Sunday, June 30, 2013

if you're on instagram... may have seen these already, but it's been awhile since i did an "all instagram" post, and having got some pretty good shots up on the high line in new york city the other day, i can't resist piling them all together!

based on my instagram feed, you could be forgiven for thinking i either work for IAC or am stalking frank gehry, but i just never get tired of photographing this building. 

on this particular trip i was lucky enough to have lovely husband jeff with me. he is emphatically not a person who loves cities, but being one of the nicest men alive, he will occasionally come to new york with me, as a special treat. 

seriously. i NEVER get tired of it.

for my part, i try to be a good hostess on these occasions, and choose activities that i think he will most enjoy, or at least, that he will not actively hate. i *KNEW* he would really love the high line... and he did!

the empire state is hard to beat for iconic new yorkiness

this being jeff's first trip to that amazing and creative park* you would think that i would've taken lots of photos of him enjoying the day. sadly, you'd be wrong. i am a bad, bad, wife! :)

i don't know the name of this building, but i love the round chimblies!

here's a shocking confession for you: i don't really like taking photographs of people. for one thing, they move around, which i find challenging... i have a hard enough time capturing an image i like of stationary objects, lol!

this huge sculptural installation by el anatsui is hung on the side of a building bordering the high line, and is made of rusted metal and mirrors; it's called "broken bridge ii" and looks completely different now than it did six months ago.

i don't even really like to take traditional landscape pictures either, though, and often hear the complaint that you cannot get any sense of context from my pictures. but i figure if you want to see what the whole high line looks like, you can google it; because let's face it there are guys with cranes and helicopters and elebenty millimeter professional lenses that have already done that job waaaaaaaaaay better than i ever could. 

it seems unlikely that these dinner-plate-sized puffballs are actually martian dandelions, but they sure do look like they could be. the estimable missus trash opines that they may be alliums, and a quick googling seems to support her view!

what i do like is to frame little macro bites of one thing at a time. a couple of flowers, an interesting turret, some tree branches against a pretty patch of sky.

these flowers look like black-eyed susans... except PINK! :)

on this same new york trip the other day we also visited the rubin museum, where one of my favorite current exhibits was a group of pictures of the most beautiful and desolate burial shrines in the desert of northern china, by a photographer called lisa ross. in one of the descriptions of the work, she refers to the photographs, which are, i suppose, technically landscapes, as a series of portraits of these sacred places. and i thought, "she's right! that's EXACTLY what they are... and that's why they are so amazing, too!"

some of the flowers on the high line are as architectural as the surrounding buildings

i love the idea of photographing something that's big and outside and inanimate... but doing so in an intimate way. and if you have an opportunity to visit the rubin before the middle of july, you should definitely check out lisa ross' uyghur photos!

a few birches in the gansevoort woodlands, at the end of the highline. the first time i visited, i could actually peer OVER THE TOPS of some of the "woodlands"! :)

and now i need to go and tidy myself up, because we are expecting a couple of strippers to arrive here at the house in about an hour! :) :) :) no seriously, we really are! ok, yeah, technically they are FLOOR strippers, and coming to talk about refinishing the hardwood in our entryway... but that doesn't sound nearly as exotic, does it, lol?! wish us luck, darlings, we are hoping for a cost estimate that comes in under infinity dollars! i fear we may be slightly optimistic in this, but i'll let you know! ♥

*the high line is a uniquely lovely urban park garden built upon a mile or so of disused elevated freight railway line that runs above tenth avenue through the meatpacking district in manhattan. they have an excellent website, on which you can read more about it, btw. :)

Friday, June 28, 2013

a card that looks JUST LIKE the picture in my head!

dontcha ♥LOVE IT♥ when that happens?! you have an idea... you work on it... and it materializes almost exactly as you pictured, or maybe even a teeeeeeeny bit BETTER?!! it's crafty heaven, am i right?! :) in this case, the card is my second hybrid effort in our ♥JINGLE BELLESdigital challenge, for which my lovely friend gina is our special guest star!

