I have been stamping for years and am excited to share and learn along with you.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Ugly duckling paper becomes a beautiful Swan booklet

I know it's been more than a month, almost 2 in fact.  I'm only now starting to catch my breath though, life had been non-stop.  In addition to the 3 back to back out of town trips I had, there was the annual goodbye to our son as he left for another year of college.  About that same time our dog got seriously ill between trips 2 and 3, so add giving her multiple meds, getting her to eat and trying to nurse her back to health in general.  Unfortunately despite our best efforts she only got worse and we had to put her down after weeks of trying and several more visits to the vet.  Only a couple of days after that I got the flu, I fine now but I sure wish I had stock in the company that makes facial tissues, I could have easily gotten my money back and then some.

I am going to post a few catch up pics this week but hope to have a more detailed "how to" post soon.


I used a 12 x 12 sheet of cardstock to create a mini book months ago maybe even close to a year ago, I'm honestly not sure.  I never finished decorating the book though.  I knew when I purchase the pad of paper it came in that this sheet of paper could be pretty but as is, it was too gaudy.  It had  beautiful orange, yellow and gold foil flowers on it but they were way too large and overwhelmed the design.  Once it was folded down to 3 x 3 pages though, WOW!  Suddenly it was too pretty to decorate and cover up.  Which is why it ended up in the 'to be finished eventually' box with other unfinished projects or UFO as the stamping/crafting community likes to call them.

Flash forward to last month; I've been sick, I'm stressed, in mourning and just plain tired but want to be creative so I go digging through that same box looking to see if something will catch the attention of my muse.  The minute I saw that unfinished book I knew I had to complete it.  I grabbed some Susan Branch stickers I had in my stash and went to work finishing pages.  Then I added a bit of bling to the first page and the front of my book.

these pages were the only ones done with cancelled post office
stamps and die cuts as well as stickers

The actual book was done but I had 3 slots for inserting tags left to make.  I started by cutting pale yellow cardstock into tags and then ran them through my Bigshot using a GooseBumpz roses embossing folder.  I then colored and distressed the tags using several different colors if inks and watercolor paints. Notice that I did this on the debossed side of the tags.  Using this side of the tag enabled me to color the roses easier and would make gluing my chosen quotes onto them easier.  I picked three vellum quotes from a booklet of  famous quotes (JoAnns) that I've had for years and cut them to fit each tag.  I then glued them on using matte gel medium.

When I glued the original book together I had used  washi tape on the edges, so I did the same to my tags so they matched the book.  My tags were almost finished all I needed was ribbon for the holes.  While I was searching for ribbon I remembered some tea themed charms I had so I decided to add them to my tags as well.  All that was left now was to insert the tags into the book and take a few pictures.

I'm not sure yet who will receive this as a Christmas gift but it will definitely not be just anyone.  It will go to someone very special.  Have you ever made something ugly beautiful?  If not I challenge you to do so, you might end up with your own Ugly Duckling creation.

Friday, August 8, 2014

Month off

I've decided life is just too busy right now so I'm taking a month off.  I'll start posting again sometime after Labor day when things have calmed down a bit.  Hopefully I will have reorganized my supplies so I can find and use them.

In the mean time I thought I'd share a picture I took recently from my front yard, looking at the top of a tree in my neighbors back yard.  This is a Mississippi Kite, a couple showed up last year on our street.  They returned this year with friends, they are BIG like hawks.  I love watching them soar in circles way above the houses.  Best of all someone told me they eat mosquitoes, YEAH!

Any way thought this picture would be a good one to practice drawing bird shapes and feather texture from.  Have a great rest of the summer and I'll be back in the fall with lots of pics, tutorials and hopefully a regular schedule.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Bright butterfly Days

This page makes me smile everytime I look at it!  It's so cheerful and well... bright, how could anyone that looks at it not have their spirits lifted.

I purchased a pad of Canson Acrylic paper a couple of  months ago and decided to use a sheet in the journal that I'm putting together, so I cut a sheet to size and then monoprinted some new paints I had bought on sale recently.  Then I remembered the copier weight  paper I had in my stash.  Someone had given it to me years ago thinking I would use it up in no time making cards.  As you can tell they're not a stamper/card maker and didn't understand that we don't usually use light weight paper when making cards.  It's the thought that counts though.

I had purchased a daisy die by Sizzix and wanted to try it out and figured why not use the bright paper to experiment with.  Once I had them cut and started to play around with them to make flowers I remembered I had some already made that would match.  When I opened the zip bag with my pre-made flowers I found a butterfly die cut and the cardstock it had been cut from in the same bag.  I'd saved the cardstock to do reverse stenciling with someday and decided that was as good a time as any, so I started painting the butterfly and stencil all over the page.  Next I added a few decorative touches to the flower centers and  glued the flowers onto the page.  The page was now ready for journaling and since butterflies represent new beginnings I wrote words about rebirth and renewal of the spirit all over the page. I used several different pens in permanent and gel colored inks to write with.

