Thursday, April 12, 2012

Scallops and Snowflakes

A mixed bag of cards for the last few days.  This week's "Clean and Simple" challenge was to make a card using scallops.  As a joke, I made this card first:

I used a scallop stamp from Stampa Tampa and stamped it in black ink on a light blue card, then in denim blue on white.  I matted the blue scallop with a darker blue card stock, then used foam tape to pop it up off the card.  I finished with a ribbon whose color fades from yellow to blue.

My "real" card for the scallops challenge was this one:

I made a 4x4" square card from white cardstock, then stamped this ornamental image on a smaller square of white cardstock. ( No idea where this stamp comes from, there is no manufacturer on the wood mount for the stamp)  I used my Fiskars "threading water" punch to create a scalloped edge on a piece of black cardstock, and attached the white stamped piece to it.  I ran a strip of the patterned ribbon across the bottom (wanting to make a black/white card using this ribbon inspired the whole design) and mounted the piece on the larger white card using foam tape.  I felt like it still needed something so I added the rhinestones to the scallops and a shiny black button to the center of the stamped image.  I like how this card turned out and imagine using it for something more formal.

Another challenge this week was the Try a New Technique challenge.  For this week, the technique was called faux dry embossing.  Dry embossing using embossing folders and die cutting machines like Cuttlebug or Sizzix is very hot right now.  This technique mimics the look by using punches or die cuts.  You punch or die cut a bunch of shapes in the same color cardstock as your base card (needs to be a solid color, not a pattern) and glue them to the base card.  I tested a couple of different punches, and then chose the one that is probably the most difficult because of the complexity of the punched image:  a snowflake.  To stick them to the card efficiently, I used my Xyron sticker maker, which made things go quickly but left little bits of adhesive in all the corners of the images.  I placed them on the base card in a scattered random pattern, and  then dusted the card with one of those anti-static bags normally used with wet embossing.  This took care of the stickiness factor.

For the main image I stamped one of my go-to Christmas/winter images, the large snowflake by Stampendous.  I used denim blue ink.  Originally I felt like it was a bit plain, so I tried covering the image with blue glitter glue.  Once it dried, however, I found that the glue was too wet and had warped both types of paper (patterned paper and cardstock) that I had tried it on.  I ended up giving up on the glitter and using a plain stamped image, attaching a snowflake eyelet for a little more interest.  Then I used foam tape to mount it on the card.  I think it might look dry embossed if you squint a little, but I still want to get my hands on an actual Sizzix Big Shot or Big Kick of my very own!

Here is the card in its final version:

Finally, yesterday I tackled the Christmas card for the month.  I am doing a challenge where I make 8 holiday cards per month throughout the year so that December isn't quite so jammed up.  I wanted to attempt to make all 8 at once, using the same design, and be done with it.  This is what I came up with:

The image is one that I had never used though I had purchased it several years ago.  It is a Hampton Arts stamp.  I stamped it on white cardstock using brick red dye ink.  I matted it onto green designer paper just a bit larger than the image itself, and set it aside.   I used pre-made white cards as my base and covered them with dark green designer paper that has various Christmas phrases on it, and added a strip of green-striped red paper for contrast.  Then I mounted the image with foam tape on top of that.  To finish off, I used the metal eyelet "merry christmas" bars, and several red buttons.  I like the final card but making eight assembly-line style became a slog.  Plus between the metal bar and buttons on each card, they are pretty heavy and lumpy for mailing--I think these will be for hand delivery in the neighborhood!  If I continue trying to make 8 cards of the same design, I will have to pare down even more in terms of steps in the card, and remember to use lighter embellishments that will mail well.

Thanks for looking, and have a great day!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Inspiration Challenge: Soul-Flower

Today is day #100 of the year!  I am almost 1/3 of the way to my goal!

This week's Inspiration challenge was the online store Soul-Flower, which sells mainly clothing plus some accessories with a boho/hippie chick vibe.  I put on my nicest pair of hemp pants and got to work.

This dress's color combination and stylized wave graphic grabbed my attention:

It made me think of some wonderful surfboard designer paper in my stash.  The paper is double-sided with a similar shaped wave design on the back side.  Double sided papers are excellent because they automatically coordinate!  Here is the (completely non-stamped) card that resulted:

I love how this card turned out!  Just makes me happy to look at it.  I got to use some yellow ribbon that was a fairly recent addition to my collection, plus these juicy-colored buttons that I've had forever.  Oops I lied about it being stamp-free--the "hello" text is stamped on the background paper (stamp by Studio G).  Love the way the font matches the writing on the surfboard underneath!

This also reminds me of another reason why clear/unmounted stamps are awesome:  the actual text on this stamp was "hello friend", but I only wanted to use the "hello" part.  Careful inking is one solution but it can be really hard to avoid getting any trace of ink on the part you don't want to use.  With the unmounted stamps, I just snipped the text in half!  I can use both together if I want the whole thing, or use them separately.  Plus since the Studio G stamps are only $1 at Michael's, it's easy enough to replace it if I somehow messed it up.

