Wednesday, January 16, 2019

a sweet treat

As February nears, and I begin to see retailers' shelves filling with red and pink packaging, I am always reminded of the times when handmade love notes and Valentine treats were what the approaching holiday was all about. I remember, even with my own children, sitting and dreaming up ideas for what we would make to give out that year; then, gathering the supplies, setting aside some time, and enjoying the hours spent creating (and signing) each and every one. Valentines day makes me think of years gone by when candy boxes were ornately embellished, and the beautiful love notes were covered with lace and cherubs. It is these visions that are the inspiration behind today's project.
I use a Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts fold up box rectangle (coming soon) as the base for my project. The box arrives in two flat pieces that are perforated along the fold lines. I like to score over the perforated lines with a bone folder before folding the box into its 3D shape. 
 I select some vintage looking papers from my stash (four pieces of 6x6 paper) and then ink all of the chipboard edges (both interior and exterior) with a coordinating color.
I cut the outside cover paper to fit the sides and flat top plane, then using the chipboard piece as a template, trace the opening onto my decorative paper. This area is cut out with an Exacto knife. I also cut a piece of clear acetate approximately 1/8" larger (on all sides) than the opening. The acetate will be glued in place between the decorative paper and the chipboard box. This will allow the inside of the box to be viewed when in the closed position, as well as keep the items inside contained.
I begin securing the flaps of the fold up box base with adhesive and clamp until dry. I construct the box one side at a time. 
When the box top and bottom are secure, begin adhering the decorative papers. While glue dries securing the acetate piece in place, I add a thin metallic cording around the edge of the window on the decorative paper, tying the ends into a bow at the base of the opening. This piece is layered over the acetate. The box base is covered with a different patterned paper inside and out. A glittery vintage rose colored washi tape covers the exposed edge, creating a beautiful finished look.
I select one of the stacked labels from the set that has hearts within the decorative portion of the design. This piece is coated with embossing ink and sprinkled with gold tinsel embossing powder, then heat set. A red resin rose is attached to the embossed label. This decorative element is placed on the acetate window.
I create an extra embellishment for the interior of the box. What a sweet surprise it will be when the recipient enjoys all the treats that fill the cavity, only then to discover a little love note hidden at the bottom.
Hopefully my sweet treat box has inspired you to create some valentines for your loved ones. It means so much to receive something that comes from the heart. I look forward to sharing more in the coming weeks.
Thanks so much for stopping by, I truly appreciate it.

Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts:
Fold Up Box Rectangle (coming soon), Stackable Labels Shape Set

