Wednesday, August 31, 2016

It's (Almost) Fall Y'all!

Can you all believe that tomorrow is September 1st?  It's not officially Fall but once we hit September, I know it's going to start cooling down. It seems like this year has really flown by! This time of year always makes me long for one of my favorite places in my home state of Missouri. It is incredibly beautiful there and I especially love it in the fall.  I'm talking about Alley Spring & Mill in Eminence, Missouri. At one time, Alley Spring and Mill was the social center for several communities in Shannon County, Missouri and that lasted into the Prohibition Era in the United States. The Jacks Fork River runs through Alley Spring and the spring itself pumps through 81 million gallons per day on average.  The water is so clear there that it's hard to tell just how deep it is.  It's actually difficult to hear people speaking if you are standing next to where the water goes through the mill because the volume of water is so large and it's quite loud.

Alley Mill has also been the location of some interesting photographs in our family as well. Suffice it to say that we are convinced we saw a ghost here at least once and we actually had photographic evidence of that at one time. When my youngest brother was still in junior high or high school, we traveled to the mill from our dad's place down the road near the Current River. Both of these rivers are part of the Ozark National Scenic Riverways and were the first National Park in America to protect a river system. The discharge for the Current River is 2,815 cubic feet per second -- more than 21,056 gallons per second which equates to 1,263,372 gallons per minute and over 75 billion gallons per hour.  It's a powerful force and helps you understand why a float trip down the Current River gave you "I survived the Current River" bragging rights!  My hubby and I did that on our honeymoon going from Akers to Round Spring. Alley Spring is home to an annual event called "Haunting in the Hills" and the area school children are invited to decorate a pumpkin and display it on the grounds.  Anyway, all of this is just to say that this time of year reminds me of Alley Spring and Pumpkin Weather which was the inspiration for my card today.

When I created my background for this card, I was only playing a bit with my inks and my Finetec Gold Watercolor Paint leftovers.  Let me explain....

The first time I used my Finetec Mica Watercolors, I noticed that I was washing so much paint down the drain when I cleaned my brush so, I started saving my rinse water.  I have it in a container that easily lets me leave the lid open a bit to make the water evaporate and then I can reactivate it with a bit of water when I want to use it.  This is what I was doing last night when I got the idea for this card.

I used inks in Bright Buttercup, Berry Sorbet and Orange Zest with my reactivated rinse water to create my background just kind oif dabbing it on with a #8 Silver Black Velvet Round Brush. When I was happy with the way it dried, I doused it with a layer (or two) of Iridescent Gold Shimmer Spritz.  I love gold - it is the perfect neutral to dress anything up!  As far as I can tell, Tattered Angels is no longer in existence but that is the brand I am using.  I think you could use some Tsukineko Gold Shimmer Spritz to accomplish the same look.  You'd just have to try it to see.  I still have several bottles of the Gold and about a half bottle of Copper, Pearl, and few other colors as well.  I also tried out some water with a bit of Gold Perfect Pearls in it and feel it was pretty equivalent to the Shimmer Spritz so if you like the look, try that.  It is pretty hard to use too much water with watercolor, so just let it dry before you toss it.  You have to set it aside and walk away then come back to it because it is never the hot mess you think it was when you left it.  *Ü*

While that was drying, I stamped several pumpkins from Spooky Smiles using Versamark and heat embossed them with Rose Gold Embossing Powder from The Ton.  I also stamped the bat (my favorite of this set although I don't like real bats) from this set using Versafine Onyx Black Ink and heat set it with Simon Says Stamp Clear Embossing Powder.  The Simon brand clear powder is a Fine Detail powder and does a fantastic job. I watercolored the pumpkins using a combination of Ripe Persimmon Distress Marker and Zig Clean Color Real Brush Marker in Orange. I tried using Orange Zest Ink but it was too yellow once I added the water to it.  I cut a banner from watercolor paper using the Number The Stars Banner Die and stamped my greeting on it using the same Rose Gold Embossing Powder.  I die cut the leaves from the Stylized Autumn Dies and then stamped them in Ripe Avocado Ink with the Stylized Autumn Stamp Set for the area to the left of the pumpkins.  It really needed some filler in that area and the leaves were the perfect size and style.  The Spooky Smiles Stamp Set and Coordinating Dies also includes two different curly stems for the pumpkin, a little kitty and even a witches hat and a ghost.  I also used the same "reactivated" rinse water to watercolor the Pumpkins.

Once I had everything stamped, painted and spritzed, I started assembling my card onto a top folding card base made from Papertrey Ink Kraft Cardstock.  I die cut my background panel with the largest Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle Die and adhered that to my card base. Then I adhered my greeting and deocrative elements with a combination of Ranger Multi Medium Matte, Bling Glue Dots and Thin 3D Foam Squares.  That finishes off my card.

I'll be entering this card over at the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge Blog where "Anything Goes".  Be sure to stop by and check out all of the Stamptember goodness starting at Midnight tonight, September 1, 2016.  I can't wait to see all the goodness that is STAMPtember and I hope to have a few more entries for the Simon Wednesday Challenge in the coming week!

Monday, August 29, 2016

Color Q #356

Hello everyone! I wanted to create a card to send to a friend to let her know I'm thinking of her and so appreciate all she does for all of us who work in this industry.  I've been dying to play with Kay Miller's 1st release for Papertrey Ink called Stylized Autumn. If you know me at all, you know I have a thing for leaves so when I first saw this set, I knew it was going to have to go in my shopping cart!

