I love getting real mail in, you know, the mail. Not just circulars or bills. Letters from people who thought of me and then made an effort to do something about it. That is why I love sending mail too. (Plus playing with paper. There is that.)
I’ve been shopping (maybe a little too much lately) and have some new goodies to play with. A grab bag package that I ordered from a Studio Calico warehouse sale arrived and, like all grab bags, it was a mixed bag. Some things I loved right away. Some things went into the donate pile right away. And some things, like this United States die I wasn’t really sure about. I like it but I don’t travel much and couldn’t think of what I would do with it.
But then I picked up this little set of stamps, including the tiniest envelopes ever. Why the heck are things so dang appealing in miniature? I don’t know but my heart went pitter patter when I saw this love mail based set.
The additional piece of this story is that some sweet friends relocated from the Pacific Northwest way across the country to Virginia. And there is a birthday that needed some snail mail love. What better way than to pair these two products? Oh, and then the creative juices started flowing. I don’t know how or when that ah-ha moment happened, but it just clicked and this card design was born.
That tiny envelope sure looks huge compared to the entire United States. 😉
Oh, but there is more. Yes that little envelope actually contains a little card. It isn’t brilliant, but the tiny-cute-factor makes up for it.
The DCWV stack-a-holic challenge for March is going on. I showed you my entry for the layout sketch challenge a few days ago. Today I have my entry for the card sketch.
I loved the rounded square grid layout on this one. I busted out my brand new DCWV watercolor stack. I won this stack as a favorite project winner from last months entry. It is so lovely. The bright summery colors and the pops of gold have me in a happy place.
For the first birthday card I die cut balloons from pattern paper squares.
The stack has sheets of title cards. I cut down this one that said “fabulous” in gold foiling. I added some letter stickers and a stamp to finish off my sentiment. The gold foiling on this stack is really hard to catch in photos. But I gave it a try.
With the leftover balloon shapes, I went ahead and made a second card
I used some gold thread to add strings to the balloons, embossed my sentiment and sprinkled on some sequins. Simple and a great use of shapes that would otherwise have been leftovers. I know two teens with birthdays this month who will love these cards.
And I leave you with a photo of more of the shine factor. I love that this stack included the black as a very high contrast to the bright bold colors. It was the perfect mix for these festive cards. I understand that this stack will be available soon from JoAnn. So put it on your wish list for your next trip to the store.
I teach a card making class for kids. We are having a Valentine’s Day party this week so they can exchange cards. I decided to also give each student a Valentine from me. However, I didn’t get to work on them until the last minute since I wasn’t feeling well this week. I’m not entirely satisfied with the design or execution, but my 9 year old declared them “super cute”. The thought is what counts anyway, right? So the moral of today’s post is: just do it.
These cards measure 2.75×4.25 (I folded a card front size in half to make small Valentine’s).
I added a little sparkle to one of the hearts with a Wink of Stella pen. Hard to show up in this photo. I only did one heart to mimic what is waiting inside…
…this super cutie little monster (from the Monster Hugs stamp set from Simon Says Stamp). I don’t have the die set for this stamp so I just fussy cut this little guy out. The nice thick simple stamp outline made it easy. Adding the little sparkle to the heart made it just a little more special.
I attached all these little guys on a strip of cardstock mounted to pop up this guy when the card is opened. I stamped the “Monster Hugs” sentiment and added some more sparkle to the words. The scribble hearts on the outside aren’t a design match to the simple line-drawn monster. This is the design choice I said I wasn’t satisfied with in the beginning. But adding the faux stitching inside and out helped pull things together just a little bit.
After the busy holiday and CHA season, DCWV is back with their monthly challenges. There is the usual layout and card sketches to give your crafting a design base. Check these sketches out.
And here is my take on the challenge.
I used the DCWV Blue Citrus stack, plus some gymnastics paper and embellishments I’ve been hanging on to for years. My older two kids took gymnastics when they were younger and I never scrapped any of that adventure. Now that my middle & youngest are (back) into gymnastics, I can pull that product back out!
