Flowery Eiffel Tower Love Card with Stampin’ Up’s Forever Blossoms, Parisian Beauty, and Last a Lifetime for Stamp with Amy K’s Tuesday Blog Hop

Enjoy a bit of France and flowers as we gear up for all things “love-ly” for Valentine’s Day!

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Whew! That’s a long blog title. (And I didn’t even add all the stamp sets!) Maybe you know by now that my preferred style is lots of details and fuss—complication is somehow my specialty. I’ve used all current Stampin’ Up products in my card today, and there are quite a few. Thank you so much for coming to my post! Thumbnails of the products I used will be at the end of post, and clicking them will take you to my online store for more details.

The theme for Stamp with Amy K’s blog hop for this month is “love.” Well, I have a “love” for all things France, so when I was thinking about current Stampin’ Up product I already own that I could create with, of course I turned to the Eiffel Tower. And flowers. I love flowers too. They’re my go-to any time of year. I didn’t have anyone particularly in mind when I created this card; it will likely go to my local gift shop for sale soon. The idea of it came to me while I was driving the other day. The background has changed since, but ideas do that in this craft room. 🙂

I started with an A2 (4.5″ x 5.5″) Thick Whisper White card base and then eyeballed and cut a slightly smaller separate piece of regular Whisper White for a layer on the top. The margin difference is between 1/8″ and 1/16″ because one was too big and the other was too small. I dry-embossed this separate piece with the Subtle 3D Embossing Folder first in one direction, and then I flipped the paper and embossed it in the other direction, which gives it a crosshatched look. I tucked a piece of 1/4″ Petal Pink Metallic-Edge Ribbon around the edges slightly higher than the middle, gluing them on the back side, and then glued my embossed piece down to the card base. (Well, technically, I did a lot of the steps backward, including that part, but do as I say, not as I did!)

The focal part of my card front is the large flower stamp from the Forever Blossoms Cling Stamp Set, surrounded by an embossed die-cut made from the Heirloom Frames Dies and Heirloom Frames 3D Embossing Folders, with the Eiffel Tower stamp from the Parisian Beauty Cling Stamp Set and die-cut flowers from the Cherry Blossoms Dies offset to the side.

I knew I wanted to use Alcohol Blends on the flowers and leaves, but I don’t like coloring large sections with the Blends and making lines, so I felt like watercoloring the background would be best for me. I used the Balmy Blue watercolor pencil in the Assortment 2 pack and an Aqua Painter. (Truthfully, I forgot to color the background until after I’d already distractedly glued the piece to the back of the oval once my flowers were done, so don’t do that. Color it all first; then cut and glue.) Since we can use Memento Tuxedo Black to hold in the colors of the alcohol markers BUT Memento is water-based and will run when touched with water during watercoloring, I decided I’d better heat-emboss some embossing powder on the image after stamping with VersaMark so that I could do both techniques. I’d wanted to try out Stampin’ Up’s new Shimmer White and Shimmer Black Stampin’ Emboss Powders anyway.

I’m actually really impressed with those new embossing powders. I didn’t expect to see the holographic flecks in them, and that feature turns out some neat highlights. The Shimmer White is, of course, white when embossed, but there’s also a mix of silver and holographic flecks that don’t meld together when heated, unlike the white and black colors themselves. And the Shimmer Black includes flecks of silver, magenta, green, blue, and something yellowy that sit subtly on top of the black. The ones in the black are very hard to pick up in the lighting when showing a card, but they’re fun to see. After I heat-embossed the Eiffel Tower with the Shimmer Black, I think my jaw actually fell open—it looked like it was sparkling with diamonds!

When I was working on the oval, I had trouble getting the embossing perfectly centered in the die-cut, and that bothered me—and it also took up more of the card front that way, room I needed—so I trimmed off the excess around the crimped part. It lays flatter now anyway without the extra border edge. Once I had that done, I used it to figure out how I wanted to show my flowers inside it. They are stamped at an angle. I actually had a different angle chosen, but I didn’t glue it in the same way I had set it, so watch that if you do it. Mark a place at the top so you don’t twist it too far to the side. I cut a small section of Shimmery White Cardstock for the flowered piece, which you can see some of in the blue background in closeups. This card is quite shimmery everywhere you look!

