Saturday, June 24, 2017

Bright and cheery kite celebration card

Hello crafty friends, 

Today I have an easy to create clean and simple card to share with you.  Kites come in so many beautiful designs and are about as cheery as it gets!  With the start of summer this week it seemed like the perfect choice for two challenges I am playing along with. The green and white background (base layer) was made using a Hero Arts geometric style stencil, which I sponged over to blend Distress Oxide Cracked Pistachio onto white cardstock.  I cut this panel down to slightly smaller than A2 sized so I would have a white frame around the edge when glued to the A2 card base. 


The top layer was die cut from white cardstock with the largest die from the My Favorite Things stitched rectangle die.  I stamped the kite and sentiment in Black Versafine ink and heat embossed with clear embossing powder.  I colored the kite with copic markers and added some sparkle with a Spectrum Noir clear marker.  It's hard to tell in the photo but in real life the sparkle shows up very nicely.  


I hope this helps you think of more variations on this style - for instance the background could be made shimmery too by adding something like angel mist before removing the stencil.  I would love to hear your thoughts on how you use stencils and sparkle in your cards.  

Challenges I am playing along with:
Color Throwdown
Simon Says Stamp Work it Wednesday

Until next time,


Thursday, June 22, 2017

Tic Tac Toe Challenge #3

Hello crafty friends,

Can you believe it's already the third week of this new challenge - not to mention half-way through 2017?  Time is flying by quickly for sure. This week we have a fun challenge board (shown below).  I elected to go with the top row across for my design inspiration: blue - butterfly - bow.  If you want to play along with us, please visit the challenge blog for the rules and how to submit an entry.

This card was actually very simple to put together.  Starting with a piece of corrugated cardstock in a bluish gray from a 6" x 6" DCWV paper pack, I added some blue to the raised areas by dragging a Distress Oxide ink pad over the top in Broken China.  I wanted a little more variation in the colors so I also used the Faded Jeans Distress Oxide ink on a patterned rubber stamp (the pattern is not that important) and stamped on top so there would be some randomness to the darker color.  I cut this piece down to 3" W x 5" H.

At the end of this post I have added links to as many of the materials and tools used for this card should you like to replicate it.

Next I die cut the butterfly as well as a circle from a piece of patterned cardstock.  This is a great way to use up leftover pieces of patterned paper that you may have sitting around.

 I then cut another circle from white cardstock to layer onto the patterned circle for the sentiment.  The sentiment was heat embossed in blue embossing powder after stamping the sentiment in Versamark ink from this stamp from The Ton Stamps.  Below is a photo of the corrugate paper pad since I was having trouble locating it online.  I originally purchased it from Hobby Lobby.

The base layer is dark blue cardstock, which I stamped with a floral stamp in Distress Oxide Broken China.  The oxides stamp really well and pop against a dark cardstock.  So easy to do and has great impact!

After gluing all the separate die cuts to the corrugated panel I glued that on top of the dark blue cardstock, then the entire card front onto a standard A2 white card base.  The bow was added as the final element for the board.

Thanks for stopping by today.  I would love to hear if you've tried out the Distress Oxide inks and how you have been using them.



Thursday, June 8, 2017

Tic Tac Toe Challenge No: 001

Hello crafty friends,

I am super duper excited to be part of the design team for this challenge!  The playing board we are using for this week is below.

I started off with the idea that I was going to do the top row across:  stripes - circle - gold.  In the end my card turned out including all 9 elements although I can't exactly say that was my plan - ha ha.   I think I looked at the grid so many times that my brain just put together all of them without thinking about it. Don't worry though - you don't have to do all 9!!  If you are reading this for the first time here, please be sure to visit the challenge blog here.

I love using foil in my projects and have tried out a number of techniques to use it.  This is the first time I tried using a more freeform approach.  I created these gold stripes by painting them on so to speak.  Starting with an A2 sized white card base, I scored it in the center so I would have that as a reference point.   I was inspired to try this from another crafter I saw on You Tube - her name is Kristen Magee.

