“Feminine” Blog Hop for Amy K’s Krew (If Friends Were Flowers…)

I’m part of Amy’s Inkin’ Krew Blog Hop with a “Feminine” theme for Tuesday, April 9. See what I created with some paper and dies for friendship and Mother’s Day!

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Hello, and welcome back to Constantly Creating/The Little Whatnot Shop! I’m blog hopping with Stamp with Amy K’s Inkin’ Krew today, and our topic is “feminine.” That gives a lot of options for card creation (men being much harder to design for)!

This is really the story of two cards. I’ve been traveling and freelancing again lately, so I haven’t had a lot of time in the craft room. But before I left the state, I started thinking about several different cards I need to send, and I decided to use a flowery piece of the Share What You Love Specialty Designer Series Paper (DSP) as a background for all of them. (I confess, I was also hoping to meet a 4-6-card “use it up” challenge on a Facebook group by doing so. Ambitious for someone who hasn’t been home!)

Last week I cut three card fronts out of one 12×12 sheet of the DSP and still have a couple of scraps leftover for another smaller notecard yet—maybe a thank-you. Of the cards with the bigger sections, one will be for a belated birthday, another became a Mother’s Day card, and the friendship card I’ve used for today’s blog title will likely go to the local gift shop upon my next delivery. I love how the same piece of paper works for each type of card.

I’ve acquired a few off-brand things recently as well, so these cards are not entirely made up of Stampin’ Up products (as my demo status would prefer). But the bulk of them are SU, and you could easily substitute SU’s vases or flower stamps or another sentiment where I’ve placed mine; the design works regardless. I grabbed the “other” products because they were near me (read: not yet put away) and I’m always trying to use up my consumables. (Plus, I needed to finish a card quickly to be able to blog!) In the products list at the end of the post, I’ll add some Stampin’ Up product suggestions you could use to change this card into one of “theirs” entirely, alongside what I did use from SU’s line. 🙂

So, diving into the cards I’ve finished…I have to confess first that I began a card for friendship, forgot what I was doing with it, and turned it into the aforementioned Mother’s Day card. I had the sketchiest of ideas when I started pulling things together—which is probably why I got distracted and it became something else—but sometimes one just has to go with the creative flow. After I finished the Mother’s Day card, it was easier to just emulate the structure for the friendship card, only tweaking the materials. As the two are similar, I’ll show the Mother’s Day one here as well. In the pictures, you can see how the flowers and leaves in the Specialty DSP have a pearlized, translucent finish.

For both the blog card and the Mother’s Day card, I began with a Mossy Meadow card base of 80-lb cardstock in an A2 (4.25″ x 5.2″ finished) size, and I cut down the Crumb Cake background with shimmery Rich Razzleberry/Mossy Meadow flowered piece from the Share What You Love Specialty DSP to mostly cover the card front, with a little Mossy Meadow border showing all the way around. The Mother’s Day border is slightly larger than 1/8″, whereas the friendship border is slightly smaller than 1/8″.

The other day, I sat down with my Cuttlebug, my Stained Glass Thinlits and Stitched Labels Framelits die sets, and pieces of Rich Razzleberry cardstock and a random cardstock I ended up with in an order that reminds me a little of Crumb Cake. It is just a shade lighter, so it matches the Share What You Love paper quite well (and it’s another consumable I can use up! Yay!). I made off several die-cuts out of the cardstock and put them on the desk with the rest of my card pieces until I had more time.

On Monday, I tried several of them (unglued) with different flower stickers to see what I liked best together. The Mother’s Day card uses two Stitched Framelits, one of each color, layered together perpendicularly so that the lighter cardstock has a bit more weight to it on the busy background. The additional Rich Razzleberry die-cut seemed to ground the top one and give a fuller look even though I also liked the simplicity of only one Framelit.

For the friendship (“If friends were flowers, I’d pick you”) card, I had originally chosen the vase idea (before I forgot what I was doing) because I saw the sentiment and the vase/flower stickers about the same time, and they made sense to use together. Since I had used the Stitched Framelits on the first card, I used one of the Stained Glass Thinlits Dies for the second. I adhered some sticky adhesive to the back of the die-cut and replaced the square that comes loose when first cut, and then I backed both the “stained glass” piece and the solid square onto some Rich Razzleberry cardstock, using my micro-tip scissors to cut around the edges once they were stuck.

Note: Keep track of how the solid square comes out of the die; it’s not completely symmetrical, and there is a spacing difference when it’s turned the “other” way.

