The musings and offerings of a burgeoning greetings master

Friday, February 27, 2015

Mr Cardmaker is Leaping, Baby

I find the "Leap Year Baby" thing to be a crazy thing. There are these people wandering around who only get a real birthday every four years, when February 29 decides to appear on the calendar.

Gilbert and Sullivan based a whole operetta about it in Pirates of Penzance, and I feel like it was very nice of them to give these people at least that. Kevin Kline, Rex Smith, Angela Lansbury, and Linda Ronstadt did a really pretty and fun movie version of it some years ago.

You can see the song here!


My friend Mark is one of these folks. His wife, Lina, contacted me, and asked me to come up with something to celebrate his "sort-of" birthday this weekend.

I made this--

I went to my new favorite stamps and got out my little "Peter Lorre" chick.  I decided he needed to see if he could drag a wayward (yet glamorous) "29" and a happy birthday message into February, before March 1 could get in and muck things up for him.

Looks like he's got his work cut out for him, doesn't it?

About ten seconds into discussing what Lina had in mind for this card, I knew EXACTLY where I was going with it.
I had the BEST time, stacking up the date tags and decking out that "29" with both gold and silver embossing.

I went with my trick of making those HUGE eyeballs shiny with some Glossy Accents, and added in the beak, because, well, because shiny!
I managed some extra shine by using embossing the months in silver and gold powders, too, and by clear embossing the "happy" die cut.

Lots of fun with Distress Inks, and lots of gold and brown scraps from the stash.

Oh, and inside--

I stacked up the sentiment in such a way that Lina could hand write in a "sort of" after the word "happy' or in front of "wishes", if she feels like it, or she can just leave it as is. Our friend the chick is light enough to write on top of, I think.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Mr Cardmaker is Warming Up Leftovers

I am sure that I'm not alone in this one--
You wander through your craft space, maybe even just to clean it up (HA! That made me laugh), and you come upon a leftover doo-dad of something that you used to make another project.
WHAM! Lightning bolt!
Drop the laundry, or vacuum, or small child, or whatever, and sit down and get to work.

SO, do you remember this tag from a while ago?

See the "smile" die cut? Well, I stumbled on the negative of it, and I got whammied with the lightning bolt. No small children got hurt here, I swear, but I did lose an hour or so making a card.
I made this--
The little chads from inside the L and E were long gone, but I was NOT to be deterred by such trivial things! My Sakura glitter pen helped pull me through there. 
I found a $1.00 star punch at JoAnn's last weekend, and I put that and my 1/16" hole punch to work on the yellow panel. That tiny hole punch REALLY was inspired, I must say. I normally would have reached for a stamp or a white gel pen here; now I get to see more green poke through.
More stars, some flag banners, some sentiments.  I added more glitter pen to one of the flags to make that have a place to repeat, and the white enamel dots help point up the white embossed sentiment.
I don't have a pink-edged circle punch or dies, but they would've made the red circle fit in perfectly. (Something for the shopping list!)
You may also notice there is no black on this card, just browns (even the dark embossing powder!).
I felt like it brought all the brighter colors into a more masculine place, and with all the boys in my family, I need as many masculine cards as I can get.
This was a quick, pretty simple card. And LOOK! I cleaned up that one really small, insignificant scrap of paper from my craft room floor! That counts as cleaning, right?
So, just a quick one for today!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
All Best--

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Mr Cardmaker Believes in You

When I saw Tim Holtz's new Bird Crazy stamp set, I knew I HAD to have it, asap.
These images?

C'mon, you KNOW these things are gonna speak to me--
So, I went and I GOT it!

I made this--

This little bird (chick, maybe?) just screamed PETER LORRE to me...
Uh, THIS guy---

You know, from The Maltese Falcon and stuff--

Anyway, he always played the kind of guy who looked so stressed out that he hadn't slept in a week, so I went with the red eyed, sweaty-browed look on him.

Glossy Accents are my best friend here! I filled in this guy's eyes, to make them all glazed and watery. Tiny dots of GA then hit his brow, to give him that sweaty look.

