November 17, 2018

CHRISTMAS CHALLENGE WEEK 1

I noticed recently that I have so so so many Christmas stamp sets. Almost shameful. Really. I even have a few that have never even seen ink. GASP!

To somewhat rectify this abysmal situation, I decided to set myself a little coming-up-on-Christmas challenge. 

I stacked all my Christmas sets into a pile on a table in my Creation Station. We must keep in mind, however, that these in the stack are only Stampin' Up! sets that are so "recent" as to be stored in the DVD-type cases. I still have a lot of the older sets too. I'll see if I end up getting to them.

Each day, I close my eyes and slide out one set from the pile. Whichever is the set of the day I MUST make a card using at least one component from this set.

I've decided that for my Saturday blog posts from now until Christmas, I will show you the cards I'd made from this challenge. For each card, I will explain any details and/or techniques I've used on it.

I present to you Day 1. This was actually NOT a random pick. I'd been holding in my hands an older stamp set that was more all occasion than Christmas. I noticed the cool window in the set, and aware that I'd never used that stamp before, I decided to concoct a wintry scene outside the window. 

I stamped the window from the older set, colored it with Stampin' Blends, fussy cut it, and popped it up against wallpaper-y Designer Series Paper. Outside the window, I built a snowy scene using stamps from a more recent set. The thing that doesn't show in my photo is that I used Wink of Stella on the snowman, the snow upon which he stands and the branches of the tree. I also colored these elements with Stampin' Blends.


Day 2 you've already seen.

Here comes Day 3. A simple card in looks, it features a cool technique that is so great to use with solid image stamps, such as these two Christmas ornaments: Ink up an ornament, then apply another clean stamp (I used the tall tree from Lovely As A Tree, page 148) directly to the inked portion, then twist it through the ink. Twist a few times in various places so the inked image then looks somewhat marbled. Stamp it onto cardstock.

That's how I did both of these ornaments, although I must admit that the green one could have used a bit more twisting to produce more marbling. 

Remember, to do this technique, you need a solid image, then another DRY image with detail.


I must admit that my Day 4 card proved to be more of a challenge and more time-consuming than I would have liked. 

A pretty basic, no nonsense card, the plan for it came together quickly. I knew I wanted to stamp the owl atop the large wrapped gift, and then to add the smaller gift from the set on top of his head. 

I originally stamped my owl in Gray Granite, then grabbed my Prismacolor Pencils to color him in. Unfortunately, Stampin' Up! Whisper White cardstock does not have enough of a tooth to work well with my colored pencils. I ended up with a less than satisfactory result. I tried going over it all with Stampin' Write Markers, but yuk. 

Finally I stamped him again on a scrap of Whisper White in Basic Gray. I then just colored him with Stampin' Write Markers. I used a little white gel pen to add catch lights in his eyes, fussy cut him, and adhered him over the first flop of an owl. To carry the fussy cutting a little further, I restamped the ribbon and bow, fussy cut them, and glued them over the previously stamped images.

The little "Merry" seemed to fit in perfectly. 

After I mounted this piece of Whisper White against a Christmas-y DSP, it seemed too stark. Too sparse. So I got a Black Stampin' Write Marker and added dots around the perimeter of the white. This seemed to finish it nicely.


Day 5 gives us a quietly elegant card. I will never stop loving this stamp set. The pine bough looks so real (as does the pinecone that accompanies it!), but I am most enamored of the luscious ornament. 

The ornament I'd added directly to the pine bough image was embossed with a non-Stampin' Up! glittery gold embossing powder. For some reason, with that embossing powder, I lost most of the elegant detail, which would not do. 

To fix that situation, on a scrap of Whisper White, I stamped it again in VersaMark, but this time I embossed it with Stampin' Up! Gold Embossing Powder. After fussy cutting the ornament, I popped it up over the detail-less ornament I'd first stamped.

I must admit that this card turned out to be a different size than I'd originally planned. I was trying to stamp a sentiment in the lower right corner. But -- HORROR! -- as I was approaching my stamping location, the stamp fell off the block and made a very unsightly inky smudge. 

Very disappointed with this unexpected development, I chopped off that portion of the cardstock, re-gathered my wits, and made it into an almost square card -- 4 1/2" x 5". I ultimately opted to resist putting any sentiment at all on the card. 

The white piece is mounted onto shiny Gold Foil Cardstock to echo the gold embossing and to further the feeling of elegance.


