Friday, May 30, 2014

Two Graduation Cards

Recently, a friend of mine contacted me, wanting to know if she could commission me to make a couple of graduation cards, to give to her daughter and a friend's daughter, for their high school graduation. She gave me a few ideas, and I set about designing and making the cards.

Her friend's daughter comes from a very musical family, and plays at least both fiddle and guitar. So I decided to make her a guitar-shaped card. My initial idea was to make the guitar vertical, so the curves would be on the fold. Unfortunately, that just wouldn't work. So I rotated my design 90 degrees and placed the fold at the base of the guitar, making it a side-folding card. I downloaded a photo of an acoustic guitar from the Internet and used that as my pattern for the card front & base.

After cutting the front out of watercolor paper, I roughly painted the body with Wild Honey, Vintage Photo, and a little Walnut Stain Distress inks and LOTS of water to give it a woodgrain look. I die cut a circle from black paper for the center hole, and used Pitch Black Distress paint for the neck. I went over the end of the neck with Brushed Pewter Distress stain, and drew the strings in with a silver gel pen. For the greeting, I scanned the card front into Photoshop, and created the curved text there, which I then printed onto the guitar. I used a mortarboard template I'd also downloaded, tracing it onto the card and going over it with a black pen. Finally, I adhered the front to a card base, and trimmed around the shape of the guitar.

The woman who commissioned these cards is blind, and has a black lab guide dog, who is also VERY attached to her daughter! So her idea for her daughter's card was to have paw prints increasing in size across the card front, symbolizing her daughter's growth through school; and a picture of a black lab with a mortarboard or diploma on the inside. I used one of the custom shapes in Photoshop to create paw prints in increasing size, and positioned them curving along the front. I created the greeting in Photoshop as well, and printed everything onto a piece of white Bristol paper. I cut the Bristol along the curve created by the paw prints, and mounted it on a piece of black paper for the card front.

For the inside, I downloaded a photo of a black lab from the Internet, and traced the major outlines onto a piece of Bristol paper. I colored him with watercolor pencils and my water brush. The more I colored, the worse the dog seemed to look. Just as I was about to give up, I decided to paint in the eyes, as a last-ditch effort at saving my painting. It worked! The brown eyes made all the difference in the world! I added a little black gel pen for the pupils, and white gel pen for the catch lights in his eyes. Finally, I die cut around the image with a Spellbinders Classic Circle die, and traced around the outside of the same die on black paper, cutting along that line to make a slightly larger mat. I adhered the matted panel to the inside of the card, cutting off the excess that hung over the card edges. I made a mortarboard from watercolor paper, using the same template I'd traced for the guitar card. I colored it with watercolor pencils and added a tassel made from embroidery floss. Thankfully, my friend loved both cards, and was very pleased with my work!

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Happy Birthday Rainbow

Sweet 'n Sassy Stamp's current challenge is to "Make it Colorful." They only ask that you use at least 5 colors (other than black and/or white) on your project. I figured, why stop at just five?! So I ended up using all 7 of the colors in a rainbow, in ROY G BIV order, around my card front.

My inspiration this time came from this post on Darlene DeVries' blog. She used Inktense pencils and water to create a rainbow effect. I basically followed her coloring technique exactly to create my card.

I started by cutting my panel of watercolor paper, and marked the center point. I lightly penciled lines going from that point out to the edges, to make sure I would have the right number of rays for the color pattern I used to come out evenly. Once I got that worked out, I erased my lines so they were just barely visible, then went over them with the Inktense pencils. I feathered the color out from the initial line into the rest of each section, to create a gradient. I colored every other ray first, to keep the colors from bleeding from one section into the next. Finally, I went back and filled in the remaining rays.

For my greeting, I used a stamp from this set by Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. I stamped it with Versamark ink on black cardstock, then white heat-embossed it. I cut out the panel, and rounded the corners with my 1/8" Corner Chomper. I finished it by making a dashed line around the outer edges.

After my watercolor panel had dried, I rounded the corners with the 3/8" side of my Corner Chomper, doing the same to my card base. I felt the panel needed something more, like faux stitching, but was afraid to ruin all my hard work. So I started penciling in dashed stitching lines. I decided I liked the look, so I erased my pencil marks and went back with a black marker to do my "stitching."

