Sunday, January 27, 2013

Birthday Card & Cleverness

Time for another Seize the Birthday Challenge - a feminine card using a sketch:
And here is my card (just noticed a slight dog-ear on the upper right corner - drat!):
The striped paper is by Authentique. Love the colours in that paper pad. I coloured the Waltzingmouse Stamps "Camellia" with Copics and then added a bit of white pencil crayon to soften it.
The die cut is similar to a well known PTI die that I do not own. I decided to try and mimic it with Spellbinders dies that I already have. I cut a Labels Twenty-One nestabilities die first. Then I cut off the side bumps and slid a circle die over one end to create the rounded top. I realize I have since covered up most of the tag shape but hopefully you can see enough to get the drift. I think I pulled it off and it really was not difficult. I am feeling very frugal and thrifty. :-)

In My Corner

Claire over at Waltzingmouse Stamps issued a Monday morning challenge on her blog to create something using the faux chalkboard technique. I received some new WMS stamps just this week, so was itching to try them out. As you can see from the photo above, this is a very forgiving technique - designed to be messy! Here's my card:

The flower is from the Camellia set, and the background tag is from the Opera Tag set. The sentiment in the corner is from the Rescue Remedies Additions set. I used chalk pencil crayons to highlight the flower and leaves. And look, Claire, I used that ribbon!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Kaisercraft Large Desk Organizer

And now for something completely different! Last weekend at my local stamp store, Stampers!, I spied a tiered organizer from Kaisercraft. I have been looking for something to house my Cuttlebug plates within easy reach of my machine. This seemed just the ticket. This is what it looks like, out of the package and assembled:
Here is what I created with some designer paper and metal sheets.

The assembled unit measures approximately 11" x 12" x 7" (33cm wide x 28cm high x 17.5cm) deep. It is made of MDF, and the three drawers are a heavy cardboard - akin to bookboard. It comes flat and shrinkwrapped, so I first assembled it to make sure all the pieces were there and that they fit together. It fits by slotting short appendages into strategically placed holes. Once it was all together, I could see the portions that would need paper and the edges that would need paint. I painted the exposed surface edges with Olive Green Lumiere paint. 

I determined there needed to be some gluing of the backboard to the sides, but there was a bit too much of a gap on one side for glue to do the job. This meant I had to get out The Tools!

I used an awl to poke a small hole in the MDF and, using the bent pliers, seated a 1/2 inch brad nail (like a small finishing nail) in the hole and then tapped it in with my T!m Holtz hammer. The bent pliers worked very well. Regular pliers would, too, but I purchased these bent ones a long time ago for a craft class - AND THEN NEVER NEEDED THEM - (why do instructors ask you to purchase things you will not need?) so I am always looking for an excuse to use them to justify the purchase.

I then covered the sides and back with coordinating designer papers. To cover the three cube drawers, I embossed some dark brown Ten Seconds Studio metal sheets in my Cuttlebug, and sanded the high areas to reveal silver. I eschewed too much ornamentation as I want this to be practical, not frou frou-ey.

Here is the sheet of paper that comes in the packaging, to give you an idea of another way to dress this up without painting the surface edges.
And here is the best part of all - it really works as a station to hold my Cuttlebug A, B and C plates, as well as a metal shim sheet and two embossing pads. They all fit in the middle tier. The back tier holds the Letraset adhesive I use on die cuts, plus longer die cutting plates. The front tier currently holds the few recent cards I made, but I may put some embossing folders there instead. I do not know what I will put in the drawers, maybe those really small embossing folders from Cuttlebug that are about 2 inches square. The Cuttlebug border embossing folders would store well in the lowest long drawer. It seems quite sturdy and already has proven handy, so I am pleased with this project!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Seize the Birthday Part 2

Remember I discovered a new challenge out in Blogland called Seize the Birthday? (See link in blog badge to the right of this post.) I am really pleased with this as I want to build up a stash of birthday cards. This is the second week of their first sketch. The first week was for feminine cards, and this week is for masculine cards. Here is the sketch we were given:
I made two cards for men. Both feature calligraphy stamps from Quietfire Design. I used the colour scheme provided by the final CR84FN Color Challenge which is aqua, tan and light yellow.
My first card relied on designer paper to do most of the work, with a Spellbinders die providing the mat for the focal sentiment.
Aqua Swarovski heat set crystals provide some subtle decoration.  
For my second card, I rotated the sketch and used stamps to provide pattern and texture to create my backgrounds, and so I am entering this in the Moxie Fab Create your Own Background Challenge, too. The faux stitching and yellow polka dots are Waltzingmouse StampsThe heat embossed frame for the sentiment is a Gina K Designs stamp. 

