Sunday, May 31, 2015

Happy Father's Day!

I recently sent in my Father's Day cards to Send a Smile 4 Kids. The idea is that hospitalized children can have a nice assortment of handmade cards to give their fathers for Father's Day. This is one of my cards.

I've had "The Old Truck" image from Fred, She Said for a long time now, and have never used it. I decided it would be perfect for a Father's Day card. The license plate on the truck reads "Clunker," so I could just see a kid--especially a teenager--giving this to his/her dad, as a bit of humor! Because I wanted the image to be a good size, I chose Operation Write Home's Sketch #38:

I rotated the sketch 90 degrees, but otherwise remained true to the proportions & dimensions.

I added a greeting from this Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps set to the image, then printed it onto a piece of 140 lb. watercolor paper. I used my Inktense pencils to color the image, blending the color with a damp brush. I did print off one of the colored images that come in "The Old Truck" set, just to make sure I was painting everything correctly. I also started off pretty light with my colors, and had to make a couple more passes on the truck to get the deeper values. I used regular watercolors for the grass, flowers, and sky, since they didn't have to be so precise.

After my painting had dried, I inked around the edges of the focal panel with Vintage Photo Distress ink. I cut 3 strips of patterned paper, all from my scrap stash, to go behind the main panel. I adhered them to a piece of navy cardstock that I'd cut to 4.25x5.5", and adhered the watercolor panel over top. Finally, I mounted this to a white A2 card base. Even though it's a simple card, it took me quite a while to get the painting right. Otherwise, it came together pretty quickly.

I'm entering this card in the May "Watercolor" challenge at Live Love Cards.

Hello...Hi...What's Up?

Today is the final day to enter a2z Scrapbooking's "Anything Goes" challenge. I decided to do one more card for that.

This time, I began by choosing my stamps. I used Hero Arts' "Hello Grid" for the focal panel, and one of Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps' "Borders & Backgrounds" for the smaller panel. Based on those, I decided on Operation Write Home's Sketch #223 for my design:

I stamped the "Hello Grid" onto a piece of Strathmore Mixed Media paper. I wanted something heavy to take the watercoloring I was going to do, but with a smooth surface to capture the detail in the image. I then heat embossed it with Ranger Super Fine Detail White embossing powder, to create a resist. I did the same with the Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps border stamp, on a smaller panel of Mixed Media paper.

For the watercoloring, I used Distress ink mini ink pads in Mustard Seed, Picked Raspberry, and Peacock Feathers. I pressed the ink pads directly on the paper. I'll admit, it looked like a hot mess at this point! But I took my homemade Perfect Pearls spray and misted the bejeebers out of both panels. I used a dry paper towel to sop up some of the excess ink, to keep from creating mud. Otherwise, I just let it air dry for a while. I did end up zapping it with my heat gun, just to finish off the drying. I trimmed the focal panel right up to the heat embossed edge, and double-matted both panels with black & yellow cardstocks.

For the background, I decided on a teal cardstock, to play off the Peacock Feathers ink I'd used. To add a bit of interest between the panels, I die cut a row of dots with one of the dies from My Favorite Things' "Blueprints 18" set. I backed that with more yellow cardstock, and mounted both matted panels to the teal. Finally, I adhered the completed card front to a white A2-size card base. I have already sent this card on to Send a Smile 4 Kids. Hopefully, it will shine a light on a hospitalized child's day!

I'm also entering this in the May "Watercolor" challenge at Live Love Cards.

Merry Christmas--in May!

Ordinarily, I don't make Christmas cards this early in the year. I rail against the big box craft stores putting their Christmas stuff out in June. But, due to the fiasco last year--involving mailing cards on Christmas Eve(!)--I felt I should start a little earlier this year. Having discovered the Merry Monday challenge blog to provide inspiration, this will hopefully be relatively painless!

My first Christmas card for 2015 was inspired by Laura Bassen's lesson on Day 5 of Online Card Classes' "Mask-erade" class. She demonstrated "Masking Patterns." The theme of this week's challenge at Merry Monday is to use newsprint. So I decided to use Laura's technique on a tag that I made from Jillibean Soup's "4 Parts Hero" paper (which I believe is retired).

