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Saturday, February 17, 2018

Die-cut Mini Masterpiece

It's one of my resolutions this year to do a Christmas card or tag each month of the year, into the Fall. I will make 10-12 of each design. I'm doing this because since I make all of my cards and tags, I have realized that getting them done is one of the biggest stresses on me during the Holiday season. I really think I will enjoy it more if I get them done earlier in the year. I don't know if anyone else feels this way, but in case you would like to see them, I plan to post one of each design, hoping this will inspire you. I'm a little behind already! Here's my first card, and I love how it turned out.


This design is based on the Mini Masterpieces that we did in a class by Sally Penley. You can look at my Mini Masterpieces from last year here, here and here. This is also a great design for any other type of card such as Happy Birthday, Thank You and Thinking of You. (Sally is still teaching the Mini Masterpiece class, so if you are local, I highly recommend it. You will get so much from this class. You can access her website here to sign up for her classes or buy her beautiful artwork.

If you are not a calligrapher yourself, choose a beautiful stamp for the sentiment, as I did here. This is my current favorite Magenta Merry Christmas stamp. I am also hoping that soon some of Sally's amazing calligraphy may be available in stamps through Magenta. I will definitely let you know when that happens.

To create the background, you basically make a master sheet with color and bling, and cut it up. Here are a couple of my latest ones. I think they look like a hot mess until you cut them up. I used acrylic paint on these. What doesn't show well in the photo is the stickles, and ironed-on foil I used to bling them up. I did use some gold acrylic paint on these. You can also use any other medium that you like to make these, such as watercolor.


In the past, we have cut the sheets up into 2" squares, like these shown here


You mat these, put them on a card with a nice sentiment below, and you have a beautiful card.

I also like the idea of die-cutting them, like fancy patterned paper; and I will explore this further in future posts. My card above is the first of these using die cuts that I have tried.

One thing that can help you when you are die cutting your pieces is to create a "finder" window. Simply choose your die-cut and then cut it out of a plain piece of white cardstock. Use that to "find" the perfect place to cut. This is a great tip that I got from Marj Marion, a long time teacher and associate at Art 'n Soul. So much of what I know I learned from her!


You can see some of the stickles and foil I added to the above master sheet. I especially love the foil glints that were added by just placing pieces of Deco foil over the finished, dried sheet (with the pretty side of the foil up) and just ironing it. I used a seam presser iron that has a smallish triangular tip that is used in sewing to press seams. It works perfectly for adhering foil to acrylic paint. I added foil to this one a couple of weeks after I made it and the foil still stuck very well to thicker areas of the acrylic paint. There is also a foil glue that you can put over your piece (especially if you are not using acrylic paint) and that will work the same way to allow your foil to adhere. I found it in pen form here.

Products Used and some Tips

I want to say use what you have for a similar look. Most of the products for this card and similar projects are from my stash and I have lost track of where some of them came from. I will list those that I know. 
The gold ribbon is a thin, wired ribbon - maybe from Michaels? 
The top of the ornament is thin, silver Washi tape
Acrylic paints are: some from Ranger's Dyan Reavely, some are borrowed tube acrylics. Anything you have should work fine. I also have some Martha Stewart paints that are pretty, especially the pearly colors. Ranger Distress colors would also be great.
This Magenta Merry Christmas stamp is a must-have. You can click on the link below to order it from Magenta.
07.462.I Merry Christmas
Stitched Rectangle die from Die-namics MFT-463 Blueprints 13 die set (this cuts a rectangle exactly 4" x 5.25" and I use it a lot)
Memory Box 98917 Traditional Ornament (this die seems to have been discontinued, but as of the date of this post, I found it on Starlit Studios here. Don't know how long they will have it. I highly recommend this website for online sales by the way. It's a small store, owned by a mom. Very good customer service. Alternately, you could use any solid ornament you may have).
Gold Deco Foil (Most foils will work, but I like Deco Foil from Therm o Web...it's thicker and more sturdy and they have lots of great colors)
Various Stickles (any color of Stickles will work. I put a blob down and gently smear it with my finger. It makes a beautiful swipe of glittery color).
Black Sharpie pens of various widths
Strathmore watercolor cardstock - I like the 140# and the pads with the brown cover (400 series). I also like Tim Holtz watercolor cardstock because it's white, and so the white spaces in your artwork are actually white instead of cream. The largest TH paper though is only 8.5 x 11, and if you are cutting your pieces into squares, it doesn't come out even. If you are die-cutting, this is not an issue.
Stardream Jupiter cardstock - used for the red mat behind the white panel. I cut it to 4 1/8" x 5 3/8"
The black square is a black linen cardstock of unknown provenance cut to 2.25" x 2.25" Black makes the image pop, but use any color mat that works well with your colors
Neenah Solar White Classic Crest  cardstock 110# for the base card, and 80# for the front panel

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentines Day everyone! I don't make a lot of Valentines, but I made two this year for a couple of friends that I thought would enjoy them. They are almost exactly alike.


