Thursday, December 17, 2009

Cricut glittered tree

Although I am not too fond of glitter I wanted to use it on a card for the holidays. I wanted to make something different and yet familiar. So after looking at my choices I chose to use a tree . I cut out some strictly triangular shaped trees and even some more detailled trees, but was not happy with any of them. I finally pulled out some of my "Cricut" cartridges and looked for something different. The scroll design on this tree immediatly jumped out at me but when I cut it down to fit on a card it seemed to loose it WOW factor. I finally hit on the idea to make a really big tree to emphasize the scrolls and then only use half of it. I used bright green paper and after I cut it out I used "Martha Stewart" glitter on it. For the ornaments and star I used "Stampendous" Dot Sparklers stickers of various sizes and colors. The glittered text tag is an old sticker from several years ago from "K&Company" and it just seemed to fit perfectly with the glittered tree.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Christmas already!

For some reason I make more Christmas cards throughout the year than any other. This year I wanted to branch out and try different things and various techniques, but also make some of them masculine themed or masculine acceptable. The first card is an embossed type card with some "bling" effect to it. The background is gold paper even do it looks like brown craft paper here. The large tree is stamp from "Rubber Stampede", the smaller tree is from "Inkadinkado" and the text is from "Stampin' Up". I embossed the gold trees first and then embossed the tree in white on top. The text is also embossed in white. The card is trimmed with gold line stickers from "Starform".

The second card is a paper collage using a simple hand punch, craft paper and pre-printed paper. I selected a section of the pre-printed paper with the image of pine branches at the top. Using a hand punch I made three ornaments from craft paper. Using a "Sizzix Sizzlet" die-cut I cut out the text from craft paper as well. The rest was a simple assembly process, with the addition of some silver marker lines to simulate the ornament hooks and highlight the details on the ornaments.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Count your Blessings!

November is here, which means one of the most American of holidays is just around the corner. The stores are littered with fall foliage and pumpkins and yet these are all sorry leftovers from Halloween. There are actually very few "Thanksgiving" icons available on the market. I wonder why that is? After the 4th of July this is about as American as you can get! In any case I wanted to make a couple of cards to celebrate the occasion and searched high and low for appropriate images. I was tired of the leaf motif or the pumpkin image and yes even of those pilgrims, who each year seem to get trendier and trendier! Because of everything that is going on I wanted an image that represented not only the bounty that america has to offer but also a real Thanksgiving icon. After a long and fruityless search I finally found something I liked on of all things: a paper nakpin! The image here does not quite do it justice, but it is a regal looking bird surrounded by the bounty that is the season. After all the turkey was chosen by some of our fore fathers as one posibility for the national bird. This turkey was indeed a proud and regal bird. I photocopied the napkin and then using metallic markers and chalk I enhanced the overall colors and depth. To add to the depth I edged the card with black and walnut ink. The text is a sticker from Hallmark. The second card is made starting with a window card with a mat from "The Paper Cut". I used cross stitching canvas in a natural tone as the window inset on which I glued a 3D wheat shaft sticker from E.K. Success. The text is a sticker from "Mrs. Grossman". Although 2009 has not been the best of years for me, I still have a lot to be thankful for this year and have many blessings to count. I hope everyone could say the same but I am sure there are people out there who do not feel blessed or feel as if they have anything to be thankful for. To those people I just say: be thankful you are an American.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

