Saturday, October 22, 2011

Halloween Skull Card

I really like the JT cartridge for the Imagine and thought that the skull would make a cool Halloween card.  I used the square shape from George and filled it with the skull pattern paper then used some ribbon with holes in it for a template to sponge some ink dots on two of the corners. For added texture, I used my Janome Sew Mini to sew a zig zag stitch along the edges.  A couple strands of ribbon and string pearls are hot glued behind the skull and a trio of rhinestones on the lower right corner make this simple card complete.

The inside part of a card always stumps me.  I never seem to have the perfect sentiment stamp so usually end up writing my own.  Sometimes it takes longer to do the inside than the front!  Here is the verse used for this card:

In the dark of night,
With the moon glowing bright,
A skeleton tapped on my screen.
Though obviously dead,
Very lively he said:
Have a Happy Halloween!

Wishing everyone a safe and happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Grungy Veined Flowers

Supplies Needed:

Flower die cuts  (3 large, 2 medium, 1 or 2 small)  I used a flower from the Flower Shoppe cartridge with the largest size starting at 3 1/4
Wilton Fondant Tool Set
Wilton flower forming cups
McGill Mat or other foam piece that has some cushion
TH Distress Ink
Mini mister with water
Hot glue or glue dots

I recently purchased the McGill flower making tool and mat set and use it often but really wanted something that would form bigger flowers more effectively.  After a bit of pondering, I remembered my Wilton fondant and flower tool set and the flower molding cups that I bought while taking classes at Michael's earlier this year.

Looking at these tools I could see where most of them could be used to manipulate paper just as easily as they do fondant.

To begin, I decided that I wanted to create some lines or veins in the flower petals so I used the olive green handled mini wheel.  On one end the wheel is smooth and creates nice lines and the other end is for a perforated look. When creating the lines work on a mat or other spongey surface so the creases created will be deeper.

I used the smooth wheel and ran a straight line from the edge of each petal to the center.  The teal handled tool is used to create veins in fondant leaves, so I used it to make some horizontal lines running from the center crease in each petal to the side edge.

You can see the creases in this next picture.  They are just random and not precise or neat.  I am going for a grungy more than a realistic look.  There are several other tools in the kit that could be used to make interesting textures and markings on flowers and other projects.

Using the Direct To Paper method, I used my Tim Holtz Wild Honey distress pad to color the flower.  Using the pad directly on the paper made some nice contrast and really caused the creased areas to pop.  I tried using one of the little TH sponges but it filled in the creases too much so the DTP method worked best in this instance.

To help break down the paper fibers and make the flower easier to form I sprayed the back of it lightly with a mini mister.  Spraying the back will prevent the ink from running into the creases and ruining the look.

M's and J's both have several different kinds of the Wilton plastic flower forming cups.  I used the smaller, deeper ones.  Take the slightly dampened flower and press it down into the cup, inked side up.  You can use your fingers to start it and then use one of the large ball end tools to gently rub a circular motion in the center of the flower to further break down the paper fibers and to cause it to "cup."  If the flower is large enough, bend the edges over the sides of the plastic cup if you like.  Set aside and allow to dry.

Repeat the above process for all of the flower die cuts. Allow each flower piece to dry in a separate plastic cup.  When working on the smallest flower, the cup isn't as useful.  The little flower can be formed easily with the ball tool or just bending it upwards with your fingers.  I used the cup just to help it maintain its shape while it dried.

There are two stick shaped tools in the kit that are perfect for curling the edges of the flower petals.  I used the smaller dark blue one for this flower and just randomly rolled either the edge of one side of a petal or the whole outer edge under.  Repeat for each flower piece.

The cups really work their magic once you begin to layer all the pieces together.  Keep one of the largest flower die cuts in its plastic cup and apply the adhesive of your choice to the center.  Stack another large flower on top, staggering the placement of the petals between the bottom layer's petals. Repeat with all layers.  I only used one of each size for this tutorial so my picture below will not show as many layers as needed for a full flower.  Use one of the ball tools to push the center down and hold until glue is dry (if using hot glue).  The thicker the layers get, the more the cup will push the flower up and give it lots of dimension.

Once the layers are assembled, remove the flower from the cup and make any desired adjustments like re-curling edges or pulling some of the petals up or down.

Below on the right is my finished grungy veined flower that I made earlier today with all the layers.  The two flowers on the left are made with TH Tattered Flowers die.  Although it's not as prominent and doesn't show up in the picture, I used the pointed tool with the light green handle from the kit to just randomly distress some of the petals on those two flowers and inked them with the distress ink and a sponge for a softer look.

I liked the results enough that I will dedicate the Wilton kit to paper flowers only and buy another kit to use with fondant.  I know they can be cleaned and would probably be fine to use with food, but best to not take any chances.

Thanks for stopping by my blog and I hope you have fun making lots of pretty paper flowers!

Monday, October 3, 2011

My Favorite Things Stamps and Dies

Recently on a Copic marker site I was visiting I noticed a lot of mention of a company called My Favorite Things.  I checked out their website and they offer a lot of open line stamps that are easy to color and shade if you are into using your Copic markers.  More interesting to me was their line of DIE-NAMICS.  Grouping together a thin metal die or set of dies with coordinating stamps is a great idea and kind of the same concept as the CTMH Art Philosophy cartridge.

I was able to purchase a set at my LSS called You're Just My Type and created this vintage style birthday card.  The dies are the same size/type as Nestabilities and I was able to cut them with my usual Big Kick thin die sandwich. The stamps included the coordinating typewriter and several verses and there are two dies - a typewriter and a piece of paper.  Sadly, while typing this blog entry tonight I just noticed that I am missing my piece of paper die.  AAAAAAhhhh!!!   Now I'm bummed.  Will be ripping into my craft room looking for that little bugger all night. 

Here is the link for My Favorite Things:

The card is a gatefold style held together by the Martha Stewart button punch.  The flower on the lower left is the Tim Holtz Rosette die and the paper is Tim Holtz Lost and Found Collection.  The Arrow is a Stampin' Up punch.

Newspaper Generator

It's been awhile, but I finally decided to dust off the blog and continue my crafting adventures. Had some camera issues and some serious lack of time but hopefully things are a bit more settled now.

Today I want to share a link for an online Newspaper Article Generator.  This style was popular several years ago as evident in my craft room by the numerous newspaper style rubber stamps in my collection. I still think it is a fun way to personalize a card or scrap book page and this online method creates a much more realistic appearance than any of my rubber stamps can.  To be honest, I was surprised that the link still goes to a viable website after all this time but maybe that goes to show that a classic style never completely goes away.

The instructions are simple.  You'll find some text fields to add whatever words you like, click the Generate button and you'll see a preview of your customized newspaper clipping.  Click the download button and save to your PC to print.

For those of you who haven't seen this before...enjoy!  And for those of you who used to use this very site or one like it, I hope you will enjoy revisiting a blast from the past.