There is still time to enter this week's Seize the Birthday challenge, and who doesn't need more birthday cards?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Waltzingmouse Blog Party - LOVE

It's January 17 and that means it is time for the monthly Waltzingmouse Blog Party.
The theme is LOVE and I was feeling pretty literal! Some scraps of Shimmer Sheetz and silver bullion accent this random collage. Head over to the party blog to see what everyone else came up with this month!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Birthday Card Challenged No More!

The past few years I have been pleasantly surprised at my output of handstamped Christmas cards thanks to Christmas card challenges on the web. This year I decided to devote more attention to making birthday cards in advance of the dreaded eleventh hour, as well. Fortunately there is a new challenge in town for just this occasion: Seize the Birthday. They have a fun concept: one week they give you a challenge and you make a "feminine" birthday card with it, then the following week you use the same challenge to create a "masculine" version.

The first sketch is this one and this is the week for a girly card:

I created this card by embossing a sheet of pink pearl Shimmer Sheetz in my Cuttlebug using the Paisley embossing folder. Then I swiped Black StazOn ink across the top to provide a bit of contrast.
4.25 X 5.5 inch card
I am really happy about the scalloped border Labels One dies that Spellbinders recently brought out. They add a subtle touch of colour to frame the Labels One die cuts. Labels One is still my favourite of all the Spellbinders dies, so it is nice to have new ways to use them.

Shimmer Sheetz is an interesting product that pressure embosses easily. In the card below, I used a Spellbinders M-bossibilities folder. Then I sanded the top of the relief areas to provide white contrast to the pink pearl below. This folder has a space for a Labels One die cut and the calligraphy quote and frame from Quietfire Design were stamped in StazOn Fucshia ink.

5 X 7 card
This is what the Shimmer Sheetz looks like prior to being embossed:
 Here is the embossing folder I used:
So now I have two birthday cards for 2013 made already! Be sure to check out the Seize the Birthday blog to learn how you can play along, too.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Another Year of WMSCCC Begins!

The Waltzingmouse Stamps Christmas Card Challenge - 2013 Version - has begun!
Cute new logo designed by Anya Schrier.

Each month on the 10th we will be challenged with a sketch or theme or concept, with the goal being to create as many Christmas cards as possible and eliminate the dreaded rush as December approaches. As a cardmaker, certain people on my Christmas list expect a handmade card from me, so this is the only way I can hope to make that happen! You can play anytime throughout the year.

For our first challenge, Anya Schrier created this sketch:

While I found it uber challenging, I still managed to make three cards "somewhat" inspired by the sketch. That's THREE Christmas cards now made for my 2013 mail out! I used the same papers for each of the cards, but changed up the stamps and focal point.

The shape of the Opera Tag die was a natural for my first attempt.

Stamps: Seasonal Remedies
For the second card, I embossed a background panel and aged it with Antique Linen Distress Ink. I used a Ranger Snow Cap Paint Dabber to soften the edges of the DP panels.
Stamps: Nutcracker Sweet
You can see how I made the label a little bit 3-D, below. I didn't bother colouring in the fellow - I think against the busy papers he is best as is. Plus, I'm lazy!

Lastly, I was itching to play with a couple of newly purchased Waltzingmouse stamp sets. I have long admired this pine cone spray and am so glad to get it inky. I cheated a bit on the placement of the banner.
Stamps: Festive Foliage, Little Lanterns, Very Vintage Christmas, Seasonal Remedies
I copper embossed the lantern on some gessoed and distressed sheet music. The pine cones are popped up on foam tape and accented with a white glaze pen.

So here's my trio using this sketch. What a nice feeling to have three Christmas cards already done only 10 days into the new year. If you'd like to play along, or see all the other cards based on this challenge, visit this post for details. Waltzingmouse probably has the most extensive and beautiful collection of Christmas-themed stamps out there, so I am glad to see this challenge continue!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Waltzingmouse Secret Santa Exchange

I was delighted to play in a recent card exchanged organized by Cathy Weber (aka Empty Nest Crafter)  for the Waltzingmouse stamping forum. Each participant was given the name and snail mail address of a person to whom we were to mail a Christmas card. Meanwhile, someone else would get your name and send a card to you. So surprises all around! Today we get to link our cards over on the WMS blog so we can all see the Secret Santa creativity.  