As you can see, I am still having issues with my fillers getting hung up in my shaker. Whatever. They look dead all empty, anyway...

I added a sentiment from Simon Says Stamp, and I stamped some eggs on that wood grain piece behind my bird. There's also a silhouette of a bird in flight inside the shaker, just ever so faintly.
I do believe in carrying on with a theme, don'tcha know...

And inside--

 Another SSS sentiment, and some feathers do the trick here. The feathers and the eggs on the outside are from a GinaK stamp set called Nesting.

I kind of dig the juxtaposition of the encouraging sentiments and bright colors with the frazzled, stressed-out looking bird. I imagine that the person who needs this cared could have some of that look about them...

I am IN LOVE with these bird images. Stay tuned for a SUPER irreverent series that makes me giggle like a twelve year old.  Get ready to either laugh, or roll your eyes, BIG TIME!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
All Best-

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Mr Cardmaker Makes the Mostest for the Hostess

Well, we were invited to dinner last week, and I didn't happen to have a good bottle of wine hanging around the house. The temps were well below zero ALL DAY, so I was NOT about to head out in the cold to shop around for a hostess gift, so, of course, it was off to the craft room!

My hostess had given us some lovely flowers at Thanksgiving and with the flowers came a lovely little gift card.
A handmade gift card, mind you, which I had not made.
Now, this girl has received MANY a card from me, so she KNOWS that I make cards. Oh, she KNOWS....

Now, I managed to restart my breathing, and got my vision cleared, and I decided that I would give her the benefit of the doubt, and believe desperately cling to the idea that she got this card as a GIFT from somebody, and did not seek them out herself.

HOWEVER, I was not about to let her go wandering the streets with only some interlopers gift cards on her person.

I had to make her these--

So, do you make cards like these?

DO you make them a 3" square like I see so many people do?
Can I just ask, WHY?
I guess the answer is clear, if you're starting with a 12x12 piece of card stock. Then, mathematically, you are perfect.
I don't have heavy weight 12x12 card stock, so I used my 8 1/2 x 11 usual stuff, and it occurred to me that if I made these cards 3" square, I'd chop up a ton of paper, with tons of waste, for nothing.
HOWEVER! If I did them at 2.75", I could get SIX cards out of one sheet of card stock, with a tiny 1/4" strip of waste.

It's the evil card stock hawkers at work, with these 3" cards, I tell ya...

Anyway, the cards are super simple, a couple of stamped leaves, some washi tape, a die cut leaf and banner, and a punched and stamped flower. And some white gel dots, because they make everything better. Easy.
I did punch up the flower a bit by adding some white enamel accents dots around the center pearl, but you could go without, no problem.

Now, these would have been a lovely gift, right?
But, no. I HAD to do more. Because I'm crazy like that.
Because I needed envelopes if I was going to make those other gift cards look puny and insignificant.
And, that's REALLY what I was making here...
But we all knew that, didn't we.....?

SO, out came the vellum, which DID make me have a TON of scraps, because I had to make those big enough to HOLD the perfect sized cards I so cleverly came up with...
Lots of glue dots, perfectly lined up so they all just make one dot on the vellum....and some of that Lick&Stick liquid envelope glue, so you can seal the envelope.

BTW--This is taking WAY more time than I allotted for this project, as you can imagine...

BUT WAIT! Whatever shall I deliver them in? I just used the last of my acetate boxes for my last gift....
I'll make a BAG! Because of the aforementioned "crazy like that."

So, more vellum (oh, and I ripped the first one by scoring too hard, so DOUBLE that effort), some scor-tape and some washi.

Then you have to pack it up so it looks gorgeous, with SOME of the cards IN the tiny envelopes, so you can see how that works, but some of them OUT of the little envelopes, so you can see the card through the BAG, and one of those has to face the FRONT of the bag, and one has to face the BACK of the bag, and the empty little envelopes have to be hidden in the middle of the whole thing, so they don't look all lonely....

Oh, and the cherry on TOP of the crazy--

I just couldn't walk away until I had clear embossed my name and website on the outside corner of the bag. 