I tried adhering a piece of black paper to the front of an A2 card base, to act as a mat for the watercolor panel. But I couldn't make it work out like I wanted. So I finally--and VERY carefully--inked over the front of a white card base with Black Soot Distress ink. Thankfully, I didn't get ink anywhere I didn't want it on the card! Finally, I adhered the greeting to my watercolor piece, and adhered the whole panel to the card front with foam tape.

I will be sending this colorful birthday card to Operation Write Home, so one of our military heroes overseas can send it to his/her loved one!

I am entering this card in the following challenges:

Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps' Challenge #13: "Make it Colorful"
Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Anything Goes"

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Embossed You're in My Heart

I don't usually make square cards for Operation Write Home, simply because there's not as much room for writing. But I like the following OWH sketch, and it fit my design idea, so I decided to shake things up a bit.

The only thing I changed from the sketch was to make the bottom strip 5/8" instead of 1/2", just to give the greeting more breathing room.

I used a pattern from Prima's "En Francais" 6x6" paper pad for the background. I stamped the greeting from this set by Hero Arts on white cardstock in Ranger Archival Jet Black ink, and blended Brushed Corduroy Distress ink over the strip. After determining where the circle element would go, I adhered the strip to the patterned paper, and added a mini heart brad to either side of the greeting. Finally, I inked the edges of the card front with Brushed Corduroy.

For the focal panel, I cut a 4" circle from blue cardstock, using a Spellbinders Grand Circles die as a template. I then embossed it with the "Medallion" embossing folder from this Hero Arts set by Sizzix. I adhered it to a circle of white cardstock, just to give it more support. I inked the edges with Brushed Corduroy, and glued it in place on the card front.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

A Blog Named Hero's Challenge #44: "You're the (em) Boss"
Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Anything Goes"

Monday, May 26, 2014

Happy Birthday Tunnel Card

Recently, I came across an online contest called "The Craftys"--kind of like the Oscars or Emmys for crafters. Even though the entry deadline was right around the corner, I decided to go for it. I figured, with a contest of this caliber, not just any card would do. So I went through my Pinterest board of card ideas & tutorials, and came across this tutorial by Beate Johns for a tunnel card. Ah-ha! So I printed off the instructions and went back to our craft room to get to work.

I started by creating the inside. I scored a piece of patterned paper from my stash as instructed, and die cut an oval from the center with a Spellbinders Classic Ovals die. I cut a slightly smaller oval from teal cardstock, and glued it behind the patterned paper, to create a more defined frame for my greeting. I stamped my greeting in Ranger Archival Jet Black ink, using a stamp from this set by Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps, in the center of the inside of a white A2 size card.

Full shot of inside

Close-up of greeting seen through "tunnel"

I created 4 balloons by tracing over a template I'd made, onto a piece of watercolor paper. I painted them with watered-down Distress inks in Peeled Paint, Mowed Lawn, Broken China, Peacock Feathers, Salty Ocean, Chipped Sapphire, Worn Lipstick, and Barn Door. After they were dry, I cut them out with scissors, and glued them to the side panels on the inside. I tied strings cut from blue bakers twine around the bottoms of the balloons, and glued them to the patterned paper with Ranger Multi Matte Medium. Finally, I covered them with my clear Wink of Stella marker for shimmer, and then Glossy Accents for shine. Then I set the card inside aside for a few hours to let the Glossy Accents dry.

Detail shot of 2 of the balloons

I stamped a cupcake from the same SNSS set, in Ranger Adirondack "Clover" and Stampabilities "Teddy Bear" inks, onto a piece of white cardstock for the focal panel. I rounded the corners with my 1/8" Corner Chomper, and inked the edges with Worn Lipstick. After creating the card front with a striped patterned paper from The Paper Studio and a strip of that same teal cardstock I'd used for the oval frame, I adhered the focal panel with foam tape to give it a bit of dimension. I added dots of Ruby Red Liquid Pearls for "sprinkles" on the frosting, and set the card front aside to dry.

After the Glossy Accents and Liquid Pearls had dried fully, I adhered the card inside to the base with strips of Scor-Tape. While this card is not appropriate for Operation Write Home, because of the glitter in the patterned papers, I will find a use for it!

