Monday, November 2, 2015

Sharing Handmade Kindness

Hi there - long time no see! I am struggling to have much creative energy these days, but I don't want to give up yet. I have a card to share with you today.

This post is prompted by a well-known cardmaker, Jennifer McGuire. She is one of the best there is, and is always very generous to applaud others' efforts and to give of her talents. She has recently launched a new website, and along with that, a challenge for crafters to spread kindness by sharing something handmade. Each week in the month of November, she is planning to issue a different challenge.

This first week's challenge is to share something handmade with family or friends. I thought of this card I made a while back, and decided to send it to a lady who is a member of our church. Due to health issues, she can't get out as often as she'd like. I hope this will be a little ray of sunshine. Sometimes just to know that someone is thinking of you is such an encouragement!

Here's my card:

This design was inspired by this card. I didn't have the set she used, so I pulled out an old Stampin' Up! set called Bugs & Slugs. I enjoyed the process and I think many sets with small images could be used this way.

I hope your week is off to a good start. I'm looking forward to this month of gratitude!

Till next time, 


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Unity Challenge Winner!

I've finally got a free day to get a quick post up to let you know that I won the September challenge over on the Unity blog! I was very excited to have one of my submissions chosen and also excited to get to choose some free stamps! I do love free stuff, especially crafting goodies!

I thought it would be fun to post pictures of the stamps I chose. I was  allowed to choose three larger sets and 10 Itty Bitty stamps. The larger sets had to be under a certain price point, but there are lots of great ones to be had. Here's what I picked:

Love these leaves!

Gorgeous flowers!

Fun to watercolor!


More cuteness!

Monday, September 14, 2015

Postage Background

I pulled out some oldie but goodie stamps for today's card. I love the look of old postage, and have several stamps that look like postage stamps. I haven't used them in a while, and decided to make a background with them.

I started with a piece of white Bristol, cut to 4.25" x 5.5". I wanted to use muted colors so that none of the individual stamps would stand out, but blend together. I used some dye inks from Stampin' Up! that I've had since I first began stamping - Almost Amethyst, Barely Banana, Close to Cocoa, and Mellow Moss. I also used an ink Stampin' Up! produced together with Ancient Page called Pretty in Pink. The stamps I used are: French Postage by Paper Inspirations, French Post by Hampton Art, and Creative Block #13 by Stamper's Anonymous. I also used a stamp that is part of a set designed by Dawn Houser for Inkadinkado called World Traveler & Postage Mark as well as a stamp from a set by Stampin' Up! (the cancellation mark). 

Each stamp is stamped multiple times, allowing the images to overlap. I decided that the white of the background was a bit too stark, so I used Distress Antique Linen ink and a blending tool to tone everything down a little.

The sentiment is a new-to-me die from Savvy Dies called Hello Script. I cut it four times from some scrap brown cardstock and glued all the layers together to make it stand up a little from the surface of the card. After gluing it down with matte medium, I decided to add a few sequins from Doodlebug Design. They are also glued down with matte medium. I trimmed the panel slightly smaller and mounted it on a dark brown cardstock base.

Till next time - 


Friday, September 11, 2015

Thank You Card

It's always good to have some thank you cards on hand - I already know who is going to get this one. This is the last of three cards I made inspired by the current Unity Stamp challenge. To see the other posts, click here and here.

Now on to today's card:

I used a couple of sets from Unity for this card - Donna Poppies and Butterflies & Sunbeams. I wanted to do a resist technique for this card, so I stamped the poppy with Versamark ink on a manila shipping tag, allowing the image to hang off the edge. (I think it adds some interest that way.) Versamark is a clear, sticky ink that is wonderful for heat embossing. I poured clear embossing powder over the image and set it with a heat tool. I chose a couple of colors of Distress Inks - Bundled Sage & Rusty Hinge, using blending tools to cover the surface of the tag. The area that was stamped & embossed resists the color, allowing the base color of the tag to show through - pretty cool!

Next I dabbed some Distress Stain in Peeled Paint on my craft sheet and pressed the surface of the tag into the wet color. This creates the darker areas of green. I really like the uneven, splotchy look I got. Once it was dry, I got out an iron I keep just for craft techniques and ironed the back of the tag with scratch paper under the front. The scratch paper soaks up the embossing powder as the iron melts it. This leaves the original tag color showing, but the surface is smooth rather than raised as it would be if I left the embossing alone. It almost looks like batik, and I guess it's the same principle. The sentiment was stamped with Making Memories Artprint Brown and embossed with clear powder.

