Sunday, May 29, 2011

Can't find the perfect stamp or sentiment? Make your own!

I'm sure y'all are aware that there aren't a ton of male-themed scrapping and stamping supplies out there, unless of course you want to spend all of your time crafting for a baby boy. I needed to make a birthday card for my brother and my rubber stamp collection is still quite tiny especially when compared to many of y'all's collections! I had scrap-lifted a photo for my card, but I couldn't find the right sentiment for the front of it.

I went to my trusty book and found this phrase: "A brother is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost. Thanks for the memories."

Trusty Microsoft Word to the rescue. I did my best to match the ink to my chosen papers. I formatted the phrase (without the "thanks for the memories") and italicized and bolded (is this a word???) the word Brother. I copied the phrase several times across the page. Then I printed it on cardstock and punched it out with a square punch. Here's a close-up:

A little trimming, inking and embossing later and I had my finished card. Thankfully, this one didn't take me too long! The inside sentiment also came from the same book.

So our lesson for today...don't let yourself be limited by your rubber stamp collection. I assume that you have a computer or you probably wouldn't be here visiting with me...LOL!!! Use the word-processing program in that computer to make your own sentiments for your cards and layouts. You'll be amazed at what you come up with!

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Scrap. Set. Match!!!!

For some reason, I had tennis on my mind (even though I haven't played since college) when I came up with the title for this post. Game. Set. Match! Get it??? If you don't, please humor me and pretend like you do.

For those of you who have been with me since the beginning, you know that I am patterned paper challenged!
I've blogged about it many times, but most specifically here.

***I just noticed that all of my followers have disappeared. I hope that's a glitch with blogger and not that people don't like me anymore!

Matching up patterned paper is tough for me and can consume a great chunk of my crafting time. Over the years I've acquired lots and lots of patterned paper...mostly purchased on a whim, with no project in mind. For probably the first eight or nine years of my scrapbooking life, I purchased 10 to 12 sheets of each pattern. Seriously? What was I thinking? I'm still trying to figure out how to use up some of that paper. But I digress....

I think I've found the key to my matching pp problem. I took a Spellbinders card class over at My Creative Classroom. While trying to choose paper for the cards, I pulled out a few DCWV cardstock stacks. (I just began acquiring them within the past year or two. JoAnn's has great sales!). I decided that whatever paper I used for each card would come from the same stack, thus assuring that either the colors or the patterns would work together. And...I was smart this time, and chose my paper BEFORE chosing my Copic markers for coloring.

For my Mother's Day Card, I used the DCWV Summer Dream stack. The bonus with this stack is that all of the paper is double-sided. Makes matching a no-brainer! There are three different patterns used in this card AND some embossing. The sentiment was done in Microsoft Word.

For this sympathy card, I pulled from an old Creative Memories Power Palette set called Blush Blooms. Though it's kind of hard to see in the picture, this card uses four different patterned papers, not including the white cardstock. The sentiment for this one was also done on the computer.

All of the patterned paper in this layout came from the DCWV Guy Stack.

So...I've decided that for most of my paper needs, I'll probably stick with DCWV. Their patterned cardstock is of great quality and they have a lot of selection. They are constantly coming out with new stacks. I need to start crafting on a budget and more often than not, these stacks are on sale at JoAnn's for around $10. If not there's always a coupon. Does this mean that I won't ever buy from other manufacturers or purchase single sheets again? No....but I will make every effort to buy paper that is in sets or, if buying single sheets, buy coordinating sheets that will work together for a project. Having the paper already matched removes some of that decision making that slows me down and gets in the way of my creativity.

So...our lesson for today....wait for it...wait for it!!!!

When setting out to SCRAPbook or make a card, consider purchasing and using paper that comes in SETs. It makes MATCHing patterned paper that much easier!

BTW...Despite the amount of time it took me to make those two cards, I DID manage to give them away!

It's Okay to Give Them Away...Cards That Is!

