Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Recycle Christmas Cards Now!

Samples of Recycled Card Scenes

In this day of recycling and reusing, we all try to do our part to save the trees by recycling our paper trash.  Why not reuse your Christmas cards from this year?  While you are still in the spirit of card-making, make a few from some of the scenic card fronts you got from friends.  Afraid you might mail back one of the cards to the person who sent it?  Fear not.  If you do, they will either forget what their card from this year looked like a year later, or they will be impressed that you have taken their store-bought card and made it your own!

Since it is obviously impossible to use the entire card front, it is possible to get one or two new cards from the scenic ones.  I have scanned in eight cards I made two days ago from card fronts I cut off and saved last year and just got around to using them for next year’s cards or for late cards that have New Year’s wishes inside.  Receiving a couple of very great scenic cards this year inspired me to remember the ones I had saved last year, too.

Using a window die, and there are several manufacturers making great windows now,  cut a window out of the framing color you want to use and move it around the front of a scenic card to find the best spot to use for this purpose.  Draw lines on the scene to indicate the outer edge of the window and cut the dimensions inside the lines.   

Prepare a card so the front looks like the inside of a room looking out the window into the scene.  I like to either make my own “walls” or to use paper that harmonizes with the scene.  Small stripes work well for a room’s “wallpaper.”  Then mount the window with the scene secured behind it on the "wall" you created. I used Poppystamps’ Grand Madison window for most scenes, and their new Gothic window with the Stained Glass Gothic insert for one of them. 

Bear in mind that once you have cut out the scene, you may have to adjust it more for the crossbar that will obscure parts of the scene.  I try to never have it cross a face or something that needs to be shown to indicate Christmas decorations or other important elements in the scene.  

Another fun idea is to look for a scene that may work for an interior room of a house.  Then the card front can be the outside of the house looking in to the homey scene, complete with shutters, window box, wall siding like brick or boards, using Distress inks to color and shade the house wall.

More Samples

These cards' greetings were stamped with a Stampin' Up Christmas stamp set that contains some nice greetings. The "Happy Christmas" greeting will be great to send to my friends in England, since they tend to say that more than  they say "Merry Christmas."  The greeting is punched out with Stampin' Up's Modern Label punch and a small oval punch.  

The "Peace" greeting on the Gothic window card was actually cut from the original card front.  Make use of some of the words that are already there!  Turn them into tags or labels with your punches.

Enjoy your holidays and be sure to check out those cards before putting them into the recycle bin!  You may have some treasured scene awaiting your creativity.  One more thing worth noting:  the stock used in manufactured Christmas cards is usually thicker than the card stock we buy, so use some of the white parts for stamping your own images.  You will be pleased with the results!

Now back to the studio to create more for this blog.  I have an altered book in the wings awaiting my contribution to its pages.  If I think it worthy of sharing, it will be the subject of my next post.


Monday, December 24, 2012

A 3-D Christmas--Part 3

The Door from Sizzix      
 When I saw this door on Shelly Hickox's blog, I just knew I had to have this die!  I am kind of into the doors and windows right now, and I have some fun things to show you this week after Christmas has come and gone.  

As you can see in the above photo, I am still working from the We R Memory Keepers' Yuletide stack.  I love this paper, but I think you already figured that out!  I liked the faux bois side of this paper for the door.  A little Distress ink applied with the blender tool gives dimension to this door.  And here they are with the door open.

The stamped sentiment inside the door was cut with a Spellbinders' die, and the sentiment is from a new Stampin' Up set from the Christmas mini.  I make so many cards each year that it is refreshing to see more words to add to my cards at Christmas. 
 This paper is so wonderful.  When the card is opened, the other side of the green faux bois is a subtle aspen forest in pale gray and white...a perfect background for the Christmas tree pop-up die cut from the green cardstock with snowflakes.  The other card (on the left) is red, white, and green houndstooth check with a nice red faux bois on the inside of the card.  the sentiment inside is again a stamp from Stampin' Up.

Stay tuned to this blog for more in a couple of days.  I am on a roll here!  I can't wait to show you one way to recycle some of your Christmas cards you usually toss into the trash after the holidays.  I have begun looking at the cards we are getting in a different light now!

