Saturday, April 25, 2015

Re-Purposing Handmade Scrapbook Swap Returns into Patriotic Cards

With From Our Hearts closing, I'm hoping to send out as many more cards as I can for their last card call which is for Father's Day and Patriotic cards.  I created a bunch of Father's Day cards for my previous shipment, so this time, I've decided to tackle the Patriotic theme by making use of the large bounty of Patriotic swap returns that was intended for scrapbook pages.

I remember hosting several large groups, in addition to participating in post 9-11 themed swaps.  So that means I have tons of amazingly cutesy paper pieced firefighters, shaker box embellishments, photo mats, long borders, etc.

So, here's what I've created by just using cardstock, pp scraps and these themed stamps as these are the only patriotic stamps I own. Ink I used was SU Not Quite Navy.  In some of these, I wish I had my gold EP and heat gun with me.

1.  Starting off with one of my two favorites.  This started off using a long 12 x 2 inch matted border. The gal was pretty darn creative with using skinny border stickers, skinny cardstock strips and punchies for her own embellished page border.  I decided to cut off one end to use as a vertical left border on my stamped card, so got two cards out of this border.  I added the bling which was yet another swap goodie.  2 swapped items used.
  • Embellished 12 inch border
  • Bling (Baggie of decorative embellishments was a category in the 9-11 swap I hosted)

2. This next one is tied as my favorite!!! I wanna keep this one for awhile! I provided the mustard colored folding card that I thought made everything else pop, and stamped the Love, Peace, Freedom. 2 swapped items used.
  • Paper Pieced Shaker embellishment set of the firecrackers.  I could kiss the gal that created this work of art.  It's so detailed and well designed! 
  • Scallop Square Punch Art Journaling Mat (I'm still friends with the gal that made this. I'll show her this card; wonder if she'll remember making this back in 2004-2005?)

3. This one, I combined two handmade embellishments onto a triple matted journaling mat by placing it on a white folding card. Stamped sentiment words were split up since I didn't have room otherwise. 3 swapped items used.
If I could redo it, I would have place the phrases more towards the bottom right corner, but maybe the entire card's symmetry would have been off.  Wish I had my stamp ma jig with me (no I'm not gonna buy the MISTI, no more expensive tools for me lol).   
  • Journaling mat - white cs on red cs on white star/blue pp. 
  • Embellished die cut stars on red cs. 
  • Embellished Shaker box using two die cut stars, wire and beads. 

4. These next two cards were made using a set of 6 serendipity squares from the same gal.  In one, I just added a piece of red card stock that was already torn and a piece of scrap metallic ribbon, and the other, I popped an embellished tag on top.  On both, I used same sentiment stamp in different placement as space allowed.  2 swapped items used.
  • 6 Serendipity Squares
  • Embellished Tag

5. These next two cards was inspired by set of US flag embellished tags.  I cut into full sheets of coordinating themed paper for the background before laying the tag down. Yup! Those skinny strips of scalloped solid red card stock were scraps.  Just cut it down the middle and I had two instant accents for this card. I also added larger star/heart punchies and stamped my sentiment on the flag stripes. 3 swapped items used.
  • Embellished flag Manilla Office Tags
  • Star and Heart Punchies
  • Themed Patterned Paper 

6. I tried to emulate the design of my previous card using a different embellished border.  I love the way this gal "strung" her star punchies on a softly colored border.  I trimmed one side of her matted border with pinking sheers to add interest since the colors are a bit pale for my current needs.  Tried to jazz it up with the star brads and themed USA ribbon, both of which are also swap returns. 4 swapped items used.
  • Embellished 12 inch border
  • Silver Star brads Bling 
  • Themed USA ribbon 
  • Themed Patterned Paper

7. This next one uses a stamped embellished tag I made using just the script portion of the SU God Bless America Limited Edition stamp.  I paired it up with another embellished tag made by someone else and matted it on a scrap piece of SU Night of Navy cs. 2 swapped items used.
  • Stamped themed tag (I made this!) 
  • Embellished Die Cut Tag