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

a snowy winter's splendor

Happy New Year everyone!
I am looking forward to a creative 2019, and am excited to share this winter project with you that I created for Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts. Up to this point, the winter season has been very rainy where I live. We have not seen much in the way of snow; perhaps that is why I have been dreaming of snowy scenes, where nature displays all its wonder, and envision a woodland scene with children discovering and snowflakes aplenty. 
I begin with the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts arch top cabinet with doors. The cabinet arrives flat in eight pieces. I always find it a good idea to assemble the pieces into the 3-D form (without adhesive) prior to beginning. This helps me to understand the size I will be working with as well as recognize the areas that are exposed and those that will be concealed.
This cabinet reminds me of the wardrobe from the Narnia series' books, I think it will be perfect to house my snowy winter scene. I lightly paint all sides of the chipboard pieces with gray chalk paint. The chalk paint will also be layered with crackle medium and gel stain; however, for the first step, I assemble the back, sides, top and bottom while there is only the thin coat of paint. This allows the tabs to easily fit into their respective slots. 
A multi purpose adhesive works really well to secure the chipboard pieces in place. I do not attach the front panel until all of my inside scene is completed. This allows me to easily access the inside cavity.  When adding all of the interior elements, be sure to keep the front tabs free from residual build-up or it may be difficult to attach the front panel later. 
Next, I cut and score a strip of Bristol paper to fit the inside cavity. This paper is inked with distress oxide in weathered wood and stormy sky to create the appearance of a winter's sky which will become our backdrop.
When the inks are dry, I attach a few painted mini snowflakes randomly on the background and secure it in place within the cabinet cavity.
I set this piece aside and work on some of the interior elements.
Using the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts framed tree panel, I emboss the tree tops with Emerald Creek moss stone green embossing powder. I repeat the process on both sides of the trees, multiple times. When I am satisfied with the look, I smear collage medium onto the front of the trees and sprinkle some of the raw embossing powder onto it, for a textured finish. The top and sides of the frame are snipped off, but the bottom edge left intact. I gently crease the bottom edge to allow the two trees to be slightly offset within the base. The base of the cabinet is covered with grit paste and the trees are set into the paste, then the extra edge is covered with more grit paste so only the two tree trunks and foliage are visible. Leaving the bottom edge intact for placement gives the trees more stability.
When the trees are in place, it is time to add the children. I select two paper dolls from the Christmas pack and color them with Copic markers. A resin ideaology deer is colored with mushroom and ginger alcohol ink, and stands with the children in the snowy (grit paste) base.
With the children and wildlife in place, I work on creating the falling snowflakes. Using snowflakes from the GSLC snowflake shape set minis, as well as from the let it snow set, I paint both sides with white acrylic paint. When dry, I coat the painted snowflakes with Wink of Stella clear glitter. The outside edges of the snowflakes are painted with silver metallic paint pen. A very thin wire is attached to the back side of each snowflake with hot glue. The thin wire is threaded through holes poked in a piece of silver metallic kraft that is cut to fit the inside top. when the snowflakes are hanging at desired heights, the metallic paper is adhered in place, securing all of the wires. 
When all of the interior elements are in place, the front panel is secured in place. A coat of crackle medium is applied to the exterior of the cabinet and, when dry, a layer of gel stain is rubbed into the cracks to create an aged finish. The doors are coated at the same time as the cabinet exterior to ensure a cohesive look. I add a snowy flourish (that has been finished in the same manner as the falling snowflakes) to each door panel.
 When the adhesive is dry, the hinges are fastened to the front cabinet panel, another snowflake is attached to the center of the arch top, and the winter wardrobe is complete. 
a snowy winter's splendor
As we enter this new year, filled with possibility, I would like to take a moment to thank all of my followers and visitors for your kindness, and wonderful, supportive comments. It is always such a pleasure reading your words and even learning that I have inspired you. I hope that your 2019 is filled with creativity! 

Happy New Year

acrylic paint: white
alcohol ink: ginger, mushroom
Bristol paper
Copic markers
Deco Art: one step crackle medium
Deco Art gel stain: walnut
Deco Color Premium metallic paint pen: silver leaf
Distress collage medium
Distress grit paste
Distress Oxide inks: stormy sky, weathered wood
Folk Art chalk paint: seriously gray
Emerald Creek Embossing Powder: moss stone green
Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts:
Snowflake Shape Set Minis
Tim Holtz Ideaology:
decorative deer, hitch fasteners, metallic kraft paper, paper dolls-Christmas
Wink of Stella: clear glitter

Monday, December 24, 2018

shining skyline

It seems that December has passed so quickly, I can hardly believe this will be last my post in the designer spotlight for Simon Says Stamp's Monday Challenge. What an honor to have my creations showcased alongside some of my favorite designers. It has been such a blessing and I am extremely grateful to Simon Says Stamp for this wonderful opportunity; as well as all of my visitors, for your lovely comments and kind words, they truly mean the world to me. 

