Monday, December 27, 2010

7 New Cards As Part of a Lost Challenge

Here's a bunch of cards I did a few years back for a card swap. I started the section for them as a challenge on the website about a year ago but since doing giveaways never really took off because no one comments they kind of got forgotten about. I wanted to make sure they got pushed out before the current year ended though as part of reorganizing the web site.

These cards are really interesting because the tag is attached using a tagger gun and tagger tail (like some of the price tags are attached to clothes) so it floats and moves freely on the front of the card.

The challenge for these cards was that I had to make 20 of them for the card swap but I didn't have the patterned paper to make anymore of the exact same design. I ended up redesigning the card a number of different times using different patterns and having to color coordinate between ribbon and ink and the pattern to get enough made.

Click on any of the card image to read more about how the card was make or about the challenge.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Web site reorganization - part 1

I've finally been doing some programming for my website and just put out a newly reorganized index for the cards that hopefully makes it easier to use. The most recent 12 cards now appear on the main page. Since I posted over 100 cards in 2010, just listing them in a table chronologically was getting overwhelming and jumbled. The main listing is now by card type (Birthday, Get Well, etc) with the most recent 6 cards for that category showing. You can click on the category label to see all of them in that category. The category pages now have links to the previous and next category at the bottom of the cards. If you liked the one big page in chronological order, there is a link to at the bottom of the page with all the categories as the last category.

Check it out and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Birthday Wishes Cupcake

Here's another card I made to give away as a present. It's designed with neutral colors, which I guess slants it toward being a guy card with all the female designs out there. The cupcake is colored with Copic markers. The border is dotted to play on the dots that were in the words on the stamp. The background is stamped to match the curlies in the cupcake. Best of all can you believe all three of these came in a cling mount set I got at Michael's for two dollars or less earlier this year?

As always, click on the card for full directions if you want to know the Copic colors or paper sizes or just want to read all the steps involved.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Quick Female Birthday Card

Here's the female version of the last card. All I did was switch up some of the neutral or traditionally masculine colors with ones more typically associated with females. Since there were no flowers or glitter that's all it took to give this card a gender change.

I also switched the orientation. The words for this card were typed up on the computer and it didn't occur to me that I needed the words on a landscape mode for the neutral version until after I had already printed them all in a portrait layout so I went ahead and made these feminine versions.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Quick Male Birthday Card

Looking for some last minute gifts? How about giving some handmade greeting cards to your less crafty relatives who like to send out cards?

Here's a relative quick and easy card suitable for any gender that I'll be giving to someone who used to always hear things from the birdies about me when I younger. The birds are at three different physical layers because one is mounted directly to the card, another with 1/8" foam and the last one with 1/4" foam. Click on the card to get to the directions from the web site if you want to know more about it.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day and Good Luck to Santa

I walked into the craft store Saturday and was greeting by the seasonal display area which now prominently greets customers with Happy Valentine's Day and St. Patrick's Day merchandise. Santa's still got 5 more nights to get everything ready, wrapped and delivered!

Hope he didn't need any last minute decorations for his sleigh.

Let's hope Cupid doesn't get any ideas about squashing the competition and make the reindeer too love sick to fly the sleigh around.

Oh! Someone! Quick! Call Santa and tell him to make sure he's wearing something green, just in case this is a warning sign that the leprechauns are planning a Christmas Eve ambush. One has to wonder where they get all that gold from . . .

On the other hand, I wouldn't mind a leprechaun visiting me and leaving me a pot of gold this Christmas, and not the box of chocolates kind either, although if that's all they can afford this year. . . Maybe Santa could bring me a leprechaun's pot of gold? or Cupid's bow?

Maybe next year my Christmas cards should end with:

Merry Christmas
Happy New Year
Happy Valentine's Day
Happy St. Patrick's Day ! ?

Anyone up for a challenge? Make a card that celebrates all four of these at once and post a link to it in a comment.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

My Christmas Wish

Still need to make your Christmas cards? Here's a quick tip - use stickers for the main images to save time. Stickers can be really expensive in today's market but if you shop around there are a bunch of nice but inexpensive ones you can pick up on sale that have a lot of card possibilities.

