Wednesday, June 27, 2018

June's Christmas card

When I sat down to make this month's Christmas card, my goal was very clean and simple. I wanted to use up some patterned paper and add an easy focal point. Ultimately, that's what I ended up with, but it was a little more time-consuming than I intended.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Holly Jolly Greetings
Paper: Thick Whisper White, Whisper White card stock; snowman paper (unknown); black and white snowflakes (Paper Source); red foil
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Accessories: Christmas Greeting Thinlits dies, Chalk Talk Framelits dies, foil snowflakes, metallic foil doilies, silver glitter washi tape, silver sequins (unknown), Mono Multi liquid glue, Dimensionals, Glue Dots

I've had this snowman paper forever, or at least fifteen years. The snowflake paper I bought at Paper Source a couple of years ago and used to make cute tag sets for holiday gifts last Christmas. I accented the papers with touches of silver: washi tape, sequins and doilies/snowflakes. (I actually started with the silver snowflakes, like the card on the left, but I discovered part way through the batch that I didn't have enough. Luckily I still had a few of the large silver doilies, and I think they're a good substitute.)

The time-consuming part of this card design was die cutting all the red foil "jolly"s. They're just so skinny that it was tricky to get them out of the die, clear out all of the little pieces inside the letters, and then glue them on the tag. But in the end, everything worked out, and I have seven more Christmas cards finished!

Before I go, I quickly have to revisit May's Christmas card. When I posted it last month, I hadn't added much embellishment. I asked for opinions about whether I should leave it as is or add some sequins, and my stamping friend Sunshine emphatically wanted me to add sequins. So I pulled out this bunch of cards and glued a few gold sequins to each one. I like the card design either way, but I do think the sequins add a fun detail. Thanks, Sunshine!

I'm still struggling with finding crafty time lately. I did manage to make a couple of things today, and I'm hoping to be really productive during the few days I have off next week. Thanks for stopping by!

It's a garden!

I mentioned in a post earlier this month that I wasn't sure if we would be planting a garden this year. Well, last Saturday my sister and I finally buckled down and got to work.

We weeded, tilled and pulled out the rusty, falling-down, chicken-wire fence that we put up a few years ago. Yes, the rabbits now can get in the garden more easily, but it's worth it to not have to climb over the fence all the time.

We planted two tomatoes (in the red cages on the left), zucchini (in the back right, near the center of the photo), two cucumbers (at the red trellis on the right side) and a yellow squash (front left corner). My sister also planted sage and rosemary in the two pots, and I put a row of mammoth sunflower seeds at the back of the garden along the chain-link fence.

This is the front of the garden, which we didn't do much with other than to pull out some of the Creeping Charlie vines (not an easy feat when they're all mixed up with the strawberry vines). At the top middle are raspberry bushes, then below them are the strawberries -- we've had quite a few berries from both so far. Then there's the crazy rhubarb; my sister picked some the other day and made some delicious spiced rhubarb muffins.

So that's the quick garden update. We also planted some flowers in the window boxes and in a couple of large pots in the front yard. I'll try to post photos every few weeks or so once things start growing. Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Unicorns and superheroes

Last week I didn't have much crafting time, so consequently I didn't have much to post on my blog. I did make a couple of cards, but they're for a card contest at an upcoming stamp show, so I don't want to share them just yet. (Wish me luck. I'm hoping to win a prize and get a little money to spend at the show!) I do have a couple of cards I made way back in February that I never posted, so I'll share those today. Better late than never! They're two designs that would be great for the young ones in your life -- or those who are young at heart!

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Little Dreamer - Cardmaking (Close to My Heart)
Paper: Soft Sky, Whisper White card stock
Ink: Soft Sky, Berry Burst, Sweet Sugarplum
Accessories: Wonky Stitched Circles dies (My Favorite Things), clear Wink of Stella glitter brush pen, glitter washi tape, sequins (Paper Pumpkin leftovers), Dimensionals

This card uses no-frills basic stamping -- just stamps, ink, paper and a couple of embellishments. Honestly, I think this is still my favorite way to make cards. I've actually posted a couple of similar cards using this set and almost the same colors -- I just think Soft Sky is the perfect light blue for this unicorn.

I stamped the focal image on white card stock and die cut it with a stitched circle die. (OK, I did throw a die in there, so I guess it's not a completely basic card!) For the subtle background, I randomly stamped the two star images from the set with the same color ink as the card stock. The little banner was hand-cut.