Instead of stamps, I combined Laura's lesson with one by Debby Hughes (also on Day 5 of class). I die cut snowflakes out of a piece of cardstock, using 2 of Spellbinders' "2013 Snowflake Pendant" dies. Then I layered that stencil over my tag, and smooshed Versamark ink through the snowflake cut-outs. I heat embossed that with Recollections Clear Detail embossing powder, and then inked over the entire tag with Festive Berries Distress ink. The embossed snowflakes resisted the ink, giving a neat two-tone look to the tag. I also punched a hole reinforcer from scrap cardstock, glued that to my tag, and punched a hole through with my 1/4" hole punch. Finally, I threaded brown & red baker's twine through the hole & knotted it.

I die cut my greeting ("Merry Christmas" by Simon Says Stamp) 3 times from brown cardstock. After running the die cuts through my Xyron Sticker Maker, I adhered them together, to create a thicker die cut. I adhered my tag to an A2-size cream card base using foam tape, then glued my greeting over that. To finish off my card, I glued down some red sequins (from Doodlebug Design) with Ranger Multi Medium Matte, and added dots of Diamond Stickles to the centers of the sequins, as well as scattered among them. Finally, I rounded the top right corner with my 1/2" We R Memory Keepers Corner Chomper.

I'm also entering my card in Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday Challenge: "Anything Goes."

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Floral Hello

On Day 2 of Online Card Classes' "Mask-erade" class, Jennifer McGuire had a lesson on "Masking a Scene." She used a butterfly die to create her mask, stamping inside the negative space with several little flower stamps. I chose to do something similar, but use a floral die instead.

I die cut my flower shape out of a piece of masking paper, using one of DoCraft's Xcut "Flower Bloom" dies. I stuck the negative of the masking paper onto a piece of white cardstock that I'd cut to 4x5.5". Using some of the stamps from both "Botanicals 2" by Paper Smooches & WPlus9's "Spring Blooms," I filled my cut-out area with images. (I also added a few dots here and there with one of the stamps from Essentials by Ellen's "Bokeh Dots" set.) The inks I used were mostly by Hero Arts: Butter Bar, Bubble Gum, Fresh Peach, Pool, Forever Green, & Green Hills. I also used Colorbox Chestnut Roan ink for the flower centers.

Once I had filled the area with my stamping, it was time for The Big Reveal. I peeled up my mask, revealing a large flower shape filled with smaller floral & leaf images. (In fact, when I showed this card to my mom, she thought that was all one big stamp! She almost wouldn't believe me until I pointed out how difficult it would be to get all those different colors in place.)

I chose my greeting from Hero Arts' "Dauber Bunch" stamp set. I stamped it in Versamark ink, and heat embossed it with Ranger Liquid Platinum embossing powder. To mat the focal panel, I cut a piece of white cardstock to 4.25x5.5", and smooshed Versamark along both long sides. Then I heat embossed that with Liquid Platinum, to tie it in visually with the greeting. Finally, I matted the focal panel with my embossed piece, and adhered the whole thing to an A2 card base. I will be sending this card to Operation Write Home in a couple of months, with my final package. (As a reminder, if you want to send cards to them, the final deadline for all cards is August 1, 2015. You can read more about that here.)

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Anything Goes"
Operation Write Home's May Challenge: "Embossing" (sponsored by Our Daily Bread Designs)

Friday, May 29, 2015

Starry Thanks

I've been participating in Online Card Classes' newest class, "Mask-erade." The theme, as the name indicates, is all about masking techniques. Laura Bassen had a lesson on Day 1 of class on "Ink Blending with Masks." Her lesson inspired my card.

I began by die cutting a star from a transparency sheet, using one of the Lifestyle Crafts "Nesting Star" dies. I initially tried just holding it in place when I was inking, but it kept slipping and the corners lifted up. So I ended up spraying the back with Krylon Easy Tack repositionable adhesive spray.

After cutting my cardstock to 4x5.25", I stuck the stencil down, and inked through it with Squeezed Lemonade Distress ink. After wiping the ink off the mask, I removed it, pivoted it slightly so it mostly overlapped the first star, and inked again with Mustard Seed. I repeated this process with Wild Honey, Spiced Marmalade, & Festive Berries Distress inks.

