Wednesday, April 30, 2014

You're the Bees Knees!

Every month, Operation Write Home has a themed challenge sponsored by Our Daily Bread Designs. This month's theme is to use an insect on your card. I have had these "bee" greetings from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps for quite some time now, and had gotten the bee rubber stamp that I used in this card with those greetings in mind. I had yet to use them, though, so I decided this challenge would be a perfect time to break them out and make a card!

For the design, I used the following sketch from OWH:

I did make some alterations to the sketch. I left out the 3 circular embellishments in the upper left corner, didn't add twine (actually, I forgot about that until it was too late!), made the focal panel/mat slightly smaller, and matted the card front panel. But I did keep the basic "bones" the same.

For the background panel, I taped Colorbox's "Swirldot" stencil over a piece of white cardstock, and inked through it with Mustard Seed Distress ink and my mini ink blending tool. I felt it was a bit too stark, though; so after I inked it, I lightly spritzed some Lemon Zest Dylusions spray ink over it. Then I set that aside to dry.

I cut my focal panel from white cardstock to 2-7/8"x4-1/8", and printed the greeting directly on that, towards the bottom. I used my Stamp-a-ma-jig to get the bee positioned just right, and stamped that in Ranger Archival Jet Black ink. I had initially intended to color it with my Inktense pencils & water, so stamped it in that waterproof ink. But I ended up coloring it with colored pencils instead. No big deal, though!

I felt the upper right corner was a bit bare, and thought about adding brads. But I was afraid it would unbalance the design a bit too much, so I ended up adding one brad to each corner. To mat the panel, I cut a piece of yellow patterned paper from The Paper Studio to 3"x4-1/4", which left a 1/16" border around the focal panel. I further matted that onto a piece of black paper, also leaving a 1/16" border.

From there, the assembly was fairly easy. I adhered the stenciled panel to another piece of black paper that I'd cut to a standard A2 card size. I left a 1/16" black border around the yellow panel, which I felt "grounded" the yellow better. I glued the focal panel to the card front, and then adhered the front to my card base with my ATG adhesive runner.

I'm entering this card into the following challenges:

Operation Write Home ODBD "Insect" challenge
Simon Says Stamp's Monday "Not so Mellow Yellow"
Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Anything Goes"

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Birthday Wishes Sequin Shaker Card

Pretty Pink Posh is hosting a "Sequin Shaker Blog Hop," from April 26-28. The challenge is to create a sequin shaker card, any theme. Prizes are available from several sponsors, and you can win either by uploading a project or commenting on others' posts (or both!).

I can't say that I've ever really made a shaker card before. And the fact that this needed to use sequins created another challenge, since that is one supply I do not have in abundance. The ones that I do have are mostly bright, bold colors, so any "soft" theme was kind of out of the question. So I finally decided to make a birthday card.

I found a sketch/example in the book Card Sketches for Paper Crafters, by the editors of Paper Crafts magazine. It didn't have a shaker element, but rather, a large party hat, complete with pleated-ribbon brim and pom-pom. I felt that the main part of the hat could serve as the shaker cut-out, so I decided to go for it.

I created the card front by cutting a piece of scrap cardstock to 5.5x7.5", mostly for use in testing my placement of the hat. When I had the hat drawn in where I wanted it, I cut it out with my ruler & craft knife. I adhered a piece of patterned paper I got from my scrap stash to the front of the cardstock panel, and cut the triangle out from that as well. Finally, I stitched around the triangle with my sewing machine.

I applied a double-thickness of foam adhesive around the opening on the backside of the panel. Only then did I remember, I was supposed to adhere a piece of acetate to the back FIRST to keep the sequins from falling out the front! So I carefully peeled the adhesive off, cut a piece of acetate from some leftover packaging, and glued it in place with my ATG adhesive runner. Then I replaced the foam tape.

