Sunday, November 6, 2011

We R Memory Keepers: Eyelets



A brand that I've really been enjoying is We R Memory Keepers. I especially love their wide eyelets! While I love the look of eyelets, I do not enjoy setting them. Half the time, I end up crushing the face of the eyelet, and the back-side never looks pretty. WRMK's large eyelets set very cleanly since the eyelet's backing is perforated. They're made beautifully and come in a wide variety of colors. They're available here. The photo is from the WRMK website. I am not affiliated with this brand, I just love their eyelets!

The photo is from the WRMK website: http://www.weronthenet.com/

I Love Kraft Paper!




I love the look, feel and versatility of kraft paper! In the projects shown above, I have embossed the paper to create tags; cut and folded it to make greeting cards; and stamped and distress-inked it to make a charming wedding tag.

Clear, Chunky Glitter!


In my 4th grade, I remember my class making holiday projects out of butcher paper. They were jumbo Christmas-themed items: a giant candy cane, a huge bow, a chubby Santa. We colored them in with markers and used glitter to accent our work. I remember being so incredibly excited to use the glitter, as were the other kids. However, the subsequent mess made by the glitter caused me to hate it. Throughout the rest of the year, we'd find glitter in every corner and and glitter worked deep into the classroom rug by dozens of little feet. My holiday project would shed glitter every time I'd move it from one storage bin in my house to another. My initial infatuation with these metallic sprinkles was replaced with frustration. From then on, I felt like once you used glitter, you'd never be able to escape it.

Fast-forward years later. I am now in my twenties and no-longer possess the clumsiness of a 9-year-old girl. Not to say that I'm no longer clumsy. I saw a couple projects online featuring chunky glitter and I was amazed that something I had learned to despise for so long, something that screamed messiness and gaudiness to me, could look so elegant. A few weeks ago, I purchased a jar of clear chunky glitter from Michael's. It's not iridescent or metallic; It's just plain, colorless glitter. I'm pretty careful and neat when I use it, and am happy to report that I have not inadvertently sprinkled glitter throughout my house this time!

I used it on the wooden snowflake prop in the above photo. I bought the wooden snowflake from Michaels, distressed the edges using Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Tea Die and then applied some glitter with Elmer's glue. The Elmer's glue really gives the glitter a thick base to adhere to (unlike a gluestick) and doesn't allow for much shedding of the glitter once the glue has dried. I love the effect the finished snowflake has and I think it photographed beautifully! 



Working with Copic Markers


I've really gotten into stamping lately, and although I'm not as great a stamper as many crafters out there, I've gotten better at included stamped elements in my crafts. I guess I don't have a natural knack at it, because stamping is actually pretty tricky for me! 

One thing I've noticed on a ton of blogs is the use of Copic Markers to color in stamps. I recently purchased some Copic Sketch Markers at a reduced price online. They are way better for blending than, say, Crayolas, but they do require a bit of practice to get used to using. The above is one of my first projects. I don't think it's bad, but I definitely have some room for improvement! I don't have that many markers (they do get expensive), so I am limited by color choice. I have a few pastels which I'm looking forward to using in the spring, though.



Shabby Chic Christmas Cards!


I've always loved the shabby chic trend in card crafting and scrapbooking and decided to try my hand at it. I wish I was better, since I can't seem to get away from my straight lines, but maybe that's just my style! The above card features embossed kraft paper, die-cut snowflakes sprinked with clear chunky glitter, handmade fabric flowers and seam binding bows in the corner! Very heavily embellished, but hey, it's the holidays and I can get away with it!


Here's another one. Again, it's just my interpretation of the shabby chic trend. This card features patterned paper, a paper embellishment, a handmade flower and a seam-binding bow. And a little jingle bell!

Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Tea Dye


Distress Inks have become go-to products in my crafting projects. In the previous post, I discussed Tim Holtz' Distress Ink in Vintage Photo. VP can be a little too dark for more delicate projects, although the nature of the inks does allow you to build up the product on the paper. I purchased Tea Dye for a lighter color option, and used it in the above shabby greeting card. You can see the shading along the central focal panel and along the edges of the card. The photo really doesn't do the card justice!

I find that Tea Dye is a better option for lighter-colored papers and more subtle effects, however, it can be difficult to build this product up on kraft paper or anything lighter than ivory, really. Vintage Photo is a little more versatile since it shows up on darker papers, as well. If you are trying to decide between the two, I'd go for Vintage Photo. These two colors seem to be the most common from all the blogs I've read. However, Ranger and Tim Holtz have really expanded their line, and there are plenty more colors to choose from (36 in all)!