Once I'd finished inking, I removed my mask. I noticed I had a few inky "oops" on my cardstock, so I ended up trimming the panel to 4x4". 

I die cut the "thanks" from the panel with Savvy Stamps' "Thanks Script" die. I made sure to keep all the little pieces that went inside the letters. I applied a piece of Scor-Tape to the back of the panel, so the sticky side was exposed through the die cut negative.

I then die cut the "thanks" 4 more times from white cardstock. I adhered one of those in the negative space on my panel, and then stuck the little inside pieces (from the first die cutting) in place. I glued the next 2 white pieces over the first one, using my 2-way glue pen. That was getting a bit too messy, though, so I ran the final white piece and the colored die cut through my Xyron Creative Station machine. This applied a layer of adhesive to the backs. Finally, I adhered those in place, giving me a "camouflaged," dimensional die cut greeting.

Detail of greeting
To finish the card, I cut a piece of black paper to 4x4.25", and used that to mat the focal panel. I adhered that in place on my card base, which I'd cut to 4x5.5". I added a strip of yellow cardstock to the bottom, and did faux stitching lines with a fine-point black pen. I will be sending this in my final box to Operation Write Home, before their last deadline of August 1, 2015.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Two Father's Day Cards

I've been busy this week making Father's Day cards for Send a Smile 4 Kids. They generally prefer to have these by May 15, but the particular woman I send to hand delivers hers, so she can take them later. These are 2 of the ones I've made.

For my first card, I used one of the sketches that My Favorite Things has for their "Blueprints 13" die set. I first die cut the background panel from Strathmore Mixed Media paper. I stamped the "Highline Ironwork" background stamp by Hero Arts/Basicgrey using Versamark, then heat embossed that with Ranger Super Fine Detail White embossing powder. I used a technique I saw on OWHtv, by Sandy Allnock. Basically, I took Distress inks in Forest Moss, Frayed Burlap, Stormy Sky, and Weathered Wood, and smooshed them directly onto my background panel. Then I sprayed it liberally with plain water. I discovered that you do NOT want to sop up the water with a paper towel too soon, because it will take most of the color with it. (Unless you want a more pastel look, of course.) So I did have to reapply the ink and spray it again. This time, I set it aside to air dry, while I worked on the other elements.

I die cut the 2 banners from patterned paper scraps that were on my desk. I adhered the ruler one on top of the blue, making sure that the "Evers Hardware Inc" text would be visible. I did have to cut off the left edge to get it to fit on the card front, but thankfully that did not affect the text too much. I then die cut the blue pinked circle & the white circle from cardstock. I scanned the white circle into my computer, and used Photoshop to add a text layer to that image, then printed the "#1 Dad" directly onto the circle.

By this time, my background was dry. I adhered my banner piece, but felt the greeting circle needed a little something else to make it pop. So I die cut another white circle with a Spellbinders "Standard Circles LG" die, and glued the 3 circles together, then adhered them to the card front. I die cut a white star, and glued that in the upper right corner. Finally, I mounted the panel onto a white A2 card base.

For my second card, I turned to Operation Write Home's Sketch #203:

I stamped the bears--from Hero Arts' "Lil Hoot" set--onto a scrap of 140 lb. watercolor paper, using Ranger Archival Jet Black ink. I did stamp off once on scrap paper first, so I would only get a grey outline. I colored both bears with a Neutral Grey Inktense pencil, using a damp brush to blend the color. I then went back with a black marker, to put the eyes and mouths in. I felt the baby bear's features were a little too "heavy" then, though, so I ended up stamping and coloring him again. I fussy cut him out, went around the edges with a grey marker, and glued him in place. I did take a fine-point black pen and go over his features, making sure not to be so heavy-handed this time! Finally, I used a Spellbinders "Standard Circles" die to trace around the bears, and cut that out.

I cut a piece of green cardstock as per the sketch, and cut 3 banners from patterned paper scraps, then glued them in place. I cut a piece of blue cardstock, and printed one of the greetings from this set by Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps onto it. I matted it with navy cardstock, and also die cut a circle from navy to mat the focal panel. Finally, I glued the greeting to the focal panel, and popped all that up with foam tape. I double-matted the background, added some Glossy Accents to the bears' eyes & noses, and this card was done!

