The musings and offerings of a burgeoning greetings master

Sunday, August 28, 2011

The Halloween Card That Wasn't...

I was able to play with some "new to me" stamps that one of my generous benefactors gave me, the GinaK Designs set called "Nesting."  (Thanks Michelle!)  I really liked the owl image, and since I was doing Halloween cards this past week, I decided to go all fancy with it. 

I made this--
I stamped the owl with Memento Tuxedo Black on some light gray paper, and colored it with copic markers.  I used E25, E29, E53, for the feathers, and YR12 on the feet and beak and eyes.  I also used my glitter pen on the eyes, but it doesn't show in this picture.

Then for the background, I grabbed my extra large circle punch from Fiskars, and made a mask.  I placed the circle I punched where I wanted it, and used my repositionable Tombo tape to secure it.  Then, I pulled out some of my $1.00 stamp pads from Studio G and some Stampin' Up Perfect Plum, as well as some Broken China Distress Ink, and more Tuxedo Black.  I used sponge daubers and went from lightest to darkest to create my night sky.  I did LOTS of coats of ink, because things dry very differently, as I'm sure you have found for yourself. 

When I was happy with the sky, I took off the circle and masked off the sky.  I used a very soft yellow chalk ink and did a pouncing technique direct to paper with the ink pad to get as much ink as possible on my paper.  Then I went back with some white ink, and then went back in with the same yellow just right around the edges. 

After I was happy with the moon itself, I took the mask off and used the yellow on a dauber in order to infuse the sky with a bit of moon glow.  I also did the edges of the owl, to make it look like it was being backlit a bit.  I added some trees from two other GinaK sets, "Follow You Dreams" and "Happy Camper".  I really need to get myself a dedicated set of trees.  Anyone have a set of trees they ADORE?

I used GinaK Designs Pure Luxury Kraft cardstock for the base, and used Versamark ink and a verbiage background stamp on the top.  I layered some Fiskars DP with some purple cs, in order to relate to the focal image, and upholstered the bottom of the card with it.  I really like the sort of glowing leaves in this DP, so I made sure they were visible below the focal image.  I tore some value pack black cs to give it a rough edge, and backed my image with it, but this time I attached the black to the base first, and popped the image by itself over the black with some mounting tape.  Then I added the owl, the rhinestones, and that was it.

The interesting thing on this project for me, was how hard it was to make this a Halloween card.  The owl is really stately, so pairing it with kitchy, silly stuff was not going to work.  So, I went really dark and mysterious with it instead.  I could make it a Halloween card, I suppose, but instead I am using it as a birthday card for one of my best male friends who has a Fall birthday.  I think this is a nice, masculine card.

I am in the market for a great stamp for the BACK of my cards.  I think I would like to have my name and blog site listed, and I think a bit of a crazy font would make it just about perfect for my style.  Any ideas?  Hey, and what about watermarks?  What do YOU use on your pics?

Thanks for stopping by! 
For those of you on the East coast, I hope you made it through Irene unscathed!
All Best--

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Take On Halloween Colors, Cards, and My Bizarre Humor

Ok, so there's a big difference between Autumn colors and Halloween colors.  Think about it.  Halloween: Black and Orange (real Cadmium Orange).  Throw in some acid green, moonlight yellow, and purple. Oh, and a nice bloody red, if you want!
However!  Unless you're doing a really vintage looking Halloween project, BROWN just doesn't cut it, just like rusty orange, dusty blue and maroon really don't make it either.   I love autumnal colors. Save those for all the beautiful Autumn and Thanksgiving cards.

One man's opinion.  I'd love to see some projects where you prove me wrong, btw!!

How do I come to this conclusion, you ask?  Well, I pulled out my paper collection, which includes a beautiful pad of autumn papers from Me and My Big Ideas that my DSIL Jan gave me for my birthday.  LOVE these papers, but...yeah, not for Halloween.  Had to go to this cute collection of papers I picked up at Target's dollar bins.  This thing has no label.  Seriously.  Love to give credit where it's due, but...anyway.  Great papers.

I used them to make this--

This on GinaK Designs Ivory card stock.  The b&w swiss dot and striped paper is also GinaK Designs.  The stamps are from Studio G, and I have 4 little Halloween sets from them.  One dollar at AC Moore, these things.  Can't go wrong, and the all go together really well!    The moon was punched and detailed with copics, and white gel pen, and just about everything was sponged with Memento tuxedo black ink to age it all; Stamped everything with the same ink.  Ribbon is from AC Moore, as is the brad.  I used mounting tape to pop up the orage framed image, and a foam adhesive square to pop up the moon.  The label die is Sizzix for SU, the lots of labels set.  I did the swirls by hand with gel pen, and I really went for a non specific, hand-done look there. 
The inside and envelope look like this-

I really LOVE how creepy all these spiders are!  The label here is done with Spellbinders Nestabilities grommet tag dies, and again the stamps are Studio G.  I have just begun to decorate my envelopes!  Missed a lot of great  creative opportunities there in the past!  I like giving the recipient a hint of what's to come!

