Saturday, April 29, 2017

Thinking of You

a2zScrapbooking's challenge theme for April is "Getting to Know You." The idea is to take your favorite Hero Arts product and create a project. One of my favorite stamp sets is "Year Round Sentiments." This set was originally created with Operation Write Home in mind, but it has several greetings that are still useful for general card making. I combined that with one of the dragonflies from "Winged Friends," which I don't think I've used before.

I began by creating a blank, portrait-oriented A2-size canvas in Photoshop. I created a white rectangle shape layer 1/4" shorter & narrower than my canvas, and centered it, giving me a 1/8" border on all sides. Then I opened the dragonfly image file, copied it to my canvas, and made it (much) smaller. I positioned the first dragonfly within the rectangle layer, and clipped it to that shape so my 1/8" border would be preserved. I then duplicated the dragonfly layer, and positioned the duplicated image in another area, also clipping it to my rectangle layer. I continued in this manner until my background was full of dragonflies. Because they were all clipped to the smaller rectangle shape, none of them extended into my border area.

I created another 4x6" blank canvas in Photoshop, and copied one of the dragonflies to that. I printed my background design onto a 4.25x5.5" piece of white cardstock, and printed my separate dragonfly onto a piece of 140 lb. watercolor paper that I'd cut to 4x6". (This just made it easier to print the single dragonfly, without my having to adhere my watercolor paper to a letter-size piece of copy paper to run it through my printer.)

Not knowing what colors dragonflies come in, I googled dragonfly images. I was surprised to see just how colorful they can be! I chose one image, and used that as a guide to paint my dragonfly. I colored it with my Inktense pencils, using my preferred method of applying color, by picking it from the pencil with a damp paintbrush & applying it to my paper. When I had finished with that, I set my image aside to dry.

To give a more finished appearance to my background, I drew around the edges with a grey marker & ruler. I didn't really like how that looked, so I went over it with a fine-tip black marker. I like the way the grey acts as a sort of "shadow" for the black lines better.

For my greeting, I chose the "Thinking of you" from "Year Round Sentiments." I stamped it on a piece of white cardstock, with Hero Arts Navy ink. I cut it into a banner, and dragged the edges across my Navy ink pad. Then I adhered it to my card front panel. I fussy cut the dragonfly I'd colored, and ran a grey Tombow marker around the edges, to camouflage the white core of the paper. I used Perfect Paper Adhesive to glue it in place, overlapping the greeting banner slightly. After using my Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher to staple the end of the banner, I adhered my card front to a white A2 card base. Finally, I added some shimmer to the dragonfly's wings with my Clear Wink of Stella pen.

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

A Blog Named Hero "Anything Goes"
Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Anything Goes"
Through the Craft Room Door "Anything Goes"

1 Sketch - 2 Birthday Cards

Catch the Bug Challenge Blog is having their bi-weekly Stella Says Sketch challenge. I used the sketch as inspiration to create 2 birthday cards.

For both cards, I used images & greetings from Bugaboo Stamp's "Under the Sea Birthday Set." I did a rough "mock-up" in Photoshop, so I could get an idea how large to print the images & greetings, especially since I rotated the sketch 90 degrees for the mermaid card. Once I had the sizing like I wanted it, I printed each image onto a scrap of white cardstock. I die cut the fish with a Spellbinders "Standard Circles SM" die, and the mermaid with a Spellbinders "Classic Ovals LG" die. Then I colored them with my Prismacolor colored pencils. I also added some glitter to the mermaid's tail & top with my clear Wink of Stella pen.

I trimmed patterned papers from Carta Bella's "Soak Up the Sun" 6x6" paper pad to size. On the fish card, I used decorative edge scissors to cut the scallop edge on the yellow dot paper. For the mermaid, I used Fiskars' "Scallop Sentiment" border punch.

I cut my background panels for each card from yellow & blue cardstocks, and printed the greetings directly on them. To mat the fish, I die cut a piece of orange cardstock with a We R Memory Keepers "Nesting Scallops" circle die. For the mermaid, I used a Spellbinders "Lacey Ovals" die. I adhered both focal images to their respective mats. After adhering my patterned paper panels in place, I glued down the focal images, & mounted my card fronts to white A2 card bases. Then I added Nuvo Crystal Drops in the color Morning Dew to the bubbles in each image, and let that dry overnight. I will send these cards to Send a Smile 4 Kids.