I used two colors of twine that coordinated with my palette to tie a bow through the hole in the top of the tag. The papers underneath all got some Distress Ink treatment to darken the edges, and everything is mounted on a cream colored card base.

Here is the challenge image from the Unity blog:

I enjoyed this challenge a lot, and had fun working with these colors.

Hope your week is going well,


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

I Miss You Card

Here is another card I made for the current Unity Stamp challenge. For the first card, see this post.

The image on this card is from a Unity stamp set called Truly Rest. The sentiment is from Blossomy Condolences.

Feathers are very popular right now, but they're not really my thing. I probably would not have purchased this set - I got it after winning a drawing, and stuck it away, not sure how to use it. As I looked through my stamps with the current challenge colors in mind, this one jumped out at me and I thought it was a great time to give it a try.

I stamped the image on watercolor paper with Memories Artprint Brown, feeling that brown would be better than black for the look I wanted. Before the ink had a chance to dry, I sprinkled clear embossing powder over it and melted it with a heat tool. Using my favorite coloring technique, I combined Distress inks with a wet brush to add the color to the feathers and the background.

I used a die from Quickutz Nesting Circles to cut out the image,planning to layer it on a larger circle, using another die from that set, but then I spotted a small doily in my stash. It was just the right size, so I added some color to it with more Distress ink, diluted with water. I used a little adhesive just in the center to hold the two layers together, and stitched around the circle with my sewing machine and tan thread.

I chose some papers from a 6x6 pad from My Mind's Eye called Reunion to layer behind my image, taking my cue from the card layout in the challenge. All the papers were darkened around the edges with Distress ink and a blending tool.

I stamped the sentiment on a scrap of watercolor paper, using Versafine Sepia and embossing with clear powder. After trimming it and cutting a notch in the end, I mounted it at a slight angle towards the bottom of the card front. I had a piece of string sitting on my work surface, so I colored it with a little Distress ink & water, then tied it into a double loop bow. I glued it down with some matte medium.

Everything was mounted on a card base made from cream cardstock. I'm going to be sad when all this cardstock is gone - it's old school Stampin' Up! cardstock that they discontinued many years ago.

I've decided that I like this feather image more than I thought! This challenge gave me just the push I needed to make it work.

Here is the challenge image that inspired the card:

I have one more card connected to this challenge to share with you in a few days. Hope your week is going well!


Sunday, September 6, 2015

Fall is in the Air

This is the time of year when I wish I still lived in Minnesota. Fall was my favorite time of year there! Relief from the heat and humidity of summer, the pleasure of pulling out favorite sweaters to wear, stunning fall colors as the leaves turned, and of course, the Minnesota State Fair!

I was inspired when I saw the current challenge on the Unity Stamp blog - the colors are perfect for fall themes.

I enjoyed pulling out some stamps and playing around with inks and paper to come up with something that fit the challenge. I plan to share a few cards spread out over multiple blog posts that I will be linking to the challenge.
First up:

I used a stamp set from Unity called Shrooms. The image and sentiment are both stamped with black Archival ink on watercolor paper, I added color to the mushrooms with a variety of Distress inks and a wet brush. I also added some splatters of wet ink. I figured since these are rather whimsical, the colors don't have to match what you'd find in nature - why not have some fun with it?

I cut the stamped paper into a banner shape and roughed up the edges with a Tim Holtz distresser tool. To add a little additional color, I inked up a blending tool with some Distress ink. Beginning from the outside, I blended color onto the paper, making the edges darker and leaving the center of the panel lighter. 

Now for some fun layering papers. I chose some 6x6 papers from my stash and cut another banner shape slightly larger than my stamped panel from a blue print. I used a little adhesive just in the center to keep the two pieces from shifting, and stitched around the edges using my sewing machine and tan thread.

The rust stripe also got some additional color around the edges with Distress ink and a blending tool, then the stitched banner was adhered to the top. I pulled out some very fine variegated thread and a metal button to dress up the top, taping the thread down on the back side of the panel. I chose a cream cardstock for the card base, creating a side-folding card.

Here is the challenge image so you can see what the original inspiration was.

I hope your week is off to a good start! I'll be back soon with some more cards for this challenge.


