Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Fruitcake

I'd wanted this paper collection by Basic Grey called "Fruitcake" for *forever*, a few years at least, and finally picked it up when I saw it on clearance at Hobby Lobby earlier this fall. I'd been wanting this paper for forever, and also wanted to use it to participate in Sharon Johnson's Stamp Simply Challenge #10! (Keyword ssnotime10) I fell in love with the cards she made for that challenge, and looked forward to creating my take on them. :) So here they are!!
For this challenge, we had to let the patterned paper do the work for us, and were limited to using only sentiment rubber stamps. I chose to computer-generate my sentiment, so I didn't pull out my stamps at all for these cards! The only "stampy" thing I did was use my Frayed Burlap Distress Ink pad by Ranger to distress the sentiment cardstock and get it to blend in better with the patterned paper.
These cards were totally awesome to make, because:
  • they went together very quickly
  • I happened to have some perfectly-coordinating cardstock and ribbon that I received in a surprise box from The Angel Company that I had been hoarding up til this point -- double points for both the perfectly coordinating AND the use of hoarded items!
  • I loved using the pewter tree brads by some of the sentiments!
Part of what let this set of cards come together so quickly is my habit of making up the fussier things six at a time. I spent some time choosing the style and colour of the sentiments and then printed out six at once and brought them to my crafting table. Once that was out of the way, I was free to carry on with the serious business of cardmaking with everything I needed right in front of me!

Frayed Burlap Ranger Distress Ink
Papers: patterned paper from the Basic Grey "Fruitcake"collection, confetti blue-green cardstock from TAC
taffeta ribbon from Making Memories, pewter tree brads from Paper Salon Spare Parts

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Emerald Christmas

I had some lovely emerald green holiday scrapbook paper I picked up from the dollar bins in Jo-Ann Fabrics last year -- I was so tickled to find it complimented my ruby-coloured houses! I didn't think ruby on emerald on emerald would work out quite so well, so instead I went with a tricolour colour scheme of emerald, ruby, and that dark chocolate brown again. (It was still out on my craft table from the ruby cards I posted about yesterday.) I also used white and pale grey, as you can see. The card on the left was inspired by a wonderful Christmas card I saw on Tobi Crawford's blog here. The other card design came about because I wasn't totally happy with just centring the scalloped oval on the green layer, and decided to see how breaking up the large space with a sheer ribbon would look. I quite liked it, so it stayed. :)

house, snowflakes, and sentiment from Martha Stewart gingerbread men stamp set

Rhubarb Stalk, London Fog, and Rich Cocoa Memento dye inks Papers: green patterned paper by Colorbok (Jo-Ann dollar bins), grey, brown, and white cardstocks

patterned paper by Colorbok, white, grey, and brown cardstocks

green double-faced satin ribbon with silver trim by American Crafts, sheer ribbon with sparkly trim by Offray, ticket corner rounder punch by EK Success, decorative-edged scissors by ProvoCraft (don't get PC d-e scissors; Fiskars are WAY better!), white snowflake brads by Paper Salon

Sheldon and I decided to decorate just the living room because the office is pretty full as it is. So now when we go to the kitchen to get our coffee or meals, or go do laundry, we get treated to our festive and pretty living room!

Ruby Christmas

I saw these wonderful little houses on the Martha Stewart Christmas line and fell in love with them -- I think they have such personality and are so unique! Luckily for me, three houses in this style were available in the MS Gingerbread men stamp set! I think I'll get good use from them year-round, not just at Christmastime.
When I sat down to make these cards, I knew I wanted to use:
  1. my Giga scalloped oval punch
  2. one of the houses from the MS gingerbread men stamp set
  3. some of the ribbon in the American Crafts Christmas set I picked up at Hobby Lobby on clearance a few years ago
  4. my new Memento dewdrop inkpads
Other than that, I had no clear plan, so it took me FOREVER to make the first card. I started out by stamping the house on white cardstock and punching it out, but quickly found it was much easier for me to punch first and then stamp my image centred in the oval. So, I created several focal images (about a half dozen) so I could move on to the card design; this also let me use some of the less-perfect stamped ovals to test the results of inking, sponging, etc before I committed to using a technique or product on the card itself.

After much trial, error, and gnashing of teeth, I finally made a card I was REALLY happy with using SCS Card Sketch #201 as my starting point. I worked on that first card for an entire evening before leaving it unfinished and going to bed. Then the next morning, I assembled it in fifteen minutes, then made a second identical card in ten minutes flat! The second card is on the left in the topmost photo -- you can see I went a little haywire with sponging on the walnut stain ink on the mat for the focal image. :) The design choices I made to get this card to "work" were:
  • go with a monochromatic colour scheme
  • sponge my neutral colour (in this case, a chocolatey brown) over the patterned paper and on the white cardstock to reduce contrast and thus let the focal image take centre stage
  • sponge the edges of the card base with my neutral colour to unify the cardstock base and the patterned paper attached to it, and frame the focal point of the card
  • go with clean lines to balance the scalloped shape and richly patterned paper
  • use the complementary colour to accent around my focal layer and give it more visual weight
Stamps: house and snowflakes from Martha Stewart gingerbread men stamp set
Inks: Rhubarb Stalk, Bamboo Leaves, and Rich Cocoa dye inks by Memento, Walnut Stain Distress Ink by Ranger
Papers: "Devotion" patterned paper from Basic Grey Blush collection, Cherry Bazzill Smoothies cardstock, white cardstock by Domtar, brown cardstock from Hobby Lobby open stock, so probably by Paper Salon
Other: paper edge distresser by Heidi Swapp, black antiqued mini brads, silver-edged double-faced satin ribbon by American Crafts, Giga scalloped oval punch by Marvy

Because I had made several of the houses on scalloped ovals the previous night, it was very easy for me to continue playing around with making another card using the supplies I already had out. :) For this next card, I used the same Cherry card base, chocolate brown cardstock, and focal image, but this time incorporated some American Crafts Christmas rub-ons I'd picked up last year.
I found I liked this little house image best when it is set against patterns more than when it is against a plainer background. I wound up stamping the grey layer with a "Season's Greetings" script stamp from an MSE holiday sentiments set in Versamark. The card base is stamped with paisley images in Moonlight White ink.

Here's a closeup of the stamped grey cardstock. Don't tell anybody, but I glued the grey cardstock onto the brown upside-down... the "Season's greetings" script is facing the wrong way! But, it still fills the design role I needed it to, and it took me a while to notice this so I'm not too worried. :)

Stamps: house from Martha Stewart gingerbread men stamp set, sentiment from My Sentiments exactly
Inks: Rhubarb Stalk Memento dye ink, Versamark, Moonlight White Brilliance
Papers: Cherry Bazzill Smoothies cardstock, white cardstock by Domtar, brown cardstock from Hobby Lobby open stock, grey "True Value" cardstocks from Michaels
Other: ticket corner rounder punch by EK Success, white Gelly Roll Souffle pen, green sentiment and flourishes American Crafts rub-ons, paper piercer, Quickie glue pen, Martha Stewart yellow gold glitter

Sheldon and I will be putting up the Christmas decorations today -- woohoo! We spend SO much more time in our office/hobby room than in our living room, maybe we will decorate the office this year and leave the living room plain -- who knows!