hello 2017! happy new year card

Happy New Year card 2017

Hello 2017

Just a quick post today, to share a new year card, and to wish everyone a nice big happy sparkly New Year!  They say that “with age comes wisdom”.  Well, that doesn’t seem to be the case for me – I know a whole lot LESS than I used to, LOL.  However, I have definitely become happier and more optimistic.  Every cloud has a silver lining – I really believe that.  And the most beautiful and incredible opportunities often come out of the most challenging circumstances.

Cinderella?

(Hmmm… sort of like Cinderella, don’t you think?  I didn’t plan this when I took the photo, but I’d have to say that Cinderella was also quite an optimist.  Anyone who can put up with her step-family, and still sing while she scrubs, is pretty positive in my book.  And she certainly got her happy ending.)  🙂

The card:

For a New Year’s Welcome, I figured that you had to have lots and lots of sparkle.  And that’s what I did for this card. Here’s a close-up view, so you can see what I mean:Happy New Year card 2017

I liked the idea of a dramatic black card-base, but I went a little crazy adding Iridescent Sparkle embossing powder.  Using a couple of stamps and a stencil, I added fireworks all over a piece of black cardstock, cut slightly smaller than my card-base.  Then I die-cut the big “hello” from it, and put a piece of pink glitter cardstock underneath it.  I added the year, die-cut from that same pink glitter cardstock.

The finishing touch:

I tried this piece on several different colored card bases, but they all seemed to dull the bling somehow, so I decided to stick with basic black.  But that still wasn’t good enough, so I covered the edges of my card-base with Versamark Ink and heat-embossed yet more Iridescent Sparkle on all four sides.  The final touch was adding the design on top using some black foam.  I love that I could add dimension, without adding that peak of white from the side.  You can’t even see the foam: Happy New Year card 2017

Here’s hoping that 2017 brings all of us lots of joy and laughter, and happy crafty time!  Thanks so much for stopping by, and Happy New Year!

Supplies (some affiliate links used – see here for full disclosure. If you make a purchase from these links, it won’t cost you any extra, but I will get a small commission, which will help keep this blog going.  Thank you so much!  SSS=Simon Says Stamp and AMZ=Amazon.com):

Note:  Fireworks stencil was from an old Simon Says Stamp card kit, and appears to be no longer available, but there are many others that are quite similar.  Also, the numbers – 2017 – were cut with an old Sizzix die (Doodle Dots), which appears to be unavailable… but again, you could use any number dies for this.

a holiday scene card

Creating a holiday scene on a card.

Creating a Scene:

I had so much fun creating this holiday scene card!  I loved moving all the pieces around, and adding all of the little touches. Seriously, it’s like paper dolls for grown-ups.  😀  This wasn’t a quick, easy card, but it wasn’t complicated, either.  The main tools were Kraft cardstock, colored pencils, and good scissors.

The Kit:

I started with Simon Says Stamp’s Merry and Bright stamp set, from the December 2016 Card Kit.  (The kit is sold out, but the stamps are available separately.)  I wanted more than just one reindeer, though, so I started going through all of my stamps, looking for some compatible critters. Okay, so these aren’t quite all to scale (hedgehogs and reindeer aren’t usually about the same size, LOL), but maybe the deer is sitting farther back?  And clearly, he’s just a baby reindeer.

Coloring Critters:

I took all of my stamps – various critters, some presents, the tree, a few accessories – and stamped everything a couple of times on Kraft cardstock.  At this point, I wasn’t at all sure about the layout, so I gave myself plenty of images to work with.  I colored everything with my colored pencils, and added a few accents with Stickles glitter glue, Enamel Accents, and various gel pens, as well as adding baubles to the tree with Nuvo Crystal Drops.  After everything was colored, I cut out each item separately and went around each one with a black brush-tip marker, to give them a more defined edge.  And then the fun started.  🙂

The Fun Part:

Starting with a Kraft card-base, I started arranging my tree and various critters.  There were quite a few items that didn’t make it to the card, but I wanted to be sure I had options (and all those other items can be used on a future card).  Once I had my card “staged”, I set aside the images and worked on the background.  In hindsight, I should have snapped a picture of my plan before I moved everything, but it all worked out okay.

The Background:

I white heat-embossed the sentiment, and added some “snow” with white pigment ink and some various small circle stamps.  The heart of this card was a gathering of different animals, but to fit this many critters on a standard-size card, I needed to create some layers, so they all had something to stand on.  The blanket of snow on the bottom of the card has three separate layers, just made of white cardstock and hand-cut.  There was a lot of “fussing” involved, to make sure that things lined up like I wanted them to, but that was part of the fun.  🙂  It’s hard to see the layers in the above photo, so here’s a different view:Creating a scene with rubber stamps - a holiday card.

