Friday, October 20, 2017

thinkin' pink

we are still rockin' the entire rainbow of pink at JINGLE BELLES for a very good cause! so whether you like rose or fuchsia, salmon or flamingo, magenta or bubblegum... or heck, maybe you love ALL of those, in which case grab your cardmaking supplies and come play!!!

in honor of such an awesome occasion, i broke out one of my last little scraps of papaya art glitter giftwrap, not to mention some washi, a little ribbon, a big poinsettia, a snowflake glitter sticker and a big honkin' eyelet outlet pearl brad:

sparkly floral gift wrap: papaya art (tho alas they no longer make gift wrap); metallic kraft core paper: ranger; washi tape: october afternoon + little b; glitter snowflake: mme; pearl brad: eyelet outlet; ribbon and flowers from my stash; pink cardstock: core'dinations; silver chalk ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i also got to have a bit of a play with a brand new ranger product that i scored at paper anthology, it is cardstock that is metallic on one side and and kraft on the other... so as you can imagine the possibilities are quite mindblowing:

i employed a fairly busy floral pattern embossing folder, then sanded a bit sporadically. i love that in addition to the shiny unsanded metal and the totally sanded kraft there is a sort of dull silver scuffed metal where the sanding block has been. (apologies bc of course metallic things never photograph all that well, but trust me this stuff is COOL!)

i can imagine adding yet another step --in the form of a little black ink-- which i think could be really cool as well... (and don't get me started on the subject of alcohol inks!) ...but since i wanted the PINK to be the main attraction on this card, i left those experiments for a future occasion.

i was inspired by this week's layout from sketch saturday, though i fear i messed around just a little too much with the proportions to actually do it justice. (sorry guys!) it's a great sketch though:

stephanie has another glorious ♥PINK CHRISTMAS♥ card to show you, why not hop over to jingle belles right now and see that, then come on back to link up your own masterpieces! 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

When my niece Madeline was little, any time she was asked what her favorite color was, she immediately said, "RAINBOW!" Maddie is thirteen now, but I'm pretty sure that rainbow is still her favorite color, and it's mine, as well. So today I have a trio of rainbow cards which feature some of my favorite old and new Eyelet Outlet products.

Have you seen the brand new Pipe Brad Sets? I think they're one of the coolest items in the new Fall Release, because there are just so many ways to use them! Each packet contains faucets, valves, straight pipe and elbow joints, so the combinations are nearly endless. My fellow designer, Susan made this clever card using the pipes and valves and this one that features one of the faucets quite brilliantly. Mine is not as practical, but it has a lot more color, lol! I pieced together a bunch of the pipe segments and had them lead to a faucet that dispenses rainbow swirls which I water colored using all my favorite shades of ColorBurst pigment powders. I added a computer generated sentiment mounted on a mat of Glitter Black Washi for a bit of sparkle.

My second rainbow idea involves a bunch of my favorite Eyelet Outlet Washi Tapes, including: Purple Zig ZagBlue Dots, Skinny Green Stripe, Tape Measure Washi, Orange Fans, Red Dots and just a few of the colors from the Skinny Washi set. I used the same sentiment as the first card, but this time I trimmed it into a little banner shape and added a Heart Brad.

For my third card, I got my ColorBursts out again, and this time painted swirling lines in colors that match the six shades which come in each pack of Crayon Brads. These are no longer in stock online, but I did manage to snag some this summer in the EO booth at Scrapbook Expo, so it's definitely worth a trip if that fun show comes to your town! (I got those fab Gingham washi tapes there, too!)

My top tip for neatening up watercolor accents is to use a very fine-lined black pen to outline each element, then fill in any voids with a coordinating brush pen. I added a multi-color sentiment this time, and called it a day.

The EO design team have been super-inspired by all of the new brads in the Fall Release, so be sure and check the blog each day and see what we are getting up to next! ♥

Monday, October 16, 2017

ink over collage: all the steps

last week when i posted an ink-over-collage mandala for mandala monday, a few people (ok, technically just barb and dawn mercedes) asked if i had any plans to make a video of the process. which is a very sweet and flattering question. but no. at least for now, the closest i'm going to get is remembering to photo all the steps of a project, then making them into a flipagram or a photo tutorial with captions. for this mandala, you can find the former on my facebook and instagram accounts, and the latter right here:

miscellaneous vintage papers
a good gluestick (i like scotch brand)
a substrate on which to build (mine is 5x5" chipboard)
plain white modelling paste and a few stencils
various colorful dye-based ink pads 
fingertip applicators for the inks (yes you do actually need them)
a compass, cup, or roll of tape for making a perfect circle
various pens for outlining (i like faber-castell's pitt artist pens)

