Sunday, September 28, 2008

Asian inspired

Last week I spent a little time playing around with a couple of sketches and this awesome paper set from 7Gypsies called Sushi Journey.

This card was meant to follow SCS sketch challenge 193, except I forgot to add the three horizontal stripes behind the focal image until I had stuck the image down (with Mono Multi). I've had this beautiful Asian stamp for a while now and hadn't inked it up yet, and thought it was especially suited for this layout and patterned paper. I stamped the image in black and embossed with clear powder before colouring with Pebbles i-kan-dee chalks. I wanted a little more variation in colour than I could attain with just the chalks, so I augmented and added a little detail with my Prismacolor pencil crayons.

I (almost) always do a dry run with my card elements before actually gluing anything down. When I did so with this card, I decided I wanted to enhance the Asian theme a little more by covering the edges of the black matting layer in clear embossing powder to give it the look of a glossy black laquered finish. After putting on two layers of clear EP using my Versamark pen and heat gun, I decided to continue the theme by coating the focal image layer with two layers of embossing powder too. This time I used my Versamark pad, partly because the pen didn't work as well as the pad, and partly because the image layer was quite a bit larger than the edges of the black cardstock matting layer. Even after the second coat of EP, the finish was not quite as amazingly and perfectly smooth as I'd hoped; I didn't continue adding layers tho because the focal image was kinda weighty. Plus, I was not enthused about having to go through the process any more (stupid EP gets all over my table even though I use a sandwich container to hold it in). After I glued everything down, I realised that 1) I'd forgotten about the horizontal lines from the sketch, and; 2) the thin black matting under the strip on the right should have been coated with EP too. I rectified this by using my Versamark pen to put a line on the black cardstock only -- didn't work that well and I don't recommend it. I wound up scraping off EP from the red paper beneath it after melting it. I suppose an even smarter solution would be to brush off the EP before melting it, but at that point I hated loose EP getting all over my table and decided to deal with it in melted form.

My second card was made using exactly the same stamp and papers, except this time I used the sketch from Cyndi Bundy's fantastic "Family" card (which you can see on her blog The Scrappy Chick). I made the oval focal image pretty much as above except this time I didn't emboss the image, and used my Coluzzle oval and companion oval templates. Instead of using plain white cardstock, I stamped the image on white cardstock that I had previously spritzed with home-made glimmer mists. On this sheet of cardstock, I spritzed it with two different mists:
  • 10 drops of orange re-inker with ~a quarter teaspoon of white Perfect Pearls, topped up to one fluid ounce total volume withtap water
  • 10 drops of Vintage Photo Ranger Distress re-inker with ~a quarter teaspoon of copper Perfect Pearls, topped up to one fluid ounce with tap water
I use Mini Misters to spritz my mists, and two pieces of advice with this: don't use Pearl-ex instead of Perfect Pearls, cos it won't work and will just fall off the paper after the water dries. Don't use alcohol instead of or in combo with tap water to try and reduce the amount of paper curl you get, because spritzing out alcohol makes a highly flammable cloud of dangerbad.

The patterned papers were a little bright and white in contrast to the focal image, so I stippled them with Brushed Corduroy Ranger Distress Ink. That made all the difference! To finish it all off, I used a brown cardstock diecut from a Cuttlebug die. I considered colouring it black or embossing it to make it glossy, but in the end I left it as it was and I like the result.

Stamps: sorry, I don't know the manufacturer -- it was in a grab bag

Inks: Graphite Black Brilliance Ink (yep you can emboss with it if you're quick) on both cards, Brushed Corduroy Ranger Distress Ink on second card.

Sushi Journey pack by 7 Gypsies, black cardstock

clear embossing powder, Prismacolor pencil crayons. Pebbles chalks on first card. Cuttlebug die-cut brown cardstock and home-made glimmer mists on second card.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Two challenge cards in one day!

I'm just loving the inspiration pieces that SmilynStef found for this week's Inspiration Challenge -- Domino Paint Palettes. I made a second card for this challenge using my Unity Sept KOM. This time, I chose Room 34.

This is not exactly a "wild riot of prints" that I used with the "controlled colour palette" of pale blue with oatmeal-ish brown, but I just loved the idea of making a linear border with the giggle grove image. The ribbon came about because I was concerned the card would be a little too plain for my confidence level to give to anybody, and the sentiment is from a Hero Arts clear set that I use on just about every card I make, it seems like.

ETA: I'm sending this card to my brother for his birthday. :) He and his wife are in forestry, plus I like this card so much it is "family-worthy". :D Inside, I stamped a larger trio of trees image from this same stamp set and coloured them in in browns using my Prisma pencil crayons -- they look like a yummy chocolate forest!

Stamps: giggle grove of trees from Unity Stamps, sentiment from Hero Arts.

Paper: pale blue cardstock from Fiskars "Country" cardstock pack.

Other: brown organza ribbon by Offray.

Received my Unity KOM today!!!!!!