I added a little sparkle with Wink of Stella, which you can't really see in this picture, and a strip of glitter washi tape. You can't have a unicorn card without sparkle! Or sequins, which I also sprinkled on the focal layer. I think if you changed or omitted the sentiment on the banner, this would also be an adorable baby card.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up!):
Stamps: Calling All Heroes
Paper: Real Red, Whisper White card stock
Ink: Real Red, Island Indigo, Crushed Curry, Memento Tuxedo Black, dark Daffodil Delight Blendabilities marker
Accessories: Wood stars (Paper Pumpkin leftovers), clear Wink of Stella glitter brush pen, Dimensionals

Since the first card is a little girly, I also wanted to make a more boyish card. So I pulled out my Calling All Heroes stamp set and found that I already had several pieces stamped and cut out. Sweet! Here's a quick tip: Sometimes I stamp and cut out pieces to make a card and then end up not using them. I just tuck them in the envelope or case with the stamp set, and they're all ready to go next time I use that set.

Using a bold red, yellow, blue, and black color scheme, I layered a few of the images onto the dotted backgrounds and then arranged them on a Real Red card base. I also stamped the card base with clusters of stars, which I filled in with clear Wink of Stella to help them stand out. A few wooden stars add a little texture and stick with the theme.

I wanted the inside of this card to be fun, too, so I added a panel of white card stock and created my own customized sentiment. I used the alphabet included with the set to stamp out "Have a super birthday." To emphasize the pun, I stamped "super" on a separate piece of white card stock inside the comic-style word bubble. Then I cut it out and attached it inside the card with Dimensionals.

I really need to get some more card-making done this week, so I'm hoping to have more to share this weekend and next week. Until then, I hope you have a super, magical, unicorn-filled day! Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Making rainbows with Gelatos

A few weeks ago I was having a bit of a mixed media play day. I experimented with my Pearl-Ex powders for the first time in ages, and I had a great time making rainbows with my set of brights Gelatos. I turned those rainbows into several cards, and I swear I loved each one more than the last.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Sentimental Birthday (Winnie & Walter)
Paper: Basic Black, thick Whisper White card stock
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Accessories: Brights Gelatos (Faber-Castell), sequins (Hand Made Modern), Small Stitched Rectangles Stackables (Lawn Fawn), Scribble Happy Birthday die (Poppy Stamps), Glue Dots, foam tape (3M)

Isn't that fun and festive? I just love the bold colors, and I was so excited to discover that I had a set of sequins that included all the matching colors. But first things first: How did I make the rainbow?

There are several different ways you can use Gelatos, but for all of the cards I'm sharing today, I rubbed the Gelatos sticks directly on white card stock and then blended the colors with my finger. I found, though, that when my finger was dry, I had to press really hard to blend the Gelatos, and even then I wasn't getting quite the look I wanted. So I added a tiny bit of water to my finger -- I just barely dipped it in a cup of water, or I pressed it on a wet washcloth -- and voila! The colors spread like butter. I wanted to keep the bold, distinct colors, though, so I didn't go crazy here. I spread out each color to soften it and then lightly blended the edge between each pair of colors so there wasn't any white space between them.

I wanted to continue the color inside the card, so I added one more of each color sequin. And I didn't plan it, but I love how the font of the sentiment stamp is so similar to the die cut on the front of the card. They're even from different companies, so it's a little serendipitous.

For the rainbow on the first card, I used seven of the twelve Gelatos in my set. For the next two cards, I used all twelve colors to make a more subtle, blended rainbow on a piece of white card stock, and then I die cut elements out of that card stock. I didn't think to take a picture before I started die cutting, but here is the piece with the shapes cut out, so you can get a better look at all the colors. At the bottom of the card stock I cut out a wavy element, which I used on my next card.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Choose Joy (Papertrey Ink)
Paper: Whisper White, thick Whisper White, Basic Black card stock
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Accessories: Brights Gelatos (Faber-Castell), Swirly Scribbles Thinlits dies, sequins (Lawn Fawn), Glue Dots

I think I need to send this card to myself, because I like to worry. About everything. But I'm not worried about how this card turned out; I love it!