I came across a pile of Christmas stickers I brought for just this purpose years ago and decided it was time to do something with them. Here's a card I've been mulling over for the past week but didn't feel like completing until today. The sticker is flexible acrylic so it adds some dimension that you can't see online but it was an odd size relative to most of the Spellbinders dies I have so I ended up mounting it on a square mat and then putting that on a baroque Sizzix Tim Holtz Alternations image I had die cut for another card I have been mulling over but hasn't quite come together yet.

The distress inking was inspired by the background of the sticker itself and I think it does a nice job of tying everything together. You could just use brown kraft paper if you didn't have the supplies to do the inking, but the inking adds more color variety and interest. I also tried to airbrush the background with Copic markers but just using the little air can wasn't much fun since its freezes up very quickly. I really need a small air compressor to use if anyone reading this is wondering what to get me for Christmas.

If you want additional instructions on the card, just click on the image to go to my website.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Affordable Christmas Present Cards

Remember these two cards from this blog post on April 30th?

Well, that same stamp makes a great Christmas card too. I upped the size of the card to 5x7 so I could fit words on it this time. I like cards that are good for almost any present giving occasion like these are but I wanted to change this one up from what I done already.

Last time I used some inexpensive BIC markers but several of the markers in the BIC set reached the end of their useful lives months ago and I didn't know how far the red or green would still go. The dead colors didn't last as long as I had hoped they might so I didn't think I'd be able to get through make a set of these with used ones. I thought about using Copic markers since I could just refill the red and green as needed but then I would have shaded it and taken a while to color each present and I wanted to do something quicker and more within reach of the average stamper this time.

I had a few fine point red Sharpies that looked like they had a good amount of ink in them at one time so I figured I'd use them up before they dried up. I got a brand new green out of another Sharpie set to bring green into the present so I could use it for the mat. I colored 20 of these on a single red and green that are still going strong. I left a bunch of areas white and added Stickles over those and popped up the present and words with dimensional foam to give the card that little extra it needed.

One thing I did learn though is that the alcohol in the Sharpies can get to you after a while. It's more like pure rubbing alcohol and after a while of coloring my eyes started to burn a little from the marker drying in my face. If you color with Sharpies, I'd recommend moving finished images as far as way as you can while the rest of the alcohol evaporates.

Here's the finished card. As always, click on any of the card images to go to my website if you want the full directions or want to see the larger images of the card.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Quick Christmas Stripe Card

Here's a quick and fairly easy card to make for Christmas. All you need is some nice Christmas themed patterned paper, a border punch and a few Christmas stamps.

Since the green stripe covers 2 inches of the card you could just use a 3/4 inch section on the left and a 1 3/4 inch section on the right instead of a full sheet. If you are using a 12 x 12 sheet that lets you get more than 8 full card fronts from one sheet instead of just 4. If you have scraps from another project you might also be able to put those to use for a quick card or two.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Life Without Copic Markers

Here's a card I made a year or two or three ago, that reminded me of another reason I'm really glad I got Copic markers. They have nice flesh tone colors. When I made this I tried every marker set in the house and could not find a usable flesh tone color for Santa's face. They all looked like he'd just come back from a week at the beach without suntan lotion or like he was a pink alien. I ended up having to leave his face blank and I'm sharing the card here in its original form.

The card does show an interesting use of the snow foam they sell in the large chain craft stores at this time of year. The foam is really made for other stuff like painted wood, which is what I first used it for, but it works just as well on paper as a thin layer.

Here's the card. As always click on it if you want the supplies and sizes.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Will Work For Freezer Space

Here's a much more complicated and time consuming Christmas card to make. This one combines two different types of glitter and coloring with Copic markers.

I had originally wanted to try to create a whole scene with the snowman but the practical reality was this is a fairly large stamp that barely fit on an A2 sized card and I prefer using A2 for anything like a Christmas card because it's easier on supplies, the envelopes aren't hard to buy and it usually comes in a little under the 1 oz a single stamp covers in the US.

