In The Background…

Sometimes I fall into a bit of a trap. There are so many beautiful background papers out there (and in my collection), that it gets a bit easy to fall upon a wonderful printed paper for a mat to a card. Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with using papers from your favorite collections and/or lines. I certainly love doing it. But sometimes, I forget that I can “make” my own backgrounds by repeating a stamped image.

I’ve previously stated that I love geometric patterns and intricate scroll work. There is something about the Art Deco period that tugs at my soul. Whether it’s jewelry, home furnishings or artwork–there’s something about a repeating pattern that speaks to me. This repeating pattern motif is why I think I drawn mosaics and tile work so much.

This card was inspired by one of the stamps in Papertrey Ink’s “Giga Guidelines” acrylic stamp set. Using the perfectly co-ordinated Guide Lines II grid sheet cardstock, I stamped the image repeatedly in Memento Rich Cocoa ink. After letting the ink dry, I went back in using another stamp–from Papertrey Ink’s “Dot Spot” medallion set–and their Vintage Cream pigment ink to stamp over the centers of each element. I really like the effect achieved by stamping the pigment ink over the Tsukineko ink. It’s not glaring, but creates a semi-gloss look as you move the card around a light source.

The card base was made from some Stampin’ Up! cardstock in Early Espresso. The ribbon with stitched detail is also Stampin’ Up! (in Chocolate Chip). The sentiment was made from a Maya Road Kraft tag and another Papertrey Ink stamp. For the final touch on the cardfront, I used a vintage Velvet Poppy from Creative Charms in a Vintage Brown color. The flower attaches with a pearl center brad, so I used a paper piercer to secure the brad through both the ribbon detail and the card mat.

Because the cardbase cardstock is so dark, I needed to added a place for a note inside. I used a blank library card and Papertrey Ink’s Vintage Touch tea dye to distress the card and stamped a little floral element in the corner.


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I Can See Clearly…

Of late, I’ve noticed more and more crafters starting to experiment with clear plastic–as opposed to paper cardstock–to create the base of cards and other projects. While I’ve admired the work, I have to say that I was a bit hesitant to try it for myself. I think the apprehension comes from the fact that plastic is much less forgiving in trying to “hide” adhesive and embellishment backs than cardstock would be. It really just comes down to a bit of forethought and planning.

I purchased a package of Clearly Creative Cardstock from Papertrey Ink. These 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets of clear heavy-weight acetate are easy to cut and score–and truly make a blank canvas for a project. You can even stamp directly on the acetate if you should choose to. For my first project, I went with something a bit more simple–and yet, the result is very eyecatching.

I used a 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ piece of clear acetate (scored at 4 1/4″). Because I knew I wanted to used the velvet flower and pearl brad on my card front, I knew I had to find a way to hide “evidence” so to speak. To do so, I cut two pieces of cardstock from My Mind’s Eye “Life of the Party” collection at 3″ x 5 1/2″. By placing the lovely green striped cardstock back to back, I created a cover for the brad backing and a nice repeat of the front pattern on the clear cardstock. The velvet flower and pearl brad are from Creative Charms. The sentiment is from Papertrey Ink. For the final touch on the card front, I used a piece of Washi tape in a lovely muted floral pattern.

For the inside of the card, I used a piece of Papertrey Ink cardstock in New Leaf cut to the same size as the front pieces (3″ x 5 1/2″). I used another piece of the Washi tape. As a final touch–and carrying the pattern of the front of the card over–I used Epiphany Crafts Shape Studio Tool with the 25mm Heart shape to create an epoxy button using the same My Mind’s Eye patterned cardstock.

Before putting the final card together, I explored different craft glues to find one that would dry quickly, dry flexibly, and most importantly dry clearly. I ended up choosing a product from ScrapPerfect called “Best Glue Ever”. It seems to fit the bill and works quickly. I am one who uses very little liquid adhesives in my project (due to the mess and unsightly pulling). However, there are times when a good liquid adhesive comes in handy. I look forward to using this one again in some future projects.