 

 

 

A Few Misc. Notes…

  • The tree was actually stamped directly on the card-base, before I glued on the colored version.  This gave me the ability to just cut straight along the sides of the tree, but still get the look of those strands wrapping around it.
  • The bunny stamp actually has a crazy-long scarf – I just cut it down to fit the card.
  • Some of the animals had sort of “closed” eyes.  I wanted them to be all “bright-eyed”, so all of them have dots of Enamel Accents on their eyes (except the cardinal, who has a dot from a white gel pen).
  • The bird’s legs were hand-drawn.  He’s standing on just a very small piece of a much larger tree branch die-cut.
  • The hedgehog’s hat, the sheep’s scarf, and the the reindeer’s candy cane were all separate stamps that I layered.
  • The presents all have glittery gel-pen accents, but it’s not showing up well in the photo.

Wrapping It Up:

Okay, I think that about covers it.  I used a combination of adhesives – liquid, foam, glue dots – to adhere everything together.  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.  I am WAY too slow at this type of card to film a video tutorial – but maybe someday.  Until then, I’ll be happy to answer any questions.

Well, it’s time for me to turn off the computer, and go bake some cookies.  Wishing you all a Very Merry and Bright Christmas, a Super Happy Hanukkah, a Beautiful Kwanza, a Cheery Winter Solstice, and/or anything else I missed.  Thank you so much for stopping by, and have a wonderful holiday!

Supplies (some affiliate links used – see here for full disclosure. If you make a purchase from these links, it won’t cost you any extra, but I will get a small commission, which will help keep this blog going.  Thank you so much!  SSS=Simon Says Stamp and AMZ=Amazon.com):


some quick & easy card kit cards

Simon Says Stamp's December 2016 Card Kit cards.

The Kit:

It seems that Simon Says Stamp’s December 2016 Card Kit was so popular that it sold out wickedly fast – so fast, in fact, that there was a delay for many regular monthly subscribers, myself included.  But no worries – all the products I used for these card kit cards are still available individually.  It’s probably too late to send out any of these cards and have them arrive before Christmas… but fortunately Christmas will come back around next year.  🙂  Late or not, though, I just had to play around with this kit while I’m still feeling this holiday spirit.

Quick and Easy:

I wanted to start out with just some super quick and easy cards – I wasn’t quite ready to delve into any serious stamping and coloring (but you will see some of that in my next post).  These cards are what make kits such a great deal, especially for anyone who’s a bit creatively challenged, or just likes a little help now and then.  Everything matches, and you can whip up easy-peasy cards in no time.  These three are using a technique I’ve used before (see here for an example).  I just picked out a few of the patterned papers, and sliced them up into 1/2″ strips, and glued them together on a piece of scrap cardstock.

I used the “busiest” patterns for the strips, and then cut up some of the sheets with small, separate designs to use as accents on my cards.  This particular set of paper has some great images for that.  All of the sentiments and images are from that one paper pack (Here Comes Santa Claus, by Doodlebug – link below).

Card Number 1:

Simon Says Stamp December 2016 Card Kit card.

This first card includes a raised tag with some presents.  The image was already drawn with a nice, shaped border.  It just happened to match up pretty well with my Spellbinders Labels Eight dies, so I chose a die slightly larger, and created a matching white base.  I also cut out the sentiment from the patterned paper, and matted it in white.  Both elements were then added to my striped background with foam adhesive.

Card Number 2:

Simon Says Stamp December 2016 Card Kit card.

 

This second card is probably my favorite – those reindeer are just so stinkin’ cute!  I did pretty much the same thing for this card – just changed the orientation, and instead of a die-cut, I just gave the image a rectangular mat, and rounded all of the corner.  The striped background is matted with white, and glued onto a Kraft card base.  I also added a bit of Baker’s Twine.

Card Number 3:

Simon Says Stamp December 2016 Card Kit card.And last but not least, we’ve got a Santa card.  Here, I just gave the cut-out image a simple mat, punched a hole in the upper left-hand corner, added an eyelet, and tied on some Baker’s Twine.  I also added that extra mat for the striped background, which I think helps give it a more finished look.

