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.

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Color Your Day

In this Level 2 class of the AECP instructor Therese Calvird talks about the color wheel and how to find colors that will coordinate, compliment, and contrast to give your work a pleasing look.  This turned out to be a quick, fun card to make as I actually used papers that I had created months before.  So, I will start by telling you how these were made and then tell you about the card itself. 

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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.

Magical Marker Techniques

I’ve used the Altenew Artist Markers (alcohol markers) with great joy and have been pleased with how they work but I learned a lot about them in this Level 2 AECP class by Sara Naumann.  She is great to listen to and has lots of good FAQs to share and tips (pun intended) to using these markers.  I had so much fun with this I did two cards, two different techniques.

The first card I want to share is the second one I made but was quick and easy to do in one evening.  The hardest part was cutting the papers to the right sizes so they could be laid out appropriately.  The center horizontal white cardstock is 1” wide by 5.5” long…the length of an A2 card.  The wider strip of white cardstock is 3” x 5.5”.  The square in the center is 2.25”.  The square and the 1” band each have black cardstock behind them that gives a 1/16” boarder…just enough to make the white stand out.  For the large 3” wide white cardstock I simply put thin strips of black paper along each edge.  I also cut a 2 1/8” square of vellum.  So, having all my pieces already cut but not glued made the rest go fast.

There are three key parts of this lesson: One to use a brayer and another to use alcohol markers on vellum as well as embellishments.  To use the brayer, simply scribble marker onto your craft mat then spritz with alcohol and rub the brayer over the ink.  Then rub the ink on the brayer over the white cardstock…purposely leaving some white spots.  I used two marker colors on this:  B714 Volcano Lake and R926 Sapphire.  In combining them there were only hints of the Volcano Lake.  The outcome made me think sky.

My next item was to pick out a stamp to stamp on the vellum.  Following along the sky theme I chose a nice dragonfly from the Altenew Wild and Free stamp set to stamp with the Altenew crisp Jet-Black ink.  It was a new stamp so I rubbed my fingers across it several times to be sure I would get the manufacturing finish off, thus giving a cleaner, crisper, stamp.  Since vellum does not absorb ink like cardstock, I had to be sure the stamped image was completely dry before applying any of the colored ink.  I used my Wagner heat tool to dry it plus gave it a little extra time to be sure it was totally dry.  While waiting I put the card layout in my Misti stamping tool and stamped the sentiment from the Altenew Blooming Mandalas set.

Going back to the dragonfly I used the same two colors from braying and ‘pounced’ color into the wings by just making small dots with the markers inside the outlines.  The pouncing gives a different effect than just brushing and filling in color.  I also colored in the body with the black Artist Marker.   I set that aside to dry and began gluing my card together.  I adhered the black strips on the 3” wide cardstock (it was a little to wide to just glue next to so I glued it under the white to give a smaller black line).  Then glued that piece directly to the card front.  Then I carefully glued the 1” strip of white with my sentiment onto the black background and then onto the center of the card base.  I glued the white square on top of the black square and then to the card base.  Now it was time for the vellum.  I didn’t want the glue to show so I carefully put it behind the body only of the dragonfly and adhered it to the top of the square.  The vellum curled up a bit so I added just a tiny drop of liquid glue on the white cardstock…left it to dry about a minute before pushing the vellum onto it.  It was still tacky but did not make an obvious mark of glue on the vellum. The corner was no longer curling up.

To brighten the card a bit and to embellish it I took some chunky glitter crystals I had and spread them out across the card.  Their blue sapphire coloring matched the blue in the wings of the dragonfly.  Another tip from Sara is to use the markers to color embellishments to match when you don’t have them.  I took a creamy pearl and colored it black with the Artist marker as I didn’t have a black one.  This became the head of the dragonfly. And, thus, this was finished!  I loved the way the dragonfly looked as if it was flying across the sky.  And just as its wings sometimes sparkle, so did the finished card.

The second card was even simpler.  Again, scribbling some color onto a craft mat and spritzing it with alcohol, I was able to pick up ink with my Tim Holtz splatter brush and put down some fine splatters in blues (B204 Ocean Waves and B227 Desert night) and orange (Y817 Firebrick).  These were close to the colors of my high school colors so it was a fun remembrance.  My husband had some orange twine or kite string which worked perfectly to wrap around the popped-up center cardstock.  I striped the sides of the card base first before attaching the center piece with foam tape.  I cut the sentiment out of corresponding blue paper using the Bold Thanks Dies set after stamping ‘ever so much’ from the Apothocary Labels stamp set. Then embellished it with some colored gems by Honeybee and adding an orange plaid bow.  Simple but attractive.

