Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas - A card tutorial

Part of our holiday tradition is for my husband and I to make a card for each other.  This is my card for him this year:

The background of the tag was made using the same technique I used earlier this month.  Let me show you how I made the tag - I'm not Tim Holtz, but his tags have been inspiring me!

First, I stamped the bird on the tag with a permanent black ink.

Next, I stamped the bird on a piece of scrap paper, cut it out, and taped it to the tag with a removable adhesive.  I stamped a music background stamp with versamark, and embossed the music background with clear embossing powder.  By masking the bird, the music background won't cover up the bird. (Mask not shown in this picture, but all of the supplies are here.)

After embossing, I used a holly mask, foam applicators, and distress inks to ink the holly around the tag. Here are the supplies:

And here is what the tag looks like after using the mask:

To add a bit more depth to the edges, I inked the edges using distress ink, and a foam applicator.

After peeling the mask off, the bird is revealed!

I colored the stamped image with prismacolor pencils.  I love these pencils, and have been using them since I was about 10.  After coloring the image in, I use mineral spirits (low odour thinner as pictured), and a paper stump to blend the colors in.  I learned about this technique from Michele of Purple Onion Designs (her background stamp is used on this tag) on the Two Peas in a Bucket message board.  Here is what the image looks like after coloring:

And here is what is looks like after blending the colored pencil, and adding some bling - crystals to the bottom, and distress stickles to the holly berries.  I like how this technique makes intense colors.  It's bolder than a watercolored image, but not quite as intense as using a marker.

To finish the card off, I stamped a border stamp on the green matting paper, and used the same vintage photo ink and ink applicator around the edges.  I used some tinsel from Stampin' Up! to create a line across the border, and stamped a greeting.  Let's see it again:

And, while I had the supplies out, I made a "backup card" without the bird.  I wasn't sure which tag I would like better, so I tried it two ways.  It's fun to see how similar techniques and pieces can be used to create different cards.

Image sources:

If you celebrate Christmas, I hope it's a great one.  If you don't, I hope you enjoy a peaceful end to the year.  Whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope you enjoy using this technique on your cards.  I love embossing and resist techniques to create depth in cards.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Alcohol inks and craft plastic

I could subtitle this "A Tale of Two Thrinchies" since you might guess that my husband made the quilled thrinchie on the right, and I made the one on the left.  We made these for the Club Scrap retreat, and traded them with many of the attendees - little did they know that my swap would be two-for-one!  I'll show you how I made my thrinchie (3 inches square), and how it can be adapted for the holidays!

The craft plastic I used is a wonderful material, with a lot of possibilities.  It is 0.020" thick, so it is sturdy, and it is very shiny.  It's dimensional (which I looooove) but still durable and flexible.  I started by using my paper trimmer (a guillotine cutter by Tonic - you need a sturdy trimmer or a craft knife) to trim the plastic into two inch squares.

I got out my Pinata alcohol inks (yellow, orange, and red) and my alcohol ink applicator tool.  Range inks are great, too, but I don't have them in the bright colors.  I like the handle on this applicator tool, but you can improvise with a wood block, velcro, and felt.

Apply the ink to the craft plastic (after taking off the protective plastic on one side!).  It doesn't take a lot of ink - just a few drops.


I had a lot of leaf brads that I love, but I wanted them to be copper colored.  I used a krylon leafing pen in copper to color them.  I didn't bother with perfect coats, since leaves are not perfect, so you might see some of the gold from the original brad showing through.  It's all good.

I put a piece of pearly paper through my Xyron 900, and glued the alcohol ink side of the craft plastic to the paper.  I did experiment with a variety of wet adhesives, and my ink kept bleeding.  I was really puzzled by this.  Has anyone had better success with an adhesive like glossy accents?  My handy craft knife came out to trim around the edges.  Since the plastic is thick, and the paper was thin, this was easy without a ruler.