for the first card of this prompt, i printed out a bunch of digikit elements, to show how such items can be used EXACTLY like "real" supplies. but this time, i wanted to focus more on the way that digi-stuff can be used differently than actual supplies; for one thing, in terms of collage, you are spoiled for choice since you can change the colors and opacity levels of each individual item used! which means that you have almost infinite options, even with just one set of supplies. and of course you have infinite "do-overs" as well, because anything that doesn't work out can be undone with a keystroke. pretty awesome, right? let me show the card, and then i'll talk a little bit about what i did:

digital elements: paper: snowy mapprints no1 by anna aspnes; brushes: see-through snowflakes by rhonna farrer; snowsprays no3 and hipster plume edgers and frames by anna aspnes; chrsitmas magic and joyful christmas magic by vera lim; letterbox christmas overlays no2 and one-word challenge freebie ("joy") by katie pertiet; software: adobe pse9; "real" stuff: patterned paper: glitz designs; sparkly snowflake stickers: martha stewart crafts; brads: my mind's eye; ink: colorbox; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, sewing machine
you can see from the supply list that there are quite a few individual elements to this card, which add up to three main components: first, the central (all-digital) collage, which consists of 6 or 7 different brushes "stamped" in various colors and intensities on top of a (digital) map paper, which is printed on glossy photo paper; then the large sentiment as focal point... again a digital element... that one's printed on an inkjet transparency which i layered over the collage, and machine stitched into place; finally there are the real world "finishing touches" that turn this into a card: some grungy grey patterned paper, sparkly snowflake stickers, and a few brads.

i made the digital collage in photoshop elements 9, on my laptop, in the car, on the way to and from a visit to my in-laws' house over the weekend. that scenario represents 90% of my digital compositions, actually; i know it is theoretically POSSIBLE for one to make something similar whilst sitting at a stationary desk, but somehow i never actually DO that, lol! 

do you have a "funny" place to work, or way of working? i'd love to hear about it! i'd also love for you to check out this fun hybrid prompt at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and maybe even play along! 

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

cavalcade of ICADs!

as with last year, i'm not having any trouble keeping up with the index card a day project... and i am love♥LOVE♥loving it again, too! but for some reason, i find it difficult to keep up with the photo-n-post part of the deal. it really shouldn't be hard, should it? i mean, it's only ONE extra pic per day. but somehow, i'm making it difficult. sooooooooo unlike me, lol! :) anyway, i did a big photo catch-up session and here they are, right up to last night's card! can i get a wahey?!

 017: stencils
my only rule for these cards is NOT to stop if i don't like how they're turning out. the first two rounds of stencilling were dull and weird, respectively, so i just kept layering stuff on top. finally, (perhaps in self-defense?) the card decided to start lookin' kinda cool!

018: postage stamp
i really like this one, i'm not sure why. well ok, it's got a vintage stamp, some hoarded ephemera, and i've used my beloved manual typewriter. mystery solved.

019: polka dots, take 1
some stencils, some marker, some patterned paper... nothing wrong with this, but i'm not in love

020: polka dots, take 2
my personal "just keep going" rule is a carry-over from last year; this year, tho, i've decided i can have a second go at any prompt that went awry. all the way up to the sewing, i was still on the fence, but to me it ties the whole thing together.

021: italy
multiple vintage travel book goodness, in all its splendor. and some felt thickers on top. va bene! :)

022: flat but layery collage
it's just paper and rub-ons. ok, a bunch of paper... and a lot of rub-ons, lol. too layery?? nahhhhhhh.

 023: summer
ok, yeah, i went a little mad with product here. but, you know, inna GOOD way! :) :) :)

024: quote
one of my art journaling mottoes: when in doubt, hand-stamp a buddha quote; in this case i wish i'd put the second "happiness" on the other side of the "is", because it'd be easier to read, but other than that, i like it. 

