Sunday, April 29, 2012

I Won a Liebster Award!

What a surprise! Sean from Card Crafty Club graciously awarded me a Liebster Award! How sweet is that?  Thank you Sean, I'm honored, especially since life has kept me away from blogging for a while

Don't know what a Liebster Award is?  Well, here's a little history:

The origins of the Liebster Blog Award are somewhat unclear, but the general consensus is that it originated in Germany. Liebster, means favorite or dearest, and the Liebster Award is designed to showcase bloggers with fewer than 200 followers. Upon accepting the award, the recipient must pass it on to five more blogs of note.

Isn't that fun?  What a great way to recognize a fellow blogger and then pass along the fun!

Ok then. Let's get this party going!. While there were dozens of blogs I could have included, my list of five blogs is--envelope please (grin):

1. Megan at Chaos Served Daily
2. Kathryn at Kathryn's Cards
3. Yolanda at Imagine. Make. Share.
4. Paula at Handmade by Paula
5. KellyRae at Sassy Rubber Artists

Okay winners, here's what you need to do.

1. Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog.
2. Link back to the blogger who presented the award to you.
3. Copy and past the blog award on your blog.
4. Present the Liebster Blog Award to 5 blogs of 200 followers or less who you feel deserve recognition.
5. Let them know they have been chosen by leaving a comment at their blog.

Thanks again, Sean, for the award. You made my day.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sending Love and Flowers

I've had this felt for the longest time, but for some reason, I was afraid to cut into it. Somehow I felt like I would ruin it or something. It's not like they were never going to make any more--sheesh.  Anyway, today I decided to get over my reluctance to use it.  And here's what I came up with.

I started with a piece of white stock which I embossed and then rounded the upper right corner.  I cut the black polka dot frame (using two different sized Classic Circles dies from Spellbinders nested together) and adhered it to the embossed piece. The sentiment was stamped on a leftover label, and I added a few leaves and flowers stamped in black and colored in. It was popped up on dimensionals.

The felt flowers and leaves were cut  using a die from PaperTrey. It cut smoothly and easily and I loved the final result. I added buttons tied with floss to the centers and adhered them to the card using Score-Tape. Then the card front was mounted to a black base.

I don't know why I waited so long to cut into this felt, but I know I won't wait so long to try it again!

Are you hoarding products you're reluctant to tear into? Go ahead and use them.  They'll make more, I promise.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

All Time Favorite

I stumbled into a super sale on Penny Black stamps a while back, and this little Mo Manning image just spoke to me. I love the accompanying sentiment and thought it would make a great card for a soldier to send home to a child or loved one. It just spoke "happy" to me.

The card went together pretty quickly. I stamped and colored the little girl and her bear, then matted it on avocado. The sentiment was stamped in chocolate, and die cut and embossed using a Spellbinders Classic circle die. An avocado mat was added, along with the teeniest sliver of avocado and a few melon colored pears. A bit of melon satin ribbon for a bow, and a scrap of DP that was hanging out in my scrap bin finished it up.

I hope whoever gets this will get as big a kick out of that sweet little image as I did. Like I said, it spoke "happy" to me, and I hope it does to them as well.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Spring Wildflowers

Watercolored flowers say spring to me. Today is another of those gloomy days we've been having and I've been dreaming about sunshine and planting flowers. So, since gardening is out, I made a card instead.

I started with a white piece of card stock and cut the edge with a edge die from PTI.  Using a text stamp inked with Chai ink, I stamped the background randomly. The flowers were colored with waterbased markers and stamped, then darkers highlights were added.  I decided to use a kraft card base, but the white card stock looked a little harsh. So I used the Chai ink to tone it down and added a bit of darker color with Pumice distressed ink.  The sentiment was stamped in Chocolate, and the flowers were highlighted with a  pearl pen. A bit of latte twine finished the card front. I edged the kraft card base's front edge to match, then adhered the finished card front. A bit of the kraft hangs out, which added a nice finish.

On to the inside, I used a piece of Rustic Cream card stock, stamped a few flowers and added it to the inside.

This card will probably go into my Operation Write Home stash, which is why I lined it. But I must say, I really like finishing the insides of my cards. I think it gives a nice finished look to the project.

I hope you're spring has started on a brighter note than ours has. And, as they say, may all your weeds be wildflowers!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Feel Better Soon

Had to make a get well card for my sweetie's uncle. He's having some serious surgery and we can't do much but send our best wishes. Dang, this year has really been a stinker so far!

Anyway, about the card, it's actually stamped on a soft stone colored card stock, using grays and avocado inks. Some of them were stamped off, so there's a bit more depth to the foliage. The sentiment is stamped in dark gray and the whole thing is matted with charcoal gray and avocado card stock. The card base is the soft stone again, even if it does look funky white. It's so gray and rainy here today, it's simply impossible to get a decent picture, so please use your imagination. Thank you.

