Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Faux Designer Paper, Java Joy!

One of the inspirational publications that I use when paper crafting is Pat's Techniquejunkies. She publishes a newsletter and also posts the techniques on her website:

I'll be honest: I don't always have the time to play with new techniques. And recently, we had the big move to England, and that was a big disruption in my crafting life and my REAL life! LOL!

However, techniques are important for stampers because they challenge us to stretch the art of our stamping and create truly original pieces. I know, in a pinch, it's easy to pop onto a stamping site and CASE a birthday card for a friend. But when you have time, it's great to push yourself, try something new, and create a whole bunch of birthday, thank you, or friend cards all at once.

One of the techniques that recently caught my eye was the TJ Faux Designer Paper. I have a tendency to use the many 12x12 papers I've collected when I need a background. However, the colors don't always match the stamping inks that I have. Also, this technique enables you to use matching stamps in the background paper and foreground focal stamped images. And, it's nice to say that the entire card is handmade.

I used last year's Stampin' Up ink colors of Groovy Gauva and Sky Blue, along with VersaFine's Smokey Grey and a VersaMark pad for embossing. All the stamps are from Inkadinkado's clear sets, with the exception of the block floral stamp, which is a retired set from Stampin' Up.
Above and below are photos of the same thank you card, shot in halogen light (above) and natural light (below).

The card below is was used for the January Card Lottery for Stampers of England YahooGroup. The theme was a comforting cup of hot cocoa, tea or coffee. The stamps used were the same, except that I also threw in a border stamped image from Close to My Heart.

In the photos, you again can see this is the same card, shot in natural light and halogen light.

The halogen light actually brings out the warmth of the colors and the pearlescent embossing powder in the java stamp. But it also makes it difficult to read the stamp.

I skipped the final step of this TJ technique, which suggested ironing off the embossed image, which would have left a matte white flourish image. I still don't own a craft iron, and I didn't feel like pulling out my creaky old ironing board!! The background is not supposed to be shiny.

Speaking of the Stampers of England, we are currently looking for new members to join our friendly and cozy group. If you are interested, please click on the YahooGroups purple button in the upper right-hand corner of this blogspot. Or, you can link to our homepage:

We have regular activities and art swaps, and our group is supportive, friendly and inspirational. If you live in England and love to stamp or paper craft, we'd love to have you join us.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Very Baa Cards

If you are a crafter, you know how it goes after the holidays are over. Getting motivated to start a crafting project can be a real ordeal. More than likely, your craft space is still strewn with bits and pieces of the Christmas and New Year's madness, as you rushed to make the last of your cards and projects. You try to ignore the disastrous space for weeks; you even deny it exists! Eventually, you know you must wipe the gloom from your eyes and the clutter from your crafting desk.

Once you make a start, organize the area, and begin a new project, there is a feeling of renewal and invigoration. It also helps to have a new stamp set to try out!

I purchased a few new sets for my birthday from an ebay vendor selling Woodware Clear Magic Stamps. The Wooly Greetings stamps were especially beckoning to me, and I just couldn't resist these adorable sheep! So I decided to make some very baa cards!

As I got going, I really liked the way the cards came together, so I made Valentine's cards (Love Ewe), a birthday card for Diane (my dear friend in Houston), and I also made a Thank Ewe card for my sweet friend Catherine (who took me out for lunch in Epsom on my birthday, January 11).

I began by stamping and embossing the images in black. I then colored in the little flowers on the sheep body. It was all kind of stark, so I decided to use some shimmer mist to brighten up the background. I didn't want the sparkly blue shimmer mist to color the sheep body, so I cut out a mask and laid it over the body. Then I sprayed. By masking the image, the sheep really pops.

Once I started to play with the sheep image, I decided it needed embellishment. Perhaps something wooly? Immediately at hand was this pastel wool yarn that I purchased over the holidays from one of the vendors who has a weekly stall at the Leatherhead town market. The colors of the wool matched the flowers on the sheep body.

As I put it all together, I had to laugh because I kept thinking about the chocolate milk/brown cow joke. So I was thinking that a sheep with multicolored flowers in its wool would turn out multicolored wool! I don't know . . . it seemed funny while I was crafting! LOL!

As an added embellishments, I used some flower and heart jewels in strategic places.

The Valentine's cards will be part of an art swap on Stampers of England yahoogroup.