When I positioned the flower/vase sticker and temporarily placed the diagonal onto the DSP, I then felt it was too simple (story of my crafting life), so I cut down a couple of the gorgeous Pearlized Doilies and glued them to the back of the sides of the diagonal, which fluffed out the center in a similar style to the Mother’s Day card. I got three out of one doily the way I cut them, and the center circle is still able to be used for something else.

I wanted to make sure I left room for a sentiment across the bottom on both cards, so I tested the placement and figured out how big the border strip at the bottom would need to be. For the Mother’s Day card, I added 1/8″ above and below the sentiment ribbon I planned on using to darken the ribbon a bit and make it look more finished; then I cut some vellum adhesive to fit inside the ribbon and carefully merged the two. Ribbon is tricky to glue, the way it’s so flexible. It’s not my favorite way of doing it. I was going to wrap the edges behind the DSP, but because of where I’d trimmed the ribbon around the words on the next repetition, I didn’t end up having enough room to tuck it around. So I took pinking shears to the ends instead since regular scissors and a straight cut would cause it to fray.

The solid Mossy Meadow border for the sentiment on the friendship card is about 3/8″, though I didn’t measure. Because the letters are close together on the stamp, I was leery of using embossing powder or getting things too juicy in case they would blur or blend together. I fell back on some old Craft White pigment ink to stamp it, and then I heat embossed it, hoping it would turn slightly puffy but still be readable (I remember doing that once somehow, but since heating it this time did nothing except dry it, I’ll have to figure out the “puffy” process again). And then because I had room at the sides of the sentiment for geegaws, I trotted out my new Heart Epoxy Droplets and colored them with my Light Blackberry Bliss Stampin’ Blends alcohol marker, the way I’ve heard others have done. It actually works!

I’ve made the inside of both cards the same—white paper to stamp and write on, an old random wooden stamp sentiment that fits both types of cards, a little writing room, and a strip of Specialty DSP running along the bottom. And I used some retired heart epoxy sticker gems on the inside of the Mother’s Day card as well. Both cards flip up to open rather than right to left.

I also added DSP to the envelope flaps since the cards are the nicer sort.

Now that both are done, I might like the simpler Mother’s Day card better, though I do love the Stained Glass die. But I’m thinking I should have kept the doilies closer to the diagonal on the friendship card so the overall look wouldn’t spread out so much. Well, next time, I guess. The sentiment may be my favorite thing about them anyway, the way it uplifts and encourages the recipients. The older I get, the more I see how important it is to do that for others. Whose day can you brighten this week?

Thanks again for stopping by to read and say hello! The products I used or suggested will be at the very bottom of the post, after the linked list of hop participants. Clicking on any of the thumbnails will take you right to my online store if you see something you’d like to purchase.

We have a great group with much talent hopping with us today! Be sure to go to the other blogs and see what my team members have created too. 🙂 You can follow the linking list through each person on each blog you visit.

To see what Terry Lynn Bright made this week, click the Previous button. To jump to Sue Prather’s blog, click Next.

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  1. Karen Ksenzakovic: https://wp.me/paaNf4-wU
  2. Mary Deatherage: https://wp.me/p5snyt-7OG
  3. Jaimie Babarczy: https://wp.me/p79UhD-2E8
  4. Julie Johnston: https://wp.me/p8SzmQ-2db

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Red Foxes in Winter Special Birthday Card

Back in the summer, I was asked to make a special birthday card for a special friend’s son who has a fondness for foxes—all shades and types. She gave me free creative rein and said she didn’t care what I did with the idea, but that he might like a red one. I considered several different fox stamps and stickers but finally chose a particular stamp that shows foxes in a wintry scene since his birthday was in February (“300-16 Red Foxes and Birches,” Stamps Rosa).

I’ve never really thought much about foxes in my life, other than thinking they’re beautiful animals in general, so I had no idea how to shade one. Coloring is something I’m still not comfortable with, because I feel like the concept of shading is one I haven’t begun to learn. Luckily for me, the wooden stamp I was using had a colored picture on the front that I just had to attempt to recreate! 🙂

First I had to choose the right paper, though, which evidently was not the bumpy watercolor paper I tried to stamp on first (twice). I knew that, but I was thinking of using my water-filled Aqua Painter on it and felt the paper would handle it. I liked the textured look of the watercolor paper too, but the image was too detailed to stamp cleanly with the bumps in the paper. Then I remembered Stampin’ Up’s Shimmery White cardstock, a must-have in my collection. It’s not any thicker than the rest of their cardstock (other than the aptly named “Thick” cardstock in the line), but it’s smooth and somehow holds up great with watercoloring–and it’s sparkly to boot (hence the “Shimmery” part of the name). Bonus for me was that the paper helped my snow scene sparkle.

