Sunday, March 26, 2017

EMBRACE YOUR OWN DRUMMER

In this post, I encourage you to be true to yourself. If you're not true to who you are, how can you be true to anyone else? Even Shakespeare, in all of his evergreen wisdom, had something to say about this in Act 1, Scene III of Hamlet: "This above all: to thine own self be true." 

A beautiful post on Rosemary's Blog, expounds on the need not only for individuality, but for tolerance. Something our world seems to be sorely lacking these days. She cites Thoreau's famous quote about marching to the beat of a different drummer.

Here I will focus on individuality and listening to your own inner drummer. On a level not quite as lofty as tolerance, I refer to being your own self even in something as simple as cardmaking. 

Many people are only comfortable in the act of cardmaking when they can directly C.A.S.E., which is an acronym for Copy And Share Everything. The precise meaning of this would be to remake the project exactly as given in an example. That's fine. Everyone has their own comfort zone. But I'm saying that sometimes, even though it is UNcomfortable to step outside this zone, it is important to stretch your wings somewhat. Take that leap of faith and create something that is maybe inspired by something already done, but is essentially YOUR OWN! What a great feeling, eh? 

Take the case of the Designer Tin of Cards Project Kit (page 160 of the big Stampin' Up! catalog). I ordered the kit back in October when it was on special for World Cardmaking Day. 

One of the cards featured a wondrously beautiful background on the card base. However, the sample showed this beautiful pattern almost completely covered up. The pattern I am referring to can be seen in the teeny tiny left-hand portion of the card below:


Sure, it would be incredibly easy to simply slap the card together as shown in the sample and explained in the instructions. That would  be a case of C.A.S.E.ing. 

In all good conscience, I could NOT cover up that exquisite design. So I listened to my own inner drummer and came up with this:


Using many of the kit's components, but just in another way, I feel ever so much better about my final result. Do you know why? It suits my personality much more effectively -- and I got to rescue that beautiful paper and show it off!


So always always, even in something as unimportant and mundane as cardmaking (did I really just say that??!?), be true to yourself. Respect what is inside of you and embrace it. Be the best you you can possibly be. 

Embracing
Smiles.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

HOW TO CREATE PAPER LEATHER

 From now on, in my blog posts, I am going to attempt to teach you something different about papercrafting, whether a technique or just a different way to do sommething. At times, I may revisit a technique. At other times, I may deviate from this promise, and maybe just post about something I'd been working on.

But I really want you to GROW from reading my blog. I want to plant those Paper Seedlings, and help you to watch them grow into beautiful creations.

Today I want to share with you a really wonderful technique, one that looks great and impressive, but is REALLY simple to do.

PAPER LEATHER:

PAPER LEATHER
Once I had my paper leather created, I incorporated it into a card. 
I gold embossed a beautiful dragonfly and used that as my focal point.


Don't you love the texture of the paper leather behind the embossed dragonfly?


Here are the easy step-by-step directions on how to create paper leather:

Take a piece of cardstock in whatever color you wish. Maybe start with a half sheet or a little less. That's what I did for my card. Then, after it is all done, you can cut it to the size you need, using the portion that looks the best and the most leather-like.

Spritz one side of the cardstock with water. I started out lightly, but ended up adding a few more spritzes before I was happy. With the cardstock damp, crumple it up in your hand as tightly as you can. (This is the reason I needed to add more water. I have terrible arthritis in my hands, so I needed the paper to be a little more wet and flexible for me to work with it.)

After crushing, unfold it, and re-crush. Keep doing this until you have a nice leathery look. I even crumpled in a few choice places where I thought it could use a little more love.

I let mine dry naturally. But, when it was still just a tad damp, I hit it with my heat tool. Then I spent some time flattening it with my hands. I don't know if ironing it would flatten the texture too much. But I was able to do the job just by smoothing it with my hands. 

I then sponged over the raised portions of the "leather" with ink that matched the paper. This gives it just a bit more definition.

Since you won't be able to get it completely flat, be sure to adhere it well to another piece of cardstock.


HAVE FUN!

Leathery
Smiles.


Saturday, March 18, 2017

WHEN INSIDE THE LINES ISN'T QUITE ENOUGH

A dull and dreary day makes taking natural light photos very difficult. Even with the inadequate lighting, the majority of this card looks pretty true-to-life. BUT, both of the dragonflies' wings and some of the stripes on the mushrooms have been dressed up with Wink of Stella. And that doesn't show up at all! Trust me, those areas do sparkle pleasingly -- in the right light. And that little Wink adds a lot.

