In The Background…

Sometimes I fall into a bit of a trap. There are so many beautiful background papers out there (and in my collection), that it gets a bit easy to fall upon a wonderful printed paper for a mat to a card. Now, I’m not saying there is anything wrong with using papers from your favorite collections and/or lines. I certainly love doing it. But sometimes, I forget that I can “make” my own backgrounds by repeating a stamped image.

I’ve previously stated that I love geometric patterns and intricate scroll work. There is something about the Art Deco period that tugs at my soul. Whether it’s jewelry, home furnishings or artwork–there’s something about a repeating pattern that speaks to me. This repeating pattern motif is why I think I drawn mosaics and tile work so much.

This card was inspired by one of the stamps in Papertrey Ink’s “Giga Guidelines” acrylic stamp set. Using the perfectly co-ordinated Guide Lines II grid sheet cardstock, I stamped the image repeatedly in Memento Rich Cocoa ink. After letting the ink dry, I went back in using another stamp–from Papertrey Ink’s “Dot Spot” medallion set–and their Vintage Cream pigment ink to stamp over the centers of each element. I really like the effect achieved by stamping the pigment ink over the Tsukineko ink. It’s not glaring, but creates a semi-gloss look as you move the card around a light source.

The card base was made from some Stampin’ Up! cardstock in Early Espresso. The ribbon with stitched detail is also Stampin’ Up! (in Chocolate Chip). The sentiment was made from a Maya Road Kraft tag and another Papertrey Ink stamp. For the final touch on the cardfront, I used a vintage Velvet Poppy from Creative Charms in a Vintage Brown color. The flower attaches with a pearl center brad, so I used a paper piercer to secure the brad through both the ribbon detail and the card mat.

Because the cardbase cardstock is so dark, I needed to added a place for a note inside. I used a blank library card and Papertrey Ink’s Vintage Touch tea dye to distress the card and stamped a little floral element in the corner.


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Mushroomland

The mushroom has always been a motif that makes me happy. Maybe it’s a childhood memory–walking in the forest and seeing wild mushrooms and imagining that tiny elves lived inside–or the geometrical structure that appeals to the math geek in me…but, for whatever reason, I love mushrooms. (I’ll avoid discussing my Super Mario addiction for the time being…)

Today’s card project features artwork and cuts from the Cricut Imagine art cartridge titled “Nursery Tails”. (Before I go on, I suppose I need to make a confession. Yes, another one. My addictive personality has been discussed numerous times on this blog. My Cricut cartridge count now stands at 214 [and doesn’t include the new batch of Hello Thursday releases–though I’ve already ordered two of those.] When I finally caved and purchased my Cricut Imagine, I secretly hoped that I would not find it necessary to have all the Imagine cartridges. I told myself, the color and pattern cartridges would not be must-have purchases. {By now, you should see where this is heading.} Well, so much for low hopes. I currently have 21 Imagine art and colors/patterns cartridges…and want all three of the newly announced titles.)

Now the reason for this rather long confession: What am I doing with a cartridge called “Nursery Tails”? I have no children. I’m fairly certain any eggs I may have had are long scrambled (yes, this was a joke). At 45, I don’t see children in my future (much less that rascally Prince Charming)…so….why? Well, I had to have it. But, I’m telling you, the artwork and designs on this cartridge are so beyond cute and ahhh-inducing. I give “Nursery Tails” a hearty two-snaps and a shake of a gay man’s bruised existential eggs. Okay, now I’m done. I promise. To the cave, er….card.

The base cardstock for this project (and one of my go-to colors) is Papertrey Ink’s Simply Chartreuse. The card mat was cut at 4″ x 5″ from K & Co.’s “Greenhouse” paper stack. I mounted the mat on another piece of the same-sized Simply Chartreuse cardstock for added thickness as I knew I would be doing some hand-stitching on this card. I used We R Memory Keepers Sew Easy tool to punch the stitch lines in my matstack. Echoing the predominant greens and browns of the papers used, I chose to use some Papertrey Ink Baker’s Twine in Chocolate (instead of floss) to do my stitching. I like the baker’s twine as it is thicker and more rustic and makes the stitching show up more.

I used my Cricut Imagine and “Nursery Tails” to print and cut my layered artwork at 4″. The mushroom head and the butterfly wings were double cut for layering with Stampin’ Dimensionals. I also used the Dimensionals to adhere my mat stack on the card front as that keeps the back stitch work from “lumping” up the cardstock. It also, I think, carries on the three-dimensional effect of the overall card. Lastly, I used a sponge dauber and some Memento Rich Cocoa ink to add a border of color around the outside edges of my card. I was really happy with the way this one turned out. It featured so many details that I didn’t feel it necessary to add a greeting or sentiment to the card.



Stampin’ Up! Pretties Kit

Several people have asked questions about the stick pin on one of the cards in my previous entry (the “Adore” card). It was actually made by me using a Stampin’ Up! kit that is highly underrated, yet offers so many opportunities to enhance your crafting projects. It is called the “Pretties Kit” and the item number is #109114.

