Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Magical Watercolor Background tutorial

I have a tutorial over on Some Odd Girl blog today on creating magical watercolor backgrounds. I'd love it if you could check it out! :)

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 28, 2016

Garden Thoughts

Today's card features Kraftin' Kimmie Stamps' Bloomin' Wonderful stamp set. This particular image is one of the stamps that made me fall in love with the style, and I've just been itching to use it.

I stamped the image onto some marker paper and colored her in with Copics. I went for light colors and some texture on the ground. After the image was colored in, I trimmed it down and matted it with a piece of grey cardstock.

I kept the rest of the card super simple - just a pretty piece of patterned paper with gray cardstock for matting and a few scattered enamel dots.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, March 25, 2016

Love Lights

It's Friday and it's time for another quick card share.

Today's card features The Greeting Farm's My Sunshine stamp and a love die. I colored the images with Copics and set them against a bokkeh background accented with black cardstock. I kept the card super simple and just added a couple enamel dots.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Watercolor - Space (and review)

For today's project, I decided to break open and use my new Dr. Ph. Martin's Hydrus Fine Art Watercolor Bottles set. I created two cards, using a very similar process but achieving different results. Both cards are also using Mama Elephant's Space Bears stamp set.

The first card uses warm tones. I went for yellow and pink, layering the two colors together over several applications. I haven't played around a whole lot with layering watercolor, but Hydrus watercolor is transparent and lends itself to some great layering. I made sure to dry the paper with my heat tool between passes and I really built up the pink color over time.I like that it turned orange and peachy, too. I also added some splatter with very concentrated color. My method for layering color was to just swirl and tap the paintbrush until I was happy with how the watercolor was laid out. The splatters were made by loading up the paintbrush with color and that tapping it gently with my finger to get the droplets flying -- do this part on a big towel or in a box because that color gets everywhere...

I colored the bear with Copics. I used the same warm yellow shades as the background for his helmet - I think this was a great little touch to make the glass look transparent, even though it wasn't. I could have taken it a step further and added some extra color to match up the background perfectly, but I was happy with just matching up the general palette. I think this is a great little tip in making the character look like they're a part of the background, without needing to do any masking or special paper prep.

For the second bear, I went with a blue theme. I used a combination of a light aqua and a medium blue. I also started just swirling and tapping the color on the background initially, but I decided to make the texture different, so I just added some stripey lines. Since the watercolor was transparent, these stripes are still prominent, but subtle enough to not stick out too much.

I added some splatters of blue, but also used the white that comes with the set. If it's not diluted with water, the white is a relatively opaque color with great coverage - so even if you're not really using the white to watercolor with, you can use it for highlights, splatters and more.

So, let's talk about these watercolors - a little product review. :)

I was fortunate enough to get an Amazon gift-card for my birthday, so picking up this set was an easy decision. It is a bit pricey, as it's artist grade, transparent and lightfast. However, after seeing it in action, I really feel it's worth the price and a very good investment.

You only need very very little of the liquid to achieve a great and brilliant color. So, you can grab the less expensive 0.5oz set like I did, or you can invest in the larger set. I think the smaller set is plenty enough material to work with and practice with for quite a while. And you can also buy the 1.0oz bottles individually - which is a really great option if you have a smaller/fixed budget or just want to replace one color instead of buying an entire new set.

The bottles themselves are plastic and they come with a dropper top, packaged inside a plastic display that the set says can be used as a palette. So, you don't need to buy any other equipment - though you may still want a proper palette to drop and mix your colors. It doesn't have to be a fancy palette, mind you. I used a 1$ plastic white palette I had on hand, and it performed just fine. I left the display as a place to hold the colors for now.

I chose set 1, and it comes with all the essential colors plus black and white. The colors can be mixed together or layered together to create new hues. There are 2 other color sets that have different colors -- they might be a good choice if you prefer more earthy/natural colors or just want to expand the color variety without getting into mixing.

I've only played around with the set a little, but I'm very pleased with how easy it is to use, how well it layers together and how brilliant and vivid the colors are. So, it's a "buy" for me.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 21, 2016

Balloon Tia

Today is new digi release day for Some Odd Girl, and the digi is just irresistible! Meet Balloons Tia -- the perfect stamp for celebrating those happy moments (birthday included!).

I couldn't decide what color to use for Tia's gorgeous dress - pink or purple... So, I incorporated both! To add some contrast, I colored her balloons yellow. Once she was colored in, I carefully cut her out with a pair of sharp scissors, leaving a small white border.

The rest of my card was kept pretty simple. I grabbed a simple peachy wide-striped patterned paper and some dotty vellum to create my panels. I added a die-cut smile (because she definitely makes me smile!) and a scattering of sequins and enamel dots. Voila! Simple, bright and happy.

Head on over to Some Odd Girl blog to see what the rest of the team did with Tia.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Chatty Sunday: Card Sets and Stash Cards

It's time for another chatty Sunday! This week I want to talk about card sets and stash cards.

