Sunday, July 29, 2012

Take a little "happy" with you...

I had a great phone call from a friend recently...she was calling to tell me she was pleasantly surprised when she went to her mailbox and found something other than a bill or store circular waiting for her...a little card from me.  My "take away" from that was to realize that in this ELECTRONIC-centric world that we live in....cards and handwritten notes take on new significance.  People rarely get cards "just because" - and when they do it has a high impact.

I was headed out to a family get together today...and in addition to the pan of baked beans (remind me to share my recipe with you sometime...it is super simple and always a big hit) I made a quick card.


I tend to be a bit "punny" so the sentiment inside says "Thanks for inviting me to hang out with your flock!" Flamingos are a favorite of the hostess so that was really the inspiration for my card...I cut them out on my Silhouette.  Here are a couple of details...



I used a recent $5 stamp set and die cut from Papertrey Ink...called Heart-2-Heart #6.  It is super cute - and I think it has lots of options. I die cut three of the large clouds and didn't stamp on them - just stacked them up and did some quick stitching down the center. To keep my clouds fluffy I put part of a pop-dot in between the layers close to the stitching. Simple - but CUTE!


I also can't really be bothered with the "fiddly" bits of die cuts...so you will see that I just drew the eyes on and used a sharpie to put the black on the bills of the flamingoes.  The sun is part of the Heart-2-Heart set...I die cut the sun shape out of white  and stamped the sun with the smiley face onto the die cut....then I used a Martha Stewart "seal" punch with some yellow card stock to create a smaller sun and stamped the sun stamp again and popped it up for a little dimension.



 I made the grass from a scrap of green card stock sitting on my desk and the Martha Stewart fringe scissors.  I always feel a bit like Edward Scissorhand (yes, I am that old) when I use them...but they make grass FAST!

So - want to encourage you to "take a little happy" with you when you go to dinner with a friend...or send a surprise through the mail.  Your friend will feel extra special...and you will have a little fun in the creating!

Hope you all have a fantabulous week!  If you missed it - I have a new tutorial on YouTube...you can check it out HERE!


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Using what is left...

If you have been a following of my blog - you know that I am a big proponent of using up my "stash." Oh yes, I love new crafting supplies as much as the next person...but I sometimes have greater inspiration when I try to use what is left in a creative way.  My last blog post showed you two layouts where the "confetti" was actually the stars and hole punch outs from other projects...and I think several of the ribbons and strips of die cuts were also things that were just snippets left from other projects that I hadn't "put away" just yet.

So today, I though I would do a quick share because three elements of this card came from "using what is left...from other projects.


First...the green grassy hills is a bit of creative cutting and placing from a strip of left over pattern paper. When I make cards I like to use 6x6 paper pads because the scale of the print is appropriate, and you have "pre matched" colors and patterns to work with.  I don't ALWAYS start with a single paper pad - but it is a good foundation or a place to begin.  So, I had about a half of a page of that darling green dotted paper and both sides of it had "hills" cut out of it...so I just split it down the middle, inked the edges and it became two rolling hills for my Sunrise Card.

Secondly, the sunrise is stamped on a bit of card - that I had started stamping for another card thinking I wanted to use this burnt orange color (terra-cotta tile from Papertrey Ink) - and once I had them stamped, I realized it was too orangey for the papers I was working with...so I just set the unfinished sun rays aside and worked on the other card....but I came back to it and realized I could balance that really dark color my using some light blue and a less solid stamp to fill in...I kind of like it - and it allowed me to use what was left....even something that hadn't worked for another card.

Finally...I am not sure that I would have put this particular card on a black card base...if I were just "planning" it from the beginning - but, I was using what was there...and I decided to add the silhouette of the chicken and that little bit of chevron die cut (yes...more left overs) - and when I stamped the sentiment in black it just felt like those three black elements would seem totally out of place if they didn't have some other black to "ground" them to the card... Shimelle Lane has a great video out this week on "Grounding" elements on a scrapbook page if you want to learn more about that - here is where you can see it - You're Grounded Video.

So there you go...a little card that was created by just looking at what was left and usable before I swept my desk clean and moved on. Fun and festive...and helped me to not feel so back about throwing things out...because I do that too!  Having too much stuff to choose from can be as paralyzing as having too little...so I regularly destash and share or just give it to Good Will or Salvation Army - or most recently to our local Ronald McDonald House for the families that are staying there while dealing with a sick child to have some "art supplies" to play with...they love those kinds of donations, if you are looking for a place to send some of your stash.

Gotta run.  Appreciate you guys, and hope you are having a blessed week!  See you soon!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

In the meantime...

Well hello there friends.

I was really hoping to get a video edited for you all today...but I didn't.  So...in the meantime I will share a couple of layouts. One that uses the same technique that I shared in my last video...and one that I am going to show you in the video I need to edit! (I shouldn't even tease should I?)


Do you see the flowers?  I used the same technique of masking and quick coloring on these flowers...just a LOT brighter...more Kati-esque than my rather sedate cards!  I stamp a couple extras and cut them out and popped them up to create the floral frame.  

