Sunday, December 23, 2012

Banner Builder Happy Holidays Card

I can now post this since it was received! This is the card I made for my sister for Christmas. I used the a banner stamp set and die collection (I no longer support the company where I bought them; their return policy is atrocious). I had a lot of fun making this banner card. I used Distress Inks: Mahogany and Peeled Paint. The flower layers I colored to match using Mahogany Distress Ink on Petaloo's Color Me Crazy mulberry paper flowers, let them dry, then added some Rock Candy Distress Stickles to make them sparkle. Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Halloween Pizza Box

Wow! It has been a while since I last posted! I was in Ireland for 3 weeks, home for a few days then off to Washington DC for a week - leaving not much time to craft!

I recently made this pizza box (using a Sizzix Pro ScoreBoards Die) for a friend to hold a few chocolates I had bought for her in Washington DC and Ireland. It is 4.25 inches square. I decorated it with Halloween papers and stickers - I believe K&Company for most of the stickers, Martha Stewart for the black dotted sticker going across the top, and Jolee's for the 3D spider with googly eyes. I cut the "Trick or Treat" decoration from a sheet of K&Company Halloween paper.

I hope everyone had a happy Halloween! I really missed not having a party this year but it was just too much to do with all the travel.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Tags, Flowers, and More

Michaels (the craft store) recently held an open house. The class instructors showed samples of what they teach in their classes. I showed some of my scrapbooking pages, tags, flowers, and cards. Many people do not realize that Michaels holds classes in their stores. Below are a few of the samples I made.

The tags are from a Tim Holtz inspired Distress and Shimmer class. We make 7 tags in the class (only 5 samples are shown here).

Distress and Shimmer Tags
The Flower Wow class teaches you how to make paper flowers using a variety of techniques, from hand cutting to using dies. With a few simple techniques you can take plain card stock to WOW! (Sorry, just had to say it - by the way, I didn't make up the name.)

Flower Wow
This is a card sample from the Cricut Sophisticated cartridge card making class. This simple yet elegant design is easy to make with the help of the Cricut electronic cutting machine.

Cricut Sophisticated Card
Check your local Michaels store for classes in your area.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Valentine Bear

This is a card I made for my husband last Valentine's Day. The image is a Dustin Pike design. He has some really cute digital images - dragons, penguins, monkeys, and more. He occasionally has freebies as well (I subscribe to the RSS feed for his blog so I get them as they are announced). I colored this one with Copic markers. The rectangle (bear image), scalloped rectangle, and circles were cut using Nestibilities. The sentiment circle was rubber stamped with three different stamps (circle of leaves, hearts in the background in pink, and "Love you").

The background stripes I actually hand colored with Copic markers on a black and white stripped paper (I saved marker by not coloring behind the bear). The side strip of loops was done with a Martha Stewart edge punch. The lips, XOXO, and hearts were cut using my Cricut out of white paper; I used the Copic airbrush system to color them (fun!). I added the white ribbon bow, red heart button, baker's twine (red/white), and key embellishments to finish the card.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Gift Giving Tilda Birthday Card

This is the image I had used for the watercolor background example. It is from Magnolia stamps: Gift Giving Tilda. I used Spellbinders Nestibilities to cut out the image and the purple Fleur de Lis frame behind it. I printed the sentiment, stamped the circle of hearts and cupcake (colored with Copics) and cut it and the lacy border out with Nestibilities. The fancy white design I cut using my Cricut (Art Philosophy Cartridge by Close to My Heart). The flower layers and leaves I cut out using Sizzix Dies (Tim Holtz, Tattered Florals, the leaves were from Sizzlits Decorative Strip Die Autumn Gatherings). I painted them with Distress Crackle Paint. The card and envelope were both cut with Sizzix Pro dies (A7 size). The card stock is from Bazzill.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Wishing Anniversary Card

Here is a card I made for my parents' recent 50th wedding anniversary. I colored the main image with Copic markers, then added some Stickles to the stars. I was rather proud of how the hair turned out. I printed the sentiment on my computer, stamped the heart circle and stars, watercolored the blue background, and colored the stars with Copics. I added some Spica glitter (clear pen) to the stars but it doesn't show up in the photo. I cut out the circle and lace design behind the sentiment with Nestibilities - ditto for the main image.

By the way, I almost always cut out my cards and envelopes with my Sizzix dies. Usually I use the Movers & Shapers Pro Dies Card A7 and Envelope A7. I like these larger cards (5x7) especially for Magnolia images since they take up quite a bit of space (a bit too much for A6 sized cards - which are closer to 4x6).