025: owl
i'm really really loving this sort of free-form paper-piecing type style, and this was fun to make. having said that, my owl (whom i modelled loosely after a hambly rub-on) kind of looks like a space alien. i think it's the eyes. yeah. it's the eyes. maybe i should rename this "U.F.Owl"? ok, see, now he looks kinda creepy cool. context, darlings! context!!! :)

it's not too late to ICAD with us... and it's sooooooooooooooo fun! think about it!!! ♥♥♥

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

SOS107: use your oldest embellishment

do you love these "blast from the past" challenges as much as i do? this week at shopping our stash, miss carla has asked us to think back to our very first embellies and then try to use them on a card or project. now i can't swear that any of these particular items will have been the actual first embellishment i bought, but i can tell you with confidence that it would've been prima's "got flowers" or patterned chipboard in some variation. so just to be fair, i've used some of each in my design!

patterned paper: mambi, creative imaginations, sei + a bit of pink packaging; chipboard pieces: sei, making memories, colorbok, heidi swapp, american crafts; chipboard letters: american crafts; flowers: prima; silver beads: recollections; ribbon: ki memories; ink: colorbox; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine
i've got several different chipboard bits here, as you can see, and a couple of them are SERIOUSLY old! i thought it would be fun to sort of stack them up, and as it turns out, i think i was right. :) something else i've never done... but will totally do again... (possibly over and over, lol!) to line up the smaller paper flowers and then sew them on, like a ruffle. i really like how that looks, and i've still got quite a few "flat" flowers left, so i think this could be a fun way to deplete them a bit.

a few of my SOS teamies have also used flowers in interesting ways, and the rest have... well, no, i don't think i'm gonna tell you, actually. off you go, darlings, to see for yourselves! ♥

Sunday, June 23, 2013

i have a bunch more ICADS done...

...but i haven't photographed them yet, and since another sunday is quickly slipping away, i've elected to post with fewer cards, but sooner. sound good? let's go!

013: super-fast collage
as a figure of some repute amongst overthinkers, one of my favorite (and proudest!) parts of the ICAD project is making a conscious effort to work more instinctively. which sounds like a contradiction in terms, doesn't it, lol?! but for me it's harder NOT to plan, so this "glue-as-you-go" creation coming together in about 10 minutes was fairly awesome!

014: rainbow riot
another 10-minute collage. i don't love the finished product of this one as much... but that's ok... this exercise (for me!) is really waaaay more about process than outcome. plus... POPSICLES!!! :) :) :)

015: circus
speaking of process vs outcome: i saw a really cool idea on gina's blog (she made a background for a vintage illustration) and i had a shot at something similar. mine's NOTHING like gina's, and also, i really don't like how this looks AT ALL... but the exciting part is trying something completely new, regardless of what happens! you should try it!!! ♥

016: the other lady
when i cut things out, i rarely have just one layer. case in point: when i cut out the sewing pattern lady from the super-fast collage, i held a piece of magazine and some dictionary paper behind her. sometimes i use the silhouettes with the original; sometimes they go off and pursue solo projects. this is one of the latter, obviously.

ps: to read all about the index card a day project, 2013, check out the FAQ on the admirable and inspiring daisy yellow art blog! ♥

Friday, June 21, 2013

we wish you a digi christmas!

this week at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ we are lucky enough to have one of my favorite lovely guest stars AND one of my favorite types of prompt, and they are BOTH in the same fortnight, so let's get right to it! our guest is the uber-talented gina cunningham, and the brief this time is near and dear to her heart... (and mine!) ...we're making holiday cards with at least one digital element involved, whether that be as simple as printing and coloring a digital stamp, or as complicated as making a multiple layered collage in photoshop that uses loads of actions, blending modes and digital elements. be as simple or as complicated as you like, just make sure to have some fun with it!

