Saturday, 4 December 2010

Christmas Coloring

Sometimes, I find it can be very relaxing and enjoyable to slow down, color and paint my stamped images. This is great therapy if you've had a stressful week, and this week was one of those for me! We had lots of snow in England, and I ended up stuck in a snow traffic jam on Tuesday for seven hours. Arrrrggggggh! The best medicine for me was going to my craft table this week and stamping these sweet and gorgeous Elzybells images. Luminarte's Twinkling H20s were used in combination with Copic markers to color and paint.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Flourish of Ornaments

With Christmas quickly approaching, my stamping friends are looking for some ideas for making cards. This is one of the cards that I put together yesterday, inspired by a gorgeous Heather Prince's card on Split Coast Stampers website.

When I recently attended the European Stampin' Up Convention at nearby Addington Palace, I saw that lots of the ladies used the new ornament punch on their swap cards. Being the complete stamping addict that I am, of course I ordered the Ornament Punch with the matching Delightful Decorations stamp set in the current SU promotion, Bundle Up for Christmas. That meant I also received a free spool of Christmas ribbon, and I picked the wide Striped Grosgrain Ribbon in Riding Hood Red. I wish this ribbon was available all year 'round because it creates quite a dramatic statement!

You can see that I tried the card with four different ribbon combinations. The wide striped grosgrain is my absolute favorite, and the little peppermint swirl brad really plays well with the ribbon.

How to make the card: Begin by using River Rock ink to stamp a script background onto natural ivory cardstock (cut to 3.75 x 5 inches). Then over-stamp portions of the SU Baroque Motif stamp using Cherry Cobbler ink onto the bottom and left-hand edges of the card. Antique all edges of the card using your favorite distressing inks.

Punch out an ornament from designer cardstock and dangle the ornament from the top of the card using a thin decorative cord. Then adhere this layer onto the same designer cardstock (cut to 4 x 5.25 inches) that you used to make the ornament.

Finally, adhere these layers to the folded card (size 4.25 x 5.5 inches) in natural ivory, and glue on a ribbon.

Saturday, 13 November 2010

Christmas Card Class

It might be quite ambitious, but we are planning on making four very different Christmas cards at this Wednesday's card-making class at my home.

Recipe for the Snow Dasher card above:

  1. Ink: Cherry Cobbler, Marina Mist, Bashful Blue
  2. Cardstock: Cherry Cobbler, Marina Mist, Whisper White
  3. Designer Paper: BoBunny's Midnight Frost Crystals
  4. Stamp Sets: SU Dasher, SU Tiny Tags, and stars from SU Wondrous Gift
  5. Sponge Technique: Create 'mountains' in the background behind Dasher the reindeer by tearing paper to create a mask, and then sponge Marina Mist and Bashful Blue inks to make mountain peaks. The mountain range is a bit hard to see in the photo. Dazzling Diamonds are added in the foreground to create sparkling snow.
  6. Other: Jewelry Tag Punch for the little 'merry' tags

Recipe for the Snow Bird card above:

  1. Ink: Bashful Blue, Not Quite Navy
  2. Markers: Rose Red, Not Quite Navy, Bashful Blue
  3. Cardstock: Wild Wasabi, Rose Red, Whisper White, Naturals Ivory
  4. Stamp Sets: SU So Many Scallops (sentiment stamp), SU Vintage Vogue (on the body of the bird), large snowflake stamp
  5. Techniques: A circular window was cut out of the card by using a circular die. Interlocking circular dies were then used to create the sliver of a circular trim, which is adhered with a 2-way glue pen. Markers were used to color the sentiment stamp, which is then stamped on the inside of the card and peers through the circular window.
  6. Other Tools: SU Bird Punch, Circular Dies, Die Cutting Machine

The Snow Pine Cone card above is simple to make, but so elegant in its results! 
  1. Ink: Soft Suede
  2. Markers: Garden Green, Chocolate Chip
  3. Cardstock: Ivory, Wild Wasabi, Rose Red
  4. Stamp Sets: Pinecone is from SU Autumn Days; Merry Christmas is from SU Season of Joy 
  5. Techniques: Use a snowflake embossing folder on the ivory cardstock. Create a circular window by using a die; I've opted for something slightly more fancy by using one of Nellie's Multi Frame dies. I then used two interlocking circular dies to cut a trim from Wild Wasabi card to fit behind the fancy circular window. The pine cone stamp is colored with markers and then stamped on the inside of the card, so that it peeks through the window. Add glitter around the pine cone to create sparkling snow.
  6. Other Tools: Dazzling Diamonds glitter, Snowflake Embossing Folder, Nellie's Frames, Die Cutting Machine

The Snow Flowers card above was described in one of my earlier blog posts.

