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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Friday, February 28, 2014

Christmas Inspiration: Fancy Nesty

It's never too early to get started making Christmas cards.  Hopefully this one will inspire you.  It was created using the technique Sue demonstrated on her PartiCraft blog - Fancy Nesty Tutorial. It was a fun card to make and SO pretty when completed!  This is what it looked like on the inside.

Materials used:
  • Spellbinders "Heirloom Ornaments 2010" Nesting Dies
  • Just Right stamp sets: "Deck the Halls" and "Noel Christmas Ornaments"
  • Spellbinders M-Bossability Folder "Imperial"
  • Red Ink
  • Clear Embossing Powder
  • Embossing Gun
  • Red/green patterned paper
  • Red satin 1/8" ribbon
  • Adhesive
The stamped ornaments were cut with the ornament die and then stamped in red and then heat embossed with clear embossing powder.

I did the background by embossing two 5" x 7" pieces of white glimmer paper in the M-Bossability folder.  For the outside I basically cut it in half and cut a piece out with the die so it would line up nicely. 

For the inside I cut a piece out of the middle of the 2nd piece - once again using a die. I did this because it's rather difficult to write a message on embossed paper! :) You can see the piece I cut out is matting my focal element on the left side. 

I thought I had measured carefully enough so my cut hole would line up with the front, but it didn't line up as well as I would have liked. That's where the red frame on the inside came in so nicely - it not only framed the space for a message, but covered up the fact that the hole hadn't lined up with the front the way I had wanted.

The frame was made using two of the dies together.  I find that blue painter's tape works great to hold multiple dies in place when I prepare to cut them out.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Black & Pink with Roses

The other day I suddenly realized I needed a birthday card made quickly!  I was SOOOO glad I had prepared card focals ahead of time! They made this card quick and easy.

  • Prepared heat-embossed focals
  • Smooch inks
  • Black paper
  • Pink striped paper (HOTP)
  • Cutting dies (Fancy Tags Two, Labels 29, Edgeability insert, Vintage Labels Two - all Spellbinders though last one was made for JustRite)

  1. Starting with the prepared Rose focal, I colored it using Smooch inks, and set it aside to dry.  I did the same with the "Fabulous birthday" focal that I used for the inside of the card (see below).
  2. While those pieces were drying, I prepared the rest of the card front, starting with the striped piece cut just a bit smaller than the card so the white card became a mat for my background paper.
  3. Using the largest Labels Twenty-nine die, I cut a piece from black paper and attached a horizontal strip of the pink striped paper in the center of it.  I ran a piece of pink grosgrain ribbon across the center of that.
  4. After the ink dried on my rose focal, I cut a shape from black paper using the same die that was used to cut the focal.  I cut this black piece in half lengthwise, arranging the pieces so they formed a mat on either side of my focal, trimming the pieces at the top and bottom as needed to finish it nicely.
  5. I cut a black decorative piece using a die from the Fancy Tags Two set, cut it in half, and arranged each half behind my focal before gluing all in place as you see here.
Here is the inside of the card, using that same striped paper:

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pre-Made Focals

The other day I decided to make a bunch of card focal elements so I'd have them ready to go when I wanted them.  In the picture above, you see some examples. 

  • Acrylic and/or Rubber Stamps (most were from JustRite as I like having the coordinating dies for ease of cutting them out!)
  • Cutting dies (Spellbinders/JustRite that coordinate with my stamps) with Grand Caliber or other die cutting machine
  • Glossy white cardstock
  • Alcohol inks & Alcohol Blending Solution & Applicator with felt pads
  • Embossing ink pad
  • Embossing Powder in a variety of colors & Heat Gun

  1. Cut out a variety of shapes from the glossy white cardstock using the dies.  I like the Grand Caliber for this as I can cut out so many at one time!
  2. Color the cut-out shapes as you like with the alcohol inks and blending solution on the applicator with felt pads, and let your shapes dry (doesn't take long).
  3. Stamp images and sentiments on them using embossing ink.
  4. Before the ink dries, add embossing powder in color of your choosing, and then heat emboss with the heat gun.
I'm sure that in upcoming blogs you'll see plenty of examples of how I have used these pre-made focals!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Thinking Teal

I LOVE this border stamp from JustRite.  I like to stamp it and heat emboss it with black.  Then I can color it as I wish and add different sentiments to the center to create a wide variety of card toppers.  I also like that it was designed to coordinate with a Spellbinders die so is easy to cut out.

  • "Good Friends Labels Twenty-Nine" and "Grand Sentiments" stamp sets (JustRite)
  • Labels Twenty-Nine dies (Spellbinders)
  • Gold glimmer paper
  • Teal card stock
  • Smooch inks - Ocean Soul, Sugarberry, Green Apple, Gold Lame
  • Embossing ink
  • Black embossing powder
  • Paper Piercer
  • Piercing Ruler

  1. Create focal element: Die cut white card stock with largest Labels 29 die. Stamp with embossing ink and heat emboss with fine black embossing powder.  Then color with Smooch inks.
  2. Mat with Gold: Die cut gold piece with largest Labels 29 die.  Cut into quarters, round the ends of each and glue in place.
  3. Background: Pierce teal background all around the edge using a piercing ruler and paper piercer. Glue to card and then add matted focal element.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Am I Blue?

