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!

Cream-and-Green Sympathy with Delightfully Detailed Laser-Cut Specialty Paper

Thank you for joining me once again on my blog! I have another sympathy card to share today, but I do have other themes coming up soon. I just couldn’t wait to use Stampin’ Up’s Delightfully Detailed Laser-Cut Specialty Paper, and it was one of the first things I ordered from the annual catalog. I kept this sympathy card simple partially because it was for a masculine friend and also because I didn’t want to cover up the beautiful paper.

The Delightfully Detailed Laser-Cut Specialty Paper from Stampin’ Up has eight sheets in the pack, four each of two designs. One design is a full 12×12 of gorgeous delicate flowers, and the other design has several borders and six card fronts that can easily be cut apart. Some of the latter are backgrounds, like the one I used here, and others are shaped pieces like circles or an oval or borders. As a bonus, the papers are vanilla on one side and white on the other–perfect for any color scheme! I’m looking forward to playing with the rest of the patterns as well.

I first took a cream card base and covered the front with some retired Mellow Moss cardstock from Stampin’ Up. I love vintage, muted colors like this in general, and they are appropriate for a lot of what I create, like sympathy cards.

Then I simply cut apart one of the card front sections of the laser-cut paper and adhered it to the Mellow Moss cardstock with touches of Tombow Multi Glue, displaying the vanilla side. I chose the vines background on purpose because it was my friend’s grandfather who had passed and vines and trees always remind me of genealogy, another favorite hobby of mine.

While wrestling with what I wanted to create for this card, I saw a filigree Spellbinders tree on my die wall and thought it just might do the trick and bring the theme together. Plus the size worked well.

Because both the paper and the tree are delicate-looking, I needed a divider between the two so the tree didn’t visually disappear. The square 3×3 piece I used was from a scrap pack I bought years ago, but it was perfect. It’s slightly textured as well, which just adds to the look. And the tree fits just right on top. It’s not quite the same color as the specialty paper, but I deliberately used both cream and white throughout the card so it wouldn’t look odd.

We all get into little habits with what and how we craft, and I’m just now remembering that I had intended to put brads vertically in the corners of my cream diagonal piece. That idea left once I saw how far the tree extended – but now I see that I could have put them horizontally instead. However, it’s probably just as well that I didn’t fall into my same rut anyway. 🙂

Instead, to keep it simple, since it was a masculine card and all, I merely tied a knot in a piece of Very Vanilla/Copper 1/8″ ribbon from the Tea Room Ribbon Combo Pack from SU and stuck it onto the tree trunk with a tiny Bling Zot.

The scripture piece underneath the tree was cut from a storebought card that was sent through the mail–I reuse things like that sometimes if they seem appropriate and unique. And if I can cut them straight, it’s kind of like using a sticker anyway. 🙂 This one I popped up with foam dots and used as a bottom border.

I confess, I made this card over several weeks around other things calling my name, so by the time I got to the inside, it was easiest to scrounge around in my drawer of sentiments that I keep full for when I’m short on time or ideas. A generous crafty friend once die-cut a few of the “Thinking of You” pieces for me and I’d not yet used any. The green-and-white piece matched well enough to fit this card, so I was happy to finally use one. On the inside left I placed a scripture sticker written in silver. The inside overall is simpler than I like, but it was better to have it done and mailed than lingering. It left me space to write a heartfelt message anyway, and that’s really more important.

Hope you’ve enjoyed my little offering today and that it’s inspired you to create something lovely too. If I can help you order something from Stampin’ Up, feel free to contact me or look me up on the Stampin’ Up Demonstrator Directory. You can also search for my name and state (Ohio) under Find a Demonstrator. Thanks for being here!