Monday, May 29, 2017

Otterly Awesome Birthday Card


A friend has a birthday coming up, so I decided (of course) to make her a card. I just got the "Otterly Awesome" stamp set & coordinating dies, as well as the "Otter Ware" stamps & dies (all from Essentials by Ellen), and couldn't wait to play with them for this card!

I began by creating my card base. I cut 2 panels of white cardstock with a Spellbinders "Grand Scalloped Ovals" die (discontinued). I scored one about 1/2" from one "side," and adhered my other die cut panel to that, applying Scor Tape & liquid glue only above the score line.

I stamped the otter from "Otterly Awesome" & starfish (from "Otter Ware") on white cardstock with Memento Tuxedo Black ink. I then colored both images with my Prismacolor colored pencils, & cut them out with the coordinating dies. I glued the starfish in the otter's "hands," and added some clear Spectrum Noir Sparkle pen just to the starfish, for a bit of shimmer.

For the card front, I die cut another scalloped oval with the same die from 140 lb. watercolor paper. Because there is no birthday greeting in "Otterly Awesome," I used Lawn Fawn's "Claire's ABC's" to spell out the first part of the greeting. Since I was using 2 of the greeting stamps from "Otterly Awesome," I wanted to keep the first part of the greeting in the same casual style. So, using the otter as a guide for placement, I mounted the alphabet stamps to the door of my MISTI at angles & with a bouncing baseline. This actually was a big help, since I didn't have to be so persnickety about getting the letters lined up exactly right! :) I stamped the greeting in Versamark ink, and heat embossed with Wow White Pearl embossing powder. I also stamped the waves image from "Otter Ware" a few times and heat embossed those as well.

Inside sentiment
I ink blended an ombre effect on the background, with Mermaid Lagoon & Salty Ocean Distress inks. I applied the Mermaid Lagoon at the bottom, and then added the Salty Ocean, blending it out to almost white at the top. Finally, I used my homemade Perfect Pearls mist, flicking the solution with the nozzle of the spray bottle over my panel. I let that sit for a few seconds, then blotted the mist up with a dry cloth, to give a distressed look to the background. Then I glued the otter to the card front, & stamped the inside sentiment with Tuxedo Black ink. I did add 3 dots to the greeting on the front with a white gel pen, and 3 in front of the inside sentiment with a black pen, just to make the greeting seem continuous. All that was left to do then was adhere the card front to my card base.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Simon Says Stamp's Wednesday Challenge: "Furry Friends"
Simon Says Stamp's Monday Challenge: "Little Critters"
Pile It On #130: "Animal"

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Sparkle & Shine - Two More Cards


Today is almost the last day for Online Card Classes' "Sparkle & Shine" class. :( I must admit, I was hesitant when I first heard about this class to sign up. How much can one possibly do with glitter & foil? Well, after having learned my lesson when I didn't sign up for the "live" version of their "Heat Wave" class (which I later regretted), I went ahead & registered. And Jennifer, Kristina, & their guest artist instructors did not disappoint! I have learned quite a few new techniques, and some tips that improved my experience with foiling. If you ever want to have a great class experience, which is not too costly, head on over there!

For my first card, I used the "Hi" die from Winnie & Walter, along with a supporting greeting from Hero Arts' "You're a Rainbow" stamp set (discontinued). To create my background, I "inked" up the "Capture Prism" stamp (discontinued), also from Hero Arts, with leafing glue, and stamped on my cardstock panel. I foiled that with Heidi Swapp Gunmetal foil. The results were a bit "sketchier" that I'd really expected, but I kind of like the look. (You can see what I did with the remainder of that foil piece on my next card below.)

I die cut the "hi" from black cardstock, and from blue shimmer cardstock. I also heat embossed the supporting greeting with Ranger Silver embossing powder on a strip of vellum. I wrapped one end of the strip around the right side of the "i," adhering it to the back with a little ATG tape, and adhered the other end under the left side of the "h."

After determining placement, I used Perfect Paper Adhesive to glue my blue "hi" to the foiled panel, and then glued the black one on top, slightly offset. I cut another piece of the blue shimmer cardstock into an "L" shape for my mat "layer." Finally, I adhered that to a white A2 card base, and mounted my foiled panel on top.


I created my background for my thank you card by foiling a sheet of homemade toner paper with the leftover foil from my "hi" card. I had heard about this technique before this class, but had never been sure about all the black toner showing through the "openings" in the foil. But when I saw Gina K demonstrate this in class, I decided to try it. And I must admit, I kind of like it! After foiling my toner paper, I trimmed it down to slightly smaller than 4x5.25".

