Tuesday, July 19, 2011

B and W Cindy Loo: Therapy?

Have you ever made a card that seemed to fight you every inch of the way? Meet my nemesis, the Black and White Cindy Loo.

In the end I was moderately happy with how it turned out, but it sure was a struggle getting there. I made this for a monthly mingle (a mingle is where you make and send a card to one person on a list, and they make and send to the next person, and so on, so you don't actually exchange cards with the person your card is sent to, but everyone gets one).

The theme was Black and White (having just made the similar-concept 65 - Bravo card, I figured this would be a cinch!) and you needed to use your Cuttlebug machine to either die cut or pressure emboss. I did both. I used one of the four bundled Cindy Loo Cuttlebug embossing folders:
This is a large format with a paisley border top and bottom and a square-ish frame in the center. (Neenah cardstock did not play nice with the folder. The embossing was so well defined the paisleys were cutting and dropping out of the sheet. I had to add text weight paper as a buffer to keep the embossing from being so crisp/sharp. It took me a few tries to get the right sandwich. I probably should have chosen a different cardstock for this. Grrr.)

I added pearls, polka dot paper, and strips of black burnished velvet glitter that you can't see in the photo because I then mounted everything on black glossy cardstock. (Yes, that sounds so breezy and easy, doesn't it? My ruler slipped, making the white panel crooked, meaning I had to keep trimming around to get it all squared up again. Hence the need for the black glitter strips to enlarge the sections I had trimmed away. Then the tape I used grabbed the black glossy when I wasn't looking, and I had to wad that up and try again. Hey, it's just paper, right?)

The center die cut (Spellbinders Nestabilities Labels Eighteen) is stamped with one of the many labels in Waltzingmouse Stamps' Very Vintage Labels 18 set, black heat embossed (don't ask how many black inks and embossing powder combinations I tried in order to get that just the way I wanted it!), and the sentiment is from Fancy Phrases. I used Rangers Black Enamel to add raised pin dots around the circle that I cut out using Spellbinders Nestabilities Classic Circles. I am enjoying using the enamel - it comes out of the bottle's small thin nozzle in perfect little dots, self-levels (no Dairy Queen curlicues!) and dries very quickly. So that's my little ray of sunshine in this card-making session.

I make cards for relaxation and therapy. Really, I do!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

WMS July 2011 Waltz: Birthdays

It's that time!

This month the theme is "Birthday Party" and I believe it was my first time to ink up this stamp from the Very Vintage Labels No. 18 set from Waltzingmouse Stamps. This Spellbinders compatible stamp fit nicely into the Nestabilities die.

This card is for a dear male friend who turns 65 soon. I distressed the striped paper with Black Soot Distress Ink. I added some Cuttlebug Vintage corners and kept the hints of red minimal with some gemstones and a bit of velvet ribbon. The numbers came from the WMS Victorian Alphabet set and the sentiment came from the Fancy Phrases set

To find out more about the monthly Friends of Waltzingmouse Stamps blog waltz, please visit this link. To find out how to accurately line up stamped images inside thin metal dies like Spellbinders, please visit my photo tutorial here. Thanks for stopping by to tap your toes with me; if you are waltzing along with us this month, I look forward to visiting your creation soon!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

WMS Sketch Challenge #55

 This week's Waltzingmouse Stamps Sketch Challenge presented me with an opportunity to finally break out my WMS doily stamps!

I stamped, die cut and layered various doilies and accented with Ranger's white Enamel. I like the olive, kraft and blue colour combination. I softened the edges with some sponged on, chalky white VersaMagic ink. The sentiment is embossed in the same dark blue but it appears black in the photo for some reason. Thanks for taking a peek!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

A Parade of Silhouettes

I recently took a class called Silhouettes at a local stamp store. I thought I was going to learn about stamping with these solid stamps.

They are all the rage right now and Waltzingmouse Stamps just released a number of cameos so I thought a class might be in order. I hoped to learn about the stamps and what types of inks and papers are best suited to get successful images.

Alas, this was not that type of class. Instead, this was a cardmaking session, with pre-set card designs and pre-cut layers. All we did was stamp and complete. There was no discussion or information shared about the best types of inks and papers, or techniques, to use.

As I rarely take stamp classes, I forgot to pack any sort of adhesive in my tool kit. So I created the layers, but did not attach anything. This actually turned out to be a good thing, because when I got home, I was able to put the cards together in ways I preferred, and embellish them with gems, etc. Plus I got finished earlier and so could leave earlier. (I had a ferry to catch so that was a good thing.)

I think for beginner stampers this might be a great class - we finished 9 cards in under 2 hours. For me, though, it was frustrating as I was looking for education, not a session in copying someone else's designs - lovely though they were. Ah well, lesson learned! Thanks for visiting today.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Vintage Destiny

Have you tried metal tooling yet? Here is a card I made featuring a lovely quote from Quietfire Design stamped in Vintage Sepia Versafine ink.

I ran some Dark Chocolate Metal from Ten Seconds Studio through my Cuttlebug using a Labels 4 die to create and emboss the frame. I also die cut and embossed a Spellbinders Fleur De Lis Doily Accents border from the same metal, then lightly sanded the highpoints to highlight.

The dressform was made by rubbing the label-shaped metal over a section of a Kabuka mold from Ten Seconds Studio, then refining, scratching with a brass brush, and burnishing. I used spackle to fill in the puffed up area so it would not dent with handling.