Gold stripes:
products used - Heidi Swapp Reactive Mist, small artist paintbrush, Champagne gold Decofoil, Minc machine

How to:
  • poured out a small amount of the mist into a little container (not much is needed and the less applied, the shorter the drying time)
  • dipped the paintbrush into the mist
  • dragged the paintbrush across the cardstock in a single stroke, repeated to create multiple lines
  • let the mist fully dry (about 1-2 hours - can be sped up by using heat tool)
  • lay deco foil (shiny side up) on top of the dried stripes
  • run the card and foil through my Minc machine (however there are alternatives available, like the less expensive Royal Sovereign laminating machine)

Black circle:
The black circle was die cut using one of the most used items in my craft room, My Favorite Things Die-namics stitched circle dies - used the 2" circle on glossy black cardstock.

Gold foiled sentiment:
The "hugs" die cut sentiment was made from a Winnie & Walter die (link to product at end of post).  I used the same deco foil for it and this is how I did this WITHOUT a laminating machine.  I took a piece of black cardstock and ran it through my Xyron sticker creator tool.  You could use any strong crafting adhesive and get a similar result. I have done this before with double sided tape like you get with common ATG's.  The Xyron ensures the adhesive is applied evenly so the foiling looks smooth, which is why I chose to use it - plus no drying time like with the other adhesive types.

 I applied the foil (shiny side up and away from the adhesive) to the now sticky cardstock.  I burnished it with my bone folder tool then pulled up the foil application sheet.  Then I die cut the foiled piece of cardstock.

Vellum/heat embossed sentiment:
I stamped the word "sending" from the coordinating Winnie & Walter stamp set (link to product below) onto vellum in Versamark, then added white detailed embossing powder and heat set.  I cut a tail at one end and later adhered with multi-matte medium.

Before adhering the black die cut circle I flipped it over and attached what I call a sticky dot to the back.  I coiled up the baker's twine randomly and stuck it on the dot as a way to keep it where I wanted it.  I then used Tombow multi liquid adhesive on the die cut piece and then placed it onto the card base, trapping the twine behind it.

I glued on the gold die cut sentiment next and then added the vellum strip with the other part of the sentiment.

Thanks for stopping by today!  Please consider leaving me a comment if you were inspired by this post or have any questions that came up after reading this.  I do respond to comments as quickly as possible.  I look forward to seeing what you create and link up to this first challenge!



Thursday, June 1, 2017

June 2017 Magazine feature - 5 cards from one stamp set

Hello crafty friends,

I have been posting a monthly feature and technically this is the one I intended to get posted in May.  Due to upcoming commitments to different crafty projects I am going to change the frequency of this post to every other month.   All these projects are done with personally purchased items.  I do these posts to show other ways to use these included goodies in addition to all the inspiration included in the magazine.

The issue I used for this month is from Stamping Magazine, which is the first one I've purchased.  This issue had a truly amazing gift with purchase, a set of 32 stamps!  Wow!!  The general theme of the set is fantasy and magic, including images such as a large unicorn, a dragon, knight and castle.  There are some adorable playing card images which will make great masculine cards.  There is lot that can be done with the set, so it was hard to decide what to focus on first.  I am in the U.S. and I found this magazine at Barnes & Noble.  I generally buy and create the cards within a week of buying the magazine.

I made several card prototypes and chose 4 to feature here.  I did use some products/materials in my stash that are not included in the magazine.  Many of them should still be available or readily substituted if they are of particular interest.  Please feel free to leave me a comment or send a message if you have questions about any of the products used.

Project #1 - Princess and castle scene:

The biggest project is a scene built using the castle, horse and carriage, and princess.  The finished card is slightly taller than 7", but would fit into a standard A9 size envelope if it needed to be mailed.  I started with a standard letter size 110# white cardstock.   I cut the long side down to 7" so the entire piece was 7"H x 11"W.  I scored the card vertically at 3" and 8" (shown below) in my mockup.  I then cut an angle from the left hand side starting at the scored edge to a point 3" below the top and on the right hand side I cut an angle from the 8" score line to the outside edge at 2" above the bottom.