This lead me to simply cutting the image out since there was no way to mat it. I like the effect stamping in white creates so stamping snowflakes to go with the snowman was the obvious choice, especially since the white ink in the background helped the white snowman in the foreground to go with the paper better. You have to be careful with white pigment ink though, or at least the one I'm using, because it takes a while to dry and the stamp pad is very soft so it tends to get all up in the stamp if you aren't careful.

None of the individual steps of this card are really complicated and they lend themselves to doing them in batches if you wanted to make a lot of them. You could easily change the coloring out for another technique, or simple non shaded marker colors if that's all you can do.

Once I had the pattern down it still took about 20 minutes per card to make these, not including the drying time for the glues and sealers and inks, which is something to think about if you need 100 of them.

If you want to see the full directions, just click on the image or here.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Playing With New Stuff From Last Year

I tend to collect things for future Christmas cards that I like as they go on sale and put them in a special container for use later. This next card was the result of getting out that container and trying to put some of the stuff to use. If you like Martha Stewart craft products, this uses a bunch of them.

The blue paper is actually made using a rubber stamp. I really like it but I wish they had made the stamp slightly larger because what you see is the entirety of the stamp and it would have been nice to be able to cover the entire card front. I could have stamped a second one next to it but the repeat of the pattern would have been obvious.

Instead I decided to play with a glitter technique I've never done before to make a border. I stuck some super tacky double stick tape on the edges and sprinkled glitter over it. You need to use a super sticky tape for this to work. I tried using regular ATG tape and it didn't have enough hold to get good coverage.

Originally I tried using a super fine glitter. Unfortunately in order to cover that wide of an area, I used three strips of tape and the tape lines were totally obvious after glittering. In order to avoid this I used Martha Stewart's tinsel glitter which is available in large bottles in the local major chain craft stores near me right now for Christmas. The product didn't scan well for the post, but it has individual strips of tinsels that stand up all different direction when you stick it to tape. It looks really good in person.

The next obvious thing would have been to add a snow man to the front but I have already made one snowman card (coming up next on the post list) so I didn't want to do that. Instead I opened up three snow flake punches I had gotten a previous year to use on Christmas cards and just punched them out on white. I thought about glittering them but the punches have a lot of things to cut out so I didn't want to stress it with preglittered paper.

Here's the finished result. As always with my posts, if you want a full list of products, size or directions, just click on the image to go to my website. There's also a version there with just one type of snowflake on it.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Two more poses from Mille for Thanksgiving

Millie couldn't quite decide how she wanted to be presented, so here are two more cards with Millie (click either image if you want the instructions). Of the three I think the first one in portrait mode ended up being the best one.

I like the parts of the card but these two present a dilemma. Millie is mounted on the first third line so do you put something to the right or do you leave well enough alone and let all the Happy Thanksgivings on the beautiful paper show through?

In retrospect if I were making these again I would probably put a strip of paper in the center and move the image over to the second third line. That would take away that empty feeling and lead you to the image, without taking away the paper. If the strip were added now it would lead you away from the image to nowhere.

What are your thoughts? Can you live with empty space like this and if not how would you fix this dilemma?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Millie's Back For Thanksgiving

Remember Millie from last August? She's was offering us a bandage and then had a special note for us. She's back again to celebrate Thanksgiving. As usual, she's a really generous mouse and never leaves home empty handed. This time she got all dressed up in her pilgrim outfit and baked us a nice pie. She really liked posing in front of these Nestibilities labels and insisted I share this one first. If you would like to spend a little more time with Millie, just click on the card.

Monday, November 8, 2010

One Last Halloween Tag

Here's one last Halloween item that's been a little late in getting on the web but I wanted to make sure I got out because it's the sibling to the tag I posted earlier. For the first tag I knew my main elements were going to be done with white ink so I wanted a darker, more Halloween evening feeling in the color to help the skeleton stand out. I started with the same basic tag colored to same basic shade of the orange marmalade ink but I applied more of the black soot ink. For this tag, I used a lot less of the black soot so much more of the orange marmalade ink survived, which shows just how much the black soot ink can cover over something and how easily you make a piece dark or light with the amount of ink you add on the second coat.