I hope that you are excited about this week's challenge "party time"

I am excited to share my pop-up New Year's card with you today. I just love making different interactive cards; they really are a lot of fun to make as well as to receive. 
When I think of New Years Eve celebrations, I think of silver and black, the NYC crystal ball drop, fireworks around the world, and everything glitz and glam, ringing in a new year full of potential. I decided to use this as inspiration for my project this week.
I start with a 6"x12" piece of heavyweight black cardstock for the base, everything is built up from there. I create the card front as its own entity and attach it after it is completed, this way if I make any mistakes, I am not having to re-do the entire card, only the section I am working on. The card front is a layering of silver metallic kraft beneath a piece of craft cardstock that has been diecut in opposite corners using the harlequin mixed media die. The topmost layer is heavyweight black card stock that contains the same cutouts as the kraft layer, however, they are slightly shifted outward from the center. This allows a slim edge of the kraft layer to be exposed, and to add interest. 
I used the center diagonal that the cutouts formed to attach the 2019 numbers. I give the numbers depth by cutting 4 times with black and the top layer metallic kraft. All of these layers are glued together and then the thick number is adhered in place. 
The interior of the card features a glittery sky that shines behind the cityscape. This background is created by applying embossing ink through the speckles stencil, then sprinkling the design with sticky embossing powder and heating with a heat tool. The heat warms the powder creating a sticky substance. I sprinkle the sticky areas with a (super fine) silver glitter while the embossing is warm. When I have coated all of the areas with glitter, I re-heat with my heat gun to ensure that the glitter embeds itself and then set this piece aside to cool. When cool, I brush off any excess glitter with a dry paint brush. 
Next, I create each of the skyline pieces that will stand prominently in front of the sparkly sky. [disclaimer: I have seen many ways to make pop up cards, this is my first. Some of the methods I use may be able to be improved, especially with more knowledge and experience. My mechanisms work, however, there may be different ways to achieve the same outcome.] Using a sheet of black cardstock 6"w x 10"l I score at 5-3/4"l. I place the cityscape die along the score line. Using the dimensional plate, I locate the non-cutting seam at the location of the crease. This will ensure that the bottom edge of the die will not cut through the paper. I repeat the process with the second cityscape die however, this base is scored at 5-3/8" so that when placed on the card base, the two rows of buildings will be situated with a gap in between. 
*I have staggered the die and dimensional cutting plate to demonstrate the layering along the scoreline, when die cutting these pieces everything is layered directly on top of each other.
 Each cityscape is then cut from kraft paper and the section of skyline that will sit forefront in the card, is cut a third time from metallic kraft. The plain kraft paper cuts are layered onto the folded pieces creating shadow lines. The metallic kraft is then adhered onto its respective skyline, creating a similar layered appearance to the card front (but in reverse order.)
When all the glue has dried, these pieces are attached to the card base. Between the rear skyline and the sparkling sky I scored small strips of paper to be situated in the gap. These strips are attached to the building back then a scored flat 1/4" section that bridges the gap, then attached to the background panel. A similar mechanism ties the front row of buildings to the back row, this time the scores occur at 3/8" to create the flat area between the buildings. These strips of paper are what tie the card together and force the buildings to "stand upright" when the card is in the open position. 
The card sentiment is created with alphanumeric dies. I cut two pieces of cardstock (one black and one kraft) to the dimensions of the flat base area (in front of the cityscape buildings.) I align the letters to form the words MAY IT SHINE using a straight edge; and when the placement is correct, I attach a piece of post-it tape over the dies to keep them in place when passing through the die cutting machine. I cut one row at a time. When all three rows are complete, I trim the left edge of the kraft paper piece so that I can slide it to create a shadow line. A piece of metallic kraft is located beneath the diecut layers and this entire composition is adhered to the card base.
The card folds (relatively) flat for mailing and when opened, the buildings stand erect amidst a sky shining with possibility.
May your holidays be merry and bright and the new year filled with hope. 
I hope that you have enjoyed seeing how my pop-up card was created. Perhaps you are inspired to make a pop-up card of your own. We would love to have you create something for this week's "party time" theme on the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge. This challenge runs for two weeks so there is plenty of time to get creative. One lucky winner will receive a gift voucher to the Simon Says Stamp store!
Thanks again for visiting my blog today. I love reading your comments or answering questions, it's always a treat when you share your thoughts with me. I have included a list below with all of the supplies I used to create my card. Any of the products that are available from Simon Says Stamp are listed with links. 
Supplies used:
black cardstock heavyweight
kraft paper
superfine silver glitter
Tim Holtz Ideaology: paper stash metallic kraft
Tim Holtz / Sizzix alterations dies:
Tim Holtz / Stampers Anonymous: speckles stencil 
Versamark embossing ink

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

madonna medallions

Hello everyone, I am on the Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts Blog today,
 sharing some very special pieces that I have created using Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts artist trading coins. These coins are very popular, and I wanted to try my hard at making some.

