ACEP Level 2 Challenge  Part 2

The second part of this Level 2 Challenge was to alter or upcycle something.  For this I played off the Scene Building lesson, taking four hard core tiles I’d had for a while and making them into coasters.  I wanted each one to stand alone as a scene but together make a picture.

To do this I took an 8”x8” piece of white cardstock and did a mock up of what I wanted. 

I used the Altenew Mountain Scene Stencil to create mountains along the top. I used varying Artist markers for the sky hoping to create a sunset. I took Artist Marker grays to color in the mountains.  I stamped a cabin from the Winter Wishes set.  I stamped a light house and boat from the Be a Lighthouse set and filled in with some Artist markers to create the water body plus the river that ran between the cabin and the mountains.  I colored in with Artist Markers the lighthouse and the cabin.  Then I filled in trees using the Mountain Scene Stencil again and this time using the three green multimedia inks.  For a quick and dirty mock up, I was good with this, knowing that the surface of the tiles was not porous as the paper is, I knew I would have to make some adjustments along the way. 

I started on the tiles with my mock up in front of me and using some double-sided tape, stuck my tiles together on my working surface so they wouldn’t move around on me as I worked on different areas. They were firmly planted!!  I dissected the picture working from the back or furthest in the distance to begin working.  But I couldn’t do the sky without the mountains.  I took the stencil and penciled in the mountains across the two top blocks.  Then used some Gina K masking paper to create the same mountains and cut them out.  I applied the masking over the penciled mountains so that my sky would show behind the mountains. 

To create the sky, I used 3 Altenew re-inkers – Warm Sunshine, Coral Berry and Dusk.  First, I put some yellow on with a paint brush added some coral berry over some of it, put some alcohol blending solution on my brush to help mix the colors and striate the sunset.  I did the same with the Dusk, mixing it some with the orange created by the other 2 colors.  With the mask in place over the mountains I didn’t need to worry about the mountains being sky colored (lol). I left the mask on and moved to another part of the scene while that dried.

I took off the bottom left square, put it in my Misti, and stamped the cabin and a couple of trees from the Winter Wishes set onto the square using Altenew Jet Black mixed media ink.  Then I took the lighthouse and boat from the Be a Lighthouse stamp set and stamped them on the bottom right square.  Since this is a pigment ink, I used my heat tool to dry the ink as much as possible.

Once dry, I colored parts of the light house and the cabin by tapping the Altenew artist markers in the area I wanted covered.  I found if I stroked the marker it didn’t show as much and when touching the black stamping the black ink would bleed.  Tapping worked well to fill in color but not smear the stamping.  Colors used on the cabin were Velvet, Rocky Stone, and Mango Smoothie.  The lighthouse used colors of Velvet, Mango Smoothie, Sand Dunes, Limestone, and Evergreen.

I worked on the water next mixing Altenew re-inkers of Sea Glass and Ocean Waves together, painting the body of water going into a river.  Again, I used blending solution as necessary to paint the water in place.  I did not do all of the river yet as I needed to add trees from the stencil.  The whole bottom needed to dry more and completely before I used the stencil again.

Letting the bottom set, I returned to the mountains and removed my masking.  I picked up the stencil and lined it up as I first did to draw the outlines.  This time I colored the mountains with Artist markers in Silver Stone and Industrial Diamond.

Back down to the bottom I used the stencil to put in trees…using the Altenew mixed media ink of Frayed Leaf, Forest Glades, and Evergreen.  Again, I was careful not to rub too hard with the ink over the black.  It is sooo, sooo different working on a non-porous surface than on cardstock.  I continued to layer the trees by the cabin and under the mountains until I was satisfied… sometimes going back and forth on the intensities of green ink to show as much dimension as possible.

When the trees were done, I then finished out the water of the river behind the trees and cabin.  I used a brown (don’t remember which one) of the Artist markers to add some dirt in front of the cabin and edging the river and the “ocean” I created.  I added some Aqua Shimmer atop the water to make it sparkle. When all the painting was done, I just let it sit for a day or so to completely dry.

