The musings and offerings of a burgeoning greetings master

Monday, April 29, 2013

Mr Cardmaker Figures it Out

Do you ever find, in your stamp collection, that sentiment stamp that you look at and say, "WHAT am I going to do with you?"   Well, I bought Stampin Up's Smarty Pants set ages ago.  I really had just about signed off on it as a "what was I thinking?" moment when I ran across it, and decided to challenge myself.
I made this-
I am NEVER one to feel obligated to stick to one stamp set when I'm making something (uh, unless somebody's gifting me the set and asking for samples to show).  If the image works, I'm pulling it out!  The clouds and the orange sun rays that are peeking out from behind the vellum are from two Papertrey Ink sets, (Up, Up and Away, and Funky Florals) and the birds are from Melanie Meunchinger's Gifts from the Sea set at GinaK Designs.
Doing the clouds was an interesting exercise.  The darkest ones are actually done with pink ink, not orange, and after stamping the first row, I just kept going up and up, letting the ink get softer as I went along.  I did the same pink with a flower stamp to make the sun's rays.  Totally reads orange.
The grass die is from Amuse Studio.  That bugger is tough to work with, because it almost always makes a mark on the bottom of the cardstock you're cutting.  Putting it through the Cuttlebug with an embossing folder fixes that problem!  That's a green ribbon, darker than the one in front, separating the layers of grass, btw.
It's pretty hard to see in this photo,but the yellow circle living under the vellum has also been dry embossed, Swiss dots this time, and that little yellow brad holds it all together.  Foam adhesive pops it off the surface.
I think it looks like some scene from the Serengeti or something, minus the rhinoceros.  Sooooo...for what occasion is this appropriate?  And for whom? 
Is this suitable as a graduation card?  I guess the sentiment could be one of those things you'd shout after someone, before adding, "...and don't let the door hit you in the ass!"
Graduation card, it is!!!  ( I promise I WON'T put that on the inside.  Wouldn't that make a GREAT stamp, though?)
Now that I think about it, it could be a good card for someone starting a new job, or even, HEY!  How about your local doc who's about to do a Doctors Without Borders stint?  Or a teacher? Ok, so this is pretty applicable, after all.  Cool.
Thanks for stopping by! 
All Best-

Friday, April 26, 2013

Friday Fix: Don't Be Hassling Me With your Dusty Blue, Man....A Rant for a Sunny Friday

So, it has come to my attention that too many "masculine" cards are prisoners.  Prisoners of drab color.  I cannot TELL you how very tiresome it is to see a card that someone has dubbed "masculine", only to see it is made with the most mundane and dreary colors of brown (tan/beige/whatever) and "dusty blue", with absolutely NO FUN INVOLVED. While, yes, these Browns and many blues can be used in really wonderful, beautiful ways, merely slapping them onto a card with an image of a lawnmower or a beer can does not make a work of art worthy of the man/men in your life.
I know I hear from many crafters that making masculine cards is a tough thing for them.  I think that too often it is because they feel limited in what colors they can choose from.  Well, for this FRIDAY FIX, I am going to try to fix some peoples way of thinking when it comes to making cards for men.

Look, I'm gonna let you in on a little secret--Men LIKE color!  LOTS of colors.  Don't you ever see those loud, crazy-intense colors their sports teams wear?  (uh, wait, let's not venture into that area.  That's another rant, entirely--trust me.)

Case in point:
I made this --

Now, you are certainly welcome to disagree with me, but I would DEFINITELY have no issue sending this to my dad or to one of my brothers, or to most men.  This is a card that any man or woman should be able to appreciate, but I actually think it's MORE suitable for a man.

Here's why--

This card has my 3 criteria for being "male suitable".
1) BOLD shapes and textures.  Strong geometrics, chunky die cuts, distinct lack of flowers and swirly things.  You can also look to patterns from fabrics like houndstooth, argyle, and plaids (oh, the varied and happy world of PLAID!)
2) STRONG, saturated COLOR. EVERY color in different shades can work. Honestly, I think you can even make pink work on a man's card, if it's something rich and bold, like a fuscia, or the exact color of his pink oxford button-down.  It's all about what it gets paired with.
3) ACTION.  If you have a son, you KNOW they like nothing more than MOVING.  Their eyes like to move as well.  Give them lots to look at, either all over the card, or in that very specific sweet spot you've chosen.

Now specific to this card-- I have to admit that that button walks a very fine line.  HOWEVER!  It is BIG, it is BRIGHT, and I think the little flag tucked in there turns it into more of an idea of a "medal."  This works with the star (think General, sir!)and the tiny flags with the braided cord, more "medals."
Then there's the argyle pattern.  A MANLY pattern, yes?  I managed to pop the vellum circle up by hiding the foam adhesive under the medals and the button. That was a tricky one!
Yes, I see you looking at that lime green polka dot flag and raising your eyebrow...Again, feel free to disagree, but I TOTALLY think that works because the dots are HUGE and graphic. Plus, I think it makes yet another medal, when paired with the center square.