Still makes me feel happy to look at this page and yes I know I once again forgot to leave my self a margin for binding, darn it!!

Paper: Astrobright copy paper for flowers and Canson Acrylic cut to size for base
Ink & Paints: acrylic paints by Apple Barrel and Americana / Sharpie pens and Sakura gel pens
Accessories: Sizzix, Spellbinder and Cuttlebug dies : glitter glue : K & Co/Brenda Walton dimensional Stickers
Techniques: Monoprinting, die cuts and reverse stenciling.   The butterfly and the black flower center on the larges flower are from Cuttlebug, the bottom right flower is a combination of Sizzix and Cuttlebug.  The bottom left flower is stamp from Imaginisce/Paper Mania-Snag Em Duo that I cut out with Spellbinder circle and scallop dies and then layered together.  Two of the flowers have star shaped resin centers from K&Co and two of them have glitter glue centers.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

All about the inside of a card

I decided to make a pop-up card recently for a birthday.  What fun and they are actually pretty easy to make once you "get" the concept.  Before we get to all the technical inside stuff though here is the front of the card.

The green card base was from a multi color pack I purchased at a convention from Paper Cuts, I created a background by repeatedly stamping an Inkadinkado/PSX foam stamp.  The stamp is part of a set of birthday stamps that I've had forever, sure has been a useful purchase.  You'll see another stamp from this set on the inside of the card too.

The rosette I made using Spellbinder scalloped and circle dies.  Here is a link to a previous post on how to make these: making rosettes.  The "make a wish sentiment and birthday candle stamps are from a Stampabilities set I picked up on clearance a couple of years ago.

I next used a Spellbinder labels 8 set to cut the middle panels.  I found the paint splash paper in my file cabinet.  I tried to find out who makes but have no idea.  I could tell it was torn out of one of those books of scrapping  papers that were popular at one time.  The surprise for you label was created using the smallest die from the Spellbinder Lattice Rectangles die set and a stamp from Post Scrips, long since gone.

Now its time to talk about the inside of the card

First off all of the die cuts on the inside of this card were purchased many years ago pre-cut and ready to use but I did make a few alterations.  I stamped the "Pin the tail on the donkey words/image using the stamp set I mentioned before and I colored the flame on the candle as well as the pom-pom on the hat with markers.  The corrugated finish to the balloons was how they came, all that was needed was strings which I attached on the back with tape.  To give the card continuity I created the same background using the same stamp that I had used on the front of the card.   I also glued the party hat and streamer onto the birthday cake to create one embellishment and then attached the whole thing to the notch I had cut into the base of the card.

There are tons of tutorials on how to make a basic pop up card including this one from Splitcoaststampers so I'm not going to go into a lot of detail but did want to show you that I did two different techniques.  The cake is pretty much the same technique as the tutorial I linked but since I wanted the balloons higher up on the card I use slightly different method which is equally easy and effective.  You simply cut a strip of cardstock that is thinner than the embellishment you are attaching and fold it to create a square.  Glue you embellishment onto one side of your square and then glue the opposite side to your card.  Just be sure you don't place it too high as your pop-up could show when the card is closed, unless that is the look you are going for.

The Happy Birthday stamp is from Stamp Camp.  The package die that I used to sign the card with is raised up on a spring, which is easy to do, a couple of pieces for Scotch tape at both ends and you are in business.  I even made the spring myself from a piece of scrap wire.  I had removes the wire from a piece of ribbon recently and all I needed to do was wrap the wire around a pencil and the spring for my card was ready to use.

Interactive cards are always a crowd pleaser.  You are guaranteed to get lots of smiles and everyone will be very impressed when they find out you made the card.  It's our little secret just how easy and fun they are to create though.

Friday, July 11, 2014

This scene was stamped after attending a stamp convention several years ago.  I really just wanted to see how the river scene stamp I had just purchased looked on paper.  The central foreground is messed up in a major way so I never used the scene.  I also needed more middle ground because the river looks like it runs off into the sky as it is now.  Must remember to keep an eye on perspective and make sure my images are grounded.

Such a shame I messed this one up since I was really happy with how the sky came out otherwise.  Isn't that always the way it goes, get one part "perfect" and mess it up in another area/way.  I decided to go ahead and use this page in my journal, mistakes are part of a stampers journey and are reminders of the "what not to do's".  That is an important part of growth as an artist of any medium.