I'm entering both cards in a2z Scrapbooking's May "Anything Goes" challenge. I'm also entering the "bears" card in May's watercoloring challenge at Live Love Cards.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Red, White, & Blue--Missing You

Operation Write Home, a charity that has supported heroes with handmade cards since 2007, will be closing later this year. All cards need to be sent in by August 1st, so I’m helping to get the word out! This is GOOD news, because it means there are not enough troops overseas who need cards to send home. Rather than communicating across thousands of miles, they are (or soon will be) able to communicate with their loved ones across the dinner table! I have created a card for this, OWH's final Memorial Day Bloghop.

I began by choosing one of their bonus sketches:

I used patterned papers from the "Red White & Blue" 6x6" pad by We R Memory Keepers, Simple Stories' "SN@P Color Vibe" 6x6" pad, and my scrap stash. I cut most of them into 1.5" wide strips, then punched the long edge with the "Arched Lattice" border punch by Martha Stewart. I added a strip of dark blue cardstock behind the punched area on each strip, and trimmed that to follow the curves of the punched edge. Then I adhered the strips so they completely covered a piece of white cardstock cut to 4x5.25".

I stamped one of the greetings, from this Hero Arts set, in Versamark ink onto a piece of red cardstock. After white heat embossing it, I cut it in a circle, and matted it with a circle of white cardstock. I inked the edges with Salty Ocean Distress ink, and adhered it to the card with foam tape.

***Added note: I forgot to mention that you can return to the top of the hop, at the OWH blog, by clicking the #FinishingStrong graphic at the top of this post. I apologize for any confusion!***

I'm also entering this card in a2z Scrapbooking's "Anything Goes" challenge.

Friday, May 22, 2015

What's New?

a2z Scrapbooking is having an "Anything Goes" challenge this month on their blog. I created this card, which I will be sending on to Send a Smile 4 Kids, for that challenge.

For my design, I turned to Operation Write Home's Sketch #229:

Rather than doing the circles & layers, I chose to use the stitched circle die from My Favorite Things' "Blueprints 15" set. After stamping a piece of kraft cardstock with Hero Arts' "Designer Woodgrain" stamp, using Colorbox Chestnut Roan chalk ink, I die cut the 6 circles.

I stamped 3 of the critters from Hero Arts' "Woodland Creatures" stamp set onto white cardstock, using Memento Tuxedo Black ink. I colored them in with colored pencils, using mostly warm grey tones, with touches of pink for the cheeks on the porcupine and squirrel, and the nose and ears of the raccoon. After gluing them in place, peeking out of 3 of the holes, I did end up blending the colored pencil with Gamsol on a paper stump, just so they wouldn't look quite so rough.

I had originally intended to have a critter peek out of each of 5 of the circles, with the greeting in the sixth. But I ended up not having enough critters, so after backing the die cut piece with a piece of darker brown cardstock, I replaced 2 of the die cut circles. I stamped the greeting, from "Woodland Creatures," in the remaining circle, and heat embossed it with Ranger Super Fine Detail White embossing powder.

After cutting a strip of patterned paper from my scrap stash for the border strip, I adhered that and the main panel onto a piece of tan cardstock. Finally, I adhered the completed card front to an A2 card base.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Just Chicken In

Ellen Hutson is having their May Mix-It Up challenge at their CLASSroom blog. Participants are to combine one or more Essentials by Ellen products with product(s) from Avery Elle in their project. I used the chicken from the "Twelve Days" stamp set and the "Just Chicken In" greeting from the "12 Days Companion Greetings," both by Essentials by Ellen. I paired them with one of the stamps from Avery Elle's "Rounded Diamonds" set.

I started by cutting a piece of white cardstock to 4.25x5.5". After much thinking about how to stamp the motifs for my background, I finally figured it out. I used my MISTI to help with positioning my stamp. I decided to do rainbow order, so chose Hero Arts Shadow inks (from top to bottom) in Pale Tomato, Fresh Peach, Butter Bar, Green Hills, Pool, and Soft Lilac. Once I had my background stamped, I trimmed it down to 4x5.25", and die cut the bottom edge with one of the dies from Avery Elle's "Custom Panels" set. Then I had to figure out what to do with my newly-created background!

