Ombre Lotus

Did you ever have one of those winters when you catch every bug that's going around? That's me this year; nothing serious, just enough to keep me away from my craft studio too long! So I'm playing catch-up with some of the latest CAS challenges I wanted to join.

Altenew Lotus stamp set; My Favorite Things Delicate Pretty Poppies sentiment

Today I'm playing along with the monochrome challenge over at Less is More and the Ombre game at AAA Cards. 

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This time I made a square card. I started with a 3.75" x 3.75" square of 300 series watercolor paper and stamped the lotus image with versamark. Then I heat embossed with white embossing powder before watercoloring with shimmer paints. I embossed the edge with a generic square frame and added a few clear Nuvo drops to the petals. Then I held my breath and put a few spatters of the same purple watercolor paint around the flower.

I mounted the watercolor on a 4.25" x 4.25" card of Neenah solar white that had been partially embossed using an embossing folder from Stampin' Up. The sentiment is from My Favorite Things Delicate Pretty Poppies set, which I'm afraid is no longer offered. I stamped that in Versafine Onyx to get the best detail.

Thanks for looking!

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Sending Cheer

Honey Bee Stamps "Ocean Bliss"

One of the most satisfying things about making cards is sending them, I've finally realized. I couldn't figure out why I was having such a difficult time being inspired until it hit me that I hadn't sent a card to anyone in over a week. The thought of sending a card or two made me happy, so I got busy and joined SplitcoaststampersSplitcoaststampers' Teapot Tuesday challenge for the first time. This challenge uses various photos of teapots as the main inspiration for a card (although you may use other sources of inspiration) that will be sent to the week's chosen recipient. That person's name and story have been submitted by members.

This past week the the recipient was a little girl who has had heart surgery, and faces several more. She comes from a large family, and her siblings' names were also listed, along with a favorite cousin. Several teapots were presented, all with figures of cats on them. Since I don't have any cute cat stamps, I took my inspiration from the colors of one of the teapots and chose a mermaid stamp set from Honey Bee stamps for my card. As the grandmother of four girls, I know mermaids and lots of bling never go wrong!

I created the background with distress oxide inks, and for the border, which was another requirement of the card, I embossed "waves" with Honey Bee's Ocean Border die. 

To color the image, I used Spectrum Noir alcohol markers and added some shimmer with my Gelly Roll glitter pen. The sentiment if from Sunny Studo's Magical Mermaids set.

Thanks for looking!

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Foil Fun

Last year I bought a set of Foil Mates birthday cards from Gina K Designs after watching her video from the 2017 CHA. I also bought an inexpensive laminator and had some fun making shiny, sparkly cards. I quickly went through my first stash of Therm O Web foil and was left with several small pieces, to add to a collection of generic foil pieces I've had forever. The next thing I wanted to try was using transfer gel.

This is my first project using Decofoil Transfer Gel. I started with a stencil, Folk Dance from Simon Says Stamp. I taped the stencil to a piece of white cardstock before applying the transfer gel in a smooth layer using a plastic spatula. Then I let it dry, which only took an hour or so.

Once the gel was dry, adding the foil was a cinch. I took several small pieces of purple, copper, silver, and gold foil and placed them around the image. Then I put the whole thing in a piece of parchment cardstock and ran it through the laminator. Voila! A shimmery collage of color!

I have to admit I held my breath a little, because previous experiments with the older foil have not given the best results. Even in this instance, it's obvious the gold foil transferred best. The results of my unscientific trial? Therm O Web foil did the superior job. 

To finish the card, I diecut the word "Hugs" using CZ Design's alphabet out of metallic cardstock. The sentiment is also from CZ Design. I cut the card image just slightly smaller than a piece of black cardstock from Gina K, adhered them together then mounted using foam tape on my card.

 Thanks for looking!

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Watercolored Iris

Altenew Enchanted Iris stamp and die set

Playing along with the AAA Card Challenge "Die Cuts Only." I thought about this for quite awhile and finally decided to use one of my favorite stamp and die sets, Altenew's Enchanted Iris. I've never watercolored this particular stamp, so it was another kind of challenge for me.

