Hope You’re Feline Better (“Cozy Cat Occasions” CTMH)

I decided to show you a card I made for my mother-in-law several years ago when she was feeling poorly. It was my first time using any of these supplies and I was sort of just throwing things together and making it up as I went along, since I was still a relatively new cardmaker, but I liked (and still like) the end result. Hope you do too. The banner that sticks out off the card wasn’t a problem because I handed her the card instead of mailing it. πŸ™‚

I used retired Stampin’ Up Lucky Limeade cardstock for my card base. I try to make all my card bases with SU cardstock, which is 80-lb weight paper. I like the variation of the older textured papers too. Sometimes a girl just needs a little texture in life. Also, Lucky Limeade is one of my favorite colors that Stampin’ Up has ever made. I wasn’t buying from them when it was a current In-Color; I came upon it after it had recently retired. But it has proven to be one of my go-to colors ever since. I even like it instead of Old Olive most of the time.

I also have a thing for square cards. This tends to be a problem because they cost more to mail, as they are considered an unusual or irregular size. (Yeah, don’t ask me how a square card can be irregular, but there it is.) They have trouble going through the mail machines, apparently. So because I love square cards but don’t generally want to mail them, I give them away in person a lot or I make them for people who will be doing the same. This particular card happens to be a 5×5.5 size.

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The cat paper I glued on top of the Lucky Limeade card base is from KI Memories (“Pet Shop Here Kitty,” 2022, (c) 2008), and it is awesome. It has this great pearlized, creamy metallic sheen to it. (And I apparently got it on clearance for $.10, now that I dig it out so I can write up the brand name. Which is even more awesome.) I distressed the edges of the paper a little bit before gluing it down because I also have a thing for distressing stuff.

At this point I left the back part of the card and went to the front. I stamped the large cat stamp from Close to My Heart (“Cozy Cat Occasions” A1140) in Stampin’ Up Craft White ink (yep, just plain old “White,” from a long time ago) on a textured tan piece, and I think I heat-set it. They dry faster and better that way. Then, being a new cardmaker and not having things like watercolor pencils, shading techniques, any shading knowledge at all, etc. (my, how things have changed!), I just colored it with a couple of Stampin’ Up Markers and then used Waterfall Stickles and Gold Smooch Paint on the collar.

I matted the tan piece with a miscellaneous light blue/turquoise color before stamping the “Hope you’re feline better” sentiment and doodad lines on white cardstock in SU Tempting Turquoise ink and hand-cutting it into a banner. I then hand-stitched the banner onto the tan/blue pieces with embroidery floss (because I’m also a cross-sticher and have scads of it around here). If I remember correctly, I was having trouble figuring out where to place the sentiment on the card. I didn’t like any way I tried it until I just decided it would have to branch out, literally.

I took a Lucky Limeade cardstock remnant and placed it behind the horizontal mats for some height variation and visual interest. Finally, I grabbed a remnant of the hand-punched border piece I’d done for the inside of the card–I hate to waste anything, and this was what I had cut off–and I pinned it to the top of the center pieces with a WRMK glitter brad. That little section reminded me of a flower, and I just couldn’t throw it away. πŸ™‚ I did not glue it down, so it swings a little bit as the card moves.

That’s it! Pretty simple–just a bunch of rectangular papers and a few details. Just like a mini scrapbook page. πŸ™‚ Happy to report that she loved it. But then, she was a cat owner. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for stopping by!

Personalized Wedding Card for Carolyn and Matthew

Throwback to a custom wedding card made last year for a couple I’ve never met.

In late 2015 I started accepting orders for custom-made cards. This fact still kind of boggles my mind. I never figured I’d be a cardmaker at all. I’m a scrapbooker–since the mid-nineties. Cards were confusing. Such a small canvas on which to put so much stuff! Give me a 12×12 page any day, thank you. But somehow with the purchase of my friend’s used Cricut, cards suddenly made sense, like that proverbial light bulb over the head. Someday maybe I’ll show those first three cards I made as I attempted to figure out the chirping machine.