Here's a link to Ranger's website with all the Distress Ink color options: http://www.rangerink.com/products/prod_dyeink_distresspads.htm

Tim Holtz Distress Ink in Vintage Photo


I've been loving Tim Holtz line of Distress Inks by the parent company Ranger. They're alcohol-based dye inks that are great for blending and allow for creating an "aged" look on paper, shadowing, stamping, etc. I use them primarily to ink around edges and my handful of Distress ink pads have become staples in my crafting! In the above set of cards, I used Vintage Photo Distress Ink. I used Vintage Photo in the card below, as well. 


In order to use the ink to blend along the edges of paper, I use the Ranger Inkssentials Ink Blending Tool and Foam. I used to (and sometimes still do) use a piece of a dry kitchen sponge. It's not as convenient as the blending tool, but it does lend a more rustic-looking and rough effect. All the products mentioned can be found on the Ranger Ink website: http://www.rangerink.com/products.htm

The above image is from www.thecropstop.org
For more information about how to use Distress Ink, there are plenty of tutorials on YouTube!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Mini Halloween Cards



I made the above set of mini Halloween cards out of scrapbook paper I found at Green Tangerines in the sale section. I thought it was adorable and made these cards that very weekend! I cut out some of my favorite images and embellished each with ribbon, rhinestones, brads and glitter. I think the end result is adorable! The cards measure about 3 x 4 inches each. I have them on sale in my Etsy shop here, and if they don't sell, I think I'll give them out as favors at work. I think they'd make great goody bag tags...if only I had the patience to make goody bags.

Be sure to check out my Etsy shop for more cute craft projects!
almondcrafts.etsy.com

Thanks for stopping by!

Do I Really Need a Bone Folder? Bone Folder Review


When I was younger and at home for winter or summer breaks, I used to watch Martha Stewart's show in the mornings. Yes, I am a true craft nerd! I think it aired around 10 am, after the morning news shows. Whenever she'd make craft projects, she used a bone folder. I'd watch her create in awe, but I also scoffed at the idea of using a bone folder. Why would I need a specific tool just to fold paper? 

Well, now that I have a bone folder, I don't ever want to be without it! Mine is by the brand EK Success, as pictured above. I got it on sale at JoAnn, if you're wondering. I make a lot of cards and when working with cardstock, it can be hard to get a clean fold. Now that I use a bone folder, I can tell when someone has just used their fingers: the cardstock is all wrinkly around the fold, and the fold is not as tight. Even if you don't notice this, you will notice if a card is not standing straight, or if it isn't lying flat. A bone folder helps create a tight crease which in turn helps with a card's "posture," if you will. 

You can also use the tip of the folder to score along piece of cardstock. This is great for not only making cards, but making paper boxes, etc. I used to use a ruler for folding, but it would often leave lines or marks in my paper since it wasn't completely smooth. The plastic of the folder (and no, it isn't actually made of bone!) has a nice weight to it, is very smooth and also appears to be sturdy. It doesn't leave unnecessary marks or creases on my paper, and so far, I have nothing negative to say about it. 

Paper Lace: EK Success Edger Punch Project Ideas


I have been loving EK Success' border/edger punches! I made the set of stationery above by cutting cardstock down to size and then punching out the "paper lace" border. Simple and elegant. I've been seeing border punches pop up at Michael's, JoAnn's and other craft stores. They're easy to use, but you do have to have patience as it can get tedious to punch out several pieces. Also, you have to apply firm pressure to punch, which may not be suitable for those who have wrist/elbow issues.


I made a set of large gift tags (or luggage tags) by cutting kraft paper down to size, punching a hole in the top, adding a hole reinforcement and finally punching the bottom edge out. A long process for a simple set of tags! But I think the final result is pretty sweet. I handmade those belly bands with my shop name and think they add a really professional touch to my packaging! Have I mentioned it before? I'm a sucker for good packaging! They're on sale in my Etsy shop here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/AlmondCrafts?section_id=10178134

Fiskars Paper Trimmer


I love my Fiskars paper trimmer! There are several models by various companies which work essentially the same way as the trimmer pictured above. You place the paper on the trimming board and slide the blade down. That's it! I used to avoid buying large scrapbook paper just because I hated spending time trimming things down to size. This trimmer allows me to have straight cuts every time! I was able to get mine on sale at JoAnn for $12.99 (I think the retail cost was $19.99) and it has so been worth it! I cannot imagine working on any craft project without this tool.

