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Time to send some cards

I’m afraid to ask what the deadline is to send cards internationally for Christmas. I suspect it’s already passed. So today I promised myself I would finish the final card for a geeky gamer’s card swap for which I promised ten cards this year. I’ll send them tomorrow on my lunch break. I used the fun sketch from Flourishes’ December release challenge to inspire me.

I’m quite excited to see the whole Flourishes December release. Being new to the world of cling stamps, there are a couple of companies that I have started following avidly, but Flourishes so far is the only one I’ve purchased from. In their last release of three designs, I was lucky enough to win one set. I liked the quality enough to buy another set from the November release as well as a couple of their holiday designs, and the third set is waiting in my wish list for a reasonable excuse to justify another craft splurge!

Anyway, I digress from tonight’s card. My initial plan was to use some of weird border stamps from my stash along with perfect pearls gold for the “sandwich filling” layer. After a great deal of careful work on this sandwich layer, something went terribly wrong in gluing that layer on to the background. The glue dried but left the paper blotchy and translucent. That glue has never done that before, I can only guess that it was because my craft room was chilly. I tried to age the paper with Distress inks, but it pulled off the perfect pearls making everything worse. So I set that one aside and tried again.

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Ingredients: David Tutera A7 Celebrations card, Recollections ribbon, My Minds Eye Lost & Found Christmas paper, I can’t recall who made the punch

Learning After the mess of the first attempt, I got a bit hasty with the top layer on this second attempt. I feel I should have background stamped it or something.

Loving: Of all the cards where I included a little gamer/geek motif, I think this is my favorite. I think it coordinates with and showcases the geeky bit nicely, whereas the previous cards mostly tried to work in the geeky in a less noticeable way. It’s a dragon drawing by Tolkien, in case you are wondering.

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Winter is coming to a sketch near you

I’m always inspired by a sketch challenge, and so I appreciated the unique sketch from My Favorite Things this week.

20131209-232247.jpgThis is for an international geeky gamer card swap.  The dire wolf on the card is a heraldic symbol from A Game of Thrones, which is one of the intended recipient’s favorite books!

Ingredients:  David Tutera A7 card, Martha Steward border punch, Inkadinkado snowflake and sentiment stamps, Sizzix sizzlets snowflakes, Glossy Accents

Learning:  I’m planning to embellish a number of the cards I will send this week with little geeky 1-inch symbols, tailored to the recipient’s interests.  I was hoping to cover these symbols with convenient 1-inch epoxy dots that I had in my stash.  Unfortunately, the epoxy dots had aged and hardened, so I tried using glossy accents instead.  It was kind of hard to get the kind of smooth coverage I wanted, but I think with practice, I’ll be able to get this technique to work out.

I’m also frustrated that I don’t really have a ton of Christmas sentiments, so I didn’t have one that was Christmas-specific that would fit into the banner.  But I can’t expect to have a perfect stamp-stash overnight!  I just dived into this holiday card-making experiment a month ago, after all!

Loving:  I just love a sketch challenge, and I had a lot of fun deciding what would work for the sketch elements from my stash.  I’m also pleased with the overall look of the geeky “badge” idea, and I’m optimistic about getting the other 8 or so to work out.

But I’ve got to get busy, these cards need to go out this week!!!

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Stamping snowflakes with flourish

For the Simon Says Stamp Monday challenge this week, the goal was to use flourishes. I wanted to combine flourishes with snowflakes for a snowy, wintery scene. But I had some trouble getting the stamp impression to look the way I wanted.

At first I thought it was something about Distress inks, because they were beading up on the stamp surface. Then I tried it with some craft store brand inks, and they reacted similarly. Then I washed the cling stamps very well with soap and water. That seemed to help the most.

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I need to learn more about using these cling stamps. Are they prone to beading? Are certain inks more susceptible? Is it just because I had the stamps sitting in their package for a really long time before using them?

In any case, I was eventually satisfied with the impression. Then I embossed it, and added some die cut details.

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Ingredients: Snowflake stamps by Inkadinkado, flourish stamp by Scrappy Cat, flourish Movers and shapers die by Sizzix, Perfectly Pierced oval by Flourishes, Ranger super fine embossing powder

Learning: Obviously, I need to research better stamping technique, but I feel like I made some progress. I also feel like I’m making progress in coming up with my own layouts, although I still think this one could have used a little ribbon or something. I also think I would have preferred the more muted tones of the Distress inks for this project. The punchier blues make it seem a little hectic to my eye.

Loving: I was really happy with how the die cuts added to this one. I was also pleased with my combination of snowflake and flourish dies – it’s a lot of fun to compose a bunch of cling stamps on a big acrylic block!