A couple of other details...I used my score board to  score two parallel lines on each side of the white paper that I stamped the flowers on.  Here is a tip - mat your picture first and draw some light pencil lines before you stamp....then you only have to color the parts of the flowers that are going to show.

Once I had done the stamping and I put the picture back in place - the white background just seemed too stark....not for long!  All that pretty coloring and it was pristine for about two seconds before I started throwing splotches of ink (mister hues and tattered angels) all over it....and it suddenly felt much more like part of a scrapbooking page and less like a REALLY large card!


So what do you do if you have "extra leaves?" Pop them behind your title to tie it into the stamping.  The reason I took this particular picture though was to show you that I really used things that were within reach or laying on my desk.  See those little bits of "confetti?" There were from the border I punch for another card...and I hadn't brushed them off my desk into the trash....and they seemed to be the same color as my layout...so I just glued some down!  Use what you have!


And here is a little closeup of the leaves and the layering...I used a Jenni Bowlin Tab Punch to create that little tab on the photo from some of the paper I cut off of the splattered edge of the white background.  I think using those kinds of things make a layout cohesive and pulls your eye in to see different parts of the layout and the viewer just unconsciously feels like it all goes together. Ok...that sounds like I am an art philosopher....clearly...I'm not.  Just an idea for you to play with on your own!


So here is the layout that I want to share with you in a video tutorial.  The silhouette of the girl is from a Julie Fei-Fan Balzer Crafter's Workshop stencil.  It was such a cool visual for a layout about my oldest niece.  You will see that I have been a bit infatuated with confetti...or bits of things sitting on my desk that I am calling "confetti!" *smile* 


I am hoping to get the video edited by this weekend...but I will give you a hint....I used UTEE (ultra thick embossing enamel) and embossed the silhouette...scattered some confetti and random ink and embossing powders to create a halo around her...and then used a sharpie to write my journaling on the clear embossing...I think you will have fun using this idea...I am looking at all my stencils with a different eye....bet you will too!


This closeup of the grouping of "shtuff" at the top of the layout just makes me smile. Again - I just kept reaching for pretty colored things that were near my desk. One of the keys to making random things work for you is to REPEAT them at least three times.  If you glance up at the first photo that shows the whole layout - you will see that there are three groupings of similar items repeated in a triangle...with the picture of Lindsey and the silhouette (with journaling) in the middle of the triangle.

Ok...am off to work on design team projects...but don't think I don't hear you mumbling to yourself..."where are all these BRIGHT colors coming from?!?!?" I don't know the answer to that for you...I just haven't felt like creating "vintage grungy" so much lately...but I am sure that I will return to my roots soon. But in the meantime....

Friday, July 20, 2012

Stepping Up Line Art Stamps: Tutorial

Well I hope you have had some time for creativity this week...I did - and the thing I am MOST excited about is that I have been able to get back to creating videos for some of my projects!  I have missed getting to share the "process" with you and am super glad to be back on track.


I have a fun project to share with you today...using a Papertrey Ink stamp set - A Year In Flowers: Marigolds. It is perfect for this type of card because it is "line art" which works great for doing a little or a lot of coloring....with markers, colored pencils or watercolor.

You can see I opted for doing just a bare minimum of coloring. I needed to make several gifts for some friends and wanted them to be handmade...but I had a real short window of time to create them in...so I just had to come up with an idea that had a lot of visual punch but could be created fairly quickly.  These line art stamps were just the ticket. One of the things that I love about working with Papertrey Ink stamps is that the designers not only give you the combined image, but they usually add in all of the elements separately (leaves, stems, various sizes of the focal image) - and some great sentiments as well.

Anyway...I thought I would share how a little masking and using all the various pieces of the stamp set can allow you to quickly create a one layered card with some dimension to it - perfect for making a quick card set for a friend.  The other thing I like about this particular project is that it requires "zero" perfection! It is all about doing a touch of color.  I used Copic markers - but you could get the same effect with Bic Permanent Markers, ProMarkers, Stampin up/Close To My Heart markers, colored pencils, watercolor or even crayons...the medium is not the important thing...it is the quick brushing of color over the line art...and viola' you have instant WOW!

So here you go...hope it inspires you to try a project of your own!




If you have trouble viewing this video  - you can pop over to my YouTube Channel and watch it there. Have some fun creating...and I will be back soon with another project toe share with you!

Monday, July 16, 2012

New Things to Stamp

Ok...so you all know that I have a tendency to stamp just about everything.  I have been known to alter chipboard embellishments with some custom stamping...stamp a background for a card or layout, stamp a title or even all of my journaling.  I have stamped buttons, metal flowers, acetate and photos.