The heart in this one was made from a panel of watercolor cardstock on which I had added Nuance powder in a variety of colors and sprayed. I particularly liked the spray pattern on this. Here's a close-up


The heart on the second card is from a panel that was stencil stamped


Here's a close up. I have posts about how to do stencil stamping here (scroll down), here and here amoung others.


Unfortunately the stencil I used on this heart is a Magenta one that was discontinued, but you can get the same look with any stencil that has about the same amount of negative and positive space. I used Picked Raspberry, Spiced Marmalade and Wild Honey Distress inks for this heart.

I cut these hearts out with the Hero Arts DI334 Nesting Hearts Infinity die set. I love this set! It has 10 heart dies, the largest being 4.66" x 4.11", and the smallest being .27" x .23". The hearts are a nice shape and the dies are open, so that you can place them on a colored panel to cut it in just the right place to capture the look you want.

The rectangular background panel is something that I already had in my stash. It illustrates ink blending over emboss resist. You can see this technique demonstrated in a previous post here. I made lots of panels where I stamped with Versamark ink, using a large background stamp, and embossed it with JudiKins Iridescent Sparkle embossing powder. You can't see it in these pictures, but what looks like white in the background is actually very very sparkly, almost like lines of glitter. It's beautiful in real life. You can also use other embossing powder for this technique, such as opaque white or White Diamond. 

The background panel that I had was 4" x 5.25" and I cut it in half and use half for each of these cards. The stamp I used on this panel was Impression Obsession CC024 Tapestry Cover a Card.

The Happy Valentine's Day sentiment was die cut with a Mama Elephant die out of glossy black cardstock on which I had applied Stick-It adhesive to the back.

The background strip, heart and sentiment were adhered to a panel of Neenah Solar White 80# cardstock that was die cut with the stitched rectangle die from Die-Namics MFT 643 Blueprints 13. This die cuts a rectangle that is exactly 4" x 5.25" and has a stitched edge. I matted the panel with a slightly larger piece of Stardream Flame cardstock, and the whole thing was mounted to a base card of Neenah Solar White 110# cardstock.

I hope you enjoyed these. I did a Zentangle square recently that I think I will make into a Valentine for my hubby. He didn't photograph this, so it's not a great picture, but here it is. I will probably add some color to it before it's turned into a card.



Products Used:
Magenta Nuance
Magenta Stencil TM79 (discontinued)
Hero Arts DI334 Nesting Hearts Infinity Dies
Mama Elephant Valentine's Day die
Die-Namics MFT 643 Blueprints 13 die set
Impression Obsession CC024 Tapestry Cover-a-Card
Distress inks: Picked Raspberry, Orange Marmalade, Wild Honey
Distress inks for background: Fired Brick, Orange Marmalade, Carved Pumpkin
JudiKins Iridescent Sparkle embossing powder
Versamark ink
Stick-It Adhesive
Tim Holtz Watercolor cardstock
Neenah Solar White 80# & 100# cardstock
Stardream Flame cardstock
Black glossy cardstock


Monday, February 12, 2018

Thanks For All You Do

I have an amazing friend who gives of herself to others so selflessly (I have a number of friends like this, and count myself very lucky). I recently asked her if she would help me make a portable ironing surface. She sews beautifully and I do not. She was very gracious in doing so, and also in providing everything I needed. Scroll down in this post to see what we made (and keep scrolling to the end - I will show you a tip that helps me keep my cutting plates from getting warped).

In my friend's studio, she had the most beautiful quilted panels with bamboo images, so I made her this card with one of the Oxide backgrounds I had previously made.


To make this card, I first took my green Distress Oxide inks (Twisted Citron, Cracked Pistachio, Peeled Paint, and Lucky Clover) and pressed them onto my craft mat. I spritzed the inks with water and then dragged a piece of Neenah Solar White 80# cardstock through them. (You can see more about this method in my previous post here). After this panel was dry, I flicked Peerless Gold watercolor all over it.

