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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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Masculine Card

With Father's Day just around the corner, I decided I better get some cards made.  This one is for my husband - who, frankly, likes colors that don't particularly appeal to me.  To accommodate his tastes, I made this card.  (The light blue is just the photo background - not part of the card!)

It's a pretty simple card - made with stamps and some cutting dies (Ornate Squares and Resplendent Rectangles by Spellbinders) - with some of the elements popped up on foam tape for added dimension.  The stamp of his name was made using my Teresa Collins Stampmaker, and certainly comes in handy when I want to personalize something for him.  The central sentiment is a small stamp from Studio G.  Though it's hard to see in the picture, the edges of the striped paper are bordered with a 1/8" black ribbon that looks really nice in person.  Once again, I made the mats for my elements by tracing around the outside of the dies and hand cutting along these traced lines.

As you can see, this is a square card.  I seldom make square cards since I like the envelopes to match the card pretty well and mailing square envelopes cost more.  However, since this was to be hand delivered, this wasn't an issue.  

But I still needed an envelope.  I made one using my Enveloper (Ultimate Crafting Companion).  The biggest challenge for it was deciding what paper to use for it.  The paper had to be 9 3/4" square, which ruled out any 8 1/2" x 11" sheets, and I hated to use my 12 x 12 papers for an envelope.  What I decided on was this wallpaper sample!  It worked great!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Misc Cards

From time to time I've made somewhat generic cards without greetings on them so they could be quickly transformed into a card with whatever greeting I needed.  Lately, I've realized, however, that I too often forget to look at them when I need a card!  I have cards made ahead and arranged by type of occasion.  When a specific occasion arises, I go and look in that section to see what I have that might work.  Unfortunately for me, I seldom think to look in the "Misc" section to see what generic card I might adapt for a specific need! Too often, I just have frantically put a whole new card together!

So, I decided to go through my generic cards and add specific greetings to some of them so they'd be more likely to be used.  So, today's cards are all cards I've already posted on my blog - but they were posted in generic form.  I thought it might be nice to show how I finished them.  This first one was first shown here.  I was amazed how well the "Thinking of You" fit on this generic card.  Love it!  I had been a bit worried because the focal had been added with dimensional tape around the edge and I was afraid I wouldn't get a good impression.  I also didn't know how well plain black stamping would work next to the embossed areas. Before stamping, I made sure to place my card front on a double-thick piece of fun foam and the press reasonably hard when I stamped.  I don't think I could have gotten such a clean stamped image otherwise.  But I was very happy with the result.  It looks like it was originally designed with this sentiment!

This card was of more recent origin - a rather recent post here.  As you can see, I added the "Happy Birthday" greeting to finish it off, by stamping on a small tag cut with a Spellbinder's Decorative Labels 8 die. I matted the tag on a turquoise piece of paper by tracing around the outside edge of the die and cutting on that line.

These last two cards were made using dimensional paint and fun flock.  The one with the pink Iris was finished by adding a stenciled greeting with dimensional paint.  You can see the original here. The tag had already been cut and put with the card - I just had to add the greeting as you see.

The final one was finished with the addition of a small tag (once again cut with a Spellbinder's Decorative Labels 8 die) with a stamped greeting.  You can see the original of this one here.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

Stamping Notebook

I just realized my last post on this blog was nearly two weeks ago! That doesn't mean I haven't gotten any paper crafting done - just haven't posted it.  Unfortunately, some of what I've done was so time critical that I didn't get pictures of it either, but I DO have a few things I can share with you over the next few days.  Today I'll talk about my Stamping Notebook.

