Thursday, May 31, 2018

Happy Birthday Bouquet

This month's challenge theme at Die Cut Divas has been "April Showers Bring May Flowers." I created this birthday card for my stash with that theme in mind. For my design inspiration, I used Sketch #SC639 from

I stamped Taylored Expressions' "Wildflower Bouquet" onto a scrap of Canson XL Mixed Media paper with Memento Toffee Crunch ink. I wanted a slightly softer look, so I went with a light brown instead of black. I left the stamp in my MISTI stamp positioner, so I could overstamp after I had finished coloring.

I colored the image with my Prismacolor colored pencils, using Gamsol on paper blending stumps to blend the colors. I basically used 2 shades per color, except for the yellow, brown, & the blue for the water. After I had finished coloring, I put the panel back into my MISTI, and stamped again with Toffee Crunch. The colored pencils cause a waxy buildup on the paper, which fades some of the stamp lines. By restamping, I was able to solidify the lines like I wanted, though they are still lighter. After that, I die cut it with the coordinating die.

For the greeting, I used Altenew's "Birthday Builder" stamp set. I stamped the coordinating "happy" & "birthday" from the set in Toffee Crunch onto a strip of teal cardstock. Then I cut that into a banner, and laid it aside with my image while I worked on the rest of the card.

I die cut two flower pieces from 140 lb. watercolor paper, using a Spellbinders "Blooms One" die (discontinued). I die cut leaves & another flower with dies from Our Daily Bread Designs' "Bitty Blossoms" set. I smooshed Fired Brick & Seedless Preserves Distress inks onto a non-stick craft mat, spritzed them with water, & pressed my flower pieces into the puddles of ink. I used Crushed Olive & Peeled Paint Distress inks in the same manner for the leaves. As they were drying, I used a water brush to pick up some of the Peeled Paint, and applied it to the base of the leaves to add shading. Then I set the pieces aside to dry.

I cut my patterned paper pieces according to the sketch. The floral pattern is from Basic Grey's "Hey Girl" 6x6" paper pad; and the red stripe is from My Mind's Eye's "Unforgettable" 6x6" pad, from their Collectables (sic) line. I matted the floral panel with a 4.25x5.5" piece of pale yellow cardstock, adhered the red strip, & layered a panel of green cardstock on top. Then I glued my focal image & the greeting strip in place.

By then my die cut flowers & leaves had dried. I layered the 2 larger flower pieces, slightly offset to provide a fuller bloom. I glued that and the other flower in place, and tucked 2 leaves under each. Finally, I added a clear gem to the center of each flower, and adhered my card front to a white A2 card base.

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

Monday, May 28, 2018

Happy Birdday

I decided to do one more card for the Dies R Us Challenge #97, "Birds." I used a new-to-me Hero Arts set, "Better Together," along with some Essentials by Ellen stamps & dies. The sketch for the May challenge at Live Love Cards inspired my design.

I stamped 2 of the birds & the branch from "Better Together" in Versafine Onyx Black ink onto scraps of 140 lb. watercolor paper. After clear heat embossing them, I watercolored them with my Inktense pencils, using a damp paintbrush to pick up the color from the pencil & apply it to the paper. When they were dry, I die cut them with the coordinating dies.

Since this is a birthday card, of course I needed some birthday-themed accessories. I stamped, watercolored, and die cut the present & cupcake from "Bear Ware," & one of the balloons from "Wish Big." (Both are Essentials by Ellen sets.)

For the middle strip, I used Ranger alcohol inks on Yupo paper. I stuck mainly to green, blue, & yellow for my color palette. I had initially included a light pink, but it ended up getting just a bit too muddy, so I had to wipe down my paper and start over. Thankfully, Yupo is very forgiving that way!

I die cut an oval from Strathmore Mixed Media paper with a Lawn Fawn "Large Stitched Oval" die. I inked that with Tumbled Glass Distress ink, spritzed it with water from a Distress Sprayer, let that sit for a few seconds, & blotted it with a dry cloth. That took up a little too much of the ink, so I repeated the process once more, which gave me the results I wanted. I dried it with my heat tool, & glued the birds & branch in place. I thought it needed a little something more, so I stamped the music notes from "Better Together" around the birds with Memento London Fog ink.

One of the greetings in Hero Arts' "Missing You" stamp set (discontinued) says "Happy Birdday." Unfortunately, the words are stacked, & I wanted them all on one line. They are too close together to cut apart or mask easily, so I nixed the idea of using that stamp. Instead, I spelled out the same greeting with Lawn Fawn's "Claire's ABCs." I stamped & heat embossed that onto a piece of pink cardstock, and cut it into a banner.

To assemble my card, I cut a 1x5.5" wide strip from my alcohol ink background. (It was originally 5x7".) I adhered that in the center of a panel of yellow cardstock. I glued my presents & cupcake in the lower right corner. I used the balloons to help me decide where to place my oval, and then adhered that in place.

I glued the pink & mint balloons in place, leaving the bottoms unglued. I poked a hole through the background, behind the bottom of each balloon, and threaded through 2 plies of black embroidery floss. After I taped the ends of the floss to the back of my panel, I pierced another hole below the branch, threaded the other ends of the floss through that, and taped them on the back. I glued down my third balloon, and repeated the process to add the string. Finally, I tied a knot in the leftover floss, trimmed the ends, and glued it over the strings on the top of the branch, to make it look like the balloons are tied to the branch. I glued my greeting banner below the oval, added some clear Wink of Stella glitter to each balloon, and adhered my panel to a white A2-size card base.

