Sunday, October 30, 2011

The Joy of Christmas

I made up my mind I was going to work on Christmas cards today, even if I wasn't in the mood. I don't know why I'm not in the mood. I usually love making Christmas cards. This year--not so much. Probably has something to do with caring for aging parents, watching too much news, and balancing my checkbook. Yep, that'll do it every time. But once again, I digress. Sigh.

OK, back to making Christmas cards. So anyway,  I thought I'd see if I could come up with something fast. I bought this snowflake embossing folder at the end of the season last year, so it didn't see much action. I really like it, though, and who doesn't love embossed backgrounds? I mean, really!  So, OK, I can emboss a background with the snowflakes, but then what?

Well, if you were here for the Operation Write Home Blog Hop, I made a Christmas card that was white-on-white, and had a frame cut out with dies. (What? You missed it?  OK, check here, then come right back.  You don't want to hold up the rest of the group, do you? LOL)  I thought about doing something similar, but simpler. I was mindlessly thumbing through my label dies from Spellbinder, when this little guy jumped out--actually it did, it fell right out so, what the heck, I decided to use it!  I layered the label die with a small plain square die on white card stock, ran it through my trusty Big Shot and in seconds, had a neat-o frame.  After patting myself on the back, I realized I didn't have anything small enough to use as a focal point within the frame. Ack! What to do?

I don't know about you, but when I'm stuck, I just start thumbing through my goodies. This time, I stumbled upon this small holly leaf and sentiment. Eureka, just what I needed! So I stamped the leaf in green, added red Stickles for the berries, and stamped the "joy" in Versafine Onyx Black. (Love that ink for anything I want to have a clear, crisp image.) Then I just layered it to the snowflake embossed background, and layered again to a white card base!   Yeah, another Christmas card for the ol' stash!

Thanks for stopping by today. Now go thumb through some of your goodies and see what little treasurers you come up with. It's fun!Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 28, 2011

Adventures with an Edge Die

I've been meaning to try using this edge die on a card base, but somehow I never remember to do it before I'm too far into a design. For you younger friends, before you snicker, remember you'll be old and forgetful one day, too!

Anyway, I wanted to make a Miss You card for Operation Write Home using this Floral Fusion stamp from PaperTrey.  Since there's a die that matches the stamp, I began digging through my dies and lo and behold--there's that edge die I've been meaning to try.  Well now, let's just give it a try, I thought.  So I placed the die on my card base, cranked it through my Big Shot, and voila--a fancy shmancy bottom edge just like that! Very cool, actually. Don't know why it's taken me so long to try this--now darn it you young whippersnappers, quite your giggling!

OK, back to the card, I stamped the flowers in Fresh Snow onto citrus colored card stock scraps and cut them out with the matching die. Then I stamped the leaves/stems on the card base, adhered the flowers (the center one is popped up on dimensionals), and stamped the sentiment.  Using a couple of Martha Stewart punches, I punched the solid butterfly from a scrap of orange paper, then punched the lacy butterfly in green  and layered it on top. A little strip of green card stock, a yellow gingham ribbon and my card was starting to take shape. It still felt a little naked though,  so I added a few dots of pearl with a Viva pen. Better--but still not enough.  Hmmmm, well no respecting butterfly zooms about without a proper "zoom tail", so I added a bit of black pen work and solved that problem.  Still a little unfinished feeling.  As a final step, I decided to add more black pen stitches around the edge of the whole lot.  OK, now it felt dressed!

Actually, though I really like the edge effect, I think I'd avoid edging the back of the card like I did here. The card doesn't stand up when it's opened, which might (or maybe not) be a problem. I had to prop it up to photograph it. But hey, it was my first time after all!  So, get those edgers, border punches, or whatever else you've been meaning to try, out of the drawer and given 'em a try!  You can have an adventure too, and never even have to leave home! How cool's that? Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Art Impressions Thinking of You

As are most of my cards, this one is for Operation Write Home. I often think about the children of our deployed service men and women, and imagine how hard it must be to have their mom or dad gone for months or years and not really understanding why. This little guy made me think about that yet again and inspired this card.

I don't typically do scenics, not that I don't like them, but I don't feel I can do them justice. But this stamp from the Front & Back line at Art Impressions just spoke to me and I had to give it a try.  After stamping the little fella, I colored him with Copics, then cut him out. I then stamped the fence on white card stock and colored it with Copics too.