Here's the original tag for reference and its newer sibling. Click either one for the full directions if you are interested.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Christmas Sentiment Tree Card

Here's a great Christmas card to make.
It's great because:
  • It required a limited amount of supplies, especially if you already have stuff to do embossing.
  • All the supplies came from local craft stores at 40-50% off.
  • Each card does not take hours to complete. There are a lot of great cards out there but most are too labor intensive to be practical if you have a lot of relatives and friends you need to send cards too.
  • Most importantly, it looks nice.
Since this is the first Christmas card post of the season, I'm going to try to do a giveaway. Post a comment on the link below on the original blog post by Nov 14, 12:00AM EST. For every 25 people that comment, I'll giveaway a pack of 4 of these cards to a random winner until I run out so spread the word!

Enter here:

The blog feeds out many ways to multiple sites. Feel free to comment on any of them, but if you want to participate in the giveaway you must comment on the main blog post above.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Copic Marker Are Cheap If You Use Them Regularly

As I keep coloring certain types of images, and going back to certain colors again and again, I am starting to appreciate the value of my Copic markers. Unlike most markers that you toss when they get too dry to color consistently, you keep your Copic markers and just refill them. You might have to shop online to get the refills.

As you start noticing you are using a color a lot, you should start to think about getting a refill for it and planning ahead. Copics are popular and are imported from Japan so it can takes weeks to get a refill if it's not in stock. I have several on backorder myself that I will have to wait 4-8 weeks to get.

For some of my colors, I have used up about 5cc of the refill bottle already. With another system, I would be on my third or fourth marker in that color by now. A Sketch marker holds a total of 3 ml of ink, so a 25 ml bottle is good for 8-10 refills. A Caio marker holds 2 ml of ink, so a refill bottle is good for about 13 refills if you have the Caio line. The lighter blending colors are the ones I am tending to use up faster.

I prefer the Sketch markers, so one refill and one marker are equivalent to 9 to 11 markers for me. Considering I just got a bunch of refills on sale at $4.80 a piece and brought the markers on sale as well, that means each of the 11 "refilled markers" only cost me about a $1.00. So if you use them regularly, they aren't expensive at all.

Something to think about if you need to color on your Christmas cards.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

2 More Halloween Cards

Here's two more Halloween cards that show one way you can make your own patterned and glittered paper. I made the stamped and glittered black card base several weeks ago but never finished them off with something on the front. I was cleaning up the craft table some this weekend and found these again and decided it was time to finish them before Halloween was over. I had wanted to find something really cool to do with these but decided to just play on the whole black/white theme but reverse the colors and then put glitter around the edges to help tie it to cardstock.

Click on the card image for directions, supplies or larger images.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Is Halloween Really Over?

Here's a tag I made this Halloween weekend inspired by techniques I learned last month at a class Wendy Vicchi taught at the Queen's Ink. You can't really see the shimmer in the online picture, but it does make a difference in person.

Click on the card image if you want directions on how to make it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Thanksgiving Cornucopia Card

Here's my latest creation for Thanksgiving - a Cornucopia stamped out and then colored with Copic markers and matted in fall colors for Thanksgiving. I tried another coloring technique initially but for something this you really need the colors to match up exactly to real life because everyone knows what fruits and vegatables look like. Copic markers were the easiest way to get a realistic color.

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For supplies and directions, click on the card image to go directly to that page on

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Final Halloween Card of 2010?

I'm hoping to make a Halloween tag or two today before Halloween gets here, but here's my last Halloween card before I move onto to Thanksgiving:

This is a free standing card that you mail folded up and flat in a normal sized envelope. The recipient simply pushes the base down the card to open it. There is a side view on the website if you click on the image.

The pattern paper was from this year's stack, so it might be available if you like it and hurry.

It you have not invested in one yet, a scoring board is indispensable for making this card. I used Martha Stewart's which I got with one of the rare discount coupons on her stuff at Michael's so all of the measurements in the directions are based on that one where zero is the top left and the values increment to the right. There are a number of brands out there though that put zero in the center so you may have to adjust the measurements to your tool.