As I've accumulated more sets of stamps, I began to realize that no matter how I organized them, there was still a challenge finding the right stamp for my cards sometimes.  I've organized my stamps into 6 basic categories:
  1. Specific occasions - like Father's Day, Christmas, Birthday, etc.,
  2. Small stamp sets - cute little sets that tend to be just perfect for card focals,
  3. Decorative elements - borders, swirls, etc.
  4. Themed sets - kitchen, birds, sewing, etc.
  5. Word sets - quotes or greetings sets
  6. Mounted rubber stamps (being bulker - these couldn't be stored with the others)
Though organizing this way has helped me be able to find some stamps when I needed them, I particularly noticed a challenge when it came to quotes and greetings.  The reason for this was two-fold.  First, some quotes or greetings that might focus on a specific occasion - could also be used just as well for some other types of occasions. Secondly, themed sets or small stamp sets, often have a few words associated with them.  These can be very useful - but hard to remember where they are. So, I decided to make a stamping notebook that has two sections.  

The first section is a list of single word stamps, arranged somewhat alphabetically.  If you look closely at the picture at the top of this post, you'll see it is composed of small 1/4-sheet sized papers - each with words that start with the letters that are highlighted on the mini-page.  I've simply taped these papers onto a larger sheet with removable tape.  This allows me to add more little sheets as needed to show all my single word stamps.

The second section is arranged by occasion or type of need.  For example, some focus on "Christmas" or "Birthday", or "Thank You".  And some pages show other types of needs like names used for people (husband, daughter, Dad, friend, me, etc.)  You can see an example of the second section here:
Here I've got a page of stamps related to occasions where one might want a "Congratulations" card.  

In both sections, I've stamped all applicable stamps from a single set together and drawn a line around them - then written the name of the set they came from in blue, so I can find them easily. 

As you can imagine, this project took a bit of time, and I found myself wondering if it would be worth it.  IT IS!!!!  Recently as I was making cards, I found myself wanting sentiments that needed to be a certain size and shape and font-type to support the theme of my card.  How nice to just be able to turn to the right page in my stamping notebook and see what would best fit my needs.  Several times, I ended up using stamps that I know I would have totally forgotten about if I hadn't had this notebook to refer to.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Dress-form Thank You

My daughter saw this dress-form stamp (from my Cardmaking & Papercraft magazine subscription) in my drawer and liked it.  So, I decided to make her a thank you card using it and some leftover pieces of paper in my stash.  I think they all came from HOTP.

Background: The background paper was from my stash - I think it was HOTP, but not certain.  After cutting the piece to fit, I used a pink gel pen to outline the edges.

Focal: I shortened the stand on the stamp by stamping the dress form first, then the stand. This didn't work as well as I would have liked. They didn't line up. Oops! I had to use a pen to turn it into a fake secondary piece for the stand. Next time I'll try stamping a portion of the stand first. I might be able to line it up better that way. Anyway, after stamping the focal image, I cut it out and embossed it with a die from the Radiant Rectangles set by Spellbinders. I used the same set for the pink and white mats. I used my gel pen to add color around the white mat.

Sentiment: The sentiment was a stamp from the same stamp set as the dress-form. I first cut a white piece with Spellbinders Fancy Tags, then stamped the sentiment. I cut the pink mat by tracing the outside of the die and then fussy cutting it out. I attached it with foam tape.

Accents: The three little circles in the upper right corner are button stamps from the stamp set.  I stamped them, then colored them with gel pens before cutting them out and attaching with foam tape.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Alcohol Ink and Waxy Paper

A few days ago I shared about magnetic pages I made to store my cutting dies, and how I used self-adhesive magnetic sheets to create them.  Well, after making those sheets, I had a bunch of these waxy backing sheets that had been covering the adhesive on the magnetic sheets.  Since I hate throwing away something that might be useful, I decided to experiment. 

Using some Spellbinders cutting dies (Splendid Circles), I cut some shapes out of the backing paper.  As I looked at them, I realized they could be quite nice if they were colored, but I knew most things wouldn't stick to the waxy surface.  I decided to try alcohol inks.  You can see what they looked like as you look at my focal in this card.  

I matted them on white card and then started looking for some backing paper that would set it off nicely.  I ended up using some more of my papers created with the embossed waxed paper resist technique (see posts here and here).  

The sentiment was stamped with a stamp from the Celebrations Labels One and Bracket Borders One set from JustRite.

