Tuesday, October 31, 2017

it's spooktacular!

being as today is october 31st, i bet you can already guess what we'd like to see at shopping our stash, right? yep! it's EASTER CARDS!!! hahahahaha! sorry. just kidding. howsabout a much more sensible request like one more halloween-themed card, tag, page or project? here's mine:

patterned paper: dcwv, bella blvd +american crafts POW glitter paper; cardstock diecuts and sticker strips: bella blvd; kitten and pumpkin brads: eyelet outlet; glossy black cardstock: ranger; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

most of my goodies are pre-made on this one, thanks to a fun and timely bella blvd halloween bargain at peachy cheap. i did manage to work in some ancient ombre paper (with the bats and moon on it!) and a couple of brand new, super-cute eyelet outlet brads, as well. i used the sketch portion of the current fusion card challenge, which is called "autumn leaves".

there's lots more fabulous freaky halloween goodness to be had from the SOS dt... why not hop over and enjoy that right now, darlings? ♥

Saturday, October 28, 2017

his & her alcohol ink cards

i'm still fairly smitten with the new gold and silver metallic kraft-core cardstock from idea-ology that i got at paper anthology. especially now that i know how cool the combination of embossing and alcohol inks is. see?

metallic cardstock: idea-ology; embossing folders: cuttlebug/provocraft; ledger paper: pink paislee; cardstock: core'dinations; sentiment sticker: girls' paperie; alphas: making memories; dimensional rose: petaloo; fish illustration cut from a vintage book; alcohol inks: ranger; chalk inks: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, gluedots, sewing machine

my first experiment involved using a swirly embossing folder on silver cardstock, then adding drops of various blue and green alcohol inks. it took a little time to figure out how to get the best mix of colors and how long to wait before blotting up the excess color. i found that the longer you wait, the more chance you will get blotches and maybe a little bit of "crust" at the edges of the embossing. but in this case, i like the grungy look of that, so i just went with it. when i had a mix i liked, i added mats and a rather handsome focal fish that i cut from a vintage book.

i used this cool sketch (#124) from sweet sketch wednesday 2 to design the layout of my card:

when i moved on to my second card, i used a flowery e/f on the gold color of the cardstock. to get a more even shade all over, i found that it was best to stick to one color of ink (this is raspberry) and to apply it in sections, spreading the excess over the rest of the card and sort of blotting up any puddles at the same time. i really love the soft "rose gold" shade that appeared. since on this particular folder the design is kind of half em-bossed and half de-bossed, i decided to sand some of the raised areas a bit, to get more variation in the design. i also serendipitously discovered that a piece of un-colored gold on which i had tested the same e/f just happened to line up perfectly midway down the design of the pink panel, so i matched up the flowers carefully and attached it on top!

i'm sure there are still about a thousand more tricks and techniques i could try with this fun product... and i'm pretty confident you'll be seeing at least a few of them here in future! ♥

Friday, October 27, 2017

not a creature was stirring

it's time for a brand new theme at ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ just in time for halloween we present our very own "creature feature". by which we mean, we're breaking out the CRITTERS. anything from a sweet little sheep next to the manger, to a cardinal in a snowy tree, to one of Santa's reindeer... you get the idea, right?  or, if you're in a silly halloween mood (and you're me, lol!) this would be a really good time to make a MONSTA xmas card:
monstas cut from some ancient paperchase giftwrap that alas they no longer make; accessory brads: eyelet outlet; labels: dymo; patterned paper: elle's studio, love elsie/american crafts; glossy black cardstock: paper accents; ink: colorbox; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape

this thing is a monster in every sense. it measures 5 x 8" and thanks to the plethora of brads and skinny mats it's pretty heavy too. but it's fairly flat, so i can mail it as a card rather than a first class parcel, so that's something, right? and in actual fact, i rarely worry about cards being too thick or fragile to mail. there will always be room in the gift packages i mail and the gift bags i give out in real life, so the lumpy bumpys will find a happy home!

can't resist a few close-ups of the monstas' awesome accessories, all of which, of course, are eyelet outlet brads. i managed to work in a few styles, including santa hats, elf hats, mittens, antlers, holly and a candy cane, woohoo!

it's "anything goes" at the simon says stamp wednesday challenge blog, so i'm linking up with those fine folks. meanwhile, stephanie has an awesome christmas critter card to show off as well. why not hop over to ♥JINGLE BELLES♥ and check that out, darlings?!