8. All I did was provide the the Brilliant Blue folding cardstock on this next one and the stamped star shaped I Pledge of Allegiance image.  2 swapped items used.
  • Stamped "God Bless America" with star eyelet embellished matted square
  • Set of 3 embellished red die cut tags

This was fun to create out of this particular themed swap returns because it was designed so that the returns would be, in essence, a full kit with everything you would need for a few matching pages.  Instead, I created, in many instances, duplicates of the same card designs shared above.

Re-purposing swap returns is giving me such satisfaction since I'm wasting nothing and it's going to a great cause.

I'll be at this task for months due to the quantity and variety of themes that I have in swap returns. If you have any worthy causes that would welcome donated handmade cards, please leave your suggestions in the comment section.  Thank you!! 


All Cards 
Stamps: Stampendous "Love, Peace, Freedom"; PSX Script "United We Stand"; Printworks Handwritten "United We Stand"; My Sentiments Exactly Pledge of Allegiance Star; SU LE God Bless America 
Ink: SU Night of Navy

Thursday, April 23, 2015

#TBT #ThrowbackThursday #StampinUp - Sharing my older SU Demo Cards 9 of 9 - Honing in on my personal creative style

Finally coming to a close here with sharing of my old SU creations.

These next two were my contributions to a SU Demo Only swap that I probably hosted, which is how I amassed close to 1700 card fronts to eventually donate to From Our Hearts to forward to our troops overseas.

I so wish I had a better image file for this card.  It was so elegant in real life with the fold, addition of the jute twine that I finished off with a wooden button (not pictured here because this was a preliminary picture I took of my card), and the chalk pencils I used to color in the images of the children and dog.  SU had just introduced their set of chalk pencils at this time. This was light years before Copics burst onto the scene. I really loved the combination of More Mustard, Barely Banana with a hint of Real Red for a non traditional wintery theme.

This next card, which was also for another SU Demo Only Swap, was probably one of my last submissions as a participant because I was mainly hosting frequent Demo Only swaps in my hey day. It was hard, for me, to create large quantities of an original design, while creating and kitting for home demos and my monthly stamp camps at my 12 hour crops, hand trimming and mounting all sets for my customers, and keeping up with timely communication online with all my swap participants while holding down a full time job.  My current 42 old self is in disbelief of my early 30's energy!

Here I was heavy into the office emphemeral style as I begin to really settle into my preferred creative style that will show up in all of my future work, especially my layouts which you can see here at my gallery. On SCS, I mainly share my cards.  I was soo eager to incorporate staples!! Oh soo edgy! Again, I used the chalk pencils to color in the apples and let the toile image of the Serenity background stamp as is for that vintage canning label effect.

Looking back on this card now, I think I'd rearrange the elements differently so that it's not so awkward looking with being top heavy.   I remember being so dissatisfied with it at the time but I had to run with it since I had a deadline and multiple projects looming.  I'll tackle this one in the next coming weeks to give it a much deserved face lift.

Thanks for going down my Stampin' Up! memory lane with me the past couple of Thursdays.  I just ordered some new SU upon the announcement of the new retiring list, so I'm anxious to get inky soon with new (to me) images.


"Snow is Falling" Card
Paper: SU Smooth White CS; SU Barely Banana; SU More Mustard; SU Real Red
Stamps: SU Winter is Calling
Ink: SU Black Ink 
Embellishments: Jute Twine
Tools: SU Chalk Pencils; 1/8" Handheld Hole Punch
Size: 4.25" x 5.25" rectangular 

"Apple of My Eye" Card
Paper: SU Kraft CS; SU Night of Navy; SU Really Rust
Stamps: SU Serenity; SU Farm Fresh
Ink: SU Night of Navy 
Embellishments: SU Chalk Pencils; Staples
Size: 4.25" x 5.25" rectangular 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

#TBT #ThrowbackThursday #StampinUp - Soot Stamping and Modified Kissing Technique Heritage Card Tutorial

I wrote quite a few tutorials back in the day for my growing downlines since I found it challenging otherwise to continue all my own creative and administrative duties for my own Stampin Up business in addition to supporting my down lines properly with project ideas and technique demos.