Friday, August 14, 2015

August Take It, Make It Challenge

This month's challenge on the Craft Stamper blog is to use pens and/or pencils in addition to a stamped image. I thought I'd submit a card I did recently, using Inktense Pencils. These pencils will react with water, just as watercolor pencils will, but the pigment is ink and is permanent once dry.

This lovely rose image is part of a set from Altenew and is called Sketchy Rose. It's a large, open image, which is perfect for coloring.

I stamped it on watercolor paper, using Black Archival ink. Then, following the shapes of the petals and leaves, I colored close the the outer edges, using various shades of Inktense Pencils. Next, using a wet brush, I activated the color and blended it away from the edges. My goal was to have the darkest color at the edge, getting lighter as I moved inward. 

Once the rose was done, I used a blue pencil and a very light touch to lay down pigment around the rose. Again with a wet brush, I moved the pigment out into the background.

I trimmed the watercolor panel down and layered a couple of coordinating papers on the right hand side, securing everything with black stitching. I never get tired of stitching on paper!

Everything was adhered to the card front with Xtreme adhesive - this works so well to keep the heavy watercolor paper secured in place.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this - I really enjoyed using the Inktense pencils!


Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Unity Stamp Challenge

The current challenge at Unity Stamps is about to end, so I'm barely going to get this posted in time to participate.

As shown on their blog, here is the starting point. Participants can choose to follow the color scheme or layout as loosely as they like. I thought the color scheme was great, and I liked the card layout as well. I recently purchased the stamp set (Butterflies & Sunbeams) featured in the layout, so I decided to use that.

Here's my interpretation:

I stamped the heart & butterfly image on watercolor paper using Black Archival ink. The coloring was super simple with watered down inks and a paintbrush. The inks I used on the butterflies are Distress Picked Raspberry and Dried Marigold (I combined the two for the largest butterfly.) The heart is a combination of Distress Spun Sugar and Tea Dye. The ink splatters are Picked Raspberry & Dried Marigold.

Once that was dry, I stitched the panel to a piece of black paper with gold script I had in my stash. I didn't do the neatest job the first time around on the stitching, so I went around again, deliberately making it look at little wonky. Now no one can tell where I messed up the first time!

The card base is white cardstock, stamped repeatedly with one of the sentiments from this stamp set, using Creamy Caramel ink from Stampin' Up! Between the black paper and the card base, I layered a piece of pink patterned paper from a 6 x 6 Colorbok pad called Light Bright.

The sentiment at the top was stamped on a scrap of watercolor paper with Versafine Onyx Black and heat embossed with clear embossing powder. I used some of the Picked Raspberry & Dried Marigold to color it, and stitched one end with black thread. I notched the opposite end, and used Distress Black Soot to go around the edge.

I hope your week is going well. I'll be back at work beginning next week - this summer has flown by!

Till next time,


Monday, July 27, 2015

Challenge: No Ordinary Paper

The Monday challenge this week on Simon Says Stamp is to use some type of paper other than regular cardstock. There are several wonderful examples of work to provide some inspiration.

I've been experimenting lately with Bristol. I bought a pad on sale and have tried some stamping techniques on it. It is very smooth, has a nice weight, and takes ink quite well (much better than some of the cheaper cardstock I've tried). Here is one of the cards I did:

I started with a piece of Bristol, cut to 4.25" x 5.5". I blended Antique Linen Distress ink over the surface with a blending tool. Next, I stamped the tree (Xmas Constellation by Penny Black) with Doll Pink ink from Simon Says Stamp. The sentiment is from Winter Wonderland from Winnie & Walter; it is stamped with Potting Soil Archival ink and heat embossed with clear embossing powder.

The splotches on the card front are made by mixing Broken China Distress ink, water, and a little Perfect Pearls pigment powder. This mixture is picked up with a small brush and flicked over the card front. I also did a little mixture of water and Perfect Pearls with no additional color and flicked that over the surface as well. Hopefully it gives the suggestion of snow, but maybe it just looks messy!!

I trimmed the Bristol panel down slightly and mounted it to a dark brown card base. The two thin colored strips on the right were made by rubbing ink directly from the ink pad onto the surface of some scrap Bristol - I used Broken China & Doll Pink. Once the ink had dried, I cut the strips and glued them down. Since the blue strip was slightly raised due to being layered over the Bristol, I cut two tiny pieces of cardstock to glue underneath the ends to keep everything even.

I hope your week is off to a good start!


Monday, July 20, 2015


I am excited to share this card. I recently had the honor of having this one published in the August issue of Craft Stamper magazine. This is a UK publication, and I enjoy trying their challenges.