To color the flowers, I used my Dark Petal Pink, Light Granny Apple Green, and Dark Granny Apple Green Alcohol Blends, as well as the Color Lifter. I tried to work with the Ivory too, but I had to lift the color right out of it because it felt too dark on the buds I colored. (I used to have a Light Petal Pink Blend and wanted to use it, but at the last show where I was a vendor, the cap didn’t get put back on correctly and I didn’t catch it until it had already dried out. So I have to order a new one.) When I colored the flowers, I went over the centers and extended the color some with the Dark Petal Pink first, then lightly went over everything with the same marker, and then took the Color Lifter to the outside edges of the flowers or buds. I would have also liked to have left some white on the flowers to look more like the DSP in the Parisian Blossoms Specialty Designer Series Paper, but it just didn’t work out that way. The embossing on the flowers and leaves is really where all the shading and shadowing is, so it felt more like reverse coloring as I worked with it. There’s not a lot of space in the flowers that isn’t embossed. I did color right over the embossing, and it does not rub off (though I did not intentionally test that when it was wet).

The Parisian Beauty stamp set is one I won with my Prize Patrol number at November’s OnStage conference, and I hadn’t ordered the matching Parisian Dies yet because I already have a Bigz Eiffel Tower die and several stamp sets having to do with France. In my mind, I saw the SU die-cut at the side of the card and thought I had bought the set until I went looking and remembered. Stampin’ Up’s die-cut is much prettier than the other die I have, so I will be ordering the Parisian Dies after all. For today’s card, though, I had to fussy-cut the stamped/embossed image.

I used the Cherry Blossom dies for the flowers on top of the Eiffel Tower. The stamens and star center were cut out of Champagne Foil and the flowers themselves out of Petal Pink cardstock. I actually doubled the littlest blossom, sandwiching the foil in between to make sure it stayed where it was supposed to. I wanted the blossoms to curl up a bit and had to use the tip of my Tombow Mono Liquid Glue to get the curves I imagined, instead of my large ball tool that was “somewhere.” The dies emboss curving lines in the flowers when cut, as well.

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I popped up the Eiffel Tower with Mini Dimensionals to help the height of the knot at the edge of the card, so some of the cherry blossoms on top of it are glued flat and some have been half glued flat and half popped up. The littlest blossom actually has two half Mini Dimensionals at the right and is glued on top of the others otherwise. I knotted a small bow with the 1/4″ Petal Pink Metallic-Edge Ribbon (the last of my sample from OnStage!) and used glue dots under it, on top of the ribbon that was wrapped around to the back, to keep it in place.

To finish the card front, I used the “Always thinking of you” sentiment from the Very Versailles Cling stamp set and stamped it in Jet Black Staz-On ink on a scrap of Thick Whisper White cardstock (with no embossing either way). The Staz-On ink seems darker than the Tuxedo Black Memento ink, and since I had such a dark Eiffel Tower, I didn’t want to go halfway on my ink. To my surprise and delight, my Simply Shammy removed the Staz-On ink from my stamp with just a little scrubbing. Now I don’t have to drag out the pungent Staz-On Cleaner and do the whole paper towel mess! Hooray!

I also used my new Paper Trimmer and even the new Mini Cutter to trim up the sentiment scrap and the first version of my Subtle-embossed piece. The Mini Cutter is only available to demonstrators and those who become demonstrators during Sale-a-Bration, so if you want one, you’ll need to sign up to get it and some other goodies (but I promise it’s worth it!).

The inside of the card is hiding an oops, but I got a lot more creative with what you see versus what I had, so I’m happy about that mistake. I used the largest of the Painted Labels Dies to cut my “label” for the sentiment out of Sahara Sand cardstock. I stamped the “Sending All My Love” sentiment from the Last a Lifetime Cling Stamp Set in Jet Black Staz-On, using my Stamparatus. And then I glued more Champagne Foil to three more blossoms of various sizes (star centers and stamens, both) to two corners of the label. I did not curve those blossoms. 🙂

All in all, I’m pretty happy with this card. I hope you like it too. Please leave me a comment and let me know what you think or what you would have done differently—or any questions you may have. Just for fun, I’ve included a picture of the “clean and simple” version of this card to show you what it would look like without the flowers. Somehow it’s a very different feel! Nothing was glued down yet when I took the photo.