So fast-forward a couple of years and suddenly I’m at the point of taking custom card orders…? Um, okay. If you say so. Indeed, it seems that’s what I mostly do now. Instead of creating cards for fun, for friends, for a local church group, for Hospice, etc., like I imagined I might do, family and friends and a particular lady in North Carolina have kept me very busy making cards for them ever since August 2015. And I’m grateful. (Though still boggling.) Here is one of the examples I made for a relative, so she could give it to a couple with a wedding gift. It is a twist on a version I made for my NC lady the year before that (why recreate the wheel if you don’t have to?), but in this version, I personalized it with the recipient couple’s names.

I used a premade, glittered card base from DCWV (5.5×5.5 size), added some light blue/grey patterned paper on top of it as a mat, and then ran some dark blue Recollections paper through my Fiskars handheld (hand-cranked) paper crimper tool. Their wedding color was dark blue, and I thought it would pair well with the Soft Sky color I’d used in the earlier NC version, which was still in my head.

On top of the now-corrugated dark blue paper, I placed a die-cut I’d made from a local friend’s Bloomin’ Heart Thinlits Dies from Stampin’ Up (she and I share supplies so we don’t have to buy as much individually and then have an excuse to get together to craft!). I used Stampin’ Up’s Silver Glimmer Paper for the heart – and found out the hard way (i.e., remembered) that it is best to cut on the back side of that glittered paper rather than trying to get the die to cut through the glitter on the front. (Let’s just say “Lesson learned”!)

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I decided I didn’t like the look of it by itself on the corrugated paper, not to mention that it is a delicate thing and would be hard to glue on top of the corrugation, so I glued the heart die-cut to another piece of the dark blue Recollections paper (that I did not run through the crimper). I then stamped out the little matching flowers of the corresponding Bloomin’ Love photopolymer stamp set in Soft Sky ink, die-cut them with the matching thinlit, and glued them on top in the appropriate places. I actually found it difficult to die-cut those without one edge or the other slipping and not staying centered where I put it. I have a number of rejects I didn’t deem “good enough” for the card. Must need more practice.

Before I glued the heart die-cut down, I laid it out to see where I wanted it, marked it, removed it, and then wrapped some Soft Sky Seam Binding ribbon twice around the corrugated paper and tried to tie a bow off to where the side of the heart would be. This step was trickier than I thought it would be, but I do like the effect. And I used up some of my seam binding ribbon, which pleased me immensely. I think it’s pretty as a whole, but I struggle with using it because it is so delicate. I feel like using the word “fragile,” actually. It catches on things easily, gets holes easily, and is almost see-through. I feel like glue or strip tape can be seen underneath it as well, so I have a hard time finding ways to use it that aren’t simply bows. So this worked. (And after I use up my seam binding stash, I will never buy any again.) I think I actually made the bow separately from the ribbon wrap because I couldn’t get it to lay right. I believe I attached the bow with Zots after gluing down the heart.

Then came the fiddly stuff. I stamped the tag that says “Always” from the retired SU Too Terrific Tags set in Soft Sky, cut it out (I don’t own the matching punch), and set it aside. Next I got out my retired Word Window punch and took it to some white cardstock. I then used some very retired SU Brilliant Blue eyelets from way back when, with my Crop-a-Dile at the tops of the “Always” tag and oval windows. I hand-wrote the couple’s names (more than once) and strung the three tags from the top ribbon with some SU Silver Baker’s Twine. I actually double-strung the “Always” tag to keep it the direction I wanted. And then because it was still not cooperating, I stuck a pop-up dot to the back of it and told it to stay put. The names still dangle sweetly as I imagined.

