Friday, June 27, 2008

Howdy! CPS Challenge #70

I decided to do this week's sketch challenge at Card Positioning Systems. All of the stamps are from one of my new My Favorite Things stamp sets called " Ride em Cowgirl." It is another one of those "I don't know why I need this set, but I do" purchases. The paper is by Kaiser, and the ribbon is from a stash I have had for years and years and never used. I couldn't tell you what company made the ribbon, but I can tell you how cool it is that I am finally using it.

I thought I would use this card as an opportunity to talk about problem solving when making cards. I had to do some planning for this card because it wasn't working out as I wanted. I chose to use these stamps for the sketch, but they weren't the best to use for the challenge. The cowgirl stamp had a rectangle border around it, but the sketch called for an oval. Some people don't take sketches as literally as I do, so the rectangle wouldn't have been a problem for some. For me, the sketch had an oval, so I wanted an oval. When I punched an oval around the cowgirl, I was left with lines from the frame on either side. Here is a picture:

How to fix this? Humm.. I could trim it with scissors, but I couldn't cut a nice line to save my life. I could edge it with a pen, but my punch doesn't cut very well, and every flaw is highlighted with a marker. I love to use Krylon pens to edge, but I didn't think itwould work well for this card. I decided I wanted to cut some slots so that the outer oval would hold my inner oval. That way the slots would cover up the lines on the side. Next problem... how do you cut the slots?! I know there are tools out there that will do this step for you, but I don't have them. I decided to make my own template and cut out the slots myself. For this, I traced a penny on either side of the oval:

I used the curve I drew as a guide and cut it with an exacto knife. Important note here! Do not cut all the way to the edge of the oval or you will end up with a cut out section on your oval instead of a curved slot. This is what it looked like when I cut my slots:

As you can see, I don't cut very well. However, it didn't really matter. The area I cut is small and hardly noticeable on the finished card. I am sorry I chose cardstock that was brown on one side and white on the other. The white showed through when I made the cuts. To cover this, I edged the slots with a brown Prismacolor pencil.

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend. Look for another IO design team challenge on the 1st!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

So much excitement!

I'm telling you, so many cool crafting things have happened lately. My penguin suggestions were chosen for the new Memory Box release, my McDonald's coffee inspired card was featured on the Hero Arts blog, and perhaps most exciting of all, I was chosen as one of Paper Crafts Magazine's 2008 "Stamping Royalty!" I received the call from Paper Crafts yesterday, and I am just beside myself. I didn't want to post last night because I wasn't sure if I was allowed to "spill the beans," or if I had to wait till the issue was out in November. I saw that other people were starting to post info about their win on their blogs, so I thought it was okay to post here. Am I paranoid, or what? Sorry this post ended up being a little too "me, me, me." I am just so darned excited and grateful and wanted to share.

Today's card is one I made for the Hero Arts "circle" challenge. I am not sure if I could have fit one more circle on it! I stamped the cream paper with a variety of circles and colors and added two words from my "F" clear set. I attached a dotted ribbon around the cream paper and added punched out black circles to the bottom to finish the card. Yep, this was another easy card!

If you couldn't make it to Angela's for the Stacy Stamps demo, we begged extra samples and stamps from Stacy to keep at the store. Come in and check them out if you get a chance.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Perfect Blend

Just a reminder for those of you who shop at Angela's: there is a free demo as well as a trunk show tomorrow (Tue, June 24th) from 12-2pm and again from 6-8pm by Stacy Rich from Stacy Stamps. I always encourage people to meet with individual stamp company owners whenever they get the chance. Nobody knows their products as well as they do! Plus, it is free, and I am all about that. :)

Today I am posting a card I did for my "coffee and tea" class. I might teach this class again, but it seems like the wrong time of year right now. I like the idea of teaching it when we can sit around making cards and sipping hot beverages.

Unfortunately, I can't remember if I already posted this card before or not. I am too tired (and lazy) to check. So, if you have seen it before, sorry! To make this card, I stamped an image by Stamping Bella onto white cardstock using black memento ink. I colored the women with Copic markers and added some shading around the women with Warm Grey #1. I added a saying by Inkadinkado and layered all of the pieces onto some paisley paper by Creative Imaginations. This is a very easy card to make!