New Ventures

This fall I started a couple of new ventures at our local A. C. Moore craft store. The first one is doing demonstrations on the "Cricut Expression" and the second one is giving classes. These have been great fun and I wanted to these ventures on my blog.
The demonstrations started as a one time favor for one of the employee and turned in to a two time deal, with possibly more in the near future. I had my "Cricut Expression" for a while but had rarely used. Part of the problem was that I'd gotten mine prior to "ProvoCraft" providing an "how to" video in the package. What I knew I had learned from watching a couple of infomercials and the promotion on QVC. When I was asked to help out with the first demonstration I reviewed everything I knew and re-read the owner's manual. The first demonstration went well, but I was asked many questions I could not answer. I didn't feel bad not being a representative of the "Cricut" products and not having been trained on them, but still I knew I could personally do better. So I buckled up and went on line to get myself ready for the second one. Needles to say I learned a lot and am now using my "Cricut Expression" a little more often.
The classes started almost as a dare. I did one class just for the employees on card making and scrapbooking materials and their basic use to introduce many of them to the products the store carried and they sold! I was very surprised at how little people actually knew about the most basic information and so I decided to do a four part series on the basics of paper crafting open to the public. The first class I covered the basics and we actually walked around the store while I talked about the various types of papers, adhesives, tools etc. The second class was a run through of the various die-cut systems, from hand punches to "Sizzix" and "Cuttle Bug" to the "Cricut Expression". The third class was an introduction to card making, while the fourth class was an introduction to scrapbooking. These were loads of fun and I was amazed at how passionate I could be about these various aspects of papercrafting. I have now decided to do a second more advanced series of three classes.
The best part is that I learn so much and get so many ideas that it's an education for me as well. I will post my class schedule on the side of my blog. Hopefully I will see some of you there.

More Treats for Halloween!

I came across two great laser cut sticker from Mrs. Grossman and could not resist them. I wanted to make simple cards to highlight the laser cut stickers.
On the first card I mounted the laser cut sticker on orange paper and framed it with 3D stickers from the dollar bin at target.

On the second card I used off-white paper for the moon (a simple circle punch) that I laid on the orange paper before I added the laser cut sticker. I added a glittered crow from Martha Stewart/E.K. Success to add to the overall look. The text is a rub-on from the dollar bin at Target.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Non traditional Halloween Card

I was inspired by a European magazine to try and use non traditional colors and items to create a "different" kind of Halloween card. I used Basic Grey paper, various flourish stamps, a frame stamp and plain black ink as well as "Marcella by K" flower 3D stickers and a text rub-on. Who would have thought that a green background with black flowers would work as a halloween card!

Thursday, October 1, 2009


Halloween, the name stirs up so many emotions but mostly the right to get dressed up and act downright silly no matter what age you are. I don't go for costumes, just cards! When I started working on my Halloween cards earlier this year I found wonderful stickers and embellishments, but nothing really jumped out at me as much as two lonely pieces of paper from "Creative Imagination". I don't know if these were left over from last year or I just got to the store late, but I only found one piece of each and I grabbed them. These papers were perfect and were strong enough to hold their own and not need a whole lot of additons to create the perfect Halloween cards.

The first one was a combination of purple and black that just "screamed" manly Halloween scarry things! I used just the one upper corner (the only spot that had a third color - the brilliant orange glow from within the grinning black sull) and side of the paper and I'm saving the rest for future use. The text is a 3D sticker from "Recollections" in the same brilliant orange and black combination as the skull. I mounted the paper panel on black paper and adhered the whole thing vertically on a letter size purple card.

The second one's base paper is orange and black. The orange background is crisscrossed with a square grid while the black background is broken with bright flourishes. I extended the flourish theme with 3D orange and black stickers from "Recollections" and a 3D sticker texted tag from "Target". I mounted the printed panel on black paper and then adhered all the panels horizontally to an orange letter size card. Oh yes, I added rhinestones in the pumpkins eyes for a little added oomph These cards were simple to make, are very biffiting of the season and best of all scarry enough to suit anybody! Happy Halloween to all and to all a scarry night!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Blowing my own horn!

My second article will appear in the Scrap & Stamp Arts issue for October 2009 and I wanted to show the subject off here on my blog. I created wallet cards! These are gift card, check or money holder cards that literally resemble wallets. Sounds obvious, but they were a great success and hit with many people. For the article I created both a man's and a woman's wallet.

The man's wallet is made from black card stock that I embossed the exterior with an alligator pattern using the Cuttle Bug, which I even monogrammed. I used my own wallet as a template to create the interior pockets to hold a gift card, check or bills, as well as a place to put your message (which was the driver licence holder).

