Monday, March 26, 2012

Just Because

Sometimes I actually do make cards that are not inspired by a particular challenge or sketch or anything.  I just start playing with pieces of paper and an idea comes along and I go with it.  These cards for yesterday and today happened that way.

This was from playing with that Basic Grey Out of Print paper pad again.  I love the grungy collage look of these papers, and I love the contrast of them with a simple image like this flower.  I got the idea that I wanted to paper piece a flower using the paper and I found this stamp with an open, not too detailed flower image to work with.  It took a couple of tries to get the paper piecing right, and I never could get it to work with a contrasting paper for the flower centers (my original idea) but the buttons make a reasonable compromise.  Overall I like how this one turned out.

And then sometimes I make a card and it's just...meh.  I had the heart and solid flowers images left over from another card where I didn't end up using them, and used up some scraps to make an all occasion card.  Not one I'm overexcited about, but not one I want to bury in the compost pile, either.  It'll do.  The best part is, even when I end up with a card like this that I don't love or hate, I still had fun sitting down at my table and playing around, which is really the point, in the end.

For the record I am now caught back up after my hiatus, so it truly will be a card a day again!

Thanks for looking, and have a great day!

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Inspiration Challenge: Bunny!

Today's Inspiration challenge sent me off to Graham & Green, a British home decor site.  There I found this pillow:

which inspired me to dig out my stamp positioner and one of my oldest Stampin' Up sets, Hello Spring, to come up with this:

The bunny is from the Stampin' Up set, while the easter greeting is from Inkadinkado.  The felt Easter egg sticker is from Michaels.  Other than remembering how to use my stamp positioner, this was a pretty quick and easy card.

A few odds and ends:

A super quick card, inspired by felt monster finger puppets I found on clearance in Target's party supplies aisle.  They were supposed to be party favors, but since they were flat and had cool texture, I thought they would be great card embellishments.  The word balloon with the heart was from a set of die cuts from K&Co and seemed to go perfectly with this little fellow.  I generated the sentiment on my computer and cut the banner by hand.

Both these cards were made with the biggest flower from the Stampin' Up Petal Pizzazz set.  I was in the mood for orange when tackling a "make a monochromatic card" challenge, which led to the first card above.  Someday I will figure out how to do a row of brads/eyelets without having them come out event, but that card was not the day.

The second card was inspired by the flower center, which is actually the cap from the cork from a bottle of sparkling wine.  I loved the colors in it, and immediately saw it as the center of an orange flower.  The rest of the card came together around it.  The denim paper is from Miss Elizabeth; not sure about the orange paper.  The sentiment stamp is a $1 Michael's stamp that I am getting a lot of use from, definitely my money's worth!

Thanks for looking, and have a great day!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Last Christmas and Future Birthdays

I made some more birthday cards this week, not for any particular challenge this time.  I was using an old card making magazine as inspiration, mentally converting particular pictures into a sketch and making a card based on that "sketch".  It's funny that even when I start out recreating a card design (same layout but different paper, supplies, images etc) I end up making modifications that ultimately make it my own card.

Here is another birthday card made with the Basic Grey "Archaic" line, including a border and arrow sticker from the same collection.  The only things that stayed from the card I was using as a model were the verticle strip of background paper with a border, the main strip of paper across the front, and the rounded corners on the focal piece.  I think this one works as another masculine card, which are always tougher to come up with.

The card that inspired this had a vertical layout and one more panel of background paper.  The main inspiration I took from it was matting each piece of paper on a white piece to make it pop.  I also like how the Happy Birthday sticker repeats that, even though that was completely unanticipated at the time and I didn't really notice until I was loking at the card now to write about it.

These are more Basic Grey coordinated papers, from the Cupcake line, on a kraft card.  I used the Fiskars Threading Water border punch to make the scalloped edge, and the ribbon along the edge came from Michael's.  The stickers were a clearance find in the party aisle of Target.

Now for some more "catch-up" cards.  These are some of the extras of the card designs I did for my holiday cards last December:

I enjoyed focusing on a set of papers and finding different designs for them.  The top card was created by just punching multiple circles of several designs out and arranging them on a card.  A strip of "Merry Christmas" paper became the greeting, and I added a snowflake brad to one circle for a bit of visual interest.

To make the tree cards, I cut long strips of several paper patterns and attached them to a piece of cardstock backing to make stripes, then used a Christmas tree stencil design from a border stencil to cut out the individual trees.  That way I could make lots of trees at a time for multiple card production.  The stamped greeting is from Savvy Stamps.

