Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Those crazy-addictive Studio G clear stamp sets

I always have a hard time resisting those cheapie little dollar sets of clear stamps at Michaels. After all the time I've spent waiting for the store in town to get them in, and selecting which ones to buy once they finally DO come in, I've hardly used any of my Studio G sets! When I made this card, my crafting goals were to:
  • use those Studio G stamps!
  • create fun monochromatic images by using the same hues of ink and pencil crayon
I started off by stamping my Flourished card base by Martha Stewart in Swan using the large and small flower images from the daisy Studio G set to make a background. I added a little taxonomic and visual variety with a butterfly and dragonfly from Hero Arts' "Thoughtful Messages" clear stamp set. I coloured the images and added some grey shadowing using my Prismacolor pencil crayons (just straight colouring, no fancy odorless mineral spirits technique on this card).

Because the stamped images are all on the small side, I thought an ATC for the focal point would be the easiest way to go. I stamped a background of flowers on white cardstock (2.25" x 3.25") using a small flower from the Hero Arts set to create a background for the sentiment. I doodled a border on this layer to help draw the eye from the busy-ish card base to the focal point, then matted the white cardstock layer onto a scrap of Bazzill Bling shimmery pink cardstock that I'd stamped with the small flower in pink ink. After I added the fun ribbon, I adhered the ATC to the card base using foam dimensionals.

Stamps: Studio G daisy set, Hero Arts "Thoughtful Messages" set
Inks: Ranger Distress inks in Broken China, Worn Lipstick, Shabby Shutters, and Spiced Marmalade
Paper: card base from Martha Stewart, white cardstock, Bazzill Bling pink
Other: Prismacolor pencil crayons, ribbon, green pen, foam dimensionals

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Glitzy Anniversary

Just a quick post after a busy, busy day! The highlight was Sheldon and I attending a performance by the legendary violinist, Itzhak Perlman. On Friday Sheldon surprised me with tickets ("Do you have any plans for Sunday afternoon? Would you like to see Itzhak Perlman?" after I had spent months and months jumping up and down about Perlman coming to College Station). I didn't think we'd get to go with money being tight after we had to have some bodywork done on our car. The concert was absolutely stunning!

Anyways, here is a quick card I made using:
  • mega and giga scalloped circle punches by Marvy Uchida
  • Threading Water border punch by Fiskars
  • feathered Fiskars texture plate run with white cardstock through my Big Kick
  • some blue bling from a cell phone decorating kit I found in the clearance aisle at Michaels a few years ago
  • cake image from dollar bin stamps at Michaels
  • sentiment from a Hampton Arts clear stamp set
  • Graphite Black Brilliance ink, blue chalk ink by Clearsnap
  • Bazzill Bling textured blue cardstock, black and white cardstocks
  • Pebbles i-kan-dee chalks to create little blue 'cloud' around cake
  • blue pencil crayon to colour the flower on the cake

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Scenic advent calendar

I've been working on an advent/countdown calendar for the past few weeks, and I'm happy to have pretty much finished it up this morning. I haven't seen anything quite like it in all my online searching, but my design was inspired by some Kinder and Lego advent calendars I'd seen where you build a three-dimensional scene with each day closer to Christmas. I made my own version of this concept using
  • foam core board (two 13"x12" pieces to make the panels)
  • 12x12 cardstock and patterned paper
  • self-adhesive holographic paper
  • clear velcro dots
  • Frost White pigment ink by Colorbox, Platinum Planet Brilliance ink
  • various stamps and printouts from online colouring book websites
  • an easel-style stand, which I've seen at Hobby Lobby and Michaels in the frames dept
This is the calendar without any countdown pieces on it. The pieces are going to be kept in a little snowman tin I got from Michaels that is meant to hold gift cards, etc.
This is the calendar with all the countdown pieces attached. The idea is at the beginning of December, you are 25 days away from Christmas, so for December 1, you would put the little image marked with #25 onto the space on the scene that is marked with #25, and then add a piece a day until on Christmas Eve day, the scene is complete. Below are some closeups of the two sides of the calendar.

