Sunday, September 20, 2015

Maraiah Crystal Designs Team Post: Circle Bird Card

Hello, everyone!

Today, I'm sharing a circular shaped card featuring one of my favorite dies by Sizzix. If you like this card, please head on over to www.maraiahcrystaldesigns.wordpress.com for more more card ideas. 


This card is relatively simple to make, and  I love how unique circle cards are. I began by taking an A2 Kraft notecard, and I die cut it with a large circular die. I made sure the circle hung off of the folded edge to make sure that the fold didn't get cut off. 


Next, I took two pieces of patterned paper that complemented the Kraft nicely. I layered two circle dies to create a circular frame with one of the patterns, and the other I ran through the bird die. 

Before I adhered these, I used an Avery Elle "For You" stamp and embossed it with Ranger's Liquid Platinum embossing powder. Two pearls and some jute cord were used for the finishing embellishments! 

This unique Birds on a Wire die can be found at http://www.scrapbook.com/store/sz-657791.html.

I hope you enjoyed this card! Please head on over to Maraiah's blog if you are interested in some truly wonderful tutorials. Her cards are amazing, and 


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

DIY Picture Frame ScrapbookCard: Maraiah Crystal Designs

Hello, everyone!

Today, I am sharing with you my very first post as a design team member for Maraiah Crystal Designs (https://maraiahcrystaldesigns.wordpress.com/). I am so thrilled to be able to be a part of such a fun design team, and I can't wait to share with you all of the fun projects I will be working on!



The card I am sharing today features a DIY picture frame slot. I like to call this a scrapbook card because it's a fun way to personalize a card for someone special. It didn't take very long to make, either. 

I began this card by picking two sheets of patterned paper that complemented each other nicely. I loved the two little birds in the background of one of the sheets, so I cut that one down to 4x5.25 and attached it to my card base. I wanted to emphasize the little birds, so I die cut a larger bird out of the second piece of patterned paper.


To make my frame, I took the same craft cardstock I used for my base and cut out a rectangle. I wanted the bottom of the frame to be large enough for a sentiment. Keeping that in mind, all I did was draw a rectangle towards the top of the rectangle and use my craft knife and a ruler to cut it out. No die/machine needed!



I used a Hero Arts friends sentiment stamp and embossed it in Ranger's Liquid Platinum embossing powder on the bottom of the frame.

Because I want to be able to add a small picture to this frame when I am ready to give it away, I needed to be careful when I adhered the frame down. I used my ATG adhesive to glue down the bottom part of the frame and halfway up the sides. It creates a perfect pocket for a picture to slide into. I can always add a little glue to the top of the frame once I place my picture inside, too. 

To add some finishing touches, I added pearls and a light faux stitching with a cream colored pencil. 


I hope you enjoyed this card as much as I enjoyed making it! I love being able to give customized cards to friends and family, and I think this is a great way to go the extra mile and show someone that you care about them. 

Please head over to https://maraiahcrystaldesigns.wordpress.com/ to see some more card making tutorials! Maraiah has done an amazing job with posting thorough and well made tutorials, and I am sure you will love her techniques and style!


Thanks for stopping by!


Sunday, August 16, 2015

Should you make your own card bases?

Hello!

When I began making cards, I bought a lot of precut card bases with matching envelopes. It was easy and great for a beginner! As I spent more and more money replenishing my stash of card bases/envelopes, I started to wonder if it would be better to make my own bases. 


Pre-cut and scored card bases are convenient, but I think you sacrifice quality when you use them. I began making my own card bases out of 110 lb cardstock, and haven't looked back! There is no comparison when it comes to thickness. The pre-cut ones seem more like a 65 lb. cardstock or maybe 80 lb., at best. I also found that many of the pre-cut bases are either scored or cut a little off, so when you fold it and crease it, the ends don't meet up and the back half sticks out. It's too frustrating to have to cut down an already small card base just to even out the sides!

