Card Spotlight: Fall Is In The Air

It’s about that time. Time for sweaters, hot cocoa, spiced apple cider and watching the leaves tumble off the trees in our front yards. Yes, friends, I think it’s safe to say Fall is officially here.

Last night I was goofing around with a couple of card designs and decided I wanted to make a Fall-inspired card. Of course, for me the biggest (and first sign) of Fall is the changing colors of foilage and the piles of leaves that seem to end up on the doorstop quite mysteriously. The colors of Fall are a marvelous palette for cardmaking.

For this project, I used the following materials:

–Bazzill crosshatch textured cardstock in Burnt Orange; cut to 8.5″ x 5.5″;
–K & Co fall leaves decorative paper from the Fall Harvest mat pad designed by Johnny Yanok; Cut to 3.75″ x 5.5″;
–Cuttlebug 2″ x 6″ die “Leaves & Netting” set (now retired);
–brown craft paper scraps
–Prismacolor markers: burnt sienna, dark brown, orange;
–white resist pen
–Sakura clear glitter gel pen

I used my Making Memories paper trimmer to cut down my Bazzill cardstock, my K & Co. decorative paper and brown kraft paper. I used my Scor-Pal to score my cardstock at 4.25″ to create a bi-fold card base. I fell in love with the fall leaves design by Johnny Yanok in the K & Co. mat pad. It was the inspiration for the Cuttlebug die-cut leaves.

Using my Cuttlebug and the 2″ x 6″ die, I cut two sets of leaves out of the brown kraft paper. I wasn’t sure how many leaves I was going to use on the card, but I figured having two sets gave me more wiggle room to play. The leaf shapes I cut (two of each) looked like this:

I used a little trick (which I may share one day) to decorate the leaf fronts. It basically consists of using a white resist ink pen to make miscellaneous doodle designs on the the leaves. After I’ve made the freehand designs, I used Prismacolor markers to put two to three coats of color on top of the white resist. I think the effect is very eye-catching and gives the piece a bit of whimsy and visual interest.

I used my ATG 714 adhesive gun to adhere the decorative paper to the front of my card. I then deicided that three leaves were plenty for the front of my card. I chose one shape in each of the three marker colors I used. I used my very favorite mini pop dots from All Night Media to attach the leaves to the card front. The mini pop dots give the piece a lot of dimensionality (which unfortunately is difficult to capture in photographs.

As for placing the leaves on the card, you just need to use your eye and experiment with different positions (obviously before you put your adhesive dots on). I found three leaves of various colors worked best. Once I found the layout I liked, it was easy to finish up the card. The only other element I added was a border of Sakura clear glitter pen along the edges of the decorative paper element. A couple of views of the finished look:

This card makes me want to run and jump into a giant pile of multi-colored leaves. Of course, it might be safer to wait until the leaves have actually fallen from the trees in my yard.

Create–and keep crafting!


Apologies & Drippy Goo

Hello dear crafters! If it seems I’ve done a disappearing act, I must apologize. It’s been a long time (too long) since my last entry. There are many reasons for that, but suffice to say that I’ve been busy crafting in my absence. I have to–it helps to keep me sane!

I’ve been busy working on many different swaps that I’ve signed up for via the Cricut Message Board. I’ve been making ATC cards, greeting cards and layouts (yes, you’ve read correctly) for various groups I joined. I have to say that I really enjoy working on these themed based projects. For one thing, it forces you to keep crafting and to come up with (hopefully) new and original ideas. I cautiously started in one or two swaps–and now I’m in so many I have to keep a written schedule of when things are due and who they are due to. Yes, like many other things, swaps are highly addictive.

I do have to comment on one swap in particular. For the first time, I signed up for a recipe swap. I actually do like to cook. It’s the clean-up I have a problem with. But nonetheless, this particular swap was a major challenge for me. It required a dip recipe layout in 8″x8″ size for fifteen participants. I can’t even remember what the last layout I did was. I’ve been so consumed with cardmaking and other papercrafting avenues, I really haven’t done a “real” scrapbook layout in some time. So this was a challenging–and in many ways daunting–task for me. I have to say I think the end product came out well (and I will share some photos of it after my swap deadline passes). It was just an amazing amount of work. I used my Cricut for my page titles. But, the finished project involved some hand-cut embellishment pieces, stamping, construction and a lot of journaling. I have to admit, I was a bit rusty getting started. After about eight or nine layouts, the groove started returning. I just didn’t realize it would be so much work to do fifteen of the same layout. Not that I’m complaining mind you. I had a lot of fun doing them and it was a good refresher–just very time consuming.