Once I had the paper figured out and the stamp stamped correctly, I took my watercolor pencils and tried to emulate what I saw on the wooden stamp block. I had to mix a few shades to get that red fox coat color with the darker spots. After using the watercolor pencils, I took my Aqua Painter to it as planned and went back and forth between the two tools a few times until it felt right (because I have no idea what I’m doing, really. I’m assuming I’ll get better as I learn by trial and error).

After I was satisfied with the colors and the paper had basically dried, I went over the snow and snow-covered branches with my Clear Wink of Stella brush marker to bring back the sparkle to the snow that I’d ended up coloring over with the white pencil. (The sparkle shows through the color a little, but I really wanted the snow to glimmer.) Then I set aside the piece to dry while I figured out the rest of the card.

My favorite crafty thing to use these days are metal cutting dies. They’re simple, quick to use, and make things prettier or more elegant than I could come up with on my own. (They’re also faster for me than my Cricut.) I hang most of them on my wall and the back of my door on large magnetic sheets or vent covers so that I can easily walk over and try different sizes and shapes with whatever I’m wanting to cut out, rather than taking time to flip through a box and take die sets out of envelopes.

For this card, I looked at a bunch of large shapes, trying to decide whether to cut it into a type of oval or a fancy square or a rectangle. I ended up using one of my new sets from Spellbinders that hadn’t yet made it to my wall (Art Nouveau Designer Series “Water Lilies Decorative Element”), because it fit the image perfectly without making me cut it down too much (after all that hard work in coloring, I hated to do that!).

I debated whether to use a SU Cajun Craze cardstock base or a white base and which color to set off where. I ended up cutting several different colors of cardstock with the frame die to test them and see what worked. The card finally fell together color-wise when I brought in the darker wood-grain paper (SU “Country Lane” DSP) as a background to echo the dark shading in the picture. The dark complements the darker orangish-brown Cajun Craze well enough while keeping the same tones. With the white base, there was too much contrast and the frame jumped out at me rather than letting me focus on the colored image. So I ended up using a Cajun Craze base but covering the entire front with the wood grain and using a Cajun Craze frame on top and beneath the white colored image. (It’s a solid piece that gives a mat to whatever is inserted into the sides.)

This particular frame die acts like a gift card holder where the center flowers are, gently opening up and holding whatever is placed in the solid middle. That took some thinking, trying to measure and cut down the colored image so that it fit into that space under the flowers just right. The opening/middle rectangle is much larger than a gift card, but it’s the same idea…though this is only one way to use it.

The one thing I forgot to do to the test pieces was to make sure they were embossed well also. (One reason I love Spellbinders is because they have awesome sections of the dies that are intended to be embossed to give it a little something extra. I miss that feature when I use other brands.) So the embossing could have been done a little better in parts here, because I forgot to take that step to make it pop. I didn’t remember it until I’d mailed the card and noticed it in the pictures. In the photos above, perhaps you can see that the center flower pieces are more deeply etched than the corners above and below them. Next time…I shall remember next time. 🙂

My customer wasn’t picky about what to say on the inside either, other than asking me to write his name and theirs in it and mail it straight to him. So I had to dream up something based on other things she had said to me. After adding fox washi tape to the bottom of a white piece and then matting the paper onto a different kind of wood-grain patterned paper from a 6×6 pad (can’t remember which one now), I used three different stamp sets and another die to make the sentiment section. “A little expression of love” is from SU’s “Painter’s Palette,” “just for you” is from SU’s “From the Herd,” and “Happy birthday” is from MFT’s “LJD For the Boys” (part of the “Happy Birthday, Handsome” stamp). The die is among those in a retired nested set from SU called “Deco Labels.”

I used my stamping platform and its grid to line up the sentiments on the die-cut and stamp out a couple of test pieces in Cajun Craze ink to make sure they sat where I wanted them. (I had tried stamping right on the matted liner paper but I accidentally got ink where I shouldn’t have, so at that point I just had to cover it up because it was already adhered.)

After the sentiment box was stamped, I edged around the die-cut with my Cajun Craze Stampin’ Write Marker so it would stand out against the white paper. And, once again too late, I saw that the double fox spot on the washi piece. I didn’t create that intentionally; it’s just how it came off the roll. I wish I had seen it sooner; it bothers the part of me that prefers symmetry. 🙂 I also added two gold glitter hearts from MME (“Niche/On Trend Foam Stickers”) in the white space of the sentiment box.

I like how this one turned out even though it tested me at times and there are a couple of things I wish I could do differently. It’s always easier to make a similar card a second time. Maybe I’ll try to do one for the local gift shop. After all, I’m not completely convinced that winter is over with where I live.

