December 10, 2019

CARDINALS IN A WINTER TREE

The Snow Front stamp set, on page 45 of the Holiday Catalog, is perfect when you are looking to portray a typical wintry scene -- at least, where there's snow! It is a set that allows you to be as minimal or as maximal (?) as you wish to be. I love that versatility in a set.

For a card my girls made at the November Stamp-In, I definitely went with the minimalist look. Simple but effective.


A closeup of the stamped portion of the card:


Another cool thing about this card is that it is just one layer. And even though it is almost square and an odd size, 4 1/4" x 4 1/2", it still fits within a standard A2 envelope, both features that make it easy to mail.

I do wish I hadn't had my Christmas cards already made when I designed this card. Because this is an example of a card that would be easy enough to make in a quantity. 

The fact that you never know what your sky will look like on each of the cards is another reason I love to do this technique. Each one is unique. You'd never be able to duplicate it exactly.


Following is a quick and easy tutorial on how to make this type of card.

SUPPLIES:
Whisper White cardstock
Pool Party cardstock

Snow Front (page 45, Holiday Catalog)
Retired "Peace" or any small-sized stamp you may have

Pool Party ink
Real Red ink
Early Espresso ink

Clear Block D
Water Spritzer

INSTRUCTIONS:
Fold a piece of Pool Party cardstock that measures 4 1/4" x 9" in half, creasing it well with a bone folder.

You will be doing the rest of the work on a piece of Whisper White cardstock that measures 4" x 4 1/4".

Use a 2 1/2" x 2 3/4" clear block (Clear Block D) for the next step.

Bringing the Pool Party ink pad directly to the clear block, stamp on the block until it is covered with ink. Spritz the inked block with enough water so there are bubbles of water over the entire block. Turning the block with the ink towards the paper, stamp the color block in about center. Lift the block straight up. If there are pools of ink anywhere, dab them with a corner of paper towel.

Dry the piece with the Heat Tool so you can move on to the next step. It needs to be completely dry at this point.

Stamp the winter tree in Early Espresso ink so the top and bottom of the tree extend past the inked area.

Add cardinals to the tree branches as desired in Real Red ink.

Add a little mound of snow beneath the tree in Pool Party ink.

Stamp "peace" or any other small sentiment you may have on hand in the white space created by the snow.

Adhere to the card base.


Snowy
Smiles.


December 7, 2019

WASTED DEER

Do you remember a few posts back when I featured a card I made with detritus that was supposed to be thrown away? In Wasted Snowflakes, I told you about the most recent Paper Pumpkin kit I'd received. After punching out all the elements to set aside for a later date, I was left with other waste products besides the cute snowflake "stencil" I used in Wasted Snowflakes. They are pictured below.

 In one of my responses to a comment elicited by the post, I mentioned that I may try to do something with the deer next. 

See the deer in the photo below?


Well, this is what I finally came up with using the deer "stencil":


Because the deer were so mashed together on this sheet, it would have been impossible to work with just one of them. In order to get one to work with, notice how I cut the lower right one free from the rest, trying to preserve as much of the paper surrounding it.


I had planned to use Sponge Daubers to do my inking. However, it would have been so easy to be over zealous and ink beyond where the deer was. So, I used Post It Note tape close to the danger zones to avoid doing this, as well as for holding my stencil in place while I worked with it.

Since I wanted my deer to seem to be out in the winter elements, I chose a very old piece of Designer Series Paper that boasted a swirly design that simulated snowy conditions that a deer would experience during the winter -- at least, here in Wisconsin. The design in the DSP was faint enough that my stenciled deer in Soft Suede covered up the swirls underneath the deer.


Being super careful in my inking, I was pleased with the final result:


After accomplishing this, I let it sit for a few days. I couldn't decide where to go with it from that point. 

Finally, it bothered me enough that he was feeling so forgotten that I decided to go back to work on him. 

My first step was to cut the DSP and deer into an oval. I added a larger oval to that in Shaded Spruce.

Not sure where to then proceed, I searched through my seasonal stamp sets for the perfect element to incorporate into the composition. 

