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Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The highest form of flattery...

Inspiration.  Mo-Jo. Your Muse.  
It's hard to say what motivates us as creatives.  But for me, perhaps what motivates me the most is the work of fellow artists.  I am excited to share with all of you a couple of photos that were sent to me from my dear friend Mary Larner from Severn Beach, Bristol, UK.  

I first met Mary on the Milliande Art Community for Women ning site, where she and I were Art Journal swap partners.  I count myself among the lucky ones each and every day, for being fortunate enough to have been given Mary as a partner!
She inspires me daily with her beautiful projects, so you can imagine how proud I was today when I saw her posts on Facebook where she had created a project citing ME as HER inspiration!  
You see, I write this blog in hopes that maybe, just maybe something I post or something I create  will inspire one of you to try something new, perhaps even something out of your comfort zone.  Which brings me back to Mary.  
She created these amazing projects using inspiration from my blog!  I am so honored, and so touched.  Thank you Mary, for sharing these with me and my fellow bloggers.  
First, my Collage Christmas Card
Layers, scallops, buttons, Santa...etc.

 Mary's vision
She said that the Christmas Plaque was not her typical style, but I think it's just beautiful!
Card from previous post, (Moon illuminates behind focal image)

Mary's Halloween Banner
Moon behind focal images...
And at Night-time...
See how cool this is illuminated!
Inspiration comes in all forms, from our friends and family,  each other's work, or that full Halloween moon you see in the sky tonight.   When you see something that pleases you, or that is special to you, incorporate it into your work!  You will love the outcome!  
To view more by Mary Larner go to her blog,  Tin Can Cart   HERE! 
And her Flickr page HERE.  She is one amazing artist!
Today in the mail I received a package from Mary!  Here is what she sent:
Thank you Mary for your generous gifts!
I can't wait to incorporate these lovely book pages (some over 100 years old)
and other ephemera into my projects!
You're so sweet and thoughtful!  Thanks!

Beautiful ribbons, old lace, old book pages and vintage photos
were included in Mary's care package to me!

If you have art projects you have created and would like to share with me please send me a message and I'll post them!  I want to see what inspires you to create!
Don't forget to leave a comment below, it's always so nice to hear from you!
So until next post,
Happy Creating!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Life's a Witch! A Halloween Witch card to make.

Hi Bloggers!
Today I would like to share with you a Halloween card I made for a dear friend.  I hope you like it!  Some of my friends said I should post it on the blog, so here it is!
I selected the Recollections card and envelopes (5" by 6.5") in the Kraft color, and inked up the edges of both card and envelope.  I chose the "HAUNTED" paper collection and vinyl stickers from My Mind's Eye to coordinate with the card stock.  This paper collection is from 2010, but is still available online.  I like it because both the front and back of each paper is so beautiful and so versatile!
And, it's flocked!  How cool is that?!

To begin, I inked all the edges of the card and envelope with Vintage Photo Distress Ink from Ranger to give it a vintage feel.  Then, I set the card and envelope aside.
I cut out a 5" circle from bright yellow card stock for the moon.  I wanted the moon to have texture and dimension, so I decided to add layers of color by "masking" the moon.  To do this, I cut out 3 flourishes from a "Joy!"brand die I purchased,  placed them on the moon, and lightly sprayed Cocoa Bean Copper mist over them.
When the spray was dry, I removed the flourishes, and distressed the moon with Vintage Photo Distress Ink.  By spraying the moon (and flourishes) with Cocoa Brown Copper mist (from Lindy's Stamp Gang), then inking the edges of the moon, I was able to achieve the depth and texture I desired.  The flourishes were so pretty after they were sprayed that I used them on the card too!
NOTE *I used a masking technique I saw demonstrated on Amy R's Holiday card tutorial.  Her card and my card look much different, but the masking technique worked well for both cards! View her card and video HERE.
The next step was to cut a 4.5"x 5" piece of card stock from the HAUNTED paper collection for the background.  I chose the patterned paper called "Flying Witch".  I inked the edges of the paper and adhered it to the front of the card.  Once the background was in place, I sprayed the whole card with a light layer of the Cocoa Bean Copper spray. When it was dry, I adhered the sprayed moon to the top-center of the card.
Now I was ready to select an image to silhouette against the moon.  I had purchased the flocked sticker set when I bought the HAUNTED card stock, so I removed the witch from the sticker sheet and pressed it on to the card, over the moon.
 NOTE: Several dies from Tim Holtz's collection would also work well  for this.  The House, Witch, Cat, Crow, or Bat would all look really good on this card if you do not have the stickers.

Once the Witch was in place, I selected some flowers from the Prima Almanac collection and some Webster pages Sparklers to embellish the front of the card and envelope.  I also sprayed the flowers with the Cocoa Bean Copper mist so they would have the same color sheen as the rest of the card.  Using stickers from the HAUNTED set, I stuck a spider and the word "Boo!"inside.

