Weekend Card Challenges

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Nov 25, 2007 in Cards, Crafts

Well…it’s now officially the Christmas season at the Torrence house! I spent the last two days putting up our holiday decorations (up until yesterday, the Halloween decorations were still up) – I’ve sure collected a bunch of stuff over the years! But I love when the house is decorated for Christmas – it feels so warm and cheery!

Mike actually took the kids to the mountains this weekend by himself. I just couldn’t bear to face the Thanksgiving traffic – especially with Geddy in the car (he gets carsick every time we go for a long ride). And I really wanted to get the decorations up. Funny…Mike willingly volunteered to take them – something about me getting very manic-y when putting up the decorations. I can’t imagine what he means… :)

I did manage to take a few minutes while Christmas-izing my house to do the SplitCoastStampers challenges.

Yesterday’s Inspiration challenge was to design a card using this piece as inspiration. Here’s my card:

Fish inspiration

This card was kind of outside of my comfort zone, but I had fun with it anyway. I used a Cuttlebug embossing folder to dry emboss the dots on the orange piece of cardstock. The fibers are from scraps of yarn I happened to have in my craft room.

I also did the Featured Stamper challenge. Our featured stamper this week was SCS user TexasGrammy, aka Beverly. I was lucky enough to meet Beverly at Stampin’ Up! Leadership last year – what a lovely woman!

Here is her card that I CASEd and here is my version:

Featured Joy Card

Such a simple design, but such a lovely card! I switched out the Dashing paper that she used for Wintergreen paper and used the Joy sentiment from the Merry stamp set. My card measures 4 1/4 by 5 1/2, not 4X4 as hers does (I didn’t notice the measurements until after I had already made the card).  I also attempted to dry emboss the dots along the bottom using my Crop-A-Dile. I used a template to line up the dots, but they still came out crooked! Oh well…I like the card anyway!

I also took some time to work on an anniversary gift for Mike while he was away – I’m almost finished the project and will post some photos soon…




Snowflake Cards

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Nov 23, 2007 in Cards

Today’s SCS Limited Supply challenge asked us to create cards using snowflake images and mainly neutral colors (black, white, sand, etc) with just a little pop of color.

I did two cards:

Black and white snowflakes

The snowflakes are stamped onto glossy white cardstock and the sentiment is embossed on this card.


Neutral snowflakes 

I think I bent the rules with this card by using Hodgepodge Hardware, ribbon AND linen thread, but I tried…really! :)

Other than the cards, I’ve also been trolling eBay looking for some unique beads for my jewelry – bidding on auctions is addictive!  But I spent only about $20 and got over 20 different kinds of beads – none were over $1!  Unless you include shipping…but the prices were still really good. 

I’m off to try to find all of my Christmas decorations in my mess of an attic – send out a search party if I don’t post in the next few days!


Happy Thanksgiving!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Nov 22, 2007 in Cards

The wonderful gals at SplitCoastStampers still managed to post a “Ways to Use It” challenge today even though it’s a holiday – so of course, I HAD to take a few moments out of my holiday preparations to do a little stamping!

The challenge was to use stitching on a card – real, or in my case, faux.  I just received the newest kit from Paula’s Kit Club and absolutely love the kitschy 1950’s feel of the kit – especially the large woman stamp!

I used the stamp and colored in the image with Prisma colored pencils.  I also used the cherry patterned paper, the black gingham paper and added some faux black stitching around the stamped image (I poked the holes with the paper piercer and then drew in the stitches).

Cook Card

I added a “Kiss the Cook” rub-on, adhering it to Old Olive cardstock.  I tied on a little silver fork and knife with a black ribbon and adhered the whole thing to the card with pop-dots.

All of these elements came from the kit (except for the cardstock) – I just love Paula’s kits!

I think this is a great card for Thanksgiving – be sure to kiss your cook today!


