Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sending Hugs & Prayers

When I had to sit down this morning and put a couple of sympathy cards together quickly, I was really happy that I had some extra background panels from yesterday's "experiments".   Honestly, this is the first time that I have made a sympathy card.  I try to keep a few on hand from the store because it is something you will need sooner or later.  But as the father of one of my best friends passed away, I wanted something that I had made to send to her and another one for her mom.  I didn't photograph the latter, but this card was super fast to pull together.

I cut the background panel that I had created yesterday with the Hero Arts Leafy Vines and SU! Garden Green Ink using my largest Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle.  Next I stamped my sentiment on a scrap piece of the watercolor card stock because I knew it would match the white in the background panel.  I used WOW! Rich Pale Gold Embossing Powder to heat emboss this sentiment from Hero Arts & Simon Says Stamp Exclusive Prayers Stamp and Die Cut Set.  I cut the ribbon strip to about the size I wanted it and used a SU! punch that I have to cut the banner ends.  You lose about an inch when you use that punch so I cut that end first. Then I laid that strip into the stitched rectangle die, lining up the stitching lines and cut the other end of the banner so it would line up with my card base.  I just used a bit of masking tape to hold it in place while I cut it.  I mounted the background panel on an ivory top folding card base.

This was super easy to do and made for a nice, classic looking card keeping with my overall style of classic and elegant.  Thanks for stopping by today on my super quick post. Enjoy your Sunday!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sending Birthday Wishes

In my wish to make a birthday card for one of my sisters-in-law that is different from anything I've made her before, I decided to try iron off embossing; a technique that I saw Jennifer McGuire do quite a few months back.  Now, I don't know about you but I only get my iron out if I need to iron something and that only happens about once a year, but I made a special effort to try this technique today because I have quite a few background stamps. Not all background stamps are suited to this technique, but I found a few that I think worked very well here.

I stamped each background using Versamark Ink and Simon Says Stamp Fine Detail Clear Embossing Powder.  I really like the Simon Says Stamp brand as it's a larger sized container than some other brands and melts very well.   I had previously cut my Canson XL 140# Cold Pressed Water Color Paper into 4.25 x 5.5 inch panels.  This size is perfect and allows me to die cut them with a scalloped rectangle or stitched rectangle with a minimum of waste. You need a stamp that has quite a bit of surface area for this technique to work well. Two of the background stamps I used here are Just Rite Cling Stamps and one is the Leafy Vines from Hero Arts that I used for my Grandson's Wedding Card. For all of the backgrounds I used a Ranger Mini Ink Blending Tool to apply one or two colors of ink in a circular motion for a smooth blend although I don't think it really matters since I'm spritzing them with a solution of water and Perfect Pearls to get the softly colored backgrounds you see in these photos.

I love the magic that comes from doing techniques and watercolor is my very favorite technique of all.  Heat Embossing is my 2nd favorite and this technique combines both of them which is a win-win for me. Most of the ink pads that I have are Stampin' Up! and that is what I used for these backgrounds.   The colors I used are Pacific Point, Garden Green, Blackberry Bliss, Melon Mambo, Calypso Coral, Daffodil Delight and Smoky Slate.

Once I had inked up these panels, I spritzed several short bursts (7-8) of the Perfect Pearls Pigment Powder & Water solution.  I did them one at a time rather than all at once so I could (sort of) control the outcome (a.k.a. sopping up any excess water with a tissue).  As each of the panels dried, I took them to my ironing board with a sheet of plain printer paper.  I turned my iron on to a no steam, high setting for cotton.  Laying the printer paper on the top so that it can absorb the embossing powder that you are ironing off, I went over each panel with a clean sheet of paper.  After I went over it very well one time I would fold the paper in half and do it again just in case there was any area that I had missed. This results in a clean, matte finish design wherever there was previously embossing powder.   The soft watercolor background is a lovely look and not one that could be easily obtained with regular white card stock.   It would be hard to get enough water on it to really blend the ink.

After I was done experimenting, I used the Mama Elephant Birthday Wishes Stamp Set to stamp my greeting on some more watercolor paper that I had heavily ink blended with the same inks as I used for my background panel.  I couldn't decide between WOW! Rich Pale Gold or WOW! Metallic Gold Sparkle Embossing Powder so I stamped one of each to choose.  As you see, Gold Sparkle won out.  I'll save the other one for a different card.  I also inked up a strip of watercolor card stock in the Blackberry Bliss ink and put WOW! Clear Sparkle Embossing Powder on it to be able to cut the darker hearts for my card.  After I cut them out, I put some Wink of Stella Clear Shimmer on them and topped them with Glossy Accents once my card was assembled.  I used the Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangles to cut my water color panel.  I used a slightly smaller one for the "Happy Birthday" panel repositioning it once after my initial cut to get a different size than intended.  My square die wasn't quite large enough so I just altered the rectangle die by lining up the stitch marks and cutting it again where I needed it to be.  I hope that makes sense! Be sure to use a bit of Post-It or masking tape to keep the die in position while cutting that second time through.

As I always do when I am experimenting with a new (to me) technique, I'll save these other backgrounds and the sentiment for another time when I need to pull a card together quickly. Single layer cards go through the mail easily even though the hearts have a bit of dimension on them and my goal is for it to always get there!

I will be entering this card in the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge which is "anything goes".  Thanks for stopping by today!  I'll be back with another project very soon.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

So Kind

Today's card is a complete and total CASE from Jennifer McGuire all the way down to the stamp set and die cuts she used here.  I even used the same kind of water color that she used but I didn't have any little helpers to make backgrounds for me so I created a couple of my own.  I was able to cut 2 hearts out of each background that I colored using my Kuretake Gansai Tambi Water Color Set. One background I did completely at random and the other I intentionally made the ombre stripes.  Jennifer used her set of Finetec Mica Watercolors for the gold shimmer but mine have been back ordered and only shipped today, so I dipped my wet paint brush into my Perfect Gold Perfect Pearls and used that with a liberal amount of water for my top layer.  The backgrounds have a beautiful shimmer to them.