Some of the Stampin’ Up items I used on this card are retired, but you can purchase the ink, cardstocks, and other current items through my online store if you want to try them (please use code 6WPHJ2MC at checkout unless your order is over $150). The thumbnails below will take you right there…and this is an awesome time to get them since Sale-a-bration is still going through the end of March. For every $50+ order before tax and shipping, you get to pick an item out of a select group of almost two dozen items and Stampin’ Up will send it to you for free with your order! Plus you’ll also get a free gift from me. 🙂 Please contact me if you have questions.

Thanks for visiting my blog! I truly appreciate my readers. ❤️ Have a lovely day! #neverstopmaking #mftstamps

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Petal Promenade and Mossy Meadow Custom Sympathy

I was recently commissioned to create a custom sympathy card for a woman’s special friend who lost her daughter. My customer and I texted about various options and decided to go with a green theme, the gold-foil “Sending Love & Sympathy” square sentiment by Anna Griffin that you see here, and the cream-backed embossed rose image on the left of the card.

Initially, the rose image was entirely cream-colored, but it just wasn’t showing up well once I backed it with the Petal Promenade Designer Series Paper from Stampin’ Up. It faded away in the background instead, which wasn’t good for a focal piece. So I brought out my retired Stampin’ Up chalks and lightly spread some corresponding chalk colors over the raised areas on the rose (hoping I wouldn’t get too heavy with it, as I only had one of it!). I used a couple of the chalk applicators that comes with the set, but I have also used Q-tips in the past. I think the rose was a scrap from a mass-produced card. I decided to upcycle it. 🙂

Technically, I created everything else first before I started coloring the rose. I got a piece of Mossy Meadow cardstock, measured what I would need for a 5×7 card, sliced off the excess, and scored it where needed. When I was looking for Mossy Meadow DSP (of which I do not have a lot) so I could match the card base, I found this grid paper in the retired Going Places pack from last year. I thought it would work perfectly for a subtle pattern with some movement, yet not be a plain solid and still work with a busier pattern on top of it.

The grid paper was the perfect paper once I spotted the current Petal Promenade DSP. I simply adore that paper pack. The different kinds of flowers in it are SO beautiful and realistic. My challenge for this card was to show some of the gorgeous paper but not overshadow the focal piece of the solitary rose.

Since I accidentally cut the rose piece a little shorter than necessary (initially thinking I’d be going with an A2-sized card), I then had to rethink how to do the Petal Promenade DSP. But showing a little more at the top and bottom did give a better idea as to what the paper looked like. I just decided to go with it and see where I ended up. I took the rose piece and moved it all around the edges of the 12×12 piece until I found which section of paper suited me best. I didn’t want the large ranunculus blooms to be right beside the rose bloom, and I was trying to precisely place the greens as well, so that pinks and purples showed also.

I also tied a scrap of 1/8″ velvet Blackberry Bliss ribbon around the stem section of the rose and kept the knot in place with a Bling Zot. Then I matted the gold-foil sentiment from Anna Griffin with a plain piece of SU Mossy Meadow cardstock so that the piece would show up better against the DSP and match the card base.

When “sketching” out the card in my head at the start, I “saw” the strip of paper and rose at the left and the block sentiment down on the lower right. After I made the card a 5×7, that empty space of just grid DSP seemed rather empty. I wanted something there to fill the space, but stamping was going to be difficult to accomplish with the paper being so dark. I decided to riffle through my doilies and other embellishments to see what I could put there to take up space, and I had some retired gold SU doilies that were just the right sizes. I chose two so I could extend the largest one out far enough to feel balanced in the space and then layered the smaller one atop it. Then I added a half of a small one underneath the sentiment as well.

I accented with Gold Faceted Gems from Stampin’ Up, which are current. There are a lot in the pack, so I’m in no danger of using them up yet, even though I’ve used several each time I craft with them. 🙂 The gems bring out the subtle gold foil in the sentiment.

On the inside of the card, I placed a random pink glitter paper strip I had been moving around my desk (it might be from a Martha Stewart 12×12 paper pack), and then, more intentionally, I cut out a blank, flowered sentiment square also from the Petal Promenade DSP pack. My customer and I had decided to use the Sylvana Rossetti quote from the retired SU Love and Sympathy stamp set, and it fit perfectly inside the square. I used Mossy Meadow for the ink color. I was thankful to have used my stamp platform so that I could reink it if I needed to (and I did).

