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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Joy

Today’s card project came together after playing with some of my Sizzix dies from Tim Holtz’s Alterations line. For those of you not familiar with the line, you can find some information here. I particularly love the Movers & Shapers dies, as you have more control and creativity over where your designs are situated on the materials you are working with.

The basic layer for this layered card is a die-cut note shape called Baroque. I’ve had the Bigz Baroque die for a while now and recently added the miniature version of the die (Mini Baroque) to my collection. Using both dies together allows you to create some custom frames and designs. I also used the new Hope Movers & Shapers die from Mr. Holtz’s latest Sizzix release. I should also add that you can use this dies with most die-cutting systems out there (and not exclusively Sizzix machines). I prefer to use my trusty and reliable Cuttlebug (as opposed to the Big Shot) to cut my shapes out. (The dies simply sandwich between two “B” plates.)

Here are the basic pieces for putting this card together: the cardstock base is Papertrey Ink in Pinefeather (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, scored at 4 1/4″), the solid Baroque die cut in American Crafts glitter cardstock in Evergreen, the Baroque frame from the same cardstock (created with both the large and mini Baroque dies), and another Baroque die cut with the “Joy” cut-out done with decorative cardstock from Joann’s “Peppermint Forest” collection (from last year).



The main objective was to create a window look using the Baroque cut layers. Using the solid glittered cut as the base and layering the decorative “joy” cute between it and the glittered frame.

After I adhered the layers of my window frame together, I decided that I wanted to use another piece of tree print decorative cardstock to create a mat on my cardfront for continuity of design and theme. So I used some left over from my die-cutting and cut a 4″ x 5″ piece for matting.

Now it was just a matter of choosing the right finishing touches and embellishments for my card. In the end, I chose to continue the Christmas tree theme out with a small layered tree decorated with a bit of flocking and various gems. For the inside of the card, I used another scrap piece of the tree cardstock as a backdrop for my sentiment block. I also used some Tim Holtz tissue tape from the Tidings collection. All in all, I was really pleased with the way my “playing” turned out.







It’s hard to believe that we’re in the final stretch leading up to Christmas festivities. The time between Thanksgiving and Christmas has literally seemed to fly by. I hope you are all well, warm, and close to “wrapping” up your holiday plans. I’m waiting on one more straggling package from my on-line shopping and then my Christmas list will be completed. I have to say that in addition to allowing us to share ideas and projects, the Internet has revolutionized my shopping modus operandi. Each year, I’ve relied more and more on on-line shopping to complete my gift list. With the exception of a couple of items, I think this year 95% of my retail therapy was done on-line. This cyber thing is an amazing place.

Architecturally Speaking

I’ve long been fascinated with geometric shapes. I suppose that fact–along with my love of numbers–is what led to my pursuing degrees in mathematics and economics. Beyond the intrinsic beauty of patterns and shapes that exist because of numbers, the use of those shapes and patterns in architecture, art and nature completely bowl me over. I love observing and studying the intricacy of architectural elements like columns, scrollwork, arches, porte-cochères, et al. I also have a great fondness for mosaics and tessellations.

The reason I share all of this is that the card project I’m sharing today was inspired by architecture and one geometric design in particular–the quatrefoil. The term quatrefoil literally means “four leaves”. In architecture and Christian symbolism, a quatrefoil is a symmetrical shape created by four overlapping circles of the same diameter. In more common terms, a quatrefoil is often referred to as a flower with four petals or a “four-leaf clover”. The shape was most prominent architecturally during the Gothic Revival and Renaissance. But, you can find examples in churches and cathedrals around the world today.

A while back, Stampin’ Up! introduced a stamp set, button set, and a corresponding set of three mini-punches called “Itty Bitty Shapes” (The punch set is item #118309 and sells for $16.95) . It so happened that one of the shapes (and a coordinating punch) were of the quatrefoil shape. Needless to say, I became obsessed with this punch and have explored numerous ways of creating with it. This may be the craziest in terms of sheer scope and the time involved–but I had to try it. My goal was to create a mosaic background pattern based on the quatrefoil shape. There are over 200 individual punched shapes used to create this card mat–and each one was applied and adhered by hand–one at a time. The papers used to punch out the quatrefoils were bits of scraps from Graphic 45. I didn’t want the pattern to be obvious, yet I hoped when finished it would convey a feeling of a field of flowers viewed from afar. I’m not sure I was completely successful–yet, I do love the results. I only wish you could see and feel this in person, as the photographs are truly a poor substitute.

