Friday, August 29, 2014

Stamp Block Backgrounds

In my last post, I talked about backgrounds to help ground an image or to add color. One of the simplest ways to do this is to use your clear stamp blocks! You want a block that is just slightly smaller than the image you want to use, so that the image overhangs just a bit. This adds interest and importance to the image. Be sure your block is clean - alcohol will take care of fingerprints, but if you've gotten some adhesive on it (it happens, who knows how?!) try lighter fluid for easy removal.

Tap the clean block several times on your ink pad (in this case, Pistachio Pudding). The texture will look like tiny dots, due to the fact that the ink beads up on the acrylic. Stamp down on your paper as you would normally. Ta da! Nice clean edges and a block of color. If your block is large, you may need to put a silicone pad or something a little "squishy" beneath your paper before you stamp to prevent "whiteout" spots, although you may decide (as I did in the sample) that you like a point of light in your background. Clean as usual on the Stampin' Scrub.

Blooming with Kindness has loads of useful sentiments (in French or English!) and a very graphic flower, which translates well for this technique. Ink up the flower in Island Indigo, and angle it so that it overhangs your color block in a couple of places. Back with a very narrow margin of Island Indigo cardstock and add a couple of coordinating Candy Dots.

Inside, you'll see that I've reversed colors and used the flower in Pistachio Pudding for some background interest. I inked once, and stamped three times. The fainter the image becomes, the more your eye reads it as texture, rather than as image. I've repeated the sentiment from the front of the card in its English translation on the inside of card the front, and completed the thought with an additional sentiment in English. I'm a strong believer that we need to learn and appreciate other languages and cultures in this interconnected world.


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Work of Art meets Everything Eleanor

Have you ever tried to make something look effortless?! It's not as easy as it sounds, and that's exactly why Work of Art has become an instant favorite of mine. Watercoloring is such a wonderful look, but I've never been a watercolorist. Until now.

With this stamp set, you can make a background that anchors or adds color to just about anything else you want to put on the page. And what a great message to send those we love or wish to encourage: You are a fabulous work of art.

To replicate this card, you'll need Bermuda Bay, Hello Honey, and StazOn black inks (Hint: The small watercolor stamp is inked only once but stamped three times, from bottom to top). The swirl is from Everything Eleanor. A scrap of Bermuda Bay CS and the Elegant Butterfly punch add the third dimension, with a row of Basic Rhinestones for the body. Corners were rounded with the Project Life Corner Punch (p. 188). Pop up your "art piece" with dimensionals, and you're done! Another superspeedy layout for a card that fits so many occasions.


Note: We made this in a demonstrator group meeting, but I believe the original concept came from SU! demo Sandi MacIver.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Silver Shimmer

Today's post is for all you "bling" lovers out there. Dawn Olchefske was inspired by a piece of jewelry to create this elegant card with the Petite Petals, Pansy, and Itty Bitty Accents punches. Of course, the gorgeous Million & One sentiment set (stamped here in Basic Gray) is a perfect match to the Silver Glimmer, Silver Foil and Whisper White papers.

The only other thing you need for this card is a whole bunch of Stampin Dimensionals and some Basic Pearls and Rhinestones.

Isn't "Clean & Simple" wonderful?!


Friday, August 22, 2014

Bleached Summer Silhouettes

I think I've pinned about a hundred samples made with Summer Silhouettes. This is a good indication that a set is versatile, easy to use, and... I need it! At any rate, I believe that the inspiration for this particular card was first noted on the blog of SU! Demo Lisa Young.

For this card, I've used Soft Suede ink and paper, as well as Pool Party paper. Petite Pairs provides the sentiment. The half flower on the banner is hand cut, popped up on dimensionals, and accented with the tiniest pearl.

I kept the inside very simple.

How do you stamp with bleach? Easy-peasy:

1. Make a "stamp pad" by folding a paper towel into quarters. Place it on a disposable plastic plate. Pour on enough bleach (some people recommend the thicker "splashless" variety but I don't think there's that much difference) until the paper towel sounds "squishy" but no bleach runs when you tip the plate. Note: Best results are obtained when using fresh bleach. I also recommend taking the time to change into old clothes!

2. Press your stamp into the bleach pad several times until it seems to be evenly coated, then stamp onto colored card stock. You'll need to wait several moments to see the magic happen! It's a good idea to make test samples on several different colors, as the specific composition of the dye used on the card stock may not be what you expect! Rust and Olive bleach to yellow, Navy to light blue, etc. BUT you also need to be aware that different dye lots of the same color may perform differently!

It makes sense to do several bleached projects at once while you're being all messy and experimental. When you are done bleaching, IMMEDIATELY clear your bleach-soaked pad off your work area to avoid heartbreak. Don't ask.

