Friday, August 31, 2012

Fall Project Series: #2 Card Sketch and Stamping With Bleach

These cards were just FUN to make!  When I was a little girl, my Mom taught Sunday School at our church.  Her class became known among us kids as the "messy fun" department! Even though we were dressed in our Sunday Best, Mom always had plenty of Dad's old dress shirts that we could each put one on backwards (buttoned at the neck) as an Artist SMOCK and then we were free to use paint or glue or whatever was needed for our project. Every fall one of her projects called for us to take a walk outside to gather  up some of the beautifully colored fall leaves. We would use wax paper to capture them for a "placemat" to use at home.  I think that is when my love of fall first began! I just LOVE the colors and the smells and sounds of fall.

The "sounds of fall" you might be asking.  Yes - there are some distinctive sounds that signal fall for me. Crunching leaves, a whistle in the wind and one that you might not expect...the sound of a high school marching band and drum-line practicing! We always lived near the high school when I was growing up...and even before it was my turn to "take the field" with the Mighty Mustang Marching band, I always knew it was really FALL when I could hear the sounds of the band practicing off in the distance.  Last night, as I stepped outside to pick up a few things scattered around the yard, I heard that familiar sound...coming from the Mt. Juliet Marching Band. It brought a smile to my face..."fall is really almost here!"

That is probably why the inspiration for these cards came from this set of stamps by Tim Holtz.  They're called Autumn Blueprint and I put them on my "must have" list when I saw them during Tim's CHA reveal.

So many I ended up creating a little sketch to work from for these cards - one that would allow me to create a LOT of cards in an assembly line - but make sure that each one was a unique work of art that would convey the love and gratitude I have for the recipient.  Here is the sketch. To make it larger just double click on it - and if you want to save it, right click and do "save as" so that you can print it off for your own use.

I have done a video to show you the different techniques I used to create each of the elements for the cards.  The big technique focuses on how I used a stamping with bleach technique to create the focal image - but I also share other techniques that allowed me to use similar supplies that were just bits and pieces in my scrap drawers to personalize the embellishments.

I hope you enjoy! Here are a few additional pictures of some of the cards!

Have a great weekend...and hope fall is headed your way!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fall Project Series: Cards

Hello friends!

I know that fall doesn't officially start until sometime AFTER Labor Day here in the United States, but in the "Land of Jann," I am SO ready for it to be fall that I am getting a bit of a jump on the season by starting a new series on the blog! (Hey don't judge me...I was in JoAnn's over the weekend and they had CHRISTMAS stuff up!)

I love decorating my house for fall...and have a few projects in mind for that - just a couple of quick things that will freshen up my other I will post a tutorial or two as I get those projects done.

For the most part though, the projects that I have planned center around cards, gratitude journals (for myself and perhaps a friend or never know - you might be that friend!) and a few other little things that I want to have ready for some family time at Thanksgiving.  I usually try and send Christmas cards to friends and family - but am going to try and actually send Fall/Thanksgiving/Thankful for You cards prior to Thanksgiving this that means I need to move into high gear and stop my wagon from draggin'! LOL! Just typing those last couple of phrases make me smile - as they remind me of family and some of the silliness that we got into as kids...fall just was FUN around my it makes me smile just thinking about the cooler temperatures, a pot of stew or chili on the stove, flannel shirts, football, pumpkins...and all the nummy foods that we only make once summer is over and we are headed into Winter.

So, in case you missed it on YouTube, here is the tutorial for my first project - which was a couple of cards.  They are easy to make - and each one is different so you can make lots of them and know that each will still be a unique piece of art to share with a friend or family member.

And I will leave you with a bit of a "sneak peek" at the next project I am working on...

I just smile looking at those fun colors...

Hope you are smiling too...and mostly I hope you will join in the fun of this Fall Project Series!  See ya soon!

Monday, August 13, 2012

OH MY STARS: The Parable of a Clean and Simple Card

Actually... o. my. stinkin'. stars!

So...many hours ago I had an idea.  It was a simple idea. A good idea. An idea that it would be fun to do a "start to finish" video tutorial on making a simple birthday card.

Did I mention that I had this idea HOURS ago? It is Royce's birthday tomorrow...and I had been thinking about the card I wanted to make for him for several days. It was all worked out in my head. So I got out all of these lovely supplies....and started the video camera.

My had two parts to my beginning idea. The first was to use some star shaped wafer dies to IMPRESS the star image into the cover of my card. And for the second, Royce is always teasing me about saying "Oh my stars!"...and when I came across a stamp (Papertrey Ink: Glory Be) that had the Oh My Stars stamp in it, I KNEW I wanted to use that as the front sentiment for his Birthday Card.
I don't know if you have ever tried to do this, but it is a pretty cool way to get more out of your dies. I will do a video showing you how to do this if you all are interested...but the basics are you place the die with the cutting edge down onto your paper - but place your embossing matt (thin silicone rubber) underneath your paper.  This keeps the die from cutting all the way through. You may need to test a couple of sandwiches to see what works best in your die cut machine (sizzix or cuttlebug). I ended up using the basic sizzix platform with NO tabs, a cutting plate, a thin chipboard shim, the silicone mat, my paper face up, the stars dies face down and the second cutting plate.  My paper is thick Stampers Best card stock (approx 120lb weight) - so with that additional thickness I didn't need another shim. If I used a thinner paper, I might have added a second silicone mat to make sure that the die didn't cut all the way through.  So play around with it for yourself with your own supplies.

