Sunday, May 21, 2017

WEAVING AS EMBELLISHMENT

I get inspiration for my card ideas from many different places. Sometimes the ideas just pop into my head on their own. I am so thrilled when that happens!

The other day I was looking at an old tutorial for doing weaving with paper strips. All of a sudden it occurred to me that that would be a good thing to do on a card.

After doing a brief search through my retired Stampin' Up! cardstock, I came up with this sort of strange color combination. Strange, yes. But I liked it, so decided to proceed.

I cut a pile of 1/4" wide strips of each of the colors. Upon a solid base that measured 2 1/2" x 5 1/2", I did my weaving. To start with the process, I adhered the ends of alternating colors close together across the 2 1/2" span. Then I set to weaving, alternating the colors the same as the initial ones at the top. 


To continue with my color combo, I incorporated all three of the colors in the rest of the card too. 


After I'd finished the weaving process, and trimming and adhering all the edges, I did not like the way it looked. It was way too flat, totally devoid of any personality whatsoever. To alleviate that situation, I grabbed one of my Sakura Pigma pens and drew lines alongside each of the woven "squares" in an attempt to make it look more like a basket. 


The drawn-in lines were an improvement, but still not enough oompf. I hit upon adding little black dots hither and thither to give it a bit more personality. I liked the way that looked enough to use it.


So, I adhered my woven piece to the bottom of the card, adding solid green strips at the top and bottom to finish off the look.


Then I was left to finish the rest of the card. The bit of seam binding ribbon above the weaving added a nice touch. 


I decided to die cut the word "sunshine" in one of the colors and added that to the center above the ribbon. It was still way too naked looking. So, I took one of the left over pink 1/4" strips and adhered it to a wider piece of the purple. I used my little retired banner punch to punch out two banners. These were added on either side of the word. 

Cute, but . . . 

OK. I had dots and lines within the weaving area. so I went to work echoing that same feel in the word and the banners. There! Now I was happy with the end result!


And, here you go with the final card. Not exactly a work of art, but it's sorta cute, eh?


Have you ever incorporated paper weaving into any of your card designs? After seeing my example, do you think you'll be giving it a try?

Woven
Smiles.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

WATERCOLOR PENCIL FUSSY CUTTING

As you all probably already know, I L.O.V.E. fussy cutting. The set, You've Got This, is such a classy set, and the flower in it just screams to be fussy cut. Against the sketchy background, it works so well.








Would you like to try your hand at creating a card similar to this? Here's how:

SUPPLIES: 
You've Got This stamp set

Whisper White cardstock
Old Olive cardstock

Black StazOn ink
Smoky Slate ink
Watercolor Pencils

Stampin' Dimensionals
Paper Snips
Aqua Painter

DIRECTIONS: 
Fold a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" piece of Whisper White cardstock in half, creasing it well with a bone folder.

Add a 5 1/4" x 4" piece of Old Olive cardstock to the card base.

In Smoky Slate ink, stamp the scribbled background onto a 3 3/4" x 5" piece of Whisper White cardstock.

On a scrap of Whisper White cardstock, stamp the flower image with Black StazOn ink. With the Watercolor Pencils, color in the flower; use Melon Mambo to color a line deepest into the flower on each petal. With an Aqua Painter, gently feather the color towards the uncolored edge. Once that is all dry, add a little Rich Razzleberry in the same spots and repeat with the Aqua Painter. You can do this as many times as you want until you get the desired darkness of the color. 

Repeat this same procedure with the leaves. 

Add color to the center of the flower. Fussy cut the flower, leaving no white at the edges.

Add the cut-out flower over the scribbled bakground by applying very thin pieces of Stampin' Dimensionals at various points on the flower.


There! Now you have a beautiful card that can be used for virtually any occasion.

Fussy-Cut
Smiles.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

A MOTHER'S DAY BOUQUET

I just wanted to send all you moms out there 
wishes for a Happy Mother's Day!

The card shown below is the one I created and sent to my mom for her special day. 

It started out as another of those random pieces of the Inside the Lines DSP I'd cut up for a project at a recent Stamp-In workshop. Other samples of the Copic coloring I did on those leftover pieces can be found HERE and HERE









I just wanted to share these flowers with all of you.


Well, moms, enjoy your day! Love to all of you!