I cut another piece of white cardstock to 4x5.25", and adhered my die cut background to the top of that. I decided to stamp the chicken & greeting on the lower part, but they just seemed a bit too small. So I ended up getting the stitched rectangle die from Mama Elephant's "Femme Frames" set (I believe this is discontinued now), and die cut the whole panel. Then I decided that I needed more contrast between the stamped panel and the white, so I die cut a piece of black paper with the same curvy die I'd used on the stamped piece. I lifted the bottom of the stamped panel (CAREFULLY) from the white base, and slipped my black piece underneath, so only a thin sliver peeked out. Once I had everything lined up, I glued all that down, and trimmed off the overhanging sides of the black strip.

I was tempted to stamp the chicken and greeting in Versafine Onyx Black ink. But, since I planned to color the chicken with colored pencils and Gamsol, I didn't want to risk the Gamsol smearing the ink, so I used Memento Tuxedo Black dye ink instead. The greeting didn't stamp very well the first time, so I removed the chicken from my MISTI, and did re-stamp the greeting with the Versafine. Finally, I colored the chicken and phone with colored pencils, though I ended up not using Gamsol after all!

To finish off the card, I die cut a piece of black paper with the stitched rectangle die from My Favorite Things' "Blueprints 13" set. I also cut a piece of yellow cardstock to 4.25x5.5". I adhered my main panel to the black, and then adhered that to the yellow. Finally, I mounted everything to a white A2 card base. I will be sending this card to Operation Write Home.

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

Virginia's View Challenge #14: "Layers & Dimensions"
Simon Says Stamp's Work It Wednesday: Incorporate something yellow

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Happy Mother's Day, Mama!

Amid all the flurry of making cards for Operation Write Home & Send a Smile 4 Kids, I took some time out to make 2 cards for my mom--one from me (and our 3 cats), and one from my brother & his wife.

I used the "Birds & Roses" digital stamp by Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps for my first card. After sizing it in Photoshop, I printed it on a piece of 140 lb. watercolor paper. I colored the image with my Inktense pencils & a damp brush, using regular watercolor to paint in the sky. Finally, I die cut the panel with a Nesting Scallops Circle die by Lifestyle Crafts.

For the background, I trimmed a piece of patterned paper from Fancy Pants Designs' "Burlap & Bouquets" 6x6" pad. Because my card was a little longer than my patterned paper, I actually cut 2 pieces--one larger and one strip for the bottom--and covered the seam with a piece of white satin ribbon from Michael's. After adhering my background paper and focal panel to my card base, I cut a slit in the fold of the card, threaded the ribbon through it, wrapped it around the card front, and tied it in a bow.

I die cut a tag using one of the "Stitched Tags" dies by Pretty Pink Posh. I masked off all the edges, up to the stitching lines, and then inked the inner portion with Broken China Distress ink. I sized a greeting from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps' "Mother's Day Sentiments" digital stamp set, again in Photoshop, and printed it directly onto the tag. Finally, I punched a hole in the top, threaded through some baker's twine by Queen & Co., and tied it around the bow on the front of the card.

My second card I made for my brother & his wife to give to our mom. They are both REALLY into airplanes, so I decided to make a card with that theme. I started by die cutting a piece of blue cardstock with the largest of Lawn Fawn's "Large Stitched Rectangles." After securing the "Rays" stencil by Tim Holtz over that, I daubed yellow paint through the openings in the stencil. It took a few times going over it to get good coverage, but it was worth it.

I die cut a piece of white cardstock using the same rectangle die as the background, to have the faux stitching around the sides & bottom. I then die cut my clouds from that piece using dies from both the "Landscape Trio" set by Mama Elephant and Pretty Pink Posh's "Stitched Borders 2" set. I inked both with Mustard Seed Distress ink, adding some Wild Honey towards the bottoms for variation. Then I adhered them to the bottom of my main panel, using foam tape under each layer. I was happy to get to build up dimension, since this card would be hand-delivered. I don't get to do that much for cards that will be mailed!

