The musings and offerings of a burgeoning greetings master

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mr Cardmaker is Resistant (and Has Been Exercising!)

Emboss/resist is one of my favorite techniques, not only because it looks fantastic and takes very little time to get a great effect, but also because you can do it over and over and get different results just about every time.

For example, I made this--

Fun and happy, quick and easy. My way to go!
I used Concord&9th's Eat Cake an Celebrate stamp set on watercolor paper with versamark ink, and heat embossed white embossing powder over it.
Then, it was just a matter of three colors of Distress Ink in washes over the images, and I was almost done!

I did go back in with my waterbrush and paint in some of the tiny details on the candles, and, of course the flames.
Then the only thing to add was my diecut sentiment and some enamel dots. Couldn't be easier.

I also decided to play around with the stamps and matching dies a little more, and while this is in no way ready for sending, I can't help but feel there's a good idea percolating, and I'm willing to play around until it bubbles, to the surface.

I made this--

The candles here are coated in a heavy dose of Spectrum Noir clear sparkle pen. These yellow star sequins really help the overall look, but I'm just not sure about all of that negative space. I'm still pondering about it...

Standing up--

As you can see, the sentiment is diecut, so you can look through to read part of what's inside.

That looks like this--

I stamped the cake image in Versamark, just to get a subtle impression. I'm pondering about that decision, as well. And the spacing of the sentiment...and so much more...
An exercise, I call it. I'll be working on it...

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Remember to stop by on Instagram @rlbreaks !
All best-

Monday, April 17, 2017

Mr Cardmaker Prefers a Chocolate Cake Card

Building the birthday stash again, and using some of my newest acquisitions. Eat Cake ad Celebrate is a fun stamp and die (sold separately) set from Concord&9th, and I have had some fun playing with it.

I made this--

I played with some white embossing powder here, going to town on my background. To give my chocolate cardstock some extra depth, I sponged an even darker ink on bottom half and the edges. I do love me some emboss/resist action.
I kept the image are on the simple and petite side. That cake stamp makes me so happy, and there's a world of variety to be had as far as coloring the thing. I also love that the Happy Birthday sentiment has a die of its very own, too!

I had the gold zigzag circle on my work table, gathering dust, so I was happy to be able to use it with my stitched diecut vellum circle. I slid my adhesive for the vellum under my diecuts, and also under my sequins. A god thread nest (to amplify the gold) and some stickles in the sequin centers, and I was all set!

I do seem to have a bit of a messy background with the loose bits of white embossing showing here and there, but I'm going with calling it a little on the "urban side."
That's my story, and I'm sticking with it.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Remember, you can catch more (including some "in process") photos on Instagram @rlbreaks !
All Best--

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mr Cardmaker Walks on the Dead Side

I actually don't watch The Walking Dead. There, I've said it. I have enough crap to give me nightmares, believe me. I do, however, have lots of friends who DO watch it, so when I got this idea to use my Avery Elle Hats Off stamps in this way, I went for it.

I made this--

This actually combines a few sets of stamps. Because they're my stamps, and I'll do what I like with them, that's why. The cake comes from Eat Cake and Celebrate by Concord&9th, and the letters are a GinaK Designs set called Lots of Letters by my friend Melanie Meunchinger.
So, yeah! Instead of grasping at brains, my zombies like cake. Because, who doesn't like cake, am I right?
I clear embossed the images and colored them with my varied collection of colored pencils on kraft cardstock. I had a good bit of fun trying to replicate the rotting flesh of zombies here. I don't really get a ton of reference points on that sort of thing...

I love the way the cake and candles turned out. I love making the candle flames "glow."
Well, the rest of the card was simple, a quick designer paper mat and card base, and that's it. No bling or anything needed.
But wait, there's more!

The inside!

I cracked myself up when I did this, I have to admit. Hand-drawing the dismembered end of that arm had me cackling. And the staying connected to the balloon part, of course. I do have a dark sense of humor sometimes, what can I say?
I now wish I had stamped the arm in a soft brown ink, so it would better match the arms on the front, but I think I'm probably being picky at this point. I think the joke works, and that's the important thing, right?
The balloon was stamped with SU Balloon Celebration stamps, but it didn't stamp so well, which I took as an opportunity to use as a shading exercise with more colored pencils. Save! The string ws drawn by my own hand. (brave on my part, I must say.)

Thanks so much for stopping by-
Come see me on Instagram @rlbreaks
All Best-

Monday, April 3, 2017

Mr Cardmaker is Iterative

I can't tell you how many projects I finish (and mostly like) where I look at them and think, "next time I would ...". Of course, I rarely make the same thing twice, so whether or not that actually happens is another thing. It's the way my brain works...whatever.