I remember attending the SU Regionals Convention in Vegas in July 2003 with my downline Valerie when I saw a soot technique card available for swap!! I was so grateful to the SU Demo who swapped her card with me even though I'm sure my swap card was no where near as cool or innovative as her's.  I was DYING to try this when I got home, so I drove to my good friend, and downline, Eva's house so we could play together, which is how this tutorial with pictures was possible at the time.

{I apologize that this tutorial I'm about to share is textual.  Back in 2000-2005, capturing digital images alone and being able to resize them were about as technologically geeky as I got! I had just purchased a digital video camera was hoping to learn how to use it. Thank goodness for smartphones and video editing apps these days!}

Ok, on with the Soot Stamping with Modified Kissing Technique Tutorial!

Lesson Plan #1
Instructions by Ching Tan 
Level (1-5) - 4 High Intermediate Difficulty
Created on 7/28/03 by Ching Tan and Eva Dobilas

Materials List:

  • SU Days Gone By
  • SU French Script
  • SU Autumn (“thanks” stamp)
  • SU Glossy White – One 4.25 x 5.5 sheet, and one 2.5 x 5.5 sheet
  • SU Confetti White 
  • SU Basic Black  - One 4.25 x 5.5 sheet, and one scored 8.5 x 5.5 sheet
  • SU Classic Basic Black
  • SU Classic Creamy Caramel
  • SU Classic Going Grey
Tools & Embellishments: 
  • Candles
  • Matches/Lighter
  • SU Skeletal Leaves
  • Tortoise Colored small buttons
  • Krylon Clear Acrylic Sealer (we had moderate success with hairspray)
  • Black heritage photo corners
  • SU Sponges

Soot Stamping Technique Directions:
1.       Line your work surface with paper for protection

2.       Light candle and hold it completely horizontal so that the wax will drip down onto the scratch             paper rather than on your hand.

3.       Let the tip of the flame casually touch / burn the slick side of the glossy card stock. 
      Take care NOT to allow your glossy c/s

  • to be lowered to the middle of the flame height, else you will begin to burn your glossy c/s.  (and if it does, don’t panic.  Quickly blow it out, and try to use that burned edge artistically.  LOL)
  • to be lowered even further near the wick, else you will get wax on your glossy c/s.
See how I’m holding the candle and glossy paper here?

This is a picture of how NOT to hold the candle.  For one, you’ll get hot wax dripping on your hand (see my wrist? LOL).  Plus you’ll get wax melted onto your project which ruins your background.    So your glossy paper CANNOT be parallel to the candle, but it should be perpendicular at some sort of an angle.

4.       As the TIP of the flame touches your glossy cardstock, black soot will result and will stick to your cardstock.  Move the tip of the flame about your cardstock so that you don’t create black sooty patches on your cardstock. Instead you want swirly smoke from the soot to create your background on the glossy c/s. 

This is what the background is suppose to look like.  Its actually too light in this example, but you can see the swirly background.  You want it darker than this, but NOT completely black.

5.       I purposely cut the glossy paper bigger to allow for handling because the newly sooted glossy c/s can be smeared/smudged/removed by your fingerprints, knuckles, jewelry, etc if is not sealed.  

      ( In my particular card design, I purposely only sooted ¾ of the left side of the glossy cardstock to allow for handling on the untreated right side.  Else you can handle the treated c/s by holding it carefully by the edges much like you would handle a music CD.)

      Treat both sizes of the Glossy White ( 4.25 x 5.5 sheet and 2.5 x 5.5 sheet) using soot technique.  

