Saturday, March 25, 2017

Fancy Easter Eggs

I am trying to be very disciplined with myself today and not play with the new stamp set that came in the mail from Altenew this morning.  If you haven't checked out their release from this week, be sure to stop over and check it out. Garden Treasure Stamp, Die and Bundle is already sold out at Altenew and Simon Says Stamp is waiting for their shipment to arrive and has it on reserve.  It's always a good idea to sign up for e-mail notification so you'll know when either place has it back in stock if you want it. This was fastest shipping from New York - EVER! It normally takes at least 10 days for me to get an order during release week so I was shocked when I got an e-mail saying it was out for delivery.  I'm still waiting on this month's Papertrey Ink order and that was from March 15th.  Anyway, let's get on with the Fancy Easter Egg card!

Today's card is for the Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge #67 and also for the Inspired By All The Little Things Challenge #49. Nancy Penir is the Guest this week and the bunny immediately made me think "Peter Rabbit" which then makes me think of Easter and Easter Eggs.

I actually got this idea from watching my friend, Yana, make an Easter card this week using Spellbinders Dies. You can see her video here. After watching this, I wanted a way to mimic those fancy eggs without the dies she used since I don't have them.  I grabbed my Simon Says Stamp Emma and Elizabeth Background Stamps and stamped three A2 sized pieces of Stamper's Select White Cardstock with Versamark and heat set them using Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder. Using a Mini Round Ink Blending Tool, I blended Distress Oxide Inks to quickly color these up in Cracked Pistachio, Broken China and Wilted Violet then misted them with a bit of Tsukineko Sheer Sparkle Shimmer Spritz.  Even on white cardstock, these inks blend like a dream.  While I didn't have the fancy filigreed dies, I do have a set of nesting egg shaped dies made by QuicKutz from way, way, waaaayyyy back.  A lot of my dies from waaaayyyy back are made for 12 x 12 inch scrapbook pages and I've got them in my closet, but I've kept my nesting dies handy for easy access on occasions just such as this. *Ü*  

For my sentiment, I used leftover pieces of the ink blended cardstock to cut my word, the "Easter" Die from Simon Says Stamp.  The word cuts in two pieces rather than just one so it was easy to do part of the word on one color and and the rest of the word on another.  Because these are the heat embossed leftovers, there is a ton of extra texture there. This die is frequently sold out this time of year so consider getting the e-mail notification for this as well.  

I often do battle with myself over how much dimension to add because I mail nearly everything I make but this is one time I wished I would have listened to that little inner voice.  The thing is, because I make cards for other people to send, I know that most people don't have the knowledge of the postal system that I do, so I want to keep my cards simple and mail-able. I was the Company Training Coordinator at the company I worked for in Topeka, Kansas and we used to have to do training on everything associated with mailing/shipping via the USPS. This might be a good time to do a little checklist here for my friends.  
  1. A typewritten address label will always be easier for a machine to read, no matter how fantastic your handwriting is.  If it's someone you mail things to often, consider making a sheet of address labels for them.
  2. If you have the ZIP + 4 Zip-Code, use it.  It will speed up shipping by at least 1 day. 
  3. Always use a return address so that whatever you are sending can make it somewhere, even if it's only back to you.  No point in having it completely lost. 
  4. You can use Click-N-Ship for Priority Mail Shipping from your home if you sign up for a USPS account.  This provides you with a small discount since you will be using a "typewritten" and bar coded label printed from your printer that is easy to read.  The post office can collect your packages from your porch or mailbox or anywhere that you specify on the next regular mail day.  I have a small food scale that I use to weigh my mail.  That way I know whether or not to add extra postage.
  5. Mail Art Envelopes along with unique sizes, shapes (squares) or greater thicknesses require extra postage.  The post office has something they can show you so you will know.  I mostly use Thin 3D Foam Squares for exactly this reason.
These are the things that pop into my head automatically but if you think of anything else, you can go to the website and check it out.

Thank you so much for stopping by today to see my project.  I hope you'll come back very soon! 

Papertrey Ink March 2017 Blog Hop

Hello!  It's time for the Monthly Blog Hop at Papertrey Ink for March 2017. Nichole always finds really remarkable inspiration for us and this month is no exception. 

These gorgeous prints were created by Victoria Johnson. I love how Victoria used backgrounds other than white for her prints.

I wanted to capture the same feel of the colors in the card I created so I started by making a Noted: Vertical Scalloped A2 Card base from Tropical Teal Cardstock.  I also cut a rectangle and scalloped edge smaller piece using the same Noted: Vertical Die Set out of Deep Indigo and Stamper's Select White Cardstock.

Using Fresh Bouquet Stamps and the coordinating die, I cut several of these in Deep Indigo and Stamper's select white as well.  I wanted to try something new but I wasn't sure how it would work out so I didn't want to have to stop and cut more if things weren't working out too well. I had a ton of what I would call failures. The biggest thing I tried was to do each of the flowers in a different embossing powder and still another color for the leaves.  This did not work out for me at all and I'm not sure how I could make it work.  The biggest thing I noticed was that it was hard not to get the heat on some of the already melted embossing powder and scorching it.  I recently got a Wagner 650 degree heat tool but a lot of the time, I think it is just too hot.  I'm still adjusting to how much hotter it gets than my old one.  In the end, I got out my supply of Twinkling H2O's and used Forest Green, Black Cherry, Sky Blue and Bougainvillia to paint them in over the heat embossed gold outlines on the Deep Indigo Cardstock.  It was fast, easy and makes the same kind of impact I was going for with the heat embossing.