The grass was cut from an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of layering weight cardstock in green.  One large piece was cut to the same general dimensions as the white base, but trimmed more (at the bottom to leave white space at the top.  Before adhering the green cardstock, I used an ink blending technique with Distress Ink in Tumbled Glass to create a blue sky background on the inside of the card near the top as well as on the front panels as seen when the card flaps are folded inward.

Using Lawn Fawn's stitched hillside border dies, I die cut the top edge in two steps to create a nice and precise curve.  I also cut a few extra pieces and die cut the top edge to add in the middle to create the rolling hills effect for the castle.  I adhered the green cardstock to the inside middle with permanent adhesive (Tombow double sided tape) and left the outside unglued temporarily.  When folded, the green cardstock had to be trimmed so it would not stick out from the edges of the white.  After that I adhered with temporary adhesive on the sides.  It seemed to work best this way with closing and opening the card.  I wanted the effect to be continuous for the "lawn".  I added a piece of brown distress patterned cardstock to represent a road for the carriage.

The castle, princess and horse and carriage stamps were first stamped onto white cardstock, then I used my new Brother Scan and Cut 2 to fussy cut the stamped images before coloring them with Copics and Spectrum Noir alcohol markers. They could be cut by hand as well.

The gate I added to the front is not from the magazine -I used a Spellbinders die that I already had in my stash to make the gate for the front since it added so much to the overall effect.  I placed it so that the center of the gate would line up with the opening of the two flaps and placed the princess die cut off to the left hand side to be in "front" of the gate.  The cardstock used for the gate is a slightly metallic light gray - low key enough in color to not steal the spotlight.

Project #2 - Unicorn card

The unicorn was stamped onto white cardstock and cut out with a Brother scan and cut 2.  I then colored the mane and tail with lots of pastel Copic colors and added some brown gray to the horse body to add shadow and dimension.  the mane and tail were further enhanced with a Spectrum Noir clear sparkle brush marker.

The layers for the card include the patterned paper base in chevron, followed by a white layer that had foil transfer gel (from Decofoil) added through a stencil, then foiled with opal foil.  The stencil I used has a leafy pattern to it, but the pattern could be almost anything, since the main purpose is to add some shine without taking away from the card's focal point.

The purple circle under the unicorn is a pattern created from using a Cricut cut stencil I had in my stash with lots of swirly flourishes (not commercially produced).  I sprayed on Angel mists (two colors) in purple and gold through the stencil onto basic lavender cardstock.  Any stencil could be used that suits your fancy or you could just mist the color on directly and bypass the stencil.

The unicorn was then popped up on foam tape.  the sentiment was stamped and heat embossed onto a piece of vellum in white embossing powder.

Project #3 - Crown card done two ways

I used lavender and hot pink cardstock as the base to create two similar yet different cards.  I embossed the crown stamp in white onto lavender and in gold onto the hot pink.  I added embellishments to the lavender using Nuvo drops and used enamel dots on the gold crown.  The embellishments should be done AFTER die cutting around the crowns.  I made the mistake of embellishing one of them first - luckily it still turned out ok.

Lavendar card: I die cut a circle around the crown.  Layered it onto a gray piece of cardstock which had been dry embossed and swiped with silver metallic ink pad over the raised pattern.  I created a frame for the gray piece using Avery Elle's largest postage stamp die from a piece of mirrored/holographic silver cardstock.  The crown circle die cut was glued to the top half with the sentiment.  This was then layered over a neutral gray/white striped piece of paper and all glued to an A6 sized card base

Pink card:  I die cut a circle around the crown.  I layered it onto a slightly larger die cut circle from pre-embossed metallic gold cardstock.  I created a pink band by stamping it with a background stamp with Versamark and embossed with gold powder (same as crown) before trimming it down to be the width of the card base (A6) and the height a bit smaller than the die cut circles together.  I used a neutral patterned white paper for the base layer, then added the pink band followed by the die cut circle piece.  The sentiment was stamped onto a separate white die cut piece using a Spellbinders die and a pink base in a basic shape to go underneath.  The edges of both these pieces were dragged across a gold ink pad.  I went back to the white piece and added more detail around the edges with a gold metallic marker before adhering to the card front.  The finished card front was glued onto an A6 card base.