6.       Seal your stamped and sooted background with Krylon Clear Acrylic Sealer.  I found that you have to spray directly onto the project paper rather than mist above it.  Else it will not set, and your creation will still smear.  Unfortunately, hairspray (we used Aquanet) didn't work. 

Modified Kissing Stamping Technique Directions:

1.       Take a clean un-inked French Script background stamp, and "stamp it" on your sooted glossy 
       cardstock.  This will remove the black soot and leave a white french script image.  (We figured 
         this out b/c our fingerprints would remove the soot…alas the modified kissing technique.)

Voila! We love how oopsies turn into something super cool!  Modified Kissing Stamping it is!

Card Assembly Directions:

1.       Stamp images from Days Gone By set (shoe, fleur de lis and tassle) in classic basic black on the larger sooty glossy cardstock. (We used both classic (dye) and craft (pigment) and found that the image was more crisp when using dye on glossy cardstock)

2.       Stamp woman portrait from Days Gone By Set in classic basic black ink on the smaller sooty glossy cardstock.

3.       Seal your stamped and sooted background with Krylon Clear Acrylic Sealer.  Remember to spray directly onto the project paper rather than mist above it.

4.       Let both pieces (the big and small) dry. 

5.       In the meantime, stamp the word “thanks” from the Autumn set in classic basic black ink on a   2” x 5.5" linen fabric.

6.      Then sponge the linen fabric with Going Grey and Creamy Caramel to simulate aged look. 

7.       Return to sprayed glossy cardstock pieces which are now dry. 

8.    Freehand cut around the small piece stamped with the woman portrait leaving a 1/16th border.

9.    Mount this trimmed piece onto white confetti c/s and attach 4 black photo corners.

10.    Tear off about a quarter of the basic black cardstock on the left side so that the torn textured side  is on top.  Adhere this on top of the sooted, stamped, sealed glossy cardstock background. 

11.    Cut a large skeletel leaf in half, so that you can create the illusion of 2 leaves.  Arrange and  adhere them on to the middle of the black c/s so they will look artful.

12.    Adhere the woman portrait, that is matted with black photo corners on top of the arranged  skeletal leaves.  Eva likes tilting, so we tilted this.  LOL

13.    Adhere the strip of linen fabric that say’s “thanks” on the bottom of the card.  On the right side, I cut it so it flushed correctly with the straight edge.  On the left side, I tore it to match the torn basic black c/s underneath it. 

14.    Glue tortoise shell buttons randomly on the white confetti strip.  Silver/gold brads can be  substituted as well.  Else, hemp colored cross stitched “x’s” might be yet another alternative as  we did here. 

15.    Adhere the whole thing onto a folded basic black cardstock.  It should fit perfectly onto the top card front since I didn’t trim any of it.

Here is the picture of the completed project again.  This project was for my intermediate/advanced group.  I had a few beginners and they followed along fine.  This technique would look fantastic for any upcoming Halloween projects.

This last throwback card I'm sharing brings back another one of my strongest joyous memories of my SU Demo Days and of that incredibly fun afternoon of hanging out with my sweet friend Eva who's still my good friend to this day.  Paper crafting is how we met almost 15 years ago, and since then, we've experienced so much synchronicity in all that's happened to us, both good and bad. 

This card along with the original Soot card front I received at the long ago SU Regionals have been donated to our troops via For Our Hearts.


Heritage Days Gone By "Thanks" Soot Technique Card 
Paper: SU Glossy White CS; SU Confetti White; SU Basic Black CS
Stamps: SU Days Gone By; SU French Script; SU Autumn ("thanks")
Ink: Black SU Black, SU Creamy Caramel; SU Going Grey
Embellishments: SU Skeletal Leaves; Tortoise Colored  Small Buttons; Black Heritage Photo Corners; Linen Ribbon
Tools: Candles; Matches/Lighter; Krylon Clear Acrylic Sealer; SU Sponges
Size: 5.5" x 4.25" rectangular 

Thursday, April 9, 2015

#TBT #ThrowbackThursday #StampinUp - Sharing my older SU Demo Cards 7 of 9 Watercoloring with Radiant Pearls and Retrigrade Technique

It's been amazing going down memory lane as I unearth all these old jpeg images from my old laptop to share here.