After taking about six hours to make one card, I decided that I wouldn't give my handmade cards to just anybody. (You know that feeling. You send the card to the person, they look at it, maybe display for a few days and then throw it in the trash.) It would have to be someone who would truly appreciate the time and craftsmanship that went into making the card, someone who would save it forever and ever; usually those are select family members and other paper crafters. But then I found myself participating in Friday Night Challenges over at Scraps of Color and developing a stockpile of handmade cards that I didn't want to give away.

A few weeks ago, I had an "ah ha" moment. When I was spending $5+ for a greeting card, I didn't care what the recipient did with it. When I was taking the time to design and print them with my computer software, I didn't care what the recipients did with them. If the joy comes from the crafting, why stress over what happens to the card once its sent? Just a thought.... So here are just a few that I've been hoarding that I vow to send out in the next couple of months.


Thanks for looking!!!!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Step Away From Your Cricut, or...Use Clip Art!

I wanted/needed a staircase with graduated steps for a scrapbook page I was doing for my sorority scrapbook. Mind you, I was working on page 2 of 10 pages that I needed to have finished within four days. The titles for each page were done, but I was having trouble coming up with a concept for each page. I searched and searched my over 100 Cricut cartridges via my Gypsy, Design Studio, Cricut Cheat Sheets, and The only image I found was on A Child’s Year and it wasn’t what wanted.
I then opened an MS Word document and went searching through the clip art. I found exactly what I was looking for but I didn't like the colors.

So, I hit upon the idea of printing it in grayscale. I would have loved to print it in black and white but in two years I haven’t figured out how, or if I even can, print in B/W with my printer. So…grayscale it was! Before printing though…I enlarged the clip art, added some titles to the steps and did a little cropping. Then I printed the image using the fast/draft setting so the gray wouldn’t come out so dark.

I colored the steps with my Copics. I’m still learning how to use them so it took me quite awhile just to color some danged steps! I wanted to make the titles pop out a little so I came up with the bright idea of using my glaze pens over the titles, sprinkling them with green embossing powder, and heat embossing. I tested the idea with different colored glaze pens and embossing powders (including clear) on a piece of the image I had trimmed off and it looked like it would work out okay. Turns out the idea was not so bright….*sigh.* The first title didn’t come out too badly, but for some reason with each title it got increasingly worse. The embossing bubbled and the letters kind of ran together. It could have been that I was holding my heat gun too close or it could have been the glaze pen, the embossing powder, or both, reacting with my Copics. In any event, I had messed up and I flat out refused to print out another image and go through the task of coloring again…especially with a looming deadline. So I tried different black pens on top of my sample embossing, none of which worked very well. Then I tried my Smooch ink which although not perfect, worked much better. So trace over the letters I did. I also added a little Smooch ink at the top where you could see the white cardstock, and wouldn’t you know it…I made a smudge…..grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr……

So…I added some bling to the top. (Makes it look kinda like a cake don’t’cha think??) I then cut an image from Forever Young (I plumped her up a bit!) to place at the bottom of the steps, and several smaller silhouettes to place on the steps from the same cartridge.  Here is the finished project…

While not my best work, it worked for me!

If you’ve made it this far in my blog post, I thank you! And since you HAVE read this far, you might as well finish up and take note of the lesson for today.

So what I’ve learned is this:
…If you can’t find it on one of your Cricut cartridges or draw/create an image yourself, check your word processing program for clip art, or any clip art program for that matter. There are many ways to make creative changes to clip art so that it works for what you want it to!
…Don’t, I repeat DON’T, experiment with new techniques on your project when you’re playing beat the clock. Save experimentation for those times when you can afford to mess up because you have time for do-overs!
…Don’t take short cuts either! I was too danged lazy to get my ink pad and so used my Smooch ink (which was at hand) and wouldn’t ya know it…I messed up.

Thank you for stopping by. 

**I have TWO more days of school left and then it's on and croppin' (and bloggin')!