Monday, June 25, 2012

Copic Certification Class

I took the Copic Certification class on May 11, 2012. (The class was held in Michigan; I visited family while there. My sister also took the class! Thanks for driving Jen!). Marianne Walker was our instructor. She is listed as a "Copic Product Specialist" - and that she is! She could even rattle off the Copic marker number equivalent when talking about a particular color (like the wall color in the class room). She also wrote the manual for the program. The class was packed full of information. There was a lot of hands-on coloring stuff as well, including air brushing. Some of the topics covered included information about alcohol inks, choosing papers and inks (e.g. for rubber stamping) that work best with the markers, the meaning of the marker numbering system and how it relates to the color wheel, basic coloring techniques, and the aforementioned airbrushing.

Here are a few examples of what I did in the class. We went over a lot more of course - this is just to give you an idea of what was covered. All the images here were given to us in class. They were printed on high quality card stock. The brush end was used for all the coloring in these examples.

The circles on the left were colored with two or three colors each (sorry I can't remember!) and blended smoothly to create shading. (There were actually three circles on the card stock sheet she gave us but I didn't color the other one so I cropped it off.)

We also did some feather blending. This was tricky. I think I'll have to practice more to get a smoother transition. I used darker colors for a challenge - it is easier to work with the lighter colors.

We used the feather blending technique to color this pretty set of flowers too. (I just noticed that I didn't color the centers, doh!)

Here is an example of blending from a palette. The palette used here was simply a piece of acetate. A craft sheet would work too but the advantage of the acetate is that it could be put over the top of white card stock so you may see the colors better (as well as where they are on the sheet - some colors are too light to see on the acetate if it isn't over a light surface). The darker color was applied to the acetate and the lighter marker was used to pick up some of the color. This gives a sort of watercolor effect as it is painted on. Don't worry about the darker color staying on the tip of the lighter marker; if there is still some on it when you are done, just color on a scrap sheet until it is gone (it comes off pretty easily).

 I used the darker green to shade areas on the pineapple.

Another technique is called tip-to-tip blending. Just use the lighter color marker to pick up the darker color directly from the marker (or possibly from some slop around the cap) then color from dark to light. In the image on the left, I picked up the darker green (G28) with the lighter green marker (YG01), started on the bottom left then colored to the right. Note: marker may be easily cleaned off non-porous surfaces with alcohol - this includes the marker body and cap, as well as acetate and craft sheets.

Below are some examples of how to add texture with the colorless blender. The pocket images below were colored using one blue marker (B95). On the top, I squirted some colorless blender on a paper towel and pressed it briefly onto the image. I used the colorless blender marker on the bottom left image to make some shapes. (I used the chisel tip to do the lines and dashes.) For the image on the bottom right, I just went over the image with the colorless blender marker (brush tip) until I was satisfied with the look (kind of an acid-wash).
To sign up for Copic Certification classes go to the Copic Website or search for a certified instructor in your area.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Copic Watercolor Background

I like the look of watercolor for the background on some of my images. I wanted to get this look with my Copic markers. This is what I ended up doing; I think it turned out pretty well! For the background below I used B63 and B60, as well as the Colorless Blender 0. Don't forget to use a backing sheet. I usually color on my Ranger Craft Sheet. It can be easily wiped off with alcohol. Love it!

I start with my darker shade, in this case B63. I dot around the image, overlapping as I go.

I let it dry and go over some parts again to give it more depth.

Next I start adding the lighter color, in this case B60. Again I overlap the dots, as well as mix into the darker dots.

To get a little more seamless blend, I use the light marker tip-to-tip with the darker marker and add more dots, smearing around as I go. I also add more darker dots close in to the subject since they begin to lighten as the lighter layers are added.

Finally, I go over the whole background, working from the outside moving in, with the Colorless Blender. I usually do this with more of an S movement to get a brushed look.

Below is another example of the "watercolor" look using markers with a little more blue in them.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Mother's Day 2012 Card

I just returned from visiting family in Michigan (my husband and I waited until the weather warmed up before visiting - we moved south for a reason!). While there, I was able to take a Copic certification class with my sister. Since I've been working with the markers for about a year now, it was more of a review than anything new. I will post more about the class later.

Today I would like to share my Mother's Day card with you. The stamped image is Magnolia's Happy Spring Tilda. I colored her with Copic Sketch markers. I really like the way the background came out. I used the blender and a couple shades of blue to get a watercolor-like effect (click the image to enlarge). I added the ground line with a Copic Multiliner SP pen. These pens are made to work with the markers so they will not bleed or blur, once they have dried, when coloring with Copic markers.

