Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Making the most of what you've got

Virginia, who I introduced yesterday, made a card using the Joy!Crafts Lavender paper pack. A paper pack that I absolutely love but is not longer available. But ... I want to do this card as a class. Mostly because it uses a 3D basket from Leane Creatief that I think is under utilized and deserves a spotlight. Joy!Crafts did come out with a paper pad similar to the original but it is lacking the one wood panel page used in Virginia's card. So I had to go about recreating a wood panel. Here's my attempts:

First I used an embossing folder and painted one side with Cosmic Shimmer Cloud Inks spritzed with water and used it as a stamp and pressed onto the light purple card stock (sample on the left). Not 100% sure this was the right technique, I then used the same Cloud Inks on the embossing folder but gently ran it through the die cutting/embossing machine (sample in middle). More punch on that one, Looking more promising. But not feeling it's quite right. Lastly I used the Nellie Magic Foam and pressed the embossing folder into the foam (needs to be heated up with a heat gun). Then I used my pigment inks and pressed onto the same light purple card stock (sample on the right). When I lined up everything with the background paper and embellishments, all of these looked busy. 

Last option for me was a wood grain stamp from Marianne. I used pigment inks and the Position-It stamping tool because I wanted to layer up with a few different shades of ink. Once dry, I did run some shades of purple in the cloud inks over the card stock to give the purple some variation. I'm actually pretty happy with the finished card. I think the pattern being closer together and thinner wood planks in the pattern, works nicely with this card. 


Original I was replicating on the left and my version on the right. Icing on the cake ... this Joy! paper pack had several pages of pre-printed tags, so I used one of those on my card. Worked perfectly!!

Until next time,


Products used: Leane Creatief 3D basket (450348), Joy Crafts Paper Pad with Diecut Sheets, Lavender (60110383), Marianne Designs Wood Stamp (CS0943). Carious punches to make up the floral arrangement in the basket. 

Monday, January 30, 2017

Inspiration: An old technique .... but worth a repeat. The Gel "Water" Technique


It's about time I introduce one of our card designers, Virginia Awender, Virginia is so creative in her designs and her use of paper in her card designs is inspired. You will be seeing them frequently on this blog and in our card classes at the EC Papercrafts retail store in Shannonville, Ontario (Canada).

Virginia used a technique that has been around for a few years but we revisited it here with the Creative Expressions "Fillables" line of the Fish Bowl (CEDD21001) and Underwater Accessories (CED21002). It uses either hair gel or in Virginia's card she used hand sanitizer gel.  Hair gel is hard to find in clear and we needed clear for this project.

The colored paper is a release from Mairanne Designs from the summer. Love this paper, but then of course I am a bit of a watercolor freak, if you've been following 😉.

The background of the fish bowl is embossed with a new embossing folder from Leane Creatief "Bubbles"(352960).

So for the gel technique you just fill a plastic bag of some sort with the gel and if you are lucky enough to have a heat sealer, you'd seal it off. But Virginia just used "a whole bunch of glue." And what makes this so applicable is the tiny air bubbles that occur in the gel. Simply adorable!! You can see the Bubbles background in the back of the gel and accessories done in a turquoise paper.

Products used: Creative Expressions Fish Bowl (CED21001) and Underwater Accessories (CED21002), Leane Creatief Bubbles embossing folder (352960), Marianne Designs "Mixed Media Colourful" Paper (PK9140). All of which can be found at Ecstasy Crafts www.ecstasycrafts.com

Friday, January 27, 2017

Creative Expressions Gumball machine card

I just watched the video tutorial on the Creative Expressions Gumball Die card by Sue Wilson. A fully functioning gumball machine.

Sue Wilson always hits it out of the park with every release and the collections for the January release was no exception.

I will be playing with them in the near future .... and will probably not attempt the gumball machine, so we'll watch this video tutorial instead😉.

This die can also be made into a regular card and shaker card. And according to Sue, there will be many ways to use the die unveiled in the near future ... I will confess, I'm stumped as to what else you could do with a gumball machine, so I wait with baited breath!!

Without further adieu, here is the video ... it's 16 minutes so grab a beverage and relax a spell.

Until next time,


Creative Expressions complete line of dies, stamps, embossing folders, mixed media and accessories can be found at www.ecstasycrafts.com/Creative-Expressions_c_1511.html

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Simple stamp coloring

Since everyone and their sister has come out with a stamping device, let's get some stamping fun started. We use the Position-It here and I can attest to the merits of this stamping system.

I have always loved adding stamps to my cards. But I would always stick with simple ones because I wasn't comfortable coloring them in. I'm still not, actually. But now with these stamping positioning devices, you can take advantage of layering up your stamp. 

