Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Giving Thanks

I am thankful that I didn't have to get up and go to work at 5:30 this morning. Instead, I woke up at the regular time and then played with my toys. I made a set of Christmas cards for my daughter, Grace. "Peace" was stamped with jeans distress ink and then clear embossed on SU  shimmer paper. I wish the nice and quiet Ranger heat tool worked better for embossing, but it just doesn't seem to get hot enough; my dog hates the noise of the other tool and tries to attack it when I turn it on. The snowflakes were inked with distress stormy and then spritzed with pearl mist before stamping. The image was cut from decorative paper and cardstock using my cricut (I think it was the "Groovy" cartridge that I picked up at Walmart for $15). I spritzed this too and added a bit of bling before popping it off the card with dimensionals. The envelope was stamped and then spritzed with blue storm mist.

Kitty shared her pattern for making a very elegant "Tree" box. I will post a picture as soon as I finish. I can't believe that she cut out everything for us. Elaine also showed us her new "smash" book and it inspired me to challenge our group to make one only using supplies that we already have. We can't buy anything, but we can shop in a friend's stash. (Stop whining; I know it's time to get ready for the holidays, but it's my role to lead you on new adventures!)

I also worked on a new storage book for my Nestabilites die cuts. I have had them in CD cases, but these slide all over the drawer. For my new storage I used an idea from August when I created Anita's birthday book.  First, I covered one side of a piece of 5 x 5 1/2" cardboard with paper (one that I received on our cruise) and the other side was covered with an adhesive magnet sheet. Before gluing on the paper, I inked the edges of the cardboard with corduroy distress stain - it went on fast and covered it perfectly. I am using binder rings so I can add pages if (when) I buy more die cuts. The title letters are cardstock covered with glossy accents. Anita uses this technique all the time, but I haven't had much success until I used the tiny bottle of glossy accents - it is much easier to control the flow. Now I want to make another book for my other thin metal dies; but I am thinking that it will have to be larger.

Be sure to check out the Charms page; our November "Bird" swap finally came in and are so pretty. I love seeing the variety of materials that everyone uses to interpret the theme.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Christmas Cards

I did it - finished the third set of Christmas cards - and it's before Thanksgiving! I used a new stamp set from Hero Arts called Holiday Cheer that I bought when I picked up the another set that Claire had ordered for me. This stamp set comes with matching dies. I cased the design from the Hero Arts site using SU Shimmer cardstock, matted on black and layered onto a Kiwi card. The white was masked (I love using the Eclipse masking tape) and the blue was done DTP using Tumbled Glass Distress Ink. Before removing the mask, I spritzed the sky with Perfect Pearl Mist in Turquoise. The trees were inked in Celery and rocked onto Wasabi before stamping onto pieces of shimmer cardstock. The trees were then cut with the matching dies and embossed with iridescent powder. A glue line of iresdescent glitter was added at the horizon. The larger tree was glued down and the smaller tree has a dimentional dot to raise it. The verse was stamped in black and a small crystal was added to the "o." The two snowflakes by the words were stamped in Cool Caribbean .

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I had such a nice time sharing my excitement for using Distress Stains last night at stamp club and really enjoyed seeing all the groups' wonderful Christmas tags.

Recently, I picked up a new Hero Arts Christmas stamp set; I just couldn't resist (remember this blog is about my obsessions). I love the crisp, clean look of this set: Merriest Christmas Wishes and it has a nice collection of verse. I stamped the image in Distress Stormy Sky on white. I looked nice, clean and crisp, but.... I had an idea. Many of my recent projects get thrown into the "box" to get spritzed and glitzed so... First, I inked the image with Stormy Sky,
then I spritzed (twice) a flourish background stamp with "pearl" Perfect Pearls Mist. Remember to shake until all the color is suspended before spraying so the nozzle won't clog.
Next, I "kissed" the inked image to the spritzed background stamp and then stamped the image on white cardstock.

I really love the "stormy" look that resulted. A bit of red marker and a coating of glossy accents for the bird, plus a few more finishing touches and another set of Christmas cards are ready to share with friends. I find that my attention span for making a stack of cards is limited to about 20 cards. My goal was to have three sets done by Thanksgiving. Yes, I know it's next week-this makes two sets done.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


While waiting for our children's arrival for my husband's birthday celebration dinner, I played with my distress stains to get ready for my demonstration at the St Augustine Stamp Club on Monday night. These stains are great; I love all the colors (and white), how they are translucent, give quick, fast coverage, are softer looking than distress ink pads, and how they also blend and react with water. Prime the tip by pressing gently onto a craft sheet. Squeezing the bottle when pressing down releases more ink and gives more color saturation. Don't worry about transferring color from one bottle to another, just press on your craft sheet and release more ink to "wash away" the extra color.

