Stencils Unleashed:  Advanced Stencil Techniques   Level 3 Class 4

Submission for my Level 3 Class 4 of AECP

Oh, what a lot of fun was this class.  Lots of different information on using stencils in different ways.  I wanted to do more videos but this set of classes packs in sooo much I ‘d have a forever video to capture its essence.  Nicole Watt does an excellent job of teaching 7 different (plus) ways to use your stencils.

  • Coloring Stencils
  • Graphite shading
  • Silhouette
  • Layering
  • Spotlight/watercoloring
  • Alcohol inks
  • Using up the scraps

I will show you a few examples of most of these techniques but I will be focusing on the alcohol inks for this post.  Just like Nicole, I LOVE alcohol inks.  The re-inkers from Altenew work really well in any manner you might use alcohol inks.

Working with the stencils can be a bit tricky and very messy.  Messy is part of the fun for me…some like to wear gloves but I have never found the alcohol inks to be that lasting that I felt I needed gloves.  It is always a good idea to work on top of covered surface or in a box, though, to protect your crafting space from getting too messy.  One of the major things of using alcohol inks is that you have very little control over the overall outcome, yet you can also get LOTS of backgrounds made quickly and easily and no two will be alike. Then you can use them either as backgrounds or die cut them for silhouettes or flowers or shapes or sentiments.

In Nicole’s class she uses photo paper rather than Yupo paper.  She emphasizes that it should be a good quality photo paper – one where you touch the corner with your finger and it sticks a bit.  I, too, have a lot of photo paper and rarely print my own pictures anymore so this is an excellent way to use something you might already have on hand.

The process is this:

  1.  Have all your supplies ready ahead of time and open next to your workspace –inks and a spray bottle of alcohol  (Nicole used 70% alcohol but I used 91%).
  2. Inside a box lay your photo paper shiny side up.
  3. Choose the stencil you would like to use and pit it on top of the photo paper
  4. Add a few drops of ink – whatever color or colors you like
  5. Spray with alcohol, if desired, to help move the inks around
  6. Lift the stencil up and move your paper to an area to dry
  7. There will still be a lot of ink on your stencil so put down another sheet of photo paper
  8. Spray the stencil with alcohol and lay the stencil down on top of the paper, let it sit a minute then lift up and put aside the paper to dry
  9. Chances are you can still repeat steps 7 and 8 multiple times, with the result of each getting lighter and sometimes giving a nice watercolor look.  This can create some very lovely tidbits which will give you many background options.

In my examples below I used Altenew Deep Iris, Sea Glass, Ocean Waves, and Dessert Night.

Here are two of the cards I made with these backgrounds:

Also, here are other examples of cards from a few of the other lessons in this set:

Silhouette embossing — also created my own stencil with acetate
Layering the same stencil and another stencil over the first

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.

Thanks for visiting!  Please sign up to follow me along this journey.

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.

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?

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