On a personal note, I got to pick up some art this weekend that I had won at the Artomatic show in DC. For those of you who hadn't heard, I won a raffle at the craft show I talked about last month on my blog (the show with the peep displays). I received money to pick out any art I wanted at the show (within the limit they gave me). It was a bit overwhelming considering there were 10 floors of art to review! Anyway, I got to pick up my art, and I am just so pleased to have it. My partner in crime Chrisi and I split the prize and each picked a painting by the same artist. They are 6" x 6" oil canvases that are displayed in black shadow boxes without the glass. If you would like to see what we chose, check out this link. I picked "Ocean Glass," and Chrisi picked "Mary go Around." Of course, right now I keep thinking how nice Chrisi's painting looks nice at my place. Plus, I never told her WHEN I would give her her art....... humm....

Friday, June 20, 2008

IO Design Team Challenge

Well, it is that time again! Time for another Impression Obsession Design Team Challenge. The theme of this challenge was "summer." Humm...seems appropriate! I decided to do something other than a card for this particular challenge. I was at Michaels the other day and saw these cheap little mesh totes that were perfect for decorating. The picture is a little deceptive in that the bags really are small (about 6" x 6").

To decorate the bag, I put a scrap piece of paper on the inside of the bag so that no paint would bleed through. I then cut a piece of paper the same size as the wood block of my stamp (about 4" x 3 1/2"). I placed the paper where I wanted my painted image and then placed painters tape around the outside edges of my paper to frame it. I removed my paper and was left with an area on my bag to paint. I approached the task this way because I didn't want to have to do any measuring with a ruler. I always prefer "eye-balling" my measurements.

I started by painting the area inside the tape with a layer of Gesso. I let the Gesso dry and then painted it with some light blue acrylic paint. I allowed the piece to dry and then stamped the fish image on top with Fabrico black craft ink. I allowed it to dry again and then painted the image with various colors of acrylic paint. I added some dark blue dimensional paint to the bottom bubbles and some lighter blue glitter paint to the top bubbles by the seaweed. To finish the piece, I colored the fish with a gel pen to make it shiny and covered the sand with Diamond Glaze so that I could glue real sand to the image. Luckily, this didn't take as long to dry as I thought it would. I thought Diamond Glaze was a good choice as an adhesive in that it is super strong and hopefully I won't have any stray sand wandering off of my bag. I stamped the image again onto some paper so that I could cut out the starfish and glue it on top of the sand. Here is a close up of the bag:

This design challenge is a bit smaller than usual, but be sure to check out some of the other participants. Julie, Daniela, Deborah, and Kelli all said that they would post brand new summer cards. I saw that Julie used the same exact stamp I did, so it is worth checking to see how one image can create two very different projects! Also, be sure to enter to win the blog candy on Daniela's blog. Her Impression Obsession give away month is June, and the stamp sets she is giving away are wonderful!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Finding Inspiration

The challenge this week on the Hero Arts blog was interesting. The theme was "inspiration." Just how do you choose to interpret inspiration? Some people designed cards inspired by other cards they had seen and loved. Some used techniques they were inspired to try. Some were inspired by things that make them happy or by certain layouts they found eye-appealing. Me? I am inspired by iced coffee.

Okay, maybe that is a bit of a simplification.

Many things inspired me to make this card. First, I loved the now defunct Rubber Stamper magazine. They used to do an article where there would take a picture of an everyday item and then use it as inspiration for a card. I think this is such a cool idea! Second, I decided to make a clear card because I have been enjoying my acetate cards so much and really wanted to make yet another one. Finally, it was hot as heck last week, and I drank a TON of iced drinks. Coffee always does inspire me!

To make this card, I spelled out "Thank" and "you" out of two different alphabet sets. I used two sizes because I wanted it to reflect the font sizes of the original inspiration piece. I stamped the letters using Versamark ink and embossed them with white embossing powder onto black cardstock. I rounded the corners with a corner rounder and then cut a greenish brown piece of paper little bigger than the black cardstock. I wanted to use the same colors as those I found on the cup. I rounded the second set of corners as well to finish my replication of the McDonalds graphic. To continue the coffee theme of the inspiration piece, I stamped a coffee image and then punched it out with a circle punch. I layered it onto a darker brown circle and then added the latte saying at the bottom of the greenish brown paper. The "a latte" words are actually part of a longer clear stamp that says "I like you a latte." I cut the words apart and only used what I needed. It is REALLY scary to cut a stamp apart, but you can still use it in its original form by reassembling it onto an acrylic block. To finish the card, I attached the black cardstock to the front of the card and the greenish brown cardstock to the inside so that I could hide my adhesives.