We have a very talented team creating for you today, so please “hop” around to the others on this list to see what they made! If you hit the “Previous” button, you’ll go back to Mary Deatherage’s blog, or you can go “Next” to Akiko Sudano’s offering. Both women create amazing cards! Or you can skip around with the links below—you’ll find many you like. 🙂

PreviousNext

  1. Karen Ksenzakovic – https://wp.me/paaNf4-1uG
  2. Shirley Gentry – https://stampinwithshirleyg.com/?p=10221
  3. Mary Deatherage – https://wp.me/p5snyt-aZ2
  4. Connie Troyer – You are here!
  5. Akiko Sudano – https://wp.me/paOv8E-KT
  6. Jaimie Babarczy – https://wp.me/p79UhD-3wt
  7. Karen Finkle – https://karenscardkorner.blogspot.com/2020/01/stampin-up-parisian-beauty-for-amys.html
  8. Sue Prather – https://wp.me/p5yitZ-1I8
  9. Leslie Larkin – https://leslielarkin.com/heart-to-heart-bundle-for-amys-inkin-krew-team-blog-hop/
  10. Amy Koenders – https://wp.me/p2SFwf-idu

And if you are interested in the products I used on this card, I’ve added them to the next list, and the thumbnails are direct links to my online store for more information or purchasing.

If you wish to purchase something from my online store, please use the host code WAA2PGYR during checkout. Orders of $50 before tax and shipping also gets you a free gift of your choice worth up to $8, from me to you as my thanks. 🙂 (You’ll also get a free Sale-a-Bration item from Stampin’ Up with every order of $50 before tax and shipping!) If you’re interested in becoming a demonstrator and want to sign up with a great time, I’d love to have you join mine—and Sale-a-Bration is the best time to do it! Recruits who join before March 31, 2020, will receive the brand-new (only available here) Mini Cutter (which is a guillotine-style trimmer), a 6″x6″ sampler pack of Designer Series Paper (48 sheets of most of the DSP from the Mini catalog), a free stamp set of their choice, $125 worth of items for $99, and more. I’ve never regretted it!

SAB recruit pic

Thank you again for stopping by to see what I created today!

Connie

 

Product List

 

Wonderful Moments Bride Card for Bridal Shower, Wedding, or Anniversary

A bridal card for love-themed needs!

 

Welcome to another post for Amy K’s Inkin’ Krew Blog Hop for Tuesday, January 8! This month we are featuring the theme of love with Stampin’ Up products.  I’m making wedding and anniversary cards for my local gift shop right now (along with other themes and random custom orders), so I was very excited to join this hop!

For several days now, I thought I knew what I was going to create for this blog. In the end, I did stick to my original (barely fleshed-out) idea, but did I ever find ways to complicate it. (I always do.) I definitely should have started on it earlier. But I had craft room organization on my mind this week and I got to it when I got to it.

I was able to use several current SU products as well as a couple of retired products and ones from other companies (oops!). The focal point of the card is the bride stamp from the “Wonderful Moments” stamp set, set off by a lace oval from the Delightfully Detailed Laser-Cut Specialty Paper pack and a background of Petal Promenade DSP.

The laser-cut paper is vanilla on one side and white on the other. Since my card base was white and the bride’s dress would be too, I chose to use the vanilla side of the lace oval. And then I decided it needed something else. It felt too plain and too neutral. I kept “seeing” pink with this stamp and card, but the last two wedding cards I created had pink hues in them, so I tried to use other colors.

I have to keep trying. I did manage to sneak in an orange and a dark purple…but there’s still pink. So when I was looking at the oval and trying out colors in my head, I started sponging Bundled Sage Distress ink onto it, thinking winter colors. But then I picked up Tattered Rose and sponged it on too. (Evidently those colors should have gone on in the reverse order.) I added a second layer and different sponging before I was done. And then I got an idea, when I realized that the ink was drying slowly enough to get onto my hand as I held the card. (This is subconscious Pinterest at work in my brain, I think. Lol!)