It seemed like the little guy should be looking at something, so I found a tree stamp from PaperTrey's Through the Trees, and stamped it behind the fence (after masking off the fence ).  Then on a whim I decided to sponge the sky and the grass. A few grass sprigs were stamped for good measure.  Then I popped the boy up on dimensionals, matted the scene with chocolate card stock and adhered it to a yellow card base.

The sentiment was stamped on a piece of ivory stock in chocolate, then I cut the flag end with the edge of a square punch and added it to the scene with dimensionals too.

I hope it captures the heart of some deployed mom or dad who wants to let their guy know they think of him often. And I hope they let him know he's a little hero too.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Rustic Christmas

I'm a big fan of bling and sparkle for Christmas cards, so these cards were a challenge I made to myself to try to do something a little less "bling-y" (that's a real word, I'm sure!)
I started by stamping the branches in various shades of green on a piece of cream card stock. Then I sponged on some Spiced Marmalade, Mustard and a bit of Rusty Hinge distress ink.  Quite a departure from what I normally think of as "Christmas colors." The sentiments were stamped in Chocolate Brown.

For the Joy to the World card, I tied on a piece of gold cording, then matted it in Chocolate Brown and mounted it on an Avocado card base.

For the Peace & Happiness card, I added a small gold snowflake brad, added some piercing, matted it with Terracotta Tile, then mounted it on a Kraft base.

Both cards were lined with cream cardstock that I'd stamped with more branches, and sponged slightly.

OK, I know I didn't quite make the challenge of no bling with the gold cording and snowflake, but I do think the cards have an interesting rustic feel nonetheless. My Mr. Wonderful commented that he kind of liked the fact they weren't in the usual Christmas colors. Even though they are quite different from what I normally think of for Christmas cards, I still think they work for the holidays. What do you think?  Do you ever stray away from traditional Christmas colors for your cards? If not, go give it a try! (And if you want to use a little bling, I'll never tell.)

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Elegant Christmas

Hi friends! Today's entry is a fairly simple card that I've been planning in my head ever since I picked up this silver cardstock from PaperTrey.

Sticking to my clean and simple kick of late, I was thinking silver embossing on the silver cardstock might be kind of interesting.  I really like this sentiment and the scroll (from PaperTrey) and simply stamped them in VersaMark, embossed with silver and added a few blue gems. I then matted with Enchanted Evening cardstock and popped the lot onto a silver cardstock base. It's unfortunate the sparkly goodness is so hard to capture in a picture. In real life it's quite pretty. Even my Mr. Wonderful liked it! High praise indeed.  Or, maybe he was just hungry and figured that would get him dinner sooner!  LOL

Go try something simple. You might just suprise yourself! Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Punched Flower Thank You

Have you noticed the card making world seems to be moving toward simpler, cleaner designs?  I'm kind of liking that. Sometimes the more elaborate, multi-layered beauties just seem like--well, too much.  That doesn't mean I don't like to use patterned paper, and lots of layers, and mega embellishments. But sometimes it's just refreshing to make something simple. Besides, some of those bulky, multi-layered cards can cost a fortune to mail and who knows if they arrive at their destination as pristine as when you mailed them, even if you pack them in bubble envies. I can just see the recipient opening a card and thinking, "hmmm, wonder what this was supposed to be?" Know what I mean?

Anyway, here's a little thank you that's clean and simple, and kind of fun. I used a flower die to cut out the flower shape from a piece of white card stock slightly smaller than the card base, then stamped the corresponding flower on the actual card base. After stamping the stems, I poked two tiny holes next to one of them and tied on baker's twine. Then it was just a matter of stamping the sentiment and mounting the die cut layer with dimensionals. Easy peasy.

Ok, that's it for now.  It's your turn to get inky.
By the way, all the supplies used here are from PaperTrey, except the twine.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Thanks Just Not Enough

Posted by PicasaOk, I think I need a break from these blasted thank you's. This one is pretty self-explanatory--a bit of dotted designer paper, a label for the sentiment, stamped and colored with Copics, some faux stitching and a piece of ribbon. Quick and simple.  Everything but the ribbon is from PaperTrey.

