Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Final Challenge Level One AECP


Ten classes and over 40 cards later I have reached the first plateau!  
This is the Final Challenge, Level One.


Select any 3 components for the Level One Classes:
1.  Easy Die Cutting Techniques.  
Die cutting in the past required a very large, expensive die cutting machine.  
The costly dies could be as large as 8 x 10.  They were made of wood, steel and foam.  
Most of us would only cut dies provided at the local scrapbook store.
Now dies are easy to store and inexpensive.  They have become an integral part of our craft.
Each of the cards below have a die cut element.
2.  Irresistible Inking
Ink blending makes plain cardstock come to life.  The cards below each have an ink-blended element. Altenew's monochromatic families of inks take the guess work out of blending from light to medium to dark.  In some cards you will see ink blending with Altenew watercolor also.
3.  Make it Shine
Heat embossing was the first technique I learned when I began stamping.  For two years that was all I did with my little beginning collection of stamps.  Seeing powder turn metallic when heated continues to be magical to me.  
When a card seems to look not quite finished, a little shine usually solves the problem.  
Metallic cord, sequins, Stickles or Wink of Stella can make all the difference.
Each card below has a heat embossed element.

Create a His and Her Card Set.  
The cards in the His and Hers sets should have a similar and cohesive theme.  The theme I've chosen for my His and Hers sets of cards is leaves.  Why not?  It's Fall.  I love leaves.  Leaves can be for either men or women.

Make packaging for the card sets.  Include a recycled element in the packaging.



Two pieces of chipboard recycled from Amazon packaging were covered with cardstock.  The front cover was stenciled with  Berries and Leaves using Altenew inks to create a monochromatic background.   The back cover was plain cardstock over the chipboard.  I decided on gray tones for the man's cover and green tones for the woman's.  To my eye the gray was slightly more neutral and more appropriate for a man's card.

Fantasy Floral Dies were cut from #110 white cardstock to give them stability.  They were then sponged with Altenew inks. ( I am over the idea that a man's card should not have flowers.)  Rock, Cool Summer Night, metallic silver and Green Fields were used on the Man's cover flower.  For the woman's I selected more feminine Red Cosmos and Spring Bouquet.

The covers were wrapped with silver (Man) and gold (Woman) cord.  "From me to you" (Heartfelt Sentiments) was stamped in Versafine then heat embossed clear.  A Spellbinders die was used to cut the tag shape.

I used sparkle sequins on the woman's cover and matte finished sequins on the man's.

With the cards and envelopes sandwiched between chipboard covers, this should travel safely by mail in a small box or padded envelope.


These sympathy cards are traditional pinkish for girls, blueish for boys.  The outline image of Leaf Canopy was stamped in VersaMark then heat embossed with gold.  I used my Misti for this stamping so I could restamp a couple times.  The watercolor paper is not smooth.  It takes more than one stamping to get a complete image.   I dropped water inside each leaf then added pink or blue Altenew watercolor in two shades and let it do it's thing.  Sometimes it would fill the entire leaf and sometimes some white would be left.

The sentiment from Wild Flower Garden was heat-embossed gold.
Again I used my Misti to stamp VersaMark 2 or 3 times to get a good image on the bumpy water color paper.

The cards are double matted so there is an edge of gold to give the cards a more cohesive look.

I sprinkled gold Altenew Metallic water color on the card fronts.
Behind my studio door is this former Amazon Shipping box.  I have used it for so many projects and so many colors that I almost get sentimental about it.



In the next cards I used color and texture to differentiate the man's for the woman's card.



The man's card is framed with a wood-grain cardstock that has been distressed with brown inks.
The woman's card has a crisp white frame.
Both frames are popped with double sided foam tape.

The Leaves and Berries stencil is colored with Altenew shades of browns and rust on the man's card.
For the lady's card I selected the more vivid greens and magenta.

The Misi made it possible to stamp the "You" at least 3 times so it would be totally solid and bold.

The heat-embossed sentiments are even different.  "You Rock" just sounds more like a guy.  "You Amaze Me" is something a woman might be more likely to say.  The sentiment stamps are from Mega Greetings 2.
The strips are popped with double sided foam tape.

The envelope was `stenciled to match the card.

I again used the more traditional kind of pink and kind of blue to separate the men from the women.


This time the background medium was alcohol inks on Yuppo paper.  Foil was applied while the ink was sticky.  The blues were darker, more muted colors.  The pinks and reds I selected were vivid and bright.  Even the cardstock mats are  grayed and then bright.