Some of my Stampin’ Up team members like to decorate their envelopes. I do it once in a while, but I generally forget to by the time I create and am ready to photograph and move the card on its way. This time I really wanted to show more of that beautiful Petal Promenade paper and make the card really feel special and coordinating with its envelope, so I took the time to measure and cut a section for the flap. The paper is simply too pretty to hide, and this way it won’t cost extra at the post office, as doodads on the front of the card will (unless they are flat like images stamped onto it).

Thanks for stopping in to see my work! Below are some things that can be used to create a similar card.

Remember that for every $50 purchased from Stampin’ Up until March 31, you can get one free Sale-a-bration item! They have some fantastic choices for us, too. In addition, for every $50 spent, you also get a free item from me – your choice up to $10 worth. Please use my code JJBCPS4W when you order. It’s the best time of year for Stampin’ Up. You don’t want to miss this. 🙂

Happy crafting to you!

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Yes, Another Sympathy (a Decoupage One This Time)

A dry decoupage sympathy card using Stampin’ Up for everything but the main image (at last!).

The hits keep coming. Two more sympathies on my to-do list, along with a celebration theme for a blog hop. For these two, at least it’s a celebration of sorts, though sad now. Still, I feel muddled. My heart aches for them, so I went looking for something that spoke to me and seemed to reflect the people I’m thinking of. My “card toppers” bin bailed me out for the one I’m blogging about today. (The other, yet unmade, will focus on Stampin’ Up’s Graceful Glass vellum DSP and alcohol markers, so stay tuned for that.)

My mother used to say that I was “an accident waiting to happen.” She’d probably still say that, given the chance. That phrase came to me as I wrestled with this card. I began to feel like it was one accident after another. I love how it turned out in the end, but my goodness, the process! (This means there’s hope for me, right?) Another case of “when things don’t go well.” Please tell me you’d never know. 😉

One of my husband’s coworkers lost her dear husband last week, and it’s been such a sad thing. I wanted to make a beautiful card – part masculine in remembrance and part feminine for her – but had no idea where to start. Since I often clean or organize when I have a problem to mull over, that’s what I ended up doing, which led me to the main cross piece seen on the front of the card today.

Finding a brown card base to match the topper was easy; Stampin’ Up’s Baked Brown Sugar, a retired color, matched the foiled copper/silver/gold/burgundy/blue cross the best. I only have so many browns, and I usually use SU for my card bases since I like how the 80-lb weight cardstock stands. (I grab premade bases only if I start with the base first rather than the main image. It’s just easier to match it that way rather than working in reverse.)

During my cleaning spree, I was also looking at and putting away some new SU Designer Series Paper. So when I tried to find paper the cross could match, the blue piece was fresh in my mind and looked prettier than any other neutrals I put next to it. The blue paper is from the Tranquil Textures DSP pack in the current Annual Catalog from Stampin’ Up. It’s not a solid blue, but it it hard to tell that with the dry embossing I put on top of it to give the card some texture. I used the “Oxford” Cuttlebug folder for the textured design. I wanted something light and barely textured like Stampin’ Up’s Subtle embossing folder, but I don’t own that particular one yet.

Here’s where things got tricky. The card is a 5×7 because the cross is so tall. But because it’s narrow, there was a lot of “white space” around it. I don’t like white space (even if it’s blue). So I started to wonder what I could do or put next to the cross to take up the width. A sentiment would only be so big, as well as being awkward to work with around the 3D leaf layers toward the bottom, so I wasn’t sure that was the answer. I thought maybe I could make a decorative edge to the card front at the right instead. I could see it in my mind but wasn’t sure how to achieve it (story of my crafting life, btw). That seemed to be the best thing to try…but all my dies were too small to stretch across 7 inches. Nothing felt right. So that night I went to bed frustrated, having made only the card base and embossing the paper.

The next night I attempted to keep going on the card while I was on the phone. I should have known better. I spotted a long Spellbinders die on my die wall and got all excited because it would fit lengthwise. I didn’t think about the fact that ALL of the edges of the die does indeed cut…until I wrapped a card base around a Cuttlebug plate (so that I didn’t cut through the second layer), positioned the die, and wondered why an inch of the card base separated from itself after I ran it through the machine. (*insert facepalm here*) To my defense, I was still on the phone. LOL

So suddenly I had a card base with one side shorter than the other. That was not what was supposed to happen. Not to mention, the magnetic plate dinged up the middle of the card base, and the B plate left marks on the back side of the base, making it warped and weak. Sigh. Time to rethink. Maybe I needed to make a new card base.

