Sunday, August 31, 2014

Bi-Weekly Sketch Challenge #18 Winner and Top Picks

Thanks so much to everyone who entered their beautiful projects for Sketch Challenge #18! Shery (me!) gets to pick the winner and top picks for this round.

Friday, August 29, 2014

{Spotlight Project} Deepti Creates a Stunning Card Using the Focal Black and White Technique

Hello, friends! Deepti here with my very first spotlight project and I am both excited and nervous :) I hope I will be able to inspire you. I am showcasing a technique often done in photography. I have used STAMPlorations beautiful new release, Bloom Sketches set.

So, here's a look at the finished project. The look that I have tried to create is termed as Focal Black & White. Here we try to keep the whole photo black and white with one focal colored image.

Here are a few examples from real photography to explain this effect and how I got inspired.

Here's a step-by-step photo tutorial to showcase the process of making this card.

I stamped the image on a blank card panel multiple times, going off the edge, using Memento Tuxedo Black ink.

I created a mask for the image that I wanted to keep in color. I used a post-it note to make my mask and adhered it on focal flowers. I also colored the stems and leaves in black using a black Sharpie marker. (Any black marker will work too.)

I inked the edges starting from outside of the panel and moving very lightly all around the edges of the panel. I used Distress Black soot. (Any black ink will work.)

I then removed the masks and colored the poppies in red again using my Sharpie markers. Copic, Distress, Spectrum Noir, and any kind of markers are okay to use too. Since I wanted to keep the colors really bold, I used Sharpie.

Once the panel was ready, I framed it twice by sticking it on white and black card stock. Then I heat embossed the sentiment from the same set using Versamark ink and Whisper Opaque white embossing powder. Finally, I adhered this panel on a white card base.

Here's the finished card once again :) The card was photographed in the sunlight.

That finishes my very first spotlight feature :) I hope you enjoyed it and will give this a try. Happy crafting!


Thursday, August 28, 2014

{Spotlight Project} Shery Plays with Gift Wrapping Paper and Creates an Easy Mixed Media Card

Hi, everyone! I'm back with another spotlight project (plus a bonus project with video). In my previous spotlight posts (this one and this one), I showed the mixed media tags and canvas panel I did when I had a play with the newsprint gift wrapping paper I found in my stash. In today's post, I'm sharing the mixed media card I made using some more of that gift wrapping paper. I have a photo tutorial so you can see how I put this card together -- it's really easy! But first, let me show you the finished card:

I adhered a piece of the gift wrapping paper onto 140-lb watercolor panel (4" by 5.25") using Liquitex gel medium. [Tip: Use a base that's really thick and won't warp easily.]

Using an old card, I applied watered-down white gesso onto the panel. [Tip: If you spread gesso unevenly onto your surface, you'll get a nice texture when you apply paints, inks, sprays, Gelatos, or other wet mediums on it.]

I loosely watercolored blue zircon and plum crazy Twinkling H2Os onto the panel once the gesso was dry. [Tip: To get a colorwash look, paint the panel with water first and then apply the paints. Let the colors pool along the edges/crevices. Tilt the panel to allow the colors to drip and blend. You can also use a heat tool to move the colors around.]

I stamped one of the background stamps in the Mini Mixed Media Backgrounds set in VersaMagic aegean blue chalk ink (tone-on-tone), distressed the edges with a TH distressing tool, and inked the panel with VersaMagic Jumbo Java chalk ink. I also splattered a bit of white gesso onto the panel. [Tip: Subtly grunge up your background by partially stamping images in a color that is similar to your background color. It will give your background a textured look without the added bulk.]

On scrap card stock, I stamped the backside of the sunflower from Bloom Sketches in VersaMagic mango madness chalk ink three times.

I flipped the stamp over and inked it up with VersaMagic gingerbread chalk ink. [Tip: This technique is great for coloring your images quickly when you know you're going to be fussy cutting them. It's also a great technique to use when you want to get that offset-print/retro look (like how I did in this card).]

I fussy cut the sunflowers and ran a dark brown marker along the edges to hide the white edges.

I have a Cuttlebug but I must admit I'm too lazy most of the time to take it out and use my dies. I needed some leaves for my sunflowers so I simply took a piece of textured card stock (DCWV) and cut out the leaves. I creased the leaves, distressed them, and applied VersaMagic hint of pesto chalk ink on the edges. 