For the plane, I used the larger of Simon Says Stamp's "Small Planes" dies (discontinued), cutting it from red cardstock. I hand-cut a banner from white cardstock for the greeting. After scanning the banner into my computer, I opened the image in Photoshop. I chose another greeting from "Mother's Day Sentiments," and layered it over the banner image. I used the warp tool in Photoshop to make the straight line of text curve, roughly conforming to the shape of the banner. Finally, I printed it directly on the banner.

After gluing the plane on the background panel, I then adhered the banner. I used glue in certain places, and popped others up with foam tape, just to give it even more of a "wavy" appearance. Finally, I poked holes at the one end of the banner and on either side of the plane, near the tail, and threaded red pearl cotton through the holes, to "tie" the banner to the plane. I finished by mounting the whole panel on an A2 card base. The sentiment inside is a quote by Lisa Alther: "Any mother could perform the jobs of several air traffic controllers with ease." :)

I'm entering these cards in Virginia's View Challenge #14: "Layers and Dimensions."

Friday, May 15, 2015

1 Sketch, 2 Very Different Cards

Catch the Bug challenge blog is currently having their "Stella Says Sketch" challenge #309. The idea is to create a card inspired by the sketch they posted:

I ended up creating 2 cards, one for a boy and the other for a girl, to send to Send a Smile 4 Kids.

For my first card, I was inspired by this card by Dawn Frost. I liked the way that she had the boy's legs extending beyond the bottom of the panel.

I printed Bugaboo's "Kidz--Sitter Music" onto a piece of 140 lb. watercolor paper. I colored him with Inktense pencils, using a damp brush both the pick the color off the pencils and apply it to the paper, and to blend out the colors. After I had finished coloring him in, I painted the background with regular blue watercolor. Finally, I trimmed off the bottom of the panel, except for his legs, which I fussy cut around.

I chose 2 patterned papers from Kaisercraft's "Technologic" 6.5" square paper pad. I die cut the black paper with the largest of Simon Says Stamp's "Stitched Rectangles," and trimmed the red paper into a strip. I punched one end of the strip with the "Binder Edge" edger punch by EK Success. I die cut the other end with one side of the "Stitched Rectangles" die, to maintain the faux stitching along the edge. Finally, I glued that in place, and adhered the focal panel on top.

I didn't have a ready-made greeting that I felt would work, so I created my own on the computer. I printed it on a piece of grey cardstock, cut it in a banner shape, die cut the end with the "Stitched Rectangles" die, and glued it on the background. Finally, I matted the whole thing with a dark red cardstock, and adhered it to an A2 card base.

I used Bugaboo's "Fancy Sunbonnet Flowers" digital image for my other card. I also printed that on 140 lb. watercolor paper, and used my Inktense pencils and watercolor to color the image and the background, respectively. Once that dried, I matted it with navy blue cardstock.

For the banner, I cut a strip of patterned paper from Fancy Pants Designs' "Burlap & Bouquets" 6x6" pad, and punched the bottom edge with the "Scallop Sentiment" border punch by Fiskars. I die cut the background panel from a piece of patterned paper from the same pad, again using the "Stitched Rectangles" die. I also die cut the top of the banner strip; again, to have the faux stitching. I adhered the banner in place, and glued the focal panel on top of that.

I chose one of the greetings from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamp's "Colorful Sentiments" digital stamp set. I printed it on a piece of cardstock, cut it to size, and punched one end with the "Scallop Sentiment" punch. I also die cut the other end with the "Stitched Rectangles," before adhering it in place. Finally, I matted the finished panel with green cardstock, and adhered it to an A2 card base.

I'm also entering these cards in the following challenges:

Simon Says Stamp's Monday "Simon Brand Products"
Virginia's View Challenge #14: "Layers & Dimension"
Catch the Bug's Theme Challenge: "In the Garden" (2nd card only)

Happy Mother's Day Cascade Card

My brother asked me to make a Mother's Day card for a friend of ours, who is kind of a second mother to him. I wanted to make something a little fancy for her, so I went through some of my pins (of other people's cards) on Pinterest, looking for ideas. I came across one of a cascade card, and thought that would be perfect. I also found this video on YouTube, which gave me the visual step-by-step directions I needed.