Well, I have a new-to-me stamp set from Concord & 9th called Hugs, and it has the sweetest bear stamp. I wanted to use it for a card for Charlie for our 3rd wedding anniversary (together almost 26 years, don'tcha know), and so I dove right in.

Somehow, getting the bear colored proved to be more of a challenge than I ever thought it would be. It took me THREE times to get there, and I still think there's work to be done. I did a good bit of work though, and I hate trashing things that somebody, somewhere will appreciate.

This is the final card--

I tried to mimic the lettering style of the word hugs on my envelope. Not too shabby, if I do say so.

I actually did an unacceptable job on the bear on this panel, so I did the bear again on a scrap, colored him with copic markers, and then fussy cut him out with no border. I took a Memento Tuxedo Black marker to the edges in order to hide the white edges, and then paper pieced him over the not-so-great version.
I am digging the papers, and the Distress Ink blending worked out nicely.

Previous to this, I made this one--

So, this guy was done on watercolor paper and colored with my Zig Clean Color Real Brush Watercolor Markers and a waterbrush. I made I real mess here; I hate the marks that are left from my repeated attempts to get the shading right. Yeah, that really didn't happen, either.
HOWEVER, it does look passable for somebody who'll just be happy to get a card from me, so into the stash it goes. I do love my ancient green gingham paper here...

Lesson learned. Keep trying. It will probably NOT get worse the more you try, but you have to be pretty bad at something before you become pretty good at it, I'm thinking.

And, Charlie loved it. 'Nuff said. ANd, somebody, somewhere will like this one--

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Remember, I'm on Instagram @rlbreaks
Stop by and see me!
All Best--

Friday, March 31, 2017

Mr Cardmaker is in Orbit with 12 Kits of Occasions

Well, I am going to try to avoid space-y puns for this WHOOOOOOOLE post. We'll see how that goes...(Titles don't count, right?)

I am so happy to share the cards that I designed with the BEAUTIFUL kit that Jeanne Jachna created for 12 Kits of Occasions. March is sort of a weird month to do a kit for, especially when Easter is in April this year. St. Patrick's day comes and goes so quickly, so you're left with....SPACE! I love it!

Anyway, I just loved all the stamped images and die cuts, the papers and embellishments. Jeanne really leaves you wanting for nothing with her kits!

I made five cards with this kit, and I kept every little thing that was left over for a DEFINITE return for more.

So, on with the cards!
I made this--

These rockets are so awesome. Clean, tight, totally representative of everything that says ROCKET. Love the flames. Aren't the swirls in the background cool? That Jeanne. She finds the best stuff for us...
I love that this makes a great masculine card. I think adding stripes into the design helps to strengthen that idea, but there's no reason a woman wouldn't dig it, too.

Next, I came up with this--

GOOGLY EYES!!!!  These aliens cracked me up, especially once the eyes got attached! Coloring them with my copics was really fun, because there's really no way to pick a wrong color.
I went for a sort of theatrical feel with this card, thinking of the stars die cut as a curtain. Some serious flying skills are happening there with those space ships; they manage to maneuver that thing with ease.

Next, more space ships--

This one started with the blue diecut panel. I went crazy trying to figure out how to break up the navy. I knew I didn't want to stamp on it, because I didn't want to compete with the stars. I finally decided to break out my scoring board and add some score lines. This worked out perfectly for me-The stars are in a strong linear formation, so more lines just add to the strength. The super stylized space ships are a great foil to all the lines, and the two circles help balance things.
The brightly colored space ships really pop off the dark navy, too.
Uh, note the sneaky googly eye...

This next one--

We're a bit closer to home here, but I just LOVE the way this worked out. I love Seattle's Space Needle, and when I saw these super billowy cloud diecuts, I was INSPIRED! The yellow paper was actually the reverse of a more space-y theme, but it was just so strong, I had to use it.
I was a bit nervous doing such a simple card, which is why I went for the stars, and I'm really glad I did.
You'll notice that I didn't reach for any bling on my cards, and all shine comes from the papers themselves, or my Spectrum Noir shimmer pen, which doesn't really show up in photos.

My final card--

There were quite a few space themed stamp sets released this year, and IMHO this is the BEST.
My Favorite Things came out with these CUTE kids in spacesuits, with some really sharp vehicles and planets. I just love this set.
The upside-down guy is on an action wobble! This thing is wonderful! It makes him shake around, yet it compresses down super flat, so postage is easy!
I do believe it's time to break down and invest in those skin toned copic markers. I'm going to have to go back and dig out my gamsol to make my face coloring work just a bit better. Hey, and how about some glossy accents over them? They're wearing face shields, right? 
I clearly have some work to do.

So, I now have five cards that can easily be sent to either a man or a woman of almost any age.

