Thinking of You Card in Blue Roses (Stampin’ Up Embellishments and Paper Pumpkin Sentiment)

Using up a favorite piece of paper with a favorite technique—and it’s so easy that anybody can do it!

Hi, everybody! I’ve had quite a good run on cardmaking lately. I need to be reorganizing my craft room too but can’t seem to stay away from the desk! I know my schedule will be changing soon with springtime, so I’m thankful the creativity is here while it’s here.

One of the challenges I have in my craft room (just a secondary bedroom) is the amount of stuff—consumables like paper, embellishments, and more—due to the number of years I’ve been crafting (paper crafting for about 30 years now; other types, longer). I do confess: I LOVE paper and embellishments. I love having just the right special little thing to add to a card or scrapbook layout to top it off and make it perfect (or as perfect as the receiver will believe it to be 😉). And don’t even get me started on all the beautiful patterns and color choices I have in paper.

Sadly, as my “collection” grows and I fight losing space within four walls, I find myself striving more earnestly to use up my consumables to gain space. I’m not sure this will really work, considering how little room a few pieces of paper and gems take 😆, but I’m going with that for now in an attempt to feel as if I’m progressing somewhere. But that theory is why I made the card I’m sharing today.

I don’t actually know the name of the company who made today’s beautiful background. Sometimes I get papers from other crafters in destashes or swaps or RAKs (Random Acts of [Craft] Kindness). I had only two pieces of this one and always thought them beautiful but I’d moved them around a few times—in and out of the “make these next” piles of card parts, different storage options, and the like. The day I made this card, they moved from “make this sometime” to “make this NOW.” The design was too pretty to put off any longer. But I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it (the very reason, I suspect, that I kept moving it around in the first place). I first made a card base out of Stampin’s Up’s Misty Moonlight cardstock (item #153081), which matched the roses perfectly, while I continued to think. I use their cardstock for 99% of my card bases; this color is the regular 80-lb weight.

I must have had 3D things still in my subconscious after making the bird/flower card from a UK magazine kit in a previous post, because I was suddenly willing to sacrifice BOTH pieces of this pretty paper. I latched onto an idea of popping up some of the roses from one sheet on foam dots to give them dimension and make them 3D on the actual card. I cut out the two trio bunches for this and used Stampin’ Up’s self-adhesive Dimensionals underneath (item #104430, current). And then I used my Wink of Stella White and Clear glitter pens on top of all the lightest blue roses, because it’s been my go-to thing lately. I recently opened a new Clear one (item #141897, current) and am loving the amount of glitter it puts out. So fast and easy with an “Ooh, pretty!” punch. 🙂 The White one gives a nice whitewashed look (I only used it on the centers), but I didn’t think it was dramatic enough since the roses were already sketched with white too. It just softened the middles a little.

I was arbitrarily chatting while making this card (“Attempted Multitasking” is often my middle name), so I wasn’t feeling like complicating things further by sorting through my stamp sets, finding a sentiment that fit, hoping to ink and stamp the thing properly in between the dimensional roses—I needed more fast and easy. And then my eyes fell on some recent Paper Pumpkin sets I have stacked nearby. (Yes, Connie should make an effort to use these up more quickly—it will save space! 😂) I hadn’t even opened February 2021’s “Bouquet of Hope” kit yet but I thought there was something in there (consumable) that I could use, from what I was remembering from the promo pictures. Sure enough, sentiments in three languages, in die-cut sticker form. Perfect. And the English one even fit. No mess, no fuss, and I could nestle it into place without worrying about accidentally inking up 3D roses.

I decided to cut apart the “of” and “you” words because I didn’t like how close to the edge the “you” was falling, right where a right-handed person would hang onto the card. But what to do to make everything fit? Well, I ended up sticking the “of” to the top of the bottom dimensional roses and thinly chopping up Dimensional pads to fit under the part of the “f” that hung over the flower. That was tricky, yes. But it’s possible.

Then, time for embellishments! Stampin’ Up to the rescue again (and more gems used up!). I have previously hesitated on adding the Matte Black Dots (item #154284, current) to the top layers of my projects because they’re about 1/8” thick and I often “card” in layers, stacking things even higher. But here I could use them on the bottom layer without fear because the top layer would be against the envelope. 😁 I also scribbled some fake black dots onto the topmost rose trio since I didn’t want to chance them poking through the envelope when mailing. I used my black glitter brush from Art-C for that (very similar to Wink of Stella). I also added three champagne-colored gems from the Elegant Faceted Gems pack (item #152464, current) to the bottom layer to pick up the yellow/gold tones of the smaller flowers in the background. And that took care of the outside of the card.