I stamped the "Bee Balm" & "Hummingbird" images, both from Our Daily Bread Designs, onto a scrap of Strathmore Smooth Bristol paper, with Hero Arts Charcoal ink. I fussy-cut the flower (just in case I messed up the cutting, I wouldn't have to redo all the coloring), and colored both images with my Tombow Markers, blending the colors mainly with the markers themselves. I did use a water brush just a little on the pale grey parts of the bird's body. After I'd finished coloring, I used the coordinating die to cut out the hummingbird. Then I used Perfect Paper Adhesive to glue both the flower & bird to my background.

For the greeting, I applied Stick It adhesive to both sides of a piece of black craft foam. After running it through my die cut machine (without dies) to stick the adhesive firmly, I peeled off the release paper on one side and adhered my green cardstock to that. Then I ran it through my die cut machine again, with the Simon Says Stamp "Thanks" die. I popped the die cut out from the surrounding cardstock, and adhered it to my background, over the flower stem. Finally, I matted the foiled panel with purple cardstock, adhered it to a white A2 card base, and added some more sparkle with 2 coats of clear Wink of Stella on the hummingbird.

I'm entering my cards in the following challenges:

a2zScrapbooking's May Challenge: "Sentiment Focus" (1st card only)

Second card only:
Our Daily Bread Designs: "Just Say Thanks"
Simon Says Stamp Work It Wednesday: "April Showers Bring May Flowers"
Pile It on #130: "Animal"
Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge: "A Bit of Sparkle"

Essentials by Ellen May Pin-Sights Challenge - Floral Thanks


I have an exciting announcement today--I'm guest designing for the Essentials by Ellen May Pin-Sights challenge!!! This is such an honor. I love the Essentials by Ellen line of stamps & dies, and to get to participate in their challenge in this way is beyond wonderful!


The Pin-Sights challenge is a monthly event at The CLASSroom blog. To participate, simply create a project that is inspired by the following mood board, using Essentials by Ellen product(s). You can create any sort of project; the challenge is not restricted to cards. One entry will be chosen at random to win a $50 gift voucher to the Ellen Hutson online store. Just remember, you must use one or more Essentials by Ellen products.


The flowers & soft colors in this mood board spoke to me, so I chose the "Mondo Peony" stamp set & "Hinged Thanks" die for my card.

I began by cutting a piece of Strathmore Smooth Bristol paper to 5.5x4.25", to create a landscape-oriented card front. After masking off a little over an inch on the top of the panel, I stamped 3 of the flowers with Hero Arts Soft Lilac ink, having each go off the edge. I masked the two larger flowers, and stamped the leaves around them with Hero Arts Wet Cement ink.

To color my images, I used my Tombow markers. I added a light purple color to each petal, then went around the edge with a slightly darker marker. Before the ink had a chance to dry, I used a damp paintbrush to blend the darker color out to create shading. I must admit, I wasn't sure if this would work without the markers leaving harsh lines, but I'm really pleased with the soft results I got! I went slightly bolder with the greens for the leaves, just for a pop of contrast, following the same process. When I'd colored the images, I took a pale blue marker and outlined each flower & leaf, then used my paintbrush to blend that color out.

Close-up of the die cut thanks
After I removed the masking, I taped my "Hinged Thanks" die in place, and ran the panel through my die cutting machine. Since I had cut the letters of the die apart, I had to be careful to make sure that the score lines were all on the correct side, especially on the "N" & the "H," since those letters are basically symmetrical. I like how the greeting is there, but almost hidden. Kind of a nice surprise for the recipient. 😊

I decided to add a ribbon & bow above my images. I adhered a piece of green satin ribbon above the line that I'd masked off, taping the ends to the back of my panel. Then I made a "faux" bow with more of the same ribbon, following the instructions in this video. Finally, I mounted my finished card front to a white A2 card base.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Happy Mail Owl


On Day 6 of Online Card Classes' "Sparkle & Shine" class, Heather Ruwe had a lesson on "Faux Ombre Embossing with Distress Inks." I used that technique with this card.

To create the background, I used Mustard Seed, Fossilized Amber, & Rusty Hinge Distress inks and Winnie & Walter's "Madison" Creative Screenings stencil. I wanted to go for a more gender-neutral card, and knew I would use the "Curious Owl" stamp by Hero Arts. I thought the stencil resembled feathers, hence my choice.

After finishing the background, following Heather's instructions, I stamped the owl onto a scrap of Strathmore Smooth Bristol paper with Hero Arts Wet Cement ink. I colored that with my Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers, using a water brush (sparingly) to blend the color a little in places. Then I set that aside to dry, before fussy cutting him out.