The last step is putting the card together! I adhered the panel onto my card base before adhering everything else. I used foam dots and double-sided tape. I stamped the sentiment from Bloom Sketches in jet black archival ink onto scrap white card stock, cut it out, and matted it onto dark blue textured card stock. And my mixed media card is done! That wasn't so hard now, was it?

I have one more project (a mixed media layout) to show you that features our stamps and the newsprint gift wrapping paper. (I'm getting so much mileage from just one roll!) I'll share it in my next spotlight post. 

Before I go, though, I'd like to share another mixed media layout that I did for the current challenge at Time Out Challenges, a challenge blog that Nonni and Sandie own. (Check it out and come play!)

Here's a partial shot of my 12" by 12" layout:

That's the hubby and me, by the way. (Photo was taken 11 years ago, a year before we got sentenced to life married.) And here's a video where I show how I put together the layout from start to finish. It's a little over 13 minutes -- in fast-forward motion, captioned, and accompanied by Mozart my voice-over narration (!).

Thanks for stopping by! See you in a couple of weeks!



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

{Spotlight Project} Vicki Creates A Christmas Card That's Easy to Mass-Produce!

Can you believe that Christmas is only 121 days away? Get out, right? Therefore, for today's spotlight, I am focusing on a Christmas card that can be mass-produced rather quickly. Here is the finished card:

Start by cutting 2 panels: one in colored card stock and one in white card stock.

Using Versamark ink and VIGNETTE: Christmas Block Stamp set, stamp the snowflakes onto the white card stock and emboss with white embossing powder.

Using distress inks and a blender, sponge on color over the stamped snowflakes. The more you sponge, the more intense the color will be.

Stamp the main sentiment on a scrap piece of card stock with Versamark, emboss with white embossing, and cut out the square. Sponge this and cut out a framing panel.

Adhere all to your card base and add some fussy cut bells. You now have the first card done. While the first one might have taken some time [reading directions and all], can you see how easy it would be to mass-produce? Gotta love that!

Now for the fun information; STAMPlorations is running a "bundle price" on the pre-released Christmas sets - all 5 sets are only $25.00 (29% off) through September 5th! If you are a Stamp Club subscriber [read about that HERE], you get an additional 15% off! Can you say awesome?

See you in a couple of weeks!


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

{Spotlight Project} Nonni Makes a Poppies Tag...and Shares a Philosophy for Quick Coloring!

Hello, STAMPlorations friends! It's Nonni here with a Spotlight Project made with the new Bloom Sketches set.

My project is inspired by Marion Vagg's tag at Tag You're It Challenge. As you can see, Marion's cool tag is done completely with die cuts:

I don't own a die cutting machine so I decided to challenge myself to create a similar look with stamps only. Let's see how I made it!

First, I stamped the poppies from Bloom Sketches. I used Copic markers for coloring in so my poppies are stamped with Memento on a blending cardstock. I also stamped the poppies to a piece of thin scrap paper for masking purposes.

Next, I trimmed the card to the size I want and cut the upper corners with scissors to make the tag shape. After trimming off the first upper corner, I used the cut out triangle as my guide for the second corner: I placed it on top of the second corner and cut along the edge of the cut out. This way, I got two corners that are exactly the same without needing a die cutting machine or any measuring.

Then it's time to place the masks. I used a post-it note for masking the square and washi tape for masking the edges. Because my washi was patterned, it was easy to tape the card edges evenly without any measuring -the pattern on the tape was my guide! I also masked the flowers outside the post-it note using my stamped scrap paper. This is how the tag looked like with the masks in place:

Then it's time for sponging. I used a sponge tool and Distress Ink for sponging all over the tag. Everything that was masked remained white. This is how the tag looked after sponging and removing the masks:

Then to the fun part: let's color in those poppies, shall we? My color combo for the flowers is YR31-R81-R83-R85 for those of you using Copics and wanting to try this two-toned look.

Here's my philosophy for quick coloring. Many tutorials speak about light sources, uphills and downhills of the image, where the shadow is cast, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. This can all seem a bit intimidating. My tip for quick coloring is to forget all that and just look at the image and consider these 4 questions:

  1. Would the image look best with all the outlines shaded?
  2. Would the image look best with the top and bottom areas shaded?
  3. Would the image look best with the left and right areas shaded?
  4. Would the image look best darkest in the middle, lightening towards the outlines?

