Beautiful Day

This card is the second card I have created for the Altenew Educator Certificate Program Level 1 (AECP) and applies techniques from the class ‘All About Layering 2’. This class expanded my knowledge of layering stamps by practicing the principles from the previous class using various different stamp sets from Altenew.

For this particular card, I started by making a background piece using Altenew ‘Cube Cover Die’ adhered over a piece of pink ombré card stock. I used Altenew ‘Beautiful Day’ stamp and die sets to make the pink flowers and green leaves. I then adhered them to my background piece using glue and foam tape in a way that I thought was visually appealing.

The ‘Best Wishes’ sentiment is from Altenew ‘Dandelion Wishes’ stamp set. I stamped this onto a strip of white card stock and fishtailed the end. I adhered this to my card base with a small amount of glue but used a staple in the side as a decoration. When my card front was complete, I adhered it to a white card base. By doing this part last, the back side of my staple doesn’t show on the inside of my card.

Supplies Used:

  • Altenew ‘Beautiful Day’ stamps and dies
  • Altenew ‘Dandelion Wishes’ stamps
  • Altenew ‘Cube Cover Die’
  • Altenew Crisp Dye Ink in ‘Industrial Diamond’ (outlines of flowers)
  • Altenew Crisp Dye Ink in ‘Frosty Pink’, ‘Coral Berry’ & ‘Ruby Red’ (large flowers)
  • Altenew Crisp Dye Ink in ‘Sweet Leaf’, ‘Just Green’ & ‘Hunter Green’ (leaves)
  • Pink ombré card stock (or you can make this using ink blending techniques)
  • White card stock
  • Glue, foam tape and staples
  • Light pink marker (accent flowers)

Happy 60th Birthday Dad!

Believe it or not, no stamps were used in the making of this card. The mountain, trees and moose are actually from a file I purchased on Etsy. I modified it to fit my needs and printed it out on silver glimmer paper using my laser printer. I ran it through the minc machine with black foil and used Distress Oxides to make a sun set, and I colored in the grass using a green Copic marker. Tip: print a second scene on copy paper and use that as a mask while you do your ink work!

The banner was made using a Brother P-Touch Embellish machine which allows me to print on ribbon. I fish tailed one end and stapled the other end to my card using a Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher. When I use ribbon on a card I often put a little double sided tape in behind it so it stays in place and this card is no exception. The whole card front is mounted onto a glossy black card base which matches the foiled scene nicely.

While this was a fun card to make, I will admit that it took most of an evening just trying to get the scene to print and foil correctly (user error and I was being way too picky about how I wanted it to look).

Supplies used:

  • Digital scene file (mine is from Fresh Cuts Studio on Etsy)
  • Smooth silver card stock suitable for laser printer
  • Black glossy card stock
  • Black foil
  • Minc foiling machine
  • Distress Oxides in pinks, yellows and blues
  • Green alcohol marker
  • Brother P-Touch Embellish with white ribbon
  • Tim Holtz Tiny Attacher

Painted Butterflies

This card is my first project in the Altenew Educator Certification Program (AECP). I used techniques learned in the class ‘All About Layering 1’ to make this card featuring Altenew ‘Painted Butterflies’.

The ‘Painted Butterflies’ stamp set is perfect for practicing layering stamps because it is designed to look imperfect. The stamps in this set are not meant to line up exactly over the others and because of this, if your layering is a little bit off it still looks great. Coordinating dies are also available from Altenew.

These butterflies are three part stamps. First you stamp the sketchy outline stamp and then you stamp on top of it with the more solid stamp to give the wings some color. Then, if desired, there is a third stamp which adds an accent color. The ‘All About Layering 1’ shows this in detail and has some great tips to line things up. There is also a layering guide which can be found on the Altenew website.

For my card, I stamped the outline using ‘Industrial Diamond’ Crisp Dye Ink. The wing color is ‘Soft Lilac’ and the accent color (used only on the big butterfly) is ‘Lavender Fields’. I used the smaller butterflies to form a background and I die cut the largest one to give the card some dimension.

The ‘I MISS YOU’ sentiment is from the same stamp set. I stamped this in ‘Industrial Diamond’ and cut it into a small strip. I ran the edges against the ‘Lavender Fields’ ink pad to make it stand out and I attached it to my card front using foam tape for dimension.

I finished the card by positioning my card front to the left side of my card base and I decorated the right side edge with some thin washi tape. I accented the piece with some light pink sequins.

Supplies Used:

  • Altenew Painted Butterflies stamps & dies
  • Altenew Crisp Dye Ink ‘Industrial Diamond’
  • Altenew Crisp Dye Ink ‘Soft Lilac’
  • Altenew Crisp Dye Ink ‘Lavender Fields’
  • Neenah Solar White 110lb card stock
  • Pink/purple washi tape
  • Pink sequins

Blending Brushes: do you get what you pay for?