After I stamped, coloured, and cut out each countdown piece, I glued the number to the image and then laminated them for durability using some Scotch self-laminating pouches I picked up from Sam's Club. You don't need a heat laminating machine for these; you just place whatever you want laminated in between the two halves of the pouch, peel off the protective paper to expose the sticky backing, and then press the two halves of the pouch together around your item.
This angel tree-topper is for the day 12 days from Christmas. I found this great image on an online colouring book site, and coloured it in using Prismacolor pencil crayons.
I'm using some more foam core board and velcro dots to hold the two calendar panels together. This is a pic of the back side of the calendar; both halves are attached to a third large piece of foam core board that holds them together.
The mountain in the scene I created is based on the mountain that was in my backyard when I was growing up. :) Its name is Stekyawden/Roche de Boule, which you can see a proper picture of at http://www.panoramio.com/photo/10265467. I claim no credit for the above photo -- I just found it on the panoramio website!
This is a detail pic of the clear adhesive Velcro dots I used to hold the pieces on the calendar. The hard half of the dots is actually quite clear -- here the dot is adhered over top of a number I wrote with ultra-fine Sharpie. The fuzzy half of the dot is not clear though; it is opaque white. I got my pack of dots for ~$10.75 US at Hobby Lobby; the pack said it contained approximately 76 dots, but they counted both the front and the back halves separately so in reality there are only about 38 pairs of dots. Both halves are self-adhesive, and I think they are awesome. They aren't very bulky (they're thinner than the regular strips of Velcro), the hold is strong but not so strong it's hard to separate the two halves, and the adhesive backing is very sticky.
Here's a closeup of the snowy bits, which I made using white cardstock stamped repeatedly in Platinum Planet Brilliance ink using a retired Stampin' Up background stamp featuring hearts and swirls.
Here's a bit of a closeup of the sky, which I made using some ProvoCraft designer cardstock stamped with some Scraptrends snowflakes in Frost White pigment ink. This pic gives a good impression of how thin the Velcro dots are -- the calendar pieces are almost flush with the calendar!

Now that this baby is done, I can move on to other (quicker) projects and post a little more regularly to my blog! :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Trio of cards from Blossoms and Butterflies

I managed to knock out another little project! I'm on a roll -- first the canvas clock, now this one!! I picked up a fun and pretty paper stack by DCWV called "Blossoms and Butterflies". It's nice, thick paper, and includes embossed, glittered, and foiled designs. For this project, my criteria were:
  1. use papers from B&B stack
  2. use stamp set I got for a good price from Hobby Lobby and haven't inked up at all
  3. use some coordinating bling and brads I picked up the same time I got the paper stack
  4. base cards on SCS sketch challenges
This first card is based on SCS sketch challenge 201. The sentiment layer is popped up on foam dimensionals. I made the jaggedy matting layer by stamping on and trimming the white sentiment cardstock layer down to size, then laying it on the matting cardstock and tracing around it lightly in pencil. Using my Dragonback Fiskars decorative-edged scissors, I cut the matting by carefully lining the bottom of the cutting edges with the pencil line. I've seen this kind of matting edge done elsewhere and really like the effect, so I was happy to be able to give it a shot myself!

Stamps: sentiment from clear set at Hobby Lobby -- if someone could let me know which company they're by, I'd appreciate it! I threw away the packaging.
Paper: colourful butterflies on brown, green with blue stripe and flowers, and yellow blossoms and butterflies on white patterned papers from DCWV Butterflies & Blossoms paper stack. Brown cardstock base, white cardstock.
Ink: Chestnut Roan fluid chalk ink by Clearsnap.
Other: yellow brad with white flower on it by Spare Parts, small sunshine punch to make cardstock flower, Lemon Ice Stickles.

This card is based on SCS Sketch challenge 199. I knew I just had to showcase this lovely glittered cardstock on one of the cards, and this sketch was perfect for it! The large panel is popped up on foam dimensionals here. To make that panel stand out even more, I also ran a blue inkpad around the edges of the matting layer to define that edge. I really liked the card with just the main panel and the sentiment panel, but in order to conform to the challenge sketch, I needed to include a vertical panel on the left. I got around this by using lightweight vellum stamped with yellow ink for that third panel. How sneaky!

Stamps: circle cluster and concentric dots from Circles & Dots set by Inkadinkado, mystery stamp set from Hobby Lobby.
Paper: glittery flowers, blue flower, and yellow blossoms and butterflies on white patterned papers from DCWV Butterflies & Blossoms paper stack. White cardstock, vellum.
Ink: Lime Pastel, Blue Lagoon, and Yellow Citrus fluid chalk ink from Colorbox Queue