Don't forget to leave a comment--I love seeing that someone is actually looking at my blog! 

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A 3-D Christmas--Part 2


Front View

Each Christmas the Stampin' Up Card Club to which I belong has a Christmas gathering in December.  We all love to treat one another with something we have made--either the packaging or the item itself.  This year my gift to them was contained in these little handmade treat bags.  Years ago, I obtained a big stash of these little red bags.  I was still teaching at that point, and I thought I would use them for a paper bag album class.  But it never materialized.  The bags were a little small for it, I always thought.  So now I am putting them to good use.

So each year, my card club friends are getting treats inside these bagsThe die cuts were cut from the "Yuletide" paper stack by We R Memory Keepers. (The same papers are used in all of this 3-D series.) The tree is cut with the Sizzix Tree, Evergreen 3-D Pop-up tree.  It is topped with a star punch, and old standby in my stash of old thumb punches-- a Paper Shaper by EK Success.  The topper on the bag is made with a Spellbinder Label die, stamped with a Stampin' Up sentiment.

Close-up of Bag Front


 Bag Back 

The back of the bag has my name on the topper, and "Noel" is a die cut from Sizzix--from the Sizzlet 3 Pack Noel set. The topper is edged with Distress Ink and a blender tool to bring the green from the tree onto the topper. 

I plan to use this same design for the gift cards/checks we give to the older grandchildren.  They seem to enjoy the packaging I design each year for them.  It sure makes me feel like I have actually done something for them besides write a check or buy a gift card.  The older kids love to shop for themselves!  

Be sure to check back in a couple of days for A  3-D Christmas--Part 3!

Sunday, December 16, 2012

A 3-D Christmas--Part One

25 Fireplace Card

The busiest season of the year is upon us, and finding time to finish making cards for the last people on my list has been difficult.  There are so many choices this year with all the great new Sizzix dies!  From the Tim Holtz Tattered Poinsettia (used on the card shown above) to the new Pop 'n Cuts system from Karen Burniston, it is the most exciting year for card-making--especially if you love three dimensional elements as much as I do!  This will be the first of three blog posts showing a few ideas using some of the new seasonal dies from this year.

The first card shown above uses the Tattered Poinsettia die and the coordinating Texture Fades embossing folder to add texture and dimension to the petals.  I found a great packet of holiday paper called "Yuletide" by We R Memory Keepers.  It came in a labeled reusable hard plastic paper holder.  The colors are vibrant and modern, keeping the traditional red and green.  I really enjoyed the use of the 'faux bois' (or false wood) pattern on several pieces of this excellent two-sided cardstock.  Nearly all the papers in this project are constructed from this packet. The "25" is from the Sizzix Decorative Strip Die Stacked Words: Christmas.  Now let's journey to the inside of this fun 3-D card!

When the Pop 'n Cuts Noel insert and the coordinating Sizzlets arrived (I was a winner of these on Karen Burniston's blog), I decided it would make a perfect fireplace scene and deliver a holiday greeting, too.  After cutting the Noel pop-up for the inside of the card from the plain red cardstock in the kit, using Tim Holtz's Texture Fades embossing folder with the brick pattern, I ran the top section of the cut pop-up card mechanism through the Vagabond inside the embossing folder to give it a brick pattern.  Color was added to the red brick with Distress Inks: Mahogany, Brick Red, and Black.  This makes the bricks pop!  I drew a fireplace shape on copy paper and used it as a template to cut the top part of the fireplace into a fireplace shape.
View from the top

Next, the polka dot paper with the brown faux bois print on the other side became the outside of the card.  After folding the pop-up mechanism, I trimmed the bottom part off, leaving about 2 inches beneath the "Noel" to secure to the outer card.  The inside pop-up was then adhered to the outer card after folding the Noel into the pop-up shape.  I loved the look of the faux bois on the inside.  It makes the fireplace look like it is in a room with paneling on the wall and hardwood on the floors.  But it needed a hearth rug, so I cut a piece of cardstock from scraps.  The one on the right is from the Yuletide collection, and the one on the left is from an old scrap of cardstock from my scrap drawer. 