The final step was to seal the inks with a resin.    I watched lots of YouTube videos on resin and used the Ranger version since I had had that for a while also.  Some quick tips about resin – room temps are the best around 70 degrees Fahrenheit; pour equal amounts of resin and hardener into a plastic cup; stir gently but absolutely thoroughly until there are no “strings” in the mixture; let the mixture sit for a few minutes to help get out tiny bubbles (you know, like champagne); use a heat tool to go over surfaces to help the bubbles pop. I also found it worked much better to elevate each square on top of a cup so that any extra resin could drip off.  I didn’t do that at first and had to really work at trimming down the extra resin at the sides. The resin takes at least 3 days to fully cure.  Since I had goofed by not elevating the squares the first time, I lightly sanded down the surfaces of the resin where it was uneven – again YouTube to the rescue.  I added some painters tape to the bottoms so that if there were hardened drips they would come off when the tape was peeled off.  Cleaned up and ready to go I added a top coat of the resin and let them sit for several days.  Phew, that was a learning experience.  But I found I really liked the resin and thought I could get into that as well…. but probably won’t.

The Finished Project

That finalized my Level 2 Challenge.  I learned a lot about a lot of mediums in this challenge.  I also learned to be a bit more creative with the actual cards.  I’d love to know your thoughts on the cards and the coasters.  The Altenew Educators Certification Program definitely puts you through your paces but I’ve completely enjoyed it all and truly stretched myself.  If you like improving your skills, please consider this program

So now, the question is –Am I ready for Level 3?

AECP Level 2 Final Challenge

This was the Challenge put before me at the end of the Level 2 classes of the AECP.

~Select ANY 3 components from the classes in Level 1 or 2 (e.g., layering 1/2, Let it shine, stencil techniques)

~Explain the 3 components that you’ve chosen for the project

~Share design tips (if any)

~Please make 4 MASCULINE cards (Themes are; birthday, Love/Thinking of You, Anniversary, and Encouragement)+ Altered Item/Upcycled Project.

~Challenge blog post: Detailed step-by-step photo tutorial and/or YouTube video

~Minimum of 10 photos (close-up and process)

~Submit to the gallery within one month (11/26)

The three components that I chose are:

  • Irresistible Inking Techniques — different ways to use the inks to get a different effect
  • For the Guys – generally florals are not considered ‘manly’ therefore some of the ways to make masculine cards include leaves, nature themes, building texture, geometric shapes, using colors that are metallic, blues, greens, blacks or grays, muted colors rather than bright colors.
  • Scene building – tell a story with the picture you create on the card…imagine yourself there and what’s happening?  This what I like to do when I build a card by Scene building.  Who’s in that cozy winter cabin?  Is there a fire going?  Where are you camping?  What’s the weather like?  Did you catch any fish?  Is it night time? Sunrise? Sunset? Daytime?  What mood are you picturing?

My first card was the simplest with beautiful leaves cut from bronze paper.  First, I used some Shimmer white gold paper from Recollections to start the card base.  Using Altenew leaf mix dies I cut a bunch of leaves from Paper Rose’s copper cardstock…saving the insides and the outsides.  I played with placement on the whitish card front and knew it needed some splattering to give it texture, yet flat.  I took some Forest Glades ink, smushed some on my glass mat, misted it with water, and took a brush to add the splatters.  Atop the dried background I then fanned out some of the leaves.  They looked great against the green.  I mounted the card front with some foam tape onto dark green to go with the splatters then cut the sentiment out from the same green.  This is a new sentiment die set called Essential Sentiment Strips Die Set.  This is a great one for masculine cards as the font is simple and not fancy or frilly.  It is a quick and simple, yet fitting card for this challenge.

