Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Christmas Sweaters

Back when I posted this card (the second one; scroll down), I actually had comments referring to the "ugly" sweater my little reindeer was wearing! Poor reindeer, he was so offended! I hope today's little guy isn't so harshly treated. :P 

This is for Hero Arts' November contest, and I'm happy to say I worked all three of the contest themes into the card. Bling -- I used snowflake embossing tinsel on the reindeer's HANDSOME sweater, twinkling H2Os (with some salt) to create the snowy sky background, and glittery brads to embellish the sentiment banner. Colour -- the red, olive and blue represent three of the colour challenge colours. Dry embossing -- the snowflake panel. I'm also throwing this into the first Addicted to CAS challenge, where the code word is 'snow'.  And, of course, Simon Says Stamp's 'Anything Goes' challenge. 
I do like these happy sweatered reindeer! :D 

Supplies: white & Stampin' Up real red & old olive cardstock, watercolour paper, Hero Arts Reindeer Joy & Get Merry! stamps, Versamark, Versafine onyx black & Stampin' Up real red inks, clear & Ranger rich red embossing powders, Ranger snowflake embossing tinsel, Cuttlebug snowflake embossing folder, Twinkling H2Os, Prismacolor pencils, Queen & Co. brads, pop-dot tape

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Monday, November 26, 2012

One Layer Practice

I don't make a lot of one-layer cards, despite being a clean and simple (plain and boring?) ;) cardmaker. For one thing, my biggest fan, most constructive critic, and co-sender of many of my creations thinks most one-layer cards look too 'simple'. But tags are another story -- they're TAGS! So they are a perfect chance to practice some one-layer techniques and use up some scraps. 
Technique #1: faux layers

With some post-it notes to mask the edges, it's easy to create the impression of layers with stamping and/or sponging. The negative snowflake punch adds a bit of interest. 

 Technique #2: glitter!

Using a glittery embossing powder adds some fun! 

Technique #3: colouring

You can't go wrong with a cute polar bear image! He's coloured with watercolour pencils. 
Thanks, Heather, for the inspiration to make some one-layer tags with a little more to them then the tags I might make, say, on December 23 or so. :P I'm linking these up to this week's One Layer Wednesday challenge (OLW#115), hosted by Heather this week. And now that I've been back to the post to pick up the link, I realize that Heather's punched tags must have imprinted subliminally. ;) 

Supplies: (snowflake) white cardstock, Local King Rubber Stamp snowflake background, Colorbox frost white & Brilliance pearlescent sky blue inks, WOW white embossing powder, Martha Stewart snowflake punch; (tree) white cardstock, Unity August 2011 Kit of the Month (All Seasons) & Paper Smooches birthday buddies stamps, Versamark, Memento tuxedo black & Versacolor green inks, Ranger green embossing tinsel; (polar bear) kraft cardstock, Stamp Barn & Inkadinkado stamps, Colorbox frost white ink, Wow white embossing powder, watercolour pencils, black sharpie; (all) ribbon and metallic cord scraps

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Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Christmas is Coming?

Christmas IS coming, particularly at Crafty Creations Challenges this week. Our generous sponsor is Beccy's Place, where some terrific holiday images and sentiments have been recently added to her inventory. I chose to work with one of her intricately-designed ornaments. 

I started by making the background panel; I was aiming for a subtle Christmas tree background. After tearing my mask, I sponged peeled paint distress ink before stamping several tree boughs in iced spruce (off-stamping them first so they wouldn't be too obvious). Then I partially inked a music stamp in gold and stamped it along the left side.  I edged the entire panel in gold and even sponged the corners with a bit of gold. (Rare for me; it's practically distressing my card!) The ornament is shimmery with Twinkling H2Os plus a bit of gold pen. The image actually comes with its own bow, but since I wanted it to "hang", I trimmed off the paper ribbon so I could add my own. ;) The entire panel is popped up on the green mat before adhering to the card base. I'm adding this card to the current Paper Players' challenge (PP#122) to create a CAS card featuring gold or silver. 
Wait till you see what the other designers have for your inspiration this week! If you've been procrastinating about getting those Christmas cards done, this might just be the extra nudge you need. ;)