But I wasn't finished with this site!  This yoga hoodie inspired me next:

Turquoise and brown is a favorite color combination of mine.  And coincidentally, the flower stamp that came along with the "hello friend" text stamp looks quite a bit like the graphic on this shirt, and I had some lovely white/turquoise/green paper that I have been itching to use.  Hence:

I stamped the image on a scrap of white cardstock using light green ink and punched it out with a round circle punch, then mounted it on kraft cardstock and trimmed it close.  I used a strip of brown designer paper on the bottom edge of the card, and small circle motif paper for the top part.  I trimmed the lower edge of the circle paper with a pair of mini-scallop craft scissors, then added the aqua ribbon and mounted the flower medallion with foam tape.  Finished off with three more of those juicy buttons.  Feels very summery to me, and will probably make a nice Mother's Day card.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Asian Spring

I covered two challenges in one today.  The Splitcoaststampers Free for All Friday theme was Asian, which gave me a chance to break out some of my oldest stamps.  When I first started playing with stamps, Asian themes were huge, I think at least partly because it allowed you to use things like oragami paper and mizuhiki cord as embellishments before there was such an abundance of choices in background papers and doodads.  But my Asian stamps have been languishing for quite a while, so I was happy for this theme.

I also wanted to make a card for this week's Sketch Challenge, which featured this sketch:

I turned the sketch on its side and came up with this:

The background paper is from Prima.  I cut out a piece of that and attached it to an ivory pre-made card.  I cut three strips of the dark green paper, which is the reverse side of the cherry blossom paper.  I stamped the sentiment ("Arigato", Japanese for "Thanks") on one strip and attached all three.  Then I stamped the geisha image (Stamp Happy) on a scrap of green paper and punched it out with a circle punch.  To add a little more contrast I backed it on a circle of pink paper, and then used foam tape to pop it up off the card.

I also made another quick springtime card, or one that could be a Mother's Day card.  Still trying to use up that lovely piece of Crate Paper background paper that I used on my Easter cards.

Both the background and the purple piece of paper are from Crate Paper (actually both sides from a 2-sided piece).  I used tape runner to attach the bottom layer to a white card.  Then I stamped the stem (Inque Boutique) on the purple scrap and added buttons (Making Memories) as flowers.  I layered the purple piece onto a yellow-green scrap and attached it to the card, and finished off with a strip of purple rickrack.

Thanks for looking, have a great weekend!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Boy, no sooner do I get caught up than I fall behind again!  Last week was a humdinger at work, we were very short handed and crazy busy.  I literally did nothing but work and sleep, with a little time for eating and spending with my sweetie.  That was it!  Luckily I had gotten to make a few cards in the early part of the week, but never had time to post them.  And I was able to get back to it this weekend for some 10-minute card challenges to myself.

First, last week's Clean and Simple challenge (CAS) at Splitcoast Stampers called for making a clean and simple card based on this inspirational image:

I went with both subject and color and got to play with an as-yet-unused digital image that I got from Pink Cat Studios when I was on my St. Patrick's Day shopping spree.  I couldn't resist this cute birdies with cupcake image:

I used the color scheme of the inspiration photo but unfortunately my colors didn't come out quite so pastel.  I printed the image on plain white cardstock, cut it out, and colored it with Prismacolor pencils, then blended with Gamsol.  I tried to really make it look like watercolors.  Although not pastel, I do like the end result.  I layered the colored image onto a piece of Crate Paper designer paper, and covered the front of the premade card with lavender from the back side of the paper used to mat the main image.  I stamped the greeting in purple Vivid ink; the greeting is from the Stampin' Up Mini Mates set.  Finally, feeling like it still needed something, I added a touch of glitter glue to the cupcake sprinkles.

On Tuesday, the weekly Teapot challenge took us on a trip to Paris!  An Eiffel-tower shaped teapot was the inspiration for the theme.  I took the opportunity to make a collage card:

The main image in the upper left was the basis for the rest of the card.  It comes from a great blog called Free Vintage Digital Stamps.  I printed out the image and sponged assorted shades of brown ink on it to age it.  I imagined it as the first thing an aspiring designer pinned on her bulletin board to represent her dreams of Paris one day.  Then I used assorted papers, scraps and accessories to create the rest of her "bulletin" board with images and "fabric" swatches from her current work in progress.  I had a great time making this card and love how it turned out!

When I finally got back to my table this weekend, I challenged myself to make some ten-minute cards, since I had been flipping through back issues of Stamper's Sampler's Take Ten series.  With Easter coming up, I made some cards to send to family members:

I limited myself to a few spring and Easter papers, some felt egg stickers, and my one Easter greeting stamp.  I like the variety I was able to come up with, and may have a few more in me before it's time to move on to Mother's Day cards, as well as finishing my Christmas card goals from March and April.

Thanks for looking, and have a great day!