Project #4 - Masculine playing cards theme

When I saw the playing card stamps, I knew they would be perfect for masculine cards.  I already owned a Darice embossing folder with an outside frame of shapes that complement the cards with hearts, spades, etc.  I used this on a very glossy black cardstock for my base layer.  I selectively colored the "cards" in red, black and gold before adding a glossy finish to them.  To add some contrast to the black, I cut a piece of red cardstock to fit inside of the embossed frame - one of my existing MFT rectangle stitched dies was perfectly sized to do this.  I used the "King for a day" stamp as the sentiment directly embossed onto the red cardstock in gold.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Regal Anniversary Card for The Ton Challenge

Hello crafty friends,

Hope you are having a great weekend so far!

After being away from my craft room for about a week I am now starting to get back into my groove and creating again.  I saw that I still had time to participate in this challenge from The Ton Stamps.  The thing that caught my eye is that it is a tic tac toe style challenge.  In my previous post I announced that I have joined the design team for and our first challenge starts on June 8th.  If you have not checked it out yet, here is the link.

I needed to make an anniversary card for my in-laws and chose the Wishful Wildflowers stamp to create the focal point of this card.  I chose to do the far right gold-stripes-watercolor row for my theme.  I wanted to keep the color scheme simple and decided that a purple/lavender/gold/white scheme would be a regal combination.

I started with a piece of white cardstock left over from another project and stamped the largest wildflower stamp in Versamark, followed by rose gold embossing powder.  I repeated the stamping onto a separate piece of lavender cardstock and embossed with the same powder.  I used Zig Real Clean Color Brush markers to color the flowers and leaves on the white piece.  I just recently purchased these and am just starting to learn how to use them.  I used 4 different shades to color the flowers- including deep violet, violet, lavender and lilac.  In general I started with the lighter shade for the whole petal then added accents of darker color at the centers of some flowers and at the middle and edges of others.  For the leaves I used May green as the base color and a darker green for shading.

I cut down the white piece to 2 1/2" H x 4"W and placed it towards the bottom of the lavender cardstock piece band style.  I added gold stripes using a textured gold cardstock at the top and bottom of this piece, then created a sentiment for the center using one die cut circle of vellum and one smaller one underneath in white in order for the sentiment to be more visible against the background.

As a final touch I created a simple bow out of the same gold textured cardstock.  It was a little tricky in that I used a pen and the edge of scissors to help curve it so the bow would look more rounded.  I decided that it looked more interesting at the side of the sentiment and I liked the look of lining it up with the top stripe.

After trimming the completed card front panel down to 4"W x 5.25"H I added foam dimensional tape to the back before adhering it to a white 110# A2 card base.

Thanks so much for stopping by today.  The next post coming up will be my monthly magazine feature.  I'm excited about it because it will be fantasy themed - castles, crown, unicorn - that kind of thing.

Have a wonderful holiday weekend!


Monday, May 22, 2017

Big announcement - joined the Tic Tac Toe Challenge Design Team

Hello crafty friends,

I am very excited to announce that I'm part of design team "X" at the Tic Tac Toe Challenge!  Please mark your calendars for June 8, 2017 for the first challenge post!  Hope to see you there for the first of many fun challenges to come!  If you'd like to check out the general rules for the challenge, please check it out here and see who the fellow design team talent is!

I will be one of the designers posting on June 8th!

Have a great and crafty week!!


