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.