Je Vous Adore

I must apologize for the delay in getting this entry posted. Unfortunately, Mother Nature was apparently upset with the Southwest desert U.S. After having a few days of temperature readings below zero (and incredibly, -21 with the wind chill factored in), the aftermath was nearly as cold as the event. I had three separate broken water lines (…and only two thumbs to plug the holes with, lol). It’s been an icy floody mess around here. But, like all things, this too shall pass.

The good news is that today’s card project is so pretty, it made me forget the bone-chilling cold–for a bit at least. This card is also one of those happy accidents where a combination of not-so-likely Cricut cartridges provided an interesting collision. In the end–and pardon my frankness–this card is beautiful.

I used one of the Spring 2011 seasonal mini-cartridge releases, “Mother’s Day Boquet”, to create a layered flower piece that serves as the focal point of this card. The image I used was the flower on Row 1, Key 5. I cut four layers: 4″, 3.5″, 3″, and 2.5″. I used my Cricut Imagine to do the cutting and one big advantage to doing so is the ability to create custom colors and/or patterns on designs from the regular Cricut cartridge line. Earlier, I had been working on an Imagine project using the Cricut Imagine “Country Carnival” art cartridge. While I was debating what solid color I wanted to print my flower layers with, I had the idea to experiment with pattern using the “Country Carnival” cartridge. One of the patterned paper images I love on this cartridge is a vintage newspaper layout that is dotted with spots of bright color in the form of trailing rose bushes. It provides for vivid pops of color, while keeping with a chic vintage look. Using some white Bazzill cardstock (corduroy textured), I cut my flower layers using the “Mother’s Day Bouquet cartridge and the pattern from “Country Carnival”.

I further enhanced the vintage look of the layers by using some Ranger Perfect Pearls Mist in Heirloom Gold. I really love the formulation of these Perfect Pearl mists. I’ve tried other color spritzes, washes and sprays–and usually the results are messy and not aesthetically pleasing. But, I have had tremendous success with the Perfect Pearls. I anchored my floral layers with a giant faceted jeweled brad from Creative Charms. I used a Martha Stewart bone folder to curl my petals to provide dimensionality and visual interest.

The decorative paper for the card mat and the inside of the card is from Graphic 45’s “Le Romantique” collection. The card base and ribbon are from Papertrey Ink in Pine Feather. A little dimension and a strategically placed stick pin provide just the right finishing touches on the front. On the inside, I used a kraft journaling tag from Maya Road to provide an area for personalization.


Overall, I was really jazzed by the modern meets vintage look of the overall card. The bloom looks like it is growing right off the card front–and in these frigid temperatures it is certainly a most welcome sight.




Architecturally Speaking

I’ve long been fascinated with geometric shapes. I suppose that fact–along with my love of numbers–is what led to my pursuing degrees in mathematics and economics. Beyond the intrinsic beauty of patterns and shapes that exist because of numbers, the use of those shapes and patterns in architecture, art and nature completely bowl me over. I love observing and studying the intricacy of architectural elements like columns, scrollwork, arches, porte-cochères, et al. I also have a great fondness for mosaics and tessellations.

The reason I share all of this is that the card project I’m sharing today was inspired by architecture and one geometric design in particular–the quatrefoil. The term quatrefoil literally means “four leaves”. In architecture and Christian symbolism, a quatrefoil is a symmetrical shape created by four overlapping circles of the same diameter. In more common terms, a quatrefoil is often referred to as a flower with four petals or a “four-leaf clover”. The shape was most prominent architecturally during the Gothic Revival and Renaissance. But, you can find examples in churches and cathedrals around the world today.

A while back, Stampin’ Up! introduced a stamp set, button set, and a corresponding set of three mini-punches called “Itty Bitty Shapes” (The punch set is item #118309 and sells for $16.95) . It so happened that one of the shapes (and a coordinating punch) were of the quatrefoil shape. Needless to say, I became obsessed with this punch and have explored numerous ways of creating with it. This may be the craziest in terms of sheer scope and the time involved–but I had to try it. My goal was to create a mosaic background pattern based on the quatrefoil shape. There are over 200 individual punched shapes used to create this card mat–and each one was applied and adhered by hand–one at a time. The papers used to punch out the quatrefoils were bits of scraps from Graphic 45. I didn’t want the pattern to be obvious, yet I hoped when finished it would convey a feeling of a field of flowers viewed from afar. I’m not sure I was completely successful–yet, I do love the results. I only wish you could see and feel this in person, as the photographs are truly a poor substitute.

