Thursday, 26 October 2017

Tag, You're it!

While Cricut cutters and Silhouette machines are the popular means of cutting design bits and pieces these days, I've gone a bit "old school" with these Christmas gift tags. I used a Lasting Impressions Embossing Template and some various Christmas designer paper.

While you can use a stylus and light table to emboss the paper through the metal template, I used a Sizzix Big Shot. Here's a youtube video by Rhonda Palazarri that explains how you set up your Big Shot to emboss with either plastic or metal stencils.

After embossing the Lasting Impressions gift tag, use a craft sanding block to rough up the raised embossing areas.

The embossed image can be left in one piece; or the artwork can be cut up and reassembled onto another tag. Use Tim Holtz Distress Oxide pad in Antique Linen to distress the edges of the tag.

Finish with a ribbon.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Warm Nordic Mittens

Chilly weather, warm mittens, Christmas cards . . . 

Stuff you need:

  • Sizzix Tim Holtz Holiday Knit 2 Embossing Folder 
  • Big Shot Machine with platform and plates
  • Tim Holtz Distress Oxide Ink Pad – Faded Jeans
  • Stampin' Up! Dapper Denim and Real Red ink pad
  • Stampin' Up! Make a Mitten Rubber Stamp Set
  • Light and medium blue card stock
  • Coordinating designer paper

Open up the embossing folder and ink inside with the Faded Jeans Oxide pad. Note: rub the oxide pad onto the inside of the plastic folder where the black design shows through, making sure the ink goes into the crevices.

Insert a piece of medium to dark blue cardstock (cut to 4  1/8 x 5  1/4 inches) into the embossing folder. Sandwich it in-between the plates and run it through the Big Shot.

Use Dapper Denim or Real Red to ink up the mittens and stamp. Cut out the mittens. If you want “interactive” mittens that hang free (see below), you will need two pairs of mittens (4 pieces).

Pick a complementary designer paper and cut a 4 1/8-by-1 1/2-inch strip. Use a distressing tool to rough up the edges of this decorative strip.

Use a button punch to put two holes in the center of this decorative strip. Insert a string or piece of yarn into the holes and through a coordinating button. Tie a bow. The trimmed-out mittens will hang from the bottom of the string.

Put pop-up adhesives onto the back of this decorative strip and stick it to the top of the card.

Stamp a sentiment/greeting on white cardstock. Adhere the greeting/sentiment to a light blue strip of cardstock (using snail adhesive). Rough up the edges of the blue card strip using a distressing tool.

Put pop-up adhesive on the back of this blue strip and stick it the bottom of the card.

For the mittens:

If you want free hanging mittens, use fast-drying liquid glue and sandwich the string between a front and back mitten piece.

If you want to secure the mittens in place, use pop-up adhesives on the back of a mitten. Stick it down over the string and onto the card.

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Church in the Pines

My charity card-making class is coming up in mid-August, so I've been crafting another Christmas card to teach the ladies. I wanted to stretch them a little bit with watercoloring, without OVER stretching them!!

This detailed stamp from Northwoods Rubber Stamps (Church in the Pines) looks like it might be hard to color. However, if you use "block" coloring, you can fill in the spots rather quickly.

I've uploaded a video on how I colored this stamped image, if you'd like to click HERE to take a look.

The results are better if you use watercolor paper, as opposed to white cardstock.

I used markers to color the church (SU So Saffron and Summer Sun, and Ruby Red for trim around windows and roof). The sidewalk is colored with SU Sahara Sand marker. The edges of the snowy hills are outlined with a SU Pool Party marker. I purposely scribbled on these colors quickly to prove that 1) it doesn't take much time to color and 2) no special skills are required! You can use any colors and any brand markers to achieve this look.

The trees were colored using Tim Holtz Distress Stains and a aqua brush: start with Cracked Pistachio all over, and then use Mowed Lawn (and water for blending).
The sky was colored using Tim Holtz Distress Stains direct from the bottle, using the built-in applicator: Tumbled Glass was applied on the entire sky area; Salty Ocean was applied on 2/3 of the sky; and Stormy Sky was applied to only 1/3 of the top edge.

Take white craft/art glue (which dries clear), water it down a little bit, and use a paintbrush to spread it on the roof of the church and all the snowy hills in the foreground. Sprinkle diamond glitter on those areas.

The coloring and glittering of this image took only minutes.

Finish the card with a sentiment and embellishments. My card featured a "Merry Christmas" stamp from Stampin' Up! (Four the Holidays).

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Graceful Peony

Lately, watercoloring has completely dominated my art room and card-making. I use a variety of media in my watercoloring endeavors, including:

  • Tim Holtz Distress Crayons
  • Tim Holtz Distress Stains (love these!)
  • Old retired Stampin' Up! watercolor crayons (wish they'd bring back these marvelous creamy colorful crayons!)
  • Old school watercolor cake paints (such as Bianyo 36-color set)
  • ColourArte's Twinkling H20s

I recently stumbled across digital artwork (or digi stamps) by Graciellie Design. The openness of her floral pieces lends to watercoloring. I fell in love with her peony in the Amazing Things digital stamp set, so naturally, I had to buy and download it!
Following the suggestions on Gracie's blog posting, I printed the peony image in gray on my inkjet printer so that the lines of the peony would almost dissolve under the watercolor paints. However, I went back with a light gray paint and reinforced some of the lines when I thought the image looked too unformed.