My coffee card sure was a fun card to make, and it really has me looking at the world differently. Every time I look at a product, I keep thinking about how it could be made into a card. Weird!

On an unrelated note, I just want to ask if anyone has any great ideas about taking pictures of clear cards. It isn't easy! My pictures aren't bad, but it is kind of hard to see them. Imagine that...the clear cards look clear. I tried taking pictures with a black backdrop, but it made the reflection worse. That seemed counter intuitive to me, but I could actually see my reflection in the cards. Ideas?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


Do you ever see a craft item and HAVE to have it even though you have no idea WHY you have to have it? Case in point, I saw the new clear dinosaur fossil set by Basic Grey and really wanted it. I am not sure why. I don't know when I am going to use it. I just think the set is so cool! Anyway, for the first picture, I made a card designed for a small kid who likes dinosaurs. Then I looked at it again and thought that it could be taken completely wrong and be designed for someone I deem to be a "fossil." That would be wrong. Very wrong. Humm...might have to save this card.

To make the first card, I ran some paper through the Accucut machine to end up with a card with a window and a decorative piece of paper that would layer on top. The decorative paper is from Basic Grey's Archaic line. Hey, if I bought the stamps, I might as well buy the coordinating paper. Right? I stamped the dinosaur on the inside of the card and added some dirt underneath him with a brown Copic marker. To finish the card, I added a tag and some raffia.

For the second card, I decided to make a congratulations card with the phase "dino-mite" on the front. It may seem surprising, but I didn't actually own a "dino-mite" saying. Shocking! I had to go to the old standby and spell out the word using some clear Hero Arts letters.

As with the first card, I ran paper through the Accucut to get my card and then stamped the dinosaur to the inside of the card. I started coloring the hill with brown Copic markers, but it was taking too long (and too much ink) to fill in the area. I therefore did a bottom "streaky" layer with the markers and then sponged some brown ink on top to finish the ground. The sky was created with blue and purple inks sponged over the dinosaur.

The hardest part of the card was cutting out the stamped palm fronds that surround the window. Because of this last step, it is going to be very hard to give this card away. I have to wait to give it away to someone who did something worth congratulating, likes dinosaurs, enjoys earth tones, AND will appreciate the fact that it took me forever to cut out the leaves. Yep. I am never giving this card away.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Partying with the Penguins!

I wanted to post last night, but I was still without an Internet connection. Yikes! On Wednesday, my area had severe thunderstorms and tornadoes. Luckily, I wasn't without power, but I had no access to the Internet. You don't realize how much you use the Internet until it is gone!

I wanted to do a post in homage to the Memory Box penguins. Why? Well, there are 18 new penguins coming out, and two of them were from my suggestions! Woohoo! I can't say which penguins are "mine" yet, because Dave Brethauer (owner of Memory Box) is unveiling them bit by bit on his blog. It seemed rather bad form to post penguin info on my blog before his! However, Memory Box sent out pictures of all the new penguins to people on their mailing list. So, if you are dying to see them, you can sign up for their newsletter from the Memory Box site.

In the mean time, I am posting a card using the birthday penguin. I just love him! For some reason, I always smile when I see him. I did this card in one of my 10 in 10 classes because it is so easy to make. Basically, I stamped the penguin, added some red and orange markers for coloring, and added some red Stickles to the point of his hat. I used printed paper, a ribbon, and a scalloped rectangle to finish the card. Simple!

I will let you know when my penguins get posted. I can't wait to see them! Also, look for the penguins to start arriving at Angela's. She is ordering a bunch even as we speak. Woohoo! I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Stamping with Dee

For my last post, I included pictures made by Dee Gruenig. For this post, I am including a card I made using her stamps. I thought it would be a nice contrast to present two different stamping styles. I also thought it would be nice to continue my series of out of focus pictures. I think you can still get the idea.

