Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Joy and Peace Wreath


The theme for Creative Knockouts Challenge #431 is "Time to Be Merry." I needed a few somewhat-quick Christmas cards to finish up my supply for this year, and found this one on Pinterest for inspiration. I liked how the wreath was incomplete & the greeting nestled into the open area. I pulled out my Large Wreath Builder template from Gina K. Designs & my MISTI stamp positioning tool to create the wreath on my card.

I cut my white cardstock panel to 4-3/4" square. Before I started stamping the wreath, I went ahead & heat embossed the greeting (from Hero Arts 2020 My Monthly Hero kit) with Ranger's Gold Super Fine Detail embossing powder. I then placed my panel in the wreath template, which I had taped into the corner of my MISTI. I also taped the 2 smaller guide pieces in place in the template, so they wouldn't shift as I stamped.

I used a combination of images from Lawn Fawn's "Deck the Halls" & Gina K. Designs' "Holiday Wreath Builder" sets to stamp my wreath. I began with the poinsettia flowers, figuring they were the largest element & so a good place to start. I stamped the one in the lower right, below the greeting, first, then worked my way around until what would have been the next-to-last turn in the template. That took me to just above the greeting on the upper right, so I stopped before making the last turn in the template. I continued stamping images in the same way, until I'd filled out the wreath. Finally, I went in with a few extra little stamps, just above & below the greeting, to bring the ends of the wreath closer to the text.

I cut a panel of red cardstock to 4-7/8" square, to give me a 1/16" mat all around my stamped panel. I cut  a 5" square of kraft cardstock to mat that, and adhered it to a white 5" square card base.

I'm also entering this card in 613 Avenue Create's December challenge: "Anything Goes w/Optional Twist - Any Holiday" (playing the twist).

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Warm Winter Wishes

The October Monthly Mix Challenge at Gina K. Designs' blog has a theme of "Ink Smooshing." I decided to do a bit of a twist on this, by using Distress Oxide inks on glossy photo paper & then going over it with a baby wipe.

I got an A2-size panel I'd previously cut from a sheet of photo paper I'd gotten at Dollar Tree. Unless it's changed, this paper comes in a pack of 8 letter-size sheets for just $1.00. So, if you make A2 cards & use the photo paper for the full card front, that's about 32 card panels for a buck - not a bad deal from where I stand! For this technique, I've heard the cheaper the paper the better, so....

I used Kitsch Flamingo & Cracked Pistachio Distress Oxide inks for my ink smooshing. I was kind of expecting a purple from the Cracked Pistachio (since it leans towards blue) mixing with the pink. But the Cracked Pistachio ink surprised me by turning into a yellow green! Thankfully, it didn't harm the look at all.

After I finished the ink smooshing technique, I stamped the large swooping image from Gina K's "Holiday Tapestry" set with Mermaid Lagoon Distress Oxide ink. I used my MISTI stamp positioning tool for that, since I had to stamp it a few times to get a good impression.

Then the magic happened. I wiped the panel with a damp baby wipe, which brings the colors from a chalky finish to where they just sing! It also "pulls" the colors in the background layers up. Not so they overshadow the upper layers, though; just so they add flavor.

I chose a greeting from Gina K's "Holiday Wreath Builder" and stamped it with Mermaid Lagoon Distress Oxide ink onto a scrap of aqua cardstock. I cut that into a banner shape, & hand-stitched it to the top of my panel. Finally, I adhered my card front panel to a white card base.

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Two Slimline Holiday Cards

The current Slimline Challenge at My Favorite Things is a Christmas theme. I created 2 cards to enter.

I used the new-to-me Hero Arts "Color Layering Snowflake" stamp set for my stamping. I stamped the first layer in Lawn Fawn Kiddie Pool ink, followed by Hero Arts Tide Pool, & ending with My Favorite Things Blu Raspberry. The snowflakes are kind of finicky to line up, but I finally managed.

After I'd finished stamping, I die cut Winnie & Walter's "Joy" (discontinued) from the center of my panel. I also die cut it a few more times from a light purple cardstock. I adhered my panel to my card base, and then inlaid one of the purple die cuts in the negative space. I went ahead at that point & inlaid the stamped center of the "o" as well, just because it's easier to do it then than having to shove it through multiple layers of die cuts. I stacked the rest of my purple die cuts on top of the first, using liquid glue to adhere them. Finally, I glued on the stamped joy die cut. I never tire of this two-tier eclipse technique. It just looks so cool!

