One Card: Five Ways

Saturday, November 28, 2015

If you ever make Christmas cards, or do any kind of production stamping you know how it goes... 

"Oh, this card will be simple, I can put together 10 or 20 cards in no time at all."

"Wow, that was a lot of cutting, but now the fun part... I love stamping."

"My hand is cramping. Just 5 more to go, I can do this."

"I never want to see another piece of this background paper ever again."

Creating multiple cards starts out fun, but there is a point where it turns tedious. When every recipient is getting a single card, it's important to do your best work on every piece, but it can tend to wear on you when you have to duplicate the same item over and over.

I solve my problem by getting a little creative at the end, during the final assembly and embellishment steps. This allows me to work quickly in the initial cutting and stamping, when you have lots of energy. It also saves time so you don't have to make lots of decisions, just cut and stamp assembly line style.

But by the time I am ready to add adhesive and put the pieces together, I'm getting pretty burned out, and my creative mojo is demanding some variety. This is where I kick in the "alternate options." Using the same pieces, the same layout, I make small tweaks so I don't lose interest. It keeps my creative brain happy, but it doesn't take much more time.

Tak this gorgeous White Pines Cardmaking Kit from Close to My Heart. With everything you need but adhesive and inks, you can quickly cut, stamp and assemble 15 cards. The kit comes with paper, cards and envelopes, a stamp set, embellishments and easy to follow instructions. You will make 5 cards each of three designs. 

I decided to try my little trick on this kit, by following the exact directions until it came time to assemble and embellish. I chose not to alter the design by rearranging any of the pieces, or add any additional items. The cards still look similar, but the little tweaks were just enough to keep my creative brain happy. 

Here is the card as designed by Close to My Heart.

Super cute, right? If you are into hidden pictures and "Where's Waldo" type of games, don't read the text above each photo and see if you can spot the differences.


For the next card, I flipped the patterned paper piece, and wrapped Fern Thick Twine vertically.

For card #3, I added pen detailing around the red cardstock, and instead of using staples on the twine as directed, I tied knots at each end and attached with a glue dot.

Card #4 had some distressing with Desert Sand ink. I also used the back side of the patterned paper and wrapped the twine around the piece, securing at the back of the patterned paper before attaching it to the card front.

For card #5 I used sandpaper to "white distress" the colored cardstocks. I also used two staples instead of one to attach the twine, and skipped the knot.

How about you? Do you ever change up the design to keep things interesting? Leave me a comment and let me know how you make production stamping more fun. Also, let me know which one is your favorite version of my White Pines cards!

November Stamp of the Month

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Long time, no post! I seem to be having a hard time keeping up with my blog of late, I will try to get a little more on schedule soon. Thanks to all my readers who are hangin' in there and continuing to check in on my blog.

The November Stamp of the Month, Cheers 2016 is now available until the end of November. You can get it for the full retail price of $17.95. If you purchase $50 in CTMH products you will qualify to purchase this set for just $5!

Shop my website now for Close to My Heart products.

Doodle-y Dots

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Looking for a quick and simple patterned background? Just paint it!

I created this whimsical design with the Close to My Heart watercolor palette. To keep my circles in order, I used a spare template cut from my Cricut, it has lots of dots in rows, but you can also eyeball it, or paint your circles in a random pattern.

After the paint dried, I added some glitter on a few of the circles, and outlined a few others with a black pen. Fresh and funky, and ready in minutes!

Close to My Heart Products used:
Watercolor Paints
Hopscotch Alphabet stamp set
Jennifer's Hand stamp set

So Selfie Mini Album

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Have you seen the new InstaLife mini albums by Close to My Heart? If you love minis as much as I do, you've got to check these out!

Adorable and affordable (two words I love!), these 4"x4" minis are so quick to put together, when you use the coordinating page protectors and InstaLife cards. Need an album in one evening, you got it!

Of course, if you're looking for something to make on your own, and love to alter your projects, the InstaLife line is perfect for that too!

 I created an album for Close to My Heart's Operation Smile auction at convention, using an InstaLife album and cardstock pages. I altered the cover with carstock and a glitter paper spine, and embellished with the InstaLife Colorful Me cards.

 Instead of using page protectors, I used watercolors and watercolor paper for some of the pages, and added patterned papers from the Kaleidoscope paper pack, which coordinates perfectly with the watercolors.

October Stamp of the Month

Monday, October 5, 2015

It's never too early to start planning your Christmas cards and pages! The October Stamp of the Month, Twinkle, is now available to purchase on my website.

You can purchase this set for the retail price of $17.95, or get it for just $5 when you purchase $50 or more!