Making my own bases allows me to have some quality control, and if you choose to sell your cards, this is of the upmost importance. A thicker cardstock amps up the card's feel and overall presentation. I also think it is cheaper. A package of 100 sheets of cardstock makes 200 bases and costs about the same as a pack of 50 bases/envelopes. I would rather use a 40% coupon off my cardstock and buy a separate pack of envelopes (I get 50 for $2.50 or cheaper)! 

If you don't know how to make the perfect A2 card base, here's how!
1. Cut an 8.5" by 11" sheet of cardstock in half at the 5.5" mark on the long side. This creates two bases.
2. Score the cardstock down the middle at 4.25". I use the Martha Stewart Mini Scoreboard. If you don't have a scoreboard, have no fear! You can use the ridge in your paper trimmer where the blade slides and instead of cutting, use a stylus or bone folder. Some trimmers even have a scoring "blade" for this purpose. You could just fold the base in half, but scoring prevents the paper from cracking at the fold. It's so much neater when you score!
3. Fold the card at the score line. Use the back of your bone folder to really make sure you have a nice crease by running it over the top of the card at the fold.
4. Done! How easy was that? You now have 2 card bases in no time!



I have been sharing a some craft space organization with you lately, and I have to include some of that in this post! I have a drawer dedicated to my card bases and envelopes. It's so easy just to open this drawer up and grab a base and begin! I primarily make cards with white or kraft bases, so the drawer only contains the two I make the most often.

I hope this helped you if you're new to the crafting world or weren't sure if you should make your own bases or not. Thanks for stopping by!




Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Craft Room Organization: Storing Frequently Used Die Cuts

Hello, and thank you for checking out my blog! Today, I want to talk about organization. Craft spaces are so hard to keep organized, especially if you don't have some sort of system already in place. I've been working on developing some storage solutions that work for me, and I would love to share them with you!



I use a lot of die cuts, and most of the time, I mass produce a bunch of tags or circles or frames in one sitting to save myself the hassle of having to die cut a basic shape every time I want to do a project. I originally stored all of my die cuts in a plastic ziplock bag, but it was getting too hard to find what I needed. 

I developed this system to store my die cut tags. I have an Avery Elle tag die set that I use all the time to cut the tags I use when packaging my gift sets. Each tag has a different description of what's in each set, and I needed a way to keep them separated by color and in their own categories. I only use Kraft/white tags for my packaging, so the solution I came up with was perfect!


I began by sliding a 4x6 piece of colored cardstock (Bazzill's Navajo) into an equally sized cellophane sleeve/treat bag. The cellophane bag I am using is thick, which is perfect, and is the Artist's Loft/Michael's Brand. I found them in the bakery section of the store! I used my label maker to create a label for the top of the cardstock, and I also labeled these Clip Rite Binder Clip Tabs with the contents of the sleeve. I then could slide my kraft  and white cardstock tags in side my side. 


I love the way it turned out! As you can see in the first photo, I am storing them in glass bowl on top of my work space for easy access. 

If you are interested in seeing some more great ideas, my friend Maraiah over at Maraiah Crystal Designs has some wonderful organization ideas. https://maraiahcrystaldesigns.wordpress.com/2015/07/19/crafty-things-101-mini-ink-storage/

As I continue to organize my space, I will share with you my storage solutions. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Picnic Basket Inspired Thank You Cards

Hi, crafty friends!

I was going through my patterned paper when I found two sheets of the cutest red gingham paper from Hobby Lobby. Two sheets of 8.5" by 11" paper can comfortably make 8 cards, so I decided to make a set of thank you cards inspired by a picnic basket! I wanted to share some of them with you because I love the combination of the patterned paper with kraft paper, pearls, and a jute twine. 


If you've been following me for any amount of time, you know how much I love kraft card bases and white faux stitching! 


All of the pearls are by The Paper Studio (Hobby Lobby). These are my favorite pearls to use on my cards because they are such a good color. They aren't too pink!