In my first experiment, I tried high-end white cardstock for painting. Wrong move. The watercolors sat on top of the card and didn't become "one" with the paper. On the second attempt, I cut down a piece of 9x12-inch watercolor paper to letter size (8.5x11 inches) and ran it through the inkjet. I printed about four peonies per letter-size page. If you are running watercolor paper through your printer, you want to have the right weight; I used Canson XL Watercolor 9x12-inch pad -- 140lb.
The watercolor paper is like magic when working with watercolor paints. You have time to mix and blend and watch the flower come to life. You can go back, even after the piece is dry, and continue to alter and enhance the image until you are happy.
For coloring, I began the process by first using a very light pink watercolor crayon and scribbled it onto the entire flower. Then I took a brush and water and blended the light base color (you could use an aqua brush). From there, I played with all kinds of paints to achieve the look I wanted. You can probably tell that some of the paints were put on undiluted, while others were watered down and blended.

Each flower and card is therefore different.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

A Cup of Tea, For You, For Me


Tea: Comfort in a cup and the perfect drink to share with a friend! 

Prepare your card.  The finished card is the typical US-size of 4.25 x 5.5 inches. I used white cardstock as my base.

Make a picture frame.I selected designer cardstock (My Mind's Eye Love Nest) and cut out "picture frames" using a Spellbinder rectangular die. The outside edges of the frame are 4.25 x 5.5 inches; the internal hole of the frame is 2.75 x 3.75. However, you can choose any size rectangle, depending on the dies you have at hand.

Pick a teapot, any teapot. You can use any teapot and teacup stamp to create this card. I used a very sweet tea cup and pot created by artist Elizabeth of Elzybells.

Stamp away! This card is easier to make if you have a stamping platform -- such as the Sweet Petunia MISTI or Tim Holtz Stamping Platform. Such tools help you to place the two stamps in just the right place and also repeat the process if you are making more than one card.

Cut a piece of white cardstock to 3.5 x 4.5 inches. Place it inside your MISTI. Position the stamps the way you like them.

Ink the stamps with VersaMark. After stamping, use dark brown OR red embossing powder and heat set. I used Moon Glow's Hollyberry Red God, which has a nice shimmer to it.

Once embossed, then you can color the teapot and cup with water-based markers, watercolors, alcohol markers, etc. I used Tim Holtz Distress Stains because I like their control and watercolor effect. Here are the color combinations I used on my card:

  1. Use a small amount of Tea Dye to color the tea in the cup. 
  2. Pick light colors (such as Antique Linen or and Worn Lipstick) to begin coloring the teapot. 
  3. Move onto a darker color (such as Barn Door, Festive Berries or Candied Apples) and blend with water as needed.
  4. On the edges, use the above color, undiluted, to finish the edges.

Create a smudged and distress effect around the teapot/cup and edges of the card with Tim Holtz Distress Ink. Dab application sponges onto a Tea Dye ink pad and swirl it around the edges of the card, trying not to get too close to the teapot/cup. Then, use another application sponge with Tim Holtz Distress Oxide Worn Lipstick, repeating the process.

Add some glittery spray. First, on a scrap piece of cardstock, stamp and then cut out the teapot and teacup. Use these pieces as protective masks and lay them over your stamped/embossed images. Now you can *lightly* spritz some glittery spray. I used Pink Gumball Perfect Pearls Mist. The Oxide Worn Lipstick will react with the spray, leaving interesting spots and distress bits.

Use adhesive and adhere the frame over the top of the distressed teacup and teapot layer.

Create Labels. You can use any sentiments for this card; however, you don't want the text size to be too big. You can see that I used a label die to cut out the sentiment and a background of complementary designer cardstock. Adhere the sentiment label with pop-up adhesive.

Embellish. Add a bow or some other embellishments that you fancy to finish the card.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Birthday Balloons

These birthday balloon cards are part of a charity card-making class that I'm leading at our church. Every November, our church holds a Christmas bazaar, so we are getting ready early! Hopefully, we'll have enough cards and things to sell in the autumn!
These cards feature Stampin' Up!'s Balloon Celebration stamp set, as well as the set Label Love, which I used for the sentiment.

Both sets have coordinating punches -- for the balloon and the label -- which is a great time saver when you don't have to trim out stamped images by hand.
The balloon stamp is actually three pieces -- outline stamp, solid stamp, and a shadow stamp. Here are the ink pads that I used to color the stamps:

Lost Lagoon – both outline and shadow stamps
Coastal Cabana – solid balloon

Watermelon Wonder – both outline and shadow stamps
Calypso Coral ink pad – solid balloon

Crushed Curry – both outline and shadow stamps
Daffodil Delight – solid balloon
After the balloons dry, use the balloon punch to cut out the pieces. Cut 5 to 6-inch baker's twine and glue to the back of the balloons. The strings will be trimmed later.
The Stampin' Up! Designer Paper Series used in this project is Birthday Bash and other solid Stampin' Up! cardstock in various coordinating colors.