I have to admit that I love jewelry–both design and collecting. Stick pins have always been a favorite even though they are not as popular as they once were. Stick pins are the perfect accessory to add to a card or scrapbook page. They add immense sparkle and visual interest with very little additional bulk. Of course, you don’t really want to use vintage stickpins for such purposes. That is where this kit comes in handy.

Included in the Stampin’ Up! Pretties kit are the following:

■ White fabric flowers: 50 (5 sizes, 10 each)
■ Halfback White pearls: 60 (30 small, 20 medium, 10 large)
■ Halfback Cream pearls: 60 (30 small, 20 medium, 10 large)
■ Round White pearls with holes: 45 (30 small, 15 large)
■ Round Cream pearls with holes: 45 (30 small, 15 large)
■ Clear beads: 40 (10 round beads with center hole, 10 round beads with side hole, 20 tear drop beads)
■ Round Rhinestone brads: 50 (20 small, 15 medium, 15 large)
■ Hat pins with clutches: 10
■ Spacer beads: 30

All of the items come packaged in a handy storage tin. The ten (10) hat pins and clutches allow you to create your own stickpins using either the pearls and crystals that come in the kit–or using your own favorite or special beads. I have to admit, playing with this kit is almost as fun as actually making a finished project. The Pretties Kit (#109114) is available from your favorite Stampin’ Up! Demonstrator for $ 29.95. (You are also more than welcome to shop my on-line boutique–a link to which can be found under the “Contact Me” link on the right sidebar of my website).

As always, have fun playing and crafting!

Giveaway #7: Give A Hoot!

With yesterday being the annual observation of Earth Day, it only seemed appropriate to make my next giveaway environmentally friendly. Up for grabs in Giveaway #7 is a brand new ProvoCraft Cricut cartridge entitled ‘Give A Hoot’. It celebrates Mother Earth and all her creatures–as well as providing recycling/Green themes along the way.

To enter for a chance to win it, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post sharing with us your best tip on recycling/repurposing/reusing something you use in your everyday crafting. It can be a tip about a product, an idea to use something in a non-traditional manner, a storage tip–any idea or information that will help us all think about being more “Green” in our crafting obsessions.

The winner will be chosen via random draw from all comments. The deadline to enter this Giveaway is Sunday, May 2, 2010 at 11:59 p.m. MST. Good Luck Kiddies…and in whatever you do, always give a hoot! 🙂

Fanciful Flight

Yesterday, I received an order of some of the new Sizzix dies in Tim Holtz’s new Alterations line. I only had time to play around with one of the dies, but I can already tell that I’m going to love exploring the possibilities with these highly versatile cutting tools. Most of the dies introduced are comparable to the Sizzix Bigz line of steel rule dies. (Only the new “On The Edge” dies–which I will explore in a later post–are a completely new size to the Sizzix range.) The casings are a nice tan color with the Tim Holtz imprint on the top (as well as the label) of the dies.


The ‘Fanciful Flight’ die cuts five individual pieces in one pass through your Sizzix Big Shot or ProvoCraft Cuttlebug. You get: (2) solid wing shapes, (2) cutout wing shapes, and (1) body piece. To construct a four-winged butterfly, you will have to cut your pieces twice. I chose to use a piece of decorative paper from the Tim Holtz Shabby Chic paper stack for my solid pieces and a piece of Stampin’ Up! textured cardstock in Chocolate Chip for my cutout pieces.


I used a Zig 2-Way glue pen to assemble my wing pieces. Simply apply the adhesive to the backs of your cutout wing designs and adhere to the solid decorative paper pieces. A rub-on tool or brayer comes in handy for smoothing your layers together.

To assemble the actual butterfly, I found it helpful to use a small piece of Scotch tape on the reverse side to hold all of your pieces together until you get them positioned just how you’d like them to lay.

I glued one layer of the body piece in the decorative paper to the top of solid cardstock piece to give it added dimension. I used Stampin’ Up! Stampin’ Dimensionals to adhere the body piece to the wing assembly. I found some black waxed cording in my stash and cut off small pieces to make antennae for my creature. A knot at one end and I glued the stings to the back of the head layer.
For my A2 sized card, I chose to use a piece of Papertrey Ink Kraft cardstock (5 1/2″ x 8 1/2″). The decorative mat is a piece of SEI cardstock from the Poppy collection (4″ x 5″, corners snipped with 1/2″ rounder).







Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a one-note die. For instance, you can use just the large wings at the middle of the body piece to create a dragonfly. Or use one large and one small wing to create a side profile of a fluttering butterfly. The wings can be used alone to create faeries or accent photographs. Beyond the capabilities of the die itself, explore your materials. Try using grungeboard, grungepaper, clear transparencies and alcohol inks, fabrics, sandpaper, and other materials. When you getting around to playing, you’ll quickly realize these investment pieces are well-worth the addition to your collection. They’ll last for years and the only limit is your imagination.

