Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Two Christmas Cards

I'm getting down to the finish line on our holiday cards--FINALLY!!!! These are 2 more that I made.

For my first, I took inspiration from one of Debby Hughes' lessons from Online Card Classes' "Holiday Card Workshop 2014." (OCC is not having a holiday card class this year, so I pulled this one out of my vault.) I die cut a tag from 140 lb. watercolor paper with Pretty Pink Posh's "Stitched Duo 3" die. I stamped the greeting, from "Very Merry Christmas," (apparently retired) and a crystal from "Christmas Crystals" (both Hero Arts sets) in Versamark onto the tag, and heat embossed with Ranger Liquid Platinum. I also added a line from the top of the crystal to the "M" with a fine-tip glue pen, and heat embossed that. I wet the tag with plain water, and used it to soak up Festive Berries Distress ink, which I'd applied to an acrylic block and watered down. I was going for a "dyed" look, but may have gotten a little carried away with the ink. I think it still looks good, though! :)

I created a tag reinforcer by punching some red cardstock with a 1/2" circle punch. I glued that to my tag, let the glue dry, and punched through both layers with a 1/4" hole punch. I backed my tag with fun foam, to give some dimension.

For the background, I cut a mat from white cardstock, and inked around the perimeter with Festive Berries. I let that dry, then adhered a piece of patterned paper from my scrap stash. I had rounded the patterned paper's corner with the 1/2" side of my Corner Chomper, to mimic the curve of the tag and give that area a bit more finished look. I adhered my tag, and mounted the card front to a white A2 card base. Finally, I rounded the upper corner of the base/mat.

I used Sketch #SC571 from for my second card design. I printed the "Gingerbread House" digi image from Jane's Doodles onto a piece of Canson XL Mixed Media Paper, and colored it with my Prismacolor colored pencils. I fussy cut the image, and glued it to a piece of blue cardstock. I used a white gel pen to add dots to the background.

For the Polaroid look, I cut a piece of white cardstock to the size in the sketch. I also cut a piece of black cardstock, and layered it behind the white, slightly offset, to give a shadow look. I stamped my greeting, from Lawn Fawn's "Deck the Halls" set with Colorbox Chestnut Roan chalk ink. I added another piece of black behind my focal image, and then adhered that to the white mat.

I cut a piece of kraft cardstock to 4.25x5.5", and inked around the edges with Tea Dye & Gathered Twigs Distress inks. I wanted to give a "slightly-burned gingerbread" look to the background. I adhered my main panel to the background, added some striped washi tape pieces to create the look of a taped-up photo, and mounted it to a white A2 card base. I added a bit of sparkle to the gumdrops with my clear Wink of Stella pen, and Diamond Stickles to the frosting on the roof, chimney, & trees.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


I am so happy with how this card turned out! I got the "Stain Glass Nativity" stamp from Hero Arts (discontinued) at Michael's last year, and had never inked it up. I was going through my holiday stamps recently--again--and came across this one. I decided it was finally time to make it into a card.

I stamped the image with Versafine Onyx Black ink onto a piece of Strathmore Smooth Bristol paper, and heat embossed it with Recollections Clear Detail embossing powder. Then I colored it with my Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers. I did do a tiny bit of shading on the faces, but otherwise kept the colors flat, to mimic the look of stained glass. When I finished coloring, I fussy cut the window out.

Then--what to do for a design??? I knew I wanted to keep it simple, to let the image shine, but I wasn't sure exactly what direction to take. So I pulled out a white A2 card base, just to see what sort of area I had to work with. I do this sometimes, since it helps me visualize the space better.

I decided to use Simon Says Stamp's "Christmas Blessings" die for the greeting. I backed gold glitter paper with black fun foam that I'd applied Stick It adhesive to. I applied more Stick It to the other side of the foam, and die cut the words. In the end, I felt like the "Christmas" was just crowding the design. It also seemed kind of redundant anyway, since the image is a nativity scene. So I left off the "Christmas" word, and just kept "Blessings."