So, lifting my exhausted, sweating, got-nothing-else-done-today butt off the craft room floor, I go to the front of the house to see that Charlie has come home with a lovely bottle of wine for our hostess that night.

We brought the wine with us. Just the wine.

I left the cards at home.

Anybody wanna buy a set of gift cards?


Thanks so much for stopping by!
All Best--

Monday, February 23, 2015

Mr Cardmaker's Monochrome Meadow

Back in 2013, I played around with this technique called "pulling pastels." It was the coolest thing, only I did it with blackboard chalk, because, well, because that's what I had.  Read more about it HERE.

Well, I loved the idea so much, that when CASology came up with a monochromatic challenge, my mind went right there again.
I am also joining the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge-Anything Goes.

I made this--

The sentiment came from a Heidi Swapp mini set on clearance at Michaels. I found two sets, which are wicked cool, because they come with a mini STENCIL! I haven't used the stencils yet, but, boy, I sure WILL.
The flowers are an ooooooold set from Stampin' Up called Upsy Daisy. I am almost positive this has been discontinued, but if I remember correctly, the image appeared in a best of flowers set they did a while ago.
Anyway, this could not be simpler.
I stamped and clear embossed the sentiment, because I knew I wanted it to be the star of this show.
Then, I just took a piece of chalk-I'm talking plain, white, chalkboard chalk-and rubbed it all over my panel of dark gray card stock, going pretty heavy handed with the whole thing.
I used my fingers and an almost-dry baby wipe to wipe the chalk off of my letters. Easy-peasy.
Moisture is NOT your friend on this kind of project. Trust me.
After that, it's all you, your stamp, and your versamark ink pad. 
For the darkest flowers, I got the stamp really juicy-fide, and then I stamped right over the chalk.
Lift the stamp off, and BAM!
Now, I knew I wanted those flowers to stay really dark, but with tiny bits of chalk in them to soften them, so I quickly clear embossed them to lock in that image permanently.
After that, it took me about six seconds to re ink my stamp, and stamp the image three more times in succession without reinking.
Aaaand, DONE!!
A quick, LIGHT shot of aerosol hairspray helps lock the chalk in place, but be LIGHT in coverage from way far away, or you'll make the whole thing wet, and everything will vanish on you.
Ask me how I know this.....
A gray card base, and oh yes, the inside--
The other Heidi Swapp stamp, simply stamped in gray ink...
SO, a really different look in a big hurry!
Speaking of, I am just about to get this in at CASology under the wire, so I'm off...
TRY this idea--Try it on navy and black cardstock, too, or even on a forest green (Oooooh, I may have to go there now!) --and try different colors of chalk!
Thanks so much for stopping by!
All Best--

Friday, February 20, 2015

Mr Cardmaker Has Color on the Brain

Well, I'm still needing color in my life, and feeling the need to share it with others. Snow is pretty, but oceans of white can get soooooo BORING after too long. And we're getting to that too long place in a big hurry. If you live in New England or Canada or any of those places with the giant mounds, you know what I mean.
Had to bust out of that!

I made this--

So, this one is very much like my last card; in fact, some of the papers are the same. I was happy with that last one, and I know enough to strike when the inspiration is hot!

I think one of the things that I really like about this card is the fact that it's sort of seasonally ambiguous. It sort of looks springy, but boy that orange and that teal are DEEP, and spring is sort of more, well, pastel. The pastels are there, but they're sort of being tugged into another place, too. Something , well, juicier.
I kinda dig that.
I also dig that sweet felt flower.

Funny thing, but this is one of the few times I have done a larger edge around my panels on a card. That orange was so yummy, I really wanted to see more of it. It DOES feel weird breaking that 1/4" idea, though, I have to say.

Oh, and the inside--

Where I apparently did NOT break that 1/4" rule.  I just noticed that! LOL!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Hope you have a colorful day.
All Best-

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Mr Cardmaker Needs Something COLORFUL in His Life

I am not a hot, wet summer person. To that end, I make it a point NOT to whine about the cold, the snow, or winter in general.