I came across this sprig of holly from a retired set. After stamping the sprig twice in Memento Tuxedo Black Ink on Whisper White cardstock, I used Stampin' Blends to color in the leaves and berries. Then came the fussy cutting. To make the cutting a bit easier, I left a narrow white margin all around. 

After adding the holly branches on either side of the lower part of the oval, I tied a pretty bow to finish it off.


A 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Pool Party cardstock was added behind the Shaded Spruce oval, since that was the closest current color I had to coordinate with the color in the DSP. In some lights, it looks great. Other lights, not so much.

A Whisper White card base completed my experiment with this majestic deer.


I am so pleased that another of my weird experiments worked. Another example of "don't throw anything away -- it is a possible art supply"!


When I started to write this post, since I called my first one Wasted Snowflakes because I was using something as a stencil that someone else may have considered waste and thrown it away, I thought it would be appropriate to title this post Wasted Deer. That's how I saved all my photos, so that's the title I went with. 

Once I started writing, however, ding ding ding inside my brain. The title turns out to be not so cute. If you aren't already aware, there is an affliction that affects white tailed deer called Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD). Now, I feel bad.

Deer
Smiles.




December 3, 2019

GLAD TIDINGS ORNAMENT

I wanted to use my Stampin' Blends to color a Christmas ornament in very nontraditional colors. I think of blues and purples as sort of nontraditional -- normally I would dig out the reds, greens, yellows -- for a detailed ornament.

The ornament that I chose to color is a stamp set from last year. I truly love this set, so -- no surprise! -- I will continue to use it. 

I stamped the large ornament from the set in Memento Tuxedo Black Ink, then went to work with my Stampin' Blends. In case you're interested, following are the colors I used: Highland Heather, Seaside Spray, Mint Macaron, Balmy Blue and Shaded Spruce.


After the coloring was finished, I added a coat of Wink of Stella over the entire thing. I adhered it to a slightly larger white circle, then tied a bow in pretty silver cord and used a Glue Dot to attach it to the top of the ornament.


In the Holiday Catalog, there is such a pretty embossing folder that I missed the first several times I paged through the catalog. When I finally discovered the Stylish Scroll Embossing Folder on page 53, I needed to have it. Not having used it yet, and wanting to add a little classy texture to the background, I ran a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Balmy Blue cardstock using it through the Big Shot..

I added this pretty background to a card base of metallic silver cardstock. The circle/ornament combination was fastened to this with Stampin' Dimensionals.


The best closeup I could get to show what the shimmer 
from the Wink of Stella adds to the ornament:


Once I had the ornament in its place on the card, I wasn't sure how to finish it all off. Before adhering the embossed cardstock to the card base, I stretched a piece of white/silver ribbon to the lower portion, taping the ribbon ends to the back.

THEN, I had a brilliant idea for the sentiment. On that same page, 53, in the Holiday Catalog, hiding amongst all the Halloween stuff, is that wonderful Ornate Frames Dies set. Yes! I would use one of those dies to echo the swirls from the embossed background. After stamping the sentiment in VersaMark ink, then sprinkling it with silver embossing powder, I heat set it. Then I cut the sentiment out with the scroll-y die that you see below. I used a couple Mini Stampin' Dimensionals to adhere it over the ribbon.


I was quite pleased with the way this card turned out. The elegant embossing in the background is perfect with the ornament. But . . . as I was looking at the embossed background, I had a flash of light. 

A little experimenting was done with VersaMark ink and the embossing folder. I carefully added VersaMark ink to the inside of the embossing folder on the side with the raised image. Gingerly placing a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Balmy Blue cardstock into the sticky folder, I ran it through the Big Shot. Immediately I sprinkled this sticky embossed piece of cardstock with silver embossing powder. 

There was plenty of work to do at this point, however. Although I had liberally rubbed my Embossing Buddy over the cardstock before putting it inside the embossing folder, there was LOTS and LOTS of stray embossing powder that needed to be painstakingly removed with a small paintbrush. This took quite some time, maybe ten minutes of patience, before I could actually use the Heat Tool to heat set my experiment. 

The lovely results of this experiment can be seen below:


While I was thrilled with the way the first one turned out, I had it in my head that I wanted the RAISED portion of the embossing to be silver. But, how to do that?