Sketch Challenge Vintage Christmas Card

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Nov 21, 2007 in Cards

Here was the card sketch from today’s challenge:


And here was my take on it:

Christmas Card

I used some stamps and embellishments from Paula’s Kit Club’s Christmas kit – I love the 1950’s vintage feel of the paper and stamps.  I sponged some Creamy Caramel around the stamped image to age it a bit and used Real Red and Wild Wasabi for my colors as the nearly perfect match to the colors in the Daisy D’s Christmas paper.

Thanks for looking!


Technique and Color Challenge Card

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Nov 20, 2007 in Cards, Crafts

I’m a little short on time this week, so I missed this weekend’s SplitCoastStampers challenges.

But I did two challenges in one this morning – I combined the technique challenge (tea bag holder) with the color challenge (Pretty in Pink and Wild Wasabi).

I dusted off an older stamp set – Holiday Tag Time and combined it with Snow Flurries for this simple little card:

Snowman teabag outside

Snowman teabag inside

A single tea bag fits into the slot on the right side of the card.

Cute and easy, right?


New Jewelry Designs – Available for Purchase!

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Nov 19, 2007 in Uncategorized

Okay – here is the part I’m REALLY excited about!  I have made some brand new pieces of jewelry using the MOST BEAUTIFUL findings that I have ever seen!

I am a lover of all things vintage – especially vintage jewelry.  My engagement ring is an antique and I have several other antique rings, earrings and necklaces.  The only problem with vintage jewelry is that is can be delicate and should be handled with care.  The 100-year-old ring I wear on my finger has already been worn for 100 years – how much more wear-and-tear should I put it through?

But I LOVE the look of antique jewelry – the rich colors, the intricate filigree designs…it is so lovely and has so much personality.

And I love all things natural.  Things made by God have so much inherent beauty – I love to admire the subtle variations in rocks, leaves, trees – it’s one of the reasons I enjoy the outdoors so very much.

I also love things with patina – things that show wear – there is nothing fancy or elaborate in my home.  Just pieces with character – things that have been loved in the past and continue to be loved by another generation. 

So where am I going with all this?  I have been dabbling in jewelry design lately, but have yet to find anything that really fits my style.  I’ve picked up lots of books and magazines, but while a lot of the jewelry shown is pretty, it’s just not something that I would wear.  And I don’t want to make things that I wouldn’t wear myself.

But I have recently found a line of jewelry components and design inspirations that combine all the things I love!

The findings are made from natural brass with a finish that resembles a vintage patina.  Many components contain intricate filigree designs that resemble the antique jewelry that I love.  My jewelry designs incorporate natural stones with rich, wonderful colors that only nature can produce.  I also incorporate beautiful crystals, pearls and other gemstones for that little bit of added sparkle.

I have made the following pieces for myself, but I would be happy to duplicate them for you as well (keep in mind that since natural stones vary, your piece will differ slightly).  The prices are below each piece…

Moon necklace

Moon Dance Necklace – $36.00

This beautiful necklace has a lovely filigree pendant and a sweet charm with a woman lounging on the moon.  It includes several moonstones and crystals and has a spiral clasp.


Filigree bracelet

Filigree bracelet – $32.00

This intricate filigree bracelet has two small blue glass stones wrapped with brass pieces on either side.  It has a clasp hook and even more blue stones incorporated on the front and back pieces. 



Dressy Denim Earrings – $24.00

I just love these simple but intricate earrings!  A blue faceted glass stone is wrapped with brass filigree – perfect for wearing with jeans or for more dressy events.



Hyacinth Anklet – $15.00

How sweet is this delicate little anklet?  Perfect for yourself or for a young girl, the bright stones on this anklet add a little extra pizzazz!


Amber bracelet

Wrap Bracelet – $32.00

Two filigree pieces combine to form the focal piece of this sweet wrap bracelet.  I have added some amber-colored and clear stones to keep this bracelet neutral in color while showcasing its intricate details.


