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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Love Notes

Today’s card project was first inspired by a color palette. One with a decidedly masculine feel to it. I wanted to play with texture and the concept of hard vs. soft. In the end, the card took a romantic turn. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Now, I know I have a few male readers–but for the most part, I have my Ladies. Here’s the scoop: Despite their rough and gruff exteriors, most men still like to get a love note now and again. I know, shocking. (And for those of you who know me a little too well–Yes, even a straight man enjoys a love note. Of course, not that I’m saying I’m in the habit of sending straight men love notes. But, I digress…)

Today’s project uses three different cardstocks: Stampin’ Up! cardstock in Early Espresso (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″), and Stardream Fuse Mica cardstock in Copper (4″ x 5 1/2″) and Bronze (4″ x 5 1/2″).

With the copper mica piece, I wanted to create my “hard” layer. I took the cardstock and ran it through the Cuttlebug with a Tim Holtz Textured Impressions Fade folder called (oddly enough) “Bricks”. I particularly love the Tim Holtz folders because of the fade effects that do not give a completely solid impression across the cardstock. The negative spaces create some nice tension in your designs.

Since I knew the rest of my palette was decidedly darker in tone, I decided to use a bit of chalk in (Colorbox in Chestnut Roan) and some Kleenex to give my bricks a bit of a patina and create some shadowing in the nooks and crannies. Unfortunately, because the cardstock is so shiny, I’m not sure this effect carries across in the photos. But, in person, it makes for a rich contrast.

For the bronze mica layer, I turned to Tim Holtz and my Cuttlebug again. Using one of his On The Edge Alterations dies, Scrollwork, I created the scalloped border–which provides the “soft” portion of my card.

Using this dichotomy of hard and soft, I thought the bricks v. the scrollwork conveyed this feeling very well. (It also serves as a metaphor for the man receiving it (gruff exterior, cuddly interior). I layered the scrollwork on top of the bricks and adhered them with my 3M ATG 714 adhesive gun. I found a piece of SEI stitched ribbon (from the “Windsor” collection) that fit the feel of the card very nicely.

Using the same adhesive, I placed my layered piece on top of the cardstock base that forms the card–lining up all of the edges on the left side.

Finally, to convey the sentiment, I went rummaging through my goodies and found the perfect little metal flair badge from American Crafts “Hugs & Kisses” collection. I adhered the metal badge with a 1/2″ glue dot.

Before I close with a few more close-up shots, I’d like to encourage you to show and tell the person or persons you love–whether man or woman–just that. None of us can ever hear that we are loved too much. Until next time, keep crafting.




Caged Bird

For my second exploration with Tim Holtz’s new Alterations line, I decided to use the Sizzix Bigz die entitled “Caged Bird”. I also wanted to make a home décor piece instead of my usual card. I have to confess that I’m actually not through with this project, but I was so excited with the results thus far that I couldn’t wait to share it with you. I will be framing this in a thick dark wood frame as it is meant to be a small wall hanging.

The “Caged Bird” steel rule die will cut three pieces when run through your Sizzix Big Shot or ProvoCraft Cuttlebug. You will get the birdcage frame, the bird’s body on a branch, and a bird wing. Instead of working with cardstock (and since this was intended to be a home décor piece and needed to be a bit sturdier), I chose to use a piece of thick chipboard as my base and Tim Holtz Grungeboard to cut my pieces from. The chipboard is a very sturdy piece from a Die Cuts With A View (DCWV) assorted chip board stack. The 4″ x 6″ chipboard is covered on both sides with a textured cardstock in a dusty rose color. The Grungeboard was a 4″ x 6″ sheet as well, though it had a “dots” texture to it. I would have preferred a plain piece when I started, but in the end, the texture added some nice highlights to the elements.

With my Grungeboard pieces cut out via my trusty Cuttlebug, I used some Tim Holtz Distress Inks and my applicator to color the pieces. The cage was colored with Black Soot distress ink. The bird body and wing were colored with Mustard Seed; The legs and branch were colored with Walnut Stain. I was pleased with the look of the cage. The Black Soot gave it the look of an ornamental iron piece that had seen some use and wear. The bird’s body, however, just didn’t pop enough for me with just the inking. I decided my caged bird needed to be a focal point. I used some adhesive and canary yellow glitter to coat the body and wing. After they were completely dry, I used some Smooch ink to accent his eye and his beak.

One of the main reasons I chose to use Grungeboard was for the pliability and dimension of the material. All along, my theme was to have the bird “breaking out” of his cage to leap to his magical flight. That’s why I sort of threaded his body through some of the bars of the cage and made sure his wing was exposed from captivity. This type of manipulation would have been difficult without a material that had some give to it and did not permanently bend or crease. The wing and the cage are attached to the backdrop chipboard using Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Dimensionals–which again emphasizes the dimensionality of the project.

The die for “Caged Bird” punches out five holes on the bottom of the cage as a decorative detail. In my mind, I had already pictured hanging some crystal chandelier drops from the holes. But as I worked on the project and developed the theme of the bird breaking out of his cage, I though some Tim Holtz typewriter key charms might be a better bet. With the sentiment of “FLY” in mind, I chose three charm backings and used the circular alphabet stickers for my word. Originally, I wanted all of the charms to be the creme color. However, I couldn’t find a “Y” in that coloration and had to use a black sticker. At first, I was disappointed with the look. But upon further study, I really like the off-kilter lettering. Not only does it tie into the cage color, but it sort of identifies that “breaking out” theme by achieving your goal no matter what it takes (like the wrong color letter). Once you place the letters in the charm frames, you use an adhesive acrylic bubble to cover the charm. I used some Tim Holtz jump rings to attach the charms to the cage. For the two holes that did not have dangles, I covered them with rhinestones.