Here's my card:

This was done with stamping and watercolor. The main image and sentiment are from Your Wings Exist by Unity Stamps; the butterfly is from Inkadinakdo's Inchies; the flowers are from Hero Arts' Trees, Birds, & Messages.

Thanks for stopping by today to take a look. I got an email yesterday letting me know that another card I've submitted will be published in a few months. Once it comes out, I'll be able to share it with you.

Till next time,


Friday, July 17, 2015

Moleskine Notebook

This month's Make It Take It challenge on the Craft Stamper blog is wide open for interpretation since "Anything Goes"! The only rule is that it must involve stamping. I've decided to submit a little Moleskine notebook I did and keep my fingers crossed that it's a winner.

This was a fun little project. I had previously stamped on the cover of this notebook but wasn't too happy with the result. I decided to try stamping something new on watercolor paper and figure out some way to attach the panel to the cover.

I chose to use some clear stamps from Martha Stewart which I stamped in black Archival ink. I chose this ink since it is permanent and I knew I'd be adding watercolor later. Before doing any watercolor, though, I decided to try sprinkling some masking fluid randomly over the surface so that some spots would stay a nice crisp white.

After the masking fluid dried, I had fun with several colors of Distress ink, rubbed on my craft sheet and diluted with water. I colored the butterflies first. After they were dry, I created the background, allowing colors to bleed together on the wet paper.

When everything was dry, I rubbed the dots of masking fluid off, revealing the white dots. I really like the way it looks. 

Now I had to figure out how to attach it to the cover of the notebook. My experience has taught me that it would be really tough to glue it down so that there was no danger of the edges ever lifting. I decided to try machine stitching to see if I could get through the thick watercolor paper as well as the stiff cover of the notebook. It worked wonderfully, and I really like the way the black stitching looks around the edges. (I used a corner rounder on the two right corners since those corners were also rounded on the notebook.)

Even if this doesn't win this month's contest, I'm still quite happy with the way it turned out!

Till next time,


Friday, July 10, 2015

Quick Cards

Hi, all. I've got a couple of quick cards today, both using Unity stamps. Unity is a cool company in Minnesota that produces high quality red rubber stamps. The stamps come unmounted, but attach easily to an acrylic stamp block. The prices are fantastic, and they have designs for all styles.

I stamped the image on watercolor paper and used a combination of Stampin' Up! markers with a wet brush to do the coloring. I also splattered some ink just for fun and added a strip of washi tape across the bottom. 

Next I chose some 6x6 patterned papers from American Crafts and Colorbok to layer behind the watercolored panel. After taping everything down, I added a few Studio Calico sequins for some additional color.

This card also features layers of paper along with simple marker + wet brush watercolor. Although you can't see it in the photo, I also went over the flowers with a clear Wink of Stella marker, which creates a subtle sparkle. The centers of the flowers also got a touch of Glossy Accents.

The stamped panel was stitched to a paper I had in my stash which makes me think of a garden trellis - kind of nice as a background for flowers. I also added the black strip at the side - I never get tired of seeing how black makes other colors pop! The orange paper in the back was chosen to coordinate with the color of the flowers. (I don't remember who makes either of those patterned papers.)

Quick & easy!

Till next time,

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Unity Stamp Challenge

I've got a card today that was inspired by the current Unity Stamp Challenge. My card is loosely based on the card sketch they provided.

Here's my interpretation:

I started with a piece of watercolor paper, and stamped the bicycle image (Reasons to Smile by Unity Stamp) with Versafine Onyx Black. I covered the wet ink with clear embossing powder and heat set it.

Next I pulled out several color of Distress inks and rubbed some of the color on my non-stick craft sheet. Using water and a brush, I applied the inks in a watercolor style. I set it aside to dry while I worked on the card background. (After it was dry, I rounded the edges with a Corner Chomper and stitched it to piece of gray cardstock.)

I thought it would be nice to have the effect of rays of sun coming down from the top left, so I chose the Stripes stencil from Tim Holtz and rubbed Squeezed Lemonade Distress ink through the stencil using an ink blending tool. To mimic the stripes on the card sketch, I used some complementary papers from Vintage Bliss by Simple Stories.

For the sentiment (Big Summertime Bouquet by Unity Stamp), I blended Tumbled Glass Distress ink on a scrap of white paper, then stamped the image with Versafine Black and heat embossed the same way I did the bicycle. I cut the strip with notched ends, and layered it on a scrap of black cardstock. 

