Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Birthday Blessings

Now that I am back from my lovely trip to Bermuda, I can give proper thanks for my great stamped birthday cards. I received three this year!

The first is a lovely blue card by my Mom. She used her new Heartfelt Thanks set from Stampin Up for the central image and I think Brocade Blue cardstock (also from Stampin Up). She used inked edges, a coordinating mat and brads to make the image pop. It's all finished off with a pretty print paper and a lovely soft blue ribbon. Isn't it pretty?

The second birthday card I received was from my sweet sister. This pretty peach creation includes more Stampin up stuff with a pretty use of an It's Beautiful wheel on acetate and lots of fun ribbons. I am not sure which sets the other stamps come from but don't they look great together? The inks and cardstocks are Groovy Guava and Purely Pomegranate with cordinating Groovy Guava ribbon. I love the embossed flourish in the top right corner. It all comes together so well and is such a great warm card.

The final card is from my wonderful friend, Ali. The image is Morning Soft (from Stampin Up...big surprise). It has incredibly soft colors in the flower with a soft yellow glow of chalk behind. The sentiment is from the Stampin Up All Holidays set. If you want to see more of Ali's creations, she has her own blog called New England Stamper.

They are all so pretty! I have them up on my mantle and they make me smile every day.

I am hoping to stamp a little this weekend myself. I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Splashy Backgrounds

Today, I decided to play around with another Technique Junkie technique. I created a few backgrounds using a technique called Reinker Splash which featured in the current newsletter.

Using my new reinkers for the current Stampin Up "in" colors and some glossy cardstock, I created a few really fun looking splotchy backgrounds.

My first attempt, House Beams, had a nice balance in colors between warm, cool and neutral using Groovy Guava, Soft Sky and River Rock (all Stampin Up) as a base. Not sure what to do with my new creation, I searched through my stamps for something fun and came up with this great background called Ironwork Plans from Above the Mark. I stamped this background sized image onto my background and was very pleased with the result. Building on the theme of blueprints, I chose the rest of the images: House Plans (Stampington & Co); the sentiment from Repeat Impressions; and an element stamp from Architectural Elements from Stampin Up.

House Beams
Ironwork Plans (Above the Mark); House Plans (Stampington & Co.); A House is Made (Repeat Impressions); Architecture (from Architectural Elements, Stampin Up)
Inks: Groovy Guava, River Rock and Soft Sky (Stampin Up); Timber Brown Staz-On
Cardstock: Chocolate Chip, Groovy Guava, River Rock and Soft Sky (Stampin Up); glossy white cardstock

My second attempt did not show much variation in color. Okay, no variation in color. Not sure where I went wrong but the splotchy Wild Wasabi background was still interesting. I stamped Tender Moment (Stamp Francisco) on top of it with Timber Brown Staz-On and ripped around the edges. I mounted that block onto a piece of Chocolate Chip cardstock. Then, I stamped the figures from Tender Moment again on a piece of white glossy cardstock and used my aquapainter (Stampin Up) to give some delicate color to the figures. I cut out these figures and mounted them in position on top of the Wasabi background. To finish off, I mounted the whole thing on a piece of Wild Wasabi which had been stamped with the French Script background (Stampin Up). The final touch was the word "Enchantment" from the Alice in Wonderland plate from Non Sequitur. The colors are hard to see on the picture. It is much softer looking in real life.

Tender Enchantment
Tender Moment (Stamp Francisco); Enchantment (Non Sequitur); French Script (Stampin Up)
Inks: Wild Wasabi, Blush Blossom, Soft Sky, Close to Cocoa, Rose Red, Cameo Coral (Stampin Up); Timber Brown Staz-On
Papers: Chocolate Chip, Wild Wasabit (Stampin Up); glossy white cardstock

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Hopping with Bunnies!

I am a little bunny-obsessed at the moment. These little cuties were just calling out for cards to live on.

Magic in the Air
Stamps: Bunny Bath, Spring Love, Spring Magic (Penny Black)
Cardstock: Rose Red & Pumpkin Pie (Stampin Up)
Paper: from Pocket Full of Posies Matstack by DCWV
Ink: Timber Brown Staz-On; Rose Red, Pumpkin Pie, Really Rust, Creamy Caramel, Close to Cocoa, Chocolate Chip, Cameo Coral, Certainly Celery, Mellow Moss, Pale Plum, Perfect Plum, and Bashful Blue (Stampin Up)

For the above card, I tried out more color layering. I have started to use two or three layers of color when I watercolor rather than just different strengths of the same color. For the bunny above, for example, I started by coloring his pink cheeks with Cameo Coral. I then applied a layer of Creamy Caramel to the whole bunny. I let that dry for a bit...actually, I worked on the mouse and birdbath until the color had time to sink in and I could add another layer. When I returned to my bunny, I added shadows with Close to Cocoa.

The birdbath, though a simple element, was filled in completely with Pale Plum and then shadowed with Perfect Plum. The layered shadowing seems like it would be a small detail, but I find it transforms the look of the image. I really notice a difference between these cards and the ones I have watercolored before.

