Monday, August 22, 2016

Taylored Expressions: Frightful Night

A few weeks ago, we had the August release from Taylored Expressions - full of Halloween fun!  At first it seemed odd to be working on Halloween at the end of July/early August, but I realized as I working on my cards that mind-over-matter was working and I felt cooler. It's been such a long hot summer. I hate summer in general - but this one has seemed particularly ugly. Just thinking about fall and Halloween put me in a better frame of mind.

So I kept going with the theme!  I've had a Mini MISTI sitting on my desk for awhile.  I've had this collage idea for this set of Halloween words in my mind for awhile and finally decided to get more familiar with the MISTI by making the collage.

TE Frightful Night

For the pumpkins, I just used the MISTI to ink up the orange part, stamp it, then without moving the paper or the stamp, I inked up the green part and re-stamped. How easy to get the two colors!

TE Frightful Night CloseUp

Then I had to line up all of the individual words.  It took some time, but this video by Iliana (the queen of the MISTI) showed me how to line up my stamps.  I had originally thought I'd line up the entire panel and then stamp one time - but I just couldn't cozy the stamps up as close together as I wanted.

She uses an imaging sheet but I picked up some Quilter's Gridded Plastic Template so I had even more lines to help line things up.  You can cut up the sheets as needed - in this case I wanted room at the top for the magnet. (The photo below is somewhat misleading.  You always want to cozy things up into the corner of the MISTI so it stays aligned. The printing on the plastic template does not go all the way to the edge, but there is clear plastic template right into the corner of the MISTI - it just doesn't have the printing on it.)

A small tip if you have a Mini MISTI like me - you only have a small amount of space to move the cardstock around, so I added a step to the process. I stamped on the template, then picked it up with the lid like normal.  I used the grid on the lid to straighten it out.  (You all know how a rubber stamp can look perfectly straight based on the rubber, but the actual image is very crooked.)  Then I wiped off the the first stamp on the imaging grid and restamped my straightened image on the imaging grid before lining up my cardstock.  By taking the time to straighten it, I only had the nudge the cardstock around to get it all lined up.  (This is easier to do than it is to say).

BTW: Iliana also has a video showing how she lines up red rubber which seems like it might be easier but I had a difficult time picking up the imaging grid and the stamp. She makes it look easy so I'm sure the fault is with me.

I did change the sentiment that I used after I took this picture.

FYI - there are a lot of MISTI videos out there as to how to line up coordinating die cuts. I can't say that I've had a big problem with that so I didn't use the MISTI.  Taylored Expressions has open dies. So I get everything stamped on an extra piece of cardstock, then place it on the bed of my Big Shot and line up the die.  You can see right through the die so it's quite easy to line up.  Even though I have the magnetic Big Shot I do tend to put a piece of Post-It tape on it to be absolutely certain the die won't move.

So after spending after hours viewing MISTI videos and getting a lot of practice lining up sentiments on this card - I can clearly see that it will be a useful tool.  I'm very comfortable with my Stamp-a-Ma-Jig so it will likely still be my go-to tool - but the MISTI definitely has a home on my desk!


Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Freshly Made Sketches: The World is Waiting

It's time for a new sketch at Freshly Made Sketches! Today we have a sketch by our guest designer C├ęcile Ribon.

Today is a big day in my house - bigger than that it's Wednesday and time for a new sketch!!  My oldest son leaves for college today.  I'm feeling a little guilty because I'm not sad.  I've been asked about 1000 times if I'm OK and I'm totally OK.  I think it might be because my son took a year off so I am extra tired of having him underfoot!!  I also know that it's time for his sake.  I will be at work before he leaves and I wanted to make sure he knew I was thinking of him - so I made a card!  

FMS The World

He'll like the card, but he'll love the Starbucks card on the inside.  

I hope to see you playing along!


It looks like my arrows are retired.  I have them listed as the Mod Arrow Border die from Simon Says Stamp but I don't find it on their website.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Taylored Expressions: Light of the World

One of the many things that first drew me to Taylored Expressions was their variety of faith-based stamps.  Check out their Spiritual section here.  They have cute flowers and elegant flowers, Christmas and Easter, hope-filled sets and princess sets!!  I love the stained glass set Light of the World.

TE Light of the World

I thought long and hard about adding a sympathy sentiment due to the soft colors in the stained glass, but I just kept coming back to how I feel when I look at stained glass - I rejoice!!

TE Light of the World CloseUp

I embossed the stained glass with a White Pearl embossing powder. To get a very soft background, I used a very watered down blue from a Kuretake Gansai Tambi watercolor set.  I used a soft brush and swooshed it over the entire piece letting it pool where it wanted to pool.  (I did go back at the end and, using a finer brush, put a slightly less watered down version toward the bottom and around the outer frame - it just felt like it needed to be more grounded.)

Before the first layer dried I took pieces of paper towel and used a corner to pull up most of the blue from the cross and from some of the leaves.  I'm sure I could have painted around them to begin with but it was so much easier to color all over with the blue - and it picks up beautifully with a paper towel.