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Miss You All the Time

The entry deadline for the sketch challenge at Hero Arts' blog is today(!), so I decided to do one more card to enter into that. I used their Sketch #1 for my card.

I cut 2 pieces of Core'dinations cardstock, and die cut the lower edge of the beige piece with the Simon Says Stamp A2 Curved Edge Die. I temporarily adhered the beige over the green, spritzed the cardstock lightly with water to help me get a better embossed impression, and ran them through my Grand Calibur with the "Gear" embossing folder by The Paper Studio. After that dried, with the cardstock still on the folder, I lightly sanded over the raised areas to get the tone-on-tone look. (Leaving the cardstock on the folder helps give support to the design when sanding.) I inked around the edges with Walnut Stain Distress ink, and matted it on a mid-tone cream cardstock.

For the greeting, I used a stamp from this Hero Arts set on light cream cardstock. I couldn't get the brown I wanted with my ink pads, so I ended up coloring the stamp with a dark brown marker. After stamping, I die cut it with a Spellbinders Classic Circles die, and inked the edges with Walnut Stain ink.

The Hero Arts sketch shows small branches coming out from either side of the greeting. Since I wanted this to be a more masculine card, and don't have any small "branch" dies to speak of, I chose one of the dies from Spellbinders' "Ironwork Accents" set, cutting those pieces from the same brown cardstock I used for the card front. I lightly marked where the greeting would go on the main panel with a pencil, and used that as a guide to glue my accents down. Finally, I adhered the greeting with foam tape and adhered the main panel to the card front; and another card for Operation Write Home is done!

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Hero Arts "A New Sketch"
A Blog Named Hero "You're the (em) Boss"

You're Always in My Heart

The current challenge at Our Daily Bread Designs' blog is to use this sketch they posted:

I tend to find sketch challenges difficult, especially when there is so much room for interpretation (e.g. no measurements provided). This card could be any size, any theme, not to mention being able to adapt the sketch to your own idea. The possibilities are almost endless! This kind of "freedom" tends to lead to creativity-freeze for me. But I decided to give it a go nonetheless!

To begin, I rotated the sketch 90 degrees. I also moved the scalloped border to the middle, as my greeting strip. Otherwise, I tried to stay true to the basic premise of the sketch.

The floral stamp is the mid-sized one from this set by Our Daily Bread Designs. I stamped it several times on a purple paper (which had a subtle pattern) in Versamark, then clear heat-embossed it. After the embossing cooled, I blended Dusty Concord Distress ink over the whole panel with my Mini Ink Blending Tool. Wherever I'd embossed resisted the ink, resulting in a pretty two-tone look.

For the greeting, I cut a strip of the same purple patterned paper, and punched the bottom edge with the Martha Stewart "Arch Lattice" edge punch. I stamped the greeting from this Hero Arts stamp set in Dusty Concord. I placed the greeting slightly off-center overall, so it would be centered between the left edge of the panel and the bakers twine I added.

I double-matted the focal panel, added my bakers twine around the one side, and mounted the whole thing onto my card front. I will be sending this to Operation Write Home, for one of our military heroes to write home to their loved one on.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Our Daily Bread Designs "Sketch"
Simon Says Stamp's Monday "Botanical"
A Blog Named Hero Challenge #44: "You're the (em) Boss"

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Operation Write Home Memorial Day Bloghop

I'm truly honored to be part of this year's Operation Write Home Memorial Day Bloghop! I'm relatively new to creating for OWH, so this is my first time doing this.

The theme this year is to make a red, white, & blue card, preferably using one of OWH's sketches, and making it fit one of their themes. My card started its life with OWH's Sketch #222:

I don't normally do CAS cards, but this sketch "spoke" to me, so I decided to go for it! I stayed true to the sketch, making no alterations. The patterned papers are from We R Memory Keepers' "Red White and Blue" 6x6" pad. I used the small heart and "I Love You" stamps from this set by Simon Says Stamp for the greeting strip. For the mat, I inked a piece of white cardstock, cut to an A2 card size, with Salty Ocean Distress ink. I glued the patterned papers and greeting strip to that, and then adhered it to my card base.

Thank you so much for stopping by! Enjoy the rest of the hop!