I selected gold metallic paper and embossing powder for the man's card because it is more dull.  The silver on the woman's card is more shiny and bright.

The off-set panels allow for the big bold heat-embossed "happy  birthday" from Birthday Builder.  Technically I suppose the woman's font could have been more frilly.  But on this card I think it worked because everything else was so girly.

At first I just die cut the Leaf Canopy in the metallic cardstock.  Every time I looked at the card it just looked incomplete.  I added the heat embossed edge to the die cut and it made a huge difference.  Heat embossing a metallic embossing powder on a metallic cardstock is not something I have done before.  If you telescope in to look more closely you'll see what I'm talking about.

In the cards below I used color and shape to differentiate the men from the women.
I do more than my share to keep the US Postal Service in business.  My cards are thick, multi-
layered and multi-embellished.  Extra postage is what they always cost!
So here is my hardest challenge . . .  a single layer card.

 I think the soft curve of the circle is more feminine while the strict lines of the square are more masculine.
Purple is more for girls and gray is more for boys.

I started with a piece of masking paper the size of a card front.  On that masking paper I drew the squares and circles.  I then die cut them out leaving only the area around the geometric figures still covered.  Using a Ranger round ink blending tool I sponged the circle in Altenew shades of Purple and the squares in shades of Rock.

I heat set the ink then covered it with anti-static powder to make sure it was dry.  Then I silver heat- embossed with the Leaf Canopy stamp.

I stamped the Heartfelt Sentiment in VersaFine then heat embossed it in silver.  I cut it into a strip and adhered it to the card with double stick foam tape.
After all of the work of masking and blending and stamping I was not going to risk stamping the sentiment straight on the card front and making a boo boo.


His and Hers Cards with Stitching

I've stitched since I was very young.  (I wonder what happened to all of those pillow cases and handkerchiefs?)
Now I love to stitch on cards.  When Altenew came out with the release that included String Art Dies, I could not click on the BUY button fast enough.
This rectangle die has endless possibilities.


While wandering around Hobby Lobby looking for inspiration I spotted metallic embroidery thread.
I thought gold, Altenew With Gratitude leaves, fall and that was the beginning of this card.
I cut a #110 cardstock to 4 1/4 x 5 1/2.  Then I centered the 2nd largest rectangle on the cardstock and die cut the stitching holes.  A slightly smaller straight edge rectangle was then used to cut the inside edge of the frame.

A piercing tool helped enlarge the holes just enough so a tapestry needle would slide through without damaging the paper.
The end of the string was taped to the back of the frame.  I then began stitching corner to corner out one hole then in the one diagonally opposite with all strings crossing in the center.

When all of the holes had a string through them, I attached double-sided foam tape to the back of the frame.

I blended Altenew inks on white cardstock.  On the finished card you will see I did the same on the background.  However, on this piece I heat set it then tested it with anti-static powder to make sure it was totally dry before the next step.  I stamped leaves from With Gratitude on the blended cardstock with VersaMark ink then heat-set it in gold.  

Then I took it to the family room and watched tv while I fussy cut the leaves.
I assembled the card adhering one leaf under the stitching and two on the frame.  
The word "thankful" cut from the "Be Thankful" sentiment in With Gratitude was gold heat-embossed and adhered under the stitching.

Heed this warning:  The bottom card on the right is the result of not keeping the frame straight when stitching.  The frame is best stitched with a foam mat underneath.  With each couple stitches lay the frame on the mat and smooth it out flat.
A piece of heavy acetate adhered to the back of the frame would also give more stability and prevent it from going wonky.  Then it could become a shaker!

I always do something to the inside of the card and on the envelope that co-ordinates with the card front.  Here leaves from the With Gratitude set were gold-heat embossed to match the His and Hers cards.



This completes my Level I final challenge.  I look forward to my next classes.  Most of all I am learning how versatile my Altenew stamps and dies are. The classes and challenges are helping me use them more and in many different ways.


Thursday, October 17, 2019

Halloween Cards


I'm taking a little Altenew break to make Halloween cards for my grandchildren.
I love making Halloween cards and anything Fall.  Previously on my Blog you've seen some Tim Holtz Halloween that are more for adults.  The cards below are just cute and fun.