My one wish?  That I could get the darn lighting better for my pictures! The greens look really off, but they do match in real life. How that happens is a total mystery. Must be little gremlins in the camera--yeah, that's the ticket!  Ha!  No wonder the pro's use those ginormous lamps for their photo shoots!

Thanks for stopping by. Go do something creative, and if you know how to take decent indoor pictures in crummy light, please leave me a comment! Of course, even if you don't, comments are always welcome. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Embossed Thank You

Just another thank you for the Mr. Wonderful to send. This one uses an older stamp from Magenta (I think) that I embossed in gold, then colored with ink and a waterbrush. I dry embossed a piece of rose cardstock, matted it with a piece of scarlet jewel, then swiped white ink over the edges to highlight the embossing. I added an embossed a strip of scarlet jewel, matted in white and attached the sentiment label that had been inked while still in the die (Spellbinders). A bit of  green satin, and a few crystals and another card down.

Ahh, how many more did he say he needed?  Yikes, better get busy.  Sure would help if I could make more than one of a card.  Naw, that would be boring....
 Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 14, 2011

Make Your Own Designer Paper

I often find myself studying designs I see in papers or elsewhere and trying to figure if I can duplicate it using stamps and supplies I have. This card is an example of such an attempt. The original inspiration piece was from some storage pieces at Target, and while I didn't buy them, I did "borrow" from them. Uh oh, hope that's not a crime--design snitching or something? LOL  Anyway, here's what I did.

Using a Spring Moss piece, I stamped the large daisy-like flower using matching ink, then filled in the center using Fresh Snow ink. The small flowers were stamped in Aqua Mist, and the centers filled in with white pigment pen. The die cut label was stamped with leaves in Spring Moss, and the flowers were added using the Aqua Mist again, then the centers were filled with pearl pen. The butterfly and label for the sentiment were cut from Aqua Mist cardstock, and the butterfly was stamped with the small flowers in the same color. I also add a bit more of the pearl pen to the butterfly's body. After stamping the sentiment and embossing in white--love that sharp crisp look of white embossing--I added a couple of brads and ta da! Another card for the stash.

So, are you inspired by some pattern or design? Try recreating it with your supplies (come on, you know you have a ton of them) and see what you can come up with. It's fun, it's creative, it's cheaper than buying more paper! (Wink, wink)  Go get creative. Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Water Colored Thank You

Hope you're having a good day. It's been raining and windy all day here, but that did help me get some time in the craft room so I guess it can't all be bad. 

I needed to make some thank you cards for Mr. Wonderful and spent all day trying to come up with a decent idea. This one started out with the stamped and embossed image that I colored with water colors. I thought I'd play up the turquoise, so I searched my stash and found the striped paper that has the same colors a the image. (By the way, the foliage in the image looks weird, but it really does match the bow.)  I felt the turquoise cardstock needed a little something. A dotted embossing folder took care of that. Then to hide the seam, I cut a scalloped border. The sentiment was stamped on a piece of cardstock and cut out with a Half & Half die from PTI. It seemed a little to turquoise, so I added the green dotted ribbon. I lined the inside and added bits of the striped paper for contrast. 
I don't know--something's still missing. But you know, sometimes you can spend too much time analyzing. Sometimes you just have to move on. So I am.

Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sending Smiles

I know a lot of you have stashes of papers and who-knows-what-else laying around and it's a challenge sometimes to get these supplies used.  Me too!  So today's card was an attempt to use some DP that I've had for quite some time--BasicGrey's Lilykate. I really love this paper, and I'm not sure they still make it, so I've been hording it. Like what--I'll never find another paper I love as much? Unlikely, in fact I've got my eye on a number of new releases--I know, fickle, huh?

So, anyway, I took a deep breath, started trimming up a piece of my fav from the collection, and you know what? Using it on a card is a lot more fun than keeping it on the shelf!

Since I was on a roll with things I love, I dug out my new PTI Picket Fence die, and cut out the cute little fence. Then to add a bit more dimension, I die cut a scalloped label in white, stamped the flowers and stems, then die cut a blossom from blue cardstock and stamped it with its matching stamp. A button tied with twine was adhered with a pop dot, then the whole thing was adhered to the fence.