The ribbon was some cheap polyester or nylon ribbon from Wal-mart. It was originally a tan colour and I wanted it to be richer, in keeping with the metal. So I tried Walnut Distress Stain and was very pleased with how it dyed the ribbon with just a few swipes and dried almost instantly.

The only tricky bit with this card was finding some adhesive dots small enough to secure the pointy parts of the border at the vertical edges where it had been cut off. I ended up taking my smallest Zots and cutting them in thirds to tuck under the metal to hold it down.

Hope you enjoy your weekend and find some time to try something new, too!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Perfect Die Cuts Every Time

A first for me - a photo tutorial!

If you own Spellbinders dies, you may have noticed that all are not created equal; some have more flat border around the cutting ridge, or the ridge is not centered on the flat border. This makes knowing exactly where the cutting is going to occur a little tricky - which matters if you are trying to die cut a stamped image or even a specific section of a patterned paper.

I thought I would share this little trick I use all the time that I learned from my local stamp store owner (Steve Thomson, Stampers). It is actually really easy - don't let the long-winded explanation scare you off.

This tip works for all Spellbinders dies - or similar thin dies. I have not tried it with the thicker steel rule dies, but it probably would work with them, too. For this tip, let's assume you want to stamp one of the amazing Vintage Ornaments from Waltzingmouse Stamps and then use the corresponding 2010 Heirloom Ornaments Spellbinders die to cut it out so that it is nicely centered with equal amounts of border around it.

"Special" supplies needed: plain light weight paper, removable tape.

1)Take a piece of plain text weight, printer or loose leaf paper that is about an inch bigger all around than the ornament die you want to use, and lay the die in the center of the paper (ridge side down).

2) Affix one or two pieces of removable tape to the edge of the die cut at the top OR on one side. (In photo above, tape is on the left hand side.) Put the tape on the metal and the outside paper; don't have any tape laying over the inside aperture of the die. Run through your die cutting machine of choice. (I use a Cuttlebug.)

3) Leave the die in place on the paper, but pop out the die cut, so the die is now sitting in the paper with the ornament-shaped hole in the center. Set aside.
4) Now stamp your ornament image on your card stock or other substrate.
5) Pick up your newly created paper and die "frame" and lift the metal die out of the way using the "hinge" of tape you created. Keep the die attached to the paper - just flip it back so that you can see the paper frame underneath. Lay that frame down on top of your stamped image and line up the image to center it inside the paper frame. You will be able to see exactly where the stamped image will sit inside the cut lines.
6) Once you have things aligned nicely, carefully flip the die back in place over top of the paper frame and the stamped image. It will "seat" into the paper frame over your image. If you look closely at the photo below (click on it to enlarge) it might appear that the die is not lined up accurately. This is because the flat border on either side of the ridge is not even. However, we are not eyeballing the placement; we are assured it is correct because we aligned our image to the cut frame template instead of relying on the appearance of the die's flat border.
7) At this point, you can place the unit of die, paper and substrate into your machine and cut. (Or, if you want to be extra secure in placement, you can add a piece of removable tape to connect the outer edge of the paper frame to the substrate underneath. I don't bother.)
8) Voila! A perfectly aligned cut image will emerge from your die cutting machine!
I have embossed these with the paper still in place and as long as you use thin paper to make your frame template (as opposed to cardstock) it works well. Click on the image below to see the embossed edge.

I save the paper frames and store them with my dies. I even store some of the smaller ones still attached to their dies so I don't have to re-tape next time I use them! I'm just lazy that way. :roll:

I hope you will try this - and if you do - let me know how it goes. I am sure you will be pleased with this exact placement instead of the old eyeball method that seems to work 80 percent of the time - but never when you really need it to!

Quick and Easy Quietfire

This is totally cheating. I mean, I know I should feel bad because these cards were so easy and required so little from me - but they turned out well and it is great to have some cards on hand that are done up for those card emergencies that crop up.

Each card was a pre-printed card with a large central blank frame begging for some stamped love. I picked up boxed sets of these cards and envelopes at Michaels for a song.

Quietfire Design rubber stamps are so lovely - featuring Suzanne Cannon's gorgeous calligraphy - that I think they are perfectly suited to this treatment. The frame enhances the verse rather than overpowering or detracting.

On the first two cards I just stamped a verse directly in the frame, but on the last one, (perhaps feeling guilty at how easy those were) I fussy cut the blank canvas away and inserted a stamped quote on coral paper to provide a bit more colour. I think I will make up a set of these and gift box them for someone special. They certainly would be easy to mail with no bulky layers or embellishments. Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, July 4, 2011

WMS Sketch Challenge #54

It's been awhile since I have had a chance to play in the weekly Waltzingmouse Sketch Challenge. Here's my card for this week, using the Sewing Box - Hugs set. I used a card base that was already striped - it made lining up the clear photopolymer sentiment stamp a cinch. The flowers and leaves were leftover bits from my Mother's Day card here, so this card could not have been easier!

Here's the sketch:

Once Upon a Princess

This card was made using a Cuttlebug embossing folder set called Once Upon a Princess. The floral background was pressure embossed and then I sanded the raised parts to expose the cream core of the peach cardstock.

I fussy cut the frame and highlighted it and the cake with various metallic gel pens. I used a Tim Holtz die to create the rosette. The only rubber stamping here is the sentiment and the small butterflies. Glitter pen adds sparkle but I doubt the photo has captured that.

Thanks for looking!