I kept the inside even simpler. I have several ongoing card orders to fill all the time these days, and one is for a lady who likes a simpler style. (That’s hard for me, but she’s helping me learn it!) I did think of her while making both the outside and the inside of the card, wondering whether she would want it, so I deliberately left the inside blank with just a strip of leftover background paper at the edge of miscellaneous white writing space (a substitute would be Basic White cardstock, item #159276, current).

Connie Troyer, ConstantlyCreating.Me

And now I’ve used up all that pretty paper. But it was worth it. 😍

Here are the links for what I’ve used in today’s post:

Product List

If you’d like to own any of these Stampin’ Up products yourself, you can go to my online store and shop with me at http://www.stampinup.com?demoid=2202334. The retiring list for the current Annual catalog hits this Wednesday!! Lots of good stuff coming! (But the Mini is still active until May 3. 😉) Contact me if you’d like paper catalogs instead. 🙂 You can also use Host Code WMW62ECS during checkout and receive a free gift! Orders totaling $50 before tax and shipping can choose a free gift from me up to $8 retail value; I’ll ship it separately to your preferred address after the order is placed. You’ll also earn 1 reward point toward a total of 8, which will get you a free $40 order from me. (And once you hit 8 points, the counter starts over!)

If you’d like to join a Stampin’ Up team and become a demonstrator yourself, I’d love to have you! I’m working on achieving some “leveling up” requirements and would be thrilled to have someone new! No pressure about sales amounts from me, ever. I know what it’s like to lead and juggle a busy life around many priorities. If you’re interested, contact me any time or check out my joining link at http://www.stampinup.com/join?demoid=2202334.

Check back on Wednesday for the 2020-2021 Annual retiring list! And thanks for stopping by. 🥰

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!

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. 🙂

Lessons in Stampin’ Up’s Embossing Paste

Well, my first foray into using Stampin’ Up’s Embossing Paste was certainly interesting. It’s been sitting on my desk patiently waiting for me to get to it. I finally got the paint palette and palette knives, and I already had ink refills to tint it with, should the mood strike. This won’t be too hard, right? I thought. Hmm.

Tonight the mood struck, when I was permitting myself a little dabble time before attempting to go to bed at a reasonable hour (since I’m on book deadline again). I had a salt-and-pepper love-themed notecard I wanted to add some hearts to as a border, and I thought the thick embossing paste would show up better rather than ink of the same color on a stamp I was waffling on.

Well. Apparently I have to figure out how not to let it bleed underneath the stencil. That seems to be my main problem. I had washi-taped down the edges of the first stencil (and card), which was created from an edge punch, and even kept my hands on all of it as secondary security, but still I erred. The heart borders weren’t terrible, though I don’t like the smudges at the bottom. I think I went over them three times. And once the paper is smudged with the color, it’s definitely hard to remove it.

I forgot to mention that I had put a little bit (probably too much) with my palette knife into my paint palette and added a drop – and then two drops – of Sweet Sugarplum ink refill (SU, current product, In-Color). I’m going to guess that one drop is enough. I was trying to match the color of the SU heart enamel shapes because I already had one on the card. Two drops definitely made it darker. So then I thought maybe I should add more paste to spread out the color more and make it the lighter shade I was going for. That meant there was a whole lot of embossing paste in my palette tray, more than six hearts would require. And mixing all that with my metal paint palette was difficult and sounded like scratches on a chalkboard. Perhaps a foam board or toothpick next time.

I started looking for other stencils I could use while I had all this goop I didn’t want to waste. I found a DCWV 6×6 stencil (EM-033-00012) that had both “LOVE” and “Be You” on it, and since this is the season for Valentine’s Day cards, I thought they’d go nicely with my current projects. I pulled two heart stencils too. Ambitious, apparently. 😉 And no, my paste didn’t stretch that far. 🙂

But in doing the “Be You” stencils on cardstock and then on DSP, I had a lot more problems with runs beneath the stencil. Granted, things were starting to dry while I searched for more stencils to use up the excess I’d made, but I thought I had time. Maybe I should have added a drop of water to keep it thin? No idea. Will have to research that.

I did find that once the paste was partially dry, I could take a tool and scrape off the excess around the letters…and the piece of black background/polka-dotted paper hid that a little better than the grey cardstock. Still not perfect, though. But manageable. At this point I’m thinking of taking my Cutterbee scissors and fussy-cutting around the gray cardstock example. Seems like it’s drying pretty quickly. I can’t scrape off anything around the hearts anymore. It would let me pat the “Be You” letters back into place by hand when I was trimming those with my Creative Memories sticker placement tool (use whatever you’ve got, right?).