The second card I had fun with.  My son-in-law’s birthday was in September and he and my daughter love to camp.  I used the Camp Life Stamp and Die set to create his birthday card above on the bottom right – matching the colors of their tent and chairs even.   This stamp set has lots of possibilities so for this challenge I used it to Scene build another event…Fishing!  I started with the Altenew Birch Tree background in a s soft grey of Silver Lake.   I purposely didn’t stamp the bottom of the trees completely so that I could add in some ‘ground’.  To make the ground I used a small sponge and dabbed it in three colors – Milk Chocolate, Expresso, and Charcoal Suit.  It came out well to show DIRT.  Of course, the fire is warm and cozy with the chair near by and the fishing pole and its catch waiting to be cooked.  For the fire I used Mango Smoothie, Warm Sunshine, Firebrick from Artist Markers then covered it with some Aqua Shimmer because fires glisten.  The chair is done with Persian Blue and Desert Night Artist markers along with some gray for the frame of the chair…which also shines so more Aqua Shimmer pen was used there.  The fishing pole was a combination of light brown with a touch of green to make it look realistic.  I just played with the colors until I got what I wanted.  The bale is metal though, so it needed to shine with Aqua Shimmer too.  The stamp and die do have line that comes out from the end of the pole but I cut that off and added some Altenew Silver metallic thread for line.  There was no fish so I just cut out a simple one, colored with greens and gave it an eye.  The fish isn’t shiny cuz it got caught and will soon be dinner for the fisherman.  I added the fire chair and pole to the card base with some foam tape for dimension. For the sentiment I had to improvise a bit.  I took the stamp from the More Than Words set and cut the word ‘this’ off the end so that I could stamp it below, making it fit better.  Perfect sentiment for my husband, brother-in-law, nephews, etc.  The hunting and fishing run deep in my husband’s family.

Card number 3 was another challenge to see if it would work.  Since slimline cards are the rage right now, I wanted to do something in geometric patterns that would be slimline.  I practiced a little by cutting out the Altenew Garden Trellis Cover Die…but not completely.  I left one end off each time I cut it, doing so twice.  For each I used some DCWV adhesive backed paper but before taking off the backing protecting the sticky paper, I matched up the ends the best I could to create a long trellis.   I marked where it should be cut and cut off the matching ends so they would look as one across the card.  Taking the backing off I stuck it down on cardstock.  Then trimmed it all down to 3.5” x 8.5”.  For the diamonds on the front I used the Fine Frames Diamond Die set, spreading them out across the card over the trellis. I liked it going from largest to smallest, letting your eye follow the path.  I used the Fancy For You die, cutting it three times, once in holographic paper and twice in white.  I glued them together for more dimension then placed it over the largest diamond so it would stand out the most.  Once that was done, I mounted it with glue onto a 4”x 8.5” card base.

One more to go…but it turned into two more.  Sometimes you can get so much more out of a technique than just one card.  That is the case with the Irresistible Inking Techniques.  Instructor Sara Naumann shows how she used a brayer to create an interesting background. With this in mind, and looking to do something in black and white, I set off for the last card.  I smushed some Distress Black Soot ink on my Tim Holtz media mat and sprayed it with water.  Picking up the brayer, I went back and forth in the ink then took it to the paper.  Yuk, didn’t like it.  I added some Distressed Speckled Egg on another spot on the mat, misted it and ran the brayer through both colors.  When I took this ink to the paper it gave a great variable background.  I did this again with just the Speckled Egg, and another time with both colors.  Then, with ink still on my mat, I took a blank piece of white cardstock and smushed it into the left-over ink.  The result of that was a more dotted effect.  Wow, now I had lots to play with!  Ok, so what part of the dotted paper did I like best?  I trimmed away until I got a piece that 5 ¾” square.  I cut a black square 6” square for the background frame. I made the black and speckled egg really stand out.  Another element for masculine cards is to add something metallic.  So, I cut the Circle Hello die out 4 times in black, stacking three of them together with glue.  The fourth one I used Altenew Antique Silver embossing powder on it.  But not just once…. three times making sure it was well melted each time and well covered.  The outcome is a very smooth silvery look.  Once cooled I offset that on top of the 3 stacked black ones so that the silver stood out more and had a shadow.   It seems like it needed just a touch more, thus I used the Mid-Century Die Frame (inside and out) to put behind the Hello.  I also wanted it to say ‘thinking of you’ so I stamped that (from the Dainty Swiss Dots set) onto vellum in a way I hadn’t done before.  I had just gotten a pad of VersaFine Nocturne. Stamping the sentiment with that would be black.  It also stays wet enough to add embossing powder.  Since ink on vellum can smudge sometimes, I thought that embossing this with a clear embossing powder would seal the ink and keep it from smudging.  Time to put it all together…first the thinking of you sentiment, then the Mid-Century die cut, then the hello on top.  I used Zots to glue down the velum as liquid glue can show so easily.  The zots seemed to work fine without an obvious glue mark.  The finishing touches were some enamel dots very close in color to the Speckled Egg ink.