I cut a piece of dark blue cardstock to 4.25x5.5". I wanted there to be kind of a glow around the window, so I inked around the perimeter of my cardstock with Chipped Sapphire Distress ink. I followed that with Black Soot Distress ink, to increase the contrast even more. I adhered my window to the panel, and put my greeting below it. Finally, I mounted the panel to my white card base.

I'm entering this card in A Blog Named Hero's November Challenge: "Holiday Themed."

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Merry Mice

I'm furiously working to get holiday cards done. I've finished probably 2/3 of them at least, but I am still working. Of course, it's now bordering on an obsession/compulsion, so I may not quit even after I finish. 😊 When I showed this one to my mom yesterday, she took one look & just burst out laughing at these cute little mice! Hopefully it will do that to whoever receives it, too.

I chose Sketch #SC585 from for my design. I stamped the "Bow Tied" image (apparently discontinued) from Stampendous in Hero Arts Wet Cement ink onto a piece of Canson XL Mixed Media paper. I colored it with my Inktense pencils, using a damp paintbrush to pull the color off the pencil leads and apply it to my paper. I went over each mouse a few times, to get the shading just right. I also added in a sky & grass. I know, usually holiday scenes have snow, but here in Texas, it's usually greenish grass even this time of year! After I finished the painting, I added the facial features back in with a black fine-tip pen. When I did the mouth on the right mouse, the pen slipped, and made a bit of a mess that I could not fix! I was frantically trying to figure out what to do short of starting over. I finally ended up painting a thin coat of gesso over the face, and repainting with the Inktense pigment. I wasn't sure if the color would even stick to the gesso, but I figured at that point I had nothing to lose. I'm happy to report that it worked! I was a lot more careful when I drew the mouth in the second time! I did use a black glaze pen & white gel pen to highlight the eyes on the middle & right mice. Once the panel had dried completely, I went over the bows with the clear Spectrum Noir Sparkle Overlay pen.

I cut 2 pieces of patterned paper from my scrap stash for the bottom panels. For the greeting, I used one from Lawn Fawn's "Peace Joy Love" stamp set. First I cut a 1/2" wide strip of blue cardstock. I wasn't sure what color of ink I wanted to use, so I started with Hero Arts Charcoal ink. I didn't think it looked especially good, though. So, without removing the strip or the stamp from my MISTI, I stamped over the greeting with Memento Danube Blue dye ink. This has got to be one of the best features of the MISTI--the ability to save you from having to cut more paper and restamp!

To finish the card, I adhered my patterned paper pieces & image panel to a piece of dark green cardstock I'd cut to 4.25x5.5", leaving a 1/8" border on all sides. I glued my greeting strip in place, and mounted the card front to a white A2 card base.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday challenge: "Christmas Critters"
Simon Says Stamp's Monday challenge: "Trio-Tastic" (I do have 3 mice! 😍)

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Fleas on Earth

I haven't entered a challenge at Catch the Bug Challenge Blog for a long time now. We have sent a Petsmart gift card to Northeast Animal Shelter every year for Christmas, and I always try to come up with a unique card to put it in. I saw the current sketch for the Stella Says Sketch challenge, and a light bulb went on! I decided to group 3 animal digi stamps from Bugaboo Stamps ("Christmas Mouse - Ornaments," "Meowy Christmas Cats," & "Rottweiler Puppy - Pile of Bones") on the focal panel to create a cute holiday card.

I opened up all three images in Photoshop, & created a blank "canvas" the size of my focal panel. I sized & placed my images onto the canvas, overlapping them to create a cohesive grouping. Because the puppy isn't really a holiday image per se, I decided to put a Santa hat on him. Not having a hat image, I downloaded one off the Internet, and used the pencil tool in Photoshop to trace around the hat. That gave me just the outline image, rather than the full-color graphic that I had downloaded. I positioned the hat on the puppy's head, and digitally erased the portion of his head that would be under the hat. Finally, I printed the image on a piece of Canson XL Mixed Media paper.

I used my Inktense pencils & a damp paintbrush to color the animals and their accessories. I also added a bit of shading to the bones, and some grey underneath the animals to ground them.