Today is the first time I've had a chance to sit and play with this set so I wanted to use the colors for the Color Q Challenge this week; Melon Mambo, Blackberry Bliss, Old Olive and Soft Sky which translates into Papertrey Ink's Raspberry Fizz, Ripe Avocado and Aqua Mist inks with SU!'s Blackberry Bliss. Since Papertrey doesn't have an ink even close to the same color as Blackberry Bliss I kept my SU! ink pad in that color for now.   I love that the leaves are all in one stamp as this makes it super easy to line up. I cut and stamped two of the leaves and three of the flowers for my design. I used my MISTI tool with a negative placeholder so that I could double stamp the images as I like the more intense color.  You can't do that without a MISTI tool.  Well you could try, but I never could get them lined up exactly without the MISTI.

This card came together really quickly and I kept it simple because I really like how it turned out. I spritzed my Aqua Mist background panel and my decorative elements with Tsukineko Sparkle Sheer Shimmer Spritz.  Make sure the ink on your stamped elements is completely dry before doing this. You could heat set them if you need to.  I let the shimmer spray dry for about 5 minutes and then adhered my arrangement to the background panel using a combination of Thin 3D Foam Squares and Small Glue Dots.  After that I cut it with the largest Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle Die.  I should have done it before adhering my arrangement but, thankfully, I didn't mess anything up doing it after the fact.  In some places I wanted the elements to lay flat on my card and in others I wanted just a bit of dimension. Thin 3D Foam Squares are a great option if you want some dimension but still want to keep it a nice thickness for mailing.  Then I adhered the background panel to a Noted: A2 Scalloped Notecard made from Stamper's Select White Cardstock.  I cut an Aqua Mist, Coaster Board and Stamper's Select White banner from the Number The Stars Banner Die then stamped the greeting from the Scripted Stamp Set in Versamark and heat set it with Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder.  I adhered the White banner to the coaster board banner for some dimension using Ranger Multi Medium Matte and then offset the Aqua Mist Banner a little bit.  Coaster Board is getting to be one of my favorite items for sentiments and Papertrey Ink offers them in packs of 25 for just $1.00.  Its perfect for making a thicker sentiment element and takes a lot less time than gluing three layers together. I adhered the whole banner piece to the card with a thin foam square on the right end where I wanted to pop it up to the same level as my decorative elements and a glue dot in the center of the banner and at the left end. Lastly, I added a few gold sequins from Pretty Pink Posh.

I love this stamp set and think it will be great no matter what season you use it in. You can use it for great Fall colors or Springtime colors.   I hope you enjoyed my project today and will come back soon to see what is coming up.  STAMPtember is just a few days away!

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Color Throwdown #407

Hey everybody!  I have a quick (hopefully) post today for the Color Throwdown Challenge #407, in the colors Teal, Lime Green and Yellow. What a bright summery combination this is for the challenge.

Once again, I fell in love with Wanda Guess's project this week as the Guest Designer for August over at The Color Throwdown, so I wanted to make something in similar colors. I started by stamping this Pen Pattern Butterfly from Stampendous onto a piece of Canson Bristol Watercolor Paper and heat embossed it using Ranger Gold Tinsel Embossing Powder.   There are coordinating dies for this set but I didn't use them today.  They are really nice and cut right up to the edge without leaving a white border.

I am currently stocking up on my glittered embossing powders (Ranger Gold Tinsel, WOW! Platinum Sparkle and WOW! Neutral Ultra Shimmer) because last year I waited too long before ordering and everything was out of stock when I wanted to make my Christmas Cards. I'm also making sure that I have plenty of Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder because that is my favorite warm gold embossing powder.  I also really like the Simon Says Stamp Gold Embossing Powder but I tend to use the warmer tone more often.  I heat emboss on pretty much every single card I make! It is my favorite technique after stamping, of course.

For my color palette I used Persian Green (Teal) and May Green in Zig Clean Color Real Brush Markers with some Papertrey Bright Buttercup Ink smooshed onto an acrylic block and a waterbrush.  I love how Wanda has watercolored her paper and then cut her butterfly out of it and I think the butterfly I am using is actually large enough to do that with.  For some interest in the background, I used the mask that comes with the stamp set to protect my watercolored image and used a stencil brush to put a very soft layer of Aqua Mist Ink over the background.  I left the mask on and then created some spatter with a #4 Silver Black Velvet Round Brush by mixing a drop of Tropical Teal Reinker and a few drops of water then tapping the brush (really, it was more like whacking) against the handle of another brush. Once that dried, I created some additional spatter using my Finetec Gold Metallic Paint in Tibet Gold.  Can you tell I like spatter?  LOL! Once everything was dry, I cut the panel with the largest Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangles dies.

I cut a panel of Simon Says Stamp Audrey Blue Cardstock for a narrow mat around the main panel and mounted everything on top of a Top Folding 5.5 x 4.25 inch top folding note card made from Papertrey Ink Kraft Cardstock using my ATG.

I stamped the greeting from the Papertrey Ink "Scripted" Stamp Set onto the "Number the Stars Banner" die cut.  I also cut one from coaster board for the extra thickness and for the finishing touch I added some Gold Sequins from Pretty Pink Posh using Ranger Multi Medium Matte.

Thanks so much for stopping by to look at my project and double thanks if you take the time to comment! I have so many projects on my dersk right now so I will be back very soon!

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Simon Says "It's Hip to be Square"

The Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge for this week is "It's Hip to be Square" and we are to showcase a Simon Says Stamp Exclusive product if we have one.  If you've been to my blog before, you know that my most favorite of all the Simon Says Stamp products are my Stitched Rectangles.  In fact, I'm starting to worry that because I use the largest size so often that I'm going to wear it out. I don't think that's possible, but I do use it a lot.  I just love the crispness of a die cut edge so I reach for it nearly every time. I even used it today for my square card because the center panel is a rectangle made to fit behind a large die cut.

