Thursday, November 27, 2014

Non-Christmas Cards with Yuletide

Happy Thanksgiving!  I hope this day reminds you of the many blessings in your life.  I am in Georgia celebrating with our son.  It's the first Thanksgiving we've celebrated with at least one of our children in many, many years. I'm feeling very thankful, indeed.

Last week I promised my Stampin' Buds design team post would include some non-Christmas cards with the Yuletide WOTG.  I don't know about you, but I want to stretch my stamps as far as they will go.  I started by cutting a bunch of tickets from p. 57 of the Artbooking Cricut Cartridge in White Daisy and stamping them with various ticket images from the set.  Then I cut and/or colored them to fit my cards.

Here's the first one:

This is a variation of the second card from last week's post.

I altered the ticket by cutting the word "FUN" and bottom swirl from one image and mounting it over top of the "Ticket to the North Pole" image.  I colored the rim of the ticket shape with a marker to give it a border, but it very easily could have been left white.

The dots behind the ticket were made by stamping the back side of the "Dec 25" stamp in Pacifica three times without re-inking in between.  Sorry that the color didn't show up well.

Very simple and could be altered for any occasion and color scheme.

My second card makes use of layering one ticket over the top of another in order to get an entirely different saying.  I did lots of other altering on this, too.  The heart is cut from Art Philosophy at 3" tall.  The top layer is from the "Brushed" paper packet, and the bottom is Pixie cardstock. I sanded the Pixie layer to expose the white core, and I colored the Brushed paper with a red pen to tone down the pattern and to make it match the "kisses" ticket.  The other ticket was colored in gray so it would stand out from the white background but not add another color.  Again, my photography doesn't do the colors justice on this.

The final card is my absolute favorite (so I'm going to link it up to Heart2Heart's "No Rules" challenge).  I could play with this same design and do a gazillion different cards with it.

Instead of the woman with shopping bags (hostess only set, so no link below), anything tall could go behind that layer of tickets for different occasions.  For example, using the Artbooking cartridge, the giraffe from p. 50 (baby), the snowman from p. 77, the stack of presents from p. 86, or the cupcake with candle from p. 87 (birthday).  Switching to the Artiste cartridge, there's the Eiffle Tower on p. 42, the Christmas ornaments on p. 53, the spaceship and robot on p. 68, the hot air balloon on p. 70, or the skeleton on p. 76.  I could keep going, but you get the idea.

If you had a shorter image, you could put background and texture paper along the bottom angled to match the tickets and it opens up a whole new set of possibilities.  A ticket that says, "Oh, what FUN" can be used for so many occasions.

In a week, I'll be showing you some ideas from the new seasonal catalog.  Oh, what FUN!

Until next time,

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Writer's World Wednesday - A Proud Parent Moment

When my children were growing up, one of the best parts of my day was when they first came home from school.  I loved sharing all their little joys and triumphs as well as the occasional tear.  Now that they are all grown up and thousands of miles away, the chance to share the little things are few and far between, but every once in a while we get to share something big.

On Monday, my son took over command of his company. It's a very big deal for his army career. My husband and I flew from Oklahoma to be here and are staying through Thanksgiving.  It's the first time we will have shared the holiday with him since he left for West Point in 2005.  Needless to say, we are grateful to be here to share both the change of command and the holiday with him.

  The company gathers and salutes while the National Anthem is played over loudspeakers.
 My husband gave the invocation. It was such an honor to be asked and hubby did
a fantastic job--in my wholly unbiased opinion.
 Since my son isn't married, he presented me with the traditional yellow roses welcoming me to the company.  The outgoing spouse is usually presented with red roses indicating the love the company feels for past service, while the yellow indicates friendship and welcome.
 The change of command is symbolized by the passing of the company's guidon (flag).  The first sergeant presents it to the current commander on his left...
 ...who passes it to the Lt. Col. in charge of the entire battalion...
 ...who then passes it to the incoming commander...
 ...who passes it back to the first sergeant...
 ...who then passes it back to the soldier charged with carrying the guidon
 because he exemplifies all that a soldier should be.
 After the passing of the guidon, the Lt. Col. and outgoing commander say a few words before the incoming commander says his.  Steven is only the second commander of this company.  The outgoing commander said the only reason she didn't freak out handing off the guidon was because command was going to Steven.
 After singing the Army Song, Steven gives his first order allowing his soldiers to...

I felt like I fulfilled my first (and only) duty to the company by feeding the soldiers, although I really only shopped because Steven paid the bill.  I kinda like how that works now!

On the writing front, I have found myself a mentor.  It was scary approaching her, but true to her reputation and what I've observed of her character the few times we have had face-to-face interaction, she proved to be exceedingly gracious.  She tells me she won't be so nice about critiquing my work, but that's the whole purpose of being mentored.  Find someone who will take the job seriously and expose your problems and flaws so they can be fixed.  I'll be diving into that as soon as I get back from Thanksgiving.

For now, I'm enjoying a few days off and re-learning how to roast a turkey along with my daughter who is hosting her first dinner and calling me for advice.  Sometimes it's good to be Mom.

Until next time,

Friday, November 21, 2014

Fall Into Autumn

Fall is my favorite season of the year.  I love pumpkin spice lattes, caramel apple cider, and the crisp bite to the air.  For this week at Color My Heart, we are working with the colors from the new Pathfinding paper.  I also wanted to see if I could take the "No Ink" Challenge over at Heart2Heart.  Here's what I came up with:

I don't think it needs much explanation except to say that the sentiment came from one of the zip strips included in the paper.  So easy!

