Everything Old Is New Again…

If you follow crafting/scrapbooking trends, it should not come as surprise to you that vintage is back in a big way. Since the third and fourth quarters of last year, many companies have come forward with lines that are decidedly influenced by the past. That trend seems to be continuing with some new and exciting embellishments that recall yesteryear. Sewing, lace, twine, buttons, cameos, pearls, ephemera continue to hit the crafting market in new and exciting ways. One of my favorite revivalists of the vintage tradition is Webster’s Pages. High quality, great color ranges, and unique approaches make them one of the newest favorites.

Today’s card project was actually inspired by two things. First, I wanted to use a new product to me: Webster’s Pages Vintage Inspired Netting II. This collection contains eleven (11) 8″ x 8″ squares of vintage inspired netting in an array of colors and designs. The moment I spotted it, I thought about all the great vintage hats women used to wear a la Jackie O’s pill box hat. The interesting thing about this netting is that there are so many different ways you can incorporate it into card and scrapbook designs. The second thing that inspired this card design is those old-fashioned winner’s ribbon’s that were awarded at state and county fairs.

The base cardstock is Papertrey Ink Perfect Match in Summer Sunrise. The stamped sentiment is also from Papertrey Ink’s “Think Big Favorites” series. To create my “ribbon”, I used a piece of the Webster’s Pages netting. To create the rosette portion, I stamped an image on Papertrey Ink’s Kraft cardstock and cut around it. The kaleidoscope stamp image is from a Stella & Rose stamp set by My Mind’s Eye called “Gertie Girly Stamps”. I attached the netting behind the medallion directly to card face and then used large pop-dots to adhere the medallion in place and give it some added dimensions. The final touches included a zinnia floral button from Prima Marketing (which color matches perfectly) and an inner journaling block.





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Heirloom Va-Va-Voom…

Today’s card project is a bit different for me…in several ways. The genesis of the idea came from an image that I absolutely fell in love with on the new Cricut Imagine Colors & Patterns cartridge entitled “Heirloom”. The image is a terrific collage print featuring vintage dress forms, wire dress forms and corsets and is done in a palette of corals, dusty pinks, creams and carmine red. It’s an ultra feminine piece of artwork–and a terrific find with the hot crafting trends of vintage shabby chic and steampunk regalia.

One of the very first things I did was print out a 12″ x 12″ sheet of this paper on some textured white Bazzill cardstock. I set it aside for a bit trying to decide where I was going with it. In the mean time, I was exploring another soon-to-be favorite Cricut cartridge called “Elegant Edges”. This is a must-have cartridge for those of you who are always looking for decorative frames and picture mats, as well as unique journaling blocks. As I was exploring the oblong frame set to find a shape for a card front, I was inspired to use my Cricut Imagine to combine the artwork of “Heirloom” with the scalloped open-detail oblong frame from “Elegant Edges”. I used the color palette from “Heirloom to print the backing solid color shadow frame for my scalloped piece.

Once I had a mental image of what I wanted, I started building the card using some red mica cardstock as the card base. I cut a 4″ x 5″ mat from the 12″ x 12″ sheet I had printed and used the Martha Stewart Crafts “Optic Dot” corner punch to take the corners off of my mat. Rummaging through my stash, I found a terrific Stampin’ Up! edged ribbon in Riding Hood Red that really went well with the design of the card. The corset die-cut is from a set of foiled elements by Kanban Arts. The sentiment is from a Stampin’ Up! set called “Chic Boutique”.

The end result is a bit intimate and definitely boudoir-ish. I think it will make a great general purpose “girlfriend” card. With a little adjustment it would also make a great invite for a bachelorette party (if I may say so).



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.



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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.

Architectural Digest…

As I have discussed previously, I am a great fan and student of architectural symmetry, design and aesthetics. I can sit and look at photographs and books of geometric designs cast in plaster, marble, metals–and be mesmerized by the intricacies of line, curve and shape. One of my particular favorite architectural elements has always been the finial. Finials are typically carved from stone and are thoughtfully used to emphasize the apex of a gable or any distinct ornaments at the top, end, or corner of a building or structure. However, finials have been taken from architectural devices and now grace everything from clocks, curtain rods, and bedposts.

My love of finials is one of the reasons I thoroughly enjoy the Cricut cartridge called ‘Ornamental Iron’. There are so many terrific wrought-iron gates, windows, and architectural elements on this cartridge–and they lend themselves to a bounty of project ideas. The two images on today’s card project are both from this cartridge. Originally, I had two separate projects in mind when I cut the pieces. But as I played around with the design, I ended up loving the contrast of both images on one card. While slightly masculine in appeal, this card is just a great general note card that grabs the eye.