The leaves were cut on my Sizzix using the Branch with Leaves Sizzlits die. I found it as a single die at my local craft store but it is part of the Flowers, Branches, & Leaves set on the Sizzix website. It is one of my favorite dies; I can use it as one piece (shown above, in two instances) or cut it up. The rose was cut with the Art Philosophy Cricut cartridge. The rest of the flowers were cut with the Mother's Day Bouquet Cricut cartridge (the actual cartridge is out of print but you may still find it on eBay or elsewhere - if not, the link above is for the Cricut Craft Room digital version). One of these days I'll show a step-by-step for creating the flowers. The butterfly was also cut with a Cricut cartridge but I don't remember which one (sorry!). I had used the Gypsy to search for "butterfly" one day and cut a bunch from different cartridges using white card stock then airbrushed them with the Copic system.

I wanted the punched border down the right side of the card to match the the lace on Tilda's sleeves. I punched it in a yellow-orange card stock (Martha Stewart punch) and used Barn Door Distress Ink with a sponge applicator to softly blend into it. I used Grand Nestibilities to cut out the colored image of Tilda, as well as the scalloped edge behind it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Journey Awakens the Soul Card

It has been a few weeks since my last post. I was at a board gaming convention for a couple of those weeks; unfortunately I brought home a bad cold (another week wasted work-wise). If you are interested, check out some of my reviews and contributions on Opinionated Gamers or Board Game Geek News. I will be posting convention stuff in the next few weeks.

I recently made the card below, mainly to try out painting with Tim Holtz Distress Ink Refills (Magnolia Tilda On the Loose rubber stamped image with Tsukineko Memento Tuxedo Black ink). It think it turned out pretty well. The star was created with Crayola Model Magic, white air drying clay. I rubber stamped into it and brushed it with Perfect Pearls.

The background die was cut with Tim Holtz Sizzix Weathered Clock and aged with Walnut Stain Distress Ink around the edges. I cut the tag, its shadow, and the suitcase using my Cricut cartridges. I used the air brush system with Copic markers to color the suitcase so it would look like worn leather. Nestibilities were used to cut out the Tilda image and the lacy border behind it. As a final touch, I strung some beads on wire and hung them from the ribbon I tied to the tag.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Halloween Favors

I know Halloween is still 6 months away, but it's my favorite time of year and I can't help thinking about what I want to do next. I made these party favors for our big Halloween weekend in 2010. The biggest job was making mini coffins for each guest. I used the Sizzix Pro die Coffin & Lid for the boxes. I used my Cricut to cut some of the characters on the lids (e.g. the skull & crossbones and vampire). For the trim (dripping blood, graveyard, and spider webs) I used Martha Stewart punches. I have a lot of her punches for Halloween - love them! The bottoms of the boxes were covered in Halloween themed papers, inked in black around the edges for a "seamless" look. All boxes were aged with Antique Linen Distress Ink by Tim Holtz. (Click on the image to enlarge.)

The test tubes are from Martha Stewart. I attached tags to the top of each with ribbon. The tags were cut with Nestibilities; the images were rubber stamped. I also made labels for each food dish: they were printed from my computer on white card stock, cut with Nestibilities (tip: use a small piece of removable tape to keep them in place to frame words or images), inked in black, mounted on purple card stock (also cut with Nestibilities), and decorated with store bought dimensional stickers. To hold them, I bought silver skull place card holders at Michaels.

Below is a photo of my dining room table, complete with graveyard and bleeding candles. Notice the spider crawling down from the chandelier? Don't worry, it's not real; but it did take me some time to hang it from a single (fake) web strand.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Anniversary Card

This is a card I made for my husband for our 21st anniversary. The character image is from Bugaboo Stamps. If it doesn't look exactly like the original, it's because I sometimes edit the images (in Photoshop) to suite me. In this case I took out the jagged line on the heart and a couple of swirls. The jagged line made me think of a broken heart - not quite what I was going for - and the swirls were a little too girly; I didn't think my husband would like them. This is another one of my early marker coloring experiments - using Prismacolor markers and blender. I cut the circle and scalloped circle with Nestibilities and lightly inked the edges with Antique Linen Distress Ink. Just behind the image, I used a friend definition rubber stamp on white card stock, ripped the bottom edge and inked it with Antique Linen. The titles across the top and bottom were done with the Xyron Design Runner. I used Cuttlebug Embossed Tags to cut the tag, stamped the sentiment, and inked it.

