Big Sky Stampin' Papercrafting

I have been a crafter most of my life, starting in about 8th grade when I tried to embroider some frogs on a quilt, that I never finished! Although the list of what "I never finished" is long, and includes cross stitch, knitting, crocheting, quilting and more, my latest obsession is paper! I joined Stampin'Up! as an independent demonstrator in October 2011 and have been going like crazy ever since! I offer classes in my home, do catered card parties at your home and sell my cards locally in Bozeman, Montana and around the lovely Gallatin Valley. I would love to meet and talk to you if you are interested in the papercrafting hobby or just need some unique handmade cards for a special occasion!

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

End of the summer almost

I honestly can't believe it is the last day of August... where did summer go?  It is very short in this part of the country and most of us pack a whole lot of fun and adventure into most days. We love to camp and didn't get out as much as we hoped (there are still a few potential weekends ahead of us) so my card today reflects what I would rather be doing... Camping!



I've featured this stamp/framelit set before but I keep creating with it because it's so great!  It's called "Always an Adventure" and has so many components, you can custom-make any scene or design you want.  This time, I went for more of a summer look. This is way easier than it looks. Just stamp and die cut your pieces and then place them on your card using plenty of dimensionals to get that layered 3D effect.  If you want to see my other ideas I've posted, go here:  Always An Adventure #1

This set is in the annual catalog and will be around all year so you have plenty of time to get busy creating your own adventure!

Tomorrow, the Holiday Catalog goes live!  Check back here for a link to see it online and let me know what you think.  I'll also have my Top Ten Favorites from the new catalog!

Happy Stampin'!
Sarah

Friday, August 26, 2016

Final preview day!

Next week I'll get back to featuring a specific card and the product required for it but to close out this week, here are some more peeks at what I've been playing with. It's so fun to combine stamps from different sets and get an even better design. Designing a card and coming up with the idea is my favorite part. Did you know that 90-95% of my cards are original work? I do  pin on Pinterest and look at other sites and am inspired, but I like to start with a blank slate and see what I come up with. I even have dreamed cards in my sleep, but that's another story!  Here are some more:









I hope you have a great weekend!  I have a pretty wide open one so I think I will go back to the drawing board and see what I come up with next. I woke up with visions of sugarplums in my head ;)

By the way, I added a new section at the top of my blog called "Join My Team". Check it out if you are interested in starting your own stampin' adventure and becoming part of the Big Sky Stampers! You don't have to live here as most of our group is far flung so we meet online!  Let me know if you want to know more!

Happy Stampin'!
Sarah

Thursday, August 25, 2016

The REAL story....more Christmas previews!

I like candy canes, reindeer, gum drops, gingerbread men, snowflakes, etc just as much as the rest of you, however, I am mostly excited about the real reason to celebrate Christmas, the birth of Jesus. I am so glad that our products reflect this truth that is the pivotal point of history and the lives of those who believe in Him.   Here are some glimpses of what is coming up with that in mind!





This is only a handful of what is coming in the new Holiday Catalog... a week from today!  I will post links to the Holiday catalog on that morning and you can see all these wonderful stamps and papers and inks for yourself!  Maybe this is the year you will want to make some handmade Christmas Cards!

More tomorrow!
Sarah

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

More Christmas Preview - Cookie Cutter Style!

One suite of products that caught my eye were the Cookie Cutter stamps and punch!  Wow, is this stuff versatile!  You can make all sorts of things!  They have Christmas/Winter themed stamp set and a Fall/Halloween stamp set (which I don't have yet) and I had a great time coming up with some ideas!  Here are the results so far....





Believe it or not, the same punch was used on all these characters and the same stamp set! I wonder what you will come up with when you try it?!!

I'll be back with more tomorrow!
Sarah

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Christmas preview!

It's August, it's hot, it's dry and some days way to smoky from forest fires, but I'm taking my blog to Christmas!  Each year, Stampin'Up! releases a Holiday catalog with tempting delights for papercrafting to fill up your autumn and early winter needs.  The catalog officially goes live on September 1st and it will also go online that day. I'll be sure to post the link!

As one of the perks of being a demonstrator, I've been able to preorder some things and try them out, get comfortable with any new product and mix and match to create some fun.  I'm having a Holiday Catalog open house and Christmas Card buffet to let some of my local customers make some things and see what they think might be  on their Wish List.  I'm going to share several cards every day, the rest of the week. I won't be sharing the details yet as the links won't go live until the 1st, but you can get a sneak peek at what is coming!  This catalog has something for everyone!

Here's today's batch!





I'll have more everyday the rest of the week and then after the 1st, will revisit many of these cards with the details and product information. Stay tuned!!

Happy Stampin,
Sarah

Monday, August 22, 2016

Flamingo in Montana? I don't think so!