The stamps I used came from Simon Says Stamp's Many Thanks set and the Paper Smooches Many Thanks set.


Thanks for stopping by! I hope you like these cards. If you'd like to see more of my cards, please feel free to visit my Instagram or browse my blog!



Friday, July 31, 2015

Cardmaking From Scraps Challenge: What's on Your Desk?

Hello, everyone!

I thought I would do something a little different today. I just got done making a bunch cards, and my workspace was a mess! I think all crafters can relate to that. Instead of moving on to new sheets of patterned paper or clearing my desk off and putting everything into my scrap bin, I wanted to challenge myself and make a card using the materials that were already on my desk.



On my desk was a black cardstock mat  left over from the honeycomb card I posted on Instagram earlier in the week. There was also strips of polka dot paper from my collegiate card series, some white cardstock scraps, a black ink pad, and this cute friends stamp set by Hero Arts. I had my gel pens already on my desk, a little piece of foam, and a scrap of ribbon from another project, as well.



This is what I came up with! I really like the way it turned out. These materials may have just retired to my scrap bin and never see the light of day again, but this challenge allows you to immediately make use of them. If you make sets of cards to give as gifts like I often do, this is a great way to stretch your leftovers and get some single cards out of them for other occasions.

I challenge you to use what's on your desk to make something great! I hope you enjoyed this card, and I thank you for stopping by!


Wednesday, July 22, 2015

#Cards4Love: Give Back This Christmas in July Season + GIVEAWAY!

Hey, everyone!

Today, I am so excited to share with you a special project I have been working on recently. The #Cards4Love project is a fantastic way for crafters to give back! Many crafters have been involved in this project, and I am going to share with you links to the projects they have created, as well as some information on how YOU can get involved, too!

#Cards4Love encourages you to make Christmas cards to send to the troops of the U.S. Army and to the kids at the St. Jude Research hospital. To participate, I encourage you to make cards or card kits.

For the troops, there are no restrictions on the embellishments you can use. A2 of A7 sized cards would be wonderful! Please avoid using any political jokes on the cards. You are welcome to write a message inside!

The kids LOVE making their own cards! A great way to participate in this project is to send them card kits that they can use to assemble their own cards. Card kits can be for Christmas cards, thank you cards, or cards for any other occasion. Make sure you include envelopes so that they can send/give out their cards. Please package the kits together in a sealed ziploc bag or other kind of sealable package. If you would like to make a card to send to the children, they would love to recieve a Christmas card, too!

To submit your card, you can send them in a mailing envelope or box to the following address:
Crafts by Two
Attn: Cards4Love
640 North Greece Road
PO Box 182
North Greece, NY 14515-9800

Please include your name and mailing address within your package/envelope in order to receive a submission credit for the GIVEAWAY! All submissions need to be mailed in no later than August 31st, 2015 in order to be included in the drawing for the prize pack. The winner will be announced on September 5th, 2015.

The Givaway Prize Pack includes many wonderful items, including paper pads, stamps, embellishments, & more! Be sure to visit www.craftsbytwo.com on September 5th to see if you are the lucky winner!

Below, I will provide a link to all of the wonderful crafters who have made Christmas in July #Cards4Love possible. I especially want to thank MayMay of MayMayMadeIt for inviting me to the project and George & Ken of Crafts by Two for doing such a great job organizing the project. Everyone who has participated has done such an amazing job with their projects, and I can't wait for you to see what they have to offer! I hope you are inspired to get in the holiday season a little early to benefit some very special people.