That’s it for today, but I’ll be posting one more holiday card before Santa makes his rounds.  You know, I think this is the first time I’ve actually gotten a jump on Christmas cards.  Maybe that’s the trick – always make them an entire year in advance… during the holiday season when you’re feeling Christmas-y, but you don’t have to worry about getting them mailed in time.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by, and Happy Holidays!

Supplies (some affiliate links used – see here for full disclosure. If you make a purchase from these links, it won’t cost you any extra, but I will get a small commission, which will help keep this blog going.  Thank you so much!  SSS=Simon Says Stamp and AMZ=Amazon.com):


 

holiday die-cut gift bags

Handmade Holiday Gift Bags

DIY Gift Bags

Recently, I acquired this cool Sizzix die that makes adorable little gift bags, and I thought it would be fun to put some together, embellish them a bit, fill them with candy, and share them with local friends.  They were tons of fun to make, and not very expensive.  I filled them with some holiday candy, and took a bunch with me last night to my local card-making class.

Sharing Smiles

The ladies loved them!  I was so touched by their gratitude.  It was a small thing I had done – just a bit of candy in a little paper bag – but they all looked genuinely pleased.  It was a good reminder that sometimes all we need is for someone to say “hey, I was thinking of you”.  You don’t have to have any special talent, and you don’t have to have lots of money.  Sometimes, we just need a smile to remind us that life is worth living.  The smallest bit of effort on your part just might be the catalyst for someone else to change the world.  🙂

DIY die-cut holiday gift bags - sides & rear.
Side and rear view of the gift bags.

Gift Bag How-To

As for my gift bags… most of the work was done by the Sizzix die, but I’ll share some notes.  First, my apologies, as this die has been retired (Stampin’ Up Sizzix Bigz XL Fancy Favor die) – but you may be able to find a used one (which is how I got mine).  Or, there are other treat box dies out there, as well as tutorials for making your own little bags without a die.  If you do go for a die of this type, I’ll share that having the Sizzix Crease Pad is really helpful (essential, in my case) to getting a good result.  After a few not-so-good attempts, I found that I got nice results specifically from Bazzill textured cardstock.  I’m not sure why, but it’s the only one where my score lines didn’t cut all the way through.

DIY holiday gift bag
Close-up of an empty red bag.

Embellishing

The die just cuts out the box, with that pretty little border across the top.  (You could get a very similar look with a DIY paper bag, and a pair of decorative edge scissors, or a border die.)  I decided that my little bags needed handles, so I just cut a strip of matching cardstock, and attached it to each side of the bag, using brads.  This is such an easy thing to do – you just punch a hole, push the brad through both pieces of paper (in this case, the bag and then the handle) and spread the little… ummm… what are those things called?  LOL.  Anyway, you just spread apart the little end pieces to secure it.  Easy-peasy – but it makes such a difference!  It’s just way fancier than glue – and it even allows the handle to move back and forth a bit.

Here’s a better look at the back-side of the brad:

DIY holiday gift bag.
Close-up of an empty green bag.

Finishing Touches

To finish them off, I just added a big paper bow, made with my envelope punch board.  (There are lots of tutorials on YouTube, explaining how to make these.)  I glued on a some die-cut stars and hearts, stamped a holiday greeting on a tag, and tied it on with a bit of coordinating Baker’s Twine.  A piece of holiday-themed tissue paper and some candy, and they were done.

The Holiday Spirit

I still have a few of these left.  One will go to our tireless mail-carrier (because I sure do give her a workout, with all the snail-mail I send!), and anyone else I can think of who makes our life a little brighter.  I just love this time of year!  Who are you going to share a smile with?

Thank you so much for stopping by!  And if you find that your own smile is missing, just let me know.  I’ll give you one of mine.  😀

Supplies… sorry, this list is a little lean.  Most of what I used was leftover 12×12 cardstock from my scrapbook days, bits of holiday patterned paper scraps left over from making envelopes, and misc. old stuff from my stash.  I think these make a great “use what you’ve got” project.  Some of the supplies I used  (some affiliate links used – see here for full disclosure. If you make a purchase from these links, it won’t cost you any extra, but I will get a small commission, which will help keep this blog going.  Thank you so much!  SSS=Simon Says Stamp and AMZ=Amazon.com):


 

 

card insides part 2 – printing card sentiments

 

Card with delicate flower outlines on paint-splattered background.

Card Insides Part 2

Today’s post is mostly about adding printed sentiments to your card insides, but I couldn’t very well have a post without at least one pretty picture, so here are a couple of card “outsides” for you.  🙂  These cards are very similar to one I made before – just a different color scheme.  (See here for details on the previous version.)