Thursday, May 22, 2014


A friend of ours, who has been homeschooled, is graduating this week. So I decided to make her a shaker card. We had gotten her a gift card to Hobby Lobby, and I wanted to incorporate that into the design. Thankfully, I came across this blog post by Renee Robbins during the Pretty Pink Posh blog hop. That gave me just the inspiration (and direction) I needed!

I started by choosing a few patterned papers from Doodlebug Design's "Take Note" 6x6" pad. I used one pattern to make a mini envelope with my We R Memory Keepers Envelope Punch Board, to hold the gift card.

For the front, I cut another patterned paper to 5.5x6", and die cut a window using an old Spellbinders die. I also cut a window with the same die in the card base, and the patterned paper I put on the inside of the card front.

I adhered some plastic from leftover clear packaging to the reverse side of the front patterned paper panel, covering the die cut window. I placed foam adhesive tape around the window in the card base, making sure there were no gaps. On the back side of the base, I adhered another piece of plastic, to make a see-through shaker.

I brushed over the plastic pieces with my EK Success powder tool, to help reduce static cling. (I discovered this is important after the sequins in my first shaker card stuck to the plastic too much.) Then I poured in several sequins from a Tree House Studio value pack onto the window within the foam tape. I removed the liner papers from the foam tape pieces, and adhered my card front over the base, being careful to line up the window cut-outs.

For the inside, I adhered 2 patterned paper pieces to the card base, and glued the mini envelope to the back, behind the shaker window. I cut a banner shape from yellow cardstock, and glued it inside the card, so we'd have a place to sign. I cut another banner shape from the same cardstock, inked the edges with Picked Raspberry Distress ink, printed the greeting onto it, and adhered it below the window on the card front. Overall, I think this shaker card came out much better than my first, mostly because I remembered the order of steps to make it!

I'm entering this card in Sweet 'n Sassy Stamp's Challenge #12: Congrats!

Happy Birthday Balloons

This card (which I will send to Operation Write Home) was inspired by a demonstration by Debby Hughes, in Online Card Classes' "Watercolor for Card Makers" class. I stamped the balloon stamp from this set onto a piece of vellum, then scribbled over the back with a pencil. I was then able to trace over the balloon image to transfer the shape to a piece of watercolor paper.

I used Distress inks in Broken China, Peacock Feathers, Peeled Paint, Mowed Lawn, Spun Sugar, and Worn Lipstick to color the balloons. Finally, I watercolored a background with Tumbled Glass Distress ink, being careful not to reactivate the ink on the balloons.

I stamped a greeting from the same set on the watercolor paper, and drew balloon strings with a fine-tip blue marker. Finally I rounded the upper right corner with my 1/2" Corner Chomper. I matted it onto a piece of pink cardstock, rounding the upper right corner of that as well. I finished by adhering it to an A2 card base.

Two Watercolor Cards

I have been participating in Online Card Classes' "Watercolor for Card Makers" class. I created two more cards, both of which will be sent to Operation Write Home, to send to our military heroes overseas, so they can have something nice to write home on.

One of the projects, demonstrated by Shari Carroll, was to stamp a background image in Versamark and white-heat-emboss it, then use Distress markers to color in the spaces between the embossed lines. Well, I didn't have an appropriate background stamp, and don't have Distress markers (other than black and white). So I had to improvise.

I used a stencil by Prima, and smooshed Versamark through the openings, then heat embossed it with Recollections Snow embossing powder. I colored in between the lines with Inktense pencils, and activated the color with water, making the color lighter at the upper left of each section.

I die cut the "You" using this Simon Says Stamp die, and stamped the rest of the greeting from the coordinating stamp set onto a strip of white cardstock with Ranger Archival Jet Black ink. I inked the edges of the greeting strip with Salty Ocean Distress ink, and adhered it to the watercolor panel. I inked a piece of white cardstock with Salty Ocean, and adhered the focal panel to that with foam tape, before adhering the whole thing to an A2 card base.

My second card was inspired by another demonstration by Jennifer McGuire. I stamped an image from this stamp set by Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps onto the center of a piece of watercolor paper, cut slightly smaller than an A2 card. After penciling in a border around the greeting, I applied masking fluid to that section. Once the masking fluid set up, I put Distress inks in Picked Raspberry, Seedless Preserves, Salty Ocean, and Chipped Sapphire onto an acrylic block to use as a palette. I applied a wash of clear water over the center of the watercolor paper, then picked up the Distress inks, one color at a time, on my brush, and washed them over the greeting.

