April 10, 2017

Concord and 9th - One Layer Challenge


Today I'm joining in with the "Where Creativity Meets C9 Challenge", which is the Concord & 9th Challenge Blog.  This week's challenge is to make a (mostly) one layer card.

I discovered Concord & 9th a few months ago through Jennifer McGuire's blog and their stamps and dies are so innovative!  I've had this awesome "Hello Lovely" stamp set (available HERE) for a couple months but haven't shared it here in blog land yet, so today is the perfect opportunity.

I stamped the floral outline image with Versafine Black Onyx ink and then used distress inks with a water brush to watercolor the image.  Then stamped the Hello sentiment and the stamped splatters with the same black onyx ink for a nice crisp image.  I added some white dots to the flower center with my white Signo gel pen.

Then I mounted the panel on to a matching card base for a lovely (mostly) one-layer card!

This stamp set comes with these awesome mid-and half-tone stamps that match the flowers and leaves and they create this faux-watercolor look... very cool.  Haven't tried that, yet, but it's on my list!

Hope you enjoyed today's card - and if you're up for a challenge, why not join in this week's fun, and have a chance at winning a $25 gift card to Concord & 9th!  Click HERE to join in the challenge.

Thanks for stopping by!

~ ellen

March 22, 2017

You Are Pretty Amazing - Color Throwdown Challenge


I've been following Amy Rysavy's blog (Prairie Paper & Ink) for the past few months and got intrigued by the Color Throwdown Challenge, so I decided to play along this time.  The colors for this challenge are orange, turquoise and yellow.

I designed this card a few months ago but haven't gotten around to sharing it yet.  I used several products from the "You Matter" release by Simon Says Stamp.   I got the coordinating background stamp, stamp set, and die.  All linked below.

I started by stamping the You Matter background stamp in tumbled glass distress ink on white card stock for a simple, subtle background.  Then I die cut the word "You" from turquoise patterned paper (from one of the SSS monthly card kits) and stamped the "are pretty amazing" with black onyx Versafine ink, which always gives crisp, clear results.  I stamped a few random hearts around the greeting to draw attention to the sentiment and add a little "love" to the message.

I added a strip of patterned paper which I die cut with a ribbon die by Elizabeth Crafts, and then mounted the card panel onto a top-folding A2 size turquoise card base.

To finish it off I added some glossy accents over the "You" and the hearts to add some shine.

I linked to most of the supplies used below.  Hope you enjoyed this card, and if you haven't checked out the Color Throwdown Challenge yet, head on over and join in the fun!

Thanks for stopping by!

~ ellen

March 10, 2017

Die Cut Coloring Page Cards


I've been looking through some of my older dies lately and came across this great washer border die by Tim Holtz.  I love repeating circle patterns so this washer die really spoke to me.  I was trying to think of a unique way to add lots of color to the die without a lot of tedious work, and once again, coloring book pages came to the rescue!  

I ran it through my Vagabond and adhered it diagonally to the front of a white card panel.  I was able to get several cards out of one coloring book page, but I loved them so much that I've already mailed some of them out to friends before I could take the pictures.

I die due a few sentiments using the Avery Elle "Sentimental" dies from black card stock and placed them at the same diagonal angle on the card front, and stamped the coordinating messages (from the same Avery Elle set) with black versafine ink for a crisp, clear impression.  I love this simple design that lets the colored die cut shine. 

Hope you have a great weekend.  They are calling for SNOW (really??) over the next couple days.  I am so ready for Spring!  

~ ellen.

January 9, 2017

Dimensional Coloring Book Cards


Today I have a few more coloring book cards to share.  As you know, I've been coloring up a storm, and when I completed these pages, they just seemed to lend themselves to adding some dimension, so I got out my detail scissors and did some fussy cutting, added some white craft foam to the different layers, and... voila!

This next set is more geometric...

I'm leaving most of my colored cards blank until I'm ready to send one out, then I just add a simple sentiment for the occasion.

Hope you have a great Monday.  It's C.O.L.D.!!  Stay warm!

~ ellen.

January 1, 2017

Original Sketched Watercolor Cards

Hello and Happy New Year!

I thought I would kick the year off right with a quick blog post.  Hope you all had a wonderful New Year's celebration - I spent the afternoon with a crafty friend making melt and pour candles - the whole house smells like fragrance oils... we used lavender, clean linen, sweet pea and vanilla.  Then had a quiet evening watching the Downton Abbey marathon with hubby - wild times I tell ya!  Hee!

I wanted to share a few finished cards I made recently.  The sketches were done quite a while ago, but I finally finished them with watercolors and turned them into cards.

I did the sketches with a black fine tip pen onto cheap drawing paper (I didn't know at the time that I would use watercolors later... would have gotten even better results using watercolor paper), then used Winsor & Newton watercolors to fill them in, trimmed them down to card size, and matted them with coordinating papers and tiny trips of corrugated cardboard onto a card front.  I will leave these blank on inside and out and let the sketch be the only focus.  Here are a few shots of the individual cards.