For the greeting, I pulled inspiration from a Hampton Art stamp set I have. It has a stamp that says "Fleas on Earth," but it is on two lines & I wanted a one-line greeting. There was no way to cut the stamp to have all the words on one line, & I decided trying to mask it and get the words to line up would be too difficult. So I got out my Lawn Fawn "Claire's ABC's" set, and used the letters to spell out the greeting. I stamped that onto a strip of green cardstock in Versamark ink, and heat embossed it with Ranger Super Fine Detail White embossing powder.

To assemble my card, I cut three different patterns from "Christmas Basics" & "A Very Merry Christmas" 6x6" pads, both from The Paper Studio. I especially like the cardinal pattern, since it helps tie in the animal theme of my card. I adhered them to an A2 size panel of blue cardstock. I punched a border strip from the same green cardstock I'd used for the greeting, using Fiskars' "Scallop Sentiment" punch. I glued that to the back of the focal panel, so just a bit peeks out from the bottom, and then adhered my focal panel in place. I adhered my greeting strip, and finally mounted the card front to a white card base.

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

Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Christmas Critters" challenge
Through the Craft Room Door: "Anything Goes"
Doodle Pantry Ants in My Pantry Digital Challenge: "Anything Goes"

Holly Card

I decided to create one more card for the "Sketch It Out" challenge at Incy Wincy Designs. This time, I used the holly stamp from the "Christmas Blueprints 4" set by Stampers Anonymous for my focal image. Again, instead of a square card like the sketch, I made mine an A2 size card.

I decided to use a technique I'd seen Jennifer McGuire demonstrate in a video maybe a year or two ago. I stamped the holly onto a piece of 140 lb. watercolor paper 3 times: once for the whole image, once for just the berries, and a third time for a couple of leaves. I heat embossed all three images with Ranger Super Fine Detail Gold embossing powder. When that had cooled, I applied Distress inks in Candied Apple for the berries, and Pine Needles & Lucky Clover for the 2 leaf images, using the direct-to-paper technique. Then I spritzed them generously with my homemade Perfect Pearls mist, and dried them with my heat tool. Once the ink was dry, I fussy-cut the pieces.

I layered the 2 smaller leaves over the corresponding areas on the leaves I'd colored with the Pine Needles ink. I used foam tape in the middle of each leaf, and adhered the ends flat, to give a bit of interest. I popped the berries up on foam tape, and then adhered the holly to a square of blue cardstock I'd cut with a My Favorite Things "Pinking Edge Square" die.

For the layers on my card front, I used patterned papers from Authentique's "Believe," The Paper Studio's "Old World Winter," & Graphic 45's "Christmas Carol" 6x6" pads. I cut the pieces to size and adhered them in place on my card base, tucking my focal panel under the upper triangle piece. And that finished this card. I really like the pearlized shimmer that I achieved on the holly. It doesn't photograph well, but it's a nice, subtle touch in real life.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Soft Snowman

Incy Wincy Designs' current challenge theme is "Sketch It Out." The design they provided is for a square card, but I altered it slightly to make it a portrait-oriented A2 card.

I stamped my image from a Penny Black set (name unknown) onto a piece of white cardstock, and die cut the panel with a DoCrafts Xcut "Scalloped Square" die. I colored the snowman with colored pencils, using a bit of Gamsol on a paper stump to blend the subtle shading for the snowman's body & head. I felt the panel needed a little something more, though, so I lightly blended Tumbled Glass Distress ink in the upper portion, and Hickory Smoke ink around the lower edges.

Once I had my focal panel done, it was time to decorate the card front. I cut several patterned papers, from both the "Dear Santa" 6x6" pad from BoBunny, and The Paper Studio's "A Very Merry Christmas" 6x6" pad. I also cut a panel of light blue cardstock to layer behind the focal panel. I adhered my base layers to a white A2 card base, and then adhered the additional pieces in place on top. Finally, I glued down my focal panel, and this card was done!