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Snow Flowers

This Christmas card features a handmade paper flower covered in 'snow,' or chunky and flaky glitter.

The card base is Stampin' Up Sahara Sand cardstock, trimmed with Wild Wasabi and Black. A faux stitch was drawn on with a thin black marker.

The lacy trimmed black embellishment was made with an eyelet border punch.

The sentiment stamp is SU's Season of Joy.

The flower is made from paper that has been punched with the 1 3/4-inch Scallop Circle Extra Large Punch. Four layers of scalloped circles were used. They were sprayed with glimmer mists and worked into the shape of a flower by rolling and curling. Chunky snow glitter and buttons tied with twine were added.

I love the simple lines, but sophisticated feel of this card, which we will be making during an upcoming class in November.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Halloween Sketch Card

If you ever get a bit bored with the standard-sized card, you can try a different shape, like this Halloween scalloped circular card.

I followed a sketch challenge from the Mojo Monday blog.

As you can see, they gave the option of a traditional square card or the circle, and I decided to think outside the square box!

The circular card is easy to make by using a large plastic scalloped template. Each scalloped circle was about 5.5 inches in diameter. In other words, I was able to get four scalloped circles from a 12-by-12-inch piece of designer cardstock.

The cards are simple to stick together, and I went to Julee Tilman's blog, Poetic Artistry, for a tutorial. If you visit her tutorial, you will see that she has used a Spellbinder's Nestability die to cut out her circles. They result in much smaller circular cards, but that makes them easier to put into the traditional A2 envelope (whereas my circular cards have to go into the larger square envelopes that often require more postage).

The pumpkin on these cards is from Stampin' Up's Autumn Harvest stamp set. They were colored with colored pencils, odorless mineral spirits, and blending stumps. The cards were part of a class that I taught recently, and I showed my friends how simple it is to use colored pencils to create stunning stamped images.

Wreath of Leaves

For a variation of the celebratory wreath cards created in the previous blog tutorial, you also can use the leaf stamp in the Stampin' Up Autumn Days set.

Friday, 24 September 2010

A Pheasant Stroll

I fell in love with Stampin' Up's Autumn Days and its majestic pheasant stamp the minute I laid eyes on the set and bought it at my first opportunity. I was quite gleeful when it arrived, and I spent many a day virtually drooling all over the box. However, I just couldn't figure out how to best use the stamps in a card design. This stamp set remained unused for a full year!

As I'm preparing to teach a Rubber Stamping Class in mid-October, I decided that it was well and truly time to dust off this poor neglected, yet loved, stamp set and create an autumnal card. I went to Split Coast Stampers Stampin' Up galleries for inspiration.

As I scrolled through hundreds and hundreds of cards using Autumn Days, I realized then that others must have struggled with capturing the pure beauty of the pheasant stamp, too. Other stamps in the set, such as the harvest wheat and winter pine cones, had been used to unmistakable grandeur. But the pheasant stamp had rarely been featured or shone in the best artistic light.

So . . . you can imagine my elation when I finally stumbled across Barbara Howell's creation, which you can see by clicking here. I took her card design and changed it a bit to result in my cards that you see pictured.

One of the best aspects of the pheasant stamp is that it is perfect for using markers to achieve a range of harmonic colors. I used five different shades of Stampin' Up markers. Use the lighter shades first and begin coloring the rubber stamp. Try not to cover over colors. Right before stamping the colored image on your cardstock, huff/breathe on the rubber stamp to moisten the inks.

To make the background, I used Stampin' Up's brand new designer paper, Newsprint. The technique to create the background is very easy. The berry branch stamp from Autumn Days was inked in Cherry Cobbler and stamped onto the Newsprint cardstock. Then the paper was crumbled into a ball. As I flattened out the paper, I antiqued and distressed the creased folds and edges with Soft Suede and Crumb Cake inks.