(if you decide you'd actually like to try this method, scroll down to the bottom of the post and read the footnotes, 
especially the part about gluestick because it's fairly vital!)

start with your base and a selection of papers that have been trimmed --or torn-- to size. it's a good idea chop off big blank borders and margins. i like to mix text papers with a variety of languages and fonts, some charts, some sheet music, etc.

add the papers one by one, adhering them with a really thorough coat of good quality gluestick, applied edge to edge. i like all of my text to be right side up, and fairly straight, but i don't agonize.

entirely optional texture layer:
when the based is completely covered, choose one or two fairly low-key stencils, and apply them almost randomly. this is a good way to cover any too-dark text, or seams you don't like the look of, or any other "mistakes" you notice after you've covered the base.
(i love the look of the extra texture this gives, but it does make applying color and outlining a little harder, so you might like to skip this step your first time out!)

after the modelling paste is completely dry, sketch out your mandala design with a soft, erasable pencil. (to make the outlines visible for the photos, i've drawn them much too dark.) i nearly always start my mandalas with a perfect circle --or a portion thereof-- using a compass or a roll of tape. i don't mind how messy they get later, but i love that the center is precise.

now comes the fun part: adding color! 
i use the little fingertip applicators you see in the photos, because they are big enough to spread the ink quickly, but small enough for all but the most detailed sections. you'll notice that the various papers take the ink quite differently, so there are lighter and darker patches. if this is going to bother you, stop reading right now, lol! because i haven't found a way to do it better, so i've tried to make it part of the design. the nice thing is, that once you go "a bit grungy" it takes the pressure off having to do anything perfectly neatly! ♥

i always work from the center out. and i like to put colors that play well together next to each other because it's impossible to apply them perfectly, so the edges will tend to blur and blend. which again... once you embrace the imperfections of this method, makes for more interesting looks!

as i'm working, i will occasionally decide i don't like the first choice of a color. in which case i'll correct it by choosing something darker. this time i applied cobalt blue over ultramarine to get a stronger contrast. 

i try not to make collage mandalas too detailed because it's difficult to apply color in tiny sections. i have some sponge applicators for detail work, that i found in the pastel section at blick. (you can use makeup ones, but they tend to be flimsier and they shred pretty quickly.)

when the entire mandala is filled in and you're happy with all your color choices, go back and erase as much of the pencil line as possible. be sure to TEST your own particular eraser on your own particular ink, because sometimes smearing will occur. if you're erasing around modelling paste, you will need a stiff brush to get rid of the eraser crumbs. (if you've used really light pencil lines you can probably skip this step and just ink over them.)

now it's time to add your inked lines!
if you're wondering why i don't do this first, it's because the ink and the sponges can sometimes blur the lines, and i like them to be really crisp and bright. faber-castell's pitt artist pens are my favorites, and i always have 1.5, S and XS sized ones on hand. most of the dark outlines here are the 1.5 which is arguably a bit too much on a small scale, but the bullet tip flows so much better than a metal nib over collage. 

at the very very end i sometimes like to add lines or dots in other colors. i like posca's paint pens for this, but i use them absolutely last and i try to be very careful, because they are much more likely to smear than the permanent ink pitt pens.

et voila!
that is the entire process from start to finish.
if you're still awake, i thank you very much for coming along 
and wish you the happiest monday of the whole entire week, darlings!

footnotes about the supplies that you only need to read if you really want to TRY THIS, or alternately, if you have seriously bad insomnia:

papers: mine are mostly vintage and mostly white or off white; i don't like too much color variation for this, because it gets distracting. i tend to keep the illustrations to a minimum for the same reason. and i try to choose papers whose ink won't get too smeary, though there's always one that surprises me, lol, so i don't get too bogged down choosing.

gluestick: do you really need one? YES. i know, i know, a lot of them are really crummy and don't actually work. at this point, the only mass market brand i'm willing to recommend are the scotch brand (regular or craft) which you can sometimes find at a big box store, but may have to purchase online from staples, or if you're really lucky and have a great lss like paper anthology, the owner may start to carry them just for you! :) you will also need an old magazine or quite a bit of scrap paper because you need to apply the gluestick evenly all over each piece of paper, and take care to coat the edges really well. for which you need to be able to apply the stick out OVER the edges... or i guarantee they will not stick. i save old catalogs and mags to use especially for this purpose, since they let me have a new clean page for each item, thus making it much less likely i will drag the next collage piece through the old glue. (at this point any serious collage artist is horrified that i have not mentioned gel medium, which is what "real artists" use for collage. i actually find it too wet, and thus nearly always use gluestick, especially for this particular method. if you really want three (additional!) paragraphs as to why, send me an email, lol!)

