Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Both of these cards are great examples of the deer stencil from Magenta. This template is so easy to use with just a finger dauber and any one of your favourite brown inks. The card below was made using the tree dies that you see from Frantic Stamper, and the beautiful snowflake background stamp from Magenta. I love the precise artwork on this stamp and with Judikins white embossing powder, you will keep the fine detail.

On the inside of the card, you can see the hidden trunks of the tree die-cuts, as well as the beautiful lounging deer die-cut. Don't forget to add some glitter to your hills for that wintery finishing touch. This would make a great winter birthday card as well as a Christmas card.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Whether we are ready or not, Christmas is only a few short weeks away. If you are finding yourself in a crafty mood, you might want to make a card gift box and some notes, or some easy tea-light luminaries. The card box is made even easier with the pre-cut and ready-to-fold boxes from PaperCuts. The price is $19.99 for 25 boxes. These are so easy to decorate because they come flat for stamping and embellishing. This makes a great hostess gift to have on hand.

Now with the battery-operated tea-lights, we don't need to worry about an open flame near the vellum wall. The new tea-lights even have a simulated flicking flame which makes them look even that much more realistic. The cluster of luminaries on the lovely silver doily were a gift to me from a wonderful customer, JoAnne Lloyd.

Friday, November 28, 2014

If you're looking for a different Christmas theme, you might want to consider these adorable polar bears from Sunshine Designs made by Frogs Whiskers. The card was made before the days of circle dies, so we used a scallop circle punch and a straight edge circle punch. The bear to the right hand side is actually sitting inside the card and will remain there when the card is opened. There are a number of lovely snowflake embossing folders to choose from. That is all it takes to change the plain white strip into something snowy and wonderful!

The polar bears have been stamped onto watercolour paper,  coloured with Tombow markers and a water brush to keep the colours nice and soft. The finishing touch would be glue pen and fine opalescent glitter to add that winter sparkle.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

This stunning background from Northwoods will allow you to add any of your favourite die-cuts. In the card below, Claudette has used a light blue cardstock and added white chalk wherever she wanted the trees and the snow mounds to show brighter.

I could also see this card done with any of your tree dies cut out and added on the image, or any of your wildlife including rabbits or dogs. She has cut a separate piece of cardstock for the snowhill which is raised in front of the animals feet.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

We had a marvelous weekend with Nathalie from Magenta! The card below had some interesting details added. The design on the left of the card was created by using stickers as a stencil and inking through and around them. This lovely vintage Christmas scene was stamped on gloss cardstock to maintain the integrity of all the fine lines. To colour the village scene, we used distress markers, and distress ink pad.

I'm particularly fond of this snowflake because it can be used solely as a design element in any background combination. The Merry Christmas has been stamped in black ink and then traced with a Stardust clear pen to add the shimmer.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

We're loving these jars of gilding flakes from Sue Wilson. There are lots of ways to use these lovely combinations of foil leafing. Yes, this is the same type of product you bought 10 yrs ago, that is still sitting in the back of your cupboard :-) . The easiest way to frame up a card or layer is to use your double sided tape, in any width, around the edges of your layer. Apply flakes and brush off excess.

Now that we have a million dies to choose from, every negative frame left over from your die-cut becomes a new frame for a foiled image. Once you've cut out a fairly solid image, apply double-sided tape to the backside of the opening. Now the tacky adhesive will show through the frame ready for foiling. Apply foil flakes gently, brush off excess and then burnish the remaining image with a nice firm brush (like a stipple brush).

The white card in the picture above is a good sample of applying the foil thru a die-cut negative. We then used the actual cut-out and used some distress ink to colour it before we applied it to the front of the card. The thin foil line on the left of the same card is a 3mm width of tape with the foil gilding applied.
On the black easel card, Bev has used a stand-up helper die-cut from Elizabeth Dies. The link below will show Els demonstrating the positioning of stand-up-helper dies. This is an older video showing small shapes rather than the new words, but the technique is the same. Although the Best Wishes has been cut from the black card, we have covered it with a silver die-cut on top of the black for a different effect. There are a number of the word-dies in this line that are salutations.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Sometimes a card base can be as easy as a piece of printed vellum on top of a card layer. The samples below are from Magenta. These are all 12 x 12 sheets, at $1 each. The designs are lovely and simple enough that they will work for many occasion cards. All you're left to add is a layered salutation with perhaps a die-cut or two, and you have an instant card.

