simple and easy

I can’t believe it has been over a year since my last post.  Not a day has gone by since then that I haven’t thought about this blog.  I am not giving up on being creative, not by a long shot, just life sometimes takes over. During my time away I have been putting some thought into what I want to accomplish  with my creativity.  I would love to eventually have my own online store where I can sell handmade cards.  So I’d like to reach out to readers and conduct some market research. I have brain stormed some questions that hopefully will aid me in the process of finding out who my target market is and what they look for in handmade goods. Below are my first two inquiries and I would love to hear your thoughts and suggestions.

Do you give or send cards to family and friends throughout the year?

If so, what holidays or special occasions do you find you give cards for?

In the meantime, I’d like to share a card I just recently made for my dad for Father’s Day. I have been putting thought into my card making process.  I feel it is important to be able to create simple and beautiful cards within a manageable time frame. Especially, since I want to be able to produce large quantities to sell online.  This has given me the opportunity to venture into some new stamps and techniques that create simple and easy cards.


While looking for inspiring ideas I came across several companies that have stamps that allow you to layer colors.  This cute stamp set, Hero Arts Color Layering Goldfish is so amazingly simple and fun to use.  There are endless possibilities with this stamp set and it also has a coordinating die and ink set that is sold separately or as a bundle.

I used white cardstock cut slightly smaller than the card itself as my design area. Using a circle die cut, I created a peak-a-boo window and layered with embossed cardstick with a bubble texture for extra interest.  Quick tip, use a white marker to highlight details on your embossed design to add more dimension. The key to working with the layering stamps is a Misti by My Sweet Petunia or the Tim Holtz Stamping Platform by Tonic Studios. You will want to be able to keep your image in one place and line up each of the stamp layers before you ink.  I also experimented with different types of ink. Archival or permanent ink worked the best for me.  To finish up, add your sentiment, fussy cut or die cut your stamped images and adhere with 3D foam tape for added effect.

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discover imagination

I have four nephews who I love to make birthday cards for.  Each one has a different personality and it’s fun to put card ideas together for them.  When I went to the Great Lakes Mega Meet earlier this spring, it was on my mind to find some great stamps that I could use for creating masculine cards.  The Stampers Anonymous, Tim Holtz Robot Blueprints was one of the first in my hand.

discover imagination

discover imagination

For this card I was all about creating colors and textures that were inspired by metallics and robotics.  To start, my ever trusty Strathmore Bristol 300 Paper was cut using my Vagabond by Sizzix with the Lawn Fawn Custom Craft Dies in Large Stitched Square Stackables.  (this was also a Mega Meet purchase and one that I have used many times already) The largest die cut in the collection makes an excellent size for any of the Tim Holtz Blueprint stamps.  One of the techniques I saw demonstrated at the Mega Meet by Tim Holtz was the use of Distress Spray Stains to create an intense background.  Now for this card I didn’t use any spray stain, I have only begun to gather together my supply of spray stains. I actually used Distress Paint and Distress Stain in Brushed Pewter to create my background color. First I applied the paint, dried with my Craft Tool and then applied the Distress Stain.  Once dried, I used Ranger’s Mini Ink Blending Tool to “smudge” Distress Ink in Black Soot.  I was excited by the intensity I created by layering the products over one another, very similar to how I saw Tim work with the Distress Spray Stains.  While this dried, I picked my robot image and stamped it on a clean piece of Bristol.  This image I colored featuring various Distress Markers.

Now back to my dried, Distress Pewter, cut piece of Bristol.  I wanted to create a “worn” look. Using the Distress Sprayer, I spritzed the paper to create water marks, dabbing with a clean rag for extra wear.  To create the effect of grease splatters I used the Distress Spritzer with Black Soot and again with Gathered Twigs.  Once dried, I used Ranger Archival Ink in Jet Black to stamp the same robot blueprint onto my distressed background.  This technique allows for the details in the blueprint sketch to be seen on your background.  Remember how I stamped my image on a clean piece of Bristol and used Distress Markers to add color?  I fussy cut my robot image omitting the detailed lines, this cut out image has more intensity because it was colored on clean Bristol and I glued that over top of the same image I stamped in Archival Ink on my worn background.  With this technique you can add dimension to your image by layering the same stamped image over each other. For this card, the only area I wanted to “pop up” was the gear. To do that, I stamped the same robot image again, for the third time, but only cut out the gear in the center of the robot.  I used the same color Distress Marker as I did in my other image but this time added a 3D foam square and a Mini Gear from Tim Holtz Ideology, creating my own custom embellishment.