I die cut the panel using Memory Box 30038 Stitched Square Layers. I then die cut the Memory Box 99915 Bamboo Stitched Circle Frame from Curious Metallics Super Gold cardstock and glued it to the square panel. The panel was adhered to a base card of Neenah Solar White 110# cardstock.

I die-cut the "thanks" sentiment using Simon Says Stamp S202 thanks die. This die and coordinating stamp set was actually designed by Memory Box as part of the Simon Says Stamp Stamptember celebration last year. The "for all you do" was stamped in Lucky Clover Distress Oxide ink. This stamp is from the coordinating stamp set SSS101347 Thanks, designed by Memory Box for Simon Says Stamp. I embossed the sentiment with clear embossing powder.


This is another shot of the card, trying to show how pretty the Peerless watercolor flecks are on the Oxide greens.

As promised, here is more about the portable ironing surface that we made. I wanted this surface because I wanted to be able to sit at my craft table to do ironing on small things. Specifically, I like to iron foil onto sticky surfaces, such as acrylic paint (I will show more about this in a future post).

To make the portable ironing surface, my friend cut pieces of 3/4" plywood into smallish pieces. The one I used was about 10" x 12". We covered the plywood with quilt batting and then covered the batting with fabric, using a staple gun to adhere everything down. This is the front of the piece


My friend sewed a little handle for it. She did it so fast that I didn't even see her do it! I greatly admire people who can sew.

This is the back. I stapled down a thick piece of cardboard and then glued on a piece of felt to cover it.


I love it so much, and have already used it quite a bit for ironing foil. I also have used it to protect my craft desk from the heat of my heat tool when I am drying watercolored pieces. I have some wood boards that my husband made for me that I tape my watercolor to, and when I was drying my oxide panels, I put them onto one of these boards, on top of the ironing surface on my desk. 


I felt comfortable that nothing on my desk was getting too hot.

OK, one more thing I wanted to tell you about before you go today. Some time ago, I read a tip on how to prevent cutting plates in a die cutting machine from getting bowed or warped. I cannot remember where I read it, but at the time I thought it was worth a try. I do a lot of die cutting and I have had to discard a lot of plates because they became warped and no longer worked well.

Using my label maker, I labeled each side of both cutting plates with an "A" on one side and a "B" on the other. These were brand new plates, and this will only work if you start it from the beginning with new plates. 


The labeling helps you remember which side of the plates you used last. EVERY TIME you do a die cut, you must then turn your plates to the other side.


The letters on both plates should be the same. Use the "A" side of your plates, then turn them over the next time you make a cut and use the "B" side.

You can tell that these plates have been very well used. I have used them for months and months, including through Christmas cards and tags, and there is NO warping at all.

If you have trouble with your cutting plates warping, I hope you will try this. It has worked very well for me, and it might work for you also.


Products used on Bamboo Thanks card:
Memory Box die 30038 Stitched Square Layers
Memory Box die 99915 Bamboo Stitched Circle Frame
Simon Says Stamp S202 Thanks die by Memory Box
Simon Says Stamp 101347 Thanks Stamp Set by Memory Box
Distress Oxide inks: Twisted Citron, Cracked Pistachio, Peeled Paint, Lucky Clover
JudiKins Clear Detail embossing powder
Peerless Gold liquid metallics watercolor
Curious Metallics Super Gold cardstock
Neenah Solar White 80# & 110# cardstock
Various sequins





Friday, February 9, 2018

Winter Thanks

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted! With the crush of helping to close the shop in the late fall, then all of the Holiday flurry, I thought I would pull back a bit and do something that I have not had time to do for a while. I have read more books in the last month and a half than I have in a couple of years! It's been fun, but I have also been doing a little art and some cards. These Thanks cards were done with Oxide inks and die cut inlays.


I really needed to do a few Thank You cards, and I still have some great winter stamps and dies I haven't used. I also was also really wanting to just play with my Distress Oxide inks. (I have since gotten some of the new colors, so there will be a future post using some of those. In the meantime, I made a number of background panels using Oxide inks in different ways. Here are some of them:


The panels on the left were made by blending colors onto Neenah Solar White 80# cardstock and then flicking water onto them. The top right panel is the one I used for the two cards I'm posting today, and is also a piece of Neenah Solar White 80# and the bottom one is Tim Holtz watercolor cardstock. 