My second card is portrait-oriented. I used components from the "Snow Globe Gala" digital stamp set from Doodle Pantry (discontinued) with Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps' "Winter Friends" digital stamp. I created a blank slimline-size "canvas" in Photoshop, and copied my image components onto that canvas. I positioned everything, as well as a greeting from "Snow Globe Gala," and then printed the composite image onto a panel of Cheap Joe's 140 lb. Kilimanjaro watercolor paper. I used my watercolors to paint the image. I colored the round decorative pieces with a silver paint pen. Finally, I adhered a teal layer to a white card base, & added my main panel.

I'm also entering my second card in Christmas Card Throwdown's "Snow Globe" theme challenge.

Sunday, October 17, 2021

Have a Stellar Birthday!

The current Lawn Fawnatics challenge theme is "Spectacular Skies." I thought, how much more spectacular is a star-filled galaxy sky? I combined 2 Lawn Fawn stamp sets - "Super Star" & "Bubbles of Joy" - with a few Lawn Fawn die sets to create my card.

For the sky/background, I first die cut a panel from Strathmore Mixed Media paper with the largest of the "Large Stitched Rectangle" dies. Rather than using watercolor or ink blending to create my galaxy background, I decided to try ink smooshing combined with sprays. First, I applied Fossilized Amber, Picked Raspberry, & Chipped Sapphire Distress inks onto my non-stick craft mat. I spritzed them with water, & plopped my panel face-down in the ink. I quickly learned that the Fossilized Amber doesn't seem to play well with Chipped Sapphire, at least if you want a bright green, & ended up with a slightly muddy green instead. Fortunately, that was only my first layer! I dried that with my heat gun, & smooshed my panel back into the watery ink. I daubed up the muddy color spots with a dry cloth, dried it again with my heat gun, & then moved on to sprays. I spritzed first with London Blue & After Midnight Dylusions sprays. I did just a couple of light sprays at first, since I didn't want to cover my ink smooshing completely. I dried that with my heat gun, and spritzed on some Black Marble Dylusions spray. After I dried that, I added more of the London Blue & After Midnight, then a little more Black Marble. I dried all that, and splattered on the White Gold & Blue Gold Gansai Tambi Starry Colors watercolors for good measure. The watercolors did pick up the blue from the spray ink, but I still think the effect was worth it. I LOVE how this background came out!!! I will definitely have to do this more in the future! 😊

I die cut another piece of mixed media paper with the same stitched rectangle die, & die cut the upper border with a "Stitched Hillside Borders" die. I used Fresh Lime & Cut Grass Dylusions sprays to add color to my grassy hill. This gave it the same speckled look as the sky, creating cohesion.

I let my panels dry overnight, so I could be sure they were completely dry, since I wanted to heat emboss on both pieces. I used a few of the star/constellation stamps in "Super Star" & Ranger White Super Fine Detail embossing powder to "decorate" my sky. I also used a greeting from "Super Star," & heat embossed that in white on the grass layer. I didn't trust myself to emboss the exclamation point in the stamp set well, since it is so tiny. So I added one with a white gel pen. The gel ink, however, picked up the green from the sprays, so I decided to go over it again with the pen, then immediately apply white embossing powder & see if that would heat emboss. And it did - perfectly!

I stamped my images onto Strathmore Vellum Bristol paper with Memento Tuxedo Black ink. I colored them with my Prismacolor pencils, and cut them out with the coordinating dies. I also die cut a balloon & string from "Party Balloons" for the mouse from "Bubbles of Joy" to "ride" on. I added a bit of shading to the balloon with a colored pencil, though I'm not sure it made much of a difference in the end.

Because I used liquid glue to add my images, I first added a coat of Distress Micro Glaze to my sky & grass, hoping to keep the glue from reactivating the ink. Unfortunately, it didn't work, but I was very careful, & managed to keep the Dylusions & Distress inks from smearing all over the place. I glued the balloon & string first, then added my mice & telescope. I glued the speech bubble near the flying mouse, & stamped the "Make a wish" from "Super Star" in Versafine Onyx Black ink. Then I adhered my finished card front to a white A2-size card base.

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

The Best Birthday Ever

I am in need of several cards for fast-upcoming birthdays. I actually made two of this version, with different color schemes. The current challenge at Double Trouble inspired the autumnal color palette.

I pulled out my Gina K. Designs 4" Wreath Builder template. Since I just wanted to make a swag at the top & bottom, though, I used a piece of white cardstock cut to 4x5-1/4", rather than a 4" square like you would normally use with this template. I also used images from Gina's "Autumn Wreath Builder" stamp set.

