Please let me hear from you!

This blog is for sharing a love of paper crafting. You can also check out my Pintrest pages. If you find the ideas here to be helpful, I'd love to hear from you. It is what helps make the time I put into this blog feel worthwhile, and always brightens my day. I love hearing your ideas too!

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Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Distress Ink with Versamark Stamping

I've enjoyed playing with my distress inks.  For these cards, I played with stamping glossy cardstock with Versamark Ink and letting it dry thoroughly before making a background with it by adding distress ink with a brayer. This results in what looks like a white imprint on the colored background.  For this first card I cut strips that I added to a lacey card from Hot Off The Press. I cut another section for a focal and matted it.  The next card started with using this cardstock background for the card base, then stamping a tag onto a plain background and adding it for a focal.
The "THANKS" stamp is from K&Company's QueSeraSera Clear Stamps.  The birdcage is part of the "Sweet Tweets" acrylic stamp set from Hot Off the Press.  The stamp used on the ribbon is from Hot Off the Press's "Matching Borders and Focals" set.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Distress Inks

I finally got the distress inks I've been wanting as a Christmas gift, so had to start playing with them!  This focal stamped in black StazOn onto a background made from glossy cardstock that has distress ink applied with a brayer.  I had so much fun playing with these.  These cards all show focals made this way where the backgrounds have a single color of ink on each -- though equally nice effects can be achieved by using two or more colors of the distress ink on the same piece of glossy cardstock.  Here are a few more examples of quick cards made with Distress Ink backgrounds:

The bird stamps are "Sweet Treats" Acrylic Stamps from Hot Off the Press.  The butterfly and flower are from K&Company's QueSeraSera Stamps.

The card backgrounds (as opposed to the backgrounds for the stamped images) are either Paper Wishes cards or papers.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Stuff I WANT to organize

Today's post is about cardstock -- not how to organize it, but how to get more of it TO organize!  Core'dinations is having a drawing where they will be giving away new as-yet-unreleased packs of sandable embossed color-core!  They look really cool.  If you live in the United States or Canada you can enter their contest using this link.  If you win a pack I will win one as well!  How cool is that? If you're like me, you can never have enough cardstock, and this stuff looks GREAT for cards and scrapbooks alike.  But hurry, the deadline for entry is Friday the 21st.  (No, they haven't paid me anything to advertise this for them and I have nothing whatever to do with the contest -- except that I'd love to win it!)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Stamped Focals for Cards

I'm fairly new to stamping, but I LOVE the variety of acrylic stamps and the ease of seeing where I am placing the stamp.  (These are Inkadinkado stamps I bought at Joannes) I have to share a stamping aid with those of you that might not know about it.  Use your MOUSE PAD!  I have had a terrible time with stamps in the past - always ended up with areas that didn't stamp cleanly (presumably because the table or stamp or both weren't absolutely flat).  This of course, didn't make for very good focals!  After some frustration, I remembered that I had read somewhere about stamping on a mousepad.  I realized this would help to make up for any uneven surface, so I tried it. EUREKA! Focals with ALL parts stamped cleanly!  For both of these, I first stamped with black StazOn and then colored in with markers.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Tag Focals for Cards

A great way to make quick cards is to use pre-made tags (either store-bought or ones you've made yourself) for your card focals.  This card was made using a tag from the Paper Flair "Tag Art" book from Hot Off the Press.  Mixed with scraps from papers, ribbon, and a "Best Wishes" stamp from Stampendous Perfectly Clear Stamps, it makes a quick all-occasion card.  Here is another one:
This one is based on a couple of papers from "All Dressed Up" DCWV MatStack and combined with another tag from Hot off the Press, a couple of letters, and some ribbon.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Non-traditional Christmas Cards

It's never to early to start on Christmas cards is it?  The other day I created a bunch of card focals using different acrylic stamps I have on hand and then made up some Christmas cards using them.  I found I easily got bored with traditional Christmas colors, so branched out a bit.  Today's post shows some of the cards I made in less traditional Christmas colors.  All four cards were made with Inkadinkado stamps I bought from Joannes.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Paper Piecing the Fast Way

Die cut machines can really speed up paper piecing your embellishments or card focals.  Previously I've shown some cards where I used my Big Shot with Cuttlebug dies to create flowers for a card focal.  Today I'm going to show some examples from my Silhouette.  I like using my Silhouette for this as I can scan in any shape, have the software trace it, and then use my Silhouette to cut the various shapes for me! Here are some things I've made this way.  Obviously, if you don't have a die cut machine, you can cut things out by hand -- they just take longer.
This is another neat one
I believe that these designs came with the Silhouette software.  However, I also make some of my own designs and get some off the net.  I know I didn't make these, but if I've mistakenly credited YOUR designs to Silhouette, please let me know so I can give you proper credit!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Mat Stack Cards

As I've mentioned before, I find that the Mat Stacks by DCWV are perfect for making many of my cards - those that are no larger than four and a half inches by six and a half inches.   I will often take two coordinating pieces and align them one directly on top of the other.  Then I can cut them any way I want to form two or more pieces.  I can then mix and match my pieces to get interesting backgrounds for two cards.  Here is an example of two cards made this way using the "All Dressed Up" mat stack.