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The inside of the card was simpler. “The best is yet to come” sentiment came from my retired SU “Best Thoughts” Hostess stamp set, which I stamped on white cardstock in SU Night of Navy ink and punched out with my retired SU Decorative Label punch. I edged around the punch with my matching Night of Navy marker to highlight the edges since it was white on white. Then I stamped the “May your love” sentiment from the current SU Floral Phrases stamp set. (Yes, I do have some current items! πŸ™‚ )

All in all, I was pleased with the way this “version 2” card came out. Just for fun, here’s “version 1” that went to NC, in Soft Sky, kraft, white, and Crumb Cake. Version 1 also uses some distressed, stamped-on canvas.

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Thanks for stopping by! Hope I’ve given some inspiration for your own wedding cards. πŸ™‚

Nuts and Bolts about You Birthday Card

I’ve been on book deadline this past week and will be again next week, so I haven’t had much time to play in the craft room even though I have several cards I need to make and send out. I finally HAD to make time to squeeze in one for my nephew’s birthday since the party was tonight.

My day wasn’t going that well, honestly. I’ve felt better physically, I’ve thought more coherently, and it seemed like I had a case of the dropsies, where I couldn’t hang onto things with my fingers. Imagine crafting when you drop every other item. Those are the days I pick up a book or occupy myself otherwise instead of crafting. But for this card. Regardless of how frustrated I was, it wasn’t making itself.

I had heard from his mom that nephew is now interested in robots and how things come apart and fit together, as a budding engineer would. πŸ™‚ One of my best friends just happened to give me robot stickers for my birthday (surprise gift of 20+ sticker packs?! Yes, please!). So of course they were perfect to use for his card. (They are from Jot, btw.)

I’d been thinking of how I wanted to lay it out all week. I have these awesome gold metal gears that I thought would look great stacked and staggered in a couple of corners, and I couldn’t wait to use them. Well, even though I saw them recently, I still have to wait to use them, because I can’t figure out where I stashed them. And that was just the beginning of the frustration. Alas, some cards go like this.

 
I had to use a bigger card base because I wanted to use both the robot and the robot dog on the front of the card and they weren’t fitting on an A2 OR a horizontal card because of the height of the robot. I also had plaid paper of cream, brown, and teal that I thought would work with the teal and brighter colors of the stickers, along with a tan piece of embossed gears a crafty friend had sent me…but in the end I couldn’t make the sizing work for the plaid. I ended up using a Spellbinders card creator die (that didn’t release all its pieces, so there I was taking my CutterBee scissors to them even though I ran it through the Cuttlebug three times…), and I added in one of my new Spellbinders edge dies that I hadn’t had a chance to use yet. (It had fallen off the wall and when I picked it up, I realized it sort of looked like gears too. Why not use it? I actually tried two of those edge dies, but the one with frosted vellum did not work at all – it kept moving on me and I couldn’t get a whole one. I tossed it out of the running.)

 
I put the die that did work in a metallic foil cardstock, which turned out well. Didn’t fully cut again, but I liked the look even with the additional pieces.

So there I was with my SU Not Quite Navy cardstock mosaic die-cut piece on top of the embossed tan gears, both hovering above the 5×7 green Moroccan-patterned card base. NOT what I had imagined for this card. (I only have ten types of premade card bases. I often make my own, but whatever was the shorter route to finishing the card had my vote today.) I decided to fill in some of the mosaic holes I’d already taken out, thinking it would look better. I really wanted to add in a red color to the mosaic but didn’t want to fight that die again, so I went on. Looking at the combination of those four elements almost made me nauseated, but I’d taken too long at that point to reverse direction. It was time for robot stickers. And then to look for a balloon so the robot didn’t appear empty-handed – plus I wanted to fill in some of the space below the sentiment but above the dog. The brand-new sticker pack that held my balloon then stuck to the inside of its plastic, so I’m not sure how many of those are even useable any longer. But at least the balloon didn’t suffer.