Sometimes It's Better Not to Come in First

It seems like America's Got Talent just went off the air and she didn't win but look who's got a Christmas CD and DVD already:

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Copic Markers + Krylon Fixatif = Bleached Marker

I've been working on Christmas cards that have Copic coloring on them as well as areas where I put down glue and sprinked glitter over it, but the glitter wasn't quite staying on the image as well I would like so I decided to seal it.

Having used Krylon fixatif to seal chalked images, and having a big can of it, it seemed like the obvious choice, and it seemed to work ok at first. After it dried a few hours, all of the Copic marker areas looked like part of the color had been bleached out of them.

The next attempt was using a product called Super Seal. This works as long as you put a very light coat on and start off your piece of work. If there is too much of it, it is able to get the Copic ink to start bleeding into other areas, which suggests part of it is alcohol based.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trick or Treat Leftovers

Here's a card I pulled together from the leftover pieces of the last card I posted.

There are some tricks to getting it to go together easier, so I'd recommend clicking on the image and checking out the directions if you like this one.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Trick or Treat Pumpkin Card

Here's a nice card that's not too hard to make. The colored paper is all from the same Bazzill basics stack, so the colors are the same muted tone and coordinate well together. Since they are muted they coordinate perfectly with the background mat which uses muted colors as well. The background was from a 12x12 sheet which had some printed distressing on the corners that I kept in the bottom right for visual interest where you are going to look when you open the card.

The pumpkin is colored and shaded on white paper using Copic markers. The shading adds another dimension. I highly recommend people develop some way of coloring their images but if you don't have any way of coloring a pumpkin image you can always just stamp it on orange cardstock.

If you have been following along you should recognize this pumpkin image as one of the dollar stamps I've been using a lot. You can also think of this card as the final step up on the series of simple orange cards I posted using this image because this does represent what you can do when you move beyond a simple pack of cheap colored cardstock to a higher quality coordinated pack of cardstock and a modern stack that uses the same types of colors.

As always, click on the card for the larger image and direction sheet if you want more.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Witches' Brew for World Card Making Day

Oct 2nd is World Card Making Day and soon it will be Halloween so what better way to celebrate than to have some witches mix up a special treat!

I got this image a few weeks ago at a rubber stamp convention as unmounted rubber from a company called Rubber Cottage. It's a great way to buy stamps because you can usually get the unmounted rubber for about half the price (or less) of a fully mounted wood block, which means you can buy twice as much. You buy the cling foam (they sell it there) and put the back of your unmounted rubber image on the super sticky side and then cut it out with a good pair of scissors. The other side of the cling foam will stick to any acrylic block just like a clear stamp. You can also cut out the foam first, then stamp the cling side using Staz-on and then mount it.

Someone at the convention usually sells white plastic sheets you can stick the cling side to and organize them in a binder. This lets you have all the advantages of real vulcanized rubber in about the same space as clear stamps. Since I use this method to store them, I don't bother stamping the cling side since I won't be able to see it when I'm looking though them. Once you fill up a sheet, just ink all the images and stamp the sheet onto a piece of paper if you want a correctly flipped version of the image to look through.

I had wanted to do something a little fancier with the image but it was so large that I ended up just framing it with paper because I didn't want to go to a larger card size. The image itself was a witch to color. Before it's colored it looks like a giant mess of lines and it's difficult to follow which line is which. It was worth the effort in the end though.

Click the image above for the instruction sheet if you want more information on the colors used. For the fire, I didn't do normal Copic blending like you see on the dresses, faces and hats. Instead I just laid down flicks of red, then orange and then yellow while it was wet. The ink blended together down toward the yellow so it looks natural but I wanted to leave the random splashes of color to balance out the witches being so dark.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Witching You A Spooky Halloween

Here's another fairly simple card using mostly dollar stamps, but this one has a lot more design elements so it looks a lot nicer. It has all five of the traditional Halloween colors on it and it incorporates 5 different stamps. Another key design element is how the images manage the flow of your eye across the page. The witch takes you to the spider, the spider is going toward the start of the words and the bat and skeleton are headed toward the words as well. It wouldn't be nearly as interesting if the images had been arranged so they lead you off the page and away from the card. This is an important concept in scrapbooking and anytime you make a card like this with a bunch of different things on it that cause your eye to naturally follow them and see where they are headed.

