Mar 192017

Pulling together the supplies for a handmade card is in many ways like getting ready to color a coloring book page, except that you need more of everything—more tools, more coloring supplies, and more supplies in general. As I dragged my tools and supplies to the kitchen table for an afternoon of stamping, coloring, and gluing, I couldn’t help thinking that this was the grown-up version of the round table at which I sat with my kindergarten friends. In the center of the table was a basket filled with crayons; scattered at various locations were scissors and jars of white paste that got passed from one person to the next.

My task for this afternoon was a card for a baby shower to accompany a package that will be shipped tomorrow. I recently picked up a new stamp set that I thought would be perfect for this card, as well as another that will soon accompany a baby gift. The stamp set, called Rubber Duckies from Stampendous, includes some cute sentiments for new babies, as well as three ducks, a sailboat, a ribbon of bubbling water, and heart and star shapes.

I cut my card stock to size, and inserted a rectangle into my Misti stamping tool from My Sweet Petunia. If you’re not familiar with this tool, it’s a stamp positioner that allows you to arrange your stamps on the front of your card before you ink them. This is especially helpful if you are making duplicates of the same card, but even if you are not, it’s handy for previewing where your stamped images will sit on the paper, and for inking multiple images at once. It’s also great for those instances when the first stamping isn’t as bold as you’d like it to be and you need to re-stamp it. The tool does the stamp alignment for you; all you do is re-ink the stamp.

The Misti is one of several stamp positioning tools on the market. It comes in three sizes—the Memory Misti at $100 for a 12-1/4 x 12-1/4 inch stamping area, the Original Misti at $60 for a 6-1/2 x 8-1/2 inch stamping area, and the Mini Misti at $45 for a 6 x 4-3/4 inch stamping area. If  you are in the market for a stamping press, you’ll want to compare the Misti to the following other tools:

As you might expect, each tool has its strong and weak points, depending on what you are looking for and what your pocketbook will support. Although I have the Original Misti and have no complaints about it, if I were shopping today I would probably choose the Tim Holtz tool because it is so sturdy (at 2 pounds) and it is priced so reasonably.

But I digress.

After I had stamped my card, it was time to color the images with Copic markers. This was the part of the project that felt most like a coloring book page. When I was finished, I decided that the setting of the card—a bathtub—needed to look more like a bathroom. The bathtub walls, in other words, needed tiling. To achieve this effect, I scored horizontal and vertical lines a centimeter apart, with a scoring tool. Then, I cut a rectangle of royal blue card stock to frame the image, and adhered both to the front of the card. The last step was adding dimension to the bubbles, for which I used JudiKins Diamond Glaze. I probably could have used Glossy Accents by Ranger, but I couldn’t find my bottle.

I probably don’t produce handmade cards as frequently as I should, but it sure is a fun, relaxing way to spend a Sunday afternoon. How often do you make handmade cards?

© 2017 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Mar 122017

Each time I craft a paper flower for the cover of one of my handmade books, it turns out differently, which is probably why I enjoy making flowers so much. The surprise factor keeps the process fresh. That being said, this weekend I made two paper flowers using the same set of Donna Salazar Carnation Creations dies by Spellbinders, with different results each time.

I described how I used these dies previously in How to make a paper flower using ink, water and scrunched paper. At that time, I stacked nine layers of floral shapes, inserting a brad through them. I spray-misted the layers with water, then scrunched them around the brad. When I spread apart the layers, they ended up looking like a rose. Of course, there were a few other steps I took along the way to add color to the bloom.

The trick to creating nice-looking 3-D paper flowers is having enough layers. The fuller you want your flower to look, the more layers you will need. For my purposes, I like to use five to nine layers. But the tools and techniques you use to manipulate the petals also make a difference. I made two completely different flowers this weekend using nine layers of flower shapes, all cut with Donna Salazar Carnation Creations dies. The only difference between the flower shapes was in the quantity of each type of shape. You’ll notice that I stamped the white Bazzill card stock with a Hero Arts rubber stamp called Old French Writing, inked up with Hero Hues Chalk Ink in Latte.

For the first flower, I literally ran each floral cut under the faucet, then shook off the excess water, scrunched it up, and gently pried apart the petals. Then I dried it with a heat gun.

I glued the layers together using Scotch Tacky Glue, then ran a Tim Holtz Distress Ink pad in Rusty Hinge against the tips of the petals. After I spray-misted the layered flower with water to make the ink run, I dried it with a heat gun.

All that was missing was a center pearl. I had some white adhesive pearls and decided to color one of them with a Copic marker (E95) to match the flower and pick up some of the color in the book cover. You need an alcohol-based ink to make sure it adheres to the slick surface of the pearl.

For the second flower, I pre-inked the floral shapes with Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Tattered Rose.

Then I manipulated the flower petals using a combination of flower shaping tools from my McGill™ Paper Blossoms Tool Kit.

After I glued together the layers of the flower, I applied one of those white adhesive pearls to the center. Finally, I adhered both flowers to their respective book covers using Beacon Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive. This is my go-to substitute for a glue gun, as the glue is acid-free where glue gun adhesive is not. It’s also far less bulky. Although both flowers have nine layers, they are markedly different. The first flower—which was scrunched—is a fuller flower. The second flower’s layers were manipulated with flower shaping tools. While it is a full flower, it lies flatter.

It’s a lot of fun to experiment with flower cutting dies and assembly techniques. From the photos in this post, you can see that the same set of floral dies—Donna Salazar Carnation Creations—yielded different results each time I applied a new technique. Can you add a variation to these techniques with similar dies?

© 2017 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.

Mar 052017

This morning I ran across an Etsy watercolor print, My stash, explained, by Julia Mills of JMillsPaints, that chimed a true note with me—so true, in fact, that I purchased it.Do you crochet or knit? If you do, you know that yarn is a Space Gobbler. When guests visit, they can sit on the couch only if you sweep away your tools of the trade and balls of yarn into a bag or basket.

When it’s time to take your son’s girlfriend on a tour of the house for the first time, and he cheerfully announces that you should show her your yarn stash, you hope she is not crushed by the stacks of tubs.

Yarn can be expensive, so you never throw out the leftovers. Instead, balls of yarn reside in baskets, bags and maybe even a couple of plastic tubs.

On the positive side, you have the joy of knowing that you keep the Ziploc® company in business.

On the negative side, your house will never be on a Tour of Homes. On second thought, there is no negative side because there’s no pressure to keep your house tidy all the time. It’s simply not in the cards.

The admission that you crochet or knit is rather freeing because you no longer need to make excuses when . . .

  • you make 85 scarves from a combination of eyelash yarn and acrylic yarn long after the fad has passed, and then end up donating them because they won’t sell;
  • you say yes to your younger brother when he asks if you can use 52 pounds of doily-weight crochet cotton that he discovered at a yard sale;

  • you donate half a dozen grocery bags of baby fingering yarn to the senior community center because you don’t crochet baby blankets anymore;
  • you shop yarn sales at Jo-Ann Fabrics and Michael’s, even if you have 21 tubs of skeins waiting for you in your basement;
  • you teach your husband how to crochet so that he joins you, not teases you, when you go yarn shopping;
  • your yarn habit leads to a button stash that is the envy of your sewing friends;
  • you’ll always have a gift ready because it’s just a ball of yarn away; and
  • you have a growing circle of friends because you’ll teach anyone who listens how to crochet or knit.

Enter my home at your own risk. You never know what you’ll take away.

© 2017 Judy Nolan. All rights reserved.