Tuesday, July 29, 2014

I Really, Really, REALLY Miss You

The "By Design" class at Camp Scrap for Week 4 is a sketch that May Flaum, our camp director, calls "title in the middle." It's really more for scrapbook layouts, where you put your title in the middle of the layout and surround it with photos or other things. But she did demonstrate a card, so I took my inspiration from that to do this card. I also channeled my inner mixed media artist, using gelatos, Distress ink, and clear embossing powder on my focal panel.

The challenge this week at Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday challenge blog is "Emboss It." This could involve dry embossing, heat embossing, or embossing paste. I used both heat and dry embossing on this card.

I started by choosing one of the embossing folders from Lifestyle Crafts' "Bloom" set. Then I looked for a greeting that was basically oval in shape, & found this one from Stampabilities. I paired it with one of Spellbinders "Classic Ovals LG" dies. I needed to make an embossing diffuser, so the center portion of the panel would not be embossed. So I cut a piece of matboard to the same size as my watercolor panel, and used the oval die to cut a hole in the middle of the matboard piece. I spritzed the watercolor piece with water, to give a better embossed impression, and placed it in the embossing folder, which I taped shut. Then I taped my diffuser in place on top of the folder and ran it through my Grand Calibur die cutting machine.

I stamped my greeting in the non-embossed area using Brushed Corduroy Distress ink, and clear heat embossed it. Then I took 4 colors of gelatos in the yellow/orange/red family, and scribbled each on my non-stick craft sheet. I sprayed the embossed watercolor panel with water, and used my water brush to pick up the gelato colors. I spread the yellow around the center, then went on to orange, and finished with red. After hitting it with my heat tool to dry it, I went back in with another wash of the same gelatos to deepen the colors.

After it dried, I matted the watercolor panel on a piece of brown cardstock, matted that with a light teal cardstock, and mounted the whole panel to my card base.

With Heartfelt Sympathy

Yesterday, we heard that the infant son of a teacher my mom works with died. He had had major health problems basically since he was born late last year. But it's still always especially sad to hear when a child dies. So I made this sympathy card to send to the parents.

I used this Operation Write Home sketch as inspiration for my design:

I liked the idea of the 3 elements that increase in size coming down the card. Kind of a different take on the "rule of threes." I did make my card larger than an A2 size (about 5.5x8"), though, and die cut the right border.

I had a hard time choosing a patterned paper for the card front. I wanted something kind of solemn, but not too "heavy." I finally found a dark teal paper with a subtle grid pattern on it, and felt that would be perfect. I also wanted to use a butterfly stamp, mostly inspired by the annual butterfly release a local organization has for families who have lost children. I have a butterfly stamp set (though I don't know the manufacturer or name), and chose a small one from that for this card.

I decided, rather than hearts (mostly because I don't have heart dies), I would use scalloped circles. I chose 3 sizes from this Lifestyle Crafts die set. One was a little smaller than my stamp, so the butterfly wouldn't be totally visible. The other was slightly larger, so less of the butterfly would be cut off. Then the third would allow the entire butterfly to be seen. I felt this arrangement went perfectly with the "transformation" symbolism traditionally given to butterflies, as well as symbolize the transition of the soul from this world to the next.

Before I placed my circle dies, I went ahead and die cut the right edge of the patterned paper piece, which I had cut to the size of my card. I used a (now discontinued) Spellbinders Edgeabilites die set. After I die cut the edge, I placed and die cut my scalloped circles. I positioned that piece over my card base and lightly marked the position of the circles with a pencil.

I stamped the butterfly in each circle space on the front of the card base using Versafine Onyx Black ink, then clear heat embossed each one. I colored the wings with 2 shades of yellow-orange colored pencils, then blended with Gamsol on a paper stump.

I used a greeting from this digital stamp set by Doodle Pantry. I decided where I wanted it on the front of the card base, then marked that area with a pencil. I scanned that into my computer, and positioned the greeting using the scanned image as a guide. Then I printed the greeting directly onto the card base.

I cut the bottom section off the patterned paper panel. I cut a narrow strip of yellow cardstock, and glued it behind the patterned paper where I'd die cut the edge. I cut a strip from the patterned paper section I'd cut off, backed the die cut edge with the same cardstock, and glued it to the bottom of the card base. Then I positioned the larger portion above the greeting, and adhered it in place.

I'm entering this card in Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Emboss It" challenge.

Monday, July 28, 2014

So Special to Me

Lately, I've been on somewhat of a "one-layer card" kick. Granted, I have been doing ones with multiple layers as well. But the Hero Arts challenge now on their blog has gotten me experimenting with what techniques work well on one-layer cards.

For this card, I didn't use any particular sketch. Rather, I started by choosing the stamps I wanted to use, and then placing them on the card front to get a rough idea of what would go where. (Also, what would fit where!) I had not used any of the stamps from this Stampers Anonymous set before, and felt the bird and smaller flower would be perfect, especially combined with the greeting from this Hero Arts set. After playing around with the placement of the stamps, I decided to have a curved section at the top of the card, with some sort of pattern in it.

I began by blending Scattered Straw Distress ink over the whole card front, to give it a kind of parchment look. I cut a piece of copy paper to 4.25x5.5", the size of my card front. I drew a curve on it, and cut along that line, creating 2 masks. I first adhered the smaller piece to the top of the card with temporary adhesive. The I did my stamping. I stamped the flowers using Colorbox Putty Archival Dye ink. After stamping the first couple of flowers, I went ahead and stamped the greeting using Walnut Stain Distress ink, so I would know where not to stamp the flowers. Then I added one more flower next to the greeting. Finally I stamped the bird, also in Walnut Stain. I like the contrast between the darker greeting & bird and the lighter flowers.

