Saturday, May 13, 2017

Distressed Elegance

Sweet Blush Cardstock
Today's cards are some I made for the Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge #71, "Favorite Technique".  I would have to say Heat Embossing is my favorite technique and expands into all of the ways it can be used from simple to complex. I love to heat emboss with Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder which is my favorite because it's a warmer tone than regular gold embossing powders. The only part of heat embossing I haven't mastered is combining it with Masking. Those sticky little masks leave residue on your cardstock which embossing powder loves to cling to.  I have yet to get a clean image when attempting to combine these two things. If there's a trick here I am missing, be sure to leave me a comment and tell me what it is because I use heat embossing on almost every single card I make.  It's the look I love.  As long as you are consistent about using your powder tool, you'll get good results.

This card uses heat embossing in it's most simple form which is to stamp and heat emboss a sentiment. I often stamp and heat emboss generic greetings onto the little banners of black and white cardstock so they are ready to go. I send lots of just a note or thinking of you type cards so I can always use these types of greetings.

Sweet Blush Cardstock
For the rest of the card, what started as a make-over for something else became a cool new technique for my cards. My Sister-In-Law, Vickie, has a restored Victorian Era Farmhouse with a formal parlor and dining room. I'm telling you this recollection from memory (so I hope it's correct), but those areas of her house have some textured wallpaper that has had some kind of gold "rubbed" on it in this kind of distressed fashion. While the other project I was working on didn't really work out how I wanted it to, the packaging says it works on wood, metal, paper, etc. .... so you know I had to test it out on some cardstock.  I knew I wanted to try it with an embossing folder and this particular one reminds me of that wallpaper in Vickie's house. Once I had the gold rubbed on there, it reminded me of it even more and I loved the look.  So while this card is simple, I think it is also ultra elegant.

For this second technique I used today, this is how it started:  I have a small bronze Eiffel Tower that I use as a prop in most of my photos for social media such as Instagram and Facebook along with a small, fancy, little pair of scissors with Gold Handles. I am pretty neurotic, so it bugs me that that the gold on the Eiffel Tower and the gold on the scissors is not the same gold.  I went to my local Hobby Lobby in search of an inexpensive way to change this.  I wasn't sure what to try but I had a few things in mind.

This white cardstock was the first test I did for this technique. While it has too much product on it, you can see how opulent and shiny it is.  It's like gilding in a jar - incredible!

Way back in 1996, the company I worked for in Topeka, Kansas built a new national headquarters and my boss and I were in charge of that project. One of the big things for the board room in that building was that Gold Leaf was applied to the ceiling. There was tall scaffolding all the way up to about 2 feet from the ceiling. The workers laid on their backs, working with what was about a 4 inch square piece of gold leaf on some type of substrate that they applied to small sections of the ceiling at a time until the ceiling was completely covered in Gold Leaf.  It was tedious and took several days with two workers.  The end result was quite stunning.

Vintage Jadeite Cardstock
I knew that you could get Gold Leaf Sheets at Simon Says Stamp, but I also wanted to see what my other options were.  When I got to Hobby Lobby I went to the area where the spray paints are and figured that would be a good place to start.  To make a long story short, after asking the lady in charge of that department, I decided on a product called Metallic Lustre in the color Gold Rush. This is a wax based product that you rub on and keep rubbing until you get a gold shine. The effect is permanent. While I'm not too keen on how my Eiffel Tower looks now, it was such a cool product and it reminded me of Tonic Nuvo Embellishment Mouse. I think this product is pretty similar but I did order some of the embellishment mousse for a comparison and will let you know the results later.  Nuvo Embellishment Mousse is around $8.00 a jar and contains 2.2 oz. of product. Metallic Lustre contains 1 fluid oz. of product but the jars seem the same size based on photographs.  It costs $7.00 and I used a 40% off coupon for it.  I'll have to let you know later how size, quantity, texture and all of that compares.

Lovely Lady Cardstock
To apply this product, I wore a rubber glove. I buy a box of gloves at my local Sally Beauty Supply for messy jobs such as polishing shoes, hair color or any occasion such as this. I tried a soft cloth first but I didn't have as much control for applying the product and liked the rubber glove better.  As you apply this product, you just keep rubbing until it turns shiny.  It only took seconds for this to happen.

I did find that you have to be very light handed and careful when applying this to paper. It's is very easy to overdo how much product you are using.  There were a few pieces of cardstock I had to trash but I practiced on scraps to begin with so it was no big deal.  I liked so many of the ones I made, that I turned out about 10 cards really fast.  I was sending some cards to Vickie and another friend that had asked for some, so it was nice to include these in there as well.

I cut the background panels with the largest Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle Die and used gold foiled cardstock for the leafy branch (Spellbinder's Romantic Vines) and the Fancy Butterfly (Impression Obsession and my very favorite) butterfly to tie everything in with the background panel and the gold sentiment on the banner. It's hard to capture how pretty this is in photographs, but give it a try and you'll see what I mean.

I tried this technique with a variety of embossing folders but I found that the Victorian Styled Anna Griffin ones were the style I liked best.  The lines of the embossing are very delicate and that particular characteristic seems to work best with this technique. I have a couple of those but you'll just have to try what you have. I cannot stress the importance of a very light touch. Just the barest hint of product on the tip of your finger is all it takes. You can add more, but you cannot take away with this product. I also tried this with a Mini Ink Blending Tool, but there was still not enough control for the light application that's needed. I suggest trying with whatever embossing folders you have in your stash and getting a feel for which ones do and don't work.

I hope you enjoyed this technique and I will be sure to share more information on the Tonic Nuvo Embellishment Mousse as soon as I receive it and can compare the two products.  I was thinking before that those mousses were in the "nice to have" category and now I think I may need a few more colors sometime.

Thanks for sticking with me this long.  If you try this out, I'd love to hear your results! Your sweet comments continue to be an encouragement to me!

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