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

A Blog Named Hero: "Watercolor"
Through the Craft Room Door: "Anything Goes"

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Thinking of You

The challenge theme for Challenge #97 at Dies R Us is "Birds." I created this card, featuring the owls from Hero Arts' "Li'l Hoot" stamp set, to send to Lea Lawson for the Layton's Legacy card drive. Lea is collecting handmade cards to give to parents in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at her local hospital. This card by Debby Hughes inspired the mountain background for mine.

I began by stamping the owls onto a scrap of 140 lb. watercolor paper with Versafine Onyx Black ink. I heat embossed with clear powder, and used my Mijello Mission Gold watercolors to paint them. After I fussy cut the image, I set that aside.

For the mountains, I actually used one of the Spellbinders "Pennants Mega" triangle dies (discontinued) to die cut 9 of them from Canson XL Mixed Media paper. I inked the triangles with Hickory Smoke Distress ink, and used Pumice Stone Distress ink to shade along the edges. I used the same die to cut pieces for the snow caps (also from mixed media paper), and cut along the bottom edge of each with a pair of decorative-edge scissors. I used liquid glue to adhere the snow caps to the tops of the mountains.

I cut another piece of mixed media paper to 4.25x5.5" for my background. I die cut a mask from masking paper with a We R Memory Keepers "Nesting Circles" die, and tore a piece of delicate surface Frog Tape to serve as a mask between the land & sky. I applied the upper tape mask to my panel, and inked below it with Hickory Smoke, to create the appearance of even more mountains in the distance.

After I had finished, I applied the other (bottom) side of the tape mask, making sure to match up with the curves of the first piece. I removed my top mask, and applied the negative portion of my circle mask to my panel. I inked the moon with Scattered Straw Distress ink. I dried that with my heat tool, applied the positive mask over the moon, and removed the negative mask. Finally, I inked the sky with Faded Jeans, Blueprint Sketch, Chipped Sapphire, & a little Black Soot ink around the edges. I used the "Falling Stars" stencil from Simon Says Stamp and Distress Grit-Paste to stencil the stars. I carefully removed the stencil & masks, and let the paste dry thoroughly.

After I glued my mountains & owls in place, I used a greeting I'd die cut with the Sizzix/Tim Holtz "Celebration Words Script" set. I applied glue to the back of each die cut, and adhered them in place over the mountains. I even managed to keep the tittles for the 2 "i" letters, and glued them in place as well. I adhered my panel to a white A2 card base, and this card was done!

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

A Blog Named Hero: "Watercolor"
613 Avenue Create #209: "Anything Goes" (not playing the optional twist)

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

50th Anniversary Card

A couple my mom is friends with is celebrating their golden wedding anniversary this weekend. So of course, she asked me to make a card for them, which I gladly agreed to do. I did a search on Pinterest for 50th anniversary cards, and found this one that I used as my inspiration. I have the Stampin' Up owl punch, and their "Woodland Textures" embossing folder already, and the rest I made up/figured out as I went along.

I began with the owls. I punched all the pieces, and punched an extra chest piece for the man owl from black to cut into a vest, as in the inspiration card. I also cut a couple of beaks from yellow-orange cardstock. It's always bothered me that the punch does not include a separate beak piece, because I don't like leaving the beak area the same color as the body. So I had to cut my own, which took a few tries to get the size right, but I prevailed! :) After I had all the pieces cut/punched, I assembled the owls. I also added "buttons" to the vest with a white gel pen.

For the skirt on the lady owl's dress, I used a Martha Stewart "Vintage Floral" border punch. After I punched a piece of white cardstock, I cut it into a strip and pleated the upper edge. I had more trouble with that than any other part of the card. I finally got everything glued together to make it look like a ruffled skirt, but the "waistband" looked hideous to me. I looked again at the sample card, & noticed a bow at the owl's waist, so I tied a double bow with 1/8" wide blue satin ribbon. I glued it to the owl over the pleats, let the glue dry, and further tacked it down with a small stitch through the back of the knot and the owl. I didn't want that bow to go anywhere! I think it covers the (ugly) pleats quite well. :)

I created the greeting in Photoshop, and printed it on a strip of Strathmore Smooth Bristol paper with my laser printer. I ran that through my Mini Minc machine, with Heidi Swapp Gold foil. For the numbers, I initially was going to print them on the back of my cardstock, and fussy cut them. I did try that, but it was horrible, so I instead used my old Fiskars shape cutter & their "Letters-1" to cut them from gold mirror cardstock & black. I ran the numbers through my Xyron Sticker Maker, and adhered the gold over the black, offsetting to give a shadow.

To create the background, I cut a panel of Canson XL Mixed Media paper to 4.25x5.5". I inked up one side of my embossing folder with Broken China Distress Oxide ink, being careful not to ink up along the bottom "ground." I spritzed my paper lightly with water, and ran it through my die cutting machine with the inked folder. Much to my surprise, it came out pretty well, with the ink mostly just where I wanted it! I did have to go over several spots on the trees with a white gel pen where the ink had "leaked," but overall not too bad. I used Mowed Lawn Distress ink and a water brush to paint the ground area to look like grass.

Finally, it was time to assemble my card. I adhered the numbers in place, and glued down the owls. I backed the greeting strip with a narrow black mat, to create a visual triangle among that, the black number shadows, and the black vest, and adhered it to my background. I mounted the panel to a white A2 card base, and this card is done! My mom really liked it, and hopefully the happy couple will, too!

I'm entering this card in 613 Avenue Create's Challenge #208: "Anything Goes."