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 have a card base with one side shorter than the other. That’s 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 Glitter Art 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!

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. 🙂

A Special 3D Decoupage Unicorn Birthday Card (with Magical Day and Beautiful Peacock)

A Special Unicorn Birthday Card for a Special Birthday Girl

I’m on book deadline again, so I haven’t had a whole lot of craft time, but when one’s only niece is turning another year older and one is attending her party, one must also make a special birthday card.

The kiddo loves horses, so I remembered just in time that I had an internationally printed sheet of dry decoupage with a unicorn on it. Close enough, I hoped. Besides, who doesn’t love unicorns right now? And even better, making the decoupage card was simpler than dreaming up something new. I’d been having trouble deciding which direction to go anyway. These decoupage pieces make fabulous card fronts once they are put together. There’s not usually room for much else.

Unfortunately, this particular unicorn was not one of the easy, perforated, die-cut ones. I hate trimming off those little bumps, but they sure are faster. So I attacked this unicorn with my best CutterBee micro scissors and went to fussy-cutting. After that, I cut or attached appropriately sized pop-up (foam) pieces. I used the Stampin’ Up ones for this project, both the regular hexagon size and the mini hexagons. And when I needed smaller bits for the legs, I just cut one down to what I needed. The trickier part is lining up all the cut paper layers so the ones beneath don’t show. I may or may not have completely succeeded at that. 🙄

Once the unicorn was cut, fastened, and done, I just had to choose complimentary paper and cardstock. Kiddo also loves purple, I was told strongly on her birthday wish list (another reason this unicorn would work, because of the background). The Marvelous Magenta cardstock color was one of the best color-matching choices for the card base from my stash, and I had already pulled the ombré teal/purple geometric-patterned paper from a Recollections pad a couple of weeks ago, in case I wanted to use it for her card. I stumbled upon it again just in time. I rummaged a bit through my specialty paper drawer (a special unicorn for a special birthday deserves special paper, right?) and found a glittered corrugated cardboard/cardstock I’d never had the right feeling about before, and then I found a soft pink-and-purple paper that felt like it could be mulberry paper or handmade paper. Had to be extra careful not to crease it – they won’t come out! I decided how I wanted to layer them and cut each slightly larger than the last, for an A2 card base size. I cut the glittered cardboard from behind so I didn’t dull my blade – and I had to trim off the side fuzzies from the soft paper after I cut it.

I adhered all the layers together with my ATG tape gun, hoping it would hold over the glittered piece (so far, so good)…and then I sat back, looked at it, and wanted to tinker. I ended up using my clear Wink of Stella glitter pen on the unicorn’s mane and tail. It’s super difficult to see in photos, but it dried nicely and is visible in person. I didn’t think there was enough room for a birthday message on the front, and I didn’t want to interrupt the beauty of the scene, so I didn’t add anything else.

For the inside, I found a square piece of white cardstock laying in the random remnant pile that seems permanently next to my desk, but it wasn’t quite long enough, so I just trimmed off more geometric-patterned paper to put underneath it. It tied in with the front that way anyway. Then the square white piece looked too bland, so I took an old Marvy corner punch to all four corners.

I had thought about a different inside sentiment, but time was ticking and bedtime should have already been, so I went looking for something I wouldn’t have to custom-create. I had been reminded earlier in the day from Pinterest or one of my crafty FB groups about the “Magical Day” sentiment from a stamp set of the same name, so I figured a unicorn was “magical” enough to make that work. And the “Beautiful Peacock” stamp set from SU was right next to the first one on the shelf. So the “Today is all about you” line became a birthday sentiment. I used my Tim Holtz Stamping Platform to line up and stamp the two sentiments. Thankful I did, too, because I had to reink both. Then, just for good measure, I hand-stamped an 11 on the inside because I usually put what year she’s turning on her cards. I had just gotten that number stamp set free from White Rose Crafts LLC in my order with them. It arrived that day! So much fun when that happens. 😁

Cardmakers seem to remember to decorate the envelopes more frequently than I do…but I remembered this time! And I love how it turned out. I stamped the unicorn and the stars from the “Magical Day” stamp set in SU Coastal Cabana and Marvelous Magenta inks to match. I definitely need to remember to decorate them more often.

So there we have it, something that took me about two hours in the middle of the night – it looks crazy simple, doesn’t it? But the decoupaging can take some time to cut and fasten together if fussy-cutting is required. It’s okay. I enjoy it, and she’s more than worth it. ❤️

***