Since I knew that I would be painting these backgrounds in their entirety, I used my "not quite as white" Canson XL 140# Watercolor Paper for these.  I pulled some of the little pans of color out of my set and misted them with a short spritz of water to get the color moving a little bit.  The bottles I have came from Stampin' Up but this one by Judikins would work great as it has a very fine mist.

After I cut out my hearts using the Memory Box Stitched Heart Layers in the largest size, I lined up my coordinating die to go across the heart leaving the word, a top piece and a bottom piece.  Using a temporary adhesive, I put all three pieces down on my card front to line it up, then pulled out the word so that I could stamp the word in exactly the right spot.  Once I stamped that in Versamark, I pulled the top and bottom pieces off temporarily so that I could heat emboss it using Metallic Gold Sparkle Embossing Powder from WOW!  I didn't want any stray bits of embossing powder to stick to the heart parts until I was finished melting the powder on my sentiment. WOW! treats their embossing powders to be static free, but it's always a good idea to use a powder tool or embossing buddy first. WOW! is available in 136 different styles and colors from Simon Says Stamp, so there is something for everyone. Next, I adhered the top and bottom of the hearts back into place using a permanent adhesive.

This "Being Classy" stamp set is from a newer stamp company, Concord & 9th. The coordinating dies cut the outline only so this is why it works for this technique.  There are several words included in the set to make multiple greetings that are thankful or encouraging.  I think a thorough review of all my coordinating sets is in order to determine what other cards are possible using this same technique.  One of the best things about this card is that it is highly mailable.  There's no foam popping up the front panel that might get squished.  I seldom make a single layer card and this is easily the nicest one I have ever done.

The card bases are all made from Bazzill Marshmallow in a top folding A2 standard sized card. For the hearts, I swiped a piece of white card stock across my Versamark Ink Pad then sprinkled Metallic Gold Sparkle Embossing Powder on it to make an exact match. Using the Simon Says Stamp Mini Hearts Set die after I heat set that, I cut 3 rows of hearts for my 3 cards.  I'll keep the extras in a little container that I keep of spare parts.  I attached a few of the hearts randomly on each of my cards using Ranger Multi Medium Matte.  Just to keep everything in place, I laid a large acrylic block on top for a couple of minutes.

One of the words with a matching die for this set is "courageous" and I plan to make a card for each of my friends who are currently battling Breast Cancer. Thanks for stopping by today.  Please feel free to leave me any questions or comments.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

A Note of Thanks With a Bit of Kindness Thrown In

Beautiful Day by Altenew
Today's card uses a few new things I've gotten recently.  The stamp set is from Altenew and is called "Beautiful Day".  I just love the outline image in this set that I can watercolor. It is actually a 4-part layering set, but I haven't tried it that way yet simply because I love to watercolor. This set was released just this month and I ordered it from Altenew the very first hour it was available for purchase on their website. I was sitting at my computer waiting for the appointed hour to arrive. Yes, you can make fun of me if you want, but hey, I know what I like.

One of the things that struck me when I first saw this set is that the flowers also look like Wild Roses and I will use it for that as well. This is a larger stamp set than most of mine set at 5 3/4 x 8 inches.  The large majority of my stamp sets are 4 x 6 inches.

There are several stamps included in this set including some floral branches and some sentiments that I will definitely use.  I've only recently figured out how to create a scene using masking for a realistic look, but this set has been pretty easy so far.

Acts of Kindness by Hero Arts
As a part of the Share Handmade Kindness campaign by Jennifer McGuire, Ink, Hero Arts designed the "Acts of Kindness" stamp set and is donating 25% of the profits to the Kind Campaign which is an international movement trying to end girl on girl bullying. Everyone could use a little more kindness in their life, don't you think?  I love all of these sentiments but especially the one that says, "throw kindness around like confetti".  I also love the little envelope and the hearts that you can add to your greeting.  What a great set for "Thank You" Cards as well.  I always sign my cards to friends with "sending hugs" so I really love that this sentiment is included in the set.

I also tried out a new embossing powder from WOW! in the color Platinum Sparkle.  The photo doesn't do a very good job of portraying how beautiful this embossing powder is so you will have to take my word for it.

For the floral image, I used Zig Kuretake Clean Color Real Brush Pens in Violet, Cobalt Blue and Deep Green for the leaves.  I cut the watercolor panel with the largest of the Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangles and adhered that to a piece of "Grape" card stock from Creative Memories using Ranger Multi Medium Matte. I attached that to a standard A2 top folding card base.   The Clean Color Real Brush Pens have some of the most vibrant and transparent colors you will ever see for watercolor. To finish up, I used Wink of Stella in clear on the flower and all of the leaves.  In this case, I am using this card to send a note of thanks to someone who loves both, flowers and watercolor. 

Thanks for stopping by today.  I will be back soon with another project to share with you.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Just For You

I have a super quick post today.  As I was perusing Pinterest the other day to get ideas for the gift tags I was to make, I came across a larger tag designed to hang on a bottle of wine.  I thought that was such a cute idea so I set out to make a few this morning.

I used all the same basics as I used on yesterday's post about gift tags such as double thickness of all the papers, etc.  I have these QuicKutz Label Dies from several years ago so I used the largest 2 sizes to cut my tags.  Since the ribbon would have a loop to slip over the neck of the wine bottle, it didn't matter that the labels didn't have a hole, but you could easily put one in using a hole punch, a silent setter or whatever method you have.  I just happen to like the little criss cross of the ribbon on the center of the label.  Simon Says Stamp has labels dies in a wide variety of styles and sizes.

I cut my favorite "Thanks" die from Mama Elephant using Bazzill Marshmallow 100# Card Stock.  I laid the die cut on my craft mat and inked it up with Versamark, then put Ranger Super Fine Detail Silver Embossing Powder all over it and heat set it.  I repeated that process two additional times but I didn't really notice the third time making much of a difference.  I like to do this to get a very three dimensional type of decorative element.  Silver embossing powder melts the smoothest and fastest of any embossing powder I have and I actually tried several including a new sparkle embossing powder from Tsukineko, Iridescent Sparkle, Diamond Sparkle and Opaque White.

