You Rule!

Sometimes the road to a completed card project is a happy accident. Most times, I really don’t “plan” ahead when I’m going to create a card. I’m more of a “go with the flow” kind of crafter. I usually just try different combinations of materials and embellishments to see what looks good (to my eye) and experiment with colors until I find some combination that “works”. Even then, many times I’m not sure what event or recipient I have in mind until I’m done.

However, every now and then, I start rummaging through the mental toolbox in my head of supplies I know have (or just acquired) and start thinking of combinations of things that might work well together. For this particular card, I knew that I wanted the main focal point to be a piece of artwork from the new Teresa Collins Cricut Imagine cartridge “Baby Boutique”. More specifically, a crown. (I’ve written of my love of royal headgear in the past. I think part of my fascination is that I’m a Leo and we usually tend to want to “rule” things. But then again, I’m a sucker for anything that has jewels and sparkles. Oh, fine. I want a tiara…and maybe the prince that goes along with it [if he plays his cards correctly].)

So thinking of this crown image, I knew I had some great caviar cup-set crystals that would look fantastic on it…and I liked the sentiment “You Rule!” to go along with it. The problem was that I wanted the crown to be rather large; I cut it a 4″. When my mind’s eye saw this black and white creation coming together, I remembered I had some American Crafts Thickers chipboard alphabet stickers that might look good on this card. But it quickly became apparent that everything was not going to fit on my standard A2 card format. That’s when it was time to think outside the box.

I started the card with a 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ piece of black cardstock scored at 4 1/4″. After trying to arrange my card front elements, I soon realized I needed to expand my surface area and still keep with the design aesthetic I was going for. So I cut another piece of black cardstock at 5 1/2″ x 4″.

Now the trick was figuring out how to adhere it to my card base and still have it be functional in the design. But first, let’s take a look at the crown art. I used my Cricut Imagine to cut and print the crown. I then used some liquid adhesive to attach my fairly large caviar crystals along the banding of the crown.


The rest of the card front came together easily. I used a piece of Stampin’ Up! Designer Series decorative paper that had a varnished stripe pattern as my card mat (4″ x 5″). A piece of Papertrey Ink polka dot ribbon and some Stampin’ Dimensionals to attach my crown and it was coming together.


The solution to my “flap” problem came by using one of my favorite things–tissue tape. Using some Tim Holtz ticket patterned tissue tape, I attached the extra flap of cardstock with strips on the top and bottom of the splice where the flap met the card base. I love this option because the tissue tape has a nice “give” to it and is flexible enough to withstand repeated opening and closing without being overly bulky or intrusive.


Using the aforementioned Thickers (in a flocked Varsity style), I put my sentiment on the added flap.


Finally, another piece of Teresa Collins artwork in the form of a journaling block completes the inside of the card.

The moral of the story? Don’t let your materials (or your preconceived notions) box you in. Let your creative mind run rampant and find a way to work to bring what you see in your mind to fruition with your hands.

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Remember…

Today’s project continues my exploration with Glübers. I can’t stop playing with this little glue discs. The more materials I use with them–and the more I practice technique–I think my flower making skill is progressing nicely.

I used Papertrey Ink’s Lavender Moon cardstock for the card base. The card mat is Stampin’ Up! Whisper White. The background image comes from the Stampin’ Up! set called “Printed Petals” and was stamped in SU! Cherry Cobbler ink. The ribbon I used with the Glüber is also from Stampin’ Up! The floral center is a Webster’s Pages Sparkler button. I also used another piece of Swarovski crystal chatelaine chain to set off the boutonniére effect of the flower. The sentiment is from Teresa Collins “Notations” collection.






Spring (Wishful Thinking)…

The weather is nothing if not a strange mistress. From the horrible tornadoes and massive flooding in the East, to the unpredictable whirling winds and fluctuating temperatures in my neck of the woods, it would seem Mother Nature is having a bit of an identity crisis. I hope wherever today finds you, that you are safe and sound (and warm) in your crafting cocoon.

Today’s card project involves materials and/or techniques that are relatively new in my wheelhouse. I thought perhaps a card celebrating Spring would remind Mother Nature that Spring has indeed sprung…at least in theory. The birds have indeed returned to the trees around my home to start their nests and produce the next generation. Their morning song is a welcome replacement to a dreary alarm clock. The trees, themselves, are a bit confused by the fluctuating temperatures–debating whether it’s time to unveil their new blooms and buds. Yet, the nippy winds send a whirl of cold wind around my back, tapping my neck to remind me that they are not ready to make their depart.