The card mat was created by using a Zig Two-Way glue pen to mount the punched out shapes on a piece of 4″ x 5″ cardstock from Papertrey Ink in Simply Chartreuse. The mat is the obvious showpiece, so I tried to keep the embellishment to a minimum. An appropriate sentiment, sequin flower, piece of ribbon and hangtag complete the mood. I hope you like it…












Spooky (Life Gets In The Way)

First and foremost, I want to thank all of my readers and friends who were worried about my unplanned disappearance. Thank you for the concern–and for continuing to check up on me. Nothing major on my end. It’s just one of those unplanned stretches where life seems to get in the way of your crafting time. (I shouldn’t complain, as I’ve been on a streak for a while–and I suppose it was just my time.) But, hopefully, I’ll be back to a more routine posting schedule and the fun and games will resume post-haste.

Today, I want to share with you a simple card project that highlights one of the new Stampin’ Up! two-step punches. I’ve always had a “thing” for owls and this Two-Step Owl Punch (#118074, $ 16.95) is just adorable. It also gives me an excuse to make a card in celebration of one of my favorite holidays–Halloween! The card base is Stampin’ Up! cardstock in Pumpkin Pie (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″, scored at 4 1/4″). The decorative mat is from the new Die Cuts With A View (DCWV) stack “Midnight Spell” (4″ x 5″). I used the punch and some scrap pieces of leftovers from other projects to create the owl. The sentiment stamp (“Spooky”) is from the clear mount Stampin’ Up! set entitled “Wicked Cool” (#120600, $ 14.95) and was stamped with StazOn ink in Jet Black.

One of the things that I loved most about this card is that you can manipulate how you put the owl’s eyes together from the punched pieces. In this instance, I wanted the owl to look like he was scared of the black raven sitting next to him…and hence the “Spooky” sentiment. I think I just managed to capture that mood.





Celebrate Every Day

Here’s a card project that was put together with some odd scraps; Scraps that really shouldn’t have worked together, but somehow do. I have to confess that I am not a scrap keeper (*hangs head in shame*). I will say that I’ve become much better about it over time, but I still find it hard sometimes to keep small pieces of scrap papers or cut down larger pieces that have been die-cut or used in another method. Then when I do save scraps, often times I “forget” to use them. Part of it is sheer laziness on my part. Another factor is that I have enough paper to redecorate my entire city (several times over). But, in an effort to be more Green, I’ve been making an effort. I’m currently keeping most of my scrap in a clear acrylic Scraponizer storage box. It makes them easy to see–and easy to grab from the shelf.

This card uses a piece of Stardream So…Silk! cardstock in Beauty Pink as its base (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″). The mat is a piece of decorative paper from Three Bugs In A Rug Spring Stack. The die-cut image was cut with my Making Memories Slice at 4″ from the “Think Pink” card. I cut the image twice–once in a dark cardstock as a base cut and then again with a scrap piece of Basic Grey decorative paper from the “Eskimo Kisses” collection. The sentiment is a Papertrey Ink clear acrylic stamp (“Mega Mixed Messages”) stamped in their Scarlet Jewel hybrid ink. A Heidi Swapp pink jewel floral center and an outline of Sakura Clear Star Glitter pen add just the right amount of bling to the look.





Don’t forget that Giveaway #8 ends this weekend. If you haven’t already entered for a chance to win, check out the link in the sidebar (and feel free to tell a friend).

Leftovers

I had some pieces left over from the invitation project I shared with you yesterday. These were scraps of one of my favorite paper collections of all-time: Basic Grey’s Sublime collection. The sheets I used for my invitations were from the original release of Sublime (as I am a paper hoarder. However, if you are as big a fan of Basic Grey as I am, you will be thrilled to know that for a limited time Basic Grey has released four older paper collections under the banner of Basic Grey Vintage. The collections of (18) sheets to be re-released include: Sublime, Black Tie, Phresh & Phunky, and Fusion. (Of course, I’ve already ordered all four of them.) Look for them in your local stores or your favorite on-line retailer–as I’m not sure how long they will be available.

So, here is one of the cards I made with the scraps from yesterday’s project. The twisted knot pattern of the paper immediately made me think of pearls. I used graduated sizes of half-back pearls to heighten the visual and dimensional interest of the card. The sentiment is from Stampin’ Up! and the cardstock is Stardream So Silk! in Shocking Green. The decorative edging is a Martha Stewart corner and border punch called Deco Fan.





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.