I embossed a piece of yellow cardstock with Cuttlebug's "Happy Birthday" embossing folder, to use for the back panel of the shaker. I peeled the release papers off the foam tape sections, and adhered the cardstock panel onto those. Um, wait a minute...what about the sequins? Yes, I'd forgotten to put those in first--my second bumble! So I oh-so-carefully pulled back a corner of the yellow embossed cardstock, and stuck sequins through the opening. Finally, I determined I had enough, and resealed the shaker portion of the card.

The rest of the hat was fairly easy. I pleated/glued ribbon down for the brim, and used DMC embroidery floss to make the pom-pom. The pom-pom actually turned out to be a bit more difficult than the brim. Mostly because I didn't realize that I really needed to separate the strands of floss and THEN wrap & tie them together into a loop and cut the strands; not the other way around. But I finally managed to get it fluffed out enough.

After all that, the greeting was pretty straightforward. I stamped one of the greetings from the Simon Says Stamp "Birthday Messages" set onto a piece of bright turquoise cardstock, heat-embossing it with American Crafts' Zing "Mustard" embossing powder. SIDE NOTE: I frankly think it's a brighter yellow than "mustard," but they didn't ask me when they named it! :) I positioned the greeting panel on the card where I wanted it, and made tick marks where it met the edge of the shaker window. The I cut off that angle, added more ribbon above & below to frame it, and glued it in place. Finally I adhered the whole front panel to a same-size card base with more foam adhesive, to match the thickness of the shaker portion.

And there it is--my first (but not last) shaker card. WHEW!

Monday, April 28, 2014

Mom, You're the Best

The current challenge at A Blog Named Hero is to use layers on a project. Since I "had" to make a card for my mom for Mother's Day, I decided to make one for this challenge. So here goes....

For once, I did not use an Operation Write Home sketch. (Shocking, I know!) Rather, I found a sketch in the book Card Sketches for Paper Crafters, by the editors at Paper Crafts Magazine. I wanted to make an 8.5x5.5" top-folding card. Since I didn't have any paper long enough, I had to get a bit creative with my cutting for the card base. I cut one piece of white cardstock to 8.5x5.5", and the second piece 1" longer. Then I scored the longer piece 1" from the end, and adhered the two pieces together along that narrow strip. (This is a trick I learned when I took Online Card Classes' "Holiday Card Workshop 2013" class.)

For the background patterned paper, I chose a diagonal stripe from Die Cuts with a View that I've had in my collection forever. The green dot pattern within the frame is from my scrap stash.

To make the frame, I first cut a piece of white cardstock to size, then punched it with a Martha Stewart "punch around the page" set I have. (Sorry, but I don't know the name of the set.) I cut out the inside portion with my craft knife and ruler, about 1/4" in from the inner edge of the punching. To color it, I first applied repositionable adhesive to the back, and stuck it to a piece of scratch paper to hold it in place. Finally, I took Distress inks in Tumbled Glass, Broken China, Evergreen Bough, and Mowed Lawn, and blended them in a diagonal pattern across the frame. I cut a piece of the dot paper slightly larger than the frame opening, and glued it to the back of the frame.

For the focal panel, I stamped this image from Hero Arts in Ranger Archival Jet Black ink onto watercolor paper. After the ink dried, I colored the flower with Inktense and watercolor pencils. I rounded the corners with my 1/8" Corner Chomper, and inked the edges with Tumbled Glass. I glued this panel to the green dot paper, leaving a slight margin around the side & top edges.

I pierced holes in the dot paper, and then threaded bakers twine from Queen and Company diagonally across the card front. For the greeting, I cut a banner from white cardstock, and inked it with Tumbled Glass Distress ink. I printed a greeting from this digital stamp set by Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps onto it. Finally, I punched a 1/16" hole in one corner, threaded more bakers twine through it, and tied it onto the twine on the card front. To anchor the banner, I used pop dots.

Because the frame came out smaller than my card front and I wanted an even margin all around, I cut the front shorter. I adhered it to the card base, and then cut that down as well. And there it is--a card I hope my mom will love!