Loving
Smiles.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

MULTI-HUED WATERCOLOR BUTTERFLY

This butterfly, created with the Butterflies Thinlits, is so precious and calls out to me constantly to use it in a creation. How can I possibly resist this call?

I had used this little guy in many cards in a vast array of ways. This time, I wanted to create a butterfly in a few colors. 

From watercolor paper, I die cut the butterfly. I "painted" the piece well with clear water using a flat brush. I then dropped in a few watercolor hues in a blue, a green and a bit of yellow. I kept dropping additional color until I was happy with the results. I tried to be patient enough to let it air dry. But, you know how that goes. After a few minutes, I hit it with the heat tool.

From that point on, I was stumped for a few days. Honestly! Everything I tried to put behind the butterfly was the wrong choice. He just did not show up well enough. After numerous failures, I finally let him sit for a couple days, trying something different here and there as I thought of it.

I knew for sure that I wanted to use this lovely patterned paper from the Cupcakes & Carousels Designer Series Paper Stack (page 9 in the Occasions Catalog, which is retiring as of May 31). The colors were exactly right, and the subtlety of the paper was perfect. The problem was trying to find something to use with it.


I FINALLY realized that the beautiful Lace Doilies (page 51 of the Occasions catalog) 
would be the ideal addition.


But, when I place the butterfly over the doily, they were both too busy to complement each other. I finally hit upon the solution.

I adhered just the body of the butterfly to a piece of Whisper White cardstock, carefully trimming around the edges so I had a solid white butterfly as another layer underneath the watercolored one.


To the lower section of the card, I added a neat strip of washi tape in coordinating colors. 
The sentiment was stamped to match the card and punched out with the Washi Tape Punch 
(oh, how I wish that punch was not retired!).


Besides the slightly popped up sentiment, the only dimension comes from the butterfly, 
whose delicate wings are slightly tipped up from the solid white wings.


I added Clear Wink of Stella to the entire butterfly for a little shimmer and bling.


 The Wink of Stella shows up a little bit in the following photo.


Using watercolors, you can make your butterfly any color combination you'd like. 
And then position it on a good DSP pattern choice.


Be sure to pick up some of these doilies before they are gone, gone, gone! On one side, they are Whisper White, while the flip side is Very Vanilla. And, they can be cut apart in a multitude of ways to achieve different looks for different uses!

Watercolor
Smiles.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

HANDMADE EMBOSSING PLATE

Do any of you have your Bigz dies lying around yet? You know, those thick dies with the foam surface where the wicked strong blades are embedded? I think they are referred to as steel rule dies and can cut through a plethora of thick and strange materials. Shown below is one of my Bigz dies:


OK. So, if you do have Bigz dies in your stash yet, are the images that you can cut with it on the smaller size? Like the smaller of the three stars in the photo above?

Great! You're set! You can make your own custom -- unique! -- embossing plate! I won't say folder, because it's not; it's just a plate.

The next thing you need is the backing from a tablet of paper. You know, CHIPBOARD. Yup. Grab a piece of that and start cutting your shapes. When you finish with the cutting, arrange the shapes so they fit well onto a 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" piece of cardstock. When you are happy with the arrangement, glue the shapes in place.

NOTE: If you do decide to create your own embossing plate(s), remember to make your base of a size that will fit through your die cutting machine. 

The following photo shows my completed embossing plate lying atop a piece of the chipboard I used. Actually, I receive a FREE piece of this chipboard each and every month inside my Paper Pumpkin kit! Be a hoarder and save those wonderful things that a lot of un-savvy crafters would simply toss in the trash. BE ME! Then, when you have a wonderful creative inspiration, you have the materials on hand! Yay! Win-win!


Now, the next thing you need is a rubber embossing mat. Stampin' Up! sold them in the past, but they are no longer in the catalog. HERE is what you get when you do a Google search for "rubber embossing mat". Otherwise, I've heard crafters mention that they simply use rubber gasket material that they've purchased in the home improvement department. THIS is what shows up when I do a "rubber gasket" Google search. At least, you'd get some ideas from these links.

To make the sandwich to do this sort of embossing, for the first trial, which is shown below, I simply used the same sandwich I would use when incorporating an embossing folder. Except, instead of the top cutting plate, I replaced that with the rubber piece.

