Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Aviary Thank Yous

Our internet went down over the weekend, so I'm finally back with some new cards.

A friend asked me to make some bird-themed thank you cards for her daughter's teachers, so I pulled out a bird set that I got a while ago at Michaels - I think it's Hero Arts, but I could be wrong.

I used the Fancy Pants "it's the little things" paper pad for my launching point, and pulled out some different cardstock colors that coordinated with it.

For each card, I layered a couple of coordinating colors behind the main image (the colors I use for this are Papertrey's Aqua Mist, Stampin' Up's retired River Rock, and a pink that's lost its label - I think it's Papertrey's Sweet Blush).

For the main image, I stamped a bird or birds in watermark ink (or a very slightly darker pink, in the case of the pink birds), stamped a "thank you" message over them in Palette Noir ink, and outlined the bird with a sparkle pen for a little definition.

I used strips of "it's the little things" paper as borders, then wrapped each border in blue or pink baker's twine for some texture.

Don't forget to enter the ATC Contest!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Challenge is now a Contest!

I've decided to up the ante on the ATC challenge, and make it a contest!

For the prize, I've chosen a couple of things I love to use all the time - both glitter (because everyone needs more glitter).

The prize includes a 3-pack of 0.5-oz. bottles of Stickles glitter glue (Cotton Candy, Star Dust, and Lavender), and a 3-pack of 0.37-oz. bottles of Martha Stewart glitter with glue (Smoky Quartz, silver and gold - I can't actually see the names of the second two, so they may actually be something else, but they're silver and gold colored). I use both of these products ALL the time, and thought they'd be a good thing to pass along to the winner.

The winner will be chosen by me and posted on June 8, and entries need to be in by midnight, June 7. Photos of entries can be mailed to me at birdishappy at gmail dot com or left in the comments on the original ATC Challenge post. Leave a comment here if you're going to be joining - I'd like to know who's interested!

ATC Rerun

I made an ATC yesterday, but I'm not that happy with it, so I thought I'd re-post an older one that I love.

I got the idea for these ATCs when I was getting ready for a swap and found a 6-pack of decks of cards for $1 at Target, and noticed they were just the right size for ATCs. I separated each of the face cards into baggies, so I had 6 of the same card per baggie.

On the bottom layer, I stamped the harlequin diamond design (by Fancy Pants Designs) and embossed it with clear embossing powder, then sponged black over the top so that it went into the "writing" in the embossed diamonds and into the non-embossed spaces. To be honest, I can't for the life of me remember if I sanded the base layer first - I think I probably did, to get the slick coating off the cards so the ink could take hold.

Then I cut out all of the different pieces and layered them in order with dimensionals, so they stood up a bit. It's like paper-pieceing with a punch. Really, for these, I didn't do any original artwork, and hardly any stamping, but came up with something really original and neat-looking.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

ATC Challenge

Update: The Challenge is now a Contest!

While I was writing up the last post, I realized that I haven't done a challenge in a really long time, and it seems like Artist Trading Cards are the perfect challenge idea.

So here's my challenge: Make an ATC and either send it to me or send me a photo, and I'll post them here in two weeks. You can either do your own or leave a comment or email me (birdishappy at gmail dot com) and I'll send you a packet with some assorted materials and a pre-cut ATC base. The only requirement is that it be 2.5" x 3.5" - other than that, the sky's the limit! I have in my swap collection painted ATCs, sewn ATCs, collage ATCs... you can do anything you want.

Have pictures or ATCs to me by June 7, and I'll post them here on June 8. I'll be posting my ATCs between now and then.

Goodnight Moon

I'd had my eye on this very sweet stamp set (Flourishes' Rock A Bye Baby) for a while, after seeing it on one of my favorite stamping blogs, Running With Scissors. The images are SO sweet. So when I saw that it had gone on sale for $5 (a last-chance sale, so they don't even carry it any more), I jumped on it.

