Sunday, January 25, 2015

Using My Hoard: Gold Leaf

First of all, I'd like to thank those of you who offered advice regarding pink alcohol markers. Several of you sent me specific Copic color/number codes, and others of you suggested different brands. I'm going to get several of the Copics for sure, and I think I'll try a set of the new SU Blendabilities markers. Look for future posts with more about how I'm figuring out how to make this tool work for me...and what I'm deciding to keep and what will be donated to our church preschool.

Second, thanks to Sheila H who suggested, for obvious reasons, that I check out this post on Simon Says Stamp's blog. Bwaahaahaaa! Pears!!! (It's a lovely card, isn't it?)

Third, here's my latest update on Use My Hoard: gold leaf.

Gold leaf--the real thing, not the fake stuff--is rather expensive and rather fussy. The total cost of these two items (a pack of gold leaf and an agate burnisher) was around $100 ($35 for the gold, $65-ish for the burnisher). You'll notice the term patent on the package. That means the gold leaves are attached to a backing paper, which makes them much easier to work with, especially for beginners. Loose leaves take great skill and very still air to work with...or they fold up on themselves and crumple. Breathe on it wrong, and it turns into a wad. I have never taken the chance and stuck with patent gold. Agate burnishers are smooth, hard rock, and they burnish gold and silver beautifully.

I bought these years ago when I was seriously into calligraphy and illumination and used them on a few pieces I gave as gifts. The difference between gold leaf and gold gouache paint is startling and, for illumination, well worth the time and effort.

Here's a picture of two used sheets of the gold leaf, but the "extra" gold is still useable. Gold will stick only to paper that has some sort of glue (allowed to dry fully) on it and to itself, so you can rub these small areas onto a new project, and they will stick where they are supposed to. At this price point, you don't want to waste a flake!

Because of the price and the finicky nature of gold leaf, I've rarely used it on cards. Cards are so...disposable. But I decided to use the extra gold on these sheets to make a card, and isn't it shiny!?!?

You can see just how shiny in this close-up.

This little flower (from Papertrey's Beautiful Blooms II) used almost all the gold on one of the left-over sheets.

Not counting drying time for the adhesive, this card took about an hour to make. It would be substantially faster with a fresh sheet of leaf, but trying to get all those flakes of gold down on those narrow petals took far longer than I expected.

I love the look, but realistically, gold leaf is too expensive and too time-consuming (for me!) for cards. When I get back to making framed calligraphy pieces or illuminated books, I'll pull these supplies out. At least they don't ever go bad! But for now, in this busy phase of my life that leaves little time for crafting, they're going to storage.

How is the Use-Your-Hoard Challenge working for you?

stamps: Papertrey Beautiful Blooms II
ink: none
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: Essential Glue Pad, gold leaf, agate burnisher, rhinestone (colored with alcohol markers), corner rounder

Saturday, January 24, 2015

A Sleepytime Thought

As I was falling asleep last night, I had a thought, so I put a note on my phone and went to sleep because, you know, I was tired after weeks of insomnia and have finally been sleeping well and no crafty thought was going to keep me awake, by golly.

So there.

Of course, I'd forgotten all about the thought this morning as I was drinking coffee and reading a novel in my recliner. But of course, the note was there when I swiped my phone.

Yay, iPhone!

I played with the idea today, before I could forget to check the notes on my phone because I'd find it months from now and wonder what the heck it meant because context is important and often old notes make NO sense to me whatsoever months after the fact. Does this happen to anyone else?

The idea was this: create an ombre blotch on scrap card stock with Copics/Bics/Sharpies, punch out a shape, and use the lovely shape on a card.

I started with the butterflies and used my all-time favorite CAS layout...which was used on the very first post on this here blog. 

I liked it but thought, hey, let's try snowflakes. After I'd punched them and arranged them loosely on a card, I caught a glimpse of my Wink of Stella pen on my desk and PRESTO!

The clear Wink of Stella makes all the difference on this card. Ohmygosh, so loving that pen!!!!

I loved making these colorful shapes. It's so nice not to worry about staying in lines or being fussy. I just kept adding pigment until I was satisfied, then punched. So very, very easy. And the colors are so rich and bright and pop right off the white card base.

Happy sigh!

stamps: Papertrey Keep It Simple: Thank you and Dare 2B Artzy Giving Spirit
ink: Memento Luxe tuxedo black
paper: Papertrey
accessories: various alcohol markers, glue pen, punches, black half pearls

Friday, January 23, 2015

Big Purple

Several sets I have contain extremely large words. While I like the words, it's hard to do "different" things with them when you stick to CAS (and don't own the coordinating dies...or a die cut machine to use them on!). But I like how this one turned out.

The bling looks purple in real life...a perfect match for the reddish-purple amethyst ink, actually, but in the photo they look black. Weird. Anyway, I love the way the spiky branches work with the word birthday and the contrast with the flow of the cursive happy.

Have a fabulous weekend!

stamps: Papertrey Embellished Elegance
ink: Ancient Page amethyst, Hero Arts soft olive (I think)
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Pink Problems

As many of you already know, I use Bic and Sharpie markers mostly, and just fill in lighter shades with expensive Copics, because, you know, y'all see me coloring in things so very often that taking the cheap route just makes sense.

Except when it comes to pinks.

