Thursday, March 31, 2016

12 Tags of 2016 - March

Finally able to finish my March tag, just in time for the next one. I didn't have die cuts that would work for these techniques, so I had to dust off my Cricut mini and use some images from cartridges I had purchased.

A little bit about Cricut Mini:

I originally got the Mini because I thought eventually Cricut would have to go to selling individual data files for a smaller price than the hefty amount of entire cartridges (and I was right!). I wasn't really into die cutting much at the time, but I could see the potential. I don't use it that much, but in cases where I just don't have a die cut shape that works, I've been able to find something on the Cricut Craft Room that I like.

Since I hadn't used it in a while, both the Craft Room software and Adobe Air needed to be updated. That is something to always check for as soon as you have the machine hooked up, turned on, and the Craft Room open. It slipped my mind and cost me about an hour's delay trying to figure out why the images I had selected and put on the mat wouldn't cut. After updating and restarting computer, everything worked fine.

Another tip I have found is if the sticky stuff on your mat is not working 100%, just tape around the edges of your paper with blue painter's tape. It will usually peel off easily. Once I tape it down, I put the mat on a flat surface and rub all over the surface of the paper to try to warm up the sticky mat so paper will adhere. I have done this with success, but also keep an eye on my cutting so if the paper slips I can hit the stop button on screen to quit before anything gets jammed or damaged.

I have seen videos of how to restick your mat, but again don't use it so often that I have ever tried that. For someone who plans on using it alot, investing in the glue remover and sticky spray to restick a mat is probably a good idea.

I definitely think steel rule dies and the other thin dies you can get from other companies are easier to use, less fuss, and don't require extras (like buying new blades and mats). But, the attraction I think of Cricut is how many different images you can get with one single cartridge. I know people who have multiple Cricut machine versions and don't quite get that. I try to conserve space (and money) by really investigating what a machine can do before I purchase.

Now to the tag:

Rather than manila tag material, I cut my bottom layer out of a Tim Holtz cardstock, the middle layer out of a patterned paper and the top layer out of Grunge paper. Since all these will be sealed with a gesso, it did not really have to be out of manila stock. I just was careful to use a small amount of gesso without getting everything soaking wet.

Instead of the cardboard top tag to emmulate a wood surface, I went with cutting a matching layer of tag out of Grunge paper. I changed out the blade in my machine for a Deep Cut blade housing. I taped the Grunge paper down to the mat really well around the edges. Settings for the cut were 5 for pressure, 6 for depth, and 2 (slow) for speed.

Three layers that will be combined to make one tag.

Tag now two layers

Tag once gessoe and Watercolor Crayons applied. I actually like the way this looked too much to cover it up. So I made a second tag using the same method so I could apply the Grunge board tag over it. I'm saving this one for something else.
I had purchased the Distress Crayon Watercolor Kit that is a great buy for what it has. It contains a pack of Distress Watercolor Crayons (6), brush, set of gorgeous clear vinyl stamps, a block for the stamps, Distress Black Soot Archival small ink pad, and two packs of Ranger Watercolor paper. It also has a booklet that shows techniques.

Using one of the techniques within the booklet, I used the butterfly shapes that were cut from Grunge board, coated with white gesso, and smeared with Watercolor Crayon. I then used a Tim Holtz stencil over the butterfly to remove some of the Watercolor Crayon so the white gesso shows through in a pattern. I also decided my background butterflies were a little too dark, so used the same technique on them.

Recollections brand also has Watercolor crayon. Although I like the Ranger colors better, this other brand contains some kind of glimmery additive that leaves a sparkle when dry. I thought that was appropriate for butterflies, so I used both kinds of Watercolor Crayon together.

I used idea-ology rub-on words for the phrase I applied to the butterfly. The two butterflies are attached to the Grunge board surface with Ranger Glossy Accents. Three gold brads and a gold braid finish off the tag.

Thanks for looking at my blog!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

February - 12 Tags of 2016

One of my favorite ways to get inspiration for tags is to find a saying I can use with my theme. For the February tag, I didn't want to go with the traditional Valentine kind of love theme. I followed the techniques and format of and started off with the picture of the boy with his dog that comes from preprinted 12 x 12 Lost and Found Paper Stash from idea-ology.

Doing an internet search for "dog sayings", this one (Be the person your dog thinks you are) jumped right out at me and off I went.

The manila tag was first inked direct-to-paper with Faded Blue Jeans Distress ink.

Once dry, Memories Mists (by Superior) in Whipped Cream color sprayed through the stencil created the pattern. Note that although it is a white spray, it turns to a subtle blue as it activates the Distress ink and seems to absorb some of the color. I like the effect as is looks very soft rather than being a harsh white color.

Once dry, Tea Stain Distress was inked through a polka dot stencil in the upper right and lower left corners and around the edges of the entire tag.

The saying is a combination of idea-ology Chit Chat words, some rub on letters, idea-ology rub ons and the plastic self stick letters from idea-ology called Alpha Parts; Ransom. Picket Fence Distress Paint changed the surface color of the Alpha Parts from black to white.

Stencils with Ranger Texture paste was used to add the small hearts at upper left corner and the accent next to the saying and this was topped with embossing powder.