Turtle necklace

Spotted Stone Necklace – $40.00

The stone on this necklace is breathtaking – this necklace is sure to demand attention.  Several charms, filigree beadcaps and small faceted glass stones add to the detailed design of this piece.



Turquoise Filigree Bracelet – $24.00

The natural stones in this bracelet coordinate with the vintage- inspired filigree pieces for an eclectic look.


I hope you find these pieces as unique and exciting as I do.  I also love that these pieces will blend with your existing jewelry whether it is gold, silver or platinum – but I can guarantee that these will be the pieces that make you stand out and shine!

These pieces are just the start of my collection – watch for more designs to be added as I am inspired to create them.

If you are interested in purchasing any of these pieces or have other designs in mind, please email me at kathy@thetorrences.com

I accept Payment through PayPal (send payment to kathy@thetorrences.com) and shipping in the United States is free.

Thank you for looking and I hope you enjoy my work!


Christmas Ornament Exchange

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Nov 19, 2007 in Crafts, Soldered Art

Some of my friends suggested that we hold a Christmas ornament exchange this year.  It’ll work kind of like a traditional ‘cookie exchange’ but instead of extra calories, we’ll each go home with some beautiful new ornaments! 

I’ve encouraged all participants to work with whatever medium they love – paper, wood, ceramics, beads, yarn, glass…there are so many possibilities!    We will all make twelve ornaments to exchange – if there are more than twelve people, we’ll draw numbers to determine who gets which ornaments.

Now that I’m back in business with my new soldering iron, I had a chance to work on my own ornaments for the exchange:

Red ornaments

Green and blue ornaments

Sideways ornaments

Okay – there are more than twelve, but was on a roll and I thought I’d make some extras to give as gifts while I was at it!

To make the ornaments, I stared with two microscope slides.  For the front piece of the ornament, I used vintage Christmas music (given away by our church during the move) as the background. I carefully cut out vintage Christmas images from some clip art sheets to make a tiny collage. 

Each ornament is different – for some, I added ribbon, flowers, leaves and other embellishments; for others, the image was large and ornate enough to stand on its own.  The back of each ornament is a piece of red poinsettia flocked paper that I signed and dated.

I sandwiched the collage and paper between the glass and taped and soldered the edges.  I soldered a swirly paper clip to the top as the hanger (tied with ribbon) and soldered one or two small silver embellishments to the outside of each ornament.  By the way, some of the embellishments were actually gold-toned to start – I either tinned the whole piece (see…I’m getting the soldering language down now!) to make it silver or just added some small silver accents if there was other gold in the collage.

I also added one or more jump rings to the bottom of the ornament and then strung some beads on a beaded head-pin and attached it to the ring.  I used a lot of vintage beads on my pieces to keep with the feel of the collages.

I also tried to venture out from the traditional red Christmas color and include some shades of soft blue and teal as well.

I hope the group likes my ornaments – I can’t wait to see what everyone else creates!


Soldering Projects

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Nov 19, 2007 in Crafts, Jewelry, Soldered Art

As I’ve mentioned before, my friend Denise was kind enough to purchase a soldering start-up package for me for my birthday.  I blame her for my newest addiction – in fact, I think I can safely blame her for ALL of my craft addictions! :)

I did, however, have an unfortunate soldering accident last weekend.  While my iron was hot, the tip fell out of the handle!  Luckily, it was in the stand at the time (I thought it felt funny, so I put it back into the stand) so there were no injuries.  But to make it even worse, as I carried the iron (cooled off, of course) out to my backyard shed to grab the correct size wrench to replace the rod, I LOST the tip!  I’ve searched the backyard and shed and still can’t find it anywhere. 

And to make it even worse, I was right in the middle of a project!  Now to most people, this wouldn’t be a problem, but to an OCD person like me, this was a disaster!  I have scores of projects waiting to be completed, and I was without a soldering iron….but I decided to look at this as a lesson in patience. 

