Adirondack chair of Colorful Seasons

Have you seen the Adirondack chair die from the Colorful Seasons Bundle? Nothing says sit back, relax and “just breathe” the fresh air like an Adirondack chair.  I love this die cut shape.  It makes me want to find a cool drink, some sun glasses and enjoy the sunshine!  

Actually, this Colorful Seasons Bundle is probably my favorite bundle in the catalog.  It is one that I know that I’ll be reaching for again and again.  There are so many fun shapes and seasonal images to craft year round — winter, spring, summer and fall.  And, the sentiments are just beautiful and timeless.

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Below is one of the cards from my June stamp camp – which was designed by the very talented Melissa Ellis, another Inky Angel.  It uses five different techniques – tearing, dry embossing, die cutting, sponging and masking – to create depth and interest. It features Tranquil Tide, Soft Sky, Crumb Cake, Whisper White and the Wood Textures Designer Series.  To make the background clouds, I created a mask using the cloud images from Up & Away Thinlits and sponged the clouds with Soft Sky.  After dry embossing the Crumb Cake piece using the Softy Falling embossing folder, I sponged Crumb Cake ink on the raised dots using a very light touch.

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The card was accessories with White Perfect Accents and a banner using Teeny Tiny Wishes stamp set.  

Thanks for stopping by.  I think it is a good time to sit in the sunshine and study the new Stampin’ Up! catalog.

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!

Lisa

Tips for Adding Dimension

Welcome Crafting Friends!  

Today’s tip is about adding dimension and interest to your cards.  If you stamp cards or spend any time scrapbooking, chances are you are always looking for new ways to add texture and tp make your projects more interesting.  One of the easiest things you can do  to make your project unique is to try embossing folders.

First, embossing folders can be used to create an interesting background with different color strips of paper that will make your design pop. 

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Second, you can add texture to enhance the design.  With a light touch and an inked sponge, the embossing folder was used to created pebbles for the beach scene below.

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If a card design seems a little flat or uninspired, and you want to add a little something for that WOW Factor, look for at least two ways to add texture such as:

  • Embossing folders
  • Dimensionals and Foam Adhesive Strips
  • Heat embossing using Stampin’ Up! embossing powders
  • White Perfect Accents and Enamel Shapes
  • Buttons and Charms
  • *NEW* Embossing paste and stencils
  • *NEW* Faceted Gems, Rhinestones and Pearls
  • *NEW* Clips and Wood elements
  • *NEW* Bows and Tassels
  • *NEW* Ribbon and Twine

These items can be found on pages 196-199 and page 210-211 in the new annual catalog. Or, check out my on-line store by clicking on the SHOP tab above. And please remember to check the clearance items — that’s another great place to find discounted items to embellish your cards! 

Until next time, sending you crafting hugs and inspiration wishes!

Lisa

Masculine Valentine

My husband has a Honda Shadow motorcycle, which is a big touring bike.  I’m his bike bunny.  While I’ve ridden the bike around the yard, I’m scared to death to ride on the open road. I’d rather sit on the back and hold him tight!!!  

While looking on Splitcoaststampers.com for inspiration, I found these two great cards – here and here – oldies but goodies.  Using this retired Motorcycle stamp from 2010 and the masking and sponging techniques, I gave this card a fresh look with the sentiment from Going Global stamp set and the tire track image from One Wild Ride stamp set.

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The colors are Real Red, Basic Black and Whisper White.  To color the bike, I used my blender pen with some ink squished on the lid of my Real Red ink pad.  Other items used are:  Sweetheart punch, dimensionals and sponges.  

To create the mask, first stamp the bike image on a post-it note.  The stamped image should overlap the area on the backside of the post-it note that is sticky.  Use paper snips to carefully cut out the bike.  Next stamp the “right” bike on your cardstock, in the lower right corner about 1/2 inch up and 1/2 inch to the right.  Now, cover the “right” bike image with the post-it note image.  Then, stamp the “left” bike image slightly higher and to the left of the first bike.  The post-it note will protect the first image when stamping the second image.  Remove the post-it note.
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Note:  the thickness of the post-it note paper may cause the second bike to “stop short” of the first image.  Use a fine tip marker to extend any lines that gap between the bikes.  In the image above, the blue circles show the general area where the lines may gap.

Measurements:  Whisper White 3 1/4 x 4 3/4; Basic Black 3 1/2 x 5; and Real Red 4 x 5 1/2.

For February orders, please use Hostess Code:  PUYMV63Y

Until next time, happy crafting!