This last card is based on SCS sketch challenge 117, and took approximately fifty billion hours to finish. The pink swirly foiled patterned paper is so fun and eyecatching, but also a little overwhelming and out of my comfort zone. I had to pull out some of my shabby chic/distressed techniques to tone down the fuschia a little bit. I did several things to the edges of the hot pink layer:
  • sponged with Broken China Distress Ink
  • sponged with Vintage Photo Distress Ink
  • doodled a border
  • stamped over the doodled border with a dotty flourish in Starry Night Palette Ink
Possibly the hardest part of this card was finding a suitable colour for the card base. I finally wound up using an ecru-coloured cardstock for the base and stamped it with a background stamp in Vintage Photo, then stippled Vintage Photo around the edges, and then finally ran the edges along my Chestnut Roan inkpad. This was just one of those cards that you spend FOREVER on and don't really get much satisfaction from finishing because you were so focused on averting disaster, you can't really like the results. Know what I mean?

Stamps: sentiment from Inkadinkado clear set, dotty flourish along border from Circles & Dots set by Inkadinkado, butterflies on focal layer by PSX, daisies on focal layer by Studio G, dotty flower background stamp by Judikins.
Paper: blue flower, and hot pink swirly foiled patterned papers from DCWV Butterflies & Blossoms paper stack. White and ecru cardstocks.
Ink: Vintage Photo and Broken China Distress Inks by Ranger. Chestnut Roan fluid chalk ink by Colorbox. Starry Night Palette hybrid ink.
Other: blue bling around edges of focal layer by Spare Parts, bling along swirl in bottom right corner from Michaels.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Colourvision Clock

I finally got some good photos of that project that I've mentioned a few times now! Hurray! It's an altered canvas clock that I was inspired to make after seeing a scrapbook canvas clock tutorial/thread on SCS. And in honour of the return to standard time from daylight savings, I thought I would upload this project. :D

The clockworks and hands came from a cheapie clock at Walmart (<$5); I saved the frame and face part of the clock for possibly another project. I bought the 11"x14" stretched canvas in a duo-pack from Hobby Lobby. I've got no immediate plans for the other canvas yet, aside from trying to store it in a way that won't damage it. I used swirly grungeboard stars for 12-3-6-9 hour markings, and plain grungeboard circles for the rest of the hours. To colour the canvas, I painted two coats of Watermelon gel paint by Keepsake Colours (Plaid). Then, after I let the gel paint cure for about two months because I had no idea where to go from there, I got inspired by the Inpsiration Challenge #150 on SCS and finished my canvas off by masking my base coat with some grungeboard flourishes and spraying Memories Mists by Stewart Superior. I used the dark Amaretto and Wheatgrass colours towards the edges of the canvas, and gradated to the centre with Strawberry Daiquiri, Orange Juice, and Mango Lemonade. Finally, I sealed with one layer of Royal Coat Decoupage medium by Plaid.

To make the hour markers, I knew I wanted to use my fancy-dancy Distress Crackle Paint in Spiced Marmalade, so I took the extra step of applying a coat of colour (Daiquiri scrapbook paint by Making Memories) under the crackle paint so it would show through and look awesome. It turns out I couldn't see the undercoat through the crackle anyways, but that's ok. To make the Spiced Marmalade blend more with the colours on the canvas, I stippled Coffee Bean Brilliance ink around the edges of each hour marker, and also rubbed some brown ink over each piece with a tissue so the cracks would have a brownish hue. To make the markers stand out from the canvas and take centre stage, I coated them with a layer of liquid glass product, and mounted them onto the canvas using foam dimensionals.

And yes, my clock really is as hypersaturated IRL as it is in the first photo; I love it! :) It's really tough to get a pic of that kind of colour (mebbe my camera was too busy moaning, "It burns, it burns!" to take a good pic?)

Some comments and tips:
  • Paint and Memories Mists can take a reeallly looonnnnggg time to dry on canvas. Usually MM dries within minutes on paper, but took a few hours on the duck canvas.
  • Don't use a heat gun on canvas the way you would on paper. It creates an alarming smell.
  • You'll want to glue your clockworks to the back of the canvas. Otherwise, it'll hang askew and interfere with the ability of the hands to move as they are supposed to.
  • If your clock is making a tic toc sound but the hands aren't moving, the hands are likely hung up on each other. To fix this, just push the hands into the motor lightly with one finger on the hand on each side of the centre of the clock, if that makes any sense.
  • I applied my Royal Coat satin finish using a plastic promotional card, like a credit card but not worth anything. The Royal Coat is less prone to showing brushmarks than Mod Podge is, and applying with a card allows for more consistent and smoother coverage.
  • You don't really have to let your paint cure for a few months on the canvas. I was just being silly saying that.