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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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Friday, September 30, 2011

Nothing Tricky

There's nothing tricky about the focal on this two-page spread.  It's size and fancy mat alongside the title border (title cut with my Silhouette) draw the eye without any extra fuss.  But I liked the way they turned out so thought I'd show them to you.  On the second page, I liked the idea of using different backgrounds - stripes for the men and flowers for the ladies.  Love those white gel pens that allow me to write on dark paper!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Christmas in September

It's time to be getting those Christmas cards done in earnest now.  It will be time to send them out before you know it!  Today I'll show another really quick card to give you some ideas for when "crunch time" hits and you need to get them done FAST.  This one is created with die cuts from "Cardmakers Instant Card Art - Christmas Colors" from Hot Off the Press.  The background paper came in a set of papers - I believe it was from Die Cuts With a View.  Just punch out the die cuts and glue everything in place.  What could be simpler?

If you want to personalize it a bit more, you can add a touch of chalk to the die-cuts.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Smooch Christmas Card

I recently bought some Smooch paints - and of course had to try them out immediately!  They are GREAT for coloring things - in this case an embossed Christams scene. I love the bit of shimmer that they create, and the fact that their pointed tips allow for some pretty intricate work.  Using them is pretty straight forward - no real tricks needed.  In addition to coloring the embossed scene with them, I used the gold to go around the edge creating a bit of a frame. 

The embossing bit was easy as it is an embossing folder that I just ran through my Big Shot.

The trickiest part of this card was that I wanted to use this card base (I have a bunch of them that need to be used up), and the embossed image was shorter than I wanted it to be for this card.  What to do?  I cut the image, spacing the pieces apart so they fit the card better - then put ribbon across the space created.  What do you think?  Would you know that embossed image was cut this way?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Using Leftover Store-bought Cards

Do you have a bunch of odds and ends Christmas cards left over from the days when you sent out cards you bought in boxes?  If so, this tip is for you!  Use those cards as your card base for making your Christmas cards.  In this case, there was a sentiment in the center of all the greenery that I didn't care for.  So, I covered it up with a strip of red paper and then added a stamped focal (clear mini stamp from Inkadinkadoo).  Quick and easy card - and you even have a ready-made saying inside if you like it! (If you don't like it, just cover it up with coordinating paper and add your own.)

Tip: Don't have leftover cards? For an inexpensive card base, you can buy a box of cards at the dollar store and use them!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Anniversary Window Card

Seems like I've needed several anniversary cards recently.  This one is made with a see-through window that shows a bit of the inside of the card.  Making window cards are SO easy when you use the right die cut and die cut machine.  Here I used a Spellbinders Nestability die and my Big Shot.  I simply glued the background to the card and then ran it through the machine.  The tricky bit is that I sandwiched it so the fold was on the side of my "sandwich" when I fed it through the machine: bottom of the card first, then the plastic plate, then my die facing up, then the card front, then the second plastic plate. 

Quick Tip:  If you want your die cut in a specific place, you can measure carefully (even drawing pencil lines you later erase to help if you wish), then place the die where you want it and fasten to the paper with painter's tape.  This keeps the die exactly where you want it, but removes pretty easily - with no damage if you're reasonably careful.

The rest of the card front was pretty easy:
  • Border stickers on the edges and around the cut-out frame (the Silver ones were Peel-Offs and the black was adhesive-backed vinyl cut on my Silhouette).
  • A black mat - also cut with the Spellbinders die & my Big Shot
  • An anniversary greeting outline sticker
This is what it looks like inside:
The image was stamped using silver on black and black on Silver. Both are cut in the same way and halves of each joined together.  An outline sticker finishes off the border.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Title Tips Part 13 - Printed in Part of a Picture

Both of these pages use the same technique:
  • Crop a part of one of the photos
  • Add text with photo editing software
  • Print and trim, mat if desired.
In the first example, I printed the title picture twice and then cut out the letters on one, gluing them to the other for added dimension.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Cardmaking Inspiration for Scrapbooking - Part 1

I enjoy both cardmaking and scrapbooking, but I have periodically felt like I was wasting time when I made cards instead of working on the many scrapbooks that I want to make.  Of course, I know that many of the people to whom I send cards, really appreciate my efforts, and I enjoy making them. But the fact remains that before I know it my cards are gone and I have nothing to show for the time spent. However, I'm starting to see techniques from my cardmaking help with my scrapbook pages.