After I finished my stamping, I removed the mask, and adhered the larger mask to the lower part of the card. I took this Prima stencil and taped it over the upper part of the card. Then I smooshed my Versamark ink pad through the openings in the stencil. After removing the stencil, I heat embossed that area on the card with American Crafts Zing! Clear embossing powder. I then blended Brushed Corduroy Distress ink over that area.

I removed the larger mask, and then did a technique called "iron-off embossing." I placed the card between sheets of copy paper, and ironed over the embossed area, to melt the embossing into the copy paper. This technique gives a nice, "how'd you do that?" effect. And that finished this elegant monochromatic card.

I'm also entering this card in the following challenges:

Operation Write Home's/Our Daily Bread Designs July challenge: "Things with Wings"
A Blog Named Hero's Challenge #48: "Sheet Cake"
a2z Scrapbooking Blog's July Linky Party: "Anything Goes"

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Can't Wait to Hug You Owls

The current challenge on the Hero Arts blog is to make a one-layer card. The last time I entered a one-layer challenge, participants were allowed to do a panel as their one layer, and then add that to a card base. This time, according to Hero Arts' rules, the card base IS your one layer. This kind of steps up the difficulty level, because you not only have to plan your visual "layers," you also have to be more careful not to get ink on the inside or back of the card! But I suppose, if there is no difficulty, there isn't much of a challenge.

I didn't use a sketch for this card. My vision was to create a tree effect on the front, with a "hole" for the owls and another for the greeting. I used Hero Arts "Li'l Hoot" stamp set for both the owls & greeting.

I cut a piece of copy paper to 4.25x5.5", to use both as a template for the card front & to cut the masks for the "holes." I laid out my design on this piece, and stamped the owls and greeting in place. I used a Spellbinders Classic Circles die to cut the hole sections from the copy paper. I applied repositionable adhesive to the back of the circles and the negative piece. I stuck the negative piece to the card front, to use as a guide on where to place the circle masks.

When I got the circles in place, I removed the negative, and blended Brushed Corduroy Distress ink over the whole card front. Then I inked up Hero Arts' "Designer Woodgrain" background stamp with Colorbox Chestnut Roan chalk ink. I placed the card front on top of the inked stamp, which I had back side down, and rubbed over the cardstock to transfer the ink. This method makes it easier to get a good impression from such a large image, rather than placing the stamp onto the paper.

When I removed the circle masks, I was a bit disheartened to find that some of the Distress ink had soaked through to the white cardstock underneath. So I had to change my plans just a bit. But first, in keeping with my original idea, I placed the negative mask over the card front, so I could stamp the owls without too much of the branch getting on the card front. Then I stamped them with Memento Tuxedo Black ink, and after removing the mask, colored them with colored pencils, blending with Gamsol and a paper stump.

To hide the bits of brown ink that had soaked through the circle masks, I ended up coloring the hole space around the owls with black colored pencil, and blended it with Gamsol. I added another layer of pencil, and blended that out to finish. For the greeting "hole," I just filled it in with black pencil and blended.

Since I wanted to heat-emboss the greeting, I first went over the area with an anti-static pouch to keep embossing powder from sticking where I didn't want it. I tested the area by sprinkling embossing powder over it. It stuck so I ended up having to wait a while for the moisture from the Gamsol to dry thoroughly. Finally, I repeated the process, and the powder didn't stick, so I went ahead and stamped the greeting in Versamark. I embossed it with Ranger Super Fine Detail white embossing powder.

I'm also entering this card in the following challenges:

A Blog Named Hero's Challenge #48: "Sheet Cake"
a2z Scrapbooking Blog's July Linky Party: "Anything Goes"

Happy Birthday!

This is my second birthday card for the little boy I spoke about in yesterday's post. I didn't use a particular sketch for this one. Rather, I recreated one that Kristina Werner did in Online Card Classes' "Insider" class that I took last year.

I made an extra-long tri-fold card by combining 2 top-folding cards. This way, it still folds down to fit in an A2 envelope. I started by stamping the balloons from this Mama Elephant set towards the top, using Ranger Archival Jet Black ink. I stamped the bunny so it looks like he's holding the balloons. Then I stamped the monkey and fox lower down on the card. I colored the images with Inktense pencils and blended the colors with my water brush. Finally, I stamped the greeting using Lawn Fawn's "Milo's ABCs."

I next stamped the balloons & animals on copy paper and fussy cut them. I also die cut several clouds using this set. I ran all the pieces through my Xyron Creative Station to add repositionable adhesive to the backs. Then I adhered all the masks.

Once my masks were in place, I took Tumbled Glass Distress ink and my Mini Ink Blending Tool and blended the ink over the whole card. I made sure not to make it a solid color, so it would look like a soft sky. When I finished that, I removed all the masks. I penciled in 2 lines going from the balloon strings down to the greeting, to give the monkey and fox something to hold on to, as well as tie in the greeting with the images. Then I went over those with a black fine-tip marker to finish off the card.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Elephant Bearing Gifts

I saw a post on Facebook earlier this week. A young boy with an inoperable brain tumor apparently likes to receive cards. So someone (a family member?) posted his picture, name, and address, and a request for people to send in cards for his birthday, which was yesterday. And no, this is not a hoax. (I did check it out, just to be sure.) Unfortunately, I didn't see this post until it was too late to get cards to him by his birthday. But I decided to make a couple to send, hoping he and his family wouldn't mind if they were a bit late. This is the first.

I based my design on this recent Operation Write Home sketch:

I flipped the sketch horizontally, and used narrower borders on the mats, but otherwise stayed pretty true to it.

