Fly High…

I keep finding myself returning to the Cricut ‘Florals Embellished’ cartridge again and again. If you are the type of crafter who loves to put together layered images, this cartridge is right up your alley. Perhaps, I’m weird in that aspect. But, I really find it relaxing to put together a bunch of paper layers together. The bird image that I chose for this card consists of at least seven separate cuts. The other thing about highly-layered images is that you can really explore color–because each one you put together invariably ends up possessing a completely different look and feel. Also, don’t be thrown by the word “florals” in the title. I know some crafters aren’t thrilled with floral images (that group would NOT include me). But this cartridge is filled with birds, butterflys, paisleys, Indian and Asian inspired cuts, as well as a cartload of fresh and imaginative flowers–from literal to abstract.

I used a Bazzill textured white cardstock to print and cut my bird layers with my Cricut Imagine at 4″. I used Stampin’ Up! RGB codes for my palette and a touch of Stickles in Star Dust for some flair. The base cardstock is Papertrey Ink in “Hawaiian Shores”. The decorative mat is a piece of scrap Stampin’ Up! designer series paper (which is no longer available). The letters for my sentiment were cut with my Cuttlebug and a Tim Holtz Alterations/Sizzix decorative strip die in a font called “Vintage Market” and some textured Bazzill cardstock in Raven. The final touch–continuing the bird theme–was a strip of cardstock from Prima Marketing for the card’s interior.


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.

  • Cricut Exploration: Home Decor

    I have a horrible confession to make. Over the weekend, I finally took my poor ignored Cricut Expression off the shelf and played with him. It’s not my intent to be a neglectful father. However, my limited crafting space does not allow me to leave my Circut set up for easy use. I’ll admit, it’s a bit of laziness on my part; That, and a combination of being busy using other techniques and ideas.

    This weekend, I decided to explore the Cricut Solutions Home Decor cartridge. After a few imperfect cuts and a blade change, I made a few elements for some card layouts. I really enjoy the modern and fashion-forward look of the cuts on this cartridge.

    This first card features the bumblebee cut at 3″. This card also features an embossed layer using the exclusive Stampin’ Up! Elegant Bouquet Textured Impressions folder by Sizzix. I used Stickles in Fruit Punch to highlight the center of each flower. The bottom is trimmed with the Stampin’ Up! Scallop Edge punch. I enhanced the Cricut cutout with a pair of googly eyes and a bit of glitter pen. But my favorite element is the wings. I used a piece of clear acrylic plastic to back the wings showcasing a design of black swirls and flourishes. I really love the effect.

    The next card uses the stylized cupcake image on Home Decor cut at 3″. The base and mat cardstocks are both Bazzill Bling. The sentiment stamp is Stampin’ Up! The real highlight of this card is the coloration of the cupcake. I was striving for an airbrushed (without actually airbrushing) look using my Copic Sketch markers. Using a lot of blending, I think I achieved a fairly decent interpretation of the coloration.

    The final card features the chandelier cut from Home Decor. I absolutely ADORE this cut. I cut it at 3″ in a yellow Bazzill cardstock. I then used Copic 110 to color in the chandelier leaving the original yellow “bulbs” uncovered. The chandelier is attached to a strip of DCWV Modern Loft cardstock that has been edged with the Stampin’ Up! Eyelet Border punch. I used a Stampin’ Up! clear rhinestone brad to attach the chandelier to the strip. The sentiment stamp is from Unity Stamp Company. The base cardstock is from the Die Cut With A View Downtown Loft Stack. This is my absolute favorite stack of the new JoAnn Exclusive releases.

    Until next time, Keep Crafting!

    Card Spotlight: A Rose Is A Rose…

    I just received some new Stampin’ Up supplies…so of course, I had to try them out. The result was this card. The base cardstock is textured Bazzill cut to 8 1/2″ x 5″ and scored at 4 1/4″ on the Scor-Pal. I used two strips (4 1/4″) of Bazzill textured white cardstock and the Martha Stewart Lattice Arch Border Bunch to create the edging. The decorative paper is from Die Cuts With A View Once Upon A Time paper stack. The particular design is called “Stained Glass Window”.

    The border strips are adhered to the decorative paper using my ATG 714 gun. I had carefully picked this decorative paper because I was dying to try out one of the new stamp sets I just received from Stampin’ Up. The set is called ‘A Rose Is A Rose’ (#111560)–and I just LOVE it. It’s designed for a two-step stamping process and it enhances the realism of the image in my opinion. I used some Stampin’ Up Whisper White cardstock to stamp the image on.

    I used Rose Red to stamp the base rose image and used Cranberry Crisp for the highlight image. The leaves were done with Kiwi Kiss and True Thyme. I then cut out the image and used All Night Media Pop Dots for the dimensional positioning. Two lines of the new Glitz Stickles in Ruby Slippers accent the border between the puched element and the decorative paper.