In the card on the left, we have cut the vellum longer than the card, so we could fold over at top and bottom to adhere to the inside of the front of the card so the adhesive doesn't show. We then cut a liner for the inside of the card.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

It is time to get out your alcohol inks again and make some really fun and funky backgrounds. Bev used Watermelon, Sunset Orange and Purple Twilight Rangers Alcohol Inks to create this vibrant background. The hollyhock stamp was stamped with black Versafine and clear embossing powder. The hollyhocks die-cut was cut from deep-pink cardstock. The layering of the die to the card is a little bit time consuming because she has used tiny foam squares, some of which needed to be cut to size.

Both the die and the stamp are from Impression Obsession. I really like how the companies are making dies and stamps that match well together.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Once again I'm not trying to rush winter, but for those of you anxious to get your Christmas cards underway, let's have a look at this snowman card. The main image is from Stampendous and we have added the die-cut tree that he is holding. The buckles really add a nice touch for a ribbon embellishment. If you are tired of trying to find metal buckles on the market, the buckle set is from Joy Crafts. You have the versatility of four shapes that can also be embossed. The buckle on the ribbon has not been embossed, and the buckle on the little oval tag has been embossed so that you can see the difference. The background embossing is a favourite folder of  mine from Leane Creatif. I love the fact that it is large enough to emboss a 5 1/2 inch square background


The tree in the snowman's hand is from the set below. This is a set of two dies. We ended up using the largest tree from the cluster for the front of the card, and the smaller two from the cluster inside on the verse panel. We didn't actually used the largest tree in the package which measures 1 inch by 2.9 inches high. This die-set is great for creating smaller forests.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

This series of cut-and-emboss dies from Anna Griffin are absolutely beautiful. I do need to pass on a word of caution that you will need to work with shims to find out the right pressure for this beautiful, intricate die. In the card, Bev has used the ice-silver shimmer cardstock which creates an elegant appearance for this cutout. The print cardstock that she has used in behind is a taupe mini-print. Keep tone on tone in mind when you're trying to create some simple feeling of elegance. The verse is from Impression Obsession and the font just adds to the overall look of the card.

Keep in mind when you're using a die this size (5 x 7) that it is very easy to cut-down to the size you need when you have an open floral design like this. If you are using a Sizzix BigShot, in order to emboss, you'll need to use your tan embossing mat, one cardboard shim, and remove the top flap from your platform stack.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sometimes sympathy cards can be a challenge to do at the last minute. For me, a sympathy card wants to remain rather quiet, without too many layers and embellishments. In the card below we embossed about 1 inch at the top of the blue panel and we used the Magenta cloverleaf stem stamped once in Adirondack Espresso and both second and third stampings were misted with water first before stamping down.

The addition of the gold sticker on the ribbon allows you to put a sentiment on without adding lots of layers.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

This is a lovely die from Memory Box, Fresh Foliage. The nice thing about foliage is it can be any colour you want to make it. In this card that Bev designed, she has used an alcohol ink background, and inset the cut-out die into straight black card for the middle panel. The dragonflies were cut from glitter paper and then coloured with alcohol inks as well.

The versatility of this die would allow you to cut the image into pieces to add to any other card design. The dragonflies are from Penny Black.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

We have been doing a lot of designing with Christmas elements lately to provide some early inspiration for the Christmas season. I love that Nellie's has made scalloped dies as companion dies for the straight lined die-sets. This beautiful set of scalloped circles and straight circles will provide you with lots of opportunities for lovely layering. Below is an easy Christmas door card. The wreath is made from two scalloped circle dies with a straight edge circle die used to cut the centre. The edge of the green cardstock was distressed with Peeled Paint Distress Ink and the two circles have been separated with foam tape. The door panels were cut from specked cardstock, distressed with Antique Linen Distress Ink and raised with foam tape. I love the finishing touch of a square brad (or a round brad) for the door handle. The Memory Box Tiny Bow comes in three pieces and makes a sweet dimensional bow (the one used on the card was an old punch which is unavailable). This card works well when you want to create a number of cards very simply and quickly.