First-up, one of my favorite flowers, the California Poppy.

No sure this is an official flower, but it's one of the only truly original flowers that I draw/paint well, and was the basis for one of my flower stamps for PaperArtsy.  You can find it HERE at the Frantic Stamper if you're interested.  Or HERE at PaperArtsy in the UK.

And of course the Coneflower... a classic... this is a super simple version with little detail, but I like it's simplicity.

I've been coloring up a storm lately so I'll have lots of coloring cards to share soon.  Enjoy your New Year's Day!  I "might" need to hit the craft store... just sayin'... :)

See you soon,

~ ellen.

December 21, 2016

Coloring Book Cards


I don't know about you, but I've been a fan of coloring books since I was a kid!  Even before the current adult coloring book craze, I have always had a few coloring books and some good old Crayola crayons on-hand.  But the variety of amazing adult coloring books available these days is pure heaven!  I have a huge collection, but my favorites always seem to be the ones with mandala, and repeating geometric or floral patterns.  I've been building up quite a collection of finished pages, but wasn't sure what to do with them... DUH... card fronts!   

Below I've shown several examples of finished coloring book pages, paired with simple sentiments from various stamp sets from Concord & 9th.  Loving this new stamp company!  Links to all stamp sets below.

Once you have a finished coloring book page, just tear it out (carefully!) and trim it down to whatever size card you need.  I always work with standard A2 size cards of 4.25"x5.5" and I can usually get 4 card fronts out of each page.  I like to leave a border, so the coloring book pieces don't have to be the full size of the finished card.

I like using colored pencils best, but any medium would work - markers, crayons, watercolor paint (if your coloring book is printed on good heavyweight stock). These pages were done using Prismacolor colored pencils.

... and on the inside....

For each of these cards, I traced around the border with a black paint pen, matted onto white card stock, and adhered to a coordinating standard top-folding card. With such busy backgrounds, all you need is a very simple sentiment and you have a finished card!  

... and on the inside...

My linky list was giving me trouble for some of the Concord & 9th stamp sets, so here are some old-school links for you:

Happy coloring!

~ ellen.

December 18, 2016

My Christmas Card 2016


I've been dying to share my Christmas card for this year, but wanted to wait until I had mailed them out so I wouldn't ruin the surprise for those who received them.  I've given it about a week, so I think it's safe to share... I have included links to most of the products used below.

As soon as I saw this "Merry" frame die by Memory Box, I just fell in love!  It's so intricate and detailed - beautiful!  It took me several attempts to find the perfect stamp to use in the background, and I was lucky to find this beauty in my stash.  I've searched and searched for a current source for you, but since it's about NINE years old, I was not able to find one.  It's a gorgeous snowy cabin scene by Inkadinkado.

The first task was to die cut the "Merry" frame 60 times.  Wow.  I learned very quickly the value of a dryer sheet with intricate dies.  If you die cut the dryer sheet, it puts a thin non-cling/stick film onto the cutting areas so your dies just pop right out.  This lasts for about 8-10 die cuts, and then they start sticking again.

Then, I used post-it tape to mask off the border of the die-cut frame, and blended tumbled glass distress ink over the snowflakes, and festive berries over the word "Merry".

Now it was time to work on the background.  I started by creating the blended blue sky, using tumbled glass first, then blue lagoon, then blueprint sketch, and finally chipped sapphire.  It took a lot of blending over 60 card fronts, but it was so worth the effort!

Once the sky was finished, I stamped the snowy cabin scene across the front of the card.  I used the merry frame die cut to assist with placement.

Then I stamped santa and his sleigh in the sky.  This stamp came from the Hero Arts My Monthly Hero card kit for October 2016.  This was the exclusive stamp set from that month, and it is sadly sold out, and the stamp set is no longer available.   I used my Mini MISTI to place the sleigh in the sky and was able to easily stamp it onto the card fronts 60 times in exactly the same place using versafine onyx black ink.  I also used the Mini MISTI to stamp "Christmas" under the word "Merry" from the die cut frame.

I used 1/8" Scor Tape to adhere the frame to the card front, and then spritzed the entire card front with Shimmer Spritz.  I misted each card front 3-4 times from about two feet above to give a very fine mist with no big drips.  This stuff is just magical - it gives the most gorgeous shimmer - like a bank of snow in the sunshine - tiny little diamonds.  LOVE.

I stamped a sentiment on the inside of the card, and "Handmade Holiday Wishes" on the back of the card.  Both stamps are from the Hero Arts Christmas Messages stamp set.

Still with me???

Finishing touch... I used the new Perfectly Penned stamp set by Concord & 9th to hand-stamp the names on the front of all 60 envelopes.  I had used this set the day before with some black ink and ran out of stamp cleaner - I apologize for the wonky color - looks way better when all the letters are pure Christmas RED.)  I hand addressed each card in neat printing for a truly old-school handmade card. (Obviously this isn't my real address.... LOL...)

