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.




Bloom Builders…

Even though I am SO over the heat, humidity and weather identity crisis (and ultra-ready for Fall and beyond)–there is something about a great flower that always reminds you of the good things that come from Summer. The front of this card has a great flower (if I may be so bold as to say to).

The flower on this “get well” themed card was created with one Papertrey Ink’s fantastic steel dies. I have many of the dies they have created and this one, “Bloom Builders #3” (released in the August 2011 collection) is one of my very favorites. The die cuts five layers of petals in one pass through a standard die-cutting machine. Three layers will have the centers removed (to avoid the build-up of paper bulk in the center of a flower) and two will have solid centers. I used Papertrey Ink’s cardstock in “Spring Moss” and cut the five layers twice–for a total of ten layers to create the flower.

As you layer the same size flower to one another, simply rotate the petals to create the maximum effect of as many petals showing as possible. I used a Zig two-way glue pen to adhere my layers together. To add a bit of pop to the flower (and card), I used a Kaiser Craft Sparklets stone (love these!).

For the card base, I used some mica cardstock in an A2 size. The mat is a 4″ x 5″ piece of Papertrey Ink Stamper’s Select White cardstock. I used the Martha Stewart French Scoll corner punch on two corners of the mat. The vine image was stamped twice in reverse directions. It is from a Kaiser Craft clear acrylic stamp set called “Blae & Ivy”. I stamped the image using Tsukineko Brilliance pigment ink in Pearlescent Thyme. The paper for the inside journaling block is from Webster’s Pages.

Well, I hope wherever this crazy weather finds you that you and yours are safe and sound. Be watching for a Giveaway coming up very soon…

Le Jardin

Today’s card was born out of a strip of punched paper. I’d been chomping at the bit to try a Stampin’ Up! punch that makes its debut in the new 2011-2012 Idea Book & Catalog. It’s called the “Large Lace Ribbon Border Punch” (#122362, $ 19.95). It’s a very versatile design that can be incorporated into your crafting projects in very different ways. In this particular case, I chose to use it as an alternative to ribbon on the card front and as a decorative element in the inside of the card.

The card base is done in Papertrey Ink’s “Hibiscus Burst” cardstock. The decorative paper is a piece of Stampin’ Up! Designer Series Paper that is now unfortunately retired. The focal floral piece is from a retired Stampin’ Up! set called “Stitched Exotics” and is attached with Stampin’ Dimensionals. The greeting stamp is from Pink Paislee’s “Butterfly Garden” collection.





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.