Starting with the lightest color, I inked up what would be yellow (in this case). I then pulled the color into the stamp to fill in the petals.


I added another color yellow, a bit deeper and stamped to give it a bit of an outline.


Next I found the little leaves and a few stems and inked them a mid-tone green and pulled that color in. Then outlined with a darker green.

I did the browns of the centers and the basket then pulled that into the basket. I used a bit of the yellow to give it a bit of dimension. And if you look at this picture, most people probably would have given up on this one because the browns are a bit smooshy. But I can't stress enough how patience is THE most important aspect of working with any inks!

Then I did a really light cover of jet black to give it outline. You can certainly omit that step.

And now I have a fabulous sunflower to add to a card. I did another sunflower at home the other night with a card sample, I've posted that here to give you an idea. Both of these stamps are from Frog's Whiskers.

Until next time,


Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Thinking outside the box ...

One of my co-workers made this fabulous card and I thought it was blog-worthy.

First, it uses my very favorite box card die (Marianne Designs CR1374). She, like me, is a scene card maker and was inspired by the December Frantic Stamper die release "Visions of the East."

So many tiny aspects of card-making bring a card to the next level. I kind of liken the detail to when you are selling a house and you wash baseboards, no one sees you washed baseboards, but it just brings the house to another level.

I had to take two photos of this card to show the subtleties. First in the front, using red and a gold gilding wax on the building, the differing outfits on the Asian women .... but what elevates this card is the use of parchment paper to create the back and the lanterns. First the fact that the lanterns aren't even with the Frantic Stamper collection but rather with the Marianne Designs box card die set, is inspired, but then to do them in parchment paper is very creative, in my mind.

I hope you all take pleasure, as much as I do, in what it takes to bring your cards to the next level.

Until next time.


Dies used: 

Marianne Designs Box Card Die (CR1374)
Frantic Stamper Kokeshi Japanese Paper Doll (FRA10067)
Joy! Crafts Orientals Temple (60020229)
Joy! Crafts Orientals Bamboo (60020230)

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Cute Paper Hyacinth

Saw this cute 3D hyacinth and thought I'd give it a whirl. With spring dies and papers coming out, I'm itching to get started on bulb-type and spring floral cards.

To make this hyacinth, you cut a piece of light paper, in my case I used mulberry paper. And I didn't have purple of any sort so I painted my ivory with Cosmic Shimmer's Cloud Ink in a purple shade.

Cut a piece of paper 6 inches long and 1 3/4 inches wide. Measure 3/8ths of an inch on one of the long sides, then hand cut 1/8" wide cuts down to the 3/8" mark all the way along. Curl the cuts and set aside. Cut out another piece of paper for the stem, 2" by 6" and roll that on a diagonal to form the stem. I used "Flake and Glitter" glue so when I was rolling the stem and the hyacinth I had time to play with. Roll the stem then roll the hyacinth on an angle around the stem.

For the leaves cut a piece 2" by 3" and accordion fold back and forth at 1/4" folds. Then cut out a leaf on one of the folded sides. Roll this around the stem on an angle and voila a cute hyacinth to adorn your spring card. I used the Marianne Design cutting sheet (IT591) in the center.

Always learning, always exploring.

Until next time,


Monday, January 23, 2017

Technique: creating interesting backgrounds

It probably goes without saying at this point, that I enjoy creating backgrounds with which to build my card creations.

The "salt technique" is used in canvas painting and I thought I'd adopt it into card making. 

You can use water color paper, but I'm not a fan of the texture of watercolor paper so I use regular card stock but "seal" it with watercolor primer (Cosmic Shimmer #CSWCPR01). 

Using the Cosmic Shimmer Watercolor paints and a broad brush, I cover the paper as needed for my card project.

I spray a fine mist of water over the painted surface then I use large chunky salt and grind it to cover the surface. The more salt the more color is removed during the drying process. Interesting observation when I went about this technique, the regular grind table salt, which is a fine grind, is the image on the left and I have some big chunky kosher salt that I grind and that's on the right. For my purposes I like the chunky salt finished product.

You need to let this dry on its own overnight. I tried hurrying the process with a heat gun and it doesn't pull out enough color. So do your paper and give it at least 8 hours to finish it's process.

This was the first sheet I did. I didn't take a picture before I cut out my dies, and was just playing with it and really didn't expect it to turn into something I'd use. But as soon as I saw it, I knew what I could use it for.

We had this lilac (Dee's Distinctively IME 144) die at work and this purple shade and technique was the perfect fit for this die. 