My grandson is a heartbeat away from reading.  Meantime he loves stories in cartoon format because he can figure out the story line without being able to read every word.
He will be a super hero for Halloween.  The Sunny Studio stamp set and die were just perfect for him!  I'll be using this die a lot for him in the next months.
The background is a cityscape embossing folder.
My granddaughter has two cats.  They love only her.  So here are Ghost and Smokey looking out the window Halloween night.  All of the dies are from i.o.  The background is done with Distress Ink.
Bat is from Tim Holtz.  Papers are from Stampin Up.
There is acetate behind the window.

These cards represent the thing  I love most about stamping.  I can create cards that are exactly suited to the recipients.  No Hallmark card would have Ghost and Smokey in gray and white!

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

AECP Celebrations: Stencil Techniques

Class #10 Level One AECP


Stencils are an inexpensive way to use many different mediums.  The same stencil can create images that look totally different.  I enjoy using stencils and have accumulated many different designs.
They are my favorite way to create backgrounds.

Here I made my own stencil using 120# cardstock and the Altenew Striped Leaf Cover Die.
Top Card
The top card was created by placing the DIY stencil over white cardstock and sponging various colors of green in over the stencil.  I adhered the cardstock to my glass mat then taped the stencil at the top so nothing would shift while I sponged.  Taping the top of the stencil allowed me to lift it to see where I needed more color as I worked on the card front.

I then used Altenew ink pads to stamp the layers of Build-A-Flower Hibiscus and cut them out with coordinating dies.

Bottom Card
I used the DIY stencil from the top card to create the second card.  Putting black under the "stencil" creates a dramatic difference.  i did sprinkle water over the "stencil" to create highlights.
I purchased Layered Dahlia Stencil A and B long ago.  Truthfully I forgot about it until I started this stencil class.  I found it to be truly amazing to work with.  I won't forgot about it again!

I taped the stencil and cardstock to my glass mat as above.  Using three shades of red ink pads  and three shades of green ink pads, I sponged the flowers and leaves through the stencil.

I added just a small amount of gold to the very center of the flowers.

Stencil A is removed and Stencil B is lined up with the flower and leaf images.  For Stencil B I used a metallic gold ink pad to sponge.  That gave shadow, depth and a little shine to the card.

The Altenew die cut sentiment was cut three times, layered and adhered to the card front.
And then there is embossing paste.  It is so versatile and fun to use!
For this card I tinted white embossing paste with Altenew refill inks.  They are the same three Altenew ink pad colors I used for the flowers.  Its a great way to get a perfect match!
A subtle difference in this card is created by using a pale pink cardstock base instead of white.
I die cut Fantasy Floral Die in #120 white cardstock and sponged the colors onto the flower and leaf pieces.

The Happy Birthday sentiment from Altenew is die cut three times and brushed with Wink of Stella.

A few pearls complete the card.

Hint:  Embossing paste dries out even if you keep the lid tightly closed.  Tim Holtz suggest placing a piece of Press N Seal over the jar of embossing paste before screwing the lid on.  That will create a tighter seal and lengthen the life of your embossing paste.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Irresistible Inking Techniques Class

This card, made with Altenew's Painted Butterflies stamp set, has a couple examples of inking techniques.
One of the greatest advantages of inking is that you can create "cardstock" that exactly matches the colors in your images!  In this case I wanted the green color to be the same on the sentiment strip as well as the edge.  I used a direst-to-paper technique to color what had been white cardstock.

I used a sponge to blend two shades of peach on the butterflies.

I don't have the dies for this set so the butterflies had to be fussy cut.  That left some edges with gold embossing.  I carefully ran the edge of the butterfly over my VersaMark ink pad then dipped it in gold embossing powder.  The result is a gold edge all the way around!


Layering stamps on Layered mats.
I used Altenew's coordinated green inks for these Majestic Misteltoe layered images.  There are three colors of green on each mistletoe branch.  This gives such great depth to the leaves.
The berries are a single color, Ruby Red.  I used glossy accents on the berries to give them shine.
I didn't want sparkle this time.
By the way AFTER I stamped all those berries in red I had a panic attack!  Oh, no!  mistletoe berries are not red!  A quick internet search relieved me by showing mistletoes berries in white, cream and red.  Thankfully I didn't have to go to Plan II and cover all of those red berries with gold Stickles.