I think everything here is pretty self-explanatory, so I won't go into a lot of detail. But I did have one boo-boo. If you look closely at the picture above (with the die-cut rainbow card stock), you can see that the S and the U on the bottom "sunshine" aren't connected. That's because after I cut those, I positioned the wavy die on the card stock and didn't place it low enough. So the top of my waves between the red and the orange has a little chunk missing. Luckily I had the perfect sequin to cover it up. You gotta' love those opportunities for embellishment!

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Sunshine Sayings
Paper: Thick Whisper White, Whisper White card stock; Shine on Specialty Designer Series Paper (DSP); gold foil paper
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black
Accessories: Brights Gelatos (Faber-Castell), Large Stitched Rectangles Stackables dies and Hello Sunshine dies (Lawn Fawn), Sunshine Wishes Thinlits dies, sparkling clear sequins (Pretty Pink Posh), Dimensionals

I was so excited when I remembered that I had this kraft card stock with the foil clouds. I actually said out loud, "I have an idea!" and it worked. These clouds are the perfect backdrop for the rainbow sentiment. And to finish the scene, I added a gold die-cut sun and some clear sequin "raindrops." Since I had two die-cut "sunshine" pieces, I went ahead and made two of this same card. I don't typically make multiples of the same card (unless it's for Christmas or a card set), but this one was too cute.

One other detail about my Gelatos rainbows: I did not use anything to set the color at all. The lighter rainbows seem perfectly fine because those colors were blended out quite a bit. With the first card, if I rub my finger over the Gelatos, sometimes a faint bit of color comes off. I think that's because I applied the Gelatos more firmly so the color was really bold, and then I didn't blend the colors as much. I'm not too worried about it, but I'm sure you could apply a fixative if that was a concern for you.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Blast from the past

Do you remember Pearl-Ex powders? Years ago -- it was before I became a Stampin' Up! demonstrator, which was in 2005 -- Pearl-Ex powders were all the crafting rage, and I bought several jars. I never used them a whole lot, but they're cool, so I've hung onto them. Well, a couple of weeks ago I decided to get them out and play.

Pearl-Ex are powdered pigments that you can mix into other substances (paint, embossing paste, etc.) to create a metallic or pearlescent finish. You also can use them dry and apply a fixative. I remember stamping images with VersaMark ink and then applying the powder with a stipple brush over the ink. I also mixed different colors with gum arabic in a plastic paint palette and added water to make paints.

This time around, I wanted to try mixing some powder with embossing paste, since that was something I didn't have oh those many years ago. So I chose one color of Pearl-Ex powder, Spring Green, and got mixing. Because the paste is opaque white, it hid the luster of the powder (maybe I should have used more?), but it did create a pretty mossy green embossing paste. I pulled out some stencils and created backgrounds for two cards.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Petite Pairs
Paper: Early Espresso, Crumb Cake
Ink: Early Espresso
Accessories: Red paper flowers (Eyelet Outlet), light molding paste (Golden), Spring Green Pearl-Ex pigment (Jacquard Products), Button Latte Designer Buttons, linen thread, Garden Leafy Stems stencil (Memory Box), gold sequins (The Makery), gold Wink of Stella glitter brush pen, sponge, Glue Dots

What do you think? I do wish the paste had a bit more sheen -- you can just see hints of it if you move the card in the light. But I like the vintage, shabby chic look of the finished card. (The lighting in this photo isn't very good; the card looks much "warmer" in person.)

There is a lot of texture going on here -- paste, paper flowers, button and thread -- and I really like it. I sponged ink around the edges of the Crumb Cake panel and crumpled the paper flowers to add to the distressed look. And a few gold sequins and some gold Wink of Stella splatters create just a little sparkle.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Paper: Mossy Meadow, Very Vanilla card stock; gold foil sheets
Accessories: Eastern Medallion Thinlits dies, metallic foil doilies, Mossy Meadow ribbon, 2" circle punch, light molding paste (Golden), Spring Green Pearl-Ex pigment (Jaquard Products), Mini Fish Scales stencil (The Crafter's Workshop), large pearls, Dimensionals, Mono Multi liquid glue

For the second card, I went with a green, gold and vanilla color palette. Honestly, I wasn't crazy about this card at first. It felt too much like a St. Patrick's Day card or something, and that wasn't what I was going for. But it's grown on me, and now I think I like it. (Again the lighting isn't great; the gold is much shinier in person.)