A little more experimenting was called for here. 

First, I put a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Balmy Blue cardstock inside the embossing folder and ran it through the Big Shot, exactly as I did for the card I made.

Here is the difference though: I oh so gently tapped the VersaMark Ink onto the raised portion of the embossing, directly to the cardstock. I mean REALLY GENTLY. You don't want any of the sticky ink to go beyond the raised portions of the embossing because that would be defeating my experiment's purpose: I only wanted the raised portion silver.

Once I had the cardstock inked up, I sprinkled it with silver embossing powder. I then went through the paintbrush and blowing procedure. Whew. After I had any stray embossing powder removed, I used the heat tool to heat set my embossing. 

The result of the second experiment can be seen in the following photo:


My Stamp-In attendees will probably never be expected to do either of these last two embossing techniques due to its time consuming nature. But I love to know that they both worked, with lots of effort, so I will file the idea away in my crowded brain for future reference.


I am always pleased when a harebrained experiment works. Are you very experimental in whatever you do?

Glad
Smiles.




November 30, 2019

FOLDED STAR ORNAMENT

I made four ornaments today! A little struggling, but so much fun -- and I love the looks of these little gems. Measuring just 1 1/2" square when they are closed, these tiny guys definitely are little treasures.

Several years ago, I'd made one of these ornaments. I can't find it right now. But, ever since then, I'd been wanting to make another one . . . or four. Seeing a post on Dawn Olchefske's blog prompted me to finally do so. Dawn, a fellow Stampin' Up! demonstrator, often features projects on her blog that I fall in love with. 

Following Dawn's video, I once again learned how to make these cute ornaments. Since she does such a good job on her instructions, I won't talk about how to create them. I will, however, share some little things that I experienced that might help you when you try your hand at them.

Either I missed this in Dawn's video, or it wasn't said, but, to make the Folded Star Ornaments in this size, you need five 3" x 3" pieces of your chosen paper. 

To create the neatest looking ornament, try to be as meticulous in your measuring, cutting, folding and gluing as you possibly can. It is crucial that you use a bone folder for every one of your folds. Also, Dawn uses Snail Adhesive, while I liked the ease of using the Tombow Mono Adhesive (green glue) because it gives you some wiggle room.

The first four photos show each of the ornaments I created today in the closed position. In this position, they resemble little books -- or little star books, if you will. (Now that I shared that second link with you, I am going to have to go back and make one of them. It's been years since I've made a star book.) 

I discovered that if you search for "star books" on Pinterest, one of the tutorials on that first page is for the folded star ornaments. Not having looked at that site, I'm not sure how the directions would vary from Dawn's.

OK. Moving on. Following are the four I made in their closed positions. The first one pictured is the one that most closely resembles how Dawn teaches us to make them.





Once again, this is the first one I made, the one most like Dawn's. In this photo, I have released the button from its closed position and the ornament is ready to be opened.


This is that same ornament in the fully opened position, but not "locked" in place. Notice where the button is.


Now, notice the button's position once again. With the ornament fully opened, slide the button back against the ornament itself. The button locks it into the open position.


It occurred to me that maybe this type of ornament would look cute if made from old book pages. This is the second ornament I have pictured closed at the beginning of my post. Take special notice of the button. I'll talk about that more later.

I'm sure that someone smarter or more experienced than I would not have had the problems I did when using book pages. I considered it important to have the print on the pages facing the same direction when the star is opened. I finally managed it, but after several bad tries. 

In Dawn's tutorial, she suggests using 1/8" wide ribbon with the button. I should have listened to her. I didn't have any thin ribbon that would go well with ecru and black, so I opted to use baker's twine. Big mistake. The twine is too thin to keep the button close to the star, whether in the open or closed position. Just a little disturbing because it seems a little sloppy.

I'm not sure if I like the look of the book pages. What are your thoughts?


After experiencing Dawn's suggestions for using three separate prints of Designer Series Paper, I thought using one single print throughout would add a little more of a unified look. And I was right. This one is my favorite -- in that respect. I did mess up in one spot, and I'd like to help you avoid the same mishap.