To finish the card I used silver metallic card stock and embossed it with the Tim Holtz Riveted Metal Texture Fade by Sizzix, added a few eyelets for a more industrial feel and attached to black cardstock.  I hope you make time to breathe create relax. mj

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catch up

Hello everyone!!!! I am so sorry to have gone off the blog for so long.  It was never my intention to let so much time go by.  I have found it difficult to find the time to blog with all the summer activities.  But I’m here today to catch you up.  I really have missed blogging and connecting with other bloggers and I hope you are still there?

Balance in life is very important to me.  I’ll be honest, it hasn’t been easy this summer to find the right amount of time between work, personal, home and creative time.  I have managed to find time to be creative but I have really been working on getting in shape and training for a half marathon.  I’ve done half marathons before but I wanted to be in better shape.  Balance for me comes when I find a routine.  I wish I could be one of those people who can fly by the seat of their pants, but that’s not me.  One way to get into better shape is for physical activity to become a routine, so I have been focusing on making it part of my morning routine.  This has led to less anxiety and stress and little by little I am starting to feel the balance returning. It’s not to say I don’t have my days, but I am feeling better and my passion for creativity is even stronger.  I want to make my creative time and blog just as much a routine as my training.

To catch up on the creative side, let’s go back to Mother’s Day.  I think that is where I last left off?  Like most of the cards I make, I always keep the person in mind that I am creating the card for.  Mother’s Day was no exception.  My mom loves birds, the color blue and pretty feminine touches.  Here is the card I created for her.  This card features stamping designs on both scrapbook paper and vellum.  The part of the card making process that takes me the longest is the overall design of the card.  I will lay out papers, colors, stamps and embellishments until an idea starts to form in my mind.  The following pictures are a glimpse into my creative process.

Picking paper

Picking paper

Choosing stamps and embellishments

Choosing stamps and embellishments

Stamping design

Stamping design

When I stamped the feather image on the music scrapbook paper I first used Ranger Archival Ink in Jet Black. I next stamped the same image without re-inking my stamp and overlaying it at a different angle.  This produced a worn stamped look that I then colored in by re-inking the feather stamp with Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Evergreen Bough and placing directly over top of my already stamped image.

Pauline Card 2015

My husband’s mom and I both love pink and girlie and so I opted for a more modern looking card for her. I love using sequins in shaker cards but for this design I wanted to use them to add some sparkle.  I  also found this wonderful bag of confetti at Michaels, it has an assortment of shapes and themes in it, from Christmas angels to baby bottles.  In the bag were these iridescent butterflies.  The foil material that the shapes are cut from made it easy to fold the wings to add movement before gluing them to the card.

Cindy Card 2015

It was fun to make two cards that had a completely different look and feel.  As I put together this post I am excited to say I have more cards coming up to share.  Thank you for staying with me and thank you for your patience while I figure out how to breathe create relax. mj

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short note

Trying to find a balance between work and home life.  My way to unwind after the 9-5 grind is to color.  Love these crazy birds. Will catch up with you all soon.  Sometimes I need to remind myself to breathe create relax.  mj

 

this crazy month of May

Happy Memorial Day Everyone!!!! I hope this weekend finds you enjoying family and friends.  For me this weekend starts out the summer.  We have been fortunate this month to have some very nice weekends that have allowed for yard work and tasks outside.  Some of that has pulled me away from crafting, but not enough to have some posts to share with you.

Before we start with the obvious, Mother’s Day, I want to share a learning experience I had.  Every May the Great Lakes Mega Meet comes here to Michigan.  This was my second year going and was even better than last year.  When I went last year I really was just starting to get into making handmade cards.  I was not yet familiar with what the crafting world had to offer.  I roamed the convention area a bit overwhelmed.  I had no idea what half of the vendors were selling and demonstrating.  I settled in and watched Tim Holtz demonstrate various products and techniques, and even brought home a nice stash of goodies to play with.

Fast forward to this year.  Holy Smokes!!!!! I can’t believe how much I have been exposed to this past year.  Now don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed last year, it was very inspiring, but this year was even better.  This year I had some items on my list that I was hoping to pick up and a better knowledge of what was out there.  I make this a special day.  The event runs from Thursday to Saturday, so I take Friday off from work, head out early with a quick stop for my favorite breakfast sandwich and away I go.  There is something special about going to an event like this by yourself.  You get to see and do what ever you want.  My creative juices start to flow, I think about upcoming projects that I have in mind and I get to open myself up to learning.  I find that I am like a sponge, absorbing all the sights around me.  The colors, textures and other crafters inspire me.