This tag went together fairly quickly once I finished cutting all the pieces.  We all get those last minute invitations to dinner or a party during the holiday season and I thought it would be handy to have a few of these ready to go and slip over the neck of a wine bottle as a hostess gift.  I used a combination of Ranger Multi Medium Matte, Glue Dots and Foam Squares with ribbon I already had.  A few fun little sequins to make it feel festive and I was finished.

Black is always in style but you could make something similar in any colors you like.  Thanks for stopping by today!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Gift Tags

Jennifer McGuire, Ink's Share Handmade Kindness campaign continues this week. Over the past few days, I've been working on some gift tags that one of my sisters-in-law asked me to make for her to give her coworkers for Christmas. She knows I really enjoy making things. Not having made multiples of any tags for a few years, there were a few things that I thought I'd share as my learning experience.  Because these tags were all made with stuff from my stash, I'm not going to be linking the products I used here.

Since the intent of these tags is to actually put them on gifts at some point in time, I wanted to make sure that they were sturdy enough to survive that.  I needed all of the tags to be generic, so I sat and looked through pretty much every stamp set I have to find the stamps for each of them.  I didn't want any two styles to look too similar although the ribbon elements are mostly alike and I also didn't want greetings that were too personal.  So I really looked hard and with a critical eye to come up with these.  It was harder than you might imagine.  I have other generic greetings such as "Hello" or "Happy Hello", etc. but why would you need a gift tag for that?  Just sayin', *wink*.

I use a lot of solid color card stock and don't normally buy too many printed papers so that was one of the biggest challenges for me.  I pulled out every printed paper pack I have and was happy that I had something for each of the five ideas I came up with.  As you all know, printed paper tends not to be very thick so each tag is two layers thick with heavy 80# or higher card stock for the back layer.  I used Ranger Multi Medium Matte to glue them together, putting the back side of the die cuts together so that they would have the nicest possible finish front and back. I put the adhesive on one side, then matched it up with the other side.  Once I had them lined up I pressed gently all the way around with my bone folder.  I made sure to let the adhesive dry before attempting to put any ribbon through the hole.

A SU! Consultant that I know had made these ornament tags for a sideline.  I thought they were so beautiful and she shared how she had given them the two toned look.  I already had the coordinating set of stamps and dies which is probably what drew my eye initially.  I used Marina Mist and Pacific Point for my two tones.  You simply use a sponge or sponge dauber (what I used) to go over the center section in a darker ink before you stamp it.  This results in a beautiful color blend.  The matching dies have the little ornament topper and I cut mine with some silver metallic paper scraps.  I love this set and I had used it before on a previous post entitled, "Audrey Blue".

The ribbon I used for these is Lost Lagoon from Stampin' Up.  The little jewels are Bitty Sparkles from Close To My Heart.  To get the double layer on the ornaments, you have to fold your cardstock and cut through both layers with your die, making sure that the very top of the ornament is above the fold line so that it remains in one piece.  You can't use heavy cardstock for this.  Trust me on this because I tried!  It will not go through your die cutting machine.  I have several single thickness versions of this ornament because I stamped them on my Bazzill Marshmallow before I realized I couldn't cut the double thickness in my Cuttlebug.   I figured I might as well make little ornaments out of them so I have them saved for another day.

The rest of the tags are pretty straight forward designs with heat embossing.  I have lots of ribbon in my stash and it was nice to use some of it up again.  I founded a scrapbooking, border set making swap group in 2004 or 2005 so, and I had lots of ribbon from back then.  The group is no longer active, but we do stay in touch with each other as best we can considering were are all over the 4 corners of the United States.  I definitely need to sit down and sort through all of the ribbon.  I loaned it to somenone who just tore through it, so everything is all tangled up until I do that.

The burgundy/orange tags are made from Basic Grey Indian Summer Collection in "Russet" and stamped and heat embossed with a SU! Hostess set called "Nature's Wonders" that I got way back in 2002.  I heat embossed them with Ranger Ultra Fine Detail Gold Embossing Powder.  The "for you" sentiment came from the Clearly Besotted "Merci Beaucoup" Stamp Set.  You could also use the one in the Winnie & Walter "The Big, the Bold and You" set if that's the one you happen to have.  If you are coordinated, you could stamp the leafy image and the sentiment before you take the heat tool to it.  I am not that coordianted and did all the leaves and then all the sentiments.  *Ü*  I inked up all the edges using a Cat's Eye "Chianti" colored ink pad.

The "Happy Birthday" tags were made from a SU! Designer series paper pack, but I have no idea which one.  I was just happy to find this paper that had confetti looking dots all over it in my stash.  The greeting came from a Close To My Heart Set called "Joyful Birthday Occasions".  These edges were inked up with Tsukineko Delicata Golden Glitz Pigment Ink.

The previous two tags used Whisper White and Very Vanilla for the 2nd layers. For this next set, I used this silver and black metallic paper that I got at Hobby Lobby and used black cardstock for the 2nd layer. The black grosgrain and silver organza ribbon make for a very lush looking tag. The "just for you" sentiment came from an old Fiskars or Inkadinkado Stamp set.  I used Judikins Fine Detail Silver Embossing Powder and I mounted the greeting with Foam Squares. I inked the edges using Versafine Black Onyx this time.  The printed metallic paper has a white core that I didn't want to show.  However, the metallic parts of the paper resist the ink so you have to wipe it all down with a tissue before it gets anything else inky during drying time.  

This last tag used two coordinating American Crafts Papers that I had purchased at my LSS earlier this year.  Sadly, they closed their store this past August. The back layer is a matching blue & white horizontal stripe.  I used white and Lost Lagoon Ribbon for these tags with the silver cord.