I'm also entering these cards in the following challenges:

Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday Challenge: "Anything Goes"
Pile It On #129: "Interactive and/or Birthday" (I'm doing the mid-month birthday theme.)
Send a Smile 4 Kids: "Punches and/or Die Cuts 4 Kids"

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Floral Prayers

A Blog Named Hero is having an "Anything Goes" challenge this month. My mom needed a sympathy card, so I created this one using the "Color Layering Orchid in a Pot" & "Prayers" stamp sets, both by Hero Arts.

For my background, I masked off the bottom portion of a piece of Canson XL Mixed Media paper with Frog Tape. I inked the upper part with Broken China & Peacock Feathers Distress inks to create an ombre effect. Then I spritzed the panel with water using a Distress Sprayer, let the water sit for several seconds, and blotted it up with a dry cloth, to create a mottled look. I let that dry, then masked off above the line I'd made with the Frog Tape, and inked the bottom part of the panel with Gathered Twigs Distress ink, to give a place for my orchid pot to "sit."

I stamped the orchid parts onto a scrap of white cardstock. I used Lawn Fawn Fresh Lavender, Memento Sweet Plum, & Hero Arts Grape Juice inks for the flowers; Memento Bamboo Leaves (double stamped), and Hero Arts Moss & Forever Green for the leaves; Hero Arts Cup o' Joe ink for the dirt; Lawn Fawn Wild Rose for the pot; and Ranger Archival Coffee ink for the stems. After stamping all the parts, I die cut them with the coordinating dies.

For the greeting, I die cut the "prayers" from white cardstock. I placed the die cut back into the negative piece and put them in my MISTI. I lined up the coordinating "prayers" stamp, picked it up with the door of my MISTI, and stamped it with Hero Arts Black ink. I had to do a little "touch-up" with a black felt-tip pen, since I didn't get the stamp lined up absolutely perfectly. But I don't think it shows that much in the end!

I glued the pot & orchid parts onto my background panel with Perfect Paper Adhesive, and put that into my MISTI. I placed the "prayers" die cut temporarily, to help me position the rest of my greeting (also from the "Prayers" stamp set). I stamped that in black ink, and glued my "prayers" word in place. Finally, I adhered my card front to a white A2 card base.

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

Simon Says Stamp's Work It Wednesday: "April Showers Bring May Flowers"
613 Avenue Create #196: Anything Goes w/Optional Twist (Anything Spring)

Friday, April 14, 2017

Season's Tweetings

Christmas Card Throwdown's April challenge theme is "Musical Notation." I must admit, I kind of struggled with this. Finally, I decided to use Lawn Fawn's "Winter Sparrows" stamp set & coordinating dies to make a shaker card.

I began by using The Crafter's Workshop "Mini Aspen Trees" stencil to create my background on a piece of 140 lb. watercolor paper. I used Stormy Sky Distress ink for the sky, creating an ombre effect. I also colored in the spots on the trees with a black felt-tip pen, before removing the stencil.

I stamped the birds from "Winter Sparrows" onto a scrap of watercolor paper with Hero Arts Charcoal ink, and colored them with my Tombow markers. I used the blending marker to add some highlighting. I also stamped the music note several times on watercolor paper, again with Charcoal ink. Finally, I used the coordinating dies to die cut the birds & notes.

For the frame, I used the largest of Lawn Fawn's "Large Stitched Rectangle" dies with one of the "Stitched Rectangles" dies from Simon Says Stamp. I nested the smaller die in the large die, and die cut the frame from Simon Says Stamp's Fog cardstock. I cut a piece of Crafter's Companion Heat Resistant Acetate just smaller than my frame, and stamped my greeting (also from "Winter Sparrows") in Versamark ink. Then I heat embossed it with Ranger Silver embossing powder. I adhered it behind my frame with Scor-Tape, and added a double-thickness of foam tape.

I glued my birds to the background panel. I decided that my Charcoal notes wouldn't show up well enough if I glued them to the panel as well, so I stamped more notes directly on the background around the birds with Hero Arts black ink. I also decided at this point to add a hill to ground my trees. So I cut a piece of Canson XL Mixed Media paper with a Lawn Fawn "Stitched Hillside Borders" die, and glued it to the bottom of my panel.