My intention for my Day 6 card was to make it in nontraditional colors. I started out by choosing Lovely Lipstick and Bermuda Bay, but then ended up with a fairly traditional Granny Apple Green. 

A set that I'm not sure if I've ever used, doing these trees enabled me to utilize a punch that I'd had but rarely even touched. So, that's a good thing. 

The stars on the tops of the trees were punched out of some of the Gold Foil Cardstock that I'd used in the Day 5 card. 

I liked the happiness of the DSP I used in the background. Unfortunately, when I added my diecut sentiment, it got lost against the busy background. So, I cut another set of words with Bermuda Bay cardstock, shifted the white off a little from the underlying Bermuda Bay, popping it up off the background with Dimensionals, and I think it works.

Through the use of strange colors and lots of Dimensionals, I think the card is fairly contemporary looking.


Poor Rudolph, the star of Day 7! I love being able to use the coordinating punch to cut Rudolph out. I "mounted" him onto a brown oval that I'd run through the Big Shot inside the Woodgrain Embossing Folder to make it look like he was a mounted deer head. Not a very festive thought. But, he was a good sport about it all. 

For his sentiment, I dragged out the banner-like greeting from the set I used in Day 1.


The Day 8 card is a little more special than it looks. 

I know you think I just embossed the star in gold onto a yellow-gold cardstock, right? Wrong. I embossed the star in gold onto Whisper White cardstock. After embossing, I used it as a resist by sponging on four other colors: So Saffron, Daffodil Delight, Crushed Curry, and finally a light coat of Pumpkin Pie. 

I'd intended to use this as a panel against the plaid DSP. But that was not at all to my liking. Thus, I dug out my old star dies and diecut the embossed star. It still didn't look right. So, I grabbed some Night of Navy cardstock and cut a larger star to which I mounted the golden star. That made the star portion a bit too large for a standard A2 sized card. I did not care. I went with it anyway. If I ever decided to mail it to someone, I will need to use a larger envelope or make a custom one to fit with my Envelope Punch Board. 

After cutting the star, I still had a lot of the sponged golden cardstock left over. So I decided to do my little greeting in gold embossing on this paper. I punched it out with an old oval punch I will never get rid of. I mounted it on a diecut piece of Night of Navy label from another retired die set. 

I wound gold cording three times around the plaid DSP before mounting it to my Night of Navy card base, then used Dimensionals to pop the sentiment up atop the cording.


This morning I made my Day 9 card. It was so much fun to do and came together quite nicely.

The stamp set I'd grabbed was one from last year (I think). It features two sizes of wonderful snowflakes (I can never have too many snowflake stamps!) and two wonky circle stamps.

I stamped the wonky circles wonkily onto a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Whisper White cardstock in Fresh Fig and Blackberry Bliss ink. 

Digging through my stash of retired cardstock scraps, I pulled out four different purples. I stamped and embossed the snowflakes in white onto these purples, punched them out with a 3/4" and a 1 3/4" punch. The larger snowflakes found places sort of centered inside the multiple lined circles, while the smaller snowflakes filled in the blank spaces. 

It was mounted onto a card base of Blackberry Bliss. I wanted my sentiment to be embossed as were all the snowflakes. But not in white -- at least, not onto white cardstock! 

Here is how you can make your embossing any color your little heart desires: Now pay close attention. This is VERY TRICKY. Not! I inked my sentiment stamp first in VersaMark ink, then I used Blackberry Bliss ink! Using the VersaMark ink first makes the image sticky enough for embossing powder to adhere to. Adding the desired color of ink makes it, well, the color you desire!! Very complicated, eh?

After adding the sentiment, the card needed just a little bling to bring it to completion. I dug through old retired stuff, and came upon this beautiful metal piece. Looks kinda like a snowflake, doesn't it?


Until my next installment next Saturday. Stay well.

Challenging
Smiles.


November 13, 2018

AND MORE KRAFT PLUS

In THIS POST, where I first introduced you to the wonders of white embossing an image on kraft cardstock, then coloring it with colored pencils, I mentioned that, just writing this post had ignited the desire in me to create in this manner again. And I promised that I was going to head down to my Creation Station as soon as I'd finished publishing the post to do just that? Well, I did!

I am so in love with the Beautiful Baubles set on page 10 of the Holiday Catalog! I've used it several times already, a few of them on my blog. Since the large ornament is so beautiful and perfect for this technique, I opted to go with that image. I used my beloved Prismacolor Pencils, and this is the result:


A N D, it is FLAT -- perfect for mailing!


