Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Metallic Sheets: CAS-ual Fridays and Add a Little Dazzle Hop

Hi Folks! I've been blessed with some good, quality time in my craft room recently. There are lots of posts coming in the next week or so, starting with this collaborative blog hop between the CAS-ual Fridays design team and the Add a Little Dazzle design team. So much fun!

We received a generous package of metal sheets (thanks Add a Little Dazzle!) and have had fun seeing what they can do. I've got two projects to share. First up is a little "scrunch and go" number that could easily be for a man, woman or child ...


Sounds easy, and it is! For the most part. For the background I just cut three strips of the metal from different colors, scrunched them with my hands, loosely flattened them back out and mounted them on chipboard. What an effect! I wish you could see how it sparkles and shines with the slightest movement of the card (makes sense with all those different angles achieved in the highly technical scrunching process).

 The tricky part comes with the sentiment. I wanted something to sit on top of the scrunched metal, and be clear enough to show off all the sparkle. Cardstock and vellum were out, leaving acetate. Stamping on acetate would have resulted in a hard-to-read sentiment, so I turned to heat embossing. Anyone tried heat embossing acetate before?! If so, let me know your secret! Keeping the acetate from curling into a little ball is difficult! I had good luck with the process for the following three reasons:

1) I used a thick acetate (from a plastic silverware package I saved);
2) the section of packaging I used had a seam along the top edge (which I later cut off), keeping the material more stable while embossing; and
3) I moved the heat embosser VERY QUICKLY across the acetate before any serious curling occurred. 
Quite honestly I was amazed it worked. Any scratches that were on the packaging originally, or any stray embossing powders are more difficult to see since the background is so busy and shiny. The sentiment is stamped from the Shenanigans set.

The next project uses a die cut with the metal sheets.

This card uses the Sleigh Bells set for the bell (stamp and die), and the Snowflake Splendor set for the sentiment. The tinsel is from Paper Source (half off after Christmas last year!) and is wrapped behind the chipboard I used to pop the panel up. Since the tinsel is somewhat bulky in the middle, I cut a channel in the chipboard so that the whole thing lies flat on the card, no gaps.

Did you know that you can heat emboss on these metal sheets? They hold their shape amazingly well! Also, one trick I learned to keep the die cut metal smooth is to put a piece of chipboard underneath before sending it through the die cutting machine. This prevents the metal sheet from looking like the bottom of your cutting plate (don't know about yours, but mine is totally trashed!)

Now, let's talk prizes! You must leave a comment on all blogs (including company blogs) for a chance to win 1 of 2 prize packs!   You have until Sunday, October 26th midnight (MDT) to enter. The winners will be announced on both company blogs. 

Here's a list of all the places on the hop today (also see Day 1 and Day 2 if you're interested)!

Thanks so much for looking!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Card Candy Swap!

On World Card Making Day my wonderful, crafty friends hosted a Card Candy Swap. Have you heard of this? No? Me either! It's a great idea ... you make some embellishments (typically coordinating), package them up all nice and pretty, and then swap them with your friends. It's like going shopping, only you don't need to bring your wallet!

Let's start with the basics. For each set of Card Candy I made four embellishments:
  1. vintage bottle cap (found at a flea market for only 10 cents each!!)
  2. small felt bow (MFT Beautiful Bows die)
  3. Phone dial layered with various materials
  4. large felt bow

Each element I varied slightly, but tried to stay within the same basic color/pattern scheme. The bottle caps are backed with punched circles and/or PTI Sketched Stars die. The circles are punched out of 2 double sided pieces of paper so I had four different patterns to play with.

The felt bows have different colors for the three main parts (loops, band, tails). And the phone dials are all cut from a piece of patterned paper (Pebbles, From Me to You) and layered with different elements, like embossed vellum, cork, stars, fancy brads. 


 It was pretty late at night (because of course I was doing this at the last possible minute) but I was awake enough to get really excited about how they were turning out! They looked so neat together : )

Now, they need to get all packaged up.