Thoughts of a Pansy Spring
Stamps: Pansy Bunny, Think Spring (Penny Black)
Cardstock: Brocade Blue, Perfect Plum & Certainly Celery(Stampin Up)
Paper: from Pocket Full of Posies Matstack by DCWV
Ink: Timber Brown Staz-On; Rose Red, Pumpkin Pie, Really Rust, Creamy Caramel, Close to Cocoa, Chocolate Chip, Cameo Coral, Certainly Celery, Mellow Moss, Pale Plum, Perfect Plum, and Bashful Blue (Stampin Up)

On this card, I used the lines of the foliage and petals as a guide to add darker details. For the flowers I added brushstrokes starting in the middle of the flower and flowing through to the center of each petal. For the foliage, I just followed the visible veins of each leaf. Lots of practice and trail and error are required to get the look I want but I think future experiments will be well worth it.

Bunches O' Bunnies

My Easter cards are finally done! I created several similar cards with slight variations.

I started by stamping the Bunny Friends (Penny Black) stamp onto white watercolor paper six times. I used five of these images for the base picture of each card. I used the sixth image to create pop-ups of the various bunnies so a different one could pop-up off each card.

(middle bunny popped up)

I then watercolored each group in the same way. I find that I get my best watercolor "look" by stamping my Stampin Spots (Stampin Up) onto an acrylic block to create pools of ink and using an Aquapainter (Stampin Up). I slip a piece of white scrap paper under the block so I can see all the ink pools clearly. The clean up is a breeze! Wipe with a paper towel, spritz with a stamp cleaning solution, wipe again and you are done.

The other great part of using the acrylic block is that I do not have to have reinkers for all the colors I want to use. I just need the stamp pad itself.

To finish off the card, I matted the finished picture and sentiment in Chocolate Chip. I stamped the background in coordinating Sage Shadow ink on a Sage Shadow card base.

(bunny second from the right popped-up)

The variations in layout have to do not to my design skills but rather to my bad stamping of the background today. Guess I am tired. I kept having "bald" spots. The layout did prove versatile, though!

(bunny second from the left popped-up)

Easter Bunny Friends

Stamps: Bunny Friends (Penny Black); Happy Easter (Art Impressions); Deco Background (Judikins)
Cardstock: Sage Shadow, Chocolate Chip (Stampin Up); watercolor paper
Ink: Timber Brown Staz-On; Pumpkin Pie, Really Rust, Creamy Caramel, Close to Cocoa, Pink Passion, Sage Shadow and Apricot Appeal (Stampin Up)
Tools, Etc.: Aquapainter (Stampin Up); pop-up dots
Embellishment: mini cottonball

Spring is in the air! I am springing into the season with more bunnies!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Cracking Up

I am having fun playing with my photo stamps and this cracked glass technique. Here are two I worked on today.

Little Pleasures
Stamps: Woman with Dog (Stampsmith from It's Dog's Life plate); Print Pattern (Stampin Up); Life's Little Pleasures (Stubby Stampers)
Ink: Timber Brown Staz-On; Tea Dye Distress Ink
Cardstock: River Rock (Stampin Up); white glossy
Paper: Gold Starlight and Holiday Argyle (Deja Views)
Embellishments: Flowers (Prima); Olive brads (American Crafts)
Other: Judikins Clear Embossing powder (lots); various Stampin Up chalks

My daughter picked out the image for Little Pleasures. I have a feeling the Collie had a lot to do with the decision. She also helped with the cracking for which she is taking complete credit.

Follow Your Heart Stamps: Gentleman (Oxford Impressions from Distinguished Gentleman plate); Lady (Oxford Impressions from Beloved plate); Follow Your Heart (Inkadinkado)
Ink: Timber Brown Staz-On; Tea Dye Distress Ink
Cardstock: Taken with Teal and Chocolate Chip (Stampin Up); white glossy
Paper: from Old World Mat Stack (DCWV)
Embellishments: Flowers (Prima); Blue brads (Creating Keepsakes)
Other: Judikins Clear Embossing powder (lots); various Stampin Up chalks

For this card, I was trying to create the look of two framed photographs of spouses on a wall-papered wall. It was only after it was all complete that my husband informed me that this particular distinguished gentleman was none other than Charles Lindbergh. I am nonplussed. The sentiment still works .... sort of.

Hmm....whatever happened to me working on Easter cards? Bother. I also just realized I have to work on a card for my brother-in-law and have it in the mail by the 5th. Off to work I go.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

First Attempt at Cracked Glass

I am truly loving this technique now that I have finally tried it! "Cracked Glass" is another great technique featured in the current issue of the Technique Junkie newsletter. You'll have to subscribe to get the full instructions.

Believe in Your Dreams
Stamps: Two Sisters (Stamp Francisco), Believe in Your Dreams and Rustic Heart (Oxford Impressions from plate My Story)
Inks: Bravo Burgundy and River Rock (Stampin Up); Timber Brown Staz-On; Tea Dye Distress Ink
Cardstock: Bravo Burgundy and River Rock (Stampin Up); white glossy Paper: Holiday Argyle (Deja Views) Embellishment: Prima flower and olive brad Other: Judikins Clear Embossing Powder, Stampin' Up chalks

I love this particular stamp. I keep going back to it for project after project. Usually, I stamp the two sisters in exotic colors such as hot pink, turquoise or orchid. They seem to look great in whatever color I try!

For the first time, I actually colored them in and I really like the effect especially with the cracked glass technique. After stamping the image with Timber Brown Staz-On, I used chalk to give subtle color to the faces and the hair. I used a green for the background to match the paper I chose. The paper also gave me the colors of cardstock. The combination of Bravo Burgundy and River Rock is one I have used before and I really like the way the tones work together.

It's another snowy Saturday, so I suppose I should go do something useful around the house. Have a happy weekend!
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