Little Monsters

For some strange reason of late, I seem to be preoccupied with Christmas. Which is a bit weird since it’s more than five months away. My mind is exploding with Christmas card layouts and holiday projects. Most of them are being written in my “inspiration” notebook for perusal at a later date.

But, another holiday struck my fancy yesterday (even though it is still a few months away as well)–Halloween. I recently purchased a terrific set of stamps from Unity Stamp Company called “Little Monsters”. They are the most adorable Halloween inspired images. If they don’t make you smile, I think a part of you might be dead–which come to think of it might just fit with the holiday!

This card project is a standard A2 size (4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″). The base cardstock is Stardream Mica Fuse in Flame. The accent cardstock is by Core’dinations from the All In The Family collection in Orange. It’s been cut at 3 1/2″ x 4 1/4″ and edged with the Stampin’ Up! Scallop Border Punch. It was then run through the Cuttlebug with the Tiny Mosaic Folder and sanded with a Stampin’ Up! Snow Block.

The Baby Frankenstein and Witch’s Hat are from the Unity Stamp Set “Little Monsters” and stamped on Papertrey Ink Stamper’s Select White Cardstock using Tsukineko’s Memento Ink in Tuxedo Black. I then colored both images using Copic Sketch Markers. They were adhered to the embossed cardstock with Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Dimensionals. The scalloped piece was then adhered to the card base with my ATG 714 adhesive gun. For the card sentiments, I used two other stamps (“little monster” and “trick or treat”) from the “Little Monsters” set. Something about this card just makes me feel like a little kid again (Not that I’m not accused of the fact more often than I care to admit!). I hope this card gets your “little monsters” waking from the graveyard of holiday’s future and inspires you to create something in honor of ghosts and goblins that float by us each and every day! Keep Crafting….


Quilting In The Greenhouse

The art of quilting is an amazing source of inspiration. Taking needle and thread and combining two or more layers of material produces a landscape of textures, colors, and patterns. Adapting ideas from quilting into your cardmaking is an easier transition than you might first imagine.

Today’s card project uses the illusion of quilting blocks to create a background for stamped images. You can really use your eye for color and pattern to create some mesmerizing tableaux. You can go bold or subtle. You can go for harmonious or contrasting designs. You’ll find yourself playing with your paper blocks–rearranging, rotating, and replacing them over and over.

I chose the following papers to work on this card: the card base is Stardream Fuse Mica Paper in Copper cut at 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″; the decorative papers are Basic Grey 6″ x 6″ from the Marrakech collection; and a 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ piece of Papertrey Ink Stamper’s Select white cardstock.

To begin creating the quilting pattern for my card, I used an EK Success 1″ square paper punch. The 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ white cardstock will be the base upon which I’ll layer my quilting blocks. Using the punch, you’ll need to cut out ten (10) 1″ x 1″ squares of each piece of your patterned paper selections.

Now is when your creative juices really need to kick in. Play with your blocks and look at colors and patterns. Lay them out like a puzzle and try to find the best patchwork design for your project. Once you’ve settled on a pattern, you can begin adhering your blocks on the cardstock base. I used Stampin’ Up! SNAIL adhesive to begin attaching my quilt blocks.

Next, I chose to use my Cuttlebug and the Sizzix Bigz Top Note Die (a Stampin’ Up! Exclusive) to add another element of visual interest to my quilted background. Sandwiching the die and quilted cardstock between the two “B” plates, quickly and easily runs through the Cuttlebug.

For the stamped image to complete the look of my card, I chose to use the Stampin’ Up! Greenhouse Garden stamp set (I LOVE this set!). I used my Stamp-a-ma-jig to create a two-step floral image and stem. The inks I chose to use are Tsukineko Memento in Pear Tart and Cottage Ivy. I stamped my image on Stampin’ Up! Whisper White cardstock and trimmed around the the images. I also chose to add a piece of Stampin’ Up! Always Artichoke grosgrain ribbon to the quilted background.

I attached the stem using a Zig 2-way Glue Pen and tucked the end behind the ribbon. The flower is attached using Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Dimensionals. I also chose to adhere the entire quilted block with Stampin’ Dimensionals to give my card the layered visual interest that allows the images to pop from the very deep and glittery cardstock base.

Until next time, keep crafting!

Product Spotlight: Stampin’ Up! Sizzix Lattice Bigz Die

One of the products lines that really piqued my interest in the new 2009-2010 Stampin’ Up! Idea Book and Catalog was the Sizzix Bigz Dies. I ordered several of them (and have several others picked out for upcoming orders). While I have thus far avoided the temptation of the Sizzix Big Shot, I was really happy when I found out the Bigz die line will work perfectly in Provocraft’s Cuttlebug.

I purchased the Top Note Bigz Die (#113463, $21.95), the Tulipe Bigz Die (#113457, $21.95), and the Lattice Bigz Die (#115958, $21.95) to start experimenting with and quickly fell in love with their ease of use and versatility.