I added some subtle color to the picture of the boy and his dog by coloring his hat, tie, and the dog's darker markings with Antique Linen Distress marker. This was then adheared to a background paper using clear photo corners and embellished with a bone-shaped paper clip to which I added a tiny ribbon bow. The photo is mounted to the tag using pop dots.

Tip: When using the texture paste, I took a little too long to pour on the embossing powder. Some areas of the paste had dried, so the powder wouldn't stick in place. I used a small paint brush to apply Ranger embossing ink in the dab top dispenser to the void areas where the embossing powder did not stick and heated it to melt.

Thanks for checking out my blog.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Jambalaya's Stubby Stampers Birthday Club card

If you're a stamper and haven't seen the lovely stamps at Jambalaya's Stubby Stampers website, you definitely should give them a look.

A card exchange was started on their Yahoo group, so members could sign up to make birthday cards for each other throughout the year.

This is the first card I made to send out.

I made it using two coordinating preprinted papers. This design element stamp #3354 stamped out three times on preprinted paper in two shades of Colorbox Fluid Chalk ink was cut into three layers. I then applied Ranger Stardust Stickles to each layer, before applying popdots between layers to give it a dimensional look. The final topper is a pearl brad.

When I adheared it to the paper, I did place small popdots under each "leaf" of that layer to keep it raised. I also curled the paper slightly over a brush handle so it would stay raised up from the background paper, giving it more dimension.

A second design element stamp #4039 was stamped in Yellow Ochre Colorbox Fluid Chalk ink on the pre-printed background.

I cut a strip of coordinating paper for the border and also added some pearl cobachons over a row of what is actually a line of green dots on the paper. I didn't really like the green, and it gave me a guideline for the spacing of the pearls with zero measuring on my part! Gotta love that.

 Hope the recipient enjoyed getting it as much as I enjoyed making it!

A quick box decoration

For Christmas, my step-mother's church had small boxes to fill to be given away as a thoughtful gesture to workers in the community. The church supplied the boxes, which were supposed to be decorated, filled, and returned to be distributed.

I did a diecut in a pearlized paper, topped it with an oval diecut to which I had adheared some silver metal-looking stickers that are on a vellum paper. In the picture, the vellum appears white, but IRL it was really see-thru once mounted to the paper. I used a metal sticker for the silver lines on either side of the center which extends around the corners of the box. At each end of the metal sticker, I used a silver plastic self-stick cobachon.

The back looked like this:

And each side had the same silver Christmas tree sticker applied:

Thought it was a pretty and quick way to add something to an otherwise plain, red box.

A fun project and worthwhile one that hopefully made some people smile at Christmas time.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

January - 12 Tags of 2016

CHA is currently going on in Anaheim, CA. I've been watching lots of Periscope live broadcasts from the showroom floor and checking out the Facebook and Twitter pages of companies with brands that I like. All the creativity in the videos and excitement about new products actually prompted me to create something! Here's my January tag using the techniques from 12 Tags of 2016.

I do the two techniques just a little differently than as shown on

For the metal look technique, I use metal tape from the hardware store. If you notice, I embossed with two different folders. One is a gear pattern and the other, Eiffel Tower, is from Sizzix Alterations Texture Fades. I used just the portion of that folder with the postal cancellation.

After embossing, I apply Denim and Mushroom alcohol inks to the embossed metal tape. It makes a subtle difference and here's a photo of how it looks with just the alcohol inks applied.

The tag on the left has the alcohol inks, while the tag on the right is just the embossed metal tape. Once you then apply the final step of Black Soot Distress paint, you can still see the other colors. I find it looks even more like real aged metal with those two other colors showing through.

For the chalk look, I don't have the same materials available. I used Tsukineko Moonlight White Brilliance ink and actual chalk. Once I stamped the clock image from Hampton Art, in the Brilliance ink, using a paint brush I dusted white chalk powder over it. I then also dusted a little purple chalk powder as well. I used a piece of fleece fabric to burnish the chalk into the ink and wipe away the excess.

I glued down my embellishments with Ranger Glossy Accents. I also used idea-ology Deco sheet in silver to cover the middle section of the manila tag.

I noticed when looking at my blog posts from last year, they stop abruptly at March 2015. Here are the two little reasons I didn't have any time for stamping:

I found these little guys back in April 2015 abandoned by a feral cat a friend of mine was feeding. Fortunately, I had experience raising kittens and now these little guys aren't so little and look like this:

Thanks for checking out my stamping blog.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

12 Tags of 2015 - March

My tag for March is inspired by the techniques used on Tim Holtz's blog, but has the theme of Paris. Instead of using the paste technique, however, I used a Dylusions stencil by inking through it and then embossing with gold embossing powder. I did try the paste technique, but didn't particularly like the very chunky look with what I was making. I particularly did like how the fine line stamping looks a little faded, as to me, that contributes to the dream-like quality in the saying on the metal word band used.

Thanks for looking at my creations!

12 Tags of 2015 - February

I don't really go in for the Valentine thing much, so instead of that theme, I used the general design from Tim Holtz's blog as inspiration to make my February tag.

Thanks for looking at my creation.