I'm entering this card in A Blog Named Hero's Challenge #42: "Layer Cake."

Sunday, April 27, 2014

If I Had a Single Flower...

I created a second card based on this sketch by Our Daily Bread Designs:

This time, I didn't do a Father's Day card, but rather a general love-themed one for Operation Write Home. This is my second card:

The stamps I used are the mid-size one from the Sweet William Singles stamp set by ODBD, and the greeting from Stampabilities (I believe). I used 3 different patterned papers from Teresa Collins' Fabrications "Canvas" 6x6" paper pad. I punched the pink border strip using Fiskars' "Lace" border punch.

I stamped the flower in Ranger Archival Jet Black ink onto watercolor paper, then colored it with 2 different shades of purple, using my Inktense and regular watercolor pencils. I stamped the greeting on one of the patterned papers with Chipped Sapphire Distress ink, then die cut & embossed it using this Spellbinders' die set. Since size was again an issue, and the next-largest die was too big, I created the mat for the greeting panel by tracing around the outside of the die I used, then cutting it out with scissors.

I tried matting the yellow patterned paper to match the background & greeting panels, but it was a bit overwhelming, so I ended up just inking around the edges with Faded Jeans Distress ink. This gave it enough definition to stand out without letting it take over the card. I assembled the card basically the same as the one in this post.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Our Daily Bread Design's "Sketch" challenge
Simon Says Stamp's Monday "Big Stamp" challenge (greeting stamp)

Happy Father's Day Bluebird

The current challenge at Our Daily Bread Designs blog is a sketch challenge. All that's required is to make a card following this sketch:

I say "all," but even then, it can be a bit challenging. (Otherwise, I guess they wouldn't call it a "challenge"!) At any rate, I made two cards. This is my first:

The biggest challenge I faced (besides no measurements on the sketch) was to create a standard A2-size card with it, so I could send it to Operation Write Home. I also wanted to use this ODBD stamp on my card, so I had to take its measurements into account when planning my design. Other than that....

I started by cutting a piece of plaid patterned paper from Echo Park's This & That "Charming" 6x6" pad to 4x5.25", to use as my background. For the smaller panel behind the bird, I cut a piece of patterned paper from the "Botanical Tea" 6x6" pad by graphic 45. I used the flip side of that paper for the border strip, which I die cut with this Spellbinders Edgeabilities die.

I stamped the bird image on watercolor paper in Ranger Archival Jet Black ink, then colored it with Inktense pencils. It doesn't show up much in the photo, but after the bird and flowered branch dried, I applied a pale wash of blue using my Master's Touch watercolor set and water brush.

For the greeting, I cut a scalloped circle with a die from this set from white cardstock. I inked it with Faded Jeans Distress ink, the printed a greeting from this digital stamp set by Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps onto it.

To assemble the card, I matted everything (minus the scalloped circle and border) with a dark green cardstock. The mat behind the plaid paper is 1/8" larger all around. I used my Perfect Layers ruler to cut a 1/16" border around the smaller panels. I glued the dot patterned paper to the card, adhered the border strip over it, then the bluebird panel. Finally I glued down the greeting, and adhered it to an A2 card base. So, another hero overseas now can send a card to his/her father for Father's Day!

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Our Daily Bread Design's "Sketch" challenge
Simon Says Stamp's Monday "Big Stamp" challenge

Happy Father's Day Banners

Father's Day, at least for Operation Write Home, is fast approaching. The deadline for cards to get to them is April 30, so I have been hard at work finishing up some more cards, so I can mail them out tomorrow!

For the design of this card, I used this OWH sketch. I did have to cut the banners narrower than in the sketch, since they didn't seem to want to fit well, even though I cut all the other pieces to the indicated dimensions. Other than that, I stayed true to the design.