Following are ten ways that I love to use distress stains (and of course, pearl misters):
  1.  The best way to color punches and delicate die cuts. Scroll down the tag page to technique #6 on November 8th, to see the snowflake punch and as well as the delicate Memory Box flourish behind the flower from the tag technique #4 on October 25. 
  2. If you have the need for a speedy card, pick up a piece of Tim Holtz's kraft resist and stain with any distress ink. I know that it looks too dark and streaky when the ink is wet, but the color lightens and blends when dry. You may need to lightly wipe the ink off the resist area. Remember that the lightest colors (like sage and lavender) don't show up well on kraft paper. The darker colors (like sapphire and pine) will show up the resist design better and the medium colors (like lipstick) will highlight the black line designs. The card to the right used sapphire blue.  I used heirloom gold mister over the resist paper that just doesn't show up in the picture. The Holtz text is embossed with a midnight/metallic powder that's really pretty.
  3. Don't forget to dye the trim to match your card. Last week I showed several cards embellished with dyed to match Holtz trim. Remember that colors can be blended to create custom colors. You can mist with water or spritz to lighten or blend color more easily. If the color is too dark, just blot with a cloth.  This pink card is also made with kraft resist that has been stained with lipstick and misted with heirloom gold. The Holtz trim is stained with linen and misted with heirloom. The black line images are easier to see on this lighter color. The rose colored 3-D flower is die cut and the white one was from my stash. The white one was tinted on the edge of the petals with lipstick. Both flowers are misted with gold, and the edges are embossed with aged gold embossing powder from Stampendous. (It is my new favorite). The leaves were cut using a circle punch, stained with sage, and embossed on the edge with aged gold. The ticket was crushed and flattened, inked with a blender tool using linen on the edge and rose across the top.
  4. See the tag page for Technique #4 on Oct 25 for an explanation of how stains can be used to watercolor an image embossed on watercolor paper.
  5. While you are looking at Technique #6 on Nov 8, there is an explanation of the embellishments that use rock candy crackle paint and stains. Bet you can't make just one!
  6. Stains make great backgrounds. For this next tag to fit on a card, I first cut off an inch and saved it to use for the verse. For the main part of the tag, I swiped on jeans and picket fence (don't forget to shake picket fence before using) onto a manilla tag. I didn't try to get it even, I left some background showing because I think it add more texture and interest. Next I blended jeans around the edge and let it dry throughly before the next step. White emboss a background (this is a new one from Hero Arts). The next step is to spritz; for this card I used kiwi. I also added a new reinforcer in sapphire covered with glossy accents.
  7. Notice the small punched trim to the right of the tree image; this look was achieved by using the picket fence on the same green as the card base. (Remember to shake the white before using it) Since the white color is transparent it lightens the original color. This is a great technique to use to alter a patterned paper that is too bright.
  8. The tree image is created from stamping with a pearl paint dauber on sticky back canvas. Let it dry throughly and then add stains; I used jean, pine and peeled paint stains. It won't look too good but don't give up yet. Spritz several times with misters (kiwi) and let dry. Fringe the edge, peel off the backing and adhere to the card front.
  9. The words are embossed on a stained piece of the trimmed off tag that has been colored with jeans, pine and peeled paint. The stains work great to color the edge of cardstock that has been trimmed and shows the core color. This works well on the edges of chipboard when making books, or the edges of grunge board die cuts.
  10. You can also stamp with these stains. They make it easy to dab on color just where you want it. you can go over sections with a water brush to move color around, blend or fill in parts of the images.
You can check out Tim Holt's blog to view his video. He starts by comparing different distress inks and then shows some great ways to blend colors. You can also go to the Ranger site to print out a blank color chart. Elaine found this site and it also has a video tutorial.

    Sunday, November 6, 2011


     I spent some time this week getting inky. At our weekly "Cult Meeting" this past Tuesday, Anita shared the first row of techniques from the Jennifer McGuire online inspiration sampler. She brought supplies for us to make samples of our own to staple to our directions. I was insprired by the "Kissing" technique; one I haven't done in quite a while. I cut up a page of glossy paper into ATC size pieces and pull out my distress inks and then I played with various color combinations. Check my Stamping page under Nov 6 for more examples and directions. The backgrounds are lots of fun and addicting - you just have to make one more!

    Putting these pieces into cards was just as much fun. Don't you just love the embellishments? These were just as addicting to make. This is a Tim Holtz technique from the same class (he was a guest artist). The ribbons were dyed with distress stains and spritzed with pearl misters. The card backgrounds were sponged, embossed, distressed, blended and spritzed.
    I was having so much fun making embellishments, that I also made a tag to share at our meeting this week (as well as for the St Augustine Stamp Club Christmas Tag challenge). Check out directions on the Tag Book page under Nov 8.