It turned out a little "soft" for my taste. In the following two photos, I am showing the front and back of this first attempt.



In an attempt to get the embossed portions a little crisper, I added a shim, and tried it again. The next two photos show the results of this. Better, but still not sharp enough.



I figured I needed a shim with a bit more oompf. So, do you know what I used? Uh-huh. I added the sheet of chipboard from my Paper Pumpkin kit. Sent it through the Big Shot, and, voila!, I was pleased.

One thing I must mention is that each Big Shot is calibrated a little differently, so if you try this method of embossing, you'll want to experiment with your sandwiches to see what works best for your machine.



Well, with such a great embossed piece, I just HAD to do something with it. Right??

For my card, I decided to let the sunken-in stars side be the "star" of my creation. I also didn't want to cover up too much of the embossing, so I opted for a fairly simple card that showcased the embossing. 

I trimmed my embossed piece to 4" x 5 1/4". I liked that because it left the stars running off the edge a bit, giving it a much more effective look than if the stars simply ended at the edge as would have happened if I'd used the piece the same size as my embossing plate. 

I grabbed some silver glimmer paper and went to work. I used the "congrats" from the Sunshine Wishes Thinlits (page 194 of the current big catalog). For the twinkly perfect-sized stars, I die cut a strip of the stars from the Mini Treat Bag Thinlits (page 191 of the big catalog) out of silver glimmer paper. I also added a few silver sequins.


 Don't you just love the look of this homemade embossing? 


Even though the Bigz dies are not as popular as they were a few years ago, and if you don't have any on hand anyway, you can still make your own embossing plates with current dies. 

You can use Framelits or Thinlits with cardstock. The only thing is, you'll have to make many more of the diecuts. Since they are much thinner than those that can be produced with a steel rule die such as one of the Bigz dies, that can cut through much thicker materials, you will have to stack several of them and glue them together in order to get enough thickness for the depth you will need to do embossing. So, even though it would be somewhat more time consuming, it is possible to make a truly charming embossing plate with any of the darling tiny Thinlits/Framelits that are available. You could also use punches.

Have fun with this great technique! Just think, the embossing that you will be able to do will be totally UNIQUE -- your embossing will be like no one else's in the whole wide world! What a feeling, eh?

Embossed
Smiles.

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

IRRESISTIBLE RESIST

Using the resist technique in a papercrafting project is always sure to impress and is really fun to do. One of the greatest things about any resist is that it is so unpredictable. It is impossible to get the same look more than once.

I usually use ink pads or ink pad reinkers when I do my resist projects. This time, however, I decided to use actual watercolors. I used Koi Watercolors by Sakura in this card.


It is difficult to get a great stamped impression on very textured watercolor paper. 
I used a stamp press tool, and even after stamping it a few times, 
it didn't come out great once it was embossed.


Part of the problem is that I was stamping in VersaMark ink, which is clear. 
And, even though it looks like you might have a good image, 
once the embossing is done, 
you discover that the ink wasn't as evenly applied as you'd thought (hoped). 


The little gaps in the embossing provide a bit more interest 
in that it gives the color one more place to go.


You see, the whole purpose of the resist technique is that wherever you apply the resist -- in this case embossing -- that area will repel added color. 
So, anything that's not covered with the resist will allow the color to sink into the paper.


You can do the resist technique on virtually any type of cardstock. But, because I was going to be adding lots and lots of water to my surface for this project, I chose to use heavyweight watercolor paper. 

To do this type of resist, rub your paper surface well with an Embossing Buddy to make sure you don't have embossing powder where you don't want it. Stamp your desired image in VersaMark ink. Cover the stamped image with clear embossing powder and use a heat tool to set it until it is shiny all over. There. Now your resist is in place.

Paint the entire surface of the watercolor paper with clear water. I brushed it on with a clean wide brush. Carefully add watercolor, not letting it pool too much in one spot. Move it around a bit. You can use the heat tool to speed the drying in between. But, you get a much different look if you let it air dry. So, if  you have the patience, that is really the way to go. If you get too much pooling at the edges, gently wick it up with a clean dry paper towel. 

If you use too many colors with this technique, you run the risk of it all turning to mud. The nice thing about working with variations of the primary colors -- red, yellow and blue -- is that they all blend beautifully, and the risk of making mud is minimal.