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Tea across the sea

This card is going to be sent as part of an international card swap with gamers. It was also created with the Mojo Monday card sketch 322 challenge as the inspiration.

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Ingredients: My Mind’s Eye Lost & Found Christmas, Flourishes Christmas Tea stamp, Inkadinkado joy stamp, Distress markers and inks, Recollections ribbon, Glue Dots dimensional dots, rounded corner punch

Just to throw out a note on methods, I only have a very few markers.  So a lot of times when you see I’ve colored something in, I have used a combination of markers and regular wet paintbrushes dabbed onto my Distress ink pads.  It works surprisingly well, and it’s kept me from running out and buying every marker in the universe.  The markers are rather more convenient though, and I would love to have more.  But I have to draw a line somewhere with my craft spending.  I’d rather have more techniques available to me than convenience.

Learning:  This was a great sketch to work with, and working with sketches has really helped me get better at thinking about layout.  I just hope adding this extra dimensionality doesn’t make it too hard to mail!  I’ll find out when I visit the post office later this week!

Loving:  I love my adorable new Christmas teacup stamps!!!  I guess they must be retired, because I found them on ebay, not on the Flourishes website.  But they are a nice quality and I just love tea and antique teacups, so these charmed my socks off!

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Music and tags

This card was for the Shabby Tea Room challenge -Terrific Tags.

Alas, I missed the entry deadline by mere moments.  The linky tool literally closed on me just after I had entered my info and selected my image.  When there is a fussy baby in the house, creative project deadlines mean nothing.

20131208-115935.jpgIt’s too bad, too, I really liked this card and I actually had enough good natural light for a decent picture.  That never happens!

Ingredients:  David Tutera Celebrations pearlescent A2 card, ribbon from stash, Flourishes Christmas Music stamps, Flourishes Perfectly Pierced Oval die, Inkadinkado snowflake stamps, Sizzix sizzlets snowflakes dies, Sizzix tags #3, Archival ink, Distress ink, Core’dinations cardstock

Learning opportunities:  I don’t know why but the little stamped snowflakes always seem to get a little blurred, maybe I press too hard?  I’m not sure I’ve quite got the best technique for rubber stamping yet.

Loving it: I’m really happy with the way the colors came together for this, I’m also really excited about the way the layers look for this!

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Color me light green

I got some good crafting time in this holiday weekend, which has allowed me to try playing in a new-to-me challenge: The Color Throwdown. With a name like that, it’s got to be fun, right?

So the challenge from Color Throwdown was to use: crumb cake, silver, gum ball green, and white.. I didn’t have exactly gum ball, but I got pretty close. I didn’t see an “about” section, so I’m curious as to where they get their evocative color names and ideas. Maybe I’ll find out as I follow along.

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Ingredients: Recollections Lost & Found Christmas paper (green), silver glitter David Tutera Celebrate A7 card (silver), plain card stock (white), DCWV the Natural matstack (crumb cake), Sizzix tree die, Studio G glitter glue, Recollections silver embellishment, Archival Ink, stamp from Inkadinkado

Learning & Improvement: I feel like I could have filled the green space better. I need to pick up more holiday sentiment stamps so that I can fill up a larger space when needed. I also feel like the piece could have used a little distress or something. Somehow it feels like it’s missing a little detail or depth.

Loving it: Despite not having the exact right green, I just love the way the colors came together! I think I’ll do more Color Throwdowns in future, because it’s so much fun to dig out papers that match the colors and see where the papers lead!

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Counting down to the holiday

We’ve turned the corner into December and suddenly the Enterprise is on “red alert”! Christmas cards, advent calendar presents and, just a little father down the road, the presents for the actual holiday – everything is coming due in just a few weeks! Where did the time go?

I’m trying to remind myself that there are still 24 (now almost 23) days left to enjoy crafting and holiday activities and the giddy bustle of trying to get it all done in time. So the next card, for the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge: “Christmas Countdown”, I have tried to focus on the “25”. But in each of these efforts, you can see the numbers of the month, counting inexorably away.

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Ingredients: Recollections Lost & Found Christmas paper, Seasonal Kraft Resist paper, Recollections trims, Studio G red glitter glue, Distress Marker, Seasonal Chit Chat stickers

Room for Improvement: The countdown numbers could have used more panache. I hand wrote them because I don’t have a stamp for that kind of thing yet. I’m also not convinced I have yet found the best use for the Kraft Resist Seasonal paper, it’s awfully dark. Also, I discovered that glitter glue isn’t a good adhesive for yarn/string embellishments, it just gets absorbed too much and doesn’t provide adhesion.

Loved it: I did like the overall color of the Kraft paper with the colors of the background paper. I also liked how the glitter glue looked over red lettering, it really popped and looked professional!