I'm sure there will be lots of fantastic cards and projects over at the Papertrey Blog so enjoy hopping along to see all the projects!

Baby Girl Blog Hop

Hello Everyone! Today I am part of a Surprise Blog Hop celebrating the arrival of Baby Girl Croghan, to Lesley and Corey Croghan, due in April.

I know Lesley through "The Challenge" blog that she created. She asked me to be one of their designers. Lesley also has several other challenges around the web that I participate in.  So although I haven't known her for very long, I was thrilled to be asked to participate in this special blog hop!

It was a little bit of a challenge for me to find something to use for a baby card but I finally settled on using the My Favorite Things Snuggle Bunnies Stamp and Die sets along with a couple of sentiments from two different Papertrey Ink sets.

I started by stamping the bunny and the teddy in Versamark onto Canson Bristol Watercolor Paper and heat set it with Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder.  I used Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers and a water brush to watercolor the images using just a few colors; Oatmeal, Pale Rose and Sugared Almond Pink. Once I had those colored in, I set them aside to dry while I worked on the background panel.  I started by doing some ink blending toward the center of the background panel using Picked Raspberry Distress Ink and misted it with some Tattered Angel Glimmer Mist in Iridescent Gold.  After giving it a couple of minutes to dry, I scored the lines in the background using the same method I explained here. I used Liquid Pearls in the color Hydrangea to put the little pearls at the intersection of the score lines. I set everything aside for a little while to make sure it was completely dry before attempting to emboss part of the greeting. I cut a banner using the Tag Sale Quilted Banner Die and stamped the "To Hear Your News" part of the sentiment using the same Antique Gold Embossing Powder.

Once everything was dry, I die cut the bunny and teddy then I assembled it all to a top folding card base made from Simon Says Stamp Doll Pink Cardstock.  I actually tried several colors of cardstock (including white) because I found the Picked Raspberry Distress Ink to be a bit darker and brighter than most of the pink cardstock I have including several colors of Stampin' Up Cardstock still in my stash. This paper is part of the Simon Says Stamp Sweet Treats Paper Pack.

Be sure to hop along with everyone at Lori's blog, Caffeinated Creativity, to see all of the cards made for Lesley for today's blog hop.  Our hosts, Lori Turner and Nancy Salkeld, have been working on this plan for weeks to get everything set up for the hop. Lesley was sent a package that said she couldn't open it until 8:00 her time this morning.  She will get a nice surprise when she opens her package this morning and sees all of the cards and things made just for her.  I don't know Lesley very well and I was late getting my card to Lori, but my hubby dropped it off at the Post Office this week so she'll receive it soon.  Meanwhile, she gets to look at all the goodness that is part of this blog hop!

Lesley, I hope you are having a fun time hopping along and seeing everything this morning! CONGRATULATIONS!!!!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Inspired By All The Little Things #48

I am a little slow this week getting things finished for all of the challenges I want to participate in but I need to get this particular show on the road as I only have a matter of hours left to participate over at the Inspired By All The Little Things Challenge Blog.

The image on the left reminds me of a setting sun in an evening sky with all the different colors. For my card, I used Distress Oxide Inks in Faded Jeans, Broken China, Wilted Violet, Fossilized Amber and Peeled Paint to create my evening sky background. The colors aren't as deep as in the picture, but I really like how it turned out. Truthfully, it is hard to get Distress Oxide to be as dark as one would want because there are only 12 colors so far and once you mist it with water or whatever solution, the oxidation starts which is what makes these inks blend so well.

Once I had the background panel finished, I used Hero Arts Unicorn White Spray to spritz on top of an acrylic block and then spattered it on to my card base for the starry sky using a Silver Black Velvet Brush in size 4. Since I was putting a Vellum panel over the top, I didn't get too excited about placement of the spatter and it was easy to do.

I stamped the vellum panel with a sentiment and the shooting star from WPLUS9's Lucky Stars Stamp Set. The sentiment is heat embossed in Hero Arts White Embossing Powder and the shooting star is done in Metallic Platinum Sparkle Embossing Powder from WOW!.  I cut a few stars from Silver Glitter Paper to accent and placed them around in a visual triangle, which also gave me a place to hide a bit of adhesive behind the vellum panel. I attached everything to a top folding card base made from Papertrey Ink's Aqua Mist Cardstock.  This was really quick to pull together and is a perfect card to send to one of your friends.

I hope you have a fantastic Friday everyone.  Thanks so much for stopping by to visit today.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Bible Stamping & Journaling

There is a huge trend right now to journal and stamp in your Bible and I really thought I would enjoy this so I finally gave in after several months of looking for a Bible that suits this artistic journey. Let's face it, there is no room in a standard bible publication. I settled on the Journal the Word Bible in the New International Version translation. There are a couple of versions to choose from and I think they will do more as this trend gains popularity or not as the trend fades away.