This card came together quickly with the use of dimensional elements from the dollar store.  For me a card idea can start from a variety of elements.  In this case, I started by going through my blue scraps to see what I had that would work for background paper.  I found this bit of "Shine Design" paper from Hot Off the Press that I wanted to use, and it was the springboard for this card.  (It also has an "oops" that was worked into the final product.)

  • 2 different "Shine Design" patterns (Hot Off the Press)
  • Die sets - "Elegant Labels Four" & "Labels Four" (Spellbinders)
  • "Imperial" M-Bossabilities Folder (Spellbinders)
  • Silver ribbon
  • "Thinking of You" stamp (JustRite)
  • Dimensional elements from dollar store

  1. Focal: I mounted my dollar store elements on an embossed white background that was matted on dark blue.  As you can see, I fussy cut around the embossed image before matting it.  The flower in the lower corner had a butterfly attached to it that I cut off and saved for my sentiment.
  2. Sentiment:  I started my sentiment section by cutting a white piece with a Labels Four die and the dark blue Shine Design with a die from Elegant Labels Four.  Then I stamped my sentiment.  My plan had been to run a series of stamped sentiments - from light colored to dark (silver, lavender, dark blue).  However, when I tried it, the silver just didn't show up well enough, so I stamped over it with the blue.  Unfortunately, the silver then showed up really well and was not aligned well with the blue.  So, I took a water brush, picked up some of the silver ink and covered the whole with a thinned coat of silver - took care of the stamped silver very well!  I finished it off by inking the edges of the piece, adding the dimensional butterfly.  I threaded a silver ribbon through the dark blue piece, and the attached the sentiment with foam tape.
  3. After attaching my elements to the light blue (including wrapping the ribbon ends behind and taping them there), I created a fake mat with strips of dark blue and added the whole to the front of my card.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Bird in a Flowery Tree

Today's card uses a background stamp that I fell in love with.  It is from JustRite.  I've not used background stamps before and decided to experiment.  As you'll see as you read what I did, sometimes even "failures" can turn out nicely if you keep at it!

  • Glossy White Card Stock
  • Peach Card Stock
  • Song Bird Background Stamp (JustRite)
  • VersaMark Ink
  • Black Embossing Powder
  • "Stream" Alcohol Ink (Ranger)
  • Gel Pens
  • Dove Blender
  • Black Enamel Accents (Ranger)
  1. First I stamped the background stamp using VersaMark and heat embossed it with black embossing powder.  I actually did this twice, because after heat embossing the first one I realized it had a glaring bit near the center that hadn't stamped!  I made good use of this mistake though, as you will see!
  2. I decided to use alcohol ink to add color to the "good" stamped background.  It went on darker than I had hoped and I wanted to get it off the embossed black, so decided to try the Alcohol Blending Solution.  Bad idea!  It started removing some of the black embossing, so it was much duller in color than I wanted - and the alcohol ink was still pretty dark - and some of the black from the embossing was smeared on it - and a little of the black embossing was even missing leaving a visible white mark! Now I had TWO stamped images that didn't look very good! 
  3. I sat back and looked at the two images wondering how I could make them work - I HATE throwing away stuff I've spent good supplies on! :)  
  4. I suddenly got an idea.  If some of the black could come off and leave white behind, perhaps all of it could!  I continued working, adding blending solution to paper towels and "scrubbing" the area until the black embossing was all gone and the white was left as you see it. It took several paper towels and more blending solution than I would have liked, but it worked! (See Note below for how to achieve this look in an easier manner!)
  5. Now that I had the black all removed, it looked much better, but it was a bit too much of a good thing.  I wanted the bird and flowers to stand out better than they did.  I found my eyes returning to the other stamped/embossed image with the "missing bits".  I realized much of the bird and flower section was intact.  So, I colored it with gel pens (blending with my Dove blender), fussy cut it out, and mounted it with foam tape for dimension.  
  6. It worked!  I matted it with cardstock in a similar color to that used for the flowers, and added a dot of black Enamel Accents for the bird's eye, and I was done.  
Note: You can get the white resist look much easier if you simply emboss it with clear or white powder and use distress inks rather than alcohol inks.  Distress inks allow you to simply wipe with paper towel to remove the ink from the embossed area.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Valentine in a Box Thank You Card

Yes, Valentine's Day is past for this year, but I just had to share a Valentine I made at the last minute.  I've been looking at the variety of "card in a box" cards on the web (video tutorial) and just HAD to try it for our dance teachers who were giving up their Valentine's weekend for a special dance event. 