I still had a lot of backgrounds left from the braying.  I again picked out the area of the paper I wanted and trimmed it down to 3 ½” x 8”.  I mounted that with liquid glue on a piece of black 3 ¾” x 8 ¼”. I cut out three cuts of the “happy birthday” die and glued them on top of each other.  On top of them I added Glossy Accents to make them stand out even more.  From the same Dainty Swiss Dots set I took the “you’re awesome” and stamped and embossed the words on a vellum strip, just as I had done with the first card.  I had to wait for the Glossy Accents to dry…I gave it an hour to hour and a half, just to be sure.  Then took Zots to hold down the sentiment on vellum, glued on the stacked happy birthday.  It’s always helpful to put an acrylic block or something on top of stacked letters to ensure the letters will adhere to the card. Instead of just round enamel dots I used the three black heart dots that came with the Altenew Green Fields dots set.

So that finishes up the part of the Level 2 Challenge of making four masculine cards…plus a bonus one, plus one that was made in September that would have fit well with this challenge. 

Now, onto the second part of the challenge…the Altered/Upcycled item…. See Part 2.

Polychromatic

Ah, my last class for Level 2.  Here’s hoping it’s good enough to keep going.

The dictionary gives the definition of Polychromatic as “of two or more colors; multicolored”.  Lots of color and multiple colors can be beautiful together.  Probably the most “famous” polychromatic system is the rainbow.  So, with this in mind I set out to use the colors of the rainbow somewhat differently than arches in the sky.

I recently received the Altenew Modern Circles Stencil so I put it over some white cardstock and dry embossed it.  It comes out with interesting texture with the raised half circles.  Before I took it off the stencil, I ink blended it with Altenew Crisp Inks of Ruby Red, Lemon Yellow, Forest Glades, Blue Tide and Hydrangea.  I then powdered them with my anti-static tool and put Altenew embossing ink on top of the half circles. Put Altenew translucent pearl embossing powder over them and heat embossed the sparkly powder.  This made the colors even more vibrant.

I then cut it down by using a Gina K Master stitched die and backed it with a piece of black cardstock to give a thin boarder.  Next, I took a piece of white cardstock and ink blended straight lines with the same inks twice, one more vibrant and the second more pastel. 

Since most of the card was about circles, I also cut two stitched circles out of the ink blended cardstock using Memory Box Double Stitched Circle frames.  The inside circle I dry embossed with the stitching rather than cutting it through.  On it I stamped the sentiment from the Altenew Everlasting Happiness set and then also heat embossed it with the same Translucent pearl powder.  I cut the circle down a bit as it was covering too much of the background.  I then added a ring of the pastel rainbow popping it and the full circle up with foam tape.  I liked how the spacing of the ring around the circle still allowed for color to come through on the front.  To finish it off I took five sequins – one of each color to fill some of the white space.

This was a simple and quick card to make and one whose message should always be in front of us. To me, it is a very cheerful card…helping us all to remember in pandemics and everywhere in life that

HOPE IS NEVER LOST

Creative Watercolor Media

The AECP Level 2 watercoloring class teaches ways to watercolor WITHOUT the usual watercolor paint pans.  Options include using re-inkers for ink pads, layering inks from pads to help show depth, smushing, and shimmer sprays or regular spray ink.  I don’t have Altenew re-inkers or colored shimmer sprays so I chose the smushing technique.  I do have some Altenew Antique Silver ink spray so I made something of my own!

A new acquisition was the 6 stamp cubes in the Icy Lake collection from Altenew.   I love the deep blue Sapphire color.  Since I wanted shimmer, I experimented by mixing the Sapphire ink – smushed onto my Tim Holtz media mat—with the Antique Silver spray.  I sprayed it with a bit of water and took my brush to mix the two colors together.  Then I dabbed and rubbed my 41/4” x 6” Canson XL water color paper into the mat of ink. I dried it with my heat tool then added more ink the same way until the whole piece of paper was covered.  I waited for it to dry completely and it gave me exactly the look I wanted…that beautiful deep blue with some iridescence to it.  This became my background piece for this card.

I love hydrangeas but my hydrangea stamp hadn’t come yet so looked for another big flower to use as my focal point.  The Bergenia Builder Stamp set has a great large flower that worked well for this.  I used again the Altenew Sapphire blue on one part of my mat and Altenew Pinkalicious on another part.  After spraying each with water I took turns putting my paper into each color, drying in between so they only blended some but each color still showed.  When totally dry I positioned the large Bergenia Builder flower stamp over the area of the paper I wanted in my Misti stamp positioner.  I used anti-static powder then Altenew embossing ink.  I poured Altenew Pure white embossing powder over it and heat set it.  And, again, because I like shimmer, I sprayed the die cut flower with Ranger white Perfect Pearls in water.  Once dry, it shimmered also.