To assemble my card, I added sequins from Pretty Pink Posh & Darice. I brushed cornstarch around the inside edges of the foam tape, to remove the stickiness so my sequins wouldn't stick to it. I also glued several sequins to the background, just for added interest. Finally, I adhered my background panel to the frame. I glued my die cut music notes to the front of the acetate window, mounted the card front to a white A2 card base, and this card was done!

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

Pile It On #129: "Interactive Cards"
Merry Monday Christmas Challenge #243: "Make a Scene"
Lawn Fawnatics Challenge #2: "Interactive Cards"

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Simple Sympathy Card

The other day, my mom asked me for a sympathy card. The husband of a friend of hers just passed away, after 59 years of marriage. I went looking on my Pinterest board of sympathy cards for design ideas, and found this one. The popped-up "frame" inspired me.

I cut a piece of 140 lb. Canson XL watercolor paper to 5.5x4.25". After planning out where my die cut "frame" would be, I used Hero Arts Soft Granite ink to stamp the "Bird" image from Our Daily Bread Designs towards the lower left corner. I felt the upper portion of the card was a bit bare, and I knew I wouldn't be adding a greeting. So I masked off the bird part of the stamp, inked up just the one grouping of flowers in Soft Granite, & stamped it in the upper right corner. I like the way it looks like the bird is looking at those flowers.

The bird & flowers are kind of generic, so you can color them to be almost anything. It being spring here in Texas, I decided to color the bird like a mockingbird, & the flowers like dogwoods. So I used my Inktense pencils to do that, applying the color with a damp paintbrush, and using photos I got via Google as a coloring guide. I didn't like the way the branch just kind of ended at the right side, though. I suppose the stamp was designed to be used on a smaller panel. So I just picked up color from the pencil I used for the branch & painted on an extension. I don't know if it's technically "correct" from an arboreal standpoint, but I prefer the way it fills the space anyway.

After I colored the bird & flowers, I stamped the image onto a piece of masking paper, and again (just for the flowers) on a full-sticky Post It note. (I laminated the larger mask with packing tape before cutting it out, and am keeping it with that stamp. The flower mask I didn't need again, so I just recycled it.) I cut out my masks, and masked off the images on my panel. I left the branch unmasked, since I figured it was dark enough to stand on its own when I inked. Then I inked the background with Tumbled Glass Distress ink and a foam blending tool. After I removed my masks, I spritzed the panel with water droplets from a Distress Sprayer, let that sit for several seconds, and then blotted up the water with a paper towel. Since the Inktense color is (basically) permanent when dry, the towel only picked up color from the background.

I let the background dry, then taped one of the "Frame in Frame" dies from Taylored Expressions centered on the panel. I ran that through my die cutting machine. I also die cut the frame from white craft foam, and used Perfect Paper Adhesive to glue the watercolor frame to that. Then all that was left was to adhere all 3 pieces to a white A2 card base.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Our Daily Bread Designs "Anything Goes with ODBD Stamps"
Simon Says Stamp's Monday Challenge: "Things with Wings"
Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday Challenge: "Anything Goes"

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Gumball Birthday Shaker

Lawn Fawn has a new challenge blog: Lawn Fawnatics. I needed a birthday card for one of my cousins, so created one inspired by the "Birthday" theme of their first challenge.

I began by cutting a piece of Strathmore Smooth Bristol paper to 4.25x5.5". I stamped the gumball machine from Lawn Fawn's "Sweet Smiles" set on the panel in Versafine Onyx Black ink, & clear heat embossed it. I also stamped it on a piece of masking paper, cut it out, and masked off the machine on my panel. I then taped off the bottom portion of my paper with painters tape, and blended Twisted Citron, Squeezed Lemonade, & Carved Pumpkin Distress inks over the top portion to create a gradient. When I'd finished that, I moved the tape to mask off the top portion, and inked the bottom with Gathered Twigs, adding a little Ground Espresso around the edges for shading. It was a bit of a struggle keeping the tape in place to ink with the browns, since the ink was still wet on the top portion. But I persevered, and love the blending I got! :)

After I removed the mask from the gumball machine, I colored it with my Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers. Then I cut out the globe portion with a craft knife. I also stamped & colored several gumballs, adding faces from "Sweet Smiles." For the "birthday" portion of my greeting, I stamped with Owen's ABCs in Memento Bahama Blue, Delta Emerald Green, Altenew Coral Berry, & Hero Arts Grape Juice and Orange Soda inks. Then I punched those and the gumballs out with a 1/2" circle punch.