If you keep up with paper crafting trends, there is no way you will have missed the introduction of brushes like these to the craft supply market. Supposedly they blend ink smoothly, are easy to clean and you don’t need a brush for every color ink you own.

I first saw these at Stamp and Scrapbook Expo in the summer of 2018 and while I was initially going to buy them, the price made me put them back on the shelf and walk away. I believe they were about $49 for a pack of 10 and at the time, I had no idea if I would even like them. I’ll just stick to my daubers and sponges for that price.

A few weeks later I was out shopping and I noticed similar brushes in the cosmetics aisle at Walmart. Of course – makeup brushes! I went on Amazon and searched for ‘oval makeup brushes’ and what did I find? Brushes that look ‘almost’ identical to the ones being sold as ink blending brushes within the crafting community. Here’s the thing though, these ones were only about $12 for a set of 10. I compared photos to the expensive brand name crafting ones and the size and shapes looks the same for each brush in the set. See this photo above of the brushes I bought and compare them to the brand names brushes for yourself if you wish.

Let’s go back to the part where I said these are ‘almost’ identical. I want to be clear that I say ‘almost’ because I didn’t have both kinds to compare side by side and I would like to give the benefit of the doubt to the craft brand (which I am not naming here) that their version was in fact something more than cheap makeup brushes. I would like to believe that they were not buying $12 packs of makeup brushes and sticking their label on them to sell for $50. I eventually did buy a sample pack of two from the craft brand so I could compare them side by side and I found two differences. First, the Amazon brushes are a little more flexible in the handle of the brush. Second, the more expensive blending brushes have a slightly more rounded/convex shape to the bristles compared to the Amazon brushes which have a flatter surface. Do these things make a difference? Do the cheap ones work just as well or should you splurge on the expensive version? Watch my video to find out!

Ok, so you’ve watched the video! What are your thoughts? Do you also have both kinds and do you find any difference in how they blend? Have you bought makeup brushes for blending ink and do you like them? Please leave comments at the bottom of this page!

One last thing that I want to make clear. I do not support buying knock off craft products. I do not buy unbranded dies or stamps because the designs may have been illegally stolen from small businesses and sold by companies overseas who are not licensed to reproduce them. This is wrong on many levels and I only buy from reputable craft companies when it comes to my stamps and dies. I strongly believe that you get what you pay for and I respect copyright law. In this case though, this style brush has been around a lot longer as makeup brushes and the craft community has only recently taken notice and started selling them as a craft product. Lots of products have multiple uses and I don’t believe that any craft company independently came up with the idea for these brushes that just happen to look and feel just like makeup brushes. If you have the money and want to support small craft business, by all means – buy the branded blending brushes! Your independent craft retailer and the craft brands that sells these will thank you. In my case, I would rather buy cheap makeup brushes and spend the rest of my money on other craft supplies.

Thank You Teachers

If there is one profession out there that I am forever in awe of, it is teaching. There are people out there who love spending time with other people’s kids and who help grow their minds in amazing ways. They are always doing work in their off hours and I’m sure they spend countless hours thinking and worrying about the kids in their care. It takes a special kind of person to be a teacher and I am so grateful that both of my children have exceptional teachers to inspire them. Their teachers encourage them to learn, have fun and express themselves in creative ways, and I can’t thank them enough for all that they do.

Here are cards I made for my kid’s teachers this year. Each of my children have two teachers, so I made these in duplicate. Supplies used are listed under each card.

Supplies used:

  • Sunny Studios ‘School Time’ stamp set. I used my Brother Scan N Cut to cut these out
  • Altenew ‘Thank You Builder’ stamp set for the sentiment
  • Brutus Monroe Glitter Glaze in ‘Unicorn Horn’ (with a patterned stencil)
  • Gina K ‘Kraft’ card stock
  • Green adhesive gems as accents (I think these ones were from Stampin’ Up)
  • Glossy accents on the apple
  • Copic markers for coloring
  • Gina K Amalgam black ink for stamping

Supplies used:

  • Lawn Fawn ‘Stitched Apple Frames’ dies
  • Lawn Fawn ‘Outside In Stitched Apple’ dies
  • Lawn Fawn ‘Stitched Rectangle Stackables’dies
  • Lawn Fawn ‘Scalloped Rectangle Stackables’ dies
  • Hefty Doodle ‘Teacher’ die
  • Lawn Fawn ‘So Owlsome’ stamp set for the ‘Thanks’ stamp
  • Green adhesive gems for accents (from Queen & Co.)
  • Craft Perfect ‘Red Velvet’ mirror card
  • White card stock
  • Gina K Amalgam black in for stamping
  • Distress Oxide ‘Antique Linen’ on the apple
  • White paint for highlight accents on the apple