3. Bleached card stock must be completely dry before you add ink (if it isn't, your ink will just bleach out). So now is the time to safeguard your rubber. Wash stamps with a mild soap such as Ivory dishwashing liquid to neutralize the bleaching action, and pat dry or leave to air dry. Before you put them away or use them again, spritz on a light coat of Stampin' Mist and allow to sit for a moment, then brush across Stampin' Scrub to remove excess. This will prevent your rubber from hardening.

4. Once bleached card stock is dry, overstamp with coordinating images. This juxtaposition of detail in the stamped images and the soft look of the bleached images will give you a foreground/back-ground effect that creates a subtle dimensional effect on your card.

Watch for more samples made with the Summer Silhouettes stamp set, as I put together my own "Set Sampler" from my Pinterest pin collection (to see them all together, go to the labels column on the right and click on "Set Sampler - Summer Silhouettes).


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Just Sayin': Love ya!

I swapped with Monique for this card recently. What a fabulous way to use a sentiment set as the "art" on a card! And keeping it simple in black and white with a pop of red glimmer paper draws your eye right where you want it. We've got white StazOn, or you could emboss in white on black. The wee heart comes from the Owl Builder punch.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Play Date: World of Dreams

I love putting grown-up play dates into my calendar! We all need those to relax, be creative, enjoy the company of friends... and sometimes they can even motivate us to get something done that we've meant to do for ourselves, but just haven't made a priority. When I recently got together with Deloris, a favorite play date partner, she asked if I'd design something for us to do together with one of my very favorite new stamp sets in the catalog, World of Dreams. I had recently become intrigued with the combination of Pistachio Pudding and Garden Green, so I decided to incorporate those colors. I'm also a fan of the "Clean & Simple" look, which often utilizes white on white (casting a shadow for additional interest) and black ink for a sharp contrast with a bright color. I decided to vary the formula by substituting Early Espresso for the black.

I stamped the Early Espresso images on scraps of Whisper White, then centered my 1 3/8" square punch over the part I wanted (if you didn't get that punch before it retired, just cut a strip of white that is 1 3/8" wide and center the image, then use your paper trimmer to cut the other two sides of your square). The second layer is 1 1/2", both popped up on dimensionals. By cutting your paper smaller than your stamped image, you make it run off the edges, giving the illusion that you're "zooming in" to see the details, much like the paintings of Georgia O'Keefe.

I hope you're inspired to schedule a play date with a friend, because creating - in some form or other - is a basic human need. If you each come up with a project or two to share, you'll have twice the fun and lots to show for your efforts!  


Friday, May 30, 2014

Friendship Squares

 We've seen a number of posts recently featuring these little squares, much like what are called "Artist Trading Cards" (ATCs). I was thinking that when each person makes a set so that everyone gets one, they are like the friendship quilts my grandmother used to make, so I decided to call them "Friendship Squares". These measure 2.75" square, and are easily coordinated by selecting a series of Designer Series Paper (DSP) and a theme such as flowers, a season, a holiday, etc. Our demonstrator group decided to do a swap in May, and I've grouped some of the delightful designs above to illustrate how you might use them for a piece of home decor in a 12x12 frame (blanks could be filled in with additional designs or with a printed label such as "SU! Demos, Summertime, May 2014").

But what else could you do with them, I wondered? How about some cards? How about a simple approach that could be used with any set of colors or content??!

I came up with a set of quick and easy layouts for the squares using the coordinating colors specified by the DSP. Basically, you add a square from your stash and a sentiment that matches the occasion for which you need a card!

Here I've simply added a 3x4" base for the friendship square created with the Petite Petals punch and Secret Garden framelits.

In this example (folded from the hexagon punch), I grounded the Friendship Square with 2 punched squares for a little extra weight and pizzaz.      

Aren't these duckies delightful? You'll find them in the Baby's First framelits. I saw somewhere out in the wide world of the internet the idea of putting a Sharpie dot on one of our halfback pearls to make bulging eyes. The "waves" are popped up on dimensionals.

A simple notch with a square punch makes this paper ribbon strip, and a variety of flower punches from scraps balance the stamped nest from World of Dreams. Tiny pearls and a candy dot add extra dimension. In this case the art piece is up on dimensionals so that it casts a shadow.

This little fellow is a real hoot, isn't he? The creation of Monique, I simply centered him and added a big block sentiment from Bravo.

Using just a small portion of a larger stamp (in this case Postage Due) is a great way to find "new" images. I used the Perfect Pennants framelits to make my "racing flags", and Petite Pairs for the set of sentiments inside and out.

I forsee several versions of Friendship Squares in my future, made from different DSP with different themes. To find them all, click on the label "Friendship Squares" at the bottom of this post or in the sidebar.

Better yet, try your hand at it and leave a link in the comments section!