Even though there's been a lot of  "stuff" to deal with so far this year, at least I'm getting some crafting time in and that's a good thing. Hope you're getting some crafty time, too.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Long Road Home

Here's a CASE of myself! Is that allowed? Hope so, case I rather enjoyed it. (The original is here).

This stamp is one I've had for a long time. I think it's by Magenta. I'd colored it up with Prismacolor pencils some time ago, but never could figure out what to do with it. So it went into my "extras" box and languished there for the longest time.  Today I was looking for something else, and this poor little leftover was there--staring right back at me.  I just had to figure out a way to use it.  So....

I started by matting a piece of rustic cream card stock that I'd stamped with Text Style from PTI. I hemmed and hawed about the colors, but then this piece of Melon Berry popped out of my scrap stash, and, well, the rest was pretty easy. I embossed the melon piece,  adhered the focal piece, and adhered the finished card front to a chocolate base. The sentiment was stamped using one from Boards and Beams onto a scrap of rustic cream, matted in chocolate, and popped to the card front.  The "brads" are more of those fun Candi's I talked about here.  A piece of brown ribbon finished it off, but now that its all glued together, I'm not sure it adds much. I'm not going to take it apart, though. Every time I've tried that I end up with more stuff in the ol' circular file!

Gotta run, but if you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.  Thanks for stopping by, hope you have a creative day!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Delft Tile

Do you ever get an idea in your head that's really cool--in your head, at least--but doesn't quite come together the way it looked in your head? Well, this card is one of those, but I thought I'd share it anyway because you can't see what was in my head, so you'll never know how cool that one was and you won't be able to say "what the heck was she thinking!" Ha.

I started by stamping a swirly vine  design on white, punched out four 1-inch circles, then punched four 1-1/4 inch circles from navy stock. These were adhered together, then adhered to a piece of white that I'd embossed and matted with navy. The label was die cut, and stamped using the same blue ink used on the  swirls. It's popped up a bit and shows up nicely in real life, even if it looks a bit flat here. 

My original idea was to recreate a blue delft tile motif--that inspiration might have translated better if I'd used squares instead of circles. But--nothing ventured, nothing gained.

So, there you have it. Too bad you couldn't see the one in my head. It was truly beautiful!!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

A Little Birdie Says Hello

Welcome back!  Here's a quick card for my Operation Write Home stash. 

The bird, branch, hearts and sentiment were stamped on white card stock and colored with BIC markers. I wanted to experiment with using the Copic blender on the BIC's to add texture, and it worked fine! Now that's not to say my texture is fine--but the blender worked just like it does with the Copics. Cool!

Anyway, the focal was cut out with a Spellbinders classic oval die. Then a slightly larger classic oval was cut from white card stock, and just the edge was colored with the same blue BIC used to color the bird. This solved the problem of not have a matching blue (What?  I  have a ton of blues in the stash and not one matched? How can that be? Must go shopping!  Oh, sorry, my mind wandered for a moment.)  I added a bit of texture to the bird and the faux matting with the Copic blender pen, and though I suppose I could have been a bit more original than simply doing dots, the concept worked fine.

Finally I matted both with a classic scallop and added white pearls with a Viva Pearl pen.  To add a little shine, I put a drop of Glossy Accents on the hearts.

Then I embossed a piece of white stock, matted it with black, added another white piece (colored blue like the oval) and textured the blue with the blender pen. A piece of black and white gingham anchors the focal, which is popped up on dimensionals, and the card base is white.

I don't usually do whimsical designs, but this turned out bright and happy and I think I like it. Hope you do too.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Birthday Swing Card

Sometimes you feel like a nut...  Well, sometimes you just feel like you need to do something different.  I've always liked these swing cards, but don't typically make them because they don't lend themselves to writing a personal note. And since most of my cards go to Operation Write Home, that's important.

Still, I was in the mood the experiment with something a little different, and the following is what transpired.

It's really a simple  card, it's just the swing panel that ups the ante a bit.   Here's what it looks like open.

The DP and card stock are from PaperTrey, the stamps are from an old Impression Obsession set. The cake and candles were hand colored with markers. The "brads" are just circle punched card stock covered with Glossy Accents, as were the candles.

What makes this card fun is the WOW factor for someone who's never seen one, and only you know it's easy!