I used 2 patterned papers from graphic 45's "Good Ol' Sport" 6x6" pad for the background and the strip along the left edge. For the banners, I pulled one pattern from 7gypsies' "Postale" 6x6" pad, and the other from their "Venice" pad. I inked over the banner with the checkerboard pattern with Iced Spruce Distress ink to age it a little more, and did the same on the red patterned banner with Frayed Burlap. After adhering the striped piece to the background and determining where the greeting panel would go, I glued down the banners.

For the greeting panel, I inked over white cardstock with Frayed Burlap, which ended up giving it a kind of leathery look--perfect for a masculine card! I used one of the greetings from this digital stamp set by Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps, printing it directly onto the inked cardstock panel. I inked around the edges of the card front with Frayed Burlap, just to help tie it in with the inking on the banners & greeting panel. Finally, I adhered the greeting to the card front, adhered that to a standard A2 card base, and it was done!

Keep Calm & Eat a Cupcake

I've had this Fiskars cupcake punch for at least a few years now, and have never really done much--if anything--with it. The current challenge at Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday challenge blog is "Happy Easter and/or Sweet Treats." I figured, what better sweet treat than a cupcake?

I chose Operation Write Home's Sketch #199 as the basis for my design:

I flipped it horizontally, enlarged the squares just a bit to accommodate the cupcakes better, and added a greeting in the large blank space. Otherwise, I kept to the sketch.

First, I punched the cupcake pieces. I used a white glitter paper for the frosting, and brown cardstock for the cake part. I cut squares from 3 colors of cardsock to glue the cupcakes to, and matted them with the same brown cardstock. Then I glued the cake & icing sections to the squares. For cards sent to Operation Write Home, glitter that flakes off is an absolute no-no, because it makes soldiers visible to night-vision goggles. So, to keep the glitter on the icing from coming off, I coated those pieces liberally with Glossy Accents to seal it.

For the main panel on the card, I used a patterned paper from Doodlebug Design's "Take Note" 6x6" pad. Because I wanted to print the greeting directly on the paper, I was careful to choose a small, tone-on-tone pattern. I typed and formatted the greeting in Photoshop, and printed it onto the patterned paper. After lightly inking the edges with Worn Lipstick Distress Ink, I matted the panel with yellow and brown cardstocks. Finally, I glued down the cupcake squares.

The side with the greeting still looked a bit too stark, though, so I decided to add some flourishes. I used two matching dies from Spellbinders' "Ironwork Accents" set to die cut the flourishes from the same white glitter paper I'd used for the cupcakes. Then I adhered them above and below the greeting, and again sealed them with Glossy Accents.

I'm entering this card in Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Happy Easter and/or Sweet Treats" challenge.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Two More Sympathy Cards

As I posted yesterday, some friends of ours recently lost a family member. So, sadly, sympathy cards were in order for them. These are the other two I made.

I found the inspiration for my first card through Pinterest. I thought the butterfly and flourish stamp were perfect, and loved the embossing around the border.

I die cut the butterfly from white cardstock using a My Favorite Things die, and inked it with Dusty Concord Distress ink. I blended that same ink on white cardstock for the mat for the focal point panel and the card front.

I struggled most with the stamping for this card. I just couldn't seem to get the flourish to look right. Finally, I inked up half the stamp with Memento Bamboo Leaves dye ink and stamped it at an angle in the lower left corner. Then I wiped the ink off, inked up the other half, and stamped it at a slightly different angle in the upper right. Finally, I covered the "seam" with the butterfly die cut, adding 3 pearls from The Paper Studio to the butterfly's body.

For the greeting, I used one from this free digital stamp set from Doodle Pantry, which I printed directly on the focal point panel. I used Eggplant alcohol ink to color 6 silver brads, then positioned three in the upper left corner, and the rest in the lower right.

For the embossed detail around the outer edges, since I didn't have an appropriate embossing folder, I actually did die cutting. I used the border die from this Spellbinders die set to cut from white cardstock. I mitered the ends of each strip, then glued them down to another piece of white cardstock on which I had mounted the focal panel. Finally, I mounted that to the inked card base.

