaid as big chunky corners is a fabulous look!

FB_PinkFlowerPot1wm

Shelly Hickox got very creative with repurposing the Flower Pot Pop Stand into a tombstone! Then she added pieces from the Halloween Scene die set, including a row of tombstones, trees, bats and a hanging spider. Amazingly this all folds down flat in the card and you can see it in action by watching a video posted on her blog post. Spooktacular! 

SH_shelly hickox pop it ups tombstone card

Well I think we can all agree that this team is amazingly talented! Join us in two weeks for the second Designer Challenge of August. Shelly Hickox set the theme and it's a good one - "Girly or Ghouly" - you'll see feminine pretty projects AND creepy crawly projects - pick your poison! Heh heh heh.

Happy Crafting!

image from karenburniston.typepad.com

 


18th Birthday Cards for Karl & Emma

What a year it's been! No more high school. No more braces. And no more childhood! Meet these two fantastic 18-year-old young adults who will be voting in their first Presidential election this November. Happy Birthday, Karl and Emma, you amazing people, you!

KarlEmmaGrad

Naturally, as their mother, I still see them like this . . . "Emma Bear" and "Boo Boo"

Eat_Sleep_Babies

For their birthday cards I turned to brand new Pop it Ups die shipping soon from Elizabeth Craft Designs. 

Karl18Both

Em18Both

I always start my pop-up cards by designing the inside of the card. After all, that's how the card will be displayed! For Emma's card I used a BoBunny cupcakes paper for the background of the card and also fussy cut several cupcakes to fill the pot, along with William the Goat wearing glasses similar to Emma's. (Eyelet Outlet)

EmOpen

Another reason I always start with the inside of the card is because it gives me the opportunity to add disguising elements to the card's front in case any portion of the pop-up is visible in the closed position. For Em's card William the Goat's horns were visible on the side of the card in the closed position so I added a strategically placed label to the card's front to disguise the horns. The American Crafts eyeglasses paper has been in my stash for months waiting on Em's birthday. I was excited to get to use it. The label and circle are both from the Labels & Circles die set.

EmClosed

The other day a friend of mine who owns a craft store messaged me to say that several customers had called the store after the Video Tutorial for the Flower Pot was posted, asking her to order it for them. I told my friend that the Flower Pot may well be my crowning achievement in die design. It's just so versatile and dynamic. It's exciting to see it come to life as the card is opened. Plus, the fact that you can use it as a stand-alone box card makes it even more versatile!

EmPartial

Perhaps there's a subconscious reason that I chose to use William the Goat for Emma's card. I'm not sure I'm ready for my "kid" to be an adult! But William also looks really cute wearing the brad glasses and eating the ribbon from the 18 tag. (Made with the new Sports Charms)

EmCloseUp

The Flower Pot die set comes with flowers, a butterfly and vine, but you can always fill it with whatever you choose. I simply fussy cut cupcakes from the leftover paper and glued them to the lattice at different angles. The Happy Birthday is one of my favorite peel-off stickers from Elizabeth Craft Designs and I think I used these same stickers on last year's cards!

EmTopView

For Karl's card I used the new Twist Circle die set. This versatile die twists up a platform into the middle of the card, allowing you to animate all sorts of things into fun pop-ups. I chose to use Jinks the Monkey and tried to make him into quite the distinguished gentleman in honor of Karl's "man" status.

KarlOpen

The Twist Circle die set comes with five different circles to use on the platform, but you are also able to use just the platform itself, as I did for Jinks. He is wearing the Steampunk Charms tophat and the same brad glasses as Emma's card. The mustache is from Props 1 and the greeting from the Farm Greetings Clear Stamps. 

KarlCloseup

For the card front I did a similar trick with the label, extending it off the side of the card because Jinks' "happy birthday to you" sign was partially visible in the closed position. I added another tophat, cut one of the glasses brads in half to be a monocle, and added another mustache. The Labels & Circles die set was perfect to frame everything.

KarlClosed

The Twist Circle is another die that's really fun to open and close. As the card is opened the platform is going to twist up into place, hovering over the center of the card.

KarlPartial

Happy Birthday, Karl and Emma! I love you to the moon and back.

By the way, tune in Tuesday for a video tutorial on the Twist Circle die set. New dies, stamps and stencils are expected by mid-August at Elizabeth Craft Designs. Call your local independent craft store to order, or you can use these online links:

 


Pop it Ups #S014 Candy Corn Layering Stage it Stencil

Howdy Halloween Craftsters!

This week I'm posting video tutorials for the new products in my summer Pop it Ups release. These products are arriving soon to Elizabeth Craft Designs and should be available in stores (and online) by mid-August. 

image from karenburniston.typepad.com

Today I'm introducing the Candy Corn Layering Stage it Stencil.  You can see how the previous Layering Stencils work by watching this video: Stage it Stencils 2: Layering & Pattern Stencils

The Candy Corn Stencil is a little different because the pattern is laid out in four vertical strips. By combining the strips, an adorable 1.25" x 6" border of candy corns is created. Repeat the process to make larger backgrounds. Here's the video tutorial for this stencil:

  

S014CandyCorn

In the video I show a non-Halloween use for the stencil to make random confetti backgrounds. The card below features the new Labels & Circles die, a stamp from the Steampunk Greetings, the candle from the Gift Card Accordion set and Whiskers the Cat. 

KB_CandyCornConfetti
Kelly Booth mentioned to me (after I'd already completed this video) that candy corns come in other colors for other holidays. What?! I had no idea! Sure enough, a Google Image search produced a wide array of candy corn color combos. How cute will it be to use the Candy Corn stencil year round for all holidays? I'm smitten!

Candy Corns

Back on Halloween for a second, though. I show in the video that when you're using the stencil on white cardstock you do not need to use the third column at all. For this next card I used a colored cardstock so I used all four sections of the stencil. The white tips were done using the stencil and a white gel pen, rather than sponging white ink. Since I was doing an entire background I sponged all of the column one yellows, moving the stencil over three times to complete, before I switched to the middle oranges. It goes faster this way because you're not moving your tape until you finish a color.