For a couple of different reasons, I haven't been stamping a ton lately, and haven't been wanting to get out a lot of different inks and papers and whatnot. But since I have this new set, I thought I'd use my scrap bag to paper-piece an Artist Trading Card. Usually I do these for swaps, but this time I just wanted to play with the image a little bit without the context of a whole big card. I cut out the 2.5"x3.5" ATC background, then stamped the image on the background and each color paper I wanted to piece. I cut out each different section from the various colors and patterns, did a little pencil coloring, and put them all together with some Stickles stars.

I have this great little ATC label to put on the back - unfortunately, it's really a little small for fitting my big handwriting in, but I can at least sign and date them, and put any other info I might want to add for a swap.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Birthday, Abbey!

Since it's Abbey's birthday, and since I was waiting to post her card until she'd opened it, today's the Abbey's Birthday post.

I don't always have time for it, but I love making a gift look really nice, with wrapping that I spent some time on and maybe a matching card.

For Abbey's birthday, I got her a mini greenhouse, so she can start a little herb (or flower) garden before she even has a yard. She's just such an herb-garden kind of person, and it's such a cute little tin greenhouse with plant pots and little miniature tools.

I have several rolls of Martha Stewart wrapping paper that I picked up several years ago on sale for $1 apiece - before I bought them, I would have told you that the regular price (something like $5 or $6 apiece) was waaaaaay too high for wrapping paper, but now that I've used the ones I got on sale, I'd probably buy more at full price. The paper is excellent quality, and is thick enough to make wrapping look REALLY nice (it doesn't get weird creases or folds that make it look sloppy). I also had gotten different coordinating patterns, so that I can make coordinating cards - that's the other nice thing about how thick the paper is - it's much better to use for cardmaking than regular wrapping paper would be. The downside of the thickness is that it's REALLY hard to lay flat.

Since this was a greenhouse, I pulled out two rolls of the MS wrapping paper that had little seedling-looking plants all over them. I used the pink background for actually wrapping the box, and the green background for a card. The flower on the card is from Papertrey's Remember set, and the birthday sentiment is from their 2010 (or maybe 2009?) anniversary set.

Monday, May 2, 2011

WEP Award: Fiskars Original Craft Rotary Paper Trimmer

Just a little disclaimer - I have no affiliation with the companies who make the products I choose for my WEP Award posts (or any companies, actually). I'm not compensated in any way, and have never even had contact with the companies (other than occasional customer service emails when needed).

Today's WEP Award goes to my most-used tool, the Fiskars Original Craft Rotary Paper Trimmer. I'm going to be really honest with you here - even though it's still listed on the Fiskars site, I haven't seen one in stores in ages. Which is frustrating, because I used a 50% off coupon at one of the big craft stores to get mine, and I'm sad that it's harder to get them that way now.

Fortunately, though, I can still find replacement blades, which is really all I need. I think the newer trimmers (which are probably just as good, I just don't know personally) use the same blades.

As far as I'm concerned, a good paper trimmer is a top priority for a paper crafter, whether you're a card maker or scrapbooker. I've used and bought way too many average-to-bad paper trimmers, and, true to the award's name, a good one is Worth Every Penny. I originally had a small Fiskars portable with the blade that slides along a track - it was fine, but the blade didn't stay sharp very long and the track wasn't quite sturdy enough to keep the blade in a straight line every time. It was also small, which seemed like a good idea at first, but I decided after I'd bought my big rotary that sturdiness and accuracy were more important. And actually, with the bigger trimmer, I can set it in my lap, leaning up against my desk, and use it that way without having to clear a ton of space on my desk to use it.

I've also tried guillotine-style trimmers in the past, and I've gotta tell you - I just can't STAND them. Aside from the danger factor (it is SO easy to cut yourself on those things), the blades dull too easily, are too hard/expensive to replace, and it seems like I was forever getting a ripped bottom end of the paper where the blade didn't cut through correctly, no matter how sharp it was.

I've used this paper trimmer every time I've crafted (usually many multiple times) since I got it probably 5 years ago, and it's in fantastic shape. The replacement blades are only about $5, and I've only had to replace the blade (which is super easy to do) 3 or 4 times in all that time.

Worth Every Penny!