With Christmas fast approaching, my thoughts have placed Mary, and the upcoming birth, forefront in my mind. I thought it would be wonderful to create some of these coins with iconic images of the madonna, so that I can slip a few into my holiday cards. They could easily be converted to ornaments by poking a hole and stringing a gold thread for hanging.
The coins are a perfect size to manipulate and make your own in many different ways and styles; I am so glad that I decided to create some of my own. One piece of advice: once you get started, it is hard to stop making them, so be sure to get a number of packs or you will find yourself wanting more before the paint has dried...I learned this the hard way. The coins arrive in a pack of three, sturdy, 2 1/2" diameter circles. They can take any type of mixed media you want to work with.
 I have a growing collection of religious images, some are in the form of card-fronts that I have received and saved, clippings from a monthly publication that I read, religious calendars from years past, and postcards. I sort through all of the pieces and select a few to work with. Using a circle punch, I crop the madonna images.
These circles are then adhered to the coin bases using collage medium. I coat the coin itself as well as the top of the image. This will facilitate the next layers that I will be adding.
While the collage medium is drying, I gather stencils, stamps, paints, inks and embossing powders to use on my coins. The best part about the artist trading coins is the creative freedom you have. There is no right or wrong, you can let your imagination take your creativity wherever it leads.
Following are some samples of my madonna medallions.
I have included a brief description of the mediums used on that particular face.
crackle, gold leaf, stamping, vintage beeswax embossing powder 
stamping, gold embossing
texture paste, gilding wax, gold leaf
crackle, antiquing stain, gilding, pen and ink
stamp, deep sea embossing powder, copper perfect pearls
partial stamp, chunky rust embossing powder, distress crayon, gold paint pen
I am eager to create more of these coins with different themes, it is such a wonderful way to try out ideas and play with mediums. They can be as simple or as complicated as you like.

Wishing you and yours a joyous holiday season;
  I look forward to sharing more projects in the new year.
Thank you so much for taking the time to visit, it means a lot to me.

Emerald Creek baked texture embossing powders:
deep sea, chunky rust, vintage beeswax
Gypsy Soul Laser Cuts:
  Artist Trading Coins
Ranger texture paste - transparent

Monday, December 17, 2018

sewing "notions" journal

Hello everyone,
I am so happy to be back for another week on the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge blog.
My December in the designer spotlight is moving quickly, and the month is very busy, I just want to savor this wonderful opportunity. I am grateful to Lols and the entire design team from the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge for their encouragement and support, it means so much to me.

I hope that you are excited about this week's challenge "stitch it up." We would like to see you add some stitching to your project (real or faux).