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To begin, I took a piece of watercolor paper and a piece of Neenah Solar White 80#, both cut to 4.25" x 5.5". I then stamped the smaller of the two irises in the set on both papers in Versamark. On the watercolor paper, I heat embossed the image with clear embossing powder. I used the image on the Neenah paper to line up my die, which I then cut and set aside. At the same time I cut the die, I also cut the sentiment twice in white and once in Gina K Designs Sandy Beach cardstock.

Now came the real challenge! I hate to admit that I tried this at least three times before I got the effect I wanted. First I tried it with my Zig Clean Color watercolor markers on wet paper, which did not work for me. More practice needed there. After a second try with  irridescent watercolors I knew I was on the right track but needed a little more guidance. That's when I turned to May Park's excellent tutorial, which you can view here.

I followed May's instructions step by step and was glad to finally have a result that apaproached a decent watercoloring job!

To finish, I adhered the sentiment layers in the diecut space using matte medium. Then I cut the top panel with Spellbinders Card Creator dies and popped it up on the card with foam tape.

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Sunbathing Snowbird

In Michigan we call residents who go to warmer climates for the winter "Snowbirds," so I thought that was a fitting title for a penguin lying on a sunny beach!

Playing along with Simply Less is More's 7th birthday challenge, CAS Dry Embossing. I love embossing of all kinds, especially dry embossing (no mess!) so I was excited about this challenge for that reason alone. Plus, I wanted to use my Penguins in Paradise stamp set from My Favorite Things. 

MFT Penguins in Paradise, Gina K Designs Kraft cardstock, Darice embossing folder

I was also eager to play around with a type of embossing I'd done once or twice, partial embossing. After admiring Anita's awesome design for the challenge and reading her blog post, I found Kristina Werner's tutorial on the process here and went to work trying to figure it out. 

Her tutorial is excellent, and shows how to make and use a diffuser to create partial embossing. Simple, right? I cut 4 medium-sized ovals from some poster board scraps and stacked them to make my homemade diffuser, similar to Kristina's. This is all I would need to create a partially embossed effect, I asked myself? It seemed magical!

The only problem was that in my enthusiasm to see the result I didn't pay enough attention to the actual final step: putting the diffuser on top of the closed embossing folder rather than inside it, which is what I did.

After several frustrating attempts resulting in fully-embossed cards, I took a deep breath and went back to the video. I still didn't understand how the magic happened, at least not right away, but then I realized that the "magic" happens because the diffuser presses down on one area of the embossed card, raising the rest of the card out of the embossing area. I think this is physics or something.

Here's the diffuser in place, on top of the embossing folder with the card inside the folder. Science at work. Or play, actually, because this was really fun!

I didn't show the actual steps I took in my final card, but here they are. 

I took a piece of Neenah solar white and smooshed on some Distress Oxides in Salty Ocean and Wild Honey before I did the actual partial embossing. 

I adhered that to some Gina K kraft cardstock, which I thought gave it the suggestion of sand, using some foam tape for dimension. I stamped the sunbathing penguin in Versafine onyx ink then heat embossed it with clear embossing powder.

For the penguin's sunburned belly, feet and cheeks I used a little Distress Oxide in Worn Lipstick, then colored the rest of her with Spectrum Noir alcohol markers.

The die cuts for this set are on order, so I fussy cut the little penguin and propped her up with a few foam dots. 

The sentiment was also from this set, stamped on black Gina K Designs cardstock and heat embossed in white.

Thanks for stopping by!

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February Inspiration Challenge

Looking ahead to spring, I wanted to make a simple card for Altenew's February Inspiration Challenge, which features a beautiful floral bouquet. Although I'm not proficient with colored pencils, I thought this was a good opportunity to hone my skills. This was a pretty bold attempt on my part,  considering that the inspiration was a gorgeous card by the amazing Debby Hughes, but I stamped and colored on!  Besides, I've been looking forward to using the awesome pencil holder that my hubby made for me!

