Thursday, December 31, 2015

December Tim Tag Play Date with Friends

Last night I had a fun and fantastic play date with 4 friends, and we had creative play time recreating the techniques from Tim's December 2015 tag.  You can see his tag by clicking here with all the instructions & step out photos.

Since Christmas is over, we all were kind of past the holiday thing, so I just put all the colors on the the table and told them to have at it.  Everyone was kind of slowly moving along until we noticed Andrea going gangbusters just decorating tags and having the time of her life!  That kind of loosened everyone up, and we all had a great time.

We tried starting out like Tim did using the burlap.  I didn't have enough for everyone, so a couple of us used cork.  We didn't have much success, so we took Andrea's lead and just went to town decorating plain tags.

Here's some pics of the fun ...

Left to right:  Andrea, Grace & Mercedes.

After we all noticed Andrea's beautiful tags, she proudly posed with a few.

Me, off to a weak start.

Mercedes & Tanya (Brendan's girlfriend).

Andrea's beautiful tags.  She has such a way with colors!

Andrea took pics of her inky fingers.

A classic Andrea pic!

When we finished our play time, we cleaned off most of the table.  Over a year ago, Andrea cleaned out her rubber stamp collection, and I've had two, huge shopping bags full of stamps sitting here in my craft room waiting for me to decide what to do with them.  Since Andrea was here for this play date, I thought it'd be a great time to have the ladies pick & choose what they wanted.  We cleaned off most of the table, and Grace & Mercedes had a blast going through all the stamps!

They laid them all out on the table and chose what they wanted.  So nice to see craft items find new homes.  

Friday, December 18, 2015

Fabulous Techniques Class!

Just a recap here on how the Techniques Class went.  Can you say fabulous?  We began with the Friendship Lady card (pictures of the class samples in this post here), and I thought it would be fun to offer different options of stamps and the full line of Tim Holtz Distress Inks so everyone could let their creativity hang out.  The card above is the one I made while teaching the technique, and I used the lips stamp from the Stampers Anonymous Classics #5 set.

Michelle didn't want her picture on the blog because she had no make-up on.  Her card is on the right.  She liked everything about my sample, so she used the same stamp & colors.

Maureen is on the left, and she used a stamp from the Tim Holtz Travel Labels set with pinks & purples.  Very cool.

Here's our very talented newbie, Mercedes.  She used the eye stamp from the same Classic #5 set I used with pastel colors.  Beautful!

And, finally, here's my dear friend, Denise.  She's actually been coming to my classes since 2003!  She's usually a perfectionist when it comes to her card making, and I was very proud of her "embracing her imperfections".  Awesome job!

This card we mixed it up a little bit too, because everyone wanted to use different words (sorry, forgot to take pics of their cards).

At my classes, everyone usually "has to do like teacher", and they want their cards to look exactly like mine.  They make me giggle when they ask permission if they can stray the tiniest bit from my design.  I think everyone got much more out of this class because they let their creativity soar a little.  I love seeing everyone's interpretations of my designs!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Techniques Class at Mrs. Rodgers Neighborhood

Tonight's my first class here in almost a year!  I'm so excited!  Since I went back to work and I've had to get up early, my classes kind of fell by the wayside.  We usually gab so much, it's usually between 10 & 11pm before everyone leaves.  I'm trying an earlier time slot, and warned them we've got to be on time--6:30-9:30pm.  I gotta get to bed!

I spent all day playing yesterday creating my 3 designs.  This first one I call Distress Heartfelt Thanks, and it was inspired by this card I found on Pinterest by Beesmom on Splitcoaststampers:

I loved the colors, and the bold image that overlaps the colored area and the white.  The idea in my head was very much like this one, colors and all.  Don't know morphed into what I got, but I love it, and I know my students will love it too!

This 2nd card I call Explore.  This one was inspired by a video on Youtube by Karen Titus.  Very similar to the card above, but a totally different technique.  I didn't like it on regular cardstock, so I did it on watercolor paper.  I could've gotten the colors to blend a lot more by spritzing the paper with water, but I just loved how it turned out!

This 3rd card, called Friendship Lady was a train out of control!  I was perusing my Technique Junkie newsletter from February/March 2014, and there on the back page I saw my inspiration.  (This newsletter is a paid subscription, so I don't think I'm allowed to post the picture).  The technique is called Diagonal Images Background, and the artist, Ann Clack, used pinks & purples to color a fairy stamp and repeat it diagonally all over the card.

I searched my stash and found this lovely.  Sorry, I don't know the company, the label just says Lady with Words, a 2003 Limited Edition.

I'm going to offer different stamps with frames to my students to use, and allow them to use their own color palette.  Can't wait to see what they come up with!

I'm going to submit my Explore card in the Simon Says Stamp Wednesday Challenge:  Die Crazy.

I'm also going to submit my Distress Heartfelt Thanks card in the Simon Says Stamp Monday Challenge:  Just a Pinch 

Sunday, December 6, 2015

2015 Christmas Card Tutorial + Winner!

Happy Holidays everyone!  I'm happy to report that I've finished making my 60+ Christmas cards for this year!  I normally do around 120, but after doing this for almost 15 years, I've cut down considerably on the handmade cards.  I only send them to my family and art friends, plus the people who've expressed their gratitude for my work.  The rest get store bought cards.  Hey, it's the thought that counts.