KB_CandyCornCard

I finished out my Halloween card with the Barrel Basket and Dutch the Fox. Dutch is wearing the new Props 9 Witch hat with the broom resting in front. The Labels & Circles die set was used to frame the new Trick or Treat stamp and the Outdoor Edges created the grass.

Want to see what the team has been making with these new dies? Be sure to "Like" my Facebook Page: Karen Burniston, Designer for daily links to new cards. You can also follow my new Pinterest boards created for these two new collections: Occasions Collection and Halloween Collection.

Videos on the Twist Circle and Anita Frames pop-ups are coming soon!

Happy Crafting! 

Here are the products I used on the two cards:


SNEAK PEEK: Pop it Ups Summer Collections - Shipping August 2016

Elizabeth Craft Designs is exhibiting this week at the Sierra Pacific Crafts Mixed Media Event in Salt Lake City. If you're at the show, be sure to stop by the ECD booth to see these two new Pop it Ups collections, shipping the second week of August, 2016.

Here's a little overview to show what's coming. The Design Team and I have been making projects using the new collections and we will start posting those ideas on our blogs and social media starting August 1st, so stay tuned! In the meantime, here is a brief description of the new collections.

HalloweenCollectionKB

HALLOWEEN COLLECTION - By popular request I've created a Halloween collection. It includes 5 new dies, a clear stamp set and 2 stencils.  

  • 1202 Iron Fence Pop-up - this fence can be used flat or animated with the included slider arm and sleeve to arch up as the card opens. Lots of possibilities here for garden scenes, too, so it will be great beyond Halloween.
  • 1201 Halloween Scene - this fun little set has 5 useful dies for setting a spooky mood. A tombstone edge die, a jagged branch/tree, spiderweb, spider and bat.
  • 1200 Halloween Charms - this set will make a flat jack-o-lantern charm (or pumpkin) and an expanding 3D ghost. Charms will fit the Hanging Charm Pull Tab set.
  • 1204 Props 9 - dress up your Character dies in this fun witch costume OR use it on its own
  • 1203 Midnight the Bat - the latest Character die comes with a little sidekick. The small bat die will cut out the stamped version of Midnight from the Halloween Clear Stamps.
  • CS020 Halloween Clear Stamps - this small 3" x 4" stamp set has lots of all-purpose greetings to coordinate with the collection. Optionally cut out the bat using the die from #1203 Midnight the Bat. Optionally cut out the oval 31 stamp using the oval die from #1206 Anita Frames (Occasions Collection)
  • S013 Bats Stage it Stencil - need to make a quick background for a Halloween card? This all-over pattern stencil is perfect.S014CandyCornLayeringImage
  • S014 Candy Corn Layering Stage it Stencil - I am really proud of this one! Instead of a 2-part layering stencil it's actually a 3 or 4) part. If you're working on white cardstock you do not need to ink the white tips of the corn (3rd column), but I did put them on the stencil in case you're working on colored cardstock. Start with the left-most column to start the double row candy corn border by sponging the base of the corn in either yellow or brown. Slide the stencil to the left and use orange for the center. Assuming the paper is white, skip the third column and go to the 4th, which is the shadows that make the corn appear to float off the page. Sponge the shadows with gray. This stencil can also be used as an all-over confetti pattern. 

OccasionsCollectionKBD

OCCASIONS COLLECTION - universal pop-ups and accessories for year-round crafting in popular themes. 5 new dies, 2 new stamps, 1 new stencil.

  • 1205 Flower Pot Pop Stand - makes a very cool pop-up flower pot that can be filled with the included flowers, butterfly and leaves, but also filled with anything else. You can also use this die as a stand-alone box card if you prefer. Now I don't like to brag . . . so I'll let the team do it! Ha. Here are some of their comments when they got their first sneak peek of this die in action:
    • So so so SO cool!! I'm madly in love with this!!
    • Omg omg omg!!!!!! Love love love!!!!! 😍😍😍😍😍😍😘😍
    • OMGoodness. Really? Really? I'm actually glad you can't see it but I'm doing a HAPPY DANCE. WOWSA!!!!!!!
    • This is AMAZING!!!!! Completely jaw dropping amazing!
  • 1206 Anita Frames Pop-up - this die is named after Anita Izendoorn, who has begged me for two years now to re-release the Floating Frames die, which was a popular one from my early Sizzix days. I redesigned it with bigger labels and made it a Pop it Ups die so you can choose your own card size. It also comes with decorator dies, including a crown, 3 labels, one of which will cut out the Happy Birthday stamp perfectly, 2 banner dies that will also cut out the banner stamps, and an oval that will cut out the 31 stamp from the Halloween collection. This is going to be a fabulous generic pop-up for any theme.
  • 1207 Twist Circle - since I was revisiting some of my early artwork for Sizzix, I decided to update and release a much better version of the original Spinning Platform die. The Twist Circle has alignment nubs so you cut it right into any size card. The circles are included for decorating with any theme. It comes with the "hi" circle, too. Another great generic die with a fun mechanism. The circle twists up and down as the card is opened and closed.
  • 1208 Labels & Circles - this is a decorator die with labels and circles to coordinate with the Anita Frames and Twist Circle die set.
  • 1209 Sports Charms - these fun charms can also double as props if you cut the hang hole off and use them with the Characters.
  • 1210 Holiday Charms - these also double as props without their hang holes. They will work wonderfully in the Pop-up Sleigh die from last year's Merry & Bright collection.
  • CS021 Holiday Clear Stamps - some new greetings to use with the new generic pop-ups and with last year's Merry & Bright pop-ups (Sleigh, Tree, Merry Christmas)
  • CS022 Occasions Clear Stamps - these generic words will work perfectly for so many projects. Cut out the banners and the Happy Birthday using decorator dies from Anita Frames, as an option.
  • S015 Stripes/Plaid Stage it Stencil - makes a great diagonal stripe, either single color or multiple, but you can also flip the stencil over and add the stripes in the opposite direction to make plaids. Clean the stencil and start again in another color to make multi-color plaids. The team has been using this stencil a lot!

If you are a retailer at the SPC event this week, stop by the Elizabeth Craft Designs booth to see these products in action. Retailers will also be able to order directly from ECD or through their reps. The ordering info will be e-mailed to retailers after the show.