I had quite a few ideas regarding this weeks theme and settled on a journal to store ideas or "notions" for sewing projects. My mom can do amazing things with her sewing machine and, thankfully, has taught my daughter to love creating with it as much as she does. I am comfortable running an embroidery on the machine; however, when it comes to putting needle to my paper crafting, I am somewhat of a scaredy cat. This journal will be a special place for us to generate new ideas and also make notes of changes for works in progress.
I start with a die cut journal base made from chipboard using the Eileen Hull/Sizzix journal scoreboards die. This is definitely one of my go to dies for all sorts of projects, it is really versatile. There are various ways that the covers can be put together. For my notions journal, I assemble the covers to accommodate two signatures. When I began, I was still unsure how I would be finishing the spine of the book; for this reason, I painted both spines with black soot distress paint and allowed to dry. The black will help to conceal any raw edges if I decide to cover the spine with paper or something that does not wrap the corners.
While the paint is drying, I die cut a base dress form from lightweight chipboard with the Tim Holtz/Sizzix sewing room bigz die. I cut a second dress form from woodgrain cardstock and a third from heavyweight cardstock covered with adhesive backed linen textile surfaces. The woodgrain cardstock is inked with distress inks in vintage photo, gathered twigs, ground expresso and walnut stain to simulate an aged wooden dress form frame. I trim the top finial and the bottom stand sections and attach them to the chipboard piece with collage medium. The linen covered bodice area is also trimmed, inked around the edges, and then attached to the form base. When the the glue is dry, I stamp the word PARIS from a section of a stamp onto the bodice with black soot archival ink. 
Next, I die cut the wings from metallic kraft stock with the Tim Holtz/Sizzix layered angel wings die. The largest layer is debossed with the wings texture fades embossing folder. The middle wing layer is embossed in the texture fade as well but on the reverse side so that the texture is raised. The topmost layer remains plain metallic gold. I lightly sand all of the wing pieces and ink around the edges. The wing layers are stacked and glued together along their innermost edges with collage medium. 
The winged dress form is the focal point of my cover. I attach a milagros adornment to the center of the bodice with a small star brad. This entire piece is situated above a strip of paper cut from the  Christmas paper stash. I just love how the wings and foiled stars from the paper play off of each other. The strip of paper is distressed along the edges and inked with gathered twigs before being attached to a piece of lightly sanded, classic black kraft stock. 

It is at this point that I realize the spine should coordinate with the main focal point, to unify the book design. To accomplish this, I wrap the outside spine with the same adhesive backed linen as the dress form. The edges are inked with gathered twigs distress ink.

I want to incorporate more of the woodgrain into the cover design. The word NOTIONS is cut out from a strip of inked, woodgrain cardstock using alphanumeric thinlits. A piece of lightly sanded gold metallic kraft is positioned and attached below the cutouts section. The center portions of the O's are glued into place. This title strip is stitched onto the base paper layer of the cover and the entire composition is attached to the journal cover with Scor-Tape. 
The inside covers of the journal are covered with a tweed design paper in keeping with the theme. Before attaching these papers, I cover the inside spine with linen hinging tape (colored black) to reinforce the binding. A "measuring tape" strip of paper is incorporated along the center of the inside spine. Although it is not necessary, I like to reinforce the holes where the elastic is strung. To do this, I set 1/8" eyelets at the hole locations. I feel it gives the journal a finished look. 
Two signatures are covered with coordinating "textile" patterned papers. Black kraft die cut labels are added to each leaving a spot to note what the signature will pertain to.
The final touch to completing my journal was to add the word SEW along the outside spine. I die cut the letters from medium weight chipboard with the Tim Holtz/Sizzix billboard alphabet die. The letters are covered with gold leaf and then adhered to the spine with collage medium.
I have so much admiration for projects where sewing is incorporated into the design, it really adds another dimension to everything. One of my goals for the upcoming year is to incorporate more stitching into my paper crafting. I hope that I can make it happen.

Thank you so much for visiting. I hope that you are able to enjoy these last precious weeks of 2018, and maybe even squeeze in a bit of creative time.

Perhaps you have been inspired to create something for this week's challenge. We love seeing your take on the themes when you join in the fun. There is a $50 gift voucher to SIMON Says Stamp for one lucky participant, but you can only win it if you are in it!
Thanks again for visiting my blog today. I love reading your comments or answering questions, it's always a treat when you share your thoughts with me. I have included a list below with all of the supplies I used to create my journal. Any of the products that are available from Simon Says Stamp are listed with links. 
Supplies used:
Distress collage medium: matte
 black soot, gathered twigs, ground expresso, vintage photo, walnut stain
Distress paint: black soot
Eileen Hull / Sizzix Scoreboard Journal XL die 
Tim Holtz ideaology:
Tim Holtz / Sizzix dies:
Tim Holtz / Sizzix texture fades: wings