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.



–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.




Materials Used:

–Stardream Fuse Mica cardstock in Bronze
–Pearlized decorative paper from SEI Windsor Collection
–Papertrey Ink Kraft cardstock
–Unity Stamp Co. rubber stamp sets: “All Worth It” and “Love Life” (by Melody Ross)
–American Crafts Zing! Opaque embossing powder in Black Glitter
–VersaMark Watermark Stamp Pad
–Colorbox Fluid Chalk Cat’s Eye Ink Pad in Dark Brown
–Bazzill InStitch’z Floss in French Vanilla
–We R Memory Keepers paper piercer
–All Night Media Studio Art Pop Dots
–Imaginisce Glam Rocks Rhinestuds
–Imaginisce I-Rock
–Pink Paislee “Queen Bee” Flip Notes
–3M ATG714 adhesive gun

Adored Bee…

There are certain symbols or icons that hold a place near and dear to my heart. There might be a story attached to them–other times it may just be their beauty or artistic value. Among some of my favorite things are keys, hearts, eggs, crowns, finials, maltese crosses, and bees. They make me feel. They make me smile. They compel me to study their intricacies and they inspire my crafting.

Bees are such majestic creatures. They challenge the laws of aerodynamics. Their colonies ape human society. They work fastidiously to pollinate and produce sweet, golden honey. They simply fascinate me.

Today’s card project combines two of my favorite things–bees and crowns. The rubber stamp image is part of gorgeous set entitled “All Worth It” produced by Unity Stamp Co. and designed by the talented Melody Ross. I decided to use it in conjunction with a heat embossing process.

The base cardstock is Early Espresso from Stampin’ Up! The card mat is a 4″ x 5″ piece of Kraft cardstock from Papertrey Ink. Using a Versamark pad, I stamped the image several times (in multiple directions) on the plain kraft cardstock. Next, I used my heat tool and some American Crafts’ Zing! opaque embossing powder in Blush to raise the images. After the images had set, I used a sponge dauber and some Ranger Archival Ink in Sepia to pounce over the entire design. I used a tissue to wipe away the excess ink from the embossed images.

To create the small sentiment tag, I used a stamp and die set from Papertrey Ink called “Tiny Tags”. The cardstock and ribbon for the sentiment tag are also from Papertrey Ink’s Fine Linen palette. I’m not sure that the photographs capture how well the combination of linen, brown, and blush actually work together–but they are a stunning combination.

For the inside of the card, I used a journaling block from Pink Paislee’s ‘365 Degree’ collection and a bit more of the Fine Linen 1/2″ Luxe Satin ribbon.

In other odds & ends:

–FedEx just left a package on my doorstep: two new Cricut Imagine cartridges–Buccaneer and All Wrapped Up.
–I’m expecting another package later today with my newest Cricut cartridges: Damask Décor, Elegant Edges, Everyday Pop-Up Cards, Baby Steps, and Kate’s ABCs. (*insert the sound of my bank account whining*)
–Earlier this week, I received my new Cuttlebug (V2 aka Version 2.0). I have to say the redesign is a beauty aesthetically and practically. I love the new curved lines, the more compact platforms, and the hide-away handle. I wasn’t sure I really “needed” the update–but I’m really glad I did go for it.
–Look for Giveaway #16 to arrive by the weekend. Among other things, you’ll have a chance to win a new Cricut “Pack Your Bags” cartridge.

Trending: Lace Impressions

In my continuing quest to own every crafting product imaginable (a quest that at face value sounds like a joke–until you check out my stash), I’m always interested in the trends and patterns that seem to pop-up with each new season of line introductions from the various craft companies. One of the more notable trends of this Fall 2010 season is the popularity of lace.

Many paper lines, stamps, and embellishments seem to be featuring a strong throwback to something that was once considered apropos to vintage or shabby chic projects. However, lace (whether literal or in its impression) seems to be on trend for major use in scrapbook and cardmaking projects through the rest of the year. Now, I don’t think lace was ever out. But, seeing it reemerge so strongly as a main focal point in crafting is rather unusual. The influx of laser cutting with cardstock and ribbon has made it easier for intricate lace patterns to be transitioned into new uses and forms. One area that seems to have heavily embraced the lace trend is stamping. Today’s card project features a lace rubber stamp as a focal point.