This kit was a blast to play with. (rats, I was so close. Missed it by THAT much...PUNS!!!)
Seriously, though, Jeanne supplied SO much to spark a ton of creative energy. I was able to just lay everything out on my work surface, move things around a bit, and GO!
The only (ONLY!) downside to these kits is the fact that now I have to go BUY so many of these things I was so happy to play with. Cry, beloved wallet!

PLEASE go and see all the wonderful creations linked up at the 12 Kits of Occasions blog. Worlds to see! (argh!) Go! Take off! (oh, come on...)

PUNS!!! (insert shaking fist here.)

Thanks so much for stopping by!
All Best-

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Mr Cardmaker is a Krafty Devil

Well, 'tis the season to start making those Christmas/Hanukkah cards. Yup, already. I have been scouring the stamp makers' websites, TRYING to find just the right stamps to get into my hot little hands for this year's cards, and I'll be DANGED if there just has not been exactly the right thing come down the pike for me yet. There's been some contenders, and some things are on the short list, but the big thing has yet to come along and blow my skirt up, so to speak.


I do have my stamps from last year, and those puppies never did get enough inking up, for my taste, so I'm back to them for the moment. And the rest of my Christmas stash, don'tcha know...
I won a challenge over at My Favorite Things a while back, so I did manage to use my prize to grab up the new Hand-Lettered Christmas sentiments stamps. they are wonderfully LARGE sentiments, and I SO dig them.

So, I grabbed some kraft card stock, because I love it (especially for winter cards), and went to town.

I made SIXTEEN of these in one day--and I may even do MORE, I love them so much.
Warning: many photos ahead.

 I used several stamp sets on these cards, mostly Stampin' Up and Stampendous.  Oh, what an impact a white gel pen can make on kraft !
The panels are all cut with Simon Says Stamp stitched rectangle dies. I love the stitched detail.

 These cards are done with SU Warm Wishes stamp set from 2015. I really wish this was still available. Papertrey ink has a set with similar images, though, and theirs has matching dies, which I love. The sequins here are from Neat & Tangled.
 More from the same set, trying to use a tighter focus image(s). Do you love those sentiments, or what? The white heat embossing is so great with them, too!

 This was one where I thought it might be fun to get tricky. I stamped the skis in Early Espresso ink, and the boughs in Soft Suede, and then just smooched the soft suede with a paper towel to soften it up. It's fine, but I decided to stay on the cleaner side, for the most part.

A detail of that idea.

This tree image is from Concord & 9th.  I adore it. My white gel pen turned it into a birch tree. I also grabbed a water brush to move some of the ink around the tree rings a bit. That's about as fancy as I got with these cards...

 Jumbo Snowflakes from Stampendous. I don't know if these are still available. There are so many snowflake stamps available...

Speaking of Stampendous, this stamp is from their Jumbo Cardinals set. There's a ton of white here, but I think the image holds up really well. I SO dig the white holly berries...
I love that you can see how detailed these stamps are here. Repetition is such a fun design idea, too. It always works, and it's usually pretty easy to do.

Snow covered branches is my FAVORITE use for that magic white gel pen on kraft.
The effect is A. MAZE. ING. These trees are from SU Wonderland set, also from last year.
I imagine these sets appear on ebay from time to time, but trees like this are easily found.

Using the smaller accent stamps can make a wonderful impact, too. Don't ignore those babies!

I did have a few flecks of white embossing powder here and there (you may have noticed), but I'm calling it snow and considering it all part of the rustic look I have going on...that works, right?

Hard to believe I pumped these all out in just one (long) day. I love how relatively easy they were to do, and how wonderful brown and white and kraft look together!

Remember you can find me on Instagram @RLBreaks
More to come...

Thanks so much for stopping by!
All Best--

Friday, September 30, 2016

Mr Cardmaker Gets His Spooky On with 12 Kits of Occasions

Believe it or not, I have TWO blog posts today! Scroll around to find the other one!

Well, there couldn't be a BETTER reason to get back into the blogosphere than to join in with the AMAZING team at 12 Kits of Occasions. This is a great group of card makers and stampers that actually take the time to put together twelve months of kits that contain the most amazing things, and they send the out to the group (and to guests!) to see how everybody interprets their goodies. It's a FANTASTIC idea, and I'm thrilled that I was asked by the fabulous Jeanne Jachna to join in for my second time!

I LOOOOOOOOVE Halloween cards--almost even more than Christmas cards! They can be cute, spooky, weird, whatever. SO freeing!

I had TONS of fun with this kit! Can't wait to share!

I made ALL of these--

(Pssst! See that swirly stem thingy under the biggest pumpkin? That's actually part of a Christmas word die!)

