Posted in Copic Coloring, Die Cutting, Lawn Fawn, Stamping, Winter Holidays: Christmas

A Young Buck’s Christmas, Plus Faking a Font

Ah, Christmas, when the does dream of diamonds–and the bucks dream of does! Here she is, the “doe” we created from the leftover buck from the Inlaid Deer card, and she’ll make an appearance on the Christmas card I’m going to make for my husband–I hope he gets a chuckle from it. Just a quick video review of how we Frankensteined (yes, I invented that verb, grin) to get this creature for those who may have missed it, then on to today’s card.

Our card panel is 4″x 5-1/4″ Neenah Solar White. Because we’ll be doing some Copic coloring, we’ll be stamping using Memento Tuxedo Black ink, which is Copic friendly. I’ll use my MISTI stamping tool and several Lawn Fawn sets to stamp out a deer, and some gifts from Toboggan Together, a heart and a bow from Yay, Kites!,  and a heart and the sentiment, “may all your dreams come true,” from Critters Ever After. We’ll stamp the sentiment onto our card panel using Versafine Onyx Black,  a permanent pigment ink that gives a crisp image.

We’ll color the deer using Copic E23 and E25 for the body’s fur and E31 and E34 for the face and antlers. The hearts and bow will be done in E07, because it matches another color that will be coming into play shortly. A slight shadow of E09 will be used on the larger items. Because these items are so small, I work from dark to light to minimize bleeding. The packages will get Y02 and Y08, V04 and V06, and BG11 and BG15. A gold gel pen colors the ribbons and bows.

Die-cutting the shapes using the Big Shot, I hold the dies for the colored images in place using micropore tape, since precise cutting is important to avoid having the dies slip after doing the work of coloring. We’ll also cut out several of the snowballs from white and a Christmas Tree from the Toboggan Together set from a piece of paper inked in Distress Ink in Pine Needles that’s left from a prior project. We’ll take some Inkadinkado Mask Paper and cut three of the large cloud shapes from Yay, Kites! that we’ll use to form the dream cloud bubble over the young buck’s head. Some could draw this freehand, but that’s really not in my skill set. We’ll also take the smallest of the ovals from Lawn Fawn’s Small Stitched Ovals die set and cut a red oval from a piece of Hero Arts Shadow Ink Red Royal cardstock that we’d inked for another project and have left over–this is the color that the Copic E07 matches. This will serve as a little pallet for our small reindeer to use as his napping spot.

doedetNow we’ll have do a bit of piecing. We’ll form the dream cloud from mask paper, then attach the bow to our doe and fit her into the cloud. Another strip of mask paper across the bottom will mark off what will become the “carpet” of our young buck’s bachelor pad, while we “paper” the walls with a neutral-toned Y32 Copic marker, then add a subtle stripe in E71. Carpet in dots of B60, encircling but not covering the sentiment, complete the base “decor.” Not how I’d decorate my home, but, of course,  it lacks a woman’s touch.

Our doe goes into her dream cloud, along with a couple of hearts to form a visual triangle with the red that’s in her bow.

We’ll see how the reindeer fits onto the “rug” we made, and use the die to mark off his legs so we’ll have him lying down. Using a black marker in a narrow width–this is a Micron .01–I’m going to take off a bit of his tail, as I believe that he’d have it flat to doze. A line of marker along where he’s had his “surgery” will distract from where he’s had some work done. Draw on two arches to signify the muscles of his legs that are tucked under him while he naps, and change his eye from an open dot to a closed arc to send him off to dreamland.

Let’s also use the gold gel pen to draw garlands on his Christmas tree before we start putting it all together. The snowballs become the leaders to his dream cloud. Foam tape adds dimension to the gifts and the reindeer, using slightly more for the gifts, since they’re in front. Hmm, it’s just not festive enough, even for a card being given to a gentleman, so the tree, her bow, and the gifts’ ribbons are further embellished with some Diamond Stickles, and the front panel is complete.