  • George & Ken of Crafts By Two – www.CraftsByTwo.com
  • Melody of Melody Lane Designs – YouTube.com/MelodyLane
  • Maymay of Maymay Made It – YouTube.com/maymaymadeit
  • Lorrie of Lorrie’s Story – LorriesStory.com
  • Nanny Rose of Crafting on the Dollar – YouTube.com/CraftingOnTheDollar
  • Ken Hess of Ken’s Kreations – YouTube.com/hesskr
  • Cindy of MiMi’s Mixed Bag – YouTube.com/channel/UCK0VRdBpYhWUmFkw02YMHjw
  • Lisa of L.J. Creations – YouTube.com/channel/UCO_zad8-5Vfqu3Vb5JnwYPg
  • Miki of Minis By Mini
  • Gabrielle of Papercrafting by G – www.PaperCraftingByG.com
  • Tracey of Gift Basket Appeal – YouTube.com/giftbasketappeal
  • Karin of Scrappy DIVA – YouTube.com/homevidka
  • Jennifer of Jen’s Little Place –YouTube.com/channel/UC2f_Yy603Keztxzm6RakDPA 
  • Cindy of CLB Craft Creations –YouTube.com/channel/UCZH2bXT8JNJFg2At0M_ZQFw 
  • Kaylin of Krafty Kaylin – KraftyKaylin.wordpress.com
  • Sheila of She’s a Sassy Lady – YouTube.com/channel/UCJ3g6-J4ZMTFx4FGoIXl2ow
  • Christopher of Create With Christopher – CreateWithChristopher.blogspot.com

  • My Project for #Cards4Love:
    I wanted to make a distressed looking Christmas card to send to the troops. I really like how these turned out, and I hope you enjoy them, too! Be sure to visit my YouTube Channel for a step by step tutorial!




    As always, thank you so much for stopping by! I hope you consider participating in this amazing project!

    Monday, July 20, 2015

    BasicGrey Spice Market Invitations

    Hello, everyone!

    Today, I am sharing with you how I made my first ever party invitations. 



    I recently picked up a 25 pack of this gorgeous 12x12 paper by Basic Grey. It is the cumin paper from the Spice Market collection, and has a blue patterned side and a soft white and tan textile looking side. This was the only paper I used on these cards, minus the kraft card base. 



    To decorate the outside of the cards, I rounded the corners of my card base and the patterned paper. Once I adhered the patterned paper, I used a white gel pen to add faux stitching around the outside of the card. To make the banner, I flipped a sheet of the paper over to the white and tan side and cut out a banner. On it, I embossed the "you're invited" stamp from Avery Elle's You're Invited stamp set in Ranger's Liquid Platinum embossing powder. I also added two small pearls to the left and right side of the text.



    On the inside of the card, I stamped again the same "you're invited" stamp, but this time, I added the what,where,when, and rsvp stamp. This stamp is a great way for the person using the invitations to add their information! I also used a border stamp by Recollections (classic borders stamp set) to add some decoration to the inside. I used a brown dye ink for the stamping on the inside of the card.

    I hope you enjoyed these invitations! I had such a great time making them. Thanks for visiting www.papercraftingbyg.com!

    Sunday, July 19, 2015

    Congratulations Card: Award Ribbon Layout

    Hey, everyone!

    Check out this fun card inspired by award ribbons! I love this layout. 


    I used a piece of foam behind the white scalloped circle to raise up the sentiment. I love how the tails of the letters hang off the red circle and are on the scalloped circle. I used a black pigment ink, but embossing this would look wonderful, too. 

    The stamp is from Avery Elle's Oh Happy Day stamp set, and the embossing folder is by We R Memory Keepers. 

    I am done making collegiate cards for now, and I have some great things planned for this week! I will be sharing with you some invitations, some papers I picked up at Scrapbook Expo, & a special surprise project! 

    Thanks for visiting my blog!

    Monday, July 13, 2015

    Collegiate Card Series Day 3: New Spin, Old Layout

    Hey, everyone!

    I'm here today to share a quick look at one of the more subtle cards I am including in one of my Auburn inspired card sets. Although it lacks bright blue, I love how the gray and orange colors look with the bike. It's so soft and is such a dainty card! 


    I do emboss this Inkadinkado bike stamp on vellum frequently, so I wanted to do something a little different than normal. Instead of centering the bike like always, I shifted it to the left and added gray and white twine to the right. All I did was cut a slit in the fold and run my twine through! 

