Feeling Loopy…

Today’s card project is a hybrid of some artwork created with my Cricut Imagine and a newly acquired Martha Stewart Punch-Around-The-Page Combo Punch called Ribbon Loop.

Using my Cricut Imagine and the “Lori’s Garden” art cartridge, I cut this kaleidoscope inspired layered image (pg. 18 of the handbook) at 4″. The image consists of five separate layers that I printed and cut on Bazzill textured white cardstock. I used Stampin’ Dimensionals to attach each layer to provide a bit of depth and visual interest to the dimensional effect. The card base is a piece of Stardream So Silk! mica cardstock in Shocking Green. The mat is a 5″ x 5″ piece of Memory Box decorative paper from the “Minuet” collection. I then used the Martha Stewart punch set on the edges. There was a similar Martha Stewart edge punch that did a loop look; However, I really like the offset look of this PATP set.

For the inside journaling block, I used a piece of Fancy Pants decorative paper and cut a zig-zag edging to three sides. The final addition was an acrylic and pearl button from Webster’s Pages to accentuate the center of the kaleidoscope pattern. I purposely left off any type of sentiment, as I thought this would make a nice general purpose/stationery type card.




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I Can See Clearly…

Of late, I’ve noticed more and more crafters starting to experiment with clear plastic–as opposed to paper cardstock–to create the base of cards and other projects. While I’ve admired the work, I have to say that I was a bit hesitant to try it for myself. I think the apprehension comes from the fact that plastic is much less forgiving in trying to “hide” adhesive and embellishment backs than cardstock would be. It really just comes down to a bit of forethought and planning.

I purchased a package of Clearly Creative Cardstock from Papertrey Ink. These 8 1/2″ x 11″ sheets of clear heavy-weight acetate are easy to cut and score–and truly make a blank canvas for a project. You can even stamp directly on the acetate if you should choose to. For my first project, I went with something a bit more simple–and yet, the result is very eyecatching.

I used a 8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″ piece of clear acetate (scored at 4 1/4″). Because I knew I wanted to used the velvet flower and pearl brad on my card front, I knew I had to find a way to hide “evidence” so to speak. To do so, I cut two pieces of cardstock from My Mind’s Eye “Life of the Party” collection at 3″ x 5 1/2″. By placing the lovely green striped cardstock back to back, I created a cover for the brad backing and a nice repeat of the front pattern on the clear cardstock. The velvet flower and pearl brad are from Creative Charms. The sentiment is from Papertrey Ink. For the final touch on the card front, I used a piece of Washi tape in a lovely muted floral pattern.

For the inside of the card, I used a piece of Papertrey Ink cardstock in New Leaf cut to the same size as the front pieces (3″ x 5 1/2″). I used another piece of the Washi tape. As a final touch–and carrying the pattern of the front of the card over–I used Epiphany Crafts Shape Studio Tool with the 25mm Heart shape to create an epoxy button using the same My Mind’s Eye patterned cardstock.

Before putting the final card together, I explored different craft glues to find one that would dry quickly, dry flexibly, and most importantly dry clearly. I ended up choosing a product from ScrapPerfect called “Best Glue Ever”. It seems to fit the bill and works quickly. I am one who uses very little liquid adhesives in my project (due to the mess and unsightly pulling). However, there are times when a good liquid adhesive comes in handy. I look forward to using this one again in some future projects.



Spring (Wishful Thinking)…

The weather is nothing if not a strange mistress. From the horrible tornadoes and massive flooding in the East, to the unpredictable whirling winds and fluctuating temperatures in my neck of the woods, it would seem Mother Nature is having a bit of an identity crisis. I hope wherever today finds you, that you are safe and sound (and warm) in your crafting cocoon.

Today’s card project involves materials and/or techniques that are relatively new in my wheelhouse. I thought perhaps a card celebrating Spring would remind Mother Nature that Spring has indeed sprung…at least in theory. The birds have indeed returned to the trees around my home to start their nests and produce the next generation. Their morning song is a welcome replacement to a dreary alarm clock. The trees, themselves, are a bit confused by the fluctuating temperatures–debating whether it’s time to unveil their new blooms and buds. Yet, the nippy winds send a whirl of cold wind around my back, tapping my neck to remind me that they are not ready to make their depart.

I recently acquired two paper pads from Core’dinations recent partnership with Tim Holtz and Ranger Industries: a 36 sheet collection Distress Collection with a palette derived from the popular distressed ink line, and a 24 sheet collection of the Adirondack alcohol ink line colors. I have to confess that I have not worked very much with Core’dinations cardstock, so I was looking forward to playing with this cardstock.

The mat of this card is a 4 1/4″ x 5 1/2″ piece of Core’dinations cardstock from the Adirondack Collection in Stream. The card base is a piece of Stardream Fuse Mica cardstock in Amethyst. The artwork is from the Cricut Imagine Art Cartridge called “Enjoy The Seasons” and was printed and cut using Bazzill textured cardstock.

To work with the Core’dinations cardstock, I decided to use my Cuttlebug and a Tim Holtz Alterations Texture Fades embossing folder, “Rays”. I liked this image as it reminded me of streams of sunlight against a deep blue sky. After I ran it through the Cuttlebug, I used Tim Holtz’s Idea-ology Sanding Grip to sand areas of the top layer of the embossed impression to allow the lighter inner core color to bleed through. I suppose how much and where to sand is a matter of personal taste and preference. I just experimented with different amounts of pressure on different areas–and I stopped when I liked the look I had achieved.

After I layered the pieces of my Spring banner, I attached the artwork to the front of my newly sanded card front using Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Dimensionals. After staring at the card for a bit, I felt it needed a little bit of a pick-me-up to convey the promise of Spring. The first thing I added was a Webster’s Pages flat back pearl button to the center of the large yellow flower at the bottom of the banner. The second thing I added was something I’ve had in mind to use on a card for a long while–but never quite mastered the logistics of how I wanted to use it (or how to attach it). I used a piece of Swarovski crystal chatelaine chain from my jewelry craft kit to add a bit of Spring bling.

After I played around with the chain and how to drape it perfectly with the Spring banner, I used two secret things to attach the chain to my card. Because you are all such close friends, I’m going to let you in on the secret: Scotch tape and Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher. I love the look and effect of the crystal chain. As it has moveable joints between each cup set crystal, it drapes and moves along the card as you move the card around. (I’ve told you before that I’m a sucker for the shiny and sparkly.) I really think it’s the perfect addition to this particular card.

The last addition to the card was an inside journaling block that was cut from a piece of Pink Paislee decorative paper. Overall, the card is deceptively simple–and yet has a lot of work and little touches that make a memorable one to make and eventually give (if I can bear to do it).





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.

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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.

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.