For the woman's wallet I used a check holder size wallet as a template. I used a patterned embossed paper called "football" and embellished the edge with a die-cut border from K & Company. Again the inside was patterned on a real check holder wallet with pockets to hold a gift card, check or bills.
These cards require a lot of paper cutting, folding and layout work but are really worth the effort. For once the wrapping trully is as much part of the gift as are the contents.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Summer Time!

Sometimes you need to relax and forget about the passing of time and sometimes you need to celebrate the passing the of time. This card can be used to do both. The background paper is from an unknown source, but when found it I liked it so much I bought several sheets of it. The parchemnt is a die cut from "Sizzix" done on mustard colored marbled paper from "The paper Company" that I edged with tan ink. The watch is a rub-on from "Provo Crafts" and the text is an acrylic stamp from "Fiskar/Cloud-9-Designs". To highlight the watch I edged the bob abd the left side with clear "Deco Art Paper Effects" creating a slight 3D effect (not visible here). Celebrating the passing of time is something we all must do and also must make the most of ... after all there is no stopping time!

Friday, July 3, 2009

Celebrate Day 3!

The last card is the result of the first two cards as far as materials and theme go, but taken one step further. I had bought ribbon for the first card and saw there was an accompanying ribbon that represented the flag, which was the theme I used for the second card. But I needed to add something and this time I wanted more than just sparkly stickers for fire work bursts.

The card was made by taking the one flag ribbon and creating a vertical center panel running down the card, then the second ribbon was used as a banner accros the breakline between the field of stars and the stripes. The tag was another piece from the K & Company sticker set that I used on the first card and which complimented the composition and theme of the new card. But I wanted more! The tag included a couple of small rhinestone like stars and I decided to expand on these and replace the fire work bursts with more rhinestone stars. Happy 4th of July, enjoy the celebrations, the food and the fireworks.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Celebrate Day 2!

Card inspiration scan come from anywhere. While I was looking for papers to use with my eagle card, I found an old flag sticker and scraps of patriotic themed papers. I knew I could use these to create something to be displayed on the 4th of July. So here is my version of ode to old Glory.

The second card is really more of a paper collage . The background papers is used are from the Frances Meyers paper collection. I liked the text idea and also the fact that it reflected the flag layout. The 3D flag and the 3D stars are from a K & Company sticker set. I couldn't find any fire works small enough and sprakly enough so I made my own. Each burst is actually cut up stickers from Mrs. Grossman that represent hand held spaklers. I removed the support want and put two or three together for each burst effect.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Celebrate Day 1!

July is here and every one is getting ready for the big celebration on the 4th. I wanted to create cards that seemed to explode with excitement for the 4th and I ended up with three totally different cards, which I will post in three separate blog entries over the next few days.

I'll begin with the first card, which really is a result if my wanting to use a specific sticker (which I've had for quite a while) but could not really come up with a theme to use it with. Then it came to me: the American eagle what else but the 4th of July.
So I created this card using a Jolee's Boutique Eagle sticker, which I personally think is a striking and powerful image and added some Walmart ribbon. I included the sparkle fire works behind the eagle to add to the celebratory effect. The 3D tag is by K & Company, as is the background paper and just goes to extending the whole idea of what really is important on the 4th.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Father's Day goes to the Dogs!

Here's a sneak preview of my Father's Day card. Not all of us have children and therefore some of us use our pets as surrogates ... so here's a card for all of us! The background paper is from an unknown source. The stickers are from Sandylion. The dogs are "Max" a 5 year old female Great Pyrenees and "Bayley Magee" a 13+ year old cocker spaniel. As all of us know who have dogs, the funniest part of the card is the fact that the dogs aren't in the chair. I know at my house I sit on the floor while they are on the couch and I can swear to the fact that no dog I've ever had has brought me the paper (eaten it or messed on it for sure) or brought me a cup of coffee (stuck their tongue in it maybe - I afraid to think about it). Oh well, no matter, we love them. Happy Father's Day to all the father's out there.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Father's Day (part two)

The second type of card is more personal and something needs to be known about the recipient: in this case I used western themed images because the person is into riding horses and somewhat of a "cowboy" at heart. The background paper is from Colorbok and is edged with walnut ink. The horses portrait is a rubber stamp from Stamps on Fire, which is stamped in walnut over a mosaic background stamp by Starving Artistamp, Inc. which was inked with chocolate and yellow. I colored the horse with pencil to add another layer to the image. The stamped images were trimmed, edged in chocolate and then attached to the card using copper square head brads from Making Memories. The text is from Inkadinkado and is stamped in black ink.