There are at least five layers of paper on this card, including a frame I made from two square dies.
Once the layers are adhered onto the card, begin arranging the balloons. The top right balloon should look like it is blowing away in the wind. I used some pop-up adhesives to create dimension with the balloons.
After you have the balloons where you want them, use a thick piece of baker's twine to gather the balloon strings together; trim the balloon strings. Glue the thick baker's twine in place.

Stamp the Happy Birthday stamp onto white cardstock; punch it out. Then punch a coordinating piece of cardstock.
You can see how I cut the colored cardstock to act as a trim behind the Happy Birthday stamped image.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Happy Hyacinth!

With spring somewhere around the corner, this gorgeous hyacinth image was a cheery choice for my watercolor experiments.

The hyacinth image is from Stampin' Up!'s Helping Me Grow set. I used a clear VersaMark ink pad to stamp the image, and then sprinkled it with a fine black embossing powder and used a heat gun to emboss the image. As mentioned in the previous post, the embossed lines trap the Distress Stains as you color the image.

When using Tim Holtz Distress Stains for watercoloring, you want to start with your lighter colors first. You can even water down these light subtle shades before painting. The water will open up the fibers in the watercolor paper, allowing subsequent layers of color to move and grab the paper. Move on to medium and darker shades next, mixing the stains with water or using them full strength. Water can be used to help blend colors on the paper.

Finish off your card with ribbons, eyelets and sentiments.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Happy to Grow!

I've used lots of different products over the years to watercolor images, but this was my first time to paint with Tim Holtz Distress Stains. I have to say that these stains are incredibly easy to use.

Inspired by other stampers, I embossed the SU Helping Me Grow image onto watercolor paper first, using white ink and embossing powder.

The difference between these two cards is the thickness of the embossing powder. The card on top used a fine white embossing powder that created thinner lines; the bottom card has Melt Art Ultra Thick Embossing Enamel. They create two different looks, and I would suggest sticking with a finer embossing powder so that the stains don't seep out of the embossed area.

When I lived in Asia many moons ago, I occasionally played with batik paint on fabric. This technique reminded me of batik, as the Distress Stains spread out and are captured within the embossed lines.

I used a newly acquired Unity Stamp Company sentiment (May Your Day Be Full of Happy), which also was embossed with white ink and powder.

This technique would be especially easy to teach to novice stampers because it is so forgiving, yet so enjoyable.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Anything is Possible

I have lots of friends who adore their tea, and I often send birthday cards to my tea-obsessed friends. While I can make a traditional birthday card, I often like to send tea-themed cards, so I am always on the search for new tea-related stamps.
When Verve Stamps came out with both tea and coffee-inspired sets, One Cup and Coffee, I was quick to order them, along with the coordinating dies. I am hesitant to confess this to tea friends, but I also like my coffee!
The Verve website has a handful of card samples to provide inspiration, such as the cards I made here. These cards are very easy to make and straightforward. The only quasi "technical" thing I did was cutting apart the stacked cups to mix different patterns. You can see below that I used black ink (Memento Tuxedo Black) to stamp the image onto some patterned designer papers.  I used the coordinating Verve die to cut out the patterned stacked cups and also some white card stock cups to use as a base. Then I trimmed out individual cups and glued those pieces onto the white die cutout base.

Sunday, 5 February 2017

A Little Birdie Told Me

Not only is the Stampin' Up "Best Birds" stamp set adorable, but it has a matching Thinlits Die Set. Let's face it: who really enjoys cutting out stamped images? I'd much rather use my Sizzix Big Shot and knock out some dies on the fly.
The Copic Markers were called into action for coloring the birds and branches in these cards. In addition to the SU Best Birds stamp set, all the cards (except the one below) include sentiment stamps from Stampin' Up.
I absolutely love the "little bird told me" birthday sentiment stamp that I used on the card above. It's an Inkadinkado stamp that I've owned for about 10 years.
The card above includes a moon made from the Stampin' Up 2 1/2-inch punch. A sponge with SU Marina Mist ink gave the moon its illumination.
The card above and below uses a bit of masking and ink sponging to create the sun silhouette. I used the SU 2 1/2-inch punch to create the masks.
All these techniques are incredibly easy, so give them a try!

Thursday, 2 February 2017

Glitzy Mermaid

One of my dearest friends, Diane, had a January birthday, and I wanted to create a mermaid card for her as she loves mermaids. It's hard finding just the right mermaid image that isn't too over the top (or without a top) or too cutsy!!
I stumbled across Sherri Baldy's illustrations, and this gorgeous mermaid spoke to me. I colored the mermaid image with Prismacolor pencils and Copic markers. Different background papers and embellishments were used, too.
I sure hope Diane liked it, too! 
Happy Birthday, Diane!!