Medallion…

This giant medallion background rubber stamp was introduced about two seasons ago by Stampin’ Up! (and is still currently available). I can’t tell you how many times I reach for it to make invitations, notecards, background images, etc. It’s such a large stamp, that many times, I only use a portion of it on my project (as below). These types of images are great for gender-neutral projects and are terrific for experimenting with different mediums or heat embossing.

For this card, I used a piece of bronze-hued mica cardstock as a card base. The mat is a 4″ x 5″ piece of Stampin’ Up! Early Espresso cardstock. To create the image, I offset the stamp (which I unmounted) and used some Papertrey Ink pigment ink in Fresh Snow. I really like the contrast of the white ink with the dark papers.

Once the image was completely dried, I used a double wrap of 1/8″ taffeta ribbon in Early Espresso (with white edging) to create some visual interest and break up the main design. I used a vintage brooch-inspired brad from Pink Paislee/House of 3 “Parisian Anthology” collection. I think the smoked jeweled clusters are the perfect contrast to the stark white stamped image–hard and soft.





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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.


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.




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.



Life Is All About The Gumballs…

Today’s card is a tip of the hat to the days of our innocence. I had so much fun putting it together, I felt like a child (which of course is an accusation I’ve faced previously). There is something about gumball machines that just makes a person happy and gives you one of those perma-grin smiles. When I was exploring the handbooks for the latest batch of Cricut cartridge releases, this image just jumped out at me. I used the “Wrap It Up” cartridge and my Cricut Imagine to create the layered image. This is one of the first times I’ve experimented with using the built in color palettes that come with each Imagine cartridge to “color” my image layers (as opposed to using various colors of cardstock). Using the print and cut function, I ended up with the colored layers that were quite easy to piece together. As I was putting the image together, I had a thought about the gumballs themselves. Of course, the cartridge prints out different colored circles to lay out as your gumballs with this image. But, I wanted a bit more pop and interest with the overall look. So, I rooted through my stash of mini round head brads and found some sparkly “gumballs”. I used a paper piercer to punch through the layered image and attached each brad. (The back looks like an accident in a dental brace factory!)

The base cardstock for this card is Stampin’ Up! in Brilliant Blue. The decorative paper (which recalls the gumball theme) is from American Crafts. The ribbon is from Papertrey Ink’s “Enchanted Evening” collection. For my sentiment, I created a scalloped badge out of felt (also from Papertrey Ink). Inside the card, I used a piece of decorative paper from Crate Paper that looks like those pages we all learned how to write on (Big Chief, anyone?). I thought this paper echoed the whimsy of the gumball machine–and I think the stains and smudges in the print are simply charming.

As a further note, I should add that I highly recommend the Cricut “Wrap It Up” cartridge. If you are one who tries to limit your cartridge buying (i.e. NOT like me, lol) to necessities, this is one to add to the “must-have” list. There are some terrific images, the layering is fairly simple and the artwork is highly versatile for many different events and uses. This is also a great cartridge for a Cricut Newbie.