Now for an inner-panel sentiment; this one is intrinsic to the card’s message. We’ll cut an inner panel for the inside sentiment to 4″x4″ and round the corners by 1/4″ using the Crop-A-Dile Corner Chomper. I don’t have a stamp set that mimics this font, and there is no way that I’m going to cut these apart letter-by-letter. So, I take a moment bucksentto practice copying the font. It’s a pretty basic one, and my sentiment is short, so I think that I can pull it off, despite my not-so-great handwriting. I practice the letters that I’ll be using over and over on scrap paper, trying to get a feel for the strokes. Of course, it’s not going to match perfectly–it’s not even the same size–but the recipient isn’t going to be thinking about that. Since it’s my husband, he’s more likely to be wondering if I’ve bought yet another alphabet stamp set in a very similar font to one that I already own, although I hope that he’s more charmed by the idea of the card itself. Using a pencil before adding it to the actual insert panel adds to my confidence. To thicken the line, I switch to a Copic Multiliner SP. After it’s dried, I use a tool that I love–my Helix electric eraser!

I add the smiling heart that I’ve previously die cut and a couple of Pretty Pink Posh gold stars to the inner sentiment panel using Multi-Medium Matte, then adhere both panels to a red A2 card base using Scotch Quick-Dry. I’ll wait to actually write the personalized sentiment onto this panel, depending on how well my reindeer/husband has been behaving by the time Christmas comes around (wink). I hope you’ve enjoyed today’s card, and thanks so much for stopping by!

Posted in Die Cutting, Heat Embossing, My Favorite Things, Stamping, Tim Holtz, Winter Holidays: Christmas

Abstract Christmas Tree Three Ways

Welcome back to the holiday card series. We’re revisiting the versatile clear stamp set from My Favorite Things called Abstract Art, previously used on the card “Spreading Holiday Cheer.” Today, we’ll use its components to build and decorate a Christmas tree as the focal point of our card front. I love when I can get so much use from a stamp set!

Another fun aspect of this card concept is that you can vary the ink colors, the embossing powders, or the sentiment you place on top, and have a large variety of cards, all using redwhiteitems you’re likely to have on hand. The card could be somewhat traditional, or avant-garde, all depending on your personal creative choices.

Since we’re looking at versatility, let’s consider a few examples. Each will have a card front panel that’s made to fit onto a standard A2 card with a small border, so the panel will be 4″x5-1/4″ in the portrait orientation. We’ll do one onto standard white, Kraft, and a medium blue, and then just have fun playing with the possibilities.

First, let’s talk about shaping the tree. One option is to take one of the large stamps and ink it selectively, wiping off ink from the stamp to lesser degrees as you work down the tree so that the image becomes a larger triangle with each stamping as you go down the tree. Of course, it’s easier to add ink than to take it away; that’s why it makes sense to work from smaller to larger for this approach, so you don’t have to be so meticulousbluesil about cleaning the stamp with each use. Building the tree’s shape up from larger stamps to smaller is another. Yet another is to stamp many of them using various stamps, them cut them into a tree shape. Freehand it if you’re bold and really into the abstract look; I was more comfortable making a triangle template and using it to choose what segment I wanted.

The options for decorating the tree with this set are wonderful, too. Look at how one stamp resembles an ornament! Another one could be a strand of lights, popcorn, cranberries–anything that strikes your imagination. The circles of assorted sizes are obvious enough, but, think how much your artistic friends will enjoy receiving a card with paint splatters as ornaments on a tree. The possibilities are so much fun! And, looking at what you own with fresh eyes really increases the mileage you can get from it.

Adding a sentiment is all that this really needs. We’ll use the word “Noel” from the Tim Holtz “Holiday Words Script” die set and emboss it to match our ornaments. It sets off the ikraftgreenmage nicely and makes this an easily mass-produced card. As always, though, I say, “Go for it!” if you want to let loose your inner diva at holiday time. A dash of Stickles glitter glue across the boughs of the trees or highlighting the ornaments can be fun. Or, maybe a Stardust Glitter Pen. Flat-backed pearls or gems? Why not? As card makers, isn’t this truly the most wonderful time of the year?

Posted in Die Cutting, Stamping, Winter Holidays: Christmas

A Hint of A Reindeer

This will be the quickest, easiest Christmas card you’ve ever made, short of just slapping on a sticker, and it’s one that children will enjoy.

Remember the white deer die-cut left from the Inlaid Deer card? Grab some Ground Espresso Distress Ink and an ink blending tool, and color that die up. After it dries, utilize some precision scissors (I like the Honey Bee non-stick) to remove the antlers for use on this card (don’t throw away what’s now a doe–have you guessed we’ll try not let her go to waste, either?).

A stamped “Merry Christmas” in a vibrant, dye-based ink sets the tone and defines the spacing.