The card mat was created by using a Zig Two-Way glue pen to mount the punched out shapes on a piece of 4″ x 5″ cardstock from Papertrey Ink in Simply Chartreuse. The mat is the obvious showpiece, so I tried to keep the embellishment to a minimum. An appropriate sentiment, sequin flower, piece of ribbon and hangtag complete the mood. I hope you like it…












Cartridge Spotlight: Creative Memories Cheerful Seasons

I have a confession to make. When I first found out about the two new exclusive Cricut cartridges to be released by Creative Memories, I thought for sure that my favorite of the two would be “Reminisce Accents” hands-down. Don’t get me wrong–I adore both of the cartridges. But, I have to say if I were going to recommend a great “basic” shapes and themes cartridge to a Cricut newbie, “Cheerful Seasons” would definitely be it. This cartridge is bursting with great seasonal images, alphabets, titles, and lovely (and easy) layering pieces.

I thought I would share one of the card projects I created with “Cheerful Seasons”. This time it’s a Thanksgiving card (though there is a pumpkin involved…imagine that!). I used my Cricut Gypsy to layout the pieces of the pumpkin cut and sentiment that I wanted to use. The pumpkin pieces were all sized at 4″. The “Thankful” sentiment was cut at 1 1/2″.

Again, I adore my Gypsy because you can layout your pieces on the mat where you want them–grouping similar color cuts and ultimately saving paper. For a color palette, I used all Stampin’ Up! colors: Early Espresso, Wild Wasabi, River Rock, and Peach Parfait. (TIP: Peach Parfait seems an odd choice at first thought, but the color is really brilliant for pumpkins, squash and the like.)

I knew that I wanted my cardbase to be made of Kraft cardstock. The trick was finding just the right background paper. I actually took several of my paper pads from their (humongous) storage shelf and flipped through them. (Aside: Can I just say what an absolutely fun and relaxing activity flipping through paper pads is? Is it just me? Nah…I know you addicts get my vibe, lol.) I finally narrowed it down to this gorgeous piece of velvet flocked decorative paper from K & Co.’s “Handmade Garnish” collection. The texture and finish on this paper is amazing (and probably difficult to discern from these photographs).


With all the choosing completed, all I needed was my trusty Zig Two-Way glue pen and my 3M ATG 714 adhesive gun to start layering my card together. The sentiment I cut from River Rock cardstock was too light (in my estimation) when I was putting my card together. So, I took a Papertrey Ink Vintage Touch ink block in Chai and sponged the top of the sentiment. The final touch was a sequin and pearl flower accent from Creative Charms. When it was all together, I was really pleased with the end product. I usually only make one-off cards, but I may actually make several of these because I really love them.








Finally, a whole-hearted recommendation: I have to admit that I was fairly ignorant to the company and line that is Creative Memories. When I heard about the exclusive release of these two cartridges, I had no idea how to go about getting them for my collection. Luckily, one of the weblogs that I love and visit frequently happens to be run my a wonderful woman who is a Creative Memories Consultant. If you don’t already have a consultant or need an outlet to purchase these wonderful Cricut Cartridges, I highly recommend shopping with Ms. Diane Campbell Payne over at Capadia Designs. She has a great storefront and is a dream to work with.

Until next time, Crafties!

Sing It







{Materials Used: Stampin’ Up! Cardstock in Glorious Green, American Crafts Decorative Cardstock from “Teen” Collection (Driver’s Ed), Edged Grosgrain Ribbon from Stampin’ Up! Theatre Collection, Creative Charms Velvet Dimensional Flower, 7 Gypsies Velvet Green Leaves, Bo Bunny Glazed Brad, Sentiment Stamp from Unity Stamp Co., Ranger Archival Ink in Jet Black, AdTech Mono Adhesive, 3/8″ Glue Dots, Zutter 1/2″ Round-It-All Corner Rounder, Scor-Pal, Carl RT-200 Paper Trimmer;}