I really struggle with regular watercolors in small spaces so I pulled out my Zig Clean Color Real Brush Marker in Olive Green to add some color to the leaves and my Zig Marker in Ochre to add a golden tone to the cross.

I took my pictures outside which is not my norm (mainly because my crafting typically takes place at 5 a.m. before I get ready for work!)  I had to do it this time because the sequins are iridescent and they take on really odd colors when I use my regular photo studio.  This is my favorite photo of the batch. I didn't use it as my main photo because of the shadows but it shows the soft metallic finish of the sentiment which is done with a platinum embossing powder.

TE Light of the World Photo 2


I used White Pearl and a Platinum embossing powder.  The paper is Canson Bristol Smooth which can stand up to the watercoloring.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Curtain Call: Flamingos Make Me Smile!

It's time for a new challenge at the Curtain Call Inspiration Challenge: Flamingo!

It's so funny that the flamingo challenge came up because I almost vacuumed a rogue die that had fallen under my craft desk that just happened to be a flamingo!!  I didn't even know I was missing it! I started out with four flamingos on this card and the idea that this would be a good birthday card for my mother-in-law coming from the four of us.  But my men/boys took great offense at the idea that they were represented by pink flamingos (even though male flamingos really are pink!)  So I switched out the birthday sentiment to one that worked for the cute little flamingo family - they make me smile!

CC Smile

There's great detail in this flamingo die.  Love the little eye dot and the feather texture.

CC Smile CloseUp

I hope to see you playing along!!  Remember that a "flamingo" isn't required (in fact, you can enter without using any of the inspiration graphic) - but there's always inspiration in the colors or in the cheerful look or the phone or the pool float!!  Have fun!  And check out all of the other inspiration at the Curtain Call blog.


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Freshly Made Sketches: My Life

It's time for a new sketch at Freshly Made Sketches! Today I created the sketch!!  It's exciting and nerve-wracking all at the same time.  I'm excited to see what you do with it, but I'm nervous you'll all hate it and we'll have a record low number of entries!!  (Yes, sadly I do judge my sketch by how many of you use it.)

As seems to have become a weekly refrain for me, my card went an entirely different direction than I had planned.  I'm quite seriously organized about my cardmaking because I'm having to learn to squeeze it in while I am employed full-time. (I was blessed to be able to stay home with my kids for about 15 years so I'm still learning the juggling act of work, family, faith and fun!)  In this case, I knew this sketch was coming up at the same time that I needed to make a birthday card for my mother-in-law.  I had envisioned a nice floral panel and with the sentiment highlighted by the strip, although I had wanted a multi-line sentiment with just part of it highlighted on the strip.

As I was looking for the right multi-lined sentiment, I came across PTI's Building Blocks set. Since the other big thing that's going on in my life is my oldest son heading off to college (seven days from today!), I am working on a collection of cards to be ready to send off when he's having good days and for bad days.  This sentiment called out to me for this purpose (although I do have a bit of a problem with the concept of "earning" best days.)  I switched gears and went totally masculine.

FMS Your Life

This one was a bit of a pain because each line of the sentiment is a separate stamp (the concept of the set is to put each line on a coordinating die-cut block) and I had to line them up.  I am a fairly new adopter of the MISTI and I could not have done it without it and its grid line on the lid to help me line it all up!

For the rainbow, I cut a strip of cardstock slightly wider than the border then used the mini sponger to add stripes of colors before adhering it behind the grid border.
I hope to see you playing along.  Be sure to head over to the FMS blog to check out the amazing variety of cards from the same sketch.


I used the Simon Says Grid Border which, I am surprised to say, appears to be retired.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

TE Release Day: Gone Batty

It's here! All of the new products from Taylored Expressions are now available! Also be sure to head over to the Taylored Expressions blog for a few more sneak peeks and, if you've been leaving comments, see if you are a winner of the giveaways.

I have one more peek for you.

Halloween is my favorite time to use lots of bold colors and patterned papers, but sometimes a stamp is just so darn cute, it can stand alone!  This guy is from the Gone Batty Stamp & Die Combo. I also added a small strip of the new Ah-maze-ing Embossing Folder along the bottom because I thought it worked well with the crazy eyes.  (Edited: While I thought this embossing folder was perfect for crazy eyes, check out this stunning card by another design team member.)

TE Gone Batty

Taylored Expressions has a number of sets that give you the eyes separately.  LOVE them because you can give them the right expression for the sentiment.  There's a cat, a dog, a turkey, a cow, and a bunny - and now there's a bat!

I added him to a sea of basic bats - although in fun colors - and gave him some crazy eyes.

TE Gone Batty CloseUp

Taylored Expressions is continuing to add to their ink collection to match their cardstock colors and I'm continuing to love them.  They made sure to give us Halloween colors and today I'm using Pumpkin, Plum Punch and Earl Grey (along with the previously released Granny Smith and Lemon Meringue.)  A lined image like this does not give you the full beauty of the inks - they are so smooth and give you such great coverage.

Enough chatter - it's time to go shopping!  But first be sure to head to the TE blog to see if you won a prize.