I called the stained glass store and they told me that it would be about $10 for a new tip.  The store is quite a little ride from my house – I don’t know when I’ll get out there again and I really need to finish some projects for Christmas.

So…I was surfing online and found this great website – a company called Simply Swank.  I had purchased their book and DVD about making soldered jewelry and wanted to order some of their other products anyway, so I went ahead and ordered a replacement iron along with some lead-free solder (I found out that you really shouldn’t use solder containing lead with jewelry), some clip art and some small pieces of glass.

These ladies are great!  They make soldering look easy and their products have a very feminine feel (my new iron has a pink handle – can you get more girly than that?).  I like that the new iron has a much smaller tip than the other one – perfect for jewelry making.  But I’ll still get a replacement tip for the old iron – it’ll be great to use for larger projects (and it doesn’t hurt to have a spare just in case of any future emergencies!).

When my new iron arrived (it came in only about 2 days!), I tried one of the projects that they suggest in the book.  Since I’m just starting out, I thought I’d copy it almost exactly – here’s my necklace:

Simply Swank CASEd necklace

To make the charm, I used their clip art (it actually came with the DVD) and enclosed it into two small pieces of glass.  I taped and soldered the edges of the glass and added jump rings at the top and bottom.  I also strung some beads onto three head pins and attached them to the bottom ring and attached the charm to the necklace to the necklace with the top ring.  Not only was this an exercise in soldering, but it was also a lesson in jewelry-making (more on this in a later post).

The black beads on the necklace were purchased during a run to Jubili Beads and Yarn a few weeks ago with my friends (AKA enablers!).  The clear beads and small pearls are actually vintage beads that I purchased at the Old Engine Works Antique Co-Op in Stroudsburg, PA during the trip that Mike and I took a few weeks ago.  The pearls were originally on an old German-made necklace with a broken clasp and broken strings – I love the idea that I was able to salvage them and give them a new use!

So I’m back in business – oh, and I was able to finish the half-finished project that I was working on during the lost-tip debacle:


I purchased the beveled pieces of glass as a kit at the Mullica Hill Art Glass store.  I’m not too happy with the way the middle seams turned out – they are way too thick.  When putting the pieces together, you have twice as much tape in the middle as on the edges (two taped sides together) so the center seam is larger.  I guess I could have added more tape to the edges or cut away at some of the tape in the center with a craft knife to even it out- now I know that for next time.

I added a ring at the top and the bottom and hung a crystal and some glass beads on the bottom as well – it looks pretty in the window and would make a nice Christmas ornament.

Now on to more projects…


Hiking at Bushkill Falls

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Nov 19, 2007 in Family Stuff, Our Goldendoodle Puppies

We were able to get away last weekend to the Poconos with the kids for a little R & R.  Our first day was kind of cold and rainy, but we made the most of it swimming in the indoor pool and hot tub. 

The skies soon cleared and we managed to get to Bushkill Falls for a little hiking – we even brought the dogs!

Mike and the dogs

On the bridge over the falls

The dogs made it VERY interesting – there are a lot of stairs to climb – some of them very narrow:

Going up the stairs-2

The stairs

More stairs!

But it was a beautiful day and a beautiful hike – we all had a very nice day!

Dogs on the bridge

Kids on the bridge - good 

Kids and the dogs


Where Have I Been?

Posted by Kathy Torrence on Nov 19, 2007 in Cards, Crafts, Other items

I haven’t posted for a while, but I’ve certainly been busy! I’ll do a few posts to catch you up on my latest projects…

I’ve been trying to keep up with all of the SplitCoastStampers challenges this week – I just haven’t had time to post the cards. So here they are…

First, last week’s technique challenge was to use “Japanese stab binding” on a card. Here is my sample:

Thank you japanese

Once you get the hang of it, this is an easy technique, but I have to admit – it took me quite a few tries to finish the binding! I used hemp twine for the binding and then decided to dangle a few beads from the twine to keep with the Asian feel of the card.