substrate: this collage was built on medium-thick chipboard, but canvas works well, or foam core, or a cereal box, or even just good sturdy cardstock. (it really depends on what you want to do with the collage in the end.)

inks and applicators: i mostly use ranger archival or distress inks because they have the most variety and can be found everywhere, including paper anthology where i teach. but use whatever fairly fast-drying dye ink pads you like best. the non-negotiable part of this --for me-- are the little round fingertip applicators with rounded edges, which i like much better than any other type, especially the inexpensive ranger sponge applicator refills which are admittedly much cheaper and easier to find. (i buy the fingertip ones in bulk and i go through TONS of them because using them over modelling paste shreds the spongey part.)

Sunday, October 15, 2017

(yet another) sketchbook round up

sorry if these posts are boring, but the "experimental" pieces i make late at night are often my favorites, so i feel compelled to make sure they wind up on my blog at some point. this lot is mostly collage, because that's the kind of mood i was in, i guess. there are quite a few roses, as well, since i stumbled upon an envelope of some i had cut out earlier and mysteriously never used. because YES, i save everything, lol, especially if i spent time and carpals on fussycuting! ;)

i am still really into the combination of collage, stamping and washi tape. this might be my favorite take on that method. (ok, maybe the narwhal is still my very favorite, but this one is close!)

just because i've been neglecting my brushes a bit, don't go thinking i've fallen out of love with watercolor generally and colorburst particularly. au contraire. especially rainbows. with doodles.

"glue as you go" is a collage exercise that i love and find extremely valuable. it rarely, if ever, results in a cool finished product. except this time it did.

how about collage plus doodles --with colorburst-- in mandala form? this was my first try at it. you'll definitely be seeing it again though.

whenever i come up with colorburst or gelli print experiments that aren't quite right, i save them for diecutting or fussycutting shapes or patterns. in this case i stamped and grunged up the arch and added torn paper and yes... another rose... (and yes, i'm still loving copper + prussian blue!)

postage stamps + rubber stamps + doodles + markers and liquid metals. oh and there's some washi tape in there, as well. and it's all set on top of an old ledger page.

i still love ink over collage. i love it a lot. especially if there's a mandala involved.
hey lookie there... it's ANOTHER fussy cut rose! this one is on top of a background of random torn papers. with some really light and grungy stamping. with LOTS (and lots!!!) of old, dried out, rub-on transfers that partially stuck to their backers. i still have a bunch of ancient ones left, and i'm really glad i didn't go through and toss out the damaged ones because it turns out i love them in collage form!

i love sunday afternoons, as well, and i hope yours is going especially well!

Friday, October 13, 2017

it's the most wonderful time of the year...

...because today is the day we start the 2017 version of PINK CHRISTMAS at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥! if you've played along with us in other years, you may already know that stephanie and i always devote the first theme of each october to making pink holiday cards as part of breast cancer awareness month, and that for each card that gets linked up, we each donate two dollars to the breast cancer research foundation. and all of that's true again this time, so let's get right to the cardmaking, k?!

there are no rules for this challenge other than the fact that each card has to be newly made, it has to have a winter holiday theme (christmas, hanukkah, solstice, etc) and it has to feature PINK prominently. does your whole card have to be pink? certainly not. can you combine other colors with the pink? o'course! should you have more pink than say two or three baubles on your green tree set against a snowy white background? yeah... that'd be good... but other than that, we'll leave it to you to decide how much pink, what shade, and how to employ it! i've gone with a bunch of shades, from cerise to salmon to the soft pastel shade my sister calls, "sky blue pink", but i've added in white and cream in lots of lovely torn layers. see?

chipboard letters: prima; patterned paper: basic grey, glitz design, fancy pants, crate paper; label die and snowflake embossing folder: tim holtz/sizzix; washi: october afternoon, doily: from my stash; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

i've had the flowery chipboard letters i think since my niece madeline was 2 or 3 years old. because i'm pretty sure i bought them to use in one of her birthday gifts. for those of you keeping track of these sorts of things, maddie turned *13* in may, lol, so these are definitely "older stash" at this point. but i still really like them and i was pretty psyched that although i didn't still have enough left to spell "merry" i was able to pull off "noel"! the rest of the card is older bits of paper, including some of my favorite basic grey grungy solids, a bit of washi, a bit of doily and a little machine stitching. in other words: all my favorite things in honor of my favorite challenge!