If you look at the not-yet-colored poppies in the beginning of this tutorial, you can see it's really a matter of taste:

  1. Having all the outlines shaded would have made the flowers look a bit "closed" and not light enough for my taste.
  2. Yep, this might please my eye.
  3. This would please my eye even more!
  4. No, this would not work.

So, I chose option 3 and did all the left and right areas of the poppies dark:

You can use this philosophy with images with many small areas too - like a person with several pieces of clothing, for example. The person's face and skirt (looks like it's a girl!) can be colored following coloring principle #3 (left and right areas shaded) but the hair can follow coloring principle #2 (top and bottom areas shaded), and maybe a hat can follow coloring principle #1 (all outlines shaded). You could also decide to play with these poppies coloring some flowers following coloring principle #2 and some applying coloring principle #3...Just let your image speak to you! :)

Okay, now I've gone on long enough about coloring principles, I bet you are all confused now and I should have shushed about the different numbers several lines ago...I got carried away! :) But as you see, the tag is almost finished and this post is coming to its end. The last thing I did was heat emboss the sentiment with white powder. I think I got quite close to Marion's look using only stamps. What do you think? Happy stamping and coloring!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sketch Challenge #18 Reminder + Inspiration Projects

Sketch Challenge #18 ends Friday, August 29, at 11:55 p.m. PDT, so 5 more days to enter your sketch inspired projects! Here are a couple of inspiration projects by Monika and Shery.

Inspired? Create your project(s) and link it by August 29 to our Sketch Challenge #18. So long as it's inspired by the sketch, any paper crafting project in any style is most welcome!

Hope you're all having a great week! Keep on stamping!

Friday, August 22, 2014

September Christmas Stamps Pre-Release Sale + Inspiration Projects

Hello, fellow stampers! September is going to be here pretty soon, which means new stamps are coming to the shop! We've got previews of the upcoming stamps here and we're excited to share that there are 5 Christmas stamp sets in the September release (in addition to some fun sketched flower stamps).

How about we show you 3 projects featuring one of the stamps? You'll see how Deepti, Shery, and Vicki used the image in the Holiday Sketches: Christmas Candles set to create 3 different holiday cards. It shows just how versatile this set is, as you'll be able to create cards with it that reflect your crafting style!

Deepti embossed the candles in silver, fussy cut it,
and mounted it using pop dots to create a super elegant card.

Shery stuck to her favorite kind of card to make (one layer),
and used masking and alcohol markers to create depth. 
2014-08-14 OLC Be merry

Vicki embossed the candles in gold and mounted it onto
a striped green and gold base to create this eye-catching card.

We'll have more projects featuring the September stamps pretty soon! We're officially releasing them on September 8 (we've got a stamp release blog hop planned for that so keep your eyes peeled), but as we've done in the past, we're doing a pre-release bundle sale for those who want a great deal.

From today until September 5 (or until our current inventory runs out), all 5 Christmas stamp sets are just $25 (29% off) with free shipping anywhere in the US. And those who are subscribed to our newly launched Bi-Monthly Stamp Club can take an additional 15% off.

Head on to our brand-spankin' new shop to check out the details (click on the graphic). These stamps are ready to ship so you can be on your way to making Christmas cards when September rolls in!

Have a great weekend! Happy crafting and stamping!

Happy Birthday, Nonni!

Today is a happy day here on the STAMPlorations blog because our sweet girl Nonni is celebrating her birthday! Her baby, Rafa, stopped by earlier this week to let us know that there's a birthday linky party happening over here.

Rafa: Woof! Woof! Woof!
(Translation: My mom's having a partaaay!)

Happy, happy birthday, Nonni! You're an awesome crafter, teammate, and friend! We've got cards for you and we thought you'd enjoy seeing photos of our pets too :o)

Debra's Bella
Debra's card

Deepti's pets
Deepti's card

Monika's Boris
Monika's card

Shery's Shadow (left) & Rachel (right)
2014-08-22 OLC It's your birthday
Shery's card

Shirley's Florence
Shirley's Florence

Vicki's card