I chose the elephant stamp from this new Spellbinders stamp set for the focal image. When I first saw this set when Spellbinders released it, it became a "have to get" item! And when I saw the request on Facebook for birthday cards, this elephant just seemed like the perfect image. I stamped him on a pale cream cardstock with Memento Tuxedo Black dye ink, and colored the image with colored pencils, using Gamsol to blend the colors. I stamped the greeting, from the same set, on a piece of that cream cardstock in Versafine Onyx Black ink.

I used 2 patterns from My Mind's Eye's "Boy Crazy" 6x6" paper pad. I matted the smaller piece, as well as the greeting and focal panels, with turquoise blue cardstock. Then I adhered the smaller patterned paper panel to the background paper. I determined where to place the greeting strip, and glued it down, adhering the focal panel over it. Then I mounted the whole front to an A2 card base. Finally, I used Ranger Multi Medium Matte to adhere a googly eye to the elephant, just for a humorous touch.

Even with coloring the elephant and gifts, and some time spent trying to decide what greeting to use, this card came together pretty quickly. I just hope the young recipient enjoys it.

I'm entering this card in Simon Says Stamp's Work It Wednesday: "Anything Goes."

Takin' It Easy

I've been having a ball in this year's Camp Scrap, led by our intrepid camp director, May Flaum. The "By Design" class sketch in Week 3 she calls "the strip." The basic premise is to take an element--my photos in this case--and span the width or height of your project.

I knew when I was planning this layout that I wanted to use this design, but didn't have any other ideas as to photos, theme, etc. I started by going through some of my photos, and came across these 3 that I had taken of two of our cats, Barney & Zipper, lying on my mom's bed. The fact that I had exactly three 4x6" photos from that moment--which would fill the height of a 12x12" layout--seemed like kismet! So I decided I had to scrap those.

I found a "cool cat" 12x12" sheet of vellum that I have had in my stash literally for years. I got a sheet of cream-colored cardstock, and adhered the vellum to it with tape runner, just under where the photos would go, so they would hide the adhesive. Then I stitched around the edges with our sewing machine. That gave it texture, but also served to attach the vellum to the cardstock without adhesive showing.

After I adhered the photos, I got to work on the title. I cut 2 scalloped circles using a Lifestyle Crafts nested die set, one from cream, and another from navy blue. I created the title in Photoshop, adding the paw prints above the words with the custom shape tool. I printed it onto the cream scalloped circle, and then inked around the edges with Frayed Burlap Distress ink. Then I matted that onto the navy blue circle.

I didn't feel the need for journaling, since the photos are pretty self-explanatory. So I just added Barney's & Zipper's names and the date to a cream die cut banner, and matted it with navy. Finally, I glued down the title and banner, and the layout was finished!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sending Smiles

Simon Says Stamp's current challenge on their Wednesday Challenge blog is "Spots and Dots." In going through my supplies, looking for something that would fit that requirement, I came across this stencil. Now, on its own, it has neither spots nor dots. But I thought I could combine it with the Tim Holtz "Dot Fade" layering stencil and get a cool effect. So that's what I went with.

For my design, I used this sketch by Operation Write Home:

I figured my butterfly would fit beautifully in the middle, over the 3 horizontal strips.

I started by sponging Spun Sugar Distress ink over the butterfly stencil. After that, I taped the "Dot Fade" stencil over the butterfly stencil, and pounced Peacock Feathers Distress ink through the holes. That made a neat pattern on the butterfly! I cut out the shape, excluding the antennae because I felt they'd be too fragile to manage, and inked around the edges with more Peacock Feathers.

For the background panel, I cut a piece of light teal Core'dinations cardstock to size, and embossed it with the Cuttlebug "D'vine Swirl" embossing folder. While the cardstock was still in the folder, I sanded the raised portions, exposing the lighter-colored core of the paper. (Keeping the cardstock in the folder helps give more support, so I don't squash the design while sanding.)

I chose dark magenta and light yellow cardstocks for the strips, cutting 2 of the magenta and 1 of the yellow. I found a piece of dark green cardstock in my scrap files, and used it to mat the teal panel.

After gluing the strips in place, I placed the butterfly and marked where the edges of the head went. Then I drew swirly antennae from those points, and pierced holes along the lines. I erased my sketch lines, glued the butterfly down to the card front, and re-pierced a few of the holes that were covered up by the wings. Then I took black embroidery floss and stitched the antennae. I didn't have any small black brads, so I colored 2 silver ones with black alcohol ink, to go at the ends of the antennae.

For the greeting, I stamped one from Hero Arts' "Shoot for the Moon" set in Ranger's Archival Jet Black ink onto a piece of vellum. I cut it into a strip, and ran it through my Xyron sticker maker machine to coat the back with adhesive. After I adhered it to the card front, I marked and stitched 3 small cross-stitches on either end. Finally, I mounted the whole front panel to an A2 card base.

I'm also entering this card in a2z Scrapbooking's July Linky Party: "Anything Goes."

Sunday, July 20, 2014

More than All the Stars

The current challenge at the Hero Arts blog is to do a one-layer card. For me, this is QUITE a challenge, because I'm a girl who does love her layers! But I decided to go for it anyway, so....

I based the design for my card on May Flaum's sketch from Week #3 of this year's Camp Scrap. She calls it "the strip," because it's just a strip of something across the width or height of a project. In this case, I decided to use the strip to house my greeting. But rather than put something down, since this IS supposed to be a one-layer card, I masked off a strip on the card front. I first used painter's tape, but ended up ripping my card when I pulled the tape off, so I switched to sticky notes for my masking.