I chose not to use eyelets in these tags.  I had silver eyelets, but not gold in this size.  I was careful to make sure I put adhesive around the holes when I was adhering them to each other and not to pull the ribbon tight enough to tear the paper tags.  The stamp set is another SU! Hostess Set called "Hello There" that I got sometime in the past few years.  It a cling mount set is the reason I know this. I'm definitely developing a preference for clear photo polymer stamps, but I'm still not that great at lining up multiple layering sets together.  I used a scallop punch from Stampin Up to punch out these sentiments and adhered them with foam squares as well.  I tried several different embossing powders for this group including white, pool party, clear glitter, sapphire blue and silver.

This post finishes up this 3 day project.  I know that the sister-in-law who asked me to make these tags for her co-workers will be tickled when she finds out I made one of each for her also.  She has a lot of appreciation for the handcrafted cards and tags I create.  She told me yesterday that she thinks they are beautiful and she wants to share that.  Gosh, that sure made my day!

I'll be linking this post up over on the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge Blog.  Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I hope you'll leave me a comment or ask any questions you might have.  Have a great evening!

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Artful Flowers

I sat down this morning to make a card for my sweet Mother-In-Law so that I can continue to "Share Handmade Kindness" in support of Jennifer McGuire Ink's November Challenge. Right now, I have a good supply of watercolor paper on hand and I've been wanting to play with some of my background stamps and my watercolor crayons.  I have the SU! Watercolor Wonder Crayons in Rich Regals, Soft Subtles, Brights and Neutrals.  These aren't available for purchase anymore, but if you want to try out something similar, try some Faber Castell Gelatos. They will be creamier than the water color crayons.

When I took the Watercolor for Cardmakers class, Shari Carroll did a class that used the Gelatos and I've been wanting to try my crayons since then.  I wish now that I had tried them sooner.  I love the watercolor backgrounds that can be achieved and created using background stamps.  I don't have too many of these -- only about five of them that I got at the Scrapbook Convention this year in August. Not all background stamps work for this type of background.  I have one that is stitched lines in leafy swirly patterns and that one did not give a very good effect. Any stamp that has a lot of surface area will work great.

I started out by laying my stamp with the stamping side face up on my work surface.  The particular stamps I have are all Cling Mount Red Rubber Stamps. Simon Says Stamp carries a wide variety of background stamps in their own brand and in many other brands -- 748 of them to be exact.  Next I took a Watercolor Crayon and colored directly on the stamp, trying to make sure that I had colored over every part of it. I have several small spritzer/misting bottles that came from Stampin' Up that I just love.  They are about twice as big as the Ranger Mini Mister and also a bit bigger around so easy for me to handle.  I keep various solutions such as Perfect Pearls mixed in water in mine and I have one that is just plain water.  I have a label maker and I always label whatever solution is in the bottle as I also have one that is Rubbing Alcohol so I wouldn't want to mix them. I misted all over the stamp with my water about a foot above the stamp and let that start activating.  I gave it a few seconds and then put a piece of watercolor card stock on top of that, then my largest acrylic block on top of everything.

My largest block is 5 x 7 as are my background stamps.  By laying my acrylic block on top, I am ensuring that the paper is in contact with the background stamp and the color over the entire surface of my paper.  The very light background in this card was achieved by a third generation stamp with paper to the stamp (vs. stamp to the paper).  The first and second generation stamps were also quite beautiful, but I had already water colored these flowers in anticipation of this card.  I felt that when I put the deeper concentration of color with the flowers it overwhelmed them.  However, I like all the variations of color I got using this technique so as I always do, I will save these experiments to use later. Also, when you lay the acrylic block on the top you don't have to worry about accidentally moving the paper and messing up your stamped image.

The hardest part of this technique for me, is letting everything dry so you can see what you really have.  As always, watercolor looks better once it is dry.  This third generation background didn't look so hot when it was still wet, but I love the end results.  It's there, but you might not notice it on first glance.

I've continued to explore the results of various watercolor mediums we studied in that class, so I had already "painted" my flowers from the Simon Says Stamp Watercolor Friendly Flowers for this card yesterday using Distress Markers, Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers and Water Color Pencils. I knew that I wanted an arrangement of the flowers in something, so I sat down with my dies and tried to "see" something different than the original purpose, that I could alter to make a container for the flowers.  The pot or container is actually a mixing bowl from some old QuicKutz Revolution Cooking/Baking Dies that I got several years ago.  I cut off approximately the top third of the die to make a shorter container using my Score Pal to put a crease in just the right spot at the base of the bowl and a wider one at the top like many crockery style bowls and containers I've seen in the past.   I water colored it using Pumice Stone and Gathered Twigs Distress Markers.  I put a foam square in the very center of the bowl then gently curved the outside edges with my bone folder so it would appear rounded and put glue dots on the underside all the way around the rest of it.

For the greeting, I stamped the "Thinking of You" sentiment on a 3/4 inch tall piece of watercolor card stock and white heat embossed it using Simon Says Stamp White Embossing Powder.  I used a SU! Pretty In Pink Ink Pad and just swiped it across the banner for some color.  After assembling my card I added a few sequins for just a touch of bling and mounted it all on an Ivory A2 Card Base.

I'll be linking this post over at the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge Blog in the "Thinking of You category".  Thanks so much for stopping by, today!  I hope you have a great evening and I'll be back soon with another project designed to "Share Handmade Kindness".

Friday, November 13, 2015

"N" is for No Peeking

This week over on the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog, the theme is "N'.  So I decided on "No Peeking" for this challenge.  I thought I'd do a couple more cards in the Classic/Vintage Style from class a few days ago.  Fun and Whimsical was the class for today and I am just not into that although I wouldn't mind a little bit of it.  I've tried this card in 3 different ways now.  These cards are not my favorites but my husband really likes them because of the vintage feel.  They are okay, but wouldn't be my first choice of Christmas Cards but I imagine I will used this technique again at some point in time, so that is always a winner for me.  How awesome would life get if we went to college for card making and paper crafting?  This class is as close to that as it gets and how great that I can attend class in my jammies?

The one really super thing about this style of cards is that they are super quick and easy.  The embossing takes longer than anything and since I got some different gold embossing powder, that isn't taking too much time to melt.  I do think I am going to invest in the small cube of Versamark because it would be much easier to maneuver that than the large pad I am currently using to finish the edges of my card.