Well, this Friday Fix has turned into a Friday RANT.  I  just saw a perfectly good card that was suitable for anyone get "redone" in a "masculine" way, and all those browns just sucked the life out of the whole idea. Hair-trigger, anyone?
But, you know what?  I actually make cards with browns and blues.  Not dusty blue, though.  Yuck.   ( I had a friend who used to get flowers from his parents, and they actually spray painted FLOWERS brown and dusty blue.  It was called a "Male Mix" arrangement. It was so sweet of them to send flowers, yes, but...really?  REALLY?)  My browns though, usually have gotten purples and golds, and the blues get reds and oranges and greens with them.  I use the force of COLOR to convey the force of my FEELINGS.

Clearly, not every card is for every person, and there are probably some guys who might think that brown and dusty blue are all they're worthy of, or, yes they may even just LIKE them (though, that dusty blue...does someone LIKE that color, really?).  USE those colors, if it's a seasonal choice, or if your guy REALLY loves those colors. 
But remember--It is our job as artists (and yes, you ARE an artist) to break down creative walls for both ourselves and the people we make things for.  That's why we want to know all the latest and greatest products and techniques, and why we want inspiration from all of our bloggy friends!

Thanks for being my Bloggy Friend.
And, thanks for stopping by!
All Best--

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Papertrey Blog Hop Challenge

Well, my computer SEEMS to be back to normal, now, but I am treading lightly.
Today I made a card for the Papertrey Ink Blog Hop Challenge.  Their challenge this time was to do a "tilted" card.  "Design on an Angle", they said. 

So I did. 
I made this--

This card  is a design I used on several cards I made last Christmas, actually.  There's something about making this sledding kid airborne that just cracks me up!  The sentiment says it all!  I had to CASE myself on this one.

I made this with PTI's In the Meadow stamp set and dies, and their cursive alphabet dies, as well as some other snowflake punches.  I tore some PTI shimmer paper for the snowbank, and added some Stickles for some extra sparkle.  I just smeared it with my finger.

Adding these letters was no mean feat, let me tell you.  I have never had to cut such teensy-tiny-itsy-bitsy
pieces of foam adhesive in my life.  I really think it makes a huge difference, though, so I guess it was really worth it, after all.

This will NOT be made en masse for my Christmas cards this year.  Too fussy.  Plus, I have a big ol' stock of fun papers I plan to haul out.  I thought this one really fit the theme of the challenge though, so I will save it for one lucky(ish) person.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and a special thanks to those of you who had advice for fixing my computer situation.  I'd tell you to enter this challenge, but I think I am kinda under the wire myself, so unless you can do it all "Speedy Gonzales-style", you may have to wait until the next go around!

All Best!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Oh Woe.....

My server won't let me upload pictures.  I have no idea why, or even what that means, but I am NOT a happy camper. 

Anyone out there with computer savvy that can help me out???

Friday, April 19, 2013

Mr Cardmaker has a Thing for Coffee.....

This week I'm finally playing along with Moxie Fab World's Tuesday Trigger.  Somehow, I have been missing the fact that there is a CHALLENGE involved with the pretty inspiration pictures....Oy, am I brain-dead sometimes!

Anyway, now that I am up to speed (ish!), here's the inspiration for this challenge-

I am a great lover of coffee. So much, in fact, that I think Juan Valdez should be cannonized.  You remember him, the guy from the coffee can....oh, never mind.  I'm rattling around in the windmills of my mind again...
ANYway!  I made a card!
It looks like this--
Clearly, I went with the theme of the card, rather than the colors.  I actually panicked about that for a split second, before I saw others had done the same thing. 
SO, I stamped my coffee cups, and just did little swipes of color with sponge daubers, then did the red swirl and steam parts with markers.  Then, I pulled out a trick I saw a million years ago, where you actually use real coffee to make "mug marks" in strategic places.  I drink my coffee with milk, so it ended up more on the subtle side, but the idea is definitely there.
The banner came together with those bits of washi, and my hearts and stars kind of remind me of cookies.  (cookies, mmm...)  What better to go with coffee?  A bit of foam tape, some twine, some pearls, and there you go.
I am very glad I placed the banner OVER one of the coffee rings, so that it really looks purposely done, and not like I just jammed some ruined card into an envelope and rushed it off.  Some people are so touchy about stuff looking good...
Well, that's the card.  Going back over this post, it seems I clearly have had too much coffee this morning.  Either that, or I am a bit wiki in the waki woo....who can say?  I need more coffee...
Thanks for stopping by!
All Best-

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Mr. Cardmaker is an Esoteric Kinda Guy

Also known as a weirdo.  Ok, maybe that's harsh.  Uh, let's say, "I march to the beat of my very own drummer."