They say the first step in a 12-step program is to admit you have a problem. So, here goes. My name is Laura, and I am a Twinkling H20 addict. Whew, that felt good to get off my chest. I may have to make another statement about Copic Markers, but one addiction at a time.

Whenever I want to have a quick watercolor card, I pull out my Twinks. I love the shimmer you get with these paints. I find it really hard to get a good picture of the metallic sheen, but I think my second picture of the card is not bad. I normally don't like to take a picture of a card from above because it looks distorted to me. However, that was the only way I could see the metallic sheen.

My advice when applying Twinkling H20's directly to stamps is to apply a thick layer of paint to the image. It is also important to make sure you have a well used stamp so that the paint doesn't roll right off the edge. New stamps tend to have a protective coating on them that makes them slick and hard to paint. My three wildflowers stamp was new so I lightly sanded it with very fine sandpaper which roughed up the stamp enough so that the paint would adhere. Don't worry though! Sanding it won't ruin your stamp (if you use a very fine paper).

I inked the flowers with light blue paint, added dark blue paint to the centers of the flowers, and colored the leaves with green paint. I spritzed the stamp twice (don't over-wet the image) and stamped it onto cream paper. I spritzed it two more times and stamped it to the right side of the card and repeated the process for the left side of the card. That's right, I got three stampings out of painting my stamp only one time!

To finish the card, I added more water to my green paint so that it was runny and then painted some grass free-hand along the bottom of the card. If you haven't tried Twinks before, I highly recommend them. Be careful though....they are addictive!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Guest Artist

From time to time, I like to post cards made by other people. I have so many talented friends and acquaintances that I am always dying to show their work on my blog. However, I have to admit I am a little in awe of today's guest artist. I am posting cards by the one and only Dee Gruenig. That's right, Dee was generous enough to let little ol' me share some of her designs with you. Cool!

Dee spent the weekend teaching at Angela's, and all I can say is the woman sure knows her stuff! If you ever get a chance to take one of her classes, be sure to do it. She is a fountain of knowledge about designing, stamping, and organizing. As an added bonus, she has a wonderful dry sense of humor that makes her fun to be around.

Anyway, back to the stamping. Dee made the above card at Friday night's demo. That's right, this is a demo card. Wow! The background paper is one of Dee's coated Zig-Zag Triple Tags. Dee primarily uses coated or glossy papers so that the colors really pop, and we all know how much Dee likes color! The center stripe of color is from one of her Blending Blox, and the plants are the positive and negative images from one of her stamp sets. Both images were stamped in black ink, but the center one looks like it was colored because the background stripe of color shows through the open area of the plant. Did that make any sense? The animals are layered onto the card using sticker paper. Dee prefers sticker paper over masking, and I have to admit, the end result is very cool. Dee distributes all of her items through Sunday International, but of course, you can pick them up at Angela's!

I chose to take a picture of this second card because I got such a kick out of it. I mean, who else but Dee would think of combining flowers with an animal print? I love it! The "dream" card is another demo card from Friday night, and it reflects Dee's typical use of bright colors. It is stamped on one of her Vertical Inspiration Fold-over Cards so that the inside saying shows even when the card is closed. The right hand saying is stamped over a background of color that was rubbed directly onto the paper from a Blending Blox ink pad. The same ink pad was used to color a solid rectangle stamp for the left hand side of the card. A leopard print image was inked in black and stamped over the yellow/orange background. The flowers were colored with her brand of markers and then stamped onto some sticker paper. Nice.

I am sorry to say I didn't take a very good picture of the third card. The end result is rather blurry. It is hard to tell from the picture, but the background text is embossed in white on purple cardstock. The flowers were colored with markers and then stamped onto a white layer. Dee finished the card with some green stippling and splattered the finished piece with watercolor paint.

While I am apologizing, I would like to say that I am VERY sorry I didn't get a picture of the new circle journals Dee finished. They were wonderful! The journals themselves aren't on the market yet, but they will soon be coming from Sunday International. What made them so great was that they were very thick board books and had parts that would slide out so that you could include hidden pictures. It kills me that I don't have a picture! I guess you will just have to keep an eye out for them. Trust me, the cool factor is very high. :)

I want to conclude my post by thanking Dee again and by saying "hi" to her husband Warren. He and I talked a lot about blogging over the weekend, so I hope he likes how I presented Dee's work on my site.