Since the background came out so well, I wanted to make a larger card.  I laid out my design and decided to add some white splatter to the blue background.  I smushed some white pigment ink on my mat and took my Tim Holtz splatter tool and splattered LOTS of things on my desk.  Luckily the background was there too and did collect most of the splatter as intended.

 This card base is 5” x 6.5”.  Watercolor paper warps some from the water used so I needed a strong adhesive to attach the background to the card base.  I used some strong double side tape.  Then I heat embossed the sentiment, also from the Bergenia Builder stamp set, with the same white embossing powder.

To finish, I popped up the flower with foam tape and sprinkled some iridescent sequins around; tucking some under the flower to have them peek out.  The layout is simple – but that helps to show off the beautiful watercoloring and shimmer overload.

I sure hope you like this!  It really taught me not to be discouraged if I didn’t have certain supplies.  Instead, take what you have and make it good!

Masking Unleashed

Well, it’s almost Halloween so of course we want to get out the masks!  For cardmaking you can create some depth and dimension by masking your stamps to show one behind the other.  This AECP lesson showed six different ways to do this masking.  At first, I was struggling with which one I’d do and how to best do it but…I think I got it.

Many of the examples were of flowers and leaves using both negative and positive masks.   A positive mask is one where you cut out the image from another piece of paper or sticky note and put it over your stamped image.  A negative mask is one that you use the part left over after cutting the positive mask.  Both give some really cool effects. I used only positive masks and chose leaves since it is Fall and the leaves in Michigan are turning beautiful colors.

I used a general layout that was in the Inspiration guide that comes with the Altenew Grape Leaves stamp and die set.  First, I decided which would be my top leave, and worked down to the bottom leaf.  I used Distress inks of Ripe Persimmon, Aged Mahogany, and Fired Brick for the main leaves.  Before stamping any on the card front, I stamped them first on Gina K masking magic paper – an adhesive low tack paper just for this technique.  I fussy cut them out so that I could cut inside of the outline.  Because any mask has some thickness to it you want to have your mask slightly smaller than your image or your next stamp will show a gap between it and the original.  Using the mask cutouts also helped me to layout the card and be sure of where I wanted each leaf. 

I chose an ivory card stock as it lent itself more to Fall rather than traditional white.  I stamped the TOP leaf with Ripe Persimmon on the card front then took off the backing of the Gina K masking paper for the coordinating leaf and stuck it on top of that leaf.  Then I stamped the MIDDLE leaf and largest one next with Aged Mahogany.  Part of the masking paper of the first leaf also was stamped.  When the masking paper is taken off it give the impression that the first leaf is on top of the second.  For the third leaf, I first put the masking paper over the second leaf then stamped the BOTTOM leaf with Fired Brick ink.  I applied the coordinating mask to the third leaf keeping all masks on, at this point.  In my Misti stamp positioner I arranged the stamps again to stamp background leaves first in Distress Tea Dye ink then Altenew Forest Glades ink.  I wanted to give even the background leaves the hint of fall with brown in the green.

I debated about gold embossing the veins and outlines of the leaves but was inspired by Virginia Lu to cut out these with gold paper.  Virginia did this on her example card but used the gold as an inlay to the rest of the leaf.  Inlay is usually for cut out leaves so I couldn’t really use that technique here. I glued the cutouts directly over the stamped images.  As with the inks, I also had to layer the outlines to show the top, middle and bottom leaves…this made them all stand out so much more and enhanced the masking. 

Next, I practiced on scrap paper with the Altenew Woven Stencil to see what ink would look good in making a slight background particularly in the upper and right part of the card.  I practiced with several inks and decided on Altenew Crisp Dye Ink in Sand Dune color.  I taped my stencil to the card on the back and with a light hand added some texture to the background. 