When the ink dried, I peeled off the masking fluid, and went around the border of the greeting with a black marker, to provide more definition. Finally, I adhered that with foam tape onto a piece of white cardstock that I'd inked with Chipped Sapphire, and adhered that to an A2 card base.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Thank You

I needed another thank you card for Operation Write Home's Military Appreciation Month campaign. I used Sketch #1 from the Hero Arts "New Sketch Challenge" (though I'm not entering this card in the challenge, since I didn't use any Hero Arts stamps).

I embossed some green cardstock with the "Dot Swirl" embossing folder from this set. I cut it to size, and cut a piece of patterned paper from My Mind's Eye "Chevron" 6x6" pad for the bottom. I die cut the top edge of the patterned paper with this Simon Says Stamp die. I adhered both pieces to brown cardstock, cut to a standard A2 card size, overlapping the embossed cardstock with the patterned paper.

I used this Poppystamps die for the sprigs on either side of the greeting, cutting them out of dark green cardstock. I stamped the greeting (using Hero Arts Unicorn ink) with this stamp onto the same brown cardstock I used for the mat. After die cutting the greeting with a Spellbinders Classic Circles die, I marked where it would go on the card, and glued down my sprigs so they would be partially behind it. Finally, I glued the greeting over the sprigs, and mounted the card front onto an A2 card base.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Die Crazy"
Operation Write Home's May ODBD "Embossing"

Go Confidently in the Direction of Your Dreams

My cousin-in-law is graduating from the University of Maryland this week. So my brother suggested I make her a card for her graduation. (He's apparently been very impressed with the cards I've made so far!) I started by looking up UMD's school colors, which are yellow, red, black, and white, inspired by the state flag. I felt the colors were a bit bold for a feminine card, so I decided to go with more pastel tones of yellow & pink.

Once I had chosen my colors of cardstock, I went through my collection of dies. I finally settled on this Spellbinder's die set. I cut the pink layer from the largest die, and cut the yellow from the next largest.

I felt the yellow layer needed something extra, so I embossed the center with one of Spellbinders' Gold Ovals One dies. I stamped a butterfly in the center of that embossed area, using Colorbox Archival dye ink in Putty.

I printed the quote on vellum, and cut it with a Spellbinders Classic Ovals die. I ran it through my Xyron machine, and adhered it over the butterfly.

I inked the front of a white card base with Aged Mahogany Distress ink, and then glued my die cut pieces to it. And there it is--a complex-looking, but fairly simple, graduation card!

I'm entering this card in the Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Die Crazy" challenge.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Thank You--with Stitching

 I have been participating in Online Card Classes' "Watercolor for Card Makers" class since it started a couple of weeks ago. I have learned several new techniques there. While the interactive class is coming to an end soon, you can still register and get the class materials; just not interact with the students and teachers. I would highly recommend this class--or any of their classes!

In the class, Kristina Werner demonstrated using emboss-resist to create a watercolored background. Emboss-resist was not new to me, but I had never done it with watercolors per se, so I have had fun trying (this expanded version) of this technique.

For my card, I used this background stamp from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. Since the stamp is only 4x4", and my background was somewhat larger, I had to stamp it more than once. It was not very easy to see where I'd stamped in Versamark (a clear ink) on white watercolor paper, so I could match up the pattern, but I managed to do it well enough! I heat-embossed it with white embossing powder. When that had cooled, I used 4 colors from this watercolor set to create washes, which I applied to my paper. The embossed areas resisted the watercolor, which instead soaked into the surrounding areas.

For the greeting, I used this die to cut the word "You" from black paper. I positioned it with temporary adhesive over the banner I'd cut for the "Thank" word, and scanned that in to my computer. I typed & positioned the word "Thank" in Photoshop, then printed that out on the banner (from which I'd removed the die cut). I glued the banner to the card front panel, and again temporarily adhered the die cut. I pierced holes through the "You," removed the pieces of black paper, and then stitched the word with black embroidery floss.