The final touch on the project was the hanging chain atop the cage. Again, the chain is from Tim Holtz. I attached it to the cage with another jump ring. To anchor the chain, I chose a fabric and crystal covered brad from K & Co. to complete the look. I pierced a hole through the chipboard and inserted the brad. I think once I mount this piece in a frame, it’s really going to set off the look. I will try to remember to photograph the finished piece and share it with you later.






A Compendium Of Curiosities

Yesterday was all about Mr. Tim Holtz for me (and my pocketbook). First, I received my copy of Mr. Holtz’s new book, “A Compendium Of Curiosities”–which I’ll get to in a moment. Secondly, I ordered nearly $200 of his new Alterations line. I am in awe of the versatility of some of the new Sizzix Bigz dies and edge dies he’s come up with. If you haven’t visited Tim Holtz’s blog as of late, I highly recommend you take a look at the set of new videos he posted describing his intentions and examples of the new Alterations line of products. Needless to say, I’m hooked (line and sinker). I’ve always been a fan of Mr. Holtz’s tools and products (a fact my craft stash would attest to in a court of law). I suppose his aesthetic may not appeal to all crafters, but I have to say I love the grunge look of his style and his methods of repurposing objects and trinkets. It’s also one of the few craft lines that is very male and teen friendly (in my opinion). Among the dies I am eagerly awaiting: Caged Bird, Fanciful Flight, Gadget Gears, Tattered Florals, Hanging Sign, Ornamental, Keyholes, Styled Labels, Three Hole Punch, and File Tabs. (The sad part is there are still a few more I want–but they weren’t in stock at the moment. So, I’m sure I’ll be placing another order on down the road.)

But enough about my shopping habits…and on to the book. Can I just say right up front that this book belongs in every crafter’s library. Whether you are a Tim Holtz fan like me or just interested in new methods, techniques, and ideas, this book is for you. The hardcover book (with interior spiral binding) measures approximately 8 3/4″ x 8 3/4″ and has 77 pages. But don’t be fooled by that number. The book is bursting with information and wonderfully rendered color photographs presented with Mr. Holtz’s usual panache and flair.

Beginning with a brief introduction to the man and his studio–as well as a list of products he has developed or helped to develop and their intended uses–the book wastes no time getting to its essential core. It’s broken down into three major sections: Ideas, Techniques, and a Gallery.

In the Ideas section, Holtz explores different elements and embellishments and how they can affect your projects–whether they be layouts, cards, mini-books, etc. Among the topics he discusses and shows examples of:

  • ornate plates
  • foilage
  • corner
  • tags, tokens, & sticks
  • type charms
  • gears, sprockets, & timepieces
  • numerals
  • keys & keyholes
  • adornments & vintage buttons
  • curio knobs & foundations
  • film strip & ruler ribbon
  • fasteners & washers
  • mini clips & pins
  • trinket & memo pins
  • hitch fasteners
  • hinge clips & D-rings
  • swivel clasps
  • ball, bead & link chains
  • tickets & stickers
  • paper stacks
  • grungeboard & grungepaper
  • fragments

    My favorite section has to be the Technique section. In it, Mr. Holtz teaches us to use some of his famous techniques, tips and tricks. What’s clever is that most of them are done is six simple steps with accompanying full-color photographs. Among the techniques highlighted are:

  • wrinkle free distress
  • scribble stain distress
  • water stamping
  • blended batik
  • dabber resist
  • perfect distress
  • inking grunge
  • double distress
  • rusted enamel
  • distress crackle
  • distress powder
  • chipped enamel
  • rusted grunge
  • distress stickles
  • rock candy distress stickles
  • altered metal with paint
  • shabby chic
  • weathered wood grunge
  • alcohol ink monoprint
  • alcohol ink splatter
  • alcohol ink agate on grunge
  • industrial grunge
  • tinted vision fragments
  • altered metal alcohol inks
  • colorful layered fragments
  • masks basics
  • inking and stamping masks
  • distress misting masks
  • extreme masking
  • fragments basics
  • dimensional collage fragments
  • fragment charms
  • grungepaper flowers
  • multi-medium collage
  • design details

    The final section is a wonderful gallery of projects done by Mr. Holtz that incorporate many of the techniques, tools, and examples used throughout the book. What really surprised me was that even someone like myself who has used a lot of Holtz products can still find new information on how to use products that you hadn’t thought of or didn’t realize you could do. I was really excited by the fragments projects (and will be working on some of those in the near future.

    “A Compendium Of Curiosities” retails for $24.99 and, in my opinion, is worth every single penny. I highly recommend this book to anyone with even a faint interest in papercrafting.

  • A Card From My Secret Sister

    I have an absolutely terrific Secret Sister on the Cricut Message Boards. Her name is Kelly and she goes by KellpieJo on the message board.

    She sends me some of the most cheery cards. I love this one because it showcases her work with metal and alcohol inks. The butterfly and center square are metal and hand painted with alcohol inks. The borders are also inked (I assume on photo paper).

    Thank you KELLY! You are a true gift!