At this past Monday's Stamp-In Workshop, the girls got the chance to work with the Sale-A-Bration Inside the Lines Designer Series Paper. Two of the sheets, the rain forest and the clusters of flowers with bees and dragonflies, were sort of sparse in the design in a few places.

Before the workshop, while I was planning the projects, I'd cut sheets of these two designs into 3 1/4" x 4 3/4" pieces. 

For my sample, I randomly chose one of these pieces. While looking at it and trying to decide what to do, I was struck by the fact that this small piece of the 12" x 12" DSP was not all that interesting. 

To remedy that situation, I grabbed the Awesomely Artistic stamp set (page 144 in the big catalog) and stamped a few of the ferns in black to fill it in a bit. Then, when my dragonfly looked lonely -- and like he wanted a friend to flit around with -- I also stamped the dragonfly from the set onto a scrap of Whisper White cardstock. After fussy cutting this gentleman, I popped him up in playing position with his new friend.

There! Now the empty spaces looked more filled in. And the dragonflies were busy flitting. 

So I went to work with the Watercolor Pencils (page 24 in the Occasions Catalog), and chose a few areas to add color to. Since the selection of colors in the Watercolor Pencils is quite limited, I went with the Pacific Point, Old Olive and Calypso Coral pencils.




After having used those three colors, I decided to finish the card with the same three colors.

By popping up the various elements of the card, I got a nice amount of dimension.


I so wish the sparkle and glimmer on these mushrooms would show up in the photo!


 Notice how nicely these two dragonflies get along together!


So, when the girls arrived on Monday, they had some decisions to make in completing this card.

First of all, they had to choose their small piece of the DSP. Then they needed to decide if they were pleased with the composition, or if it needed a little help like I felt mine did. They were welcome to dress it up with the Awesomely Artistic stamp set as they saw fit. 

Next, they needed to "watercolor" their chosen portions of the design. Once this was completed, they were to tell me which colors they used, thus which colors of cardstock they wanted me to cut up for them to finish their card and have it coordinate with the colors they'd chosen.

Another choice I gave them was whether they wanted to emboss the base of the card. So little of it showed on the completed card that I felt it didn't add all that much.

The girls seemed to have fun making their card totally their own, and not just copying the sample I'd given them. 

How have you been using your Inside the Lines Designer Series Paper? And, did you realize that it will only be available through March 31, as long as Sale-A-Bration lasts? 

Following is a tutorial of how to make this card:

SUPPLIES:
Awesomely Artistic stamp set (page 144)

Cardstock to match the colors of Watercolor Pencils you used
Whisper White cardstock
3 1/4" x 4 3/4" piece of Inside the Lines Designer Series Paper

Basic Black ink
Calypso Coral ink

Big Shot
Project Life Cards & Labels Framelits
Embossing Folder
Watercolor Pencils (Occasions Catalog, page 24)
Aqua Painters
Sequins
Stampin' Dimensionals
Glue Dots
Paper Snips
Wink of Stella

DIRECTIONS: 
First of all, choose your piece of Inside the Lines Designer Series Paper (cut to 3 1/4" x 4 3/4"). Some of the pieces are sort of naked, so if you'd like, use the ferns to fill in some gaps, stamped in black. Also, if you want to, on a scrap of Whisper White cardstock, stamp the dragonfly, add a little shimmer with Wink of Stella and fussy cut him. Wait to attach him until you are done with your coloring.

Now, on my sample I've used Pacific Point and Old Olive Watercolor Pencils. Thus, I chose those two colors for my card base and my mat. Depending on what colors you choose to use, your card color choices may be different than mine.

If you'd like, you can emboss the front of the card base. Not much of the card base shows, so you may choose to eliminate this step. Your choice.

After stamping your (optional) ferns, use the Watercolor Pencils to color in whatever portions of your piece that you want colored. Use an Aqua Painter lightly on the coloring to give it more of a watercolor look.

If you want to add a dragonfly, use teeny pieces of Stampin' Dimensionals to add him where you want him to be flying on your card.

On a scrap of Whisper White cardstock, stamp first the frame, then the word. The ink you choose to do this stamping in will need to match some of the coloring you've done. Cut it out at the Big Shot with the proper die from the Project Life Cards & Labels Framelits. Add it to a good spot on your card front with a couple Stampin' Dimensionals.