Lisa

 

New Watercolor Pencils

One of my favorite products from the 2017 Occasions Catalog are the Watercolor Pencils.  The set contains thirteen pencils in the Stampin’ Up! Colors:   Basic Black, Basic Gray, Bermuda Bay, Calypso Coral, Daffodil Delight, Early Espresso, Melon Mambo, Old Olive, Pacific Point, Pumpkin Pie, Real Red, Rich Razzleberry, Whisper White.  For a new stamper, they are very cost effective — 13 colors for $16.00, about a $1 each as opposed to cost of an ink pad or ink refill.

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The pencils can be used as a regular pencil (dry), or used with Blender Pens and AquaPainters to create a soft watercolor effect.  You can even blend with your Wink of Stella to create a little shimmer.  The pencils come in a cardboard box, and fit nicely in an empty stamp case.

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SU Watercolor Paper is recommended; however with a light application of water, Shimmery White cardstock and Whisper White thick cardstock work well, too.  You can also use regular Whisper White or Very Vanilla, but please recognize that too much water can break down the paper fibers and make the paper surface pilly.

Here are a few tips when using the watercolor pencils:

  1. Stamp image using a waterproof ink such as Basic Black Archival, Basic Gray Archival or StazOn.  Allow the ink of the stamped image to completely dry before adding water.  For best results, heat set the ink with your heat gun.
  2. Next, color your image with the pencils. For best results use the side of the pencil rather than the pencil point, and use a light touch to build darker layers of color.  The harder you press down on the pencil, the more pigment that will be applied to the paper and the darker the color.  To add shading, apply more color with a heavier hand, or add a bit of Basic Gray or Basic Black over top of the color.
  3. After coloring your image, use a blender pen or AquaPainter to blend the colors.
    • The blender pen will release just the right amount of liquid to blend the color pigment that is already on the paper.
    • When using the AquaPainter, you want to “paint” with a very small amount of water, just enough to release the pigment. Less is more, and you want to avoid over-saturating the paper.  If you squeeze the barrel and releasing too much water, just use a paper towel to blot up the excess. 
  4. Allow the colored image to dry completely before applying another layer of color – if you need to make images a little darker.
  5. Allow to dry naturally or dry with your heat tool. If the watercolor paper feels cool to the touch, then there is still water in your paper.
  6. After completing your watercolor image, touch up the stamped image with a fine tip black pen or use your stamp-a-ma-jig to re-stamp the image. This extra step will make a big difference in the overall project!
  7. Add some highlights using a white gel pen, if desired.

 

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For February orders, please use Hostess Code:  PUYMV63Y

Until next time, happy crafting!

Lisa

INNOVATION CORNER: Card Fronts

After 15+ years of paper crafting, I have a well-stocked craft room!!  LOL!!  It is certainly my happy place where I make lots and lots of cards.

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A trick that I have learned is to only make the card front in advance – because the card front takes the most time to create.  When I need a card, I look through my stash of card fronts – select the perfect one and then personalize the rest of the card for the recipient!  This provides me with a lot of flexibility!!

First, this provides me with the option to change the size of the card at a later date.  Most of the time, I make an A7-sized card – which is a typical size of a purchased greeting card.  There are times when I make an A2-sized card for a quick note.  And when making a birthday card or a sympathy card for the office, an A9-sized card is more appropriate because it provides more white space for my coworkers to write messages to the card recipient.

Second, this provides me with the option of using my computer to create and print the perfect message on the blank card base.  While I have lots and lots of sentiment stamps, there are many occasions that require something unique!  Composing the message on the computer helps me to organize my thoughts for a more complete and personal message.

And the last benefit, storing only card fronts requires half the storage space!  It only takes a few minutes to add a coordinating stamped image on the inside of the card blank, mount the card front on the card blank and to create the coordinating envelope.   Using this method of creating only card fronts, I never have to re-make a card or throw away a coordinating envelope!

To protect my stored card fronts, I purchase these 5”x7” clear plastic envelope sleeve from Clear Bags (100 bags for about $8).  These bags are archival quality, acid and lignin free, and USPS approved for mailing.