I decided where I wanted my "birthday" word to go, and used that to help me position the rest of the greeting. For that, I combined the "have a" & "sweet" words from 2 of the greeting stamps in "Sweet Smiles." I stamped them in Versamark on my background, and heat embossed with Ranger Super Fine Detail White embossing powder.

I cut a piece of scrap packaging plastic to slightly larger than the opening in the gumball machine, and used Scor-Tape to adhere it on the back of my panel. At this point, the background was really bothering me. I decided to pull a confetti stamp from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps' "Birthday Bash" set (discontinued) and stamp in the same inks I'd used for the background. (I did use Mustard Seed over the Squeezed Lemonade band, since the Squeezed Lemonade didn't show up when stamped.) I feel the added texture helped break up the monotony of the plain background. Once I'd done that, I glued down my gumballs. I added the "birthday" letters, positioning them kittywampus so they resemble gumballs as well.

To create my shaker, I added 2 layers of foam tape to the back of my panel. I created a backing panel for behind the shaker window itself by blending the green, yellow, & orange inks on another scrap of bristol paper. I glued 2 of the stamped & colored gumballs I'd created to that, so they would show through the window but not shake around. Then I added 2 more gumballs (making sure to place them face-down so the fronts would show through the window) and some seed beads to the shaker well. I adhered my backing piece in place, added some Scor-Tape to the back of that, and mounted the whole panel to a white A2 card base. Hopefully my cousin will get a kick out of this!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Happy 70th Anniversary

I recently learned that a former minister I knew a long time ago is celebrating his 70th anniversary with his wife. What a rare milestone! So I "had" to make them a card--just a no-brainer. I took my inspiration from this card that I found via Pinterest. I looked up what the symbolic gift is for the 70th anniversary. In the U.K., it was listed as platinum. Oddly, for the U.S., there was no gift listed! So I tried to incorporate some platinum accents, mostly in the foil I used for the patterned paper & the pearlized cardstock I cut the birds from.

I started by die cutting my birds, using an old Sizzix die, "Bird & Leaf." The die actually faces only one way, so for the "male" bird, I flipped the die cut over. Thankfully, the cardstock I used is the same front & back, so I didn't have to think too much. ;) I also used the same die to cut just the wing from some green plaid paper for the male bird, and a pink doily paper for the female bird.

I used a piece of 6x6" patterned paper from Heidi Swapp for the larger panel on my card. The leaves/vines are actually toner, so I foiled the paper with Heidi Swapp Gunmetal foil & my mini Minc machine. I cut the piece down to 5.5x6". I used a Spellbinders "Standard Circles LG" die to die cut the hole for the female bird to peek out of. After gluing the bird in the window, I used the next larger die to cut a circle from brown cardstock, and layered that behind the hole, gluing the rest of the bird to it as well.

For the top panel, I used 2 scrap pieces of teal blue cardstocks. I die cut the bottom edge of both at the same time, with one of the "Stitched Borders 3" dies by Pretty Pink Posh. That way, I could be sure the scallops would line up. I layered the lighter piece over the darker, and adhered them together.

I cut a label using one of the "Grommet Tags" dies from Spellbinders from white cardstock, and printed my greeting (which I'd created in Photoshop) on that. I added it to my blue panel with 2 mini heart brads. Then I adhered both of my main panels to a white A9 card base.

I felt the bottom part of the card needed a little something. I tried just a strip of teal cardstock, but that was too blah. I cut the long edges with decorative-edge scissors, but that looked even worse! I experimented with lace trim, but finally decided just to use an old Martha Stewart border punch to punch a strip, backed it with white cardstock, and fussy cut the white along the top edge. Finally, I glued that to the bottom of my card front--perfect!

For the finishing touches, I glued googly eyes on the birds with Ranger Multi Medium Matte. I die cut a little pink heart with Simon Says Stamp's "Mini Hearts Outline" dies, and glued it between the birds. For a bit of added sparkle, I coated the heart with Diamond Stickles, and also added drops of that to the flower centers in the bottom border. Hopefully the happy couple will enjoy this card!

I'm entering my card in the following challenges:

Simon Says Stamp's Monday Challenge: "Things with Wings"
Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday Challenge: "Use More than One Die or Punch"
Die Cut Divas "For the Love of Animals/Pets" (Hopefully the birds count!)
613 Avenue Create: "Anything Goes"