It’s In The Box…

Today’s project is a bit different. What originally started as a plain aluminum tin box that was supposed to hold a card–i.e, a metal envelope–morphed into a project of its own. As I finished up the card that was going to go inside of it, I decided to take a different approach. My plan was to put the card I made and a gift card inside of the tin and ribbon on the outside of the tin for a bit more presentation value. But, then I wondered why I didn’t just make the tin the card itself.

This was an easy project in that most of the artwork for it (besides a few paper elements) came in the form of rub-on art. I used a package of Fancy Pants rub-ons that I’ve had sitting around forever. I particularly liked that the artwork I used in the corners of the front of the tin were already distressed–adding that vintage, worn look. I used a bit of Stampin’ Up! designer series paper on the inside and a heart shaped journaling tag. I like that the inside echoes the elements of the cover. The inside cover was another rub-on piece from Creative Imaginations. Half the fun with a piece like this is deciding what goes where in the layout of your designs. It’s akin to putting together a jigsaw puzzle–and a fun way to use up some of the rub-on artwork you may have lying around your workspace.






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Cullen

Today’s post is different in several aspects. One, it’s the first 12″ x 12″ layout I’ve done in what seems like ages. If you have been a reader for any length of time, you’ll know that my first love is cardmaking. Secondly, this layout isn’t of family or friends–or even about a specific event. In fact, it’s the first page in a new book I’m doing called “Future Ex-Husbands”. (I’ll wait.)

In all sincerity, I had a blast with this one. I had a lovely 4″ x 6″ photograph of the talented and handsome Mr. Robert Pattinson that called out to me. Ever since I added the “Happy Hauntings” Cricut cartridge to my collection, I fell instantly in love with the fonts. I could just visualize the Cullen name in my head since I opened the cartridge. So this morning, I set out to make it a reality.

The background paper is a die-cut 12″ x 12″ glazed and glittered sheet from BoBunny’s “Jazmyne” Collection. I used Bazzill textured cardstock for the font and shadow cuts, as well as the frame. (The font and frame are from “Happy Hauntings”.) I used Papertrey Ink Scarlet Jewel ink (and a secret technique) to create the blood splatter effect on the title and the bloody fingerprints on the photo. (I cannot even begin to tell you how much I am in love with the title lettering on this page!). The epoxy embellishments are from Creative Imaginations and the super-talented Marah Johnson. The paper tape handwriting strip is from 7 Gypsies. I grabbed my Gypsy, my papers and adhesive and went to town. (Note: The letters and shadows were cut at 2″; The frame and its pieces were cut at 7″.)







Have a Super Friday Crafties! May you find some “Future Ex-Husbands” in your weekend ahead! 🙂

Made With LOVE

Today’s card project is rather simple in construction and execution. And yet, it manages to be a statement maker and an eyecatcher. Sometimes, a simple idea executed well can give you unexpected results. I’m not sure if this is going to carry off well in photographs, but this card is quite elegant in person.

My main objective when starting this project was to use a piece of printed transparency on a card design. The piece I used comes from a 12″ x 12″ transparency sheet from Creative Imaginations. The design is from the fabulous Marah Johnson, whose work I adore. If you love hip, tattoo-inspired artwork, I highly recommend you check out Marah Johnson’s work. The piece of transparency I used was 4″ x 5 1/4″ and comes from Ms. Johnson’s “Lovestruck” collection.

The main challenge when working with transparencies–and clear elements, in general–is figuring out a way to adhere the piece to your project. Being a transparent material, unfortunately, many adhesive solutions will show through the piece and create a less-than-desirable look to a finished project. Most of the time, it then becomes a challenge to hide the adhesive with embellishments (without trying to be too obvious that is exactly what you are doing. I think many people shy away from transparency film for this very reason. In the past, I’ve tried “hiding” adhesive and never been happy with the results on the whole. One day, I tried to use eyelets to adhere the transparency to a project–and it does work better. However, the problem with eyelets is that you have to be extremely careful when setting them at just the correct separations so that the transparency film does not buckle or pull creating unsightly bumps and wrinkles on your overlay piece. I quickly realized that instead of trying to use eyelets in all corners of a transparency–less is generally more. If you can use two opposite corners in your design planning, you are able to properly attach the overlay to your project and still allow the transparency some movement and air to breath.