These two were made by putting the ink onto my craft sheet, spritzing with water and dragging the cardstock through the ink. I dried the panel and dragged it through again, repeating this several times.  I used these three colors (Broken China, Peacock Feathers, Cracked Pistachio), plus some Wilted Violet.


This is how it looks as you are swiping the cardstock through the colors. You just dry this and swipe it through again. With these inks, wet on wet blends and wet on dry layers.

For these two cards, I did a die cut inlay technique. Since there are so many little pieces in these snowflakes (Simon Says Stamp SSS D111503 Snowflake Border die), I used a trick that I learned from Jennifer McGuire. Her husband invented Press 'n Seal, and this is one of many kitchen items to make it into my craft room. After cutting each snowflake border, I turned the die out onto a piece of Press 'n Seal. The slight stickiness of this product kept the die-cut intact with all of it's little pieces. 


I carefully pulled the cardstock away from the die-cut, and then carefully pulled the snowflake borders away from the little pieces that you would normally just pop out. The white pieces went into the blue snowflake border, and the blue ones went into the white snowflake border. Since the pieces were still in their places on the Press 'n Seal, it was not hard to just pop them into the borders where they belonged.


Here's the second card I made with the snowflake border that was cut out of the Oxide panel. I put the snowflake border into the white cardstock that was left from the white snowflake order and mounted it onto a piece of So Silk Passion Purple. The sentiment is from a beautiful Impression Obsession set IO CL616 Thank You, and was stamped in Versafine Imperial Purple.

I'll be back soon with more, and I am also planning to do either a Christmas card or tag each month. I'm hoping to have all of my cards and tags done early this year!

Products Used:
Simon Says Stamp D111503 Snowflake Border die
Impression Obsession CL616 Thank You stamp set
Die-Namics MFT 463 Blueprints 13
Distress Oxide colors:
Broken China, Peacock Feathers, Cracked Pistachio, Wilted Violet
Versafine Imperial Purple
Neenah Solar White 110# & 80# cardstock
So Silk Passion Purple cardstock
Crystal Stickles
Lucy's Little Things Jewels Ice Cube Mix

Friday, December 22, 2017

Winter Peace


This is the last Christmas card for 2017, and I think it's my favorite one; although I do like the other cards I did this year. I think this one is simple and elegant and could probably fall into my Upcycle Your Scraps category. The backgrounds are from alcohol ink on Yupo paper that I previously made, plus a couple using Nuance backgrounds that I already had.


For this card, I first cut panels from Neenah Solar White 80# cardstock, using the largest die in the Lawn Fawn LF768 Small Stitched Rectangle Stackables die set. This cuts a rectangle that is 3.75" x 5" with a nice stitched edge.

I then used the Memory Box 99843 Stitched Circle Trees die to cut out the top center of the panel. I knew I wanted this die the moment I saw it. It's a collage type die, which I like, and I love the stitched circle that defines the trees and sloping hills that could be snow. This little scene reminds me of where we live.

I stamped the Peace on Earth sentiment (Magenta 07.457.H) with Versafine Onyx Black ink toward the bottom of the panel. I love the script of this stamp, and also the message behind the sentiment.

For the backgrounds I added Ranger alcohol inks to Tim Holtz Yupo paper. For each of these cards I only needed 1/4 piece of each of the 5" x 7" pieces of Yupo paper, so they are fairly economical. I used a number of different colors on these, including blues, greens, pinks, oranges and some of the silver mixative, which ended up looking like snow. I really like the ones that I used greens and pinks in because they remind me of the Northern Lights. 

I already had these Yupo pieces hanging around, and I grabbed all I had that were predominantly blue. I cut them into 2.5" x 3.5" pieces and mounted each one to the back of a die-cut panel. Since these cards were relatively easy to make, I made 15 of them.

I mounted the panel to Malmero Perle Abysse cardstock and then to a base card of Neenah Solar White 110#.

Since I didn't have enough of the already colored pieces of Yupo paper, I pulled out a panel of watercolor cardstock that I had worked with Nuance. I think I like this card even better than the alcohol ink ones, although only 2 were made with Nuance. Since the colors in the Nuance ones are a little different, I matted them with So Silk Fair Blue cardstock instead of the darker Malmero.


This one REALLY looks like the Aurora to me. I first saw the Northern Lights in Iceland on Christmas Eve 3 years ago. I was standing on the balcony of my Son-in-Law's Mother's house. It was such a perfect moment. A good friend has since taken us out to see the Northern Lights a number of times, and each time it's like the first.


