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 Cuttlebug plate around the card base (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″, though, so I took my nonstick microscissors from CutterBee and cut right down the middle of one of the strips, eyeballing it. 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 probably 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’ll have another post in a couple of days about some kind of celebration for our blog hop group (I haven’t made the card yet to know what kind it will be!) I appreciate your readership!

With Deepest Sympathy, Yellow Flowers and Butterflies

Thanks for visiting my blog today. Unfortunately (of sorts), I’m back with another sympathy card today. They just are not ending! It’s a good thing cards are beautiful. There has to be something redeeming about this season.

I consider this card to have two recipients. It was first intended to go to a dear friend who lost her grandmother – but in my hit-and-miss-mostly-miss craft room time as of late, I’d managed to lay it out but not glue it together before seeing her at an event. So I showed her a picture. She seemed to love it and then told me to mark sending it off my to-do list. Best news ever! …And then a couple of days later I heard about the passing of a longtime church member. 😦 I sadly trudged back up to the craft room and glued it together (being very thankful I was that far along considering my utter lack of time), and I mailed it off this week to his widow. Sigh. So many people to lose lately. I don’t like it one bit. But I hope I can bring some comfort and a bit of beauty by remembering and praying for those left behind.

The card mechanics are pretty simple. White A2 card base with scraps of Stampin’ Up’s Always Artichoke (dark green) behind some leftover SU Designer Series Paper (DSP). I don’t remember the name of the pack it came out of; I just saw this decently sized piece and thought it was pretty enough to use as a focal point. Initially it was a complete rectangle, but I had thought to echo the cut-out corners in the sentiment. Alas, I grabbed the wrong punch…and then forgot to “highlight” the corner with a pearl or gem, though I did sprinkle a few pearls elsewhere. Oh well. You wouldn’t have known, right?

The two butterflies came from generous RAKs (Random Acts of Kindness) from crafty acquaintances I’ve never actually met (but I love how Facebook brings us together…), so I can’t tell you what designers or machines they are from. They are stunning, though. The big yellow one came already assembled, and I have two more like it in other colors to use at a later date. I topped the littlest butterfly with two tiny pearls as well.

The “With Deepest Sympathy” tag came from a pack of sentiments that I’ve now used the last of. (*cheer*) I got it years ago at JoAnn Fabrics in one of those premade card sections like David Tutera or somebody. Pretty easy.

The inside was stamped in Stampin’ Up’s Mellow Moss ink (retired). There are a few favorite colors that I just love and continue to use. This one matches a lot of things I create with and has a good muted, vintage vibe to it.

The stamp on the left came from a retired Stampin’ Up set called Words of Wisdom. It has a lot of great Bible verses and sayings.

The stamps on the right are both from a favorite polyclear Hero Arts sympathy stamp set. I go to it often, but it was my first time using that flower. It stamped beautifully and I will be returning to it in future cards.

So that’s it for this one, a classic, beautiful card made with randomness that pulled together well in the end – despite my missing corner. 🙂 I hope it brings some comfort to the recipient to be thought of since I couldn’t make it to the services. ❤️

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In Stampin’ Up news, we’re gearing up for the November 1 release of the suite called Snowflake Showcase. These products will all be sold separately – no bundle – and will be available for sale for ONE MONTH ONLY in November. There are two stamp sets, a gorgeous die set, little metal snowflake trinkets that are a little flatter than ones they’ve had in the past (which makes them perfect for mailing on a card or including in a scrapbook), and flocked white “velvet” paper. I personally can’t wait to use that paper. 🙂 A similar treatment is used in the Santa’s Workshop DSP and Memories and More Card Pack for highlighted little bits like candy canes and Santa’s hat, and it feels amazing! Just so pretty and a fun detail to touchable cards. Below are pictures of the upcoming release. Once items sell out, that’s it! So be sure you get them sooner rather later if you’re interested.

If I can help you order, you can find my Stampin’ Up shop link in my sidebar or at https://www.stampinup.com/ecweb/default.aspx. I’m happy to be your demonstrator and get you awesome products so you can create special things. 🙂 Thanks for considering me!

Happiness Surrounds stamp set
Snow Is Glistening stamp set
Snowfall Thinlits Dies
Snowflake Trinkets
White Velveteen Paper

 

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