Welcome to my blog. Over the years that I have been stamping and paper crafting, I have so often been inspired by the ideas on other sites and blogs. I hope I can pay that back in some measure with my own. (In between laughs -- or cackles as my son calls it!)

September 30, 2012

Faith Bird at Dawn

Today I am using the Faith Bird image from the lovely Stamp-It Discovery collection.  And I decided to use it along with the watercolor background technique that I shared last week.
 My first step was to heat emboss the bird image onto a watercolor background, to simulate dawn as the beautiful words reference.  I used detail black embossing powder.  Can I tell you a story about the background?  I was stamping with friends a few weeks ago and we were all trying our hand at the watercolor technique.  One of the ladies, Carol, was frustrated and thought that hers did not turn out well.  She threw it away.  Well, being as frugal as I am, I fished it out of the trash can and said, at least some flowers or leaves could be punched from it.

Anyway, it sat on my craft table a few weeks.  Part of it had very nice color -- and the faith bird image is not that large -- so I used it!  I love how it turned out.  And I did use the sections where the color was not as nice to punch the accent leaves!  So the moral is, never throw anything away, LOL!

I then used my oval die cut to cut the image.  On a quarter sheet of moss green card stock, I used the Darice Leafy Branch embossing folder for more background texture. (Have you seen all embossing folders that Crafter's Companion carries now?  They have some amazing square sizes too!)  The oval image was adhered to the moss green background, and then on to a black mat, and finally on to a folded A2 cream card base.  You may have noticed that I use black mats a lot -- I think they really give great contrast and set off a design.

The final touch was to punch leaves from the watercolored 'discard' paper and arrange them in a gently falling pattern.  The hardest part of this card was getting those random falling leaves "just so"!  Hope you enjoyed this, and see you next week.

September 23, 2012

Pine Tree and Watercolor Sky

Can I tell you how much I love this asymmetrical pine tree image from Sheena Douglass' Pinescapes set?  It is bold, yet has enough open space to let backgrounds shine through.  Plus, it can really stand on its own for clean and simple cards.

I started with watercolor paper, and spritzed it with water to get it wet.  I then used an aqua pen and reinker drops to add the colors, working from the bottom up with tan, green, lavender, pink and blue. 

If your colors aren't "runny" enough, squeeze the aqua pen for more water; if too runny you may need to blot it.  My paper was pretty soggy when I was done.  I let it dry overnight.

The next step was to use Versamark ink and black embossing powder and heat emboss the pine tree image.

Then, this was layered on to a black mat and then on to a folded A2 moss green card base.

That's it!  No ribbon, no embellishments, no glitter (ack!).  Just let the image and the colors in the background do the talking.  When I know what occasion it'll be used for, I'll probably add a small greeting in the bottom right corner.

September 19, 2012

Shimmery Butterflies and Other Cards

Had fun on Friday night at hostess club with my SU! demo, Jo Bengtsen, and all the lovely, chatty ladies in the club.  Here are the lovely cards we made.

I especially loved the watercolor background on the butterfly card.  Here's a closer look at it.  Was thinking how stunning this would be done in autumn watercolors, with falling leaves in place of the butterflies.

We spritzed shimmer paper with water to moisten it, and then used a water pen to drop reinker for the "runny" effect.  Everyone's turned out differently -- but they were all lovely.

I think next time, I'll emboss the greeting so that it stands out a bit more, and I need to practice my "doodle trail" for the butterflies path. 

September 16, 2012

Patchwork Snowman

Remember last week I did a quilted background for my stocking buddies card?  Well, I had so much fun with the quilting that I decided to use that technique again this week.  Except for this card, which uses Sheena's A Little Bit Festive "Happy Snowman" set, the quilt is the sky.

I started by making the quilted sky.  I chose various shades of blue, and used a 3/4 inch punch so that I could get smaller squares for more variation in design.  There's no discernible pattern here, just lots of blue paper arranged somewhat randomly.  I trimmed the quilt layer down and mounted it on a black mat, which then was layered on to a folded A2 card base in a saffron yellow.

Next, I stamped the snowman image in black ink onto white card stock, and colored it with my Spectrum Noir alcohol markers.  I stamped the 'Let it Snow' greeting along the bottom.  Then, I cut out the image and liberally applied fine glitter to the rooftops and the snowman.  I love winter scenes, they are a perfect excuse for glitter.  :-)

I was going to glue it on top of the quilted sky.  But it didn't look right, the image faded away with the busy-ness of the quilt.  Hmmmm, what to do for a rescue?