When I sit down to make cards, I generally make one-of-a-kind cards. This makes cards great to share and write about on my blog, as each card is different and unique. I also often send batches of these unique cards to friends and family for everyday use (and from what I can tell, it's appreciated!).

But sometimes I'd like to gift someone a small set of cards - maybe a set using their favorite colors, or a special theme that's meaningful to them. And that's where "one-of-a-kind" type of card that takes too long to create -- and multiples are just not feasible.

I think a key to card sets is to have a lot of unifying elements -- things like same color palette, similar stamps and similar card design/layout. In addition, I think it's important to plan everything out in advance. That way, the process can be broken into steps that are easier to manage.

One of my biggest inspirations for card sets is Kristie Marcotte's 6x6 paper pad tutorials. If you're not familiar with Kristie, she has several tutorials for making cards out of a complete 6x6 paper pad. I love her concept! Not only does it use up supplies, but she provides readers with measured sketches and a video of the whole process.

Another thing I've noticed is that my "card" stash is dwindling and in serious need of replenishment. I've got no sympathy and no birthday cards left - which is a bit alarming! And my "thank you" card batch is down to 3 cards...

Since I've been bit by the organizing bug, I'm going to spend a little time coming up with a "card stash basics" plan - things like "birthday boy" cards or "elegant thanks" cards will be very useful and I can tailor them to fit with my circle of family and friends. For example, there's a lot of boys in my husband's side of the family, so having a good stash of masculine cards will be great.

I'm super excited about both of these projects, as it should get me to really make use of my stamps. I'm going to aim to create several cards with each stamp set - something I tried with Mama Elephant's Charmed set recently.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Sunny Thanks

Today's card was inspired by an earlier card I created (Sunny Birthday). I used many of the similar elements - owl from Mama Elephant's Charmed set, a chipboard frame and the stencil. But I also made a few changes.

I used a sentiment from Mama Elephant's Many Thanks stamp set, as well as yellow patterned paper orphan. I also scattered a few enamel dots to echo the round sentiment and lined the chipboard frame with a scrap of patterned paper.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Fashion Love

Another mega busy day for me and a quick card share!

This card features The Greeting Farm's Fashionista, one of the stamps from the Super Secret Stamp Club.

I went with a trendy color combo -- brown (wood), teal and gold.

Thanks for reading!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Lavender and Mint - Baby

Today, I have two cards to share using Mama Elephant's Charmed stamp set. Both cards were created with  a baby theme in mind. My palette was somewhat neutral, combining soft purple with mint. I think this combination works for both boy and girl baby cards because it's neither typically masculine or feminine - it's just soft and fresh.

For the owl, I went with taupe and white - adding just a touch of pink to the cheeks and orange to the beak and feet. I also used the cute wreath that comes with the set, colored with purples and minty greens.

I used a similar design for the fox card, going with earthy oranges and white. I made sure to use an orange that wasn't too bright, as it would have clashed with the lavender and mint.

Both cards use the same design, with a scalloped border and patterned paper peeking underneath. I embellished the card with some enamel shapes and added a small congrats sentiment.

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Updated: Supply suggestions

Quite a while ago, I did a short series on must-have supplies for those who are new to card-making. Since then, things have changed a bit -- both in terms of what I use and what's available. Some products got retired, some companies went out of business, etc. I thought it would be a good idea to update my list every 6 months or so and share my new go-to supplies.


For white card bases, my go-to cardstock is Stamper's Select White from Papertrey Ink. It's very affordable (40 sheets for 6$) and it has the perfect thickness and texture.

For white panels, I prefer a thinner cardstock, so I use Neenah's Classic Crest Solar White 80lbs, which I grab from Simon Says Stamp. It's slightly more expensive (40 sheets for 10$), but it's a very smooth and bright white cardstock. It's thin enough to be a good layer, but not so thin that it's flimsy.

For colored cardstock, I buy from: My Favorite Things, Papertrey Ink and Gina K. Designs. The cardstock in all 3 shops is the same high quality, and they feature different colors. I also still own quite a few cardstock packs from Simon Says Stamp - I especially like Lipstick Red, which is a very bright red.

Paper Trimmer:

I still own my Fiskars SureCut Deluxe trimmer along with Titanium replacement blades. However, it does get expensive to replace the blades. So, I've recently invested in Tim Holtz Tonic Guillotine trimmer. The guillotine trimmer works really well and it's self-sharpening. The only downsides is that it's not long enough to create top-folding A2 cards and that it has no locking mechanism -- so it needs to be kept away from little ones.

Patterned Paper:
Since I'm inspired by patterned paper, I have a very huge variety of paper and quite a few must-haves. So, instead of recommending a particular paper pad, I'm recommending a couple of companies that have really good 'basics'. My Favorite Things features simple designs (chevrons, polkadots, stripes and plaids) in a large variety of colors that match their cardstock. Avery Elle also features basic designs (stripes, hearts, etc) matched together in sets -- these are really great if you're not sure what colors pair well together.