Everything was layered on the card base with adhesive - for the smaller pieces, I find it easier to use glue.

Happy crafting!


Friday, June 26, 2015

Wrapping Things Up, Part II

As promised, here are a few more samples of cards I sent to Operation Write Home this week. As it turned out, I had to use more than one box - I had more than I thought!

Thanks for taking the time to look!


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Wrapping Things Up

Today marks the end of something I've enjoyed. For several years, I've been making cards for Operation Write Home. This is an organization that has collected hand-made cards from volunteers and sent them on to military personnel who can then use them to send home a card for a special occasion or just to let their loved ones know they miss them and are thinking of them.

I've lost track of how many cards I've sent, but it's been in the thousands - and I've enjoyed every minute of it! Currently, the number of units requesting cards has dropped dramatically. The decision has been made to suspend operations and all remaining cards from volunteers are due by August 1. I decided that I would be done when I used up all my OWH stickers (required for the back of the card).

Here are a few cards that I'll be sending in my box this week.

Since there are several cards, I won't go through all the steps of making them. I used a variety of techniques and had some fun trying new things. I'll post the rest later this week.

Till next time,


Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Birthday Card

Three of my grandchildren have birthdays in June - keeps us busy attending parties, but we love to participate! I thought I'd share a card today that I've made for one of those birthdays - my soon-to-be 3 year old granddaughter.

This card features a stamp set from Unity Stamps, located in Minnesota. These little chickies are so cute! I stamped the chicks and the sentiment block on watercolor paper with Archival black ink. I used a small watercolor set from Koi to do some simple coloring. 

Since these are small images, I decided to make a tag from the watercolor paper. I used my grandmother's pinking shears to cut the bottom, then layered it onto a slightly larger scrap of purple cardstock. (I always save my scraps until they're teeny-weeny!) I cut the hole reinforcer from a scrap of blue glitter paper from DCWV, using a die from the Framelits Tag Collection by Sizzix. The yellow ribbon is from my stash.

I used some patterned papers for layering from a couple of 6x6 paper pads. The pink/orange is from Happy Day by My Mind's Eye, and the green is from Light Bright by Colorbok. I had half a doily sitting on my work surface, left over from another project, so I thought it would be fun to include that as well.

For the card base, I used a piece of Stampin' Up! Tempting Turquoise. The holes were cut using a border punch called Swiss Cheese by EK Success. 

Although it doesn't show up well in a photo, I also used clear Wink of Stella to add some sparkle to the chickie's hats and some of the stamped embellishments in the sentiment block. On top of that, I put a coat of Glossy Accents. In the light, it shows up well, very sparkly and shiny.

The starting point for this card is the current challenge on the Unity Stamp blog. I thought the colors in the inspiration photo were so cheerful!

Till next time,


Monday, June 8, 2015

Take a Technique: Texture

I made this card a while back, and thought it would be a good fit for the latest Take It Make It challenge from Craft Stamper. The challenge this month is to use texture. This card has rough and smooth texture because of the papers I used.

Here's my card:

I started with a piece of watercolor paper which has a rough side and a smoother side. I chose the rough side. I inked up the Measured stencil by Tim Holtz with several mini Distress ink pads. Then after spritzing the stencil with water, I pressed the inked side down onto the paper and let it absorb for a minute. If you look closely at the lower left corner of the panel, you can see one of the numbers fairly clearly.

Next, with black Archival ink, I used the butterfly stamp from Stamper's Anonymous Papillon and stamped over the (dry) Distress inked background. I layered this panel onto some black cardstock, leaving just a thin edge showing.

Next I chose a patterned vellum (here's my smooth texture) and layered it over orange cardstock. I stitched the two together around the edges (more texture from the stitching). After taping this to the card front, I taped down my watercolored panel.

Finally, I stamped a tiny sentiment (Thanks Script by A Muse ArtStamps) with Versafine black and heat embossed it with clear embossing powder (nice raised texture). I cut a notch in one end of the panel and layered it onto black cardstock, again leaving a thin edge showing. I mounted this to the card front with some foam squares, which give some additional depth and interest.

Hope you enjoyed today's project!


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Ombre is Hot!

Now that summer "vacay" has started, I'm enjoying more time in my studio again. I'm hoping to participate in some challenges this summer, so I'm starting off with the latest challenge on Virgina's View Challenge blog. The challenge is to include an ombre color scheme or monochromatic color scheme or both.

