Season’s Greetings

That flood of holiday cards I mentioned in my last post? Yeah, it will be more of a trickle. I am slow on the editing and uploading but have lots of cards to show you.

This card was made with mostly Stampin’ Up! products, including this gorgeous flocked vellum. The tag I printed with my home printer and foiled it in red using the Minc machine (the photo makes the red foil look black sadly).

Lighthouse


This card was recently sent to my father-in-law for Father’s Day but it could work for many occasions. I used Stampendous ‘Build a Lighthouse’ stamp set for most of this scene which I watercolored using techniques learned from watching Art Impressions water color videos.

I started by coloring my lighthouse with a black water based marker, directly onto the rubber, which I then stamped in place onto watercolor paper. I masked it and added the trees and rocks. Next, I took a water brush and went over all my images to give them a painted look. Using marker, I added colored detail to the lighthouse.

For the water, I started by taking a straight edge to mark off my horizon. I filled in everything below that line with blue watercolor paint (I used Altenew watercolor brush markers). Using a white paint marker, I attempted to add waves.

Next, I added the light rays using some yellow tinted iridescent water color medium. In hindsight, I wish I left it the natural white color but I was too far into this project to start over. Lastly, I stamped some flying birds. These birds are from Dark Room Door ‘African Trees’.

I do not do much watercolor so there is definitely room for improvement. Nonetheless, I am happy with how this turned out. I didn’t add a sentiment to the front because I didn’t want to hide any of the art work.


Supplies Used:

  • Stampendous ‘Build a Lighthouse’ stamp set
  • Dark Room Door ‘African Trees’ stamp set
  • Water based markers (I like Stampin’ Up! or Marvy Le Plume II)
  • Altenew Watercolor Brush Markers or watercolor paint
  • White acrylic paint or a white paint marker
  • Watercolor paint brushes
  • Iridescent water color medium (Wink of Stella would work too)
  • Water color paper
  • White card base

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.

Anniversary Rose

This card came together quickly using Altenew ‘Layered Blossom’ cover die set. This is a two piece set that can be used alone or together to make an A2 sized card. In this case, I used both cover die A and B.

On a white card base I used a little bit of diluted ink in Stampin’ Up! Grapefruit Grove and splattered it on my card base. If you look closely at the white sections you can see this splatter.

I then layered the die cut from ‘cover B’ in Grapefruit Grove card stock and topped it with the die cut from ‘cover A’ in metallic Grapefruit Grove.

To finish the card I used a “Happy Anniversary” stamp (from Stamps of Life) and heat embossed it onto black card stock. For this I used Altenew ‘Golden Peach’ embossing powder which matched my color scheme nicely. I adhered it to my card front using foam tape and added some black adhesive gems to complete the look.

In total, this card took less than 30 minutes and can easily be adapted to suit many different occasions.


Supplies & tools used:

  • Altenew Layered Blossom cover dies A & B
  • White card base
  • Colored card stock with similar metallic card stock
  • Black card stock and adhesive gems
  • Dye ink
  • Versamark
  • Embossing powder
  • Embossing buddy/anti-static pouch
  • Heat tool
  • Die cutting machine/Big shot
  • Adhesive