               Note:  This is my second post for today!  Scroll down for the other one!

Anyway, when it came to creating a card for the Simon Says Stamp Travel /Cityscape Challenge, I pulled out some stamps and stuff, and decided I could also make this work at the Moxie Fab World's Wonders of Watercolor Challenge.  I am a big fan of my water brush.  This thing takes ink or paint or whatever, and lets you squish out just the right amount of water from the handle to make some cool looking stuff. 

I actually ended up using three different stamp sets to create this one.
I made this-

This is waaaaaaaay out of my normal comfort zone, but I went with it.  I think it took me about 20 times running back and forth to my heat gun to dry layers of ink, but in the end I sort of like this. 

I wish photos were truer to real life.  There's pink in the background of the cityscape, and it is actually quite pretty. 

Anyway--Who do you send this one to?  I am thinking I would probably make and send this for somebody just out of college and off to make their way in the big city, or just somebody leaving home for the first time, maybe.  Or, you could give it to your kid as you kick him and his stuff out of your house, finally.  (Oh, come ON, he's 43!!)  A simple "get out, love Mom" would work on the inside, probably, in that case.

But anyway, this was a fun experiment.  Not for everyone, probably, but I learned a  long time ago that there is no way to be everything to everybody.  So what if this is only for three or four somebodies? 

Thanks for putting up with my wild ravings.  As Dr.Sheldon Cooper says, "I'm not crazy.  My mother had me tested." 
Oh yeah, check out my other challenge entry from today, too!  It's for Runway Inspired!

Thanks for stopping by!
All Best-

Mr. Cardmaker is a Run(a)way

Well, Papa (aka Mr. Cardmaker) needs some new toys, so I'm entering a few challenges this week.  I was drawn in by the subject of this week's Runway Inspired Challenge , and I decided to hop on in.

Oh, yeah I am also doing CASology's "Word" challenge with this one, too.

This is the lovely fashion piece that we are to work from-  

I really like the graphic black and white scheme, the silky look as it moves, and that little hit of red in the lipstick.  Great ideas to incorporate into this card.
So, I got an idea, and I got to work.
Tried once.  Messed up with the tape. Rats.
Tried again.  Goofed on the inking. Poop.
Try #3.  Ribbon issues, then smeared in ink.  #%@!!!
Walk away from the project......
About an hour later, Try #4.  I think we're okay.

It turned out looking like this--

The black is all embossed, except for the edges of the card.  I could've pounded that thing with embossing buddy dust all day, and I was STILL going to get a fleck or two of black somewhere. 

I manipulated the ribbon to give it some movement.  Big help here from my Scor-tape and glue dots.

How about that little red "glow" going on there?  Can you guess how I did it? 
Nope, I did NOT ink the edges of the cardstock. Guess again.  Can you guess?

I inked the BACK of the cardstock!  What you're seeing there is the reflection onto the white card base, as it sits up on the adhesive foam pieces!  Man, I was so happy about coming up with that idea!  I'm SURE it's not really new, but I NEVER see it being used, myself, so it's new to me!

BTW, on one of my many tries to get this right, I attempted doing it by adhering red cardstock to the back.  NO DICE.  It was simply not as reflective as the ink.  Not sure why, but you have to go with whatever works.  The ink was key!

You have to see it in another view to see the edges are not inked...

And yet, STILL that little "hint of red lipstick" glow.  I am actually pulling a muscle in my back at this moment, trying to reach around and pat myself!

Head on over to RIC, and try out this challenge!  I hope you'll have as much fun as I did!
Oh yeah, I'll have TWO more challenge posts coming up.  Check them out, if you get a sec.

Thanks so much for dropping by!
All Best-

Friday, April 5, 2013

Wop Wop....

This week has been too crazy.  Two birthdays, some very bad news for the family members, a new furnace in about 20 minutes, and I'll be going out of town all next week, with no computer.  I will be back with some cards and more Friday Fix ASAP, I promise.

I sense your disappointment....

Ok, here's a quick one.  But only because it's YOU--

I would probably never normally post this, because it is not perfect, and never will be, bit I love the shapes and colors, so...
I stamped this with various colors, then stamped a few onto scraps, and trimmed them out. A little foam adhesive, and there it is.  Oh yeah, and a little dashed line there on the top and bottom. 
I have to use a ruler to do that.  I can't draw a straight line to save my life.  Even the ruler does only so much. The dashes are all over the place....
The stamps are from Pretty Patterns by my friend Melanie Muenchinger for GinaK Designs, and the sentiment is from the dollar bin, so I'm thinking it's Studio G.  The pink/orange inks are Memento, and the black is Versafine.
Have a great weekend/week ahead!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
All Best-