I recently acquired two paper pads from Core’dinations recent partnership with Tim Holtz and Ranger Industries: a 36 sheet collection Distress Collection with a palette derived from the popular distressed ink line, and a 24 sheet collection of the Adirondack alcohol ink line colors. I have to confess that I have not worked very much with Core’dinations cardstock, so I was looking forward to playing with this cardstock.

The mat of this card is a 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ piece of Core’dinations cardstock from the Adirondack Collection in Stream. The card base is a piece of Stardream Fuse Mica cardstock in Amethyst. The artwork is from the Cricut Imagine Art Cartridge called “Enjoy The Seasons” and was printed and cut using Bazzill textured cardstock.

To work with the Core’dinations cardstock, I decided to use my Cuttlebug and a Tim Holtz Alterations Texture Fades embossing folder, “Rays”. I liked this image as it reminded me of streams of sunlight against a deep blue sky. After I ran it through the Cuttlebug, I used Tim Holtz’s Idea-ology Sanding Grip to sand areas of the top layer of the embossed impression to allow the lighter inner core color to bleed through. I suppose how much and where to sand is a matter of personal taste and preference. I just experimented with different amounts of pressure on different areas–and I stopped when I liked the look I had achieved.

After I layered the pieces of my Spring banner, I attached the artwork to the front of my newly sanded card front using Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Dimensionals. After staring at the card for a bit, I felt it needed a little bit of a pick-me-up to convey the promise of Spring. The first thing I added was a Webster’s Pages flat back pearl button to the center of the large yellow flower at the bottom of the banner. The second thing I added was something I’ve had in mind to use on a card for a long while–but never quite mastered the logistics of how I wanted to use it (or how to attach it). I used a piece of Swarovski crystal chatelaine chain from my jewelry craft kit to add a bit of Spring bling.

After I played around with the chain and how to drape it perfectly with the Spring banner, I used two secret things to attach the chain to my card. Because you are all such close friends, I’m going to let you in on the secret: Scotch tape and Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher. I love the look and effect of the crystal chain. As it has moveable joints between each cup set crystal, it drapes and moves along the card as you move the card around. (I’ve told you before that I’m a sucker for the shiny and sparkly.) I really think it’s the perfect addition to this particular card.

The last addition to the card was an inside journaling block that was cut from a piece of Pink Paislee decorative paper. Overall, the card is deceptively simple–and yet has a lot of work and little touches that make a memorable one to make and eventually give (if I can bear to do it).





It’s The Little Things…

I have a confession–which will not be all that surprising to those of you who love paper crafting as much as I do. There’s something uniquely satisfying and fulfilling in getting all the “small” details in project just right. Beyond the self-satisfaction you get from producing and giving a handmade project to a family member or friend, let’s be honest: many times the recipient will not realize or truly appreciate the amount of work and thought you put into said project. That’s not to say they don’t appreciate or enjoy it–it’s simply that they don’t understand the time consuming and minute details (and heaps of creativity and love) that went into their gift.

That’s where the real satisfaction and pay-off comes in: the knowing and joy we get from all the the little things that go into a project. It is this intrinsic value in our work and ideas that no one can ever really understand or share in that feeds our creativity and fires our giving souls. I may produce a card that took hours of planning and detail work–and no one may ever quite “get it”. But, I do. I always take pictures of all my projects, so that when they are gone to their new homes, I still have a way to celebrate and remember that particular work. Every now and again, I love to flip through my pictures and look at what I’ve done and how far I’ve come. New ideas, new techniques, new accomplishments…they simply fuel my desire to do something even better and more unique. I really urge you to keep a record of your works–whether they be digital files, printed photos or written journal entries. Every so often, remind yourself of your work–good and not-so-successful–to feed your fire of creativity and stoke new ambition and drive.

The reason I touched on all of this today, is that I was extremely happy with one of my latest projects. It’s full of small details that perhaps only I will ever truly appreciate. The card literally represents hours of work–a project I returned to over the course of several days. It was a truly fulfilling creative moment for me. I only hope that whomever ends up with it, will enjoy it half as much as I did putting it together.