Supplies: white & Stampin' Up old olive cardstock, watercolour paper, Beccy's Place holly ornament, Hero Arts Decorate You, Local King Rubber Stamp music background & Unity/Jillibean Soup Christmas Eve Chowder stamps, peeled paint & iced spruce distress, Versamark & Colorbox gold inks, pirate's gold embossing powder, Twinkling H2Os, gold gel pen, red crochet cotton, pop-dot tape

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Variations on a Theme

I like my blog post title today; it sounds so much better than, say, stuck in a rut. :D I do seem to get that way when it comes to making sympathy cards, though. Many agree that they're among the most difficult cards to make, so when you find a design that works, it only makes sense to stick with it for a while. A few weeks ago, I made this card for a friend, and now I've made this card for another friend whose father-in-law died recently. 

Slightly different patterned paper, slightly different mix and configuration of images, different placement of sentiment. I almost hesitated to show this card, but luckily for me, Scrapbooker's Paradise is having a CASE yourself challenge (PPC#93). (CASE = copy and share everything.) One could argue that I didn't exactly take my other design and improve it, but there's no arguing that I did CASE my other card. ;) I couldn't find an ink that would match the paper, so I inked the sentiment in two different inks before stamping, and that seemed to work. 
To look on the bright side of things (which I'm often surprisingly inclined to do) I have yet to need to send a second sympathy card to the same person, so I'm good to go with this design for a while if I want. 
Supplies: white cardstock, My Mind's Eye Honey Cake patterned paper, various Unity & {ippity} stamps, Colorbox frost white & stormy sky & evergreen bough distress inks, WOW white embossing powder, Spellbinders oval die

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Friday, November 16, 2012

Turkey Time

In my brain, Thanksgiving is long gone. But for our neighbours (note the Canadian spelling...) to the south, it's next week! So in honour (yep, that spelling again!), a Thanksgiving card today.

This is the first Thanksgiving card I've ever made, so not surprisingly, I have very few true Thanksgiving stamps. But I have this cute little turkey! And you can't go wrong with a Dickens quotation. (Although I have to admit, I haven't been able to find the original source for this quote, so I hope it's *real*.) See the three colours of twine? I won spools of these three recently from the Twinery! :D 
It's another Friday, so I'm joining the fun at Unity Friends with Flair. Since it's a Thanksgiving card, I think it qualifies for Unity's fall-themed challenge. I'm also linking up to Simon Says Stamp's current challenge for Thanksgiving or thank you cards, as well as this wek's CASology challenge, where the cue word is "thanks". And to all my American friends... an early Happy Thanksgiving! 

Supplies: Stampin' Up naturals ivory & kraft cardstock, Unity September 2011 Kit of the Month (All Seasons) stamps, Memento dandelion & tangelo & Brilliance coffee bean inks, clear embossing powder, Sharpies, Twinery lemondrop, mandarin & cappuccino twine, pop-dot tape
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Making an Okay Card Better... and a New Card

Last month Hero Arts had the perfect challenge for me in my current crafting frame of mind, since they were looking for holiday cards. So did I flood them with entries? Of course not. :P I put one card in, at the last minute, and it wasn't even a Christmas card. 

I made this card from one of the sketches on offer, posted it at the last minute... and thought it was, well, okay. I looked at it again over the next few days, and then finally decided to take it apart and see if I could make it better. 

The thin black mats just seemed to make the other elements 'pop' more, and the off-white card base brought out the colours of the patterned paper more effectively than the white. It's still not my favourite card ever ;) but I'm definitely happier with it. 
In the meantime, I'm trying to be a little more efficient when it comes to the current month's contest. 

Of course this month Hero Arts isn't asking for holiday cards, but I managed to work one in anyway, using three of the colours in their colour palette -- red, blue and olive. I also added some bling with snowflake embossing tinsel on the reindeer sweater and glitter embossing powder on the tree, as well as the star on top.
This reindeer does look merry, doesn't he? :D
P.S. It's my week off, but the current Crafty Creations challenge looks like a fun one, so check it out! 