After a slight delay, I received this month's Unity Stamp Co. Kit of the Month!!! It got here only two days after being shipped out, woohoo!! Today is the day my favourite challenge at SCS, the Inspiration Challenge, releases new challenges, so I made my challenge card using my new stamps of course. :D I used Room 13 as my inspiration, and took a cue from the little description for that room and used white to balance the green colour scheme and strong visual impact of the swirly pinwheel background. I love these images, and wanted to let them take centre stage.

Stamps: swirly pinwheel, polka-dotted scallop border, and giggle grove of trees from Unity's September stamp kit of the month. "hello" from a Hero Arts clear stamp set.

Paper: white cardstock by Domtar, white card base by Halcraft.

Ink: Ranger Distress Ink in Shabby Shutters, Versamagic chalk ink in Aloe Vera

Other: Prismacolor pencil crayons to colour in the leafy bits of the trees.

My other major achievements of today are:
  • I ***finally*** got to the post office to mail off my Dad's birthday card (his bday is at the beginning of AUGUST!) and a parcel of altered mailboxes to my sister's family. They've been sitting in my craft room for a couple of weeks now and with my husband's help, I finally got it together enough to make it to the PO today.
  • Finished up two other cards that basically just needed to be assembled.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Now an ATC nut :)

A card made from one of my ATC experiments. I'm so proud of it for several reasons:

  1. The ATC itself was an experiment with something I found (and bought five of) in the clearance aisle at Hobby Lobby -- Memories Mists by Stewart Superior! Uusually something like six bucks, got it for two and a little bit. I scooped the mists in Amaretto, Wheatgrass, Mango Lemonade, Strawberry Daiquiri, and Orange Juice. They are pigment-based, not dye-based like most other sprays I've heard about on the market, so they do cool things like resist water. These ultra-fine sprays are messy but that is easy to deal with (spray them in a box). I started out by spraying different colour combos on four or so full-sized sheets of white cardstock, and loved the vibrant results. I'm sure a trained professional on a closed course could mist circles around me, but I'm just thrilled with what I accomplished here just playing around.
  2. I actually used some ribbon I got from the dollar bin at Michaels! OMGosh!!
  3. I broke out my long-neglected Moonlight White Brilliance Ink to stamp my new Bo Bunny large, lacy image on the misted cardstock after I cut it down to 2.5 x 3.5 inches, and when I was looking through my paper stash the Pearl cardstock in Bazzill Bling's Black Tie pack worked out to be a perfect match (if I do say so myself) to the shimmery ink. Woo! Neglected ink + use of new stamp + use of hoarded paper = way to go Mel!
  4. I channeled my inner Frank Byalik (of Trading Spaces fame) and used my large stipple brush and Ranger Distress inks to create a perfectly-matching (again, with me saying this my own self) base layer on the Halcraft card base I used for the card.
Well, I am just beat; it's so not fair that just as I get relaxed and unwound enough from my day to be able to stamp, I'm also relaxed and unwound enough to grab forty winks. I think I'm fighting off a bit of a virus or something, too. Anyways, here are the deets on my astounding and impressive stamped creation. :D

Stamps: wiggly frame from the fairies set by Crafty Secrets, sending sunshine from a clear Hero Arts stamp set, swirly girly pattern on ATC by Bo Bunny.

Inks: Chestnut Roan fluid chalk ink by Clearsnap, Moonlight White Brilliance ink by Tsukineko, Ranger Distress Inks in Worn Lipstick, Spiced Marmalade, and a wee bit of Vintage Photo.

Paper: Pearl cardstock from Bazzill Bling Black Tie pack, white cardstock by Domtar, white card base by Halcraft.

Other: Ribbon from Michaels dollar bin, foam adhesive dimensional thingies.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Is this thing on?

I've generally taken a learn-as-you-go approach with my hobbies and pasttimes, and I'm using it here too. :) This is totally a testing-the-waters first post to see what happens! With any luck, I will also share a Never Before Seen on the Interwebs, Special Deal Just for You, exclusive stamped project! Also happens to be one of my first attempts at making an ATC (artist trading card, 2.5" x 3.5"), and was made using leftover Christmas paper from last year's cards, and a stocking image stamped last year too. Go me! A few weeks ago, for some reason I got obsessed with trying out for stamping design teams, and the whole reason this Exclusive ATC came to be was to practice up before submitting for a design team that required one in the application. I didn't wind up ever applying, but was happy to have made a bunch of ATCs anyways. :)

So now I've uploaded the pic and I see the colours went whacko/yucko, and my little watermark got reeeeally little! This drab, depressed-looking image is actually quite festive in real life. Stocking stamp is from The Cat's Pajamas, sentiment is a rub-on from American Crafts, dotty paper is from the Jo-ann dollar bin area, which makes me think it must be by Colorbok. Also used generic red cardstock (sorry ladies, but if ya gotta have it, I can't tell ya where to get it! ha ha I slay me!), ticket corner punch, Prismacolor pencil crayons ("coloured pencils" to the 'mericans in the house), and lemon ice Stickles.

I'll tie this one off with my favourite work moment this week; I said, "Oh no, Sonia, my butt is green!" "Oh that's all right, it does that sometimes. It's still positive!" Not a word of a lie! (We were actually discussing biochemical tests for bacterial identification. But it's much funner to take it out of context!)