Ombre is hot, hot, hot right now - and lots of fun, too. Recently, Hero Arts released some ombre ink pads, and I was able to pick up a couple at my local Hobby Lobby. (Of course, I always use a 40% coupon - so nice that I can pull it up on my phone!)

Here's my card:

I started with a 4.5" x 5.25" piece of white cardstock and Hero Arts Canvas background stamp. I inked the stamp with Hero Arts Butter to Orange Ombre Ink Pad, following the advice of Jennifer McGuire to get a good blend. The color change is subtle, but pretty.

Next I cut another piece of white cardstock with the largest tag from Sizzix Alterations Tag Collection Framelits die set. Using an ink blending tool and one of my good old Stampin' Up! ink pads - Barely Banana, I colored the tag. Next I used a new-to-me stamp set (bought on clearance at Hobby Lobby!) - also by Alterations - French Flight. (Although I didn't make use of it on this card, this stamp set comes with the matching dies.) I inked the butterfly stamp with Ripe Persimmon Distress ink, stamped it and heat set it. I used some Spiced Marmalade Distress ink on the very edges of the tag and the canvas stamped panel. I also cut the same tag shape from a scrap of textured orange cardstock.

To assemble everything, I attached the canvas panel to my last piece of Barely Banana cardstock. I layered the two tags and adhered them towards the left side of the card front. I made a double loop bow from some thin American Crafts twine in orange and glued it to the top of the tag with Multi Medium Matte by Ranger. I stamped the greeting from Altenew's Hennah Elements with black Versafine ink on a scrap piece of white cardstock I'd colored with Ripe Persimmon ink. I covered the sentiment with clear embossing powder and heat set it, then using some tiny pieces of foam tape I attached it towards the bottom right. A few Doodlebug & Studio Calico sequins were glued down with the same matte medium.

It sounds like a lot of steps, but really went together fairly quickly. I probably spent more time agonizing over where the sequins should go than I did on anything else! Some card artists make it look so easy, but it's not intuitive for me at all. 

Hope your summer is off to a good start!


Sunday, April 19, 2015

Can This Mess Be Saved?

I remember from years ago a regular feature in a woman's magazine called "Can This Marriage Be Saved?". While this is not nearly as serious as that, sometimes I wonder if I can salvage some of the messes I create.

This started out as a blank canvas and as usual, I had no idea where I was  going with it. I started gluing down some random pieces of torn newspaper and messing around with paint and stencils. At this point, it looks like it's ready for the trash bin! Now there are times when I will give up on a card, but I figure that if I just keep going, I can always rescue a canvas. 

I soldiered on, adding more layers of paint, glaze, and stenciling. When I was happy with the background, I had to figure out what the point of the canvas would be. I had a new set of bird stamps (Ranger Dina Wakley Scribbly Birds) that I was anxious to use, so I decided my canvas needed a bird. I stamped the bird on watercolor paper with Ranger Archival black ink and colored it with watered down Distress Inks. Then I cut around the body (I didn't try to save the legs since they'd be almost impossible to cut out). I had some newspaper that had been used to protect my work surface when spraying inks, so I die cut some leaves using Tim Holtz' Tattered Leaves. I glued them down starting at the top left corner, trying to create the impression of falling leaves. I freehand sketched a branch as a perch for my bird and filled it in with some brown paint, then glued the bird down allowing the tail to hang off the edge of the canvas.

I chose a scripture from Psalm 98:1, stamping each letter with an alphabet set I've got. After cutting all the letters out, I glued them into place and called it finished. I hope you enjoyed this - it was a lot of fun to see it finally come together!

I'm linking this up to the current Craft Stamper Magazine's "Colour" challenge. Wish me luck!


Monochromatic Card

I spent some time this weekend working on a couple of monochromatic cards, inspired by the current Muse  #113 challenge.

I started with a smooth white cardstock panel, and several shades of blue dye ink. I used Simon Says Stamp Audrey Blue, and Stampin' Up! Brocade Blue, Not Quite Navy, and Ballet Blue. I inked up some circle stamps from Hero Arts (Box of Dots) and an old Stampin' Up! circle that was part of a set of shapes. After stamping the circles, I used a hero Arts stamp called Silhouette Burst and stamped it three times with Hero Arts Black dye ink. At this point, I didn't really like what I had and I set it aside to work on something else. 

