In The Background…

Sometimes I fall into a bit of a trap. There are so many beautiful background papers out there (and in my collection), that it gets a bit easy to fall upon a wonderful printed paper for a mat to a card. Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with using papers from your favorite collections and/or lines. I certainly love doing it. But sometimes, I forget that I can “make” my own backgrounds by repeating a stamped image.

I’ve previously stated that I love geometric patterns and intricate scroll work. There is something about the Art Deco period that tugs at my soul. Whether it’s jewelry, home furnishings or artwork–there’s something about a repeating pattern that speaks to me. This repeating pattern motif is why I think I drawn mosaics and tile work so much.

This card was inspired by one of the stamps in Papertrey Ink’s “Giga Guidelines” acrylic stamp set. Using the perfectly co-ordinated Guide Lines II grid sheet cardstock, I stamped the image repeatedly in Memento Rich Cocoa ink. After letting the ink dry, I went back in using another stamp–from Papertrey Ink’s “Dot Spot” medallion set–and their Vintage Cream pigment ink to stamp over the centers of each element. I really like the effect achieved by stamping the pigment ink over the Tsukineko ink. It’s not glaring, but creates a semi-gloss look as you move the card around a light source.

The card base was made from some Stampin’ Up! cardstock in Early Espresso. The ribbon with stitched detail is also Stampin’ Up! (in Chocolate Chip). The sentiment was made from a Maya Road Kraft tag and another Papertrey Ink stamp. For the final touch on the cardfront, I used a vintage Velvet Poppy from Creative Charms in a Vintage Brown color. The flower attaches with a pearl center brad, so I used a paper piercer to secure the brad through both the ribbon detail and the card mat.

Because the cardbase cardstock is so dark, I needed to added a place for a note inside. I used a blank library card and Papertrey Ink’s Vintage Touch tea dye to distress the card and stamped a little floral element in the corner.


Advertisements

Explosions Of Love…

For the last couple of weeks, my creativity has seemingly gone on the fritz. Though, I think most creativity comes and goes in some weird cyclical dance. It’s been ridiculously hot (102+), which does not exactly inspire (other than sweat). There have been six to eight major forest fires around the state–leading to billowing smoke and haze…again, not exactly inspiring. The good news is that I finally feel my mojo coming back. (Or at least, I got past the stage of wanting to throw what I’m working on in the trash can.)

I just wanted to take a moment to wish you all a very Happy & Safe Fourth of July! Happy Birthday Ms. Liberty…







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.

***************

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.

Pretty In Pink…








Cameo Appearance…

I’m not sure if it is a common affliction among crafters, but I’ve long been fascinated by color and bling since I was a child. If it sparkles or glitters, chances are I have to have it. Even before I fell in love with cardmaking and crafting, I’ve been a student, collector and creator of jewelry. From vintage deco to modern pop art pieces, the combination of geometry and symmetry with the sparkle of gemstones and crystals puts me in a trance. It actually began with an admiration of Russian Czarist history in high school. That led to collecting and devouring books about the works of Peter Carl Faberge and the Imperial Easter Eggs. Then came my collection of eggs. Then came a fascination with Coco Chanel, Jean Schlumberger and others. Then came my jewelry collection…and well, you get the picture. Suffice to say, that a lot of my crafting projects are influenced by gemstone colors and their fiery brilliance. Today’s project, in one such example.

I fell in love with these wonderful raw chipboard cameo sets from Maya Road. They come with several different shapes, styles, and profiles that are perfect for customizing to your own color scheme and fancy. When I decided to make one a card focal point, I thought it would be interesting to do so against a very neutral palette. So, I chose to used blacks and grays in papers and inks. The cardstock is True Black and Sahara Sand from Stampin’ Up! I used Tsukineko Memento inks and a sponge dauber to ink my cameo pieces. The floral spikes were created with double-sided adhesive and Martha Stewart glitter in White Gold. The pearls are from Stampin’ Up! The sentiment plaque was created using a decorative label punch (also from SU!). The sentiment stamp is from a SU! set called ‘You’re A Gem’. The decorative frame stamp is from an upcoming Stampin’ Up release called ‘Four Frames’. It will be available in the new Summer Mini Catalog starting in May 2011. The inner journaling block is from Pink Paislee’s ‘Queen Bee’ collection.







Je Vous Adore

I must apologize for the delay in getting this entry posted. Unfortunately, Mother Nature was apparently upset with the Southwest desert U.S. After having a few days of temperature readings below zero (and incredibly, -21 with the wind chill factored in), the aftermath was nearly as cold as the event. I had three separate broken water lines (…and only two thumbs to plug the holes with, lol). It’s been an icy floody mess around here. But, like all things, this too shall pass.

The good news is that today’s card project is so pretty, it made me forget the bone-chilling cold–for a bit at least. This card is also one of those happy accidents where a combination of not-so-likely Cricut cartridges provided an interesting collision. In the end–and pardon my frankness–this card is beautiful.

I used one of the Spring 2011 seasonal mini-cartridge releases, “Mother’s Day Boquet”, to create a layered flower piece that serves as the focal point of this card. The image I used was the flower on Row 1, Key 5. I cut four layers: 4″, 3.5″, 3″, and 2.5″. I used my Cricut Imagine to do the cutting and one big advantage to doing so is the ability to create custom colors and/or patterns on designs from the regular Cricut cartridge line. Earlier, I had been working on an Imagine project using the Cricut Imagine “Country Carnival” art cartridge. While I was debating what solid color I wanted to print my flower layers with, I had the idea to experiment with pattern using the “Country Carnival” cartridge. One of the patterned paper images I love on this cartridge is a vintage newspaper layout that is dotted with spots of bright color in the form of trailing rose bushes. It provides for vivid pops of color, while keeping with a chic vintage look. Using some white Bazzill cardstock (corduroy textured), I cut my flower layers using the “Mother’s Day Bouquet cartridge and the pattern from “Country Carnival”.

I further enhanced the vintage look of the layers by using some Ranger Perfect Pearls Mist in Heirloom Gold. I really love the formulation of these Perfect Pearl mists. I’ve tried other color spritzes, washes and sprays–and usually the results are messy and not aesthetically pleasing. But, I have had tremendous success with the Perfect Pearls. I anchored my floral layers with a giant faceted jeweled brad from Creative Charms. I used a Martha Stewart bone folder to curl my petals to provide dimensionality and visual interest.

The decorative paper for the card mat and the inside of the card is from Graphic 45’s “Le Romantique” collection. The card base and ribbon are from Papertrey Ink in Pine Feather. A little dimension and a strategically placed stick pin provide just the right finishing touches on the front. On the inside, I used a kraft journaling tag from Maya Road to provide an area for personalization.


Overall, I was really jazzed by the modern meets vintage look of the overall card. The bloom looks like it is growing right off the card front–and in these frigid temperatures it is certainly a most welcome sight.




Tick-Tock

Here’s a quick card project with a more masculine feel to it. The base cardstock is Stampin’ Up! in Not Quite Navy. The decorative paper for the mat is from Graphic 45’s “Transatlantique” Collection. The clock image was stamped on Stampin’ Up! Bermuda Bay cardstock with StazOn ink in Jet Black. The clock components are from a clear acrylic stamps set by Maya Road called “Clocks”. The ribbon is from Stampin’ Up!’s designer ribbon District collection. I used a Stampin’ Up! punch to cut out the quatrefoil shape on each corner of the card mat and accented them with my Imaginisce I-Rock tool and crystals. The sentiment was handwritten using a Uniball Signo white pen.