To complete the card, I cut the front down to 4”x5”, applied foam tape to the back, and backed it with deep red cardstock cut to 4.25”x5.25”.   Then applied the whole thing to a white card base and trimmed off the ¼” of the base still showing.  Using the same ivory cardstock, I heat embossed the sentiment taken from Altenew’s Heartfelt Sentiments set.  I used the Aged Mahogany ink to lightly edge the sentiment before adding some foam squares and adhering it to the card.  Since I think my husband and I will be sending this to his friend who just had hip surgery, I did not want to add any addition ‘bling’.  We are sending some

Warm wishes for a speedy recovery!

Before using the Distress inks, I also tried Distress Oxide inks in mostly the same colors but stamping the black outline and veins on the leaves.  It didn’t stand out as well.  I also put some Wink of Stella on the leaves but they turned out a bit chalky since the Oxide ink reacted to the wet Wink of Stella.  I’ll use this in the future and finish out a card with it as well.  Once I got the hang of masking it was fun.  It takes a bit more planning but will definitely go faster in the future. 

Impressive Heat Embossing

This is another class in my Level 2 of Altenew Educators Certification Program.  Altenew is known for their beautiful floral layering stamps.  They can have up to six different layers and you get different effects based on if you use them all or only some of the layers.  So, it stands to reason if you heat emboss in layers, you can also create some gorgeous images.

I started with the Altenew Crown Bloom stamp set.  I tried it three ways before I was satisfied by the outcome.  I’ll walk you through this so you can decide if you want to try this and how it might work for you.  I am using embossing ink and powder for layers rather than dye ink.  There are three ways you can do this –1. Emboss the stamp (normal embossing), 2.  Stamp a color then use clear embossing powder over it (in case you don’t have the color of embossing powder you want), and 3. Emboss, heat, then emboss another powder over the first, second, etc. I did all three in this card.  The small floral sprig was done by straight embossing.  I put white cardstock in my Misti Stamp positioner, then used anti-static powder on the paper.  I positioned my stamp then inked it with Altenew embossing ink.  I did this twice just to be sure I had good coverage.  Then I took it out of my Misti and poured Altenew Antique Gold embossing powder on it before heat setting.  Then took the coordinating die and cut it out.

The next stamp was the leaf.  I started first by prepping with the cardstock in the Misti and then adding anti-static powder.  First used the Antique Gold for the outline of the leaf.  The next layer of the leaf was more solid and since I didn’t have green embossing powder, I stamped it with Altenew Firefly ink. Then again used the anti-static powder and stamped it with embossing ink.  I applied clear embossing powder and heated with my Wagner heat tool.  The clear embossing powder nicely allows the green ink to show through but gives it a bit of a shine.  I chose not to use the third layering stamp of the leaf.

In the flower I planned to layer the embossing flowers over each other.  Whenever embossing powder is used it is always best to use anti-static powder all over the cardstock so the powder only sticks to the area you want.  Plus, when doing multiple layers, you need to use anti-static powder between each layer for best results.  I tried this flower three ways before really getting what I liked.  On the first try I embossed the gold outline, then on the next layer stamped pink ink, (I forgot the clear embossing powder layer), the continued to emboss the next layer with the Altenew Rose Gold embossing powder, then Altenew Caribbean Sky (Blue) embossing powder, then gold again for the stamen ends.  Not happy.  It looked sloppy.

Second try, I stamped the second layer first with Altenew Rose Quartz ink.  The following steps were taken beyond this:

  1. Embossed the same stamp as pink layer with clear embossing powder and heated it.
  2. Embossed the third layer of the stamp using Rose Gold powder then heating it.
  3. Embossed the base center stamp with Caribbean Sky Blue powder and heated it
  4. Embossed the Antique Gold outline stamp over all of it which helped to show more detail.

This was better but still not as good as I wanted.  Starting again I

  1. Prepped the cardstock in my Misti with anti-static powder
  2. Positioned the SECOND layer of this stamp and stamped it with the Altenew Rose Quartz ink
  3. Wiped my stamp clean
  4. Inked the same stamp with embossing ink, stamping it once
  5. Added Altenew Translucent Pearl embossing powder and heat set it
  6. The THIRD layer in the set I positioned over the already stamped second layer, matching points on the flower as best as I could.
  7. Used the anti-static powder, then embossing ink to stamp once
  8. Added Rose Gold embossing powder and heat set it
  9. Went to the base center stamp for the flower insides.  I positioned this again, lining up the points with the already stamped images.
  10. Used the anti-static powder on the paper and embossing ink on the stamp to stamp once.
  11. Added the Caribbean Sky Blue powder and heat set it

At this point it was looking better than any before it so I finished by using the anti-static powder on the paper, positioned the FIRST outline layer stamp, matching up inside and outside points the best I could.  Then stamped it once with the embossing ink, added the Antique Gold embossing powder and heat set it.  That layer brought the flower all together with some detail but with multiple layers of color.  Even the translucent pearl embossing shined in the light.  YAY, I could then use the coordinating die to cut it out.