This page is a case in point.  I've removed the personal data from the family tree, but you can still get the idea of the page.  I drew out the family tree with software and printed it out on this cream colored paper.  However, the paper still looked a bit plain.  Then I thought about my acrylic stamps.  Adding the scroll work to top and bottom & corners was just the thing.  I would never have done this without my cardmaking because I never did any stamping until I needed some focals and decorative elements for my cards.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Thank You Card with Glitter

This is another topper like what I made last week -- only this time I finished it off with Stickles.  After applying it over the cutout, I used my Swirls template and added a Stickles embellishment.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Fun with Vellum Part 4 - Family Bible

Here's another set of pages using a vellum envelope to protect fragile documents in a scrapbook.

In this case, you can see the pages are rather dog-eared.  They are Family Record pages taken from a family bible.  My grandmother says the handwriting is that of HER grandmother -- my great great grandmother.  Once again, the page beside it shows a printed copy of the protected document.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Using Scraps to Wrap a Card

This card was made using an odd-shaped piece of paper I had left over from another project.  I used it to wrap around this gate-fold card to add some color.  Then I cut and embossed several layers of white & purple/pink cardstock with my Big Shot machine and Spellbinder's Dies (Labels One).  I stamped flowers onto the top white piece using black ink and a stamp from "Sweet Blossoms & Swirls" acrylic stamp set from Hot Off the Press.  Next I colored them with sparkly gel pens and then glued Flower Soft to the flowers & leaves for some texture (I used Christmas Green, Peony Pink, and Lavendar).  I wrote in the sentiment with pen and then, as I often do, I drew around the embossed lines with contrasting colors.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Another Mat Stack Card

As I've mentioned before, I really do enjoy using Mat Stacks for making cards. In this case, the plaid paper is the background with a strip of the blue and white on top.

The focal was cut out of light blue cardstock, using my Silhouette.  This was then matted on dark blue making it appear that there are dark blue letters glued to the top of the light blue.  I used a nestability die to cut and emboss the scalloped oval to which I glued my blue sentiment.

The dark blue border is a ribbon, but the lighter blue is a strip of paper with the word "Thanks" hand-written across it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Title Tips Part 12 - Printed in a Picture

This title (from the first line of a poem) was added to the photo with photo editing software before it was printed.  This makes for a very easy title that doesn't have to be cut out.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Teresa Collins Stampmaker!

Well, I didn't figure I'd ever have the money in my craft budget to buy this machine, but my husband and daughter went together to get it for my birthday.  THANK YOU!  This is so much fun!  I LOVE being able to make my own stamps!  (For more information about the process of making stamps, check out the end of this post.)

For one of my first projects, I made something I've been wanting for a long time.  A SET of stamps for card greetings.  I made 3 or 4 different border stamps and LOTS of different mix and match words to go with them.  I used them for this stamped greeting which I then cut out and matted on several backgrounds using my Spellbinder's dies.

I learned 2 things:
  1. First, StazOn ink might not work quite as well with these stamps. However, that MAY have actually been the fault of the gold foil I used.  The StazOn certainly worked fine on the white card stock. I'll have to do a bit more experimenting.  
  2. The second thing I learned was that stamps made from two different "gel packs" might not be quite the same height.  What this means is that I couldn't put all those words (made with different gel packs) and the border on my acrylic block and stamp them all at once.  I needed to stamp each word separately.  However, since they ARE acrylic stamps, this is not a big deal. I can see exactly where I want to place them.  
I used this particular greeting on a Napkin-Fold card (information about making a Napkin-Fold card here). I used black card stock for the base and sprayed it with gold smooch spritz.  I paired this with a golden glimmer paper, a white paper with golden metallic swirls on it, some gold metallic paper, and some cream glimmer-type paper (on the inside).  Gold ribbon quite literally ties it all together.

Here's what it looks like on the inside.  The small golden square with the cake on it is actually the front cover of a little booklet that a whole bunch of people signed.  It was kind of nice having a little page for each person's message.

