Wednesday, May 24, 2017

ACETATE SMOOSH TECHNIQUE

Many of you are familiar with a technique often elegantly called the Smoosh Technique. From what I've been able to find, most of the times this is done with drops of re-inkers. 

This time, however, we are going to switch it up just a little bit. Instead of using re-inkers, in this card sample, I applied the ink pad directly to the acetate.


The great thing about this particular technique, as in so many others, you will NEVER be able to reproduce the effect. Each and every time, you will produce a unique look. In that sense, this would be a form of monoprinting. In monoprinting, no matter the technique you use for your printing process, the result is a singular, unique print, never able to be able to be exactly replicated. 


To do this style of the Acetate Smoosh technique, I used a sheet protector. With my guillotine-style papercutter, I trimmed off two more of the edges, so only one of the long edges remained closed.


For this particular experiment, I used two of the new In Colors, Lemon Lime Twist and Tranquil Tide. I opened up my sheet protector, and starting with the Lemon Lime Twist, I applied dribs and drabs of the ink directly from the ink pad to various spots on the piece of acetate that was lying on my work surface. I repeated this process with the Tranquil Tide.


Next step was to spritz the ink-daubed areas with water until the ink beads up somewhat. Close the protector and smoosh the ink/water combo around just a bit. Re-open the sheet protector.

Then, taking two 4 1/4" x 5 1/2" pieces of GLOSSY CARDSTOCK, I stacked them back-to-back so the glossy sides were on the outside. Place this little sandwich within the sheet protector.


Closing the sheet protector, smoosh your hands over the concoction. Gently open up the sheet protector once again, and lift out the two background pieces you've just created. Grab a paper towel or two and dab up an excess color.

These pieces dry quickly. Doing two pieces back-to-back, you end up with two backgrounds for your cardmaking use. 

The piece shown in the photo below was the other one I got with my process. Initially, I was going to use it for my card because it was so much more uniform <read BORING> in its looks. However, in comparing it to the other one, which was so much LESS BORING, I decided to use the other one instead for my creation.


These finished backgrounds do bend up slightly at the edges. But, if it is adhered securely in place upon its base, you will never realize how warped it is.


Because I wanted this smooshed background to be the star of my finished card, and not have too much of it covered up, I opted to use silhouettes of foliage cut with a Sizzix die for my focal point.


I MUST point out that I made the little black dots on the background! I'd purchased a 3-pack of Enamel Accents by Ranger in red, blue and black. I had thought I could make little brad-looking embellishments with this product.

The night before putting this card together, I made a few rows of each color on a piece of waxed paper. Anxious to see how they actually turned out, I was thrilled to discover the following day that I had cute little slightly raised dots! Yay me!

I removed them from the waxed paper with a craft knife and glued them in place on my background.


And, yes, last night I made several more rows of the dots for future projects. How exciting, eh?

One thing to be extra cautious about when doing an Acetate Smoosh project is the number of colors you use and the COLORS themselves. This technique can easily result in mud. A safe color combination to use is that of the primary colors: red, blue and yellow. You can use all three or any combination of two of them. These colors play pretty well together if not mixed TOO much. Otherwise, you are always safe if you use similar colors, such as all greens, as I did in my card.

Are you going to give this fun -- but messy -- technique a try? 

Since Stampin' Up! is re-introducing their Glossy Card Stock in their upcoming big catalog (going live June 1!), I thought this would be a great time to re-introduce this old classic technique, but with a little bit of a twist. Have fun!

Smoosh-y
Smiles.

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.