The backgrounds that have been blended in on these photos were done using 2 different colors of brown ink.  The top one with the red, green and blue gifts was done using Chocolate Chip Ink from Stampin' Up. That's a color they don't make anymore and my ink pad is one of only two of the old style pads that are felt vs. high density foam.  I've replaced all the other ones.  While I prefer the more reddish brown of this color I don't think the embossing powder is a good match. This embossing powder is Ranger Ultra Fine Detail Gold.   I don't know if there is something out there that is a better match but I don't really think so. It is probably not a big deal at this point in time.

The next card was inked up using Tip Top Taupe and the ink blending works really well with the gold embossing powder in this case.  This is my husband's favorite of the three cards.  I used the same embossing powder on the edges and for the presents for both cards.  I used a combination of Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens and one Distress Marker in Festive Berries.  It is very hard to get a red that feels like a dark enough shade so my initial attempts with Zig's Carmine Red was unsuccessful. I so appreciate the color intensity of the Distress Markers. I haven't been disappointed in one of them yet.

One of the things I like to do that isn't really visible here it to use a little shimmer spray on an acrylic block to watercolor with.  It works like Wink of Stella, but I only have that in clear and I have pearl, gold and diamond shimmer sprays from Tattered Angels.  You can also mix a little Perfect Pearls in a spritz of water to get the pearl looks.  Again, it's very hard to capture in a photograph, but it is really pretty. Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist is one of the very few products that I can't buy at Simon Says Stamp but I guess when I get close to needing some of that again I might call and ask if there's a reason they don't carry it.  I pretty much find Simon Says Stamp to really be a one stop shop for me.

Thanks for stopping by!  I am on to my next project as soon as I figure out what that is.

Vintage Victorian

The card I'm worked on last night is from my Holiday Style Class that I'm in for the next couple of weeks.  They called this card Classic & Elegant, but I call it "Vintage".  Kristina Werner taught this class using a WPLUS9 Stamp Set that was released last month that has a beautiful kind of Victorian Christmas Tree in the set.  While my image does not use a tree, I like the "feel " of this set and it reminds me of a Victorian Christmas.  This stamp set is one that I have had for many years called "No Peeking" from Close To My Heart.  I am so excited to get to actually use it!  The card is done in all gold and brown tones with some of the white space actually left untouched although it doesn't seem white in this picture.  I think that is part of the technique.  It's so vintage and sepia toned and makes you think of days gone by.

I started with a 4.25 x 5.5 inch piece of white 100# card stock.  I stamped the packages first and then the greeting using Versamark with Ranger Ultra Fine Detail Gold Embossing Powder and heat set it.  I was envisioning some pearly white paper with chocolate colored bows so I got out my Kuretake Gansai Tambi Watercolors which has a white shimmery paint and a couple of different gold paints.  I didn't do any fancy painting here and I actually went over the ribbons using a Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pen in Mid Brown to darken it.

Using a Mini Ink Blending Tool I brought in (with a very light hand) some Crumb Cake Ink first, leaving the center clean and untouched.  Next I brought in some Soft Suede to darken up the outer edges.  I carefully trimmed 1/8th inch off the top and bottom of this panel so it would be slightly smaller than my card base.  For my final touch, I ran my Versamark Ink Pad all along the edges in the DTP method, poured the same Gold Embossing Powder on top of that and heat set it to give the edges a finished look before adhering that to a Chocolate Chip Card Base.  This is one of the simplest Christmas Cards I've made.  I wouldn't do many of them, but it's great to know I can do it quickly if I need to make some extras over what I have ready to go out by then.

I had initially thought I would make all my cards the same, but by now I know that many of them will be one-offs.  That's okay by me and I wont try to design a single card for everyone next year.  After all, I enjoy making cards so much that the more variety I have, the better I like it.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  I hope you enjoyed this card and that it inspires you to use stamps that you already have.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Merry & Bright

This tag will be entered into the 25 Days of Christmas Tags which is an annual event hosted by Tracey McNeely over at her blog "In My Creative Opinion".  Whenever I am in a class, I have several of those "parts & pieces" laying around from attempts at a certain technique or style.  This post is all about one of those but my attempt to reclaim this particular part was inspired by Tracey herself and her tag from Day 9.

I really messed this panel up the other day when I ran it through my die cutting machine after heat embossing the silver snowflakes and attaching them to my card front which today became my tag.  I put it in to cut the edges off of the snowflakes in alignment with the scalloped rectangle. So all of the silver embossing had lines and creases in it from all the lines and creases in my cutting pads.  I should have had a thin sheet of printer paper in there to prevent this from happening, but I don't normally cut after the fact, so I had forgotten this one little detail.

This panel was laying at the top of my trash can when I had a sudden thought that maybe, just maybe, I could use my heat tool to re-melt the embossing powder and salvage this panel that I liked so much.  BINGO!

The card stock was inked up with a Ranger Mini Ink Blending Tool using a bit of Thistle in the very center and Audrey Blue all over the rest of the tag.  I then stamped several of the Stamps from the Simon Says Stamp Lots of Snowflakes Stamp Set in Versamark and heat set them using Simon Says Stamp Ultra Fine Detail White Embossing Powder.  There are 17 stamps in this set. Next I cut the Simon Says Stamp Exclusive Snowflakes Eliza, Abby, Alexis and Kate in heavy white cardstock.  I inked up each of the snowflakes using Versamark and then put Fine Detail Silver Embossing Powder and heat set them and repeated that. This gives your die cuts so much dimension; it's really beautiful!  I attached them all to the Scalloped Stitched Rectangle from the Sunshine Layers Die.  Then I popped it back into the die and ran it through to cut off the overhanging edges. That is when I saw all the creases in the silver embossing.  So I tossed it in the trash and went on to the next card front.

I don't know what made me think to try reheating the embossing powder to see if it would melt again, but I had nothing to lose.  It worked like a charm and after seeing Tracey's cute tag from day 9, I had to make it into a tag even though I don't seem to have a cute little snowman like she does.  Ya'll know I love my snowflakes!