I then stamped the other side of the plastic with a smudgy stamp and the word "behold" (Club Scrap - Autumn Splendor kit).  I was thinking of fall leaves when I made these, and it just fit with the wonder I have when I see our fall colors.  Make sure to use an ink that works on a non-porous surface (I like StazOn), and don't rock the stamp as you stamp.

I embellished with my brad(s), found some coordinating paper, and assembled them.  No two are exactly alike!

For the holidays, I made some inchies (one-inch square) pieces using a sapphire blue and silver alcohol ink.  I found more sparkly paper, and made some cute little cards that I can use for gifts.  I like how these could be used for Christmas, but are also sophisticated enough that any occasion could work for these.  These cards were given as part of a gift to my coworkers.  They really liked them!

Our tradition at Christmas is to enjoy the holiday, take some time off from work, and go skiing. I hope you enjoy your holiday traditions, and I'll see you next year!

These are some of my favorite products that I couldn't live without to make these.  The Grafix plastic comes in a variety of sizes, and counts, but this package is a nice way to try it out without having 25 sheets in your house (like me!).  The larger package is eligible for Amazon Prime, though, which is definitely one of the factors I consider when I'm shopping.


Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Perfect bows for your cards

This is one of the holiday cards I made recently.

Notice the perfect bow?  You might think I'm a genius, but in reality, I'm a bit bow-challenged.  During my recent organization, I rediscovered some of my tools, and I'm going to share some of the tools I use every day and some that I found again in some of my posts.

This tool is called the Bow Easy.  Mine was even made in the USA!  You can use this tool to make bows with loops measuring from 3/8" to 1 3/8" - in roughly 1/8" increments.  Since somebody else has already shared a video using this tool, check out how to use it:

A quick google search for "Bow Easy" or "Bow Easy template" will yield lots of results how you can make your own or purchase one.  At $5 a piece, this would make a great stocking stuffer for your scrapbooking friends. 

I'll post more on how I made the background of the card later and show you some more samples.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Kaleidoscope Card

Now that I'm organized, I have been creating up a storm lately.  I'll be sharing some holiday cards later in the week, but first, it's time for Paul's annual birthday card.  At the Club Scrap retreat, I learned a new technique that they called "Pinpoint Rotation."  This is the result of that technique:

The "happy birthday" is mounted on some foam tape, which results in a little bit of distortion on the scan. The stamp is from Teeny Tiny Wishes and the coordinating punches (Word Window and Modern Label) are from Stampin' Up! - one of my favorite and most versatile greeting sets.

Believe it or not, I used one stamp and one ink pad to make the design on the cream colored paper.  That stamp isn't available anymore (Solstice Club Stamp kit), but check out this image from a different stamp.  To replicate this technique, you will need a:
  • Stamp - border stamps work particularly well
  • Stamp positioner, like a stamp-a-ma-jig or a Position It (I'll be talking more about the Position It later - this is a fabulous tool)
  • Ruler and pencil
  • Mulitcolored ink pad - I used the Kaleidacolor ink pad Fiesta
Nobody shows this better than Tricia, so check her out demonstrating the technique, and see where your imagination takes you!  I love this technique!

Some cool tools I used in this post:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The End: Are you organized yet?

After purging lots of supplies (4 boxes and 4 grocery bags full), reorganizing my space, storing my rubber stamps, and storing my dies, I've made a lot of progress.

But, it's never done.

New stuff arrives on a monthly basis (I love those Club Scrap kits!), and who can resist a purchase at the local scrapbook store?  I got some great gemstones, fall leaves, and a pen there this weekend.

So, why do I continue to purchase more, when I have plenty?  I've come up with a few guidelines to guide future purchases and help answer the question - should I really buy this?