To create the starry background, I used a portion of the Tim Holtz "Stars" layering stencil. Since it wasn't wide enough to cover the card front, I had to get creative. I first lined up the top portion, with the smaller stars, on the left edge of the card. Then I smooshed my Versamark ink pad through the stencil, and heat embossed with clear embossing powder. When the powder cooled, I lined up the stars on the left side of the stencil with the stars on the right side of where I'd embossed, and repeated with the Versamark and clear embossing powder for the remaining stars. Finally, I did this same process on the bottom, below the greeting strip.

After the stars were all embossed, I took Distress inks in Chipped Sapphire, Faded Jeans, and Stormy Sky, and blended them (in that order) from the top to the bottom of my card, still keeping the greeting strip masked off so it would remain white. Because of the clear embossing I'd done with the stencil, the stars resisted the ink.

Finally, for the greeting, I used one of the stamps from this set by Hero Arts. I stamped it in Versafine Onyx Black ink, then clear heat-embossed that as well.

I've discovered that one-layer cards, even though they can look simple, take more planning than layered cards. But I think I succeeded with this card. Hopefully an overseas hero will love it enough to write home to his/her significant other!

I'm also entering this in a2z Scrapbooking's "Anything Goes" July Linky Party challenge.

You Are Loved

This is my second card for the "Patriotic or Red, White, & Blue" challenge at Our Daily Bread Designs' blog. For this card, I decided to use ODBD's "Dahlia" stamp. The design was initially inspired by the "square in a square" sketch by May Flaum at this year's Camp Scrap. I stamped the flower on a larger piece of white bristol cardstock, planning to add the ribbon and greeting below it. Unfortunately, that panel got messed up a bit with ink (after I'd stamped & colored the flower, of course!). So I ended up fussy cutting the flower, and popping it up on a burgundy panel with foam adhesive. So it ended up not being exactly true to May's sketch, but at least I made it work.

For the greeting, I used one from this digital stamp set by Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. I cut a piece of bristol, and rounded the corners at one end with the 1/4" side of my Corner Chomper. Then I punched a hole in the rounded end to create a small tag. I sized the greeting and printed it on the tag.

I wanted to have the tag tied to the ribbon, but when I tried to tie the bakers twine around the ribbon, it just didn't look right. So I ended up tying a piece of white thread around the ribbon to bunch it up. Then I threaded the twine through the hole in the tag and tied it in a bow. Finally, I just glued the tag in place. I added a drop of Claudine Hellmuth's Multi Medium Matte under the twine and on the knot to hold them in place, and also on the ends of the twine, to keep them from fraying.

To finish the card, I cut a piece from blue cardstock to a standard A2 card size, then cut a piece of bristol slightly smaller. I adhered the blue piece to a card base, and rounded the corners with my 1/2" Corner Chomper. I rounded the corners of the bristol with the 3/8" Corner Chomper, and finally rounded the corners of the burgundy piece with the 1/4". This way, each panel fit nicely inside the next larger one. I adhered the white bristol piece to the blue, and glued down the burgundy piece to that. I will be sending this card to Operation Write Home, so a hero overseas can write home to a loved one.

Saturday, July 19, 2014


The current challenge at Our Daily Bread Designs' blog is "Patriotic or Red, White, & Blue." I prefer to use ODBD stamps for their challenges if possible, and didn't really have anything by them with a patriotic theme in my supplies. So I decided to go with the red, white, & blue color scheme instead. This is my first card.

I based my design on May Flaum's "square in a square" sketch, as featured in Week #2 of this year's Camp Scrap "By Design" class. Yes, I did an oval within a rectangle, but the principle is the same. (As a side note, if you have not registered for camp, I would highly recommend it! May is an excellent camp director, and the emphasis is on having fun. Registration is open for a couple more weeks, so head on over and go for it!)

I started by creating my background, since I knew it would take quite some time to dry. First, I die cut an oval from the center of a piece of blue cardstock, using the largest die from Spellbinders' "Classic Ovals" Nestabilities set, to create a frame. I got a Prima stencil and taped it over the frame. Then I smooshed some Chipped Sapphire Distress ink onto my non-stick craft mat, and used it to color some Liquitex Gloss Super Heavy Gel Medium. (I chose the Chipped Sapphire because it's a darker blue than the cardstock, to give a nice tone-on-tone effect.) I spread that over the stencil with a palette knife until I had a fairly thin, smooth layer. I carefully lifted the stencil, and set that piece aside to dry.

For the focal panel, I die cut & embossed an oval from watercolor paper, using the same die I'd used on the blue frame. I stamped the "Chicory" image from Our Daily Bread Designs onto that piece using Ranger Archival Jet Black ink, and colored it with Inktense pencils and a damp paintbrush.

After the gel medium on the frame panel had dried, I mounted it to a piece of burgundy cardstock, cut to 4.25x5.5". I glued my stamped oval piece into place in the frame's opening, and adhered the finished card front to an A2 card base. And there it is--an elegant card for a hero overseas to send home to his sweety!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Birthday Fishes

A friend of ours celebrates her 19th birthday this weekend. Since she has an aquarium and likes fish, I decided this card, which I found demonstrated in the "Digital Crafting Essentials" magazine, would be perfect for her. The pattern for the fish is the "Cute Fish" by Anna Marie Designs.

I cut the overall fish and small fins (for the side of the body) from blue glitter paper that I had in my scrap stash. I cut the body from a smooth silver cardstock, also from my scraps. I embossed the body with Cuttlebug's "Spots and Dots" embossing folder. I glued the body in place, and glued the small blue glitter fins on top. I cut the small fin accent pieces from the same silver cardstock, painted the backs with silver paint to cover the stark white, and scored the larger piece before gluing both in place. I set the fish aside to dry while I worked on the card front.