For the corner treatments, I cut one of the Spellbinder's Holly Motifs elements in white card, and then cut it apart by hand to get the decorative corner bits you see on this card.  Voila! Another card from scraps!

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Elegance In Green

Here green suede paper (from HOTP - love it!), green glimmer paper, and white paper come together to make a pretty thank you card.  
  • Dies used: Spellbinders 5x7 Elegant Labels Four and Decorative Labels 8.  
  • Stamps used: JustRite Grand Sentiments.
Background: Green glimmer paper was cut and embossed with the largest of the Elegant Labels Four dies - and a white piece of paper was similarly cut and embossed with the next smaller die in the set.  These were then layered and glued in place on top of a piece of green suede paper that was just a smidge larger. This whole thing was then glued to the front of the card.

Focal: The sentiment and frame was stamped in dark green ink on white paper.  Since I don't have the Labels 8 die set, I just fussy cut around the outside edge of the border. This was matted on a piece of green suede paper that had been cut and embossed with a Decorative Labels Eight die. I attached this to the prepared card, using foam tape for added dimension.  I finished the focal by adding a couple of green Jewel Dazzles from HOTP.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Proud - Coordinating Labels Four

Back with the 5x7 Elegant Labels Four die set, I started by using the largest two of the three dies in the set. I simply cut and embossed them in the darker coral card stock and set them aside.

Background:  I started with a peach-colored paper with white dots on it (HOTP) for my background and attached it to the card.  I then glued the largest die cut piece to it.

Mat:  The next layer serves as a mat for the sentiment focal.  To make it, I cut a piece of peach patterned glittered cardstock with one of the coordinating Grand Labels Four dies.  I took the second coral die cut I had made (from the middle sized Elegant Labels Four die set) and cut out the center of it using the largest of the Labels Four dies to make a frame.  I glued this frame to the peach glittered die cut piece and glued my mat in place.

Sentiment Focal:   The stamp that I used for this sentiment also came from the Celebration Labels One and Bracket Border One stamp set from JustRite. I cut a piece of the coral card stock using a die from Spellbinders Fancy Tags Two - then stamped the sentiment in black ink before hand-writing the name above it.  This piece was attached to the mat with foam tape.

Inside: Once again, I don't have a picture of the inside, but it's pretty straight forward.  I took a strip (approx 1 1/2" wide) of the dotted peach paper and cut it in half lengthwise with a fancy-edged cutter.  This formed two borders for my inside page - one on either side.  I die-cut another piece of the coral card stock - this time with the smallest die from the Resplendent Rectangles set. I stamped "You did it!" and a little mortarboard (stamps from Tiny Words & Images set - HOTP)

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Hats Off To You!

Today's card is a celebration of a nephew who is graduating - and a celebration of a new stamp and die set!  The colors in this card are more orange than they appear - the color didn't come through very true to life. Also, though it looks like a gradation of orange to yellow, it is all one hue, one shade, one color!  I thought to use the school colors, but they were orange and black - not my favorite.  So, I decided to look up the color of tassel he would be wearing since I knew he'd be graduating with a degree in Nursing.  That color was "apricot".  So, I decided I couldn't really get away from the orange/black theme. :)

Here's how I made this one:

Background: I started by cutting out a piece of black paper using my new die set - Spellbinders 5x7 Elegant Label Four.  Love it!!!!  In fact, I like it so much the next two posts (at least) will be showcasing it.  I glued this black to a piece of orange vellum, and then to my card.

Focal: The stamp set I mentioned earlier is one from JustRite, Celebrations Labels One and Bracket Borders One - designed to coordinate with Spellbinders die sets of the same names. Looking through the stamp set, I chose the frame that said "congrats" and added the "Hats off to you" greeting.  Then I die-cut a piece of vellum using the Labels One die.that was just larger than the stamp. Working carefully to line things up, I stamped it in StazOn ink (since I was stamping on non-porous vellum) and left it to dry. I love the way it turned out! However, it didn't show very well against the black, so I cut a piece of white paper that was identical to the vellum piece and glued it to the back, lining the edges up carefully.  Then I glued both directly to the background.  It looks quite striking if I do say so myself. :)

Greeting: The greeting is done in a similar way to the focal.  I cut the vellum and matching piece of white paper using a die from Spellbinders Resplendent Rectangles set.  The stamp was from the same JustRite stamp set and once again I stamped with black StazOn ink.  When it was dry, I attached it to the card with foam tape.