I started by cutting the square design from a full sheet of the 12 x 12 gold foiled paper.  I just love this paper but it is sometimes difficult to include in my projects because I have to chop up the design in order for it to fit which I admit, bugs me. It's such a waste of beautiful paper!  The paper itself is from "My Mind's Eye Fancy That Collection" from last year and I have a few sheets left. Once I had the design cut down, it measured 5.75 x 5.75 so it was perfect for a square card. Because of the size, I used a sheet of Bazzill Marshmallow Card Shoppe paper in 12 x 12 size cut in half for my card base.  I still have a few sheets of this 12 x 12 size from when our scrapbook store closed last year.  Most of my projects utilize 8.5 x 11 inch cardstock but I do have a small amount of 12 x 12 paper for just such an occasion as this.  I like the Card Shoppe weight paper which is 100# card stock.  I also used my last piece of a heavy weight card stock in a color called "Shell" for this card as well and cut that with the largest Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle.  I don't know what brand the paper is but it's a very nude or soft peach color tone that matched this patterned paper perfectly.  

I wanted to use my new die from the Papertrey Ink August 2016 Release called Paper Clippings: Thankful For You. This die is very intricate and I had to cut it using my metal shim and running it back and forth through my die cut machine and then rotate the die 90 degrees and run it through again. In this way, more area of the cutting surface gets used and you are more likely to get a clean cut in just two passes. These large, intricate dies rarely cut on the first pass, so I've just learned to do them this way.  It's a lot less frustrating than trying to re-align everything back into the die for the second pass (says the voice of experience).    

I was trying to make it easy to adhere the die to my card front for the size and intricacy of the die cut so I ran it through my largest Xyron sticker maker (5 inches wide) but in hindsight, this wasn't a good choice. Spray adhesive would have been a lot better or even just gluing it as I normally do.  It's okay though as I did get it.  I hadn't used my Xyron for a while and now I remember why.  I think it's all a matter of what you get used to and I'm used to my little bottle of Ranger Multi Medium Matte with the Small ScraPerfect Fineline No Clog Tip.  Lots of card makers out there use the top from the Quilled Creations bottle but I found that top didn't hold up to the constant on and off of the cap on the end and then would just get lost on my work surface. I went through two of them in a matter of weeks. The cap I use now has held up incredibly well and is the same price as the Quilled Creations cap. It's held up so well in fact that I got the Medium ScraPerfect Medium No Clog Tip for my Glossy Accents.  The pink one that came out at CHA this past January is too fine for how I use it and is very difficult for me to squeeze out.  As long as you put the needle top back in, there is no clogging.  If you would ever leave your cap off accidentally, you can run just the top under hot water until it's clean or you could soak it and then rinse it (says the voice of experience again). 

So to recap, I used a 5.75 x 5.75 inch piece of the foiled patterned paper, (no longer available) my last piece of the Shell Cardstock to cut a 4 x 5.25 inch Stitched Rectangle, a piece of gold metallic poster board for the die cut and half of a 12 x 12 sheet of Bazzill Marshmallow Cardstock for the card base.  

The thing that took the longest for this card was going all the way around the die cut on the Xyron with my smallest ended embossing tool before I took the cellophane off the top so that I wouldn't have any extra adhesive hanging off. I misted the Shell panel with Tsukineko Sheer Shimmer Spritz before I die cut it. I'm sending this with a few other things so it will be mailed in an 8.5 x 11 inch envelope, otherwise I probably would have made my card 4.25 x 4.25 to fit in a standard A2 envelope.  Since I knew I was going to be using a bigger envelope I went for the bigger size option.  It's fun to do something different occasionally!

I'll be entering this card over at the Cards Envy Challenge as well as the Double D Challenge with a "Neutrals" theme.  

Thank you so much for stopping by today.  I truly appreciate and read each comment that you leave!  I'm off to work on a birthday card using the Garden Gate Kit from Papertrey so I'll be back soon.  

Friday, August 26, 2016

Make It Monday #258

I am popping on here this morning with a super quick post.  In this week's Make It Monday #258, Laurie Willison challenged us to use a Cover Plate as a decorative option for a tag.  I'm just starting to think about tucking a few things away for the upcoming Holiday Season and I wanted to make a few tags using the Cover Plate: Winter Floral die.  The arched top tag is from WPLUS9 Design Studio's Love Showers Die Set.  The other tag is from Papertrey Ink's Tag Sale: Quilted. The arched top tag is a really nice size being 3 x 4.25 inches and the Tag Sale: Quilted is about 3.75 x4.25 at the tallest point also a good sized tag. These would work on a present or even larger items such as a wine bottle because it is large enough.

I chose to put a "For You" on only the one tag for now so I can pick and choose what I want on the tag at the time I need it.

To use just part of the cover plate die cut, I laid it in to the tag die so that it would cut the same shape and I could strategically place the die cut onto the tag and have it line up.  This was a super easy and quick way to make some holiday tags. You could use the same method for birthday tags or whatever occasion you might need. I only used one Cover Plate die here but I have others I could have used.

For the gold die cuts, I used a Mini Round Ink Blending Tool with Encore Gold Pigment Ink to color them.  I attached them to the tags with Ranger Multi Medium Mat and ran some ribbon through the top.  The "For You" tag was also stamped in Encore Gold Ink and heat embossed with Simon Says Stamp Clear Embossing Powder so I could be sure the inks matched.  All of the tags were cut from scraps of cardstock except the Tag Sale: Quilted and it's a great way to utilize them.  The Quilted tag had ink blending done in Simon Says Stamp Island Blue Ink with Papertrey Inks in Tropical Teal and Hawaiian Shores.  The cardstock colors are from left to right and top to bottom:  Pure Poppy, Dark Chocolate, Rustic White, and Hawaiian Shores.  The die cuts were all cut from Stamper's Select White Cardstock.

Thanks for stopping by today!  I hope you'll find some time to make a few tags of your own.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

A Study in Neutrals

For this month's Papertrey Ink Blog Hop, Nichole Heady gave us this beautiful photograph of paints.  As you can see, this palette is filled with neutral tones from the whitest white all the way to black and everything in between since the paints have been mixed to make more neutral colors which go with anything and everything.  I ended up using a different card for the blog hop but I also wanted to share these. These are done in much more neutral colors than the one I eventually ended up choosing for that.