You could always add a small Merry Christmas on the bottom right door panel to complete this card for Christmas mailing.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Sometimes its difficult to think of card styles for young teens or a favourite nephew. This sneaker stamp from Deep Red is a great bold image to base your design on. In the sample below, we used Salty Ocean and Mowed Lawn direct to an acrylic block. You will want to stamp off lightly once and then stamp the block onto your white panel. We then stamped the sneakers three times in Black VersaFine. The finishing touch is the Distress Spritz using the Salty Ocean marker. The spritzer works best if the marker tip sits about an eight of an inch longer past the marker ledge. When you squeeze the ball, you need a fairly short and fast movement so the air can actually blow the ink from the marker. If you hold the spritzer close to your cardstock, you will have quite a burst of colour. If you want a finer spray, work about an elbow's length away from your cardface. The sentiment is from Impression Obsession and it works for all ages of people.


This distress spritzer will work with any of your markers. The barrel piece even comes out to allow for wider markers, like a Copic Marker.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Magenta has manufactured these wonderful stencils and templates which will allow stampers to create detailed scenery for backgrounds. The template set has 10 different pieces with smooth and jagged edges for layering. In the card below, we have used Peeled Paint Distress Ink for the grass, and we used Broken China for the two mountain ranges, and Tumbled Glass for the sky. The branch stamp is from Magenta as well. I love that the stamp such detail in the leaves and twigs. The deer were sponged with Distress Vintage Photo.

These new products from magenta will be a great addition to your arsenal at such a reasonable cost. This technique will allow you to create some quick cards when needed.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Some new products from Sizzix! I really loved working with the Sand and Sea set of dies. In the sample shown below we actually did use sandpaper to die-cut the starfish which offered a very unique texture on a tag. The seahorse has been cut from grunge-paper, and Distress Inks were used to colour it. The small bit of grey die-cut open mesh at the top of the tag is called Cobblestone. We did use the waves folder to add the lovely water lines and coloured with Distress Inks in browns and blues. I love both the waves and bubbles folders in the set. The bubbles folder is going to make an intriguing background for any water-themed card.

The seahorse on the package shown was first painted grey-blue, and then clear crackle paint was applied on top. When the paint dries you can apply Walnut stain ink and mist with water so that the dark brown fills in the crevices. As always, these designs have so many uses especially the cobblestone. I see it more as a webbing design element, but if you used the webbing with some paste thru it you would have cobblestones. Or perhaps reptile scales!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

These lovely large dies are from Sizzix/Tim Holtz. I was fortunate enough to see them and play with some prototypes in March. So glad they have finally arrived! Each package comes with the Sizzix die and the matching embossing folder to create great detail on the surface of your diecut. The bugs each range aprox. 4 x5 inches. As these are the thick cutting dies from Sizzix, you will be able to cut chipboard, some fabrics and plastics with these wonderful dies. Each piece of this kit works well as a stand alone whether you used just the die, or just the embossing folder. In the canvas shown to the left, we used Viva Décor paints and Inca Gold and Glitter Pens.

As everything you look at these days is involving mixed media of one description or another, these dies are a perfect size to embellish your wall-art.
I know we all have far too many embossing folders, but the pack below from Sizzix shows some lovely framing options. I love what Bev did with this card using a raised oval inside the oval frame to highlight the Hero Arts dandelion stamp. The pink printed cardstock used to frame the card, the oval and die-cut flowers is from Papercuts which sells for 50 cents a sheet (8.5 x 11). This printed cardstock is exceptional because the print is on both sides. The tiny gold butterfly stickers are a really nice finishing touch for any flower card. The sentiment is from Magenta and I love the size of it. I have actually cut my cling stamp into two pieces for times when I want to arrange it differently.