I wanted a watery-looking background, so I started with a mid-tone blue cardstock. I rubbed Picket Fence Distress stain over it in a swirling motion to lighten it and add a sense of movement. I painted the seaweed along the bottom of the panel with green acrylic paint. Then I used Heidi Swapp Color Shine spray inks in Teal & Seafoam; and Dylusions White Linen and Vibrant Turquoise sprays, until I got the look I wanted. Finally, to get the look of bubbles, I thinned down some white acrylic paint with water, then used a paintbrush to spatter some drops on the background. All this moisture made the piece pretty warped, so after it dried, I set it under a heavy book overnight to flatten out.

After the glue on the fish dried, I punched the eye from white cardstock using a 5/8" circle punch. I punched the pupil using a 1/4" hole punch, then glued it down in a slightly wonky position, to give the fish a bit of character. I glued the eye to the fish, and coated it with Glossy Accents to give it some shine and dimension.

I printed the greeting onto white cardstock, then cut it out & inked the edges with Salty Ocean Distress ink. After the card front panel had flattened, I adhered the fish and greeting strip with foam adhesive. I added a few silver sequins layered on blue sequins from Tree House Studio. Then I adhered the front to a card base with my ATG tape runner.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Spots & Dots"
Simon Says Stamp's Work It Wednesday: "Anything Goes"

Thursday, July 17, 2014


I must admit, I'm generally not into the whole "Christmas in July" mindset. When the big box craft stores start putting out their Fall AND Christmas decorations in late June/early July--when the temperatures are typically in the 90s (or higher) here in Texas--it tends to put me off. Having said that, I know that the early deadline for Christmas cards for Operation Write Home is October 10. And the way time seems to have been flying even faster than it used to, I know I should get started on those cards. I also will be making our Christmas cards to send to friends & family, and don't want to be rushing to do that at the end of November. So here is my very first Christmas card of 2014.

I have been participating in this year's Camp Scrap, led by May Flaum. One of the classes is on design. The first sketch/design concept May presented was the grid. So I decided to use that idea for this card. For the snowman, I used this digital stamp from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. I worked out the design in Photoshop, so I would know how large to make the snowman. Once I had sized him, I printed the image onto heavyweight white cardstock and colored it with colored pencils, using Gamsol to blend & smooth the colors in the larger areas.

I stamped the greeting, from the Clearly Besotted "Holiday Sentiments" set, using Hero Arts' "Navy" mid-tone shadow ink. For the small panel behind the snowflake button, I blended Tumbled Glass Distress ink over another piece of white cardstock. I chose the patterned papers from my stash. I cut the pieces based on the measurements in the sketch I'd done, and applied a small amount of glue to the back of each piece to hold them in place while I sewed.

After I machine-stitched all the pieces to the dark-green background, I glued the button down with Claudine Hellmuth's Multi Medium in matte so it wouldn't wiggle around, and stitched through the holes. Finally, I adhered the card front to an A2 size card base.

I'm entering this card in Sweet 'n Sassy Stamp's "Christmas in July" challenge.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Birthday Pop-up Box Card

I've heard that a current trend in card making is pop-up box cards. I've seen a few videos on YouTube and photos on Pinterest. Since my brother's birthday is coming up later this month, I decided to try making one for that.

I found this step-by-step tutorial by Dina Kowal through Pinterest. The fact that it gave measurements, photos, and I didn't have to watch and re-watch a video to get all the pertinent information (like measurements) appealed to me. I followed her instructions for cutting the pieces & constructing the box. Then came the fun (and sometimes frustrating) part--decorating!

I used a few sentiment stamps from both Simon Says Stamp's "Birthday Messages" and Sweet 'n Sassy Stamp's "Birthday Bash" sets, cutting those stamped pieces with a banner die from Spellbinders. For the "celebrate" banner, I white heat embossed the word, then blended Faded Jeans Distress ink over the banner. I colored each letter in the "wish" stamp from the "Birthday Bash" set with different colored markers, then stamped that onto white cardstock and inked the edges with Wild Honey Distress ink. I used Hero Arts mid-tone shadow ink in Navy to stamp the front-most sentiment, and inked the edges of that banner with Faded Jeans.

The "Happy Happy Bday" balloon is a set of 2 stamps from "Birthday Bash." I first stamped the silhouette stamp with Tumbled Glass Distress ink, then stamped the word image over that with Stampabilities Royal Blue pigment ink. After the ink dried, I fussy cut the balloon. I used the party hat stamp from that same set, heat embossing it with blue embossing powder over orange cardstock. As a finishing touch for that, I made a tassel from silver embroidery thread, covering the bottom of the tassel with circles punched from silver glitter paper.

I die cut 3 balloons using the smallest die from this set, and punched 5 stars with a Recollections 15/16" punch. To put everything together, I cut narrow strips of clear acetate, and glued one end of each strip to the back of each of the elements. I let that sit overnight to be sure the glue was thoroughly dry. Then I positioned and glued the other end of each strip to the inside of the box and dividers. I made sure, before the glue set up, that the elements would all be basically inside the card when it is folded and placed in an envelope.

Close-up of the decorations inside the card

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Let's be Clear" (used clear stamps & clear acetate strips)
Virginia's View Challenge #5: Die Cutting (die cut banners & balloons)
Simon Says Stamp's Work It Wednesday: Anything Goes

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Cocoa Hugs + Kisses

I made another card using May Flaum's "square in a square" sketch for the "Design" class in Camp Scrap. I stamped one of the images from the "Cocoa's Heart" set by Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps on a piece of white cardstock, using Colorbox "Putty" Archival Dye ink. I stamped a greeting from Hero Arts' "Year Round Sentiments" set underneath in Colorbox Chestnut Roan chalk ink, then die cut it with a Spellbinders "Scalloped Labels One" die. I colored the image with colored pencils, and used Gamsol on a paper stump pencil to blend the colors. I stamped Cocoa's head on another piece of white cardstock and colored it, then cut it out and adhered it with clear foam adhesive over his head in the original stamped image, just to give it some pop.