As always click the image to go the instruction page on for more information on the stamps, paper sizes or supplies used.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Big Step Up 2

Here's the same one dollar stamp from the simple card layouts you saw earlier but with a lot more elements in a different layout. The image is fussy cut out now and the black mat behind has become a strip that anchors it and directs your eye to it. I didn't have a good word stamp to use so I just printed out words. You don't really want to print them on white because there is no white and it would stand out too much. You could print them on orange but then that's it and you get a much simpler result. Here's one good use for vellum. It shows the color underneath but is muted and doesn't really stand out. As an added bonus, its hard to adhere without showing the adhesive, even with the so called invisible vellum adhesives, so it encourages you bring in another element to attach it or cover where you attached it.

Overall this is a big step up but in the grand scheme of things it's still a very simple card in reach of most people.

If you are really interested in this one, click on the card, there additional hints on the direction sheet.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Step Up Number One

How do you step the previous post? There are so many ways but for this one the answer is to use a second two dollar stamp. I kept the same basic assembly with a smaller black mat, rotated the card and added some words so it now has a second element to it.

Super Simple Halloween Card

You can't get much simpler and cleaner than this Halloween card. The stamp used only costs $2 so you won't get much cheaper either. You'll see it again in the upcoming posts in a series of cards that get increasing more complex and show different simple things you can do to evolve it.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Simple Halloween Card

Here's a quick Halloween card I did a few years that I thought I would share with you all that might give you some ideas for how to make a quick and simple Halloween card with basic supplies.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Simple Paper Strip and Scallop Circle Card

Here's a simple card that combines glitter, ribbon, punches and patterned paper for a quick and elegant card front that's a step above. If you need more on how to make it, just click on it.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Midwestern Birthday Card

Here's an interesting birthday card. The paper is very bright and colorful and it reminded me a lot of a midwestern theme. You'll probably either totally love it or totally hate it depending on your tastes.

It's fairly simple and made from a stamp I've used often when I need to take up a long vertical space with words. To make it more interesting, I used to colors from the pattern and came up with a unique way of arranging the paper.

Click on the card if you want to see the direction page on my website.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Deceptively Simple Male Birthday Card

Here's a deceptively simple male card I created. It's just rubber stamping and paper so it looks pretty easy to modify to just about any occasion but it's the little design choices that make it different. The center paper isn't just blue, it's patterned paper that I stamped on. The photo tabs only hide half of what's underneath and the center paper is smaller, which means all the colors come together in the photo tab and it ties the different elements together physically and visually. The background paper is also textured which helps it be a little more than just a simple paper card.

Click on the card for the website page if you want full directions and larger images.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Don't Feel So Hot!

I set out to use up some orange this time but as so often happens in life what you intended to do and what you actually did are two different things. Instead I made a light green card, which I needed to work on as well. I wasn't sure I would like it when I first started making it but the colors and pattern grew on me. I wish the penguin were a little bigger though.

I almost always end up mixing an matching stamps from different companies but the stamps for this one are entirely Stampin' Up!. As the card for directions if you want more detail. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Paging Dr Britt

I keep my 8 1/2" x 11" paper in hanging file folders in a filing cabinet. I'm getting desperately short on the male colors and need to open up some new packs but first I decided to use up some of the other colors to make more room. Dr Britt to the rescue! For this card I set out to use up some of the purple cardstock. The stamped image is a new one for me I brought from Stamping Fools at the end of July. Unfortunately they had the images but not the words available so the Stampin' Up! Happy Healing Stamp Set came to the rescue again. The patterned paper reminded me of a pattern you might expect to see on some scrubs and nicely tied everything together.
One thing this card shows very well is just how good some of the newest white pens on the market are now. It used to be impossible to a white image to stand out that well! Check out the directions by clicking on the card if you want more.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Quick and Simple Male Card

Here's a quick and simple male card you can make from scraps of male friendly colors or papers for any occasion. It's also a great card if you have limited supplies on hand. The only real requirement for it is that you have a medium sized sentiment to put in the middle.