Mounting cardstock used included black, Not Quite Navy and Cajun Craze. The happy birthday stamp is a brand new Stampin' Up set called Perfect Punches, and it works wonderfully to nestle under the arch of the pheasant tale!

This card is perfect to give as an autumn card or a year-round masculine birthday card. I seem to always have way too many floral cards, and this makes a great change. Thank you, Barbara, for your inspiration!

This card will be among two other designs that I will teach on Oct. 13.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Art of Life

I must admit that I have a hard time putting down my Copic alcohol markers when coloring in stamped images. However, I do also love my Stampin' Up Watercolor crayons, which I've had for about five years. There are some stamps that naturally lend themselves to watercoloring, especially floral stamps.

One of my favorite stamp sets is an old Stampin' Up Hostess Set called Art of Life. It was one of the first stamp sets I acquired, and I still love using it. To provide more stamping accuracy and flexibility, I've taken the stamps off their original wooden mounts, and use them with acrylic block handles. I've even cut the flowers away from the stems, and this enables me to color the two parts differently.

I began by stamping a watercolored image of the stems, first using a paler shade of green and then having the central, focal stem in a darker green. The flowers were stamped similarly with the background flowers slightly lighter, and the central flower a darker pink.

There are a couple of ways to use the watercolor crayons. I prefer using a sponge to lightly dampen the rubber stamp. Then I rub the chosen color or colors over the rubber. You can use more than one crayon color to provide two tones or shading/highlights. Or, you can stamp the image a second time with a different shade. The watercolor crayons are so versatile, and every image you stamp comes out slightly different. The amount of water used also will affect your results, so play around!

As usual, I'm never happy designing just one layout, so I've made several different cards. In almost all of them, I used the SU watercolor vine wheel with Mellow Moss ink.

Thursday, 10 June 2010

Father's Day Card

I used the Stampin' Up Loads of Love stamp set to create this year's Father's Day card for my dad in Texas. I also made a similar card for dear hubby.

The wide open images of this stamp set lend well to shading and coloring with alcohol markers.

I also made a more general card with a tag, Loads of Love. I liked the way the DCWV patterned paper sort of looks like a highway with another piece resembling the trees!

These were fun cards to make, and I sure hope the Father's Day card arrives in Texas in time! Love ya, Dad :-)

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

A Quiet Life

Let's face it . . . I need another stamp like I need a hole in the head! However, being addicted to stamps, this set of four English cottages by Crafty Individuals was more than I could resist.

After an idyllic visit to Shere in Surrey, just a stone's throw away from our home, I came away with lots of inspiration on making these cards. Shere, which has been used for a handful of film sets (including The Holiday), feels like a village stuck in time with charming cottages, traditional pubs and tea rooms, and majestic old church.

I cobbled together a few elements to make these cards, including the Crafty Individuals stamp set and a gorgeous Stampin' Up stamp called Very Vintage, which is sold as a stamp wheel. I also remembered in my vast stamp collection a Stampin' Up set called A Quiet Life, which has the perfect sentiment: 'What sweet delights a quiet life affords.' - William Drummond

I began by stamping the cottage stamps onto Whisper White card stock and then coloring with alcohol markers. The look was still too stark for this nostalgic design, so I put the cottages onto thin cardboard, gluing them down and then glazing them with an antique decoupage finish.

The cards were enhanced with shimmery brown ribbon. But the crowning glory were some vintage buttons, which I procured from a fellow artisan (Creative Crucible) selling her wares in Shere at a village fair. I love buttons, and I find each one a treasure that has its own story and can complete a craft project that is otherwise lacking.

Friday, 28 May 2010

Altered Tins -- Again!

My crafty friends know that I love to create altered art. I can take a discarded tea or chocolate tin or an old box and turn it into a decorative and functional item.

I used to make a lot of altered pieces, which I would use as end-of-year teachers' gifts -- usually the boxes and tins would be stuffed with chocolate. However, my moody teenager son told me that they don't do gifts for teachers any more. That would be the height of embarrassing to tote in gifts. Poor teachers!