Until next time, Keep Crafting!

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.

  • Gift Bag Goodies

    Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in working on card layouts, designs and construction, that I “forget” how fun it can be to put your mind into a different frame of reference in the paper crafting world. As I’ve confessed before, I started paper crafting mainly through my interests in decoupage and scrapbooking. However, with the advent of such wonderful toys as the Cricut Expression, Cuttlebug, Making Memories Slice and countless other innovations and tools, those interests definitely took a back seat to my love of paper piecing and cardmaking. Though, I have challenged myself to starting creating and sharing scrapbooking layouts at some point, if you’ve followed this blog for any length of time, you know I’m mainly a cardmaker, paper junkie, Cricut cartridge collector, and tool geek. (That is–I am a geek. I love new tools. But, I’m definitely not a tool. Or at least, I hope not.)

    This weekend I had a bit of a challenge. I was asked (never mind that it was at gunpoint, lol) to create something to go into party gift bags for a newly teen-aged girl. Not, I’m not sure if my friend thought I could relate because (in rare instances) I’ve been accused of being a teen-aged girl–or maybe, that was just acting like one. Goodness knows I’m quite a few years removed from the target audience age in physical years. But, I put my teen girl thinking cap on and came up with this little favor that I think came out quite cute (or “radiculous”, as I was later informed). My thought was that teen girls love to write down phone numbers, important “guy” information, mash notes, and practice their future married names. So I thought if I could come up with a small (yet chic and functional) memo/brag book, it might work perfectly in a teen gift bag.

    I knew when I was planning my design, I didn’t want just a plain shape (e.g. circle, square, or rectangle). Then while looking through some of my tools, I happened across my Sizzix/Stampin’ Up! exclusive Top Note Bigz XL die and the proverbial light bulb dinged above my head in a pretty white thought bubble. Of course, knowing I had to make approximately 30 of these “things”, I wondered if I was asking for trouble? After a quick bit of playing, the only major hurdle I found was that I would have to lop off one end of the Top Note die-cut so that I’d have a straight edge to ensure that my Bind-It-All would properly bind all the pages together.

    So for each book, I needed the following supplies: (2) covers cut from a piece of thin chipboard, (4) pieces cut from decorative paper (Tim Holtz Retro Grunge Stack) to cover the inside and outside of my chipboard covers, (10) notes cut from Stampin’ Up! Whisper White cardstock for the inner pages, (1) piece of 1/2″ black o-ring binding wire to fit six punched holes, adhesive, my Cuttlebug to run the die through (repeatedly), a paper trimmer to trim the edges, wire cutters, my Bind-It-All 2.0, and finally, some type of embellishment for the front cover.


    I knew going in that the recipients were all female, but I didn’t want to choose papers that were necessarily “girly”. I had just received two pads of the new Tim Holtz line of papers and I thought they had a mod, yet gender neutral look to them. I used 3M ATG 714 Gold adhesive tape to adhere the covers together. I punched all the covers and page inserts with the “A” setting on my Bind-It-All. I recommend punching your sets of front and back covers together as sets so that your alignment will be perfect. Also, remember that you really want to choose a double-sided decorative paper, as you will have to flip over two of the cover sheets to make the alignment work. (My inside cover sheets were the reverse print on the front side “targets” paper.) Binding them all was really not that difficult, just a bit repetitive.





    For the final step, I wanted to find an embellishment that would look great on the front cover of each book. A bit of rooting around and I found these wonderful stitched felt floral pieces that worked like a charm. There are three individual pieces on each book (the pink three petal flower, the double green leaf, and the green/white floral center.

    (FYI: The felt pieces are from the Stampin’ Up! Mini-Occasions catalog: #117266 Sweet Pea Stitched Felt, 52 pcs. for $7.95. You can order them from your favorite SU! Demonstrator, or as always visit my on-line Stampin’ Up! storefront by clicking on the “Contact Me” link on my sidebar.)

    Using SU! Stampin’ Dimensionals, I added the floral felt pieces and they gave a nice pop of color and dimension to the books. The final book dimensions were 3 3/4″ x 4″.

    As always, thank you for stopping by, writing notes, leaving comments–and generally brightening up my day. Keep Crafting!

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    GENERAL NOTES & NONSENSE:

    01. If you haven’t yet entered the “Home Is…” giveaway, your time is rapidly shrinking. Entries will close later this week. It’s a great package including a Cricut cartridge, a Stampin’ Up! stamp set and paper pad. For all the details, seed the link in the sidebar or at the top of the page.

    02. How good was last night’s episode of ABC’s “Brother & Sisters”. Gosh, I love this show!

    03. Am I the only one who is going to miss “Ugly Betty”. It such a shame because the show’s writing and acting has been at a creative peak this year.

    04. If you haven’t checked out the new album by Ben Rector entitled “Into The Morning”, you really should. It’s a terrific piece of work. I can’t stop listening to it since I downloaded it from iTunes.

    05. My pick to win “Amazing Race 16”: Jet & Cord!