Since it wasn't in the shape of a tag and I don't have a tag this large, I slipped a My Favorite Things Stitched Oval over the top portion only and cut it to get the arch. I could have used a circle die but I came to the ovals in my binder first. Then I reheated it to smooth out all of the silver embossing.  I cut and stamped my greeting using the Mama Elephant "Merry" die with Silver Glitter Paper and two stamps from the Papertrey Ink Sparkle & Shine Stamp Set for the "& Bright" that are heat embossed in the same Simon brand Silver Embossing Powder on a strip of paper inked up with the same Audrey Blue Ink that I love and adore so much! It is such a beautiful color. I have a banner punch that I used to make the swallowtail end on the banner strip and adhered it to my tag with foam squares. A few silver sequins and Voila!   I used ribbon from my stash.

It's not captured very well but I'm really happy with all the texture and sparkle on this tag and will be uploading it over at the 25 Days of Christmas Tags on Tracey's Blog. Thanks so much for stopping by today!

White on White Elegance

In my Online Card Class today the style we were looking at is Classic & Elegant.  This would be my style all the way.  Cutesy is definitely not my style although I am hoping to learn a bit of that so I can send cute cards to my boys who love getting cards from their Mimi.

This particular class was taught by Debby Hughes of Lime Doodle Design.  I'm a huge fan of her work.  In fact, I pretty much follow the blogs of all of our teachers so far and many of the teachers that will be coming over the course of the class this month.  This card is very much modeled after the one that Debby taught us today.  I have different dies than she does, but it's the same type of style from her class. The poinsettia is a Memory Box Die that I got at the Tulsa Scrapbook Convention in August.  The other set of dies are Simon Says Stamp Exclusive Dies designed by Kristina Werner.

This card took some time but it was pretty simple as long as I didn't try to rush myself.  I had to think about how and with what dies I would try to mimic Debby's style with my own design.

I started with a 4.25 x 5.5 inch piece of Bazzill Marshmallow for the front panel that I treated with some mists of Tsukineko Clear Shimmer Spray.  White on white can be tricky and I wanted to give my card a little extra oomph!

This card was pretty simple once I had all the elements selected. I used a T-Ruler to make a pencil line about two thirds of the way down the card front and from side to side.  Then I carefully taped the poinsettia die onto that panel using the pencil line as my guide and ran it through my Cuttlebug Machine using my precision plate.  I was very careful when I did this because there are so many intricate pieces you can lose track of when you are taking the die cuts out of the die.  I kept the cutting sandwich together and carried it to my work area before taking the top cutting plate off and taking the pieces out.

Then I lined the same die up on a piece of gold glitter card stock and cut it again, keeping all the pieces inside again so I would not lose any of the pieces I was going to inlay.  While I was already cutting, I went ahead and cut the "Christmas Blessings" die for my greeting, being careful not to lose the "i's" from it.

To assemble my card, I made another pencil line on the card front to be my guide for lining up the die cut.  I attached the white cut piece along that line and adhered it with Ranger Multi Medium Matte.  Then I inlaid all of the pieces that I wanted to be gold using Multi Medium Matte again.  I accented with a few faceted gold enamel dots and ran my gold ink just along the edge of the front panel in a very narrow line to differentiate between the card base and the front panel.  I would have liked to die cut the panel but none of my dies are big enough to not cut the greeting off at the end.  So I rolled with it.

There's nothing out of the ordinary here but I think it made a gorgeous card and my husband really likes it as well.  I hope you enjoyed this card.  If you stop by, I'd love for you to comment!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pretty Purple Poinsettias

Today's post is not really a new technique, but I don't think I've shared it on here before.  And even if I have, a refresher is always a good thing.  I'm actually combining a few techniques from my class this week.

I started by masking off the top two thirds of my card with the same strip of Post-It Tape that I used for my homework for Monday's class. Using a Tim Holtz Mini Ink Blending Tool, I started inking up the bottom portion of my front panel using Simon Says Stamp Thistle Ink.  I really love that color a lot. It's a cross between pink and violet and it makes me happy to just see it.  It did take several layers to get the intensity and depth I wanted and honestly, I could have started with a darker colored ink but it's okay.  I had plenty of time and I was not in a rush.  Once I had my ink blended on the bottom portion, I sprayed a solution of Tsukineko Sheer Shimmer Spray just on the ink blended portion then set it aside and moved on to my die cutting.

I used the Spellbinders Layered Poinsettia Die and cut all of the layers plus one leaf using my 100# Bazzill Marshmallow Card Stock.  I used my metal shim so that I would not need to emboss in a separate step.  I took the same ink blending tool and started by putting it down in the very center of each layer of the flower and turned back and forth right on the center very gently so I wouldn't bend up the layer.  For this I used SU! Blackberry Bliss Ink. It is a much deeper color and took seconds to do.  This left my flower layers still white on about the outer half so I came in with Simon Says Stamp Hollyhock Ink to finish up the ink blending. I did get out my already inked "pink" foam for this to keep the color pretty pure. I finished inking the outer half of the layers then took the purple blending tool and inked the edges of each petal. This gave me great shadow and depth.  Since the embossing makes hills and valleys on the paper and the hills are the highest points, it deposits more ink on those areas than on the valleys.  I set those aside to dry.  I've learned the hard way that even though the ink may feel dry to the touch, it really needs time to become completely dry.  With the dye based inks, the color smooths out while it is drying even though it may seem blotchy when you first stamp it. That's just the nature of the dye ink vs. a pigment ink that will stay pretty true to however it looks when you stamp it.  I started with Simon Says Stamp Beanstalk Green Ink for the leaf but eventually moved to SU! Garden Green to get the deeper shade.

I had recently (in the last 6 months or so) taken two Stampin' Around Wheels off their round little wheels and remounted them on some cling foam. The one I used here has always been a favorite.  It's 7 inches long all stretched out so it could also be used on larger cards  I have a  2 x 12 inch acrylic block that I got several years ago from Close To My Heart but Lawn Fawn has one here that is 2 x 8 inches.  Using Versamark Ink, I stamped that just beneath my line where the ink blending is and heat embossed it using Simon Says Stamp Silver Embossing Powder.