Go try a swing card for yourself. It's a fun way to up the ante in your stash. By the way, if you need instructions for the card, there are tutorials all over YouTube, and Splitcoast Stampers has a tutorial too. Sorry, I don't have a specific link, but if you really need help finding one, let me know and I'll try to find one for you.  In the meantime, I've got to scoot--sounds like dinner's boiling over!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Celebrate the Day with OWH

I love making cards for Operation Write Home, so I made this little trifold birthday card with a child in mind. I think a dad or mom might like to send their child a bright, happy card for their birthday. Well, that's what my thinking was when I made this anyway.

I started with a simple trifold in navy blue. The yellow, orange and green were scraps I had collected from who-knows-where.  I stamped the cupcake and sentiment on the front panel, coloring the cupcake to match the papers. When it was finished, I wondered if I should have chosen a color other than green for the frosting, but what the heck--kids have a goofy sense of what's right when it comes to food, so I figured there has to be a little kid out there who would love green frosting!

The center panel is just a sentiment and candles, colored to match again.  To stick with the theme, I added mini cupcakes and a sentiment to the last panel, with a bit of blue ribbon for interest.

Now the problem. When the card was done, I was admiring my handiwork when I realized there really wasn't a good place for whoever was giving this card to write a note. What to do, what to do! After a moment, I realized I could simply line the back side of the panels in white to give a bit of space for a note. Problem solved, and another card's ready to get shipped out! Yeah.

Have you checked out Operation Write Home yet?  It really is a great organization, and it feels so good to do something to help pay back the sacrifices made for us every day. Consider sending a few (or a bunch) of cards to OWH. All the information you need is on their website. You'll be blessed and so will some soldier and their loved ones.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Happy Anniversary

My sweetie and I are celebrating our anniversary this month, so I've been attempting to come up with a card for him.  Sometimes the hardest cards to make are for the ones you love the most--very strange.

Anyway, if you've been following my blog for long, you know I love to play with distress inks.  I'm especially fond of the impressionistic look you can get with a dab of distress ink and a few squirts of water. That's how I created the back ground on this card. I used water color paper so it would stand up to the moisture, and simply dripped various distress reinkers on, then misted with water.  To get the little splatters, I tapped a distress ink pad on my splat mat, dipped a wet paint brush in, then tapped the brush to make the splatters.

When it was dry, I stamped the swirls in VersaFine Onyx Black.  Never able to leave well enough alone, I decided to outline the swirls with a gold Krylon pen. I think it added a touch of sparkle without resorting to glitter. A girl's got to have her sparkle, don't ya know. The Krylon pens are so beautiful. If you like the metallic look, and haven't tried them, I encourage you to get one and play. They're not like any other metallic pen out there. Oh, and by the way, the tips are replaceable if need be (um, don't ask, just trust me).

Okay, back to the card.  The sentiment was stamped on white card, and cut with a Half and Half die from, guess who?--Papertrey.  To mat it I decided to cut another Half and Half out of black, trimmed the white one down slightly, adhered the two together, then popped them up with dimensionals.  A few blue/green dew drops and a bit of black matting finished up the focal, which was adhered to a white card base.

I'm not sure if this is the one I'll give him. But I did feel like an artiste' making it.

Do you find yourself returning to the same technique(s) over and over? Or am I just stuck in a rut--on second thought, don't answer that one! Ha.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by today. Now, go do something artsy--it's good for the soul.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Love You Clean and Simple

I've been intrigued with the recent move toward CAS cards recently. Some crafters have mastered the look. Me--I'm still working on it! 

This sample is fairly simple, but not strictly one layer. I stamped the dotted border and "love"  in Smoky Shadow onto white stock. Then I die cut "YOU" in black (using Wonderful Words die from PTI) and the heart in red (Spellbinder's die).  I decided the heart could use a bit of texture, so I ran it through an embossing folder (sorry, I don't remember which one), highlighted the embossing with a swipe of white ink, and added a bit of sparkle with glitter around the edge. Then I adhered the whole lot to a black card base.

While not strictly CAS, it's close. And I think maybe I'm sneaking up on the concept.

Do you do CAS? And if you do, do you struggle with it? Post a link if you have an example for me to drool over. Or let me know if you have any tips for successfully executing the style. And if you don't like the style, I'd love to hear your thoughts on that too. Personally, I think I've just gotten burned out on layers and layers of paper, embellishments, and stuff.  Not that you won't continue to see that style here, but it is fun to try something different once in awhile, if only to learn that somethings are just fine the way they are.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Chemistry Class

I forgot to share this Valentine's Day card with you last month. Guess with everything that's been going on, it's not just my mojo that's missing!

Anyway, this is a card I made for my Mr. Wonderful. I thought of him immediately when I saw the original, since we met in high school many moons ago. Do they even use blackboards anymore? Oh, well--moving on.