So, how was it making stamps with the stampmaker???????

Rather than just starting right in and possibly ruining some of my gel packs, I decided to first read about other people's experiences on-line. The more I read, the more concerned I became about whether or not my printer would print the negatives okay.  This seemed to be a real problem for some people and I KNEW that my printer didn't have a BLACK ONLY setting for graphics.  However, I joined the tcstampmakertips yahoo group and read everything they had posted about settings for different printers and got ready to try my luck.  Hit it right on the first try!

As you may remember, I have a wide-body HP Photosmart B8550 printer.  The settings I used were as follows: HP Everyday Photo Paper Matte, Best Quality, Grayscale, Maximum Ink.  I printed some pretty small images and text.  Amaze font prints smaller than most and I printed a 10 font with it -- which is probably equivalent to an 8 or even 6 font of Arial.  I wouldn't want to go much smaller than that because I wouldn't be able to read it, but it did fine at that size.  I made a couple of return address stamps, using that font and a couple of little pictures from a dingbat font, in addition to my greetings set.  I was quite please with the results.

Once you have a good negative, the hardest part is lining it up nicely with the gel pack in the magnetic clamp. That sometimes takes me a few tries before I'm happy with it. Other than that, it is amazingly easy to make a stamp!  Some important things to watch out for are:
  • Make sure you've created a black border around your stamp as described in the instructions.
  • Make sure your negative is dark enough. If you hold it up to the light and put your fingers behind it, you should only be able to see them through the light areas -- not through the dark areas.
  • Don't leave your gel packs sitting out.  They are light sensitive and you could ruin them.  Keep them in their box until you're ready to use them.
  • Be sure to assemble your "sandwich" correctly. Which side is up on the gel pack and negative makes a difference.
  • Once your gel pack and negative are in the clamp the way you want them, be sure to press in the center of the clamp to make sure the gel is spread out clear to the edges.
  • Be sure to "flash" burn the reverse of the sandwich for 3 seconds before cooking it for 3 minutes as described -- especially if you have small details on your stamp.
  • Rinse/scrub your stamp in cool water with dish soap -- too hot of water may melt the stamp before it's been cured.
I should probably mention that I was much happier with the quality of negative I could get with my photo software than I was with that that came with the kit.  Most photo software has an "Invert" or "Negative" option for transforming your drawings, and that is what I used. All in all, I am REALLY enjoying the flexibility I now have.  If I don't have the stamp I want for a card, I can just MAKE one!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Gratitude Die Cut Topper

Today's focal started from the card I showed yesterday.  I decided to create my own Thanksgiving theme from scratch using the Silhouette software.  My first attempt didn't work well as some of the lines were too narrow to hold up.  This version is still a bit thin, but worked, and I'm happy with it.  I expect I'll use the pattern again.  Once I got the pattern cut, the rest was pretty easy.  I mounted it on black card stock and stamped an embellishment in black.  I also inked the edges of the card in black.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Thank You Die Cut Topper

I have a bunch of these brown swirl cards and have found it a challenge to figure out how to use them.  Today I decided to create a card topper from this cardstock.  I adapted one of the tags that came with my Silhouette and created this card.  Some decorative stamped corners finished it up.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Fun with Vellum Part 3 - In Her Own Words

Here is another way to use vellum on a scrapbook page.

My mother and I were working together on a Family History scrapbook.  We had a story my great grandmother had written in her own hand about a flood the family went through.  The paper, though in pretty good condition for it's age, really needed to be protected, so my mother fashioned this vellum envelope to keep the pages nicely in the scrapbook with the writing somewhat visible through the vellum.

Then we printed out a copy of her account and placed it next to the envelope so the story could be easily read.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Ribbon Storage

There are lots of ways to store ribbon.  Here's mine.  As you can see in the picture, I have it stored on spools arranged by color (as with my paper which you can also see).  The holder was created by taking a piece of board, drilling holes in it (4 1/2" apart, at a 20 degree angle or so), and sticking pieces of dowel (5/16") in the holes to serve as posts for the ribbon spools to hang on.  I really appreciate having my "palette" visible and easy to reach.  A big thank you to my hubby for making it for me.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Make Your Own - Paper Folded Borders

I love these borders.  I made them pretty easily using the Lattice Folds Template from Paper Wishes (Hot Off the Press). 