    I hope you liked this card! It was so much fun to make. As always, thanks for visiting my blog, and I hope you return again soon!

    Saturday, July 11, 2015

    Collegiate Card Series Day 2: Stacked Flag Layout

    Hey, everyone!

    For the second day of my collegiate card series, I'm giving you a look at a new layout I've been using lately. 


    This layout features four rounded corners. I didn't want the corners to be too deeply rounded, so I used the 1/4" rounder by We R Memory Keepers. You could use the 1/2", but I don't think it would look as good with the flags being so close to the upper right corner.


    The polka dot paper takes up about 4". I took a strip of the solid paper I knew I would be using in the flags and adhered it behind the patterned sheet. I added faux stitching to this strip with a white gel pen, but twine or a stamped line would look great here, too. 

    The solid flags were embossed with embossing folders by We R Memory Keepers. I wanted to use the same solid I used for the strip and also the color I used for the card base. 

    For the UGA & Auburn cards, I used my favorite thinking of you stamp by Hero Arts. The UGA card was stamped with Versafine black pigment ink, and the Auburn card was embossed with Ranger's Liquid Platinum embossing powder.

     
    For the LSU card, I used a thank you stamp by Simon Says Stamp and embossed it with Ranger's Liquid Platinum powder.

    Instead of stacking 3 flags, I added faux stitching around a flag cut out of my solid pattern. I then cut a small rectangle to place on top of it and rounded the bottom corners. I punched a heart out of the same yellow paper I used elsewhere in the card. The heart was coated with a thick layer of Ranger's Glossy Accents to give it some dimension

    I hope you enjoyed the flags on these cards! Thanks for visiting my blog! If you would like to see other collegiate cards I have made, visit my Day 1 blog post or head over to my Instagram or YouTube channel.


    Friday, July 10, 2015

    Collegiate Card Series Day 1: Thank You Card for Beginners

    Hello, crafters!

    I am excited to share with you today a look at the collegiate cards I have been making recently. I wanted to make some card sets featuring the colors of certain colleges, and I have decided to show you some of the results!



    Below, I am posting the link to my latest YouTube video that shows you how to make a simple thank you card using your favorite school's colors. This is great for beginners, as no die cutting is necessary. The heat embossing I do can easily be replaced with regular ink, too. These three cards feature stamps from Simon Says Stamp's Many Thanks stamp set.


    In this video, I show this card using the colors of LSU, Auburn, and UGA. I love how they turned out!


    As always, thank you so much for visiting my website! I hope you take the time to check out my YouTube tutorial!



    Saturday, July 4, 2015

    Simple DIY Personalized Sign Using Repurposed Cardboard Letters

    Hello, and welcome to my blog!

    The other day I found some old cardboard letters that I used years ago on a project. I liked the font, but I wasn't a huge fan of the patterns and colors that were printed on them. Since I recently updated my website to reflect my new logo and its fun turquoise and purple color combination, I wanted to make a coordinating sign to hang in my craft space using these letters. This project could easily be recreated to feature your initials and favorite colors. By using paint and supplies I already had around the house, I was able to make this project for about $2 (canvas panel price). 



    These are what the letters looked like before being painted! 




    I began by taking the letters and painting them with two coats of a light gray acrylic craft paint. Once they were dry, I used a pencil with an unused eraser at the end to add my layers of dots. All I did was stamp the eraser in the different paint colors of my logo and press them onto the letters. I stamped individual layers of each of the colors until the letters were covered all over  with different colored dots.

    I then took an 8x10 canvas panel and painted it a light turquoise color. I used a foam paintbrush for this background color because I knew I could use the circular end of the wood handle to stamp polka dots along the edge of the panel to create a border. I simply repeated the process I used to paint the letters to create the canvas border with the end of the wood handle. 