Inside: I didn't get a picture of the inside, but I decorated it with orange vellum borders top and bottom.  The one at the top was stamped (black StazeOn) with the celebrate border stamp from the JustRite set.  The bottom one used a border stamp from Edges and Borders stamp set (HOTP).

Saturday, May 4, 2013

DIY Cutting Die Storage Sheets!

Well, I guess it had to happen.  I got the Grand Caliber because I wanted to be able to cut larger things - and then I had to figure out how to store the larger dies!   

First a little history - some time ago I shared how I was storing my smaller dies. That worked great for standard Spellbinder's nesting dies (and was a great way to make use of those printed advertising magnets that we all get from time to time).  Then I got some larger dies and had to find a new solution. The first larger dies were Spellbinder's Edgabilities dies and Cheery Lynn Reflections dies.  For these I found a magnetic die storage case that worked well.

But at $8 or more for 3 additional sheets, they got pretty expensive, so I reserved these for larger die sets and continued using CD cases for the smaller ones. And then I got a Grand die set and again they didn't fit!  In addition, I was finding I wanted an easier way to look through my dies and I wanted to store similar dies together. For example, all nesting dies that cut square shapes could be stored together so that when I wanted to cut a square shape, I could quickly and easily see what options were available.  As I was currently doing things, my larger square dies - like my reflection dies - had to be stored in one place (ArtBin storage case), and my smaller die sets were in another (CD cases).

I looked at purchasing some sheets that were designed for cutting die storage that were 8 1/2" x 11" in size, but these were also pretty expensive - $9 for two 8 1/2" x 11" sheets!  I knew it would take quite a few sheets to house my growing collection - especially if I signed up for a cutting die club that sent out a die set each month!  And I knew I wanted to save my money for buying more dies rather than using it to purchase expensive storage systems! :)  

My solution started with some adhesive backed magnetic sheets that I found at Oriental Trading Company.  At less than $1 per sheet (or just over by the time I added shipping), these looked much more affordable! Now how would I use them?  I figured I wanted to make sheets that had holes punched on one side and could fit in a ZIPPERED notebook (I didn't want to chance loosing any little dies that might sometimes slip off the pages!).  So far as the pages themselves were concerned, I knew I wanted something sturdy that would not bend.  This was the downside of some of the purchased magnetic sheets.  If I tried to look through the ones I had, they would bend a little and dies would fall off.  I knew I didn't want that.  This is what I came up with:


I found a nice zippered binder that had an accordion-style file in a pocket in the front cover.  This file works great for holding the packaging materials the dies come on in case I want to refer to them for some reason.

Magnetic Pages: For some time I've been saving pieces of sturdy cardboard that I got in various places - in calenders, in paper packs, in other shipments.  I cut these into pages that were 9" wide and 11" tall.  I adhered the magnetic sheet to the right side of these, leaving a 1/2" lip on the left side where I punched holes. 

TIP: to adhere the sheets, start by rolling just 1/2" or so of the backing paper from the top of the page and getting it lined up and pressed in place with the rest of the magnet sheet raised off the page.  Then, just slowly pull the backing paper down, sliding the magnet into place as you do so.  Then punch your holes.  

My 3-hole punch wasn't sturdy enough to punch through the heavy cardboard, so I just used a 3-hole punched page as a guide, lined it up along the edge of my page, traced inside the holes, and used a standard 1/4" round punch to punch each of the holes.

I then made a list of my dies according to the way I had them organized and put that in the front of the binder.  