I used some patterned papers for the base and/or the strip running down the middle. Here is where the sketch for the current Fusion Challenge comes into play, only the sentiment is on top:

The flap on top of the Card Candy uses the Pretty Pink Posh Stitched Borders die to finish the edge. Old alphabet letter stamps spell out "CARDcandy" and are embossed in white. The Tim Holtz tiny attacher works perfectly to close the flap.

Here they all are! My husband's comic book mylar bags ended up working well to package the candy. So what exactly do you do with it?!

The point is that you could take a basic card base, stamp a sentiment on it, and then add bits of your Card Candy to get a finished card. 

This one may be a bit plain, but hopefully you get the idea.

Here are some pics from the party ... it's so fun when it's time to gather around the table and see what everyone brought!

We all take turns explaining what we brought, how we made it, what you could use it for, tips we learned, etc. Maggie made these awesome hat pin embellishments. She starts with a boutonniere pin that already has a pearl on the end, adds some glossy accents to the shaft of the pin, and slides the beads on. It's amazing that they are held on the pin that way! We always learn a ton of things at these parties!

Then it's time to go down the line picking out one package from each lady's pile. The pretty, bright flowers on the right were made by the hostess's 9 year-old daughter. She's adorable!

Our co-hostess even organized a Halloween card make-n-take for us! She's amazing. She had just finished making 150 wedding invitations on her Silhouette with a crazy amount of scrolling detail that must have taken ages to pick out the pieces. Whenever you think you're the craziest one spending all this time and money on your crafting passion, it's nice knowing there's someone who's just a little bit crazier than you!

I'm linking this to the Winnie & Walter contest link-up for what I did on WCMD. Don't forget to enter your photo for a chance at an awesome prize, or any one of these other AMAZING prizes:
Hope you all had a wonderful World Card Making Day! Thanks so much for looking!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Winnie & Walter: World Card Making Day CHALLENGE!


Happy World Card Making Day!
To celebrate, some of us on the Winnie & Walter team are heading up challenges throughout the day. Yes, there are prizes involved! No, you do not need to use W&W products. Are you ready?!?
My challenge for you:
Use one stamp on your card in an unexpected way.
 Use a sentiment for a background, an image for a sentiment, parts of a stamp to cover your card base, the sky's the limit!

Head over to my post on the Winnie & Walter blog to enter your card (there's a spot at an upcoming card class at Online Card Classes up for grabs!!) While you're there, be sure to check out the other challenges and prizes to celebrate this fun day!

Here's a sneak peek at one of the cards for this challenge. Hope to see you in the gallery!

Thanks for looking!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Winnie & Walter Feature: Stamp a Sentiment as Background

Hi folks! I've got a card up on the Winnie & Walter blog today if you want to check it out. I had fun using one of the small sentiments as a secondary sentiment, and that tiny star stamp that I just adore ... it's soooo cute!

Hope you have some fun, crafty plans for World Card-Making Day tomorrow!!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Fusion: Halloween Card-Turned-Refrigerator-Magnet

Hi all, and welcome to another Fusion Challenge! I typically run, quickly, from floral cards because I have a much harder time with "pretty," so this huge sunflower scared me for several days. I had to abandon the photo and just go right for the sketch, which gave me an excuse to play with the Papertrey Ink Rustic Wreath die that I haven't used yet. Right away I think Darnell would be pleased with me using NBUS!

Never-Before-Used-Schtuff (Stamps, Dies, EFs, etc.)

This card, as you may have guessed from the title of this post, has a dual use. The wreath can easily be removed from the card and go directly to your refrigerator as a holiday magnet. Here's how:

I backed the wreath with patterned paper over the chipboard base, and glued a thin, disk magnet to that. Were I to make these again, I would use two magnets so it's stronger, and so you have more control on hanging the wreath straight. Then I took a thin magnet (I always save the promotional magnets from realtors, politicians, insurance companies, etc.) and adhered that to the card base. Now you can just stick the wreath where ever you want it on the card. And, more importantly, remove it for later.  