So, this year, I decided to create a tutorial of the immense work that goes into the endeavor every year.  I'm actually considering including a note in each card directing the recipients to this blog post.

These cards took me almost 3 full days to complete, and without certain tools, it would've taken me much longer.  I have to give special mention to two special, time-saving tools:

My Misti tool.  Even though I used wood mounted stamps, I decided to un-mount them so I could use the Misti.  It's very easy to do ... just put your stamp in the microwave for 10-15 seconds (depending on the size), and then gently peel it off.  The heating process is enough to soften the adhesive for removal.

My Stampin' Up! scoreboard (this link directs you to the website of Tina Rosenkrans, my friend & demonstrator).  I also own the Martha Steward scoreboard, but this one beats it hands down.

It has storage capacity for both the stylus tool, and little pointer pegs so you can easily mark exactly where you want to score, so you can quickly score your cardstock for those mass production jobs like Christmas cards, invitations, thank you cards, etc.

I placed a peg at 4-1/4" so I could quickly score all my base cardstock quickly & efficiently.  You could also purchase accessory plates with diagonal or wavy lines.

I began by taking Tim Holtz Distress Watercolor paper and cutting it down to 4"

by 5-1/4".  This will be the top layer of my card.

I wanted a nice, soft, peaceful feel for my design, so I chose to use Tim Holtz Distress Inks in Salty Ocean and Tumbled Glass.

I used the plastic stamp case as a palette, and smushed the mini ink pad several times to give myself a source of color.

I also used my Tim Holtz wide water brush, and his Distress Sprayer.  

I sprayed the paper with water and spread out with the brush.  I then began with the Salty Ocean and started spreading the color from the bottom up.  I switched to Tumbled Glass and spread it towards the top where it ended up barely visible.

I laid all the cards out and let them dry completely.

I decided I wanted a little more, so I took the Evergreen Bough Distress Ink refill and put some on top of the now clean stamp case.  I sprayed with water to dilute it.  I dipped in my fan brush and tapped the brush on my hand over the cards to create a splatter.

You'd think I would've cleaned off my table before a big job like this, but I'm the kind of person who hits & runs when I feel inspired.

While those were drying, I started cutting up my card bases.  I used Neenah Solar Crest 110 lb. cardstock.  It's an investment, but well worth it.  You get 250 sheets, and it comes out to around $.21 per sheet.  It's heavier than regular cardstock, and it's fabulous for a card base.

I cut each 8-1/2" x 11" sheet in two (8-1/2" x 5-1/4"), and using my Carl cutter, I was able to cut 2 sheets per time.  I could've cut 3, but I didn't want to take a chance on slippage.

Next, I scored each card base at 4-1/4".

And with my scoreboard, I was done in about a minute!

I wanted the watercolor paper to be raised off the card base, so instead of using a million (litterally) little foam adhesive dimensionals, I used plain white craft foam.

The sheets are 12" x 18", and my Carl cutter cut through them easily.  

I was able to get nine 3-3/4" x 5" pieces from each sheet.  I cut them a 1/4" smaller than my watercolor paper so they wouldn't be visible underneath.

I added Tombow Multi Liquid Adhesive on the foam.

Then adhered it to each card base.

All done!  Now, on to the stamping!

For the card fronts, I used Stampin' Up!s retired Solemn Stillness set.  I chose the tree with the stars.

For my sentiment, I used Stampin' Up!s retired Greetings of the Season and chose the Peace on Earth.  I removed the rubber from the wood (as noted above) and placed the stamps on my Misti tool.

I laid my stamps where I wanted them positioned on my card upside down (not shown).  I closed the door of the Misti and the stamps adhered to the cover.  I opened the cover to check alignment.

After placing a my cardstock in the tool, I inked the images with Versamark ink and closed the door and pressed.

Perfect alignment and stamping every time!  I added Ranger Silver Detail embossing powder and set aside.  I repeated this for about 10-15 cards, and then heat set all the cards.  Repeated until I was done with all the cards.

I repeated the process with my signature stamp for the back of each card base.

I had planned on doing heat embossing on the inside message, so I felt I needed to emboss my signature image as well.

After stamping, and adding embossing powder ...

I lined up all the cards and heated one to another until all were done.

Finally, for the inside, I used Stampin' Up!s retired set Many Merry Messages.

I also used the Merry Christmas from this retired Stampin' Up! set Season's Greetings.  I used Ranger's Jet Black Archival Ink and my Misti tool.

I guess I was anxious to just finish at this point, because I forgot to take pics on the inside process.

For the final step, I added some white sequins from Pretty Pink Posh with my Stick It tool, and Ranger's Glossy Accents.

And this, my friends, is what 60+ handmade Christmas cards looks like.

I'm also going to enter this card into two challenges:


Thanks to everyone who visited my blog, decided to follow me, and took the time to leave a comment.  The winner of the Tim Holtz Stamptember Simon Says Stamp set & autographed apron is:  
LOVE The Tim Man! Fabulous tags! I am a lover of the blueprint stamps! :D Love your creativity!

Congratulations!  Debbie, please send me your mailing address, and I'll get this right out to you.