If you're wondering, the arm on the top slides up so you can measure paper up to 12 inches across. Super compact and easy to use. The only negative is that sometimes you get a slightly fuzzy edge when you cut. Some papers cut really cleanly, while others don't. It hasn't been a big deal for me; I just make sure to hold the trimmer down really firmly when I cut. The little fuzz is not nearly as bad as wobbly scissor-cut lines.

I am in love with this tool...can't imagine crafting without it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Boys Birthday Card with Stars



I make so many bright, frilly, girlie cards, and it was about time I made something for a boy. Don't get me wrong, you can give this card to the special lady in your life, but I think the shades of blue and shooting stars would be perfect for a little boy. I stamped the background and sentiment, as well as the shooting stars. This would have been a perfect card for a summer birthday since it looks so patriotic. I've been loving simple scrapbook paper backgrounds, and when I saw this star-patterned paper at the craft store, I knew I had to have it.

Edge Punch Blank Cards




My edge-punched, or "lace edge" blank cards have gotten more views in my Etsy shop than my other cards that I decided to add this white option! I'll be adding them to my shop early next week. Simple and elegant. 

almondcrafts.etsy.com

Quilled Retirement Cards





A couple of friends at work were retiring, and since they've been great mentors to me as a graduate student intern, I couldn't let them leave us without giving them a token of gratitude. And for me, that token comes in the form of a handmade card! I had bought some quilling paper on Amazon.com and I had just let the packages sit around for a couple of weeks untouched. Usually, I can't wait to use my new craft supplies. I've mentioned before that quilling really tests my patience, but I enjoyed making these and was happy with the results.

For Linda, I knew I wanted to make something with coral pinks and oranges. She always wears coral shades and always has a coat of coral orange nail polish on her toes. She may be in her seventies, but she's still rocking those bright shades! For Vince, I opted for deeper shades, especially since we're heading into fall. I used Elmer's glue as my adhesive.

I hand-stamped their names using Inkadinkado alphabet stamps from the Somerset Set. I used Memento's dye ink, and I like the way it absorbed into the pearl-finish paper. The only thing I really dislike about these cards is the fact that when I erased the pencil line I had drawn to make the letters straight, it left a smudge that I couldn't get rid of. You can kind of see it in the photos, and I have since started using Post-It notes to make my straight lines. Overall, I really like the rich colors against the pearlized paper. Success!

Embossed Tags




I have a few Cuttlebug embossing folders, but don't use them nearly as much as I'd like to. I embossed a few pages of white cardstock and punched out a bunch of circles. I think these tags would be perfect for a wedding shower or baby shower. You can rub over the embossed design with ink (as I've done with the brown tag). Or, as with the turquoise one, I gently pressed it into a pad of Big Embossy embossing ink and embossed it with some turquoise powder. It didn't come out perfectly, but who's checking? I'll be adding them to my Etsy shop on Monday!

I added a sunflower sticker embellishment from Martha Stewart Crafts onto one of the punch outs and, voila! Instant gift tag! I have a ton of stickers, but if you just stick one on a card, it can look a bit incomplete. I think the embossed layer just adds that right something. String some ribbon through, and we're good to go.

Quilled Holiday Cards




I think I'm finally getting the hang of quilling! My designs have gotten a little more complex, and I even hand-stamped the sentiments using alphabet stamps. I guess a little practice really does go a long way. I added the above cards to my Etsy shop here

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Crazy 4 Challenges Flourish Bingo C4C101

I saw this fun bingo challenge on Jessie Rone's blog, sponsored by Fourishes. She's a great crafter and I love her designs. I decided to choose square card, embossing and brads. Here's what I made:

 

The cardstock is from Die Cuts with a View (DCWV), the alphabet stamps are from Inkadinkado, the black embossing powder is from Michael's, as are the cute little stud embellishments! Okay, they aren't technically brads, but they're close and I love the effect. I used Versa Mark as my embossing ink and Sticky Thumb foam dimensionals to prop up the orange squares, which I cut with my Cuttlebug square dies. I finished it off with some black grosgrain ribbon along the folded edge. I think the font is perfect for Halloween, and looks kind of spidery and creepy when it's embossed in black. The card measures 5.5 square inches. Hope you like it! 

This was a fun challenge! I hope to see more like it.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Blue Quilled Flower Card

Here's another card I quilled. I stamped a birthday wishes sentiment in the corner, and used the husking technique on the purple flower. I have on sale in my Etsy shop!

Paper Flowers

I made some cute little paper flower embellishments using my Spellbinders dies. You can't really tell in the photo above, but I used white glittery paper for the center of each! Check them out in my Etsy shop here!