Actually, I used two binders so my collection has room to grow.  I put all my nesting dies in one binder, and any other dies in the 2nd one.  The list on the left, printed in black, is what is in the black binder, while the list on the right, printed in blue, is what is in the blue binder.  I printed two of these sheets and put one in the front of each binder.  It's wonderful to have all my dies together, and hopefully this system will allow me to grow my collection of dies without more storage challenges!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Thinking of you - Wishing You Well

This tri-fold card again uses the Bodacious Blooms die set.  It was made for a challenge on the PW message board.  The challenge was to use all the following in a card:
  1. Use fire engine red and bright yellow
  2. Use any sketch you like
  3. Use a template as a stencil
  4. Play with flowers
Because if was a PW challenge, most of the products used were made by them and/or purchased through their website. I used:
  • Patterned papers made by HOTP
  • Bodacious Blooms Cutting Die set by HOTP
  • 15 Butterflies and Dragonflies Template by HOTP
  • Paula Hallinan Stencil purchased from Paper Wishes
  • Yellow cardstock, scrap of red paper
  • Red dimensional paint (I have some I bought from them but it wasn't the right color of red - this was from DreamWeavers).
  • My own sketch:

Card Base: To make the card, I started with a piece of bright yellow cardstock that was 8" x 12" and scored it in 3rds - score line at 4" and 8" so I had three panels that were each 8" x 4".  With the three panels in front of me, I folded the right one over the center one, then the left one over both and creased well with my bone folder. This formed a tri-fold that was 8" tall and 4" wide.

Stenciling Dimensional Paint: Using bright yellow cardstock for all of these, I did the following:
  1. Die cut and embossed a piece of cardstock using the next to largest of Spellbinder's Labels Four die set. Then centered the stencil over it and spread dimensional paint through it, removed stencil, and let paint dry. Washed stencil immediately (very important).
  2. Using small pieces of cardstock that could easily be held in place, I applied dimensional paint through one of the smaller butterflies in the 15 Butterflies and Dragonflies template, then removed the template and let it dry. I did this twice more so I had 3 butterflies (being careful I didn't get paint on the back of the template!).  Again, I washed the template right away so the paint wouldn't damage it.

Front Panel Prep: I cut a piece of dotted red paper so it measured 3 3/4" x 7 3/4" and glued it on the front panel. I drew a light pencil line down the center of the panel vertically.  Then I drew a horizontal line that was 2" from the top edge. Opening the card up, I used these lines to center the next to largest die and ran it through my Grand Caliber. (Big Shot would be too small for this - would need to make a card only 6" tall to use it.)  I erased my lines on both the card front and the flower I cut from it, saving the flower for later.  This gives me a panel with a large flower-shaped cut-out.

2nd Panel Prep: I cut two pieces of paper for this panel and layered them.  The larger white one was 3 3/4" x 7 3/4"; the smaller yellow with white stars was 3 1/2" x 7 1/2". I drew lines as before, centered the next smaller die, and ran it through my Grand Caliber, erasing pencil marks and saving die cut flower as before. This panel now has a medium-sized flower-shaped cut-out that is centered behind the cut-out on the front panel when the card is closed up.

3rd Panel Finishing: I cut two narrow strips (3/8" wide) of the dotted red and glued them down either side of the center panel.  I cut the smallest die out of red paper with white dots.  Then I assembled my flower - red dotted from front panel first, then yellow from 2nd panel, then small one. These were glued together only in the center of the flower with petals and inner pieces bent up for dimension - and each new petal was offset from the previous one. The small center flower was attached with foam tape. I put double-sided tape on the back of this stack of flowers and centered it carefully behind the cut-out on the 2nd panel.  I closed the flaps, then attached a red flower from my stash in the center of the flower and added a butterfly (one of the dimensionally painted ones - making sure it was visible through the cut outs.  It now looked like this:

2nd Panel Finishing:  To finish the 2nd panel, I stamped the words, "and wishing you well" down the center of the panel so it looked like this:

Front Panel Finishing: I cut a piece of red paper that was approximately 1 1/2" wide and glued it near the bottom of the card.  I added the sentiment using foam tape, then added another small butterfly.  Another butterfly near the top of the large flower finished my card as you see it at the top of this post.