I started by stamping the Poppy Image from Botanical Blocks III in Versamark onto some Canson Bristol Watercolor Paper and heat embossed it using Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Power.  This embossing powder is a warm gold color rather than a cooler, more brassy looking color although I use both.   It is identical in appearance to the WOW! Gold Rich Pale Embossing Powder only you get twice as much for less than twice the price.  I'm always up for a better value.  After that I watercolored the image using Pine Feather and Berry Sorbet reinkers. Once that was finished and dry, I cut it out following the the lines on the block.  There is a die for this purpose but I haven't had any trouble cutting around it since the outline is all straight lines.

Next I got my decorative cardstock and centered up the design for the main background panel.  I made my card base a bit wider & taller (4.5 inches by 6 inches) so that I wouldn't be cutting off as much of the design.  I hate wasting any of this gorgeous foiled design! For the card base I used cardstock in the color "Shell" and it does remind me of a cameo that gets it's color literally from the inside of a shell. I love this foiled paper from My Mind's Eye's Fancy That Collection. I rarely buy patterned paper but I got a small sheet of it last year in a card kit purchased from Simon Says Stamp and loved it so much that I bought a few sheets of the 12 x 12 inch size before it was discontinued.  I could never find the smaller 6 x 6 inch size.  I love the nude/soft peach color of the background and with the gold foil accents it really makes a stunning looking card especially when combined with the gold foiled cardstock. I also added in some True Black, Close to Cocoa, and Dark Chocolate cardstocks just to show the versatility of these colors.

Since I always stamp two images in case I mess one up when watercoloring, I made a third card which fits in a Greeting Card Envelope.  It's hard to capture since it's so tall and not top folding but I took this one with it laying flat. I used Gold Metallic Cardstock for the brown mat and put the whole thing onto a Rustic White side folding card base.  I really love the Rustic White Carkstock and it brings a touch of elegance to my projects.  It's available from Papertrey Ink in 12, 24 or 50 sheets.

I forgot to add that I would be entering these cards in the Double D Challenge found here.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Come back soon to see my next project! I have several challenges I want to participate in this week with lots of great color combinations and themes.  I so appreciate it when you take time to leave encouraging and uplifting comments.  Thank You!

August 2016 Papertrey Ink Blog Hop

It's time for the Papertrey Ink August 2016 Blog Hop! Each month Papertrey Ink hosts a blog hop so that it's customers can share their creations using Papertrey Products with other like minded individuals.  It's a chance to find other designers and inspiration. The photo on the left is the one that Nichole chose for inspiration this month. There are so many colors here; a creamy ivory, peach, coral, rust, burgundy, taupe, brown, gray and even black plus everything in between. Each of these colors looks good with the others and nothing seems out of place. The very definition of a neutral is that it matches well or blends with most other colors. That is certainly true in this image and is the reason that we can mix pops of bright color with our neutral of choice in our wardrobes.   

These color tones make me think of fall with the more rustic hues and bright pops of color in there once in a while.  Fall is my favorite time of year.  It's like a cozy sweater that you can pull on to get comfortable.  I have lived in and been to some places that have pretty spectacular fall views. There's others I would still love to see. Can you just imagine the beauty of the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC in the fall?

In March of my Sophomore year of high school we moved from a Kansas City Suburb to a small town in Northeast Kansas. Hiawatha is known as the City of Beautiful Maples and it really lives up to that name. They have some incredibly beautiful tree lined streets and some of the most gorgeous red maples I've ever seen are there.  If I hadn't moved there I would never have met my husband.  We got married there and our daughter was born there. We used to travel there every year in the fall so my husband could help his dad and brother with Harvest. It's twelve miles into Hiawatha from Powhattan, so I would always go take picture of the gorgeous red maples that you see in these photographs.  All of the maples are beautiful, I just happen to be partial to Red Maples. Our yard here in Oklahoma has 2 Maples that have red and orange foliage. They are still young trees but we hope they grow into something equally spectacular.  We lost a tree last year and one of the remaining ones is looking kind of sad but we're hoping it will hang on. Hiawatha is a very small town but nearly every single street in town is lined with beautiful Maples in every variety. Hiawatha also has the our nation's oldest Halloween Parade that has happened annually since 1914. Everyone gathers at the square in the afternoon (where there are more Maples) and parade around the block of streets that are around the courthouse.  You'll see lots of young kids being pulled in their Radio Flyer Wagons.  It's pretty cool and definitely nostalgic.  This October will be the 102nd consecutive year for this parade.  

For today's card, I wanted to do my best to evoke the feeling of those majestic trees so I can send a card to my Mother-In-Law in a few more weeks and I wanted to do it using a bright pop of color against a neutral background.  I am not exaggerating when I tell you that I tried to make this card in about every color combination you see in the inspiration image above photo but nothing popped like the Pure Poppy against the True Black card base. I tried colors in Peach, Coral, Nude, Taupe, Kraft, Rustic White, etc. but in the end I stayed with my choice of True Black (the ultimate neutral) and Pure Poppy.

The tree is from a SU!'s "Sheltering Tree" photopolymer stamp set.  I stamped the tree trunk in Cocoa Bean Ink onto a piece of Canson Bristol Watercolor Paper. For the leaves, I inked it up first in Melon Berry, misted it with water and then stamped it onto watercolor paper.  The next layer was done using Berry Sorbet and finally the last layer was done in Pure Poppy.  By just barely misting, it keeps the leaves soft and watercolor looking and helps blend the inks just a bit. The greeting is stamped from "Mums The Word" Stamp set by Papertrey Ink stamped onto a leftover piece of the watercolor paper after die cutting a square around the tree with a My Favorite Things Stitched Square Stax Die. Easy Peasy! I cut  the next size up for the Pure Poppy Mat and made my card base from True Black Cardstock. I also cut a panel of Rustic White Cardstock for the inside of my card.  It's just a nice finishing touch when using a dark card base.  