Once you are happy with the looks of your dried piece, take a bit of paper towel just slightly moistened and gently rub it across the embossed image to remove the bit of color that may have adhered.

With this technique, unless you use painters tape to flatten it on to a firm surface, you are going to get some buckling and warping. Not to worry. Simply use a good liquid glue to adhere it firmly to a cardstock base. 

Look at my first photo. You cannot notice any unevenness, can you?

For a brighter, less subtle look, use white embossing powder in lieu of clear. The use of white makes the stamped and embossed image pop much more.

What is your favorite resist technique to use? Please share with us!

Resist-able
Smiles.


Saturday, April 29, 2017

STAINED GLASS DAISY

I have such mixed feelings when the Stampin' Up! retiring list is released. This year, the fateful day fell on April 10. So it's been a couple of weeks that I've had to get over it. But it's tough.

Why mixed feelings? As so often happens, many of my favorites land on that list, only to disappear forever. At least, from current catalog offerings. Heartbreaking. But, on the other hand, retiring product means that Stampin' Up! is making room for more cool and new product! Yay!

Anyway, one set of Thinlits that I thought was too cute to only spend one season in the Occasions Catalog is the Timeless Tags Thinlits Dies set, found on page 23 of the Occasions Catalog. 


I wanted to use this bundle while it was still considered current, 
so my girls made the following card at the March Stamp-In:


The "leading" for the stained glass daisy is diecut from Basic Gray cardstock. 
Then the background, daisy center and leaves are "painted" in. 


Do you like the embossed background? With the Petal Burst embossing folder, NOT retiring, 
thank you very much, I embossed Vellum Cardstock (page 175 of the big catalog). 
I love the look of embossed vellum! Don't you?


Not a whole lot of dimension in this card, but just pleasingly enough. 



How would you like a tutorial on how to re-create this card? Are you ready? Yeah? OK, let's go!


SUPPLIES:
Whisper White cardstock
Island Indigo cardstock
Daffodil Delight cardstock
Basic Gray cardstock
Vellum cardstock

That's the Tag set (page 23 in the Occasions Catalog -- RETIRING!)

Daffodil Delight ink
Island Indigo ink
Wild Wasabi ink

Aqua Painter
Big Shot
Timeless Tags Thinlits Dies (page 23 of the Occasions Catalog -- RETIRING!)
Stitched Shapes Framelits (COMING IN THE NEW CATALOG! June 1)
Petal Burst embossing folder (page 195 of the regular catalog)
Baker's Twine
Stampin' Dimensionals

DIRECTIONS:
Fold a 5 1/2" x 8 1/2" piece of Whisper White cardstock in half, creasing it well with a bone folder.

Run a 3 3/4" x 6 1/4" piece of Vellum Cardstock through the Big Shot inside the Petal Burst embossing folder. Fold the top and bottom of the vellum tightly to the back of a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Island Indigo cardstock, adhering it on the back.

Wrap the short edges of a 1" x 5 1/2" piece of Daffodil Delight cardstock around the edges of this piece about 1 1/2" down from the top of the vellum, adhering it in the back. Repeat this same process across the top of the yellow piece with a 1/4" x 5 1/2" strip of Island Indigo cardstock, and then a piece of Island Indigo baker's twine, adhering both on the back of the larger piece.

Towards the bottom of this piece, wind a length of matching baker's twine twice around, tying it into a bow about 1" from the left side of the vellum.

NOW you can attach this piece to the white card base.

WHEW.

From Basic Gray cardstock, die cut the daisy in an oval. Adhere this to a 2 1/4" x 3" oval diecut from Whisper White cardstock. Using an Aqua Painter dipped in ink that had been pressed into the lid, color in the sky, flower center and leaves in Daffodil Delight, Island Indigo and Wild Wasabi ink respectively. Adhere this oval to a large Stitched Oval die cut from Island Indigo.

Use Stampin' Dimensionals to attach this to the card front.

On a scrap of Whisper White, stamp the sentiment in Island Indigo and the frame around it in Daffodil Delight. Die cut this piece using the center of the other oval frame. Attach this to the card front over the double baker's twine with a couple Stampin' Dimensionals.


Even if you don't make this specific card, be sure to remember on occasion to grab some vellum cardstock and emboss it! It is such a glorious look.

Retiring
Smiles.