Now I had my three components to add to a card base.  I created an oval cut from a piece of cardstock that matched the lightest pink in the flower.  I cut an oval on size larger out of Reflections Shimmer Gold cardstock…just gives a nice shimmer to the white paper…and glue it to the inside of the card front.  I then positioned my elements with the sprig and leaf glued flat and the flower popped up with some foam tape.  I chose the Altenew peace dye for my sentiment, cutting it from the oval I cut out the pink cardstock.  I decided I wanted it to stand out a bit more so I followed all the embossing steps and heat set the lettering with the Rose Gold powder.  When cool, I glued it in place with liquid glue.

There was one more element that this class taught.  Embossing powder will stick to any wet surface, not just the embossing ink.  So, I splattered some water on the top of the card and sprinkled the Rose Gold embossing powder on it then heat set it.  It came out looking as if there was splattered ink…just enough to add some interest.  To finish the whole card, I added some Studio Katia clear drops.

This was a big lesson.  Lots to take in.  Here are some takeaways:

  1.  Always use anti-static powder between layers
  2. Practice to get the desired results
  3. Don’t be afraid to use only some of the stamps as the embossing powder is thick –it’s hard for fine detail to show
  4. Don’t be afraid to use the layers in a different order than what is on the packaging.
  5. Only one stamping of embossing ink was enough for a fine layer of powder rather than thick with two stampings.

Then most of all:  ENJOY your results!!  May PEACE be with you all today!

In the Mood for Color

This class was great for giving you a “feel” for what your card can portray just by its color palette:  Blue – Calm, Tranquility; Red – Love, Passion, Energy; Green – Soothing, Growth, Natural; Yellow – Energy, Cheer, Optimism; Pink –Sensitive, Caring, Sweet; Orange – Health, Happiness, Courage.  And then the bonus was for Rainbow –Happy, Cheer, Optimism, Courage, Energy, Growth, etc….     It was interesting to see how instructor Stephanie Klauck used each color to help capture the mood of the card.  For my card, I chose PINK.  I needed a sympathy card.  It started as an experiment in no line water coloring which I had never done before.  It turned out to be a good example of never give up on a project until you are satisfied.

One of Altenew’s fortes is its beautiful floral stamps and the Statement Flowers stamp makes a huge statement of beauty.  I wanted to make it great and thought that the no line water coloring would do well, plus I had not yet used my 36-pan tray of Altenew watercolors.  I started by stamping the Statement Flowers stamp on Altenew watercolor paper with a very pale shade of ink just to give me a very slight idea of where the flower outlines were.  I tried both Cotton Candy and Coral Berry as pink colors on some scrap paper and decided to work with Coral Berry.  As I started to paint, I did not wet the paper first.  I started with more concentrated paint near the centers of the flowers and bases of the petals.  I tried to draw out the color toward the end of the petals to make them lighten as they went out farther.  I also put concentrated parts of paint near the edges to create the petal boarders.  It was not easy and I have a long way to go with a lot more practice before I work this medium well.  But there is something about watercolors that is very relaxing and enticing.  I just kept working with the colors as I went along to make it look halfway decent.  I only used Coral Berry on the flowers.  For the petals I used Bamboo and Forest Glades mixing them a bit to get some different shades of green. Again, I tried to vary the shades of green to mimic nature.

When I was done water coloring and letting it dry, in my eye, it was only okay.  I didn’t define the edges well enough to leave it as it was.  So, I went back to some of the lessons and watched again to see what I could do.  When I started, I put the stamp in my Misti Stamp Positioner and stamped lightly…the stamp was still in the Misti from that original stamping.  So, I used Versamark Embossing Ink and stamped the flower again, then applied Altenew Antique Gold embossing powder and heat set it.  The gold then defined the outline.