Shipping is the second week of August with ideas and videos posted starting August 1st.

Happy Crafting,

image from karenburniston.typepad.com


June 2016 Pop it Ups Designer Challenge: Summer!

Welcome to this month's Designer Challenge! Each month I challenge my talented design team to use Pop it Ups products for a specific theme. This month I issued this challenge:

Summer Lovin'! - Make a project to celebrate Summer - this could be nature, or beach or 4th of July or anything that means "summer" to you.

I think you'll agree that the 20 projects the team made are absolutely spectacular!

For my project and video I wanted to create a technique for altering a die into a new mechanism. Dies are an investment, so customers are always looking for ways to use dies for more than one thing. The Adirondack Chair seemed like the perfect choice for this challenge. It makes an amazing chair, but I wanted to show a different way to use it that would end up looking nothing like a chair. I came up with this horizontal card, which I'm calling a Cascading Tag Card. To make this card you'll need tags and the Tags Pivot Card set includes the perfect size decorator tag to make this card go together quickly. If you prefer to cut the decorator tags by hand, you'll use these dimensions, which are also shown in the video tutorial; Tag is 2" wide by 3.25" tall and the notches for joining should be at 5/8" from the top of the tag.

 

Here are some photos of the finished card. For photos of the Father's Day Version, click HERE.

CTC_Front

The front of the card is a simple lead-in to the magic inside. I'm a fan of repeating colors and themes for the card front, so I used another Rocky the Crab and a cupcake, plus the remaining patterned paper.


CTC_PartialOpen

Open the card and both of the Adirondack Chairs expand to cascade the tags through the card. Charms can be hung from the chair arms for another element of interactive fun.

CTC_Open

This top view shows the fun zig-zagging mechanism of this card.

CTC_TopView

The video tutorial shows how to make the join in the center of the card. I love that you can un-notch these two tags at any point to be able to flatten the sides and add decorations.

CTC_Join

One of my favorite dies in the entire Pop it Ups collection is the little fork that comes with Props 8. It's adorable! It's also the perfect size to use with the Characters. For the cake slice itself I used colored pens to add sprinkles on top of the cake, then covered the frosting with Glossy Accents and dropped a few pieces of silver confetti into it while it was wet. After it dried I punched a hole and hung the charm from the card using a jump ring.

CTC_Charm1

The other charm is the Birthday Hat from Props 2. Glitter dots work really well in the openings to add sparkle to the hat. I also used glitter dots on the cupcakes.

CTC_Charm2

Elizabeth Craft Designs products are sold worldwide at independent retailers as well as on The Craft Channel in the UK. For those of you sadly without a local store you can also buy online from the ECD website. 

2016 DC Long Banner

The Designer Challenge Team really embraced the Summer Lovin' theme this month and made 20 incredible projects. Now I know that might seem overwhelming, so I've separated the ideas into categories based on what type of card and die they feature. Also, each team member's name is a link to the specific blog post for that card. The links will open in a new window so feel free to click away as you scroll through, opening new windows for the cards you want more details on. Let's dive in!

 FLAT CARDS, SHAKER CARDS & TAGS 

One nice thing about the Pop it Ups collection is how many of the products are accessories that work with or without an interactive card.

Shelly Hickox made this gorgeous summery tag using the Butterfly Pivot Card dies and the Butterfly Accessory dies. Shelly also created a beautiful stenciled background and included a die cut Chicken Wire embossed in silver. 

SH_shelly hickox butterfly tag

Kelly Booth made several cards for the challenge, including this fun shaker card featuring Rocky the Crab, Props 3 and the Flower Stage it Stencil. What fun colors!

KB_ShakerRocky2

Caz Counsell lives in England and says that her summer, so far, has been full of rain. She made this fun homage to an English Summer using the new Rain Stencil and Jinks the Monkey. Jinks is holding the umbrella charm from the new Baby Charm set.

CC_summer 1

Sandy Diller made this beachy tag with so many fun details and layers. I particularly like the way the Beach Edges waves are pointed toward the shore, the hilarious punny greeting, and the pail full of shells. Amazing!

SD_seas

Kelly Booth's next shaker card is for her daughter's anniversary. I particularly like her combination of two stencils for a custom background and the way she made frosted glittery champagne glasses using the Wedding Charms.

KB_Watermarked Photo 1 (2016-06-08-1547)

Kelly Booth also made this shaker card for her granddaughter and I absolutely love the girly colors, including pink glittery Palm Trees with sequin coconuts! Brilliant!

KB_Watermarked Photo 1 (2016-06-10-1001)

 ACCORDIONS 

Fran Sabad made this wonderful Father's Day card for her dad. Her parents are celebrating their 60 year anniversary with a cruise, so this is a very fitting theme. Fran used the Ring Accordion and I particularly like her decoration of the outer rings to look like life preservers. 

FS_PIU-Circle-Accordion-03

Sandy Diller knows that Independence Day is a huge part of Summer in America. This project is so patriotic and fun. She mixed one page of the Star Accordion with three pages of the Fancy Accordion for a Stars/Stripes theme to the pages themselves. Then she alternated the look with the Star Fancy Frame Edges on the outside. This is fabulous!
SD_land that i love

There's something about Shelly, am I right? Shelly Hickox has such unique ideas, like this one where she took colorful napkins and fused them to cardstock for a one-of-a-kind Fancy Accordion project. The Just a Note clear stamps provide a handy assist for the greeting. I am smitten!

SH_shelly hickox coral pop it ups card

 PIVOT CARDS 

Caz Counsell created this scrumptious popsicle card featuring Chilly the Penguin wearing the Props 1 glasses. I love the fun Summery colors and the clever greeting.

CC_summer lovin 3

Fran Sabad made this wonderful Butterfly Pivot Card where the butterflies are also shakers! Wow! I also love the background, made using the Blossom Layering Stencil. What a beauty!

FS_ButterflyShaker

 PULL CARDS 

Frances Byrne used the Hanging Charm Pull Tab die set to animate a beachy scene featuring Rocky the Crab, the Palm Tree and Pail, and Beach Edges. I love her use of a sun to make the pull tab itself. What an amazing card!