I was trying to decide how I wanted to start this in my own Journal the Word Bible so I thought I'd share a few tips on how I got started (just this morning). I started by sitting and looking through my own stamp sets and some online stamp sets to see what I had that could be used for this purpose and made a list with the help of some ladies on the Papertrey Ink Forum, including Dawn McVey. She started this a while back and it was actually the bible she recommended that I chose for my project. At least half of my stamp sets have a flower, a flourish, a word or phrase that can be used to accent the pages of our bibles in such a lovely way. This is the list I started with and these are all Papertrey Ink Stamp Sets and a few dies as well:

2016 Anniversary Set (Prayers)
All Booked Up
Alphabet Dies
Alphabet Stamps for creating your own words.
Beautiful Berries: Spring
Beautiful Blessings
Beautiful Blessings (contains Bible verses and some other sentiments that would work with Bible journaling)
Beautiful Blessings: Holiday
Bitty Butterflies
Bold Blossoms
Book Club
Brushed Blooms
Brushed Off
Butterfly Hope
Cheerful Heart
Choose Joy
Christmas Blessings
Christmas Faith
Counting my Blessings
Courage and Kindness
Easter Alleluias 
Embroidered Blooms
Enclosed Wreath Mini
Enclosed: Bell (Joy)
Enclosed: Butterfly Mini
Everyday Blessings
Faith & Hope (Vault)
Fancy Pants Holiday
Feather Finery
Festival of Lights
Friendly Flowers
Give Thanks
God appears near mountains or in clouds.
Graceful Greetings
Graceful Greetings II
Gratitude Journal (Vault)
Guiding Light and/or Lighten Up - for verses on light
Happiest of Holidays (Silent Night-Holy Night Stamp)
Harvest Berries
Heart Dies
Heart Prints
Heart Prints Sentiments
Heavenly Medley (Vault)
Inside and Out Holiday Stamps
Inspired: Blessed
Inspired: Faith
Inspired: God
Inspired: Grace
Inspired: Hope
Inspired: Jesus
Inspired: Lord
Inspired: Love
Inspired: Mercy
Inspired: Praise
Inspired: Prayer
Inspired: Savior
Jingle All The Way
Light of Life 
Lock & Key (Vault)
Love and Marriage
Love Lives Here
Love Lives Here: Holiday
Make It Market Mini Kit: Sunshine and Rainbows
Meadow Greens
Move Mountains Mini
Mum's the Word
Nativity Silhouettes & Additions
New Every Morning
Oh Holy Night (has some great Christmas verses!)
One Big Happy
One Liners
Painted Poinsettias
Paper Clippings: Done in Love
Paper Clippings: Joy to the World Stamp Set
Paper Clippings: Love Story
Paper Clippings: Thankful For You Details
Paper Clippings: Thankful For You Stamp Set
Peaceful Pinecones
Phrases and Praises
Season's Greetings
Snowflake Serenade
Some Like it Hot
Sparkle & Shine
Splits: With Love
Spring Woods
Spruce & Sprigs
Stacked Statements
Stained Glass (Vault)
Stamp sets with Hearts
Star of Wonder
Stitched Sentiments
Stylish Sentiments
Stylized Autumn
Think of different stories and pull elements, e.g. rainbow, apple, tree, whale, anchor, house.
Thrill of Hope 
Tulip Time (New Beginnings)
Walk by Faith
Walk by Faith
Wet Paint Holiday
What the Doodle: Waves
Winter Village
Winter Woods
Wonderful Words Dies and Stamps
Wonderful Words Dies: Joy
Year of Flowers Collection
Year of Psalms
You Are a Masterpiece

I'm still looking at my sets but once you start doing this, it becomes easier to see what you can do with what you have. There are also some obvious choices such as Papertrey's "Inspired" series designed by Betsy Veldman and her new series called "Year of Psalms". I'd recommend that you just sit down to see what you can use. I use an indexing system to store all of my stamp sets, so I just grabbed my Papertrey bin and started looking. I will look through my other sets, as time allows, but I have a lot to get me started.

To actually decide on the place where I started, I chose a few favorites and started there. One of my absolute favorite verses is Psalm Nineteen - Verse One: The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. When I see a star filled sky or a perfect blue sky with fluffy little clouds drifting by, this verse comes to mind and I think it will even more now that I've begun Bible Journaling and Stamping. For this page, I used WPLUS9's Lucky Stars Stamp Set.

There are still a few kinks to work out. Which type of ink is the best is one of those kinks given the fact that bible pages are so much thinner than regular book pages.  So far I've tried dye and pigment inks and I prefer the pigment inks but it will be important to use fast-drying formulas for this.  I chose this style of Bible because it has a single column of text toward the inside of the page and lightly ruled outside columns. This gives you a place to stamp or to write in your thoughts as you reflect on what you've read. 

Another one of the things I did was to mark the two prayers taught to me by my Great Grandmother.  If there's a story or passage or particular chapter of the bible that you like, start there. You definitely need to put a piece of scrap paper behind what you've stamped to prevent bleed through to other pages. And you also need to let whatever you have stamped dry fully before you move on to another page or close your bible.

Not everyone likes to write, so this isn't something that will be everyone's cup of tea. I was pretty sure it was for me, so I'm happy I took the plunge.  I hope you enjoyed the few tips I've given to get started and I hope to have more insights for those who are interested in the future.  Have a great week everyone!

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Papertrey Ink 10th Anniversary Challenge: Transformation

When I saw what today's challenge is over at the Papertrey Ink Blog, I was thinking that clearly Nichole wasn't speaking to me when she came up with the challenge because I tear up and put into the trash cards I make that I don't like; or at least, card fronts.  I don't actually get it all the way to the whole card stage, but to keep myself from trying to salvage something I am not very happy with, I do rip it in half otherwise I will drive myself crazy trying to fix it. That doesn't happen very often but it does happen.  I know it wouldn't bother some people, but I am putting my name, my reputation and my style out there in the world and I don't want to post something I am not proud of. With all of that said, while I liked this first card, I wasn't 100% happy with my color choices from a few days ago during the Papertrey Ink Multiples Challenge. It was okay, but I felt I would have liked it better if I had used different colors. So that is the card I chose to transform today.