I'm making a conscious effort to NOT blather on like I usually do, because this is a photo heavy post, but I wanted to jump in here a sec.
There was a TRIO of the trick or treaters, and I went nuts trying to get them AND the castle on without overlapping or cutting anything off. I finally had to give up on the third guy.

But I got him in! Literally!

INSIDE! He was too great to waste.

Well, there's PLENTY more stuff in the kit to keep going, but I am SPENT!

NO! There's MORE!!!

Because I am crazy like that...

I made these, too--

 These images were SO cute, and the papers that were left over were so great, I just HAD to make these 4"x4" sweet little things! (Besides, my card list is GROWING, so I actually needed more cards!)

Whew! NOW I am done!

I really want to extend a HUGE thank-you to Jeanne Jachna and all the crew at 12 Kits of Occasions for letting me play along. I had a BLAST!

I appreciate YOU sticking with me in this really long post.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
All Best--

PS-Instagram RLBreaks
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Mr Cardmaker is Tagged and Bagged

Believe it or not, I have TWO blog posts today! Be sure to scroll around and find it!

I am SO happy to be guest designing for the "Tag! You're It!" blog today! The wonderful Tracey McNeeley was kind enough to ask me to create a tag for this challenge. I am honored and flattered!

The weather is FINALLY cooling off (at least here in the Northeast), and that means more warm beverages, which to my mind, means COFFEE!! Hot, steaming mugs of joe, PSL (That's a pumpkin spice latte, which you already know, if you're a Starbucks fan), cappuccinos, café au laits, on and on and on!

So, I made this--

This is done with Altenew's Coffee Love and Coffee Talk stamp sets. I needed these sets the second I laid eyes on them! I LOOOOVE the artwork, and the sentiments are wonderful.
I also bought, but didn't use here, the Coffee Ring stamps, which offer the sentiment "Coffee, Craft, Repeat." Perfect!

I colored the pot with my new Zig clean color real brush watercolor pens (OMG, that's a LOT of words for a pen) and then coated it with some Glossy Accents. Because, shiny.
The sentiment is all embossed, in both white and clear over Versafine Onyx Black.
A bit of ink blending and water flicking finishes off both pieces.

I also took this opportunity to try out my recent purchase of Ranger's Copper super fine detail embossing powder. Yeah, love that stuff.
The coffee beans in copper remind me of all the copper molds people used to hang on the walls of their kitchens. I went further by using the copper embossing powder to create my own copper card stock for the starburst behind the coffee pot, and used a bit more to frame my sentiment piece. I tapped the edges onto my Versamark ink pad, and then into the copper embossing powder. It makes such a delicate little frame!

I think this is a great tag to use when giving a gift of the grind to your favorite coffee buddy!

I am so looking forward to seeing what my tag inspires you to do! Join in and have fun!
Thanks as well to all the great designers at "Tag! You're it!" I had a blast!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
All Best--

PS- Find me on Instagram! @rlbreaks

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Mr Cardmaker Earns His Stripes

I just love CASE-ing talented people. CASE (copy and share everything) is a wonderful way to come up with a starting point for a project, and gives you the most marvelous ways to stretch your creative muscles.

Jennifer McGuire has been a fantastic resource for all things card making, whether it's a new technique, new product, or new way to look at something you're already doing. She is also a major organizational champ, and a Sweetie, too, so DEFINITELY check her out, if you don't already do so on a regular basis.

She did a terrific tutorial about doing masked stripes, which I really enjoyed, and I knew I had to dive into this one for myself.

To start with, I made this--

This technique is done with ink and ink blenders, with the help of some low-tack tape. Layer of ink create different depth of color, and when you stay in somewhat of a rainbow order, you can safely move from color to color without being in danger of creating muddy messes. I used Distress Inks, which are terrific for blending like this.  I didn't actually stay in rainbow order here, but I liked these colors, and they all have so much yellow in them, I think it worked out just fine.

My favorite part is going back over areas with stripes of white pigment ink, which makes some pretty amazing highlights.

I tried to keep the rest of this card to a minimum, so the background could really shine. 

I also did a second panel, but I had some trouble getting the tape to adhere to the wet ink where I was trying to do layering, so I had some boo boos I had to cut off.

I ended up with these--

These are tiny 3" cards, which would be great for gift enclosures or tags. I quickly colored up some Hero Arts critters and flowers, and managed to salvage what I could of the panel.
Note that I DID manage to achieve rainbow order here!

This was so fun to do, and other than my challenge of getting the tape to cooperate, these were pretty idiot proof (ME, being the idiot in question). Oh the key is to use enough tape that you can tape to your surface, as well as your paper panel. Once I grasped that one, it was smooth sailing!

So, thanks to Jennifer for the idea. I'll be returning to this technique, I think!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
All Best--

#jennifermcguire #heroarts #distressink