January Inspiration Challenge

I created this card based on the colors for this month’s inspiration challenge at Altenew.com.

I used as a card front a piece of Reflections White Gold Shimmer paper that I embossed with a wonderful embossing folder called Angled Mosaic. The used the Illusion Hear Die Set for the heart and the word LOVE. For the heart, though, I cut it out three times, gluing and stacking them. Plus I gave them a bit of shimmer with the Nuvo AquaShimmer pen. I found just the right patterned paper in shopsel.com Chocolat that edges the left side. I then gave it a kiss of a rosebud and some jewels to finish it off.

I love how the angled mosaic plays on the light and adds a bit of grey in the shadows. Again adding to the Inspiration Challenge.

Happy Valentine’s Day Everyone!

Elements of Floral Composition  Level 3 Class 3

Jaycee Gasper’s class on Floral Composition has a host of information from laying out card designs to stepping up simple items.  He covers seven steps in composition: 

  • Color — the basic element, use a 60-30-10 rule to color pallets
  • Value – brightness, darkness, contrast, luminosity, evoke feelings
  • Line – actual and perceived
  • Shape – geometrics often, triangular is most common
  • Form – third dimension going with line, shape and form
  • Texture – literally felt or only perceived
  • Space – Rule of Thirds where lines of a grid like a tic tac toe board intersect become the focal points of the card

Some of these elements I was very familiar with but learning to put them together and how to use them to their fullest were strong lessons in this class.

I chose to focus on line, as using line to show dimension was the newest concept for me.  I was impressed with some simple lines Jaycee emphasized to see how much depth could be achieved.  I struggled with what stamp set I would use since I did not have the one, he used and I wanted not to copy his work, but to use it with other stamps.  I tried two stamp sets – the Simple Rose and Pen Sketched Flowers.  The Pen Sketched flowers were easier to do but I ended up liking the Simple Rose as it was more dramatic.  My main tool became the Altenew Fine Liner Pen Set.  These are archival lightfast and waterproof pens of different stroke widths…from thin 005 to 02, then BR for a small brush. 

Since the pens are black, I was working with the overall black and white theme.  I first stamped the flowers on Neenah Classic Crest Solar White paper (110lb.).  I then just started drawing lines to accentuate the stamps.  I really didn’t know what I was doing much but could see the Pen Sketched Flowers coming to life with the 02 Pen.  I tried the brush but I didn’t feel I had as much control over where the shading went so, I returned to the 02 Pen.  When I switched to the Simple Rose stamp set, I found just the opposite.  These were larger florals, thus, the larger brush pen worked best.  Practice makes perfect and I found I really didn’t like some of the first ones I did so I stamped the flowers again and redid them, comparing to my practice session to help me decide how I wanted the florals to look.  Here is a short video clip of my process:

After I had my florals completed, I die cut them out and worked to arrange my card.  I created templates for the Rule of Thirds to help with the layout of the florals.  To do this I took some vellum and cut pieces similar to a slimline card, square, and A2 card size.  I drew lines dividing the horizontal and verticals in thirds…basically different size tic tac toe boards.  By using vellum, I could put this Rule of Thirds piece over my cardstock and figure out the most pleasing way to lay out my individual pieces of the card.  It’s difficult with slimline cards and although I wasn’t perfectly on the intersections, I was close and the rule still applied.

Since another item of composition was texture, I decided to use the new Altenew Ribbon Waves embossing folder for the background piece.  Because the embossing folder is square, I needed to adjust it some to create a longer piece of embossed paper.  First, I embossed as is then I moved the paper withing the folder so that only the unembossed section was inside.  This way by running it through die machine it didn’t flatten out the first part.   This particular folder lent itself well to this need.

I arranged the flowers along the left side of the card and coming to the right at the bottom.  Testing it with the Rule of Thirds as I went along.  When I was satisfied with the layout, I covered it with Glad Press n Seal to hold the design in place, pulled it off the background. To add a bit of color I added some Ruby Red metallic shimmer splatters on top of the white background. I then added liquid glue to the bottom pieces of leaves and flowers and attached them to the card front.  I used one layer of foam tape to the small bud and leaves in the center to pop it up a bit and a double layer of foam tape to the largest flower to make it stand out the most.  In addition to popping, it up more, I also edged that flower in the same Ruby Red by using the Altenew Artist Marker to fill in the white space normally showing from die cutting. 

At this point, I adhered the card front to a black card base 8.25”x4” — just larger than the front. Inside the card I took a white piece of cardstock and framed it with a red piece of cardstock measuring 8”x3.75” and attached it to the area for an inside note or sentiment.

On the outside, the sentiment I wanted for this had to be LOVE.  I looked and tried different dies that I had and also some different red papers to find the one I was most satisfied with.  I cut the Circled Greetings: Love Die out of red glitter paper but using only the word.  I then cut it twice out of other paper, stacked it with the glitter on top to make it stand out more.  I also used some foam tape to “float” the word above the flowers.  To do this I cut vey thin strips of foam tape and doubled it over then conformed it to the letters.  When doing this, it is best to take off both sides of the liner paper from the tape.  It is then easy to curve and manipulate it around in small places. To finish off the card I cut out some heart embellishment from the glitter paper and added them to the card front. 

This is a complicated lession but so well worth it. Altenew’s classes really teach a lot. And stretch us to make blogs we never did before, and videos never done before. This is my first video for a blog –how’d it come out? I even did a voice over. So the beautiful card deserves some extra attention. I hope you like it and would love to hear your feed back and constructive criticism. Have a wonderful day!!!