I used all Memento dye inks for my stamping. I began by stamping the maple leaves in Cantaloupe. After I stamped the first leaf in the middle on one end of my panel, I turned my cardstock to the adjacent diagonal orientation in the template, & stamped the second. I turned the panel to the other adjacent diagonal orientation, & stamped a third leaf. Then, I turned the panel 180° & stamped 3 more leaves in the same way. I stamped the longer sprigs with Bamboo Leaves ink, positioning them between the maple leaves. For the flowers & other 2 sprigs, since I only stamped 2 on each end, I had to stamp the image, rotate my cardstock 180°, & stamp again. Then I repositioned the stamp on the opposite side of the panel, & repeated the process. The smaller sprigs I actually stamped first with Bamboo Leaves, then stamped on top with Teal Zeal.

After I finished stamping my images, I removed the Wreath Builder template from my MISTI stamp positioning tool, & put my panel back in with a grid sheet over it to help me line up the circle (from the original "Wreath Builder" stamp set) for my greeting. When I finally lined that up, I stamped it with Tangelo ink. I double-stamped the greeting, also from the original set, with Teal Zeal ink. To finish the card, I matted it with peach cardstock & adhered it to a white A2-size card base.

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

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Merry Christmas

The October Color Challenge at Christmas Card Throwdown is to use red & brown on your card. One of my favorite stamp sets is Hero Arts' "Color Layering Cardinal." I decided to pair that with the "Woodgrain" embossing folder from Tim Holtz for a woodland-style card.

To stamp the cardinal, I used all Memento dye inks. I began with Tangelo for the first, most solid, layer, & then stamped over it with Lady Bug, to give me an orangey-red color. I used Rhubarb Stalk for the second layer, followed by London Fog for the third. I stamped the face details with Tuxedo Black. I also stamped the feet with Tangelo + London Fog, and used Lawn Fawn's Walnut ink for the branch.

I cut out the pieces with the coordinating dies, & glued the feet to the bird's body. I decided to frame the focal image with a circle. So I die cut a mid-tone brown cardstock circle, & a second lighter-colored circle to mat it. I glued the bird & branch to the front circle, trimmed off the overhanging parts of the branch, then glued the whole thing to the mat.

I embossed a panel of brown cardstock with the "Woodgrain" folder. I stamped the greeting, from Hero Arts "Color Layering Snowflake," in Walnut ink onto a scrap of the same cardstock I'd used for the circular mat, then cut that into a strip. I inked the edges of the greeting strip with Gathered Twigs Distress ink, to help it stand out & not look so bland. I also added foam tape to the back to give it just a bit of dimension.

To accent the greeting & bring a bit of red down towards that part of the card, I used Lady Bug & Rhubarb Stalk to stamp 3 berry branches from "Color Layering Cardinal." After I die cut them, I adhered the bottoms to the foam tape on the back of the greeting. I added the assemblage to my embossed panel, using liquid glue behind the branches. Finally, I added my panel to a red mat that I'd adhered to a white A2-size card base.

I'm also entering this card in 613 Avenue Create's October Challenge: "Anything Goes."

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Merry Christmas

I have a plastic shoebox with various bits & bobs that I've made in the past. Stamped/die cut images or shapes, backgrounds, greetings, etc. Mostly things I've had left over from other projects or that I changed my mind about using & saved for a future project. This card came from elements in that box. The background panel was actually 1 of 4 that I had made. I had used a letter-size sheet of Strathmore Mixed Media paper, & ink smooshed with various Distress inks. Finally, I splattered with gold watercolor, then cut it into 4 A2-size panels. I've been keeping it for the "perfect" occasion. I decided Christmas Card Throwdown's September Sketch Challenge was that occasion, as the sketch has a lot of open background area.

September sketch

I pulled the Divinity Designs "Chickadee Single" image, that I'd previously stamped & die cut, from the same leftovers box. Because the background is so colorful & rather busy, I decided to leave the image uncolored. I cut 2 strips of patterned papers from my scrap stash to ground the image. Because the bird is looking to the right, I flipped the sketch horizontally. I adhered the paper strips & bird to the background. I used the "Merry Christmas" stamp from Hero Arts' "Vintage Christmas Post" (a favorite of mine, sadly discontinued) for the greeting. I stamped it in Lawn Fawn Blue Jay ink onto a light purple strip. I cut the right end at an angle, & glued it to my card so the left end tucks neatly under the bird & branch. Finally, I adhered my card front to a white card base.

I'm also entering this card in Simon Says Stamp's Monday Challenge: "Stamp It."