What the card needed was  a visual separation of sorts.  I dug out some white mulberry paper and did a guided tear along the line of the rooftops and the snowman.  Much better!  I mounted this with dimensionals for a bit of a 3D effect.

Final touches were small black dew drops for the buttons and eyes, and blue dew drops that are supposed to be snowflakes, in the sky.  Here's a closer look.

Hope you enjoyed it!  Have you started your Christmas cards yet?

September 9, 2012

Quilted Stocking Buddies

You know how sometimes the image itself dictates the design?  That's what happened with me and the  "Waiting for Santa" stocking image from the new Strawberry Kisses Christmas line.  The stocking looked quilted and homespun, so I decided to go with a quilted background and carry that feeling throughout the card.

Quilted backgrounds are nothing more than pieced paper, and are a lot of fun to do.  Also they are great to use up paper scraps, or paper that is a little bit out of style.  Years ago I had bought a huge slab of Christmas designer paper and still had most of it left.  So I dug in and punched one inch squares from four coordinating papers.  The plus side is that it makes you feel very virtuous to be using up those old supplies!  (Tip:  you can cut the squares on your cutter, but it sure is faster and more consistent to use a square punch.)

You can Google quilt designs for pattern ideas.  This one is fairly simple, using squares and triangles.  Time saving tip -- you really only have to "quilt" the edges because the middle usually gets covered up.  A mixture of patterns and solids usually works well. I ran the solid squares through my trusty Swiss Dot embossing folder for texture.  Then just start gluing down on the mat layer (in my case burgundy), starting 1/8" away from both corner edges and working square to square  The quilted layer was then adhered to a 5.5 inch top folded white card base.

Once I had my background done, I colored my image with Spectrum Noir markers to match.  Then I mounted that with a very narrow 1/16 inch border on to blue.  I felt that if I used olive green or burgundy it wouldn't stand out enough from the quilt background.

Final touches were applying tulip snow for the fur on the stocking, and faux-sewing 4 buttons and using glue dots to adhere -- three in the upper left and one on the greeting (which I scanned and shrunk to fit my small oval punch).  I deliberately used white buttons and white thread because although I wanted the homespun feel and added interest, I didn't want all those buttons to compete with the focal point or even the background.

I used a fifth coordinating designer paper to make the envelope.  It is so easy to make custom-sized envelopes with the Envelobox Creator.  For an envelope to fit my 5.5 inch square card, I started with an 8.25 square piece of paper and scored at row G on all sides.  That was it!  Another great way to whittle down that slab of paper, and it removes the reluctance that I used to have to make these large square cards, for fear that I didn't have an envelope to fit.

Hope you enjoyed today's card!

September 2, 2012

Pine Tree and Misty Hills

Sometimes you see a stamp image and you know exactly how you are going to use it.  When I saw this great asymmetrical pine tree from Sheena's A Little Bit Scenic Pinescapes set, I knew I was going to make a hilly background.  You see, at my old job, there was a conference room that maybe twenty years ago was an executive conference room, but over the years had turned in to an "anybody can reserve it" room.  The decor was dated from its glory days in the 80's, but I always loved a fiber wall hanging of misty layered hills that was on the wall.  Time after time I said to myself, "That would make a great card!".  Well, I've since retired from there and now work at another company (yup, I know -- a very short lived retirement), but finally I used the inspiration from the fiber wall hanging to make a card.  And I am just thrilled with the result!

This is nothing more than using torn paper as a mask and stippling color on.  (You could also sponge -- it would be faster but I think you get less control and I usually get those pesky fingernail blotches when I sponge.)  The tip is to use the darkest color in the foreground and gradually lighten it with each successive layer of hill in the background. 

I used mostly Tim Holtz' Distress inks, and used black soot in the foreground, but not so very black as to obliterate the black pine tree, and then faded through shades of brown (walnut stain and vintage photo).  Another tip is to use clean torn paper for each layer, so you don't get stray ink residue.  I tell you this because that happened to me.  A gum eraser removed most of it -- can you find the spot? ;-) .  I did a reverse circle mask for the moon with a post it note, and used the lightest ink color (Stampin' Up's River Rock) and a smaller stipple brush to darken the edges so you get the illusion of the moon.

It was matted on to a black layer, and then on to a 6x8 invitation card with a gold band (a no-fold panel).  I think they are really meant for do-it-yourself wedding invitations but it worked great for this.  I added absolutely no embellishment, not even glitter on the moon.  It was hard to restrain myself, but I wanted it to be stark and unadorned, like the pine image itself.

A torn paper mask is one of the simplest techniques, and can give great results.  Enjoy!