The sentiments were the easiest part. Finally, something going right! I stamped four different ones and didn’t mess up at all, even with my cloudy thinking and growling stomach. So that tells me I’ve actually improved on my stamping. Practice makes perfect! I used SU Basic Gray Archival ink and the SU Sunburst Sayings stamp set for the “It’s your day” stamp inside the stitched wonky square Sizzix die journaling box in the “Frames” strip of three dies, adding in the red color there and hoping the ink would be dark enough to cover it. It worked! All that was left was a number on the balloon and a metal photo holder with brad for decoration.Β 

It’s hard to see, but the robot and dog are actually popped up, as is the wonky square sentiment. And the balloon is a puffy sticker from SandyLion (PFOM10). I was thankful I wasn’t mailing the card.

I moved on quickly to the inside, since I was supposed to be leaving my house for the party right about then. Stamped all three correctly in Basic Gray Archival ink and SU Lost Lagoon ink (hooray! No wasted time or covering up mistakes!). The “Happy Birthday” stamp is from Stampin’ Up’s “Birthday Blast.” “I’m Nuts and Bolts about You!” and the random nuts and bolts pattern I used as a border are from Stampendous/Fran’s (SSC1033). This is the second time I’ve used the Fran’s set and I like it very much.


(As usual, I forgot to take the picture BEFORE writing something on the inside.)

Sometimes I create well under stress and deadline. Not so today. I think parts of this card are really cute. I would rather have the chance to redo some of it, though. But I must move on. I am not perfect and neither is my work, and I have other cards I must do. After next week’s deadline. (Dottie, if you’re reading this, your very overdue thank-you note IS coming!)

Thanks for reading. Time to “hit the hay.”

Here are pics of some of the supplies I used.

Dreaming of Butterflies

I know it’s been awhile since I’ve written. Still trying to get into a rhythm of making, photoing, and then posting. Thanks to technology and a busy schedule, there is usually a breakdown before the “posting” part. I’m working on it. 

It seems the thing I do best is blog when I’ve woken up in the middle of the night. But I’m often most creative at night or when I should be sleeping, so I suppose it all works out. Tonight was yet another one of those. Three hours of sleep after three hours of editing and, boom, I’m awake again. So I got up and made a card. (And now I’m posting because the picture is still on my phone.)

I had some free time last week, so I took a few minutes to do some rearranging and organizing in my craft room. My poor pegboard spinner is someday going to come crashing down from all the weight hanging off it. To alleviate a bit of its suffering, I decided to move my dry decoupage and peel-offs to a new three-drawer Sterilite storage container I got this summer. And, as usual, when I start organizing stuff, I find things to play with and get all distracted. I was good about setting them aside this time, so they were waiting for me on my desk when I woke up early and wandered in. 

What I found then were some strangely colored butterflies, a page of white grid peel-offs, and a gold sheet of beautiful butterfly and flower peel-offs from StickerKing. I have way too many butterflies, so I’m always looking for a way to use them up. On my desk, unrelated to this card forming in my head, was a piece of orange, flowery paper that I hadn’t put away. This morning they all fell into the same card, which turned out about halfway like I’d imagined. Designs always morph into something I haven’t intended. 

I pulled the light green color in the butterflies into my card base by using Stampin’ Up’s Certainly Celery cardstock (very retired). The orange flowery (maybe K and Co?) paper decided to become the background mat. I positioned three of the white grid peel-offs on top of it because they had reminded me of latticework initially. 

At this point everything was glued down. And then I couldn’t decide where to put the butterflies or how many to use. I thought I’d had it figured out, but then I didn’t like it. The three big ones felt too crowded and overwhelming on the paper (the card is only an A2 – 4.25 x 5.5), but we’re generally supposed to use the “rule of three” in triangles when we create so it’s more pleasing to the eye. I turned the base and the attached paper every other direction looking for something that felt right. I needed a place to put a sentiment too. I ended up tearing off the orange paper and grids (gently) so I could flip the direction of the card opening. Then I placed the punched sentiment piece onto the third grid and planned to add a smaller gold butterfly above it to use that “rule of three” technique. 