For the card front, I cut a piece of patterned paper from the My Mind's Eye "Adorbs" 6x6" pad, from their "Cut and Paste" collection. I adhered the focal panel in the middle of that piece. I punched 2 border strips from more white cardstock using a Fiskars border punch. Then I glued them to the top and bottom edges of the patterned paper. I finished by adhering the front to a standard A2 card base.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Virginia's View Challenge #5: Die Cutting
A Blog Named Hero's Challenge #47: Color It In
Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday Work It Wednesday: Anything Goes
Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Let's Be Clear" challenge (used clear stamps and clear foam tape)

Hydrangea Hugs & Kisses

This week's sketch by May Flaum in Camp Scrap is one she calls "square in a square." Granted, I used an oval in a rectangle, but the design principle is the same.

I began by stamping Hero Arts' "Hydrangea" stamp onto a piece of watercolor paper, using Ranger Archival Jet Black ink. The Spellbinders oval die I chose to use was not quite large enough to cut around the whole image, so I decided to use the "out of the box" die cutting technique. I laid my die over the image where I wanted to cut, then made small tick marks where the die crossed the sides of the bottom leaves. Then I trimmed around the ends of those leaves with my scissors, stopping at the tick marks. When I put the die over the image to cut it, I made sure those leaf sections stuck out above the die, so they would not get cut off. So most of the image remains on the die cut oval, but those little sections stick out. Hence the name, "out of the box."

I colored the hydrangea with Inktense pencils and water. After that, I inked around the edges of the oval with Faded Jeans Distress ink. For the banner, I heat embossed one of the greetings from this stamp set on a piece of white cardstock using Ranger Super Fine Detail White embossing powder. Then I die cut it using a banner die by Spellbinders, and blended more Faded Jeans ink over that.

I used one of the patterned papers from the Prima "Botanical Collection" 6x6" pad for the background. I glued the hydrangea piece on that, and then glued down the banner. I poked holes in the end of the banner, and inserted two Recollections silver heart brads. Then I mounted the whole front panel to an A2 card base.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Virginia's View Challenge #5: Die Cutting
A Blog Named Hero's Challenge #47: Color It In
Sweet 'n Sassy Stamp's Friday Challenge: Big Blooms

Rest Time

One of the classes I'm taking in this year's Camp Scrap is "Design." Each week, May Flaum, our intrepid camp director & instructor, gives us a sketch/design based on her best layouts. The sketch for Week 1 was a grid design. She used 4x4" photos in her sample, but I had only 3x4" photos, and one 4x6". But I still utilized the basic design she gave us to create my 2 page layout.

I shot these photos of our youngest cat, Barney, sleeping on my mom's lap while she was reading. You can't really see it in the photos, but the funny thing is, the book my mom was reading was one of Lillian Jackson Braun's "Cat Who..." book series.

I first laid out my photos on my kraft cardstock background. When I got them positioned like I wanted them, I took a photo of the layout, so I wouldn't have to remember where each photo went. (I learned this trick from Jennifer McGuire.)

I cut my circle elements using Spellbinders Standard Circles and Lacy Circles dies. I formatted the title in Photoshop, and printed it directly on a piece of patterned paper. I used the same patterned paper for the journaling spot & date. I also stamped a few miscellaneous images on that paper, and matted them with the slightly darker green cardstock that I'd used to cut the Lacy Circle mats.

After I adhered my photos, & title, journaling, and date blocks, I went around the perimeter with my We R Memory Keepers Sew Easy tool, using the Cross Stitch head. Then I stitched using a dark green embroidery floss. I finished up by gluing down the small images and several threaded buttons.

"Thick" and "Thin" Card Challenge

Another of the challenges for the Operation Write Home Virtual Card Making Party was to make a "thick" AnyHero card--to send a thank you note to a hero overseas--and a "thin" version, for a hero to write home on. AnyHero cards can be quite dimensional, since OWH just puts them in zipper bags in the shipping boxes. But the cards that our heroes send back home have to be pretty thin, so they do not have to pay extra postage to mail them.

For my cards, I made 2 versions using the same sketch from OWH:

For the "thick" card, the sample card from the challenge post inspired me to make rosettes for the circle elements. I also decided to go with a red, white, & blue color scheme.

Because of the size of my "thank you" stamp, I made a 2-inch rosette using the Tim Holtz "Mini Rosettes" die, to put in the center. Then I made 4 smaller rosettes to go around it. When I glued the rosettes to the backing pieces to keep them in shape, I had to put a somewhat heavy object on each to keep it flat. After that came the hardest part--waiting for the glue to dry!

For the background, I embossed a piece of white cardstock with the "A2 Tiny Stars" embossing folder by The Paper Studio, and mounted that onto a piece of the same dark blue cardstock I'd used for the blue rosettes and "thank you" piece. I stamped one of the borders from Mama Elephant's "Basic Borders" set onto a strip of red cardstock using Versamark ink, and heat embossed it with Recollections "Snow" embossing powder.

I threaded silver embroidery floss through the holes in 4 white buttons, and glued them to the centers of the smaller rosettes. I finished the card by gluing the rosettes in place on the embossed background, and gluing the red strip down the left side.

