Saturday, July 12, 2008

Idea: Putting Those Scraps To Use

If you are anything like me, you usually find yourself at the end of work session with a pile of odds and ends. I'm going to be honest. I'm not a very good example when it comes to saving scraps, especially paper. It always seems to be more trouble than what it's worth--and I never actually use what I save. I'm a bit better about saving bits and pieces of embellishments. It's just too hard to throw a pretty away.

After working on several cards yesterday, I had a few things left on my work table. I started eyeing them for a bit and became determined to do something with them. The key was finding an empty embellishment tin I had been saving. After a few mintues of playing with my pieces, this is what I came up with: a shadowbox/windowbox on which a card can be attached to the back of the box.

The material list for this project:

--empty metal embellishment tin with lid
--scrap decorative paper for shadowbox background
--chipboard butterfly from DCWV
--chipboard flourish from DCWV
--K & Co. Grand Adhesion flower
--miscellaneous flower, stem and bee stickers

So save your miscellaneous pieces and put them to good use!

Spotlight: Autumn Leaves: Rhonna Farrar

I've recently become a collector of clear acrylic stamps. I don't think that it was a matter of preference over rubber stamps, but moreso an issue of space constraints.

But one of the artists (and there are some very talented people out there) whose work I've become enamoured with is Rhonna Farrar. There's just something about her style and sense of design that connects with me.

Rhonna Farrar is a wife and mother of three children. She is also an outstanding artist and teacher. I recently purchased this set of stamps released by Autumn Leaves as part of their Stampology line. This set is entitled "Gypsy Style 2". I think it's amazing!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tag In A Bag--Masking

For this particular project, I have chosen to use a tag in a bag from the Sara's Surfaces line by Hot Off The Press (which you can buy at Paper Wishes) .

However, it is the stamping technique that I wish to highlight here. So you can use this process on regular greeting cards, altering projects and scrapbook pages. The result is a project that looks much more complicated than it really is.

My supplies for this project include:

--Sara's Surfaces Tag In A Bag
--Colorbox Cat's Eye Queue Pigment Ink (Rain Forest, Rich Rustics)
--an acrylic or rubber stamp of your choice
--plastic sheets or transparency sheets

The technique highlighted in this project is called masking. You can think of masking as the reverse of stenciling. Heidi Swapp has introduced a line of mini and large masks that work very well. However, the only thing that really limits your options for masking is your own imagination.

You can create you own masks by using a sheet of plastic and tracing/drawing your desired design on it with a marker. Then cut around your mask. All that's needed to make your mask stick to your project surface is a little repositionable adhesive. My Xyron 510 comes in handy for this step. I've found you can also use clear transparency sheets as well. As for the images, you can draw something from your mind or trace an image from coloring book or clip art image.

For easier visuals, I have used a piece of black plastic cut out in simple leaf and branch shapes. They were run through the Xyron to put adhesive on the reverse side. Once you have prepared your masking elements we are ready to position them on your work surface. Make sure the edges of your mask are securely adhered to your project surface.

Once you have the masking elements in place, it is simply a matter of choosing the color of ink that you wish to use on the negative space of your surface. I chose to use the Colorbox Cat's Eye Queue Pigment stack in Rain Forest and chose Fresh Green as my color. Then you simply dab your inkpad all across your surface, avoiding stamping in an obvious pattern. You will want to leave some areas lighter and darker for visual interest.

Continue dabbing with your inkpad until your entire masked surface has been well covered will ink.

At this point, you will want to remove your mask material. I find you achieve better results if you remove them prior to the ink drying. You can either discard your masks or clean them and save them for another application.

After your masks are removed, you do want to let the ink completely dry before proceding to your final embellishments. I chose a sentiment stamp from Studio G and used the black ink pad from my Colorbox Cat's Eye Queue Rich Rustics stack. Be creative in your positioning of your sentiment.

Once my sentiment stamp is dry, I decided to use a piece of color coordinating ribbon to loop through the tag hole. This will allow it to be used as a card pull and allow for easier access once the tag card is in its paper bag.

After thinking about it a bit more, I decided I needed to add a little "something" to the bag envelope. I found another spool of ribbon (I love paisleys!) and cut a piece to go around the width of the bag. I used another piece to further embellish my card.

Now, my project is completed and ready for giving.

Have fun exploring with the masking technique and let your imagination run wild!

Keep Crafting!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mosaic Tile Postcard

This project is modern take on the traditional postcard. It is done with a chipboard base, stamped images and distressing techniques. Your finished project will look something like this:

front side

reverse side

To do this project, you will need the following tools and supplies:

--a piece of chipboard measuring 4.5" x 6.5" (I chose to use a piece from the DCWV Chipboard Mat Stack Brights (wine), as it is already finished on both sides. If you use bare chipboard, you can choose to cover it with decorative papers that will match your stamped image or solid cardstock)

--a piece of white textured cardstock measuring 4" x 5" (I chose Bazzill corduroy textured cardstock in Snow)

--a rubber or acrylic stamp of your choosing (I chose an Inkadinkado stamp from "Affair of the Heart" Collection)

--ink pad matching your base chipboard color (I chose Cat's Eye Queue in Ruby)

--a Tim Holtz Distress Ink pad (I chose the color walnut stain)

--several pieces of Kleenex or tissue

--adhesive of your choice (I used the Xyron 510 and Zig pen)

--glitter (I used Doodlebug Sugar Coating)

--a sheet of coordinating solid color paper

The key technique for this postcard is a trick using your favorite scoring device. I love my Scor-Pal. The use of textured cardstock also adds a lot of character to the distressing of this piece.

You want to take a piece of white textured cardstock and trim it to 4" x 5". Using your Scor-Pal (or other device), you want to score your cardstock at 1", 2" and 3" on the shorter side. Turn your cardstock 90 degrees and then score the 5" side at the following intervals: 1", 2", 3", 4". What you will end up with is a grid pattern of one inch blocks which will create the illusion of mosaic tiles in your finished piece.

Before stamping your chosen image, make sure that you stamp the side on which your scored your textured cardstock. It creates a deeper furrow on your scores and breaks up your stamped image for the desired effect. I chose to stamp the image multiple times to fill the cardstock.

Allow your stamped images to dry completely. Then you want to take your Tim Holtz Distress Ink pad. The secret tool you want to use for application is two pieces of Kleenex (or other tissue) balled up for hand application. You want to dab your tissue on the ink pad and then hand apply with strokes going in the same direction on each application.

The amount of distressing you want to apply to your stamped images is a matter of personal preference. You obviously don't want to use so much stain that it totally obscures your stamped images. However, the more ink you use the clearer your scored channels will be accentuated creating the desired mosaic effect.

Once you're happy with the distressing and all of the inks have dried, you can now adhere your cardstock to the chipboard base. I found it easy to run the cardstock through my Xyron 510. I then used a white rub-on (the word "LOVE") to accent the corner. Any further embellishment is up to your heart's desire. But, rememeber, you want your mosaic to be the centerpiece of the postcard and draw the most eye-attention.

On the reverse side, I simply glued a piece of solid pink paper and added another Inkadinkado stamped image to the corner. This leaves you the bulk of the space to do your writing.

Keep experimenting with this mosaic stamping technique. You'll be surprised what a versatile (and easy) technique it is. But, it will look like you spent a long time to achieve the effect. Afterall, who doesn't love immediate gratification more than crafters?

Keep Crafting!