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.