My second, "thin" card is basically the same design, using many of the same supplies. I substituted the Cuttlebug "Spots & Dots" embossing folder for the white background. Instead of the rosettes, I die cut scalloped circles using a Lifestyle Crafts die set. I glued the white circles, cut from The Paper Studio's "Pearlized Cardstock" mat stack, to the red and blue circles. After I'd assembled the card front, I felt the "faux rosettes" looked a little too plain, so I did some dots with a white gel pen on the red and blue cardstock circles, and red and blue gel pens on the white circles.

I'm entering these cards in Virginia's View Challenge #5: Die Cutting.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Grunge Hello Card

One of the challenges during Operation Write Home's Virtual Card Making Party over the July 4th weekend was to make cards for teenagers. You can read about this challenge at Becca W's blog. I also am participating in this year's Camp Scrap. One of the "classes" in camp is on mixed media. So I figured, what better than to combine this challenge with using mixed media?

I've had this "hello" die cut that was left over from another card sitting on my desk for about a month now. I decided the neon colors would be great for a card for a teen, especially paired with darker, "grungy" colors. Plus I wanted to use the inlaid die cut technique again.

While I didn't use a specific sketch for this card, I was inspired by this one from OWH:

I used the same type of angular composition. But because of the size of my die cut, I did it on a landscape-oriented card, rather than a portrait one as in the sketch. I also left out most of the strips.

I had die cut the hello from a piece of watercolor paper on which I'd painted bands with neon-colored watercolors. For this card, I first cut a piece of white cardstock to 4.25x5.5". Then I spritzed it with "After Midnight" Dylusions spray ink. I daubed Adirondack's Silver Acrylic Paint in three areas on this panel. Finally, I die cut the "hello" from that piece using this Simon Says Stamp exclusive die. I made sure to save the inside pieces from the letters for when I adhered the neon die cut.

I drew my angled cutting lines on the back of the die cut piece, and cut off the bottom portion along those lines. I cut another piece of white cardstock to the same dimensions as the first, then glued the top (die cut) portion of the inked cardstock to it. I lined up the bottom part of the inked cardstock piece, leaving a gap between the 2 sections, and glued it down, trimming off the overhang at the bottom.

To adhere the die cut hello, I applied glue with my Zig 2-way glue pen to the back and popped it in place on the card front, inside the cut-out space. Then I took the inside parts of the letters left over when I'd die cut the background, and glued them in place. I felt the white angled section was a bit too great a contrast, and drew the eye from the "hello," so I painted it with more of the silver acrylic paint. To finish, I just adhered the whole front to an A2 card base. Now I just hope a hero overseas will see this card and think immediately of writing to his/her teenager!

Sunday, July 6, 2014

His & Hers Card Challenge

One of the challenges issued during this weekend's Operation Write Home Virtual Card Making Party was posted by Sybrina K. on her blog. She challenged participants to choose one OWH sketch, & do a "his" and "hers" card using that sketch for both cards. Sounds easy, right? Well, I at least found this REALLY challenging! In fact, my first attempt used a different sketch entirely, and I recycled both those cards (or at least the parts I'd finished)!

I finally chose the following sketch for my cards:

For the masculine card, I decided to use the light bulb & one of the greetings from this Simon Says Stamp set. I cut a piece of white cardstock to the combined dimensions of the smaller panels (3-7/8x5-1/8"). I stamped the silhouette of the light bulb onto a piece of scratch paper, and cut that out to use as a mask on the cardstock piece. I positioned it, and stuck it down with temporary adhesive. I blended Weathered Wood Distress ink over the whole piece, and then placed the 6x6" Polka Dots stencil from Donna Downey Studios over it. I sponged more Weathered Wood ink over the stencil, to give a tone-on-tone effect. (I had gotten this idea from this post by Jennifer McGuire.)

After I finished stenciling, I removed the light bulb mask and stamped the outline bulb image there in black dye ink. I colored it in with colored pencils, blending them with Gamsol and a paper stump "pencil." I went over the heart with my clear Wink of Stella glitter brush marker, and sealed that in with a coat of Glossy Accents.

For the greeting, I blended Squeezed Lemonade Distress ink onto a piece of white cardstock, then stamped the greeting in Versafine Onyx Black ink. Once that dried, I traced around a Spellbinders Classic Ovals die, and then cut it out with scissors. (I had to do this because I couldn't directly die cut the right size of oval.) I inked the edges with Weathered Wood, and matted it with a slightly larger oval cut from white cardstock, to mimic the "mat" around the light bulb. I adhered all the pieces to a piece of black paper, then mounted that to an A2 card base. "His" card--finally done!

For the feminine version I stamped several images from this set in Versamark onto a piece of watercolor paper. I heat-embossed them with Ranger Super Fine Detail White Embossing Powder. Then I colored them in with Master's Touch watercolors. After the flowers & leaves dried, I wet the background areas of the paper and flooded them with a dark teal watercolor.

While that piece dried, I stamped the greeting from the same set onto white cardstock with Versafine Onyx Black, and die cut it with a Lifestyle Crafts scalloped-circle die.

After the watercolor panel dried, I cut it into the smaller panels indicated in the sketch. I cut a piece of very pale grey cardstock for the front, and glued the panels to it. I placed the smaller panels closer together than on the "his" card, so the flowers would "read" better than if they were placed farther apart. Then I glued down the die cut greeting and adhered the whole front to a card base.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Happy Birthday Balloons

This July 4th weekend, Operation Write Home is hosting a Virtual Card Making Party. The idea is that, every 2 hours, a different blogger will have a challenge to make one or more cards using a specific theme. One of the challenges, at the a2z Scrapbooking blog, is to make a card appropriate for a child, using paper piecing. So I decided to do a birthday card.

I used this sketch from OWH as the basis for my card:

I am not sure if the width measurement in the sketch for the long vertical piece is correct, since it looks proportionally narrower there, but I used that measurement for my card anyway. Hey, it works!