  • Red Card Stock
  • Silver Glimmer Paper
  • Black Paper
  • Fancy Hearts Foil Papier Tole (from Paper Wishes)
  • Thank You Mini-Stamp (from Inkadinkadoo)
  • Red Ink
  • Clear Embossing Powder
  • Scalloped Hearts Dies (from Spellbinders)
  • Asian M-Bossabilities Embossing folder (from Spellbinders)
  1. Prepare the base "box".  There are several tutorials on how to do this, including several on my Pintrest board.  It really is quite easy to do.  Basically you: Make a scored tube; cut between the panels and fold down the "flaps"; add a couple of brace pieces in the middle of the top of the "box" to which elements can be adhered.  Next comes the fun part - decorating.
  2. First I made panels to cover each portion of the box.  Each panel consisted of a piece of silver glimmer paper matted on black before being adhered in place.  All except the back panel were embossed (see tip #1 below).  The back panel was left plain for a message to be written on it.
  3. For decorative elements I used a "heart" theme. Some of them were simply elements from the Papier Tole set, but several started as silver hearts matted in black (see tip #2 below). The first one I made is the "thank you" element you see in the back.  After cutting and embossing the silver heart I stamped it in red and then heat embossed it with clear embossing powder. The remainder weren't stamped - I simply added elements from the Papier Tole set - often with foam tape for added dimension. Many of the elements were attached to clear acrylic strips to allow them to "float" above the surface of the "box".
  4. The small butterfly was also an element from the Papier Tole set.  I wrapped wire around the body and twisted the ends, then glued it to silver paper and cut right around the edge.  This hid the wire ends and gave a more finished look from the back. Then I added dots of red Stickles to decorate the wings. Here you see a picture of the butterfly with the wire attached and the silver paper partly trimmed off:

Tip #1: The embossing folder I used had a strong pattern to it and I wanted that patterned centered nicely on all of my panels.  SO, I lined up the first one as I wanted it, then put strips of tape on the embossing folder aligning them both above and to the right of the panel to serve as guides for the rest of the panels.

Tip #2:  There are several ways one can mat the hearts, but I wanted to do as little "fussy cutting" as possible, so did it this way.  Each of the matted hearts is actually made from 2 silver and 2 black hearts that were all cut using the same die.  I cut the two black hearts apart to create an easy mat before adding my acrylic strip (for attaching to the box) and hiding it all from the back with the second silver heart.  In this first picture you see how I cut the first black heart apart.  As you can see, the missing piece is already attached as a part of a mat on the silver heart. 

The remaining piece is attached to the bottom of the heart (a couple of the scallops were actually cut off because they didn't align as I wanted them to do).  Then I cut pieces from the 2nd heart to finish out the mat, trimming as needed to give a nice look.

Here's a picture of the card as it is folded and ready to slide into the envelope:

Just another quick note.  I found that folding the box one way gave me a slimmer profile than folding it the other way.  If I had folded it the other way, it wouldn't fit in the envelope!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Quick Valentines - Part 4

This final card was made in a similar way to those shown earlier.  The background for the heart is formed with two layers: white paper cut with a Fleur de Lis Square die, and hot pink vellum cut with a die from the Marvelous Squares set.  The stamp was from a JustRite set.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Quick Valentines - Part 3

This card is very similar to the previous ones, but I added a bit of white around the edge of the heart using a gel pen drawn along the embossing line.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Quick Valentines - Part 2

Here are another couple of quick cards using printed card bases and the same dies and techniques shown yesterday.

They're nothing spectacular, but still made nice quick cards.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Quick Valentines - Day 1

I have had so little time that I didn't get Christmas letters out last year.  When a severe winter storm cancelled activities and gave us some unexpected time at home, I decided to write our holiday letters even though they WERE late.  Christmas cards didn't really seem appropriate in February, and I didn't have much time to make cards anyway.  What to do?  I decided to use these pre-printed card bases with my Spellbinder's dies and stamps to create some quick Valentine cards.

The focal was matted with white card stock that was cut and embossed with a Fleur de Lis cutting die.  The hearts were cut and embossed with dies from Spellbinder's scalloped heart set.  Sentiments were stamped with embossing ink and heat embossed with white powder.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Catching Up

It's been a LONG time since I posted to this blog, and I apologize to my readers for that.  Life has gotten VERY busy and I've had little time for paper crafting at all, let alone blogging.  I DID manage to make a few cards over the last few months, and over the next few days, I'll show them here - and hopefully sometime soon I'll be able to get back to more regular paper crafting.

This card was put together quickly for an important 35th anniversary, made of several layers:
  • Background paper was inked with red ink
  • Next three layers up were cut with successive dies from the Spellbinders Radiant Rectangles - largest one from white glimmer paper with the smaller white cut from the center of it, and red glimmer paper cut with the die in-between the other two.  The smaller white piece has the edges inked with red ink.
  • The focal was stamped using JustRite Antique Valentine Tags One stamps, using red ink and heat embossed with clear embossing powder before being cut with the matching cutting dies. Then it was set in a red frame cut with Spellbinders Fancy Tags Two.
For the inside I used similar layers:

Starting with a background piece cut from the same background piece using the Spellbinder's Resplendent Rectangles dies.  The message was stamped on a white oval that was cut using a die from Spellbinder's Radiant Rectangles.  The frame started as a red glimmer paper cut with a die from Spellbinder's Fancy Tags Two.  It was then cut into pieces to frame the oval as you see here.