I matted the watercolor panel onto black, and then triple-matted that with pink, yellow, & lavender cardstock piecess, finally adhering it to an A2 card base. This is actually the last of my AnyHero thank you cards I will be sending to Operation Write Home for their Military Appreciation Month campaign.

I'm entering this card in Virginia's View Challenge #3: "Stitching."

You're Always in My Heart

Two of the demonstrations at Online Card Classes' "Watercolor for Card Makers" class were on "vellum stained glass" by Kathy Racoosin and "watercolor monoprint" by Tim Holtz. I combined these 2 ideas into this card.

To begin, I used Hero Arts' Sketch #2 in their "New Sketch Challenge." I stamped on a piece of vellum with this stamp, and heat-embossed it with white embossing powder. I colored the image with Caran d'Ache Neocolor II watercolor crayons. I shaded with Marvy LePlume II waterbased markers, blending that into the watercolor crayon with my damp brush. Then I set that aside to dry.

For the background, I used Tim Holtz's technique to create a monoprint on a piece of watercolor paper using Distress inks in Salty Ocean, Mowed Lawn, Mustard Seed, and Spiced Marmalade and this stencil.

While my background piece dried, I cut the stamped vellum into a tag shape, using Fiskars "Tags 1" template, and cut another tag out of white cardstock. I turned the vellum so the embossed/colored side was on the bottom, and stitched them together with my sewing machine. I felt the white embossing on the flower got lost against the white cardstock backing, so I went back in with a pale blue Marvy marker & some Tumbled Glass Distress ink, coloring around the flower and feathering the color out with a brush & water. It's subtle, but I think it adds the definition that was missing.

I stamped the greeting from Hero Arts onto white cardstock, heat-embossed it with white embossing powder, and blended Salty Ocean over it. I cut it into a banner shape, and glued it to the bottom of the tag. I adhered the tag with foam tape to the background panel, and matted the panel with brown cardstock. Finally I adhered it to an A2 card base.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Virginia's View Challenge #3: "Stitching"
A Blog Named Hero's Challenge #44: "You're the (em)Boss"
Hero Arts' "New Sketch Challenge"

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Thank you

I asked my brother the other day if he and his wife would be willing to participate in Operation Write Home's campaign to collect thank you cards for our overseas military heroes. I offered the cards, if they would just write messages in them and mail them. He enthusiastically said to count them in! So this is one that I made for them to send in to OWH.

I am also participating in Online Card Classes' "Watercolor for Card Makers" class, and one of the lesson themes was watercolor backgrounds. I created this background following the lead of Agnieszka Malyszek, one of their guest instructors. I colored bands of 4 different blues with my Inktense pencils on a piece of watercolor paper, and an amber color at the top and bottom. Then I went over that with a brush and clear water to blend the colors. (I had done the same thing with different colors on this card, but I think it came out better this time.)

For the focal piece, I used the largest die from this Spellbinders die set and cut it from double-sided patterned paper from My Mind's Eye "Blue Floral" 6x6" pad. I folded & tucked the pieces in the die cut, and then glued it to the watercolor panel. I stamped this greeting in Versamark on the flip side of that patterned paper, and heat embossed it using Recollections "Snow" embossing powder. Finally, I die cut that with a Spellbinder's Classic Circles die, and glued it to the center of the large die cut.

I adhered the watercolor panel to an A2 card base, and rounded the 2 right-hand corners with my 1/2" Corner Chomper. So there it is--a simple, masculine thank you card to send to one of our overseas heroes!

I'm entering this card in Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday "Die Crazy" challenge.

Just a Note

The current challenge at Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps is to use dots. As it so happens, one of the lessons by Julie Ebersole, in Online Card Classes' "Watercolor for Card Makers," involved making "watercolor" dots with watered-down Distress inks and an unused pencil eraser. So I decided to do that for this card.

I chose this sketch from Operation Write Home:

For the focal point, I used one of the images and a greeting from the "Love from Cocoa" stamp set by Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps. I stamped the image on a piece of white cardstock, using black dye ink by Stampabilities, and colored the mouse and pen with colored pencils. I die cut & embossed this with one of Spellbinders Classic Circle dies. To help the panel stand out against the background, I inked around the edges with Picked Raspberry Distress ink.