These were taken from a rooftop in Southeast Iceland on a memorable trip with our good friends Jón Eldon Logason and Inga Olsen. I took these photos with my phone! Photos with real cameras on a tripod are better, but this experience is etched in my mind forever.


Some of the Lights were shimmering and moving, and some had pinks and purples in them.


So I want to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all of you. When I look at the Northern Lights, I have hope that things will be better next year. They are so beautiful and ethereal, and seem to be full of promise. All the best to you, and thank you for following me and looking at my blog!


Products Used:

Magenta Peace on Earth 07.457.H
Magenta Nuance
Memory Box 99843 Stitched Circle Trees
Lawn Fawn LF768 Small Stitched Rectangle Stackables
Ranger Alcohol Inks
Tim Holtz Yupo paper
Tim Holtz Watercolor cardstock
Versafine Onyx Black ink
Neenah Solar White 80# & 110# cardstock
Malmero Perle Abysse cardstock
So Silk Fair Blue cardstock

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Upcycle Your Scraps: Snowflake Tag

I have this one last tag for you. Remember the post where I made snowflake tags by cutting the Poppy Snowflake Ribbon out of tags colored with blue Nuance? I then inserted white glitter Snowflake Ribbons into them, and had the blue ones left over. You can see that post here.

Here is where I used the blue Snowflake Ribbons. First I have to tell you how we tag presents that go under our tree. I find photos of our kids, preferably from the past year. My husband then shrinks them down in Photoshop and cuts out just the faces and prints them in multiples. I take them and use a 1.5" punch on them and put scor-tape on the backs. When we wrap presents, I make tags for each present, and the photo of the recipient is stuck onto the front of the tag. That way everyone knows who it's for, and who it's from, and we don't have to have a place to write "to and from".



I cut the tag out of Stardream Opal cardstock with the MFT-525 Die-Namics Stitched Traditional Tag Stax (The second largest tag). I made ten of these at once to use with all of the leftover snowflakes. I took the tags and snowflakes out to the (very cold) garage and three at a time, used spray glue on the backs and stuck them to tags. I brought them in and used Sea Glass Stickles on the snowflakes.

I didn't punch a hole in the top of the tags or add ribbon, but it would be easy enough to do. These tags get stuck to the top of a present, and a little bow at the top would be pretty.

Since this one has my picture, maybe it will go on a present for me from my husband.. some new RubberMoon inks perhaps? Some Arteza pens? Hmmmmm....

I will have one more card to show you, and then I will take a break until after Christmas. Stay tuned!

Products Used:
Poppy Snowflake Ribbon die
MFT-525 Die-Namics Stitched Traditional Tag Stax
Tim Holtz watercolor cardstock
Stardream Opal cardstock
Sea Glass Stickles
Magenta Nuance

Monday, December 18, 2017

Upcycle Your Scraps: Snowflake Peace

Now and then I'm going to try to post a card using bits and pieces left over from other cards or projects. I don't save EVERYTHING, but I do save a lot. This is a clean and simple card that makes a very nice Christmas card, and all of the parts of it were saved from other projects.


The snowflake ribbon is leftover from making the tags in this post here. I made 10 snowflake tags in which I cut out these snowflake ribbons out of watercolor cardstock which I had covered with different shades of blue, purple and green Nuance. I inserted snowflake ribbons die cut from white glitter paper, so I had 10 of these blue snowflake ribbon cutouts left over.

It was easy enough to add these to a white panel and add some Stickles to the snowflake for sparkle. The Peace sentiment was die cut from another piece of cardstock covered with blue Nuance. All of these pieces were spritzed with pearly water, so they are shiny. You can see a post where I play with Nuance here, and here. Unfortunately this Peace die (Memory Box 99236 Sketchbook Peace) is no longer available from Memory Box, but you could use any similar sentiment you have, including a stamped sentiment.

Magenta Nuance powdered colors are now available in a range of 30 beautiful colors. They can be purchased in sets or individually and very reasonable prices. I'm providing a link below to the Magenta site.

The mat for this card is a piece that was created with Stencil Stamping using Distress inks. You can see a post where I show you this technique here. For whatever reason, this piece did not make it into a previous project, but I really like it here for this mat.

Products Used:
Nuance by Magenta
Poppy 1249 Snowflake Ribbon die
Memory Box 99236 Sketchbook Peace die (disc)
Tim Holtz watercolor cardstock
Neenah Solar White cardstock 80# & 110#
Distress inks: Peacock Feathers; Picked Raspberry