If desired, add a few sequins here and there.

Inside 
Smiles.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

FAUX PATINA TECHNIQUE

It is always so much fun to try a new -- to me anyway -- technique. Even if it doesn't turn out exactly the way it was meant to look. 

I have a habit that some may see as hoarding. You see, before I had Pinterest, where I can now virtually save ideas for future creative play, if I saw something that appealed to me in that I thought I might like to give it a try in the future, I printed it out and set it aside until the time for using it was right. I also pulled pages out of papercrafting magazines with the same intent. So, I do have a stack (hoard?) of these samples. 

The other day, among my hoard, I found a technique that the blog poster called Faux Brass Patina with Vintage Wallpaper Folder. It was posted almost six years ago, on March 16, 2011, by www.justforyoubyjenn.blogspot.com. Unfortunately, Jenn is not a blogger anymore, her last blog post having been published August 13, 2012. But, Jenn, if you are reading this, thank you for your post that, even after six years, was intriguing enough to me to give it a try. 

Jenn attributes having gotten the original idea for this technique from Angie Leach, whose YouTube video on the Faux Patina technique can be found here. So, thanks for a wonderful oldie but goodie, Angie! I thoroughly enjoyed trying out your Faux Patina technique!

I am a little disappointed in my personal results in that I did not get that blue-green look, even though I followed her directions precisely. Oh well.

However, I am very pleased with the look of the card that I did come up with:


The true color of my card is somewhere between the photo above and the one below. My lighting was horrible to work with -- hey! it was SUN, so I shouldn't complain -- but it was a challenge.


Faux Patina Technique
I'm not even sure what the proper name is for this retired embossing folder. However, I'd always loved the letterpress look this folder gives. Since I was dealing with a patina, I thought this would be an appropriate embossing folder to use.


The card has a distinctly masculine look. Which is good. 
Sometimes those masculine cards are somewhat difficult to come by. So, that part is a win.


It's hard to believe that this card started out with Whisper White cardstock!


According to Angie's directions, a light layering of gold embossing is called for. In the photo below, you can see evidence of this step.


To continue with the gold look, I added a few brads and some gold cord to accompany the sentiment.


If, after watching Angie's video, you attempted the technique yourself, let her know how much you enjoyed it. Let me know too! I'd love to see your results!

Faux
Smiles.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

RAINBOWS AND BUTTERFLIES

Besides leprechauns, clovers and pots o' gold, what else do you associate with St. Patrick's Day? Yes, RAINBOWS! You are all so smart!

And what goes so naturally with rainbows? Yes! BUTTERFLIES!

Well, since St. Patrick's Day is this week, I wanted to incorporate a rainbow into a card. I'm not at all Irish, so I'll just stick to the rainbow.

I tried a variety of papers for die cutting the gorgeous butterfly. None of them seemed quite right. They didn't provide the contrast I wanted. Nor did they look ethereal enough for my taste.

All of a sudden, I remembered that I had a wondrous stash of colored vellum papers. I tried a few of them, and discovered that I was getting closer to the look that I wanted. But, still not quite there. With the colorful rainbow background, I'd decided that a neutral color for the butterfly would be best. Finally, I laid hands on this dark kraft colored vellum. Once I die cut the butterfly, I found it to be the perfect material from which the butterfly on my card should be made.


I wanted to keep my butterfly as pure as possible, such as no embellishments whatsoever. So, the problem of adhering the butterfly against the rainbow background would certainly prove to be problematic.As any of you who have worked with vellum know, it is really difficult to adhere a piece to a surface without the adhesive showing through.

In pondering how to rectify this situation before it even happened, I hit upon die cutting the butterfly once more from white cardstock. This not only would hide the adhesive, but it would give the butterfly a little more durability.

But . . . I still needed to adhere the vellum butterfly to the cardstock butterfly without letting any adhesive show through. It turned out to be very easily solved. I used the Tombow Multipurpose Glue, but smeared it to a soft sheen of glue with my fingertip. That was enough to soften the edges of the glue that it wouldn't show through.


I then popped just the body of the butterfly against the rainbow with some thin slices of dimensional adhesive.

The dimension this simple treatment gives to the butterfly against the splashy rainbow is wonderful.


To add even further to the dimension of the finished card, I lined the edges of the piece of watercolor paper with Stampin' Dimensionals and threw a few into the center of the piece also so it didn't sink in the middle.