This is actually the fourth card I made for the blog hop but finally chose as my one entry and is my favorite.  I'm hoping I'll have time to write a post for one of the other cards for the "Neutrals" Challenge over at Double D Challenges.  

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Color Throwdown #406

Hello everyone!  Today I created a card for the Color Throwdown Challenge #406 featuring Green, Orange and Light Pink with White. Actually, I created two cards while I had the supplies handy.

When I saw this card created by Wanda Guess, I loved it and looked around for a couple of minutes to see what I had that would be suitable for something in a similar color scheme. That meant I had to look at my patterned papers - something I don't have much of because I don't use them much. The patterned paper I used is from SEI and I got this pad of 6 x 6 papers at last year's scrapbook convention in Tulsa. This is one of those designs. Wanda used a Chartreuse cardstock for her card base and I don't have anything that color so I used some SU! cardstock in Wild Wasabi for my card base.  Wanda got her gingham paper from Amuse Studio but they no longer have it because I checked.  I know -- it's super cute!

When I started my project this morning, I wanted to compare 2 different brands of white embossing powders that I have so I heat embossed each image with one of the 2 so I could compare them.  One of the ones I have was "inherited" from a girlfriend but the WOW! Opaque Bright White Super Fine Embossing Powder was the hands down winner.  It melted really quickly and was super smooth.  I use a lot more clear embossing powder than I do of white so that it matches the color of my paper or cardstock perfectly but I wanted to use the white today because I know that is what Wanda used here.  The floral branch I used is from Altenew's Best Mom Stamp Set and has a coordinating die.  I love those Concord & 9th Stamp sets that Wanda used but I don't have either of them.  Wanda has great light in her studio.  The light in my studio is blocked by the three enormous pergolas on the west side of our house so I am using artificial lighting in my studio.  I can see out the windows just fine, but I don't ever have good light for photographs.

To color the blooms, I used Ripe Persimmon Distress Marker for one and Ripe Persimmon Distress Ink with just a hint of Zig Clean Color Real Brush Marker in Sugared Almond Pink.  You can't really see the pink in the photos so you'll just have to trust me that it's there.  I love Ripe Persimmon because it is orange with a touch of pink in it but it also has enough yellow in it to be a warm color.  It brings back so many sweet memories of spending the night with my great-grandmother when I was a really little girl.  She had a Persimmon tree in her yard.

Anyhow, sometimes when you add water to the mix you can get some golden edges but that happens more with the marker than with the ink from the pad.  I did one of each today. Smooshing the ink onto an acrylic block gave a higher concentration of color to my wash and not nearly as much variegation   The orange "hello" die cut is from Mama Elephant and I did a watercolor wash using the the ink from the Distress Ink Pad onto watercolor paper before die cutting it. The other is cut from plain watercolor paper.  I use Canson Bristol Watercolor Paper the most and one of the things I love about it is that it is a soft white rather than being cream colored. Since I'm not actually "painting" in a traditional sense, it works great for me.  I rarely use cream colored cardstock although I have a project coming up that might.

There's no special techniques here, just some ordinary coloring of the floral branch with some cute patterned papers that were die cut with coordinating dies and Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangles Dies.  I actually didn't use quite enough water with my inks to get a true watercolor feel, but these cards still turned out pretty just the same.  It's not my typical look but it was good to do something different.

Thank you so much for stopping by today. Be sure to check out Wanda's bog.  I linked it in the 1st sentence of the 2nd paragraph.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Mimosas for the Summer Fun Challenge

This week over at the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge the theme is "Summer Fun".  My idea of Summer Fun at this stage of my life is hanging out on our back patio with a glass of wine (or maybe a Mimosa on Sunday Morning) and listening to music while I sip my drink. For the last two years we have had extensive work done on or around our back patio in the late winter through early spring. There was a nice sized covered patio to begin with compared to anything we've ever had before but now it goes more than halfway across the length of the house and there are three very substantial pergolas out there. We have white Christmas Lights hanging around where the sitting area is to add a bit of atmosphere.  My hubby worked pretty hard get a stereo system wired and speakers hung out there this past spring which makes it really nice.   The back of our house is on the west side and we have lots of windows so as you can imagine, it would really raise the temperature in the late afternoon or evening hours in the summer.  Now the Pergolas shade that area for most of the day.  It is really gorgeous out there in the mornings! 

Now I confess, I could not visualize how it would look out there before the work was done, but I really can't imagine it any other way now.  We extended our patio and driveway areas with concrete, and there is a sidewalk that runs from the patio to the other end of the house all the way to the driveway and garage.  It's very nice and I'm glad my husband could envision it because I know we'll enjoy it for years to come.  When our kids and grandkids come home, we can hang out there which is really nice.  We have some really nice chairs, a porch swing and a fire pit all in a grouping out there.  It's a really great entertaining space although we don't get to do much entertaining.  When I think of the fun times we've had out there with the kids, it makes me smile remembering things like roasting weenies and making Smores.  So I wanted some definitely happy colors for today's card.  

I started with a 4.5 x 5.5 inch panel of Canson Bristol Watercolor Papers and stamped the Background Basics: Sheet Music using Versamark and heat set it with Ranger Super Fine Gold Embossing Powder.  Using a Ranger Mini Round Ink Blending Tool, I blended in color using Distress Inks in Cracked Pistachio and Twisted Citron.  I wanted the Cracked Pistachio to go from the lower left corner to the upper right and then I blended the Twisted Citron on each side of that. I am still always amazed at how vibrant the colors of Distress Inks are after misting them.  In this case I used Tsukineko Sparkle Sheer Shimmer Spritz so I set that aside to dry for a bit while I figured out the particulars for the rest of my design.