One of the retired products in my stash that I need to use more of is our Iridescent Ice Stampin’ Emboss Powder. I’ve only used it in small bits until now…but I remembered seeing others do a whole-scene kind of treatment with it. I wasn’t even entirely sure I remembered how this product worked since I bought it late in the game, but the paper was definitely ready to be treated – it was still inky. My friend E assured me that I could indeed use Distress inks for embossing. So I got out my catch-all tray and my coffee filter and proceeded to pour the Iridescent Ice powder overtop (hoping I was making the right decision and not ruining a lovely piece of paper) and then heat embossed it, as the label suggested, three times  before I finally saw the powder changing and understood what it was going to look like or do.

Turns out I love this look. It reminds me of our Dazzling Diamonds Glimmer Paper except it’s not as thick and has slightly different colors. I’ll have to try this technique again sometime. I also appreciate how the pink and green sponged inks are still coming through the translucentness of the embossing powder. It’s faint, but it works.

With the lace oval paper finished, I turned my attention to the bride stamp. I chose Archival Basic Gray ink because it felt like black would be too harsh and bold against the soft oval. I had to stamp the bride several times with my stamp platform because it was the first time I’d used the stamp and I hadn’t prepared it even though I know better. So my outline got a little thicker than I’d intended.

After she was stamped, I watercolored the bride’s hair, skin, bow, and flowers with watercolor pencils and used an AquaPainter on those places afterward. For the dress, I decided to experiment with some Nuvo Crystal Drops (Ivory Seashell color) new to my stash. Since that is also translucent, I was hoping it would soften the lines of the dress if I covered them with the liquid. I later went back over the dress again, using a paintbrush to smooth out the Drops on the paper. I also took Wink of Stella to the bride’s bouquet (though I erred first and grabbed my White instead of my Clear. Once it dried, I realized what I had done and went back over the bouquet with Clear as well.) It sparkles more in person than in the photo.

So I had one finished oval and one watercolored, Nuvoed bride. I wasn’t sure how to treat the background behind her. In my mind I had seen her on white, but that seemed far too plain now. I thought of putting a watercolor pencil down as a background but couldn’t settle on which color. Blue for sky? (So she’s out in the open, looking at nothing?) Or some kind of background stamp to imitate wallpaper or wood planks? I then decided to think about the Graceful Glass vellum and hit upon an idea I’ll use at a later date, before the vellum led me to looking through my current DSP. I ended up fussy-cutting around her and placing her on patterned paper so I wouldn’t have to mask her for a background stamp or risk ruining something.

The paper I chose to use feels most like a sunset in front of my bride, and it even matched the flowers, hair, and bow I had colored before viewing this paper pack. (That actually happens to me a lot!) Because that was my best background option thus far, I cut (and then recut, due to first error) a notecard/A1 size of paper where the jagged stripe in the paper best flowed beside her dress and body posture. Once I had the background paper glued to the notecard card base, I played with the placement of my bride, attempting to center her and play off the “sunset stripe” to its best advantage while trying to cover the bottom of the dress with the sentiment I intended on using. (Many thanks to patient E for this stage, who was with me on video chat while I created the card!)

Something then made me think about the Rose Metallic Thread I had stored with my baker’s twine, and I decided to do a bow of some sort.  I’m not very good at bows with delicate threads yet. I ended up laying ATG tape on the back of the sentiment and looping it around and sticking to the tape however it looked the best to me.

The gold-and-white “Best Wishes” sentiment came from a resist coloring pack from another maker. I just left it as is, since I had enough color going on already. It fit with the “brown” tones of the card anyway. The gold on the sentiment appears to have been embossed, though it came that way in the pack and I merely cut it out. I popped up the sentiment with its new metallic loops with Stampin’ Dimensionals foam dots, placing it right above the hollow circles at the bottom of the oval.

The last touch on the front of the card was the tiny little mini pearls I used on the buttons of her bridal dress. I had SU’s white mini pearls from the Notes of Kindness card kit on her dress originally but later changed to even smaller ones from Recollections.

The inside of the card has been kept simple to be size-appropriate for the notecard and also to leave room for the sender to write. I used the retired Petite Pairs stamp set with its “for the new Mr. and Mrs.” sentiment on a bit of the Petal Promenade DSP (from the first piece I’d cut the wrong direction by accident), the current Fresh Fig ink pad, and the gorgeous Stitched Labels Framelits Dies. And then I added two more mini Recollections pearls on the sides of the inside tag. 🙂 (Side note: the Petal Promenade DSP pack is one of my favorite things in this catalog. The papers are just so beautiful!)