For the previous card, I started with a card base made from Smokey Shadow Cardstock. I used Hawaiian Shores Cardstock for the Cover Plate: Harlequin Die cut with a second pass on Vintage Jadeite Cardstock for the interior pieces. The sentiment is stamped on a strip of Smokey Shadow Cardstock and heat embossed the sentiment from Botanical Blocks in Hero Arts White Embossing Powder. This card looks fine and I can think of a few people who would really like it. It looks just fine, but I felt like it was really hard to tell what the background color is and I still think that's true.

For today I started with a card base made from Stamper's Select White and paired it with Dark Indigo, and Hawaiian Shores Cardstock.  I also did the pattern a bit differently than on the previous card.  There are so many options to choose from so I just sat down with the interior pieces and then inlaid them in different patterns until I had a design that I liked.  I adhered them with a bit of Ranger Multi Medium Matte.  For the previous card I popped the diamonds up on Thin 3D Foam Squares but I chose to keep this one mostly flat and pop up only the sentiment, again on Thin 3D Foam Squares. I used Double Ended Banners Dies to cut from the Dark Indigo Cardstock and heat embossed the Happy Birthday which is also part of the Botanical Blocks Stamp Set.

Yesterday's Challenge was to build a birdhouse using a template that Nichole designed a few years back so I am off to check out my construction skills.  Based on the fact that I used to make my own clothes, I'm somewhat optimistic.  Be sure to stop over at the Papertrey Ink 10th Anniversary posts on Nichole Heady's blog.  Tomorrow is release day and everything will be available to purchase at 10:00 p.m. ET.

Papertrey Ink 10th Anniversary Challenge: Favorite Florals

Even though I have made and sent approximately 25 cards recently that had tulips on them, one more is always good.  Papertrey has several floral stamp sets that I love, but Tulip Time would be my absolute favorite so that is what I used to create this card for the challenge.   

I die cut the tulips from Stamper's Select White Cardstock and then stamped them in my MISTI by using the negative as a placeholder.  To get the softer color of the blooms, I stamped them first in Brilliance Pearlescent White Pigment Ink and then stamped Pale Peony over it, Berry Sorbet for the 2nd detail layer and Pure Poppy as my final detail layer.  The white ink softens up all the colors which was ideal for the look I was going for.  The stems are stamped in Vintage Jadeite and New Leaf Inks

My card base was created from Pale Peony Cardstock using the Noted: Scalloped A2 Vertical Die. I did a bit of ink blending on a background panel with Aqua Mist, spritzed it lightly with Iridescent Gold Shimmer Mist the cut it from the coordinating rectangle die from the Noted: Scalloped A2 Vertical Die to fit on my card.  I added the Tulips with Thin 3D Foam Squares.  The banner is from the Paper Clippings Happy Birthday Detail Dies but I use it a lot for other things and it is one die that I pretty much always have out.  I have a couple of little magnet dishes that sit on my table where my die cutting machine is that hold the dies I use often.  

Tulips always make me think of Spring and that Easter is coming.  Papertrey's Tulip Time is the most beautiful set of  tulip stamps out there.  Have a great day and be sure to stop by Papertrey's Challenge to see all the entries!  

Friday, March 10, 2017

Color Throwdown #433

Today's card uses fresh, crisp, Springtime colors; Cornflower Blue, Green and White for The Color Throwdown Challenge, hosted by Broni this week. I've been playing since yesterday afternoon with the new Distress Oxide Inks that Tim Holtz introduced at CHA this year so I whipped up a project in the challenge color scheme.

Yesterday I had stamped several of these Emma Background Stamps from Simon Says Stamp onto Canson Bristol Watercolor Paper in Versamark and heat set them using Simon Say Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder.  If I stamp all at once and heat set all at once, then I can just grab and new panel and continue on without having to stop and stamp again in between colors.  If I am experimenting with new colors or new product, this is what I like to do.  I'm usually so engrossed in the discovery process that I don't like to have to stop when the momentum is going strong.

I started with Faded Jeans Distress Oxide Ink in the center of the medallion and once that was ink blended (literally seconds) I went all around the outer portion with Peeled Paint Distress Oxide. One of the really cool things abut Distress Oxide is that you can mix it with other mediums such as the regular line of Distress Inks or any dye inks for that matter. I'm not really one for having a bazillion colors on anything anyway, so two colors is pretty simple but effective with this huge medallion stamp.  There were three of these medallions that all came out at the same time; Emma, Elizabeth and Elinor and they were part of the Simon Says Stamp Hey Love Release which I think was in January.

Once I had the ink blended on there, I misted it with Iridescent Gold Glimmer Mist from Tattered Angels. Another thing about these inks is that they are opaque rather than transparent but the oxide in them reacts when you spritz or spray the ink with water or water based products such as shimmer mist or just a spritz of water.  It's a completely different effect than just misting a piece of colored cardstock.  Most people probably won't want to use it with shimmer spritz as much as I do, but you totally could.  These inks are so vibrant!

Once I had the ink blending done and the Glimmer Mist was dry, I die cut the panel with a Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle in the largest size.  I also cut one of the Concord and 9th Flutter Dies and stamped my sentiment from the Papertrey Botanical Block Stamp Set.  It's a bit larger font than most I've seen and I really like the size.  Even I can read what it says without my glasses although it is a bit fuzzy.

That is it for me today.  I hope you enjoyed my card and that you'll stop over at the Color Throwdown to see the challenge, the inspiration and all of the Design Team projects.