The card is a CASE from one featured in the latest Stamp It magazine. I thought the original was so clever, I couldn't resist trying to recreate it.  Instead of stamping on the blackboard like the original, I drew the formula and heart sentiment by hand using a white Signo pen. Have I mentioned how much I love those things!

The apple was die cut and stamped from a set from Papertrey, then popped up on the chalk tray. I varied the chalk tray a bit, adding an additional strip of kraft paper and inking the edges for a bit of definition. I fashioned the chalk out of a scrap of card stock. The rest should be easy to figure out, but if you have questions, leave me a comment and I'll get back to you.

Anyway, I thought it was kind of cute, and not the usual fussy Valentine I usually make for him. I think he got a kick out of it, too.

Have a creative day, and remember to eat your apple!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Butterflies and Vines

Just want to share a quick card with you today.

I started by sponging distress inks in various colors onto a white piece of card stock, starting with the lightest and working toward the darkest. When it had dried a bit, I stamped the vine/flowers using VersaFine Black Onyx, then added the tiny butterflies in the same ink.  The focal was created by die cutting a circle from white, stamping the sentiment in black, and adding the butterflies in Melon Berry.  That was layered onto a black die cut (Spellbinders--sorry, I'll have to check the name if you need to know), then popped it up with dimensionals. A few small pearls were added to the butterflies, and the loopy tail of "you" as well.

I matted the main panel with black and added a bit of Melon Berry satin ribbon. Finally, I adhered it all to a Melon Berry card base. 

I like to do something to finish the inside of my cards, but especially if I'm sending to Operation Write Home. Here I lined the card with white matted with black, then stamped the vine/flowers from the front using Melon Berry. I also added a delicate border to the top edge. This gives plenty of room for a serviceman (or woman) to write a note, while giving the card a slightly more finished look.  It's especially important to at least line the inside of a card with white or cream if you're using a darker card base, since sometimes our troops only have a pencil to write with. Just a little tip if you decide to join us at OWH (wink, wink).

Well there you have it. It took longer to blog about it than it took to make it, so if you like the design, give it a try. 

And I apologize for the really funky photos of late. The weather, hence the lighting, has been terribly wet and gray and I'll be darn if I can get anything to photograph well. Of course, it could be the photographer.  Naw, I'm stickin' with the weather story!  (Mz. M, if you read this, know I can't wait for you to get back to teach me how to use that blasted camera!!!)

Ok, that's it for today. Hugs to you all, and go do something creative!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Alcohol Ink Birthday

I've mentioned before how I struggle making masculine cards. Oh, I know the general rules for masculine design--I just can't seem follow them. I'm forever drawn back to the more feminine side of things.

Here's another attempt I recently made at masculine design. I figured if I started with black card stock I'd have a leg up. Yeah, well.... maybe not so much. 

The card features a strip of glossy white card stock I dripped alcohol ink on and allowed to spread. I then added a bit of metallic gold to highlight it here and there, cut it into strips and adhered one to the black card base.  I decided to score a stripe along each edge to make the strip appear more "settled' on the card, then  decided to add a few more for balance.  But the stripes didn't show up very well. Hmmm, what to do?  I decided that since the colored portion had a bit of gold to highlight it, I'd add a bit of gold to the stripes, too. So, I dug out my Brilliance Gold ink pad and swiped it across the card. It added just the right amount of highlight, and a bit of roughness to the card that seemed appropriate for a guy.

Since I was on a gold kick, I dug out a scrap of glossy gold card stock, and die cut it using PaperTrey's Photo Finish label die.  Then I stamped it with the birthday sentiment, using VersaMark, and embossed it in black to make it really pop on the label.  I thought about adding brads to the label, but decided just to leave it alone.

So, there you have it, my most recent attempt a masculine card. I still don't know if this could be classified "manly", but at least it doesn't have any ribbon or flowers on it!

Would love to hear how you approach masculine cards. Leave me a comment and let me know. Links are appreciated, too!  Talk to you later.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Stenciled Bookmark

I took a bit of a break from card making to make a bookmark. I love to read, and I'm forever looking for a bookmark. I thought I should remedy that, and here's the result of that effort.

Using a brass stencil (Dreamweaver's, I think) I applied a layer of embossing paste to a piece of glossy black card stock and let it dry. Then I replaced the stencil, and used an Essential Glue Pad to tap glue over the design. After carefully removing the stencil, and dropping it into a bowl of water (which I also did after using the embossing paste), I laid a piece of gold/red gold leaf over the design and, using a soft brush, gently brushed away the excess. Easy peasy.

I matted the finished stenciled piece with gold card stock, and adhered it to a bookmark I cut from another piece of glassy black. Actually I cut two bookmarks and layered them together to make it very sturdy. I plan on giving this little guy a workout!  Anyway, I added a brass eyelet, a golden tassel (JudiKins carries those little cuties) and finished it off by adding random green gems.