I created a mask by using the die for this stamp and cutting it from heavy cardstock.  I put the mask on top of the water colored flower and then took my brush and picked up more Coral Berry paint to splatter on the white background to give more interest.  I used the second largest Rounded Rectangle Infinity Die from Hero Arts to cut the colored flower to a 4”x 5.25” piece which I mounted on a 4.25” x 5.5” piece of pink cardstock (cut with the largest of the Hero Arts Rounded Rectangle Infinity Dies).

For the sentiment I went to Altenew’s Heartfelt Sentiments and chose the scripty “with Deepest Sympathy”.  I put some white cardstock into my Misti, used my anti-static bag, Versamark Ink, and again the Altenew Antique Gold embossing powder.  Once it was heat set, I added a strip of matching pink paper to the bottom and cut the left edge at an angle.  To give it a bit of dimension I used foam tape to pop up the sentiment and the card was completed.

I had my sympathy card…using Pink to create sensitivity, caring and sweetness.  I was amazed at the overall effect of the water coloring with the gold embossing…so far, I think this is one of my favorite cards.  Hope you like it too.

With A Twist

Again, AECP instructor Therese Calvird leads us in fun for the class called “With A Twist”.  She quietly tells us to leave our comfort zones and do something different than what we would previously – put unexpected colors together (just after I learned the color wheel 😊), cut your card differently, make background patterns with only part of a die, etc.  I tend to think out of the box anyway so this lesson was right up my alley.

Continue reading

Beautiful Details

I’ve been looking for one of these AECP classes to help me create a flower similar to the Lily in our front yard this summer.  I was a bit scared and intimidated by this class as I watched Marika Rahtu draw in each of the six lessons she taught.  Her finished products were absolutely gorgeous and seemed to show so much dimension in a flat surface.  I had no idea what some colored pencils could do to inks. This was the perfect technique to try and create my lily.

from my front yard
Finished card

I started with the Altenew Build-A- Flower Stargazer stamp set.  This set has actually 6 stamps to build this flower but today I only used the two largest ones for both the flower and the leaves. Instead of stamping the multiple layers I used the pencils to add in the details.  For the flower I started with the whole flower being Distress ink – squeezed lemonade.  Then on the second layer of stamping, I went around the outside with Distress ink -festive berries, candied apple, and fired brick – going from the lightest to the deepest as I moved out on the flower. Each time I took a deeper red I stamped less and less of the lily but building the reds on top of each other.  I then came back in with Distress ink – mustard seed to add a little deeper yellow to the center.  When I laid out all the leaves and the flower on the card, I used liquid glue to place the leaves and some foam tape for the flower.  I also added some shimmer, very lightly, to the flower with my almost dry Tonic Aqua Shimmer pen.  I wanted some sparkle but didn’t want t o cover the details so this almost dry pen was just right.

Following Marika’s example of just letting the flower talk to you and draw in lines as feels right, I started in.  She always starts with the lightest color and works to the darker colors adding more and more detail.  I used Prismacolor Pencils, first the Canary Yellow PC916 to fill in some of the spots the ink didn’t fill with the stamps.  Then I used PC 924 Crimson Red and PC 925 Crimson Lake.  For the stamen of the flowers I used PC 947 Dark Omber.  When I did the leaves I again, only stamped the first two layers (Altenew Frayed Leaves and Forest Glades), then drew in lines with PC911 Olive Green and PC 988 Marine Green.  I was amazed as how much more depth the pencil lines give the flower and the leaves.  The details were definitely coming out. 

Notice the center left leaf has no pencil marks and how flat it looks compared to the others that have penciled details.

When all the leaves and the flower were done, I die cut them with the coordinating dies. Now, onto a layout. I tried several different colors behind the flower – reds, yellow, black, and then found two pieces of cardstock I had blended several months ago.  I had blended Distress ink – squeezed lemonade and festive berries…trying to get something like a peace rose.  This lent a nice soft tone to the background as well as made the flower stand out more.  This, a strip of deep red and DCWV glitter cardstock seemed to make the best combination for the card front.  I also had enough of the blended cardstock to cut out the ‘for you’ sentiment for the front.  I was pleased with the overall outcome and loved the softness the blended paper added to the card. I added some Honeybee gems to give the last finishing touch.

How did I do in recreating Mother Nature’s beauty?  The flowers are so stunning in real life it’s hard to duplicate.