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like...

...Brand new Eyelet Outlet Christmas goodies!!! Ok, technically the Truck Brads and the Pine Tree Brads (and even the Moose Brads) that I am showing off on the EO Blog today could be used for all kinds of things, in any season. But if you pair them with some Holiday Tapes and add in Christmassy images, they really do ROCK the holiday, don't you think?

My first card was made possible by the fact that my friend Anna just happened to give me the perfect rubber stamp-- it's the house image with the sentiment inside it. Just to the left of the house the stamp has a small evergreen, which immediately made me think, "That would be even cooler with one of the new Pine Tree Brads!" ...a decision I stand by, completely! Once I added it, I realized that the Truck Brad was fairly proportional to the scene, and a Red Heart Pearl would be a little big, but still work. The Snowman Brad was a late edition, but he kind of makes the card, don't you think?

Then all I needed to do was choose coordinating papers. But midway through that process, I realized that I could make my own, using some of my favorite Xmas tapes, so that's what I did! I used the Wide Tree Tape and Merry Christmas Washi on my finished card, but while I was on a roll (for once the pun is unintentional, I swear!) I made additional A2-sized panels using Holly Tape, Pine Tree Bough Tape, and Tree Tape. One of my favorite things about making Washi Paper like this is that it turns out with a lot of tapes, the edges of the designs can be made to line up seamlessly if you just look carefully and apply the tape very neatly. If you look closely at the holly paper and the trees paper, you'll see what I mean. Of course, you don't have to do that to get a great look, but it's a cool "extra" feature!

For my second card I used regular patterned papers, but my focal image is a sepia-toned landscape from an old Ideals Magazine. As soon as I saw it, I thought the scale would be pretty good to put a Truck in the foreground, carrying home the family Christmas tree. To draw even more attention to the brads, I framed the arched window with Champagne Bling Strips and added a band of Glitter Copper Tape at the bottom.

My third card is a bit of a cheat, in that the layers of diecut trees and hills were actually the "extras" from another card that had a few growing pains, lol. But when I stacked them all together, I really liked the look, so I added a paper-pieced house, some Pine Tree Brads and I couldn't resist that adorable Moose

It's definitely not too early to start thinking about holiday cards, and the Eyelet Outlet store is a great place to find all the brads, bling and tape you could possibly need; and the EO Blog is a great place to find inspiration, every single day!

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

a bit sketchy

this week's challenge at shopping our stash is called, "that's sketchy" and i bet you've already guessed that we'd like you to base your card (or layout, or ATC, or tag, or any other type of project) on a sketch. and it can be any sketch you like, whether it's a current one from sketch saturday, atlantic hearts sketch challenge or any other current site you love; or an archived one from a late great challenge like mojo monday or 2 sketches 4 you!* just be sure to show the sketch in the same post as your project, so we can see how amazingly well you've interpreted it!

for my cards (bc YES, i made two, lol!) i used the sketch half of the current fusion card challenge, which looks a bit like this:

the reason i made two cards is because i'm slightly obsessed with the new tim holtz metallic kraft core cardstock i got at paper anthology, and i had more than one idea i wanted to try out. my first card uses the gold colored cardstock, embossed with a doily-patterned folder, dabbed with gesso to make the doilies stand out more. my second card uses a strip of the silver cardstock, embossed with a diamond pane folder, then sanded to expose the kraft, and dabbed with black ink to get a grungier look:

as a matter of fact, i still have a few more ideas of what to do with this fun cardstock... because as soon as you say, "metallic" the words, "alcohol inks" kind of naturally spring to mind, don't they? i will definitely show the results when i've had a bit of a play with that idea!

metallic kraft core cardstock: tim holtz/idea-ology; embossing folders: cuttlebug/provocraft + darice; patterned paper: american crafts; poinsettia: petaloo; cardstock: core'dinations, ranger; map + vintage car illustration from my stash; gesso: liquitex; ink: ranger archival; adhesives: elmers brand gluetape, 3m foam tape, hot glue, sewing machine

meanwhile, there is lots more sketchy goodness from the DT over at shopping our stash. why not give yourself a treat and go check it out?!

*back in the day, 2 sketches 4 you was my favorite sketch challenge site, and i secretly still miss it, lol! ♥

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: tim holtz/idea-ology; 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 tim holtz 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!