This card project is made from Stampin’ Up! cardstock in Bravo Burgundy. The card mat is decorative foiled cardstock from SEI’s “Lovebirds” collections. The lace stamp I used was from Donna Salazar’s “Trunk In The Attic” series of cling mounted rubber stamps. This particular stamp is called “Lacey Goodness”. It measures approximately 4 3/4″ x 3 7/8″. To achieve the effect I wanted, I stamped the image using VersaMark on to a piece of the Bravo Burgundy cardstock. Then, I used Stampin’ Up!’s White Stampin’ Emboss powder and my heat tool to set the image. Once it was cooled, I cut around the stamped image and used it on my card front. The heat embossing, I think, gives the look of texture and realism to the intricate cut-out work of the lace pattern. I thought the quilled rose added just the right finishing accent to the mood of the card. The sentiment is a K & Co. Grand Adhesion and the inside journaling card is from Prima Marketing.

Technique Tips 101

This card project highlights one of my favorite techniques for using glitter–but with a color twist. While I believe this technique will work with most craft brand glitters, I should tell you that my favorite to use–and the one that I believe gives the best results–is Stampin’ Up!’s Dazzling Diamonds Stampin’ Glitter (#102023, $ 4.50). The main obstacle with this method is that you want to make sure that your glitter is adhered to your project very firmly because of the friction and rubbing involved in the technique. If your glitter is not well-adhered, obviously you’ll have glitter falling off left and right (and a giant mess to boot). You will have some glitter loss, but your adhesive is key. For me, the best results are obtained using Stampin’ Up!’s Heat & Stick Powder (#100625, $ 4.50). The heat setting provides for a melt that grips your glitter to maximum effect.

For this project, I used a 5 1/2″ x 8″ piece of Stampin’ Up! cardstock in Cajun Craze (which was scored at 4 1/4″). The card mat is a 4″ x 5″ of Stampin’ Up Whisper White cardstock. The ink I chose to use is Stampin’ Up! Poppy Parade applied with a sponge dauber.

Using a 3″ x 3″ square of Whisper White cardstock, I stamped the floral image (Stampin’ Up! “Fabulous Flowers”, #109343; now retired) with a VersaMark pad and then coated it with a layer of Heat & Stick powder. Using my heat gun, I melted the layer of Heat & Stick powder until it reaches a clear, shiny finish. Then I poured a layer of Dazzling Diamonds glitter over the heated adhesive. At this point, you want to re-heat the image to ensure that the Heat & Stick powder and the glitter make a full bond and then allow your image to cool.

Once your stamped and glittered image is cooled, choose an ink color that coordinates with the papers your are using in your project. In my case, I chose Poppy Parade. Using a sponge dauber, I applied two to three coats of ink over the entire surface of the image–both on the glitter and the paper. You want to make sure you have fully saturated the color to an even layered application. I then used my Tim Holtz serrated scissors to cut around the image following the petal patterns as a guideline. Once you’ve cut your image, lay a craft mat or scrap paper out and place your image on it. Taking several pieces of Kleenex tissue and balling them up, vigorously rub in a circular motion across your glittered image. The friction with the tissue causes the excess ink to be absorbed and leaves behind a glittered surface with a slight hint of color. Don’t be alarmed that the tissue starts to tear and “ball up”. The jagged texture of the glitter will do this. It is a bit of a messy procedure, but the final results are definitely worth the effort. (I should add that it is very hard to do this technique justice with photographs. I promise you in person that your images will sparkle and shine like a vintage jewel.)

Next, I took the 4″ x 5″ card mat and used the sponge dauber to create a spotted effect for the card background using the same Poppy Parade ink. For the final touches on this card, I used one of the new Stampin’ Up! sets, “Curly Cute” (#120510, $ 14.95), for the sentiment. I stamped it with VersaMark and heat embossed it with white embossing powder. I added a piece of 1/4″ Stampin’ Up! grosgrain ribbon in Real Red.