Anyhow, I felt I should drop in and update my blog and apologize for my MIA status. I hope to be more consistent in the future about posting on a frequent basis. Please hang in there with me.

Recently, I added the Martha Stewart Crafts “Drippy Goo” punch to my ever growing collection of her delightful tools. I have to say that this one is quite addictive. Obviously, it was designed for the Halloween season–but its uses are really only limited by your imagination. It’s terrific for stylized grass, rain splatter, fringes–and so many other things.

Here are a couple of recent Halloween cardmaking projects that use the Drippy Goo punch. I think it’s very eye-catching.

Create–and keep crafting!

Card Spotlight: Air Male

It’s interesting to note that many paper crafters have a hard time when it comes to designing and constructing projects for a male recipient. I think it’s safe to say that many of the leaders in the crafting industry cater to a mainly female clientele. As such, many of the designers collections are specifically created with that demographic in mind.

Of course, there are male crafters out there (obviously). It stands to reason that the larger the market share (customer demand), the more companies start to offer alternative lines and color palettes. I am very pleased with some of the new product lines being introduced for Fall/Winter 2008 and beyond.

I think the largest stumbling block some crafters face is the idea of avoiding certain colors (pink, pastels, etc.) and themes (florals, intricate patterns,etc.) when planning a male-oriented project. As a male crafter (and perhaps because of my own personal aesthetics), I do not have a problem receiving cards and projects made with florals or bright colors. However, right or wrong, there is a concern that a project be “masculine” enough. I hope such narrow thinking one day becomes the exception instead of the rule.

Oops, I guess that’s enought of that rant…at least for a while. What brought the subject up for me was that I recently set out to make cards for a few of my friends that definitely skew toward the “manly men” end of the spectrum, lol. I thought I would share one of the cards I created in this card spotlight.

An interesting thing about this project is that it was all inspired by a piece of scrap paper from a DCWV paper stack: High School. The inspiration was this bit of design left over from another project. (I’m generally not very good about saving or using scraps, so this was a breakthrough for me.)

When I saw this flourish pattern, I was immediately drawn to the theme of flight and birds (wings) specifically. With that thought in mind, I hit my supplies and rounded up a few things.

For this project, you will need:

–one sheet of white cardstock cut to 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″
–one strip of textured cardstock cut to 5 1/2″ x 2 1/8″
–one strip of decorative paper cut to 5 1/2″ x 1 3/8″
–Tsukineko VersaMagic Chalk Ink Pad (Jumbo Java)
–Marvy Stippling Brush
–rubber or clear acrylic stamps
–Sakura Metallic Gel Pen
–adhesive (Xyron 510)
–Scor-Pal (or other scoring tool)

To begin, I took the white cardstock piece and scored it at 4 1/4″ to create the card fold.

I chose to work in a brown palette for this card. For visual and color interest, I used a VersaMagic chalk ink pad and a stippling brush to create a textured background on the white cardstock.

Using the Jumbo Java chalk ink, I inked my stippling brush directly on the ink pad surface and pounced both the front and back sides of the card. After the initial application of ink in a circular motion, I used a few diagonal sweeps of the brush on the card face to muss the stippling effect slightly. I also inked all of the card edges using the VersaMagic pad.

Once you’ve achieved the desire color depth and texture on your card, allow the chalk ink to set before proceeding to adhere your decorative elements to the card. For my card, I chose a piece of textured Bazzill cardstock in Chocolate as the base mat for my decorative strip. As mentioned, the decorative strip for this project was a scrap from a DCWV High School paper stack.

This textured cardstock was trimmed to 5 1/2″ x 2 1/8″ and the edges were inked with the VersaMagic pad. Then it was run through a Xyron 510 and attached to the card face. The decorative paper was trimmed to 5 1/2″ x 1 3/8″, inked, run through the Xyron and centered on top of the textured cardstock.

To go with my theme of flight and wings, I used two stamps to finish the look of my card. The first was a rubber stamp (SeeD’s) for the greeting that said “Air Mail”. The second was a clear acrylic stamp (Autumn Leaves) from Rhonna Farrar’s “Gypsy 2” collection of a bird in mid-flight. I used the same color chalk ink and stamped the greeting in the bottom right-hand corner and strategically placed the bird in the center of my decorative paper strip.

I like the symbolism on this card. The freedom of flight expressed by the bird juxtaposed with the wink-and-a-nod “Air Mail” greeting made me smile. I also think the bird picks up on the free-flowing airiness of the swirls from the flourish design.

As a final touch, I took a Sakura metallic gel pen in Galaxy Bronze and put in a few accent lines along the borders of the paper strips to add a bit more definition and visual interest. All-in-all, it was a fun and relatively creative project to put together.

Create–and keep crafting!