I love that retro looking asterisk star paper and would love to find more of it.  Definitely going to be on the lookout for similar retro designs from the shiny 50s and 60s when this year's releases of Christmas designs start to appear.

Thanks for looking, and enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Bevy of Butterflies and Flowers

The air is yellow in Georgia, so it must truly be spring now.  And in honor of the season, today I have a bounty of butterflies and flowers.

This card was made for two challenges, both posted on Monday March 19th.  One is the weekly "Try a new Technique" challenge, in which we were to make a card using a cropped image, in other words, cutting out a section of a stamped image.  The second was the clean and simple challenge, which provided a card to use as a sketch.  I combined both:

The butterfly image is from a Bugs and Butterflies set of clear stamps by Inkadinkado.  I started by adding the background paper (Deja Views) to a premade card, and stamping the image in black ink.  Then I cut the rectangles of yellow green paper and stamped the image again in green ink.  I layered it onto a scrap of different green paper and attached it to the card so that the images lined up.  It's a great effect for very little effort, and the motion of the stamp shape adds to it.  I finished by stamping the sentiment (Michael's Studio G).

Tuesdays include a teapot challenge, where the organizer shares a photo of a teapot made in some funky shape and gives us the assignment to use that element in our cards.  The cards are usually intended for a specific recipient who needs some cheering up.  This week the recipient is someone who is having a birthday, and who likes butterflies, so we were tasked with making a card that had butterflies, with bonus points for birthday themes.

Here is the card I made:

The card base was actually a card I received with something I had bought on line that included a nice little note from the seller.  I kept the note side of the card and cut the front and inside edge (flowered green and pink dotted paper) off and put them on one of my cards.  Then I waited for the proper inspiration to finish this card off.  I found it with this butterfly birthday card!  My cake is from a Stampendous birthday set, but I wanted to perch a butterfly on top and the image has the word HAPPY plus a bunch of candles, so I first stamped the image on pink paper and cut out just the cake.  Then I decorated the cake my own way.  I punched small circles out of the speckled paper and cut the circles in half, and added them to the cake to look like scallops of icing.  Some glitter glue finished off the icing.  I used a stencil to cut out an oval shape in green paper and backed it with pink, trimming it close.  I stamped the butterfly in pink chalk ink and lined the cake up under it and attached it with mounting tape.  Then I stamped the butterfly again in brighter pink on a white scrap and cut it out and popped it up over the cake.

To complete the card, I stamped the sentiments on green scraps cut into smaller ovals and a banner shape, and layered them onto closely trimmed pink paper to echo the center oval.  I attached the banner at the top, ran some pink rickrack across the bottom and attached the oval over the rickrack.  Whew!  I hope the lady who gets this card enjoys it!

The butterfly stamp is of unknown origin, and the papers are Basic Grey and cardstock.

I was on a roll, so I made another butterfly card:

I have been trying to get more adventurous with combining patterned papers, and a great way to do it is to start with a coordinated set so the papers already match each other.  These papers are all from the Basic Grey "Out of Print" line.  I also used a stencil for card making that I got years ago but hadn't played with much.  It lets me cut out shapes that are already the right size to make a sort of quilt pattern on the card, which is much easier than a lot of trial and error with my paper cutter!  Even though it looks complicated, the card came together pretty quickly, and I love the way the papers look together.  I stamped the large butterfly (from the Bugs and Butterflies set again) in black on the card front, and then again on pink paper.  I cut out the wings and layered them over the image on the card front.  I finished it off with the sentiment (Stampin Up) in the upper right corner.

To finish off, I will show you some older cards I made way back, but recently found again.  I don't have much to say about these, as they are fairly straightforward.

The sentiment is an older Stampin Up stamp, and the images are recycled from a Mary Englelbreit page-a-day calendar.  Just a nice basic happy springtime card!

And here is an autumnal card:

I was experimenting with making a different size card, longer and narrower, as well as with using something other than stamps for the main images.  In this case it was stickers, I believe from EK Success.  I like this card, and need to play more with cards of varying sizes and shapes!

Just a few more days and I will be all caught up!  Thanks for looking, and have a great day!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Tuesday Morning Sketch

I found a new sketch challenge on a blog called Tuesday Morning Sketches.  Sketches always get me going.  Sometimes I do them pretty much exactly as laid out, sometimes I make some changes.  Here was today's Tuesday Morning Sketch:

And here is the card I made:

I didn't change much, just turned the sketch on its side and switched which oval was toward the front.