This year I didn’t find it as overwhelming.  I know have a better understanding of how I like to work and I found products and techniques that would help take my creativity to a new level.  There was one thing that didn’t change from last year and that was the Stamper’s Anonymous booth featuring Tim Holtz.  If you have never had the opportunity to watch him create, you need to.  What an amazing teacher and artist.  So very inspiring.

the always inspiring Tim Holtz

the always inspiring Tim Holtz

Not only do we need to take time to breathe create relax but also to learn.  For me a day spent observing creativity helps me to reboot my mind.  Since crafting is relatively new to me, I find myself wanting to create a specific look but not knowing exactly what to use.  Watching a demonstration about a technique or product helps me to understand the how’s and why’s.  Learning on your own terms is very rewarding.  You can observe and not be embarrassed by what you don’t know. You have time to process what you see and adapt it to your own style.

If you haven’t taken a class or gone to a craft convention on your own, do so.  I guarantee you’ll learn something new about your self, either personally or creatively.  Oh! and you’re bound to come home with a bunch of new goodies. Maybe, you’ll even make some new friends.

a great day had by all

a great day had by all

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spring has sprung

spring fling

Hello Everyone!

I’m a little bit at a loss for words.  It’s been really hard to find the time to blog lately and that is a real bummer.  I think about you all everyday as I sit at my regular 9-5 job and miss being creative.  But Friday and I have finally found our way to each other and I just want to share what I’ve been up to.

Spring is on it’s way and seeing the sun, hearing the birds and enjoying some warmer temps inspired me with my Easter cards.  In the past I have done individual cards, each one unique.  But this time around I decided on replicating the same shape and idea but changing up the colors and making small changes.  I used a “production line” way of assembling and it made it much easier to do multiple cards in a shorter time frame.  I did start by working one card all the way through from start to finish just so that I had my basic ideas down and then I went in and “mass produced” all my pieces.  Below are some pictures of the process as well as the steps.

paper

Cut card stock and soften corners with corner rounder.

1. Cut card stock and soften corners with corner rounder.

2. Stamp Bristol with desired images.

3. Color images with assorted Distress Inks/Markers.

4. Punch holes in corner of Bristol for brads (optional).

stamping

Stamp designs on Bristol

 

 

 

 

5. Add embossed detail to color card stock.

6. Assemble cards.

7. Create custom embellishments and assemble.

8. Put together cards and add embellishments.

ready to color

It was fun to create in this way.  I love to do individual cards, each unique to the person who is receiving it, but that can sometimes take longer.  My work week can often be hectic and by the time the weekend rolls around my mind is mush. So to keep things simple I opted for easier cards.  It was also a nice way to work in my new space.  I found myself standing and sitting and moving around comfortably.  It can take me some time in a new space to get acquainted with my work area and creating a routine helped me to work efficiently without having to remember where I had put everything.  I think this new space is going to work out perfectly.

I had time on Easter to set up a Christmas present from my husband, my desktop studio.  Now I can have photo shoots with my creations and show them in a more professional manner.  Scroll through to see the final results and the products used.  Thank you for allowing me to take the time to breathe create relax. – mj

desktop studio

hello spring

welcome spring

bunny hop

butterfly blue

easter cards

spring wish

hop into spring

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shake it up

shaker birthday card

Like I promised in my last blog post, my very first shaker card.  I just had to try one of these cards after seeing so many wonderful examples on Instagram and other such sites.  At first I was stumped as to what supplies I would use to create such cards.  I did a little investigating on the internet to learn a little more and then I set out to my nearest craft store.  Now I just realized this really wasn’t a smart idea.  I have just introduced yet another section of the store that I can search for additional goodies for card making.  I had to find out what section the acetate was in, (found it after ordering online) and where in the heck would they put sequins? Up until this point I really had only used one kind of foam tape, and low and behold, there are other options out there.

I had a vision for this card when I started and I found that helped tremendously.  When you have a card shape, colors and image picked out it is only a matter of learning a new technique, in this case the creation of the shaker, that you have to really think about.

While out on my hunt for additional supplies I came across this great gadget from EK Tools.  It’s called the Curvy Cutter Double Circle Maker.  With my creative space under construction I wanted a tool that I could use quickly without having to get out my Cricut and this little gem was perfect for the job.  It was what I used to create my circle cutout on my card stock, the border for my shaker window and my acetate window.  It proved to be very useful all on one card.

Photo Courtesy of Create For Less

Photo Courtesy of Create For Less

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As I worked on this card I was thinking of a way to share more information with you all on how to make shaker cards.  I decided to do more of these for Valentine’s Day and will also share some step by step photos when time permits.  With drywall dust flying and our basement looking like a craft store exploded, I certainly feel a little “shaken up” but it is times like this that I have to remember to breathe create relax –mj

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