FB_KBDCSummerCrab1wm

Caz Counsell also used the Hanging Charm Pull Tab die set to animate a Character scene. This wonderful card features Jinks the Monkey wearing a grass skirt, bikini and flower headband. I mean cute!! Love the pink palms, too.

CC_JinksHCPT

Karen Aicken loves the Pull Cards and turned to one of her favorites, the Spiral Circle Pull Card, for a base of this fun Summertime card. She embellished the front with the Clock & Gears die, cut in bright colors to match the theme. Sweet!

KA_Card_PIU_SCPC_SummerTIME_1

 POP-UP CARDS 

Kelly Booth made a shaker card for the front of this project and then embellished inside with the Lucy Label, Rocky the Crab and the Beach Edges. The background features the Swirly Flourish Stencil and Kelly's signature fab color choices!

KB_ShakerPopupFrances Byrne used the generic pop-up die included in the Hot Air Balloon set to create a platform for a Jinks the Monkey ice cream scene. Frances also used the Pull Card Edges to define the areas for her greetings. Fun colors!

FB_KBDCMonkeyIcecream1wmKelly Booth was on fire this month! She made five cards, including this under the seascape using the Lorna Label pop-up, Rocky and the Beach Edges, and a wonderful background with the Petite Flourish Stencil. Amazing!

KB_SeaPopUp

 ADIRONDACK CHAIR POP-UP CARDS 

Raquel Mason was so clever with this fun summer scene featuring Jinks the Monkey as both mama and child. Mama Jinks hangs out in her beach chair wearing a very clever bikini made from a bandana die. Son Jinks swims in an innertube made from nested circle/scallop dies. So many amazing details in this one!

RM_KBDC June 1

Karen Aicken combined many of her signature looks into one amazing card. For the front she used her handwriting and the Ring Frame Edges as accents. Then inside the card she used a photorealistic backdrop for the Adirondack Chair. Perfection!

KA_Card_PIU_Adirondack_Relax_1

Summer Hills-Painter knows a thing or two about Summer! (See what I did there?) This card is so beautiful I want to step right into it. I love her combination of the Beach Collection into a stunning "Relax" card.

SHP_Summertime

So how about that?! No shortage of Summer inspiration.

Here's an exciting programming change for Designer Challenges - starting in July we will offer TWO challenges a month! Challenges will be posted here on my blog on the 2nd and 4th Tuesdays of each month. The first Challenge of the month will be a theme that I choose for the team and the second challenge theme for the month will be chosen by a team member. For each challenge the team will make just one card and post it on their own personal blogs on Monday of Challenge Week. This new format will provide the same number of amazingly inspiring cards per month, but spaced out onto two dates instead of all lumped together. Join us for our first July Designer Challenge on Tuesday, July 12th with a theme of UP! The team will post high-flying cards featuring the sky and I will have a new card and video tutorial as well.

Happy Crafting,

image from karenburniston.typepad.com


Graduation Pull Card with Poppy the Owl

Here's a fun card using a technique from the Rocky Doffs his Cap video, altered to use Poppy the Owl so he's starting to toss his cap as the card opens.

Poppy_Graduation_Both

For the base card I used the Oval Pull Card and a piece of heavy double-sided My Mind's Eye cardstock, printed with the numbers on one side and rulers on the other. I nested in one of the decorator ovals into the Pull Card when I cut it, so there would be a window.

Poppy_Grad_Closed

In order for Poppy to toss his cap I needed him to have an articulated wing, so I cut a second wing and used tiny eyelets to attach them to each other, to his body and to the graduation cap, which is just the bottom of the Props 1 Bowler hat turned upside-down. The Spinner die from the Rectangle Pull Card creates the motion of the cap as the card is opened.

Poppy_Grad_Open

Speaking of Props 1, I also used the glasses to give Poppy a studious look, and the bowtie, trimmed to look like a diploma. I made the tassel using green fibers. 

Poppy_Grad_Detail

The greetings are a combination of the What's Up? clear stamps and the Baby clear stamps, cut out with decorator dies from the Tags Pivot Card and Lucy Label Pop-up. The rickrack is made using the scalloped die from the Pull Card Edges.

Poppy_Grad_SideView

This card is for a second-cousin to the kids, but we've definitely had graduation on the brain around here as Karl and Emma graduated from high school last Sunday. Couldn't be more proud of my graduates!

FamilyGraduation

Remember to check out the blog posts for Rocky Doffs his Cap and Hello, Honey, for two more versions of this card and a video tutorial.  

 

 

If you'd like to make your own version of the Poppy Graduation Card you can find Pop it Ups products at independent craft stores worldwide. You can also shop online at the Elizabeth Craft Designs website.


May 2016 Pop it Ups Designer Challenge: Stage it Stencils!

Welcome to the May 2016 Pop it Ups Designer Challenge. Each month I challenge my talented Designer Challenge Team to create a project using Pop it Ups products. This month I chose a theme of Stage it Stencils, which is a new category of products for the Pop it Ups line. The first six stencils launched at CHA and have been very popular. (Watch the introductory video to the first release of stencils here.) The Spring Release will be shipping out to stores about a week from now, so keep an eye out for these twelve new designs, including (3) Layering Stencils, (3) Pattern Stencils, (3) Charm Dies, and (3) Clear Stamps.

KB_SpringRelease2016

Because our focus was on the Stencils this month, I chose not to do a single project and instead to create an overview video of all 6 new stencils. The video covers how to use the Layering Stencils, how to emboss a pattern stencil, a partial masking technique, making your own glitter paste and cleaning the stencils. I've also included photos of a lot of this month's creations by the team, so after watching the video make sure you scroll down to see all of those cards with links to their blog posts for more information.

 

The Spring Release has three main themes: Wedding, Baby and Steampunk, each with a Charms die and a Clear Stamp set. All of the Charms sets are sized to fit perfectly in the Hanging Charm Pull Tab die set, as an option. Here's an example of the Wedding Charms and Best Wishes Clear Stamps, plus the Petite Flourish Stencil, used for a Hanging Charm Pull Tab card:

HCPTWedding

The Charms also work well for other types of projects, like mixed media tags, scrapbook layouts, jewelry, etc. Here's a mixed media tag using the Steampunk Charms and Steampunk Greetings Clear Stamps, plus the Gears Stencil, embossed and sanded like in the video:

ArtTag

Another way to use the new Charms is by chopping off the hang holes and using the shapes as Props for the Characters. Here's the card I made in the video with Lucky the Rabbit holding the umbrella from the Baby Charms set. Inside the card it says "Rain or shine you're a friend of mine" - a cute stamp from Verve.