So - it was probably a natural progression for me to take my love of stamping to my fingernails. There is a bit of a backstory.  For the past 25 years, I have worn acrylic nails.  As a teacher and speaker, I KNOW I talk with my hands...it is unconscious....I just do it - and I have just worn acrylic nails - usually in a really understated french manicure.  As a crafter, I can be REALLY hard on my hands....I am always splashing paint or ink and my hands just end up being a mess.  A few months ago I decided it was time to leave the acrylics off my nails and let them just BREATH!  I loved my well manicured nails, but I felt like they needed a break...but I still needed to keep my hands presentable...so I began to explore home manicure options...and I discovered a whole community of Nail Artists...just like we have in the crafting community.  One of my favorite card designers Kristina Werner (StarofMay on YouTube) always has the cutest manicures and in my search for cute manicure options. I discovered that she has another blog - The Daily Something...devoted to creative manicures.  One of the things that Kristina often does is stamp on her nails. So I became a bit curious...and discovered that you don't really have to make a major investment... You just need a couple of stamping plates, some quick drying polish to stamp with and the Stamper...seen below.


You can find one of Kristina's videos explaining how to do a "gradient" on your polish and then stamp over it...here.  The picture of my nails at the top of this post was my first attempt at both.  It is actually very simple and doesn't take much more time than a regular manicure...and I think the results are fun, festive and perfect for a summer manicure. And the best part is that it gives me a whole new surface to STAMP on!

In case you are interested in the details:

Base Coat: Butter London Base Coat
Gradient Polishes: Revlon Colorstay in Buttercup and Sorbet
Stamping Polish: Konad Special White
Stamping Plate: Bundle Monster 314 (from the 2012 set)
Top Coat: Seche Vite

Sunday, July 08, 2012

Herd It Was Your Birthday

Summer is full of birthdays in our family...and that is just the excuse I need to get out my stamps and come up some fun new cards...and my family knows that I really can't resist a good pun!


Thought I would share this fun little card with you...it is square 4.25 x 4.25.  I used a couple of Papertrey Ink stamp sets and Dies: On The Farm and Hello Sunshine.


The sky and grass part of the scene are from On The Farm - and I stamped the sky on a piece of My Mind's Eye paper from a 6x6 pad...love these for card making because they are smaller scale prints that work well for this format. I did a little machine stitching around each of the pieces to give them a bit of definition.















The cows in the "herd" were die cut with the On The Farm dies from another piece of My Mind's Eye paper...I love how they look kind of "mod-ish!" To make them stand out against the background, I took a Copic marker and just ran it around the edge...instant POP!

Finally, the sun was created by stamping some rays from the Hello Sunshine stamp set and then punched a half circle with a 2" scallop punch. I will definitely be using this combination for some other scenes...and I am totally in love with those spotted cows!




Have a great week...and try doing some "unexpected" thing during your creative time!

I am entering this card in the Make It Monday Challenge (stamping on patterned paper) over at Papertrey Ink.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

Sometimes the Perfect Embellishment...is a CHALLENGE

Have you ever been working on a project and just not known what you needed to do to finish it?

I had such a clear idea when I started on these cards. I wanted to create a monochromatic card with a stamped background. Specifically, I had found this set of stamps by Technique Tuesday when I was cleaning my studio...and stamping sounded MUCH more fun than cleaning!


As you can see, the stamp set has flowers, leaves and swirls of different sizes - perfect for creating the background. And that was the end to my inspiration.  I should have taken a picture of the stamped panels...I certainly had plenty of time to do that - since I finished stamping them three weeks ago and they have been sitting on my desk just staring at me. Nothing. I had nothing.  Not one single idea. I had two 4.25 x 5.5 panels with pretty purple flowers all over them....and nothing I tried worked.  


But then, last Monday I popped over to the Papertrey Ink blog to check out the Make It Monday Challenge. And viola! I had my inspiration! Dawn McVey is one of the stamp designers for Papertrey Ink (I highly suggest that you check out her blog...a great source of inspiration) and this week's challenge was to create your own embellishment. She was showing how to use the new Lovely Layers stamp and die set to make a whole range of embellishments - some simple and one layered and others much more complicated and layered. I had been meaning to work with the set that she was showing, but didn't really have a project in mind - until I glanced over to those two panels and realized that I had been stuck trying to find the right way to add a sentiment....when what I really needed was just to create a handmade embellishment and leave the sentiment for later.

I really like this stamp set and dies...they are really versatile with completed medallions and all the separate layers as well so you can create just exactly what you need.  My problem NOW is that I have a LOT of purple layers stamped and die cut waiting to be made into layered embellishments! LOL  Guess I will just have to pull out my stamps again and make some more backgrounds! I think it would be fun to create a whole set to give away as a gift.

The final touch was to use the Martha Stewart Deep Edge Lattice punch to create a bit of paper lace for the spine.  I actually wrapped it around to the back like a spine on a book...leaving the lattice loose and a bit dimensional.

So - here was my take away from this particular project...when I find myself a bit stuck on a project, maybe a good challenge is the best way to find the solution.  Honestly, even if I hadn't ended up using the layered medallions on these cards - doing the challenge actually made me look at my project differently.  I really thought I just needed to find the right sentiment...and by going at it from a different direction - I found a solution to my problem.

So what do you do when you are "stuck" on a project? I'd love to hear from you.

Have a great week!  I will be back to share a couple more cards I made. I used the same supplies but ended up with two totally different cards...here is a little sneak peak....