I decided to enter this into The Rubber Cafe's  Spellbinders challenge.  Check it out!!

Since I was in the swing of things, I made this too--

With this inside--
I had such a hoot making this one.  I giggled like an idiot at some moments here.  Don't you love the spiders on the ribbon? 
I started by making the pumpkins with my cuttlebug and Nestabilities small ovals dies.  I used scraps from the Target paper, some SU designer paper, and just orange cs from The paper company (my value pack).  I cut the stems by hand and I have a tiny oak leaf punch from somewhere and used scraps to make the green part.  I popped it off the base with mounting tape.

The letters are done from scraps with Sizzix wallflower letter dies and the cuttlebug.  These are so pretty, but some of them are rather persnickety, and take several passes and various pieces of cardstock in the machine.  I think they are worth the effort, though. 

The card base is GinaK Designs Kraft.  I used Versamark and more Studio G stamps to make the webs on the base, did the spiders in Memento Tuxedo Black and I used white gel pen to decorate and highlight things, including the spider eyes, the letters, and the faux stitching.  I also used glitter pen to highlight just about everything.  Hello, my name is Richard and I am a glitter pen junky.....

Since I made a ton of letters, and lots of ovals, not to mention a weird sense of humor, I also made this....Parents, avert your child's eyes--

I find this incredibly funny.  I am weird that way.  I did try to visually "bleep" some of the letters, but you get the idea. 
This isn't even a card yet.  Just the pumpkin.  This is a sort of family joke, so I apologize if it offends anyone.  It makes me giggle, though...

I have one more, but I'll save it for next time.  Leave 'em wanting more, they say...
And I hope you do.

Thanks for stopping by. 
All Best!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Birthday Cards for the Last Blast of Summer, and Some On the Road Fun

Hey, Readers!!

SO, I know it has been a while since I was here.  I had my birthday, and got LOADED up with stuff for card making, thanks mostly to my Dear Charlie (DC).  I am up to my eyeballs in new stamps and paper and ink and tools!  Woo to the Hoo! 

I actually made eight thank you cards, but I got a late start on them, and I wrote in and sent them BEFORE I realized I forgot to take photos!  ARGH!  They were really cute too.  Some were loaded up with stickers, some were CAS, some were hot pink and orange.....SIGH.  Dumb, dumb, dumb.  Oh, well.


My friends Susan and Karlah have birthdays coming up, on the same day!  So I made two of  these-

I just realized the colors kinda photographed funny.  They really DO all go together, I promise.

This project started with the bright orange cs from SU.  I took a background stamp with indeterminate words, and inked it up with versamark ink.  Then I put the paper on top of the inked side, and rubbed it really well.  I find this works better than stamping on the paper, because I invariably miss a spot of pressure somehow.  

I stamped some birdcages onto white cs with stamps from Amuse studio, the Life is a Song set, with orange and tan inks.  I added birds in blue and yellow, and then cut them out .  I highlighted the edges with more orange ink.  

 I used A*muse Studio card stock for the base of this card.  I really like their cardstock for bases, because the backs of all their cs is WHITE, so you can write inside it without any issue.  Looks very professional, IMHO.  Anyway, I really wanted to stamp with versamark ink a nice flourish all over the cs to make a nice design.  DANG, if my stamp wasn't filthy!  I don't know what I used with this stamp before, (inkadinadoo's dot flourishes, btw) but it did NOT come off, and left some nice brown marks on my cs.  SO lucky I was stamping with versamark!  I grabbed my white embossing powder and took care of that mess in a hurry.  Then I took a sponge dauber and did some resist technique with some studio g ink. 

Now, from the files of what NOT to do, I trimmed the edges of the stamped orange piece, backed it with  with some blue cs, wrapped it with a piece of blue organdy ribbon, and popped the whole thing on my cardfront.  With my permanent adhesive.  Oh.....wait..... I wanted to stamp a chain for the birdcage....oh poo...
Yeah.  It's all about doing stuff in the right order.  I was just kinda happy I actually thought about rounded edges and ribbons ahead of time. 
HOWEVER!  It's aaaaaalllllllllll fixable!  I just grabbed my stampamajig, and I stamped in my chain, right over the ribbon and everything.  What?  It worked.

I backed the image with the yellow bird onto more blue cs, and popped it up with some mounting tape.  The orange cage is popped on with some foam squares, which sit just slightly higher than the mounting tape.  I like the multiple depths that achieves.  I only wish I had used a darker ink on the sentiment, but I definitely know better than to try and restamp over something like that.  We're just gonna call it "subtle".

So, these turned out to be pretty cute, and I definitely got a nice lesson in PLANNING.