Later, I spotted a piece of vellum and tried layering it over my stamped panel. I thought it really improved the way it looked. I decided to try finishing the card to see if I could make it work out. I stamped the sentiment (Stamper's Anonymous Tim Holtz Simple Sayings) with Hero Arts Unicorn pigment ink and covered it with white embossing powder. I thought this particular sentiment went so well with the image which reminds me of a dandelion. I'm sure we've all had the experience of making a wish and trying to blow all the seeds off a fluffy white dandelion!

After melting the powder with my heat tool, I cut the strip with a notch on the end and stitched it along with the vellum on top of the white stamped panel. I pulled out my scraps and found three butterflies punched from various scraps of blue cardstock (using a Martha Stewart punch). 

I thought it would be good to gussy them up a little, so I chose a 7 Gypsies stamp set called Lillie that had a couple of different script stamps as well as a music stamp. I did all three butterflies with Stampin' Up!'s Not Quite Navy ink, and glued them down on top of the vellum. For a little extra touch, I coated all three with Glossy Accents - I hope you can see the shine. Here's a closeup:

I'm glad I didn't give up on this card (although I'm not opposed to giving up if it's clearly a lost cause!).

Here is the inspiration card that got me started:

Happy crafting!


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

All Layered Up

Hello! I'm popping in today with a quick post, linking to a new challenge. Virginia's View has a challenge to use layers or dimension, and this card I made a while ago seemed to fit the bill.

I started with a panel of watercolor paper and a striped background stamp from Stampin' Up! I inked it with Distress Ink, then spritzed the stamp with water before pressing the paper over the stamp. The flower stamp is called Hollyhocks from Prickley Pear. It's stamped with black Archival ink on watercolor paper, and colored with watered down Distress Inks, then torn roughly around the image. I mounted it onto the striped panel, then went to work on the sentiment.

The word "celebrate" is from Altenew's Label Love, stamped in black and trimmed with a small white border. That is mounted onto the striped panel with some foam tape to help it stand out a little bit. Before sticking it down, I made some messy loops with thin gold thread, and used the foam tape to hold it in place. Everything is then mounted onto a navy cardstock base.

I hope your week is going well!


Saturday, March 21, 2015

Muse Challenge #109

I had some time this morning to play around, so I thought I'd try my hand at the latest Muse Challenge. Here's my take:

Muse Challenge #109

Here's the original challenge image:

I loved the yellow background contrasting with the bright blue, the placement of the stamped image, and the Polaroid-style frame. Such a cheerful card!

I started with a piece of smooth white cardstock and blended Distress Inks in Squeezed Lemonade and Mustard Seed over the surface. Then I misted a little water over that and blotted it off. I also like the darker specks of color in the inspiration card, so I put a little Lemon Zest Dylusions spray on my craft sheet and diluted it with water. Then I picked up the color with a small paintbrush and flicked it over my paper. Since I ended up trimming the paper down quite a bit, all that detail doesn't show up in the finished card, but I enjoyed doing it anyway.

I chose an old stamp from a Stampin' Up! set called Nice & Easy Notes and stamped it in black Archival ink on a scrap of watercolor paper. I used Distress Markers in Spun Sugar, Picked Raspberry, Spiced Marmalade, Mowed Lawn, Broken China, and Stormy Ocean to add color to my stamped image. Then, with a wet brush, I blended the colors and dried everything with a heat tool. I added some splashes of yellow over the top, using the same method described above. I used a square punch and a paper trimmer to create my pink "Polaroid" frame, and glued the watercolored image behind it. Then I mounted that onto my yellow paper and trimmed it down. I pulled out a fun printed paper I had in my scrap bin - I wish you could touch it, as the pink flowers are flocked. That was trimmed a little smaller than the turquoise card base and everything was mounted with a tape adhesive.

I had a  scrap of blue glitter cardstock that I punched with my favorite Martha Stewart butterfly punch. That has to be one of  the best purchases I've made - I've used that same punch so many times, and I never get tired of it! I decided that I wanted the blue flowerpot to match the butterfly and turquoise cardstock a little better, so I used a Stampin' Up! marker in Tempting Turquoise to add some additional color, blending with a wet brush. At first I was wasn't sure about the green color that it created when blended with the Distress Inks I'd used earlier, but I really like the finished result. I think it has more depth and interest than before - glad that one turned out okay!!!

For one final touch, I added some Glossy Accents to the flowers - here's a closeup:

Glossy Accents Closeup
Have a great weekend!