The top of the pop-up looks kind of like a mantel, so I added a piece of scrap from the same faux bois pattern.  I really wanted to add some things to the mantel, but I decided it would impede the closing of the pop-up, so I did the next best thing and added two little matted photos to the "wall" behind it.  The wreath is the Tim Holtz Movers and Shapers Wreath and Bow.  

I used some Smooch Ink to put berries on the wreath after shading it with Distress Inks and the blender tool.  Smooch Glitz was added to the bow to give it some sparkle.

The green "Noel" accent over the pop-up are is cut from the green faux bois pattern from the Yuletide collection using the Sizzlet 3 Pack Noel set that coordinates with the Pop 'n Cuts Noel insert die and the double pop-up tree card.  The poinsettia from this set can also be used with the original Pop 'n Cuts round insert.

The fireplace needed a little fire, so an old Sizzix original die, Blazing Sun, was cut from orange and yellow gold card stock, cut in half and mounted to the area under the mantel and behind the Noel pop-up.   See details below.  Come back in a couple of days to see another fun card using Sizzix and the fun pop-up elements now available.  The third installment in this series will be a treat bag treatment with one of these fun dies.  Don't forget to leave a comment!  I love all your feedback.

Close up details of the fire in the fireplace

Monday, November 12, 2012

Challenges Inspire Autumn Cards

Challenge One--Mail Art:

This past weekend was spent playing in the studio!  Late last week, Boo, of the Tennessee Stampers issued a challenge to make a card from something that came in the mail.  She hosted a similar swap earlier this year, and I began noticing the insides of envelopes.  Back when I taught iris folding classes, I discovered the craft began in Holland, and they utilized the insides of their business envelopes.  A talented Dutch lady, Hettie Sanders, shared some of these with me, along with some of her patterns.  Soon I was designing my own patterns from Sizzix dies.  But that is another subject.

I chose an envelope that came in the mail the day Boo issued the challenge.  The inside had printing which said "the future of awesome," so it was decided on as the focal point of the card.  I die cut two maple leaves from the envelope with the Sizzix Bigz Stampin' Up Autumn Accents die and stained them with various Ranger Distress Stains, including the new metallics.  Some regular Distress inks with the applicator tool were applied to the edges to make them pop.  They were mounted on two more maple leaves cut from the remains of the 12 x 12 sheet of double-sided cardstock, which became the base.  This was from a K & Company Tim Coffey tablet found at Michael's on sale this past weekend.  I also cut some acorns from the paper and stamped them with the matching stamp set from Stampin' Up named Wonderfall.  I played a lot with this stamp set over the weekend!  The sentiment on the outside of the card is from Destination Stickers and Stamps, Inc.

Challenge Two--Old or Unused Stamp into a RAK


Not knowing Boo had issued a Challenge to the group, I issued one of my own the same day.  My challenge was to dust off an old stamp you have never used or haven't used in a long time and make a card.  Then mail it to someone on the list you do not know as a random act of kindness, aka RAK.  I was hoping to make some of the quiet participants feel welcome to our fun Yahoo group that has been around a very long time.

Figuring out which unused stamp to use became clear when I was making Quirky Turkeys from last year's  project idea by Tim Holtz.  It is a Fine Line Classic turkey stamp from Inkadinkado.  I did the polished stone technique using Ranger's Alcohol Inks in all fall colors onto their glossy cardstock, but with a little twist.  I tried to paint with them--using the felt application tool and changing the felt when I moved from the red/brown/orange mixture for the turkey and pumpkin to the yellows for the wheat and to the blues for the sky.  I can see a future use for this when backgrounds are needed for detailed and scenic stamps.