I then added a black cat sticker and some flowers to the outside of the envelope and my Halloween card was finished!  I hope you give this card a try, it's easy and doesn't take long to make.  
Please leave me a comment below with the link to your blog or Flickr account so we all can see what you make.  I can't wait to see what you all come up with!

and happy creating...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Collage Christmas Cards Tutorial Part 2

Hello Bloggers!
This is Part 2 of the Collage Christmas Card Tutorial.  

Today I am going to show you how to layer the embellishments on to your card, thus creating a "collage".  We are also using lace, trim, old buttons and other elements to give the cards we create a Vintage feel.

I wish to thank Samantha Ivy, who stopped by and gave me much-needed assistance taking photos for Part 2.  She also sat down and made 2 cards.  

When we left off yesterday, we had prepared all the papers needed for these cards by cutting images apart, inking the edges, and distressing the edges.  We inked our cards and envelopes as well.

So now that all the paper is prepared, we will begin assembling our cards!
Step 1.
Adhere one 4: x 5.5"paper rectangles to your card with dry adhesive such as an ATG gun or adhesive roller.  Do not use wet glue on this step or your card will be too soggy when adding the rest of the embellishments in Steps 2-4.
Step 1. Adhere the 4x5.5" rectangle to the card
Step 2.
Select various images from the cut patterned paper and start arranging them on your card.  Move the pieces around on the card positioning the papers to make them pleasing to the eye.  Be creative!  Also cut the lace and trim to the correct lengths you need, and position it where you want it, along with the paper.
Here I am trying out the Nutcracker against the background paper to see if I like the way it looks.
I will also try trims, ribbon and buttons etc. before I do any glueing.
Samantha moves the papers around to see what she comes up with...
Hmmm, this might look good...
Maybe this trim will look good...
So in this step you are basically playing around, trying out different scenarios, seeing what works and what doesn't.  Don't be afraid to use lots of lace and trims.   The trim and lace are essential in giving the card the look we are trying to create.  You will see when you're finished, that I'm right!
Organize your Christmas Ribbon then throw it out on the table!!
I try to keep like colors together, as different papers will look better with different trims...
NOTE:(We will be talking in Part 3 more about color, balance and texture, but for the sake of the tutorial, we will forge ahead!)
Step 3.
Once you have the positioning you like, adhere the papers and the trims to the card.   I use wet glue to adhere the trims and lace, and a glue runner or my ATG gun for the papers.
Samantha glues down the Gingerbread Man so he won't run away!!
Step 4. Once the papers and trims have been adhered, and all the glue is dry, you are ready to add the ephemera.  Pour out your buttons, letters, typewriter keys, pen nibs, bingo tokens, ticket stubs and old photographs. Arrange them on your card the way you like them.  Don't be shy!  These items are what makes the card so unique!
Look at all this YUMMINESS!
I keep my goodies organized in this plastic container.

If you have a button you want to use but it has a shank on it, use the shank remover on it.  It's like a jewelry tool, and it snips the loop right off the back of the button. The use wet glue to adhere it or use a dimensional pop-dot.
My stash of Vintage Buttons

These little frames from K& Co. work well on these vintage collage cards.
Step 5.  Once all the items are adhered to the card, open it up to the inside of the card.  Select the sentiment stamp and ink color you wish to use.  On mine, I chose Rocket Red Versafine Ink and a Vintage style greeting to coordinate with the card.  Stamp the sentiment in the center of the card, using even pressure.
Samantha stamps her card with a vintage-style sentiment.
The font brings images of days gone by...
If you choose to emboss your sentiment, take embossing powder of your choice, sprinkle it over your wet ink, and then using a heat tool, melt the embossing powder into the card.  Be careful not to burn the card stock or any of the ephemera.

Step 6.
Wrap ribbon around the card and tie a pretty bow.  
Step 7.  If you desire a luster on your card, use Glimmer Mist by Tattered Angels to do so.  I have found that this step really makes the card look finished, and adds to the vintage appearance of the card.
Set the card inside a cardboard shoe box and holding the bottle at least 6 inches away from the card, spritz about 3 times over the card.  Don't over do it!!  Add Stickles glitter glue if desired.
My finished Nutcracker Collage Card!
Love love love that Glimmer Mist!
Set your card aside in a clean dry place and let it dry for at least an hour.  
You have now finished your first collage card.  
Time consuming?  Yes!  Difficult?  No!
Samantha's finished Gomgerbread Collage Card!

I'll post some additional cards tomorrow, and more detailed photographs.  I would have done more today, but simply ran out of time!  These ARE time-consuming to make but they are so pretty when finished and the recipient loves them so much!  I do hope you all will give it a try!  
Tomorrow I will go over color, balance and tips for interesting texture in making a collage card.

Please let me know what you think and leave me a comment!  Just click on the word comment below.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Collage Christmas Cards Tutorial Part 1

Hi Bloggers!
People absolutely LOVE receiving hand-made cards.  And when those cards look as pretty as these cards do, the recipient views the card as the gift itself!  I am going to show you step-by-step how to achieve this shabby,vintage look in your handmade Christmas cards.  Let's get started, shall we?