I'm also entering this card in Through the Craft Room Door's "Anything Goes" challenge.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Ombre Joy

Today is the final day for Hero Arts' Holiday Cardmaking Challenge. So I made one final card, using the "Joy Burst" stamp from Hero Arts.

I got the idea for the coloring on my focal panel from somewhere on the Internet, but unfortunately can't remember where I saw the card! I did use Operation Write Home's Sketch #258 for my design, though. I stamped the image onto a piece of Strathmore Smooth Bristol paper with Versamark ink, then heat embossed it with Ranger Liquid Platinum embossing powder. I took 2 blue Zig Clean Color markers, and colored the darker one at the bottoms of the letters. I blended that out with the lighter marker, and finally used a water brush to blend out to the lightest shade at the top of each letter. I left the rest of the image plain, to make sure the letters are the star of the show. After the color dried, I die cut it with the largest of Spellbinders' "Classic Ovals LG" dies.

I used the same die to trace an oval onto navy blue cardstock and cut that out with scissors to create a mat for my focal panel. I embossed a panel of light blue cardstock with the "Snowflake" embossing folder from Darice. Then I used 3 patterned papers from my scrap stash to cut the banners, and adhered all my elements to the background. Finally, I used Perfect Paper Adhesive to glue down 3 buttons in a cluster. When the glue had dried, I used silver embroidery floss to stitch through the buttonholes. I adhered my completed card front to a white A2 card base, and I now have another holiday card for my stash!

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

A Blog Named Hero "Holiday Themed"
a2z Scrapbooking's November Challenge: "Embellishment"

Monday, November 14, 2016

Non-traditional Wreath

I've been drawn lately to more non-traditional color schemes for holiday cards, at least for some. For this one, I decided to go with purple, teal, green, & pink.

I began by stamping Hero Arts' "Color a Wreath" image onto a piece of Strathmore Smooth Bristol paper with Delicata Silvery Shimmer ink. I used that paper because I wanted to color with my Zig Clean Color pens, which I've found blend best on the bristol. I heat embossed the wreath with Recollections Clear Detail embossing powder, and colored the baubles and bow with my Zigs. I did use a water brush to help spread the color and provide some shading. I let that dry, then die cut it with a Spellbinders "Standard Circles SM" die.

For the background, I used Hero Arts' "Capture Prism" background stamp, & a technique I saw Kristina Werner demonstrate recently. With the stamp in my MISTI, I inked the top portion with Hero Arts Bubble Gum ink. I dabbed off a bit of the ink along the bottom edge with a dry rag, to give a soft edge, and stamped it onto a piece of white cardstock. Without moving the stamp or my paper, I inked up the next portion with Hero Arts Soft Lilac, dabbed the top & bottom edges with my rag, and stamped so that the purple overlapped the pink a bit. I did the same procedure with Hero Arts Soft Pool & Lime Green inks to finish my panel. I really like the soft gradient this gives.

After cutting a mat from pale blue glitter paper with the largest of Spellbinders' "Standard Circles LG" dies, I glued my wreath circle to that. I assembled my card, following Sketch #SC572 from I added strips of silver glitter paper & pink cardstock behind the circle, & adhered the stamped panel to a pale blue mat, leaving a 1/16" border. Finally, I mounted the card front to a white A2 card base, and added some clear Spectrum Noir Sparkle pen to the larger baubles on the wreath.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Hero Arts "Holiday Cardmaking" challenge
A Blog Named Hero's November challenge: "Holiday Theme"
Through the Craft Room Door: "Anything Goes"

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Season's Greetings

Hero Arts is having a holiday cards challenge. There are only 2 requirements: it has to be a holiday card (obviously), and it needs to use one or more Hero Arts products. I created this card with the "Color Layering Cardinal" & "Vintage Christmas Post" stamp sets.

I used Sketch #SC590 from for my design--with a twist. Instead of having the circle element be a layer, I die cut it from my card front to make the rest a frame.

For the cardinal, I used Hero Arts Fresh Peach ink for the base layer, Hero Arts Pale Tomato for the middle layer, Memento Rhubarb Stalk for the top, and Memento Gray Flannel for the "black" accents on the face & eye. I also used Rhubarb Stalk for the feet. When I had finished the stamping, I die cut the body & feet with the coordinating dies.