I love how it turned out. It's kind of fun to do something out of the ordinary, don't you think?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Sending You Hugs and Kisses

Hi all! Hope the day finds you healthy and happy.

Here's another quick card (seems that's all I have time for lately) using hand stamped backgrounds.

Some times when I'm not sure what I want to make, I just start stamping. This card is an example of what I mean.  The top floral portion was stamped from bits and pieces of a number of stamp sets, some from PTI, some from DeNami, and I think a couple from Stampin' by Judith. To be honest, I'm only guessing, since this sample was a pretty random event that I did a while ago. 

The lower portion is simply a text stamp (probably from PTI) stamped on orange using VersaMark.

I do know (yeah!) the sentiment is from PTI's Sending You set, because it's one of my favorites. It was stamped on a piece of Aqua Mist (PTI), die cut into a flag shape, scored and folded to give it some dimension.  The green "brads" are really just green card stock I punched out because I didn't have any real brads the right color, and I didn't want to take the time to color any up. With a drop of Glossy Accents they actually don't look too bad. 

After tying on the ribbon and double matting in green and hot pink, I added the card front to a white base and another card makes it into the ol' stash. 

Things are getting busy again, and if the weather (and my health) holds, I once again may not be posting for a bit.  We're still trying to get things ready so we can put my mother-in-law's home up for sale. Although the house is in good shape, cleaning it out takes time because each piece has so many memories.  Sigh.  A sad, but necessary task that we'll both be glad when it's over. 

Okay, enough of that.  Go play with you stamps. You may discover combinations you never would have thought of and a design that's uniquely you.  And that's a  good thing--a very good thing!

Sunday, March 4, 2012

You're Too Kind

Hi friends! Hope you're having a good day.

Today's sample is a quick thank you card using an old technique called Black Magic.  The technique was  featured a couple of weeks ago on Splitcoast Stampers and I remember thinking I should try it again.  So...I did.

The flowers and leaves were stamped on black card stock with VersaMark and embossed with white EP. They were then colored with Prisma colored pencils.  It's kind of a neat effect, but I haven't done it in awhile and my coloring could use a little work. I'm spoiled by the ease of blending colors using Copics, and remembered too late that I wasn't using them here. I suppose I could have blended things a little smoother by using Gamasol, but I didn't have any, so I decided not to stress about it and just went with the flow.

Anyway, I added faux stitch lines with a white Signo pen (LOVE that thing!!!!) and matted it with white stock.  Two opposing corners were rounded, and a polka dot ribbon was knotted around the lower third. Then the whole lot was added to a rose colored base, and another card is added to the Operation Write Home box!

It's a fun technique, and I think I will have to try it again soon, but next time I'll spend a little extra time working on my coloring.  If you haven't tried this technique before, give it a shot, and leave me a link so I can see what you've done. Just remember--it's impolite to gloat over how much better your coloring is ;>).  Have fun!


Friday, March 2, 2012

Butterfly Love

Hi there! Today's question is:  "Why do we buy crafty things, then somehow tuck them away never to use them?"  What? You've never done that?  Hummmph!

Okay, all kidding aside, here's an example of having something that I'd never used, in fact, until I was cleaning up a bit, I didn't even remember I had it! Course it could be because of my age (did I hear a giggle?) or maybe because I've been under the weather--whatever the reason, I'd never used this particular embossing folder. In fact, I'm not even sure what it's called--I believe it's by Cuttlebug, but the packaging is long since gone. And because I didn't have a record of it in my inventory, which I've tried to keep up with for some time now, I'm guessing this was a purchase before I decided having an inventory might be a good idea.  But that's a story for another day, so let's move on.

Anyway, when I discovered this little beauty, I decided it needed some lovin'. So, here's what I did.

I started by embossing the white card stock with my little unloved folder, then used a die to cut out the window. I stamped a scrap piece of light blue card stock with leaves and a butterfly using VersaMark, then adhered it behind the white stock using dimensionals. 

Next I die cutmore leaves from green card stock,  and stamped them with VersaMark using the coordinating stamp (Turn a New Leaf by PTI).  The butterfly is an older die from Spellbinders and was cut from scrap card stock, too. After cutting and embossing it, I left it in the die and used more VersaMark to highlight the embossed areas.  For a little extra something, I to added silver wire antenna to it.

Then it was on to the sentiment. I cut a flag shape from white stock and stamped the sentiment in gray(sentiment from Sending You, Smokey Shadow ink both from PTI).  A couple of blue rhinestones finished it off.  When I started to attach everything to the window, the cutout felt a little unfinished, so I added dots with an ultra fine BIC marker in a matching blue.