If I had set out to create this exact card, even with all the detail, it wouldn’t have taken me very long. But creating from scratch and using trial-and-error means that sometimes happy accidents have to happen to lead the creator to the next step, which later seems so obvious. 🙂 I’m really quite happy with this card now, but there were moments when I wondered where I was going with it. Maybe you’ll find even faster ways to recreate this card. I’d love to see what you come up with! I think this card could be used for a bridal shower, a wedding card for the couple, or an anniversary card. It just depends on which sentiments we use.

Below are the current Stampin’ Up products I used on this card. If you need any of the supplies, just click on the thumbnail to go to my store or visit this link. I’d be happy to become your demonstrator! Sale-a-Bration (from now until March 31) is the best time of the year to stock up on products and earn others for free! Please use code JJBCPS4W for a free gift when you shop with me! (You can continue with the hop participants below the thumbnails.)

 

Delightfully Detailed Laser-Cut Specialty Paper, 146907
Wonderful Moments stamp set, 147529
Rose Metallic Thread, 146915
Fresh Fig Classic Stampin’ Pad, 147144
Petal Promenade Designer Series Paper, 146913
Stitched Labels Framelits Dies, 146828
Stampin’ Dimensionals, 104430

 

Thanks for stopping by my blog! To continue with the hop, see what Karen Finkle created by clicking on the Next button or visiting her link below. To go back to see Sue Prather’s card, click Previous or her link above mine. See you next time!

  1. Shirley Gentry: https://stampinwithshirleyg.com/?p=3079
  2. Jaimie Babarczy: https://wp.me/p79UhD-2sD
  3. Julie Johnston: https://wp.me/p8SzmQ-29L
  4. Karen Ksenzakovic: https://wp.me/paaNf4-h4
  5. Mary Deatherage: https://wp.me/p5snyt-70J
  6. Sue Prather: https://wp.me/p5yitZ-XU
  7. Connie Troyer: You are here!
  8. Karen Finkle: https://karenscardkorner.blogspot.com/2019/01/stampin-up-nine-lives-for-amys-inkin.html
  9. Amy Koenders: https://wp.me/p2SFwf-cTD

Season’s Greetings with Snow


Hello, all! It’s November now, but all I’ve been hearing for hours is rain. Still, there are Christmas cards to create. I have a couple of custom orders for them along with my own this year. This card, I’ll use for one of the orders. 

I feel like I made it out of practically nothing. Or, rather, it cost me practically nothing to do it, by the time I divide out all the pieces in the packs, etc. The card base from Die Cuts with a View was bought several years ago on clearance, and with this card I finally used up the pack (sad face here, as I loved them and have been hoarding them). It has a scalloped edge on the front of the card with two lines of glitter above the scallops and dots of glitter inside each curve. 

I have mentioned that crafters are a generous bunch. Both the embossed snowflake background and the die-cut snowman came free of charge from such generous crafters in one or two of my Facebook groups. (And the good news is that I still have a few more embossed backgrounds, though I am sadly out of snowmen.) I may have traded some of my own supplies for them, or perhaps they came as Happy Mail or a RAK (Random Act of Kindness). Either way, I’m happy to make use of them. Though I have no idea which companies to thank. The snowman looked as though he was exceedingly happy and welcoming something, so I figured he would like a snowfall. 🙂

I sized up the snowflake background to the card base and realized I’d have to cut it down a bit to keep it above the glitter lines. I backed the embossed piece with some textured purple/mauve Gauze Paper from DCWV. The snowman got a little color enhancement with some Stampin’ Up inks and a Blender Pen. I tried to give him a sort of muted vintage look to coordinate with the other colors. (And I wasn’t sure if he was stamped with archival ink that doesn’t bleed when touched with waterlike substances, so I had to color him carefully just in case it was a dye-based ink.)