To begin, I cut a piece of Gina K Designs Pure Luxury kraft cardstock to 4.25 x 5.5. I then stamped the floral image from Altenew's Charmed stamp set using Versamark ink and heat embossed the image with clear embossing powder.

Altenew Charmed stamp set, Gina K Designs Kraft cardstock

Using Prismacolor pencils in Poppy Red, Carmine Red, and Crimson, I colored the largest flower. I wanted the smaller flowers in shades of pale coral, but since I didn't have that color in my collection I decided to use some peach tones. The smallest flower was actually done in Cream and Light Peach.This is where I felt my pencil coloring skills needed a little practice. Since watercoloring is something I've done much more, I'm used to leaving white space for highlights. I'm going to try to do that more with my pencil coloring and see if I like that effect better.  

The leaves were easier to color, just a touch of Apple Green with some shading done in Dark Green. I used Goldenrod for the centers and added a tiny bit of black to the seeds.

Once the coloring was done, I stamped the large sentiment directly on the paper using Versafine Onyx ink (my favorite for just about anything except alcohol markers), then heat embossed it in clear embossing powder. I kind of like the way the original outline of the floral bouquet shows through the sentiment, but if you didn't want that to happen it would be easy to just brush away a section of the embossing powder before heat embossing the bouquet.

I stamped the smaller sentiments on a small piece of Gina K Designs Black Onyx cardstock then heat embossed with white powder before cutting them and adhering with Tombow Mono adhesive, another favorite of mine. 

To finish, I cut the kraft panel using a Spellbinders Card Creator die, which gives it a nice, embossed edge, then adhered it to Neenah cardstock with my Kokuyo dotliner. I think it would also look nice popped up with some foam strips or even a sheet of kraft foam.

I added a few Nuvo Crystal drops and a single jewel from Little Things Rainbow Sparkle mix just for fun.

Have a beautiful day and thanks for stopping by!

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All You Need Is Love

There's a "hidden" message in this card I created for the current AAA Cards challenge, code word "All You Need Is Love." With the help of my husband, a trombone player in his former life, I loosely represented the first bar of the refrain from the famous Beatles song. Can you see it?

As I said, it's a loose representation! There are supposed to be only five lines for a real staff, and I got a little carried away with my scoring pad. This is art, right? The notes aren't supposed to have those little flags on the end (I think they're called quavers), but the stamp from my Lawn Fawn limited edition Friends Forever set was the perfect size! The last note is supposed to be a whole note, which is like an open oval. I had a little, open heart from the same set that I was planning to use, but once I did it looked so tiny I decided to use a larger, solid heart to complete the score. I decorated it with a clear jewel from Lucy's Cards rainbow mix.

I began with a plain piece of Neenah solar white cut to 4.25 x 5 inches. Using a piece of heavyweight scrap paper cut to the same dimensions, I made a mask with a mid-size heart from Altenew's Halftone Hearts die set. Next, I taped the Neenah paper to my craft sheet and the new mask on top. With a sponge dauber, I colored in the heart using Distress Oxide ink in Picked Raspberry.

Once the ink was dry, I patted the image with anti-static powder and started stamping the notes in Versamark Onyx ink. This is where it got a little tricky. In order to line up the notes on the same line of the staff I used my MISTI. The grid paper on the MISTI pad came in handy here, because I just had to move the paper over about one-and-a-half grid spaces, with the stamp still in place, to stamp each the successive image. Once that was done, I embossed the notes with clear embossing powder.

I used my Martha Stewart scoring pad to emboss the staff lines. Next, I added the sentiment, which is from Altenew's Cherished stamp set. To finish, I trimmed the sheet using a frame from Lawn Fawn's Large Cross-stitched Rectangle Stackables die set and adhered it to my Neenah cardstock with a Tombow Mono adhesive runner.

Hope you had fun trying to read my "music!" Apologies to all of you real musicians out there!

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