I've been trying to not just stamp with what I like but with what others may like this summer. It's hard to go outside your box, but sorta fun to experiment a little. Flamingos would be in that category for me. I saw some at a zoo in Arizona one time but have never been to Florida and apparently that is where alot of them live!  There is a stamp set featuring a flamingo in the annual catalog (Pop of Paradise  #141581) and oddly enough, another pineapple stamp (see my former pineapple post!).  Anyway, here's my attempt with the flamingo theme:


I chose Melon Mambo ink as it is the pinkest of the pinks and went the expected route and combined it with black and white!  I'm not crazy about this card, but realize it's because I have no appreciation for flamingos at this point in my life!  Here's a closer look at the stamp set itself:



I am busy preparing for a Christmas Card Buffet tomorrow (contact me if you want details in the comment section below and I will respond pronto) and so starting tomorrow, I will be posting with some Christmas cards featuring upcoming new product in the Holiday Catalog which will be available online September 1st!  It's one of the best yet with so many varied themes and ideas. I can't wait to show you some of mine!
Happy Monday!
Sarah

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Wherever You Go

Just a quickie post today... we are headed out camping and I hate it when my husband does all the work to get loaded up (sarcasm intended!!)

I love the travel theme in my card making so any set that evokes that image always gets a nod from me. This was fun to play with and very basic... just stamping on paper with a bit of ribbon. The details are below and I'm off on an adventure!



Have a great rest of your week!
Sarah

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Classy plants with a vertical twist!

Once you get into rubber stamping, you realize sooner or later that there are not many vertical-oriented greetings out there! Most everything has somewhat of a horizontal, square or circular look to it. There are times, however, when you want straight-up vertical for a particular card design. There's a new set in the annual catalog called "Vertical Greetings" that I bought almost immediately for that very reason.   I combined the unique stamp set with a different card fold as well for a truly special card. Here's the outside of the card:


And here's the inside, a 5 panel card with four 2" panels and one 4" panel for a total length of 12". The card width is still the standard 5-1/2" (FYI-- I scored at 2", 4", 8" and 10").

It's a little tough to see all 5 panels, but what you see when it is folded are the two outside panels and when it is opened up, you can see all 5 panels. I used the same stamp set for all panels and added some flowers from a birthday set and a touch of gold glimmer paper (see the supply list below). I stamped each sentiment 3 times, next to each other, but another twist would be to stagger them height-wise.   I'm also always looking for a way to use purple and pink in my creations as they seem to be my most difficult colors to incorporate so I was really happy with this card!

I hope this inspires you to try your hand at rubber stamping as an art form. It is so addictive and fun!  Let me know how I can help you on your creative journey with products, advice, questions or encouragement. I love sharing what I do!

Happy Stampin',
Sarah

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Painter's Palette

Day Two of my "just stamps" posts for those of you who don't own a Big Shot, have to watch your budget on craft stuff or just enjoy stamping without all the tools!  I have a couple of cards to show you today... They are simple but eye-catching for a more contemporary design and color scheme.  I used the paper from the smaller 6" x 6" tablet called "Playful Palette" to inspire me with the color scheme.  The stamp set is "Painter's Palette" and there's even some coordinating Washi tape!

The first card is somewhat two-tone with black and white on one of our new In-Colors, Sweet Sugarplum. It's a great color, in between pink and purple!


The second card showcases paper on the left side of the card and stamping on the right! It's hard to tell the difference, isn't it! I have to admit I would never put these colors together on my own, but I like what happens when the designers at Stampin'Up! do!


Lastly, here's a look at the stamp set itself... lots of possibilities with the three different brush strokes, the spatter dots and more.

I have to admit, this set is fun for me as I am not a painter or sketcher at all!  I need rubber stamps or some other medium to create art and stamping makes me feel very artistic! I so envy those of you who can draw and paint!

Hope you are enjoying your week!
Sarah

Monday, August 15, 2016

Just Sitting Here

This week, I want to feature some sweet sets in the annual catalog that don't necessarily require alot of extras! Sometimes it is fun to get back to basics like rubber stamping without all the fancy tools. I'm a big fan of the tools, don't get me wrong, but I realize some cards require a bigger budget than others and I want to feature some simpler, less expensive cards to make.  My favorite stamping set in this category is "Sitting Here".  I love the type of sketching, the sentiments, the country/vintage feel of the images and of course, the sleeping dog!  Here's my card:


I went with an earth tone color scheme, stamped up my various pieces and even hand cut out the dog (shocker, I know!) I used some dimensionals to get a layered effect when I put it together and topped the stamped piece with some rouched ribbon to create what I think looks like a valance on a window. If you look closely, you'll notice the background layer is embossed as well.  My supplies are listed below and here's a picture of the stamp set too (note there is also a cat!).