Instead, let me whine (if you will indulge me) about the fact that we need SHORTER seasons all around. Why cant' we have six, or even eight seasons? FIVE, even, if only to shorten the boring, boring, BORING days of sitting and staring at the blinding WHITE landscape in front of me.


I made this--

Well, I stamped. I die cut. I used my foam adhesive and liquid glue and twine AND sequins.
I mention what I DID use, because I have been staring at this card and sort of alibiing for the fact that I didn't do any matting for any of my layers. Did you notice that lack of cardstock behind my layers?

The more I look at it, the more I think I was crazy to worry about it.  I think there is a lightness that happens without the matts. I think my laziness foresight worked well here.

I actually used stamps that have never seen ink on this card, and they're stamps from some of my oldest sets! I was really pleased to finally find a way to use them.

So, after winter comes the season called Whitus Interruptus. Mark it in your calendar.  Somewhere around February 15 until the first flowers of spring. Lots of lemons and all your bright colored clothing, and every happy colored thing you own hauled out and put on display. And, of COURSE, cards to friends.

And the inside, of course--

What do you think? Up for more seasons?
This one is going into the Lawnscaping 100th Birthday Challenge!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
All Best-

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Mr Cardmaker is Safe as Houses

I don't think that Americans use that wonderful phrase. I hear it on BBC America, and I just love it. I suppose it refers to investments, really, but I think it can be applied to so much more.

Think about it. Where else is safer, than in your house/home? Do you feel safer anyplace else? Even when I've been to magnificent places and seen and stayed in wonderful spaces, I know I won't ever be as comfortable as I am in my own four walls and my own bed.

I have had a love affair with houses for as long as I can remember, and why I'm not a realtor or interior designer or architect, I have no idea. Get me near an open house, or a show house, or house and garden tour, I'll see you later, I have to see a man about a house!

SO, it's no wonder I love my stamps that have house images. I have several postings of cards with houses, and I'm sure this won't be the last!

This time, I went a bit on the simpler side.
I made this--

This is Papertrey Ink's Boards & Beams stamp and die sets at work, and some paper by My Mind's Eye.
I chose the red stripe paper because it looked a bit like wainscoting to me, and the quilt paper because it looks so cozy. I popped them off the red card base with just enough room for the sentiment to fit.

The sentiment dictated how much of my water colored farmhouse could live on the card front.
A few enamel dots help tie the colors in, and that one peeking out above the word "home" helps show off some of the dimension.

Like I said, relatively easy, once the house gets colored.
I am entering this card into the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge this week, because Paradise is my home for me.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
All Best--

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Mr Cardmaker Needs to Coast for a Minute

I have a quick card to share with you today.

These days of so many fancy new techniques, I decided to drop back and go with some trusted ideas instead of walking the high wire of all things "new."

Don't get me wrong. I LOVE the new stuff. Watercoloring, metallics, whatever, let me at 'em, I'll give them a go.  And, I'll  keep going with the ones I like, until I get them the way I like them.

But, don't you sometimes just want to go with the ideas that you've got DOWN, the ones you can handle without a big effort, the "home" ideas?

I do.
So, I did.

I made this--

This card was made for a dear friend.
Cheerful and optimistic is what I was going for. I hope I got that right.

The leaves all have some Glossy Accents on them, to give them some shine and definition, and everything but the leaves and the tags (and ribbon, duh) went through the Cuttlebug with a Swiss dots folder.

Another view--

I also added a couple of "dew drops" with glossy accents on the tags. I think it sort of refers to the Swiss dots a bit, and of course, because shiny....

Sometimes doing the things you can do without the thought and with nothing but the "love" is exactly the right project to work on. This was one of those for me.

Thanks for stopping by!
All Best--

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Mr Cardmaker is All Watery About Love

Well, it's Valentine's Day! Kisses all around! Hugs, too!

I made some tags for the Mr. We are not big on presents for V Day, but I like tags, so there it is.