Once everything was attached, I popped the whole thing onto a slightly darker blue card base, lined the inside with white, and packed it up for shipping out to Operation Write Home! Yeah! Felt good to get another card made for the troops.

By the way, don't think cards aren't still needed by OWH. Even with the current draw down, there are still LOTS of troops deployed all over the world and they could really use all the handmade cards we can deliver. So, if you want to support a good cause, consider making cards for OWH. You might be surprised the impact such a small gesture can make.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Always on My Mind and a Little Candi

Sometimes I just like to stamp. No fancy pattern papers or elaborate layering. Just plain ol' stampin'. That's how this card started, just simple stamping, plus a bit of an experiment.  Oh, and a product that might be new to you.

I'd been wanting to try stamping with distress inks to on kraft card stock for quite awhile. I finally gave it a shot today, and I think the results are kind of neat. Amazingly vibrant, yet kind of vintage-y at the same time, know what I mean?

So here's the quick deets:  Beginning with a white card base, I cut another, slightly smaller white rectangle. Then I cut another rectangle from kraft and adhered it to the white rectangle. Using Beautiful Blooms (PTI) and Ranger Distress Inks, I stamped the leaves and flowers on the kraft, letting them tumble onto the white. Because of the natural properties of the distress ink (slightly distressed looking--hence "distress inks"--those marketing guys are so clever when it comes to naming stuff!), it came out with a slightly vintage-y look, which made me think of old bedspreads and drapes that had been cleaned many times--you know, slightly faded and blotchy looking. That thought lead me to thinking about fabric textures, which made me think about this herringbone-textured embossing folder. So, a quick pass through the Big Shot and voila!

The sentiment (Vintage Picnic Sentiments, PTI) was stamped in chocolate on a scrap piece of white stock, then notched and adhered with pop dots. The "brad" is really a white Candi I inked in the same chocolate ink used for the sentiment.

By the way, if you aren't familiar with Candi's--they're heavy paper "dots" that are shaped to look like brads but without the legs, weight or lumpiness.  And because they can be colored with whatever ink or marker you want to match your project, you don't have to worry about having a matching brad. And, besides,  who hasn't nearly finished a card, only to realize too late that you forgot to add the brad! Yeah, you can snip the legs off and adhere it with a glue dot, but these are so much easier! 

I did have a little trouble finding them locally, but finally saw a sale online and ordered a bunch for only $1.95 a pack.   (By the way, even if they aren't on sale, they're cheaper than real brads. Each pack contains hundreds of "brads" and will last a loooong time!) If you search around, you should be able to find them--maybe even locally. Here's one link I found where you can go to see them. (I've never purchased from this company so this is not an endorsement of this site, just a place where you can see the Candi's!)  Be sure you grab a pack or two of the matching adhesive dots--the perfect tiny size and dimension, with no cutting involved! Yeah.  Oh, one more thing--they come in LOTS of fun colors besides white, plus patterns, even metallic finishes. Cool beans! (By the way, I don't have any affiliation with the Candi's--I just think they're a neat product.) 

Okay, enough of the commercial.  Hope you try something new today. You never know--you may just like it!

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Up, Up and Away Birthday

I love the look of negative space left from die cuts and used to make a background. This technique is used
very successfully by Maile Bailes, among others. Here's a take on the technique.

As I shared a couple of days ago, I recently purchased these cloud dies from Papertrey and have been anxious to use them. I also discovered I had a balloon punch hidden in the back of my punch drawer (note to self--go through that drawer again and see what else I have that I've forgotten about!).  Anyway I thought the clouds and the balloons should make a good team for a birthday card for a young boy.  So, starting with a light blue card base, I cut a slightly smaller white piece, and embossed it with the circles impression plate (from, guess who?, Papertrey).  Then I placed the dies (there are two) where I wanted them, letting one fall off the edge a bit, and ran them through my Big Shot.  Since things generally look better when used in odd numbers, I put the smaller cloud die back on the card stock and ran it through one more time.

For the balloons, I punched four balloons from patterned paper (three for the front and one for the inside). Because I wanted to pop the white background up from the card base, I thought the patterned paper alone might be a bit wimpy, so I punched a scrap piece of card stock six more times. To assemble, I adhered a patterned balloon to a plain balloon, then adhered that to yet another plain balloon--then repeated the whole process for the remaining balloons.  The addition of those plain card stock balloons lent just the right amount of support to keep the balloons from getting crushed when mailing.  To mimic the look of a shiny balloon surface, I simply coated each of the finished balloons with Glossy Accents and let dry.