First you build the background of the card using two different color scraps on diagonal corners. After that you just need a decent sized sentiment to stamp in the middle. It's a little more complicated than that of course because you need to pick coordinating colors with the same brightness and saturation for this to look well designed. Most of the better paper companies design coordinating lines of plain and patterned papers with the same saturation and brightness, as long as you stick to a single line and don't try to mix and match paper from different companies this shouldn't be too hard. The ones I used were DCWV open stock the local craft store used to sell.

You can obviously turn this into a female card very easily by using more traditional female colors. If you want the exact sizes or stamp I used, click on the card for the instruction sheet on the website.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Cookie Says Happy Birthday

Here's a card I made to post to the {Stamps} of Life Gallery for this month's contest. It uses two of this month's stamp releases. The background on the paper is stamped and Cookie (the dog) is colored using Copic markers, trying to add as much of a realistic hair effect as I could manage. If you want more, just click on it.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Two New A7 Floral Oval Cards

These are simple and elegant male and female versions of a card I made using one of the new stamps I got this summer at a rubber stamping convention. The oval is fairly tall so I decided to put it on an A7 sized card. A7 is the fancy way of saying 5x7 or 7x5 in this case. I buy these cards prefolded with envelopes from a local craft store. They end up being about 30 cents per card or 15 cents after coupon so its not a bad deal for most of a sheet of Bazzill paper when I have made the trip up there but they don't have anything new I want to buy.

There is a lot of penwork in the image so the leaves are tough to color and get any detail but I colored it with Copic markers and then had to fussy cut out all the layers. I used a little tracing wheel though (see instructions) so it wasn't so bad. I also found out that even though I thought I didn't need any more ribbon I didn't have any black ribbon wide enough for the card so I had to go buy some. This turned out to be a very good idea because there was nice black ribbon with a green and pink floral pattern on it waiting for me at the store for the pink one. In order to make it wide enough though I mounted the ribbon on a wider white ribbon. The final double stacked ribbon pulled in all the colors from the image. For the blue card, they didn't have a plain black ribbon that wide but they had one with a white diagonal pattern which added another detail to the card.

Here are the cards, click on them to see more detail or get additional directions:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

More Mice!

Millie's back!

This time the patterned paper worked out. Considering I brought it about a week ago it just for this card, that was a good thing. I was even able to cheat and cut one 12x12 sheet into 6 card fronts and then make up the difference with a clever border at the bottom.

What didn't work out is I was trying to use up some pink cardstock. I have been on a male card making spree and the pinks and purples from the multipacks are starting to pile up, so this was supposed to be a pink card not a red one.

I tried some other coloring techniques, but quickly realized Copic markers were the only way I was going to get a bright image and be able to match the colors in the paper so she's wearing Copic markers again.

As always with my posts, if you want more details about the card itself click on the image for the supplies, directions and the bigger pictures.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Mouse Invasion!

Millie the mouse has invaded the craft room! There are mouse images everywhere. Here's how I took care of the first one:

The scallops are cut using a scallop blade in a rotary trimmer. This is the fastest and easiest way you'll ever find to put a border on paper. If better cuts in thicker paper don't appeal to you, this might be a good reason to upgrade to a rotary trimmer if you are still using a pull type blade.

I couldn't find any coordinating paper that matched the markers. I thought I had some but it didn't work for me after I finished the image. So what was I to do? Make my own of course using stamps. It didn't translate well to the smaller blog image but if you look at the larger image on the website (by clicking on the image) you can see I stamped an XO image with a bandaid type pattern in versamark on the paper. Versamark is very useful for doing this because its clear and the paper simply becomes a darker shade of itself once it dries.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Win a free greeting card!