I used two patterns from BasicGrey's "Fact" 6x6" paper pad for the background. The notebook pattern had a strip along the top, so I just used that instead of adding another strip as in the sketch.

For the dots, I used Distress inks in Picked Raspberry, Mustard Seed, Salty Ocean, and Peacock Feathers. I applied the colors to an acrylic block I used as my palette, and misted them with water. Then I just took my pencil eraser, dabbed it in a color, and transferred the diluted ink to the cardstock. I had marked on the cardstock panel where the focal piece would go, and made sure to concentrate more of my dots around that area.

After painting my dots and adhering the focal point panel to the card front, I felt it still needed something. So I got some embroidery floss that was about the same color as the dotted cardstock, and stitched around the perimeter of that panel. And that finishes this card.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Sweet 'n Sassy Stamp's Challenge #11: "Polka Dots"
Virginia's View Challenge "Get Stitching"


The first 2 days of lessons in Online Card Classes' "Watercolor for Card Makers" class were on watercolor backgrounds. Agnieszka Malyszek is one of the guest instructors, and demonstrated creating a background by coloring on watercolor paper with watercolor pencils and then blending the color out with plain water. This card is my first take on that technique.

I based my design on Hero Arts' New Sketch Challenge Sketch #3. On my watercolor panel, I colored with various green Inktense pencils, then blended them with water. Unfortunately, the color variation is subtle and doesn't show up so well in the photo. But trust me--in real life it is pretty. I did feel the background was a bit bland, though. So I diluted Chipped Sapphire and Walnut Stain Distress inks with water and spattered them over the panel. I stamped the "thanx" from this Hero Arts stamp set on the watercolor paper in Ranger Jet Black Archival ink, then painted inside the letters with Chipped Sapphire ink and water.

I mounted the watercolor panel in the upper right corner of a piece of patterned paper, cut to 4.25x5.5", from my scrap stash. I punched a star with a Recollections punch out of navy cardstock, and then die cut that piece with a Spellbinders Standard Circles die. I die cut another circle from white cardstock that I'd painted with Silver Distress paint and glued that to the back of the punched piece, so the silver shows through the star.

I stamped the star-and-dot border from Simon Says Stamp's "All Boy" stamp set onto another piece of the same navy cardstock, and heat-embossed it with Ranger Silver embossing powder I glued the strip and star circle piece to the front of the card, along the bottom of the watercolor panel.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Old-Fashioned Thanks!

Some months ago, I got a set of Hero Arts greeting stamps with an old typewriter-style font. But I didn't have a typewriter stamp (or anything else) to go with them. So when I saw this new Spellbinders In'spire die, I jumped at the chance to get it. While I didn't use any of those Hero Arts stamps on this card, I did use some letter stamps for the greeting.

I began my card by choosing this Operation Write Home sketch:

I especially liked the retro Polaroid look of the focal panel. I had to enlarge it slightly to accommodate the size of the typewriter die, and eliminated the horizontal band behind the focal area.

I chose 2 patterned papers with vintage imagery from the FarmHouse Paper Company's "302 Paper Pack" 6x6" pad. I die cut the typewriter from black paper, and cut a smaller piece of silver cardstock from Die Cuts with a View to glue behind the area where the typewriter keys are. For the paper in the typewriter, I cut a 2" wide strip of white cardstock. I stamped the "Thanks!" letters on it, then wove it into the typewriter, glued it in place, and trimmed off the excess.

After cutting a piece of teal blue cardstock for the center of the "Polaroid" frame, I glued it to the paper clip patterned piece, and glued the typewriter so it is sitting on the bottom edge of the teal piece. To help the paper clip piece stand out a little more against the pattern behind it, I inked around the edges with Walnut Stain Distress ink. I glued that panel to the other patterned paper, and matted the whole thing with more black paper before adhering it to an A2 card base.

I gave this card to a local Boy Scout troop, for one of their boys to write a thank you note to an overseas military hero. I will be sending it, along with the rest I made for this project, to Operation Write Home, to send on to our heroes.

I'm entering this card in Simon Says Stamp's Work It Wednesday "Patterned Paper" challenge.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

I Appreciate You

I recently got this Hero Arts stamp set, and couldn't wait to use it! I just love the imagery and sentiments, and this particular balloon just begged to be stamped and colored! I also have been taking the  "Watercolor for Card makers" online class. One of the lessons was on coloring stamped images with Inktense pencils. So I decided to combine my urge to use this set with my new-found knowledge, and create this card.