Use multi medium matte to apply a glitter pom in Rudolph red for a nose and a pair of wiggly eyes (I’ve always called them googly eyes) spaced above it. Space the inked antlers appropriately and glue them down, as well. You can call it done! Personally, I couldn’t resist adding a smattering of small star sequins from Pretty Pink Posh in gold that matched the glitter in the red pom, but, of course, that’s entirely optional.

A thought about choosing your card base color. I had this dark maize color handy for another idea on which I was working, so that was my choice. Any color that you like for animals could work. White could be fun, because it would imply that he was peering through a snow storm. Just another versatile thing to like about this card option. I hope you had as much fun seeing this card as I had making it to share with you.

Posted in My Favorite Things, Stamping, Tim Holtz, Winter Holidays: Non-Denominational

Holiday Cheer, and Fixing Stamping Mistakes

Today we’re making a non-traditional holiday card with an artsy feel, non-denominational and colorful.

We’ll start by using the Tim Holtz “Typeset” alphabet die to cut out the letters for the words “Holiday Cheer” from Neenah 80-pound white cardstock–& black, to use as shadow–using the Big Shot. I had to run parts through more than once to get all the letters needed for my sentiment. I also run through the Big Shot with cardstock using the Mama Elephant Confetti die, giving me some options to use as embellishments later. When the pieces are cut, placing them onto some Post-It notes makes them manageable–and keeps me from losing them!

I’ve chosen a group of colorful inks–these are Shadow Inks by Hero Arts in Red Royal, Cornflower, Orange Soda, Bubblegum, Soft Lilac, and Tide Pool–with which to ink up the letters using finger daubers. You could also use cosmetic sponges, if that’s what you have handy. I want to keep track of which ink I’ve used on which letter, because I have this fun stamp set, Abstract Art from My Favorite Things, that I want to use to make ink appear to be spreading from each letter of the greeting. I think that my crafty friends will appreciate the pun of “Spreading Holiday Cheer,” with the visual of spreading ink–even though they’ll probably groan (grin).

The card’s front panel will be a black, standard A2 size, or 4-1/4″ by 5-1/2″ onto which I’ll create a white panel that’s 1/8″ smaller on each side, leaving a border. I generally prefer to make a front panel and attach it to a base, rather than make a single-layer card, as it gives me more creative flexibility, and it hasn’t yet wound up costing me more in postage. I take a piece of Post It tape and put it across a card the same width as my card front, then fold it over and adhere it together with my ATG, making sure that a small piece of the tape is visible over the top edge of the cardstock. This will provide me with a panel to use to test my spacing for those small, die-cut letters.

Since the black letters that I’ve cut out will be the shadow, or background letters, I’ll use them to test the spacing. This also gives me an opportunity to clean up any less-than-perfect areas, or “fuzzies,” on the die cuts. I’ll use a QuickStik to place the letters partially onto the tape, so that I can remove them, all lined up, later.

For the moment, I’ll set those aside and prepare another strip of Post It tape on a piece of scrap. By, the way, I’m only using orange paper for the scrap because it’s easy to see on camera, and I’m trying to use it up from my stash. On this strip, we’ll be using the Hero Arts Shadow inks we selected earlier to color the white versions of our die-cut letters, using finger daubers to avoid fraying the edges of the paper. If you’re a hands-on sort of crafter, you could just pick up each letter and push it into the ink pad, then place it onto scrap paper to dry, but I’ve really been wanting to use these daubers. I love new toys–I mean, tools.

Looks like gibberish, doesn’t it? Or, am I wishing you a happy “Hyoclhie, dear”? There’s a method to it, though; I’ve got 6 colors of ink and 12 letters, so, alternating them, I’ve placed the 2 letters that will have the same color of ink next to each other to save some time. We’ll turn it back into English after they dry, when we arrange them on the card.

Time to apply the inked letters onto their black paper shadows. Scotch Quick-Dry Adhesive, along with a good pair of tweezers, help make this close work come together. Since these are tiny items, use only the smallest dots of glue on the letters.

Our layered letters have had time to dry. I move the letters to sight-line for reference,holiday-cheer-b-002 then choose a paint-smear style stamp from the MFT Abstract Art set and use the MISTI to stamp it in the same color order as the letters. Because I want a straight line on which my letters will sit, and the smear is longer than I want, I cut the stamp with my Tim Holtz scissors. No need to worry; it will piece together perfectly for future uses. And, look at this stamp–wouldn’t it work beautifully as a candle, too?