Polkadot Snowman Card

This card features a few of the things I am loving right now: baker's twine (on the buttons), gingham and ruffled ribbon! I purchased the clip art image from an Etsy seller called UntietheRibbons. Visit this card in my Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/shop/almondcrafts



Purple Teddy Bear Card

I had fun making this card, which features a cute little girl holding a teddy bear. I used a DCWV pre-cut card base and my Spellbinders Labels Eight Nestabilities dies. I used a muted purple piece of Bazzill cardstock for some of my layering, and love how the embossed dots are spaced just about the same as the polka dotted background. I bought the clip art from Etsy, from a seller called UntietheRibbons. I stamped "thinking of you" on a small pennant which I placed at the bottom. Visit this card here in my Etsy shop!

Paper Flower Magnets

I wanted to make something other than cards for once, so I made these cute little paper flower magnets. I used my large scallop Spellbinders Nestabilities, and then did some cutting and embossing using my stylus tools to make them look three-dimensional. It gets a bit tedious to do every petal of every layer, but I guess the final result is worth it. I distressed each layer using Tim Holtz' Vintage Photo Distress Ink. If you want to see more photos, see this listing in my Etsy shop here.

A Quilled Snowflake Card for the Holidays

I tend to procrastinate, but I'm already making holiday cards! I quilled the snowflake using soft yellow paper, and though it's not perfectly symmetrical, I don't think it's a bad first attempt at a snowflake. The cherry red Bazzill cardstock is perfect! Contrasts well with the lighter shades and is just the perfect quality. No white core, just well-dyed paper with some fine embossing.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Damask Inspired Quilling

These quilled designs turned out pretty well. Even though I'm new to quilling, I was somehow able to come up with these original designs. No sketches or anything, I just played it by ear and was surprised by the final result. I probably couldn't draw by hand such symmetrical curliques as I was able to create out of paper strips. You can see more photos in my Etsy listing here.

New to Quilling

Quilled pieces are so beautiful, and even the dullest among us can appreciate the time and detail that go into them. I've begun experimenting with quilling and while I'm no expert, I'm getting the hang of it. The butterfly card above (left) didn't turn out as well as I wanted to, but I'm satisfied with the floral card. I've added a couple of damask-inspired designs to my shop which turned out well and are pretty unique (whereas quilled flowers are pretty common). I plan to keep at it and improve and hopefully come up with some more intricate designs. My biggest challenge is remaining patient! The glue doesn't dry fast enough, the pieces won't allow me to manipulate them and my sticky fingers leave marks on the very pieces I want to perfect. I'm hanging in there.

Harry Potter Gryffindor Crest Cards


I made these cards a couple weeks after watching Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. I haven't watched all the movies, but have seen the last three. They've gotten better (linear improvement) over time, but still do not compare to the amazing book series! Snape is my favorite character and I always knew he was complex, and love that they delved into his story and background in the final movie. 

Cardstock, brads and black ink! I wrote "Gryffindor" on the banner by hand and think it turned out pretty well!

These cards are on sale in my Etsy shop! Visit them here.

Damask Print and Sunflowers!

Sometimes clean and simple cards can make more of a statement than my usual, heavily embellished cards. Somehow the elegance of the damask print just worked out well with the sunflower embellishment. The gold strip is made of cardstock, and the chocolate brown satin ribbon underneath helps pull the gold out. A couple of rhinestones and I was good to go! This pair of cards was my first ever sale in my Etsy shop! I'm so grateful to whoever that first buyer is!

Bright Flowers

When I first bought this cardstock, I had no idea how to use the bold, floral pattern. I finally decided to add a cherry red square panel and bright sunflower embellishment. Finished it off with some yellow rhinestones to help accent the warm tones.

Spellbinders Label One Dies


This is a set of cards I made with Spellbinders Label One dies. I love Spellbinders dies! However, I use them with my Cuttlebug which can be a hassle, and my B plate is so bent up and cut up from constant use! The letters are Cuttlebug alphabet dies in the typewriter font. This was one of my first attempts at sponging edges with in, and as you can see, it didn't show up very well on all of the cards. You can only really see it on the blue one.

Kraft Paper


So versatile and simple and organic in feel. I've been using it pretty often in my card crafting projects and just bought a new pack of it so I don't have to be so stingy anymore!


Both of the above cards are included in my Etsy store, Almond Crafts.

Tim Holtz Vintage Photo Distress Ink

I used Tim Holtz' Vintage Photo Distress Ink to lend the edges of my North Berwick card a faded, rustic look. At first I wasn't sure how to blend or sponge on dye ink, but once I got the hang of it, I've been adding the effect to lots of projects.