The clear acrylic tile is from Tim Holtz Rectangle Fragments. I used Adirondack Alcohol Ink and Blending Solution to create an aged effect on the back side of the tile. On a piece of white card stock, I stamped the Love seal in red then stamped over it with our anniversary date in black. I mounted it on the back of the tile using Glossy Accents then cut off any extra paper around it. I bought the red paper at Costco (one of my favorite stores!); they used to sell hand made scrapbooking paper in 12x12 sheets but I haven't seen it in a while (although I haven't really looked either). I'm not sure where I bought the blue paper - likely Michaels or A.C. Moore.

If you want to make perfect looking bows, try the Bow Easy. I use it for most of my bows.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Purple Birthday Card

Another card from my archives: this is a birthday card I made a couple years ago for my friend Becky. She and I both like purple. For the background, I used purple white core paper, embossed a piece for the bottom half, and sanded both the bottom and top pieces. I covered the dividing line with a polka dotted sage colored ribbon and added a few eyelets for interest. On the green card stock, I stamped white swirls and green dots and lightly sanded the edges. On the cream colored card stock, I stamped swirls in purple (the color doesn't show well in the image) and green dots then inked the edges in green. The sentiment looks much better in person - it's embossed with a glittery purplish embossing powder.

The flower was cut with a Sizzix die, sanded, and attached with a green brad. The brad looks much more green in this image than it actually does in person. The textures and reflective properties between the paper and the brad are different. The camera picks up light reflecting off of these varied surfaces differently from our eyes. The result is that something that looks like it matches to our eyes may look totally different when photographed. I could have fixed this in Photoshop, by desaturating the color in the brad some before posting, but I'm feeling lazy today. The glittery sentiment is another difficult element to photograph. I typically use a polarizing filter to remove surface glare (e.g. in the eyelets) and bring out the colors (although this worked too well on the brad). Of course this also tends to remove the glitter effects. So, basically, I'm showcasing the design of this older card; I'll probably get a bit fussier with the colors on my newer cards. Heh.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Grunge Flower Mother's Day Card

Tim Holtz made grunge flowers in one of his 12 Tags of of Christmas series. I just had to try this technique. This was my first attempt. I used regular card stock; he used grunge paper, which is probably a bit more forgiving. The sentiment was printed from my computer, using Photoshop to create the circle text. I stamped the flower (colored with watercolor) and heart circle decoration. I used Spellbinders Nestibilities to cut out the sentiment circle (mounted with dimensional tape) and two scalloped circles behind it.

For the background, on the left side I lightly ran a pink ink pad across parts of the lighter pink paper for a grungy look. On the right side, I used the Cuttlebug D'vine Swirls embossing folder (on my Sizzix Big Shot Pro Machine!) to emboss magenta white core card stock, sanding it to give it more texture. I decided to add a little bling by stringing a few beads on coordinating wire, bending the wire into corkscrews and swirls, and mounting them behind the flower. A couple of overlapping ribbons complete the look.

Friday, March 23, 2012


Welcome to my blog! I hope you will find inspiration here and maybe even some useful tips. I enjoy making cards, sketching, painting, and in general, being creative. I recently started using Copic markers and love, love, love them! I'm signed up to take the official standard certification class in a month or so - I'll let you know how it goes! I use a variety of tools, some of my favorites (besides the Copic markers) include Prismacolor pencils and markers, Staedtler watercolor pencils, Brevillier's Creatacolor series (pencils, aqua crayons, watercolor pencils), Spica glitter pens, Copic Multiliner SP pens, Sizzix, Silhouette, Cricut, Bazzill card stock, K&Co paper and card stock, Canson papers, Strathmore papers, Martha Stewart punches, Magnolia stamps, Winsor & Newton products (esp. Iridescent Medium and Sansodor), Mod Podge, and just about anything Ranger/Tim Holtz. Whew! And those are just off the top of my head! (Insert smirk here.)

To start things off, here is a card I made last summer. The image is from Bugaboo Stamps. It was one of my first attempts at shading with Prismacolor markers and the blender. I was looking for an image with a flower and didn't even realize until it was done that she is sitting upon a shamrock (thanks to my sister for pointing it out). Oh well, better luck next time.

The flowers were cut with my Cricut. I hand painted the yellow/orange/red ones with Distress Reinkers (Tim Holtz): Mustard Seed, Spiced Marmalade, and Barn Door. I topped them with a coat of Rock Candy Distress Crackle Paint. The blue flower was painted with Weathered Wood crackle paint and tipped using Ranger's Adirondack Acrylic Snow Cap Dauber. I hope to post a tutorial on making flowers in detail at some point. The decorative borders were done with Martha Stewart punches. The textured papers are Bazzill.

Thank you for joining me on my first day!