I really didn’t have a sentiment in mind when I first started mentally creating this card, but I have a custom order for thank-you cards to do soon, so I figured if she liked this one, I could add it to her pile; otherwise it’ll go on the Etsy shop unless I need to use it sooner than that. πŸ™‚

I added a tiny rhinestone gem underneath the words “Thank You” because I didn’t like the white space. The rhinestone is from CTMH (“Bitty Sparkles”) and they are probably my all-time favorite gem. They’re just so delicate and pretty. The “Thank You” stamp is from the “What I Love” Sale-a-bration set from Stampin’ Up (now retired). And I used Certainly Celery ink that matched the card base. 

By the time I got to the inside, I was getting tired and lazy, so I didn’t feel like hunting down and cutting up a whole sheet of paper. I found a white scrap on my desk that was almost big enough to become the part you write your message on. Coupled with the leftover orange flowery paper from the front (which I’d intended for a different card front), the white scrap was now the perfect size. Then another sentiment popped into my head – “You raise kindness to an art” from SU’s “Vintage Vogue” set (retired) – and it didn’t take long to find it and stamp it on the inside. Certainly Celery ink again. Another gold butterfly on the inside and an identifying stamp on the back completed the card. 

Now that I’ve been creative AND blogged, it’s time to sleep again. Hope you like this little card offering for today. It’s just something quirky out of my own brain. Have a wonderful day!
Connie

Masculine movers thank-you card 5

One more in this series. Thanks for working through them with me.

I used “Brushed Gold” (retired) cardstock from Stampin’ Up as a base for this one. I have a partial pack of 8.5 x 11 cardstock and cut one sheet down to an A2 size before scoring it in half with my scoring board (wonderful invention, and so much easier than trying to fold it in half without creasing it where you don’t want to, which was the way I used to do it). I’m not really a “gold” person, but I do like this cardstock and wish it was still current. It has a beautiful shimmer in the light and isn’t too gold for me.

The same double-sided Martha Stewart brown/blue-and-pink-flowered patterned paper came into play for the matted layer, as on “Cards 2 and 3,” detailed here. I still hated covering up those beautiful flowers. I might just have to make a new card with it as penance. πŸ™‚ On top of that solid brown, I put another section of the DCWV key paper – finally going back to the moving idea. It has a deliberate “stained” or distressed kind of look around the edges of the 12×12 sheet. This particular piece was from a corner, so that’s why it looks the way it does. I could have added ink on the border of the other “key” pieces to get the same idea (or the right-hand edge of this piece – which I just now realized), but I didn’t think it was all that necessary at the time. You can see in the close-up of the picture that the browns aren’t an exact match, but I’m reminding myself that people don’t usually look that closely – or hold it to their face. No one will know, right? πŸ˜‰

When I remember to do it, I wait until I have most of my pieces ready or a solid idea of what I want to do before I start gluing layers together, so I can do things like wrapping this ribbon around part of the paper. Wrapping it is better than cutting it off, which will cause it to fray (and then get too short despite your initial measuring). Trust me on this. πŸ™‚ I mean, yes, you can cut it with pinking shears, but you won’t always want that particular look. And you can use Fray-Check or another glue, as I used to, but then the ribbon will darken or even harden where the liquid was applied. And that’s not very pretty. So for me, wrapping works…when I plan ahead or stop to think about how to put everything together. The ribbon in this particular case is a retired 5/8″ Gold Satin ribbon from Stampin’ Up, and the flattish buttons are SU Gold Metallic Buttons (also retired – notice a theme yet?).

I thought about using another fancy die for the sentiment block, but time was growing short and I wondered whether the curves of the die might conflict with the shapes of the keys. When I found this scrap of Naturals Ivory (Stampin’ Up, retired) that was already cut down, that settled the debate. (This is one reason why I keep scraps with their pads.) This cardstock has little random flecks of color in it in keeping with that “natural” look.

I decided not to use the gold embossing powder on this card. It was late, T was sleeping, and my heat gun, since it’s almost twenty years old, is not the quietest. I hear the newer versions are much better with that – but mine works just fine, so I’m not going to invest in another one until it dies. Probably. So for this sentiment I just used my Soft Suede ink pad (Stampin’ Up, current). Stamps are also SU and from the “One Big Meaning” (current) and “So Very Much” (SAB, retired) sets.