I die cut two of the wine glasses from Stamper's Select Vellum using the Taylored Expressions Raise Your Glass Die Set.  The biggest challenge was trying to figure out how to make it look like the wine glasses had something in them.  I tried using a colored insert behind the vellum but it just didn't look right with the vibrancy of the gold background stamping so I masked off the stems of the glasses with a post-it note and then applied Versamark onto the bowl of the glasses.  Then I put Perfect Gold Perfect Pearls all over them and buffed it. To set the Perfect Pearls, I gave it just a very light mist of water.  I don't know that I needed to do that since I used Versamark Ink, but it didn't hurt anything.  

I also tried out several sentiments today and my original plan was to stamp part of the greeting and have a die cut for the other part but in the end, I chose the Painted Hello and Painted Summer Dies that are Simon Says Stamp exclusive dies.  I die cut the ink blended background with the largest Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangles die and mounted it to a card base made from Simon Says Stamp Mint Cardstock which came from the Simon Says Stamp Sweet Treats Cardstock Pack which includes 4 sheets each of 5 colors.  I don't use a lot of Mint Cardstock but this is a really nice color when I do need it.  It is actually an absolute perfect match to Cracked Pistachio Distress Ink.

In the end I hope when you look at this you will imagine some sparkling wine, juice or champagne in the glasses.  And if you have any ideas for a better way to do this, PLEASE, let me know!

I'll also be entering this in the Addicted to Clean and Simple Challenge with the code word "Music" this week.  Adult beverages and great music is my idea of Summer Fun.

Thanks you for stopping by today and as always, I appreciate uplifting and supportive comments if you'd like to leave one.  

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Papertrey's August 2016 Create Along With Us

This week the Challenge over at Papertrey Ink is for their monthly Create Along With Us Challenge. Using inspiration from the Design Team, we are to create a project inspired by one of them.  I had so many projects that I loved but of course, they were all using products from the newest release that went live last night at 10 p.m. Eastern Time. Ultimately, Betsy Veldman inspired me the most with her Thanksgiving themed Hostess gift and card that you see on the left. If you have ever been to my blog before, you know that I love using Gold on my projects so I think it is easy to see what the initial appeal was for me.  I also really liked the fact that her project was done in neutral tones because it is something I'm working hard to incorporate into my own projects.  

I started by cutting a card base from True Black Cardstock using the Noted: Scalloped A2 Dies. I wanted to keep the look ultra chic and elegant so I looked for elements similar to some of what we've seen in this release and decide to use Embroidered Blooms Stamp Set and Turning a New Leaf Dies.  I started by looking through my vellum and cutting a piece of this gold metallic printed vellum to put over the black card base. I used just the smallest amount of Vellum Adhesive on each of the four corners of that piece and attached it to my card base.  Next I carefully heat embossed "Amazing Grace" from the Inspired: Grace Stamp Set, making sure not to stay too long in one area with the heat gun to prevent warping of my vellum.  By the way, the vellum is from a pack that I've had for a few years that came from Stampin' Up! There are about 6 different patterns in the pack including some diagonal stripes and big polka dots.

Next I cut several of the large leafy stems from Turning a New Leaf Dies and stamped them using the stamps from Embroidered Blooms. This can be a one or two step stamp but I liked just the 1 step leaves so I could leave quite a bit of white showing for some contrast.  I had a few leaves cut in Fresh Snow Linen Cardstock and some in Stamper's Select White Cardstock but ultimately I liked the added texture of the Linen Cardstock and used those.  I adhered them using Ranger Multi Medium Matte.

I actually messed up the first time I stamped the leaves because I used Encore Gold Ink and then put clear Embossing Powder over the top.  Well that didn't work because then my golds didn't match.  So I cut a few more leafy clusters and stamped in Versamark this time.  I heat set them using Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder which is the same as I used for the greeting stamped on the vellum.

I cut a Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle in the largest size from Spicy Yogurt Cardstock (from Altenew) for the inside of the card so there would be a place for a handwritten note.  That finishes off my clean and simple card.

Monday, August 15, 2016

SSS Flickr Challenge #51 & Muse Challenge #178

Hello and Happy Monday! Today I am participating in the Muse Challenge #178 as well as the Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge #51 with a theme of Embossing. Tracey McNeely is our Muse for this week on the Muse Challenge. Her card reminds me of poppies with the black specks in the center of it so a Poppy Image is what I used for my card!  My image is from Botanical Blocks III by Papertrey Ink. This stamp has quickly become a favorite for me.  It's easy to watercolor and makes a lot of impact.

Queen Alexandra Poppy
I started with a 4.5 x 5.5 inch piece of Canson Bristol Watercolor Paper. I stamped with Versamark & heat embossed two of the Poppy images on that size panel with Simon Says Stamp Ultra Fine Antique Gold Embossing Powder so that I would have an extra all ready to go if I messed up the first one.  That was a few weeks ago during the Papertrey Stamp-A-Faire 2016 and I didn't mess up the first one so I had this second one sitting on my desk for a while ready to color.

Although there are quite a few colors of poppies in the world, my favorite is the Queen Alexandra Poppy seen in this image.  My mom has one in her yard. I'm thinking if I wanted an exact match I should have used Worn Lipstick Distress Ink but since my card is not an actual photograph, I think it is still quite pretty.  I used my favorite water brush, a Kuretake Zig that I buy on Amazon, with Hibiscus Burst Ink from Papertrey Ink. Hibiscus Burst is becoming my "go-to" choice for Pink.  It's not too dark or too pale and I love to use it for watercolor.

This is really simple to color since it is such a small image (approximately 2 x 3.25 inches) but I think it has pretty big impact here.  I really enjoy using Pink and Black together; one is feminine and the other is classic. Together it is a winning combination.

