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.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Autumn Days Celebratory Wreath

Once again, I've featured Stampin' Up's Autumn Days stamp set in making this celebratory autumn wreath card.

The wreath was made by using a combination of colors to ink up the berry branch stamp  -- Cajun Craze, More Mustard, Cherry Cobbler and Always Artichoke.

In the Thanks So Much card (above), the wreath and salutation have been stamped onto Confetti White cardstock, and Naturals Ivory cardstock is peeking through the back of the circle. The cardstock with the wreath has been antiqued with a light tan (in this case, craft ink, or SU's Crumb Cake).

How to Make the Wreath: Begin by drawing a circle with a pencil onto your background cardstock.

You can use a stencil or anything that has a circle shape to draw your circle. I used a plastic circle with a 3.5-inch diameter; but you also can use the inside of a tape roll, as pictured.

Stamp the berry branch in one direction around the pencilled circle. After the wreath is dry, you can erase any pencil marks.


Using a self-healing mat and a plastic circle template, 

you'll want to cut out the 2-inch-diameter center of the wreath.

Then further punch or cut a 1 3/4-inch circle from that piece.

You will be stamping a greeting on this smaller circle, such as SU's Sincere Salutations, which I used. Choose your ink to match your overall layout. In both instances, I inked up with Cajun Craze. 

The Birthday Wishes Wreath was layered onto Certainly Celery cardstock. The circular salutation as been adhered with dimensional adhesive to lift it slightly. Certainly Celery colored ribbon was added as an embellishment, but you could use any coordinating ribbon.

Although I have used both Confetti White and Naturals Ivory for these cards, any white or ivory cardstock will work beautifully. In both instances, I have used patterned designer cardstock to make the bottom layer of the card.

VARIATION: If you don't want to cut out a circular window on your wreath card, you can take the easier option of layering circles on top instead. The look will be a little different, but you might find it slightly easier. For example, in the card above, the Birthday Wishes circle is 1.75 inches in diameter; the plain Certainly Celery circle is about 2.25 inches.

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, 14 September 2010

Mama-Razzi Mini Album

If you are wondering why it's been so long since my last posting, I spent the summer in Colorado away from my crafting supplies. While I had a FABULOUS time in Colorado, it is nice to be home in England -- and reunited with my 'toys.'

Now that I've returned to my creative studio, the first thing I made was this BoBunny Mama-Razzi mini album, which I plan to give as a gift.

I brought six of these BoBunny albums back in my luggage from the US, and I plan to teach this class kit to some of my crafty friends here in England.

The kit comes with instructions, but I didn't always follow them -- as usual! I needed to make the album a bit more masculine because it is a gift for my son's summer fishing coach and friend.

The original instructions include flowers and slightly different embellishments and layout. The kit contains so much extra stuff that it's very easy to alter the album to your personal tastes. I had enough left over materials that I could almost make another mini album!

By the way, the class kit contained:

•Mama-razzi Paper Collection

•Mama-razzi Cut Outs and Combo Sticker Sheet

•6" x 6" Inserts

•Assorted ribbon, flowers, buttons and bling, and metal binder rings

•Full page color instructions

•Text Sheet

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.