I’m still hooked on making Christmas cards; I’m having so much fun playing with bright colours and sparkly gold glimmer paper and heat embossing as you may have noticed. Today my new order was delivered so I can use garden green and cherry cobbler now to my heart’s delight. But before I get to that – here’s another in non-traditional colours – although it does have gold glimmer paper!

embossed trees noel pear pizzazz

Base: 5.5″ by 8.5″ Pear pizzazz folded in half

Mat: 5.25″ by 4″ very vanilla

Top layer: 5″ by 3.75″ pear pizzazz

No ink!

This is very easy to put together. First run the pear pizzazz through the big shot in the On Point embossing folder. Then get out your wax paper and put it between the noel die (from the Wondrous Wreaths framelit set) and some wax paper. This makes it much easier to get the Noel off the die, but it does take a little patience. It helps to poke something through the holes in the die. Just adhere the Noel to the embossed layer and then that layer to the mat and it all to the card. Done!

I tried this without the very vanilla mat but in old olive (because I ran out of pear pizzazz!); I’ll put that in a later post so that you can see whether you prefer it with the mat.

so they tell me. Clearly there can be mistakes, but most errors send you down another path and nobody will ever know the end product wasn’t your original intention. I liked yesterday’s card and thought I’d do another version, this time in gold ink on blackberry bliss.

baroque plain

I was just about okay with this one when I did it. The next morning though I agreed with two of my critique board that it needed “something else”. I find that if a card is good, I’ll still really like it the next day. That’s the acid test. Well, that and sending a photo to my critique board!

I decided that this card bothered me because the stamp isn’t centred and the gold ink is a little patchy. So I took another piece of blackberry bliss (5″ by 3.75″) and stamped the image in metallic gold ink. It wasn’t perfect so I flipped the card over (that’s why paper has two sides!) and did it again. Much better.

Next I grabbed various other colours of cardstock and played around again looking for the perfect mat. I looked again at yesterday’s card where I have hello honey on blackberry bliss and decided to use hello honey as the mat (5.25″ by 4″). I glued the blackberry bliss and mat together and then adhered that over the top of the original card. I think it’s much improved. So does my critique board. :)

baroque in gold on bb

 

Today I want to cover heat embossing. I’m sure that there are many blogs covering this, but I wanted to add my viewpoint and hopefully by telling my mistakes, it might save someone else.

My first attempt at heat embossing was a dismal failure. And I really mean dismal. I wasn’t really sure what I was looking for (or doing) but my sister Caro had raved about how much fun it was so I put a heat gun and some embossing powder in my first order. I don’t recall now if I remembered to use the embossing buddy but after waving the heat tool at the World Map image on the card for what felt like long enough, I rubbed my finger over the image and all the powder fell off. It was in the evening and since Caro lives in the UK and I’m in the US 5 hours behind, I couldn’t call for help so I put the tools aside.

After a chat with Caro and reading some articles that a patient friend had found, I tried again and understood what my sister had been raving about. It really is magical watching the powder heat and melt – especially the metallics since the powder is a very dull version of what you end up with. The darker colours (black, cherry cobbler) are hard to see change, especially in artificial light. Of course my first attempt was in the evening and with black powder!

I got on much better after this, but sometimes I’d forget to use the embossing buddy. The powder that this little thing leaves behind does help the embossing powder to only stick where you want it to stick. Caro’s tip was to put the embossing buddy on top of the versamark inkpad. That’s where it now lives and now I always remember to use it!

Some of Stampin’ Up!’s supplies seem a little on the expensive side. When I noticed that on Amazon I could buy twice the white embossing powder for less than half the price, I went for it figuring that the basic colours would match. And I regretted it. There’s a reason for the price and it’s QUALITY! The white that I got just doesn’t look as smooth and connected when melted as the Stampin’ Up! colours that I already have. A pot of Stampin’ Up!’s white embossing powder is in my next order.

I’ve read that you should not wave the heat gun around but also that you should for fear of scorching the paper. I haven’t scorched the paper (yet – presumably I will later on today) but I’m aware that it’s possible. I hold the heat gun about 2 inches from the paper and if it seems to be taking a little too long I wave the gun around just a bit and then come back to where I was. It works for me.

I’ve also found that you can use embossing powder with the regular Stampin’ Up! inks. They dry faster than versamark so you need to be prepared to move faster – have the embossing powder ready before you stamp. By adding clear embossing powder to a regular ink, you get a glossy shine on the image.

To sum up, here are my tips:

1. Start with a metallic and in good daylight

2. Start with a SMALL image!

3. Use the embossing buddy and store it on top of the Versamark inkpad

4. Use Stampin’ Up embossing powder – don’t forget to flick the back of the paper to remove any excess

5. Let the gun heat up a little first and use the second setting (the first is for helping things to dry faster)

6. If you use regular Stampin’ Up ink, move swiftly.

 

Here’s my card showing blackberry bliss ink embossed with clear embossing powder. It’s slightly out of focus at the top but it does show the glossy shine of the embossing. The gorgeous image is from a retired stamp set that my sister knew I wanted and she managed to buy it in the UK (they are often a month behind in retiring things) and gave it to me for my birthday. Thanks Caro! I have yet to use the matching embossing folder.

baroque embossed in bb on hh

Other details on this card:

Base: 8.5″ by 5.5″ blackberry bliss folded in half

Top layer: 4″ by 5.25″ hello honey

Stamp set: Beautifully Baroque (retired)

Ink: Blackberry bliss

Other: Clear embossing powder, embossing buddy, heat tool.