I made these--

TOTALLY in love with Avery Elle's Circle Tag die.  I stamped with Papertrey Ink's Grand Ampersand set and I clear embossed that beautiful ampersand. 
Using Distress Inks, I just quickly dabbed red and pink inks (and a touch of grape) all over my watercolor paper tags.
Super random, but WOW, what an effect!
I thought they were a bit plain and lonely by themselves, so I die cut some pink tags to go with.
Now they look like this--
I also did two more in white, which I glued to back the tags, because the watercolor paper got slightly warpy from all the water. I taped the tags down to my surface to paint, but they warped anyway. I'll have to figure that one out.
Oh, and that's the gift there, holding everything up. I love a brown paper package, tied up with strings. And TAGS. Don't forget the TAGS that I worked so hard on.
PS-Don't you LOVE a big, clear sequin? I love layering them over the sentiment, because they're CLEAR, and you can read right through them!
Well, that's about it for me and Valentine's day/week.
Can we do Spring cards yet? PUH-LEASE????
Thanks so much for stopping by!
All Best--

Friday, February 13, 2015

Mr Cardmaker DOES get Weary

This was SUPPOSED to be published tomorrow, but my big fat fingers pushed publish by mistake. This is my second post for the day! Scroll down to read the other one!

Red and Pink. Pink and Red. YES, it IS Valentine's season, but COME ON....

Ok, rant over.

I can appreciate all the red and pink that happens during February, but I gotta be able to break it up SOMEHOW.

SO, with thoughts of impending Spring, I made this--

Whew. something, ANYTHING to cut through the ....oh, I did say "rant over" before, didn't I?
Carrying on!

So, yeah, another shaker card.  I should be out of pink sequins soon, I think....
Stamps and dies, and punches are from Unity and Stampin' Up.

So, this card came about from scraps left on my table from another project. (though, I have no idea what that project WAS....hmm.....Mr. Cardmaker may be losing it.)

I  like the idea of putting the shaker as more of an interior panel, as opposed to popping it off the surface. That way I can pop up other elements, and it get to be more interesting (if only to me!).

A view of the inside--

 All those kisses and hugs? Well, that STARTED as a very well placed single stamp in a perfectly selected place just under the sentiment.

Except, I stamped it upside down. OXOX. Who puts OXOX on  card?  It's XOXO!
OXOX is some insult to a pair of chubby twins, for crying out loud...

So, now we have a very much OVERSTAMPED series of kisses and hugs. Because love, right?

SO, see the sequin right in the middle of the E? how nicely it hung there for the photo?
I have no idea what is so sticky in there, but that sequin found it, and is hanging on for dear life.

But, I fixed it!

I added two sequins to the OUTSIDE of the acetate, so that other one wouldn't look so weird.
Besides, when all the sequins are just lying there, waiting to be shaken, the card looks a little dead, don't you think? And that's NOT what I'm going for, so much.
Funereal shaker cards don't have too big a market, I'm thinking....

So! That's my Valentine's OTHER Valentine.
I'm entering this in the Virginia's View shaker card challenge. My third!
I made a couple of tags, too. I only have one gift. One tag left over. Hmmmm....
Come see those, next time!

Thanks so much for stopping by!
All Best!

Mr Cardmaker DOES Have a Heart, After All..

Yup, yup. I do have a heart, and it beats for my guy, my friend, my husband. Oh, and for the beagle, too. (Had to mention him, the beagle I mean, because he's sitting right next to me as I type this.)

So, with it being Valentine's Day, and all I made a card. Well, TWO cards, and a couple of tags, but I think on this post I'll just share the one. Look around for more!

I'm offering it up for Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge-Red and Pink. Since it is. Red and pink, I mean.
And since it's still open, it's another entry for Virginia's View shaker challenge.

I made this--

Now, honestly, pink and red are not my go-to combo, but hey, VALENTINE'S DAY....
So, this card was one of my first shaker attempts, and once I figured out the size and shape it all needed to be, (which took surprisingly long) I was pretty well set.

I think I am sort of sequin heavy in this thing, but to be perfectly honest, I'm trying my butt off to use up some of the zillion sequins I purchased!