The white cardstock butterfly underneath the vellum one is offset just a teeny bit, 
and I love the way that looks.






Do any of you know how I created the rainbow background? 

Rainbow
Smiles.

Friday, March 10, 2017

MY FORAY INTO GELLI PLATE PRINTING


Have you ever heard of Gelli Arts Gel Printing Plates?

I have been enamored of playing with this cool way of creating monoprints for some time now. I finally purchased a used 12" x 14" plate from a friend. Still a little mystified with the process, my plate sat for quite awhile. I read the entire book written by one of the creators of the Gelli Plate, Joan Bess. After completing the book, I STILL wasn't ready to jump into the Gelli Plate Printing abyss.

I watched video after video after video. Did you ever check out Pinterest or YouTube for videos on gel press printing? There are so many! I discovered a few talented women who work with this medium whose work I really like and have learned a lot from them. Two of my favorites are Birgit Koopsen and the fun-loving and ever-entertaining Carolyn Dube. Check them out!

Finally, I took a deep breath and jumped in. It turns out that, instead of the largest plate, the 12" x 14", I should definitely have started with something smaller. I felt completely out of my element with that large plate. I did work with it a few times, but was never happy with anything I'd produced.

A few weeks ago, I invested in a 5" x 5" plate, and really went to town with that little gem. So far, I have only been working with one color at a time and stencils, doing layers. 

In the following photos, I introduce you to some of my work. None of them have been flattened or finished in any way. Some of the prints curl a bit more than others in these photos because they were done on much thinner papers. In fact, they were printed on pages from an old dictionary that was born the same year I was!

 


A few of my favorites from the past weeks of printing:






I know this is quite a departure from my traditional blog posts about cardmaking and the more traditional uses of cardstock, ink and rubber stamps. But, I am always looking to plant those little Paper Seedlings. And this stretches my love for papercrafting. I am loving this new journey. In fact, it's become almost an obsession.

I'm not sure which direction this new love will take me, but I am so willing to travel that path. I will never lose my passion for cardmaking, especially in light of the fact that it has saved me emotionally from myself so many times. My very own Creative Therapy.

As I proceed in this new direction, I hope you will accompany me by supporting me in my efforts through the photos and posts I will publish to my blog, Paper Seedlings.

I plan to do my regular cardmaking posts on the two days of the week that I usually do, Sunday and Wednesday. If I do a post about anything else, like this gel printmaking, I will try to do it on Fridays, in addition to the other two days.

Please please let me know what you think of my new passion, and let me know if you think I should continue to move in this direction. Also, if you have any ideas with the prints I produce, I'd love to hear those from you too. 

If you are interested in learning more about my personal process and progress, let me know, and I would be happy to share with you! But, please, I need to hear from you!


Gelli
Smiles.



Wednesday, March 8, 2017

BECOME POSITIVELY STARSTRUCK

It's really easy -- and FUN! -- to become starstruck on your cards.The Star Blast Edgelits Dies from Stampin' Up!, which can be found on page 11 in the Occasions Catalog, make it incredibly easy to make a card with an undeniably professional touch. 

The girls who came to my February Stamp-In Workshop got the opportunity to play with this new design and create this card:

How to Become Starstruck

A little close-up of the detail you can get with this die. Cutting it from Designer Series Paper gives it extra fun!


Do you remember the stars that were diecut from the design on the front? Well, of course, we cannot waste them, can we? I simply added them to the inside of the card to continue the theme.


If you'd like to try your hand at making one of these cards for someone special, here's how:

SUPPLIES:
Whisper White cardstock
Tangerine Tango cardstock
Yellow/White Designer Series Paper

Sassy Salutations stamp set (retired -- WAHHH!)

VersaMark Ink

Big Shot
Star Blast Edgelits Dies (page 11 of the Occasions Catalog)
Embossing Buddy
Heat Tool
Gold Embossing Buddy
Boho Chic embossing folder
Oval Diffuser
Yellow ribbon
Orange ribbon

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

Run a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Tangerine Tango cardstock through the Big Shot inside the Boho Chic Embossing Folder, using the oval diffuser toward the bottom, so that area is not embossed.

Rub the Embossing Buddy over the unembossed area. With VersaMark ink, stamp your chosen sentiment within that area. Cover the stamping with Gold Embossing Powder, and heat to emboss it, tapping the excess powder back into its container.