Friday, March 20, 2015

Welcome Spring!

In honor of the first day of spring, I made a small mixed media canvas today.


I started off with a small, 4 x 4 blank canvas. The first step is always the hardest, so I find it's best to dive in and get something - anything - onto that blank surface. I thought I'd try some stamping and embossing to create a resist. I used Hero Arts Paint a Flower, and stamped with Versamark, embossing with white powder. It's difficult to stamp well on a canvas because of the give in the middle, so I had to fill in with a Versamark marker.

Then I started messing around with some Distress paints, spreading them on the canvas and misting with water to move them around. I first used Spun Sugar and Wild Honey. I liked it, but the Spun Sugar is so pale that the white embossing really didn't show up as well as I wanted. I decided the background needed to be darker, so I brought in Picked Raspberry Distress paint and added more Wild Honey.

To make a long story short, I ended up with a hot mess. When that happens, I think the thing to do is start layering things on top and start anew. I glued down a couple of strips of printed tissue tape using a matte gel medium. I went over the surface again with the Distress Paints and water. To add some additional color, I sprayed the canvas with Heidi Swapp's Primrose Color Shine.

By this point, I liked the background, but the mess of my embossing was still there. I thought I would try stamping the flower on tissue paper and gluing it over the embossing. I ended up stamping it three times, cutting closely around each flower, and using the matte medium again. I allowed the stems of the flowers to continue over the bottom edge of the canvas, and the left-most flower goes over the left edge.

I pulled out an old Stampin' Up! scripture stamp, using tissue paper again and waterproof ink (Ranger Archival Black). I cut around the words, and glued that to the top right of the canvas. I played around with trying to add some green twine towards the bottom, but couldn't figure out a way to repeat that color anywhere else. So, I gave that idea up. After digging around, I pulled out some clear, colored "gems" and glued them on, trying to keep things balanced. As a final touch, I also added some teeny tiny pink and purple sprinkles and a little clear glitter. Since this is the last day for the Hero Arts Nature Challenge, I promise this is the last post connected to it!

Have a great weekend!


Thursday, March 19, 2015

Heat Tool Comparison / Hero Arts Nature Challenge

Hero Arts Nature Challenge

Sometimes it's nice to upgrade a tool. I use a heat tool often in my stamping, as I enjoy heat embossing. It's also handy to speed up the drying process when using wet media. For years I've used the Ranger Heat it Craft Tool; it worked well and I didn't think about replacing it. I began seeing another heat tool used fairly often as I watched video tutorials. This one is made by Milwaukee and is the 1400 model. I noticed as I watched others do heat embossing that it seemed to go so much faster than I was used to. I finally decided to take the plunge and get one.

It came in the mail today, so I quickly got it out and decided to see if it was as good as I hoped.

Ranger Heat it Craft Tool

Milwaukee 1400

I had a scrap of an old manila file on my work  surface, and a brand new Hero Arts stamp (Paint a Flower) I'd just scored on clearance. I inked the stamp with Versamark and stamped the image in the center. I coated it with white embossing powder, then stamped and coated the same flower twice more. (Sprinkling the embossing powder on the first image makes it easier to see where to stamp again, since Versamark ink is clear.) I turned on the heat gun and was thrilled at how quickly the embossing powder melted! I also like that the nozzle is much smaller than my other heat gun, which allowed me to keep the heat focused where I wanted it. It is slightly louder than the Ranger tool, but not enough to be a nuisance. I was glad that I had glanced at the instruction booklet before using it, since it smoked a little at first. I knew that was okay, since I'd read that it might do that - just as the booklet said, it quit doing that after a few moments.

I got out some Distress Stains in Spiced Marmalade and Peeled Paint and squeezed the color onto my craft sheet. I dragged the stamped paper through the wet stain, then dried it and repeated the process. The white embossed flowers resisted the stain, and I love the way it looks.

I thought it would look a little more interesting if I cropped the image tightly around the flowers, so I trimmed the panel down and rubbed some Brushed Corduroy Distress Ink around the edges.

I had a scrap of the stained manila file left, so I stamped a greeting from Hero Arts Trees, Birds, & Messages, using Ancient Page Close to Cocoa and clear embossing powder. I layered my stamped pieces with some patterned paper and some textured brown paper and mounted everything on green cardstock.

Finished Card

I'm linking this to the Hero Arts Nature Challenge.

It's the last day of winter, so Happy Spring tomorrow!