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.