For Copic coloring, I use MFT's Hybrid Black and Hybrid Chocolate Brown.

For sentiments, I generally use Versafine Black Onyx ink or Ranger Archival inks, as they both stamp very crisply and clearly.

For colored ink, I have Lawn Fawn inks, WPlus9 inks and Simon Says Stamp inks. They all have the same formula and a different range of colors.

I also have a sticky ink for embossing and some pigment inks, but I don't use them very often.

My go-to adhesives are Tombow Mono Dot adhesive and Plus Honeycomb adhesive. They are both strong adhesives with affordable refills that are easy to use.

For liquid adhesive, I use Ranger's Multi Matte Medium, which dries clear.

For dimensionals, I use the big roll of foam tape along with Scrapbook Adhesives foam squares that I bought on sale. Another great affordable option is from Best Creation.

One thing you'll notice is missing from my supplies list is stamps. I have so many amazing and wonderful stamps that it was impossible to narrow them down -- even the list of companies/designers I love is giant! Instead, I will be sharing occasional spotlight weeks on my blog, where I create several projects with particular stamps/companies.

I hope this list is helpful!

Friday, March 11, 2016

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

ME-Sending Love

Today's card is a very simple and subtle love card, using Mama Elephant's Love from Above stamp, Simon Says Stamp's Sending word die and Avery Elle's Sweet Scallops die. I also made use of one of my favorite papers - a peachy wide stripe.

Things are busy for me, so I'm keeping this post super brief, but I wanted to share! :)

Thanks for reading,

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Sunny Birthday

This weekend was a birthday weekend for me, so I thought it would be fitting to share a birthday card and some bright, sunny colors. This card uses Mama Elephant's Charmed stamp set.

I started by stamping the owl and the banner onto some marker paper. I colored them in with Copics, using a few of the colors I've been meaning to use for ages - a peachy orange, pink and ivory. Once my pieces were colored, I fussy-cut them with sharp scissors, leaving a small white border.

I trimmed a piece of white cardstock and pulled out a starry stencil. I used my mini ink blender and Wild Honey distress ink to add some stars. I went for a gradual effect, layering the color strongly in some areas, but not in others. I matted this piece of cardstock (using foam tape) with another white rectangle that was slightly larger. I adhered both to a yellow top-folding A2 base (4¼x5½").

I grabbed a cute Simple Stories chipboard frame and adhered it down with glue. I added the owl inside the square with foam tape, then layered the banner over the bottom edge.

As a last touch, I scattered a few orange, yellow and clear sequins around the card.

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Pink Thank You

It feels like a lot of my pink cards start with "I don't usually use pink, but..." and that's really funny, because I have quite a few cards with pink in my collection. I think maybe a better way of putting is that pink is not my go-to color. I tend to favor purple,coral and orange more than pink. So, even though I use pink pretty darn often, it's not not what I gravitate toward naturally.

Still, sometimes pink is the only choice - especially when you want to create something very feminine. And that's exactly the direction I wanted today's card to take.

I started by stamping Katie, one of the stamps from The Greeting Farm's Secret Stamp Club with black ink. I colored her with Copics, going for a pink and warm gold theme. I drew inspiration from the Rapunzel card I did a little while ago, but I kept my tones on the reddish side - making her into a bit of a strawberry blonde. After I was done coloring, I carefully cut her out, leaving a small white border.

I kept the rest of the card super simple: a piece of patterned paper and glitter cardstock layered onto a navy A2 card base, a curved banner and simple thank you sentiment. I embellished with a few enamel dots, and that was it!

Thanks for reading,

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Watercolor Birthday

As you can probably tell by my card line-up, I love coloring and I reach for my Copics on pretty much a daily basis. I'm comfortable with them and I can get really cool results - like the elephant from WPlus9's Unforgettable set that you spy on my card. But I really want to get better at other forms of coloring - like with my Prismacolor pencils or with one of the many forms of watercolor I've got sitting in my stash.

Watercolor's kind of scary, though. It's gorgeously fluid and dreamy, but you don't have that level of control you get with Copics. This is both good as it creates very unique pieces that engage my creativity, and bad, as it takes a lot of coaxing to get myself to try it.

In thinking about it, I realized that it was unfair to compare my brief dip into watercolor with years-worth of experience with Copics. I'm sure my early Copic attempts were just as clumsy and odd as my early watercolor attempts. And, at the end of it, I just need practice.

So, I pulled out my Peerless watercolors and dove into making a background. I used a combination of minty teal and purple, and I just randomly plopped color over a wet page. It was far from perfect and I think I did it slightly wrong. But the end result is an interesting background I could use for a simple card.

I paired the background with the elephant from WPlus9 that I'd Copic-colored and a sentiment strip from the same set. To embellish, I stamped a few of the stars from the same set and added some enamel dots and heart.

Thanks for reading!