Images outlined in red coordinate with the Cricut Artiste collection.

Simple Stencil and DIY Script

Friday, September 18, 2015

I hope you enjoyed my last post on the new Close to My Heart watercolor paints, because I'm going to be sharing quite a few posts about using these awesome paints!

Since I created so many pieces of artwork for teaching at Extravaganza at the Close to My Heart convention in June, and we had to keep it all under wraps until the new catalog was released on Sept. 1, you're now going to see lots of artwork in the next few weeks here on my blog. That's the good news. The bad news is I don't have many step-by-step photos because I was creating like a madwoman, with no time for thoughtful photos along the way. So bear with me and read the text accompanying all these pretty pictures.

This 12x12 scrapbook page came together quickly because of one secret weapon: a large doily. It's so easy! The results are not only stunning, but each piece will be unique because of the amount of paint and water you use determines the final look.

I used a doily similar to this one. After misting your watercolor paper with a little water (don't make puddles!), plop the doily down on your page. You may need to hold it in place as you work, but the water helps keep it in place a bit, so use your judgement.

Paint splotches of color through the open spaces on the doily. I used a pretty strong mix of color on my brush, since the background is already slightly damp I didn't want the color to seep too much under the doily, so don't get your paints too watery. I found it was easier to work from the center out, because you'll spend more time working on the blend around the edges and onto the background. To create the splatter, dip your paintbrush and flick onto the page.

Perfectionists beware! Watercoloring through a doily is not a perfect science. It will run, it will seep, and you will NOT get a perfect image of the doily. See the lower left side of the doily image on my page? I thought I totally ruined it, paint everywhere. But now I love that part. Take a deep breath, embrace your inner artiste and get over the need for perfection, because that's what makes this technique so gorgeous.

When you're satisfied with your painting, remove the stencil and allow to dry.

After your page is dry, iron it flat and attach to a piece of cardstock using plenty of adhesive to help flatten it even more.

For the word "Beauty" on this page, I used a pencil and lightly wrote out my headline. Make sure it's light, because the pencil marks will show through watercolor paints. Using a round brush, I painted the word. Once it was completely dry, I cut out the title using an X-acto knife. Not perfect calligraphy, but it's my own writing and I love the casual look of it. Try it yourself and see what you come up with!

Watercolor Wow!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

One of the hottest trends in papercrafting right now is watercolors. They are perfect for backgrounds or adding a quick splash of color on your cards, scrapbook pages and projects. Whether you want a bright, bold look, or a soft color wash, watercolors give you that "artsy" look that's so hot right now!

 Close to My Heart's new watercolor paints, brushes and watercolor paper let you jump onto this easy and affordable trend. I was lucky enough to get these new products last spring to prepare for teaching Extravaganza at the Close to My Heart national convention. I've experimented and played with our line of paints, papers and brushes to my heart's delight, and let me tell you... I love them!
Watercolor Paints
These paints are so easy to use, and the high concentration of pigments lets you create brightly colored washes without having to build layer after layer. The slightly chalky finish gives just enough opacity to let you paint over darker colored cardstocks (try it on Kraft cardstock!)

For the low price point of $11.95, these are some of the best watercolor paints you can get. There are similar products for slightly less, but in my opinion these less expensive paints lack the intense pigmentation found in the CTMH watercolors. More pigment = better value!

I am a total brush snob. I spend a lot on brushes, for my artwork and for my special effects makeup work. I am so impressed with the quality of the paintbrush set from Close to My Heart. When we receive our products for Extravaganza, we don't know the price that CTMH will be charging for some of the items, and I figured that these brushes would be too spendy for some of my customers who just want something fun to play with and not have to make a big investment. Imagine my surprise when I found out the brushes are less than two bucks each. Wha-what? Get these brushes. They are that good.

Watercolor Paper
I've had lots of questions coming my way about the new Close to My Heart Watercolor Paper, and I've tested and played with it plenty, so hopefully I can share my experiences.

First, it's smooth, not the pebbled texture you might expect for watercolor papers. The smooth paper is actually easier to work with, and matches the CTMH cardstocks, yet the special coating allows you more workable time with the watercolor paints. You can create blended colors and washes easily because the paint doesn't soak into the paper so quickly. This is the main reason I recommend using the watercolor paper if you are going to create large pieces (such as 12x12 pages or full card fronts), and when you want to work with multiple colors.

For just a few quick swipes of color, our White Daisy cardstock or any of our exclusive colors cardstocks will work just fine. But the intensity of your colors and the blends of colors will be much better when you choose to use watercolor paper.