I tried to process where to go next. The decorative edge thing hadn’t worked and I couldn’t think how to make it work other than an edge punch – if I made a new base. I’ve never tried the popsicle sticks I’ve heard about, to keep part of it from cutting, so I wasn’t sure how to do that either (again, on a new base). But I hated to destroy the one I’d just cut. What I did manage to do after thinking was flip the card base around (even though I’d folded it correctly after scoring the first time). That would give me a chance to add paper atop the marked-up part to hide it and also add some stability with the extra paper layers. I hoped. I also took my bone folder and tried to work out the middle bumps and crease it sharply.

Once the base was salvaged, I decided to play with the pieces and arrange them just to see what I could do. I ended up liking a little bit of breathing room between the die cut and the now-shorter edge of the card base, rather than placing the die cut right up against the piece it had just been cut from. And obviously if there’s a peekaboo die, something needed to peek through it underneath. I grabbed more blue DSP and left it as is on the inside of the card rather than embossing it for texture like the front.

I also realized that I needed to run the textured piece through the Cuttlebug again, as one side has trouble with a piece of paper I got stuck in the roller years ago. Part of the paper was hardly embossed, so I realigned it in the folder, flipped it around to the other side that impresses better, and ran it through again. Came out perfectly that time.

The trouble was that when I left that breathing room space between the die cut and the base, it was not centered once the card was opened. I didn’t like that. But it looked like I had enough room to add 1/8″ of ribbon or something else. I chose SU’s gold and white ribbon to match the cross and the browns and loved how it looked.

But then I couldn’t get it adhered. The ribbon is thin enough that the line of Art Glitter liquid glue I laid down soaked right into the ribbon. I wasn’t confident it wouldn’t end up slightly sticking to the inside of the card once it had been closed for a while. But as I told a friend last night, when a person has too much product in her house, she will find a way. I decided to use my Cosmo Cricket Glubers Adhesive Strips. I rarely use them, but sometimes they’re just the best option. They are 1/4″ strips, though, so I took my nonstick microscissors from CutterBee and cut right down one of the strips, eyeballing it to just under 1/8″. And then I placed it with my tweezers and stuck a new piece of ribbon to it. I was much happier with the inside then.

I decided not to stamp a sentiment on the inside yet. I needed to finish up and get to bed and I wanted to really look through my stamps to figure out what I wanted to say on the card. I will probably go back and add one later, but right now it’s blank.

I’ve spoken about dry decoupage in past blog posts. A reader had asked me to do a tutorial on how to do it, and I am working on that currently. I hope to post one soon. For now, here are a couple of closeups to be able to see the decoupage layers that make up the cross. I should have trimmed off the little perforation bumps more as I was making the topper, but it’s probably too late to fix it now.

The cross has several layers of dimension to it in the squares as well as the leaves, which made it interesting to put together. And the leaves are the top layer.

Thanks again for coming to visit my blog! I appreciate your readership!

A Quick-and-Easy Thank-You Card for Amy’s Inkin’ Krew

For my second time “hopping” with Amy’s Inkin’ Krew on Tuesdays, I chose a simple thank-you card that anyone can make.

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Hello! It’s time (somehow) for my second team blog hop with Amy’s Inkin’ Krew! This month’s theme is “Giving Thanks,” so I have a simple thank-you card to share today. It didn’t take much time at all, and it’s one anybody can make!

I’ve remarked in past posts how difficult thank-you cards seem to be for me to get out on time. I found a new way to help speed up the process. This kind of card always brings out the scrapbooker in me. First, there is no stamping on it at all. And second, I used a front piece that is part of a 12″x12″ piece of decorative paper from American Crafts (item # 320490) that I picked up at JoAnn Fabrics in the open-stock paper section some months back. The paper included twelve different “seed packets” that said various things. All show flowers or a type of plant. You can see another example of one here. I merely cut them apart with my trimmer and sorted them by type before filing them for later. They weren’t all about gratitude, but I did set those aside so I could reach them quickly in an effort to get them onto cards and out the door faster. 🙂

So since I knew what main piece I was using, I just built the rest of the card from there, using the colors I saw. I had a retired piece of Stampin’ Up 80-lb cardstock (possibly Bashful Blue) that I cut into two bases, using one for this card and saving the other for later. I chose it because of the tiny little circle flowers behind the orange poppies (if they are poppies). I had to try out several versions of patterned paper for other layers between them to see what looked best. The little orange-and-yellow flowered patterned piece directly underneath is from a pack of retired Designer Series Paper from Stampin’ Up. I had always wondered what I was going to use that scrap piece for. It fit just right. 🙂 The neutral chevrons are from an Art-C Ephemera Pack. It was the only cardstock in the pack and I just wanted to use it up so I didn’t have to keep awkwardly storing it in the package. A bonus was that it toned down the orange flowers and grounded everything with its “neutralness.”

