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).





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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.





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.

Love Notes

Today’s card project was first inspired by a color palette. One with a decidedly masculine feel to it. I wanted to play with texture and the concept of hard vs. soft. In the end, the card took a romantic turn. But, I’ll let you in on a little secret. Now, I know I have a few male readers–but for the most part, I have my Ladies. Here’s the scoop: Despite their rough and gruff exteriors, most men still like to get a love note now and again. I know, shocking. (And for those of you who know me a little too well–Yes, even a straight man enjoys a love note. Of course, not that I’m saying I’m in the habit of sending straight men love notes. But, I digress…)

Today’s project uses three different cardstocks: Stampin’ Up! cardstock in Early Espresso (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″), and Stardream Fuse Mica cardstock in Copper (4″ x 5 1/2″) and Bronze (4″ x 5 1/2″).

With the copper mica piece, I wanted to create my “hard” layer. I took the cardstock and ran it through the Cuttlebug with a Tim Holtz Textured Impressions Fade folder called (oddly enough) “Bricks”. I particularly love the Tim Holtz folders because of the fade effects that do not give a completely solid impression across the cardstock. The negative spaces create some nice tension in your designs.

Since I knew the rest of my palette was decidedly darker in tone, I decided to use a bit of chalk in (Colorbox in Chestnut Roan) and some Kleenex to give my bricks a bit of a patina and create some shadowing in the nooks and crannies. Unfortunately, because the cardstock is so shiny, I’m not sure this effect carries across in the photos. But, in person, it makes for a rich contrast.

For the bronze mica layer, I turned to Tim Holtz and my Cuttlebug again. Using one of his On The Edge Alterations dies, Scrollwork, I created the scalloped border–which provides the “soft” portion of my card.

Using this dichotomy of hard and soft, I thought the bricks v. the scrollwork conveyed this feeling very well. (It also serves as a metaphor for the man receiving it (gruff exterior, cuddly interior). I layered the scrollwork on top of the bricks and adhered them with my 3M ATG 714 adhesive gun. I found a piece of SEI stitched ribbon (from the “Windsor” collection) that fit the feel of the card very nicely.

Using the same adhesive, I placed my layered piece on top of the cardstock base that forms the card–lining up all of the edges on the left side.

Finally, to convey the sentiment, I went rummaging through my goodies and found the perfect little metal flair badge from American Crafts “Hugs & Kisses” collection. I adhered the metal badge with a 1/2″ glue dot.

Before I close with a few more close-up shots, I’d like to encourage you to show and tell the person or persons you love–whether man or woman–just that. None of us can ever hear that we are loved too much. Until next time, keep crafting.




Tonality

I know recently I’ve been obsessed with Halloween and related projects. I’m actually kind of sad that after this weekend, it’s really time to move on to other holidays and projects.

For today’s card, I played with one of my favorite areas of exploration in card layout and construction: tonality. While I love bold, vivid color as much as the next person–I’ve always been fascinated with working with similar tones and tints of one color. Of course, green being my favorite color–tints and tones of greens are particular favorites for me. For this card, I wanted to explore the color family as well creating the actual and illusory use of texture. I was really happy with the way this project turned out.

The base cardstock and color is Wild Wasabi from Stampin’ Up!. The base decorative foiled cardstock mat was cut at 4″ x 5″ and is from American Craft’s “Botanique” collection. I used my SU! ticket corner punch to shape all four corners. The next two layers of the card were achieved with the use of my Cuttlebug and two of Tim Holtz’s Alterations dies from Sizzix.

The next layer (striped) was cut using the Baroque Alterations die and another piece of decorative cardstock from the “Botanique” collection. I love the multistriped tonal look with the light smattering of glitter. The final layer was a piece of SU! Whisper White cardstock that was cut with Tim Holtz’s Styled Label Alterations die. I then used a Papertrey Ink background text stamp to create the handwritten background with their Ripe Avocado ink. These two layers were adhered together with my ATG714 adhesive gun and then applied to the base layer with Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Dimensionals.

The finishing touch was an Imaginisce paper flower in a light celery color. I capped off the petal with a floral center flatback button in celadon from Webster’s Pages. (Love these!) The card is perfect for almost any use or correspondence. Too often, I trap myself into making cards for a specific theme or event. Sometimes, it’s great to have some cards on hand that will work for almost anything.






Falling Slowly…

Carrying on the musing from my last post, today’s card project is an homage to Fall. I really wanted to capture the textures and palette of the upcoming season. This project uses a set of stamps and coordinating steel dies that were recently unveiled by Papertrey Ink in their August release: “Leaf Prints” (#2264, $ 24.00) and “Leaf Prints Die Collection (#PTD-0042, $ 16.00).

The base cardstock is Stampin’ Up! in Early Espresso and the mat color is Soft Suede. The base is cut at 5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″ and scored at 4 1/4″. The mat is cut at 4″ x 5”. The leaf shapes were cut from Stampin’ Up! Whisper White cardstock using the steel die set and my Cuttlebug.

Once my leaf shapes were cut, I grabbed the stamp set and started experimenting with ink colors. To create the four leaves, I used combinations of Tsukineko and Stampin’ Up! inks. From Tsukineko, I used the Memento ink pads in Potter’s Clay, Rich Cocoa, and Tuxedo Black. From Stampin’ Up!, I used Stampin’ Pads in Crumb Cake, Cajun Craze, Crushed Curry, and More Mustard.


For the card mat, I used a Tim Holtz Alterations Texture Fades embossing folder called “Woodgrain” (manufactured by Sizzix) and my Cuttlebug to create the texture of a tree trunk.


Before I began assembling my card, I was a bit lost as to how I wanted to incorporate a sentiment to my card front. After looking at several options, I realized I could utilize one of my leaves as the actual vehicle for my sentiment. In the end, I really love the effect created of random, multi-colored leaves tumbling from the top of a giant tree trunk plummeting to meet Mother Earth and lay the welcome mat for Fall.


The finished leaves were attached to my card mat using Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Dimensionals. In the end, I cut one of my leaves to better fit on the card and create the spacing I was looking for. The final touch was a journaling block from the Pink Paislee “Queen Bee” collection for the inside of the card (due to the deep shade of the cardstock) for writing your note.