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

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