Watercolor Basics and Beyond: Featuring the Altenew Watercolor Pans  Level 3 Class 2

For this next class I chose watercoloring in a way I’ve never done before.  Watercolor painting can be great or …I’ll just say, not so great.  It is definitely a work in progress for me so I welcome another opportunity to learn.

Instructor Jen Rzasa does an excellent job of starting from scratch in teaching this watercoloring class…right from the beginning of knowing about the paper and about playing with the colors to get varying results. Once she described all the differences in materials, she then went on to show some different ways to paint with watercolors. 

I chose to make my card with the method on wet on wet.  To do this I first taped my water color paper down on cardboard to help keep it from warping.  Then I took a wide flat brush and gave the paper a wash with water.  I chose greens for this background using Forest Glades, Frayed Leaf, and Bamboo from my Altenew 36 half pan set of Watercolor paints.  First, I put a drop or so of water on the color cube, let it sit to mix with the paint then pick up some of each color around the washed paper.  I played with it to add color and water to let the colors mix and blend on their own. 

The next step is to take a stencil and put it on top of the WET paint, smushing it down.  Since the background was green, I chose the Feathery Stencil as it looked like leaves to me.  I needed to let it dry with the stencil on it and some weight for several hours.  I put a plate from a die cutting machine on top of it for even pressure, then my Misti stamp positioner, then an acrylic block and scotch tape dispenser.  I knew I might peek before it was done so I walked away from it to keep me from checking on it before it was dry. 

The reveal was so much fun…I peeled away the layers on top to reveal the actual painting!  The lines were subtle but clearly there.  I really liked the outcome.

Next, I die cut the Altenew “Thinking of You” die three times…twice in white and once in a deep green.  I glued the two white together, but when I added the deep green, I purposely offset it to have a white shadow effect.  Then I used the Nuvo Shimmer pen to add some sparkle to the sentiment.  I found it came out fast and I got too much on the lettering.  When dry I just used a piece of paper towel to wipe off some of the shimmer.  I wanted to be able to see the green lettering against the green background so by wiping some shimmer off, it gave the greeting a bit of sparkle without covering the cardstock.

I cut out the background with a 4”x5.25” stitched die from My Favorite Things positioning the parts of the background to show as I wanted and make the sentiment stand out the most.  I popped it up with foam tape to a white card base…helping to highlight the shadow of the wording.  Then I used enamel dots from the Altenew Green Fields selection to dot the I’s and add some embellishment to the card. 

I can see doing these backgrounds in mass using different colors and different stencils to make many backgrounds at once.  That would be a big time saver if making many cards, but at the same time give lots of practice with the great Altenew watercolors.

So tonight, I want to tell you I am “Thinking of You” and hoping that you are healthy and safe and that in this world you are finding some joy.

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Rethinking Re-Inkers  Level 3 Class 1

Happy New Year everyone!  I’m excited to get back into AECP and finish out my last 5 level 3 classes.

For the first one I chose Sara Naumann’s Re-Inkers class.  The re-inkers are tubes of liquid ink that can be used to add freshness to drying ink pads…thus the term “re-inker”.  But they are alcohol based and can be used straight from the bottle in other ways, much like any other alcohol inks.  I’ve worked a lot with alcohol inks, sometimes just spending a day making backgrounds on yupo paper and even making coasters on stone and hardcore boards.  They are lots of fun and never are there any two alike.

Sara used Altenew re-inkers in different ways than I had in the past.  She made monochromatic and polychromatic backgrounds, created sheets for die cutting, showed how they react on different types of papers, created sheets, for die cutting and did block inking with embossing powder.  I used a combination of her classes but mostly for die cutting.

First, I took a piece of yupo paper –a synthetic paper that is non porous –and put drops of ink randomly around the paper using Altenew Ruby Rd, Coral Berry, Cotton Candy and Blush.  I also added a few sprinkles of alcohol to give more variations in color.  At Sara’s suggestion I took a moist baby wipe and dabbed around the paper giving a mottled look and some texture.  I the die cut flowers from the Simple Rosed die set. The nice thing about die cutting like this is that you can move your die around the paper to decide how you want your flower to look.  Then tape the dies down and do the actual cutting. 

As Jennifer McGuire showed in a video before Christmas you can also do put alcohol inks on holographic paper, which I had don in December.  This green alcohol ink is stunning on the holographic silver paper. From this I cut some leaves from the Altenew Leaf Mix Die Set, Altenew Simple Roses die set and from the Altendew Classic Beauty Die Set.  I played around with layouts and found myself doing something totally different than my first thoughts.  I didn’t use the leaves from the leaf mix die set BUT I did use the curved negative die pieces (right leaf in picture on the right) to create my own background.  I laid out the card design with flowers and background then covered it with Press n Seal to hold the little pieces in place.  On the white card background, I splattered some Ruby Red ink and alcohol from a brush.  Then I added glue to the backs of the flowers, stems and little pieces and put the card back on it so the design would stay where I had put it.  I turned it over, put foam tape behind the larger rose and popped it up on the card front.  To soften it, I rounded the edges of the rectangle and popped the whole card front up with foam tape on the card base.

I wanted a longer, smaller sentiment to fit below the bud and found just the right on in the Heartfelt Sentiments set.  I stamped it with Simon Says Intense black ink, trimmed it down and adhered it directly on the card front.  Some finishing touches of red sequins completed the card.