I had some left over from the purple and made this little bouquet for this other card

I like the green and saw a need for that for this card.

Of course, watercolor background sky on this card!! I used the same paints to do that sky but cut a stencil out of a "starry night" die from Sue Wilson (CED3084)

Cut out this die into acetate and used it as a stencil. I used gold pigment ink to do the stars and moon and then heat set that and washed the blue sky over top.

As always, if you have any questions on any of the card designs I use in this blog, please feel free to add a comment and I will get back to you with any information you desire. 

Until next time,


Products used: Cosmic Shimmer Watercolor Primer (CSWCPR01); Cosmic Shimmer Watercolor Pallet, Carnival Brights (CSWCP02); Dee's Distinctively Lilac (IME144); Joy! Crafts Lilac Bow (60020541); Creative Expressions Starry Nights (CED3084); paper used for both the purple cards is Joy! Crafts Lavender (60110383)


Friday, January 20, 2017

Technique: sub·strate [səbˌstrāt/] noun

A lesson to be learned!

Substrate: noun 

a solid substance or medium to which another substance is applied and to which that second substance adheres.

Case in point my latest watercolor technique. This blog wasn't going to be about paper and the significant role it plays in your card projects .... but I figured why waste a good learning opportunity.


(of a material, substance, or byproduct) eliminated or discarded as no longer useful or required after the completion of a process.

I'll explain ....

We received some lovely stamps in and a co-worker exclaimed, "I am no good at stamping. I mean what do you do with that? Do you just stamp it in black?"

Me: "No you can color it with watercolor markers and use different colors all over the stamp." (see picture) I proceed to demonstrate.

Beautiful, right? But then I couldn't leave well enough alone, you can't really just use a stamp on a white background. Oh, I know, I'll do another of my watercolor backgrounds and stamp this on top. 

This is where we made a [fatal] mistake. I took out a piece of card stock, not from my usual stash. Proceeded to do a really washed out version of the background I did yesterday. 

Hmmmm, doesn't that look grainy? I did the same thing as yesterday. So I spritzed with water and really tried to work the watercolor around to smooth out. Nothing made a difference. Well we'll proceed. Let's see what this turns out like. Kind of funky, might look OK.

So it's all taped down, and I ink up layer #1. Huh, super grainy, not smooth. Layer 2, layer 3, layer 4. It's not getting better.

Wow, right??!! So I spritz it with several fine mists of water and head out for lunch. Nothing a Poutine won't cure.

Poutine: [poo teen] noun 

a Canadian dish, originating in the province of Québec, made with French fries and cheese curds topped with a light brown gravy.

This is the final image I came back to. All-in-all, I can live with this.

You think you are a "bad stamper"? Perhaps it's your paper! Dies even cut better with quality paper. 

And the last lesson from today. 

Pa·tience [pāSHəns]: noun

the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, trouble, or suffering without getting angry or upset.

Patience. Why do I forget that one some times? It is essential in using any kind of media. 

Until next time .... happy crafting.


Thursday, January 19, 2017

Technique: Watercolor Background Card Tutorial

I had been aching to do two things and was able to combine the two techniques into one box card. I am a scene card maker so the Marianne Design Box Die (CR1374) is so up my alley.

I saw a watercolor background technique using the watercolor markers and an acrylic block. So I did that for the background of this card.

The second thing I was wanting to try was use the 3D tab inserts of the box card die to have something dangling from the top of this box card. I accomplished that with this card as well.

The first technique I did was a watercolor background.

Using 4 different blues and 2 different greens, I colored an acrylic block top to bottom.

spritzed the surface with a water mist, let it run a bit then placed down on white card stock.

 And this is my finished background. As you can see, this can be used for a multitude of outdoor scenes.

I used watercolor markers and watercolor paper to then paint a "wildflower edger" (FRA9371) for the front of the card.

Using my favorite "box card" die (CR1374) I made my box frame and used a cloud stitched edger from Frantic Stamper as my top cut out piece.

I fancied a bird cage die that came with a flying bird (VIND036), I used acetate to adhere it to the top of the card so it is dangling freely within the box.

And here is the finished card. I used a few different grass edgers and hills to layer the ground area of the card.

 Until next time, happy crafting.


Dies used: Marianne Designs Box card die (CR1374); Frantic Stamper Wildflower Edger (FRA9371); Frantic Stamper Stitched Grassy Hill Edger (FRA9986); Frantic Stamper Stitched Cloud Edger (FRA9794); Nellie Grass Edger (straight edger) (SD111); Bird cage with flying bird (VIND036). Various blue and green shades of Memento Watercolor markers.