I used Lawn Fawn's Love you a Latte set to do the sentiment, but when I went for the take out cup image in that set, I found them to be too small, so I went for my Fiskars Latte Love set instead.
The hearts on the shaker panel are from Julie Ebersole's  Cozy Christmas set (Hi, Julie!), and the dies are from two Spellbinders collections.

SO, as I do, I started with the one element, the shaker thingy, and went from there, filling in with panels and buttons and punched hearts, etc. When it was all done, it was cute, but as I mentioned in my last post, I will often look at what seems done, and feel the need to attack it with something else.

That's where my scribble lines come in. doing this always makes me nervous, because I feel like at any minute, I'm going to have a spasm or something, and ruin two hours worth of work, but I sallied forth. Not too shabby, and no disaster, so that's good.

I took some photos, and put it to the side, waiting for V day (NOT VD; that makes me laugh and nauseous at the same time).

About a week later, I saw it laying there.
Taunting me.
You REALLY think this is done? it seemed to say, sneering at me.  It sneered at me, I swear!

Well, I take my sneering cards both seriously and personally, so I grabbed my fine line marker, and went BACK to work--

(Thinks it can be all sneery with ME.....I'll show 'em...)

I came up with this--


I gotta say, MORE black sketchy-ness really adds a nice, slightly gritty feeling to this easily sickening sweet card. Even on the coffee cups...
Since it IS for a man, I think this is a welcome element!
And, how about those felt hearts?
Winter warmth, warm and cozy, cozy and cuddly! How could THAT be wrong?

Once more--

Less glare on this one.  I like it better.

So, that's my Valentine's valentine. I hope he likes it, and shakes it to his hearts content.

I am off to the market, to buy something luscious for our dinner. And more chocolate.  Because Valentine's.

Thanks so much for stopping by!
Happy Valentine's Day to you!
All Best-

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mr. Cardmaker Just Can't Leave Things Alone

This week I am jumping into the shaker card challenge at Virginia's View. This one is nice and colorful, so I'm also joining the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge, too!
I have some shaker cards that I am holding back, because the hubby reads my blog (good hubby), and they're Valentines for him, so...

I made a new card! I found some stamps that I wanted to play with, and with no more planning than that, I got started. 

I first came up with this--

Pleasant, fine, whatevs... But, snoozeville.  Whomever I sent this to would probably appreciate it, but I wasn't happy, really.  (And, when Mr. Cardmaker ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.  Ask the hubby.)

Basically, there was too much negative space, and the pattern was really overwhelming.

So, while I was thinking about what to do, I went and did the inside.
It looked like this--

I stamped the You, and then grabbed my white gel pen and highlighted it, and added a few dots.
So, yeah, that happened. Whoopie, but not much.

Anyway, I had to add SOMETHING before I fell asleep on this thing ,so I did this--

Better, right?  RIGHT?! Some little white dots on the frame, the veneer hearts, and extra chevron....
Better! (Scroll back up and compare. You'll see...)
Still not there.  

Meanwhile, on the inside---

Can I just say what a difference a few white dots makes??? For reals, though.


Crazy, right?  Moving on...

Okay, so I FINALLY was able to get this thing where I wanted it, and all it took was a couple more little pieces of paper--

I made (and finally walked away from) THIS--

Ahhhhhh......Sweet, sweet, artistic relief. The pattern of the background paper has been broken up and balanced, and there's enough visual interest overall. Ta-DAHHHHHHH!

Wait, let's do a quick recap of this journey, shall we?
Oh, come on, you know you wanna....

Better, but, not really....

Now , THAT'S what I'm talking about!!! (Are we still saying that? I'm thinking not, actually....)
All I had to do was change the chevron at the top, and add those striped pieces.  SO crazy how the simplest things work to your advantage...
So, there's my (VERY LONG and SUPER picture heavy) tale of how my card happened.
I guess, in a nutshell, the lesson here is --don't give up on these crazy things. Unless you rip it, or maybe light it on fire with your embossing tool, you can probably make anything work in the end. WORK IT!
Thanks for stopping by!
All Best-