I was digging through the stash and found an older Basic Gray 6" x 6" paper pad.  I love these for making cards because the papers are all coordinated already.  This pad was from the "Archaic" set of papers from several years ago and I was still hoarding plenty of it.  I made a 5"x5" square card from kraft cardstock, then layered on various patterns of the paper.  Both ovals and even the paper behind the ovals are also from the same set.  The photo corners came from a set of coordinating stickers.

The "Happy Bday" stamp is from a set I got just today at Michael's, from Hampton Art Stamps Ditto line.  The ribbon, button and brads are all from my stash, most likely all Michael's.  The brads are from Making Memories.  I needed to add some more masculine birthday cards to my card supply and I think this one fills the bill.

I enjoyed playing along with the Tuesday Morning Sketch and will be back for more!

I will try to come back a little later and post some backlog/ "catch up" cards but I wanted to get this post out there.  If not tonight, then tomorrow will be a 2-post day...

Have a great day, and thanks for looking!

Monday, March 19, 2012

Featured Stamper Challenge plus Bright & Happy

Sundays at Splitcoaststampers are for the Featured Stamper challenge.  This is when someone who is a big part of the community and who has a large card gallery (we're talking hundreds of cards posted) is named as the featured stamper of the week, and in her honor, everyone is challenged to pick a card from their gallery to be an inspiration to a new card, changing at least two things in the new version because the point is not to make a slavish copy but jump from that design to something new.  Yesterday I made two cards in honor of the week's featured stamper, "pinkberry" aka Diane.

The first card that inspired me was a Christmas card, and I used her card layout with different colors to make my card.  I also moved the eyelets from where they were  in her design.

The stamped image is from Judikins; I stamped it in clear ink and embossed it in dark green embossing powder, then layered the image onto a scrap of yellow to set it off from the darker colors I picked for my background.  The background colors are all from a paper "slab" (made by Die Cuts With a View, or DCWV) that includes several dozen coordinating designs, in this case all Christmas themed.  I expect to be using paper from this slab for years to come. My heirs will probably inherit some of it!

Anyway I layered the red designer paper onto a cream colored card base, and added a strip of dark green striped, set off by backing it with the lighter striped paper with the stripes in a contrasting direction.  The image was next, mounted on foam tape to give it dimension.  Then I tied ribbon onto the card.  You don't see that many ribbons on my cards, especially not with bows, because I am a klutz at tying them and making them look nice, but in this case, it worked out.  I especially like the effect of the contrasting sides of the ribbon.  Finally I added a dark yellow eyelet to each corner to further tie in the yellow in the focal piece.  The final card is on the dark side but has a country Christmas feel, I think.  I also made three more of this card design to complete half of my March Christmas card challenge!

The second card was inspired by a pinkberry card that used lots of layers of contrasting papers all from the coordinated "Dill Blossom" line of papers by S.E.I.  As it happens I had bought the same set of papers when they came out several years ago, along with some coordinating rub-ons.  While Diane had opted for the turquoise blue color set, I had chosen the tan/orange ones, but had all the same prints.  So I was able to make the same version of her card using the different colors but otherwise the same prints in the same layers.  The other changes I made were to make my own corner pieces instead of the lovely die cut ones in her card, and to use those coordinating rub ons as the focal image rather than a stamped image.  Here is my version:

If you look closely you can see why I added the vine border on the focal piece:  a couple of "leaves" from another rub on came off on the card while I was applying the main flower, and I placed the border strategically to integrate them into the design.  I often find that some of my best touches on cards come from hiding a mistake!

Not much else to say about the construction of this card since it mostly consisted of cutting, adding adhesive, and layering the various pieces.  It is more layers then I normally tend to use but I like how it came out.

Two quick cards made last week when I was making myself sit down at the craft table just to get the pump primed again:

The flower center is a Stampin' Up stamp.  The words around the edge of the circle are "Happy Birthday", but this card design could make an all occasion card by adding just a colored flower center and whatever sentiment desired elsewhere on the card.  Again, not much to say about how these were constructed, just some cutting and gluing.  In both cases the cards were built around the ribbon piece I wanted to use, and I chose papers to coordinate with them.  The flowers are from Dollar Tree, taken apart and reconstructed.  I tried gluing the flower layers together unsuccessfully and ultimately used a brad to hold them together and attached the flower center on top of the brad.  The bright happy colors of both cards pepped me up when I had sat down at the table rather grimly since I hadn't been feeling very inspired for a few days and was frustrated.  They did the trick and got me moving again!