I hope you’ll experiment, play and modify this technique to use with some of your own projects. It really is a fun technique and creates some very eye-catching results. Happy Wednesday Crafters!

Green With Friendship

I have two confessions to make: 1) I really, really had fun making this card (and I really, really like it); and 2) I know I’ve told you before that green is my favorite color–but I swear I don’t just make green cards (despite evidence to the contrary with my recent projects, lol). I guess I should have said I had three confessions to make as I sort of went a bit photo crazy with this entry–BUT, did I tell you that I really, really like this card?!

Here are the paper elements for this card:

PAPERS: Stampin’ Up! cardstock in Kiwi Kiss (5 1/2″ x 8″, scored at 4 1/4″; and 3″ x 3 1/2″), Cosmo Cricket decorative paper from the ‘Garden Variety’ collection (3 1/4″ x 4 1/4″; see additional note below), Stardream Fuse Mica in Emerald (3 1/2″ x 4 3/4″), and SEI punched floral border in White (7/8″ x 5 1/2″);

The actual card size for this project is not A2. The size was a happy accident, as I had grabbed a scrap piece of Kiwi Kiss cardstock that I thought was the standard 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ size I usually work with. It wasn’t until I used my Scor-Pal to score the cardstock that I realized it was 1/2″ shorter in length–and when folded the edges did not meet up. I nearly decided to start again, but then decided it was be an interesting challenge to come up with a design element that would accommodate this odd sizing.

Next, I rummaged around in my stamps to find an image to be the focal point of the card. I knew going in that I wanted to heat emboss the image. I chose a stamp from the Stampin’ Up! set entitled “Simple Friendship”. I used a VersaMark pad to stamp the image on a scrap piece of SU! Kiwi Kiss cardstock and used white Stampin’ Emboss powder and a heat gun to set the image.

Once the embossing was dry, I used a Stampin’ Up! 1 3/8″ circle punch to cut the image out of the scrap cardstock. Now, it was time to try and figure out how I wanted to layout my card design. After a couple of attempts, I started leaning toward something like this. The ribbon was a late addition and it’s 1/4″ grosgrain polka dot from American Crafts.

A little 3M ATG 714 Gold adhesive and a couple of knots in a bow later, I had adhered the decorative paper from Cosmo Cricket (p.s. I love this ‘Garden Variety’ collection and HIGHLY recommend it.) to my mica cardstock and tied my ribbon around the other piece of Kiwi Kiss cardstock. By the way, I should add that I use The Pink Stamper (Robyn’s) “cheater method” most times when adding ribbon to a card project. The ribbon ends are taped to the back of the cardstock with 3M Scotch tape. Another piece of ribbon is then tied into the knot. When I finished, I thought something was still missing….

The solution turned out to be another piece of Cosmo Cricket decorative paper with those great big polka dots. (I cut the piece to 2″ x 3 1/2″.) Now, just to figure out where to position it.

The final element for the card was that white strip of punched out flower shapes. This was a piece from a page of punch-outs that came with one of my SEI paper packs (but I’m sorry I don’t recall which one). Obviously, with all the green going on everyplace, white was just not going to do. So, I took some SEI chalk ink in Lime and proceeded to daub the strip with the color until it was fully saturated. These little 1″ cubes from SEI are perfect for application without the use of any special or additional tools.

I adhered the now lime colored decorative punch strip to the edge of the card that was exposed with a Zig Two-Way glue pen and added a die-cut journaling block from K & Co.’s Madeline collection to the inside.

A bit more adhesive and a few Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Dimensionals for my embossed stamped sentiment and I have a finished card that celebrates my love of green and friendship.

Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing this journey with me as much as I enjoyed making this project. Again, I urge you to sometimes leave the planning behind. Pick a color scheme or paper that tickles your fancy and build your project without any preconceived notions. Rummage in your supplies. Play with your toys. Sometimes, you can find the biggest smiles and satisfaction in the unplanned. It may not always work (and I have had plenty of cards go into the waste bin). But sometimes, your creativity will surprise you.

Next to family and friends, creativity is always one of your best companions. As always, keep crafting!