The last step – and the one I find the most fun – was finding embellishments to pretty up the front of the card. This is actually when I found and placed the buttons, but the sentiment needed something too. Most company’s adhesive jewels and “dots” are rather raised, which sometimes requires a thin piece of cardboard in the envelope with the card so they don’t burrow through the envelope. I was trying to avoid that, but my best options were still problematic in that area, so I thought about photo corners or turning it into some kind of frame. I could have rooted through my photo corners tray, but as it was late and I needed to get the order packaged up, I chose the faster route of going to my die wall where I knew I had this tiny corner die. I have to cut it individually, four times, but sometimes it’s still the best choice. The size was perfect, so I cut it out of a metallic gold sheet of cardstock from a DCWV Metallics Stack. That pad is just beautiful, with many shades of metallic colors. Now that I’ve broken it open and used a bit of it, I may go back to it more often. (I’ve been trying to curb my “hoarding” urge; there’s always new stuff to buy as trends and preferred colors in the industry change. Not that I really need to buy much…but telling myself that does help me work through the fact that I should use up my stash. πŸ™‚ )

So that’s it for this card and my five-note thank-you set. Which one was your favorite? This one might be mine, as it was both easy yet somewhat detailed. Thanks for reading! Feel free to “follow” me for more card ideas and tips in future posts.

Masculine mover thank-you card 4

Card 4 in my series of five masculine thank-you cards for movers.

Continuing in my set of five masculine thank-you cards (to be sent to people who helped my client move), this “Card 4” is another one where I couldn’t get the brown-and-white DCWV “key” paper to work with the plaid and metallic silver-toned base. The colors just weren’t compatible enough. But I thought it would still be simple and masculine, two other requirements for the order, so I continued.

At this point in the order, it was just about keeping things consistent (like the gold embossing powder)…and I’d already used the plaid once on a different card anyway (in my “Card 1” post here). This section was the remnant of the 6×6 piece. I like to use up my scraps when I can to keep my scraps box under control, so there wasn’t much question as to whether I’d use it now. (It was “either use it now” or throw it on the desk to be used soon, since I couldn’t really take the time to look up which Stampin’ Up paper pack I’d taken it from. The scraps box wasn’t an option. I’m fussy about my SU paper and always put the scraps back with their pads since I have matching inks and embellishments in my supplies.)

I wish I knew what company this base is from. I was given a number of thick metallic bases in a craft swap, and they’ve been great to work with. They feel thicker than the usual Stampin’ Up cardstock I typically use for my bases (those are an 80-lb card weight, I think). A good base is key to the card not falling over or flattening instead of standing up.

The mechanics of how I did this card are simple. I’ve already mailed the cards, so I’m not sure of the precise measurements of the individual pieces, but I think the remnant plaid piece is just over 2 inches. I believe the squarish one in the middle was the back side of the grey plaid paper I used in “Card 1” (K and Company). I already had a chunk cut out of it for the other card, so one side had already been shortened. I measured where I wanted it to fall on one of the strips of the yellow-and-grey piece and lopped off the other side with my Fiskars trimmer.

(Confession: I don’t do a lot of measuring or precutting. It’s more annoying to store the paper as pieces get cut out of it, but I’m always afraid of limiting myself to certain sizes or creativity if I “only” have so much of something because I’ve cut it down. I do both scrapbooking and cards, so I can be pretty random in my sizing of card fronts, mats, and journaling boxes. Usually I just take the large piece of paper and a pencil straight to my project and mark where I want to cut it for that specific purpose and then file the rest away to use later. I probably ought to rethink this as I try to streamline my process for card making, since precut pieces would make it faster, but I’ve been loathe to change.)