I based my design on Sketch #2 from the Hero Arts "New Sketch Challenge". I created a tag from watercolor paper, and stamped the hot air balloon from the set on it in Ranger Archival Jet Black ink. I set that aside to dry while I worked on the rest of the card.

I stamped the greeting, also from the set, on a strip of navy cardstock, using Versamark ink. It took me "only" about a half-dozen tries before I finally got it like I wanted it. I heat-embossed it with Recollections "Snow" embossing powder, and then cut the strip into a banner.

I cut and folded a standard A2 card base, and adhered navy cardstock and a lighter teal color to the front. By this time, the balloon image had dried, so I colored it with Inktense pencils and water. When coloring the balloon itself, I was careful to color every other section, so the colors wouldn't bleed from one part into the adjacent one. As each section dried, I was able to do the remaining parts.

I glued the tag to the card front, and then glued the banner below it. A fairly easy card to do, but still with striking results.

Thanks so Much

I've been taking Online Card Classes' "Watercolor for Cardmakers" class, which started on May 5. One of the themes for the lessons is watercolor backgrounds. The second day of class, Jennifer McGuire demonstrated doing a background after masking your greeting with masking fluid or rubber cement. This card is my take on that technique.

I stamped the greeting using one from this stamp set in the center of a piece of watercolor paper I'd cut to 3.75x5", using Versafine Onyx Black ink. After the ink (finally!) dried, I applied masking fluid to the stamped portion. Once the masking fluid set up, I applied clear water over the card front with a watercolor brush.

I took 3 colors of watercolor paint in the blue/green color family and spread them over the wet part of the paper. When that dried, I felt it was a bit too pale, so I painted over it a second time, without diluting the colors quite as much. After the paper was completely dry, I rubbed the masking fluid off, revealing the greeting, surrounded by color. Talk about magic!

I double-matted the watercolor panel on 2 shades of blue cardstock, and adhered that to a standard A2 card base.

Thank You So Much!

I have been busy the past few days making thank you cards for members of a friend's Boy Scout troop to write on. They will then go to Operation Write Home to send to our overseas military as part of Military Appreciation Month. This card is another one in that series.

I used this sketch by OWH for my card:

Other than adding a small mat around the border, and cutting a banner end in the greeting strip, I made no adjustments to the sketch.

I cut a piece of patterned paper from BasicGrey's "Fact" 6x6" paper pad for the card front, and matted it with a piece of dark brown cardstock. For the spotted panel, I cut a piece from graphic 45's "Good Ol' Sport" 6x6" pad. I laid a dot stencil by Donna Downey over it, and sprayed it with Dylusions White Linen spray ink.

I didn't have a thank you stamp that really fit the look of the card, so I created my greeting in Photoshop and printed it on a banner cut from kraft cardstock. I glued it to the card front, and the card was finished!

I'm entering this card in Simon Says Stamp's Work It Wednesday "Patterned Paper" challenge.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Loons Thank You

Here is another thank you card for Operation Write Home to send to a military hero overseas in observance of Military Appreciate Month. You can read more about that on OWH's website.

I used the following OWH sketch for my design:

Other than flipping the sketch horizontally, this time I didn't make any alterations.

For the background, I inked up this stamp by Our Daily Bread Designs with Stormy Sky Distress ink, and stamped it onto a piece of white cardstock cut to a standard A2 card size. I adhered a piece of black paper over the one side; both to ground the image & greeting panels, and to echo the black in the loons.

I stamped the 2 loons onto watercolor paper using Ranger Archival Jet Black ink (my go-to ink for stamping when I want to watercolor), and colored the background with a wash of Stormy Sky/water for the sky, and blue watercolor for the water. When that was dry, I rounded the corners with my 3/8" Corner Chomper.

I inked a piece of white cardstock with Weathered Wood Distress ink, and then stamped the greeting in Chipped Sapphire ink. I die cut that with a Spellbinders circle die. Finally, I adhered the loon and greeting panels to the card front.

I'm entering this card in Our Daily Bread Designs "Wing It" challenge.