i've got LOADS of digital supplies, but sadly, i mostly use them only when i am making blog headers or other things that will be seen online. apparently, i'm slightly lazy when it comes to making hybrid cards, which is a shame. because they're fun to make, flexible, and so economical... since you can customize each bit, and you only ever need to print what you're actually going to use! for instance, i've been meaning since january to make a card that features the kit i used for this year's JB header, but it took a specifically digi-based prompt to make me actually DO IT. having said that, i really like how this came out:

(digital elements: christmas shopping kit by polka dot pixels + christmas postcard journalers no1 by katie pertiet, designer digitals; printed on plain paper, cardstock and kodak premium photo paper;  irl supplies: patterned paper: my mind's eye, cosmo cricket; deco tape: martha stewart, recollections; ribbon: october afternoon; other: distress inks, doily; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape)
you can see that in addition to using the same ingredients, i stuck pretty close to the layout of the blog header, too. well, i mean, i did DESIGN that, and i think it's pretty decent, and i sort of thought it'd make a nice card. i stand by that decision, lol! :)

when i'm doing a fully digital project (like the header) i spend a lot of time adding drop shadows to give the appearance of depth and texture. when i'm doing the hybrid version, i tend to want to cut things out and layer them loosely; sometimes with a bit of foam tape under the top edge, like this:

and now i bet you'd like to head over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ to see gina's and stephanie's hybrid masterpieces, right? then i hope you will start thinking what you can make when you JOIN US!!! ♥

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

SOS106: geometric shapes

i confess that i had a hard time getting started for this week's challenge at shopping our stash. the brief is to make a project that uses geometric shapes: hexagons, triangles, circles, rectangles... well, you get the idea! for some reason i just went completely blank, and could not think of an interesting way to incorporate such shapes into a card. at all. then suddenly it hit me, "of course!" i said to myself, "it's like quilting!" and then once i had that idea, i had a hard time STOPPING making quilty type cards. (and there you have *ME* in a nutshell, lol!) :)

so here's a set of notecards i made, each using the "geometric" idea:

ok, there are just TOO many patterned papers to list here, and every single one of them were scraps AND quite elderly, so i'm not even going to try. if you see something you loooooove, shoot me an email and i'll try to figure out who made it, k?! :) :) :)

to make these, i used punches and my handy guillotine chopper to make little squares, circles, triangles and rectangles out of approximately elebenty thousand different paper scraps. i inked the edges, tacked the shapes onto a white cardstock base with a gluetape runner, and then when each card was assembled i "quilted" around the shapes with my sewing machine and some nice sturdy white upholstery thread. i'm not actually sure it wouldn't be possible to have MADE A TINY FABRIC QUILT in the time i spent doing these, but they are the kind of fiddly-but-easy job i actually enjoy at the end of the day, so i found them quite relaxing. i think i'm going to give them to my mother-in-law for her birthday, as she is a handmade card fancier AND a quilter, too!

and now i recommend you make a trip to SOS and see the shapely designs of my design teammates! ♥

Friday, June 14, 2013

more (xmas) sketchy goodness!

because the best thing about a great sketch (like... say... the one stephanie drew for ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ last week!) is that you can use it over and over again! so we did! here's my second card:

(patterned paper--mostly scraps: love elsie, bo bunny, reminisce, my mind's eye, pink paislee; red cardstock: core'dinations; rub-ons and dimensional snow globe sticker: imaginisce; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape)
and here's a reminder of what that fabulous sketch looks like:

and now i hope you'll drop in and see us atJINGLE BELLESbecause we'd loooooooooove for you to join our fun!

Thursday, June 13, 2013

more ICAD anyone?

because when you're making an index card a day, they kinda add up! :) 

008: random collage
this might be my favorite so far, it's just three pieces of b+w magazine glued together... (the face of one woman, the lips of another and the eyeglasses and hand of of a middle-aged man) ...with a caption glued on top, but it makes me laugh every time i see it! :)
009: city or map
i did a bit of both, as a way of declaring that i totally *NEED* a city day. and SOON!!!
010: camera
this one is free-hand paper-pieced, something i never tried before, but i definitely will again!!! i used the simple image of a camera from a sadly retired set of hambly rub-ons as a sort of jumping off point, and lots of little blue scraps.

