Monday, May 22, 2017

Starry, starry birthdays

We've had almost nonstop rain for the past week, but I am glad to report that the sun is finally shining today. And it's a good thing, too, because as much as I love a good thunderstorm, I think the interminable clouds were beginning to turn me into Oscar the Grouch. We do have a front yard that is now a field of dandelions, but that's a problem for another day. Today I want to share with you a couple of birthday cards featuring sparkling stars.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Cricut Artiste Collection Birthday (Close to My Heart), Sprinkles & Smiles (Penny Black)
Paper: Pacific Point, Whisper White card stock; gold glimmer paper; gold foil sheets
Ink: Pacific Point
Accessories: Confetti Stars embossing folder (Close to My Heart), star dies (Close to My Heart), Dimensionals, Mono Multi Liquid glue

As it turns out, I ended up making a "boy" birthday card and a "girl" birthday card, and this is the masculine version. (Not that you couldn't give a blue card to a girl, of course; I just happen to think that this card would be perfect for several of the boys in my extended family.)

I started with a Pacific Point card base and embossed it with a star embossing folder. I die cut several stars in different sizes using gold glimmer paper and gold foil sheets. For a few of the stars I nested the dies to create the star outlines and add some variety to the solid stars. I adhered the stars to the upper left and lower right corners of the card base, suing Dimensionals to pop up a couple of the stars. For the sentiment, I stamped a banner image with the saing "Hip-hip-hooray," cut it out by hand and attached it near the middle of the card with Dimensionals.

Inside the card I added a layer of white card stock stamped with a sentiment in Pacific Point. A few more small die-cut stars finish off the card and add a little more sparkle.

I do really like the look of the gold glimmer paper combined with the gold foil. The rougher glimmer paper adds a bit of fun texture, and the smooth foil brings lots of shine.

Looking at this card now, I realize that it doesn't even have to be a birthday card. It also would be perfect for celebrating just about any accomplishment, such as graduating from high school or college, receiving an award or honor, getting a new job, or giving an end-of-year school presentation or performance.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Strictly Sentiments (WPlus9 Design Studio)
Paper: Thick Whisper White card stock; Pansy card stock, Kaleidoscope paper (Close to My Heart); gold glimmer paper
Ink: Pansy (Close to My Heart)
Accessories: Stars dies (Close to My Heart), Celebrate die (Close to My Heart), Diamond embossing folder (Close to My Heart), Tiny Attacher (Tim Holtz), Mono Multi liquid glue

And here's the more "girly" starry card. I tried a new technique for this card. I'm not sure if it has an official name, but I'll call it the inlaid die-cut technique. I started with a piece of Pansy card stock that was the size of an A2 card (4-1/4" x 5-1/2") and die cut the word "celebrate" from the middle of the card stock. I set aside the die-cut word to use on a different card, but I made sure to keep all the little pieces from inside the letters. Then I embossed the piece of card stock and layered it on a card base. I used a white card base, but you also could use the same color as the top layer. Note: When you emboss card stock, the paper can "shrink" a little bit, depending on how much of the paper is pushed up into the design. So you may need to trim your card base down just a bit to match the size.

The next step is to cut the same die cut out of a contrasting card stock or patterned paper (I used a fun multi-colored patterned paper called Kaleidoscope). I carefully glue the second die cut into the negative space on the card front. There were a couple of places where it didn't fit exactly because parts of the purple layered moved just slightly while I was gluing the layer onto the card base, but it's nothing too noticeable. The really fun part was then gluing those tiny little purple pieces back in the middle of the letters. Obviously those pieces didn't get embossed like the rest of the purple card stock, but they're so small it's hardly noticeable. Of course you could solve this whole problem by just using a solid die-cut shape.

I finished the front of the card with two narrow banners of coordinating patterned paper stapled in the upper left corner and three gold glimmer paper stars.

Inside the card I stamped a simple birthday sentiment and added a larger gold star. And again, if you wanted to use this card for a non-birthday celebratory occasion, you would just need to change or omit the inside sentiment.