I was so excited with the way this star was shaping up that I guess I got careless. I had some pretty Real Red Stampin' Up! ribbon that I thought would look so well with this ornament. Unfortunately, it measures 3/8" wide. Don't go that wide! I think if it had been a thinner ribbon or even 1/4" wide, I wouldn't have had the problems I did.

Following Dawn's instructions, I measured two lengths of the ribbon at 7 inches. It all went smoothly until it came to threading the ribbon through the holes of the button. What a nightmare. With my ribbon scissors, I made the thinnest point at the end of the ribbon to facilitate the threading. It was still too thick and too wide and became hopelessly tattered in the process. I did manage to thread it through, but needed to hack off quite a bit of the tattered ribbon, thus making my button ribbon mechanism a bit too short. It works. But it's not great. You can see in the photo below that it still looks ragged at the end. I was afraid to cut off too much too close to the knot.


By using only a single sheet of double sided Designer Series Paper you get a pleasingly unified looking ornament. Even with the catastrophe I experienced with the ribbon, this is my favorite.


The last photo shows the second one I made with old book pages. This book's pages were pure white, not the ecru coloring you often find in old books. By the time I got to this one, I found it a little easier to make sure the print was all facing the same way. Experience = the best teacher.

The ribbon I used on this one is non-Stampin' Up!. It is a 1/2" organdy ribbon. Being that this is a much thinner ribbon than the previous ones, the extra width still worked. 

Another thing that I did differently on the two book page ornaments is that for the "covers" of the stars, I didn't do any stamping. I simply used a coordinating piece of DSP. I like the looks of that.


Well, I hope I've imparted a few things that will help you to avoid some of the problems I'd run into. Once again, here is the link to Dawn's terrific tutorial video.  Thanks, Dawn, for your expertise!

Starry
Smiles.

November 26, 2019

PAINTED HARVEST THANKSGIVING



A little over a month ago, October 15, to be exact, I was featured as a guest blogger on Katherine's Corner. Katherine had asked me to create a Thanksgiving card for this blog post. She wanted step by step photos to accompany the process of the cardmaking. 

After the post ran on Katherine's  blog, I was asked by her to wait a few weeks to post the tutorial on my own blog. With Thanksgiving being this week, I thought this would be an appropriate time to share it with my own readers.

I had something of a vision in my mind for a card, but not real details. Thus, what you will be "treated" to here is my thought process while creating a card, whether the "thought" was actually used or not. You will be witness to my trial and error that I typically go through when setting out to create a card. 

The post will include a plethora of photos -- all but the first one and the final three taken in my Creation Station, where the lighting isn't wonderful, and my scrap paper that I work on is an absolute mess. But this is reality. All is part of the process of what I go through when creating an original card.

My first decision came in opting for a traditional fall color palette. To start, I chose a 4" x 5 1/4" piece of Crumb Cake cardstock. I planned on doing an emboss resist, so I carefully rubbed my Embossing Buddy, an anti-static tool, over the entire piece of cardstock. Doing this will prevent excess embossing powder from sticking where it isn't wanted. Once I'd used my Buddy, I inked up the more detailed sunflower stamp from the Painted Harvest set (page 128, Annual Catalog) with VersaMark ink. Starting near the center of the cardstock, I stamped my first flower, followed by three more, nearly touching, to surround the first one.

Because VersaMark stamping is difficult to see for placement of subsequent flowers, I chose to emboss these four flowers first. At my Heat Station, I sifted gold embossing powder over the stamped flowers. I then used my heat tool to melt the embossing powder. When heating embossing powder, move the heat tool constantly so it doesn't scorch any one spot, keeping it a couple inches from what you're embossing. The heating process is finished when the entire stamped area is shiny with no powdery residue in evidence.


Since I was pleased with my initial embossing, I forged onward. Using the Embossing Buddy once again, I stamped more flowers, almost touching, around the first four, then heat embossed the new additions.


After this was embossed, I discovered that I needed to do a little edge work to make it look like a cohesive piece. I brought out the Embossing Buddy again, then stamped in VersaMark ink a few more of the flowers along the little spaces at the edges. Once again, I used the heat tool to emboss.