In the past, I’ve stamped images on plain transparency film you can buy at Office Depot or other office supply stores. Your best bet as far as inks go has to be StazOn–as it tends to smear less and dry very quickly. Occasionally, I’ll find a piece of pre-printed transparency that I’ll fall in love with and “have” to buy. The problem with most preprinted transparencies is that they can be quite expensive. So, don’t be afraid to attempt to make your own with some of your favorite stamps and colors. There may be some trial and error involved, but the results are really worth the effort in the looks you can achieve.

Instead of working with eyelets, I decided to try my hand with some We R Memory Keepers designer gromlets. I pulled out my Crop-A-Dile (which I really don’t use that often) and found a pair of gromlets from my stash that reminded me of jeweled cufflinks. (Unfortunately, as you will find out, there was a mishap with one of them.)

I decided to mount my transparency to a piece of Stardream Fuse Mica cardstock in a color called Quartz. It has a nice icy sheen to it. (TIP: Several readers have asked about where I buy my Stardream Fuse Mica cardstock from. While there are several sources you can find on the Internet, I shop with California Paper Goods. They have the best selection and offer a wide array of sizes, quantities, and styles (not too mention great pricing). Their packaging is impeccable and they are very quick in turnaround.) My cardstock base is the same size as the transparency, 4″ x 5 1/4″.

I quickly realized that I did not want to just attach the transparency directly to the cardstock (even though it looked perfectly fine). I rooted around in my stamps and found a sentiment stamp from Papertrey Ink’s “Mega Mixed Messages” collection and used some Jet Black StazOn ink to stamp the word “love” haphazardly (well, it supposed to look haphazard but takes some work) on the Quartz cardstock.


A few seconds to dry and I was ready for my gromlets (but, I think they were not ready for me). Aligning the transparency with the cardstock, I used the Crop-A-Dile to punch a hole through the layers to insert the gromlet through. The first one was a snap. The second one was more like crackle. Apparently, I applied to much pressure when setting the gromlet and the crystal stone in the center of the gromlet shattered. It stayed together, but I really could get past the cracked look of the crystal and had to abandon that gromlet for another. While they certainly don’t match, I think they work well enough together on this particular card.


I then took another piece of the Stardream Fuse cardstock in the same color (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, scored at 4 1/4″) to create the card base to attach my “gromletted” piece to. A piece of Stampin’ Up! 5/8″ satin ribbon in Whisper White made a lovely finishing touch.




Well, I hope wherever today takes you or finds you, you’ll be surrounded by love. There’s too much hate in the World. So do something kind for a perfect stranger. It’ll do both of you good. Feed your soul….and as always, keep crafting!

All Hallow’s Eve

I am completely enamored by this new Stampin’ Up! Halloween stamp called “All Hallow’s Eve” (#113264, $17.95). It’s a very large stamp and is deeply etched for maximum detail. I will admit that the size makes it a bit cumbersome to stamp with (and you may have to stamp a few times before you get a print that you’re truly happy with). You may also want to ink your stamp with a brayer for larger and quicker coverage.

The card base is Stardream Fuse Mica cardstock in Flame. The image was stamped on Stampin’ Up! Whisper White cardstock with Tsukineko Memento ink in Tuxedo Black. The card mat and base were punched with the Stampin’ Up! Tag Corner Punch (#107215, $6.95). The ribbon is from artiste extraordinaire Marah Johnson and Creative Imaginations (LOVE IT!). I used a Sakura Metallic Ink Pen in Orange Flame for accent and a Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Write Journaling Pen in black for the freehand sentiment.



May your ghosts and goblins always bring treats…and Keep Crafting!

Artist Trading Cards (ATCs)

I’m by no means an expert on the whole phenomenon of Artist Trading Cards or ATCs, as they are often referred to in shorthand. However, it is a form of paper crafting that does appeal immensely to me. I think the intriguing thing about ATCs is tied to the size of the final project. The only die-hard rule of ATCs is that finished size of your project must be 2.5″ x 3.5″ (64mm x 89mm). Other than that, the design and materials to be used are as endless as your imagination. While, it is obviously a temptation to go crazy with the dimensionality, the key to a good ATC design is that it be “portable art”, that is a trading card that is easy to store or take with you.