The mats and die cut sentiment are cut from gold metallic cardstock.
I had never seen a pomegranate until my college roommate brought one back after winter break.
I thought it was the most spectacular fruit I had ever seen.  Magenta!!!  Sparkling seeds!!!  And delicious
Now I live in Arizona where pomegranate trees grow.  My neighbor has one I can see from my studio window.  It's loaded with fruit!  Time for a salad.
When Altenew came out with the Happy Pomegranates stamp set I think I may have been the first to order it and it's matching dies.
In the Irresistible Inking Techniques class it is explained that heat embossing the outline of an image helps to hold water color inside the lines.
For this card I used Zig Clean Color Real Brush markers (wishing I owned the Altenew water color brushes).  The colors went from a soft pink to magenta to a deep wine red.  It was really fun to paint.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Season Scene Building Class


Shaker Pocket Tag
My first project for Season Scene Builder is actually a tag.
The shaker portion is supposed to represent the window of a coffee shop.
Behind the window are gold heat embossed stacks of coffee cups.
I stamped and heat embossed the Latte Lover sentiment on acetate that is made for heat embossing.
The poinsettia portion of the card is actually a pocket for a Starbucks gift card.
The poinsettia and other greenery are from Holiday Bow.  It is a must have stamp and die set for this time of year.   I especially love how realistic the evergreen bough is.
There are sequins, Wink of Stella and Glossy Accent to help give this some holiday glam.
Winter Scene
Birch Impressionism was the first product that caught my eye in this new release.  It did not disappoint.  In fact it exceeded my expectations.
I made the four layers of each tree stand out by using four of Altenew's gray-tone inks.
The background is made with Distress Oxide inks.
Snow is glitter paper cut with Lawn Fawn dies.
Snow flakes are acrylic paint watered down and splatted with a small paint brush.
I also splattered a few water drops over the background.
I gave the scene more depth by setting the trees at different heights and behind different snow banks.

Monsoon Storm
Here in Tucson we have a Monsoon Season.  (Though this year it was quite disappointing.)
I used Altenew's Rain or Shine to create lightening over the purple mountains during a monsoon storm.
The lightening was white heat embossed.  Distress Oxide ink resisted the embossing to create stormy clouds and skies.
I attempted to use Ranger  Lift with the rain drop stamp.  The Lift Ink is intended for alcohol ink and didn't work on the Oxide Ink.  On another project I was more successful with the rain drops when I stamped in VersaMark and clear heat embossed.  On this project I just used clear sequins to represent the rain.

Friday, October 4, 2019

AECP For the Guys

This AECP class is titled For the Guys.  I kept putting it off as I thought it would be the most difficult of the 10 classes.  When I think of Altenew I think of flowers.  How was I going to make guy cards with flowers?  But when I actually looked through the Altenew stamps there were quite a few that could easily be guy cards!

Interactive Card
I love my coffee.  Thus I love my coffee stamps.  Altenew's Coffee Love images and Coffee Talk sentiments were used on this card.  On water color cardstock I stamped dozens of cups with Distress Ink.  (This did require a lot of masking.)  I then used a small water color brush to fill in the images.
I used Altenew water colors for the one red cup.

The card base is also water color paper.  On it is stamped a coffee bean border which is stamped and colored just like the first layer.

I stamped the coffee pot in black ink and water colored it as well.  It is coated with Glossy Accents and adhered to a Wobble.  That cracks me up because if I drank all that coffee that pot would definitely wobble in my hands!

Pop Art
This Pop Art assignment was not something I do very often if at all.  I looked up Andy Worhal's work and found both very colorful paintings and also paintings done in black and white.  I thought the black and white was perfect for this image from Altenew's It's for You.  A little math was involved so it would all fit into a square.  The sentiment is from the same It's for You set.


Galaxy
My daughter and her family live in LA.  I purchased Altenew's California Skies and have been anxious to use it.  The galaxy technique is perfect for this stamp.  The bright colors.  The appearance of light radiating from the city . . .  what a great match up!
I added a moon from Altenew's To the Moon.  It's silver heat embossed on silver cardstock.

My grandchildren love to look at the moon here in Tucson as it comes up over the mountains.  We sing Mr Moon and watch it rise.  I tell them that when they look at the moon at home in Los Angeles, I am looking at the same moon here in Tucson.

Thursday, October 3, 2019

Whimsy Wizzard

Waiting and hoping . . .
Our niece is having a girl!  She is going to capture the hearts of her two brothers.

Whimsy Stamps and Copic markers.  (Sentiment is from Altenew.  Word bubble is from Lawn Fawn.)