The inspiration for this second card also came via Pinterest. The original posting is on Etsy at PineappleSoupDesign's store. Amazingly, I apparently have this same Spellbinders die set, so I did use that for the focal greeting panel on my card as well. Other than that and keeping pretty close to the composition, I basically went my own way with it.

I die cut the greeting panel from light beige cardstock, and printed a greeting from the same Doodle Pantry digital stamp set I used in the first card. I die cut the next-larger label out of navy cardstock, and matted the greeting onto that.

For the background panel, I embossed more of that beige cardstock with this embossing folder by Anna Griffin. I also used the "Doily" 2-way punch by We R Memory Keepers for the bottom edge. I did have some difficulty with this part of the process. The first time, I dry-embossed the cardstock after spraying it lightly with water. Because I'd cut the cardstock to the final size I wanted first, it ended up being too small, since the process of embossing shrank it somewhat. So I embossed another piece, cut larger than I needed, and then tried punching the edge. To say the least, it didn't work! So I ended up cutting yet another piece of cardstock, punched the edge first, dampened the piece to get a better impression, and then embossed above the punched edge. Success! Finally I mounted that panel onto another piece cut from the navy cardstock, leaving an 1/8" border all around. I also added a strip of navy under the greeting panel, and adhered 3 clear acrylic gems I'd colored with Sailboat Blue alcohol ink around the greeting.

I tried this panel against a white cardbase, but didn't like the starkness of the navy against the white. It also didn't seem to go with the beige cardstock too well. So I cut a piece of beige cardstock to mat the panel with, but it still didn't look right. Finally, I inked the beige mat with Antique Linen Distress ink, just to try & give it a little more depth. It ended up looking like light brown parchment paper! So I matted the main panel onto it, and adhered that to a white card base.

With Heartfelt Sympathy

Recently, a family member of some friends of ours passed away after a long illness. So I made a few sympathy cards for them, including this one.

I'm not yet accustomed to making sympathy cards, so I turned to Pinterest to search for design ideas. I found a pin that Bianca Hobbyhoek had uploaded of (I assume) one of her cards. (Unfortunately, there is no way to link to it here.) So that was my inspiration for this card.

I first stamped the doily image using this Hero Arts rubber stamp in the lower left corner of a piece of watercolor paper I'd cut to slightly smaller than my card base. I let the image bleed off the panel, and heat-embossed it with clear embossing powder. Then I took four colors of Distress inks: Iced Spruce, Tumbled Glass, Faded Jeans, and Chipped Sapphire; and blended them from upper right to lower left across the watercolor paper, creating a gradient. Finally, I ironed off the clear embossing, leaving the doily image just basically white. I felt the contrast between it and the inked background was a little too stark, though. So I softened it by lightly blending Tumbled Glass ink over the doily.

I didn't have any ribbon the color I wanted, so I took some white satin ribbon and "dyed" it by running it across a Memento "Paris Dusk" dye ink pad. (I have tried this in the past with Distress inks, but unfortunately, the ink at best takes forever to dry--and possibly never really dries at all--and will rub off from the ribbon. So I've given up on using those for dyeing ribbon!) I adhered a piece of the dyed ribbon across the lower right corner of the watercolor paper, and tied more ribbon onto that in a bow.

I used a greeting from this free digital stamp set from Doodle Pantry, printing it directly onto the inked watercolor paper. When I held the finished panel against the white card base, again, the contrast seemed a bit too stark and graphic for a sympathy card. So I marked where the front panel would go, and then inked behind it with Iced Spruce Distress ink. I faded the inking out towards the edges of the card front, to give a soft-looking "mat." Finally I adhered the front panel to the card base.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

A Blog Named Hero Challenge #42: "Layer Cake"
Simon Says Stamp's Monday "Big Stamp" challenge

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Happy Birthday Cake

I created this birthday card, inspired by the current challenge at Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday challenge blog, for Operation Write Home. For the design, I used OWH's Sketch #105:

I first embossed a piece of purple cardstock with the Hero Arts "Dot Swirl" embossing folder by Sizzix. I decided, instead of the three 1/2"-wide strips in the sketch, I would make them slightly wider banners of different lengths. So I cut 5/8"-wide strips from three different patterned papers from my scrap stash. I glued them to the embossed panel, letting the tops of 2 of them hang off the upper edge of the panel. When I had them placed right, I trimmed off the overhanging parts of the strips.