KarenB_LuckyRain

The Spring Release will be available in late May at independent and online retailers worldwide. Here are some online links to the Spring Release and to the other few items used in my sample cards: 


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The Designer Challenge Team is showing off the Stage it Stencils and the Spring Release products amazingly this month. If you've already watched the video you've had a preview of a lot of these cards. Time to see them closer. Remember that each of their names is a link to their blog post about the card. On their individual blogs is where you will find all the information you need. Some of these cards are full tutorials, so definitely give them a click!

STEAMPUNK & ARTSY INSPIRATION

Kelly Booth made this fabulous Steampunk tag with the Gears stencil as a backdrop and a dapper Poppy the Owl, properly steampunked, taking center stage. Notice her use of the top hat charm with the hang hole removed. Poppy also holds the key charm from the Steampunk set and the wings charms were used on the heart at the bottom. 

KB_SteampunkPoppyTag

Summer Hills-Painter combined a couple of stencils for the background of this amazing altered memory box. The Gears are behind the frame and the Swirly Flourish is also used. I love all the layers of ephemera on this showcase piece. The Steampunk Charms are mixed in as well.

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Shelly Hickox altered a dollar store journal into this ode to Paris art piece. The Eiffel Tower die is cut from canvas to provide more texture. She used partial coverage with the Petite Flourish Stencil to create the textured background and the Steampunk charms and clear stamps complete the look.

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Frances Byrne shows how nicely the Hanging Charm Pull Tab die can be used to animate a Character. She made a gentleman Poppy the Owl, sporting the top hat from the Steampunk Charms and holding the key. The Gears Charm works wonderfully for her textural background and the Steampunk Greetings clear stamps reveal the birthday message. This card would be suitable for anyone, including men.

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Sandy Diller also steampunked a Character - she chose Jinks the Monkey and used the Gears Stencil to emboss the backdrop of this clever Rectangle Pull Card. Notice the gear peeking out in the closed position? It moves up with the greeting as the card is opened. You can see a video of this card in action plus a full tutorial of how Sandy created it, by clicking her name.

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Caz Counsell made this brilliant homage to Game of Thrones for a birthday card with a Game of Bones theme. See the bones on the Adirondack Chair to make the Iron Throne? Brilliant! Plus Buster the Dog is styled as Jon Snow! I am in love with this card. Caz used the Petite Flourish Stencil inside the card to create the texture. Absolutely brilliant!

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BABY INSPIRATION

Kelly Booth shows the great coordinating between the Baby Pajamas Layering Stencil and the Baby Charms. She hung the companion charm in the Hanging Charm Pull Tab die set for this sweet baby boy card. The Baby Clear Stamps are used for the greetings and I love her use of a cloud for the pull. So sweet!

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Sandy Diller can do it all! She can switch from the most artsy steampunk grungy project right into an adorable baby card like this! The Lots of Pops creates the pop-up poles inside the card to suspend the clothesline and then she added the Baby Charms throughout, including the little bunny charm inside the Props 7 woven basket. Awww! I love her use of the Baby Pajamas Layering Stencil on the card front. She did not use the layering hearts, which is always optional.

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Fran Sabad made this wonderful 3-page Rectangle Accordion in a sweet baby girl theme. I like how she cut a window from Page 2 to allow her to hang the Pajama charm, and the Baby Pajamas Layering Stencil works wonderfully to create the pattern for the outer frames. So many details to soak in on this darling card.

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WEDDING & ELEGANT INSPIRATION

Frances Byrne is brilliant! She immediately thought to put the new Wedding Charms bride & groom on the pop-up Cake die. Perfection! The Petite Flourish stencil provides the backdrop for this elegant confection. She also incorporated the Paris Edges and the Best Wishes clear stamps for the greetings. I love the white/gold/black color scheme.

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Karen Aicken created such a stunning card by using metallic paints on black cardstock. The Rectangle Pull Card has never looked so fancy! She used the Swirly Flourish Stencil and mixed in some die cut coffee cup steam flourishes (clever!) for a classy background.

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Raquel Mason actually created this card for another challenge, but I wanted to include it because it's such a lovely use of the Blossom Layering Stencil. I love her use of white ink through the flower and then layered with black centers. A very charming backdrop for a thank-you card.

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SWEET INSPIRATION

Kelly Booth created several Cherries backgrounds using the Cherries Layering Stencil on Soft Finish Cardstock and then die cut the pieces into labels and Hot Air Balloons for this super sweet and fun card. I had this original card with me last weekend at the Denver Scrapbook Expo and it got raves from the customers. Absolutely fabulous!

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Raquel Mason used the Cherries as a background for this "Sweet" card. I like how she used paste and glitter to make the cherries raised and sparkly. This card would brighten anyone's day.

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Karen Aicken used the Gears Stencil in a bright fun color to create a boy background for this cute card. I love how Karen Aicken took advantage of the slot/slider mechanism in the Oval Pull Card to hide Buster the Dog in the closed position with the Barrel Basket. Open the card and the basket slides out of the way. Her grandson is sure to love his one-of-a-kind birthday card!

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Fran Sabad ends the challenge with this scrumptious card featuring a Cherries background and Baker the Beaver, wearing the Props 8 Chef's Hat and holding a cherry-topped cupcake. I mean CUTE! 

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Well I hope you feel inspired to start incorporating the Stage it Stencils into your projects. They are very affordable and durable as well as versatile and functional. Join us next month on June 22, 2016 when we will take on a challenge called Summer Lovin'! The team and I will be making projects that celebrate the glorious summer season.

Oh! And the winners of the March and April Secret Shout-out Giveaway were Linda Agers, who won the Oval Pull Card and Baker the Beaver (March giveaway) and Margaret McChesney, who won the Barn Pop Stand and Snowball the Sheep (April giveaway). I will have the latest newsletter with this month's Secret Word Giveaway sent out either today or tomorrow, so if you're not already a member of my mailing list, just use the blue button on this blog's sidebar to join.