I used Shabby Shutters Distress Marker for the leaves and stem of the poppy. I'm not too keen on the more yellow greens but it was perfect for this image.  The pink background is a panel I made using a stencil brush with Lovely Lady Ink and then misted with Tsukineko Sparkle Sheer Shimmer Mist. Once it was dry, I cut it using the largest Simon Says Stamp Stitched Rectangle Dies.  I also cut a plain white rectangle in the same size for the inside of my black card base.

Next I cut around the outside of the Botanical Block and matted a very thin layer of black cardstock behind it. It's about 1/16th of a inch wider than the block all the way around. I used Papertrey Ink's True Black Cardstock.  Additionally I used the second from the smallest Stitched Rectangle Die to cut the sentiment out.  I love the stitched detail and these are my absolute favorite dies.  I've gotten very good at using them creatively to make a custom sized stitched rectangle in just about any size I need (except larger).  Anytime I use a dark cardstock for my card base, I cut a stitched rectangle to put on the inside of my card.  For the very center of my flower I used my Zig Clean Color Black Marker to color it in with no water added.  The greeting is from Mums the Word Stamp Set.  One I had the card assembled, I gave the front of the whole card another layer of Tsukineko Sheer Shimmer Spritz.

I have several challenges that I want to play along with this week so I'm going to scoot off here.  If I've left out some detail, be sure to send me an inquiry and I'll come back and edit my post. There's not much new and different here but I enjoy this poppy so much that I already have another color combination in my mind. Thank you so much for spending a few minutes here at my blog today.   I appreciate all the encouraging and uplifting comments!

ETA:  I'll also be linking up this card to the Stampin' Royalty Challenge for their "Anything Goes" Challenge.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

AAA Cards Challenge - Ink Blending

Recently I made a card during Papertrey Ink's Stamp-A-Faire 2016 that was inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's "Starry Night".  I've made a couple of night sky cards before but I've mailed both of them which means I don't have any more to send out until I make some.  Night skies are a fantastic way to practice and play with ink blending techniques to find out what you like and what works best for you. It is also a really good way to find out how the inks you are using behave when they come in contact with water. Distress Inks are formulated specifically to react whenever they come in contact with water.  Most inks are designed not to react once you've let them dry or you heat set them.

While I have done a bit of playing previously, I really wanted to sit and play with different types of watercolor paper, different types of ink and lots of water vs. very little water and everything in between.  The challenge this week over at AAA Cards was just the thing I needed to entice me to take extra time out to do this today.  I actually made four of these cards but the two I feature first are my favorites although I'm happy with all of them.

For the background panels I made, I used a combination of Distress Inks, Simon Says Stamp Inks, and Papertrey Inks and for the silhouette of the trees and hills I used Hero Arts Black Ink.  I was realizing today how intense their black ink is but when I went to get a refill, I couldn't find one.  The Hero Hues Black Ink provided superior coverage on my watercolor paper.  I was using the Direct to Paper (DTP) method with a corner of the ink pad for the hills, and I stamped the trees in the same ink with the Altenew Pine Trees Stamp.  I got it specifically to use on this type of card.  I also have the small Winter Cottage Stamp Set which I think was a gift with purchase last year around Christmas & New Year's and I plan to try that on this same type of card in the future.

This first card used Simon Says Stamp Island Blue Ink which is the closest color I've found to SU!'s Pacific Point. I combined it with Ocean Tides, Hibiscus Burst, Seedless Preserves, and Chipped Sapphire around the perimeter. The card base is made from Bazzill Whirlypop Cardstock.

The second card uses Wilted Violet, Seedless Preserves, Ocean Tides, Hibiscus Burst, and Royal Velvet.  I have a friend who is a photographer in North Pole, Alaska and she has hundreds of images of the Northern Lights.  This is so like what she captures that I am going to send this card to her.  All of these cards feature the Inspired: Faith Stamps and Dies from Papertrey Ink.  The card bases are made from Papertrey Ink's Royal Velvet Cardstock.

The last two cards used the same color combinations as the first two with one difference; I used Pine Feather instead of Ocean Tides.

I used Canson Bristol, Fabriano, Arches Hot Pressed and Arches Cold Pressed Watercolor Paper, applying ink with a Mini Round Ink Blending Tool.  I used both circular motions and back and forth "scrubbing" type of motions.  The paper is not as heavy or as thick as the other 3 but also doesn't hold as much water. The Canson Bristol paper would pill much easier than the others but since I knew this going in, I didn't over work it.  And really, since you are going to spray water on the whole thing to let the colors move and blend, it doesn't really matter how smoothly the ink is blended initially.  Especially in the case of Distress Inks, the inks blend effortlessly.  The hard part is waiting for that to dry once you've misted it.

That said, I really liked how much easier it was to get this depth of color on the Canson Bristol which is a 96# paper. In other words, it took less ink to get the same results as the 140# papers. I could spray the 140# papers with more water, but it also took more time to dry. I liked the Hot Pressed and Bristol papers the most but this was not a surprise to me. I most often use the Canson Bristol in the other things I make and if I need a paper to hold more water, my preference is for the Arches Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper.  It is incredibly smooth for watercolor paper. This is totally personal preference.  Don't let any one opinion decide what is the right thing for you.  You really just need to experiment to find what works for you and what you like.

Once I had all of my background panels made, I spritzed the paper with Tsukineko Sheer Sparkle Shimmer Spritz and set it aside to dry one last time before assembling my cards.  I attached the background using my ATG Adhesive.  The "Faith" words were die cut from Stamper's Select White Cardstock and the sentiments were all heat embossed using Versamark Ink and WOW! Opaque Bright White Super Fine Embossing Powder.  I adhered a few Darice Tiny Silver Star Sequins with Multi Medium Matte to finish off my cards.

I'll also be entering the second card at Stampin' Royalty for their "Anything Goes" challenge.

