Friday, July 30, 2010

Stampin' UP in Cambodia

We were at Hagar's House of Smiles yesterday. Hagar is an organization that works with the people who fall through the cracks. In this case, Smiles is a program for children with mental disabilities. I got the chance to do some stamping with kids who have likely never stamped before. I was unsure about how it was going to go, but God reminded me that creativity is universal. I pre-cut boxes with the Big Shot at home. All we had to do was assemble, stamp a Build-a-bear stamp, color it in with markers and then attach it to the completed box - an easy task in Canada, but we needed to be able to do this on the floor, in the middle of the day heat, with kids who had never done anything like it and who have mental disabilities ranging from mild to severe. Oh, and none of them speak any English!

I discovered some talent in one little boy sitting across from me. He couldn't have been more than five or six. I should have seen the artist in him when I passed around the paper and he insisted on red. I started demonstrating how to fold the box. I wasn't finished folding along the score lines when I looked up and saw him holding his completed box up for everyone to see. He had taken my completed sample that I had shown them earlier and copied it perfectly. He then told everyone else what to do. Next we stamped the Bears on a matted piece of paper. He watched me open the ink pad once. I had it closed and was working with some other kids when I looked up to see that he had found the flower stamp in the case, opened the ink pad (not always easy even for seasoned stampers) and was stamping flowers all the way around the box. We were not permitted to photograph the kids, but we could photograph their projects. Here's his completed work.
My other little buddy couldn't wait for the stamp. He decided that he'd rather make his own version.

They were so proud of their work - just like any kid in Canada would be. The main difference is that these are the kids who will probably never own their own set of stamps or even a dollar store ink pad. I paid more for the stamp set than their parents make in a week. Still, this truly was a House of Smiles. It was a short visit, but so much fun! Today we're heading out to Place of Rescue for a tour before we begin English Camp on Monday. I can't wait to meet the kids and see the place I've been praying for for the past six years.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Greetings from Cambodia!

I have been very busy since I arrived in Cambodia on Sunday afternoon. I promised to blog about my trip, so I thought I'd take a few minutes to post a quick update. I've done so much that I'll have to play catch up later! Here is the reason I got up at 4:25 this morning. Actually, I was supposed to be up at 4:00, but the guy at the front desk was sleeping on the couch and didn't get to our wake up call until 4:25 - we had to be out the door at 4:30. Needless to say, all I did was get dressed, brush my teeth, and go! The sunrise at Ankor Wat was absolutely worth it though. This is one of the many I took this morning.
I also made a new friend.
That would be a banana he's eating out of my hands. The people riding are from our team. I went for a ride around the ruins too - very bumpy and very fun! Tonight is our last of 3 nights at Siem Reap and we're flying back to Phnom Penh tomorrow morning. So far the trip has gone so smoothly. I can't believe how many amazing things I've seen and experienced in only a few short days.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Paper Strawberries, Anyone?

I created these paper strawberries for a challenge at A Charming Place. The challenge was to use the colour wheel to create a project and top it off with a charm. Naturally, I went with a Complementary colour scheme for these strawberries. The box was made using the Matchbox Die and embossed with the Square Lattice folder and the strawberries were made using the Island Floral Die. Best of all, each strawberry holds a Hershey Kiss, making them good enough to eat!

Paper: Real Red, Old Olive
Accessories: Island Floral & Matchbox dies, Square Lattice & Perfect Polka Dots Embossing Folders, Hemp Twine, Old Olive Grosgrain

If you don't have the Island Floral die, you can also use the Fancy Flower Extra Large Punch to make miniature versions. Fill them with small candies and fit four in the matchbox basket. Here's how:

UPDATE: I created a PDF with these instructions (forgive the quality - it's my first attempt at this!). Feel free to download it here. I'd love a comment if you found it useful!

Punch out your flower. I used white embossing powder and a retired dotted wheel to create the white dots.

Cut one petal to the middle of the flower.

Overlap the petals on either side of the cut and glue in place

Punch a hole toward the top of each petal. For the leaves I cut down the a punched Five Petal Flower. Punch a hole in the middle of this piece.

Thread a 6" piece of Old Olive Ribbon through two of your petals.

Thread your ribbon through the remaining holes as shown.

Thread both ends of the ribbon through the hole in the middle of your "leaves" and tie a knot to create your stem. I curved the petals in before this step.

You can fit four of these itty bitty strawberries in the base of the Matchbox. Use the same steps with the flower from the Island Floral die for larger strawberries. There are also templates available on the internet if you don't have the punch/die, including several on Splitcoaststampers (but dies and punches make them so much quicker!).

On a completely different note, this is my last stamping related post before I leave for Cambodia on the 23rd. I will be posting my challenge for A Charming Place on August 1st, but other than that I've promised several people to attempt to post updates on my trip while I'm gone, so my blog is going to take a bit of a turn in the next couple of weeks. I promise to be back to Stampin' Up Only posts once I return! While I am gone I will spend approximately one week travelling with a team of people and experiencing Cambodia and one week teaching ESL classes at Place of Rescue just outside Phnom Penh. I am super excited and can't wait to share my journey with you.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Artistic Etchings Briefcase Album

The challenge over at A Charming Place this week was to use Black & White plus two other colours on a project. Since I'm heading to Cambodia in a few days, I decided to combine this challenge with a Stamp Camp project we made this weekend. I didn't have time to finish the inside pages yet, but we used two On Board Briefcase pages as covers and envelopes as pages, similar to the idea I came up with for my Carousel Notes Album. To the tag I added a key and heart charm. Check out all the other new accessories I added to my tag!

Want to earn charms for free? A Charming Place is offering a $13 gift certificate right now. See this thread for details. Next month it's my turn to hostess the monthly challenges and I'm going to kick it all off from Cambodia with a travel theme! Check back August 1st to see how you can win charming prizes for participating in the challenges!
Stamp: Artistic Etchings
Ink: Riding Hood Red, Basic Black, Marina Mist, Early Espresso, Versamark
Paper: Newsprint Designer Series
Accessories: Jumbo Eyelets, 1/8" Taffeta, Pearls, Paper Daisies

Friday, July 2, 2010

Sentimental Journey Envelope Purse Album

Happy Canada Day!!! If you're not from Canada, Happy New Catalogue Day!!! Between the two there is plenty to celebrate. I made this album for a teacher who retired at the end of this school year. I went to school with her son and worked with her closely, so I wanted to do something special. However, I did not have a lot of time. As always I left things to the last minute and had to finish this album in only a few hours. As a result, it doesn't have as much detail as I would have liked, but she appreciated it all the same.

The cards pull out of the pockets to reveal my notes to her. This was the perfect design for an album since I didn't have many pictures to work with. I'm loving the new Newsprint Paper paired with Cherry Cobbler and Vanilla - Yummy!

Stamps: Sentimental Journey, It's About Time (retired), Artistic Etchings (brand new set)

Paper: Newsprint Designer Series Patterned Paper (New), Cherry Cobbler (New), Very Vanilla, Naturals Ivory, Basic Black