Then I tried to wash off my tools. I think I should have done that immediately. I stood at the sink scraping off the stencil (which had been used twice then) with my fingernail, under running water and even soaking it in the sink. I couldn’t get it all off, and I bent a bit of my stencil as well.

So, I’m looking for tips on just what to do or not do with stencils and embossing paste. I’ve figured out that a little ink goes a long way and the paste dries fairly quickly, and obviously I need to clean the stencil earlier – but how do I get it to stop the bleeding? Thinner, repeated layers? I like height. 😦 I couldn’t see how to washi the close parts down either. If you have advice, I’m all eyes. Thanks in advance. It has to get better than this! It leaves such a cool 3D look when it’s actually all smooth.

I’ve wondered, too, whether the embossing paste (tinted or not) would work in silicone molds like SU’s retired pressed clay molds or the current Mod Podge molds sold in various locations. Any clue?

Pics attached so you can see my mess. 🙂 And thanks for the help! I feel like such a newbie. 🙂

Connie

The Process Begins

Hello again! Sorry it’s been so long. Busy, busy…

So, I don’t know if there are other creative types with my issue (though I suspect there are), but one of the things that happens to me at night is that my brain “winds up” instead of “winds down.”

There may a number of reasons for that, considering all I know about me, but it definitely seems to be something about the peace and quiet of the evening and the diminished stress that frees my mind of the somewhat stifled creativity that happens during the day (when I need to accomplish my before-the-husband-gets-home list). The evening just *feels* different to me. I find myself wanting to wander to the craft room and “play” in the waning hours even when I have editing projects I need to complete. (I’ve mentioned that I’m trying to run two businesses at once, right?)

Once these ideas strike, I’m left with the agonizing decision of whether to be a good girl and go to bed (where I may stare at the ceiling, wondering when sleep will arrive) or give in to that sparking creativity in hopes that I just finish the darn thing quickly so I can go to bed before the sunrise (or, I suppose, a third choice – go do my editing).

Plus, there’s always the niggling worry that I’m going to forget whatever “brilliant” thing I came up with in the first place once I wait on creating it. Because this forgetfulness does indeed happen, I’ve started sketching out what I imagine – sometimes. But more on that in another post.

So this was the scene occurring when I took this picture for my new Instagram account – boom! Idea. Stay up? Go to bed? Editing not optional. Ehh, let’s take a picture first to document the crafty process because I don’t normally do that sort of thing. (Yes, I joined IG even though I haven’t figured out watermarks yet. I’ll get there.)


Now, this may not look like much to you, but to me it looks like possibilities. That solid black piece in the middle is actually a Bigz die of the Eiffel Tower.

I haven’t sketched this card yet either, because I’m going to be following a template found on the site of another awesome Stampin’ Up consultant, Lyssa Zwolanek, who got the idea from one of her crafty friends. (I’m telling you, the craft community is pretty fantastic in how makers encourage and challenge each other. And technically, if I’m following a template, that means I shouldn’t have to sketch it, right?)

Lyssa’s card tutorial can be found here, and I can’t wait to try it. I have pieces and parts of a French-themed card heaped in a (large) pile on my desk that has been waiting for me to get to it to include it in a custom card order. As soon as I saw the layout of Lyssa’s card, I knew my Eiffel Tower would fit perfectly on the front piece. Or at least I think it will. I haven’t actually tried it yet. But I do have more than one Eiffel Tower if the size proves to be confounding.

You may be wondering what I decided to do that night – to stay up or go to bed. Well, I didn’t make the card yet. I ended up cleaning the desk a little, looking at some of the French items and trying to plan a card in my head before I really had to sleep. Turns out I have about five French cards in my head. And as the picture attests, I have enough paper to make at least that many. 😛 (Good thing I have an Etsy shop! 😉 ) I feel pretty confident that I know where I’m going with this one even without sketching. I just have to wait a few more days to get to it, as I’ve been called elsewhere temporarily.

In the midst of that little desk-sorting episode, I ran across my in-progress Texas card, also for the custom card order. And that is really what I ended up focusing on, the night in question but mostly last night, because it finally started coming together, after months of thinking. Yeah. Months. However, that’s for a future blog post, complete with pictures. 😉

The good news is that I’m linked to WordPress on my phone now, so blogging should begin happening faster. I have to do some driving tomorrow, but I hope to post about Texas soon. More to come!

Connie