I know I suggested in my previous post that you all grab the supplies to get started on this fun and eye-catching technique. Have any of you done it yet? 


I should just note here that I refer to my coloring tools as "my beloved Prismacolor Pencils" with good reason. You see, when I got my first job out of high school (this was in 1970, and I wasn't yet 18 years old), I worked for a local color lab, the place where all the hand coloring and fixing got done on custom portraits. My job was that of a "spotter", removing stray hairs, dust flecks and repairing the catch lights in the eyes. And more. Whatever needed to be done to make the portrait perfect. That was way before digital times. WAY before! When everything was done by hand. The tools I used in that job were paintbrushes with only a few "hairs" and PRISMACOLOR PENCILS. So, you see, those pencils and I have a looooong history. And I've been loving them ever since!

Kraft-y
Smiles.





November 10, 2018

SNOW FLURRIES

I have such a huge stash of Stampin' Up! Christmas stamp sets, both old OLD and new. The other day I noticed -- since I keep all my Christmas sets together in one place -- how out of control my stash has gotten. I was dismayed. Thus, I made a pledge, sort of a challenge, to myself that I would randomly grab one of these sets and make a card using at least one of the stamps from the set each and every day. Today marks my third day of doing this. And it is really a lot of fun!

Like I noted, without looking, each day I select a set from the pile. No matter what it is, I need to create a card from SOMEthing in that set. Actually, the first day, I used stamps from two separate sets. One was a really old set that featured a darling sketchy window that had never seen ink. So I used that set, plus three from a newer set. 

The card I am featuring today is the one I created on the second day. It features a cool technique called Joseph's Coat. The photo below shows the finished card.


For a complete tutorial on how to do the Joseph's Coat technique,you can refer to THIS POST. The card in this particular post shows more of a fall theme with leaves in autumn colors and black as the brayered color.

I will give a brief description of how I did my snowy card along with a few photos to clarify.

Start out with a piece of Whisper White cardstock. Mine measured 4" x 5 1/4" initially. I chose four different shades of blue, all retired colors, to cover my cardstock. Just for a bit of nostalgia, the blues I used included Bordering Blue, Cool Caribbean, Marina Mist and Not Quite Navy. Do any of those names bring back fond memories?

With the lightest color, start to sponge onto the white cardstock. Work up to the darkest, most powerful, color. Create some lighter as well as some darker areas to give your card interest. Remember to start out slowly. You can always add more ink to build up the intensity of the colors in places. 

The photo below shows my cardstock after I sponged it. 


After the white cardstock is sponged to your satisfaction, rub it with the Embossing Buddy. Then, in VersaMark, stamp your images, in this case, three sizes of snowflakes. You can overlap a bit, but not too much. Too much overlapping creates more of a muddled mess. You want some blank spaces here and there.

Once you have the sponged card stamped to your liking, add Clear Embossing Powder over the entire piece, tapping the excess back into its container. Handling the piece carefully, heat to emboss the images. 

When the embossing is cool, you will start brayering with a dark color. As I mentioned, I'd used black on the card in my link. However, for this card, I used Night of Navy. 

When inking up your brayer, roll the brayer several times in one direction across the ink pad to ink it up well. Brayer the ink onto the embossed piece, going in all directions, over and over and over. Once you have a good even coat of the dark color brayered on, take a soft tissue and buff the excess ink off of the embossed images. 

The photo below is what mine looked like once I'd brayered it with Night of Navy and buffed off the excess ink. Because you used Clear Embossing Powder, the colors that you'd sponged onto the white cardstock shines through as the color of the snowflakes. Magic, huh?

I wanted to mount this piece onto a mat of white, then onto a Night of Navy card base. Because I started out with a piece of cardstock bigger than I would actually need, this gave me the opportunity to clean up the edges a bit by trimming all the edges down to a final size of 3 3/34" x 5", the perfect size to mat with a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of a contrasting color. 


Once again, the finished card:


Because the background of this card is pretty sensational and really the star, I wanted to preserve as much of that as possible. To do so, I wrapped a bit of the white 5/8" Polka Dot Tulle Ribbon around a small portion, adding a sentiment done on Night of Navy and embossed in white.


Have you ever tried the Joseph's Coat technique? After seeing and reading this, do you think you might give it a try? Please do! It is quite addictive, and really, sort of magical! Let me know if you need any help!

Flurried
Smiles.


November 6, 2018

KRAFT PLUS

I have something really fun for you to try today. 

Grab a piece of your Crumb Cake cardstock.

Find a stamp with some detail, but is open line art.