The Beauty of Distress Oxide Inks

Hello everyone!  Today I got to sit down with a new tool and play for the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge and the Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge #66. For this challenge, we are supposed to "color" something.  I hope ink blending counts as a type of coloring.  I actually made 4 cards today; two with dye inks and two with the new Tim Holtz Distress Oxide Inks.  It wasn't that I was planning to compare them, but when they came in today's mail, I could not resist stamping a couple more backgrounds to play with.

The original 2 cards were white heat embossing on Canson Bristol Watercolor Paper which is what I use 95% of the time for my card fronts. They take ink much better than cardstock when you want to do ink blending and I use a lot of shimmer mists in my cards so this paper works better and helps to achieve that seamless transition of color.  Once I learned to ink blend, it's a technique that I use often.  I almost had those cards finished when the mail arrived and I set them aside.

I stamped two panels using the Simon Says Stamp Emma Background in the original MISTI on the watercolor panels using Versamark and heat embossed them with Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder.  I simply can't help it - I love how rich and elegant the gold embossing looks. I do use other colors from time to time, but I use embossing on almost every card I make and I'm never as satisfied with any other embossing powders as I am with gold. The Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold is my favorite because it's a bit warmer and reminds me of WOW!'s Gold Rich Pale.  I used a very pretty sapphire blue the other day and I did like how that looked, but it would have looked equally as good in gold. For me the struggle is how to make cards without gold and that struggle is real my friends.  *Ü* I don't use shimmer mist on masculine cards, but it's hard to restrain myself when I think of how much more awesome it would be with shimmer.

I grabbed a couple of new foam pads for my Mini Round Ink Blending Tools and opened the Broken China and Cracked Pistachio Distress Oxide Inks and started blending the Broken China in the center of the panel. Since I watched Jennifer McGuire's Video from last week, I knew that I could start in the middle and be able to blend it out.  If you've tried this, you know it can be quite tricky with Dye Inks.  I blended the Broken China Distress Oxide all in the center of the panel and then went around the the rest of the panel with the Cracked Pistachio.  One of the first things I noticed was that while initially I thought I wasn't getting very good coverage, it only took seconds for it to saturate the paper.  Then once you hit it with the shimmer mist (or water), it oxidizes and becomes so creamy and smooth. It is very beautiful. For both of these cards I used Tattered Angels Glimmer Mist in Iridescent Gold. It's my favorite, but it takes some work to find it. Happily, I saw it at CHA in the 7 Gypsies Booth and I got a business card so that I can order direct from their site.  Canvas Corp Brands owns Tattered Angel so you can go directly to their website to order.  They have about 50 colors, but I primarily use just Iridescent Gold.  I have some copper, pearl, silver and a couple of others but I had been on my very last bottle of Iridescent Gold when I left for CHA in January, so I was super happy to see it and no that I could still get it.

I grabbed my other embossed panel with Peeled Paint and Worn Lipstick Distress Oxide Inks and did ink blending in the same way, first with Worn Lipstick in the center and Peeled Paint around that. These were so easy and took so much less time (literally minutes) to get a beautiful, vibrant ink blended background. I'm telling you - I am in love!  Because of the busy the background is, I wanted to keep the rest of the card simple.

I cut the Concord & 9th Floral and Flutter Dies from gold cardstock and heat embossed the sentiment from Papertrey Ink's Botanical Blocks Stamp Set onto the same watercolor paper. Then I die cut both of the backgrounds panels using a Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle Die in the largest size.  One is mounted onto a card base made from Papertrey Ink Ripe Avocado Cardstock and the other card base was made from Papertrey Ink Vintage Jadeite Cardstock. Papertrey Ink's Perfect Match Cardstock is super smooth and heavyweight at #110. It is also the most reasonably priced cardstock out there costing just $5.00 for 25 sheets of colored cardstock.

Thank you so much for stopping by today.  Be sure to stop over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge and the Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge to see all the great projects and the Simon Says Stamp Store to order supplies! Happy Friday, everyone!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Simon Says For a Special Lady/Girl

It has been a few weeks since I've had time to play over at the Simon Says Stamp Challenges but I jumped right on the Wednesday Challenge this morning.  I did one of my favorite things which is to mix and match my supplies; inks, stamp sets, dies, paper, etc.  I love to create without restrictions on which product I can use.  Thankfully, Simon's sells most brands.  I know they are featuring Penny Black products this week and I have a few of those to do yet before the week is up but for today, I just want to use this set from a new company called "The Stamp Market".  Last month was their first release and I just love this stamp and die bundle.

I started by stamping the greenery with Simon Says Stamp Beanstalk Green Ink. There are small stamps to stamp the buds in a separate layer. Then you can cut that layer with the die. I cut three in total so I could stack them up for a chipboard effect. Shading was added using a YG63 marker.  For the buds and bloom I chose Altenew's Ocean Waves Crisp Ink and added some shading with a BG01 Copic Marker.  I mounted one bloom directly to the top of the greenery then added another on top of that with Thin 3D Foam Squares for a bit more dimension. This has been so well thought out and I hope to see similar sets in the future. I detest masking at least as much as fussy cutting, so this kind of set is awesome for me.  I also stamped the smallest flower and stem on the left hand side of the envelope to match.  I have a specific person in mind to send this card to, so while I already had my supplies out (as Jennifer McGuire, Yana Smakula, Nichole Heady or a gazillion others would say) I went ahead and did a little stamping on the envelope.

This card is for a friend who definitely needs a boost of moral support right now so I loved adding the greeting from the Concord & 9th "Hello Lovely" Stamp Set and a few sequins to add just a touch of bling!