Happy Crafting,

image from karenburniston.typepad.com 


April 2016 Pop it Ups Designer Challenge - The Great Outdoors

Welcome to the April 2016 Pop it Ups Designer Challenge. Each month I challenge my talented Designer Challenge Team to create a project using Pop it Ups products. This month I chose a theme of The Great Outdoors and I think you'll be very inspired by their clever creations.

For my card and video, I'm showing a simple conversion of a pop stand design into a box pop-up design. This is going to be a handy little technique to use with all the pop stand designs, including the Cup, Eiffel Tower, Bathtub, Fence, Christmas Trees and Barn. As it says in the video, use 1" for the length of the joiner pieces, no matter which die is being converted. Choose the width of the joiner to match the width of the die's tabs. Watch the video here:

This last weekend I was in Dallas with Emma and the high school band on their spring trip. Over 200 kids went on the trip. Unfortunately heavy rains in the Dallas area closed Six Flags and then the rains hit Katy and produced dangerous flooding throughout the Houston area. A decision was made to skip our activity on Monday and get the kids home as soon as possible. It all worked out because we rolled into town during a lull in the storms. School has been canceled since Monday to allow the floodwaters to recede. Our neighborhood is surrounded by deep bayous, which filled up much higher than I've ever seen them, but still several feet below the banks. There was no flooding in our neighborhood. We count ourselves very lucky, as many have lost their homes and businesses and eight people lost their lives.

Because of the weather, I got a late start on my project, so I chose to make a simple design. I am in need of several "belated" cards for birthdays I missed in March, so this one will be perfect for that. The front of the card is a piece of Soft Sky Soft Finish Cardstock that I embossed with the Clouds embossing folder and sanded the edges of the clouds to turn them white. The "hay there" comes from the Hay There set and the banners are a sticker from my stash.

SheepishFront

Inside the card I used joiners to convert the tabs of the pop stand die into simple box pop-up platforms. The background is the Clouds embossing folder again, this time with light blue ink brayered inside the folder before embossing. The grass area is sponged with green ink. Snowball the Sheep is styled as a Suffolk, with a black head and legs. Suffolks, according to Wikipedia, make up 60% of the sheep population in the U.S. 

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Here's a side view showing how easily joiners can be used to convert the pop stand tabs into boxes.

SheepishSideView

The stamp set for the greetings is the Homegrown Greetings set. I stamped the "I feel baaaad" greeting onto white cardstock and cut it out with a label die from the Katie Label Pivot Card set. I also cut a larger Katie Label from the leftover wood paper for a mat. The other greetings are stamped directly on the card.

If you'd like to make your own version of this card you'll find Elizabeth Craft Designs products at independent craft retailers worldwide or through these online links:


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The Designer Challenge Team always blows me away with their amazing creations. This month is no exception! For each of their Great Outdoors cards you can click on the name to go directly to that blog post, where you're likely to find supply lists, additional photos, explanations, etc. 

Frances Byrne starts us off with this amazing adaptation of the Hanging Charm Pull Tab die used to raise up a circle. She decorated the circle in a western theme using the Western Edges and used the Homegrown Greetings Clear Stamps for the greeting. The colors are so rustic and warm. Fabulous!

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Raquel Mason created this cozy little home using the House Pivot Card. I really love her styling on the All Seasons Tree with the dimensional foliage. She also took advantage of the built-in emboss feature on the house to add the brick pattern. I'll be right over!

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Karen Aicken shows just how perfectly Pop it Ups dies can be used with patterned papers. She used cut-outs from the paper on the Hanging Charm Pull Tab to create the interactive card. The Palm Tree, embossed to shiny perfection, completes the scene. Nautical and nice!

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Kelly Booth really should have a middle name of "color"! She has such a way of combining colors - it's magical! Check out this fun outdoor scene featuring the Hanging Charm Pull Tab and Poppy the Owl. I love how Kelly used balloon strings from Props 2 as flower stems. Gorgeous!

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Sandy Diller made this crab-ulous card featuring the Adirondack Chair, Palm Tree & Pail, Rocky the Crab and Beach Edges. I particularly love her layering of the spotted palm fronds and the shell from Rocky inside the pail. This makes me want a beach vacation!

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Caz Counsell thought "outside" the card (see what I did there?) and created a photo canvas. She featured a handsome photo of her son and used the All Seasons Tree to decorate the canvas. What a wonderful way to showcase a photo! 

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Summer Hills-Painter created a beach shack out of the House Pivot Card. I love the thatched roof! She used the Rectangle Pull Card, adding in the Palm Tree and the sun from the Oval Pull Card. This is such a serene beachy scene. I want to step right into this card!

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Shelly Hickox was inspired by a card Karen Aicken made using a photorealistic scene with a pop-up cut into it. Shelly created her own backdrop by taking a photo of her garden and then cutting the Adirondack chair into the photo. She printed a second photo to fussy cut elements, like stones, and layer them over the original, creating very cool dimension. This is a fabulous technique that has so many possibilities!

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Fran Sabad was inspired by a pretty Garden Bench card made by Kittie C. a couple of years ago to create her own version. It turned out so soft and pretty! I love the delicate flowers on the All Seasons Tree and the brightly colored bird perched on the bench. Beautiful!

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Frances Byrne always finds the perfect patterned papers for her cards. This beauty features the Hot Air Balloon with pop-up, plus the Pull Card Edges and What's Up? clear stamps. I love the way Frances layered the Pull Card Edges and used them to frame the greeting circle. Beautiful!

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Karen Aicken wins the prize for the cutest card ever with this adorable picnic scene. Baker the Beaver looks so cute with his watermelon, big shades and hot dog. Karen used the Adirondack Chair and the Partly Cloudy Stage it Stencil inside the card. Cute! Cute! Cute!

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Kelly Color Booth created a beautiful background for this House Pivot Card. The Lorna labels provide a handy assist for the greetings and she also used the Partly Cloudy Stage it Stencil to add the sun. This card is so bright and sunny!