Here's a quick and easy contest:

First visit my website Find your favorite card and then post a comment here about what you like. The comment must include the title of the card from the top of the web page. You have until Fri August 13 at 11:59pm EDT to comment.

Second, become a public follower of this blog. You must be a public follower so I have a reliable way of associating the name on your comment with an email address. Please make sure your comment and follower entry use the same name, even its a made up name, otherwise anyone can claim to be the winner. Followers are listed on the right hand side if you scroll down to the bottom.

On the 15th, I will use to pick two or more numbers. The numbers will be the comments that win.

If your comment gets picked and you are a follower, you win the chance to win the card you commented on, if I have more of it. If not, we'll work out a second choice. If you get picked but aren't a follower, I will go to the next number from until I find a winner.

The winners will be announced on the blog before the end of the month. It might be announced as part of another post, so actually follow along.

Once announced, you will have 5 days to comment on the post. You don't actually win the card until you comment on the post that announces you as a winner.

Not all of the cards I have made will mail well without additional postage and packaging, especially if you want a usable envelope with the card. In order to maximize the number of people I can pick this time, you must have a USPS Domestic address to participate, or be willing to make up the postage difference for that card.

Finally, if you share this contest with others on your blog or Facebook page, send me an email at the address on the bottom of any of the website pages with Contest Linky in the subject and the url of the page and I'll give you 5 extra entries in the contest if I can verify your link.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Who wants to win stuff? Become a fan or follower now for extra chances!

It looks like contests are going to be shaping up for later in August. I've got a few prizes I purchased, some cards ready and should have a $50 gift certificate to give away to a large online shopping site that wants to sponsor a contest soon.

The first giveaway is going to be for a membership drive. Everyone who is already a fan or follower at the time I formally announce it will get bonus entries, possibly one bonus for being a fan and one for being a a follower.

So NOW is the time to click on the follow button on the right and become a follower and to click on the Facebook button on the bottom and become a fan.

If you are reading this from a feed, you will need to actually visit the blog to do this.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Duct Tape - Even Useful for Cardmaking

I ran out of plastic store brought metallic looking squares while make the last few copies of this card I previously posted. The craft store that sells them is 20 miles away and they aren't open late at night when I usually make stuff, so I made my own from foil duct tape. Here's the duct tape version.

I stuck the duct tape onto a thin sheet of paper to stabilize it first. It is too flexible and gets wrinkles in it too easily otherwise. Then I punched the remaining squares I needed with a 1/4 inch square punch and put some dimensional foam on the back. They don't have the domed look of the plastic but they get the job done.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Can colored pencils really look this good?

After having done all three coloring techniques I went back and revisted the color pencil and Gamsol technique to see if I could get something closer to the Copic image that had color everywhere instead just a fade to white coloring pattern. I had high hopes for it as cheap way to nicely color stuff for some other ideas I want to explore later.

I changed two things though this time. First, I used different colored pencils. I used Crayola Twistables I brought as a travel pencils a long time ago. These are basically durable plastic mechanical colored pencils for kids don't need a sharpener. The lead in them is softer or different somehow from the other ones I used because I get less pencil marks when coloring with them. The second thing I did was I remembered seeing something on the web in an art homework assignment that students where supposed to do blending without mineral spirits. So, armed with those thoughts, this was my attempt at getting a full color pencil/Gamsol image:

I used the 2 browns, red and a gray out of the Crayola set. There are only 24 colors so picking colors was easy. In order to get different shades of the same color, I put different amounts of pencil down. I only used the dark brown near the edges. I used a dry blending stump to blend and remove the pencil lines as much as possible. Dry blending alone will not get the look you see. Once I was done dry blending, I went back with a little bit of Gamsol on the blending stump and dissolved the dark brown line into the light brown, finished off the removal any more stubborn pencil lines and picked up a little bit of red from the tongue to use on the cat as pink.

I will say, like I said before, blending it takes a bit of work and finger pressure and learning so the technique may not be for everyone. The best way to explain this is I could sit there and color 30 images with Copic markers and not feel anything. This technique requires you to apply at least light pressure on the stump so I wouldn't do a lot of them at once.

I think the end result was worth it though.

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