I haven't sent out handmade cards in several years, and I so enjoyed making them this year.  One lesson I learned... when you're making 60 cards, keep the design as simple as possible... this was a labor of love!  Next year... simplify!  :)

Hope you are all ready for Christmas - have a wonderful celebration with your family and friends.  I'll be posting some other cards over the coming weeks, so I'll see you soon.

~ ellen.

November 13, 2016

Birthday Cards - Clean and Simple

Hello friends,

Today I wanted to share a couple of cute birthday cards I made yesterday, using 3 different stamp sets, some bold patterned paper, and some simple coloring.  

I started with this cute mini stamp set by Art Impressions, which I found at my local craft store.  They come with matching dies.  How can you look at this little guy and not smile?!   I stamped him on some white card stock and used my watercolor pencils and blending pen to color him in, but any coloring medium would work.  I wasn't sure how I would be using him when I started - I could have stamped him directly onto the card panel, but in this case I cut him out and adhered to the panel, which I die cut using the Inside & Out Stitched Rectangle Stax die from My Favorite Things.

Then I stamped out a bunch of these balloons from the Simon Says Stamp Birthday Bits stamp set, and colored them in using various colors of distress ink and a waterbrush, using a couple shades of each color to create a little bit of dimension.  And my new favorite thing (I know it's been around for quite a while, but it's relatively new to me)... the clear Wink of Stella glitter pen!  Love!  It adds just the right amount of shimmer without going over the top, and there's no mess!  

The Happy Birthday sentiment is from Hero Arts Many Everyday Messages, and was stamped using Onyx Black Versamark ink.  I added a glitter heart using a confetti heart punch (Martha Stewart) with glitter craft foam, and adhered the whole panel to some bold patterned card stock (American Crafts - Marine paper pad 6x6), using white craft foam to add some dimension to the card.

I repeated the same design below, but used different patterned paper (American Crafts - #Summer paper pad 6x6) for some variety.  This card would be super easy to mass produce.

I just love how the sun catches the wink of stella shimmer!  Looks like little diamonds.

Hope you enjoyed these two simple birthday cards.  

Thanks for stopping by!

~ ellen.

November 7, 2016

Ranger Altered Mailbox

Hello again friends!

Thanks so much for the warm welcome back to blog land - it was so very nice to be back in touch and hear from some dear old friends.  

During my blog break, I did do a few creative projects, and today I wanted to share one of my favorites.  I made this about a year ago at one of my art retreat ("stamp camp") weekends.  Since moving in to our house 3 years ago, I had wanted to replace the mailbox with one that was easier to get mail in/out.  

We had this style mailbox at our old house and loved it.  I altered that one, too, with some Dylusions stamps and Tim Holtz letters.  Click HERE to see that post.  

This time, I decided to use Ranger's Foil Tape Sheets, some embossing folders, and Ranger's Patina Glazes to create a metal patchwork mailbox.  It was super easy and super fun!  

I started with several sheets of 6 x 12  Foil Tape Sheets and several different embossing folders.  It took a little experimenting to find the right amount of "shim" needed to give a good embossed impression without tearing the thin metal sheets.  I found that two layers of heavy card stock was the perfect amount.  

After embossing LOTS of different patterns, I pulled out my Ranger Patinas in a variety of colors, and started painting on the glazes, setting each sheet aside to dry as I went along.  Once they were all dry, I used black paint to "age" the colors a bit, and wiped back the black paint right away before it dried, leaving a small amount of black in the recessed areas of the pattern.

Then it was time to fit the colors and patterns together on all the external surfaces of the mailbox.  It took a lot of dry fitting, but the results were amazing!  The foil tape sheets have a strong adhesive backing, which made things so much easier.

After all the foil pieces were adhered to the mailbox, I decided that a thin border between each piece would help to further define each pattern, and would make the mailbox more cohesive.  I used a Ten Seconds Studio texture wheel to impress thin strips of the foil sheets and then pressed them between each section. 

I used one pattern on each side of the mailbox, and I have to say, this is my absolute favorite embossing folder, maybe *ever*!  It's by Spellbinders and I have used it SO many times!  

After all the metal was adhered, I sealed the mailbox with Patina Glaze.  This stuff is amazing!  It dries pretty quickly and leaves a super smooth finish without any tackiness at all.  Love it!

If you noticed the clear spinning organizer on my craft desk, you may have seen that all my pen/pencil/brush containers were made using recycled aluminum cans and this embossing folder - I did a rainbow of colors in the same pattern.

I hope this gives you some inspiration for a foil tape sheet project.  I love the look of textured metal and it can be applied to almost any surface.  Cigar boxes, soup cans, art journal or sketchbook covers, and yes... even as the background for a card!  Hmmmmm.... need to explore that a little more! 

Take care 'til next time and thanks for stopping by!

~ ellen.