I stamped the turkey with Memento Tuxedo Black, let it dry, and then hit it with the heat tool.  I was surprised, however, that the metallic mixatives I had put with the colors floated right to the top, obscuring the image slightly.  I had planned to accent some of the colors and define the image a little better with Copic alcohol markers, and I knew I needed to use Memento ink, since it works well with alcohol inks.  Anyway, I did my little accenting, which didn't show up enough to take the time for it.  Then I was unhappy with the obscured black, so I pulled out the old Stampamajig stamp positioner and re-stamped the image in Ranger Archival Black ink.  I was more satisfied with it after it dried.  I learned a couple of things with this technique:  

  • Don't use metallic mixatives or any other opaque alcohol inks (like Snow Cap) with alcohol inks if you are going to heat set the image you stamp onto it.
  • Do use Memento ink if you are going to add some details to your image, and then if you want a darker image, use a stamp positioner (or one of the old stamp repositioners which I have, but didn't think about using until I realized I needed to overstamp the inage) with Ranger Archival ink.  It will have to dry at least 20 minutes, and I would just set it aside for this instead of trying to hurry it with a heat gun.
  • Do try making a background that will work with your stamp as a sceneTry placing the desired colors so they will showcase your stamp.   

Challenge Three:  Make leaves for fall cards

This challenge was one I made for myself.  The new Sizzix Tim Holtz Texture Fades that coordinates with his Tattered Leaves die from last year arrived this weekend, so I challenged myself to make leaves.  I made some out of Kraft Core Core'dinations cardstock and sanded them.  Then I did Shelly Hickox's method of making leaves out of coffee filters and using the Ranger Distress Stains.  Since I already had them out, I thought it was a wonderful time to get inky!  I dug around in the bottom drawer until I found the box of rubber gloves I never use!  Glad I did use them this time, however.

I did notice the leaves I made had more than just the veins when embossed with the Sizzix Textured Leaves embossing folder as seen in Shelly's Fall Garland.  Upon inquiry to Tim, he said she did use a prototype that was changed for the market, and it only had the veins.  The one you can buy now is one that Tim designed with more spots and imperfections in addition to the veins, making it more "Tim Holtz."  They are deliciously "distressed" and full of texture!

Here is the card I wound up making to showcase the leaves.  I used a combination of the Core'dinations leaves and the coffee filter leaves placed on a tag that used the Ranger Distress stains again and edged in Seedless Preserves Distress ink with a blending tool.  I also added some acorns and some fern-looking greenery cut from another die.  

I did discover a fun thing when using the little acorns cut from a Sizzix Movers and Shapers set.  Taking a Square Lattice Textured Impressions embossing folder made by Sizzix for Stampin' Up, and one of the new Sizzix Tim Holtz Diffusers for embossing, I arranged the acorns around the oval so that the rounded body was inside the oval and the caps were outside it so it would emboss only the cap.  It worked pretty well, and when I do it again, I will bring in some repositionable tape to assist in keeping the acorns in the right place.

An even easier method is to emboss acorns cut from one tan color, cut off the tops and glue them to another acorn cut from a different color.  This works well if you don't have the diffuser set or if you just want to do them this way.  I also used Distress inks to shade the rounded area of the acorns.

The past two days have produced a few cards to send to family and friends.  Plus I learned a thing or two.  That is my goal each day.

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pop 'n Cuts Fun!

Card Front
 The new Pop 'n Cuts system designed for Sizzix by Karen Burniston is awesome!  How can I ever make another card without an interactive element now?  My mind is full of possibilities using this system.  

For Halloween, I made a few cards to share with friends and family.  Here are a couple of samples of what can be done with Pop 'n Cuts.

An extra surprise occurs when the Sizzix Zig-Zag pop up die is used to add elements that pop up from behind the featured item mounted to the round label pop up.  The Zig-Zag is trimmed to fit behind the tombstone shown here.  The tombstone is made from the Sizzix Tim Holtz Cabinet die and mini Cabinet die trimmed on the sidesThen tree branches are adhered to the Zig-Zag action.  They lie behind the tombstone, and pop up from behind it when the card is opened and the tombstone itself pops up. 

Another card featured Tim Holtz's Pumpkin Jack and branches cut from Tim's On The Edge Twigs die.  They resemble scary arms with bony fingers when they pop up from behind Jack! 