I can see using these techniques over and over again with lots of fun variations.

Thanks for visiting today.  Please go to the right and click FOLLOW to continue with me on my journey in the Altenew Educators Certification Program.

Beyond Basic Backgrounds

Yes, I passed Level 1 and now onto Level 2 with a new badge to display!

For my first class here, I chose Beyond Basic Backgrounds.  There were 6 magnificent ways to do something out of the ordinary for the background of your card.  Instructor Lydia Evans showed how they vary and how beautiful each could be.  She made the comment on the sixth version how she doesn’t do this much but ought to do it more…so I took up this challenge.  For these backgrounds you color paper, die cut images, keep the outline, die cut again with white cardstock keeping all the little piece inserts of the background.  Then put them together as a jigsaw puzzle to create a background.

I played with a couple of dies before choosing the Altenew Hanging Garden Die Set.  First, because these were leaves, I colored paper using green shades using my Altenew Artist Markers starting with the lightest and working to the darkest:  Mountain Mist B802, Volcano Lake B714, Lagoon B815 and Emerald B635.  I wanted these to stand out so for the other colors I chose grays: Morning Frost WG01, Evening Gray WG03, Moon Rock WG05, and Lava Rock WG07.  I simply colored them in an Ombre patterns on the white card stock.  The larger die I cut out in the greens, and I cut 2 smaller dies from gray.  That would give me some play in how to arrange the leaves. 

With the colored outlines cut out I arranged them on a piece of 4.25” x 5.5” white cardstock to see how they would fit.  I cut the dies figuring I would then trim the cards when done but I ran into a couple of problems…the background would be too big for a frame of color around them – which was needed.   When I cut out the dies from the white cardstock, I figured I could just glue it on another piece of cardstock and all would be easy to piece together – not so.  First there was too much white space with the larger size and secondly, the white die cut needed shape to be put in place properly.  It was glued down but the leaves were not in the right spots for making the correct layout. 

Glad Press’n Seal to the rescue.  I trimmed another piece white cardstock to 3.75”x 5” to begin with, then cut the dies as I wanted them, being very careful when they were cut to not lose any of the pieces.  I tore off a sheet of Press’n Seal from the roll and placed it on the wrong side of the card. This held almost all the small pieces in place.    I then took the white die cut positive out and leaving only the small negative pieces.  I next could take my colored positives in place before gluing.  Now I knew everything would be lined up appropriately.  I folded over the Press’n Seal to capture the pieces on the front of the card as well, turned it upside down and took off the back.  This would allow me to glue everything in place as it was lined up.  I took another uncut piece of cardstock at 3.75”x5”, added glue and backed the front of the card.  At least 75% of the pieces were in the right spot and had a bit of liquid glue to hold them there.  I turned it over and sought to complete the puzzle, adding any little pieces that didn’t stick and also to be sure they were all glued down.  With my trusty tweezers this was all accomplished.

Filling in the negative spaces isn’t so bad but I also had to be particularly careful that all the edges and corners – and a spot between the two dies – were all lined up properly.  The colored die cuts hung out the edge of the card front which I decided would add dimension.  This showed especially well when I put foam tape behind to pop up the card front on the dark gray background.

To finish out the card I added a sentiment from Altenew Best Sentiments stamps, using Simon Says Stamps Intense Black ink, Versamark ink and Altenew clear embossing powder.  To set it off just a bit more from the card I added a small piece of velum and foam tape to pop up the sentiment.  The Altenew Sea Shore Enamel Dots set match the colors of the inks on the greens, finishing off the final details.

This was a great class.  Kinda picky in putting together but I really liked the final outcome.  Again, it stretches my limits which is always a good thing.  So, when you read this, please remember the sentiment and know that


AECP Challenge Level 1 Part 1

My level 1 challenge is to make 4-6 masculine cards and 4-6 feminine cards, following a theme and using at least 3 of the lessons from Level 1 classes. The lessons I chose were

  • Clean and Simple Boutique for the theme
  • For the Guys – aspects of this class were incorporating nature, whimsical, interactive and geometric shapes
  • Layering – even though the layering class described layering stamps I found that layering the 3D and Craft-A-Flowers used the same principles as when layering stamps.  Finding the match points of each layer is what makes these beautiful flowers striking.