Live and Learn: This card doesn't look as good as some. Why?  While the bright color combo may not appeal to all, it is not the main problem.  The problem is the layout. While the original sketch works fine, because of the colors and sizes used in this adaptation, I ended up with a fight for focal.  If I wanted the flower to be the focal, I really needed to tone down the sentiment and perhaps make it smaller.  If I wanted the sentiment to be focal, the flower should have used less of the bright yellow.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Bodacious Blooms for You

Here's another card made with HOTP's Bodacious Blooms die set.  This one has considerably fewer layers, using just two die cuts.  It also uses a couple of Spellbinder's die sets - Card Creator Fancy Ribbon Threader and Octagon Strips and Accents .  The patterned papers are again from the Rosemary & Thyme paper pack from HOTP.

Background: The background paper was cut and inked around the edges with black ink.  Then a black mat was cut using the largest of the Fancy Ribbon Threader dies.  I layered 3 ribbons (white, red, black) and threaded them through this mat, gluing the ends in the back before gluing background paper and mat to the front of my card.

Flower: Using Bodacious Blooms die number 2 I cut a patterned flower and a plain black using die number 4 (counting largest die to smallest). Using my Magic Matter I drew an 1/8" larger black mat, and then a 1/8" larger still white mat for my flower.  I bent the petals forward, and bent the inner parts of the larger petals forward as well.  In person, the dimension is much more visible than in the picture.  I stacked these on the mats, gluing each only in the center.

Sentiment: I cut the tag from the Octagon Strips and Accents set and lightly inked the edges with black ink. Since the back of this paper was purple and I wanted more of a black, I inked the back with black ink before folding the little pieces forward. I created a very narrow mat using white cardstock. Using the die as a template, I traced the inside of the tag and cut it out of black cardstock. I stamped the sentiment (Stamp & Punch set from HOTP) and heat embossed it with fine white powder. 

At this point, this is what the card looked like:

Comparing this to the picture at the top of this post, you can see that adding a few red Jewel Dazzles made a big difference!  I used the largest size in the center of the flower, the next largest size just below the sentiment, and then five of the smallest - four in the corners of the die-cut mat, and one centered below the black sentiment piece.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

My Bodacious Blooms

Three tools and a new paper pack come together in this card - all from HOTP.  The patterned paper is from a lovely paper pack - Rosemary & Thyme 6x6 double sided papers.  The flower is made using solid colored cardstock and the Bodacious Blooms die set, while the sentiment is heat embossed onto a shape cut using the Design Tool Kit #2 - which was used to create two tags that serve as leaves for my flower.  The sentiment was stamped using a stamp from the Stamp & Punch set of stamps.

For the flower, I cut all four dies from the red, and all four from the black.  I was careful to leave the black intact (keeping the little "innies" with the rest - taping it from the back where necessary.  The black forms a base for the red, lining up with the red exactly except for the last layer where it is offset.  All petals are bent up at the base to add dimension, and the red ones have the inner parts bent up for additional dimension.  Each set of blooms is glued only in the center and each layer is offset from the previous.

Two "leaves" were created by using the small tag in the design tool kit. I first traced around it on the black cardstock and cut that out for the mat - repeating to make a 2nd one.  Then, I rough cut a piece of the patterned paper, held it under the template with my thumb and middle finger of my left hand in the center of the template, and trimmed it along the inside line by using small scissors underneath the template, following the inside lines. I repeated this a second time for a second leaf.  I heat embossed my sentiment (and around the outer edge) with fine black powder on one of these pieces.  The 2nd one I left plain. I layered the patterned paper on the black mats, attaching the plain one directly to the mat and adhering the one with the sentiment using foam tape. Then I attached these leaves to the card - trimming a bit off the left edge of the plain one so it would sit farther under the bloom.

Final touches - a ribbon bow on the side of the flower and a black Jewel Dazzles in it's center.  As you can see, I also matted the background paper with a black mat.