If you do not have a Sizzix die cutting machine, these dies will work in your Cuttlebug. The proper “sandwich” recipe is: Plate B, Sizzix Bigz Die, cardstock (or other material), Plate B. There is no need to use the Plate A spacer block. The die I chose to feature in this post is the Sizzix Lattice Bigz Die, which is an exclusive die to Stampin’ Up!. The actually die is approximately 5 1/2″ x 6″ and 5/8″ in thickness. I didn’t photograph the actual die, as truthfully, there’s not much to look at as it is encased in protective foam and a plastic shell. But, the real magic is the effect it produces. The Sizzix Bigz dies can cut varying thicknesses of paper, cardstock, vinyl, wood sheets, crafting metal, and fabric to name a few.

I started just by running a piece of cardstock through my Cuttlebug and was really inspired by the shape of the lattice cutout. The uses are really almost endless.

The pattern of the lattice cut-out is perfect for cardmaking and scrapbooking. You can choose to feature it in the foreground or background of your project. You can use multiple cuts to make larger layouts, chains, and decor pieces. I immediately thought it would look lovely on a card as a makeshift trellis for displaying flowers.

I was also intrigued by the geometric possibilities of the shape itself. For instance, taking two diecuts, you can create a wonderful design shape that calls to mind florals and snowflakes. These would be terrific for creating a mobile for a baby’s crib/room or party decorations. Imagine these cut in foils for the sparkle and attention that they’d receive.

I decided to experiment with a quick card layout. I took two lattice cuts from the same color cardstock and ran them through my Xyron 510 (as a quick and easy way of applying adhesive to the backs of the design. I then lined them one on top of the other to create a seamless design element for the background of my card. A quick sentiment (Stampin’ Up! Teeny Tiny Wishes Set #115370)stamped on Whisper White cardstock and punched out with the new Modern Label Punch (#116630) and a couple of jeweled and glittered floral embellishments later…

I highly recommend that you check out the Sizzix Bigz die-cutting line if you’ve not experienced working with them. They give you immediate satisfaction and endless design possibilities. More importantly, they are a snap to use–quick and easy. These days, anything that shortens our prep time and gets us to putting our valuable inspiration to use can’t be a bad thing, can it?

I see another collection in my future! Whatever you see in yours, take some time out and grab your favorite beverage, steal yourself away from the never-ending hubbub of the day, and make something. Until next time, keep crafting!

Card Glimpses

Of late, I seem to have found this deep fountain of ideas for card layouts and techniques I want to try. The problem of course is one as old as time. Well, actually, it is time. For as many ideas as I have, there never seems to be enough time to get them all realized. I suppose that is a good thing–since inspiration and creativity can sometimes be moody playmates.

I just received a huge order of new stamp sets from Stampin’ Up! and have been busy preparing them (EZ-Mount) for the calendar cases I store them in. There really are some marvelous new sets and artwork in the 2009-2010 catalog. Among some of my new favorites are: ‘All Hallow’s Eve’, ‘Beware Pirates’, ‘Extreme Elements’, ‘Medallion’, ‘Pendant Park’, ‘On A Pedestal’, ‘Greenhouse Garden’, ‘From The Crypt’, and ‘Chic Boutique’. I also finally broke down and ordered the Color Caddy and extender kit. I was never quite sure this is the route I wanted to take for my Stampin’ Pad storage, but now I’m very happy I did. Of course, not all of my pads fit. But, it does make a great home for the four major color groupings (Bold Brights, Earth Elements, Rich Regals and Soft Subtles), as well as the last twelve In Color ink pads. It provides a great visual reminder of the palette that is available in my stamping ideas.

The weather here has been ridiculously hot. Though, I suppose that’s just further impetus to stay inside and create. Wherever you are and whatever your weather, keep crafting!

Picnic Season

I hope this upcoming Fourth of July finds you close to family and friends. Have a safe and sane celebration of our Miss Liberty’s 233rd birthday.

This card project highlights two new stamp sets released by the fabulous Papertrey Ink bunch. I highly recommend you check out Vintage Picnic and Vintage Picnic Sentiments which are used in this project.

Project Recipe:

base cardstock: Stampin’ Up! Soft Suede cardstock;
5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, scored at 4 1/4″
mat cardstock: Stampin’ Up! Whisper White cardstock;
4″ x 5″
envelope: Stampin’ Up! Kraft A2 envelope
stamps: Papertrey Ink Vintage Picnic & Vintage Picnic Sentiments
embellishment: Petaloo Dazzler floral embellishment
punch: Stampin’ Up! Ticket Corner Punch
accent: Uniball Signo White Pen
inks: Tsukineko Memento in Tuxedo Black, Papertrey Ink Tea Dye in Chai Blend
Copic markers: E29 (Burnt Umber), E31 (Brick Beige), E37 (Sepia), R24 (Prawn), R27 (Cadmium Red), R29 (Lipstick Red), G14 (Apple Green), G16 (Malachite), Y04 (Acacia), YG13 (Chartreuse)