Supplies: (thank you) white, mauve & black cardstock, Generations subtles collection card base, Basic Grey plumeria patterned paper, Hero Arts Le Journal stamp, Versafine onyx black ink, clear embossing powder, Martha Stewart border punch, K&Company BW Flora & Fauna Charmers charm; (be merry) white cardstock, DCWV patterned paper, Hero Arts Christmas Reindeer & Get Merry! stamps, Versafine onyx black, Versamark, Stampin' Up old olive craft & real red & Brilliance sky blue inks, clear & glitter clear embossing powders, Ranger snowflake embossing tinsel, recycled star, pop-dot tape

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Chicks and Butterflies

I have another entry for the last ever Chick Challenges with {ippity} challenge! I was struggling with the second layout they offered, but was then inspired by -- of all things -- my great-niece's newly redecorated bedroom. She's turning six soon, and as with many girls that age, loves pink, and princesses, and fairies... and butterflies. Her room is so pink, it seems to glow, and in one corner, there is a large butterfly mobile with additional butterfly wall decals. Those details coalesced into this:

The photo doesn't capture all the glimmer and shimmer I managed to pack onto this card. I used two colours of pearlescent ink, a Crafter's Workshop butterfly stencil, two images from Bevy of Butterflies and a sentiment that I stamped three times, including a second-generation stamping in the pink and purple. The glittery ribbon and some bling up the shine factor, too. I think it's a perfect card for my girly-girl's birthday. ;) 

Supplies: white & purple cardstock, Unity Bevy of Butterflies & (?) stamps, Brilliance pearlescent orchid & pearlescent purple inks, Crafter's Workshop mini butterfly ballet template, Stampin' Up basic rhinestones, 3/4" square punch, $ store ribbon, pop-dot tape

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Christmas Friends with Flair

And... it's Friday again already! Time for Unity Friends with Flair. For today's card, I went with one of the two sketches on offer for the current Chick Challenges {with ippity} challenge. Wouldn't you know it; I only just recently discovered this site, and now the challenge blog is closing! 

I'm not sure I've ever made an ironic card before, but I thought "winter joy" would be a fun sentiment to pair with this less-than-joyful penguin. He's coloured with a combination of Sharpies and watercolour pencils, and the sky sponged with a little iridescent ink. I used one kind of Stickles on his hat trim, and another kind for the snow. I like that this guy can be coloured a little differently each time I use him. I may try paper-piecing him soon! 
As always, check out the Unity blog to see what else people are creating this week! Oh, and maybe their weekend sale. ;) Have a great weekend. 

Supplies: white & blue cardstock, DCWV patterned paper, {ippity} pain and pride & roly poly winter joy stamps, Versafine onyx black, Versamark & Stampin' Up real red inks, clear embossing powder, Sharpies, watercolour pencils, frosted lace & rock candy distress Stickles, Spellbinders circle dies, Inspirations grosgrain ribbon, 3/4" square punch, pop-dot tape 

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Where Have All the Flowers Gone?

There is nary a flower in sight at Crafty Creations Challenges today. The challenge: a project with NO flowers. When I mentioned the theme to my husb, he said, "that's a challenge???" :P He's obviously used to my style of crafting. ;) If you like to embellish your creations, it may be more difficult. But have no fear! I'm here to give you some ideas. 
Idea #1: Keep it CAS (clean and simple). 'Nuff said.
Idea #2: Pick an animal theme! I went with cats. 

I needed a card for our cat-sitter after a weekend away, and used this sweet Market Street Stamps cat, paper-pieced with appropriate cat-themed paper, along with a little pink for her ears, nose and cheeks. 
Idea #3: Go for a Christmas card! As long as poinsettias aren't involved, this should make it easy. And snowflakes can always stand in where flowers might normally go. 

Isn't this reindeer elegant? I was also glad to discover that even after two years, my silver embossing powder is still usable, though starting to look a teeny bit tarnished. I think I can eke another few months out of it. A sentiment could just as easily have gone where the snowflakes are.  
Check out the rest of the DT inspiration this week, and show us what you can do without flowers! 