011: ivy
copics and sharpie marker + an index card. = 20 totally satisfying minutes at the end of a long day!

012: sunshine
layers and layers of pencil, ink, crayon, marker, paper, ribbons, tape, tiny stickers... well you get the idea!
so how is your week going? if it's only been "ok" so far... maybe you should grab an index card or two?! ♥♥♥

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

SOS105: use your oldest stamp

it's a blast from the past at shopping our stash this week, we are challenging you to dust off your oldest rubber stamp... and use it in a card or project! awesome, no?!

(stamp and embossing powder: personal stamp exchange; patterned paper: basic grey, glitz design, kaiser, making memories; kraft cardstock: hobby lobby; ink: colorbox; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape)
ok, i'm afraid i cannot *SWEAR* that this is my very oldest stamp, but it's a wood-mounted personal stamp exchange one, and it's from the stamp store that used to be semi-near my mom's house, which means it's AT LEAST 15 years old, so i'm calling it good!!! to make this card, i've stamped it multiple times and *EMBOSSED* which automatically makes it "old skool" as far as i'm concerned! of course, having said that, i actually really like how this came out with the dimensional paper-piecing, so it's not impossible that i might dust off some other "oldies but goodies"! maybe you should, too? :)

in the meantime, be sure to checkout what my teammates over at SOS have done, it's definitely a treat to see! ♥

Saturday, June 8, 2013

ICAD: the rest of week 1

is it just me, or did this week FLY BY??! in my case, i think it was partly because i am having soooooooo much fun making a random collage or other little bit of art on an index card every night! i've been working partially off the week's prompt list, partially with the optional themes, and partially just doing what i feel like doing. and here's what's happened so far:

003: recycle
the base of my card is part of the cardboard carrier from a six pack lovely husband jeff was excited to discover lurking in the "boutique" section of our local liquor dept... i think this represents my first (and so far ONLY, lol!) beer-inspired artwork! :)

004: faux stitching (take 1)
i was delighted with the colorful background i created using water soluble wax crayons... until i remembered... they're HARD to write on top of with pen! i came perilously close to violating my *ONLY* icad rule (do NOT scrap an "unsuccessful" card--just KEEP GOING!) when i thought of rub-ons. i don't LOVE this card, but i'm kind of weirdly proud of it. (this also represents the "rainbow" idea tammy suggested as a possible theme for the week.)

005: faux stitching (take two)
as an addendum to the "just keep going" rule, i decided that this year, if i want to have a second go at some of the prompts, that's fair game; so i did another version of the crazy quilt idea using patterned paper. (and again, it's rainbow-y!) 

006: crown
back to collage for this one: layers of vintage paper, sewing pattern, press-on stickers, ink, etc

007: rainbow
hand cut arcs with real stitching instead of faux; i thought about adding words somewhere, but in the end i decided not to. at least for now.
something i like almost as much as making ICADs myself, is seeing what other folk are doing... especially gina! why not go check it out, or better yet, join in!!! ♥♥♥

Friday, June 7, 2013

oh christmas sketch, oh christmas sketch!

i am always happy to debut a new ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ prompt, but never moreso than we we have a lovely sketch... and it's even better when the sketch in question was devised by our very own miss stephanie. and since ALL of those things are true today, i'm a very happy belle indeed!

here's the sketch:

and here's my card:

(patterned paper: echo park, my mind's eye, dcwv + vintage sheet music; chipboard holly stickers: my mind's eye; sentiment sticker: little yellow bicycle; ink: colorbox; adhesives: staples brand gluetape runner, 3m foam tape, sewing machine) 
and now i hope you will check out the fabulous card that stephanie made, and start thinking about what ♥YOU♥ will link up with us at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

sew trendy

hello and welcome to a project i cannot wait* to show you! it's my card for the let's get trendy now 3 workshop, and since today's trend is sewing, i went all out with my sewing machine as well as a tapestry needle and embroidery floss!