    To adhere the letters to the canvas, you can use hot glue or even a dry adhesive. I used my Scotch ATG. It will be interesting to see how well this adhesive holds over time!

    I wanted to be able to hang the sign up on the wall, so I added a lavender ribbon to the upper two back corners. I like how it turned out. It didn't take much time at all to make, and it was an easy project to break up all the card making I was doing.

    I hope you enjoyed this simple, but easy to personalize project! Thanks for visiting!

    Thursday, July 2, 2015

    Playing Card Bookmarks

    Hello!

    I first want to thank you for taking the time to visit my website. I appreciate your visit so much, and I hope my website inspires you to get crafty!

    I love to read, so I also love making bookmarks. Most of the time I make them out of leftover scraps from my cards, but today, I wanted to experiment with something a little different.


    I found these miniature playing cards the other day, and I knew they would be a great accent on some kind of project! As I was laying them out and trying to figure out what to do with them, I realized that they would be wonderful by themselves. I decided to make bookmarks with them, and I love how they turned out! 

    All I did was select the cards I wanted to use and line them up so that each card was partially covering up the card to its left. I glued some together with some Glossy Accents and some with my Scotch ATG. I have to say that I like the ones I attached with the Glossy Accents the best because the glue made those bookmarks feel much more sturdy. I used a 1/8" hole punch at the top and threaded some satin ribbon through. Red, black, or white ribbon would look great, but I chose to use black. I knew the bookmark needed something to finish it off, so I took a chisel tip Sharpie and colored around the edges to tie in the black ribbon with the rest of the bookmark. The chisel tip ensures even lines!

    I love these bookmarks, and I hope you do too! I hope to craft with some more playing cards in the near future.

    Tuesday, June 30, 2015

    Creating a Fun Card Background Using Acrylic Craft Paint

    Hello, crafters!

    Today, I am sharing with you my latest Youtube tutorial that features an abstract background made from acrylic paint.
    In the video, I show you how to set up your work surface to do this technique without making a mess. If you are interested in seeing a step by step tutorial on how to create these backgrounds and how I used them in a birthday card, make sure to watch the video! I hope you're inspired to use acrylic paint in your cards. Enjoy!




    Saturday, June 27, 2015

    Watercolors for Beginning Crafters 101

    Hello, crafters!

    When I first started crafting, I initially thought that I wanted to be a watercolor artist. I had never really been into crafting or painting, but I remember seeing a lot of gorgeous DIY watercolor paintings and tutorials online. I knew I wanted to become apart of the crafting world, but I figured card making and stamping would be too expensive. Watercolor seemed to be the perfect intro to crafting, so I went to Michael's one day and got started!


    Fast forward a few months: I enjoyed painting, but I just wasn't getting into it as much as I hoped. I purchased my first stamps at this time (three clear quote stamps) and began combining stamping with water coloring. Soon enough, I finally bit the bullet and began making cards, and I haven't stopped since! I still love using water media to color stamps and add fun embellishments to my cards.

    The reason I am telling you all of this is that I spent a lot of money getting into crafting and finding out what I wanted to do best. I really wanted to write a post about what supplies I started with and what is worth purchasing once you are committed to the hobby! I hope you enjoy everything I have to share with you today, and I hope I can share some valuable information for other beginner crafters. 

    Water Media for Crafters 101


    When I first started painting, I purchased two watercolor pan sets from Michaels. One was regular watercolors and one was pearlescent watercolors. Both were $4.99 a piece. I also purchased a bunch of the cheap paintbrushes that come in packs of what seems to be a million, also for $4.99 a piece. This was my first mistake! While it seems you're getting a good value because of all the different brush sizes, they shed too much and are hard to control. 



    I eventually purchased some better, student grade watercolor brushes, and I am still so pleased with them! 
    For beginning crafters who want to color stamped images with watercolors or do simple watercolor paintings, I recommend these size synthetic brushes. I purchased them all at Michael's/Hobby Lobby.