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Once I had the grey square piece cut, I took my anti-static bag to the front (I remembered!) to prepare it for heat embossing. I already had my embossing tray, coffee filter, embossing powder, and heat gun out (and just typing that sentence shows why it’s easier to do multiple cards with the same supplies at once), so I stamped the thank-you stamp (“One Big Meaning,” Stampin’ Up, current) with my VersaMark pad, pressed it onto the grey piece (don’t wiggle it!), sprinkled it with the gold embossing powder (Hampton Arts), and took my (very old) Marvy Uchida heat gun to it. (See this post about why I use a coffee filter with my embossing powder.)

It actually turned out well! Though I am beginning to wonder whether my powder is too old – or maybe it’s just the brand. I don’t think my Stampin’ Up powders dimple like that, but they’re newer. And I don’t heat emboss all that much, so I haven’t really compared it to my others yet. The dimpled look is fine for these masculine cards and during other times as well, but occasionally I do want a smoother look, which seems possible with other powders. Or companies. This is something I need to research. (If anybody has any knowledge or tips, feel free to leave me a comment!) After I glued the square piece onto the plaid one with my ATG gun, I repeated the embossing process with the “for your kindness” stamp (“So Very Much, Stampin’ Up SAB set, retired). Then I sat back and took a look at it to see if the card “needed” anything else.

It wasn’t very long before the empty spaces in the square bugged me. This is why I have trouble doing simple cards. I apparently despise “white space.” My husband is forever telling me to leave things alone and not fill every little area. I’m not very good at that. But sometimes something actually needs to be filled and looks better once it is. I think that’s the case with this one. It would have been fine on its own, but the little added touches make it more special. I used a gold peel-off from Dazzles for the top swoosh and heart doodads – not sure which exact one, since I’m still not near my supplies as I write this. (I’ve figured out how to blog ahead of time and schedule posts!) After I was done with the center, I adhered my Crushed Curry Enamel Dots (Stampin’ Up, retired) at the edges of the plaid piece. I probably could have left those off entirely, but I had pulled them when I was looking for something to finish off the grey square, so they were in front of me. And I don’t “leave well enough alone” very well either. πŸ™‚

I was pleased with how this one turned out. It fit the requirements and didn’t take overly long.

Thanks for stopping by!

 

 

Masculine mover thank-you cards 2 and 3

In my quest to continue creating the masculine thank-you cards for my newest custom order, I went back to the brown and cream “key” paper I’d taken out of a DCWV 12×12 Stack (I think it came from “Tradewinds,” but I’m not near my supplies to check). I had to use this paper; I wasn’t sure what else to grab to signify the whole “thanks for helping us move” idea. 

My initial thought was to create cards based on one of these sketches turned on the side, using the key paper and three other coordinating papers…


…but I couldn’t get the sizing of the sentiment to work with the key paper and not completely hide it. In the end, since the sentiment stamp had been approved by the sender, I nixed the sketch idea and just went back to the basics: covering the majority of the card with pretty paper and layering something on top. In this case, I layered the key paper and then a retired 5/8″ gold satin ribbon from Stampin’ Up across the center of the card. I did that in the wrong order, but I’ll spare you the details.

I found two cream 5×7 card bases in my premade bases pile, so they were perfect to use with the coloring and the size of the sentiment stamp. I decided to ink up the edges with a dark brown chalk ink from Colorbox (Chestnut Roan?) to balance the brown in the key paper.

I only have a few dies that are large enough to hold the entire stamp and not cut off an edge (it really is big, people), so I chose one that was more decorative than the rest since the rest of the card background was pretty simple. The die is from Spellbinders, but I bought it used and haven’t looked up the name yet. Spellbinders dies allow for both cutting and dry embossing, in subsequent steps. You cut the outside first, then flip over the die with the paper still intact and add a squishy embossing mat and a firm knock-knock plate on top to get the embossing pressed into it. (“Knock-knock” is not my term for how you can tell the difference between some of the plates, but I can’t remember the source right now. However, it’s brilliant and I’ve never forgotten it! I’ll try to update and add the source later after I search for it.)