I started with the strips of patterned paper, traced the lattice fold pattern onto them, cut where indicated, and folded the paper back.  The gave me 1/2 of the white diamond shape because the back of my patterned paper was white.  Next, I glued this strip to a strip of white, so the hole left by my fold was backed by white, creating the look of white diamonds down the border.

Then I matted this on black cardstock.  Peel-off border stickers along the edges of the patterned paper finished it off nicely.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Title Tips Part 11 - Print and Hand Cut from Blowup of Photo

For this title, the sky from one of the photos is blown up and then the title printed onto it.  This title is cut out and the same size cut out from black card stock. They are then glued the with the black as a shadow-mat.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Napkin Fold Card

Sometimes inspiration strikes at odd times.  I know it is a long time until Mother's Day, but I made a Mother's Day card anyway!  It started with this card on Buttons n'Bows blog.  I LOVED the look and had to try it myself.  Here is my version, and here's what it looks like open:
Here are some links to videos showing how to make it:
And here is a video about making the "belly band":
I used plain white cardstock for the card base & the heart shape (cut with a Spellbinder's die in my Big Shot), a pretty flowered paper and green glimmer paper from Paper Wishes, a "punch around the page" Martha Stewart punch for the edges, and another punch for the greenery by the flowers (not sure where the flowers came from - I know some at least were from Paper Wishes), a Spellbinders label die, a stamp for the sentiment, and white ribbon to tie it all together.  It turned out so well, that I think I'll use this for making the special 50th Anniversary card I've been asked to make.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Chalked Outline Stickers

Sometimes one just needs a really quick card.  This card started with a piece of lovely silver paper (Royal Metallics from WausauPaper). Then I applied outline stickers, including one for the focal.  A quick swish of colored chalks applied inside the focal and my card is done.  Short & sweet.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Challenging Papers Part 4 - Birthday Paper

Today's challenging paper once again comes from buying a pack of sheets all the same.  I figured I could always use birthday papers.  There are always birthdays coming up and birthdays to scrap.  However, I soon found myself bored with this one - and still have several pages of it left.  What to do?

This time I decided to ignore the "Happy Birthday" part and focus on the musical notes.  This "Just a Note" card came from that and a Mojo Monday's sketch.
You can't tell it easily from the picture, but the card is a sideways gate-fold card with the purple extending loosely over the bottom flap.  Also, though the sentiment looks black, it is actually a very shiny silver.

I could easily see using this paper for music or dance themes as well -- as long as the "Happy Birthday" is cut off.  That can always be saved for a title or sentiment on another card.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fun with Vellum Part 2 - Pretty in Plum

Here's another pretty printed vellum.  The border and floral treatment were printed directly onto the vellum for a quick and easy page.  I DID fussy cut around some of the flowers so I could slip the picture and it's mat behind them.  Other than that, it was a pretty straight-forward page. 

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Challenging Papers Part 3 - Dinosaurs!

Continuing with the idea of using up some of those more challenging papers, I took a look at this dinosaur paper from Hot Off the Press.  It came in a book with other papers that I wanted, but I don't have a lot of interest in or use for dinosaurs.  I think of them as something that a little boy might like - or perhaps a natural history buff - but I don't need cards for either at the moment.  How might I use this paper in another way?

I started thinking about the age of dinosaurs - perhaps this could be used for a birthday card that joked about someone getting really old.  I guess I'm getting to an age where age isn't a laughing matter, as that idea didn't really appeal to me. :D  But I DID take the age or era thing and run with it.  Here's what I ended up with:
The tags are pre-made from Hot Off the Press, and the "brads" are Jewel Dazzles from them.  I used scoring on the base card to form a bit of a frame, and corrugated a piece for the top. A quick cut around one of the dinosaurs gave me a little embellishment, and a small piece of satin ribbon finished it off.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Challenging Papers - Part 2 - Bugs & Spiders

This is part 2 in a series about using up papers that you thought you'd never use, and also offers a trick about adhering vellum.  The trick with using challenging papers is to think of it differently.  This paper was in a Paper Pizazz book from Hot Off the Press.  I think it was called "Great Outdoors".  The paper was covered with bugs and I figured it was designed to either be used for a page about camping, or for a little boys page.  I wasn't likely to use it for either one.  So how COULD I use it?