I created my base from 2 pieces of green cardstock, cut per the instructions in the video. Then I cut several pieces of patterned paper from the "Unforgettable" 6x6" pad by My Mind's Eye (part of their Collectable collection). To keep it straight what papers went where, I temporarily assembled the card base, and numbered the panels. Then I took it apart again, and adhered the patterned paper pieces in their proper locations.

For the greeting, I die cut & embossed a panel from white cardstock, using one of Spellbinders' "Labels 18" dies. With the cardstock still in the die, I inked the center portion with Spun Sugar Distress ink, just to give it a little added interest.

I had seen this video by Kristina Werner, where she talked about printing computer-generated text--or a digital greeting stamp--in a very light color, and then going over it with a pen by hand, to give it a hand-lettered look. She pointed out that was also a good way to change the color of the text. Sine I used one of the greetings from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps' "Mother's Day Sentiments" digital stamp set, which is only available in black, I decided to try this. So I scanned the greeting panel into the computer, and opened that image in Photoshop. I superimposed the greeting over the label image, and reduced the opacity of the greeting layer, effectively changing it to a very light grey. Then I printed it directly onto the label, & went over the letters with a rose-colored gel pen. Finally, I glued the greeting label in place on the front of the card.

Angled view of the card
I felt the upper edges needed some embellishing, so I decided to punch some more green cardstock with a border punch, then cut that into strips and glue them on the card. Well, best laid plans and all, it didn't work. I'm not sure if it was the high humidity we've been having affecting the paper, but the punch tended to fray the paper more than punch it cleanly. So I ended up getting some lace trim at Hobby Lobby, and glued that to the upper edges of the card instead. I think it came out at least as well, if not better!

I adhered a piece of white cardstock to the back side, to give my brother & his wife a place to sign the card. Of course, I had to explain to them how the card "worked," when they took it out of the (unsealed) envelope to sign it! My mom & I delivered it (and the tree my brother had gotten for her) to our friend on Mother's Day. She loved both the tree AND the card!

I'm entering my card in Virginia's View Challenge #14: "Layers & Dimensions."

Monday, May 11, 2015

Celebrate--with Cake!

The current challenge at Virginia's View challenge blog is "Layers & Dimension." I decided to make a birthday card to send to Operation Write Home.

I began by choosing OWH's Sketch #206:

I thought the cake from the "Wish Big" stamp set, designed by Julie Ebersole, would fit perfectly in the smaller circle, surrounded by the "celebrate" from the same set. I die cut and embossed both circles with dies from Spellbinders' "Standard Circles LG" & "Standard Circles SM" sets. I stamped the cake on the smaller circle using Ranger Archival Watering Can ink, and colored it with watercolor pencils & a damp paintbrush. It was at that point that I realized I'd forgotten to leave room to stamp the candles on the cake! Rather than start over, I penciled in some lines from the top of the cake, poked a hole at either end of each line, and stitched the candles with embroidery floss in 4 different colors. I added the flames with a gold gel pen, and applied small dots of Glossy Accents over each flame. Problem solved--whew! :)

To stamp the "celebrate" around the larger circle, I used my MISTI and one of the templates created by a stamper named Cyndie, shared on this blog post. I curved the stamp slightly, and stamped it a few times around the larger circle, using Versafine Onyx Black ink and overlapping the ends slightly to make it look like one continuous stamp. Then I set that aside while I worked on the rest of the card.

For the background, I embossed a piece of green cardstock with the Cricut/Cuttlebug "Juli's Garden" embossing folder. I matted that with a darker green cardstock. I cut a piece of patterned paper from my scrap stash for the panel on the right side. I matted it with magenta & blue cardstocks, before adhering it--partially over the larger circle--onto the background. I glued the smaller circle on top, and finally mounted the entire thing to a white A2-size card base.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Two Graduation Cards

The son & daughter of a friend of ours are graduating this weekend; he from high school, and she from junior college. Since we are giving them each a gift card, I decided to create cards to go with those.

