The Perfect Word For You…

Oh, Children! The tales I could tell (but my therapist assures me doing so would only scare the average reader/viewer and expose myself to some embarrassing litigation). The short and sweet version is that I’ve been MIA for much longer than my liking. Ideally, I would love to maintain this blog with new content every three to four days minimum. I actually wish I could commit to daily content, but I know that would only lead to guilt the very first time I missed a deadline.

So for a bit, I lost my way. Not so much that I didn’t craft. Oh, no…I continued to make projects and explore ideas while I was gone. I just never had the heart or the “oomph” to get them photographed and uploaded. One could say that was extreme laziness on my part (and I can’t defend myself), but I think I attribute it to a weather phenomenon where Fall refused to arrive (until only recently). It made me moody and restless. I was so over Summer (like in June). Nonetheless, I’m going to try and be a more hospitable and accommodating host henceforth.

Today’s project is one that I sort of “forced” myself into. If you’ve followed this blog for sometime–or even flip through some of the most recent projects I’ve posted–it becomes fairly evident that I love color. In general, I am not a pastel person. I like bold, deep, intense colors and tones. I love intricate and dense patterns and designs. (I’m fairly certain this has do with my being a Leo–as we seem to have some foolhardy notion that we were royalty in another life–and in my case, presently.)

So, now and again, I like to challenge myself to something in a softer palette. I was of the mind frame that I wanted to explore some subtle colors like ecru, eggshell, and linen to see what I could come up with. So I grabbed my Copic Sketch markers and rummaged around in my Papertrey Ink goodies and came up with this little number.

Using an image from Papertrey Ink’s “Year of Flowers” series–in the case the gladiolus (the flower for August)–I stamped the image on some white cardstock and cut around the image. I tried to limit my color selections to muted colors, with the obvious exception of the leaves and stems. I think what makes this combination work particularly well is the background mat paper. I used several dyes and inks to create a water-stained look using sponges and water. It took some experimenting to prevent the paper from becoming to saturated with liquid and creating dimpling and curling. Patience helps–and allowing drying time between color applications.




The Colors Of Forever

This card project is an explosion of color. In fact, for a while I wondered if it was too much color. Everyone I showed it to seemed to like it; But I have to admit, this is way more color than I’m use to working with. Though, I suppose pushing one’s boundaries is a good thing–sometimes. What’s interesting to me, in particular, is the variations and types of color used in the card. From alcohol inks, metallic inks, color spritzes, and a bold background color–the colors give the card a sense of texture without the actual bulk of layers. This weekend, I played around with alcohol inks and surfaces quite a bit. This was one of the projects I worked on.

The cardstock base and ribbon is Stampin’ Up! in Dusty Durango (which is a very in your face color). The cardstock mat is a piece of Stampin’ Up! Glossy White cardstock (4″ x 5″) with the corners punched with a Martha Stewart poppy corner punch. I used a Tim Holtz alcohol ink applicator and felt pads to apply Ranger/Tim Holtz alcohol inks in Shell Pink, Red Pepper, Meadow, and Gold Metallic to create the splattered background. The floral die-cut is made from dotted Grungeboard that was cut with the Tim Holtz Alterations/Sizzix die called “Tattered Florals” and my Cuttlebug.

After I cut the floral piece, I used Clearsnap Smooch Spritz Ink in Cherry Ice and Gold Glow to add the color and sheen to the flower. After it was completely dry, I went back with some Smooch Ink in Gold Lame and highlighted the dotted portions of the flower. A few pearls, crystals and a sentiment later, I ended up with this card.






Fanciful Flight

Yesterday, I received an order of some of the new Sizzix dies in Tim Holtz’s new Alterations line. I only had time to play around with one of the dies, but I can already tell that I’m going to love exploring the possibilities with these highly versatile cutting tools. Most of the dies introduced are comparable to the Sizzix Bigz line of steel rule dies. (Only the new “On The Edge” dies–which I will explore in a later post–are a completely new size to the Sizzix range.) The casings are a nice tan color with the Tim Holtz imprint on the top (as well as the label) of the dies.


The ‘Fanciful Flight’ die cuts five individual pieces in one pass through your Sizzix Big Shot or ProvoCraft Cuttlebug. You get: (2) solid wing shapes, (2) cutout wing shapes, and (1) body piece. To construct a four-winged butterfly, you will have to cut your pieces twice. I chose to use a piece of decorative paper from the Tim Holtz Shabby Chic paper stack for my solid pieces and a piece of Stampin’ Up! textured cardstock in Chocolate Chip for my cutout pieces.


I used a Zig 2-Way glue pen to assemble my wing pieces. Simply apply the adhesive to the backs of your cutout wing designs and adhere to the solid decorative paper pieces. A rub-on tool or brayer comes in handy for smoothing your layers together.

To assemble the actual butterfly, I found it helpful to use a small piece of Scotch tape on the reverse side to hold all of your pieces together until you get them positioned just how you’d like them to lay.

I glued one layer of the body piece in the decorative paper to the top of solid cardstock piece to give it added dimension. I used Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Dimensionals to adhere the body piece to the wing assembly. I found some black waxed cording in my stash and cut off small pieces to make antennae for my creature. A knot at one end and I glued the stings to the back of the head layer.
For my A2 sized card, I chose to use a piece of Papertrey Ink Kraft cardstock (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″). The decorative mat is a piece of SEI cardstock from the Poppy collection (4″ x 5″, corners snipped with 1/2″ rounder).







Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a one-note die. For instance, you can use just the large wings at the middle of the body piece to create a dragonfly. Or use one large and one small wing to create a side profile of a fluttering butterfly. The wings can be used alone to create faeries or accent photographs. Beyond the capabilities of the die itself, explore your materials. Try using grungeboard, grungepaper, clear transparencies and alcohol inks, fabrics, sandpaper, and other materials. When you getting around to playing, you’ll quickly realize these investment pieces are well-worth the addition to your collection. They’ll last for years and the only limit is your imagination.

Until next time, Keep Crafting!

A Compendium Of Curiosities

Yesterday was all about Mr. Tim Holtz for me (and my pocketbook). First, I received my copy of Mr. Holtz’s new book, “A Compendium Of Curiosities”–which I’ll get to in a moment. Secondly, I ordered nearly $200 of his new Alterations line. I am in awe of the versatility of some of the new Sizzix Bigz dies and edge dies he’s come up with. If you haven’t visited Tim Holtz’s blog as of late, I highly recommend you take a look at the set of new videos he posted describing his intentions and examples of the new Alterations line of products. Needless to say, I’m hooked (line and sinker). I’ve always been a fan of Mr. Holtz’s tools and products (a fact my craft stash would attest to in a court of law). I suppose his aesthetic may not appeal to all crafters, but I have to say I love the grunge look of his style and his methods of repurposing objects and trinkets. It’s also one of the few craft lines that is very male and teen friendly (in my opinion). Among the dies I am eagerly awaiting: Caged Bird, Fanciful Flight, Gadget Gears, Tattered Florals, Hanging Sign, Ornamental, Keyholes, Styled Labels, Three Hole Punch, and File Tabs. (The sad part is there are still a few more I want–but they weren’t in stock at the moment. So, I’m sure I’ll be placing another order on down the road.)

But enough about my shopping habits…and on to the book. Can I just say right up front that this book belongs in every crafter’s library. Whether you are a Tim Holtz fan like me or just interested in new methods, techniques, and ideas, this book is for you. The hardcover book (with interior spiral binding) measures approximately 8 3/4″ x 8 3/4″ and has 77 pages. But don’t be fooled by that number. The book is bursting with information and wonderfully rendered color photographs presented with Mr. Holtz’s usual panache and flair.

Beginning with a brief introduction to the man and his studio–as well as a list of products he has developed or helped to develop and their intended uses–the book wastes no time getting to its essential core. It’s broken down into three major sections: Ideas, Techniques, and a Gallery.

In the Ideas section, Holtz explores different elements and embellishments and how they can affect your projects–whether they be layouts, cards, mini-books, etc. Among the topics he discusses and shows examples of:

  • ornate plates
  • foilage
  • corner
  • tags, tokens, & sticks
  • type charms
  • gears, sprockets, & timepieces
  • numerals
  • keys & keyholes
  • adornments & vintage buttons
  • curio knobs & foundations
  • film strip & ruler ribbon
  • fasteners & washers
  • mini clips & pins
  • trinket & memo pins
  • hitch fasteners
  • hinge clips & D-rings
  • swivel clasps
  • ball, bead & link chains
  • tickets & stickers
  • paper stacks
  • grungeboard & grungepaper
  • fragments

    My favorite section has to be the Technique section. In it, Mr. Holtz teaches us to use some of his famous techniques, tips and tricks. What’s clever is that most of them are done is six simple steps with accompanying full-color photographs. Among the techniques highlighted are:

  • wrinkle free distress
  • scribble stain distress
  • water stamping
  • blended batik
  • dabber resist
  • perfect distress
  • inking grunge
  • double distress
  • rusted enamel
  • distress crackle
  • distress powder
  • chipped enamel
  • rusted grunge
  • distress stickles
  • rock candy distress stickles
  • altered metal with paint
  • shabby chic
  • weathered wood grunge
  • alcohol ink monoprint
  • alcohol ink splatter
  • alcohol ink agate on grunge
  • industrial grunge
  • tinted vision fragments
  • altered metal alcohol inks
  • colorful layered fragments
  • masks basics
  • inking and stamping masks
  • distress misting masks
  • extreme masking
  • fragments basics
  • dimensional collage fragments
  • fragment charms
  • grungepaper flowers
  • multi-medium collage
  • design details

    The final section is a wonderful gallery of projects done by Mr. Holtz that incorporate many of the techniques, tools, and examples used throughout the book. What really surprised me was that even someone like myself who has used a lot of Holtz products can still find new information on how to use products that you hadn’t thought of or didn’t realize you could do. I was really excited by the fragments projects (and will be working on some of those in the near future.

    “A Compendium Of Curiosities” retails for $24.99 and, in my opinion, is worth every single penny. I highly recommend this book to anyone with even a faint interest in papercrafting.

  • A Card From My Secret Sister

    I have an absolutely terrific Secret Sister on the Cricut Message Boards. Her name is Kelly and she goes by KellpieJo on the message board.

    She sends me some of the most cheery cards. I love this one because it showcases her work with metal and alcohol inks. The butterfly and center square are metal and hand painted with alcohol inks. The borders are also inked (I assume on photo paper).

    Thank you KELLY! You are a true gift!