Well, darn; even using the MISTI, I’ve managed to stamp imperfectly. Time to break out my secret weapon duo–Copic Opaque White and an Eyelash Applicator brush. Nobody will be the wiser.

I’ve also spread some of the star and sequin shapes cut from the white cardstock onto some of the Post It tape so that we can ink them with our chosen colors when we continue our stamping.

Now I’ll work on the rest of the sentiment, the word “spreading,” which I’ll form using Lawn Fawn’s Milo’s ABCs stamp set. There are 2 ways to potentially approach this–continue the pun by “spreading” the word “spreading” itself across the width of the sentiment that will be below it, or minimize it, and let the colors and the artistic stamp set take center stage. At first, I don’t think I can decide without seeing how each will look; then, I realize that having the word elongated across that amount of space will likely render it illegible. That kind of design decision is easy! Versafine Tuxedo Black ink will echo the black paper behind the die-cut letters, while giving a crisp image for such detailed stamps.

Some people can stamp sentiments nicely one letter at a time. I can’t, even if I draw a line. The best way I’ve found to stamp with tiny letters like these is to use a lined clear block that has etched lines on it and a repositionable adhesive such as you’d use with your un-mounted stamps (I use Aleen’s Tack It Over & Over), and work from the opposite direction from the hand with which you write. Otherwise, you’ll be likely to keep bumping the stamps you’ve just lined up, and you’ll be frustrated before you’re half finished. As you apply any letter that has a “wrong way,” turn over your block and make sure that the letters read correctly. It’s easy to place a “D” facing the wrong direction, for example, especially if you’re crafting late at night or in a hurry. And, please, when you’re finished, wipe off the ink over your desk–those small stamps can go missing in the swipe of a wipe! And, of course, it will be one of those imperative vowels, won’t it?

Let’s place our die-cut letters over our ink streaks. Again, we’ll use Scotch Quick-Dry and some tweezers, and place each letter over its corresponding location. You might notice that I keep the lid of my Quick-Dry upside down on my work surface. That allows me to place the glue right into the lid, capping it while I work, without having to stop and use 2 hands, and also serves to hold it in conveniently nearby. As with layering the letters, tiny dabs of glue and tweezers are key. To pick up the tiny dot over the letter “i” I switch from tweezers to a craft knife. The one I like is the Fiskars fingertip model–I’ve only recently tried it, and I’m absolutely a convert! The design worked to provide me a level surface on which to place my die-cut sentiment, as I’d hoped, yay!

I’m thinking this card is going to need some glitz, but I don’t want to go with glitter; there’ll be plenty of that on future cards, and I have a gentleman in mind to receive this one. So, mirror gold cardstock for the flash seems a better choice. I cut a slice to use as an embellishment strip, and one to use as a banner behind the word “spreading.” I choose glue dots as the adhesive for the gold, since any liquid glue that got on it would leave a visible smudge. And, this desktop glue dots dispenser is so much easier than unrolling them from the box!

Here’s how I make banner ends; I turn the paper over and mark where I want the tails to end and how deep I want them to be. Then, I use a ruler to mark a line down the middle and down, indicating where to cut. Many people just eyeball this, but when I try it, it’s like trying to freehand cut a circle–it just gets smaller, and smaller, and smaller! After cutting the first one, I take the cut piece and use it as a template for the other end, thereby ensuring that they are exactly equal. A little over-the-top, maybe. But seeing one side off just a teensy bit would bother me more than a teensy bit!

Placing the panel over the black cardstock panel, it still seems to need something. I enlist the confetti die cuts we inked earlier, along with some flat gold star sequins from Pretty Pink Posh. Scattering them randomly around the edge where they’ll peak out beneath the white panel gives just the touch of festivity I wanted. I deliberately leave some hanging off the edge, to be trimmed later, to give a feeling of expansiveness and continuity. Once I have an arrangement that I like–and yes, I used every one of those confetti pieces–I’ll coat them with Glossy Accents. This will give them shine and keep me from having to disturb the arrangement I’ve already made.

Once the Glossy Accents have dried, I flip the panel to trim off any over-hanging pieces, adhere the two panels together, then adhere them to a card base, and that finishes the card for today. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you had fun.