  1. Replacing tools.  I use my black marker for a lot of journalling, and it's dry.  It's ok to buy a new black marker, because I'll get rid of the old one that doesn't do the job anymore. 
  2. Purchasing basics.  The gemstones were an item that I previously had and used up.  These are basic, and I still like them.  A little sparkly item goes a long way.   I also stock up on adhesive, since it's cheaper to buy ATG adhesive in bulk.
  3. Buying special items.   The leaves aren't something I need, but they fit in my style.  When I saw these, I could see them fitting on scrapbook pages, and cards that I'd like to make for Thanksgiving.
  4. Inspiring me.  My Club Scrap kits provide a monthly spark to my imagination.  If something sparks your imagination, it could be worth the purchase price just for that reason.
How will I fit these items in my home and continue to stay organized?  This is what I'm thinking...
  1. Go up!  My husband saw an opportunity for me to have more shelves in my room.  We'll be installing those shortly to provide much needed storage space for my finished scrapbooks.
  2. Purge as I go.  When a new item comes in, it either needs to fit in the space I have, or something else has to go.  I put these items in a box upstairs.  When the annual rummage sale time comes around, I can sell them, or put them back in my stash if I've changed my mind.
  3. Keep a clean desk.  I did this in the summer for a while, and what a difference it made! After a project is done, I'm going to clean my desk.  If the desk is clean, it's more inviting to work there, and provides room to sort and store new items as needed.
What guides your papercrafting purchases?  How do you stay organized?  What do you continue to struggle with in your craft space?  It's great to share ideas!  Hope you enjoyed this series.  Now that I'm organized, I can go back to crafting!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Organization tip #4: Spellbinders storage plus tutorial

I love spellbinders dies, especially the nestability dies.  These dies come in basic (and complex) shapes in a variety of nesting sizes.  I like to make my own bind-it-all binders to store these dies.  They're trim, easy to make, and group my dies into nice categories.

First, I got all my dies out, and decided which dies would fit in which book.  This book is all about shapes - leaves, flowers, santa, bridge, etc.  I'll be using a bind-it-all, cardstock, scor-it, patterned paper, a cutting mat, and a craft knife for my initial supplies.

To make the pockets, I take a 8.5 x 11 piece of paper and score it at 5.5" with the paper in a landscape orientation.

Rotate the paper 90 degrees so it is in a portrait orientation, and score at 5".

Fold the long edge up to form the pocket part.  Reinforce the fold with a bone folder.

Fold the paper on the other score line.  The folded edge will be on the outside of the book, while the open edge will be the binding edge.

Next, I make the covers.  Trim two pieces of chipboard to 5.75 x 5.25" using a craft knife, and cutting mat.  I choose thinner chipboard for this project - you'll be covering it with patterned paper and punching holes in it later.

Trim a 12 x 12 piece of paper into two 6 x 12 pieces.  Run each piece through a xyron machine.  I also like to use a dry adhesive because I get instant gratification and edge-to-edge adhesive with a xyron. I've used some of the edge to also xyron labels for my pockets.

Place the front of each cover on the sticky part of the paper.  Trim with a craft knife. Since the cover is chipboard, you don't need a ruler if you're careful with trimming.

Flip the covers over, place on the sticky side of the other sheet of paper and trim.

Punch holes in the cover with the bind-it-all, and punch holes in the open side of the pocket pages.

Inside the pockets, I use my magnet cartridge from my xyron to laminate a small label.  The magnet on the xyron is strong enough to hold the spellbinders dies, but not super strong.  The pocket makes sure that any parts that fall out will remain close by.

Bind the cover and pockets together (see my earlier tutorial), put a label on each pocket, and slip the magnet inserts in the pockets.  If you like, create a few empty pockets at the end to accommodate future purchases.  You can also reopen the binding and insert more pages.  If you're careful (and not too picky about the coil being "perfect"), you can reuse the coil.  Otherwise, you can still just use a new coil to rebind the book.

I can fit several of these books in a drawer of my storage cabinet, and they're really easy to flip through.  These save a lot of space on storage over the original packaging, and I think they look pretty, too!

My organization series is almost done.  I'll share some tips in my last post about how I'm going to work to keep this up and not fall back into bad habits.  I'd love to hear other ways of organizing dies.  What are your favorite methods?


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