I had a few sentiments that would fit the upper corner, but I had trouble deciding on one until my tiredness and the hour made the decision for me. (“Slap it down and move on,” my friend A likes to tell me. I actually listened this time.) I found this “Season’s Greetings” in a pack of rub-ons from American Crafts, so I put it on a scrap of vellum hanging out on my desk, punched it out with Stampin’ Up’s retired Word Window punch, ran it through my Xyron Sticker Maker, and then needed a way to make it show up, since vellum is see-through. Enter a remnant of gauze paper, which I’d cut out of the center of the mat for the embossed snowflake background. (Why waste perfectly good material and hide it where no one will ever see? Craft supplies aren’t cheap!) I used a Spellbinders Die to cut the simple border, which fit the vellum rub-on sentiment perfectly. And this way we got to see a little more texture of that cool paper, since the mat behind the snowflakes is small by necessity. 

To echo the glitter that came on the card base, once I knew how much room I had to play with at the sides around the front piece, I stamped a border (bought from Oriental Trading) in VersaMark, poured on some retired Iridescent Ice glitter embossing powder from Stampin’ Up, and heat set it, one on each side. 

I kept the inside of the card simple with a “Let It Snow” stamp from SU’s “Snow Place” stamp set and a couple of snowflakes from SU’s retired “Letterpress Winter” set. I used Pale Plum ink (also SU, retired) and more of the retired Iridescent Ice glittered embossing powder.

Fairly simple card overall, though some of the pieces took a bit of fiddling. I enjoyed this one and may try to make more of them with different snowmen and sentiments. Thanks for stopping by and reading!

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. 🙂 

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. 

Masculine mover thank-you cards (with card 1)

Well, I’ve fallen a bit behind. A bit. Yeah. Some days I feel like I live my life in the rearview mirror, always chasing my tail and trying to catch the front of the train instead of the back. (I’m sure that’s far too many cliches for one blog post, but it’s the middle of the night and I’m deliberately ignoring editorial preferences.)

So what have I been doing? In a proverbial nutshell, trying to keep up with my health (some days are better than others), traveling to West Virginia, Arkansas, and Georgia and all places in between for family concerns, doing some editorial work, and finishing a very large custom card order for masculine love cards, one shabby chic Mother’s Day card order, a couple of birthday cards, and some grad cards. Some of those cards are on my new Instagram account (AnneGirl77). I’ve managed to keep up with that somehow. Part of my blogging delay was because I needed pics to be able to post. There is always an order to things! The rest of it was because I just had no more time. But I’m back now – at least for tonight, since I fell asleep uncharacteristically early and am now awake. 😛 

Tonight’s post is about another custom card order that is in the mail: five masculine thank-you cards for recipients who helped the sender move. I detail my initial process and then focus on the first card at the bottom.

Ask any cardmaker: masculine cards are challenging. Floral, pretty, girly prints are easy to work with; there’s masses of material out there and a lot of designers are women, so they create what appeals to them. (I’m thankful for those who deliberately go in another direction for more options.) So what do we have available for masculine cards? Plaids. Varying fonts. Gender-neutral items. Solids. Strong colors. Bold prints. Fishing or hunting. Cars, bikes, trucks, tractors, all manner of machine… Mustaches. Video games or comp sci/techs stuff. Math…? Okay, that may be stretching it. But you see what I mean. It’s not easy to come up with a lot of variety. And I was supposed to find something for movers. I picked keys, thinking house, and my guy go-to, plaids. Maybe plaids aren’t a normal “guy go-to” but I grew up buying “real” flannels for my dad every other year, so for me, it’s a given. 

I’ll confess, I was really struggling with these cards. Sometimes the simplest ones are the hardest. The thank-you cards that fell together the best were the plaids, which had nothing to do with moving – but the paper had landed on my desk and I couldn’t stop looking at it. And I had a design in my head I wanted to do with the DCWV key paper, but I couldn’t get the sizing to work right with the large stamp I wanted to try (which had been approved by the sender). I also wanted to make them nice and had to make the sentiment show up on the matching darker paper, so heat embossing seemed the way to go. One challenge after another. 

I finally conceded that the sizing just wasn’t working with the usual A2 card base, so I switched to another (smaller) thank-you sentiment for half of them and then grabbed a couple of premade cream 5×7 card bases for the bigger sentiment just so I would make some progress. 

I find I create cards much faster and easier when I’m throwing random bits around – things that happen to be laying on my desk that I need to put away…or I’ll look up at my pegboard spinner and focus on some item hanging there that’s never been a focus before and I suddenly know exactly what I want to use it for. Sometimes when I’m trying to feel my way around a vague idea, I find myself pulling out papers and fun embellishments that seemingly have nothing to do with each other. It’s like a stress relief…or maybe just a perfect stalling technique. But somehow all that creative “mess” often turns into a card, and usually rather quickly once it’s in front of me. 