For the sentiment, I die cut that in Bazzill Marshmallow Card Stock then inked it up with Versamark.  I sprinkled the same Silver Embossing Powder all over it and heat set it then repeated that same process to get a double layer of the silver powder melted onto my die cut.  It gives the die cuts so much dimension.  I hadn't done that in so long I had forgotten how much I like it!  *Ü*

Using Ranger Multi Medium Matte I adhered the die cut sentiment along the diagonal line on the front panel.  Then I assembled the poinsettia layers just in the center with Multi Medium Matte and topped it with a Silver Sequin using a mix from Stampin' Up that I got a few years ago.  I attached that to the card front with one foam square in the center of the flower and one under the leaf.   I used the same SU! sequin mix for the small and large silver sequins and a Sparkling Clear Sequin in the 10mm size from Pretty Pink Posh for the embellishment on the right hand side of the front panel.

I tucked in the leaf, then trimmed the left side of the panel to fit on my 4.25 by 5.5 inch top folding Blackberry Bliss card base with a border of color on each side and none on the top or bottom. I cut a piece of fun foam slightly smaller than the card base, adhered that to the panel and used Multi Medium Matte to attach the finished panel to the card base.

The Share Handmade Kindness Campaign continues for the whole month of November in addition to my Online Card Class so I'll be back soon.  Please leave a comment for me if you stop by and thanks for visiting!

Monday, November 9, 2015

Online Card Class - Holiday Style

You all probably remember a couple of months ago when I took an online class called "Watercolor For Card Makers".  For the next few weeks I am taking another fantastic class through Online Card Classes called "Holiday Style" and it will feature many different styles of cards for the upcoming season. Today's card is "Clean and Simple" style.

I started by creating my card bases from 100# Bazzill Marshmallow.  These are 4.25 x 5.5 top folding cards.  Next I used a piece of 2 inch wide Post-It Tape to create a diagonal mask on the lower third of my card front.  I used the same piece for each of the cards and I will use it many more times and wear all the "sticky" out before I throw it away.  You could also use a couple of Post-It Notes if that is what you have.  Additionally I used a piece of painters tape on the top end to keep the panel in place on my craft mat while I did my ink blending with a Tim Holtz Mini Ink Blending Tool.  I don't use a clean pad for each color of ink that I have, only one for each color family; blues, reds, greens, etc.  My only exception might be for any pastel varieties of color but so far, I haven't needed one for pastels.  I used Simon Says Stamp Ink in Lipstick Red, with Stampin' Up's Rich Razzleberry and Pacific Point inks.  After I colored that portion of my card I misted each with my solution of Perfect Pearls and water that I keep in a little spritzer bottle, but before removing the mask.  You can buy little mister bottles at Simon Says Stamp or use one that is empty from another kind or type of product or you can buy Perfect Pearls Glimmer Spray ready to go.

I created the diagonal lines by scoring that section of my card front at 1/2 inch increments all the way up.  You make the first line by scoring on the top of the card.  Then flip it over, make the score line again in the same place and now the line will be raised on the front.  All of the additional lines will also appear raised on the front.  I couldn't have done this very well without my Score Pal.  Simon Says Stamp has the Martha Stewart Mini Score Board if you need one.  I've had my Score Pal for several years and it is actually a "Score Pal" brand.  If I didn't already have one, I would buy the mini because it takes a lot less space to store it.

Once you complete the score lines, you can stamp your sentiment on the front and finish it in whichever method you would like.  I used Simon Says Stamp Super Fine Detail Gold Embossing Powder and Fine Detail Silver Embossing Powder with the Simon Says Stamp Big Scripty Greetings - Holiday Stamp Set for both.  You could use a die cut if you wanted and I have a Christmas Blessings die cut that I plan to use in the future.

I loved the simplicity of this card design but I had to add my own little spin on it of course.  For the red card, I stayed true to the design of the class, but for the other two I put a strip of glitter paper that I pulled from my scraps along the diagonal.  You could use whatever width you want.  I actually would have like a skinny little strip on the red card, but I had already adhered everything by the time I thought of it.  I sort my paper scraps by color family so I usually know what I have in my scraps and I didn't need much for this card.  *Ü*

I cut the Poinsettia Leaves and Berries from the same Bazzill Marshmallow Card Stock.  The dies are from Spellbinders so they cut and emboss in one pass if you use the metal shim and/or the embossing pad.  I also did ink blending on the leaves in Simon Says Stamp Beanstalk Green and Stampin' Up Garden Green. For the berries, I used the Lipstick Red with several layers of color and Blackberry Bliss for the purple ones. Once I had everything adhered, I went over the berries with my Wink of Stella Clear Glitter Bush Pen and then put a coat of Glossy Accents on the top of each berry for the final touch. 

These were super fast cards to put together and I didn't need a lot of different papers or special supplies.  I already had everything I needed to make this "Clean and Simple" card.  I really love the look of the blended inks using the Tim Holtz Mini Ink Blending Tool.   The more layers you add deepens the intensity of the color. While I like the shimmer from the Perfect Pearls Solution, I also really like the card well enough not to use it on other cards I might make using this design. 

Thanks for stopping by!  Feel free to leave a comment if you like because I read every single one.  

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Watercolor Pens/Markers Comparison

Today's project is probably my most ambitious one to date and uses masking to create a scene.  I went back to Jennifer McGuire, Ink and found a video where she used masking and I watched it about 4 times and studied it very carefully.

Today's card uses the Stampendous Bird and Blossom stamp set.  Stampendous has really nice cling stamps and their dies also cut very close to the edge which I like.  I started out by stamping each of the images in the set that had matching dies on plain white 80# card stock and then I die cut those as my masks.  I have some temporary adhesive that I can put on the back of these die cuts so I can stamp over them easily but they remove without leaving a residue.  Very occasionally I will get a bit of residue on my panel but it rubs right off with your finger.  The kind I'm using is AdTech and I got it at Hobby Lobby.  Any kind of temporary adhesive would work just fine.