Place the Star Blast Die about 1/4" up from the edge of a 2 1/2' x 6" piece of yellow dotted Designer Series Paper. Cut the stars and carefully remove the cut-out piece.

With the top point of the center star almost at the top of the orange piece and centered, adhere it to the card front. Fold the excess strips to the back side of the orange. Tape them in place.

Leave just a small gap and add yellow ribbon, followed by the orange ribbon on top, taping the ribbon ends on the back.

Adhere this finished piece to the card base.

Add the extra stars to the inside of the card.

Starstruck
Smiles.


Sunday, March 5, 2017

HOW TO PUT ALL YOUR EGGS IN ONE BASKET

Finally, some of our lawn is sticking out amidst all the snow we've gotten here in Central Wisconsin. I swear I HEARD a robin this morning. But I haven't SEEN one -- yet. The day is coming though. I can just feel it. 'cause, you see, spring is just around the corner. Yes, we must hang onto that cheery thought.

In the meantime, we can start thinking about Easter. On page 18 of the Occasions Catalog is the cutest Easter bundle ever! Truly! Even though the set does not truly represent what Easter is really all about, I am drawn to it BECAUSE of its cuteness. You know, adorable bunnies, peeps and chocolate rabbits, colored eggs. All the stuff that makes a person smile. 

How To Put All Your Eggs In One Basket
On this card, the only stamping I actually did was on the basket's bow, then it was die cut. With all the possibilities this bundle has to offer, you can go completely nuts with the stamping, then die cutting the stamped images. Really! Just take a look at IT! (page 18)


I love the way the basket looks set onto a soft pink oval cut with the Stitched Shapes dies. And the embossed background: the Festive embossing folder. Isn't it just perfect?


All the layers of the basket, the grass and the two-part eggs give a nice amount of dimension. I added to this dimension by popping the entire oval up from the background with a couple Stampin' Dimensionals.


The Happy Easter sentiment is from a retired set (unfortunately!) and is set atop a strip of coordinating striped Washi Tape.



Besides being one of the cutest sets ever, if you purchase the bundle, you are only $3.25 away from a $50 purchase, and remember, during Sale-A-Bration (until March 31), you can choose a freebie from the Sale-A-Bration Brochure and the ADDITIONAL THREE ITEMS THEY'VE ADDED!

By the way, this is one of the cards that my Stamp-In Workshop attendees will be making at the Monday, March 13 class. If you're in Central Wisconsin (even if you're NOT), and want to come and make this card with us, just let me know. 😸

Bundled
Smiles.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

EVOLUTION TO A ONE LAYER CARD

Have you perused the Stampin' Up! Sale-a-Bration brochure yet? If you haven't, you are missing out on a couple different levels.

During the three months of Sale-a-Bration, for every $50 you order, you choose one of the 12 freebies from the Sale-a-Bration brochure. And, to add to the fun, from now until the end of the promotion, March 31, they have added three more choices, to bring it to 15! You can check out the three new additions HERE.

Anyway, to get back on track. In the original Sale-a-Bration brochure, on page 5, you can find a very versatile and beautiful stamp set called Avant Garden. 

Avant Garden
I've used the set a few times already. But, for my March workshop, I wanted to create a wreath using just the large flower. The technique I was going to feature was MASKING

Masking is a technique I don't use often enough at all, which is unfortunate because it gives the feeling of depth and dimension with only a little work.

So, with a wreath and masking in my mind, I grabbed Tempting Turquoise and Peekaboo Peach ink and went to work. And this was the result:


I left this card sit on my kitchen cupboard for several days, forcing me to glance at it every time I came through. Something about it bothered me -- a lot. Finally, I realized what it was: that big blank white hole in the center of the wreath. I tried to tell myself that WHITE SPACE IS GOOD. Not every area needs to be covered with color and design. 

But, nope. I couldn't convince myself.

I decided to re-format the whole card, and thus a one layer card had evolved:


A close-up look at the stamping:


I made the final card to measure 4 1/4" x 4 1/4". I love the look of a square card. But I HATE that you have to add extra postage to a square envelope. The beauty of a card this size is that it fits nicely inside a traditional A2 envelope. Win-win!

Evolution to a One Layer Card

So, at the March 13 Stamp-In Workshop, the girls will be creating this final card. Hey, are there any GUYS in the area who'd like to come and make this card?? 

Masked
Smiles.