stephanie has also made an utterly amazing PINK CHRISTMAS card and you really need to hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and see it right now. then off you go to link up your own PINK masterpiece! ♥

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Down on the Farm

Have you seen the awesome new brads in the Eyelet Outlet Fall Release? There are some really great ones this time, and I confess that the series of farm animals are some of my favorites. There are Roosters, Cow and Goat Brads, and Pig and Sheep Brads. There's even a cool Truck Brad that coordinates pretty well and of course we already had Ducks and Chickens (and Eggs!) and a bunch of other Animal Brads so the possibilities are pretty endless. I stuck with just the farm animals this time, though, and made a set of Artist Trading Cards.

I love the smaller size of ATC's. They are typically 2.5x3.5" ...the size of standard playing cards. In fact I've used some old playing cards as the base on which to build these.

I also like that ATC's are often created as a series of related cards, because you can choose one set of supplies, but make a bunch of different ideas.

For each of the cards in the farm series I've featured one of the new Farm Animals inside a vintage slide mount, then added them to a playing card covered in torn bits of ledger and map paper, as well as bits of dictionary pages with animal definitions on them.

I've added strips of Red Dot Washi and Skinny Gold Pattern Tape as accents.

Finally I used my old school Dymo Labeler to create an appropriate farm animal pun for each card: "Legendairy" for the Cow Brad, "Fowl Play" for the Rooster and Chicken, "No Kidding" for the Goat, "Sheep Thrills" for the Sheep and "Hogs and Kisses" for the cute Pigs.

I hope you'll be inspired to try out a smaller format like ATC's; and be sure to remember that Eyelet Outlet Brads are the perfect accents for this size!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

(a pair of) SHOES!!!

ok, technically, although this post does contain two shoes, they are not actually a pair, since i have paper-pieced and embellished them quite differently. but they do both qualify for (and were inspired by) this week's challenge at shopping our stash, that is called "if the shoe fits" and for which we'd like to see cards and projects that... (do i even need to finish this sentence?) ...have shoes on them.

patterned paper: julie nutting/photoplay, dcwv, crate paper, michaels, the paper co, recollections, best creation; glossy black cardstock: the paper cut; seambinding: paper anthology; gingham ribbon: making memories; jewel strip, heart bling and paper flower: eyelet outlet; ink: prima and ranger; corner rounder: we are memory keepers; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine

for once i found i owned several different and cool pre-made products which would've worked really well. including eyelet outlet shoe and purse brads-- which i used to make these cards in june. and yes, i designed that texty patterned paper which says, "if the shoe fits... BUY IT!" and it's available for you to download on the "freebies" page at the eyelet outlet blog. but i haven't paper-pieced anything in a bit and i was just in that sort of mood. i grabbed a copyright-free clipart image off t'internet, printed off a couple of copies, and used it to cut out the shoe parts. i often staple a few layers together and cut multiples, to give myself choices on the finished image. in this case i wound up with two versions i really liked, and rather than choose, i just made both of them.

the first one incorporates some ancient glossy (pink!) leopard print paper, which i've given a woodgrain heel and some cursive text as the inside lining of the shoe. i've stitched all the way around in a coordinating thread, using my sewing machine's highest stitches-per-inch setting to fit the scale. the background of this 6x5" card is a tone-on-tone damask print, which is actually the reverse of the cursive text and the only paper involved in either card that wasn't an ancient scrap, lol. i've added a seambinding bow for extra interest... and to fill in the blank spot at the upper right hand area of the card. (yes, i know, a lot of people would've put a sentiment there...)

the second version is an all-black shoe, but i've incorporated some interesting specialty papers to add texture: a faux croc embossed glossy paper for the shoe, a glitter black scrap for the heel, and a charcoal grey damask lining. i've trimmed it out with an elegant eyelet outlet clear jewel strip and added a small paper flower with bumpy heart bling as an accent.

be sure to hop over to SOS and check out the amazing work of my uber-talented design team sisters! ♥

Saturday, October 7, 2017

oh what a tangled (♥PINK!♥) web we weave...

it's time for one of my very favorite challenges of the entire cardmaking year: ♥PINK HALLOWEEN♥ at the sisterhood of snarky stampers! here's my card:

background painted in peony colorburst on strathmore watercolor paper; zendoodles done with faber-castell's pitt artist pens in sizes XS, S and 1.5; alphabet stamps: echo park (brush lettering) and studio g (typeface); spider brads: eyelet outlet; glitter paper mats: american crafts POW papers; ink: ranger archival; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, sewing machine 

i've done zen-doodle spider webs* before, but they're always a lot of fun, so i see no reason to stop now, lol. especially when i can watercolor the exact perfect background shade of pink (thank you, peony colorburst) and i'm kind of a bit besotted with my eyelet outlet spider brads, who look very handsome in their custom-made habitat, don't you think?

i'm linking up (again!) with the simon says stamp monday challenge blog's "walk on the dark side" as well as the craftaholics-r-us #39 halloween themed challenge.