I have enough of all three brands to make two shades of pink, one of which is very bright and one of which is more of a salmon color. So I made two cards with the pinks I have, neither of which honestly makes me happy. I need more better pinks! Although, having said that, I rather like both cards.

I grounded the envelope on a strip of pink grapefruit
VersaMagic ink. Not sure it's better than the one below,
but it is, at least, grounded and not floating.

I'm okay with floating things. Some designers are not.
If floating makes you happy, do it. If it doesn't, don't.
Design wisdom given for free. Which is about what it is worth.

I'm willing to invest in three Copic markers that give me a softer, sweeter pink. Does anyone have suggestions?


BTW, these cards are both destined for Operation Write Home.

stamps: Papertrey Note Niblets, Sign Language
ink: Memento
paper: Papertrey
accessories: assortment of Copic, Sharpie, and Bic markers, dimensionals, rhinestone hearts

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

AHA! or Duh! You Be the Judge

I experienced an aha! moment yesterday, or perhaps it was just a duh! moment. I'm not sure, but my embellishment drawers just got a lot emptier cleaner.

So yay!

Anyway, I resolved to tackle some of my Use Your Hoard List. In particular, I wanted to figure out if buttons needed to stay in my embellishment drawers or go to storage in an unfinished area of the basement. It seemed like such a good idea...until my overactive brain took over.

My stream of consciousness ran something like this: Hmm, I have buttons in every color. This isn't fun. Dang, I forgot how thick these things are. They won't go through the mail at all. This isn't fun. Do I really want to make something that can't go in the mail? Not really, no, and this still isn't fun. Plus, what new thing could I do with buttons that I haven't already done? Do I want to make something that's NOT a card? No, no I don't. Too much effort. I'm tired. Why did my insomnia pick now to come back. How can I expect to be creative on so little sleep for weeks on end?  I sold that button set from PTI, didn't I? Sure did. What is the point? This isn't fun. Calgon, take me away!!!!

You see what I have to deal with? I had pulled out one of my Craft Mate cases of embellishments, where I store brads, paper clips, buttons, sequins, etc. None of it looked at all interesting to me.

NONE of it, people.

I pulled the Craft Mate cases from the Blue/Violet, Green, Yellow/Orange, and Red/Pink drawers and moved them out. The only ones that stayed were the neutrals and metallics. Those may join the colors soon.

These four cases now reside on the top shelf of my baker's rack, still in my craft room, but not convenient at all to my workspace, and may head off to the basement later. It felt good to move them.

The little bear, who is full of tiny beads and very relaxing to squeeze, stayed on my desk within easy reach. That little guy kept me from choking the life out of annoying salespeople when I worked for a computer memory manufacturer years ago. Those sales department guys always came to my cubicle with emergency, last-minute, must-get-done now projects that they'd known about for weeks and ohmygoshincompetenceonyourpartdoesn'tconstituteanemergencyonmine!!!!!

See? Years later, and it still stresses me out.

Let it go, let it go!

Ohhhmmmmm, squishy bear. Ohhhmmmm.

I feel better. This helps, too. Especially if the wine is a nicely balanced malbec.

I made this card for my sister-in-law. She will appreciate it. She and I drank wine while our husbands sweated it out at Ironman Wisconsin in September. She and I know how to do an Ironman!

The bling covers up stars on the stamp, but I didn't have red-wine colored stars...just blue.

And that's all I have to say about that.

stamps: Hero Arts A Little clear set
ink: Versamagic Jumbo Java, Memento Luxe Rhubarb
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: rhinestones

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Getting My Purple On

Probably my least-used colors are the purples and violets, but the current cover of Somerset Life inspired me to pull them out and play. This is my favorite of the efforts.

The flower from Papertrey's Doodlie Do is stamped in Ancient Page Amethyst ink, which is such a gorgeous reddish purple. Paired with silver metallic, it works beautifully on the white background!

If you're looking for a challenge today, consider using purple and silver together, with lots and lots of white. What a stunning combination!!!

stamps: Papertrey Doodlie Do and Signature Greetings
ink: Ancient Page amethyst, Memento espresso truffle
paper: Papertrey Ink white
accessories: silver metallic pen, dimensionals, post-it notes for mask

Monday, January 19, 2015

Perfect Balance

As I explained in yesterday's post, I often struggle with integrating shabby chic/vintage/artsy style elements into my CAS style. While I enjoyed making yesterday's cards, they were a bit, um, much for me.

I love white space and visual simplicity, right? Putting ten or so cut-out words on trees feels...excessive.

Right after I made those two tree cards, I made this card, which uses some lovely, soft blues. This card feels so much like me I giggled out loud when I finished it!

The hearts all have crazy swirls, but they are the same heart shape, repeated in a nice, tidy row.

The words are cut out and the same height as the big heart and in a vertical row below it.

Angles love curves. Check.

And the words. Oh, my. The meaning fits right in with the crazy swirls and the hearts.

What's not to love? Soft, vintage-y colors, crisp, linear design, great curves, a few meaningful words treated in an artsy style, and plenty of white space.

That's what I call perfect balance.

stamps: Papertrey Heart Prints, Simple Alphabet
ink: Fresh Ink Island; Memento Luxe Teal Zeal; Memento Black, Teal Zeal
paper: Papertrey white
accessories: heart punch, dimensionals