I found a light brown paper in one of my Martha Stewart 12×12 paper pads – it was a shame to cover up the pretty blue and pink flowers on the opposite side, but there was no helping it. The brown worked better than anything else I had nearby. Once I had chosen the paper I was going to use behind the sentiment, I laid the die on top and cut roughly around it, leaving a little room. (Have to cut down the 12×12 piece to get it into the 6-inch(ish) Cuttlebug for the die cutting and embossing.) Then I started the embossing process. 

Heat embossing used to really frustrate me. It felt like I never got a good clean image when I was done. I’m a perfectionist and hate it when stray flecks of embossing powder attach and then are heated onto the paper where I haven’t placed ink. With practice – and with the Embossing Buddy anti-static bag – I’ve gradually gotten better at it. I keep a paintbrush in my close-at-hand tools to whisk away stray flecks upon inspection before taking the heat gun to it (thank you, Betty!). Well, even with all that perfectionistic practice, sometimes I still forget to use the Embossing Buddy. Of course I forgot once on these two cards. But I remembered on the next one. 

Whether or not you remember to use the anti-static bag/Embossing Buddy, the next step is to take a VersaMark pad or pigment pad or thick craft ink to your intended stamp and stamp onto your paper. The thicker ink doesn’t dry as quickly as the water-based inks, which gives you time to move the image to your embossing powder. Some people keep theirs in separate plastic food containers with lids, which I’d like to try, but I’m already short on space and own an embossing tray with a funnel. I frankly despise using the funnel. The best tip I ever saw about embossing – besides using the anti-static bag – is to use a creased coffee filter on top of your work surface, under the embossing powder. The filter catches the extra powder that is tapped or slid off the card, and the crease allows you to quickly and easily “funnel” it back into your open container for next time. No need to waste it!

So I used the anti-static bag (or didn’t), prepped my new stamp by rubbing it on my inner arm (it rubs off the factory coating and gives the ink a chance to stick to the rubber or acrylic stamp right away – and you don’t want to rub it on your jeans due to lint), figured out the placement of where the stamp should go with the Spellbinders die, inked the stamp with VersaMark, stamped it onto the brown paper,  added the gold embossing powder from Hampton Arts, and then warmed up the heat gun before holding the paper under it. I love to watch it turn from flecks of embossing powder into a creamy, consistent, glossy image. It reminds me of a race – once the image starts to turn, the rest of the image races to catch up. πŸ™‚ 

Once the big “Thank you” sentiment was done, I took the second sentiment stamp, “for your kindness” (both stamps are from “So Very Much” SAB stamp set, Stampin’ Up, retired), then inked it and repeated the process. I recentered the die over the paper on my magnetic pad (best invention EVER) and cut it with my Cuttlebug. And then I dry embossed it by flipping it over and adding the squishy and knock-knock mats mentioned above. And it was perfect. I added 3D foam dots on the back side of the sentiment piece and stuck it down on top of the gold ribbon. 

I thought about adding a small enamel or epoxy heart or dot off to the side of the Thank You part, but it was late and I needed to go to bed, figuring I’d think about it the next day. The next day came and I wasn’t sure it was necessary, plus it was going to take some time to figure out what, exactly, to put there and I needed to just get the order done. Besides, they’re for guys. They’re going to spend about 2.4 seconds looking at it, say “it’s nice,” and move on. They won’t even notice a missing heart shape. We have to be realistic sometimes. 

Since the inside of the 5×7 cards were so big, I felt I needed to cut down the writing space a little. Nobody needs that much room to write a short, non-effusive thank-you note. I decided to stamp some corners (maker unknown) on the inside in Stampin’ Up’s Soft Suede ink, which matched the keys pretty well. I stamped them freehand without measuring, so they may be a little off. I’m choosing not to find out. 


So cards 2 and 3 didn’t take as long as card 1 did, thankfully, though they are much simpler and not really my preference. I like details…but to move along in the process, simple cards are a necessity sometimes. I’m learning to appreciate them.