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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