I used a stamp from this Hero Arts set for the balloons. I stamped just the balloons once on each of 3 patterned papers from My Mind's Eye "Boy Crazy" 6x6" paper pad, then cut each balloon out. I stamped the whole image, using the same black dye ink as I'd used on the patterned papers, onto a piece of white cardstock, and glued the patterned balloons in position over that.

For the greeting, I cut a piece of yellow paper with a subtle stripe pattern that I had in my scrap stash. I stamped the "Happy Birthday" from this set by Lawn Fawn in Versafine Onyx Black ink.

The paper for the vertical layer is from the same My Mind's Eye pad. I cut it to size, and adhered it to a piece of aqua blue cardstock. Next I adhered the greeting panel. I felt the contrast between the balloon panel and the rest of the papers was too stark, so I inked the edges of the white cardstock with Barn Door Distress ink. The I stuck that down, adhered the whole front to an A2 card base, and was done.

I'm also entering this in Simon Says Stamp's Monday "W is for White" challenge. (used white cardstock for the background of my paper piecing)

Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Perfect Pear

Camp Scrap 2014, a 6-week online event led by May Flaum, started this past Monday. She is leading/teaching 4 sections: art journaling, design/sketches, working with kits, and mixed media. One can register for just one or two sections, or take all four. I am doing all four. While I don't really do art journaling, I felt there might be techniques I could learn that I could then use in my card making & scrapbooking activities. Registration is still open, and I would highly recommend this camp!

Having said that, the first two days of camp I just got a horrendous case of crafter's block. Every time I'd go in to the craft room to make something, I would just feel totally overwhelmed, get stressed out, and leave. I spent my crafty time over those 2 days piddling--doing stuff like sorting cardstock by color. What a friend of mine calls "pulling weeds": necessary, and it gets something done. But it was still not exactly what I thought I should really be doing.

Finally, yesterday I thought of this week's "Anything Goes" challenge at Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps, and decided, come hell or high water, I was going to make a card for that. So I did. I took the sketch idea that May came up with for the first design session, and put my own spin on it. She basically used a grid design, and made her own card using a combination of rectangles and squares for the background. I recently got the "Custom Panels" die set by Avery Elle, and decided to use the angle die from that to cut the 4 panels for my card.

I used scraps of patterned papers in a green, yellow, and white color scheme for my card. The hardest part was actually working out the cutting angles for all the pieces. I worked on a piece of thin cardstock for my base, and cut and adhered my patterned paper pieces to that. I machine-stitched around each piece with black thread, much like May had done on her card, because I liked the contrast she'd achieved.

For the focal panel, I stamped the pear image from this SNSS set onto bristol paper using Memento Tuxedo Black dye ink, and again onto scratch paper. I cut out the second image, used it to mask the first, and then stamped again over the mask, to make the second pear look like it is behind the first. I colored them with colored pencils, and blended that with a paper stump dipped in Gamsol. I die cut that panel with a Spellbinders Standard Circles LG die, and inked the edges slightly with Wild Honey Distress ink.

I cut another piece from bristol paper using the smallest die from the Sizzix "Labels, Wavy" set, and then stamped the greeting onto that. I inked around the edges, again with Wild Honey.

I glued the focal & greeting panels in place, then matted the front panel with a piece of dark green cardstock; and layered that onto a piece of yellow-orange cardstock, cut to a standard 4.25x5.5" card size. I went over the eyes and mouths on the pears with a black gel pen, and coated the eyes with a little bit of Glossy Accents for some shine. Finally, I mounted it onto a card base, and I was done!

I don't know if I've totally broken through my block, but at least I was able to sit down and create something. And hopefully my creation will bring a smile to the face of one of our heroes overseas, and to the face of whomever s/he writes to!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Je t'aime

I've had this die set from Spellbinders for some time, and have not used it all that much yet. I decided, though, that I wanted to make an elegant card to send to Operation Write Home, and figured these dies would be perfect. This particular type of die doesn't cut, but instead embosses or debosses. So, if you want to die cut your designs, you do need the basic Nestabilities. But for this card, I used them only to emboss.

Because I knew I wanted an oval in the center of my card I chose this sketch from OWH:

I chose a lavender cardstock for my base, and lined up the dies, taping them in place in the middle of the cardstock piece. I ran that through my Grand Calibur, using the standard embossing sandwich. I wanted the opening in my cream cardstock frame to be right around the embossing, so I traced around the largest oval Nestabilities and cut it out with scissors. (Had I die cut the oval, there would have been a "gap" between the embossing & the opening in the frame.) I popped up the frame onto the lavender cardstock with foam adhesive. I felt the frame was a bit too plain, so I punched 4 hearts from the lavender cardstock and glued them in the corners.

I decided, for such an elegant card, I needed an elegant greeting. So I stamped one of the greetings from this Simon Says Stamp set in Versamark onto a piece of vellum. (Je t'aime means "I love you" in French.) I heat embossed it with Ranger Super Fine Detail White embossing powder. (I highly recommend this powder for detailed images, as it is a nice bright white and embosses beautifully.) I punched an embossed lavender heart using a Martha Stewart punch, and glued it over one end of the vellum strip. Then I glued the heart & strip to the card front, tucking one end of the strip under the frame to help hide the glue.

To finish the card, I coated the plain purple hearts in the corners with my clear Wink of Stella glitter brush pen, and then went over them with Glossy Accents. That not only gives them some sparkle & shine, the Glossy Accents also seals in the glitter so it won't rub off. Glitter that doesn't rub off is a requirement for OWH cards, since it can otherwise make our heroes visible to enemy night vision goggles, putting them in danger.

I'm entering this card in Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Anything Goes" challenge.