Another idea is to use the images from this stamp set and combine with sentiments from other sets such as Happy Birthday, Thank You and even sympathy...  Don't be afraid to think outside the box! You never know what amazing ideas you might have!

Happy Stampin!
Sarah

Friday, August 12, 2016

Pineapple Hospitality!

Today my subject is pineapple!  I grew up eating only canned pineapple that was okay, but not my favorite. Sometime in the last 20 years, I got brave enough to buy a fresh pineapple and cut it up. Wow, what a difference! I've never been to Hawaii or the Caribbean, but I've been told that the pineapple is not to be missed!  So what is it about the pineapple?  Have you noticed how often it is used as a symbol, i.e. on signs, carved in furniture, embroidered on needlework, used in wallpaper and other design elements?  Again, so what's with the pineapple?  I've known for years that it was associated with hospitality.   I googled this and here's a snippet of what I found:

"Any guest who was invited to a party where a whole pineapple was displayed, knew that no expense was spared in guaranteeing the guests’ enjoyment. It was this that made the crowned fruit the high symbol of social events and became the meaning of welcome, friendship, and hospitality. Back in Americans, the Native Americans would place a pineapple outside their hut if they were receiving visitors. Even today, in many hotels and inns, you will see a pineapple carved on a sign outside the establishments. A carved pineapple or a facsimile of one can be found carved in head-boards, on bed posters, or armoires. In dining rooms, pineapples can be found on the backs of chairs, on wallpaper, cupboard doors, and woven dining linen. Casts in the shape of pineapples were used as hot plates or on the end of silverware, all to impress upon their guests that they were welcomed."  from Chef's Blade website, story of the pineapple and hospitality.

It was fun to learn "what's with the pineapple" and helped explain why it showed up as a rubber stamp in the annual catalog!  I was immediately drawn to it, but wasn't sure why.  Hospitality is a big part of my husband's and my life, especially living in a place where people love to visit!  We have frequent overnight guests, averaging 1-2 a week since we moved to our new house in April.  Come to think of it, I haven't served any of them pineapple... I better get with it !  

Here's my card featuring the pineapple!



It's a little faint, but I used the Hardwood background stamp on the base of the card, rounded all my card edges with the Project Life corner rounder and then used a super easy way to ink up my pineapple stamp. I placed in on my table, wood side down, rubber side up. I then inked the top half with the green ink and the bottom half with the gold. I flipped it over and stamped on my paper and couldn't believe how great it looked!  I added a smidgen of ribbon to hide where the two colors meet because there was a tiny bit of overlap.  I added some washi tape and cut the "thanks" out of gold foil paper. I love this card! So easy but very classy. The details are below in case you want to make one of your own.

Now I need to put pineapple on the menu some more!  I would love to hear your comments about the card or your thoughts on pineapples!

Have a great weekend!
Sarah

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Always an Adventure

Today I wanted to share a fun card that obviously is a good fit for the Big Sky but will probably speak to many across the whole country.  If you can't find something to like in this card, I don't think I have met you yet, haha!  There are mountains, snow, pine trees, bears, lakes, blue sky, fluffy clouds and hot air balloons!


This was a fun, somewhat time-consuming card to make, made easier with the Always an Adventure Bundle!


As you can see, there is even more possibilities that I didn't use in this card!  While many of the stamps and framelits coordinate, some do not, giving you even more bang for your buck. For instance, there are mountain framelits and a line of trees, and for the stamps, there is a campfire, moon and stars. What I really like is you can personalize this card for campers, hikers, fisherman, anyone!  It's also a great value at just $39.50 in a clear mount stamp set. Hop online today and get your own bundle or contact me and I'll get one ordered for you. I'll bet you are already brainstorming about what you could do with this set ;)

Details are below! Hope you are having a great week!
Sarah

Always an Adventure

Today I wanted to share a fun card that obviously is a good fit for the Big Sky but will probably speak to many across the whole country.  If you can't find something to like in this card, I don't think I have met you yet, haha!  There are mountains, snow, pine trees, bears, lakes, blue sky, fluffy clouds and hot air balloons!


This was a fun, somewhat time-consuming card to make, made easier with the Always an Adventure Bundle!


As you can see, there is even more possibilities that I didn't use in this card!  While many of the stamps and framelits coordinate, some do not, giving you even more bang for your buck. For instance, there are mountain framelits and a line of trees, and for the stamps, there is a campfire, moon and stars. What I really like is you can personalize this card for campers, hikers, fisherman, anyone!  It's also a great value at just $39.50 in a clear mount stamp set. Hop online today and get your own bundle or contact me and I'll get one ordered for you. I'll bet you are already brainstorming about what you could do with this set ;)

Details are below! Hope you are having a great week!
Sarah

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Hey stamping fans!  I wanted to share an all-around awesome, #nevercanhavetomanybirthdaycards, stamping set and framelit bundle in the Annual catalog.  I cranked this card out with almost no effort and have some other ideas to try next time. Obviously cupcakes are always a winner but with this set, you can custom design any color to reflect any flavor - win/win!  