You can explore stamping, textures, paints, inks, sketching, stitching, papers, found objects, and so many other techniques with ATCs. ATCs can be modern or vintage, bold or subtle, themed or free-form. I’ve used my own sketched images, pieced collages, Cricut die-cuts, and various objets d’ art in my own ATC collection. Of course, much of the fun in ATCs is trading with other budding artists and sharing your inspirations/works.

I recently joined a “Your Choice” ATC Swap through the Cricut Message Boards. The three (3) themes I selected to participate in were: “Love”, “Asian”, and “Black & White”. Here is a peek at the designs I came up with.

For the Love theme, my design is called “Without End”. It combines a Marah Johnson image stamped with Tsukineko Brilliance Rocket Red Glare and an accent paper from DCWV Rock Star paper stack. The edges are inked with StazOn Jet Black ink and the cards are accented with Sakura Gelly Roll Metallic pens.

The Asian theme is called “Asian Lamp”. The base paper is from DCWV Far East collection. The card edges were inked with a crimson pigment. I used some kanji characters and a layered die-cuts of an oriental paper lantern as focal points. Kanji are originally Chinese characters that are used in the modern Japanese logographic writing system. Each card in the set, showcases a different lamp and kanji character combination.

The final set was an interesting challenge. Black and white is a restraint in that it means there is a lack of color. I decided the images should be stark and visually interesting. The card design is called “Life”. The wording is done with a ransom styled alphabet stamped with StazOn Jet Black ink. The fingerprint (which is my own thumbprint) is also inked with StazOn. I used Sakura Glaze Pen in Black for the accents. The “messy” smudges were intentional–as Life is never without its messes. The thumbprint represents the “touch” of someone in your life.

I urge you to try your hand at ATCs. All you need is a stiff cardstock or chipboard base, your imagination and whatever embellishments strike your fancy. You can spend minutes–or hours on your designs. The finished projects look wonderful in frames, in cards, stored on a rolodex turnstile or cataloged in baseball card trading sleeves. Consider them mini-art projects for the soul.

Create–and keep crafting!

Card Spotlight: Stamping

For this card project, I wanted to use a couple of new stamp sets I recently acquired. It’s a simple card with a bit of bling.

I used an A2 sized piece of smooth white DCWV cardstock. The images and sentiment are stamped using Tsukineko VersaMagic Chalk Pigment Ink in Jumbo Java. The crown stamp is from an Autumn Leaves clear acrylic set called “Gypsy Style” by artist Rhonna Farrar. The “Live With Intention” sentiment is from a limited edition Hampton Arts clear acrylic set entitled “Intention” by artist Marah Johnson. The border stamp I used is from Sassafras Lass and it was stamped with Tsukineko Brilliance Ink in Coffee Bean.

For a bit of bling and visual interest, I used a Sakura Quickie Glue Pen and some Doodlebug Sugar Coating in bronze to highlight a portion of the swirl below the crown. I also used a Sakura Gelly Roll Glitter Pen in Clear to highlight the crown.

As a final touch, I used the same border stamp to stamp the inside of the card.

This was a quick and easy card project that took on a bit more sophistication with the addition of the glitter touches and double border stamping. Don’t forget to use your stamps on the insides of your cards–as well as the outsides.

Create–and keep crafting!

Further Adventures In Gamsol

I’ve continued to practice with the fabled Gamsol technique. The more I use my Prismacolor pencils and Gamsol, the more comfortable I become with the technique. I think I’m getting better with the application and blending. I’m still have some troubles getting the shadowing and perspective down…but I’m assuming that will come with time and more practice.

I started using blending stumps and then I came across some 6″ wooden stick cotton swab applicators that I really like. They come two to a package, so you can use a new stick with each color range and avoid cross-contamination. The longer applicator also gives you more range of motion and freedom in coloring, I think.

Here are some of the latest images I practiced on this weekend. If you haven’t tried this colored pencil technique, I’d highly recommend you check it out. The results are quite astonishing. It does take some investment on the front-end, but the dividends are very satisfying.




The stamps used: owl (Inkadinkado), butterfly (Autumn Leaves), bunnies (a RAK from AMKs_Mom), heart (Marah Johnson), poppy (Rhonna Farrar).