The second folder that is shown in brown cardstock also has an elegant oval opening to frame a larger salutation or a stamped oval insert.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The new pivot dies from Elizabeth Crafts are much easier to create with than you might think. The main die is the house and fence, and as you can see in the picture, all of the other elements are separate dies. The way these dies have been manufactured, you will need to cut apart the fine connecting wires with a wire snip. In the card below, Bev has used some trees, grass, and a walkway stamp from Stampscapes. The sky has been created with Broken China Distress Ink. You will find marvelous videos if you search the designers name Karen Burniston, under YouTube. Also you'll want to check out her amazing blog for numerous design suggestions involving this series of dies.

Can't you just picture this house all done in white with some snowy trees for a lovely Christmas card? It's never too early to start your Christmas cards!!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

In the happy birthday card shown below, we have used the Marianne branch die and die-cut it from a layer of watercolour paper. The die-cut was then removed from the watercolour paper and coloured with Peeled Paint distress ink. The watercolour card was distressed with Salty Ocean and Broken China and sprayed with a heavy mist of water. When assembling, the card we put the diecut back into the watercolour layer and added a second branch on top (that's also been coloured with Peeled Paint distress ink). The small gold flowers with white centers came from the CheeryLynn designs (B364-Baby's Breath Flower kit). The kit has the two different size flowers as well as a wonderful branch approximately 2 1/4 inches long. The final card was sprayed with Sheer Shimmer spritz for some added pizzazz.

You might want to consider using some of your dies as inlays for a unique look. The multiple layers also adds a new use for a single die with great results.

Friday, July 11, 2014

In the diorama card below, we have used Nellies' scalloped oval dies and plain ovals dies to cut the two openings. Both layers started out at 8.5 inches long by 4 in. wide. For the top and bottom panels, score each panel in from the narrow end at one inch on each end. The secondary layer needs to be cut to one half inch for the side panels. The top panel will be too long to fit into an embossing folder so we tucked both of the scored panels underneath and ran it through a folder. This leaves you with a positive image on the top of the card and a negative image on the side panels. The stamps are from Stampscapes and we used marker for colouring. If you cut the cattails out of white cardstock, and colour with markers, it is easier to achieve the two colours than die-cutting from two cardstock colours. Check out Youtube and Google for more information on diorama cards.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

This brick background stamp from Magenta is a very versatile image to add to your collection. In the sample below we've used distressed ink in Fired Brick and Brushed Corduroy to achieve the mottled colour on this stamp. The poppies were coloured with Hot Cinnamon H2O Paint and the bright red vellum picks up the poppy colour.

The inside has a repeat of the bricks and the vellum. The verse is a cling-stamp from Penny Black.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Even though this is an older design from BoBunny, I still love the selection of colours that they used. The tendency these days is to show a lot of white on cards. Both of these cards are a good example of this trend. Speaking of trends, the honeycomb die from Tim Holtz is also very current. In the example below we have die-cut the honeycomb from white card and cut it as well through the BoBunny paper. The honeycomb shapes fit back into the outline in random areas. In the 'Sending You Smiles' card, a little piece of acetate layered in the circle window adds a fun little touch.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

This wood-mounted Hero Arts stamp may leave you wondering when you see it, but when you take a couple distress ink pads and drag them across the image, you will see some remarkable results. It is a perfect image for a background of your favourite art-card, or a nice background to start an art-journal page.