I can't wait to get back into the studio to make some cards for Thanksgiving and Christmas!  Pop 'n Cuts does the cutting and thinking for you, making it easy to put a smile on the face of lucky recipients of your interactive cards!
Inside of Pumpkin Jack showing branch "arms"
Front of Pumpkin Jack Pop up Card

Detail showing zig-zag die trimmed and mounted to platform

See the photo to the right showing the Zig-Zag pop up die trimmed way down so it fits the top of the round label platform.  The black "twiggy arms" are mounted to the front of the action areas on the Zig-Zag pop up.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Vintage School Tip-In for Altered Swap

Another contribution to the Altered Book Tip-In Swap will leave my house on Tuesday.  I am enjoying this swap so much, I want to share it with others.  Our Tennessee Stampers' Yahoo Group will be starting a swap just like this one in January, so this is a little food for the swappers.  We all benefit from seeing examples of the project, so here is some more incentive for those of you hesitating to come on board with this fun swap.  This two-page spread is my part in the Inkyrangers Yahoo Group tip-in swap.  Particularly enjoyable is the ease in mailing each page, instead of packaging up a book and worrying that it will arrive without too much stress on the binding.  By controlling how a tip-in is installed in your own book, it will be in better shape at the end of the swap. 

My assigned person's theme this month is Vintage or Shabby Chic.  Having done an altered book a couple of months ago that had the theme of Good Ol' School Days, I had lots of supplies that made this a perfect addition to a Vintage/Shabby Chic altered book.    Up until this month, we have done regular tip-ins with decoration on both front and back of the page.  This month we had a choice. She chose to have a two-page spread this month. 

I chose a sheet of dictionary printed cardstock from my old stash of collage papers.  Distress Inks in Tea Dye and Vintage Photo were rubbed all around the edges and over much of the cream colored background paper.  Distress Stain in Tea Dye was added to the edges to give it an old stained look.  Torn papers from another collage collection were adhered to various areas on the spread after distressing the edges of each torn area. Stamps from Oxford Impressions "My Story" collection (now retired) were added to the page, and Rusty Hinge Distress Stain was rubbed haphazardly over one image in the center (Public School), and Scattered Straw Distress Stain was applied to the face of the boy.  Stormy Sky was used on his clothing.  I love the quick application from the Distress Stains.  Then my favorite in that collection, Picket Fence, was rubbed over several areas, toning down some of the vibrancy in several areas. 

And now, the most fun part for me is pulling out my dies and constructing some dimensional objects on the page.  The two string-closed envelopes are made from Tim Holtz's new Sizzix Movers and Shapers L Die Pocket Envelope.  They are cut from Kraft cardstock, perfect for this application, and distressed with the same ink colors used on the background plus Walnut Stain Distress ink.  From my collage stash, I pulled some little tag board printed frames and matching tag in a ruler theme.  Design Originals made these several years ago.   The tag is stapled to the top of the page with Tim Holtz's Tiny Attacher, and the tag swings freely like a bookmark.  The frames decorate the front of the string-tie envelopes.  The apple basket and apple are from my button stash.  The little stamp shapes inside the frames are cut from a vintage school collection of papers by Graphic 45.  I filled in those frames with a coat of Ranger's Glossy Accents.

Detail--Little booklets inside string envelopes                

I always like to include a little "surprise" in altered books--a little reward for opening something that invites the viewer to explore.  Inside each of these envelopes are little booklets made from more of the Graphic 45 double-sided cardstock collection.  The edges of these were distressed as well.  The fun comes when each is opened.

Booklets Open

The booklet inside the envelope with A is for Apple on it contains an apple that is made with Inky Antics Honeypop paper and a Sizzix Originals apple die.  More items cut from the Graphic 45 collection are added to the inside.  The other booklet has another little booklet made from cardstock and two transparencies, one is of an old school book and the inside is a grading key for a math test.  The photo is a transparency of a class (or it could be the entire school).  Other elements inside this little booklet are from the same Graphic 45 collection.  I still have lots left over for scrapbooking school pages when my toddler granddaughters are old enough to go to school.