I stamped an envelope from Technique Tuesday's "Random Act of Cardness" set onto bristol paper with Wet Cement, and fussy cut it out. I used a craft knife to cut along the sides of the owl's beak, and slipped the envelope into the slits, gluing it in place with a bit of liquid glue.

I figured the owl would blend into the background too much if I adhered him directly to it, but also didn't want to cover up a lot of the stenciled panel. So I die cut a piece of Essentials by Ellen 40 lb. vellum with a Lawn Fawn "Large Stitched Oval" die. I stamped a greeting from the "Snail Mail" set, also by Technique Tuesday, on the vellum above where the owl would go with Ranger Archival Coffee ink. That turned out to be a mistake, since the greeting didn't show up against the background, even with the vellum to mute the colors on my panel. So I used a fine-tip black marker to trace over the letters. It's not absolutely perfect, but it's close enough for me, and at least I didn't have to die cut and re-stamp another oval! :)

To complete the card, I adhered the owl to the oval with foam tape, and used Scor-Tape pieces on the back of the vellum (behind the owl) to adhere it directly to my background. I felt the panel needed a little more definition, so I machine-stitched around the perimeter with black thread. I finished by adhering the card front to a white A2 card base. I will leave this card in our mailbox for our postal carrier, just as a little appreciation card, as part of Jennifer McGuire's #ShareHandmadeKindness campaign.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

A Blog Named Hero: "Watercoloring"
Pile It On #130: "Animal"
613 Avenue Create: "Anything Goes"

Glitter Balloons


I've been participating in Online Card Classes' "Sparkle & Shine" class. On Day 1 of class, Jennifer McGuire had a lesson on "Glitter Die Cut Inlay." I used her tutorial as inspiration for this card.

I die cut my balloons from purple cardstock using 4 of the "Party Balloons" dies from Lawn Fawn. I added the panel to my adhesive sheet, & sprinkled on some glitter, creating a gradient effect. After burnishing the glitter in, I adhered that panel to a 4.25x5.5" piece of white cardstock.

I poked holes at the base of each balloon, and threaded crochet twine through the holes. I tied the twine in bows, and then, for each balloon, cut one end short, leaving the other end long. I pulled the long ends around the bottom of the card, and taped them on the back.

For the greeting, I used the "Happy" stamp from Simon Says Stamp's "It's Your Birthday," and one of the "Birthday" stamps from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps' "Script Birthdays" set. I stamped them on a scrap of yellow cardstock in Versamark, and heat embossed with Ranger Super Fine Detail Gold embossing powder. I cut that into a strip, & trimmed one end at an angle. I adhered it to my panel with a little ATG tape, & used my Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher to staple two gold staples in one end. Finally, I mounted my card front to a white A2 card base, and dotted the knots of the bows with a little Perfect Paper Adhesive glue to keep them from coming undone.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Happy Mother's Day - Times 3!


Yes, here in the U.S., Mother's Day is this weekend! Even though it's on Sunday, my brother, sister-in-law, & I are celebrating with our mom Saturday, so my brother & his wife can spend Sunday with her parents & grandmother. I made three cards total to give to our mother: one from me, one from my brother & sister-in-law, and one from our 3 cats (I call Mama their Grandma! LOL). This first one is from me.

I got my inspiration from this card that Jennifer McGuire had on her YouTube channel & blog. Debby Hughes' lesson in Online Card Classes' "Sparkle & Shine" class also provided inspiration for the background. I used Simon Says Stamp's "Leaves Background" stamp, Versamark, & Perfect Pearls to stamp the background, then stamped over it with My Favorite Things' "Romantic Script" background stamp. It's very subtle, & doesn't show up well in the photo, but it has a nice shimmer.

I used a Nellie's Choice "Straight Hearts" die to cut the window, and Simon Says Stamp's "Happy" die & Lawn Fawn's "Smitty's ABCs" for the greeting. I also stamped the "Frangipani" from Our Daily Bread Designs on watercolor paper, heat embossed with Ranger Silver Pearl powder, and watercolored the flowers with my Inktense pencils. I fussy cut the image, cutting off the leaves, then inked those with Twisted Citron & Mowed Lawn Distress inks, sprayed them with Perfect Pearls solution, and let them dry. Finally, I glued the leaves to the flower cluster, cut a piece of white cardstock the same shape, glued the flower cluster to the card front, & backed it with the white cardstock piece. I stamped "Mother's Day" in Hero Arts Ultra Pink ink, to play off the flowers, and assembled my tulle shaker card, following Jennifer's instructions.