Irish Blessings

For these, I just used one of my favorite “general purpose” sentiments – an Irish Blessing.  I usually print off a few of these, and keep them on hand for quick grab-n-go cards.  (A lot of my cards go to chemo patients who are going through an unusually difficult spell… but many of these quotes and sayings would work for any general purpose, thinking of you card.)  I always hand-write the recipients name, and my own signature, and sometimes I hand-write the sentiment as well (as I did in Part 1 of this series).  However, I must confess that most of the time, I use my computer and printer for the main sentiment/quote/poem, etc.  Here’s a look at the insides of the above cards:A look at the inside of my cards.

Computer Assist

My favorite sentiments, ones I use a lot, are saved in my computer, so all I have to do is hit “print”.  I usually use white cardstock for my insides, but a less expensive “layering weight”.  I can fit four on one piece, which saves time, and money.  (No sense in wasting paper.)  There are plenty of simple ways to do this, but I use MS Word, because it’s what I have.  (Note:  directions given below are for Microsoft Word 2013, so your system may vary.)

Microsoft Office

I start with a blank Word document, and go to insert, choose text box.  Inside the box, I type out my sentiment, and then I play with the font style and size until I’m happy with it.  (You’ll want to keep the overall size in mind – you want it to fit inside your card.)    Once I’m happy, I right-click on the edge of the “box” and hit copy.  I then paste it three times, for a total of four boxes.  I arrange the four boxes so that each one is roughly in the center of one quarter of my page.  For landscape cards, like the ones above, I end up with something like this:

You can leave it like this, but I usually like to get rid of the lines.  For that, I right-click on the edge of the box, and hit format shape.  From there, I can choose shape options and line, and there’s an option for no line… which gives me this:

Portrait Cards

By the way, this works just as well for portrait cards.  You’ll find that some sentiments “fit” better than others… different fonts are better for different sentiments, and you might need to split up the lines differently, to get it to fit.  But their are no rules here – just play around until it looks good.  Here’s a portrait example:

One Last Note

Just one last note about these cards:A look at the inside of my cards.I finished off these insides with just a few small die-cuts in coordinating colors.  They actually sparkle, like the flowers on the front of the card, though that’s not showing up well in the picture.  I was actually able to find all of these little pieces in my “misc. left-over die-cut pieces” box.  They are just random shapes, in random colors, that I cut out for a project, but didn’t end up using.  Card insides are a great way to use your leftovers.  🙂

Thanks for stopping by, and “May brooks and trees and singing hills join in the chorus too, and every gentle wind that blows send happiness to you”.

Supplies (some affiliate links used – see here for full disclosure. If you make a purchase from these links, it won’t cost you any extra, but I will get a small commission, which will help keep this blog going.  Thank you so much!  SSS=Simon Says Stamp and AMZ=Amazon.com):


(All colored cardstock from Papertrey Ink.  The flower die is called “Cecilia Flower Outline” by Poppy Stamps.  Unfortunately, I think it has been discontinued.)

handmade holiday cards 2016

Handmade Holiday Cards 2016

happy holidays!

I love holiday cards – sending, receiving, and just the whole tradition.  This year’s cards have now either reached their destinations, or they’re on their way, so I thought I’d go ahead and share them here.

(By the way, I think I said this last year, but it still holds true.  If you didn’t get a card from me, it almost certainly means that I don’t have your address.)

lotsa cards

I made quite a few of these two designs this year.  At first, I started out with just the cards on the right (above photo), but I quickly figured out that reversing the colors would allow me to use up all of my “negative” die-cuts, as well as the positive. When making a whole lot of cards (especially when you intend to start them in June, but it’s November before you even have a plan, LOL), it speeds things up quite a bit if you can do them in stages.  So…

Handmade holiday cards 2016.
Various parts I prepared, before assembling the cards.

stages

I cut and scored all of my card-bases (standard 4-1/4″ x 5-1/2″), and then cut out a mess of red rectangles and white rectangles (4″ x 5-1/4″).  For the white pieces, I dry embossed some stars and swirls; for the red, I used a plaid pattern.  With a combination of Simon Says Stamp’s Vented Star die, and a Sizzix star die, I cut out a bunch of star shapes, being careful to save all of the little “bits”.  I also die-cut the same number of stars without the venting.  The sentiments were heat-embossed on strips of paper, and a small Baker’s Twine bow was added to each strip.