Rub the Embossing Buddy well all over the cardstock. 
Stamp your image in VersaMark ink.

At the Heat Station, cover the stamping 
with white embossing powder. 
Heat to set.

Grab some good quality colored pencils. 
Color in the image.

There! Doesn't that feel good? And doesn't it look GREAT??!?


I love doing this. And I love the look of it even more! What unexpected lovely results can be achieved by combining the unlikely team of kraft cardstock, white heat embossing and colored pencils!

In fact, in writing this post, I decided to go downstairs to my Creation Station as soon as I am finished here and do this for a Christmas card! Stay tuned for those results!


Now, get out those supplies, and give this nifty trick a try! Have fun!


Kraft-y
Smiles.

November 3, 2018

THINKING OF YOU WITH LOVE

I love the texture and dimension that embossing folders, especially the 3D Dynamic Textured Impressions Embossing Folders, add to a card creation.

The Dynamic folders are extra-thick and so heavy duty, thus they offer a deeper and much more impressive dimension and texture. Have you given them a try yet? No? You're missing out! With these folders, if you mist both sides of the cardstock with water before inserting it into the embossing folder and running it through the Big Shot, you will be amazed at the realism this gives! For this project, however, I did not mist the cardstock with water before embossing -- and I think it has wonderful dimension.

The card shown below features a Blackberry Bliss textured background created with the Tin Tile Dynamic Textured Impressions Embossing Folder, found on page 43 of the Holiday Catalog.


If you go to the two pages, 222 and 223, in the Annual Catalog, on which you find the embossing folders, notice that the folders themselves are pictured against a colored background, either a rusty color or a lighter neutral color. Those shown on the lighter neutral color are the Dynamic folders, which give you the amazing realistic texture. Take a look!


Another outstanding aspect of this card is the lovely gold foil diecut maple leaf on top of the textured background. Read on for how to create this sort of focal point.


The girls at my October Stamp-In Workshop created this card 
as one of their four projects.


Another fun feature of the card is the multi-colored stamped panel on the left side. Incorporating fall colors helps bring the card together,

Even though the card could be used for many occasions, with Thanksgiving coming up so quickly, it would be ideal for that occasion, just by adding a Happy Thanksgiving sentiment or something similar to the inside of the card in Blackberry Bliss ink. 


Following are the supplies list and the directions for making a card similar to this.

SUPPLIES:
Blackberry Bliss cardstock
Sahara Sand cardstock
Gold Foil

Blackberry Bliss ink
Grapefruit Grove ink
Pear Pizzazz ink

Beautiful Blizzard (page 39 of the Holiday Catalog)
Colorful Seasons (page 161 of the Annual Catalog)

Big Shot
Seasonal Layers Thinlits (page 219 of the Annual Catalog)
Tin File Embossing Folder (page 43 of the Holiday Catalog)
Blackberry Bliss ribbon
Stampin' Dimensionals

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

You will next be working with a piece of Sahara Sand cardstock that measures 2 3/4" x 5 1/4". Stamp the larger of the solid maple leaves randomly in Grapefruit Grove ink. Fill in the remaining spots with the smaller solid leaf in Pear Pizzazz. Then, stamping wherever, add the large open maple leaf in Blackberry Bliss ink. Be sure to turn the leaves as you are stamping so they don't all face the same way!

Adhere this piece to the card base with even margins on the top, bottom and left side.

Run a 3" square piece of Blackberry Bliss cardstock through the Big Shot inside the Tin Tile Embossing Folder. If you wish a deeper texture, spritz both sides of the cardstock with water before embossing.) Adhere this to a 3 1/4" square of Sahara Sand cardstock. Glue the embossed piece flat to the card front with even margins at the top and right side.

Using gold foil paper, cut an open maple leaf at the Big Shot. Repeat with the solid leaf, but in Sahara Sand. Adhere these leaves together. I simply added a dot of green glue to the junction of the two sides of the leaf, leaving it open at the top. Add the leaf off-center to the embossed piece with a single Stampin' Dimensional in the center.

Stamp the sentiment in Blackberry Bliss ink onto a 1 1/4" square piece of Sahara Sand cardstock. Adhere this piece to a 1 1/2" square of Blackberry Bliss cardstock. Take a piece of Blackberry Bliss ribbon, fold it in half, and tape it to the back of this piece. Trim the ends of the ribbon at angles. Use a Stampin' Dimensional to add it to the card with equal margins on the right and lower right edges.


Embossed
Smiles.