For my second card, I took the design idea from this post that I found via Pinterest. I stamped multiple flowers & leaves on a piece of white cardstock, using Paper Smooches' "Botanicals 2" stamps & Hero Arts Lemon Yellow, Cornflower, Lime Green & Bubble Gum; and Lawn Fawn Wild Rose & Fresh Lavender inks. I used Colorbox Putty ink to stamp some of the flowers & leaves, just as a "placeholder." After cutting the first part of my greeting with Winnie & Walter's "Happy" die, I applied adhesive with my Zig 2-way glue pen to the Putty-colored images. I let that dry so it was tacky, then foiled them with various colors of Heidi Swapp foil. Again, the photo doesn't do it justice, but it has a nice shine in real life!

After die cutting a frame from an A2 size white cardstock panel with a Taylored Expressions' "Frame in Frame" die, I used my laser printer to print "Mother's Day" on the center portion. I then foiled that with Rose Gold Heidi Swapp foil & my mini Minc machine. I added white craft foam to the back of the "happy" & the frame, then adhered everything to my A2 card base.


This third card is from our cats. I thought the bird patterned paper, from Crate Paper's "Bloom" 6x6" pad was particularly cute for a cat card! I used these instructions to guide me in completing this card. I used 2 of the "Straight Hearts" dies for the window. For the heart on the belly band, I die cut one that was a little smaller than the window, printed "Happy Mother's Day" on it with my laser printer, and foiled it with Heidi Swapp Mint foil & my Minc. I adhered that to a piece of teal cardstock, & used my scissors to cut a small border.

For the card base, I inked a piece of Strathmore Smooth Bristol paper with Cracked Pistachio, Evergreen Bough, & Pine Needles Distress inks to create an ombre. Then I stamped My Favorite Things' "Romantic Script" background stamp in Hero Arts Soft Granite ink over both sides. I don't know really why I chose that particular stamp, since this is a not-so-elegant cat card, but I just wanted a little extra visual texture & interest.


I stamped Rubbernecker Stamps' "Cat on Yarn Basket" image onto another panel of bristol paper. I colored it with my Tombow markers, using a water brush to blend the color on the cat & basket. We actually don't currently have a black cat, but I thought that would be a nice compromise, rather than trying to decide which of our cats would be featured. I did go over the eyes & mouth with a black marker, and added white gel pen detailing for the whiskers, just to make them pop more. Then I adhered that inside my card. Finally, I printed my greeting (created in Photoshop) onto a piece of pink cardstock, & adhered it to the bristol panel, so it would be below the window in the card front.

I'm entering my cards in the following challenges:

Simon Says Stamp's Work It Wednesday: "April Showers Bring May Flowers" (first card only)
Through the Craft Room Door: "Anything Goes" (cat card only)
Pile It On #130: "Animal" (cat card only)
Die Cut Divas: "May Flowers" (first 2 cards only)

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Happier than a Seagull


Even for holiday occasions, like Father's Day, I always try to include a few cards to send specifically for the kids through Send a Smile 4 Kids. I just sent off my latest package to them, and this was one of the cards I created to encourage a hospitalized child.

I cut a panel of Canson XL Watercolor paper to 4.25x5.5". I determined how much I wanted for the beach, and cut that strip off from the panel. I inked the textured side of the beach piece with Antique Linen & a bit of Brushed Corduroy Distress inks. I spritzed the panel with water from my Distress Sprayer, and lifted off the water & ink. That bleached the ink in spots a little too much, though, so I went over the panel again with Brushed Corduroy, without reinking my blending foam, just to add a little color back in.

For the sea & sky, I used the smoother side of the watercolor paper. I masked off the sky, and stamped the waves from "Stay Salty" (designed by Julie Ebersole for the Essentials by Ellen line) several times with Versamark ink. As I went, I sprinkled Wow White Pearl embossing powder on the waves, so I could see where I had stamped. When I had finished stamping, I used my heat tool to melt the powder. Then I inked the sea with Salty Ocean & Peacock Feathers Distress inks. I removed the masking, & inked the sky with Tumbled Glass, adding some shading with Broken China.

I stamped the seagull from "Stay Salty" in Versafine Onyx Black ink onto some Canson XL Mixed Media paper. I colored him (her?) with my Tombow markers. I also stamped the anchor & life preserver, coloring directly on the stamps with my markers. For the anchor, after I'd colored it in spots with 3 different markers, I spritzed it lightly with water to mingle the colors and then stamped it. The colors still came out spotty, so I used a water brush to blend the colors a little more. I stamped the clouds with Salty Ocean, on mixed media paper. Finally, I cut all the images with the coordinating "Stay Salty" dies. I also punched a crab from red cardstock using an old Martha Stewart punch. I did a bit of shading with markers, & glued on tiny googly eyes.