To help me remember what products I used when making those card fronts, I created this cheat sheet as a quick reference.  I simply jot down the products used and any tips for making the card front.  This makes my life easier when I finishing the card at a later date.  I simply store the cheat sheets, the card front and any duplicate card fronts in the same clear envelop sleeve.  Now I know exactly which stamps, inks and cardstock that I used and I can quickly stamp the coordinating images on the inside of the card and create a coordinating envelope.template-for-blog-photo-image-notes

Important tip:  Use the back side of the cheat sheet to:  1) annotate the card recipients – so that no one gets the same card twice; 2) record measurements of cardstock pieces – just in case you want to create the same card front again; and 3) document your inspiration for the piece – if you participated in a challenge or CASEed a particular card design from another crafter.

Click here to download a copy of the cheat-sheet.  It prints four on one sheet of computer paper.  I keep a stack of these cheat sheets on hand for the next time I’m creating in the craft room.

Until next time, happy crafting!

Lisa

CASEing Part 2: How to Change a CASEed Design

In my last post, we discussed how it is okay to CASE – Copy And Share Everything.  CASEing gives you a lot of freedom either to copy the design exactly or to experiment with a few simple changes to suit your needs and style preferences.

Here are some simple changes to re-invent a CASEed design and to make it yours:

  1. Change the orientation of the design layout or sketch. Switch between a portrait and landscape design.  Or, shift the focal point left or right, up or down.
  2. Mat your focal point or mat your card with layers of cardstock. Just like a picture frame, using a mat (or mats) in a coordinating color adds interest and makes your design pop!
  3. Add texture and dimension to your design. There are many ways to do this… such as adding ribbon and a tag.  Or, you can add some pearls, rhinestones or enamel dots.  Or you can paper piece your stamped image and pop those pieces up with dimensionals or fun foam for a 3-D effect.
  4. Add some bling. Everyone likes a little sparkle and shine.  Some sequins, or charms or some metallic paper can be just the ticket to re-invent a CASEed design and make it your own!
  5. Change the color combination on the design you’re CASEing – go brighter, or darker, or softer. Or, try using different shades of the same color for a more dramatic, monochromatic effect! Another way to change the color combination is to switch the order in which the colors are used.  Many designs use three colors:  a major unifying design color, a minor complimentary color and an accent color to apply the finishing touch.  You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how switching the order of those colors will change the entire look of the card.
  6. Incorporate designer series paper in your design. You can even create your own designer paper using inks and stamps that compliment your design.
  7. Use same or different embellishments – and in different numbers!  Just remember, odd numbers are more visually appealing!
  8. Use more white space which naturally draws the eye to the focal point of your design.  When in doubt, follow the KISS principle – keep it super simple – it works every time!
  9. Incorporate a new technique while making a CASEed design. There is probably a new trendy technique that you’ve been wanting to try.  Or, maybe you have a favorite tried and true technique (like sponging, dry embossing or heat embossing).  The point is that there are lots techniques that you can use on your CASEed design to make it more unique.

And finally, while there are no hard and fast rules to CASEing, please kindly give credit to the designer who is your source of inspiration.  If you post your CASEed design on social media, please send along a short note to that designer to let her (or him) know how you used their design, how you may have improved upon it and where you shared it.  It is a simple act of kindness that you may appreciate one day – because in the creative world of paper crafting — eventually, your designs will be CASEed too!!  

Here is a A2-sized card CASEed from the very talented Mary Fish.  I love her clean, crisp design using Beautiful Branches Thinlits and the striking combination of Old Olive, So Saffron and Basic Black (one of my favorites) which she paired with Dapper Denim, a new In-Color. Using the some of the changes mentioned above, I changed Mary’s design (left) to create my design (right).

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First, I changed the size of the card from A2 to A7 and incorporated more white space.  I also changed the So Saffron rectangle into a banner. Since I didn’t have any black metallic sequins, I added three vertical hearts punched in Real Red.  After all, CASEing is one part inspiration and one part what you have available!  Thank you, Mary, for letting me use your design in today’s post!

P.S.  If you’re still looking for inspiration with a personal touch, please contact me about my monthly stamp camps.  I promise you a fun time creating cards, learning new techniques and, of course, maintaining a stash of ready-made cards.

Until next time, happy crafting!

Lisa

 

CASEing Part 1: It is okay to Copy And Share Everything!

In the world of paper crafting, it is perfectly fine to CASE – Copy And Share Everything.  Some people are naturally creative, while others may need inspiration in order to spark their creativity.  CASEing is one of the best ways for new stampers to learn the craft.  For many stampers, CASEing is a great way to find inspiration, to jump start your creative juices when you have no clue what to make, or to be creative when you are short on time.