I stamped a birthday cake image I've had for a long time onto white cardstock, using Colorbox's "Putty" Archival Dye Ink. (Sorry, but I don't know who manufactured the stamp.) I then colored the image with regular colored pencils. (No Inktense pencils this time!) I die cut & embossed it with one of the dies from the Spellbinders Standard Circles Large set. I adhered that to the embossed panel, over the banners.

For the greeting, I stamped the "Happy Birthday" from Lawn Fawn's "Grand Greetings" set in Versamark ink on vellum. Then I heat-embossed it with American Craft's Zing Purple embossing powder. To adhere the vellum to the card front, I put small dots of glue on the back under the embossed letters. I also wrapped the ends of the vellum strip around the back of the card panel, and glued them down.

The vellum strip still wasn't stuck down as much as I wanted, so I ended up punching three stars with the Recollections 5/8" star punch from the same yellow patterned paper I'd used for one of the banners. I glued them down to the card front, overlapping the vellum strip. Then I coated them with my clear Wink of Stella brush marker. When that dried, I went over them with Glossy Accents to seal in the glitter and give them some shine. Finally, I adhered the whole panel to a standard A2 card base.

I'm entering this card in Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Happy Easter and/or Sweet Treats" challenge.

Happy Father's Day!

This is another in my series of Father's Day cards for Operation Write Home. I based the design on this sketch from OWH:

As you can tell, I rotated it 90 degrees clockwise, and changed the one narrow strip to a banner shape. But otherwise, I stayed true to the sketch.

For the greeting, I used one of the stamps from this digital set by Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. I printed it on a light khaki cardstock I got out of my scrap stash. The patterned paper for the banner is from FarmHouse's "302 Paper Pack" 6x6" pad; and the largest background panel is from the "Venice" 6x6" paper pad by 7gypsies. I created the brown dotted panel by blending Walnut Stain Distress Ink through the Tim Holtz "Dot Fade" layering stencil onto kraft cardstock. The star brads at the top of the banner are very old ones I found in my way-too-extensive embellishment stash.

I created kind of a "mini-challenge" for myself with the mats. I wanted to see if I could cut all the green mats out of one 4.25x5.5" piece of cardstock. And, by cutting the middles out of the 2 larger mats (since those areas would be covered up anyway), and using each for the next smaller mat, I'm happy to report I succeeded! Once I had cut all the layers & printed the greeting, the card came together surprisingly fast.

World's Best Dad!

Operation Write Home's deadline for Father's Day cards is 30 April. So I decided I'd better get hopping on those. This is one of my latest, based on this sketch by OWH:

For the background panel, I just used a piece of blue cardstock. I pulled a piece of dark brown cardstock with a slight texture from my stash for the mats. The patterned papers are both from 7gypsies' "Postale" 6x6" paper pad.

Rather than the 3 round embellishments on the right shown in the sketch, I decided to try something different. I had seen Kristina Werner demonstrate coloring through a stencil when I took Online Card Classes' "Stenciled" class a few months ago. She used a colored pencil, and just colored in a sketchy fashion through the opening in the stencil. I recently got the Tim Holtz "Stars" layering stencil, and thought it would be perfect for this technique. So I colored the stars directly on the grid patterned paper with a blue pencil, to pick up on the blue in that paper and the background cardstock. I was rather pleased with how it came out. So pleased, in fact, that I couldn't stop at just 3, and did 6 whole stars (plus tiny portions at the top and bottom of the rows) instead!