I’d already pulled five A2 (4.25″ x 5.5″) card bases for the new order. When I was thinking through this key paper/mover problem, I was cleaning up my desk and floor from the love stuff – I work out mental problems best by cleaning – and I stumbled upon that yellow/grey plaid paper (Stampin’ Up brand). I had one 6×6 sheet of it because I had no idea which paper pack I’d pulled it from besides “Christmas.” But it matched one of those card bases perfectly, which isn’t easy to do when you’re not using coordinating products, so I had to either use it or set them both aside for another day, another card. And I really don’t need anything else sitting out to use “later” (I already have another 10-15 cards in pieces that I never got to make for the love order before I ran out of numbers). 

So using it was a given. And then I sat there and stared at it. The key paper (brown/gold) didn’t match. Nothing else matched. How could I do both browns and greys and make it look purposeful? Ugh. I ended up matting the paper with a random lightweight black piece that was also on my desk and went the gold/grey route instead of browns.

The goal was to keep the cards flat (so they would be easily mailable and not cost extra postage) and simple (because simple is the preference of this sender and, well, they’re for a bunch of guys who aren’t going to care anyway). I finally reconciled myself to using the smaller sentiment, and then it was just a matter of filling the space left over. That’s where the rummaging bit comes in. I knew I had some key embellishments, so I started digging in my “fun” drawers. But I needed them to stay flattish. It turned out that the Tim Holtz grungeboard keys worked best for the requirements, though I’d need to change the color of them. I didn’t want to use the only two I had on one card, so I settled for a keyhole plate as a companion piece to the smallest key and grabbed some Distress Inks to dirty them up a bit, as the original grungeboard color was too light to match. 

I’m still pretty new to working with the Distress Inks even though they’ve been around awhile. I only have a handful of colors and half of those are borrowed. I really wasn’t sure what to do with them besides the standard ink-it-up-and-stamp. Enter E, one of my crafty friends who often works at the same time. We’ve spent hours sending chats and pics back and forth for feedback as we craft. She’s an awesome resource on things I’ve been too afraid to try, so she was my first obvious stop. (If she hadn’t been awake, I would have hit YouTube.) 

She gave me a few instructions, so I gulped and tried to do what she said. Got out a little cup of water and a paintbrush beside the two colors I chose (Iced Spruce and Black Soot) and hesitantly started trying to combine them on top of the grungeboard – and the edges, later. I’m not altogether sure I did it the way I was supposed to, and I went back once after it was half dry and added more, but I like the result. And then I bounced over to do some editing while I waited for it to dry fully. I was still thinking through the rest of those thank-you cards. 

After the key/plate set was done, the rest was easy. Candy brad bases, pushed through the paper to hold the sentiments (Stampin’ Up, retired), Dark Chocolate Liquid Pearls (Ranger), double-sided matching paper behind the keyhole (K and Company), and gold embossing powder (Hampton Arts) for the sentiments. I thought about running a ribbon behind everything to tie it together but didn’t like the placement of the key with it, and I worried that it would make things look too congested.

I’d found a miscellaneous round raw chipboard frame (possibly Colorbok?) while I was digging in my embellishments that fit the smaller sentiment perfectly. I covered it with gold metallic paper from DCWV…and I used the flip side of the keyhole paper from K and Company behind the frame and for the small banner that held the second part of the sentiment, “for your kindness” (also previously approved). Plaid again, of course – it matched. 

Both sentiments are from Stampin’ Up (“One Big Meaning,” current, and “So Very Much,” SAB set, retired). I had the perfect ribbon that reminded me of a chain and it even matched – the idea came to me as I was doing the dishes. No idea who makes it, but I love it. I had to pop up the key a bit with a 3D foam dot because of the ribbon (that I also had to cut to lay flat). 

So that was it. After a lot of mental agony, the first one was done. Here you go. 🙂 The others will come in successive blog posts since I’m sure this one is already too long. (I did say I wasn’t editing, right?)

Aforementioned links: my Instagram account – AnneGirl77