In the process of masking, you are covering your image with the mask so that you can stamp the image that would appear it front of or behind it.  Whatever is covered with the mask will not show up in the final image.  For example, the nearer blooms would be bigger and appear closer than those in the distance.  By masking off part of the larger image when you are stamping you create some distance and appropriate perspective in the field.  I'm not very good at this, but it's something that will come with a little more practice I think.  For my first time trying it today, I'm pretty happy with the results, but I had to stamp with Versamark, then heat set and do that with each part of the image one at a time.  It did not work for me to stamp everything and then try to heat set.  So with each layer I used my heat tool to melt the embossing powder.  I'm definitely going to have to try it again to see if there is a better way.  I save my masks in the same package with my stamps and coordinating dies and use them over and over again, so it's not a big deal to try it again another day.

One of the things I most like about water coloring with the Tim Holtz Distress Markers is the transparency of color.  But I have a few issues with the markers themselves because I am so hard on them.  It's definitely me and not the markers, I promise!  I've been wanting to try the Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens because, as the name indicates, they have a real brush tip with bristles and everything, LOL!  I started out trying to use these on heavy white card stock, but from the first stroke of color that was a no go.  I quickly tossed that attempt into the trash can and got out my watercolor paper.  For the water color paper, I tried both; stamping with my lightest color of pink ink (Pink Pirouette) and also heat embossing using Ranger Super Fine Detail Gold Embossing Powder. I could have used clear or even white embossing powder, but I'm finding that I really love the touch of elegance that the gold embossing powder gives.

One of the really awesome things about the Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens is that the tip is so very very fine that I could easily trace over the stamped line on the images and start pulling in color.  Initially when I thought about trying to get a few of these in colors I like to use for floral images, I went straight to my regular source, Simon Says Stamp.  Unfortunately, they've been sold out for a while now in the individual markers I wanted.  So, when I found a very reasonable price on Amazon that had several of the colors I was looking for, I went ahead and got a 36 set.  I used them all afternoon today and really the only colors I might still need are a teal, turquoise, rose, purple & wine. There are several browns and grays in addition to the more vibrant colors. In combination with the distress markers, I'm definitely good to go.  There are 80 colors available in the Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens, but you definitely don't need them all for card making.   I don't really color in other types of images like people, so for my needs, the 36 set is more than enough.

In this image you can see that I put a very fine line of color all around the outline of this image. This color is called "Pink" and it is every bit as vivid as the photo suggests.  There is another color called Light Pink but it is a very different tonal value than this color.

I wasn't sure I was going to like the pens initially, but after getting used to them today, I really like them.  Like the Distress Markers, they have true transparent color.  In fact, many of my Distress Markers will work nicely with the Clean Color Real Brush Pens.  Where the Clean Color Real Brush Pens excel is the vividness of the colors; they are so bright and bold.  You can also make a fine line or a bold line depending on how hard you press the top of the brush and I'm pretty certain you could sign your name if you wanted to.  Another really great feature is that if you want, you can put the brush to the wet paper for a bit more color without damaging the tip of the brush.  With a traditional marker, the brush tip will actually absorb some of the water and mess with your color and your "brush" tip.  You can also put the brush tip to your water brush or paintbrush to get a bit of color in any areas where you might be trying to get a softer color wash.  The third thing that is really great about the Real Brush Pens is that you can take them tip to tip of two different colors and it will not damage the tips.  So if you want to blend a blue and a green to get teal, you can touch the tips to each other without damaging either one. You can also scribble some color on to your craft sheet or acrylic block and use them that way.

When I am in the process of water coloring an image, I have a rhythm that I get into which is to hold the marker by the cap in my left hand and I pull the marker in and out of the cap as needed. I'm just adding a narrow line of color and then I pull it out with water.  Well, occasionally I whack the "brush" tip of the distress marker on it's cap so in the colors that I use a lot, my brush tips are kind of messed up.  I can still get the color out of them and I don't usually need a super fine line so it's been okay but I don't know how they will hold up in the long run. The Distress Markers are definitely more vintage colors, but I will continue to use both.  There are still times when I also want to use my Gansai Tambi traditional Japanese watercolors as well.  It truly depends on what I am working on.

Water Color Paper is an absolute must with any of these choices.  It allows for perfect blending and doesn't pill the way card stock does.  I tried both types of watercolor paper that I have which are Canson XL 140# and Bristol Smooth 100#.  I like both of these and I would probably select based on the color first. The Bristol is much whiter than the Canson XL and it is also super smooth.  I always use the smooth side of either type. I know many people like the Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor Paper, but I don't find it economical to purchase.  I need to know that it's okay to mess up a piece of watercolor paper so I buy the large pad with 30 sheets and cut those to 4 x 5.5 inch widths which gives me 180 pieces for less money than two packs of the Tim Holtz Distress Water Color Paper which has 20 sheets per pack.  That is simply my personal preference but everyone should use whichever one they like.  I really haven't decided one way or the other about the type of brush to use as I am still testing. I have a couple of the Silver Black Velvet Round Brushes that I'm needing to try because I've read and heard that they are very nice but for these projects I used a Kuretake Zig Water Brush. Zig has been around since 1902 and has brought us such innovations as Wink of Stella, Wink of Luna, and many more.  Their products are light fast and conform to ASTM Standards from the ACMI (Art & Creative Materials Institute).  I did find some information on their website which loosely translated means "Store water based inks in a horizontal position".  I ordered a container that will hold both the Distress Marker and the Clean Color Real Brush Pens in a horizontal position.

I feel that my floral images are pretty good for someone with zero art background.  As Jennifer McGuire says, no one will look at my cards and say, "Oh--she didn't do that right".

I hope you enjoyed this little comparison on water color markers/pens.  I used this image to make a rare for me 5 x 7 card.  If you stop by, please leave a comment and let me know you visited.  Have a great rest of the weekend everyone.