Thank you so much for stopping by to check out my blog.  I really appreciate it when you take the time to leave such nice and encouraging comments.  I hope you'll be inspired to sit and experiment with your own inks and some watercolor paper.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Sweet Elephants for a Sweet Baby Girl

I've been working on a project for the last week or so a little bit at a time for a friend who also happens to be my new hairdresser.  My other one moved to a salon in Tulsa and I didn't want to drive that far, so I've started going to a new one that I knew slightly before because she works at the salon where I get my nails done.  Bekah was scheduled to have her labor induced on August 9th due to pregnancy complications and bring a sweet baby girl into the world.  That happens to also be my oldest grandson's birthday only he turned 25 this year. Norah Michelle was born around 8:00 in the evening bringing much joy to her Momma, Daddy and three siblings.  She's still in the NICU and could use some prayers if you feel like doing that!

I knew that I wanted to make a personalized card for Bekah that she could put into a frame for the baby's room if she wanted.  Actually, I have been dying to make a card for the birth of a baby since I first saw Dawn Woleslagle watercolor these baby elephants from the WPLUS9 "Unforgettable" Stamp and Die sets more than a year ago.  I was excited to get to do that, finally!

Dawn was the first person I ever saw on YouTube using Distress Markers and Distress Inks to watercolor images with and is what made me want to try it. I did try the "Vintage" Collection of 12 markers at Hobby Lobby using a 40% off coupon to purchase. I figured that way I could try it to see if I could come anywhere close to what Dawn did.  She made it look so easy and achieveable. That started my love affair with creating watercolor looks in my cards. Happily, the success of that first set of "Vintage" Distress Markers led to getting other colors a few at a time.  I think there are about 62 colors in the Distress line of colors.  I've only purchased the ones that I am sure I will use such as pinks, corals and purples. Distress Markers continue to be my most used medium for watercolor although I have a few other choices.  I find them to be the most predictable in terms of how they react with water on the watercolor papers I use. I never use cardstock for watercolor.

So I started this project with a piece of 5.5 x 8.5 Arches Hot Pressed Watercolor Paper and using a stencil brush, gave the entire panel the once over with some Lovely Lady Ink. I love the Arches Hot Pressed because it is so smooth.  Lots of people like the texture in watercolor paper but I am not one of them so my choice is always the smoother Hot Pressed Paper. The benefit of using the Stencil Brush to apply color is that you can get the color so much softer than with an Ink Blending Tool and softer still when you mist the panel with a bit of water.  Since it's for a baby girl, I want just the softest, most delicate pink for her.  Next I stamped with Versamark and heat embossed 4 little elephants from the Unforgettable Stamp Set (2 different styles) on Canson Bristol Watercolor Paper.  I watercolored them by scribbling some ink from my Pumice Stone Distress Marker onto an acrylic block and picking that up with my waterbrush. Watercolor is all about layers so each little elephant has about 4 layers of watercolor.  The Small (fine) Kuretake Fude Water Brushes are my favorites to use for watercoloring.  I have a couple of the medium sized ones but I have never actually used them. I also have regular watercolor brushes in the Silver Black Velvet brand in sizes 2, 4, & 8 but I really like the portability of having the water in the handle of the brush and not having to put a separate container of water on my desk.  It's important to understand here that I am a bit of a klutz! "Contained" water is a better option for me, personally. I also used a tiny amount of Worn Lipstick Distress Marker for the cheeks and inside of the ears on the elephants.  These elephants are just so cute. Additionally, the balloons are also from the "Unforgettable" Stamp Set and are colored in Worn Lipstick.

If you read my blog very often, you know that the current trend of cute little critters that seems to be everywhere isn't my favorite but Elephants and Giraffes are excepted.  I am also totally taken with Kay Miller's cute Halloween Set that has been previewed at Papertrey Ink this week and is coming out on the 15th. But that is the exception rather than the rule.  I just don't have occasion to send many cards with critters on them.  Now if they came out with a stamp for Yorkies, that would change the whole dynamic. *Ü*

For the background panel, I think that pink and gold is so ultra feminine and elegant and I wanted to mimic some "wallpaper" from a previous Papertrey Ink Challenge here.  So I chose to do a Harlequin Background which is a favorite look of mine.  Again, like I did on my previous day's card, I used a T-Ruler with a Gold Stardust Pen to draw on the geometric pattern. For Harlequin diamonds, taller is better so I measured in from the bottom left corner over 1.5 inches and then made the first diagonal line from the upper left corner to the first mark and used the width of my t-ruler to keep the lines the same distance apart all the way across. Then I went from the upper right corner to the bottom, 1.5 inches to the left from the bottom right side and made that line all the way down.  This gave me all of the lines I needed all the way down.  By using my T-Ruler as my guide for the width between the stripes, this kept everything nice and neat all the way across.

I used Encore Gold Pigment Ink (similar to Delicata Gold Glitz found here) to stamp baby's first name on the front of this card and then heat embossed it using Ranger Gold Tinsel Embossing Powder.  The first time I tried stamping this using Versamark, but I couldn't tell where I had stamped to connect the letters so I tried a few different way combining dye inks with Versamark before I remembered that I had this pigment ink. It didn't need to show except to line up the letters but because it is pigment ink, it is slow enough drying to add embossing powder.  I used Concord & 9th's Sophisticated Script Upper and Lower Stamp Sets. The little sentiment strip is embossed in Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold Embossing Powder and came from the Altenew Sentiments & Quotes Stamp Set.

I'm going to try to enter this card in the Simon Says Stamp Flickr Challenge this week with their theme of embossing.  You can do dry embossing, heat embossing, embossing paste or any kind you want.  My favorite technique is heat embossing so that is what I chose for this challenge. My favorite all around embossing powder is Simon Says Stamp Antique Gold.

Thank you so much for stopping by, taking time to leave a comment or an encouraging word.  It means the world to me when you do!