Until next time,

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Clean and Simple Yuletide Cards

For my design team duties at Stampin Buds this week, I wanted to take you inside the anatomy of a Clean and Simple (CAS) card.  Please understand, I am by no means a CAS expert.  I just like the style and have picked up a few things from the masters.

Tip #1:  Let you white space shine.

There are a several things that go into a good white space.  First, your work is clean, no least no unintentional ones. Second, use good quality cardstock. It needs to fold well, cut without leaving jagged edges, and take ink well.  White Daisy cardstock, baby.  As much as you can get your hands on!  And finally, the importance of the Score Board can't be overstated.  Folds are crisper with no breakage, plus you can create top folding cards which not only photograph better, they are different from what you get in a store which makes your card stand out from the crowd.

Tip #2:  Add detail without adding bulk. 

On this card, I trimmed the edge of the card base to 3.75 along the open edge.  This allowed me to hang the tag off the edge.  Any time you can go literally "out of the box" of your card base, it adds interest.

I also angled the tag as opposed to leaving it straight.   The juxtaposition of a straight line against an angle adds another touch of interest.

I was able to do the two colors around the edge and in the middle by using pigment inks.  Their cube shape is small enough to do this technique without having to mask off parts of the stamp.  I took the extra time to sponge around the edges of the tag with Olive ink (dye based) for two reasons: 1) it deepened the color around the edge creating a more definitive edge, and 2) any time you add shading it gives your project extra depth. (I used Cranberry and Olive because they happened to be on my work table.  They are in two different ink stacks so I included the link for both below, but you could easily get by with just one ink stack.)

Use foam tape to create depth.  You aren't adding anything of "weight" to your card in terms of design, but you give what's there more impact.

To get the embroidery floss to stay in place, I placed a dab of Liquid Glass on my index fingertip and smooshed it flat against my thumb. I pinched the floss at the points I wanted to adhere to the tag, and pressed them down lightly making sure to leave a little curve.

Tip #3:  Use design principles to full advantage.

Because there isn't much to a CAS card, what's there must make a big impact.

Here I used several principles when putting together my cluster.

First, I created a cluster. Within that cluster, I placed the two gold sequins and the Dec 25 circle in a triangle.  I used variety in the sizes of the sequins, neither of which is the size of the Dec 25 circle. (My original plan didn't call for the sequins, but I ended up with a smudge.  Small sequins to the then I had to add the larger sequins.  Then I had to add the Dec 25 to complete the triangle.  So, you see, covering that smudge led to better things.)

Second, I used contrasting colors.  Red and green are opposites on the color wheel.  One brings out the best in the other.

Third, I used the principle of thirds.  (See how I did that...made the "thirds" principle third on my list.  I'm so clever...and humble, too. LOL!)  If you were to pick the center point of the cluster and draw a line horizontally and another one vertically, those two lines would be one third of the way up from the bottom and one third of the way from the right edge of the card base.

I then went back to Tip #2 and used the Piercing Tool and Stitch Guide to create a type of border that adds interest without adding bulk, I sponged Olive ink around the Cranberry tag, and I foam mounted the red tag and the Dec 25 dot to add depth to my layers.

Tip #4:  Create a CAS background using good design principles, then throw something bold over the top.

I'm going to be honest, this card took forever to come together.  I had the idea in my head but couldn't get it to come out on paper.  I was losing sleep over it.  Really, I was!

Anyway...look at the background and the ticket for a moment.  They follow good design principles.

The greenery in the background is at an angle and covers about a third of the center panel.  Instead of dotting the berries with red, I used brown to create a contrast without drawing the eye too much.

The ticket is placed about a third of the way up the card and a little less than a third away from the right edge.  If you were to take the tag out, the background and ticket would be a well designed card.  But then you throw that bold tag on it, move the ticket over a smidge because the eye is drawn to the point where ticket and tag intersect, and voila!

The tag was cut out of Yuletide paper in the exact shape of the first card because I took the clear stamp, laid it on the paper so the design would border the left side, and then cut around the stamp with my Micro-tip Scissors being very careful to not nick my stamp.  To create the "string," I folded the Washi Tape over on itself lining up the gold dots and trimming off any excess.  I then folded it in half again and looped it through the top of the tag.  I used the excess trimmings of Washi to wrap around the ties.

To finish, I sponged around the ticket, tag, and bottom/right corner of the inner panel with Olive ink.  Also, note that the sequins (two different sizes) and the Washi tape "strings" are placed in a triangular shape with the similarly colored ticket.  The stitching around the edges is another example of adding interest without adding bulk, as is a white on white border.

In the interest of full-disclosure, that center panel was giving me fits.  I tried it on a green background, a Kraft background, a sponged background, a sponged background with stamping over it, with sponged edges to match the sponged background, with another mat between the white on white of various colors.  Aaaaaack!!  But I kept fussing and trimming and trying until it worked.  I knew my design principles were good, I just couldn't get the background right.

All of these cards can be recreated once the Yuletide paper is gone.  The bold tag can be cut from plain cardstock and run through an embossing folder, stamped, or cut from a different patterned paper. But those tickets...Oh!  I love those tickets.

On Thanksgiving Day, I'll show you how to stretch this very Christmassy set into all sorts of occasions using those wonderful little tickets!!  You can leave the men to their turkey coma football frenzy and come play.

Until next time,