My least favorite paper in the Blue Citrus stack was that geometric paper I used for the background. I thought it an odd addition to such a floral driven collection. But I think it worked perfect for a page. The hard geometric lines remind me of the structure of the gym equipment, especially the balance beams. The florals and curves soften out the layout with the idea of grace and music that gymnastics incorporates.
And now, I have one tip for you on this layout. One of the gym embellishments I pulled out was this “Perfect 10” brad.
But the color and distressed look was too harsh for this layout. So I took the idea, and parts of the embellishment, and altered it to fit my needs. I pulled off the epoxy top layer & sticker. I punched a circle from the same paper I used for my journaling and stamped a “10” on it in a lighter ink. I added this back onto the brad and found in my stash an epoxy circle that just fit over to make the brad look almost exactly as it was to begin with. It just has a new toned down color that fits a bit better.
And now on to the card…
I used the Stencil DIY stack for this one. Even the card base is kraft paper from the stack, cut to create a large 6×6 card. To create the circle, I heat embossed the little hearts over a white pattern paper (using the heart stencil and clear embossing powder). I then inked over that with pink ink. You can still see the pattern even under the ink. I then used a pen to outline a few hearts to add extra layers to this simple card. It is a nice effect. Add a few more hearts and it is done.
I am so excited to say that I was invited to submit projects to DCWV for their CHA 2016 booth! I ended up submitting 5 projects. I was provided with the products to use for their “existing product” displays. While I was was compensated for these projects, I happily use their products anyway and was glad to showcase what I could do with some of their products I haven’t used before.
This was probably my favorite. I used the DCWV Insta Photo Fun paper stacks (4×4 in size!). I had a white + foil stack and a kraft + white-print stack. Using the back side of the kraft paper gave me some rest from all the pattern. I used my punches for the circles and fairy wings and my silhouette for the title and fairy dress. I also used some ink to change the white paper into colors that worked for the layout. The foil resists the ink, so you get lovely colorful foiled papers. Add in some some silver thread to the fairy’s dress and that finishes it off.
The second project used the DCWV 5×5 notecards. Just using punches and layering, I used DCWV cork and foiled vellum 6x6x stacks to bring a focal to the card. I punched the card edge and added more layering with the vellum. This allowed the sentiment on the inside to peek out for added dimension. Add in some twine, gold thread and Blue Moon seed beads and the card is nicely finished.
As soon as I was asked to use the pre-made burlap cards, I knew I wanted to add in stitching! And what better way to accent stitching than to add in some Blue Moon seed beads. I had some DCWV white-core cardstock out on my desk from another project, so I sanded it down and ran it through the printer. I sanded it both to get some texture of the white core peeking through and to get the ink to adhere to the cardstock! Cut out and back that sentiment tag with a little vellum. Punch some holes in the layered tag and tie it with a bow to the project using the loose thread ends from the stitching. Pretty.
I used the DCWV 5×5 kraft pre-made cards, vellum, cork and printed kraft, and stencil stacks to pull this card together. While it used a number of differing stacks, you can see how all these products work nicely together. I used white acrylic paint for stenciling the stars and hand lettering the sentiment. I used ink to change the kraft color of the printed stack to create a “washi” tape look. A bit of gold thread and gold ink spray was used for a sparkly pizzaz of a finish.
And the final project gave the most oomph out of just cardstock! The frame I painted with white acrylic paint giving it a white wash then a layer of stenciling using the DCWV stencil stack. Punches and the Silhouette, gave me many lovely flower petals. Then it was just layering, layering, layering. A strong glue (Ranger matte multi medium) made the flowers sturdy. Add a little bling with the Wink of Stella pen and some Ranger Stickles gave a nice final touch.