In the meantime, I stamped the birthday sentiment in Chocolate (PTI), and adhered it to the card front with Pop Dots. I then lined the inside of the card with white stock, and adhered the fourth balloon inside along with a brown/white twine tail.  The tail was held in place by judiciously placed Quickie glue pen. I like using my Quickie pen for placing twine because it has a fine ballpoint tip that can be used to draw a line (or in this case a "flight trail") without getting extra glue all over the place. (Hey, I have messy glue issues, what can I say.)

Anyway, when the first balloons were dry, I adhered the brown/white twine to them, then adhered them to the card front using just a bit of Score-Tape.  Again, I drew a flight trail for the balloon strings to follow with the Quickie pen, and there you have it. A cute little card for some cute little boy!

So, do you like the look of the negative die cuts too?  I'd love to see what you've done, so leave a comment and a link so I can check it out!  In the meantime, have a happy-balloon-kind-of-day!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Day at the Beach

Howdy! Hope you're all doing well.  Got a quick card to share today. I think I've mentioned how I struggle with masculine cards. This was another attempt at overcoming that obstacle.

I'd recently purchased these cloud dies from PaperTrey and they were begging to get used.  I had this beach scene-building set that I picked up at a stamp show a long time ago. The beach scene seemed like it would work for a guy card, and there's always clouds at the beach (at least at our beaches!) so I just went for it.

I started by masking the horizon and sponging distress ink along the top to create the sky. I left a bit of white here and there for the impression of clouds, then I tore a piece of printer paper to create the "dunes" and sponged in the sand. Finally, I reversed the dunes mask, and, with the sky still masked off, I sponged in the water. The various elements of the scene--the fences, grass, and birds--were stamped separately. I cut out a couple of clouds, added a bit of shading to them with a T3 Copic, then popped them up a bit with dimensionals. I kind of like the way the clouds look--they seem to bring the scene to life.

To add a sentiment, I stamped a chocolate piece of cardstock with VersaMark and embossed in white (love how that pops), cut it in a flag shape and matted it with blue.  I simply repeated those colors for the mat and card base. It seemed like the sentiment still needed a little something, so I added a couple of "pearls" with my pearl pen. (Yeah, I know pearls aren't exactly masculine, but I figured pearls come from oysters and oysters are found in the sea, so there!!!  Anyway, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.)

So, there's my latest attempt at a masculine card. I think it works. What say you?

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Sending Warm Thoughts

Gosh, I can't believe how long it's been I've posted. Life continues to be interesting at my end of the swamp. A few health problems have popped up that have taken me out of play, but hopefully I'm rounding the corner on those.

Anyway, I thought I'd try to straighten up the ol' craft room a bit today, and decided to get a little inky while I was at it.  Though the results are a little dubious, I have to admit it felt good to get inky. Since my excuse was to clean up a little, using up some scraps seemed appropriate.  Unfortunately, that also means I have no idea where the paper is from! The mailbox was one I'd colored a while back that was just waiting to be used on something.  A little die cutting, a simple sentiment (I do know that is from PTI!), and a butterfly or two, and another card to add to the stash.  Actually, this card will probably make its way to Operation Write Home shortly.

So my question for you today is, when you haven't had a chance to craft for awhile, does it take you FOREVER to get back in the grove?  I always feel like I'm starting over--everything just looks a little off, if you know what I mean.  Hope you've got your grove on. And if you have any of that grove to spare, I'd be happy to take it off your hands! Ha. 

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Sending You Birthday Wishes

This card is a CASE of one by Debby Hughes. She's the queen of Clean and Simple, and her card was stunning I thought.

My take followed her's fairly closely in general design, but as you can see, it's a bit heavier (okay, a lot heavier!) and I added a monochromatic mat to the top layer that adds additional weight to the design. Not that heavier is what I had in mind, but just the way it turned out. Of course, big thighs run in the family, so I suppose it's not surprising, but I digress.

I didn't have the same woodgrain stamp she used, so I cut out a circle from a scrap piece of paper, and stamped a textued design through it to make the backdrop for the leaf.  I thought the leaf was a bit dead looking, so I added texture to it, but on reflection, another texture may have been better--this poor leaf looks like it has a fungus!  The button copies Debbie's idea.  By the way, the color of the leaf, the texture circle, and the background mat is Iced Spruce distress ink, one of the winter special colors for this year. I simply colored white card stock via DTP, and cut out the leaf and mat as needed.  The leaf was swiped with Canvas ink.  It's a shame the I wasn't able to capture the color better. It's really a beautiful gray green.

CAS is harder than it looks, and anyone who can do it well is, in my mind, a creative genius.  It's so easy to add to much, get heavy handed, and otherwise just over do it. But I love the style when it's done right, so I'll keep practicing. And in the meantime, I'll keep drooling over Debbie's work and CASEing her like crazy!