Supplies: (cat card) white & SU pink pirouette cardstock, Reminisce here, kitty, kitty patterned paper, Market Street Stamps cool cats, Versafine onyx black ink, clear embossing powder; (reindeer card) white & Recollections silver cardstock, navy paint chip, Hero Arts dashing reindeer & Christmas reindeer stamps, Versamark, silver embossing powder 

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Playing with Paint Chips

I do like my paint chips. They're free, come in a huge variety of colours and styles, have a nice finish... and did I mention they're free? ;) Paint chips can be a bit tricky to work with, but if you mess up -- oh well, it was free! 
Every once in a while, I get out my bin of paint chips and see what happens. Here's one thing that happened:

A version of this card gets made every year -- it's my husb's favourite. (Eventually, we'll run out of people we haven't already sent it to, I suppose.) The only adornments are a really thin mat of platinum pearl paper (surprisingly difficult to see in the photo) and a rhinestone in the centre of the star. 
I played some more, and this resulted:

I finally tried colouring my old office supply-type brads with embossing powder, and it works so well! (I emboss everything, yet had never tried this. Silly.) I thought the patterned paper was a perfect backdrop for the sparkly tree. Since I'm so proud of my brads, I'm going to enter this in the current (well, for another few hours) Do You Stack Up (DYSU) challenge to use them. 
I'll be back tomorrow with a fun new challenge from Crafty Creations Challenges! (This week's "Just One" is still open till sometime in the wee hours this morning.) There may or may not be more paint chips involved.

Supplies (polar bear) white cardstock, platinum pearl paper, navy paint chip, Westover Enterprises stamp, Colorbox frost white ink, Wow white embossing powder, Stampin' Up basic rhinestone; (Christmas tree) white and Recollections green linen-finish cardstock, Echo Park very merry Christmas music notes patterned paper, red paint chip, Prima Marketing stamp, Versamark, Ranger snowflake embossing tinsel & real red embossing powder, brass brads, iridescent cord

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Friday, November 2, 2012

Friends with Flair... and Bonus Tag!

And suddenly it's Friday again... not to mention November. No idea how that happened. ;)
Other than days of rain, we were unaffected by Hurricane Sandy, and I hope all is well with you, too, if you're reading this.
November for me means Christmas card-making kicks into high gear. I like to have most of them done by December, so I can focus on all the other Christmas tasks. So of course I went for a Christmas card today for Friends with Flair.

I decided to start the month by following the sketch for the Unity Kit of the Month sketch challenge. This cute little snowman is from the December 2010 kit, Just Be You. Since he's a fairly simple line drawing, I kept the colouring simple, too, but did add some interest with Stickles on his hatband and cheek, black enamel accents on his eyes and mouth, and glossy accents on his heart. Full disclosure: the sentiment is from a Jillibean Soup set, not a KOM, but I hope that doesn't disqualify the card. The sentiment is embossed in red to match his heart. I was going to use a snowflake-embossed panel behind him, but the patterned paper added needed colour. 

And here's the promised bonus tag! 

I am not a Tim Holtz-type tag-maker. My tags are to put on presents, not to frame and put on display. :D So by definition I keep them simple. I started by embossing the snowman in white, sponged and edged the tag in blue and added the rhinestones and ribbons. 
Check out the Unity website for lots of inspiration -- probably some other Christmas projects, too! And just for a change, there's a weekend sale, too. Hope your weekend is dry and warm! 

Supplies: (card) white & teal cardstock, DCWV patterned paper, Unity December 2010 Kit of the Month ( Just Be You) snowman, Unity/Jillibean soup Christmas Eve Chowder sentiment, Versamark & Memories black ink, Ranger rich red embossing powder, rock candy distress Stickles, Glossy Accents, black Enamel Accents, Spellbinders circle die, Marvy-Uchida corner-rounding punch, silver elastic cord, pop-dot tape (tag) white cardstock, Unity Snowbody Warms My Heart stamp, Colorbox frost white & Brilliance sky blue inks, Wow! white embossing powder, frosted lace Stickles, Stampin' Up basic rhinestones, $ store ribbon & iridescent cord, hole puncher  

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