Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Vintagey Valentine Card

This post is gonna be pretty short and sweet because I want to play in The Challenge, which happens to be closing in a few hours. Do you ever look at an inspiration picture for a challenge and think... oooooo I really need to play along with that! 

I do that all the time, but most of the time I just Pin them to go back to later and then get overwhelmed by the amount of challenges I want to play in. 


But NOT TODAY! Today, I was bound and determined to play along with the inspiration image because I was soooo... well... inspired by it! :) And I did it!

Here's the image that I was inspired by:

Vintage, lace, soft romantic colors. Checks all of my shabby chic boxes! 

I pulled out my Grandma's vintage lace, some bits and bobs from vintage jewelry that my momma gave me. 

Since I also wanted to play along with Anything But Cute Challenge - New - I pulled out my latest stamp set from Unity that I fell in love with - called Love is Grand.


I love how soft and pretty this turned out to be! Thanks for stopping by! 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

BS Sessions - Gesso and Gel Medium Tutorial

Hello Friendly Friends and welcome to another monthly installment of the BS Sessions! 

gesso_gel_medium tutorial

What are the BS Sessions? Well Samantha knows how to work a marker like nobody's business and Becca loves to get messy with mixed media. We both wanted to learn the other person's crafty secrets so we're going to ask one another a question on the last Thursday of the month. Becca will provide you with some amazing Mixed Media techniques and Samantha will show you some tips and tricks about coloring! We'll both provide our followers with a little tutorial, because if we have these questions - our followers might too!


Which brings me to this month's question, asked by Sammy:

What is the difference between gesso and gel medium?

What a great question, huh?
I know I did a canvas a while back and explained some of the differences then, but there is definitely more to add, so I thought I'd give it a go by breaking it down into a nice Pinnable (wink* wink) graphic for you! 


These are just some of the uses, and please bear in mind that I use these things primarily for cardmaking/art journaling and not canvas artwork (usually). So the uses I'll be discussing today will geared toward cardmakers and papercrafters.

Since I covered some of these things in an EARLIER TUTORIAL with pictures, I'll dedicate this post to some of the techniques that I didn't delve into.


Now, I want to also point out some things when it comes to the products I'm talking about. I don't care what brand of gesso or gel medium you use (I usually use whatever is on sale). You're gonna get the same results. 

But there IS a breakdown in what TYPE of gesso or gel medium you use. For instance, gesso comes in different varieties. I'll be using white gesso, but black gesso is also commonly found. OR if you want a different color gesso, you can color it by using Distress Stains, gelato shavings, and any other tinting medium. (but that's for another day).

Gel mediums are usually clear (but can also be tinted) at they come in glossy (shiny) and matte (not shiny). There is also a breakdown in what TYPE of gel medium you use:

Soft gel - doesn't create much texture, smooth clear
Medium gel - thicker texture, can be used as adhesive
Heavy gel - thickest texture, used to adhere objects (like chipboard)


Ok. Now that those bases are covered, here's two techniques you can try. One with gesso, one with gel medium. 

Gesso Technique: Stamping

For this technique, you'll need a paintbrush a stamp that's doesn't have a ton of details, and some wet wipes. 

Start by painting a thin layer of gesso over your stamp. 

Working quickly to keep the gesso from drying on your stamp, press firmly into the paper, making sure not to wiggle the stamp. (please excuse my messy acrylic block - I'm a real crafter). 

IMMEDIATELY after stamping, make certain to go wipe off your stamp. If the gesso dries, it could gum up the details of your stamp and ruin it. 

Gel Medium Technique: Sponging Resist

For this technique you will need gel medium, your favorite stencil, baby wipes, a palette knife, sponges, and inks. 

Start by using a palette knife to scrape a thin layer of gel medium through your stencil. I am using medium weight gel medium. 


After the gel medium is dry, use your favorite inks 
to sponge softly over the stenciled pattern. 

Lastly, use a baby wipe to wipe off excess ink that remains
 on top of the gel medium. 

Ooooo pretty! Stay tuned later to see this pretty background made into a card! But for now, make sure you head on over to Sammy's blog, where she is showing you all about how to color fur onto stamped images of animals! 

Thanks for tuning in! 

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Snowflake Card with Distress Ink Smooshing Technique

Today, I've got a super awesome tutorial to share with you and it's all about altering chipboard with perfect pearls. 