So, do you have a mentor who's style you'd like to emmulate? I'd love to hear about it--so leave a comment and a link if you can.  See you soon!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Always on My Mind

I've had this stamp for ages, and although I love it, I've never been able to figure out a way to use it. I decided to try to remedy that today with this card.

The stamp, by Magenta, is a block of four images. Each little image is quite detailed, almost like a photograph. That made me think of the old black and white photos we had when I was a girl that were touched up here and there with color. Hmmm, that gave me an idea!

I started by stamping in Smokey Shadow then colored selected pieces of each image with Copics. Then I trimmed out each image and mounted them on black card stock.  I embossed a piece of white card stock with Wood Grain embossing folder (Tim Holtz, I think), and adhered the images to it, then to the card base.

The sentiment was a bit harder.  I didn't have anything that seemed appropriate. Finally, I decided to selectively ink various words and phrases from several sentiments to make this one, cut it into a banner shape, and matted it with black too.

Very simple, but I thought it was a bit nostalgic and evocative.  I think this will make a good card for Operation Write Home. I bet there's a lot of soldiers who can identify with the sentiment.

So, do you remember the touched up photos from yesteryear? They were kind of cool, actually. I wonder if anyone still does that?  Goodness, I've been on a nostalgic roll lately.  Time to get with it.  Okay, deep breath, straighten shoulders, forward, MARCH!  Yeah, that's more like it!!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Love You

It's snowing and cold today--perfect weather to get inky, don't you think?

Time seems to be flying by, and I realized today I'd better get busy making a few Valentines before the day was upon me. Here's my first attempt, using PaperTrey's Wonderful Words dies, and A Year in Flowers rose image.

I stamped the rose image on the background in Angel Pink, then stamped it again on a scrap, colored it with my new Bic ultra fine markers and trimmed it out.  The little tag is from PaperTrey, as is the "4 Ever" sentiment.  The I Love is a stamp from the Wonderful Words companion stamp, and the You is from the die for that set. A couple of gems, a bit of dotted designer paper, and a touch of glitter (I mean, it IS a Valentine, for Pete's sake!) and another card is ready for the stash.

How about you? Make any Valentines yet? Do you prefer "girly" creations, or do you make more whimsical cards?  I've seen a few this year on various blogs that I think I'm going to give a shot. They're much more sophisticated with a cleaner and simpler, more contemporary vibe. I really like that look, but somehow it's hard for me to pull off. I guess I'm just an old fashioned romantic (or a heavy handed klutz).  And I can never resist having a chance to add a bit of glitter.  Sigh.  Oh well, I suppose the world can still use a bit of romance even if it is only one day a year.

I do like the die cut you, though.  And the Bic markers worked remarkably well and blended smoothly. Might be a good alternative for those who don't want to make the big invest with Copics.  (By the way, you can use Copics with these, and the Copic Blender Pen works with Bics, too.  Love that!)

If you've made any Valentines, I'd hear about your style and would  love to see what you've done. Leave me a link in the comments so I can check them out.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

There's no place like home

Gosh, it's hard to come back after all that's been happening recently, but I'm glad to be here and look forward to a better new year. 

First, let me say thanks for the many prayers that have been directed our way recently. My dear mother-in-law passed away just before Christmas as some of you know, and we've been in a bit of a fog ever since. Then I had a flare up of an old health issue and ended up in the hospital for a couple of days. To add insult to injury (so to speak) we also lost one of our furry friends during this period--a sweet kitty named Biesmeyer who'd been with us for 17 years.  Not the best way to start a new year, but I figure it can only go up from here, right? Anyway, we're starting to turn the corner and life is slowly beginning to come back into focus.

I had a chance to get back to my craft room and actually do something today.  It felt good--real good. I look forward to spending more time there. I'm convinced it's good for the soul.

Anyway, here's the end result of my efforts today. 

This stamp is an old one by Stampendous. It always reminded me of Italy, and that's where Mom was born. Anyway, I was thinking of her when I made this and it's comforting to me to know she really is home now. 

After stamping the image, I colored it with colored pencils, and adhered it to a piece of paper I'd stamped with test and inked.  I then matted it with black and adhered it to a terracotta panel I'd embossed with a distressed lines folder.  The sentiment was stamped on a double ended banner die cut, and that too was inked and matted in black. A bit of knotted black checked ribbon and a few black pearls finished the panel, and the whole lot was adhered to a black card base.

It's starting to snow and the lighting is really horrible, so it was difficult trying to get a decent photo. But in real life it's a rather handsome piece, and I think Mom would have approved. 

Hope to be back more regularly very soon. In the meantime, take care of yourselves and don't wait until later to tell someone you love them. The only moment you can be sure of is right now.