Obviously, this time I chose to cut through both papers on the diagonal and then use half from each for the cards.  The "Thinking of You" are words I cut on my Silhouette using sticky-back cardstock.  The "Happy Mother's Day" was printed on coordinating paper and cut with shaped scissors. A bit of coordinating paper and ribbon trim, combined with pictures cut from a PW book of artwork completes the cards.  Note the use of a paper punch to create a lacy effect on the bottom card.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Make It Focal - Part 8

Today we'll look at a page where the focal point is actually smaller than another photo on the page. Based on focal point discussions the last few weeks, can you figure out why the smaller one is the focal?

The challenge:  Conflicting focal points.  I had expected the largest picture to be the focal - but as I started arranging pictures on the page, it became clear quickly that it had a serious rival for that spot.  Can you spot why this was so?  Thinking back to the very first in this series, you can see that the subject (in this case the zebras) is much larger in the focal photo than in the larger picture.  Also, the lighting is such that they are much brighter as well.  This naturally draws the eye, but initially the larger picture also did, creating a bit of a conflict between the two for supremacy.  I needed to help make one draw the eye more clearly than the other.  I decided to make the smaller one the focal point, figuring that if it had nearly won the battle despite having a strike against it (size) I could work with it to make it the clear leader.

The solution: I used the techniques we've discussed in the last few weeks to bring increased attention to the focal picture.  Can you spot what I did?  Some of them are:

Decrease the attention the large photo draws:
  • I made the photo visually smaller by placing the title on top of it.
  • I made it recede further by having the focal photo sit partially on top of it.
Increase the attention to the focal photo:
  • I double matted the photo, making it larger.
  • One of the colors used to mat the photo is a brighter color, bringing more attention to that area of the page.
  • I placed the photo at an angle. This contrasted with the horizontal lines of the other photos to increase interest in the focal photo.
  • I placed the focal photo in the "sweet spot".  It is centrally located up and down. From side to side, the main image in the photo is located right about where the 1/3 vertical line would be.
You'll notice that we've added another point to consider with focal photos - layers.  Your focal photo will do best if it does not have other photos on top of it.  Placing a photo on top of another one places it in a more prominent position.

Another thing that could have been done here would have been to place embellishments near the focal point.  Embellishments draw the eye, so you can really create focal confusion if you don't have embellishments by your focal photo, but DO have them by other photos.  

I hope this series on creating a focal point has proven useful.  I'd appreciate hearing from you about what was particularly helpful, and/or other layout tips you have found useful.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Fun Cards using a Circle Punch

Do you have some of those circle punches?  The one I have is made by Fiskars.  I enjoyed using it to make mats for photos for scrapbooking, but then one day I had a bright idea.  I didn't have to punch a whole circle, I could punch half of one -- then I could use my punch for card making!  Here are some examples of cards I made using this technique.
The basic technique is pretty simple (though implementation can be a bit tricky).  Use your circle template and line it up on your card with one edge at the edge of your card front, and the center of the circle (where the template folds in half) lining up somewhere around the middle of your card front.  Then, punch through the card following this half-circle shape.  You can back the card front with a coordinating paper or cardstock if you wish.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Make Your Own

Today's tip is for those of us who are very picky about what color of papers go together.  If you're like me, too often you find that you just don't have the right color!  What to do?  Make your own!

Here's a scrapbook page I made where I ran into this challenge.
I had a beautiful hand-made paper for the background that coordinated well with what a couple of the women were wearing, but I just didn't have anything that would coordinate with it.  So, I took a paper where I liked the pattern, scanned it in, then used the color changing options in my photo program to change the color from a green to a peach!  Since I was printing it anyway, it was easy to add the journaling directly to it.

This next page was also challenging.  I had hoped for a brown that would coordinate with my photos, but none of the browns I had seemed to be the right color.  So . . .
I blew up one of the pictures of an echidna and printed a close-up of their furry quills to use for the background.  Then I printed the pictures, title, and journaling complete with the brown mat surrounding them.  Where there's a will there's a way, I guess!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

By the Numbers - 7 photos

The more photos I have the more likely I am to use the collage technique - cropping or printing the photos to the size I need them.  Here are a couple of collage-type pages with 7 pictures on them.

In both of these examples, one picture is separated a bit from the others, but they both clearly show the collage technique.  The first layout uses one picture printed quite small more like an embellishment.

Rather than using a collage, this layout has a larger picture juxtapositioned against a grouping of five smaller pictures, with a small embellishment-type picture finishing the look.