However, I've been itching to do some more altering, and I've been saving some perfectly sized boxes and tins for the last year. I decided to show some of the ladies in my crafting group how to alter using glue and designer patterned paper.

One of my friends, Ruthann, picked out some gorgeous paper to use on her box. I loved it so much that I had to copy hers! The altered tea tin that I made was inspired by Ruthann's design.

Sunday, 9 May 2010

Home Tweet Home

I had a chance to pull out my Copic markers and color some images after downloading them from a cool website, Pink Petticoat.

For those of you addicted to coloring with alcohol markers, you know how they can transport you to your childhood, when you were allowed to endlessly scribble in coloring books! It's quite therapeutic coloring with these markers, and I love to participate in art swaps featuring Copic markers.

The backing papers for most of my cards are from Stampin' Up, and they seem to match the funkiness and quirkiness of these Petticoat houses.

You will notice that I haven't used a lot of sentiment stamps on the cards. I've discovered lately that I never seem to have just the right card with the right sentiment when I need it. Therefore, I decided to keep these simple, and I can add sentiment stamped images later.

These happy and springy cards are perfect to send for any occasion.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Vintage Faces

Another art swap this month with the England Stampers has a theme of Vintage Ladies, made as a card or ATC.

My creation is a card, but smaller than usual at 3.25 x 4.25 inches. I had a particular Magenta stamp of a woman's face that I wanted to use for this project. Instead of stamping onto cardstock, I used 2 x 2-inch cardboard tiles.

Before stamping the image, I dabbed the tile in Stampin' Up Very Vanilla, which has great coverage. The tiles were allowed to dry naturally overnight.

In the morning, I stamped the face with Memento brown ink, which provides very nice detail and dries quickly. The lips and eyes were colored with alcohol markers, but the rest of the tinting was accomplished with SU chalks. Crystal Effect was used to seal the tile when finished. This takes quite some time to dry; don't force it! When dry, the gold edge was applied. a gold acrylic paint works great.

While everything was drying, that was a perfect time for me to use a die stencil to cut out and emboss the keys using SU gold cardstock. The keys were distressed with brown ink afterward.

Flowers were adorned on the side of the tile to give an illusion of a flower behind the girl's ear. While one flower was purchased, the other five-point flower was made with a SU punch and grunge cardstock. It was colored with stamp ink, coated with clear crackle paint, allowed to dry, distressed with brown ink, and enhanced with crystal glitter. A pink rhinestone was added, too.

Vintage Teddy Bear

In one of our latest art swaps at England Stampers, we are creating cards with cute animal images and stamps.

Once I started to plan out my design, I realized that I have very few cute animal stamps! I guess my issue is that, although I like cute animal stamps, I'm very picky and I don't like images with big eyes and naive drawings. I even went in search of digital images that I could color, but I struck out on that front, too.

Finally, I found in my stash a Penny Black clear stamp set with teddy bears. The teddy is wearing a little sailor top, and it so reminded me of an antique child's bowl with teddy. I guess this indicates how often I watch antique shows -- from Bargain Hunt to the Antiques Road Show!

I decided to take this image in my head and try to make the cute teddy look vintage. However, if you are wanting to make a quick and easy card, this is not the project!

You can see I made several variations of the card. I began by stamping my image and coloring it with Copic markers. Blue glimmer spray was sponged on to create a bit of blue sky in the background.

Then, I tried a couple different methods to make the image look old, like a nicely worn and loved child's bowl. I used VersaMark and thick embossing crystals in one image, and I cracked the piece when it was cool and dry and applied brown stamp ink to antique. I didn't like the results that much, so I switched to a clear crackle paint, which takes ages to dry. Once it did, I could rub in the brown ink. I had best results when I rubbed the brown ink around the edges of the image instead of all over the face of the teddy. Oh well . . . live and learn . . . creating is a very fluid process!

I had recently used the background designer paper for another project, and it really felt right for this one, too. You can see, I tried lots of different layering options, including using a die frame to create frames.

I tried out different embellishments to finish off the card. I liked the image of the bear and the effect of the layering, so I decided not to use a sentiment on the front of the card. That gives me the option to add something inside the card before I send it.