For the greeting banner, I cut a piece of white cardstock to the size shown in the sketch. I inked it with Antique Linen Distress Ink, and then printed the greeting from this digital stamp set by Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps onto it. I glued it to its mat, layered all the papers on the card front, and adhered it to an A2 card base.

Happy Easter Bunny

For once, I'm not creating a card for Operation Write Home. Rather, I made an Easter card for a friend of ours.

I based my design on this OWH sketch:

For the largest background panel, I used a floral print from 7gypsies' "Conservatory" 6x6" paper pad. The stripe & dot patterned papers are from the "Botanical Tea" 6x6" pad by Graphic 45. I aged the striped paper a bit by blending some Antique Linen Distress Ink over it with my Mini Ink Blending Tool. I adhered the patterned papers to a 4.25x5.5" piece of blue cardstock, which I then mounted to a standard A2 card base.

The focal image is this one from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. I typed the "Happy Easter" text on a circular path around it in Photoshop, then printed it all on a piece of watercolor paper. I colored the bunny with watercolor pencils & my water brush. Then I die cut that panel with a Spellbinders "Classic Circles Large" die. For the mat, I used the flip side of the striped patterned paper, & die cut it with one of Spellbinders' "Lacey Circles" dies. Then I glued those together & adhered them to the card front.

After I had adhered everything, I rounded all 4 corners with my 1/2" Corner Chomper. I wish I had rounded the top corners of the floral patterned paper as well, but I didn't think about it until it was too late. Ah well, c'est la vie! I still think it looks nice!

I'm entering this card in Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Happy Easter and/or Sweet Treats" challenge.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Birdday (Birds on a Wire)

The inspiration for my card comes from Sarah Gray, who blogs at Funky Fossil Designs. You can see the card I CASEd in this post on her blog.

I happen to have the same Hero Arts "Missing You" stamp set that she used. I liked how she positioned the birds on a line, so I wanted to mimic that. And of course, the punny greeting doesn't hurt, either!

I started by creating my background. I cut a piece of white cardstock to 4.25x5.5". After masking off a small area in the lower right corner, I taped Simon Says Stamp's "Falling Stars" stencil over the cardstock. Then I smeared Liquitex gloss gel medium over the stencil, creating the star pattern on the cardstock. I set that aside overnight, just to make sure it was completely dry before I proceeded.

After the background dried, I blended Distress Inks in Chipped Sapphire, Faded Jeans, Broken China, & Tumbled Glass over it with my Mini Ink Blending Tool, going from darkest at the top to the lightest shade at the bottom. The gel medium served as a resist, so the stars remained white. I lightly wiped any excess ink off the stars with a baby wipe, and finally removed the mask.

I stamped the bird image 5 times onto watercolor paper using Ranger Archival Jet Black ink. I zapped them with my heat tool to make sure the ink was dry, then colored each bird with Inktense pencils. When they were dry, I fussy cut them, cutting off the legs. (Don't worry, I put them back later!) I then went around the edges with a black brush-tip marker to blend the white core of the paper into the black stamping outline.

I decided where I wanted to place my birds on the background, and strung pieces of hemp twine from Hemptique across the card front for them to stand on. I stamped the bird image on the front panel in each position, over the twine, so it looks like their little feet are wrapped around the line. (See, I told you I put them back!) Then I adhered the fussy-cut colored birds on top of the stamped images with foam tape. I stamped my greeting into the area I had previously masked off, and then adhered the entire panel to an A2 card base. Finally, I added a little Glossy Accents to the birds' pupils.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

A Blog Named Hero's Challenge #41: "Build a Background"
Sweet 'n Sassy Stamp's April Release Challenge: "Happy" (what could make me happier than creating with funny birds & a punny greeting?)

Sunday, April 13, 2014

You're My Rainbow (in the rain)

The current challenge at Our Daily Bread Design's blog is "Rain or Water." I was inspired by that theme to create this card to send to Operation Write Home.