I add color mediums to waterproof surfaces often to allow me to pick up the color easily with paintbrushes. There is always color leftover when I’m done using it. So I spray extra water over the color and basically mop it up with a scrap of watercolor paper. I learned this a while ago from someone. And I’m glad I did. The results are always different and unique. I save these pieces to create other items out of, like punched or die-cut shapes. Often my scraps are small. But this time I found a couple of pieces large enough to be card front layers for some birthday party invitations I made. They gave a perfect dreamy background to go with the floating balloon card.
I subscribe to the Splitcoast Stampers YouTube channel. Most of the time the projects over there are not my cup of tea. But this recent video had me so excited. Mix watercoloring + technique tips. And bam. I’ve just CASEd (Copy And Share Everything) my Christmas cards for this year. The presenting artist’s skills are certainly more advanced than mine, but I think I I’m learning quite a bit as I go. Check it out.
I used twinkling H2O’s watercolor paints for the ornaments to add some sparkle. Picking up glimmer on camera can be tough and my photography skills aren’t at that level anyway. So just imagine the subtle shine these ornaments have!
Check out the video and see if you can level up your watercolor painting skills.
This card was a challenge entry but it was also intended for my middle kid to give to her teacher. Only problem? She wanted 5 exactly like them to give to all her teachers. I didn’t have 5 more apple wood pieces or more leaves or more…
What to do? Adapt the idea to something duplicatable (and this original card gets saved for another time). Here is how we made cards in bulk.
We kept the circle atop a green vertical strip. But we scaled our card to fit a single circle with the die cut leaves (Tim Holtz tattered leaves) and apple stamp (older Stampi’ Up image). Ink was added to the cork leaves to add some color and dimension. Simple adaptations to satisfy a little perfectionist tendency!
Last year I started sending in card donations to the Caring Hearts Card Drive. This event is put on in part by Jennifer McGuire. She and some other lovely ladies collect holiday cards and organize their distribution to nursing homes in the U.S., Canada and Australia. These cards are used to bring cheer to the elderly in nursing homes who don’t have any family to visit for the holidays. I can’t imagine being so lonely and my heart aches. I’m glad that I can do just a little bit of something for someone else. I know when my kids are grown I will spend more time volunteering in person, but for now this is what I (and the kids!) can do.
My students from the card making class I teach helped out with this project too. Together we made 22 cards to send in. Take a look at the lovelies that I just put in the box.
I used the wonderful Lawn Fawn Winter Fox stamp set. This is one of their small format (read affordable!) stamp sets and it is so friggin’ cute. I went with a watercolor technique for this. I inked up the stamp using markers of various colors and with a water brush I started softening the outline and pulling the color into the image. I scribbled a bit of extra ink onto a plastic sheet and picked up that extra color with my brush when needed. I used that extra color to add dimension to her nose, inside her left ear and under her chin. I also added more color to the rim of the coffee mug to make it pop a bit more. I got it a little too wet and my brown coffee color bled a little. But oh well. That is life with watercoloring. Notice the white around her mouth and each eye, next to her scarf and in between her legs? That white space actually adds dimension and makes the image less flat looking. When going with watercolor, less can sometimes be more. And just to show you what I mean, here is the original cutie.
See how one dimensional it is by itself. But adding water color is like magic! Plus adding some sparkle. That is like magic too. Did you notice in the last photo there is just a hint of sparkle in the steam? I used a Wink of Stella clear glitter brush pen to add that little touch. It is hard to photograph but in person is is just a little detail that adds so much fun.
And now for a serious message…
I encourage you to make some crafty goodness to brighten someone else’s day. You don’t have to donate here, but some ideas include: your local nursing homes, Meals on Wheels program, senior center, homeless programs, Ronald McDonald House (they provide cards to families while children are in the hospital), Boys and Girls club and many more. Take a look around and see where some happy mail can make a little difference in someone’s life. Cards are certainly great, but go one step further. Cards don’t fund these programs to provide all the help these folks need. When you drop off some craftiness also consider making a cash donation. Even just $5. These programs can’t do all they do without good old fashioned money.
I hope you all are surrounded by love and family, warmth and safety as the holidays approach!