This project started with a piece of 4″ x 5″ kraft cardstock from Papertrey Ink. I used a VersaMark watermark stamp pad and a rubber stamp from Samantha Walker’s “Butterfly Garden” (Unity Stamp Co.) set to stamp the corner floral and butterfly image. I used some American Crafts Zing! embossing powder in Bronze and my heat tool to raise the image. After my image was completely set, I wasn’t sure where to go next with this project. One thing that “bothered” me a bit, was the stark contrast with the embossed image and the kraft background. After setting it aside for a while, I returned to it and made a few changes. I used my Stampin’ Up! ticket corner punch to take the corners off. I then used some Tsukineko Memento ink in Rich Cocoa and a sponge dauber to darken the edges of the kraft cardstock. Finally, I used some Ranger Perfect Pearls Mist in Perfect Pearl to soften the effect. I sprayed the entire cardstock with a heavy coat and waited a few seconds. Then I used a paper towel and came back over the embossed image to remove the excess spray. The mist worked perfectly to soften the image–not detracting from the embossing, but filling in the starkness of the kraft background.

This was a very feminine feeling card from the get go–and I decided to go for maximum effect in that sense. I mounted the craft cardstock embossed piece on a card base made of Papertrey Ink’s Pinefeather cardstock. I used a piece of chipboard and covered it with more Pinefeather cardstock to create the base of the cameo piece. The actual plastic cameo is one the remarkable pieces done by Webster’s Pages. (If you have not checked out their fabulous embellishments, please do so. One of my personal favorites are these cameo pieces featuring ballerinas, birds, horses, butterflies, and highly sculpted female profiles.) Once I had created the base for the cameo to sit on, I knew I wanted to do pearls. Figuring out the sizes and exactly how to lay them out was a trick in itself. I ended up using Moss Green flatback pearls from Queen & Co. in three different sizes to create the frame and hand apply them one at a time.

Feeling the need to counterbalance the weight of the heavy pearl frame, I decided to use various sizes of blackened crystals from Basic Grey to highlight the centers of each of the floral elements in my embossed corner piece. The sentiment was created using Stampin’ Up!’s modern label punch and “Fabulous Phrases” stamp set. The inside watercolored journaling block is from KaiserCraft.

There’s just something about this one that makes me very happy and very creatively fulfilled.

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RANDOMONIUM:

–Don’t forget there are only nine more days to enter Giveaway #16. (See sidebar link for all the details.)
–Is anyone loving AMC’s “The Killing” as much as I am? I am in love with this show’s creative beauty and brilliant acting.
–I cannot stop listening to Adele’s brilliant “21”. It’s my pick for Album of The Year thus far.

Darkness Abounds…

I’m not sure why, but of late I’ve been finding myself experimenting more with a more neutral color palette than what I usually work with. I tend to get carried away with my greens (my favorite color) and blues. So, I suppose this new dip into browns and blacks is a welcome change. Though, hopefully, it’s not a reflection of my mood.

This particular card project had no intended use or event in mind. I purposely stayed away from a sentiment. As I finished it, I though it somehow looked a bit funereal–again that darkness. I suppose it would make an appropriate sympathy card. Yet, there is a bit of formal elegance to it–and with an appropriate sentiment–might work in other venues.

The black wrought-iron like centerpiece was cut using the Cricut ‘Damask Décor’ cartridge. I then mounted it on a piece of bronze foiled cardstock from Die Cuts With A View’s (DCWV) “Textures & Finishes” stack. The zig-zag cut background paper is from Teresa Collins. The card base is Stampin’ Up! cardstock. When I was getting ready to assemble the card, I thought about some waxed twine I had and decided to wrap some around the damask piece several times and string some crystal faceted beads on it, to give the card just a bit of light reflection (since the palette was so dark). Overall, I was pretty satisfied with the way it turned out. I have another project using ‘Damask Décor’ coming up that has a completely different feel and color palette.






Live Fast And Stay Pretty…

Like the previous project I posted, this card features artwork from the Cricut ‘Groovy Times’ cartridge. There’s something about the late ’70’s that creates a deep fondness in my heart. I was definitely a disco teen and the music, the fashion and the times played out against my formative years. My high school years took me from the Disco Era to the delight of New Wave and Brit Pop. Those were the days! It’s so amazing how so many songs are attached to specific memories…and they remain with you forever. *sigh*

Fashion is a passion and I fell in love with this image. I used my Cricut Imagine and the Cricut Colors & Patterns cartridge called ‘Audrey’ to design my vision in green. It’s cut at four inches and the blue damask pattern is from ‘Audrey’. The other colors were created using Stampin’ Up! RGB codes. The cardstock used is from Papertrey Ink–Pinefeather, Fine Linen and Simply Chartreuse. The mat was embossed using my Cuttlebug and the ‘Polka Dots’ Cuttlebug folder. The corner sentiment was created using a Papertrey Ink steel die and a stamp from Close To My Heart. (The inside image is also a CTMH stamp.) The ribbon is Stampin’ Up grosgrain. The jeweled flowers are from Prima Marketing and the inside crystals are from Heidi Swapp.