I really love to use wooden veneer or chipboard. It's a really simple way to give a clean and simple card a little something extra. Sometimes I'll use the plain old wood, and sometimes I want to do something a little fancier. This happened to be one of the fancy times. 

Our current challenge at STAMPlorations happens to be Clean and Simple (or you can choose to use the sketch) (or you can do both) (I just like parentheses). 

I chose to doll my wooden snowflakes up by using Perfect Pearls. There are many different ways to use Perfect Pearls but today I'm going to show you how to create a shimmery, metallic look with them. 


It's easy! Hardly any steps are involved - just pour a little bit of powder into the cap and mix with a few drops of water to make a paste. Then apply to the chipboard. You can use as many coats as you want to build up the opacity. 


I used a shimmery white and a shimmery turquoise and then I added some rock glitter while the pearls were still wet. Because why not? It turned out really cool! (pun intended)

I also knew that I wanted to play along with my girl Jenn Shurkus's and her friend Audrey's Coolest Card Series challenge. This week they are focusing on watercoloring techniques - and using snowflakes/snow/snowmen.


I made a watercoloresque background using the Distress Ink Dipping Technique and Salty Ocean, Peacock Feathers, and Evergreen Bough. 

Then I embossed a sentiment from the STAMPlorations Fond Expressions 2 stamp set and put the whole kit and caboodle together. 


You've still got plenty of time left to play in the STAMPlorations challenge! I hope to see you all there!

As for me, I'm also going to play along with:
Clear it Out - Winter theme with snowflake stash
Sparkle N Sprinkle - ATG with loose glitter & embossing
Card and Scrap - White and Blue

Thank you for popping by! I hope you enjoyed the tutorial! 

Friday, January 15, 2016

Coffee Loving Cardmakers Guestie! It's me!

I'm am oh-so-excited today because the amazing talent up at Coffee Loving Cardmakers asked lil' ol' me to join in with them today! 

I'm up at there blog showcasing my favorite coffee-themed card that I made for their quarterly Coffee Lovers Blog Hop. It would mean so much if you would pop over and leave a comment! 

Speaking of their Hop - if you haven't heard about it (what rock have you been living under?!) then here's the scoop:

4 times a year the blogosphere comes together and goes all caffeine crazy! If you link up a coffee themed card, then you can win a TON of prizes. Last time I think they had nearly 50 ridiculously good prizes to give away. Go check it out and follow their blog so you know when the next hop-a-long will be! 

And if you're not into hops, well they have weekly coffee inspiration too!

Monday, January 11, 2016

My New Stamp Release - Reindeer Games + GIVEAWAY

Guys. Guys. GUYSsssss.

I am so beyond excited to share my newest stamp release with you today because it is SO FLEEPIN' CUTE! I can't even handle it. I know I designed them, so I'm probably a little bit biased, but I got done making my samples and couldn't help but to squeal. 

I made up some samples that show how perfectly this set can be used for Valentine's Day cards! Especially cards that are good for both girls AND boys.




I just think these reindeer have the most expressive personalities and they make me giggle! Even though the cards are made today are for Valentine's Day, I've included sentiments in the set that will make this set last all year long - birthday, just because, even Christmas! 

My designs are going over to the following challenges: 
The Male Room - Anything Goes
Naughty or Nice - Let's be Silly (I'm definitely doing the nice route)
Clean and Simple on Sundays - Simple


There are new stamp sets being released ALL week long up at STAMPlorations, and every day we're giving away some awesome prizes! If you want to win Reindeer Games, just pop up to the blog and leave a comment. 

Thanks for popping by! Let me know which sentiment is your favorite!

Oh and one last thing before I go - this week only Reindeer Games is available in the STAMPlorations shop at a discount for only $10.80! Woop! 

Friday, January 8, 2016

STAMPlorations January Theme and Sketch Challenge

It's a brand new year and that means a new challenge up at STAMPlorations! Well actually - I'm not sure if you know it but STAMPlorations has 5 challenges that go on all month long. Each separate challenge has tons of prizes, AND you can use ANY PRODUCT that you want to play along! 