The very best place for inspiration is the current Stampin’ Up! Catalog. It is filled with tons of terrific ideas to CASE – great layouts to showcase your stamps, clever project ideas to make, fresh color combinations, new ideas on how to use embellishments, etc.  And, the good news is that you probably already have many great SU products in your craft room just waiting to be used!   There is no shame in CASEing a design exactly (same stamp, same theme, and same colors) or in using the same design with a different stamp set or different theme or different color combination.

Sketches are very popular to CASE.  Sketches provide a general design layout that is open to interpretation!!  So you have the freedom to use the sketch exactly as presented or change it anyway you want!!  If the sketch calls for a circle design element, it is perfectly acceptable to substitute a square, a wooden heart embellishment or another design element that better suits your preferences or that uses products that you have available.

While I may start with a CASEed idea – such as a sketch, I may end up with something entirely different after my design decisions and product substitutions.  For example, Connie Stewart recently published this sketch on her website Simply Simple Stamping and on her Facebook page Stampin’ Gals Gone Wild where she hosts a weekly weekend challenge.  Connie posted these guidelines with her sketch:

  • The colors mean nothing – get creative!
  • The rectangles can be anything – Designer Paper, a banner, anything!  My measurements for the rectangles are 1 ½” x 3″
  • Those dots could be Washi tape, a stamped border, or Designer Paper

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Well, I wanted to make a Valentine’s Day theme card…..and this sketch sparked an idea.  As suggested, I used designer paper but I cut my pieces a little longer because I like making A7-sized cards.  My three rectangle pieces measure 1 ½ x 3 ½.  While the sketch aligned the three pieces at the very top of the card, I choose to depart from the sketch.  Instead, I double-matted the three rectangle pieces on Whisper White cardstock (cut 3 7/8” x 5 ¼”) and Crumb Cake cardstock (cut 4 1/8” x 5 ½”), and then centered and adhered the double-mat piece on a white A7 card blank.  Here is my design:

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Next, I die cut the letters L-V-E in Rose Red (about 1 ½” tall), and a small heart in Crumb Cake.  I had to play around with the exact placement of the letters and heart.  After I got it just right, I glued everything down.  As a finishing touch, I overlaid a small wooden heart.  So while not an exact copy of Connie’s sketch, my card is definitely inspired by her sketch!  

Design Details:  SU Love Blossoms Designer Series Paper Stack, a wooden heart from SU Sending Love Embellishments, Snail Adhesive, Fine Tip Glue, 1 ½” tall Alphabet dies, small heart framelit, and SU cardstock in Rose Red, Crumb Cake and Whisper White.

If you’re looking for inspiration, please check out Connie’s site at Simply Simple Stamping and these other blogs which host regular challenges CASEing design sketches, color combinations and themes:

Stay tuned for my next post on “CASEing Part 2:  How to Change a CASEed Design“

Happy Crafting!

Lisa

Simple Design Enhancements

Recently, I was challenged to take a previous card project and step up the design with a few simple changes.  Now in the normal course of things, I continue to fiddle with the design until it is pleasing — which is why I love every card I make.  But, this challenge requires taking a card that I’m already happy with and changing up the design!

Here is the original, masculine card I designed using a striking color combination of Whisper White, Basic Black and Bermuda Bay and using “One Wild Ride” stamp set from Stampin’ Up!  This card is actually one of the masculine cards from the gift set of home-made cards that I gave to my mother to use throughout the year.  I’m sure that one of my nephews will love receiving it later this year!

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With a few changes, I was able to step up the design using some metallic embellishments from the “Urban Underground” from the new SU Occasions catalog and some foil tape from Home Depot.  The hexagon nuts and the foil tape add some dimension and interest which complements the masculine design.   So, I was able to add some bling without making it girly!  LOL!

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How to Use Foil Tape

My up-line, Sherry Herzing, taught me this trick of using an $8 roll of HVAC Foil Tape to add dimension and to create intest on a card.  The foil tape is about 1 7/8 inches wide with a paper backing.  I peeled off the paper backing to expose the adhesive and mounted the foil tape on 2 ½ inch wide scrap of Basic Black cardstock, leaving a thin black border on either side of the foil tape.  And taking care to carefully align the piece inside the SU “Arrows” embossing folder, I ran it through my Big Shot Machine to create another metallic embellishment that looks like a tire tread.

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It was fun to make a few changes to step up my original design.  I’m sure that the recipient will love receiving either card!  Please leave a comment and let me know which card you liked best — the original (on the left) or the simple design changes (on the right).

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I look forward to seeing how you step up one of your designs with a few simple changes.

Happy Crafting!