Father's Day (part one)

What better month for card making for and by men but june and just in time to commemorate and celebrate Father's Day? This is what I have been looking for since I started this blog earlier this year. For the occassion I wanted to create two types of cards, one that was more generic in feel and could be given to any father and one that was more personal and rellied on a little more personal knowledge of the recipient father. I will post the these in two sessions starting today with the generic card. The card is one that has strong masculine overtones but no direct personal touches, although it has what I believe to be a regal touch and feel to it. The background paper (source unknown) is the perfect starting point with it's masculine monochromatic color scheme and strong graffics. The scroll is a rubber stamp from Third Coast Rubber Stamp, which I stamped three times in walnut on tan marbled paper, cut out and then re-assembled using thin raised adhesive dots to create a 3D effect. Before I re-assembled the image I added the text and fleur-de-lys, as well as edging all the pieces, in walnut ink. This added depth and emphasized the 3D effect.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Second time around!

I got so excited about the first mirrored image card that I decided to go a around with the idea a second time. I looked through all my stamps and couldn't find one that would work. Then I saw the lighthouse stamp at A.C. Moore and knew this was a perfect image to mirror. Luckily I had coupons galore and I got it. The paper is from Cosmo Cricket and works well here too. I stamped the reflected image in gray to create a softer affect and the actual image in black. Using a brayer I inked the lower part of the image with various shaed of green and blue inks. Therest of the coloring was done with pencils. The text is a sticker from Cloud-9-Designs/Fiskar (which is now available on an acrylic stamp sheet).

Friday, May 1, 2009

May: a time to reflect

Experimenting with new techiniques and looking back at what you have done is always a good thing. I wanted to come up with something new and fresh (at least for me) for a generic man's card. So I took out some stamps and played around. I'd always wanted to try my hand at mirrored images with rubber stamps and I decided this was as good a time as any to go for it. So here it is. A serene manly landscape using the mirrored stamping technique. The idea really came together when I found a great background paper from Cosmo Cricket of a beautiful sun set/rise. The rest was just a little trial and error and a lot of patience and work. I had seen stamps sold at craft store to use for creating mirror images, but they were small and quite expensive at over ten dollars. So I looked for something else to use that woult not limit me on size and break the bank. I settled on a sheet of plumbing rubber (about 8"x8" that I bought at the local Home Depot for under three dollars). To create the mirror image I stamped on the plumbing rubber, which I laid flat on my working surface and then laid the paper over it and using a brayer "rubbed" the image on. A quick tip: the process works better using dye inks. The stamps used in this case were all from Stampim Up! I left blank spaces in both the sky and the water areas for future text or greetings.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Easter Greetings

Once again I was challenged to come up with a manly card for a Holiday that is adorned with cutsy images. This was going to be a challenge! I wanted something that was simple, direct, to the point with strong yet not overbearing images. To achieve this I opted to go with rubber stamps and inks, rather than my usual stickers and rub-ons.

My first challenge was coming up with a suitable background shapes and colors. After several attempts I settled on the largest shadow box from "Hero Arts" inked in several different light and dark green tones. The results were those of soft aged stone, which I really liked and suggested to me to use a cross as the main image. The image I chose was the Celtic cross from "Inkadinkado", which I stamped in black over the dried background. The contrast seemed too stark and sharp. For the second attempt I stamped the cross directly on the pre-inked shadow stamp and then on to a piece of white paper. The results were, at least I think, great and reflect the theme I was going for. A strong image, yet subtle in tones. I mounted the stamped image on a light olive piece of paper and then adhered the panels to the card. The text is from "Serendipity Stamps", simple, direct and to the point.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Just Good Wishes!

