Candy Corn…

For some strange reason, I love making Halloween themed cards. I suppose it’s not even really a very “carded” holiday. But there’s something about the whole oranges, blacks, greens, purples, etc. that fascinate me. The witches, ghosts and goblins call out to that five year-old boy that still lives somewhere inside my cluttered mind.

Today’s card uses a great background paper from Teresa Collin’s “Haunted Hallows” designer paper collection. (Notice the subversive skulls that are hidden among the classic damask pattern. I also used Papertrey Ink’s “Friendship Jar” and “Friendship Jar Fall Fillers” acrylic stamps (and the corresponding steel dies) to create the artwork on the card front. I used my Stampin’ Write markers to handcolor the artwork. The “Trick or Treatment” sentiment and the inside journaling block is paper from Echo Park’s “Apothecary Emporium” collection”. The skull stamp on the inside is from the Stampin’ Up! set “Spooky Bingo Bits”. I also used four caviar Kaiser Craft Sparklets stones to highlight the punched corners of the card mat.



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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.





Le Jardin

Today’s card was born out of a strip of punched paper. I’d been chomping at the bit to try a Stampin’ Up! punch that makes its debut in the new 2011-2012 Idea Book & Catalog. It’s called the “Large Lace Ribbon Border Punch” (#122362, $ 19.95). It’s a very versatile design that can be incorporated into your crafting projects in very different ways. In this particular case, I chose to use it as an alternative to ribbon on the card front and as a decorative element in the inside of the card.

The card base is done in Papertrey Ink’s “Hibiscus Burst” cardstock. The decorative paper is a piece of Stampin’ Up! Designer Series Paper that is now unfortunately retired. The focal floral piece is from a retired Stampin’ Up! set called “Stitched Exotics” and is attached with Stampin’ Dimensionals. The greeting stamp is from Pink Paislee’s “Butterfly Garden” collection.





Heirloom Va-Va-Voom…

Today’s card project is a bit different for me…in several ways. The genesis of the idea came from an image that I absolutely fell in love with on the new Cricut Imagine Colors & Patterns cartridge entitled “Heirloom”. The image is a terrific collage print featuring vintage dress forms, wire dress forms and corsets and is done in a palette of corals, dusty pinks, creams and carmine red. It’s an ultra feminine piece of artwork–and a terrific find with the hot crafting trends of vintage shabby chic and steampunk regalia.

One of the very first things I did was print out a 12″ x 12″ sheet of this paper on some textured white Bazzill cardstock. I set it aside for a bit trying to decide where I was going with it. In the mean time, I was exploring another soon-to-be favorite Cricut cartridge called “Elegant Edges”. This is a must-have cartridge for those of you who are always looking for decorative frames and picture mats, as well as unique journaling blocks. As I was exploring the oblong frame set to find a shape for a card front, I was inspired to use my Cricut Imagine to combine the artwork of “Heirloom” with the scalloped open-detail oblong frame from “Elegant Edges”. I used the color palette from “Heirloom to print the backing solid color shadow frame for my scalloped piece.

Once I had a mental image of what I wanted, I started building the card using some red mica cardstock as the card base. I cut a 4″ x 5″ mat from the 12″ x 12″ sheet I had printed and used the Martha Stewart Crafts “Optic Dot” corner punch to take the corners off of my mat. Rummaging through my stash, I found a terrific Stampin’ Up! edged ribbon in Riding Hood Red that really went well with the design of the card. The corset die-cut is from a set of foiled elements by Kanban Arts. The sentiment is from a Stampin’ Up! set called “Chic Boutique”.

The end result is a bit intimate and definitely boudoir-ish. I think it will make a great general purpose “girlfriend” card. With a little adjustment it would also make a great invite for a bachelorette party (if I may say so).



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.