I am discovering that I love to make Christmas cards. Who knew? For some reason, I find them easier to design too. My brother suggests that possibly having some boundaries helps. I never expected to actually design the cards – I was planning to CASE all of mine. But I’ve found that it’s fun, relaxing and definitely addicting to play around with stamps and ink and card and watch something emerge.

How about another non-traditional coloured card? This, of course, has nothing to do with the fact that until my order arrives on Wednesday, I’m out of garden green and cherry cobbler. :)

bright and beautiful calypso

Base: 8.5″ by 5.5″ Very Vanilla

Top layer: 3.75″ by 5″ Very vanilla

Stamp sets: Bright and Beautiful, Good Greetings

Ink: Calypso Coral

Other: Framelits stars die, stampin’ dimensionals

This is a very simple card, as usual. It’s definitely easier to cut out the star first from the top layer (as I did not on this card!) – I used the third largest die. Then positioning it over the base layer, mark the centre of the star with a pencil. Now you can see where to stamp your image on the base layer. I used the largest star stamp which meant that it was slightly larger than the opening and thus no bare card would peek through. It’s important to now add your greeting before popping the top layer up on the dimensionals. I used some of the edge pieces leftover after you’ve used the hexagon dimensionals – there’s no need to waste the edges. Just snip them to a handy size.

 

My job is being outsourced and I decided to turn down the opportunity to join the outsourcing company. I am very grateful for all the people who have reached out to me and told me that I’ll be missed and that they believe I’ll easily find something else. This makes it easy to decide on the theme of today’s card.

all abloom thank you

This is a SEVEN layer card which is definitely a record for me. This was also my first use of DSP (Designer Series Paper). I have a lot of DSP but I struggle to use it; I feel that I’m colour challenged and so matching plain is easier than pattern. SU! make matching easy by telling you which colours are in the patterns, but I still have to make it feel balanced. You don’t grow if you don’t push yourself, right?! I CASEd this one from Susan Itell. I love this paper – it’s from the All Abloom stack which is full of really pretty patterns and at $6.95 for 48 pieces of 4.5″ by 6.5″ paper, a good value.

 

Base: Daffodil Delight 8.5″ by 5.5″ scored and folded

Mat: Daffodil Delight 4″ by 5.25″ scored using the stampin’ trimmer every quarter of an inch.

All Abloom paper – 1.75″ by 5.25″

After assembling the first few layers, I turned to the banner. I don’t have the banner framelits (yet!) nor a square of hexagon punch so I had to cut the end of the banner by hand. Easy to do with a ruler to find the centre. I used lost lagoon (since that’s in the paper) and more daffodil delight. The sentiment is from Sassy Salutations and stamped in the lost lagoon ink. I wanted to mimic the flower in the dsp and used the itty bitty accents punch pack to make the flower shape. I could not find anything to make the small flower centre and I had to wait (impatiently) for a new SU! order containing the cupcake punch. My sister was fairly convinced that the cupcake punch would have limited use in her crafting since she wasn’t expecting to make a lot of cupcake cards. I could see her point. But we’ve come to realise that the punch is really useful because it creates quite a number of shapes. BTW, I did get a cupcake stamp set too. :)

 

I decided to make my own envelope using the envelope punch board and daffodil delight. I completely messed up the liner, forgetting that the framelit envelope liners won’t be the right shape for this kind of envelope. I instead glued a strip of the DSP to the front. I think it works well.

all abloom thank you env

I’m also thankful for Stampin’ Up!’s Paper Pumpkin promotion which ends on Wednesday. Paper Pumpkin is a kit in a box which is sent to you monthly (whilst you’re a subscriber) and contains everything that you need to make the project(s) with the possible exception of glue. Until Wednesday, they are offering 50% off for the first two months. I’m going to join up because at $10 for the first two months, how can I lose? :) If any of you decide to join, please put me in as your demonstrator. Thanks.

Here are the details:

Offer Details: Use the code HALFOFF2 to join Paper Pumpkin before September 10, 2014, and get 50% off the first two months! After that, keep the creativity coming for only $19.95 + tax per month (shipping included)

The Fine Print:

  • For new subscribers only.
  • Available for month-to-month subscriptions, not prepaid subscriptions.
  • Discount applied to one kit per month for the first two months of a new subscription. After the first two months, the price for each month’s kit will go to the regular price: $19.95.
  • You need to visit MyPaperPumpkin.com to join.
  • Enter the Promo Code, “HALFOFF2” when you sign up.
  • New subscribers must join by Wednesday, September 10, 2014; 11:50 PM (MT).