The inspiration for my first card came from a tutorial on for a "Free-standing Pop-up Card." I had seen a similar card recently on Dawn Olchefske's blog, and substituted her measurements for a landscape-oriented card for the measurements in the tutorial from Splitcoaststampers.

I used 2 patterned papers from BasicGrey's "Hey Girl!" 6x6" pad for the box part of my card. After cutting & scoring the green cardstock piece per the instructions, I glued the patterned paper strips in place. For the tag, I cut a piece of 140 lb. watercolor paper to size. I pressed Distress ink pads in Picked Raspberry, Seedless Preserves, and Mermaid Lagoon onto my non-stick craft mat, the spritzed the ink with my homemade Perfect Pearls mist. I dipped and smooshed the watercolor paper into the puddles, until I had the look I was after. Finally, I dried that with my heat tool. I stamped & white heat embossed the greeting onto a piece of vellum cut slightly smaller than the background piece, and stitched that to the watercolored panel. I matted that with a piece of pink cardstock.

The card fully opened
As a finishing touch, I created an envelope out of vellum with my We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board, to house the gift card. I adhered it to the bottom of the tag, and then finished assembling the card.

I created my second card based on a tutorial on Debbie Henderson's blog. She had done hers from an 8x8" piece of cardstock for the base. I had a larger image for the center panel, so I went with a 12x12" sheet, scaling her measurements up for the panels.

After scoring & cutting the base according to her instructions, I cut 4 patterned paper pieces using one of the patterns from Fancy Pants Designs' "Burlap & Bouquets" 6x6" pad. I adhered them in place, and did likewise with the green cardstock mats for the other panels. I cut 4 small squares of white cardstock & one large one for my focal panel. I used Hero Arts Navy Mid-tone Shadow ink to stamp the lighthouse (by Inkadinkado), loons (source unknown), and anchor (by Our Daily Bread Designs) on their respective squares. I then inked all the white squares with Antique Linen Distress ink, to help them tie in color-wise with the arrow patterned paper a little better.

For the inside sentiment, I scanned the focal panel into my computer, then opened that image in Photoshop. I used the quote, "Go in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined!" for my sentiment. (Although attributed to Henry David Thoreau, it's actually misquoted from "Walden." He wrote something similar, but not those exact words. Oh well--it works anyway!) I typed it onto the image layer, and arranged the words above the lighthouse. Finally, I printed the sentiment directly on the panel.

I die cut a tag from white cardstock using one of Pretty Pink Posh's "Stitched Tags" dies. I inked it with Antique Linen, punched a hole in the top, and printed the greeting I created in Photoshop onto it. I punched holes in the corners of the card front panels, and threaded some jute twine from The Paper Studio through. After stringing on the tag, I tied the card shut.

I'm entering both cards in Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Anything Goes" challenge.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Just for You

Send a Smile 4 Kids' current challenge theme is "Birthday Fun 4 Kids." I decided to create one more card for this.

I began by cutting a piece of Strathmore Multimedia Paper for my focal panel. I stamped the turtle & elephant from Spellbinders' "Your Day" stamp set in Ranger Archival Jet Black ink, to form a "parade." I then colored the images with Inktense pencils, using a damp brush to blend the colors.

Once the images were dry, I coated them with masking fluid, and set it aside to dry. When the masking fluid was completely dry, I masked off the bottom part of the card with painter's tape, and inked the sky area with Tumbled Glass Distress ink. When that was done, I masked off the top area, and inked the grass with Mowed Lawn Distress ink. I added shadows under each critter by applying more ink with a cotton swab. Then I removed the masking fluid.

I had a hard time figuring out where to place the greeting. I thought about centering it above the elephant. But since the elephant is not dead center, it just looked wrong. So I finally figured, if I wasn't going to put the greeting in the middle, I needed to make it well off-center. So I ended up stamping towards the left side of the card, again using Archival Jet Black ink, to match the black in the images.

I matted the focal panel with yellow cardstock, then red glitter cardstock, and finally teal, before adhering it to my 5.5x8.5" card base. As a finishing touch, I added some clear Wink of Stella shimmer to the gift boxes, and googly eyes to each critter.

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

Simon Says Stamp's Monday "Anything Goes"
Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Anything Goes"