 For the wreath I used four layers of the PTI Rustic Wreath Die, flipping some upside down so the leaves face a different direction (just saw this from Laura yesterday!) I also bent about every other leave up to give it more dimension. Since it's for Halloween, I like that the individual leaves don't show too much for this wreath. This is also the first time I've used the small bow from MFT, AND the sentiment, which is from the recent Winnie & Walter release. More NBUS!

Here's the Halloween wreath in action, on the side of my refrigerator

And here it is on the REAL side of my refrigerator. The one that's not clean! Let's face it, this may just be an excuse to show off my collection of adorable babies in our family!! It doesn't hurt that their parents all use Tiny Prints for announcements and parties. The quality of their paper is amazing!

You may not have noticed, but I removed the black felt bow from the magnet when I had it on this side of the refrigerator. The more white space the better with all these cute babies stealing the show!

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope you get a chance to check out the Fusion Challenge and perhaps link up a card!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Do You Back Up Your Blog?!?

A friend of mine just started a new food blog. After being so busy over the summer, she finally had the time to work on it yesterday. Horrors of all horrors, she accidentally deleted it!! The whole thing. After waiting for a half hour to talk with WordPress tech support (can you imagine how that must have felt?!) they were able to get it back for her, but it sounded like that might not have been the case if she had waited until tomorrow after their servers had updated.

After celebrating with her, it dawned on me that I haven't backed-up the content of my blog. Ever. The thought of losing 450 posts and probably months of my life is quite overwhelming. Luckily, it's very easy to make a back-up if you use Blogger. And quick. We're talking minutes.
All you do is click on Settings in your left-hand sidebar, then Other.

At the top of the window click on Export Blog (NOT the one next door, "Delete Blog"!!) Here is where you can save the file to your hard drive. My next step will be to save the file to my external hard drive. THEN I will need to remember to save a new copy periodically. At least I have the last 2 1/2 years covered. Whew!

Thanks for looking!

Monday, September 22, 2014

Creative Blog Hop

I was tagged by the seriously amazing Tasnim last week in the Creative Blog Hop (another Cher of the card-making world ... type in her first name in google search and her blog comes up FIRST after two news-related sponsor posts!) After being hooked on Tasnim's blog from the very first post, I was thrilled to hear that she was going to start a new stamp company. Even with my high expectations for Altenew, I could never have imagined the quality and spirit of her and Jen's designs. So not cookie-cutter. So inspiring to play with. Really just amazing, like her!

Big apologizes go to the highly creative Miriam who had tagged me over a month ago and had even written her post, but with being on a vacation I didn't get my future tags lined up in time : ( Miriam is another stamp designer (for Neat & Tangled) known for her wildly popular on the corner of set, Star Wars sentiments setstoplight set, and clouds set (not the official set names, just what I think of them as!) Every card she makes has a little twist (or two) to make you want to note it for future reference. She's an awesome and supportive blogger and friend.

More apologies are in order to Lyndal who also asked me to join the blog hop but I was still feeling really bad about not completing it for Miriam, and I was right in the middle of getting ready for my son's Nerf Wars birthday party. Yep, having twenty 10-year-olds coming over to your house is enough to make anyone panic, I don't care how together you are!! Lyndal is not afraid to try anything in her card design, and I absolutely love that about her! Check out her recent post for Winnie & Walter where she's created seasonal shaker cards using their cut files. Didn't I tell you they were fabulous? Love them all!!  

 OK, now that you've gotten through the longest introduction ever, here are my answers to the Blog Hop questions:

What Creative projects are you currently working on?
I'm currently working on a few cards for publication, a new product release for Winnie & Walter (something other than stamps!!!), and my son's Nerf Wars party thank you notes.

WARNING: what you are about to see may be painful and cause stomach aches. View discretion advised.