*my apologies to the arachnophobes out there; tomorrow's post will be completely and entirely spider-free, i promise! 

Friday, October 6, 2017

prussian blue and copper...

...are my new favorite xmas colors. i mention this because i've built this week's ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ grungy, sparkly embossed snowflake card around them. (we're still celebrating all the different kinds of embossing, though you only need one to play along!) weirdly enough, i've used the same embossing folder as last week, but the results couldn't be more different, lol.

snowflake embossing folder and dies: tim holtz/sizzix; colorburst pigment powders: ken oliver crafts; pitt artist pens: faber castell; snowflake dimensional sticker: american crafts/dear lizzy; watercolor paper: strathmore; pale blue glitter paper: core'dinations; embossed faux croc glossy paper: the paper co; adhesives: elmers brand glue tape, 3m foam tape, sewing machine 

i started off the same way as last week, too: i embossed the snowflakes on plain white watercolor paper, then added color to the design. but whereas last week i added a little bit of gelato crayon, blended it softly, and called it quits; this time i went crazy with prussian blue, cerulean and even a little bit of turquoise colorburst.

when it was completely dry, i outlined the flakes with pitt artist pens to make them stand out even more-- and even messier, lol. then i added a big stack of snowflake diecuts, including some cut from sparkly copper glitter paper, on top. definitely not a mainstream card, but it was loads of fun to make and i have exactly the right person to send it to!

stephanie has once again gone above and beyond in the call of embossing duty, why not head on over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and see what she's made this week?

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

The Cutest Trick-or-Treaters on the Block!

Here's a shocking true confession: Until recently, I have not always made Halloween cards every year. I think it was just because I didn't ever seem to have the right ingredients; by which I mean a selection of Eyelet Outlet Halloween Brads. Because now that I do, I ♥LOVE♥ making Halloween cards, and this one might be my favorite so far: 

When I was lucky enough to win my choice of Pretty Pink Posh stamp sets (via the Summer Blog Hop at Coffee Loving Cardmakers) I chose Holiday Pals because I knew they'd look adorable dressed up for Christmas with Eyelet Outlet Antler Brads and Elf Hats. But when I was looking through my Halloween stash, I realized they'd be equally adorable dressed up to Trick-or-Treat! From left to right I've given them: Witch Hats, Small Eyes, Mustache Brads, Witch Legs, Men's Hats and Eye Glass Brads

My top tip for adding brads to small fussy-cut creatures is to add the brads BEFORE you cut the critters out; that way you can use the hidden bits of cardstock as extra support! For example, I cut around these guys' HATS, rather than just their heads. I also suggest turning the brads a bit, if necessary, to hide them better behind the critters. However, if necessary, you can trim the brad legs with sturdy craft scissors. If bits of the brads can be seen through-- as in the case of the Eye Glass Brad on the Bulldog and the Mustache Brad on the Bunny-- use a pen that coordinates with your background to color the part that can be seen, so that you do not have to trim INSIDE the image to make it fit! In the case of the awesome Witch Leg Brads, they were just slightly too long for Miss Kitty, so I trimmed them with my sturdy craft scissors, and attached them to the front of the cat with gluedots.

All that was left to do is build a scene for the sweet Trick-or-Treaters to inhabit. I used patterned paper for the sky and the moon, Wide Brick Washi for the wall, Glitter Black Tape for the pavement, then filled in with Pumpkins, Kittens and Bat Brads to add a little more seasonal color!

I'm joining in the Halloween theme of "A Walk On the Darkside" on the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge Blog. (Admittedly my cuuuuute critters' darkside is not allllll that dark, lol!) And I was inspired by Sketch #281 from Sketch Saturday which I've rotated ninety degrees counterclockwise; this having been a month with a fifth Saturday, we could choose any layout from their amazing archive. By the way, I thank them for the shoutout on my Embossed Christmas card from last week!

Need more spooktacular inspiration? Check the Eyelet Outlet blog each day to see what the Designers are up to, or click the Halloween tag to see all of the seasonal designs so far!