(ingredients**: pink background digi paper (printed on kodak premium photo paper) from "cherry sugar sunshine" by girl friday (which seems to have gone out of print-sorry!); leafy green may arts ribbon; cuttlebug die-cut heart from a scrap of anna griffin paper; white leaf-print mulberry paper from pearl paint; a doily from the dollar store; some polish postage stamps saved from a parcel; vintage instamatic photo sleeve from my fellow "trendy guest designer" miss kirsty; vintage zinna illustration from an old gardening book; vintage crocheted-edge seam binding from a rummage sale; dmc embroidery floss; coats and clarks extra strong upholstery thread; staples brand gluetape runner; 3m foam tape; gluedots; colorbox ink)
my favorite part of this is the hand-stitched HAPPY! it's also the "tip" i used for my part of the "let's get trendy" sewing trend post, so my apologies if you've already read it, but i think it's a pretty good idea: i used my computer to format the word (in "moderne" font) to fit my card and printed it on an inkjet transparency, which i used as a template to pierce my holes for stitching. then i threaded all 6 strands of dmc floss into a #24 tapestry needle, and backstitched across the whole word. (there's a step-by-step tutorial showing exactly how i did this, right below this post, if you need it!) 

the rest of the stitching on this card was done by machine. i went around the perimeter of the instamatic photo sleeve in order to hold the vintage zinnia illustration firmly in there, and also to add a little more interest and texture. i went around the perimeter of the card, as well, just to sort of "outline" the edge; the white thread on the grungy background really adds a lot of contrast. finally, i machine-stitched that cool vintage seambinding to the lower edge of the photo frame by slotting the paper right into the folds of the trim... exactly like you would a fabric creation! :)

here's a slightly larger pic of the collage in which you can (sort of!) see the way i've attached everything. one of my favorite collage tips (i know, i know, i'm supposed to focus on sewing, just consider this a "bonus" ok?!) is to "step back from the edge"! by which i mean: you don't need to always glue all of your layers down 100% tightly! yes, you want enough adhesive to keep everything from moving around, but sometimes you get a really COOL effect by gluing the centers of each piece, while letting the edges stay slightly loose. i especially like that for textural elements like mulberry paper and doilies.  

and now i hope you'll check out the rest of today's trendy sewing projects, as well as yesterday's incredible handmade embellishments the AMAZING sequin ones from tuesday, and the neon awesomeness that was monday! plus, remember that there will be one more trend to go live tomorrow! if you like what you see, don't forget to leave our fabulous hostesses yvonne yam, julie tucker-wolek, and amy tsuruta some love... they have been working tirelessly behind the scenes to bring you ALL THIS TALENT in one place! thanks, you guys, it's been sooooooooo much fun!!! ♥♥♥

*yes, the eagle-eyed amongst you may have noticed that i was soooooo very excited i accidentally set this up for this YESTERDAY... and then had to take it off and wait another whole day until i was actually supposed to post it!  sorry, guys!!! :0

**this is the kind of "product list" i dread because i've used almost all vintage ephemera, so you can't find EXACTLY the same stuff; on the other hand, what's great about collage is you don't NEED to find exactly the same stuff, use what YOU have and it will be both charming and ♥UNIQUE♥!!! 

stitch your own *CUSTOM* sentiment... in ANY font!

having been thrilled and honored to take part in this week's fabulous let's get trendy now (3!) workshop, i created this card which features a hand-stitched sentiment. the best part is, the technique can be used for ANY word, using any font that's in your computer, so the possibilities are literally endless. it's ♥EASY♥ too! scroll down for step-by-step instructions, also check out this older tutorial i did to see a different look!