The layered finial piece (which is also reminiscent of a vase or urn) was cut and printed at 4″ with my Cricut Imagine. Using the RGB codes for the Stampin’ Up! color palette, the shadow layer was done in Basic Black (R-0 G-0 B-0). The finial was done in Chocolate Chip (R-111 G-84 B-75). The final decorative layer was done using a pattern from the Cricut Imagine ‘Best Friends’ art cartridge. When I cut the wrought-iron window (which was going to be for a different project), I used Not Quite Navy (R-63 G-109 B-125). But that color was not going to work with the rest of the elements on the final card. So I took a sponge dauber and some lacquer black ink and changed the appearance to a glossy black finish. The decorative background paper is from Basic Grey’s ‘Curio’ line. The base card stock is Stampin’ Up! in ‘Early Espresso’. The interior journaling block paper is trimmed from a piece of Prima Marketing paper from the ‘Annalee’ collection. I used my Zutter 1/2″ Round-It-All tool on the corners of the base cardstock and card mat.

The completed project reminds me of a decor tableau–a giant urn sitting in front of a floating screen in some decadent Moroccan love nest hideaway. Pillows strewn on the floor in front of an intricate wall treatment, with a cadre of menservants feeding me grapes and fanning me with giant maribou feathers. Casablanca, here I come. At least a boy can dream…




Mushroomland

The mushroom has always been a motif that makes me happy. Maybe it’s a childhood memory–walking in the forest and seeing wild mushrooms and imagining that tiny elves lived inside–or the geometrical structure that appeals to the math geek in me…but, for whatever reason, I love mushrooms. (I’ll avoid discussing my Super Mario addiction for the time being…)

Today’s card project features artwork and cuts from the Cricut Imagine art cartridge titled “Nursery Tails”. (Before I go on, I suppose I need to make a confession. Yes, another one. My addictive personality has been discussed numerous times on this blog. My Cricut cartridge count now stands at 214 [and doesn’t include the new batch of Hello Thursday releases–though I’ve already ordered two of those.] When I finally caved and purchased my Cricut Imagine, I secretly hoped that I would not find it necessary to have all the Imagine cartridges. I told myself, the color and pattern cartridges would not be must-have purchases. {By now, you should see where this is heading.} Well, so much for low hopes. I currently have 21 Imagine art and colors/patterns cartridges…and want all three of the newly announced titles.)

Now the reason for this rather long confession: What am I doing with a cartridge called “Nursery Tails”? I have no children. I’m fairly certain any eggs I may have had are long scrambled (yes, this was a joke). At 45, I don’t see children in my future (much less that rascally Prince Charming)…so….why? Well, I had to have it. But, I’m telling you, the artwork and designs on this cartridge are so beyond cute and ahhh-inducing. I give “Nursery Tails” a hearty two-snaps and a shake of a gay man’s bruised existential eggs. Okay, now I’m done. I promise. To the cave, er….card.

The base cardstock for this project (and one of my go-to colors) is Papertrey Ink’s Simply Chartreuse. The card mat was cut at 4″ x 5″ from K & Co.’s “Greenhouse” paper stack. I mounted the mat on another piece of the same-sized Simply Chartreuse cardstock for added thickness as I knew I would be doing some hand-stitching on this card. I used We R Memory Keepers Sew Easy tool to punch the stitch lines in my matstack. Echoing the predominant greens and browns of the papers used, I chose to use some Papertrey Ink Baker’s Twine in Chocolate (instead of floss) to do my stitching. I like the baker’s twine as it is thicker and more rustic and makes the stitching show up more.

I used my Cricut Imagine and “Nursery Tails” to print and cut my layered artwork at 4″. The mushroom head and the butterfly wings were double cut for layering with Stampin’ Dimensionals. I also used the Dimensionals to adhere my mat stack on the card front as that keeps the back stitch work from “lumping” up the cardstock. It also, I think, carries on the three-dimensional effect of the overall card. Lastly, I used a sponge dauber and some Memento Rich Cocoa ink to add a border of color around the outside edges of my card. I was really happy with the way this one turned out. It featured so many details that I didn’t feel it necessary to add a greeting or sentiment to the card.



Let It Snow (?)

Yesterday, I was goofing around trying to decide on which project to tackle. Meanwhile, I realized that there was a chill in the air nipping at the back of my neck. I looked out the window (*distraction*) and realized it was one of those days. The ones where the sky is a frozen ice blue in color with little cloudiness. Where the wind seems to be missing, but blusters here and again. The kind where time seems to have just suspended itself and Mother Nature has let out a quiet, but definite, B-r-r-r-r.

When I got back to my workspace, I knew I wanted to make a card to capture that feeling. It’s funny because the piece of decorative paper I decided to use (from SEI) really isn’t winter or snowflake related per se, but yet it works. Some ribbon, a stamp, and my I-Rock and this icy blue card appeared. Can you feel it?





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…