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Sandy Diller mentions that when hot air balloons fly over her home in Arizona their bright colors seem to give them a glow of being lit from within. She recreated that feel with this beautiful card, featuring the Hot Air Balloon with pop-up, plus the Western Edges. I love the stamped balloon in the background, seeming far away in the distance. Stunning!

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Caz Counsell styled the Spiral Circle Pull Card just perfectly to resemble a tree on the left side. The All Seasons Tree is used as a branch and Caz cleverly cut the eggs from the Props 7 set to style as leaves for the tree. Brilliant! Poppy the Owl looks lovely cut from Through the Lens paper, and the Clouds Embossing Folder creates the sky. Wonderful!

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Fran Sabad chose bright primary colors for this bold and breezy Hot Air Balloon card. What a nifty background with the pattern on the left and the solid on the right. So unique! If you click to Fran's blog post you'll see an equally impressive card front, featuring a rainbow. Love it!

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How's that for fifteen amazing cards?! I hope you've enjoyed the wonderful Great Outdoors inspiration by the team. Join us for next month's Designer Challenge on May 18, 2016. The theme for May is "Stage it Stencils" and in addition to the six available-now stencils, we will be featuring the six newest designs! You don't want to miss it!

Happy Crafting,

image from karenburniston.typepad.com

 


March 2016 Pop it Ups Designer Challenge - Pull it!

Welcome to this month's Designer Challenge where we are taking on a theme called Pull it! I challenged the team to create a card using any of the three Pull Card dies OR the new Hanging Charm Pull Tab die set. 

For my card and video I decided to make a Pop Post video. Pop Post cards are made very specifically for someone in my life and this month I chose my niece Hannah, who recently celebrated her 16th birthday. Hannah is very musical and also really loves corny puns. See how I used the Oval Pull Card to animate a musical pun in this video. The techniques in the video (embossing using a stencil, an Oval Pull Card with window/clear slider/ double reveal area) can be adapted for cards of any theme. 

 

In the closed position the card measures 5" wide by 6" tall, so it will fit easily int an A7 (5x7) envelope and mail for a single stamp. The slider arm is cut from recycled blister packaging, making it clear and durable. The musical rest is attached to the end of the slider arm. 

KarenBOPCFront

When the card is opened, the "Stop" flips over and out of the way, revealing the rest of the pun, which slides across the card, revealing a cupcake decoration. The musical rest also slides across the card until it's over Baker the Beaver's head.

KarenBOPCOpenFor the greeting, I knew that Hannah would appreciate the notes for "happy birthday to you" in place of the words. I used a white gel pen and a ruler to draw the staff and then drew in the notes. The back of the card is where we will write our personal note and sign the card.

KarenBOPCGreeting

Want to give this card a try? Check with your independent craft store to see if they carry Elizabeth Craft Designs products. You also have the option to purchase online. Here are some links:


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The Designer Challenge Team created wonderful inspiration for the dies that pull. If you're new to our challenges, let me mention that each of their names is a direct link to their blog post for that particular card. You'll find more photos, supply lists, even general instructions, by clicking those names.

916

 

#916 Spiral Circle Pull Card Inspiration

 

 

Kelly Booth starts us off with this adorable birthday card with a St. Patrick's day theme. She used the Pull Card Edges die to cut the flower paper (made with the Flower Stencil) to fit the card. There are so many fun details to this card.

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Karen Aicken made a very fun gatefold double using the Spiral Circle Pull Card. She keeps the card closed with a belly band and decorated with her (signature) Ring Frame Edges 1 as banners, and the Cake Pop-up used flat inside the card. 

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Raquel Mason provides some great masculine inspiration with this Spiral Circle Pull Card featuring the Clock and Gears and Props 1 die sets. She also incorporated the new Through the Lens papers by Els van de Burgt. 

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#974 Rectangle Pull Card Inspiration

 

 

Fran Sabad made this gorgeous tulip Rectangle Pull Card and incorporated the lacy Paris Edges for an extra feminine touch. Her coloring on the stamped image is perfection!

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Caz Counsell created a larger card for this spring-like card featuring a window cut into the Rectangle Pull Card, gorgeous colors, and plenty of butterflies. The What's Up? clear stamps create the greeting. 

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Raquel Mason used this month's challenge to create a fun boy birthday card for her son's friend. Using the spinner die (included with the Rectangle Pull Card) she was able to spin up a star with the birthday boy's age. Love these colors!

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1109 Oval Pull Card Inspiration

 

Summer Hills-Painter made a gorgeous Easter card with a fun technique where she created a gatefold card. For the left panel, she created a window and through it you can view the closed Pull Card (right panel). This is a fabulous combination of folds and look for this as an upcoming tutorial by Summer.

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Shelly Hickox is amazing in how she can craft a scene using fussy cut images from detailed papers, like Graphic 45. This beauty uses the slot and slider to pull across the Hot Air Balloon. The What's Up? clear stamps fit the theme perfectly.

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Kelly Booth normally creates her own patterned paper with background stamps and/or stencils, but challenged herself this month to work with patterned paper. Clearly she is a natural! This fun birthday card features a gorgeous plaid paper and very fun versions of Jinks the Monkey.

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Sandy Diller used the Oval Pull Card to make a birthday card with a huge balloon bouquet and Lucky the Rabbit attached to the slider arm so they move as the card opens. The interior greeting is revealed as Lucky slides across the card. So spectacular!

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Caz Counsell provides some masculine inspiration with this oversized Oval Pull Card with manly colors and textures. The Trendy Tiles 1 embossing folder is used on this card as well as Happy Birthday and the decorator pieces from the Cake pop-up. Els' Through the Lens patterned cardstock works so well for masculine cards.

CC_Masculine_Birthday_OPCFran Sabad got very clever with combining features of the Pull Cards. She used the Oval Pull Card for the structure and then added the spinner die from the Rectangle Pull Card to animate Jinks. This is such a fun card!

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Frances Byrne always finds the perfect patterned papers to match her themes. This gatefold double Oval Pull Card has a nautical theme and the waves in the pattern are perfect. She added dies from Joset and Els and used the Pull Card Edges for the scallops. What a great Father's Day card!