That's it for me today. I'm going to see if I can sit outside and read for a bit before the clouds roll back in. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Beautiful butterflies

Happy Mother's Day! I want to wish a wonderful day to all the moms, grandmas, godmothers, aunts, cousins, sisters, friends and other mother figures out there. And in honor of all those who nurture and care for us, today I'm sharing the Mother's Day card I made for my mom as well as a couple of other cards that each feature a die-cut butterfly.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Mother's Day (Close to My Heart)
Paper: Crumb cake, Calypso Coral, Very Vanilla card stock; Pretty Petals Designer Series Paper (DSP) stack
Ink:Crumb Cake, Calypso Coral
Accessories: Scallop embossing folder (Close to My Heart), Bold Butterfly Framelits dies, pearls, sponge, Glue Dots

I love the colors and patterns in the Pretty Petals DSP stack; so much so that I bought a second pack when it was on the Clearance Rack recently. (And that's saying something, because I really try to limit my patterned-paper purchases since I don't use them up very quickly.) I used an idea book for the basic layout, layering patterned paper and embossed card stock on a Crumb Cake card base. For the focal image I stamped a sentiment and border on a square of Very Vanilla card stock and sponged the edges with Crumb Cake ink. (I also sponged the edges of the patterned paper.) A Crumb Cake butterfly with a pearl in the center finishes off this card. A simple but pretty card perfect for a spring day. This design would be great for a set of cards -- just change the background DSP and the sentiment for each card in the set. Hmmm ... something to add to my to-do list.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Paper: Basic Black, Old Olive, Very Vanilla card stock; Pretty Petals DSP stack
Accessories: Bold Butterfly Framelits dies, pearls, Mono Multi liquid glue

No stamping on this card, but there is more of that Pretty Petals DSP. A layout like this one is a wonderful way to use up those scraps of patterned paper that are too pretty to just recycle. Or for a more subtle, monochromatic look, use scraps of the same color card stock but emboss them with different textures to add a different type of visual interest.

To create this card, I started in the lower left corner and then filled in other pieces, trimming as necessary and trying to balance colors and patterns. Don't start adhering paper right away; just move around pieces until you have an arrangement you like. (Sometimes I use my grid paper for this step. I draw an outline the size of the card, and then I can use the grid lines to make sure the edges of the pieces are even.) When you are ready to adhere, it's helpful to use a liquid glue because it gives you just a little time to wiggle the paper if you don't get it down in exactly the right spot.

When I make cards like this I always seem to end up with one spot that is just too small for a piece of DSP. That blank space is a perfect place to add an embellishment -- or just cover it up with a focal panel, as I did with this card.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Delicate Details
Paper: Soft Suede, Crumb Cake card stock; Zoe patterned paper (Close to My Heart)
Ink: Soft Suede, Crumb Cake
Accessories: Butterflies Thinlits dies, delicate white doilies, pearls Picture My Life card (Close to My Heart), burlap ribbon, sponge, Dimensionals, Mono Multi liquid glue

I don't do a lot of scrapbooking (I have a San Diego scrapbook from a trip in 2010, I think, that I haven't touched in years), but pocket-style scrapbooking cards also make great elements on cards. This card was one that was in my goodie bag at the craft retreat, and I love the colors, images and subtle text on the background. I used the card as my focal layer on this card by adding a large die-cut butterfly to the top of the card and a bit of paper doily on the bottom.

For the card base, I cut a piece of patterned paper, sponged the edges with Crumb Cake ink and adhered it to the bottom half of the card front. I stamped a lace image along the top of the paper and wrapped burlap ribbon around the card front between the paper and stamped lace image. I attached the focal panel to the card with Dimensionals and added a strip of pearls to the butterfly's body and a single pearl in the upper right corner of the card.

Now that spring is here -- and seems to be staying this time -- I suspect I'll want to add butterflies to lots of cards. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Two more note card sets

This week has just flown by! I guess that's what happens when you're busy with work, a few family commitments and beautiful weather that makes you want to nap in the lawn chair in the backyard. (Not that I dozed off while I was trying to read or anything. I was just resting my eyes. Ahem.) But I'm back to share more of the cards I made at the craft retreat a couple of weeks ago, specifically the other two sets of note cards.


Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Plot Twist (Taylored Expressions)
Paper: Thick Whisper White, Whisper White, Basic Black card stock; Pansy card stock and Kaleidoscope paper (Close to My Heart)
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, watercolor paints (Close to My Heart)
Accessories: Stitched Shapes Framelits dies, rhinestones, black baker's twine, water brush (Close to My Heart)

Like the previous two card sets, this set uses a set of inspirational/meaningful quotes and sayings as the focal images. (I absolutely love the sentiment in the upper left card in the picture above -- "When something goes wrong in your life, just yell 'Plot twist!' and move on." -- and it's the main reason I bought this set.) But these quotes have a little more oomph in terms of their visual style, so I used a bold black and white color scheme with little hints of color.

I cut thick Whisper White card stock to note card size (3-1/2" x 5") and used a water brush to splatter purple watercolor paint on the card bases. I adhered a strip of Basic Black card stock along the left side of the card base and tied a length of black and white baker's twine over the black strip. For the focal images, I stamped each sentiment on Whisper White card stock and die cut them with either a stitched oval or stitched circle die, depending on the size and shape of the image. I attached four strips of card stock or patterned paper behind the right edge of each circle/oval and then adhered the piece to the card base. I finished off the cards with three rhinestones.

And finally ...

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Labeler Alphabet, Sunday Stroll (Mama Elephant)
Paper: Whisper White note cards and envelopes; Whisper White, Basic Black card stock
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, colored pencils and blender pencil (Prismacolor)
Accessories: Brick Wall embossing folder, rhinestones, black fine-line felt tip pen (Staedtler), Dimensionals

This card set was a little more involved than the others. I bought this stamp set, Sunday Stroll, ages ago because, obviously, it's adorable. But I haven't used it a whole lot because I'm not the most skilled at putting together little stamped scenes. Since I had time to play around with it during the craft retreat, I decided to make several simple scenes with sentiments to match and make a card set.

I stamped the images on Whisper White card stock and used a fine-tip pen to draw the wavy line representing the ground (the tufts of grass are a stamp). I colored the stamped images with colored pencils, but I left the background of the scenes white so the figures really stand out. (Let's be honest: I was too lazy to color in all that background.) I layered each scene onto Basic Black card stock and used Dimensionals to adhere the panel onto an embossed white note card. A row of three rhinestones finishes each card.

For the sentiments I settled on six all-occasion greetings and matched them up with the stamped scenes. Then I stamped each sentiment using the Labeler Alphabet set, black ink and white card stock. Here's a tip: When I need to stamp multiple words with this set, I pull out a bunch of scrap strips of card stock and work on all the words simultaneously. For instance, for "thanks" and "hello," I stamp the T on one strip. Then I stamp the H next to the T, and I stamp another H on a different strip of card stock to start the other word. It's much faster than trying to do each word individually. I keep a large clear block near me on the table, so if I know I will need to use a letter again further along in a word, I set the stamp on the extra block rather than putting it back on the index sheet in the stamp case.

In all honesty, I wasn't crazy about this card set when I first made it, but the more I look at it, the more it grows on me. I hope you like it, too. In my next post I'll start sharing the individual cards I made at the retreat. Thanks for stopping by

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Two clean and simple card sets

Last weekend I had a great time at a craft retreat with my aunt and three new crafting friends. It was so much fun to stay up late (I was up until 2 a.m. every night, and Sunday morning I didn't hit the sack until 5 a.m.!), sleep in, eat good food, laugh and make loads of cards. The weather was chilly and rainy all weekend, which normally I would complain about, especially if I were spending the weekend at a lake cabin, but it was perfect for our crafting productivity. I made a total of forty-four cards, which I think is pretty good.