I really like Altenew’s current large background stamps.  Many are geometric in nature which lent themselves to masculine or feminine cards.  For colors, I used purple shades for feminine and, of course, blue shades for masculine.  My general plan was to stamp backgrounds with these stamps, add strips of dark paper and glitter paper, a focal point and a sentiment.  I knew I wanted the layered flowers for the feminine cards but needed inspiration for masculine cards.

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Irresistible Inking Techniques

WOW, this is my last class for the Level 1 of the Altenew Educators Certification Program…lovingly known as AECP. 

This last class is an amazing class combining several others into one.   In some ways this was simple yet it involved watercoloring which I have not done a lot with, so it still stretched my limits.  It was the perfect time to use the Altenew Pant-A-Flower Iris stamp.

The white 4” x 5 ½” base of the card was quick and easy, taking Altenew’s Ultraviolet ink cube, I scuffled ink directly to a plain white cardstock – very quickly the background was done setting the stage for the regal flower.

I started the flower by white heat embossing the stamp, but the outline wasn’t clear and the flower looked unfinished when I tried to paint it. Yes, it did contain the watercolor within the boundaries of the heat embossing, but the flower lost a lot of detail.  So, I redid it with Simon Says Stamps Intense Black ink.  Then squished some Altenew crisp dye ink Ultraviolet on my Tim Holtz media mat.  Using a water brush pen, I proceeded to pick up the purple color and paint my Iris.  Doing the same with the ink cube, I used Altenew Forest Glades ink for the leaves and stems.  As I colored both the flowers and the stems I moved around, letting one part dry before I went back adding more ink to get a deeper color. It took several additions to get the desired hues for this gorgeous creature.  All the time I left the center open so that I could use Altenew Maple Yellow in the center of the flower.  This is such a beautiful flower in the garden I wanted this to be special too. 

To help the yellow stand out I cut a bright yellow piece of cardstock to 3 5/8” x 4 7/8” which left just a tiny frame around the white cardstock of 3 ¾” x 4 ¾”…just enough to frame the Iris.

One of the tricks in this class was to edge the ink around the white edge so that it would also have some color framing it.  It was quick and easy to just rub the ink cube along all sides.  It is such a simple trick but one that adds a lot to the finished product, helping to highlight the purple of the flower against the yellow frame.  Once those were glued together, I added some strips of foam tape to the back and mounted onto the purple scuffled base.

The finishing glamor was added by using my Tonic Aqua Shimmer pen to the yellow on the Iris and adding 3 small purple Honey Bee gems to finish it off. 

The “Believe in you“ sentiment from the same stamp set as the flower is for me…and also for every other AECP participant and person reading this.  Thank you to Altenew for letting me experience these classes. 

Now to await my Level 1 Challenge………..

Seasonal Scene Building

When I think of s Seasonal Scene, I think of winter and its peacefulness and serenity in the woods.  I live in the country and sometimes sit on my enclosed porch with outside lights on watching the snow fall.  It’s very soothing.

For this card I started with the night sky, blending Distress Inks of Faded Jeans, Chipped Sapphire, and Wilted Violet on White Gold Shimmer cardstock by Reflections.  I cut the moon from the same cardstock from the newly released Phases of the Moon die set.  I had some tiny iridescent star glitter that I carefully glued randomly in the sky.  Because the distress ink can react with something wet and leave spots, I tried to minimize that by putting some liquid glue on my media mat and dipping the stars into the glue only to get a small amount on them.  Studio Katia’s embellishment wand was very helpful in doing this.  Once done with that I used a fine mist of Hero Arts white shimmer spray to add more glisten and distance “stars”.

I took some of the same white gold shimmer cardstock for snow and snowbanks in the foreground just by cutting curved lines in the paper and adding some foam tape to make the top bank stand out more for dimension.  One trick I learned from Kristina Werner is to take the paper off both sides of the foam tape and it can be formed to fit around a curve as shown in the picture below.

The nice county scene was completed with the cabin from Altenew’s Winter Wishes stamp set.  I stamped it with Simon Says Intense Black ink and colored it with Altenew Artist markers.  I used reds and browns (R437 Cosmic Berry, R335 Grapevine, R318 Ruby Red, R217 Velvet and Y932 Mocha) for the house, yellow (R204 Mago Smoothie) for lights inside, G825 Olive and Y762 Espresso for trees. As this didn’t have a die, I fussy cut it out. I put foam tape on the back of that also to pop it up off the snow – one layer at the base of the cutout and two layers at the top of the house and trees.

The finishing touch was the Believe sentiment cut out from the die of Holiday Script Words Die in a red to compliment the house.   And this completes the AECP lesson on scene building.