It was actually hardest to figure out the arrangement of the pieces after I knew what matched. I was not following a sketch, instead just making it up as I went along. I rearranged things several times and eventually decided that it was too plain as is – no embellishments?? – so I wanted to add the Pool Party Thick Baker’s Twine (the closest color I had to the blue base)…but I didn’t like any place I put it overtop the seed packet design. And the layers were a little too boring for me just one after another. (Though, granted, that would have been even easier and faster to make!) So I placed the seed packet piece above the chevrons and left a large space for the baker’s twine to go across as a decorative detail. Thankfully I thought ahead a little bit, because I realized before I glued it down that the baker’s twine (rightfully called “Thick”) is difficult to place underneath patterned paper without gaining a large bump in the paper and awkward gluing. That’s where the foam pop-up dots come in.

I used my ATG tape gun to adhere the seed packet to the chevron piece, leaving the top portion unglued, so that it essentially became one piece instead of two. Then I put pop-up dots on the back side of both papers regardless of where they overlapped. Before taking off the backing paper of the pop-up dots, I fed the twine under the chevron layer and arranged where I wanted it to lay in the end. Then I carefully took up the unattached background and pulled off the pop-up dots before placing it down just as carefully (and hopefully straight). I tied the ends of the twine into a bow and moved on.

To bring a little more detail to the card, I wanted to bring out the little dots in the centers of the orange flowers (Merriam Webster tells me those things are called “anthers,” so I learned something tonight). My first thought was to use my liquid Ranger’s Inkssentials Enamel Accents bottle of black, which dries nicely with a bit of a 3D idea off the paper; however, I didn’t have a lot of time and I would have had to move other things to get to it. I had a bottle of Ranger’s Adirondack Dimensional Pearls in the Espresso color nearby that I hoped was dark enough to get the look I wanted without being too off-color. It is more like a lovely chocolate brown, but it seemed to dry a little darker, and since there wasn’t much of it on the card anyway, it worked out well. So well that at first I thought I had used the Enamel Accents after all, when I started writing this post. 🙂 I just slowly worked a little out of the bottle and dabbed the tip near or to the so-called anthers, before putting it aside and letting it dry overnight. They still dried a little “puffy” like I had wanted for texture.

With the inside, I knew I would be writing a long note, because it was also going to be a “catching up on life since I haven’t called” kind of card. So I just used the smallest scrap of chevron paper and glued it horizontally on the bottom of the inside. (And then I ended up writing on it anyway, so I probably should have just left it off.)

So that’s it. To recreate the card, just find one of those 12″x12″ sheets (I’ve seen several kinds now since I bought the first one), cut it apart, and find paper and string to match it. And decorate otherwise if you wish. Easy-peasy. 🙂

Thanks for joining me today! To continue “hopping” with the Krew, you can click the “Next” (forward) button to view Shirley Gentry’s card or the “Previous” (backward) button to view Linda Richenberg’s takes on “Giving Thanks.” I have such amazing team members who do wonderful work. Please be sure to check them out. 🙂 See you next time!

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If you get lost or want to hop around the participants, here is the lineup of Krew members:

  1. Julie Johnston
  2. Karen Finkle
  3. Karen Ksenzakovic
  4. Jaimie Babarczy
  5. Linda Richenberg
  6. Connie Troyer (you are here!)
  7. Shirley Gentry
  8. Mary Deatherage
  9. Sue Prather
  10. Aurora Lopez
  11. Amy Koenders

Cornflower-Blue/Cream/Tan Anna Griffin Sympathy Card with Gold Foil

Another sympathy card to share.

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Although I do have other themes than just sympathy coming up (I promise!), it’s sort of where I’m stuck for a few more days. Just so many of them to make lately 😦 , and I’ve hardly had any time in the craft room because of editing projects. I have a feeling it’s going to be a busy fall too. But. I do have this simple offering tonight (that I have to post before I start “hopping” around elsewhere), mailed a few weeks ago now.

This card was for a dear friend/former roommate who lost her young husband recently. I wanted something reminiscent of a masculine idea but also to incorporate blue, as that was always her favorite color. And I wanted something that hearkened to their relationship, something beautiful and giving an idea of romance. And I didn’t have a lot of time to create it. (I actually worked on it in at least two snatches of time.) Tall order, I guess.

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I started off by going to my “cheat box”: a photo box I’ve filled with premade or prescored card bases, so that when I’m short on time, I can simply pluck one out of there. I’ve either already done the work on it or bought it usable. Although I prefer to use Stampin’ Up cardstock (80-lb. weight) for my card bases, I do also have a stash of printed American Crafts and DCWV bases (thank you, Marijane). So I found one that was flowery (romantic), tan (somber/masculine), and blue (the whole point) and hoped I could make it work.