This is my desk this morning, after making cards until 2 am last night (I'm a late night crafter). And just to defend myself a little bit, here's what it looked like after 10 minutes of cleaning:

Not so terrible anymore. I know exactly where everything goes. Plus my craft room is upstairs, FAR AWAY from any potential visitors (aside from the neighborhood kids who like to hide in there even though I chase them out every time).

What Inspires your designs?
I've somewhat cut myself off from Pinterest. It was just too easy to get lost in a creative crumb trail. So my inspiration comes from packaging, children's books, ads in magazines, etc. Last year I started putting together a small idea-generator book that would show examples of my favorite ways to do something different.

Totally simple, just a few sheets of folded over cardstock tied together with fiber. This particular page has ideas for patterned paper: take a b&w patterned paper and color it with copics to get colored patterned paper, use book pages as patterned paper, and stamp an image on patterned paper and color all around the outside of it. Any of my scraps that I didn't want to throw away typically had a technique that I was happy with, so materials for the book were easy to gather.  Once the holidays are over I'd like to pick that up again and finish it.

What method/process do you apply to each of your creative project, and how long does each project take to complete?
When I create projects for a certain stamp set, I usually bring the set with me on long car rides and sketch out ideas. I challenge myself to make a ton of sketches, figuring half of them won't work out. Kind of like the brainstorming exercises we used to do for writing in school. The sketches that don't get turned into a card for a release week often come in handy for future cards. Here's the sketches I made for the latest Winnie & Walter release:

Evidence of the Autumn tree card, the sympathy card and the Halloween bats card are all on this page. I like coming up with card designs when I'm not sitting at my desk. It seems to take the pressure off because I can't get started on something even if I wanted to. If I'm sitting at my desk and am not coming up with anything right away, I'll start looking at the time and that's never productive. Or, I'll panic and just start making something. That's a toss up if it turns out or not.


If I don't have a design sketched, I'll almost always try it on copy paper that's been folded into quarters first. Here are my trials from a recent Altenew feature.
I rarely finish a card in under an hour. I tried the 10 minute craft challenge 2 or 3 times, and each time I had already sketched out my card design and had all the supplies in front of me, so I'm not even sure that it really counted.

If you had to describe your signature style, what would it be?
I started out making clean cards with a twist (technique or construction-wise). Recently I've been trying to focus more on my composition vs. coming up with new ways to do things, since I think that suffered in the past. Once I get better at composition I'd like to go back to the clean & a twist cards.

The things I always do when sending out a card are:
1) make sure the inside is lined with patterned paper
2) write my greeting on a w&w lined heart stamp
3) stamp the back of the card with my initials and write the date
4) make an envelope from patterned paper (if it will be hand-delivered I make a portrait envelope instead of a landscape envelope)
5) add a wrap-around strip of paper with my return address stamped on the back, and the person's address written on the front

What three crafting tools/products can you not live without?
Aside from the basic-basics (paper trimmer, score board, versamark ink) I would say:
1) 110 lb paper (I will never forget receiving a card from Cristina Kowalczyk on that thick paper and experiencing how luxurious and special it felt. I looked at it like it was gold, which it was, kinda, coming from Cristina! So excited when Michael's started carrying reams of this paper for only $8 with the 40% off coupon);
2) embossing buddy (picking off stray embossing powder is just no fun); and
3) patterned paper (I go nuts at Tuesday Morning when they have their packs of 25 for $2. Since I have so much of it, I really enjoy lining the insides of the cards with fun patterns. The inside is 50% of the real estate of a card, after all!)

Now I'd love to tag one of my favorite card-makers, Lorena Canto of Patterned Paper Dreams! Open any Paper Crafts magazine or special issue, and you'll see her work ... on probably a dozen pages!! She has a great passion and energy in her work, and her designs are always just ahead of the trend. Check out her blog where she's created the cutest ever stationary set for her son, or go right to this beauty:

Top Dog 1
You might think that's patterned paper at first, but oh-no, those are all tiny die cut hearts that have been colored and adhered back into place. What?!? I know, right? Love, love, love.

Anyway, thanks for stopping by! Hope your week is off to a great start.