Because I wasn't sure if I wanted to add anything else, to assemble my card, I joined the beach & sky/sea panels by adhering them to a strip of cardstock. I glued my images on with Perfect Paper Adhesive. I stamped the greeting in Versafine on the sky. I decided I didn't need to add anything else, so I went ahead & adhered the card front to a white A2 card base. As a finishing touch, I added dots to the beach with both a white Sakura Gelly Roll pen & a Sakura Star Dust glitter pen.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Happy Father's Day Koi


I've been on kind of a "Father's Day card" kick lately, since I want to send several to Send a Smile 4 Kids. (They have to receive cards by May 15, so they have time to ship them to the hospitals they serve.) I think Father's Day cards are hard to create when you're not creating them for a specific man. Not so much because they are masculine cards, but because you don't know what the recipient is into. So I just try to make them generally masculine. I don't know where (or when) I got this koi stamp, or who makes it, but I figured it would fit for a Father's Day card!

I stamped the koi onto a scrap of 140 lb. watercolor paper with Versafine Onyx Black ink. I colored them with my Inktense pencils, kind of following photos I found online for how the colors might go. I also colored the background, first using color from a blue pencil, then over that with green, so they look like they are swimming in a pond.

For the "wood" panels, I stamped the "Wood Pallet Background" from Altenew (a new one for me) onto a piece of cream cardstock with Hero Arts Cup o' Joe ink. I inked over it with Brushed Corduroy Distress ink, followed by a coat of Pumice Stone ink, to give it a worn, weathered-wood look. My idea was to emulate a pier by the koi pond.

I cut a strip to go between the 2 woodgrain panels, and printed one of the greetings from Sweet 'n Sassy Stamps' "Father's Day Sentiments" digi set onto the bottom. I inked around the edges with Iced Spruce Distress ink, and then adhered that & the woodgrain panels to a piece of green cardstock. I inked the edges of the focal panel with Iced Spruce as well. After punching a piece of blue cardstock with Fiskars' "Threading Water" border punch (apparently discontinued), I cut it into a strip, inked the edges, & adhered it to the image panel so it's peeking out below. Finally, I glued the focal panel onto my card front, and mounted that to a white A2 card base.

I'm entering this card in the following challenges:

Send a Smile 4 Kids: "For Dads or Special Males (From the Kids)"
613 Avenue Create #197: "Anything Goes"
Pile It On #130: "Animals"

Best Dad Ever


The current challenge theme at Lawn Fawnatics is "Black, White, & Bright." Use black & white, with a bright pop of color. I decided to make a Father's Day card with gold accents to donate to Send a Smile 4 Kids, using Lawn Fawn's "Best Pun Ever" stamp set & coordinating dies. (After all, what color is brighter than gold? 😊)

I began by stenciling a piece of white cardstock with Black Soot Distress ink & Hero Arts "Flag Pattern" stencil. I trimmed the panel to 4x5.25", & rounded the corners with my 1/4" Corner Chomper. Then I set that aside while I worked on the rest of my card.

For the focal panel, I first die cut a mat from Canson XL Mixed Media paper, using the "Stitched Journaling Card" die from Lawn Fawn. I inked it in a gradient using Faded Jeans, Blueprint Sketch, & Dusty Concord Distress inks. Then I used my Distress Sprayer to spritz water droplets on the panel, waited a few seconds, and used a dry cloth to soak up the water & ink. That left nice "bleached" spots on my background, to add interest.

I stamped the trophy (from "Best Pun Ever") on some gold foil cardstock with Ranger Archival Jet Black ink. After stamping the "#1" in Jet Black, I heat set it to keep the ink from smearing. Then I cut that with the coordinating die. I also die cut a banner from cardstock with another die from "Stitched Journaling Card," I stamped "best dad ever," from "Best Pun Ever," in Jet Black ink on that.

To put my focal panel together, I first die cut several gold glitter stars using the stars from "Stitched Journaling Card." I carefully cut a slit in the top of the trophy, and adhered it to my background with foam tape. After adhering my journaling card panel to my background, I glued down my stars, tucking 2 into the trophy, making them look like they are bursting out from the trophy. I adhered my greeting banner in place, and glued the final star next to that. I matted the background with black cardstock, mounted that to a white A2 card base, and rounded the outer corners of the card with my 1/4" Corner Chomper.