I find printed bases harder to create with. There’s not much difference between a plain base that I top with patterned paper or a printed base, but I always find the latter harder to pull together into a card. But they are lovely and useful, so I keep trying.

I had a random scrap of blue flowered paper hanging around that seemed to match the color on the base fairly well, so I wanted to use it somehow. (I think it might be very retired SU DSP.) And I had sorted through my set of Anna Griffin sentiment tags and toppers beforehand to pull out ones that could work with sympathy cards, since it seems to be the “season” for that. This one spoke to me the most for her because of what she means to me and how the news affected me. Plus I liked how the gold foil in the sentiment matched the tan in the base.

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So I found some SU cardstock that coordinated, used an EK Success edge punch on one side of a long strip for the middle, and matted the sentiment with the same. (I think it’s either Crumb Cake or Tip Top Taupe cardstock.) And as I look at the pictures here, I’m wondering if I didn’t match the top and bottom bronze pearls after all (both in size and color). I meant to…. I remember thinking that the smaller size of pearl looked better next to the flowers; it didn’t take up as much room. And I already had the big one stuck at that point. Must have been more in a hurry than I thought and forgot to switch it out. (Or maybe it’s the angle of the pictures?) Erg. Well, I can’t ask for it back now. I never claimed to be perfect anyway. It’s handmade, right?

I did have some fun rummaging through my random flower canister for ones I could use on the front of the card so it wouldn’t be so plain. I nested a tiny cream one inside a couple of layers of white ones to bring in the cream-colored background of the sentiment and topped it off with a champagne-colored pearl. And of course I had to use blue flowers. This arrangement and color scheme seemed to work best. The dark blue flower is fabric ribbon with a gem in the middle of it, and the light blue rose is a rougher blend.

I chose the same SU cardstock from the front for the inside, since the inside of the card base was white. I matted the left-hand sentiment with cream for contrast. Both stamps were inked with an Encore Gold Metallic pad and heated with a heat gun afterward. The left-hand sentiment is from a retired SU set called “Words of Wisdom,” and the one on the right is from the retired SU set “Thoughts and Prayers.” I used a gold border strip from the retired SU “Painted Love Gold Vinyl Stickers” from the last catalog down one side and edge-punched the other with the EK punch from the front.

So that’s it for this one. I’m glad I’ve actually managed to mail it. Still working on that for some of the others. 😛 More to come later. Back to my edit for now. The juggling continues!

Berry-and-Blue Birthday 3D Decoupage Quilt Card

A quick decoupage birthday card I created before bedtime.

Last night I attempted to go to bed a little earlier, but I still had some time to kill before actually turning in (the brain was still restless, looking for something to amuse itself with).

I had wandered into the craft room for something else and ended up stumbling upon this Log Cabin quilt paper remnant on the desk while putting some things away. And oddly enough, there was matching SU designer series paper and cardstock right beside it in a heap intended for quilt cards for the local gift shop. Not for the particular card they ended up creating, but at least they’re being used, right?

I’ve also started keeping a new organizational system for pieces I can grab and adhere to cards quickly, trying to speed up my creative process. So before I stacked any layers together, I turned to my “Card Toppers to Use” drawer and this 3D flowered circle was the first one I pulled out. And it even mostly matches. 🙂 Just had to decide how to utilize the card front’s space.

This was the arrangement that seemed most pleasing to me – and I even ended up using a very retired color of SU cardstock for the base and middle layer as a plus! (No idea what color it is…it was an In-Color back 10-15 years ago! I haven’t researched it.)

The 3D pieces are some of my favorite ones to make. It’s so relaxing to sit there and fiddle while talking or listening to something else. And they’re pretty impressive up close.

I had a pack of gold Dazzles sentiments on my desk in the heap as well, so I cut apart a “Happy Birthday” one to make it fit better, and it went on easily. I refrained from adding any Wink of Stella or bling bits, as the card front is busy enough already.

The inside of the card is simply a scrap of border paper from a UK magazine (love those!) and a sentiment from a Studio 112 clear stamp set on top of a remnant of white. I used Stampin’ Up’s Sweet Sugarplum ink for the saying.

This card feels supremely satisfying to me. It didn’t take me long at all to create it from start to finish – maybe 20-30 minutes? – and even though I was just throwing bits of random things together, it turned out to be something pretty. I think that method is actually my favorite way of creating and also turns out my most creative works, making something out of nothing missing any semblance of sense at the start. 🙂

I’m not sure who is going to end up with this card, so it’s currently for sale if someone wants it. It may end up at the gift shop otherwise, if they like it enough. 🙂