The central river scene surrounded by trees image in this is from Stamping Sensations and the rocks, pebbles, etc on both sides are various stamps from Beeswax.  The waves in the foreground are from Posh Impressions and Inkadinkado but don't look at that part of the image, lol.  I colored everything with a combination of sponged inks and chalk pastels.

Remember to embrace and learn from those oops moments!

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Stormy Seas

The above piece started as a basic watercolor wash and has been sitting waiting to be finished for a while.  I'm still a novice at water-coloring but think this came out pretty good, love the soft green blue on the left side with a contrast of darker blue on the right.  I used a fan brush to add the streaks of rain.  Confession time, if you look closely you can see a reddish streak behind all the rain.  It was one of those oops moments, sigh.  Now that I've added the streaks of darker blue though it looks more like a continuation of the the shoreline off into the horizon. Yeah!!

The girl looking off into the distance and the sea gulls are from Beeswax stamps, the sailboat is a from PSX stamp.  I used Prisma pencils and OMS to color the images but the white pencil did not hide the blue color underneath the birds though so I ended up using white acrylic paint to color them instead.  Much better and as a bonus it gives them some texture.

The seashells in the bottom right and the sunglasses on the top left are pre-made die cuts from my stash.  I purchased them from a dollar store many years ago and decided to alter them some starting with the sunglasses.  I added VersaMark ink and clear embossing powder to the "glass" area of the die and put it into the freezer.  When I took it out I was able to crack the embossed area and then use a sponge with black ink to lightly go over the cracks to make them stand out more.  While I waited for the sunglasses to be ready to take out of the freezer I got started on the beach area of my picture.

The original picture did not have a beach foreground, it was sky and sea only and I wanted a sandy beach.  I grabbed a jar of Deco-Arts sandstone acrylic paste from the shelf and mixed a couple of drops of Ranger Tea Stain Distress ink to alter the color from off white to a golden "beach" color. Now I had a beach foreground that not only was the right color but had the look and feel of sand.  I then glued the seashell die onto the bottom corner and then added a little bit of the acrylic sand paste over the die to help it blend into and become a part of the scene.

The last things I did was to write my journal line and add some white acrylic for highlights.  I painted with a toothpick to create waves/swells in the stormy area of the picture and a small round brush to add watered down white acrylic paint on the beach for sea foam.  I hope there are no storms on your horizon and your summer is full of smooth sailing instead.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

A little journal page catch up

Sorry I didn't have a post last week.  My only excuse is it's summer and I have been outside enjoying the weather before it gets too hot.  The last several years it has been so hot, many 100+ days by now.  So needless to say 80's and even low 90's are worth getting outside for right now.  I have managed to do a little creating, though mostly with already started pages from my massive stash of started but never used stuff.  Not much in the way of technique so I'll just post a few pictures and the stamps used.  Here we go:

The dresses on this were created by hand using a brass stencil, sorry don't know who makes it since it doesn't say on the stencil anywhere.  I then hand embossed the hearts on the one and the lines on the other one.  Hats on a pedestal are Inkadinkado and the rose is from Stampabilities.  The lacy border stamp is from Lost Coast Stampers and was added over a scrap of fabric I had added with watered down white glue.  The purple hat and shoes are from Spellbinders.  The only image possibly still available might be the border stamp.  Sorry the picture isn't any better I have tried SEVERAL times but my camera did not like the combination of glossy cardstock, vellum and the metallic/holographic paper in the one dress.  If I get a better picture I'll include it in a future post.

The wings on this are from Stamp Camp, the "each day..." and border are all one wood stamp by Hero Arts.  I have no idea who made the checkerboard at bottom & eyeball on the right as they were a rak many years ago. The rest of the page I drew/doodled myself along with coming up with all the encouragements myfself.

This one was doing with pencils and some pre-made letters that I got from a book of die cuts forever ago.  The hula girl in the grass skirt is from Stamp Camp and the flowers are from DMD/Creative Inc.  The label was cut using Spellbinders dies and stamped with a Studio G dollar set.

All of the stamps on this one are from Beeswax except: the girl playing the flute which is from Stamp Camp and the clarinet, its' from All Nite Media.  This one has Twinkling H2O's on the girls dress and the columns.  It also has some Washi tape alone the left side and bottom, still not sold on this stuff but occasionally I find a project that it works on.

This last one was inspired by an email from Stampington that talked about using corrugated cardboard to make a journal.   It is a LOT of fun to play with, so many options!  I didn't like the look of a whole book done in it though but a few pages mixed in with other types of cardstock works.  The only thing on this page to give credit for is the tulip image which is an embossing folder from Sizzix that I painted with H2O's.

I hope you are having a great summer.  I'm hoping to get another post done this coming week I have so much more to share; journal pages and cards, !