As a side note, I finally ordered a few of the Distress Oxide Inks after seeing Tim Holtz's CHA Demo and they will be here by the end of the week.  It's a little bit difficult to find them in stock anywhere right now.  I got 9 of the 12 that were released and found them at  If you haven't seen them in action, be sure to search "Distress Oxide" at Jennifer McGuire's website. There's a link on the right hand side bar of my blog.  It's Wednesday, so for many of you the work week is half over. Have a great afternoon everyone. I hope you'll come back soon.  

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Papertrey Ink 10th Anniversary - Day 3 Challenge

Welcome to Day 3 of 10th Anniversary Celebrations for Papertrey Ink.  Lexi Daily was today's guest blogger.  Our challenge for this 3rd day of festivities is to create a new card and while we have our supplies out, to make an altered envelope to go with it AND get it in the mail. I've been meaning to start adding something to the envelope the way Jennifer McGuire does so this is a great challenge for me. I wish I had some nice fancy handwriting for my envelope but my handwriting isn't too terrible so I'll keep it how it is.  It's actually gotten a bit better in the last year since I send out cards all the time and get more practice.  It was getting pretty atrocious there for a while so the practice has been good.  Everyone, without exception, loves a handwritten note inside of a card.

If you visit my blog very often, then you know I am on a kick right now of making these gorgeous backgrounds for my cards.  I'm creating them by doing some ink blending on my background panel, then adding the score lines with some shimmer mist and then accenting the intersecting points with Liquid Pearls. This particular card was ink blended with Aqua Mist then shimmer misted with Tattered Angels Iridescent Gold Glimmer Mist.  I added the drops of pearls once it was die cut and set it aside to dry while I stamped the tulips from Papertrey Ink's Tulip Time.

I start by cutting several of the Tulip Time Dies Cuts from Stamper's Select White Cardstock. Then I use the negative of the die cut in my MISTI so that I can pretty much get perfect alignment.  I've stamped enough of the tulips by this point in time to have a good visual for how the stamps should line up. I think I sent about a dozen cards out last weekend featuring this stamp set so I've had a great deal of practice lately.  For this card, I stamped the leaves using Vintage Jadeite and New Leaf inks.  For the blooms, I started with Brilliance Pearlescent Jade Pigment Ink for the base layer of the bloom, then Hawaiian Shores for the second layer and Tropical Teal for the final layer.  Using the MISTI means that I can double (or even triple) stamp a color for a deeper tone of that color.  I always like the look of double stamping for the 2nd layer.  The final layer is such a deep color usually that it only needs the single stamp.

I also wanted to stamp one of the tulips on my envelope so I selected the middle sized single bloom for that and used all the same ink colors.  For the address, I used Limitless Layers - 2½ inch Ovals to cut the "label" from Hawaiian Shores Cardstock and the interior oval is cut from Stamper's Select White. It will take considerable effort on my part to get an address in that space (lol); the older I get the bigger my handwriting gets.  The greeting on the card is part of the Tulip Time Set and I heat embossed it with Antique Gold Embossing Powder. The butterfly is from Impression Obsession and was cut from gold foiled cardstock.  I prefer the foiled cardstock over the mirrored cardstock because it is so much easier to photograph and is more subtle.

Thanks so much for stopping by today to check out my project for the challenge. I hope you'll come again.  I'll be back soon with another project for you.  Happy Tuesday everyone!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Papertrey Ink 10th Anniversary - Day 1

I will have lots of blog posts coming this week and next as the 10th Anniversary Festivities of Papertrey Ink began in earnest this morning. Lizzie Jones knocked my socks off with her stitching project featuring Papertrey Ink's Stitching Dies!  She made this cute little project for a niece and nephew to take on road trips. Check it out!  Isn't this adorable and no more wadded up paper found after your trip. I love this idea although I have no stitching dies thus far.  But our challenge was to be inspired by the past and present projects so I went for a stitched "look" for my project today.

My daughter has been asking me for a bookmark to keep in her bible so I thought I'd try to put one together for her.  Now, I don't have any felt or other fabric that would have been suitable for hand stitching so I had to fake that, too.  So I pulled out this piece of specialty paper that appears to be some kind of super shiny rayon that's adhered to some kind of a paper substrate. It has the look of fabric so that is what I chose for my project.  I cut two of these using Papertrey's Basic Bookmark #3 so I could adhere them to each other back to back for a more finished look.  I did initially try to stitch them together but that only resulted in ripping the paper so I decided I better choose my battles and save the sewing for something else. There are tiny little pierced holes all the way around this die cut, but my needles were all to large to keep the holes intact.  I used Ranger Multi Medium Matte applied with a paintbrush to glue them together and ran them though my die cut machine with an embossing sandwich using an uncut top plate so it didn't leave marks in the "paper". The result is a very thin, flexible bookmark which will be perfect for her bible.  Even with the two layers, it is much thinner than a single sheet of cardstock.

Needing some kind of decoration to make it seem stitched, I pulled out my Button Stacks Dies and cut some from a scrap of the gold and white glittered paper.  These dies emboss as well as cut so they make the little impressions in the paper.  I used the leaves from the Friendly Flower Extras Dies and cut them from a scrap of Emerald Shimmer Cardstock leftover from a girlfriends wedding album that I did. The button stacks dies have the two plain small buttons included in the set and I did actually stitch all three layers together using DMC Gold Metallic Embroidery Thread.  I cut the Wonderful Words - Love Die from the gold and white paper and attached it and the flower clusters to the bookmark with Ranger Multi Medium Matte. I stacked a few acrylic blocks on top until the glue was dried.  I was scraping the bottom of the barrel to find a bit of ribbon to run through the hole in this bookmark.  I don't have much ribbon around but I did have this little piece of gold and white to use. It was slim pickings I tell you! and a minor miracle than I had anything that would match.  Although the bookmark looks like it might be red glitter paper in the photo, I assure you it isn't.  