I have to say I was OVER THE MOON when I received the lovely card below from Jeanne Jachna.

Jeanne makes gorgeous cards, with lots of layers and embellishments. I have never held a card like this in my hands before! I have seen her cards on her blog, but to see one in person - well, WOW is all I can say! I know I would find it very difficult to combine:
- that patterned background
- scalloped and chevron borders
- striped ribbon
- stamped doily
- velvet ribbon
- lace
- stamped Santa
- stamped tag sentiment
- die cuts
- twine
- pins
- AND a flower!

Well, it would never occur to me that it would all fit, in the first place, and in the second place, I think you need a very experienced artistic eye to pull it off so BRILLIANTLY! I am in awe. This is a card you can keep revisiting and see yet one more new thing! She also tucked some sweet little crafting prezzies in with the card - totally unexpected and so appreciated. Thanks, Jeanne, for making something so beautiful and interesting.

The card I made was sent to Anya Schrier, of the Life is What You Make It blog. Anya is an amazing card maker. She is published, she is a member of a number of design teams, including WMS, AND she is a stamp designer. To say I was a little intimidated is an understatement. However, Anya is also one of the MOST encouraging people I know. She always has a kind comment in the WMS gallery and when she visits other crafters' blogs. If I did not know what a nice person she is, I might have had a full-on panic attack. Here is the card I sent Anya:
I love that I had an opportunity to use new WMS stamps to make this western themed card. I used Distress Inks to stamp and shade the various bits. A square silver stud seemed to suit the cowboy motif.

This exchange reminded me how much I like to receive handmade cards from others, even though I rarely do! And while most of my cards are appreciated by my family and friends, they are mostly non-crafting types and I think when you make cards yourself, it is especially thrilling to receive one - knowing the thought and effort that goes into making them. I think I will try and find time to make more cards this year - cards that can be shared with fellow crafters.

Thanks to our organizer, Cathy, for pulling the Secret Santa Exchange together for us. It was a lot of fun! You can see all the cards from the exchange at this post on the WMS blog.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

My WMS Sketch Challenge Faves

Stamper extraordinaire Pauline Pollington had a fun idea to go back and revisit some of her own cards that she has posted in the past for the weekly Waltzingmouse Sketch Challenges (which are sadly ending this week). You must go see her post - she does truly beautiful work.

This got me wondering about my own WMSC entries and I took a gander. I was surprised to see that I entered the very first of the WMS sketch challenges with this card, which also uses some WMS digital paper (photo captions link to my original posts):

The sketches were always slightly challenging, but never felt overwhelming or too complicated. There are a couple of other cards that have a special place in my heart. This one - because it was made with recycled yogurt foil seals and GLOWS in real life:

This one, because of the odd colours and that the layout is unlike anything I have ever done before or since:


This card, because it was for my daughter's birthday and *she* *really* *likes* it!
This card, because I actually won a "Top Mouse" award on the WMSC blog with it, and was so honoured and surprised:

A recap would not be complete without at least one Christmas card, because WMS are really famous for their Christmas stamps. This was a difficult one to choose as I often used the sketch to create a Christmas card.  I think this is my fave from that lot, though, and it is because it is so unusually pink, which is atypical both for Christmas and for me:
My very first time ever to follow a sketch for a card design was in April 2010, just a few months before WMSC started up. I remember thinking it was so strange - perhaps even cheating - after always winging it on my own, but I have since come to think of sketches as creative kindling, giving me the opportunity to stretch and try new things I might never have tried otherwise. The good news is there are now 129 sketches saved in the Waltzingmouse  Stamps gallery, so any time you (or me!) are feeling less than inspired, check them out!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

Here is another Happy New Year card. This one features Hero Arts trees for the background stamped in Delicata gold ink and a sentiment and design elements from Waltzingmouse Stamps. 
I was happy with how I was able to match the green and purple metallic inks with the metallic cardstock used in the layers.
I have entered this in Little Red Wagon's challenge to use boxes or squares. My best wishes for 2013 to you and yours!