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

Another sympathy card to share.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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. πŸ˜‰ And no, my paste didn’t stretch that far. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚ And thanks for the help! I feel like such a newbie. πŸ™‚

Connie

Hope You’re Feline Better (“Cozy Cat Occasions” CTMH)

I decided to show you a card I made for my mother-in-law several years ago when she was feeling poorly. It was my first time using any of these supplies and I was sort of just throwing things together and making it up as I went along, since I was still a relatively new cardmaker, but I liked (and still like) the end result. Hope you do too. The banner that sticks out off the card wasn’t a problem because I handed her the card instead of mailing it. πŸ™‚

I used retired Stampin’ Up Lucky Limeade cardstock for my card base. I try to make all my card bases with SU cardstock, which is 80-lb weight paper. I like the variation of the older textured papers too. Sometimes a girl just needs a little texture in life. Also, Lucky Limeade is one of my favorite colors that Stampin’ Up has ever made. I wasn’t buying from them when it was a current In-Color; I came upon it after it had recently retired. But it has proven to be one of my go-to colors ever since. I even like it instead of Old Olive most of the time.

I also have a thing for square cards. This tends to be a problem because they cost more to mail, as they are considered an unusual or irregular size. (Yeah, don’t ask me how a square card can be irregular, but there it is.) They have trouble going through the mail machines, apparently. So because I love square cards but don’t generally want to mail them, I give them away in person a lot or I make them for people who will be doing the same. This particular card happens to be a 5×5.5 size.

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The cat paper I glued on top of the Lucky Limeade card base is from KI Memories (“Pet Shop Here Kitty,” 2022, (c) 2008), and it is awesome. It has this great pearlized, creamy metallic sheen to it. (And I apparently got it on clearance for $.10, now that I dig it out so I can write up the brand name. Which is even more awesome.) I distressed the edges of the paper a little bit before gluing it down because I also have a thing for distressing stuff.

At this point I left the back part of the card and went to the front. I stamped the large cat stamp from Close to My Heart (“Cozy Cat Occasions” A1140) in Stampin’ Up Craft White ink (yep, just plain old “White,” from a long time ago) on a textured tan piece, and I think I heat-set it. They dry faster and better that way. Then, being a new cardmaker and not having things like watercolor pencils, shading techniques, any shading knowledge at all, etc. (my, how things have changed!), I just colored it with a couple of Stampin’ Up Markers and then used Waterfall Stickles and Gold Smooch Paint on the collar.

I matted the tan piece with a miscellaneous light blue/turquoise color before stamping the “Hope you’re feline better” sentiment and doodad lines on white cardstock in SU Tempting Turquoise ink and hand-cutting it into a banner. I then hand-stitched the banner onto the tan/blue pieces with embroidery floss (because I’m also a cross-sticher and have scads of it around here). If I remember correctly, I was having trouble figuring out where to place the sentiment on the card. I didn’t like any way I tried it until I just decided it would have to branch out, literally.

I took a Lucky Limeade cardstock remnant and placed it behind the horizontal mats for some height variation and visual interest. Finally, I grabbed a remnant of the hand-punched border piece I’d done for the inside of the card–I hate to waste anything, and this was what I had cut off–and I pinned it to the top of the center pieces with a WRMK glitter brad. That little section reminded me of a flower, and I just couldn’t throw it away. πŸ™‚ I did not glue it down, so it swings a little bit as the card moves.

That’s it! Pretty simple–just a bunch of rectangular papers and a few details. Just like a mini scrapbook page. πŸ™‚ Happy to report that she loved it. But then, she was a cat owner. πŸ˜‰ Thanks for stopping by!