I distinctly remember this "stamp camp" at my monthly crop.   I'd been taking heavy classes from the esteemed Carolyn Holt and was mad in love with Radiant Pearls.   So I came up with these two cards to share my new found skills.

I was and madly still am in love with this Serengeti set from SU. This was about when I started developing my tastes and preferences for more vintage, collage and realistic images rather than the cutesy style with that quilting/sewn look that was prevalent at the time.   

In this card, we applied various sunset colored Radiant Pearls with brushes and then used my Niji Barrel brush pen filled with water to create a water color effect by blending the colors together to get rid of those definitive lines every time a new color was introduced.

I finished it off by matting in underneath, if you can call it that, a piece of Old Olive cardstock.  So that the diligently created scene could be appreciated, I had everyone tear in the center to create a rustic texture to add to the safari scene.  We then finished it off with some colored raffia to further the African safari theme. Yup, there was a time when we were collecting all sorts of colors of raffia! I probably still have my collection somewhere. Everyone was pretty pleased with themselves upon completion of this card in my technique demo. I'm sure I sold a lot of product too because I was certainly all about the add on tools/embellishments which this demo was chock full of.

This first image was scanned when I was just learning how to capture digital images. I had no idea how to edit at the time. So here's a more recent and clearer snapshot I took of my friend Eva's version with my phone as I was getting ready to package this to donate to From Our Hearts to forward to our troops. (Both her's and mine were donated several years apart.)  I added a quick sentiment from my Verve basket that was sitting in front of me to meet their criteria for the themes they were seeking.

Next up, was another time intensive technique that required everyone's attention.  I can't believe I demo'd this card in the same day crop. Thankfully, my crops were 12 hours long and my friends were eager as sponges to learn whatever I could share with them. And I love them for that. Did I tell you we had an amazing collective creative thirst or what?

The retrigrade technique was the hot thing at the time and SU was releasing the Toile style of stamps at this time.  I guess I decided to combine them all for a lush effect by introducing the use of sponging and masking with 3 x 5 post it notes.  I remember cutting up a good number of full round sponges into quarters so that everyone could work at the same time at my round table reserved for my demos.  We had soo much fun!

This card had a lot going on with two large background stamps along with yet a 3rd stamp set, tons of sponges and lots of colors.  I remember asking everyone to be mindful of following the same colors as my sample so as to not contaminate my dye ink pads.

Sorry some of my image sizes are so small.  I blame it on my early lack of knowledge with photoshop.  I'm just grateful to even have these images to reminisce on those wonderful monthly crop memories.

This "stamp camp" demo day was definitely a satisfying day for both me and my attendees.

All of these cards have been donated to our troops via From Our Hearts. :)


"Serengeti" Radiant Pearls Blending Technique Card 
Paper: SU Smooth White CS; SU Old Olive CS
Stamps: SU Serengeti
Ink: Black Stazon; Various Radiant Pearls 
Embellishments: Raffia
Tools: Niji Brush Pen; Water
Size: 5.5" x 4.25" rectangular 

"Happy Mother's Day" Retrigrade Technique Card 
Paper: SU Smooth White CS; SU Brilliant Blue CS; SU Old Olive CS
Stamps: SU Serenity; SU French Script; SU Wreath of Roses ("Happy Mother's Day")
Ink: SU Old Olive, SU More Mustard; SU Brilliant Blue; SU Black 
Tools: 3x5 Post It Notes; Sponges
Size: 4.25" x 5.5" rectangular 

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