For once, I used no sketch. I first die cut the clouds from white cardstock, and the raindrops from 3 different colors of blue, using this die set from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. I chose the "You're a Rainbow" stamp set from Hero Arts for the focal image and greeting. I stamped the rainbow on white cardstock with Ranger Archival Jet Black ink and colored the rays with Inktense pencils. Then I fussy-cut the rays portion out--cutting off the stamped cloud--and set it aside.

I stamped the greeting on a piece of textured light grey cardstock. I then glued the rainbow next to it, and glued one of the die-cut clouds over the bottom of the rainbow. I glued the rest of the clouds down, letting the top two hang over the edge. I trimmed the overhanging portions, and started placing the raindrops.

I tried to get a fairly random placement for the raindrops, mixing the different shades and sizes over the grey panel. Once I had an arrangement I liked, I used my Pick Me Up tool to pick each up, one by one; then placed a small dot of glue where it should go; and finally replaced the raindrop on the glue to adhere it.

After I glued the raindrops, I went over the rainbow rays with my Wink of Stella clear glitter brush marker. I matted the grey panel onto a piece of yellow cardstock, cutting the yellow down to leave a 1/16" border. Then I matted that onto a piece of muted purple cardstock, again having a 1/16" border. I mounted that onto a standard A2 card base. Finally I went over the rainbow and each raindrop with Glossy Accents. And there it is--another card for one of our overseas military heroes to send home to someone!

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Our Daily Bread Designs' "Rain or Water"
A Blog Named Hero's Challenge #41: "Build a Background"

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Every Cloud has a Silver Lining

The current challenge at A Blog Named Hero is "Build a Background." I've really struggled with just coming up with ideas on how to build a background. This card is one outcome of that struggle.

I found the greeting in Hero Arts' "You're a Rainbow" stamp set that I recently got. I envisioned a landscape-type scene with puffy clouds in the sky. To find a design, I looked through my binder with Operation Write Home sketches, and found this one, which seemed to fit my vision:

I decided to leave the vertical strip behind the circle off, and use an oval instead of a circle for the greeting. But other than those slight changes, I stuck to the sketch.

My first idea for the landscape background was to die cut clouds and "line" them with silver embossing powder. But when I did that and looked at them, it just seemed a little too cliche and cheesy. So I scrapped that idea. So while I pondered what to do for clouds, I worked on the rest of the background.

I cut a piece of watercolor paper to 4.25x5.5". I used Inktense pencils in 2 shades of blue to color the sky, blending the colors directly on the paper. I did the same with two green pencils for the grassy area. The color in the sky didn't seem intense enough, so I also blended Broken China Distress Ink over it with my Tim Holtz mini ink blending tool.

For the clouds, I ended up die-cutting 3 clouds from this die set by Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. I used the negatives of the die cuts as stencils, and sponged Hero Arts Unicorn ink over them with a sponge dauber to create the clouds, The white ink picked up some of the Broken China ink in the sky, which softened the cloud color. I did pounce a little more white ink to intensify the color a little in spots. I liked that effect much more than the "silver-lined" die-cut clouds!

While I felt the background was coming along well overall, I still was not totally happy with it. I felt the sharp line between the sky and ground was too stark. So I ended up taking a darker green Inktense pencil, and creating a bit of a tree line between the two areas. I think that gives it a more "natural" appearance.

I decided to pull in the silver with the greeting. I stamped it in Versamark ink on navy-blue cardstock, then heat-embossed it with Ranger Silver embossing powder. I die cut & dry-embossed that piece with a Spellbinders Classic Oval die, then went around the outer "band" formed by the dry embossing with an embossing marker. I used the same silver embossing powder around the oval. I glued that panel to the background, and then adhered the card front to a standard A2 card base.

I'm entering this card in A Blog Named Hero's Challenge #41: "Build a Background."