a note about heat-embossing

On the red strips, the words were heat-embossed in white.  On the white strips, though, I used red ink to stamp them, and then I stamped them again with VersaMark ink, coated them with clear embossing powder, and heat-set them. While the red words aren’t quite as “puffy” as the white ones, they are very nice and shiny – it’s a good trick when you don’t have the right embossing powder.  And with a positioning tool (I used a MISTI), it’s easy to do.  Because the powder dries clear, even if your VersaMark stamping is off a bit, it won’t be too noticeable.

the fun part

Once everything was cut and prepped, the fun began.  I added adhesive to one side of all of the plain, unvented stars, and I adhered a vented star on top of it.  This gave me a star with sticky strips where it was vented.  Then, using a pair of tweezers, I carefully placed those teeny-tiny strips in the opposite color, filling all of the sticky gaps.  I could have gotten a similar look by simply gluing the vented star to the opposite color, but I really like the “inlaid die look” you get with this technique.  If you want to try this yourself, I recommend a good tape adhesive (liquid glue dries too quickly),  a really good pair of tweezers, a comfortable chair, a nice warm beverage, and your favorite tunes. 🙂

Handmade holiday cards prep work 2016.
Save those itty-bitty pieces!

assembly

Once all the parts were prepared, I put them all together, using foam adhesive for the sentiment strips and the stars.  (Scotch foam tape works perfectly for the sentiments, but I found that the best way to add dimension to the stars was to die-cut more stars out of white foam, then run them through my Xyron for adhesive.  Not necessary, but quicker and cleaner.)

Handmade holiday card.
Close-up of the red star on white version.
Handmade holiday card
Close-up of the white star on red version.

Do you send holiday/Christmas/New Years/winter cards?  What do you do with the ones you receive?  (I love to put them on display during the holidays – they become part of my holiday decorating!)KitEndSig2

Sending you all Warm Winter Wishes, and wishing you and yours a Merry & Bright Holiday Season!  Thanks for stopping by!

 

Supplies (some affiliate links used – see here for full disclosure. If you make a purchase from these links, it won’t cost you any extra, but I will get a small commission, which will help keep this blog going.  Thank you so much!  SSS=Simon Says Stamp and AMZ=Amazon.com):


card insides: what to do inside your cards

Carl Sagan quote, hand-written card sentiment.
Quote by Carl Sagan, handwriting by Kitty Smith

Card Insides

When I first started making cards, one of the things I struggled with most was the card insides:  the sentiment and decorations on the inside of the card.  I love decorating the outside of a card, but I tend to get lazy with the insides. And what about the sentiment?  Where do you find the right words?  Do you print the sentiment from your computer?  Do you hand-write it?  Do you decorate the inside?  Should it match the outside?

Decorating

My card insides rarely look as nice as the outsides, but I do try to add something… a coordinating stamp, a small die-cut, a strip of patterned paper, etc.  And whatever I add, I always try to make it match the outside of the card.

Sentiments

But what to write on the inside?!  I often send dozens of cards to the same person, and I can’t just put “thinking of you” on every one.  So I tried to think what I would want to read in a card.  Happy words.  Or happy quotes.  And it just so happened that I was already saving happy quotes for myself.  (I post them all over the place – in planners, pinned to corkboards, colored and hung from the walls…)  Many (most?) of these are not what you would call “traditional card sentiments”, but it seems to me that, as long as it’s happy, who cares?  Whatever works – right?

(Photo below is my “sentiment journal”, where I store all of my happy words.  I talked about it in a previous post, but maybe I’ll “revisit” it sometime in the future.)

Irish Blessing for card insides
A page from my Sentiments collection.

Sharing

So, as I’m always trying to find a way to share something useful, it occurred to me that card guts haven’t been getting the attention they deserve.  I’ve never done a blog series before, so maybe it’s time.  I could share the happy quotes I find online, different ways of printing or writing your card sentiments, ways to decorate your card insides and match them to the outsides, etc.  (And maybe it will inspire me to pay more attention to what’s inside my cards.)  KitEndSig2So what do you think?  Card Insides:  Happy Quotes and Pretty Card Guts.  Ummm… maybe I should work on that title, LOL.  Any suggestions?

Thanks for stopping by, and have an incredible day!

kit-saganclose-upSupplies (some affiliate links used – see here for full disclosure. If you make a purchase from these links, it won’t cost you any extra, but I will get a small commission, which will help keep this blog going.  Thank you so much!  SSS=Simon Says Stamp and AMZ=Amazon.com):