Thanks for looking, and have a great day!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

One More for St. Patrick, and Inspiration Challenge

First, housekeeping.  I figured out how I am going to take care of the backlog.  I have made some extra cards the last few days, and also am going to show a few older ones that I made earlier but haven't shown yet.  Not quite in the spirit of the original challenge, but at least I will have a card I made to show for every day so far this year when I finish catching up.  I am going to catch up by including 3-4 cards per post instead of 1-2, so that by the end of the month at the latest I should be back on track.

For March 17th, one more St. Patrick's Day card:

Just love this little girl!  She is another digital stamp from Pink Cat Studio (image copyright Pink Cat Studio).  I really like their style, simple images with bold lines that are easy to work with.  For this card I layered a piece of Honeycomb designer paper (Paper Adventures) onto an ivory card base, rounding the corners of both.  I printed the image (her official title is Lucky Betty, but I mentally think of her as Fiona because she reminds me of my niece!) onto green paper and again on white cardstock.   I colored the white image using the Prismacolors with Gamsol technique and glitter glued the three shamrocks.  Then I fussy-cut the image out, skipping the "antennae" and the pigtails, and used mounting tape to pop the colored image up over the green image.  I cut the headband shamrocks out and mounted them separately.  The parts of the original green image that show through then complete the picture.  I rounded the corners of the green paper and attached it to the card.  Finally I added a shamrock bubble sticker, an ancient item from my stash, to finish off this simple card.

Onto this weekend's Inspiration Challenge!  This week the inspiration was a German website, Johnny Tapete, which specializes in vintage wallpaper and other decor items from the 50s through the 70s.  If you like the bold prints from the 70s, this site is a visual feast!  I found inspiration for two different cards.

The first was inspired by this wallpaper:

The design immediately reminded me of a paper pad I recently found on clearance at Michael's, along with some coordinating stickers and die-cuts.  Using this image from a sketch challenge I missed two weeks ago,

I came up with this card:

All the papers, and the dimensional butterfly sticker, are from the K&Company Edamame line.  The construction of the card is pretty self explanatory, just a lot of cutting and trimming, and resizing and cussing, and a slight tweak to the challenge sketch to make it all fit, and then sticking everything in place.  The cool thing is that the coordinating papers, the woodgrain one and the green one, also have a very 70s feel and actually also match up to similar wallpapers at the website!  I am very happy with this card because I don't do a lot with big bold patterns and coordinating patterned papers with other patterned papers, and this turned out really well.  Using items from a coordinating line really helped me take a bigger risk than I might have otherwise.

Finally, I did a second card in a similar way.  Another wallpaper pattern jumped out at me:

It reminded me of another set of coordinating papers and stickers I had bought several years ago, right before my long crafting hiatus, and had never really used much.  I used another challenge sketch as the basis for a card:

And made this card:

The papers are all from S.E.I.'s Madera Island line.  The tree paper is the connection to the inspiration piece, as are the overall 70s feel of this color combo.  I changed up this sketch a little more, leaving out the circle element (though the round tree tops kind of suggest it) because no matter what I tried it was just too cluttered.  I also shrunk the oval down to a sticker that is meant to suggest a photo turn.  My usual impulse would have been to use brads in all 4 corners, so the sketch helped me stretch a little and try something different. I really like the way it turned out.  The stamp, which I have been using a LOT, comes from the Michael's $1 bin so I am definitely getting my money's worth out of it!

Thanks for looking, and have a great Sunday!

Friday, March 16, 2012

St. Patrick's Day Cards!

Made a few more St. Patrick's Day cards, one of which was sold to the same neighbor who commissioned the birthday card.  Here we go!

Two different variations on the same card.  My leprechaun digital stamp from Pink Cat Studio (still copyright Pink Cat Studio!) got some more use, and I again experimented with different shades of Prismacolor pencils, blended using Gamsol.  The background paper is from MemoriesComplete and the paper strips are Deja Views.  The buttons on the top card are from Queen & Co.  The dimensional stickers on the second card are Hallmark.

Thanks for looking, have a great weekend, and Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

February Christmas cards

I think I have mentioned before that I am taking part in a challenge to make Christmas/Chanukah/holiday cards all year long so that I am not scrambling in December.  My goal is 8 cards per month.  I had already completed four cards in February and used an example in Cards magazine to inspire the second design.  While I love how it turned out, it was a labor-intensive card (and heavy!  hand delivery only!) and making four of them was pretty tedious.  So even though before when I have made several of the same (easy) design I have counted it for only one day, this time I am counting all four cards as separate days, because dang, it felt like four days' worth!  Anyway, here's the card:

The chipboard squares were recycled from cardboard packaging.  I might buy pre-made chipboard in fancy shapes (at least until I get my own die cutting machine) but I refuse to buy squares!  Though I do now have to buy a new blade for my paper cutter!