One more thing I did to this page:  Judikins' Paper Glaze is my "go-to" finish on lots of my work now.  I love the way it brings out the colors in stamped and colored images.  It adds a subtle sheen and protects the paper from fading, etc.  If I could only figure out how get it out of the jar and onto the projects without getting it under my fingernails, I would be a happy paper crafter!  (I guess I COULD use something and dip it out, but it takes a small amount, so just dipping my finger into the jar is enough for most cards.)  After rubbing it into the paper, I take a soft paper towel and rub off the excess, buffing it well.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Christmas Tip-In for Altered Books

After posting photos in the album of a tip-in swap on the Inkyrangers Yahoogroup web site, someone said I needed to do a tutorial on how I did it.  So I told them I would just blog about it.  Here are the photos of the front and back of the tip-in page.  The theme of the person's book is "Christmas," and who doesn't love to do Christmas projects?

 FRONT:  The house is mounted on a folded piece of material that is used to cover books, so it is pretty flexible and tough.  Besides, it was a good blue for a winter sky!  I used a piece of pale gray cardstock to make the house.  A stone texture template from Fiskars run through the Sizzix Tim Holtz Inspired Vagabond with the appropriate "sandwich" was used to fabricate the "stone," and then, using several neutrals and browns of Ranger Distress inks and applicators, the various shades were rubbed lightly over the raised stone areas to give it the look of real stone.
The gable is dark gray cardstock, scored every half inch on one side, and then turned over and scored an eighth of an inch away to give it a look of boards.  The same thing is done to the light grey fascia board beneath the gable.  The lights are Jolee's.  The window was the fun part.  My favorite dies are the ones from Poppystamps--the doors and windows and accessories are fantastic!  This project uses Poppystamps' Grand Madison window and shutters and a piece of acetate cut from packaging for the window pane.  Real lace is sandwiched between the window pane and the view into the room beyond.  I stamped a fantastic decorated Christmas tree from an old retired Stampin' Up! set with Ranger Archival ink in Library Green on Ranger's Specialty Stamping Paper. It was colored with Distress Markers and some Copic Spica glitter pens and cut out.  The walls in the room are Distress inks rubbed into this wonderful paper.  I love how smoothly it goes onto the Specialty Stamping Paper.  The "snow" is cut from white cardstock with a Sizzix Decorative Strip die (now retired) that yields wavy pieces, and glued them onto the paper to make a snowy scene.  Memory Box's Country Landscape die was perfect for the little trees here on the front and the trees and houses seen through the window from inside the house, which is on the backside of this page.  I also used Distress Stickles in Picket Fence to add a little snow-like quality to the snow and the edge of the roof.  Glossy accents were perfect to make some icicles at the corner of the house.  Some of the new dry Stickles glitter in clear rock candy was also used on top of some of the glossy accents.  For a vintage look, all edges of both pages and the woodwork areas were lightly distressed on the edges with Tea Dye Distress Ink.

BACK:  The back side of the tip-in page is naturally the scene from inside the house.  The same Grand Madison window die cut is used with another piece of acetate for the pane.  The same lace is anchored with XPressIt tape and Making Memories decorative brads.  Be sure to put your brads in place BEFORE gluing the folded background sheet together!  Extra strong mounting tape is best to adhere the folded tip-in page together.  Glue would have caused the page to dry warped unless it was dried under weight, and with the 3-D elements, that wouldn't have been very successful.  Provocraft's Terrifically Tacky Tape in the 1 1/16" size was used along all edges and in the middle.  The inside wall is another piece of the Ranger Specialty Stamping Paper, and Distress inks.  I stamped and colored another Christmas tree like the one showing through the window, and used pop dots to elevate it from the page for dimension.  The "rug" is a scrap of Christmas paper punched with a large round punch and trimmed.  The "woodwork" is light gray cardstock cut and layered to look like decorative trim.  The floor and wallpaper above and below the windowed wall were papers from my scrap drawer.  The antique brass plaque above the window is from Making Memories. The scene through the window uses the same technique as the one on the front of the tip-in.  Tip-in swaps are a wonderful way to do an altered book!  The book is less abused when it stays home and the pages come to it instead!  I will do more of these.

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