Of course, these are no ordinary beads – they are made of rolled paper! I took some small strips of cardstock (1X5 inches for the largest bead) and stamped them or inked them, depending on the look I was going for. Some papers were also stamped and embossed with gold embossing powder. Then I conditioned them between my thumb and forefinger to make them easy to roll. I applied glue to the backs of the paper strips (bookbinding glue from www.ClubScrap.com) and then rolled the strips around a thin wooden dowel to form the bead. It’s amazing – after they dry, they harden so much that it’s impossible to tell that they are even made from paper!

I got this idea from ClubScrap and actually used their project kit and templates to make the following necklace, bracelet and earrings:



The paper beads are mixed with regular beads from the kit – it’s hard to tell them apart! I made some more paper beads this weekend using some of Stampin’ Up!’s designer patterned paper – hopefully, I’ll have a project and tutorial incorporating those to show you soon.

I have more jewelry to show you later – let’s get back to more challenge cards…

Our Featured Stamper for last week’s challenge was SplitCoastStampers member StampOwl.  Such an extremely talented stamper! Here is her card that I chose to CASE and here is my CASEd card:

Sunflower card

Her original used the Wild Rose stamp set and a weathered background – I substituted the Serene Sunflower stamp set and the Linen background. I like this combination of Groovy Guava, Old Olive, So Saffron and River Rock – I may use it again.

The Inspiration Challenge used an E-card as the inspiration piece: Here is my take on the piece:

Inspiration Card

Another cool color combo of Soft Sky, Chocolate Chip, Summer Sun and Pumpkin Pie – this was a fun card to make.

For the Color Combination challenge, we were to use Kraft, white and Purely Pomegranate on a card. Here is my sample:

Pomegranate Kraft Card

The gift image is watercolored and the white strip of cardstock is sewn with a zigzag stitch and white thread.

I was so inspired by the Sketch Challenge this week, I did two cards with two very different feels:


This card uses unmounted stamps from Stampers Anonymous (my first time using them) and paper from Basic Grey. I really like the way the wings combine with the sentiment and I also was happy with the way the ribbon wrapped around the buckle.

Acrylic Stamps

This card was made using some acrylic stamps from Autumn Leaves that I picked up from a Target clearance bin the other day for $1.63! It did take me quite a few tries to get the image to stamp nicely (I’m going to have a hard time converting from rubber stamps to acrylic), but I thought the flowers are fresh and cute. The main image is watercolored and the background paper is from My Mind’s Eye.

For our Ways To Use It Challenge, we were asked to use unique brads. I made this simple card:

Brad card

I had some brads and paper from K & Company/ Amy Butler that I purchased at the Creating Keepsakes convention this summer – I’ve wanted to use them and this was a great challenge for these supplies! I just punched out three circles from various patterned papers and inserted the brads through the middle and added a white circle with a stamped sentiment – very easy!

Finally, we the Limited Supply Challenge was to make a ‘Pick Me Up’ card using a heart image, no more than three stamps and limited layers with one embellishment. Here’s my card:

Limited Supply Heart card

I decided to use the new Time Well Spent stamp set that all Stampin’ Up! demonstrators received for free last week – thanks, SU! I used the wax resist technique for my main image. For this technique, I stamped the sentiment on glossy cardstock with regular classic black ink and then highlighted the words and flowers with a white crayon. I brayered Certainly Celery ink on top of the whole thing and then wiped the ink from the parts colored with the crayon. I also went back and added some color to the flowers and adhered the matted piece onto the bottom fold of the card.

I also stamped a large flower on the entire card (hard to see in the picture) as well as a small flower on the celery strip of cardstock. I then added a chipboard heart inked with Ruby Red ink as a closure for the card.



Whew! Now that we’re caught up on last week’s challenges, I’ll show you what else I’ve been up to…

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