My first order of business at the retreat was to make some new sets of cards. I like to have a selection of card sets on hand to give as gifts, and my stash has been pretty low. For the first two sets I used a great set of sentiment stamps from Papertrey Ink as the focal images for my cards.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Choose Joy (Papertrey Ink)
Paper: Whisper White note cards and envelopes, Pocket Blossom Stack (DCWV)
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Pear Pizzazz, Blushing Bride, Calypso Coral, So Saffron
Accessories: Delicate white doilies, linen thread, Shine and Sparkle sequins (Hazel and Ruby), Mono Multi liquid glue, Glue Dots

I chose six of the sentiments in the stamp set and stamped each one with black ink on a white note card. For embellishment I cut a strip of printed paper with a small floral pattern and snipped each end into a V. I glued a small piece of white doily behind the strip and then attached the strip to the card below the sentiment. A linen thread bow and three silvery sequins finish off each card.

I also stamped a small flower inside each card and on the corner of the envelope so everything coordinated.













For the second card set I used the same sentiment stamp set, but instead of using patterned paper, I added a stamped border along the fold of each card.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Choose Joy (Papertrey Ink), Geo-Graphic (Paper Smooches)
Paper: Whisper White note cards and envelopes; Blushing Bride, Calypso Coral, So Saffron, Pear Pizzazz, Baja Breeze, Wisteria Wonder card stock
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, Blushing Bride, Calypso Coral, So Saffron, Pear Pizzazz, Baja Breeze, Wisteria Wonder
Accessories: Itty Bitty Shaped punch pack, rhinestones, glue dots

For this card set, another clean and simple design, I chose a rainbow of pastel colors and used one color for each card. I stamped a patterned background image along the spine using the color and then stamped the quote in black about one-third of the way down the card front. For a simple embellishment I punched a small flower in the coordinating color and adhered it and a few sequins to the right of the sentiment. Here are pictures of the individual cards:


I know these aren't fancy cards, but they are very much my style, and I love the way they turned out. I have two more card sets to share in my next post. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sneak peek: Just Add Text

I'm back with my third sneak peek of a stamp set from the upcoming 2017-18 Stampin' Up! catalog. This set, Just Add Text, is the set I won during prize patrol at the April OnStage event. This set contains six stamps, each a different quote or sentiment in a different font style. These images are meant to take center stage, and that's what I did for my two cards.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Just Add Text, Banners for You
Paper: Thick Whisper White, Pool Party card stock
Ink: Pool Party, Tranquil Tide, Calypso Coral, Daffodil Delight, Old Olive
Accessories: Stitched Shapes and Layering Ovals Framelits dies, Hexagons Dynamic embossing folder, linen thread, rhinestones, clear Wink of Stella glitter brush pen, Dimensionals, Glue Dots, Mono Multi liquid glue

This card actually features two new products: the stamped sentiment from Just Add Text and one of the new In Colors, Tranquil Tide, which is a rich hunter green-sort of color. I also used a few products that I've had for a while but hadn't yet tried out: the Hexagons Dynamic embossing folder and the Banners for You stamp set (for the flower images).

I made five cards of this design, one for each of my table mates and new stamping friends from OnStage. Rather than stamping five individual panels, I stamped a larger piece of thick Whisper White card stock and then cut it into 2"-wide strips. I also stamped individual flowers on scrap card stock, added Wink of Stella to the blooms, cut them out by hand and adhered one to the focal panel on each card.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Just Add Text
Paper: Watercolor paper (Strathmore), Basic Black card stock
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, watercolor pencils
Accessories: Aqua Painter brush, metallic enamel shapes, gold washi tape (unknown), 1/8" Basic Black ribbon, Corner Chomper (We R memory Keepers), Dimensionals

This card was inspired by the April Paper Pumpkin kit. I love the look of the cards in the kit -- a soft watercolor wash against a black card base -- but I don't want to "mess up" those cards, so I decided to practice with this one.

I scribbled lines of color on watercolor paper with the watercolor pencils. Then I used an Aqua Painter brush to blend the colors. I stamped the sentiment in black over the wash and added three gold enamel stars.

I really like the way the focal panel turned out, but I had a hard time with the rest of the card. I tried a few different possibilities and finally settled on a piece of gold and white washi tape along the bottom of the card front and a piece of black ribbon wrapped around the card front and knotted just above the washi tape. I'm still not crazy about this layout, so I may pull off the watercolor panel and try again another day.

I hope you've enjoyed these sneak peeks of three new Stampin' Up! stamp sets. Thanks for stopping by!