I noticed the spider web in the corner & thought "Hmm, it could be used for Halloween".  Of course, I don't send out many Halloween cards either, but decided to go with that idea and see where it would take me.  I found this cute Spider pattern free on the web (einnej created it).  Using my Silhouette, I cut it out of black suede paper, figuring the lovely fuzzy texture would be just right for my spider.

As I played with placing my spider, the phrase "Just hanging out" came to me and I realized I could use these materials to make a card that was NOT a Halloween card!  I searched for a plain blue paper to coordinate with my background, but couldn't find anything the right shade.  Then I thought, "Vellum!"  I printed the sentiments on this blue vellum and cut them out with deckle-edged scissors.  Voila! A card using my challenge paper that I would actually use!

Here's a picture of the inside of the card:

Tip:  One of the best adhesives I've found for adhering vellum is called, "Wackytac", from River City Products in Kansas City, MO.  It comes in a roll with a funky applicator called a "wacky widget", is acid free, and really does disappear on most vellum.  Great stuff!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Title Tips Part 10 - Close-Ups of Signs

This page uses a closeup of the sign on the wharf as the title.  This is easy to create with photo software.  Just crop your photo and print it at the right size for a title. Glue it to a mat and then to the background (which in this case is actually a 12 x 12 photo).

Here are a couple of additional examples of using close-ups of signs for titles.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Challenging Focal

Sometimes you have a focal that you like, but just have a hard time making it work for a card.  This one is a case in point.  I also had one of those times where in trying to fix things, I made them worse. So this card also shows what I did to mitigate that disaster as much as I could.

I had made the focal in a similar way to the one I showed last Friday (cut with Silhouette, emboss, ink, sparkle).  However, I didn't have any more nice fall prints - nor any nice fall stamps to make prints with!  I finally found this scrap of paper and thought it would go nicely with my focal.

I quickly saw that I needed more contrast to help make the focal "pop" and to help my stamped words be seen. So I matted the leaf a couple of times and wrote the letters with a couple of pens (one red, one orange) just offset from the stamping. I quickly decided to run the orange sparkle gel pen around the red mat to help tone down the red and decrease the "Christmas feel" since I wanted this for Thanksgiving!  This is what I had at that point:
It wasn't too bad, but seemed rather blah.  What could I do to spark it up a bit?  I decided maybe we needed another spot of color, so picked a flourish and colored it with the red pen.  BAD PLAN!  It would have been SO much better if I'd had some scraps to try the idea on first!  This is what it looked like:
That colored part stood out like a sore thumb!  What could I do?  I finally realized that adding ribbon borders would help - and that the card would have been great if I'd just done that rather than adding the red on the flourish!  So, I added the ribbon and subdued the flourish as best I could.  Here's what I did:
  • Added orange and brown with pens and markers and blended it all with my Dove blender.  This helped, but it was still pretty visible.
  • Took a light brown stamp pad to it, taping & rubbing it gently over the mess.  This helped, but gave me some light streaks.
  • Took a paper towel, wadded it up, and rubbed it over the area.  This evened out the ink from the stamp pad and I decided it would work.  It's not as nice as if I'd never tried coloring the flourish, but not too bad.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pergamano Thinking of You

Thinking of You is the type of card I use the most.  It can apply to so many different occasions.  So, today's card is another one.

Last week I showed you a butterfly woven heart from the Scandinavian Hearts template from Hot Off the Press.  Today's card uses the same vellum & template, but has a flower instead of a butterfly.  This one doesn't show off the pergamano techniques all that well, but I find that piercing around the edge helps all the little woven bits stay together better.  

The vellum flower-heart is matted on a white heart which I had hand-cut and added punched holes around the edge.  The dark green is that wonderful suede paper (it and the white mat are cut using a special blade on my Fiskars cutter).  The background is more of the green fern paper, and the sentiment is white adhesive-backed vinyl that was cut with my Silhouette.