I cut stars out of green and a couple of shades of blue paper that I had stamped some backgrounds onto for interest. I cut star borders...I had stars coming out my ears...and was headed to the "finish line."

I pre-stamped some stars from the Super Stars Stamp Set (Papertrey Ink) - and added my "Oh my Stars" sentiment....then used the star dies to impress the shapes. As you can all went as planned....except for the fact that it resembles a card best suited for someone who would also be receiving a Tinker Toy set on their birthday!  *sigh*

So I was back to the drawing board...time to turn off the camera...we were not going anywhere fast! LOL!  So I liked the IMPRESSION part of it...but it was just TOO I decided to turn the big star die OVER and use the same sandwich to impress the BACK side of the star into the card stock.  I REALLY liked this - the other way, you end up with a "line art" shape - but this way gives you a deep impression of the solid shape.

 My only problem was that I had used a bit of painter's tape (masking tape) to hold the die in position, and when I removed it, the tape peeled a bit of the paper off...STINK! - but I knew I was on to something.  I did it again....and this time it worked.

 I used one of the big stars from the Super Stars stamp set to stamp into the center...and added my sentiment centered below the impressed star.  I liked it - but you know me....if there is a whole lot of WHITE staring up at me...something is about to get messy! *hee hee!!!!!

I used some water and acrylic paint and spattered it up!  I was much happier!  Out of all those die cut stars...three little stars from the border strips made it onto the front...but I like how it gives a bit of weight to the bottom of the card. I felt the big impression of the star on top made it a bit "top-heavy." The last detail was to take a blue pen and ruler and make sketchy lines around the outside edge of the star...I kept the lines REALLY thin - as I wanted the star impression to be the focus.

 To dress up the inside of the card, I used the smallest star die and flipped it over and impressed it into the lower right corner of the panel. I stamped another star stamp from the Super Stars set into the impression.  The finishing touches on the inside panel were to stamp the Happy Birthday sentiment and add some chevron washi tape to bring all the colors together.  It also helped give visual weight to the top where the sentiment is smaller and thinner and the impressed star at the bottom could have over powered it.

So here I am...hours video to share because the process just got TOO complicated as I tried to create a clean and simple card. *sigh* Moral of the story...not all things are what they seem.  A simple card, may in fact require that you put on your "thinking cap" and persevere! That too is all part of being an artist!

Have a great week friends....hope you have some great creative ideas...and that you will persevere all the way to seeing them become a reality!

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Its Hard To Make A Sympathy Card When You Need One

I found myself needing a card to send to a sweet friend this past weekend - and after digging through my stash of cards, I couldn't find ONE that was appropriate...and I was short on time to make one...but of course, I did.

 I also made a mental note to sit down this week and get several cards made so I wouldn't be in that position again.

Here are the basic cards I came up with....and I actually made about 10 of them in under 30 minutes.

On some of them, I left the sentiment off so that I could add whatever I needed it to say, when I get to the point of sending them.  I used two stamp sets from Papertrey Ink: Simple Sunflowers and Stitches and Swirls to create the single layer backgrounds.  I thought you might want to see the process so I did a video showing how I made each of the basic cards.

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you are having a good week and if you find yourself without some cards (ready to go), that you will find a bit of inspiration with these.

You can click on each one for a better view!  Have a great weekend!  See you soon!

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Go Team USA

Are you having fun watching the Olympics? I wish I were able to just sit and watch every moment...there is something about seeing athletes show up at their peak, give it their all and triumph. And my favorite part?  When they are standing on the podium...and they hear their national anthem play. You know they have dreamed of that moment...and I always wonder how much they are able to soak it in, or if it is all a blur.  I know I would just be bawling my eyes out...I can barely make it through our national anthem just sitting on the couch!

I have so many projects going on right now with some pretty serious deadlines, so I have had to settle for having the Olympics on in the background...but I do run into the room when I hear tons of cheering.

So I thought I would share my fun nails in honor of the Olympics and Team USA...

Sorry the lighting is bad...but you can get the idea. I have had fun learning stamp on my nails. You can read THIS POST to learn how it is done.  Also, if you are intrigued with nail stamping you will want to check out  Kristina Werner's blog, The Daily Something, devoted to nail art.

Gotta run...deadlines are calling my name.  Enjoy the Olympics and cheer loud for your team - and I won't tell anyone if you get a bit misty eyed when you hear your National Anthem!

In case you are interested in the specific products I used to create these nails:

Base Coat: Seche Vite Bonder
Polish: Maybelline's - Saphire Siren and Revlon Colorstay - Red Carpet
Stamping Polish: Konad Special Polish White
Stamping Plate: Cheeky - CH4
Top Coat: Seche Vite

Have a good rest of the week.  Am working on a new video to show you a few techniques to try when working with stamp sets that are designed to layer on each you saw in the background of this card.

And this sample panel I did to try out some stamps and various color combos...may have to challenge myself to actually complete a card with my rather eclectic color combos!  Heee heeeee! It is all good fun!  Let me know if you would like a tutorial on the 2-3 step stamp process...the emphasis will not be on MAKING a card...but just how to use these stamps to get beautiful imagery - like on this sample  sheet.

Have a great rest of the week...Be kind to those people who don't seem to deserve it...and throw yourself 100% into whatever you do...and determine to learn something new...these are my "standing goals" for myself this week....OH...AND MOST IMPORTANTLY be kind to the artist inside of you!