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Sandy Diller got very clever with this adaptation of the Oval Pull Card. She turned it into a vertical pull and used two slots/sliders to pull up a gaggle of Hot Air Balloons, revealing the greeting. Absolutely amazing!

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1104 Hanging Charm Pull Tab Inspiration

 

 

Kelly Booth made this fun birthday card by combining the Hanging Charm Pull TAb die set with the Hot Air Balloon. I love how her greeting cloud is also animated.

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Karen Aicken also used the Hanging Charm Pull Tab die to animate a solid object, making this beautiful Easter card that also includes the woven basket from Props 7. This is so pretty!

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Fran Sabad chose a great combination of colors and patterns to make a Hanging Charm Pull Tab card using the included coffee cup charm. She added a heart to the cup's sleeve for a great look. I love how she created the two-part greeting with the Coffee & Tea clear stamps.

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Frances Byrne finishes out the challenge with this fun Easter card featuring Lucky the Rabbit on the Hanging Charm Pull Tab. What a great idea to use a clip die to extend the pull tab for easy operation. She also used dies from Joset and Suzanne on this adorable card.

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Thanks for joining us for this month's challenge and I hope you feel inspired by all these ideas to make cards that pull!

Happy Crafting,

image from karenburniston.typepad.com


John's Birthday Scramble

So there's something you may already know about me . . . shocker . . .I'm a deadline girl!

Give me a deadline and I'll meet it - usually by the skin of my teeth, but I'll meet it.

Don't give me a deadline and I'll advance 50 levels in Candy Crush and watch a bunch of HGTV. 

One time I mentioned to John that it doesn't help my cause that I often produce my best work under crushing deadlines, thus giving me no penalty for my deplorable lack of time management skills. He replied that I may simply be unable to work ahead, that it is the deadline itself  that unlocks my creativity. 

Uh oh.

He may be right.

Wise beyond his years, that guy.

Or maybe wise FOR his years, since he's been getting pretty old of late.

His birthday was yesterday, a Wednesday, and I was right proud of myself for figuring out what to get him during our bike ride last Saturday, when his Fitbit watch was out of battery (AGAIN!) so he was unable to track his exercise. We got Karl an Apple Watch for his birthday last summer and at the time John mentioned that he might like one, too. He doesn't buy himself technology, though. He still has an iPhone 5, despite daily e-mails from Verizon begging and incentivizing him to upgrade. I considered upgrading his phone, but I wasn't sure what he would like, so instead I decided to get him the Apple Watch. I ordered it from Apple on Monday and with free 2-day shipping it was set to arrive on his birthday and all would be well.

Except . . . it was "out for delivery" ALL.FREAKING.DAY!!! And you have to sign for it, so there was no leaving the house to go pick up the cupcakes or drop off a package at the post office that HAD to go out yesterday.

Oh, and I had a deadline for work, too, so I had to finish that up before I could even think about making a birthday card.

I couldn't even take a shower until the kids arrived home from school, for fear that I would miss the doorbell. When the kids got home from school I was able to leave the front door attending to them and run the errands, but still the UPS truck didn't come.

John left work early and called me to say he was only a half hour away.

Emma and I looked at each other in horror, realizing that we had NOTHING for him. No card, no present. OK, yes, we had cupcakes, but nothing else.

So we sprang into action. We found some pieces and parts of pop-up Cake cards left from CHA Make 'n Takes and built the basic structure of the card. Emma colored the greeting and cut the decorator pieces for the cake. 

"Can you cut out a Liverpool bird for the top of the cake?" she asked me. Sheesh! Of course she would have that very sweet but time-consuming personalization idea.

So I found an image online, traced it SUPER QUICK, shrunk it and cut it out on my e-cutter. Whew! Inside of the card done.

For the front of the card I had an idea to make an Apple Watch for one of the Characters. I used the little apple from Props 7 and styled it like the Apple logo on a small piece of black cardstock. We found an assembled Jinks the monkey, stole a cupcake from an assembled Baker the Beaver, and Emma cut out a party hat from Props 2. 

Unfortunately John arrived home before we had quite finished the card, so we had to claim that we were working on Emma's Government homework in my office and needed absolute privacy.

"I think he's onto us" I said to Emma when we returned to my office.

"Because you're a terrible liar!" she replied.

We also had to admit to John that we couldn't go to dinner yet as we were waiting on the UPS truck and that it was now highly probable that it was not coming. He didn't mind.

But we spoke too soon, because I heard the truck just after 6 pm and was standing on the front stoop jumping and giggling when the driver walked up with the package.

Emma wrapped the present while I decorated an envelope and took some quick photos of the card. Despite the scramble, we somehow managed to leave for dinner NOT empty-handed!

Once again, saved by a crushing deadline!

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John chose a local Italian restaurant, Hasta la Pasta, for his birthday meal.

I should note that it's been raining, non-stop, for two days now. And if you don't believe me, just check out the curly locks on these three! Emma says she's tired of trying to tame her hair and is just embracing the curls. 

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I, on the other hand, as evidenced by this blurry selfie, have stick-straight hair that will not hold curl, even if I were to get a perm, as I tried many times in my teenage years. People say that Emma looks like John and that Karl looks like me, which I think is mostly true, but Karl definitely got John's curls!

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I hid the gift in my purse because we knew that John would recognize the box shape, especially since he knew that it was delivered by UPS and that I had to sign for it. He's no dummy, despite his advanced age. Heh.

Sure enough, as soon as we gave it to him he said "Hey! I recognize this box from YOUR birthday, Karl!" He also commented that he and President Obama now have the same watch. (Which he knows from watching "Comedians in Cars getting Coffee", mind you!) 

JohnKarlGift

Everyone was stuffed from dinner so we decided not to go for the cupcakes when we got home. Well, everyone except Karl, naturally.

"I'm just going to make mine into a cupcake sandwich and eat half of it" he declared.

"What's a cupcake sandwich?" asked John.

"It's when you cut the cake part in half and move the bottom to the top so the frosting's in the middle," answered Karl, while demonstrating. "Ymfou gmet frmosrming in emvery bite!" (You get frosting in every bite)

KarlCupcake

"Wow!" said John, laughing and impressed, "Did you invent that?"

"Nope. Life hacks." 

Ha! Good times.

Happy Birthday, John!