I've seen some really lovely projects done with felt and I think I might have to get just a few colors (Hibiscus Burst and Berry Sorbet with some New Leaf come to mind) for the coming monthly feature that Lizzie will be doing for Papertrey Ink.   I hope you enjoyed my project for today.  I'll be back tomorrow with the next challenge.  Have a great week everyone!  

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Spring is in the Air!

I've made (and sent) a ton of cards this week but I have been busy with other things and have not gotten a blog post written. I entered a couple of cards from my photos on Instagram but I wanted to get a short post written with a link back to the challenges where I entered them.

The first Challenge I entered was over at the Double D where we had this mood board as our inspiration. My mind has totally been in a "Spring is Here" mode this week as our trees have tiny little leaves of green on them. So even though it isn't officially Spring, it will be here soon enough. Tulips along with crocuses and hyacinths are among the first to bloom each year and I really love tulips. The Tulip Time Stamp and Die Sets from Papertrey Ink are just the very best ones out there.  I loved them last year and even more so this year.  I miss not having flowers blooming each spring in my yard.

This particular card was made for my sweet friend, Amanda.  She is a Warrior in Pink who has spent the last two years battling breast cancer, did 18 rounds of chemo and had 6 surgeries.  In the face of it all, she never once lost her faith in God.  I started sending cards to her when she was in the early stages of treatment and have continued that trend.  I made this one especially for her -- my Warrior in Pink!

The second Challenge I entered was the Sunday Stamps Challenge where this week's inspiration is Cottage Colors. It just so happens that I made an Easter Card using these colors that I am sending to one of my Sisters In Law.

I was doing a little experiment with some inks this week and this card uses the blooms that I created using the technique.  To get the pale to mid-tone peach colors, I first stamped the bloom of the tulips with a light layer of Brilliance Moonlight White Pigment Ink.  Then I stamped additional layers of dye ink on top of that to get the softer variation of color.  I actually do have enough variety in my inks that this step wasn't necessary, but I love the shimmer it added to the blooms by doing this.

I did some ink blending on the backgrounds of each of these cards and then scored the lines into the diamond background.  I like the visual interest and extra texture that gives to the background. After the score lines were in I misted the background with Tattered Angel Iridescent Gold Shimmer Mist and set them aside to dry for a while.  Once they were dry I assembled the bouquets and finished up the cards.

I don't think I will ever get tired of stamping these Tulips.  They are so real looking and beautiful. Betsy Veldman really outdid herself when she designed these and I hope we get another set in this style this year.

Thank you so much for stopping by today.  I hope you'll come back soon to visit.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Make it Monday #276 - Kraft with Colored Pencils

This week for the Papertrey Ink Make It Monday #276, Melissa Phillips showed us a technique using Colored Pencils on Kraft Cardstock. Melissa used White Heat Embossing for her projects and I did try that but ultimately decided I liked the Gold Heat Embossing much more (big surprise, I know).  I was actually surprised at how well the colored pencils show up on the Kraft and the Black.  For both of the projects shown here, I used Faber Castell Polychromo Pencils and Derwent Studio Colored Pencil in Olive Green for the foliage.  Melissa also mentioned wondering how this technique worked on black cardstock so I gave that a try.  

For the first card, I used gold heat embossing with Library Ledger Patterned Paper, Stamper's Select Vellum and Rustic White Cardstock. The ribbon is a bit of Grosgrain Stampin' Up Ribbon I already had on hand in Tempting Turquoise.

The second card uses the same Rustic White Cardstock for the card base, Smokey Shadow Cardstock that was stamped tone-on-tone with Smokey Shadow Ink using a background stamp that I've had for several years, and another panel of vellum to help soften that up. I stamped the same Poppy from Botanical Blocks III onto True Black Cardstock, coloring it with Polychromo Pencils.  The "Praying For You" sentiment that is stamped onto the vellum is part of the same stamp set.

Faber Castell Polychromo Pencils are different than other colored pencils in that they have a very hard lead which can be sharpened to a very sharp point that doesn't break too easily.  Lot of folks like Prismacolor Pencils for their blendability while others like Polychromos for their ability to put in the fine details.  I also have a different set of Derwent Inktense Watercolor Pencils that worked nicely on the Kraft Cardstock.

I really like the way these cards turned out and that the challenge stretched me outside of my "normal" box - whatever that is.  Gold heat embossing is my "normal".  Some people like yellow gold jewelry, others like white gold and still others prefer to have lots of costume jewelry in a variety of colors and finishes.   In real life and in cards, I'm a yellow gold kind of girl.  I'd rather have less of the good stuff than more of the costume jewelry.  Neither way is wrong, it just depends on the person.

You can stop by Nichole's blog to see Melissa's Video Tutorial and all of the projects that everyone adds to the link up all week.  Have a great week, everyone!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Altenew February 2017 Inspiration Challenge

I was pretty excited yesterday when my Altenew Adore You Stamp and Die Bundle came in yesterday's mail. I've entered one project at the blog already, but I've been hoping this new set would arrive in time for me to use it since we can have more than 1 entry.

If you've been to my blog before, you know that although I have Copic Markers, I'm not all that comfortable with them.  I've had them for more than 10 years but lately I've been trying to practice and I think it's helping a lot!  I'm actually starting to understand why people like them.