step 1: format your word
this can be done with any word processing software, including the default "rich text format" document program that's embedded in windows! size the word to fit your project--i would not suggest going much smaller than about an inch tall, but then you want it to be a FEATURE, so big is good! :) pick a couple of fonts that coordinate with your design, so you'll have a few choices. simple lines will be faster to stitch; lots of curves mean LOTS of stitches!

step 2: print your template
this can be done on any paper, but using an inkjet transparency allows you to "preview" your design on your project before you commit to stitching. (plus it can be saved and reused!)

step 3: place your design
this is why i love using a transparency, you can see exactly what you're going to get; if the word is too big or too small or too... anything... you can still change your mind, BEFORE you've done any stitching!

step 4: punch holes
like alton brown, i rarely purchase "uni-tasking" tools, but there is seriously nothing else that works nearly as well as a paper piercer* for this step. and yes, for the record, you definitely NEED the holes! if you don't believe me, try (on a piece of scrap!) punching through with just a needle and thread... how far did you get before the paper wrinkled horribly and then tore? not very far, am i right? as you punch your holes, be sure to leave an eighth inch or so between each one, to avoid ripping.

(a quick but IMPORTANT note about paper: you want to be using something that is cardstock weight, to avoid tearing. if your desired paper is too light, don't worry... just glue it to a bit of cardstock before you begin! whenever possible, i like to work on a separate panel that gets attached to my card or layout at the end of the embroidery process.) 

step 5: embroider the word
i nearly always use back stitch and all six strands of dmc floss in a size 24 tapestry needle, but you can use any technique you prefer. (the holbein stitch is also nice, especially if the back of your work is going to be visible.) hold your paper firmly and pull the needle through as smoothly-- and as straight-- as possible. remember that paper doesn't have the flexibility of fabric, so try not to bend your paper. if your paper rips, don't panic! turn the work over, reinforce the torn area with a couple of layers of scotch tape, re-punch a hole or two if necessary, and keep going. worse case scenario for one or two small blow-outs: patch the area on the back and use a fine tipped permanent marker to add a couple of "faux" stitches; i promise, everyone will be soooooo fascinated with the stitching they will not notice a few tiny mistakes!

(as with anything else in life, this gets easier the more you practice; if you've NEVER embroidered before, you might like to have a go on some scrap cardstock before planning an ambitious project with a short deadline!!!)

step 6: secure the floss
you can run the needle through your work as in traditional embroidery, but since paper IS a lot less flexible than fabric, i usually secure each end with a little piece of scotch tape on the back of my work. speaking of the back: remember that the embroidery floss will create a little word-shaped lump on the reverse side of your work, so consider this when you go to attach the panel to your card or layout. foam tape will compensate for the bulk... or you can machine stitch the panel. if you really want it to lay FLAT, plan to keep your stitching as close to the center of your card as possible, use PLENTY of adhesive at the edges, and a couple strips of doublestick tape placed (gently!) right behind your word will not go amiss!

step 7: high five!
you've just made a unique multi-media project that's guaranteed to impress everyone who sees it, so take a bow, rockstar!!! 

optional extra ideas:

use the same technique with clip art or simple line drawings to add pictures instead of words

instead of a computer-generated template, use rubber stamps to place a design on your project, then pierce and stitch as above; or try a coloring book or iron-on pattern for lots more simple designs

make a transparency template and punch a few "guideline" holes, then use the sewing machine instead of hand stitching, or use a combination of machine AND hand stitches

stitch your design on fabric and then sew or glue it to your project

add french knots or other decorative stitches for even more texture and interest

use ribbon, yarn, or metallic thread instead of embroidery floss

experiment and have fun!

*i love heidi swapp's petite paper piercer, which appears to have been discontinued; stampin' up makes a similar tool; as does bazzill; and probably ten other companies, as well! note: for this technique, you definitely want the stabby needle kind of tool and not the rotary wheel sort!