First of all, I like to use pre-made cards and envelopes.  I use Recollections Cards &  Envelopes from Michael's in size 5" x 6.5" in the off-white and kraft colors.  There are 40 sets in these packs.
You can use card stock and make your own cards also but by using these you save a lot of time.
Both Kraft and Off-White work well for these cards.
Select your paper from paper collections that contain interesting images.  In this case I am using the Nutcracker Sweet collection by Graphic 45.  But you can use what you like.  Sometimes I make cards using floral images, and sometimes I use paper that has drawn images of people, especially vintage images.  For Christmas cards images of Santa Claus is especially cute!  For cards of a religious nature, you can use images of the Nativity.  The sky is the limit selecting paper collections.

Step 1.
Using Christmas-themed patterned paper, cut 40 rectangles measuring 4.5" x 6".  Less if you are making less than 40 cards.  (Cut one for each card you are making.)  They can be of different patterns.
I use every pattern in the paper line.  This way, when covering your cards, each one will be a little different, yet it will still coordinate with the others.  Sometimes I use glossy papers for my backgrounds. If you wish to do this, select coordinating colors of glossy paper, and cut it so it measures 4.5 x 6".
NOTE:  I cut these backgrounds from a different paper line than Nutcracker Sweet, as I had them left over from last time.  You can cut them from the same paper line, or another one, because it's the background and it won't really matter.  Just make sure it coordinates and goes with the card's theme.
These rectangles were cut from other paper than the Nutcracker paper line.  They are backgrounds, so it only needs to coordinate, not match exactly.  Also-I lined up the rectangle to show you how much of the card is covered up. 

Step 2.
Now that you have cut the rectangles, get the paper with images on it, and cut all the images apart. Most collections have one or two papers that contain separate images, rather than a repeating pattern.  Sometimes they are tags, sometimes you see 12 rectangles with images.

NOTE:  I use many different types of paper in this step.  Since these images are going to be layered on the front of your card, it is interesting to select paper with other images than just that of the paper line.  I use paper with music, toys, old newspaper, and other vintage images.  You can select chipboard images as well. Our goal is to make a collage, so variety will be pleasing to the eye.
In this photo I am showing you the image cards from last time I made these cards.  You can see that they have already been inked and stickled,  I just wanted to show them to you, so you can see that it is good to use different types of images than just the paper line.  You will be making a collage, so these images will compliment the paper line!  Again, Music, Antique Toys, and other Christmas images all work very well.
Step 3.
Using a scissors or distressing tool, rough up the edges of all the images that you cut apart in Step 2.
Of course, this is optional.  Sometimes you may opt to leave the edges plain.  Decide what "look" you want with your finished card.  If a more shabby outcome is desired, distressing is best.

Step 4.
On a craft sheet, ink all edges of the cut images and the 4.5"x 6" rectangles from Step 1. Vintage Photo Distress Ink works very well.  With an applicator such as a blending tool or sponge, ink every edge of every single image.  This is a bit messy so the craft sheet is a must!  Starting outside of the image, move your blending tool in a circular motion and move onto the paper so as not to leave a rectangle of ink on the card.  (You may want to practice on a piece of scratch paper to get the hang of it.)  If you are inking up the "distressed" image, make sure that you ink all of the white areas created by the distress tool.  Paper has layers, and when the paper is frayed it reveals white paper underneath.  So take the time to get good coverage on your image.  Once ALL images are inked up, set aside for later.  I put mine in a sandwich bag, to keep the ink from getting on anything it shouldn't!  Especially if you make these cards in stages.

Inking this is optional, but it really ads to the shabby feel of the card.
Here and below, you see one example is inked, and one is left plain.

Step 5.
Open the card package and remove all 40 of the blank cards, setting the envelopes aside.  Ink up the fronts of all the cards.  Use the same technique you did with the images--start on the craft sheet in a circular motion and work onto the card.  It is only important to ink the edges, as the center of the card will eventually be covered up with other paper.  The goal is to make this fresh clean card look old and vintage, so put ink on the front, the back, and the inside of the card.

Inside the card, you will really need to make sure you don't let your inking tool rest too long on the card or you will end up with a rectangle on your card.  The sentiment will be stamped inside in a later step, so you may want to "frame" that area with the ink.  OR you may just want to add a light layer of the ink in various places, to give it that antique feel...similar to aged paper that has been in a trunk for 50 years!

Step 6.
Ink the envelopes.  Use the same technique as above.  Set aside.

Step 7.
Emboss your glossy paper at this time.  There are many lovely embossing folders with Christmas themes.  Snowflakes, words, and other images look nice behind the collage on your card.

The glossy background will look nice against the image here!

You now should have cut out 40 rectangles, cut out Christmas images, inked up the images, rectangles, cards, and envelopes and embossed your glossy paper.  Once all these steps have been completed, you are ready to assemble your cards!
Tomorrow is the fun part!  We will be using all of these images and paper, plus the items from your supplies list. So gather up your buttons, ribbons, lace and other ephemera and we will put the card together in Part 2. (Tomorrow)

You are going to be busy preparing these cards, but it will be worth it!  So, until next time,
Happy Creating!