At this point, my original vision for the card saw this portion as finished. Not so. Those big gaping holes in the center of each flower were unsightly, to say the least. However, the flower center that comes with this stamp set almost completely fills in the center. Thinking that would make the flowers entirely too solid looking, I searched through my stamp sets for an alternate stamp with a similar look, but was a bit smaller.

I found it in the Waterfront stamp set (page 125, Annual Catalog)! I used the sun from that set for the centers of my flowers. Below, I have both of the circles to compare the sizes, with the larger one the center that comes with the set, while the smaller sun from Waterfront is the one I actually used.


I was so delighted I went the sun route, because the result was exactly as my mind had seen.


The next step was to start the resist process. I used a stamping sponge and Soft Suede ink, and applied it lightly over all the embossed flowers.


I then used a sponge and Early Espresso ink to add a darker color to just the edges.


Yes! I was happy with that background, so set it aside for now.

Once again my imagination had pictured a traditional golden sunflower as the main focal point. The flower consists of two stamps -- one, a more blobby flower, the other, a little more detail. I chose to do the first layer in Daffodil Delight ink, followed by the more detailed top stamp in Crushed Curry ink. I stamped the real center of the flower that came with the set in Soft Suede, adding the little spots in Early Espresso.


The finished flower was very pretty, so I went ahead and fussy cut the flower.


I knew ahead of time that I wanted to use the Tin Tile 3D embossing folder (page 199, Annual Catalog) on a gold metallic cardstock to add to the card's elegance. After doing that dry embossing, I brought it back to my work table and laid the fussy cut sunflower on top of it. That's what I do -- as I accomplish a step, I just lay things together to see how it's looking.

Well, when I laid the sunflower on top of the tin tile piece, the colors of the flower were almost lost on the gold embossing. That would definitely not do.


Huh. I decided to go with alternate fall colors and stamped the flower again in Pumpkin Pie and Cajun Craze, with the Cajun Craze supplying the detail for the flower. I followed up with the two shades of brown for the center.


After fussy cutting this second flower, I held it against the gold embossed square, and loved what I saw.


To continue with the newly added Cajun Craze, I surrounded the gold embossed square with a narrow mat of Cajun Craze cardstock. Lovely.


It used to make me feel quite intimidated when even just thinking about adding metallic cord or thread haphazardly around an object. To make the process easier, I came up with a way of doing it that works well for me.

I wanted to add some gold cord to the back side of the rusty flower, so I turned it upside down and ran a few rows of Snail Adhesive across the turned over flower. As I made each loop of the cord, I caught a portion of it on the tape. The tape holds the cord in place while you are working on it, but yet makes it easy to adjust the placement if needed.


For a minute there, I'd thought I would place a bow made from the same gold cord on the lower right of the flower. But once I had it laid in place, I felt it was over done, so decided not to use it. That's why the bow shows up in a few of the photos.


To keep with the simple elegance, I die cut a "thanks" from the same gold metallic cardstock.

I thought it would be nice to have my card base also be Cajun Craze to echo the mat around the gold embossed piece. So I laid this new combo out to give it a test try. Yes.


The flower deserved a little more color, so I used the two-step leaf stamp that came in the Painted Harvest set to stamp a leaf in Pear Pizzazz and Old Olive. I used the Leaf Punch (page 187, Annual Catalog) to cut the leaf out.

After adding the leaf to the flower, I placed Stampin' Dimensionals on the back of the flower piece, which included the looped gold cord and the leaf and adhered it to the lower right corner of the gold embossed piece.

Since that looked really nice, as did the rest of the combo I'd laid out, I put the rest of the card together.


The next two photos show the final card from two different angles.




It takes me a long time to design a card from scratch. This one took about 2 1/2 hours. But you can see all the trials and errors I go through during the process. Since this was to be a guest post, I wanted this card to be extra special, so I really took pains with it. Usually, it only takes about 1 1/2 hours to come up with a typical card that I use in my monthly Stamp-In workshops. This card is a bit more advanced and time-consuming than what I would have my Stamp-In attendees create.


I wish you, your family and friends a wonderful and safe Thanksgiving Day!

Thankful
Smiles.