I was chanllenged by a friend to use some very unusual stickers and make cards. The 3D butterfly stickers from the Saffron line by K & Company, although very attractive in a retro kind of way, are totally out of my usual pallette and style. The almost pasley patterns and retro colors on the butterflies proved to be quite a challenge, but in the end I managed four completely different cards. One seemed to fit the idea of march, green and good wishes, so I wanted to share it and get some feedback. The papers are from K & Company as are the die cut borders, while the text is a rubber stamp from Hero Arts.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Saint Patrick's Day (part 2)

After all I said, not only did I go back and get some of the shamrocks and leprechauns but once I got started I couldn't stop. I found some really impressive glittered rub-ons from Royal Langnickel and knew I had to do something with them. So here's another Saint Patricks's Day Card

Saturday, February 21, 2009

St. Patrick's Day: a man's holiday!

What better way to start off a man card blog than with what many people consider a man's holiday: Saint Patrick's Day. So off I went to create a card or two. Well, easier said than done! Let's face it, I'm familiar with the concepts of leprechauns, money pots, shamrocks and beer glasses when it comes to Saint Patrick's Day cards and all are available in sticker or rubber stamp formats. However I wanted something different, something a little more in keeping with the idea of the beauty of Ireland, as well as the serenity that could go with it. Having no irish blood, this wasn't easy. What to do?

Well, I decided to take the high road (sorry for the pun) and create something more woodsy and inspirational. I have some great background stamps from Beeswax and used one of those as my point of departure. Then I found an irish proverb stamp that I thought appropriate. Added some celtic design details and there it was.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


Starting this blog was not only a lot of work for me but also an eye opener in more ways than one. While creating my profile I took the opportunity to look back at my twenty plus years of card making and was amazed to see the changes, both in styles and materials, that have taken place. When I started back in the late seventies/early eighties to make my own cards I relied on cutting up and re-assembling store bought cards (sort of early twentieth century recycling), because rubber stamps, stickers and die-cut machines had not been invented yet! Unfortunately there are no surviving examples of those really early cards (unless some long lost friend or family member has one stowed away somewhere).
At some point in the early eighties I decided to use my art background and start drawing/painting my own cards. It is also at this time that I created my personal signature image: the heart shaped nose Teddy Bear. Of course then I made only a few cards every year for a select group of friends and family and for only a couple of occasions. One of my early efforts was a multi-fold card that spelled out the word "LOVE" (see Valentine's Day 1986). Unfortunately only the first panel remains today faded and aged but the heart shaped nose Teddy Bear is still visible. The panels decreased in size (the "L" panel being the largest) and the hearts hid the letters when the card was closed. It was an ambitious project when done all individually by hand.
However, as my list of friends grew, so did the number of cards and I knew I needed a better way to do multiple of these. Photocopying them was not really an option, due to both the cost and the poor quality of paper available. In the mid nineties I discovered rubber stamps but after purchasing a few (at what seemed like a great cost back then) I realized that the designs available were limited. So one year I decided to have three of my designs using my signature Teddy Bear turned into rubber stamps at a local office supply store. I made one for birthdays, one for Christmas and of course one for Valentine's Day (see Valentine's Day 1999). These were a great success but after using them two years in a row friends commented about the already seen image. I soon realized that having to make new stamps each year was going to be a costly proposal. Then of course there was the storage of all these rubber stamps. What to do? So in 2000 I changed my media again and went back to recycling.
This time is was really recycling: anything and everything, from gift wrapping paper, to old ribbons to magazine images. It is also about this time that I found my first craft store and started amassing my now huge collection of supplies and tools. One of the first tools I bought was the Fiskars Deckle Edge scissor, which to this day remains one of my favorite. My cards started to take on a collage or layered look incorporating many different elements, which I always tried to tie in together through color (see Valentine's Day 2001). I also started to use stickers and envelope seals. These were easy to store and were relatively inexpensive, which really attracted me.
Over the years since I've learned to incorporate a variety of medias (sometimes all of them) in one card and now even create 3D cards (see Valentine's Day 2009). I hope you enjoy this little trip down Nostalgia Lane and at the look into my past as much as I did. Oh and in case you didn't get the idea ... Happy Valentine's Day to all.