    5/0 Round
    0 Round
    2 Round
    6 Round
    8 Round
    16 Round
    3/4 Mop
    Flat 8
    Filbert 8

    TIP: I still keep a large and small cheap watercolor brush on my work space because they are great for removing embossing powder from the wrong areas.


    As for paper, 140 lb. cold press watercolor paper is a must! I would stay away from paper that is 90 lb. because it is much thinner and doesn't handle water as well. 140 lb. cold press paper has a little bit of texture to it, but it stamps beautifully and can handle a lot of water being added to it. I recommend the Canson XL watercolor paper because it's affordable and is the perfect paper for new crafters to get the hang of how watercolors work. 

    Tim Holtz makes a Distress Watercolor Paper that is precut to the A2 size and is perfect for card makers. I haven't tried it yet, but I am planning on it because it gets such great reviews by card makers who love using watercolors in their work.




    If you are going to be using watercolors with your stamping, you need a water-resistant ink. I first purchased the Archival Ink by Ranger. It is a nice black ink that doesn't bleed when it comes into contact with water. I like a very crisp, black image when I stamp, however, and I feel that the Versafine Onyx Black Pigment Ink is much better for that. No matter how intricate the stamp is, this ink really helps the image to come out sharp looking. It also is water-resistant once it dries, making it perfect for a plethora of techniques!




    Tube Watercolor & Pencils:
    Once I got more comfortable with watercolor, I purchased some tube watercolors and some watercolor pencils. 

    I have a set of Reeves Student Grade watercolor tubes and various Winsor & Newton Cotman tubes. I put them in a palette I purchased at Hobby Lobby. 




    I own the Prismacolor 36 set of watercolor pencils and a 24 set of the Derwent Inktense pencils. The Prismacolor watercolor pencils are wonderful! They are so creamy and easy to blend. If you like coloring with color pencils and are curious about watercolors, watercolor pencils are a wonderful way to get started. All you do is color with the pencils and then blend them out with a wet paint brush! The colors are soft, but gorgeous. They're also great for sketching your picture before you begin painting with watercolors because no pencil lines will be left behind!



    The Inktense pencils are wonderful, also, but I think they are better suited for crafters who are more experienced and are committed to the hobby. They are expensive, and can be a little more difficult to use. Unlike a traditional watercolor pencil, the Inktense pencils turn into an ink when wet. Once the ink dries, it's permanent! If you mess up with watercolors, you can always add more water and play with the color to get it where you want it. I have found it to be much harder to fix Inktense mistakes because it won't budge once it dries! This permanent ink can be of benefit, though, if you like adding more layers to your work.



    TIP: Whenever I get a new set of pencils, I like to swatch out all the colors on watercolor paper and keep it in the lid of the container for reference.





    Comparison:
    I wanted to do a little comparison of all of the watercolor products I own to show you what I think works best.


    I began by comparing the regular Artist Loft watercolor pans to their pearlescent counterparts. 
    The regular colors are so rich and vibrant, while the pearlescent is much softer. I still can't believe how rich the colors are in such a cheap palette! The pearlescent palette is very shimmery and is great if you've always wanted to try the Wink of Stella or similar product to add shimmer to your project.



    While the Artist Loft palette is the cheapest, I honestly enjoy it the best for crafting. For actual watercolor paintings, I do prefer my palette of Reeves and W&N, but the Artist Loft palette is fine for paper crafting. It provides a wide and vibrant color selection for an unbeatable price. It definitely gets the job done for all of my card making needs. It has great colors to create backgrounds for your cards, color flowers and people, and so much more!

    To compare my other watercolor mediums, I swatched them out in the closest crimson colors that each set had.



    While I enjoy using all four products, I have to say I love the way the W&N Cotman paint reacts with water the best. When I do a wet into wet technique (wetting the paper before adding color), the Cotman paint seems to flow the best and look beautiful once it dries. For money's sake, however, I think the Reeves paints are worth looking into if you are interested in tube watercolors. You can get more colors for your money, especially if you use a coupon at Michael's for them like I did! I would love a full set of the Cotman paints, but I can't talk myself into buying them when I am mostly a card maker whose needs can be met by a $5 palette.