I started this card by selecting several of the images from this set and heat embossing them with Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder on Stamper's Select White Cardstock.  I used a variety of Red, Violet and Red-Violet Markers to color in the blooms while choosing G and YG markers for the leaves. I'm sorry I didn't write any of them down.  I just played until I came up with a combination I liked and then repeated it or used similar colors for flowers that were to be adjacent to whichever one I was coloring.

Aga is hosting this month and her image of the Bougainvillea was taken in Majorca, Spain.  I was in Phoenix in January and my sister-in-law has these gorgeous bright pink bloomed plants growing in her back yard.  They are also very commonly seen on the wrought iron balconies of the French Quarter in New Orleans although the ones I seem to remember were purple rather than pink.  I'm sure lots of other warmer winter places have them as well.  While my body is tired of the cold weather this year, my mind knows it has been a pretty mild winter here in Northeastern Oklahoma.  We didn't even get a single snowfall this year except when we traveled back home to Kansas for Christmas and then we got ice with it.

The nice thing about art is that you can make it be for whatever season you are longing for at the moment and I am longing for Spring.  My issue of Better Homes & Gardens arrived this week with a cover full of tulips which probably explains why I stamped so many of them in the past week.

There's lot of inspiration for this challenge at the Altenew Blog and I better get posting mine if it's to be included!  I interpreted the off white color in the inspiration image as gold which is my go-to neutral!  I used gold watercolor for some spatter on my white card base and the sentiment is one included with the Adore You Stamp Set.

Thanks for stopping by to look at my project and be sure to stop over at Altenew as well to see the projects there!

Papertrey Ink February 2017 Blog Hop

As always, Nichole has provided us with a beautiful inspiration image for today's blog hop! There are so many bright and vibrant colors in the image along with lots of texture and sparkle as well. When I saw the image, the first thing I did was to sit down and start pulling cardstock so I could see the color palette I was using. Even though I wasn't using most of the cardstock, it helps to give me a visual representation of the colors I'm working with since Papertrey has Perfect Match Papers and Inks.  My colors are slightly different than the photo, but I love how they all work together.  I chose cardstock in True Black, Smokey Shadow, Olive Twist, Plum Pudding, Autumn Rose, and Lavender Moon along with some Antique Gold Embossing Powder and some Sparkle Shimmer Mist. For my stamping, I used all but the True Black and Smokey Shadow inks.  For one of the colors, I achieved it by stamping one layer in the the Plum Pudding and then a 2nd layer on top of that in the Autumn Rose to get the mix of color that I wanted for the bouquet.  I should probably also mention here that Lavender Moon is much more pink than it is purple in real life but it is always so lovely with Autumn Rose.  It's the cardstock at the very front of this group.

Fresh Bouquet is a recent release designed by Nichole Heady (December 2016) and is second only to Tulip Time in terms of being a favorite. The genius of the stamp set and coordinating die is a style that I would love to see Nichole repeat in future sets.  To begin my card, I cut a few of the die cuts from Stamper's Select White Cardstock which cuts the entire bouquet in one pass.  This set is a layering set which I love, but I'm using it in a different way than probably what most people would do. I stamp the complete outline stamp in Versamark and then heat emboss that with Antique Gold Embossing Powder. This provides a framework or outline to stamp into once I start using my colored inks.  I place the negative of the die cut into my MISTI Tool and line the stamp up in it.  I place each stamp layer in it's place and then pick it up with the MISTI door.  I like the way the images look when double stamped (more vibrant, saturated color) and there is no way I could do it without the MISTI or a similar stamping tool.

This is what the stamp set looks like. You stamp the outline and then each of the flowers or leaves is a different stamp.  I absolutely love that I can heat emboss the outline because I love having that touch of gold on my projects. It's rare that I don't use gold embossing powder on a card and I don't see that changing any time soon.  It's part of my signature style. Because I am heat embossing the outline, I don't need to stamp the flower centers as it's part of the outline image.

The largest bloom was stamped in Autumn Rose. The 2nd largest blooms (3 flowers) were stamped in Lavender Moon, the buds or berries were stamped with 1 layer in Plum Pudding and a 2nd layer in Autumn Rose to give it a different color more in line with the Pomegranate color of the inspiration image. There just isn't a Papertrey Ink in that color yet.

I also created a background panel for my card using a favorite method lately; scoring.  First I did a bit of ink blending on a panel of Canson Bristol Watercolor Paper in Lavender Moon with a bit of ink pouncing in Plum Pudding for added texture using a Mini Round Ink Blending Tool. With the super soft pink, I felt like the card really needed that extra bit of color and texture.  I could have made the second softer but I wanted a few of the hard edges in there for the texture. Once the ink blending/pouncing was finished, I misted the panel with a tiny bit of Iridescent Gold Shimmer Mist and a liberal spritzing of Sparkle Shimmer Mist as well. When it was mostly dry, I scored it on the diagonal every 1 inch to create the Harlequin Diamond Background Pattern.  The slight bit of moisture helps to make the score lines a bit deeper and I gently folded them (but did NOT crease them) in the proper direction. That also helps to enhance the score lines.  Before assembling the card, I put a drop of White Opal Liquid Pearl at each intersecting point on the background and let it dry.  This is much easier and less frustrating for me than using little pearls. After that it was simple assembly onto a card base made from Smokey Shadow Cardstock.  I wanted to use one of the pre-printed signs from the Make It Market Garden Gate Kit which I die cut with the coordinating die and also the sign holder die from that kit.  That allowed me to bring in another small touch of gold to help make the whole design cohesive.

Thank you so much for stopping by today and be sure to stop over at the Papertrey Blog to check out all the beautiful projects there.  I'll be back soon with a new project to share.