Friday, May 19, 2017

I organized an independent blog hop – tips, tricks and lessons learned

Hello crafty friends,

This post is not about card making, but is definitely related.  This was no ordinary blog hop that I’m about to tell you about – it was a big leap of faith taken by 7 people who barely knew each other and had never even talked on the phone.  If you are reading this now, I will assume you have been exposed to many, many blog hops and hopefully will appreciate this unprecedented accomplishment.  However, there are also some valuable lessons we learned that I want to share.

Before I begin I must give a shout out to all the amazing women who helped make this a success (with links to their blogs of course!)

Suzanne, aka “Suzy”(the teacher and experienced industry insider)

In January 2017 I took a class from So Suzy Sessions – “How to be on a Design Team”.  One of the benefits from this class is a private Facebook group for the people who enrolled.  This is where my story begins. 

Since completing the class and hop, I have gotten to know several of the ladies through the Facebook group.  As I said earlier, none of us have met each other face to face or even talked on the phone before.  In early April I proposed doing our own blog hop as a team.  As many of you know, blog hops are frequently run by companies - whether a brand or a one stop shop selling craft supplies, stamps, etc.  New releases from stamp companies are the most frequent focus of these hops.  Another very popular blog hop “style” is a challenge blog, where people will post links to their own cards (projects) in hopes of winning a prize and/or recognition.

We had no company backing up our effort so the promotion would be entirely up to each of us.  So, the question was, how much traffic could we get without a major established brand, challenge blog or release to promote?  My friends, we decided the best thing we could do is have a purpose to the hop – we made it focused on Mother’s Day cards and released it early enough to give people time to use our designs as inspiration.  We also were highly successful in putting together a CRAZY LARGE prize package – over $200.  This is something in hindsight that we would handle differently.  I’ll get to that shortly J

The next part will probably blow your mind – most of us (6) had NEVER done a blog hop before.  We didn’t know what to expect but we felt confident enough in what we learned from the class that we could do it. 

I am not big on bragging but I have to say the response was great!  My blog was just started in January and it takes time to build a following.  The comments that were left on everyone’s blog were nothing short of amazing and supportive.  Suzanne always emphasizes that the industry is unique because the majority of the folks involved are so supportive of each other – even the owners of competitive companies support each other.  This is not the type of thing you see everyday.

What could we have done better?  

The group had a follow up call and talked about it.  These were the top 3 things that we all agreed on:
  • Using the Facebook group as the sole method of communicating was challenging – multiple threads were going and made it hard to keep up with some details.  Would have been better to have a conference call up front to discuss the details and answer common questions
  •  We all could stand to learn our blogging platforms better than we do today
  • The prize package was much larger than the industry standard – however, since it was also a great incentive to get people to visit, if we had to do it over again, we would have split it up into several smaller packages to give more people a chance to win.

What did we do right?  

We not only got our group’s opinions, but also had the input of someone who had no stake in the blog hop but was observing it from the sidelines. 

Justine Hovey gave us some great feedback:
  • The blogs as well as the cards were visually appealing
  • We fixed our one hiccup quickly the day we went live
  • Good quality photos
  • Inspirational to others in the industry
Suzanne Moore – who has owned a stamp company and has years of industry experience also shared her perspective.
  • She was amazed that with all of us newbies, there was only one hiccup in the process. 
  • She loved the shared graphic we were all using in social media accounts and Facebook groups to promote it.  Became more recognizable as it was seen across various accounts and places.  
  • We all left each other comments in support, which is also an important aspect of being part of a design team.
If you want to see the blog hop this post is about, you can relive it starting here.

Before you go, I have to say that I highly recommend Suzy’s classes.  She has the following classes (thumbnails below) right now with potentially more to come this summer.  If you are inspired by this story and want to start on your own journey to becoming more social media savvy, learn about the ins and outs of design teams, price your cards, etc., you can access her classes here.  This is an affiliate link, which has no impact on the cost of the course to you, but allows me to make a small commission if you use my link to enroll.

Thanks so much for stopping by today – if you haven’t yet, please consider leaving a comment and joining me on my other social media channels, including You Tube.