To make the focal image for this card I used three dies from the Eastern Medallions Thinlits set to create the Very Vanilla shape. I punched a 2" circle out of a gold foil sheet and carefully glued it to the back of the medallion. I decided it needed a bit more oomph, so I adhered the medallion to a gold foil doily with Dimensionals. (I could have skipped the gold circle, and you still would have seen the gold color through the openings in the medallion. But this way probably worked out better, because then I didn't have to try to fit little tiny pieces of Dimensionals between the openings in the medallion.) I finished off the medallion with a large pearl in the center and also added a tiny strip of gold foil along the bottom of the background panel.

I want to play with my Pearl-Ex powers some more, but this wasn't too bad for my first attempt after a long time. I just did an online search, and Pearl-Ex powders are still available, so who knows, maybe I'll even decide to buy some more. Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Sweet garden cards

Usually by this time of year, my sister and I are busy planting or tending our backyard garden. So far this year we've done ... nothing. Well, that's not completely true. I did a tiny bit of weeding yesterday and tried to clear out some of the Creeping Charlie from the strawberry patch (and my allergies are acting up today as the price). Part of the reason is that we've been toying around with the idea of moving, so we're not terribly motivated to put a bunch of effort into a garden. But really I think neither one of us is "feeling it" this year. I know we'll plant something eventually, whether it's a few easy vegetables or even just flowers, but I don't know how many garden updates I'll have to share this summer. For now, though, I have a cute bunch of garden-themed cards that I hope you'll like.

Supplies (all Stampin' Up! unless otherwise noted):
Stamps: Gleeful Gardens (Lawn Fawn), Gnome Sweet Gnome (Lawn Fawn), Whole Lotta' Happy (WPlus9)
Paper: Soft Sky, Old Olive, Whisper White, thick Whisper White card stock
Ink: Memento Tuxedo Black, various alcohol markers
Accessories: Gleeful Gardens dies (Lawn Fawn), Gnome Sweet Gnome dies (Lawn Fawn), Wonky Stitched Circles dies (My Favorite Things), Picket Fence Border dies (Lawn Fawn), Simple Stitched Hillside Borders dies (Lawn Fawn), Grassy Border die (Lawn Fawn), Corner Chomper (We R Memory Keepers), sparkling clear sequins (Pretty Pink Posh), blue sequins (Paper Pumpkin leftovers), White Perfect Accents, outline stickers (Krazy Kreations), linen thread, Dimensionals

I think they turned out pretty cute! This series of cards started on a recent craft day. That morning I wasn't sure what project I wanted to work on, and while I looking through some of my supplies, I came across several sheets of white card stock stamped with outline images from various sets. I had intended to color them (maybe during the last craft weekend), but never did. One of the sheets was filled with these images, and since I didn't have any other pressing projects, I decided to color them and create some cards.

I love these adorable garden-themed images, especially the gnomes and mushrooms, and I had a lot of fun coloring them. I used various alcohol markers; I didn't write down the specific colors, but if you have a question about any of them, leave a comment below, and I'll try to figure out what I used. I tried to work on my blending skills, which still need some practice. But I do like that the coloring always looks "good" with alcohol markers, even if you just use one solid color.

Once all the coloring was done, I used the coordinating dies to cut out all the pieces. I also cut out some additional pieces to create the scenes for my cards, including stitched hillsides, grassy borders, a picket fence and a gate. Then it was a matter of dividing up all the pieces and arranging them on the different cards.

For most of the cards I used a Soft Sky card base. It's the perfect light blue for a sky background, and I'm so sad it retired. I still have plenty of the card stock left, though, so I'm sure you'll be seeing it for awhile.

For this last card, though, I used thick Whisper White card stock for the card base, and I think this one might be my favorite of the bunch. Rather than making a scene that filled the whole card, I created a little focal point scene. I used a wonky stitched circle die to cut a Soft Sky background. Then I layered on the die-cut grass, gate, snail, gnome and flower, letting the pieces overlap the edge of the circle.

For the most part, I kept the embellishments on these cards pretty simple: a white enamel circle on the first card and a few clear or blue sequins on the next two. For the last card I again used a few light blue sequins, but I also added a strip of a black scalloped outline sticker and a simple linen thread bow. It adds a little detail to the bottom of the card without taking focus away from the happy gnome and his snail buddy.

As always, thanks so much for stopping by today!