    As for the pencils, I prefer the vibrancy of the Inktense over the creamy, soft colors that Prismacolor offers. I do enjoy using both to achieve different looks, but I think the Inktense is the most versatile.


    I wanted to show you the inks and paints in actions, so here are some photos comparing the inks and the paints. I stamped a hot air balloon stamp from Lawn Fawn's Blue Skies stamp set on the Canson 140 lb. paper I mentioned previously.

    I have to say that I really do like the Artist Loft paint palette. It worked well with the ink and has a really vibrant, yet loose look to it. For the price, you can't beat it! It is great for both beginner paper crafters and those who have more experience. 

    Thank you so much for checking out this long post! I appreciate it so much, and I hope my experience with these products can help you, too! 


    Get the products I mentioned here!
    Artist Loft Watercolor Palette

    Derwent Inktense Pencils

    Prismacolor Watercolor Pencils

    Reeves Watercolor Tubes

    Winsor and Newton Cotman Paints

    Ranger Archival Ink Pad

    Versafine Onyx Black Pigment Ink






    Wednesday, June 24, 2015

    Fun Foam & the Masculine Dilemma

    Hello!

    Today, I'd like to share with you one of my favorite new layouts for my thank you card sets, but I first want to take a look at dimensional adhesives. I love adding dimension to my cards, but I am always concerned that adding pearls or popping a piece up with foam dots will only ruin my card if/when they get torn up when mailed. I was so excited last week when Jennifer McGuire of www.jennifermcguireink.com posted a video on using foam adhesive versus sheets of fun foam. Since watching this helpful video, I have completely abandoned my formerly beloved foam dots and have been solely using fun foam cut to the exact shapes and sizes I need for my cards.  I like how thin the foam is and how much easier it is to work with. I have always wondered whether or not the adhesive on foam dots will hold up well over time. When I use my own foam, however, I know exactly what adhesive to use in order to get a strong bond between my paper and my dimensionals. I have been using the Tombow Mono Multi Glue, and so far it has worked flawlessly!




    I have really been enjoying this new layout. I begin by taking a sheet of patterned paper and cutting it down to 5.25" x 4" and adhering it to my card base. I then add faux stitching with a gel pen that matches a color found in the paper. After I do this, I like to take a piece of cardstock that matches my card base and cut it into a strip that measures 4.25" x 1.5". I like to cut the bottom section of the strip into a banner, but you could leave it as a rectangle and it would look good! I then dry emboss the strip with some kind of embossing folder with a sharp geometric pattern.

    Here's where the sheets of fun foam comes into play! I cut a strip of fun foam out that is .25" narrower than the cardstock strip and adhere it to the back. It gives the cardstock banner an even, yet raised appearance and is the perfect way to add dimension to a card without having to worry about pieces getting crushed in or torn. 

    After I do this, I punch out a scalloped circle out of the patterned paper I used previously. Before adhering it to the banner, I like to stamp the small thanks circle stamp from Simon Says Stamp's Many Thanks stamp set on a piece of cardstock. I can use a 5/8" circle punch to cut it out exactly! I adhere this sentiment to the scalloped circle and then adhere the entire circle to the banner. Although the sentiment is small, it is so cute and looks great on so many different patterns!

    I often find myself panicking when I have to send a guy a thank you or birthday card and have no masculine cards made! I tend to make very girly cards with butterflies and flowers and embellishments that guys wouldn't typically like. One of the things I really like about this layout and this stamp is that it works great for both feminine and more masculine cards. The paper collection I used for this set had a great plaid paper that works well for masculine cards, so I made sure to make one! 



    I hope you enjoyed this blog post! Thank you so much for checking out my blog.

    If you would like to check out Jennifer McGuire's video on foam adhesive, the link is below!