I stamped the branch with Gray Flannel first, then inked up the stamp with Hero Arts Cup o' Joe, and dabbed off the ink in some spots with a rag. Then I stamped the branch again, right over the first impression, to give it some subtle shading. I used my MISTI stamp positioner tool, which is invaluable for a technique like this, especially on such a small & relatively detailed stamp. Then I die cut my branch.

To create my card front, I cut a piece of pale blue cardstock to 4.25x5.5". I cut a strip of patterned paper from my scrap stash for the bottom, and a strip of white cardstock for the greeting. After adhering both strips to the blue, I positioned my die (Spellbinders "Standard Circles LG") onto the panel, just to check for where to stamp my greeting. Then I stamped the greeting, from "Vintage Christmas Post," in Gray Flannel ink. Finally, I die cut the circle from the panel.

I cut another A2 size panel of the blue cardstock, and traced the circle from my front panel onto that. I lightly erased the pencil line, so it was still visible, but faint. Then I inked up the top part of the panel that would show through the circle with Broken China & Peacock Feathers Distress inks, fading the Broken China out towards the bottom so the pale blue showed.

When I placed my bird & branch on the background, I decided it needed something more underneath, because the space was just a bit too bare. So I stamped and die cut the 2 smaller branches and several pine needles from "Color Layering Cardinal." I glued all my elements in place with Perfect Paper Adhesive. After adding my card front with foam tape, I mounted the panel to a white A2 card base. As a finishing touch, I added some black glaze pen to the cardinal's eye, and, when that had dried, added a catch light with a white gel pen.

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

A Blog Named Hero November Challenge: "Holiday"
Craft Your Passion Challenges: "Anything Goes"
Through the Craft Room Door: "Anything Goes"

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Chickadee Holiday

The current challenge at Our Daily Bread Designs is a color challenge. I used the purple, blue, red, & brown from the inspiration palette.

I stamped the "Chickadee" from ODBD onto a piece of 140 lb. watercolor paper with Hero Arts Soft Granite ink. I die cut it with the largest of the "Floral Ovals" by Spellbinders, and colored the image with my Inktense pencils, using a damp paintbrush to pick up the color & blend it on the paper. (This is my preferred way of working with Inktense pencils, as I find it gives me the most control.) After I'd finished coloring, I added the eye back in with a Sakura black glaze pen, and added a highlight with a white gel pen. Then I placed the die cut back into the die, and used a sponge dauber to blend on Tumbled Glass Distress ink for a sky, leaving a halo of white around the image.

For the background, I first cut a panel of watercolor paper to A2 size, and applied a coat of gesso to the whole panel. When the gesso had dried, I stamped the "Small Snowflakes" background from ODBD (discontinued) in Versamark, and heat embossed it with Recollections Clear Detail embossing powder. Then I scribbled blue & purple metallic gelatos over the background, and blended them with my finger. I finished the background by buffing the color off the embossing with a very slightly damp paper towel. I used Perfect Paper Adhesive to glue my focal panel to the background.

Unfortunately, I discovered that gelatos take a LOOONG time to dry! I suppose especially when you apply them over a gessoed background. So when I later checked on my card, the focal panel popped right off. :( I remedied the situation by using a baby wipe to wipe the color off the background, just behind the solid part of the die cut. Then I reglued my oval on, and set an acrylic block on top until the glue dried. I was contemplating spraying the card front with a matte varnish, but didn't want to lose the sheen of the gelatos. Thankfully, after a day or two, the gelatos had dried sufficiently that the color didn't rub off! I used a fine-tip applicator bottle to squirt tiny dabs of glue under the detailed edges of the die cut, and set that under an acrylic block to dry, which it thankfully did. Crisis averted! :) I finished my card by adhering my card front to a white A2 card base, and rounding the corners with my 1/2" Corner Chomper.

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

Craft Your Passion #336: "Anything Goes"
Through the Craft Room Door 2nd Annual Blog Hop