In other news-
I went to the A*muse Studio "On the Road" event in Nashua NH last weekend, and had a BLAST!  Yeah, I was the only guy in the room, no big surprise there....We made SIX projects that afternoon, and they look like this-

These were SO fun, especially the little favor box that was SO easy!  I really love the loose leaf cardstock, and the woodgrain, which comes in several colors.  They were kind enough to gift us the Life is a Song stamp set, so I used it to make the card in todays post!  I had a great time!

Thanks for stopping by! 
All Best-


Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Very A*Mused, Indeed

Last Sunday, I was fortunate enough to make my way to Arlington, MA, to participate in an open house held by the lovely and talented Ms. Liz Ballard.  Liz is an A*Muse Studio consultant, and I happened to find her on my search for a copic marker instructor.  She led me into another area for the copic stuff, but she was kind enough to invite me to her open house, to meet some of her peeps, and to get acquainted with A*Muse studio. I had never been to Arlington, and I was definitely into seeing some new product lines...who isn't? 

Anyway, she had a small gathering, and together (more or less) we each made our versions of these really fun cards--

Adorable, right?  Notice I have no watermark on these photos.  These are Liz's design work, not mine.  I was just lucky enough to be able to make and take them with me!  Thanks for a great time, Liz, Andrea, Mary Sara, Amy and Kathy!!

Aren't those clouds just TOO cute?  Those were made with an A*Muse Studio die.  Had to have it, and the one that die cuts GRASS!!  And some Christmas stamps, and some paper......You know, I pretty much spent WAY too much money.  In fact, when Charlie asked me how much I spent, I had to tell him, "Nunya."  As in, Nunya business. 'Sright.

Speaking of the grass die, Liz was so sweet to let me play with hers.  I cut a couple of pieces, and smuggled them out with me.  I really liked them SO much.  I can't wait for my order to arrive, but I have to, because Liz is holding it until I am able to shop the Holiday catalog after Aug. 22.  Wah, I say.  Wah.

Now that the pity party is over, I'll show you what I did with the grass cuts.
I made these--

So, these had an interesting creation.  I had the two pieces of grass die cuts, each of them about 5 1/2" long.  I really had no idea WHAT I was going to do with them, but I really wanted to use them asap.  SO, out came all the inks, papers and stuff. 

I got out a sponge dauber, and I sponged SU grass green on the blades of grass. I set them aside, and on a piece of white cardstock, I put down some post-its to make a mask, and I sponged more grass green onto the lower 2/5ths of the paper.  I turned it around, and sponged SU Ballet Blue on the top part, leaving some light places to make some clouds.  I added the grass die cuts, popping just the bottom one off the cardstock, in order to give the illusion of depth.

Ok. Sky and grass.  Lots of empty space.  Lots of possibilities.  Now what? 

I pulled out some SU stamps, Pocket Silhouettes, to be exact, and went to town with some SU inkspots , and made the garden of flowers.  Then, feeling like it was a bit flat, I pulled out my GinaK Designs Follow Your Dreams set, and added the dragon flies, stamping them both on the card stock, and onto a scrap to be colored and cut out to stick on for more dimension. 
Ok. Looks pretty good.  Pretty good, but not great.

I cut it in half!  Way to give the elements much more importance! 

I knew I wanted to use some of the new A*Muse paper I had just picked up, so I pulled out a sage piece and made it the card base for both of the cards.  Then I grabbed some of my new papers from my friend Michelle, these DP pieces are from MME-Quite Contrary.  I scallop edge punched the checked paper, and pierced the scallops with my piercing tool.  Then I layered it with some DCWV teal card stock, and in the first card, I popped it off the card front with some mounting tape.  I think it almost looks like an awning. 
Then some more DP, with a green cs backing, this from one of my value packs.  Yup, still trying to use that bad boy up.  Truth be told, I really do like the lighter weight for layering; I just would avoid it for card bases.
Some ribbon and brads from AC Moore, and it's done! 

But wait.  Hmmm.....
I think it's still just a tiny bit flat.  Not to worry!  I have a Glitter pen!!!  After going over stems and dragonflies and flowers, I felt that the negative space was the thing that was still bothering  me, so in a moment of inspiration, I did the random flightpath of the dragonfly, my mind's eye's version of it, anyway, in the less populated areas of the card base.  Now we're talking.  Done and done.

I think my favorite part of doing cards is the organic emergence that happens when you just grab your stuff and get started.  There are definitely some cards that have hit the heap and will never see the light of day, for sure, but I even have a few early cards that just want some tweaking.  And I'll get to those one day.  Really.  But just stamp and cut.  DO it. I looked at that grass die cut for no less than 4 days before I got inspired.

My list of followers has really grown, thanks to my buddy Melanie's blog candy bribe (which is over, sad to say).  Thanks to everyone who's joined on recently, and continued love to my tried and true gang! 
I turn 48 (!) tomorrow, and having 48 followers to mark the day would be so cool!  That's only 4 more.  Surely you know a friend who could use some bloggy inspiration?  

Thanks so much for stopping by!  Say hello, why don'tcha?
All Best--