The designer papers all came from a DCWV paper pad in my stash, as did the fiber, ribbon and button.  The metal tree is from Making Memories.  I got the alphabet stamps in a box lot of used cling mount stamps, so I don't know the company there.

The other card for today is a custom request, my first one!  It is for someone whose husband's birthday is on St. Patrick's Day and she wanted a combo birthday/St. Pat's card with leprechauns.  Oh, and the card is for a guy so no ribbons or flowers or other floofy stuff.   I have no leprechaun stamps so this is my first foray into digistamp purchase and use:

The digistamp is from Pink Cat Studio, an online store that sells both actual and digital stamps.  I'm not a big fan of cute, but I really like their stuff.  For a digital novice, the site was easy to navigate, shop, pay, and download my images.  (Disclosure:  this is purely my opinion, not receiving anything from TCP to promote them! Image is copyright Pink Cat Studio.)  Digital stamps are a great way to quickly obtain an image when you don't have an actual stamp, and are much easier to store!  I think I will be doing more digitals in the future.

I printed out the leprechaun and used my high-tech circle cutters (AKA lids of assorted plastic containers) to cut it out along with a slightly larger circle to mat the image.  I colored the image with Prismacolor pencils and made my first attempt at using Gamsol as a blending tool.  I really loved how it turned out and enjoy the process of coloring immensely.  I see more of that in my future too.

Finally I layered the image onto a light brown woody looking background paper that was layered onto the card itself.  I distressed the edges a bit with some dark brown ink.  I added the shamrock buttons (unknown source) and stamped the sentiment (Stampendous).  I had printed out an Irish blessing for the inside of the card and added one more shamrock button there as well.  Finally, thinking it needed just a little something more, I used green glitter glue to cover the shamrock on the leprechaun's hat.   I am pleased with  the end result and hope the purchaser and recipient are too.

Thanks for looking, and have a great day!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012


Wow, it's been three weeks--21 days--since I posted here.  I didn't plan to take a hiatus but several factors conspired against me in the rest of my life.  I successfully fought off a cold that took my partner down for over a week, but I was feeling crappy and exhausted the whole time.  And work has been kind of nuts.  Not only was I not blogging, but I was making very few cards as well.  I would sit down at my table, move some things around, look for inspiration, and not find anything.  I wasn't happy with the few things I forced myself through making.

I want to ultimately catch back up but I have quite a backlog of days so I'm not quite sure how to go about it.  I guess I was overly optimistic to think that I would be able to keep going all year without periods like this, but I am not giving up my project.  Just going to have to move forward and see how it goes.

So, onto some cards!

Yesterday's weekly "Clean And Simple" challenge on Splitcoaststampers was to make a card using white and shades of blue.  I had in the back of my mind an idea from an Inspiration challenge from a few weeks back, and was able to join it with the CAS challenge.

The inspiration site was Galleria Arts and Crafts, a site for a Calgary, Canada store that sells locally crafted items.  Among the items were these collaged paper brooches:

My version:

As always, focusing on blue sent me into a nautical frame of mind and I was thinking about oceans and seas while making the little collage pieces.  To make them, I started with pieces of watercolor paper and sponged them with a variety of shades of blue ink.  Then I spread some superglue on the bottoms of the pieces and dipped them into a baggie full of tiny gold beads.   I wrapped some blue and blue green eyelash fiber around the middles, and added a few more items to each.  I used foam tape to mount the collages on a background of handmade paper.

The handmade paper is a long-hoarded stash item that I am glad I am finally making myself use!  Years and years ago, when I was first getting into paper crafting, I took a day-long course on handmade paper at Georgia Tech's Institute of Paper Science and Technology, and in the hands-on portion of the class we made several kinds of paper ourselves.  The background piece is one of the ones I made using shredded denim fibers mixed with paper linter.

I made one more card for the CAS challenge:

This was super quick and easy, and kept with the shades of blue theme.  I started by sponging the edges of the card with a variety of blue shades of ink.  The background paper is another piece of handmade paper, this one was one I received in a swap long ago.  There is a smooth side to the paper that you can write or draw on, but for background paper, I like the rough side, that retains the texture of the paper towels the maker used to help squish the water out of the paper when she was making it.  I added an Anna Griffin sticker and stamped the Stampin' Up sentiment in denim ink.

More soon, I promise!  Thanks for looking, and have a great day!