Using a piece of Lilykate that I'd adhered to white cardstock (to give it a little more stability), I stamped the butterfly then trimmed it out with my micro-snips.  Finally I added a few black pearls as "nails" in the fence and a center in a flower, and added black faux stiches around the edge. I matted everything on a piece of white cardstock, then to a PTI Lemon Tart card base. 
Ahhhh, much prettier than just sitting on a shelf, don't you think?

Supplies used:
Cardstock: Papertrey white, Lemon Tart, Spring Rain
DP: BasicGrey Lilykate
Stamps: Papertrey Floral Fusion 6, Sending You (sentiment); Magenta butterfly
Ink: Papertrey Enchanted Evening; VersaFine Onxyblack
Dies: Papertrey Picket Fence, Limitless Layers, Floral Fusion 6
Embellishments: button, twine, black pearls
Posted by Picasa

Friday, October 7, 2011

Wildflower Garden

Do you ever find yourself returning to the same stamp over and over?  I absolutely love this image from the Wildflower Garden set, and I can't seem to resist using it often. Perhaps because it lends itself to a number of techniques, like this distress ink "smoosh stamp" technique (see this post for more information on the technique).

In this rendition, I was inspired by some scraps of designer paper I had on my table.  I wanted to make a card for Operation Write Home that could be sent to either a male or a female, and I think the stripes, dots and colors are gender neutral enough to work for either.

Anyway, I actually put the card front together before I considered what I'd use for my focal point and was stumped for a minute until I remembered this weed image from Wildflower Garden. I think the distress ink technique adds a nice softness to the rather stuffy stripes, and the colors help tie everything together.  I added a bit of paper piercing to the corner for a little detail, and tied it up with gold cording (another go-to favorite!), before popping the focal on with dimensionals. 

What do you think? Will it work for either a guy or a gal? Guess it depends on the eye of the beholder, but it works for me! 

So, how do you make gender neutral cards? Got any tips to share? Would love to hear your comments.

Oh, by the way, in case you're curious, here's the supplies list for this card:

Cardstock:  Papertrey Ocean Tide, Ripe Avacado
DP:  Die Cuts With A View Linen Closet 8x8 pad
Stamps:  Papertrey Wildflower Garden
Inks:  Ranger Distress Inks Tumbled Glass, Faded Jeans, Peeled Paint, Shabby Shutters

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Shabby/Chic Botanical Silhouettes

Does anybody else stuggle with shabby-chic or distressed types of cards?  There are some amazing designers and card makers out there (Betsy Veldman comes immediately to mind) that have turned this style into an art from.  Sigh...their work is so lovely. 

On the other hand, I really struggle with this style. I don't know--it's something about the ink distressing or the multiple DP layers, or maybe the multiple details that always comes out, well, wonky.

Nonetheless, I wanted to try making a card using this style again (remember--practice makes perfect?) and here's what I came up with.

I was going for a sort of  "Grandma's kitchen" kind of look so I started with a couple of design papers that reminded me of old fashioned kitchen designs.  I layered them on a piece of Scarlet Jewel cardstock, then diecut a scalloped circle in green designer paper and attached it where to other two papers met. To cover the seam, I added a ribbon in Itty Bitty Dots Scarlet Jewel. 

The focal point was made by stamping the flowers, stems and sentiment on a piece of cream cardstock.  Because the designer papers had a slightly distressed look to them, I distressed the edges of the focal with Chai ink.  I then layered the cream piece with a piece of the stripped DP and attached it to the card front.

I felt it could still use a little something, so I decided to add pearls to the scallops of the die cut mat, and a tiny pearl to center of each flower.  Too much?  Not enough?  Hmmm, I'm not sure.  But, of all my attempts so far, I think I like this one the best.  Huh, maybe there is something to that "practice, practice, practice" stuff!  LOL 

Have you practiced a technique or style  that's been giving you fits lately.  Whatcha' waiting for?  Go ahead, you can do it!

Cardstock:  Papertrey cream and Scarlett Jewel
Designer Paper:  Making Memories 8x8 English Garden pad
Stamps:  Papertrey Botanical Silhouettes
Ink: Papertrey Scarlett Jewel & Ripe Avocado
Tools:  Spellbinders Eyelet Circle
Embellishments: Pearls from stash, Papertrey Scarlett Jewel Bitty Dots