I grabbed some retired DSP that is rather muted but had Melon Mambo and Daffodil Delight dots on it and got my color scheme from there.  I wanted to use a contrasting color for the candle and card base so chose Bermuda Bay.   This is a fun stamp set which features 2 or 3 step stamping. You just keep stamping in the same place with different stamps and different colors to get the blended look. Besides that, it's FUN!  Here's the stamp/framelit set so you can see what all comes with it.


I especially like there are so many sentiments and a banner framelit to cut them out with.  This is a great set to use over and over again because birthdays just keep happening, right?!  I'd love to hear what you think... leave a comment below!
Happy Stampin'
Sarah


Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Holiday Catalog Reveal!

One of the best parts of being a Stampin' Up! demonstrator is early access to new catalogs, new products, new promotions, etc.   I know, I know... it's August, but in my world, that means the SU Holiday catalog just got released and here it is!


Let me tell you, it's a beauty!  You will not be disappointed!!   I will be handing out catalogs at my classes this month and customers can start ordering on September 1st!  The catalog will also be available to look at online at that time!

It was a little hard for me to narrow down my first order, but I did and guess what? It came yesterday!




There are alot of goodies in there and probably starting later today, I will get my hands on them and start with some samples. I also plan to do a "favorites" list in case you need some help deciding what to get!

Until next time, happy stampin'!
Sarah

Changes but still the same!

Yesterday I moved forward on an idea that I've had for a year or so.  Life got a little overwhelming and my idea percolated on the back burner. You've been there, right?!  My idea was to try to better brand and identify my Stampin'Up! endeavors including my downline team, my social media presence and my wholesale/retail card business.  My "Sparrow Designs" name was a hold over from other crafting endeavors I've pursued over the years, mainly quilts that I sold locally at Farmer's Market. I always liked the name and it was based on a favorite Bible verse of mine, loosely paraphrased, "if God cares this much for a sparrow, think how much more He cares for you".

I decided I wanted to change my brand into something that better identified what I'm doing now (rubber stamping/Stampin'Up Demonstrator)  and where I'm located (MONTANA!).   The thing that kept popping into my head was Big Sky... not the ski resort, but the big sky. With our move to a new house this spring, I can see mountains out all my windows every time I look and the sunrises and sunsets are breathtaking. I love the vistas you can see in Montana and being originally from western South Dakota, seeing a wide open vista with prairie or mountains feeds my soul.  I've been other places to visit but am almost claustrophobic if I can't see about 100 miles in at least one direction!  That may sound crazy to some, but I've talked to many who get what I mean.

So, Big Sky Stampin' it is!  I'm still doing the same thing, but trying to coordinate all facets of my creativity under a better banner... a big sky!  In case you didn't know, I offer card/papercrafting classes every month, sell cards that I have hand made locally or via special order and am a demonstrator with  Stampin'Up!  My 5 year anniversary is coming up in August and it has been such a fun experience!  I have a team of stampers under me and would be excited to have anyone join us, no matter where you live!  In this day and age, location is part of the equation, but there are so many ways to connect no matter where we live.   I offer training, coaching, support, fun, team events and lots of inspiration and would love to talk to you if you are interested in joining Stampin'Up!  The benefits are many including discounts and free product!

I'll end with some pics of this fabulous Big Sky Country that never fails to amaze, inspire and restore me.







Let me know if you ever need a place to stay on a visit to Big Sky Country!  I'll be back later today on my blog with a Christmas surprise!
Sarah


Monday, August 8, 2016

Thoughtful Branches

Every now and then, Stampin'Up! releases a stamp set that is not in a catalog and only available for a limited time ~~ This time it is a fun stamp set/framelit combo called "Thoughtful Branches".  If you are someone who loves trees, all varieties, you will love this set!  The unique thing about it it is that the largest stamp/framelit can also be used as a flower, a hydrangea to be specific!  I recently played around with this set to see what I could come up with:



Besides all the leaves and trees and birds, there are some great sentiments as well!  I really like this set and will be using it again and again.  In case you are wondering about my hydrangea flower, I water colored some water color paper with 2 shades of purple using an Aqua Pen and then cut out the flower shape with the framelit after it had dried somewhat. 

Here is a detailed look at what is included in this great stamp/framelit bundle!



One of the best things about this set is that you can use it for all four seasons but adding/leaving out leaves and changing the colors.

If you are interested in this set, be sure to order it soon as it goes away on August 31st, or before if it sells out!    The stock # for the bundle is #144328 and you can order it online yourself or contact me and I'll get one ordered for you.

Hope your week is off to a great start!
Sarah