Along the lines of an art-journal, the kits below from BoBunny and KaiserCraft create some very interesting backgrounds. The BoBunny kits have a number of pieces in them. If you are looking to add a number of images to one page you might want to consider varying your inks from pale to medium to dark.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Now that spring is here, you might be looking to add a little more brightness to your cards. Most people consider the distress inks to all have a grey/taupe hue to them, but there are some newer colours which are much brighter without those undertones. The three we used below would be a perfect example. We have used a 10-point high-gloss card as the base and coloured with the distress inks. In order to achieve this watercolour effect, we swiped each of the colours onto the clear block, and misted heavily with water until droplets form. As you press the clear block against the clear-gloss cardstock, the colours will blend and bleed. If you have not used too much water, your background will dry quite quickly. We then stamped the Magenta floral silhouette with black archival ink. The tiny butterflies stickers have been attached to pink cardstock and then glittered with a glue pen and glitter. This background technique will provide you with as many options as you have dye-based ink pads. She who dies with the most dyes wins! ;) 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

The modeling cream shown below is great for lots of different textures. In the card sample shown, we have spread a thin coat of modeling paste onto cardstock, and while the paste was still wet, the Penny Black stamps were stamped into the paste. After the paste dries, (10-15min.) you can cut out your flowers and leaves, and arrange the beautiful pearled images as you like on your card. The winter berries stamp was used with silver-pearl embossing powder on an off-white shimmer texture card in the top left and bottom right corners. The sentiment is embossed with a platinum embossing powder so it would stand out better. If you're looking to design an elegant card, don't forget the impact that all white or off-white can have.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Magenta's tree stamp shows great detail, so if you emboss it, you'll want to use a nice powder. The idea of having a recessed panel on a card creates new opportunity to continue the image on the lifted face of the card. We did use distress inks to complete the sky and grass. The bird set below has 15 stamps including the large branch stamp shown on the card. All the others are single birds, either in flight or walking. I hope this inspires you to get out your bird stamps and have a look out back and see that the snow has finally melted.

Butterfly Vines

How handy when the manufacturer gives you a complete image with positive and negative artwork.  The image was white embossed and we used distress markers and a water spray to do a quick colour wash. (Simply take a plastic palette or larger acrylic block and scribble marker colours and pick up with a water brush) The set of Nellies Multi-frames are very handy for labels and there are 6 dies for $7.95. I would suggest that only 5 of the dies are usable as word labels, the last is far too skinny.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Believe it or not, they tell us spring is going to come this year... (hopefully around 37 days from now?).  Nothing says spring like a watering can and flowers. In the sample below we have used a portion of a large hydrangea head from Impression Obsession, Spellbinder Labels 20, and a watering can die from Cherry-Lynn.

As a finishing touch, we used any one of the following products: Viva Décor, Crystal Lacquer, or Glossy Accents to add water droplets from the watering can and clustered onto the hydrangea petals. Don't forget that there are such a variety of dies that can create a beautiful shaped card.

Think Spring and Happy Stamping!!
What could be cuter than a House-Mouse stamp to bring a smile to the birthday girl?  The card below is one of the newer releases with an adorable mouse jumping on a cupcake.  The little verse stamp says it all.  The confetti/sprinkles on the cupcake can be highlighted with your favourite choice of glitter or crystals.  Keep in mind that paper-piecing on the cupcake paper would add a new colourful input to your overall card design.  The price is $7.95 for the cupcake stamp and $4.75 for the verse stamp. 

This is just one of the many House-Mouse stamps we carry. Each design has his/her own personality showing through the image.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

We're Back

Sorry for the long delay, but we're back!
The manufacturers continue to jump on the die bandwagon.  There is no end in sight, for the number of designs available. Sometimes we look at a die, and wonder where to start with it - in the case of these 2 'dot' dies, one needs to remember that the positive is as much a design element as the negative.  A perfect example is the Dee's Mini Circles die. The die was intended to be used as Christmas baubles, or any number of circle images.  As you can see, the negative becomes a very contemporary background design.  The sparkly sample has double-sided tape and two colours of glitter used as a base.

The card below is showcasing Penny Black's Dots die.  I find this die cut shows best with a second colour underneath.  When you add colour on top as well, it creates a certain depth to the image. You will want to play with different layers to show this die at its best.

I know that a lot of you are feeling housebound thanks to dear frozen mother nature, so I would like to offer a solution.  We can ship any in-stock product to any London, Ont. address for $5 + HST.  If you live outside the city, within southwestern Ontario, give us a call for a quote.  A package to Windsor ships for $10 + HST (up to 50 lbs. LOL!)