There's one for everybody! Seriously challenges are for:
Anything Goes (this is the only one where STAMPlorations products are required)

As for me - I am on the design team for the Theme and Sketch Challenge

You can play along with EITHER the theme or the sketch OR both! 
I decided to be an overachiever and play along with both the theme and the sketch this month.


I used the little birdies from The Bee's Knees - SmallBirds stamp set, paired it with some hearts from the Sketchy Coffee Cups set, and a sweet sentiment from the SENTIMENT BUILDERS: Love set. 

I know you all must have noticed a lack of blogging on my part for the last couple of weeks and here's why:

A Christmas trip to see my family: 
My momma and me.
My sisters and me, all watching "Sisters" at the local cinema.

A giant New Year's Eve Charity Gala that I was helping to plan!
This event hosted nearly 300 people and raised almost $2000 for charity. It was a huge production and was the first year! It was a blast, but I'm so relieved it's over. 
My cousin and me.

Members of the planning committee.

A new job!! 

I just got hired as the Assistant Director of the Career Center within our local College of Business. I'm super pumped! This Monday was my first day and after a week on the job I can tell you that I am SO gonna love it. 

So please forgive my bloggy remiss-ness and now that things are settling down... a little... I'll have some more time to spend in the craft room and visiting you! :) 

Happy 2016!

Saturday, January 2, 2016

How to Create a Blog Header for Free

Hello friendly friends! 

Firstly, I want to start this post off by saying 1) I am NOT a graphic designer and 2) I like answering people's questions because I'm all nice like that. 

One of my favorite bloggy friends - Christi Conley of Art Without Anxiety emailed me and asked me how I made my blog header. I figured if she had that question, maybe other people would, too! Thus, a tutorial was born! 


I'm all about doing things for free and so everything I show you today is at no cost (unless you want to pay for a special graphic). Also, please note that everything that I'm showing you pertains to BLOGGER'S platform. I'm not sure how Wordpress would.

Step 1 - Identify the width of your blog 


In order to make sure your blog header stretches all the way across your blog, you have to know how wide it is. 
In order to figure this out:
> Go to blogger Dashboard
> Go to template
> Hit customize
> Hit adjust widths
> Find the number that is next to "Entire blog" and write it down

Step 2 - Go to Picmonkey

There are many free online graphic-making programs. I like to use Picmonkey because it's super easy and you don't even need a subscription or log-in information. Anonymity. Nice! is also a good online program, but it does require log-in information. 


To start the process:
> Hover your mouse over "Design"
> Click custom

Remember that number you wrote down earlier, this is the part where you use it! Type that number into the right-hand box and choose a number, any number for the left-hand box. I'd suggest less than half the size of whatever the number is.

For this tutorial, my blog width is 1220 and the header I created for the tutorial is 550. My REAL blog header (at the top of the page) is 250 because I wanted it to be thinner. 

Step 3 - Start Designing!

I'm going to show you several of the different tools on Picmonkey you can use. 

Tool - Themes


For any beginner, this is the way to go. Each theme will have graphics, backgrounds, and font packages that work well together. So all of the guess work is taken out of it for you! I got this bird and a corner flourish from the Winterland Theme. 

Tool - Add Text


Easy, peasy, rice and cheesy - Just figure out which text you want, click on it, then click add text. A font box will pop right up and you can just type right into it, then resize and reposition. The texts I used are "Edo" and "Special Elite".

Tool - Borders


You can play around with borders. Different shapes and colors are available. This one is the Drop Shadow border.

Tool - Textures

Textures... well I like to think of them more as backgrounds. There's metal, bricks, and - in this case - crumpled paper.

Tool - Overlay


Overlays are just graphics, really. There are many different free graphics to choose from. I really like the "Postal" themed graphics for vintagey stuff. 

It should also be noted, that if you have a graphic of your own, or a picture that you've taken you can click on the Overlay Tool and then Click "Your Own" right up top and upload it. 

Step 4 - Save it and Upload it

Once you're satisfied with your handiwork:
> Go back to Blogger Dashboard
> Click on Layout
> Click edit next to "header"

A pop-up box will... well... pop up. Click on "Image from your computer" then tap the "choose file". Upload your image, hit save, and VOILA! You're done. 

That's it. Hope you all like my tutorial and if anyone has any questions, just let me know! 

Also - if you ever have any tutorials you'd like me to write up, just let me know that, too!